Open Collections

The Chung Collection

Chung Logo

The Chung Collection

Ocean to ocean. Sandford Fleming's expedition through Canada in 1872 Grant, George Monro, 1835-1902 1873

Item Metadata


JSON: chungpub-1.0114668.json
JSON-LD: chungpub-1.0114668-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): chungpub-1.0114668-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: chungpub-1.0114668-rdf.json
Turtle: chungpub-1.0114668-turtle.txt
N-Triples: chungpub-1.0114668-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: chungpub-1.0114668-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Array /~*r*\.
tWgfs*   gHBBMHSi 'V
^"tlJ.'JWJ'J   i^,'.,.
Jtfc&J   €*tc£x,/    LcCJ{f>>
■ii,<;^'V!^s>"i3  ^^•fS^"    ' i mi.i .tMmtflim
DQ —
Sandford Fleming's Expedition
CANADA  IN  1872.
With the Expedition of the Engineer-in-Chief of the
Canadian Pacific and Intercolonial Railways.
THE    REV.    GEORGE    M.    GRANT,
L v»\_^-V ""
411 «.laSLAn^s. ---J-  TO THE PUBLIC.
Our preface consists of an apology to you, and of thanks
to friends.
The book, except the first chapter and the last, is
simply a Diary written as we journeyed. It is a round
unvarnish'd tale, and we hope that its truthfulness may
compensate for its defects.
We know that it has many literary mistakes. You
will attribute them all to the circumstances under which
it was written, and to the fact that the writer, living a
thousand miles away from the printer, had no sufficient
opportunities to correct the proofs.
The illustrations are mainly from photographs and on
this account may be considered of special interest.
Our maps of the country, east of the Rocky Mountains, are mainly from Captain Palliser's; those of the
Pacific slope from Governor Trutch's map of British
Columbia. For a number of the plates illustrating the
Dawson route we are indebted to Mr. Desbarats and his
artists; to the latter and to a kind lady in Ottawa, for
making pictures out of our own rude but, we believe,
faithful outlines.
Our best thanks are due to Professor Daniel Wilson
for his sketches of Nepigon Bay and River, and to Mrs.
Hopkins for permitting the publisher to copy her wonderful painting of | Running a Rapid;" unfortunately, the
beauty of the picture has been marred in reducing it to so
small a scale. Finally, we thank those who made the
sketches of Bute Inlet and the Hamathco River ; and all
and sundry who kindly assisted us in one way or another.  CONTENTS.
Introductory .
Halifax.—Intercolonial Railway.—Moncton.—Miramichi.—Restigouche.—Mata-
pedia.—Cacouna.—Lord Dufferin.—Rivi&re du Loup.—Quebec.—Montreal.—
Toronto.—Collingwood.—A man overboard.—Owen Sound,—Steamer SFranoes
Smith.—Provoking delays.—Killarney.—Indians.—Bruce Mines.—Sault Ste.
Marie Lake Superior.—Sunset.—Full Moon.—Harbor of Gargantua.—The f
Botanist.—Michipicoten Island.—Nepigon Bay.—Grand Scenery.—Sunday on
Board.—Silver Islet.—Prince Arthur's Landing      IO1
Shebandowan Road.—Rich Vegetation.—Rivers Kaministiquia and Matawan.—
Shebandowan Lake.—Luggage.—Emigrants.—Canoe Train.—Iroquois Indians.—Sir George Simpson's Guide.—Lake Kashaboiwe.—The Height of
Land.—Lac des Mille Lacs.—Baril Portage and Lake.—First Night under
Canvas.—Lake Windigostigwan.—Indian Encampment.—Chief Blackstone's
Wives.—The Medicine-man.—LakeKaogassikok.—Shooting Maligne Rapids.
—Lake Nequaquon.—Loon Portage.—Mud Portage.—American Portage.—
Lake Nameukan.—Rainy Lake.—Fort Francis.—Rainy River.—Hungry
Hall.—Slap-jacks.—Lake of the Woods.—The North-West Angle.—A Tough
Night.—Oak Point.—First glimpse of the Prairies.—Floral Treasures.—The
Dawson Route.—Red River     28
Extent.—Population.—Land Claims of original Settlers.—Sale of Lots in Winnipeg.—Hudson's Bay Company.—Clergymen of the Settlement.—Military X
Camp.—Archbishop Tach6.—United States Consul.—Conflicting opinions
respecting the Fertile Belt.—Our outfit for the Prairies.—Chief Commissioner
Smith.—Hudson's Bay Company.—Lieut.-Governor Archibald.—Departure
from Silver Heights.—White Horse Plains.—Rev. Mr. McDougal.—Portage
la Prairie.—The Last Settler.—Climate, etc., of Manitoba, compared with the
older.Provinces.—Sioux Indians in war paint.—General remarks on Manitoba.—Emigrants and the United States' Agents.—Treatment of the Indians..   66
Fine Fertile Country.—The Water question.—Duck Shooting.—Salt Lakes.—
Camping on the Plains.—Fort Ellice.—Qu'Appelle Valley.—1 Souzie."—The
River Assiniboine.—The Buffalo Cold Nights.—Rich Soil.—Lovely Country.
—Little Touchwood Hills.—Cause of Prairie Fires.—A Day of Rest.—Prairie
Uplands.—Indian Family.—Buffalo Skulls.—Desolate Tract.—Quill Lake.—
Salt Water.—Broken Prairie.—Round Hill Prairie Fire.—Rich Black Soil.
—Magnificent Panorama.—Break-neck Speed.—The South Saskatchewan.—
Sweethearts and Wives.—Fort Carlton.—Free Traders.—The Indians.—
Crop Raising  100
CHAPTER   VI.      *
The Thickwood Hills.—The Soil.—Slough of Despond.—Bears' Paddling Lake.—
Indian Missions Result.—Pemmican.—Jack-fish Lake.—The Crees and
Blackfeet.—Change in Vegetation.—Resemblance to Ontario.—The Red-
deer Hills—Rich Uplands and VaUeys.—Fort Pitt.—The Horse Guard.—
Fresh Buffalo Meat—Partially Wooded Country.—Cree Guests.—Shaganappi.—Glorious View.—Our Longitude.—The Isothermal Lines.—Scalping
Raids.—-The Flora.—Victoria Mission Indian School.—Crops Raised.—A
Lady Visitor.—Timber.—Horse Hill.—Edmonton.—Coal.—Wheat and other '
Crops—Gold-washing.—Climate.—Soil. — Indian Races.—Water.— Fuel.—
Frosts   13§
False   Report—Souzie's   Farewell.—St. Albert   Mission.—Bishop   Grandin	
Small-pox.—Great Mortality.—Indian Orphans.—The Sisters of Charity.—
Road to Lake St. Ann's.—Luxuriant Vegetation.—Pelican.—Early Frosts.
—Pack   Horses.—Leaving   St.   Ann's Indians.—Vapour Booths.—Thick
Woods—Pembina  River—Coal.—Lobstick   Camp.—Condemned   Dogs	 CONTENTS.
Beaver Dams.—Murder.—Horse Lost.—A Birth-day.—No Trail.
—Windfalls.—Beavers.—Traces of Old Travellers.—Cooking Pemmican,—
Crossing the McLeod.—Wretched Road.—Iroquois Indians.—Slow Progress.—
Merits of Pemmican.—Bad Muskegs.—Un Beau Chemin.—A Mile an Hour.
—Plum-pudding Camp.—Ten Hours in the Saddle.—Athabasca River.—The
Rocky Mountains.—Bayonet Camp  181
The Flora.—The Mountains.—Prairie River.—Grilled Beaver.—Roche a Myette.
—Roche a Perdrix.—Roche Ronde.—Jasper House.—Roche Jacques.:—Roche
Suette.—Roche Bosche.—First Night in the Mountains.—Crossing the Athabasca.—Magnificent Mountain Scenery.—Pyramid Rock.—Jasper Lake.—
Snaring River.—Jasper Valley.—We meet Pacific Men.—Hyiu muck-amuck! Hyiu iktahs!—Old Henry House.—The Caledonian Valley.—A
Rough Trail.—Desolate Camping Ground.—Good Cheer.—The Trail Party.—
Yellow Head Pass.—Nameless Mountain, Peaks.—Sunday Dinner in "The
Pass." ;  221
Plants in Flower.—The Water-shed.—Entering British Columbia.—Source of
the Fraser SRiver.—Yellow Head Lake.—Serrated Peaks.—Benighted.—
Moose Lake.—Milton and Cheadle.—Relics of the Headless Indian Columbia River.—The Three Mountain Ranges.—Horses Worn Out.—First
Canyon of the Fraser.—The Grand Forks.—Changing Locomotion Power.—
Robson's Peak.—Fine Timber.—Ttte Jaune Cache.—Glaciers.—Countless
Mountain Peaks.—A Good Trail.—Fording Canoe River.—Snow Fence.—
Camp River.—Albreda.—Mount Milton.—Rank Vegetation.—Rain.—A Box
in V's Cache for S. F.—The Red Pyramid.—John Glen.—The Forest.—
Camp Cheadle  246
Breakfast by Moonlight.—The Bell-horse.—Mount Cheadle.—Blue River and
Mountains.—Goose Creek.—The Headless Indian.—Porcupine Breakfast.—
The Canyon.—Mule Train.—At Hell Gate, meet Friends.—Gathering at
Camp U. and V.—Good Cheer.—Still Water.—Round Prairie.—Exciting News
two months old.—Change in the Flora.—Bunch Grass.—Raft River.—Clearwater.—Boat to Kamloops.—Assiniboine Bluff.—Last Night under Canvass. •
—Siwash Houses.—Signs of Civilization.—Stock Raising.—Wages in British
Columbia.—Arid Aspect of Country.—Darkness on the River.—Arrival at
Kamloops  $72
jh HS_ XII
from kamloops to the sea.
Under a Roof again.—Kamloops Beef.—Sermon.—John Chinaman.—No Letters.
—Lake Kamloops.—Savona's Ferry.—A Night Ride to Ashcroft.—Farming
Country Sage Brush.—Irrigation.—A Broken Leg.—The Judge and the
Miners.—Gold Mining.—Siwashes and Chinamen.—Indian Graves.—The
Waggon Road Canyons of the Thompson.—Big-bugs.—Lytton.—The Rush
to the Gold Mines.—Obstacles to Settlement.—Effects of Uneducated Salmon.
—Boston Bar.—Jackass Mountain The Road along the Canyons.—Grand
Scenery.;—Suspension Bridge.—Spuzzum's Creek.—Yale.—Letters from
Home.—Travelling by Steam again.—Steamer " Onward."—Hope.—The
Judiciary of British Columbia.—New Westminster. — Salmon. — Assaying
Office.—Burrard's Inlet.—Grand Potlatch.—The "Sir James Douglas."—
General Remarks  294
On the Waters of the Pacific.—Bute Inlet.—Valdes Island.—The Fiords of British
Columbia.—Waddington Harbor.—Glaciers.—Chilcoten Indians.—Massacre.
—Party X.—Salmon.—Arran Rapids.—Seymour Narrows.—Menzies' Bay.—
Party Y.—The Straits of Georgia.—New Settlements on Vancouver's Island.
—Nanaimo.—Coal Mines.—Concert.—Mount Baker.—Pujet Sound.—San
Juan Island.—The Olympian Mountains.—Victoria.—Esquimalt Harbor.—
A Polyglot City.—The Last of Terry.—The Pacific Ocean.—Barclay Sound.
—Alberni Inlet.—Sunset on the Pacific.—Return to Victoria.—The Past,
Present, and Future.—The Home-stretch.—The Great American Desert  323
Crossing and recrossing the Continent—Writers on the North-West Mineral
Wealth behind Lake Superior—The "Fertile-belt."—Our Fellow Travellers.—
The " Rainbow " of the North-West.—Peace River.—Climate compared with
Ontario.—Natural Riches of the Country—The Russia of America.—Its Army
of Construction—The Pioneers.—Esprit de corps Hardships and Hazards.
—Mournful Death-roll.—The Work of Construction Vast Breadth of the
Dominion—Its Varied Features—Its Exhaustless Resources.—Its Constitution.—Its Queen ><>#i 35J LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
The Bruce Mines, Steamboat Landing I Plate No. 1
Sault Ste. Marie (from the South side)  | 2
Moose Mountain, Nepigon Bay  | 3
L. Ktsagegan, Nepigon River  | 4
Nepigon River (looking towards the Bay)  " 5
Silver Islet If  | 6
Thunder Cape, entrance to Thunder Bay  | 7
Thunder Bay to Fort Francis (Map)  I 8
Thunder Bay (from Prince Arthur's SLanding)  | 9
Oskondagee (on the road to Shebandowan)  " 10
Head of Lake Shebandowan  " 11
Running a Rapid  " 12
Fort Francis  " 13
Fort Francis to Fort Garry (Map)  | 14
Hungry Hall  " 15
Birch Creek Station, on the road to Fort Garry  " 16
Fort Garry to Fort Ellice (Map) .,. 1 17
* Indian Encampment on the Prairie  « 18
Fort Ellice to South Saskatchewan River (Map)  | 19
* Buffalo Skin Lodge and Red River Carts  " 20
* The South Saskatchewan River  « 21
South Saskatchewan to Fort Pitt (Map)  " 22
* Buffalo Skull (Woodcut)	
* Fort Carlton  » 23
Fort Pitt to Fort Edmonton (Map)  « 24
* Fort Edmonton  " 25
Edmonton to Jasper House, and Yellow Head Pass (Map) 1 27
* Sword Bayonet, found at the base of the Rocky Mountains
(Wood cut)	
* Jasper House (looking towards Roche db Miette)  " 28
* Jasper House (looking West).  " 29
Jasper Lake (looking South)  » 30
Caledonian Valley (looking towards Jasper Valley)  I 31
Caledonian Valley (looking towards Yellow Head Pass)  | 32
To face
page 17
Illustrations marked thus * are from Photographs. XIV
The Yellow Head Pass (looking West) Plate No. 33
Yellow Head Pass to Kamloops (Map)  | 34
Yellow Head Lake (looking Westerly)  35
Yellow Head Lake (looking Easterly)  36
* Near the Grand Forks of the Fraser River  § 37
* Mount Milton from Albreda Lake  1 38
* Above the Forks of the North Thompson , " 39
* Mount Cheadle ~  " 40
* Confluence of Muddy and N. Thompson Rivers  " 41
* Skull of the Headless Indian  " 42
* Thb^Assiniboine Bluff  " 43
* Kamloops  " 44
* From Kamloops looking Northerly  | 45
Kamloops to New Westminster (Map)  | 46
* Savonas Ferry, near outlet of Lake Kamloops  | 47
* Thompson River above Lytton  1 48
* View near Hell's Gate, Fraser River  1 49
* Fraser River (17 miles above Yale)  " 50
* Yale (Head of Navigation on the Fraser)  " 51
Straits of Georgia and part of Vancouver Island
(Map)  I 52
"Bute Inlet (looking towards Neadle Peak Mountain)  | 53
The Hamathco (looking up from head of Bute Inlet)  " 54
The Hamathco below the Defile  " 55
Juan de Fuca Strait to the Pacific Ocean (Map)  " 56
Alberni Harbour  " 57
* Peace River at Fort Dunvegan (looking Easterly)  " 58
* Forks of Skeena River (January 1873)  " 59
* Great Valley of Peace River (through the Bocky Moun
tains)  a 60
* Salmon Cove, Nasse River, British Columbia.....  " 61
To face
. "
Frontis.. ,-- Ocean to Ocean.
Sandford  Fleming's  Pacific  Expedition
The Members:
The Chief, Sandford Fleming, C. E., Ottawa.
I   Doctor, Arthur Moren, M. D., Halifax.
|f   Botanist,     John Macoun, M. A., Belleville.
"   Photographer, etc., . Charles Horetzky} ex-H. B. Officer.
Frank, Son of the Chief, (a lad of 16).
Terry, the Cook, (Sergeant) Terrance McWilliams.
The Secretary,   . . . . . % Rev. Geo. M. Grant, Halifax.
Fellow Travellers:
The  Colonel,  (from Toronto   to   Fort   Garry)   Col.   Robertson   Ross,
Hugh, son of Col. Robertson Ross, (a lad of 16).
Mr.  McDougal,  (from Fort   Garry to  Edmonton), Superintendent   of
Wesleyan Missions on the Saskatchewan.
Mr. Macaulay, (from Carlton to Edmonton), Hudson Bay Co. Officer.
Mr. King, do do
Mr. Adams, (from Edmonton to St. Ann's), do
Guides,  Voyageurs, Packers, etc.
Ignace, Louis, Baptiste, Toma, etc., (from Shebandowan to the Northwest Angle.)
Emilien, Jerome, Marchand, Friedrich, Willie, (from Fort Garry to Fort
Maxime, (from Fort Garry to Lake St. Albert.)
Souzie, (from White Horse Plains to Edmonton.)
Haroosh, Legrace, The Little Bird, (from Carlton to Fort Pitt.)
Kisanis, Cheeman, (from Fort Pitt to Edmonton.)
Brown, Beaupre, (from Edmonton to Forks of Fraser River.)
Valad, (from Lake St. Ann's to Forks of Fraser River.)
Jack, Joe. (from Forks of Fiaser River to Kamloops.)
= m Ocean  to Ocean
CHAPTER   I. % Jg:
Travel a thousand miles up a great river; more than
another thousand along great lakes and a succession of smaller
lakes; a thousand miles across rolling prairies; and another
thousand through woods and over three great ranges of mountains, and you have travelled from Ocean to Ocean through
Canada. All this Country is a single Colony of the British
Empire; and this Colony is dreaming magnificent dreams of a
future when it shall be the " Greater Britain," and the highway
across which the fabrics and products of Asia shall be carried,
to the Eastern as well as to the Western sides of the Atlantic.
Mountains were once thought to be effectual barriers against
railways, but that day has gone by; and, now that trains run
between San Francisco and New York, over summits of eight
thousand two hundred feet, it is not strange that they should
be expected soon to run between Victoria and Halifax, over a
height of three thousand seven hundred feet. At any rate, a
Canadian Pacific Railway has been undertaken by the Dominion;
and, as this book consists of notes made in connection with the
survey, an introductory chapter may be given to a brief history
of the project.
For more than a quarter of a century before the Atlantic was
connected by rail with the Pacific public attention had been
frequently called, especially in the great cities of the United States,
. ocean to ocean.
to the commercial advantage and the political necessity of such
connection ; but it was not till 1853 that the Secretary of War
was   authorized   by  the   President  to  employ topographical
engineers and others "to make explorations and surveys, and to
ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean."    From
that time the United States Government sent a succession of
well-equipped parties to explore the western half of the Continent.    The reports and surveys of these expeditions fill thirteen
large quarto volumes, richly embellished, stored with valuable
information concerning the country, and honestly pointing out
that, west of the Mississippi Valley, there were vast extents of
desert or semi-desert, and other difficulties so formidable as to
render the construction of a railroad well nigh impracticable.
Her Majesty's Government aware of this result, and aware, also,
that there was a | fertile belt," of undefined size, in the same
longitude as the Great American Desert, but north of the forty-
ninth degree of latitude, organized an expedition, under Captain
Palliser, in  i857> to explore the country  between the west of
Lake Superior and the Rocky Mountains ; and also "to ascertain whether any practicable pass or passes, available for horses,
existed across the Rocky Mountains within British Territory,
and south of that known to exist  between Mount Brown and
Mount Hooker," known as the " Boat Encampment Pass."    It
was unfortunate that the limitation expressed in this last clause,
was imposed on Captain Palliser, for it prevented him  from
exploring to the  north of Boat Encampment, and  reporting
upon the "Yellow Head Pass," which  has since been found
so favourable for the Railway and may soon be used as the
"gateway" through  the mountains to  British  Columbia and
the Pacific.    The difficulties presented by passes further south,
and   by  the  Selkirk  Mountains,  led   Palliser to  express   an
opinion   upon   the   passage   across  the  Mountains  as hasty «na
introductory. 3
and inaccurate as his  opinion, about  the possibility of connecting  Ontario  or  Quebec  with   the  Red   River and   Saskatchewan Country is now found to be.    After stating that his
expedition had  made connection  between  the Saskatchewan
Plains and British Columbia, without passing through United
States   Territory,  he  added,—" Still   the   knowledge  of   the
country, on the whole, would never lead me to advise a line of
communication   from   Canada,   across   the  Continent  to  the
Pacific exclusively through  British  Territory.    The time has
forever gone by for effecting such an object; and the unfortunate choice of an astronomical boundary line has completely
isolated  the  Central  American  possessions of Great  Britain
from Canada in the east, and also almost debarred them from
any eligible access from the Pacific Coast on the west." The best
answer to this sweeping opinion, is the "Progress Report" on the
Canadian   Pacific   Railway exploratory  survey,   presented   to
the House of Commons, in Ottawa, in the Session 1872, in which
the  advantages  of the Yellow  Head   Pass over every other
approach to the Pacific are shown ; and as complete an answer
to  the  second  part will  be  furnished  in  the  Report  to  be
presented  in  the  spring  of  1873.    The journals  of Captain
Palliser's explorations, extending over a period of four years,,
from  1857 to i860, were printed in extenso by Her Majesty's
Government in a large " Blue Book," and shared the fate of all
blue books. . There are, probably, not more than half a dozen
copies in the Dominion.    A copy in the Legislative Library at
Ottawa is the only one known to the writer.    They deserved a
better fate, for his own notes and the reports of his associates,
Lieutenant   Blakiston,   Dr.   Hector,   M.   Bourgeau   and   Mr.
Sullivan, are replete with useful and interesting facts about the
soil, the flora, the fauna, and the climate of the plains and the
mountains.    M. Bourgeau was the botanist of the expedition.
On  Mr. Sullivan, an accomplished mathematician and astro- 4
ocean to ocean.
nomical observer and surveyor, devolved the principal labors of
computation. Dr. Hector, to whose exertions the success of the
expedition was chiefly owing, had the charge of making the
maps, both geographical and geological; and, whenever a side
journey promised any result, no matter how arduous or dangerous it might be, Dr. Hector was always ready. His name is
still revered in our North-west, on account of his medical skill
and his kindness to the Indians, and most astonishing tales are
still told of his travelling feats in mid-winter among the mountains.
After printing Captain Palliser's journal, Her Majesty's
Government took no step to connect the East of British America
with the Centre and the West, or to open up the North-west to
emigration, although it had been clearly established that we had
a country there, extending over many degrees of latitude and
longitude, with a climate and soil equal to that of Ontario. In
the meantime, the people of the United States, with characteristic energy, took up the work that was too formidable for their
government. Public-spirited men, in Sacramento and other parts
of California, embarked their all in a project which would make
their own rich State the link between the old farthest East and the
Western World on both sides of the Atlantic. The work was
commenced on the east and west of the Rocky Mountains.
Congress granted extraordinarily liberal subsidies in lands and
money, though in a half sceptical spirit, and as much under the
influence of " Rings " as of patriotism. When the member for
California was urging the scheme with a zeal that showed that
he honestly believed in it, Mr. Lovejoy, of Illinois, could not
help interjecting, " Does the honorable member really mean to
tell me he believes that that road will ever be built ?" " Pass
the Bill, and it will be constructed in ten years," was the answer.
In much less than the time asked for it was constructed, and it
is at this day as remarkable a monument to the energy of our INTRODUCTORY.
neighbours as the triumphant conclusion of their civil war, or
the re-building of Chicago. Three great ranges of mountains
had to be crossed, at altitudes of eight thousand two hundred
and forty, seven thousand one hundred and fifty, and seven
thousand feet; snow-sheds and fences to be built along exposed
parts, for miles, at enormous expense ; the work,' for more than
a thousand miles, to be carried on in a desert, which yielded
neither wood, water, nor food of any kind. No wonder that the
sdieme was denounced as impracticable and a swindle. But its
success has vindicated the wisdom of its projectors ; and now no
■fewer than four different lines are organized to connect the
Atlantic States with the Pacific, and to divide with the Union
and Central Pacific Railways, the enormous and increasing
traffic they are carrying.
While man was thus triumphing over all the obstacles of nature
in the Territory of the United States, how was it that nothing was
attempted farther north in British America, where a % fertile
belt" stretches west to the base of the Rocky Mountains, and
where the mountains themselves are pierced by river-passes that
seem to offer natural highways through to the Ocean ? The
North American Colonies were isolated from each other; the
North-west was kept under lock and key by the Hudson Bay Company ; and though some ambitious speeches were made, some
spirited pamphlets written, and Bulwer Lytton, in introducing the Bill for the formation of British Columbia as a
Province, saw, in vision, a line of loyal Provinces, from the
Atlantic to the Pacific, the time had not come for % a consummation so devoutly to be wished." Had the old political state of
things continued in British America, nothing would have been done
to this day. But, in 1867, the separate Colonies of Canada, New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia, became the Dominion of Canada ;
in 1869 the Hudson Bay Company's rights to the North-west
were bought up ; and, in 1871, British Columbia united itself ocean to ocean.
to the new Dominion ; and thus the whole mainland of British
America became one political State under the aegis of the
Empire. One of the terms on which British Columbia joined the
Dominion was, that a railway should be constructed within ten
years from the Pacific to a point of junction with the existing
railway systems in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and
surveys with this object in view'were at once instituted.
What did this preparatory survey-work in our case mean ? It
meant that we must do, in one or two years, what had been
done in the United States in fifty. To us the ground was all
new. None of our public men had ever looked much beyond
the confines of their particular Provinces; our North-west, in some
parts of it, was less an unknown land to the people of the States
along the boundary line than to the people of the Dominion;
and, in other parts, it was unknown to the whole world. No
white man is known to have crossed from the Upper
Ottawa to Lake Superior or Lake Winnipeg. There were
maps of the country, dotted with lakes and lacustrine
rivers here and there; but these had been made up largely from
sketches, on bits of birch-bark or paper, and the verbal descriptions of Indians ; and, as the Indian has little or no conception
of scale or bearings ; as in drawing the picture of a lake, for
instance, when his sheet of paper was too narrow, he would,
without warning, continue the lake up or down the side; an
utterly erroneous idea of the surface of the country was given.
A lake was set down right in the path of what otherwise was an
eligible line, and, after great expense had been incurred, it was
found that there was no lake within thirty miles of the point.
In a word, the country between Old Canada and Red River
was utterly unknown, except along the canoe routes travelled by
the Hudson Bay men north-west of Lake Superior. Only five or
six years since, a lecturer had to inform a Toronto audience that
he had discovered a great lake, called Nepigon, a few miles to the INTRODUCTORY. 7
north of Lake Superior. When so litttle was known, the task
was no light one. Engineers were sent out into trackless,
inhospitable regions, obliged to carry their provisions on their
backs over swamps, rocks, and barriers, when the Indians failed
them, to do their best to find out all they could, in as short a
time as possible.
Far different was it with our neighbours. They could afford to
spend, and they did spend, half a century on th^ preparatory
work. Their specia^ surveys were aided and supplemented by
reports and maps extending back over a long course of years,
drawn up, as part of their duty, by the highly educated officers
of their regular army stationed at different posts in their
Territories. These reports, as well as the unofficia' narratives of
missionaries, hunters, and traders, were studied, both before and
after being pigeon-holed in Washington. The whole country
had thus been gradually examined from every possible point of
view; and, among other things, this thorough knowledge
explains the success of the United States' Government in all
its treaty-making with Great Britain, when territory was con-*
cerned. The history of every such treaty between the two
Powers is the history of a contest between knowledge and
ignorance. The one Power always knew what it wanted.
It therefore presented, from the first step in the negotiation to
the last, a firm and apparently consistent front. The other had
only a dim notion that right was on its side, and a notion,
equally dim, that the object in dispute was not worth contending
Was it wise, then, for the Dominion to undertake so gigantic
a public work at so early a stage in its history ? It was wise,
because it was necessary. By uniting together, the British
Provinces had declared that their destiny was—not to ripen and
drop, one by one, into the arms of the Republic—but to work
out their own future as an integral and important part of the 8
grandest Empire in the world. They had reason for making such
an election. They believed that it was better for themselves
and for their neighbours ; better for the cause of human liberty
and true progress, that it should be so. But it is not necessary
to discuss the reasons. No outside power has a right to pronounce upon them. The fact is enough, that, on this central
point, the mind of British America, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, is fixed. But, to be united politically and disunited
physically, as the different parts of Prussia were for many a long
year, is an anomaly only to be endured so long as it could not
be helped; and when, as in our case, the remedy is in our own
hands, it is wise to secure the material union as soon as possible.
On the twentieth of July, 1871, British Columbia entered the
Dominion. On the same day surveying parties left Victoria for
various points of the Rocky Mountains, and from the Upper
Ottawa westward, and all along the line surveys were commenced.
Their reports were laid before the Canadian House of Commons
in April, 1872. In the summer of the same year, Sandford
Fleming, the Engineer in Chief, considered it necessary to
travel overland, to see the main features of the country with
his own eyes, and the writer of these pages accompanied him, as
Secretary. The expedition started from Toronto on July 16th,
and on October 14th, it left Victoria, Vancouver's Island "on the
home stretch." During those three months a diary was kept of
the chief things we saw or heard, and of the impressions which
we formed respecting the country, as we journeyed from day to
day and conversed with each other on the subject. The diary
was not written for publication, or, if printed at all, was to have
been for private circulation only. This will explain the little
personal details that occur through it; for allusions and incidents that the public rightly consider trivial, are the most
interesting items to the private circle. But those who had a right INTRODUCTORY. 9
to speak in the matter said that the notes contained information
that would be of interest to the general public, and of value to
intending immigrants. They are therefore presented to the public,
and they are given just as they were written so that others might
see, as far as possible, a photograph of what we saw and thought
from day to day. A more readable book could have been made
by omitting some things, coloring others, and grouping the
whole; but, as already explained, the object was not to make a
book. The expedition, had special services to perform in connection with one of the most gigantic public works ever undertaken
in any country by any people; it was organized and conducted
in a business-like way, in order to get through without disaster
or serious difficulty; it did not turn aside in search of adventures
or of sport; and therefore an exciting narrative of hair-breadth
escapes and thrilling descriptions of "men whose heads do grow
beneath their shoulders " need scarcely be expected.
«xs25^~ -<2£j5> -^jflte» £Ci>-;j? iV---**
From Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Thunder Bay, Lake Superior.
Halifax.—Intercolonial .Railway. — Moncton.—Miramichi. — Restigouche.—Matapedia.—
Caoouna.—Lord Dufferin—Riviere du Loup.—Quebec.—Montreal.—Toronto.—Collingwood.—A man overboard.—Owen Sound.—Steamer Frances Smith.—Provoking delays.
—Killarney. — Indians. — Bruce Mines. —Sault Ste. Marie. —Lake Superior.—Sunset.—Full Moon.—Harbor of G-argantua-—The Botanist.—Michipicoten Island.—
Nepigon Bay. — Grand Scenery. —Sunday* on Board.—Silver Islet.—Prince Arthur's
1st July, 1872.—To-day, three friends met in Halifax, and
agreed to travel together through the Dominion from the Atlantic to the Pacific. All three had personal and business matters to
arrange, requiring them to leave on different days, and reach the
Upper Provinces by different routes. In these circumstances
it was decided that Toronto should be the point of rendez-vous
for the main journey to the Far West, and that the day of
meeting should be the 15th of July. One proposed to take the
steamer from Halifax to Portland, and go thence by the Grand
Trunk Railway via Montreal; another, to sail up the Gulf of
St. Lawrence from Pictou to Quebec, (the most charming voyage
in America for wretched half-baked mortals, escaping from the
fierce heat of summer in inland cities) ; and it was the
duty of the third—the chief of the party—to travel along the
line of the Intercolonial Railway, now under construction*
through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to its junction with
the Grand Trunk in the Province of Quebec. This narrative
follows the footsteps of the Chief, when more than one path is
taken. But, though it was his duty to make a professional
examination of all the engineering works in progress on the
Intercolonial,—the Eastern link of that great arterial highway
which  is to  connect, entirely through Canadian Territory, a
Canadian  Atlantic  port  with  a  Canadian Pacific  port,—the
reader would scarcely be interested in a dry account of the
culverts and bridges, built and building, the comparative merits
of wooden and iron work, the pile-driving, the dredging, the
excavating, the banking and blasting by over 10,000 workmen,
scattered along 500 miles of road.    The Intercolonial is to link,
with rails of steel, the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with the Province of Quebec;   the Grand Trunk unites
Quebec and Ontario ;  and the Canadian Pacific Railway is to
connect the latter with Manitoba and British Columbia, as well
as with the various unborn Provinces which, in the rapid progress *
of events, shall spring up in the intervening region.    But the
work of actual railway-construction is an old story; and, if told
at all, must be served up at some other time in some other way.
The object of the present narrative is to give an account of what
was observed and experienced in out-of-the-way places, over a
vast extent of Canada little known even to Canadians. It will be
sufficient for our purpose, therefore, to begin at Toronto, 'passing
over all that may at any time be seen on the line from Halifax to
Truro, and northerly across the Cobequid Mountains to Moncton.
From Moncton, westward, there is much along the line worthy
of description, but thousands of Railway tourists  will see it
all with their own eyes in a year or two;—the deep forests of
New Brunswick, the  noble Miramichi river with its  Railway
bridging on a somewhat gigantic scale, the magnificent highland
scenery of the Baie des Chaleurs, the Restigouche, and the
wild mountain gorges of the Matapedia.   But, without delaying
even to catch a forty or fifty-pound salmon in the Restigouche,,
we hasten on with the Chief up the shores of the great St. Lawrence, hearing, as we pass Cacouna in the second week of July,
a cheer of welcome to Lord Dufferin, the new Governor General,
who had just landed with his family, escaping from the dust
and heat of cities and the Niagara Volunteer Camp, to enjoy
H—— 12
the saline atmosphere and sea bathing, which so many thousands
of Her Majesty's subjects seek along the lower St. Lawrence
at this season. At Riviere du Loup a Pullman Car receives
us. Passing the cliffs of historic Quebec, we cross the broad
St. Lawrence by that magnificent monument of early Canadian
enterprise, that triumph of engineering skill, "The Victoria
Bridge," opposite Montreal. Two days are necessarily spent at
Ottawa in making final arrangements, and Toronto is reached
at the time appointed for the rendez-vous.
July 15th.—To-day, the various members of the overland
expedition met at the Queen's Hotel the Chief, the Adjutant
General, the boys, Frank and Hugh, the Doctor and the
Secretary, and arranged to leave by the first train to-morrow
morning. On the Chief devolved all the labor of preparation.
The rest of us had little to do except to get ourselves photographed in travelling costume.
July 16th.—Took train for Collingwood, which is about a
hundred miles due north from Toronto. The first half of the journey, or as far as Lake Simcoe, is through a fair and fertile land; too
flat to be picturesque, but sufficiently rolling for farming purposes.
Clumps of stately elms, with noble stems, shooting high before
their fan shape commences, relieve the monotony of the scene.
Here and there a field, dotted, with huge pine stumps, shows
the character of the old crop. The forty or fifty miles nearest
Georgian Bay have been settled more recently, but give as good
promise to the settlers. Collingwood is an instance of what a
railway terminus does for a place. Nineteen years ago, before
the Northern Railway was built, an unbroken forest occupied its
site, and the red deer came down through the woods to drink at
the shore. Now, there is a thriving town of two or three thousand people, with steam saw-mills, and huge rafts from the North
that almost fill up its.little harbor, with a grain elevator which
lifts out of steam barges the corn from Chicago, weighs it, and HALIFAX TO  THUNDER BAY.
pours it into railway freight-waggons to be hurried down to
Toronto, and there turned into bread or whiskey, without a
hand touching it in all its transportations or transformation,
Around the town the country is being opened up, and the
forest is giving way to pasture and corn-fields. West of the
town is a range of hills, about one thousand feet high, originally
thickly wooded to their summits, but now seamed with roads
and interspersed with clearings. Probably none of us would have
noticed them, though their beauty is enough to attract passing
attention, had they not been pointed out as the highest " Mountains " in the great Province of Ontario !
We reached Collingwood at midday, and were informed that
the steamer Frances Smith would start for Fort William, at
two P.M. Great was the^bustle, accordingly, in getting the baggage on board. In the hurry, the gangway was shoved out of its
place, and when one of the porters rushed on it with a box,
down it tilted, pitching him, head first, into the water
between the pier and the steamer. We heard the splash, and
ran, with half a dozen others, just in time to see his boots kicking frantically as they disappeared. " Oh it's that fool S—
laughed a bystander, " this is the second time he's tumbled in."
M He can't swim," yelled two or three, clutching at ropes that were
tied, trunks and other impossible life-preservers. In the meantime
S rose, but, in rising, struck his head against a heavy float
that almost filled the narrow space, and at once sank again,
like a stone. He would have been drowned within six feet of
the wharf, but for a tall, strong fellow, who rushed through the
crowd, jumped in, and caught him as he rose a second time.
S , like the fool he was said to be, returned the kindness by half throttling his would-be deliverer; but other
bystanders, springing on the float, got the two out. The
rescuer swung lightly on to the wharf, shook himself as if
_he had been a Newfoundland dog, and walked off;    nobody
= H
seemed to notice him or to think that he deserved a word of
praise.    On inquiring, we learned that he was a fisherman,—by
name, Alick Clark—on his way to the Upper Lakes, who, last
summer also had jumped from  the steamer's deck into  Lake
Superior, to save a child that had fallen overboard.   Knowing
that Canada had no Humane Society's medal to bestow, one of
our party ran to thank him and quietly to offer a slight gratuity;
but the plucky fellow refused to take anything, on the plea that
he was a eood swimmer and that his clothes hadn't been hurt.
At two o'clock, it being officially announced that the steamer
would not start until six, we strolled up to the town to buy suits
of duck, which were said to be the only sure defence against
mosquitoes of portentous size and power beyond Fort William.
Meeting the Rector or Rural Dean, our Chief, learning that he
would be  a  fellow-passenger,  introduced  the Doctor to him.
The Doctor has not usually a positively funereal aspect, but the
Rector assumed that he was the clergyman of the party and
a D.D., and cottoned to him at once.     When we returned to
the steamer,  and gathered  round the  tea table,  the   Rector
nodded   significantly  in  his  direction :   he,   in   dumb   show,
declined the honor;   the  Rector pantomimed again, and with
more decision of manner ;   the Doctor blushed furiously, and
looked so very much as if an " aith would relieve him," that the
Chief, in compassion, passed round the cold beef without " a
grace."    We were very angry with him, as the whole party,
doubtless, suffered in the Rector's estimation through his lack of
resources.    The doctor,  however, was sensitive on the subject
and threatened the secretary with a deprivation of sundry medical
comforts, if he didn't in future attend to his own work.
At six o'clock it was officially announced that the steamer
would not start till midnight. Frank and Hugh got a boat
and went trawling; the rest of us were too disgusted to do'
even that, and so did nothing. HALIFAX TO THUNDER BAY.
July 17th.—The Frances Smith left Collingwood at 5.30
A.M. "We're all right now," exclaimed Hugh, and so the passengers thought, but they counted without their host or—captain. We
steamed slowly round the Peninsula to Owen Sound, reaching it
about eleven o'clock. The baggage here, could have been
put on board in an hour, but five hours passed without
sign of even getting up steam. In despair, we went in a body
to the captain to remonstrate. He frankly agreed that it was
"too bad," but disclaimed all responsibility, as the Government
Inspector, on a number of trifling pleas, would not let him start,
nor give him his certificate,—the real reason being that he was
too virtuous ever to bribe inspectors. The deputation at once
hunted up the Inspector, and heard the other side. He had
ordered a safety-valve for the boilers and new sails a month
before, but the captain had " humbugged," and done nothing.
The valve was now being fitted on, the sails were being bent, and
the steamer would be ready to start in half an hour. Clearly, the
Inspector, in the interest of the travelling public, had only
done his duty, and the captain was responsible for the provoking
delays. We told him so, without phrases, when he promised to
hurry up and get off quickly to and from Leith,—a port six
miles from Owen Sound, where he had to take in wood.
Leith was reached at 6.30, and we walked round the beach
and had a swim, while two or three men set to work leisurely to
carry on board a few sticks of wood from eight or ten cords piled
on the wharf. At ten P.M., there being no signs of a start, some of
us asked the reason and were told that the whole pile had to be
put on board. The two or three laborers were lounging on
the wharf with arms a-kimbo, and the captain was dancing in
the e&bin with some of the passengers, male and female, as
unconcernedly as if all were out for a pic-nic. He looked somewhat taken aback when the Chief called him aside, and asked if
he commanded the boat, or if there was anybody in command; \6
but, quickly rallying, he declared that everything was going on
splendidly. The Chief looked so thundery, however, that he
hurried down stairs and ordered the men to I look alive ;" but
as it would take the two or three laborers all night to stow the
wood, half a dozen of the passengers volunteered to help, and the
Royal Mail steamer got off two hours after midnight.
An inauspicious beginning to "our journey this ! Aided all
the way by steam, we were not much more than one hundred
miles in a direct line from Toronto, forty-four hours after starting. At this rate, when would we reach the Rocky Mountains ?
To make matters worse, the subordinates seemed to have
learned from their leader the trick of " how not to do it."
Last night a thunder storm soured the milk on the boat, and
though at the wharf, and within a few hundred yards of scores of
dairies, it did not occur to the steward that he could send one of
his boys for a fresh supply. To-day, after dinner, an enterprising passenger asked for cheese with his beer, and of course
did not get it, as nobody knew where it had been stowed. In a
word the Frances Smith wanted a head, and, as the Scotch old
maid lamented, " its an unco' thing to gang through the warld
withoot a heid."
June 18th.—To-day, our course was northerly through the
Georgian Bay towards the Great Manitoulin Island. This
island and some smaller ones stretching in an almost continuous
line, westward, in the direction of Lake Superior, form, in
connection with the Saugeen Peninsula, the barrier of land that
separates the Georgian Bay from the mighty Lake Huron.
These two great inland waters were one, long ago, when the
earth was younger, but the water subsided, or Peninsula and
Islands rose, and the one sea became two. Successive terraces
on both sides of Owen Sound and on the different islands
showed the old lake beaches, each now fringed with a firmer,
darker, escarpment than the stony or sandy flats beneath, and
B^a na b I m■ 111111   HALIFAX  TO THUNDER BAY.
marked the different levels to which the waters had gradually
The day passed pleasantly, for, as progress was being made in
the right direction, all the passengers willingly enjoyed themselves, while on the two previous days they had only enjoyed
the Briton's privilege of grumbling. ^Crossing the calm breadth
of the Bay, past Lonely Island, we soon entered the Strait that
extends for fifty miles between the North shore and Manitoulin.
The contrast between the soft and rounded outlines of .the Lower
Silurian of- Manitoulin and the rugged Laurentian hills, with
their contorted sides and scarred foreheads, on the mainland
opposite, was striking enough to evoke from a Yankee fellow-passenger the exclamation, " Why, there's quite a scenery
here!" The entrance to the Strait has been called Killarney*
according to our absurd custom of discarding the musical,
expressive, Indian names for ridiculously inappropriate, European ones. Killarney is a little Indian settlement, with
one or two Irish families to whom the place appears to owe
very little more than its name. On the wharf is an unshingled
shanty—"the store "—the entrep6t for dry goods, hardware, groceries, " Indian work," and everything else that the heart of man
in Killarney can desire. As you look in at the door, a placard
catches your attention, with
English and Irish Vocubctlaet,
for sale here ;
and, further in, another placard hangs on the wall with the
Killarney Carpe Diem motto of
The Indians possessed, until lately, the whole of the Island of
Manitoulin as well as the adjoining Peninsula ;  but, at a grand
B ._ .":=—.-• -a i- -*«a .11
pow wow, held with their Chiefs by Sir Edmund Head, while
Governor of Old Canada, it was agreed that they should, for
certain annuities and other considerations, surrender all except
tracts specially reserved for their permanent use.     Some two
thousand are settled around those shores.  They are of the great
Ojibbeway or Chippewa nation,—the nation that extends from
the  St. Lawrence to the   Red River, where sections of them
are   called   Salteaux   and   other   names.     West   from   the
Red River to the Rocky Mountains, extend the next great
nation of the Algonquin family,—the Crees.    The languages of
these two nations are so much alike, that Indians of the one
nation can understand much of the speech of the other.    The
structure is simple, there being about a hundred and fifty monosyllabic radical roots, the greater ^number of which are common to
Ojibbeway and Cree, and on these roots the language has grown
up.   Most of the Ojibbeways on Manitoulin are Christianized.
At one point on the Island, where the steamer called, we met
Mr. Hurlburt, a Methodist Missionary,—a thoughtful, scholarly
man—who has prepared, with infinite pains, a grammar of the
language, and who gave us much interesting information.    Lie
honestly confessed that there was little, if any, difference  in
morals between the Christianized Indians around him and the
two or three hundred who  remain  pagan ;   that, in fact, the
pagans considered  themselves quite  superior, and made  the
immorality   of  their  Christian   countrymen  their great  plea
against changing from the old religion.
July 19th.—This morning we entered a beautiful island-
studded bay, on the north shore of which is the settlement
round the Bruce and Wellington Copper Mines. The mines
have been very productive, and give employment now to three or
four hundred men and boys, whose habitations are, as is usually
the case at mines, mere shanties. One, a little larger than the
others, in which the "Gaffer" lives, is dignified with the title
A  "i —-■"■■ imm
. m
(j      j!
i I'liiyi; 'jfflj j 'b iii j • i   ?a/v,=   ■'ffl»"/,."vj* s'/
ffldB/''     ' tSs&WtiiPP '■■      m
"LI *«^ #;    J
of " Apsley House." From the Bruce Mines we sailed westerly
through a channel almost as beautiful as where the St. Lawrence
runs through the " thousand islands." A " silver streak of sea,"
glittering- in the warm sun, filled with rounded islets of old Huro-
nian rock, that sloped gently into the water at one point, or more
abruptly at another, and offered every variety and convenience
that the heart of bather could desire; low, rugged, pine clad
shores ; soft bays, here and there, with sandy beaches : all that is
required to make the scene one of perfect beauty is a back-ground
of high hills. Everywhere, through Ontario, we miss the mountain
forms, without which all scenery is tame in the eyes of those who
have once learned to see the perpetual beauty that clothes
the everlasting hills.
St. Joseph, Sugar, and Neebish Islands, now take the
place of Manitoulin ; then we come to the Ste. Marie River, which
leads up to Lake Superior, and forms the boundary line between
the Dominion and the United States. At the Sault, or rapids of
the river, there is a village on each side; but, as the canal is on
the United States side, the steamer crosses, to go through it to
the great Lake. The canal has two locks, each three hundred
and fifty feet long, seventy feet wide, twelve deep, and with a
lift of nine feet. It is well and solidly built. The Federal
Government has commenced the excavations for the channel of
another. Though the necessity for two canals, on the same side, is
not very apparent, still the United States Government, with its
usual forethought, sees that the time will soon come when they
shall be needed. The commerce on Lake Superior is increasing
every year ; and it is desirable to have a canal, large enough for
men-of-war and the largest steamers. We walked along the bank,
and found, among the men engaged on the work, two or
three Indians handling pick and shovel as if "to the manner
born," and 'probably earning the ordinary wages of $2.25 per
day.   The rock is a loose and friable calciferous sandstone, red- Mhr^Ci_3»»aF
dish-colored, and easily excavated. Hence the reason why
the Sault Ste. Marie, instead of being a leap, flows down
its eighteen feet of descent in a continuous rapid, wonderfully
little broken except over loose boulders. The water is wearing away the rock every year. As it would be much easier to
make a canal on the British side of the river, one ought to
be commenced without delay. The most ordinary self-respect
forbids that the entrance to our North-west should be wholly in
the hands of another Power, a Power that, during the Riel disturbances at Red River, shut the entrance against even our
merchant ships. In travelling from Ocean to Ocean through
the Dominion, more than four thousand miles were all our own.
Across this one mile, half-way on the great journey, every
Canadian must pass on sufferance. The cost of a canal on our
side is estimated, by the Canal Commissioners in a blue-book,
dated February 2nd, 1871, at only $550,000. Such a canal, and
a Railway from Nepigon or Thunder Bay to Fort Garry, would
give immediate and direct steam communication to our North
West, within our own Territory.
At the western terminus of the canal, the Ste. Marie River
is again entered. Keeping to the north, or British side, we come
to the Point aux Pins, covered with scrub pine {Pinus Banksiana)
which extends away to the north from this latitude. Rounding
the Point aux Pins, the river is two or three miles wide ; and, a
few miles farther west, Capes Gros and Iroquois tower up
on each side. These bold warders, called by Agassiz "the
portals of Lake Superior," are over a thousand feet high ;
and rugged, primeval Laurentian ranges stretch away from
them as far back as the eye can reach. The sun is setting when
we enter " the portals," and the scene well worthy the approach
to the grandest lake on the globe. Overhead the sky is clear,
and blue, but the sun has just emerged from huge clouds which
are emptying their buckets in the west   Immediately around is  **5?»f^r*^^&- j—_-?Ta>v Wyjh^,:
UP M>$
™Jf! t ll
fflfe « ill
!ft"  tl
raaliii i,r ill SL™
881 w
f ifk t
1     I • W
i i! I
■\P! .'hi'
in Mill!;'w
i 2 a p h    ; tffp I
si if r- i j
mi > vv ■
.ill'l^/laf III
'i/'if     a      W   I MS
ililr ii
■   A I i'  111.
i I     it] iralSK
i i i
a placid sea, with half a dozen steamers and three-masted
schooners at different points. And now the clouds, massed into
one, rush to meet us, as if in response to our rapid movement
towards them, and envelope us in a squall and fierce driving rain,
through which we see the sun setting, and lighting up, now with
deep yellow and then with crimson glory, the fragments of
clouds left behind in the west. In ten minutes the storm
passes over us to the east, our sky clears as if by magic, and
wind and rain are at an end. The sun sets, as if sinking into an
ocean ; at the same moment the full moon rises behind us, and,
under her mellow light, Lake Superior is entered.
Those who have never seen Superior get an inadequate, even
inaccurate idea, by hearing it spoken of as a ' lake,' and to
those who have sailed over its vast extent the word sounds
positively ludicrous. Though its waters are fresh and crystal,
Superior is a sea. It breeds storms, and rain and fogs, like the
sea. It is cold in mid-summer as the Atlantic. It is wild, masterful, and dreaded as the Black Sea.
July 20th.—Sailed all night along the N. E. coast of the
great Lake, and in the morning entered the land-locked harbour
of Gargantua.
Two or three days previously the Chief had noticed, among
the passengers, a gentleman, out for his holidays on a botanical
excursion to Thunder Bay, and, won by his enthusiasm, had
engaged him to accompany the expedition. At whatever point
the steamer touched, the first man on shore was the Botanist,
scrambling over the rocks or diving into the woods, vasculum in
hand, stuffing it full of mosses, ferns, lichens, liverworts, sedges,
grasses, and flowers, till recalled by the whistle that the captain always obligingly sounded for him. Of course such an
enthusiast became known to all on board, especially to the
sailors, who designated him as ' the man that gathers grass' or,
more briefly, * the hay picker' or * haymaker.'    They regarded ■!-■■*,■ .-.ittlMf*      ■-•-
*>*W^****-*t~Xo "—1W
him, because of his scientific failing, with the respectful tolerance
with which all fools in the East are regarded, and would wait
an extra minute for him or help him on board, if the steamer
were cast loose from the pier before he could scramble up the side*
This morning the first object that met our eyes, on looking
out of the window of the state-room, was our Botanist, on the
highest peak of the rugged hills that enclose the harbour of
Gargantua. Here was proof that we, too, had time to go ashore,
and most of us hurried off for a ramble along the beach, or for a
swim, or to climb one of the wooded rocky heights. Every day
since leaving Toronto we had enjoyed our dip ; for the captain
was not a man to be hurried at any place of call, and, annoyed
though our party were at the needlessly long delays, there was
no reason to punish ourselves by not taking advantage of them
Half a dozen fishermen, Alick Clark among them, had
come from Collingwood to fish in Superior for white fish
and salmon trout, and having fixed on Gargantua for summer head-quarters, they were now getting out their luggage,
nets, salt, barrels, boats, &c. We went ashore in one of
their boats, and could not help congratulating them heartily
on the beauty of the site they had chosen. The harbour is
a perfect oblong, land-locked by hills three or four hundred
feet high on every side except the entrance and the upper end,
where a beautiful beach slopes gradually back into a level of
considerable extent. The beach was covered with the maritime
vetch or wild pea in flower, and beach grasses of various kinds.
When the Botanist came down to the shore, he was in raptures
over sundry rare mosses, and beautiful specimens of Aspidium
fragrans, Woodsia hyperborea, Cystopteris montana, and other
rare ferms, that he had gathered. The view from the summit
away to the north, he described as a sea of rugged Laurentian
hills covered with thick woods.  ^„_. —^^^s^j^sES^^ -
11 PI §!Ji!lK,
m i nils
From Gargantua, the captain, who now seemed slightly
conscious that time had been lost, steered direct for Michipicoten Island. In the cozy harbour of this Island, the S.S
Manitoba lay beached, having run aground two or three days
before, and a little tug was doing its best to haul her off the
rock or out of the mud. For three hours the Frances Smith added
her efforts to those of the tug, but without success, and had to give
it up, and leave her consort stranded. In the meantime some of
the passengers went off with the Botanist to collect ferns and
mosses. He led them a rare chase over rocks and through
woods, being always on the look out for the places that promised
the rarest kinds, quite indifferent to the toil or danger. The
sight of a perpendicular face of rock, either dry or dripping
with moisture, drew him like a magnet, and, with yells of
triumph, he would summon the others to come and behold the
treasure he had lit upon. Scrambling, puffing, rubbing their
shins against the rocks, and half breaking their necks, they toiled
painfully after him, only to find him on his knees before some
"thingof beauty" that seemed to them little different from what
they had passed by with indifference thousands oi' times. But if
they could not honestly admire the moss, or believe that it was
worth going through so much to get so little, they admired
the enthusiasm, and it proved so infectious that, before many
days, almost every one of the passengers was bitten with
* the grass mania,' or X hay fever,' and had begun to form "collections."
July 21 st.—Sunday morning dawned calm and clear. The
Rural Dean read a short service and preached. After dinner we
entered Nepigon Bay, probably the largest, deepest, safest, and
certainly the most beautiful harbour on Lake Superior. It is
shut off from the Lake by half a dozen Islands, of which the
largest is St. Ignace,—that seem to have been placed there on
purpose to act as break-waters against the mighty waves of the
iasa^ I
Lake, and form a safe harbour; while, inside, other Islands
are set here and there, as if for defence or to break the force
of the waves of the Bay itself; for it is a stretch of more
than thirty miles from the entrance to the point where Nepigon
River discharges into the Bay, in a fast flowing current, the
waters of Nepigon Lake which lies forty miles to the north. The
country between the Bay and the Lake having been found
extremely unfavourable for Railway construction, it will probably
be necessary to carry the Canadian Pacific Railway farther
inland, but there must be a branch line to Nepigon Bay, which
will then be the summer terminus for the traffic from the West,
(unless Thunder Bay gets the start of it) just as Duluth is the
terminus of the " Northern Pacific."
The scenery of Nepigon Bay is of the grandest description ;
there is nothing like it in   Ontario.    Entering from the east
we pass up a broad  strait,  and  can  soon  take our choice
of deep and capacious channels, formed by the bold ridges
of the Islands that stud the Bay.   Bluffs, from three hundred
to one  thousand feet high, rise up from the waters, some of
them bare from lake to summit,    others clad   with  graceful
balsams.    On the mainland, sloping and broken hills stretch
far away,  and the  deep shadows  that  rest  on  them   bring
out the most distant in clear and full relief.   The time will come
when the wealthy men of our great North-west will have their
summer residences on these hills and shores;   nor could the
heart of man desire more lovely sites.   At the river is an old
Hudson Bay station, and the head-quarters of several surveying
parties for the Canadian Pacific Railway.    The Chief, therefore
has business here,  and the Doctor also finds some ready to
his hand, for one of the engineers in charge is seriously ill;
but the captain can spare only an hour, as he wishes to be out
of the Bay by the western Channel, which is much narrower than
the eastern, before dark.   We leave at 5.30, and are in Lake  w
, IB' I hi
A If
i^   tit Mil li'"
* Mm
™i Willi"
I 1
Superior again at 8.30. The passengers, being anxious for an
evening informal service, the captain and the Rural Dean
requested our secretary to conduct it. He consented, and used,
on the occasion, a form compiled last year specially for surveying
parties. The scene was unusual, and perhaps, therefore, all the
more impressive. Our Secretary, dressed in grey homespun,
read a service compiled by clergymen of the Churches of Rome,
England and Scotland; no one could tell which part was
Roman, which Anglican or which Scottish, and yet it was all
Christian. The responses were led by the Dean and the Doctor,
and joined in heartily by Romanists, Episcopalians, Baptists,
Methodists and Presbyterians; for there were sixty or seventy
passengers present, and all those denominations were included in
the number. The hymns were,—" Rock of Ages | and " Sun
of my Soul;" these, with the " Gloria Patri" were accompanied on a piano by a young lady who had acted for years
as the leader of a choir in a small Episcopal Chapel, and she was
supported, right and left, by a Presbyterian and a Baptist. The
sermon was short, but, according to the Doctor, would "have been
better, if it had been shorter;" but all listened attentively, and no
one could tell from it to what particular Church the preacher
belonged. The effect of the whole was exceMent; when the service was over, many remained in the saloon to sing, converse,
or join in sacred music, and the evening passed delightfully away.
The ice was broken ; ladies and gentlemen, who had kept aloof
all the week, addressed each other freely, without waiting to be
introduced, and all began now to express sorrow that they
were to part so soon. It was near the " wee sma' hour " before
the pleasant groups in the saloon separated for the night.
At one, A. M., we arrived at " Silver Island,"—a little bit of
rock in a Bay studded with islets. The most wonderful vein of
silver in the world has been struck here. Last year, thirty men
took out from it $1,200,000; and competent judges say that, in 25
all probability, the mine h worth hundreds of millions. The
original $50 shares now sell for $25,000. The company that
works it is chiefly a New York one, though it was held originally
by Montreal men, and was offered for sale in London for a trifle.
Such a marvellous " find" as this has stimulated search in
every other direction around Lake Superior. Other veins have
been discovered, some of them paying well, and, of course, the
probability is that there are many more undiscovered; for not
one hundredth part of the mineral region of Lake Superior has
been examined yet, and it would be strange indeed if all the
minerals had been stumbled on at the outset. Those rocky
shores are, perhaps, the richest part of the whole Dominion.
During the halt at Silver Island we went to bed, knowing that
the steamer would arrive at Thunder Bay early in the morning.
So ended the first half of our journey from Toronto to Fort Garry,
by rail ninety-four miles, by steamboat five hundred and thirty
miles. The second half would be by waggons and canoes ;—waggons at the beginning and end; and, in the middle, canoes paddled
by Indians or tugged by steam launches over a chain of lakes,
extending like a net work in all directions along the watershed
that separates the basin of the great Lakes and St. Lawrence
from the vast Nortnern basin of Hudson's Bay. The unnecessary delays of the Frances Smith on this first part of our
journey had been provoking; but the real amari aliquid was the
Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The United States own the southern
shores of Superior, and have therefore only done their duty in
constructing a canal on their side of the Ste. Marie River. The
Dominion not only owns the northern shores, but the easier
access to its great North-west is by this route ; a canal on its
side is thus doubly necessary. The eastern key to two-thirds
of the Dominion is meanwhile in the hands of another Power;
and yet, if there ought to be only one gateway into Lake Superior, nature has declared that it should be on our side.    So UM       I J     MP IM
CO •■^^^w^ws^^^^
long ago as the end of the last century, a rude canal, capable of
floating large loaded canoes without breaking bulk, existed on
our side of the river.* The report of a N. W. Navigation
Company in 1858 gives the length of a ship canal around the
Ste Marie rapids on the Canadian side as only 8^8 yards, while on
the opposite side the length is a mile and one-seventh. In the
interests of peace and commerce, and because it. would be a
convenience to trade now and may be ere long an absolute
national necessity, let us have our own roadway across that
short half mile. Canada can already boast of the finest ship
canal system in the world; this trifling addition would be the
crowning work, and complete her inland water communication
from the Ocean, westerly, across thirty degrees of longitude to
the far end of Lake Superior.
(*) May SOth (1800) Friday, Sault Sto. Mario. Here the North-West CompaDy have
another establishment on tho North side of the Rapid. * * * Here tho North-West
Company ha70 built locks, in order to tako up loaded canoes, that they may not be under
tho necessity of carrying thorn by land, to tho head of the Rapid, for the current is too
Strong to bo stommod by any oraffc.—Harmon's Journal,
From Thunder Bay to Fort Garry.
Shebandowan Road.—Rich Vegetation.—Rivers Kaministiqmlo and Matawan.—Shebandowan Lake.— Luggage.— Emigrants.—Oanoo train.—Iroquois Indians.—Sir George
Simpson's guide.—Lake Kashaboiwo.—Tho Height of Land.—Lao de3 Mille Lacs.—
Baril portage and Lake.—First night under canvas.—Lako Windigostigwan.—Indian
encampment.—Chief Biackstone's wives.—The Medicine-man.—LakelCaogassikok.—
Shooting Maligne rapids. — Lake Noquaquon. — Loon portage —Mud portago.—
American portage.—Lako Naincukan.—Rainy Lake—Fort Francis.—Rainy Rivor.—
Hungry Hall.—Slap-jacks.—Lake of tho Woods.—Tho North Wosfc Angle.—A tough
night.—Oak point.—First glimpse of the prairies.—Floral troasuros.;— The Dawson
route.—Red River.
July 22nd.—At 5 A. M., arrived at Prince Arthur's Landing,
Thunder Bay, about four miles from the Kaministiquia river,
a fine open harbour, with dark cliffs of basaltic rock and
island scenery second only to Nepigon. Population is flowing
rapidly to these shores of Lake Superior. Already more than a
hundred stores, shanties, or houses are scattered about \ the
Landing.' The chief business is silver mining, and prospecting
for silver, copper, galena, and other valuable minerals known to
exist in the neighbourhood.
The" engineer of the surveying parties between Ottawa and
Red River, and the assistant superintendent of the Dawson
Route to Fort Garry met us at the Landing and invited us to
breakfast in their shanty. After breakfast, our baggage was
packed on a heavy waggon, and instructions were given to the
driver to keep moving till he reached Shebandowan Lake, the
first of the chain to be traversed in canoes.
Shebandowan is forty-five miles from Lake Superior, about 800
feet higher, and near the summit or watershed of the district. At
IO.30 A. M., we started for that point, the Chief and the Doctor in
a buggy, the others in a light waggon.    Drove in three hours to
(28) * I
1 =g;ajg!*?i
I fifteen-mile shanty " through a rolling country with a steady
upward incline, lightly wooded for the first half and more heavily
for the latter half of the distance. The flora is much the
same as in our Eastern Provinces ; the soil light, with a
surface covering of peaty or sandy loam, and a subsoil of
clay, fairly fertile and capable of being easily cleared. The
vegetation is varied, wild fruits being especially abundant,—raspberries, currants, gooseberries, and toniatoes; flowers like the
convolvulus, roses, a great profusion of asters, wild kallas, water-
lilies on the ponds, wild chives on the rocks in the streams, and
generally a rich vegetation. It is a good country for emigrants
of the farmer class. The road, too, is first rate, a great point for
the settler ; and a market is near. Whatever a settler raises he
can easily transport to the ready market that there always is
near mines. Miners are not particular about their lodging, but
good food and plenty of it they must have.
At the " fifteen-mile shanty," we stopped for an hour and a
half to feed the horses, and to dine. A Scotchman from Alloa,
Robert Bowie, was " boss of the shanty," and gave us the best
dinner we had eaten since leaving Toronto ;—broth, beaf-steak,
bread, and tea. The bread, light and sweet as Paris rolls, was
baked in Dutch ovens, buried in the hot embers of a huge fire
outside, near the door, and Robert accepted the shower of
compliments on its quality with the canny admission that there
were " waur bakers in the warld than himsel'."
We walked on for the next three or four miles till the waggon
overtook us. The soil became richer, the timber heavier, and the
whole vegetation more luxuriant. Six miles from the fifteen-
mile shanty we crossed the Kaministiquia—a broad and rapid
river,—which, at this point, is, by its own course, forty-five miles
distant from where it falls into Lake Superior. The valley of the
river is acknowledged to be a splendid farming country. A squat-.
ter, who had pitched camp at the bridge end last year, on his way -_ -■"C--J— ■ t i^--_ :
.-■*—**■ ito^*»lBfc^3*5g
to Red River, and had remained instead of going on because
everything was so favourable, came up to have a talk with us, and
to grumble, like a true Briton, that the Government wasn't doing
more for him. Timothy was growing to the height of four and five
feet, on every vacant spot, from chance seeds. A bushel and
a-half of barley, which seemed to be all that he had sown, was
looking as if it could take the prize at an Ontario Exhibition.
The soil, for the next five miles, was covered luxuriantly with
the vetch, or wild pea. The road led to the Matawan,—a
stream that runs out of Lake Shebandowan into the Kaministiquia. Both rivers are crossed by capital bridges. The
station at the Matawan was in charge of a Mr. Aitken and
his family, from Glengarry. He had arrived exactly two months
ago, on the 22nd of May, and he had now oats and barley up,
potatoes in blossom, turnips, lettuce, parsnips, cucumbers, etc.,
all looking healthy, and all growing on land that, sixty days
before, had been in part covered with undergrowth, stumps,
and tall trees, through which fires had run the year previous.
Mr. Aitken was in love with the country, and, what was of
more consequence, so was Mrs. Aitken, though she confessed to
a longing for some "neighbours." They intended to make it
their future home, and said that they had never seen land so
well suited for farming. Everything was prospering with them.
The very hens seemed to do better here than elsewhere. One
was pointed out with a brood of twenty strong healthy chickens
around her; Guinea hens and turkeys looked thriving.
Everything about this part of country, so far, has astonished us.
Our former ideas concerning it had been that it was a barren
desert; that there was only a horse trail, and not always that, to
travel by; that the mosquitoes were as big as grasshoppers, and
bit through everything. Whereas, it is a fair and fertile land,
undulating from the intervales of the rivers up to hills and
rocks eight hundred feet high.    The road through it is good i
enough for a king's highway, and the mosquitoes are not more
vicious than in the woods and by the streams of the Lower
Provinces; yet this fine land is wholly untaken up. Not
half a dozen settlers are on the road for the first twenty-six
miles ; and for the next twenty, not half that number. How
many cottars, small farmers, and plough boys in Britain,
would rejoice to know that they could get a hundred acres of
such land for one dollar an acre, money down; or at twenty
cents per acre after five years settlement on it! They could
settle along the high road, take their produce to a good market,
and be independent landholders in five years. This was the
information about the price of land that the settlers gave us.
Why " free " grants are not offered, as in other parts of Ontario
or in Manitoba, it is impossible to say.
From the Matawan to Shebandowan lake was the next stage,
twenty miles long. We passed over most of it in the dark,
but could see, from the poor timber and other indications, that
the latter half was not at all as good as the first. The road
was heavy, varying between corduroy, deep sand, and rutty
and rooty stretches, over which the waggon jolted frightfully.
Though the colonel beguiled the way with many a story of the
wars, all were tired and ready for bed by the time the Lake
was reached.
So passed the first day of our expedition, for we counted
that the journey only began at Thunder Bay. We had been
twelve hours on the road; but, as the day had been cool and
showery, did we not feel over-fatigued on arriving at Shebandowan. An old-countryman, Morris, was in charge of the
shanty. He had given up his kitchen to half a dozen emigrants
who were going on in the morning to Red River, and had
reserved beds for us in little nooks upstairs.
July 23rd.—Rose at sunrise, and found, much to our disgust,
that  the baggage  waggon had  not arrived.    An hour after,
m 32
however, it came in, and, along with it, two young gentlemen,
M.... and L.... with a canoe and Indians on their way to
Red River. They were travelling for pleasure, and, as they had
been on the road all night, and were tired, seedy and, mosquito-
bitten, they represented very fairly, in their own persons, the
Anglo-Saxon idea of pleasure.
At Shebandowan all our luggage was now gathered on the
wharf, to be stowed in the canoes which were to carry us
westerly for the next three hundred and eighty miles, along
the chain of lakes. The Chief looked hard at the united heap,
and then proposed that Morris should take charge or possession
of all that could be dispensed with ; and that, before we left Fort
Garry, only a certain number of pounds-weight should be allowed
to each. Much luggage is a nuisance, even where there are
railways, especially if extra weight has to be paid for; but it is
simply intolerable where frequent portages intervene, over which
everything has to be carried on men's backs. Morris made no
objection to the Chief's proposal, and it was carried nem. con.
At 8 A. M., the baggage having been stowed in the canoes,
the Indians paddled out, and hooked on to a little steam tug,
kept on the lake for towing purposes : a line was formed, the
word given, and, after a few preliminary puffings, the start was
made and we proceeded along the lake. The mode of locomotion was, to us, altogether new, and as charming as it was picturesque. The tug led the way at the rate of seven knots, towing,
first a large barge with immigrants, second a five-fathom canoe
with three of our party and seven Indians, third a four-fathom
canoe with two of us and six Indians, fourth same as number
three, fifth M.... and L... .'s canoe. We glided along with a
delightful motion, sitting on our baggage in the bottoms of the
canoes. The morning was dull and grey, and the shores of the
lake looked sterile and fire-swept, with abundant indications
of mineral wealth.    Gold and silver have been found at Sheban- sMi.
m tti -i ■ mwmn&mm ■   wm» naa THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
dowan, and prospecting parties are now searching all accessible
Our Indians were Iroquois, from Caughnawaga, near Montreal,
and a few native Ojibbeways. Their leader was Ignace
Mentour, who had been Sir George Simpson's guide for
fifteen years; and the steersman of his canoe was Louis,
who had been cook to Sir George on his expeditions, and
looked every inch the butler of a respectable English family;
we fell in love with him and Ignace from the first; another
of the Iroquois had been one of the party which sought
for Franklin by going down the McKenzie River to the
Arctic Sea. Two old pupils of Ignace, named respectively
Baptiste and Toma, were the captains of the two smaller canoes;
they were all sinewy, active, good looking men. Ignace's hair
was grey, but he was still as strong as any of the young men; he.
paddled in the bow of the big canoe, leading the way, and quietly
chewed tobacco the whole time. In his young days he had
been a famous runner, and had won foot races in every town on
both sides of the St. Lawrence. These Iroquois, and most of
the Ojibbeways we have met, are men above the medium size,
broad shouldered, with straight features, intelligent faces, and
graceful, because natural, bearing.
At the west end of the lake we came to a camp of seventy
or eighty Ojibbeways—two-thirds of them children;—they had
been there for three weeks, of course doing nothing for a living;
more were expected, and, when all would have assembled, a
grand pow-wow would be held, at which a Treaty was to be made
between them and the Indian Commissioner of the Dominion, by
which they were to cede, for a consideration, all their rights to the
land, that would hinder settlers from coming in. Poor-creatures!
not much use have they ever made 01 the land ; but yet, in admitting the settler, they sign their own death warrants. Who, but they,
have a right to ^he country; and if " a man may do what he
I 34
likes with his own," would they not be justified in refusing to
admit one of us to their lakes and woods, and fighting us to the
death on that issue ? But it is too late to argue the question 5
the red man, with his virtues and his vices,—lauded by some as
so dignified, abused by others as so dirty—is being civilised off
the ground. In the United States they have, as a rule, dealt
with him more summarily than in British America, but it comes
to pretty much the same;, in the end, whether he is-" improved
off," or shot down at once as a nuisance. His wild, wandering
life is inconsistent with modern requirements : these vast
regions were surely meant to maintain more than a few thousand
..Ojibbeways. 7C     ft,        . | ^ u-.^   |j|
Three hours steaming. brought our flotilla to the west end of
the lake. A portage of three quarters of a mile intervenes
between it and Lake Kashaboiwe. The Indians emptied the
canoes in a trice; two shouldered a canoe, weighing probably
three hundred pounds, and made off at a rapid trot across the
portage. The others loaded the waggon of the station with the
luggage, and carried on their backs, by a strap passed over their
foreheads, what the waggon could not take. This portage-strap
is three or four inches broad in the middle, where it is adjusted
to the forehead : its great advantage to the voyageur is that
it leaves him the free use of his arms in going through the woods.
A tug had been placed on Kashaboiwe, but, as the machinery
was out of gear, the Indians paddled over the lake, doing the
ten miles of its length in two hours. The wood on this lake is
heavier than on Shebandowan : poplars, white birch, red, white
and scrub pine, all shew well. The second portage is between
Kashaboiwe and Lac des Mille Lacs, and is called " Height of
Land," as the water here begins to run north and west instead of
•east and south. The lakes, after this, empty at their west ends*
At the east end of Lac des Mille Lacs, a little stream three
yards wide, that flows in a tortuous channel with gentle current
*v  £BS£z»»S$SiS3!£3
into the lake, eventually finds its way to Hudson's Bay. The
" Height of Land " is about a thousand feet above Lake
We now entered a lovely lake, twenty-two miles long; its
name explains its characteristic. As the steam launch, stationed
on it, happened, unfortunately, to be at the west end, the
Indians again paddled the canoes for about four miles, when we
met the launch coming back ; it at once turned about and took
us in tow. After a smart shower the sky cleared, and the sun
shone on innumerable bays, creeks, channels, headlands and
islets, which are simply larger or smaller rocks of granite covered
with moss and wooded to the water's brink. Through these labyrinths we threaded our way^&ften wondering that the wrong
passage was never taken, where there were so many exactly
alike. Fortunately, the fire-demon has not devasted these
^shores. The timber, in some places, is heavy ; pine, aspen, and
birch being the prevailing varieties. Every islet in the lake
is wooded down to the water's edge. Our Botanist, though
finding few new species, exulted in his holiday and looked
forward, with eager hope, to the flora of the plains. "This expedition," he said, " is going to give me a lift that will put me at
the head of the whole brigade ;" but, as we drew near our third'
portage for the day, his face clouded. " Look at the ground,
burnt again." One asked if it was the great waste of wood
he referred to. " It's not that, but, they have burned the very
spot for botanizing over." What is a site for shanty and clearing,
compared to Botany ! At the end of Lac des Mille Lacs is Baril
Portage, less than a quarter of a mile long.    M and L	
resolved to camp here, as they had had no sleep the previous night
and their Indians were tired ; but, though the sun was only
an hour high, we resolved to complete our programme, by doing
the next lake, Baril. No steamer has been put on this lake ;
but the Indians paddled over its eight miles of length in an hour
I 36
and forty minutes. The bluffs around Baril are bolder £han
those rising from the previous lakes, and the vegetatioh very
■similar. We hurried over the next portage, and, at the other
«^bd met the station-keeper, who had a comfortable tent pitched
for the emigrants, strewn with fragrant pine and spruce branches.
It was impossible to avoid admiring the activity and cheerfulness with which our Indians worked. Their canoes were attended
$£, as well as the baggage, in half the time that ordinary servants
would have taken. They would carry as heavy a load as a
Constantinople porter, at a rapid trot across the portage, run
back for another load without a minute's halt, and so on till all
the luggage was portaged, and everything in readiness for starting on the next lake.
A fire was quickly kindled, and search made for the eatables,
blankets and everything needed for the night, when the discovery was made that, though the colonel had his blankets and
the botanist his pair, a big package with the main supply had been
left behind, very probably as far back as the " Height of Land."
The frizzling of the ham in the frying pan, and the delicious
fragrance of the tea, made us forget the loss for the time.
We all sat around the fire, gipsy-like, enjoying our first
gipsy meal, and very soon after threw ourselves down on the
water-proof, that covered the sweet-smelling floor of the tent,
and slept the sleep of the just.
July 20th.—The Chief awoke us in the grey misty dawn. It
took more than a little shaking to awaken the boys; but the
botanist had gone off, no one knew when, in search of new
species. As we emerged from our tent, Louis and Baptiste
appeared from theirs, and kindled the fire. They next unrolled
a lump of scented soap, brush and comb; went down to the
stream, washed and made their toilettes, and then set to
work to prepare for breakfast, ham, beefsteak, bread and tea. It
never  seemed to occur to our  Ojibbeways to wash, crop, or   THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
dress their hair. They let it grow, at its own sweet will, all
around their faces and down their necks, lank, straight and stiff,
helping the growth with fish oil; whereas, every one of the
Iroquois had "a gclod head of hair," thick, well cropped, and,
though always black, quite like the hair of a civilized man
instead of a savage. Our Ojibbeways had silver rijngs on their
fingers, broad gaudy sashes and bedraggled feathers bound
round their felt hats. The Iroquois dressed as simply and neatly
as " blue jackets."
It had been chilly through the night, and the cold mist clung
heavily to the ground in the morning. The air is colder than
the water from evening till morning. Hence the evening and
morning mists, which disappear an hour or two after sunrise,
rise and form into clouds, which, sooner or later, empty themselves back again on the land or lakes.
After breakfast we embarked on the mist-covered river that
runs into Lake Windegoostigwan. The sun soon cleared away the
mists and we glided on pleasantly, down long reaches of lake,
and through narrow, winding, reedy passages, past curved
shores, hidden by rank vegetation, and naked bluffs and islets
covered with dbumps of pines. Not a word fell from the Indians'
lips, as they paddled with all the ease and regularity of machinery. The air was delightful, and all felt as if out on a holiday.
In three hours the fifteen miles of Windegoostigwan were
crossed, and we came to a portage nearly two miles long. This
detained us three hours, as the waggon had to make two
trips from lake to lake, over a new road, with our luggage.
A man from Glengarry, Ontario, was in charge of the portage;
he had lived here all winter, and said that he far preferred the
winter weather to that of the Eastern Provinces. Great as
is the summer rain-fall, it is quite [different in winter; then
the days are clear and cloudless, and so sunny and pleasant
that he was accustomed to go about in his summer clothing, 38
except in the mornings and evenings. Three feet of snow fell in
the woods after Christmas, and continued dry and powdery till
April, when it commenced to i$elt, and soon after the middle of
May it was all gone, and vegetation began to show itself at
At the west end of the portage is a small encampment of
Ojibbeways, aromid the wigwam of Blackstone, said to be
their most eloquent chief, and accordingly set down as " a great
rascal " by those who cannot conceive of Indians as having rights,
or tribal or patriotic feelings.1-6 He was absent, but we saw one
of his three wives sitting on a log, with two or three papooses
hanging round her neck, and his oldest son, a stout young
fellow, who could not speak a word of English or French, but who
managed to let us know that he was sick. The Doctor was
called, and he made out that the lad had a pain in his back, but,
not being able to diagnose more particularly, was at a loss what
to do for him. Our Chief suggested a bit of tobacco, but the
Doctor took no notice of the profane proposal; luckily enough,
or the whole tribe would have been sick when the next " Medicine-man " passed their way. Blackstone's wife was not more
comely than any of the other Indian women ; that is, she was
dirty, joyless-looking and prematurely old. All the hard work
falls to the lot of the women : the husband hunts, fishes,
paddles, or does any other work that a "gentleman" feels he
can do without degradation ; his wife is something better than
his dog, and faithfully will he share'with her his last morsel;
but it's only a dog's life that she has.
Our next lake was Kaogassikok, sixteen miles long. The
shores of this, too, were lined with good-sized pine, white, red,
and scrub. To-day more larch and cedar shewed among the
birch and pine than yesterday. When the country is opened up,
all this timber will be very valuable, as sleepers and ties for the
Pacific  Railway,   and lumber,   for building purposes, can be THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
obtained here in abundance, if nowhere nearer the plains. The
trees can be cut down at the water's edge, rafted, and sent
by water to Winnipeg. Numbers of fine trees are now growing
in the water; for, by damming up the outflow of the lakes to make
the landing places, the water level has been raised and the shore
trees have thus been submerged several feet. They will rot, in
consequence, and fall into the lakes sooner or later, and
perhaps obstruct the narrow channels. The timber gets heavier
as we go on ; at the west of Kaogassikok are scrub pines,
three feet in diameter; but, unfortunately, about one-third of
them are punky or hollow. Here are two portages, Pine and
Deux Rivieres, separated by only two miles of water; consequently much detention owing to our magnificent quantities of
baggage. Two Indians, suffering from dysentery, applied for
relief, at Pine Portage, and received it at the hands of the
Doctor: he has already had about a dozen " cases," either of
white or red men, since we left Owen Sound. The first two were
at Nepigon, one the engineer, and the other a dying man,
carried on board the steamer there, to be taken home, and who
was also kindly ministered to by the captain and one or two of
the lady passengers. Our party have, thus far, received little
at the Doctor's hands,  sundry   "medical   comforts"  always
After paddling over four miles of the next lake the Indians
advised camping, though the sun was more than an hour high.
As we had experienced the discomforts of camping in the dark
the night before, and as the men were evidently tired, we landed
and pitched the tents on a rocky promontory at the foot of a
wooded hill.    Scarcely were our fires lighted, when M 's
canoe came up, and then another with a stray Indian, his
wife, papooses, dog—that looked half wolf—and all their traps.
After a good swim, we sat down to our evening meal, which
Louis had spread on a clean table-cloth on the sward.    In front
\ 4o
of us was the smooth lake ; on the other side of it, two mile^pff,
the sun was going down in the woods. The country ahead
broke into knolls, looking in many parts like cultivated
parks; around us the white tents and the ruddy fires, with
Indians flitting between, or busy about the canoes, gave animation to the scene and made up a picture that will long live in the
memory of many of us.
The Indians never halt without, at once, turning their canoes
upside down, and examining^them. The seams and crevices in
the birch bark yield at any extra strain, and scratches are made
by submerged brushwood in some of the channels or the shallow
parts of the lakes. These crevices they carefully daub over with
resin, which is obtained from the red pine, till the bottom oi an
old canoe becomes almost covered with a black resinous coat.
The stray Indian pitched camp an hundred yards off from
us; and, with true Indian dignity, did not come near to ask for
anything, though quite equal to take anything that was offered
or left behind.
July 25th.—Up before four A. M., and, after a cup of hot tea,
started in excellent spirits. Our three canoes had tried a race
the night before, over the last four miles of the day's journey,
and they renewed it this morning. The best crew was in
the five-fathom boat, of which Ignace was captain and Louis
steersman. The captains of the other two, Baptiste and Toma,
pushed their old master hard to-day; as one or the other stole
ahead, not a glance did Ignace give to either. Doggedly, and
with averted head, he dug his paddle deeper in the water
and pegged away with his sure steady stroke, and though the
others, by spurting, forced themselves half-a-canoe-length ahead
at times, they had not the stay of the older men, and every race
ended with Ignace leading. Then he would look up and with
sunshine on his broad, handsome face throw a good humoured
joke back, which the others would catch up with great glee THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
These races often broke the monotony of the day.    " Up, up,"
or " hi, hi," would break suddenly from one of the canoes that
had fallen behind.    Everyone answered with quickened stroke
that sent it abreast of the others. Then came the tug of war. The
graceful, gondola-shaped canoes cut through the water as though
impelled by steam.    The Buffalo, or Ignace's canoe,—so called
from the figure of an Indian with a gun, standing before a buffalo,
that he had painted on the bow—always led at the first; but often
the Sun, Baptiste's lighter craft, would shoot ahead, and sometimes Toma's, the Beaver, under the frantic efforts of her crew,
seconded by one or two of us snatching up a paddle, would lead
for a few minutes.    The chivalry of our Indians, in the heat of
the contests, contrasted favourably with that of " professionals,"
no " foul " ever took place, though the course often lay through
narrow, winding, reedy, channels.    Once, when Baptiste at such
a place might have forced ahead by a spurt, he slacked speed
gracefully, let Ignace take the curve and win.    Another time*
when neck and neck, he saw a heavy line dragging at the stern
and called Louis' attention to it.    No one ever charged the other
with being unfair and no angry word Was ever heard; in fact,
the Indians grow on us day by day.    It is easy to understand
how an Englishman, travelling for weeks together with  an
Indian guide, so often contracts a strong friendship for him ; for
the Indian qualities Of patience, endurance, dignity and self-
control, are the very ones to evoke friendship.
The sun rose bright but was soon clouded. Ten good miles
were made and then the halt called for breakfast, at a beautiful
headland, just as it commenced to rain. Now we got some
idea of what a rainy day in these regions means. After breakfast we put on our water-proofs, covered up our baggage and
moved ahead, under a deluge of rain that knew no intermission
for four hours. Most of the water-proofs proved to be delusions;
they had not been made for these latitudes.    The canoes would 42
have filled, had we not kept bailing, but, without a word
of complaint, the Indians stick to their paddles.
From the lake we parsed into the Maligne River, and there
the current aided us. In this short, but broad and rapid
stream, are six or seven rapids, which must be "'Shot" or portaged round ; we preferred the " shooting" wherever it was
practicable for such large and deeply-laden canoes as ours.
To shoot rapids in a canoe is a pleasure that comparatively
few Englishmen have ever enjoyed, and no picture can give an
idea of what it is. There is a fascination in the motion, as of
poetry or music, which must be experienced to be understood :
the excitement is greater than when on board a steamer,
because you are so much nearer the seething water, and the canoe
seems such a fragile thing to contend with the mad forces, into
the very thick of which it has to be steered. Where the stream
begins to descend, the water is an inclined plane, smooth as a
billiard table; beyond, it breaks into curling, gleaming rolls
which end off in white, boiling caldrons, where the water has
broken on the rocks beneath. On the brink of the inclined
plane, the canoe seems to pause for an instant. The captain is
at the bow,—a broader, stronger paddle than usual in his hand—
his eye kindling with enthusiasm, and every nerve and fibre in
his body at its utmost tension. The steersman is at his post, and
every man is ready. They know that a false stroke, or too weak
a turn of the captain's wrist, at the critical moment, means death.
A push with the paddles, and, straight and swift as an arrow,
the canoe shoots right down into the mad vortex; now into a
cross current that would twist her broadside round, but that every
man fights against it; then she steers right for a rock, to which she
is being resistlessly sucked, and on which it seems as if she would
be dashed to pieces; but a rapid turn of the captain's paddle at
the right moment, and she rushes past the black mass, riding
gallantly as a race horse.    The  waves  boil up at the side SiWfl  THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
threatening to engulf her, but, except a dash of spray or the cap
of a wave, nothing gets in, and, as she speeds into the calm reach
beyond, all draw long breaths and hope that another rapid is
At eleven o'clock we reached Island Portage, having paddled
thirty-two miles,—the best forenoon's work since taking to the
canoes—in spite of the weather. Here a steam launch is
stationed ; and, though the engineer thought it a frightful day to
travel in, he got ready at our request, but said that he could not
go four miles an hour as the rain would keep the boiler wet the
whole time.    We dined with M 's party, under the shelter
of their upturned canoe, on tea and the fattest of fat pork, which
all ate with delight unspeakable, for there was the right kind
of sauce. The day, and our soaked condition, suggested a
little brandy as a specific ; but their bottle was exhausted, and,
an hour before, they had passed round the cork for each to have
a "smell" at, in lieu of a " drain." Such a case of " potatoes and
point" moved our pity, and the chief did what he could for
them. The Indians excited our admiration ;—soaked through,,
and over-worked as they had been, the only word that we heard,-
indicating tjaat they were conscious of anything unusual, was an
exclamation from Baptiste, as he gave himself a shake,—" Boys,
wish I was in a tavern now, I'd get drunk in less than tree
hours, I guess."
At two o'clock, the steam launch was ready, and, about the
same time, the sky cleared a little; a favorable wind, too,
sprang up, and, though there were showers or heavy mists all
the time, the launch towed us the twenty-four miles of Lake
Nequaquon in three and a quarter hours. The scenery was
often very fine, but being of the same kind as that for more than
a hundred miles back, it began to be monotonous, and we
craved for a few mountains.
Next came Loon portage ; then paddling for five miles; then
"—■'''■ 11-   '■"-■ j-T 44
Mud portage, worthy of its name;  another short paddle; and
then American portage, at which we camped for the night	
the sun having at last come out and this being the best place for
pitching tents and the freest from mosquitoes. Tired enough
all hands were, and ready for sleep, for these portages are killing
work. After taking a swim, we rigged lines before huge fires, and
hung up our wet things to dry, so that it was eleven o'clock
before anyone could lie down. " Our wet things," with some,
mean all. The doctor and the secretary had stowed theirs in
water-proof bags, kindly lent them by the Colonel; but, alas,
the bags proved as fallacious as our " water-proofs !" Part of the
Botanist's valise was reduced to pulp, but he was too eager in
search of specimens to think of such a trifle, and, while all the
rest of lus were busy washing and hanging out to dry, he hunted
through woods and marshes, and, though he got little for his pains,
was happy as a king.
Our camping ground had been selected by the Indians with
their usual good taste. A rocky eminence, round two sides of which
a river poured ina roaring linn ; on the hill sombre pines, underneath which the tents were pitched; and lower down a forest of
white birch. More than one of the party dreamed that he was
in Scotland, as he was lulled to sleep by the thunder of the
July 26th.—Up again about three, A. M., and off within an
hour, down a sedgy river, with low swampy shores, into Lake
Nameukan. The sun rose bright, and continued to shine all
day ; but a pleasant breeze tempered its rays. At mid-day, the
thermometer stood at 80 ° in the shade, the hottest since leaving
Owen Sound. One day on Lake Superior it was down to
48 °, and the average at mid-day since we landed at Thunder
Bay was from 55 ° to 60 °.
After twelve miles paddling, halted at"S. pretty spot on an islet
for breakfast.    Frank caught a large pickerel and M shot a THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY. 45
few pigeons,, giving us a variety of courses at dinner.    M 's
Indians tried a race with us to-day, and after a hard struggle,
got ahead of Toma and Baptiste, but Ignace proudly held his
own and wouldn't be beaten. However, among the many turns
of the river, Toma, followed by Baptiste, circumvented their old
master, by dashing through a passage overgrown with weeds and
reeds instead of taking the usual channel. When Ignace turned
the corner he saw the two young fellows coolly waiting for him a
hundred and fifty yards ahead. They gave a sly laugh as
he came up, but Ignace was too dignified to take the slightest
notice; Baptiste was so pleased that he sang us two' Iroquois
canoe songs.
Eighteen miles, broken by two short portages, (for we took a
short cut instead of the public route), brought us about mid-day
to Rainy Lakei; here we were told, but, as it turned out, incorrectly, was the last steam launch that could be used on our
journey, as the two on Rainy River and Lake of the Woods had
something wrong with them.
The engineer promised to be ready in two hours, and to land
11s at Fort Francis, at the west end of Rainy Lake, forty-five
miles on, by sundown. But in half an hour the prospect did
not look so bright, as, across the portage, by the public route,
came a band of eighteen emigrants, men, women and children,
who had left Thunder Bay five days before us, and whom we
had passed this forenoon, when we took our short cut. They
had a great deal of baggage, and were terribly tired. One old
woman, eighty-five years of age, complained of being sick, and
the doctor attended to her. As we had soup for dinner, he sent
some over to her, and the prescription had a good effect. While
waiting here we took our half dried clothes out of the bags, and, •
hy hanging them on lines under the warm sun, got them pretty
well dried before starting.
At three, P. M., at the cry of " All aboard," our flotilla formed
Jil I
at once,—the steam launch towing two large barges with the
emigrants and their luggage, and the four canoes. The afternoon
was warm and sunny, and there was a pleasant breeze on the
Lake. In half an hour every Indian was asleep in the bottom
of his canoe.
The shores of Rainy Lake are low, especially on tne northern
side, and the timber is small; the shores rocky, with here and there
sandy beaches that have formed round little bays ; scenery tame
and monotonous, though the islets, in some parts, are numerous
and beautifuJL «
By nine o'clock, we had made only thirty miles. Our steamer
was small, the flotilla stretched out far and the wind ahead.
We therefore determined to camp; and^by the advice:*of the
engineer, steered for the north shore to what is called the
Fifteen Mile House from Fort Francis, said house being two
deserved log huts. In a little bay here, on the sandy beach, we
pitched our tents and made rousing fires, though the air was
warm and balmy, as if we were getting into a more southern
region. The botanist, learning that we would leave before daybreak, lighted an old pine branch and roamed about with his
torch to investigate the flora of the place. The others visited the
emigrants to whom the log-huts had been assigned, or sat round
the fires smoking, or gathered bracken and fragrant artemisia
for our beds.
July 27th.—Had our breakfast before four A. M., and in less
than half an hour after, were en route for Fort Francis. Two
miles above the Fort the Lake ends and pours itself into Rainy
River, over a rapid which the emigrant's barges had not oars to
shoot. They were cast off, and we went on to the Fort and
sent men up to bring them down. The Fort is simply a Hudson's
• Bay Company's trading post;—the shop and the cottages of the
agent and employes in the form of a square, surrounded by
stockades about ten feet high.    From the Fort is a beautiful view 1   :!i.'« ! rrjBJJpBBSy—"
-   •  ■'   ,   •  ' ' '■
.. Ji-
£ **  fPRS
of the Chaudiere Falls which have to be portaged round. These
are formed by the river, here nearly two hundred yards wide,
.pouring over a granite ridge in magnificent roaring cascades. A
sandy plain of several acres, covered with rich grass, extends
around the Fort, and wheat, barley, and potatoes are raised ; but,
beyond this plain, is marsh and then rock. A few fine cattle, in
splendid condition, were grazing upon the level. On the
potato leaves we found the " Colorado Bug," that frightful pest
which seems to be moving further east every year.
Half a dozen wigwams were tenanted in the vicinity of the
Fort, and there were scores of roofless polCs>;where, a fortnight
ago, had been high feasting for aa#ew days. A thousand or
twelve hundred Ojibbeways had assembled to confer with Mr.
Simpson, the Dominion Indian CommisMpner, as to the terms
on which they would allow free passage through, and settlement
in, the country. No agreement had been come to, as their terms
were considered extravagant.
Justice, both to the Indians and to the emigrants who are
invited to make their home in this newly opened country,
demands that a settlement of the difficulty be made as soon as
possible. It may be, and very probably is, true that some of them
are vain, lazy, dirty, and improvident. The few about Fort
Francis did not impress us favourably. They contrasted
strikingly with our noble Iroquois. The men were lounging
about, lolling in their wigwams, playing cards in the shade, or
lying on their faces in the sun ; and, though not one of them was
doing a hand's turn, it was a matter of some difficulty to.get
four or five to go with us to the North-west Angle, to replace
those who had come from Shebandowan and whose engagement
ended here. There were some attempts at tawdry finery about
them all. The men wore their hair plaited into two or more
long queues, which, when rolled up on the head, looked well
enough, but which  usually hung down the sides of the face,
W 48
giving them an effeminate look, and all the more so because bits
of silver or brass were twisted in or ringed round with the plaits.
One young fellow that consented to paddle, had long streamers of
bright ribbon flying from his felt hat. Another poor looking
creature had his face streaked over with red ochre—of course
to show how brave and blood-thirsty he was. Some wore
blankets, folded loosely and gracefully about them, instead of
coats and trousers ; but one thing we remarked was that every
one of them had some good clothes ; the construction of the
road being the cause of this, for all who wish can get employment
in one way or another in connection with it. At Fort Francis
the hulls of two steamers, to be over a hundred feet in length, for
use on Rainy river and Lake of the Woods, are now being built;
and Indians who cannot work at bringing in timber or at ship
carpentering, can be employed as voyageurs, or to improve the
portages, or to fish or hunt, or in many other ways. But
whatever the benefits that have been conferred on them, or
whatever their natural defects, they surely have rights to this
country, though they have never divided it up into separate
personal holdings. They did not do so, simply because their
idea was that the land was free to all. Each tribe had its own
ground, which extended over hundreds of miles, and every man
had a full right to all of that as far as he could occupy it.
Wherever he could walk, ride, or canoe, there the land and the
water were his. If he went to the land of another tribe, the
same rule held good; he might be scalped as an enemy, but
he ran no risk of being punished as a trespasser.
And now a foreign race is swarming over the country, to mark
out lines, to erect fences, and to say "this is mine and not yours,"
till not an inch shall be left the original owner. All this may be
inevitable. But in the name of justice, of doing as we would
be done by, of the " sacred rights" of property, is not the
Indian entitled to liberal, and, if possible, permanent compen- ————  THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
sation ?   What makes it difficult to arrange a settlement with
the Ojibbeways is, that they have no chiefs who are authorized
to treat for them.    This results from their scattered and dispersed
state as a nation.    The country they live in is poorly supplied
with game, and produces but little of itself, and the Indian does
not farm.    It is thiis impossible for them to live in large bodies.
They wander in groups and families from place to place, often
suffering the extreme of hunger, and sometimes starved outright.
Each group has generally one or more men of greater moral or
physical power than the rest, and these are  its chiefs, chiefs
who have no hereditary rank, who have never been formally
elected, and who are quietly deposed when greater men than
they rise up.     Their influence is indirect, undefined, wholly
personal, and confined to the particular group they live with.
They can scarcely speak for the group, and not at all for the
nation.    When anything has to be done for the nation as a
whole, there is then no other way but for the nation to meet en
masse.    Even then they elect no representative men, unless
specially requested. Those of greatest age, eloquence, or personal
weight, speak for the others ; but decisions can be come to only
by the crowd.    Of course they could not have existed, thus
loosely bound together, had they lived in large bodies, or been
pressed by powerful enemies.   But they are merely families and
groups, and their lands have no special attraction for other Indian
tribes.    Neither can they be formidable as enemies to settlers on
this same account, should the worst come to the worst; but their
feebleness makes it the more incumbent on the Government of
a Christian people to treat them not only justly but generously.
After breakfast we resolved to paddle down the river, till
overtaken by the steam launch with the emigrants.    The day
was very warm;  when we landed, about twelve miles on, to
dine, the  thermometer   stood   at   87 °   in  the shade.     Our
secretarv left the thermometer at this halt, hanging on the shady
D 50
side of a tree ; but, fortunately, the Chief was able to produce
another from the bag.
Rainy River is broad and beautiful; and flows with an easy
current through a low-lying and evidently fertile country. For
the first twenty-five miles, twenty or thirty feet above the
present beach or intervale, rises, in terrace form, another,
evidently the old shore of the river, which extends far back, like
a prairie. The richness of the soil is evident, from the luxuriance
and variety of the wild flowers. Much of the land could be
cleared almost as easily as the prairie ; other parts are covered
with trees, pines, elms, maples, but chiefly aspens.
Thirty-five miles from Fort Francis we ran the Manitou rapids
and, five miles further on, the Sault, neither of them formidable.
A moderately powerful steamer could easily run up as well as
shoot them. Beyond the Sault we landed to take in wood for the
tug, and tea for ourselves. The Botanist came up to us in a few
minutes with wild pea and vetch vines eight feet high, which
grew so thickly, not far off, that it was almost impossible to
pass through them. The land is a heavy loam,—once the bed
of the river,—and is called " Muskeg" here, though, as that is
the name usually given to ancient peat-bogs or tamarack swamps
abounding in springs, it is not very appropriate. The time will
come when every acre of these banks of Rainy river will be
waving with grain, or producing rich heavy grass, for countless
herds of cattle.
It was now sunset, and the captain of the tug said that it
would take six hours yet to reach " Hungry Hall." We resolved,
m accordance with our programme, to go on; but the Colonel
preferred to camp and, perhaps, overtake us next day. So
it was decided, but the Iroquois did not. Kke the arrangement
at all, as it was a break-up of their party; Louis tried to get with
us by exchanging places with Baptiste, but Baptiste couldn't see
it We were sorry to part with Ignace and Louis, even for twenty- THUNDER  BAY  TO  FORT GARRY.
four hours, and perhaps altogether; but as the night was pleasant,
and we wished to rest the next day, and stick to our programme
on all occasions if possible, we had to say "good-ye." M 's
party came with us, and so did the barges withthe emigrants.
On we swept, down the broad, pleasant iwer, with its long
reaches, beautiful at night as they had been in the bright sunshine. At times a high wall of luxuriant wood rose on each side,
and stretched far ahead in curves that looked, in the gloaming,
like cultivated parks. Occasionally an islet divided the river;
and, at such places, a small Indian camp was usually pitched.
Of the seventy-five miles of Rainy River, down which we sailed
to-day, every mile seemed well adapted for cultivation and the
dwellings of men. At eleven o'clock the moon rose; at ha$-
past twelve we reached Hungry Hall, a post of the Hi B. Company and a village of wigwams, out of which all the natives
rushed, some of them clothed scantily and others less than
scantily, to greet the new comers, with " Ho! Ho ! " or " B'jou,
B'jou." Baptiste urged us not to stop here, as the Indians of
the place were such thieves that they would " steal the socks off
us," and spoke of good camping ground a mile and a half further
on. We took his advice, after getting a supply of flour,
pork, and tea from the store, and, after asking the captain of the
steamer to delay starting on the morrow as long as he possibly
could, paddled ahead. We soon reached Baptiste's point, pitched
our tents over luxuriant masses of wild flowers heavy with dew,
and, in a few minutes, were all sound asleep.
July 28th.—This morning, for the first time since leaving Lake
Superior, we enjoyed the luxury of a long sleep, and the still
greater luxury of an hour's dozing, that condition between
sleeping and waking in which you are just enough awake to
know that you are not asleep. There was no hurry to-day, it was
the day of rest; and we hoped that the steamer wouldn't come
till the afternoon or the morrow. ."■g'lMSMO'jmimnrfig
At 8.30 A. M., as breakfast was getting ready, a distinguished
visitor appeared, an old stately looking Indian, a chief, we were
informed, and the father of Blackstone. He came with only one
attendant; but two or three canoes made their appearance about
the same time, with other Indians, squaws, and papooses who
squatted in groups on the banks at respectful distances. The old
Indian came up with a "B'jou, B'jou/' shook hands all round, and
then drawing himself up,—knife in one hand, big pipe in the
other, the emblems of war and peace—commenced a long
harangue. We didn't understand a word; but one of the men
roughly interpreted, and the speaker's gestures were so expressive that the drift of his meaning could be easily followed-
Pointing, with outstretched arms, north, south, east and west,
he told us that all the land had been his people's, and that he
now, in their name, asked for some return for our passage through
it. The aim of all the eloquence was simply a breakfast; but
the bearing and speech were those of a born orator. He had
good straight features, a large Roman nose, square chin, and, as
he stood over six feet in his moccasins, his presence was most
commanding. One great secret of impressive gesticulation—the
free play of the arm from the shoulder, instead of the cramped
motion from the elbow—he certainly knew. It was astonishing
with what dignity and force, long, rolling, musical sentences
poured from the lips of one who would be carelessly classed by
most people as a Savage, to whose views no regard should be
paid. When ended, he took a seat on a hillock with the dignity
natural to every real Indian, and began to smoke in perfect.
silence. He had said his say, and it was our turn now. Without
answering his speech, which we could only have done in
a style far inferior to his, the Chief proposed that he should have
some breakfast. To show due respect to so great an O-ghe-mah, a
newspaper was spread before him as a table-cloth, and a plate of
fried pork placed on it, with a huge | slapjack " or thick pancake   THUNDER  BAY  TO  FORT GARRY.
made of flour and fat, 'one-sixth of which was as much as any
white man's stomach could digest. A large pannikin of tea, a
beverage the Indians are immoderately fond of, was also brought,
and, by signs, he was invited to "fall to." For some moments
he made no movement, either from offended pride or expectation
that we would join him, or, more likely, only to show a gentlemanly indifference to the food. But the fat pork and the
fragrant tea were irresistible. Many a great man's dignity has
been overcome by less. After he had eaten about half, he
summoned his attendant to sit beside him and eat, and to him,
too, a pannikin of tea was brought. We then told the old man
that we had heard his words ; that we were travellers carrying
only enough food for ourselves, but that we would bring his
views to the notice of the Government, and that his tribe would
certainly receive justice, as it was the desire of our Great Mother
the Queen, that all her children—red as well as white—should
be well cared for; ^ He at once assented, though whether he
would have done so with equal blandness had we given him no
breakfast is questionable.
At io o'clock, the steamer came along to our great disappointment, but there was nothing for it but to I hook on.' A few
miles through long reaches of wide expanding sedge and
marsh brought us to the Lake of the Woods. An unbroken
sheet • of water, ten miles square, called " The Traverse,"
is the first part of this Lake that has to be crossed ; but, as a
thunder storm seemed brewing behind us, the captain steered to
the north behind a group of islets that fringe the shore. In half
an hour an inky belt of cloud stretched over us from north to
south, and, when it burst, the torrent was as if the lake had
turned upside down. The storm moved with us, as in a circle,
flashes of lightning coming simultaneously from opposite quarters
of the heavens. First we had the wind and rain on our backs,
then on the left, then in our faces, and then on the right.    The if
captain made for a little bay in an islet near at hand, and, though
the weather cleared, it looked threatening enough to make him
decide to put the steamer's fire out and wait. The islet was
merely a sand dune, covered with coarse grasses and small
willows, though in a storm these sand hills might be mistaken for
formidable rocks. As there was not enough wood on it for both
parties, we gave it up to the crew and the emigrants, and
paddled to another a mile ahead. This islet was of gneissoid
rock and had a bold headland covered with good wood. The
botanist found the ash-leaved maple, the nettle tree, and an
abundance of wild flowers; twenty-four kinds that he had not
seen since joining the expedition, and, of these, eight with
which he was unacquainted.
Scarcely were our canoes hauled up, when the Colonel came
along. His men had been so anxious to have all their party
together that they had paddled steadily at their hardest for
seven hours. Louis at once set to work to get dinner; and, it
being Sunday, several delicacies were brought out in addition to
the standing dishes of pork, biscuit, and tea. From the Colonel's stores came Mullagatawny soup, Bologna sausage, French
mustard, Marmalade, and, as every one carried with him an abundant supply of the famous \ black sauce,' we had a great feast.
After dinner, all the party, except the pagan Ojibbeways,
assembled for divine service. The form compiled for the surveying parties was read ; the { Veni Creator' sung in Iroquois
by the Indians ; and a short sermon preached. Although the
Iroquois understood but few words of English, they listened
most devoutly, and we listened with as much attention to their
singing. To hear those children of the forest, on a lonely isle in
a lake that Indian tradition says is ever haunted by their old
deities, chanting the hymn that for centuries has been sung at
the great Councils and i*^ the high Cathedrals of Christendom,
moved us deeply. THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
After tea, candles were lit in the tents, as this evening we were
not too tired to read. Our candlestick was a simple and
effective Indian contrivance. A stick of any length you desired
was slit at the top and then stuck in the ground. A bit of birch-
bark or paper was doubled; in the fold the candle was placed,
and the ends were then inserted in the slit. The stick thus held
the ends tight, and the candle upright. We spent a quiet
pleasant evening and about 10 o'clock " turned in."
July 29th.—Rose fresh and eager for the journey, and had a
dip in the lake; there was a heavy sea on the traverse, and, as
the little steamer was not very sea-worthy, it was doubtful if she
would attempt the passage. But, while we were at breakfast, she
was announced as making in our direction. Orders were at once
given to take down the tents and embark the stores, but the
Indians showed some reluctance to move. They said that it
would be safer to trust to the paddles; that the waves in the
middle of the traverse would be heavy, and that, if the canoes
were forced through them, the bow or side would be broken in.
We]overruled their doubts, with a show of confidence, and started
at 7.30 A.M.
Instead of the long single line of canoes that had been formed
on previous days, they were now formed two abreast, and
the connecting lines of the first two were shortened, and tied to
the middle bench of the big barge which contained the
emigrants' luggage. This worked admirably, as the barge broke
the waves, and, in the comparatively smooth water immediately
t>ehind her, the two canoes rode easily, the five-fathom one to
windward and a smaller one under her lee; close after these
came the other two canoes. The passage was made safely, and
the water for the rest of the day was only rippled slightly,
as we took a circuitous route through innumerable islets,
instead of the short and direct one over the unbroken part of
the lake.    The forenoon was cold and cloudy, but occasionally 56
the sun shone cheerily out. Every one was thankful for the
clouds and coolness, as they could note and enjoy the changing
scenery, whereas the day before yesterday, in coming down
Rainy River, they had suffered from the rays of the sun beating
down fiercely, and reflected on every side from the water. To
sit still in the canoes and suffer headache and. drowsiness was a
heavy price to pay for the pleasure of a glowing sun. The
Indians, who seemed able to do without sleep, if necessary, but
willing to take any quantity when they could get it, now slept
soundly in the bottom of the canoes.
At mid-day we landed for dinner in a bay on a fire-swept
islet. The Doctor and L baked and fried some very superior slap-jacks, which were a welcome addition to the invariable
menu of tea, pork, and biscuits. The Colonel and the boys
made the circuit of the islet with their guns ; but saw nothing
worth shooting at except a solitary duck, which they didn't get.
The Botanist was disappointed in his explorations, and took to
collecting beetles as he couldn't get flowers.
Lake of the Woods has been shorn of much of its beauty by
the fires which have swept over many of its islets; and, the
character of its beauty being the same as that with which we
had been already almost surfeited, it did not strike us as it certainly would one coming from the west. The fires have also
revealed the nakedness, as far as soil is concerned, of its shores
and islets which are low, hard, gneissoid rocks, covered with but
poor timber even where it has been spared.
In the afternoon a favorable wind helped us on; the barge
hoisted a sail, and between wind and steam we made seven or
eight miles an hour. The tug stopped twice for wood ; but such
despatch was shown that though there was neither wharf nor
platform, and the tug had to be held by boat hooks to the rocks,
and at the same time kept from dashing against them, the whole
thing was done at each place in ten minutes.    Captain Bell's THUNDER BAY TO FORT GARRY.
style of wooding up contrasted favorably with that of the captain
of the Frances Smith.
The last eight or nine miles of the Lake, which were to be
the last of our journey by water, led up a long bay to what is
called the | North-west Angle," a point from which a road has
been made to Fort Garry, so that travellers by this route
now escape the terrible portages of the Winnipeg river and
the roundabout way by Lake Winnipeg. The breeze chased us
up finely, and we congratulated ourselves on having started in
the morning, as the passage across " The Traverse " would have
been an impossibility with the afternoon's wind. The land
became lower as we sailed west. We were approaching the
Eastern boundary of the great prairies, that extend to the west
for the next thousand miles. A vast expanse of reeds lined
both sides of the channel, and beyond these the wood looked
poor and scrubby. The Indians, however, assured us that the
land was good,—indeed, that it was the only lake of all that we
had seen that had any land about it at all.
At sunset, the " North-west Angle," the end of this side of
the Lake of the Woods, was reached. It seems that this point,
though far North of the 49th* degree, or the boundary line
between the Dominion and the United States, is claimed by the
Republic, and that their claim is sustained by an evident verbal
mistake in the Treaty that defines the boundary. " North-west"
has been inserted instead of " South-west." If so, it is only
another instance in which the diplomatists of the Empire
have been outwitted by the superior knowledge and unscrupulous-
ness of our neighbours.
As we rounded out of .the Bay into a little creek, the " Angle "
seemed to be a place of some importance to the eyes of travellers who had not seen anything like a crowd in their last four
hundred miles of travel. Fifty or sixty people, chiefly Indians,
crowded about the landing place, and the babble and bustle was.
- 58
to us like a return to the world ; but, after having satisfied
themselves with a good look at us, and a joyous boisterous
greeting to our Ojibbeways, whom they carried off to an Indian
and half-breed " ball " in the neighborhpod, we were left alone
in the dfitiest, most desolate-looking, mosquito-haunted of all
our camping grounds. In such circumstances it was indispensable to be jolly; so Louis was summoned and instructed to
prepare for supper everything good that our stores contained.
The result was a grand success, and the looks of the place
improved materially.
The chief received two letters at this point ; one from
Governor Archibald inviting us to come direct to Government
House at Fort Garry : another from the District Superintendent
of the road, putting some few things of his at our disposal and
also his half-breed cook. As cook had taken advantage of his
master's absence to treat and be treated up to the hilarious point,
his services, much to his amazement, were quietly dispensed
with.   At 11  o'clock we turned in under our canvas, having
' <s>
arranged that the waggons to take us on should be ready at
4A.M. ''''^^r^ at  *?
July 30th.—Waked at 4.30, by the arrival of the waggons and
the sound of heavy rain. Drank a cup of tea and were off in an
hour on the hardest day's journey that we had yet had. It was
two o'clock the following morning when we got out of the
waggons for the night's rest, having travelled eighty miles in the
twenty hours.
Those eighty miles, between the North-west Angle and Oak
Point, were through a country monotonous and utterly unin-'
teresting in appearance, but with resources that are sure to
be developed as the country farther west is opened up. The
first twenty miles are across a flat country, much of it marshy,
with a dense forest of scrub pine, spruce, tamarack, and, here
and there, aspens and white birch.    On both sides of the road, —
and in the more open parts of the country, all kinds of wild
fruit grow luxuriantly ; strawberries, raspberries, black and red
currants, etc., etc., and, as a consequence, flocks of wild pigeons
and prairie hens are numerous. The pigeons rest calmly on the
branches of dead trees by the roadside, as if no shot had ever
been fired in their hearing. Great difficulties must have been
overcome in making this part of the road, and advantage has
been skilfully taken of dry spots and ridges of gravel or sand
that occur here and there, running in the same general direction
as the road. All this part of road has been corduroyed and then
covered over with clay and sand, or gravel, where they could be
got. The land here is heavy black loam with clay underneath,
just like prairie land ; with the prairie so near it is not likely
to be soon cultivated ; but the wood on it will be in immediate
demand both for railway purposes and scantling.
The next section of the country is of a totally different
character. It is light and sandy, getting more and more so, every:
ten miles or so further west. This total change in the character
Of the soil afforded a rich feast to our Botanist. In the course
of the day he came on two or three distinct floras ; and, although
not many of the species were new, and, in general features, the
productions of the heavy and the light soils were similar to those
of like land farther east in Ontario and the Lowrer Provinces, yet
the luxuriance and variety were amazing. He counted over four
hundred different species in this one day's ride. Great was the
astonishment of our teamsters, when they saw him make a
bound from his seat on the waggon to the ground, and rush to
the plain, wood, or marsh. At first, they all hauled up to see
what was the matter. It must be gold or silver he had found?]j
but when he came back triumphantly waving a flower or
bunch of grass, and exclaiming : " Did you ever see the like of
that ?" " No, I never," was the general response from every
disgusted teamster.    The internal cachinnation of a braw Scotch
ss 60
lad, from the kingdom of Fife, over the phenomenon, was so
violent, that he would have exploded had he not relieved
himself by occasional witticisms; "Jock," he cried to the teamster
who had the honor of driving our Botanist, " tell yon man if he
wants a load o' graiss, no' to fill the buggy noo, an' a'll show him
a fine place where we feed the horse." But when one of us
explained to the Scot that all this was done in the interests of
science, and would end in something good for schools, he ceased
to jibe, though he could not altogether suppress a deep hoarse
rumbling far down in his throat—like that of a distant
volcano,—when the Professor, as we now called him, would come
back with an unusually large armful of spoil. The bonny Scot
was an emigrant who had been a farm servant in Fife five
years ago. He had come to the " Angle " this spring, and was
getting thirty dollars a month and his board, as a common
teamster. He was saving four-fifths of his wages, and intended
in a few months to buy a good farm on the Red River among
his countrymen, and settle down as a Laird for the rest of his
life. How many ten thousands more of Scotch lads would
follow his example if they only knew how easy it would be for
At our first station, White Birch river, thirty miles from the
angle, we had a lunch of Bologna sausage, and bread baked by
the keeper of the Station, a very intelligent man, a Scotch- ,
man like the rest, who had once been a soldier. He was
studying hard at the Cree and Ojibbeway languages, and gave
us much interesting information about the country and the
Indians. He attributed the failure of Mr. Simpson, to make a
treaty with the Indians at Fort Francis, in great measure to the
fact that Indians from the United States had been instigated by
parties interested in the Northern Pacific Railway to come across
and inflame their countrymen on our side to make preposterous
demands.    The story does not sound improbable to those who
know the extremes which Railway Kings and companies in New
York, and elsewhere in the Republic, have gone in pushing their
own line and doing everything per fas atque nefas to crush
opposition ; and the promoters of the N. P. Railroad are not
in the best of humor at present because of the failure to float
their bonds in London or Frankfort, and because of the promising out-look for the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is a little
remarkable that the Indians all over the Dominion are anxious
to make Treaties, and are easily dealt with, except in the neighbourhood of the boundary line. Mr. Simpson, in his Report
dated November, 1871, states that he had no difficulty with the
Indians in Manitoba Province, except near Pembina; and there
he says, " I found that the Indians had either misunderstood
the advice given them by parties in the settlement, well disposed
towards the Treaty, or, as I have some reason to believe, had
become unsettled by the representations made by persons in the
vicinity of Pembina whose interests lay elsewhere than in the
Province of Manitoba ; for, on my announcing my readiness to
pay them, they demurred at receiving their money until some
further concession had been made by me."
Seventeen miles further on—at White Mud river—we dined;
S making some capital tomato-soup, and Mrs. McLeod, of
the Station, giving us some blueherry jam and good bread.
Had we known what was before us, some at least would have
voted for remaining here all night.
The next stage was to Oak Point, thirty-three miles distant.
The first half was over an abominable road, and, as we had to
take on the same horses, they lagged sadly. The sun had set
before we arrived at Broken Head creek, only half-way to Oak
Point. Somewhere hereabouts is the eastern boundary of
Manitoba, and we are not likely to forget soon the rough greeting the new Province gave us. Clouds gathered, and, as
the jaded horses toiled   heavily on,  the   rain  poured down a/>
furiously and made the roads worse. It was so dark that the
teamsters couldn't see the horses ; and, as it unfortunately
happened that neither of them had been over this part of the
road before, they had to give the horses free rein to go where
they pleased, and—as they were dead beat—at the rate they
pleased. The black flies worried us to madness, and we were
all heavy with sleep. The hours dragged miserably on, and the
night seemed endless; but, at length emerging from the wooded
country into the prairie, we saw the light of the station two
miles ahead. Arriving there wearied and soaked through, we
came to what appeared to be the only building—a half-finished
store of the Hudson Bay Company;—entering the open door,
barricaded with paint pots, blocks of wood, tools, etc., we climbed
up a shaky ladder to the second story, threw ourselves down
on the floor, and slept heavily beside a crowd of teamsters
whom no amount of kicking could awake. That night-drive
to Oak Point we " made a note of."
July 31st.—Awakened at 8 A. M., by hearing a voice exclaiming, "thirty-two new species already; it's a perfect floral garden."
Of course it was our Botanist, with his arms full of the treasures
of the prairie. We looked out and beheld a sea of green
sprinkled with yellow, red, lilac, and white. None of us had
ever seen a prairie before, and, behold, the half had not been
told us! As you cannot know what the Ocean is without seeing
it, neither can you in imagination picture the prairie.
Oak Point is thirty miles east from Fort Garry, and a straight
furrow could be run the whole distance, or north all the
way up to Lake Winnipeg. A little stream—the Seine—runs
from Oak Point into the Red River. The land along it in
sections extending two miles into the prairie is taken up by the
French half-breeds; all beyond is waiting for settlers.
After a good breakfast of mutton chops and tea, prepared by
the half-breed cook at the Station, we started in our waggons 1
for Fort Garry across the prairie. Tall, bright yellow, French
marigolds, scattered in clumps over the vast expanse, gave a
golden hue to the scene; and red, pink, and white roses,
tansy, asters, blue-bells, golden rods, and an immense
variety of compositae, thickly bedded among the green grass,
made up a bright and beautiful carpet. Farther on, the flowers
were fewer; but everywhere the herbage was luxuriant, admirable
for pasturage, • and, in the hollows, tall enough for hay. Even
where the marshes intervened, the grass was all the thicker,
taller and coarser, so that an acre of marsh is counted as
valuable to the settler as an acre of prairie.
The road strikes right across the prairie, and, though simply a
trail made by the ordinary traffic, is an excellent carriage road..
Whenever the ruts get deep, carts and waggons strike off a few
feet, and make another trail alongside; and the old one, if not
used, is soon covered with new grasses. There is no sward ; all
the grasses are bunch. Immense numbers of fat plover and snipe
are in the marshes, and prairie hens on the meadow land.
At 3 P.M., we reached the Red River, which flows northward,
at a point below its junction with the Assiniboine, and crossed
in a scow ; drove across the tongue of land, formed by it and the
Assiniboine coming from the west, into the (village of Winnipeg, and from there to the Fort, where the Government House is
at present. -
Thus we finished our journey, from Lake Superior to
Red River, by that Dawson road, of which all had previously
heard much, either in terms of praise or disparagement. The total
distance is about five hundred and thirty miles; forty-five at the
beginning and a hundred and ten at the end by land ; and three
hundred and eighty miles between, made up of a chain of some
twenty lakes, lakelets and lacustrine rivers, separated from each
other by spits, ridges, or short traverses of land or granite rocks,
that have to be portaged across.    For those three hundred and
Ci ill
eighty miles the only land suitable for agriculture is along Rainy
River, and, perhaps, around the Lake of the Woods. North and
south the country is a wilderness of lakes, or rather tarns on a
large scale, filling huge holes scooped out of primitive rock.^ The
route is all that the tourist could desire; the scenery picturesque, though rather monotonous owing to the absence of
mountains; the mode of travelling, whether the canoes are
rpaddled or tugged, novel and luxurious; and, if a tourist can
afford a crew of Indians and three or four weeks' time, he is certain to enjoy himself, the necessity of having to rough it a good
deal only adding zest to the pleasure.   .
The road has been proved already on two occasions to be
a military necessity for the Dominion, until a railway is built
farther back from the boundary line. If Canada is to open up her
North-west to all the world for colonisation, there must be a
road for troops, from the first: there are sufficient elements
of disorder to make preparedness*' a necessity. As long as
we have a road of our own, the United States would perhaps
raise no objection to Canadian volunteers passing through Minnesota ; were we absolutely dependent, it might be otherwise.
In speaking of this " Dawson road " it is only fair to give full
credit for all that has been accomplished.    Immense difficulties
have been overcome,  insomuch that, whereas it took Colonel
~Wolsley's force nearly three months, or from early in June to
August 24th, to reach Fort Garry from Thunder Bay, a similar
expedition could now do the journey in two or three weeks.
But, as a route for trade, for ordinary travel or for emigrants to
go west, the Dawson road, as it now exists, is far from satisfactory.    Only by building a hundred and fifty-five miles or so
of railway at the beginning and the end, and by overcoming the
intervening  portages   in   such   a way  that   bulk  would   not
have to be broken, could it be made to compete even with the
present route by Duluth and the railway thence to Pembina. """V
The question, then, is simply whether or not it is wise to do this, at
an expenditure of some millions on a road the greater part of which
runs along the boundary line, after the Dominion has already
decided to build a direct line of railway to the North-west.
This year about seventy emigrants have gone by the road in the
six weeks between June 20th and August 1st. The station-masters and other agents on the road, as a rule, do their very utmost;
they have been well selected, and are spirited and intelligent
men; but the task given them to do is greater than the
means given will permit. The road is composed of fifteen or
twenty independent pieces; is it any wonder if these often
do not fit, especially as there cannot be unity of understanding
and of plan, for there is no telegraph along the route and it
would be extremely difficult to construct one ?
Province of Manitoba.
Extent.—Population.—Land claims of original settlers.—Sale of Lots in Winnipeg.—
Hudson Bay Company.—Clergymen of the settlement.—Military camp.—Archbishop
Tache\—United States Consul.—Conflicting ofljnions respecting the Fertile Belt.—Our
outfit for the Prairies.—Chief Commissioner Smith.—Hudson's Bay Company.—Lieut.-
Governor Archibald.—Departure from Silver Heights.—White Horse Plains.—Rev.
M&rMeDougal.—Portage la Prairie.—Tha last settler.—Climate, etc., of Manitoba
compared with the older Provinces,—Sioux Indians in war paint.—General remarks
on Manitoba.—Emigrants and the United States' Agents.—Treatment of the Indians.
August ist.—Fort Garry.—The Province of Manitoba, in
which we now are, is the smallest Province in the Dominion,
being only three degrees of longitude, or one hundred and
thirty-five miles long, by one and a-half degrees of latitude, or
a hundred and five miles broad; but, as it is watered by two
magnificent rivers, and includes the southern ends of the two
great lakes, Winnipeg and Manitoba, which open up an immense
extent of inland navigation, and as almost every acre of its soil
is prairie, before many years it may equal some of the larger
Provinces in population. At present the population numbers
about fifteen thousand, of whom not more than two thousand
are pure whites. One-fifth of the number are Indians, either
living in houses or wanderers, one-third English or Scotch
half-breeds, and rather more than a third French half-breeds.
"Order reigns in Manitoba," though wise ruling is still required
to l£eep the conflicting elements in their proper places. By the
legislation that made Manitoba a Province, nearly one-sixth of
the land was reserved for the half-breeds ; owing to some delay
in carrying out this stipulation, the Metis, last year, got suspicious and restless, and the Fenians counted on this when they
invaded the Province from Pembina and plundered the Hudson's
Bay Company's post near the line.    As the half-breeds live along
the Red River from Pembina north, the situation was full of
danger ; had they joined the Fenians, the [frontier would have
been at once moved up to Fort Garry. Everyone can understand the serious consequences that would have followed the
slightest success on their part. Happily the danger was
averted by prompt action on the part of the Governor. The
whole population rallied around him, and the Fenians, not being
able to advance into the country, were dispersed by a company
of United States regulars, after being compelled to disgorge
their plunder. A Battalion of Canadian militia, stationed
at different points along Red River, now keeps the peace and
guarantees its permanence. The land difficulty has been settled
by faith being kept with the half-breeds; a treaty has been
made with the Indians that extinguishes their claims to the
land; and, as the whole of the Province has been surveyed,
divided off into townships, sections, and sub-sections, emigrants,
as they come in, can either get accurate information in the
Winnipeg Land-office as to where it would be best for them
to settle, or they can visit and then describe the piece of land
they wish to occupy. There is room and to spare for all, after
doing the fullest justice to the old settlers. Even the one-sixth
reserved for them cannot, in the nature of things, be permanently
held by those among whom it may now be divided. There is
no Jewish law preserving to each family its inheritance forever.
The French half-breeds do not like farming, and they therefore
make but poor farmers ; and, as enterprising settlers with a
little capital come in, much of the land is sure to change hands.
The fact that land can be bought from others, as well as from
the Government, will quicken instead of retarding its sale.
After breakfast this morning, we had an opportunity of
conversing with several gentlemen who called at Government
House': the United States Consul, the Land Commissioner,
Officers of the Battalion, Dr. Schultz, and others.    All spoke in 68
the highest terms of the climate, the land, and the prospects of
the Province and of the North-west. Nothing shows more
conclusively the wonderful progress of Manitoba anct the settled
condition into which it has emerged from the chaos of two or
three years ago, than the fact that the Hudson's Bay Company
sold at auction, the other day, in building lots, thirteen acres of
the five hundred of their Reserve around Fort Garry, at the rate
of $7000 per acre. At half the rate, for the rest, the Hudson's Bay
Company will receive for this small reserve more than the money
payment of £300,000 stg., which Canada gave for the whole
territory ; and, if a few acres favorably situated bring so much,
what must be the value of the many million of acres transferred
to the Dominion ? The policy of the Company now is exactly
the opposite of what it used to be; formerly all their
efforts were directed to keep the country a close preserve ;
now they are doing all in their power to open it up. The
times have changed and they have changed with them. And,
regarding them merely as a Company whose sole object has
been and is to look after their own interests and pay good
dividends to the shareholders, their present policy is as sagacious
for to-day as the former was for yesterday. While a fur trading
Company with sovereign rights, they did not look beyond their
own proper work ; they attended to that, and, as a duty merely
incidental to it, governed half a continent in a paternal or semi-
patriarchal way, admirably suited to the tribes that roamed
over its vast expanses. But, as they can no longer be supreme,
it is their interest that the country should be opened up ; and
they are taking their place among new competitors, and preparing
to reap a large share of the fruits of the development. For
many a year to come they must be a great power in our Northwest.
To-day was spent in seeing men and things, the land and the
rivers, in and around Fort Garry. The Chief drove twenty miles
■BM mim-m
down the Red River, to the Stone Fort, the Governor and the rest
of the party accompanying him five miles to Kildonan, where
they called on the Rev. Mr. Black.    The farms have a frontage
of eight chains on the river, and run two miles back, with the
privilege of cutting hay on two miles more in the rear.   The
people are  Highlanders from  Sutherland shire, and, though
they   knew   but   little  about   scientific   farming  when   they
settled,   the excellence of  the land  and   their own   thrifty
habits   have   stood   them   in   good   stead.     They  have   all
saved money, though there was no market for produce, except
what the Hudson's Bay Company required, till within the last two
or three years.   Mr. Black has been their minister for twenty
years.    He mentioned the curious fact that all the original
emigrants were Presbyterians, but that, as no minister was sent
to them from the Church of Scotland, the missionaries of the
Church of England attracted great numbers to their communion,
by wisely adapting their service to Scottish tastes.  Till recently,
the Scottish version of the psalms was sung in the Cathedral,
and the afternoon service was altogether on the Presbyterian
model.   The Missionaries, Archdeacons, and Bishops have been
earnest evangelical men, several of them Scotchmen too.    It is,
therefore, no wonder if even Scottish dislike of prelacy gave way
before such a combination. There are now Methodist and Presbyterian clergymen in the Province, as well as Roman Catholic and
Episcopal.    They all have missions to the Indians, and report
that, while the great majority of the Crees and other tribes to the
north-west are Christianized, the majority of the Ojibbeways
around  Fort  Garry and to the east are still  pagans.     The
Ojibbeway seems to have more of the gipsy in him than any of
the other tribes, and to cling more tenaciously to the customs,
traditions, and habits of life of his ancestors.    It may be that
the rivalry of the Churches that he sees at Red River, and the
vices of the white men that he finds it easy to pick up— 70
drunkenness especially—have something to do with the obstinacy
of his paganism. The drunkenness of Winnipeg is notorious; the
clergy do all in their power, by precept and example, to check it,
but they accomplish little. The Roman Catholic Bishop and
his priests, all the Presbyterian and Methodist Ministers, the
Episcopal Archdeacon and several of his clergy are teetotallers ;
but the " saloons " of Winnipeg are stronger than the Churches.
In conversation with the Archdeacon and Mr. Black, we
learned that the various denominations were building or preparing to build " Colleges." A common school system of unsec-
tarian education has been established by the Local Government,
one-twentieth of the land reserved as a school endowment, and
power given to the townships to assess themselves ; but, strange
to say, nothing has been done to establish a common centre of
higher education. The little Province with its fifteen thousand
inhabitants will therefore soon rejoice in three or four denominational " Colleges."
We called on Archdeacon McLean, who declared his intention
of spending the next twelve months in England, and giving lectures
there on the North-west, as a field for emigrants. He is the right
kind of man for such duty, and will do more to make Manitoba
known than a dozen ordinary emigration agents. We also called
on the Wesleyan Minister and Archbishop Tache; but, unfortunately, both were from home, so at 3 P. M. we went to the
camp and saw the battalion reviewed. After the review, the Adjutant General complimented the men, and most deservedly, on the
admirable order and cleanliness of the camp, the excellence of
the " galley," and their good conduct in their relations with the
citizens. The men were smart, stout, clean-looking soldiers, and
went through various movements with steadiness and activity.
Many of them settle in the country as their term of service
expires, free grants of land being given to all who have served
August 2nd.—Having arranged to leave Fort Garry to-day,
we did so, but with extreme reluctance, so great was the kindness
of the Governor, his private Secretary, and indeed of all classes.
Archbishop Tache called this mprning, and delighted us with his
polished manners and extensive knowledge of the country. He
does not think very highly of the Saskatchewan valley as a future
grain-producing country, differing in this respect from every
other authority; but he speaks In glowing terms of the Red-deer
Lake and River which runs into the Athabaska, sometimes called
Lac la Biche, a better name because there are innumerable•' Red
deer' lakes. In that far away country, extending to the north
of the North Saskatchewan, the wheat cr@ps of the mission haw-
never suffered from summer frosts but once. It certainly is one
of the anomalies of the North-west, that the way to avoid frosts
is to go farther north. To hear on the same day the U S.
Consul and the Archbishop speak about 'the fertile belt* is
almost like hearing counsel for and against it. The Consul believes
that the world wjthout the Saskatchewan would be but a poor
affair ; the Archbishop that the j fertile belt' must have been so
called because it is not fertile. But how explain the Archbishop's opinions ? The evidence he adduced in support of them
suggests the explanation ; he confined himself to facts that had
been brought before him ; but his induction of facts was too
limited. It, doubtless, is true that at Lac la Biche wheat is
raised easily, and that at the R. C. Missions, near the Saskatchewan, it suffers from summer frosts ; but the only two R. C.
settlements that we heard of in the Saskatchewan country, viz.
those at St. Albert's and Lake St. Ann's, we visited, and could
easily understand why they suffered. They are on the extreme
north-west of the I belt,' at an altitude above sea-level of from
2000 to 2500 feet, and were selected by the half-breeds not with
a view to farming, for the French half-breed is no farmer, but
because of the abundance of white fish in the lake, and sturgeon 11
in the river, and because they were convenient for buffalo hunting
and trapping, as well as for other reasons. The substance of the
disputed matter seems to be this : every one else believes in 'the
fertile belt' of the Saskatchewan ; the Archbishop believes that
there is a belt farther north much more fertile.
At Fort Garry, farewell greetings had to be exchanged with
the colonel and his son. Military duties required his presence in the Province for ten days, and  we could not wait.
M and L also parted with us here ; and Horetski, who
had been sent on ahead to make the necessary arrangements for
the journey westward, joined us ; so that our party from this date
numbered six. A French half-breed, named Emilien, had been
engaged to conduct us across the plains, as far as Fort Carleton,
after the approved style of prairie travel. Emilien's cavalcade
for this purpose was, in our ignorant eyes, unnecessarily large and
imposing; but before many days we found that everything was
or might be needed. The caravan is not more needed in the
East, across the deserts, than it is in the West, across the
fertile but uninhabited prairies. Provisions for the whole party
and for the return journey of the men must be carried,—unless
you make frequent delays to hunt,—your tents and theirs, in
other words, house and furniture; kitchen, larder, and pantry;
tool-chest and spare axle-trees ; clothes, blankets, water-proofs,
arms and ammunition, medicine-chest, books, paper-boxes for
specimens to be collected on the way, and things you never
think of till you miss them.
Our caravan consisted of six Red River wooden carts, in which
were stowed the tents, baggage, and provisions; a horse to each
cart, and three drivers, one of them the cook for the six carts ;
two buckboards, or light, four-wheeled waggonettes, for any of us
to use when tired of the saddle; saddle horses for the party, and
two young fellows with Emilien to drive along a pack of eighteen
horses, as a change of horses is required once or twice a day  _^a PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
when it is intended to travel steadily at the rate of two hundred
and fifty miles a week. The native horses are small, except those
that have been crossed with Yankee or Ontarian breeds; but,,
though small and often mean-looking, it is doubtful if the best
stall-fed horses could keep up with them on a long journey.
Emilien started from the Fort with his carts and band of horses
at IO A.M. We followed at mid-day, the Governor accompanying
us to " Silver Heights," six miles up the Assmiboine. This had
been his own country residence, but is now owned by D. A.
Smith, Esq., M. P., the head of the H. B. Company in America.
We met here Mr. Christie, late chief factor at Edmonton, Mr-
Hamilton, of Norway House, Mr. McTavish and others from
different parts of the great North-west; and received from Mr.
Smith assistance and highland hospitality, of the same kind
that eveiy traveller has experienced, in crossing the continent,,
wherever there is an H. B. post.
A few words aboiitf this Hudson's Bay Company may be
allowed here, not only because of the interest attaching to it as
the last of the great English monopolies, but because, to this day,
it is all but impossible for a party to cross the country from
Fort Garry to the Pacific without its co-operation. Its forts are the
only stations on that long route where horses can be exchanged,
provisions bought, and information or guides obtained. The
Company received its charter in the year 1670. The objects
declared in that charter were fur-trading and the Christianising
of the Indians. The two objects may be considered incongruous
in these days; but history must testify that the Company as a
rule sought to benefit the Indians as well as to look after its own
interests. At first, and for more than a century, it displayed
but little activity, though its profits were enormous. Its operations
were chiefly confined to the shores of Hudson's Bay; but in
1783, a rival Company called "the North West"—consisting chiefly of Canadians—disputed their claims, entered the
m%« irt*«ow«S3l
field, and pushed operations so vigorously, that the old Company
was stlfered into life and activity. A golden age for the red man
followed. Rival traders sought rMm out by lake and river side ;
planted posts every tribe; coaxed and bribed him to
have nothing to do*with the opposition shop ; assured him that
Thomas Codlin and not Short had always been the friend of
the Indian ; gave him his own price for furs, and—what he liked
much better—paicWhe price in rum. Over a great part of North
America the conflict raged hotly for years, for the Territory
over which the Hudson's Bay Company claimed jurisdiction
was the whole of British America,—outside of the settled Eastern
Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia,—a territory twenty-six hundred miles long and fourteen
hundred broad. The rival Companies armed their agents,
servants, and half-breed voyageurs, and many a time the quarrel
was fought out in the old-fashioned way, in remote wildernesses,
where there were no Courts to interfere and no laws to appeal to.
In 1821 the two Companies, tired of this expensive contest,
agreed to coalesce, and the present Hudson's Bay Company was
incorporated. Some details as to its constitution may be gleaned
from a work published in 1849, entitled "Twenty-five years in
the Hudson's Bay Territory," by John McLean. The shareholders
elected a Governor and Committee to sit in London and represent
them. This body sent out a Governor to the Territory, whose
authority was absolute. He held a Council at York Factory in
Hudson's Bay, of such chief factors and chief traders as could
be present; but these gentlemen had the right only to advise,
they could not veto any measure of the Governor. The vast
territory of the Company was divided into four departments, and
those departments into districts. At the head of each department and district a chief factor or chief trader generally presided,
to whom all officials within its bounds were amenable. The
discipline and etiquette maintained were of the strictest kind, PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
and an esprit de corps existed between the 3,000 officers,—commissioned and non-commissioned, voyageurs, and servants,—such
as is only to be found in the army or in connectionrwith an
ancient and honorable service. The Company wisely identified
the interests of its agents with its own, by pa^ng them not in
fixed salaries, but with a certain share of the profits ; and the
agents served it with a devotion and pride honorable to all
parties. The stock of the Company was divide^into an hundred
shares, sixty of these belonging to the capitalists, and forty
being divided among the chief factors and chief traders.
The first territory lost by the Company was two-thirds of
that lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific. Oregon
was lost to them when yielded in 1846 to the United States,
after the ten years' joint occupancy; and Vancouver's Island
and British Columbia, when they were formed into Provinces.
The fertile plains along the Red River, the Assiniboine, and
the two Saskatchewans ought to have been opened up by the
Empire and formed into Colonies long ago : but their real value
was not known. It was not the business of the Company to
call attention to them as fitted for any other purpose than to
feed buffalo : for those plains were their hunting grounds, and
their posts on them were kept up chiefly for the purpose of
supplying their far northern posts with pemmican, or preserved
buffalo-meat. The Company did what every other corporation
would have done, attended simply to its own business. The
more sagacious of its leading men knew that the end was coming,
as the country could not be kept under lock and key much
longer. They could not enforce their monopoly; for they had
no authority to enlist soldiers, they were not sure of their
legal rights, and the tide of emigration was advancing nearer
every day. Eight or nine years ago, when Governor Dallas was
shown some gold washed from the sand-bars of the Saskatchewan,
his remark was, " the beginning of the end has come."    Gold
Ufe ' ' *i
would bring miners, merchants, farmers, and free-trade, so that
fur-bearing animals and monopolies would need to fall back to the
frozen north ; still, the end would have been longer delayed
had the British Provinces not united. But, in 1869, the Company's rights to all its remaining territories were bought up,
under Imperial authority, by the Dominion of Canada, and, as a
monopoly and a semi-sovereign power, the Company ceased to
exist. ♦
To return to our diary. A walk in the garden at Silver
Heights was sufficient to prove to us the wonderful richness of
the soil of the Assiniboine valley. The wealth of vegetation
and the size of the root crops astonished us, especially when
informed that no manure had been used and very little care
taken. The soil all along the Assiniboine is either a dark or light-
coloured loam, the vegetable or sandy loam that our gardeners are
anxious to fill their pots with ; a soil capable of raising anything.
After dinner, we said 'good-bye' to the Governor, a statesman
of whom even opponents will hereafter record that he
deserved well of the country, because, on all great occasions, he
preferred countiy to self or party, and of whose work in Manitoba
we ought to say and would say much more, were it not for the fact
that we had partaken of his hospitality. Driving rapidly on for five
or six miles, Mr. Jones of the Railway Commissariat accompanying
us,we overtook our cavalcade, which had made but indifferent progress on account of sundry leave-takings by the way. The country
along the road is partly settled, but, with few exceptions, the
farmers evidently do not farm. Till lately they had not much
inducement, for there was no market: but they have neither
the knowledge nor the inclination to farm systematically ; and,
in a few years, most of the present occupants will be bought out
and go west.
As specimens of what may be done here, the farm of one
Morgan was pointed out.    He had bought it some years ago,
for £$0 ; and this year, he had already been offered £450 for
the potatoes growing on it. A Wesleyan Missionary told us
that, last year, he had taken the average of ten good farmers near
Portage la Prairie, and found that their returns of wheat were
" seventeen bushels to one,"—and that on land which had been
yielding wheat for ten years back, and which would continue to
yield it, on the same terms, for the next thirty or forty.
We drove on in the quiet, sunny afternoon, at a pleasant rate,
over a fine farming but unfarmed, country, to the " White Horse
Plains," and rested at " Lane's Post," about twenty-five miles
from Fort Garry. Lane is a North of Ireland man, a good
farmer, and, like all such, enthusiastic in praise of the country.
" What about wood and water ?" we asked. "Plenty of both
everywhere," was his answer. Wherever wells had been dug on
the prairie near to his place, water had been found. On the
Assiniboine and the creeks running into it, or north into
Lake Manitoba, there was abundance of good timber; and,
where none existed, if aspens were planted, they grew, in five
years, big enough for fence poles.
Our first evening on the prairie was like many another which
followed it. The sky was a clear, soft unflecked blue, save all
around the horizon, where pure white clouds of many shapes
and masses bordered it, like a great shield of which only the rim
is embossed. The air was singularly exhilarating, yet sweet and
warm, as in more southern latitudes. The road was only the
trail made by the ordinary traffic, but it formed nevertheless an,
excellent carriage road. Far away stretched the level prairie,
dotted with islets of aspens; and the sun, in his going down,
dipped beneath it as he does beneath the sea. Soon after
sunset, we reached our camping place for the night, an open
spot on the banks of the river, thirty-three miles from Fort
Garry, on the east side of Long Lake, with plenty of dry wood
for our fires, and good feed for the horses near at hand. Scarcely 78
were our fires lighted when another traveller drove up, the Rev.
Mr. McDougal, Wesleyan Missionary at Fort Victoria near
Edmonton. We cordially welcomed him to our camp, and asked
him to join our party. He was well known to us by reputation
as a faithful Minister, and an intelligent observer of Indian
character. He had been nine times over the plains, and evidently
knew the country better than our guides. On this occasion, he.
was accompanied only by his Cree servant Joseph, or, as it is
pronounced in Cree, | Souzie."
August 3rd.—We found this morning that it was not so easy
to make an early start with a pack of horses as when canoes
only were in question. Two or three of the pack were
sure to give trouble, and the young fellows in charge had at least
half an hour's galloping about,—which they didn't seem to
regret much,—before all were brought together. Watering
harnessing, saddling, and such like, all took time. To-day the
Chief and Secretary drove on ahead twenty-seven miles with Mr.
Jones to Portage la Prairie, to write letters that the latter was
to take back to Fort Garry. The rest followed more slowly, and
the whole party did not reunite for the second start of the day
till   four P. M. ' r;    ;•,,■■;  Jib.:     .'■     '> ■". -l'
The road and the country were much the same as yesterday.
We were crossing the comparatively narrow strip of land between
the Assiniboine and Lake Manitoba, along which the Railway
must tun. Long Lake, or a creek that is part of it, is near the
road for the greater part of the distance. It is difficult to get
at the water of the lake, because of the deep mire around the
shores; and so we took the word of one of the settlers for it,
that it is good though warm. Water, from a well by the roadside,
that we drank, was good, and cold as ice. All the land along this
part of the Assiniboine, north to what is called the " Ridge," for
eight miles back has been taken up, but a great par.t is in the hands
of men who do not understand the treasures they could take out   PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
of it; and there is abundance of the same kind of land farther
back, for new settlers. As we drove past in the early morning,
prairie hens and chickens rose out of the deep grass and ran
across the road, within a few feet of us; while, on mounds of
hay in a field lately mown, sat hawks, looking heavy and sated, as
if they had eaten too many chickens for breakfast. On the
branches of oaks and aspens sat scores of pigeons, so unmoved
at our approach that they evidently had not been much shot at.
We asked a farmer who had recently settled, and was making
his fortune at ten times the rate he had done in Ontario, if he
ever shot any of the birds. " No," he contemptuously answered,
" he was too busy; the half-breeds did that sort of thing, and
did little else." Day after day, he would have for dinner fried
pork or bacon, and tea, when he could easily have had the most
delicious and wholesome varieties of food. He told us that, in
the spring, wild geese, wavies, and ducks could be shot in great
number; but he had eaten only one goose in Manitoba. Surely
it was a fellow feeling that made him so " wondrous kind."
Portage la Prairie is the centre of what will soon be a
thriving settlement, and, when the railway is built, a large
town must spring up. On the way to the little village,
we passed, in less than ten miles, three camps of Sioux—
each with about twenty wigwams,—ranged in oval or circular form. The three camps probably, numbered three
hundred souls. The men were handsome fellows, and a few
of the women were pretty. We did not see many of the
women, however, as they kept to the camps doing all the dirty
work, while the men marched about along the road, every one
of them with a gun on his shoulder. The Indian would carry
his gun for a month, though there was not the slightest chance
of getting a shot at anything. These Sioux fled here nine or
ten years ago, after the terrible Minnesota massacre, and here
they have lived ever since.    One amiable-looking old woman
mt ■So
was pointed out as having roasted and eaten ten or twelve
children. No demand was made for their extradition, probably
because they had been more sinned against than sinning.
Frightful stories are told of the treatment of Indians by miners;
and there are comparatively few tales of Indian atrocities to
balance them. When the Sioux entered British territory they
had with them old George III medals, and they declared that
their fathers had always considered themselves British subjects
and that they would not submit to the rule of the " long knives."
They are and always have been intensely loyal to their " great
mother," and, during Riel's rebellion, were ready and anxious to
fight for the Queen. We were told that the United States
authorities had offered pardon if they would return to their own
lands * foi the Government at Washington is desirous now to
do justice to the Indians, though its best efforts are defeated by
the cupidity and knavery of its agents; but the Sioux would
not be charmed back. The settlers all around the Portage speak
favorably of the Sioux. They are honest and harmless, willing
to do a day's work for a little food or powder, and giving little
or no trouble to anybody.
The doctor at the portage entertained us hospitably. He
spoke highly of the healthiness of the climate, showing himself
as an example. There seems nothing lacking in this country
but good industrious settlers.
At four P.M. we started for the next post, " Rat Creek," ten
miles off. The sky was threatening, but, as we always disregarded appearances, no one proposed a halt. On the open
prairie, when just well away from the Hudson's Bay Company's
store, we saw that we were in for a storm. Every form of beauty
was combined in the sky at this time. To the south it was such
blue as Titian loved to paint: blue, that those who have seen
only dull English skies say is nowhere to be seen but on canvas
or in heaven; and the blue was bordered to the west with vast ~>v
billowy mountains of the softest, fleeciest white. Next to that,
and right ahead of us, and overhead, was a swollen black cloud,
along the under surface of which greyer masses were eddying at
a terrific rate. Extending from this, and all around the north
and east, the expanse was a dun-coloured mass livid with lightning, and there, to the right, and behind us, torrents of rain were
pouring, and nearing us every moment. The atmosphere was
charged with electricity on all sides, lightning rushed towards the
earth in straight and zigzag currents, and the thunder varied
from the sharp rattle of musketry to the roar of artillery; still
there was no rain and but little wind. We pressed on for a
house, not far away; but there was to be no escape. With the
suddenness of a tornado the wind struck us,—at first without rain
—but so fierce that the horses were forced again and again off the
track. And now, with the wind came rain,—thick and furious ;
and then hail,—hail mixed with angular lumps of ice from half
an inch to an inch across, a blow on the head from one of which
was stunning. Our long line of horses and carts was broken,
Some of the poor creatures clung to the road, fighting desperately,
others were driven into the prairie, and, turning their backs to
the storm, stood still or moved sideways with cowering heads,
their manes and long tails floating wildly like those of Highland
shelties. It was a picture for Rosa Bonheur; the storm driving over
the vast treeless prairie, and the men and horses yielding to or
fighting against it. In half an hour we got under the shelter
of the log-house a mile distant; but the fury of the storm was
past, and in less than an hour the sun burst forth again, scattering
the clouds, till not a blot was left in the sky, save fragments
of mist to the south and east. Three miles farther on was
the camping place. The houses of several settlers were to be
seen on different parts of the creek. One of them was pointed out
as the big house of Grant, a Nova Scotian, and now the farthest
west settler. We were on the confines of the " Great Lone Land."
F 82
August 4th.—Enjoyed a long sleep this morning and breakfasted at 8 A. M. Had intended to rest all day, but Emilien
refused. He had contracted to do the journey in so many days,
and would do it in his own way; and his way was to travel on
all days alike. He agreed, however, to make a short journey so
that we might be able to overtake him, though not starting till
late in the afternoon.
At 10 A. M., we went over to Grant's house to service. Mr.
McDougall and a resident Wesleyan Missionary officiated. About
fifty people were present, and in the afternoon a Sunday School
of thirty children was held in the same room. Some of us
dined at Grant's, and the rest with one of his neighbours—
McKenzie. Both these men seem to be model settlers. They
had done well in Ontario, but the spirit of enterprise had
brought them to the new Province. One had come three years
ago, and the other only last year; and now one had a hundred
and twenty acres under wheat, barley and potatoes, and the
other fifty. In five years both will have probably three or four
hundred acres under the plough. There is no limit to the amount
they may break up except the limit imposed by the lack of
capital or their own moderation. This prairie land is the place
for steam ploughs, reaping, mowing, and threshing machines-
With such machinery one family can do the work of a dozen
men. It is no wonder that these settlers speak enthusiastically
of the country. The great difficulties a farmer encounters
elsewhere are non-existent here. To begin with, he does not
need to buy land, for a hundred and sixty acres are given away
gratuitously by the Government to every bond fide settler;
and one third of the quantity is a farm large enough for any
one who would devote himself to a specialty, such as the raising
of beets, potatoes, or wheat. He does not need to use manure, for,
so worthless'is it considered, that the Legislature has had to pass
a law prohibiting people from throwing it into the rivers.    He PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
has not to buy guano, nor to make compost heaps. The land, if it
has any fault, is naturally too rich. Hay is so abundant that
when threshing the grain at one end of the yard, they burn
the straw at the other end to get rid of it. He does not
need to clear the land of trees, stumps or rocks,—for there are
none. Very little fencing is required, for he can enclose all his
arable land at once with one fence,—and pasture is common
and illimitable. There is a good market all over Manitoba for
stock or produce of any kind, and, if a settler is discontented he
can sell his stock and implements for their full value to new
And what of the Indians, the mosquitoes, and the locusts ?
Myths, as far as we could learn, with as little foundation as myths
generally have. Neither Crees nor Sioux have given those
settlers the slightest trouble. The Sioux ask only for protection,
and even before Governor Archibald cnade the Treaty with the
Sauteaux and Crees by which they received a hundred and sixty
acres of land per family of five, and three dollars per head every
year for their rights to the country, they molested no one. " Poor
whites," were they about in equal numbers, would give ten times
as much trouble as the poor Indians, though some of the
braves still paint ferociously and all carry guns. And the
mosquitoes, and the grasshoppers or locusts, no one ever
spoke of, probably because the former are no greater nuisance
in Manitoba than in Minnesota or Nova Scotia, and the latter
have proved a plague only two or three times in half a century.
Every country has its own drawbacks. The question must
always be, do the advantages more than counterbalance the
drawbacks? Thus, in returning home through California we
found that the wheat crop, this year, amounted to twenty millions
of bushels. The farmers told us that, for the two preceding
years, it had been a failure owing to long continued drought, and
that, on an average, they could only count on a good crop every hSSi
I   II
second  year,  but, so enormous was the  yield then,  that it
paid them well to sow wheat.    Take, too, the case of the great
wheat-raising State of what, as distinguished from the Pacific,
may be called the Eastern States. The wheat crop of Minnesota
this year amounts to twenty millions of bushels.    But, up to
1857, enough wheat was not raised in the State to fupply the
wants of the few thousands of lumbermen who first sfttled
Minnesota.    Flour had to be sent up the Mississippi from St.
Louis, and the impression then was very general that one half
of Minnesota consisted of lakes, sandhills, sandy prairies, and
wilderness, and that the winters were so long and so cold in the
other half that farming could never be carried on profitably;
and, doubtless, severe remarks could be made with truth against
Minnesota,   but it is also the truth that twenty years ago its
population was five thousand, and that now it is five hundred
thousand.   The soil of Minnesota is not equal in quality to
the soil of Manitoba.   Calcareous soils are usually fertile.    And
Manitoba has not only abundant limestone everywhere, but
every other element required to make soil unusually productive.
Whereas, when you sail up the Red River into Minnesota, the
limestone disappears, and the valley contracts to a narrow
trough, only two or three miles wide, beyond which the soil is
I thin and poor.    But, notwithstanding all difficulties, most of the
emigrants to Minnesota are prospering.    Hundreds of thousands
of hardy Welshmen and Scandinavians poured into the new
State, secured land under the Homestead Acts  or bought it
from Railway Companies,  lived frugally—chiefly on a bread
and milk fare—for the first few years, and they arc now well-to-do
farmers.  Seeing that all the conditions for prosperous settlement
are more favourable in Manitoba, is it not easy to foresee a similarly rapid development, if those entrusted with its destinies and
with the destinies of our great North-west act with the energy and
public spirit 01" which our neighbours show so shining an example I
It is not hard to trace the sources of all those alarming
rumours, that we heard so much of at a distance, concerning the
climate and soil of Manitoba. Our friends on Rat Creek gave
us an inkling of them. On their way from St. Paul's, Minnesota,
with their teams and cattle, at every post they heard those
rumours in their most alarming shapes, all of course duly authenticated. They were repeatedly warned not to impoverish their
families by going to a cold, locust-devoured, barren land, where
there was no market and no freedom, but to settle in Minnesota.
Agents offered them "the best land in the world," and when,
with British stupidity, they shut their ears to all temptations,
obstacles were thrown in the way of their going on, and costs
and charges so multiplied, that the threatened impoverishment
would have become a fact before they reached Manitoba, had
they not been resolute and trusted entirely to their own resources.
Even when they arrived at Winnipeg the gauntlet had still to
be run. In that * saloon'-crowded village is a knot of touters
and indefatigable sympathizers with American institutions, men
who had always calculated that our North-west would drop like
a ripe pear into the lap of the Republic, who had been at the
bottom of the half-breed insurrection, and who are now bitterly
disappointed to see their old dream never likely to be more
than a dream. These worthies told Grant's party quite confidentially that they had been " so many years " in the country, and
had not once seen a good crop. Who could doubt such disinterested testimony? It may be asked, what object can these men
have in slandering the country and retarding its development ?
Is not their own interest bound up in its prosperity ? Whatever
the motives, such are the facts. But the man who would indignantly deny that there is any connection between great schemes
on the other side of the boundary line and Winnipeg pot-house
politicians has a very poor idea o\ the thorough-going activity
of American Railway directors, and Minnesota land agents. 86
But what of the terrible frost, the deep snow, and the Ion
winters ? These must be stern realities. The answer of every
man and woman we spoke to, in town or country, was that the
winter was pleasanter than in Ontario, Quebec, or the Maritime
Provinces. There is no severe weather till the beginning of
December. The average depth of snow from that time is two feet,
and there is no thaw till March. The severity of the intervening
months is lessened by the bright sun, the cloudless skies, the
stillness and dryness of the air. On account of the steady cold
the snow is dry as meal, and the farmers' wives said that " it was
such an advantage that the children could run about all winter,
without getting their feet wet." They certainly could not say
as much in Nova Scotia. This dryness of the snow is also an
important fact as regards Railway construction Let the rails
be raised two or three feet above the level of the prairie, and
they are sure to be always clear of snow. In fact there is much
less risk of snow blockades in the winter on our western plains
than iit'the older Pro¥mces or in the North-easfcsrn States. In
March, and even in April, there are sometimes heavy snow-storms.
But tkis snow soon melts away. It is what was intended for
spring rain. Hay is needed in these months more than in the
winter, when the horses and even the cattle can paw off the snow
and eat the nutritive grasses underneath; whereas, in March
and April a crust is often formed, too hard for their hoofs to
remove ; and the more hay that is cut in the autumn the less
risk from prairie fires, as well as the better provision for the live
In Grant's house we saw the photograph of an old friend, John
Holmes, of Pictou, Nova Scotia, who has been well called " the
oldest and youngest Senator of the Dominion;" and at Prairie
Portage, those of the Governor General, the Premier, Sir Francis
Hincks, Alexander McKenzie, and others of our public men,
adorning the walls, so that we were reminded that, although in a PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
new land, we were still in our own Country. Everywhere, in conversation with the people, we found the rising of that national
sentiment, that pride in their Country and  interest in their
Statesmen, which is both a result and a safe-guard of national
dignity and independence, as distinguished from a petty provincialism. This Western country will, in the future, probably manifest this spirit more than even the Eastern Provinces, and so be
the very backbone of the Dominion ; just as the prairie States of
the neighbouring republic are the most strongly imbued with
patriotic sentiments. The sight, the possession of these boundless
seas of rich land stirs in one that feeling of—shall we call it
| bumptiousness "—that Western men have been accused of displaying.    It is easy to ridicule and caricature the self-sufficiency,
but the fact is, one feels like a young giant, who cannot help
indulging in a little " tall talk," and in displays of his big limbs.
At 4 P. M., we prepared to follow our party, but, at this
moment, a body of sixty or eighty Sioux, noble looking fellows,
came sweeping across the prairie in all the glory of paint, feathers,
and Indian warlike magnificence.    They had come from Fort
Ellice, had  recently travelled  the long road from Missouri,
and were now on their way to  Governor Archibald  to  ask
permission to live under the British flag, and that small reserves
or allotments of land should be allowed them, as they were
determined to live no longer under the rule of * the long knives.'
Some of them rode horses, others were in light baggage-carts or
on foot.   All had guns and adornment of one kind or another.
A handsome brave came first with a painted tin horse a foot
long hanging from his neck down on his naked brawny breast,
skunk fur round his ankles, hawk's feathers on his head, and a
great bunch of sweet-smelling lilac bergamot flowers on one arm
to set him off the more.    An Indian has the vanity of a child.
We went forward to address him, when he pointed to another as
O-ghe-ma (or chief); and, as the band halted, the O-ghe-ma 88
It: 1
then came up with the usual "Ho, Ho; B'jou, B'jou," and shook
hands all round with a dignity of manner that whites in the new
world must despair of ever attaining. His distinction was a
necklace of bears' claws, and mocassins belted with broad stripes
of porcupines' quills dyed a bright gold. Next to him came the
medicine man, six feet three inches in height, gaunt and wasted
in appearance, with only a single blanket to cover his nakedness.
They would have liked a longpow wow, but we had time only for
hasty greetings and a few kindly words with them.
It was late before we reached the tents, for Emilien had gone on
to 'the three creeks,' twenty-two miles from Rat Creek—or 'crick'
as the word is universally pronounced in the North-west. Every
stream, too small to be dignified with the name of river, is a 'crick.'
In to-morrow morning's journey, we are to pass out of the
Province of Manitoba. This, then, is probably the best place for
a few additional words on it as a home for emigrants; on the
subject of emigration generally; and on the settlement of the
Indian difficulty in the Province.
Plow is it that the United States have risen so rapidly from the
condition of a fringe of provinces along the Atlantic to that of a
mighty nation spreading its arms across a continent ? The question is one that the new,Dominion ought to ask, for the Dominion also aspires to greatness, and believes that it has within its
borders all the resources required to make a nation materially
great A principal cause of the rapid development of the
United States is that it has absorbed, especially within the last
quarter of a century, so many millions of the population of the
old world. It had a great West, boundless expanses of fertile
land, and had the wisdom to see that, while the soil is the great
source of wealth, untilled soil is valueless; and that therefore
every inducement should be held out to the masses, overcrowded
in Europe, to seek homes within its borders. Each emigrant who
landed at Castle Garden represented the addition of hundreds of PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
dollars to the wealth of the country.    He represented the
cultivation of some land and an increased value to more, additional imports and exports, taxes and national strength.    With
the same apparent generosity, but with as cool a calculation of
profits as that which sent Stanley to discover Livingstone, free
grants of land were therefore offered to the whole world. Homestead laws provided that those farms should not be liable to be
seized for debt.    As it was necessary that the emigrant should
be able to get easily to his farm and to send to market what he
raised, companies were chartered to build railways in every
direction, the State subsidising them with exemptions, money
bonuses, and enormous land grants.    The ancient maxim had
been, ' settle up the country and the people will build railways if
they want them.'   The new and better maxim is, 'build railways
and the country will soon be settled.'    These railway corporations became the emigration agents of the United States, and
well have they done the public work while directly serving their
own interests. With the one aim of securing settlers, whose labour
on parts of their land would make the other parts valuable, they
organized, advertized, and worked emigration schemes with a
business-like thoroughness that has attracted far less attention
than it deserves.  What a proud position the United States, as a
country, was thus made to occupy in the eyes of the whole
world! ' Ho, every one that wants a farm, come and take one,'
it cried aloud, and in every language.    Poor men toiling for a
small daily wage in the old world, afraid of hard times, sickness
and old age, heard the cry, and loved the land that loved them
so well, and offered so fair.  They came in thousands and found,
too, that it kept its word; and  then they came in tens and
hundreds of thousands, till now less liberal offers have to be made,
because most of the public domain that is worth anything has
been absorbed.   Those hard-working ma::es prospered, and
they made the country great.    Some of them who had been 1
rudely expatriated, who had left their mother land with bitterness in their hearts, vowed vengeance and bequeathed the vow
to their children. Others, attributing their success to the new
institutions, began to hate the forms of government that they
identified with their days of penury and misery. Others were
wiser, but their interests were bound up with their adopted
country, and, when it came to the question, they took sides
against the old and with the new. Had the State held aloof,
maintaining that any interference or expenditure on its part in
connection with emigration was inconsistent with political
economy, that the tide of population must be left to flow at
its own sweet will, and railways be built only where there was
a demand for them, the great west of the United States would
not have been filled up for many a year to come. And had the
Imperial authorities thought less about imaginary laws of political economy and more about pressing practical necessities,
millions, who are now in a strange land, bitter enemies of the
British crown, would have been its loyal subjects in loyal colonies.
The past is gone; but it is not yet too late to do much. We
now stand on a more favourable vantage ground than before,
not only positively but comparatively, for our vast virgin
prairies are thrown open, while there is but little good land left
in the United States available for settlement under the homestead laws. The great lines of communication from the seaboard are beginning to touch our North-west territory; and, i( we
act with the vigour and wisdom of which our neighbours have
set the example, the ever-increasing current of emigration from
the old world must flow into Manitoba, and up the Assiniboine,
and Saskatchewan rivers.
We must act, to bring about such a result. It will not come
of itself. While we stand looking at the river, it flows past.
Labour is required to divert it into new channels, or it will flow
over the courses that have been made for it, or simply overflow PROVINCE OF  MANITOBA.
them. We are now able to offer better land, and on easier terms,
to immigrants than the United States or any of its railway companies offer, but they will continue to attract them if we fold our
arms while they work. They have many influences on their
side ; the gravitating force of numbers; past success on a grand
scale ; grooves worn smooth by the millions tramping westward;
a vast army of agents paid in proportion to their success; every
principal railway station in Europe, and even in the Dominion,
papered with their glowing advertisements ; floods of pamphlets
in every language; arrangements perfected to the minutest details
for forwarding the ignorant and helpless stranger from New York
and Chicago to any point he desires; and perhaps a comfortable
log shanty ready for him when he gets there. They offer great
inducements to men to organise colonies; advise neighbours to
club their resources and emigrate together, so that one may help
the other; lay off village plats and draw beautiful sketches of
future cities; and cheer the drooping spirit of the foreigner,
when he is discouraged with difficulties that had not been acfver-
tised, with brilliant prophecies, and an infusion of the indomitable
Yankee spirit. They make the doubter believe that it is better
to pay their company from $5 to $15 an acre for "the best land
in the world," '* rich in minerals," with " no long winters," accompanied with free passes over the railway, and long credits, "one-
tenth down, the rest when it suits you," than to take up free
grants elsewhere.
In all this business, for it is purely a business transaction,
though gilded with soft hues of " buncombe," references to downtrodden millions, American generosity, free institutions, and such
like, they have hitherto had no competitor; for, until our Northwest was opened up and proved to contain farms for the million,
we could not well compete. What the mass of emigrants wanted
was prairie soil; land that they could plough at once without
iihe tedious and exhausting labour of years required in wood- 92
land farming, chopping, rolling, burning, grubbing, stumping and
levelling. Such land the Dominion can now offer, and it is
therefore, the great and immediate duty of the Government to
see that it be opened up, and brought within reach of the ordinary class of settlers.
To what point in the Dominion should the emigrant turn his
eyes ? Each Province presents special inducements, but no
part of America now offers so many as Manitoba. The land
farther west and to the north-west is equally good, but, until
opened up by railway or steamboats, it is comparatively valueless
to the settler; for there is little use in raising stock, wheat,
or potatoes, if they cannot be conveyed to market. But Manitoba is now within reach of the emigrant, and there is a good
market in Winnipeg. This little village is becoming a town;
houses are springing up in all directions with a rapidity known
only in the history of western towns; and the demand for
provisions, stock, farm implements, and everything on which
labour is expended, is so much greater than the supply, that
prices are enormously high. The intending settler, therefore,
should bring in with him as much of what he may require as he
possibly can.
Besides a rich soil, a healthy and—for the hardy populations
of northern and central Europe—a pleasant climate, law and
order, and all the advantages of British connection, Manitoba
offers other inducements to the emigrant.
The Government of the Dominion has opened the country for
settlement on the most liberal terms possible. Any person,
the subject of Her Majesty by birth or naturalization, who is the
head of a family or has attained the age of twenty-one years, is
entitled to be entered for one hundred and sixty acres, for the
purpose of securing a homestead right in respect thereof. To
secure this land he has only to make affidavit to the above effect,
and that he purposes to be an actual settler.    On filing this PROVINCE OF MANITOBA.
affidavit with the land officer, and on payment to him of $10, he
is permitted to enter the land specified in his application. Five
years thereafter, on showing that he has resided on or cultivated
the land, he receives a patent for it; or any time before the
expiration of the five years he can obtain the patent by paying
the pre-emption price of one dollar an acre. This farm, no
matter how valuable it may become, and his house and furniture, barns, stables, fences, tools, and farm implements are
declared free from seizure for debt; and, in addition to the
exemption of all those, there are also exempted, " one cow, two
oxen, one horse, four sheep, two pigs, and the food for the same
for thirty days."
There are, and can be, no Indian wars or difficulties in Manitoba. This is a matter of the utmost importance to the intending settler. When we returned from our expedition, the Chief
was interviewed at Ottawa by a deputation of the Russian sect
of Mennonites, who are looking out for the best place in America
for their constituents to settle in, and one of their first questions
referred to this. He answered it by pulling a boy's knife out of
his pocket, small blade at one end, corkscrew at the other, and
told them that that was the only weapon he had carried while
travelling from Ocean to Ocean ; adding that he had used only
one end of even so insignificant a weapon, and that end not
so often as he would have liked.
As the mode of settlement adopted in Manitoba is based on
the system that has been long tested in the older provinces, and
that will probably be extended to the whole of the North-west,
a few words on the general question may not be out of place
There are three ways of dealing with the less than half-million
of red men still to be found on the continent of America, each
of which has been tried on a smaller or larger scale. The first
cannot be put more clearly or baldly than it was in a letter
dated San Francisco, Sept. 1859, which went the round of the
» 94
American press, and received very general approval. The
writer, in the same spirit in which Roebuck condemned the
British Government's shilly-shally policy towards the Maories,
condemned the Federal Government for not having ordered a
large military force to California when they got possession of it,
" with orders to hunt and shoot down all the Indians from the
Colorado to the Klamath." Of course the writer adds that such
a method of dealing with the Indians would have been the
cheapest, " and perhaps the most humane." With regard to tills
policy of " no nonsense," thorough-going as selfishness itself, it
is enough to say that no Christian nation would now tolerate it
for an instant.
The second way is to insist that there is no Indian question.
Assume that the Indian must submit to our ways of living and
our laws because they are better than his ; and that, as he has
made no improvement on the land, and has no legal title-deeds,
he can have no right to it that a civilized being is bound to
recognize. Let the emigrants, as they pour into the country,
shove the old lords of the soil back ; hire them if they choose to
work; punish them if they break the laws, and treat them as
poor whites have to be treated. Leave the struggle between the
two races entirely to the principle of natural selection, and let
the weaker go to the wall. This course has been practically
followed in many parts of America. It has led to frightful
atrocities on both sides, in which the superior vigour of the
civilized man has outmatched the native ferocity of the savage.
The Indian in such competition for existence, soon realizing his
comparative weakness, had recourse to the cunning that the
inferior naturally opposes to the superior strength. This irritated
even the well-disposed white, who got along honestly, and
believed that honesty was the best policy. It was no wonder
that, after a few exchanges of punishment and vengeance, the
conviction  would  become   general  that  the presence of   the PROVINCE OF MANITOBA,
Indian was inconsistent with public security; that he was a
nuisance to be abated ; and that it was not wise to scrutinize
too closely, what was done by miners who had to look out for
themselves, or by the troops who had been called in to protect
settlers. The Indians had no newspapers to tell how miners
tried their rifles on an unoffending Indian at a distance, for the
pleasure of seeing the poor wretch jump when the bullet struck
him ; or how, if a band had fine horses, a charge was trumped
up against them, that the band might be broken up and the
horses stolen; or how the innocent were indiscriminately
slaughtered with the guilty; or how they were poisoned by
traders with bad rum, and cheated till left without gun, horse, or
blanket. This policy of giving to the simple children of the forest
and prairie,the blessings of unlimited free-trade, and bidding them,
look after their own interests, has not been a success. The frightful
cruelties connected with it and the expense it has entailed, have
forced many to question whether the ' fire and sword' plan
would not have been 'cheaper and, perhaps, more humane.'
The third way, called, sometimes, the paternal, is to go down to
the Indian level when dealing with them ; go at least half-way
down; explain that, whether they wish it or not, immigrants will
come into the country, and that the Government is bound to seek
the good of all the races under its sway, and do justly by the
white as well as by the red man ; offer to make a treaty with them
on the principles of allotting to them reserves of land that no
one can invade, and that they themselves cannot alienate,
giving them an annual sum per family in the shape of useful
articles, establishing schools among them and encouraging
missionary effort, and prohibiting the sale of intoxicating
liquors to them. When thus approached, they are generally
reasonable in their demands ; and it is the testimony of all competent authorities that, when a treaty is solemnly made with
them, that is, according to Indian  ideas of solemnity, they 96
keep it sacredly.   They only break it when they believe that the
other side has broken faith first.
Such has been the policy of the old Canadas and of the
Dominion, and it is now universally adopted in America. True,
the agents of the United States Government have often defeated
its attempts to do justice and show mercy, by wholesale frauds ;
and the Indians, believing themselves deceived, have risen with
bursts of fury to take vengeance; and, like all children, if
deceived once, they are very unwilling to believe you the next
time. General Howard has therefore advised this year the
removal of many of the Indian agents, with the remark that
"when agents pay $15,000 for a position, the salary of which is
only $1500, there must be something wrong," But this corruption of individual agents is a mere accident, an accident that
.seems to be inseparable from the management of public affairs
in the Republic. The great thing is that the United States
Government has taken it's stand firmly on the ground that the
Indians are to be neither exterminated nor abandoned to themselves, but protected and helped. In a letter to George H.
Stewart, dated October 28th, 1872, President Grant writes with
his customary directness and plainness of speech: " If the
present policy towards the Indians can be improved in any way,
I will always be ready to receive suggestions on the subject;
but if any change is made, it must be made on the side of the
civilization and christianization of the Indians. I do not believe
our Creator ever placed the different races of men on this earth
with the view of the stronger exerting all his energies in exterminating the weaker."
It may be said that, do what we like, tho Indians as a race,
must eventually die out. It is not unlikely. Almost all the
Indians in the North-west are scrofulous. But, on the other hand,
in the United States and in Canada, they exist, in not a few
cases, as christianized self-supporting communities,  and have mm
multiplied and prospered. These are beginning to ask for
full freedom. It was all right, they argue, to forbid us to
sell our lands, when we did not know their value, and to
keep us as wards when wecould not take care of ourselves;
but it is different now; we are grown men; and it is an
injustice to prevent us from making the most we can out of
our own.
At all events, there are no Indian difficulties in our North-west.
For generations the H. B. Company governed the tribes in a
semkpaternal way, the big children often being rude and noisy,
sometimes plundering a fort, or even maltreating a factor, but,
in the end, returning to their allegiance, as, without the Company,
they could not get tea or tobacco, guns or powder, blankets or
Since the transfer of the country to the Dominion the Indians
have been anxious for treaties, except when operated on by
foreign influences. In the year 1871, Governor Archibald made
a treaty at the Stone Fort, or Lower Fort Garry, with the Ojibbeways and Swampy Crees, the only two tribes in his Province,
and a second treaty with the Indians further north, as
far as Lake Winnipegosis and Beren's River, and to the west
as far as Fort Ellice. This second treaty comprises a tract of
country two or three times as large as Manitoba. About four
thousand Indians assembled on those occasions, and, after a good
deal of preliminary feasting, consulting, and pow-wowing,
arrangements were made with them. The objects aimed at by
the Governor and the Indian Commissioner were to extinguish
the Indian title to the land, and, at the same time, do substantial
justice and give satisfaction to the Indians. These objects were
The treaty-making process is interesting, as illustrative of
several points in the Indian character. Though it took ten days
to make the first, yet, in the light lately thrown on the difficul-
G 98
ties of drawing up a treaty that shall express the same thing
to both parties, the time cannot be considered unreasonably
The Indians first elected chiefs and spokesmen to represent
them. On these being duly presented and invited to state their
views, they said that there was a cloud before them which made
things dark, and they did not wish to commence the proceedings
till the cloud was dispersed. It was found that they referred to
four Swampies who were in prison for breach of contract, and
the tribe felt that it would be a violation of the brotherly
covenant to enter upon a friendly treaty, unless an act of indemnity were passed in favour of the four. As they begged their
discharge on the plea of grace and not of right, the Governor
acceded to their petition; and the Indians thereupon declared
that henceforth they would never raise a voice against' the law
being enforced.
The real business then commenced. Being told to state their
views on reserves and annuities, they did so very freely and,
substantially, to the effect that about two-thirds of the province
should be reserved for them. But when it was explained that
their great mother must do justly to all her children, " to those
of the rising sun as well as to those of the setting sun," and that
it would not be fair to give much more than a good farm for
each family, they assented. Fortunately the Governor could
point out to them a settlement of christianized Ojibbeways, numbering some four hundred, between the Stone Fort and the
mouth of Red River, as a proof that Indians could live,
prosper, and provide like the white man. This mission was
established by Archdeacon Cochrane, and has now a full-
blooded Indian for its clergyman. Many of them have well-
built houses and well-tilled fields, with wheat, barley, and
potatoes growing, and giving promise of plenty for the coming
The Indians of this district form a parish of their own, called
St. Peter's, and return a member to the House of Assembly ;
they have the honour of being represented by a gentleman who
has successively held the offices of Minister of Agriculture,
Provincial Secretary, and who is now Provincial Treasurer.
In the end, it was agreed that reserves should be allotted
sufficient to give one hundred and sixty acres to each family
of five; that the Queen should maintain a school on each
reserve when the Indians required it; and that no intoxicating
liquors be allowed to be introduced or sold within the bounds of
the reserves; also, that each family of five should receive an
annuity of $15, in blankets, clothing, twine, or traps ; and, as a
mark of Her Majesty's satisfaction with the good behaviour of
Her Indians, and as a seal to the treaty, or Indian luckpenny, a
present of $3 be given to each man, woman, and child. Every
one being satisfied, the treaty was signed, the big ornamented
calumet of pease smoked all round, and the Governor then
promised each chief a buggy, to his unbounded delight.
One important consequence of these Indians being pleased is
that the Indians farther west having heard the news are all
anxious for treaties, and have been on their good behaviour ever
since. •mm*
From Manitoba to Fort Carlton on the North Saskatchewan.
Fine fertile oountry.—The water question.—Duck shooting.—Salt Lakes.—Camping on the
plains.—Fort Eilioe.—Qu'appelle Valley.—" Souzie."—The River Assiniboine.—The
Buffalo.—Cold nights.—Rich soil.—Lovely Country.—Little Touchwood Hills.—Cause
of prairie fires.—A day of rest.—Prairie uplands-—Indian family.—Buffalo skulls.—
Desolate tract.—Quill Lake.—Salt water.—Broken prairie.—Round hill.—Prairie
fire.—Rioh blaok soil.—Magnifioent Panorama.—Break-neok speed.—The South
Saskatchewan. — Sweethearts and wives. — Fort Carlton. — Free traders. — The
Indians.—Crop raising.
August 5th.—This morning it rained heavily, and delayed us
a little ; but, by the time we had our morning cup or pannikin
of tea, the carts packed, and everything in its place, the
weather cleared up. We got away at 5 A.M., and rode sixteen
miles before breakfast; reaching " Pine Creek," a favorite
camping ground; still following up the course of the Assiniboine, though never coming near enough to get a sight of it,
after leaving our first camp from Fort Garry. The next stage
was fourteen miles to 'Bog Creek,' and, after dinner, eleven miles
more, making forty-one for the day. Instead of the level prairie
of the two preceding days, and the black peaty loam, we had an
undulating and more wooded country, with soil of sandy loam
of varying degrees of richness. Here and there ridges of sand
dunes, covered, however, with vegetation, sloped to the south,
having originally drifted from the north, probably from the
Riding Mountains of which they may be considered the outlying
spurs. From the top of any one of these, a magnificent view
can be had. At our feet a park-like country stretched far out,
studded with young oaks; vast expanses beyond, extending
on the north to the Riding Mountains, and oh the south to the
Tortoise Mountain on the boundary line; a b