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Voyages from Montreal through the continent of North America to the frozen and Pacific oceans in 1789… Mackenzie, Alexander, 1764-1820 1902

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IN  1789 and 1793
PUBLISHERS:    NEW   YORK,    190a Registered at the
Library of' Congress, A ugusé iqo2
Published, August 1902. N. Table of Contents.
Removed from the tent to the house. Build habita-
tions for the people. The hardships they suffer.
Violent hurricane. Singular circumstances at-
tending it. The commencement of the new year.
An Indian cured of a dangerous wound. State of
the weather. Curious customs among the Indians, on the death of a relation. Account of a
quarrel. An Indian's reasoning on it. Murder
of one of the Indians. The cause of it. Some
account of the Rocky Mountain Indians. Curious
cireumstance respecting a woman in labour, etc.
A dispute between two Indians, which arose from
gärning. An account of one of their games. Indian superstition. Mildness of the season. The
Indians prepare snow shoes. Singular customs.
Further account of their manners. The slavish
state of the women. Appearance of spring. Dis-
patch canoes with the trade to Fort Chepewyan.
Make preparations for the voyage of discovv
ery} ........v
Proceed on the voyage of discovery. Beautiful
scenery. The canoe too heavily laden. The
country in a state of combustion. Meet with a
hunting party. State of the river, etc. Meet
with Indians. See the tracks of bears, and one of
their dens. Sentiment of an Indian. Junction
of the Bear River.    Appearance of the country.
State of the river. Observe a fall of timber.
Abundance of animals. See some bears. Come
in sight of the rocky mountains. The canoe re-
ceives an injury and is repaired. Navigation
dangerous. Rapids and falls. Succession of difficulties and dangers, 31
Continuation of difficulties and dangers. Discon-
tents among the people. State of the river and
its banks. Volcanic chasms in the earth. Dis-
patch various persons to discover ways across the
mountain. Obstacles present themselves on all
sides. Preparations made to attempt the mountain. Account of the ascent with the canoe and
baggage. The trees that are found there. Arrive at the river. Extraordinary circumstances
of it. Curious hollows in the rocks. Prepare the
canoe. Renew our progress up the river. The
state of it. Leave some tokens of amity for the
natives. The weather very cold. Löst a book of
my observations for several days. Continue to
proceed up the river. Send a letter down the
current in a rum-keg. Came to the forks, and
proceed up the Eastern branch. Circumstances
of it, |       .       .58
Continue our voyage. Heavy fog. The water
rises. Succession of courses. Progressive ac
count of this branch. Leave the canoe to proceed,
and ascend a hill to reconnoitre. Climb a tree to
extend my view of the country. Return to the
River. The canoe not arrived. Go in search of
it. Extreme heat, musquitoes, etc. Increasing
anxiety, respecting the canoe.   It at length ap-
pears. Violent storm. Circumstances of our
progress. Forced to haul the canoe up the stream
by the branches of trees. Succession of courses.
Wild parsnips along the river. Expect to meet
with natives. Courses continued. Fall in with
some natives. Our intercourse with them. Account of their dress, arms, utensils, and manners,
etc. New discouragements and difficulties present themselves, 78
Continue the voyage. State of the river. Succession of courses. Sentiment of the guide. Coni-
cal mountain. Continuation of courses. Leave
the main branch. Enter another. Description of
it. Saw beaver. Enter a lake. Arrive at the
upper source of the Unjigab, or Peace River.
Land, and cross to a second lake. Local circumstances. Proceed to a third lake. Enter a river.
Encounter various difficulties. In danger of being
löst. The circumstances of that situation de-
scribed. Alarm and dissatisfaction among the
people. They are at length composed. The canoe repaired. Roads cut through woods. Pass
morasses. The guide deserts. After a succession
of difficulties, dangers, and toilsome marches, we
arrive at the great river, .... 102
Rainy night. Proceed on the great river. Circumstances of it. Account of courses. Come to rapids. Observe several smokes. See a flight of
white ducks. Pass över a carrying-place with the
canoe, etc. The difficulties of that passage.
Abundance of wild onions. Re-embark on the
river.    See some of the   natives.    They desert
their camp and fly into the woods. Courses continued. Kill a red deer, etc. Circumstances of
the river. Arrive at an Indian habitation. Description of it. Account of a curious machine to
catch fish. Land to procure bark for the purpose
of constructing a new canoe. Conceal a quantity
of pemmican for provision on our return. Succession of courses. Meet with some of the natives.
Our intercourse with them. Their information
respecting the river, and the country. Description of those people, 127
Renew our voyage, accompanied by two of the natives. Account of courses. State of the river.
Arrive at a subterranean house. See several natives. Brief description of them. Account of
our conference with them. Saw other natives.
Description of them. Their conduct, etc. The
account which they gave of the country. The
narrative of a female prisoner. The perplexities
of my situation. Specimen of the language of
two tribes. Change the plan of my journey.
Return up the river. Succession of dangers and
difficulties. Land on an island to build another
canoe, 154
Make preparations to build a canoe. Engage in
that improtant work. It proceeds with great expedition. The guide who had deserted arrives
with another Indian. He communicates agreeable
intelligence. They take an opportunity to quit
the island. Complete the canoe. Leave the island, which was now named the Canoe Island.
Obliged to put the people on short allowance.
Account of the navigation.   Difficult ascent of a
rapid. Fresh perplexities. Continue our voyage
up the river. Meet the guide and some of his
friends. Conceal some pemmican and other artides. Make preparations for proceeding över
land. Endeavour to secure the canoe till our return. Proceed on our journey. Various circumstances of it, 187
Continue our journey. Embark on a river. Come
to a weir. Dexterity of the. natives in passing it.
Arrive at a village. Alarm occasioned among the
natives. The subsequent favourable reception,
accompanied with a banquet of ceremony. Circumstances of it. Description of a village, its
houses, and places of devotion. Account of the
customs, mode of living, and superstition of the
inhabitants. Description of the chiefs canoe.
Leave the place, and proceed on our voyage, 251
Renew our voyage. Circumstances of the river.
Land at the house of a chief. Entertained by
him. Carried down the river with great rapidity
to another house. Received with kindness. Oc-
cupations of the inhabitants on its banks. Leave
the canoe at a fall. Pass över land to another village. Some account of it. Obtain a view of an
arm of the sea. Lose our dog. Procure another
canoe. Arrive at the arm of the sea. Circumstances of it. One of our guides returns home.
Coast along a bay. Some description of it. Meet
with Indians. Our communication with them.
Their suspicious conduct towards us. Pass on-
wards. Determine the latitude and longitude.
Return to the river. Dangerous encounter with
the Indians.   Proceed on our journey, .       . 267
Return up the river. Slow progress of the canoe,
from the strength of the current. The hostile
party of the natives precedes us. Impetuous conduct of my people. Continue our very tedious
voyage. Come to some houses; received with
great kindness. Arrive at the principal, or Sal-
mon Village. Our present reception very different from that we experienced on our former,visit.
Continue our journey. Circumstances of it.
Find our dog. Arrive at the Upper, or Friendly
Village. Meet with a very kind reception. Some
further account of the manners and customs of
its inhabitants. Brief vocabulary of their language,     290
Leave the Friendly Village. Attentions of the natives at our departure. Stop to divide our provisions. Begin to ascend the mountains. Circumstances of the ascent. Journey continued.
Arrive at the place from whence we set out by
land. Meet with Indians there. Find the canoe,
and all the other artides in a state of perfect se-
curity and preservation. Means employed to
compel the restoration of artides which were
afterwards stolen. Proceed on our homeward-
bound voyage. Some account of the natives on
the river. The canoe is run on a rock, etc. Circumstances of the voyage. Enter the Peace
River. Statement of courses. Continue our
route. Circumstances of it. Proceed onwards in
a small canoe, with an Indian, to the lower fort,
leaving the rest of the people to follow me. Arrive at Fort Chepewyan. The voyage concluded,    .316
DECEMBER 23, 1792.
I this day removed from the tent into the
house which had been erected for me, and set
all the men to begin the buildings intended
for their own habitation. Materials sufficient
to erect a range of five houses for them, of
about seventeen by twelve feet, were already
collected. It would be considered by the inhabitants of a milder climate, as a great evil,
to be exposed to the weather at this rigorous
season of the year, but these people are in-
ured to it, and it is necessary to describe in
some measure the hardships which they un-
dergo without a murmur, in order to convey
a general notion of them.
The men who were now with me, left this
place in the beginning of last May, and went
to the Rainy Lake in canoes, laden with
packs of fur, which, from the immense length
of the voyage, and other concurring circumstances, is a most severe trial of patience and
perseverance:   there  they do  not  remain a
sufficient time for ordinary repose, when they
take a load of goods in exchange, and proceed
on their return, in a great nieasure, day and
night. They had been arrived near two
months, and, all that time, had been continu-
ally engaged in very toilsome labour, with
nothing more than a common shed to protect
them from the frost and snow. Such is the
life which these people lead; and is continued
with unremitting exertion, till their strength
is löst in premature old age.
The Canadians remarked, that the weather
we had on the 25th, 26th, and 27th of this
month, denoted such as we might expect in
the three succeeding months. On the 29th,
the wind being at North-East, and the weather
calm and cloudy, a rumbling noise was heard
in the air like distant thunder, when the sky
cleared away in the South-West; from whence
there blew a perfect hurricane, which lasted
till eight. Soon after it commenced, the at-
mosphere became so warm that it dissolved
all the snow on the ground; even the ice was
covered with water, and had the same appearance as when it is breaking up in the
spring. From eight to nine the weather became calm, but immediately after a wind arose
from the North-East with equal violence,
with clouds, rain, and hail, which continued
throughout the night till the evening of the
next day, when it turned to snow.    One of
the people who wintered at Fort Dauphin in
the year 1780, when the small pox first appeared there, informed me, that the weather
there was of a similar description.
January 1,1793.—On the first day of Jan-
uary, my people, in conformity to the usual
custom, awoke me at the break of day with
the discharge of fire-arms, with which they
congratulated the appearance of the new year.
In return, they were treated with plenty of
spirits, and when there is any flour, cakes are
always added to their regales, which was the
case, on the present occasion.
On my arrival here last fall, I found that
one of the young Indians had löst the use of
his right hand by the bur sting of a gun, and
that his thumb had been maimed in such a
manner as to häng only by a small strip of
flesh.    Indeed, when he was brought to me,
his wound was in such an offensive state, and
emitted such a putrid smell, that it required
all the resolution I possessed to examine it.
His friends had done every thing in their
power to relieve him; but as it consisted only
in singing about him, and blowing upon his
hand, the wound, as may be well imagined,
had got into the deplorable state in which 1
found it.    I was rather alarmed at the diffi-
culty of the case, but as the young man's life
was in a state of hazard, I was determined to
risk my surgical reputation, and accordingly
took him under my care.    I immediately
formed a poultice of bark, stripped from the
roots of the spruce-fir, which I applied to the
wound, having first washed it with the juice
of the bark: this proved a very painful dress-
ing: in a few days, however, the wound was
clean, and the proud flesh around it destroyed.
I wished very much in this state of the business to have separated the thumb from the
hand, which I well knew must be eifected before the cure could be performed; but he
would not consent to that operation, till, by
the application of vitriol, the flesh by which
the thumb was suspended, was shrivelled almost to a thread. When I had succeeded in
this object, I perceived that the wound was
closing rather faster than I desired. The
salve I applied on the occasion was made of
the Canadian balsam, wax and tällow dropped
from a burning candle into water. In short,
I was so successful, that about Christinas my
patient engaged in a hunting party, and
brought me the tongue of an elk: nor was he
finally ungrateful. When he left me I received the warmest acknowledgments, both
from himself and his relations with whom he
departed, for my care of him. I certainly
did not spare my time or attention on the occasion, as I regularly dressed his wound three
times a day, during the course of a month.
On the 5th in the morning the weather was
calm, clear, and very cold;  the wind blew
from the South-West, and in the course of
the afternoon it began to thaw. I had already observed at Athabasca, that this wind
never failed to bring us clear mild weather,
whereas, when it blew from the opposite
quarter, it produced snow. Here it is much
more perceptible, for if it blows härd South-
West for four hours, a thaw is the conse-
quence, and if the wind is at North-East it
brings sleet and snow. To this cause it may
be attributed, that there is now so little snow
in this part of the world. These warm winds
come off the Pacific Ocean, which cannot, in
a direct line, be very far from us; the distance being so short, that though they pass
över mountains covered with snow, there is
not time for them to cool.
There being several of the natives at the
house at this time, one of them, who had received an account of the death of his father,
proceeded in silence to his lodge, and began
to fire off his gun. As it was night, and such
a noise being so uncommon at such an hour,
especially when it was so often repeated, I
sent my interpreter to inquire into the cause
of it, when he was informed by the man himself, that this was a common custom with
them on the death of a near relation, and was
a warning to their friends not to approach, or
intrude upon them, as they were, in conse-
quence of their loss, become careless of life.
The chief, to whom the deceased person was
also related, appeared with his war-cap on
his head, which is only wörn on these solemn
occasions, or when preparing for battle, and
confirmed to me this singular custom of firing
guns, in order to express their grief for the
death of relations and friends.* The women
alone indulge in tears on such occasions; the
men considering it as a mark of pusillanimity
and a want of fortitude to betray any personal
tokens of sensibility or"sorrow.
The Indians informed me, that they had
been to hunt at a large lake, called by the
Knisteneaux, the Slave Lake, which derived
its name from that of its original inhabitants,
who were called Slaves. They represented
it as a large body of water, and that it lies
about one hundred and twenty miles due East
from this place. It is well known to the
Knisteneaux, who are among the inhabitants
of the plains on the banks of the Saskatchiwine river; for formerly, when they used to
come to make war in this country, they came
in their canoes to that lake, and left them
*When they are drinking together, they fre-
quently present their guns to each other, when any
of the parties have not other means of procuring
rum. On such an occasion they always discharge
their pieces, as a proof, I imagine, of their being in
good order, and to determine the quantity of liquor
they may propose to get in exchange for them.
there; from thence, there is a beaten path all
the way to the Fork, or East branch of this
river, which was their war-road.
January 10.-— Among the people who were
now here, there were two Rocky Mountain Indians, who declared, that the people to whom
we had given that denomination, are by no
means entitled to it, and that their country
has ever been in the vicinity of our present
situation. They said, in support of their as-
sertion, that these people were entirely ignorant of those parts which are adjacent to the
mountain, as well as the navigation of the
river; that the Beaver Indians had greatly
encroached upon them, and would soon force
them to retire to the foot of these mountains.
They represented themselves as the only real
natives of that country then with me; and
added, that the country, and that part of the
river that intervenes between this place and
the mountains, bear much the same appearance as that around us; that the former
abounds with animals, but that the course of
the latter is interrupted, near, and in the
mountains, by successive rapids and consider-
able falls. These men also informed me, that
there is another great river towards the mid-
day sun, whose current runs in that direction, and that the distance from it is not great
across the mountains.
The natives brought me plenty of furs.
The small quantity of snow, at this time, was
particularly favourable for hunting the beaver,
as from this cireumstance, those animals
could, with greater facility, be traced from
their lodges to their lurking-places.
On the 12th our hunter arrived, having left
his mother-in-law, who was lately become a
widow with three small children, and in ac-
tual labour of a fourth. Her daughter re-
lated this cireumstance to the women here
without the least appearance of concern,
though she represented her as in a state of
great danger, which probably might proceed
from her being abandoned in this unnatural
manner. At the same time without any ap-
parent consciousness of her own barbarous
negligence, if the poor abandoned woman
should die, she would most probably lament
her with great outcries, and, perhaps cut off
one or two joints of her fingers as tokens of
her grief. The Indians, indeed, consider the
state of a woman in labour as among the most
trifling occurrences of corporal pain to which
human nature is subject, and they may be, in
some measuré jnstified in this apparent in-
sensibility from the circumstances of that situation among themselves. It is by no means
uncommon in the hasty removal of their
camps from one position to another, for a
woman to be taken in labour, to deliver her-
self in her way, without any assistance or
notice from her associates in her journey, and
to overtake them before they complete the ar-
rangements of their evening station, with her
new-i)orn babe on her back.
I was this morning threatened with a very
unpleasant event, which, however, I was for-
tunately able to controul. Two young Indians being engaged in one of their games, a
dispute ensued, which rose to such a height,
that they drew their knives, and if I had not
happened to have appeared, they would I
doubt not, have employed them to very
bloody purposes. So violent was their råge,
that after I had turned them both out of the
house, and severely reprimanded them, they
stood in the fort for at least half an hour,
looking at each other with a most vindictive
aspect, and in sullen silence.
The game which produced this state of bitter enmity, is called that of the Platter, from
a principal artide of it. The Indians play
at it in the following manner.
The instruments of it consist of a platter,
or dish, made of wood or bark, and six round
or square but flat pieces of metal, wood, or
stone, whose sides or surfaces are of different
colours. These are put into the dish, and
after being for some time shaken together,
are thrown into the air, and received again into
the dish with considerable dexterity; when,
by the number that are turned up of the same
Vol. II.—2
mark or colour, the game is regulated. If
there should be equal numbers, the throw is
not reckoned; if two or four, the platter
changes hands.
On the 13th, one of these people came to
me, and presented in himself a curious example of Indian superstition. He requested
me to furnish him with a remedy that might
be applied to the joints of his legs and thighs,
of which he had, in a great measure löst the
use for five winters. This affliction he attributed to his cruelty about that time, when
having found a wolf with two whelps in an
old beaver lodge, he set fire to it and con-
sumed them.
The winter had been so mild, that the
swans had but lately left us, and at this ad-
vanced period there was very little snow on
the ground: it was, however, at this time a
foot and a half in depth, in the environs of
the establishment below this, which is at the
distance of about seventy leagues.
On the 28th the Indians were now employed in making their snow-shoes, as the
snow had not hitherto fallen in sufficient
quantity to render them necessary.
February 2.—The weather now became very
cold, and it froze so härd in the night that
my watch stopped; a cireumstance that had*
never happened to this watch since my resi-
dence in the country.
There was a lodge of Indians here, who
were absolutely starving with cold and hunger. They had lately löst a near relation,
and had according to custom, thrown away
every thing belonging to them, and even ex-
changed the few artides of raiment which
they possessed, in order, as I presume, to get
rid of every thing that may bring the deceased
to# their remembrance. They also destroy
every thing belonging to any deceased person,
except what they consign to the grave with
the late owner of them. We had some diffi-
culty to make them comprehend that the
debts of a man who dies should be discharged,
if he left any furs behind him: but those who
understand this principle of justice, and pro-
fess to adhere it, never fail to prevent the appearance of any skins beyond such as may be
necessary to satisfy the debts of their dead
On the 8th I had an observation for the
longitude. In the course of this day one of
my men, who had been some time with the
Indians, came to inform me that one of them
had threatened to stab him; and on his pre-
ferring a complaint to the man with whom he
now Ii ved, and to whom I had given him in
charge, he replied, that he had been very im-
prudent to play and quarrel with the young
Indians out of his lodge, where no one would
dåre to come and quarrel with him; but that
if he had löst his life where he had been, it
would have been the consequence of his own
folly. Thus, even among these children of
nature, it appears that a man's house is his
castle, where the protection of hospitality is
rigidly maintained.
The härd frost which had prevailed from
the beginning of February continued to the
16th of March, when the wind blowing from
the South-West, the weather became mild.
On the 22d a wolf was so böld as to
venture among the Indian lodges, and was
very near carrying off a child.
I had another observation of Jupiter and
his satellites for the longitude. On the 13th
some geese were seen, and these birds are al-
ways considered as the harbingers of spring.
On the first of April my hunters shot five of
them. This was a much earlier period than
I ever remember to have observed the visits
of wild fowl in this part of the world. The
weather had been mild for the last fortnight,
and there was a promise of its continuance.
On the 5th the snow had entirely disappeared.
At half past four this morning I was awak-
ened to be informed that an Indan had been
killed.    I accordingly hastened to the camp,
where I found two women employed in roll-
ing up the dead body of. a man, called the
White Partridge, in a beaver robe, which I
had lent him.    He had received four mortal
wounds from a dagger, two within the collar
bone, one in the left breast, and another in
the small of the back, with two cuts across
his head. The murderer, who had been my
hunter throughout the winter, had fled; and
it was pretended that several relations of the
deceased were gone in pursuit of him. The
history of this unfortunate event is as fol-
These two men had been comrades for four
years; the murderer had three wives; and
the young man who was killed, becoming
enamoured of one of them, the husband con-
sented to yield her to him, with the reserved
power of claiming her as his property, when
it should be his pleasure.
This connection was uninterrupted for near
three years, when, whimsical as it may appear,
the husband became jealous, and the public
amour was suspended. The parties, however, made their private assignations, which
caused the woman to be so ill treated by her
husband, that the paramour was determined
to take her away by force; and this projeet
ended in his death. This is a very common
practice among the Indians, and generally
terminates in very serious and fatal quarrels.
In consequence of this event all the Indians went away in great apparent hurry and
confusion, and in the evening not one of them
was to be seen about the fort.
The Beaver and Rocky Mountain Indians,
who traded with us in this river, did not ex-
ceed an hundred and fifty men, capable of
bearing arms; two thirds of whom call themselves Beaver Indians. The latter differ only
from the former, as they have, more or less,
imbibed the customs and manners of the Knisteneaux. As I have already observed, they
are passionately fond of liquor, and in the
moments of their festivity will barter any
thing they have in their possession for it.
Though the Beaver Indians made their
peace with the Knisteneaux, at Peace Pointr
as already mentioned, yet they did not secure
a state of amity from others of the same nation, who had driven away the natives of the
Saskatchiwine and Missinipy Rivers, and
joined at the head water of the latter, called
the Beaver River: from thence they proceeded
West by the Slave Lake just described, on
their war excursions, which they often re-
peated, even till the Beaver Indians had pro-
cured arms, which was in the year 1782. If
it so happened that they missed them, they
proceeded Westward till they were certain of
wreaking their vengeance on those of the
Rocky Mountain, who being without arms, became an easy prey to their blind and savage
fury. All the European artides they pos-
sessed, previous to the year 1780, were obtained from the Knisteneaux and Chepewyans,
who brought them from Fort Churchill, and
for which they were made to pay an extrava-
gant pr ice.
As late as the year 1786, when the first
traders from Canada arrived on the banks of
this river, the natives employed bows and
snares, but at present very little use is made
of the former, and the latter are no longer
known. They still entertain a great dread of
their natural enemies, but they are since become so well armed, that the others now call
them their allies. The men are in general of
a comely appearance, and fond of personal
decoration. The women are of a contrary
disposition, and the slaves of the men: in
common with all the Indian tribes polygamy is
allowed among them. They are very subject
to jealousy, and fatal consequences frequently
result from the indulgence of that passion.
But notwithstanding the vigilance and sever-
ity which is exercised by the husband, it seldom happens that a woman is without her fa-
vourite, who, in the absence of the husband,
exacts the same submission, and practises the
same tyranny. And so premature is the tender passion, that it is sometimes known to in-
vigorate so early a period of life as the age
of eleven or twelve years. The women are
not very prolific: a cireumstance which may
be attributed in a great measure, to the hard-
ships that they suffer, for except a few small
dögs, they alone perform that labour which is
allotted to beasts of burthen in other coun-
tries. It is not uncommon, while the men
carry nothing but a gun, that their wives and
daughters follow with such weighty burdens,
that if they lay them down they cannot re-
place them, and that is a kindness which the
men will not deign to perform; so that during
their journeys they are frequently obliged to
lean against a tree for a small portion of tern-
porary relief. When they arrive at the place
which their tyrants have chosen for their encampment, they arrange the whole in a few
minutes, by forming a curve of poles, meet-
ing at the top, and expanding into circles of
twelve or fifteen feet diameter at the bottom,
covered with dressed skins of the moose sewed
together. During these preparations, the men
sit down quietly to the enjoyment of their
pipes, if they happen to have any tobacco.
But notwithstanding this abject state of slav-
ery and submission, the women have a con-
siderable influence on the opinion of the men
in every thing except their own domestic situation.
These Indians are excellent hunters, and
their exercise in that capacity is so violent as
to reduce them in general to a very meagre
appearance. Their religion is of a very con-
tracted nature, and I never witnessed any
ceremony of devotion which they had nöt
borrowed from the Knisteneaux, their feasts
and fästs being in imitation of that people.
They are more vicious and warlike than the
Chepewyans, from whence they sprang,
though they do not possess their selfishness,
for while they have the means of purchasing
their necessaries, they are liberal and gener-
bus, but when those are exhausted they become errant beggars: they are, however, remarkable for their honesty, for in the whole
tribe there were only two women and a man
who had been known to have swerved from
that virtue, and they were considered as objects of disregard and reprobation. They are
afflicted with but few diseases, and their only
remedies consist in binding the temples, pro-
curing perspiration, singing, and blowing on
the sick person, or affected part. When
death overtakes any of them, their property,
as I have before observed, is sacrificed and
destroyed; nor is there any failure of lamen-
tation or mourning on such occasion: they
who are more nearly related to the departed
^person, black their faces, and sometimes cut
off their hair; they also pierce their arms
with knives and arrows. The grief of the
females is carried to a still greater excess;
they not only cut their hair, and cry and
howl, but they will sometimes, with the utmost deliberation, employ some sharp instrument to separate the nail from the finger, and
then force back the flesh beyond the first
joint, which they immediately amputate.
But this extraordinary mark of aifliction is
only displayed on the death of a favourite
son, a husband, or a father. Many of the old
women have so often repeated this ceremony,
that they have not a complete finger remain-
ing on either hand. The women renew their
lamentations at the graves of their departed
relatives, for a long succession of years.
They appear, in common with all the Indian
tribes, to be very fond of their children, but
they are as careless in their mode of swadling
them in their inf ant state, as they are of their
own dress: the child is laid down on a board,
of about two feet long, covered with a bed of
möss, to which it is fastened by bandages,
the möss being changed as often as the occasion requires. The chief of the nation had
no less than nine wives, and children in proportion.
When traders first appeared among these
people, the Canadians were treated with the
utmost hospitality and attention; but they
have, by their subsequent conduct, taught the
natives to withdraw that respect from them,
and sometimes to treat them with indignity.
They differ very much from the Chepewyans
and Knisteneaux, in the abhorrence they pro-
fess of any carnal communication between
their women and the white people.    They
26 m
carry their love of gärning to excess; they
will pursue it for a succession of days and
nights, and no apprehension of ruin, nor in-
fluence of domestic affection, will restrain
them from the indulgence of it. They are a
quick, lively, active people, with a keen,
penetrating, dark eye; and though they are
very susceptible of anger, are as easily ap-
peased. The males eradicate their beards,
and the females their hair in every part, except their heads, where it is strong and black,
and without a curl. There are many old men
among them, but they are in general ignorant
of the space in which they have been
inhabitants of the earth, though one of
them told me that he recollected sixty
winter s.
An Indian in some measure explained his
age to me, by relating that he remembered
the opposite hills and plains, now interspersed
with groves of poplars, when they were covered with möss, and without any animal in-
habitant but the rein-deer. By degrees, he
said, the f ace of the country changed to its
present appearance, when the elk came from
the East, and was followed by the buffalo;
the rein-deer then retired to the long range
of high lands that, at a considerable distance,
run parallel, with this river.
On the 20th of April I had an observation
of Jupiter and his satellites, for the longi-
tude, and we were now visited by our sum-
mer companions the gnats and musquitoes.
On the other side of the river, which was yet
covered with ice, the plains were delightful;
the trees were budding, and many plants in
blossom. Mr. Mackay brought me a bunch
of flowers of a pink colour, and a yellow but-
ton, encircled with six leaves of a light pur-
ple. The change in the appearance of na-
ture was as sudden as it was pleasing, for a
few days only were passed away since the
ground was covered with snow. On the 25th
the river was cleared of the ice.
I now found that the death of the man
called the White Partridge, had deranged all
the plans which I had settled with the Indians for the spring hunting. They had as-
sembled at some distance from the fort, and
sent an embassy to me, to demand rum to
drink, that they might have an opportunity
of crying for their deceased brother. It
would be considered as an extreme degrada-
tion in an Indian to weep when sober, but a
state of intoxication sanctions all irregulari-
ties. On my :refusal, they threatened to go
to war, which, from motives of interest as
well as humanity, we did our utmost to dis-
courage; and as a second message was brought
by persons of some weight among these people, and on whom I could depend, I thought
it prudent to comply with the demand, on an
28 Ml
express condition, that they would continue
peaceably at home.
The month of April being now past, in the
early part of which I was most busily employed in trading with the Indians, I ordered
our old canoes to be repaired with bark, and
added four new ones to them, when, with the
furs and provisions I had purchased, six
canoes were loaded and dispatched on the 8th
of May, for Fort Chepewyan. I had, however, retained six of the men, who agreed to
accompany me on my projected voyage of
discovery. I also engaged my hunters, and
closed the business of the year for the company by writing my public and private dis-
Having ascertained, by various observations, the latitude of this place to be 56. 9.
North, and longitude 117. 35. 15. West: on
the 9th day of May, I found, that my acrom-
eter was one hour forty-six minutes slow to
apparent time; the mean going of it I had
found to be twenty-two seconds slow in
twenty-f our hours. Having settled this point,
the canoe was put into the water; her dimensions were twenty-five feet long within, ex-
clusive of the curves of stem and stem,
twenty-six inches hold, and four feet nine
inches beam. At the same time she was so
light, that two men could carry her on a good
road three or four miles without resting.    In
29 1
this slender vessel, we shipped provisions,
goods for presents, arms, ammunition, and
baggage, to the weight of three thousand
pounds, and an equipage of ten people; viz.
Alexander Mackay, Joseph Landry,' Charles
Ducette,*Fran^ois Beaulieux, Baptist Bisson,
Francois Courtois, and Jaques Beauchamp,
with two Indians, as hunters and interpreters.
One of them, when a boy, used to be so idle,
that he obtained the reputable name of Cancre,
which he still possesses. With these persons
I embarked at seven in the evening. My
winter interpreter, with another person, whom
I left here to take care of the fort, and sup-
ply the natives with ammunition during the
summer, shed tears oh the reflection of those
dangers which we might encounter in our expedition, while my own people offered up
their prayers that we might return in safety
from it.
* Joseph Landry and Charles Ducette were with
me in my former voyage.
MAY, 1793.
Thursday, 9.—We began our voyage with
a course South by West against a strong current one mile and three quarters, South-West
by South one mile, and landed before eight
on an island for the night.
Friday, 10.—The weather was clear and
pleasant, though there was a keenness in the
air; and at a quarter past three in the morning we continued our voyage, steering South-
West three quarters of a mile, South-West
by South one mile and a quarter, South three
quarters of a mile, South-West by South one
quarter of a mile, South-West by West one
mile, South-West by South three miles, South
by West three quarters of a mile, and South-
West one mile. p The canoe being strained
from its having been very heavily laden, became so leaky, that we were obliged to land,
unload, and gum it. As this cireumstance
took place about twelve, I had an opportunity
of taking an altitude, which made our latitude 55. 58. 48. }§     §
When the canoe was repaired we continued
our course, steering South-West by West one
mile and an half, when I had the misfortune
to dröp my pocket-compass into the water;
West half a mile, West-South-West four
miles and an half. Here, the banks are steep
and hilly, and in some parts undermined by
the river. Where the earth has given way,
the face of the cliffs discovers numerous
strata, consisting of reddish earth and small
stones, bitumen, and a greyish earth, below
which, near the Water-edge, is a red stone.
Water issues from most of the banks, and the
ground on which it spreads is covered with a
thin white scurf, or particles of a saline substance : there are several of these salt springs.
At half past six in the afternoon the young
men landed, when they killed an elk and
wounded a buffalo. In this spöt we formed
our encampment for the night.
From the place which we quitted this morning, the West side of the river displayed a
succession of the most beautiful scenery I had
ever beheld. The ground rises at intervals
to a considerable height, and stretching in-
wards to a considerable distance: at every in-
terval or pause in the rise, there is a very
gently-ascending space or lawn, which is al-
ternate with abrupt precipice s to the summit
of the whole, or, at least as far as the eye
could distinguish. This magnificent theatre
of nature has all the decorations which the
trees and animals of the country can afford
it: groves of poplars in every shape vary the
scene; and their intervals are enlivened with
väst herds of elks and buffaloes: the former
choosing the steeps and uplands, and the latter preferring the plains. At this time the
buffaloes were attended with their young ones
who were frisking about them: and it appeared that the elks would soon exhibit the
same enlivening cireumstance. The whole
country displayed an exuberant verdure; the
trees that bear a blossom were advancing fast
to that delightful appearance, and the velvet
rind of their branches reflecting the oblique
rays of a rising or setting sun, added a splen-
did gaiety to the scene, which no expressions
of mine are qualified to describe. The East
side of the river consists of a range of high
land covered with the white spruce and the
soft birch, while the banks abound with the
ålder and the willow. The water continued
to rise, and the current being proportionately
strong, we made a greater use of setting
poles than paddles.
Saturday, 11.—The weather was o ver east.
With a strong wind a-head, we embarked at
four in the morning, and left all the fresh
meat behind us, but the portion which had
been assigned to the kettle; the canoe being
already too heavily laden. Our course was
West-South-West one mile, where a small
river flowed in from the East, named Quisca-
tina Sepy, or River with the High Banks;
Vol. H.—3 33 m
West half a mile, South half a mile, South-
West by West three quarters of a mile, West
one mile and a quarter, South-West a quarter
of a mile, South-South-West half a mile, and
West by South a mile and a half. Here I
took a meridian altitude, which gave 55. 56.
3. North latitude. We then proceeded West
three miles and a half, West-South-West,
where the whole plain was on fire, one mile,
West one mile, and the wind so strong a-head,
that it occasioned the canoe to take in water,
and otherwise impeded our progress. Here
we landed to take time, with the mean of
three altitudes, which made the watch slow
1. 42. 10.
We now proceeded West-South-West one
mile and a quarter, where we found a chief
of the Beaver Indians on a hunting party. I
remained, however, in my canoe, and though
it was getting late, I did not choose to en-
camp with these people, lest the friends of
my hunters might discourage them from proceeding on the voyage. We, therefore, continued our course, but several Indians kept
company with us, running along the bank,
and conversing with my people, who were so
attentive to them, that they drove the canoe
on a stony flat, so that we were under the necessity of landing to repair the damages, and
put up for the night, though very contrary to
my wishes.    My hunters obtained permission
to proceed with some of these people to their
lodges, on the promise of being back by the
break of day; though I was not without some
apprehension respecting them.    The  chief,
however, and another man, as well as several
people from the lodges, joined us, before we
had completed the repair of the canoe; and
they made out a melancholy story, that they
had neither ammunition or tobacco sufiicient
for their necessary supply during the summer.
I accordingly referred him to the Fort, where
plenty of those artides were left in the care
of my interpreter, by whom they would be
abundantly furnished, if they were active and
industrious in pursuing their occupations.    I
did not fail, on this occasion, to magnify the
advantages of the present expedition; observ-
ing, at the same time, that its success would
depend on the fidelity and conduct of the
young men who were retained by me to hunt.
The chief also proposed to borrow my canoe,
in order to transport himself and family across
the  river;   several  plausible  reasons,  it  is
true, suggested themselves for resisting his
proposition; but when I stated to him, that,
as the canoe was intended för a voyage of
such consequence, no woman could be per-
mitted to be embarked in it, he acquiesced in
the refusal.    It was near twelve at night
when he took his leave, after I had gratified
him with a present of tobacco.
tfunday, 12.—Some of the Indians passed
the night with us, and I was informed by
them, that according to our mode of proceeding, we should, in ten days, get as far as the
rocky mountains. The young men now returned, to my great satisfaction, and*with the
appearance of contentment; though I was not
pleased when they dressed themselves in the
clothes which I had given them before we left
the Fort, as it betrayed some latent design.
At four in the morning we proceeded on
our voyage, steering West three miles, in-
cluding one of our course yesterday, North-
West by North four miles, West two miles
and a half, North-West by West a mile and
a half, North by East two miles, North-West
by West one mile, and North-North-West
three miles. After a continuation of our
course to the North for a mile and a half, we
landed for the night on an island where several of the Indians visited us, but unattended
by their women, who remained in their carnp,
which was at some distance from us.
The land on both sides of the river, during
the two last days, is very much elevated, but
particularly in the latter part of it, and, on
the Western side, presents in different places,
white, steep, and lofty cliffs.   Our view being
confined by these circumstances, we did not
see so many animals as on the lOth.   Between
these lofty boundaries, the river becomes narr
row, and in a great measure free from islands;
for we had passed only four: the stream, indeed, was not more than from two hundred
to three hundred yards broad; whereas before these cliffs pressed upon it, its breadth
was twice that extent and besprinkled with
islands. We killed an elk, and fired several
shots at animals from the canoe.
The greater part of this band being Rocky
Mountain Indians, I endeavoured to obtain
some intelligence of our intended route, but
they all pleaded ignorance, and uniformly
declared, that they knew nothing of the country beyond the first mountain: at the same
time they were of opinion, that, from the
strength of the current and the rapids we
should not get there by water; though they
did not hesitate to express their surprise at
the expedition we had already made.
I inquired, with some anxiety, after an old
man who had already given me an account of
the country beyond the limits of his tribe,
and was very much disappointed at being informed, that he had not been seen for upwards of a moon. This man had been at war
on another large river beyond the Rocky
Mountain, and described to me a fork of it
between the mountains; the Southern branch
of which he directed me to take; from thence,
he said, there was a carrying-place of about
a day's march for a young man to get to the
river. To prove the truth of his relation, he
consented, that his son, who had been with
him in those parts, should accompany me;
and he accordingly sent him to the fort some
days before my departure; but the preceding
night he deserted with another young man,
whose application to attend me as a hunter,
being refused, he persuaded the other to leave
me. I now thought it right to repeat to
them what I had said to the chief of the first
band, respecting the ad vantages which would
be derived from the voyage, that the young
men might be encouraged to remain with me;
as without them I should not have attempted
to proceed.
Monday, 13.—The first object that presented itself to me this morning was the young
man whom I have already mentioned, as having seduced away my intended guide. At
any other time or place, I should have chas-
tised him for his past conduct, but in my situation it was necessary to pass över his of-
fence, le st he should endeavour to exercise
the same influence över those who were so es-
sential to my service. Of the deserted he
gave no satisf actory account, but continued to
express his wish to attend me in his place,
for which he did not possess any necessary
The weather was cloudy, with an appearance  of rain; and the Indians pressed me
with great earnestness to pass the day with
them, and hoped to prolong my stay among
them by assuring me that the winter yet lin-
gered in the rocky mountains; but my object
was to lose no time, and having given the
chief some tobacco for a small quantity of
meat, we embarked at four, when my young
men could not conceal their chagrin at parting with their friends, for so long a period as
the voyage threatened to occupy. When I
had assured them that in three moons we
should return to them, we. proceeded on our
course West-North-West half a mile, West-
South-West one mile and a half, West by
North three miles, North-West by West two
miles and a half, South-West by West half a
mile, South-South-West a mile and a half,
and South-West a mile and a half. Here I
had a meridian altitude, which gave 56. 17.
44. North latitude.
The last course continued a mile and a half,
South by West, three quarters of a mile,
South-West by South three miles and a half,
and West-South-West two miles and a half.
Here the land lowered on both sides, with an
increase of wood, and displayed great num-
bers of animals. The river also widened from
three to five hundred yards, and was full of
islands and flats. Having continued our
course three miles, we made for the shore at
seven, to pass the night.
39 Ii
At the place from whence we proceeded this
morning, a river falls in from the North;
there are also several islands, and many riv-
ulets on either side, which are too small to
deserve particular notice. We perceived along
the river, tracks of large bears, some of
which were nine inches wide, and of a pro-
portionate length. We saw one of their dens,
or winter-quarters, called watee, in an island,
which was ten feet deep, five feet high, and
six feet wide; but we had not yet seen one of
those animals. The Indians entertain great
apprehension of this kind of bear, which is
called the grisly bear, and they never venture to attack it but in a party of at least
three or four. Our hunters, though they had
been much higher than this part of our voyage,
by land, knew nothing of the river. One of
them mentioned, that having been engaged in
a war expedition, his party on their return
made their canoes at some distance below us.
The wind was North throughout the day, and
at times blew with considerable violence.
The apprehensions which I had f elt respect-
ing the young men were not altogether ground-
less, for the eldest of them told me that his
uncle had last night addressed him in the following manner:—" My nephew, your departure makes my heart painful. The white people may be said to rob us of you.    They are
about to conduct you into the midst of our
enemies, and you may never more return to
us. Were you not with the Chief,* I know
not what I should do, but he requires your
attendance, and you must follow him."
Tuesday, 14-—The weather was clear, and
the air sharp, when we embarked a£-half past
four. Our course was South by West one
mile and a half, South-West by South half a
mile, South-West.
We here found it necessary to unload, and
gum the canoe, in which operation we löst an
hour; when we proceeded on the last course
one mile and a half. I now took a meridian
altitude, which gave 56.1. 19. North latitude,
and continued to proceed West-South-West
two miles and a half. Here the Bear River
which is of a large appearance, falls in from
the East; West three miles and an half,
South-South-West one mile and an half, and
South-West four miles and an half, when we
encamped upon an island about seven in the
During the early part of the day, the current was not so strong as we had generally
found it, but towards the evening it became
very rapid, and was broken by numerous
islands. We were gratified as usual, with
the sight of animals.   The land on the West
* These people, as well as all the natives on this
side of Lake Winipic, give the mercantile agent that
distinguished appellation.
side is very irregular, but has the appearance
of being a good beaver country; indeed we
saw some of those animals in the river. Wood
is in great plenty, and several rivulets added
their streams to the main river. A goose was
the only artide of provision which we pro-
cured to-day. Smoke was seen, but at a great
distance before us.
Wednesday, 15.—The rain prevented us
from continuhig our route till past six in the
morning, when our course was South-West by
West three quarters of a mile; at which time
we passed a river on the left, West by South
two miles and a half. The bank was steep,
and the current strong. The last course continued one mile and a half, West-South-West
two miles, where a river flowed in from the
right, West by South one mile and a half,
West-North-West one mile, and West by
North two miles. Here the land takes the
form of an high ridge, and cut our course,
which was West for three miles, at right
angles. We now completed the voyage of
this day.
In the preceding night the water rose upwards of two inches, and had risen in this
proportion since our departure. The wind,
which was West-South-West, blew very härd
throughout the day, and with the strength of
the current, greatly impeded our progress.
The river, in this part of it, is full of islands;
and the land, on the South or left side, is
thick with wood. Several rivulets also fall
in from that quarter. At the entrance of the
last river which we passed, there was a quantity of wood, which had been cut down by
axes, and some by the beaver. This fall,
however, was not made, in the opinion of my
people, by any of the Indians with whom we
were acquainted.
The land to the right is of a very irregular
elevation and appearance, composed in some
places of clay, and rocky cliffs, and others
exhibiting stratas of red, green, and yellow
colours. Some parts, indeed, offer a beauti-
ful scenery, in some degree similar to that
which we passed on the second day of our
voyage, and equally enlivened with the elk
and the buffalo, who were feeding in great
numbers, and unmolested by the hunter. In
an island which we passed, there was a large
quantity of white birch, whose bark might be
employed in the construction of canoes.
Thursday, 16.—The weather being clear,
we re-embarked at four in the morning, and
proceeded West by North three miles. Here
the land again appeared as if it run across
our course, and a considerable river discharged
itself byvarious streams. According to the
Rocky Mountain Indian, it is called the Sinew
River. This spöt would be an excellent situation for a fort or factory, as there is plenty
of wood, and every reason to believe that the
country abounds in beaver. As for the other
animals, they are in evident abundance, as in
every direction the elk and the buffalo are
seen in possession of the hills and the plains.
Our course continued West-North-West three
miles and a half, North-West one mile and a
half, South-West by West two miles; (the
latitude was by observation 56. 16. 54.)
North, West by North half a mile, West-
North-West three quarters of a mile; a small
river appearing on the right, North-West one
mile and a half, West by North half a mile,
West by South one mile and a half, West one
mile; and at seven we formed our encampment.
Mr. Mackay, and one of the young men,
killed two elks, and mortally wounded a buffalo, but we only took a part of the flesh of
the former. The land above the spöt where
we encamped, spreads into an extensive plain8
and stretehes on to a very high ridge, which,
in some parts, presents a face of rock, but is
principally covered with verdure, and varied
with the popiar and white birch tree. The
country is so crowded with animals as to have
the appearance, in some places, of a stall-
yard, from the state of the ground, and the
quantity of dung which is scattered över it.
The soil is black and light.   We this day saw
two grisly and hideous bears.
Friday, 17.—It froze during the night; and
the air was sharp in the morning, when we
continued our course West-North-West three
miles and a half, South-West by South two
miles and a half, South-West by West one
mile and a half, West three quarters of a
mile, West-South-West one mile and a quarter, and South-West by South one mile and a
half. At two in the afternoon the rocky
mountains appeared in sight, with their sum-
mits covered with snow, bearing South-West
by South: they formed a very agreeable ob-
ject to every person in the canoe, as we at-
tained the view of them much sooner than we
expected. A small river was seen on our
right, and we continued our progress South-
West by South six miles, when we landed at
seven, which was our usual hour of encampment.
Mr. Mackay, who was walking along the
side of the river, discharged his piece at a
buffalo, when it burst near the muzzle, but
without any mischievous consequences.    On
the high grounds, which were on the opposite
side of the river, we saw a buffalo tearing up
and down with great fury, but could not dis-
cern the cause of his impetuous motions; my
hunters conjectured that he had been wounded
with an arrow by some of the natives.    We
ascended several rapids in the course of the
day, and saw one bear.
Saturday, 18.—It again froze very härd
during the night, and at four in the morning
we continued our voyage, but we had not proceeded two hundred yards, before an accident
happened to the canoe, which did not, however, employ more than three quarters of an
hour to complete the repair. We then steered
South by West one mile and three quarters,
South-West by South three miles, South-West
by West one mile and a quarter, West by
South three quarters of a mile, South-West
half a mile, West by South one mile, South
by West one mile and a half, South-South-
West, where there is a small run of water from
the right, three miles and a half, when the
canoe struck on the stump of a tree, and un-
fortunately where the banks were so steep
that there was no place to unload, except a
small spöt, on which we contrived to dispose
the lading in the bow, which lightened the
canoe so as to raise the broken part of it
above the surf ace of the water; by which con-
trivance we reached a convenient situation.
It required, however, two hours to complete
the repair, when the weather became dark
and cloudy, with thunder, lightning, and rain;
we, however, continued the last course half a
mile, and at six in the evening we were com-
pelled by the rain to land for the night.
About noon we had landed on an island
where there were eight lodges of last year.
The natives had prepared bark hére for five
canoes, and there is a road along the hills
where they had passed. Branches were cut
and broken along it; and they had also
stripped off the bark of the trees, to get the
interiör rind, which forms part of their food.
The current was very strong through the
whole of the day, and the coming up along
some of the banks was rendered very dangerous, from the continual falling of large
stones, from the upper parts of them. This
place appears to be a particular pass for
animals across the river, as there are paths
leading to it on both sides, every ten
In the course of the day we saw a ground
hog, and two cormorants. The earth also
appeared in several places to have been turned
up by the bears, in search of roots.
Sunday, 19.—It rained very härd in the
early part of the night, but the weather became clear towards the morning, when we
embarked at our usual hour. As the current
threatened to be very strong, Mr. Mackay,
the two hunters, and myself, went on shore,
in order to lighten the canoe, and ascended
the hills, which are covered with cypress, and
but little encumbered with underwood. We
found a beaten path, and before we had
walked a mile, fell in with a herd of buffaloes, with their young ones: but I would
not suffer the Indians to fire on them, from an
apprehension that the report of their fowling
pieces would alarm the natives that might be
in the neighbourhood; for we were at this
time so near the mountains, as to justify our
expectation of seeing some of them. We,
however, sent our dog after the herd, and a
calf was soon secured by him. While the
young men were skinning the animal, we
heard two reports of fire arms from the canoe,
which we answered, as it was a signal for my
return; we then heard another, and imine-
diately hastened down the hill, with our veal,
through a very close wood. There we met
one of the men, who informed us that the
canoe was at a small distance below, at the
foot of a very strong rapid, and that as several waterfalls appeared up the river, we
should be obliged to unload and carry. I ac-
cordingly hastened to the canoe, and was
greatly displeased that so much time had been
löst, as I had given previous directions-that
the river should be followed as long as it was
practicable. The last Indians whom we saw
had informed us that at the first mountain
there was a considerable succession of rapids,
cascades, and falls, which they never at-
tempted to ascend; and where they always
passed över land the length of a day?s march.
My men imagined that the carrying place was
at a small distance below us, as a path ap-
peared to ascend a hill, where there were several lodges, of the last year's construction.
The account which had been given me of the
rapids, was perfectly correct: though by
crossing to the other side, I must acknowl-
edge with some risk, in such a heavy laden
canoe, the river appeared to me to be practi-
cable, as far as we could see: the traverse,
therefore, was attempted, and proved success-
ful. We now towed the canoe along an island,
and proceeded without any considerable diffi-
culty, till we reached the extremity of it,
when the line could be no longer employed;
and in endeavouring to clear the point of the
island, the canoe was driven with such violence on a stony shore, as to receive considerable injury. We now employed every exertion
in our power to repair the breach that had been
made, as well as to dry such artides of our
loading as more immediately required it: we
then transported the whole across the point,
when we reloaded, and continued our course
about three quarters of a mile. We could now
proceed no further on this side of the water,
and the traverse was rendered extremely dangerous, not only from the strength of the
current, but by the caseades just below us,
which, if we had got among them, would have
involved us and the canoe in one common de-
struction.   We had no other alternative than
to return by the same course we came, or to
hazard the traverse, the river on this side
being bounded by a range of steep, over-hang-
ing rocks, beneath which the current was
driven on with resistless impetuosity from
the cascades. Here are several islands of
solid rock, covered with a small portion of
verdure, which have been worn away by the
constant force of the current, and occasion-
ally, as I presume, of ice, at the water's edge,
so as to be reduced in that part to one fourth
the extent of the upper surface; presenting,
as it were, so many large tables, each of
which was supported by a pedestal of a more
circumscribed projection. They are very ele-
vated for such a situation, and afford an asy-
lum for geese, which were at this time breed-
ing on them. By crossing from one to the
other of these islands, we came at length to
the main traverse, on which we ventured, and
were successful in our passage. Mr. Mackay,
and the Indians, who observed our manceuvres
from the top of a rock, were in continual
alarm for our safety, with which their own,
indeed, may be said to have been nearly con-
nected: however, the dangers that we encoun-
tered were very much augmented by the heavy
loadin g of the canoe.
When we had effected our passage, the current on the West side was almost equally violent with that from  whence we  had just
escaped, but the craggy bank being somewhat
lower, we were enabled, with a line of sixty
fathoms, to tow the canoe, till we came to the
foot of the most rapid cascade we had hitherto seen. Here we unloaded, and carried
every thing över a rocky point of an hundred
and twenty paces. When the canoe was re-
loaded, I, with those of my people who
were not immediately employed, ascended the
bank, which was there, and indeed, as far as
we could see, composed of clay, stone, and a
yellow gravel. My present situation was so
elevated, that the men, who were coming up
a strong point, could not hear me, though I
called to them with the utmost strength of
my voice, to lighten the canoe of part of its
lading. And here I could not but reflect,
with infinite anxiety, on the hazard of my
enterprize; one false step of those who were
attached to the line, or the breaking of the
line itself, would have at once consigned the
canoe, and every thing it eontained, to in-
stant destruction: it, however, ascended the
rapid in perfect security, but new dangers immediately presented themselves, for stones,
both small and great, were continually rolling
from the bank, so as to render the situation
of those who were dragging the canoe beneath
it extremely perilous; besides, they were at
every step in danger, from the steepness of
the ground, of  falling into the water: nor
was my solicitude diminished by my being
necessarily removed at times from the sight
of them.
In our passage through the woods, we came
to an inclosure, which had been formed by
the natives for the purpose of setting snares
for the elk, and of which we could not discover
the extent. After we had travelled for some
hours through the forest, which consisted of
the spruce, birch, and the largest poplars I
had ever seen, we sunk down upon the river
where the bank is low, and near the f oot of a
mountain; between which, and a high ridge,
the river flows in a channel of about one hundred yards broad; though, at a small distance
below, it rushes on between perpendicular
rocks, where it is not much more than half
that breadth. Here I remained, in great anx-
iety, expecting the arrival of the canoe, and
after some time I sent Mr. Mackay with one
of the Indians down the river in search of it,
and with the other I went up to it to examine
what we might expect in that quarter. In
about a mile and a half I came to a part
where the river washes the feet of lofty preci-
pices, and presented, in the form of rapids
and cascades, a succession of difficulties to
our navigation. As the canoe did not come
in sight, we returned, and from the place
where I had separated with Mr. Mackay, we
saw the men carrying it över a small rocky
point.    We met them at the entrance of the
narrow channel already mentioned; their
difficulties had been great indeed, and the
canoe had been broken, but they had.perse-
vered with success, and having passed the
carrying-place, we proceeded with the line as
far as I had already been, when we crossed
över and encamped on the opposite beach;
but there was no wood on this side of the
water, as the adjacent country had been en-
tirely over-run by fire. We saw several elks
feeding on the edge of the opposite precipice,
which was upwards of three hundred feet
Our course to-day was about South-South-
West two miles and a half, South-West half
a mile, South-West by South one mile and a
half, South by West half a mile, South-West
half a mile, and West one mile and a half.
There was a shower of hail, and some rain
from flying clouds. I now dispatched a man
with an Indian to visit the rapids above, when
the latter soon left him to pursue a beaver,
which was seen in the shallow water on the
inside of a stony island; and though Mr.
Mackay, and the other Indian j oined him,
the animal at length escaped from their pur-
suit. Several others were seen in the course
of the day, which I by no means expected,
as the banks are almost every where so much
elevated above the channel of the river.   Just
as the obscurity of the night drew on, the
man returned with an account that it would
be impracticable to pass several points, as
well as the super-impending promontories.
Monday, 20.—The weather was clear with
a sharp air, and we renewed our voyage at a
quarter past four, on a course South-West by
West three quarters of a mile. We now,
with infinite dfficulty passed along the f oot of
a rock, which, fortunately, was not an härd
stone, so that we were enabled to cut steps in
it for the distance of twenty feet; from which,
at the hazard of my life, I leaped on a small
rock below, where I received those who followed me on my shoulders. In this manner
four of us passed and dragged up the canoe,
in which attempt we broke her. Very luckily,
a dry tree had fallen from the rock above us,
without which we could not have made a fire,
as no wood was to be procured within a mile
of the place. When the canoe was repaired,
we continued towing it along the rocks to the
next point, when we embarked, as -we could
not at present make any further use of the
line, but got along the rocks of a round high
island of stone, till we came to a small sandy
bay. As we had already damaged the canoe,
and had every reason to think that she soon
would risk much greater injury, it became
necessary for us to supply ourselves with
bark, as our provision of that material artide
was almost exhausted; two men were accord-
ingly sent to procure it, who soon returned
with the necessary store.
Mr. Mackay, and the Indians who had been
on shore, since we broke the canoe, were pre-
vented from coming to us by the rugged and
impassable state of the ground. We, there-
före, again resumed our course with the as-
sistance of poles, with which we pushed on-
wards till we came beneath a precipice, where
we could not find any bottom; so that we
were again obliged to have recourse to the
line, the management of which was rendered
not only difflcult but dangerous, as the men
employed in towing were under the necessity
of passing on the outside of trees that grew
on the edge of the precipice. We, however,
^surmounted this difficulty, as we had done
many others, and the people who had been
walking över land now joined us. They also
had met with their obstacles in passing the
It now became necessary for us to make a
traverse, where the water was so rapid, that
some of the people stripped themselves to
their shirts that they might be the better pre-
pared for swimming, in case any accident
happened to the canoe, which they seriously
apprehended; but we succeeded in our at-
tempt without any other inconvenience, except that of taking in water.    We now came
to a cascade, when it was thought necessary
häg^l H
to take out part of the lading. At noon we
stopped to take an altitude, opposite to a
small river that flowed in from the left:
while I was thus engaged, the men went on
shore to fästen the canoe, but as the current
was not very strong, they had been negligent
in performing this office; it proved, however,
sufficiently powerful to sheer her off, and if it
had not happened that one of the men, from
absolute fatigue had remained and held the
end of the line, we should have been deprived
of every means of prosecuting our voyage, as
well as of present subsistence. But notwith-
standing the state of my mind on such an
alarming cireumstance, and an intervening
cloud that interrupted me, the altitude which
I took has been since proved to be tolerably
correct, and gave 56. North latitude. Our
last course was South-South-West two miles
and a quarter.
We now continued our toilsome and peril-
ous progress with the line West by North,
and as we proceeded the rapidity of the current increased, so that in the distance of two
miles we were obliged to unload four times,
and carry every thing but the canoe: indeed,
in many places, it was with the utmost difficulty that we could prevent her from being
lashed to pieces against the rocks by the violence of the eddies.   At five we had proceeded
to where the river was one continued rapid.
Here we again took every thing out of the
canoe, in order to tow her up with the line,
though the rocks were so shelving as greatly
to increase the toil and hazard of that operation. At length, however, the agitation of
the water was so great, that a wave striking
on the bow of the canoe broke the line, and
filled us with inexpressible dismay, as it appeared impossible that the vessel could escape
from being dashed to pieces, and those who
were in her from perishing. Another wave,
however, more propitious than the former,
drove her out of the tumbling water, so that
the men were enabled to bring her ashore, and
though she had been carried över rocks by
these swells which left them naked a moment
after, the canoe had received no material injury. The men were, however, in such a
state from their late alarm, that it would not
only have been unavailing but imprudent to
have proposed any further progress at present, particularly as the river above us, as far
as we could see, was one white sheet of foam-
ing water. 0h
MAY, 1793.
That the discouragements, difficulties, and
dangers, which had hitherto attended the
progress of our enterprise, should have ex-
cited a wish in several of those who were en-
gage d in it to discontinue the pursuit, might
be naturally expected; and indeed it began
to be muttered on all sides that there was no
alternative but to return.
Instead of paying any attention to these
murmurs, I desired those who had uttered
them to exert themselves in gaining an ascent
of the hill, and encamp there for the night.
In the mean time I set off with one of the Indians, and though I continued my examination of the river almost as long as there was
any light to assist me, I could see no end of
the rapids and cascades: I was, therefore,
perfectly satisfied, that it would be imprac-
ticable to proceed any further by water. We
returned from this reconnoitring excursion
very much fatigued, with our shoes worn out
and wounded feet; when I found that, by fell-
ing trees on the declivity of the first hill, my
people had contrived to ascend it.
From the place where I had taken the alti-
tude at noon, to the place where we made our
landing, the river is not more than fifty yards
wide, and flows between stupendous rocks,
from whence huge fragments sometimes tum-
ble down, and falling from such an height,
dash into small stones, with sharp points, and
form the  beach between the rocky projec-
tions.   Along the face of some of these preci-
pices, there appears a stratum of a bitumenous
substance which resembles coal; though while
some of the pieces of it appeared to be excel-
lent fuel, others re siste d, for a considerable
time, the action of fire, and did not emit the
least flame.    The whole of this day's course
would have been altogether impracticable, if
the water had been higher, which must be the
case at certain seasons.   We saw also several
encampments of the Knisteneaux along the
river, which must have been formed by them
on their war excursions: a decided proof of
the savage, blood-thirsty disposition of that
people;  as nothing less  than such a spirit
could impel them to encounter the difficulties
of this almost  inaccessible  country, whose
natives are equally unoffending and defence-
Mr. Mackay informed me, that in passing
över  the   mountains,   he   observed   several
chasms in the earth that emitted heat and
smoke, which diffused a strong sulphureous
stench.    I should certainly have visited this
phenomenon, if I had been sufficiently qual-
ified as a naturalist, to have offered scientific
conjectures or observations thereon.
Tuesday, 21.—It rained in the morning,
and did not cease till about eight, and as the
men had been very fatigued and disheartened,
I suffered them to continue their rest till that
hour. Such was the state of the river, as I
have already observed, that no alternative was
left us; nor did any means of proceeding present themselves to us, but the passage of the
mountain över which we were to carry the
canoe as well as the baggage. As this was a
very alarming enterprize, I dispatched Mr.
Mackay with three men and the two Indians
to proceed in a strait course from the top of
the mountain, and to keep the line of the
river till they should find it navigable. If it
should be their opinion, that there was no
practicable passage in that direction, two of
them were instructed to return in order to
make their report; while the others were to
go in search of the Indian carrying-place.
While they were engaged in this excursion,
the people who remained with me were employed in gumming the canoe, and making
handles for the axes. At noon I got an altitude, which made our latitude 56. 0. 8. At
three o^clock had time, when my watch was
slow 1. 31. 32. apparent time.
At sun-set, Mr. Mackay returned with one
of the men, and in about two hours was followed by the others. They had penetrated
thick woods, ascended hills and sunk into
vallies, till they got beyond the rapid, which,
according to their calculation, was a distance
of three leagues. The two parties returned
by different routes, but they both agreed, that
with all its difficulties, and they were of a
very alarming nature, the outward course was
that which must be preferred. Unpromising,
however, as the account of their expedition
appeared, it did not sink them into a state
of discouragement; and a kettle of wild rice,
sweetened with sugar, which had been pre-
pared for their return, with their usual regale
of rum, soon renewed that courage which dis-
dained all obstacles that threatened our prog-
ress: and they went to rest, with a full de-
termination to surmount them on the morrow.
I sat up, in the hope of getting an observation of Jupiter and his first satellite, but the
cloudy weather prevented my obtaining it.
Wednesday, 22.—At break of day we en-
tered on the extraordinary journey which was
to occupy the remaining part of it. The men
began, without delay, to cut a road up the
mountain, and as the trees were but of small
growth, I ordered them to fell those which
they found convenient, in such a manner,
that they might fall parallel with the road,
but, at the same time, not separate them en-
tirely from the stumps, so that they might
form a kind of railing on either side. The
baggage was now brought from the water side
to our encampment. This was, likewise, from
the steep shelving of the rocks, a very peril-
ous undertaking, as one false step of any of
the people employed in it, would have been
instantly followed by falling headlong into
the water. When this important object was
attained, the whole of the party proceeded
with no small degree of apprehension, to
fetch the canoe, which, in a short time, was
also brought to the encampment; and, as
soon as we had recovered from our fatigue,
we advancedwith it up the mountain, having
the line doubled and fastened successively as
we went on to the stumps; while a man at
the end of it, hauled it around a tree, holding
it on and shifting it as we proceeded; so that
we may be said, with strict truth, to have
warped the canoe up the mountain; indeed
by a general and most laborious exertion, we
got every thing to the summit by two in the
afternoon. At noon, the latitude was 56. 0.
47. North. At five, I sent the men to cut
the road onwards, which they effected for
about a mile, when they returned.
The weather was cloudy at intervals, with
showers and thunder. At about ten, I observed an emersion of Jupiter's second satel-
lite; time by the achrometer 8. 32. 20. by
which I found the longitude to be 120. 29.
30 West from Greenwich.
Thursday 23.—The weather was clear at
four this morning, when the men began to
carry. I joined Mr. Mackay~ and the two
Indians in the labour of cutting a road. The
ground continued rising gently till noon,
when it began to decline; but though on
such an elevated situation, we could see but
little, as mountains of a still higher elevation, and covered with snow, were seen far
above us in every direction. In the afternoon the ground became very uneven; hills
and deep defiles alternately presented themselves to us. Our progress, however, ex-
ceeded my expectation, and it was not till
four in the afternoon that the carriers over-
took us. 1 At five, in a state of fatigue that
may be more readily conceived than expressed,
we encamped near a rivtilet or spring that is-
sued from beneath a large mäss of ice and
Our toilsome journey of this day I compute
at about three miles; along the first of which
the land is covered with plenty of wood, con-
sisting of lärge trees, encumbered with little
underwood, through which it was by no means
difficult to open a road, by following a well-
beaten elk path: for the two succeeding miles
we found the country overspread with the
trunks of trees, laid low by fire some years
ago; among which large copses had sprung
up of a close growth, and intermixed with
briars, so as to render the passage through
them painful and tedious. The soil in the
woods is light and of a dusky colour; that
in the burned country is a mixture of sand
and clay with small stones. The trees are
spruce, red-pine, cypress, poplar, white birch,
will o w, ålder, arrow-wood, red-wood, liard,
service-tree, bois-picant, &c. I never saw
any of the last kind before.. It rises to about
nine feet in height, grows in joints without
branches, and is tufted at the extremity.
The stem is of an equal size from the bottom
to the top, and does not exceed an inch in
diameter; it is covered with small prickles,
which caught our trowsers, and working
through them, sometimes found their way to
the flesh. The shrubs are, the gooseberry,
the currant, and several kinds of briars.
Friday, 24-—We continued our very labori-
ous journey, which led us down some steep
hills, and through a wood of tall pines.
After much toil and trouble in bearing the
canoe through the difficult passages which we
encountered, at four in the afternoon we
arrived at the river, some hundred yards
above the rapids of falls, with all our baggage. I compute the distance of this day's
progress to be about four miles;   indeed I
should have measured the whole of the way,
if I had not been obliged to engage personally
in the labour of making the road. But after
all, the Indian carrying-way, whatever may
be its length, and I think it cannot exceed
ten miles, will always be found more safe and
expeditious than the passage which our toil
and perseverance formed and surmounted.
Those of my people who visited this place
on the 21st, were of opinion that the water
had risen very much since that time. About
two hundred yards below us, the stream
rushed with an astonishing but silent veloc-
ity, between perpendicular rocks, which are
not more than thirty-five yards asunder:
when the water is high, it runs över those
rocks, in a channel three times that breadth,
where it is bounded by far more elevated
precipices. In the former are deep round
holes, some of which are full of water, while
others are empty, in whose bottom are small
round stones, as smooth as marble. Some of
these natural cylinders would contain two
hundred gallons. At a small distance below
the first of these rocks, the channel widens in
a kind of zig-zag progression; and it was
really awful to behold with what infinite
force the water drives against the rocks on
one side, and with what impetuous strength
it is repelled to the other: it then falls back,
as it were, into a more strait but rugged passage, över which it is tossed in high, f oaming,
Vol. IL—5 65 m
half-formed billows, as far as the eye could
follow it.
The young men informed me that this was
the place where their relations had told me
that I should meet with a fall equal to that
of Niagara: to exculpate them, however,
from their apparent misinformation, they
declared that their friends were not accus-
tomed to utter falsehoods, and that the fall
had probably been destroyed by the force of
the water. It is, however, very evident that
those people had not been here, or did not
adhere to the truth. By the number of trees
which appeared to have been felled with axes,
we discovered that the Knisteneaux, or some
tribes who are known to employ that instrument, had passed this way. We passed
through a snare enclosure, but saw no animals, though the country was very much in-
tersected by their tracks.
Saturday, 25.—It rained throughout the
night, and till twelve this day;  while the
business of preparing great and small poles,
and putting the canoe in order, &c. caused
us to remain here till five in the afternoon.
I now attached a knife, with a steel, flint,
beads, and other trifling artides to a pole,
which I erected, and left as a token of amity
to the natives.    When I was making this
arrangement, one of my attendants, whom I
have already described under the title of the
Cancre, added to my assortment, a small
round piece of green wood, chewed at one
end in the form of a brush, which the Indians used to pick the marrow out of bones.
This he informed me was an emblem of a
country abounding in animals. The water had
risen during our stay here one foot and a half
perpendicular height.
We now embarked, and our course was
North-West one mile and three quarters.
There were mountains on all sides of us, which
were covered with snow; one in particular,
on the South side of the river, rose to a great
height. We continued to proceed West three
quarters of a mile, North-West one mile, and
West-South-West a quarter of a mile, when
we encamped for the night. The Cancre
killed a small elk.
Sunday, 26.—The weather was clear and
sharp, and between three and four in the
morning we renewed our voyage, our first
course being West by South three miles and
a half, when the men complained of the cold
in their fingers, as they were obliged to push
on the canoe with the poles. Here a small
river flowed in from the North. We now
continued to steer West-South-West a quarter
of a mile, West-North-West a mile and a
half, and West two miles, when we found
ourselves on a parallel with a chain of mountains on both sides the river, running South
and North. The river, both yesterday and
the early part of to-day, was from four to eight
hundred yards wide, and full of islands, but
was at this time diminished to about two hundred yards broad, and free from islands, with
a smooth but strong current. Our next course
was South-West two miles, when we encount-
ered a rapid, and saw an encampment of the
Knisteneaux. We now proceeded North-
West by West one mile, among islands,
South-West by West three quarters of a mile,
South-South-East one mile, veered to South-
West through islands three miles and a half,
and South by East half a mile. Here a river
poured in on the left, which was the most
considerable that we had seen since we had
passed the mountain. At seven in the evening we landed and encamped.
Though the sun had shone upon us throughout the day, the air was so cold that the men,
though actively employed, could not resist it
without the aid of their blänket coats. This
cireumstance might, in some degree, be expected from the surrounding mountains,
which were covered with ice and snow; but as
they are not so high as to produce the extreme cold which we suffered, it must be
more particularly attributed to the high situation of the country itself, rather than to the
local elevation of the mountains, the greatest
height of which does not exceed fifteen hun-
68 W%i
dred feet; though in general they do not rise
to half that altitude.
But as I had not been able to take an exaöt
measurement, I do not presume upon the ac- - Sä
curacy of my conjecture. Towards the bot-"
tom of these heights, which were clear of
snow, the trees were putting forth their
leaves, while those in their middle region
still retained all the characteristics of winter,
and on the upper parts there was little or no
Monday, .27.*—The weather was clear,
and we continued our voyage at the usual
hour, when we successively found several
rapids and points to impede our progress.
At noon our latitude was 56. 5. 54. North.
The Indians killed a stag; and one of the
men who went to fetch it was very much en-
dangered by the rolling down of a large stone
from the heights above him.
Tuesday, 28.—The day was very cloudy.
The mountains on both sides of the river
seemed to have sunk, in their elevation, during the voyage of yesterday.     To-day they
*From this day to the 4th of June the courses of
my voyage are omitted, as I löst the book that con-
tained them. I was in the habit of sometimes in-
dulging myself with a short doze in the canoe, and
I imagine that the branches of the trees brushed my
book from me, when I was in such a situation,
which renders the account of these few days less
distinct than usual.
resumed their former altitude, and run so
close on either side of the channel, that all
view was excluded of every thing but themselves. This part of the current was not
broken by islands; but in the afternoon we
approached some cascades, which obliged us
to carry our canoe and its lading for several
hundred yards. Here we observed an encampment of the natives, though some time
had elapsed since it had been inhabited. The
greater part of the day was divided between
heavy showers and small ram; and we took
our station on the shore about six in the
evening, about three miles above the last
Wednesday, 29.—The rain was so violent
throughout the whole of this day, that we did
not venture to proceed. As we had almost
expended the contents of a rum-keg, and this
being a day which allowed of no active em-
ployment, I amused myself with the experi-
meut of enclosing a letter in it, and dispatch-
ing it down the stream to take its fäte. I
accordingly introduced a written account of
all our hardships, &c. carefulry enclosed in
bark, into the small barfel by the bung-hole,
which being carefully secured, I consigned
this epistolatory cargo to the mercy of the
Thursday,   30.—We   were   alarmed  this
morning at break of day, by the continual
barking of our dog, who never ceased from
running backwards and forwards in the rear
of our situation: when, however, the day ad-
vanced, we discovered the cause of our alarm *
to proceed from a wolf, who  was parading'
a ridge a  few  yards  behind  us, and  had
been most probably allured by the scent of
our small portion of fresh meat.    The weather
was cloudy, but it did not prevent us from
renewing our progress at a very early hour.
A considerable river appeared from the left,
and we continued our course till seven in the
evening,   when  we  landed  at  night  where
there was an Indian encampment.
Friday, 31.—The morning was clear and
cold, and the current very powerful.   On er oss -
ing the mouth of a river that flowed in from the
right of us, we were very much endangered;
indeed all the rivers which I have lately seen,
appear to overflow their natural limits, as it
may be supposed, from the melting of the
mountain snow.    The water is almost white,
the bed of the river being of lime stone.    The
mountains are one solid mäss of the same
material, but without the least shade of trees,
or decoration of foliage.    At nine the men
were so cold that we landed, in  order to
kindle a fire, which was considered as a very
uneommon  cireumstance  at this  season;   a
small quantity of rum, however, served as an
adequate substitute; and the current being so
smooth as to admit of the use of paddles, I
encouraged them to proceed without any
further delay. In a short time an extensive
view opened upon us, displaying a beautiful
sheet of water, that was heightened by the
ealmness of the weather, and a splendid sun.
Here the mountains which were covered with
wood, opened on either side, so thatrwe en-
tertained the hope of soon leaving them behind us. When we had got to the termination of this prospect, the river was barred
with rocks, forming cascades and small
islands. To proceed onwards, we were under the necessity of clearing a narrow passage of the drift wood, on the left shore.
Here the view convinced us that our late
hopes were without foundation, as there appeared a ridge or chain of mountains, running South and North as far as the eye
could reach.
On advancing two or three miles, we arrived at the fork, one branch running about
West-North-West, and the other South-
South-East. If I had been governed bymy
own judgment, I should have taken the former, as it appeared to me to be the most likely
to bring us nearest to the part where I wished
to fall on the Pacific Ocean, but the old man,
whom I have already mentioned as having
been frequently on war expeditions in this
country, had warned me not, on any account,
to follow it, as it was soon löst in various
branches among the mountains, and that there
was no great river that ran in any direction
near it; but by following the latter, he said,
we should arrive at a carrying-place to another
large river, that did not exceed a day's march,
where the inhabitants build houses, and live
upon islands. There was so much apparent
truth in the old man's narrative, that I de-
termined to be governed by it; for I did
not entertain the least doubt, if I could get
into the other river, that I should reach the
I accordingly ordered my steersman to proceed at once to the East branch, which appeared to be more rapid than the other, though
it did not possess an equal breadth. These
circumstances disposed my men and Indians,
the latter in particular being very tired of the
voyage, to express their wishes that I should
take the Western branch, especially when they
perceived the difficulty of stemming the current, in the direction on which I had deter-
mined. Indeed the rush of water was so
powerful, that we were the greatest part of
the afternoon in getting two or three miles—
a very tardy and mortifying progress, and
which, with the voyage, was openly execrated
by many of those who were engaged in it:
and the inexpressible toil these people had
endured, as well as the dangers they had en-
countered, required some degree of consideration ; I therefore employed those arguments
which were the best caleulated to calm their
iinmediate discontents, as well as to encour-
age their future hopes, though, at the same
time, I delivered my sentiments in such a
manner as to convince them that I was deter-
mined to proceed.
On the 1st of June we embarked at sun-
rise, and towards noon the current began to
slacken; we then pnt to shore, in order to
gum the canoe, when a meridian altitude gave
me 55. 42. 16. North latitude. We then continued our course, and towards the evening
the current began to recover its former
strength. Mr. Mackay and the Indians had
already disembarked, to walk and lighten the
boat. At sun-set we encamped on a point,
being the first dry land which had been found
on this side the river, that was fit for our purpose, since our people went on shore. In the
morning we passed a large rapid river, that
flowed in from the right.
In no part Of the North-West did I see so
much beaver-work, within an equal distance,
as in the course of this day. In some places
they had cut down several acres of large pop-
lars; and we saw also a great number of these
active and sagacious animals. The time which
these wonderful creatures allot for their labours, whether in erecting their curious hab-
itations, or providing food, is the whole of
the interval between the setting and the rising
Towards the dusky part of the evening we
heard several discharges from the fowling
pieces of our people, which we answered, to
inform them of our situation; and some time
after it was dark, they arrived in an equal
state of fatigue and alarm; they were also
obliged to swim across a channel in order to
get to us, as we were situated on an island,
though we were ignorant of the cireumstance,
till they came to inform us. One of the Indians was positive that he heard the discharge
of fire-arms above our encampment; and on
comparing the number of our discharges with
theirs, there appeared to be some foundation
for his alarm, as we imagined that we had
heard two reports more than they acknowl-
edged; and in their tum, they declared that
they had heard twice the number of those
which we knewhad proceeded from us. The
Indians were theref ore certain, that the Knisteneaux must be in our vicinity, on a war
expedition, and consequently, if they were
numerous, we should have had no reason
to expect the least mercy from them in this
distant country. Though I did not believe
that cireumstance, or that any of the natives could be in possession of fire-arms, I
thought it right, at all  events, we should
■ 75 Ve
be prepared. Our fusees were, therefore,
primed and loaded, and having extinguished
our fire, each of us took his station at the
foot of a tree, where we passed an uneasy
and restless night.
The succeeding morning being clear and
pleasant, we proceeded at an early hour
against a rapid current, intersected by islands.
About eight we passed two large trees, whose
roots having been undermined by the current,
had recently fallen into the river; and, in my
opinion, the crash of their fall had occasioned
the noise which caused our late alarm. In
this manner the water ravages the islands in
these rivers, and by driving down great quan-
tities of wood, forms the foundations of
others. The men were so oppressed with
fatigue, that it was necessary they should en-
camp at six in the afternoon. We, therefore,
landed on a sandy island, which is a very un -
common object, as the greater part of the
islands consist of a bottom of round stones
and gravel, covered from three to ten feet
with mud and old drift-wood. Beaver-work
was as frequently seen as on the preceding
On the 3d of June we renewed our voyage
with the rising sun.    At noon I obtained a
meridian altitude, which gave 55. 22. 3. North
latitude.    I also took time, and the watch
was slow 1. 30. 14. apparent time.    Accord-
ing to my calculation, this plaCe is about
twenty-five miles South-East of the fork.*
* I shall now proceed with my usual regularity,
which, as I have already mentioned, has been, for
some days, suspended, from the loss of my book of
JUNE 4, 1793. Jill" . |,    <j|   ■
We embarked this morning at four in a
very heavy fog. The water had been contin-
ually rising, and, in many places, overflowed
its banks. The current also was so strong,
that our progress was very tedious, and re-
quired the most laborious exertions. Our
course was this day, South-South-East one
mile, South-South-West half a mile, South-
East three quarters of a mile, North-East by
East three quarters of a mile, South-East half
a mile, South-East by South one mile, South-
South-East one mile and three quarters,
South-East by South half a mile,. East by
South a quarter of a mile, South-East three
quarters of a mile, North-East by East half
a mile, East by North a quarter of a mile,
South-East half a mile, South-East by South
a quarter of a mile, South-East by East half
a mile, North-East by East half a mile,
North-North-East three quarters of a mile
to South by East one mile and a half. We
eould not find a place fit for an encampment,
till nine at night, when we landed on a bank
of gravel, of which little more appeared above
water than the spöt we occupied,
Wednesday, 5. —This morning we found our
canoe and baggage in the water, which had
continued rising during the night. We then
gummed the canoe, as we arrived at too late
an hour to perform that operation on the preceding evening. This necessary business being completed, we traverse d to the North
shore, where I disembarked with Mr. Mackay, and the hunters, in order to ascend an
adjacent mountain, with the hope of ob-
taining a view of the interiör part of the
country. I directed my people to proceed
with all possible diligence, and that, if
they met with any accident, or found my
return necessary, they should fire two guns.
They also understood, that when they should
hear the same signal from me, they were to
and wait for me, if I were behind
When we had ascended to the summit of
the hill, we found that it extended onwards
in an even, levd country; so that, encumbered
-as we were, with the thick wood, no distant
view could be obtained; I therefore climbed a
very lofty tree, from whose top I discerned
on the right a ridge of mountains covered
with snow, bearing about North-West; from
thence another ridge of high land, whereon
no snow was visible, stretched towards the
South: between which and the snowy hills
pn the JSast side, there appeared to be an
opening,  which  we   determined  to  be  the
course of the river.
Having obtained all the satisfaction that
the nature of the place would admit, we proceeded forward to overtake the canoe, and
after a warm walk came down upon the river,
when we discharged our pieces twice, but received no answering signal. I was of opinion,
that the canoe was before us, while the Indians entertained an opposite notion. I,
however, crossed another point of land, and
came again to the waterside about ten. Here
we had a long view of the river, which cireumstance excited in my mind, some, doubts
of my former sentiments. We repeated our
signals, but without any return; and as every
moment now increased my anxiety, I left Mr.
Mackay and one of the Indians at this spöt
to make a large fire, and sent branches adrift
down the current as notices of our situation,
if the canoe was behind us; and proceeded
with the other Indian across a very long point,
where the river makes a considerable bend, in
order that I might be satisfied if the canoe
was a-head. Having been accustomed, for
the last fortnight, to very cold weather, I
found the heat of this day almost insupport-
able, as our way lay över a dry sand, which
was relieved by no shade, but such as a few
scattered cypresses could afford us.    About
twelve, we arrived once more at the river,
and the discharge of our pieces was as unsuc-
cessful as it had hitherto been. The water
rushed before us with uncommon velocity;
and we also tried the experiment of sending
fresh branches down it. To add to the dis-
agreeableness of our situation, the gnats and
mosquitoes appeared in swarms to torment
us. When we returned to our companions,
we found that they had not been contented
with remaining in the position where I had
left them, but had been three or four miles
down the river, but were come back to their
station, without having made any discovery
of the people on the water.
Various very unpleasing conjectures at once
perplexed and distressed us: the Indians,
who are inclined to magnify evils of any and
every kind, had at once consigned the canoe
and every one on board it to the bottom; and
were already settling a plan to return upon a
raft, as well as calculating the number of
nights that would be required to reach their
home As for myself, it will be easily be-
lieved, that my mind was in a state of extreme agitation, and the imprudence of my
conduct in leaving the people, in such a situation of danger and toilsome exertion added
a very painful mortification to the severe ap-
prehensions I already suffered: it was an act
of indiscretion which might have put an end
to the voyage that* I had so much at heart,
and compelled me at length to submit to the
scheme which my hunters had already formed
for our return.
At half past six in the evening, Mr. Mackay
and the Cancre set off to proceed down the
river, as far as they could before the night
came on, and to continue their journey in the
morning to the place where we had encamped
the preceding evening. I also proposed to
make my excursion upwards; and, if we both
failed of success in meeting the canoe, it was
agreed that we should return to the place
where we now separated.
In this  situation we had wherewithal to
drink in plenty, but with solid food we were
totally unprovided.    We had not seen even a
partridge throughout the day, and the tracks
of rein-deer that we had discovered, were of
an old date.    We were, however, preparing
to make a bed of the branches of trees, where
we should have had no other canopy than
that afforded us by the heavens, when we
heard a shot, and soon after another, which
was the notice agreed upon,  if Mr. Mackay
and the Indian should see the canoe: that
fortunate cireumstance was also confirmed by
a return of the signal from the people.    I
was, however, so fatigued from the heat and
exercise of the day, as well as incommoded
from drinking so much cold water, that I did
not wish to remove till the following niorn-
ing; but the Indian made such bitter com-
plaints of the cold and hunger he suffered,
that I complied with his solicitations to de-
part; and it was almost dark when we reachedt
the canoe, barefooted, and drenched with
rain. But these inconveniences affected me
very little, when I saw myself once more sur-
rounded with my people. They informed me,
that the canoe had been broken; and that
they had this day experienced much greater
toil and hardships than on any former occasion. I thought it prudent to affect a belief
of every representation that they made, and
even to comfort each of them with a consol-
atory dram: for, however difncult the passage
might have been, it was too short to have oc-
cupied the whole day, if they had not relaxed
in their exertions. The rain was accompanied with thunder and lightning.
It appeared from the various encampments
which we had seen, and from several paddles
we had found, that the natives frequent this
part of the country at the latter end of the
summer and the fall. The course to-day was
nearly East-South-East two miles and a half,
South by West one mile, South-South-East
one mile and a half, East two miles, and
South-East by South one mile.
Thursday, 6.—At half past four this morning we  continued  our voyage,  our  courses
being South-East by South one mile,' East by
South three quarters of a mile, South-East by
East two miles. The whole of this distance
we proceeded by hauling the canoe from
branch to branch. The current was so strong,
that it was impossible- to stem it with the
paddles; the depth was too great to receive
any assistance from the poles, and the bank
of the river was so closely lined with willows
and other trees, that it was impossible to em-
ploy the line. As it was past twelve before
we could find a place that would allow of our
landing, I could not get a meridian altitude.
We occupied the rest of the day in repairing
the canoe, drying our cloaths, and making
paddles and poles to replace those which had
been broken or löst.
Friday, 7.—The morning was clear and
calm; and since we had been at this station
the water had risen two inches; so that the
current became still stronger; and its vel-
ocity had already been so great as to justify
our despair in getting up it, if we had not
been so long accustomed to surmount I last
night observed an emersion of Jupiter's first
satellite, but iriadvertently went to bed, without committing the exact time to writing: if
my memory is correct, it was 8. 18. 10. by
the timepiece. The canoe, which had been
little better than a wreck, being now repaired,
we proceeded East two miles and a quarter,
South-South-East half a mile, South-East a
quarter of a mile, when we landed to take an
altitude for time. We continued our route at
South-East by East three quarters of a mile,
and landed again to determine the latitude***
which is 55. 2. 51. To this I add, 2. 45?
Southing, which will make the place of tak-
ing altitude for time 55. 5. 36. with which I
find that my time-piece was slow 1. 32. 23.
apparent time; and made the longitude obtained 122. 35. 50. West of Greenwich.
From this place we proceeded East by South
four miles and a half, East-South-East one
mile and a half, in which space there falls in
a small river from the East; East half a mile,
South-East a mile and a half, East a quarter
of a mile, and encamped at seven o'clock.
Mr. Mackay and the hunters walked the
greatest part of the day, and in the course of
their excursion killed a porcupine.* Here
we found the bed of a very large bear quite
fresh. During the day several Indian encampments were seen, which were of a late
erection. The current had also löst some of
its impetuosity during the greater part of the
day. 1 j-
* We had been obliged to indulge our hunters
with sitting idle in the canoe, lest their being com-
pelled to share in the labour of navigating it
should disgust and drive them from us. We,
therefore, employed them as much as possible on
shore, as well to procure provisions, as to lighten
the canoe.
85 ifV
Saturday, 8.—It rained and thundered
through the night, and at four in the morning we again encountered the current. Our
course was East a quarter of a mile, round to
South by East along a very high white sandy
bank on the East shore, three quarters of a
mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile,
South-South-West a quarter of a mile, South-
South-East one mile and a quarter, South-
East two miles, with a släck current; South-
East by East two miles and a quarter, East a
quarter of a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile, South-East by South four miles
and a half, South-East one mile and a half,
South-South-West half a mile, East-North-
East half a mile, East-Soutk-East a quarter
of a mile, South-East J)y South one mile,
South-East by East half a mile, East by
South three quarters of a mile, when the
mountains were in full view in this direction,
and Eastward. For the three last days we
could only see them at short intervals and
long distances; but till then, they were con-
.tinually in sight on either side, from our en-
trance into the fork. Those to the left were
at no great distance from us.
For the last two days we had been anxiously
looking out for the carrying-place, but could
not discover it, and our only hope was in such
information as we should be able to procure
from the natives.    All that remained for us
to do, was to push forwards till the river
should be no longer navigable: it had now,
indeed, overflowed its banks, so that it was
eight at night before we could discover a place
to encamp. Having found plenty of wild
parsnips, we gathered the tops, and boiled
them with pemmican for our supper.
Sunday, 9.—The rain of this morning
termiuated in a heavy mist at half past five,
when we embarked and steered South-East
one mile and a half, when it veered North-
North-East half a mile, South-East three
quarters of a mile, East by South three quarters of a mile, East-South-East a quarter of
a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile,
South-East by East one mile, North-East by
East half a mile, South-East by East half a
mile, South-East by South three quarters of
a mile, South-East three quarters of a mile,
East by South half a mile, South-East by
East half a mile, East-North-East three quarters of a mile, when it veered to South-South-
East half a mile, then back to East (when a
blue mountain, clear of snow, appeared
a-head) one mile and a half; North-East by
East half a mile, East by North one mile,
when it veered to South-East half a mile,
then on to North-West three quarters of a
mile, and back to North-East by East half a
mile, South by West a quarter of a mile,
North-East by East to North-North-East half
a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile,
and East by North half a mile; here we per-
ceived a smell of fire; and in a short time
heard people in the woods, as if in a state of
great confusion, which was occasioned, as we
afterwards understood, by their discovery of
us. At the same time this unexpected cireumstance produced some little discomposure
among ourselves, as our arms were not in a
state of preparation, and we were as yet un-
able to ascertain the number of the party. I
considered, that if there were but few, it
would be needless to pursue them, as it would
not be probable that we should overtake them
in these thick woods; and if they were nu-
merous, it would be an act of great impru-
dence to make the attempt, at least during
their present alarm. I therefore ordered my
people to strike off to the opposite side, that
we might see if any of them had sufficient
courage to remain; but, before we were half
över the river, which in this part is not more
than a hundred yards wide, two men appeared
on a rising ground över against us, brandish-
ing their spears, displaying their bows and
arrows, and accompanying their hostile ges-
tures with loud vocif erations. My interpreter
did not hesitate to assure them, that they
might dispel their apprehensions, as we were
white people, who meditated no injury, but
were,  on the contrary, desirous of  demon-
88 w%
strating every mark of kindness and friend-
ship.   They did not, however, seem disposed
to confide in our declarations, and actually
threatened, if we came över before they were-
more fully satisfied of our peaceable in ten-"
tions, that they would discharge their arrows
at us.    This was a decided kind of conduct
which I did not expect; at the same time I
readily complied with their proposition, and
after some time had passed in hearing and
answering their questions, they consented to
our landing, though not without  betraying
very evident symptoms of fear and distrust.
They, however, laid aside their weapons, and
when I stepped forward and took each of
them by the hand, one of them, but with a
very tremulous action, drew his knife from
his sleeve, and presented it to me as a mark
of his submission to my will and pleasure.
On our first hearing the noise of these people
in the woods, we displayed our flag, which
was now shewn to them as a token of friend-
ship.    They examined us,  and every thing
about us, with a minute and suspicious atten-
tion.   They had heard, indeed, of white men,
but this was the first time that they had ever
seen a human being of a complexion different
from their own.    The party had been here
but a few hours; nor had they yet erected
their sheds; and, except the two men now
with us, they had all fled, leaving their little
property behind them. To those which had
given us such a proof of their confidence, we
paid the most conciliating attentions in our
power. One of them I sent to recall his people, and the other, for very obvious reasons,
we kept with us. In the mean time the canoe
was unloaded, the necessary baggage carried
up the hill, and the tents pitched.
Here I de termined to remain till the Indians became so familiarized to us, as to give
all the intelligence which we imagined might
be obtained from them. In fact, it had been
my intention to land where I might most
probably discover the carrying-place, which
was our more inimediate object, and under-
take marches of two or three days, in different directions, in search of another river. If
unsuccessful in this attempt, it was my purpose to continue my progress up the present
river, as far as it was navigable, and if we
did not meet with natives to instruct us in
our further progress, I had determined to return to the fork, and take the other branch,
with the hope of better fortune.
It was about three in the afternoon when
we landed, and at five the whole party of Indians were assembled. It consisted only of
three men, three women, and seven or eight
boys and girls. With their scratched legs,
bleeding feet, and dishevelled hair, as in the
hurry of their flight they had left their shoes
and leggins behind them, they displayed a
most wretched appearance: they were con-
soled, however, with beads, and other trifles,
which seemed to please them; they had pem-
mican also given them to eat, which was not
unwelcome, and in our opinion, at least, superior to their own provision, which consisted
entirely of dried fish.
When I thought that they were sufnciently
composed, I sent for the men to my tent, to
gain such information respecting the country
as I concluded it was in their power to afford
me. But my expectations were by no means
satisfied: they said that they were not ac-
quainted with any river to the Westward, but
that there was one from whence they were
just arrived, över a carrying-place of eleven
days march, which they represented as being
a branch only of the river before us. Their
iron-work they obtained from the people who
inhabit the bank of that river, and an adjacent
lake, in exchange for beaver skins, and dressed
moose skins. They represented the latter as
travelling, during a moon, to get to the country of other tribes, who Ii ve in house*s, with
whom they trafnc for the same commodities;
and that these also extend their journies in
the same manner to the sea coast, or, to use
their expression, the Stinking Lake, where
they trade with people like us, that come
there  in vessels  as big as islands.    They
added, that the people to the Westward, as
they have been told, are very numerous.
Those who inhabit the other branch they
stated as consisting of about förty families,
while they themselves did not amount to
more than a fourth of that number; and were
almost continually compelled to remain in
their strong holds, where they sometimes
perished with cold and hunger, to secure
themselves from their enemies, who never
failed to attack them whenever an opportu-
nity presented itself.
This account of the country, from a people
who I had every reason to suppose were well
acquainted with every part of it, threatened
to disconcert the project on which my heart
was set, and in which my whole mind was
occupied. It occurred to me, however, that
from fear, or other motives, they might be
tardy in their communication; I therefore assured them that, if they would direct me to
the river which I described to them, I would
come in large vessels, like those that their
neighbours had described, to the mouth of it,
and bring them arms and ammunition in ex-
change for the produce of their country; so
that they might be able to defend themselves
again st their enemies, and no longer remain
in that abject, distressed, and fugitive state
in which they then lived.    I added also, that
in the mean time, if they would, on my re-
92 il
turn, accompany me below the mountains, to
a country which was very abundant in animals, I would furnish them, and their com-
panions, with every thing they might want;
and make peace between them and the Beaver
Indians. But all these promises did not»appear to advance the object of my inquiries,
and they still persisted in their ignorance of
any such river as I had mentioned, that dis-
charged itself into the sea.
In this state of perplexity and disappoint-
ment, various projects presented themselves
to my mind, which were no sooner formed
than they were discovered to be impractica-
ble, and were consequéntly abandoned. At
one time I thought of leaving the canoe, and
every thing it contained, to go över land, and
pursue that chain of connexion by which these
people obtain their iron-work; but a very brief
course of reflection convinced me that it would
be impossible for us to carry provisions for
our support through any considerable part of
such a journey, as well as presents, to secure
us a kind reception among the natives, and
ammunition for the service of the hunters,
and to defend ourselves against any act of
hostility. At another time my solicitude for
the success of the expedition incited a wish to
remain with the natives, and go to the sea by
the way they had described; but the accom-
plishment of such a journey, even if no acci-
dent should interpose, would have required a
portion of time which it was not in my power
to bestow. In my present state" of information, to proceed further up the river was considered as a fruitless waste of toilsome exer-
tion; and to return unsuccessful, after all our
labour, sufferings, and dangers, was an idea
too painful to indulge. Besides, I could not
yet abandon the hope that the Indians might
not yet be sufficiently composed and confi-
dent, to disclose their real knowledge of the
country freely and fully to me. Nor was I
altogether without my doubts respecting the
fidelity of jtmy interpreter, who being very
much tired of the voyage, might be induced
to withhold tfyose Communications which
would induce me to continue it. I therefore
continued my attentions to the natives, re-
galed them with such provisions as I had, in-
dulged their children with a taste of sugar,
and determined to suspend my conversation
with them till the following morning. On
my expressing a desire to partake of their
fish, they brought me a few dried trout, well
cured, that had been taken in the river which
they lately left. One of the men also brought
me five beaver skins, as a present.
Monday, 10.—The solicitude that possessed
my mind interrupted my repose; when the
dawn appeared I had already quitted my bed,
and was waiting with impatience for another
conference with the natives. The sun, however, had risen before they left their leafy
bowers, whither they had retired with their
children, having most hospitably resigned
their beds, and the partners of them, to the
solicitations of my young men.
I now repeated my inquiries, but my per-
plexity was not removed by any favourable
variation in their answers. About nine, however, one of them, still remaining at my fire,
in conversation with the interpreters, I understood enough of his language to know that
he mentioned something about a great river,
at the same time pointing significantly up
that which was before us. On my inquiring
of the interpreter respecting that expression,
I was informed that he knew of a large river,
that runs towards the mid-day sun, a branch
of which flowed near the source of that which
we were now navigating; and that there were
only three small lakes, and as many carrying-
places, leading to a small river, which dis-
charges itself into the great river, but that
the latter did not empty itself into the sea.
The inhabitants, he said, built houses, lived
on islands, and were a numérous and warlike
people. I desired him to describe the road to
the other river, by delineating it with a piece
of coal, on a strip of bark, which he accom-
plished to my satisfaction.    The opinion that
|;he river did not discharge itself into the sea,
I very confidently imputed to his ignorance
of the country.
My hopes were now renewed, and an object
presented itself which awakened my utmost
impatience. To facilitate its attainment, one
of the Indians was induced, by presents, to
accompany me as a guide to the first inhabitants, which we might expect to meet on the
small lakes in our way. I accordingly re-
solved to depart with all expedition, and
while my people were making every necessary
preparation, I employed myself in writing the
following description of the natives around
They are low in stature, not exceeding five
feet six or seven inches; and they are of that
meagre appearance which might be expected
in a people whose life is one sucession of difficulties, in procuring subsistence. Their faces
are round, with high cheek bones; and their
eyes, which are small, are of a dark brown
colour; the cartilage of their nose is perfor-
ated, but without any ornaments suspended
from it; their hair is of a dingy black, hang-
ing loose and^in disorder över their shoulders,
but irregularly cut in the front, so as not to
obstruct the sight; their beards are eradi-
cated, with the exception of a few straggling
hairs, and their complexion is a swarthy yellow.
Their dress consists of robes made of the
skins of the beaver, the ground-hog and the
rein-deer, dressed in the hair, and of the
moose-skin without it. All of them are orna-
mented with a fringe, while some of them
have tassels hanging down the seams; those
of the ground-hog are decorated on the fur
side with the tails of the animal, which they
do not separate from them. Their garments
they tie över the shoulders, and fästen them
round the middle with a belt of green skin,
which is as stiff as horn. Their leggins are
long, and, if they were topped with a waist-
band, might be called trowsers: they, as well
as their shoes, are made of dressed moose,
elk, or rein-deer skin. The organs of generation they leave uncovered.
The women differ little in their dress, from
the men, except in the addition of an apron,
which is fastened round the waist, and hängs
down to the knees. They are in general of a
more lusty make than the other sex, and
taller in proportion, but infinitely their in-
feriors in cleanliness. A black artificial
stripe crosses the face beneath the eye, from
ear to ear, which I first took for scabs, from
the accumulation of dirt on it. Their hair,
which is longer than that of the men, is di-
vided from the forehead to the crown, and
drawn back in long plaits behind the ears.
They have also a few white beads, which they
get where they procure their iron: they are
from a line to an inch in length, and are worn
in their ears, but are not of European manu-
facture. These, with bracelets made of horn
and bone, compose all the ornaments which
decorate their persons. Necklaces of the
grisly or white bear's claws, are worn exclu-
sively by the men.
Their arms consist of bows made of cedar,
six feet in length, with a short iron spike at
one end, and serve occasionally as a spear.
Their arrows are well made, barbed, and
pointed with iron, flint, stone, or bone; they
are feathered, and from two or two feet and
a half in length. They have two kinds of
spears, but both are double edged, and of
well polished iron; one of—them is about
twelve inches long, and two wide; the other
about half the width, and two thirds of the
length; the shafts of the first are eight feet
in length, and the latter six;. They have also
spears made of bone. Their knives consist
of pieces of iron, shaped and handled by
themselves. Their axes are something like
our adze, and they use them in the same manner as we employ that instrument. They
were, indeed, furnished with iron in a manner
that I could not have supposed, and plainly
proved to me that their communication with
those, who communicate with the inhabitants
of the sea coast, cannot be very diflicult, and
from their ample provision of iron weapons, NORTH-WEST CONTINENT OF AMERICA.
the means of procuring it must be of a more
distant origin than I had at first conjectured.
They have snares made of green skin,
which they cut to the size of sturgeon twine,
and twist a certain number of them together;
and though when completed they do not exceed
the thickness of a cod-line, their strength is
sufficient to hold a moose-deer; they are from
one and a half to two f athoms in length. Their
nets and fishing-lines are made of willow-
bark and nettles; those made of the latter are
finer and smoother than if made with hempen
thread. Their hooks are small bones, fixed
in pieces of wood split for that purpose, and
tied round with fine watape, which has been
particularly described in the former voyage.
Their kettles are also made of watape, which
is so closely woven that they never leak, and
they heat water in them, by putting red-hot
stones into it. Th£re is one kind of them,
made of spruce-bark, which they häng över
the fire, but at such a distance as to receive
the heat without being within reach of the
blaze; a very tedious operation. They have
various dishes of wood and bark; spoons of
horn and wood, and buckets; bags of leather
and net-work, and baskets of bark, some of
which hold their fishing-tackle, while others
are contrived to be carried on the back. They
have a brown kind of earth in great abundance, with which they rub their clothes, not
only for ornament but utility, as it prevents
the leather from becoming härd after it has
been wetted. They have spruce bark in great
plenty, with which they make their canoes,
an operation that does not require any great
portion of skill or ingenuity, and is managed
in the following manner.—The bark is taken
off the tree the whole length of the intended
canoe, which is commonly about eighteen feet,
and is sewed with watape at both ends; two
laths are then laid, and fixed along the edge
of the bark which forms the gunwale; in
these are fixed the bars, and against them
bear the ribs or timbers, that are cut to the
length to which the bark can be stretched;
and, to give additional stréngth, strips of
wood are laid between them: to make the
whole water-tight, gum is abundantly employed. These vessels carry from two to five
people. Canoes of a similar construction
were used by the Beaver Indians within these
few years, but they now very generally em-
ploy those made of the bark of the birch tree,
which are by far more durable. Their paddles are about six feet long, and about one
foot is occupied by the blade, which is in the
shape of an heart.
Previous to our departure, the natives had
caught a couple of trout, of about six pounds
weight, which they brought me, and I paid
them with beads.    They likewise gave me a
net, made of nettles, the skin of a moose-
deer, dressed, and a white horn in the shape of
a spoon which resembles the horn of the buffalo of the Copper-Mine-River; but their description of the animal to which it belongs does
not answer to that. My young men also got
two quivers of excellent arrows, a collar of
white bear's claws, of a great length, horn
bracelets, and other artides, for which they
received an ample remuneration.
JUNE, 1793.
Monday, 10.—At ten we were ready to embark. I then took leave of the Indians, but
encouraged them to expect us in two moons,
and expressed an hope that I should find them
on the road with any of their relations whom
they might meet. I also returned the beaver
skins to the man who had presented them to
me, desiring him to take care of them till I
came back, when I would purchase them of
him. Our guide expressed much less concern
about the undertaking in which he had en-
gaged, than his companions, who appeared to
be affected with great solicitude for his safety.
We now pushed off the canoe from the
bank, and proceeded East half a mile, when
a river flowed in from the left, about half as
large as that which we were navigating. We
continued the same course three quarters of
a mile, when we missed two of our fowling
pieces, which had been forgotten, and I sent
their owners back for them, who were absent
on this errand upwards of an hour. We now
proceeded North-East by East half a mile,
North-East by North three quarters of a mile,
when the current slackened; there was a ver-
dant spöt on the left, where, from the remains
of some Indian timber-work, it appeared,
that the natives have frequently encamped.,
Our next course was East one mile, and we,
saw a ridge of mountains covered with snow
to the South-East. The land on our right
was low and marshy for three or four miles,
when it rose into a range of heights that ex-
tended to the mountains. We proceeded
East-South-East a mile and a half, South-
East by East one mile, East by South three
quarters of a mile, South-East by East one
mile, East by South half a mile, North-East
by East one mile, South-East half a mile,
East-North-East a mile and a quarter, South-
South-East half a mile, North-North-East a
mile and a half: here a river flowed in from
the left, which was about one-fourth part as
large as that which received its tributary
waters. We then continued East by South
half a mile, to the focft of the mountain on
the South of the above river. The course
now veered short, South-West by West three
quarters of a mile, East by South a quarter
of a mile, South half a mile, South-East by
South half a mile, South-West a quarter of a
mile, East by South a quarter of a mile,
veered to West-North-West a quarter of a
mile, South-West one eighth of a mile, East-
South-East one quarter of a mile, East one
sixth of a mile, South-South-West one twélfth
of a mile, East-South-East one eighth of a
mile, North-East by East one third of a mile,
East by North one twelfth of a mile, North-
East by East one third of a mile, East one
sixteenth of a mile, South-East one twelfth
of a mile, North-East by East one twelfth of
a mile, East one eighth of a mile, and East-
South-East half a mile, when we landed at
seven o'clock and encamped. During the
greatest part of the distance we came to-day,
the river runs close under the mountains on
the left.
Wednesday, 12.—The morning was clear
and cold. On my interpretens encouraging
the guide to dispel all apprehension, to main-
tain his fidelity to me, and not to desert in
the night, "How is it possible for me," he
replied, "to leave the lodge of the Great
" Spirit!—When he tells me that he has no
" further occasion for me, I will then return
"to my children." As we proceeded, however, he soon löst, and with good reason, his
exalted notions of me.
At four we continued our voyage, steering
East by South a mile and a half, East-South-
East half a mile. A river appeared on the
left, at the foot of a mountain which, from
its conical form, my young Indian called the
Beaver Lodge Mountain. Having proceeded
South-South-East half a mile, another river
appeared from the right.   We now came in a
line with the beginning of the mountains we
saw yesterday: others of the same kind ran
parallel with them on the left side of the
river, which was reduced to the breadth of
fifteen yards, and with a moderate current.
We now steered East-North-East one eighth
of a mile, South-East by Sonth one eighth of
a mile, East-South-East one sixth of a mile,
South-West one eighth of a mile, East-South-
East one eighth of a mile, South-South-East
one sixth of a mile, North-East by East one
twelfth of a mile, East-South-East half a
mile, South-West by West one third of a
mile, South-South-East one eighth of a mile,
South-South-West one quarter of a mile,
North-East one sixth of a mile, South by
West one fourth of a mile, East three quarters of a mile, and North-East one quarter of
a mile. Here the mountain on the left appeared to be composed of a succession of
round hills, covered with wood almost to
their summits, which were white with snow,
and crowned with withered trees. We now
steered East, in a line with the high lands on
the right five miles; North one twelfth of a
mile, North-East by North one eighth of a
mile, South by East one sixteenth of a mile,
North-East by North one fourth of a mile,
where another river fell in from the right;
North-East by East one sixth of a mile, East
two miles and a half, South one twelfth of a
mile, North-East half a mile, South-East one
third of a mile, East one mile and a quarter, South-South-West one sixteenth of a
mile, North-East by East half a mile, East
one mile and three quarters, South and South-
West by West half a mile, North-East half a
mile, South one third of a mile, North-East
by North one sixth of a mile, East by South
one fourth of a mile, South one eighth of a
mile, South-East three quarters of a mile.
The canoe had taken in so much water, that
it was necessary for us to land here, in order to stop the leakage, which occasioned the
delay of an hour and a quarter, North-East a
quarter of a mile, East-North-East a quarter
of a mile, South-East by Southra sixteenth of
a mile, East by South a twelfth of a mile,
North-East one sixth of a mile, East-South-
East one sixteenth of a mile, South-West half
a mile, North-East a quarter of a mile, East
by South half a mile, South-South-East one
twelfth of a mile, East half a mile, North-
East by North a quarter of a mile, South-
South-East a quarter of a mile, North-East
by North one twelfth of a mile, where a small
river flowed in from the left, South-East by
East one twelfth of a mile, South by East a
quarter of a mile, South-East one eighth of a
mile, East one twelfth of a mile, North-East
by North a quarter of a mile, South half a
mile, South-East by South one eighth of a
mile, North-East one fourth of a mile, South-
East by East, and South-East by South one
third of a mile, East-South-East, and North-
North-East one third of a mile, and South by J
West, East and East-North-East one eighth
of a mile.
Here we quitted the main branch, which,
according to the information of our guide,
terminates at a short distance, where it is
supplied by the snow which covers the moun-
tains. In the same direction is a valley
which appears to be of very great depth, and
is full of snow, that rises nearly to the height
of the land, and forms a reservoir of itself
sufficient to furnish a river, whenever there is
a moderate degree of heat. The branch which
we left was not, at this time, more than ten
yards broad, while that which we entered was
still less. Here the current was very trifling,
and the channel so meandering, that we sometimes found it difficult to work the canoe forward. The straight course from this to the
entrance of a small lake or pond, is about
East one mile. This entrance by the river
into the lake was almost choked up by a quantity of drift-wood, which appeared to me to
be an extraordinary cireumstance: but I after-
wards found that it falls down from the
mountains. The water, however, was so high,
that the country was entirely overflowed, and
we passed with the canoe among the branches
107 gm
WJgW. f
■   ■
of trees. The principal wood along the banks
is spruce, intermixed with a few white birch,
growing on detached spöts, the intervening
spaces being covered with willow and ålder.
We advanced about a mile in the lake, and
took up our station for the night at an old
Indian encampment. Here we expected to
meet with natives, but were disappointed;
but our guide encouraged us with the hope of
seeing some on the morrow. We saw beaver
in the course of the afternoon, but did not
discharge our pieces from the fear of ålänning the inhabitants; there were also swans in
great numbers, with geese and ducks, which
we did not disturb for the same reason. We
observed also the tracks of moose-deer that
had crossed the river; and wild parsnips grew
here in abundance, which have been already
mentioned as a grateful vegetable. Of birds,
we saw bluejays, yellow birds, and one beau-
tiful humming-bird; of the first and last, I
had not seen any since I had been in the
The weather was the same as yesterday,
and we proceeded between three and four in
the morning. We took up the net which we
had set the preceding evening, when it con-
tained a trout, one white fish, one carp, and
three jub. The lake is about two miles in
length, East by South, and from three to five
hundred yards wide.    This I consider as the
highest and Southernmost source of the Unji-
gah, or Peace River, latitude, 54. 24. North,
longitude 121. West from Greenwich, which,
after a winding course through a väst extent
of country, receiving many large rivers in its
progress, and passing through the Slave Lake,
empties itself into the Frozen Ocean, in 70.
North latitude, and about 135. West longitude.
We landed and unloaded, where we found
a beaten path leading över a low ridge of
land eight hundred and seventeen paces in
length, to another small lake. The distance
between the two inountains åt this place is
about a quarter of a mile, rocky precipices
presenting themselves on both sides. A few
large spruce trees and liards were scattered
över the carrying-place. There were also wil-
lows along the side of the water, with plenty
of grass and weeds. The natives had left
their old canoes here, with baskets hanging
on the trees, which contained various artides.
From the latter I took a net, some hooks, a
goats"-horn, and a kind of wooden trap, in
which, as our guide informed me, the ground-
hog is taken. I left, however, in exchange, a
knife, some fire-steels, beads, awls, &c. Here
two streams tumble down the rocks from the
right, and lose themselves in the lake which
we had left; while two others fall from the
opposite  heights,   and glide into the lake
which we were approaching; this being the
highest point of land dividing these waters,
and we are now going with the stream. This
lake runs in the same course as the last, but
is rather narrower, and not more than half
the length. We were obliged to clear away
some floating drift-wood to get to the carrying-place, över which is a beaten path of only
an hundred and seventy-five paces long. The
lake empties itself by a small river, which,
if the channel were not interrupted by large
trees that had fallen across it, would have
admitted of our canoe with all its lading: the
impediment, in'deed, might have been removed
by two axemen in a few hours. On the edge
of the water, we observed aJLarge quantity of
thick yellow, scum or froth, of an acrid taste
and smell
We embarked on this lake, which is in the
same course, and about the same size as that
which we had just left, and from whence we
passed into a small river, that was so full of
fallen wood, as to employ some time, and re-
quire some exertion, to force a passage. At
the entrance, it afforded no more water than
was just sufficient to bear the canoe; but it
was soon increased by many small streams
which came in broken rills down the rugged
sides of the mountains, and were furnished,
as I suppose, by the melting of the snow.
These accessory streamlets had all the colcl-
110 w%
ness of ice. Our course continued to be ob-
structed by banks of gravel, as well as trees
which had fallen across the river. We were
obliged to force our way through the one, and
to cut through the other, at a great expense
of time and trouble. In many places the current was also very rapid and meandering.
At four in the afternoon, we stopped to un-
load and carry, and at five we entered a small
round lake of about one third of a mile in
diameter. From the last lake to this is, I
think, in a straight line, East by South six
miles, though it is twice that distance by the
winding of the river. We again entered the
river, which soon ran with great rapidity, and
rushed impetuously över a bed of flat stones.
At half past six we were stopped by two large
trees that lay across the river, and it was
with great difficulty that the canoe was pre-
vented from driving against them. Here we
unloaded and formed our encampment.
The weather was cloudy and raw, and as
the circumstances of this day*s voyage had
compelled us to be frequently in the water,
which was cold as ice, we were almost in a
benumbed state. Some of the people who had
gone ashore to lighten the canoe, experienced
great difficulty in reaching us, from the rug-
ged state of the country; it was, indeed, almost dark when they arrived.    We had no
sooner landed than I sent two men down the
river to bring me some account of its circumstances, that I might form a judgment of the
difficulties which might await us on the mor-
row; and they brought back a fearful detail
of rapid currents, fallen trees, and large
stones. At this place our guide manifested
evident symptoms of discontent: he had been
very much alarmed in going down some of
the rapids with us, and expressed an anxiety
to return. He shewed us a mountain, at no
great distance, which he represented as being
on^he other side of a river, into which this
empties itself.
Thursday, 13.—At an early hour of this
morning the men began to cut a road, in order to parry the canoe and lading beyond the
rapid; and by seven they were ready. That
business was soon effected, and the canoe re-
laden, to proceed with the current which ran
with great rapidity. In order to lighten her,
it was my intention to walk with some of the
people; but those in the boat with great
earnestness requested me to embark, declar-
ing, at the same time, that, if they perished, I
should pefish with them. I did not then
imagine in how short a period their appre-
hension would be justified. We accordingly
pushed off, and had proceeded but a very
short way when the canoe struck, and not-
withstanding all our exertions, the violence
of the current was so great as to drive her
sideways down the river, and break her by the
first bar, when I instantly jumped into the
water, and the men followed my example;
but before we could sét her straight, or stop
her, we came to deeper water, so that we
were obliged to re-embark with the utmost
precipitation. One of the men who was not
sufficiently active, was left to get on shore in
the best manner in his power. We had hardly
regained our situations when we dr o ve against
a rock which shattered the stern of the canoe
in such a manner, that it held only by the
gunwales, so that the steersman could no
longer keep his place. The violence of this
stroke drove us to the opposite side of the
river, which is but narrow, when the bow met
with the same fäte as the stern. At this moment the foreman seized on some branches of
a small tree in the hope of bringing up the
canoe, but such was their elasticity that, in a
manner not easily described, he was jerked
on shore in an instant, and with a degree of
violence that threatened his destruction. But
we had no time to turn from our own situation to enquire what had befallen him; for,
in a few moments, we came across a cascade
which broke several large holes in the bottom of the canoe, and started all the bars,
except one behind the scooping seat. If this
accident, however,   had not happened, the
vessel must have been irretrievably överset.
The wreck becoming flat on the water, we all
jumped out, while the steersman, who had
been compelled to abandon his place, and had
not recovered from his fright, called out to
his companions to save themselves.   My per-
emptory commands superseded the effects of
his fear, and they all held fast to the wreck;
to which fortunate resolution we owed our
safety,  as we should otherwise have been
dashed against the rocks by the f orce of the
water, or driven över the cascades.    In this
condition  we were forced  several hundred
yards, and every yard on the verge of de-
struction; but, at length, we most f ortunately
arrived in shallow water and a small eddy,
where we were enabled to make a stånd, from
the weight of the canoe resting on the stones,
rather than from any exertions of our ex-
hausted  strength.    For though  our  efforts
were short, they were pushed to the utmost,
as life or death depended on them.
This alarming scene, with all its terrors
and dangers, occupied only a few minutes;
and in the present suspension of it, we called
to the people on shore to come to our assist-
anee, and they immediately obeyed the sum-
mons.    The foreman, however, was the first
with us; he had escaped unhurt from the ex-
traordinary jerk with which he was thrown
out of the boat, and just as we were beginning
to take our effects out of the water, he ap-
peared to give his assistance. The Indians,
when they saw our deplorable situation, in-r
stead of making the Jpast effort to help us,
sat down and gave ven?to their tears. I was
on the outside of the canoe, where I remained
till every thing was got on shore, in a state
of great pain from the extreme cold of the
water; so that at length, it was with difficulty I could stånd, from the benumbed state
of my limbs.
The loss was considerable and important,
for it consisted of our whole stock of balls,
and some of our furniture; but these consid-
erations were forgotten in the impressions of
our miraculous escape. Our first inquiry was
after the absent man, whom in the first moment of danger, we had left to get on shore,
and in a short time his appearance removed
our anxiety. We had, however, sustained
no personal injury of consequence, and my
bruises seemed to be in the greater proportion.
All the different artides were now spread
out to dry. The powder had fortunately received no damage, and all my instruments
had escaped. Indeed, when my people began
to recover from their alarm, and to enjoy a
sense of safety, some of them, if not all, were
by no means sorry for our late misfortune,
from the hope that it must put a period to
our voyage, particularly as we were without
a canoe, and all the bullets sunk in the river.
It did not, indeed, seem possible to them that
we could proceed under these circumstances.
I listened, however, to the observations that
were made on the occasion without replying
to them, till their panic was dispelled, and
they had got themselves warm and comf ort-
able, with an hearty meal, and rum enough
to raise their spirits.
I then addressed them, by recommending
them all to be thankful for their late very
narrow escape. I also stated, that the navigation was not impracticable in itself, but from
our ignorance of its course; and that our late
experience would enable us to pursue our
voyage with greater security. I brought to
their recollection, that I did not deceive them,
and that they were made acquainted with the
difficulties and dangers they must expect to
encounter, before they engaged to accornpany
me. I also urged the honour of conquering
disasters, and the disgrace that would attend
them on their return home, without having
attained the object of the expedition. Nor
did I f ail to mention the courage and resolution which was the peculiar boast of the North
men; and that I depended on them, at that
moment, for the maintenance of their char-
acter. I quieted their apprehension as to the
loss of the bullets, by bringing to their recollection that we still had shot from which they
might be manufactured. I at the same time
acknowledged the difficulty of restoring the
wreck of the canoe, but confided in our skill
and exertion to put it^in such a state as would
carry us on to where we might procure bark,
and build a new one. In short, my harangue
produced the desired effect, and a very general assent appeared to go wherever I should
lead the way.
Various opinions were offered in the present
posture of affairs, and it was rather a general wish that the wreck should be abandoned,
and all the lading carried to the river, which
our guide informed us was at no great distance, and in the vicinity of woods where he
believed there was plenty of bark. This pro-
ject seemed not to promise that certainty to
which I looked in my present operations; be-
sides, I had my doubts respecting the views
of my guide, and consequently could not con-
fide in the representation he made to me. I
therefore dispatched two of the men at nine
in the morning, with one of the young Indians, for I did not venture to trust the guide
out of my sight, in search of bark, and to en-
cleavour, if it were possible, in the course of
the day, to penetrate to the great river, into
which that before us discharge s itself in the
direction which the guide had communicated.
I now joined my people in order to repair, as
well as circumstances would admit, our wreck
of a canoe, and I began to set them the example.
At noon I had an altitude, which gave 54.
23. North latitude. At four in the afternoon
I took time, with the hope that in the night
I might obtain an observation of Jupiter, and
his satellites, but I had not a sufficient hori-
zon, from the propinquity of the mountains.
The result of my calculation for the time was
1. 32. 28. slow apparent time.
It now grew late, and the people who had
been sent on the excursion already mentioned,
were not yet returned; about ten o'clock,
however, I heard a man hailoo, and I very
gladly returned the signal. In a short time
our young Indian arrived with a small roll of
indifferent bark: he was oppressed with fa-
tigue and hunger, and his clothes torn to rågs:
he had parted with the other two men at
sunset, who had walked the whole day, in a
dreadful country, without procuring any good
bark, or being able to get to the large river.
His account of the river, on whose banks we
were, could not be more unf avourable or dis-
couraging; it had appeared to him to be little
more than a succession of falls and rapids,
with occasional interruptions of fallen trees.
Our guide became so dissatisfied and trou-
bled in mind, that we could not obtain from
him any regular account of the country before
us.    All we could collect from him was, that
the river into which this empties itself, is but
a branch of a large river, the great fork being
at no great distance f*om the confiuence of
this; and that he knew of no lake, or large
body of still water, in the vicinity of these
rivers. To this account of the country, he
added some stränge, fanciful, but terrifying
descriptions of the natives, similar to those
which were mentioned in the former voyage.
We had an escape this day, which I must
add to the many instances of good fortune
which I experienced in this perilous expedition. The powder had been spread out, to
the amount of eighty pounds weight, to re-
ceive the air; and, in this situation, one of
the men carelessly and composedly walked
across it with a lighted pipe in his mouth,
but without any ill consequence resulting
from such an act of criminal negligence. I
need not add that one spark might have put
a period to all my anxiety and ambition.
I observed several trees and plants on the
banks of this river, which I had not seen to
the North of the latitude 52. such as the
cedar, maple, hemlock, &c. At this time the
water rose fast, and passed on with the rap-
idity of an arrow shot from a bow.
Friday, 14-—The weather was fine, clear,
and warm, and at an early hour of the morning we resumed our repair of the canoe.    At
half past seven our two men returned hungry
119 33S
and cold, not having tasted food, or enjoyed
the least repose for twenty-four hours, with
their clothes torn into tatters, and their skin
lacerated, in passing through the woods.
Their account was the same as that brought
by the Indian, with this exception, that they
had reason to think they saw the river, or
branch which our guide had mentioned: but
they were of opinion that from the frequent
obstructions in this river, we should have to
carry the whole way to it, through a dreadful
country, where much time and labour would
be required to open a passage through it.
Discouraging as these accounts were, they
did not, however, interrupt for a moment the
task in which we were engaged, of repairing
the canoe; and this work we contrived to
complete by the conclusion of the day. The
bark which was brought by the Indian, with
some pieces of oil-cloth, and plenty of gum,
enabled us to put our shattered vessel in a
condition to answer our present purposes.
The guide, who has been mentioned as mani-
f esting continual signs of dissatisf action, now
assumed an air of contentment, which I attributed to a smoke that was visible in the
direction of the river; as he naturally expected, if we should fall in with any natives,
which was now very probable, from such a
cireumstance, that he should be released from
a service which he had found so irksome and
full of danger. I had an observation at
noon, which made our latitude 54. 23. 43.
North. I also took tirns, and found it slow
apparent time 1. 38. 44.
Saturday, 15.—The weather continued the
same as the preceding day, and according to
the directions which I had previously given,
my people began at a very early hour to open
a road, through which we might carry a part
of our lading; as I was fearful of risking
the whole of it in the canoe, in its present
weak state, and in a part of the river which
is full of shoals and rapids. Four men were
employed to conduct her, lightened as she
was of twelve packages. They passed several
dangerous places, and met with various ob-
structions, the current of the river being fre-
quently stopped by rafts of drift wood, and
fallen trees, so that after fourteen hours härd
labour we had not made more than three
miles. Our course was South-East by East,
and as we had not met with any accident, the
men appeared to feel a renewed courage to
continue their voyage. In the morning, however, one of the crew, whose name was Beau-
champ, peremptorily refused to embark in
the canoe. This being the first example of
absolute disobedience which had yet appeared
during the course of our expedition, I should
not have passed it över without taking some
very severe means to prevent a repetition of
it; but as he had the general character of a
simple fellow, among his companions, and
had been frightened out of what little sen se
he possessed, by our late dangers, I rather
preferred to consider him as unworthy of ac-
companying us, and to represent him as an
object of ridicule and contempt for his pusil-
lanimous behaviour; though, in f act, he was
a very useful, active, and laborious man.
At the close of the day we assembled round
a blazing fire; and the whole party, being en-
livened with the usual beverage which I sup-
plied on these occasions, forgot their fatigues
and apprehensions; nor did they f ail to an-
ticipate the pleasure they should enjoy in getting clear of their present difficulties, and
gliding onwards with a strong and steady
stream, which our guide had described as the
characteristic of the large river we soon expected to enter.
Sunday, 16.—The fine weather continued,
and we began our work, as we had done the
preceding day; some were occupied in open-
ing a road, others were carrying, and the rest
employed in conducting the canoe.    I was of
the first party, and soon discovered that we
had encamped about half a mile above several
falls, över which we could not attempt to run
the canoe, lightened even as she was.    This
cireumstance rendered it necessary that the
road should be made sufficiently wide to ad-
mit the canoe to pass; a tedious and toilsome
work. In running her down a rapid above
the falls, a hole was breken in her bottom,
which occasioned a considerable delay, as we
were destitute of the materials necessary for
her effectual reparation. On my being informed of this misfortune, I returned, and
ordered Mr. Mackay, with two Indians, to
quit their occupation in niaking the road, and
endeavour to penetrate to the great river, ac-
cording to the direction which the guide had
communicated, without paying any attention
to the course of the river before us.
When the people had repaired the canoe in
the best manner they were able, we conducted
her to the head of the falls; she was then unloaded and taken out of the water, when we
carried her for a considerable distance through
a low, swampy country. I appointed four
men to this laborious office, which they ex-
ecuted at the peril of their lives, for the canoe
was now become so heavy, from the additional
quantity of bark and gum necessary to patch
her up, that two men could not carry her
more than an hundred yards, without being
relieved; and as their way lay through deep
mud, which was rendered more difficult by
the roots and prostrate trunks of trees, they
were every moment in danger of falling; and
beneath such a weight, one f alse step might
have been attended with fatal consequences.
123 ■
The other two men and myself followed as
fast as we could, with the lading.    Thus did
we toil till seven o*clock in the evening, to
get to the termination of the road that had
been made in the morning.   Here Mr. Mackay
and the Indian j oined us, after having been
at the river, which they represented as rather
large.    They had  also   observed,  that the
lower part of the river before us was so full
of fallen wood, that the attempt to clear a
passage through it, would be an unavailing
labour.   The country through which they had
passed was morass, and almost impenetrable
wood.    In passing över one of the embarras,
our dog, which was following them, fell in,
and it was with very great difficulty that he
was saved, as the current had carried him
under the drift.    They brought with them
two geese, which had been shot in the course
of their expedition.    To add to our perplexi-
ties and embarrasments, we were persecuted
by mosquitoes  and sand-flies, through the
whole of the day.
The extent of our journey was not more
than two miles SouthrEast; and so much fa-
tigue and pain had been suffered in the course
of it, that my people, as might be expected,
looked forward to a continuance of it with
discouragement and dismay.    I was, indeed,
informed   that   murmurs   prevailed   among
them, of which, however, I took no notice.
When we were assembled together for the
night, I gave each of them a dram, and in a
short time they retired to the repose which
they so much required. We could discover
the termination of the mountains at a considerable distance on either side of us, which,
according to my conjecture, marked the
course of the great river. On the mountains
to the East there were several fires, as their
smokes were very visible to us. Excessive
heat prevailed throughout the day.
Monday, 17.—Having sat up till twelve
last night, which had been my constant prac-
tice since we had taken our present guide, I
awoke Mr. Mackay to watch him in turn. I
then laid down to rest, and at three I was
awakened to be informed that he had deserted.
Mr. Mackay, with whom I was displeased on
this occasion, and. the Cancre, accompanied
by the dog, went in search of him, but he had
made his escape: a design which he had for
some time meditated, though I had done every
thing in my power to induee him to remain
with me.
This misf ortune did not produce any relax-
ation in our exertions.    At an early hour of
the morning we were all employed in cutting
a passage of three quarters of a mile, through
which we carried our canoe and cargo, when
we put her into the water with her lading,
but in a very short time were stopped by the
drift-wood, and were obliged to land and
carry. In short, we pursued our alternate
journeys, by land and water, till noon, when
we could proceed no further, from the various
small unnavigable channels into which the
river branched in every direction; and no
other mode of getting forward now remained
for us, but by cutting a road across a neck of
land. I accordingly dispatched two men to
ascertain the exact distance, and we employed
the interval of their absence in unloading and
getting the canoe out of the water. It was
eight in the evening when we arrived at the
bank of the great river. This journey was
three quarters of a mile East-North-East,
through a continued swamp, where, in many
places, we waded up to the middle of our
thighs. Our course in the small river was
about South-East by East three miles. At
length we enjoyed, after all our toil and
anxiety, the inexpressible satisfaction offind-
ing ourselves on the bank of a navigable river,
on the West side of the first great range of
JUNE, 1793.
Tuesday, 18.—It rained throughout the
night and till seven in the morning; nor was
I sorry that the weather gave me an excuse
for indulging my people with that additional
rest, which their fatigues, during the last
three days, rendered so comfortable to them.
Before eight, however, we were on the water,
and driven on by a strong current, when we
steered East-South-East half a mile, South-
West by South half a mile, South-South-East
half a mile, South-West half a mile, went
round to North-West half a mile, backed
South-South-East three quarters of a mile,
South-South-West half a mile, South by East
a quarter of a mile, and South-West by South
three quarters of a mile. Here the water had
fallen considerably, so that several mud and
sand-banks were visible. There was also a
hill a-head, West-South-West.
The weather was so hazy that we could not
see across the river, which is here about two
hundred yards  wide.    We   now proceeded
South by West one third of a mile, when we
saw a considerable quantity of beaver work
along the banks, North-North-West half a
mile, South-West by West one mile and a
half, South-South-West one third of a mile,
West by South one third of a mile, South by
East half a mile. Mountains rose on the left,
immediately above the river, whose summits
were covered with snow; South-West half a
mile, South a quarter of a mile, South-East
one third of a mile, South-South-West half a
mile. Here are several islands; we then
veered to West by South a third of a mile,
South-South-East a sixth of a mile. On the
right, the land is high, rocky, and covered
with wood; West-South-West one mile; a
small river running in from the South-East;
South-West half a mile, South three quarters
of a mile, South-West half a mile, South by
West half a mile. Here a rocky point pro-
trudes from the left, and narrows the river
to a hundred yards; South-East half a mile,
East by South one eighth of a mile. The
current now was very strong, but perfectly
safe; South-East by South an eighth of a
mile, West by North one third of a mile,
South by West a twelfth of a mile, South-
West one fourth of a mile. Here the high
land terminates on one side of the river,
while rocks rise to a considerable height immediately above the other, and the channel
widens to a hundred and fifty yards, West
by South one mile.    The river now narrows
again between rocks of a moderate height,
North-North-East an eighth of a mile, veered
to South-West an eighth of a mile, South and
South-West half a milé\ The country appeared to be low, as far as I could judge of
it from the canoe, as the view is confined by
woods at the distance of about a hundred
yards from the banks. Our course continued
West by North two miles, North half a mile,
North-West a quarter of a mile, South-West
two miles, North-West three quarters of a
mile; when a ridge of high land appeared in
this direction; West one mile. A smalbriver
flowed in from the North; South a quarter
of a mile, North-West half a mile, South-
South-West two miles and a half, South-East
three quarters of a mile; a rivulet löst itself
in the main stream, West-North-West half a
mile. Here the current slaekened, and we
proceeded South-South-West three quarters
of a mile, South-West three quarters of a
mile, South by East three quarters of a mile,
South-East by East one mile, when it veered
gradually to West-North-West half a mile;
the river being full of islands. We proceeded
due North, with little current, the river pre-
senting a beautiful sheet of water for a mile
and a half, South-West by West one mile,
West-North-West one mile, when it veered
round to South-East one mile, West by North
one mile, South-East one mile, West by North
three quarters of a mile, South one eighth of
a mile, when we came to an Indian cabin of
late erection. Here was the great fork, of
which our guide had informed us, and it appeared to be the largest branch from the
South-East. It is about half a mile in
breadth, and assumes the form of a lake.
The current was very släck, and we got into
the middle of the channel, when we steered
West, and sounded in sixteen feet water.
A ridge of high land now stretched on, as
it were, across our present direction: this
course was three miles. We then proceeded
West-South-West two miles, and sounded in
twenty-four feet water. Here the river nar-
rowed and the current increased. We then
continued our course North-iNorth-West three
quarters of a mile, a small river falling in
from the North-East. It now veered to South
by West one mile and a quarter, West-South-
West four miles and a half, West by North
one mile and a quarter, North-West by West
one mile, West a mile and a quarter: the
land was high on both sides, and the river
narrowed to an hundred and fifty, or two hundred yards; North-West three quarters of a
mile, South-West by South two miles and
a half: here its breadth again increased; South
by West one mile, West-South-West half a
mile, South-West by South three miles,
South-South-East one mile, with a small river
running in from the left, South with a strong
current one mile, then East three quarters of
a mile, South-West one mile, South-South-
East a mile and a half: the four last dis-
tances being a continuäi. rapid, South-West
by West one mile, East-North-East a mile
and a half, East-South-East one mile, where
a small river flowed in on the right; South-
West by South two miles and a half, when
another small river appeared from the same
quarter; South by East half a mile and South-
West by West one mile and a quarter: here
we landed for the night. When we had
passed the last river we observed smoke rising from it, as if produced by fires that had
been fresh lighted; I therefore concluded that
there were natives. on its banks: but I was
unwilling to fatigue my people, by pulling
back against the current in order to go in
search of them.
This river appeared, from its high water-
mark, to have fallen no more than one foot,
while the smaller branch, from a similar
measurement, had sunk two feet and a half.
On our entering it, we saw a flock of ducks
which were entirely white, except the bill
and part of the wings. The weather was
cold and raw throughout the day, and the
wind South-West. We saw a smoke rising in
columns from many parts of the woods, and
I should have been more anxious to see the
natives, if there had been any person with
me who could have introduced me to them;
but as that object could not be then attained
without considerable loss of time, I deter-
mined to pursue the navigation while it continued to be so favourable, and to wait till
my return, if no very convenient opportunity
offered in the mean time, to engage an inter-
course with them.
Wednesday, 19.—The morning was foggy,
and at three we were on the water. At half
past that hour, our course was East by South
three quarters of a mile, a small river flowing
in from the right. We then proceeded South
by East half a mile, and South-South-West a
mile and a half. During the last distance,
clouds of thick smoke rose from the woods,
that darkened the atmosphere, accompanied
with a strong odour of the gum of cypress
and the spruce-fir. Our courses continued to
be South-West a mile and a quarter, North-
West by West three quarters of a mile, South-
South-East a mile and a quarter, East three
quarters of a mile, South-West one mile,
West by South three quarters of a mile,
South-East by South three quarters of a mile,
South by West half a mile, West by South
three quarters of a mile, South by West two
miles and a half. In the last course there
was an island, and it appeared to me, that
the main channel of the river had formerly
been on the other side of it.   The banks were
132 «n
here composed of high white cliffs, crowned
with pinnades in very grotesque shapes. We
continued to steer South-East by South a mile
and a half, South by East half a mile, East
one mile and a quarter, South-East by East
one mile, South by East three quarters of a
mile, South-East by East one mile, South-
South-East half a mile, East one mile and a
quarter, South by East half a mile, East a
mile and half, South-South-East three miles,
and South-West three quarters of a mile. In
the last course the rocks contracted in such a
manner on both sides of the river, as to afford
the appearance of the upper part of a fall or
cataract. Under this apprehension we landed
on the left shore, where we found a kind of
footpath, imperfectly traced, through which
we conjectured that the natives occasionally
passed with their canoes and baggage. On
examining the course of the river, however,
there did not appear to be any fall as we expected ; but the rapids were of a considerable
length and impassable for a light canoe. We
had therefore no alternative but to widen the
road so as to admit the passage of our canoe,
which was now carried with great difficulty;
as from her frequent repairs, and not always
of the usual materials, her weight was such,
that she cracked and broke on the shoulders
of the men who bore her.    The labour and
fatigue of this undertaking, from eight till
twelve, beggars all description, when we at
length conquered this afflicting passage, of
about half a mile, över a rocky and most
rugged hill. Our course was South-South-
West. Here I took a meridian altitude which
gave me 53. 42. 20. North latitude. We,
however, löst some time to put our canoe in
a condition to carry us onwards. Our course
was South a quarter of a mile to the next
carrying-place; which was nothing more than
a rocky point about twice the length of the
canoe. From the extremity of this point to
the rocky and almost perpendicular bank that
rose on the opposite shore, is not more than
förty or fifty yards. The great body of water, at the same time tumbling in successive
cascades along the first carrying-place, rolls
through this narrow passage in a very tur-
bid current, and full of whirlpools. On the
banks of the river there was great plenty of
wild onions, which when mixed up with our
pemmican was a great improvement of it;
though they produced a physical effect on our
appetites, which was rather inconvenient to
the state of our provisions.
Here we embarked, and steered South-East
by East three quarters of a mile. We now
saw a smoke on the shore; but before we
could reach land the natives had deserted
their camp, which appeared to be erected for
no more than two families.    My two Indians
were instantly dispatched in search of them,
and, by following thejr tracks, they soon
overtook them; but thejj language was mutu-
ally unintelligible; and all attempts to produce a friendly communication were fruitless.
They no sooner perceived my young men than
they prepared their bows and arrows, and
made signs for them not to advance; and
they thought it prudent to desist from proceeding, though not before the natives had
discharged five arrows at them, which, however, they avoided, by means of the trees.
When they returned with this account, I very
much regretted that I had not accompanied
them; and as these people could not be at
any very great distance, I took Mr. Mackay,
and one of the Indians with me in order to
overtake them; but they had got so far it
would have been imprudent in me to have
followed them. My Indians, who, I believe,
were terrified at the manner in which these
natives received them, informed me, that,
besides their bows, arrows, and spears, they
were armed with long knives, and that they
accompanied their stränge antics with menac-
ing actions/ and loud shoutings. On my return, I found my people indulging their curi-
osity in examining the bags and baskets which
the natives had left behind them. Some of
them contained their fishing tackle, such as
nets, lines, &c, others of a smaller size were
filled with a red earth, with which they paint
themselves. In several of the bags there
were also sundry artides of which we did not
know the use. I prevented my men from
taking any of them; and for a few artides of
mere curiosity, which I took myself, I left
such things in exchange as would be much
more useful to their owners.
At four we left this place, proceeding with
the streani South-East three quarters of a
mile, East-South-East one mile, South three
quarters of a mile, South-South-West one
mile, South by East three quarters of a mile,
South-South-East one mile, South-South-
West two miles, South-South-East three miles
and a quarter, East by North one mile, South-
South-East one mile and a quarter, with a
rapid, South-South-West three quarters of a
mile, South one mile and a half, South-East
one mile and a quarter, South three quarters
of a mile, and South-South-East one mile and
a half. At half past seven we landed for the
night, where a small river flowed in from the
right. The -weather was showery, accompanied with several loud claps of thunder.
The banks were overshadowed by lofty firs,
and wide-spreading cedars.
Thursday, 20.—The morning was foggy,
and at half past four we proceeded with a
South wind, South-East by East two miles,
South-South-East two miles and a half, and
South-South-West two miles. The fog was
so thick, that we couldjiot see the length of
our canoe, which rendefjed our progress dangerous, as we might have come suddenly upon
a cascade or violent rapid. Our next course
was West-North-West two miles and a half,
which comprehended a rapid. Being close in
with the left bank of the river, we perceived
two red deer at the very edge of the water:
we killed one of them, and wounded the
other, which was very small. We now landed,
and the Indians followed the wounded animal, which they soon caught, and would have
shot another in the woods, if our dog, who
followed them, had not disturbed it. From
the number of their tracks it appeared that
they abounded in this country. They are not
so large as the elk of the Peace River, but are
the real red deer, which I never saw in the
North, though I have been told that they are
to be found in great numbers in the plains
along the Red, or Assiniboin River. The
bark had been stripped off many of the spruce
trees, and carried away, as I presumed, by
the natives, for the purpose of covering their
cabins. We now got the venison on board,
and continued our voyage South-West one
mile, South a mile and a half, and West one
mile. Here the country changed its appearance;   the  banks  were  but of a moderate
height, from whence the ground continued
137 -B_
gradually rising to a considerable distance,
covered with poplars and cypresses, but without any kind of undérwood. There are also
several low points which the river, that is
here about three hundred yards in breadth,
sometimes overflows, and are shaded with the
liard, the soft birch, the spruce, and the wil-
low. For some distance before we came to
this part of the river, our view was confined
within very rugged, irregular, and lofty
banks, which were varied with the poplar,
different kinds of spruce fir, small birch trees,
cedars, ålders, and several species of the wil-
low. Our next course was South-West by
West six miles, when we landed at a deserted
house, which was the only Indian habitation
of this kind that I had seen on this side of
Mechilimakina. It was about thirty feet long
and twenty wide, with three doors, three feet
high by one foot and an half in breadth.
From this and other circustances, it appears
to have been constructed for three families.
There were also three fire-places, at equal
distances from each other; and the beds were
on either side of them. Behind the beds was
a narrow space, in the form of a mänger, and
somewhat elevated, which was appropriated
to the purpose of keeping fish. The wall of
the house, which was five feet in height, was
formed of very strait spruce timbers, brought
close together, and laid into each other at the
corners. The roof was supported by a ridge
pole, resting on two upright forks of about
ten feet high; that and the wall support a
certain number of spårs, which are covered
with spruce bark; and the whole attached and
secured by the fibers of the cedar. One of
the gable ends is closed with split boards;
the other with poles. Large rods are also
fixed across the upper part of the building,
where fish may häng and dry. To give the
walls additional strength, upright posts are
fixed in the ground, at equal distances, both
within and without, of the same height as
the wall, and firmly attached with bark fibres.
Openings appear also between the logs in the
wall, for the purpose, as I conjectured, of dis-
charging their arrows at a besieging enemy;
they would be needless for the purpose of
giving light, which is sufficiently afforded by
fissures between the logs of the building, so
that it appeared to be constructed merely for
a summer habitation. There was nothing
further to attract our attention in or about
the house, except a large machine, which
must. have rendered the taking off the roof
absolutely necessary, in order to have intro-
duced it. It was of a cylindrical form, fifteen feet long, and four feet and an half in
diameter; one end was square, like the head
of a cask, and an conical machine was fixed
inwards to the other end, of similar dimen-
sions;   at the  extremity  of which was an
opening of about seven inches in diameter.
This machine was certainly contrived to set
in the river, to catch large fish; and very well
adapted to that purpose; as when they are
once in, it must be impossible for them to get
out, unless they should have strength suffi-
cient to break through it.    It was made of
long pieces of split wood, rounded to the size
of a small finger, and placed at the distance
of an inch asunder, on six hoops; to this was
added a kind of boot of the same materials,
into which it may be supposed that the fish
are driven, when they are to be taken out.
The house was left in such apparent order as
to mark the design of its owners to return
thither.    It answered in every partieular the
description given us by our late guide, except
that it was not situated on an island.
We left this place, and steered South by
East one mile and a quarter when we passed
where there had been another house, of which
the ridge-pole and supporters alone remained:
the ice had probably carried away the body of
it.    The bank was at this time covered with
water, and a small river flowed in on the left.
On a point we observed an erection that had
the appearance of a tomb; it was in an oblong
form, covered, and very neatly walled with
bark.    A pole was fixed near it, to which, at
the height of ten or twelve feet, a piece of
bark was attached, which was probably a
memorial, or symbol of distinction. Our next
course was South by West two miles and a
half, when we saw a Tiouse on an island,
South-East by East one mile and three quarters, in which we observed another island,
with a house upon it. A river also flowed
from the right, and the land was high and
rocky, and wooded with the epinette.
Our canoe was now become so crazy that it
was a matter of absolute necessity to eon-
struct another; and as from the appearance
of the country there was reason to expect
that bark was to be found, we landed at
eight, with the hope of procuring it. I ac-
cordingly dispatched four men with that commission, and at twelve they returned with a
sufficient quantity to make the bottom of a
canoe of five fathom in length, and four feet
and a half in height. At noon I had an observation, which gave me 53. 17. 28. North
We now continued our voyage South-East
by South one mile and a half, East-South-
East one mile, East-North-East half a mile,
South-East two miles, South-East by South
one mile, South-East six miles, and East-
North-East. Here the river narrows between
steep rocks, and a rapid succeeded, which
was so violent that we did not venture to run
it.    I therefore ordered the loading to be
taken out of the canoe, but she was now become so heavy that the men preferred running the rapid to the carrying her överland.
Though I did not altogether approve of their
proposition, I was unwilling to oppose it.
Four of them undertook this hazardous expedition, and I hastened to the f oot of the rapid
with great anxiety, to wait the event, which
turned out as I expected. The water was so
strong, that although they kept clear of the
rocks, the canoe filled, and in this state they
drove half way down the rapid, but fortu-
nately she did not överset; and having got
her into an eddy, they emptied her, and in an
half-drowned condition arrived safe on shore.
The carrying-place is about half a mile över,
with an Indian path across it. Mr. Mackay,
and the hunters, saw some deer on an island
above the rapid; and had that discovery been
made before the departure of the canoe, there
is little doubt but we should have added a
considerable quantity of venison to our stock
of provisions. Our vessel was in such a
wretched condition, as I have already observed, that it occasioned a delay of three
hours to put her in a condition to proceed.
At length we continued our former course,
East-North-East a mile and a half, when we
passed an extensive Indian encampment;
East-South-East one   mile,  where  a small
river appeared on the left;   South-East by
South one mile and three quarters, East by
South half a mile, East by North one mile,
and saw another house ^n an island; South
half a mile, West three quarters of a mile,
South-West half a mile, where the cliffs of
white and red clay appeared like the ruins of
ancient castles. Our canoe now veered grad-
ually to East-North-East one mile and a half,
when we landed in a storm of rain and thunder, where we perceived the remains of Indian
houses. It was impossible to determine the
wind in any part of the day, as it came a-head
in all our directions.
Friday, 21.—As I was very sensible of the
difficulty of procuring provisions in this country, I thought it prudent to guard against
any possibility of distress of that kind on our
return; I therefore ordered ninety pounds
weight of pemmican to be buried in a hole,
sufiiciently deep to admit of a fire över it
without doing any injury to our hidden
treasure, and which would, at the. same time,
secure it from the natives of the country, or
the wild animals of the woods.
The morning was very cloudy, and at four
o'clock we renewed our voyage, steering
South by East one mile and a quarter, East-
South-East half a mile, South by East one
mile and a half, East half a mile, South-East
two miles, where a large river flowed in from
the left, and a smaller one from the right.
143 —*m
We then continued South by West three
quarters of a mile, East by South a mile and
a half, South three quarters of a mile, South-
East by East one mile, South by East half a
mile, South-East three quarters of a mile,
South-East by South half a mile, South-East
by East half a mile, the cliffs of blue and
yellow clay, displaying the same grotesque
shapes as those which we passed yesterday,
South-South-East a mile and a half, South
by East two miles. The latitude by observation was 52. 47. 51. North.
Here we perceived a small new canoe, that
had been drawn up to the edge of the woods,
and soon after another appeared, with one
man in it, which came out of" a small river.
He no sooner saw us than he gave the whoop
to alarm his friends, who immediately appeared on the bank, armed with bows and
arrows, and spears. They were thinly hab-
ited, and displayed the most outrageous an-
tics. Though they were certainly in a state
of great apprehension, they manifested by
their gestures that they were resolved to attack us, if we should venture to land. I
therefore ordered the men to stop the way of
the canoe, and even to check her drifting
with the current, as it would have been extreme folly to have approached these savages
before their fury had in some degree sub-
sided.   My interpreters, who understood their
language, informed me that they threatened
us with instant death if we drew nigh the
shore; and they followeöSthe menace by dis-
charging a volley of arrows, some of which
fell short of the canoe, and others passed
över it, so that they fortunately did us no
As we had been carried by the current below the spöt where the Indians were, I ordered my people to paddle to the opposite
side of the river, without the least appearance of confusion, so that they brought me
abreast of them. My interpreters, while we
were within hearing, had done every thing in
their power to pacify them, but in vain. We
also observed that they had sent off a canoe
with two men, down the river, as we concluded, to communicate their alarm, and pro-
cure assistance. This cireumstance deter-
mined me to leave no means untried that
might engage us in a friendly intercourse with
them, before they acquired additional secur-
ity and confidence, by the arrival of their relations and neighbours, to whom their situation would be shortly notified.
I therefore formed the following adventur-
ous project, which was happily crowned with
success. I left the canoe, and walked by
myself along the beach, in order to induce
some of the natives to come to me, which I
imagined they might be disposed to do, when
Vol. II.—10
they saw me alone, without any apparent
possibility of receiving assistance from my
people, and would consequently imagine that
a communication with me was not a service
of danger. At the same time, in order to
possess the utmost security of which my situation was susceptible, I directed one of the
Indians to slip into the woods, with my gun
and his own, and to conceal himself from
their discovery; he also had orders to keep as
near me as possible, without being seen; and
if any of the natives should venture across,
and attempt to shoot me from the water, it
was his instructions to lay him low: at the
same time he was particularly enjoined not to
fire till I had discharged one or both of the
pistols that I carried in my belt. If, however, any of them were to land, and approach
my person, he was immediately to join me.
In the meantime my other interpreter assured
them that we entertained the most friendly
dispositions, which I confirmed by such signals as I conceived would be comprehended
by them. I had not, indeed, been long at my
station, and my Indian in ambush behind me,
when two of the natives came off in a canoe,
but stopped when they had got within a hundred yards of me. I made signs for them to
land, and as an inducement, displayed look-
ing-glasses, beads, and other alluring trinkets.
At length, but with every mark of extreme
apprehension, they approached the shore,
stern f oremost, but would not venture to land.
I now made them a present of some beads,
with which they were göing to push off, when
I renewed my entreaties, and, after some time,
prevailed on them to come ashore, and sit
down by me. My hunter now thought it right
to join me, and created some alarm in my
new acquaintance. It was, however, soon
removed, and I had the satisfaction to find,
that he and these people perf ectly understood
each other. I instructed him to say every
thing that might tend to soothe their f ears and
win their confidence. I expressed my wish
to conduct them to our canoe, but they de-
clined my offer; and when they observed
some of my people coming towards us, they
requested me to let them return; and I was
so well satisfied with the progress I had made
in my intercourse with them, that I did not
hesitate a moment in complying with their
desire. During their short stay, they observed us, and every thing about us, with a
mixture of admiration and astonishment. We
could plainly distinguish that their friends
received them with great joy on their return,
and that the artides which they carried back
with them were examined with a general and
eager curiosity; they also appeared to hold a
consultation, which lasted about a quarter of
an hour, and the result was, an invitation to
come över to them, which was cheerfully ac-
eepted. Nevertheless, on our landing they
betrayed evident signs of confusion, which
arose probably from the quickness of our
movements, as the prospect of a friendly com-
munication had so cheered the spirits of my
people, that they paddled across the river
with the utmost expedition. The two men,
however, who had been with us, appeared,
very naturally, to possess the greatest share
of courage on the occasion, and were ready
to receive us on our landing; but our de-
meanour soon dispelled all their apprehen-
sions, and the most familiar communication
took place between us. When I had secured
their confidence, by the distribution of trin-
kets among them, and treated the children
with sugar, I instructed my interpreters to
collect every necessary information in their
power to afford me.
According to their account, this river,
whose course is very extensive, runs towards
the mid-day sun; and that at its mouth, as
they had been informed, white people were
building houses. They represented its current to be uniformly strong, and that in three
places it was altogether impassable, from the
falls and rapids, which poured along between
perpendicular rocks that were much higher,
and more rugged, than any we had yet seen,
and would not admit of any passage över
them. But besides the dangers and difficulties of the navigation, they added, that we
should have to encountej* the inhabitants of
the country, who were very numerous. They
also represented their immediate neighbours
as a very malignant race, who lived in large
subterraneous recesses; and when they were
made to understand that it was our design to
proceed to the sea, they dissuaded us from
prosecuting our intention, as we should cer-
tainly become a sacrifice to the savage spirit
of the natives. These people they described
as possessing iron, arms, and utensils, which
they procured from their neighbours to the
Westward, and were obtained by a commercial progress from people like ourselves, who
brought them in great canoes.
Such an account of our situation, exagger-
ated as it might be in some points, and er-
roneous in others, was sufficiently alarming,
and awakened very painful reflections: never-
theless it did not operate on my mind so as
to produce any change in my original deter-
mination. My first object, therefore, was to
persuade two of these people to accompany
me, that they might secure to us a f avourable
reception from their neighbours. To this
proposition they assented, but expressed some
degree of dissatisf action at the immediate departure, for which we were making prepara-
tion; but when we were ready to enter the
i   Hl
canoe, a small one was seen doubling the point
below, with three men in it.    We thought it
prudent to wait for their arrival, and they
proved to be some of their relations, who had
received  the   alarm   from  the  messengers,
which I have already mentioned as having
been sent down the river for that purpose,
and who had passed on, as we were after-
wards informed, to extend the notice of our
arrival.    Though these people saw us in the
midst of their friends,  they dipslayed the
most menacing actions, and hostile postures.
At length, however, this wild, savage spirit
appeared to subside, and they were persuaded
to land.    One of them, who was a middle
aged person, whose agitations had been less
frequent than those of his companions, and
who was treated with particular respect by
them all, inquired who we were, whence we
came, whither we were going, and what was
the motive of our coming into that country.
When his friends had satisfied him as far as
they were able, respecting us, he instantly
advised us to delay our departure for that
night, as their relations below, having been
by this time alarmed by the messengers, who
had been sent for that purpose, would cer-
tainly oppose our passage, notwithstanding I
had two of their own people with me.    He
added, that they would all of them be here by
sunset, they would be convinced, as he was,
that we were good people, and meditated no
ill designs against them.
Such were the reasons which this Indian
urged in favour of our remaining till the next
morning; and they were too well founded for
me to hesitate in complying with them; be-
sides, by prolonging my stay till the next
morning, it was probable that I might obtain
some important intelligence respecting the
country through which I was to pass, and the
people who inhabited it. I accordingly ordered the canoe to be unloaded, taken out of
the water, and gummed. My tent was also
pitched, and the natives were now become so
f amiliar, that I was obliged to let them know
my wish to be alone and undisturbed.
My first application to the native whom I
have already particularly mentioned, was to
obtain from him such a plan of the river as
he should be enabled to give me; and he
complied with this request with a degree of
readiness and intelligence that evidently
proved it was by no means a new business to
him. In order to acquire the best information he could communicate, I assured him, if
I found his account correct, that I should
either return myself, or send others to them,
with such artides as they appeared to want:
particularly arms and ammunition, with which
they would be able to prevent their enemies
from invading them.'    I obtained, however,
no addition to what I already knew, but that
the country below us, as far as he was ac-
quainted with it, abounded in animals, and
that the river produced plenty of fish.
Our canoe was now become so weak, leaky,
and unmanageable, that it became a matter
of absolute necessity to construct a new one;
and I had been informed, that if we delayed
that important work till we got further down
the river, we should not be able to procure
bark. I therefore dispatched two of my people, with an Indian, in search of that necessary material. The weather was so cloudy
that I could not get an observation.*
I passed the rest of the dajr in conversing
with these people: they consisted of seven
families, containing eighteen men, they were.
clad in leather, and handsome beaver and
rabbit-skin blänkets. They had not been
long arrived in this part of the country, where
they proposed to pass the summer, to catch
fish for their winter provision: for this purpose they were preparing machines similar to
that which we found in the first Indian house
we saw and described. The fish which they
take in them are large, and only visit this
part of the river at certain seasons. These
people differ very little, if at all, either in
their appearance, language, or manners, from
* The observation, already mentioned, I got on
my return.
the Rocky-Mountain Indians. The men whom
I sent in search of bark, returned with a cer-
tain quantity of it, but\of a very indifferent
kind. We were not gratified with the arrival
of any of the natives whom we expected from
a lower part of the river.
JUNE, 1793. §
Saturday, 22.—At six in the morning we
proceeded on our voyage, with two of the
Indians, one of them in a small pointed canoe,
made after the fashion of the Esquimaux, and
the other in our own. This precaution was
necessary in a two-fold point of view, as the
small canoe could be sent ahead to speak to
any of the natives that might be seen down
the river, and, thus divided, would not be
easy for them both to make their escape. Mr.
Mackay also embarked with the Indian, which
seemed to afford him great satisfaction, and
he was thereby enabled to keep us company
with diminution of labour.
Our courses were South-South-East a mile
and a half, South-East half a mile, South by
East four miles and a half, South-East by
South half a jnile, South by West half a mile,
South-East by East one mile, South-South-
West a mile and a half, South by East one
mile and a quarter. The country, on the
right, presented a very beautiful appearance:
it rose at first rather abruptly to the height of
twenty-five feet, when the precipice was succeeded by an inclined plain to the f oot of an-
other steep; which was followed by another
extent of gently-rising ground: these objects,
which were shaded wit_> groves of fir, pre-
senting themselves alternately to a considerable distance.
We now landed near a house, the roof of
which alone appeared above ground; but it
was deserted by its inhabitants who had been
alarmed at our approach.    We observed several men in the second steep, who displayed
the same postures and menacing actions as
those which we have  so  lately described.
Our conductors went to them immediately on
an embassy of friendship, and, after a very
vociferous discourse, one of them was per-
suaded to come to us, but presented a very
ferocious aspect: the rest, who were seven in
number, soon followed his example.    They
held their bows and arrows in their hands,
and appeared in their garments, which were
fastened round the neck, but left the right
arm free  for action.    A  cord fastened   a
blänket or leather covering under the right
arrnpit, so that it hung upon the left shoulder,
and might be occasionally employed as  a
target, that would turn an arrow which was
nearly spent.    As soon as they had recovered
from their apprehensions, ten women made
their appearance, but without any children,
whom, I imagine, they had sent to a greater
distance, to be out of the reach of all possible
danger. I distributed a few presents among
them, and left my guides to explain to them
the object of my journey, and the friendli-
ness of my designs, with which they had
themselves been made acquainted; their fears
being at length removed, I gave them a speci-
men of the use to which we applied our fire-
arms : at the same time, I calmed their aston-
ishment, by the assurance, that, though we
could at once destroy those who did us injury,
we could equally protect those who shewed us
kindness. Our stay here did not exceed half
an hour, and we left these people with fa-
vourable impressions of us.
From this place we steered East by North
haH a mile, South by East three quarters of
a mile, and South by West a mile and a half,
when we landed again on seeing some of the
natives on the high ground, whose appearance was more wild and ferocious than any
whom we had yet seen. Indeed I was under
some apprehension that our guides, who went
to conciliate them to us, would have fallen a
prey to their savage fury. At length, however, they were persuaded to entertain a more
f avourable opinion of us, and they approached
us one after another, to the number of sixteen men, and several women, I shook hands
with them all, and desired my interpreters to
explain that salutation as a token of friend-
ship.   As this was not a place where we could
remain with the necessary convenience, I pro-
posed to proceed further, in search of a more
commodious spöt. They^mmediately invited
us to pass the night atTtheir lodges, which
were at no great distance, and promised, at
the same time, that they would, in the morning, send two young men to introduce us to
the next nation, who were very numerous,
and ill-disposed towards strangers. As we
were pushing from the shore, we were very
much surprised at hearing a woman pronounce
several words in the Knisteneaux language.
She proved to be a Rocky Mountain native,
so that my interpreters perfectly understood
her. She informed us that her country is at
the f orks of this river, and that she had been
taken prisoner by the Knisteneaux, who had
carried her across the mountains. After having passed the greatest part of the summer
with them, she had contrived to escape, before they had reached their own country, and
had re-crossed the mountains, when she expected to meet her own friends: but after
suffering all the hardships incident to such a
journey, she had been taken by a war-party
of the people with whom she then was, who
had driven her relations from the river into
the mountains. She had since been detained
by her present husband, of whom she had no
cause to complain; nevertheless she expressed
a strong desire to return to her own people.
I presented her with several useful artides,
and desired her to come to me at the lodges,
which she readily engaged to do. We arrived
thither before the Indians, and landed, as we
had promised. It was now near twelve at
noon, but on attempting to take an altitude,
I found the angle too great for my sextant.
The natives whom we had already seen,
and several others, soon joined us, with a
greater number of women than I had yet
seen; but I did not obserye the female pris-
oner among them. There were thirty-five of
them, and my remaining store of presents was
not sufficient to enable me to be very liberal
to so many claimants. Among the men I
found four of the adjoining nation, and a
Rocky-Mountain Indian, who had been with
them for some time. As he was understood
by my interpreters, and was himself well ac-
quainted with the language of the strangers,
I possessed the means of obtaining every information respecting the country, which it
might be in their power to afford me. For
this purpose I selected an elderly man, from
the four strangers, whose countenance had
prepossessed me in his favour. I stated to
these people, as I had already done to those
from whom I had hitherto derived information, the objects of my voyage, and the very
great advantages which they would receive
from my successful termination of it.    They
• expressed themselves very much satisfied at
my communication, and assured me that they
would not deceive me respecting the subject
of my inquiry. An old man also, who appeared to possess the character of a chief, de-
clared his wish to see me return to his land,
and that his two young daughters should then
be at my disposal. I now proceeded to re-
quest the native, whom I had particularly se-
lected, to commence his information, by draw-
ing a sketch of the country upon a large piece
of bark, and he immediately entered on the
work, frequently appealing to, and sometimes
asking the ad vice of, those around him. He
described the river as running to the East of
South, reeeiving many rivers, and every six
or eight leagues encumbered with falls and
rapids, some of which were very dangerous,
and six of them impracticable. The carrying-
places he represented as of great length, and
passing över hills and mountains. He de-
picted the lands of three other tribes, in succession, who spöke different languages. Beyond them he knew nothing either of the
river or country, only that it was still a long
way to the sea; and that, as he had heard,
there was a lake, before they reached the
water, which the natives did not drink. As
far as his knowledge of the river extended,
the country on either side was level, in many
places without wood, and abounding in red
deer, and some of a small fallow kind. Few
of the natives, he said, would come to the
banks for some time; but, that at a certain
season they would arrive there in great num-
bers, to fish. They now procured iron, brass,
copper, and trinkets, from the Westward; but
formerly these artides were obtained from
the lower parts of the river, though in small
quantities. A knife was produced which had
been brought from that quarter. The blade
was ten inches long, and an inch and a half
broad, but with a very blunted edge. The
handle was of horn. We understood that
this instrument had been Obtained from white
men, long before they had heard that any
came to the Westward. One very old man
observed, that as long as he could remember,
he was told of white people to the Southward ; and that he had heard, though he did
not vouch for the truth of the report, that
one of them had made an attempt to come up
the river, and was destroyed.
These people describe the distance across
the country as very short to the Western
ocean; and, according to my own idea, it cannot be above five or six degrees. If the as-
sertion of Mr. Mears be correct, it cannot be
so far, as the inland sea which he mentions
within Nootka, must come as far East as 126.
West longitude.    They assured us that the
road was not difficult, as they avoided the
mountains, keeping along the low lands between them, many parts of which are entirely
free from wood. According to their account,
this way is so often travelled by them, that
their path is visible throughout the whole
journey, which lies along small lakes and
rivers. It occupied them, they said, no
more than six nights, to go to where they
meet the people who barter iron, brass, cop-
per, beads, &c, with them, for dressed
leather, and beaver, bear, lynx, fox, and
marten skins. The iron is about eighteen
inches of two-inch bar. To this they give an
edge at one end, and fix it to a handle at
right angles, which they employ as an axe.
When the iron is worn down, they fabricate
it into points for their arrows and pikes.
Before they procured iron they employed bone
and horn for those purposes. The copper and
brass they convert into collars, arm-bands,
bracelets, and other ornaments. They sometimes also point their arrows with those
metals. They had been informed by those
whom they meet to trade with, that the white
people, from whom these artides are obtained, were building houses at the distance
of three days, or two nights journey from
the place where they met last fall. With
this route they all appeared to be well ac-
quainted. HpJ
I now requested that they would send for
Vol. IL—11 161
the female prisoner whom I saw yesterday;
but I received only vague and evasive an-
swers. They probably apprehended, that it
was our design to take her from them. I
was, however, very much disappointed at
being prevented from having an interview
with her, as she might have given me a cor-
rect account of the country beyond the forks
of the river, as well as of the pass, through
the mountains, from them.
My people had listened with great attention
to the relation which had been given me, and
it seemed to be their opinion, that it would
be absolute madness to attempt a passage
through so many savage and barbarous nations. My situation may indeed, be more
easily conceived than expressed: I had no
more than thirty days provision remaining,
exclusive of such supplies as I might obtain
from the natives, and the toil of our hunters,
which, however, was so precarious as to be
matter of little dependence: besides, our ammunition would soon be exhausted, particularly our ball, of which we had not more than
a hundred and fifty, and about thirty pound
weight of shot, which, indeed, might be con-
verted into bullets, though with great waste.
The more I heard of the river, the more I
was convinced it could not empty itself into
the ocean to the North of what is called the
river of the West, so that with its windings,
the distance must be very great. Such being
the discouraging circumstances of my situation, which were now heightened by the discon-
tents of my people, I could not but be alarmed
at the idea of attempting to get to the discharge of such a rapid river, especially when
I reflected on the tardy progress of my return
up it, even if I should meet with no obstruc-
tion from the natives; a cireumstance not
very probable, from the numbers of them
which would then be on the river, and whom
I could have no opportunity of conciliating in
my passage down, for the reasons which have
been already mentioned. At all events, I
must give up every expectation of returning
this season to Athabasca. Such were my re-
flections at this period; but instead of con-
tinuing to'indulge them, I determined to proceed with resolution, and set future events at
defiance. At the same time I suffered myself
to nourish the hope that I might be able to
penetrate with more safety, and in a shorter
period, to the ocean by the inland western
To carry this project into execution I must
have returned a considerable distance up the
river, which would necessarily be attended
with very serious inconvenience, if I passed
över every other; as in a voyage of this kind,
a retrograde motion could not fail to cool the
aretour, slacken the zeal, and weaken the con-
fidence of those, who have no greater induce-
ment to the undertaking, than to follow the
conductor of it. Such was the state of my
mind at this period, and such the circumstances with which it was distressed and dis-
To the people who had given me the fore-
going information I presented some beads,
which they preferred to any other artides in
my possession, and I recompensed in the
same manner two of them who communicated
to me the following vocabulary in the language of the Nagailer and Atnah tribes.
The Negailer, or
The Atnah, or
Gough,    .
The Negalier, or
The Atnah, or
Come here,
The Atnah language has no affinity to any
with which I am acquainted; but the Na-
gailer differs very little from that spöken by
the Beaver Indians, and is almost the same
as that of the Chepewyans.
We had a thunder-storm with heavy rain;
and in the evening when it had subsided, the
Indians amused us with singing and dancing,
in which they were j oined by the young
women. Four men now arrived whom we
had not yet seen; they had left their families
at some distance in the country, and expressed a desire that we should visit them
Sunday,  23.—After  a  restless   night,   I
called the  Indians  together, from whom I
yesterday received the intelligence which has
been already mentioned, in the hope that I
might obtain  some  additional information.
From their former account they did not make
the least deviation; but they informed me
further, that where they left this river, a
small one from the Westward falls into it,
which was navigable for their canoes during
four days, and from thence they slept but
two nights, to get to the people with whom
they trade,  and who have  wooden  canoes
much larger than ours, in which they go down
a river to the sea.   They continued to inform
me, that if I went that way we must leave
our own canoe behind us; but they thought
it probable that those people would furnish
us with another.    From thence they stated
the distance to be only one day's voyage with
the current to the lake whose water is nause-
ous, and where they had heard that great
canoes came two winters ago, and that the
people belonging to them, brought great quan-
tities of goods and built houses.
At the commencement of this conversation,
I was very much surprised by the following
question from one of the Indians: "What,"
demanded he, " can be the reason that you
are so particular and anxious in your inquiries
of us respecting a knowledge of this country:
do not you white men know every thing in
the world? |    This interrogatory was so very
unexpected, that it occasioned some hesita-
tion before I could answer it.    At  length,
however, I replie d, that we certainly were
acquaintéd with the principal circumstances
of every part of the world; that I knew
where the sea is, and where I myself then
was, but that I did not exactly understand
what obstacles might interrupt me in getting
to it; with which, he and his relations must
be well acquainted, as they had so frequently
surmounted them. Thus I fortunately pre-
served the impression in their minds, of the
superiority of white people över themselves.
It was now, however, absolutely necessary
that I should come to a final determination
which route to take; and no long interval of
reflection was employed, before I preferred
to go över land: the comparative shortness
and security of such a journey, were alone
sufficient to determine me. I accordingly
proposed to two of the Indians to accompany
me, and one of them readily assented to my
I now called those of my people about me,
who had not been present at my consultation
with the natives; and after passing a warm
eulogium on their fortitude, patienee, and
perseverance, I stated the difficulties that
threatened our continuing to navigate the
river, the length of time it would require,
and the scanty provision we had for such a
voyage: I then proceeded for the foregoing
reasons to propose a shorter route, by trying
the överland road to the sea. At the same
time, as I knew from experience, the difficulty of retaining guides, and as many circumstances might occur to prevent our progress in that direction, I declared my resolution not to attempt it, unless they would en-
gage, if we could not after all proceed över
land, to return with me, and continue our
voyage to the discharge of the waters, what-
ever the distance might be. At all events, I
dcelared, in the most solemn manner, that I
would not abandon my design of reaching the
sea, if I made the attempt alone, and that I
did not despair of returning in safety tö my
This proposition met with the most zealous
return, and they unanimously assured me,
that they were as willing now as they had ever
been, to abide by my resolutions, whatever
they might be, and to follow me wherever I
should go. I therefore requested them to
prepare for an immediate departure, and at
the same time gave notice to the man who
had engaged to be our guide, to be in readi-
ness to accompany us. When our determina-
tion to return up the river was made known,
several of the natives took a very abrupt departure ; but to those who remained, I gave a
few useful artides, explaining to them at the
same time, the advantages that would result
to them, if their relations conducted me to
the sea, along such a road as they had described. I had already given a moose skin
to some of the women for the purpose of mak-
ing shoes, which were now brought us; they
were well  sewed but ill-shaped, and a few
beads were considered as a sufficient remu-
neration for the skill employed on them.
Mr. Mackay, by my desire, engraved my
name, and the date of the year on a tree.
When we were ready to depart, our guide
proposed, for the sake of expedition, to go
över land to his lodge, that he might get
there "before us, to make some necessary
preparation for his journey. I did not altogether relish his design, but was obliged to
consent: I thought it prudent, however, to
send Mr. Mackay, and the two Indians along
with him. Our place of rendezvous, was the
subterraneous house which we passed yester-
At ten in the morning we embarked, and
went up the current much faster than I expected with such a crazy vessel as that which
carried us. We met our people at the house
as had been appointed; but the Indian still
continued to prefer going on by land, and it
would have been needless for me to oppose
him. He proceeded, therefore, with his
former companions, whom I desired to keep
him in good humour by every reasonable
gratification. They were also furhished with
a few artides that might be of use if they
should meet strangers.
In a short time after we had left the house,
I saw a wooden canoe coming down the river,
with three natives in it, who, as soon as they
perceived us, made for the shore, and hurried
into the woods. On passing their vessel, we
discovered it to be one of those which we had
seen at the lodges. A severe gust of wind,
with rain, came from the South-South-East.
This we found to be a very prevalent wind in
these parts. We soon passed another wooden
canoe drawn stern foremost on the shore; a
cireumstance which we had not hitherto observed. The men worked very härd, and
though I imagined we went a-head very fast,
we could not reach the lodges, but landed for
the night at nine, close to the encampment of
two families of the natives whom we had
formerly seen at the lodges. I immediately
went and sat down with them, when they
gave some roasted fish; two of my men who
followed me were gratified also with some of
their provisions. The youngest of the two
natives now quitted the shed, and did not return during the time I remained there. I en-
deavoured to explain to the other by signs,
the cause of my sudden return, which he appeared to understand. In the mean time my
tent was pitched, and on my going to it, I
was rather surprised that he did not follow
me, as he had been constantly with me during
the day and night I had passed with his party
on going down. We, however, went to rest
in a state of perf ect security; nor had we the
least apprehension for the safety of our people who were gone by land.
■_■_■ M
We were in our canoe by four this morning,
and passed by the Indian hut, which appeared
in a state of perfect tranquillity. We soon
came in sight of the point where we first saw
the natives, and at eight were much surprised
and disappointed at seeing Mr. Mackay, and
our two Indians coming alone from the ruins
of a house that had been partly carried away
by the ice and water, at a short distance below the place where we had appointed to
meet. Nor was our surprise and apprehension
diminished by the alarm which was painted
in their countenances. When we had landed,
they informed me that they had taken refuge
in that place, with the determination to sell
their lives, which they considered in the most
imminent danger, as dear as possible. In a
very short time after they had left us, they
met a party of the Indians, whom we had
known at this place, and were probably those
whom we had seen to land from their canoe.
They appeared to be in a state of extreme
råge, and had their bows bent, with their arrows across them. The guide stopped to ask
them some questions, which my people did
not understand, and then set off with his utmost speed. Mr. Mackay, however, did not
leave him till they were both exhausted with
running. When the young man came up, he
then said, that some treacherous design was
meditated against them, as he was induced to
believe from the declaration of the natives,
who told him that they were going to do mis-
chief, but refused to name the enemy. The
guide then conducted them through very bad
ways, as fast as they could run; and when he
was desired to slacken his pace, he answered
that they might follow him in any mannei
they pleased, but that he was impatient to
get to his family, in order to prepare shoes,,
and other necessaries, for his journey. They
did not, however, think it prudent to quit
him, and he would not stop till ten at night.
On passing a track that was but lately made,
they began to be seriously alarmed, and on
inquiring of the guide where they were, he
pretended not to understand them. They
then all laid down, exhausted with fatigue,
and without any kind of covering: they were
cold, wet, and hungry, but dared not light a
fire, from the apprehension of an enemy.
This comfortless spöt they left at the dawn
of the day, and, on their arrival at the lodges,
found them deserted; the property of the
Indians being scattered about, as if abandoned for ever. The guide then made two
or three trips into the woods, calling aloud,
and bellowing like a madman. At length he
set off in the same direction as they came,
and had not since appeared. To heighten
their misery, as they did not find us at the
place appointed, they concluded that we were
all destroyed, and had already formed their
plan to take to the woods, and cross in as
direct a line as they could proceed, to the
waters of the Peace River, a scheme which
could only be suggested by despair. They
intended to have waited for us till noon, and
if we did not appear by that time, to have
entered without further delay on their desperate expedition.
This alarm among the natives was a very
unexpected as well as perilous event, and my
powers of conjecture were exhausted in
searching for the cause of it. A general
panic seized all around me, and any further
prosecution of the voyage was now considered
by them as altogether hopeless and imprac-
ticable. But without paying the least atten-
tion to their opinions or surmises, I ordered
them to take every thing out of the canoe,
except six packages: when that was done, I
left four men to take care of the lading, and
returned with the others to our camp of last
night, where I hoped to find the two men,
with their families, whom we had seen there,
and to be able to bring them to lodge with us,
when I should wait the issue of this mysteri-
ous business. This project, however, was
disappointed, for these people had quitted
their sheds in the silence of the night, and
had not taken a single artide of their little
property with them.
173 „■•'    I
These perplexing circumstances made a
deep impression on my mind, not as to our
immediate safety, for I entertained not the
least apprehension of the Indians I had hitherto seen, even if their whole force should
have been combined to attack us, but these
untoward events seemed to threaten the pros-
ecution of my journey; and I could not re-
flect on the possibility of such a disappoint-
ment but with sensations little short of agony.
Whatever might have been the wavering disposition of the people on former occasions,
they were now decided in their opinions as to
the necessity of returning without delay; and
when we came back to them, their cry was—
"Let us re-embark, and be gone." This,
however, was not my design, and in a more
peremptory tone than I usually employed,
they were ordered to unload the canoe, and
take her out of the water. On examining our
property, several artides appeared to be miss-
ing, which the Indians must have purloined;
and among them were an axe, two knives,
and the young men's bag of medicines. We
now took a position that was the best cal-
culated for defence, got our arms in complete order, filled each man's fläsk of pow-
der, and distributed an hundred bullets,
which were all that remained, while some
were employed in melting down shot to
make more.    The weather was so cloudy,
that I had not an opportunity of taking an
While we were employed in making these
preparatiöns, we saw an Indian in a canoe
come down the river, and land at the huts,
which he began to examine. On perceiving
us he stood still, as if in a state of suspense,
when I instantly dispatched one of my Indians towards him, but no persuasions could
induce him to have confidence in us; he even
threatened that he would hästen to join his
friends, who would come and kill us. At
the conclusion of this menace he disappeared.
On the return of my young man, with this
account of the interview, I pretended to dis-
credit the whole, and attributed it to his own
apprehensions and alarms. This, however,
he denied, and asked with a look and tone
of resentment, whether he had ever told me a
lie? Though he was but a young man, he
said, he had been on war excursions before he
came with me, and that he should no longer
consider me as a wise man, which he had
hitherto done.
To add to our distresses we had not an
ounce of gum for the reparation of the canoe,
and not one of the men had sufficient courage
to venture into the woods to collect it. In
this perplexing situation I entertained the
hope that in the course of the night some of
the natives would return, to take away a part
at least of the things which they had left behind them, as they had gone away without
the covering necessary to defend them from
the weather and the flies. I therefore ordered the canoe to be loaded, and dropped to
an old house, one side of which, with its roof,
had been carried away by the water; but the
three remaining angles were sufficient to shel-
ter us from the woods. I then ordered two
strong piquets to be driven into the ground,
to which the canoe was fastened, so that if
we were härd pressed we had only to step on
board and push off. We were under the necessity of making a smoke to keep off the
swarms of flies, which would have otherwise
tormented us; but we did not venture to ex-
cite a blaze, as it would have been a mark for
the arrows of the enemy. Mr. Mackay and
myself, with three men kept alternate watch,
and allowed the Indians to do as they fancied.
I took the first watch, and the others laid
down in their clothes by us. I also placed a
centinel at a small distance, who was relieved
every hour. - The weather was cloudy, with
showers of rain.
Tuesday, 25.—At one I called up the other
watch, and laid down to a small portion of
broken rest. At five I arose, and as the situation which we left yesterday was preferable
to that which we then occupied, I determied
to return to it.    On our arrival Mr. Mackay
informed me that the men had expressed
their dissatisfaction to him in a very unre-
served manner, and had in very strong terms
declared their resolution to follow me no further in my proposed enterprise. I did not
appear, however, to have received such Communications from him, and continued to em-
ploy my whole thoughts in contriving means
to bring about a reconciliation with the natives, which alone would en able me to pro-
cure guides, without whose assistance it
would be impossible for me to proceed, when
my darling project would end in disappoint-
At twelve we saw a man coming with the
stream upon a raft, and he must have discov-
ered us before we perceived him, as he was
working very härd to get to the opposite
shore, where he soon landed, and instantly
fled into the woods. I now had a meridional
altitude, which gave 60. 23. natur al horizon
(the angle being more than the sextant could
measure with the artificial horizon) one mile
and a half distant; and the eye five feet
above the level of the water, gave 52. 47. 51.
North latitude.
While I was thus employed, the men loaded
the canoe, without having received any orders
from me, and as this was the first time they
had ventured to act in such a decided manner, I naturally concluded that they had pre-
concerted a plan for their return. I thought
it prudent, however, to take no notice of this
transaction, and to wait the issue of f uture
circumstances. At this moment our Indians
perceived a person in the edge of the woods
above us, and they were immediately dis-
patched to discover who it was. After a
short absence they returned with a young
woman whom we had seen before: her language was not clearly comprehended by us,
so that we could not learn from her, at least
with any degree of certainty, the cause of
this unfortunate alarm that had taken place
among the natives. She told us that her
errand was to fetch some things which she
had left behind her; and one of the dögs
whom we found here, appeared to acknowl-
edge her as his mistress. We treated her
with great kindness, gave her something to
eat, and added a present of such artides as
we thought might please her. On her ex-
pressing a wish to leave us, we readily con-
sented to her departure, and indulged the
hope that her reception would induce the
natives to return in peace, and give us an
opportunity to convince them, that we
had no hostile designs whatever against
them. On leaving us, she went up the
river, without taking a single artide of
her own, and the dog followed.    The wind
was changeable   throughout the   day,   and
there were   several  showers in the course
of it.
Though a very apparent anxiety prevailed
among the people for their departure, I appeared to be wholly inattentive to it, and at
eight in the evening I ordered four men to
step into the canoe, which had been loaded
for several hours, and dröp down to our
guard-house, and my eommand was imme-
diately obeyed: the rest of us proceeded
there by land. When I was yet at a considerable distance from the house, and thought
it impossible for an arrow to reach it, having
a bow and qui ver in my hand, I very impru-
dently let fly an arrow, when, to my astonish-
ment and infinite alarm, I heard it strike a
log of the house. The men who had just
landed, imagined that they were attacked by
an enemy from the woods. Their confusion
was in proportion to their imaginary danger,
and on my arrival I found that the arrow had
passed within a foot of one of the men;
though it had no point, the weapon, incredi-
ble as it may appear, had entered an härd,
dry log of wood upwards of an inch. But
this was not all: for the men readily availed
themselves of this cireumstance, to remark
upon the danger of remaining in the power of
a people possessed of such means of destruc-
tion.    Mr. Mackay having the first watch, I
laid myself down in my cloak.
Wednesday, 26.—At midnight a rustling
noise was heard in the woods which created
a general alarm, and I was awakened to be
informed of the cireumstance, but heard
nothing. At one I took my tum of the
watch, and our dog continued unceasingly to
run backwards and forwards along the skirts
of the wood in a state of restless vigilance.
At two in the morning the centinel informed
me, that he saw something like an human
figure creeping along on all-fours about fifty
paces above us. After some time had passed
in our search, I at length discovered that his
information was true, and it appeared to me
that a bear had occasioned the alarm; but
when day appeared, it proved to be an old,
grey-haired, blind man, who had been com-
pelled to leave his hiding-place by extreme
hunger, being too infirm to join in the flight
of the natives to whom he belonged. When
I put my hand on this object of decaying na-
ture, his alarm was so great, that I expected
it would have thrown him into convulsions.
I immediately. led him to our fire which had
been just lighted, and gave him something to
eat, which he much wanted, as he had not
tasted food for two days. When his hunger
was satisfied, and he had got warm and com-
posed, I requested him to acquaint me with
the cause of that alarm which had taken place
respecting us among his relations and friends,
whose regard we appeared to have conciliated
but a few days past. He replied, that very
soon after we had left them, some natives arrived from above, who informed them that
we were enemies; and our unexpected return, in direct contradiction to our own dec-
larations, confirmed them in that opinion.
They were now, he said, so scattered, that a
considerable time would elapse, before they
could meet again. We gave him the real his-
tory of our return, as well as of the desertion
of our guide, and, at the same time, stated
the impossibility of our proceeding, unless we
procured a native to conduct us. He replied,
that if he had not löst his sight, he would
with the greatest readiness have accompanied
us on our journey. He also confirmed the accounts which we had received of the country,
and the route to the Westward. I did not
neglect to employ every argument in my
power, that he might be persuaded of our
friendly dispositions to the inhabitants where-
soever we might meet them.
At sun-rise we perceived a canoe with one
man in it on the opposite side of the river,
and at our request, the blind man called to
him to come to us, but he returned no answer,
and continued his course as fast as he could
paddle down the current. He was considered
as a spy by my men, and I was confirmed in
that opinion, when I saw a wooden canoe
drifting with the stream close in to the other
shore, where it was more than probable that
some of the natives might be concealed. It
might, therefore, have been an useless enter-
prise, or perhaps fatal to the future success
of our undertaking, if we had pursued these
people, as they might, through f ear have employed their arms against us, and provoked
us to retaliate.
The old man informed me, that some of
the natives whom I had seen here were gone
up the river, and those whom I saw below
had left their late station to gather a root in
the plains, which, when dried, forms a considerable artide in their winter stock of provisions. He had a woman, he said, with
him, who used to see us walking along the
small adjoining river, but when he called her
he received no answer, so that she had probably fled to join her people. He informed
me, also, that he expected a considerable
number of his tribe to come on the upper part
of the river to catch fish for their present
support, and to cure them for their winter
store; among whom he had a son and two
br others.
In consequence of these Communications, I
deemed it altogether unnecessary to lose any
more time at this place, and I informed the
old man that he must accompany me for the
purpose of introducing us to his friends and
relations, and that if we met with his son or
brothers, I depended upon him to persuade
them, or some of their party, to attend us as
guides in our meditated expedition. He expressed his wishes to be excused from this
service, and in other circumstances we should
not have insisted on it, but, situated as we
were, we could not yield to his request.
At seven in the morning we left this place,
which I named Deserter?s Kiver or Creek.
Our blind guide was, however, so averse to
continuing with us, that I was under the very
disagreeable necessity of ordering the men to
carry him into the canoe; and this was the
first act during my voyage, that had the sem-
blance of violent dealing. He continued to
speak in a very loud tone, while he remained,
according to his conjecture, near enough to
the camp to be heard, but in a language that
our interpreters did not understand. On ask-
ing him what he said, and why he did not
speak in a language known to us, he replied,
that the woman understood him better in that
which he spöke, and he requested her, if she
heard him, to come for him to the carrying-
place, where he expected we should leave him.
At length our canoe was become so leaky,
that it was absolutely unfit for service; and
it was the unremitting employment of one
person to keep her clear of water: we, therefore, inquired of the old man where we could
conveniently obtain the artides necessary to
build a new one; and we understood from him
that, at some distance up the river, we should
find plenty of bark and cedar.
At ten, being at the f oot of a rapid, we saw
a small canoe coming down with two men in
it. We thought it would be impossible for
them to escape, and therefore struck off from
the shore with a design to intercept them,
directing the old man at the same time to ad-
dress them; but they no sooner perceived us,
than they steered into the strength of the
current, where I thought that they must in-
evitably perish; but their attention appeared
to be engrossed by the situation of their
canoe, and they escaped without niaking us
the least reply.
About three in the afternoon we perceived
a lodge at the entrance of a considerable river
on the right, as well as the tracks of people
in the mud at the mouth of a small river on
the left. As they appeard to be fresh, we
landed, and endeavoured to trace them, but
without success. We then crossed över to
the lodge, which was deserted, but all the
usual furniture of such buildings remained un-
Throughout the whole of this day the men
had been in a state of extreme ill-humour,
and as they did not choose openly to vent it
upon me, they disputed and quarrelled among
themselves.    About sun-set the canoe struck
upon the stump of a tree, which broke a large
hole in her bottom; a cireumstance that gave
them an öpportunity to let loose their discon-
tents without reserve.   I left them as soon as
we had landed,  and ascended  an  elevated
bank, in a state of mind which I scarce wish
to recollect, and shall not attempt to describe.
At  this   place  there  was   a  subterraneous
house, where I determined to pass the night.
The water had risen since we had passed
down, and it was with the utmost exertion
that we came up several points in the course
of the day.
We embarked at half past four, with very
favourable weather, and at eight we landed,
where there was an appearance of our being
able to procure bark; we, however, obtained
but a small quantity.   At twelve we went on
shore again, and collected as much as was
necessary for our purpose.    It now remained
for us to fix on a proper place for building
another canoe, as it was impossible to proceed
with our old one, which was become an abso-
lute wreck.   At five in the afternoon we came
to a spöt well adapted to the business in
which we were about to engage.    It was on
a small island not much encumbered with
wood, though there was plenty of the spruce
kind on the opposite land, which was only
divided from us by a small channeL   We now
landed, but before the canoe was unloaded,
and the tent pitched, a violent thunder-storm
came on, accompanied with rain, which did
not subside till the night had closed in upon
us. Two of our men who had been in the
woods for axe-handles, saw a deer, and one
of them shot at it, but unluckily missed his
aim. A net was also prepared and set in the
eddy at the end of the island. NORTH-WEST CONTINENT OF AMERICA.
JUNE, 1793.
Friday, 28.—At a very early hour of the
morning every man was employed in making
preparations for building another canoe, and
different parties went in search of wood,
watape, and gum. . At two in the afternoon
they all returned successful, except the col-
lectors of gum, and of that artide it was
feared we should not obtain here a sufficient
supply for our immediate wants. After a
necessary portion of time allotted for refresh-
ment, each began his respective work. I had
an altitude at noon, which made us in 53. 2.
32. North latitude.
Saturday, 29.—The weather continued to be
fine. At five o'clock we renewed our labour,
and the canoe was got in a state of considerable
forwardness. The conductor of the work,
though a good man, was remarkable for the
tardiness of his operations, whatever they
might be, and more disposed to eat than to
be active; I therefore took this opportunity
of unfolding my sentiments to him, and thereby discovering to all around me the real state
of my mind, and the resolutions I had formed
for my future conduct.    After reproaching
ii fr I
him for his general inactivity, but particularly on the present occasion, when our time
was so precious, I mentioned the apparent
want of economy, both of himself and his
companions, in the artide of provisions. I
informed him that I was not altogether a
stranger to their late conversations, from
whence I drew the conclusion that they
wished to put an end to the voyage. If that
were so, I expressed my wish that they would
be explicit, and tell me at once of their de-
termination to follow me no longer. I concluded, however, by assuring him, that what-
ever plan they had meditated to pursue, it
was my fixed and unalterable-determination
to proceed, in spite of every, difficulty that
might oppose, or danger that should threaten
me. The man was very much mortified at
my addressing this remonstrance particularly
to him; and replied that he did not deserve
my displeasure more than the rest of them.
My object being answered, the conversation
dropped, and the work went on.
About two in the afternoon one of the men
perceived a canoe with two natives in it,
coming along the inside of the island, but the
water being shallow, it turned back, and we
imagined that on perceiving us they had taken
the alarm; but we were agreeably surprised
on seeing them come up the outside of the
island, when we recognised our guide, and
one of the natives whom we had already seen.
The former began immediately to apologize
for his conduct, and assured me that since he
had left me, his whole time had been employed
in searching after his family, who had been
seized with the general panic, that had been
occasioned by the false reports of the people
who had first fled from us.    He said it was
generally apprehended by the natives, that
we had been unfriendly to  their relations
above, who were expected upon the river in
great numbers at this time: and that many of
the Atnah or Chin nation, had come up the
river to where we had been, in the hope of
seeing us,   and were very much  displeased
with him and his friends for having neglected
to give them an early notice of our arrival
there.    He added, that the two men whom
we had seen yesterday, or the day before,
were  just returned from their rendezvous,
with the natives of the  sea coast, and had
brought a message from his brother-in-law,
that he had a new axe for him, and not to
forget to bring a moose-skin dressed in ex-
change, which he actually had in his canoe.
He expected to meet him, he said, at the
other end of the carrying-place.
This was as pleasing intelligence as we had
reason to expect, and it is almost superfluous
to observe that we stood in great need of it.
I had a meridian altitude, which gave 53. 3.
7. North latitude. I also took time in the
före and afternoon, that gave a mean of
1. 37. 42. Achrometer slow apparent time,
which, with an observed immersion of Jupi-
ter's first satellite, made our longitude 122.
48. West of Greenwich.
The blind old man gave a very favourable
account of us to his friends, and they all
three were very merry together during the
whole of the afternoon. That our guide,
however, might not escape from us during
the night, I determined to set a watch upon
Sunday, 80.—Our strangers conducted
themselves with great good humour throughout the day. According to their information,
we should find their friends above and below
the carrying-place. They mentioned, also,
that some of them were not of their tribe,
but are allied to the people of the sea coast,
who trade with the white men. I had a
meridian altitude, that gave 53. 3. 17. North
JULY. Monday, 1.—Last night I had the
first watch, when one of my Indians proposed
to sit up with me, as he understood, from
the old man's conversation, that he intended,
in the course of the night, to make his escape. Accordingly, at eleven I extinguished
my light, and sat quietly in my tent, from
whence I could observe the motions of the
natives. About twelve, though the night was
rather dark, I observed the old man creeping
on his hands and knees towards the water-
side. We accordingly followed him very
quietly to the canoe, and he would have gone
away with it, if he had not been interrupted
in his design. On upbraiding him for his
treacherous conduct, when he had been treated
with so much kindness by us, he denied the
intention of which we accused him, and de-
clared that his sole object was to assuage his
thirst. At length, however, he acknowledged
the truth, and when we brought him to the
fire, his friends, who now awoke, on being
informed of what had passed, reprobated his
conduct, and asked him how he could expect
that the white people would return to this
country, if they experienced such ungrateful
treatment. The guide said, for his part, he
was not a woman, and would never run away
through fear. But notwithstanding this cour-
ageous declaration, at once I awakened Mr.
Mackay, related to him what had passed, and
requested him not to indulge himself in sleep,
till I should rise. It was seven before I
awoke, and on quitting my tent I was sur-
prised at not seeing the guide and his com-
panion, and my apprehensions were increased
when I observed that the canoe was removed
from its late situation.   To my inquiries after
them, some of the men very composedly ari-
swered, that they were gone up the river,
and had left the old man behind them. Mr.
Mackay also told me, that while he was busily
employed on the canoe, they had got to the
point before he had observed their departure.
The interpreter now informed me that at the
dawn of day the guide had expressed his design, as soon as the sun was up, to go and
wait for us, where he might find his friends.
I hoped this might be true; but that my people should suffer them to depart without giv-
ing me notice, was a cireumstance that awak-
ened very painful reflections in my breast.
The weather was clear in the forenoon. My
observation this day gave 53. 3. 32. North
At five in the afternoon our vessel was
completed, and ready for service. She proved
a stronger and better boat than the old one,
though had it not been for the gum obtained
from the latter, it would have been a matter
of great difficulty to have procured a suffi-
ciency of that artide to have prevented her
from leaking. The remain der of the day was
employed by the people in cleaning and re-
fresning themselves, as they had enjoyed no
relaxation from their labour since we landed
on this spöt.
The old man having manifested for various
and probably very fallacious reasons, a very
great aversion to accompany us any further,
it did not appear that there was any necessity
to force his inclination.    We now put our
arms in order, which was soon accomplished,
as they were at all times a general object of
Tuesday,   2.—It   rained   throughout the
night, but at half past three we were ready
to embark, when I offered to conduct the old
man where he had supposed we should meet
his friends, but he deelined the proposition.
I therefore directed a few pounds of pemmi-
can to be left with him, for his immediate
support, and took leave of him and the place,
which I named Canoe Island.    During our
stay there we  had been  most cruelly tor-
mented by flies,  particularly the  sand-fly,
which I am disposed to consider as the most
tormenting insect of its size in nature.   I was
also compeUed to put the people upon short
allowance, and confine  them to two meals
a-day, a regulation peculiarly oftensive to a
Canadian voyager.    One of these meals was
eomposed of the dried rows of fish, pounded,
and boiled in water, thickened with a small
quantity of flour, and fattened with a bit of
grian.    These artides, being brought to the
consistency of an hasty pudding, produced a
substantial and not unpleasant dish.    The
natives are very eareful of the rows of fish,
which they dry, and preserve in baskets made
of bark.    Those we used were found in the
Vol. IL—13 193
huts of the first people who fled from us.
During pur abode in Canoe Island, the water
sunk three perpendicular feet. I now gave
the men a drarn each, which could not but be
considered, at this time, as a very comfortable
treat. They were, indeed, in high spirits,
when they perceived the superior excellence
of the new vessel, and reflected that it was
the work of their own hands.
At eleven we arrived at the rapids, and the
foreman, who had not forgotten the fright he
suffered on coming down it, proposed that the
canoe and lading should be carried över the
mountain. I threatened him with taking the
office of foreman on myself, and suggested the
evident change there was in the appearance
of the water since we passed it, which upon
examination had sunk four feet and an half.
As the water did not seem so strong on the
West side, I determined to cross över, having
first put Mr. Mackay, and our two hunters,
on shore, to try the woods for game. We
accordingly traversed, and got up close along
the rocks, to a considerable distance, with
the paddles, when we could proceed no further without assistance from the line; and to
draw it across a perpendicular rock, for the
distance of fifty fathoms, appeared to be an
insurmountable obstacle. The general opinion was to  return, and carry on the other
side; I desired, however, two of the men to
take the line, which was seventy fathoms in
length, with a small roll of bark, and en-
deavour to climb up the rocks, from whence
they were to descend on the other side of
that which opposed our progress; they were
then to fästen the end of the line to the roll
of bark, which the current would bring to
us; this being effected, they would be able to
draw us up. This was an enterprise of difficulty and danger, but it was crowned with
success; though to get to the water's edge
above, the men were obliged to let themselves
down with the line, run round a tree, from
the summit of the rock. By a repetition of
the same operation, we at length cleared the
rapid, with the additional trouble of carrying
the canoe, and unleading at two cascades.
We were not more than two hours getting up
this difficult part of the river, including the
time employed in repairing an hole which
had been broken in the canoe, by the negli-
gence of the steersman.
Here we expected to meet with the natives,
but there was not the least appearance of
them, except that the guide, his companion,
and two others, had apparently passed the
carrying-place. We saw several fish leap out
of the water, which appeared to be of the
salmon kind. The old man, indeed, had informed us that this was the season when the
large fish begin to come up the river.    Our
195 fl
hunters returned, but had not seen the track
of any animal. We now continued our journey; the current was not strong, but we met
with frequent impediments from the fallen
trees, which lay along the banks. We landed
at eight in the evening; and suffered inde-
scribable inconveniences from the flies.
Wednesday, 8.—It had rained härd in the
night, and there was some small rain in the
morning. At four we entered our canoe, and
at ten we came to a small river, which an-
swered to the description of that whose course
the natives said, they follow in their journies
towards the sea coast; we therefore put into
it, and endeavoured to discoyer if our guide
had landed here; but there were no traces of
him or of any others. My former perplexi-
ties were now renewed. If I passed this
river, it was probable that I might miss the
natives; and I had reason to suspect that my
men would not consent to return thither. As
for attempting the woods, without a guide,
to introduce us to the first inhabitants, such
a determinatiön would be little short of abso-
lute madness. At length, after much painful
reflection, I resolved to come at once to a full
explanation with my people, and I experi-
enced a considerable relief from this resolution. Accordingly, after repeating the prom-
ise they had so lately made me, on our put-
ting back up the river, I represented to them
that this appeared to me to be the spöt from
which the natives took their departure for
the sea coast, and added, withal, that I was
determined to try it: for though our guide
had left us, it was possible that, while we
were making the necessary preparations, he
or some others might appear, to relieve us
from our present difficulties. I now found,
to my great satisfaction, that they had not
come to any fixed determination among themselves, as some of them immediately assented
to undertake the woods with me. Others,
however, suggested that it might be better to
proceed a few leagues further up the river, in
expectation of finding our guide, or procuring
another, and that after all we might return
hither. This plan I very readily agreed to
adopt, but before I left this place, to which I
gave the name of the West-Road Bi ver, I
sent some of the men into the woods, in different directions, and went some distance up
the river myself, which I found to be navi-
gable only for small canoes. Two of the men
found a good beaten path, leading up a hill
just behind us, which I imagined to be the
great road.
At four in the afternoon we left this place
proceeding up the river; and had not been
upon the water more than three quarters of
an hour, when we  saw two canoes coming
with the stream.    No sooner did the people
|>'~ »fl
in them perceive us than they landed, and
we went on shore at the same place with
them. They proved to be our guide, and six
of his relations. He was covered with a
painted beaver robe, so that we scarcely knew
him in his fine habiliment. He instantly de-
sired us to acknowledge that he had not dis-
appointed us, and declared, at the same time,
that it was his constant intention to keep his
word. I accordingly gave him a jacket, a
pair of trowsers, and a handkerchief, as a re-
ward for his honourable conduct. The strangers examined us with the most minute atten-
tion, and two of them, as I was now informed,
belonged to the people whom we first saw,
and who fled with so much alarm from us.
They told me, also, that they were so ter-
rified on that occasion, as not to approach
their huts for two days; and that when they
ventured thither, they found the greater part
of their property destroyed, by the fire running in the ground. According to their account, they were of a different tribe, though
I found no difference in their language from
that of the Nagailas or Carriers. They are
called Nascud Denee. Their lodges were at
some distance, on a small lake, where they
take fish, and if our guide had not gone for
them there, we should not have seen a human
being on the river.    They informed me that
the road by their habitation is the shortest,
and   they   proposed that we   should   take
it. •     i|    j§ .pil
Thursday, 4-—Ät an early hour this morning, and at the suggestion of our guide, we
proceeded to the landing-place that leads to
the strangers' lodges. Our great difficulty
here was to procure a temporary separation
from our company, in order to hide some
artides we could not carry with us, and
which it would have been imprudent to leavé
in the power of the natives. Accordingly
Mr. Mackay, and one of our Indians embarked with them, and soon run out of our
sight. At our first hiding-place we left a
bag of pemmican, weighing ninety pounds,
two bags of wild rice, and a gallon keg of
gunpowder. Previous to our putting these
artides in the ground, we rolled them up in
oilcloth, and dressed leather. In the second
hiding-place, and guarded with the same rollers, we hid two bags of Indian corn, or maize,
and a bale of different artides of merchan-
dise. When we had completed this impor-
tant object, we proceeded till half past eight,
when we landed at the entrance of a small
rivulet, where our friends were waiting for us.
Here it was necessary that we should leave
our canoe, and whatever we could not carry
on our backs. In the first place, therefore,
we prepared a stage, on which the canoe was
placed bottom upwards,  and shaded by a
i i
S !J-J
i   SL
t Is »'•
covering of small trees and branches, to keep
her from the sun. We then built an oblong
hollow square, ten feet by five, of green logs,
wherein we placed every artide it was necessary for us to leave here, and covered the
whole with large pieces of timber.
While we were eagerly employed in this
necessary business, our guide and his com-
panions were so impatient to be gone, that
we could not persuade the former to wait till
we were prepared for our departure, and we
had some difficulty in persuading another of
the natives to remain, who had undertook to
conduct us where the guide had promised to
wait our arrival.
At noon we were in a state of preparation
to enter the woods, an undertaking of which
I shall not here give any preliminary opinion,
but leave those who read it to judge for
We carried on our backs four bags and a
half of pemmican, weighing from eighty-five
to ninety pounds each; a case with my instruments, a parcel of goods for presents,
weighing ninety pounds, and a parcel con-
taining ammunition of the same weight.
Each of the Canadians had a burden of about
ninety pounds, with a gun, and some ammunition. The Indians had about forty-five
pounds weight of pemmican to carry, besides
their gun, &c, with which they were very
much dissatisfied, and if they had dared
would have instantly left us. They had
hitherto been very much indulged, but the
moment was now arrived, when indulgence
was no longer practicable. My own load,
and that of Mr. Mackay, consisted of twenty-
two pounds of pemmican, some rice, a little
sugar, &c, amounting in the whole to about
seventy pounds each, besides our arms and
ammunition. I had also thetube of my tele-
scope swung across my shoulder, which was a
troublesome addition to my burthen. It was
determined that we should content ourselves
with two meals a day, which were regulated
without difficulty, as our provisions did not
require the ceremony of cooking.
In this state of equipment we began our
journey, as I have already mentioned, about
twelve at noon, the commencement of which
was a steep ascent of about a mile; it lay
along a well-beaten path, but the country
through which it led was rugged and ridgy,
and full of wood. When we were in a state
of extreme heat, from the toil of our journey,
the rain came on, and continued till evening,
and even when it ceased, the underwood continued its drippings upon us.
About half past six we arrived at an Indian
camp of three fires, where we found our
guide, and on his recommendation we determined to remain there for the night.    The
i! &
computed distance of this day's journey was
about twelve geographical miles; the course
about West.
At sun-set, an elderly man and three other
natives joined us from the Westward. The
former bore a lance, which very much resem-
bled a serjeantfs halberd. He had lately received it, by way of barter, from the natives
of the Sea-Coast, who procured it from the
white men. We should meet, he said, with
many of his countrymen, who had just returned from thence. According to his report,
it did not require more than six days' journey,
for people who are not heavily laden, to reach
the country of those with whom they bartered
their skins for iron, &c, and from thence it
is not quite two days' march to the sea.
They proposed to send two young men on
before us, to notify to the different tribes
that we were approaching, that they might
not be surprised at our appearance, and be
disposed to afford us a friendly reception.
This was a measure which I could not but
approve, and endeavoured by some small
presents to prepossess our couriers in our
These people Ii ve but poorly at this season,
and I could procure no provision from them,
but a few small, dried fish, as I think, of the
carp kind. They had several European artides; and one of them had a strip of fur,
which appeared to me to be of the sea otter.
He obtained it from the natives of the coast,
and exchanged it with me for some beads and
a brass cross.
We retired to rest in as much security as if
we had been long habituated to a confidence
in our present associates: indeed, we had no
alternative; for so great were the fatigues of
the day in our mode of travelling, that we
were in great need of rest at night.
Fridayf 5.—We had no sooner laid ourselves down to rest last night, than the natives
began to sing, in a manner very different from
what I had been accustomed to hear among
savages. It was not accompanied either with
dancing, drum, or rattle; but consisted of
soft plaintive tones, and a modulation that
was rather agreeable: it had somewhat the
air of church music. As the natives had re-
quested me not to quit them at a very early
hour in the morning, it was five before I de-
sired that the young men, who were to proceed with us, should depart, when they pre-
pared to set off: but on calling to our guide
to conduct us, he said that he did not intend
to accompany us any further; as the young
men would answer our purpose as. well as
himself. I knew it would be in vain to re-
monstrate with him, and therefore submitted
to his caprice without a reply.    However, I
thought proper to inform him, that one of
If HfS
my people had löst his dag or poignard, and
requested his assistance in the recovery of it.
He asked me what I would give him to con-
jure it back again; and a knife was agreed
to be the price of his necromantic exertions.
Accordingly, all the dags and knives in the
place were gathered together, and the natives
formed a circle round them; the conjurer also
remaining in the middle. When this part of
the ceremony was arranged, he began to sing,
the rest joining in the chorus; and after some
time he produced the poignard, which was
stuck in the ground, and returned it to me.
At seven we were ready to depart; when I
was surprised to hear our late guide propose,
without any solicitation on our part, to resumé his office; and he actually conducted us
as far as a small lake, where we found an
encampment of three families. The young
men who had undertaken to conduct us, were
not well understood by my interpreters, who
continued to be so displeased with their journey, that they performed this part of their
duty with great reluctance. I endeavoured to
persuade an elderly man of this encampment
to accompany us to the next tribe, but no in-
ducement of mine could prevail on him to
comply with my wishes. I was, therefore,
obliged to content myself with the guides I
had already  engaged,  for whom  we  were
obliged to wait some time, till they had pro-
vided shoes for their journey. I exchanged
two half pence here, one of his present Ma-
jesty, and the other of the State of Massa-
chusetfs Bay, coined in 1787. They hung
as ornaments in children's ears.
My situation here was ren der ed rather un-
pleasant by the treatment which my hunters
received from these people. The former, it
appeared, were considered as belonging to a
tribe who inhabit the mountains, and are the
natural enemies of the latter. We had also
been told by one of the natives, of a very
stern aspect, that he had been stabbed by a
relation of theirs, and pointed to a scar as the
proof of it. I was, therefore, very glad to
proceed on my journey.
Our guides conducted us along the lake
through thick woods, and without any path,
for about a mile and a half, when we löst
sight of it.    This piece of water is about
three miles long and one broad.    We then
crossed a creek and entered upon a beaten
track, through  an  open country, sprinkled
with cyprus trees.     At twelve the sky became
black,  and a heavy gust with rain shortly
followed, which continued for upwards of an
hour.    When we perceived the approaching
storm, we fixed our thin light oil-cloth to
screen us from it.    On rene wing our march,
as the bushes were very wet, I desired our
guides, they having no burdens, to walk in
front and beat them as they went: this task
they chose to decline, and accordingly I un-
dertook it. Our road now lay along a lake,
and across a creek that ran into it. The
guides informed me, that this part of the
country abounds in beaver: many traps were
seen along the road, which had been set for
lynxes and martens. About a quarter of a
mile from the place where we had been stopped by the rain, the ground was covered with
hail, and as we advanced, the hailstones increased in size, some of them being as big as
musket-balls. In this manner was the ground
whitened for upwards of two miles. At five
in the afternoon we arrived on the banks of
another lake, when it again threatened rain;
and we had already been sufficiently wetted
in the course of the day, to look with com-
placency towards a repetition of it: we accordingly fixed our shed, the rain continuing
with great violence through the remainder of
the day: it was therefore determined, that
we should stop here for the night.
In the course of the day we passed three
winter huts; they consisted of low walls,
with a ridge pole, covered with the branches
of the Canadian balsam-tree. One of my
men had a violent pain in his knee, and I
asked the guides to take a share of his burden,
as they had nothing to carry but their beaver
robes, and bows and arrows, but they could no$
be made to understand a word of  my re-
Satwday, 6.—At four this morning I arose
from my bed, such as it was. As we must
have been in a most unf ortunate predicament,
if our guides should have deserted us in the
night, by way of security, I proposed to the
youngest of them to sleep with me, and he
readily consented. These people have no
covering but their beaver garments, and that
of my companions was a nest of vermin. I,
however, spread it under us, and having laid
down upon it, we covered ourselves with my
camblet cloak. My companion's hair being
greased with fish-oil, and his body smeared
with red earth, my sense of smelling as well
as that of feeling, threatened to interrupt my
rest; but these inconveniences yielded to my
fatigue, and I passed a night of sound re-
I took the lead in our march, as I had done
yesterday, in order to clear the branches of
the wet which continued to häng upon them.
We proceeded with all possible expedition
through a level country with but little under-
wood; the larger trees were of the fir kind.
At half past eight we fell upon the road,
which we first intended to have taken from
the Great Bi ver, and must be shorter than
that which we had travelled.    The West-road
river was also in sight, winding through a
valley. We had not met with any water
since our encampment of last night, and
though we were aölicted with violent thirst,
the river was at such a distance from us, and
the descent to it so long and steep, that we
were compelled to be satisfied with cästing
our longing looks towards it. There appeared
to be more water in the river here, than at
its discharge. The Indian account, that it is
navigable for their canoes, is, I believe, per-
fectly correct.
Our guides now told us, that as the road
was very good and well traced, they would
proceed to inform the next tribe that we were
coming. This information was of a very un-
pleasant nature; as it would have been easy
for them to turn off the road at an hundred
yards from us, and, when we had passed
them, to return home. I proposed that one
of them should remain with us, while two of
my people should leave their loads behind
and accompany the other to the lodges. But
they would not stay to hear our persuasions,
and were soon out of sight. Ip
I now desired the Cancre to leave his bur-
den, take a small quantity of provision, with
his arms and blänket, and follow me.    I also
told my men to come on as fast as they could,
and that I would wait for them as soon as I
had formed an acquaintance with the natives
of the country before us.    We accordingly
followed our guides with all the expedition
in our power, but did not overtake them till
we came to a family of natives, consisting of
one man, two women, and six children, with
whom we found them. These people be-
trayed no signs of fear at our appearance,
and the man willingly conversed with my interpreter, to whom he made himself more in-
telligible, than our guides had been able to
do. They, however, had informed him of
the object of our journey. He pointed out
to us one of his wives, who was a native of
the sea coast, which was not a very great
distance from us. This woman was more in-
clined to corpulency than any we had yet
seen, was of low stature, with an oblong face,
grey eyes, and a fiattish nose. She was
decorated with ornaments of various kinds,
such as large blue beads, either pendant
from her ears, encircling her neck, or braided
in her hair: she also wore bracelets of brass,
copper, and horn. Her garments consisted
of a kind of tunic, which was covered with a
robe of matted bark, f ringed round the bottom
with skin of the sea otter. None of the
women whom I had seen since we crossed the
mountain wore this kind of tunic; their
blänkets being merely girt round the waist.
She had learned the language of her husband^ tribe, and confirmed his account, that
we were at no great distance from the sea.
Vol IL—14 209
« g*
They were on their way, she said, to the great
river to fish. Age seemed to be an object of
great veneration among these people, for they
carried an old woman by turns on their backs
who was quite blind and infirm from the very
advanced period of her life.
Our people having joined us and rested
themselves, I requested our guides to proceed, when the elder of them told me that he
should not go any further, but that these
people would send a boy to accompany his
brother, and I began to thin k myself rather
f ortunate, that we were not deserted by them
alL %   ©ä-   i   $      |    tÉI
About noon we parted, and in two hours
we came up with two men and their families:
when we first saw them they were sitting
down, as if to rest themselves; but no sooner
did they perceive us than they rose up and
seized their arms.—The boys who were behind us immediately ran forwards and spöke
to them, when they laid by their arms and
received us as friends. They had been eat-
ing green berries and dried fish. We had,
indeed, scarcely j oined them, when a woman
and a boy came from the river with water,
which they very hospitably gave us to drink.
The people of this party had a very sickly
appearance, which might have been the con-
sequence of disease, or that indolence which
ig. so natural to them, or of both.    One of the
women had a tattooed line along the chin, of
the same length of her mouth.
The låds now informed me that they would
go no further, but that these men would take
their places; and they parted from their
families with as little apparent concern, as if
they were entire strangers to each other.
One of them was very well understood by my
interpreter, and had resided among the natives
of the sea coast, whom he had left but a short
time. According to his information, we were
approaching a river, which was neither large
nor long, but whose banks were inhabited;
and that in the bay which the sea forms at
the mouth of it, a great wooden canoe, with
white people, arrives about the time when
the leaves begin to grow; I presume in the
early part of May.
After we parted with the last people, we
came to an uneven, hilly, swampy country,
through which our way was impeded by a
considerable number of fallen trees. At
five in the afternoon we were overtaken by a
heavy shower of rain and hail, and being at
the same time very much fatigued, we encamped for the night near a small creek.
Our course till we came to the river, was
about South-West ten miles, and then West,
twelve or fourteen miles. I thought it pru-
dent, by way of security, to submit to the
same inconveniences I have already described,
and share d the beaver robe  of one of my
guides during the night.
Sunday, 7.—I was so busily employed in
collecting intelligence from our conductors,
that I last night for got to wind up my time-
piece, and it was the only instance of such an
act of negligence since I left Fort Chepewyan
on the llth of last October. At five we
quitted our station, and proceeded across two
mountains, covered with spruce, poplar, white
birch, and other trees. We then descended
into a level country, where we found a good
road, through woods of cypress. We then
came to two small lakes, at the distance of
about fourteen miles. Course about West.
Through them the river passes, and our road
kept in a parallel line with it on a range of
elevated ground. On observing some people
before us, our guides hastened to meet them,
and, on their approach, one of them stepped
forward with an axe in his hand. This party
consisted only of a man, two women, and the
same number of children. The eldest of the
women, who probably was the man's mother,
was engaged, when we j oined them, in clearing a circlilar spöt, of about five feet in diameter, of the weeds that inf ested it; nor did
our arrival interrupt her employment, which
was sacred to the memory of the dead. The
spöt to which her pious care was devoted,
contained the grave of an husband, and a son,
and whenever she passed this way, she always
stopped to pay this tribute of affection.
As soon as we had taken our morning al-
lowance, we set forwards, and about three
we perceived more people before us. After
some alarm we came up with them. They
consisted of seven men, as many women, and
several children. Here I was under the
necessity of procuring another guide, and we
continued our route on the same side of the
river, till six in the evening, when we crossed
it. It was knee deep, and about an hundred
yards över. I wished now tö stop for the
night, as we were all of us very much f atigued,
but our guide recommended us to proceed on-
wards to a family of his friends, at a small
distance from thence, where we arrived at
half past seven. He had gone forward, and
procured us a welcome and quiet reception.
There being a net hanging to dry, I requested
the man to prepare and set it in the water,
which he did with great expedition, and then
presented me with a few small dried fish.
Our course was South-West about twelve
miles, part of which was an extensive swamp,
that was seldom less than knee deep. In the
course of the afternoon we had several showers of rain. I had attempted to take an altitude, but it was past meridian. The water
of the river before the lodge was quite still,
and expanded itself into the form of a small
i a
lake. In many other places, indeed, it had
assumed the same form.
Monday, 8.—It rained throughout the
night, and it was seven in the morning before
the weather would allow us to proceed. The
guide brought me five small boiled fish, in a
platter made of bark; some of them were of
the carp kind, and the rest of a species for
which I am not qualified to furnish a name.
Having dried our clothes, we set off on our
march about eight, and our guide very cheer-
fully continued to accompany us; but he was
not altogether so intelligible as his predeces-
sors in our service. We learned from him,
however, that this lake, through which the
river passes, extends to the foot of the mountain, and that he expected to meet nine men,
of a tribe which inhabits the North side of
the river.
In this part of our journey we were sur-
prised with the appearance of several regular
basons, some of them furnished with water,
and the others empty; their slope from the
edge to the bottom formed an angle of about
forty-five degrees, and their perpendicular
depth was about twelve feet. - Those that
contained water, discovered gravel near their
edges, while the empty ones were covered
with grass and herbs, among which we discovered mustard, and mint.    There were also
several places from whence the water appears
to have retired, which are covered with the
same soil and herbage.
We now proceeded along a very uneven
country, the upper parts of which were covered with poplars, a little under-wood, and
plenty of grass: the intervening vallies were
watered with rivulets. From these circumstances, and the general appearance of vegetation, I could not account for the apparent
absence of animals of every kind.
Tuesday, 9.—At two in the afternoon we
arrived at the largest river that we had seen,
since we left our canoe, and which forced its
way between and över the huge stones that
opposed its current. Our course was about
South-South-West sixteen miles along the
river, which might here justify the title of a
lake. The road was good, and our next
course, which was West by South, brought
us onward ten miles, where we encamped,
fatigued and wet, it having rained three parts
of the day. This .river abounds with fish,
and must fall into the great river, further
down than we had extended our voyage.
A heavy and continued rain fell through
great part of the night, and as we were in some
measure exposed to it, time was required to
dry our clothes; so that it was half past seven
in the morning before we were ready to set
out.    As we found the country so destitute
of game, and foreseeing the difficulty of pro-
curing provisions for our return, I thought it
prudent to conceal half a bag of pemmican:
having sent off the Indians, and all my people except two, we buried it under the fire-
place, as we had done on a former occasion.
We soon overtook our party, and continued
our route along the river or lake. About
twelve I had an altitude, but it was inaccu-
rate from the cloudiness of the weather. We
continued our progress till five in the afternoon, when the water began to narrow, and
in about half an hour we came to a ferry,
where we found a small raft. At this time
it began to thunder, and torrents of rain soon
followed, which terminated our journey for
the day. Our course was about South, twenty-
one miles from the lake already mentioned.
We now discovered the tops of mountains,
covered with snow, över very high interme-
diate land. We killed a whitehead and a
grey eagle, and three grey partridges; we
also saw two otters in the river, and several
beaver lodges along it. When the rain ceased,
we caught a fe"w small fish, and repaired the
raft for the service of the ensuing day.
Wednesday, 10.—At an early hour of this
morning we prepared to cross the water.
The traverse is about thirty yards, and it re-
quired five trips to get us all över. At a
short distance below, a small river falls in,
that comes from the direction in which we
were proceeding. It is a rapid for about three
hundred yards, when it expands into a lake,
along which our road conducted us, and beneath a range of beautiful hills, covered with
verdure. At half past eight we came to the
termination of the lake, where there were two
houses that occupied a most delightful situation, and as they contained their necessary furniture, it seemed probable that their
owners intended shortly to return. Near
them were several gra ve s or tombs, to which
the natives are particularly attentive, and
never suffer any herbage to grow upon them.
In about half an hour we reached a place
where there were two temporary huts, that
contained thirteen men, with whom we found
our guide who had preceded us, in order to
secure a good reception. The buildings were
detached from each other, and conveniently
placed for fishing in the lake. Their inhabitants called themselves Sloua-cuss-Dinais,
which denomination, as far as my interpreter
could explain it to me, I understood to mean
Red-fish Men. They were much more cleanly,
healthy, and agreeable in their appearance,
than any of the natives whom we had passed;
nevertheless, I have no doubt that they are
the same people, from their name alone,
which is of the Chepewyan language. My
interpreters, however, understood very little
of what they said, so that I did not expect
ra si
much information from them. Some of them
said it was a journey of four days to the sea,
and others were of opinion that it was six;
and there were among them who extended it
to eight; but they all uniformly declared
that they had been to the coast. They did
not entertain the smallest apprehension of
danger from us, and, when we discharged our
pieces, expressed no sensation but that of
astonishment, which, as may be supposed, was
proportionably increased when one of the
hunters shot an eagle, at a considerable distance. At twelve I obtained an altitude,
which made our latitude 53. 4. 32. North,
being not so far South as I expected.
I now went, accompanied by one of my
men, an interpreter, and the guide, to visit
some huts at the distance of a mile. On our
arrival, the inhabitants presented us with a
dish of boiled trout, of a small kind. The
fish would have been excellent if it had not
tas te d of the kettle, which was made of the
bark of the white spruce, and of the dried
grass with which it was boiled. Besides this
kind of trout, red and white carp and jub,
are the only fish I saw as the produce of these
These people appeared to live in a state of
comparative   comfort;   they take  a  greater
share in the labour of the women, than is
common among the savage tribes, and are, as,
I was informed, content with one wife.
Though this cireumstance may proceed rather
from the difficulty of procuring subsistence,
than any habitual aversion to polygamy.
My present guide now informed me, that
he could not proceed any further, and I ac-
cordingly engaged two of these people to suc-
ceed him in that office; but when they desired
us to proceed on the beaten path without
them, as they could not set off till the following day, I de termined to stay that night, in
order to accommodate myself to their conve-
nience. I distributed some trifles among the
wives and children of the men who were to
be our future guides, and returned to my people. We came back by a different way, and
passed by two buildings, erected between
four trees, and about fifteen feet from the
ground, which appeared to me to be intended
as magazines for winter provisions. At four
in the afternoon, we proceeded with considerable expedition, by the side of the lake, till
six, when we came to the end of it: we then
struck off through a much less beaten track,
and at half past seven stopped for the night.
Our course was about West-South-West thir-.
teen miles, and West six miles.
Thwsday, 11.—I passed a most uncom-
fortable night: the first part of it I was tor-
niented with flies, and in the latter deluged
with   rain.    In   the  morning   the   weather
. "3 1
a £;
ti s
cleared, and as soon as our clothes were dried,
we proceeded through a morass. This part
of the country had been laid was te by fire,
and the fallen trees added to the pain and
perplexity of our way. A high, rocky ridge
stretched along our left. Though the rain
returned, we continued our progress till noon,
when our guide took to some trees for shelter.
We then spread our oil-cloth, and, with some
difficulty, made a fire. About two the rain
ceased, when we continued our journey
through the same kind of country which we
had hitherto passed. At half past three we
came in sight of a lake; the land at the same
time gradually rising to a range of mountains
whose tops were covered with snow. We
soon after observed two fresh tracks, which
seemed to surprise our guides, but they sup-
posed them to have been made by the inhabitants of the country, who were come into this
part of it to fish. At five in the afternoon
we were so wet and cold (for it had at inter-
vals continued to rain) that we were compelled
to stop for the night. We passed seven rivu-
lets and a creek in this day's journey. As I
had hitherto regulated our course by the sun,
I could not form an accurate judgment of
this route, as we had not been favoured with
a sight of it during the day; but I imagine
it to have been nearly in the same direction   as   that of yesterday.     Our distance
could    not   have   been   less   than   fifteen
Our conductors now began to complain of
our mode of travelling, and mentioned their
intention of leaving us; and my interpreters,
who were equally dissatisfied, added to our
perplexity by their conduct. Be sides these
circumstances, and the apprehension that the
distance from the sea might be greater than
I had imagined, it became a matter of real
necessity that we should begin to diminish
the consumption of our provisions, and to
subsist upon two-thirds of our allowance; a
proposition which was as unwelcome to my
people, as it was necessary to put into immediate pr act ice.
Friday, 12.—At half past five this morning we proceeded on our journey, with cloudy
weather, and when we came to the end of the
lake, several tracks were visible that led to
the side of the water; from which cireumstance I concluded, that some of the natives
were fishing along the banks of it. This lake
is not more than three miles long, and about
one broad. We then passed four smaller
lakes, the two first being on our right, and
those which preceded, on our left. § A small
river also flowed across our way from the
right, and we passed it över a beaver-dam.
A larger lake now appeared on our right, and
the mountains on each side of us were covered
with snow. We afterwards came to another
lake on our right, and soon reached a river,
which our guides informed us was the same
that we had passed on a raft. They said it
was navigable for canoes from the great
river, except two rapids, one of which we
had seen. At this place it was upwards of
twenty yards across, and deep water. One of
the guides swam över to fetch a raft which
was on the opposite side; and having en-
creased its dimensions, we crossed at two
trips, except four of the men, who preferred
Here our conductors renewed their menace
of leaving us, and I was obliged to give them
several artides, and promise more, in order
to induce them to continue till we could pro-
cure other natives to succeed them. At four
in the afternoon we forded the same river,
and being with the guides at some distance
before the rest of the people, I sat down to
wait for them, and no sooner did they arrive,
than the former set off with so much speed,
that my attempt to follow them proved un-
successful. One of my Indians, however,
who had no load, overtook them, when they
excused themselves to him by declaring that
their sole motive for leaving us, was to pre-
vent the people, whom they expected to find,
from shooting their arrows at us.    At seven
o'clock, however, we were so fatigued, that
we encamped without them; the mountains
covered with snow now appeared to be di-
rectly before us.   As we were collecting wood
for our fire, we discovered a cross road, where
it appeared that people had passed within
seven or eight days.    In short, our situation
was such as to afford a just cause of alarm,
and that of the people with me was of a na-
ture to defy immediate alleviation.    It was
necessary, however, for me to attempt it; and
I rested my principles of encouragement on a
representation of our past perplexities and
unexpected relief, and endeavoured to excite
in them the hope of similar good fortune.    I
stated to them, that we could not be at a
great distance from the sea, and that there
were but few natives to pass, till we should
arrive among those, who being accustomed to
visit the sea coast, and, having seen white
people, would be disposed to treat us with
kindness.    Such was the general tenor of the
reasoning I employed on the occasion, and I
was happy to find that it was not offered in
The weather had been cloudy till three in
the afternoon, when the sun appeared; but
surrounded,  as   we   were,   with   snow-clad
mountains, the air became so cold, that the
violence of our exercise, was not sufficient to
produce  a  comfortable  degree  of  warmth.
Our course to-day was from West to South,
and at least thirty-six miles. The land in
general was very barren and stony, and lay
in ridges, with cypress trees scattered över
them. We passed several swamps, where
we saw nothing tb console us but a few tracks
of deer.
Saturday, 13. The weather this morning
was clear but cold, and our scanty covering
was not sufficient to protect us from the se-
verity of the night. About five, after we
had warmed ourselves at a large fire, we proceeded on our dubious journey. In about an
hour we came to the edge of a wood, when
we perceived a house, situated on a green
spöt, and by the side of a small river. The
smoke that issued from it informed us that it
was inhabited. I immediately pushed forward towards this mansion, while my people
were in such a state of alarm, that they followed me with the greatest reluctance. On
looking back, I perceived that we were in an
Indian defile, of fifty yards in length. I,
however, was close upon the house before the
inhabitants perceived us, when the women
and children uttered the most horrid shrieks,
and the only man who appeared to be with
them, éscaped out of a back door, which I
reached in time to prevent the women and
children from following him. The man fled
with all his speed into the wood, and I called
in vain on my interpreters to speak to him,
224 »I
but they were so agitated with fear as to have
löst the power of utterance. It is impossible
to describe the distress and alarm of these
poor people, who believing that they were at-
tacked by enemies, expected an immediate
massacre, which, among themselves, never
fails to follow such an event.
Our prisoners consisted of three women,
and seven children, which apparently com-
posed three families. At length, however,
by our demeanor, and our presents, we con-
trived to dissipate their apprehensions. One
of the women then informed us, that their
people, with several others had left that
place three nights before, on a trading journey to a tribe whom she called Annah, which
is the name the Chepewyans give to the
Knisteneaux, at the distance of three days.
She added also, that from the mountains before us, which were covered with snow, the
sea was visible; and accompanied her inf or-
mation with a present of a couple of dried
fish. We now expressed our desire that the
man might be induced to return, and conduct
us in the road to the sea. Indeed, it was not
long before he discovered himself in the
wood, when he was assured, both by the
women and our interpreters, that we had no
hostile design against him; but these assur-
ances had no effect in quieting his apprehensions. I then attempted to go to him alone,
Vol. II.—15 225 ess
and showed him a knife, beads, &c, to induce
him to come to me, but he, in return, made a
hostile display of his bow and arrows: and,
having for some time exhibited a variety of
stränge antics, again disappeared. However,
he soon presented himself in another quarter,
and after a succession of parleys between us,
he engaged to come and accompany us.
While these negociations were proceeding,
I proposed to visit the fishing machines, to
which the women readily consented, and I
found in them twenty small fish, such as
trout, carp, and jub, for which I gave her a
large knife; a present that appeared to be
equally unexpected and gratifying to her.
Another man now came towards us, from a
hill, talking aloud from the time he appeared,
till he reached us. The purport of his speech
was, that he threw himself upon our mercy,
and we might kill him, if it was our pleasure,
but that from what he had heard, he looked
rather for our friendship than our enmity.
He was an ederly person, of a decent appearance, and I gave him some artides to concili-
ate him to us. The first man now followed
with a lad along with him, both of whom
were the sons of the old man, and, on his
arrival, he gave me several half dried fish,
which I considered as a peace-offering. After
some conversation with these people, respect-
ing the  country,   and  our  future  progress
through it, we retired to rest, with sensations
very different from those with which we had
risen in the morning. The weather had been
generally cloudy throughout the day, and
when the sun was obscured, extremely cold
for the season. At noon I obtained a meridian altitude, which gave 52. 58. 53. North
latitude. I likewise took time in the afternoon.
Sunday, 14.—This morning we had a bright
sun, with an East wind. These people ex-
amined their fishing machines, when they
found in them a great number of small fish,
and we dressed as many of them as we could
eat. Thus was our departure retarded until
seven, when we proceeded on our journey,
accompanied by the man and his two sons.
As I did not want the younger, and should
be obliged to feed him, I requested of his
father to leave him, for the purpose of fishing
for the women. He replied, that they were
accustomed to fish for themselves, and that I
need not be apprehensive of their encroaching
upon my provisions, as they were used to
sustain themselves in their journies on herbs,
and the inner tegument of the bark of trees,
for the stripping of which he had a thin piece
of bone, then hanging by his side. The latter is of glutinous quality, of a clammy, sweet
taste, and is generally considered by the more
interiör Indians as a delicacy, rather than an
artide of common food. Our guide informed
me that there is a short cut across the mountains, but as there was no trace of a road,
and it would shorten our journey but one day,
he should prefer the beaten way.
We accordingly proceeded along a lake,
West five miles. We then crossed a small
river, and passed through a swamp, about
South-West, when we began gradually to as-
cend for some time till we gained the summit
of a hill, where we had an ex ten si ve view to
the South-East, from which direction a considerable river appeared to flow, at the distance of about three miles: it was represented
to me as being navigable for canoes. The
descent of this hill was more steep than its
ascent, and was succeeded by another, whose
top, though not so elevated as the last, afford-
ed a view of the range of mountains, covered
with snow, which, according to the intelligence of our guide, terminates in the ocean.
We now left a small lake on our left, then
crossed a creek running out of it, and at one
in the afternoon came to a house, of the same
construction and dimensions as have already
been mentioned, but the materials were much
better prepäred and finished. The timber
was squared on two sides, and the bark tälten
off the two others; the ridge pole was also
shaped in the same manner, extending about
eight or ten feet beyond the gable end, and
supporting a shed över the door: the end of
it was.carved into the similitude of a snake's
head. Several hieroglyphics and figures of a
similar workmanship, and painted with red
earth, decorated the interiör of the building.
The inhabitants had left the house but a
short time, and there were several bags or
bundles in it, which I did not suffer to be dis-
turbed. Near it were two tombs, surrounded
in a neat manner with boards, and covered
with bark. Beside them several poles had
been erected, one of which was squared, and
all of them painted. From each of them
were suspended several rolls or parcels of
bark, and our guide gave the following account of them; which, as far as we could
judge, from our imperfect knowledge of the
language, and the incidental errors of interpretation, appeared to involve two different
modes of treating their dead; or it might be
one and the same ceremony, which we did
not distinctly comprehend: at all events, it
is the practice of these people to burn the
bodies of their dead, except the larger bones,
which are rolled up in bark and suspended
from poles, as I have already described. Ac-
cording to the other account, it appeared that
they actually bury their dead; and when
another of the family dies, the remain s of the
person who was last interred are taken from
the gra ve and burned, has been already men-
tioned; so that the members of a family are
thus successively buried and burned, to make
room for each other; and one tomb proves
sufficient for a family through succeeding
generations. There is no house in this country without a tomb in its vicinity. Our last
course extended about ten miles.
We continued our journey along the lake
before the house, and, crossing a river that
flowed out of it, came to a kind of bank, or
weir, formed by the natives, for the purpose
of placing their fishing machines, many of
which of different sizes, were lying on the
side of the river. Our guide placed one of
them, with the certain expectation that on
his return he should find plenty of fish in it.
We proceeded nine miles further, on a good
road, West-South-West, when we came to a
small lake: we then crossed a river that ran
out of it, and our guides were in continual
expectation of meeting with some of the natives. To this place our course was a mile
and a half, in the same direction as the last.
At nine at night we crossed a river on rafts,
our last distance being about four miles
South-East, on a winding road, through a
swampy country, and along a succession of
small lakes. We were now quite exhausted,
and it was absolutely necessary for us to stop
for  the  night.     The  weather   being  clear
throughout the day, we had no reason to com-
plain of the cold. Our guides encouraged us
with the hope that, in two days of similar ex-
ertion, we should arrive among people of the
other nation.
Monday, 15.—At five this morning we
were again in motion, and passing along a
river, we at length forded it. This stream
was not more than knee deep, about thirty
yards över, and with a stony bottom. The
old man went onward by himself, in the hope_
of falling in with the people, whom he expected toimeet in the course of the day. At
eleven we came up with him, and the natives
whom he expected, consisting of five men,
and part of their families. They received us
with great kindness, and examined us with
the most minute attention. They must, however, have been told that we were white, as
our f aces no longer indicated that distinguish-
ing complexion. They called themselves
Neguia Dinais, and were come in a different
direction from us, but were now going the
same way, to the Anah-yoe Tesse or River,
and appeared to be very much satisfied with
our having j oined them. They presented us
with some fish which they had just taken in
the adjoining lake.
Here I expected that our guides, like their
predecessors, would have quitted us, but, on
"the contrary, they expressed themselves to
be so happy, in our company, and that of
their friends, that they voluntarily, and with
jreat cheerfulness proceeded to pass another
night with us. Our new acquaintance were
people of a very pleasing aspect. The hair
of the women was tied in large loose knöts
över the ears, and plaited with great neatness
from the division of the head, so as to be in-
cluded in the knöts. Some of them had
adorned their tresses with beads, with a very
pretty effect. The men were clothed in
leather, their hair was nicely combed, and
their complexion was fairer, or perhaps it
may be said, with more propriety, that they
were more cleanly, than any of the natives
whom we had yet seen. Their eyes, though
keen and sharp, are not of that dark colour,
so generally observable in the various tribes of
Indians; they were, on the contrary, of a
grey hue, with a tinge of red. There was
one man amongst them of at least six feet
four inches in height; his manners were affa-
ble, and he had a more prepossessing appearance than any Indian I had met with in my
journey; he was about twenty-eight years of
age, and was treated with particular respect
by his party. Every man, woman, and child
carried a proportionate burden, consisting of
beaver coating, and parchment, as well as
skins of the otter, the niarten, the bear, the
lynx,   and  dressed   moose-skins.    The  last
they procure from the Bocky-Mountain Indi-
232 ta
ans. According to their account, the people
of the sea coast pref er them to any other artide. Several of their relations and friends,
they said, were already gone, as well provided
as themselves, to barter with the people of
the coast; who barter them in their turn, except the dressed leather, with white people,
who, as they had been informed, arrive there
in large canoes.
Such an escort was the most f ortunate cireumstance that could happen in our favour.
They told us, that as the women and children
could not travel fast, we should be three days
in getting to the end of our journey; which
must be supposed to have been very agreeable
information to people in our exhausted condition.
In about half an hour after we had j oined
our new acquaintance, the signal for moving
onwards was given by the leader of the party,
who vociferated, the words Huy, Huy, when
his people joined him and continued a clamor-
ous conversation.    We passed along a wind-
ing  road, över hills,  and  through  swampy
vallies, from South to West.   We then crossed
a deep, narrow river, which discharges itself
into a lake, on whose side we stopped at five
in the afternoon, for the night, though we
had reposed  several  times since twelve at
noon; so that our mode of travelling had un-
dergone a very agreeable change.    I compute
K:; i ,
the distance of this day's journey at about
twenty miles. In the middle of the day the
weather was clear and sultry.
We all sat down on a very pleasant green
spöt, and were no sooner seated, than our
guide and one of the party prepared to en-
gage in play. They had each a bundle of
about fifty small sticks, neatly polished, of
the size of a quill, and five inches long: a
certain number of these sticks had red lines
round them; and as many of these as one
of the players might find convenient were
curiously rolled up in dry grass, and ac-
cording to the judgment of his antagonist
respecting their number and _marks, he löst
or won. Our friend was apparently the
löser, as he parted with his bow and arrows,
and several artides which I had given
Tuesday, 16.—The weather of this- morning was the same as yesterday; but our fel-
low-travellers were in no hurry to proceed,
and I was under the necessity of pressing
them into greater expedition, by representing
the almost exhausted state of our provisions.
They, however, assured us, that after the
next night's sleep we should arrive at the
river where they were going, and that we
should there get fish in great abundance. My
young men, from an act of imprudence, de-
prived  themselves  last  night  of that  rest
234 M
which was so necessary to them. One of the
strangers asking them several questions re-
specting us, and concerning their own country, one of them gave such answers as were
not credited by the audience; whereupon he
demanded, in a very angry tone, if they
thought he was disposed to tell lies, like the
Bocky Mountain Indians; and one of that
tribe happening to be of the party, a quarrel
ensued, which might have been attended with
the most serious consequences, if it had not
been fortunately prevented by the interfer-
ence of those who were not interested in the
Though our stock of provisions was getting
so low, I determined, nevertheless, to hide
about twenty pounds of pemmican, by way
of providing against our return. I therefore
left two of the men behind, with directions
to bury it, as usual, under the place where
we had made our fire.
Our course was about West-South-West by
the side of the lake, and in about two miles
we came to the end of it. Here was a general'halt, when my men overtook us. I was
now informed, that some people of another
tribe were sent for, who wished very much
to see us, two of whom would accompany us
över the mountains; that, as for themselves,
they had changed their mind, and intended
to follow a small river which issued out of
•3 Is
the lake, and went in a direction very different from the line of our journey. This was
a disappointment, which, though not uncom-
mon to us, might have been followed by considerable inconveniences. It was my wish to
continue with them whatever way they went;
but neither my promises or entreaties would
avail; these people were not to be turned
from their purpose; and when I represented
the low state of our provisions, one of them
answered, that if we would stay with them
all night, he would boil a kettle of fish-roes
for us. Accordingly, without receiving any
answer, he began to make preparation to fulfil his engagement. He took-the roes out of
a bag, and having bruised them between two
stones, put them in water to soak. His wife
then took an handful of dry grass in her hand,
with which she squeezed them through her
fingers; in the mean time her husband was
employed in gathering wood to make a fire,
for the purpose of heating stones. When she
had finished her operation, she filled a water
kettle nearly full of water, and poured the
roes into it. When the stones were suffi-
ciently heated, some of them were put into
the kettle, and others weré thrown in from
time to time, till the water was in a state of
boiling; the woman also continued stirring
the contents of  the  kettle, till they were
rough to   a thick  consistency;  the  stones
were then taken out, and the whole was sea-
soned with about a pint of strong rancid oil.
The smell of this curious dish was sufficient
to sicken me without tasting it, but the hunger of my people surmounted the nauseous
meal. When unadulterated by the stinking
oil, these boiled roes are not unpalatable
In the mean time four of the people who
had been expected, arrived, and, according
to the account given of them, were of two
tribes whom I had not yet known. After
some conversation, they proposed, that I
should continue my route by their houses;
but the old guide, who was now preparing to
leave us, informed. me that it would lengthen
my journey; and by his ad vice I proposed to
them to conduct us along the road which had
already been marked out to us. This they
undertook without the least hesitation; and,
at the same time, pointed out to me the pass
in the mountain, bearing South by East by
compass. Here I had a meridian altitude,
and took time.
At four in the afternoon we parted with our
late fellow-travellers in a very friendly manner, and immediately forded the river. The
wild parsnip, which luxuriates on the borders
of the lakes and rivers, is a favourite food of
the natives: they roast the tops of this plant,
in their tender state, över the fire, and taking
off the outer rind, they are then a very pala-
table food.
We now entered the woods, and some time
after arrived on the banks of another river
that flowed from the mountain, which we
also forded. The country soon after we
left the river was swampy; and the fire
having passed through it, the number of
trees, which had fallen, added to the toil of
our journey. In a short time we began to
ascend, and continued ascending till nine at
night. We walked upwards of f ourteen miles,
according to my computation, in the course
of the day, though the strait line of distance
might not be more than ten,—Notwithstand-
ing that we were surrounded by mountains
covered with snow, we were very much tor-
mented with musquitoes.
Wednesday, 17.—Before the sun rose, our
guides summoned us to proceed, when we de-
scended into a beautiful valley, watered by a
small river. At eight we came to the termination of it, where we saw a great number of
moles, and began again to ascend. We now
perceived many ground-hogs, and heard them
wkistle in every direction. The Indians went
in pursuit of them, and soon j oined us with
a female and her litter, almost grown to their
full size. They stripped off their skins, and
gave the carcases to my people.    They also
pulled up a root, which appeared like a bunch
of white berries of the size' of a pea; its
shape was that of a fig, while it had the colour and t aste of a potatoe.
We now gained the summit of the mountain, and found ourselves surrounded by
snow. But this cireumstance is caused rather
by the quantity of snow drifted in the pass,
than the real height of the spöt, as the sur-
rounding montains rise to a much higher de-
gree of elevation. The snow had become so
compact that our feet hardly made a percepti-
ble impression on it. We observed, however,
the tracks of an herd of small deer which
must have passed a short time before us, and
the Indians and my hunters went immediately
in pursuit of them. Our way was now nearly
level, without the least snow, and not a tree
to be seen in any part of it. The grass is
very short, and the soil a reddish clay, inter-
mixed with small stones. The face of the
hills, where they are not enlivened with verdure, appears, at a distance, as if fire had
.passed över them. It now began to hail,
snow, and rain, nor could we find any shelter
but the leeward side of an huge rock. The
wind also rose into a tempest, and the weather
was as distressing as any I had ever experi-
enced. After au absence of an hour and a
half, our hunters brought a small doe of the
rein-deer species, which   was all they had
killed, though they fired twelve shots at a
large herd of them. Their ill succéss they
attributed to the weather. I proposed to
leave half of the venison in the snow, but the
men preferred carrying it, though their
strength was very much exhausted. We had
been so long shivering with cold in this situation that we were glad to renew our march.
Here and there were scattered a few crow-
berry bushes and stinted willows; the former
of which had not yet blossomed.
Before us appeared a stupendous mountain,
whose snow-clad summit was löst in the
clouds; between it and our immediate course,
flowed the river to which we were going.
The Indians informed us.lhat it was at no
great distance. As soon as we could gather
a sufficient quantity of wood, we stopped to
dress some of our veni son; and it is almost
superfluous to add, that we made an heartier
meal than we had done for many a day before. To the comfort which I have just mentioned, I added that of taking off my beard,
as well as changing my linen, and my people
followed the humanising example. We then
set forwards, and came to a large pond, on
whose bank we found a tomb, but lately
made, with a pole, as usual, erected beside
it, on which two figures of birds were painted,
•and by them the guides distinguished the tribe
to which the deceased person belonged.    One
of them, very unceremoniously, opened the
bark and shewed us the bones which it contained, while the other threw down the pole,
and having possessed himself of the feathers
that were tied to it, fixed them on his own
head. I therefore conjectured, that these
funeral memorials belonged to an individual
of a tribe at enmity with them.
We continued our route with a considerable
degree of expedition, and as we proceeded
the mountains appeared to withdraw from
us. The country between them soon opened
to our view, which apparently added to their
awful elevation. We continued to descend
till we came to the brink of a precipice, from
whence our guides discovered the river to us,
and a village on its banks. This precipice,
or rather succession of precipices, is covered
with large timber, which consists of the pine,
the spruce, the hemlock, the birch, and other
trees. Our conductors informed us, that it
abounded in animals, which, from their description, must be wild goats. In about two
hours we arrived at the bottom, where there
is a conflux of two rivers, that issue from the
mountains. We crossed the one which was
to the left. They are both very rapid, and
continue so till they unite their currents,
forming a strearn of about twelve yards in
breadth. Here the timber was also very
large; but I could not learn from our conductors why the most considerable hemlock trees
were stripped of their bark to the tops of
them. I concluded, indeed, at that time that
the inhabitants tanned their leather with it.
Here were also the largest and loftiest elder
and cedar trees that I had ever seen. We
were now sensible of an entire change in the
climate, and the berries were quite ripe.
The sun was about to set, when our conductors left us to follow them as well as we
could. We were prevented, however, from
going far astray, for we were hemmed in on
both sides and behind by such a barrier as
nature never before presented to my view.
Our guides had the precaution to mark the
road for us, by breaking the branches of trees
as they passed. This small river must, at
certain seasons, rise to an uncommon height
and strength of current most probably on the
melting of the snow; as we saw a large quantity of drift wood lying twelve feet above the
immediate level of the river. This cireumstance impeded our progress, and the pro-
truding rocks frequently forced us to pass
through the water. It was now dark, without the least appearance of houses, though it
would be impossible to have seen them, if
there had been any, at the distance of twenty
yards, from the thickness of the woods. My
men were anxious to stop for the night; indeed the fatigue they had suffered justified
the proposal, and I left them to their choice;
but as the anxiety of my mind impelled me
forwards, they continued to follow me, till I
found myself at the edge of the woods; and,
notwithstanding the remonstrances that were
made, I proceeded, feeling rather than seeing
my way, till I arrived at a house, and soon
discovered several fires, in small huts, with
people busily employed in cooking their fish.
I walked into one of them without the least
ceremony, threw down my burden, and, after
shaking hands with some of the people, sat
down upon it. They received me without
the least appearance of surprize, but soon
made signs for me to go up to the large house,
which was erected, on upright posts, at some
distance from the ground. A broad piece of
timber with steps cut in it, led to the scaf-
folding even with the floor, and by this curious kind of ladder I entered the house at one
end; and having passed three fires, at equal
distances in the middle of the building, I was
received by several people, sitting upon a
very wide board, at the upper end of it. I
shook hands with them, and seated myself
beside a man, the dignity of whose counte-
nance induced me to' give him that prefer-
ence. I soon discovered one of my guides
seated a little above me, with a neat mat
spread before him, which I supposed to be
the place of honour, and appropriated to
In a short time my people arrived, and
placed themselves near me, when the man,
by whom I sat, immediately rose, and fetched,
from behind a plank of about four feet wide
a quantity of roasted salmon. He then di-
rected a mat to be placed before me and-Mr.
Mackay, who was now sitting by me. When
this ceremony was performed, he brought a
salmon for each of us, and half an one to
each of my men. The same plank also served
as a screen for the beds, whither the women
and children were already retired; but
whether that circumstances took place on our
arrival, or was the natural consequence of the
late hour of the night, I did- not discover.
The signs of our protector seemed to denote
that we might sleep in the house, but as we
did not understand him with a sufficient de-
gree of certainty, I thought it prudent, from
the fear of giving offence, to order the men
to make a fire without, that we might sleep
by it. When he observed our design, he
placed boards for us, that we might not take
our repose on the bare ground, and ordered a
fire to be prepared for us. We had not been
long seated round it, when we received a
large dish of salmon roes, pounded fine and
beat up with water, so as to have the appearance of a cream. Nor was it without some
kind of seasoning that gave it a bitter taste.
Another dish  soon  followed, the  principal
artide of which was also salmon roes, with
a large proportion of gooseberries, and an
herb that appeared to be sorrel. Its acidity
renderéd it more agreeable to my taste than
the former preparation. Having been regaled
with these delicacies, for such they were considered by that hospitable spirit which provided them, we laid ourselves down to rest,
with no other canopy than the sky; but I
never enjoyed a more sound and ref resning
rest, though I had a board for my bed, and
a billet for my pillow.
Thursday, 18.—At five this morning I
awoke, and found that the natives had lighted
a fire for us, and were sitting by it. My
hospitable friend immediately brought me
some berries and roasted salmon, and his
companions soon followed his example. The
former, which consisted among many others,
of gooseberries, hurtleberries, and raspber-
ries, were of the finest I ever saw or tasted,
of their respective kinds. They also brought
the dried roes of fish to eat with the berries.
Salmon is so abundant in this river, that
these people have a constant and plentiful
supply of that excellent fish. To take them
with more facility, they had, with great labour, formed an embankment or weir across
the river, for the purpose of placing their
fishing machines, which they disposed both
above and below it.    I expressed my wish to
visit this extraordinary work, but these people are so superstitious, that they would not
allow me a nearer examination than. I could
obtain by viewing it from the bank. The
river is about fifty yards in breadth, and by
observing a man fish with a dipping net, I
judged it to be about ten feet deep at the foot
of the fall." The weir is a work of great labour, and contrived with considerable inge-
nuity. It was near four feet above the level
of the water, at the time I saw it, and nearly
the height of the bank on which I stood to
examine it. The stream is stopped nearly
two-thirds by it. It is constructed by fixing
small trees in the bed of the river, in a slant-
ing position (which could be practicable only
when the water is much lower than when I
saw it) with the thick part downwards; över
these is laid a bed of gravel, on which is
placed a range of lesser trees, and so on alter-
nately till the work is brought to its proper
height. Beneath it the machines are placed,
into which the salmon fall when they attempt
to leap över. On either side there is a large
frame of timber-work, six feet above the level
of the upper water, in which passages are
left for the salmon leading directly into the
machines, which are taken up at pleasure.
At the foot of the fall dipping nets are also
successfully employed.
The water of this river is of the colour of
246 as
asses' milk, which I attributed in part to the
limestone that in many places forms the bed
of the river, but principally to the rivulets
which fall from mountains of the same material.
These people indulge an extreme supersti-
tion respecting their fish, as it is apparently
their only animal food. Flesh they never
taste, and one of their dögs having picked
and swallowed part of a bone which we had
left, was beaten by his master till he dis-
gorged it. One of my people also having
thrown a bone of the deer into the river, a
native, who had observed the cireumstance,
immediately dived and brought it up, and,
having consigned it to the fire, instantly proceeded to wash his polluted hands.
As we were still at some distance from the
sea, I made application to my friend to pro-
cure us a canoe or two, with people to conduct us thither. After he had made various
excuses, I at length comprehended that his
only objection was to the embarking venison
in a canoe on their river, as the fish would
instantly smell it and abandon them, so that
he, his friends, and relations, must starve.
I soon eased his apprehensions on that point, |fp
and desired to know what I must do with the
venison that remained, when he told me to
give  it to  one  of the  strangers whom he
pointed out to me, as being of a tribe that eat
flesh. I now requested him to furnish me
with some fresh salmon in its raw state; but,
instead of complying with my wish, he
brought me a couple of them roasted, observ-
ing at the same time, that the current was
very strong, and would bring us to the next
village, where our wants would be abundantly
supplied. In short, he requested that we
would make haste to depart. This was rather
unexpected after so much kindness and hos-
pitality, but our ignorance of the language
prevented us from being able to discover the
At eight this morning, fifteen men armed,
the friends and relations of these people,
arrived by land, in consequence of notice sent
them in the night, immediately after the appearance of our guides. They are more cor-
pulent and of a better appearance than the
inhabitants of the interiör. Their language
totally different from any I had heard; the
Atnah or Chin tribe, as far as I can judge
from the very little I saw of that people,
bear the nearest resemblance to them. They
appear to be of a quiet and peaceable charac-
ter, and never make any hostile incursions
into the lands of their neighbours.
Their dress consists of a single robe tied
över the shoulders, falling down behind, to
the heels, and before, a little below the knees,
with a deep fringe round the bottom.    It is
generally made of the bark of the cedar tree,
which they prepare as fine as hemp; though
some of these garments are interwoven with
strips of the sea-otter skin, which give them
the appearance of a fur on one side. Others
have stripes of red and yellow threads fanci-
fully introduced toward the borders, which
have a very agreeable effect. The men have
no other covering than that which I have described, and they unceremoniously lay it aside
when they find it convenient. In addition to
this robe, the women wear a close fringe
hanging down before them about two feet in
length, and half as wide. When they sit
down they draw this between their thighs.
They wear their hair so short, that it requires
little care or combing. The men have their'sl
in plaits, and being smeared with oil and red
earth, instead of a comb they have a small
stick hanging by a string from one of the
locks, which they employ to alleviate any
itching or irritation in the head. The colour
of the eye is grey with a tinge of red. They
have all highjcheek-bones, but the women are
more remarkable for that feature than the
men. Their houses, arms, and utensils I
shall-describe hereafter.
I presented my friend with several artides,
and also distributed some among others of
the natives who had been attentive to us.
One of my guides had been very serviceable
in procuring canoes for us to proceed on our
expedition; he appeared also to be very de-
sirous of giving these people a favourable impression of us; and I was very much con-
cerned that he should leave me as he did,
without giving me the least notice of his departure, or receiving the presents which I
had prepared for him, and he so well de-
served. At noon I had an observation which
gave 52. 28. 11. North latitude.
JULY, 1793.
At one in the afternoon we embarked,
with our small baggage, in two canoes, accompanied by seven of the natives. The
stream was rapid, and ran upwards of six
miles an hour. We came to a weir, such as
I have already described, where the natives
landed us, and shot över it without taking a
dröp of water. They then received us on
board again, and we continued our voyage,
passing many canoes on the river, some with
people in them, and others empty. We proceeded at a very great råte for about two
hours and a half, when we were informed
that we must land, as the village was only
at a short distance. I had imagined that the
Canadians who accompanied me were the
most expert canoe-men in the world, but they
are very inferior to these people, as they
themselves acknowledged, in conducting those
Some of the Indians ran before us, to an-
nounce our approach, when we took our bun-
dles and followed.    We had walked along a
well-beaten path, through a kind of coppice,
when we were informed of the arrival of our
couriers at the houses, by the loud and con-
fused talking of the inhabitants. As we ap-
proached the edge of the wood, and were
almost in sight of the houses, the Indians
who were before me made signs for me to
take the lead, and that they would follow.
The noise and confusion of the natives now
seemed to encrease, and when we came in
sight of the village, we saw them running
from house to house, some armed with bows
and arrows, others with spears, and many
with axes, as if in a state of great alarm.
This very unpleasant and unexpected cireumstance, I attributed to our sudden arrival,
and the very short notice of it which had
been given them. At all events, I had but
one line of conduct to pursue, which was to
walk resolutely up to them, without mani-
festing any signs of apprehension at their
hostile appearance. This resolution pro-
duced the desired effect, for as we approached
the houses, the greater part of the people laid
down their weapons, and came forward to
meet us. I was, however, soon obliged to
stop from the number of them that surrounded
me. I shook hands, as usual with such as
were nearest to me, when an elderly man
broke through the crowd, and took me in his
arms; another then came, who turned him
away without the least ceremony, and paid
me the same compliment.    The latter was
followed by a young man, whom I understood
to be his son. These embraces, which at first
rather.vSurprised me, I soon found to bemärks
of regard and friendship. The crowd pressed
with so much violence and contention to get
a view of us, that we could not move in any
direction. An opening was at length made
to allow a person to approach me, whom the
old man made me understand was another of
his sons. I instantly stepped forward to
meet him, and presented my hand, whereupon
he broke the string of a very handsome robe
of sea-otter skin, which he had on, and covered me with it. This was as flattering a reception as I could possibly receive, especially
as I considered him to be the eldest son of the
chief. Indeed it appeared to me that we
had been detained here for the purpose of
giving him time to bring the robe with which
he had presented me.
The chief now made signs for us to follow
him, and he conducted us through a narrow
coppice, for several hundred yards, till we
came to a house built on the ground, which
was of larger dimensions, and formed of bet-
ter materials than any I had hitherto seen;
it was his residence. We were no sooner
arrived there, than he directed mats to be
spread before it, on which we were told to
take our seats, when the men of the village,
who came to indulge their curiosity, were or-
"dered to keep behind us.    In our front other
mats were placed, where the chief and his
counsellors took their seats.    In the interven-
ing space, mats, which were very clean, and
of a much neater workmanship than those on
which we sat, were also spread, and a small
roasted salmon   placed  before  each  of us.
When we had satisfied ourselves with the fish,
one of the people who came with us from the
last village approached, with a kind of ladle
in one hand, containing oil, and in the other
something that resembled the inner rind of
the cocoa-nut, but of a lighter colour, this he
dipped in the oil, and, having eat it, indicated
by his gestures how palatable he thought it.
He then presented me with a small piece of
it, which I chose to taste in its dry state,
though the oil was free from any unpleasant
smell.    A square cake of this was next pro-
duced, when a man took it to the water near
the house, and having thoroughly soaked it,
he returned, and, after he had pulled it to
pieces like oakum, put it into a well-made
trough, about three feet long, nine inches
wide,   and five  deep;   he   then  plentifully
sprinkled it with salmon oil, and manifested
by his own example that we were to eat of it.
I just tasted it, and found the oil perfectly
sweet, without  which the other  ingredient
would have  been  very insipid.    The chief
partook of it with great avidity, after it hact
received an additional quantity of oil. This
dish is considered by these people as a great
delicacy, and on examination, I discovered it
to consist of the inner rind of the hemlock
tree, taken off early in summer, and put into
a frame, which shapes it into cakes of fifteen
inches long, ten broad, and half an inch
thick; and in this form I should suppose it
may be preserved for a great length of time.
This discovery satisfied me respecting the
many hemlock trees which I had observed
stripped of their bark.
In this situation we remained for upwards
of three hours, and not one of the curious
natives left us during all that time, except a
party of ten or twelve of them, whom the
chief ordered to go and catch fish, which they
did in great abundance, with dipping nets,
at the foot of the Weir.
At length we were relieved from the gazing
crowd, and got a lodge ereeted, and covered
in for our reception during the night. I now
presented the young chief with a blänket, in
return for the robe with which he had fa-
voured me, and several other artides, that
appeared to be very gratifying to him. I
also presented some to his father, and amongst
them was a pair of scissors, whose use I ex-
plained to him, for dipping his beard, which
was of great length; and to that purpose he
immediately applied them.    My distribution
of similar artides was also extended to others,
who had been attentive to us. The communi-
cation, however, between us was awkward
and inconvenient, for it was carried on en-
tirely by signs, as there was not a person
with me who was qualified for the office of
an interpreter.
We were all of us very desirous to get
some fresh salmon, that we-might dress them
in our own way, but could not by any means
obtain that gratification, though there were
thousands of that fish strung on cords, which
were fastened to stakes in the river. They
were even averse to our approaching the spöt
where they clean and prepare them for their
own eating. They had, indeed, taken our
kettle from us, le st we should employ it in
getting water from the river; and they as-
signed as the reason for this precaution, that
the salmon dislike the smell of iron.
At the same time, they supplied us with
wooden boxes, which were capable of holding
any fluid. Two of the men who went to fish,
in a canoe capable of containing ten people,
returned with a full lading of salmon, that
weighed from six to förty pounds, though the
far greater part of them were under twenty.
They immediately strung the whole of them,
as I have already mentioned, in the river.
I now made the tour of the village, which
consisted of four elevated houses, and seven
built on the ground, besides a considerable
number of other buildings or sheds, which
are used only as kitchens, and places for cur-
ing their fish. The former are constructed
by fixing a certain number of posts in the
earth, on some of which are laid, and to
others are fastened, the supporters of the
floor, at about twelve feet above the surface
of the ground; their length is from a hundred to a hundred and twenty feet, and they
are about förty in breadth. Along the centre
are built three, four, or five hearths, for the
two-f old purpose of giving warmth, and dress-
ing their fish. The whole length of the
building on either side is divide d by cedar
planks, into partitions or apartments of seven
feet square, in the front of which there are
boards, about three feet wide, över which,
though they are not immovably fixed, the in-
mates of these recesses generally pass, when
they go to rest. The greater part of them
are intended for that purpose, and such are
covered with boards, at the height of the
wall of the house, which is about seven or
eight feet, and rest upon beams that stretch
across the building. On those also are placed
the chests which contain their provisions,
utensils, and whatever they possess. The
intermediate space is sufficient for domestic
purposes.    On   poles   that   run   along   the
beams,  häng roasted fish,   and the  whole
Vol. IL—17 257 ft \y\vL
building is well covered with boards and
bark, except within a few inches of the ridge
pole; where open spaces are left on each side
to let in light and emit the smoke. At the
end of the house that fronts the river, is a
narrow scaffolding, which is also ascended by
a piece of timber, with steps cut in it; and at
each corner of this erection there are open-
ings for the inhabitants to ease nature. As
it does not appear to be a custom among them
to remove these heaps of excremental filth, it
may be supposed that the emuvia does not
annoy them.
The houses which rest on the gronnd are
built of the same materials^, and on the same
plan. A sloping stage that rises to a cross
piece of timber, supported by two f orks, joins
also to the main building, for those purposes
which need not bé repeated.
When we were surrounded by the natives
on our arrival, I counted sixty-five men, and
several of them may be supposed to have
been absent; I cannot, therefore, calculate
the inhabitants of this village at less than
two hundred souls.
The people who accompanied us hither,
from the other village, had given the chief a
very particular account of everything they
knew concerning us: I was, therefore, requested to produce my astronomical instruments, nor could  I have any objection  to
afford them this satisfaction, as they would
necessarily add to our importance in their
Near the house of the chief I observed several oblong squares, of about twenty feet by
eight. They were made of thick cedar boards,
which were j oined with so much neatness,
that I at first thought they were one piece.
They were painted with hieroglyphics, and
figures of different animals, and with a de-
gree of correctness that was not to be expected from such an uncultivated people. I
could not learn the use of them, but they appeared to be calculated for occasional acts of
devotion or sacrifice, which all these tribes
perform at least twice in the year, at the
spring and fall. I was confirmed in this
opinion by a large building in the middle of
the village, which I at first took for the half
finished frame of a house. The groundplot
of it was fifty feet by förty-five; each end is
formed by four stout posts, fixed perpendicu-
larly in the ground. The corner ones are
plain, and support a beam of the whole
length, having three intermediate props on
each side, but of a larger size, and eight or
nine feet in height. The two centre posts,
at each end, are two feet and a half in diameter, and carved into human figures, support-
ing two ridge poles on their heads, at twelve
feet from the ground.    The figures at the
upper part of this square represent two persons, with their hands upon their knees, as
if they supported the weight with pain and
difficulty; the others opposite to them stånd
at their ease, with their hands resting on
their hips. In the area of the building there
were the remains of several fires. The posts,
poles, and figures, were painted red and
black; but the sculpture of these people is
superior to their painting.
Friday, 19.—Soon after I retired to rest
last night, the chief paid me a visit to insist
on my going to his bed-companion, and tak-
ing my place himself; but, notwithstanding
his repeated entreaties, I resisted this offer-
ing of his hospitality.
At an early hour this morning, I* was again
visited by the chief, in company with his son.
The  former   complained  of  a  pain  in  his
breast; to relieve his suffering, I gave him a
few dröps of Turlington's Balsam on a piece
of sugar; and I was rather surprised to see
him take  it   without  the  least  hesitation.
When he had taken my medicine, he requested
me to follow him, and conducted me to a shed,
where several people were assembled round a
sick man, who was another of his sons.    They
immediately uncovered him, and showed me
a violent ulcer in the small of his back, in
the foulest state that can be imagined.    One
of his knees was also afflicted in the same
manner. This unhappy man was reduced to
a skeleton, and, from his appearance, was
drawing near to an end of his pains. They
requested that I would touch him, and his
father was very urgent with me to administer
medicine; but he was in such a dangerous
state, that I thought it prudent to yield no
further to the importunities than to give the
sick man a few dröps of Turlington's Balsam
in some water. I therefore left them, but
was soon called back by the loud lamenta-
tions of the women, and was rather appre-
hensive that some inconvenience might result
from my compliance with the chief's request.
On my return I found the native physidans
busy in practising their skill and art on the
patient. They blew on him, and then whis-
tled; at times they pressed their extended
fingers, with all their strength, on his stom-
ach; they also put their forefingers doubled
into his mouth, and spouted water from their
own with great violence iuto his f ace. To support these operations, the wretched sufferer
was held up in a sitting posture; and when
they were concluded, he was laid down and
covered with a new robe made of the skins of
the lynx. I had observed that his belly and
breast were covered with scars, and I understood that they were caused by a custom
prevalent among them, of applying pieces of
lighted touch-wood to their flesh, in order to
relieve pain or demonstrate their courage.
He was now placed on a broad plank, and
carried by six men into the woods, where I
was invited to accompany them. I could not
conjecture what would be the end of this
ceremony, particularly as I saw one man
carry fire, another an axe, and a third dry
wood. I was indeed, disposed to suspect
that, as it was their custom to burn the dead,
they intended to relieve the poor man from
his pain, and perform the last sad duty of
survivjng affection. When they advanced a
short distance into the woods, they laid him
upon a clear spöt, and kindled a fire against
his back, when the physician began to scarify
the ulcer with a very blunt instrument, the
cruel pain of which operation the patient bore
with incredible resolution. The scene afflicted
me, and I left it.
On my return to our lodge, I observed before the door of the chief s residence, four
heaps of salmon, each of which consisted of
between three and four hundred fish. Sixteen women were employed in cleaning and
preparing them. They first separate the head
from the body, the former of which they
boil; they then cut the latter down the back
on each side of the bone, leaving one third
of the fish adhering to it, and afterwards take
out the guts. The bone is roasted for immediate use, and the other parts are dressed
in the same manner, but with more attention,
for future provision. While they are before
the fire, troughs are placed under them to re-
ceive the oil. The roes are also carefully
preserved, and form a favourite artide of
their food.
After I had observed these culinary prepa-
rations, I paid a visit to the chief, who presented me with a roasted salmon; he then
opened one of his chests, and took out of it a
garment of blue cloth, decorated with brass
buttons; and another of flowered cotton,
which I supposed were Spanish; it had been
trimmed with leather fringe, after the fash-
ion of their own cloaks. Copper and brass
are in great estimation among them, and of
the former they have great plenty: they
point their arrows and spears with it, and
work it up into personal ornaments; such as
collars, ear-rings, and bracelets, which they
wear on their wrists, arms, and legs. I pre-
sume they find it the most advantageous artides of trade with the more inland tribes.
They also abound in iron. I saw some of
their twisted collars of that metal which
weighed upwards of twelve pounds. It is
generally beat in bars of fourteen inches in
length, and one inch three quarters wide.
The brass is in thin squares: their copper is
in larger pieces, and some of it appeared to
be old stills cut up.    They have various trin-
kets; but their manufactured iron consists
only of poignards and daggers. Some of the
former have very neat handles, with a silver
coin of a quarter or eighth of a dollar fixed
on the end of them.—The blades of the latter
are from ten to twelve inches in length, and
about four inches broad at the top, from
which they gradually lessen into a point.
When I produced my instruments to take
an altitude, I was desired not to make use
of them. I could not then discover the cause
of this request, but I experienced the good
effect of the apprehension which they occa-
sioned, as it was very effectual in hastening
my departure. I had applied several times
to the chief to prepare canoes and people to
take me and my party to the sea, but very
little attention had been paid to my applica-
tion till noon; when I was informed that a
canoe was properly equipped for my voyage,
and that the young chief would accompany
me. I now discovered that they had enter-
tained no personal fear of the instruments,
but were apprehensive that the operation of
them might frighten the salmon from that
part of the river. The observation taken in
this village gave me 52. 25. 52. North lati;
In compliance with the chief s request I
desired my people to take their bundles, and
lay them down on the bank of the river.    In
the mean time I went to take the dimensions
of his large canoe, in which, it was signified
to me, that about ten winters ago he went a
considerable distance towards the mid-day
sun, with förty of his people, when he saw two
large vessels full of such men as myself, by
whom he was kindly received: they were, he
said, the first white people he had seen.
They were probably the ships commanded by
Captain Cook. This canoe was built of cedar,
forty-five feet long, four feet wide, and three
feet and a half in depth. It was painted
black and decorated with white figures of fish
of different kinds. The gunwale, före and
aft, was inlaid with the teeth of the sea-
When I returned to the river, the natives
who were to accompany us, and my people,
were already in the canoe. The latter, however, informed me, that one of our axes was
missing. I immediately applied to the chief,
and requested its restoration; but he would
not understand me till I sat myself down on
a stone, with my arms in a state of prepara-
tion, and made it appear to him that I should
* As Captain Cook has mentioned, that the people of the sea-coast adorned their canoes with human teeth, I was more particular in my inquiries;
the result of which was, the most satisfactory proof
that he was mistaken; but his mistake arose from
the very great resemblance there is between human
teeth and those of the sea-otter.
not depart till the stolen artide was restored.
The village was immediately in a state of up-
roar, and some danger was apprehended from
the confusion that prevailed in it. The axe,
however, which had been hidden under the
chief s canoe, was soon returned. Though
this instrument was not, in itself, of sufficient
value to justify a dispute with these people,
I apprehended that the suffering them to
keep it, after we had declared its loss, might
have occasioned the loss of every thing we
carried with us, and of our lives also. My
people were dissatisfied with me at the moment ; but I thought myself right then, and,
I think now, that the circumstances in which
we were involved, justified the measure which
I adopted.
JULY, 1793.
Saturday, 18.—At one in the afternoon we
renewed our voyage in a large canoe with
four of the natives. We found the river
almost one continued rapid, and in half an
hour we came to a house, where, however,
we did not land, though invited by the inhabitants. In about an hour we arrived at
two houses, where we were, in some degree,
obliged to go on shore, as we were informed
that the owner of them was a person of consideration. He indeed received andregaled
us in the same manner as at the last village;
and to increase his consequence, he produced
many European artides, and amongst them
were at least förty pounds weight of old copper stills. We made our stay as short as
possible, and our höst embarked with us. In
a very short time we were carried by the ra-
pidity of the current to another house of very
large dimensions, which was partitioned into
different apartments, and whose doors were
on the side. The inhabitants received us
with great kindness; but instead of fish, they
placed a long, clean, and well made trough
before us  full of berries.    In  addition to
those which we had already seen, there were
some black, that were larger than the hurtle-
berry, and of a richer flavour; others white,
which resembled the blackberry in everything
but colour. Here we saw a woman with two
pieces of copper in her under lip, as described
by Captain Cook. I continued my usual
practice of making these people presents in
return for their friendly reception and enter-
The navigation of the river now became
more difficult, from the numerous channels
into which it was divided, without any sensible diminution in the velocity of its current.
We soon reached another house of the common size, where we were well received; but
whether our guides had informed them that
we were not in want of anything, or that they
were deficient in inclination, or perhaps the
means, of being hospitable to us, they did
not offer us any refreshment. They were in
a state of busy preparation. Some of the
women were employed in beating and prepar-
ing the inner rind of the cedar bark, to which
they gave the appearance of flax. Others
were spinning with a distan0 and spindle.
One of them was weaving a robe of it, inter-
mixed with stripes of the sea-otter skin, on a
frame of adequate contrivance that was placed
against the side of the house.    The men were
fishing on the river with drag-nets between
two canoes. These nets are forced by poles
to the bottom, the current driving them before it; by which means the salmon coming
up the river are intercepted, and give notice
of their being taken by the struggles they
make in the bag or sleeve of the net. There
are no weirs in this part of the river, as I
suppose, from the numerous channels into
which it is divided. The machines, therefore, are placed along the banks, and conse-
quently these people are not so well supplied
with fish as the village which has been already
described,.nor do they appear to possess the
same industry. The inhabitants of the last
house accompanied us in a large canoe.
They recommended us to leave ours here, as
the next village was but at a small distance
from us, and the water more rapid than that
which we had passed. They informed us
also, that we were approaching a cascade. I
directed them to shoot it, and proceeded myself to the foot thereof, where I re-embarked,
and we went on with great velocity, till we
came to a fall, where we left our canoe, and
carried our luggage along a road through a
wood for some hundred yards, when we came
to a village, consisting of six very large
houses, erected on pallisades, rising twenty-
five feet from the ground, which differed in
no one cireumstance from those already described, but the height of their elevation.
They contained only four men and their
families. The rest of the inhabitants were
with us and in the small houses which we
passed higher up the river.* These people
do not seem to enjoy the abundance of their
neighbours, as the men who returned from
fishing had no more than five salmon; they
refused to sell one of them, but gave me one
roasted of a very indifferent kind. In the
houses there were several chests or boxes
containing different artides that belonged to
the people whom we had lately passed. If I
were to judge by the heaps of filth beneath
these buildings, they must have been erected
at a more distant period than any which we
had passed. From these houses I could
perceive the termination of the river, and
its discharge into a narrow arm of the
As it was now half past six in the evening,
and the weather cloudy, I determined to
remain here for the night, and for that purpose we possessed ourselves of one of the
unoccupied houses. The remains of our last
meal, which we brought with us, served for
our supper, as we could not procure a single
fish from the natives. The course of the river
is about West, and the distance from the
great village upwards of thirty-six miles.—
* Mr. Johnstone came to these houses the first
day of the preceding month.
There we had löst our dog, a cireumstance
of no small regret to me.
Saturday, 20.—We rose at a very early
hour this morning, when I proposed to the
Indians to run down our canoe, or procure
another at this place. To both these propos-
als they turned a deaf ear, as they imagined
that I should be satisfied with having come
in sight of the sea. Two of them perempto-
rily refused to proceed; but the other two
having consented to continue with us, we
obtained a larger canoe than our former one,
and though it was in a leaky state we were
glad to possess it.
At about eight we got out of the river,
which discharges itself by various channels
into an arm of the sea.    The tide was out,
and had left a large space covered with sea-
weed.    The surrounding hills were involved
in fog.    The wind was at West, which was
ahead of us, and very strong; the bay ap-
pearing to  be from one  to three miles in
breadth.    As we advanced along the land we
saw a great number of sea-otters.    We fired
several shots at them, but without any suc-
cess  from   the  rapidity  with   which   they
plunge under the water.    We also saw many
small porpoises or divers.    The white-headed
eagle, which is common in the interiör parts;
some small gulls, a dark bird which is inferior
in size to the gull, and a few small ducks,
were all the birds which presented themselves
to our view.
At two in the afternoon the swell was so
high, and the wind, which was against us, so
boisterous, that we could not proceed with
our leaky vessel, we therefore landed in a
small cove on the right side of the bay. Opposite to us appeared another small bay, in
the mouth of which is an island, and where,
according to the information of the Indians,
a river discharges itself that abounds in
Our yöung Indians now discovered a very
evident disposition to leave us; and, in the
evening, one of them made his escape. Mr.
Mackay, however, with the other, pursued
and brought him back; but as it was by no
means necessary to detain him, particularly
as provisions did not abound with us, I gave
him a small portion, with a pair of shoes,
which were necessary for his journey, and a
silk handkerchief, telling him at the same
time, that he might go and inform his friends,
that we should also return in three nights.
He accordingly left us, and his companion,'
the young chief, went with him.
When we landed, the tide was going out,
and at a quarter päst four it was ebb, the
water having fallen in that short period eleven
feet and an half.    Since we left the river,
not a quarter of an hour had passed in which
272 ^¥_i
we did not see porpoises and sea-otters. Soon
after ten it was high water, and rendered it
necessary that our baggage should be shifted
several times, though not till some of the
things had been wetted.
We were now reduced to the necessity of
looking out for fresh water, with which we
were plentifully supplied by the rills that ran
down from the mountains.
When it was dark the young chief returned
to us, bearing a large porcupine on his back.
He first cut the animal open, and having dis-
encumbered it of the entrails, threw them
into the sea; he then singed its skin, and
boiled it in separate pieces, as our kettle was
not sufficiently capacious to contain the
whole; nor did he go to rest, till with the
assistance of two of my people who happened
to be awake, every mor sel of it was devoured.
I had flattered myself with the hope of
getting a distance of the moon and stars, but
the cloudy weather continually disappointed
me, and I began to fear that I should fail in
this important object; particularly as our provisions were at a very low ebb, and we had,
as yet, no reason to expect any assistance
from the natives. Our stock was, at this
time, reduced to twenty pounds weight of
pemmican, fifteen pounds of rice, and six
pounds of flour, among ten half-starved men,
in a leaky vessel, and on a barbarous coast.
Vol. IL—18 273
Our course from the river was about West-
South-West, distance ten miles.
Sunday, 21.—At förty minutes past four
this morning it was low water, which made
fifteen feet of perpendicular height below the
high-water mark of last night. Mr. Mackay
collected a quantity of small muscles which
we boiled. Our people did not partake of
this regale, as they are wholly unacquainted
with sea shell-fish. Our young chief benig
missing, we imagined that he had taken his
flight, but, as we were preparing to depart,
he fortunately made his appearance from the
woods, where he had been to take his rest
after his feast of last night.
At six we were upon the water, when we
cleared the small bay, which we named Porcupine Cove, and steered West-South-West
for seven miles, we then opened a channel
about two miles and a half wide at South-
South-West, and had a view of ten or twelve
miles into it.
As I could not ascertain the distance from
the open sea, and being uncertain whethei
we were in a bay or among inlets and channels of islands, I confined my search to a
proper place for taking an observation. We
steered, therefore, along the land on the left,
West-North-West a mile and a half; then
North-West one fourth of a mile, and North
three miles to an island; the land continuing
to run North-North-West, then along the
island, South-South-West half a mile, West
a mile and a half, and from thence directly
across to the land on thé left, (where I had
an altitude,) South-West three miles.# From
this position a channel, of which the island
we left appeared to make a check, bears
North by East.
Under the land we met with three canoes,
with fifteen men in them, and laden with
their moveables, as if proceeding to a new
situation, or returning to a former one. They
manifested no kind of mistrust or fear of us,
but entered into conversation with our young
man, as I suppossed, to obtain some information concerning us. It did not appear that
they were the same people as those we had
lately seen, as they spöke the language of
our young chief, with a different accent.
They then examined everything we had in
our canoe, with an air of indifference and dis-
dain. One of them in particular made me
understand, with an air of insolence, that a
large canoe had lately been in this bay, with
people in her like me, and that one of them,
whom he called Macubah had fired on him
and his friends, and that Bensins had struck
him on the back, with the flat part of his
sword. He also mentioned another name,
the articulation of which I could not deter-
* The Cape or Point Menzies of Vancouver.
mine. At the same time he illustrated these
circumstances by the assistance of my gun
and sword; and I do not doubt but he well
deserved the treatment which he described.
He also produced several European artides,
which could not have been long in his possession. From his conduct and appearance,
I wished very much to be rid of him, and
flattered myself that he would prosecute his
voyage, which appeared to be in an opposite
direction to our course.
However, when I prepared to part from
them, they turned their canoes about, and
persuaded my young man to leave me, which
I could not prevent.
We coasted along the land * at about West-
South-West for six miles, and met a canoe
with two boys in it, who were dispatched to
summon the people on that part of the coast
to join them. The troublesome fellow now
forced himself into my canoe, and pointed
out a-narrow channel on the opposite shore,
that led to his village, and requested us to
steer towards it, which I accordingly ordered.
His importunities now became very irksome,
and he wantedto see everything we had, particularly my instruments, concerning which
he must have received information from my
young man. He asked for my hat, my hand-
kerchief,  and in short, everything that he
* Named by Vancouver King's Island.
saw about me. At the same time he frequently repeated the unpleasant intelligence
that he had been shot at by people of my
colour. At some distance from the land a
channel opened to us, at South-West by
West, and pointing that way, he made me
understand that Maeubah came there with his
large canoe. When we were in mid-channel,
I perceived some sheds, or the remains of old
buildings on the shore; and as, from that
cireumstance I thought it probable that some
Europeans might have been there I directed
my steersman to make for that spöt. The
traverse is upwards of three miles North-
We landed, and found the ruins of a village, in a situation calculated for defence.
The place itself was overgrown with weeds,
and in the centre of the houses there was a
temple, of the same form and construetion as
that which I described at the large village.
We were soon followed by ten canoes, each
of which contained from three to six men.
They informed us that we were expected at
the village, where we should see many of
them. From their general deportment I was
very apprehensive that some hostile design
was meditated against us, and for the first
time I acknowledged my apprehensions to
my people.    I accordingly desired them to
be very. much upon their guard, and to be
prepared if any violence was offered to de-
fend themselves to the last.
We had no sooner landed, than we took
possession of a rock, where there was not
space for more than twice our number, and
which admitted of our defending ourselves
with advantage, in case we should be attacked.
The people in the three first canoes, were the
most troublesome, but, after doing their utmost to irritate us, they went away.
They were, however, no sooner gone, than
a hat, a handkerchief, and several other artides, were missing. The rest of our visitors
continued their pressing invitations to accom-
pany them to their village, but finding our
resolution to decline them was not to be
shaken, they, about sun-set relieved us from
all further importunities, by their departure.
Another canoe, however, soon arrived, with
seven stout, well-looking men. They brought
a box, which contained a very fine sea-otter
skin, and a goat skin that was beautifully
white. For the former they demanded my
hänger, which, as may well be supposed,
could not be spared in our present situation,
and they actually refused to take a yard and
a half of common broad cloth, with some
other artides, for the skin, which proves the
unreflecting improvidence of our European
traders.    The goat-skin was so bulky that I
did not offer to purchase it.    These men also
told me that Macubah had been there, and
left his ship behind a point of land in the
channel, South-West from us; from whence
he had come to their village in boats, which
these people represented by imitating our
manner of rowing. When I offered them
what they did not choose to accept for the
otter-skin, they shook their heads, and very
distinctly answered, " No, no." And to mark
their refusal of anything we asked from
them, they emphatically employed the same
British monosyllable. In one of the canoes
which had left us, there was a seal, that I
wished to purchase, but could not persuade
the natives to part with it. They had also a
fish, which I now saw for the first time. It
was about eighteen inches in length, of the
shape and appearance of a trout, with strong
sharp teeth. We saw great numbers of the
animals which we had taken for sea-otters,
but I was now disposed to think that a great
part of them, at least, must have been seals.
The natives having left us, we made a fire
to warm ourselves, and as for supper, there
was but little of that, for our whole daily
allowance did not amount to what was suffi-
cient for a single meal. The weather was
clear throughout the day, which was succeeded by a fine moon-light night. I directed
the people to keep watch by two in turn, and
laid myself down on my cloak.
279 journal of a voyage through the
Monday, 22.—This morning the weather
was clear and pleasant; nor had anything
occurred to disturb us throughout the night.
One solitary Indian, indeed, came to us with
about half a pound of boiled seal's flesh, and
the head of a small salmon, for which he
asked a handkerchief, but af terwards accepted
a few beads. As this man came alone, I
concluded that no general plan had been
formed among the natives to annoy us, but
this opinion did not altogether calm the ap-
prehensions of my people.
Soon after eight in the morning, I took five
altitudes for time, and the mean of them was
36° 48' at six in the afternoorr, 58. 34. time,
by the watch, which makes the achrometer
slow apparent time lh 21m 44s.
Two canoes  now arrived from the same
quarter as the rest, with several men, and
our young Indian along with them.    They
brought a very few small sea-otter skins, out
of  season, with some pieces of raw seaPs
flesh.    The former  were of  no  value, but
hunger compelled some of my people to take
the  latter,  at   an   extravagant price.    Mr.
Mackay lighted a bit of touch-wood with a
burning-glass, in the cover of his tobacco-box,
which so surprised the natives, that they ex-
changed the best of their otter skins for it.
The young man was now very anxious to per-
suade our people to depart, as the natives, he
said, were as nUmerous as musquitoes, and
of very malignant character. This information produced some very earnest remon-
strances to me to hästen our departure, but
as I was determined not to leave this place,
except I was absolutely compelled to it, till
I had ascertained its situation, these solicita-
tions were not repeated.
While I was taking a meridian, two canoes,
of a larger size, and well manned, appeared
from the main South-West channel. They
seemed to be the fore-runners of others, who
were coming to co-operate with the people of
the village, in consequence of the message sent
by the two boys, which has been already mentioned; and our young Indian, who understood them, renewed his entreaties for our departure, as they would soon come to shoot
their arrows, and hurl their spears at us. In
relating our danger, his agitation was so violent, that he foamed at the mouth. Though
I was not altogether free from apprehensions
on the occasion, it was necessary for me to
disguise them, as my people were panic-
struck, and some of them asked if it was my
de termination to remain there to be sacrificed?
My reply was the same as their former im-
portunities had received, that I would not
stir till I had accomplished my object; at
the same time, to humour their fears, I con-
sented that they should put everything into
the canoe, that we might be in a state of
preparation to depart. The two canoes now
approached the shore, and in a short time,
five men, with their families, landed very
quietly from them. My instruments being
exposed, they examined them with much ap-
parent admiration and astonishment. My
altitude, by an artificial horizon, gave 52°
21' 33"; that by the natural horizon was 52°
20' 48" North latitude.*
These Indians were of a different tribe
from those which I had already seen, as our
guide did not understand their language. I
now mixed up some vermillion in melted
grease, and inscribed, in large characters, on
the South-East face of the rock on which we
had slept last night, this brief memorial—
"Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by
land, the twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three."
As I thought that we were too near the village, I consented to leave this place, and ac-
cordingly proceeded North-East three miles,
when we landed on a point, in a small cove,
where we should not be readily seen, and
could not be attacked except in our front.
Among other artides that had been stolen
from us, at our last station, was a sounding-
* This I found to be the cheek of Vancouver's
Cascade Canal.
282 ^^1
line, which I intended to have employed in
this bay, though I should not probably have
found the bottom, at any distance from the
shore, as the appearance both of the water
and land indicated a great depth. The latter
displayed a solid rock, rising as it appeared
to me, from three to seven hundred feet above
high water mark. Where any soil was scat-
tered about, there were cedars, spruce-firs,
white birch, and other trees of large growth.
From its precipices issued streams of fine
water, as cold as ice.
The two canoes which we had left at our
last station, followed us hither, and when they
were preparing to depart, our young chief
embarked with them. I was determined,
however, to prevent his escape, and com-
pelled him, by actual force, to come on shore,
for I thought it much better to incur his dis-
pleasure than to suffer him to exposé himself
to any untoward accident among strangers,
or to return to his father before us. The
men in the canoe made signs for him to go
över the hill, and that they would take him
on board at the other side of it. As I was
necessarily engaged in other matters, I desired my people to take care that he should
not run away; but they peremptorily refused
to be employed in keeping him against his
will. I was, therefore, reduced to the necessity of watching him myself.
m <
I took five altitude s, and the mean of them
was 29. 23. 48, at 3. 5. 53. in the afternoon, by the watch, which makes it slow ap-
parent time.
lh 22m 383
In the forenoon } ^   „..
it was
2    44    22
1    22
1    22
Mean of both
Difference of nine hours go- |
ing of the time-piece slow j
I observed an emersion of Jupiter's third
satellite, which gave 8° 32' 21. difference of
longitude. I then observed an emersion of
Jupiter's first satellite, which gave 8° 31' 48.
The mean of these observations is 8° 32' 2.
which is equal to 128. 2. West of Greenwich.
I had now determined my situation, which
is the most fortunate cireumstance of my
long, painful, and perilous journey, as a few
cloudy days would have prevented me from
ascertaining the final longitude of it.*
* Mr. Meares was undoubtedly wrong in the idea,
so earnestly insisted on by him, in his voyage, that
there was a North-West practicable passage to the
Southward of sixty-nine degrees and an half of latitude, as I flatter myself has .been proved by my
former voyage. Nor can I refrain from expressing
my surprise at his assertion, that there was an inland
sea or archipelago of   great extent between the
At twelve it was high water, but the tide
did not come within a foot and an half of the
high water mark of last night. As soon as I
had completed my observations, we left this
place: it was then ten o'clock in the afternoon. We returned the same way that we
came, and though the tide was running out
very strong, by keeping close in with the
rocks, we proceeded at a considerable råte, as
my people were very anxious to get out of
the reach of the inhabitants of this cöast.
Tuesday, 23.—During our course we saw
several fires on the land to the Southward,
and after the day dawned, their smokes were
visible. At half past four this morning we
arrived at our encampment of the night of
the 21st, which had been named Porcupine
Cove. The tide was out, and considerably
lower than we found it when we were here
before; the high-water mark being above the
place where wé had made our fire. This
fluctuation must be occasioned by the action
of the wind upon the water, in those narrow
islands of Nootka and the main, about the latitude
where I was at this time. Indeed I have been informed that Captain Grey, who commanded an
American vessel, and on whose authority he ven-
tured this opinion, denies that he had given Mr.
Meares any such information. Besides, the contrary
is indubitably proved by Captain Vancouver's sur-
vey, from which no appeal can be made,
As we continued onwards, towards the
river, we saw a canoe, well manned, which
at first made from us with great expedition,
but afterwards waited, as if to reconnoitre
us; however, it kept out of our way, and allowed us to pass. The tide being much
lower than when we were here' before, we
were under the necessity of landing a mile
below the village. We observed that stakes
were fixed in the ground along the bay, and
in some places machines were fastened to
them, as I afterwards learned, to intercept
the seals and otters. These works are very
extensive, and must have been erected with
no common labour. The only bird we saw
to-day was the white headed eagle.*
Our guide directed us to draw the canoe
out of the reach of the tide and to leave it.
He would not wait, however, till this operation was performed, and I did not wish to let
him go alone. I therefore followed him
through a bad road encumbered with under-
wood. When we had quitted the wood, and
were in sight of the houses, the young man
being about fifteen or twenty paces before
me, I was surprised to see two men running
down towards me from one of the houses,
with daggers in their hands and fury in their
aspect. From their hostile appearance, I
could not doubt of their purpose.    I there-
* This bay was now named Mackeznie's Outlet.
före stopped short, threw down my cloak,
and put myself in a posture of defence, with
my gun presented towards them. Fortu-
nately för me, they knew the effect of fire-
arms, and instantly dropped their daggers,
which were fastened by a string to their
wrists, and had before been held in a menac-
ing attitude. I let my gun also fall into my
left hand, and drew my hänger. Several
others soon j oined them, who were armed in
the same manner; and among them I recog-
nised the man whom I have already mentioned as being so troublesome to us, and
who now repeated the names of Macuba and
Benzins, signifying. at the same time by his
action, as on a former occasion, that he had
been shot at by them. Until I saw him my
mind was undisturbed; but the moment he
appeared, conceiving that he was the cause
of my present perilous situation, my resent-
ment predominated, and if he had come
within my reach, I verily believe, that I
should have terminated his insolence forever.
The rest now approached so near, that one
of them contrived to get behind me, and
grasped me in his arms. I soon disengaged
myself from him; and, that he did not avail
himself of the opportunity which he had of
plunging his dagger into me, I cannot conjecture.   They certainly might have overpowered
me, and though I should probably have killed
287 til
one or two of them, I must have fallen at
One of my people .now came out of the
wood. On his appearance they instantly took
to flight, and with the utmost speed sought
shelter in the houses from whence they had
issued. It was, however, upwards of ten
minutes before all my people joined me; and
as they came one after the other, these people
might have successively dispatched every one
of us. If they had killed me, in the first in-
stance, this consequence would certainly have
followed, and not one of us would have returned home to tell the horrid fäte of his
After having stated the danger I had en-
countered, I told my people that I was deter-
mined to make these natives feel the impro-
priety of their conduct toward us, and com-
pel them to return my hat and cloak which
they had taken in the scuffle, as well as the
artides previously purloined from us, for
most of the men who were in the three canoes
that we first saw, were now in the village. I
therefore told my men to prime their pieces
afresh, and prepare themselves for an active
use of them, if the occasion should require it.
We now drew ..up before the house, and
made signs for some one to come down to us.
At length our young chief appeared, and told
us that the men belonging to the canoes had
not only informed his friends, that we had
treated him very ill, but that we had killed
four of their companions whom he had met in
the bay. When I had explained to them as
well as it was in my power, the falsehood of
such a story, I insisted on the restoration of
everything that had been taken from us, as
well as a necessary supply of fish, as the
conditions of my departure; accordingly the
things were restored, and a few dried fish
along with them. A reconciliation now took
place, but our guide or young chief was so
much terrified that he would remain no longer
with us, and requested us to follow with his
father's canoe, or mischief would follow. I
determined, however, before my departure,
to take an observation, and at noon got a
meridian altitude, making this place, which
I named EascaPs Village, 52. 23. 43. North
On my informing the natives that we
wanted something more to eat, they brought
us two salmon; and when we signified that
we had no poles to set the canoe against the
current, they were furnished with equal alac-
rity, so anxious were they for our departure.
I paid, however, for everything which we
had received, and did not forget the loan of
the canoe.
Vol. IL—19
JULY, 1793.
The current of the river was so strong, that
I should have complied with the wishes of
my people, and gone by land, but one of my
Indians was so weak, that it was impossible
for him to perform the journey. He had
been ill some time; and, indeed, we had been
all of us more or less afflicted with colds on
the sea coast. Four of the people therefore
set off with the canoe, and it.employed them
an hour to get half a mile. In the mean
time the native, who has been already mentioned as having treated us with so much in-
solence, and four of his companions, went up
the river in a canoe, which they had above
the rapid, with as many boxes as men in her.
This cireumstance was the cause of fresh
alarm, as it was generally concluded that they
would produce the same mischief and danger
in the villages above, as they had in that below. Nor was it forgotten that the young
chief had left us in a manner which would
not be interpreted in our favour by his father
and friends.
At length the canoe arrived, and the people declared in the most unreserved terms,
290 ■?
that they would proceed no further in her;
but when they were made acquainted with
the circumstances which have just been described, their violence increased, and the
greater part of the men announced their de-
termination to attempt the mountains, and
endeavour, by passing över them, to gain the
road by which we came to the first village.
So resolved were they to pursue this plan,
that they threw everything which they had
into the river, except their blänkets. I was
all this time sitting patiently on a stone, and
indulging the hope that, when their frantic
terror had subsided, their returning reason
would have disposed them to perceive the
rashness of their project; but when I observed that they persisted in it, J no longer
remained a silent listener to their passionate
declarations, but proceeded to employ such
arguments as I trusted would turn them from
their senseless and impracticable purpose.
After reproving my young Indian in very
severe terms, for encouraging the rest to follow their mad design of passing the mountains, I addressed myself generally to them,
stating the difficulty of ascending the mountains, the eternal snows with which they were
covered, our small stock of provisions, which
two days would exhaust, and the consequent
probability that we should perish with cold
and hunger.    I urged the folly of being af-
fected by the alarm of danger which might
not exist, and if it did, I encouraged them
with the means we possessed of surmounting
it. Nor did I forget to ur ge the inhumanity
and injustice of leaving the poor sick Indian
to languish and die. I also added, that as
my particular object had been accomplished,
I had now no other but our common safety;
that the sole wish of my heart was to employ
the best means in my power, and to pursue
the best method which my understanding
could suggest, to secure them and myself
from every danger that might impede our
My steersman, who had been with me for
five years in that capacity, instantly replied
that he was ready to follow me wherever I
should go, but that he would never again
enter that canoe, as he had solemnly sworn
he would not, while he was in the rapid.
His example was followed by all the rest,
except two, who embarked with Mr. Mackay,*
myself, and the sick Indian. The current,
however, was so strong, that we dragged up
the greatest part of the way, by the branches
of trees. Our progress, as may be imagined,
was very tedious, and attended with uncom-
mon labour;  the party who went by land
* It is but common justice to him, to mention in
this place that I had every reason to be satisfied
with his conduct.
being continually obliged to wait for us. Mr.
Mackay's gun was carried out of the canoe
and löst, at a time when we appeared to
stånd in very great need of it, as two canoes,
with sixteen or eighteen men, were coming
down the stream; and the apprehensions
which they occasioned did not subside till
they shot by us with great rapidity.
At length we came in sight of the house,
when we saw our young Indian with six
others, in a canoe coming to meet us. This
was a very encouraging cireumstance, as it
satisfied us that the natives who had preceded,
and whose malignant designs we had every
reason to suspect, had not been able to preju-
dice the people again st us. We, therefore,
landed at the house, where we were received in a friendly manner, and having
procured some fish, we proceeded on our
It was almost dark when we arrived at the
next house, and the first persons who presented themselves to our observation were the
turbulent Indian and his four companions.
They were not very agreeable objects; but
we were nevertheless well received by the inhabitants, who presented us with fish and
berries. The Indians who had caused us so
much alarm, we now discovered to be inhabitants of the islands, and traders in various
artides, such as cedar-bark, prepared to be
wove  into  mats,  fish-spawn,  copper, iron,
and beads, the latter of which they get on
their own coast.    For these they receive in
exchange roasted salmon, hemlock bark cakes,
and the other kind made of salmon roes, sor-
rel, and bitter berries.    Having procured as
much fish as would serve us för our supper,
and the meals of the next day, all my people
went to rest except one, with whom I kept
the first watch.
Wednesday, 24.    After twelve last night,
I called up Mr. Mackay, and one of the men,
to relieve us, but as a general tranquillity
appeared to prevail in the place, I recom-
mended them to return to their rest.    I was
the first awake in the morning, and sent Mr.
Mackay to see if our canoe remained where
we left it; but he returned to inform me that
the Islanders had loaded it with their artides
of traffic, and were ready to depart.    On this
intelligence I hurried to the water side, and
seizing the canoe by the stem, I should cer-
tainly have överset it, and turned the three
men that were in it, with all their merchan-
dise, into the river, had not one of the people
of the house, who had been very kind to us,
informed me, that this was their own canoe,
and that my guide had gone off with ours.
At the same moment the other two Indians
who belonged to the party, jumped nimbly
into it, and pushed off with all the haste and
hurry that their fears may be supposed to
We now found ourselves once more without a guide or a canoe. We were, however,
so fortunate as to engage, without much difficulty, two of these people to accompany us;
as, from the strength of the current, it would
not have been possible for us to have proceeded by water without their assistance.
As the house was upon an island, we ferried
över the pedestrian party to the main bank of
the river and continued our course till our
conductors came to their fishing ground, when
they proposed to land us, and our small portion of baggage; but as our companions were
on the opposite shore, we could not acquiesce,
and after some time persuaded them to proceed further with us. Soon after we met the
chief who had regaled us in our voyage down
the river. He was seining between two canoes, and had taken a considerable quantity
of salmon. He took us on board with him,
and proceeded upwards with great expedition.
These people are surprisingly skilful and ac-
tive in setting against a strong current. In
the roughest part they almost filled the canoe
with water, by way of a sportive alarm to us.
We landed at the house of the chief, and
he immediately placed a fish before me.    Our
people now appeared on the opposite bank,
when a canoe was sent for them.    As soon as
they had made their meal of fish, they proceeded on their route, and we followed them;
the chief and one of the natives having undertaken to conduct us.
At five in the afternoon we came to two
houses, which we had not seen in going down.
They were upon an island, and I was obliged
to send for the walking party, as our conductors, from the lateness of the hour, refused
to proceed any further with us till the next
day. One of our men, being at a small distance before the others, had been attacked by
a female bear with two cubs, but another of
them arrived to his rescue, and shot her.
Their fears probably prevented them from
killing the two young ones. They brought
a part of the meat, but it was very indiffer-
ent. We were informed that our former
guide, or young chief, had passed this place,
at a very early hour of the morning, on
These people take plenty of another fish,
besides salmon, which weigh from fifteen to
förty pounds.    This fish is broader than the
salmon, of a greyish colour, and with a hunch
on its back: the flesh is white, but neither rich
nor well flavoured.    Its. jaw and teeth are
like those of a dog, and the latter are larger
and stronger than any I had ever seen in a
fish of equal size: those in front bend in-
wards, like the claws of a bird of prey.    It
delights in shallow water, and its native name
isDilly.    |jg|
We received as many fish and berries from
these people as completely satisfied our appe-
tites. The latter excelled any of the kind
that we had seen. I saw also, three kinds
of gooseberries, which, as we passed through
the woods, we found in great abundance.
Tkursday, 25. —I arose before the sun, and
the weather was very fine. The men who
were to accompany us went to visit their machines, and brought back plenty of fish,
which they strung on a rope, and left them
in the river. We now embarked thirteen in a
canoe, and landed my men on the South bank,
as it would have been impracticable to have
stemmed the tide with such a load. The
underwood was so thick that it was with
great difficulty they could pass through it.
At nine we were under the necessity of wait-
ing to ferry them över a river from the South,
which is not fordable. After some time we
came to two deserted houses, at the foot of
a rapid, beyond which our boatmen absolutely
refused to conduct us by water. Here was a
road which led opposite to the village. We
had, however, the curiosity to visit the houses,
which were erected upon posts, and we suf-
fered very severely for the indulgence of it;
for the floors were covered with fleas, and we
were immediately in the same condition, for
297 il
which we had no remedy but to take to the
water. There was not a spöt round the
houses free from grass, that was not alive,
as it were, with this vermin.
Our guides proposed to conduct us on our
way, and we followed them on a welL-beaten
track. They, however, went so fast, that we
could not all of us keep up with them, particularly our sick Indian, whose situation was
very embarrassing to us, and at length they
contrived to escape. I very much wished for
these men to have accompanied us to the village, in order to do away any ill impressions
which might have arisen from the young
chief s report to his fatherr which we were
naturally led to expect would not be in our
This road eonducted us through the finest
wood of cedar trees that I had ever seen.    I
measured several of them that were twenty-
four feet in the girth, and of a proportionate
height.    The ålder trees are also of an un-
common size; several of them were seven feet
and an half in circumference, and rose to
förty feet without a branch; but my men de-
clared that they had, in their progress, seen
mach larger of both kinds.    The other wood
was hemlock, white  birch, two  species  of
spruce-firs, willows, &c.    Many of the large
cedars appeared to have been examined, as I
suppose by the natives, for the purpose of
making canoes, but finding them hollow at
heart, they were suffered to stånd. There
was but little underwood, and the soil was a
black rich mould, which would well reward
the trouble of cultivation. From the remains
of bones on certäin spöts, it is probable that
the natives may have occasionally burned
their dead in this wood.
As it was uncertain what our reception
might be at the village, I examined every
man's arms and ammunition, and gave Mr.
Mackay, who had unfortunately löst hifc gun,
one of my pistols. Our late conductors had
informed us that the man whom we left in a
dying state, and to whom I had administered
some Turlington's balsam, was dead; and it
was by no means improbable that I might be
suspected of hastening his end.
At one in the afternoon we came to the
bank of the river, which was opposite to the
village, which appeared to be in a state of
perfect tranquillity. Several of the natives
were fishing above and below the weir, and
they very readily took us över in their canoes.
The people now hurried down to the water
side, but I perceived none of the chief s family among them. They made signs to me to
go to his house; I signified to them not to
crowd about us, and indeed drew a line, beyond which I made them understand they
must not pass.    I now directed Mr. Mackay,
and the men to remain there, with their arms
in readiness, and to keep the natives at a distance, as I was determined to go alone to the
chief s house; and if they should hear the
report of my pistols, they were ordered to
make the best of their way from these people,
as it would then be equally fruitless and dangerous to attempt the giving me any assistance, as it would be only in the last extremity, and when I was certain of their intention
to destroy me, that I should discharge my
pistols. My gun I gave to Mr. Mackay,
when, with my loaded pistols in my belt, and
a poignard in my hand, I proceeded to the
abode of the chief. I had a wood to pass in
my way thither, which was intersected by
various paths and I took one that led to the
back, instead of the front of the house; and
as the whole had been very much altered since
I was here before, I concluded that I had
löst my way. But I continued to proceed,
and soon met with the chief s wife, who informed me, that he was at the next house.
On my going round it, I perceived that they
had thrown open the gable ends, and added
two wings, nearly as long as the body, both
of which were hung round with salmon as
close as they could be placed. As I could
discover none of the men, I sat down upon a
large stone near some women who were sup-
ping on salmon roes and berries.    They in-
vited me to partake of their fare, and I was
about to accept their invitation when Mr.
Mackay joined me, as both himself and all
my party were alarmed at my being alone.
Nor was his alarm lessened by an old man
whom he met in the wood, and who made use
of signs to persuade him to return. As he
came without his gun, I gave him one of my
pistols. When I saw the women continue
their employment without paying the léast
attention to us, I could not imagine thät any
hostile design was preparing again st us.
Though the non-appearance of the men awak-
ened some degree of suspicion that I should
not be received with the same welcome as on
my former visit. At length the chief appeared, and his son, who had been our guide,
following him; displeasure was painted in
the old man's countenance, and he held in
his hand a bead tobacco pouch which belonged
to Mr. Mackay, and the young chief had pur-
loined from him. When he had approåched
within three or four yards of me, he threw
it at me with great indignation, and walked
away. I followed him, however, until he
had passed his son, whom I took by the
hand, but he did not make any very cordial
return to my salutation; at the same time
he made signs for me to discharge my
pistol, and give him my hänger which  Mr.
Mackay   had brought  me,  but I  did  not
pay the least attention   to   either   of   his
We now joined the chief, who explained to
me that he was in a state of deep distress for
the loss of his son, and made me understand
that he had cut off his hair and blackened his
face on the melancholy occasion. He also
represented the alarm which he had suffered
respecting his son who had accompanied us;
as he apprehended we had killed him, or had
all of us perished together. When he had
finished his narrative, I took him and his son
by their hands, and requested them to come
with me to the place where I had left my
people, who were rejoiced to see us return,
having been in a state of great anxiety from
our long absence. I immediately remuner-
ated the young chief for his company and
assistance in our voyage to the sea, as well
as his father, for his former attentions. I
gave them cloth and knives, and, indeed, a
portion of everything which now remained to
us. The presents had the desired effect of
restoring us to their favour; but these people
are of so changeable a nature, that there is
no security with them. I procured three
robes and two otter-skins, and if I could
have given such artides in exchange as they
preferred, I should probably have obtained
more. I now represented the length of the
way which I had to go, and requested some
fish to support us on our journey, when he
desired us to follow him to the house, where
mats were immediately arranged and a fish
placed before each of us.
We were now informed, that our dog,
whom we had löst, had been howling about
the village ever since we left it, and that they
had reason to believe he left the woods at
night to eat the fish he could find about the
houses. I immediately dispatched Mr. Mackay, and a man, in search of the animal, but
they returned without him.
When I manifested my intention to proceed on my journey, the chief voluntarily
sent for ten roasted salmon, and having at-
tended us with his son, and a great number
of his people, to the last house in the village,
we took our leave. It was then half past
three in the afternoon.
I directed Mr. Mackay to take the lead,
and the others to follow him in Indian filés,
at a long and steady pace, as I determined to
bring up the rear. I adopted this measure
from a confusion that was observable among
the natives which I did not comprehend. I
was not without my suspicions that some
mischief was in agitation, and they were increased from the confused noise we heard in
the village. At the same time a considerable
number came running after us; some of them
making signs for us to stop, and others rush-
ing by me. I perceived also, that those who
followed us were the strangers who live
among these people, and are kept by them
in a state of awe and subjection; and one of
them made signs to me that we were taking
a wrong road. I immediately called out to
Mr. Mackay to stop. This was naturally
enough taken for an alarm, and threw my
people into great disorder. When, however,
I was understood, and we had mustered
again, our Indian informed us, that the noise
we heard was occasioned by a debate among
the natives, whether they should stop us or
not. When, therefore, we had got into the
right road, I made such arrangements as
might be necessary for our defence, if we
should have an experimental proof that our
late and fickle friends were converted into
Our way was through a forest of stately
cedars, beneath a range of lofty hills, covered
with rocks, and without any view of the river.
The path was well beaten, but rendered in-
commodious by the large stones which lay
along it.
As we were continuing our route, we all
felt the sensation of having found a löst
friend at the sight of our dog; but he appeared, in a great degree, to have löst his
former sagacity.    He ran in a wild way back-
wards and forwards; and though he kept our
road, I could not induce him to acknowledge
his master. Sometimes he seemed disposed
to approach as if he knew us; and then, on a
sudden, hö would turn away, as if alarmed
at our appearance. The poor animal was reduced almost to a skeleton, and we occasion-
ally dropped something to support him, and
by degrees he recovered his former sagacity.
When the night came on we stopped at a
small distance from the river, but did not
venture to make a fire. Every man took his
tree, and laid down in his clothes, and with
his arms, beneath the shade of its branches.
We had removed to a short distance from the
path; no sentinel was now appointed, and
every one was left to watch for his own
Friday, 26.—After a very restless, though
undisturbed night, we set forward as soon as
day appeared, and walked on with all possi-
ble expedition, till we got to the upper, which
we now called Friendly Village, and was the
first we visted on our outward journey.
It was eight in the morning of a very fine
day when we arrived, and found a very material alteration in the place since we left it.
Five additional houses had been erected and
were filled with salmon: the increase of inr
habitants was in the same proportion. We
were received with great kindness, and a
messenger was dispatched to inform the chief,
whose name was Soocomlick, and who was
then at his fishing-weir, of our arrival. He
immediately returned to the village to con-
firm the cordial reception of his people; and
having conducted us to his house, entertained
us with the most respectful hospitality. In
short, he behaved to us with so much atten-
tion and kindness, that I did not withhold
anything in my power to give, which might
afford him satisf action. I presented him with
two yards of blue cloth, an axe, knives, and
various other artides. He gave me in return
a large shell which resembled the under shell
of a Guernsey oyster, but somewhat larger.
Where they procured them I could not dis-
cover, but they cut and polish them for brace-
lets, ear-rings, and other personal ornaments.
He regretted that he had no sea-otter skins
to give me, but engaged to provide abundance
of them whenever either my friends or myself should return by sea; an expectation
which I thought it right to encourage among
these people. He also earnestly requested
me to bring him a gun and ammunition. I
might have procured many curious artides at
this place, but was prevented by the consideration that we must have carried them on
our backs upwards of three hundred miles
through a mountainous country. The young
chief, to his other acts of kindness, added as
large a supply of fish as we choose to take,
Our visit did not occasion any particular
interruption of the ordinary occupation of the
people; especially of the women, who were
employed in boiling sorrel, and different kinds
of berries, with salmon-roes, in large square
kettles of cedar wood. This pottage, when
it attained a certain consistency, they took
out with ladles, and poured it into frames of
about twelve inches square and one deep, the
bottom being covered with a large leaf, which
were then exposed to the sun till their con-
tents became so many dried cakes. The roes
that are mixed up with the bitter berries, are
prepared in the same way. From the quantity of this kind of provision, it must be a
principal artide of food, and probably of
traffic. These people have also portable
chests of cedar, in which they pack them, as
well as their salmon, both dried and roasted.
It appeared to me that they eat no flesh, except such as the sea may afford them, as that
of the sea-otter and the seal. The only in-
stance we observed to the contrary, was in a
young Indian who accompanied us among the
islands, and has been already mentioned as
feasting on the flesh of a porcupine; whether
this be their custoin throughout the year, or
only during the season of the salmon fishery;
or, whether there were any castes of them, as
in India, I cannot pretend to determine.    It
is certain, however, that they are not hunters,
307 fä
and I have already mentioned the abhorrence
they expressed at some venison which we
brought to their village. During our former
visit to these people, they requested us not
to discharge our fire-arms, le st the report
should frighten away the salmon, but now
they expressed a wish that I should explain the
use and management of them. Though their
demeanour to us was of the most friendly
nature, and they appeared without any arms,
except a few who accidentally had their daggers, I did not think it altogether prudent to
discharge our pieces; I therefore fired one of
my pistols at a tree marked for the purpose,
when I put four out of five ^buck shot with
which it was loaded, into the circle, to their
extreme astonishment and admiration.
These people were in general of the middle
stature, well set, and better clothed with
flesh than any of the natives of the interiör
country. Their faces are round, with high
cheek bones, and their complexion between
the olive and the copper. They have small
grey eyes, with a tinge of red; they have
wedge heads, and their hair is of a dark
brown colour, inclining to black. Some wear
it long, keep it well combed, and let it häng
loose över their shoulders, while they divide
and tie it in knöts över the temples. Others
arrange its plaits, and bedaub it with brown
earth, so as to render it impervious to the
comb; they, therefore, carry a bodkin about
them to ease the frequent irritation, which
may be supposed to proceed from such a state
of the head.    The women are inclined to be
fat, wear their hair short, and appear to be
very subject to swelled legs, a malady that
probably proceeds from the posture in which
they are always sitting: as they are chiefly
employed in the   domestic  engagements of
spinning, weaving, preparing the  fish, and
nursing their children, which did not appear
to be numerous.    Their eradle differed from
any that I had seen; it consisted of a frame
fixed round a board of sufficient length, in
which the child, after it has been swathed, is
placed on a bed of möss, and a conductor
contrived to carry off the urinary discharge.
They are slung över one shoulder by means
of a cord fastened under the other, so that
the infant is always in a position to be readily
applied to the breast, when it requires nour-
ishment.    I saw several whose heads were
inclosed in boards covered with leather, till
they attain the form of a wedge.    The women
wear no clothing but the robe, either loose or
tied round the middle with a girdle, as the
occasion may require, with the addition of a
fringed  apron,   already   mentioned,   and   a
cap, in the form of an inverted bowl or dish.
To the robe and cap, the men add, when it
rains, a circular mat with an opening in the
middle sufncient to admit the head, which
extending över the shoulders, throws off the
wet. They also occasionally wear shoes of
dressed moose-skin, for which they are in-
debted to their neighbors. Those parts,
which among all civilized nations are covered
from familiar view, are here openly exposed.
They are altogether dependent on the sea
and rivers for their sustenance, so that they
may be considered as a stationary people;
hence it is that the men engage in those toil-
some employments, which the tribes who
support themselves by the chase, leave en-
tirely to the women. Polygamy is permitted
among them, though, according to my observation, most of the men were satisfied with
one wife, with whom, however, chastity is
not considered as a necessary virtue. I saw
but one woman whose under lip was split and
disfigured with an appendent ornament. The
men f requently bathe, and the boys are con-
tinually in the water. They have nets and
lines of various kinds and sizes, which are
made of cedar bark, and would not be known
from those made of hemp. Their hooks consist of two pieces of wood or bone, forming
when fixed together, an obtuse angle.
Their spears or darts are from four to sixteen feet in length; the barb or point being
fixed in a socket, which, when the animal is
struck, slips from it:  thus the barb being
310 1
fastened by a string to the handle, remains
as a buoy; or enables the aquatic hunter to
tire and take his prey. They are employed
against sea-otters, seals, and large fish.
Their hatchets are made principally' of
about fourteen inches of bar-iron, fixed into
a wooden handle, as I have already described
them; though they have some of bone or
horn: with these, a mallet and wooden wedge,
they hew their timbers and form their planks.
They must also have other tools with which
they complete and polish their work, but my
stay was so short, my anxiety so great, and
my situation so critical, that many circumstances may be supposed to have escaped me.
Their canoes are made out of the cedar
tree, and will carry from eight to fifty persons.
Their warlike weapons, which, as far as I
could judge, they very seldom have occasion
to employ, are bows and arrows, spears, and
daggers.    The arrows are such as have been
already described, but rather of a slighter
make.    The bows are not more than two feet
and an half in length; they are formed of a
slip of red cedar; the grain being on one side
untouched with any tool, while the other is
secured with sinews attached to it by a kind
of glue.    Though this weapon has a very
slender appearance, it throws an arrow with
great force, and to a considerable distance.
Their  spears are about ten  feet  long, and
pointed with iron. Their daggers are of va*
rious kinds, being of British, Spanish, and
American Manufacture.
Their household furniture consists of boxes,
troughs, and dishes formed of wood, with
different vessels made of watape. These are
employed, according to their several applica-
tions, to contain their valuables, and provisions, as well as for culinary purposes, and
to carry water. The women make use of
muscle-shells to split and clean their fish,
and which are very well adapted to that purpose.
Their ornaments are necklaces, collars,
bracelets for the arms, wrists, and legs, with
ear-rings, &e.
They burn their dead, and display their
mourning, by cutting their hair short, and
blackening their faces. Though I saw several places where bodies had been burned, I
was surprised at not seeing any tomb or memorial of the dead, particularly when their
neighbours are so superstitiously attentive to
the erection and preservation of them.
From the number of their canoes, as well
as the quantity of their chests and boxes, to
contain their moveables, as well as the in-
sufficiency of their houses, to guard against
the rigours of a severe winter, and the appearance of the ground around their habita-
tions, it is evident that these people reside
here only during the summer or salmon sea-
son, which does not probably last more than
three months. It may be reasonably inf erred,
therefore, that they have villages on the sea-
coast, which they inhabit during the rest of
the year. There it may be supposed they
leave the sick, the infirm, and the aged; and
thither they may bear the ashes of those who
die at the place of their summer residence.
Of their religion I can say but little, as
my means of observation were very contracted.
I could discover, however, that they believed
in a good and evil spirit: and that they have
some forms of worship to conciliate the pro-
tection of one, and perhaps to avert the en-
mity of the other, is apparent from the tem-
ples which I have described; and where, at
stated periods, it may be presumed they hold
the feasts, and perform the sacrifices, which
their religion, whatever it may be, has instituted as the ceremonials of their public worship.
From the very little I could discover of
their  government, it is altogether different
from any political regulation which had been
remarked by me among the savage tribes.
It is on this river alone that one man appears
to have an exclusive and hereditary right to
what was necessary to the existence of those
who are associated with him.    I allude to
the salmon weir, or fishing place, the sole
right to which confers on the chief an arbi-
trary power*    Those embankments could not
have been formed without a very great and
associated labour; and, as might be supposed,
on the condition that those whc assisted in
constructing it should enjoy a participating
right in the advantages to be derived from
it.    Nevertheless,  it evidently appeared to
me, that the chief s power över it, and the
people, was unlimited, and without control.
No one could fish without his permission, or
carry home a larger portion of what he had
caught, than was set apart for him.    No one
could build a house without his consent; and
all his commands appeared to be followed
with implicit obedience.    The people at large
seemed to be on a perfect equality, while the
strangers among them were obliged to obey
the commands of the natives in general or
quit the village.    They appear to be of a
friendly disposition, but they are subject to
sudden gusts of passion, which are as quickly
composed; and the transition is instantane-
ous, from violent irritation to the most tran-
quil demeanor.   Of the many tribes of savage
people whom I have seen, these appear to be
the most susceptible of civilization.     They
might soon be brought to cultivate the little
ground about them which is capable of it.
There is a narrow börder of a rich black soil,
on either side of the river, över a bed of
grävel, which would yield any grain or fruit'
that are common to similar latitudes in
The very few words which I collected of
their language, are as follows:—
A fish of the size of a salmon,
with canine teeth.
Hair of the head.
An axe.
Bark mat robe.
Beaver or otter ditto.
Gits com,
A mat.
Chest or box.
Cedar bark.
Beads got upon their coast.
A bonnet.
A clam shell.
A dish composed of berries and
salmon roes.
JULY, 1793. fl
At eleven in the morning we left this
place, which I called Friendly Village, accompanied by every man belonging to it, who
attended us about a mile, when we took a
cordial leave of them; and if we might judge
from appearances, they parted from us with
In a short time we halted to make a division of our fish, and each man had about
twenty pounds weight of it, except Mr. Mackay and myself, who were content with
shorter allowance, that we might have less
weight to carry. We had also a little flour,
and some pemmican. Having completed this
arrangement with all possible expedition, we
proceeded onwards, the ground rising gradu-
ally, as we continued our route. When we
were clear of the wood, we saw the mountain
towering above, and apparently of impracti-
cable ascent. We soon came to the fork of
the river, which was at the foot of the precipice, where the förd was three feet deep, and
very rapid. Our young Indian, though much
recovered, was still too weak to cross the
water, and with some difficulty I carried him
över on my back.
It was now one in the afternoon, and we
had to ascend the summit of the first mountain before night came on, in order to look
for water. I left the sick Indian, with his
companion and one of my men, to follow us,
as his strength would permit him. The f a-
tigue of ascending these precipices I shall
not attempt to describe, and it was past five
when we arrived at a spöt where we could
get water, and in such an extremity of weari-
ness, that it was with great pain any of us
could crawl about to gather wood for the
necessary purpose of making a fire. To relieve our anxiety, which began to increase
every moment for the situation of the Indian,
about seven he and his companions arrived;
when we consoled ourselves by sitting round
a blazing fire, talking of past dangers, and
indulging the delightful reflection that we
were thus far advanced on our homeward
journey; Nor was it possible to be in this
situation without contemplating the wonders
of it. Such was the depth of the precipices
below, and the height of the mountains above,
with the rude and wild magnificence of the
scenery around, that I shall not attempt to
describe such an astonishing and awful com-
bination of objects; of which, indeed, no description can convey an adequate idea. Even
at this place, which is only, as it were, the
first step towards gaining the summit of the
mountains, the climate was very sensibly
changed. The air that fanned the village
which we left at noon, was mild and cheer-
ing; the grass was verdant, and the wild
fruits ripe around it. But here the snow
was not yet dissolved, the ground was still
bound by the frost, the herbage had scarce-
begun to spring, and the crowberry bushes
were just beginning to blossom.
Saturday, 27.—So great was our fatigue of
yesterday, that it was late before we proceeded to return över the mountains, by the
same route which we had followed in our
ontward journey. There was little or no
change in the appearance of-the mountains
since we passed them, though the weather
was very fine.
Sunday, 28.—At nine this morning we
arrived at the spöt, where we slept with the
natives on the 16th instant, and found our
pemmican in good condition where we had
buried it.
The latitude of this place, by observation,
when I passed, I found to be 52. 46. 32. I
now took time, and the distance between sun
and moon. I had also an azimuth, to ascer-
tain the variation.
We continued our route with fine weather,
and without meeting a single person on our
way, the natives being all gone, as we supposed, to the Great River.    We recovered all
our hidden stores of provisions, and arrived
about two in the afternoon of Sunday, August
the 4th, at the place which we had left a
month before.
A considerable number of Indians were
encamped on the opposite side of the small
river, and in consequence of the weather, con-
fined to their lodges: as they must have
heard of, if not seen us, and our arms being
out of order from the rain, I was not satisfied
with our situation; but did not wish to create
an alarm. We, therefore, kept in the edge
of the wood, and called to them, when they
turned out like so many furies, with their
arms in their hands, and threatening destruc-
tion if we dared to approach their habitations.
We remained in our station till their passion
and apprehensions had subsided, when our
jriterpreter gave them the necessary information respecting us. They proved to be strangers to us, but were the relations of those
whom he had already seen here, and who, as
they told us, were upon an island at some
distance up the river. A messenger was ac-
cordingly sent to inform them of our arrival.
Monday, 5.—On examining the canoe, and
our property, which we had left behind, we
found it in perfect safety, nor was there the
print of a foot near the spöt.    We now pitched
our tent,  and   made a blazing fire, and  I
treated myself, as well as the people, with a
_S3_^M < Lla
dram; but we had been so long without fästing any spirituous liquor, that we had löst
all relish for it. The Indians now arrived
from above, and were rewarded for the care
they had taken of our property with such
artides as were acceptable to them.
At nine this morning I sent five men in the
canoe, for the various artides we had left below, and they soon returned with them, and
except some bale goods, which had got wet,
they were in good order, particularly the
provisions, of which we were now in great
Many of the natives arrived both from .the
upper and lower parts of the river, each of
whom was dressed in a beaver robe. I purchased fifteen of them; and they preferred
large knives in exchange. It is an extraor-
dinary cireumstance, that these people, who
might have taken all the propery we left behind us, without the least fear of detection,
should leave that untouched, and purloin any
of our utensils, which our confidence in their
honesty gave them a ready opportunity of
taking. In fact, several artides were miss-
ing, and as I was very anxious to avoid a
quarrel with the natives, in this stage of our
journey, I told those who remained near us,
without any appearance of anger, that their
relations who were gone, had no idea of the
mischief that would result to them from tak-
ing our property. I gravely added, that the
salmon, which was not only their favourite
food, but absolutely necessary to their exist-
ence, came from the sea which belonged to us
white men; and that as, at the entrance of
the river, we could prevent those fish from
coming up it, we possessed the power to
starve them and their children. To avert our
anger, therefore, they must return all the"
artides that had been stolen from us. This
finesse succeeded. Messengers were dis-
patched to order the restoration of everything
that had been taken. We purchased several
large salmon of them and enjoyed the deli-
cious meal which they afforded.
At noon this day, which I allotted for re-
pose, I got a meridian altitude, which gave
53. 24. 10. I also took time. The weather
had been cloudy at intervals.
Every necessary preparation had been
made yesterday for us to continue our route
to-day; but before our departure, some of
the natives arrived with part of the stolen
artides; the rest, they said, had been taken
by people down the river, who would be
here in the course of the morning, and
recommended their children to our com-
miseration, and themselves to our forgive-
The morning was cloudy, with small rain,
nevertheless I ordered the men to load the
Vol. IL—21 321
canoe, and we proceeded in high spirits 01
finding ourselves once more so comfortably
together in it. We landed at a house on the
first island, where we procured a few salmon,
and four fine beaver skins. There had been
much more rain in these parts than in the
country above, as the water was pouring
down the hills in torrents. The river conse-
quently rose with great rapidity, and very
much impedéd our progress.
The people on this river are generally of
the middle size, though I saw many tall men
among them. In the cleanliness of their persons they resemble rather the Beaver Indians
than the Chepewyans. They are ignorant of
the use of fire arms, and their only weapons
ars bows and arrows, and spears. They
catch the larger animals in snares, but though
their country abounds in them, and the rivers
and lakes- produce plenty of fish, they find
a difficulty in supporting themselves, and are
never to be seen but in small bands of two or
three families. There is no regular govern-
ment among them; nor do they appear to
have a sufficient communication or under-
standing with each other, to defend themselves against an invading enemy, to whom
they fall an easy prey. They have all the
animals common on the West side of the
mountains, except the buffalo and the wolf;
at least we saw none of the latter, and there
being none of the former, it is evident that
their progress is from the South-East. The
same language is spöken, with very little ex-
ception from the extent of my travels down
this river, and in a direct line from the North-
East head of it in the latitude 53. or 54. to
Hudson's Bay; so that a Chepewyan, from
which tribe they have all sprung, might leave
Churchill River, and proceeding in every direction to the North-West of this line without knowing any language except his own,
would understand them all: I except the
natives of the sea coast, who are altogether a
different people. As to the people to the
Eastward of this river, I am not qualified to
speak of them.
At twelve we ran our canoe upon a rock,
so that we were obliged to land in order to
repair the injury she had received; and as
the ram came on with great violence, we remained here for the night. The salmon were
now driving up the current in such large
shoals, that the water seemed, as it were, to
be covered with the fins of them.
Wednesday, 7.—About nine this morning
the weather cleared, and we embarked. The
shoals of salmon continued as yesterday.
There were frequent showers throughout the
day, and every brook was deluged into a
river.    The water had risen at least one foot
and an half perpendicular in the last twenty-
four hours. In the dusk of the evening we
landed for the night.
Thursday, 8.—The water continued rising
during the night; so that we were disturbed
twice in the course of it, to remove our baggage. At six in the morning we were on our
way, and proceeded with continual and labo-
rious exertion, from the increased rapidity of
the current. After having passed the two
carrying places of Rocky Point, and the Long
Portage, we encamped for the night.
Friday9 9.—We set off at five, after a rainy
night and in a foggy morning. The water
still retained its height. The sun, however,
soon beamed upon us; and our clothes and
baggage were in such a state that we landed
to dry them. After some time we re-em-
barked and arrived at our first encampment
on this river about seven in the evening.
The water fell considerably in the course of
the day.
Saturday,  10.—The  weather was cloudy
with slight showers, and at five this morning
we embarked, the water falling as fast as it
had risen.    This  cireumstance arises  from
the  mountainous  state  of   the  country  on
either  side  of the  river, from whence the
water rushes down almost as fast as it falls
from the heavens, with the addition of the
snow it melts in its way.    At eight in the
evening we stopped for the night.
Sunday, 11.—At five this morning we proceeded with clear weather. At ten we came
to the foot of the long rapid, which we ascended with poles much easier than we expected. The rapids that were so strong and
violent in our passage downwards, were now
so reduced, that we could hardly believe
them to be the same. At sunset we landed
and encamped.
Monday, 12.—The weather was the same
as yesterday, and we were on the water at a
very early hour. At nine we came to a part
of the river where there was little or no current. At noon we landed to gum the canoe,
when I took a meridian altitude, which gave
54. 11. 36. North latitude. We continued
our route nearly East, and at three in the
afternoon approached the fork, when I took
time, and the distance between the sun and
moon. At four in the afternoon we left the
main branch. The current was quite släck,
as the water had fallen six feet, which must
have been in the course of three days. At
sunset we landed and took our station for the
Tuesday,   13.—There  was  a very heavy
rain  in   the   night, and the   morning was
cloudy; we renewed our voyage, however, at
a very early hour, and came to the narrow
gut between the mountains of rock, which
was a passage of some risk; but f ortunately
the state of the water was such, that we
got up without any difficulty, and had more
time to examine these extraordinary rocks
than in our outward passage. They are as
perpendicular as a wall, and give the idea of
a succession of enormous Gothic churches.
We were now closely hemmed in by the
mountains, which had löst much of their
snow since our former passage by them. We
encamped at a late hour, cold, wet, and hun-
gry: for such was the state of our provisions, that our necessary allowance did not
answer to the active cravings of our ap-
Wednesday, 14-—The weather was cold and
raw, with small rain, but our necessities
would not suffer us to wait for a favourable
change of it, and at half past five we arrived
at the swampy carrying-place, between this
branch and the small river. A t three in the
afternoon the cold was extreme, and the men
could not keep themselves warm even by
their violent exertions which our situation re-
quired; and I now gave them the remainder
of our rum to fortify and support them. The
canoe was so heavy that the lives of two of
them were endangered in this horrible carrying-place. At the same time it must be observed, that from the fatiguing circumstances
of our journey, and the inadequate state of
our provisions, the natural strength of the
men had been greatly diminished. We encamped on the banks of the bad river.
Thursday, 15.—The weather was now
clear, and the sun shone upon us. The water
was much lower than in the downward passage, but was cold as ice, and, unfortunately,
the men were obliged to be continually in it
to drag on the canoe. There were many em-
barras, through which a passage might have
been made, but we were under the necessity
of carrying both the canoe and baggage.
About sun-set we arrived at our encampment of the 13th of June, where some of us
had nearly taken our eternal voyage. The
legs and feet of the men were so benumbed,
that I was very apprehensive of the conse-
quence. The water being low, we made a
search for our bag of ball, but without suc-
cess. The river was full of salmon, and
another fish like the black bass.
Friday, 16.—The weather continued to be
the same as yesterday, and at two in the
afternoon we came to the carrying-place
which leads to the first small lake; but it was
so filled with drift wood, that a considerable
portion of time was employed in making our
way through it. We now reached the high
land which separates the source of the Ta-
coutche Tesse, or Columbia River, and Unji*
gah, or Peace River: the latter of which,
after receiving many tributary streamg, passes
through the great Slave Lake, and disem-
bogues itself in the Frozen Ocean, in latitude
69. 30. North, longitude 135 West from
Greenwich; while the former, confined by the
immense mountains that run nearly parallel
with the Pacific Ocean, and keep it in a
Southern course, empties itself in 46. 20.
North latitude and longitude 124 West from
If I could have spared the time, and had
been able to exert myseH, for I was now
afflicted with a swelling in my ancles, so that
I could not even walk, but with great pain and
difficulty, it was my intention to have taken
some salmon alive, and colonised them in the
Peace River, though it is very doubtful
whether that fish would live in waters that
have not a communication with the sea.
Some of the inhabitants had been here since
we passed; and I apprehend, that on seeing
our road through their country, they mistook
us for enemies, and had therefore deserted
the place, which is a most convenient station;
as on one side, there is a great plenty of
white fish, and trout, jub, carp, &c, and on
the other abundance of salmon, and probably
other fish. Several things that I had left
here in exchange for artides of which I had
possessed myself, as objects of curiosity,
were taken away. The hurtle-berries were
now ripe, and very fine of their kind.
Saturday, 17.—The morning was cloudy,
and at five we renewed our progress. We
were compelled to carry from the lake to the
Peace River, the passage, from the falling
of the water, being wholly obstructed by
dirft wood. The meadow through which we
passed was entirely inundated; and from the
state of my foot and ancle, I was obliged,
though with great reluctance, to submit to
be carried över it.
At half past seven we began to glide along
with the current of the Peace River; and
almost at every canoe's length we perceived
Beaver roads to and from the river.    At two
m the afternoon, an object attracted our no-
tice at the entrance of a small river, which
proved to be the four beaver skins, already
mentioned   to have been  presented  to  me
by a native, and left in his possession to
receive  them on my  return.     I  imagined,
therefore, that being under the necessity of
leaving  the   river,   or,  perhaps, fearing to
meet us again, he had taken this method to
restore   them   to   me;   and   to  reward his
honesty, I left three times the value of the
skins in their place.    The snow appeared in
patches on the mountains.    At four in the
afternoon  we  passed   the   place where we
found the first natives, and landed for the
night at a late hour.    In the course of the
day,   we   caught   nine outards,   or Canada
geese, but they  were as yet without their
Snnday, 18.—As soon as it was light we
proceeded on our voyage, and drove on before the current, which was very much di-
minished in its strength, since we came up it.
The water indeed, was so low, that in many
parts it exposed a gravelly beach. At eleven
we landed at our encampment of the seventh
of June, to gum the canoe and dry our
clothes: we then re-embarked, and at half
past five arrived at the place, where I löst
my book of memorandums, on the fourth of
June, in which were certain courses and dis-
tances between that day and the twenty-sixth
of May, which I had now an opportunity to
supply.    They were as follows:
North-North-West half a mile, East by
North half a mile, North by East a quarter
of a mile, North-West by West a quarter of
a mile, West-South-West half a mile, North-
West a mile and a quarter, North-North-
West three quarters of a mile, North by East
half a mile, North-West three quarters of a
mile, West half a mile, North-West three
quarters of a mile, West-North-West one
mile and a quarter, North three quarters of a
mile, West by North one quarter of a mile,
North-West one mile and an half, WTest-
North-West half a mile, North-North-West
three quarters of a mile, West one quarter of
a mile, North-North-East half a mile, North-
North-West two miles, and North-West four
We were seven days in going up that part
of the river which we came down to-day;
and it now swarmed, as it were, with beavers
and wild fowl. There was rain in the afternoon, and about sunset we took our station
for the night.
Monday, 19.—We had some small rain
throughout the night. Our course to-day
was South-South-West three quarters of a
mile, West-North-West half a mile, North
half a mile, North-West by West three quarters of a mile, North by West half a mile; a
small river to the left, South-West by West
three quarters of a mile, West-North-West a
mile and an half, North-West by North four
miles, a rivulet on the right, West-North-
West three quarters of a mile; a considerable
river from the left, North-North-West two
miles, North half a mile, West-North-West
one mile and a half; a rivulet on the right,
North-West by West one mile and a quarter,
West-North-West one mile, West-South-
West a quarter of a mile, North-North-West
half a mile, North-West ha^f a mile, West-
South-West three quarters of a mile, North-
West by West three miles, West-South-West
three  quarters  of  a  mile,   North-West by
West one mile; a small river on the right,
South-West a quarter of a mile, West-North-
West, islands, four miles and a half, a river
on the left, North half a mile, West a quarter of a mile, North a quarter of a mile,
North-West by West three quarters of a mile,
North-North-East three quarters of a mile,
North-West by North half a mile, West-
North-West a mile and an half, and North-
West by North half a mile. The mountains
were covered with fresh snow, whose showers
had dissolved in rain before they reached us.
North-West three quarters of a mile, South-
West a quarter of a mile, North a mile and
three quarters, West-North-West a mile and
a quarter, North-West a mile and a half,
North-North-West half a mile, West-North-
West a quarter of a mile, North half a mile;
here the • current was släck: North-West by
North half a mile, North-West by West a
quarter of a mile, North-North-West a quarter of a mile, North-West by West one mile
and a quarter, North half a mile, North-East
by North one mile and three quarters, South-
West one mile and a quarter, with an island,
North by East one mile, North-West. Here
the other branch opened to us, at the distance
of three quarters of a mile.
I expected from the slackness of the current in this branch, that the Western one
would be high, but I found it equally low.
I had every reason to believe that from the
upper part of this branch, the distance could
not be great to the country through which I
passed when I left the Great River; but it
has since been determined otherwise by Mr.
J. Finlay, who was sent to explore it, and
found its navigation soon terminated by falls
and rapids.
The branches are about two hundred yards
in breadth, and the water was six feet lower
than on our upward passage.    Our course,
after the junction, was North-North-West one
mile, the  rapid  North-East  down  it three
quarters of a mile, North by West one mile
and a quarter, North by East one mile and
an half, East by South one mile, North-East
two miles  and an half, East-North-East a
quarter of a mile; a rivulet; East by South
one mile and an half, North-East two miles,
East-North-East one mile, North-North-East
a quarter of a mile, North-East by East half
a mile, East-South-East a quarter of a mile,
East-North-East half a mile, North-East two
miles, North-East by East two miles and a
quarter, South-East by East a quarter of a
mile;   a rivulet from the left; East by North
a mile and an half, East by South one mile,
East-North-East one mile and three quarters;
a river on the right; North-North-East three
quarters of a mile, North-East a mile and a
half, North-East by East a mile and a quarter,
East-North-East haH a mile, and North-East
by North haH a mile. Here we landed at
our encampment of the 27th of June, from
whence I dispatched a letter in an empty
keg, as was mentioned in that period of my
journal, which set forth our existing state,
progress, and expectation.
Tuesday, 20.—Though the weather was
clear, we could not embark this morning before five, as there was a rapid very near us,
which required daylight to run it, that we
might not break our canoe on the rocks. The
baggage we were obliged to carry. Our
course was North by East a mile and an half,
North-North-East a mile and a half down
another rapid on the West side; it requires
great care to keep directly between the eddy
current, and that which was driving down
with so much impetuosity. We then proceeded North-North-West, a river from the
right; a mile and a quarter, North-North-
East a mile and a half, a river from the left;
North one mile and three quarters, North-
East two miles, North-East by East two miles
and a quarter, East by North one mile,
North-East by East four miles, a river from
the left, and East by South a mile and a half.
Here was our encampment on the 26th of
May, beyond which it would be altogether
superfluous for me to take the courses, as
they are inserted in their proper places.
As we continued our voyage, our attention
was attracted by the appearance of an Indian
encampment. We accordingly landed, and
found there had been five fires, and within
that number of days, so that there must have
been some inhabitants in the neighbourhood,
though we were not so fortunate as to see
them. It appeared that they had killed a
number of animals, and fled in a state of
alarm, as three of their canoes were left care-
lessly on the beach, and their paddles laying
about in disorder. We soon after came to
the carrying-place called the Portage de la
Montagne de Roche. Here I had a meridian
altitude, which made the latitude 56. 3. 51.
The water, as I have already observed,
was much lower than when we came up it,
though at the same time the current appeared
to be stronger from this place to the forks;
the navigation, however, would now be at-
tended with greater facility, as there is a
stony beach all the way, so that poles, or the
towing-line, may be employed with the best
effect, where the current overpowers the use
of paddles.
We were now reduced to a very short al-
lowance;   the disappointment, therefore, at
not seeing any animals was proportioned to
our exigencies, as we did not possess at this
time more than was sufficient to serve us for
two meals.    I now dispatched Mr. Mackay
and the Indians to proceed to the foot of the
rapids, and endeavour in their way to pro-
cure some provisions, while I prepared to em-
ploy the utmost expedition in getting there:
having determined, notwithstanding the dis-
inclination of my people, from the recollec-
tion of what they had suffered in coming that
way, to return by the same route. I had observed, indeed, that the water which had
fallen fifteen feet perpendicular, at the narrow pass below us, had löst much of its
former turbulence.
As dispatch was essential in procuring a
supply of provisions, we did not delay a moment in making preparation to renew our
progress. Five of the men began to carry
the baggage, while the sixth and myself took
the canoe asunder, to cleanse her of the dirt,
and exposé hei lining and timbers to the air,
which would render her much lighter. About
sun-set Mr. Mackay and our hunters returned
with heavy burdens of the flesh of a buffalo:
though not very tender, it was very acceptable, and was the only animal that they had
seen, though the country was covered with
tracks of them, as well as of the moose-deer
and the elk. The former had done rutting,
and the latter were beginning to run. Our
people returned, having left their loads mid-
way on the carrying-place.    My companion
and myself completed our undertaking, and
the canoe was ready to be carried in the
morning. A hearty meal concluded the day,
and every fear of future want was removed.
Wednesday} 21. — When the morning
dawned we set forwards, but as a fire had
passed through the portage, it was with difficulty we could trace our road in many parts;
and with all the exertion of which we were
capable, we did not arrive at the river till
four in the afternoon. We found almost as
much difficulty in carrying our canoe down
the mountain as we had in getting it up; the
men being not so strong as on the former
occasion, though they were in better spirits;
and I was now enabled to assist them, my
ancle being almost well. We could not,
however, proceed any further till the following day, as we had the canoe to gum, with
several great and small poles to prepare;
those we had left here having been carried
away by the water, though we had left them
in a position from fifteen to twenty feet above
the water-mark, at that time. These occu-
pations employed us till a very late hour.
Thursday, 22.—The night was  cold, and
though the morning was fine and clear, it was
seven before we were in a state of prepara-
tion to leave this place, sometimes driving
with the current, and at other times shooting
the  rapids.    The  latter had löst much  of
their former strength; but we, nevertheless,
Vol. IL— 22 337
thought it necessary to land very frequently,
in order to examine the rapids before we
could venture to run them. However, the
canoe being light, we very f ortunately passed
them all, and at noon arrived at the place
where I appointed to meet Mr. Mackay and
the hunters: there we found them, with
plenty of excellent fat meat, ready roasted,
as they had killed two elks within a few hundred yards of the spöt where we then were.
When the men had satisfied their appetites,
I sent them for as much of the meat as they
could carry. In coming hither, Mr. Mackay
informed me, that he and the hunters kept
along the high land, and did not see or cross
the Indian path. At the same time, there
can be no doubt but the road from this place
to the upper part of the rapids is to be pre-
ferred to that which we came, both for expedition and safety.
After staying here about an hour and a
half, we proceeded with the stream, and
landed where I had forgotten my pipe-toma-
hawk and seal, on the eighteenth of May.
The former of them I now recovered.
On leaving the mountains we saw animals
grazing in every direction.    In passing along
an island, we fired at an elk, and broke its
leg; and as it was now time to encamp, we
landed;    when   the    hunters    pursued   the
wounded animal, which had crossed över to
the main land, but could not get up the bank.
We went after it, therefore, in the canoe, and
killed it. To give some notion of our appe-
tites, I shall state the elk, or at least the
carcase of it, which we brought away, to
have weighed two hundred and fifty pounds;
and as we had taken a very hearty meal at
one o'clock, it might naturally be supposed
that we should not be very voracious at supper ; nevertheless, a kettle full of the elk flesh
was boiled and eaten, and that vessel replen-
ished and put on the fire. All that remained,
with the bones, &c. was placed, after the Indian fashion, round the fire to roast, and at
ten next morning the whole was consumed
by ten persons and a large dog, who was allowed his share of the banquet. This is no
exaggeration; nor did any inconvenience re-
sult from what may be considered as an in-
ordinate indulgence.
Fridag, 23.—We were on the water before
daylight; and when the sun rose, a beautiful
country appeared around us, enriched and
animated by large her ds of wild cattle. The
weather was now so warm, that to us, who
had not of late been accustomed to heat, it
was overwhelming and oppressive. In the
course of this day we killed a buffalo and a
bear; but we were now in the midst of abundance, and they were not sufficiently fat to
satisfy our fastidious appetites, so we left
them where they fell. We landed for the
night, and prepared ourselves for arriving at
the Fort on the following day.
Saturday, 24-—The weather was the same
as yesterday, and the country increasing in
beauty; though as we approached the Fort,
the cattle appeared proportionably to dimin-
ish. We now landed at two lodges of Indians, who were as astonished to see us, as if
we had been the first white men whom they
had ever beheld. When we had passed these
people, not an animal was to be seen on the
borders of the river.
At length, as we rounded a point, and
came in view of the Fort, we threw out a
flag, and accompanied it with a general discharge of our fire-arms; while the men were
in such spirits, and made such an active use
of their paddles, that we arrived before the
two men whom we left here in the spring,
could recover their senses to answer us.
Thus we landed at four in the afternoon, at
the place which we left on the ninth of May.
 Here my voyages of discovery terminate.
Their toils and their dangers, their solici-
tudes and sufferings, have not been exagger-
ated in my description. On the contrary, in
many instances, language has failed me in
the attempt to describe them. I received,
however, the re war d of my labours, for they
were crowned with success.
As I have now resumed the character of a
trader I shall not trouble my readers with
äny subsequent concern, but content myself
with the closing information, that after an
absence of eleven months, I arrived at Fort
Chepewyan, where I remained, for the purposes of trade, during the succeeding winter.
The following general, but short, geo-
graphical view of the country may not be im-
proper to close this work, as well as some
remarks on the probable advantages that may
be derived from advancing the trade of it,
under proper regulations, and by the spirit of
commercial enterprize.
By supposing a line from the Atlantic,
East, to the Pacific, West, in the parallel of
forty-five degrees of North latitude, it will,
I think, nearly describe the British territories
in North America. For I am of opinion,
that the extent of the country to the South
of this line, which we have a right to claim,
is equal to that to the North of it, which
may be claimed by other powers.
The outline of what I shall call the first
division, is along that track of country which
runs from the head of James-Bay, in about
latitude 51. North, along the Eastern coast,
as far North as to, and through Hudson's
Straits, round by Labrador;  continuing on
the Atlantic coast, on the outside of the great
islands, in the gulf of St. Laurence, to the
river St. Croix, by which it takes its course,
to the height of land that divides the waters
emptying themselves into the Atlantic, from
those discharged into the river St. Laurence.
Then following these heights, as the boun:
dary between the British possessions, and
those of the American States, it makes an
angle Westerly until it strikes the discharge
of Lake Champlain, in latitude 45. North,
when it keeps a direct West line till it strikes
the river St. Laurence, above Lake St. Francis, where it divides the Indian village St.
Rigest; from whence it follows the centre of
the waters of the great river St. Laurence:
it then proceeds through Lake Ontario, the
connection between it and Lake Erie; through
the latter, and its chain of connection, by the
river Detroit, as far South as latitude 42.
North, and then through the lake and river
St. Clair, as also lake Huron, through which
it continues to the strait of St. Mary, latitude
46. 30. North; from which we will suppose
the line to strike to the East of North, to the
head of James Bay, in the latitude already
Of this great tract, more than half is represented as barren and broken, displaying a
surface of rock and fresh water lakes, with a
very scattered and scanty proportion of soil.
Such is the whole coast of Labrador, and the
land, called East Main to the West of the
heights, which divide the waters running into
the river and gulf of St. Laurence, from
those flowing into Hudson' s Bay. It is con-
sequently inhabited only by a few savages,
whose numbers are proportioned to the scanti-
ness of the soil; nor is it probable, from the
same cause, that they will encrease. The
fresh and salt waters, with a small quantity
of game, which the few, stinted woods afford,
supply the wants of nature; from whence, to
that of the line of the American boundary,
and the Atlantic Ocean, the soil, wherever
cultivation has been attempted, has yielded
abundance; particularly on the river St. Laurence, from Quebec upwards, to the line of
boundary already mentioned; but a very in-
considerable proportion of it has been broken
by the plough-share.
The line of the second division may be
traced from that of the first at St. Mary's,
from which also the line of American boundary runs, and is said to continue through
Lake Superior (and through a lake called the
Long Lake which has no existence), to the
Lake of the Woods, in latitude 49. 37. North,
from whence it is also said to run West to
the Mississippi, which it may do, by giving
it a gooddeal of Southing, but not otherwise;
as the source of that river does not extend
further North than latitude 47. 38. North,
where it is no more than a small brook; con-
sequently, if Great Britain retains the right
of en tering it along the line of division, it
must be in a lower latitude, and wherever
that may be, the line must be continued
West, till it terminates in the Pacific Ocean,
to the South of the Columbia. This division
is then bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the
West, the Frozen Sea and Hudson's Bay on
the North and East. The Russians, indeed,
may claim with justice, the islands and coast
from Benring's Straits to Cook's Entry.
The whole of this country will long continue in the possession of its present inhabitants, as they will remain contented with the
produce of the woods and waters for their
support, leaving the earth, from various
causes, in its virgin state. The proportion
of it that is fit for cultivation, is very small
and is still less in the interiör parts; it is also
very difficult of access; and whilst any land
remains uneuitivated to the South of it, there
will be no temptation to settle it. Besides, its
climate is not in general sufficiently genial to
bring the fruits of the earth to maturity. It
will also be an asylum for the descendants of
the original inhabitants of the country to the
South, who prefer the modes of life of their
forefathers, to the improvements of civiliza-
tion.    Of this disposition there is a recent
instance. A small colony of Iroquois emi-
grated to the banks of the Saskatchiwine, in
1799, who had been brought up from their
infancy under the Romish missionaries, and
instructed by them at a village within nine
miles of Montreal.
A further division of this country is marked
by a ridge of high land, rising, as it were,
from the coast of Labrador, and running
nearly South-West to the source of the Uta-
was River, dividing the waters going either
way to the river and gulf of St. Laurence and
Hudson's Bay, as before observed. From
thence it stretches to the North of West, to
the Northward of Lake Superior, to latitude
50. North, and longitude 98. West, when it
forks from the last course at about South-
West, and continues the same division of
waters until it passes North of the source of
the Mississippi. The former course runs, as
has been observed, in a North-West direction,
until it strikes the river Nelson, separating
the waters that discharge themselves into
Lake Winipic, which forms part of the said
river, and those that also empty themselves
into Hudson's Bay, by the Albany, Severn,
and Hay's or Hill's Rivers. From thence it
keeps a course of about West-North-West,
till it forms the banks of the Missinipi or
Churchill River, at Portage de Traite, latitude 55. 25. North.    It now continues in a
Western direction, between the Saskatchiwine
and the source of the Missinipi, or Beaver
River, which it leaves behind, and divides
the Saskatchiwine from the Elk River; when,
leaving those also behind, and pursuing the
same direction it leads to the high land that
lies between   the   Unjigah   and Tacoutche
rivers, from whence it may be supposed to be
the same ridge.    From the head of the Beaver
River, on the West, the same kind of high
ground runs to the East of North, between
the waters of the Elk and Missinipi River
forming the Portage la Loche, and continu-
ing on to the latitude 57. 15. North, divid-
ing the waters that run to Hudson's Bay
from those going to the North Sea:   from
thence its course is nearly North, when an
angle runs from it to the North of the Slave
Lake, till it strikes Mackenzie's River.
The last, but by no means the least, is the
immense  ridge, or  succession  of ridges  of
stony mountains, whose Northern extremity
dips in the North Sea, in latitude 70. North,
and longitude  135.  West,  running   nearly
South-East, and begins to be parallel with the
coast of the Pacific Ocean, from Cook's entry,
and so onwards   to the   Columbia.    From
thence it appears to quit the coast, but still
continuing, with less elevation, to divide the
waters of the Atlantic from those which run
into the Pacific.    In those snow-clad moun-
tains rises the Mississippi, if we admit the
Missouri to be its source, which flows into
the Gulph of Mexico; the River Nelson, which
is löst in Hudson's Bay; Mackenzie's River,
that discharges itself into the North Sea;
and the Columbia emptying itself into the
Pacific Ocean. The great River St. Laurence
and Churchill River, with many lesser ones,
derive their sources far short of these mountains. It is, indeed, the extension of these
mountains so far South on the sea coast, that
prevents the Columbia from finding a more
direct course to the sea, as it runs obliquely
with the coast upwards of eight degrees of
latitude before it mingles with the ocean.
It is further to be observed, that these
mountains, from Cook's entry to the Columbia, extend from six to eight degrees in
breadth Easterly; and that along their Fastern skirts is a narrow strip of very marshy,
boggy, and uneven ground, the outer edge of
which produces coal and bitumen: these I
saw on the banks of Mackenzie's River, as
far North as latitude 66. I also discovered
them in my second journey, at the commence-
ment of the rocky mountains in 56. North
latitude, and 120. West longitude; and the
same was observed by Mr. Fidler, one of the
servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, at
the source of the South branch of the Saskatchiwine, in about latitude 52. North, and
longitude 112. 30. West.* Next to this nar^
row belt are immense plains, or meadows,
commencing in a point at about the junction
of the River of the Mountain with Mackenzie^ River, widening as they continue East
and South, till they reach the Red River at
its confluence with the Assiniboin River,
from whence they take a more Southern direction, along the Mississippi towards Mexico.
Adjoining to these plains is a broken country,
composed of lakes, rocks, and soil.
From the banks of the rivers running
through the plains, there appeared to ooze a
saline fluid, concreting into a thin, scurf on
the grass. Near that part of the Slave River
where it first löses the name of Peace River,
and along the extreme edge of these plains,
are very strong salt springs, which in the
summer concrete and crystallize in great
quantities. About the Lake Dauphin, on
the South-West side of Lake Winipic, are
also many-salt ponds, but it requires a regu-
lar process to form salt from them. Along
the West banks of the former is to be seen, at
intervals, and traced in the line of the direction of the plains, a sof t rock of lime-stone,
in thin and nearly horizontal stratas, particu-
* Bitumen is also found on the coast of the Slave
Lake, in latitude 60. North, near its discharge by
Mackenzie's River; and also near the forks of the
Elk River.
larly on the Beaver, Cedar, Winipic, and
Superior lakes, as also in the beds of the
rivers crossing that line. It is also remarkable that, at the narrowest part of Lake Winipic, where it is not more than two miles in
breadth, the West side is faced with rocks of
this stone thirty feet perpendicular; while,
on the East side, the rocks are more elevated,
and of a dark-grey granite.
The latter is to be found throughout the
whole extent North of this country, to the
coast of Hudson's Bay, and as I have been
informed, along that coast, onwards to the
coast of Labrador; and it may be further observed, that between these extensive fånges
of granite and lime-stone are found all the
great lakes of this country.
There is another very large district which
must not be forgotten; and behind all the
others in situation as well as in soil, produce,
and climate. This comprehends the tract
called the Barren Grounds, which is to the
North of a line drawn from Churchill, along
the North börder of the Rein-Deer Lake, to
the North of the Lake of the Hills and Slave
Lake, and along the North side of the latter
to the rocky mountains, which terminate in
the North Sea, latitude 70. North, and longitude 135. West; in the whole extent of
which no trees are visible, except a few stinted
ones,  scattered  along  its  rivers, and with
scarce anything of surface that can be called
earth; yet, this inhospitable region is inhabited by a people who are accustomed to the
life it requires. Nor has bountiful nature
withheld the means of subsistence; the rein
deer, which supply both food and clothing,
are satisfied with the produce of the hills,
though they bear nothing but a short curling
möss, on a species of which, that grows on
the rocks, the people themselves subsist when
famine invades them. Their small lakes are
not furnished with a great variety of fish,
but such as they produce are excellent, which,
with hares and partridges, form a proportion
of their food.
The climate must necessarily be severe in
such a country as we have described, and
which displays so large a surface of fresh
water. Its severity is extreme on the coast
of Hudson's Bay, and proceeds from its immediate exposure to the North West winds
that blow off the Frozen Ocean.
These winds, in crossing directly from the
bay över Canada and the British dominions
on the Atlantic, as well as över the Eastern
States of North America to that ocean, (where
they give to those countries a length of winter astonishing to the inhabitants of the same
latitudes in Europé), continue to retain a
great degree of force and cold in their passage, even över the Atlantic, particularly at
the time when the sun is in its Southern dec-
lination.    The same winds which come from
the Frozen Ocean, över the barren grounds,
and across frozen lakes and snowy plains,
bounded by the rocky mountains, lose their
frigid influence, as they travel in a Southern
direction, till they get to the Atlantic Ocean,
where they close their progress.    Is not this
a sufficient cause for the difference between
the climate in America, and that of the same
latitude in Europé?
It has been frequently advanced, that the
clearing away the wood has had an astonish-
ing influence in rneliorating the climate in the
former: but I am not disposed to assent to
that opinion in the extent which it proposes
to establish, when I consider the very trifling
proportion of the country cleared, compared
with the whole.    The employment of the axe
may have had some inconsiderable effect; but
I look to other causes.    I myself observed in
a country, which was in an absolute state of
nature, that the climate is improving;  and
this cireumstance was confirmed to me by the
native  inhabitants  of it.    Such  a  change,
therefore, must proceed from some predomi-
nating operation in the system of the globe
which is beyond my conjecture, and, indeed,
above my comprehension, and may, probably,
in the course of time, give to America the
climate. Qf IJurope,    It is well known, indeed,
that the waters are decreasing there, and that
many lakes are draining and filling up by the
earth which is carried into them from the
higher lands by the rivers: and this may
have some partial effect.
The climate on the West coast of America
assimilates much more to that of Europé in
the same latitudes: I think very little difference will be found, except such as proceed
from the vicinity of high mountains covered
with snow. This is an additional proof that
the difference in the temperature of the air
proceeds from the cause already mentioned.
Much has been said, and much more still
remains to be said on the peopling of America.
—On this subject I shall confine myself to
one or two observations, and leave my readers
to draw their inferences from them.
The progress of the inhabitants of the
country immediately under our observation,
which is comprsised within the line of latitude 45. North, is as follows: that of the
Esquimaux, who possess the sea coast from
the Atlantic through Hudson's Straits and
Bay, round to Mackenzie's River (and I be-
lieve further), is known to be Westward;
they never quit the coast, and agree in appearance, manners, language, and habits with
the inhabitants of Greenland. The different
tribes whom I describe under the name of
Algonquins and Knisteneaux, but originally
the same people, were the inhabitants of the
Atlantic coast, and the banks of the river St.
Laurence and adjacent countries: their progress is Westerly, and they are even found
West and North as far as Athabasca. On
the contrary, the Chepewyans, and the numer-
ous tribes who speak their language, occupy
the whole space between the Knisteneaux
country and that of the Esquimaux, stretch-
ing behind the natives of the coast of the Pacific, to latitude 52. North, on the river Columbia. Their progress is Easterly, and,
according to their own traditions, they came
from Siberia; agreeing in dress and manner
with the people now found upon the coast of
Of the inhabitants of the coast of the Pacific Ocean we know little more than that
they are stationary there. The Nadowasis
or Assiniboins, as well as the different tribes
nöt particularly described, inhabiting the
plains on and about the source and banks of
the Saskatchiwine and Assiniboin rivers, are
from the Southward, and their progress is
The discovery of a passage by sea* North-
East or North West from the Atlantic to the
Pacific Ocean, has for many years excited
the attention of governments, and encouraged
the enterprising spirit of individuals. The
non-existence, however, of any such practical
passage being at length determined, the prae-
ticability of a passage through the continents
of Asia and America becomes an object of
consideration. The Russians, who first discovered, that, along the coasts of Asia no
useful or regular navigation existed, opened
an interiör communication by rivers, &c, and
through that long and wide-extended con-
tinent, to the strait that separates Asia from
America, över which they passed to the adja-
cent islands and continent of the latter. Our
situation, at length, is in some degree similar
to theirs: the non-existence of a practicable
passage by sea and the existence of one
through the continent, are clearly proved;
and it requires only the countenance and support of the British Government, to increase
in a very ample proportion this national ad-
vantage, and secure the trade of that country
to its subjects.
Experience, however, has proved, that this
trade, from its Very nature cannot be carried
on by individuals. A very large capital, or
credit, or indeed both, is necessary, and con-
sequently an association of men of wealth to
direct, with men of enterprise to act, in one
common interest, must be formed on such
principles, as that in due time the latter may
sueceed the former, in continual and progres-
si ve succession. Such was the equitable and
successful mode adopted by the merchants
from Canada, which has been already described.
The junction of such a commercial association with the Hudson's Bay Company, is the
important measure which I would propose,
and the trade might then be carried on with
a very superior degree of advantage, both private and public, under the privilege of their
charter, and would prove, in fact, the complete fulfilment of the conditions, on which
it was first granted.
It would be an equal injustice to either
party to be excluded from the option of such
an undertaking; for if the one has a right by
charter, has not the other a right by prior
possession, as being successor to the subjects
of France, who were exclusively possessed of
all the then known parts of this country, before Canada was ceded to Great Britain, except the coast of Hudson's Bay, and having
themselves been the discoverers of a väst extent of country since added to his Majesty's
territories, even to the Hyperborean and the
Pacific Oceans?
If, therefore, that company should decline,
or be averse to engage in, such an extensive,
and perhaps hazardous undertaking, it would
not, surely, be an unreasonable proposal to
tbem, from government, to give up a right
which they refuse to exercise, on allowing
them a just and reasonable indemnification
of their stock, regulated by the average dividends of a certain number of years, or the
actual price at which they transfer their
By enjoying the privilege of the company's
charter, though but for a limited period,
there are adventurers who would be willing,
as they are able, to engage in, and carry on
the proposed commmercial undertaking, as
well as to give the most ample and satisfac-
tory security to government for the fulfilment
of its contract with the company. It would,
at the same time, be equally necessary to add
a similar privilege of trade on Columbia
River, and its tributary waters.
If, however, it should appear, that the
Hudson's Bay-Company have an exclusive
right to carry on their trade as they think
proper, and continue it on the narrow scale,
and with so little benefit to the public as they
now do; if they should refuse to enter into a
co-operative junction with others, what reasonable cause can they assign to government
for denying the navigation of the bay to Nel-
son's River: and, by its waters, a passage to
and from the interiör country, for the use of
the adventurers, and for the sole purpose of
transport, under the most severe and binding
restrictions not to interf ere with their trade
on the coast, and the country between it and
the actual establishments of the Canadian
traders. *
By these waters that discharge themselves
into Hudson' s Bay at Port Nelson, it is proposed to carry on the trade to their" source,
at the head of the Saskatchiwine River,
which rises in the Rocky Mountains, not eight
degrees of longitude from the Pacific Ocean.
The Tacoutche or Columbia River flows also
from the same mountains, and discharges itself likewise in the Pacific, in latitude 46. 20.
*Independent of the prosecution of this great
object, I conceive, that the merchants from Canada
are entitled to such an indulgence (even if they
should be considered as not possessing a rightful
claim), in order that they might be enabled to extend their trade beyond their present limits, and
have it in their power to supply the natives with a
larger quantity of useful artides; the enhanced
value of which, and the present difficulty of trans-
porting them, will be fully comprehended, when I
reläte, that the tract of transport occupies an extent
of from three to four thousand miles, through upwards of sixty large fresh water lakes, and numer-
ous rivers; and that the means of transport are
slight bark canoes. It must also be observed, that
those waters are intercepted by more than two hundred rapids, along which the artides of merchan-
dise are chiefly carried on men's backs, and över a
hundred and thirty carrying-places, from twenty-
flve paces to thirteen miles in length, where the
canoes and cargoes proceed by the same toilsome
and perilous operations.
357 journal of a voyage through the
Both of them are capable of receiving ships
at their mouths, and are navigable throughout for boats.
The distance between these waters is only
known from the report of the Indians. If,
however, this communication should prove
inaccessible, the route I pursued, though
longer, in consequence of the great angle it
makes to the North, will answer every necessary purpose. But whatever course may be
taken from the Atlantic, the Columbia is the
line of communication from the Pacific Ocean,
pointed out by nature, as it is the only navigable river in the whole extent of Vancouver's
minute survey of that coast: its banks also
form the first level country in all the Southern extent of Continental coast from Cook's
entry, and, consequently, the most Northern
situation fit for colonization, and suitable to
the residence of a civilized people. By open-
ing this intercourse between the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans, and forming regular establish-
ments through the interiör, and at both extremes, as well as along the coasts and
islands, the entire command of the fur trade
of North America might be obtained, from
latitude 48. North to the pole, except that
portion of it which the Russians have in the
Pacific. To this may be added the fishing
in both seas, and the märkets of the four
quarters of the globe.    Such would be the
field for commercial enterprise, and incalcu-
lable would be the produce of it, when sup-
ported by the operations of that credit and
capital which Great Britain so pre-eminently
possesses. Then would this country begin to
be remunerated for the expences it has sus-
tained in discovering and surveying the coast
of the Pacific Ocean, which is at present left
to American adventurers, who without regu-
larity or capital, or the desire of conciliating
future confidence, look altogether to the interest of the moment. They, therefore, collect all the skins they can procure, and in
any manner that suits them, and having ex-
changed them at Canton for the produce of
China, return to their own country. Such
adventurers, and many of them, as I have
been informed, have been very successful,
would instantly disappear from before a well-
regulated trade.
It would be very unbecoming in me to suppose for a moment, that the East-India Company would hesitate to allow those privileges
to their fellow-subjects which are permitted
to foreigners in a trade, that is so much out
of the line of their own commerce, and therefore cannot be injurious to it.
Many political reasons, which it is not necessary here to enumerate, must present themselves to the mind of eveiy man acquainted
with the enlarged system and capacities of
British commerce in support of the measure
which I have very briefly suggested, as prom-
ising the most important advantages to the
trade of the united kingdoms.
It is to be observed, that the Courses throughout the
Journals are taken by Compass, and that the Variation must be considered.
360 THE
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To the Sources of the Missouri, across the Rocky
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An unabridged reprint of the edition of 1814 to
which all the members of the expedition contributed.
With portraits and maps. 3 vols. THE HISTORY OF THE  FIVE  INDIAN
Which are dependent on the PrQvince of New York,
and are a barrier between the English and the
French in that part of the world.
By Hon. Cadwallader Colden. With map
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Mr. Colden lived among and studied the '* Five
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An Essay towards a better Apprehension of the
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1789 AND  1793.
. With an Account of the Rise and State of the
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The stränge history of the astronomer and navigatör who gave his name to the New World is not
well known to ordinary readers. He seems to
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By W. Hepworth Dixon.
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This famous book reads more like a romance than
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