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A journal of voyages and travels in the interiour of North America, between the 47th and 58th degrees… Harmon, Daniel Williams, 1778-1843 1820

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Array           JOURNAL
= ^—-—— m
Ê SBrfàlSf
&a**£*A ^/^
Be it remembered,'that on the second day of August, in the forty fifth
year of the independence of the United States of America, Calvin Harmon
of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right
whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit ;—A Journal
of Voyages and Travels in the interiour of North America, between the 47th
and 58th degrees of north latitude, extending from Montreal nearly to the
Pacific Ocean, a distance of about five thousand miles, including an account
of the principal occurrences, during a residence of nineteen years, in different parts of the country. To which are added, a concise description of the
face of the country, its inhabitants, their manners, customs, laws, religion,
&c. and considerable specimens of the two languages, most extensively
spoken ; together with an account of the principal animals, to be found in
the forests and prairies of this extensive region. Illustrated by a Map of
the country. *. By Daniel Williams Harmon, a partner in the north-west
company. —In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States,
entitled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies
of maps, charts, and books, to the authours and proprietors of such copies,
during the times therein mentioned."
' I trtcl of Vermont. aving preparea tne loiiowin^
press, I have a few things to say respecting it,
and the part in regard to it, wiàich I have performed.
The authour of these Voyages and Travels,
had no thought, while in the N. W. Country, of
making publick his Journal. It was commenced
and con&inued, partly for his own amusement, and
partly to gratify his friends, who, he thought,
would be pleased to be informed, with some particularity ,Jt>n his return, how his time had been
employed, during his absence. When he returned to civilized society, he found that curiosity was
awake, in regard to the state of the country which VI
he had visited ; and the repeated questions, relating to this subject, which he was called upon to
answer, together with the suggestions of some
persons, in whose judgment he placed much confidence, that such a publication might be useful,
first determined him to commit the following work
to the press.
Had he carried into the wilderness a greater
stock of general information, and expected, on his
return, to appear in this manner before the publick,
his inquiries would undoubtedly have been more
extensive, and the result of them would be mon©?
satisfactory, to men of science. Had literary
men been in the habit of traversing the regions
which he has visited, he would have left it to
them, to give an adbount of them to the publick.
Having remained nineteen years in the interiour of
North America, without visiting, during that time*
the civilized part of the world, and having, many
times, changed the place of his residence, while
there, he has had an opportunity for taking a
wide survey of the country, and of its inhabitants ;
and if the information which he has collected, be PREFACE.
not equal to his opportunities, it is such as no otheD
existing pfeblicatioEpvill fully afford.
McKenzfe's Voyages give some accoallfc of a considerable part of the country which is here described. His residence in it, however, was much
shorter than that of the authour of this^^ffrk, and
his personal acquaintance with the different parts
of it, was much more limited. It is not intended, by
this remark, to detract from the reputation,'wliich
that respectable traveller and^Éis work, have deservedly gained. By his toilsome and dange#®us
v-pyage to the North Sea, and by leading the way,
through tjjjfe Rocky Mountain, to the Pacific Oceaj$
he has richly merited the commendation which he
has received. ^j|iy comparing the following work
with that of M?Kenzie,it will appear, that, though
the geographical details are less minute, the country surveyed, if we except the| voyage tÉfelhe
North Sea, which is wholly out of the sphere of
this publication, |g consa^eirably more extensive;
and the information, in regard to the inhabitants,
ijmuch more particular. Considerable additions
are here made, to the existing stock of geographical  information, particularly as it  respects  the
country beyond the Rocky Mountain. The basis of the map, here given to the pubMek, is that
of Sir, Alexander McKenzie, drawn by Arrowsmrth.
That map has received many corrections, and to
it many^irnportant additions have been made, by
|^e authour of this work ; so that ft is presumed
now^o be the most correct map of the intérieur of
Ij^rth America, whfch has ever been published.
Literary men have recently taken much interest in comparing the different Indian languages,
spoken on this continent^*^Sîh each other, and
with other languages, particularly with those anciently spoken on the other continent. A very considerable vocabulary of the one whiùfMfe spoken,
•*#ith a little variation of dialect, through the long
tract of country, from a little back opMontreal to
the Rocky Mountain, and one less extensive of tÉi
principal language spoken beyond it, are here given. Sir Alexander McKenzie has given a vocabulary of the first, which will be found, on comparison, to be somewhat different from that, which is
contained in this work. Two reasons may be assigned for this. In the country about the Athabasca Lake, where McKenzie principally resided, PRÉFACE.
the Crée or Knisteneux language i^i#sonSè fiaeaâ-
ure, a mixed dialect ; àïM it is far less pure, than
that which is spoken by the inhabitants of the
plains, sfphe word!, also, are speBed by McKen-
zie, much accé¥diftg to the FrenclPsound of the
letters, which^s frequë^^ calculated to rhMead
an English reader. Thu^J! the name of QM, or
the Good Spirit, Which M^Kerilie Sp&hV Ki-jai-
Manitou, is here speBéd Kifch-e-mon-e-too. The
above remark will account, Jti a great meaÉnre, foi*
this difference; and for tM0which will be tâètttâ,
in the spelling W many other wordsF Thi$% thé
native language of'fhe wife of Mr. Hêfrnièfô, ffét
so I may new call her, as tfàéy hav#beên réj*èiïtèt&
ly married) and great pains have been taken1'fo
make this vocabulary correct, by making the riiee
distinetftms in the sound of the words, as derived
from her repeated pronunciation of tHbm. With
this language he is, also, well acquainted, sffifce it
has been daily spoken in hi#*famïry, and by MiA-
self, for many years. P|
The education of the anrhëur of thfeKwork
was not classical ; and had if? beëh more ext&ùMife
manf'ft w*às, a rê1^M<$& for^fifére thaSt haîrflf hrs
il X
life, since he has arrived to years of understanding,
in a country wheje the English language is rarely
spoken, would have poorly qualified him to give
to this publication, a fgiitable English dress.
The editor undertook the business of preparing this workv|br the press, with some reluctance,
arising from the shortness of the time that could
be allowed him for the performance of it, and the
numerous avocations of the gospel ministry, which
wouldleave,rnjt a part of that time at his own command. For undertaking it at all, in such circumstances, his only apology is, that, in the opinion of
the authour, there was no other person, conveniently situated for personal intercourse with him,
who would be willing to undertake it, whose cir-
ciftnstances would be more favourable. It is by
the particular request of the authour, and not because I suppose Ihat I have performed the office
of an editor, in a manner creditable to myself,
that I have consented to connect my name with
this publication.
The following work was furnished to my
hand, fully written out ; fand though I have written
it wholly over, I skpul/jl have been much better PREFACE.
able to satisfy mysell, with respectJ|o its style, if
I could as ftllly have possessed the materials, in
the form of notes and sketches, or by verbal recitals. Every man's own mind is the mould of
his language ; and he who has attempted to vary
that of another, if he be at all accustomed to
writing, must have found the task more difficult
than original composition. The style of this work
is not properly my own, nor that of Mr. Harmon,
but something between both.
There is one subject, on which I wish especially to address a few remarks, through the medium of this preface, to the christian publick, and
to all who feel any regard for the welfare of the
Indian tribes, whose condition is unfolded ing|tat
work. As Mr. Harmon has returned to the l»te^
riour of North America, and, therefore, thé observations which follow, wilt not be submitted to his
inspection, before they are made tpublïék, the editor alone must be made accoun-léfele fonthim.
In surveying the widely extended<tr&de of the
North WeStiCoEapany, we perceive* eiridence of
an energy'iW persèveranêépfcighly creditable to
the members of it, as  mend of buiiness.    They PREFACE
have ^explored the western wilds, and planted
their estajj^fchmepts oyer a tract of country, some
thousands o£|nil§s. in extent. They have made
fye savages of; the wijfîerness tributary to the
comforts of ci^p^ed soeiety ; anirjtin many instances, they have exhibited a surprising fortitude, in
expppingjhemselves feo hardship and to danger.
The soujs of the Incfians a&re of more value
than their fttfs ; aj&i to raise this people in the
scale of intellectual e^j^tence, to surround them
with the conafqfts j$f civilization, to rescue them
frpmnffoe gloom of superstition, to mould their
hearts $p qhrifiiarvî kindness, and to cheer their
dyjpg hc43^jwith a'well founded hope of immortal
glory* ànfl ble^gdn-gSEi, conftti$u£tS;ian aggregate of
good -sufficient to call forth exertion ;*|6r their rey?
lief. The time is rapidly corftisg^hen christian
benevo&neeafliBl emulate the activity and pef$*g*
verance, ^tdehjha^re dtong been displayed ittx£oni-
mercial ènterprizes ; when no country will remain
UBfexploreatb^ifa^her^^ the cp^ wbeifè im
mortal souls are shrouded in the darkness of heathenism, and are perishing for lack of yisioai ,rThe
wandering and benighted sons of our #wn forests. PREFACE.
shall not be overlooked They are -opt a race
abandoned by G$d, to ine'is$$able destruction?^
though the idea has, strangely, gott^jn possession of
some minds. In proportion to the ejforts which
have been f$ade, perhaps no missions to the heathen have be^n crowned $yith greater success,
than those to the American Aborigines. To this
fact, the frcûit of therf}ab«ojirs of Elliott, of the
Mayhews, of Br^inerd, of the Moravians, and, especially, of the -jjecent establishment among the
Cherokees, will bear abundant wj|£)ess.
The Indian tribes, whose condition is unfolded
in this worl^ have claims upon christian compassion; and some facts, which the authour hasgife
closed to me, have led me to suppose that a missionary es$ahl$fjiinent migj^t be made, wit^ reference to thejjr instruction, with a fair prospect
of success, and with less expense, than ordinarily
atten4s such operations.   j|j$|
7^ the numerous ef£abli§hmfjnts ofe^he Nor^h
W.%§t Cpjnpgpy, there arfjjifrom twelve to fifteen
hundred women and chij$ren, who are wholly, or
in p$pk of^n^j^J^xtraGl^nt f^oraen h£g|^from
time toj^jge, been taken from among the Native's, XÏV
to reside in the forts, byëhe men in the service
of the company ; and families have been reared,
which have generally been left in the counÊy,
when these men have retired to the civilized parts
of the wTorld. These women and children, with%
humanity which des-SJrves commendation, are not
turned oyer to the savages ; but they are fed, if
not clothed, by the company. They have become
so numerous, as to be a burden to the concern ;
and a rule has been established, that no person, in
the service of the company, shall hereafter take a
woman from among the Natives to reside with
him, as a sufficient number, of a mixed blood, can
be fonnd, who are already connected ff#th the
company. There are, also, in the N. W. courrlry,
many superannuated Canadians, who have spent
the flower of their days in the servlfce of the company, who have families that they are unfiling to'
leave ; and having nothing to attract them to the
civilized world, they continue %nder the protection of the company, and are supplied by them,
with the necessaries of life.
A plan has been in contemplation,5 Ho provide
for the future maintéîHabé  of thèsfe  people âflfij^ PREFACE.
for the relief of the Company from an increasing
burden, which is, to establish a settlement on the
Rainy Lake River, where the soil is excellent, to
which the people, above mentioned, may resort.
To enable them to make a beginning^in the cultivation of the ^|and, and in the erection of rnjps,
&c. the Company propose to give them fifteen
or twenty thousand dollars, and to appoint one of
the Partners to superintend the affairs of the settlement, for three years, or for a longer time, if it
shall be necessary.
It appears highly probable, that a s-^tlemenf
might thus be formed, whi,eh, is a few years, would
secure to those who. should belong to it, the comforts of life, as the fruit of their own industry ; and
should they prosper, so far as to raji§e a supply
beyond their own necessities, it might, with gputu-
al advantage, be disposed of to the Company.
The Partners and Clerks of the North West
Company, who are in the Indian coup|ry, as well
as some of those who reside in Canada, and elsewhere, have subscribed several thousand dollars,
toward the establishment of a scho«|], either at
the Rainy Lake, or at|ForJf Will^rn,, for  ti^gjfp- XVI
struction^Wflie children^ connected with their establishments. Some of these children are the offspring of parents, who survey their comparative
degradation, with the deep interest of a strong
natural aflfection, who are able to bear the expense of their education, and who would cheerfully contribute, in this way, to raise them to increased Respectability, comfort ar^ff usefulness. Should
this school be establishedfsuch persons would be
required to support their children, who should belong to it ; while the children of the poor, would
be taught gratuitously.
These facts have opened lib my mind a préë^
pect, to which I wish to ffirect the eye of christian beDrèvotence. I would ask, with deep inter-
est, some one of the institutions, whose object is
the diffusion of civilization afifl Christianity among
the Irï&ian tribes, whether a missionary establishment might not be formed, in concept with the
North West Company, which would, with much
•féss trouble and even expense to them, accomplish
the object which the Company have in view, than
any establishment which they could mdependefflly
make ; and which wouW, at trïé same tîrttë/feave-
a most auspicious bearing upon the^eligiolfs interests of the tribes of the N. W. Country.
A school for the instruction of^ohiidren in the
arts of life, and in thetrudiments ofiisiènce, as well
as in the principles of the christian religion, forms
the basis ofîéhe most efficient misMiteary exertions
among the Indians.    The school among^he Cher-
okees, is a most interesting object toJÉhristianililt
nevolence ; and as the fruit of i^lthe light of soP
ence, and the still  brighter light of the Suri^of
Righteousness,  is shedding a cheering  radiance
oyer many minds, that would otherwise have been
shrouded in intellectual and moral darkness.    The
school ifeas received the unqualified approbation of
men of all descriptions who have visited it, among
whom are many persons of the most distinguished
character and rank in civil life.    If such a school
were^ established, at a convenient place in the
N,* W. Country, it would  be as the day spring
from on high to a region, now overspread by an
intellectual and moral midnight. §|
Men, occupied as the gentlemen of the Nfrrth
West Company are, in the overwhelming c4res
of a vast commercial concern, would find it diffi- xvm
cult to bestow all that attention on a school for
the instruction oflfceifliildren and youth, now in
their establishments, wbom*4}iey might think it
proper to educate, whioh would b# necessary to
secure its proper management, should this care
be entirely taken off theirs hancks^by men of known
and approved characters, acting under a response
bility to some respectable society ; by men who
would feel all the interests^which christian b§«
nevol^Éce can create in the welfare of the cfaifc*
dren ted yo-âfeh committed to their care, it does
appear to me, that they would gladly cooperâl-é
with them.
--4&S the North West Company from motives of
intej^t, as well as from more rloble consider^
:4ons, would contribute something to the support
of such an establishment, should it meet their àë*
probation, the expense*of it would, 4f courfee, be
less to the society that should embark in the&undertaking, than is commonly incurred, lp establishments of this sort.
The children* sted yotitb above mentioned,
might be instructed in the arts trf civilized life, iri
science and in Christianity, with much greater ease PREFACE.
than the children of the Natives, evei^^they
could as easily be obtained ; and whe$gostructç«J»
they would be equally promising, as the Instruments of spreading civiliza#ite aj)d the religion of
the gospel, among the Jodiarç^jbe^lg They have
&-ii?ways been habitu^ed fa a life, |g;a great measure settled ; and they jf^ld, ^erefore, endure
confinement, better than children who have lived
among the wandering savage^ ii^hep are par^al-
ly civilized, by an intercourse wi||j those, who
have carriedpito the wilderness many of the feelings and habits of cifilized society. jjThey would
not be'ljj&ble. be withdrawn, at an improper
time, from^Jie place of their eçl-pcation, by tfeg
whims and caprice>?pf unstable parents. At the
same time, bei$ig familiarly acquainted w^h the
manners and customs and feelings^f the savages,
by a frequent intercourse with them, being ,|gble
to speak their languages, and having some of <$)$$
Indian blood circulating in théif? veins, they wpuld,
when properly-ilggtructed, be as well qualified gg
gain access to the Natives, and to have influence
ove^jthem, as if they had original been take^
directly from their families. £■ . f
As this establishment cdBJd probably be made,
with the greatest convenience, withm&the British
dominions, it might, perhaps, be und#taken with
the surest prospect G#success, by some society in
Great Britain. *iFhe Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge has, heretofore,
contributed to the support of iaifeionaries amlng
the American Indians ; and might, perhaps, be
willing to engage in this undertaking The Society in Massachusetts for Propagating the Gospel
amj^ig the ladians of North America has, in some
instance^, if I mistake not, acted in concert wifit
the Society in Scotland, above mentioned ; and
might, perhaps, conveniently do it, in this instance.
Every association, however, who may become acquainted with the facts here disclosed, will be able
themselves, to judge most correctly, of their own
resources, and W their own duty*-—At Fort William, on Lake Superior, a very considerable number of the partners of the North West Company
assemble annually, about the middle of June, at
which meeting, many important arrangements are
made, respecting the business of the Company.
At such a meeting, an agent from some benevo-
lent association, might ascepfifn their feelings, in
regards© such an eAablighment as*f4fave r#ôpoëed.
^Phe Aborigines of ^mei-fca, are capable of being exajtted*4ri the fctëale of existenc^^id ê£ arriving, even allhe^inencfèi in^lthe^ ^W^antf sciences.
The native ioratory of some of them, is proverbial
in citffli&ed countries, afMrtias caug§d  them to be
enrolled among^t&e son£%Wgehius.    Many offthem
afford proof, tha^they possess acute and wmpre-
hensive minds ;   aE^afe^^te^rè^ their megtal Capacity is certainly respectable.    Nor, perhaps, can
a people be found on the eartfel who are  not raised abo¥e them by superior cultivation anèlPaeans
of improvementfhvho possess greater'/ elevation of
^eling^and'who appear more  majeslick in ruins.
Their virtues and thefts vices tooaiare not those of
ignoble minds.    Let  tUëir condition be improved
fey the arte-@f civilized life,  the%i*rmindéibe en-
» ..... |
lightened by science, afjd their hearts be softened
by^the genial inflxléhce of Christianity, and they
will assdme^'a respectable rank among the nations.
Cottld we hear some of their superior geniuses unfold to their countrymen the wonderful sehem-Pof XXII
adeeming maiftj^with the {jjaftlJia^yj and patb©s5
which have characterised some of their speeches,
nil the interests of their tribes,—with a brilliancy,
rendered more splendid) by cultivation, and a pathos, made doubly t-ejl^e^ hjkthe softening influ-
j&pce of the^gmsfïlj^grho vsgrnldnot listen to th#in
with admiration and î#it)besplea^silie ? Mights we
no,|tji&pe that, b^i^he bj-e^ing of God^tbey would
be made the honoured and happy instruments, of
4l^ning ma^jdf tt(W*$s&«ntrymen, from th@ errour
of their ways t#the ^orn^ o£ the jusit. { Co,»ld
cumbers of them be-through t tojf&#£ert plans for
th^/exten§ipn frfVfthe g-^pefojin <thô^iNorth,*ijWesr
ternJiirilcto&witfj&;#he skilhqand tj9g,exenute rjjhem
wiify thîe;$iâÉlitude an(i perseverance, jwhi^iithey
display in warringoHpon each othei»,o th$- happiest
results might beiexpect^L
-P^hethèf the suggestion^, here made deserve
CQgsiderajtion or not, J; cheerj$$jf3$ubmit ito the
/wi&dom and benevolence of^hftse, pfijgiwhom they
were egpeeiatty intended. Such has been my
own view of the^mpori&ne§ of the subjeetfefherfe
presented, that I should have charged myself with #l
a culpable neglect, if I had failed to improve this
opportunity, to hold it up to the attention of the
christian publick.
Burlington, Vt. August 2, 1820.
r       -   f| April, 1800. ejl
Tuesday, 29.     La Chine.   Yest*|rday? I left-
Montreal, for this place, in company with severâi
other Clerks; and am on mjrway to the interiour,
or Indian countries, there  to remain, if my life
should be spared, for seven years, at least.    For
this space of time I am under an engagement to
serve as a clerk to the North West Company, otherwise  denominated McTavish, Frobisher, & Co.
The goods intended for the interiour or upper
countries, are here put on board of canoes.   These
canoes which are constructed of the bark of the
birch tree, wili carry a burden of three  and an
half or four tons each; and are severally manned
by eight or nine Canadians, who are said to maa-
i 26
Harmon's journal.
age them with greater dexterity, than any other
Wednesday, 30.     Point  Claire.    Rainy evening.    For the first time in  my life, I  am to pass
the night in a tent.    In the  former  part #f the
day, I was employed in  marking  bales of goods,
which are to be sent  to the  Grand Portage  or
General Rendezvous.    About   12 o'clock, 1 embarked on board of one of the canoes, destined for
the above  mentioned place.    The whole  squadron, which consits of thirty canoes, is divided into
three brigades.    One or two Guides or Pilots are
attached to each brigade.    Their business, is, to
point  out  the   best   Course   up   and   down   the
streams   and   through  the  lakes, and   to   take
charge   of the  cânoes   and   property on  board.
They attend to the repairs of the canoes, which
are frequently broken, and have the  same command over the men, attached to  their respective
brigades, as the commander of! a vessel  has, Q|rer
the men on board.,   The  Voyagers, as  the men
are called, have many of the customs of sailors ;
and among them the  following.    By all those on
board, who have never passed certain-places, they
expect to be  treated with something to drink;
and should a person refuse to comply with their
ftequisitions, he would be  sure of being plunged
into the water, which they profanely call, baptiz- HARMON S JOURNAL.
ing him. To avoid such a disaster, I gave the
people of my canoe a few bottles of spirits anct
porter, by drinking which, they became very merry, and exhibited the reverse of th-^r appearance
a few days since, whenji with heavy hearts and
weeping eyes, they parted from their relations.
Shortly after we had pitched our tents, an Irish
gentleman, whose house waft'Hear the margin of
the water, politely invited me to take tea with
Friday, May 2. Chute au Blondeau. We
have a strong head wind. But, since yesterday
morning, we have come nearly sixty miles, and
have passed two Rapids. At these places, most
of the property was taken out of the canoes, and
carried across the Portages, on the backs of the
people. The young men, who had never been in
the Indian countries, now began to E^gret that
they had enlisted into this service, which requires
them, as they say, to carry burdens like horses,
when, by remaining in their own country, they
might have laboured like men.
Sunday, 4. The wind has been so high, during
the whole of the day, that we could^not go upon
the water. I have therefore passed the time in
reading, and in the society of a fellow-clerk.
Monday, 5. We are now about orfe hundred
and twenty miles from Montreal.    This afternoon,^ 28
our people killed a deer, with their spiting poles,
as he was crossing: the river.
Tuesdayi 6. The three Kettles. In the former part of the day, we passed a beautiful waterfall, where the Riviere au Rideau, or Curtain
River, falls into this, which is the Ottawa River.
The former is ten or twelve rods wide, and the
water falls perpendicularly, about forty feet, presenting at a little distance, an appearance at once
pleasing and grand. We are now about one hundred anofAfty miles from Moolreal ; the land on
each side of the river is very level, and the soil
appears to be goofei William McGilvray, Esq.
passed us this evening, in a light canoe, bound like
ourselves, to the Grand Portage.
Thursday, 8. Au Chat. We now, for the first
time, see Indian huts or tents.
Friday, 9. We arrived this morniag, at this
place, where the North West Company have a
small establishment ; and I have passed the afternoon, in shooting pigeons.
Saturday, 10. Grand Calumet. This Portage is nearly two miles long ; and over it, the people carry both the canoes and their loadieg.
Here stands a house, built by those who came
here to traffick with the Indians ; but which has
been abandoned for several years, as the Indians,
who formerly hunted in this vicinity, are now gone
- Harmon's journal.
farther fforth, where Beaver, &c. are founcfcin
greater plenty. Behind this house, I found a small
bark eanêè, in which I embarked alone,ijbr the
purpose of shooting ducks. Having proceeded
some distance from the shore, the canoe overset,
and I fell, with my gun, into the water. Having
my great coat on, it %as with no small difficulty
that I reached the shore ; and I was ilappy to es-,
cape, with the loss of only my gun.
Sunday, 11. We are encamped on an.Island
opposite to Fort Coulonge. Soon%fter we arrived here, the person who has the establishment
in charge, came lip infite a fellow-clerk, who travels in thèsiame canoe with me, and myself, to sup
with him, to which I readily agreed ; but my companion chose to remain with the canoes. I was
treated with all the politeness of which a Canadian ismaster, which is not a little ; for in this, as
well as in many other respects, the Canadians resemble their ancestors, the French.
Monday, 12. We are encamped on a large
sand bank. I have had a little conversation with iay
fellow-traveller, respecting his conduct the last
evening, while I was absent. Wheljl I departed
for the Fort, I gave him the keys of our travelling
box and basket, that he might have the means of
making a supper ; and on my return, I was not a
little surprised at findJagnot only him, but several of 30
the common labourers, much intoxicated.   I reprimanded Mr. P. with considerable severity, to day,
and told him, that if I shotiïd ever again find him
in the like shameful condition, I  should  be under
the disagreeable necessity of informiagj-four  employers of his conduct, as soon as we should reach
Head-quarters^*  He promised that he would not
again be gfilty of such conduct;   but  I should
place more reliance on his promise, had not his
mother been a squaw.    There seems to be in the
blood of an Indian, a kind of predispos^on to intemperance.—We barte<£ffqrath the natives, receiv-
mg sugar for busc^t, of which, as well as of pork*
beef and spirits, they  appear to be uncommonly
Tuesday, 13. We are encamped on a rocky
bank, where it is impossible to find a smooth
place, sufficiently large to pitch a tent; we are
therefore obliged to make our bed between two
large rocks, and sleep in the open air. On the
north side of the river are mountains, which apn
pear almost destitute of timber, of any kind.
Wednesday, 14. We shall again sleep where
we didj|ast night, as the people have been employed, during the whole of the day, in repairing the
canoes, which had become leaky.
Thursday, 15. Roche Capitaine Portage.B This?
Portage is so yarned from a large r>ock, that rises*
r F
e .wfwmii    —■ -"
Harmon's journal.
to a considerable height above the water, in the
middle of^he rapid. During the day, we have
come up several difficult ones, wher^ many
persons have been drowned, either in coming
up or going down. For every such unfortunate
person, whether his corpse is found or not, a
cross is erected by his companions, agreeably to a
custom of the Roman Catholics ; and at this place,
I see no less than fourteen^ This is a melancholy sight. It leads me to reflect on the folly and temerity of man, which cause him to
press on in the path, that has conducted so many
of his fellow creatures, prematurely to* the grave.
Thus in hope of gaining a littlesanoney, which can
minister but imperfectly to our comfort, and that,
during a short season, we expose ourselves to
Friday, 16. Came up a rapicb where, a few
years since, two canoes, in going down, were broken, and several men were drowned ; therefore,
we seeiffliore crosses erected.
Saturday, 17. Roderick McKenzie, Esq. agent
for the North West Company, passed us, who,
with those that accompany him, is on hfe way to
the Grand Portage.
Sunday, 18. The Lazy Portage. This day
we||eft the Ottawa River on our right hand, and
came up a   small  river, that falls  into   i$L A- 32
Harmon's journal*
|- bout noon, we passed a cave, in the side of a
high hill. This cave, I am told, is spacious ; but
we were in too grea^haste, to, permit my examining it. This I was the more inclined to do, as I
am told that the natives relate many remarkable
stories respecting it ; and among others, that a
large animal remains in it, which they call a Man-
eater, and which devours all those, who have the
presumption to approach the entrance, of his solitary dwelling.
Monday, 19. The. Pines. Came up several
bad rapids ; but have been so fortunate, thus far,
as to meet with no disaster. The banks on each
side of the river, for a. considerable distance, are
a perfect natural wall, formed of smooth stones ;
and are about one hundred feet high.
Tuesday, 20. La Vase, or Miry-place. During the whole of this day, we have been crossing
ponds, and small lakes.
Wednesday, 21. After coming over a number
of short portages, and crossing several ponds, and
descending a small river, at the source of which is
a height of land, we have at length arrived at a
place, called the Meadows, which constitutes the
north end of Lake Nipisangue, or, asft is commonly written, Nippising. Here we find several
Indians, who appear to be in poor circumstances.
We, however, obtain from  them a little sugêfr, HARMON'S JOURNAL.
and a few woodëfe dishes and spoons, for which we
give them provisions.
Thursday, 22. Sailed a part of the day, on
the above mentioned lake ; but, towards noon, the
wind was so high, that we were obliged to encamp
on a small island, which 'M- almost destitute of
Friday, 23. The lost Child. This place took
its name from the following circumstance. Seve-
ral years since, the natives, being encamped here,
lost a child, for whom they made diligent search,
butpin vain. They imaglîèd, however, thafjPtheyl
heard his lamentations in the bowels of the earth ;
whereupon they commenced digging, but to no
purpose ; the reason of which they conceived to be,
thatthe Devil, or Bad Spirit, as he is called by
the Indians, was continually carrying him from one
place to another, in the earth. Many large holes
have actually been dug in the earth, as our people have shown me.
In the morning we left Lake Nipisangue, and
have ever rince been descending the French River, which is a considerable stream.
In the latter part of the day, we passed a narrow place in the French River, to which, a numbedof years since, many of the most abandoned
and savage Natives were accustomed to resort
every spring, and where they built alind of Fort,
,"fi-; M
or stone wall, which isgstill to be seen. Behind
this, these villains secreted themselves ; and, when
the voyagers were passing by, discharged volleys
of shot into their canoes, and of course, as the dis^
tance was small, killed many of Ahem. They
would then rush from their hiding place, and fall
upon and butcher the remainder, and go off with
the plunder, which they had thus seized, into
a distant >,part of the country. But **jlhe better sort of their countrymen, would not join
them in such barbarous and unprovoked hostilities.
At length the good Indians, who were well disposed towards the white people from Canada, pronounced these murderers a nuisance to society, and
made war upon them, until the greater part of
them were destroyed. The few that survived,
retired into a distant part of the country, and nothing has since been heard, respecti^^them.%The
friendly Indiagfe for tfcteir exertions in extirpating
their unworthy relations, were handsomely rewarded by the North West Company.
The Canadian Voy&gers, when»thev leave one
stream to go up or down another, have a custom
of pulling off their hats, arid making the sign of the
cross, upon which one in each canoe, or at least, in
each brigade, repeats a short prayer. The same
cerenaonies are observed by them, whenever they
pass a place, where any one has been interred, and --r- I I •— .1	
a cross has been erected. Tho^otherefore, who
are in the habit of v&yaging this way, are obliged
to say their prayers more frequently perhaps,
than^when at home ; for at almost every rapid which we have passed, since we left Mo%|
treal, we have seen a number of crosses erected^
and at one, I counted no less than thirty ! It is
truly melancholy, and discouraging, seriously to^e-
flect on the g#at number of my fe$ow c^atures,
who have been brought to an jfntimely end, by
voyaging this way, as I know not but ^shall myself, also, be doomed to the same watery grave.
With such dismal spectacles, ijgwever, almost continually before^pur eyes, wq-jjpress forward, with
all the ardour and rashness of youth, in the same
dangjerjws path, stimulated by the hopes of gra^
fying the*eye, and [of securing a little gold.
Saturday, 24. Lake Huron. We find on the
shore of this lfke, low Crfanberries, in great abu%
dance, ^-j
Sunday, 25. Th§, wind has been so high, that
it has prevented us from saijing, the greater part
of the day. We are encamped on f|an island, of
which there are many in this lake. On one of
them, it is reported, thft the Natives killed a
snake, which measured thirty six feet in length.
The length and size of this astonishing serpent,
they have engraved on a large smooth rock, which
\ w pi
we saw, as we passed by. But w«£ have often,
seen other engravings, on the rocks, along the
rivers and lakes, of many different kinds of animals,
some of which, I am told, are not now to be found,
m this part of^the world, and probably niHer
Wednesday, 28. island of St. Joseph. To
this place the British troops came and built a fortification, when the Aroerfeans took possession of
Michilimackinack. There are stalfconed here one
Captain, one Liealenant, one Ensign and thirty
mne privates. The fort is built on a beautiful
rise of groundpwhich is joined to the main island
by a narrow neck of land. As it is not long since
a settlement was made he^e, they have only four
dwelling houses and two stores, on the other parts
of the peninsula ; and the inhabitants appear like
eittes. The North West Company have a house
and store here. In the latter, they construct canoes, for sending into the interiour, and down to
Montreal. Vessels, of about sixty tons burthen, come here from Detroit and Mackana and
Soult St. Maries. The whole island is nomputed
to be about twenty miles in circumference ; the
soil is good; it is distant, nearly nine hundred
miles from Montreal, and forty five from Mackana, and is in Lat. 47° Norttt?   Spirits are sold here Harmon's journal.
for six dollars a gallon ;   and other things, in the
same proportion.
Thursday, 29. Duncan McGilvray, Esq. one
of the agents for the North West Company, arrived in the morning, at St. Josephs, from Mackana ;
and soon after, we embarked o# board of our
canoes, to come to this small Island. As the
weather is calm, my fellow-traveller and I intend sleeping in our canoe ; but the labourers
will pass the night on shore.
Friday, 30. Soult St. Maries. MHere the
North West Company have another establishment, on the north side ofethe Rapid ; and on
the opposite shore, there are a few A Jfcrieansy
•Scotch and Canadians, who carry on a small traffic with the Natives, and also tMHhe ground aalit-
tle. The soil about Lake Huron, which we have
just passed, appears to be good, and the face of the
country is low and level.—Here the North West
Company have built locks, in order to take up
loaded canoes, that they may not be under the
necessity of carrying them by land, to the head of
the Rapid ; for the current is too strong to be
stemmed by any craft. The Company are likewise building a saw mill, at the foot of the Rapid,
to furnish boards, &c. for the Grand Portage, &c*
Here is the outlet of Lake Superiour, by which its
waters pass into Lake Huron.    On each of these 38
Harmon's journal.
lakes, the North West Comiolany havek?a> vessel.
One goes to the Grand Portage, and the otherf^o.
Detroit, &c.
Saturday, 31. We shall sleep where we did
the last night. Several of us|thave visited the
people^llwho live on ihe other side of the rapid,
where we saw a dance of the Natives* who are
Sauteux or Chippeways.
Sunday&June, 1. Pamt au:Pin$ or Pine Point,
in Lake Superiour. We here find the vessel that
sails from this to the Grand Portage. I went on
board, and the Captairi informed mje, that she
would carry about ninety five tons, and that she
makes four or five trips every season. I left the
Soult St. Maries, in company with three hundred
men, who are in thirty five canoes. *|jj    fcdîiw^â
Monday, 2. Point awe Erables, orff^Iaple
Point. We now for«^ four Brigades, in which
there are six clerks.
Tuesday, 3. A high wind during the whole
day. In the morning, we attempted to sail, but
soon found we could not, without shipping a;great
deal of water ; we therefore soon landed again,
and are encamped, within one hundred rods of
the place where we tarried the last night.
Wednesday, 4. As it has rained and snowed
all day, accompanied by a high wind, we have not
been able to leave  our encampment  of the last
Tjç^g^^j^^gart».-- HARMON'S JOURNAL.
nigh#£ Mons. St. Germainfiwho has the charge
of a small Fort, belonging to the North West
Company, not far from this, visTfcedEs, and brought
with him a few necessaries.
Thursday, 5. Although the swells in the Lake
are very flighj%è have made good progress, during the whole day. We are encamped near a
large rock,^fe whiclH the NslWls, as they pass
this way, leave an arrow or two, or some other
article of little value to appease the Devisor
Muchanrimatoo, as^Éhejptcall him, and prevent him
from doing them harm. ËÊ
Sunday, 8. fin the course^f the day, we have
passed several islands, which, as wrell asithe main
land, appear to be covered with little else besides
moss, with here and there.iaa-ship.bby sprue&
Monday, 9. In th$ morribg we passed ançtri-
er-fort, belonging to the North West Company.
Tuesday, 10. We.sire obliged^rto anchor|pur
canoes by a small island, instead of unloading them,
as is customary every night, for the whole country is on §ke ; but whether by accident or design,
I am unable to learn. Our people, who pass this
way every summer, say that, almost every year,
fire runs over this part of the country, wh$h is,
of course, nearly destitute of animals, of any kind.
Thursday, 12.    Sugar Points   Our people say
we have sailed ninety miles during the day. 40
Friday, 13. Grand Portage, where we ari^f^
ed late this evening. Tips place lies in the 48th
degree of north latitude ; and is said to be j$jne
hundred miles from the Soult St. Maries, and
eighteen hundred from Montréal. The Fort,
which is tweuty.^pur rods by thirty, i$ bu^t on
the margki of a bay, at the foot of a hill or mountain, of considerable height. Within the fort,
there is a considerable number of dwelling houses,
shops and stores, all of which appear to be slight
buildings, and designed only for present convenience. The houses are surrounded by palisad^
which are about eighteen inches in diameter, and
are sunk nearly three fee^in Ike groqnd, and rise
about fifteen feet above it. The bay is so shallow
that the vessel cannot approach the : shore, unless
she is almost without lading. There is a considerable island, directly opposite to the fort, which
shelters the vessel from theewinds thatlliow from
the Lake ; and which renders this, a tolerably
good harbour. There is also another fort, which
stands about two hundred rods from this, belonging to the X. Y. Company, under which firm, a
number of merchants of Montreal and Quebec,
&c. now carry on a trade into this part of the
country. It is only three years since they made
an establishment here •; and as yet, they have had
but little success. Harmon's journal, 41
This is the Head Quarters or General Rendezvous, for all who trade in this part of the
world ; and therefore, every summer, the greater
part of the Proprietors and Clerks, who have spent
the winter in the Interiour, come here with the
furs w7hich they hai$e been able to collect, during
the preceding seasotp^ Thi% as I am told, is about
the time when they generally arrive ; and some
of them are already here. The people who come
from Montreal with the gooj^ go no farther
tr^an this, excepting a few who take those articles
to the Rainy Lake, which are intended for Athabasca, as that place lies at too gpeat a distance
from this, to permit people who reside there to
come to this place and return, before the winter
commences. Those who bring the goods from
Montreal, on their return, take down the furs, &c.
from the north.
Excellent fish, I am informe*^ are taken here.
White fish are sometimes speared, which will
weigh twenty two pounds. The water in the
lake is uncommonly clear.
Sunday0.5. The people here pass the sabbath, much in the same manner as they do, the
other days of the week. The labouring people
have feen employed, during the day, in making and
pressmg packs of furs, to be sent to Canada. This
appeal's, not as it should be, to me, who have be^
6 W     \ 42
taught to abstain form labour on the sabbath,and to
consider that it should be employed in a religious
manner. The people, however, who have been
long inÉhis savage country, have no scruples of
conscience on this subject.
Tuesday, 24. 1 have, for some days past, been
employed, together with several^other clerks, É*
marking packs of furs. Almost every day, for some
time past, people have* been flocking in from
the Interiomv wirlh the returns of the season.
Saturday, 28. The last night, a squaw, in a
state of intoxication, stabbed her husband, who
soon after expired. This aftespoon, I went to
taeiifjj$ent, where I saw a number of Indians, of
both sexes, drinking and crying over the corpse,
to which they would frequently-offer rum, and try
to pour it down his throaty supposing him*tb be as
fond of rum when dead, as he was when alive.
The Natives of this place are Chippeways.
Ftiday, Jjdy 4. In the day time, the Natives
were permitted to dance in the fort, and the Company made them a present of thirty six gallons of
shrub. In the evening, the gentlemen of the
place dressed, and we had a famous ball, in the
dining room. For musick, we had the bag-pipe,
the vidîn and the flute, which added much to
tfee interest of the occasion. At the ball, there
was a number of the ladies of this country ; and
miri-di ■     =*== >B»u.'..».
I was surprised to find that they could conduct
with^so mucjir propriety, and dance so wel^
Sunday, 13. Yesterday, several gentlemen,
on their way to their winter quarters, accompanied me to Charlotte, at the other end of this Portage,? which is nine miles over. My business was
to send off a number of canoes, bound for Fort
des Prairies. The country between tigs and Fort
Charlotte, is tolerably level ; and the soil appearj
to be pretty good.
Tuesday, 15. TJ$s morning a,cumber of gentlemen, as well as mjself, left the Grand Portage^
to proceed to winter quarters. I ani to accompany John McDonald, Esq. to Fort des Prairies. We
left fort Charlotte, about 3 o'clock^?. M. on board
of two canoes, each of which wil,|rcarry abofi&two
tons, and is pushed on by six Canadians^ This is a
small river ; and we have passed several places,
where the men wTere obliged to carry the ladings, a short distance, and in some places, to transport the canoes also.
Wednesday, 16. The long Cherry Portage. In
the former part of the day, we crossed small
lakes and ponds, connected by several portages,
and then camf over the height of land. Since
pas&ing this,  we  have descended  a small  river,
*• ° ■   .' *    K:   ' ' ' Ww>      .       ■Wis ■
which, I am informed, a$er running through several lakes, at length discharges  itself into  Hud- 44
son's Bay, in latitude 51° north. At the mouth
of this river; the Hudson Bay Company h&fce a fort,
which is called Albany Factory.
Friday, 18. G&at Pines. We have this day
crossed the Frmty Lake, so named from fhe stones,
found on its shore. For some time past, I have
had a fit of the ague and fever, everyday. It
commenced when I was crossing the large Lakes ;
and, I am told, that it is seldom that a persolHs
attacked with it, in the region where I now am.
Mondàjf, 21. For the last few days, we have
been crossing small lakes and ponds, and coming
down a small river. The country appears thinly
timbered, lies rather low, and the soir is good.
Tuesday, 22. This evening, there came here
three canoes, manned by Iroquois, who are going
into the vicinity of the upper Red River, to hunt
Beaver, for the North West Company. Some of
them have their families with them. |Éj
Thursday, 24. Rainy Lake Fort. This is
built about a mile and an half down the river,
from the entrance of the Lake, where there is
a considerable fall. Here the soil is better than
any we have seen, since we left the Ottawa River. The timber, also, is of a very good size.
The Lake and River are said 4b contain excellent
fish, such as sturgeon, white-fish, &c. In the vicinity, "a considerable quantity of wild rice is gather-
ed, by the Natives, who Itre Chipj>eways. This
is thought to be nearly as nonrishing as the real
rice, and almost as palatable, xhe kernel of the
former, is rather longer than that of the latter, and
is of a brownish colour.
Friday, 25. In the former pari* of tire day,
we overtook several gentlemen, who, like ourselves, are on their wily to their winter quarters.
This is a beautiful river, and^preîty free from
Saturday, 26. This morning, we met twenty
fiïlJPcanâes from Athabasca. They say they suffered much for want of food, on their way ; and
during foul* days, ale nothing. We gave them a
dram, w7hich made them almost forget their late
sufferings. They will arrive at the Rainy Lake,
later than usual. |P
Monday, 28. We have come down several
rapids, at one of which a canoe was broken, the
last year, and a man drowned. We are still in
the Rainy Lake river, which is about one hundred
and twenty miles long, and twelve or fifteen rods
broad. TnVÎand on each side is low, and is said
to be excellent. The timber consists of birch, a
specfes of pine, hemlock, poplar, aspiri, cedar,
Tuesday, 29. This day we came across the
Wcfedv Lake, which is full of islands.    It is about 46
thirty six miles in length; and the soil about-if*is
much like that, along tfte Rainy Lake River.
We are now in Wfeipick River, and have passed
a rapid where the last year, three men were
drowned. One of our men fired at a black bear,
but did not kill him. É|
Wednesday, 30. Passed a number of miry
Portages, and a place where, three years since,
the Natives, who are Chippeways, fired upon our
people, but without killing any of them. One of
the Indians was taken, with trfë intention of carrying him to the nearest Fort, and there punishing
him as he deserved. After proceeding a considerable distance, however, and when near a rapi*^
he jumped out of the canoe, intending, as was supposed, to swim to the opposite shore, and thus escape. But the current was too strong ; and he
went down the rapid, and was projgably drowned.
Thursday, 31. Mouth of the River Winipiék^
Here the North West Company, and the Hudson
Bay Company, have each a fort. Here the abo^
named river discharges its waters into Lake Win-
ipick. The River Winipick, through the greater
part of its course, is a succession of smal|? lakes ;
and in several places there are falls, of a considerable height- The country around it is broken^
and occasionally, majestick and frigjrt£ul waterfalls
are  to be seenJl particularly  where ijae  ^Fhite
si Harmon's journal.
River joins this, about thirty miles above where
we now are. A few miles above this, there is a
small lake, called Lac de Bonne, from which the
Hudso(liBay people leave our rout, and proceed toward the Albany Factory. The soil is good ; and
among#he fruit, I observe the red plum. The
grape, also, grows well in this vicinity. In the neighbouring woods, a few moose and deer are found ;
andi^ie Lake and River are well supplied with
fish.—Ouji people are employed in drying the
goods some of which Were wet, in coming down
the rapids, yesterday.    :•- ^W$?
Saturday, August 2. When I left the Grand
Postage, It-was expected that I should go up the
Sisiscatchwift|river, to spend the winter. That
river falls into the north west<|rn end of Lake
Wijaipick. But, since our arrival here, we have
received intelligence from the Swan River Department, which country lies between Lake Win-
ipich and the Red and Assiniboin rivers, that, in
the opinion of M§: McLeod, who superintends the
concerns of that region, it is necessary to make
another establishment there. It is therefore determined .that I shall go and take charge of it ;
and I shall accordingly remain here a few days,
to wait for the arrival of the brigade, destined to
the Swan River department.—The after part of
the day, I spent in sjhpoting pigeons, which I found 48
to be numerous, as at this season, red raspberries,
and other kinds of fruit, are ripe, and exift here
in abundance.
Sunday, 3. In walking in the adjacent coure
try, I saw the bushes and brambles loaded with
ripe fruit. While partaking of it, I was led to
reflect on the beneficence of the great Autrupr of
nature, who scatters his favours with an unsparing
hand, and spreads a table here in the wildernessj
for the refreshmenàfbf his creatures.
This is the first day which I have ever spent,
since my infancy, without eating either bread d0
biscuit.    As a.substitute for bread, w7e now make
use of what the Natives call f^mican^ which co^jt
sists of lean  meat, dried and pounded fine,  an3
then mixed with melted fat.    This compound is
put into bags, made of the skins of the buffaloe,
&c and when cold, it becomes a solid body.    If
kept in a dry place, it will continue good for years.
But, if exposed to moisture, it will soon become
musty, and unfit for use.    Pimican is a very pala-
talie^ nourishing and healthy food ; and on it, our
Voyagers subsist, while travelling in this country.
Sometimes we add to the two above named ingfre-
dients, sugar or dried berries, which we procure
from the Natives ; and the taste of it is thus very
much improved. ^
Monday, 4.    1 have visited t^jJJudson Bay ~—^
people, whose fort is but a few rods from ours.
Mr. Miller, the gentleman who has charge of it,
informed me, that they obtain #keir goods from Albany Factory; that, in going down with their barges, they are generally about forty days ; but, that
they are nearly twice that time in returning, m
consequence of the current. The Factory lies to
the north east from this.
Wednesday, 6. This morning Mr. McDonell,
whom we passed a few days since, overtook, and
informed us, that one of his canoes broke, in coming down the rapids, that one of the men was
drowned, and most of the property on board was
Friday, 8. This evening, Mons. Marotte took
a woman of this country for a wife, or rather concubine. All the ceremonies attending such an
event, are the following. When a person is desirous of taking one of the daughters of the Natives,
as a companion, he makes a present to the parents
of the damsel, of such articles as he supposes will
be most acceptable ; and, among them, rum is indispensable ; for of that all the savages are fond,
to excess. Should the parents accept the articles
offered, the girl remains at the fort with her
suitor, and is clothed in thefeCanadian fashion.
The greater part of these young women, as I am
informed, are better pleased to remain with the 50
white people, than with their own relations.
Should the couple, newly joined, not agree, they
are at liberty, at any time, to separate ; but no
part of the property, given to the parents of the
girl, will be refunded.
Sunday, 10. Lake Winipick. In the former
part of the day, the people for whom I have long
been waiting, came up ; and soon after, I embarked wfth them, and came hither. Although we are
not in want ôf provisions, yet our people have
killed a dog to eat, the flesh of which, they say, is
delicious. The dogs of this country, which resemble wolves^differ considerably from the dogs,
found in the civilized part of the world.
Monday, 11. We embarked, early in the
morning; but soon, the wind blew .so as to oblige
us to make the land, which we have done, on a
point that projects far into the Lake. Soon after
we reached the shore, a number of the Indians of
this quarter, who are Chippeways and Muscagoes,
came to pay their respects to us, to whom we gave
some rum, tobacco, &c.
Sunday, 17. Entrance of the river Dauphine.
Lake Winipick, which we now leave to go up this
river, is about two hundred and fifty miles in
length, and from three to sixty or seventy, in
breadth. The country about this lake, for a considerable distance, is low, and is overspread with HARMON'S JOURNAL.
pretty heavy timber, and the soil appears to be
good. Dauphine river is so shallow, at present,
that our people are under the necessity of leaving
half their ladings, for which they will return, after
having proceeded a certain distance with the remainder.
Tuesday, 19. Last night, the wind blew so
high, that it drove the water of the Lake to such
a distance up the beach, that we were under the
necessity of removing our baggage farther into
the woods, at three different times. This morning, our people came back for the remainder of
the property ; and we proceeded up the river,
which is about ten rods wide. The country about
itris level.
Wednesday, 20. Lac St. Martin. The river
Dauphine passes through this lake. We here
see a great number of swans, bustards, pelicans,
&c. The country around is swampy ; and I am
informed, that Moose are numerous in the vicinity.
Friday, 22. This morning we left Lac St.
Martin, and entered the Muddy Lake, where we
again find fowls, in great abundance.
Saturday, 23. North end of the Plain Portage.
This portage is about two miles over, through a
beautiful country, and the soil is excellent.
Sunday,  24.     Little Lake Winipick.  » Here Harmon's journal.
we find ajtnumber of the Natives, who are
Chippeways, waiting our arrival, to get rum to
drink, and necessaries, to enable them to hunt
the beaver.
Monday, 25. We remain still, where we
were the last night ; and have been employed,
during, the day, in making out a selection of goods
for the establishment at the entrance of the
river Dauphine., which falls into the west end of
this Lake. At that place, a French missionary
resided, before the British obtained possession
of Canada. He remainàfl there, but for a short
time ; and great success, therefore, could not
have been expected. I am told, however, that
there are some Indians, still living, who recollect
prayers, which were taught them by the missionary.
Saturday, 30. Encampment Island. Here we
arrived, in the fore part of the day ; and we have
been employed, ever since, in setting aside goods
for the Red Deer River, which falls into this
lake, at the north end. We are now nearly
across the lake, which is about one hundred and
twenty miles long, and from five, to thirty broad.
There are no mountains, of any mag^tiide, in this
part of the country. The land is generally low,
and  well  covered with timber,  which  consists HARMOVS JOURNAL.
of a  spe-mes   of pine, himh,  poplar,  as pin,   willow, &c.
Friday, September 1. |Jta the morning, Mr. Mc
Gillis, with most of the people, left us to proceed
to the Red Deer River, where they are to pass
the ensuing winter. Mr. McLeod, wijjth a number of people in one canoe, has gone to Lac
Bourbon, which place lies nearly north west from
this. We here take, in nets, the white fish, which
are excellent.
Wednesdayf0$. I hajre passed#the day in
reading the Bible, and in meditating on my present way of living ; and, I must confess, that it too
much resembles that of a savage.
Sunday, 7. Late the last evening, Mr. Mc
Leod returned from Lac Bourbon; and, this
morning, they again embarked for Swan River,
and left me here, with two men, and as many
women, to wait for the arrival of a number of
canoes, which are still behind, but which are
expected in daily.
Wednesday, 10. Yesterday, a part of the
people arrived, for whom I have been waiting,
some of whom I sent to the Red Deer River, and
others to Swan River. gf|
Sunday, October 4. JVorth end of Little Lake
Winipick. From the 29th of August, until the
morning of this day, I remained on Encampment 54
Island, waiting for the arrival of the people, who
were left behind. But, as they had almost constantly high winds, which, I am told, are common
in this late part of the season, they did not make
their appearance, until the second instant.
During the long stay which I made at that
unpleasant Island, we had little or nothing to eat,
excepting what we took from the water with our
nets. There were times, when we met with
little success. When the wind was higl| we could
not set our nets ; and consequently took nothing.
One night'the wind was so high, that it took the
only canoe which wefhad, to the other side of the
Lake, a distance of five miles, at least. We were
thus deprived of the means of setting our nets.
On the eighth day after this disaster, ProvJ»
dence sent an Indian to the place of our encampment, who lent us his canoe to go in search
of ours, which our people found, uninjured.
While we had no canoe, we were under the
disagreeable necessity of living upon the fish
which we had left on the beach, when we took
them in plenty. They had, by this time, become
almost putrid. Unsavoury, however, as they
were, they did not last so long as we could have
wished; for, when they were expended, we had
nothing to eat, until a kind Providence sent a
black bear near our tents.    One of my men fired,
II Harmon's journal.
and killed him, which was a blessing, for which
we endeavoured to be thankful. We cpnsidered
it sent by Heaven ; and felt, that we deserved not
such a favour. But the rain descends on the unjust as well as the just.—Yesterday, it snowed,
during most of the day, which prevented us from
decamping. But early this morning, without reluctance,* we left the solitary Island, where many
a moment of ennui passed over me. As I had
no other book, I read during my stay there the
greater part of the Bible. This afternoon, we
meet two men, in a small canoe, from v Swan
River, loaded with provisions, for the people
of the Red Deer River. We did not suffer so good
an opportunity, for furnishing ourselves with a
sufficiency of food, to sustain us until we should
meet with another supply, to pass unimproved.
How delicious is food to a person who ^ near
famishing ! But there are thousands, who know
not how to prize abundance, because they have
never experienced the distresses of want.
Thursday, October 9. Little Swan River. Yesterday, on account of high winds, we could not
leave our encampment ; but early this morning,
we embarked on board of our canoes, and at
twelve, left Little Lake Winipick, and entered
this river, which is eight or ten rods wide, very
shallow, and full of rapids. JL therefore debark* 56
ed, and walked along on the beach about four miles,
in the snow, mud and water. The people, also,
for want of a sufficiency of water, were obliged to
debark, and drag their canoes up the shallow
places. But we are now encamped around a
large fire, with plenty of food ; I have given to
each of the people a dram, and we have all ceased to think of the fatigue and trouble of the day.
To make a place to lie down, the people scrape
away the snow, and lay down a few branches of
the pine, such as this country in every part produces ; and on this we spread a blanket or two,
and coyer ourselves with another.   A day of hard
labour, and of great fatigue, will enable a person
to sleep soundly, on such a bed ; and to obtain
refreshment, such as a sluggard will seek for in
v^o-*e- OO
vain, on a bed of down.
Friday, 10. Swan River Fort. In the morn-
ing we crossed Swan Lake, which is nearly eight
miles long, and then entered the Great Swan
River. This river is about eleven rods wide;
there is a sufficiency of water, and there is no
rapid from its mouth to the fort, a distance of
twelve miles. The country adjoining, is low, and
in many places, swampy, and the soil is rich.
Mons. Perigné, the superintendant of the fort, has
a tolerable kitchen garden. The Hudson Bay
people, once came here ; but  it is several years Harmon's journal.
since they abandoned the place. As they have
nothing to expect from the Company, but their
salaries, they seem, so far as I can learn, to make
but little exertion to extend their trade, and,
thereby, to benefit their employers.
Saturday, 11. The day has been employed in
fitting out Mons. Perigné, who, with six labouring
men, is to go and build a fort, about fifty miles
up this river, where they will pass the winter. A
few miles from this, there is a salt spring, by boiling down the water of which, tolerable salt is
made. Itefis less strong than that brought from
Canada ; bu^, useck in sufficient quantity, it will
preserve meat very well.
Sunday, 12. The people destined to build a
fprt up the river, left us to day. I shall remain
here until some persons arrive from Alexandria,
which is situated nearly one hundred miles to the
westward of this, among the Prairies. There I
shall pass the winter, with Mr. McLeod, or go
and build by the side of the Hudson Bay people,
who are about three leagues distant from him.
—Our men shoot a few hares and ducks.
Thursday, 16. We have taken a few fish
out of this river, with nets. This evening, two
men on horses arrived from Alexandria, by whom
I received a letter from Mr. McLeod, requesting
me to accompany them to that place.
M 58
Harmon's journal.
Saturday, 18. Second crossing place in the Swan
River. In the morning we left the fort. The
country which we have passed through, is low :
and the timber, consisting of poplar, aspin, birch,
willow, pine and an inferiour kind of maple, is
small. Of the sap of the maple, sugar is made ;
but its quality is not equal to that, produced
from the real maple.
Monday, 20. Bird Mountain. Here Mons.
JPerigné and others are building a fort. Yesterday and to day, our way has been through prairies, interrupted occasionally, by small groves of
wood. Cranes and Pheasants are to be, seen in
the prairies ; and to day, I have also seen and
fired at eight Elk, without having killed any of
them. They are about the size of a cow, and of
a light grey colour. The males, which have long
branching horns, are animals of a noble and majes-
tick appearance.
Wednesday, 22. The foot of a high hill, and
near a small Lake. The waters of this lake
have a sulphureous taste. In the morning, we
left Swan River on our right, after having
crossed it on a raft, made by tying several dry
trees together. Since leaving that river the
country appears more hilly, and almost destitute
of timber of any kind. Cranes and pheasants
are to be seen, every where.
■ÉËN^      ! 1ÊÈ,- -, —   ■ '-   00 HARMON S JOURNAL.
Thursday, 23. Alexandria. We arfived here
in the afternoon ; and I am happy to find myself,
at length, at the end of my journey, and where I
hope to pass a few months, at least, in quietness.
The fort is buijt of|fa small rise of ground, on the
bank of the Assiniboine, or Upper Red River,
that separates it from a beautiful prairie, about
ten miles long, and from oneoto four broad, which
is as level as the floor of a house. At a little
distance behind^he fort, are small groves of
birch, poplar, aspin and pine. On the whole,
the scenery around it, is delightful. The fort is
sixteen rods in length, by twelve in breadth ;
the houses, stores, &c, are well built, are plaister-
ed on the inside and outside, and are washed over
with a white earth, which answers nearly as well
as lime, for white washing. This earth is found,
in certain places, in all parts of this country.—
Here horses are to be bought of the Natives
for a mere trifle. They are well built, strong, and
tolerably fleet.
This place lies in Latitude 52° north, and in
103° west Longitude. Mr. McLeod is qow gone
to fort Dauphine, on horse back, which lies only
four days' march from this, over land ; yet it is
nearly two months, since I passed there in a
canoe. Bl- 60
Tuesday, 28. Mr. McLeod and company
have just returned from fort Dauphine ; aifft I
am happy in meeting him, after so long a separation, and \m appears to be pleased to see me,
safely here. From the time that I was left at the
Encampment Island until now, I have had no
person with whom Wbould converse in English ;
and I am not yet able to converse in French,
though I can read it tolerably well.
Sunday, November 9. On the 30th ultimo, I
set off, in company with four Canadians, on horse
back, for Swan River fort. The day we left
this, it snowed and rained, which caused us to
pass a very disagreeable night, as we had nothing but our wet blankets with which to cover
ourselves. The people went down for goods ;
and as there is no person there who can read and
write, I went to deliver out such articles as we
are in immediate want of here.
Sunday, 16. The Indians who come to this
establishment are Crées and Assiniboins. The
principal part of the former, generally remain in
the wofedy part of the country, and hunt the
moose, elk, beaver, &c. and the latter remain in
the large prairies, and hunt buffaloes, wolves, &c.
Last Wednesday, twelve families of Crées and
Assiniboins came from the large prairies, and let
us have furs and provisions.     Both the men and Harmon's journal.
Women have been drinking, ever since, and their
noise is very disagreeable ; for they talk, sing and
cry, at the same time.—Our men play at cards on
the sabbath, the same as on any other day. For
such improper conduct, I once reproved them ;
but their reply was, there is no sabbath in this
country, and, they added, no God nor devil ; and
their behaviour but too plainly shows, that they
spoke as they think. It is a lamentable fact, that
those who have been for any considerable time
in this savage country, lay aside a greater part
of the regulations of civilized and christian people, and behave little better than the savages.
It is true, we have it not at all times in our
power, to observe the sabbath as. we ought, as
the Natives come to our establishments as often
on that day, as any other ; and when they do
come, they must be attended to, and their wants
must be supplied. We are, also, frequently under
the necessity of travelling on the sabbath. But
it is likewise true, that, if we were rightly disposed, our minds might, on this day, be almost
wholly occupied with divine things. I must,
therefore, acknowledge, that we have no reasonable excuse for violating the sabbath, as we
all do. m
Wednesday, 19.    Last night, there fell about
four inches of snow, which is  the first  that we 62
Harmon's journal.
have had, this season.—Yesterday, eight families
of Crées camé in. While drinklfeg, one of their
women, who had a sharp pointed knife about her,
fell down, and drove it nearly two inches into her
side ; but the wound is not thought to be mortal.
To see a house full of drunken Indians, consisting
of men, women and children, is a most unpleasant
sight ; for, in that condition, they often wrangle,
pull each other by the hair, and fight. At some
times, ten or twelve, of both sexes, may be seen,
fighting each other promiscuously, until at last,
they all fall on the floors one upon another, some
spilling rum out of a small kettle or dish, which
they hold in their hands, while others are throwing up what they have just drunk. To add to
this uproar, a number of children, some on their
mothers' shoulders, and others running about and
taking hold of their clothes, are constantly bawling, the older ones, through fear that their parents may be stabbed, or that some other misfor-
tune may befal them, in the fray. These shrieks
of the children, form a very unpleasant chorus to
the brutal noise kept up by their drunken parents, who are engaged in the squabble.
Sunday, November 30.     This,  being  St. Andrew's day, which is a fete among the Scotch, and
our Bourgeois,   Mr. McLeod,   belonging  to  that
nation, the  people of the fort, agreeably to the Harmon's journal. 63
custom of the country, early in the morning, presented him with a cross, &c. and at the same
time, a number of others, who were at his door,
discharged a volley or two of muskets. Soon after, they were invited into the hall, where they
received a reasonable dram, after which, Mr.
McLeod made them a present of a sufficiency of
spirits, to keep them merry during the remainder
of the day, which they drank at their own house.
In the evening, they were invited to dance in the
hall ; and during it, they received several flagons
of spirits. They behaved with considerable propriety, until about eleven o'clock, when tr^eir
heads had become heated, by the great quantity
of spiritous liquor whicfe they had drunk, during
the course of the day and evening. Some é£
them became quarrelsome, as the Canadians generally are, when intoxicated, and to high words,
blows soon^%ucceeded ; and finally, two battles
were fought, which put an end to this truly genteel,
North Western ball.
Tuesday, December 2. As jet, we have only a
few inches of snow. Yesterday morning, accompanied by six men on horse-back, I went to the
lodge or tent of one of our hunters. The people
went for meat, and I, for the pleasure of ridi&g,
and seeing the country. We arrived at the place
where the Indian was encamped, just  as the sun 64
was sinking below the horizon, and when the hunter was about to take a sweat, which is^frequently
done in the following manner.    The women make
a kind of hut, of bended wTillows, which is nearly
circular, and if for one or two  persons only, not
more than fifteen feet in circumference, and three
or four in height.    Over these, they lay the skins
ofethe buffaloe, &c. and in the centre of the hut,
they place  heated stones.    The Indian then enters, perfectly naked, with a dish of water in his
hand, a little of which, he occasionally throws on
the hot stones, to create steam, which, in connex-
iofiywith the heat, puts him into a profuse perspiration.    In this situation he will remain, for about
an hour ;   but  a person unaccustomed to endure
such heat, could not sustain it for half that time.
They sweat themselves in this manner, they say,
in order that  thfir limbs may become more supple,  and they  more  alert, in  pursuing  animals,
which they are desirous of killing.    They, also,
consider sweating a powerful remedy, for the most
of diseases.    As they come  from sweating, they
frequently plunge into a river,  or rub themselves
over    with   snow.      The    country   we   passed
through, is large prairies, with here and there
fegrove of small trees.    This evening we returned  to the  fort ;   and the horses of our  people
were loaded with the flesh of the moose and elk. HARMON S JOURNAL.
The buffaloes are as yet a considerable distance
farther, out in the spacious prairies. Nothing but
severe cold weather will drive them into the
woody part of the country, to which they jiill
then come, in order to be less exposed to the
wind and weather, than they would be, to remain
in the open plains.
Sunday, 21. There is now about a foot of
Sfeow On. the ground; and, on the 11th instant,
I left thfe place, in company with seven Canadians,
for Swan River fort. Each* man had a sledge,
drawn by two dogs, loaded with one hundred and
fifty pounds weight of furs,tjfesides provisions to.
serve man and beast, to perform the trip. On
our return, the sledges were loaded with goods. ,
We reached our fort, this afternoon, where I am
happy to find Mr. Hugh McGillm, on a visit from
Red Dees River, and also, two men with letters,
from Fort des Prairies, or Sisiscatchwin River.
The former place, lies about one hundred and
fifty miles from this, and the latter, four or five
hundred, in nearly a north direction.
Wednesday, 24. Yesterday, I went to see
the fort of the Hudson Bay Company, whfch is
situated about nine miles down this river, an8; is
in the charge of a Mr. Sutherland. He has a
woman of this country, for a wife, who, I was
pleased to find* coqid speak the English language,
9 ■
tolerably well. I understand, also, that she can
both read and write it, which she learned to do at
ïftidson's Bay, where the Company have a school.
She speaks, likewise, the Crée andt Sauteux languages. She appears to possess natural good
sense, and is far from being dencieÉt, in acquired
Friday, January 2, 1801. The weather,
for several days past, has been severely cold.
Yesterday, being the commencement of a new
year, our people, according to a Canadian custom,
which is to get drunk if possible, spent the day
in drinking, and danced in the evening ; ' but
there was neither scratching nor fighting, on this
Sunday, 4. In the morning, the greater part
of our people, consisting of men, women and children, were sent away to pass the remainder of
the winter, about two days' march from this, in
the prairie. They will subsist on the flesh of the
buffaloe, which they will themselves kill in abundance. During their stay there, they will reside
in tents or lodges, made of the skins of the buffaloe, moose or elk. These skins, after having been
dressed, are sewed together ;:^and one tent will
contain from ten to twenty five of them. These
tents are erected on poles, and assume the form of
a sugar loaf.    Ten or fifteen persons will reside in Harmon's journal.
one of them ; for whilegfhere^ihey are either sitting or lying down.
The Indians, who come to this establishment,
are, as has been already observed*^re es and Assiniboins ; or as some ca^ them, Kinistinoes and
Stone Indi$ps. 'Both of them are i|uinerous
tribes ; and as they often meet, and some of them
intermarry, their manners and customs are similar ; but there is no resemblance in their Ian-
guages. Both|p tribes are well furnished with
horses. The Assiniboins, however, are, by far,
the best hopemen ; they never go any distance
on foot, and it is generally on horse back, ^hat
they kill their game.
They mount their horses, and run down, and
kill the buffaloe, and some^other animals, with
bows and arrows, which they find every way as
convenient for this purpose, as fire arms. But the
Crées, when they can procure them, always make
use of guns. Their clothing consists of leggins of
cloth or dressed Antelope skins, a shirt or frock
of the same materials, and a blanket ^r dressed
Buffaloe skin, which they wrap round their bodies,
and tie about their waists. To the above they
will often add a cap or bonnet, of the wolf shin,
and shoes for their feet.
Last evening, I wrote to two fellow travellers
with me from Montreal ; and  the letters will be 68
Harmon's journal.
taken to them by the winter express, which
leaves th^, tomorrow, and is to pass by the way of
Fort des Braâries, thence to the English River, and
thence directly to Athabasca. And, I am informed, thereois an express, which every year leaves
Athabasca, in the month of December, and fiasses
through the whole country called the North West,
and in the latter part of March, reà&hes the Soult
St. Maries. Thus the gentlemen who come up
from Montreal, obtain from the interiour, intelligence respecting the transactions of the preceding
summer and fall much earlier than they could
otherwise do. This information, it is important
Nrbat they receive, as soon as possible. This conveyance of intelligence, extending to the distance
of nearly three thousand miles, is attended with
but a trifling expense to the Company.
Thursday, 15. Beautiful weather. On the
eleventh, I accompanied six of our people to the
tent of one of our hunters ; and the day following,
they returned with their sledges loaded with
meat ; but I remained, to go along with the
hunter, farther in the prairie. Accordingly, the
next day, I proceeded with him, and saw, indifferent herds, at least a thousand buffaloes, grazing. They would allow us to come within a few
rods of them before they would leave^their places.    At this season, they are tame, and it is not HARMON'S JOURNAL,
at all dangerous to go among them. But, in the
Are part of the summer, which is their rutting season, it is quite the reverse. Then, if they perceive a human being, the males will pursue him,
and if they cairt overtake, will trample him under
their feet, or pierce their horns through his
The male buffaloe, when fat, will weigh from
one Itoousand, to fifteen hundred pounds, and
the female, from eight hundred, to a thousand.
Their meat is excellent eating ; but is not generally consMered so deliciousjâs that of the moose.
Wednesday, February 11. On the 1st inst.olfc-
companied by eight of our people, and one of the
Natives as a guide, I set off, with a small assortment of goods, to go and trade with about fifty
families of Crées and Assiniboins. In going to
their camp or village, we were three days, and at
all times, in an open country. After we had encamped the first night, there came on a terrible
storm of snow, accompanied by a strong and cold
north wind ; and as we were in an open plain, we
had nothing to shelter us from the violence of the
weather. In the morning, we were covered with
snow, a foot in depth. Our people, however, soon
harnessed the dogs ; and we proceeded, hoping to
Warm ourselves, by running. This we found it
difficult to do, as the wind was strong, and directly 70
in our faces. At the close of the day, after.we
had encamped, our guide killed a^fat buffaloe,
which supplied food, both to men and beasts.
While eating it around a large fire, we almost forgot the suffering" which we endured, by the cold of
the preceding night and morning ; and, if we were
not thankful for the blessing bestowed upon us, we
were, at least, glad to enj#y it. After having passed one or two cold days without eating, there is a
relish in food to which the sons of indolence and
of pleasure, are perfect strangers ; and which they
can purchase only, at the expense of toil and of
When we hadljipproached within about a mile
of the camp of the Natives, ten or twelve of their
Chiefs, or most** respectable men among them,
came on horseback, to meet, and conduct us to
their dwellings. We arrived at them, through a
crowd of people, who hailed us with a shout of
joy. Immediately after our arrival, the principal
Chief of the village sent his son, to invite me and
my interpreter to his tent. As soon as we had entered it, and ^were seated, the^lrespectable old
Chief caused meat and berries, and the best of
every thing which he had, to be set before us. Before we had eaten much, we were sent for to another tent, where we received a similar treatment ;
and from this, we were invited to another ; and so Harmon's journal.
on, till we had been||o more than half a dozen.
At all these, we ate a little, and^moked our
pipes ; for, my interpreter informed me, they
would be greatly affronted, and think that we despised them, if we refused to taste of every thing
which was set before us. Hospitality to strangers,
is among the Indian virtues.—During several days
that we remained with these people, we were
treated with more real politeness, thanv is commonly shown to strangers, in the civilized part of
the world.
While I nas at the camp of the Natives, 1
was invited to attend and see them dance. The
dancers were about thirty in number, and were all
clothed with the^skins of the Antelope, dressed,
which were nearly as white as snow ; and upon
their heads they sprinkled a white earth, which
gave them a very genteel appearance. Their
dance was conducted in the following manner. A
man, nearly forty years of age, rose with his tomahawk in his hand, and made, with a very distinct
voice, a long harangue. He recounted all the
noble exploits which he had achkved, in the sev-,
eral war-parties with which he had engaged his
enemies ; and he made mention of two persons, in
particular, whom he first killed, and the^ took off
their scalps ; and for each of these, he gave a
blow with his tomahawk against a post, which was
el 72
Harmon's journal.
set up, expressly for that purpose, near the  cen*
ter  of the   tent.    And now the  musick^Jbegan,
which consisted of tambourines, and the shaking of
bells, accompanied toy singing.    Soon after, the
man who had made the harangue, began the dance,
with great majesty ;   then another arose, and joined him ; and.shortly after, another ; and so on, one
after another, until there were twelve  or fifteen
up, who all danced around a small fire, that was
in the centre of the tent.    While  dancffag, they
made many savage gestures and shrieks, such as
they^re in the habit of making, when they encounter their enemies.    In this course they continued,
for nearly an hour,  when they  took their seats,
and another party got up, and went through with
the same ceremonips.    Their dancing and singing,
however, appeared, to be a succession of the same
things ; and therefore after having remained with
them two or three hours, I returned  to my lodgings ; and how long they continued their amusement, I cannot say.
j In this excursion, we saw buffaloes in abuo-
I dance ; and when on a small rise of ground, I think
I may with truth affirm, that there were in view,
grazing on the surrounding plains, at least five
thousand of them. Of these animals, we killed
what we wanted for our own subsistence, and the
support of our dogs $ and this evening, we return-
-*—"^saBi" Harmon's journal>
«d to the fort, well pleased with our jaunt, loadM
with furs and provisions, andSNvithtout having received the least affront or the smallest injury from
the Natives, notwithstanding most oPlhem became
intoxicated with the sjKrits, with which we supplied them.
Tuesday, ^bruary 17. We have now about
a foot and an half of snow on the grouÉd.—Mr.
Monteur, éfceompanied by two Canadians, arrived,
with letters from our friends^ln Fort des Prairies.
—This morning, oniPof our people killed a buffaloe in the Prairie, opposite to the fort ; and another came within ten rods of the fort gate, when
the dogs pursuÉd him, and he ran ofiT
Thursday, 19. Thfe day, I am twenty three
years o|Sage, and how rapidly does this space of
time appear to have passed away ! It seems as
if it were but yesterday, that I was a child. The
truth is, the time that we are allowed to remain
in this fleeting wrorld is so short, even if wefehould
be permitted to reacrMhe utmost bdlrndary of human life, that a person can scarcely have passed
the threshhold of existence, before he must^et his
house^fn order to die.
Friday, 20. During the last night, we sat up
to deal out spirits to the Indians. /One of them has
his own daughter for a wife, and her mother at the
same time!    Incest, however, is a crime, of which
10 74
the Indians of this quarter are not often guilty.
When one of them doesfeommil^t, he is regarded
by the rest of his tribe, as void of sense.
Saturday, Mardi 1#M The greater part of the
snow is now dissolved. On the sixth hist, accompanied by eighteen of our people, I left t)sm, to go
to Swan River&&rt. We had thirty sledges, some
drawn by horses, and some by dogs, which were
loaded with furs and provisions.
Saturday, April 4. Swan River For& Here
I arrived this afternoon, and have come to pass
the remainder of the spiing. While at Alexandria, niy time passed agreeably in company with
A. N. McLeod, Esq. who is a sensible man, and an
agreeable companion. He appeared desirous of
instructing me in what was most necessary to be
known, respecting the affairs of this country ; and
a taste for reading I owe, in a considerable degree,
to the influence of his example. These, with many
other favour0whieh he was pleased to show me,
I shall ever hold in grateful remembrance.—But
now I am comparatively alone, there being no
person here, able to speak a word of English ; and
as I have not been much in the company of those
who speak the French language, I do not aslyet,
understand it very well. Happily for me, I have
a few books; and in perusing them, I shall pass
most of my leisure moments. harmon's journal.
Monday, 6. ^l|Nlve taken a ride on horseback,
to a place where our people are making sugar.
My path led me over a small prairie, and through
a wood, where I saw a great variety of birds, that
were straining their tiÉËeful throats, as if to welcome the return of another spring; small animals,
also, were Running about, or skipping from tree to
tree, and at the same time, were to be seen swans,
bustards, ducks, &c. swimming about in the river
and ponds. All these Aings together, rendered
my ramble beyond expression delightful.
Friday, 10. Fine pleasant weather. This
afternoon, I took a solitary, yet pleasing walk, to
the ruins of a fort, which was abandoned, a few
years since, by the Hudson Bay people, to whom
it belonged, but who do not now come into this
part of the country. While surveying these ruins, I could not avoid reflecting on the^short duration of every thing in this fleeting and perishing
worlSi I then went to a spot, where a number
of their people had been interred, far from their
native country, their friends and relations ! "|jLnd
while I was lamenting their sad fate, my blood
chilled at the thought, that what had happened
to them might, very probably, befal me also.
But%iy prayer shall ever be, that a merciful God
will, in due time, lest ore me to my friends and re- 70
lations, in good health, and with  an unblemished
Sunday, 19. On Friday last, there fell yearly
a foot of snow, which, however, was soon dissolved ; and it caused the river to overflow its banks
to such a distance, that our people who were making sugar, were obliged to leave the woods and
to return to the fort.
Tuesday, 21. All the snow has left us ; and
we are again favoured with fine wreather. The
last night, the ice in this river broke up.
Monday, 27. It has snowed all day, and has
fallen to the depth of six inches.—I now begin to
feel the want of books, having brought but few
with me, on account of the short time that I ex*
pect to remain here.
Saturday, May 2. It has rained all day,
which is the first time that arrj^has fallen, since
the last autumn.—As I have but little business
that requires my attention, I employ the greater
part ofàny time in reading the bible, and in studying the French language.
Sunday, 10. It has gained eonstai|i!y, during
three successive days, which has caused the water in tge river, since yesterday, to rise more than
four feet.—Yesterday, one of my men$tïto
shoot ducks, and lost his way, and was therefore under the necessity of parsing the night in the woods, without any covering from the cold and the rain,
which poured down in torrents. This morning, however, by chance, or rather directed by an all protecting Providence, he fell upon a small foot path,
which brought himi-aareotly to the fort, where he
was not a little pleased to arrivèM^Erxperience
tojaly can teach us how to value such a deliverance.
Wednesday, 13. The late rains have caused
4hfe river to overflow its banks to such a^ uncommon distance, that wher^I aifl^ this morning, to
my surprise, I found seven inches of water,^n %§
first floor of the house, which is an event that the
oldest person here does not remember before to
have witnessed. We are obliged to leaVe the
fort, and to pitch our tents on a small ri$e- of
ground, at no great distance off, where me shaj^
remain, until the deluge is abated.
Friday, 15. Sent five men with a^canoe, two
days march up this river, for Mr. McLeod and
company, as the face of the country extensively,
lies under water.
Wednesday, 20. The water has left the fort ;
and with pleasure, we leave our tents, t# occupy
our former dwellings. This afternoon Mr. Af|
Leod, and company, arrived, and are thusjgjter on
their way to the Grand Portage.
Tuesday, 26.    Yestejrday, our people finished
K 78
making our furs into packs, of ninety pounds
weight each. Two or three of these make a load
for a man, to c4rry across the portages. This
morning, all the hands, destined to this service,
embarked on board; of five canoes, for Head-quarters. To Mr. McLeod, I delivered a packet of
letters, to be forwarded to my fliends, who reside
at Vergennes, in the state of Vermont, and tomorrow, I shall set out for Alexandria, where I expects pass the ensuing summer, and&to superintend the affairs of that place and of this, until the
next autumn.
Monday, June 1. Accompanied by two men,
I arrived at Alexandria, this afternoon ; and I here
found six families of Crées, encamped about the
fort. I ha"Pe wi%h me one clerk, two interpreters
and five labouring men, also six women and thirteen children, belonging to our people, and a number of women and children belonging to the Natives, whose husbands have gone to make war upon the Rapid Indians, or as they call themselves,
Paw-is-tlfek I-e-^ne-wuek. This is a small but brave
tribe, who remain a considerable distance out in
the large prairies, and toward the upper part of
the Missouri river. We shall have nearly one hundred mouths to fill, for the greater parte of the
summer, out of our store; but to furnish the
means, we have hired two of the Natiyesséo hunt HARMON S JOURNAL.
for us, during the season ; and moose, elk, &c. are
considerably numerous in this vicinity. We hope,
therefore, that we shall not want fo^the means of
subsistence. Buffaloes have now returned several
days' mareh from this place, into the spacious
prairies ; but this is no serious loss to us, since, if
they were near they would be but indifferent food,
as at thig seasofe of the year, they are alway§ lean,
and consequentlj^rank and tough.
Wednesday, 10. It is currently reported and
believed, that éfae Rapid Indians are forming a
war-party, in order to come against the Indians
of tbis quarter, whomijhey consider, and I think
with sufficient reason, as their enemies. Should
they come tfeis way, they will as pBebably fall
upon us as upon the Natives themselves ; for
they say, that we furnish the Crées and Assiniboins
with what fire arms they want, while they get
but few. I have, therefore, thought it expedient
to direct our people, to build block-house^over
the fort gates, and to put the bastions in order,
that we may be prepared to defend ourselves, in
case of an attack.
Sunday, 14. This afternooi^ a number of the
Natives danced in the fort. Their dance was
conducted in the following manner. Two stakes
were driven kito the ground, about twenty feet
apart ; and as oneiperson beat the drum, the oth- 80
Harmon's journal.
ers, consisting of men and women, danced round
these stakes. The men had a differeriÉistep from
that of the women. The latter placed both
feet together, and first moved their heels forward
and then their toes, and thus went slowly round
the stakes. But the men rëther hopped than
daneed,#£and therefore went twice round the
stakes^, while the women went once. They all
kept exact time with the music, for they have
excellent ears. Indeed, I believe that all their
senses are more acute than those of the white
Thursday, July 9^This day, there %ame here an
American, that, when a small child, was taken
from his parents, who then resided iitfthe Illinois
country. He was kidnapped by the Sauteux, with
whom he has resided* ever since ; and he speajks no
other language excepting theirs. He is now about
twenty years of age, and is regarded as a cHief
among that tribe. He dislikes to hear people
speak to him, respecting his white relations ; and
in every respect excepting h^s colour, he resembles the savages, with whom he resides. He is
said to be an excellent hunter. He remains with
an old woman who, soon after he was taken from
his relations adopted him into her family ; and
they appear to be mutually as fond of each
other, as if they were actually mother and son.
Thursday, 30. Different kinds of berries are
now ripe, such as strawberries, raspberries^
and what the Canadians call paires, which the
Natives denominate Mi-sas-qui-to-min-uck. #The
last, if they are not the same in kind, exactly
re^gmble, in shape and taste, what in the New
England states are called shad berries. When
they are found in the prairies, tbgy grow on bushes, four or five feet high ; but in a thick wood they
often reach to the height of fifteen or twenty feet.
Of this wood, the Natives always*||aake their arrows. These berries, when properly dried by the
sun, baye an agreeable taste, and are excellent to
mix with pimican. The Natives generally boil
them in the broth of fat meat ; and this constitutes
one of their most dainty dishes, and is introduced
at all their feasts.
Mr. A. N. McLeod has a son here named Alexander, who is nearly five years of age, and whose
Mother is of the tribe of the Rapid Indians. In my
leisure time, I am teaching him the rudiments of the
English language. The boy speaks the Sauteux
and Crée fluently, for a child ; and makes himself understood tolerably well, in the Assiniboin
and French languages. In short, he is like most
of the children of this country, blessed with a retentive memory, and learns very reacily.
We have made about ten tons of hay, to feed
H 11. 82
Harmon's journal.
those of our horses which we intend shall work,
during the winter season. The others live the
whole year, upon the grass which they find in
the prairies. In the winter, to procure it, they
must s<?rape away, with their feet, the snow,
which is generally eighteen inches deep, excepting on the highest hills, from which the wind
drives most of it into the^fcalleys.
Thursday, August 27. All the -provision
which we now have in the fort, consists of only
about fifteen pounds of pimican ; and when we
shall be able to add to our supply, God only knows*
All our dépendance is on our hunters ; and it is
now a considerable time since they have killed any
thing, though moose and elk areipumerous in this
Sunday, 30. Yesterday, three of our people
arrived from the Grand Portage, with letters
from Mr. McLeod, &c, which inform me, that
the above mentioned people, together with others who remained at Swan River fort, were sent
off from head quarters, earlier than usual, with an
assortment of goods, supposing, that we might
need some articles, before the main brigade arrives, jjf&i
"Sunday, September 6. This is thelltbird day,
during which it has rained, without the least
cessation.—There are five families of Crées, en- HARMON S JOURNAL.
camped about the fort, who have been continual-
ly^Éfunk, during the last forty eight hoirs ; but
now they begin to be troublesome,~for they have
nothing more to sell, jet they wish to continue
One of the Indians, who was of the party that
last spring went to war, has recently come in.
When \fe arrived, his face was painted entirely
flftack, which I am informed, is always their custom, when they return fron# such expeditions.
As h# drew nigh to the fort, he began to sing a
war song. He states, that his party, the Crées and
Assiniboins, have made great slaughter among
their enemies, the RapidWndians, and are bring-
4Ég a number of their women fN children home,
for slaves. He was sent forward, as he sëys, to
inform us of what they consider, glorious news.
Monday, 7. More of the Indians, who have
been to war, have reached this place, and have
brought several slaves, and a few scalps, with
them. This afternoon, § they danced and sung
their war songs. Agreeably to the custom of the
country, I gave them a few trifling articles, not as
a reward for having been to war, but because
they have done us honour, as they think, by dancing in  our fort.
Sunday, 27. It has snowed and rained all
day. pilFhis afternoon, Mr. McLeod and company, 84
harmon's journal.
returned from the Grand Portage, and delivered
to me letters from my friends in my nifcive land ;
and lam happy in being informed, that they left
them blessed with good health. Self-banished,
as I am, in this dreary country, and at such a distance from all I hold dear in this world, nothing
beside, could give me half the satisfaction, which
this intelligence affords. I also received several
letters from gentlemen in different parts of the
widely extended North West Country.
Friday, October 2. Montane Aiseau, or the
Bird Mountain. In the morning, I left Alexandria, on horse back, and arrived here this evening
where, by permission of Providence, I shall pass
the ensuing winter. I have with me three inter-
preters, six labouring men and two women. The
fort is built on the bank of Swan River, a little
more than fifty miles distant from its entrance into Swan Lake. The Indians who frequent this
establishment are Sauteux, Crées and Mus-ca-goes,
all of whom speak nearly the same language.
Moose and elk are considerably numerous, in thfe
vicinity ; but buffaloes seldom come thus far, ièto
the woody country.
Thursday, 29. On the 22nd instant, Mr.
McLeod, with ten of his people, arrived on horse*
back; and on the day following, I accomrjimied
them to the lower fort, where I met Mr. William- Harmon's journal.
Henry, a cleric Mr. McLeod has also brought
anoint clerk into this country, by the name of
Frederick Goedike. This evening, Messrs.
McLeod, Henry and myself, returned, but left
the £>eople behind, whose horses are loaded with
goods, for this place and Alexandria.
Tuesday, November 3. Snow has fallen, to the
depth of ^hreé inches, which is the first tfeat we
have %ad, this fall.
Thursday, 19.    A foot and an half of snow has
Wednesday, December 23. Clear, and cold. Q§|
the 16th inst. I went to Alexandria, where I passed several days agreeably, in the company of
Messrs. McLeod, Henry, and Goedike. We
have now more snow than we had at any time
the last winter. In consequence of lameness, I
returned on a sledge drawn by dogs.
Friday, 25. This being Christmas day, agreeably to the custom of the country, I gave our people a dram, and a pint of spirits, each.
Monday, 28. Payet, one of my interpreters,
has taken one of the daughters of the Natives for
a wife ; and to her parents, he gave in rum, dry
goods, &c. to the value of two hundred dollars.
No ceremonies attend the formation of such connexions, as I have before remarked, excepting that
the bridegroom* at the time to retire to rest, fhows
||' 86
his bride where their common lodging place is ;
and they continue to cohabit, as long as both parties choose, but no longer. One thing is^secured
by this arrangiïneJÈt, which is by rtjl means always
found in the civilized world, and that is, while pe#
sons live together, in a state of wedlock, they will
live in harmony.
Friday, January 1, 1802. This being the first
day of the year, in the morning, I gave the pe*^
pie a dram or two, and a pint of rum each, to
drink in the course of the day, which enabled
them to pass it merrily, although they had very
little to eat ; for our hunters say they can kill
nothing. One of them will not go out of his tent $
for he imagines, that the "Bad Spirit, as they call
the devil, is watching an opportunity to find him
in the open air, in order to devour him. What
will not imagination do ! i§i
Saturday, 9. Several days since, I sent a number of my people to Alexandria for meat, as neither of my hunters kill any thing ; though there is
no scarcity of animals, in this vicinity. But they
have just returned, without any thing. They say
that the buffaloes, in consequence of the late mild
weather, have gone a considerable distance, into
the large prairie. We are therefore under the
necessity of subsisting on pounded meat, and dried
chokecherries.    This latter art ici e* is little better HARMON'S JOURNAL.
than nothing. When we shall be hiM better situation, God only knows. Hope, however, which
seldom abandons the wretched, denies us not her
comforting aid ; and past experience teaches us,
that it is possible our circumstances may suddenly
change for the better.
Sunday, 17. Last evening, our people brought
from the tent of our hunter, the meat of a moose,
which^ighte-^t up a smile of joy upon our countenances. We were happy to find, that a kind
Providence, instead of abandoning, had favoured
us with one of the richest dainties, that this country affords. It would be well if our joy was true
gratitude to our kind Benefactor.—There are
twelve persons in the fort; and yet for the last
fifteen days, we have subsisted on what was scarcely sufficient for two people ! These were certainly the darkest days that I ever experienced,
in this or any other country.    \
Tuesday, 19. I have taken a walk, accompanied by Pay et, a short distance from the fort,
where we found hazelnuts, still on the bushes,
in such plenty, that a person may easily gather a
bushel in the course of a day. I am told, that
when sheltered from the wind, all of them do not
fall off, until the month of May.
Monday, February 1. For several days past,
the ^weather has been excessively cold ;   and this
• 88
barmon's journal.
has been, as I think, the coldest day that I ever
experienced. In fact, the weather is so severe,
that our hunters dare not venture out of their
tents, although they, as well as ourselves, have lifc-
tle to eat.
Sunday, 7. During the last three days, we
have subsisted on tallow and dried cherries. This
evening, my men returned from Alexandria, with
their sledges loaded with buffalqô meat ; and the
sight of it, was truly reviving./ Had this favour
been withheld from us a few days longer, we must
have all miserably perished by famine.        |p
Monday,.8. All the Indians of this place, excepting my hunters, have gone to pass about a
couple of months, as they are accustomed to do,
at this season, on their beloved food, the buffaloe.
Friday, 19. At present, thanks to the Giver
of all good, we have a pretty good stock of provisions in store, and therefore expect not again to
want, this season.
Saturday, March 6. I have just returned from
a visit to my friends at Alexandria, where I passed four days very pleasantly, in conversing in my
mother tongue.1 This is a satisfaction that no one
knows, excepting those, who have been situated
as I am, w7ith a people with whom I cannot speak
fluently. And if I could, it would afford me little
satisfaction to converse with the ignorant Canadfe- HARMON'S JOURNAL.
ans around me. All their chat is about horses,
dogs, canoes, women and strong men, who câii
fight a good battle. I have, therefore, only one
way left to pair my time rationally, and that is
reading. Hapyily for me I have a collection of
good books ; and mine will be the fault if 1 do
not derive profit from them. I, also, begin to find
pleasure in the study of Frenc^É
Saturday, 20. The greater number of our
Indians have returned #om the prairjps ; and
as they have brought little with them to traded
of course, give themf as little ; for we are at too
great a distance from the civjjièed world, to make
many gratuities. Yefl the Indians were of à different opinion ; and at first made use M some unpleasant language. But we did nbicome to blows,%nd
are now preparing to retire t#rest, nearly as good
friends as the Indfans and traders generally are.
With a few exceptions, that friendship is little
more, than their fondness for our property, and
our eagerness to obtain their furs.
Wednesday, April 21. The most of the snow
is now dissolved ; and this afternoon the ice in the
river broke up.—All our Indians, who for several
days past encamped near the foff| have now departed, to hunt the leaver. While they were
here, they made & feast, at which they danced,
cried, sung and howled, and in a word, made a ter-
rible, savage noise. Such feasts, the Crées are
accustomed to make, at the returmfrf every spring ;
and sometimes also at other seasons of the year.
By so doing, they say they appease the anger
of the Evil Spirit or devil, and thus prevent
him from doing them harm, to which they consid-
Èi#him as ever inclined. They have, also, certain
places., where they deposit a part of their property, such#as guns, kettles, bows, arrows, &c. as a
sacrifice to the same Spirit. To the Supreme
Being, howevei^ the creator and governor of the
universe, whom they call Kiteh-e-mon-e-too, #ha£
is, Great Spirit, they address their prayers ; yet
they say there is no necessity of paying him any
sacrifice, since he is a good Spirit, and is not disposed to do them injury ; whereas the Evil Spirit
is malicious, and therefore, it is proper that they
should strive to appease his atiger.—The above
mentioned feast was made by the Chief of the
band, whose name is Ka-she-we-ske-wate, who for
the long space of forty eight hours previous to
the entertainment, neither ate nor drank any thing.
At the commencement of the feast, every person
put on a grave countenance ; and the Chief went
through a number of ceremonies* with the utmost solemnity. After the entertainment was
over, every Indian made a voluntary sacrifice of a HARMON'S JOURNAL.
part of his property to the devil, or as they call
Juin, Much-e-mon-e-too.
Sunday, May 2. Accompanied by one of my
interpreters, I have taken a ride to à place where
I intend building a fort, Mie ensuing summer. The
animals in this vicinity are moose, red deer, a spe-
ciest&f the antelope, grey, black, brown, chocolate coloured and yellowish bears, two speéies of
wolves, wolverines, polecats or skunks, lynxes,
kills, beavers, otters, fishers,iliartins, minks, badgers, muskratsfs and black, silver, cross and red foxes. Of fowls, we have swans, geese, bustards,
cranes, cormorants, loons, snipes, several species
of ducks, water-hens, pigeons, partridges, pheasants,
&c. &c. Most of the above named fowls, are numerous in spring and autumn ; but, excepting a few,
they retire to the north in the summer, to brood.
Toward the fall, they return again ; and before
winter sets in, they go to the southward, where
they remain, during a few of the coldest months
of the year.
Thursday, 6. This morning, I received a letter from Mr. McLeod, who is at Alexandria, informing me, that a few nights since, the Assiniboins, who are noted thieves, ran away with twenty
two of his horses. Many of this tribe, who reside
in the large prairies, are constantly going about
to steal horses.    Those  which  they find at one n
fort, they will take and sell to the people of another fort. Indeed, they stejj' horses, not unfre-
quently, from their own relations.
Wednesday, 12. It has snowed and rained, during the day.—On the 7th inst. I went to Alexandria, to transact business with Mr. McLeod. During this jaunt, it rained almost constantly ; and on
my return, in crossing this river, I drowned my
horse, which cost last fall, one hundred dollars in
goods, as we value them here.
Monday, 17. This afternoon, Mr. McLeod
and company passed this place, and are on their
way to the Grand Portage. But I am to pass, if
Providence permit, another summer in the interiour, and to have the superintendence of the
lower fort, this place and Alexandria, residing
chiefly at the lattér^place.
Tuesday, 18. All -*hè* Indians belonging to
this place, have now come in with the produce of
their hunts, which is abundant ; and to reward
them for their industry, I clothed two of their
Chiefs, and gave a certain quantity of spirits to
them, and to the others. With this they became
intoxicated, and continued so during the last night,
which prevented our closing our eyes in sleep ;
for it is at all times necessary to watch the motions of the Indians, and especially is this the case, HARMON'S JOURNAL.
when reason has been dethroned, and passion has
assumed the sole dominion over^em, through the
influence of ardent spirits. While in that condi-
Won, they, like other people, often do things which
they will regret in their sober moments.
Sunday, 23. It has snowed all day ; and about
six inches have fallen. I am waiting the arrival
of Mr. Henry t# take charge of this post, when
I shall fj^oceed to Alexandria. Two women
brought me a few hazelnuts&which they this day
gathered from the bushes.
Monday, 31. Alexandria. Here, accompanied by two of my people, I arrived this afternoon.
I ncrossing Swan River, I was so unfortunate as to
drown another horse ; and I was therefore obliged
to perform the remainder of the journey on foot,
with nothing to eat. Here, thanks to the Bestovi-
er of all good, I find a toleraijble stock of provisions. Mr. Goedike is to pass the summer with
me, also two interpreters, and three labouring
men, besides several Women and children, who
together, form a snug family.
Wednesday, June 23. On the 16th inst. accompanied by two of my people, I set off for Swan
River fort, on horseback. The first night, vm
slept at Bir$ Mountain ; and the day followiftg,
we arrived lat^he lower fort. From that place, 1
returned in one day, which is a distance of ninety
0 94
ti m
milegpSti I, however, took a fresh horse at the Bird
Mountain. One of my people, whojlravelled less
rapidly||has arrived this evening, and informed me,
that he drowned his horse, at the sanp^)lace
where I had before drowned two.
On my return here, those in whose charge I
had left the place, had nothing to offer me to eat,
excepting boiled parchment skins, which are kittle
better than nothing, and scarcely deserve the
name of food. I have therefore sent a part of my
people, to endeavour to take some fish out of a
small lake, called by the Natives Devil's Lake,
which lies about ten miles north from this. If
they should not succeed, and our hunters should not
be more fortunate than they have been for some
time past, I know not what will become of us.
All our dépendance is on a kind Providence ; and
we cannot but hope for a speedy relief, from our
truly sad condition.
Friday, July 2. For six days, after I sent the
people to fish in the above mentioned lake, we
subsisted, at the fort on parchment skins, dogs,
herbs and a few small fish, that we took out of the
river opposite to the fort. But now, we obtain
fish in greater plenty,
*One of our hunters has been in, and told me
what he thought to be the cause why he could
not kijfc i  He said that when he went to hunt, he HARMON'S JOURNAL*
generally soon fell upon the track of some animal,
which he followed ;  bué that, as soon as  he came
nigh to him, he heard the  terrible v^ce  of an
Evil Spirit, that frightened both himself jand the
animal.    The animal would of course run ofi&and
the pursuit would end.—I told the hunte^that  I
had a certain powerful medicine ;   and  provided
he would do  with  it  as  I  would direct  him, it
would not only  frighten the   Evil   Spirit in his
turn, but 3$|puld aisé render him at first speephless^
and that shortly after it w7ould cause him to die.
I then took several dfugs and mixed them together, that  he  might not know  what   they  were,
which I wrapped in a piece  of white paper, and
tied to  the  but-end of his gun, and thus armed him i& encounter gfceat  or little  devils ;   for
they believe in the existence of different  orders.
I told him to go in search of a  moose or deer;
and as soon as he should hear the «voice of the
Evil Spirit,  to throw   the paper  tied to his gun
behind him into the air, and thatrit would.fall into the mouth of the Evil Spirit pursuing Wan, and
silence and destroy him.    I warned ï^aim  not   fjt^
look behind   him, lest  he should  be  too  much
frightened at the sight of so monstrous a creature,
but to pursue the animal, which he   would undoubtedly kill.
afilfae same day,  the  Indian wrent to hunting,
p. I
and fell upon the track of an animal, which he
followed, as he has since told me, but a short
distance, before the Evil Spirit, as his custom was,
began to make his horrid cries. The Indian,
however, did with the medicine as I had directed
him, and heard no more of the frightful voice,
but continued following the animal until, approaching him, he fired, and killed a fine fat red
deer ; and he has sincekkilled several others.
Not only he, but the other Indians place, from
this circumstance, perfect confidence in my medi-
cines. What will not imagination, aided by great
superstition, make a person believe ! It may be
caused, however, at times, to remove the evils of
its own creation.
Sunday, 4. Mr. William Henry and company
arrived from the Bird Mountain, and inform us,
that they are destitute of provision there.
They wi|l, therefore, come and pass the remainder of the summer with us ; for we now
haveilprovisions in plenty.
Monday, 17. In consequence of the great
#creàse of our family of late, we are again poorly
supplied with provisions. In order, if possible, to
obtain a supply, I have sent seven of my people
several different ways, in search of the Natives,
who will be able to relieve our wants, should our
men chance to find them.    For this is the season Harmon's journal.
of the year^when almost all wild animals are
the fattest* and therefore, it is .the best time to
ki|j|them, and make .them into dry provisions.
I Friday, 23. There are atâpresent, in this vicinity, grass-hoppers, in such prodigious numbers,
as I^vnever before saw in anyl place. In fair
weather, between eight and ten o'clock, A. M.
which is the only part of the day when many of
them leave the ground, they are flying in such
numbers, that they obscure the sun, like a light
cloud passing over it. They also devour every
thing before them, leaving scarcely a leaf on the
trees, or a^blade of grass on the prairies ; and our
potatoe tops escape not their ravages.
Tuesday, JLugust 3. The most of the mosque-
toes and horse flies, which are so troublesome to
man and beast* have left us, as the nights now begin to be cool.
Yesterday, sjx famifces of Crées came to the fort;
and they have been drinking, ever since. An Indian had a few wrangling words with a squaw, belonging |o another band, to whom he gave a slight
beatipg. At that time, the chief, who was the
friend of the Indian, was passing by ; and he was
so enraged at the abusive language given by
the woman tfa his friend, that he coibmeneed
beating her on the head with a clubhand soon
terminated her life.    This   morning, the   Indian
w$ harmon's journal.
women buried her corpse ; and no more notice
is taken of her death, than if a dog had been
killed; for her religions*are at a^considerable
jfetance, in another part oft the country.—An Indian is not mucte' regarded or feared by his
fellows, unless he has a number of relations to
take padt with him#n hisSggontests while in life,
or to avenge his death, in easel? he should be
murdered. This is true among all the Indian
tribes, with which I have been acquainted.
Wednesday, 11. On the ninth instant, a Chief
among the Crées, came to the fort, accompanied
by a number of his relations, who appeared very
iesirous that I should take oneftef his daughters,
to remain with me. I put him off by telling
him, that I could not then accept of a woma%
but probably might, in the fall. He pressed me
however, to allow her to remain with me, at
once, and added/"! am fond of you, and my wish
is to have my daughter with the white people;
for she will be treated better by them^than by
her own relations." In fact, he almost persuaded
me to keep her ; for I was sure that while I had
the daughter, I should not only have the fathers
furs, but those of all his band. This would be
for the intereit of the Company, and would therefore, turn to my own advantage, in some meas-
ure ; so that a regard Wo interest, well nigh made HARMON'S JOURNAL.
me consentkéo an act, which would have been unwise and improper. Bu% happily for me, I es-
caped the snare.
Saturday, 28. I ha vexent Primault#one of my
interpreters, with a letter, about six days' march
from this, where I expect he will meet Mr.
McLeod and company .pen their way from the
Grand Portage. Two of our people, whom H
sent a few days sinpe into the large prairie, haVfe
just returned #ith the news, that buffaloes are
numeroffcs, within two days' marché from this.
They say, that the Natives, during Ae two days
that they remained with them, killed upwards of
eighty, by driving them into a park, made for that
purpose. IP
Sunday, Octé&er 3. Yesterday, a little snow
fell, which is the first that we have had this season. We now begin taafeink some disasteiitji'as
befallen our people, on their way iwfe as they do
not make their appearance so soon as usual.
Monday, 4. One of our men has just arrived
from the Grand Portage, and delivered me a letter from Mr. McLeod, inforn#ag me, that he is
going to* Athabasca, and is to be succeeded here
by Mr. Hugh McGillies. The canoe in which this
man came, left head-quarters alone, some time
ffejefore the main brigade was prepared to leave.
Thursday, 21.     This  afternoon,  Mr.   Hugh 100
McG$lies, accompanied by one man on horse
back, arrived, and informs me, that they were
stopped by the iôe, fifteen miles below Swan
River fort, whence they will be obliged to bring
the goods, on sledges.
Monday, 25. A large band of Indians have
been here, who were continually drinking, during
the last forty eight hours. ^Phey have now taken their departure ; but another band has just
arrived, and, therefore, we must pass another
night without sleep ; for when the Natives are at
the fart, and have the means of purchasing spirits,
they expect to drink both night and day.
Saturday, 30. Several of our people arrived
from Swan River, and delivered me letters from
my friends in the United States, the perusal of
which, has afforded me much satisfaction.
; Samuel Holmes, a clerk and interpreter, and
a countfyman of mine, has left us, to go and join
our opponents, the X. Y. people. *[Soon afterwards, he left the service of the last mentioned
company, andl^veot to live with the Natives, the
Assiniboins, by whom, a year or two after, he
was Mlled, while he was on his way from the Red
Rive#to the River Missouri.]
Monday, November 1.    I have  taken*, a ride,
* The remarks included in brackets were abided at a later date. Harmon's journal.
acgpmpaniedyby mynJ^|erp|pteB| down to see the
Hudson Bay people. A Mr. Miller has charge
of the place, and has with him fifteen labouring
me^ the greater part of whorj^liave just returned from Albany fort, whiçfcî stands at the mouth
of Albany River. j-gg    .mtùÈÈ
Tuesday, 9. Bird Mountain. Here I am to
pass another winter ; ffmd with me there will be
one interpreter and six labouring men, &c. Thus
I am continually moving from place to place ; and
when my residence will be more stationary, God
only knows. I cannot, however, but jfeok forward
with pleasing expectation, to the tiii|$, when I
hope to be permitted tojj£ettle down in some part
of the civilized world. |^|
Friday, 19. I have just returned frqpi the
lower fort, where IJÉ|ave been^pccompaniedj^jd
part of mp people,t|or goods. I fin^here a band
of Indians, who have been waiting for my return,
in order to procurejsuchtfirtides as $hey nee$, to
enable them to make a fal^hunt. The Indians in
this quarter have been so long accustomed to use
European goods, that it would bjgjifvith difficulty
that they could now obtain a livelihood, pj^out
them. Especially do they need fire arms, with
which to kiUitheir game, and axes, kettles, knives,
&c. They have almost lost the use of bows and
arrows; and they would find it nearly impossible
ii 102
Harmon's journal.
to cut their wood with implements, made of stone
Thursday, December 25. Severe cold,.weather. This day being Christmas, our people have
spent it as usual, in drinking and fighting.—My education has taught Mme, that the advent of à Saviour, ought to be celebrated in a far different
manner.—Of ail people in the world, 1 think the
Canadians, when drunfapare the most disagreeable ; for excessive drinking generally causes them
to quarrel and fight, amoig themselves. Indeed,
Sphad rather have fifty drunken Indians in the fori,
than five drunken Canadians.
Thursday, January 27ffc803. I have Jlist returned from Alexandria, where I passed six days, much
tb my satisfaction in the company of Messrs. H.
McGiRies, W. Henry BxÉk F. Gfeedike. While
there, I wrote to Messrs. McLeod, A. Henry and
J. Ciarkëf*ali of|É.thabasca, which letters will be
taken to them, by our winter express.
Sunday, February 20. Yesterday morning,
one of the Indian women came to the fort anijpsaid,
her husband had cut off her nose, and was determined to kill her, and that she therefore iMiought
proper tofleave him, and go to Alexandria, where
she would be out of his reach, at least for the
present. But, after her arrival here, she altered
her mind, and desired my interpreter to put an HARMON'S JOURNAL.
end to her life, which he, of course, refused to do.
Then said she, 'I will do the business myself, for
I am resolved that I will live with my husband no
longer.' We did not believe, however, that she
would execute this determination.—Soon after, she
went into^he woods, a short distance, and laid
down her load of the few things which she had
upon her back,#aid struck and kindled up a fire, into which she threw the most of her property.
When it was nearly consumed, she took a little
bag of powder and put it into her bosom, and then
set fireîfo it. The expl^pon burKg^^8greatf$art
of the hair from her head, injured her face very
much, and rendered her perfectly blini She now
commenced running about, in order if possible, to
catch her dogs, which she was resolved next to
burn. When we heard her calling out for them,
we went out to see what she was doing; for at
this time, we knew notjj&ng of what had taken
place.—The spectacle was truly shocking! She
was so disfigured, as sca^geiy to appear like a hu-
mari being. We brought her into the forjji where
she remained very quiet, unti.we were all in bed
and asleep, when she^got up, and went again into
the woods. There she tigsd a cord about her neck,
and then fastened it to the limb of a tree. But
on throwing herself off, the branch broke, and she
fell into the snow, where she remafeed untikmorn-
if$:i! 104
Harmon's journal.
ing, when wè found her nearly lifeleslN On examining, we dfeâëvered tÈÉt she had run a needle
its full length, into ber right ear. We brought
her again to the fort ; but her head is very much
swollen, and herbacé is peffectly black ; and
whether she will recover, is uncertain. [Several
years afterward, I saw her with her old husband^
and she appeared to#njoy as good healtW*as formerly.]
Wednesday, May 4. Alexandria. Here, if
Providence permit, I shall pass anIÉther summer,
and have with me Mr. F. Goedike, one interpret
ter and several labouring men, besides women and
children. As Mr. Goedike will be absent from
the fort, during the greater part of the summer,
I shall be, in e^reat measure, alone ; for ignorant
lïï-anadrëÉïs furnish little society. Happily for me,
I have lifeless friend^my books, that will never
abandon me, until I first neglect them.
Thursdays June 2. I have set our people to
surround a piece of ground for a garden with palisades, such as encompass our forts. The XÉY.
people are building a fort, Ifive miles up this
river. pp
One of our men, a Canadian, gave me Ms son,
a lad of about twelve years of age, whom f*£gree,
ill the name of the North West Company, t#*feed
and clothe, until ne betiomei* able to earn some- HARMON'S JOURNAL*
thing more.    His finother is a  Sauteux woman.
He is to serve me as cook, &c.     *§g|
Tuesday, 21. This afternoon, we had an uncommonly heavy shower of hail and rain.
Yesterday, I sefit Mr. F. Goedike, accompanied by several of our people, with a^small assortment of goods, to remai» at some distance from
this, for several weeks. In the absence of my
^ftiend, this is to me, a solitary place. At such
time||as this, my thoughts visit the land of my nativity ; and I almost regret having left my friends
and relatives, among whom I might now have been
pleasantly situated, but for a roving disposition.
But Providence, which is concerned in all the af-
fairs.#f men, has, though unseen, directed my way
into this wilderness; and it becomes me to bear
up under my circumstances, with resignation, perseverance and fortitude. I am not forbidden to
hope, that I shall one cfay enjoy, with increased
satisfaction, the society of those friends, from
whom I have for a season banished myself.
Sunday, 26. p have just returned from an excursion to the large prairies, in which I was accompanied by two of my people ; and in all our
ramble we did not see a single Indian. The most
of them, as is their custom every spring, have gone
to war again. We saw, and rai%pÉlown and killed,
buffafees, and also, saw red deers and antelopes,
14 106
bounding across the prairies, as well as bears and
wolves, roving about in search of prey. In the
small lakes and ponds, which are to be met with
occasionally, all over the prairies, fowls were in
considerable plenty ; and with our^fire^arms, we
tilled a sufficiency of them, for our daily consumption. Although it rained during the greater part
of the time that we were absent from thej|fort,
ye^the pleasing variety of the objects which were
presented to our view, made our ride very agreeable. One night, we slept at the same place
where, a few days before, a party of the Rapid
Indian warriors had encamped. They were probably in search of their enemies, the Crées and Assiniboins ; and it was happy for us that we did not
meet them, %r they would undoubtedly have
massacred us, as they consider us as enemies, for
furnishing their opponents with fire arms.
Monday, August 8. We have now thirty people in the fort, and have not a supply of provisions
for two days. Our hunters, owing to a bad dream,
or some other superstitious notion, think that
they cannot kill, and therefore make no attempt,
notwithstanding animals are numerous. In the
civilized parts of the world, when provisions are
scarce in one" place, they can generally be obtained from some other place, in the vicinity. But
the case is otherwise with us.    When destitute, [ARMON'S JOURNjft,*
we must wait until Providence sends us a supply ;
and we sometimes think it rather tardy in coming.
Thursday, 18. An IndiaiHias just arrived, who
brings the intelligence, that forty lodges of Crées
and Assiniboins, who thef^ast spring, in company
with forty lodges of other tribes, sellout on a war
party, are returning home. They separated at
Battle River from their allies, who, the messenger
says, crossed that river, to go and make peace
with their enemies, tWi Rapid and* Black-feet Indians. The tribes last mentioned, inhabit the
country lying along the foot of the Rocky Mountain, between the SÉÉiscatchwin and Missouri Rivers. Both parties begin to be weary of such
bloodyIwars, as have long been carried on between
them, and are much disposed to patch up a peace,
on almost any terms. Thus do ruinous wars, waged by restless and ambitious people, in civilized
and savage countries, lay waste and&destroy the
comforts of mankind.
Sunday, October 16.    This aftelhoon there^fell
tejittle snow, which is the first  we have had, this
foil, if ;•#   >.,: •# -■       èa  âiÉte-
It is now several days since the X. Hv people
arrived from the Grand Portage ; but they give
us no news of Mr. McGillies aritl his company;
neither would they, were their condition ever so 108
bad. Neither company will convey to the other
the least intelligence, that at all concerns their affairs in this country. The North West Company
look Spon the X. Y. Company as encroachers upon
their territories ; and, I think, with some reason,
since the former company first led the way into
thiilsavage country ; while the latter people think,
that the former haVe no more rightlto trade in this
part of the world, than themselves. This jarring
of interests, keeps up continual misunderstandings^
and occasions frequent broils between the contending parties ; and to such a height has their enmity
risen, that it has, in several instances, occasioned
blood shed. But here the murderier escapes without punishment ; for the civil law does not extend
its protection, so far into the wilderness* I underfe
stand, however, that measures are in contemplation in England, which wffl remedy this evil. If
something should not be done soon, I fear many of
us may lose our lives B#>
Wednesday, 19.    About six inches of snow have
fallen.    Mr. McGillies and company arrived from
ihe Grand Portage, and delivered me letters from
my friends in the United States ; and I rejoiced ftj^
hear that they w)ere in health and prosperity.
Saturday, 22. This afternoon, one of our men,
an Iroquois, died ; and it is thought the foundation was laid for his death, by too great an exer- Harmon's journal.
tion of hi strength at the portages, on his way into the' country. The death of our -people is
not unfrequently occasioned by this circumstance.
Sunday, November 6. Onléhe 28th ult. we sent
eight of our men, on horseback, into the plains,
to look for buffaloes ; and Aey returned this evening, with their horses loaded with the flesh of
those animals. They say that they are still three
days' mardi from this.
(Tuesday, December 27. Messrs. Henry and
Goedike, my companions and friends, are both absent, on excursions into two different parts of the
country. I sensibly feel the loss of their society,
and pass, occasionally, a solitary hour, which would
glide away imperceptibly, in their company*
When they are absent, I spend tbè greater part
of my time in reading and «writing. Now and then
I take a ride*en horseback, in the neighbourhood
of the fort, and occasionally I visjt our neighbours,
drawn in a cariol by horses, if the snow is light,
or by dogs, if it is deep. This afternoon, I accompanied Mr. McGilHes, to pay a^ visit to our
X. Y. neighbours.
Wednesday, February 22, 1804. Lac La Pèche,
or Fishing Lake. This lies about two day's march
into the large plains, west from Alexandria, which
place I left on the 15th ultimo, accompanied by
twelve  of our  people.    I have  come  here  to 110
Harmon's journal.
pass the winter, by the side of the X. Y. people.
For some time after our arrival, we subsisted on
rose buds, a kind of food neither very palatable
nor nourishing, which we gathered in the fields.
They were better thai^fcothing^ since they would
just support life. When we should procure any
thing better, I knew not, as the buffaloes at that
time, inconsequence of the mild weather, were a
great distance, out in the large plainly and my
hunters could find neitS^r moose nor deer. || We
hoped, however, that a merciful God would not
sjiffer us to starve ; and that hope has not been
disappoinifd, for we have now provisions in
abundance, for which we endeavour to be thankful.
On the llth instant, I took one of my interprl^J
ters and ten labouAg men with me, and proceeded several days' march into the wilderness, where
we found a camp of upwards of thirty lodges of
Crées and Assiniboins, of whom we made a good
purdhase of furs and provisions. They were encamped on the summit of a hill, whence we had an
extensive view of the surrounding country, which
was low and level. Not a tree could be seen,las far
as the ey^i could extend ; and thousands of buffaloes were to be seen grazing, in different parts of
the plain. In order to kill them, the Natives in
large bands, mount their horses, run them down HARMON'S JOURNAL,
and shoot, with their bows and arrows, what number they please, or drive them into parks and kill
them at their leisure. In fact, those Indians,
who reside in the large plains or prairies, are the
most independent, and appear to be the most contented and happy people upon the |§ce of the
earth. They subsist upon the flesh of the buffaloe, and of the skins of that animal they make
the greatest part iff their clothing, which is both
warm and convenient. Their tents and beds are
also made of the skins of the same animal.
The Crées and Assiniboins procure their
livelihood with so much ease, that they have but
little to confine them at home. They therefore
employ much of their time, in waging war with
their neighbours.
Thursday, March 1. Es-qui-un-a-wéeh-a, or
the last Mountain, or rather Hill ; for there are
no mountains in this part of the country. Here I
arrived this evening, having left Lac La Pèche on
the 28th ultimo, in company with my interpreter
and seven men. The meri^I ordered to encamp
at a short distance from this, and to join me early
tomorrow morning; as it is more convenient and
safe, especially when we are not in our forts,
to give the Indians spirits to drink in the day time,
than in the night. On our arrival, we were invited to the tents of several of the principal Indians^
■ 112
Harmon's journal.
to eat and smoke our pipes.—Indians show great
hospitality to strangers, before  they have   been
long acquainted with civilized peoples-after which,
they adopt'many of their customs ; but they are.
by no means always gainers, by the exchanged
Mondays 6. On the 2nd, the remainder of
our people arrived, and soon after, I commenced
dealing out spirits to the Natives ; and^toey continued to drink during all tfeià da^ and the following night. We were, therefor*, prevented from
resigning ourselves to sleep. For though the Indians are naturally well disposed toward the
white people, and seldom begin a quarrel with us,
and will even receive many insults, before they
attempt to defend themselves%: jet when drunk,
they often behave like mad men or deySâ, and
need to be narrowly watcteck
This morning, I sent six of my people to the
fort with sledges loaded with furs and provisions, in
order to obtain another supply of goods, to enable us to go and trade with another large band
of Indians, who are about two days' march from
this, into the plains.
Tuesday, 6. North side of the Great DsviPs Lake,
or as the Natives call it, Much-e-man-e-to Sà^ky-eê
gun. * As I had nothing of importance to attend to,
while our people would be absent fc their trip to
and fromi&he fort, and was desirous of seeing my Harmon's journal.
friend Henry, who, I understood, was about half a
dayg march from where I was the last night, I
therefore, set off this morning, accompanied by an
Indian lad who serves as a guide, with the intention of visiting this place. After walking all day,
without finding either wood or water, and but a
few inches of snow, just as thesunj|was descending
below the horizon, we thought that we descried
fliâmalF grove, at a considerable distance, directly
before us. So long, therefore, as the light regained, we directed our course to that object;
but as soon as the day light failed, we had nothing by which to guide ourselves, excepting the
stars, which, however^ answered very well, until
even their faintttfjrinklarig was utterly obscured by
clouds, and we were inveloped in total darkness.
In this forlorn condition, we thought it best to
continue our march as well as we could|£ fo%we
were unwilling to lie down, with little or nothing
with which to cover us, and keep ourselves from
freezing. These was. no woocfor with which v#é
could make a fire, nor" buffaloe dung, which often
Serves as fuel, when travelling about in those
plains. Neither could we find water to drink ;
and without fire, we could not melt the snow, for
thisf purpose. We suffered much for want of wale, as we had nothing to eat but very dry provisions, which greatly excited thirst,—To be depriv-
15 We
m 114
Harmon's journal.
èd of drink for one day, is more distressing than to
be destitute of food for two.—It would not have
been safe for us to encamp, without a fire ; for
we should have been continually exposed to be
trodden upon by the large herds of buffaloes, that
are perpetually roving about in the plains, or to
be devoured by the wolves, which ever follow the
buffaloe. We therefore continued travelling, un-
certain whither we were going, until at length,
the dogs that drew my sledge, suddenly passed
by us, as if they saw some uncommon object, di-*
rectly before us. We did not attempt to impede
their motion, but followed them as fast as we
could, until they brought us to the place where
we now are.—It is almost incredible that my dogs
should have smelt this camp at such a distance ; for we walked vigorously no less *than
four hours after they passed us, before we arrived
We are happy in finding fifteen tents of Crées
and Assiniboins, who want for none of the dainties
of this country $ and I meet, as usual, with a very
hospitable reception. The mistress of the tent
where I am, unharnessed my dogs, and put my
sledge, &c, into a safe place. She was then
proceeding to give food to my dogs, which
labour, I offered to do myself; but she told
me to remain quiet and smoke   my pipe,  for Harmon's journal. S#§| 115
she addefç " they shall be taken good care of,
anjwitt be as safe in. my hands, as they would be
were they in your own."—Notwithstanding it was
near midnight when I arrived, yet at that late
hour, the most of the Indians rose, and many of
them invited me to their tents, to eat à fevv
mouthfuls, and to smoke the sociable pipe.
But now, all those necessary ceremonies are
over ; and I am happy in being able to lay myself down on buffaloe robes, by the side of a
warm fire, expecting to obtain sweet and refreshing repose, which nature requires, after a day's
march so fatiguing. If I was ever thankful for
any of God's favours, it is, to find myself here
among friends, and in comfortable circumstances,
when, a few hours before, I expected to wander
with weariness, anxiety and danger, during the
whole night, in the open plain.
Wednesday, 7. Canadian's Camp. This
place i&so called from the- fact, that a number
of our people have passed the greater part of
the winter here. As there is a good foot path
from the place where I slept the last night to
this place, I left my young guide, and came here-
alone. Frequently on the way, I met Indians,
who are going to join those at the Devil's Lake.
I came here in the pleasing expectation of seeing
my friend, Henry ; but I am disappointed.  'Yes- 116
Harmon's journal.
t$rday morning** he set out for Alexandria. I
hope to have the satisfaction, however, of soon
meeting him at the fort.—I here find six Canadians
with their families, who have passed the -winter
in this vicinity, and have subsisted upon the flesh
of^ the buffaloe, which animals are found in
plenty. Thejfpeople appeafe tofibe happy in
their situation. Indeed, a Canadian, with his
belly full of fat meat, is never otherwise^
Friday, 9. North side of DeMRç Lake. In
the morning, I left the Canad^els Camp, and this
afternoon reached this places where I found my
young guide, waiBng my retàrn. He is the son of
a chief, among the Crées and Assiniboins. His
grandfather was Monsieur Florimeaux, a Frenchman, who passed a number of years in the Indian
country. When he went to Canada, he took his
son, th e father of my youngguide, along with him,
as far as Quebec, intending to send him to France.
But the lad, who was then twelve or thirteen
years old, did not like to leave his native country.
After remaining in Canada for some time, therefore, he deserted and returned to this part of the
world, where he, in time, became a famous warrior, and at length, a chief. He is much respect»
ed and beloved by his relatives, and is revered by
his own family, ^s a husband he is affectionate,
and as a fatter he is kind.    It was perhaps fortu» Harmon's journal.
nate for him that he did not go to France ; for, I
am   persuaded   he   could  not   have   liyed  more
.happily and at ease, in any part of the world, than
in this independent country, which is abundantly
supplied with all of the necessaries, and many of
the luxuries of life.       jp|
Saturday, 10. In the middle of an extensive
plain. Early in the mornings accompanied by my
yçfeng guide, I left our last night's lodgings, to go
to the place where I expect to find my people,
which is about two days' march further into the
great plain, than where I separated from my interpreter, on the 6th inst. After wralking all day,
without finding ei#her  weod  or  water, at eigfet
. o'clock at; night, we have concluded to lay ourselves down, in order if possible,% get a little resjff
In the day time, the snow melted a little ; but in
the evening it has frozen hard, ^id our feet and
our legs, as high as our knees, are so much covered with ice, tlilat we cannot take of our shoes ; and
having nothing with which to make a fire, in order
to thaw them, we must pass the night with>ljiem
on. A more serious evil is, the risk me must run
of being killed by wild beasts.
Sunday, 11. Ca-ta-buy-se-pu, or the River that
calls. ^This stream is so named by the superstitious Natives, who imagine that a spirit is constantly going up or down it ;   and they say that they
ki ' 118
often hear its voice distinctly, which resembles ihe
cry of a human being. The last nignt was so unpleasant to me, that I could not sleep, arising in
part from the constant fear which I was ii| bf%#
ing torn in pieces before the morning, by wild
beasts. Despondency to a degree took possession
of my spirit. But the light of the morning dissipated my fears, and restored to my mind, its usu-
aj cheerfulness. As soon as the light of day appeared, we left the place where we had lain, not
a little pleased, that the wild beasts had not fallen upon us. It has snowed and rained all day.—
here I find my interpreter, and eighty tents, or
nearly two hundred men, with their families.—
Along the banks of this rivulet, there is a little
timber, consisting^prkfcipally of the inférieur species of the Staple ; but no where else, is there
even a shrub to be seen. The surrounding country is a barren plain, where nothing grows excepting grass, which rises from six to eight inches in
height,Jpnd furnishes food for the buffaloe.
Here^again, as usual, I meet with a kind reception. These Indians seldom come thus far
into the plains, as the part of the country where
we now are, belongs to the Rapid Indians. A
white man was never before known, to penetrate
So far.
Wednesday, 14.    Last evening my pe||pe re- HARMON'S JOURNAL»
turned from the fort ; and as I now had spirits for the-JSatives, they, of course, drank during
the whole night. Being so numerous, they made
a terrible noise. They stole a small keg of spirits from'ns, and one of them attempted to stab me.
The knife went through my clothes, and just grazed the skin of my body. To day 1 spoke to the
Indian who made this attempt, and he cried like a
child, and said, he had nearly killed his father,
meaning me, and asked me why I did not tie him*,
when tie had lost the use of his reason.—My people inform me that there is little or no snow, for
three days' march from thm; but that after that,
there is an abundance, all the way to the fort.
Friday, 16. About twelve o'clock, we left the
Indians' camp ; but being heavily loaded, considering there is no, snow and our property is drawn by
dogs on sledges, we made slow progress. After
we had encamped, we sent our dogs, which are
twenty two in number, after the buffaloe ; and
they soon stopped one of them, when one of our
party went and killed him with an axe, for we
have not a gun with us. It is, however, imprudent for us to venture thus far, without fire arms ;
for every white man, when in this savage country,
ought at all times to be well armed. Then he
need be under little apprehension of an attack;
for Indians, when sober, are not inclined to hazard 120
their lives, and when they apprehend danger from
quarrelling, will remain quiet and peaceable.
Saturday, 17. North West end of DeviVs Lake.
The weather is extremely mild, for the season.
The surrounding country is all on fire ; but happily for us, we are encamped in a swampy place.
When the fire passes over the plains, which circumstance happens almost yearly, but generally
later than this, great numbers of horses and buffaloes are destroyed ; for those animals whenusur-
rounded by fire, will stand perfectly still, until they
are burned to death.—This evening, we kille-u. another buffaloe, in the same manner as we killed
one, the last evening.
Sunday, 18. The weather is still mild, and we
see many grass-hoppers, which appear unusually
early in the season. As I found that we were
coming on too slowly with our heavy loads, about
twelve o'clock, I left our property in charge of
three of my people, and am going to the fort with
tfce others, for horses to come for it.
This afternoon we met several of the X. Y.
people, who were in search of Indians ; but from
theifinformation they received from us, they
thought them at too great a dfctancef? and they
are, therefore, accompanying us to the fort.—
the same success has attended us this; evemftgv
which we met with the two precëâing daysy itf $& HARMON'S JOURNAL.
gard to supplying ourselves with food. Indeedfriri
these plains, where buffaloes are^crmmeroBS* it is
riot customary, not is it needful for people who are
travelling, to burden themselves with provisions ;
for if they have fire arms, they can always kill a
sufficiency *ïbr the day. This renders travelling
cheap and convenient.
Thursday, 22. Lac la Pêche. Here we have
arrived* and I am happy in reWMng a place, where
I c#fi take a little repose, after so long and fatig-
iti&g a jauiit.^ Yet it has been in many respecta,
both pleasant and profitable. The country which
I travelled over was beautifully situated, and tihetft
spread with buffaloes, and various othiîr kiôds of
animals, as well as many other delighrful objectsy
which in succession presented themselves ufo our
vieWi These ^ings made the Hay glide away almost imperceptibly. But there were times, when
my situation was far from being agreeable ; they,
however, soon passed away, and we all have abundant reason to render thanks to'6 kind Providence,
for his protection, and for our safe return to o**r
home and oui' families.
At three different times, while performing the
tour above described, I was in great drinker of
losing my life, by the evil machinations of the Na^
tptfds. One escape las been already mentioned,
when one of them attempted to stab me.    While:
m     16
m 122
». t;
I was dealing out spirits to the Savages, at the last
mountain, on the night of the 5th inst. an Indian,
who was much intoxicated, told me, that I should
nevet see another sun arise ; and he, unquestionably, intended to kill me. ÉBbe night following, after I arrived at the n§rth side of the Devil's Lake,
I was well received by the greater part of the Natives there ; but as I have since been informed,
one of them had resolved to take my life. And
yet, this villain invited me to his tent, and I visited
it, without suspicion. He was prevented from
executing his purpose by my host, who was acquainted with his purpose, and told him that he
must first despatch him ; for, he added, t Kitch-e-
mc*»cum-mon' (that is Big Kife, which is the name
that ïhey give me,) \ is my brother, and has taken
up his lodging with me, and it therefore becomes
me to defend him and his property.' JNo Indian
will suffer a stranger, if he be able to defend him,
to be injured, while in his tent, and under his protection.' Therefore, he who had intended to
massacre me, thought it best to remain quiet.
This hostile Indian had nothing against me, but that
I was a friend to a person who he considered ha(J
injured him; an^ as this person was at a great distance, and therefore beyond his reach, he was resolved to avenge the affront upon me. It is the
cusifom of all the Savages, notilo be very particu- HARMON S JOURNAL.
lar on whom the punishment of an oftence fall's^
whether the guifcy person^ or a relation or friend
of this person. The first of these whom Be happens to meet, becomes the object of his vengeance ; and then rn% wrath ii*appeased, and he will
not even lift his hand against the person who has
offended him.
Saturday, 24. ^Yesterday, Mr. F. Goedike arrived from Alexandria, and delivered me a letter
from Mr. McGillies, requesting me to abandon Lac
la Pêche, and proceed, with all my people, to Alexandria. In the fore part of the day, we all left
the former place. There is a woman with us, belonging to one of our men, who has walked the
whole day, in the snow and water, and who, this
evening, gave birth to a son.
Tuesdcfy, 27. Alexandria. Here we arrived
this afternoon. The woman who, on the 24th inst.
was delivered of a child, took it on her shoulders
the day following, and continued her march, as
though nothing unusual had occurred ! It is a
very happy*circumstance, that the women of this
country are blessed with such strong constitutions,
as they would otherwise be utterly unable to en-
dure*the hardships to which they are often exposed, and particularly in child-birth.
Monday, April 9. Yesterday, the ice in this
river broke up; and to day, we sent off four men
ill 124
Harmon's journal*
in a boat, loaded with pimican, to be transported
as far as the entrance of Winipick River.—The
cnuntry all around us, is on fire.
Sunday, 20,^ Yesterday, the greater part of
•our people set put for Swan River ; and to day,
JVJf.,McGillies, and the most of those who were
letj, have departed for the New Fort, which is
distant about forty five miles, to the north west
from the former general rende^pus, the Grand
Ppjtage, which tho Americans have obliged us tev
abandon.   |gg ||§g
It is thought neçf§sf®ry that I should pass an-
othe^summer at this place; but I -am happy in
having with me my friends Henry and Goedike.
IJhere are her©;also one interpreter and several
labouring men, besides women and children. We
are; preparing a piece of ground for a garden, the
cultivation of which, will be an amusement ; and
the produce of it, we hope, will add to our comforts. Mr. Goeflike plays the violin, and willncca-
sionally cheer our spirits, with an air. But the
most of our leisure time, which is at least five
sixths of the whole, wiH be spent in reading, and
in meditating and conversing upon what we read.
How; valuable is the art, which multiplies books,
with great facility, and at m moderat-% expense.
Without them the wheels of time would drag
heavily, in this wilderness* Harmon's journal.
Tuesday, May 22, The seeds which we put
into the ground on the 10th inst. have sprung up,
and grow remarkably weète-i
Tuesday, 29. During thelllast forty eight
hours, it has rained without cessation ; and I think
I never witnessed so great a fall of water, within
thfi|j|ame space of time. The river has overflowed ks banks, to a much greater distance than is
common; and our garden, which is not far from it,
now lies under water.
Thursday, 31. In the morning, Mr. Goedike,
Collin, my interpreter, a young lad and myself^ set
off for the purpose of paying a visit to our X. Y.
neighbours. On leaving the fort, weAad the river
to cross, which, in consequence of the late rah$s, is
about sixty rods broadfe Our only means of cross-»
ing it was a canoe, made of the skins of buffaloes,
which, on account of the length of lane that it
had* been in the water, began to be rotted; Before we reached the other side of the river, the
canoe was nearly half filled with water. We
drew it on shore, mounted our horses, visited our
neighbours, and returned to the place where we
had left our canoe, at about three o'clock P. M.
Having repaired it a little,* we embarked, for the
purpose of returning to the fort. We soon per-*
eeived that the water came into the canoe very
fast ; and we continued paddling, in hope of reach- 126
îng the opposite shore, before it would fill. We
were, however, sadly disappointed^ for it became
full, when we had gone about one third of the distance ; but it did not immediately overset. The
water, inijhat place, was abodt five feet deep ;
but the current was strong, and fc sqpn carried us
to aiplace where we could not reach the bottom,
and the canoe overset. We all clung to it and,
thus drifted a considerable distance, until the canoe was, at length, stopped by a few willows,
whose tops rose above the water. Here I had a
moment, in which I could reflect on our truly deplorable condition, and direct my thoughts to the
means of relief. My first object was, if possible,
to gain the shore, in order to free myself from my
clothes, which I could not do where I then was.
But my great coat, a heavy poniard,' boots, &c
rendered it very difficult for me to swim ; and I
had become so torpid, in consequence of having
been so long in the cold water, that before I had
proceeded one third of the way to the shore, I
sunk, but soon rose again, to the surface of the
water. I then exertedwmyself to the utmost;
but, notwithstanding, soon sunk a second time. I
now considered that I must inevitably drown ;
the objects of the world retired from my view,
and my mind was intent only upon approaching
death ;   yet I wasènot afraid to meet my dissolu- Harmon's journal.
tion.* I however made a few struggles more, which
happily took me to a small tree that stood on what-fi
usually the bank of the river, but which is now some
rods distàn^from dry land, lift remained thereffor
son^time, to recover strength, and at length proceeded to the shore ; and as soon as I had gained
JtgMny mind rose in ardent gratitude to my gracious Preserver and deliverer, who had snatched
me from the very jaws of death ! J was now safe
on shore; but'the, condition of my unfortunate
companions, was far different. They had still
hold of the canoe in the middle of the river, and
by struggling were just able to keep themselves
from sinking. We had no other craft, with which
to go upon, the water, nor could any of our people
swim, who were standing on the shore, the mel-
ancholly spectators of this scene of distress. I
therefore took off my clothes, and threw myself*
a second time, into the water, in order, if possible,
to afford some aid to my companions. When I
had reached the place where they were, I directed the boyfito take hold of the hair of my head,
and I took him to a staddle, at no great distance,
* Fqt at t&at time, I was ignorant of my lost
nature, and of the necessity of being clothed in a better righteousness than my own, to prepare me to appear with safety
before a holy God, in judgment. ^
mm 123
harmon's journal.
and directed him to lay fast hold of it, by which
means he would be able to keep the greater part
of his body above water. I then returned to the
canoe, and tooji Collin to a similar place. Mr.
Goedike had alone proceeded to a small staddle,
and would have reached the shore, had not
the cramp seized him in cite of his legs. I next
tried to take the canoe ashore, but could
not alone effect it. I therefore, swam to the opposite shore, caught a horse and mounted him,
and made him swim to the canoe, at one end of
which I tied a cord, and taking the other end in
my teeth and hands, after drifting a considerable
distance, I reached the land. After repairing the
canoe a little, I proceeded to my three wretched
fellow creatures, who had, by this time, become
nearly lifeless, having been in the water at least
two hours. By the aid of a kind Providence,
however, they at last safely reacted the shore ;
and so deeply were they aflected wilt their unexpected escape, that they prostrated themselves to the earth, in an act of thanksgiving, to
their^reat and merciful Deliverer.
Sunday, July 1. We now begin to have strawberries, and the prospect is, that they will be
Tuesday,07. O» the 8th iastant, some I»-
diaris ran away with three of our horses ; and on
the following morning, Mr. Goedikeaand mysetf
mounted two others, to pursue the thieves. We
followed them for two days, and thfen, ascertaining that they were so far in advance of usf
and travelled sorfast^that it would be impossible
to overtake them, before they would reaêfa their
camp, whicbis six or seven days' marièh from this,
we ceased following them. We directed our
course another way, for the purpose of finding
buffaloe, but without success. We, however, killed as many fowls, in the small lakes, as we needed for daily consumption ; and this evening re^
turned to the fort, having had on the whole a
pleasant ride.
We have had a frost, so hard, that it has injured many things in our garden.
Wednesday, 25. An Indian lhas arrived here
with six horses, who states, that he came directly
from the territory of the Blackstfeet Indians. He
brings jfee intelligence, that this tribe have concluded a peace with the Crées and Assiniboins;
and that forty tents of the latter tribes, who went
into that quarter, two years since, are on their
way home, and will reach this place before the
commencement of winter.
Saturday, September 1. This afternoon, Mr.
Ferguson and company arrived, from fort Dauphin, bringing the intelligence, that all the Iadians
17 m
M 130
Harmon's journal.
who are accustomed to remain in that vicinity,
have now gone to the Great Winipick lake.
Thursday, October 4. This afternoon, Mr.
Francis la Rocque arrived, from Montagne à la
Basse, which lies about five days' march from this*
down the river. He brought me letters from
several gentlemen in this country, one of which is?
from Mr. Charles Chaboillez, who informs me that
this place will be supplied with goods, this season,
by the way of the Red River, of which depart-*
ment he has the superintendence. As I am to
pass the winter here, he desires me to aceompa-
ny Mr. La Rocque, down to Montagne a la Basse,
and receive such goods as will be necessary fë£.
the Indians at this post.
Friday, 26. Agreeably to the instructions of
Mr. Chaboille^ in company with Mr. La Rocqu%
and an Indian, who served as guide, I set out on
the 6th instant, for Montagne à la Basse. Our
course was nearly south, over a plain country ;
and on the 9th, wm reached Riviere qui Apelle,
where the North West and X. Y. companies
have each a fort, where we tarried all night, withr
Monsieur Poitras, who has charge of that post.
The next morning, we continued our march, which
was always in beautiful plains, until the 11th,
when we arrived at the place of our destination.
Thereofoulid Mr. Chaboillez, O. McKenzie, &c
■'ut. ce-"'iri¥ifi''iwini'iii i Harmon's journal.
9Phe fort is wef built, and beautifully situated, on
a very high bank of the Red River, and overlooks the country round to a great extent, which
is a perfect plain. There can beéeen, at almost
all seasons of the year, from the fort gate, as I
am informed, buffaloes grazing, or antelopes
bounding over the extensive plains, which cannot
fail to render the situation highly pleasant.^1 spent
my time there very pleasantly, during eight days,
in company with the gentlemen above mentioned.
At times, we would mount our horses* and ride
out into the plains, and frequently trjr the speed
of ou» beasts. On the 19th, I left that enchanting
abode,   in   company   with    Messrs.   Chaboillei$
^M^Eenzie, &c, and the day following, arrived
at Riviere qui Apelle, Jfthere we found the people, waiting our arrival. They came here by
water ; but at this season, canoes go up no fufj-
ther, on account of the shallowness of the river.
* The goods intended for Alexandria, therefore*
must be taken from this on horse back. Accffd-
ingly, we delivered out to the people such articles
as we thought necessary, and sent them off; and
the day following, Mi&, Chaboillez returned to
Montagne à la Basse, and Mr. McKenzie and myself proceeded to Alexandria, where we arrived
this afternoon, after having made a pleasant jaunt
©f twenty one days. iff 132
Harmon's journal.
Here I shall pass the winter, having with me
Mr. Goedikefttwo interpreters, twenty labouring
men, fourteen women andsixteen children.
Saturday, November 24. Some people have
just arrived from Montagne à la Basse, with a
letter from Mr. Chaboillez, who informs me, that
two Captains, Clarke and Lewis, with one hundred and eighty'soldiers, have jfcrrived at the Man-
danlVillage on the Missouri River, which place
is situated about three days' march distant from
the residence of Mr. Chaboillez. They have invited Mr. Chaboillez to visit them. It is said,
that on their arrival, they hoisted the American
flag, and informed the Natives that their objeéè
was not to trade, but merely to explore the cotÉft
try ; and that as soon as the navigation shall open,
they design to continue their route across the
Rocky Mountain, and thence descend to the Pacific Ocean. They made the Natives a few small
presents, and repaired their guns, axes, &c, gratis.
Mr. Chaboillez writes, that they behave honourably toward his people, who are there to trade
with the Natives.
Tuesday, January 21,1805. For nearly a month,
we have subsisted on little besides potatoes ; but
thank#to a kind Providence, the last night, two of
my men returned from the plains, with their sledges loaded with the flesh of the? buffaloe.    They HARMON'S JOURNAL.
bring us the pleasing intelligence, that there is a
plenty of these animals within a day's march of us.
This supply of provisions could not have come
more opportunely, for our potatoes *are almost
About a month since, I sent Mr. Goedike, accompanied by ten men, out into the plains, in
hopes that they might fall in with the Natives,
who would be able to furnish us with food ; but
we have heard nothing from them, and I cannot
conjecture what should hav<idetained them so long,
as I did not expect that they would be absent, for
mote than ten days, from the fort.
Thursday, February 7. At theilmost of the
forts in the Swan River department, they have
not a sufficiency of provisions ; and they have
therefore, sent the greater number of their people, to pass the remainder of the winter here*
We now have buffaloe in abundance, though our
family consists of upwards of seventy persons, who
consume, at least, four hundred and fifty pounds,
daily. ^0   fm
Thursday,Ad. On the 8th inst. two men arrived from 'Montagne à la Basse, with a packet of
letters, informing me, that a coalition took place,
the last autumn at -Montreal, between the North
West and the X. Y. companies, which letters I
have forwarded to Fort des Prairies,
I Î34
m. i
On the 16th inst. I left this, in a cariol, drawn
by a horse, to visit a place, about two days' march
from this, into the plains, were a number of our
people have passed a greater part of the winter ;
and in the course of this pleasant ride, I saw thousands of buffaloes.
Saturday, March 2. People arrived from Fort
des Prairiespwith letters from that place, the
^English River, and Athabasca.—Yesterday, swans
passed this place, on their way to the northward.
Monday, 18. A band of Crées and Assiniboins
came in, a few days since, consisting of more than
a hundred persons.* As they brought a considerable quantity of fur& and provMons, they were able
to purchase # large supply of spirits for several
days, and of course continued drinking, until their
means were exhausted. During this period, one
of the Assinifeoins stabbed one of the Crées. The
wouni| however, is not thought to be mortal. The
injury has been atoned forytherefore, by a horse,
presented by the aggressor, to the wounded Indian ; and now, they appear to be as" great
friends, as they were before the quarrel took
It is a common thing among all the Natives,
for an offender to offer property in satisfaction for
an injury ;  and when tfiis is accepted by 4he in-
». Harmon's journal
jured party, contention ^between them entirely
ceases. Even mufder is, sometimes, in this
way, atoned for ; but not commonly. In ordinary
cases, nothing hdt the death of the murderer, or of
some oft his near relations, will satisfy the desire
of revenge in an Indian, whose relative has been
Wednesday, AprifelO. On the 24th ult. I<#set
out on horse back, accompanied by one man, for
Montagne à la Basse. When we arrived there,
wj|J wejje notaia little surprised to find the fort
gates shut, and about eighty tents of Crées and
Assiniboins encamped in a hostile manner, around
it, and threatening to massacre all the white people in it. They, in a menacing manner, thre^f
balls over the palisades, and told our people to
gather them up, declaring that they would proba?
blj^have use for them in the course of a few days.
After having passed several days there, I set out
to return home. |$JusJ^is I had gotten out of<jhe
fort gate, three ^llainous Indians approached me,
and one of them seized my horse by the bridle
and stopped him, sayii^, tha^ithe beast belonged
to him, and that he would take him from me.
I told him that he had disposed of him to Mr.
Chaboillez, who had charge of the post ; and that
ofethis gentleman, I had purchased him, and that I
had no concern with the matter, which was whol- 136
Harmon's journal.
ly between him and Mr. Chaboillez. l^erceMbg,
however, that he was determined not to let go of
the bridle, I gave hum a smart blow on his hand,
with the but end of my whip, whiifa consisted of
a deer's horn, and instantly striking my horse, I
caused him to spring forward, anflleave the Indian
behind. Finding myself thus clear of thig|Éfel-
low, I continued my rout; but he with one of his
companions, followed us nearly half of the day, if
not longer. After this length of time we saw no
more of them. Apprehensive, however, that they
might fall upon us in our encampment at night,
and steal our horses, and probably massacre ué\
after it became dark, we went a little out of JÉhe
path, and laid ourselves down ; but we dared not
make a fire, lest the light or the smoke should
discover the place where we were. -
On my return, I passed four days agreeably, at
Riviere qui Apelle, in the company of a number
of gentlemen, whonfé I found there. On leaving
that place, I was obliged to cross the river, and
at this late season, the ècllfwâs bad. My horse,
while I was on him, fell through the ice twice, and
the last time, I came very near passing under it;
but a kind Providence once%iore, granted me deliverance. k$
While at Montagne à la Basse, Mr. Chaboillez,
induced me to consent to undertake a long and HARMON S JOURNAL.
arduous tour of discovery. I am to leave that
place, about the beginning of June, aeëompanied
by six or seven Canadians, and by tw#?or three Indians. The first place, at which we shall stop,
will be the Mandan Village, on the Missouri River. Thence, we shall steer our^ourse towards
ihe Rocky Mountain, accompanied by a number
of the Mandan Indians, who proceed in that direction every spring, to meet and trade with another
tribe of Indians, wlïo reside on the other sWe of
the Rocky Mountain. It is expected that we
shall return from our excursion, in the moith of
November next,
[This journey, r-neVUr undertook ; for soo&^af*
ter the plan of it was settled, my health became
so much impaired, th^tt I was under the necessity
of proceeding to Head Quarters, to procure medical assistance. A Mr. La Rocque attempted to
make this tour ; but went no farther than the
Mandan Village.]
Thursday, 18. Wé' are packing our furs, in
order to send them to the general rendezvous ;
and affe\#days hence, I shall abandon thislifort,
and the Indians mollis vicifttfty will go either into
the region of Riviere qui Apelle, or up« the Sisis-
catcbwin River, near Fort des Prairies.
Sunday, May 5. We are now ob&iit three
leagues below Alexandria whieh  place vfe aban-
Mi 138
Harmon's journal.
doned on the 28th ult. All our property is on
board of boats ; but some of us travel on horseback. As it has not rained since the last Autumn,
the water in the river is uncommonly low, on account of which, our boats make Mut poor progress.
As we have a pit saw with us, Ié-have directed
some of my people to go mto the woods^and saw a
sufficient quantity of boards, to construct another
boat, by means of which, we may reduce the loading, in those that we now possess..*
Wednesday, 8. Riviere qui Apelle. On the
6th Mr. Goedike and several other persons with
myself, left our boats, and proceeded on horseback. As the fire has passed over the plains,
this spring, it was with difficulty that we could
find- grass, sufficient for the subsistence of our
horses. ^
Monday, 20. Montagne à la Basse. Here I
have been waiting ever since tfce 15th for the arrival of our boats.    They arrived this afternoon.
Monday, 27. Riviere à la Sourifè, o£* Mouse
River. Tbis is about fifty miles from Montagne
à la Baise. Here are three establishments, formed severally by the North Wes^^X. Y. and Hudson Bay companies.
Last evening, Mr, Chaboillez invitejl the people
of the other two forts to a dance ; Jfend we had a
real North West country ball.   Wh&iNltiree fourths HARMON'S JOURNAL**-
of the people had drunk so much, as to be incapable of walking straightly, the other fourth thought
it time to put an end to the ball, or rather bawl.
This morning, we were invited to breakfast at the
JBudson Bay House, with a Mr. McKay, and in the
evening to a dance. This, however, ended more
deceatly, than the one of the preceding evening!
It is now more than fifty years, since a French
missionary left this place. He*ihad, as I am informed, resided here, durkag anumber of years, for the
purpose of instructing the Natives in the Christian
religion. He taught them some short prayers, in
the French language, the whole of which some of
them have not yet forgotten.
The surrounding country consists chiefly of
plains ; and the soil appears to be richer, than
that which is farther up the river.
Tuesday, 30. In the morning, I left Mouse
River ; and I have with me upwards of forty men,
in five boats and seven canoes.      jgrl
Saturday, June 1. $pTe are naw a liMle below
what was called the Pine Fort. It is twenty
years since this fort was built, and eleven since it
was abandoned. Tbts River is now so low, arising from the fact that we have had no rain this
spring, and we have such a number of boats and
canoes, that we drive the sturgeon upon the sand
banks, where there is but little water ;   and we 240
harmon's journal.
■ '
have no difficulty infilling any number of them,
that we please. We now subsist entjjfely on these
fish ; and they a|je excellent food.
Thursday, 13. Portage la Prairie, or Plain
Portage. Here the North West company have a
miserable fort, the local situation of which, is beautiful, beyond any thing that I have seen in this
part of the world. Opposite the fort, there Is a
plain, which is about sixty miles long, and from one
to ten broad, in the whole extent of which, not the
least rise of ground is visible.—To this place,rthe
Natives resort every spring, to take and dry sturgeon.
Saturday, 15. We are now encamped under
a beautiful range of oaks, which separate the river from a pretty extensive plain. Ever since we
left Mouse River, the soil on each side of the Upper Red River, down which we are passing, appears to be excellent, and the timber is very different from what it is near its source. We here
find oak, elm, walnut, bass wood, &c. and I am informed that there are grapes and plums in this
Tuesday, 18. Not far from the place where
we are now encamped, there is a considerably
large camp of Sauteux. Among them I saw another of my unfortunate countrymen, who, like
one of whom I have already spoken, was taken Harmon's journal.
from his parents, when a child. Thus, has many
a fond mother, in the frontier settlements, been
deprived of her beloved and tender offspring.—
but this fellow is lost, beyond recovery, for he now
speaks no other language, but thai! of the Indians,
among whom'he resides, and he has adopted all
their manners àéd customs ; and it would now be
as difficult to reconcile him to the habits of civilized life, as it would be, were he a real Indian.
Wednesday, 19. The ForÉÈî Arf/this place
the Upper and LoWer Retf Rivers, form a junction. The country around is pleasant, the soil appears to be excellent, and it is tolerably well timbered with oak, basswood, walnut, elm, poplar, as-
pin, birch, &c. NSrape vines and plum trees are
also seen.
Friday, 21. We are now encamped at the
place, where the Red River enters the Great Winipick Lake. It is now nearly five yearsSSnce*! passed this place, which, at first thought, seems but a
moment. But when I deliberately recollect the
scenes through which I have passed, during that
space of time, it seems as if I had passed the
greater part of mjrdays in this country.
Monday, 24. We are now at the entrance of
Winipick River, into the Lake of the same name*
We, here, find a number of people, who are llbm 142
their respective winter quarters, and who, like ourselves, are onf$heir way to the New Fort.
Friday, July 5. Rainy Lake. On the margin
of the waters, which connect this lake witM the
Great Winipick Lake, the wild rice is found, of
which I have spoken on a former occasion. This
useful grattais produced in no other part of the
North West Country ; though Carver erroneously states, that it is found every where. It grows
in water, about two feet deep, where there is a
rich muddy bottom. It rises more than eight feet
above the water ; and, in appearance bears a considerable resemblance to oats. It is gathered
about the latter end of September, in the following manner. The Natives pass in among it in canoes. Each canoe has in it two persons, one of
whom is in each end, with a long hooked stick, in
one hand, and a straight one in the other. With
the hooked stick, he brings the heads of the grain
over the canoe, and holds it there ; while, with
the other, he beats it out. When the canoe is
thus sufficiently loaded, it is taken to the shore and
emptied. This mode of gathering the wild rice,
is evidently more simple and convenient, than that
which was practised in Carver's day. This grain
is gathered in such quantities, in this region, that,
m ||rdinary seasons, the North West Company
purchase, annually, from twelve to fifteen hundred Harmon's journal.
bushels oJ| it, from the Natives ; #nd it constitutes
a principal article of food, at the post^jn this vi-
I have here received letters from my friends
in Vermont, which left them in April last; and
which have, as usual, afforded me mue|t satisfaction.^:
Saturday, 6. Rainy Lake. We are about ten
miles from the fort, on this lake ^ and tbave been
encamped, during thfegreater part of the day, in
order that our people may repair their canoes;
for they will soon be obliged to transport them
oyer a number of long portages.
Monday 8. Cross Lake. Here we meet
several canoes which, about the beginning of May
last, left Montreal^ that have goods on board,
which will be carried in them to the R#iny Lake
fort, and will thence be,jtransported to Athabasca.
—At this lake, we leave the route which leads to
the old Grand Portage.
Tuesday, 9. During the whole of $fais day,
we have been crossing small lakes, â$d coming
down what deserve the name of hrooks, rather
than rivers.—We have met eight canoes, on their
way to the Rainy Lake.
Friday, 12. The Plain Portage. Jfi the former part of the day, we met, A. N. McLeod, Esq.
who is now from the New Fort, on his way back m !
Harmon's journal.
to Athabasca. We went on sl^ore, and took breakfast with him. t-fle has taken with him my friend
Mr. F. Goedike, a young man possessed of a good
understanding, and a humane and generous heart,
who has been with me for four years past, and
from whom I could not separate, without regret.
Saturday, July 13. Overtook the Swan River
people, and entered Nipignon River,*fwhich is
nearly ten rods broad. This and Dog's river,
excepting a few cfarrying places, on account of
rapids and falls, will carry us to the New Fort.
Thedand in this vicinity is low, and in many places, it is swampy. There are few animals in this
region, excepting moose, bears, and a few beavers
and martins. This is the rout, by which the
French, in former times, passed into the interiour.
The Indians in this quarter, are a few Sauteux
and Mwseagoes. The latter, come from towards
Hudson's Bay.
Sunday 14. Dog's Portage, which is about
three miles over. After coming down Nipignon
River, which is nearly fifty miles long, we entered the Dog's Lake, which may be about forty
miles in circumference, and by crossing which, we
arrived at this place. jg
Monday 15. The Mountain Portage. jBere the
water falls perpendicularly, about seventy feet.
The North   West company have here a store Harmon's journal.
house, to which they send provisioas, &c, from
the New Fort, as the rjver from this to that
place is generally shallow, and is full of rapids.
Those, theref^fe, who are going into the interiour, cannot take a full load, until the'y arrive at
this place ; and here they usually take^ their supply of provisions. 04
Tuesday, 16. New Fort, or, as it is called by
th#Natives, Kâ-mp-ni-ti-qui-â, is built on the bank
of Dog River, whiclt is a considerable stream,
that empties into Lake Superiour, about four or.
five hundreds rods below the fort. The vessel
that runs on that lake, can come, with a part of
her lading, quite up to tne quay, before the^forjp
Here the French, before the English conquered
Cariada, had air establishment.
We here meet a number of gentlemen, some
of whom came this summer from Montreal, and
others from different parts of the Interiour.
There are also here, one thousand labouring men,
the greater part of whom, are Canadians, who
answer better in this country, for the service required by the Company, than any other people
would probably do.
The country, for some considerable distance
round, is covered with heavy timber, consisting of
a kind of red pine, poplar, aspin, birch, cedar, &c,
bigt the soil does not appear to be  of the first
19 146
qud^ty»     Potatoes,   pease,   oats,   &c.,   however,
grow tolerably well here.
Monday, 22. I have passed several days, not
unpleasantly, in thegcompany of a number of young
gentlemen. They now begin, however, to^eave
this, to return to thejir winter quarters; and tomorrow, I expect to depart, and to proceed for
Fort des Prairies. As there will be two other
young gentlemen in the same brigade, whon^ I
know to be sociable and pleasant companions, I
expect to have a pieasan% passage to my winter
Wednesday, August 28. During nearly a
^paonth past we have been>*coming through a country, wfiicTf I have already described. We are
now at the Grand Rapid, where Jhe Sisiscatchwin
River disembogues -into thegnorth west part of
Great Lake Winipick. This is a noble stream,
about two hundred fatlimsjbroad.
Thursday, September 5. Cumberland House.
This fort stands on the north side of a considerable lake, called by the Natives, wab in this vicinity are Muscagoes, Sturgeon Lake. The sturgeon
are found in considerable plenty, in this lake.
This post wasjjestablished, thirty three years
since, by Mr. Joseph FrobFsher. At this place,
the people who are destined to Fort des Prairies,
and those who are proceeding to Athabasca, sep-
arate.    The former go up the Sisiscatchwin River, and the  latter u|ÉÉÉte English River.    The
latterfds so called, in honour of Mr. Joseph Fro-
bisher, an Englishman, who was the first trader
that ever went into that part of the countn^P—
@n the   30th  ultimo,  we   crossed Lac Bourbon,
which is  about forty  miles long,  on whicl the
North West Company  had a fort, formerly ; but
it  was   aPKÉIoned,   in   1802,     There  are   few
mountains or hiili to be seen, between this place
ÉSipLake Winipick.    The country  has a  pretty
heavy growth of timber, and the soil is rich.    In
thiPlakes and rivers of this region^ excellent fish
are   takei| such  as  sturgeft, white-fish, cat-fish,
pike, pickerel, &c.   This country abounds in fowls,
among which are swans, bustards, geese, and many
kinds of ducks.    Moose are found in considerable
plenty; there are a few black bears, otters, musk-
rats and martins ; and rarely, a beaver is found.
Saturday, September 2 IP South Branch Fort.
This is about one hundred and twenty milefe
above the Fqrk, or the place where this river
forms a junction with the North Branch, after
which, it assumes the name of Sisiscatchwin River.
Both branches take their rise in the Rocky Mountain, though at a distance of several hundred
miles from each other. The South Branch passes through large plains ;   but the country through
•■ u 148
which the other runs is woody, particularly on the
north side. From Cumberland House to the
Fork, the country on both sides of éhe river is
covered wjrth wood. In these woods, and the
small plains that are here and there scattered
among them, moose, red deer, &c, are to be
found. ||
^his fort was put up the last summer, and
two stores were built ; but the dwelling houses
are still to be constructed.—I am informed that
buffaloes are in plenty within aBfaalf a day's march
from this. There are four tribes of Indians,
who come to trade at this establishment. They
are the Crées, Assiniboins, Sauteux and Musca-
goes. A*|ew also of the Black feet Indians-resort
| In coming up this river, wë saw many places,
where forts have stood, some of which were
abandoned thirty years since, and some at a later
period. One, which was situated about six miles
below this, was abandoned fifteen years since, on
account of an attack from the Rapid Indians. The
following circumstances, in regard to that affair,
were related to me by Mons. Louis Chattel-
lain, who, at that time, had charge of the fort.
The Hudson Bay Company had a fort in the same
neighbourhood, which was first attacked, by about
one hundred and fifty Indians on  horse back ; harmon's journal.
and the few people who were in it, excepting one
man, who secreted himself, were killed. After
they had taken out of the fort all the property
which they could conveniently carry away with
them, they set fire to the fort, and proceeded to
the establishment of the North West Company,
which was two hundred rods distant from that of
Hudson Bay people^ with the intention of treating
it in a similar manner.
dBhe fort gates haJir providentially, been shut,
previously to the approach of the Indians. Thejiî
were in the ftrt, three men, and several women
an#children. The men took their stations in the
block houses and bastibhs ; and when the Natives
had come sufficiently near, fired upon them. The
Indiaâs, instantly returned the fire ; and the contest
continued, until the night approached. The savage assailants, having had several of their party
killed, and others severely wounded, while the
people in the fort had sustained no injury, thought
it best to retreat ; and after dragging their dead
and dying into the river, they retire^ But Mr.
Chattellain did not think it prudent to remain
there any longer. Accordingly, the day following, they embarked all their property on
board of several canoes, and proceeded down the
river, about two hundred miles, where they commenced building another fort.    The only object
i '■' !
1 ': 150
of tip Indians, in attacking these forts, was plunder.
Mr. William Smith and myself, together with
fifteen labouring men, &c. are to pass the winter
here ; and a few hundred paces from us, the Hudson Bay people have a fort.
Thursday, October 10. This day, a Canadian's
daughter, a girl of about fourteen years of age,
was offered to me ; and after mature consideration, concerning the step which I ought t#take, I
have finally concluded to accept or her, as it is
customary for all gentlemen who remain, for any
length of time, in this part of the world, to have a
female companion, with whom they can pass their
Mme more socially and agreeably, than to live a
lonely life, as they must do, if single. If we can
live in harmony together, my intention now is, to
keep hit' as long as I remain in this uncivilized
part of the world ; and when I return to my native land, I shall endeavour to place her under the
protection of somdphonest man, with whom she
can pass the remainder of her daysSn this country,
much more agreeably, than it would be possible
for her to do, w#e she to be taken down into the
civilized worl^to the ^manners, customs and Ian*
guàge of which, she would be an entire stranger.
Her mother is of the tribe of the Snare Indians,
whose country lies along the  Rocky Mountain. HARMON S JOURNAL.
The girl is said to have a mild disposition ipd an
even temper, which are qualities very necessary
tq make an agreeable womanfeand an affecHonate
partner.    » &gj
Thursday, November 7. The river froze over
the last night; but we have yet had but little
snow. |Éi
Saturday, March 15, 1806. This evening the
northern express arrived; and I am sorry tolearn
,that no letters have come from A*$habasca, this
season. This failure^jMwing to the great depth of
snow in that quarter.—Buffaloes have been found
in plenty, within a few miles of the fort, during
the whole winter.
Tuesday, 25. The snow is chiefly dissolved.
we have sent four men, about a day's march from
this, to make sugar.    gg|
Saturday, April 19. The greater part of our
Indians have gone to wage war upon the Rapid
Indians, their inveterate enemies, with whom they
frequently patch up a peace, whic% however, is
generally of short continuance.
Monday, 28. This afternoon, the ice in this
river broke up.—A few days since, a small war
party of the^ Rapid Indians came and killed several Assiniboins, who were encamped within fifteen miles of our fort. They also stabbed an
ol$ woman in several places, and scalped her, who,
mi 152
jsarmon's journal.
notwithstanding, is stÉl alive, and, to appearance,
likely to recover of her wounds.
Monday, June 2. Last evening, Messrs^ J.
Hughes and Alexander Stewart came here, on
horsetback, from the North Branch, which passes
within fifteen miles from this. There,; they left
their canoes and people ; and on their return, they
will continue their rout to the Ntw FortJ§MMr.
Smith an^ myself, if providence permit, are to pass
fMrsummer at this place, where we have three
iiter||reters. four laboiÉÉng men, and a number of
women and childrei&i As my companion is a sensible, well informed and sociable young man, I
hope to pass my time both pleasantly and pÉbfita-
bly.     ■ ê f    %ft    I    $ §|
^Friday, August §. Six Assiniboins have arrived, and inform us, that about eighty tenu of Crées
and Assiniboins, with about as many of the Black
feet Indians, were onStheir way to wage war with
the Rapid Indians, their common enemy. But the
two former tribes quarrelled, in their march, respecting a horse, which they both claimed, and
which neither would relinquish. This circumstance occasioned a battle between them, which
lasted during a day, in which twenty five of the
Black feet Indians, and three of the Assiniboins,
were killed. This put an end to the -expedition,
for this season.
IU HafcMON'S journal.
Wednesday, September*&£ Two men have arrived frornlCumberland House, situated on Sturgeon Lake, who have brought me letters from my
friends below, which communicate the melancholy
intelligence, that my father, after a severe illness
of but a few weeks, expired, on the 25th of June,
1805. The protector and guide of my youth,
whom I revered and#>ved, I shah¥ never more
setfin this world. It would have afforded me inexpressible satisfaction, could Ifiave seen and conversed with him, previously to his departure. But
" the Judge of the earth has done right," and " his
will be done." I am not left to mourn^nnder this
severe bereavement, without consolation ; for his
christian character and profession, afford the comfortable hope, that he has ceased to sin and to suffer, and now participates in blessedness, such as
this miserable world cannot afford. Mayfais pious
example stimulate me, and life other children, to
follow him in the path which conducts to a better
I have also received letters from Mr. A. N.
McLeod, and Mr. J. McDooald, which informfce,
that I am to pass the ensuing wilier at Cumberland House, for which place, I shall leave this, a
few days hence.
Thursday, September 11. Cumberland Houses
I arrived here this afternoon, and find Messrs. J.
II 154
Harmon's journal
Hughes, and David Thompson, &c. who have just
arrived from th^New Fort, and who are on their
way to Fort des Prairies. The Hudson Bay people have a fort within a hundred rods of ours, m
the charge of Mr. Peter Fidler.
Wednesday, 17. Sent Mons. Per&s and company, with a small assortment of goods, to go and
pass the winter at Moose Lake, which is situated
about two days' march from this, and nearly west
from Lake Winnipick.
The Indians, who resort to this establishment,
are Sauteux and Muscagoes* Moose afttid black
bears are pretty abundant in this vicinity ; and a
M w beavers are found. We subsist principally u pon
sturgeon and white fish, which we take out of the
lake. Geese and bustards are numerous, in the
fall and spring. The surrounding country is very
low and level, so that, at some seasons, much of
it is overflowed* This accounts for the periodical
influx and reflux of the water, between this lake
and the Sisiscatchwin River, which are distant six
Friday, October 3. Hudson Bay people, in
three canoes, have gust arrived from York Factory. They bring late news from England ; anctin-
form us, that war continues to rage as much as
ever, on the continent of Europe.
Friday, 24.    We have now about four inches HARMON'S JOURNAL.
of snow ; and, the last night, the greater part of
this lake froze over.—I have sent people to the*
other side of this lake, to fish for sturgeon, which
will weigh from ten to one hundred pounds. They
are taken inïspread nets, which is the manner in
which we generally take «l^iinds of fish, in this
* country. Some kinds, however, such as trout, cat
fish and pike, we at times take, by setting hooks
and lines.
Friday, January 30, 1807. Mmo of the Hudson Bay people arrived from Fort des Prairies,
who were so obligfeg as to bring me letters from
several gentlemen in that quarter. The greater
part^ef the North West and Hudson Bay people,
live on amicable terms; and when one can with
propriety render a service to the other, it is done
with cheerfulness.   WM
Sunday^Mpril 5. The ice in the Sisiscatchwin
river, is broken up ; and the great quantity of
snow which has recently been dissolved, has caused that river to rise so high, as to give another
course to a smalt riverj which generally takes its
water but of this lake, but which now runs into it
Saturday, May 23. This lake is free from
ice ; and we have planted potatoes, and sowed our
garden seeds.—Geese have returned from the
south, and we now have them in plenty.
Saturday, 30.    Mr. John McDonald and others, 156
in seven canoes, have just arrived from Fort de.**
Prairies, and are on their way to/$he New Fort.
Sunday, June 7. Grand Rapid. On the fist
pst. Mr. John McDonald, myself and otheifpeople, in seven causes and one boat, left Cumberland
House and arrived here, on the 15th, where we
have ever since been, stopped by the ice in Lake
Winrfipick^ which is not yet broken up.—Werhere
spear as many sturgeon as we please, as they are
going up or down the rapid, which is about six
miles in length.
Monday, 8. Lake Winnipick. The last night
there arose a strong north west wind, which broke
up the ice, and drove it to the north east part of
(the lake. We, therefore, embarked this morning,
and have sailed all day.
Tuesday, 16.* White River. Mln the morning
we left the fort, at the^entrance of Lake Winnipick
River, and this afternoon, Mr. A. N. McLfeod and
company^from Athabasca, overtook us. With
this gentleman, to whom I am under many obligations, I am happy to spend an evening, after so
long a separation. it!
Saturday, July 4. New Fort. Once more, I
have arrived at the general rendezvous, and find
myself among my -friends and acquaintances, from
different parts of the^^country.—Here I have received'letters from my friends below, which in- HARMON'S JOURNAL.
form me of their health and reasonable!*prosperi-
ty. It is a great satisfaction thus to hear from
them ; but this satisfaction would be greatly inV
creased, could I be permitted to see and converse
with them. Althbtigh the seven years, for which
I was under an engagement to the North West
Company, have now expired, I cannot with fhe
least degree of propriety, as I think, gratify the
ardent dedjre which I have of seeing my friends,
by going down this year. And when the happy
time wM come, that I shall visit them, God oply
knows. It is trying to a person who has the least
affection for his friends, to be separated from
them, for such a sejries of years, in such a savage
country. My duty and happiness, however, require^ hat I endeavour "to make the best of my
situation. Notwithstanding the bad examples
which we daily witness, a person can be as virtuous in this, as in any other'part of the world.
True it is, if a person were here to lead a really religious lif®$ he would find but few associates, who
would directly encourage him in his course. But
this is in a great measure true i^ every part of
the world.
Sunday, July 19. This, which was formerly
called the New Fo§t, is now named Fort William,
in honour of William McGilvray, Esq. the head
agent of the NortJ| Wes-^pompany.    Atethe time ^HARMON'S JOURNAL.
of giving this name, the Company made a present
to their Voyagers, of a considerable quantity of
spirits, shrub, &c. and also a similar present to the
Indians, encamped about the fort.
As I am still in ill health, I shall pass the winter with Doctor "MeLaughlm, at Sturgeon Lake,
in the department of Nipigon, which lies to the
north west from this.
Saturday, 25. This afternoon, in company
witb three èanoes^f left Fort William ; and we
are now encamped on an island, in Lake Supe-
Monday, August 3Î First long Portage in
thé Nipigon Road. We yesterday, separated
from Messrs. Chaboillez and Leith, who have gone
to winter at the Pic and MicMpcotton ; and to day,
we left Lake Superiour, and have come up a small
Tuesday, 4. South west end of Lake Nipigon.
ThisMake is sÉd to be one hundred and fifty miles
in length, and from one^o twctety, broad. Trout
are here taken, superiour to those that are found
in the North West country, which will weigh upwards of seventy pounds, and are of an excellent
quality.—The country through which we have
passed in coming to this place from Lake Superiour, is rocky and contains but little wood, of any
kind.    Whortleberries are found in plerfty. Harmon's journal.
Friday, 7. Fort Duncan, at the north end of
Lake Nipigon. The surrounding country i&^yery
rough; bu^.where the ground is arable, the
soil appears to be good.—Moose and cariboo
are found in tips vicinity ; and there are, also, a
few black bears, beavers, otters, muskrats, mar-
tins, &e. Great numbers of white fish are taken
dut of the lake, particularly in the faijjof the year^ê
These are hung up by th$jr tails, in th% open air,
and are preserved good, in a frozen state, during
the winter. Most people prefe^those that have
been thus kept, to fish that are taken immediately
out of the wafer. ^
Sunday, 9. In the morning, we sent off three
canoes, and in the after part of the day,4ome of
the people returned, with the melancholy intelligence, that one of thejr companions was drowned,
in going up a small rapid. The canoe overset,
and most of the property on board, was lost The
other persons, who were in it, saved, themselves
by swimming to the shore. #     EilM?
Thursday, 13. In the morning, Mr. Holdane,
the Doctor and myself, with our company, left fort
Duncan, where Mr. R. McKenzie will pass the
ensuing winter. There, also, we separated from
two Messrs. Camerons, whose route is northward,
towards Hudson's Bay. Our course is nearly
south west
Monday, 24. Portage du Fort, or Sturgeon
Lake, f<Itère, we #rived, yesterday; and this
morning, Mr. Holdane and his company left us,##
continueiitheir route to Red Lake. The Doctor
and I, with our company, shall leave this tomorrow, to go and build at the other end of this lake,
which may be about forty miles long, and from
one totifive broad.—The country through which
we have passed, since we left Fort Duncan, is low
and level ; no mountains, or even hills, are to be
seen ; in many places it is swampy, and small lakes
and pondsfmnd rivers and brooks are numerous.
Where the land is dry, the soil appears to be principally a black loam.—This tract of country was
formerly well stocked with beavers and otters ;
but they have now become ^scarce, as they have
been hunted by the Natives, Curing more than the
last hundred years. Moose and carriboo are still
considerably numerous, in this region.
Tuesday, September, 1. Our people are erecting houses for our winter habitations. We now
take white fish in cqpsiderable numbers.—The Indians, who frequent this post, areJf Saute ux and*
Saturday, October 3.    We sent people to the'
other end of this lake,  to  make a fall  fishery.
They will take white fish, trout, pike, carp, &c,
which constitutes the principal food for  those Harmon's journal.
who are in the Nipigon country. In this country,
which is at least seven hundred miles long and
five or six hundred broad, more people have starved to death, than in all the rest of the Indian country. At this lake, several years since, eleven
Canadians lost their lives for want of food. We
experience at present, no difficulty in this respect ;
and I am of opinion that the distresses of our
predecessors were, in a considerable measure,
owing to the want of good management.
Monday, November 9. Our people have returned, and inform us, that they have caught only
fourteen hundred fish of all descriptions. These,
however, with what corn,tflour, wild rice and meat
we have, together with the trout which we hope
to take with set hooks and lines, as soon as the
lake is frozen over, will, we expect, furnish us
with a comfortable subsistence, during the vtoiter.
We are in a solitary place, where we see no one,
excepting the Natives ; and they are few in number, compared with those, among whom I have
formerly been. Happily for us, we have a
few good books ; and in perusing them, we
shall pass the greater part of the time. The
Doctor, who is of about the same age with
myself, is an excellent companion, and fond
of conversation ; and I trust, that a friendly intercourse will mutually cheer our spirits, and that we
21 Bill
Harmon's journal.
shall spend the winter in a manner, that will bè
both pleasant and profitable.—We have $ now
about four inches of sno-fr, which will probably remain with us through the winter.
Sunday, 15. The last night, this lake froze
Friday, December 4. We now take great
numbers of excellent trout from under the ice,
with hooks and lines.
Early this morning, the woman whom I have
taken to reside with^ie, became the mother of a
boy, whom 1 name George Harmon.
Monday, December 28. Doctor McLaughlin,
accompanied by two Canadians and one of the
Natives, has gone to visit Mr. Holdane, at Red
Lake. g||
J^Friday, February 19, 1808. The Doctor
ajad company have returned, from their long
juant ; and I am happy in again.enjoying his society, after a season of comparative loneliness.
Another year of amy life is gone, which makes
me thirty years of age. This anniversary leads
me to reflect on the rapid flight of time, and the
brevity of human life. When I attentively consider these things, it seems surprising that we
should encounter so much difficulty and labour in
the acquisition of property, which, if it could min- Harmon's journal.
jster more effectually to our enjoyment than it
does, we must very soon relinquish forever.
Friday, May 13^ The Doctor, with one man
Jti* a small canoe, has set off for Fort William,
where he will be wanted as soon as he can arrive,
to attend on the sick. Among the great number
who visit that rendezvous every summer, there
are always some, who need medical aid ; though
I firmly believe, that no part of the world is more
healthly than this.—The Doctor has not been
able to learn, to his satisfaction, what my complaint is. I think that the medicines, which I have
taken, in the course of the winter, have been of
essential service to me ; and I hope, before long
to regain my former state of good health.
The Indians of this place have subsisted, during the greater part of the past winter, upon
hares.—There is an old Sauteux woman here,
who compels her own son to have criminal intercourse with her!
Thursday, June 9. Portage du Fort. Here,
we shall wait the arrival of the people of tfis department ; and we shall then con^nue our route,
with them to Fort William. It is nine months
and fifteen days since I passed this place, the last
autumn, in going into the coutitry, which evinces
that our winter has been long; and I may add
too, tHat it has been dreary.    But we have reason BOB
Harmon's journal.
to be thankful to God, that we have not suffered
at all, for the want of the means of subsistence.
Wednesday, 22. Fort Duncan. The people
|pr whom we were waiting at Portage du Fort,
arrived on the 12th, and the day following, we
set out for this place, which we reached this afternoon.
Saturday, 25. Yesterday, we left fort Duncan, and came to an island in Lake Nipigon, x>n
which we are now encamped, and where we intend to pass a few days, in fishing for trout,
which are here in plenty, and are of an excellent
Thursday, July 7. Yesterday morning, I arrived at Fort William, where I had only time to
read my letters from my friends below, and answer them, and prepare myself for a long journey.
This afternoon I euibarked for Athabasca, in
company with Mr. J. G. McTavish ; and both of
us are to remain at the place of our destination,
for three years, at least.
Wednesday, 20. Rainy Lake. We herM find
all the Athabasca people, excepting one brigade,
which is expected daily.
m Saturday, 22. Ever since my arrival here,
vre have been busily employed in preparing to
leave this place, for our winter quarters.
0uesday9 26.     Rainy  Lake River.     In the HARMON S JOURNAL.
morning, I left the fort in company with Mr.
Archibald McGillivray. Our brigade consists of
ten canoes.
Friday, 29. Portage de Lisle, in Winnipick
River. In the morning, we met Mr. David
Thomson and company from the Columbia River.
Monday, August 1. Lake Winnipick. This
morning, we arrived at the fort on this lake,
where we remained until noon. While there, I
wrote to my old friend Mr. William Henry, who
is at the Lower Red River. I also received a
letter from him, in which he informs me, that his
fort was attacked this summer, by a considerable
party of Sieux. Two shots, from cannon in the
block houses, however, caused them to retire, in
doing which, they threatened that they would before long, return and make another attempt to
take the fort.—The Sieux are a numerous tribe
of Indians, who are scattered over a large tract of
land, that lies between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers ; and they are said to be the greatest
villains, in this part of the world. They are the
same tribe that Carver distinguishes, by the name
of Nandswesseis.
Saturday, 6MGrand Rapid, at the north west
end of Lake Winnipick. The wind has been high,
during the day ; and in the latter part of it, one
of our canoes filled with water.    Happily, it was
At Harmon's journal.
near an island, when this disaster happened. The
people were, however, under the necessity of
throwing a part of their property overboard.
We find here Mons. Périgné, who was formerly a clerkno the North West Company,^but who,
as he informs me, has lately been to Canada, and
has come up on his own account. He has
brought up a few goods, to enable him to carry oft
a small traffick with the Natives. He, also, intends, occasionally to hunt the beaver, &c, himself.
But I am convinced, that, at this great distance
from the place of market for furs, the trade cannot
be profitably carried on, unless it be done on a
large scale, which requires a greater capital than
an individual can embark in this undertaking.
The experiment has been made, in a number of
instances ; and it has uniformly failed.
Friday, 12. Cumberland House. From this
place, I shall take a route, which S*have never
before travelled.
Saturday, 13. Entrance of River Maligne, or
Bad River. This is a considerable river, which
runs into Sturgeon Lake.
Sunday, 14. Beaver Lake. The greater
part of the day, we have employed in coming up
the river last mentioned, which, through its
whole course, has a continual succession of rapids. Harmon's journée».
The country around is low, and the  timber, like
that of the North West country generally, is small.
Tuesday,   16.    Pelican Lake.    Most   of   the
day has been passed in crossing Lac Martin.
Wednesday, 111-1 Portage du Forte de Traite,
or Trading Fort Portage. This was so named,
from a circumstance which occurred here, thirty-
four years since. Mr. Joseph Frobisher and company, who were the first traders who ever came
into this quarter, here met a large band of Natives, whose canoes were loaded with furs, which
they were taking to York* Factory, at Hudson's
Bay. He succeeded in bartering his goods for
their furs,» which amounted to more tharïdue could"
take to head quarters, the next season. He
therefore built a fort, and, with his people passed
several winters here ; and at tfagtt time, it was the
most northen post, belonging either to the North
West, or the Hudson Bay Company.
All the waters from this side of the portage, pass
through Lake Winnipick, and finally fall into Hudson's Bay, at York Factory. But, on the other
side of t-fce portage, which is about half a mile
over, the stream, which is called Mis-sin-ni-pi or
Great River, runs in a differefcrt direction, and enters Hudson's Bay, at Churchill Factory, which is
the most northern post belonging to the Hudson
Bay Company.    The river last mentioned, is call- 168
Harmon's journal.
ed, by the Hudson Bay people, Churehill  River,
and by the people from Canada, English River.
Thursday-, August 18. This afternoon, we obtained some dried meat from the Natives, which
we find much more palatable than the salted provisions, on which we have subsisted, ever since
we left Fort William. In the Interiour we never
make use of salted provisions ; not, however, for
want of salt, which is found in most parts of the
country, and which can be obtained in plenty, at
all our establishments.
Tuesday, 23. Islé à la Cross Lake. Ever
since we left PorÉage du Forte de Traite, we have
been in what may with propriety, be called the
English River, though it passes through several small lakes ; and in this river, our way has
been obstructed by thirty six portages.
J Thursday, 25. Isle la Cross fort. This fort
stands on the north side of the lake of the same
name, is well built and has attached to it an excellent kitchen garden. Out of the lake, the best
of white fish are taken, during the whole year ; and
it is the âply place in this country, in which these
fish can be taken, at all seasons.—The Indians
who come to this establishment, are Chippewyans*,
in considerable numbers, and a few Crées. I am
informed that there are, in this vicinity, many
moose and cariboo, and a few black bears, bea- Harmon's journal.
vers,' otters, cats, &c.    The  country is  low ; and
scarcely any mountains are to be seen.
Tuesday, 30. East end of Portage la Loche, or
Loach Portage. This is so named, from a neighbouring lake, where these fish are takèti, in abundance. This portage is twelve miles over ; and
across it, the people are obliged to transport
both canoes and lading. The road, however,
is excellent, through a level country, thinly wooded with cypress. In coming here from Isle la
Cross, we have passed two considerable lakes,
and come up a small river, which is between
those lakes. The country through which we
have passed, is generally level, and the soil
is tolerably good. The streams, before we
cross this portage, discharge themselves into
Hudson's Bay at Churchill Factory ; but afterward, the water, after passing through Athabasca,
Great Slave, and other lakes, enters the North
Sea. H
Saturday, September 3. North west end of
Portage la Loche. We here find a small band of
Chipewyans, who assist our people in transporting our property across the portage, and
who supply us with provisions, which we very
much need, since our former stock is nearly exhausted.
About a mile from this end of the portage is
22 ÏHfe
a h$ll, which towels majestically, to the height of
a thousand feet, above the plain below ; and which;
commands a\ most extensive and de lighted prospect. Two lofty ana extensive ridges, enclose a
valley, about three miles in width*, which stretches,
fer as the eye can- reach. The;iLittle Rigger,
which is, also, by different persons, denominated
Swan, Ciâar water, or Pelican River, winds, in a
mos-t delightful manner, along this charming valley. The majeatick forests, which wave upon
these, ridges, the delightful verdure of the intervening lawn, audi the beautiful stream, which wanders along; through it, giving a pleasing variety to
tJke^ scene, until these objects become blended
with the horizon, form, on the whole, the most delightful,.natural scenery, that I ever beheld.
Sunday, 4. In the morning, we left the Porjfc?
agQgt and are now in Little Athabasca River;.
which i% about twenty rods wide.
Tuesday, 6. We are now in the Great Athabasca Riveu, which is about three quarters of a
mile in breadth. In the early part of the day,
wefipassed the Fork, where Little Athabasca riv-
ear and Red deer, or as some call it,. Elk river,
form a junction*?—At a-, small distance from Portage la Loche, the navigation of the riyeiyis interrupted by severalf carrying places, in about the
middle of which, are some mineral springs, that Harmon's journal.
are evidently impregnated with sulphur, as appears by the incrustations omtHfeir imargms. At
about twenty miles from the Fork, s$*veral bituminous fountains are found, into which a pete of
twenty feet in lengtli, may be plunged, without
the least resistance. The bitumen, which is in a
fluid state, is mixed with gum, or the resinous substance collected from the spruce fir, and is used for
gumming canoes. When heated, it emits a smell,
like that of sea coal.—There are some places,
along this river, which are of many miles inJextent,
where there is scarcely a tree standing, vpfhey
were killed by the fire, and were then thrown
down by theft winds* At these places, a fewM)uffa-
loes, moose and cariboo, are found.
Wednesday, 7. Fort Chipewyan. This fdït
stands on a rocky point, at the south western ".ikA
of Athabasca Lake, ror, as some call it, the Lake
of the Hills.—This is the general rendezv-ous for
all Athabasca. Here the goods are set apart for
all the different posts, in this exteasivee department ; and to this place, the greater number of
persons who have the charge of these posts,^«ne
every fall, to receive their merchandise from
those, who have brought it from the Rainy Lake.
—This place is in N. Lat 58° £0' and W. Long.
111°.       '■•-.■   '■   '     e^^^^b'^  r'."^^^èli
A few Crées, and a greater number of Chipe* 172
wyans, resort to this establishment. The latter
tribe were accustomed, formerly, to take their
furs to Churchill Factory, at Hudson's Bay.
pThey were, generally, six months in performing
the journey ; and many of them have actually
starved to death, on their return home, as the
country through which they passed, is almost destitute of game.—This lake is, in no part of it, more
than fifteen miles wide ; but it is, at least, two
hundred miles long, and extends eastwardly, toward Churchill Factory.       «
About sixty miles from this, down Slave River,
there are several places, where almost any quantity of excellent, clean, white salt may be taken,
with as much ease, as sand/*along the sea shore.
From these places, the greater part of the North
West is supplied with this valuable article.
The country around this place, is low and lev-
1*1$ and, in the spring of the year, much of it is covered with water. A few moose are found, in this
vicinity ; but, the fish of the lake form the principal dependence for food, and they are abundant,
and of an excellent quality.—Every fall and spring,
bustards and geese are found in greater numbers,
than in any other part of the North West.
Wednesday, 21. Ever since my arrival in this
place, people, from almost every corner of this
extensive department, have been flocking in, some HARMON'S JOURNAL,
of whom are from more than a thousand miles
down McKenzie's River, which is nearly north
West from this. Others are from Great Slave
Lake and Peace River. Mr. Simon Frazer has
just returned from the Pacific Ocean. The last
spring, accompanied by two otherfrgentlemen,
twelve Canadians, and two of the Natives, he set
out from New Caledonia, on the west side of the
Rocky Mountain, on this tour. Mr. Frazer states,
that his party met with some ill treatment from
theOIndians who live along the sea coast, but that
they were hospitably received by those wljo
reside farther up the country. The Indians in
that quarter, he says, are less scattered than those
who live on this side of the Rocky Mountain,
and reside, not in tents, but in houses or huts,
constructed of wood. He also reports, that
the country through which they passed, is
far from being well stocked with beavers, or
any other kind of animals ; and that the Natives subsist principally upon fish.
Thursday, 22. This afternoon, in company
with a number of persons, in several canoe^s, I left
Fort Chipewyan; and, after coming two miles in
Athabasca Lake, we entered a small river, whicn
is about thirty six miles long, and which now runs
out of that lake into Peace river ; but, when
this river is high, it discharges itself into the Lake.
1 174
Harmon's journal.
Friday, 23. Peace River. This river is about
seventy rods in breackh, and has a gentle current.
It rises on the west side of the Rocky Mountain,
at the distance of nearly a thousand miles from
Ibis. Below this, it assumes the name of Slave
River ; and, after a course of one hundred and
forty or fifty miles, it discharges itself into Great
Slave Lake.
Sunday, October 2. Fort Vermillion. To this
post, great numbers of Beaver Indians bring their
furs ; and there are a few Iroquois, also, from Canada, who hunt in this vicinity.—About sixty miles
below this, where the river is about thirty rods
wide, there is a||fall, of about twenty feet.
Through the whole course, from this fall nearly
to the Rocky Mountain, at a little distance from
the river, on each side, there are plains of considerable extent, which afford pasture for numerous herds of the buffaloe, the red deer or elk,
and a few moose* Great numbers of black bears
are found, that feed on the berries, which are
abundant on the hills, on both sides of the river.
Friday, 7. Encampment island Fort. This place
is, also established, for the purpose of trading with
the Beaver Indians. They are the only Indians
who live along this noble river, excepting a few
Crées, who occasionally come to this quarter,
from the Lesser Slave Lake. HARMON'S JOURNAL.
Monday, 10. Dunvegan. This is,a well built
fort, pleasantly situated, with plains on each side
of the river, in N. Lat. 56° and W. Lon. 119°.
About the Fort a number of Iroquois hunters,
and a band of Beaver Indians, have encamped,
who have been waiting our arrival, in order to
obtain the articles which they need. At this
place I expect to pass the eia&uing winter. There
will, also, be here, Messrs. D. McTavish, J. G.
McTavish, J. McGillivray, thirty two labouring*
men, nine women and several children, which,
renders this place very different from my solitary
abode the last winter.
Our principal food will be the flesh of the buffaloe, moose, red deer and bear. We have a tolerably good kitchen garden ; and we are in no
fear that we shall want.the means of a comfortable subsistence. We have, also, a provision for the
entertainment and improvement of our minds, in
a good collection of books. The. gentle men who
are to remain with me, are enlightened, sociable
and pleasant companions ; and I hopey therefore,
to spend a pleasant and a profitable winter.
Friday, 14. This morning, my oM friend Me.
F. Goedifee, whom I have been happy to meet? at
this place, left us, with, his company, for St, Johns^
which is. about one hundred arçd twenty? miles up
this river* where he is to pass the ensuing waiter..
•.£§', PK
Harmon's journal.
Saturday, November 12. About a foot of snow
has fallen.
Tuesday, December 20. During the last rfght,
this river froze ovef ; and, at nine o'clock this
morning, the thermometer was at 40 degrees below 0.
Wednesday, January 4, 1809. Sent the express to the Lesser Slave Lake, which lies about
two hundred and fifty miles to the south east
from this, whence it will be forwarded to Fort
des Prairies,
Wednesday, March 1. A band of our Indians
have come in, who went a considerable distance
to the northward, the last autumn, in search of
beavers. They state, that where they were, the
snow fell to an extraordinary depth, in consequence of which, they suffered greatly for want
of provisions. In this vicinity, the snow was, at no
time, more than two feet and an half deep.
Monday, 20. The snow is fast dissolving.—
Mr. A. R. McLeod and company, have just arrived from the Encampment Island ; and they Bring
the melancholy intelligence of the death of Mr.
Andrew McKenzie, natural son of Sir Alexander
McRenzie. He expired at Fort Vermillion, on
the 1st inst. The death of this amiable young
man, is regretted by all who knew him.—They,
also, inform us, that several Canadians have lost HARMON'S JOURNAL.
their lives by famine, in the vicinity of Great
Slave Lake. Those who survived, were under
the necessity of subsisting, several days, upon the
flesh of their dead companions. It is reported,
that one man killed his wife and child, in order tô
supply himself with food, who, afterwards, himself
starved to death. These Canadians came up into
this part of the world, free, to hunt the beaver,
&c. and they were at too great a distance from
our establishments, to receive any aid from us,
until it was too late, for the greater part of
It is not unfrequently the case, that, the surviving part of a band of the Natives, subsist upon
the flesh of their dead companions, when compelled to do it for want of other food, sufficient to
sustain life. I know a woman who, it is said ate
of no less than fourteen of her friends and relations, during one winter. \ In the summer season,
the Indians can find food, almost any wfcere ; but
the case is far otherwise, when the ground is covered with snow, to the depth of several feet
Wednesday, 22. Sent people to look for birch
bark, to make canoes, to take out our returns
to the Rainy Lake. The greater part of the canoes, in which we bring our merchandise into the
country, will not answer to transport our furs below. y|j
$m- Thursday, Apritgû. The weather is mild.
The people, whom we sent for bark^Jiave re-
|grned, with$k>ne hundred and eighty fathoms,
which will make nine canoes, that wiU carry about
two tons burthen, each. Two men will easily
transport one of them on their shoulders, across
the portages. #
Tuesday, 11. Geese and bustards begin to
come from the south. .
Tuesday, 18. This morning, the ice in this
river broke up.    p4
Saturday, May 6. The surrounding plains are
all on fire.—We have planted our potatoes, and
sowed most of our garden seeds.—Our people
are preparing to set out f§r the Rainy Lake.
Thursday, 11. We, yesterday, sent off eleven
canoes, loacfed wi& the returns of this place and
of St John's ; and, early this morning, Messrs. D.
McTavish, h G. ' McTavish, F. Goedike and J.
McGillivray, embarked on'board of two light canoes, bound for the Rainy Lake and Fort William. But I am to pass the ensuing summer, at
this place.—The last winter was, to me, the most
agreeable one that I have yet spent in this country.
The greatest harmony prevailed among us, the
days glided on smoothly, and the winter passed,
almost imperceptibly, away.
Tuesday, 16.    In the morning, Messrs. Simon HARMON'S JOURNAL.
Frazer and James McDougall and company, arrived,! in four canoes. The former gentleman came
from the Rocky Mountain Portage, which is about
one hundred and eighty miles, up this River, The
later is from New Caledonia, mi ' the west side of
the Rocky Mountain, which is distant from this,
about four hundred and fifty miles. After passing
the most of the day with me, they continued their
route toward the Rainy Lake.
Friday, June "2.1 The seeds which we sowed
in the garden, have sprung up, and grow remarkably well. The present prospect is, that strait*
berries, red raspberries, shad berries, cherries, &c.,
will be abundant, this season.
This «liver since the beginning of May, has rkr
en twelve feet perpendicularly ; and it still continues to rise. This circuinsti|ttce arises, in part,
from the large quantity of rain, w7hicji Has lately
fallen, but more, I presume, from the dissolving of
the snow, on and near the Rocky Mountain.
Tuesday, 13. An Indian has come here, who
says, that one of their chiefs has lately died ; and
he requests that we furnish a chief's cleaning to
be put on him, that he may be decently interred ;
and, also, that we would supply a small quantity
of splits, fori his '» relations and friends to drink, at
his interment ; aS of which I have sent, ; jor] the
deceased was a friendly. Indian.    Nothing pleases m
an Indian better, than to see his deceased relatives, handsomely attired ; for he believes that
they will ariftve in the other world, in the same
dress, with which they are clad, when they are
consigned to the grave.
Wednesdayi, July 19.j A few days since, Mr.
John Stuart and company, came here, I from New
Caledonia, for goods ; and to day, they set out on
their return home. During the few days which
that gentleman passed here, I derived much satisfaction from his society. We rambled about
the plains, conversing as we went, and now and
then stopping, to eat a few berries, which are
every whereto be found. He has evidently read
and reflected much. How happy should I be to
have such a companion, during the whole summer*
But such is our mode of life in this country, that
we meet but seldom ; and the time that we remain
together, is short. We only begin to find the ties
of friendship, binding us closely together, when
we are compelled to separate, not to meet again
perhaps for years to come.
Baptiste La Fleur, my interpreter, wM accompany Mr. Stuart and his men, as far as St. John's,
in hopes of obtaining some information respecting
his brother, who, it is supposed, was Milled by
an Indian, the last spring, while on his way
from the Rocky Mountain Portage to St. John's» HARMON S JOURNAL.
Wednesday, July 19. Baptiste La Fleur has
returned from St. Johns, without having been able
to obtain the least intelligence, respecting his
poor brother, and the two Indians, who were coming down the river, in the same canoe with him.
We are, therefore, apprehensive that all three of
them have been drowned, in coming down the
rapids, as their canoe was made of the bark
of the spruce fir tree, and was, therefore, very
Friday, 21. We have cut down our barleys
and I think it is the finest that I ever saw in any
country. The soil on the points of land, along
this river is excellent
The mother of the chief, who died this summer, and who is far advanced in years, now remains in a tent, at the distance of a few rods from
the fort. Many of the Natives, of both sexes,
when they become old and infirm, and unable to
travel with their relations, who depend upon the
chase for subsistence, and are frequently moving
from place to place, settle down near our forts ;
and it is easy for us to render them more effectual
aid, than their friends could possibly afford  them.
Almost everyday, just as the sun is sinking
below the horizon, the old lady, above mentioned,
goes to the place where her deceased son, when
alive, was accustomed to encamp, when he came
to the fort, and there weeps, and sings a mournful
kind of song, of which the following, is a translation. " My dear son, come tome! why do you
leave-me, my son?" This she repeats for two
hours together, in the most plaintive and melancholy tone imaginable.
It is customary for the women, among the
Beaver Indians, when they lose a near relation, to
cut off a joint of one of their fingers ; and, in consequence of so barbarous a custom, we frequently
see some of their aged women, who want the first
two joints of every finger, on both handedf The
men content themselves, on such occasions, by cutting off their hair, close to their heads, and by
scratching or cutting their faces and arms, frequently in a most barbarous and shocking manner.
The Beaver Indians are a peaceable and quiet
people, and, perhaps, the most honest of any, on
the face of the earth. Theft is rarely committed
among them ; and when one of their tribe is
'known to have stolen, he is regarded with a de-
tèsjation, like that which follows a highwayman
ii civilized countries.    Bf Ipj
Formerly, their clothing was made of the
skins of the buffaloe, moose, and red deer, and
their arms were bows and arrows ; but the greater part of them, are now clothed with European
goods, and  are supplied  with fire arms.    They HARMON'S JOURNAL.
have, also, iron axes and knives, in. the place  of
those which were made of stone and of bone.
Friday, September 1. Fowls begin to leave
the north, to go-to the southward.
| Friday, October 6. As the weather begins to
be cold, we have taken our vegetables out of the
ground, which we find to have been very productive.
Saturday, 7. Mr. À. R. McLeod and company,
passed this place, to-day, in three canoes, which
are on their way to the Rocky Mountain Portage,
and thence to New Caledonia. This gentleman
delivered me letters, not only from different ,persons in this country, but also from my relatives below. To be informed, in this way, of the health
and prosperity of*the latter, to attend to the effusions of their hearts, and a detail of many of the
circumstances of their lives, transports me in imagination, for a short season, into the midst of
their, society, and communicates a pleasure resembling that of personal intercourse. Excellent invention of letters ! thus to enable us to keep up
a kind of conversation with beloved friends, while
separated from them by*thousands of miles.
Sunday, February 25, 1810. feOn the evening
of the 15th inst. my woman was delivered $f two
living boys. They appear, however, jj^&bave
been prematurely born ;   and, from the^^, little
(Ml Harmon's journal
hope was entertained that they would long sui*»
vive. One ofthem died on the morning of the
22d, and the other the last night ; and to day,
they were both buried in the same coffin. He
who gave them life, has taken it away. He had
an undoubted right so to do ; and though his ways
are to us, inscrutable, he has the best reasons for
whatever he does. It becomes us, therefore^
humbly to acquiesce in this afflictive dispensation.
Thursday, May 3. This day, the ice in the
river broke up.
Tuesday, 15. Early this morning, Mr. D. Mc
Tavish and company, set out for Fort William ■$
and this afternoon, Mr. J. Clarke and company,
from St John's, passed this, on* their way to the
Rainy Lake. But I shall remain, if providence
permit, at this place, during another summer.
The local situation is pleasant ; and we have good
horses, by means of which, I can, at pleasure make
excursions into the surrounding plains, over which
are scattered buffaloes, moose, red déers, antelopes, black and grey bears, &c I shall have no
intelligent companion, with whom to converse.
But this deficiency will be in a measure supplied,
by a good collection of books, with which I am
furnished. Were it not for this resource, many a
dreary day would pass over me. w
Tuesday, 22. Messrs. J. Stuart, and H. Faries
and company, passed this place in four cannes,
with the%-eturns of New Caledonia and Rocky
Mountain Portage ; and, like many others, t|fey
are on their way to the Rainy Lake.
Saturday, June 23. The last night was so coldj
that the tops of our potatoes were frozen.
This morning, as several red deer were crossing
from the opposite side of the river, one of our
people leaped into a canoe, and pursued them,
and succeeded in killing one ofilhem.
Thursday, September 13. Two men havei$|fc*
rived from New Caledonia, who bring the disagreeable intelligence, that salmon^ this season, do
not come up the rivers of that region, as usual.
As this kind of fish forms the principal article of
food, both for the Natives and white people, it is
apprehended that they will all be under the necessity of proceeding towards the Pacific Ocean,
until they find a people who have been more favoured by Providence. gpf
Wednesday, October 3. We have taken our
potatoes out of the ground, and find, tfat nine
bushels, which we planted the 10th of may last,
have produced a little more than one hundred and
fifty bushels. The other vegetables in our garden
have yielded an increase, touch in the sam#pro-
portion, which is sufficient proof, that the soil of
if» 186
M, '
theipoints of land, along this river, is good. Indeed, T am of opinion, that\wheat, rye, barley,
$ats, pease, &c. would grow well in the plains
around us.
Saturday, OÉober 6.   Mr. John Stuart and company, in  four   canoes,   have   arrived  from   Fort
Chj-piwyan, having on board, goods for the establishment  at thé  Rocfcy  Mountain, Portage   and
New Caledonia.    This gentleman  delivered me
a packet of letters from home, and also a number
of others from gentlemen in this country, one of
which is a joint letter, signed by three of the partners, requesting m#to gomnd superintend the affairs of New Caledonia;   or, if I prefer it, to accompany Mr. Stuart, as second in command to him,
until the next spring, at which time it is presumed,
that I shall have learned sufficient of the state  of
things in that country, to assume the whole  manage merit myself,    ^s Mr. Stuart has passed several years in that parf of the country, the information which his experience  will enable-lfeim to
afford me,  will  bcWof great service.    I prefer,
therefore, accompanying him, tangoing alone, especially in view of the late unfavourable reports
from that country, in regard to the means of subsistence.» S tip
Wednesday, October 10.    St. John's.    On the
7th Mr. Stuart and* myself, with our company,
m Harmon's journal.
left Dunvegan ; and this evening, we arrived here.
The current in the river begins to be much stronger than we found it below Dunvegan. On both
sides of the river, are hills of a considerable
height, wWch are almost destitute of timber of
any kind. At different places, we saw buffaloes,
red deer, and bears. During our passage to this
place, t&e weather has been bad. The snow and
rain Have been very unpleasant, unprotected
against them, as we are, in our open canoes.
Thursday, 11. In-the early part of the day,
our people were busily employed in preparing
provisions to take with us to New Caledonia.
This afternoon, Mr. Stuart and company embarked in three canoes', for the Rocky Mountain Portage. Havilg a little business stiBf'to
transact, I shall pass the night here.
Monday, 15. Rocky Mountain Portage Fort.
We here find nearly eight iriehes of snow.
Mr. Stuart and company reached here yesterday ; and I arrived this morning. Between this
place and St. John's, .the river is very rapid,
its banks are high, and the country, on both
sides of it, is generally clotfed with small timber. Ever since our arrival, we have been employed in delivering goods for this place, tod dividing the remainder among our people, to be
taken on their backs, to the other   end  of the
aa-ttm 188
portage, which is twelve miles over, through a
rough and hilly country. We |pave our canoes
and take others, at the other end of the carrying place.
From the great Slave Lake to this place,
thejie are few rapids, and only one fall jar but at
several places, the current is very strong. Yesterday, we came up one of these places ; and
an*^ as our progress was very slow, I w-éftt on
shore alone, to walk along the beach. Having
proceeded • some distance, I arrived at a place
whicfe I could not pass, without making a con-
sic|§rable turn into the woods. I, therefore, left
the side of the river, and, after having walked
a mile or two, I fell upon a well beaten footpath, which I supposed would -lake me directly
to the fort. After I had followed ii for several
miles, I perceived that it had been trodden by
wild animals, and was as I thought, leading me
in a different direction from that which I ought
to have taken. I was unwilling to retrace my
steps ; and I, therefore,, proceeded in a different
direction,, hoping sooS to come to the rhmr, farther up than the place where I left it I marched a good pace&for a considerable time, through
the snow, eight inches in depth, until I found
myself in a swamps country, thickly wooded,
when the sun was Just sinking below the^ hori- HARMON'S JOURNAL.
zon. Even while the light lasted, I knew not
which way to steer ; but it soon became so dark,
that I could not distinguish any object, at the
distance of more than ten yards from me. I had
no means of striking fire ; and without this cheering element, it would have been uncomfortable
and unsafe encamping. I must have suffered severely with the cold; and might have been torn
in pieces by wild beasts, which are numerous in
this region. I concluded it best, therefore, to
continue walking,?%ntil the light of the morning
should enable me to find the bank of the river.
Contrary to myafexpeetation, however, a kind
Providence directed my way, out of that dreary
swamp, where at every step, I sunk up fo my
knees^wsnow, mud and water.
With great joy, about ten o'clock, I reached
the river side, which I followed down, some distance, where I found our people, encamped
around a large and cheering firefe During the
greater part of this excursion, the^aift poured
down in torrents. |f|
Wednesday, 17. North West end of the Rocky
Mountain Portage. In the morning, J^Ir. S. myself and our company, left the fort ; and, this
evening, we reached this place, where we find
some of our people, repairing four, erazy, old canoes, in  which, I  should  Suppose  mat  no   one 19Ô
would be willing to embark, who attaches much
value to life. The remainder of our hands are
employed in transporting oîmr baggage, which is
still behind, to this place. They are assayed in
doing this, by some of the NativelpH^ho are Sieau-
nies. They have just retuiteed from the otker
side of the Rocky Mountain, where they go to
pass the summer months. During the winter
season, they remain on this side of the Mountain,
where they-^find buffaloes, moosefmnd deer. On
the other side, non|f of these aiSmals|Éxceptî©g a
few straggling ones," are to be found.
The Sicaunies are a quielj^inoffensive people,
whose situation exposes them to peculiar difficulties
and disttfesses. When they proceed to the west
side of the mountain, the Natives of that region,
who are Tacullies and Atenâs, attack and kill
many of them ; and when they are on this side,
the Beaver Indians and Crées, are continually
making war upon them. Being thus surrounded
by enemies, against whom they are too feeble
successfully to contend, they frequently suffer
much for want of food ; for • when on the west
side, they dare not, at all tjlries, visit those places,
where fish are in plerÉy, and when on the east
side, they are frequently afraid to visit those parts,
where animals abound. They are compelled,
therefore, oftentimes to sdblfpt  upon the  roots, Harmon's journal.
which they find in^ie mountains, and which barege
iy enable them to sustain life;   and their emaciated bodies frequently bear  witness, to the scan?
tiness of th-^r fare.
We here beginMto see lofty mountains at a dij|^
tance.    This place is in the 56°of North Latitude,
and K21° of We^j Longitude.
Monday±M2. It has snowed and rained, during the whole of this day.—We are now in the
heturt of the Rocky Mountain, the lofty summits of
which, on each s^e of the rijfer, tower, majestically *#£>ward the «heavens, and are perpetually whitened by snows, that are never dissolved, by
solar heat. They are by far the highest mountains that I have ever seen. The tipaber, which
grows upon them, is chiefly spruce fir, bircj| and
poplar. It is a curious fact, in the geography of
North America, that so many of the lakes§nd hirers, on the west side of this loftj|range of mountains, discharge their waters through one narrow
passage, in this great barrier, and eventually enter
the North Sea.
Wednesday, 2%? Although we have fqund
the current in this river very strong*j|ever
since we left the Rocky Mountain Portage, yet,
until this day, we ^ave found no placeijwhere we
were under the necessity of unloading our canoes,
in order  to  stem the current    Thfe afternoon, 192
Harmon's journal.
just as we got through the ijjpuntain, we passed
Finlay's or the Nortli Branch, whfeh appears to
be of about the same magnitude as the South
Branch, w7hich we are following. These two
branches tajçe their rise in very* different directions* The source of the South Branch, is in the
Rocky Mountain, at the distance of nearly two
hundred milesfcffrom the place where we now are..
The North Branch runs out of a very large lake,
called by the Natives Musk-qua Sa-ky-e-gun, or
Bears Lake. This lake, which is so large that the
Indians^iever attempt to cross it in their canoes,
and which, those who reside at the east end of it*>
affirm, extends to the Western Ocean, is situated
nearly west from the place where the two branches form a junction, at the distance, as is thought
of about one hundred and fifty miles. Both bran-
çhes,vbefore their junction, run along th^éfoot of
the mountain, as if in search of a passage §ferough.
Thursday, November 1. McLeooVs Lake Fort.
This place is situated in 55° North Latitude, and
124 West Longitude. The country lying between this place and Finlay's Branch, is thickly
covered with timber, on both sides of the river ; and, on the right, in coming up, the*land is
low and leve|jj Mountains, it is true, are to be*
seen H*but they appear at a considerable distance.
We have ndl seen a large $t?aimal,  nor even the Harmon's journal.
track of one, since we left the Rocky Mountain Portage. About twenty miles from this
place, we left Peace River, and have come up a
small river, of five or six rods in breadth, which,
a little belovil this, passes through a small lake.
Here, we leave our canoes, and take our goods
by land, to the establishment at Stuart's Lake,
which place is situated nearly one hundred miles
to the west from this. There is a passage by
water to that lake ; but it is so circuitous, that
we could not make it in less^han twelve or fifteen
McLeod's Lake may be sixty or seventy miles
in circumference. Small white fish and trout are
here taken ; but those who reside here subsist,
during the greater part of the year, on dried
salmon, which are brought in the winter, on
sledges, drawn by dogs, from Stuart's Lake.
The Indians who frequent this establishment,
are Sicaunies, and belong to the same tribe with
thfcse, who take their furs to the Rocky Mountain
Portage. Their dialect differs but little from that
of the Beaver Indians. They appear to be in
wretched circumstances, frequently suffering
much for want of food; and they are often
driven to the necessity of subsisting on roots.
There are but few large animals, in this part of
the country; and when the snow is fivelor six feet
!»-=- 194
deep, as is frequently the case in the winter, few
beavers can be taken, nor can many fish be caught,
in this cold season of the ycaiN|Yet after all the
difficulties which these people encounter, in procuring a subsistence, such is their attachment to
the countryiihat gave them birth, that they
would not wittingly exchange it, for any other part
of the world.
Wednesday, 17m Stuarfs Lake. This lake is
called by the Natives Nuck-awsJay, and the^es-
tablishment on it, where we now are, is,situated
in 54° 30' North Latitude, and in 125° West Longi-
tude. On the third» instant, I left Mr. Stuart at
MçLeod's Lake, where he designs to pass the
winter; and, accompanied by thirteen labouring
men, I arrived at this place, this afternoon. In
coming here, I passed over an uneven country*
which is in general thickly covered with timber.
We saw, on our way, several lakes or ponds, one
of which was about six miles long.
This fort staiids in a very pleasant place, on a
rise of ground, at the east end of Stuart's Lake,
which I am-informed, is at least three hundred
miles in circumference. At the distance of about
two hundred rods from the fort, a considerable river
runs out of the lake, where the Natives, who call
themselves Tâcullies, have a village or rather a
few small huts, built of wood.    At these they re- Harmon's journal.
main during the season for taking and drying salmon, on which they subsist, during* the greater
part of the year.
Monday, 12. I have sent J. M. Quesnel, accompanied by ten labouring men, with a small assortment of goods, to Frazer's Lake, to reestablish the post there. That lake lies nearly fifty
miles due west from this. We understand that
the Indians, this fall, have taken and dried a coii»-
siderable quantity of salmon^Éjn that vicinity. I
have also sent people to the other side of this
lake, hoping they will take a few white fish, although the season, in which we usually take them,
is nearly past
Wednesday, 14. The lake, opposite to
the fort, froze over the last night. To day
Mr. Stuart and company, arrived from McLeod's
Saturday, 17. We have now about eight indies of snow on the groftnd.
Sunday, 18. Mr. Stuart and company, have
gone to Frazer's Lake. I accompanied them to
the other side of this lake, where I saw #11 the
Indians belonging to the village in this yicfeity.
They amount to about oneifundred soulsf&re Very
poorly clothed, and, to us, appear to be in wretched
circumstances ; but they are, notwithstanding, contented and chelerful.    My interpreter informs tfië.
mo s 196
that their language strongly resembles that spoken by the Sicaunies ; and no doubt they formerly constituted a part of the same tribe, though
they now differ from them*, inÉtheir manners and
customs, j The Sicaunies bury, while the TacuI-
lies, burn their dead.
Monday, 26. The corpse of a woman of this
place, who died on the 20th instant, was burned this
afternoon. While the ceremony was performing,
the Natives made a terrible savage noise, by howling, crying, and a kind of singing.
Saturday, December 29. Frazer's Lake. In
coming to this place, I passed through a country,
which is very rough, and thickly covered with timber, consisting of spruce, fir, poplar, aspin, birch, cypress, &c. We crossed one considerable mountain, and several small lakes.
This establishment is at the east end of Frazer's Lake, which received its name from that of
the gentleman, who first built here, in 1806. At
the distance of about a mile from this, there runs
out of this lake, a considerable river, where the
Natives have a large village, and where they
take and dry salmon. This lake may be eighty
or ninety miles in circumference, and is well
supplied with white fish, trout, &c.
Tuesday, January 1, 1811. This being the
first day of another year, our people have passed Harmon's journal.
it, according to the custom of the Canadians, in
drinking and fighting. Some of the principal Indians of this place, desired us to allow them to remain at the fort, that they might see our people
drink. As soon as they began to be a little intoxicated, and to quarrel among themselves, the Natives began to be apprehensive, that something
unpleasant might befal them, also. They, therefore hid themselves under beds, and elsewhere,
saying, that they thought the white people had
run mad, for they appeared not to know what
they were about. They perceived that those
who were the most beastly in the early part of
the day, became the most quiet in the latter part,
in view of which, they exclaimed, | the senses of
the white people have returned to them again,"
and they appeared not a little surprised at the
change ; for, it was the first time, that they had
ever seen a person intoxicated.
Sunday, 27. This day the Natives have burned the corpse of one of their chiefs, who died in
the early part of this month. Shortly after his
death, one of his nieces painted her face with ver-
million; and, in other respects arrayed herself in
the gayest manner possible. Her mother, observing this unbecoming conduct, reproved her in the
following manner. " Are you not ashamed, my
daughter," said she, " to appear so gaily clad, so
- I
I .
Wf m
soon after the decease of your uncle ? You ought
rafner to daub your face with black, and to cut
your hair short to your head.*' This reproach for
the apparent destitution of natural affeelïbfl, so afflicted the girl, that, soon after, she went ftto a
neighbouring wood, and hung herseifpfro» the
limb of a tree. Happily for her, however, some
people passed that way, before she had long been
in this situation, and took her down. She was, at
.first, senseless ; but soon after recovered.—Instances of suicide, by hanging, frequently occur, among
the women of all the tribes, with whom I hâve
been acquaSted ; but the men are seldom known
to take away their own lives.
Wednesday, 30. Two nights since, an Indian
cut atiole in a window in my room, which is made
of parcnment, at the distance of not more than
two feet from the foot of my bed, where I lay
asleep, and took from a table, near it, several articles of clothing-. The next morning, two other
Indians brought back to me a part of the stolen
property, and informed me who the thief Was, and
where he could be found. Soon after, accompanied by my interpreter, I went, and found the
young villain, in a hut under ground, along with
about twelve others, who are as great thieves as
himself. I told him, that, as he was young, I hop-
eU tSis  was the first time   he  had ever been Harmon's journal-.
guil|fffof theft ; and, provided he would return 411 the property whic|$ he had taken away, I
would forgive this offence ; but if he should ever
in future be guilty of any misconduct toward uf, he
might depend on being severely punished. I then
returned to our house ; andj shortly after, two Indians brought me the remainder of the property
w|nch had been §j^en, and I gave them a little
ammunition, for havo»g made known *§be thief.—
Nearly all the Tâcullies, or Carriers as we call
them, are m$feh addicted to pilfering; but there
are few among them who dare steal from us.
Friday, February^!5. Yesterday and to-day,
we found the cold to be more intense, than at
any other time this season.
J^Ionday, 18. Baptiste Bouche, my interpreter, has taken the daughter of one of the Carrier
chiefs, as a wife. She is the first woman of that
tribe, ever kept by any of the white people.
Friday, April 5. Stuartfs Lake. In the morning, I !eft#and abandoned the post at Frazer's
Lake, and arrived here this evening.
Monday, 15. The weather is pleasant, and
seems to presage an early spring.—Swans and
ducks of several kinds, have passed *%È%e winter
with us ; but bustards and geese, now-gfirst begin
to make their appearance. *
m fa 200
Harmon's journal.
Sunday, 21, A few days since, I sent the
greater part of my peopfe to McLeod's Lake, to
prepare for the voyage from that place to the
Rainy Lake. Tomorrow, I shall leave this place
myself, in company with Mr. Quesnel and others,
for McLeod's Lake. I shall take with me my little son George, who was three years old last December, for the purpose of sending him to my
friends in the Onited States, in order that he may
receive an English education. Mr. J. M. Quesnel
will have the care of him, until he shall arrive at
Montreal. \
Wednesday, 24 McLeooVs Lake. I find Mr.
Stuart and the men very busy, in preparing for
the voyage to the Rainy Lake.—The spring
here is less advanced, by fifteen days, than it
was at Stuart's Lake. This great difference of
climate, I conclude, is owing to the fact, that
this place lies nearer the mountains.
Wednesday, May 8. People have just arrived from Stuart's Lake, who inform me that
the mother of my son was delivered on the
25th ultimo, of a daughter, whom I name Polly
As the ice in Peace River begins to be bad,
it is expected that a few days hence the navigation will be opened, when Messrs. Stuart^
Quesnel, and their company, will   embark, with Harmon's journal.
the returns of this place,*lfor the Rainy Lake.
Tomorrow, I design to return to Stuart's Lake,
where I expect to pass the ensuing tarn mer. ^lut
my attention is chiefly taken up with the separation, which is soon*^> take place between me and my
beloved sot& A few months hence, he will be at
^Jgreat distance from his affectionate father ; and,
it may be, I shall never more see him, in 4his
World. No consideration could induce me to send
him down, especially while he$érfso young, excej&#
ingthe th^ght, that he w#i soo^: be undertfthe
fostering care of my kind relatives, who will be
able to educate him much better than it would be
possible for me to do, in this savage country. As
I do that which I|appreheBfd will be for the benefit of my little son, so I earnestly pray, that God
would graciously protect him, in his absence from
Sunday, 12. Stuart's Lake, ejlere, I arrived
ftis afternoon, after paving passed four of the
most disagreeable days that I ever experienced.
My|spirits were dejected, in view of the departure of my child ; the snow, which was three feet
in depth, had become softened by the late warm
weather, so that walking was attended w4i|fgreat
ligftigue; I broke my snow shoes, orçthe way,
which the*fjjp|iaiMlad with me mended as well as
our circumstances would permit, though but poor-
26 202
ly ; and finally we had scarceljÊJjlny thing to^at.
I am.happy, therefore, to find myself atw platj^N
where I can enjoy a little  repose^  after  such  an
unpleasant jaunt.
Tuesday, 21. This afternooifisthe ice in th0
lake broke up. Musquetoes begin to come Étbout ;
anà^troublesome companions they are in the wilderness.   cAfl*3
Wednesday, 22. As the frost is now outjioi
the ground, we ha«e plabted our potatoes, and
sowed barley, turnips. &c. whjfch are the first that
we ever sowed, on this wrest açde of the mountain.
—-We now tak-fetrpjut in this lakef^ith ^ghooks
and lines, in considerable numbers ; but they are
not of a good kind.—It is, perhaps, a little remarkable, that pike or pickerel have never been found
in any of the lakes and rivers^n the west side of
the Rocky Mountain.
Tuesday, June 11. Three Indians have arrived from Sjicus, a village, lying about one hundred
and thirty miles down this river, who say, that it
is reported by others, from farther down, that
the^e is a very extraordinary and powerful being
on his way here, frein the sea, who, when he arrives, will transform me into a stone, as well as
perform many other miraculous deeds y and the
simple and credulous Natives fuftj? believe this report Harmon's journal.
Sunday, 16. A number of Indians have arriv-
edffin six large wooden canoes, from the o&er end
ofifiÉI lake ; and among them are twi& a father
and his son, who say, thatàthey belong to a tribe,
who call themselves Nâte-eie-tains. These are
the first of that nation, whom we hmve ever see»
here. They state, thg^i their tribe is numerous,
and scattered, in villages, over a large extent-^of
country, lying directly west from this ; and that it
m not more than*tfive#r six days' march, to their
nearest iwillage. They, also, inform us, that a
large river passes through their country, and at
no considerable distance from it, enters the Pacifié
Ocean. They, likewise, say, that a number^ of
wBite people come up thatrpyer, ia barges, every
auÉumn, in order to trade viith the Indians, who
reside aleng its shores. But I could no^learn
ifirom them, to what nation those white people belong. I imagine, however, that Jbey, are Americans, who come round Cape Horn,^|o carry on,
what is called a coasting trade ; fcMlfl cannoisearn
that they et&r attempted to make establishments,
along the sea coast.
Tuesday, July 2. Yesterdayg. five Sicaunies
came here, from McLiiod's Lake, who form a
small war partp Their leader, or war enief desired me to allow them to go where they might
think proper ;  upon which, I inquired 1>f them, 204
whither they wished to direcdMheir course* and
whatilheir business was. The speaker replied,
thfrt, when they left their lands, their intention
was to go and try to take a scalp or two from the
Indians of Frazeils Lake, " who," he added, " have
done us no injury. But we have lost a relation ;
and we must try to revenge his death, on some
one."—This is a custom common to a greater or
less extent to all the tribes.
I asked him whether he supposed that^Stë^,
supplied them with guns and ammunition, to enable them^ko destroy their fellow creatures, or to
kill the beaver, &c. I added, that should they,
in the fell, bring in an hundred scalps, they could
not, with them all, procure a pint of rum, or a
jfdpe full of tobacbo ; but, if they would bring leaver skiifls, they would be able to purefcase the articles which they would need. After reflecting
for some time on what I had said, th«&speaker informed me, that they would, in compliance^ith
my advice, relÉrn and hunt the beaver ; and they
performed their promise, by proceeding immediately to their own lands.
Monday, 29. Several days since, one of our
men, who remains at McLeod's Lake, came here
with the information, that there were Indians
lurking ât^fanéi that foist, waiting, as was supposed, for? a «favourable   opportunity to   attack ■
it illpirccordingly, went over^oping that I should
be able to ascertain who they were ; but 1 have
not been able to obtain the least information re-
specting£them. Probably, tftey had not courage
to Hiake the attack, and have retuined to their
own lands^
Shad berries begin to ripen, which is about
twenty days later than they ripen, in the same
Latitude, on the east side of the Rocky Mountain, (p
^Friday, August 2b Our whole stock of provisions in the fort, for ten persons, consists of five salmon, only. It is impossible, at thàfeseason, to take
fish out of this lake or Iriver. Unless the salmon
from the sea, soon make their appearance, our
condition will be deplorable.
Saturday, 10. Sent all our people, consisting
of men, womenvand children, to gather berries at
Pinchy, a village about twelve miles distant from
this, toward the other end of this lake. At no
great distance from that village, as liam informed,
there is a small lake, out of whjph thé Natives
take small fish, whiéh very much resemble a salmon in shape and in flavour, which aref no&more
than six inches long. They are said to be ver^y
palatable ; but, if they were not so, they Would
be very acceptable to^s, m our present circumstances.   jÊÊmk 206
Harmon's journal
Thursday, 22. One of the Natives has caught
a salmon, which is joyful intelligence to us all ; for
we hope and expert, that, in aMew days, we shall
have them in abundance. These fish visits to a
greater or less extent, all the rivers ia#his region,
and form the principal dependence of the iiiM-$i-
tants, as the means of subsistence.
Monday, Septembe$é2. We now^ave the
common salmon in abundance^&They weigh from
five to seven pounds. There are, also, a few of a
larger kind^iwbieh witt&weigh sixty or seventy!
pounds. Both of them are verylgood, when just
taken out of the water. Bat* when driedjtes they
are by the Indians here, by the heat of the sun, or
m the smoke of a fire, theljpare not very palatable.
When salted, they are excellent4
As soon as the salmon come into this lake,
they go in search of the rivers and brooks, that
fall Hjfco it ; and these streams they aljeend so far
as there is water to enable them to swim ; and
Titien they can proceed no farther up, they remain thereland die. None were ever seen to descend these streams. They aife found dead in such
numbers, in some places, as to infect ifae atmosphere, with a terriblèestench, for a considerable
distanc^round. But, even when they are in a
putrified  statejjlthe   Natives   frequently   gather
fl Harmon's journal.
them up and eat them* apparently, with as gtfBat
a relish, as if they were fresh.
Tuesday, 17. Between nine and ten o'clock,
this forenoon, the sun was eclipsed, for nearly
half an hour, which event alarmed the Natives
greatly; for they considered it as foreboding some
great^Kalamity, about to fall* upon them. They
therefore cried and hgjwled, making a savage noise.
Theire priests or magicians took their hands full of
swai% down, and blew it through their hands to-
ward the sun, imploring that great luminary to accept of the offering, thus made to hinf| to be put
onv#he head of hisksons, when iingaged in dancing*
and to spare the Indian^ They suppose that the
sun has children, whqj^ike those of the Carriers,
are fibd of putting swan's down on their heads,
when they dance.—I explained to them the cause
of the darkness ; at which they appeared both
pleased and astonished, and aeknowledgedAthat
myjiaccount of the subject was rational, but won-
der^how I could obtain a knowledge^ of sucjp
hidden and mysterious things.
Monday, 23. Bustards and geesejplginipto
come from the north. |||
In the early part of the day, I found it necessary to chastise the chief of this village, with considerable severity.    He is the first Indian tîl^J I
■ I
Harmon's journal.
have  ever struck during a residence  of eleven
years, in this savage country,^
The following circumstances attended this
transaction. The name of the Indian, whft. was
chastised, was Quâs. He had a friend, who was
a worthless fjdiow, to whom he wished me to ad-
Vance goods on^jredit, which I declined doing for
two reasons. The first was, that I did not believe that the Indiaoawould ever payo<me for
them. The other was, that Quâs wished to make
the Indians believe, that he had a great deal f$f
influence over us, which would be prejudicial to
our interest, if he should effect it. He tried||rery
method, which he could Revise, to persuade me to
advance the goods, but to no ^purpose ; for I perceived what was his object. He then told me,
that he saw no other difference between me and
himself, but this only : 'you,' said he, j know how
to read and write ; but j do not Do not I manage my affairs as well, as you do yours ? You
keep your fort in order, and make your slave%*§
meaning my men, ' obey you. You send a great
way off for goods, and y^ are rich and want for
nothing. But do not I manage my affairs as well
as you do yours ? When did you ever hear that
Quâs was in danger of stalling ? When it is the
proper season to hunt thai beaver, I kill them;
and of their flesh I make feasts for my relations. Harmon's journal.
1, often, feast all the Indians of my village ; and,
sometimes, invite people from afar off, to come
and partake of the fruits of my hunts. I know
the season when fish spawn, and, then send my
women, with the nets which they have made, t©
take them. I never want for any thing, and my
family is always well clothed."—In this manner,
the fellow proceeded, for a considerable time.
I told him that what h^ had said, concerning
himself and his family, was true ; yet, j^addedyn' I
"am master of my own property, and ^hall depose
of it as I please. ' Well,' said he, ; have yo^-ever
been to war ? ' No,' replied* I, I por do I desire to
take the life of any of my fellow créatures.' 'I
have been to war,' continued he, ; and hayff
brought home many of the ^jalps of my e^einiès.'
I was now strongly tempted to beat him, as his
object manifestly was, to intimidate me. But I
wished to avoid a quarrel, which might be evil in
its consequences ; and especially to evincjg^to ^he
Indians, vfbo were spectators of what passed between us,|>that I was disposed to ftye in peace
with them.—-Quâs proceeded to try me another
w-ay. He. asked me if I would trust him with a
small piece of cloth, to make him a breech cloth?
This I consented to do, and went into the store, .
to measure it off. He followed me together with
my interpreter, and ten or twelve other  Indians.
27 il 210
Harmon's journal.
I tttok up a piece   of cloth, and asked him, if he
Would hâve it from that ?    He answered, no.    I
then made  a similar inquiry, respecting anot|*er
piece, to w7hich  he made a similar reply.    This
persuaded me, that his only object was to provoke
me to  quarrel   with   him.    I,   therefore,  threw
down the  cloth, and told him,  if he  would not
have that, he should have this, (meaning a square
yard stick which I had  in  my hand) with which
I gave him a smart blow over the head, which
cut-ljit, considerably.    I   then   sprang   over  the
Counter, and pelted him, for aljout five minutes,
during which time, he continually called   to his
companions,  all of whom   had   kftives  in their
hands, to come and take me off.    But, they re-
plied that they could not, because   there   were
IfÉvo other white people in the room, who would
prevent them.     It was happy for us that these
Indians stood in such fear of us ;   for there were
only four white men, at this time   in   the   fort,
and .they  could   easily have   murdered  us.—As
Quâs and his company left us, he told me that
he would see me agatH tomorrow, when the sun
should be nearly in the south, meaning Jaetween
ten and twelve o'clock.
Monday,  October 7.    The next  day after I
dÈtatised the Indian, as above described, he seaf
eWé of his wives to request me, either to come Harmon's journal.
%nd see him, or to send him some medicine. I,
therefore, sent him some salve, with which to
dress the wound in his head.—A few days after,
he became so well as to be able to hunt ; and
he killed and brought#home a number of beavers, with which he yesterday made a feast.
He sent an invitation to me to attend this feast ;
and I concluded that it would be necessary for
me to go, or he might think «that I was afraid
of him. I, accordingly, put a brace of pistols
in my pocket, and hung a sw|©rd by my side,
and directed my interpreter to arm himself in a
similar manner, and to accompany me. We proceeded to the house of the chief, where we found
nearly an hundred Indians, assembled. As soon
as we arrived, he requested us to be seated. He
then rose, and stood in the middle of the circle,
formed by the guests, and with a distinct and
elevated voice, made a long harangue, in which
he did not forget to make mention of the beating which he had lately received jjpm me. He
said, if it had been given to him by any person
but the Big Knife (the name which they give to
me) he would have either lost his own life, or
have taken that of the person attacking him.
But now, he said, he considered himself as my
wife; for that was the way, he said, that he
treated his women (of whom he has four) when 212
harmon's journaê.
they behave ill. He said, that he thanked me
Tor what I had done, for it had. given him sense.
—To this 1 replied, that, in a remote country,
I had left my iriends and relations, who wanted for none of the. good things of this world,
and had come a |jjreat distance, with such articles as the Indians greatly needed, and which I
would exchange for their furs, with which I could
purchase more ; and in this way, I coujd always
supply their necessities ; that I considered the
Indians as my children, and that I must chastise
them when they behaved ill, because it was for
their good. ' You afl know,' said I, ? that I treat
good Indians well, and that I strive to live in
peace with you.'—Yes,' replied the father-in-law
to the chief^ t Big Knife speaks the truth. My
son had no sense, and vexed him, and therefore
deserved the beating which he has received.'—
Quâs then told the Indians, that if he ever heard
of any of them laughing at him for the beating
which he had received, he would make them
repent of their mirth.
After this the feast was served up in a manner, which I shall describe in another place.—
It will be seen, by this account, that the white
people have a great ascendency over the Indians ;
for, I believe that this chief is not destitute of
bravery.    But jt is very necessary, in order to HARMON'S JOURNAL.
secure ourselves from aggression, that we manifest that we are not afraid of them.
Saturday, 12. During the last three days, it
has snowed continually ; and it has fallen to the
depth of nearly two feet.
Monday, 21. We have now in our store,
twenty five thousand salmon. Four in a day are
allowed êo each man.—I have sent some of our
people to take whit# fish.
Thursday, 31. Two men have arrived from
McLeod's Lake, and have delivered me several
letters, one of which, from Mr. James McDougall,
who accompanied our people from the Rainy
Lake, informs "ne, that the canoes were stopped
by the ice, on the 12th inst. about three days'
maJfeh below McLeod's Lake, where they still remain, together with the property which they had
on board.
Saturday, November 16. Our fishermen have
returned to the fort, and inform me that they
have taken seven thousand white fish. These
fish, which, singly, will weigh from three to four
pounds, were taken in nine nets, of sixty fathoms
Sunday, 17. Clear and cold. The last night,
the lake, opposite to the fort, froze over.—The
greater part of the snow, which fell in October, is
now dissolved.
M 214
Friday, December 13. On the 20th ult I set
off, accompanied by twenty of my people, for the
goods which were stopped by the taking of the
ice in Peace River, the last OcÉober. We all returned this evening accompanied by MrU§McDou-
gall, who has come to pass the holidays wfth ife.
Our goods were drawn on sledges by dogs. Each
pair of dogs drew a load of from two hundred, to
two hundred and fifty pounds, besides provisions
for themselves and their driver, which would
make the whole load about three hundred pounds.
I have seen many dogs, two of which would draw
on a sledge, five hundred pounds, twenty miles, in
five hours. Forashort distance, two of our stoutest dogs will draw more than a thousand pounds
weight In short, there is no animal, wj$h w7hich
I am acquainted, that would be able to render
half the service that our dogs do, in this country,
where the snow is very deep in the winter season.
They sink but little into it, in following a person
on snow shoes.
Wednesday, January 1, 1812. This tiling the
first day of the year, Mr. McDougall and I dined
with all our people, in the hall. After our repast was ended, I invited several of tile Sicauny
and Carrier chiefs, and most respectable men, to
partake of the provisions which we had left ; and
I was surprised to see them behave with much de- HARMON S JOURNAL.
ceàey, and even propriety, while eating, and while
drinking a flagon or two of spirits.
After they had finished their repast, they
smoked their pipes, and cod-versed rationally, on
the great difference which there is, between the
manners and customs of civilized people, and those
of the savages. They readily conceded, that ours
are superior to theirsl^
Tuesday, 7. On the 4th inst accompanied by
several af our people, I set off fôf Tachy, a village, toward the other end of this lake. We
there saw'a number of Indians, who appear to be
very indolent, and who are,-of course, wretchedly
clad, and not better fed. From that place, we
proceeded up a considerable river, about half a
days' march, to another village? inhabited chiefly
by Sicaunies, who appear to be more industrious
than the inhabitants of the former village ; and,
therefore, they are better clothed, and live more
comfortably. Theirfcprincipal food consists of salmon, white fish, and trout; and they, at times,
kill a beaver, or a cariboo. The country around
the lake is hilly ; bu%? on both sides of this river,
it is level ; and from the appearance of the 'timber which grows on it», I should thinfe*#hat $the
soil is not bad.
Monday, 13.    On the 9th inst. a Sicauny died
at this place; and the following circumstances at-
'"Q 216
Harmon's journal.
tended his incineration, to day.—The corpse was
placed on a pile of dry wood, with the face upwards, which was painted and bare. The body
was covered with a robe, made of beaver skins,
and shoes were on the feet. In short, the deceased was clothed in#the same manner as when^alive,
only a little more gaily. His gun and powder
horn, together with every trinket which he had
possessed, were placed by his side. As they were
about to set fire to the wood, on wrhich the deceased lay, one of his brothers asked him if he
would ever come among them again ; for, they
suppose that the soul of a person, after the
death of the body, can revisit^the earth, in
another body. They must, therefore, believe in
the immortality, though they cqnneet with it
the transmigration, of the soul.
The deceased had two wives, who were
placed, the one at the head, and the other at
the foot ofi^the corpse ; and there they lay until the hair of their heads was nearly consumed by the flames, and they werefi almost suffocated by the smoke. When alrnostjffsenseless,
they rolled on the ground, to a little distance
from the fire. As soon as they had recovered
a little strength, they stood up, and began j to
strike the burning corpse with both their hands
alternately ;   and this disgusting, savage ceremo-
ny was   continued,   until   the   body was   nearly
consumed.    This operation was   interrupted   by
theiiwfrequent turns of fainting, arising from the
-i&tpnsity of the h$at    If they did not soon re-
ipover from these turns, and commence ^ie   operation of sf rikingjjthe corpse,   the   men   would
seize$jthera b» |be little remaining hair on their
Jbeads, and push them into the  flames, in order
„|p compel them to do it.     This^'violence   was
.especially used toward one of the wives of the
deceased,   who   had   frequently run   away from
him, while hepwas living.
When the body was nearly burned to ashes,
the wives ofithe deceased gathered up these ashes, and the remaining pieces of bones, which they
.put into bags.    These bags they will be compelled ito carry upon their backs, and to lay by their
sides, whep they lie down at night, for about two
years.    The relations of the deceased will then
make a feast, and enclose these bones and ashes
in a box, and deposit them under a shed, erected
i&r  that purpose, in the centre  of the village.
Until this time, the widows are kept in a kind of
slavery, and are required to daub their faces over
with some black substance, and to appear clothed
with rags, and frequently to go without any clothing, excepting » round their  waists.    But, at the
time of this feast, they are set at liberty from
these disagreeable restrains.
Thursday, 30. On the 17th inst. accompanied
by Mr. McDougall, twelve of my men and two
Carriers, I set oiit on a journey to the territor^pf
the Nâte-ote-tains, a tribe of Indians, who have never had any intercourse with white people, and few
of whom have ever seen them. After travelling,
with all possible expedition, Curing seven days,
generally on lakes, we arrived at their first village.,
The inhabitants were not a little surprised and
alarmed to see people come among them, whose
complexion was so different from their own. As
their village stands on a rise of ground, near to a
large lake, they saw us coming, when we were at
a considerable distance from them ; and the men,
women and children came out to meet us, all of
whom were armed, some with bows and arrows,
and others with axes and clubs. They offered no
offence ; but, by many savage gestures they manifested a determination to defend themselves, in
case they were attacked. We soon dissipated
their fears, by informing them, that we came not
to make war upon them, but to supply them with
articles which they needed, and to receive their
furs in exchange. They treated us with much
respect and with great hospitality. HARMON'S JOURNAL.
The day following, we proceeded on our route,
and, during our progress, we saw four more of
their villages. At the second of these, we found
the two men who, the last summer, visited my
fort. These people were not, therefore, surprised at seeing us among them ; for, I had promised
these two men, that, in the course of the winter,
I would visit their country. They gave us the
same account as they had before given at the fort,
of the white people, who come up a large rivejj
already mentioned. And to convince us of the
truth of the account, they showed us guns, cloth,
axes, blankets, iron pots, &c. which they obtained
from their neighbours, the Atenâs, who purchase
them directly of the white people.
The five villages which we visited, contain
about two thousand inhabitants, who are well
made and robust. They subsist principally on salmon, and other small fish. The salmon here have
small scales, while those at Stuart's Lake, have
none.—The clothing of these people, is much like
that of the Carriers. I procured from them vessels, curiously wrought, of the smaller roots of the
spruce fir, in different shapes. Some of them are
open, like a kettle, and will hold water. They
also, let me have a blanket or rug, which was
manufactured by the Atenâs, of the wool of a kind
.of sheep or goat    These animals are said to be 220
numerous, on the mountains, wfttheir country.—<*
They told us that we had seen but a small part of
the Nate-ote-rains, who, they say, are a numerous
tribe. They speak a language peculiar to themselves, though the greater part of theml understand that, spoken by the Carriers.
The country, winch we travelled over, in this
route, is generally level. Few mountains are to
be seen. A heavy growthftf timber evinces, that
the soil is good.—We saw no large animals, excepting the cariboo ; but we were informed, Aat
black bears, and other kinds of the larger animals,
exist in considerable numbers, in that region.
Sunday, February 23. I have just returned
from a jaunt of eight days, to Frazer's Lake an»
Stillâ. Tne latter place lies about twenty miles
beyond the former. Wherever we went, the Natives, aë usual, appeared to be pleased to see sus,
and treated us hospitably.
Monday, April 6. Six Indians have arrived
from Frazer's Lake, who delivered to me a letter, written by Mr. David Thompson, which is
dated August 28th, 1811, at Ilk-koy-ope Falls,
on the Columbia River. It informs ine, that
this gentleman, accompanied by seven Canadians,
descended the Columbia River, to $ïP place
where it enters fhe Pacific Ocean, whei% they
arrived on thefrl6th of Jtily.    There they found HARMON'S JOURNAL*
a number of people, employed in building a fort
for a company of Americans, who denominate
themselves the Pacific Fur Company. He also
writes* that Mr. Alexander McKay and others,
have proceeded to the northward* in the vessel
that brought them there, on a coasting trade.—
MitiflBhompson, after having remained seven days
wfbh the American people, set out on his* return
to iris establishments, which are near the source
of the Columbia River. From one of these posts,
he wrote the letter above mentioned, and deliveft
ed it to an Indian, to bring to the next tribe, with
the direction, that they shoaid forward it to the
next, and sd$on, until it should reach this place.
This circumstance accounts for the great length of
time, that it has been on the way ; for the distance that it has come, might be travelled over,
in twenty five or tBérty days.
% Monday, May 11. This morning I returned
from McLeod's Lake, where I have been to send
off my people, who are to go to the Rainy Lake.
While there, one of my men, Pieere Lambert,
wUe crossing a small lake où a sledge, fell through
the ice ; and, before his companions who were
near could extricate him, he was drowned. The
day following, his corpse was brought to the fort
and interred.
On my way home, the walking was exceeding- 222
Harmon's journal.
ly bad. Theffnow was three feetf|deep, and the
weather was so mild, that it had become very
soft. About ten miles from this place, I left my
guide|fcand came on forward of him. I had not
proceeded far, before I wandered from my proper
course. I might have followed my tracks back ;
but this I was unwilling to do, and I continued,
therefore to wander about during the remamder
of the day. The night came upon me, while I
was in a thick wood ; and, as I had nothing to eat,
I could only kindle up a fire, and endeavour to
solace myself, by smoking my pipe.—I passed the
greater part of the night in melaniâiory reflections
on the unpleasant condition, into which I had
brought myself, by leaving my guide. Very early in the morning, I left my fire, and commenced
travelling, without knowing what direction to take.
The sun was concealed by clouds, and the rain
fell copiously. Before I hadlgonefar, I perceived, at no great distance from me, a pretty high
hill, which I at length ascended, with much difficulty. From its summit, I was cheered by a prospect of this lake, at a considerable distance from
me. Having ascertained the course which I must
take, I descended into the valley, and took the following method to keep in Ae direction to the fort
I at first marked a tree ; and from that, singled
out one forward of me, to which I proceeded ; HARMON'S  JOURNAL.
and by means of these two fixed upon another, in
a straight line ahead# and continued the same
operation, for several hours, until, with great joy,
I reached the fort And now, therefore, I desire
to return thanks to kind Providence, for having
once more directed my steps to my home and my
Thursday, 21. The last night, an east wind
drove the ice to the other end of this lake.
Tuesday, 23. This morning, the Natives caiight
a sturgeon that would weigh about two hundred
and fifty pounds. We frequently see in this lake,
those which are much larger, which we cannot
take, for the want of nets^ufficiently strong to
hold them.
Saturday, August 15. Salmon begin to come
np this river. As soon as one is caught, the Natives always make a feast, to express their joy at
the arrival of these fish. The person, who first
sees a salmon in the river, exclaims, Ta-loe nas-
lay ! Tâ-loe nas-lay ! in English, Salmon have arrived ! Salmon have arrived ! and the exclamation
is caught with joy, and uttered with animation, by
every person in the village.
Wednesday, September 2. Mr. McDougall and
company, who came here on the 25th ult. set out
this morning, on their return home, to McLeod's
Lake.    This visit has afforded me much satisfac- V»
Harmon's journal.
tion.    In this lonely part of the world, we  enjoy
the pleasures of social intertpurse, when we are
permitted to spend a little time with a friepy
i„with the highest relish.
Sunday, October 25. Early thfc morning, my
people returned from the Rainy Lakg^| By them
I have received letters from home, which have
given me more satisfaction than I can express.
My friends are in good health, and my beloved
son<George has arrived safely among them. For
these blessings, I cannot be sufficiently, thankful,
unlessnia merciful God is graciously pleased to
change my heart of stone int-ffe a hear^gf fles^|
Friday, November 6. We have now&bout six
inches of snow on the ground.—On the 27th ult
I set out for MfLeod's Lake, wh^e,\I arrived on
the 29th. I there found Mr.<John Stuart, who,
witferhjs company, arrived^the day before, from
Fort Cfeipewyan. His men are U>n their way to
the Columbia River,,do#n which thegr will proceed under MEr. J. ©. McTavish. The coming
winter, they w&i pass*"» sear the source of that river. Alt the Pacifi c Ocean, iipSjexpected that they
will meet Donald Mc3Pavish,eEsq. and company,
who sail from England, last October, and
proceed round.Cape Horn to the mouth of Columbia River. This afternoon Mr. Stuart and myself, with our company,  arrived  at  this place, HARMON S JOURNAL.
(Stuart's Lake) where both of us, God willing,
shall pass the ensuing winter. With us, are twenty one labouring men, one interpreter, and five wo-
Saturday, January 23, 1813. On the 29th ult
M^ Stuart and myself, with the most of our people, went to purchase furs and salmon, at Frazer's
Lake and Stillâs. The last fall, bufcffew salmon
came up this river. At the two places, above
mentioned, we were so successful as to be able to
procure a sufficient quantity. While at Frazer's
jfeake, Mr. Stuart, our interpreter and myself,
came near being massacreed by the indians of
that place, on account of the interpreter's wife,
who is a native of that village. Eighty or ninety
of the Indians armed'themselves, some with guns,
some with bows and arrows, and others with axes
and clubs, for the purpose of attacking us. îBf
mild measures, however, which I have generally
found to be the best, in the Management of the Indians, we succeeded in appeasing their anger, so
that we suffered no upgury ; and we finally separated, to appearance, as good friends, as if nothing
unpleasant had occurred. Those who are acquainted with the disposition of the Indians, and
who are a little respected by them, may, by humouring their feelings, generally, controul them,
almost as they please.
29 226
Harmon's journal.
Sunday, February 21. Rocky Mountain Portage Fort. Hdte I arrived this afte^ftoon, accompanied by five Canadians and e»ne Carrier. We
left Stuart's Lake on the 6th inst. and are on^ur
way to Dunvegan, where I am going to transact
some business with Mr. John McGiIIivray, who Sp
there. As the mountains, on both sides of the
river, for the distance of seventy og eighty miles,
are very lofty, there is generally a strong wind
passing, either up or d^yn the stream, which, at
this season, renders it extremely cold and disagreeable travelling. On the 18th, we were in the
heart of those mountains ; arid we had to encounter such a strong head wind, that my upper lip
became very much frozen, without my having
perceived it at the time. It is now much swolen,
and very painful. We all caught severe colds, in
consequence of a fall of snow upon us, to the depth
of eight inches, after we had encamped and resigned ourselves to sleep, the secon<J$night after
leaving Stuart's Lake ; and I have become unable
to speak^Éxcepting in a whisper. It requires indeed, a strong constitution, to conflict with the
hardships, incident to our mode of life.
We here find no person, excepting two Canadians. Mr. A. R. McLeod, who has charge of
this place, is now absent on a visit to his hunter's
tent, which is five days' march from this.    From m
such a distance, provisions are obtained for thï
post, as there are very few large animals at this
season, in this vicinity, in consequence, I presume,
of the great depth of snow, which always falls in
places, so near the mountain, as this. The people who are here say, that the hunters had such
difficulty in finding animals of any kind, the last
fall, that they all passed ^ve days, without any
kind of food.
Monday, March 1. Dunvegan. I have, at
length, reached this place, where I passed the
years 1809 and 1810, and revisiting it, many a
pleasingescene is recalled by memory, and many
hours of agifeeable conversation, whictfM passed,
with the gentlemen who were then here, rise
fresh to my recollection.—Mr. McGillivray is now
absent, on a visit to the Lesser Slave Lake ; and
Mr. Collin Campbell has charge of the fort.
Sunday, 14. Mr. McGillivray#eturned, on the
10th inst. He is an amiable and excellent man ;
and I hatH enjoyed his society, during my short
stay here, very highly. Having completed my
business here, I shalftset Out tomorrow, on my return to Stuart% Lake. I here received the intelligence, that Niagara and Makana had surrender^'
ed to the British forces ; butnot before many valuable lives  were lost, on both sides.
Sanday, April 4.    Stuart's Lake,     We  left JiJiO
Dunvegan on the 16th ult. and arrived here this
evening, without having experienced any disaster
by the way.
Saturday, May 1. Present appearances justify the expectation, that the ice in the river will
soon break up, so that our people will-be able to
commence their journey to the Rainy Lake witH
our returns, all of which we have sent to McLeod's
Lake, together with letters to people in this couid
try, and to our friends in the civilized part of the
Thursday, 13. The weather is fine. In the
early part of the day, Mr. J. Stuart, accompanied
by six Canadians and two of the Natives, embark-
ed on board of two canoes, taking with him a
small assortment of goods, as a kind of pocket
money, and provisions-sufficient for a month and
an half. They are going to join Mr. J. G. McTavish and his company, at some place on the Columbia River ; and to proceed with them to the
ocean. Should Mr. Stuart be so successful as to
discover a water communication, between this and
the Columbia, we shall, for the future, obtain our
yearly supply of goods by that route, and send our
returns out that way, to be shipped directly for
China, in vessels which the company, in that case,
design to build on the North West coast. While
the execution of this comprehensive  plan is com- Harmon s journal.
mitted to others, my more humble employment,
in which, however, I am quite as sure of being
successful, is to be, the superintendence of the affairs of New Caledonia.
No other people, perhaps, who pursue business to obtain a livelihood, have so much leisure, as
we do. Few of us are employed more, and many
of us much less, than one fifth of our time, in transacting the business of the Company. The remaining four fifths are at our own disposal. If we
do not, with such an opportunity, improve our understandings, the fault must be our own ; for there
are few pests, which are not tolerably well supplied with books. These books are not, indeed, all
of the best kind; but among them are many which
are valuable. If I were deprived of these silent
companions, many a gloomy hour would pass over
me. Even with them, my spirit at times sinks,
when I reflect on the great length of time which
has elapsed, since I left the land of my nativity,
and my relatives and friends, to dwell in this savage country. These gloomy moments, thank God,
occur but seldom, and soon glide away. A Ik tie
reflection reconciles me to the lot, which Providence has assigned me, in the world.
Saturday, June 12. A Sicaunv has just arrived,
who states, that a little this side of McLeod's
Lake, where he was encamped with his family, an
III 230
Indian of the same tribe, rushed out of the wood,
and fired upon them, and killed his wife. Her
corpse he immediately burned upon the spot ; and
then, with his son and two daughters, he proceeded directly to this place.rf^All the savages, who
have had a near relation killed, are never quiet
until they have revenged the death, either by kill*-
ing the murderer, or some person nearly related
to him. This spirit of revenge has occasioned the
death of the old woman, above mentioned, and she
undoubtedly, deserved to die ;#fefor, the last summer, she persuaded her husband to go and kill
the cousin of her murderer, and that, merely because her own son had been drowned.—The custom, which extensively prevails among the Indians,
of revenging the natural death of a relative^iby
the commission of murder, seepas to arise from a
superstitious notion entertained by them, that
death, even when it takes place in this manner,
has, in some mysterious way, been occasioned by
a fellow creature.
Sunday, 20. Yesterday, an Indian of this village killed another, who was on a visit from the
other end of this lake, just as he was entering his
canoe to return. The former approached the
latter, and gave him five stabs with a lance, and
ripped open his bowels, in such a shocking manner, that   his   entrails   immediately    fell   upon HARMOnV JOURNAL.
the ground ; and he, of course, instantly expired. The murderer made his escape ; and the
chief of the village, wrapped the corpse in a
moose skin, anf| sent it to his relations. Not wit h-
standing||his conciliatory act, the people of this
place are apprehensive, that the relations of the
person murdered, will make war upon them ; and
they will, therefore, set out tomorrow, to go a
considerable distance down this river, where they
will pass a greater part of the summer, until harmony is restored between the two villages.—This
murderer has a wife, who is known to be a worthless woman, with whom he supposed that the person murdered had had improper intercourse ; and
it was to revenge this^hat the act was committed.
—All the Carriers are extremely jealous of their
wives ; whil% to their unmarried daughters, they
cheerfully allow every liberty !
Thursday, August 12. Salmon begin to make
their appearance in this river, which is a joyful
event to us ; for the stock of provisions whicli we
have in the fort, is sufficient, but for a few days,
and the Natives, for some time past^have suffered
greatly for the want of food. We ought to be
thankful to our merciful Preserver andjJ3enefac-
tor, who continually watches over us, and supplies
ovhTj wants.    Often has he appeared for our relief, HARMON^S JOURNAL.
when we were in urgent need, and taughtifes, that
he is the proper object of our confidence.
Wednesday, September 1. A few days since,
Mr. McDougall arrived here from McSeod's Lake,
and took all he people, belonging to this fort,
with him to Pinchy, to gather berries. Having
been left entirely alone, I have had a fevoura-
ble opportunity for serious reflection, and for
self examination; and I have been disposed to employ it for this purpose. On reviewing the exercises
of my heart, and the course of my conduct, during
my past life, I havetbeen filled with astonishment
and with grief, in view of my wide departures
from the path of diify. My sins have risen in
gloomy array before me, and I have been led
to feel, that I am, indeed, the chief of lfeners;x
and that, on account of my transgressions, I deserve to be banished forever from the gracious
presence of God, and to be consigned to the
world of future misery. This view of my guilt
would have been overwhelmi%, had not God
been graciously pleased, as I trust, to reveal
the Saviour to me, in his glorious fullness, as
an all sufficient and an accepted Mediator between sinful^men and the offeÉded majesty pf
heaven. He has* appeared to me amiable in
himself,  and   entirely suited  to   my necessities;
i    i -■-«* HARMON'S JOURNAL.
and I humbly hope that I have committed my
soul to him, to be washed from the defilement of
sin in his blood, to be accepted of God through his
intercession, and to be sanctified by his Spirit.
The change in my views^aud feelings, is certainly
great ; and it is surprising to myself. What I
once considered as the foibles and follies of my
youth, now appear to be .grievous sins, against a
righteous and a long suffering God ; and a religious
course of Jjjjlfe, I regard as the path, not only of
wisdom, but of happiness ; and by the aid of j Divine grace, it is my resolution, for the time to
epme, to labour after a compliance wiiM&very Diving requirement.
Until this day, I have always doubted whether
such a Saviour as the scriptures describe, ever really existed, and appeared on earth ! So blind was
I, that I could see no necessity for an atoning Mediator between God and men. Before I left the
civilized part of the world, I had frequently heard
the cavils of infidelity urged ; and these cavils followed me into th& wilderness, frequently came
fresh to my recollection, and contributed to overshadow my mind with the gloomy ifjoubts of infidelity, My intention, however, was, bj no meajp
to cast off all religion ; but, I attempted to frame
to myself a religion, which would comport with
my feelings, and with my manner of life.—--For
several years past, however, my mind has not been
at rest. I was taught in early life, by parents
whom I respected and loved, the truths and duties of Christianity ; and I had a wish to believe
in the same religion which they possessed, and
from which, I have frequently heard them say,
they derived the most substantial consolation. I,
therefore, some time since, commenced reading the
Bible, with more attention than 1 had before done ;
for, from my youth up, I had been accustomed to
read it I also read all other books that I could
find, which treated of the christian religion. Some
excellent notes, respecting the Savour, in the Universal History, affected j my mind much ; as did,
also, the serious letters which I received, every
year, from my brother Stephen. I also prayed a
gracious God to enable me to believe on his Son,
the Lord Jesus Christ. As I was praying to-day,
on a sudden, the faith, respecting which I was so
solicitous, was, I trust, graciously granted to me.
My views of the Saviour, underwent j a total
change. I was enabled, not only to believe in his
existence, but to apprehend bis superlative excellency ; and now he appears to be, in truth, what
the scriptures describe him to be, the chiefest
among ten thousand, and one altogether lovely.
May the grace of God enable me to follow his
f..      ^u^Vlg,-"fe Harmon's journal.
heavenly example through life, that I may dwell
with him in glory, forever !
As I seem to myself to have hitherto led a
more wicked life than #he rest of my fellow creatures, I deem it proper, for the time to come, to
devote the first day of every month to religious
fasting, employing it in reading the scriptures, in
devout meditation, and in prayer, that I may keep
in mind the great business of life, which I now
consider to be, a preparation for eternity. My
prayer^hall ever be, that a gracious God would
be pleased to blot out my numberless and aggravated transgressions, for the sake of the atonement which Jesus has made ; and that he would
keep me, by his grace, without which, I am' convinced I can do nothing acceptable to him, in the
path of holiness, until it shall terminate in heavenly glory, jfc :•'        pjh   ;.     v "'   i   f^e
Tuesday, 7. I have this day composed tvvo
prayers, which I design to use regularly and devoutly, morning and evetahg. It is not only a duty, but a priviffege, thus to approach the* mercy
seat of the great Sovereign of the Universe, in
the name oft a prevalent Intercessor, and to supplicate the numerous blessings^svhich we need^f as
wejl as to give thanks for those which we lire
■M« 236
Saturday, 25. An Indian has arrived, from a
considerable distance down this river$ who has delivered to me three letters from Mr* J. Stuart
The last of them is dated at O-ke-nâ-gun Lake,
which is staiated at a short distance from the Columbia River. Mr. Stuart writes, that he met
with every kindness and assistance from the Natives, on his way to that place ; that, after descending this river, during eight days, he was un*-
fter the necessity of leaving his canoes, and of taking his property on horses, more than one hunt-
dred and fifty miles, to the above mentioned
Lake. From *Mat place, he states, that*? they
can go all the way by water, to the Ocean, by
making a few portages ; and he hopes to reach
the Pacific Oeeai§ in twelve or fifteen days, at
farthest They will be delayed, for a time,
where they are, by the necessary construction
of canoes.
Friday, October 1. The first of Ely appointed days of religious fasting, has arrived ; and I
have endeavoured to observe it, agreeably to
my resolution. M
Sunday, November 7. This afternoon, Mr. Joseph La Roque and company arrived from the
Columbia River. This gentleman went, the last
summer, with Mr. J. G. McTavish and his par-*
ty,-to t{ie Pacific Ocean.    On their return, they
•^gsr^wres: HARMON'S   JOURNAL»
met Mr. Stuart and his company. Mr. La
Roque, accompanied by two of Mr. Stuart's
men, set off thence, to come to this place, by
the circuitous way of Red Deer River, Lesser
Slave Lake, and Dunvegan, from which last
place, they were accompanied by my people,
who have been, this summer, to the Rainy
Lake. By them I have received a number of
letters from people in this country, and from my
friends in the United States.
Tuesday^ December 14. On the 1st inst. I set
out for McLeod's Lake ; and I there received
several letters from my brothers below, which
announce||the truly afflicting intelligence, that
my beloved son George is no longer to be numbered among the living ! He was in good health
on the second of March last, and a corpse on
the eighteenth of the same month.—For some
time, I could scarcely credit this Intelligence ;
though I had no reason' to doubt its truth.
This dispensation of divine providence is so unexpected, and so afflictive, that at first, I could
scarcely bear up under it, with a becoming christian resignation. My tenderest affection was
placed upon this darling boy ; and I fondly hoped, that he would be the solace of my declining
years. But how delusive was this expectation!
How frail  and perishing are all earthly objects
and enjoyments. A few days since, * in my imagination, I was often wandering witbidelight, to the
remote landfof my kindred, and parental love centered in this promising son, for whom, principally,
I wished to live, and for whom I would have been
willing to die. Perhaps this child occupied a
place in my heart, which my God and Saviour only may of right occupy. I hope that this affliction may be the means of disengaging my affections from an inordinate attachment to earthly objects ; and that it may induce me to fix my confidence and hope on things, which will never disappoint my expectation. The >#udge of all the
earth has done right ; and it becomes me to be
still and know, that he is God. I, too,- must soon
die ; and this dispensation is, perhaps, a seasonable warning to me, to be prepared to meet my
own dissolution. I desire that the Holy Spirit
may sanctify this affliction to me, and make it subservient to this important énft
On my return from McLeod's Lafei| I was accompanied by Mr. McDougall and family, who
came to mourn with me, and the mother of my
departed son, the loss of this dear object of our
mutual affection.—Her distress, on receiving this
intelligence, was greater, if possible, than my own.
I endeavoured, by some introductory remarks, on
the uncertainty of earthly things, to prepare her Harmon's journal.
mind for the disclosure, which I was about to
make. Her fears were alarmed, by these remarks ; and, probably, she discovered in my countenance, something to confirm them. When I informed her that our beloved son George was
dead, she looked at me, with a wild stare of agony, and immediately threw herself uponj. the bed,
where she continued, in a state of delirium, during
the succeeding night.
Saturday, January 22, 1814. On the 4th inst.
Mr. McDougall and family, left this place, to return home. They were accompanied by two
men, who have gone to Peace River, with letters.
—The same day, Mr. La Roque and myself, accompanied by fourteen of my people, went to
Frazer's Lake. On the 9th I sent him, accompanied with two Canadians and two Indians, with
letters to the people, who are on the Columbia,
River. After having purchased what furs I could,
and a sufficient quantity of salmon, I set out on my
return home, where I arrived this evening.
Friday, February 4. This evening, Mr. Donald McLeunen and company, arrived here from
the Columbia Department, with a packet of letters. One of these is from Mr. John Stuart, informing me that the last autumn, the North West
Company purchased of the Pacific Fur Company,
all the furs which they had bought of the Natives, Harmon's journal
and all the goods which they had on hand. The
people who were engaged ip the service of that
company, are to have a passage, the next summer,
to Montreal, in the canoes of the North West
Company, unless they choose to enter into our
Sunday, April 17. As the ice appears to be
out of this river, I have sent Mr. Leunen, accompanied by two Canadians, in a small canoe, with
letters to the gentlemen on Columbia River. I
am, therefore, depriigd of an agreeable companion, who, I expected until lately, would pass the
summer with me.—Happy are those, who have
an amiable and intelligent friendj^with whom they
■ can, at pleasure, converse.
Friday, 22. Sent off my people to McLeod's
Lake, in order that they may be in readinesj
to embark for the Rainy Lake, as soon as the
navigation opens. By them I have, as usual, forwarded my letters, and accounts of the place. If
God permit, I shall pass another summer at thki
place, having with me ten persons.
As this is the only season of the year when
we can leave this country, now it is* that we have
the most ardent desire of visiting the land of our
naiivity. At other seasons, the impossibility of a
departure, suppresses the rising wish to go, stern
necessity binds us to our situation, and we rest in Harmon's journal.
quietude until the return of another spring. Then
all the finer feelings of affection take possession of
our souls ; and their strength seems to be increased, by the previous restraint, which had been laid
upon them.
Saturday, May 7. The weather is fine, and
vegetation is far advanced, for the season. This
lake is clear of ice ; and the frost is chiefly out of
the ground. Swans, bustards, and ducks, are numerous in the rivers and lakes ; and, during the
last ten days, an incredible number of cranes have
passed this, on their way to the north ; but none
of them stopped here.
Three Indians have come to this place from
Frazer's Lake, to obtain the piece of a garment,
belonging to an Indian of that place, which they
say, was cut off by an Indian of this village. They
are so superstitious as firmly to believe, that, by
virtue of this piece of garment, the Indian, who
has it in his possession, is able to destroy the life
of its owner, at pleasure.
Friday, August 5. Salmon begin to come up
this river. They are generally to be taken, in
considerable numbers, until the latter part of September. During about a month, they come up in
multitudes ; and we can take any number of them
that we please.
31 242
Tuesday, September 20. We have had but few
salmon here, this yestrt^ It is only in every second
season, that they are very numerous ; the reason
of which, I am unable to assign.
I have sent an Indian, with letters, to Dunvegan, on Peace • River, which is distanffifrom this
place, at least, five hundred miles.
Friday, 30. We have had but a few salmon
in thiérriver, during the past season. We hope,
however, that a kind Providence has sent them to
some of our neighbouring villages, where we shall
be able to purchase what will be necessary, in addition to the white fish, which we expect to take,
for our consumption, during the ensuing winter.
Bufiet my condition be ever so deplorable, I am
resolved to place all my dependence on that Be- .
ing, who depends on no one.
Tuesday, October 18. This afternoon, I was
agreeably surprised by the arrival of Mr. J. La
Roque and company, in two canoes, laden with
goods, from Fort George, at the mouth of the Columbia River,; which place they left, Hhe latter
part of last August Our vessels arrived there, in
the months of March and April ; and, soon after,
one of them set sail again, loaded with furs, for
Canton in China.—Mr. La Roque brings the melancholy intelligence, that Messrs. D. McTavish,
Alexander Henry, and five sailors were drowned, HARMON'S JOURNAL.
on the 22d of May last, in going out in a boat,
from fort George, to* the vessel called the Isaafc
Tod, which lay at anchor without the bar, in going over which, this disaster befel them. With
the former gentleman, I passed two winters at
Dunvegaa&on Peace River. He stood high in my
esteem, and I considered him as one of my best
friends; and I shall ever lament the sad catastrophe, which has thus suddenly removed him from
my society, and from all earthly scenes. I hope
that I may not be regardless of the admonition,
addressecbto me by this providence, to be also
ready for my departure, to the world of spirits^*.
Monday, 24^ Sent Mr. La Roque, and the
people who came up with him, to reestablish the
post at Frazer's Lake.
Saturday, 29. My people have returned from
the Rainy Lake, and delivered me letters from
rlby relatives belnw. They afford me renewed
proofcof the uncertainty of earthly object%and enjoyments, in the intelligence, that a brother's wife
has been cut down by deat%in the midst of her
days, leaving a disconsolate husband, and two
young children, to mourn over her early departure. I ought, however, to be thankful, that the
rest of my numerous relatives, are blessed with
health, and a reasonable portion of earthly comforts.    I  have  also received a letter from Mr. ïm      ttt\
Harmon's journal.
John Stuart, who has arrived at McLeod's Lake,
desiring me to go and superintend the affairs at
Frazer's Lake, and to send Mr. La Roque, with
several of the people who are there, to this place,
that they may return «fo the Columbia department,
where it is presumed they will be more wanted,
than in this quarter. Tomorrow, therefore, I
shall depart for Frazer's Lake.
Thursday, November 3. Frazer's Lake.miH.ere
we arrived this afternoon, and found Mr. La
Roque and his people, busily employed, in bartering with the Natives, for furs and salmon, and in
constructing houses. Ç\Jith this gentleman, I have
spent a pleasant evening ; and I am happy to find
that, from having been thoughtless and dissolute,
he now appears to be the reverse of this. It is
manifest, that he has recently reflected much, on
|fae vanity of this world, and on the importance of
the concerns of eternity; and he now appears detef-
mined, by the aids of God's Holy Spirit, on a thorough reformation. May he be enabled to persevere in this important undertaking.
Tuesday, December 20. Messrs. Stuart and
McDougall, with a number of men, have arrived
from Stuart's Lake, for the purpose of proceeding
with me to Stillâ, in order to purchase salmon.
The Indians of this village have not a sufficiency
for themselves and for us, owing to the scarcity of HARMON'S JOURNAL.
salmon at several neighbouring villages, whose int*
Habitants flc%k to this place, in hopes of obtaining
a subsistence, during the winter.
Saturday, January 7, 1815. On the 29th ult.
I accompanied my two friends to Stuart's Lake,
where we passed the holidays together, in the intercourse of an intimate and endearing friendship.
Each related how he had passed his youthful days,
and even in what manner he had lived to the present hour ; and we all readily acknowledged, that
our lives had been very different from what we
then wished they had been. i!| hope and believe,
that we all parted, fully determined on a thorough
reformation of condfict. May none of us fail to
carry this resolution into effect.
Friday, February 3. During the whole of the
last month, it has been the coldest weather, by
far, that I have ever experienced, in New Caledonia.
On the 11th ult. accompanied by%ix of my
people and two of the Natives, I set out to visit
the lands of the Nas-koo-tains, which lie along
Frazer's River. This river Mr. Stuart followed
some distance, when he left this place to proceed to the Columbia River. The above mentioned Indians never had any intercourse with the
white people, until I went among them. We
reached their first village, on the  19th ;   but as HARMON S JOURNAL.
they were nearly destitute of provisions, and we
had expended^those which we took with us from
this place, we passed only one night with them.
The next morning, we continued our route down
the river, every day passing one or two small Villages, until the 22d, when we met people from the
Columbia River, with letters, &c.
Frazer's River is about fifty rods wide, and
has a pretty strong current. On the north side,
the bank is generally high ; but, on the other, it
is low, and the country is level. In going from
Ibis, to the place where we fell upon the river,
we occupied nine days ^and the country which
wè passed over, is very uneven. We, however,
crossed several ponds and small lakes, which were
from one to fifteen miles in length. At these waters, the Natives pass the greater part of the
summer, and subsist on excellent white fish, trout
and carp ; but, towards the latter part of August,
they return to the banks of the riverain order to
take and dry salmon, for their subsistence during
the succeedingWinter.
Sunday, 12. As salmon are becoming rather
scarce among the Indians of this village, they are
preparing to visit the neighbouring lakes, in order
to obtain a subsistence, from the fish that they
hope to be able to take out of them. harmon's journal.
Monday, 27. The weather is serene and cold ;
and thus far, this has been much the coldest winter that I have experienced in this part of the
country.—The winters are, generally milder here,
than in most parts of the North West. Mr. Stuart has just left me, on his return home*^ The
few days which he has spent here, were passed
much to our mutual satisfaction ; and I hope that
we shall reap some benefit from this visit. Religion was the principal topic, on which we conversed, because, to both of us, it was more interesting than any other. Indeed, what ought to interest us so much, as that which concerns bur
eternal welfare ? I, at times, almost ipvy the satisfaction of those, who live among christian people, with whom they can converse, at pleasure,
on the great things of religion, as it must be a
source of much satisfaction, and of great advantage, to a pious mind.
Thursday, April 6. About ten days since, an
Indian of this place lost his wife, after a lingering
illness of several months ; and, shortly after, the
disconsolate husband hung himself from the limb
of a tree. For several days previous to|fhe fatal
act, he appeared to be much cast down, which
being observe^ by^Jtis companions, they endeavoured to cheer his spirit, by the consideration,
that what had befallen him, had been suffered by 248
multitudes of others, andgwas the common lot.
He replied that he should conduct as his own
feelings dictated ; and that he had not forgotten
the request of his dying companion, which was*
that he would accompany her. Not long after,
he was missing ; and, search being made for him,
he was found in the situation above mentioned.
The strength of conjugal attachment is not an un-
frequent cause of guicide, in every part of the Indian country.
Monday, 24 The snow is fast leaving us, and
fowls begin to come from the south.
Wednesday, 26. I have^sent letters to my
friends below, to Stuart's Lake, which place they
will leave, on their way, the first of next month.
I expect to pass the ensuing summer here, having
but a few people with me. But, by dividing my
time between reading, meditation and exercise, I
hope that it will pass not unpleasantly away.
Wednesday, May 10. We have surrounded a
piece of ground with palisades, for a garden, in
which we have planted a few potatoes, and sowed onion, carrot, beet and parsnip seeds, and a
little barley. I have, also, planted a very little
Indian corn, without the expectation that it will
come to maturity. The nights m this region
are too cool, and the summers are too short, to
admit of its ripening.    There is not a month in HARMON'S JOURNAL.
the whole year, in which water d#s not congeal ; though the air in the day time, in the
summer, is warm, and we even have a few days
of sultry weather.—The soil, in many places in
New Caledonia, is tolerably good.  |i
Tuesday, May 30. I have just returned from
a visit to Mr. Stuart, who passes the summer
at Stuart's Lake. On the mountain, which i
crossed in going there, I found snow, two feet,
at least, in depth.
Friday, June 16. Soon after the Natives left
their village, last February, fi go to the small
lakes, for the purpose of taking fish, four of
theà? number deceased. Their corpses were
kept, by their relations, to the present time,
when they are bringing them to the village in
order to burn them. Little else but the skele--
tons, now remain.—In the winter season, the Carriers often keep their dead in their huts during
five or six months, before they will allow them
to be burned. At this season, the coldness of
the weather enables them to keep the bodies,
without their becoming offensive; and they are
unwilling that the lifeless remains of the objects
of their affection, should be removed forever
from their sight, until it becomes a matter of
Sunday, 18.    This afternoon eight of the Nâte-
32 250
Harmon's journal.
ote-tains came to pay a visita to the Indians of
this village, by whom they were, at first, treated
in a friendly manner. Soon after their arrival,
they began to play, as is the custom of the Indians,
whenever the people of different villages meet.
Things proceeded smoothly, untiL^he strangers began to be winners, when disputes arose. An
open contest was prevented, by the restoration of
the property won ; but a coolness between the
parties, was visible. The strangers soon set out,
to return home ; but as they were embarking in
their canoes, a worthless fellow fired upon them,
and killed one of them. This disaster caused them
to hasten their departure, uttering at the same
time the threap, that they would soon return, with
a large band of their relations, to revenge the
death of their companion.—Human life is often
sacrificed for a trifle, among the savages ; and he
only may feel secure, who is prepared to oppose
strength to aggression.
- Monday, July 24. Fruits, of various kinds,
now begin to ripen. Of this delicious food, the
present prospect is, that we shall soon have an
abundance ; and for this favour, it becomes us %
be graffeful to the Bestower. The person who is
surrounded with the com%rts of civilized life,
knows not how we prize these delicacies of the
wilderness.    Qur circumstances, also, teach us to HARMON'S JOURNAL.
enjoy and to value the intercourse of friendship.
To be connected, and to have intercourse, with a
warm and disinterested friend, who is able, and
will be faithful, to point out our faults, and to direct us by his good counsel, is surely a great blessing. Such a friend, I have, in my nearest neighbour, Mr. Stuart. For some time past, he has
frequently written to me long, entertaining and instructive letters, which are a cordial^to my spirits, top often dejected, by the loneliness of my
situation, and more frequently, by reflections on
my past life of folly and of sin. Mr. James Mc
Dougall, also, another gentleman in this department, is equally dear to me. His distance from
me, renders intercourse less practicable ; but
when we meet, we endeavour to make up in
conversation, for our long separation.
Friday, August 4. The holy scriptures contain the most abundant instruction, in regard to
the duties which we owe to God, and to our
fellow creatures. To aid me in keeping these
instructions, habitually and distinctly in view, that
my life may thereby be more exemplary, I think
proper to ferm the following resolutions, which
I hope, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to be
enabled to observe, during my^life.
Resolved, that- the scoffs of the^ wicked, directed against serious religion, shall never have
s 252
any other effect upon me, than to make me
strive, the more earnestly, to lead the life of a
sincere christian.
Resolved* to be in the company of the wicked, as little as possible ; and when among such
peoplepto endeavour to persuade them in sunh
a way as may be consistent with propriety*^to
forsake their evil courses.
RéSolved, to assist the poor and needj| so
far as may be consistent with my means ; hoping that avirice may never present meAfrom
judging corréctly^n rega$Ë to this subject
Resolved, never to let a day pass, when at
home, or when convenient, abroad, without reading a portion of the holy scriptures, an# spending
half an hour or more, in meditating on what I
have read ; and that the whole of the sabbath,
when MMs not in my power to attend publick
worship, shall be spent in prayer, reading the bible, or sermons, or some other religious book, in
self examinatiëh, and in meditating on tÊe eternal
world. WP
Resolvedfpto offer up daily prayers to the
throne of grace, for a rf|ht temper of mind, that
I may be constant ^and diligent, in strictly observing the above resolutions. And I pray that my
humble endeavours may, by the blessing ofPGod,
keep me in the path of holiness,*%o ^Ihat I  may, HARMON'S JOURNAL.
from day to day, become better  prepared to etfE*
ter the  world  of bliss, whenever my Maker and
Redeemer shall  see fit to terminate my mortal
course.    Amen.
Monday, 7. At half past seven, A.' M. we
had an earthquake, which lasted about twenty
seconds. At that time I was silting in a chair, in
the house ; and the agitation put Ae, and the
whole house, in a motion like that of a canoe when
rolled about by considerable swells. The Natives
say, that a similar shaking of the^earth occurs, almost yearly, at thfÉ^iace. ife$j
WÊSunday, 13. Salmon begin to come up this
iS-ver, which lights up joy in the countenances,
both of ourselves and of the Natives ; Jjbr we had
all become nearly destitute of provision^ of any
kind. A kind Providence will not allow us to suffer want, though we so little deserve favours.
Monday, October -2. WithkiSla few days past,
we have caught, in nets made for ^jne purpose, of
strong twine, three sturgeon, one of which measured ten Ébt and three inches in length, and four
feet and one inch round his middle, which might
weigh about four hundred pounds. All that we
have taken, were uncommonly fat, and of the best
flavour*ëf any that 1 have ever eaten.
^Friday, *13.    This afternoon, the Natives sent
for me to come  and see one of their young wo* 254
men, who lay at the point of death, at their village ; and, merely to please#hem, I went, without
expecting to render her any service, especially
with the medicines which we have here. I found
her so far gone that I thought it wouhfknot be
proper to give her any thing. I told the Indians,
moreover, that if she should die, sHortly after
taking our medicines, they would say, as they ever
do in such cases, that I was the cause of her death.
They assured me however, to the contrary ; and
I gave her a simple medicine, which I supposed
could do her neither good nÉr harm, with which
they were satisfied,
I understoodythat her relations had said, that
à certain Indian, by his magic, had caused her illness, and that he would finally take her lifët^ I,
therefore, took this opportunity of repeating again,
what I had often told them before, that God, the
infinitely powerful being, who made every thing,
had alone the power of causing their dissolution,
whenever he thought proper. Upon this, one of
the chiefs, who thought himself more knowing
than the others, observed, that it was the God of
the salmon, who remained at the sea, who was
taking the girl's life. I replied, that God is in
heaven above ; but that, so searching are his eyes,
he can easily slie what takes place on the face of
the whole earth.    They said, it might be so; but Harmon's journal.
they could not conceive, by what means I came
to have a knowledge of these things.$t Tbjfe, I endeavoured to explain to them.
Wednesday, November 1. This ^afternoon,
three of cfcir men arrived from the Rainy Lake,
who say that they left the remainder of their com*
pany at McLeod's and Stuart's Lakes. They delivered me letters from people in this country^
but none from homelr By the men in the other
canoes, I hope to receive letters from my friends
below. We are happy to be informed, that peace
has taken place between Great ' Britain and the
United States. My earnest desire is, that they
may long continue to enjoy this blessing.
Thursday, 16. We have now about three
loches of snow on the ground.
Sunday, March 17, 1816. In consequence of
Relate arrival, at fort Chippewyan, of the men
who went to the Rainy Lake, two canoes, which
were expected last fall, could not then proceed here,
which is the reason why I have but just received
the letters that I then expected, from my friends
below. They bring me the distressing intelligence, that two of my brothers are brought, by a
consumption, to the borders of the graved Happy
should I consider myself, could I once more see
them in this world. But, if this may not be, the
will of the Lord be done.    By this affliction I HARMON S JOURNAL.
have renewed prionf, that this world cannot be my
rest ; and I pray God to prepare me^and my dying brothers, for that happy abode^jivhere a separation of friends never causes the heart to bleed.
Monday, April 15. My desire ||to return
to my native country has never been so intense,
since I took up my abode in the wilderness, as it
is now, in consequence of the peculiar situation of
my,friends; yet, I cannot think of doing it this
season, as-^fc is absolutely necessary that I should
pass th^ensuing summer at this place.
I shall wrke to my friends below, a few days
hence ; and as we live in a world of disappointment and death, I am resolved to forward to them
by Mr. John Stuart, a copy of my Journal, in order that they may know southing of the manner
in which I have been employed, both as it respects my temporal and spiritual concerns, while in
the wilderness, if I should never enjoy the inexpressible pleasure of a personal intercourse with
Wednesday, 24 I have just returned from
Stuart's Lake. While there, I agreed with Mr.
Georgej|McDougall to spmain in^ this country two
years or more, as clerk to the North West com*
pany. He came out the last summer from Canarda, with Lord Selkirk's party, without having obligated himself to continue  with them, for any HARMON'S JOURNAL.
definite time. After they arrived at Fort Vermilion on Peace River, he was treated by his superiour, Mr. John Clarke, in so unbecoming a
manner, that he left them, and had come into this
quarter to visit his brother, Mr. James McDougall,
before he should return to Canada, which he designed to do the ensuing summer.
Saturday, July 20. Strawberries begin to ripen, and we have the prospect of an abundance of
them, as well as of other kinds of fruit.
I now pass a short time every day, very pleasantly, in teaching my little daughter Polly to read
and spell words in the English language, in which
she makes good progress, though she knows not
the meaning of one of them. - In conversing with
afliy. children, I use entirely the Crée, Indian language ; with their mother t more frequently employ the French. Her native tongue, however, is
more familiar to her, which is the reason why our
children have been taught to speak that, in preference to the French language.
Tuesday, September 9. Salmon begin to come
up this river.
Thursday, October 3. We have taken our
Vegetables out of the ground. We have forty-
one bushels of potatoes, the produce of one bushel
planted the last spring. Our turnips, barleys &c.
have produced wellw
33 258
Saturday, November 23. By our people who
returned this afternoon from the Rainy Lake, I
have received letters, which announce the afflictive intelligence, that two of my brothers, of
whose decline I had before been informed, are
• gone into eternity. The happy days that I had
fondly hoped that I should pass in their society on
earth, I shall never enjoy. Such is the uncertainty of all earthly expectations. But. the Judge of
all the earth has done right.—My departed brothers gave evidence, to those around them, that
they died in the faith and hope and peace of the
gospel. They are gone, I trust, to a world where
sin and suffering cannot follow them.
When the cold hand of death shall have been
laid upon a few more of my relatives, there will be
nothing remaining on the earth to console me for
their loss. Nothing revives my drooping spirits in
view of the departure of my friends, one after another, from year to year, into eternity, like the b©pe
that, through rich grace, I may be at length permitted to join their society, in a world of perfect
purity and of uninterrupted and everlasting joyni
We rarely prize our blessings in a suitable
manner, untiMNve learn their value by being deprived of them. I feel the force of this truth, in
regard to my deceased brothers. To one of them
in a particular manner, I am deeply indebted ; and HARMON'S JOURNAL.
I have never beentfully sensible of his worth, until now. Duringfjthe whole period of my resi-
dence irr this country, he has written to me annually, long, affectionate, and instructive letters.
For a*number of years past, religion was the great
subject of them. He was tenderly concerned .for
my spiritual welfare ; and doubtless learned from
my letters, that I was lingering on the gloomy
confipes of infidelity, and little disposed to heed,
as I ought to have done, his friendly admonition.
So far from being discouraged by this circumstance, it only rendered him more vigorous and
persevering in his efforts ; and his letters stand
chief among the means, which have been blessed,
as I would hope, to myâsonversion from the feve'
and practic&of sin, to the fear and service of God.
These letters have also been of use to the few
friend%ito whom Ixhave shown them. It woujfl
have given me great pleasure to have acknowledged, ifeperson, the obligation which I am under to
him ; but it becomes not me to dictate to infinite
wisdom.   J
I Wve, also, received letters from gentlemen
in different parts of this country, which inform me
of the many disasters that befel the people whom
Lord Selkirk sent the year before, from Scotland,
the Orkney Islands, and Canada, some of whom
were destined to form a colony on the   Red Riv-
*1 260
er, and others to traffic with the Natives, in different parts of the Indian country. They consisted at first, as I am informed, of two or three hundred men, together with a few women and children. Those, who went to establish themselves on
the Red River, at a short distance from its entrance into the great Winnipick Lake, began, soon
after their arrival, to behave in a hostile manner
toward the people of the North West Company,
who have establishmoits in that quarter. iOf
some of our forts, they actually took possession,
and carried away the property which they found
in them; and, in some instances, they set fire to
the forts, and redueejfeiiem to ashes. They also
took Duncan Cameron Esq. a partner of the
North West Company, and another gentleman,
who is a clerk, whom they carried, in the spring,
to Hudson's Bay, with the intention, as they stated, of taking them to England.—In the course of
the winter, as the Express of the North West
Company was passing that way, destined to the
Soult St. Maries, they took possession of that also,
perused the letters and other papers which had
been sealed up, and finally carried them to York
Factory, at Hudson's Bay.
All this unmerited treatment, at length so
provoked the people of the North West Company, that they proceeded fo retake their own forts, HARMON'S JOURNAL.
which had not been burned, as well as some property belonging to those disturbers of the peace.
In June, a number of the Brûlés, that is, people whose fathers were white men, and whose
mothers were Indian women, proceeded from the
upper part ofrRed River, toward the place of
its entrance into the Lake, in order to guard some
property there belonging to the N. W. Company. On their way, they were obliged to pass,
for aboutitwo miles, over an open plain, directly
behind Lord Selkirk's establishment. As soon as
they were observed, his people came out in a
body, and fired upon them, twice. This was unexpected by the Brûlés ; neither were they prepared for such an encounter, as many of them
had neither gun nor ammunition. Perceiving however, that etfiey must defend themselves or be
cut off, those who had arms returned the fire ;
and the contest continued, until twenty two of
the noble Earl's people fell, and some others
were wounded. The Brûlés had only one man
killed, and one wounded.—This unhappy affair
broke up the colony, Some of the people went
to Hudson's Bay ; but the greater number returned to Canada.
Those qjpLord Selkirk's people who came to
the English River and Athabasca, suffered greatly for the want of provisions.    Out of nearly one
I 202
Harmon's journal.
hundred who came to Athabasèa, twelve actually lost their lives"by starvation; and all the
others must have shared the same unhappy fate,
had not tfce people of the North West Company suppliedfNhem with provisions. In short,
Lord Selkirk lost the'&ast year^in fight and by
starvation, sixty eight of hiJImen \M. and still, with
the phrenzy of a madman, he is resolve^on
pursuing his wild projects.
Wednesday, December 4. There is now about
a foot and an half of snow on the ground.
I have sent fifteen men, with each a sledge
drawn by two dogs and^lbaded with salmon, to
McLeod's Lake, for the subsistence of the people who are to^ass the winter there, and for
the additional number who will be there in the
spring, to make lip the furs into packs. Salmon are our chief subsistence here ; and they are
taken only in the waters which are discharged
into the Pacific Ocean. The outlet of McLeod's
Lake edfers Peace River, whose waters,' are
finally discharged into the North Sea.
Thursday, January 2, 1817. I have just returned from a neighbouring village, where my
interpreter gave one of the natives a decent
drubbing, for having stolen from us.%Soon after,
the Indian who had been beaten, with a number
of his relations, flew to arms, and surrounded bur Harmon's journal
camp ; bqfe they proceeded at first no farther than
to gesticulate in a threatening ^manner. This I
permitted them, for a short time, to do, when I
ordered my men^to load their guns; though I was
determined that they should not fire, unless it became a matter of necessity. I then told the Natives that we were prepared to defend ourselves,
.and, if they intended to fire upon us, to begin ; or
otherwise, to walk off, and lay aside their arms,
which if they would not do, we should fire upon
them, v They concluded to retire, and shortly after, came back without their arms, and began to
trade, as if nothing had happened.
Monday, February 10. This evening the mother of my children, was delivered of a daughter,
whom I name Sally Harmon.
Wednesday, 19. I am this day thirty nine
years of age. When I reflect on the events of
my past life, and recollect, especially, in how
many instances a merciful God has snatched me
from the very jaws of death* when it. would undoubtedly have delivered me over to everlasting
destruction, I am grieved and ashamed, in view
of the ingratitude with which I have requited
such infinite kindness. My past life now appears
to me to have been a continual course of sins,
committed against a merciful Creator, Benefactor and Redeemer.    I have even denied the Lord 264
that bought me, and that because I could see nô
need of that atonement for sin, wdiich is the only
thing that has stood between me and hopeless
perdition ! If I have indeed been rescued from
such a wretched condition, if I have been effeêtu-
ally convinced of my sinfulness, and have been
led, in the exercise of faith, to apply unto the
Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and for sanctification, surely, it can be attributed to nothing but the
grace of God. Much of my life has been spent
in the service of sin ; the little that remains, ought
to be sacredly devoted to God and the Redeemer.
May the Holy Spirit enable me to live in the
time to come, as a disciple of the blessed Saviour.
Monday, September 1. Stuart's, Lak& On the
8th of May last, I left New Caledonia, and went
as far as Fort Chipewyan, on the Athabasca Dake.
This afternoon, I returned to this place. While
Ï was at that lake, the Indians Iwho were encamped about the fort, to the number of about
one hundred, rose up in arms against us, on account
of a quarrel between one of their people and one
of our men. We did not, however, come to blows ;
and, after a parley, the Indians were persuaded to
lay down their arms.—Those Chi|>eways are a
savage people ; and they have as 1 believe killed
more white men, than any other tribe in the North Harmon's journal»
West country. A few years since, thejjJburned
one of our forts, and killed every person belonging
to it.'ifg^
j|C)n the 21st of June, I left Athabasca Lake,
at which period, there was still ice floating about
in it In coming up Peace River, we *saw many
of the buffaloe and red deer, and killed as many
of them as we wanted for our own consumption.
Slack bears, also, were in plenty ; and of them,
wjykilled eleven. One day as I was walking along
^e beach alone without mjygun, a black bear,
that had cubs, pursued me for nearly a mife*.
Happily for me, I could outrun her; and I jhere-
yibre escapedjjrom her terrible paws.
A little below the Rocky Mountain Portage,
along the ^de of the river, there is a kind of
marsh where eartji, of a beautiful, yellow colour
is found, w7hich when burned, becomes a pretty
ifee^y red. The natives use it as paint, for which
it answers tolerably well. We, also, use it to
painjyDur fortsiànd houses.
Saturday, October 4. fgThis^iyening, an Indian
arrived from Ërazerf&Lake, bringing the disagreeable intelligence, tfjat yesterday in theydMrnoon,
our fort there was consumed by fire. We have
reasonjo tja thankful, however, that most of the
proper£giwhich was in it, wa& saved.jj.
^Thursday, 16.    We have t^tfc°ur; ,vegeta- HARMON^ÉfètJRNAL.
nîë&^ut of tr#^ilun%* ^^||Bsequencii of thé
Wk-y 8ry summer||^y yielded but poorly.    Theife
were months, durJ^,^i^h not a drop of rain
fero&Fruit  of all kinds  has beettiBncommonly
abundant this season.
JWedntésday,9e%r%ary 1&,HfÔM. 1 have just
rernrned from a^É^ll^l^elî^lfethr4^ days, to a
pMlce down Frazer's River. While there, the
Natives had concerted a plan to masfeàc^e us al^
but ^discovered it, and kept tny people *t|h theft*
|rjuard. The Indians, perceiving ttiis, dared not
attemptto execute their -Moody and unprovoked
purple.      .-     f --p^:    i^PI?'^
Saturday, May 2. Expecting that tl^^fce in
Peace River will soon break uppï have sent off
the last of our people who are going to the Rainy
like ; and by them I have forwarded, as usual,
my accounts of the place, and letters^ my Mends
below. I look forward, with pleasing anticipation,
to the return of another spring, when I hope,
if my life is spared, I shall myself'leave tMs country on a visit fo thé'civil qffl, world.
Thicrsday^SeptembeW3. Tlièt nij^ht, there fell
about four inches of s^w, fwMch is earlier thantf
have ever before seen it fall, in this part of the
•âDuntry. On the'6th lîji. salmôii began to come
up this river; bift they are not4J|ëry numerous.
In the month of June, we toojl out of this Harmon's journal.
lake twenty one sturgeon, tha-^were from e^ght to
twelve feet in length. One of thegn, measured
twelve feet two inches, from/ i^g^treme points,
four feet eleven inches round the middle^ anj
w^uld weiglffrom five hundred and fifty, fq sit
hundred pounds. All the sturgeon ^iat%wè hayg
caught, on this side of the mountain, are far sifc
perior in flavour, to any I efer saw in any other part o^the  world.
A few days?since, we cut down and threshed
our barley. The five quarts, which I sovfgd q$
the first of May, have yielded as many bushel^.
One acre of ground, producing in the same pr^g
pprti-^n that this f^as done, would yield eighty
four bushels. This is sufficient proof that the
soil, in many places in this quarter, is favourable
to agriculture. It will probably be long, however, before it will exhibit the fruits pf cultivation.
The Indians, though 4fjey often suffer fpr the
want of food, are top lazy to cultivate the ground.
I have frequency tPied to prevail orJ Jr01]^ °f
them tQ boe aid prepare a pjece of grounc}, prom-
ising them that I would give them potatoes and
turnips, with which to plant it ; but I have not
succeeded. Having been from their infancy trained up to privation, the fear pf want is a much
less powerful stimulus to excite them jto industry. ^"******>**>*^**>*>^l^^^^
1    tiki           i.
if i
harmon's journal.
than it is to those who have  always been ac*iiS|
tomed to the comforts of civilized  life.
Tuesday, October 13.    We h#ve several inches
pf snow on the'^ground.
For several years past, Iroquois from Canada,
have been in the habit of coming into different
parts of the North West country, to hunt Û0:
beaver, &c. #lThe Natives of the country, consid§|
them as intruders. As they are mere rovers, they
do not feel the same interest, as those wto permanently reside here, in keeping the stock of animals good, and therefore they make great havock
among the^ame, destroying alife the animals
which are young and old. A number of Iroquois
have passed several sufËmers on this side of the
mountain, whiSi circumstance they knew to be
displeasing to the Indians^ here,^who have often
threatened to kill them, if they persisted in destroying the animals on their lands. These menaces were disregarded. A month sincejt an Iroquois, witti his wife and two children, were all
killed, while asleep, by*two Carriers -of this vil-
lage,^which melancholy event, I hope, will prevent any of the Iroquois fom comiftg iiio this region again, w§,
Saturday, November 7. We have^now about
ë foot of snow on the ground.—Hi-day our people returned from the Rainy Lake, and say that,
on account of the large quantities of ice that was
drifting in Peace River, they were obliged to
leave the greater part of^Pthe goods, which they
had on board of the canoes, but a short WstÉÉce
this side of the Rocky Mountain Portage. We
shall be obliged, therefore, to bring these goods
on sledges, drawn by dogs from that place, which
is distani from this, about two hundred and eighty
Sêmday, Februar^8, 1819. iMr. George Mc
Déagal^has arrived here from Frazer's LakefNo
remain, as I am going to McLeod's Lake, to pre-
pare^îfor a departure for Head Quarters ; and my
intention is/Sluring the next summer, to visit my
native land, I design, also, to take my family
with me, and leave them there, that th-tfy may be
educated in a civilized and christian manner. The
mother of my children will accompany me ; and,
if she shall be satisfied to remain in that part of
the world, I design to make her regularly my wife
by a formaMnari&àge. Nfi^' will be Ulfen by Ibis re-
mark, that my intentions have materially changed,
since the time that I at first took her to live with
me; and-as my conduct in this respect is different from that which has generally been pursued
by the gentlemen of the North West Company, it
will be propor to éf&te some of the reasons which
have  governed  my  decision,   ixmreg&rà  to this
*i 270
Harmon's journal.
we^hty affair. It has been made with the most
serious deliberation ; and, I hope, under a solemn
sense of my accounta!$ity#ç* Got}.
Having lived with this woman as my wife,
though||we were never formally qoi|traeted to
each other, during life, an^j having children by
ber, I consider that I am i^der a morai obligation not t^ dissolve the connexion, if she is
willing to continue it The union which has
been formed between us, in the providence of
God, has not only been cemented by a long aHJt
mutual performance of kind offices, but, also, by a
more sacred consideration. Ever since my own
mind was turned effectually to the subject of religion, I have taken pains to instruct her in the
great doctrines and duties of christ|gu|j£y. Jdy exertions have not been in vf$Np| TJfrpugh the merciful agency of the Holy Spffit, I tri|st $t*at j|he
has become a partaker with me, in tl|| consolations and hopes of the gospel. I consider it to be
my duty to take her to a christian land, where she
may enjoy Divine ordinances, grow in grace, and
ripen fçp glory.—We bave wept together #ver
the early departure of several children, and especially, over the cjpath of a beloved son. $P"e -have
children still living, who are equally dear fo us
both. How could I spend my days in the civilized world, and leave nay beloved children in the Harmon's journal.
wilderness ? The thought has ita it She bitterness
of death. How could I tear them from a mother's love, and leave her to mofrm over Iber absence, fo thèfday of her death? «Possessing only
the common tfeeSijgs of hamanii^ how co-uld I
think of her, in such circumstances, without anguish ? On the whole, I consider the course
which I design to pursue, as the oni^eone which
religion and humanity would justify.
Mr. McDougall iirforms me, that, not long
since, an Indian died at Frazer's Lake, and left
behind him a widow, who «had been in similar circumstances before, by the loss of a former husband. A day or twoAefore the corpse wasjto br
burned, she told the relations of her late husband,
that she was resolved not to undergo a second
slavery. She therefore left the tent, secret!)?, in
the evening, and hung herself from a tree.
Among the Carriers, widows are slaves ito the
relations ^df their deceased husbands, for the term
of two or three years frdm the commencement of
their ^widowhood, during which? ^bey are generally treated m a cruel manner. &5Bheir heads are
shaved, and it belongs to them to do all the drudgery, about the tent. They ajsenirequently beaten
with a club'or an axe, or some such weapon.
Saturday, MkyS. McLeod's Imke. M arrived here about twnfmonte>rince.|^
M 272
most of ou'rïpeople embarked with the returns of
élis place, in three canoes ; and a few hours
hence, I shall, with my family, proceed in another,
which will be pushed on by six Canadians.
It is now eightryears and an half, since I came
to the west side of the Rocky Mountain. My life,
which has often been in jeopardy^s still preserved ; my familyAave generally enjoyed, in a high
degree, the comforts, whjch this part of the world
affords ;. and, especially, they have been extensively blessed with health of bpdy, and contentment of mind. Our worldly affairs have prospered, to as great an extent as weacbuld reasonably
expect For all these blessings, it .becomes us to
return unfeigned thanks, to the great Qiver of every good gift.
Friday, 14. Rocky Mountain Portage. All
the way to this place, we have drifted down,
amidst great quantities of ice, by which, at five
differentîplaces, the rivervwas completely blocked
up, so that to were obliged to tarry, until the
water rose so high, as to remove these barriers.
This is the reason why we have been so loug in
coming to this place. Had the river been high,
and yet clear from ice, the current is so strong,
that we might have reached here in two days.-
Wednesday, August 18ly Fort William. I have
at length arrived at head quarter^   In coming
_._ from New Caledonia to this place, which is a distance of at least three thousand miles, nothing uncommon has occurred, A few dajs hence, I shall
leave this place, to proceed to Canada. As I
have already described the country between
this, and Montreal, I shall here conclude my
Like their ancestors the French, the Canadian Voyagers possess lively and' fickle dispositions ; and they are rarely subject to depression of spirits, of long Continuance, even when
in circumstances the most adverse. Although
what they consider good eating and drinking
constitutes their chief good, yet, ^when necessity compels them to it, they submit to great
privation and hardship, not only without complaining, but even with cheerfulness and gaiety. They are very talkative,* and extremely thoughtless, and make many j resolutions,
which arts almost as soon broken as formed.
They never think of providing for future wants ;
and seldom lay up any part of their earnings,
to serve them in a day of sickness,   or   in   the
a 276
decline of life. Trifling provocations will|often
throw them into a rage; but they are easily
appeased when in anger, and they never harbour a revengeful purpose against those, by
whom they conceive that they have been injured. They are not brave ; but when they apprehend little danger, they will often, as they
say, play the man. They are very deceitful,
are exceedingly smooth and polite, and are even
gross flatterers to the face of a person, whom
Jhey will basely slander, behind his back. They
pay little regard to veracity or to honesty.
Their word is not to be trusted ; and they
are much addicted to pilfering, and will even
steal articles of considerable value, when a favourable opportunity offers. A secret they cannot keep. They rarely feel gratitude, though
they are often generous. They are obedient,
but not faithful servants. By flattering their
vanity, of which they have n ot a little, they
may be persuaded to undertake the most difficult enterprises, provided their lives are not
endangered. Although they are generally unable to read, yet they acquire considerable knowledge of human nature, and some general information, in regard to the state of this country.
As they leave Canada while they are young,
fhey have but little knowledge of the principles  BS
S" Hhk~"
\ n ■ -      .       t  ill   nil AN
As the Indians Irying on the west side of the
Rocky Mountain, differ greatly in their language,
manners, customs, religion, &c. from those' on the
east side, it may be proper to give concisely a
separate account of them, and of the country
which they inhabit. In doing this, I 'snail dwell
more particularly on those things which are peculiar to these people, as I design, in another place,
to give a general description of the Indians, which
shall have a principal reference, however, to the
more numerous tribes on the east side of the
Mountain. I shall, I hope, Bt pardoned, if some
repetition shall be found, of things contained in my
journal, as it cannot easily be avoided.
That part of the country, west of the RSfcky
Mountain, with which I am acquainted, has, ever
since the Northwest Company first made an eafc
tablishment there, which was in 1806, gone by
the name of New Caledonia; and may extend
from north to south, about five hundred miles, and
from east to west, three hundred and fifty or four
hundred. The post at Stuart's Lake, is nearly in
the centre of it, and lies, as already mentioned in
my Journal, in 54° 30' North Latitude, and in 125°
West Longitude from Greenwich. In this large
extent of country, there are not more than five
thousand Indians, including men, women and children.
New Caledonia is considerably mountainous.
Between its e|evated parts, however, there are
pretty extensive valleys, along which pass innumerable small rivers and brooks. It contains a great
number o|* small lakes, two of which are considerably large. These are Stuart's Lake, which is
v about four hundred miles in circumference, and
Nate-ote-tain Lake, whichjis nearly twice as large.
1 am of the^>pinion that about one sixth part of
New Caledonia, is covered with water. There
are but two large |iver^ One of these I denominate Fraser's River, which may be Mxty or
seventy rods wide. It rise^in the Rocky Mountain, within a short distance ojl the source of
Peace River : and is the river whkh Sir Alex-1
ander McKengie followed a considerable distance,
when he wen&to the^Pacific Ocean, in 1793, and ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
which he took t%be the Columbia Rfeer ; bufcihi
is now known to be several miles north offthat noble stream. ThejJ^Mer large river of New Caledonia, rises near Great Bear's Lake ; and after
passin<pg|hrough several considerable lakes, it enters fche Pacific Oce|3a^:several hundred milesnorth
of Fraser's River. pu
sJRhe mountains of New Caledonia, in po/int of
elevation, are nots^to be compared vi£th those
which we pass through in coming up&that par^rof
Peace River, which lief; betweena&the Rqfôky
Mountain portage and Finlay's Branch. There
are some, hgpvever, which are pretty lofty ^ and
on the summits of one in particular, which we see
Jfom Stuart's Lake, the snow lies during the whole
of the yeahfl Hi
The weather is not sever#v cold, except*tjMt
few days in the winter, when the mercury is Sometimes as low as 32° below zero, in Farilpheit's ttjfèlP-
mometer. The remainder of the season, is mudf
milder than it is 4ïh the other side of the mountain,
in the same Latitude. The summer is never very
warm, in the day time ; and the nights are generally"
cool. In every mont&in the year, there are frost*
Snow generally falls about the fifteenth of^Kovem-
ber, and is all dissolved by about the fifteenth or!
May. About McLeod's Laketj|e^snow sometimes,
falls to the deptH of eve feet; and I imagine that
1 284
it is to be attributed to the great depth $f the
snow, thatino#arge animals of any kind, excepting a few solitary ones, are to be met with.
There are a few Moose ; and the Natives occasionally, kill a black bear. Cariboo are also
found, at some seasons. Some smaller animals
are found, though they are not nun#£rous. They
consist of beavers, otters, lynxes or cats, fishers,
martins, minks, wolverines, foxes of different kinds,
badgers, polecats, hares and a few wolves.^*The
fowls are swans, bustards, geese* cranes, ducks of
several kinds, partridges, &c. All the lakes and
rivers #re well furnished with excellent fish.
They are the sturgeon, whtÉ&fish, trout, sucker
and many of a smaller kind. Salmon, also, visit
the streams, in very considerable numbers, in Autumn. A small share ofjindustry, therefore, would
enable the Natives, at all times, to provide for
themselves a sufficient supply of agreeable, wholesome and nutritious food.
The Naifepes of New Caledonia, we denominate Carriers ; but they call themselves Ta-^ul-
lies, which signifies people who go upon water.
This name originated from the fact that they
generally go from one village to another, in canoe^* They are of the middle stature, and the
men are well proportioned ; but the women are
generally short and thick, and their lower limbs
are disproportionately llrge. Both sexes are remarkably negligent fcnd slovenly*, -in regard to
their persons ; and they are filthy in their cookery. Their dispositions are lively and quiet ; and
they appear to be happy, or at least contented, in
their wretched situation. They are indolent ; but
apparently more from habit than by natuH ; and
probably this trait in their character, originates
fronr%he circumstance, that they procure a wveli-
hood, with but little labour. Whenever we employ any of them, either to work about the fow
onfa voyaging, they are sufficiently laborious arid
active ; andHhey appear to be pleased, when we
thus furnish them with employment. They ar#
not in the habit of stealing articles of great value ; but they are the sliest pilferers, perhaps,
upon the face of the earth. They will not only
pilfer from us, but, when favourable opportunities
offer, they are guilty of thefiame low vidfeamong
their friends and relations. They are remarkably flWfeof the white people. Tney seldom begin a quarrel with any of us, though they are naturally brave. When any of ©unpeople, however,
treat them ill, they defend themselves with courage, and with considerable dexterity ; and some of
mem will fight a toleSable Canadian battle.
Their language is very similar to that of the
Chipewyans, and has a great affinity to the tongues.
■ 1
■ $-■    '
spoken by the Beaver Indians and the Sicaunies;,
Between all the different villages of the Carriers,
there prevails a difference%)f dialect^to such an
extent, that theyflllfen* give different names to the
most common utenlils. Every village has its par-
ticulaftname, and its inhabitants are called after
the name of the village, in the saille, manner as
people in the civilized world receive a name, from
the cfly or country which they inhabit.
Thiir clothing consists of a covering made of
the skins of the be aver, badger, muskrat, cat or
hare. The last they cut into strips, about one
inch broad, and then weave or lace them together, until they become of a sufficient size to cover
their bodies, and to reach to their kneeJP This
garment they put#over itheir sHbulders, and
tie about their waists. Instead of the above
named skins, when they can obtain them from
us,^fcey greatl^ prefer, and make use of blankets, caputs, or Canadian coats, cloth or moose
and red deer skSSlI They seldom use eitlijHi
leggins or shoes, in the summer. At this season the men often go naked, without ipp' thing
to cover even that part of the body wKch
civilized, and the most, even of savagHpeople> think
it necessary to conceal. Indeed they manifest m
little sense of#hame#n regard to this subject, as
the very^Ntote creation.    The#vomen, however,
; -1 -■-*' "- — —~h ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
m^tddition to the robe of beaver or dressed moose
skins, wear an apronftfwelve or eighteen^gnches
broad, which reaches nearly down to their knees.
These aprons are made of a piece of deer skin, or
of salmon skins, sewed together. Of the skin of
this fish, they sometimes make leggins, shoes,
bags, &c. but they are not durable ; and therefore
they prefer deer sk-^s and cloth, which are more
pliabfeand soft. The roughness of salmon skins,
renders them particularly unpleasant for aprons.
A few of the male Carriers recently make use
of the breech-cloth, made of cloth which they procure from us ; but as evidence that no great sense
of delicacy has induced them to wear it, you will
see it one day at its proper place, the next, probably, abou^heir heads, and the third around their
necks; and so on, repeatedly shifted l?om one
place to another.
Both sexes perforate their noses ; and from
them, the men often suspend an ornament, consisting of a piece of an oyster shell, ésk-a small piece
of brass or copper. The women, particularly
tfjose who are young, run a wooden pin through
tneir inoses, ppon each end of which they fix a
kind of shell bead, which is about an incht< and an
tlf long, and nearly the size of the stem of a
Pfcommon clay pipe. These beads* they obtain
from their neighbours, the At-e-nas, who purchase
them from another tribe, that is said to take them
on the sea shore, where they are reported to be
found in plenty.
All the Indians in this part of the country, are
remarkably fond of these beads ; and in their
dealings with each other, they constitute a kind of
•«trculating medium, like the money of civilized
countries.^ Twenty of these beads, they consider
as equal in value to a beaver's skin. The elderly
people neglect to ornament their heads, in the
same manner as they^o the rest of their persons,
and geiierally wear theut|Jhair short. But the
younger people of both sexes, who feel more solicitous to make themselves agreeable to each other, wash and paint their faces, and let their hair
grow long. The paint which they make use of,
consists of vermilion, which they occasionally obtain from us ; or more commonly, of a red stone,
pounded fine, of which there are two kinds. The
powder^iilnne kind of these stones, mixed with
grease, and rubbed upon their faces, gives them
a glittering appearance.
The young women and girls wear a parcel of
European beads, strung together, and tied to a
lock of hjjr, directly behind each ear. The men
bave a^ort o|j|gJlar of the shell beads alreadjl #j
mentioned, whicj^lhey wind about their heads, or
throw*around their necks.    In the summer season, ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
both sexes bathe often ; and this is the only time,
when the married people wash themselves. One
of their customs is sufficient to evince their extreme filthiness, and that is, whenever they blow
their noses, they rub the mucus between both
hands, until they become dry.
Among the Carriers, it is customary for the
girls, from the age of eight to eleven years, to
wear a kind of veil or fringe over their eyes, made
either of strung beads, or of narrow strips of deer
skin, garnished with porcupine quills. While of
this age, they are not allowed to eat any thing,
excepting the driest food ; and especially they
may not eat the head of any animal. If they
should, their relations, as they imagine, would
soon languish and die. The women, also, during
their pregnancy, and for some time after they are
delivered, are restricted*4to the same kind of food.
The lads, as soon as they com#>to the age of
puberty, tie cords, wound with swan's down,
around each leg, a little below tl)e knee, which
they wear during one year, and then, they are
considered as men.
The Carriers are unusually talkative ; and
when fifteen or twenty of them get into a house,
fethey make an intolerable noise. Men, women and
children, keep their tongues constantly in motion ;
and in controversy, he who has the strongest and
37 290
^clearest voice, is of course heard the most easily,
and, consequently, gfacceedf best in his argument.
They take great delight, also, in singing, or humming, or whistling a dull air. In shorty whether
at homier abroad, they can hardly be contented
with their mouths shut It^was a long time before we could keep them still, when they came t§|
our forts. And even yet, when they visit us,
which is almost every day, during the whole year,
they will often, inadvertently, break out into a
song. But as soon as we check them, or they recollect of themselves what they are about, they
stop short ; fer they are desirous of pleasing.
The above trait in their character, certainly evinces much contentment with their condition, and
cheerfulness of spirit. J
Both sexes, of almost every age, are much addicted to play, or rather gambling. They pass
the greater par||pf their 4||ime, especially in the
winter season, and both days and nighty in some
kind of gam#s^and the men will often loose the
last rag of clothes, which they have about them.
But so far from being dejected by such ill fortune,
they often appear to be proud of having lost their
all ; and will even boastmgly say, that they are as
baked as a dog, having not a rag with which to'
cover themselves. Should they, in such eoireum-
stances, meet with a friend, who should lend them ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
something to wrap around thei# bodies,?j^|t highly
probable, that they would immediately!^go and
play away the borrowed ^rmerflU Or, if the borrower belonged to another village, he would be
likely to run off with it, and the owner would ner
ver hear of him afterward; for I%iever knew a
Pirrier to be grateful for a favour bestowjed upon
him. At play, they often loose a part of a garment, as the sleeves of a coat, wWc^fe some of
them now^purAiase iom us, a whole, or the half
of a leggin, which they will tear off, and deliver
to the winner. They have been known to cut off
a foot or more of their guns, when lost at play ;
for, like more gentlemanlj^gamblers, they consider
such debts, as debts of honour.
The Carriers aie not so ingenious as their
neighbours, the Nâte-ote-tains and At-e<-nas. The
men, however, make canoe^f which are clumsily
wrought, of the aspin tree, as well as of the fcark
of the spruce fir. The former, will earfy from
half a ton to a ton and an half burthen, while the
latter, wS carry from one to four grown persons.
The women make excellent ne£$, cf^the inner
bark of the willow tree, and of nettles, which an*-
swer better for taking small fish, than any whietf
we obtain from Canada, made of twine or%hreâ<ïf
The Carriers, in common with the other Indian tribes, before their country was visited by
ml —„—
white people, made use of stoneff instead of axes,
and of bones, for knives ; and with these, they
constructed wooden dishes, and other vessels of
the rfad of ^the birch and pine trees, &c. Some
of these vessels were used to cook their victuals
in,?lnd many of these people still make use of them ;
for they are too poor to purchase brass or copper
telles from us. flphey have, also||other#vessels,
.which anf manufactured of the small roots or
fibers of the cedar or pine tree, closely laced together, which serve them as bucke'ts to p0 water
in. I have seen one at Fraser's Lake, made of
ihe same materials, that wouMthold sixty or seventy gallons, which they make use of when a feast is
given to all the people of the village. All the
vessels fabricatedîof roots, as wellias the most of
their bows and arrows, thfiy obtain from their
neighbours, above mentioned.
Thlé Carriers are remarkably fond o% their
wives, an*&a few of them have three or four ; but
polygamy is not general among them. The men
do the most of the drudgery about the house,
such as cuttingifîand drawing fire wood, and
bringing water. In the winter months, they drink
but little water ; but to quench their thirst, they
eat half melted snow, which they generally keep
on the top of a stick, stuck into the ground, before
As the 'Carriers are fond of their wives, they
are, as naturally might be supposed, very jealous of
them ; * but to their daughters^ they allow every
liberty*/ for the purpose, as 4hey say, of keeping
the young men from intercourse with the married
women. As the-young women may thus bestow
their favours on whom, and as often as they
please, without the least censure from their parents, or reproach to their character, it might
naturally be expected that they would be, as
I am informed they actually are, very free with
their persons.—In the following particular, the
Carriers differ from all the otheifillhdian tribes,
with whom I have been acqéainled. Among other tribes, {he father or mother in law, #ill never,
excepting when drunk, speak to a son or daughter
in law ; but the Carriers make no distinction, in
this respect. $j|ft
The Carriers reside a part of the year in villages, built at convenient places for taking and
drying salmon, as they come up the rivers. These
fish they take in abundance, with little labour ;
and they constitute their principal food, during
the whole year. They are not very unpalatable
when eaten alone ; but with vegetables, they are
pleasant food. The Natives, however, are too
slothful to raise vegetables, and use none, excepting a few which they obtain from us. 294
Toward the middle of April, and* sometimes
snoner, they leave their villages, to go and pass
about two months at the small lakes, from which,
at that season, they take white fish, trout, carp,
&c. in considerable numbers. But when these be-*
gin to fail, they return to thatÉr villages, and subsist on the small fish, which they dried when at
the lakes, or on salmon, should they have been so
provident as to have kept any until that late season ; or they eat herbs, the inner bark or sap of
the cypress tree, berries; &c. At this season, few
fish of any kind, are to be taken out of the lakes
or rivers of New Caledonia. In this manner the
Natives barely subsist, until about the middle
of August, when salmon again begin to make
their appearance, in all the rivers of any considerable magnitude ; and they have them at most
of their villages in plenty, until the latter end
of September, or the beginning of October. For
about a month, they come up in crowds ; and
the noses of some of them are either wornltbr
^rotten off, and the eyes of others have perished
in their heads ; an#yet, in this maimed condition,
they are surprisingly alert, in coming ujf Wie rap
ids. These maimed fishes are generally at the
head of large bands, on account of which, the
Natives call them Mi-u-ties, or €8iiefs. The Indians say that they have   suffered  these   disas- ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
tere, by falling back among the, stones, when
coming up difficult places in the rapids which
they pass.
Tike Carriers take salmon in the following
•manner. All the Indians of the village -assist in
making a dam across^the river, in which they occasionally leave places, to insert their baskets or
nets of wicker work. These baskets aro-dgpene-
rally from fifteen to eighteen feet in length, and
from twelve to fifteen feet in circumference. The
end at which the salmon enteir, is made with
twigs* in the form of the entrance of a wire mouse
trap. When four or five hundred salmon have
entered this basket, they either take it to the
shore to empty out the fish ; or they take them
out at a door in the top, and transport them to
the shore in their large wooden canoes, which are
convenient for this purpose. When the salmon
are thrown upon the beach, the women take out
their entrails, and hang them by their tails on
poles, in the open air. After remaining in this
situation for a day or two, they take them down
and cut them thinner, and then leave them to
hang for about a month in the open air, when
they will have become entirely dry. They are
then put into their store houses, which are built
on four posts, about ten feet from the ground,
to prevent animals   from destroying them 5 and
# 296
provided they are preserved dry, they will remain good for several years.
The Carriers take beavers in nets, made of
thongs of cariboo skins; or in baskets made of
young cypress stadles ; and sometimes they shoot
them with «bows and arrows, or guns, or take
them in steel traps, which we sell to them, and
of which they begin to understand the value.
Cats, martins, fishers, foxes, minks, &c. they take
in a kind of spring trap, which consists of a large
piece oR wood, which these animals, by nibbling
at the bait, cause to fall upon and crush them.
Bears, swans and hares they generally take in
snares ; and the cat, also, they sometimes take
in this manner. They hunt the beaver and bear,
more for the sake of their flesh, than to obtain the
skins ; for it is with the meat of these animals
that they make their feasts, in remembrance of
their deceased relatives.
At such festivals, they cut up as many dressed
moose and red deer skins as they can well procure,
into slips, about eighteen inches long, and twelve
inches broad, and distribute* ihem among their
friends and relatives. And they firmly believe,^
that these ceremonies must be performed, before
their departed relative can be at rest, in the
place whither he has gone, which they think to
<**éf' !■—
bC the jntelfour of the earth, where they expect
that they shall all at length bf| happy.
The Carriers have little that can be denominated ci^l government, in the regulation of their
concerns. There are some persons among them,
who are called Mi-u-ties or Chiefs, and for whom
thfcy appear to hav%a little more respect than
for the others ; but these chiefs have n^t much
authority or influence over the rest of the community. Any $ne is^%dubbed a Mi-u-ty, who is
able and willing, occasionally, to provide a feast,
for the people of his village.* An Indian, however, whofjfcas killed another, or feeen guilty of
some other bad action, findjfthe house or tent of
the chief # safe *retreat|KSo liaag as he is allowed
to remain fctere. But as soo% as he leases it,
the Chief can affoiÉ the» criminal no more protection, than any other (person of the village can, un-
less he lets him haveiiéne of his garments. This
garment of the Chief, witt p#tect a malefactor
from harm, while he wrears it; fer no person
would attack him, while clothed with ^hkisafe.
guard, sooner than he would attack the chief
himself; and if he should, the chief would revenge the insult, in tnife* same manner as#fcit
were offered directly to himself. The Revenge
which the Chief, in this case, would take, would
be to destroy the Me of the offending person, or
Br.   Ï39 SIT ¥ € • $'■ — mr
that of some of his near relations, or the life 'jbf
one of the same tribe, if he should happen to
be a stranger.
When two or more persons disagree atfplay,
as is frequently the case, or contend on any
other account, the chief, or some respectable
and elderly man, will step in between the two
wranglers, and settle the dispute, generally without their coming to blows.
The people of every village have a certain
extent of country, which tney consider their own,
and in whi^ they may hunt and fish ; but they
may not transcend these* bounds, without purchasing the privilege of those who claim the
land. Mountains and rivers serve them as boundaries, and they are not often broken over.
The people of one village do not often visit
those of another, as there are generally misunderstandings existing between^ thern^- which are
occasioned by murders, and at timesjby the hunting of the people of one village, in a clandestin
manner, on the territories of their neighbours.
By one cause or another, they are kept in a perpetual broil. They say however, that murders
do not occur so frequently among them as they
did before they were visited by the white people.
The Carriers are the most ignorant  people
among whom Ipjiave ei^r been.    They appear to ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
have only a very confused and limited idea of the
existence of a Supreme Being, the maker arttt
governour of the world, or of the devil or any
evil spirit ; and they, therefore, neither worship
the former nor fear thPlatter. But they believe,
as it has been already observed, in the immortality of the soul, Und think when it leaves its present bodyl^t goes into the bowels of the eartHf
where, they suppose it will be more happy
than when an inhabitant of its Surface. But
they seem to have no idea ^f future reward#or
punishmentsf^in consequence of any thing which
they ma|* have done, while resident on earth.
And whether the soul will be furnished with
another body, when it leaves thsP which it animated on earth, they say they cannot tell, it being,
as they add, beyond their comprehension. They
firmly believe, however, that #departed sotf-Pcan,
if it pleases, come back to the earth, in a human shape or body, in order to see Ms friends,
who are still alive. Therefore, as^they areiabout
fb set fire to the pile of wood, on which a corpse
is laid, a relation of the deceased person stands
at his feet, and asks him if he will ever come
back among them. Then the priest or magicia%
with a grave countenance, stands at the head of
the corpse, and looks through both his hands on
its naked breast, and tberJtraises  them toward 30D
heaVfcn, and blows^through them, as they say, the
soul of the deceased, that it rnify go aèd find, and
enter into a relate. Or, if any relative is present, the priest will hold his hands on the head
of thjis per#n, and blow through them, that the
fajMrit of the deceased may enter jpto him^pr
her ;*frand then, as they affirm, tfce first child
whicfc this person has, will possesjs the soul o$
the deceased   person.
When the Carriers are severely sick, they
often think that they shall not recover, ipnle$$
they divulge to a priest or magician, every crime
which they may have committed, which has
hitherto been kept secret. In such a case, they
will make a full confession, and then they expect that their lives will be spared, for a time
longer. But should they keep back a single
crime, they as fully believe that they shall suffer almost instant death. The crimes which
they most frequently confess, discover something
of their moral "character, and therefore deserve
to be mentioned. A man will often acknovs^
edge that he has had a criminal and incestuous
connexion with bis own daughter or sfster, or a
criminal intercourse with a bitch ! and a woman
wSl confess, that she has had the same ipfamous
connexion with her own relations, or with a dog !
Murder is not considered by the Carriers as a ACCOUNT OF THE INDIAN^ 301
crime of great magrjÉfude ; and, therefore, it
makes no part of their dlfetowledgménts, in
their confessions to the priests or magicians. If
a murder be committed on #person belonging to
a trjibe with whom they afcAat enmity, they regard it as a brave and noble actibn. Should one
Indi#& kill another, belonging to the same village
with himself, the murderer is considéreras a pei^
son void of sense ; ' and he must quit his ^|lag%
and remain away, until he can pay the relations
of the deceased for the murdeé; and even after
this has been done^ét often occasions quarrels, between the parties.
The Carriers are silvery credulous, and have
so exalted an ojrfnion of us, that they firmly believe,
though I have often assured them of theigsontra-
ry, thaliany of the Tradefe or Chiefs, as they call
us, can, at pleasure, makelit fair or foul weather.
And even yet when they ar4 preparing to set out
on an excursion, they wilU|fcome and offeÉ&to pay
us, provided we will make or alldto it to be fair
weather, during their absence froH# their#homes.
They**often inquire of uSft whether salmorijfethat
year, will be in plenty in their rivers. They also
think, that by merely looking into our books, we
tityui cause a sicklerson tefreeover, let the distance
which he may be from us bêle ver so great. Kim
short, they look épon those who can read and write, 302
as a kind of supernatural beings, who know all that
^past, and who can see into futurity.
For a considerable time after we had been
among them, they were fl^ly of the opkiion, that
the white people had neither fathers nor mothers ; but came into the world in a supernatural
way, or were placed on the#arth by the sun or
As a furtfier specimen of their limited conce|M*4
tions, they $hv firmly believe that a watch is the
heart of the sun, because*it is ever in motion, as
they say, like that great body of light. They add
further, that unless a watch and the sun were
nearly related, it*would be impossible for the
watch, considering the distance which there is between them, to point out so precisely tÊè minute
when the sun is to make its appearance and to
leavegjus. In short, i$iey say that the one must
know perfectly well what tte%ther is about, and
that there must be some connexion between them,
as between the members of the human body.
The -Carriers give theffollowingr account of the
tradition, which they believe, respecting the formation of the earth, and the general destruction of
mankind, in an early period of the world. Water
at first overspread the face of$he w#ld, which is
a plain surface. At the top of the water, a'musk-
rat was swimming about^rin different directions. ACCOUNT OF^TBE ÏNDIANS,
At length he concluded to dive to the? bottom|^to
see what he could find, on which* to subsist ;  but
he found nothing but  mud,  a^ftittle of which he
brought in,his m$uth, and placed it on tfeÉ^urface
of the water, where ^remained.    He   then went
for more  mud,  and placed it&fwifcte that already
^brought up ; and thuÉhe continued his operations,
until he had formed a considerable hillock, siïhis
land increasediby degrees,  until it overspread a
large part of the world, which assumed a#dength
its present form.    The earth, in process of time,
became peopled in every part,  and remained in
this condition for many years.    Afterwards a fire
run over it all, and destroyed every human being,
excepting one man and#tee worna^7 They saved
themselves by going into a deep cave, in a large
mountain, where they remained for several days,
until the fire was extinguished.    They then came
forth from their  hiding place ;   and from these
two persons, the whole earth has been peopled.
Besides the feasts, made for their dead, wfcich
have been described i^ my Journal, the Carriers
give .others, merely to entertain their guests, who
#are frequently all the people of a village, as well as
a few who belong to a neighbouring village.    The
following ceremonies attend such festivals.    Thejj
person who makes the entertainment, who is aH
wajf|a Chief, boils or roasts several whole beav-
■.■ 304
ers ; and as soon as his guests are seated around
a fire, which is in the centre of his house, he takes
up a whole beaver, and with a raised voice, relates how and where he killed it, that all present
may kn(Hv that it came from his own land. | After t-hajg necessary explanation is over, he steps
forward, and presents the tail end to the mo£t respectable person of the house, and stands holding
the animal with both* hands until ikâs person has
eaten what he chooses. The chief then passes
on with his beaver to the second person, who eats
as the first had done ; and then to a third ; and
so on, until he has présentent to the whole «circle.*
should any part now remain, it is laid down near
the centre of the^ house ; and another whole bea-
ve^fcis taken up, which is s^Nred round in the
same manner as the first. And thus the chief
continues to do, until his guests have tasted of
every beavet, which he had preparedfor the feast.
^he remaining fragments of the beavers, are now
tmt up into smaller pieces, and distributed among
the women and children, or put into dishes, which
the men have before them, and which *$faey always bring with them, when they attend upofc a
ifeafct Theiwo^ten then come in with large dish-
es full of berries, and each, puts s^fladle folk into
every dish of the men. W&en they have eaten
what they choose of the berries, (for the Indians .
.never urge their guests to eat more than they
please) both men and women join, in singing sev^f
eral songs. The ahm of many of these songs,
which have been composed and set to musickflby
their poets, expressly for the ifei&asion, greatly
resemble those which #have#ieard sung, in R#
man Catholic churches. I After singing is concluded, each guest rises, with^his' dish and whatever
it contains, and returns tcfl?ife own dwelling, and
thus the festival ends. At these feasts, there are
frequently Indians, who will drinfc at least a
quart of melted bear's oil}* merely to show how
much they can drink.
At some of their festivals, the men and women
join in a dance. Their musick on these occasions,
consists of the v singing of ©ne person or more, accompanied by the shaking of the she-she-qu%
which is, ordinarily, a covered dish, with ^handle ; but sometimes it is curiously made in the
form of a bird, and within it, are either gravel
stones or shot. Others beat on a drum, with but
one head ; and these are all the musical instruments, if they can with propriety be so denominated, which I have ever seen* among them. When
they dance, they paint their faces, and put swan's
down on their heads, and while they are dicing,
others are almost continually blowing more through
botl| their hands, on the dancers.    They have not
39' H m •
many^iifferent kinds of danchag ; but they have |
a great variety of songs, the airs of which are
pleasant to the ear whè^D heard aiftom^R distance
from the singers, who generally have strong voic-
G$t$ All Indians have accurate»ears; and, therefore, they keep exact time when they dance or
The Carriers are almost entirely ignorant of
medicine, not haying-, any knowledge of theslwrtue
whiobois founduin roots and herbs^when administered to the sick. Wheaone of them is sick, tjjbey
call in the priest or doctor, for the samelrperson
discharges the functions of both ; and he is joined
by several other persons in singing a drerjlitoel-
ancholy air^over the sipk person, whichuthej|
think serves^ greatly to mitigate his pain, and often
restores him to perfect health. Before the do©*
tor will afford his assistance, hkr doing w&ich he
makes many jestures-jt&nd goes through much ceremony, he must receive a present But should
his patient die under his care, he must restore to
the* relations of tfab deceased, the present which
he had received. The Carriers are the only Iuêfc
ans with whom I havers been acquainted^ who
mak-^gno use of roots and herbs, and the bark of
certain trees, tàith the sick. They*^ however,
place great confidence in our medicines.
During the winter months many of the Car- ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS,
riers make their dwellings in the earth, in the
following manner. They dig a hole in the ground
to the depth of about two feet, from the opposite sides of which, they erect two considerable sticks, to su%port a ridge-poliP Theathen
lay poles from the margin of the hole to the
ridge-pole, until they have completely enclosed
the dwelling, excepting a hole which is left near
the top, which serves the double purpose of a
door by which they enter, and leave the hut,
upon*an upright post, in which, notches are cut;
and an opening for the smoke to pass off. The
poles arèr*made tight, by stopping the interstices witli hay, or by covering them with bark ;
and dirt is then thrown over them, to a considerable thickness. These huts are far from being healthy ; but they are commodious for people who are clad as poorly, as are most of the
Car rie refine Indians^on the west side of the Rolky
Mountain, erect buildings, in which they deposit
the ashes and bones of their Head. The side
posts of these structures, are about six feet high,
a roof, covered with bark, is erected upon these
posts, in the form of the roofs of houses in the civilized part of the world ; and around theirsides, are
broad boards, made by splitting trees, which they
hew, and then smooth over with a cropked^fâlfe. 308
On these boards^ which are about an inch thick,
they paint images to represent the s^mi, moon,
^ars and different kinds of animals. WitJ^n these
buildings, the remains of the dead are contained
in boxes, of different dimensjpns, which in some instances, stand on the top of^ne upright post, and,
in other-ca|es, are supported by four. The paints
which they use, in describing the figures on these
buildings, consist of black and red stones, which
they g§§nd fine, and pf a yellow,And a red earth.
These substances, they mix with glue, which they
obtain hy boiling the feet of the buffaloe, or from
the inside of stttrgeon, where these fish are&in
plenty. They put on fjieir paints with a rfarush,
made of the hair which thfgr take from the,leg
of the moose.
Among the Carriers, there are some conjurons
who whenever they please, will vomit blood, or
swallow a small toad, alive. By doing the latter,
however, they are made sick, for three or four
days; and yet they are ever itejit, for a
mere trifling recompense.
Aa|png the Indians who inhabit New Caledonia, the Sicaunies deserve to be mei^ionedA They
are a small part of alribe who, but a few years
since, came from the east side of the Rocky Mountain. They now bring the produce of their hunts
to McLeod's Lake.    The winter months, however, ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
a greater part of them pass among their relations,
on the east side of the Mountain, where theytpub-
sist on buffaloe, moose and red deer. Notwithstanding they are tolerable hunters, they would
not be able to kill a sufficiency of beavers to serve
themselves and families* during the winter, where
the snow is so deep, as it generally is in New Caledonia.
The people who areifiow called Sfccau^iies, I
suspect, at no distant period, belonged to the tribe,
called Beaver Indians, wh&âahabit the lower part
of Peace River; for they differ but little from
them in dialect, manners, customs, &c. Some
misunderstanding between the Sicaunies and the
resltof the tribe to which they formerly belonged, probably drove them from place to place, up
Peace River, until they were, at length, obliged
to cross the Rocky Mountain. The Sicaunies, are
more brave, and better armed than the Carriers,
who have, as yet, but few fire arms; and it is
probable that the former will^ make encrbach-
ments upon the latter. The Sicaunies, however,
are a wretched people ; for they suffer greatly
for the want of food, during nearly one fourth
part of the year, when they barely support life,
by means of a few unpalatable roots. Yet they
are remarkably fond of the country, where they
now'are ; and frequently intermarry with the Car-
I 310
friers, and pass a part of themctime with them, at
their villages. Thej£have, also, adopted many of
-the euéfoms of thb>Carriers, one of which is, to
burn their dead ; whereas, while they resided
i$n the other side of the Mountain, they were accustomed to bury theipsin the earth. The
Sicaunies are not an ingenious people ; and I
know of nothing which they manufacture, excepting a few all wrought bows an-iiarrows, wooden dishes, &c.
There is^a tribe of Indians not far from the
Columbia River, who are called Flat-Heads. By
fixing boards upon the heads of their children, they
compress them in such a manner as to cause them
tojiassume the form of a wedge. Another tribe
in New Caledonia, denominated Nâte-ote-taibs,
pi-irce a hole through the under lips of their
daughters, into ^Which.tbey insert a piece of wood,
in the shape of the wheel of a pulleys and as the
girls grow up, this wheel is enlarged, so that a
woman of thirty years of age, will have one nearly as large as a dollar. This they consider, adds
much to their beauty ; bi# these wheels are certainly very inconvenient, and to us, they appear
yery uncouth and disagreeable, g|!   I have been acquainted with fifteen different
tribes of Indians, which are the Sauteux, Crées,
Assiniboins, Rapid Indians, Black feet Indians,
Blood Indiana, Sursees, Cautonies, Muskagoete, Chip-
eways, Beaver Indians, Sicaunies, Tâ-cullies,, Atenâs and Nâte-ote-tains. The^farts of the cou-rftry,
which they severally inhabit, have already been noticed, in my Jouman jjÉ
The tribes that are the most enlightened, aria
that have advanced the farthest toward a state
of civilization, are the Sauteux or Chipéways, the
Muskagoes and the Crées, or Knisteneux, as they
have been sometimes denominated. These tribes
have a greater knowledge than the other Indians,
of the medicinal quarries of the bark ocrées*, and
40 314
of herbs, roots, &c. and their medical skill, enables
them heavily to tax the other tribes. Indeed,
their medicines, with their skill in regard to their
application, ' form considerable articles of commerce with their neighbours. Sometimes, for a
handsome compensation, they will instruct a person where to procure ingredients, and how to prepare them as medicines, to be used in particular
cases. It is very probable, however, that the Indian doctors, like some apothecaries in the civilized world, sell some medicines, of little or no value.
It is also well known to those acquainted with
the Indians, that their physicians frequently effect
eure$uwith their roots, herbs, &c. in cases, which
would baffle the skill and the drugs, of a scientifick
The white people have been among|the|aîbove
mentioned tribesj^for about one hundred and fifty
years. To this circumstance it is probably to be
attributed, that the knowledge of these Indians is
more extensive, than that o-Pthe other tribes.
Bi|t I very much question whether theyliave improved in their character or condition, by their
acquaintance with civilized'..people. In their savage state, they were contented with the mere
necessaries of life, which they^gould procure, with
considerable ease ; but now they have many
artificial wants, created by the luxuries which w,e. ACCOUNT &F? THE INDIANS.
have introduced among ÛÈèm ; and as they find l£
difficult to obtain "'these luxuries, they have become, to a degree, discontented with their condition, and practise fraud in their dealings. A half
civilizeâ Indian is more savage^éhan one in his original state. The latter has some sense of honour,
whHe the former has none. I have always expe-
riencedtfithe greatest èiospitalityÉ and kindness
among those Indians, who have had the least intercourse with white people^ They readily dm
coveraand adopt our evil practices; but they are
notas quick to dbseern, and as ready to follow
thm fewiigood examples, which we set before
them. Ni
The Indians in general, ere subject to few diseased The venereal complaintes common to all
the tHhestof the north ; many persons^mong them,
&è of «^'consumption ; fevers, also, frequently attack them ; and they are likewise troubled*^with
pains in their heads, breasts and joints. Marty-of
them, and especially the women, are subject to
fits. For a relief, in nearly all of their diseases,
they resort to their grand remedy, sweating.
There is no material difference in the size,
features and complexion of the different tribes,
with whom I have been acquainted. The Sauteux, Crées andi Assiniboins, together with the
other Indians who inhabit the prairies, are, how- 316
ever, fthe fairest andÉfiiost cleanly. The Sauteux women differ from all otfiers, by turning
their toes very much inwards, in walking. The
Assiniboins, of both sexes, are the best made, and
walk the most erect, of any tribe that I have
evers$een. Foofeand disfigure#persons, are seldom to be met with amongeihe Indians ; the ^la-
son of which, I believe to be, that their mothers
put them to death as soon as they discover their
unhappy condition.
All Indian childre», when youi&g, are laced in
a tabd of bag.    This bag is  made   of a  piece   of
blather, about two feet square,by drawing a string,
inserted  in   the lower  end, and lacing the two
sides togiÉher.    Some moss is placed in the bottom of this bag ; the child is then laid into it, and moss
is inserted between its legs.   The bag is then laced
the fore sideiof the child as high as its neck.   This
èag is laid upon anboard, to which it is fastened by
means of a strip of leather, passing several times
round both the board and the bag^&At the top of
this board, a bow passes round from one side to the
other, perpendicular to its surface, on which thpin-
dians fasten small bells, which they*©btain from us,
or the claws of animals, by way of ornament, and
which rattle, when the,   child is earned by its
mother,   suspended  r.jfrom    her    shoulders,   by
means off a   cord orbelt fastened to the board. ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
From two points in ^Éffik bow, equally distant
from the bâtard, two strips of leather, AVdrked
with porcupine quills, are suspended, at the ends
of which, tassels, composed of moose hair^are fixed. This bag iétfeommênly ornamented, in different parti, with porcupine quMls. The women who
are ^particular in keeping their^ehildrenSlean,
shiit the'mossiiïfcichïfc puftSnto these bags, several
times ima day ; but others dW^ not more#than
twice. They often fix conductors so that their
male children never wet tfie moss.e The ^Carrier
women will nurse their children, when thus sus--
perided atafhafc backs, either by throwingiitheir
breasts o?Sr their"shoulders, or under their arms.
Their breasts are larger ^fnd longer than "Éiose of
the other tribes \ but Ifeuifunable to assign any
causeMbr this peculiarity.
The dress of the Indians is simple Wiïd convenient. They wear tight leggins, each of which
is eompose<i%f a single piece of leather or cloth,
sewed up wfth a single seam, about an inch fr%m
the edge, which projects upon the outsidelfrTheSe
garments reach frdih the ancle nearly to Ae hip.
They have a strip of cloth or leathe^^ftled assi-
an, about a foot wide, and five feet long, which
passes between the legs, and oyer a thong tied
round the waM. soxthat the end^^fttng down, behind and before.   ^Phe body is &overe# with a 318
shirt, reaching dowsS to the thighs,\w,hich is betted
with a broad piece of parchment, fastened together behind. They wear a cap upon the head, composed of a single piece oftfur sewed up, or of the
skin of a small animal of a suitable size, winch is
cu& off at both ends, and sewed up at the .top$r and
at some times^it is only cut of at the end towards
iAe head, while the tail is left at tb&d&p, to hang
downsbebind, byiiway of ornament. daThey have,
also, at the proper season, thee tail of a buffaloe,
fastened to one of their wrists, which they use in
keeping off flies. A sort of robe or Manketiis oc-
casionaUyi«ïWorn over the&est of th&ir dress.
They also wear shoes and mittens. The articles
ofjfcfaeir clothing by day, constitute their covering
when they lie down at night The materials tf
which their clothing is composed vary with^he
season, consisting of dressed moose skins, beaver
prepared witjir the fur, or European woollens.
The leather, they frequently paint or work with
porcupine quills, with no small degree of taste.
The skirts of their shirts, and t\m seams of their
leggins, are often ornamented with fringe and
tassels, composed of the hair of the moose, which
is naturally white, bute which they die yellow and
red. Their shoes and mittens iiave, likewjjpe, an
appropriate decoration. At a feast or dance, they
wea%the feathers of the swan, eag|$ and y#feer ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
birds ; and they occasionally wind a string of the
teeth, horns and claws of different animals, around
their head or neclj&a They all rub greese upon
their hai^pphich give^nit a smooth and glossy
It belongs tithe women life make up th|j articles of cl#hing. Ins^ewuig leather, instead^J^
thread, theyiimake use of^fcbe sinews of anipaaleh
When this substance isisome moistened, they separate a fibre, and by running, their fihgejfc along
between it and the maijffjsinev^they part it to a
sufficient length. The sinews ofithe cariboo nafety
be made as fine and even, as fine thread. ||Thesej|
fibres, when thus separated, they twist at one
end between their fingers, which gives the^a
sharp stiff point, when i#hey are dry. They
use awls, which they obtain from us, or an instrument of bone which they constructapthemselves,
in sewing. Tjbe men paint their faces and ornament their persons, with no less care than the women; and the married women, whileiJhey neglect
not their own persons, are stilt more attentive to
the appearance of their husbands. The young
women often make some ornamental article^
particularly garters, neatly worked with porcupine quills and present them to their favourites ;
and the standing of a young male Carrier among 320
the jiaung females may often he determined by
the number of garters which he wears.
The female dress is made of the same materials as that of the men, but-differently constructed
and arranged. Their shoes are withoutjprnament ;
their leggins are gartered beneath the knee ; ithe
shirt or coat, which is so long as to reach the middle of the leg, is tied at the neck, is fringed around
the bottom, and fancifully pointed, as high as the
knee. Being ve4f loose, it is giçded aroufid the
waist with a stiff belt, ornamented with tassels,
and fastened behind. The arms are covered as
low as the wrists with sleeves, which are not connected with the body garment. ^These sleeves
ar^l^ewed up, as far as the bend of the arm, having the seam the under side ; and extend to the
shoulders, becomuiigbroader towardVthe upper end,
so that the corners hang down as low as the waist
They are connected together* and kept on, by a
cord, extending from one to the other, across the
shoulder^.* The cap, when they have one, consists of a piece of cfeh, about two feet square,
doubled, and sewed up at one end, which forms an
enclosure for &e head ; and it jfr tied under the
chin. Tfeie bottom? of it falls dowâ&the back, like
a cape, and in the centre*, is tied to the belti VThigi
eap is fancifully garnished with* ribbon, beads or
porcupine quills.    The upper garment, is a robe
or garment, similar to that worn byjthe men.
Their hair is parted on the top of the head, and
tied behind ; or, at sometimes, it isk fastened in
large knots over the ears, and covered with beads
of various colours. -They prefer European
clothes, when they can obtain them^o the skins*
furnished by their own countrjgiliFor ornaments
they use bracelets, composed of brass, bone or
horn ; and rings, and similar trinkets. Some of
the women tattoo a line, which is sometimes double, from the middle of the under lip, to the center of the chin ; and two other lines, extending
from the corners of the mouth, somewhat diverging from the other line, down the sides of the
The greater part of tfce Indians, who make
use of European cloths for their dress, ^frequently
cleanse them, by washing them in cold water,
without soap. Tl|ey do not understand the art
of making soap ; and if they did, the process is so
laborious, that they would readily forego the use
of this article, which they consider of very little
value. When their clothing consists of leather,
they occasionally cleanse it, by rubbing it over
with a ball of white earth. This earth, which is
the same which we use for white washing, they
moisten, and mould into balls, and thus preserve it
for use.
41 32È
Tfae Indians who subsist principally on fish,
and who kill but few large animals, cover their
habitations with some kind of bark, or wllih mats
made of riishes. But those who subsist on the
buflaloe, moose and red dee redress their likins,
aM cov%r their tents ^utttt them, as, described in
my J-durnaL When they are in their tefots they
eft or He down on buffaloe or bear skins, which
constitute, also, their beds ; and when in bed,
tfeey covè^-friemselves wMi a buffaloe skin, dressed with the hair o% or%%vith a blanket. But
manjf of the Carriers, have nothing to lie on, ex-
c4aî|flfeg the branches of the spruce fir tree, with
little or nothing with which to cover themselves ;
and their huts constitute but a poor shelter. To
keep tfeemselves from freezing, in cold winter
nights, îhe re fore, they are under the necessity of
keepiftg up a-e-bn&tant fire, to which tfcey are compelled to ttitën their sides, alternately ; and they
are, at suchftimes, able to procure but little sleep.
Indeed, almost any$fther people, in the same condition, Hvot$d«'freeze to death. But as they have
always been accustomed to such a mode of
living, they sëëm not at all aware of the^misery
of their condition.
"The Sauteux, Muscagoes, many of the ^Ghipe-
Ifyans and some of thé Crées, iiWshort all the Indians who live about large lakes, subsist principal- ACCOUNT OF THEh INDIANS,
ly on fish, which they take with hoo%s and lines,
or in nets. Their hooks they frequently obtain
from us ; and when this is impracticable, they make
them, by inserting a pace of bone obliquely into
a piece of wood, and reducing the upper
end of the bone to a point. Their lines
are either single thongs of leather, tied together, or they are braided of the bark of the
ivBtow. The Assiniboins, Rapid Indians, Black
feet Indians and those Crées who remain in the,
strong tfiick woods, or on the large plains, live
upon the flesh of 4jhe buffaloo, moose, red deer,
antelope,^febear, &&. which they either boil or
roast Those of them who can obtain brass or
copper or tin kettles from us, use them for boiling theirlifood ; and hang them over the fire.
Those who cannot obtain such kettles, use those
which are made of bark. Although water might
be made to boil in these bark kettles over the
fire, yet they would not be durable ; and thercr
fore, this operation is more commonly performed,
by throwing into them, heated stones. Those
Indians, however, who have only bark kettles,
•generally roast their meat. This they do, by
fixing one end of a stick, that is sharpened at both
ends, into the ground, at a little distance from the
fire, with its top, on which the meat is fixed» inclining towards the fire.    On this stick, the meat 324
is occasionally  turned,  when one  part becomes
sufficiently roasted. f(|
The Indians, in general, like to have their food,,
whether boiled or roasted, thoroughly done ; but
thpse   who inhabit the   plairiy frequently  make
their meals without the aid of fire, of particular
parts of the entrails of the buffaloe, which I have,
alào, eaten raw, and have found to be very palatable.    When there is no water to be found, they
at times kiH a buffaloe, and drink his  blood, or
the water which they find in his paunch. j§ The
paunch of a male buffaloe, when well cooked, is
very delicious food.    The Natives scarcely ever
wash it ;  but boil it with much  of its dung, adhering to it ;   and even then, the  broth has an
excellent taste, to those who can forget, or from
habit pay no regard to the filth, which settles, to
the thickness of two fingers, at the bottom of the
kettle.    Many consider a broth, made  by  means
of the dung of the cariboo and the hare to be a
dainty dish.
The Chipewyans can never patiently see a
fish without gouging 4@ut its eyes, and eating
them in a raw state ; and they say, that they
are delicious. They, also, often make their meals
upon raw fish or meal, that is frozen ; and appear to relish it fully as well, as when cooked.—
The Carriers, when they takelffish   that   have ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
roes in them, squeeze them, with their thumb
and finger, through their natural outlet, into
into their mouths, and swallow them down, with
avidity. They also bury in the earth large
boxes, filled with the roes of salmon, where
they are suffered to remain, until they are a little putrified, when they take them out, and eat
them, either cooked or raw ; and they appear
to relish them well, though they fill the air with
a terrible stench, for a considerable distance
round. A person who eats this food, and rubs
salmon oil on his hands, can be smelt in warm
weather, to the distance of nearly a quarter of a
The natives in a part of the country called
Nipigon, as well as in some other parts of the
country, are frequently obliged, by necessity, to
subsist on a kind of moss, which they find adhering to the rocks, and which they denominate As-
se-ne Wa-quon-uck, that is, eggs of the rock.
This moss when boiled with pimican, &c. dissolves
into a glutinous substance, and is very palatable ;
but when cooked in water only, it is far otherwise, as it then has an unpleasant, bitter taste.
There is some nourishment in it ; and it has saved the life of many of the Indians, as well as of
some of our voyagers.
On the Columbia River, there is a people
< 326
who subsist, during the greater part of the summer, on noth&ig but roots, and a kind of bread,
if it may be so called, made of the mossy stuff,
which grows on the spruce fir tree5 and which
resembles the cobwebs, spun by spidéfrs. This
substance contains a little nourishment. They
gather it from the trees, and lay it in a heap, on
which they sprinkle a little water, and then leave
it, for some time, to ferment. After that, they
roll it up into balls, as large as a man's head, and
bake them in ovens, well heated, which are constructed in the earth. After having been baked
about an hour, they are taken out for use. This
substance is Dot very palatable ; and it contains
but little nourishment It will, however, barely
support life, for a considerable time.
The Indians frequently eat the flesh of the
n*og ; and our Canadian voyagers are as fond of it,
as of any other meat. I have frequently eaten of
them myself ; and have found them as palatable
as a young pig, and much of the same flavour.
These dogs are small ; and in shape, very much
resemble the wolf. The large dqgs are of a different bijeed, and their flesh always has a rank
taste ; but this is never the case with the small
Perhaps I cannot more properly, than in this
connexion, state, that all the Indians, when they *   ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
look in each otherslheads, and find lice, of which
they bave à plenty, both there and on their bod*-
ies, crush them between their teeth^ and frequently swallow them. The reason whjfeh they give
for this nauseous custom is, that, as the lice have
first bitten them, they are only retaliating the injury upon them.
As the Indians use no salt h| the preservation
of their meat, the lean part is cut into thin slices^
and h-ung up in their ten-ts, and dried in the smoke,
and the fat is melted down ; and in this situation,
it will keep for years. They make marrow fat,
by cutting the joints of jjie bones, which they
boil for a considerable time, and then skim off the
top,1 which is excellent to eat with their dried
meat iTheyfinda root in the plains, that is nearly à foot long, and two or three inches in circumference, which is shaped like a carrot,, and tastes
like a turnip, which they pound fine, and then dry
it in 'the sun. This, when boiled in fat broth, is
©ne of their most dainty dishes, at their feasts.
The ordinary drink of the Indians is the broth of
flesh or fish, or only water.
The Indians on the east side of the Roçky
Mountain, pound choke cherries fine, and dry
them in the sun, which are palatable, either eaten
arone, or boiled in broth. They have also a small
berry, about the size of a common currant, shaped
y m
like an egg, which I have called-in my Journal,
shad berries, as I have heard them so denominated in New England, which they dry in the sun,
and either boil them in broth, or mix them with
pounded meat and fat, in making pimican. But
the Carriers prepare these berries in a different
manner, in order to preserve them. They make
a kind of tub, which will contain twenty or thirty gallons, of the bark of the spruce fir tree.
Into the bottom of this tub they put about a peck
of these berries, and upon the top of them stones,
that are nearly red hot ; they then put another
layer of berries, and upon these, a layer of stones,
and so on until the tub is full. They then cover it up, and let it remain in that situation for
about five or six hours, when they will have become perfectly cooked. They are then taken
out, and crushed between the hands, and spread
on splinters of wood, tied together for the purpose, over a slow fire ; and, while they are drying,
the juice which ran out while they were cooking
in the tub, is rubbed over them. After two or
three days drying, they will be in a condition to
be kept for several years. "They are very palatable, especially when a few whortleberries are
mixed with them. The above described method
of cooking berries, is far better than doing them ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
in brass or copper kettles, as I  have  proved by
repeated experiment.
The Carriers cut off the heads of salmon, and
throw them into the lake, where they permit
them to remain a month, or at least until they
become putrified. They then take them out, and
put them into a trough, made of bark, filled
with water. Into this trough they put a sufficiency of heated stones, to make the water boil
for a time, which will cause the oil to come out
of the heads of the salmon, and rise to tÉe W$
of the water. This they skim off, and put into
bottles made of salmon skins ; and they eat it
with their berries. Its smell however is very
disagreeable ; and no people would think of eating it excepting the Carriers.
The Indians are not regular in their meate^
and they will eat a little, half a dozen times in a
day, if they have fc0i at hand. But they are
not great eaters ; and they often subsist for a
great length of time, upon a very little food.
When they choose, however, and in a particular
manner, sometimes at feasts, they will gorge down
an incredible quantity. They do < not drink largely, excepting the Carriers, who live upon dry fish.
They will sometimes swallow, at one draught,
three pints, or two quarts. When they can procure food that is palatable, they will eat in the
42 SÉI 330
same proportion. No favour which ean be bestowed upon them is so gratefully received, as
the means of making a good meal.
From the month of June, until the latter end
of-September, all animals have but little fur ; and
therefore, at this season, the Indians do not hunt
them much. The greater part of the Indians, on
the east side of the Rocky Mountain, now take
the beaver in steel traps, which we sell them ;
frequently they shoot them, with fire arms ; and
sometimes they make holes through their lodges
or huts, and then spear them. Otters they take
in the same manner as beavers. The lynx or
cat, they take in snares. Foxes, fishers, martins,
miaks, &c. they take in a spring trap.—The large
animals are huntedlfechiefly for their flesh;
and are therefore killed, principally when they
are the fattest, which most of them are in the
fall, and some of them in the winter. Buffaloes,
moose, red deers, bears, &c. are generally killed
with fire arms. The Indians, however, in the
plains»., have other methods of kitting the buffaloe.
Sometimes the young men mount their horses, and pursue them and bring them down with
their bows and arrows, which they find more
convenient for this purpose than fire arms, as
they can more easily take  an  arrow from  the ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
quiver, than load a musket, in such a situation.. The following, is another method of taking the buffaloe. The Natives look out for a
small grove of trees, surrounded by a plain. In
this grove they make a yard, by falling small trees,
and interweaving them with brush; and they
leave an opening into it about twenty feet broa#
They select, for this purpose, a rising piece of
ground, that the yard may not be seen at a distance. From each side of tflSs opening, they fix
two ranges of stakes, at about an angle of ninety
degrees from each other, extending about two
miles into the plains. These stakes rise about four
feet above the ground, and are about forty feet
apart. On the top of each stake,ithey put buffaloe dung, or tie a wisp of hay. After this preparation, when a herd of buffaloes is seen at no
great distance off, thirty or forty or more young
men mount their racers, which are well trained
to this business, and surround them ; and little
difficulty is found in bringing them, within the*
range of the stakes. Indians are stationed by
the side of some of these stakes, to keep them
in motion, so that the buffaloes suppose them
all to be human beings. The horse men pressa forward by the sides of the^erd and behind them,
until, at length, with their tongues lolhng from
their mouths, they are brought to the entrance of
I 332
the yard ; and through it they rush without perceiving their danger, until they are shut in, to the
number,   oftentimes,  of two  or  three   hundred.
When they find themselves enclosed, the  Indians
say, and I have frequently seen myself, that  the|i
begin to walk around the outside  of the  yard, in
t&e direction of the  apparent revolution  of the
sun, from east to west.    Before any of them are
killed, the Indians go into the tent of the chief to
smoke, which they denominate making the buffaloe smoke.    They then go  out to the yard, and
kill the buffaloeswithbowsfcidarrows; and there
are Indians,   who   will  send  an   arrow, entirely
through one buffaloe, and kill, at the same time, a
second.    When the  buffaloes  are  all  killed and
cut up, the tongues of all of them are taken to the
tent of the chief ;   and with a part of themPhe
makes a feast, and the remainder he allows his
neighbours to  keep.    The meat  and   sfeins   are
then distributed among the   people  of the whole
camp ;   and whether equally or not, no one wSl
complain.   Should any  be  displeased  with theji
share, they will decamp, and go and join another
The Nativegjge ne rally cut up the body of an
animal into eleven pieces, to prepare it for transportation to their tents, or to our forts. These
pieces are the four limbs, the two sides  of ribs, ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
the two sinews on each side of the back bone, the
brisket, the croup, and the back bone. Besides
these, they save and use the tongue, heart, Mver,
pauncfif, and some part of the entrails. The head,
they carry home, the meat which is on it they
eat ; %nd the brains they rub over the skin, in
dressing it.—After they have taken all the meat
off from the skin, they stretch it on a frame, and
suffer it t#* dry. They next scrape off all the
hair, and rub the brains of the animal over the
skin, and then smoke it ; after which they soak it
in water, for about a day. They then take it oiH
and wring it as dry as possible ; and a woman takes
hold of each end, and they holdit over a fire,
frequently pulling it and changing its sides, until it
is perfectly dry. After this it is smoked with
rotten   wood, and it  becomes fit  for use.    Thi
last  part  of the  process, is to prevent it from
becoming hard after it has been wet.
The Sauteux, who remain abefkt the Lake of
the Woodij now begin to plant Indian corn and
potatoes, which grow well. The Mândans, also,
along the Missouri River, cultivate the soil, and
produce Indian corn, oeans, pumpkins, tobacco, &c.
As they do not understand curing their:" tobacco,
it is of little use to theÉk* The Sauteux, who
live back from Mackana, raise large quantities of
Indian corn,  beans,  &c.    And also makeimuch
IK.' 334
sugar, from the maple tree, which they dispose of
to the Jforth WesHCompany, for cloth and other
articles. As soon as the animals become scarce,
that are hunted for their furs, the Natives must
till the ground for subsistence, or live upon fish.
This state of things already exists, in many places;
and must, in all probability, be extended.
The Indians sometimes take the largest fish,
such as sturgeon, trout, and some white fish, with
spears. At other times, they take their fish in
drag-nets or s^oop-nets. But the more general
way of taking them is the following. They have
nets, of from twenty to sixty fathoms, in length,
which contain from twelve to forty meshes, of
from two to seven inches in depth. Upon lines,'
which are fixed upon each side of the net, for
the purpose of strengthening it, they fasten, opposite to each other, a small #tone and a woodeft
buoy, once in about the distance of two fathoms.
The net is carefully thrown itiio the water, and
by means of the stones ©n the one side, and the
buoys on the other, it becomes extended, to its
full breadth. The ends of the n^t, whiéMbrms a
semicircle, are secured fegr stones ; and it is visited
every day, and taken out of the water ever second
dap to be cleaned and dried. Thislfe a very
easy operation, when the water is nof frozen.
Bufi the ice which, §# some places, acquires the ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
thickness of five feet, renders the setting and taking out'of the nets, a work of greater difficulty»
They then cut holes, at the distance of thirty feet
from each other^o the whole length of the net,
one of whicà* is larger than the rest, being generally about four feet square, and is called the basin.
Through these holes, by means of poles of a suitable length, the net is placed in and drawn out of
the water.
The Inîans, througho# the whole country
that I have visited, have no other animals domeé»
ticated, excepting the horse and the dog. Of the
latter, they have several different species. Some
of them are very large and strong, and are em-
ployedsiB carrying burdens ; while others, which
are small, assist their masters in the chace.—All
Indians are very fond of their hunting dogs. The
jteêple on the west side of the Rocky fÉÉMmtain,
appear to have the same affection for them, that
they have for thefe children ; and^they will discourse with them, as if they were rational beings.
Tkey frequently call them their sons or daughters ;
and when describing an Indian, they^'will speak of
him as father of a particular dog which belongs
to him. When these dogs die, it is not unusual
to see their masters or mistresses pfeçe them on
a pile of wood, and burn them in the same manner as they do the dead bodies of their relations^ 336
and they appear to lament their deaths, by crying
and howlingf fully as much as if they were their
kindred. Notwithstanding this affecÉion, how-
ever, when they have nothing else with which to
purchase articles which they want, the|p will sell
their dogs.
Those Indians, who live in a woody country,
make no use oj^iorses, but employ their large dogs,
to assist in carrying their baggage from place to
place. The load is placed near their^gghoulders,
and some of these dogs^which are accustomed
to it, will carry sixty or seventy pounds weight,
the distance of twenty five* or  thirty miles in a
The Assiniboins, Rapid Indians,* Black feet
and Mândans, together with all the other Indiana
who inhabit a plain country, always perform
their journies on horse back. IndeecJ^hey seldom
go*eve^a short distance from their tents, in any
other manner. They have some ejgeellent horses,
which will carrj^thejp aggreat distance in a day.
They som^mes go seventy miles, in twelve
hours ; butj-jforty or forty five miles is a common
day's ride. They do not often use bridles, but
guide their horses with halters, made of ropes,
which are manufactured from the hair of the buffaloe, which are very strong and durable. On
the back of tj^ horse, they put a dressed buffaloe ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
skin, on the top of which, they place a pad^from
which are suspended stirrups,|$nade of wood, and
covered with the skin of the testicles of the buffaloe.
Some of these Indians have forty or fifty
horses ; and they attach a great value to thos©|
that are distinguished for their speed. Whenever an Assiniboin sells a racer, he separates from
him, in a most affectionate manner. Immediately
before delivering him to the purchaser, he steps
up to the favourite animal, and whispers in his
ear, telling him not to be cast down or angry
with his master for disposing of him to another,
for, he adds, H you shall not remain long where
you are. I sold you to obtain certain ancles,
that I stood in great need of; but before many
nights have passed, I will come and steal you
away." And, unless great vigilance or*-the part
of the purchaser prevent, he generally fulfils his
promise ; for they are the greatest horse thieves,
perhaps upon the face of the earth. As there
never falls much snow on the large plains,
the horses have not much difficulty in finding a sufficiency of grass* on which to subsist,
during the whole year ; and they are generally in
good order.
The Indians who reside about large lakes and
rivers, voyage about in the summer season, in ca-
43 338
noes, made of the bark of the birch or spruce fir
tree ; and two persons in one of them, will easily
go Mty miles in a day. The paddles, with which
the canoe is moved, are about five feet long,
half of wrhidfc length, is a blade,  four inches wide.
The Indians are good walkers ; and will !•$&
sometimes, travel forty miles in a day, with a pretty heavy load upon their backs.
In the winter season, the Indians use snow
shoes ; and it would be impossible to travel without them. They are constructedbin several differ-
ent shapes ; but the following is the most common
form. They take a piece ojjjpwood, and with a
crooked knife, work it down, until it is about two
j@|ches wide, and an inch thick. These sticks are
fastened together at one end, which constitutes
the hind part ; they are then bent so as to be
about a foot asunder in the middle, and to come
nearly together forward. The space between
these sticks, they fill up with a lace work of thongs
of deer skin. - Othe&jsnow. shoes come quite to a
point before, where they are turned up ; the side
pieces are from eighteen to twenty four ipches
apart, and, in the fall of the year, when the snow
is light, they are seven feet in lengt^i The inner
side piece is nearly straight, and the outside i%
arching, and the extremities behind, come together in a point    The space between them, is work- ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
ed as above mentioned. It is a little surprising
that the Indians, who are accustome#to them,
will walk farther in a day on good snow shoes,
than they could do on bare ground. But it is
very fatiguing for those to walk on them, who are
not accustomed to do it. The Indians are trained to this exercise from the-^age of four years.
Even at that early age, they will go five or six
miles in a day upon them, through the whole winter, as often as thefcdians decamp, which, at sometimes, is everyday, andfe at other times, once in
eight or ten days. Indians, who live upon the
chace, in a country where animals are scarce,
cannot remain long in a place ; and those who
hunt the beaver and some other animals, must
continually shift their residence.
Few o#the Indians live in a state of celibacy.
They generally marry when they are between
eighteen and twenty five years of age. Polygamy
is allowed among all the tribes ; but only a few
persons among them, have more than one wife,
each. I knew, however, a chief, among the
Beaver Indians, who had eleven wives, and more
than forty children.
Their courtship and marriage are conducted
in the following manner. A young man who is
desirous of taking a wife, looks around among the
young Women of his acquaintance, to find one that xa*
pleases his fancy. Having thus smgled out oner
to her he makes known his intentions ; ana* if his
addresses are favourably received, he visits her^É*
the night season, by crawling softly into the tent
where she lodges, and where she is expecting him,
after the othétf inhabitants of the lodge are asleep.
Herii they pass the night, by conversing in a
whisper, lest#hey should be heard by the rest of
the family, who all occupy the same apartment.
As the morning light approaches, he withdraws
in the same silent manner, in which he came.
These noctural visits are kept up for several
months ; or, until the young couple think that they
should be happy, in passing their days together.
The girl then proposes the subject to her mother, and she converses with the father in regard
to the intended match. If he give his consentj
and the mother agree with him in opinion, she
will direct her daughter to invite her suitor to
come and remain with them. It is now only,
that they cohabit ; and whatever the youngpman
kills, he brings home and presents it to the father
of his wife. In this way he lives, during a year
or more, without having any property that he
can call his own. After his wife has a child, she
calls her husband by no other name but the father
of her son or daughter. And now he is at liberty to leave the  tent of his wife's father,  if he ACCOUNT OF  THE INDIANS.
pleases. All the Indians on the east side of the
rocky mountain, think it very indecent g£br a
father or mother in law, to speak to, or look in
the face of a son or daughter in law ; and they
never do either unless they are very much intoxicated. The reason which they give for this
custom, when questioned on the subject is, the
peculiar intercourse which% this person has had
with their child.
When two young persons of different sexes,
have an affection for each other, and wish to be
connected in marriage, to wkilch thé^^arents of
the girl will not consent, they frequently leave
the tents of t hein parents, and go and join some
distant band of ^Indians. They apre, however, often pursued, by the parents of the young woman ;
and should he overtake them, he will bring his
daughter back, and keep a strict watch over her
conduct, to prevent all intercourse befèveen her
and her suitor. All neighbouring tribes frequently
Chastity in young women, is considered as a
virtue, by the Indiens, generally, on the east side
of the Rocky Mountain ; and many mothers,
among some tribes are so particular, that they
never allow their daughters, who have arrived at
a certain age^feto g#^from home alone-fpbut always
send  some   person  with   them,  as  a ^protector. 342
Chastity in married persons is universally regarded as a virtue ; and the want of it in a woman, is
frequently the cause of her being rejected by her
husband. A separation, also, at some times, takes
place, on account of the slothfulness of the woman. When such an event does occur, all the
children, if small, remain with their mother, but
should they have sons, advance^ beyond the pe--
riod of childhood, they remain with their father.
Their separations, however, are seldom lasting ;
and after a few days absence, the parties generally have an inclination to return to each other.
These separations commonly take plae$fin obedience to the will of the husband, only because, possessing greater physical strength, he has more
power to drive his wife from him, or to retain her
with him, against her choice, than shethas to treat
him in a similar manner.
The Indian women sit down in a decent attitude, placing their knees close to each other.
They are very particular, also,, in regard to their
behaviour-^feduring their periodical illness. They
then leave the tents where their families reside,
and go and put up temporary ones, at a little
distance from them, where they remain during
the continuance of their illness. While they are
there, the .-men will not deign to hold any conversation with them ; nor will they suffer them ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS.
to make use of any article, which I they expect
0>- want o^fae use of afterwards. This csstom
prevails among all the tribes, with whom I have
been acq*$ainted. The 'first time that thelyoung
women, arjg^ «the Sauteux, Crées and %)me
other tribes,eexperieilce this illness, they run into the woods, and remaiiithere for several days.
They then return to thefe tents, and immediately
proceed to cut and pite up a cord ofhwood, as
sfiigh as their heads ; aft&r which all the women
of the camp come and scramble for it, and carry
it away, saying, that the person who cut the
wood, is now a woman like themselves, and that
they hope she will prove to be industrious.
The men amiSag the Indians, are very subject to bei|ealèus of their wives. In theft fits of
jealousy, they often cut off all the hair from^he
heads of their wives, and, not unfrequently, cut off
their noses, also; and should they not in the moment of passion have a knife at hand, they will snap
it off arSone bite, withrftheir teeth. But such a
circumstance does notfferdinarily produce a separation between them. The man is satisfied in thus revenging a supposed injury; and
having destroyed the beauty of his wife, he
concludes that he has secured her against all future solicitations to offend.
% 344
All the Indians consider women as far inferi-
our in every respect, to men ; and, among
many tribes, they treat their wives much as they
do their dogs. Theiinen chastise their wives,
frequently, with an axe, or with a large club ; and
in the presence of their husbands, the women
dare not look a person in the faee. When they
decamp, the women transport the baggage ; and
when they stop, while the men are quietly smoking their pipes, the women are required to pitch
the tents, and to set the encampment in order.
Among the Saufèux, Crées, Muscagoes and As-
siniboins, however, the women are treated with
more gentleness and respect. Thé husband shares
the labour with his wife ; and the women govern
every thing in their tents, so that the husband presumes not to dispose of the most trifling artlife,
without the consent of his wife. A*mong them
the husband kills animals and generally brings
the meat to his tent, where has wife pie pares ifb
for drying, and melts down the fet She, also
generally does the cooking ; not, however, without the occasionalfeassistance of her husband.
He assists her, likewise, in taking care of the
children; and, if his wife is too much loaded,
in marching from one place of encampment to
another, he will take one of the small nhildren
in addition to the load already on his own back. ACCOUNT OF THE INDIANS»
But the Indians, who inhab^Jthe plains, never carry any thing on thfir backs$as thej are tt-sVhfup-
plied with horses.
The following ceremonies attend the birth of
children. When the time of a woman approaches, she erects a small hut, at a little distance from
the tent in which she usually lives ; and at the
time of labour, she sends an invitation to several
neighbfjaring women, to come to her assistance.
As soon as the child is born, it is washed in water, tfc^t had been previously prepared, by boiling
in ifsa sweet scented root. The mother t