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The Canadian West Dickie, D. J., 1883-1972 1927

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     Dent's Canadian History Readers
BOOK   VII
THE   CANADIAN   WEST
    THE
CANADIAN WEST
BY
D.   T.   DICKIE
OVHt
TORONTO
J.   M.   DENT  &   SONS   LTD.
 m
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
Being at a distance from the Archives when I prepared the
stories in this Reader, I depended for perhaps a third of my
material upon standard works of history* Since the first and
second editions have been published, however, the whole
subject of the exploration and settlement of Canada has been
studied in the original documents♦ It is, I think, extremely
creditable to our Canadian historians that, such a study having
been made with a view to correction and revision, I have not
found it necessary to change a single important statement♦ I
am indebted to Dr* H* Innes of the Economics Department
of the University of Toronto for permission to use material
from his forthcoming book upon the economic history of the
fur trade* The material loaned me by Dr, Innes has enabled
me to make a number of useful explanations and in certain
cases to make particular, instead of general, statements* I am
indebted also to the Hudson's Bay Company for valuable information as to the prices of furs in early days, the sise and
value of early cargoes, and for their very kind permission to
examine the original Minute Book of the Company and other
early records* It is hoped that the Index will add to the
usefulness of the book*
D* J* DICKIE,
 CONTENTS
Gentlemen Adventurers.
ii
The Canadian Fur Traders  .
14
Alexander Henry .
16
The Pedlars ....
21
Cumberland House
22
Taking Buffalo    .
24
Peter Pond   ...»
27
The North-West Company    .
29
Grand Portage      *
31
En Roulant ma Boule .
32
Merchant Adventurers |
33
Forward! the "Gentlemen".
36
The Store     .
38
The Brigade .
40
The Beaver   ,
41
Alexander Mackenzie    *
43
The West Coast   .
48
The X. Y. Company
53
A La Claire Fontaine   i
55
A Winter at a Trading-Post
56
Wild Rice
61
Fort William
62
Simon Fraser
63
Taking Salmon
69
The Carriers*
70
The Greatest Land Geogra
pher in the World    .
7i
A New Commission
76
Outwitting the Piegans
78
In Spring, by Magic Perfume
s
Led   .
.      82
To the Sea   .
i      83
David Thompson   ;
.      85
The First Women in the West
;    88
Daniel Harmon
♦   89
'KWAH    *           *           *           .
*    92
Astoria ♦
*      93
The Silver Chief *  *    *
.      96
The Selkirk Settlement
IOO
Lord Selkirk
♦    104
Seven Oaks   .
*    105
The Fight for Athabasca
*    108
The Companies Unite   *
*    113
Governor Simpson.
*    115
Winter Harbour   *        . .116
Company Customs .        . .119
Fort Vancouver    .        . .122
The Columbia       .        . .124
The Beaver Hunt .        j .125
The Standard of Trade .    128
The New Route . . .129
Kamloops      ....    132
James Douglas      .        . .134
Red River Grows .        . .136
The Governor's Wedding .    140
The First Churches      . .    141
The Snowstorm    .        . .144
Making Camp in Winter .    145
The Dog Cariole          . .146
The First Schools        . .    147
The Red River Cart     . .149
John Tod      .        .        . .151
The Storm   .        .        . .    155
Fifty-Four Forty or Fight *    156
Victoria        .        .        . *    160
The Buffalo Hunt        . .164
The Buffalo .       .        . .167
Alfred Garrioch   .        . .168
Fort Edmonton    .        . .173
The Hoop-Boat     .        . .177
Moving Camp . . .178
The    Story    of    Sir   John
Franklin . . . .179
Captain Palliser's Expedition   185
The Treasure Hunters . .187
The Royal Engineers    . .191
Cariboo         .       ♦        . *    192
The Cariboo Trail       . .    195
The Overlanders . . .197
The Fraser   ....    200
Building a Mission       . .201
The Sarcee Maid .        . .    205
The Transfer of the West .    207
Dangerous Days . . . 209
Charles Mair's Escape from
Fort Garry       .        ♦ .    214
Her Majesty's Royal Mail .    218
The Dog Sled      .       . .    219
 PAGE
PAGE
Treaty Day .
220
A Prairie Calendar
.     272
Ned McGowan's War   .
222
The Canadian Pacific Railway   273
Women's Work in Early Days   223
The Cowboy Mounts    ♦
274
The Whisky Traders
227
Making the Survey
,     275
In Southern Alberta    .
230
On Survey    .
*     278
Vancouver Island in 1869
234
The Annual Miracle    ♦
►     28o
The  North - West   Mounted
The Three Passes .
28l
Police
235
Building the Road
285
The Great March.
237
Brandon
.     289
Fort Macleod
239
Regina  ....
.     291
Whoop-Up
240
The Emigrant Soldier's Gazette
293
Riders of the Plains
241
Chief Pie-a-Pot
294
Treaty Number Seven   .
245
The Front Train .
296
Sitting Bull
248
Keeping the Peace
30I
The Queen's Scarlet
251
The Pedometer
303
The Range Men    .
252
Vancouver* in 1885
303
In the Cypress Hills    ♦
256
St. Ann's
306
The Bull Team
260
Louis Riel Again .
3IO
The Maverick
26l
The Junction of the North
The First Round-Up
262
and South Saskatchewan
311
Chief Justice Begbie
264
The North-West Rebellion
312
Crowfoot, Chief of Chiefs  ,
266
Bibliography
316
Comes the Settler
270
Index    .
319
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
For permission to use copyright material, thanks are due to Mr. Charles Mair,
Mrs. Elizabeth Bailey Price, Mr. A. C. Garrioch, Mr. J. H. E. Secretan, Mr. W. J,
Healy, for extracts from Women of Red River; The Ryerson Press and Mrs. John
McDougall for "The Hoop-Boat/' **Making Camp in Winter" and "Moving
Camp/' by John McDougall; Messrs, Andrew Melrose Ltd., London, for "The
Queen's Scarlet/' from Riders of the Plains, by A. L. Haydon; and to Messrs.
Burns, Oates and Washbourne Ltd., London, for extracts from The Great Lone
Land, by Sir William Butler. Other debts are acknowledged in the bibliography
and text, and to the owners of copyright pictures acknowledgment is in each
case made under the reproduction.
 LIST OF COLOURED   ILLUSTRATIONS
The First Sale of Furs .
Building the First Fort
Sir Alexander Mackenzie
The Trapper   *
The Pack Train      ....
The Selkirk Settlers take Possession
Threshing on the Prairies
In the Athabasca Valley
Chief Eagle Tail of the Sarcees    .
Royal North-West Mounted Policeman
Cowboy on Bucking Broncho .
The Coquahalla Valley
Frontispiece
facing page     14
5i
62
129
144
165
172
227
238
259
270
   The map of Western Canada
has been specially drawn for
this book by M. J. Hilton.
 ^ i
THE  CANADIAN   WEST
GENTLEMEN ADVENTURERS
The Charter which Prince Rupert and his friends obtained
from King Charles II. became the corner-stone of the Hudson's
Bay Company, now the oldest commercial company in the world*
The infant enterprise grew quickly* The noble gentlemen who
had invested their money in it were willing, for the most part,
to leave its management to their partners, the shrewd London
merchants* In 1671 a meeting of shareholders was held at
Whitehall with Prince Rupert himself in the chair; Sir John
Robinson, Sir John Kirke, and Mr* Portman were appointed
a sub-committee to carry on the business*
At first the Company had only one ship, the Prince Rupert,
commanded by Captain Gillam; but they were soon able to
buy two others* The committee attended personally to the
fitting and lading of the ships* Each year, in May, Sir John
or Mr* Portman travelled down to Gravesend, examined the
vessel which was about to sail, superintended the taking on of
the cargo, gave the men their orders and paid them their wages*
During the first year or two the cargoes were small: 200
fowling-pieces with powder and shot; 200 brass kettles—these
for the Blackfeet in far-off unnamed Alberta; 1000 hatchets;
12 gross of knives* But trade grew by leaps and bounds* Within
a few years Mr* Portman was loading tobacco; glass beads and
red lead to adorn the Indian beauties; looking-glasses to teach
them vanity; pewter dishes and 6000 flints*
About the first of June, the Company ship sailed out of the
Thames* Northward she sailed, round the head of Scotland,
J
 and out into the mists* No news of her could be looked for until
she returned in October, loaded to the gunwales with pelts*
Fortune was kind; northern ocean and ice-bound wilderness
suffered the intruders meekly* Year after year the ships of the
Company sailed out and back in safety*
Charles Bailey was appointed the first governor on the
Bay* He went out in 1671 to take charge of Fort Charles on
Rupert River; with him went Radisson and Grosseillers* The
two famous Frenchmen attended to the trading; Governor
Bailey took the fort in hand* Fort Charles was a small stone
building erected by Captain Gillam .when on his exploring
expedition of three years before* It was bare, without defences
or conveniences of any kind* Within a few hours of landing,
Bailey had his men at work* The small square within the walls
was cleared of rubbish, a stout gate was constructed* They
brought furniture from the ship into the bare rooms, and
mounted guns upon the two forward-facing bastions* The
Governor had the land cleared of underbrush for several rods
in all directions* A road was made from the gate to the shore
and a small landing-stage built* The cargo was unloaded, sorted,
and set out in the store-room of the fort, and the Hudson's
Bay Company was ready for business* A second fort was built
at Moose River and, before the summer was over, Bailey had
sailed up the Bay to meet the Indians near the mouth of the
Nelson River*
Meantime Radisson and Grosseillers had not been idle*
They had many friends among the tribes; to these they travelled
or sent word* From all directions came the Indian hunters, their
canoes laden with the richest furs* At a kick the door flew open
and the hunter strode into the narrow store-room* Silent,
observant, eyes widening a little, he gazed at the gleam of brass,
the flash of tin* Long he stood, only grunting in answer to
questions; but next day he returned to lay his pack open on
the counter*
Prices undoubtedly favoured the Company; skins which
to-day would be worth hundreds of pounds were then exchanged
for a gun or a brass kettle. Yet from the beginning the Company
had to compete with the French-Canadian traders; the Indians
 got better prices than one might suppose, the largest gun cost
twelve beaver skins; half a pound of powder, one beaver skin;
half a pound of beads, one beaver skin; a laced coat cost six
skins; a looking-glass and comb, one skin; while kettles were
sold for one beaver skin per pound of kettle.1
August was the busy month at the fort* By this time trade
for the season was well over; the skins had now to be sorted,
packed and loaded* Early in September the ships sailed for
England, arriving at Portsmouth before the end of October*
A courier posted to London with letters, and one of the committee hurried down to superintend the unloading of the
precious cargo*
The sale of the furs was by auction* If prices were low when
the vessel arrived, the Company held their goods until the
demand was greater* In those hospitable days an auction was
a social function* It was held in the best room of an inn,
" Ye Stillyard*" The Company ordered up dozens of bottles of
sack and claret to wet the throats and open the hearts of the
buyers* Dinner was bespoken for them also: "a good dish of
fish, a loin of veal, two pullets and four ducks*" Having been
so sumptuously dined and wined, the customers could not in
decency leave without buying*
Ships and forts are expensive things; it was fourteen years
before the Company, having paid all its debts, declared a dividend* It was, however, a dividend worth waiting for; nothing
less than fifty per cent* upon the stock* In 1688, another dividend of fifty per cent* was declared and, in 1690, the equivalent
of seventy-five per cent* was paid to each shareholder* The
Company had, by this time, two forts and three ships; as much
as £20,000 worth of skins were taken in a year; the great
Company was well started upon its long and interesting career*
1 We append herewith a few examples of
what
Dne beaver skin was worth
about the year 1790:
1 lb. English beads
valued
at
2,
beaver skins
i lb. Brazil tobacco
I
»       t>
1 lb. Virginia tobacco
tt
I
tt       t*
2 lb. Coloured feathers
.,
I
tt       tt
1 gallon English brandy
„
4
tt       tt
1 yd. Broadcloth
,,
3
,>       tt
(From the ledgers of the Hudson's Bay Company.)
13
 THE CANADIAN FUR TRADERS
DTberville, the Canadian, captured the Company forts on
Hudson Bay in 1689. France gave them back to Britain in
1713 at the same time she ceded Acadia; both have been British
ever since* The "Gentlemen Adventurers" re-occupied their
trading-posts at Rupert River, Moose Factory, and Albany;
they opened a new one, York Factory, at the mouth of the
Nelson*
As they grew richer and richer, people in England complained of them* It was said that they had not tried to find the
north-west passage into the Pacific, that they abused the Indians,
that they ill-treated their servants, and allowed the French to
trade in British territory* The Company did not believe that
there was a north-west passage, but they sent out several
expeditions to seek for one* Nothing much came of these
voyages, and the other charges presently fell to the ground*
The Hudson's Bay Company was a business corporation,
and its policy was necessarily determined by the common
requirement of business, profit* The fur trade was a one-way
traffic* Ordinarily, when ships carry a cargo from one country
to another, they carry a second cargo back* Their owners
thus make a profit both upon the outgoing and upon the return
voyage* The Company's ships sailed to England laden with
furs, but they returned empty except for the goods and supplies
required at the forts* Such a traffic is very costly, and the
common, probably the only way in which it may be made
profitable is by reducing to a minimum the expenses of carrying
it on* To keep down the overhead expenses on the Bay was,
therefore, the settled policy of the Hudson's Bay Company
during the first century of its existence* Penetration to the
interior which involved heavy additional expense was avoided,
and a system built up by which the Bay Indians not only
brought down their own furs, but acted as middlemen in
transporting the catch of the distant tribes of the plains*
14
 ^ft
Courtesy of Hudson Bay Company.
BUILDING  THE  FIRST  FORT.
  1
Meantime, although New France had surrendered Acadia
and Hudson Bay to Britain, the fur trade and the possession
of the western half of the continent still lay in dispute between
the French and British* In 1713 Montreal was already the centre
of the Canadian fur trade* Ville Marie had grown to be a neat
village* Dollier de Cassion, the head of the Seminary, had
himself seen to the laying out of the streets* Three long ones
ran parallel with the St* Lawrence, and six shorter ones crossed
them* St* Paul Street was the main business street; the cross-
streets were set out with comfortable houses; and already the
rich fur merchants were building fine homes upon the open
ground north of St. James Street*
After the Peace of Utrecht a brisk trade sprang up between
Montreal and Albany; it continued for twenty years or more*
When this trade was at its height, as many as nine hundred
pieces of scarlet cloth were sold in Montreal in one year* It was
worth £10 apiece in Albany and £25 in Montreal* The means
with which to buy goods so expensive was supplied by the
increasing profits made by the Canadian fur traders, who,
following up the discoveries of La Verendrye and his sons,
were pushing their trading posts far out upon the western plains*
A long series of minor hostilities between French and
British culminated, in 1744, in open warfare, which continued,
with short intervals of peace, until Wolfe captured Quebec in
1759* During the years of war the Hudson's Bay Company
enjoyed a revival of trade* The French traders were all busy
defending Canada* Voyageur and coureur de bois braved the
Ottawa no more; the Canadian fur posts fell into decay* When,
in 1763, Canada became British, nothing French remained
beyond Lake Superior*
When Montreal ceased to be French she became, not
English, but Scottish* Within twenty years it is said that "the
greater part of the inhabitants of Montreal (no doubt meaning
English-speaking inhabitants) are Presbyterians of the Church
of Scotland*" What Frenchmen had done for adventure sake,
Scotsmen could do for gain* The fur trade of the plains was too
rich a prize to go long a-begging*
15
 YOUNG HUNTERS
ALEXANDER HENRY
THE FIRST  BRITISH FUR  TRADER  TO  GO  INTO  THE NORTH-WEST
I
At twenty-one Alexander Henry, healthy, well-educated and
with a little capital, set out through the world to seek his fortune*
The search led him by roundabout ways and through many
curious adventures, but he succeeded in the end as the brave
and persistent usually do*
Henry began business as a fur trader in 1760* Loading three
boats with merchandise he followed General Amherst, who
led the army from Oswego against Montreal* The three boats
were wrecked and Henry barely escaped, clinging to one of
them till help came* Within three days Montreal surrendered
to the British and Henry hurried back to Albany for more
goods to sell among the victorious troops* He brought his
goods back as far as Fort de Levi (near Prescott, Ontario), where
he sold them all*
In January he hired an Indian guide and set out, on snow-
16
 Itt
shoes, for Montreal* They were attacked by Indians, cast away
in a leaky canoe, and lost in a snowstorm, but at last reached
Les Cedres, where Leduc, the Seigneur, received Henry very
kindly* The host knew no English, the guest no French, but
through an interpreter they managed to converse. Sitting over
their wine in the glow of the great fire, Leduc, an old fur trader,
told the young man such tales of the richness of Michilimackinac
and the Lake Superior trade that Henry hired, that very night,
a guide to accompany him thither in the following summer*
General Gage, the commander-in-chief, reluctantly gave him
permission to go and, in June 1761, Henry and Etienne Campion,
his guide, set off*
"The canoes which I had provided for my undertaking,"
says Henry, "were, as is usual, five fathoms and a half in length,
and four feet and a half in their extreme breadth, and formed
of birch-tree bark, a quarter of an inch in thickness* The bark
is lined with small splints of cedar-wood; and the vessel is
further strengthened with ribs of the same wood, of which the
two ends are fastened to the gunwales: several bars, rather
than seats, are also laid across the canoe from gunwale to gunwale* The small roots of the spruce-tree afford the wattap, with
which the bark is sewed; and the gum of the pine-tree supplies
the place of tar and oakum* Bark, some spare wattap and gum,
are always carried in each canoe, for the repairs which frequently
become necessary*
"The canoes are worked, not with oars, but with paddles,
and occasionally a sail* To each canoe there are eight men;
and to every three or four canoes, which constitute a brigade,
there is a guide or conductor* Skilful men, at double the wages
of the rest, are placed in the head and stern* They engage to
go from Montreal to Michilimackinac, and back to Montreal
again, the middle men at one hundred and fifty livres and the
end men at threeiiundred livres each* The guide has command
of his brigade, and is answerable for all loss and pillage; and,
in return, every man's wage is answerable to him* This regulation was established under the French Government*
"The freight of a canoe of the substance and dimensions
which I have detailed* consists of sixty pieces or packages of
vii—b 17
 merchandise, of the weight of from ninety to a hundred pounds
each; and provisions to the amount of one thousand pounds'
weight* To this is to be added the weight of eight men, and of eight
bags weighing forty pounds, one of which each man is privileged
to put on board* The whole weight must therefore exceed eight
thousand pounds, or may, perhaps, be averaged at four tons*"
i They followed the old French route up the Ottawa* As they
drew near Michilimackinac, Henry was warned that the Indians
who, in spite of the peace, were still bitterly hostile to the
British, would probably kill him* Campion advised him to
disguise himself as a Canadian* Henry tpok off his British clothes
and put on a loin-cloth, a shirt hanging loose, a blanket coat,
and a large red cap* Smearing his face with grease and paint
he took a paddle and so passed for a voyageur*
Fort Michilimackinac (Great Turtle) stood so near the
shore that the waves sometimes broke against the stockade* It
covered about two acres and was surrounded by a palisade*
Two small cannon stood on the bastions* About thirty families
lived in the fort where they had very comfortable houses and
a neat church*
Henry and Campion agreed that while there Campion
should pose as the trader* As soon as they landed, Henry retired
to a small house where he hoped to be safe, but his men talked,
and it was not long before the Indians appeared* The chief
leading, they entered the house and, after smoking and making
a very long speech, during which Henry suffered tortures of
suspense, they welcomed him as a brother, offered him the
pipe, and asked for English milk (rum)*
Thinking that all was now safe, Henry was preparing his
goods for trade when suddenly a village of Ottawas arrived*
These Indians said that unless Henry gave them fifty beaver
skins' worth of goods they would kill him that very night* As
the loss of the goods would have ruined him altogether, Henry
refused and shut himself up in his house* He passed a night of
alarm, but, in the morning, the Ottawas left as suddenly as
they had come; at noon three hundred British troops marched
in to take over the fort, their arrival explaining the disappearance
of the Ottawas*
18
 In May 1762 Henry went up to Sault Ste* Marie, a small
fort within sight of the rapids* Cadotte, a Frenchman, who had
married a Chipeway wife, was the only inhabitant* Henry
became friends with Cadotte, and remained at the Sault all
summer, hunting, fishing and learning to speak Chipeway* The
white fish were excellent and so plentiful that skilful fishermen
often took five hundred in two hours*
During the summer a small detachment of British soldiers
came up to garrison the fort* They had just settled down comfortably for the winter when a fire broke out, burning all the
houses except Cadotte's, and all the provisions* The party lived
upon what fish they could catch till the lake froze, when they
returned to Michilimackinac, which they reached only after
suffering the greatest hardships*
In May it began to be rumoured that the Indians were
plotting against the British* Each day saw numbers of them
arrive till nearly four hundred surrounded the fort* One day
Wawatam, a Chipeway, who had adopted Henry as his brother,
came to him and tried to persuade him to return at once to the
Sault* Henry refused, though he had already told the commander
that he suspected the Indians*
June 4 dawned bright and hot* It was the King's birthday
and, in honour of it, the Indians had arranged to play lacrosse
just outside the gate of the fort* Numbers of the Indians arrived
to take part in the game; an equal number of squaws, each with
her blanket wrapped closely about her, followed them* The
commander and his officers stepped out to watch the game;
the guards relaxed their vigilance* Suddenly a vigorous arm
sent the ball flying over the wall; struggling and shouting the
whole band rushed after it* Then, in a moment, all was changed*
From beneath their blankets the squaws produced guns and
knives, which they thrust into the hands of the men; the players
became warriors* With blood-curdling war-whoops they fell
upon the soldiers and butchered them to a man*
As it happened, Henry had remained at home writing
letters* When he heard the war-whoops he rushed to the window,
from which he saw the beginning of the massacre* Noticing
that the Indians were not attacking the Canadians, he climbed
19
 the fence and took refuge in the garret of his French neighbour*
While the Indians searched for him he hid under some birch-bark*
On the following day the Frenchman gave him up, and he
was taken away in a canoe with some other prisoners* The
whole party was then captured by a band of Ottawas and
brought back to Michilimackinac* Here Henry, naked but for
his shirt, and having had no food for three days, was thrust
into a hut with fourteen soldiers, each tied by a rope round his
neck to the centre pole of the wigwam* The Indians now
prepared "to make broth of their prisoners*" As luck would
have it, Wawatam arrived the next morning and bought his
adopted brother's freedom; but seven of the other prisoners
were killed and " made broth of*" Henry now disguised himself
as an Indian and went away with Wawatam and his family,
with whom he spent a peaceful winter*
In the spring they returned to the Sault where Henry, who
stood always in the greatest danger, placed himself under the
protection of M* Cadotte* In the midst of a council which was
being held and while Henry was hiding in the garret, word was
brought in that a canoe had just arrived from Niagara* The
strange Indians, on being invited, entered the council-chamber
and after the customary silence spoke as follows:
"My friends and brothers, I am come with this belt from
our great father, Sir William Johnson* He desired me to come
to you, as his ambassador, and tell you that he is making a great
feast at Fort Niagara; that his kettles are all ready, and his
fires lit* He invites you to partake of the feast, in common with
your friends, the Six Nations, which have all made peace with
the British* He advises you to seize this opportunity of doing
the same, as you cannot otherwise fail of being destroyed, for
the British are on their march with a great army, which will
be joined by different tribes of the Indians* In a word, before
the fall of the leaf they will be at Michilimackinac, and the
Six Nations with them*"
The Indians, greatly alarmed at the news of the coming
army, made a solemn feast and asked the Great Turtle, one
of their gods, whether or not they should send ambassadors
to Niagara. The Great Turtle, through the Medicine Man,
20
 advised them by all means to do so* Henry, who was now treated
with as much consideration as he had formerly received insult,
embarked with the envoys, and travelling by way of Georgian
Bay, Lake Simcoe, and Toronto, reached Niagara*
At Niagara Henry was kindly received by Sir William
Johnson, who equalled Frontenac in his happy faculty of dealing
with the Indians* The northern tribes having made peace with
the British, Pontiac was forced to raise the siege of Detroit*
A general peace was then concluded, after which Henry returned
to Michilimackinac and recovered some of his lost property*
THE PEDLARS
Pontiac disposed of and the tribes quieted, the merchant
adventurers of Montreal lost no time in re-opening the fur
trade with the Indians, formerly customers of the French*
These poor people had had no supplies since the French withdrew from the country, and were found in rags* The first trader
who went in had his canoes plundered more than once*
In 1767 James Finlay of Montreal reached Lake Winnipeg
and beyond* The Indians of Rainy Lake, seeing that the traders
had brought up more goods than they themselves required,
allowed them to go on into the west* Finlay seems to have
established himself on the Saskatchewan* He built a post a
few miles below the Forks* Here he made friends with the
Indians, and bought the furs for which the " Gentlemen Adventurers " on Hudson Bay were waiting* Finlay is said to have
made, in the fur trade, a small fortune, which he presently
retired to enjoy in Montreal*
Thomas Currie may have been with Finlay in 1767; certainly
he was in the country very soon afterwards* He built a post
upon Cedar Lake, just west of Lake Winnipeg, and did a very
good business* Mathew Cocking of the Hudson's Bay Company
says that in 1772 "the pedlar, Mr* Currie, intercepted a great
part of the York Fort trade*"
In the same year Joseph Frobisher built upon the Lower
Saskatchewan a trading-post* which he called "Cumberland
 tifH
House*" Here he stored his furs and left a man in charge* He
himself hurried across to Churchill River, where he met the
Indians, their canoes piled high with furs, all on their way to
Hudson Bay* Many of these Indians had had, the year before,
goods from the Hudson's Bay Company, for which they were
to pay with their present cargoes. But on Frobisher's intercepting them they blithely sold them, a second time, to him*
Frobisher took so many furs that he could not carry them all
back to Cumberland House* He was forced to build a fort
where he stored them*
Frobisher's Cumberland House seems to have been a
temporary post; it was probably soon abandoned* Henry does
not mention it in 1776* Thus the "pedlars," as the Hudson's
Bay Company men called these traders from Canada, began
to invade the west*
CUMBERLAND HOUSE
Their charter gave the Hudson's Bay Company power to
establish forts and to protect their trade; it required them to
keep the peace in their territories and to do all in their power
to promote discovery* Stirred to action by complaints that
they were not promoting discovery, and ought, therefore, to
have their charter taken away from them, the Company sent
out Samuel Hearne to explore the north-western country and
to find out whether there was or was not a water passage from
the Hudson Bay into the western ocean*
Hearne left Prince of Wales Fort at the mouth of the Churchill
River on November 6, 1769; he travelled during two years
and (nearly) eight months, and made many notable discoveries*
The first journey was a fiasco* Chawchinahaw, the chief who was
acting as his guide, deserted him two hundred miles from the
fort, so that Hearne and his men were forced to turn back* He
set out again almost at once and, upon this second journey*
covered much of the Barren Lands and discovered many lakes
and rivers* On his third journey, guided by the chief Maton-
abee, he discovered Great Slave Lake, Slave River, and the
Coppermine River* Overland, through Canada, he reached the
 Arctic Ocean, the first white man to do so, and he proved that
there was no water passage from Hudson Bay through Canada
to the western ocean*
Hearne with his maps and journals reached Prince of Wales
Fort on June 30. 1772* Times had changed since Anthony
Hendry's day; Hearne was welcomed and made much of*
Frobisher's exploit upon Churchill River alarmed the Company; they now determined to establish a post inland* Hearne
was appointed to lead the expedition* He and his party set out
in 1773* On Sturgeon Lake they found Frobisher's post, built
the year before* The journey from the Bay was short compared
with that from Lake Superior; Hearne reached the spot a full
month earlier than the Canadians* He did a good business
with the Indians, and, in 1774* built Cumberland House, the
first inland post of the Hudson's Bay Company* Having established themselves comfortably at a strategic point, the Company
waited to see what their rivals would do next*
Hat
WESTERN INDIAN
23
•*, Banff
 FUR train at the pas
TAKING BUFFALO
In 1775* Alexander Henry made a trip into the farther west*
He went in by Grand Portage; it took seven days to carry his
goods above the rapids on Pigeon River* From the head-waters
of Pigeon River he crossed the Height of Land to Rainy Lake
and, following Rainy River, reached the Lake of the Woods*
Here he found an Indian village from which the chiefs came
out to trade with him* Henry wished to buy fish and wild rice*
The Indians gathered all the food they could spare into a heap
in the centre of the village; then they sent for the white man*
When he had arrived, the chief addressed him in a formal
speech:
"My young men," he said, "have long expected the coming
of the white chief; we have strained our eyes with looking and
our ears with listening for him* Our hearts are filled with
singing now that he has come* Before the paleface lies the best
of our stores; our wives have deprived themselves of food to
lay it before him* All this we give gladly* Our white brother '
will not, then, forget that we are in want of nearly everything,
and especially ammunition and clothing* Having given food
to our brother, he will not leave us naked and cold* Moreover,
my young men desire milk (rum) and beg that the white brother
will share his supply with them*"
Henry gave them one keg of gunpowder, eighty pounds of
24
 shot, a few small articles, and a keg of the coveted rum* Coasting
up the west side of the Lake of the Woods, Henry saw La
Verendrye's old fort, now in ruins* He followed the Winnipeg
River to its mouth, where stood another Indian village* Here
the Indians were all exceedingly drunk except two* These two,
who steadfastly refused a drop of rum, followed Henry about,
never letting him out of their sight* He afterwards discovered
that they had been chosen to guard him* Leaving this village
Henry paddled away up the east side of Lake Winnipeg*
Presently he met Peter Pond and the Frobisher brothers*
They joined forces, making up a party of forty canoes and a
hundred and thirty men* Together they went up the Saskatchewan to the Pas, where they were met by Chief Chatique*
Chatique was six feet tall, stout, and aggressive* He came
down to the water's edge to meet them with thirty armed men
at his back* He invited them into his tent and, though they
mistrusted him, for he had a bad name, they thought it best to
go* He made them an elaborate speech of welcome, which he
concluded by saying that as he could easily kill them all on their
return down the river, he should expect rich presents from
them* They gave him the rich presents*
At the end of October they reached Cumberland House,
which Hearne had built the year before* The Frobishers went
on to their post on Churchill River; but Henry turned west
to explore the prairie country lying between the two branches
of the Saskatchewan* He nearly starved before he reached
Fort des Prairies, just below the forks of the river* There he
was received very kindly and fed on buffalo tongues and marrow
bones. He was now on the border of the great plains where the
buffalo roamed in countless herds, and hunger was almost
unknown*
Henry tells how the Indians took the buffalo in a pound*
The pound was built of strong birch stakes, four feet high, and
wattled with smaller branches. The chief with some forty men
and women took part in the hunt* At daylight several experienced
hunters dressed themselves in ox skins, covering their faces
with the head and horns, and went out as decoys* They circled
about the herd* imitating the actions and noises made by the
25
 buffalo so skilfully that Henry could scarcely tell which were
buffalo and which men*
At ten o'clock one o5 the hunters came in to warn the tribe,
who muzzled the dogs and took their places around the outside of the pound* The herd, about half a mile away, advanced
slowly, feeding as it came* The decoys moved back and forth,
bellowing, and the buffalo, either curious or sympathetic, came
towards them* The decoys now fell back into the wide mouth
of the pound, which was funnel-shaped, ending in a small gate
which led into the inner pound* The herd crowded in after the
leaders, and the people surrounding the fence attacked them
with arrows* The buffalo tried to break thorough, but the Indians
prevented them* They kept on killing till evening*
Next day the women drew the meat upon sledges to the
village* Seventy-two tongues were delivered to the chiefs; the
shoulder lumps and hearts were cooked and served at the feast;
the rest was saved to eat later or dried for sale at the post*
Henry saw in store at the fort fifty tons of cured buffalo-meat.
Henry meant to go on to the Rockies, but the prairie Indians
told him that the Blackfeet were dangerous* He was, after all,
a fur trader, not an explorer, so he returned to Montreal, where
he opened a store, and live4 in comfort till his old age*
A burst
Of sudden roaring filled the vale with sound,
And presently into the valley came
A mighty bison, which with stately tread
And gleaming eyes descended to the shore.
Huge was his frame 1 emasculate, so grown
To that enormous bulk whose presence filled
The very vale with awe* His shining horns
Gleamed black amidst his fell of floating hair;
His neck and shoulders, of the lion's build,
Were framed to toss the world*
From The Last Bison, by Charles Mair*
26
 PETER POND
Peter Pond was an American who came to Montreal soon after
the British took Canada, and joined Henry and the Fro-
bishers in their fur-trading enterprises* Pond was a strong rough
man, not as pleasant a character as his partners, but in one way
a greater man than they* The others were fur traders, in the
business for what they could get out of it; Pond was something
more, an explorer in a small way, a man with a passion for
travelling beyond the horizon* He had neither the brains nor
the courage of Hearne or Alexander Mackenzie, yet he accomplished a small but quite important bit of exploration*
When Henry went out to Montreal, Pond stayed in the fur
country* He passed one winter on Lake Dauphin, and two at
the Forks of the Saskatchewan* In the spring of 1778 he went
down to Sturgeon Lake to meet the Frobishers and other
traders* The "pedlars" were gathered at Sturgeon Lake to
plan how they should outwit the Hudson's Bay Company, which
four years earlier had built a permanent "Cumberland House "
in what the Montrealers considered to be their territory*
The meeting seems to have agreed to build posts west,
south* and north of Cumberland House, and so again to intercept the Indians on their way to the Company posts* Finding
that they had goods to spare, the traders pooled their stock and
entrusted it to Peter Pond* He was instructed to advance into
the Athabasca country, establish a post, and make the best
bargains he could*
Pond embarked the goods in four canoes and, following
Frobisher's route, crossed to Churchill River, and ascended it
to lie a la Crosse Lake* This was the farthest point north-west
as yet reached by any of the traders* Pond now entered
unknown country*
27
 He had Indians with him, and he followed the trail long used
by them to cross the Height of Land into the Athabasca country*
They paddled up lie a la Crosse Lake, north-westerly,, for twenty
miles into Lake Clear, and then into Buffalo Lake, which they
followed still north-westerly, for thirty-six miles* Into the
upper end of Buffalo Lake falls the River La Loche, a shallow
stream, up which they dragged their canoes with difficulty for
another twenty-four miles* Crossing Lake La Loche, out of
which the river flows, Pond found himself facing the Height
of Land*
A high rocky ridge divides the rivers which flow into Hudson
Bay from those which flow into the Arctic Ocean* Thirteen
miles over this ridge Pond carried his canoes* Having made
this extremely difficult portage, Pond found himself looking
down into the lovely valley of the Clearwater* The river, a
hundred feet below him, wandered through a valley of woods
and lawns some three miles wide* The hills on either side were
covered with stately forests and pleasant meadows, where
herds of elk and buffalo fed* It is still one of the most beautiful
scenes in Canada*
Thankfully Pond launched his canoes upon the Clearwater, which carried hirn swiftly down into the Athabasca, a
river three-quarters of a mile broad* About thirty miles above
the mouth of the Athabasca he built his post, " The Old Establishment*" It was ready before winter, and remained his headquarters during the next six years, while he travelled about
trading and exploring in the Athabasca country*
Peter Pond was the first white man to stand on the shores
of Lake Athabasca* What is perhaps more important, he
explored and mapped the route across Portage La Loche,
which has ever since been the recognised road from the
Saskatchewan country to the Athabasca country*
28
 THE NORTH-WEST COMPANY
The French method in trade had always been to grant a monopoly to a company of merchants* In return for the monopoly
the company was required to protect its territory and develop
it* It was a simple method and, in one way at least, satisfactory;
there was always the company to blame* If things went wrong,
the company was called to account; if they did not speedily
improve, the company was abolished and its rights given
to another*
The British have, for centuries, been opposed to monopolies; they believe that trade should be free* When the Scotch
traders of Montreal re-opened the western fur trade, each man
undertook his own adventure* He secured a licence, invested
his money in goods for trade, bought a canoe and provisions,
hired a voyageur, and set out* Having found some spot suitable
for trade, he established himself and bartered his goods for
furs* When he had exchanged all he had he packed up his skins
and returned to Canada to sell them*
As long as there was only one man in the district, he kept
order and bought his furs at reasonable prices; but in every
good trading district rivals soon appeared* Then the traders
cut prices, bribed the Indians with liquor, and obtained the
furs at much less than their real value* The Indians in revenge
attacked the traders, robbing and even killing them* Post after
post had been broken into; thoughtful men began to fear an
Indian war when, suddenly, the small-pox appeared among the
tribes* Large numbers died, others fled to the mountains to
escape the plague* For a time they were too weak and miserable
to hunt except for food* One half the Indian population of the
fur country died, and for three years trade was almost abandoned*
Meantime the Montreal traders, realising that each was
29
 ruining the other, agreed to trade in common for one year.
They did not get on well together so, at the end of the year,
each trader began again to do business by himself* But it was
plain* even to the most quarrelsome, that in union lay the
only hope of large profits* In 1783, led by the energetic and
strong-willed Simon McTavish, the traders entered into an
agreement of union for five years* They prepared to do business
under the style and title of the North-West Company* Each put
his capital into a common stock and was assigned a suitable
share in the profits of the Company*
Certain of the partners remained in Montreal and attended
to the business of the Company there* They imported the goods
from England, stored them, packed and forwarded them at
the right time* For this these partners received a commission
in addition to the profits on their shares* Each year two of the
partners went up to Grand Portage on Lake Superior to receive
the furs, pack and ship them to Montreal* These also received
a small commission* The remaining partners went out each to
his post, and wintered among the Indians, buying in the furs.
Some of the partners from long service had double shares*
When they retired they were allowed to keep one share, the
profits upon it being paid annually* The other share they
handed over to any one of the young men in the Company's
service to whom they chose to give it* Thus every young man
who entered the service of the Company knew that he would,
if he remained honest and industrious, soon be a partner* Some
of the young men fell heir to shares before they were out of
their apprenticeship, many became partners while still articled
clerks* No person was admitted as a partner who had not served
his time in the trade* It was a fine service for young men* Seeing
themselves partners already, they vied with one another in doing
their work well* Much of the north-west was explored and
opened for settlement by the men of the North-West Company*
30
 GRAND PORTAGE
The Scottish merchants soon found a new route to the west,
one somewhat shorter and more convenient. Nipigon, where
La Verendrye had had his headquarters, lay north of Lake
Superior* Kaministiquia, which had been an important post
during the French regime, was also on the north shore*
The Scotsmen found a post well down the west coast of
the lake, a point from which it was possible to portage to the
head-waters of the Pigeon River, and so by way of Rainy Lake,
Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, and Winnipeg River, to
Lake Winnipeg and the far west* Within a year or two Grand
Portage became a place of importance* The portage ended in a
bay sheltered by a rocky island* Here forts were built and wharves
run out into the lake* The space within the palisades was crowded
with buildings—the office, the store, the warehouses, long
bunk-houses where the men slept, mess-rooms, kitchens, stables
for the horses* The portage was nine or ten miles long, and
avoided the falls on the Pigeon River* The Company built a
good road, corduroyed, and then covered with earth* Oxen
and some horses were kept to help the voyageurs carry the
goods across*
Five hundred men were employed at Grand Portage in the
season* Half of them came up from Montreal bringing the
goods for trade in canoes carrying four tons, and paddled by
ten or twelve voyageurs* These men had no dealings with the
Indians* They spent part of each year in Canada, and lived on
"cured" rations* They had, comparatively, a tame life of it,
and were called in consequence, "Mangeurs de lard," the
pork-eaters* The other half of the force received the goods at
Grand Portage, transported them inland and exchanged them
for furs*  These  men  encountered  many  obstacles in their
31
 journeys* They used canoes of only one ton and a half burden,
and lived on pemmican and what game they could take, or what
supplies they could buy from the Indians* These daring fellows
were the coureurs de bois*
From the middle of August till the end, the coureurs de bois
tramped back and forth over the Grand Portage* Men carrying
one hundred and fifty pounds have been known to make the
portage and return in six hours* At the west end of the portage
the canoes were loaded with two-thirds goods and one-third
provisions* Then, feathers waving, scarlet sashes gleaming,
paddles flashing, shouting and singing, the brigades dashed
away, some for Lake Winnipeg, others for the Saskatchewan
and far-off Athabasca*
EN ROULANT MA BOULE
A Favourite Song of the Voyageurs
Behind the Manor lies the mere,
En roulant ma boule;
Three ducks bathe in its waters clear,
En roulant ma boule*
Rouli, roulant, ma boule roulant,
En roulant ma boule roulant,
En roulant ma boule*
Three fairy ducks swim without fear;
The Prince goes hunting far and near*
With magic gun of silver bright,
He sights the Black but kills the White*
Ah! cruel Prince, my heart you break,
In killing thus my snow-white Drake*
32
 MERCHANT ADVENTURERS
The fur trade as carried on by the Nor'-Westers was a business
of many branches* Each year, in the month of October, the
Montreal partners ordered from England the goods which would
reach the Indians a year and a half later*
"The articles necessary for this trade are coarse woollen
cloths of different kinds; milled blankets of different sizes;
arms and ammunition; twist and carrot tobacco; Manchester
goods; linens and coarse sheetings; thread, lines, and twine;
common hardware; cutlery; kettles of brass and copper; and
sheet-iron; silk and cotton handkerchiefs, hats, shoes,.and hose;
calicoes, and printed cottons* Spirituous liquors and provisions
are purchased in Canada*"
The London merchants shipped the goods in the spring
after they had been ordered; they reached Canada in the
summer* During the following winter they were made up into
articles such as the Indians needed or desired* They were then
packed into parcels weighing ninety pounds each, and were
ready for the interior*
In May, five clerks, eighteen guides, and three hundred and
fifty voyageurs were hired in Montreal to take the goods up
to Grand Portage and to bring back the winter's store of furs*
The trip took from the beginning of May till the end of
September, and the men were paid from two hundred
and fifty livres (ordinary canoemen) to a thousand livres (the
guides)* Each canoeman was supplied with one blanket, one
shirt, and one pair of trousers besides his provisions; guides were
allowed two of everything and two handkerchiefs to boot*
When the men were ready the canoes were loaded* Eight
or ten men were required to handle each canoe, sixty-five
packages of goods, six hundred pounds of biscuit* two hundred
vn—c 33
 Parker. High Rit
HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE IN  ALBERTA  WOODS
pounds of pork, with three bushels of pease, were provided for
each man* Besides the goods, food, and the men's luggage, each
canoe carried two oil-cloths to cover the goods, a sail, an axe,
a towing-line, a kettle, a sponge to bail out the canoe, gum and
bark to repair it*
The canoes set out from Lachine and followed the old route
up the Ottawa and down French River into Lake Huron* Crossing the north end of Lake Huron, they portaged round the
falls of St* Mary and crossed Lake Superior to Grand Portage,
which they reached in June. The North-West Company had
also two ships on Lakes Erie and Huron, and one on Lake
Superior. They sent certain kinds of goods up by these vessels,
transhipping at the rivers which connected the lakes* This was
a cheaper though much slower and more dangerous way than
the canoe route*
Early in July the "North" men with the "wintering
partners" reached Grand Portage* They were regaled with
bread and butter, pork, liquor and tobacco* The great dining-
hall where a hundred men sat down together rang with their
talk  and  laughter*  Twelve  hundred   men   were   sometimes
34
 assembled at Grand Portage* The "North" men were paid;
some of them threw away their hard-earned wages in a week;
others converted them into drafts which the Montreal partners
invested for them on their return to the city. The Montreal
and "wintering" partners then held the annual meeting of the
Company* Profits were reckoned up, new policies decided upon,
traders were moved from one district to another, new men
were hired*
When the "North" men had had a fortnight's riotous
holiday they were, usually, ready to go back to their distant
posts* Hominy was prepared for them:
" The corn for this purpose is prepared in Detroit by boiling
it in strong alkali, which takes off the outer husk: it is then well
washed and carefully dried upon stages, when it is fit for use*
One quart of this is boiled for two hours, over a moderate fire,
in a gallon of water; to which when it has boiled a small time
are added two ounces of melted suet; this causes the corn to
split, and in the time mentioned makes a pretty thick pudding*"
Salted, this makes a wholesome palatable food, and very easy
of digestion* This quantity is enough for a man during twenty-
four hours* The canoemen, both from the North and from
Montreal, had no other provision*
When the hominy was ready it was stored in strong sacks*
Together with the neat packs of goods prepared for the winter's
trade it was carried across the portage* The voyageurs tightened
their new belts, selected new paddles, and tramped gaily off
along the nine miles of rough road* The canoes on Pigeon River
were then loaded, the good-byes were said and, singing and
shouting, "the North Brigade" was off for another twelve
months in the wilderness*
The Montreal partners and clerks now busied themselves
in getting all the furs across the portage* They were repacked
into bundles weighing a hundred pounds each and reshipped
to Montreal, where they commonly arrived in September* The
furs dispatched, the partners embarked in light canoes manned
by picked voyageurs, who carried them home in an astonishingly
short time*
35
 Valentine, Winnipeg
A TRAPPER'S HUT
FORWARD! THE "GENTLEMEN"
The formation of the North - West Company threatened
organised competition, and from that time forward the
Hudson's Bay Company busily pushed its posts out upon
the plains* By striking west and south they hoped to cut
off the Nor'-Westers heading north and west* Posts were
erected on Lake Winnipegosis and the Assiniboine* An
enterprising trader built one on Rainy Lake in the heart
of the Montrealers' country* Brandon House was built on the
south side of the Assiniboine (seventeen miles below the present
city); Edmonton House on the north bank of the Saskatchewan*
Before the end of the century the old Company had occupied,
pretty completely, the country south of the North Saskatchewan
and between Rainy Lake and the Rockies*
The trade of both Companies suffered severely from the
competition. It was bad for the Indians too; the rival traders
bribed them with liquor till the western tribes bid fair to
be demoralised*1 The Hudson's Bay Company probably suffered
less  than  the   Nor'-Westers*   The   old   Company  employed
36
 steady plodding Orkneymen, while the voyageurs and traders
from Montreal were often wild fellows enough* The "Gentlemen" had, too, the advantage of the month's early arrival at
the trading-posts and, it is generally admitted, had a higher
reputation among the Indians for honesty and fair dealing
in trade*
The Company traded in peltries of all kinds, as well as in
seal and whale oil, dried and salted fish, walrus tusks, feathers,
quills* and castorum* For many years beaver was the principal
fur of the country and the standard of trade* Thousands of
skins were required each year to make the large beaver hats
then worn by gentlemen* By the end of the eighteenth century
beaver hats were going out of fashion; men began to wear silk
hats, and the value of the beaver skin declined, although it was
still used to make coats and furs for ladies.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the bison, or
North American buffalo, had replaced the beaver as the principal
object of the hunter's toil* The hides, when dressed on one side
with the hair left on the other, were called robes, and were in
great demand in Canada, where they were used as sleigh wrappers*
Buffalo skins were also used to make coats* They are very rare
nowadays, but one is still seen occasionally in the Canadian
West* One such has been worn for twenty years, and shows the
hair still retaining its silky quality* It is light brown, short,
wavy, and very thick on the hide*
The most valuable fur trafficked in by the Company was
that of the black fox; a single skin brought from twenty-five to
thirty guineas in the British market* The most profitable fur
of the country was the marten, which resembled the Russian
sable and maintained a steady price*
1 Report of Parliamentary Commission, 1857, page 87, question and answer
37
 THE STORE
Ballantyne
"At whatever establishment in the fur„trader's dominions you
may chance to alight, you will find a particular building which
is surrounded with a halo of interest; towards which there
seems to be a general leaning on the part of everybody, especially
of the Indians; and with which are connected, in the minds of
all, the most stirring reminiscences and pleasing associations*
" This is the trading-store* It is always recognisable, if natives
are in the neighbourhood, by the bevy of red men that cluster
round it, awaiting the coming of the store-keeper or the trader
with that stoic patience which is peculiar to Indians* It may be
further recognised by a close observer by the soiled condition
of its walls, occasioned by loungers rubbing their backs perpetually against it, and the peculiar dinginess round the keyhole, caused by frequent applications of the key, which renders
it conspicuous beyond all its comrades*
" Here is contained that which makes the red man's life enjoyable; that which causes his heart to leap, and induces him to
toil for months and months together in the heat of the summer
and amid the frost and snow of winter; that which actually
accomplishes, what music is said to achieve, the * soothing of
the savage breast': in short, here are stored up blankets, guns,
powder, shot, kettles, axes and knives, twine for nets, vermilion for war-paint, fish-hooks and scalping-knives, capotes,
cloth, beads, needles, and a host of miscellaneous articles, much
too numerous to mention* Here, also, occur periodical scenes
of bustle and excitement, when bands of natives arrive from
distant hunting-grounds, laden with rich furs, which are speedily
transferred to the fur company's stores in exchange for the
38
 goods aforementioned* And many a tough wrangle has the
trader on such occasions with sharp natives, who might have
graduated in Billingsgate, so close are they at a bargain* Here,
• too, voyageurs are supplied with an equivalent for their wages,
part in advance, if they desire it (and they generally do desire
it), and part at the conclusion of their long and arduous voyages.
" The name fort is given to all the posts in the country, but
few of them merit it* Most of them are defended only by wooden
pickets or stockades; and a few, where the Indians are quiet,
are entirely destitute of defence* Oxford House, a small outpost
of the York Factory District, is a typical inland post* It is
composed of a collection of wooden houses, the store, the mess-
room, the sleeping quarters of the men, built in the form of a
square, and surrounded by tall stockades pointed at the tops*
A small flagstaff towers above the buildings* There are only
two or three men at the place*"
GAY, LA, LA, GAY IS THE ROSE
Nightingales there are singing
All through the day and night,
Singing of all the fair ones,
Having no man in sight*
Gay, la, la, gay is the rose
This pretty month of May*
Translated by Murray Gibbon*
39
J
 THE BRIGADE
Ballantyne
" It was a fine sight to see the boats depart for the north* It was
a thrilling heart-stirring sight to behold these picturesque,
athletic men, on receiving the word qf command from their
guides, spring lightly into the long heavy boats; to see them let
the oars fall into the water with a loud splash, and then, taking
their seats, give way with a will, knowing that the eyes of friends
and sweethearts and rivals were bent earnestly upon them* It
was a splendid sight to see boat after boat shoot out from the
landing-place and cut through the calm bosom of the river,
as the men bent their sturdy backs, until the thick oars creaked
and groaned on the gunwales and flashed in the stream, more
and more vigorously at each successive stroke, until their
friends on the bank, who were anxious to see the last of them,
had to run faster and faster to keep up with them, as the rowers
warmed to their work and made the water gurgle at the bows
—their bright blue and scarlet and white trappings reflected
in the dark waters in broken masses of colour, streaked with
long lines of shining ripples, as if they floated on a lake of liquid
rainbows* And it was a glorious thing to hear the wild, plaintive
song, led by one clear, sonorous voice that rang out full and
strong in the still air, while at the close of every two lines the
whole brigade burst into a loud, enthusiastic chorus, that rolled
far and wide over the smooth waters—telling of their approach
to settlers beyond the reach of vision in advance, and floating
faintly back, a last farewell, to the listening ears of fathers,
mothers, wives and sisters left behind*"
40
 Canadian Pacific Railway
BEAVER WORK
THE BEAVER
Arranged from the narratives of David Thompson
The beaver is an animal well known; the average weight of a
full-grown male is about fifty-five pounds* His meat is agreeable to most although fat and oily; the tail is a delicacy* They
are always in pairs and work together* Their first business is
to ensure a sufficient depth and extent of water for the winter;
if Nature has not done this for them, they make dams to obtain
it* If there are more families than one in a piece of water, they
all work together, each appearing to labour on a particular part*
The dam is made of earth* and pieces of wood laid oblique
to the direction of the dam* The wood employed is always
aspen, poplar or large willows and alders; if pine is used it is
through necessity, not by choice; the bottom is well laid; if
small stones are at hand they make use of them for the bottom*
The earth is brought between their fore-paws and throat, laid
41
 down, and by several strokes of the tail made compact* With
their teeth, which are very sharp and formed like small chisels,
they cut the pieces of wood to the lengths which they require,
bring them to the dam, and work them in, until it is raised to
the desired height* Many have remarked that dams erected by
the art of man are frequently damaged, or wholly carried away
by violent freshets, but no power of water has ever carried
away a beaver dam*
Having secured a sufficient depth of water, each family
builds a separate house* It is in the form of a low dome, from
the doorway, which is a little way in tlje water, gradually rising
to about thirty inches in height and six feet in diameter* The
materials are the same as those of the dam, only the pieces of
wood are much shorter and, if at hand, small stones are worked
in* The earth coating of the first year may be four or five inches
thick, and every year an additional coat is added, until it is a
foot or more in thickness* Grass then grows upon it and it looks
like a little knoll*
The next work is to make burrows of retreat* The first year
they are seldom able to make more than one or two; the second
and third years the number is increased to five or six; and where
the beaver have been a long time the ponds and lakes have
numerous burrows* These burrows are carried on a few inches
below the surface of the water and directly from it* They rise
gradually to a foot in height, and must be at least twenty inches
broad, so that a beaver can turn in them. In general they are
about ten feet long, but in good earth they are often twenty
feet or more*
The Indians use a small dog in hunting the beaver* By
smelling and scratching, the dog shows the weakest part of the
beaver-house or burrow* Having doubly staked the entrance,
the Indian with his axe and ice chisel makes a hole over the
place shown by the dog* If the beaver changes his place in the
burrow, a crooked stick is pushed in till it touches him* Then
another hole is made and the poor animal is killed with the ice
chisel, which has a heavy handle seven feet long* Such was
the manner of killing the beaver before the introduction
of steel traps*
42
 ALEXANDER MACKENZIE
Alexander Mackenzie was born in 1763 and came to Canada
when a lad of sixteen. He took service with Gregory of Montreal,
where he worked in the counting-house for five years* By this
time the North-West Company had been formed and Mackenzie became a partner in it* He was what is called a "wintering
partner"—that is he went up into the fur country to collect
the furs*
Mackenzie had charge of the Churchill River district; it
was an important command because the competition there was
particularly keen. Mackenzie had with him his cousin, Roderick
Mackenzie, a very clever young man* The two managed to do
a good business and yet keep on friendly terms with rival traders*
Peter Pond, who commanded for the Nor'-Westers in the
Athabasca district, got into trouble there in the winter of 1786*
In the following spring, Alexander Mackenzie was sent to
Athabasca with him, while Roderick took charge on Churchill
River* Mackenzie spent a year in Athabasca with Pond, during
which he learned all he could about the geography of the
country* He was already planning his great journeys*
Pond thought the Company had treated him badly and left
the upper country in 1788* After that Mackenzie had Roderick
with him1 in Athabasca* Alexander traded at the Old Establishment, and Roderick went forward to Lake Athabasca, where
he built Fort Chipewyan* This post soon became the most
important place in the far north-west* On his way down to the
partners' meeting at Grand Portage, Roderick explored for a
canoe route which should avoid the difficult Portage La Loche,
but he did not find one*
In the spring of 1789, when Roderick had gone off with
the fur packs for Grand Portage, Alexander set out upon his
43
 f
I
first voyage of discovery; he hoped to find a passage by river
and portage to the Pacific* He left Fort Chipewyan on June 3
with a small party of voyageurs and Indians* Leroux, a trader
going up to meet the Red Knife Indians on Great Slave Lake,
was also of the party* They followed the shore of Lake Athabasca to the mouth of the Slave, which they entered* The Peace,
a mile broad and with a very strong current, flows into the
Slave a short distance below Athabasca*
Rising every morning at half-past two, and travelling until
late, the party advanced very rapidly* There were a number of
difficult portages on the Slave River, „and they had to paddle
against head-winds in June days so cold that the Indians wore
mittens* At Leroux's post on Great Slave they were detained
five days by the ice* The Indians tried to frighten them with
tales of impassable rapids, but when met they proved quite
easily navigable* On July 10 Mackenzie, having taken his
reckoning, became convinced that the river he was following
emptied into the "Hyperborean Sea*"
Two days later, they landed on a high island; no land could
be seen ahead; beyond the open water the ice lay in a solid mass
from the south-west round to the east* That night the baggage
had to be rescued from the tide; the next morning they saw
whales* Still Mackenzie does not seem to have been certain
that he had reached the sea* He erected a post upon which he
carved the date and the latitude and, after a few days, turned
homeward; he reached Fort Chipewyan on September 12*
Mackenzie's account of his remarkable voyage reads almost
as though he had been disappointed* He called his river the
River Disappointment, and although this may have been
because he had hoped that it would lead him to the Pacific,
some writers think he did not know until long afterward that
he had actually reached the Arctic Ocean* He does not speak
of having tasted the water; he does mention the tide, but it is
well known that the tide rises far up in some rivers* If he did
know, he speaks, in his published accounts of the voyage, in a
very modest way of so extraordinary an achievement*
Mackenzie spent the winter following his great journey at
Fort Chipewyan with Roderick; no doubt they passed many
44
 THE GATES OF THE PEACE
an hour discussing plans for future explorations* In the spring,
Alexander went down to meet his partners at Grand Portage*
They were fur traders first and last* " My expedition was hardly
spoken of, but that is what I expected," he wrote to Roderick*
This was all the interest excited at the time by one of the
greatest explorations ever made* In 1791 Mackenzie went to
England, where he studied for some months and bought the best
geographical instruments he could get* He returned to Canada
early in 1792 and travelled straight through to Fort Chipewyan,
where Roderick was waiting with sympathy and advice*
Alexander determined this time to reach the Pacific Ocean;
his plans were made; he meant to leave nothing to chance.
He would build a post and winter far up the Peace and, as early
as possible in the spring, make a dash for the Western Ocean*
Roderick remaining in charge at Fort Chipewyan, Alexander
spent a very comfortable winter near the mouth of the Smoky*
On May 9, 1793* he left his winter quarters* With him went
Alexander McKay, a trusted Nor'-Wester, six voyageurs, two
of whom had been with him on the Arctic journey, and some
Indian guides* They had one twenty-five foot canoe, light and
strong, but of necessity rather too heavily laden* As they passed
up the Peace, the explorer was amazed by the beauty of the
scenery along its banks* Bold cliffs alternated with gently sloping
lawns waving with grass and flowers; groves of poplar separated
45
 Valentine, Winnipeg
ESKIMOS BUILDING A BOAT \
vast herds of elk and antelope* "It was," said Mackenzie,
"the most beautiful scenery I ever beheld*"
It soon became evident that the voyage to the Pacific was
to be a very different one from that made to the Arctic* Here
was no broad river waiting to carry them to their goal, but a
swift and dangerous torrent eager to escape from its mountain
home; they were going up-stream instead of down, and they
fought for every mile of their passage* The canoe was injured
again and again* At one point, unable to force their way through
the churning water, they cut steps in the solid rock wall of the
river and dragged the canoe up by a line* At another, they were
obliged to cut a road for six leagues through the almost
impenetrable forest*
On May 31 they reached the Forks; here one branch of the
Peace leads north, the other south* Advised by an old Indian,
Mackenzie chose the Parsnip, the south branch* Missing the
Pack River and with it an easy portage into the Fraser, they
worked their toilsome way up the Parsnip into the Bad River
and so, with incredible difficulty, reached the Fraser* With
"inexpressible satisfaction" they launched upon a river which,
for the moment, seemed disposed to let them pass* Mackenzie
followed the Fraser as far south as the site of Alexandria; then,
advised by the Indians, he decided to retrace his steps and follow
46
 the trail by the Blackwater, which the Indians promised him
would take him quickly and easily to the coast* Returning to
the mouth of the Blackwater, they hid their surplus supplies and
started overland*
The way lay along a well-beaten path through country
rugged, ridgy and full of woods* It was hot and the rain fell
frequently, so that they were often soaked by the dripping underbrush* Their Indian guides constantly threatened to leave them,
and each pair could only be persuaded to lead them through
their own country to that of the next tribe westward* The
Indians they met seemed to live in comparative comfort, and
most of them treated the strangers kindly, sharing with them
their fish and other food*
On the 17th they were welcomed and royally feasted by a
tribe which inhabited what is now believed to have been the
upper waters of the Dean River* "These people," says Mackenzie, "indulge an extreme superstition respecting their fish*
Flesh they never eat* When I made application to my friend
(the chief) to procure us a canoe with people to conduct us to
the sea, he demurred, saying that if venison were embarked in
a canoe upon their river the fish would smell it and leave, so
that he and his relations would starve*"
Abandoning his meat, Mackenzie obtained the canoe and
the party paddled swiftly down the Dean River and Inlet* On
July 20 they reached the Pacific* They cruised about for a day
or two while Mackenzie tried to make accurate observations
of their latitude and longitude* The coast Indians were hostile,
threatening them again and again, but Mackenzie's firmness
overawed them and the whole party returned safely*
This exploit was too important to be overlooked even by
the traders of the North-West Company* Mackenzie was congratulated and honoured at home and, when he had published
an account of his voyages, was knighted by the Queen*
47
i
 r
THE WEST COAST
Sir Francis Drake was, perhaps, the first of white men to see
the lovely western shores of our country* On his voyage round
the world in 1579 he sailed northward past California; just how
far north we do not know* He spent five weeks in Drake's^Bay
refitting the Golden Hind, took possession of the land for
Britain, named it New Albion, and sailed on*
Two hundred years later, Spain, who claimed all that part
of America which was washed by Pacific seas, became alarmed
at the hold Britain had acquired in the east and Russia in the
north* She built a great fort with shipyards, warehouses, and
arsenals at San Bias, Mexico, and prepared to enter into active
possession of her west coast*
Nothing much came of it* In 1774 Don Perez sallied bravely
forth from San Bias Harbour* He sailed as far north as the
Queen Charlotte Islands, but returned without having landed
anywhere* The next year came the gallant Don Bruno Hecate*
Somewhere upon the shore of British Columbia he landed and
set up the cross of Spain* As he returned he noticed a point
at which a strong current set out to sea* "Here," said Don
Bruno, " some mighty river comes down from the mountains*"
As in the days of Cabot, the merchants of England were
anxious to find a water passage north of Canada, connecting
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and which would lead them
quickly to the Orient* Many people felt that the Hudson's
Bay Company had not been active enough in exploring* In
1776 the Government took the matter up; it was determined
to send out an expedition to find the north-west passage into
the Pacific*
Captain Cook, a famous sailor, had just returned from two
long voyages of exploration in the South Seas* Everyone felt
48
 that he was the best person to lead the new expedition, but no
one liked to ask him to go out again so soon* At a meeting called
to discuss the expedition, however, he became so much interested
that he rose and offered to go* The Government was delighted
and prepared for him two ships, the Resolution and the Discovery. Captain Cook sailed by the Cape of Good Hope and
across the Indian Ocean* He carried pigs, sheep and goats to
Australia and New Zealand, where he left them for breeding
purposes* Then he crossed the Pacific Ocean, touching at some
of the islands as he passed* All this took a good deal of time,
so that it was not until March 7, 1778, that he sighted the
shores of New Albion*
They coasted along, combating contrary winds for three
weeks, and then anchored near the shore* Three canoes of
Indians came off to them at once, in one of which a man stood
up, threw handfuls of red dust and feathers towards them, and
made a long oration* The next day a great number of canoes
appeared and trade began* The Indians would take in trade
nothing but metal* When the men had traded away all the iron
about the ships, the natives demanded the brass. Soon clothes
were stripped of their buttons, bureaus of their handles, and
copper kettles, candlesticks, and tin canisters all went to wreck*
Towards the end of April, Captain Cook quitted Nootka,
as they called the trading-place, and bore away northward to
seek the passage* Early in August they saw land west of them*
At first they thought it was part of what they called "the Island
of Alaska," but in the end Captain Cook concluded it must be
the shore of Asia* Some days later they saw the "blink" on
the northern horizon* The "blink" is a brightness in the sky
caused by the glare of the sun on ice* Two hours later they
came upon the ice, which stretched north-east and south-west
as far as they could see* On the ice lay a prodigious number of
sea-horses or walrus, some of which they killed for food*
Captain Cook was now obliged to keep altering his course
to the eastward to follow the coast* On August 18, he found
himself five leagues farther eastward than he had been* He was
then close to> the ice, which stood against him like a wall ten or
twelve feet high* The land ran out in a point, which Cook called
vn—d 49
 Icy Cape, and then fell away to the south-east* He had, as you
will see by referring to the map, actually rounded the north-west
corner of Alaska. His Icy Cape is one hundred and twenty-six
miles south-west of Point Barrow*
It was now late September and Captain Cook thought it
time to return for the cold weather to some more friendly
climate* He determined to winter in the Sandwich Islands and
return in the spring to complete his work* Unfortunately he
was killed in the islands by a native* His assistant, Captain
Clarke, went back in the spring to Bering Sea, but he was
stopped J5y the ice seven leagues
farther south than Cook had
been* They concluded that the
passage into the Atlantic could
not be made, and the expedition
returned to England in 1780*
News that seal and otter, furs
richer even than the beaver,
were to be found on the northwest coast of Canada, spread like
wild-fire* Captain James Hanna
was the first to arrive* He crossed
over from China in a small
trading-ship, reaching Nootka in
August 1785* He made $26,000
out of one cargo of sea-otter skins* In 1786 the East India
Company sent a ship under Captain Strange to Nootka* They
secured 600 sea-otter skins and left a man to collect skins
against their coming the next year*
In 1788 Captain John Meares came to Nootka to trade for
the British merchants of India* He bought a building site from
the natives, and within two weeks erected a trading-post* The
ground floor of the house was arranged as a workshop; the
upper floor divided into eating- and sleeping-rooms* There was
a store-room and an armourer's shop, and the whole was
surrounded by a breastwork upon which a cannon was mounted*
Meares paid his Indian workmen each night with beads or bits
of iron, and in every way treated them kindly, so that he could
50
National Gallery, London, England
GEORGE VANCOUVER
   Canadian Pacific Railway
EXPLORING THE WEST COAST
not find employment for the numbers desiring work* He now
laid down the keel of a trading-ship and leaving his men at
work upon her, sailed up and down the coast trading* When
he returned in September he found his ship nearly finished.
It was launched under the name of The North-West America,
This was the first ship built in what is now British Columbia*
Meares left men in charge of the post at Nootka and went off
to China, where he sold his furs*
When he returned in the spring he found that Captain
Robert Gray and two American ships had wintered in Nootka*
The American Revolution being just over, the two parties were
not very friendly but did not quarrel* On May 6, however, a
Spanish ship of war mounting twenty-six guns sailed into
Nootka Sound, and presently seized all Captain Meares'
property, goods, ships and post* The Spanish claimed exclusive
right to the Pacific coast of America* Meares at once informed
the British Government what had been done* The matter was
taken up with the Spanish Government* The feeling was hot
5i
 and, for a time, both nations prepared for war* But Spain did
not wish to fight and, in the end, agreed to restore the British
property seized at Nootka.
In 1791 Captain George Vancouver, who had been with
Cook, was sent out to receive Nootka back from Spain* He
crossed the Indian and Pacific Oceans and on April 29* 1792,
reached Cape Flattery* Sailing eastward still, a beautiful mountain rose like a silver cloud on the horizon before them; they
named it Mount Baker after the young lieutenant who first saw
it* During May, Vancouver surveyed Puget Sound, also named
after one of his young men, and in June he charted Burrard
Inlet and Howe Sound* Near Point Grey he met two Spanish
vessels, also charting* They greeted him courteously, and told
him that he was expected at Nootka*
Rounding the north end of the island he anchored in the
Sound* Don Quadra, the Spanish commander, received Vancouver most politely, but they could not agree as to their
instructions* Vancouver expected to receive the property, lands,
and the sovereignty of the place; Quadra wished to restore
only the property* After many discussions they agreed to wait
for further instructions, and both sailed away to their winter
quarters*
During the next year, 1793* Vancouver explored the bays
and inlets of the coast and charted the islands* In October he
returned to Nootka, where the Spanish governor received him
with salutes and feasts* As no further instructions had yet been
received, both commanders again retired to their winter quarters*
The next year Vancouver completed his survey of the coast
and, as he had still received no further instructions, sailed for
England which he reached in October 1795*
The dispute about Nootka had been settled in 1794, however,
Spain having at last agreed to give up her claim to the whole
coast* Before Vancouver reached home, Lieutenant Pierce had
sailed to raise the British flag over Nootka* Captain Vancouver,
whose important surveys made him famous, died three years
later, being only forty years of age*
52
 Canadian Pacific Railway
DOG TEAM AT NIPIGON
THE X* Y* COMPANY
While Mackenzie explored, his partners at home in Montreal
quarrelled* Simon McTavish, a bold, clever and hot-headed
Highlander, was difficult to get on with* The fur trade was as
exciting as a treasure hunt; it affected men's minds as treasure
does; every man suspected his neighbour* In 1.795* a few of
the partners of the North-West Company withdrew from it
and formed an organisation of their own* It was known as the
New North-West Company; the men called it the X* Y* Company from the letters painted on the bales of goods consigned
to the new group*
Mackenzie remained with the old Company for three years
longer* During these years the ill-feeling between him and Simon
McTavish became more and more bitter* At the annual meeting
of the partners at Grand Portage in 1799* Mackenzie announced
that he intended to leave the Company* The "wintering partners,"
loudly asserting that he alone of the Montreal partners was to
be trusted, begged him to remain* He refused, left Grand
Portage at once and proceeded to England, where he published
his journals and was knighted* Roderick was chosen to take
his place among the partners of the old North-West Company*
When Mackenzie returned to Canada he became the head
of the X* Y* Company* He was as bold and wise a business
53
 f
man as McTavish himself. Both Companies re-organised their
systems and war to the knife began. New posts were opened by
both Companies. McTavish undertook a fishing business in
the St. Lawrence, and sent a ship to trade in Hudson Bay*
The Hudson's Bay Company promptly had him in court for
this last adventure; the lawyers decided that he had trespassed
and warned him out of there*
In the heat of their  competition with one another the
"pedlars" almost forgot their earlier rivalry with the "Gentlemen*" Beside each North-West Company post soon appeared
an X* Y* fort* The commanders of the, rival stores were sometimes friendly,  more  often
j/fipA". bitter    enemies*    Roderick
Mackenzie and Duncan
MacGillvray, his opponent
on English River, visited
back and forth through the
winter and brought their
brigades down the rivers
singing together; Peter Pond
was suspected of having
killed his rival, John Ross of
the X* Y* Company* The
most dishonourable means
were used in the competition, the fur country ran with liquor,
and fights were common*
Things went from bad to worse* Alexander Henry the
Younger says that in 1803 the Red River country was almost
destitute of beaver, and that the X* Y* Company had been
lavish of their property, selling very cheap* To keep the trade
in his own hands he had been obliged to do the same* " Thus,"
he says, "by our proceedings we had spoiled the Indians; all
wore scarlet coats, had large kegs and flasks, and nothing was
purchased by them but silver works, strouds and blankets*"
In another place Henry says, " If a murder is committed among
the Salteurs it is always in a drinking match* We may truly
say that liquor is the root of all evil in the North-West*"
In 1804 Simon McTavish died* He had been the hottest
54
From the Library of Hon. A. C. Rutherford
PEMBINA FORT
Founded by Alexander Henry the Younger
 opponent of the X* Y* men* The old Company offered peace;
Sir Alexander Mackenzie and his partners gladly accepted it;
the agreement that the two Companies should operate together
for eighteen years was signed on November 5. The traders now
ceased to fight, much less liquor was sold, and the Indians were
treated more honestly* As there was now only one Company to
bid for their services, the men's wages were reduced; one post
served instead of two; the whole business was conducted in a
much more regular and profitable way*
A LA CLAIRE FONTAINE
Another Song of the Voyageurs
Unto the crystal fountain
For pleasure did I stray;
So fair I found the waters,
My limbs in them I lay*
Long is it I have loved thee,
Thee shall I love alway;
Long is it I have loved thee,
Thee shall I love alway*
So fair I found the waters,
My limbs in them I lay;
Beneath an oak tree resting,
I heard a roundelay*
Beneath an oak tree resting,
I heard a roundelay;
The nightingale was singing
On the oak tree's topmost spray*
The nightingale was singing
On the oak tree's topmost spray;
Sing, nightingale* keep singing,
Thou who hast heart so gay*
55
J
 A WINTER AT A TRADING-POST
Alexander Henry, nephew of the Henry of whom you have
already heard, was a "wintering partner" of the North-West
Company for some years* Henry was a keen and successful
trader* He seems to have had a general oversight in all that
territory which is now Southern Manitoba and Northern
Minnesota* Like many of the other white men who lived much
alone among the Indians, he kept a diary* The Indians wondered
much to see him write each evening and yet send away no letters
in the morning* He once told them, jokingly, that he was putting
down all they said and did, that the Company at Grand Portage
might reward or punish them as they deserved* They believed
him and were half-afraid* Henry's diary has been printed; it
records many strange adventures, a few of which are retold here.
Henry left Grand Portage on Saturday, July 19, 1800, at
three o'clock in the afternoon* The baggage and provisions
dispatched, the men paid and equipped for the year, Henry
set off for Fort Charlotte at the Pigeon River end of the Portage*
It took him two hours to cross, the portage being, in places,
knee-deep in mud and clay* That evening he gave the canoes
to the men to gum and prepare, and early the next morning
distributed to each his load* Each canoe carried twenty-eight
packages of merchandise, tobacco, kettles, hardware, ammunition, flour, sugar and high wine* The goods were destined
for trade with the Salteur Indians on the Red River*
)(_/ For three weeks the brigade travelled without accident,
passing down Pigeon River, across Rainy Lake, through Rainy
River, and across Lake of the Woods* They carried into Winnipeg River across Rat Portage (now Kenora), and here a serious
56
 disaster befell them* Portage of the Isle on the Winnipeg River
is a carrying-place of only fifty paces* To avoid the trouble of
it one of the canoes prepared to shoot the rapids* Within a
few yards some mismanagement of the foreman permitted the
current to force her bow against a rock* The foreman jumped,
landing safely* The canoe whirled round, the steersman and
one midman jumped. The other midman remained in the canoe,
which was at once carried out among the great waves* A few
moments afterwards the canoe was seen to stand perpendicular
and then to sink; the midman appeared for a moment riding
upon a bale of goods. They called to him to hold on and made
every effort to reach him, but could not; he sank and was seen
no more.
On August 14, Henry and his brigade reached Fort Alexander
near the entrance to Lake Winnipeg* This post was the North-
West Company's provision depot* Supplies were brought up
every spring from the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in long
boats, which carried up to two hundred and fifty bags of provisions each. The men spent the day repairing boats and canoes
and making setting-poles. Henry examined the cargo and found
the small packages much damaged. The kegs of wine were half-
empty, the liquor having leaked out through cracks made when
the kegs were thumped down upon the rocks. " The Canadians
are certainly smart, active men as voyageurs," says Henry,
"but very careless of property committed to their charge."
The Hudson's Bay Company also had a post at Fort Alexander. Henry and his men had, on their way up, passed two
abandoned Hudson's Bay forts* The Hudson's Bay clerk told
Henry that they thought of throwing up the post at Alexandria
that autumn as the scarcity of beaver made trade so poor that
the post did not pay expenses*
On August 17 Henry's brigade entered the Red River and
paddled south against a gentle current, reaching the Forks of
the Red and Assiniboine the next afternoon* Here, where the
city of Winnipeg now stands, Henry found forty Salteurs waiting
for him* They had dried buffalo-meat to trade for liquor* Having
obtained the "milk" they loved, they fell to and kept drinking
all night* At the Forks Henry unpacked and sorted his goods*
57
 f
He sent half up the Assiniboine and kept half for the Red
River trade*
While they were thus employed, the Hudson's Bay Company's brigade from Albany Factory arrived* The Hudson's
Bay boats were sharp at both ends and neatly painted* Each
boat carried forty-five packages, weighing eighty pounds each,
and was managed by four oarsmen and a steersman* Mr*
Goodwin and Mr* Brown visited with Henry till four o'clock,
when the brigade passed on up the Assiniboine*
Henry re-embarked his own brigade on August 21 and
paddled up the Red* A few days later^they passed the great
salt pit* " It lies about two hundred paces from the water, at
the edge of the plains, where it issues out of the ground, forming
a small basin, whose centre bubbles up like a pot of boiling
water* Salt may be made here at all seasons, for the water never
freezes, but it is a tedious business and requires many large
kettles, nine gallons of water producing only one pint of salt*"
As they travelled south the Indians with the party became
more and more afraid of being attacked by their enemies, the
fierce Sioux* They were just ready to break camp one morning,
when a scout brought in the alarm* Henry did not believe in
the danger, but the Salteur and Red Sucker bands with him
did* The women fell instantly to work digging holes in which
to hide themselves and their children* In a short time they had
three trenches, twenty feet long, five feet wide and four feet
deep* In these the men would defend themselves while the
women and children lay close on the bottom* They had neither
spades nor hoes, but used axes to cut the earth; the women
and children with their hands threw it into kettles or upon
blankets, and then tossed it up* Nothing came of the alarm, but
the women lay in the trenches all night*
Hunting, fishing, camping, trading, sometimes canoeing,
sometimes riding (for he now had a horse), Henry crossed the
boundary and, still ascending the Red, reached the mouth of
the Park River* Here, on a beautiful level plain, he built a fort*
The stockades were of heavy logs; the men, being afraid of the
Sioux, worked steadily* They built dwelling- and store-houses,
and cut piles of firewood, all in a surprisingly short time con-
58
 sidering the poor axes with which they had to work* Henry
had a tall tree trimmed up one side; into this he climbed each
morning to observe the plains for Sioux and buffalo* Vast herds
of the latter were seen, but never an enemy* By October i they
had settled down for the winter*
In October, Henry hired an Indian to go west in search of
Crees and Assiniboines and to prevail upon them to come to
the Park Fort to trade* In November they cut wood and made
salt* They were plagued with mice, which ate the strouds and
blankets and even carried off the beads* An Indian child fell
into the fire and was shockingly burned* His father instantly
pounded and chewed a certain root and bark which he sprinkled
over the burns after having moistened them with water taken
in his mouth and blown out* He then covered the whole with
swan's-down and put the child to rest* A horse stuck fast up
to his belly in the mud of the flats* They got him out by cutting
quantities of long grass and pushing it under him* An Indian
bit the nose off another with whom he was quarrelling* Tossing
the straw about, they found the piece and bandaged it on,
hoping it would grow again* Thus, in sad and funny adventures,
the winter passed*
In March they made sugar from the ash-leaved maple*
The sap is not so sweet as that of the real maple and it requires
a larger quantity to make a given amount of sugar, but it yields
a fine white sugar* On March 14 the North-West Company
express (a runner with the mail) arrived from Portage la Prairie*
He had left Athabasca on January i* Henry had some trouble
in getting him across the river, for the ice was now running,
but they managed* The express went on to Grand Portage by
Red Lake 1 and Lac la Pluie*
By April 1 the river was clear of ice but full of buffalo, vast
herds of which must have been drowned while trying to cross
on the weak ice* The great bodies floated down the river in a
continuous stream and the stench from those caught upon the
shore was almost intolerable* Much of the flesh was, however,
fresh and sweet* The women raised the back fat, cut out the
tongues and made pemmican until they were tired*
1 See your map of Minnesota*
59
 r
On May 4 Henry embarked for Grand Portage with forty-
five packs, the product of the winter's trade* While the canoes
went forward Henry went up the Assiniboine to Portage la
Prairie where, it had been reported, the people were starving*
He found them in a bad state and remained making what
arrangements he could until June 1, when he left in a light canoe
with eight men for Grand Portage*
Henry returned to the Red River in August and sending
his brigade up river to the mouth of the Pembina, where he had
left men in May, he himself rode thither* Pembina seems to
have proved the better trading-post, for Henry made it his headquarters until 1808* In the autumn of 1809 he was in charge of
Fort Vermilion on the North Saskatchewan* During the fall
he made a journey to Edmonton, then called Fort Augustus.
He found the place closed, armed, and the men on guard* A
fortnight before the Bloods had formed a war-party against the
Crees, had crossed the Saskatchewan, and taken the field against
their hereditary enemies* The Bloods had been defeated, and
in revenge planned to destroy Fort Augustus, the principal
trading-post of the Crees* The traders were warned, however,
and kept a strict watch, so that the Bloods feared to attack*
Instead, they stole twelve of the Company's horses* While
Henry was at the fort the chief came with eight of the horses;
he said the others were lame* As a matter of fact the remaining
four were good horses and he wished to keep them* He was
severely reprimanded, and then dismissed with a small gift of
rum and tobacco for his band*
Between 1808 to 1811 Henry was in charge of three different
posts upon the Saskatchewan—Fort Vefmilion, Terre Blanche,
and Rocky Mountain House* He explored every mile of the great
river and travelled with dog-sledges in the depth of winter to
the Continental Divide. In 1813 he crossed the mountains to
the Pacific; he was drowned in the mouth of the Columbia
in 1814*
60
 WILD RICE
Arranged from the narratives of David Thompson
The wild rice is fully ripe in the early part of September* The
Indians lay thin birch rind all over the bottom of the canoe*
Then a man lightly clothed or naked places himself in the
middle of the canoe and, with a hand on either side, seizes the
stalks and knocks the ears of rice against the inside of the canoe
into which the rice falls* He continues in this way until the
canoe is full of rice* On coming ashore the women assist in
unloading* A canoe holds from ten to twelve bushels* The rice-
gatherer smokes his pipe, sings a song, and returns to collect
another canoe-load*
So plentiful is the rice that an industrious man may fill his
canoe three times in a day* Scaffolds made of small sticks and
covered with long grass are prepared about six feet from the
ground* On these the rice is laid, and gentle clear fires are kept
burning underneath by the women, who continually turn the
rice until it is fully dried* When dried, the rice is pounded in
a mortar made of a piece of hollow oak with a pestle of the
same* Freed of its husks, it is put up in bags made of rushes and
secured against animals* The Indians collect enough for themselves and as much more as the fur traders will buy from them*
Two or three ponds of water furnish all that is collected*
Mr* Sayer and his men had passed the whole winter on wild
rice and maple sugar, which kept them alive but poor in flesh*
Being a good shot on the wing, I had killed twenty large ducks—
more than we wanted* I gave them to him—a most welcome
present, as they had not tasted meat for a long time* A mess of
rice and sugar was equally acceptable to me, who had lived
wholly on meat* I tried to live on it but, the third day, was
attacked with heart-burn and weakness of the stomach, which
two meals of meat cured; but the rice makes good soup*
61
 FORT WILLIAM
Glowing with the best blood of both the Montreal factions,
the new North-West Company planned and speedily achieved
a number of splendid explorations and a wide expansion of trade*
Grand Portage had been found to be on the American side
of the line, and it became necessary to find a new route for the
trade between Lakes Superior and Winnipeg* Roderick Mackenzie, coming home on leave in 1797, stumbled upon it* A
Rainy Lake Indian told him that there was a good route for
large canoes just a little farther north* Mackenzie followed
it and found himself at the mouth of the Kaministiquia* It
was the old canoe route used by the French Canadians before
Canada became British, re-discovered after forty years* The
North-West Company at once built a fort there which they
later called Fort William after William McGillvray* In 1803
they moved^their headquarters from Grand Portage to
Fort William*
Steadily the fur posts pushed out across the prairies* Alexander Henry the Younger established Pembina and its circle
of outposts; John McDonald of Garth built Gibraltar,1 "so-
called though there was not a rock or stone within three miles ";
Esperance, on the River Qu'Appelle; New Chesterfield House
at the mouth of the Red Deer, and Rocky Mountain House
under the eaves of the Rockies* Fraser, Thompson and Harmon
pushed over the crest and established the trade in New Caledonia, a country so rich that it has been known to return a gain
of more than £6000 on the hazard of a single outfit*
1 The first fort on the site of Winnipeg.
62
 ■>/Hudson Bay ,
THE  TRAPPER
  The Hudson's Bay Company
FORT ST. JAMES, NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA
SIMON FRASER
For several years after Mackenzie's voyage to the sea, quarrels
among the different groups of Montreal traders prevented the
North-West Company from taking advantage of his discoveries*
The death of McTavish in 1804 removed the principal source
of the trouble* The union, which soon followed, greatly
strengthened the Company in capital and man-power; and it
was decided at the annual meeting to extend trade beyond the
Rocky Mountains* Simon Fraser was the man appointed to
take charge of the new department*
Fraser was twenty-nine, a stockily - built, rough-haired
Scotsman, with fearless eyes, a generous nose, lips touched
with humour, and a chin that promised achievement* He was
an experienced fur trader—a man who could be firm or tactful
as circumstances required. He was the son of a United Empire
Loyalist officer, whose widowed mother brought him up at
Cornwall, Upper Canada* He became a clerk in the North-West
Company at sixteen, and a partner at twenty-six*
63
J
 r
At the time of his appointment to the new post Fraser was
at Lake Athabasca* James McDougall, one of his men, had
already visited McLeod Lake, had, indeed, penetrated even
farther west, and was able to advise as to routes and prospects
of trade* As soon as possible after receiving his orders, Fraser
ascended the Peace to a point just east of the mountains* Here
he built a post, Rocky Mountain Portage, to serve as a base*
Leaving two clerks and twelve men here and taking six men
with him, he followed the Parsnip south to the mouth of its
tributary, the Pack* The Pack led him to the lake which he
named "McLeod" after a friend* On tjie lake shore, near the
outlet, he established the first permanent settlement in what
is now the rich and beautiful province of British Columbia*
By the time the fort was made weatherproof it was November* Fraser left three men in charge and went back to Rocky
Mountain Portage to arrange for goods and provisions. In
January 1806, McDougall was sent up to McLeod Lake with
a store of tobacco, beads, and ammunition for trading. Having delivered his cargo at McLeod Lake, McDougall pushed
farther west and discovered Stuart Lake* Here he blazed a
tree and took possession of the country for the North-West
Company* To a friendly Indian he gave a piece of red cloth to
keep against his return*
Meantime Fraser at Rocky Mountain Portage was questioning every Indian upon whom he could lay his hands about the
country west of the mountains* In April 1806, he had five bales
of goods made up and carried to the western end of the portage
to be ready; it was important that they should get away as early
as possible in the spring that they might avoid the freshets.
Fraser got off to Fort Chipewyan two canoe-loads of furs,
together with his reports; Archibald McGillvray arrived to
take command of the post* Everything was ready except La
Malice; not till May 17 did this truant voyageur saunter into
the post* He had with him a slave woman without whom he
refused to budge* At first Fraser would have none of her, but
they were so short of men that, in the end, he was obliged to
give way*
The party left Rocky Mountain Portage on May 28* They
64
 were late; the rivers were brimful, and the high-water made
their voyage both slow and dangerous* Two miles up the Pack
River they cached all the goods not required at Fort McLeod*
McDougall welcomed them eagerly at the fort, and all hands
were soon busy constructing new canoes to take them southward
to the country of the Carrier Indians, where Fraser had decided
to establish a second post.
Fraser might now have crossed McLeod Lake, ascended
Crooked   River   and   made :
a short portage to the
Fraser* Being, however, without map or guide, he did not
know this* As soon as the
new canoes were ready, he
returned to the cache on the
Pack River and, having taken
on his cargo, followed Mackenzie's route up the Parsnip*
They were a month later than
Mackenzie; the Parsnip was
in flood and very dangerous;
La Malice seized this inconvenient moment to fall ill*
The terrible "Bad" River
swollen by the freshets further
delayed them, but at last
they did reach the Fraser and,
on June n, the mouth of the
Nechako*
'Kwah's people were
camped near the outlet of Stuart Lake* One stormy day late
in July they saw two canoes beating up against the wind
towards them; the voyageurs were singing and the wind carried
the strange song to the Indians staring and breathless on the
beach* "It is a war-party I Ready, ye warriors! Away with the
women 1" Panic seized the Carriers* But through the crowd
comes striding McDougall's friend, Toeyen* "No! No! these
are my friends," he shouted, and proudly girding about him
vii—e 65
M.J. Hilton, Edmonton
THE CROOKED RIVER
 his bit of red cloth, he seized a canoe and paddled off to meet
the white men*
Having landed, Fraser's men fired their guns in the air,
whereupon the Indians fell flat upon their faces* Fraser then
presented them with tobacco and some cakes of soap* Like
children they at once tasted both* The tobacco being bitter
they threw away; the soap made the squaws appear to foam at
the mouth* The voyageurs picked up the tobacco and soon
showed the braves how to smoke* Trade began at once, the
natives bartering their handsome fur garments for knives,
axes, or beads*
Fraser chose as a site for the trading-post the spot where
McDougall had blazed the tree* Here the men cleared the ground
and began building Fort St. James* Fraser called the beautiful
lake near which they were "Stuart," in honour of his chief
assistant. Fifty miles long, it stretched away toward the northeast, and above its shores, in silver-crowned cascades, rose the
mountains* Perhaps it reminded Fraser of the Scottish lochs,
about which his mother had told him; he named the country
New Caledonia*
By August their food was gone, and the salmon had not
yet begun to come up the rivers* Fraser sent to McDougall
at McLeod Lake asking for the loan of some supplies;
McDougall sent to Fraser begging for ammunition and a hunter
to keep him alive* Both parties were forced to live upon berries*
To scatter the hungry mouths, Fraser sent Stuart overland to
another lake of which they had heard* Stuart found and named
it Fraser Lake* The prospect of trade there being good, Fraser
went over and they established Fort Fraser, which soon became
the trading centre for a large number of Indians*
The salmon now appeared in great numbers; Indians and
whites feasted upon them and dried quantities for winter food*
Fraser left an assistant, Blais, in charge at Fort Fraser, and with
Stuart spent the winter at Fort St* James* This post stood in
the centre of the district* Populous Indian villages surrounded
it in all directions* Trade was very brisk and the post, from the
first, very profitable*
La Malice, who had been sent out with furs to bring in
 goods, did not return* In the spring of 1807 Fraser sent again
asking for equipment* The Company approved the work he had
done and, in the autumn, Quesnel and Faries arrived with
two canoe-loads of goods for trade* They brought to Fraser also
letters containing further orders* American fur traders had
recently established a post at the mouth of the Columbia* It
was feared that they might soon claim the country above it*
The Parsnip and Bad River route was a long, dangerous, and
costly way by which to bring in goods and take out furs* Fraser
was instructed to follow to its mouth his river, which everyone
then thought to be the Columbia; to take possession of the
country for Canada; and to discover, if possible, a short, safe
and cheap route for the trade of the North-West Company*
During the summer of 1807 Fraser collected information
and supplies in preparation for his exploration* In the autumn
he built Fort George at the junction of the Fraser and the
Nechako to serve as a base* Late in May 1808 he set out upon
his journey* Fifteen miles below Fort George, the party ran
into the Fort George Canyon* The men begged to shoot the
Sault, and did so, though one of the canoes was nearly wrecked
in the process* At the Cottonwood Canyon the best paddlers
took the canoes through the rapids while the others portaged
the goods overland* Presently Indian villages began to appear
on the banks, and men on horseback were seen to dash off southward to warn their friends that the white men were coming*
Thus far all had gone fortunately, but trouble in plenty
awaited the explorers* Late one afternoon they came upon a
chasm from which the cliffs rose sheer* The walls of rock drew
together, forming a gorge forty yards wide, through which the
river poured* To portage seemed impossible; Fraser ordered
five of his best men in a canoe lightly loaded to attempt the
passage* Over the first cascade they guided her, then lost
control* Like a leaf she darted hither and thither, a hundred
times escaping destruction by a hair's-breadth* At last she was
forced against a rock; the men jumped and, with incredible
quickness, managed to hold the canoe* The others, who had
been watching breathless with fear for their friends, now
scrambled down the face of the cliff* Steps were cut with daggers,
67
 a line let down, and the canoe, with the greatest difficulty and
danger, dragged to the top*
The Indians assured Fraser that the river grew only worse
as it descended* They advised him to portage to a great river
(probably the Thompson), which they said would carry him
safely to the lower waters of the Fraser* Determined to follow
his own river to its mouth, the leader refused* He secured some
horses to help with the portaging and they struggled along
until June io* Upon that day they abandoned the canoes*
They were placed upon a scaffold and carefully covered with
branches to keep the gum from melting* Then, each man
shouldering an eighty-pound pack, the party set off on foot*
Four days later they reached the junction of the Thompson
and the Fraser, from which point the Fraser is navigable*
The Indians here greeted them in very friendly fashion; at
one place Fraser was obliged to shake hands with some twelve
hundred of them*
As they could get only one canoe, Mr* Stuart took the
heaviest packages in it, and the others went on by land* The
river now spread out in broad and shining reaches, coming
quite gently to its pleasant shores* On June 30 they observed
the tide rise two feet and, later in the day, reached a point at
which the stream divided into several channels* As the river
ceased to threaten them, the Indians began* The coast tribes
had been at war with the river bands, and were reported to be
preparing to kill the white men* For a day Fraser went boldly
on, but the reports from below grew more and more alarming;
his friendly Indians refused to let him have food. Bitterly
disappointed at not having actually seen the sea though so
very near it, he turned back*
Fraser had, however, obeyed his orders. He had explored
the Fraser to its mouth and had proved two points: it was not
the Columbia, and it was impracticable for the carriage of furs
or goods* A safe route for the North-West Company's fur
trade remained still to be discovered*
 ■ LEAPING SALMON
TAKING SALMON
Whenever it is practicable, as at Stuart, Babine and Fraser
Lakes, the following method of taking salmon is used* The
natives stake across the whole width of the river and leave for
the fish only narrow passages which sometimes end in long
funnel-like baskets, sometimes in cylindrical traps of trellis-
work, from which escape is impossible* By day the fish generally
keep clear of these traps and gather below the weir which prevents them from passing up-stream* At night they will often
pack themselves into the traps in such numbers that it requires
two strong men to empty them into the canoe*
The Fraser and the Nechako are much too deep and swift
to permit a weir to be built across their waters* In such a case
the fisherman erects a kind of screen which projects a few feet
69
•adian Pacific Railway
 f
from the shore* With this he connects a toboggan-shaped basket*
The fish enters at the wide end of the toboggan, and following
the curve of it is led into a little lane between two stakes* At the
end of the lane it drops into a latticed reservoir, where it is
easily caught*
To preserve their salmon the Carriers and Chilcotins use
the well-known method of drying* After the head has been cut
off, they open and clean the fish, after which they expose it
for a day or two to the sun* The spine and vertebrae are then
extracted, together with the flesh adhering thereto; the latter
feeds the dogs or is used as bait* The fish is next gashed inside
with a sharp knife as a precaution against putrefaction, and
two wooden splinters having been driven through the flesh
so as to hold the body constantly open, it is dried beneath
rough sheds by the action of the sun and air, aided by fire and
smoke underneath*
THE CARRIERS
The Indians of New Caledonia were called the "Carriers*"
They were a middle-sized people, the men shapely, the women
short and thick; both sexes extremely dirty* For clothing they
used beaver, lynx or muskrat skins* Usually they went barefooted, but occasionally wore shoes made of salmon skin* In
summer the men went entirely naked* After the coming of the
white men a few adopted the breech - cloth which they wore
one day about the loins, the next on their heads, and the third
about their necks*
The younger folk painted their faces with paint made of
red stone pounded fine and mixed with grease; both sexes
perforated the nose* The men were very fond of their wives,
and did all the hard work* They were great thieves, though
usually only of small articles* Unlike most Indians, the Carriers
were a cheerful people, always singing or whistling when they
were not talking. In winter they lived in huts partly underground* Salmon was their principal food*
70
 m
THE GREATEST LAND GEOGRAPHER IN THE
WORLD
He was a Canadian; though born in England he lived his life
and did his work in Canada* David Thompson was a poor boy,
born in London near Westminster Abbey* His parents could
not afford to send him to school; it cost money in those days;
but a friend got him into the Grey Coat, a charity school, where
he remained seven years*
David had, probably, few comforts and no luxuries at the
school* He studied mathematics and navigation in books already
more than one hundred years old* He learned his history
reading the inscriptions on the tombs in the Abbey* Story-books
were scarce and dear, but the boys had the Arabian Nights,
Robinson Crusoe and Gulliverfs Travels* They hacl eighteen or
twenty holidays in the year; David spent his in walks to Vauxhall
or in playing under the great oaks of Spring Gardens*
One raw December afternoon in 1783 a flurry of excitement
ran through the Grey Coat* Knots of boys stood about the halls,
striking their hands against their sides to warm them and
whispering eagerly* Those struggling for places around the
fire forgot it and hurried off to ask the news* It was soon
known that the Hudson's Bay Company had written to say
that they would need four boys to go out to their forts in
America in the following May, and that the master had answered
saying that he had only two boys who had been taught navigation— Samuel John McPherson and David Thompson*
These two were to be prepared for the Company* Samuel
John did not wish to go to America* He "eloped from the
Hospital" in January and, not returning, was expelled* David
accepted the offered post and was bound apprentice to the
Company for seven years, the school paying the fur traders
five pounds for taking him*
71
 Thompson left London in May 1784 on the Company
ship, Prince Rupert* He passed his first year at Churchill Factory,
where Samuel Hearne was commander* The next year he was
sent to York Factory, walking the hundred and fifty miles with
two Indians* Joseph Colen, the chief at York Factory, was a
badrtempered man; then and afterwards he dealt unfairly with
his men* David was no doubt very glad when in July 1786,
being then sixteen, he was fitted out with a trunk, a handkerchief, shoes, shirt, a gun, powder and a tin cup, and sent with
forty-six other Englishmen to establish trading-posts upon the
Saskatchewan River*
The North-West Company of Montreal had just been formed
and was already cutting into the Hudson's Bay Company's
trade* David's party settled themselves forty-two miles above
Battleford on the North Saskatchewan* They built log houses,
surrounded them with a wooden stockade, and called the place
Manchester House* As soon as the goods were under cover,
David with six others travelled south-westward across the
plains to meet the Blackfeet and Piegan Indians* Not far from
the spot where the city of Calgary now stands they found a
large Piegan camp* David made friends with an old chief and
spent most of the winter in his teepee learning many things
which afterward proved very useful to him.
The next winter Thompson spent at Cumberland House,
nursing a leg which had been broken and badly set* He was
now nineteen, and this winter began in earnest his scientific
work* He kept a journal in which he noted the temperature three
or four times a day; he recorded the direction and force of the
winds; he took a series of astronomical observations which
enabled him to determine the latitude and longitude of Cumberland House* Though only a boy with little training and poor
instruments, he located the position of Cumberland House
on the earth's surface more accurately than trained scientists
had been able to place Washington, the capital of the United
States* This was the beginning of the long and arduous years
of surveying which made him at last the greatest land geographer
the world has ever known*
The Hudson's Bay Company had, so far, successfully carried
72
 on business by means of their system of middlemen, who brought
furs to the Bay, and for a few years longer they strove to
maintain it* The inland trade involved many additional expenses
and particularly the employment of expert canoemen, very few
of which the Company had at that time in their service* Urged
by public opinion in England, and faced with the competition
of the new Canadian fur company, the Hudson's Bay Company
now began to abandon their ancient policy and to advance
into the interior to meet their rivals*
Peter Pond had prepared a map of the Athabasca country
for the North-West Company* It came into the hands of Sir
Hugh Dalrymple, who, comparing it with Captain Cook's
charts of the Pacific coast, found that the west end of Lake
Athabasca was only a hundred miles from the coast* This
suggested a short route to Asia, and the British Government
at once asked the Hudson's Bay Company to send a qualified
surveyor to Lake Athabasca to verify Pond's map* In 1785 the
Company sent out George Charles to do this work* Thompson
saw him at Churchill Factory* He was fifteen years old, had
been at the mathematical school one year, and was entirely
incapable of exploring* His appointment was intended only
to appease the public*
Five years later the Government again urged the Company
into action* In 1790, Philip Turnor, a surveyor, was sent up
to Fort Chipewyan* He found that Pond's map was not correct
and that Lake Athabasca was a long way from the coast. Thompson spent a winter with Turnor and learned much from him*
Each year after that the Company instructed Colen to send
David Thompson and Malcolm Ross to the Athabasca Country*
Whether the Company was not in earnest or whether it was
really Colen's fault is not clear; in any case, Colen always
found some excuse.1 Instead of recognising Thompson's genius
and sending him out to compete with the Nor'-Westers in the
Mackenzie River trade, Colen kept him hanging about for
several years.
1 ** In 1813 Colin Robertson was still urging the Company to make one officer
responsible for the direction of affairs in Canada in order to prevent the personal
jealousies which sometimes caused one factor to trade against another."
73
 In the summer of 1795 Thompson got away. Not a man
could be spared to go with him, so he hired two Chipewyans,
Kozdaw and " Paddy*" Gay young fellows they were, ready for
anything, but without experience* The three had to go into the
woods, cut material, and build their own canoe. The grudging
Colen allowed Thompson one gun, ball, shot and powder;
one thirty-fathom net; one small axe; a small tent of grey cotton;
and a few beads, brass rings, and awls to trade for food* "Of
which," says Thompson, "we had little hopes, our chief dependence next to good Providence was on our net and gun*"
On June 10, 1796, they set out "by Reindeer River and
Reindeer Lake* Keeping always north-westward by lake, river
and portage, they reached
Lake Athabasca. The last
hundred and fifty miles of the
journey were very difficult.
Always naked below the belt,
they waded in the cold water
over the rough stones on the
bottom of the stream, holding
the canoe and with their
hands leading it down the
rapids. In spite of every
fatigue Thompson never
failed to make and record
his observations.
On the return journey he
was nearly drowned, then
nearly starved* Just above the falls on the Black River the
Indians were tracking the canoe, Thompson steering it* Coming
to a tree at the water's edge Kozdaw and Paddy stopped to quarrel
about which side of the tree the tracking-line should be passed*
As they argued, Thompson in the canoe drifted out into the
current. He shouted, but they could not hear for the noise of
the falls. The canoe being on the point of upsetting, he signed
to them to let go the line. They did so. Thompson had just
time to cut the line, put his knife in his pocket, and head the
canoe bow foremost over the falls. He came up under the canoe
74
THE WILD DUCKS RETURN TO  THE
NORTH-WEST
 which sent him to the bottom a second time* The next time he
managed to evade it, got hold of it and dragged it ashore. All
was lost except his gun, axe, the grey cotton tent and a pewter
basin. Searching along the shore the Indians found his sextant
in its cork-lined box, his papers and three paddles. All three men
were in shirts and vests. They divided the tent into three parts
to wrap about them. Thompson used his share of the cotton
to bind up a terrible cut in his foot* So they hobbled away.
Without flint or food, they were now destitute indeed. The
Indians mended the canoe with gum; Thompson made a fire
by striking his knife blade against the flint in his gun; but
they had nothing to eat and small chance of getting anything.
Thompson and Paddy were made very ill by eating the fat of two
young eagles which they had caught* Reduced almost to skeletons
they were ready to die where they were* So weak that they could
scarcely lift the paddles, they yet went on for several days, till
one afternoon God brought them to two Chipewyan teepees,
where they were taken care of and sent home at last with
cheerful hearts* One of the hardships endured by the fur-
traders was the frequent change of diet made necessary by the
great size of the country* On the prairies, where deer and buffalo
wandered about in thousands, the men lived chiefly upon meat;
in the wooded lands, upon wild-fowl and game; in the far north
and west, upon fish* As the Company's servants were liable, on
the shortest notice, to be sent from one end of the continent
to the other, they sometimes suffered in health from over-eating
of buffalo-humps and marrow-bones one season and starving
upon lichen stew and hung white fish the next.
Colen now ordered Thompson to cease surveying; he might
as well have told him to cease living. His term of service expired
in 1797, and he left the old Company. He had served them
thirteen years, surveying thirty-five hundred miles and accurately locating eight widely-separated places in the interior of
Canada. He wrote a letter telling Colen plainly though politely
what he thought of him and, leaving his post on Reindeer
Lake, walked forty-three miles to Fraser's house, where he
engaged with the North-West Company.
75
 Canadian National Railways
A NEW COMMISSION
The summer rush at Grand Portage was in full swing. The
water-front was crowded with craft of one sort or another, the
post alive with colour and noise* Express canoes paddled by
picked men and carrying important officials swept up to the
wharves* " Wintering partners " from the ends of the fur-trading
earth galloped up on the horses which had been sent over to
Fort Charlotte to meet them* The brigades were arriving from
Montreal* Fashionable, pork-eating voyageurs in scarlet or
bright blue piled goods along the dock or swaggered about
the place* Ragged coureurs de bois whose paddles knew the
taste of the Mackenzie and the Peace tramped back and forth
over the long portage. Traders fought over again the year's
business battles; clerks sweated over their books; messengers
rushed hither and thither; Indians, squaws, children, dogs,
each resplendent in new-bought finery, swarmed everywhere*
76
 Upon this brilliant and exhilarating scene arrived David
Thompson, fresh from the distant posts on Hudson Bay and
the chilling reserves of the old Company* The 1797 meeting
of the Nor'-Westers was an important one. The Honourable
William McGillvray, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, and many
other partners were present* These gentlemen received Thompson with open arms. They were in immediate need of a
trustworthy surveyor*
By the treaty which concluded the American Revolution
in 1783 the boundary between Canada and the United States
was fixed as a line running from the north-west corner of the
Lake of the Woods to the head of the Mississippi* It was then
believed that the head-waters of the Mississippi were considerably north of the Lake of the Woods. In 1792 it was agreed
that the forty-ninth parallel of latitude should be the boundary line
from the Lake of the Woods to the Rockies* The Nor'-Westers
were much confused about their posts; as to several of them no
one knew whether they were in Canada or the United States*
Within a few hours of his arrival in Grand Portage, Thompson was engaged by the North-West Company at a good
salary* He was commissioned to find the head-waters of the
Mississippi, to mark the line of the forty-ninth parallel wherever
he touched it, to survey to the Missouri and visit the Mandans.
"The agents and partners all agreed," writes Thompson, "to
give orders to all their trading-posts, to send men with me, and
every necessity I required was to be at my order." In this
happy atmosphere of liberality, enterprise, and co-operation,
Thompson renewed his enthusiasm and set out with a high heart.
He left Grand Portage on August 9, 1797, and after surveying the Assiniboine and Red Deer Rivers to their sources,
crossed the Souris River and Turtle Mountain to the Missouri.
The Mandans were afraid of the Sioux and would not promise
to bring their furs north* Thompson now ascended the Mississippi and reached Turtle Lake, which he called its source, on
April 27. Itasca, a lake a few miles south of Turtle, is now
known as the source of the Mississippi, but the two are so near
together that Thompson may be considered the virtual discoverer of the head-waters*
77
 OUTWITTING THE PIEGANS
Thompson completed his first commission in ten months
and, returning to Grand Portage, made his report to Sir Alexander Mackenzie himself* "He was pleased to say," writes
Thompson, "I had performed more in ten months than he
expected could be done in two years*" With this appreciation
warm in his heart, Thompson set out for the Athabasca country,
where he worked hard for a year. On his way back he stopped
at lie a la Crosse and married Charlotte Small, a girl only fourteen
years old. Mrs* Thompson was (probably) the daughter of
Patrick Small, a Churchill River trader, and his Indian wife*
She was a gentle, quiet girl, adoring her energetic husband,
and following him faithfully in all his wanderings*
After the wedding Thompson took his little bride on a
honeymoon trip to Grand Portage* It was, no doubt, a great
event for her* She had been born in lie a la Crosse and had,
probably, never before seen a white settlement* Thompson
waited eagerly for some drawing-paper which had been sent
up from Montreal for him* He was more fortunate this time
than later when, in two successive years, valuable instruments
bought for him by McGillvray were broken by the careless
handling of the men* His precious paper arrived safely, and
he spent the winter at Fort George on the Saskatchewan
drawing maps.
During the next two years he was at Rocky Mountain
House, busy exploring central Alberta. The ravages of the
great small-pox epidemic (1780) were still evident. Thompson
recalls his having seen, in 1787, a place known among the
Indians as " One Pine." The tree had once been a splendid one,
two fathoms in girth. During the plague a Piegan father prayed
to it to save his family. He burned sweet grass and offered
78
 upon its roots three horses, his bow and quiver and, finally, all
he had left, a bowl of water. The god-like tree could not save
him. Of his large family, only himself, one wife and a boy
survived. In anger he climbed the great tree and cut it off
about two-thirds of the way up.
Thompson was now instructed to cross the mountains and
open trade with the Indians in southern New Caledonia.
Fraser was already in the north; McGillvray had been in the
south, but without establishing a permanent post. The Piegans,
whose country ran up to the mountains on the east, watched
carefully to prevent the white men from crossing the Rockies
and supplying their enemies with arms. They told Thompson
that truly as they were his friends, should he go into New
Caledonia to trade they would be obliged to kill him.
In the spring of 1807 the Piegans went on the war-path to
the Missouri. Thompson saw his chance and took it. He and
his men went up the North Saskatchewan, entered the mountains by Howse Pass (Thompson had used it two years before
Howse saw it), and settled upon the head-waters of the Columbia*
Here they built a post of log houses* The logs used were of
heavy resinous fir and were ball-proof* One side of the post
rested upon the steep bank of the river, the other three were
protected by a strong stockade* At first there were plenty of
red deer; later they had very hard times and were forced to eat
several horses* Finan McDonald brought in to Thompson
two canoe-loads of goods for trade* One load he kept, the
other he sent on with Mr* McDonald to furnish a new post
on McGillvray's River (the Kootenay).
In November two Piegan spies arrived. Thompson showed
them his strong stockades and bastions* "Go back to your
people," he said, "and tell them that many of you will die
before you destroy us." They went off and nothing more was
heard from them that winter*
Trade was brisk and Thompson collected a good store of
furs* He expected further trouble with the Piegans and sent
his furs out as soon as the mountains were passable in the spring*
Among the furs were a hundred goat skins* The silky white
hair of the mountain goat is a foot in lenigth, and just tinged at
79
 the end with pale yellow. Thompson was reproved for sending
these, some partners saying they would not sell in London.
When they sold at first sight at a guinea a skin, the Company
begged for more* " The hunting of the goat is both dangerous
and laborious," answered Thompson; "for your ignorant ridicule I will send you no more*" And he kept his word.
By this time the Piegans had held a council and determined
to send forty men under a minor chief to destroy Thompson
and his fort* This party camped before the door of the barred
gate of the fort for three weeks without daring to attack* Thompson had six men, ten guns, and a small stock of food* The Indians
thought to cut off his water supply; but each night the besieged
^ let down the twenty-foot bank to
I   the river two brass kettles holding
I   four gallons  each*  This supplied
I   them* At the end of three weeks
the Piegan party went home*
Another council was held* The
I   civil   chief   harangued   for   war*
^H^io^nBaTff    Kootenae Appee, the war chief, a
the mountain goat friend of Thompson's, agreed to go
if the tribe willed it, but said he,
"We cannot smoke to the Great Spirit for success against the
Kootenay Indians with whom we made peace only ten years
ago. Also they are now better armed than we* However, be it
so, let the warriors get ready; in ten nights I will call on them*"
The old men of the tribe blamed the civil chief* " The older
he gets, the less sense he has," they remarked.
There were three hundred men in the new war party* Two
spies went ahead; they were kindly received and shown around*
From them Thompson gathered that a new war party was
approaching; this time he planned to avert it with presents*
He prepared six feet of tobacco with a red porphyry pipe for
the chief, and eighteen inches of tobacco for each of the minor
chiefs. This he gave to the spies telling them to take it to Kootenae
Appee quickly, for the Kootenays were approaching to defend
their trading-post.
When the spies delivered the message and the presents,
80
 Kootenae Appee exclaimed, "What can we do with this man,
our women cannot mend a pair of shoes but he sees them!"
(He alluded to Thompson's telescope.) He then laid the tobacco
before the three warriors. "What is to be done with these?"
he inquired. "If we proceed we cannot accept them." The
Piegans had no tobacco and eyed the present wistfully. The
oldest of the minor chiefs at last spoke. "You know I am no
coward," he said, "but to go and fight against logs of wood,
with a people we cannot see and with whom we are at peace,
to this I am averse. I go no farther." He then cut some tobacco,
and filling the red pipe handed it to Kootenae Appee, Thompson's
steady friend. The others agreed and the raid was abandoned.
Thompson now went across the mountains each autumn
and either sent or brought out his furs. He established several
posts in that country, and everywhere he went located the
positions, surveyed, and carefully recorded his findings which
to this day amaze scientists by their accuracy. Thompson had
made it a law to himself that no alcohol should pass the mountains in his company. He was determined that his Indians
should not be debauched by fire-water as the eastern tribes
had been. In 1808, when returning from Rainy River House,
two of the partners insisted that he should take with him at
least two kegs of alcohol. When they reached the defiles of the
mountains Thompson put the kegs on a vicious horse; by noon
they were empty. He wrote to his partners telling them what he
had done and saying that he would do the same to every keg of
liquor they sent. As long as he remained in charge none
was sent.
In the autumn of 1810, when Thompson arrived with his
bales of goods at the eastern end of the Howse Pass, he found
the Piegans in possession. The goods were being brought up by
canoe while a hunting party ranged the country to secure meat
for the voyageurs. The hunters met the canoes every third day
with the game they had killed. As they approached the mountains, Thompson rode ahead with the hunters. They waited
four days for the canoes to come up. When none arrived, Thompson sent men down the river to see what had happened. They
returned with the news that the Piegans were camped below
VII—F 8l
 them and that there was no sign of the canoes. Contrary to
Thompson's orders the men had fired a shot; he knew the
Piegans would be upon them at dawn. They left everything and
rode for their lives. The Indians followed till a snowstorm
covered the tracks and saved the white men*
Having thrown the enemy off, Thompson circled far round,
and at last found his canoes some forty miles below the Piegan
camp. There was now no hope of getting through; Thompson
determined to make for the defiles of the Athabasca. Athabasca
Pass was known, but had not been explored; it was four hundred
miles round, but there was no alternative. Their twenty-four
horses were secretly brought down from the mountains and
loaded. Four men were chosen to hunt, two to clear the road,
each of the others had his duties appointed, and they set off*
The forests had been many times burned over; the fallen
trees lay about in every direction. Cutting and slashing, waiting
for the weary horses, often supperless, they at last reached
Brule Lake, near which they camped to make snow-shoes and
sleds for the journey through the pass.
On December 30 they started. The going was very hard.
Each dog's load had to be reduced one-third; the rest of the
goods they left in a log hoard. In the end they pushed through,
reaching the Columbia on January 18.
IN SPRING, BY MAGIC PERFUMES LED
In spring, by magic perfumes led
Across the smiling waste, where wed
The flower and bee, the traders sped,
Singing*
The purple mountain walls they scaled,
And down the rivers wild they sailed,
Until the rocking sea they hailed,
Shouting.
82
 TO THE SEA
Early in the spring Thompson prepared to follow his river to
the sea. There is a lively tradition that he received instructions
from the Company to do so, in order that he might, if possible,
reach the mouth of the Columbia before the American party
now crossing the continent to take possession of it* He may
have received such orders; if so, he says nothing in his journal
about them* He had been trading up and down the Columbia
for years. Wherever he travelled, he located, surveyed, and took
possession of the land for Canada* Upon this journey he surveyed the Columbia from its source to its mouth* Such a feat
seemed to make Canada's claim to the great river and its lands
unassailable.
In March 1811, having sought vainly for birch bark thick
enough to make a canoe, Thompson and his men built one of
thin cedar boards fastened together with the small roots of the
pine. They broke camp on April 17 and reached Upper
Columbia Lake on May 14* "Other rivers," writes Thompson,
" have their sources so ramified in rills and brooks that it is not
easy to determine the parent stream* This is not the case with
the Columbia. Near the foot of a steep secondary mountain,
surrounded by a fine grassy plain, lies its source in a lake.
From this lake issues the wild stream, its descent very great,
yet navigable through all its thirteen thousand and forty-
eight miles."
Portaging just two miles to the Kootenay, Thompson descended it two hundred and forty miles, and then portaged first
to the Saleesh, then to the Spokane, and finally into the Columbia. On June 19 they reached the Kettle Falls, from which a
month's steady paddling brought them to Tongue Point, a
long narrow peninsula, beyond which lay the Pacific Ocean.
83
 Thompson was delighted, but the men were disappointed;
the sea looked to them just like the Great Lakes; they had
expected something more*
Having visited his friend, Duncan McDougall, who was
in charge of Astoria, the American fur post, Thompson went
quietly home again* Returning, he travelled up the Columbia
all the way, through the Arrow Lakes, to the Boat Encampment
at the great bend of the Columbia from which he had set out,
thus completing the survey of the river from its source to its
mouth. Parts of it have never since been surveyed, and
Thompson's findings still appear upon all our maps*
mBSSm
Canadian Pacific Railway
SINCLAIR CANYON
 DAVID THOMPSON
One knew at first glance that David Thompson was an unusual
man* "His figure was short and compact, and his black hair
was worn long all round, and cut square as if by one stroke of
the shears, just above the eyebrows. His complexion was of the
gardener's ruddy brown, the expression of his deeply-furrowed
features friendly and intelligent"; his dark eyes flashed out at
you shrewdly. His cut-short nose, oddly at variance with his
other features, gave him a comically pugnacious look. A friend
said he looked like Curran, the Irish orator; his daughter
pronounced a picture of Bunyan enough like her father to have
been his photograph, but no picture of him has come down
to us.
He had a powerful mind and, though very retiring, was a
wonderful story-teller. His uncanny power of picture-making
enabled him to create for the listener a wilderness and to people
it with warring savages. You climbed the Rocky Mountains
with him; you beat your way through a snowstorm so palpable
that you had only to shut your eyes to feel the snow-flakes on
your cheek as he talked.
The lessons learned in the Grey Coat School were never
forgotten. A deep and quiet piety marked all his mature years.
He never failed before setting out on his expeditions to ask
God's help, and never forgot to "thank good Providence" on
his safe return. He steadily refused to debauch his Indians with
liquor; he did everything possible to keep his men honest.
"Many a time," writes Dr* Bigsley, "have I seen these uneducated Canadians most attentively and thankfully listen,
while he read to them, in most extraordinarily pronounced
French, three chapters out of the Old Testament, and as many
out of the New, adding such explanations as seemed to him
necessary." "There were few white men in the west in those
85
 early days who bore so consistently as did David Thompson
the white flower of a blameless life."
In 1784, when Thompson came out to Hudson's Bay, a great
new map of the world had just been published. Upon it, all
of North-Western America, except that part traversed by
Samuel Hearne, was left blank. More than half of a great new
continent waited for Thompson and his instruments. From the
beginning he laid his plans carefully and carried them out
systematically. By astronomical observations of latitude and
longitude he located certain places distant from each other;
then he connected them with surveys made as carefully as
possible. The lengths of the rivers, their rate of descent, the
heights of the mountains, the extent of the plains, the appearance and habits of the Indians and of animals—all these were
investigated and recorded by him.
While a fur trader Thompson travelled fifty thousand miles
in canoes, on horseback, or on foot through an unmapped
country. Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser when
exploring concentrated all their energies upon the one end—
that of reaching a certain point. Thompson was never, except
upon his trip to the Mandan villages, able to devote his whole
time to his surveys. The fur trade was his business; exploring,
surveying, mapping new country, his chief pleasure. His surveys
were not rough sketches, but careful traverses made by a
master in the art. The work he accomplished single-handed, in
the intervals of trading, is almost incredible.
During the year following his trip to the mouth of the
Columbia, Thompson returned with his family to Montreal.
He had been twenty-eight years in the west and, though only
forty-two, never again visited the mountain valleys, the long
brown prairies he had loved. |
The family settled first at Terrebonne, Quebec. During
1813-14 Thompson was busy preparing for the North-West
Company his great map of Western Canada. Then, for ten
years, he was engaged for the British Government in surveying
and defining the boundary line between Canada and United
States. Later he made other important surveys for the
Government.
86
 ■*
For a time he was very well-to-do, living in a comfortable
home in Williamstown, Glengarry County, Ontario. Then a
church upon which he had a mortgage found itself unable to
clear it off; Thompson deeded the property to the members.
His sons failed in business and Thompson paid all their debts.
He removed to Longueuil, Quebec, where he was still able
to earn a living by surveying. At last his eyes failed* He could
work no more* He had to sell his instruments, and was even
reduced to pawning his clothes for food. In spite of these
troubles and hardships he lived to be eighty-seven, dying at
Longueuil in 1857. His wife, Charlotte, survived him only
three months*
No monument marks his obscure grave in Mount Royal
Cemetery; no statue has been raised in his honour* Canada has
yet to find some way of perpetuating the memory of one of
the greatest of her sons*
McDermid, Calgary
ON THE WAY TO WINDERMERE IN THOMPSON'S COUNTRY
87
 THE FIRST WOMEN IN THE WEST
Alexander Henry the Younger tells in his journal of the first
white woman who came to Western Canada. She was a young
woman from the Orkney Islands who, in 1806, disguised herself
as a man and came out in a Hudson's Bay ship to join her lover.
Her baby, a fine boy, was born in December 1807 at Henry's
post, Pembina* The Scottish woman took her little son home
the following summer and nothing more is known of them*
Meantime the real mother of the West had arrived* Baptiste
Lajimoniere, a famous scout of the North-West Company,
spent the winter of 1806-7 at home in Quebec* His gallant
spirit, his tales of adventure, fascinated Marie Anne Gaboury,
and they were married* Baptiste brought his bride up with the
brigades in the summer of 1807* They went up the Red to
Pembina, the headquarters of the buffalo hunters*
Here Marie settled down to keep house in a tent* The news
that there was a white woman at Pembina spread quickly about
the country and the Indians flocked to see her* They were
amazed at her fairness* With gentle fingers the squaws touched
her white skin, her soft hair* They vied with each other in
waiting upon her* Her baby, a girl, was born on January 6,
1808; this first child grew up to be the mother of Louis Riel.
That autumn Henry led a party up the Saskatchewan.
Baptiste, now a free trader, went with him* During four years
Marie lived in the Edmonton country, then the battleground
of Crees and Blackfeet* Sometimes she rode out to the hunt
with Baptiste; often she remained at home alone with her
child* Upon one occasion her tent was surrounded with yelling
Crees, who were in search of a Blackfoot warrior* Trembling,
expecting each moment to be her last, Marie knelt and tried
to pray* Luckily Baptiste saw the Indians about his wigwam
and, riding up, persuaded them to withdraw*
 DANIEL HARMON
Cotton, Swan River
THE  SWAN RIVER JUST WEST OF
THE OLD FORT
Daniel Williams Harmon left
his home in Vermont and entered
the service of the North-West
Company in 1800* He was then
only twenty-two, but hardship and
responsibility soon made a man
of him; these grim friends quickly
do that for any boy with brains
and courage* Harmon had both.
He was a good man; one who in
the midst of drunken Indians and
carousing voyageurs calmly read
his Bible, said his prayers, and
did his duty. He remained in the
North-West nineteen years without once going home* When homesick, as he very often was,
he consoled himself with his books and his diary, in which he
made a careful record of the customs of the Indians whom
he met*
Harmon left Lachine with the brigade in April 1800* As
they followed the old trail up the Ottawa, Harmon noticed
little crosses upon the shore beside many of the rapids* He was
told that the voyageurs put up one for each man who was
drowned in shooting the rapids* The brigade passed the locks
at Sault Ste. Marie on May 30, and reached Grand Portage
on June 13.
Harmon had been assigned to the Saskatchewan but, at
Fort Alexander, Mr* McLeod, the superintendent of the Swan
River Department, detailed him to take charge of a post in that
district*  He therefore waited for the  Swan River brigade,
 which arrived in a few days* They crossed Lake Winnipeg and
paddled up the Dauphin River to Lake Manitoba, from whence
they portaged into Lake Winnipegosis. The brigade had by
this time divided, part going to Fort Dauphin, part to the Red
Deer. Harmon and his party remained on Encampment Island
five days waiting for the boats from Swan River; during that
time they had nothing to eat except a few fish.
They reached Swan River Fort on October 9, and a week
later Harmon set out for Alexandria, a hundred miles west,
"among the prairies." Alexandria wa^s built on the bank of
the Assiniboine. It had a beautiful level prairie in front and
pretty groves of birch, poplar and pine behind. The fort was
sixteen rods long, the houses and stores well built and whitewashed with the "white earth" found in many parts of that
country* The Indians sold horses for a trifle, so there was plenty
of riding to be had* Riding, hunting, trading, visiting the neighbouring posts, and reading, passed the winter quickly away*
Harmon remained in this part of the country for eight
years, though moved frequently from one post to another*
Wherever he went he put up a shelf for his books, planted a
garden, and made himself as comfortable as possible* For
weeks together he did not see another white man* Sometimes they had plenty of food, at others none* One of the
hunters came in one day and told Harmon that he could kill
nothing because as soon as he got upon the track of an animal
the Evil Spirit came behind and with his terrible voice frightened
the game* Harmon mixed together some drugs, wrapped them
in a white paper, and gave the packet to the superstitious one*
He told him when next he heard the Evil Spirit's voice to
throw the packet behind him* It would, said Harmon, fall
into the Spirit's mouth and destroy him* The hunter must
not, however, look behind, but steadily follow and shoot the
game* The Indian did as he was told and returned with a deer*
After this all the natives believed implicitly in Big Knife's
medicine.
One summer the grasshoppers were so thick that when they
rose, as they did each morning between eight and ten o'clock,
they darkened the sun. Almost every year prairie fires swept
90
 mmmmmL^;
over the country, and it was necessary to protect the buildings.
During these fires vast numbers of buffalo and wild horses
were burned, for these aninjals when trapped by the fire stand
perfectly still until they are burned to death.
In 1805 Harmon was ill and went down to Fort William
to see a doctor. He and his party crossed to Qu'Appelle and from
there to the Souris River. At Souris the Nor'-Westers, the
Hudson's Bay Company, and the X* Y* people, each had a post*
To welcome his guest, Mr. Chaboillez. the North-West Company's trader, invited the Hudson's Bay and the X* Y. men to
a real North-West country ball. It ended in a brawl, which
somewhat disgusted the grave Harmon* The next day the
Hudson's Bay Company entertained, their party closing
more quietly*
On his return, Harmon took over South Branch Fort on
the South Saskatchewan* While here he thought the matter
over carefully and decided to take an Indian wife* There were
no white women in the country, and it was the custom for the
traders to take Indian wives* When they left the North-West
they provided for their native wives and families and left them*
Harmon doubted whether or not this was right; but in the end
he chose a pleasant-looking young girl with a mild temper* As
it turned out, they became very fond of one another, were
properly married by a clergyman, and lived long and contentedly together*
In 1808 Harmon was sent to Fort Chipewyan, and from
there crossed the mountains to Stuart Lake. Stuart Lake is
a hundred miles west of McLeod Lake; the goods had to be
carried to this post overland. The fort stood pleasantly on
rising ground, near the mouth of a little river at the east end
of the lake* Here Harmon for eight years did business with
the Carrier Indians, of whom he has left an interesting account*
The principal food at Stuart Lake was salmon and berries;
strawberries, raspberries and shadberries were found in great
quantities* Harmon soon had a garden in which the vegetables
did very well* He sowed barley too, and reaped at the rate of
eighty-four bushels to the acre* The salmon enter the rivers
seeking a place to spawn* As they pass up, the Indians catch
91
 and dry great quantities of them. Those that escape ascend the
small rivers and brooks until for lack of water they can go no
farther. They die there in great numbers, the stench infecting
all the air around. By October Harmon had twenty-five thousand
salmon in store, four a day being the ration for each man.
This stock supplied them for the winter.
In the spring of 1811 Harmon sent his little son George
home to his family in Vermont. The child was only three years
old and it nearly broke the parents' hearts to part with him,
but Harmon thought it would be better for him to be brought
up in a civilised country where he couid be properly educated.
The little fellow made the long and dangerous journey, but
lived only a short time after reaching his relatives. Harmon
never quite recovered from his loss; he and the poor mother
now found their only comfort in their little daughters Polly
and Sally* Harmon with his wife and family returned to Canada
in August 1819*
'KWAH
When Harmon reached Stuart Lake, he found 'Kwah, chief
of the Carriers, who had their hereditary fishing grounds in
that part of the country. 'Kwah was a quick-witted, friendly
man, who soon felt quite at home with the new commander of
the post. He knew that the Palefaces were entirely at his mercy
and liked to show his power over them in the presence of his
own people. He had more than one dispute with the dignified
Harmon, who in spite of his piety sometimes lost his temper.
"What is the difference between you and me?" asked the
chief in the course of one argument about goods which Harmon
had refused to advance to him*
"There are several differences, I should think," replied
Harmon shortly.
"Only one," said 'Kwah, "you can read and write, I cannot*
There is no other difference between us. Do not I manage my>
affairs as well as you do yours ?"
"Possibly you do," answered Harmon*
92
 I You send a great way off for goods, and you are rich and
want for nothing, but I kill beaver in the proper season; I know
when the fish spawn and send my women with the nets that I
have made to take them; I never want for anything* When did
you ever hear that 'Kwah was in danger of starving ?"
"All this is no doubt true," replied Harmon reasonably;
" but it does not alter the fact that I am the master of my own
property and shall dispose of it as I please*"
"Have you ever been to war?" asked 'Kwah*
"No," replied Harmon, "nor do I wish to take the life of
any of my fellow-creatures*"
"I have been to war," announced 'Kwah pompously, "and
have brought home the scalps of my enemies*"
The chief then asked Harmon to trust him with a small
piece of cloth to make a breech-cloth* Several were offered,
but he refused each in turn* At last Harmon, his patience
exhausted, seized a yard-stick, sprang over the counter, and
beat the Indian soundly* The next day 'Kwah sent to beg salve
for the wound in his head* A few days later he gave a great
feast, at which he made a long speech calling himself Harmon's
wife, and professing his affection for him* He admitted that he
had been deservedly beaten*
It was probably this unusual reasonableness of 'Kwah's
which made him the great chief he became* He lived till the
autumn of 1837, and died sincerely lamented by the traders
as well as by his own people*
ASTORIA
THE AMERICAN FUR POST
Not to be behind the Canadians, the Americans also established
fur trading-posts and prepared to secure a share of so rich a
trade* Their leader in this enterprise was John Jacob Astor, a
shrewd business man, who had traded in Montreal and knew
the methods of the North-West Company*
In 1810 Astor organised the Pacific Fur Company. He
93
 planned to build a line of trading-posts up the Missouri and
over the Rockies to the Columbia. East of the Rockies the posts
were to be stocked from St. Louis; the coast trade would be
handled by ships sailing from New York, round Cape Horn,
to the mouth of the Columbia. Astor, fearing the rivalry of the
North-West Company, invited them to take shares in his
Company, but they refused and, it is said, ordered David
Thompson to make a dash for the mouth of the Columbia to
forestall the Americans.
Astor could not get the North-Wejst Company to come in
with him, but he secured the services of a number of experienced
Nor'-Westers—McKay, who had been with Mackenzie on his
trip to the west coast; Duncan McDougall and two Stuarts.
These men, with a company of clerks and workmen, paddled
down the Hudson^ astonishing with their rollicking songs and
bright-coloured costumes the staid American farmers who had
never before seen the like of them.
From New York they sailed in the good ship Tonquin,
commanded by Captain Thorn, a grave gentleman who was
scandalised by the pranks of the Canadians. Seeing him stiff
and disapproving, the traders carried their mischief to still
greater lengths. They dressed in scarlet, and decking themselves
with feathers and chains paraded as chiefs before the natives of
the islands at which the ship touched* Dressed in kilts they
called the natives their brothers and presented them with
anything upon which they could lay their hands* No doubt
Thorn was glad to land them at the mouth of the Columbia*
Here they chose a site for their fort and were too busy for
mischief* They cut down the great trees and built a residence,
storehouse and powder magazine* They called their post Astoria*
McKay and McDougall visited the Chinook Indians, who
greeted them delightedly.
In July 1811, McKay, with a cargo of goods in the Tonquin,
went up the coast to trade. The Indians were impudent and
greedy; they swarmed upon the deck demanding this and
refusing that* Dignified Captain Thorn, feeling himself insulted,
threw the chief over the side into the sea* Next day the Indians
attacked the ship in force, killing nearly all. In the dawn of the
94
 following morning the savages paddling silently about the vessel
saw on the deck only one severely wounded white man. He
beckoned them to come aboard; they crowded up the ladders.
Suddenly the ship was rent by an explosion; the white man
had fired the magazine. A hundred Indians died with him; a
single Indian interpreter escaped to tell the dreadful tale
in Astoria*
Meantime David Thompson had visited his friend
McDougall in Astoria and, after obtaining supplies and goods,
had returned up the river. David Stuart and Alexander Ross
went with him and built a post to carry on the summer's trade
at the junction of the Okanagan with the Columbia.
The Pacific Fur Company seemed doomed to misfortune.
In June, Astor sent a party across the continent by land. They
endured terrible hardships and reached Astoria in October
only just in time to save themselves from starvation. Even as
the famishing travellers staggered into Astoria, Astor was
despatching a second party by sea in the ship Beaver* This
band did not reach the Columbia until April 1812* Having
delivered her passengers and loaded with furs, the Beaver
sailed for China to sell them.
Now, in June 1812, the Government of the United States
declared war on Britain and prepared to attack Canada. Having
heard of this, George McTavish and sixteen Nor'-Westers
from New Caledonia marched down to Astoria, explained the
situation to the Pacific Fur Company traders, and suggested
to them that they sell out. "You may as well," said the Nor'-
Westers, "for there is a British warship on its way here, and if
you do not sell you will have to surrender." After a good deal
of haggling, the Astoria people gave in. They sold all their
property to the North-West Company at a valuation; their
employees were allowed to take service with the North-West
Company or to return to New York as they pleased* When
the war sloop Racoon arrived in the mouth of the Columbia,
she found the British flag already floating over Astoria.
95
 r
THE SILVER CHIEF
There had been a storm in the night and fair St. Mary's Isle
lifted her face to the morning sun, new-washed and smiling.
It was very early. The ancient storie of the Castle walls was
still damp with rain; great silver drops rolled slowly down and
fell suddenly from window-ledge and turret. The lawns gleamed,
the flowers hung their heads under the weight of moisture; all
except the brier-rose by the garden wall, each of her pink
blossoms faced the sun proudly, pouring a song of fragrance
across the garden* A door was flung open, a man plunged down
the steps and strode along the path* His eyes were narrowed,
his clothes disarranged as though he had not slept. As he turned
the second time in his walk, a little maid ran across the wet
lawns and curtseying low, said breathlessly, "You—you have
a son, my lord."
On that June morning young Thomas Douglas appeared
in a world in which he was to achieve more than one remarkable
adventure. A hemisphere away, Alexander Henry the Elder
and the Frobishers were paddling up and down the pleasant
summer reaches of Lake Winnipeg. Though they knew nothing
of it, they were the forerunners of the baby boy in far-off St.
Mary's Isle* They thought only of trade; yet they paddled and
bargained and starved only to make his paths plain before him*
Baby Thomas grew into a tall young man with a thin eager
face* The keen blue eyes saw everything; the clever brain
behind the high white brow considered and planned; the firm
young chin promised to carry out the plans* He went to the
University of Edinburgh, where he became a friend of Sir Walter
Scott* They belonged to a club at which young men argued
the questions of the day* In these discussions Thomas Douglas
always took the part of the poor and oppressed. His holidays
 he spent fishing and tramping about the bonnie Highlands,
where the kindly people made much of him. He loved them;
their generous hearts, their hospitable customs, their warm
speech. In 1799, his father and elder brother having died, Thomas
became Earl of Selkirk.
He had now both wealth and power, and he determined to
use them to help those in need; there were many in those days.
Napoleon carried war across Europe. In England machinery
was beginning to take the place of hands, so that hundreds were
thrown out of work; food was scarce and dear; the poor starved.
In the Highlands of Scotland the great landowners found they
could make more money by keeping sheep than by growing
grain. They turned the renters off their little farms to make
runs for the sheep. These poor renters, or crofters as they
were called, had nowhere to go. There was no work in Scotland,
none in England; no work, no money, no food* You remember
the sufferings which drove the Sharp family and many another
to Upper Canada* Such people were badly off, but they had or
could borrow a little money to carry them across the sea. The
Highland crofters had nothing and could borrow nothing.
Into this desperate breach stepped the young earl, the
"Silver Chief" as the Indians long afterwards called him. His
heart was wrung with pity for his old friends, his purse-strings
were quickly untied to help them* When he read the Journals
of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, his mind conceived a great idea,
his soul a great purpose. The accessible lands of Canada had
already been taken up, but Mackenzie said the prairies were
fertile* To the far shores of Lake Winnipeg Selkirk would lead
the crofters; on the rich plains of the Red River they should
build new and happier homes.
In 1802 the earl wrote to the Government asking permission
to establish a colony on the Red River* They forbade him to
do it* Nothing daunted, the earl bought lands in Prince Edward
Island and settled upon them eight hundred poor people from
the Highlands, selling the land to them at half the current
price* There was some confusion and dissatisfaction at first,
but within a month each settler had his land and was hard at
work upon it. In two years they were comfortable*
vn—g 97
 I
After seeing his people settled in Prince Edward Island,
Lord Selkirk visited the United States* It hurt his loyal heart
to see British men and women settling down under an alien
flag* Again he bought land, this time near Chatham, Ontario*
Upon this tract he settled British families from the United
States* Baldoon, as this colony was called, did not prosper*
The land was low, the people suffered from ague, and during
the war of 1812 they were attacked by the Americans. Drained
and properly tilled, Baldoon is nowadays beautiful farming
country.
On his way home Lord Selkirk visited Montreal. He was
received with delight by the Beaver Club, the group of fur
traders, who stood at the head of the business and social life
of the city. Each member of this famous club had been a
"wintering partner," had endured the hardships of river and
portage in the fur country, had dressed in skins, had eaten dog
or starved. Now they were merchant princes; they lived in
splendid mansions at the foot of Mount Royal, dressed in
velvet and satin, and dined sumptuously every day. Their clubhouse was famous for the richness of its decorations and furniture* Its table glittered with silver and cut-glass, and groaned
with the weight of delicate food served daily*
The closely-guarded doors of the famous club were thrown
wide to welcome the gallant young earl* The members gave a
great dinner-party for him* The finest damask covered the long
table; the golden candle-light fell softly on the silver and glass,
on fruit and flowers. Each member appeared in his most
splendid attire, and each wore on his breast the insignia of the
service, a gold medal with the motto "Fortitude in distress."
Bear, beaver, pemmican and venison, prepared in the fashion
of the fur posts, were served; wine and song sped the flying
hours. Before the party broke up, all took part, as was the
custom, in the "grand voyage*" The members, stout and
elderly though they were, seated themselves one behind the
other on the crimson carpet. Each man armed himself with
tongs, poker, sword or walking-stick to use as a paddle, and,
singing one of the old voyageur songs, they paddled vigorously
till breath gave out.
 The grave young earl may not have very keenly enjoyed
the rather boisterous fun, but he did appreciate the opportunity
offered him to talk of the "upper country." He asked questions
steadily; the members of the Beaver Club delighted to answer*
Before Selkirk left the city he had learned a great deal about
the fur trade and the fur country of Canada; nothing that he
heard seemed to make a colony in the interior impossible*
Six years later, in 1809, the poverty and despair among
the poor of Britain reached its height. Selkirk could bear inaction no longer; he felt that he must do something. He could
hear of no more suitable land in the accessible parts of Canada,
and his active mind turned again to the Red River country*
The Government had forbidden him to found a colony there;
but had the Government power over that country? Had that
power not been given to the Hudson's Bay Company by King
Charles in 1670?
The earl consulted five great lawyers upon this point, and
they agreed that the Hudson's Bay Company had power to
grant or lease land in all that territory "the waters of which
run into Hudson's Bay*" This decision made the whole matter
quite simple* The Silver Chief used part of his great wealth
and greater influence to buy a controlling interest in the Hudson's
Bay Company* At the annual meeting of the "Gentlemen
Adventurers," held on May 30, 1810, Lord Selkirk attended
with his friends* He offered to buy a tract of land lying east
and west of the Red River in Rupert's Land and somewhat
larger than the province of Manitoba* He promised within
a limited time to establish a colony on this land* With their
superior voting power he and his friends passed through the
meeting the resolution to sell; the long-dreamed-of colony
became possible*
99
 FORT  DOUGLAS
THE SELKIRK SETTLEMENT
For a little while all went happily* The Silver Chief issued
an advertisement calling for settlers* He promised to carry
them to the Red River, give them farms upon its banks, and
support them until such time as self-support should be possible*
He retained Miles Macdonell, a young Loyalist of Glengarry,
to lead the first party* Macdonell had fought as captain in the
American Revolution; he knew the wilderness, and understood
pioneer life; he was wise, firm, and seemed in every way likely
to make a successful leader*
In the summer of 1811 two fine ships and one worn-out
old craft, the Edward and Anne, gathered at Yarmouth to make
the voyage to Hudson's Bay. The merchandise belonging to
the Company was carefully stowed in the two good ships; the
emigrants embarked in the Edward and Anne* The vessels
proceeded to Stornoway in the Hebrides, where more colonists
came aboard, though not without opposition.
The North-West Company had heard of the proposed
colony and strongly disapproved* They knew the fur-bearing
 I kin
animals would disappear before the advancing farmers, and
they prepared to fight for their fur country* Sir Alexander
Mackenzie and other Nor'-Westers had hastily bought stock
in the Hudson's Bay Company, but they had not enough to
outvote Selkirk and so block his project* At Stornoway a man,
no doubt an agent of Mackenzie, tried to persuade Selkirk's
colonists to desert the ship* A number did so. This was the first
move in a long game which ended more seriously than anyone
could have foreseen.
The Selkirk settlers reached Hudson's Bay so late in the
season that it was impossible, for that year, to make the trip
up the Nelson to Red River. York Factory was not large enough
to shelter the newcomers, so Captain Macdonell at once set
all hands at work building winter quarters north of the river
and a few miles from the fort. They were soon Comfortable
enough in their log houses. Some were detailed to cut wood
for the camp; others to bring food from the factory on sledges.
Macdonell was on the watch for scurvy; most of his men took
it at one time or another, but the captain was always ready with
white spruce juice which worked magic cures.
Early in the New Year they began to build boats to carry
them up the seven hundred miles of lake and stream to their
future homes* Macdonell insisted on their being built like the
flat-bottomed boats used by the Loyalists* These cost a great
deal and were not serviceable on the turbulent northland
waters. The party left York Factory on June i, 1812. They
were strange to such travel, the boats were heavy and difficult
to manage; it was autumn before they reached their destination.
The North-West Company had a post, Fort Gibraltar, at
the junction of the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers, but it was
a small post, and no preparation had been made to receive the
colonists* Some of the settlers were sheltered in the fort; others
in the homes of the trappers; others still in the tents of the
Indians. Macdonell, now called "Governor," bought potatoes,
oats and barley from the fort, but supplies soon began to fail*
The buffalo did not come to the wooded plains about Fort
Gibraltar, but up the Red at Pembina they were so tame that
they often  came to rub  themselves  against the  stockades*
IOI
 Macdonell moved his men to Pembina, where they had plenty
of food for the rest of the winter*
In the spring they returned to Point Douglas which Macdonell had chosen as the centre of the colony* It was a few
miles down the river from Fort Gibraltar, the Company post.
The settlers were eager to begin work upon their farms. They
had no implements except hoes, but with these they managed
to prepare small plots and sow a little wheat* As soon as it
came up it was attacked by flocks of blackbirds and pigeons,
but the settlers fought them off gallantly. The little plots
yielded to their proud owners a hundredfold of the finest wheat.
While the gardens grew, the colonists had, however, very little
to eat. There were very few fish in the river, and berries seemed
scarcer than usual. They boiled roots of one kind and another
and so saved themselves from starvation.
Meantime Selkirk, at home in Scotland, worked hard to
persuade more colonists to go out to the colony. The North-
West Company made it as difficult for him as possible. They
published bad reports about the country and exaggerated
every tale of hardship in the colony that reached Britain* In
spite of them Selkirk got a small party together* Ship-fever
broke out on the voyage and a number died; fewer than twenty
arrived at Red River in the autumn of 1813* Food was as scarce
as ever, and again Governor Macdonell was obliged to move
his party to Pembina for the winter*
Up till this time the Nor'-Westers at Fort Gibraltar and
Pembina had treated the colonists kindly enough* The Company
did not believe that it was possible for Selkirk to establish a
colony in the wilderness. They looked to see the settlers leave
or perish within a year. But here was the second winter and the
colony had actually grown. The persistence of the starving
handful startled them* Then, quietly, the word was passed
that the farmers were to receive no help from the posts or the
traders* At Pembina the half-breed hunters who, the winter
before, had helped the settlers hunt the buffalo, now looked on,
laughing, as they struggled through the snowdrifts, often failing
to bring down their game*
At Pembina, Governor Macdonell had built a post, Fort
102
 \m
Daer, to shelter his people while hunting on the border. The
settlers were killing few buffalo and the traders refused to
supply them with other food, so Macdonell issued a proclamation
forbidding anyone to take food out of the territory of the
Hudson's Bay Company without a licence from the Governor*
This made the trappers and half-breeds very angry* Legally
the country belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company; actually,
they felt that it was theirs. They boasted loudly of what they
would do to Macdonell and his settlers if he should try to
enforce the order published in the proclamation*
Strong behind his legal title to the land, Macdonell sent
his assistant, Sheriff Spencer, to seize the North-West Company's provisions collected at their fort on the Souris River*
Spencer secured six hundred bags of pemmican of eighty-five
pounds each. Knowing that they had this store of food behind
them cheered the settlers mightily* Ninety-three more settlers
came out in 1814, farms had been allotted to each man and
houses built; for the moment, affairs seemed to be moving
smoothly.
But only for the moment. The North-West Company had
long ago decided that they must drive out the settlers or themselves be driven from the country. The matter was discussed
at the annual meeting at Fort William, plans were made, and
two traders, Duncan Cameron and Alexander Macdonell,
were sent up to the Red River to get rid of the colonists*
Macdonell led a body of armed men from Fort Gibraltar
against the little colony. To prevent bloodshed, Governor
Macdonell surrendered himself. The Nor'-Westers arrested
and carried him off to Montreal. Duncan Cameron, a pleasant-
spoken Highlander, soon persuaded three-fourths of the
settlers to follow him to Upper Canada, where lands were given
them near Owen Sound. Cuthbert Grant, the leader of the
half-breeds, served notice upon the handful of settlers remaining that they should leave Red River at once or suffer the
consequences*
The farmers who had refused to follow Cameron were men
loyal to Lord Selkirk, and they did not wish to leave their lands.
John McLeod, the blacksmith, gathered them into his little
103
 IIS
log smithy. McLeod had secured a four-pounder gun from the
fort; they cut chains into short pieces, and prepared themselves
to resist attack. The half-breeds galloped up on their Indian
ponies, making a great show before the door, but when the
farmers opened fire with the chain-shot the Indians scattered*
They burned all the farmhouses, however, and the farmers
retired in the boats to Norway House. McLeod stayed behind,
collected valuables left by the settlers, saved most of the crops,
and after harvest, quietly began to build at Point Douglas a
house for the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company at
Red River. It looked as though the Nor'-Westers had had their
way; the Red River had been cleared of farmers*
But the Silver Chief was a Scot; he had no thought of
giving in. Colin Robertson with twenty Canadians went up to
Norway House and persuaded the refugees to return to their
lands. In the summer of 1815 Robert Semple, Governor in
Macdonell's place, brought out a hundred new settlers. The
Governor's house was enlarged, new buildings rose beside it,
the burned farmhouses were rebuilt; Fort Douglas, brave John
McLeod's dream, became an established fact.
LORD SELKIRK
Wine, and cards, and ladies' love,
A belted earl was he;
Camps, and courts, and covers left
To fare across the sea;
Read and thought, toiled and fought,
And spent his earldom's fee
To build new homes for homeless folk
In this land of the free.
104
SI.
 SEVEN OAKS
Governor Semple and Colin Robertson were soldiers. Having
made themselves strong in Fort Douglas, they turned round
on the Nor'-Westers and captured Fort Gibraltar. They took
down its stockades, made them into a raft, piled the remains
of the fort upon it, and floated the whole down the river to be
used in strengthening Fort Douglas. Next they seized Pembina.
Meantime the half-breeds were gathering* Cuthbert Grant
sent word that in the spring he would come with his warriors
and drive the settlers away for good and all* He tried to get the
Indians to join him, but they were too cautious to join either
side* In June, Grant, gathering men as he came, swept down
from Qu'Appelle; past Portage la Prairie, past Brandon House,
they dashed on their Indian ponies* Four miles west of the Forks,
they left the Assiniboine and crossed the prairie to meet a party
of Nor'-Westers who were expected from Fort William.
But they had been seen from Fort Douglas, and gallant
though rash, Semple marched out to meet them* The two parties
approached each other at a place called Seven Oaks* As they
did so, Boucher spurred out from the ranks of the half-breeds
and rode up to Semple. "What do you want?" asked the
Governor. "We want our fort," replied Boucher. "Well," said
Semple, "go to your fort." Unfortunately, as he spoke, he
put his hand upon Boucher's gun. The half-breeds saw the
movement; a shot rang out; the fight began. In a very few
minutes it was over. Semple and twenty others were killed;
Fort Douglas surrendered, and again the unhappy colonists
fled to Norway House*
Anxious for the life of his colony, Lord Selkirk, in 1815,
came himself to Canada* He spent the winter in Montreal
105
 trying to get the Government to promise him protection for
his people. The fur traders were too powerful; Selkirk got no
help from the Government. The Silver Chief now hired a
hundred discharged soldiers to go up with him to Red River
and settle on the land there. The party left Montreal in
June 1816.
At Sault Ste. Marie, Selkirk heard that Semple had been
murdered. He went straight to Fort William, and being a
magistrate, prepared to arrest the Nor'-Westers who had taken
part in the fight at Seven Oaks. He had with him his hundred
soldiers and easily enforced obedience in Fort William. He
released the prisoners who had been brought from Red River
and arrested instead the leaders of the Nor'-Westers.
In the spring of 1817 the soldiers went up to Fort Douglas,
which they easily recaptured from the half-breeds* In June
the Silver Chief arrived* At long last he looked upon the land,
richer far than his dream had promised. His coming brought
peace and hope. The Canadian Government had ordered that
all property seized in the recent troubles should be given back
to its rightful owners. The settlers returned to their farms and
began again to put them in order. They gathered near the spot
where St. John's Church, Winnipeg, now stands, to meet
their chief. With him they planned church, burying-ground
and school. Arrangements were made for surveying the land,
laying out roads, building bridges and mills. The Indians, too,
came to counsel with the Silver Chief, who completely won
their hearts by his friendliness and generosity. He made a
treaty with them for their lands, and all parted friends. The
long trouble was over, the great work accomplished, the Province
of Manitoba had been founded, though many years were still
to pass before the golden West should really be opened for
settlement.
Lord Selkirk now returned to Canada to face the many
charges against him* He was accused, among other things, of
having "stolen eighty-three muskets at Fort William*" Such
a charge shows how bitterly the Nor'-Westers hated him, and
how eagerly they seized upon any pretext to annoy him. In his
turn Selkirk charged the partners of the North-West Company
106
 \m
with having been responsible for the murder of Semple* The
trials were long and hotly fought out. Selkirk returned at last
to England broken in health and hopes. He was still comparatively a young man, but who shall say how many lifetimes
he had lived in his forty-eight eager years. He died within
two years of his return from America.
Parker, High River
LYNX  DEVOURING PRAIRIE CHICKEN
107
 THE FIGHT FOR ATHABASCA
The attempt to drive the settlers out of Red River was only
a part of the long struggle between the old Company and the
new for the mastery of the West. The " Gentlemen Adventurers "
were at last wide awake. Athabasca was by far the richest of
the fur departments; the North-West Company held it by right
of discovery and occupation; the Hudson's Bay Company
wanted it* After Seven Oaks the Government forbade them
to fight any more, but it continued to be war to the knife in
trade between the two companies*
The Hudson's Bay Company had already sent one brigade
into the far North-West, but it had been driven out* Now, in
1819, Colin Robertson, Semple's junior officer, went boldly
down to Montreal, the stronghold of the enemy* Under their
very noses he bought nineteen canoes, hired ninety-five voyageurs and, in April, paddled gaily away from Ste. Anne's* At
Lake Winnipeg he was joined by thirty-five men of the first
Hudson's Bay brigade, escaping from the Nor'-Westers* The
Montrealers had seized the Hudson's Bay property and people
in Athabasca* By threatening them with starvation they had
forced the Hudson's Bay men to swear not to oppose the
North-West Company for three years.
By October, however, Colin Robertson and his brigade
were again in Athabasca* The Nor'-Westers had been careful
to keep it a secret that Selkirk had won on the Red River* The
Indians believed the North-West Company to be supreme
everywhere; Robertson says that the Athabasca Indians dared
not even speak to a Hudson's Bay man* At lie a la Crosse a
few Hudson's Bay men huddled in a hut strictly guarded by
Nor'-Westers; not an Indian dared go near them* As the brigade
neared Fort Chipewyan, Robertson had his men sing to announce
108
 Ifatti
^
Dr. A llan, University of A Iberta
HUDSON'S   BAY HEADQUARTERS, FORT CHIPEWYAN
their coming to the Indians, all of whom preferred to trade with
the old Company which gave them better bargains and a better
quality of goods* A brave who ventured near them was sent
to bring his tribe* A council was held* Robertson told the
Chipewyans how Selkirk had captured Fort William and Fort
Douglas. A treaty was made and the peace pipe smoked before
they separated.
When Colin Robertson paddled up to Fort Chipewyan with
a hundred and thirty armed men at his back, the Nor'-Westers
rushed forth in alarm. But Robertson marched his men to the
abandoned Hudson's Bay house and at once began putting it
in order. Within a week forty Indian families had moved their
tents over to the Hudson's Bay Company's quarter. Clarke,
Robertson's assistant, took thirty men and went up to spend
the winter on the Peace* Robertson at Chipewyan outfitted
his Indians, established fisheries, and made all snug for the
cold months*
One morning, within a fortnight of their arrival, Robertson
was awakened by a servant, who came in to tell him that a canoe
had just brought home the body of a fisherman accidentally
shot the night before* Robertson ordered early breakfast, and
springing out of bed, began to dress. Presently word came in
109
 p
that a North-West bully was outside challenging one of the
Hudson's Bay men to fight. Slipping his pistol into his pocket,
Robertson hurried out. As he stepped toward the bully, eight
or ten Nor'-Westers rushed him from behind* They dragged him
toward the beach; he freed himself and laid about with the empty
pistol, but in vain* They threw him into a canoe which he tried
to upset that he might escape by swimming, but the leader
put a pistol to his head and held it there until they reached the
North-West fort.
On landing, Robertson again eluded the hands of his captors.
Dashing into the Indian hall he told the braves that he had
been stolen. "Do not abandon the Hudson's Bay Company
on that account," he said, "there are brave men at our fort to
protect you! They stole me as they would now rob you of your
hunt. We will be revenged for this, but not like wolves prowling
in the bushes. We will capture them as we captured them at
Fort William with the sun shining in our faces." The Indian
chief squeezed his hand and whispered, "Never mind, white
man! All right! We are your friends."
Robertson was shut up in a small log room and carefully
guarded day and night* He was compelled, each day, to ask in a
formal letter for what he needed* One day he asked that a
messenger be sent to the Hudson's Bay post for whiskey* The
Nor'-Westers were delighted to send* Upon long strips of paper .
Robertson wrote a cipher code which he invented* He rolled
the strips into a tight spool, sealed the ends with wax, and
fastened it to a piece of twine which he fixed to the inner end
of the bung of the whiskey barrel* He then said that the liquor
was musty and asked to have the barrel taken back to his men
to be cleaned* Instead of cleaning the barrel the Hudson's
Bay men sent their imprisoned leader a fresh one*
Disgusted at this failure Robertson sent for a Shakespeare*
Opposite Falstaff's name he wrote "Examine the first keg"
and returned the book. Still his men failed to understand. After
a week's impatient waiting he wrote an open note saying that
he was making a verse out of Falstaff's speech and asking them
to send him the exact words of the play. His men wrote back
that the Shakespeare had been borrowed by a trader. They
 wished to know, however, whether or not he would like the
following traders to have the following supplies* The series of
figures they added told him that they had discovered his cipher*
During eight months Robertson communicated with his
men by means of the whiskey kegs* He gave orders to his
people, heard the news, directed the business of the post* Early
in the winter he despatched runners to tell Williams, the new
Hudson's Bay Governor at Fort Douglas, to send men to lie
in wait to take the North-West Company's fur brigade as it
ran the rapids of the Saskatchewan in June* Frequently Robertson begged his men to attack the North-West fort and rescue
him, but this they never quite dared to do.
Forty Nor'-Westers set out with the June brigade for Montreal; among them no less than six were partners. Robertson
sat in the canoe of Simon McGillvray. At lie a la Crosse their
canoe upset in the rapids ancf they were nearly drowned. At
Cumberland House, Robertson asked leave to visit his friends
in the Hudson's Bay post, which stood near the North-West
Company house. He went and—remained, breaking his parole.
"My conscience tells me I have not done right," he remarks,
but he did not go back.
Knowing that Williams would be in ambush at Grand
Rapids, where the Saskatchewan enters Lake Winnipeg, Robertson let his late captors well out of sight and then followed them.
Williams was indeed ready. Across the river, just at the foot of
the rapids, he had moored barges mounted with swivel guns.
The North-West brigade raced down full tilt into them, and
being caught between the guns and the rapids, surrendered*
When Robertson arrived he found the year's crop of furs on
the bank, and the Nor'-Westers crowded into a hut under guard
of Williams's soldiers.
Both Companies knew that they were doing wrong, and the
better spirits on either side were, no doubt, ashamed, but the
temptation was great. Princely fortunes in furs came out of
Athabasca each year. If one Company could but keep the
traders of the other out of the department for a year it meant
ruin to the evicted Company. Where treasure is, there will
men gather together and fight.
in
 f
That winter Robertson took his brigade into Athabasca
with a light heart, fearing no enemy. He hurried his traders
up the Saskatchewan and over the mountains. Nor'-Westers .
gave no trouble, but starvation stalked him. At one post the
men lived from November to February on berries and flour
mixed with water; at another hunger forced the Hudson's
Bay men to surrender themselves at the nearby North-West
post; at a third the Nor'-Westers were driven out by the men
of the old Company.
In the spring of 1820 the Nor'-Westers, reversing the game,
lay in wait at Grand Rapids for Robertson and his brigade.
Being on the watch the men escaped with the canoes, but
Robertson was caught and carried off to Montreal. Near the
place where Ottawa now stands, the brigade rested for a few
days. As they were about to re-embark, Robertson suddenly
threw a biscuit in the face of the man with whom he walked,
raised his pistol and, having the drop on the party, dared
anyone to take him. No one seemed to care to attempt it.
The Montreal police were on the watch for him, but he
remained resting on the Ottawa for a few days. Then, procuring
a horse, he made a dash for the United States, stopping only
to change horses in Montreal. "The night was dark* The rain
fell in torrents* A faithful friend rode before him day and
night all the way* ... At three in the morning he reached
Plattsburg and safety."
Rouli, roulant!
Sing high! Sing low! Shout!
The waters sing,
And upward fling
White plumes of spray.
Away! Away!
Rouli, roulant!
Sing high! Sing low! Shout!
 THE COMPANIES UNITE
As he rode Colin Robertson heard that two North-West Company partners were going to London to suggest a union of the
two Companies. Union! A trick of the Nor'-Westers to share
the trade from which they had been driven* Were-his years of
fighting, imprisonment and starvation to go for nothing? His
hot blood boiled at the thought; he dug his spurs into the
horse's flanks and galloped recklessly on*
Hurrying to New York he booked a passage to London,
hoping to reach the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company
in time to tell them that Athabasca was theirs without union*
On board ship whom should he meet but the two Nor'-Westers
on their way to meet the general court of the Hudson's Bay
Company to offer union and peace* No doubt Robertson
quarrelled with the Nor'-Westers all the way over; no doubt
he urged his partisan point of view strongly, but, fortunately,
wiser councils prevailed and the union was agreed upon.
And not a moment too soon; the long trade war had cost both
Companies dear. The profits of the " Gentlemen Adventurers "
had fallen to a meagre £2000 a year* Colin Robertson's first
expedition to Athabasca cost them £20,000 total loss. The
North-West Company's trade had been severely reduced*
Moreover, all right-thinking Canadians felt themselves disgraced
by the fighting, bloodshed and general lawlessness practised
by the traders; the British Government could not any longer
stand by and see it go on unchecked* A deed was drawn up by
which the two Companies agreed to carry on the fur trade
throughout the west as one Company as from the first day of
June, 1821. The two Companies were to provide equal amounts
of capital and to share profits and losses evenly* The united
vii—h 113
 traders were to do business under the ancient name of "The
Hudson's Bay Company."
The new Hudson's Bay Company retained the solid qualities
of the old; fair dealing and sound goods to the Indians. It
gained the splendid vision, the spirit of daring enterprise which
had always marked the young Company. The combined capital
and man power soon brought about an enormous extension of
trade* At old posts the rival houses were united behind one
palisade* At each place one staff of men took the place of two*
Thus many experienced traders were freed to go out to establish
new posts. Wise economy on the one hand, prudent expenditure
on the other, brought success. Within a few years the fur sales
of the Company increased from £2000 to £68,000 yearly.
Nicholas Garry, being the only unmarried member of the
London committee, was appointed to go out to Canada to set
up the new machine. In order that peace might prevail, the hotter
partisans of both sides must be stationed at a distance from
one another. Garry crossed to Montreal and went up by the
Ottawa to Fort William. There the partners signed the deed
of union and Garry allotted the men to their posts. Colin
Robertson complained that all the best places were given to
North-West men, but he himself got Norway House, soon to
become the Canadian headquarters of the Company* In general
the men, even if somewhat dissatisfied, were loyal to the union,
and those who had long been bitter rivals now became staunch
friends*
Having finished his business at Fort William, Garry went
on to Red River, stopping at the principal trading-posts on the
way. At each post he met the Indians in council. Simon McGillvray, representing the North-West Company, explained the
union and urged all to serve the new Company faithfully.
At Red River the feeling between Fort Douglas and Fort
Gibraltar was so bitter that Garry wisely decided to abandon
both. A new trading-post, Fort Garry, was built near the forks
of the Assiniboine and the Red. Where now the great city of
Winnipeg spreads her broad avenues and beautiful parks, stood
in those days only a handful of houses. The settlement was
ten years old and numbered about four hundred people, among
114
 them a hundred and fifty-four women. West of the river lived
the settlers who had come from Scotland; east of it the Swiss
soldiers whom the Silver Chief had brought out to protect his
people* About the fort gathered the elderly fur traders who
found Red River a convenient place to which to retire, a place
where they could live comfortably and yet keep in touch with
the trade which had been their life.
Fort Garry soon became a thriving village, but it was the
only one. The union of the two Companies closed the west to
settlement for years* The fur trade forbade farming, and the
new organisation was strong enough both in Britain and in
Canada to hold its territory inviolate for nearly half a century.
GOVERNOR SIMPSON
The union of the two Companies accomplished, the next problem
was to find a Governor with sufficient tact and force to weld
them into one. George Simpson was the man chosen. He was
young, without family or fortune, and with his way in the world
yet to make. He had been for a year at the Hudson's Bay House
in Athabasca, but he had not been long enough in Canada to
have acquired any personal prejudices against the men of the
North-West Company. He came from England, which satisfied
the Hudson's Bay Company officials; he was born a Scot, which
pleased the Nor'-Westers. Altogether it was a lucky appointment. Governor Simpson ruled the great fur company successfully for forty years.
He was rather a short man and sturdily built. He had the
round head and full forehead which suggest strength both of
intellect and will; his keen eyes shone with eager energy; his
smiling mouth curved with universal good-fellowship* Quick
to see a point, clever in business, genial, patient, the Company
might have searched the Empire and scarcely found a man more
suitable for their purpose*
To begin with, Simpson's experience in the fur trade was
very limited, but he was anxious to learn and never ashamed
to ask* He called his council together at Norway House: twenty-
115
 five chief factors and twenty-eight chief traders, half and
half from each Company* Guided by their experience, which
was rich indeed, the new Governor moved forward with the
work of consolidation and reform; within a year he had the
great Company running smoothly*
If the young Governor was careful to be patient in dealing
with his officers, he was apt to be very impatient of time and
space* The miles of river, prairie, and mountain which separated
one part of his kingdom from another, seemed always to tease
him* He loved to rush from one post to another in record-
breaking time, surprising his factors by arriving days before
they expected him* He continually urged his voyageurs to paddle
yet faster, his guides to make the day's trip one hour longer*
Once, crossing the Lake of the Woods, he kept urging haste
upon his voyageur, a canoe-man famous for his 'speed, until
the big French-Canadian became annoyed* Reaching out a
huge hand, Francois caught the little Governor by the collar
and calmly dipped him in the lake*
-:-
WINTER HARBOUR
In i 819 the British Government equipped an expedition to
attempt the discovery of the north-west passage into the
Pacific Ocean, the command being given to Edward Parry*
Two ships, the Hecla and the Griper, manned by ninety-four
men and provisioned for two years, were provided, and the
expedition left England early in May 1820* Crossing the Atlantic,
Parry ascended Davis Strait into Baffin Bay, and pushed westward through Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait* They worked
their way west to Melville Island, where they decided to winter*
Having chosen "Winter Harbour" as their base, they found
it covered with a five-inch sheet of ice, through which they had
to cut a canal two miles long in order to get the ships to their
anchorage*
"As soon as our people had breakfasted," writes Captain
Parry, "I proceeded with a small party of men to sound and
mark upon the ice the most direct channel we could find to the
116
 anchorage, having left directions for every other officer and
man in both ships to be employed in cutting the canal* This
operation was performed by first marking out two parallel
lines, distant from each other a little more than the breadth
of the larger ship* Along each of these lines a cut was then made
with an ice-saw, and others again at right angles to them at
intervals of from ten to twenty feet; thus dividing the ice into
a number of rectangular pieces, which it was again necessary
to subdivide diagonally in order to give room for their being
floated out of the canal* To facilitate.the latter process the seamen, who are always fond of doing things in their own way,
took advantage of a fresh northerly breeze by setting some boat-
sails upon the pieces of ice, a contrivance which saved both
time and labour* At half-past seven we weighed our anchors
and began to warp up the canal*
"All hands were again set to work on the morning of the
25th, when it was proposed to sink the pieces of ice, as they
were cut, under the floe instead of floating them out* To effect
this it was necessary for a certain number of men to stand upon
one end of the piece of ice which it was intended to sink, while
other parties hauling at the same time upon ropes attached to
the opposite end, dragged the block under that part of the floe
on which the people stood* The officers of both ships took the
lead in this employ, several of them standing up to their knees
in water frequently during the day with the thermometer
generally at 12, and never higher than 16* At six p*m* we began
to move the ships* The Griper was made fast astern of the
Hecla, and the two ships* companies being divided on each
bank of the canal, with ropes from the Hecla1's gangways, soon
drew the ships along to the end of our second day's work*"
Soon after noon on the third day they completed their canal
which was two and a third miles long, and tracked the ships
safely up to their winter quarters* The upper parts of the ships
were now dismantled, a framework erected, and the decks,
roofed with cloth* A heating and ventilating system was devised
to keep the bed-places dry and warm* The men were inspected
morning and evening for cleanliness, and once a week the doctor
examined them for signs of scurvy* With Lieutenant Beechey
 as stage manager a number of plays were prepared and acted;
Captain Sabine edited a weekly paper; the men hunted and
trapped; in such cheerful ways they passed the ninety-six days
in which the sun did not appear above the horizon*
As the thermometer descended, the frost burst the bottles
containing the lemon juice, much of which was lost* In spite
of every care, steam would condense upon the beams and dampness invade the bed-places* The little house which they had
built upon shore was burned and had tp be rebuilt, severe frostbites disabling many of the men as they worked* In spite of
all accidents, however, the wise care of Commander Parry and
the vigilance of his officers brought the men through the winter
with the loss of only one life*
Late in May 1821 they cut their way out of Winter Harbour
and made sail westward* Melville Island was explored, Banks
Island discovered* The expedition reached 113 of longitude,
the farthest west yet reached in these seas* Stopped by a floe
from forty to fifty feet thick, they tried to push out toward the
south, but without success* In August the officers decided that
it would be wise to return, which they did, surveying the shore
of Barrow Strait as they went and reaching England safely
in October.
Valentine, Wxnnipeg
WINTER FOOTGEAR OF THE TRAPPER
Il8
 COMPANY CUSTOMS
After the union of 1821 Governor Simpson soon reduced the
affairs of the two Companies to an orderly system. He chose the
good features of both Companies and welded them together.
During the long years of his power the great corporation worked
as smoothly as a well-oiled motor.
Norway House, on Lake Winnipeg, was the capital of this
fur-producing empire of Western Canada. It was Simpson's
headquarters, though the energetic little Governor spent a
great deal of his time on the road, supervising business, reprimanding, commending, inspiring his officers; inspecting posts
from Labrador to Vancouver Island; from Fort William to
Great Slave Lake; travelling always as swiftly as possible.
At Norway House, once every year, Simpson called together
his council of Chief Factors. Under their advice he made plans
for the business of the coming year, listened to complaints,
considered requests, judged cases of wrongdoing, made
appointments and promotions, and drew up a series of resolutions embodying all, copies of which were sent out to the
heads of each district.
The vast stretches of Western Canada were divided into
three great departments: the southern, most of which is now
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta; the northern, the Hudson's Bay and Mackenzie River regions; the western, beyond the
Rocky Mountains* Each department had one or more important
depots where goods and provisions were collected, stored and
distributed. Each department had also a number of important
trading-posts* Such posts were in charge of a chief factor*
The chief factorship of an important post was the highest
position to which a servant of the Company could attain* The
chief factor was lord of all he surveyed and much more beside;
119
 his word was law, his person sacred* He wore every day "a
suit of black or dark blue, white shirt, collar to his ears, frock-
coat, velvet stock and straps to the bottom of his trousers*
When he went out of doors he wore a black beaver hat worth
forty shillings* When travelling in a canoe or boat he was lifted
in and out of the craft by the crew; he still wore the beaver hat,
but it was protected by an oiled silk cover* Over his black frock-
coat he wore a long cloak made of royal Stuart tartan (scarlet
plaid) lined with scarlet or dark blue bath coating.
"He carried with him an ornamental bag called a * fire-bag,'
which contained his tobacco, steel and flint, tinder-box and
brimstone matches. In camp his tent was pitched apart from the
shelter given the crew* He had a separate fire and the first work
of the boat's crew after landing was to pitch his tent, clear his
camp and collect firewood sufficient for the night before they
were allowed to attend to their own wants. Salutes were fired
on his departure from the fort and on his return. All this
ceremony had a good effect upon the Indians, added to his
dignity in the eyes of his subordinates, but sometimes spoiled
the factor."
The next officer in rank was the chief trader. Chief traders
had charge of all the lesser posts. Like the chief factor they
received no salary, but the commissions by which they were
appointed, assigned to each one share of the Company's yearly
profit—the chief factors had two shares each. A share in the
old days averaged about sixteen hundred dollars—a good
annual income for those times. Under such a system the chief
factors and chief traders, naturally, did everything in their
power to increase the Company's profits. After five years'
service a chief factor or chief trader could, if he wished, take
his turn of withdrawing from the Company. After doing so he
received his full share of profits for one year, and a half-share
for six years longer*
Under the chief trader were the clerks, young men of
some education, who entered the service under contract for
five years* They received twenty pounds a year to begin with
and rose to fifty pounds* The clerks kept the Company's books
and, aided by an interpreter, did the actual trading with the
120
 Indians. If they gave satisfaction and showed aptitude for the
work, they became chief traders after a few years. Lower than
the clerks were the postmasters, men who had too little education ever to become traders, but who, having business sense
and honourable characters, became assistants to the traders.
Sometimes a postmaster was placed in charge of a minor post.
They received from thirty to sixty pounds a year.
Most of the actual work of the Company was done by the
engages* These were interpreters, mechanics, guides, steersmen, bowmen, fishermen, middlemen or common boatmen
and apprentices. Each engage worked always at his own task;
he did not expect to be promoted to any higher position. Their
wages ranged from fifteen to thirty-five pounds a year according
to the value of their work and the length of time they had
served the Company. They lived in quarters separated from
the officers and clerks. Every Saturday afternoon they received
their rations for the week. Their fare was often poor enough;
but the work, though dangerous, was relieved by long terms
when they did nothing at the Company's expense.
The Hudson's Bay Company
THE  GOVERNOR  OF RED RIVER IN A LIGHT CANOE
 FORT VANCOUVER
After the union, Dr* McLoughlin was appointed chief
factor*in Oregon, a department
of the fur countfy which then
extended northward to New
Caledonia and south toward
California* Dr* McLoughlin
was one of the two Nor'-
Westers whom Colin Robertson met on the ship going to
London to urge union* He
was a big man, six feet three,
and still young, though his
long hair was white as snow
—" White Eagle " the Indians
called him* Like many very
large men, McLoughlin was a
gentle, kindly person* He sent
each man of his brigades away with a hand-shake and a " God
bless you"; when they had gone he turned into his house to
pray for their safety* It is said that in all his years as commander he never refused help to anyone in need.
At the beginning of the war in 1812, as you remember, the
Nor'-Westers took over Astoria, the American fur post at
the mouth of the Columbia. When the war was over and peace
made, Britain gave back the post, though not the district; that
remained in dispute for many years. As there were no Americans
there to take possession of the fort, the Canadians stayed on
until 1824-5, when Dr. McLoughlin came out to take charge.
Astoria was on the coast, a place much visited by passing ships,
122
The Hudson's Bay Company
DR. JOHN MCLOUGHLIN
 H
a place where rum flowed freely and fights were much too
common. Governor Simpson and Dr. McLoughlin decided
to move the Hudson's Bay post farther up the river.
Some ninety miles up the Columbia opposite the mouth
of the Willamette they built Fort Vancouver. It sat on the
north shore, at a point where the Columbia makes a splendid
sweep round to receive the Willamette flowing down through
its lovely meadows* The walls were double rows of "spruce
slabs half a foot thick, twenty feet high and sharp at both ends."
Cannon poked their ugly black noses through the palisades, and
at the north-west corner stood a bastion, its lower story a powder-
magazine, its upper, a look-out* The gates were of rough-hewn
beams and had huge brass hinges, upon which they swung open
toward the river. Near the main gate was the wicket in the wall
through which, as at all trading-posts, the Indians passed in
their furs and received in exchange the goods they needed.
In the centre of the great court stood the chief factor's house,
a fine two-story timbered building. In neat rows on either side
stood the stores, the warehouses, the fur presses, bachelor hall,
and the cabins where the married trappers lived. The houses
were separated from one another by squares of trimly-cut lawn,
each with whitewashed stones at the corners, and a symmetrical
pile of cannon balls in the middle.
From Fort Vancouver, his capital, Dr. McLoughlin ruled
his wide, partly-explored kingdom. Farther east at the first
bend of the Columbia stood Walla Walla post, where trader
Panbrum did business with the Walla Walla Indians. Trader
Ross held the second bend of the river at Fort Okanagan*
Northward, where the Columbia turns into the Arrow Lakes,
Macdonell was in charge of Fort Colville; and southward,
John Clarke, Colin Robertson's assistant, now ruled Spokane
House. For the rest of the country, it was almost unknown, no
man's land, every man's land, waiting for those who should
possess it.
Out from the brass-bound gates of Fort Vancouver came #
the men who led the brigades into the wilderness south and
east and north. McLeod traded along the coast as far as California; Peter Ogden scoured the mountains south and east,
123
 f
and following the Snake, led his men to the deserts of Nevada;
Trader Ross crossed the Rockies and hunted the buffalo on the
great plains in the teeth of the warrior tribes—the Blackfeet,
the Piegan and the Crow. By such leaders and their men, feet
bleeding from the mountain trails, choked by desert dust, skin
and. bone from starvation—by such men that country was
explored*
THE COLUMBIA
Young Bruno found it long ago;
A leaky ship, a starveling crew,
From leaning mast his banner blew,
But northward still the Spaniard flew.
The Saxon sought it high and low;
A painted ship, a watchful crew,
And flying now red, white, and blue,
Northward raced the Saxon too.
The river flowed so quietly;
A fog came down both thick and dark,
Vancouver overshot the mark,
Gray found; ah, hark the cheering, hark!
The river still flows quietly;
Magnificently strong and wide,
The towering mountains' lofty pride
It marries with the ocean's tide.
124
 IN THE ROCKIES
Canadian Pacific Railway
THE BEAVER HUNT
In the autumn of 1825 Peter Ogden was ordered out to hunt
the beaver. He determined to follow the River of the Falls
Southward from the Columbia to the beaver swamps; then to
circle round to the head-waters of the Snake and return to the
Columbia down that river* The mountain brigades travelled
on horseback instead of by canoe, so the rendezvous was
appointed at Walla Walla, where horses were to be bought
from the Cayuse Indians, and the factor had a good stock of
pemmican which he bought from the Flathead buffalo hunters.
The brigade was made up of twenty white men, fifty or sixty
half-breed trappers, as many women, a few children and three
horses for each rider* Tom McKay, son of Alexander Mackenzie's lieutenant, and one of the best shots in the country,
125
 r
was Ogden's first assistant; he would lead the hunters. Gervaise,
Pierre and Payette, famous Iroquois trappers from the St.
Lawrence, would supervise the trapping. The brigade left
Walla Walla on November 20; Ogden set out the following
morning and caught up with his people before night.
They followed the Columbia south-west. The road was hilly
and the horses wild. Bands of Indians circled about them,
waiting for night that they might steal the white man's beaver
traps and ride off with his horses. On December 3 they left the
Columbia and turned south up the River of the Falls. They
found themselves in a beautiful country of green meadows and
spreading oak trees. Then, as they began to climb into the
mountains, it became colder; the road was of cut-rocks and lamed
the horses badly. They descended into a plain on the other side
of the divide and turned eastward. Deer were plentiful, but
their horses were so weary they could not hunt. They passed
three boiling fountains of sulphur. The horses went saddle-
deep in mire.
Ogden now began to cross the Blue Mountains, seeking
for the head-waters of the Snake. Each night a hundred and
sixty beaver traps were set out; in the morning, if they had
between thirty and sixty beaver, they thought it a good night's
work. In mid-winter the beaver seemed suddenly to disappear.
The men worked like Trojans trenching the rivers above and
below the beaver dams, but the beaver houses were empty*
Often in the morning it was found that the trap had been sprung
and the game stolen* In spite of cold and wet the men began
sleeping in the swamps beside their traps. On the last day of
the old year they took only one beaver; on New Year's Day
only four.
Food also was very scarce. Each day Tom McKay with his
band of hunters scoured the cut-rocks; night after night he and
his men came into camp tired, hungry and empty-handed. On
Christmas Day they had only*twenty pounds of food on hand*
One trapper who had been three days without food, killed his
horse. The horses lacking grass could hardly move; many of
them lay helpless on the plain. McKay and his men went to
the hills, but returned without having seen a single track. Two.
126
 horses were killed and eaten. Wolves and ravens began to
follow the camp.
Towards the end of January they began crossing the last
range of mountains. The snow was six feet deep in the first pass,
and they were forced to seek another* For ten days they lived
on one meal in two days* All the gay trinkets brought out in
the beginning had long ago been cast aside. Day after day the
men worked doggedly, seeking food and beaver; night after
night they slept unprotected on the frozen ground; yet Ogden
heard not one complaint from them. On February 2 they left
the river up whose banks they had been toiling, and started
down one which flowed north-east. They had crossed the divide.
The tired bronchos sniffed, pricked their ears forward and
galloped joyously into the valley of the Snake. During February
they had taken two hundred and seventy-four beaver; they
might have had three thousand had the weather been mild.
Deer were now plentiful; hardly more than skin and bone
they were, and yet delicious to the starving brigade. On
March 13, Tom and his men came in with a dozen elk; the
whole camp sat up all night to eat. Snake warriors passed them
on their way to trade buffalo-meat and steal horses in the Spanish
settlements. They met a band of Blackfeet from the Saskatchewan planning to attack the Snakes. By the end of March they
had only a thousand beaver, though Ogden had set his heart
on taking three thousand back to Fort Vancouver.
Early in April they heard that a party of Americans were
hunting near. Poor Ogden almost despaired. " If this be true,"
he wrote in his journal," our hunts are damned. We may prepare
to go home empty-handed." The year before, while hunting
in this region, Ogden had been met by a party of Americans
from St. Louis, who took from him all his furs and persuaded
twenty-eight of his men to desert. It is said that the Americans
put laudanum in the whiskey of Ogden's men, but Ogden's
journal of that year's trip is lost and no one knows what
really happened.
On April 9 the two parties stumbled upon one another;
it is difficult to say which was the more surprised; probably
the Americans, who had the year before warned Ogden to keep
127
 out of that country. The next day the Americans came to visit
the Canadians. This meeting remains almost as deeply shrouded
in mystery as that of the year before. What means Ogden used
to make the Americans repay he never revealed. They did
repay, however, and Ogden set out for Fort Vancouver with
nearly ten thousand skins in his packs*
The Blackfeet set the plains on fire to destroy them, but
they escaped. On the night of May 6 it snowed and the trappers,
who had been without shoes, blankets or shelter of any kind
for six months, were again almost frozen. Their path across the
Snake River plains was marked with blood from the horses'
feet cut by the sharp stones. But hard times as well as happy
ones have an end. Through the golden weather of late June,
over meadows carpeted with flowers, Ogden and his gallant
band marched home to Fort Vancouver.
THE STANDARD OF TRADE
Trade with the Indians was carried on by means of a standard
valuation, sometimes called a "castor." There was very little
money in the country except in Red River. When the Indian
brought his bundle of furs to the post, the trader separated
them into different lots and valued them according to the
standard. If they were worth fifty castors he gave the Indian
fifty little pieces of wood, which the latter returned in payment
for the goods which he wanted* The Indians made from fifty
to two hundred castors in a winter*
128
   THE NEW ROUTE
The North-West Company had long brought goods in and
taken furs out of New Caledonia, painfully, by the Rocky
Mountain Portage and McLeod Lake. Simon Fraser's trip had
proved the Lower Fraser impracticable as a business route to
the sea* His lieutenant, John Stuart, then explored seeking
water connection between the Fraser and the Columbia, but
found none* Stuart suggested, however, that the New Caledonia
outfits might be brought in by pack-horse from the Columbia
via Okanagan and Kamloops*
This route madev it necessary that the Company should
have a warehouse post as low down upon the Fraser as possible;
so, in 1821, they built Fort Alexandria at the point upon the
river where Sir Alexander Mackenzie turned back* The new
post soon became an important one, the gathering-place for all
the northern furs, the terminus of the pack-train road from the
south, and a granary in a small way, for a little wheat was presently
grown to supply the tables of chief factors and other important
officials with a treat of white bread now and then*
When Dr. McLoughlin took charge of the fur department
west of the mountains, he at once agreed that to carry goods and
furs by canoe across the prairies and the Rockies was a waste
of time and money; they could be transported much more
cheaply by ships round the world from London to the mouth
of the Columbia. The Company, therefore, provided a ship,
the Cadboro, which from 1827 made a yearly voyage between
London and Fort Vancouver; and the latter post became the
capital of the Pacific department.
Brigades now regularly left Fort Vancouver carrying supplies
for Fort St. James and the other northern posts. Chief Factor
vn—1 129
 f
McLoughlin, his long white hair blowing in the wind, came
down to the wharf to shake hands with and bless them* The
cargoes were stowed; the bustle of preparation stilled* Husbands
and fathers kissed and comforted their dusky wives and children,
for it was dangerous country that toward which they steered*
Young fellows chaffed the pretty squaws, making them gifts
of ribbon or beads* Gay voyageurs in purple or yellow shirts
drew scarlet sashes tighter and placed silver-trimmed pipes
at hand* Steersmen fingered the paddle blades upon which the
lives of all might hang* Brigade leaders fumed over this
delay and that*
At last everything is ready; the men take their places* The
great canoes, carrying fifty or sixty men each, range themselves
in order on the river; the Pilot, flying the H* B* C* flag, paddles
up to the head of the line* No lurching or luffing or awkward
turning here; these men are experts; their fingers close upon
the paddle as do those of an artist on his brush* Each man
knows to an ounce, to the fraction of an inch, the weight and
sweep required; he has learned it looking death in the eyes. A
long stroke, a short one, a steersman holding, a bowman letting
go—and the brigade is ready. At the word the paddles fall and
the long lithe craft shoots through the water. The steersman
gives the note and out breaks the gay chanson* Fainter it grows
and fainter, fainter still till only an echo floats down the river
to the watchers on the shore*
At Okanagan the goods are disembarked and loaded upon
the horses of the pack-train* The brigade leader has the men
up at five o'clock* The loose horses are caught and fed, packs
are arranged and tied firmly on unwilling backs* Breakfast is
hurried through; yet, in spite of haste, it is ten o'clock before the
long line trots out of camp. The road winds between high walls
of rock, it fidgets along the side of furious mountain streams,
edges narrowly by bottomless abysses. The sun pours down,
the dust rises in clouds, the mosquitoes torture the unfortunate
-men. Still the pack-train plods forward, the little bells of the
lead-horses tinkling coolly through the heat. The chief trader
rides near the head of the train, his fine beaver hat is in its oiled
silk cover and slung by his saddle-bow; his white shirt and ruffles
130
 are sadly soiled by dust and perspiration. No nooning is allowed*
The hunters watch sharply for a shot at game; the others ride
steadily head down, trying to forget the discomfort in a drowse*
So till five, when the shouted
order comes down the line and    t? ^ &A
everyone rounds into camp.
Kamloops was the halfway house between Okanagan
and Alexandria. The men dismount with shouts, for here
they have several days' rest.
They will sleep in beds, taste
fresh food, and get the saddle-
cramp out of their legs. Half
the traders stay at Kamloops
to take back the furs which
the upper posts will send
down. The others, after their
brief holiday, load fresh horses
and carry the goods on to
Fort Alexandria. From there
they will go by canoe to Fort
George, Fort St. James and
the other northern posts*
The pack-train work was
very hard upon the horses.
Two or three hundred were
yearly bred at Kamloops for
the service. Perhaps the men
did not take very wise care of
them. Certainly they died very quickly. The men constantly
complained of them, and the officers as constantly rebuked
their juniors for carelessness* One chief factor complains that
no less than sixty-three horses had been sent into New Caledonia in one year* The men must, he thought, both overload
and neglect them*
M. J. Hilton, Edmonton
PARLE PAS RAPIDS IN FLOOD
The Parle Pas (speak not) Rapids are so
called because they make no noise and
the voyageurs came upon them without
warning.
131
 f
I
KAMLOOPS
Kamloops was the trading-post of the Shushwaps. It became
the resting-place of the brigades bound north from Fort Vancouver. At Kamloops the mountains draw back from the trail;
the post was built on a pleasant meadow from which the rolling
prairies rise to the wooded hills* It was paradise for the tired
riders from the south, their eyes dull with staring at the towering
walls of the mountain defiles* The Sluishwaps were a warlike
tribe and the fort was well palisaded* "■
Soon after the union Samuel Black came to Kamloops as
chief factor* He was a strong man, a skilful trader, firm yet
kindly in dealing with the Indians* He and Tranquille, the
Shushwap chief, soon became good friends* One day, however,
they quarrelled over a gun left at the Company's store* In the
end Black pacified the chief and the two parted friends.
Tranquille went home to his lodge and very soon afterv/ards
fell sick of a fever. He died and his wife blamed Black, saying
that the white chief had cast the evil eye over her husband.
Yet she accepted the coffin Chief Factor Black sent, and Tranquille was buried after the fashion of the white man*
In the lodge with the widow lived the dead chief's nephew,
a young man whom the widow now stirred up to kill Black*
At first the lad refused, but he was full of sorrow for the loss of
his uncle, and he did not like to be called a coward* Presently he
arose, blackened his face, took up his gun, and set off to Kamloops* Black received him kindly. He was invited into the Indian
hall, where food and tobacco were given him. He sat smoking
till nearly night. Then, as Black passed through the room, the
boy took up his gun, shot the trader in the back, and escaped*
The news spread like lightning through the country* The
Indians were as excited and regretful as the white men. John
Tod came over from Fort Alexandria to take charge at Kamloops* McLean arrived from Colville, McKinley from Okanagan, McLoughlin sent men from Fort Vancouver to help in
the hunt* All trade was stopped and, within a week, the whole
force of the great Company was concentrated to find and punish
132
 the murderer. Tod called the Shushwaps together and told
them that not one of them should suffer except the guilty man,
who must be given up. Nicola, chief of the Okanagans, made
a great speech:
"You ask for powder and baU," he said, "and the white
men refuse with a scowl* Why do the white men let your
children starve? Look there! Your friend lies dead. Are the
Shushwaps such cowards as to shoot their benefactor in the
back? Alas! Yes; you have killed your father. You must not
rest till you have brought his murderer to justice."
The murderer who had taken refuge in the mountains of
Cariboo was soon captured. Loaded with heavy irons, they
threw the lad across a horse and started back to Kamloops*
At one place they had to cross a stream in a canoe; with a jerk
the prisoner capsized the boat. Amid the crack of rifles he
floated down-stream singing his death-song till its notes were
hushed by the ball which found his heart.
Elizabeth Bailey Price
LAKE WINDERMERE
133
 f
JAMES DOUGLAS
James Douglas came as clerk
to Fort St. James while
William Connolly was chief
factor there. For a time he had
charge of the fish hatchery
at Small Lake, which
supplied the fort with food.
They used nets of thread,
willow and twine, taking
sometimes many, sometimes
hardly enough to feed themselves. They bought salmon
from the Indians also, and
carried all to the fort on dog
sledges.
Young' Douglas had not
been long at the fort when
he fell in love with pretty
Nelly Connolly, the chief factor's daughter. It was looking high
for a clerk; most of the men had to be content with Indian
wives; but Douglas was of good family, hard-working and
determined* He won her and they were married* During the
summer of 1828 Chief Factor Connolly went down to Fort
Alexandria to bring up the outfit, and left his son-in-law in
charge of Fort St. James.
Several years before, two young Indians had killed two of
the Hudson's Bay Company servants* One of the murderers
had been caught and punished; the other had escaped* Now it
chanced that, while the chief factor was absent, the fugitive
returned to visit his friends at Stuart Lake. He found all the
braves away and took refuge in the hut of a sick squaw.
134
The Hudson's Bay Company
SIR JAMES DOUGLAS
 Hearing of his presence Douglas collected a few of the fort
men and, armed with hoes and rakes, went to seize the culprit.
Instead of running away, the stupid fellow hid under a pile of
skins, from whence he was quickly drawn. He was at once shot
and the stern young judge announced, "The man he killed was
eaten by dogs; by the dogs he must be eaten." The poor body
was thrown out to the beasts. Such deeds were, it was thought
in those days, necessary to keep the Indians in proper respect
for the Company.
This particular act made the tribe very angry* Chief 'Kwah
was especially indignant, because the young man was a distant
relative of his* It was decided that young Douglas should be
taught a lesson* With a large band behind him 'Kwah pressed
into Connolly's house and began to reproach Douglas for his
cruelty. The young man seized a little cannon, which he had.
had brought in from the wall, but 'Kwah caught his hand and
went on with his speech* When the servants tried to reach
Douglas, they were prevented by the Indians. The commotion
grew* 'Kwah's nephew held a dagger over the white man's
heart, shouting, " Shall I strike ? Shall I strike ?"
At this moment Douglas's young wife and a girl friend who
was with her rushed out screaming and begging 'Kwah to save
Douglas. Running upstairs they threw down a shower of
tobacco, handkerchiefs, ribbons, beads, laces, scarves—whatever
they could lay their hands upon quickly. The Indians began
scrambling for the gifts and for the moment forgot their prisoner.
'Kwah, who had never intended to allow Douglas to be killed,
now ordered his men to their tents. The white folk were glad
to shut their doors that afternoon.
Soon after this Governor Simpson arrived on a tour of inspection. Preceded by the flag and a band of buglers and bagpipers, and supported by Dr. Hambly, Chief Factor McDonald,
and twenty men with packs, he approached the fort* Two hours
later Connolly returned, also in state* All this pomp impressed
the Indians; they consented to confer with the Governor*
Gifts passed, and peace was made* Nevertheless Douglas's
life was again threatened, and the next year he was transferred
to the Columbia.
i35
 Grant, Calgary
FORT GARRY
RED RIVER GROWS
The union of the fur companies brought many new settlers
to Red River* As it was much shorter and therefore cheaper to
send the furs out by Hudson's Bay, Norway House and York
Factory replaced Fort William and Montreal in the trade*
On the broad waters of the north, boats could be used for
transporting goods; more and more they took the place of the
birch-bark canoe* The voyageurs were thrown out of work;
some turned to hunting, others became cart freighters, many
of them settled in Red River.
The Selkirk colonists had been getting on nicely for some
years until 1826 brought disaster. A plague of mice appeared
in the autumn of 1825. The winter of 1826 was very severe. A
terrible blizzard drove the buffalo far out on the plains, and
killed the horses of the hunters, many of whom lost their own
lives. In the spring came floods* The river, still choked with
ice, overflowed its banks and spread rapidly over the country.
The Company got out all the boats and rescued the people from
their flooded houses. The cattle had been driven off to the
hills, and the farmers were preparing to save their grain and
furniture when the ice gave way. Then the flood carried houses,
136
 barns, everything before it. Only one life was lost, but many
people were ruined.
After this catastrophe the colony bravely began again. The
Swiss soldiers and the other less solid citizens moved to the
United States, leaving Red River the better for their absence.
The crops turned out splendidly that summer. Both summer
and autumn hunts were successful* Fish were plentiful in river
and lake* The dogged Scottish colonists built new homes; at
long last Fortune turned her face toward Red River.
Lord Selkirk had long ago sent out a windmill, but for some
years no one was found who knew how to set it up and run it.
At last a millwright arrived and, in 1825, the mill wheels began
to turn; soon there were a dozen mills in the settlement. Mr.
Cuthbert Grant tried a water-mill, but it worked badly. The
Company introduced paper money, which made it much easier
for the people to do business. To help the settlers, Governor
Simpson ordered all possible Company supplies to be bought
from the Red River people; but the flour and butter brought
in were of so poor a quality that he had to give that up* He then
tried to establish an experimental* farm to show the people
how to make flour and butter, but the farm failed, though the
Company spent a great deal of money on it*
Red River grew slowly but steadily* By i860 there were
between twelve and thirteen thousand people in the settlement,
about half of whom were French half-breeds, called Metis*
Most of the Metis were hunters, trappers or freighters* Company goods were now commonly transported across the plains
by ox-cart brigades. A brigade might include several hundred
carts, one freighter being in charge of three carts. Sixteen to
eighteen shillings per hundred pounds was paid for freighting.
Some fifteen hundred carts creaked back and forth between
Red River and St. Paul; five hundred more to the Saskatchewan;
between six and seven hundred men were employed as freighters.
Another large group of Metis were hunters. Summer and
autumn they rode out to hunt the btiffalo; reckless, daring fellows
who risked tjieir lives hourly among the herds, and the tribes
of hostile Indians. To hunters and freighters the Company
advanced, during the winter, the supplies they needed. Almost
137
 i !
unlimited credit was allowed them, and they were apt to burden
themselves with large debts. If the summer proved successful,
they worked off their liability; if the season were poor, they sank
the deeper into debt. Few of them laid by any provision for
old age.
The Scottish and English half of the Red River settlement
were, most of them, farmers. They cropped the front fields of
their narrow farms along the river and pastured great herds of
cattle on the rich prairies behind. Just before harvest, men,
women and children went hay-cutting* Each farmer rode about
over the prairie till he came to a hay meadow that pleased him*
He cut about it in a great circle* All the grass within the circle
now belonged to him; no one else would touch it* Then all the
land was cheerful with the shrill song of the mowing-machine
and the scythe* Each family pitched its tent on the field* The
women and children spread, turned, coiled and stacked the
'fragrant grass* No one went home till haying was over*
Then came harvest* A long line of wheat-fields lay beside
the river, the rich soil sending up, year after year, masses of
rustling gold* The vista of neat houses and good barns promised
that the canny Saxon settlers would not know poverty in old
age. They were a friendly, sociable people. Summer was a
busy season but, in winter, everyone visited everyone else. The
long drive was followed by dinner at a table loaded with good
things. In the evenings old folks read or gossiped by the hearth,
while the young folk sang or danced.
In 1853 a monthly mail service was arranged between Fort
Garry and Fort Ripley in the United States. Six years later a
newspaper, the Nor*-Wester, began to be published once a
fortnight. It would have been hard to find, anywhere, a happier
or more comfortable people than those of Red River.
Yet the community had its difficulties. The Hudson's Bay
Company loyally helped the colony but would not allow anyone
to trade in furs without the Company's permission. Constables
were employed who searched suspected houses, and carried off
to prison men whom they believed to be fur traders. Wherever
furs were found they were seized. For a long time, too, people
had  to  sell  all  their  produce   and  buy  all  their  supplies
138
 from the Company; there was no other market. Then private
merchants began to bring in goods and set up little stores*
At first the Company helped these merchants, giving them
credit; but when they began to oppress the people, the Company
undersold and soon crowded them out. This antagonised the
merchants* There were now so many half-breed hunters on
the plains that the Company could not buy all the meat brought
in; this angered the hunters. The Company became unpopular
in many quarters*
In 1834 Lord Selkirk's heirs for a sum of money made over
the colony to the Hudson's Bay Company, which at once arranged
for it a system of government* Several influential men were
chosen to act as councillors and, sitting with the Governor, were
given power to make laws for the colony* A court of justice
was organised and, in 1839, Mr. Thorn, a lawyer, was sent out
as head of the court. All this, though intended for the good of
the colony, only made further trouble. The people did not
always like the councillors chosen, nor always approve of the
laws they made. The Metis said that Mr* Thorn was a Company
man who could not speak French* They could not, they said,
expect justice from him* Thus, even while they prospered,
the people of Red River felt they had cause for dissatisfaction.
The Company's refusal to let private persons trade in furs
was the root of most of the trouble. The buffalo hunters traded
a good many furs which they sold in the United States* After
Mr* Thorn came, three Metis were seized for this, which set
the half-breed population buzzing like a hornets' nest*
Next, the Governor ordered that all business men who wished
to send letters to their agents in England by the Company's
ship must send them open, so that he might see that they were
not fur trading in secret* This was going too far and foreshadowed
the defeat of the Company*
At last, in the spring of 1849, William Sayers, a French half-
breed, was brought to public trial for illicit trading in furs. It
was the first time this had been done and, as it turned out,
Judge Thorn was most unwise in pressing the trial. The courthouse was surrounded by an excited mob. The trial was a farce;
Sayers admitted that he had traded in furs and was pronounced
139
 guilty. Then the prisoner said he had permission from a Company officer to trade in furs, and he was released. The mob went
away laughing and cheering. The great Company had been
defeated. They could forbid people to trade, but they could
not enforce obedience. In general, matters went on peaceably
enough, but the law was often abused because the Company
government had not power to enforce it*
THE GOVERNOR'S WEDDING
1
In the spring of 1830 all Rupert's Land was agog with excitement; Governor Simpson was about to be married* The bride-
elect was a pretty, gentle, rather delicate girl, a sister of Chief
Factor Finlayson's wife* The lively groom bubbled over with
happiness. He was busy morning, noon and night making
arrangements. He wrote dozens of letters; in one of them he
says that he is taking Leblanc, an excellent workman, from
York Factory to Fort Garry to prepare the house for his wife.
The wedding took place at Fort Garry, and was a very
grand affair. Congratulations, good wishes and gifts poured in
from all parts of the continent. The Governor took his bride
on a honeymoon trip to Norway House and York Factory.
They lived for some years afterward in Fort Garry, where
they gathered about them a very pleasant little circle of friends.
The Company's officers with their wives; Mr. and Mrs. Jones,
the clergyman and his wife; Dr. Tod and Dr. Hambly made
agreeable company* They visited one another, rode and drove,
picnicked in summer and played cards in winter, "entertained
with music," and lived upon the fat of the land. "Red River
is a perfect Canaan as far as good cheer goes," wrote the
Governor to a friend. It seemed that it had been a "fairy"
wedding, and that he and his wife were destined to live happily
ever after.
140
gUi^
 THE FIRST CHURCHES 1
Reverend Joseph Provencher and the Reverend Severe
Dumoulin were the first clergymen in the Red River settlement;
they arrived in 1818. They chose a site on the east bank of the
Red just opposite the mouth of the Assiniboine, and here they
built a church and a little mission-house, which they called
St. Boniface. The French Canadians rejoiced at the sight of
them and flocked to hear the service. Other priests and nuns
came up from Quebec to establish missions* In 1822 Provencher
was made bishop. The little church at St. Boniface became a
stately cathedral with two turrets, whose bells carried joyful
welcome to the voyageur far up and down the river. Sister
Lagrave, sitting on a chair on the scaffolding, painted the walls
and the arched ceiling. Sometimes she had another nun to help
her, but most of the sisters trembled when they saw her go
up so high*
Mr. John West was the first Protestant minister to come to
Red River. He was sent out from England by the joint interest
of the Church Missionary Society and the Hudson's Bay Company, and reached his pastorate in 1820. Mr. West settled on
the two lots which Lord Selkirk had set aside for a church and
school. There he built a little log school-house, the first in
Western Canada. For three months Mr. West was very busy
marrying people. Many couples in the settlement who had been
united by the law gladly seized the first opportunity to have
their marriages blessed by the Church also. In 1822 a little
church, the first St. John's, and a dwelling-house were built,
and Mr. West went home to bring out his wife. Something
prevented, and Mr. Jones returned in his place.
In 1825 William Cochrane, afterwards Archdeacon Cochrane, came to Red River. He was a large, strong man, and very
energetic* Middle Church, as it was called, was now built farther
1 Arranged from Women of Red River* by W* J. Healy.
141
 down the river. Then Mr. Jones took charge of St. John's and
Middle Church, while Mr. Cochrane moved ten miles farther
down the river and built St. Andrew's. To St. Andrew's came
many Indians who could not understand all that was said in
the English service, so this tireless pastor established still
another church, St* Peter's, where they might hear a sermon
in their own tongue.
Not content with holding services each Sunday in two
churches connected by ten miles of river or footpath through
the bush, Mr* Cochrane spent his vweek-days teaching the
reluctant Indians to farm* With two men, a yoke of oxen, a
plough and harrows, he went down to the Indian settlement
near St. Peter's and began work. For weeks he laboured early
and late and, by dint of much persuasion and generous gifts
of seed, he converted seven Indians into farmers. It was very
discouraging. If the weather were bad, the Indians would not
stir out of their tents; if it were fine, they were quite likely to
go fishing. That summer, 1832, an August frost injured the
potato crop and discouraged the Indian farmers* When the
barley was gathered in, four of the seven made a feast for their
neighbours and quickly ate up all they had grown* The three
wise families made their barley last all winter. Indians are not
stupid, however, and these began to see the advantages of
growing food to supply their needs when hunting and fishing
failed. In a few years nearly all the band were cultivating little
farms at Sugar Point; houses were beginning to take the place
of teepees; a school had been built, and a civilised settlement
established.
Archdeacon Cochrane was as outspoken as he was energetic,
never hesitating to speak his mind whether in the pulpit or out
of it* " One Sunday in spring, some ladies came to St. John's
with hats trimmed with bright colours* Archdeacon Cochrane
paused in his sermon to speak of those gay hats, and said that
he hoped the heads beneath them were not being visited by
thoughts about finery and vanity in the house of the Lord*"
In 1841-42 several Wesleyan Missions were established in
the west, but during all these years the Scottish settlers had no
Presbyterian church* When Lord Selkirk visited them they
142
 had asked that a minister be sent out and the Silver Chief,
generous as always, had given the two lots for a church and
school and had promised to send them a minister* But the
man who came was Mr* West, and the church established an
Anglican one* Longing sorely for the services of their own
church, the Selkirk families of Kildonan yet attended service
at St. John's for many years. In order to make the Anglican
service a little more like the Presbyterian, good Mr. Jones
preached and prayed extemporarily, and the Scottish part of the
congregation stood to pray and sat to sing as they had been
accustomed to do at home. So wise and kind were the Anglican
clergymen that they were as much beloved by the Selkirk men
of Kildonan as by their own English parishioners.
In 1851, however, the Reverend John Black, a Presbyterian
minister, .arrived in Red River, whereupon Anglicans and
Roman Catholics alike rejoiced with their Scottish neighbours.
The Company gave three hundred acres of land and a hundred
and fifty pounds in money toward the new church. A manse
and school were first built. "Through the winter of 1851-52
the Kildonan teams went backward and forward, dragging on
sledges stone from Stony Mountain, and pine from St* Peter's,
a distance of more than thirty miles* All the lumber for the
building and pews was sawed and dressed near the site of the
church; all through the summer of 1853 that work was carried
on; the sound of the axe, the chisel and the hammer was music
to Kildonan hearts* When, in 1854, the church was opened,
it and the manse were clear of debt* The two buildings had
cost more than a thousand pounds; everybody in Kildonan had
contributed either money or work, and many had given both."
The new church was heated by two carron stoves near the
door whose long stove pipes were carried one over each aisle
to the chimney at the front. "Little kettles hung from each
joint in the stove pipes to catch the sooty drip." In winter weather
it was difficult to heat the room and a third stove was set up at
the front. Before each service a pile of wood was stacked near
it, and as the fire died down an elder would step from his place
and quietly replenish it* For a long time the singing was led by
a precentor* The older folk objected to a choir and a "kist
143
 o' whustles" (organ); but presently a choir was introduced
and afterwards the "kist o' whustles" too.
Services were held in the Kildonan church morning and
afternoon. On Sunday evening each Scottish home held its own
little meeting. "After supper the dishes were carried to the
kitchen to be washed on Monday morning; on Sunday no work
was done in Kildonan that could be done beforehand on Saturday, or deferred until Monday." The family then gathered round
the table lit by a candle, or a rag in a bowl of grease, or by the
open fire, and the "Exercises" began.*
First the Shorter Catechism was laid on the table and the
father of the family began by asking the mother the first question,
"What is the chief end of man?" The mother gave the answer,
and then she put the next question to the eldest child, who
having given the answer, put the next question to the second
child; and so it continued round the family circle. Then came
the Bible lesson, the father questioning all the members of the
family closely and expounding the lesson to them. Next he
heard the children recite the texts which they had memorised.
After that the father assigned a Bible lesson for the next Sunday,
and the evening closed with prayer.
THE SNOWSTORM
Up above the air was laden,
Filled with snowflakes floating downward,
Swirling, twisting, floating, dropping;
Faster, thicker, came they (fencing
Ever downward to the prairie.
Still the snowflakes gently gathered,
As the night came, dark and dreary;
Still they floated in the darkness,
Till they rested on each other,
Stood upon each other's shoulders,
And the ones beneath were buried;
Then they snuggled down together,
Went to sleep until the springtime.
George Rotherham.
144
   MAKING CAMP IN WINTER
John McDougall
" Father and his interpreter in the meanwhile were making
camp, which was no small job. First they went to work, each
with a snowshoe as a shovel, to clear the snow away for a space
about twelve feet square down to the ground or moss; the
snow forming the walls of our camp* These walls were then
lined with pine boughs, and the bottom was floored with the
same material; then the fire was made on the side away from
the wind. This would occupy the whole length of one side;
except in the case of a snowstorm, there would be no covering
overhead. If the snow was falling thick some poles would be
stuck in the snow-bank at the back of the camp, with a covering
of canvas or blankets, which would form the temporary roof
of our camp.
"At last we were done; that is, the camp was made, the wood
was carried, the fire was blazing. Then the sleighs must be
untied, and what you wanted for that time taken from them,
and then carefully must you re-wrap and re-tie your sleigh, and
sometimes even make a staging on which to hang it to keep it
and its contents from your dogs."
145
 THE DOG CARIOLE
The dog cariole was used everywhere in the fur country as
the vehicle of winter travel. The carioles were built rather
like a huge wooden shoe with the heel raised to support th^
back, the sole cunningly rounded from the flat, and the toe
well turned up to form a sort of dashboard* When dignitaries
travelled, a man on snowshoes went before to break the path*
Another ran beside to drive* The dogs wore small blankets
and collars from which rose a little frame supporting two
bells* Well wrapped in furs and snugly tucked in, your chief
factor or chief trader had a very comfortable time of it.
Good runners travelled many miles a day with the dogs*
Father Lacombe drove his sick friend, Father Frain, from Lac
Ste* Anne to Edmonton, between sun-up and twilight of a short
winter day* His man, Alexis, one of the best runners in the
country, used frequently to drive Father Lacombe from Lac
Ste* Anne to the fort and, loading the cariole with four hundred
pounds of meat, return at once to the mission, making one
hundred miles in twenty-four hours*
146
 THE FIRST SCHOOLS
The first school in Red River was built by Mr* West at St*
John's* It was a humble building, one end of which was partitioned off as a living-room for Mr. Harbidge, the teacher who
had come out with Mr. West* The gentlemen brought one
pupil, a Cree boy, from York Factory; another Cree lad joined
them at Norway House; in all they gathered ten pupils with
whom to begin work* Many of the boys and girls of Winnipeg
were educated at St* John's parochial school.
. In 1838 Bishop Provencher established a school in which
weaving should be taught. Governor Simpson promised the
bishop that the Company would pay the salaries of two women
teachers for three years if the Roman Catholic Mission at
St. Boniface would give them board and lodging. The two
teachers came up from Canada, and the school had made a good
beginning when, in 1839, it was burned down. The machinery
for making cloth, the looms, cards, wool, cotton, tow, were
all burned* The good bishop lent his house to the teachers
and their pupils, while he himself lodged in an abandoned
shack* Five years later he brought four Grey nuns from Montreal
to establish a school for the Roman Catholic girls of the
settlement*
The children of St* Andrews went to school at Park's
Creek; John*Garrioch was the teacher there* In winter the girls
wore coats "made of two-point Hudson's Bay blankets with a
leather cord" for a belt* On their feet and legs they wore
"duffels" made of white or blue blanket-cloth* The duffels
reached up to the knee and were tied there to keep the snow
out* Moccasins were worn over the duffels* Thick woollen caps
and mittens completed the costume.
The school was heated with a carron stove and had a narrow
147
 desk along each wall. The pupils used slates and pencils. A
boy or girl who had no pencil used a lump of clay instead; if
there were little pieces of stone in the clay, which often happened,
they scratched the slate, leaving marks which could not be
rubbed off*
School began with the reading of a chapter from the Bible*
The little children had cards with the letters and some short
words printed upon them; from these they learned to read*
When a pupil could read fairly well he was promoted into the
"Testament Class," which read from the New Testament;
later he went into the "Bible Class," which read from the Old
Testament* Everyone learned by heart the names of the Kings
of Judah, the Kings of Israel, the Prophets and the Books of
the Bible* The teacher taught ciphering, too, and was very
careful to see that every pupil learned to write neatly. At
recess the children played cross-tag, wolf, and button-button.
At noon each ate the bannock he had brought for lunch and
then rushed back to his game just as you do* The afternoon
session opened with another chapter from the Bible, and school
closed with prayer*
When the boys and girls reached home there were plenty
of chores to do* Whole logs of white poplar were burned in the
big kitchen fire-places, and plenty of tugging and pushing it
took to get them up to the door, you may be sure* Then, as now,
there were cows to be milked, calves and pigs to be fed* When
supper had been eaten and cleared away, and the family prayers
had been said, the boys and girls of Red River were well ready
for bed.
The dragon fire-place spreads his jaws,
His throat is filled with gloom;
His breath is fire, his birchen tongue
Darts flame that lights the room.
 Canadian Pacific Railway
THE RED RIVER CART
THE RED RIVER CART
The famous Red River cart was made entirely of wood—pins,
axles, even the rims of the wheels. The upper part was light,
but the wheels were ponderous, awkward affairs. If any part
of the cart broke on the journey, it was mended with strips of
buffalo-hide. These were first soaked in water and then wound
tightiy round the break. As the hide dried, it contracted and
hardened, binding the break firmly and making the cart as
strong as ever.
Each cart was drawn by one ox or horse and carried from
nine to twelve hundred pounds. In crossing the prairie they
commonly travelled about twenty miles a day. When several
hundred carts travelled together they formed a train. A
train was divided into brigades of ten carts each, following one
another in single file. Each man had charge of three carts.
Extra horses were always taken with the train in case of need.
As the heavy wheels were usually ungreased, the cart brigade
could be heard long before it could be seen. " The creaking of
the wheels of the Red River cart," says Charles Mair, "is
149
 indescribable* It is like no sound you ever heard in all your
life, and makes your blood run cold*"
The carts were usually made of oak and elm* The Metis of
the White Horse Plains made many for the Hudson's Bay
Company* In its youth Portage la Prairie was also famous
for its carts*
"The settlers of Portage prided themselves on being able
to speak to their Salteaux neighbours .in their own language,
or in Cree, which evidently emanated from a parent language;
and a knowledge of either of these dialects enabled them to
converse readily with the French half-breeds as well* This
came in very usefully, for hundreds of these people annually
passed the place with their long strings of carts on their way to
the buffalo-hunt, and on their return generally rested here for
a day before continuing their journey to the White Horse Plains*
" The approach of a brigade of these carts on their return
loaded with pemmican and dried meat was often announced
by the noise they made, for on a calm evening they were usually
heard before seen* In the earlier years of their history the Red
River carts were far more musical than towards the close; for
some fifty years before the last of these famous vehicles were
relegated to our museums, an innovation was introduced in
the shape of cast-iron boxings, and a lubricating mixture of
grease and blacklead, after which the old cry of 'Gre-e-e-e-ase'
was heard only occasionally, and piano at that* Most writers
who refer to the creaking of the Red River cart frankly admit
that it is beyond their powers of description*
"By the time the settlers heard or saw the carts of the
Metis approach the swamp via the Saskatchewan trail, they
were getting pretty hungry for choice morsels of the bison,
such as tongues, bosses, and backfats, while the Metis were
even more hungry for the butter, milk and vegetables of the
settlers; so that very soon after a string of carts was halted, a
lively interchange took place of the products of the chase for
those of the farm and garden*" x
^rom First Furrows, by A. C. Garrioch.
150
 JOHN TOD
To reign at Kamloops came John Tod, chief trader for the
Honourable Company of Adventurers. Tod was a big man,
strong and plain-looking* His long thin neck rose from sloping
shoulders and supported a high narrow head* His huge fist
descending upon Indians who had incurred his wrath, knocked
them down like ninepins; yet his grey eyes flashed continual
fireworks of wit and fun, and his electric tongue ordered, cajoled,
complained, tricked, and rolled off racy tales, in turn* Associated
with Tod there reigned in the country also Lolo, chief of the
Shushwaps, a tall savage with a handsome Roman face and the
melancholy dignity of a Spanish prince. Lolo had been on good
terms with the Company for twenty years, and he and Tod
were friends.
Now it chanced in the spring of 1846 that Lolo fell in love
with a beautiful sorrel horse among the Company's band at
Kamloops* Again and again he begged Tod for the horse, and
again and again the chief trader refused* The day came for
the departure of the annual expedition to the "Fountain" on
the Fraser River to bring back the salmon which the Indians
there had caught and cured for the fort. Lolo led the party, a
bright-hued train, for more than liquor the Shushwaps loved
ribbons, sashes, scarlet leggings and gaudy handkerchiefs for
the head. With them went every man of the trader's staff.
Only Tod himself, his Indian wife, three dusky babies and a
horse-boy remained.
The expedition had been gone two days when just as Tod
began to unlace his moccasins for the night the door opened
and Lolo peered in. " Come in," said Tod, yawning as he drew
off a moccasin* His heart was thumping, his brain busy, for he
151
 II
knew something must have happened to the salmon train; but
he would not show surprise before the Indian* Lolo stepped
in, standing stiffly in the middle of the room*
" Smoke ?" asked Tod, pushing the pipe and tobacco across
the table toward the savage* "Your family will be glad to see
you*"
"What about the sorrel horse, Mr* Tod?" said Lolo, as he
unbent to take up the pipe. " I should like to have that horse."
"The river has risen since yesterday," said Tod, beginning
to unlace the other moccasin.
"Mr. Tod, I have followed the fortunes of the Hudson's
Bay Company for twenty years. I have shared my food with
them, warned them of peril, protected them in danger; I have
never before been refused a gift* I want that sorrel horse*"
"Fill your pipe," said Tod, yawning as he drew off the
second moccasin*
"Alas! my wives and little ones," sighed the chief* "What
will become of them if this evil befalls ?"
"What the devil is the matter?" shouted Tod, unable to
bear the suspense any longer*
"Several of the Shushwap tribes lie in ambush to exterminate the Kamloops party when it reaches the Fraser* A
young Atnah chief, a friend of mine, warned me that I might
escape*"
Tod drew in a long breath, gazing at the chief. Was it true
or merely a ruse to secure the horse?
"Where are the men and horses?"
" I hid them a little off the trail and ordered them to graze
there till I returned. They are safe, for the attack will not be
made till they reach the river."
"Very well, go now to your lodge while I think the matter
over*" Lolo went out, but in a moment again thrust his head
within*
"May I not have the horse now?" he begged plaintively*
" No, you rascal! Go home! and if you say horse to me again*
I'll break every bone in your body." Lolo vanished.
Tod was puzzled* He felt almost sure that the story was a
trick on the part of Lolo; but what if it should be true? He
152
 dared not risk its falsity. Calling his half-breed boy he ordered
him to saddle two of the fleetest horses in the corral* He explained
to his wife, wrote a brief statement for headquarters in case he
should not return and, shortly after midnight, galloped recklessly
down the trail to the Fraser River.
He reached his men at noon. They had heard nothing and
he did not explain* Having seen carefully to their arms, the
party took the trail at dawn, Tod riding alone far in advance*
At nine o'clock they entered a little plain thick-walled with
brushwood and bordering on the river* Tod halted his men and
rode slowly into the open* In a few moments he saw the enemy
among the bushes northward; they were painted, feathered
and separated from their women, obviously stripped for battle*
Lolo had been right; mentally Tod promised him the horse
should he survive to give it to him* Meantime what was to be
done? They were ten against three hundred*
With his face toward the foe, Tod now motioned forward
one of his own men*
"George," he said, "fall back and if anything happens to
me ride for your lives to the fort*"
The brave Canadian would have stood by his leader, but
Tod would have none of him* "Go!" he shouted in a voice
that thundered through the woods and startled the waiting
savages. They looked at one another uneasily, recalling the
Indian superstition that Chief Trader Tod could not be killed.
The Indians now emerged from ambush and gathered on a
little rise at the edge of the woods. Tod drew pistol, gun and
sword and with them flashing in his hands raised high above
his head, he galloped over the plain and cast them at the feet
of the group of chiefs. Then he gave rein to his magnificent
snow-white mare. The beautiful animal curvetted to the right,
pranced to the left, and finally charged straight into the midst
of the savage band.
Smiling he looked down upon the pressing circle. "What
is all this about?" he asked. "What do you want?"
"We want Lolo," they replied* "Where is he?"
"Then you haven't heard the news," said Tod in affected
astonishment. "Lolo, poor fellow, is at home."
i53
 " What news ?" cried the Indians, always curious as children*
" The small-pox is upon us* It was brought up from Walla
Walla by an Okanagan*"
"Small-pox!" the dread word passed from lip to lip* The
Shushwaps shivered, their conspiracy forgotten* "Small-pox!
Small-pox!"
"But I have come to save you," shouted Tod cheerfully*
"Be not afraid, my friends, I shall save you; only do as I
command*"
As he commanded? Would they not? Who now remembers
that half an hour ago he meant to kill this man?
"See the tree yonder?" He pointed to a huge pine* "Cut
it down!"
Down with the weapons, up with the axes. Every man who
could push into the circle fell to chopping.
"Where the smoke rises about the bushes, there is my
camp," said Tod to the squaws. "Carry the salmon thither and
sell to my men*"
Quickly the annual requirement of salmon was delivered*
The horses were loaded, and Tod ordered his men off to the
fort* By this time the tree was down, and time must still be
gained for the laden horses to get out of harm's way.
"Cut it off four fathoms from the butt, level the stump,
and roll the log up to it," ordered Tod. It was done. He mounted
his woodland throne and placed his feet on the log.
"Let fifty of the bravest strip each his right arm," commanded the trader* "Now go down to the river and wash
that arm."
Meekly they did as they were bid and returned. Tod drew
from his pocket his knife and a little case of vaccine* The knife
was dull; it would hurt the more and serve them right, thought
Tod* Then he began to vaccinate* Perhaps he scarred a little
heavily when it came to those he well knew had headed the
conspiracy* In any case no man of them would use his weapon
arm for a fortnight. The chief trader saw to that*
When the fifty noble arms had been inoculated, there was
still a little vaccine left. Worn out though he was, Tod did
another twenty. He warned them to keep the arm bare and
154
 upright, and explained that when the sore had healed, each
might vaccinate his family with the scab.
So the great conspiracy of the Shushwaps ended; Lolo
had the sorrel horse; and Chief Trader Tod was worshipped
throughout all that country, for not a man of the three hundred
but believed that Tod had saved his life.
THE STORM
David Thompson
" On the steep bare sides of these mountains I twice saw the first
formation of the clouds of a storm. Its first direction was from
the Pacific Ocean eastward up the valley of the lower Columbia
River, from which the hills forced it from east to north. The
sun was shining on these steep rocks when the clouds of the
storm entered about 2000 feet above the level ground* It moved
in large revolving circles; the northern edge of the circle behind
cutting, in its revolution, the centre of the circle before it* So
it advanced, circle within circle, for nearly twenty miles along
these high hills until the clouds closed on me and all was
.obscurity* It was a grand sight and deeply riveted my attention.'
i55
 FIFTY-FOUR FORTY OR FIGHT
At first the Spaniards and the Russians divided between them
the west coast of America, the Spaniards owning Southern
California and claiming northward; the Russians owning Alaska
and claiming southward. Then came the British and the Americans seeking a share. The Americans, inheriting from the
Spaniards, claimed the whole coast. The British, in the person
of the Hudson's Bay Company, occupied most of it. In 1825
Britain made a treaty with the Russians by which it was agreed
that the Russian strip of coast should extend south only as far -
as 540 40' of latitude. The Company already had trading-posts
throughout the country from this line to the Columbia; the
Americans, though claiming it, had as yet done little towards
taking it* After some discussion Great Britain and the United
States agreed that for the time being they would occupy the
disputed territory jointly.
Some years before, the Hudson's Bay Company and the
Russian American Fur Company, its headquarters being at
Sitka, had entered into a business arrangement* The Hudson's
Bay Company leased part of the Russian Company's lands, and
the Russians agreed to buy their goods and supplies from the
Britishers* Now the Russians were hearty eaters; their Indian
seal-hunters had also to be fed* They needed quantities of
provisions, and the Company, having agreed to provide them,
began to look about for a convenient source of supply*
Chief Factor McLoughlin had rich acres in crops about
Fort Vancouver, and there were farms on the Willamette and
at Colville, but these barely supplied the Company's own posts*
To provide for the Russians the Company greatly extended
their farms in Oregon, sending, in 1839, English and Scotch
farmers from Canada to work them* Voyageurs and half-breeds
were encouraged, when they retired from the service, to settle
upon the land* The soil was rich; the climate kind; the grain
fields yielded generously* Grist-mills were built; sheep and cattle
156
 were driven up from California; pigs brought from the Sandwich Islands* The Nisqually Plains and the Puget Sound
country bloomed as the rose* Soon wheat, flour, butter, pork
and other eatables were ready for the Russians, and four ships
were built in London to carry the goods to them*
And now American settlers began to drift into the Columbia
Valley. Rumours of its marvellous beauty and fertility had
filtered across the continent; "Oregon!" magic whispered in
its musical syllables; dreams painted it a golden land. Times
were hard in the east; the farmers of the Mississippi were far
from markets; one and another gathered his family about him
and trekked across the waste of plain and mountain*
At first they died, most of them; some by the trail; some in
the mountain wilds; others after reaching the promised land.
But better trails were soon found. In May 1843 a large party
gathered on the Missouri to take the Oregon trail, a thousand
people, five thousand head of stock, a hundred and twenty
great covered wagons. Early on the long slow journey they
elected leaders and arranged their order of march. Those on
horseback or in light wagons went first; the heavy wagons and
stock came behind; scouts galloped ahead to see that no danger
threatened; hunters ranged the country on both sides for game*
At dawn a rifle shot awoke the company. The men rode out to
round up the stock, the women cooked breakfast over the camp
fires. The slow oxen were hitched to the great wagons and
dragged them out of their place in the circle. A bugle sounded,
the drivers crooked their snake whips, and the "long caravan
moved drowsily forward."
The newcomers reached the Columbia in November. The
river big with the autumn rains thundered by to the sea. There
were no boats. Cold fog settled down upon the colonists. By
this time they were ragged, barefoot, starving, weary and sick
from the long, long journey. Presently came the Indians stealing
through the woods, fingering their guns and knives. "Shall
we kill? Let us kill," they asked McLoughlin, begging eagerly
for leave to finish the wanderers out of hand. "Kill?" shouted
McLoughlin. " Let any man dare and he shall reckon with me."
Up-stream he hurried boats, rafts, clothing and food. Down
157
 came some five hundred people to be welcomed on the wharf
by the white-haired factor, who led them into the comfort of
the Company's post.
From this time on American settlers poured into Oregon. They organised a provisional government and begged
McLoughlin to subscribe to it* Between home and country he
must choose* Feeling was already running high, and when the
good factor hesitated, praying God to enlighten him as to his
duty in the matter, the rougher element forgot that he had twice
saved their lives, cursed him for an aristocrat and a Britisher, and
threatened to burn Fort Vancouver about his ears* Fortunately
the more honourable colonists prevailed, and the property of
the Company which had befriended them remained untouched.
In the end McLoughlin, Ermatinger, Ogden, and a number
of other Hudson's Bay leaders decided to cast in their lot with
the Americans* They resigned or "were released" from the
Company's service, and each retired to spend an honoured old
age in some favourite part of the beautiful land he had spent
his youth in exploring*
By 1845 Oregon was rapidly filling up with Americans* It
became necessary to settle once and for all to which nation the
valley of the Columbia belonged* The British suggested the
, Columbia as a boundary, both nations to be free of its waters*
Hot-headed American politicians, who knew little about the
place and less about its history, raised as an election cry " Fifty-
Four Forty or Fight*" They meant that if Britain did not cede
to them the whole coast as far north as^the Russian line, they
would fight for it*
In the summer of 1845 Britain sent out Captain Gordon,
a brother of the Prime Minister, to see the country and to advise
whether or not it was worth keeping* Gordon seems to have
been a foolish young man. He visited here and there; was
treated like a prince by the Hudson's Bay traders; decided
that he "would not give one of the bleakest knolls of all the
bleak hills of Scotland for twenty islands arrayed like this
(Vancouver Island) in barbaric glories." He went home with
that tale* When the treaty was made, Britain abandoned the
Lower Columbia to the Americans, and the 49th parallel was
158
 agreed upon as the boundary from the Great Lakes to the Pacific.
The treaty stipulated that the Hudson's Bay Company
should not be disturbed in its property; but the tide of settlement rose steadily, and, the American Government agreeing
to pay for them in part, the Company presently abandoned
the farms and fur posts south of the boundary* Headquarters
were moved from Fort Vancouver to Victoria* Walla Walla,
Okanagan, Fort Colville and Spokane House knew the trader
and the voyageur no more*
A year before the treaty was signed, Hudson's Bay men began
combing South-Western British Columbia for a route from the
interior to the coast* The possibility of navigating the Fraser was
again tested and again condemned* In the spring of 1846 Alexander Anderson set out from Kamloops to find a road to Fort
Langley, near the mouth of the Fraser* He and his men made
their way across country, reaching the Fraser at Upper Fountain.
Crossing the Fraser and stumbling southward through a tangle
of lakes, rivers and mountains, they got out by way of Lake
Harrison* Certainly this route would not do* Turning about,
Anderson ascended the Fraser to the mouth of the Coquahalla
River* After several false starts he managed to win through to
Kamloops by way of Nicola River and Lake, a road which he
thought might be made possible for a pack-train*
In the spring of 1848 a small post, Fort Yale, was built at
the head of possible navigation on the Fraser, and that year
orders went out from Fort Vancouver to the officers in charge
of all interior posts at all costs to break through to the Fraser*
Three brigades from New Caledonia, Thompson River and
Fort Colville did reach Yale, but only after much suffering
and heavy loss in furs. The loss of goods on the return trips
was even heavier. The next year, 1849, Hope was built, still
lower down the Fraser, at the mouth of the Coquahalla, and a
pack-train road was pushed through to Kamloops following
Anderson's second route through the Nicola region. This,
though rough, proved feasible, and from 1849 on the Company's
furs were brought from Kamloops to Hope by pack-train, from
Hope to Victoria by boat* And the glories of Fort Vancouver
were forgotten*
159
 VICTORIA
When the farmers began to appear in Oregon, the Hudson's
Bay Company prepared to move* Settlers and fur traders cannot
live in the same country since the fur-bearing animals which
are the wealth of the one are often a menace to the other* For
years McLoughlin and others had urged Britain to send a fleet
to protect this disputed region, but no fleet came, and the
traders saw their beloved land swiftly and surely becoming
American* Three years before the Oregon Treaty was made,
the Company felt that it would be wise to establish new headquarters in case, when the settlement was over, Fort Vancouver
should be found in the United States.
The site for the new post was carefully considered* Nis-
qually and Puget Sound would not do, for the farmers were
already in possession there* Fort Langley, placed on the Fraser
as Fort Vancouver was on the Columbia, seemed promising, the
more so as the Fraser must in future take the place of the
Columbia as the highway of the fur trade. But Governor
Simpson's mind kept returning to Vancouver Island. He had
seen it on his visit to the coast and carried away in his memory
a picture of its beauty. In 1842 Douglas made a careful survey
of the southern end of the island and, at a place called by the
Indians Camosun, he found the site for which he sought.
"Camosun," says Douglas, "is a pleasant and convenient
site for the establishment, within fifty yards of the anchorage,
on the border of a large tract of clear land which extends eastward to Point Gonzalo and about six miles interiorly* More
than two-thirds of this section consists of prairie land and may
be converted either to tillage or pasture, for which I have seen
no part of the Indian country better adapted. The canal of
Camosun is nearly six miles long, and its banks are wooded
throughout."
160
 Douglas and his men left Fort Vancouver to build the new
post at Camosun on March i, 1843. They went up through
the Cowlitz country to collect supplies from the Company's
farms there. At Nisqually the sturdy little Beaver waited
to carry them across the gulf. On the afternoon of March 14
they anchored in Camosun (Victoria) Harbour.
Words cannot describe the bewitching loveliness of the
scene. Before them lay a natural garden, its spreading lawns
already green and starred with the white and pink of spring
blossoms; its splendid trees set out singly and in groups, parklike; and all rising gently to the hills softly dark in the background. Around them spread the water, blue as the Mediterranean, rippling to show its beauty beneath the late sun.
Behind them the Olympics, their feet veiled in cloud, raised
their gracious silver heads. In the sky on the right the miraculous
rose and opal peak of Mount Baker flashed upon their ravished
eyes; and over all the stillness lay light and tender as a leaf
floating on the water*
Early the next morning Douglas set out in the small boat
to seek wood for the fort. He found some, and learned from the
Indians that herring came to Camosun in April and salmon in
August. He told the natives that he had come to build a fort
for trade, which pleased them greatly. Next day the men were
at work squaring timber and digging a well. Having seen the
building well begun, Douglas sailed up the coast to the northern
posts, two of which he now dismantled, leaving only Fort
Simpson to handle that trade. Douglas returned to Camosun
in June, bringing with him fifty men and the stores from the
two abandoned posts. Little had been accomplished in his
absence, but work went forward briskly in his presence, and
within three months the stockade and bastions defended the
stores and houses. Charles Ross was placed in charge of the post
and Douglas returned to Fort Vancouver.
Ross died the following spring and Chief Trader Finlayson
reigned in his stead* Finlayson was a big kindly man, courteous,
shrewd in business and quick-witted in action* The Beaver
was now making regular trips between Fort Nisqually and
Camosun, bringing cattle, horses and other stocks for the new
vii—l 161
 post. The Cowichin chief coveted the white man's cattle and
presently helped himself and his tribe to some of the best of
them. When Finlayson found that they were gone he sent at
once, demanding payment or surrender of the thief.
"The cattle are as much mine as yours," replied the chief
haughtily. "Did not my meadows fatten them?"
"The cattle were brought from beyond the water and
belong to us who brought them," replied Finlayson. "If you
do not repay we shall close the fort gates against you."
"Close your gates, indeed! Close them and I shall batter
them down," shouted the chief, and went off in a rage.
The fort was at once made ready for defence, and sure
enough within two days a large band of Indians surrounded
it and prepared to attack. A tremendous din of yells, whoops,
rattles, drums, arose. In the midst of it the warriors advanced
to the attack singing, throwing up their guns and dancing their
war-dances. Followed a brisk shower of bullets from close
range* They pattered harmlessly against the stout palisades,
and Finlayson forbade a shot to be fired in return without his
order* The Indians continued firing for half an hour, when,
realising that they were wasting ammunition, they stopped.
The factor had sent his interpreter running out through the
back gate and across to the Indian lodges to warn away the
squaws and children. He now came forward to the parapet.
"What are you about?" he shouted to the chief* "Do you
think your insignificant guns will hurt us? Watch, now, while
with one motion of my finger I blow your lodges yonder into
the bay." As he raised his hand the nine-pounder spoke from the
bastion and the flimsy cedar lodges flew into a thousand pieces.
Howling with fear and rage the savages rushed to seek the dead
bodies of their wives and children, but the interpreter had them
safely out of the way, and no harm was done except to the lodges.
After a little time Finlayson suggested a parley. The Indians
were invited into the fort, the factor sending out two hostages.
He showed them the big guns and the little ones, the stores of
powder and ball, the knives, swords and daggers, proving how
easy it would be for him to repel attack* He told them that the
Company wished them well, but insisted that they pay for the
162
 stolen cattle. The natives decided that discretion was the better
part of valour and before night delivered at the fort furs to pay
for the cattle they had taken*
For two years the new fort was called Camosun, then it was
renamed "Albert," after Queen Victoria's husband* A few
months later it was decided to call it after the Queen herself,
and Victoria it has remained ever since* As soon as the houses
and stockade were complete, Finlayson set his people farming*
Wooden ploughs and harrows were made; iron cask hoops
bound the wooden machinery; old ship ropes did duty as
traces* The grain was threshed by driving horses around a ring
in the barn, and they ground their flour in a steel handmill
sent in by the Company.
Three years later the farms and gardens of Victoria bloomed
almost as radiantly as they do to-day* Grain, vegetables, fruits
and flowers grew in abundance; the open spaces were carpeted
with wild clover* By 1852 the place had been laid out in streets.
From Government Street to the harbour, and from the fort
north to Johnson Street, lay the town; beyond it lay the farms
and meadows. A dairy stood at the head of James Bay, and
Douglas, after his arrival, built his house on the south side
of the bay.
VICTORIA
A garden of roses and may
On the golden side of a bay,
A breastwork of azure,
A heaven of pearl,
A rim of red rocks
Where green waves creep and curl,
On the golden side of a bay,
A garden of roses and may.
163
 f
Bell, Wainu'fight
THE BUFFALO HUNT
The summer hunt left the settlement in June and returned
about the first of August; the fall hunt began in August and
ended in late October* Hunters often remained on the plains
all winter, for in the cold weather the hair of the buffalo becomes
thick; the skins then make the best robes and coverings*
Father Lacombe went out from Pembina as chaplain of the
great summer hunt in 1850* While making ready for the trip
he cut his foot badly with his axe, but he was so disappointed
at being left behind that the Indians offered to take him in a cart*
Indian families had been pouring into Pembina for days,
until all the Metis and natives of the district had come in* The
evening before they set out, a council was called* Father Lacombe
recited prayers and the Indians joined in singing a hymn* The
women and children now retired to their lodges and arrangements for the hunt were made. Wilkie, a half-breed hunter, was
elected chief and ten captains were chosen to command under
him. Then each captain named one or two men to act as scouts.
This meeting drew up the Laws of the Hunt.
164
   Laws of the Buffalo Hunt
i. No buffalo to be run on the Sabbath day*
2* No party to fork off, lag behind, or go before without
permission*
3* No person to run buffalo before the general order*
4* Every captain and his men to patrol the camp and keep
guard in turn*
5* For the first trespass against these laws the offender to
have his saddle and bridle cut up*
6* For the second the coat to be taken off the back of the
offender and cut up*
7* For the third the offender to be flogged*
8* Any person convicted of theft even to the value of a
sinew to be brought to the middle of the camp, and the crier
to call out his or her name three times, adding the word "thief"
at each time.
When the laws had been formed, Wilkie put them to the
meeting, which accepted them by a majority vote. The chief
then declared: "If any among you do not approve of these
laws, let him leave our camp and come not with us, for once we
have set out together from this encampment, no one will be free
to separate from us."
Next morning after prayers the guide of the day raised a
little flag and, in an instant, the whole camp was in motion*
The tents were taken down, the horses brought in* The women
loaded the carts with their goods and children* The squaws
mounted the carts, the hunters their buffalo runners* That
year there were eight hundred or more carts, a thousand men,
women and children, besides hundreds of ponies, oxen and
dogs* Slowly the long procession wound across the green
prairies towards Turtle Mountain*
Late in the afternoon of the sixth day the scouts with flags
signalled back the joyful news that buffalo had been sighted*
Instantly the caravan stopped; the women and old men began
to make camp, while the hunters mounted their hunting-ponies
and at the signal of the chief dashed towards the scouts. " Full
gallop,  Father Lacombe with them, they flashed along the
165
 prairies." Beyond the bluff from which the scouts had signalled,
the buffalo were feeding quietly, thousands of them.
Silently the orders were passed and each man took his
appointed place in the line. The ponies pawed the earth, eager
as their masters for the chase. "En avant!" shouted Wilkie,
and men and horses hurled themselves upon the herd. The
earth trembled beneath thousands of stampeding feet; the sky
thundered with their mad bellowing. Fearlessly the shouting
hunter, guiding his horse with his knees, p'ushed in among the
angry cattle. He carried his powder-horn at his belt, his bullets
in his mouth, and he loaded and discharged with incredible
speed. Some eight hundred buffalo were killed that day: The
hunters with skilful knives cut up the carcasses* The.squaws
came up with the creaking carts, loaded the meat upon them,
and the procession returned in triumph to the camp.
The hunt remained in this place several days, while the
women dressed the meat and dried the skins. The meat was
cut into long strips, which were stretched to dry upon scaffolds
made of young trees. After three days in the sun it was dry
enough to be folded into packages weighing between sixty and
seventy pounds. The bundles were then bound lightly with
buffalo sinew. The dried meat was placed in wooden bowls
and pounded to powder with stone mallets. Mixing the powder
with berries and hot grease they packed the mass into sacks of
buffalo hide, where it cooled into pemmican.
With them had fled
The bison,—breed which overflowed the plains,
And, undiminished, fed uncounted tribes.
. . . Vast herds which seemed
Exhaustless as the sea. All vanished now!
Of that wild tumult not a hoof remained.
From The Last Bison, by Charles Mair.
166
 THE BUFFALO
Elizabeth Bailey Price
" The buffalo were formerly inconceivably numerous. Sir George
Simpson mentions having seen ten thousand animals mired
at a single ford. Early in July, with the opening of the breeding
season, a terrific scene of running, roaring and innumerable
bull-fights began. By putting the ear to a badger hole the noise
could be distinctly heard at a distance of thirty miles* Pronouncing the syllable him-m-m with closed lips gives a good
idea of the sound of a buffalo herd conveyed through the earth
as by a telephone*
"When not grazing, the favourite occupation of the buffalo
was wallowing* Thousands of the animals engaged in this
exercise at the same time, and the dust raised by their writhing
looked like pillars of smoke rising from hundreds of fires* In
Saskatchewan there are places where these wallows touch each
other in all directions* Another kind of depression seen on the
prairie might be called the buffalo's tool chests* Each of these
has a single boulder in its centre. After its fourth year the
buffalo began to polish and sharpen its horns, using the
boulder as a whetstone. The soil scraped up by countless hoofs
was swept off by the wind and the depressions were formed.
"The Indians killed the buffalo recklessly; they slaughtered
them in pounds; they killed for the tongues and backfats alone;
For both meat and robes, cows were killed in preference to bulls.
When the white traders came, they supplied guns which brought
down hundreds for the tens killed by the bows and arrows* The
Union Pacific Railway, which crossed the United States in
1870, divided the great herd in two, and brought organised
hunting to the buffalo country* The animals were killed in
herds; their hides slit and stripped from the carcass by ropes
and pulleys* When the Canadian Pacific came through there
were comparatively few buffalo left."
167
 OLD FORT, PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE
ALFRED GARRIOCH
Portage la Prairie
A BOY WHO SAW A PRAIRIE CITY BORN
When Alfred Garrioch was five years old his parents moved*
Moving is a tiresome business for the elders, but huge fun for
boys and girls. The Garrioch moving was more than ordinarily
exciting, for they were not going to a ready-made town; they
made one of a party of twelve families which left Red River to
found a new town at Portage la Prairie.
In those days Canada was all in the eastern provinces; Red
River was the only settlement west of the lakes; and there was
neither town nor village between Fort Garry and the Rocky
Mountains. Portage la Prairie is sixty-five miles west of Red
River. It is a very old place. La Verendrye built there the post
from which he set out to seek the Western Sea and found the
"Shining Mountains." The Hudson's Bay Company had long
had a trading-post there, but there were no farms or homes,
only a camp of Ojibway Indians*
Archdeacon Cochrane, the Red River minister, put it into
the minds of the twelve families to go to Portage la Prairie* He
had been there and brought back an alluring report of the
beauty and the fertility of the place* He himself led the way.
The families were all members of his church; they loved and
 admired him very much and were ready to follow him anywhere.
Mr. Garrioch went first to the new place to build a house
for his wife and family. He took his two boys, George and
Alfred, with him in the Red River carts. That was, a wonderful
trip for the children. The oxen walked so slowly that even
short legs could keep up to them for half an hour at a time. One
of the oxen was so quiet that the boys were now and then
allowed to ride him a mile or so. They picked sheaves of bright
coloured flowers; the strawberries were ripe and so plentiful
that they feasted upon them at every meal.
As the sun sank before them the men looked out for a creek
or slough. When they found one they backed the carts into a
circle near it, unyoked the oxen and led them to water* Alfred
and George climbed down and ran about to stretch their legs*
While the oxen fed, the tents were put up and supper cooked.
" The general form of the prairie at Portage is that of an obtuse
angle with Crescent Lake lying near the apex. A point of the
prairie extends to the river on the west side of Crescent Lake,
and another touches the river two miles lower down on the east
side of the lake. On the east point stood the 'Old Fort,' a
Hudson's Bay establishment of which one log building still
stands in a good state of preservation. The Nor'-Westers' fort
stood a few hundred yards farther down on the opposite side
of the river. On the west point stood the first St. Mary's Church
and parsonage. Between these two points the settlers located
side by side on narrow lots averaging about four chains in width*
" The settlement was decidedly zigzag, in fact it resembled
the letter Z with its angles curved after the manner of the
letter S, a form of settlement which could not be much improved
on for bringing the people near to each other; and it worked
all right as long as most of them went in more for hunting and
trapping than for farming, because while this continued there
were few fields with their snake fences to prevent anyone making
straight cuts between one house and another*"
Mr. Garrioch worked early and late building his house* As
there was a camp of Indians near he trusted to them to do the
hunting. Each day Alfred was given a little tea or tobacco arid
sent to the camp to trade it. He held out his tea toward them
 and said " Machuskwa" (musk-rat); the Indians understood and
gave him in exchange three or four musk-rats. The Indians dried
and smoked musk-rats and put them up in bales for trade. The
flesh was very dark, but well-boiled with salt and pepper made
very good eating.
Near the new house was a little creek running out of one
pond into another* The water was so clear that the fish could
be seen passing along* Alfred and George amused themselves
watching the pigs, who soon learned to fish very cleverly* The
place was also a favourite haunt of the minks* One day, while
Mr* Garrioch was at work upon the house, an adventurous mink
came up to see what was going on* The dogs gave chase and
the mink entered a hole at the foot of a tree* While Mr* Garrioch,
George and the dogs examined the upper part for a hole where
the animal might come out, Alfred was placed on guard at the
entrance. The little lad knelt on the ground with his chubby
back close to the hole. Presently, having failed to find an exit
at the top, out popped Mr. Mink. He ran up Alfred's back and
jumped from his shoulder, knocking him flat as he did so.
George thought it was a great joke, but Alfred was not so
much amused.
It was so easy to make a living in this little Eden that for
the first few years the men did little farming. Hay was to be
had for the cutting, wood for the chopping. Every sort of wild
fruit grew in abundance. The Assiniboine furnished sturgeon,
pike and perch; Lake Manitoba, plenty of white fish. Wild
duck swarmed on the sloughs, wild pigeon and partridge in
the woods. Only a little farther west the buffalo herds still
roamed. Bear, wolf, fox, lynx and other fur-bearing animals
were plentiful. Little wonder that no one bothered about
farming.
But Archdeacon Cochrane believed in farming. He had
already induced the Indians at St. Peter's to settle down to
agriculture, and it was not long before he had the men of
Portage la Prairie ploughing also. The archdeacon had a good-
sized farm upon which he kept two hired men at work. Mr.
Garrioch had a ten-acre field. In the summer of 1858 it was
sowed with barley, which came up splendidly* But the blackbirds
170
 swarmed out of the swamp, lit in clouds upon the field, seeming
intent upon eating every grain* Alfred and his brother were
told off to frighten the birds* Every morning before dawn they
were shaken up and sent out to shout and chase the greedy
little thieves*
One August afternoon the lads, having pretty well cleared
the field for the time being, sat down to rest* Suddenly a cloud
seemed to shut out the brightness of the sun: a cloud of shining
flakes drifting south-east. It began to snow grasshoppers. The
blackbirds forgot the barley and darted wildly about catching
hoppers. Grasshoppers are not frightened by shouts; the boys
could do nothing; and there were not enough blackbirds to
fight them. Next morning scarcely a head of barley remained
on its stalk. Nothing now prevented the boys from sleeping late.
Mr. Garrioch kept a little store where hunters, trappers,
farmers, Indians and squaws came to trade. Many a thrilling
tale of war and the hunt did young Alfred hear as he stood about
among the men, or helped with the parcels on busy Saturday
mornings. The braves traded skins for dry goods and provisions;
the squaws sold baskets of grey and red willow, wooden ladles
and brooms "made by taking a good-sized sapling and turning
down thin strips of its fibre over the larger end. When the-
sapling had been thus reduced to the size of an ordinary broom-
handle, these fibres were fastened together near the top by means
of a strip of the same material." They were usually made in
two sizes, a small one for scrubbing out pots and dishes and a
larger one with a long handle for sweeping.
The energetic archdeacon built his Church of St. Mary
within two years of coming to the Portage. It was seventy feet
long and thirty wide, and had "at the north end a tower ten
feet square and sixty feet high, finished with a spire surmounted
by a cross. The walls were of oak logs, the roof of unpainted
oak shingles. Within, the walls were axe-scored and plastered
with a mixture of clay and finely-chopped hay and then whitewashed. There were four Gothic windows on each side and a
larger one at the south end. Each family made its own pew of
poplar or basswood finished with heavy oak ends, the top of
each being carved in seven curves*"
171
 I
Every Sunday, exactly on the hour, the archdeacon strode
up the aisle and ascended the pulpit. "When he appeared above
the reading-board he was surpliced, but minus his stock." The
good man kept it pressed between the leaves of his Bible. Standing before his people he took out the stock and in the face of
the congregation fastened it about his neck. Nor was there a
boy in the settlement so bold as to smile while he did so. Archdeacon Cochrane was a large man and strong.
When Alfred was six the scholars "moved into a new school.
Before this time the teacher had kept school in his house* The
new school was a fine large one for those days, but naturally was
not as grand as the church* The school had a thatched roof and
was plastered with white mud* The only means of heating it
was a large fire-place at one end* The twenty-five or thirty girls
sat at the chimney end; the boys kept warm as well as they could
at the other* In those days they memorised the alphabet and
learned to read by spelling out the words. Alfred's "letters"
were made by hand and pasted on a bit of board. Only a few had
slates, and pencils were so valuable they were given out in
short pieces, each child fitting his bit into a reed holder which
he brought from the swamp. When they wrote, the children
placed the slate on the desk and knelt on the floor before it*
Yet they learned their lessons as well as you do; many a good
citizen came out of that little school.
" It was in 1862 that the first settlers from Ontario arrived in
Portage la Prairie. John McLean with his wife, mother and six
children arrived in the spring, and Kenneth McBean with his
wife and seven children arrived in the fall. They each sent four
•boys and girls to school. When these eight children in as many
pairs of boots walked into school one frosty morning, clattering
over the floor in a manner so different from that of the western-
born moccasin-wearing pupils, it created quite a diversion.
The East and the West met within and without the school, and
friendly contact and competition soon erased the prejudices of
race and birthplace."
172
   FORT EDMONTON
Edmonton was established in 1795 and was, for many years,
the Company's chief trading-post upon the great plains. The
Crees traded all the year round at Fort Edmonton, which was
in their country; in spring and autumn came their enemies,
the Blackfeet, Bloods and Piegans, travelling in large bands for
safety. Trading supplies were shipped from London to York
Factory, and there unloaded into York boats in which they
were carried to Lake Winnipeg and thence up the Saskatchewan
to Edmonton. Here the goods were unloaded and stored till
' they could be distributed to the smaller posts in the district.
In the spring the season's catch of furs was collected at
Edmonton and shipped out over the same route.
York boats were large flat craft, heavy and awkward, but
capable of carrying the load safely through rough water. Ten
boats made up a brigade. Seven or eight boatmen were attached
to each boat. One or two of them remained in the boat to steer
and guard it, while the others walked along the river edge drawing the boat after them by a line. This "tracking," as it was
called, was very hard work. The men had to stumble over rocks
and stumps, cut their way around trees, and often waded for
hours up to their waists in water.
The Edmonton brigades usually left Cumberland House
about the end of July. Day after day, through the golden weather,
the boatmen plodded on, too intent upon their dangerous task,
too weary from the weight of it, to lift their eyes to the radiant
sky and the garden land through which they passed. At night,
released from the leather harness to which the rope was fastened,
they slept under the clear stars. They lived on pemmican and
water, and thought themselves lucky if no one fell ill and the
mosquitoes did not trouble them too much.
173
 --B?
The Provincial Library, Edmonton
THE BIG HOUSE, FORT EDMONTON
As they tracked westward the bracing air of the higher lands
met them: presently mid-September brought crisp dawns and
burnished still brighter the gold of the day. At last one morning
the trackers sprang from their blankets with a cheer; the journey
was nearly over; only a few miles farther up-stream lay the fort,
food, rest and friends. Each man put on his reddest shirt, his
gayest neckerchief, a fresh kerchief round his :head. The miles
seemed short now, the work light. Round the great bend at
the "Highlands" they swung and there it was, the flag flying,
the great gate open, men, women and children crowding the
wharf. Under the boom of the guns saluting them, they pulled
alongshore and each man strove to be first free of the rope,
first in the arms of his family. In that home-coming they forgot
their toil.
Edmonton House in the 'fifties was the handsomest as well
as the largest post in the west. Chief Factor Rowand, a fiery
little Irishman, was accustomed to get what he wanted from the
Company and the men alike. The palisade, twenty feet high,
of stout trees split in halves, surrounded the great courtyard.
The Big House stood in the centre of the court with a lawn,
upon which stood two small brass cannon in front of it. It was
a huge place, three stories high, and built of squared timber.
Within, the stairway opened upon a wide hall, the gentlemen's
mess-room on one side, the ball-room on the other. Behind were
the living-rooms of the chief factor's family; above, offices and
bedrooms; below, armoury, store-rooms and cellars. About the
174
 Big House were grouped bachelors' hall, the Indian hall, the
men's quarters and the warehouses. As many as two hundred
people were frequently quartered in Edmonton House for the
winter. When the great fire-place blazed with comfort, and
the great table groaned with good cheer, many a merry and
gallant company foregathered in that old hall.
The following entries are quoted from the log of the fort:
uNov* 15th, 1854. The men at their various occupations.
Alexis and Gallarneau, Abraham and James Richards arrived
with eleven loaded horses of fish from Lake St. Anne's.
**Nov* 2,1st, 1854. James Ward, son of the horse-keeper,
arrived this day. He reports that two horses have been killed
by the wolves.
uNov* 26th, 1854. A party of Assiniboines arrived this
evening consisting of thirty* They have come principally on a
trade. It is to be hoped that they will be outfitted to-morrow,
so that they may start immediately to their hunting-grounds.
"Dec* 3rd, 1854* Thomas Cameron and Jacque Cardinalle
arrived this day. They bring the melancholy news that there
are no buffalo near the Rocky Mountain House; they have
come to the conclusion that a large war-party of Crees have
driven all the buffalo away by their setting the plains on fire.
We have had the pleasure of seeing the river fast this morning;
in fact so strong that Cameron crossed his horses safely.
"Jan* 22nd, 1855. The women employed in making printed
cotton shirts for the trade with the Blackfeet during the summer.
"Jan* 29th, 1855. The meat men arrived with thirty-six
trains loaded with fresh buffalo-meat.
"Feb* $thf 1855. The freemen traded a few rats and a grey
bear. The bear is the largest that has ever been seen here, for
when killed, it took a horse and four men to drag it out of its hole.
"Sept* 29th, 1855. This afternoon the Piegan Indians took
their departure, having traded nine horses and some meat.
Previous to their departure a compact of peace was agreed
upon between them and the Crees, when each went through
the usual ceremony of smoking the * calumet.' It is to be
hoped this may continue long.
i75
J
 "Oct* 15th, 1855. The wife of Antoine Godin delivered of
a boy last night.
"Oct* 2%th, 1855. This afternoon Mr. John and party arrived
home bringing the carcasses of twenty buffalo, which they
report to be numerous towards the Battle River* They met with
a party of Crees, who dogged the Piegan Indians, who were
here lately, towards the Rocky Mountain House, and ran away
with some of their horses*
"Nov* 26th, 1855. Cloudy weather; wind south, blowing
a strong breeze* The blacksmith making boat-irons. Flett and
Geo. Hodgson building a boat. Boyrgard making sled trams.
Olivier, Gallarneau, Munro and St. Amour preparing the
couples for the store. Five men with oxen brought some logs
from the Pine Hammock. Calder and Short weather-boarding
the sawing-shed. Graham and Dumais thrashing the wheat.
Two men sawing, Raymond hauling cord wood. Fishermen,
cooks and cattle-keeper as usual. This evening Chief Maslseepi-
toon and party arrived; says they had narrow escape of being
burnt by the fire which raged through the plains; two of their
number, an old wife and child, perished in the conflagration,
together with two horses, some dogs and a quantity of dried
provisions.
"March 27th, 1856. Married by the Rev. Mr. Lacombe,
James Richards, one of the Company's servants, to the widow
of Antoine Auger. The evening was spent with great hilarity.
"May Sth, 1856. No change in the weather. This morning
seven more boats were dispatched towards Fort Pitt on their
way to the coast. A large party of the Fort Pitt Crees arrived.
John Cunningham arrived from Lake St. Anne's; brought three
martens, seven minks, 1300 musquash, two lynx, three beaver,
one wolf and two buffalo robes, being the first proceeds of
that establishment."
176
 John McDougall
"The next move was to cross this wide and swiftly-flowing
river (the North Saskatchewan). No raft or canoe or boat
was to be seen. 'How are we to cross?' I asked Peter. 'Never
you mind,' said he, 'do as I tell you.' I was told to go and cut
two straight, long, green willows about one and a half inches in
diameter. I did so, and Peter took them and with them made a
hoop. While he was making this he told me to bring the oilcloth we were carrying with us and to spread it on the beach.
Then he placed the hoop in the centre of the oil-cloth, and we
folded it in on the hoop from every side. Then we carried our
saddles and blankets and tent and kettle and axe—in short
everything we had, and put them in the hoop. Then William
came and helped us carry this strange thing into the water.
When we lifted by the hoop or rim our stuff sagged down in
the centre, and when we placed the affair in the water, to my
great astonishment, it floated nicely, and I was told to hold it
in the current. 'Take off your shoes, gentlemen,' said Peter
to the missionaries, 'wade out and step into the boat.' The
gentlemen did as they were bidden, and very soon were sitting
in the hoop, and still, to my wonder, it floated*
"Peter in the meantime took a 'chawed' line* This is made
of buffalo-hide and is, literally, what its name signifies, having
been made by cutting green hide into a strand, about an inch
or more wide, and stretching it as it dried, scraping the hair
and flesh from it* When thoroughly dry, the manufacturer
began at one end, and chewed it through to the other, and then
back again, and continued this until the line was soft and pliable
and thoroughly tanned* These lines were in great demand for
lassoes, packing-horses, lashing dog-sleighs, and as bridles.
VII—M 177
 " Peter tied one end of this securely to the rim of the hoop
and then brought a horse close and tied the other end of the
line to the horse's tail; then fastening a leather hobble to the
under-jaw of the horse, he vaulted on its back and rode out
into the stream, saying to me, 'Let go, John, when the line
comes tight.' I did as I was told and gently and majestically,
like a huge nest, with the two missionaries sitting as eagles in
it, this strange craft floated restfully upon the current."
MOVING  CAMP
John McDougall
"On Saturday the whole camp moved some twelve or fifteen
miles farther east into a still more picturesque and beautiful
country, rich in its changing variety of landscape and scenery*
No wonder these aboriginal men were proud of their birthright,
for it was a goodly heritage*
" To witness this laf ge camp moving was an object of great
interest* The taking down of the tents, the saddling and packing
of the horses and dogs was accomplished with the greatest
expedition* Both horses and dogs pulled a sort of vehicle made
of poles and termed in this country a 'travois'; thus they both
packed and pulled. To these travois the lodge-poles were
fastened by the small end and drawn along the ground. The
aged, the sick, and many of the children were carried on the
travois* Indeed, the carrying capacity of an Indian pony seems
to be unlimited* Two or three children, a lot of lodge-poles on
the travois, the mother and two other children on his back, yet
the staunch little fellow ambled along at a quick pace without
any trouble or fuss.
"When the camp moved, parallel columns were formed and
all kept together, the riders and hunters keeping on either side,
in front and in the rear. In an incredibly short space of time
the whole camp was in motion, and, after we came to the new
•camp, in an equally short time tents were up, stages standing,
meat drying, and work going on as usual*"
178
 THE STORY OF SIR JOHN FRANKLIN
John Franklin was born in 1786.
When he was ten he went with a
school friend to pass a holiday by the
sea. That one look was enough;
he came home vowed to a sailor's
life* His father did not approve of
this, and thinking to cure his son of a
passing fancy sent him on a voyage
to Lisbon* John returned more than
ever determined to be a sailor, so
his father gave way and procured
a post for him aboard a warship.
Within a few days of his joining
in.the spring of 1801, the fleet was
ordered to the Baltic, and young
John was present at the famous
Battle of the Baltic. He returned
safely and took service under his uncle, Captain Flinders, on
the Investigator, a ship engaged in surveying the south coast of
Australia. Captain Flinders, a fine seaman and an enthusiastic
traveller, taught Franklin navigation and fired his ambition
to explore.
Not until 1819 did opportunity offer. In that year Franklin
was appointed to lead a party overland from Hudson's Bay to
survey the Arctic coast of Canada and to effect a junction with
Sir Edward Parry, who was seeking the North-West Passage
by sea. Parry, as you remember, never reached Canada, turning
back from Winter Harbour. Franklin crossed to York Factory
and ascended the Saskatchewan to Cumberland House. The
jealousies of the two fur companies prevented his getting the
supplies he needed, so in the spring of 1820 the party hunted
179
Dr. Allan, University of Alberta
SUNDIAL,    FORT    CHIPEWYAN
Erected by Franklin.
 and fished its way north toward the head-waters of the Coppermine, where they built Fort Enterprise and wintered. In December the reindeer upon which they depended shifted their
quarters, and Mr. Back made an eleven hundred mile snowshoe
trip to Fort Chipewyan for provisions.
The dreary winter passed, and in June 1821 the explorers
set out for the sea. Dragging canoes on sledges, they toiled over
the barren hills to the Coppermine and so down to the ocean*
Then they paddled eastward, surveying the coast as far as Point
Turnagain (no° W*)* Here their food being almost exhausted,
they turned back toward Fort Enterprise* On this trip Franklin
found a strip of free water between the Canadian coast and the
Arctic ice; he felt sure that if a ship from the east could once
get into this coast strip it would be able to make the North-
West Passage*
To save time Franklin resolved to return to Fort Enterprise
overland from Hood's River. They had now only a few mouth-
fuls of pemmican a day for each person. On September 4 they
finished their meat* From that date they had to depend upon
what they could find; and they found very little* A violent storm
beset them; the tents and bed-clothes froze; often they had
nothing with which to make a fire* As they stumbled through
the snow, the voyageurs let the canoe fall; it was so badly
damaged that they abandoned it* Saved at one time by a few
partridges, at another by a musk-ox, living chiefly on boiled
lichen, they reached the Coppermine* A raft of willows was
constructed, and Dr* Richardson offered to swim across the
river carrying a line to haul the raft over* The cold benumbed
his arms, but swimming on his back he had almost reached
the shore when he began to sink* The anxious watchers drew
him back barely able to speak* When they undressed him they
found his poor body so thin as to bring tears to their eyes* They
wrapped him in blankets and placed him beside the fire; in a
few hours he was able to converse*
The party now made a small canoe out of the canvas in
which they had wrapped their bedding; in this they managed
to cross the river one at a time* They pushed on for a day or
two. Then the voyageurs became too weak to carry the goods.
180
 Soon Mr. Hood was found too feeble to go on. Dr. Richardson
and Mr* Hepburn remained with him in a little pine wood while
Franklin and the voyageurs pressed on to Fort Enterprise*
The distance was not great, but the men were so weak that
they could travel only a few miles a day. One by one the
voyageurs gave up and returned to Dr* Richardson, until only
four remained with Franklin* Living upon herb tea and a few
strips of fried leather, these indomitable men reached the fort.
They crawled in only to find the place empty and bare—
no food, no Indians. Mr. Back, who had been left in charge,
had gone in search of natives and provisions. The disappointment was so great that the men broke down and cried. For
eleven days the party now lived upon bones, lichen and
rotting deer-skins* At the end of that time Dr* Richardson
and Mr. Hepburn arrived* They had endured other horrors
besides those of famine* Crazed by hunger one of the men
had killed young Hood and had been shot by Dr* Richardson
to prevent his killing Hepburn*
On November 2 two of the voyageurs died. By the sixth
the three Englishmen were so exhausted that it required an
hour to cut one log of wood and another hour to drag it to the
house. On the seventh some Indians arrived with food. Back,
suffering scarcely less than Franklin and his men, had reached
these people and sent them to save his comrades. The Indians
fed the starving men carefully, a little at a time, and they slowly
recovered their strength. The survivors reached England in
October 1822, where their self-sacrificing heroism received
the honour it deserved.
Undaunted by this terrible experience, Franklin set out
again in 1825. This time the expedition wintered on Great
Bear Lake and started down the Mackenzie River in June 1826.
At the mouth of the Mackenzie the party divided, Dr. Richardson leading one group east, while Franklin led the other west.
Franklin's party advanced very slowly, being hindered more by
fog than by ice* They made 374 miles by August 18, when the
leader decided they ought to turn back* Had they but known
it, Captain Beechey, whom Franklin hoped to meet on his way
east from Bering Strait, was even then at Icy Cape* A boat
181
 which he sent eastward along the coast to look for the overland
party reached a point within 160 miles of Franklin's farthest west*
On their return to Fort Franklin on Great Bear Lake they
found Dr* Richardson and his men* They had completed the
survey of the coast from the mouth of the Mackenzie to that
of the Coppermine* The two parties wintered together, and
Franklin returned to England in 1827*
Nearly twenty years passed before Franklin had another
opportunity to explore the Arctic seas* Meantime the 160-mile
gap left between his survey and Beechey's had been filled in
by Dease and Simpson, two Hudson's Bay Company men*
They had carried the survey east as far as the mouth of the
Great Fish River* Farther north, Parry had reached Winter
Harbour* It remained only to find a passage, less than three
hundred miles long, which should connect the two lines of
survey* When, in 1844, the Government decided to send out an
expedition to make this connection, Franklin begged to go* He
was now fifty-nine years old, and the Ministers hesitated, but
his eagerness won and he was appointed to the command*
Two ships, Erebus and Terror, were fitted out and provisioned
for three years* The expedition sailed in June 1845. Passing
up Davis Strait, they visited Disko Bay in Greenland* Twelve
days later they were spoken by a whaler crossing Baffin Bay*
Then they sailed out into the west and were seen no more.
i'> During 1846 no news of the expedition was expected.
When none arrived in 1847 the Government offered rewards
and arranged with the Hudson's Bay Company to store provisions at their northern posts in case the explorers should
arrive starving. During nine years expedition after expedition
was despatched by ship and sledge; they examined thousands
of miles of Arctic coast-line without finding a single trace of
the lost men* When Government interest waned, private funds
continued the search* Lady Franklin poured out her fortune,
refusing to give up hope*
At last, in April 1854, a sledge party under Dr. Rae met
with some Eskimos, who told him that a number of white men
had died for want of food near a large river with many falls
(Great Fish)* Dr* Rae returned to England at once with this
 news. Lady Franklin again fitted out a ship which sailed under
Captain McClintock. During 1858-59 McClintock patiently
followed the Erebus and the Terror to their grave in the icepack of Victoria Strait. King William's Land was examined
and many relics of the lost collected. The tragic tale was completed by the discovery of a record under a cairn, which told
what had happened up to the time that the crews abandoned
the ships*
Franklin must have met disappointing conditions in Lancaster Sound when he entered it in 1845, for he pushed north
through Wellington Channel instead of sailing south as he had
intended* The doomed expedition rounded Cornwallis Island
and wintered on Beechey Island near the mouth of Wellington
Channel. In July 1846 they found Peel Sound, and sailing
through Franklin Strait entered Victoria Strait. On September
12, near the shore of King William's Land, the terrible "pack"
closed immovably round them. They wintered there, hoping
that the summer would release them.
In May of the next year the ice still showed no signs of
relaxing its grip. Captain Gore crossed King William's Land
by sledge to see if they really were within the calculated distance
of the Canadian coast and the free water which they knew
washed it. Gore must have returned with the news that he had
seen the shore, that they were within a few days' journey of open
sea. It is probable that he arrived a few days before Franklin
died on June 11. We may hope that the great leader knew before
his death that his life-long ambition had been achieved, that
the North-West Passage had been seen.
Still hoping that the ice would release them, or that the
"pack" would drift them south to open water, the survivors
passed the remainder of 1847. I*1 tne sPrmS> much reduced
in numbers and in strength, they left the ships and set out
overland for Great Fish River and a Hudson's Bay post. None
of them ever reached help. One by one they "fell down and died
as they walked along"; so said the Eskimo woman who told
Dr. Rae what she had seen.
Franklin died almost within sight of the achievement of
his dream; but death is sometimes kinder than life; what the
183
 explorer just failed to do in life his death accomplished. The
many search-parties which went out year after year returned
without news of Franklin, but they brought home maps, charts,
surveys and records of many new lands and new channels. It
was Captain McClure leading the search-party of 1850 who
discovered Prince of Wales Strait. Sailing up this avenue he
connected the surveys of Beechey and Franklin with Parry's
farthest west, and completed the discovery of the North-West
Passage, which men had sought since th*e time of Cabot.
McClure had been mate of the Terror under Captain (Sir)
George Back and was familiar with the Arctic field of exploration. In 1850 he was appointed to command the Investigator,
detailed to enter the Arctic through Bering Strait to explore
and to search for Franklin and his men.
On July 4 the Investigator approached the strait. McClure
said that he meant to keep in the open water between the
Canadian coast and the main pack until he should see a favourable opening leading towards Banks Island. He did so, and
pushed north through Prince of Wales Strait until stopped by
firm ice in Melville Sound.
By October 10 McClure had his ship and men in winter
quarters, and set out upon a sledge journey along the coast
of Banks Island, reaching its extreme north-east point on
October 26. From a hill-top they looked across the ice to Melville Island, Parry's farthest west. No land lay between; the
North-West Passage had been discovered.
In the spring of 1851 McClure tried to cross Melville
Sound, but found it impassable. He then tried to circumnavigate Banks Island, but without success. The Investigator
was laid up in the Bay of Mercy, which proved to be her grave.
In 1852 McClure and his men reached Winter Harbour
by sledge. They found no stores there and their own were all
but exhausted. They were just about to abandon the ship and
make a dash for it when Lieutenant Bedford of the Resolute
reached them with supplies. McClure and his party reached
England in September 1854. McClure was knighted and the
sum of £10,000 was granted to the officers and men of the
Investigator in recognition of their brilliant exploit.
184
 CAPTAIN PALLISER'S EXPEDITION
In 1857 the British Government sent Captain Palliser with a
small party of scientists to explore Western Canada. The
expedition was instructed to find, if possible, a practicable
road connecting the Canadas with the west; to collect information about the then little-known country now included
in the Provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and to find a
pass through the mountains suitable for horse traffic.
People had long believed that Western Canada was a country
fit only for Indians and wild animals. Captain Palliser spent
two years in the west; he and his assistants examined the
country very carefully, and on their return for ever banished
the thought that the country was an Arctic barren. "On the
contrary," says Palliser, "almost all the west is suitable for
agricultural settlement." The famous report which he presented to the Government, and which was afterwards printed,
changed everyone's idea and marked the birth year of the
modern west*
Palliser reported that the Lake Superior and Lake Winnipeg
route was too difficult and too expensive ever to be used successfully by emigrants and stock. He thought the best entrance
into the west was by St. Paul, Pembina and the Red River.
"The Assiniboine," writes the explorer, "during its whole
course of nearly three hundred miles lies wholly within fertile
and partially wooded country; for seventy miles before it joins
the Red its valley affords lands of surpassing richness. The
richness of the pastures along the North Saskatchewan can
hardly be exaggerated. Its value does not consist in its being
rank or in great quantity, but from its fine quality; it remains
throughout the winter sound, juicy and fit for the nourishment
of stock. The quantity of fish obtained from some of the lakes
185
J
 is enormous. In the upper part of the Saskatchewan country
coal of fair quality occurs abundantly."
The expedition found a strip of fertile land twenty or more
miles wide lying along the east base of the Rockies. The whole
of this region, Palliser said, would be fit for agriculture and
also for mixed purposes of settlement.
Four passes through the Rockies were examined, the Kanan-
askis, the Vermilion, the British Kootenay and the Kicking
Horse; the Vermilion was reported to be the most convenient.
In Palliser's opinion, however, a through route from the prairies
to British Columbia was impossible on the British side of
the boundary.
"The South Saskatchewan," says the report, "traverses
a very different kind of country. After leaving the influence of
the mountains, it flows in a deep and narrow valley through
a region of arid plains devoid of timber or pasture of good
quality* Below the elbow the banks of the river and the adjacent
plains begin to improve rapidly; in the Cypress Hills there is
abundance of water and pasture*"
Captain Palliser reported the Indians generally friendly
and the country offering many facilities for settlers* Of these
he mentions three particularly: the abundant fish in river and
lake which would help the settler through the difficult year or
two before he could hope to harvest; the rich prairie grass
upon which cattle could feed all winter except, perhaps, for a
few weeks in the spring when frost following a thaw formed
a crust on the snow too thick for animals to break through;
and lastly, ages of fire had cleared the land of timber, and the
fortunate settler had nothing to do but strike his plough into
the furrow.
Softly sinister, slimy, slow,
South Saskatchewan's waters flow;
Trust a woman spurned and thrawn,
Never trust Saskatchewan.
Clara Hopper*
186
 Valentine, Winnipeg
PANNING GOLD
THE TREASURE HUNTERS
, It was dim in the woods, dim with a silent, moving dimness
like that which surrounds one at the bottom of the sea* Great
trees spread their huge leaves, and tall underbrush its feathery
branches; the light which filtered through to the ground was
softly green* The Eagle-Eyed One stood close to the trunk of a
hemlock. His brown body and earth-coloured rags were hardly
to be distinguished from the trunk, so still he was, listening.
The noontime hush lay upon the earth; only the river could be
heard fretting about a great rock in the current. The Eagle-
Eyed One relaxed and peered longingly through the fringe of
leaves, across the belt of hot sand to the water. He had stolen
a gun from the white hunter over the mountain and been fleeing
since before dawn. He was very thirsty.
Sure at last that there was no one about, the Eagle-Eyed
One parted the underbrush and stepped out on the sand. Three
long strides and he knelt by the stream edge. Knelt, then
supporting himself upon hands and one knee, put his lips to
the water and drank deep. How good it was! Without lifting
his lips the Indian drank on; hand and knee sank deeper into
the damp sand; still he drank. The sun moved majestically out
187
 r
11!
from behind a fragment of cloud and something glittering
caught the corner of the Indian's eye. He raised his face an inch
or two from the water and looked. There by his outflung hand
his incredibly dirty index finger pointed to it. What was it?
Eagle-Eye drew his other knee under him and took it up. A
pebble it seemed, as large as a green cherry, and glittering.
Eagle-Eye turned it this way and that in his brown fingers.
In any position it glittered like—like, the buttons on the chief
factor's coat. Gold! Eagle-Eye stood up suddenly. "Huh!"
he said aloud and, tying the nugget into a rag of his shirt, he
disappeared in the woods.1
News of the gold which Eagle-Eye had found in the sand
by the edge of the Thompson spread first among his own tribe,
and then among the white men* McLean, in charge at Kamloops, went up the river to see the place. He found several of
Eagle-Eye's tribe upon the ground turning over the sand and
searching in the crannies of the rocks. Other nuggets had
already been found; the Indians showed the white trader how
deeply embedded in the earth they were. McLean went home
and ordered from Victoria iron spoons with which to dig. They
came, and the Indians were urged to dig industriously and to
bring to the Company whatever gold they found.
Soon afterward an American miner began to wash for gold
on the Fraser River. He collected a small bag of dust which he
showed to his friends about Puget Sound. In January 1858
Governor Douglas announced, " There is reason to believe that
the gold region is extensive and I entertain sanguine hopes that
future researches will develop stores of wealth perhaps equal
to the gold-fields of California." By the spring eight hundred
ounces had been collected and exported. Gold! Gold! Gold
on the Fraser! Up and down the coast rang the thrilling cry.
Crews left their ships, clerks the Company. "Forty-niners"
who, nine years before, had left all to follow the gold trail to
California, got out their pans; business men left their affairs,
farmers their land, to crowd the steamers sailing from San
1 No one knows the name of the Indian who discovered gold on the Thompson,
or in just what way he found it. This part of the story is imaginary. All the rest
is historically true.
188
 Francisco for Victoria. Hundreds who could not secure an early
passage by ship, bought horses and rode overland by the
Okanagan. Governor Douglas had proclaimed that no one
should dig for gold without a licence from the Government, so
all ships called at Victoria. Three thousand treasure hunters
are said to have landed there in one day, camping about the
town in tents.
The first party which left Victoria crossed the gulf in skiffs,
whale-boats and canoes. A number of these were drowned
from their crazy craft. Soon, however, steamers began to run
between Victoria and the mines, all American-owned boats
being required by the wily Governor to pay a royalty on each
trip made. The miners swarmed along the rocky ways carrying
their supplies on their backs; they crowded all the bars of the
Fraser up as far as the mouth of the Thompson. Then the
Indians, angry that the white men should dare to dig their
gold, gathered a war-party and drove the prospectors downriver to Yale. The miners organised in retaliation; but before
serious fighting began, Governor Douglas arrived with the
soldiers and made peace between the two parties.
Meantime eager treasure hunters were pouring into the
country. Governor Douglas raised his licence fee to five dollars;
every boat entering the Fraser paid toll; in Victoria a ten per
cent, duty was charged upon miners' supplies. Still they came,
some twenty thousand of them in 1858, Gaunt, bearded men
they were; carefully shod in huge, hobnailed, knee-high boots.
Each man wore a small leather bag under his belt, and every
man went armed. Trappers carried their packs by a band round
the head, but the miners fastened theirs by a strap passed under
the arms. They distributed themselves along the Fraser from
Maria Bar, just above Fort Langley, to the canyon above Yale,
the majority working between Hope and Yale.
In the.Hope district the men used "rockers" to collect the
precious dust. A rocker was a kind of cradle. It was about four
feet long, two feet across and two feet deep, the width narrowing
toward the bottom. At the head was a perforated sheet-iron
bottom like a housewife's colander. Into this box the gravel was
shovelled by one miner, while his "pardner" poured in water
 and rocked the cradle. The water ran through the perforated
bottom to a second floor of quicksilver or copperplate or woolly
blanket which caught the gold.
Shelter was easily arranged and plenty of fuel at hand, but
meals of bacon, salmon, bread and coffee cost a dollar each. At
meal-time the miners stood in long rows at the counters of the
eating-houses waiting to be served with their dinner on a tin
plate. As autumn drew on, many who had found no gold were
forced to leave. All who could, stayed, however; Yale housed
eight hundred people that winter, most of whom lived in tents
or in log shacks roofed with canvas.
As the miners pushed farther and farther north, it became
increasingly difficult to get supplies in to them. It was thought
that a road might be cut through from Port Douglas by Harrison
Lake, Lillooet Lake and River to Lillooet on the Fraser. The
Governor, shrewd as usual, thought of a plan by which it was
soon done. There were, in Victoria, five hundred gold hunters
eager to reach the mines. "Now," said Douglas, "if each one
of you men will deposit twenty-five dollars and agree to work
upon the road till it is finished, the Hudson's Bay Company
will transport you to Harrison River, feed you, and when the
work is finished, give you either supplies or your money back."
Most of the miners jumped at this chance. The deposits were
made and work on the seventy-mile road begun.
When it was finished, trouble arose between the men and
the Company over the point of delivery of the promised supplies.
The Company declared they had agreed to deliver the supplies
at Port Douglas, the lower end of the trail; the men said their
goods should be handed over at the upper end. Finally a compromise was agreed upon and the men accepted their supplies
in the middle. The point of delivery meant a considerable
difference in price. Beans were one and a half cents a pound
at Victoria, five cents a pound at Port Douglas, and a dollar a
pound at the upper end of the trail. The opening of the road
soon reduced food prices on the Upper Fraser to a much more
reasonable level.
When the river bars and banks had all been staked out as
claims, the miners began "dry-digging." They moved back
190
 from the edges of the river up the banks and terraces on either
side. They had then either to carry the earth down to the river
to be washed or to dig ditches to lead the water through their
claims. Sluicing, as this was called, was much more difficult
and costly than rocking, but it brought in twice as much gold,
the yield being as high as twenty-five dollars a day per man.
Then the bars on the lower reaches of the river began to
show signs of exhaustion. Many of those who had come in
hopes went away in despair. Towns lately busy and prosperous
became huddles of roofless shacks, and a period of reaction
set in.
THE ROYAL ENGINEERS
As soon as news of the gold rush reached England, Lord Lytton
wrote to James Douglas, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay
post at Victoria, asking him to act as Governor of the country
and promising to send out some companies of the Royal
Engineers to survey the land, lay out roads, and maintain order.
The Royal Engineers were chosen because they were known
to be a very superior corps, and it was hoped that they would
not desert to go prospecting as soon as they reached the gold
country. The main body of the force reached Victoria in the
spring of 1859.
Fort Langley had been chosen as the capital of the new gold
colony, and as soon as Captain Parsons arrived with the first
party of Engineers he was sent over to lay out the city. The
surveyors had done their work and the carpenters were advancing
rapidly with the public buildings when Colonel Moody, the
commanding officer, arrived. The Colonel did not like the site
and chose instead New Westminster as the seat of the Government. In spite of the complaints of the real-estate men who had
already bought Fort Langley property, the capital was moved.
The Engineers spent the summer of 1859 in laying out the new
city and in building barracks.
The Royal Engineers played an important part in the
development of early British Columbia. While part of the corps
191
 founded New Westminster, others explored, surveying roads
and pushing trails through the wilderness in all directions. In
i860 land for agriculture began to be in demand, and the
Engineers were kept busy surveying farms. One party deepened
the channel through the shoals of Harrison Lake; another
located the trail from Hope to Similkameen, along which
Moberly and Dewdney afterwards built a road. In 1861 the
Engineers surveyed the road from Yale to Lytton and located
the Suspension Bridge; in 1862 the Cariboo road was begun.
When the corps was finally disbanded, the men were given
their choice of going home and finishing their term in the army
or remaining in the colony. Each of those who remained was
given 160 acres of land; most of the married men stayed.
CARIBOO
Not all the miners left the Fraser when the first flush of
promise began to fade. Already thoughtful men were saying to
themselves, " This fine gold is carried down by rivers from the
mountains; in the mountains we shall find the mother-lode."
One and another left the crowd and went off by himself. Peter
Dunlevy, disregarding the rumours of Indian threats, went up
to the mouth of the Chilcotin River. There he fell in with a
chief's son who led him to what became the famous Horsefly
Mines. In 1859 there were a thousand men at Quesnel Lake,
while Hope and Yale were almost deserted. On Snyder's Bar
three men took out in one day a thousand dollars' worth of gold.
In the autumn of the following year Dr* Keithley arrived
with three companions to explore Keithley Creek which flows
into Lake Cariboo* They tramped up the creek for five miles;
then seven miles farther up a dry ravine, coming out upon a
"park-like ridge*" They slept under the stars and, breakfasting,
discussed whether or not it was worth while to go farther* In
order to look about, the party climbed the shoulder of a mountain near. Beyond the ridge they could see another creek rippling
downward in the sunshine. They climbed down to it and
wandered along. Presently one shouted, then another. "The
192
 gravel was pitted with little yellow stones." Excitedly they began
washing. The first pan gave an ounce of gold, the second a
quarter of a pound. Forgetting everything they worked till
darkness fell.
They had no shelter but their blankets and it snowed heavily
in the night; they were out of food too. In the morning two of
the party began to build a log cabin, while the others hurried
off to get provisions at the store on Cariboo Lake. They had
planned to keep their find secret, but somehow it leaked out
among the group of ragged men hanging around the store. The
Keithley men were trailed back to "Antler Creek," and claims
were staked faster than they could be recorded. The doctor
and his men had their log shack, but the others spent the winter
in holes dug in the earth of their claims.
"Antler Creek" was the first of many rich finds in Cariboo:
Harvey Creek, Goose Creek, Lightning Creek, and at last in
1861 Williams Creek, the richest gold mine in the world. Edward
Stout and William Deitz discovered the latter. At first it seemed
hardly worth while, the gold panning only about a dollar a
wash. "Humbug Creek" the miners called it. Then one of
them spent two days digging to see what lay beneath the blue
clay. He found a thousand dollars' worth of gold* The crowd
rushed back* Its claims yielded twenty to sixty thousand dollars
a year, and a certain Cameron secured a hundred and fifty
thousand dollars in gold dust before he left the country*
"Lightning Creek" yielded a hundred thousand dollars in three
weeks* Two and a half million dollars' worth of gold was
exported from Cariboo in one year*
The stories of Cariboo set the whole world by the ears*
People poured in from all directions* Working men, business
men, professional men, by pack-train, by canoe, on foot, they
crowded in. Flour was three hundred dollars a barrel, dried
apples two dollars and a half a pound; potatoes ninety dollars
a hundredweight* Boots sold for fifty dollars a pair* By 1862
there were six thousand people in Cariboo, and Barkerville
had become the centre of the district.
Too often the men who made the richest strikes did not
profit by them. One wild fellow, having made thirty thousand
vn—n 193
 r
L
dollars, spent the whole sum in treating the neighbours to
champagne at thirty dollars a bottle, finishing "by smashing
with twenty-dollar gold pieces a costly mirror hanging in the
bar-room." Cariboo Cameron lost his money in poor investments. William Deitz died poor in Victoria.
The gold rush to Cariboo opened up new country. To carry
in people and supplies a road was needed. To the bold task of
building one, Governor Douglas set himself. A company of
Royal Engineers had been sent from England. In 1862 they
began blasting and bridge-building. The road was built on a
kind of honeycomb of logs. It was eighteen feet wide and
four hundred and eighty miles long, being carried from Yale
to Lytton, then to Ashcroft on the Thompson, then to Soda
Creek on the Upper Fraser, and finally from Quesnel into
Barkerville, the heart of the Cariboo. A thoroughly good road,
it cost the country only two thousand dollars a mile.
The Cariboo road was finished in 1865. Thereafter passengers for the gold fields went in, fashionably, by stage-coach and
six horses; freight was transported by bull-team. There were
road-houses at intervals along the way where fresh horses were
kept for the stage and the passengers slept. Before dawn
passengers rose from their bunks and sat down on hewn logs to
a breakfast of " ham, eggs, soggy potatoes and slapjacks, called
'Rocky Mountain dead shot,' in maple syrup which had
never seen a maple tree." The stage left at dawn* Wiping their
mouths with the backs of hands probably unwashed, the
passengers jumped and fought for places* The whip cracked:
the horses sprang forward at a gallop. The journey was made
regularly in five days, and often in four.
194
 THE CARIBOO TRAIL1
The road from Yale to Barkerville, about four hundred miles
long and some fourteen feet wide, was constructed by the
Imperial Government during the exciting times of the gold
rush to Cariboo. It was a gigantic undertaking in those days.
The lower part up the Fraser canyons being blasted out of the
solid rock is sometimes a mere shelf with an overhanging roof.
The grades were steep to avoid extra heavy cuttings, and at
one place the narrow path of the wagon road hung on the edge
of a precipice thirteen hundred feet above the roaring waters
of the Fraser*
The road in the most dangerous places was very narrow
and there was scarcely room for two teams to pass* "The
Royal Mail" always had the right of way, although we frequently met bull-teams and mule-teams* The former consisted
of twelve to sixteen yoke of oxen; the latter of ten or twelve
pairs of mules guided by one Mexican aiding the leading nigh
mule* The teams were always made to take the outside overlooking the scenery below* One enterprising firm tried a string
of camels as pack animals, but the experiment failed, as the feet
of the camels were too soft to stand the road*
A pack-train of mules is most entertaining* We had seventy-
five of them besides a few horses* It took only four men to
handle this bunch—a "cargador," who is the boss, three assistants and a cook* No matter how many mules there are, they are
all named and they answer to their names. Most of them seemed
to have been named after the Apostles and Saints Paul, Peter,
Luke, Mark, Anthony, etc. Long before daylight the " matador "
rose sleepily and tramped off into the morning mist to round
up the band. He returned with them in an hour or two, having
1 Arranged from Canada's Great Highway, by J. H. E. Secretan.
195
 caught the "bell mare," whose tinkling bell the others religiously
follow.
The "aparajos" or pack saddles are always formed up into
a large circle upon arriving at camp, and the cargo is neatly
piled in the centre. When the mule train comes in in the morning, each mule seems to know his own place and solemnly
faces his own particular "aparajo" on the outside of the circle,
when' all are. linked together with a "hackamore," a kind of
rope halter.'Then Saint Paul is led into the centre of the ring,
blindfolded with a small board hitched behind his long ears,
and loaded with a couple of hundred-pound sacks of flour on
either side, topped off perhaps with a chest of tea for luck.
The mysteries of the "diamond hitch" are then performed by
two packers, and Saint Paul, cinched till his stomach looks like
an hour-glass, grunts and is dismissed with a kick, while the
next mule takes his place.
When all are "packed," the bell mare, generally ridden by
the cook, jingles gaily away in the lead and the whole train
follows, flanked on either side by the Mexicans well mounted
on pet mules* The lordly "cargador" smoking a cigarette brings
up the rear.
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Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
THE CARIBOO TRAIL
196
 THE OVERLANDERS
" Gold in Cariboo/' the magic
words came winging over the
mountains and down the long
prairie trails to Eastern Canada*
At once several parties were
made up in Ontario and
Quebec to go overland to
British Columbia, treasure
hunting* That was indeed a
desperate venture, though the
people, knowing little of the
way, set out with light hearts.
The different parties gathered
at St. Paul, a village now and
much too dignified to remember that it had lately been
known as Pig's Eye. From
there the treasure hunters took the stage to Georgetown on the
Red River. The steamer International, which the Hudson's
Bay Company was building to carry goods up and down the
Red, lay at Georgetown almost finished. The travellers camped
for a week waiting for her.
One pleasant May morning the International pulled out
into the stream with a hundred and fifty men aboard. Soon it
was found that she would not answer her helm. She veered
and yawed about, colliding with trees on the bank and knocking
down her smoke stacks. At last they learned how to manage
her and she proceeded down-stream, the crew standing constantly by to push off shore at every bend in the river. Progress
was slow and the captain put everyone on rations of two meals
a day. It was a tired and hungry party which reached Fort Garry.
197
Provincial Library, Edmonton
MRS. SCHUBERT
 In Red River everyone hastened to buy himself a cart, oxen
or horses, pemmican and flour for the journey. Ox carts and
harness complete cost eight to ten pounds apiece, and pemmican
sixteen cents a pound. The Nor*-Wester published a notice
purporting to be from certain chiefs, saying that they intended
to impose a tax on these strangers who would cross their lands;
the suggestion worried the treasure hunters, but it turned out
to have been only a joke.
On June 2, 1862, the various parties drew out of Fort Garry,
each man proudly driving his new cart. They gathered at Long
Lake and there held a council to organise their order of march.
Mr. Thomas McMicking of Kingston was elected leader, and
a committee appointed to assist him. The Indians hovered
about waiting to steal. The camp was, therefore, arranged in
the form of a triangle, with the carts placed on each side, the
animals tethered within and the tents pitched without. Six
men stood guard, two pacing up and down each side of the
triangle. At half-past two every morning the camp was aroused;
by three it was on the march. They halted for breakfast; then
sharply at seven the order rang out, "Every man to his ox!"
and the long line creaked on.
Two and a half miles an hour, ten hours a day, they wound
along over the prairies of Saskatchewan, around little lakes blue
as the skies above, over the long meadows gorgeous with flowers
of every hue, among clumps of poplars, their fresh leaves dancing
in the perfumed breeze, to the silver horizon. The vastness
and indescribable beauty of the prairies astounded these men
from the east. At six o'clock "Camp ahead" was shouted down
the line. Carts were placed, fires built, pots slung, and the men
fell hungrily upon their meal. For an hour, in the rainbow-hued
twilight, a song was heard here, the sweet note of a violin there;
Mrs. Schubert, the one woman in the party, hushed her babies
to sleep; then the camp slept.
They had their troubles even on that fairyland of prairie.
For days mosquitoes tortured them. At other times only brackish
water could be found. At Fort Pitt, on the North Saskatchewan, they found the streams much swollen from eleven days'
steady rain. Between July 18 and 21 they built eight bridges,
 besides wading frequently up to their necks when fording was
possible. They built the bridges of tree trunks. "The trees
were felled as near the margin of the river as possible; then
several men swam across the river, one carrying a "cord attached
to a rope attached in turn to a tree. By hauling on this rope they
pulled the tree across and fastened it to the bank." Tree after
tree was hauled across until the two banks of the stream were
firmly connected; then small trees were cut and laid across the
supports. On these bridges, horses, oxen and carts crossed safely.
The party reached Fort Edmonton on July 21, and camped
for several days on the Strathcona side waiting for a boat to
ferry them over. They traded at St. Albert and discussed long
and earnestly with traders by which pass they had best attempt
the Rockies. It was finally decided to take the Leather Head
Pass, and Andre Cardinal, who had been over the road twenty-
nine times, was hired as guide; the treasure hunters paid him
fifty dollars in money, an ox and cart, one hundred pounds of
flour, and some groceries.
The Rocky Mountains were sighted on August 13, and,
weary now of the endless plains, the travellers shouted with
joy at the glorious sight. As autumn came on, the days shortened;
they could make only ten miles a day. Their provisions gave
out and game seemed very scarce. The mountain valleys were
piled high with fallen logs; the rivers wound back and forth
endlessly. In one morning the adventurers crossed the Maquette
eight times. They reached the Fraser at a point where it could
be forded at a single stride. They had crossed the divide, but
had still a long way to go. Having no food for the animals, they
abandoned two or three each day. The men were reduced to
horse-meat; one young man was discovered toasting a piece
of lariat rope.
At Tete Jaune Cache they found a camp of Shushwaps and
traded ammunition and clothing for dried salmon and berry
cakes. Andre, the guide, had so far led them faithfully, but he
knew the road no farther. The Shushwaps had never heard of
Cariboo. The expedition now divided, some going overland,
some down the Fraser, and still others, the Schuberts among
them, crossing to the head-waters of the Thompson.
 r
The different parties had varied fortunes, but all suffered
terribly, and many lives were lost in the turbulent streams.
Some of the men reached Fort George; others Alexandria;
and Mrs. Schubert with her children, Kamloops. They had
reached the end of the rainbow, but the pot of gold was not
there. A few of the adventurers reached the gold fields, others
took work upon the Cariboo road. In the end most of them
settled down to farming*
THE FRASER
The River of Flowers comes down to the sea,
Purple its waters and gray;
From the heart of the mountains, shouting with glee,
Purple its waters and gray*
Foaming with silver the river comes down,
Purple its waters and gray;
Gleaming and golden the salmon go up,
Through waters purple and' gray*
Now on its bosom the fishermen float,
Out on the purple and gray;
Over its silver and gold they float,
Forgotten the purple and gray*
 BUILDING A MISSION
ST.  ALBERT
Father Lacombe, a young French-Canadian priest, came up
to Edmonton from Fort Garry in 1852. He had a dash of Indian
blood in his veins and the life of the plains had called to him
from childhood. Father Thibault, who had had a mission among
the Crees for nine years, was utterly worn out, and Bishop
Provencher at Red River sent the young man to take his place.
His strong body was built for the work, his soul keyed to it;
never did knight of old ride forth more joyously to his adventure;
never did paladin more gloriously achieve it than did Father
Lacombe his mission.
He came up to Edmonton with the autumn brigade and
spent the winter in the fort* But when spring came striding
over the hills, the young man was up and away* Up the river,
down the river, north and south through the woods he tramped
and, at last, decided to make his headquarters at Lac Ste* Anne,
fifty miles north-west of the fort. Father Thibault had chosen
it ten years before as a mission because of the fishing and fuel;
besides it was distant from the Blackfoot trail to Edmonton
and therefore safe.
Father Lacombe remained at Lac Ste. Anne for some years.
He ministered specially to the Metis, but the Indians loved
him, and more and more came to be guided by him. They were
peaceful years* The Father divided his days between work in
the fields and attending to his mission. The simple-hearted
Crees received his religion gladly, but were not quite so willing
to dig and hoe in the barley-, turnip- and potato-fields. Still, led
by the good priest, they planted and tended and soon had
comfortable little farms.
One day, while Bishop Tache of Red River was paying his
201
^
 second visit to Ste. Anne, Father Lacombe was startled by the
sudden appearance of a huge Blackfoot chief who, arrayed in
his most gorgeous attire, had come to see the bishop. The
chief asked Bishop Tache if he would not send a priest to preach
to the Blackfeet. He promised that they would treat one respectfully and while he was with them would not make war upon the
Crees. The priest was asked to carry a white flag with a red
cross, so that the Blackfeet should know him* Father Lacombe
had been urging that a mission to which the Blackfeet might
come should be established'"tf@ll^the fort* Bishop Tache now
commanded it to be done, and the two chose St* Albert as
the site,   j
"Here you will build the chapel!" exclaimed the young
bishop, striking his staff into the snow on the hill-top where
they stood looking down over the broad and lovely valley of
the River Sturgeon. It was the spring of 1861. Life at Lac Ste.
Anne was already too settled for the eager heart of Father
Lacombe; he turned with delight to the buMing of the new
mission* As soon as the snow was off the ground he collected
ponies, oxen and farm implements, and with Michel and Rose,
his two Metis servants, set out for the Sturgeon* They pitched
their buffalo-hide tents on the hillside where the bishop had
stood, and after prayers next morning began their work*
With two other Metis helpers they crossed the river to the
spruce woods beyond and got out logs for the building; it took
them ten days* One of the oxen then drew the logs across to
the chosen site. The Metis dug a saw-pit and the logs were
sawed in half lengthwise* Meantime two of the men cleared and
broke the ground for the little farm that was to be* They had
only one plough so Father Lacombe arranged that one man
should break part of the day with one yoke of oxen; then the
other man brought out a fresh yoke and ploughed as long as
the late northern twilight permitted* In this way they managed
to break up a considerable acreage*
Presently some of the Ste* Anne folk arrived* Loving Father
Lacombe as they did, they preferred to come and work for him
than to go on the summer hunt; the men got out wood for a
number of houses; the women worked in the community
202
 INDIAN BURIAL
garden, where they planted carrots, onions, beets, cabbage
and turnips, as well as a good-sized field of potatoes* Father
Lacombe was in his element* His energetic spirit had now full
scope* Now in the saw-pit; next among the builders; showing
the women how to weed the young onions; superintending the
work of the men in the field; he was never still* By the end of
July the fields began to glow with the gold of harvest, the
houses were nearly ready for occupation, and everyone was
feasting on the fresh vegetables from the garden.
Autumn brought a plentiful harvest. The good grain was
threshed and taken to the Company's grist-mill at Fort Edmonton. The partly-ripened oats were cut for food; the vegetables
were stored in root-cellars on the hillside. Alexis, Father
Lacombe's famous guide, led the hunters to the plains on the
autumn hunt for buffalo. Those who remained brought in each
night huge bags of wild duck shot among the reed fringes of
Big Lake. "It is the Golden Age," wrote Father Lacombe,
uplifted by the success of his labours.
The next spring the good Father determined to build a
bridge across the Sturgeon at the foot of the hill. Twenty
Metis families had now selttled at St. Albert. Every second
Sunday the priest crossed to hold service at Fort Edmonton,
nine miles away. They had been using a raft, but it was both
203
 inconvenient and unsafe. One Sunday after Mass Father Lacombe
stepped outside and said, "My friends, I'm finished to cross
that way in the water, walking in the mud on the bank and
pushing the raft. I'll build me a bridge, and if any of you do
not help me—that man shall not cross on the bridge; he shall
go through the water. Yes, I will have a man there to watch."
Next morning the settlement to the last man, woman and
child came out to help build the bridge. They brought axes and
ropes. An old French Canadian supervised the building. Father
Lacombe fed the workers on pemmican and tea and, in three
days, it was finished; they had a solid bridge. To the Metis,
who had never seen the like, it was a marvel. Grown-ups and
children alike ran back and forth across it, laughing and clapping
their hands. For years it was the only one in the country and
was known far and wide simply as "The Bridge."
Father Lacombe now needed many things for the new
mission at St. Albert. In those days goods were brought into
the country only by the Hudson's Bay Company when the fur
brigade returned in the autumn. The charges were high;
Father Lacombe felt that he could not afford them* After some
thought he organised a brigade of Red River carts and set out
overland for the settlements* They were a month going and
another returning; this is said to have been the first cart brigade
to carry freight between the Red River and Edmonton.
Brother Scollen came back with Father Lacombe to open a
school at Fort Edmonton* This, the first school in Alberta,
was held in a low log building just within the fort walls* There
were twenty pupils of all ages and sizes, boys and girls alike
dressed in deerskin* They were but little accustomed to staying
within doors, much less to sitting still, and the good Brother
had his hands full. Few could read, fewer still write or spell.
None of them was very anxious to learn; but patient Brother
Scollen won their hearts and soon tamed his "Wild West."
204
 THE SARCEE MAID
On a calm summer evening in 1867 Father Lacombe sat smoking
his pipe with the chiefs in a small encampment of Crees* Suddenly the quiet was broken by the war-chant of the tribe; the
young warriors returning from the hunt galloped wildly into
camp* They had had a brush with a party of Sarcees and had
brought home a prisoner, a young woman whose husband
they had killed.
Proudly she sat her pony, alone in the hostile camp. She
wore a robe of white deer-skin; her dusky hair fell loose about
her; her great dark eyes blazed defiance at her foes. Then she
saw the good priest sitting among the chiefs* Slipping from her
horse she knelt at his feet claiming a sanctuary she felt rather
than knew* Father Lacombe laid his hand upon her head*
"Who owns this woman?" he said*
" I do," answered one of the young men, stepping forward*
" Sell her to me," said the priest*
"But no, I do not want to sell," replied the young man*
"I have no wife and I have nothing with which to buy one*
I want the woman myself*"
" I will give you a horse for her," bargained Father Lacombe,
"a horse, a new coat, leggings, tea, tobacco*"
"Ha!" said the Indian, "you offer much for her* You may
have her."
"Now," said the priest to the maid, "you belong to me*
You must go where I wish and do as I tell you*" The maid
nodded submissively*
A scheme had already flashed into Father Lacombe's mind*
He would Christianise the captive maiden and then take her
back to her people* She should make his welcome sure among
the southern tribes where he longed to build a mission* The
205
 Sarcee maid was sent to the Sisters at St* Albert where, during
the winter, she learned English and the ways of the paleface.
Next spring when Father Lacombe called at the convent
for his maid, the Sisters did not wish to let her go. "Leave Marguerite with us," they begged. "No! No!" said the priest,
"she is gold—gold to me. Her people of the Blackfoot nation
are fierce and proud. They are my friends, though they do
not love my teaching as the Crees do. But when I bring
Marguerite back to them—Ah! that- is my day."
So Father Lacombe rode south with Alexis, his man;
Suzanne, an old Blackfoot squaw; and Marguerite. Presently
they saw a large camp on the slope of a neighbouring coulee.
"That may be my people," said Marguerite. "Good!" said
Father Lacombe. "Raise the Red Cross flag, Alexis; go into
the tent, Marguerite, and stay there till I tell you to come out."
In a few minutes Indians from the encampment rode up to
welcome Father Lacombe. Several of them were in mourning,
having their faces streaked with black paint*
"For whom are you in mourning?" asked the cunning
Father.
"Six months ago," replied the Indians, "your friends, the
Crees, attacked one of our camps. They killed some of our
young men and carried off one of our young women*"
" Did you not find her ?" asked the priest*
"Her brothers rode out but they did not get her* She has
been carried far into the Cree country* She may be dead* We
shall never see her again."
"Marguerite," called Father Lacombe*
Out sprang the lost maiden, well and happy, delighted at
being again among her own people* One glance about, then,
with a glad cry, she flew straight into the arms of her mother.
What shouts of surprise! What cries of joy! The women pressed
round Marguerite; the men about Father Lacombe. They
brought him in procession to their camp where there were songs
of triumph and orations by the chiefs. Sure enough the story
of Marguerite gave the good priest mose influence among the
southern tribes than many sermons would have done.
206
 THE TRANSFER OF THE GREAT WEST
From the time of William Sayer's trial the authority of the
Hudson's Bay Company in Red River grew steadily weaker.
The Company fought this growing weakness by increasingly
strict rules and became only the more unpopular. Letters,
complaints and petitions against the Company followed each
other to England with every mail.1
The case against the Company was hotly taken up by
Alexander Isbister, a clever young lawyer, born in Rupert's
Land, and having a strain of Indian blood. For some years
Isbister and the Company in turn bombarded the British
Government with question and answer, accusation and defence.
Now the Company held its lands in different ways; Rupert's
Land, the region whose rivers flowed into Hudson's Bay,
belonged to it by charter from King Charles II*; outside
departments, Athabasca, Saskatchewan and Pacific, were held
by licence from the Government. The licensed lands were much
the most valuable, and the licence terminated and had to be
renewed every twenty-one years. The old licence expired in
1859; in the midst of all these troubles the Company was forced
to ask for a new one.
Meantime the people of Canada had begun to be interested
in the west. The eastern provinces were filling up; it would
1 During the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century, the Hudson's
Bay Company ruled in Red River. The community was a small and isolated one
and, as most of the white settlers were connected in some way with the Company,
they remained happy and contented under a paternal rule which from time to
time spent both time and money for the improvement of their condition. After
the publication of Palliser's report, however, the fame of the land's fertility
spread abroad and new settlers began to appear. These people were unaccustomed
to Company government and they disliked its restrictions. They resented the
Company's monopoly of the fur trade. They complained that the Company
hindered settlement; that they could not get supplies at a reasonable rate; that
the Company charged excessive duties on imports; that the governor and council
were not elective; in short, the new settlers sought representative government
for Red River,
207
>^
 not be long before the prairies would be needed for settlement.
Canadians claimed that all the land westward to the Pacific
Ocean should belong to Canada. The British Government then
appointed a committee to look into the whole matter. This
committee sat, took a great deal of evidence, heard a great
many witnesses, and arrived at a very sensible decision* They
advised that Red River and Saskatchewan, land needed for
settlement, should be given to Canada; that Vancouver Island
be taken over as a colony by the British Government; and that
as to the great northern territory, where no one wished to settle,
the Company should keep it, trade in it, and take care of it lest
it go back to barbarism*
Meantime Mr* Watkins, a clever business man, gathered
together a group of capitalists, who arranged to buy out the
old Company. Representatives of the old and new Companies
met in the board-room of Hudson's Bay House in Fenchurch
Street, London, on February i," 1862. Several of the old stockholders were strongly opposed to the sale, and hot words
were flung across the green-covered table. The majority of
the Hudson's Bay men, however, thought it best to sell. Just
two hundred years before the "Adventurers " had begun business
with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars; the capital stock
was now seven and a half millions.
When the "wintering partners," the chief factors and chief
traders heard of the sale they were very angry* The new Company had intended to give them salaries instead of partnerships,
but they protested so strongly that the change was not made
at that time*
In 1867 the provinces of Canada united, becoming the
Dominion of Canada. Canadians felt that the new Dominion
Government should have control of Rupert's Land* Some
thought it ought to be taken from the Company; but the Government more honourably arranged to buy it* Canada agreed to
pay for it three hundred thousand pounds and one-twentieth
of the land. Thus in 1869, after two centuries of power, the
"Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay" ceded
their sovereign rights in Rupert's Land to the Imperial Government, which handed them over to Canada.
208
 DANGEROUS DAYS
Grant, Calgary
WILLIAM MCDOUGALL
While Canada was still treating
with the Hudson's Bay Company
for the north-west lands, Mr.
McDougall, Canadian Minister of
Public Works, sent Mr. John Show
to Red River. Mr. Snow Was instructed to build a road from Fort
Garry to the Lake of the Woods*
With the permission of the Company some surveys had already
been made; but Mr. McDougall
does not seem to have asked permission to build the road.
The coming of the road builders
alarmed the half-breeds of Red
River. They had, in the past, often
complained of the Company's rule; they now saw themselves
likely to be taken over by Canada, and they were not at all sure
that they would like the new master better than the old.
Canadians in Mr. Snow's party wrote letters to the newspapers
in Canada describing the Metis in such a way that these hot-
tempered fellows took offence. The road builders probably
boasted about Canada and what she would do when she took
possession of Red River. The Americans among them may have
whispered that it would be wiser to join the United States than
Canada. Whatever the causes, the six thousand French half-
breeds in the settlement became very restless.
In the following July (1869)  Mr.  McDougall appointed
Colonel Dennis to go to Red River, lay out townships and make
a general survey of the country. It was scarcely polite, for the
vn—o 209
 I
Company had not yet transferred the west to Canada. When
the surveyors arrived, the half-breeds became convinced that
their lands were to be taken from them and given to strangers.
They grew more and more angry. Colonel Dennis and his men
had hardly begun their work when a party of Metis led by
Louis Riel came down upon them and forced them to stop.
The officers in Red River, the priests also, tried to persuade the
half-breeds to let the survey go on, but they would not. Surveyors
and road builders had to withdraw.
It had been agreed that the Hudson's Bay Company should
formally make the west over to the Dominion of Canada on
October i, 1869. The Dominion Government appointed Mr.
McDougall Lieutenant-Governor of the north-west, and he
set out for Fort Garry. He travelled through the United States
and reached Pembina on October 30. Hearing of his coming
the Metis had resolved to keep him out. Led by the fiery Riel,
they sent the new Governor a message warning him not to enter
the country, and building a barrier across the road between
Fort Garry and Pembina they prepared to resist him by force
of arms.
For once Mr. McDougall behaved wisely; he stayed at
Pembina. Colonel Dennis went up to Red River to get the
Scotch and English settlers to escort the Governor in; but they,
while 'willing to receive McDougall, refused to take part against
the half-breeds, with whom they had always been friends. Had
they done so, they might have brought down upon their
unprotected heads the whole Indian population of the west.
Riel now began to carry things with a high hand in the
settlement. His men stopped travellers at the barrier and
detained the mails. On November 2 he and his band seized
Fort Garry. The fatal weakness of the Company's government
was now seen. When Riel appeared at the gates, Governor
McTavish was ill. Dr. Cowan, the officer in charge, protested
against the seizure of the fort, but, naturally, Riel paid little
attention to that. He set guards and proceeded to make himself and his men comfortable. They seized Mr. McDougall's
furniture, which had been sent forward from Pembina, and
with it furnished their own quarters.
210
 There were at this time four groups of people in Red River:
the French half-breeds; the Selkirk settlers, Scotch and English;
the Canadians, mainly settled in the new village of Winnipeg;
and a little band of Company officials. Hitherto they had
worked together well, but now differences of opinion divided
them. The Canadians were all for admitting Mr. McDougall
and joining Canada at once; the hot-headed French wished to
keep him out altogether and to form a Provisional Government
in the colony; the canny Selkirk men advised a compromise,
"Let the Company's government continue to act," they said,
"until we come to an arrangement with Canada." Riel at first
agreed to this, but afterwards he changed his mind, saying
that the Company government was too weak to maintain order.
The British group now held a meeting to decide what to do.
While it was going on, Colonel Dennis arrived with a proclamation announGing that the country had now been transferred
to Canada. This simplified matters. The French and British
delegates met together and drew up a " Bill of Rights," intending,
should Canada grant these rights, to join her, admit Mr.
McDougall, and settle down peaceably. Unfortunately a number
of Canadians had armed themselves and gone out to join Colonel
Dennis. It was rumoured that they meant to attack Fort Garry.
This angered the French group, and when the Canadians
gathered at Dr. Schultz' house in Winnipeg, Riel went down
with three hundred men, carried them to the fort and locked
them up.
To make matters worse, it now became known that the
proclamation about the transfer of the country to Canada had
been sent out by Mr. McDougall upon his own authority and
was not legal. The money had not yet been paid over to the
Hudson's Bay Company nor had the north-west been transferred to Canada. Everything was again thrown into confusion.
The settlers went to Riel to beg him to let the Canadian prisoners
go. He would not; on the contrary he kept quietly arresting
others whom he suspected of sympathising with Canada. Soon
no one knew how many prisoners he had in Fort Garry.
Mr. McDougall now returned to Canada, and Donald Smith
was sent out by the Canadian Government to try to bring about
 r
•Jf
a settlement with the people of Red River. Mr. Smith was quiet
and tactful. He read to the people the Queen's proclamation
announcing the legal transfer of the country to Canada. Another
convention assembled, another "List of Rights" was drawn up.
Smith read the list aloud and assured the people that the
Canadian Government would grant them all their demands and
more besides. He then invited them to name two delegates to
go to Ottawa to arrange the matter.
Meantime Riel, not wishing to lose his power, urged
that the English and French
unite to form a Provisional
Government to take charge
in Red River until Ottawa
should have instituted a permanent one. The English
members of the convention
did not wish to do this, but
rather than offend the French
members, they agreed. A
Provisional Government, the
"Pemmican Government,"as
it was nicknamed, was formed
and Riel elected president.
Riel had promised to
liberate the prisoners he held,
but he still delayed to do so.
Angry at this a body of
Portage la Prairie men came
down to liberate their friends, but they were captured by
Riel's men and the whole party marched off to Fort Garry.
Riel held a court - martial upon these men and sentenced
Major Boulton, their leader, and three others to be shot. The
greatest excitement spread through the settlement and people
hurried to Riel to plead for the lives of the condemned men.
He agreed to release the three; but not until Mr. Smith himself
begged for Major Boulton was he saved.
Apparently, however, Riel could not be content without
Stanton, Toronto
THOMAS SCOTT
 m
showing his power by taking someone's life. Before anyone
could stay his hand he condemned and shot young* Scott,
a man whom, for some reason, he hated. All Canada gasped
with horror when the dreadful deed became known.
From that hour Riel's power waned. The Canadian Government at once ordered troops to Red River. The force, which
consisted of seven hundred non-commissioned officers and
men, assembled at Toronto, proceeded to Collingwood by rail,
and sailed for Fort William in the steamers Chicora and Algoma.
The Americans, who owned the canal at the Sault, allowed the
Algoma to pass through, but refused permission to the Chicora,
so that her stores had to be landed on the British side of the
river, portaged three miles, and re-shipped for Fort William
in the Algoma*
The troops disembarked at Prince Arthur's Landing on
June 21, and began the task of transporting the stores over
the difficult forty-eight miles between Fort William and Lake
Shebandowan. Rain rendering the roads almost impassable,
Colonel Wolseley had the voyageurs drag the boats up the bed
of the Kaministikuia River, which they did with great difficulty.
The men quickly became expert in cutting wood, lighting
fires, and cooking. The sun burnt them a deep bronze; carrying
loads tore their shirts; rowing wore holes in their trousers,
which, being patched with canvas from the bean-sacks, won
for them the nickname "Canvas-back ducks." From Lake
Shebandowan they pushed cheerfully up the lakes and rivers
and over the forty-seven portages of the "Dawson Route" to
Fort Garry, having covered the 1146 miles in ninety-five days.
When they arrived they found that Riel and his men had
fled. Colonel Wolseley did not try to capture Riel, who escaped
from the country. The Manitoba Act had already been passed
at Ottawa* By it Red River became part of the great new Province of Manitoba* One million four hundred thousand acres
of land were set aside for the half-breeds who settled down
very peaceably.
213
 CHARLES MAIR'S ESCAPE FROM FORT GARRY
As told to Elizabeth Bailey Pr;ce by Charles Mair
Charles Mair, author and poet, had been sent to Fort Garry
as paymaster of the emigrant road-makers* While there he met
and married Elizabeth McKinney, niece of Dr. and Mrs. Schultz.
In September 1869 they went to St. Paul on their wedding trip*
Returning with Mr. McDougall in October, the newly-married
couple were allowed to proceed, while the Governor and his
party were detained at Pembina* by the half-breeds. Soon after
their arrival at Fort Garry, Mr* Mair and his wife were imprisoned* During some weeks they were allowed to see each
other only twice; then Mrs* Mair was permitted to leave the
fort and stay with friends, the Drevers*
"After having been in prison several months," says Charles
Mair, "Riel one evening ordered me out of my cell and told
me that I was to be shot* Upon my return I called my fellow-
prisoners together and told them that my murder would not
be the only one* We decided then and there to escape if possible.
"At first we had all been confined to Fort Garry, but owing
to lack of accommodation, a considerable number of the prisoners
had been removed to the old Assiniboine gaol and courthouse,
which consisted of eight cells, four on each side, lit by narrow
windows, each with an iron bar in the centre. I occupied the
first cell with Mr. Lewis Archibald, Mr. Miller and the unfortunate Thomas Scott. The cell immediately opposite was
occupied by Peter McArthur and three others* As this cell
faced the eastern stockade in which a pivot was missing, leaving
a gap through which a man could pass, it was decided to make
the escape through it*
214
 "A file had been conveyed in, and Mr. McArthur had
secretly cut his bar from its holdings so that it could be taken
out when required. Even then the opening was so narrow that
probably one prisoner would have to remain, as those who
escaped would have to be shoved through by main force and
would fall on their heads in the snow.
" The night chosen was a dark and bitterly cold one in January
1870; and the time was the change of guards at midnight.
Those who had been on sentry duty were warming themselves
by the guardroom fire, while the relief reluctantly dressed to
go out. One by one we were thrust through the little opening*
On getting out of the stockade each prisoner took the direction
that pleased him, numbers heading for the wood on the Assiniboine River* Very soon, owing to the excitement and noise
in the prison, the guards discovered the escape; Riel's whole
force was soon in pursuit* The poor fellows blundering in the
dark were nearly all recaptured, most of them badly frostbitten, as they had neither coats nor mittens*
" I was the third to get out* After an instant's reflection, I
started down what is now Main Street; it led from the fort
to the little village of Winnipeg* My objective was the home
of my Loyalist friend, William Drever* Favoured by the dark and
cold I reached this haven* After a brief interview with my wife,
I was supplied with a half-breed capote, a cap, and mittens, a
horse and sled* I then set off for the loyal settlement of Portage
la Prairie, sixty miles away.
"At the Portage, in conjunction with the people of High
Bluff and Poplar Point, secret meetings were held and a force
organised, with Major Boulton in command, to take Fort Garry
by surprise, release the prisoners, and restore the Queen's
authority. Our party, which was well armed and furnished with
ladders and torches, would, in all likelihood, have captured the
fort without much bloodshed as all within were celebrating
Riel's election as president, and nearly all were drunk. We
were frustrated, however, by one of the most frightful blizzards
of the winter, and stumbling upon Headingly Mission Church,
the party was storm-stayed there for three days.
"During the storm two or three intrepid men were
215
 dispatched to visit the parishes below Fort Garry and to sound
the people there as to their intentions. A messenger returned
with word that the people of these parishes would join the
Portage men in a demand for the release of the prisoners, failing
which they would unite in an attack upon the fort. Instantly
the whole party got under way, and marching past Fort Garry
in the night, reached Kildonan in the morning* Here they were
joined by several Loyalists with a cannon* Led by Dr* Schultz,
an instant demand was made upon Riel for the release of the
prisoners, which was acceded to with very little delay, for Riel
was now thoroughly alarmed and his men were reported to
be insubordinate*
"The 'Portage party,' as it was called, now decided upon
attacking the fort and restoring British authority and the British
flag* There was a difference of opinion about this, however,
particularly in Kildonan, where the force was quartered* Just
at this juncture the spy Parisien was captured and, endeavouring
to escape, shot young Sutherland of Kildonan* This brought
matters to a crisis and by nightfall, mainly through the entreaties
of terrified women, the Red River force disbanded, leaving
the Portage party alone, over sixty miles from home* At dusk
they found their way to Redwood, the residence of William
Inkster, and were soon joined by Setter, Ogletree, William
Hall and myself.
"At Redwood we found that the party had been negotiating
through 'Flatboat McLane' for an unmolested passage by
Fort Garry to the Portage. McLane reported this to have been
promised by Riel* Rightly mistrusting any such promise, I
urged the party, of whom Thomas Scott was one, to strike out
at once and follow us* They were done up, however, and said
they would have a nap and follow our trail* Setter, Ogletree,
Hall, McDonald and I then left and travelled several miles .out
on the prairie north of the fort; each in turn breaking the path,
for we had no snowshoes* After a narrow escape at Headingly
we struck ten miles back on the prairie and at last reached the
Portage in safety*
"I then secured the fastest team possible and sent for my
wife, who was in hiding in Winnipeg* Disguised as a man in
216
 half-breed capote, cap and sash, she ran the gauntlet of Riel's
guard, and joined me at the Portage.
"The party at Redwood, instead of waking at midnight,
slept until morning. Following our broken trail they were
intercepted by an armed band led by the Fenian O'Donohue,
who said they had been sent to invite them over to the fort for
a quiet talk. This ruse succeeded; the party entered the fort,
and was immediately disarmed. Boulton was condemned to
death and reprieved; then Scott was condemned. On March 14,
1870, he was shot, but not killed. He lay for hours in a bastion
of the fort, suffering mortal agony and begging them to put
him to death. This barbarous murder is an indelible stain upon
the character of Riel and of his associates."
Grant, Calgary
LOUIS RIEL
217
 HER MAJESTY'S ROYAL MAIL x
Sir William Butler
"It was late in the afternoon of August 15 when I left for the
last time the Lake of the Woods* Next night our camp was
made below the Eagle's Nest, seventy miles from the Portage-
du-Rat* A wild storm burst upon us at nightfall, and our
bivouac was a damp and dreary one* The Indians lay under
the canoe; I sheltered as best I could under a huge pine-tree*
My oil-cloth was only four feet in length—a shortcoming on
the part of its feet, which caused mine to suffer much discomfort. Besides I had Her Majesty's royal mail to keep dry,
and with the limited liability of my oil-cloth in the matter of
length, that became no easy task—two bags of letters and papers,
home letters and papers, too, for the expedition. They had
been flung into my canoe when leaving Rat Portage, and I had
spent the first day in sorting them as we swept along, and now
they were getting wet in spite of every effort to the contrary*
I made one bag into a pillow, but the rain came through the
big pine-tree, putting out my fire and drenching mail-bags
and blankets.
"On the night of August 17 we made our camp on a little
island close to Otter Falls. Again it came on a night of ceaseless
rain, and again the mail-bags underwent a drenching. The old
Indian cleared a space in the dripping vegetation, and made
me a rude shelter with branches woven together; but the rain
beat through and drenched body, bag and baggage. And yet
how easy it all was and how sound one slept! Upon examining
the letters in the morning the interior of the bags presented
such a pulpy appearance that I was obliged to stop at one of the
1 From The Great Lone Land*
218
 seven portages for the purpose of drying Her Majesty's mail*
We made a large fire and placing cross-sticks above proceeded
to toast and grill the dripping papers* The Indians sat around,
turning the letters with little sticks as if they had been baking
cakes or frying sturgeon* Under their skilful treatment the pulpy
mass soon attained the consistency, and in many instances the
legibility of a smoked herring*"
THE DOG SLED
Sir William Butler
"A dog sled is simply two thin oak or birch wood boards lashed
together With deer-skin thongs* Turned up in front like a Norwegian snowshoe it runs, when light, over the snow with great
ease* Its length is about nine feet; its breadth sixteen inches*
Along its outer edges runs a leather lashing, through the hoops
of which a long leather line is passed to hold in its place whatever may be placed upon the sled* From the front, close to the
turned-up portion, the traces for draught are attached* The
dogs, usually four in number, stand in tandem fashion, one
before the other* The best dog is usually placed first as 'fore-
goer'; the next best at the rear as 'steer dog*' It is the business
of the 'foregoer' to keep the track however faint it may be
on lake or river. The 'steer dog' guides the sled and prevents
it from striking or catching in root or tree* An ordinary load
for four dogs weighs from two to four hundred pounds* Laden
with two hundred pounds, dogs will travel on anything like a
good track or hard snow about thirty to thirty-five miles a day*
In deep or soft snow the pace is of necessity slow, and twenty
to twenty-five miles a day will form a fair day's work."
219
 TREATY DAY
As soon as the new Government was well established in Manitoba, Lieutenant-Governor Archibald arranged a council with
the Indians* So many new people were coming into the country
that the natives had become very uneasy. They had already
asked the Governor to make a treaty with them and he had
promised to do so* Accordingly, in 1871, the Dominion Government appointed Mr* Simpson Indian commissioner, giving
him power to treat with the Indians for their lands* Mr* Simpson
first held a council with the Ojibways between Lake Superior
and the Lake of the Woods; then he went on to Fort Garry*
On July 27 a thousand braves gathered at Lower Fort
Garry to meet Governor Archibald, Mr* Simpson and Mr*
McKay, whom they had brought with them because the Indians
loved and trusted him* When the Indians had drawn near,
Governor Archibald made a long speech to them.
After Mr* Simpson had spoken to them, the Indians retired
to choose chiefs to represent and speak for them* When they
returned to the conference next day the chiefs said they did
not wish to treat because four Swampy Crees were in prison.
They begged Governor Archibald to set their friends free,
which he did. The chiefs thanked him and promised that they
would never again raise their voices against the law being
enforced. The Indians were then asked to say how much land
they wished reserved for them. As it seemed they wished for
about two-thirds of the Province of Manitoba, the commissioner told them that they could not have more than a
hundred and sixty acres for each family of five, but promised
that they might choose their land in whatever part of the
province they wished. An annuity of twelve dollars for each
 family of five was also promised, and they were given till the
following Monday to think over the matter. On that day the
Indians agreed to accept the conditions offered and, on August 3,
their chiefs signed away their right to the lands of the Province
of Manitoba.
On August 21, Governor Archibald, Mr. Simpson and their
party met the Northern Indians at Manitoba Post on Lake
Manitoba. With these Indians they treated for the lands lying
west and north of Manitoba. The Northern Indians had heard
of the conditions offered at Lower Fort Garry. They had already
discussed them about their own council fires, and were ready
to give their assent. Thus Treaty Number 2 was concluded very
quickly and the Government saved a good deal of money. While
the councils were being held, the Government fed the whole
body of Indians gathered at the council post. In accordance
with Indian custom many presents were given; the conferences, therefore, cost the Government a good deal, though
the amount was nothing in comparison with the rich lands
they were taking over. In all, seven treaties were made with
the Indians for the lands of Western Canada.
INDIAN BED
 NED McGOWAN'S WAR1
One of the first exploits in which * the Royal Engineers were
engaged was Ned McGowan's war. Ned was an American,
reputed a "bad" man* Attended by a few kindred spirits, he
went up the Fraser to Murderer's Bar looking for a good
location* They found a promising claim on the bar being worked
by an Irishman named Dooley, whom they at once approached*
"You have far too much land here," said the new-comers,
" we will help you to dig and wash*"
" I don't want any help," said Dooley.
"Oh yes, you do," laughed the McGowan party, and proceeded to edge the Irishman off his claim.
"This is my claim," shouted Dooley. "You get out of
here or I'll ..."
"Push him off; he's a beastly Britisher," said McGowan.
"I'll not stir a step, and God save the Quane!" answered
Dooley sturdily*
"Bury the beggar," ordered McGowan, turning contemptuously away* And his men prepared to do it* In a few
minutes they dug a hole several feet deep* Dooley was seized,
thrown into it, and held down while partly covered with gravel*
"What do you say now?" asked the men*
" God save the Quane!" replied Dooley.
More gravel was thrown in, and question and answer were
repeated. Bit by bit the hole was filled up. At last only Dooley's
eyes and mouth remained visible. "What do you say now?"
asked the leader.
"God save the Quane," whispered Dooley.
"Dig him up," ordered McGowan, and they did so*
McGowan's exploits were not all so innocent* Yale and
1 The evidence for this account of Ned is not very trustworthy, but the story
is amusing and has been allowed to stand in the meantime.
 Hill's Bar were rival communities* On one occasion the Hill's
Bar magistrate claimed jurisdiction over a certain criminal*
Ned McGowan was one of a group of special constables sent
down to Yale to arrest the man* They brought him back to
Hill's Bar, where he was tried and fined* The Yale magistrate
felt himself to have been insulted, and word went down the
river to the effect that the miners were in revolt, with McGowan
at their head; Yale begged that the army and the navy might
be rushed to its assistance.
Colonel Moody, with a party of Engineers, hurried up to
Hill's Bar, but found the town quiet. After church, however,
Moody met McGowan on the street and some words passed
between them. Then Chief Justice Begbie arrived with Captain
Mayne, who reported that the bluejackets from the warship
were on their way up the river. They were preparing to send
men to arrest Ned when the man himself appeared, smartly
dressed, polite, plausible. He apologised to the authorities and
then, inviting them to make a tour of inspection, coolly showed
them about the camp. The "war" was over.
Later, Ned killed a man at Hill's Bar. He realised that in
British territory this would be regarded as a much more serious
offence than calling up the army and the navy without cause;
apologies were not likely to be asked for* Remembering the
grim face of Chief Justice Begbie, Mr. McGowan made good
his escape to the United States, where he remained.
WOMEN'S WORK IN EARLY DAYS x
The houses in Red River were usually of logs boarded within
and without. When you went in at the front door you were in
the dining-room; the kitchen was at the back of it. The other
rooms in the house were bedrooms. The fire-place was made
with mud and so was the chimney; whole logs of white poplar
were used in it. The people made nearly all their own furniture.
The women were up at five attending to the milk, which
1 Arranged from Women of Red River, by W. J. Healy.
223
 had been left overnight standing in the milk-coolers* These
were wooden pans made of oak each with two handles* Every
morning they were washed first with cold water and then with
warm, a strong home-made willow brush being used to scrub
them* They were then scalded and set to air ready for the
evening* In i860 the Company began to make tin pans at York
Factory; these were much easier to keep clean* Each family
had a milk house with a thatched roof and a deep cellar in
which to keep the milk while the cream was rising*
Breakfast was at six and when it was cleared away the
womenfolk began the day's cleaning and baking. Bread was
baked in a large outside mud oven. Flour when scarce was
mixed with fish, making fish rolls. Meat was preserved by drying
instead of salting. There was a salt spring near Lake Manitoba
from which the French people used to make and sell salt; but
it was very scarce in the settlement. Sugar was also scarce.
They had no pies or cakes in those days. Fruit, like meat,
was preserved by drying. The women dried the raspberries,
saskatoons and blueberries in cakes. When fruit was wanted
for the table, they broke a little from the cake and put sugar
with it. Choke-cherries were pounded and used as jelly with
the pemmican. When mother had finished baking she would
brown some flour and mix it with molasses* This was all the
candy the children had.
Before the windmills came to be used, and often afterwards,
the women ground the wheat into flour in a quern. A quern is
a handmill. It consists of two round stones, the lower one fixed,
the upper movable. The upper stone is bound round with a
wooden band like the casing of a cheese* To this casing is fastened
a short but stout wooden handle by which the top stone may be
moved upon the under one. The grain is poured through a
hole in the middle of the top stone and falling upon the fixed
lower stone is gradually crushed and ground outward till it
falls over the edge of the lower stone. When there was no wind
to move the windmills, the querns came in very handy. Sometimes there was breeze enough to make the mill grind, but
not enough for bolting; then the people had to do their own
bolting. It was done with a sieve of brass wire which was hung
224
 from a beam, A white cloth was spread upon the table under
it; then the unbolted grist brought from the mill was poured
into the sieve which was shaken to make the flour fall through.
Often there was soap to be boiled or blankets to be washed.
New blankets took a great deal of washing, for the women used
sturgeon oil upon the wool to make it work more easily when
they were teasing and carding it* They used an enormous tub
to wash the blankets* The hot water and home-made soap were
put into the tub with the blankets, and then the girls took off
their shoes and stockings and got into the tub, treading the dirt
out of the blankets with their bare feet* When they were ready
to wring out, the men had to be called, for the blankets were so
heavy that few women could manage them when wet*
After dinner one of the girls must iron* They used sad
irons for ordinary cloths and Italian irons for the frills of their
own caps and the ruffles of their brothers' shirts* The Italian
iron was long, round, and about as large as a good thick poker*
It had a wooden handle and fitted into an iron case, which kept
it clean while it was being heated in the fire. The cap or shirt
frill was properly dampened, and then a width of it was drawn
tightly over the hot Italian iron* The girls were often very
skilful at it, moving the hot iron quickly from width to width
around the frill until it stood out in pretty flutings. They made
their own starch from potatoes* The potatoes were ground up
and then pressed through a straining-cloth over a tub half-
filled with water in which the starch settled. Indigo was put
into the starch which was to be used for the clothes; that used
for puddings was made separately.
Always there was sewing to be done, wool to be teased,
carded or spun, or shoes to be made. The shoes were cut out of
buffalo-hide and sewed up with sinew. Shoes made from the
tanned hide of cattle were called "beef shoes*" The leather
was tanned with willow-bark in a tanning-tub which was usually
an old dug-out canoe. Occasionally someone had to go to the
store to do the shopping. The store was a wonderful place to
the children* There was everything in it* Paper and string were
not used* When anyone bought tea or sugar, he bought also a
cotton handkerchief in which to carry it away*
vii—p 225
 The women helped with the chores every day and the
haying, harvest and wood-getting in their season. The wheat
sown was English white wheat, a variety with a larger berry
than that now grown in the west* It made good flour, but shelled
very easily. Because of this and because of the danger of frost
it was important that it should be cut as soon as it was ready.
When the farmer came in to say that the wheat was ripe, every
member of the family prepared hitnjself to help harvest the
precious.grain. The men used scythes,*the women sickles. The
young folks bound the sheaves with willow withes. Every stalk
was carried carefully home.
A MANITOBA HOUSE OF 1872
226
  CHIEF  EAGLE TAIL OF THE  SARCEES.
 THE WHISKY TRADERS
The trading ground of the Hudson's Bay Company in the
Indian territories lay north of a line drawn roughly from Fort
Garry through the Qu'Appelle country to Edmonton and
Rocky Mountain House* Fort Edmonton was for many years
the Company's chief trading-post upon the prairies* They had
built, about 1859, a post upon the Bow River* Old Bow Fort, as
it is called, stood near the site of the city of Calgary. The
Company traded at this point for a short time, but the Blackfeet and Bloods were so hostile that the "Adventurers " presently
withdrew, leaving the post to fall into ruins. Thus, while Manitoba and the country north of the North Saskatchewan were
well known and constantly travelled by traders and missionaries,
white men for a long time did not venture into the regions now
forming Southern Saskatchewan and Alberta.
As the Hudson's Bay Company kept out of this territory,
free traders began to drift into it* Settlers were pushing west
in the United States much faster than they were in Canada;
stray Americans crossed the line to do business with the Blackfeet and their allies* In 1864 a party of prospectors seeking gold
worked north along the base of the mountains into the Peace
River country* About the same time a party of white men camped
on the Bow, east of what is now the town of High River* A band
of Bloods found them and, shooting through the tent walls,
killed them all but one* The Piegans did the same to another
party prospecting for gold in the Porcupine Hills in 1869.
In spite of these facts traders from Fort Benton on the
Missouri crossed into Canada late in the 'sixties, and built
Fort Whoop-Up at the junction of the St. Mary's and Belly
Rivers. It was a strong fort with a good stockade and several
watch-towers.  The buildings faced the inner three sides of
227
 the enclosed square, the fourth being the stockaded wall with
its wide gate* Strong doors shut the interior of the buildings
from the open space* The store-rooms, stables and living-
quarters of the whites were all connected, so that they could
live for days within the structure while the open inside space
was crowded with trading Indians* Loopholes commanded the
interior of the fort, as well as the outside, and small openings
allowed for the exchange of hides and 'merchandise. Often the
place was filled with drunken, fighting Indians, while the
traders waited placidly within the buildings for the riot to
die out*
The traders christened their post "Fort Hamilton*" Soon
after its completion, however, one of them went back to Fort
Benton for supplies. "How are you getting on in Canada?"
asked a friend* "We're just a-whoopin' on 'em up," he replied*
When he had loaded his wagons and returned, the people of
Benton said, "Wye's gone back to Whoop-Up again," and the
trading-post was ever afterwards known as "Whoop-Up*" A
little group of smugglers were chased by two American policemen to the boundary* Having crossed it, the smugglers presented their rifles and warned the officers to stand off. The
American policemen did as they were bid, and the smugglers
built a little post which they called "Stand-off*" "Slide-out,"
another fort, was so named because two of the party which had
planned to build a store there stole a march upon the others,
escaped at night and built the post for themselves*
Whoop-Up almost at once became the headquarters of the
whisky traders, who built other posts at Blackfoot Crossing,
Calgary, High River and Kootenay Lakes* The whisky traders
were a bad lot; a good many of them were men wanted by the
police in the United S