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Title: The Romantic Settlement of Lord Selkirk's Colonists

The Pioneers of Manitoba

Author: George Bryce

Release Date: December 19, 2005 [eBook #17358]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



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The Founder of Red River Colony, 1812.
From copy of painting by Raeburn, obtained by author from St Mary's Isle, Lord Selkirk's seat.

The Romantic Settlement


Lord Selkirk's Colonists

[The Pioneers of Manitoba]



Of Winnipeg

President of the Royal Society of Canada, etc., etc.




"Copyrighted Canada, 1909, by The Musson Book Company, Limited, Toronto."

Chapter  1. Patriarch's Story
An Extinct Race.
The Gay Frenchman.
The Earlier Peoples.
The Montreal Merchants and Men.
The Dusky Riders of the Plain.
The Stately Hudson's Bay Company.
Chapter   2. A Scottish Duel   33
Chapter   3. Across the Stormy Sea   44
Chapter   4. A Winter of Discontent   58
Chapter   5. First Foot on Red River Banks   69
Chapter   6. Three Desperate Years   80
Chapter   7. Fight and Flight   95
Chapter   8. No Surrender 107
Chapter   9. Seven Oaks Massacre 117
Chapter 10. Afterclaps 133
Chapter 11. The Silver Chief Arrives 142
Chapter 12. Soldiers and Swiss 152
Chapter 13. English Lion and Canadian Bear Lie Down Together161
Chapter 14. Satrap Rule 170
Chapter 15. And the Flood Came 178
Chapter 16. The Jolly Governor 185
Chapter 17. The Oligarchy 194
Chapter 18. An Ogre of Justice 202
Chapter 19. A Half-Breed Patriot 210
Chapter 20. Sayer and Liberty 216
Chapter 21. Off to the Buffalo 224
Chapter 22. What the Stargazers Saw 232
Chapter 23. Apples of Gold 239
Chapter 24. Pictures of Silver 256
Chapter 25. Eden Invaded 276
Chapter 26. Riel's Rising 284
Chapter 27. Lord Strathcona's Hand 291
Chapter 28. Wolseley's Welcome 300
Chapter 29. Manitoba in the Making 307
Chapter 30. The Selkirk Centennial 315

The present work tells the romantic story of the Settlement of Lord Selkirk's Colonists in Manitoba, and is appropriate and timely in view of the Centennial celebration of this event which will be held in Winnipeg in 1912.

The author was the first, in his earlier books, to take a stand for justice to be done to Lord Selkirk as a Colonizer, and he has had the pleasure of seeing the current of all reliable history turned in Lord Selkirk's favor.

Dr. Doughty, the popular Archivist at Ottawa, has put at the author's disposal a large amount of Lord Selkirk's correspondence lately received by him, so that many new, interesting facts about the Settlers' coming are now published for the first time.

If we are to celebrate the Selkirk Centennial intelligently, it is essential to know the facts of the trials, oppressions and heartless persecutions through which the Settlers' passed, to learn what shameful treatment Lord Selkirk received from his enemies, and to trace the rise6from misery to comfort of the people of the Colony.

The story is chiefly confined to Red River Settlement as it existed—a unique community, which in 1870 became the present Province of Manitoba. It is a sympathetic study of what one writer has called—"Britain's One Utopia."7


The Romantic Settlement


Lord Selkirk's Colonists




This is the City of Winnipeg. Its growth has been wonderful. It is the highwater mark of Canadian enterprise. Its chief thoroughfare, with asphalt pavement, as it runs southward and approaches the Assiniboine River, has a broad street diverging at right angles from it to the West. This is Broadway, a most commodious avenue with four boulevards neatly kept, and four lines of fine young Elm trees. It represents to us "Unter den Linden" of Berlin, the German Capital.

The wide business thoroughfare Main Street, where it reaches the Assiniboine River, looks out upon a stream, so called from the wild Assiniboine tribe whose northern limit it was, and whose name implies the "Sioux" of the Stony Lake. The Assiniboine River is as large as the10 Tiber at Rome, and the color of the water justifies its being compared with the "Yellow Tiber."

The Assiniboine falls into the Red River, a larger stream, also with tawny-colored water. The point of union of these two rivers was long ago called by the French voyageurs "Les Fourches," which we have translated into "The Forks."

One morning nearly forty years ago, the writer wandered eastward toward Red River, from Main Street, down what is now called Lombard Street. Here not far from the bank of the Red River, stood a wooden house, then of the better class, but now left far behind by the brick and stone and steel structures of modern Winnipeg.

The house still stands a stained and battered memorial of a past generation. But on this October morning, of an Indian summer day, the air was so soft, that it seemed to smell wooingly here, and through the gentle haze, was to be seen sitting on his verandah, the patriarch of the village, who was as well the genius of the place.

The old man had a fine gray head with the locks very thin, and with his form, not tall but broad and comfortable to look upon, he occupied an easy chair.

The writer was then quite a young man fresh11from College, and with a simple introduction, after the easy manner of Western Canada, proceeded to hear the story of old Andrew McDermott, the patriarch of Winnipeg.

"Yes," said Mr. McDermott, "I was among those of the first year of Lord Selkirk's immigrants. We landed from the Old Country, at York Factory, on Hudson Bay. The first immigrants reached the banks of the Red River in the year 1812.

"I am a native of Ireland and embarked with Owen Keveny—a bright Hibernian—a clever writer, and speaker, who, poor fellow, was killed by the rival Fur Company, and whose murderer, De Reinhard, was tried at Quebec. Of course the greater number of Lord Selkirk's settlers were Scotchmen, but I have always lived with them, known them, and find that they trust me rather more than they at times trust each other. I have been their merchant, contractor, treaty-maker, business manager, counsellor, adviser, and confidential friend."

"But," said the writer, "as having come to cast in my lot with the people of the Red River, I should be glad to hear from you about the early times, and especially of the earlier people of this region, who lived their lives, and came and went, before the arrival of Lord Selkirk's settlers in 1812." Thus the story-telling began, and patriarch and questioner made out12 13 from one source and another the whole story of the predecessors of the Selkirk Colonists.

Mound Builders' Ornaments

A. Ornamental gorget of turtle's plastron.
B. Gorget of sea-shell (1879).
C. Gorget of buffalo bone.
D. Breast or arm ornament of very hard bone.
E. String of beads of birds' leg bones.
Note cross X.
F. One of three polished stones used for gaming.
G. Columella of large sea couch (tropical, used as sinker for fishing).


"Long before the coming of the settler, there lived a race who have now entirely disappeared. Not very far from the Assiniboine River, where Main Street crosses it, is now to be seen," said the narrator, "Fort Garry—a fine castellated structure with stone walls and substantial bastions. A little north of this you may have noticed a round mound, forty feet across. We opened this mound on one occasion, and found it to contain a number of human skeletons and articles of various kinds. The remains are those of a people whom we call 'The Mound Builders,' who ages ago lived here. Their mounds stood on high places on the river bank and were used for observation. The enemy approaching could from these mounds easily be seen. They are also found in good agricultural districts, showing that the race were agriculturists, and where the fishing is good on the river or lake these mounds occur. The Mound Builders are the first people of whom we have traces here about. The Indians say that these Mound Builders are not their ancestors, but are the 'Very Ancient Men.' It is thought that the last of them passed away some four hundred years ago, just before the coming of the14white man. At that time a fierce whirlwind of conquest passed over North America, which was seen in the destruction of the Hurons, who lived in Ontario and Quebec. Some of their implements found were copper, probably brought from Lake Superior, but stone axes, hammers, and chisels, were commonly used by them. A horn spear, with barbs, and a fine shell sinker, shows that they lived on fish. Strings of beads and fine pearl ornaments are readily found. But the most notable thing about these people is that they were far ahead of the Indians, in that they made pottery, with brightly designed patterns, which showed some taste. Very likely these Mound Builders were peaceful people, who, driven out of Mexico many centuries ago, came up the Mississippi, and from its branches passing into Red River, settled all along its banks. We know but little of this vanished race. They have left only a few features of their work behind them. Their name and fame are lost forever.

"And is this all? an earthen pot,
A broken spear, a copper pin
Earth's grandest prizes counted in—
A burial mound?—the common lot."

Then the conversation turned upon the early Frenchmen, who came to the West during the15 days of French Canada, before Wolfe took Quebec. "Oh! I have no doubt they would make a great ado," said the old patriarch, "when they came here. The French, you know, are so fond of pageants. But beyond a few rumors among the old Indians far up the Assiniboine River of their remembrance of the crosses and of the priests, or black robes, as they call them, I have never heard anything; these early explorers themselves left few traces. When they retired from the country, after Canada was taken by Wolfe, the Indians burnt their forts and tried to destroy every vestige of them. You know the Indian is a cunning diplomatist. He very soon sees which is the stronger side and takes it. When the King is dead he is ready to shout, Long live the new King. I have heard that down on the point, on the south side of the Forks of the two rivers, the Frenchmen built a fort, but there wasn't a stick or a stone of it left when the Selkirk Colonists came in 1812. But perhaps you know that part of the story better than I do," ventured the old patriarch. That is the Story of the French Explorers.

"Oh! Yes," replied the writer, "you know the world of men and things about you; I know the world of books and journals and letters."

"Let us hear of that," said the patriarch eagerly.16

Mound Builders Remains
A. Native Copper Drill.
B. Soapstone Conjurer's tube.
C. Flint Skinning Implement.
D. Horn Fish Spear.
E. Native Copper Cutting Knife.
F. Cup found in Rainy River Mound by the Author, 1884.



Well, you know the French Explorers were very venturesome. They went, sometimes to their sorrow, among the wildest tribes of Indians.

A French Captain, named Verandrye, who was born in Lower Canada, came up the great lakes to trade for furs of the beaver, mink, and musk-rat. When he reached the shore of Lake Superior, west of where Fort William now stands, an old Indian guide, gave him a birch bark map, which showed all the streams and water courses from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods, and on to Lake Winnipeg. This was when the "well-beloved" Louis XV. was King of France, and George II. King of England. It was heroic of Verandrye to face the danger, but he was a soldier who had been twice wounded in battle in Europe, and had the French love of glory. By carrying his canoes over the portages, and running the rapids when possible, he came to the head of Rainy River, went back again with his furs, and after several such journeys, came down the Winnipeg River from Lake of the Woods, to Lake Winnipeg, and after a while made a dash across the stormy Lake Winnipeg and came to the Red River. The places were all unknown, the Indians had never seen a white man in their country, and the French Captain, with his officers, his men and a priest, found their way 18to the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. This was nearly three-quarters of a century before the first Selkirk Colonists reached Red River. The French Captain saw only a few Indian teepees at the Forks, and ascended the Assiniboine. It was a very dry year, and the water in the Assiniboine was so low that it was with difficulty he managed to pull over the St. James rapids, and reached where Portage la Prairie now stands, and sixty miles from the site of Winnipeg claimed the country for his Royal Master. Here he collected the Indians, made them his friends, and proceeded to build a great fort, and named it after Mary of Poland, the unfortunate Queen of France—"Fort de la Reine," or Queen's Fort. But he could not forget "The Forks"—the Winnipeg of to-day—and so gave instructions to one of his lieutenants to stop with a number of his men at the Forks, cut down trees, and erect a fort for safety in coming and going up the Assiniboine. The Frenchmen worked hard, and on the south side of the junction of the Red River with the Assiniboine, erected Fort Rouge—the Red Fort. This fort, built in 1738, was the first occupation of the site of the City of Winnipeg. The French Captain Verandrye, his sons and his men, made further journeys to the far West, even once coming in sight of the Rocky Mountains. But French Canada was doomed. 19 In twenty years more Wolfe was to wrench Canada from France and make it British. The whole French force of soldiers, free traders, and voyageurs were needed at Montreal and Quebec. Not a Frenchman seems to have remained behind, and for a number of years the way to the West was blocked up. The canoes went to decay, the portages grew up with weeds and underwood, and the Western search for furs from Montreal was suspended.


No man knew the Indian better than Andrew McDermott. No one knew better how to trade and dicker with the red man of the prairie. He could tell of all the feuds of tribe with tribe, and of the wonderful skill of the Fur Companies in keeping order among the Indian bands. The Red River had not, after the departure of the French, been visited by travellers for well nigh forty years. No doubt bands of Indians had threaded the waterways, and carried their furs in one year to Pigeon River, on Lake Superior, or to Fort Churchill, or York Factory on Hudson Bay. It was only some ten or fifteen years before the coming of the Selkirk Colonists that the fur traders, though they for forty years had been ascending the Saskatchewan, had visited Red River at all. No missionary had up to the coming of the20 Colonists ever appeared on the banks of the Red River. Some ten years before the settler's advent, the fur traders on the upper Red River had most bitter rivalries and for two or three years the fire water—the Indian's curse—flowed like a flood. The danger appealed to the traders, and from a policy of mere self-protection they had decided to give out no strong drink, unless it might be a slight allowance at Christmas and New Year's time. Red River was now the central meeting place of four of the great Indian Nations. The Red Pipestone Quarry down in the land of the Dakotas, and the Roches Percées, on the upper Souris River, in the land of the wild Assiniboines were sacred shrines. At intervals all the Indian natives met at these spots, buried for the time being their weapons, and lived in peace. But Red River, and the country—eastward to the Lake of the Woods—was really the "marches" where battles and conflicts continually prevailed. Red River, the Miskouesipi, or Blood Red River of the Chippewas and Crees, was said to have thus received its name. Andrew McDermott knew all the Indians as they drew near with curiosity, to see the settlers and to speculate upon the object of their coming. The Indian despises the man who uses the hoe, and when the Colonists sought thus to gain a sustenance from the fertile soil of the 21field, they were laughed at by the Indians who caught the French word "Jardiniers," or gardeners, and applied it to them.

The Colonists were certainly a puzzle to the Red man. To the banks of the Red River and to the east of Lake Winnipeg had come many of the Chippewas. They were known on the Red River as Sauteurs, or Saulteaux, or Bungays, because they had come to the West from Sault Ste. Marie, thinking nothing of the hundreds of miles of travel along the streams. They were sometimes considered to be the gypsies of the Red men. It was they coming from the lucid streams emptying into Lake Superior and thence to Lake Winnipeg, who had called the latter by its name "Win," cloudy or muddy, and "nipiy" water. When the Colonists arrived, the leading chief of the Chippewas, or Saulteaux, was Peguis. He became at once the friend of the white man, for he was always a peaceful, kindly, old Ogemah, or Chieftain.

All the Indians were, at first, kindness itself to the new comers, and they showed great willingness to supply food to the hungry settlers, and to assist them in transfer and in taking possession of their own homes.

The Saulteaux Indians while active and helpful were really intruders among the Crees, a great Indian nation, who in language and blood were their relations. As proof of this the Crees 22at this time used horses on the plains. The horse was an importation brought up the valleys from the Spaniards of Mexico. Seeing his value as a beast of burden, more fit than the dog which had been formerly used, they coined the word "Mis-ta-tim," or big dog as the name for the horse. Their Chiefs were, with their names translated into pronounceable English, "the Premier," "the Black Robe," "the Black Man," while seemingly Mache Wheskab—"the Noisy Man"—represented the Assiniboines. The Crees, so well represented by their doughty Chiefs, are a sturdy race. They adapt themselves readily enough to new conditions. While the northern Indian tribes met the Colonists, yet in after days, as had frequently taken place in days preceding, bands of Sioux or Dakotas, came on pilgrimages to the Red River. Long ago when the French Captain Verandrye voyaged to Lake of the Woods, his son and others of his men, were attacked by Sioux warriors, and the whole party of whites was massacred in an Island on the Lake. The writer in a later day, near Winnipeg, met on the highway, a band of Sioux warriors, on horse-back, with their bodies naked to the waist, and painted with high color, in token of the fact that they were on the warpath. On occasion it was the habit of bands of Sioux to find their way to the Red River Valley, and 23the people did not feel at all safe, at their hostile attitude, as they bore the name of the "Tigers of the Plains."

With Saulteaux, Crees, Assiniboines, and Sioux coming freely among them, the settlers had at first a feeling of decided insecurity.


Osoup      Agent
Atalacoup      Kakawistaha      Mistawasis


But the fur trade paid too well to be left alone by the Montrealers who knew of Verandrye's exploits on the Ottawa and the Upper Lakes. When Canada became British, many daring spirits hastened to it from New York and New Jersey States. Montreal became the home of many young men of Scottish families. Some of their fathers had fled to the Colonies after the Stuart Prince was defeated at Culloden, and after the power of the Jacobites was broken. Some of the young men of enterprising spirit were the sons of officers and men who had fought in the Seven Years' War against France and now came to claim their share of the conqueror's spoils. Some men were of Yankee origin, who with their proverbial ability to see a good chance, came to what has always been Canada's greatest city, on the Island of Montreal. It was only half a dozen years after Wolfe's great victory, that a great Montreal trader, Alexander Henry, penetrated the western lakes to Mackinaw—the Island of the Turtle, lying between Lakes Huron and24 Michigan. At Sault Ste. Marie, "he fell in with a most noted French Canadian, Trader Cadot, who had married a Saulteur wife. He became a power among the Indians. With Scottish shrewdness Henry acquired from the Commandant at Mackinaw the exclusive right to trade on Lake Superior. He became a partner of Cadot, and they made a voyage as Canadian Argonauts, to bring back very rich cargoes of fur. They even went up to the Saskatchewan on Lake Winnipeg. After Henry, came another Scotchman, Thomas Curry, and made so successful a voyage that he reached the Saskatchewan River, and came back laden with furs, so that he was now satisfied never to have to go again to the Indian country. Shortly afterwards James Findlay, another son of the heather, followed up the fur-traders' route, and reached Saskatchewan. Thus the Northwest Fur Trade became the almost exclusive possession of the Scottish Merchants of Montreal. With the master must go the man. And no man on the rivers of North America ever equalled, in speed, in good temper, and in skill, the French Canadian voyageur. Almost all the Montreal merchants, the Forsythes, the Richardsons, the McTavishes, the Mackenzies, and the McGillivrays, spoke the French as fluently as they did their own language. Thus they became magnetic leaders of the French canoe25men of the rivers. The voyageurs clung to them with all the tenacity of a pointer on the scent. There were Nolins, Falcons, Delormes, Faribaults, Lalondes, Leroux, Trottiers, and hundreds of others, that followed the route until they became almost a part of the West and retired in old age, to take up a spot on some beautiful bay, or promontory, and never to return to "Bas Canada." Those from Montreal to the north of Lake Superior were the pork eaters, because they lived on dried pork, those west of Lake Superior, "Couriers of the Woods," and they fed on pemmican, the dried flesh of the buffalo. They were mighty in strength, daring in spirit, tractable in disposition, eagles in swiftness, but withal had the simplicity of little children. They made short the weary miles on the rivers by their smoking "tabac"—the time to smoke a pipe counting a mile—and by their merry songs, the "Fairy Ducks" and "La Claire Fontaine," "Malbrouck has gone to the war," or "This is the beautiful French Girl"—ballads that they still retained from the French of Louis XIV. They were a jolly crew, full of superstitions of the woods, and leaving behind them records of daring, their names remain upon the rivers, towns and cities of the Canadian and American Northwest.

Some thirty years before the arrival of the26 Colonists, the Montreal traders found it useful to form a Company. This was called the North-West Fur Company of Montreal. Having taken large amounts out of the fur trade, they became the leaders among the merchants of Montreal. The Company had an energy and ability that made them about the beginning of the nineteenth century the most influential force in Canadian life. At Fort William and Lachine their convivial meetings did something to make them forget the perils of the rapids and whirlpools of the rivers, and the bitterness of the piercing winds of the northwestern stretches. Familiarly they were known as the "Nor'-Westers." Shortly before the beginning of the century mentioned, a split took place among the "Nor'-Westers," and as the bales of merchandise of the old Company had upon them the initials "N.W.," the new Company, as it was called, marked their packages "XY," these being the following letters of the alphabet.

Besides these mentioned there were a number of independent merchants, or free traders. At one time there were at the junction of the Souris and Assiniboine Rivers, five establishments, two of them being those of free traders or independents. Among all these Companies the commander of a Fort was called, "The Bourgeois" to suit the French tongue of the27 men. He was naturally a man of no small importance.


But the conditions, in which both the traders and the voyageurs lived, brought a disturbing shadow over the wide plains of the North-West. Now under British rule, the Fur trade from Montreal became a settled industry. From Curry's time (1766) they began to erect posts or depots at important points to carry on their trade. Around these posts the voyageurs built a few cabins and this new centre of trade afforded a spot for the encampment near by of the Indian teepees made of tanned skins. The meeting of the savage and the civilized is ever a contact of peril. Among the traders or officers of the Fur trade a custom grew up—not sanctioned by the decalogue—but somewhat like the German Morganatic marriage. It was called "Marriage of the Country." By this in many cases the trader married the Indian wife; she bore children to him, and afterwards when he retired from the country, she was given in real marriage to some other voyageur, or other employee, or pensioned off. It is worthy of note that many of these Indian women became most true and affectionate spouses. With the voyageurs and laborers the conditions were different. They could not leave the country, they28 had become a part of it, and their marriages with the Indian women were bona fide. Thus it was that during the space from the time of Curry until the arrival of the Selkirk Colonists upwards of forty years had elapsed, and around the wide spread posts of the Fur Trading Companies, especially around those of the prairie, there had grown up families, which were half French and half Indian, or half English and half Indian. When it could be afforded these children were sent for a time to Montreal, to be educated, and came back to their native wilds. On the plain between the Assiniboine and the Saskatchewan, a half-breed community had sprung up. From their dusky faces they took the name "Bois-Brulés," or "Charcoal Faces," or referring to their mixed blood, of "Metis," or as exhibiting their importance, they sought to be called "The New Nation." The blend of French and Indian was in many respects a natural one. Both are stalwart, active, muscular; both are excitable, imaginative, ambitious; both are easily amused and devout. The "Bois-Brulés" growing up among the Indians on the plains naturally possessed many of the features of the Indian life. The pursuit of their fur-bearing animals was the only industry of the country. The Bois-Brulés from childhood were familiar with the Indian pony, knew all his tricks and habits, began to ride with all29 the skill of a desert ranger, were familiar with fire-arms, took part in the chase of the buffalo on the plains, and were already trained to make the attack as cavalry on buffalo herds, after the Indian fashion, in the famous half-circle, where they were to be so successful in their later troubles, of which we shall speak. Such men as the Grants, Findlays, Lapointes, Bellegardes, and Falcons were equally skilled in managing the swift canoe, or scouring the plains on the Indian ponies. We shall see the part which this new element were to play in the social life and even in the public concerns of the prairies.


The last of the elements to come into the valley of the Red River and to precede the Colonists, was the Hudson's Bay Company—even then, dating back its history almost a century and a half. They were a dignified and wealthy Company, reaching back to the times of easy-going Charles II., who gave them their charter. For a hundred years they lived in self-confidence and prudence in their forts of Churchill and York, on the shore of Hudson Bay. They were even at times so inhospitable as to deal with the Indians through an open window of the fort. This was in striking contrast to the30 "Nor'-Wester" who trusted the Indians and lived among them with the freest intercourse. For the one hundred years spoken of, the Indians from the Red River Country, the Saskatchewan, the Red River and Lake Winnipeg, found their way by the water courses to the shores of the Hudson Bay. But the enterprise of the Montreal merchants in leaving their forts and trading in the open with the Indians, prevented the great fleets of canoes, from going down with their furs, as they had once done to Churchill and York. The English Company felt the necessity of starting into the interior, and so within six years of the time of the expedition of Thomas Curry, appeared five hundred miles inland from the Bay, and erected a fort—Fort Cumberland—a few hundred yards from the "Nor'-Westers'" Trading House, on the Saskatchewan River. By degrees before the end of the century almost every place of any importance, in the fur-producing country, saw the two rival forts built within a mile or two of each other. Shortly before the end of the 18th Century, the "Nor'-Westers" came into the Red River Valley and built one or two forts near the 49th parallel, N. lat.—the U.S. boundary of to-day. But four years after the new Century began, the "Nor'-Westers" decided to occupy the "Forks" of the Red and Assiniboine River, near where Verandrye's Fort Rouge had 31 been built some sixty years before. Evidently both companies felt the conflict to be on, in their efforts to cover all important parts, for they called this Trading House Fort Gibraltar, whose name has a decided ring of the war-like about it. It is not clear exactly where the Hudson's Bay post was built, but it is said to have rather faced the Assiniboine than the Red River, perhaps near where Notre Dame Avenue East, or the Hudson's Bay stores is to-day. It was probably built a few years after Fort Gibraltar, and was called "Fidler's Fort." By this time, however, the Hudson's Bay Company, working from their first post of Cumberland House, pushed on to the Rocky Mountains to engage in the Titanic struggle which they saw lay ahead of them. One of their most active agents, in occupying the Red River Valley, was the Englishman Peter Fidler, who was the surveyor of this district, the master of several forts, and a man who ended his eventful career by a will made—providing that all of his funds should be kept at interest until 1962, when they should be divided, as his last chimerical plan should direct. It thus came about that when the Colonists arrived there were two Traders' Houses, on the site of the City of Winnipeg of to-day, within a mile of one another, one representing a New World, and the other an Old World type of mercantile life. It was plain32 that on the Plains of Rupert's Land there would come a struggle for the possession of power, if not for very existence.33



Inasmuch as this tale is chiefly one of Scottish and of Colonial life, the story of the movement from Old Kildonan, on the German Ocean, to New Kildonan, on the Western Prairies—we may be very sure, that it did not take place without irritation and opposition and conflict. The Scottish race, while possessing intense earnestness and energy, often gains its ends by the most thoroughgoing animosity. In this great emigration movement, there were great new world interests involved, and champions of the rival parties concerned were two stalwart chieftains, of Scotland's best blood, both with great powers of leadership and both backed up with abundant means and strongest influence. It was a duel—indeed a fight, as old Sir Walter Scott would say, "a l'outrance"—to the bitter end. That the struggle was between two chieftains—one a Lowlander, the other a Highlander, did not count for much, for the Lowlander spoke the Gaelic tongue—and he was championing the interest of Highland men.34

The two men of mark were the Earl of Selkirk and Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Before showing the origin of the quarrel, it may be well to take a glance at each of the men.

Thomas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, was the youngest of seven sons, and was born in 1771. Though he belonged to one of the oldest noble families, of Scotland, yet when he went to Edinburgh, as a fellow student of Sir Walter Scott, Clerk of Eldon, and David Douglas, afterward Lord Reston, it was with a view of making his own way in the world, for there were older brothers between him and the Earldom. He was a young man of intense earnestness, capable of living in an atmosphere of enthusiasm—always rather given indeed to take up and advocate new schemes. There was in him the spirit of service of his Douglas ancestors, of being unwilling to "rust unburnished," and he was strong in will, "to strive, to seek, to find." This gave the young Douglas a seeming restlessness, and so he visited the Highlands and learned the Gaelic tongue. He went to France in the days of the French Revolution, and took great interest in the Jacobin dreams of progress. The minor title of the House of Selkirk was Daer, and so the young collegian saw one Daer depart, then another, until at last he held the title, becoming in 1799 Earl of Selkirk and was confirmed as the master of the 35 beautiful St. Mary's Isle, near the mouth of the Dee, on Solway Frith. On his visits to the Highlands, it was not alone the Highland straths and mountains, nor the Highland Chieftain's absolute mastership of his clan, nor was it the picturesque dress—the "Garb of old Gaul"—which attracted him. The Earl of Selkirk has been charged by those who knew little of him with being a man of feudal instincts. His temper was the exact opposite of this. When he saw his Scottish fellow-countrymen being driven out of their homes in Sutherlandshire, and sent elsewhere to give way for sheep farmers, and forest runs, and deer stalking, it touched his heart, and his three Emigration Movements, the last culminating in the Kildonan Colonists, showed not only what title and means could do, but showed a kindly and compassionate heart beating under the starry badge of Earldom.

Rather it was the case that the fur trading oligarchy ensconced in the plains of the West, could not understand the heart of a philanthropist—of a man who could work for mere humanity. Up till a few years ago it was the fashion for even historians, being unable to understand his motive and disposition, to speak of him as a "kind hearted, but eccentric Scottish nobleman."

Lord Selkirk's active mind led him into va36rious different spheres of human life. He visited France and studied the problem of the French Revolution, and while sympathizing with the struggle for liberty, was alienated as were Wordsworth and hundreds of other British writers and philanthropists, by the excesses of Robespierre and his French compatriots. When the Napoleonic wars were at their height, like a true patriot, Lord Selkirk wrote a small work on the "System of National Defence," anticipating the Volunteer System of the present day. But his keen mind sought lines of activity as well as of theory. Seeing his fellow-countrymen, as well as their Irish neighbors, in distress and also desiring to keep them under the British flag, he planned at his own expense to carry out the Colonists to America. Even before this effort, reading Alexander Mackenzie's great book of voyages detailing the discoveries of the Mackenzie River in its course to the Arctic Sea, and also the first crossing in northern latitudes of the mountains to the Pacific Ocean—he had applied (1802), to the Imperial Government, for permission to take a colony to the western extremity of Canada upon the waters which fall into Lake Winnipeg. This spot, "fertile and having a salubrious climate," he could reach by way of the Nelson River, running into Hudson Bay. The British Government refused him the permis37sion necessary. Lord Selkirk's first visit to Canada was in the year 1803, in which his colony was placed in Prince Edward Island. Canada was a country very sparsely settled, but it was then turning its eyes toward Britain, with the hope of receiving more settlers, for it had just seen settled in Upper Canada a band of Glengarry Highlanders. Lord Selkirk visited Canada by way of New York. To a man of his imaginative disposition, the fur trade appealed irresistibly. The picturesque brigades of the voyageurs hieing away for the summer up the Ottawa toward the land of which Mackenzie had written, "the Nor'-Wester" garb of capote and moccassin and snowshoe, and the influence plainly given by this the only remunerative industry of Montreal, caught his fancy. Then as a British peer and a Scottish Nobleman, the fun-loving but hard-headed Scottish traders of Montreal took him to their hearts. He met them at their convivial gatherings, he heard the chanson sung by voyageurs, and the "habitant" caught his fancy. He was only a little past thirty, and that Canadian picture could never be effaced from his mind. In after days, these "Lords of the North" abused Lord Selkirk for spying out their trade, for catching the secrets of their business which were in the wind, and for making an undue use of what they had disclosed to him. In this there38 was nothing. His schemes were afire in his own mind long before, his Montreal experiences but fanned the flame, and led him to send a few Colonists to Upper Canada to the Settlement to Baldoon. This settlement was, however, of small account.

In 1808 though inactive he showed his bent by buying up Hudson's Bay Company stock. During this time projects in agriculture, the condition of the poor, the safety of the country, and the spread of civilization constantly occupied his active mind. The Napoleonic war cut off the vast cornfields of America from England, and as a great historian shows was followed by a terrible pauperization of the laboring classes.

There is no trace of a desire for aggrandizement, for engaging in the fur trade, or for going a-field on plans of speculation in the mind of Lord Selkirk. The feuds of the two branches of the Montreal Fur traders—the Old Northwest and the New Northwest—which were apparently healed in the year after the Colonization of Prince Edward Island, were not ended between the two factions of the united company led by McTavish—called the Premier—on the one hand and Sir Alexander Mackenzie on the other.

During these ten years of the century, the Hudson's Bay Company had also established rival posts all over the country. The competi39tion at times reached bloodshed, and financial ruin was staring all branches of the fur trade in the face.

It was the depressed condition of the fur trade and the consequent drop in Hudson's Bay Company shares that appealed to Lord Selkirk, the man of many dreams and imaginations and he saw the opportunity of finding a home under the prairie skies for his hapless countrymen. It requires no detail here of how Lord Selkirk bought a controlling interest in the Hudson's Bay Company's stock, made out his plans of Emigration, and took steps to send out his hoped-for thousands or tens of thousands of Highland crofters, or Irish peasants, whoever they might be, if they sought freedom though bound up with hardship, hope instead of a pauper's grave, the prospect of independence of life and station in the new world instead of penury and misery under impossible conditions of life at home. Nor is it a matter of moment to us, how the struggle began until we have brought before our minds the stalwart figure of Sir Alexander Mackenzie—Lord Selkirk's great protagonist. Like many a distinguished man who has made his mark in the new world, and notably our great Lord Strathcona, who came as a mere lad to Canada, Alexander Mackenzie, a stripling of sixteen, arrived in Montreal to make his fortune. He40 was born as the Scottish people say of "kenn't" of "well-to-do" folk in Stornoway, in the Hebrides. He received a fair education and as a boy had a liking for the sea. Two partners, Gregory and McLeod, were fighting at Montreal in opposition to the dominant firm of McTavish and Frobisher. Young Alexander Mackenzie joined this opposition. So great was his aptitude, that boy as he was, he was despatched West to lead an expedition to Detroit. Soon he was pushed on to be a bourgeois, and was appointed at the age of twenty-two to go to the far West fur country of Athabasca, the vast Northern country which was to be the area of his discoveries and his fame. His energy and skill were amazing, although like many of his class, he had to battle against the envy of rivals. After completely planning his expedition, he made a dash for the Arctic Sea, by way of Mackenzie River, which he—first of white men—descended, and which bears his name. Finding his astronomical knowledge defective, he took a year off, and in his native land learned the use of the instruments needed in exploration. After his return he ascended the Peace River, crossed the Rocky Mountains, and on a rock on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, inscribed with vermillion and grease, in large letters, "Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the Twenty-41second of July, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-three." That was his record as the first white man to cross North America, north of Mexico. A few years afterwards he received the honor of knighthood for his discoveries. He gained much distinction as a leader, though the great McTavish in his Company was never very friendly to him. At length he retired, became a representative in the legislature of Lower Canada, and was for a time a travelling companion of the Duke of Kent. With a desire for loftier station, he settled in his native land, married the beautiful and gifted daughter of the House of Seaforth, and from her enjoyed the property of Avoch, near Inverness.

Three years before the starting of Lord Selkirk's Colonists and before his marriage with Geddes Mackenzie, Sir Alexander took up his abode in Scotland. He was the guardian of the rights of the North-West Company and manfully he stood for them.

Mackenzie was startled when he heard in 1810 of Lord Selkirk's scheme to send his Colonists to Red River. This he thought to be a plan of the Hudson's Bay Company, to regain their failing prestige and to strike a blow at the Nor'-Wester trade. To the fur trader or the rancher, the incoming of the farmer is ever obnoxious. The beaver and the mink de42sert the streams whenever the plowshare disturbs the soil. The deer flee to their coverts, the wolf and the fox are exterminated, and even the muskrat has a troubled existence when the dog and cat, the domestic animals, make their appearance. The proposed settlement is to be opposed, and Lord Selkirk's plans thwarted at any cost. Lord Selkirk had in the eyes of the Nor'-Westers much presumption, indeed nothing less than to buy out the great Hudson's Bay Company, which for a century and a half had controlled nearly one-half of North America. The Nor'-Westers—Alexander Mackenzie, Inglis and Ellice—made sport of the thing as a dream. But the "eccentric Lord" was buying up stock and majorities rule in Companies as in the nation. Contempt and abuse gave place to settled anxiety and in desperation at last the trio of opponents, two days before the meeting, purchased £2,500 of stock, not enough to appreciably affect the vote, but enough to give them a footing in the Hudson's Bay Company, and to secure information of value to them.

The mill of destiny goes slowly round, and Lord Selkirk and his friends are triumphant. He purchases an enormous tract of land, 116,000 square miles, one-half in what is now the Province of Manitoba, the other at present included in the States of Minnesota and North Dakota,43 on the south side of the boundary line between Canada and the United States. The Nor'-Westers are frantic; but the fates are against them. The duel has begun! Who will win? Cunning and misrepresentation are to be employed to check the success of the Colony, and also local opposition on the other side of the Atlantic, should the scheme ever come to anything. At present their hope is that it may fall to pieces of its own weight.

Lord Selkirk's scheme is dazzling almost beyond belief. A territory is his, purchased out and out, from the Hudson's Bay Company, about four times the area of Scotland, his native land, and the greater part of it fertile, with the finest natural soil in the world, waiting for the farmer to give a return in a single year after his arrival. A territory, not possessed by a foreign people, but under the British flag! A country yet to be the home of millions! It is worth living to be able to plant such a tree, which will shelter and bless future generations of mankind. Financial loss he might have; but he would have fame as his reward.44



Oh dreadful war! It is not only in the deadly horror of battle, and in the pain and anguish of men strong and hearty, done to death by human hands. It is not only in the rotting heap of horses and men, torn to pieces by bullets and shell, and thrust together within huge pits in one red burial blent. It is not only in the helpless widow and her brood of dazed and desolate children weeping over the news that comes from the battlefield, that war become so hideous. It is always, as it was in the time of the Europe-shadowing Napoleon when for twenty years the wheels of industry in Britain were stopped. It is always the derangement of business, the increased price of food for the poor, the decay of trade, the cutting off of supplies, and the stopping of works of improvement that brings conditions which make poverty so terrible. Rags! A bed of straw; a crust of bread; the shattered roof; the naked floor; a deal table; a broken chair! A writer whose boyhood saw the terror, and want, 45 and despair of the last decade of the Napoleonic War, puts into the mouth of the victim of poverty this terrible wail:

"But why do I talk of death?
That phantom of grizzly bone;
I hardly fear his terrible shape
It seems so like my own;
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh God, that bread should be so dear
And flesh and blood so cheap!"

To the philanthropist or the benevolent sympathiser like Lord Selkirk, who aims at benefiting suffering humanity, it is not the trouble, the self-sacrifice, or the spending of money in relief that is the worry, but it is the bitterness, the suspicion, the unworkableness, and the selfishness of the poverty-stricken themselves that disturbs and distresses the benefactor's heart. It is often too the heartlessness and prejudice of those who oppose the benefactor's plans that causes the generous man anxiety and even at times despair. Poverty in its worst form is a gaunt and ravenous beast, that bites the hand of friend or foe that is stretched out toward it. So Lord Selkirk found it, when he undertook to help the poverty-stricken Celts of the Scottish Highlands and of the West of Ireland. He had the sympathising heart; he46 had the true vision; and he had as few others of his time had, the power to plan, the invention to suggest, and the skill and pluck to overcome difficulties, but the carrying out of his intent brought him infinite trouble and sorrow. His prospectus, offering the means to the poverty-stricken people of reaching what he believed to be a home of ultimate plenty on the banks of the Red River, was an entirely worthy document. His first point is, that his Colonists will be freemen. No religious tenet will be considered in their selection. This was even freer that was that of Lord Baltimore's much-vaunted Colony, on the Atlantic Coast, for Baltimore required that every Colonist should believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. Then, the offer was to the landless and the penniless men. Employment was to be supplied; work in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, or free grants of land to actual settlers, or even a sale in fee simple of land for a mere nominal sum; free passages for the poor, reduced passages for those who had small means, food provided on the voyage, and the prospect of new world advantages to all.

But the poor are timid, and they love even their straw-thatched cottages, and it needs active and decided men to press upon them the advantages which are offered them. The Emigration Agent is a necessity.47

The fur traders' country was at this time well known to many of the partners. It was by employing or consulting with some of these fur traders that Lord Selkirk obtained a knowledge of the Western land which he was to acquire. Years before the Colony began Lord Selkirk had been in correspondence with an officer who belonged to a well known Catholic family of Highlanders, the Macdonells, who had gone to the Mohawk district in the United States before the American Revolution, and had afterwards come to Canada as U.E. Loyalists. One of these, a man of standing and of executive ability was Miles Macdonell. He had been an officer of the King's Royal Regiment of New York, and held the rank of Captain of the Canadian Militia. This officer had a brother in the North-West Fur Company, John Macdonell, who, more than ten years before, had been in the service of his Company on Red River and whose Journal had no doubt fallen into the hands of his brother Miles. He had written: "From the Forks of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers the plains are quite near the banks, and so extensive that a man may travel to the Rocky Mountains without passing a wood, a mile long. The soil on the Red River and the Assiniboine is generally a good soil, susceptible of culture, and capable of bearing rich crops."

He goes on to state, "that the buffalo comes48 to the fords of the Assinboil, besides in these rivers are plenty of sturgeon, catfish, goldeyes, pike and whitefish—the latter so common that men have been seen to catch thirty or forty a piece while they smoked their pipes." To reach this land of plenty, which his brother knew so well, Miles Macdonell became the leader of Lord Selkirk's Colonists. He arrived in Great Britain in the year for the starting of the Colony, and immediately as being a Roman Catholic in religion went to the West of Ireland to recommend the Emigration scheme, obtain subscriptions of stock, and to engage workmen as Colonists. Glasgow was then, as now, the centre of Scottish industry, and it is to Glasgow that the penniless Highlanders flock in large numbers for work and residence. Here was a suitable field for the Emigration Agent, and accordingly one of their countrymen, Captain Roderick McDonald, was sent thither. The way to Canada was long, the country unknown, and it required all his persuasion and the power of the Gaelic tongue—an open Sesame to an Highlander's heart—to persuade many to join the Colonists' bank. It required more. The Highlander is a bargainer, as the Tourist in the Scottish Highlands knows to this day. Captain Roderick McDonald was compelled to promise larger wages to clerks and laborers to induce them to join. He secured less than half49 an hundred men at Stornoway—the trysting place—and the promises he had made of higher wages were a bone of contention through the whole voyage.

Perhaps the most effective agent obtained by Lord Selkirk was a returned trader of the Montreal merchants named Colin Robertson. He had seen the whole western fur country, and the fact that he had a grievance made him very willing to join Lord Selkirk in his enterprise.

One of the Nor'-Westers in Saskatchewan a few years before the beginning of Lord Selkirk's Colony, was "Bras Croche," or crooked-arm McDonald. He was of gentle Scottish birth, but his own acquaintances declared that he was of a "quarrelsome and pugnacious disposition." In his district Colin Robertson was a "Bourgeois" in charge of a station. A quarrel between the two men resulted in Colin Robertson losing his position, and as we shall see he became one of the most active and serviceable men in the history of the Colony. Colin Robertson went among his countrymen in the Island of Lewis and elsewhere.

And now as the time draws nigh for gathering together at a common port, the Stromness (Orkney), the Glasgow, the Sligo and the Lewis contingents to face the stormy sea and seek a new untried home, a fierce storm breaks out upon the land. Evidence accumulates that the50 heat and opposition of the "Nor'-West" partners—Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Inglis and Ellice—shown at the general meeting of the Company, were to break out in numberless hidden and irritating efforts to stop and perhaps render impossible the whole Colonizing project.

Just as the active agents, Miles Macdonell, Capt. McDonald and Colin Robertson, had set the heather on fire on behalf of Lord Selkirk's project, so the aid of the press was used to throw doubt upon the enterprise. Inverness is the Capital of the Highlanders, and so the "Inverness Journal," containing an effusion signed by "Highlander," was spread broadcast through the Highlands, the Islands, and the Orkneys, picturing the dangers of their journey, the hardships of the country, the deceitfulness of the agents, and the mercenary aims of the noble promoter.

Before Miles Macdonell had cleared the coast of England, he wrote to Lord Selkirk: "Sir A. (Mackenzie) has pledged himself as so decidedly opposed to this project that he will try every means in his power to thwart it. Besides, I am convinced he was no friend to your Lordship before this came upon the carpet."

No doubt Miles Macdonell was correct, and the two Scottish antagonists were face to face in the conflict. We shall see the means supplied by which the expedition will be harassed.51 And now the enterprise is to be set on foot.

For nearly a century and a half the Hudson's Bay Company ships have sailed yearly from the Thames, and taken the goods of the London merchants to the posts and forts of Hudson Bay, carrying back rich returns of furs. Sometimes more than one a year has gone. In 1811 there was the Commodore's ship the "Prince of Wales," with cabin accommodation and such comforts as ships of that period supplied. A second ship, the "Eddystone," chartered for special service, accompanied her. These two were intended to carry out employees and men for the fur trade, as well as the goods.

It must not be forgotten that there was some want of confidence between the trading side of the Hudson's Bay Company and that which Lord Selkirk represented, in the Colonizing enterprise. Also at this time the laws in regard to the safety of vessels, the comfort of passengers, or precautions for health were very lax. While the records of emigration experiences of British settlers to Canada and the United States are being recited by men and women yet living in Canada, the want of resource and the neglect of life and property by Governments and officials up until half a century ago are heart-sickening. So the third ship of the fleet that was to carry the first human freight of Manitoba pioneers was the "Edward and Ann." She 52 was a sorry craft, with old sails, ropes, etc., and very badly manned. She had as a crew only sixteen, including the captain, mates and three small boys. It was a surprise to Miles Macdonell that the Company would charter and send her out in such a state. The officers came down to Gravesend from London and joined their ships, and somewhere about the 25th of June, 1811, they set sail from Sheerness on their mission, which was to become historic—not so historic, perhaps, as the Mayflower—but still sufficiently important to deserve a centennial celebration.

The fleet was, however, to take up its passengers after it had passed Duncansby Head, on the north of Scotland. But the elements on the North Sea were unpropitious. Sheerness left behind, the trio of vessels had not passed the coast of Norfolk before they were driven into Yarmouth Harbor, and there for days they lay held in by adverse winds. On July 2nd they again started northward, when they were compelled to return to Yarmouth.

In company they succeeded in reaching Stromness, in the Orkney Isles, in about ten days. Here the "Prince of Wales" remained and her two companions sailed down to Stornoway on the 17th.

And now, with the storms of the German Ocean left behind, began the opposition of the53 "Nor'-Westers." The "Prince of Wales" brought her contingent from the Orkneys, and on July 25th Miles Macdonell writes that after all the efforts put forth at all the points he had 125 Colonists and employees, and these were in a most unsettled state of mind.

Some dispute the wages offered them. One party from Galway had not arrived. Some are irritated at not being in the quarter of the ship which they desired, and some anxiety is evident on the part of Miles Macdonell because large advances of money have been given to a number and he fears that they may desert. The expenses of assembling the settlers have been very heavy, and now opposition appears. Sir Alexander's party are doing their work. Mr. Reed, Collector of Customs at Stornoway, was married to a niece of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, and as collector he throws every obstacle in the way of Macdonell. He has also taken pains to stir up discontent in the minds of the Colonists and to advise them not to embark.

Further trouble was caused by a Captain Mackenzie—called "a mean fellow"—who proved to be a son-in-law of the Collector of Customs Reed, and who went on board the "Edward and Ann," recruited as soldiers some of the settlers, himself handing them the enlisting money and then seeking to compel them to leave the ship with him. Afterwards, Cap54tain Mackenzie came on board the "Edward and Ann" and claimed the new recruits, as deserters from the army. The Customs officials also boarded the emigrant ship and most officiously proclaimed that if any emigrants were not satisfied, or were not going of their own free will then they might go ashore, and the scene as described by Miles Macdonell may be imagined. "Several said they were not willing, and many went over the ship's side into Captain Mackenzie's boat. One party ran away with the ship's boat, but were brought back. One man jumped into the sea, and swam for it until he was picked up by the recruiting boat." The Revenue Cutter's boat was likewise very active in taking men away, and the collector took some ashore in his boat with himself. A prominent employee of the promoters of the expedition, Mr. Moncrieff Blair, who posed as a gentleman, deserted on July 25th, the day before the sailing of the vessel.

No wonder that Miles Macdonell should write: "My Lord, this is a most unfortunate business * * * I condole with your Lordship on all these cross accidents."

Thus amid annoyance, opposition, and discouragement did the little fleet set sail, on July 26th, 1811.

But this time of Napoleonism in Europe affected even the high seas. French cruisers55 might seize the valuable cargoes being sent out to York Factory. Accordingly a man-of-war had been detailed to lead the way. This had caused a part of the delay on the East Coast of England, and when fairly away from the British Isles and some four hundred miles northwest of Ireland, the protecting ship turned back, but the sea was so wild that not even a letter could be handed to the Captain to carry in a message to the promoter.

The journey continued to be boisterous, but once within Hudson straits the weather turned mild, and the great walls of rock reminded the Highlanders of their Sutherlandshire West Coast.

They saw no living being as they went through the Strait. Their studies of human nature were among themselves. Miles Macdonell reports that exclusive of the officers and crews who embarked at Gravesend, there were of laborers and writers one hundred and five persons.

Of these there were fifty-three on the "Edward and Ann." Two men of especial note, representing the clerical and medical professions were on board the Emigrant Ship. Father Burke, a Roman Catholic priest, who had come away without the permission of his Bishop was one.

Miles Macdonell did not like him, but he56 seems to have been a hearty supporter of the Emigration Scheme and promised to do great things in Ireland on his return.

When he reached York Factory, Burke did not leave the shore to follow the Colonists to their homes on the banks of Red River. He married two Scotch Presbyterians, and while somewhat merry at times had amused the passengers on their dreary ocean journey. More useful, however, to the passengers was Mr. Edwards, the ship's doctor.

He had much opportunity for practising his art, both among the Colonists and the employees.

At times Miles Macdonell endeavored on shipboard to drill his future servants and settlers, but he found them a very awkward squad—not one had ever handled a gun or musket. The sea seemed generally too tempestuous in mood for their evolutions. As the ships approached York Factory the interest increased. The "Eddystone" was detailed to sail to "Fort Churchill," but was unable to reach it and found her way in the wake of the other vessels to York Factory. It seemed as if the sea-divinities all combined to fight against the Colonists, for they did not reach York Factory, the winter destination, until the 24th of September, having taken sixty-one days on the voyage from Stornoway, which was declared by the Hud57son's Bay Company officers to be the longest and latest passage ever known on Hudson Bay. Then settlers and employees were all landed on the point, near York Factory, and were sheltered meantime in tents, and as they stood on the shore they saw on October 5th, the ships that had brought them safely across the stormy sea pass through a considerable amount of floating ice on their homeward journey to London.

For one season at least the settlers will face the rigor of this Northern Clime. 58



The Emigrant ship has landed its living freight at Fort Factory, upon the Coast of Hudson Bay—a shore unoccupied for hundreds of miles except by a few Hudson's Bay Company forts such as those at the mouth of the Nelson River, and of Fort Churchill, a hundred miles or more farther north. It was now the end of the season, and it will not do to trifle with the nip of cold "Boreas" on the shore of Hudson Bay. The icy winter is at hand, and all know that they will face such temperatures as they never had seen even among the stormy Hebrides, or in the Northward Orkneys. Lord Selkirk's dreams are now to be tested. Is the story of the Colony to be an epic or a drama?

It was by no means the first experiment of facing in an unprepared way the rigors of a North American winter.

In the fourth year of the Seventeenth Century De Monts, a French Colonizer, had a band of his countrymen on Douchet's Island, in the59 Ste. Croix River, on the borders of New Brunswick. Though fairly well provided in some ways yet the winter proved so trying that out of the number of less than eighty, nearly one-half died. The winter was so long, weary and deadly, that in the spring the survivors of the Colony were moved to Port Royal in Acadia and the Ste. Croix was given up. This was surely dramatic; this was tragic indeed. But in the fourth year of this Century, the Tercentenary of this event was celebrated in Annapolis and St. John, as the writer himself beheld, and the shouts and applause of gathered thousands made a great and patriotic epic.

Again four years after De Monts, when knowledge of climate and conditions had become known to the French pioneers, Samuel de Champlain wintered with his crew and a few settlers on the site of Old Quebec, on the St. Lawrence. Discontent and dissension led to rebellion, and blood was shed in the execution of the plotters. Hunger, suffering and the dreadful scurvy attacked the founder's party of less than thirty, of whom only ten survived, and yet in July of 1908, the writer witnessed the grand Tercentenary celebration of Champlain's settlement of Quebec, and with the presence of the Prince of Wales, General Roberts, the idol of the British Army, a joint fleet, of eleven English, French and American first-60class Men-of War, with pageantry and music, the Epic of Champlain was sung at the foot of the great statue erected to his memory.

In the Twentieth year of the Seventeenth Century, a company of very sober folk, came to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in a trifling little vessel the "Mayflower," and brought about one hundred Immigrants from the British Isles to Plymouth Rock to build up a refuge and a home. What a mighty song of patriotism will burst out when in a few years the United States hold their Tercentenary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers.

And so we see the first Selkirk Colonists landed on the Hudson Bay numbering at the outside seventy, a number not greatly different from the French and Pilgrim Fathers and called on to pass through similar trials in the severe winter of Hudson Bay. Their experience has been less tragic than that of the other parties spoken of, but in it the same elements of discomfort, dissension and disease certainly present themselves. However distressing their winter was, the dramatic conditions passed away, in a short time we shall be engaged in commemorating the patience and the heroism of these settlers, and in 1912 we shall sing a new song—the epic of the Lord Selkirk Colonists.

But to be true we must look more closely at61 the trials, and sufferings of the untried, and somewhat turbulent band, on their way to the Red River.

York Factory as being the port of entry for the southern prairie country was a place of some importance. As in the largest number of cases, other than a few huts for workmen, and a few Indian families, the Fort was the only centre of life in the whole region. Two rivers, the Nelson and the Hayes, enter the Hudson Bay at this point—the Nelson being the more northerly of the two. Between the two rivers is really a delta or low swampy tongue of land. On the Nelson's north bank, the land near the Bay is low, while inland there is a rising height. Five or six different sites of forts are pointed out at this point. These have been built on during the history of the Company, which dates back to 1670. In Lord Selkirk's time the factory was more than half a mile from the Bay and lay between the two rivers. Miles Macdonell states that it was on "low, miry ground without a ditch." The stagnant water by which the post was surrounded would be productive of much ill-health, were there a longer summer. The buildings of the Factory were also badly planned, and badly constructed, so that the Fort was unsuitable for quartering the Colonists. Besides this, Messrs. Cook and Auld, the former Governor of York Factory, and the 62 latter chief officer of Fort Churchill, having the old Hudson's Bay Company's spirit of dislike of Colonists, decided that the new settlers, being an innovation and an evil, should have separate quarters built for them at a distance from the Fort.

Poor Colonists! Miles Macdonell is wearied with them in their complaining spirit, berates them for indolence, and finds fault with their awkwardness as workmen. To Macdonell, who was a Canadian, accustomed as a soldier and frontiersman to dealing with canoes, boats, and every means of land transport, the sturdy, steady going Orkneyman was slow and clumsy.

The inexperienced new settler thus gets rather brusque treatment from the Colonial, more a good deal than he deserves.

Accordingly it was decided to erect log dwellings for the workmen and the settlers on the higher ground north of the Nelson River. Several miles distant from the Factory itself, Spruce trees of considerable size grew along the river, and so all hands were put to work to have huts or shanties erected to protect the Colonists from the severe cold of winter, which would soon be upon them, although on October 5th Miles Macdonell wrote home to Lord Selkirk: "The weather has been mild and pleasant for some days past."

The erection of suitable houses, that is home63ly on the exterior, but warm in the coldest weather, was superintended by Miles Macdonell—himself a Colonial and one aware of the precautions needing to be taken.

Amid all the troubles and complaints of the winter there were none against the suitableness of the log dwellings which were erected on the chosen site to which was given the name, "Nelson Encampment." Winter, however, came in fiercely enough in November, although again on the 29th of November, Macdonell writes to Cook, Governor of the Factory: "A mild day enables us to send a boat across the Nelson with the Express." It was open water on the river.

Macdonell knew well that with the recent arrivals from the Old Land, one of the greatest dangers would be the weakening and dangerous disease of scurvy. He had sought for supplies of "Essence of Malt" and "Crystallized Salts of Lemon," and at the beginning of December as the people were living chiefly on salt provisions and a short allowance of oatmeal the scurvy made its appearance. Medical care was given by Mr. Edwards and the disease was at once met. However within a month one-third of the Immigrants were thus afflicted and the fear was that the malady would go through the whole Encampment. But the remedy that Champlain found so effective at Quebec—the juice of the Spruce tree, which grew in abun64dance around the Encampment—checked the disease, wherever the obstinacy of the settlers did not prevent its use, for says Macdonell, "It is not an easy matter to get the Orkneymen to drink it, particularly the old hands." A smouldering fire of discontent that had been detected on board the ship on crossing the ocean now broke out into a flame. The Irish and the Orkneymen could not agree. In February the vigilant leader Macdonell writes: "The Irish displayed their native propensity and prowess on the first night of the year, by unmercifully beating some Orkneymen. Too much strong drink was the chief incitement." This antipathy continued to be a difficulty even until the party arrived at Red River.

There are signs in his letters, of the constant strain on Miles Macdonell arising from the difficulties of his position and the waywardness of the Immigrants. At times he consults with the Hudson's Bay Company's officer, Mr. Hillier, and at others thus unbosoms himself to Messrs. Cook and Auld. "In this wild, desolate and (I may add) barren region, excluded at present from all communication with the civilized world, intelligence of a local kind can alone be expected. Could we join in the sentinel's cry of 'All is well,' although not affording great changes, it might yet be satisfactory in our isolated condition. We have as great variety65 as generally happens in this sublunary world, of which we here form a true epitome, being composed of men of all countries, religions and tongues."

Plainly Governor Macdonell feels his burdens! However, the culmination of this officer's troubles did not reach him until a serious rebellion occurred among his subjects—so mixed and various.

A workman—William Finlay—presumably an Orkneyman, who had been regularly employed by Miles Macdonell when the scurvy was bad in Mr. Hillier's camp, refused to obey the health regulations, his one objection being to drink this spruce decoction. He was immediately dropped from work. A few days afterward supposing the matter had blown over, Macdonell ordered him to work again. Finlay declined, whereupon, though under engagement he refused to further obey Macdonell. The Governor then brought him before Mr. Hillier, who like himself, had been made a magistrate. His breach of law in this, as in other matters being brought against Finlay he was sentenced to confinement. There being no prison at York Factory it seemed difficult to carry out the sentence by his being simply confined with his other companions in the men's quarters. Accordingly the Governor ordered a single log hut to be constructed, and this being done, in66 it the prisoner was confined. Not a day had entirely passed when a rebellion arose among some of his compatriots—the Scottish contingent from Orkney and Glasgow—and a band of thirteen of them surrounded the newly built hut, set it on fire and as it went up in smoke rescued the prisoner.

The men were arrested and were brought before Macdonell and Hillier, sitting as magistrates. This was about the end of February. The rebels, however, defied the authorities, departed carrying Finlay with them and getting possession of a house took it defiantly for their own use. During their remaining sojourn at York Factory they subsisted on provisions obtained at the Factory itself and carried by themselves from the post to the encampment. Governor Macdonell, meantime, decided to send these rebellious spirits home to Britain for punishment, and not allow them to go on to Red River.

The possession by the rioters of some five or six stand of firearms, was felt to be a menace to the peace of the encampment. An effort was made to obtain them by Macdonell, but "the insurgents," as they were called, secreted the arms and thus kept possession of them. In June on the rebels being very bold and being unable to get back across the Nelson River from the Factory for a number of days, they 67 were forced by Mr. Auld, then at York Factory, to give up their arms and submit or else have their supplies from the Factory stopped. They were thus compelled to submit and on the receipt of a note from Mr. Auld to Macdonell, the latter wrote a joyful letter to Lord Selkirk to the effect that the insurgents had at length come to terms, acknowledged their guilt and thrown themselves upon the mercy of the Hudson's Bay Committee.

This surrender made it unnecessary to send the body of rioters back to England for trial.

During the months of later winter Governor Miles Macdonell was specially employed in building boats for the journey up to Red River. He introduced a style of boat used on the rivers of New York, his native State. These, however, he complains, were very badly constructed through the clumsiness and lack of skill of the Colonists and Company employees, whom he had ordered to build them.

Now on July fourth, 1812, Governor Macdonell, his Colonists, and the Hudson's Bay officials—Cook and Auld—are all gazing wistfully up the Nelson and Hayes Rivers, and we have the postscript to the last letter as found in Miles Macdonell letter book, sent to Lord Selkirk, reading, "Four Irishmen are to be sent home; Higgins and Hart, for the felonious attack on the Orkneymen; William Gray, non-68effective, and Hugh Redden, who lost his arm by the bursting of a gun given him to fire off by Mr. Brown, one of the Glasgow clerks."
(Signed) H. MacD.

The expedition left York Factory for the interior on the 6th of July, 1812. 69



The weary winter passing at Nelson Encampment had its bright spots. Miles Macdonell in the building erected for himself, on the south side of the Nelson River, kept up his mess, having with him Mr. Hillier, Priest Bourke, Doctor Edwards, and Messrs. John McLeod, Whitford and Michael Macdonell, officers and clerks. Those Immigrants who took no part in the rebellion fared well. True, the scurvy seized several of them, but proved harmless to those who obeyed the orders and took plentiful potations of spruce beer. With the opening year a fair supply of fresh and dried venison was supplied by the Indians. In April upwards of thirty deer were snared or shot by the settlers. Some three thousand deer of several different kinds crossed the Nelson River within a month. "Fresh venison," writes Macdonell, "was so plenty that our men would not taste salt meat. We have all got better since we came to Hudson Bay."

But as in all far northern climates the heat70 was great in the months of May and June, and Governor and Colonists became alike restless to start on the inland journey.

The passing out of the ice in north-flowing rivers is always wearisome for those who are waiting to ascend. Beginning to melt farther south, the ice at the mouth is always last to move. Besides, the arrival was anxiously awaited of Bird, Sinclair and House. By continuous urging of the dull and inefficient workmen to greater effort, Miles Macdonell had succeeded in securing four boats—none too well built—but commodious enough to carry his boat-crews, workmen, and Colonists.

Though Macdonell sought for the selection of the workmen who were to accompany him to Red River, he was not able to move the Hudson's Bay Company officials. Two days, however, after arrival of the Company magnates from the interior his men were secured to him, and he was fully occupied in transporting his stores up the river as far as the "Rock"—the rapids of the Hill River which here falls into Hayes River. For a long distance up the river there is a broad stream, one-quarter of a mile wide, running at the rate of two miles an hour through low banks. The boatmen have a good steady pull up the river for some sixty miles, and here where the Steel River enters the Hayes is seen a wide, deep, rapid stream run71ning about three miles an hour. The banks of this river are of clay and rising from fifty to one hundred feet, the clay of the banks is so smooth and white that a traveller has compared them in color to the white, chalk cliffs of Dover. Thus far though it has required exertion on the part of the boatmen, a good stretch of a hundred miles from the Factory has been passed without any obstruction or delay. Now the serious work of the journey begins. The Hill River, as this part of the river is called, is a series of rapids and portages—where the cargo and boat have both to be carried around a rapid; of decharges where the cargo has thus to be carried, and of semi-decharges—where a portion of the cargo only needs to be removed.

At times waterfalls require to be circuited with great effort. A high mountain or elevated table-land seen from this river shows the rough country of which these cascades and rapids are the proof. Here are the White-Mud Falls and other smaller cataracts. To the expert voyageur such a river has no terrors, but to the raw-hand the management of such boats is a most toilsome work. The birch-bark canoe is a mere trifle on the portage, but the heavy York boat capable of carrying three or four tons is a clumsy lugger. The cargo must be moved, the non-effectives such as the women and children and the old men must trudge the weary72 path, varying from a few hundred yards to several miles along a rocky, steep and rugged way. When the portage is made the whole force of boatmen and able-bodied passengers are required to stand by each boat, pull it out of the water, and then skid or drag or cajole it along till it is thrust into its native element again. To the willing crofter or Orkney boatmen this was not a great task, but to the Glasgow immigrant, or the lazy waiter-on-fortune this was hard work. Many were the oaths of the officers and the complaints and objections of the men when they were required to grapple with the foaming cascades, the fearful rapids and the difficult portages of Hill River. Mossy Portage being now past the landing on a rocky island at the head of the river showed that the first "Hill Difficulty" had been overcome.

Swampy lake for ten miles gives a comparative rest to the toiling crews, but at the end of it a short portage passed takes the beleagured party into the mouth of the Jack Tent River. Day after day with sound sleep when the mosquitoes would permit, the unwilling voyageurs continued their journey. Ten portages have to be faced and overcome as the brigade ascends the rapid Jack Tent River, covering a stretch of seventy miles. The party now find themselves on the surface of Knee Lake, a considerable sheet of water, but a comparative rest after73 the trials of Jack Tent River. The lake is fifty-six miles long and at times widens to ten miles across.

But there is trouble just ahead.

The travellers have now come to the celebrated Fall Portage. It is short but deterrent. The height and ruggedness of the rocks over which cargo and boats have to be dragged are unusually forbidding. The only consolation to the contemplative soul, who does not have to portage, is that "The stream is turbulent and unfriendly in the extreme, but in romantic variety, and in natural beauty nothing can exceed this picture." High rocks are seen, beetling over the rapids like towers, and are rent into the most diversified forms, gay with various colored masses, or shaded by overhanging hills—now there is a tranquil pool lying like a sheet of silver—now the dash and foam of a cataract—these are but parts of this picturesque and striking scene.

But Fall Portage was only a culmination, in this fiercely rushing Trout River, for above it a dozen rapids are to be passed with toilsome energy. After this the party is rewarded with beautiful islets, and the lake for a length of thirty-five miles lies in a fertile tract of country. It was formerly appropriately called Holy Lake, and as a summit lake suggests to the traveller abiding restfulness. To the traders on their74 route whether passing up or down the water courses, it was always so. After the long and tedious voyaging it was their Elysium. Not only are the sweet surroundings of the lake most charming, but the Indians of the neighborhood have always been noted for their good character, their docility and their industry.

Greatest Merchant of the Red River Settlement.
Came to Red River Settlement in 1812.
Died in Winnipeg in 1881.

A short delay at Oxford House led to the con75tinuation of the journey over what was now the roughest, most desolate, and most trying part of the voyage. On this rough passage, perhaps the most distressing spot was "Windy Lake," a small but tempestuous sheet. The voyageurs declare that they never cross "Lac de Vent" without encountering high winds and very often dangerous storms. Again "the Real Hill Difficulty" is encountered above the lake at the "Big Hill" portage and rapids—one of the sudden descents of this alarming stream. Those coming toward Oxford Lake run it at the very risk of their lives, but the painful portages impress themselves on all going up the "Height of Land," which is reached after passing through a narrow gorge between hills and mountains of rocks, the stream dashing headlong down from the mile-long Robinson Portage.

This region is an elevated, rugged waste, with no signs of animal life about it. It is the terror of the voyageurs. This eerie tract culminates in the ascending "Haute de Terre," as the French call it—the dividing ridge between the waters running eastward to Hudson Bay and those running westward and descending to meet the Nelson River, on its headlong way to Hudson Bay as well. The obstacle known as the "Painted Stone" being passed the Colonists' brigade was now on its way to the inland plain of the Continent.76

The portage led from this string of five small lakes to the head waters of a trifling, but very interesting stream called the "Echimamish River." A doubtful but curious explanation has been given of the name. On the stream are ten beaver dams; which ever of these filled first gave the voyageur the opportunity to launch in his canoe or boat and go down the little runway to Black Water Creek. It was said that in consequence it was called "Each-a-Man's" brook, according as each voyageur took the water with his craft first. The way was now clear, down stream until shortly was seen the dashing Nelson River, or as it is here called, "The Sea River." When this was accomplished the Immigrants had only to pull stoutly up stream for forty miles or more until Norway House, the great Hudson's Bay Fort at the north end of Lake Winnipeg was reached.

The weary journey—430 miles from York Factory—was thus over and the worn out, weather beaten, ragged, and foot-sore travellers had come to the lake, whose name, other than that of Red River, was the only inland word they had ever heard of before starting on their journey.

It was the first standing place in the country, which was now to have them as its pioneers.

There is no turning back now. The Rubicon is crossed. Thirty-seven portages lie between77 them and the dissociable sea. For better or for worse they will now complete their journey, going on to found the Settlement which has become so famous.

The appearance of Norway House with its fine site and evidences of trade cheered the Colonists, and the sight of a body of water like Lake Winnipeg, which can be as boisterous as the ocean, brought back the loud resounding sea by whose swishing waves most of the settlers, for all their lives, had been lulled to sleep. It is a great stormy and dangerous lake—Lake Winnipeg. But for boats to creep along its shore with the liberty of landing on its sloping banks in case of need it is safe enough. The season was well past, and haste was needed, but in due time the mouth of the river—the delta of Red River—was reached. Now they were within forty or forty-five miles of their destination. At this time the banks of the Red River were well wooded, though there was open grassy plains lying behind these belts of forest. There was only one obstruction on their way up the river. This was the "Deer," now St. Andrew's Rapids, but after their experiences this was nothing, for these rapids were easily overcome by tracking, that is, by dragging the boats by a line up the bank.

Up the river they came and rounded what78 we now call Point Douglas, in the City of Winnipeg, a name afterwards given to mark Lord Selkirk's family name. They had completed a journey of seven hundred and twenty-eight miles, from York Factory to the site of Winnipeg—and they had done this in fifty-five days. Now they landed.


At York Factory the Colonists had met a Hudson's Bay Company officer—Peter Fidler—on his way to England. He was the surveyor of the Company and a map of the Colony of which a copy is given by us marks the Colony Gardens, where Governor Miles Macdonell lived. This spot they chose, and the locality at the foot of Rupert Street is marked in the City of Winnipeg. A stone's throw further north along the bank of Red River, Fort Douglas was afterwards built, around which circles much of this Romantic Settlement Story.

This spot was the centre of the First Settlement of Rupert's Land and to this first party peculiar interest attaches.

There can only be one Columbus among all the navigators who crossed from Europe to America; there can only be one Watt among all the inventors and improvers of the steam engine; only one Newton among those who dis79cuss the great discovery of the basal law of gravitation.

There can be only one first party of those who laid the foundation of collective family life in what is now the Province of Manitoba—and what is wider—in the great Western Canada of to-day. There may have been not many wise men, not many mighty, not many noble among them, but the long and stormy voyage which they made, the dangers they endured on the sea, the marvellous land journey they accomplished, and their taking "seisin of the land," to use William the Conqueror's phrase, entitles them to recognition and to respectful memory.80



Pioneering to-day is not so serious a matter as it once was. To the frontiers' man now it involves little risk, and little thought, to dispose of his holding, and make a dash further West for two or three hundreds of miles across the plains. When he wishes more land for his growing sons, he "sells out," fits up his commodious covered wagon, called "the prairie schooner," and with implements, supplies, cattle and horses, starts on the Western "trail." His wife and children are in high spirits. When a running stream or spring is reached on the way he stops and camps. His journey taken when the weather is fine and when the mosquitoes are gone is a diversion. The writer has seen a family which went through this gypsy-like "moving" no less than four times. At length the settler finds his location, has it registered in the nearest Land Office and calls it his. With ready axes, the farmer and his sons cut down the logs which are to make their dwelling. The children explore the new farm lying81 covered with its velvet sod, as it has done for centuries; they gather its flowers, pluck its wild fruits, chase its wild ducks or grouse or gophers. Health and homely fare make life enjoyable. Subject to the incidents and interruptions of every day, which follow humanity, it seems to them a continual picnic.

But how different was the fate of the worn-out Selkirk Colonists. The memory of a wretched sea voyage, of a long and dreary winter at Nelson Encampment, and of a fifty-five days' journey of constant hardship along the fur traders' route were impressed upon their minds. The thought of fierce rivers and the dangers of portage and cascade still haunted them, and now everything on the banks of Red River was strange. On their arrival the flowers were blooming, but they were prairie flowers, and unknown to them. The small Colony houses which they were to occupy would be uncomfortable. The very sun in the sky seemed alien to them, for the Highland drizzle was seen no more. The days were bright, the weather warm, the nights cool, and there was an occasional August thunderstorm, or hailstorm which alarmed them. The traders, the Indians, the half-breed trappers, and runners were all new to them. Their Gaelic language, which they claimed as that of Eden, was of little value to them except where an occasional company-ser82vant chanced to be a countryman of their own. They were without money, they were dependent upon Lord Selkirk's agents for shelter and rations. The land which they hoped to possess was there awaiting them, but they had no means for purchasing implements, nor were the farming requisites to be found in the country. Horses there were, but there were only two or three individual cattle within five hundred miles of them.

If they had sung on their sorrowful leaving, "Lochaber no more," the words were now turned by their depressed Highland natures into a wail, and they sang in the words of their old Psalms of "Rouse's" version:

By Babel's streams we sat and wept,
When Zion we thought on.

They thought of their crofts and clachans, where if the land was stingy, the gift of the sea was at hand to supply abundant food.

But this was no time for sighs or regrets.

The Hudson's Bay traders from Brandon House were waiting for expected goods, and Messrs. Hillier and Heney, who were the Hudson's Bay Company officers for the East Winnipeg District, had arduous duties ahead of them. But though the orders to prepare for the Colonists had been sent on in good time,83 there was not a single bag of pemmican or any other article of provision awaiting the hapless settlers. The few French people who were freemen, lived in what is now the St. Boniface side of the river, were only living from hand to mouth, and the Company's people were little better provided. The river was the only resource, and from the scarceness of hooks the supply of fish obtainable was rather scanty.

As the Colonists and their leader were strangers they desired leisure to select a suitable location for their buildings. For the time being their camp was at the Forks, on the east side of the river, a little north of the mouth of the Assiniboine.

The Governor, Miles Macdonell, on the 4th of September, summoned three of the North-West Company gentlemen, the free Canadians beside whom they were encamped, and a number of the Indians to a spectacle similar to that enacted by St. Lawson, at Sault Ste. Marie, nearly a hundred and fifty years before. The Nor'-Westers had not permitted their employees to cross the river. Facing, as he did, Fort Gibraltar, across the river, the Governor directed the patent of Lord Selkirk to his vast concession to be read, "delivering and seizin were formally taken," and Mr. Heney translated some part of the Patent into French for84 the information of the French Canadians. There was an officers' guard under arms; colors were flying and after the reading of the Patent all the artillery belonging to Lord Selkirk, as well as that of the Hudson's Bay Company, under Mr. Hillier, consisting of six swivel guns, were discharged in a grand salute.

At the close of the ceremony the gentlemen were invited to the Governor's tent, and a keg of spirits was turned out for the people.

Having made such disposition as we shall see of the people, Governor Macdonell went with a boat's crew down the river to make a choice of a place of settlement for the Colonists. A bull and cow and winter wheat had been brought with the party, and these were taken to a spot selected after a three days' thorough investigation of both banks of the river for some miles below the Forks. The place found most eligible was "an extensive point of land through which fire had run and destroyed the wood, there being only burnt wood and weeds left." This was afterwards called Point Douglas.

He had, as we shall see, dispatched the settlers to their wintering place up the Red River on the 6th of September, and set some half-dozen men, who were to stay at the Forks, to work clearing the ground for sowing winter85 wheat. An officer was left with the men to trade with Indians for fish and meat for the support of the workers.

The winter, which is sharp, crisp and decided in all of Rupert's Land, was approaching, so that their situation began to be desperate.

Governor Macdonell's chief care was for the safety and comfort during the winter of his helpless Colonists.

Sixty miles up the Red River from the Forks was a settlement of native people—chiefly French half-breeds—and to this place called Pembina came in the buffaloes, or if not they were easily reached from this settlement. But the poor Scottish settlers had no means of transport, and the way seemed long and desolate to them to venture upon, unaccompanied and unhelped. Governor Macdonell did his best for them, and succeeded in inducing the Saulteaux Indians, who seemed friendly, to guide and protect them as they sought Pembina for winter quarters.

The Indians had a few ponies and mounted on these they undertook to conduct the settlers to their destination. The caravan was grotesquely comical as it departed southward. The Indians upon their "Shaganappi ponies," as they are called, like mounted guards protecting the men, women and children of the Colony who trudged wearily on foot. The Indians were kind86 to their charge, but the Redman loves a joke, and often indulges in "horse-play." The demure Highlander looked unmoved upon the Indian pranks. The Indians also hold everything they possess on a loose tenure. The Highlander who was forced to surrender the gun, which his father had carried at the battle of Culloden, failed to see the humour of the affair, and the Highland woman who was compelled to give up her gold marriage ring, because some prairie brave wanted it, was unable to see the ethics of the Saulteaux guide who robbed her. The women became very weary of their journey, but their mounted guardians only laughed, because they were in the habit on their long marches of treating their own squaws in the same manner.

To Pembina at length they came—worn out, dusty and despondent. Here they erected tents or built huts. The settlers reached Pembina on the 11th of September, and Macdonell and an escort of three men, all on horseback, arrived on the 12th. Arrived at Pembina Macdonell examined the ground carefully, and selected the point on the south side of the Pembina River at its juncture with the Red River as a site for a fort. His men immediately camped here. Great quantities of buffalo meat were brought in by the French Canadians and Indians. Some of this was sent down to the Forks to the party which had remained to built a hut at that point87 for stores. At Pembina a storehouse was built immediately, and having given directions to erect several other buildings, the Governor returned by boat to the Forks. On the 27th of October Owen Keveny, in charge of the second detachment of Colonists, arrived with his party, largely of Irishmen. These men were taken on to Pembina. After great activity the buildings were ready by the 21st of November to house the whole of the two parties now united in one band of Colonists. The Governor and officers' quarters were finished on December 27th. Macdonell reports to Lord Selkirk that "as soon as the place at Pembina took some form and a decent flagstaff was erected on it, it was called Fort Daer." It is said that in most years the buffaloes were very numerous and so tame that they came to the Trader's Fort and rubbed their backs upon its stockaded enclosure. There was this year plenty of buffalo meat and the Scotch women soon learned to cook it into "Rubaboo," or "Rowschow," after the manner of the French half-breeds. Toward spring food was scarcer.

Schoolmaster, Naturalist and Legislator.
York Factory, 1813; Red River, 1823; Died at Little Britain, 1878.

In May the winterers of Pembina returned to their settlement at the Colony. They sought to begin the cultivation of their farms, but they were helpless. The tough prairie sod had to be broken up and worked over, but the only implement which the Colonist had to use was a88 simple hoe, the one harrow being incomplete. The crofters were poor farmers, for they were rather fishermen. But the fish in Red River were scarce in this year, so that even the fisher's art which they knew was of little avail to them. The summer of 1813 was thus what the old settlers would call an "Off-Year," for even the small fruits on the plains89 were far from abundant. These being scarce, the chief food of the settlers for all that summer through was the "Prairie turnip." This is a variety of the pea family, known as the Astragalus esculenta, which with its large taproot grows quite abundantly on the dry plains. An old-time trader, who was lost for forty days and only able to get the Prairie turnip, practically subsisted in this way. Along with this the settlers gathered quantities of a very succulent weed known as "fat-hen," and so were kept alive. The Colonists knowing now what the soil could produce obtained small quantities of grain and even with their defective means of cultivation, in the next year demonstrated the fertility of the soil of the country.

It was somewhat distressing to the Colonists again in 1813 to make the journey of sixty miles to Pembina, trudging along the prairie trail, but there was no other resource. The treatment of the Colonists by the "Nor'-Westers" had not thus far been unfriendly and the Canadian traders had even imported a few cattle, pigs, and poultry for the use of the settlers, and for these favors Governor Macdonell expressed his hearty thanks to the Montreal Company. The fatigues and mishaps of the journey to Pembina were, however, only the beginning of trouble for the winter. The reception by the French half-breed residents of Pembina was90 not now so friendly as that of the previous winter. At first the Nor'-Wester feeling had been one of contempt for the Colonists and pity for them in their hunger and miseries. The building of Fort Daer was an evidence of occupation that caused the jealous Canadian pioneers to pause. The reception of the second season was thus decidedly cool. The struggling settlers found before the winter was over that troubles come in troops. Very heavy snows fell in the winter of 1813-14. This brought two difficulties. It prevented the buffaloes coming freely from the open plains into the rivers and sheltered spots. The buffalo being a heavy animal is helpless in the snow. The other difficulty was that the settlers could not go on the chase with freedom. Unfortunately the Colonists were not able to use the snowshoe as could the lively Metis. The settlers well nigh perished in seeking the camp whither the native hunters had gone to follow the buffalo. Indeed the Colonists had the conviction that a plot to murder two of their most active leaders was laid by the French half-breeds whose sympathies were all with the "Nor'-Westers."

The climax of feeling was reached when Governor Macdonell, who was with the Colonists at Pembina, issued a most unwise proclamation, which to the Nor'-Westers seemed an illegality if not an impertinence. Dependent as the set91tlers were on the older Company for supplies and assistance this was nothing less than an act of madness.

By proclamation, on the 8th of January, 1814, Macdonell forbade any traders of "The Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, the North-West Company, or any individual or unconnected trader whatever to take out any provisions, either of flesh, grain or vegetables, from the country.

The embargo was complete.

In Governor Macdonell's defence it should be said that he offered to pay by British bills for all the provisions taken, at customary rates.

This assertion of sovereignty set on fire the Nor'-Westers and their sympathizers.

Not only was this extreme step taken, but John Spencer, a subordinate of Macdonell was sent west to Brandon House, found an entrance into the North-West Fort at the mouth of the Souris River and seizing some twenty-five tons of dry buffalo meat took it into his own fort.

It is quite true that Governor Macdonell expected new bands of Colonists and thus justified himself in his seizure. It is to the credit of the Nor'-Westers that they restrained themselves and avoided a general conflict, but evidently they only bided their time.

No breach of the peace occurred however,92 before the return of the Colonists from Pembina to the Colony Houses. The settlers occupied their homes in the best of spirits, and began to sow their wheat, but they were still greatly checked by the absence of the commonest implements of farm culture. Had Lord Selkirk known the true state of things on Red River, he would never have continued to send new bands of Colonists so imperfectly fitted for dealing with the cultivation of the soil.

The founder's mind had been fired, both by the opposition of Sir Alexander Mackenzie and by the successful arrival of his two bands of Colonists at the Red River, to make greater efforts than ever.

This he did by sending out a third party in all nearly a hundred strong, under the leadership of a very capable man—Archibald Macdonald. This band of settlers in 1813 were bound on the ship Prince of Wales for York Factory. A very serious attack of ship fever filled the whole ship's crew with alarm. Several well-known Colonists died. The Captain, alarmed, refused to go on to his destination, but ran the ship into Fort Churchill and there disembarked them. Further deaths took place at this point. In the spring there was no resource but to trudge over the rocky ledges and forbidding desolation of more than a hundred miles between the Fort Churchill and 93 York Factory. Only the stronger men and women were selected for the journey. On the 6th of April, 1814, a party of twenty-one males and twenty females started on this now celebrated tramp. At first the party began to march in single file, but finding this inconvenient changed to six abreast. Unaccustomed to snowshoes and sleds the Colonists found the snowy walk very distressing. Three fell by the way and were carried on by the stronger men. The weather was very cold. A supply of partridges was given them on starting, and the party was met by hunters sent from York Factory to meet them, who brought two hundred partridges, killed by the way. York Factory was reached on the 13th of April. This band of Colonists were superior to any who had come in the former parties. Many of them, as we shall see, did not remain in the Colony. A list of this party may be found in the Appendix. After remaining a month at York Factory, on the 27th of May, this heroic band went on their way to Red River, and reached their destination in time to plant potatoes for themselves and others. Comrades left behind at Churchill found their way to Red River. Lots along Red River were now being taken up by the settlers, and here they sought to found homes under a northern sky. Old and new settlers were now hopeful, but their hopes of peace94 and happiness were soon to be dashed to pieces.

The arrival of the third year's Colonists provoked still greater opposition. Feeling had been gradually rising against the new settlers at every new arrival. The excellence of the later immigrants but led their opponents to be irritated. 95



The year 1815 was a year of world-wide disaster. Napoleon's Europe-shadowing wings had for years been over that continent and he like a ravenous bird had left marks of his ravages among the most prominent European nations. The world had a breathing spell for a short time with Napoleon a virtual prisoner in Elba, but now in March of this year he broke from the perch where he had been tethered and all Europe was again in terror. The nations were thunderstruck; the alarm was deepened by the appearance of Olber's great comet, and in their superstition the ignorant were panic-stricken, while the more religious and informed saw in these terrible events the scenes pictured in the Apocalypse and maintained that the battle of Armageddon was at hand. The epoch-marking battle of Waterloo in June of this year was sufficiently near the picture of blood painted in the Revelation to satisfy the credulous.

But in a remote corner of Rupert's Land,96 where the number of the combatants was small and the conditions exceedingly primitive the comet was alarming enough. The action of Governor Miles Macdonell in the beginning of 1814, in forbidding the export of food from Rupert's Land and in interfering with the liberty of the traders, Indians and half-breeds, who had regarded themselves as outside of law, and as free as the wind of their wild prairies, produced an open and out-spoken dissent from every class.

The Nor'-Westers took time to consider the grave step of interrupting trade which Governor Miles Macdonell had taken. Immediate action was impossible. It was four hundred miles and more from the Colony to the great emporium of the fur trade on Lake Superior. The annual gathering of the Nor'-Westers was held at Grand Portage, the terminus of a road nine miles long, built to avoid the rapids of the Pigeon River which flows into Lake Superior some thirty or forty miles southwest of where Fort William now stands. This concourse was a notable affair. From distant Athabasca, from the Saskatchewan, from the Red River and from Lake Winnipeg, the traders gathered in their gaily decked canoes, to meet the gentlemen from Montreal, who came to count the gains of the year, and lay out plans for the future. Indians gathered outside 97 of Grand Portage Fort. The Highland Chieftains were now transformed into factors and traders, and for days they met in counsel together. Their evenings were spent in the great dining room of the Fort in revelry. Songs of the voyage were sung and as the excitement grew more intense the partners would take seats on the floor of the room and each armed with a sword or poker or pair of tongs unite in the paddle song of "A la Claire Fontaine," and make merry till far on in the morning. The days were laboriously given to business and accounts. When the great MacTavish—the head of the Nor'-Westers—was there he was often opposed by the younger men, yet he ended the strife with his tyrannical will and silenced all opposition.

The Nor'-Westers at their meeting, July, 1814, under Honorable William McGillivray, after whom Fort William was named, decided to oppose the Colony and sent two of their most aggressive men to meet force with force, and to give Miles Macdonell, the new Dictator, either by arms or by craft, the reward for his tyranny, as they regarded it.

The whole body of the traders were incensed against Lord Selkirk, for had not one of the chief Nor'-Wester partners written two years before from London saying, "Lord Selkirk must be driven to abandon his project,98 for his success would strike at the very existence of our trade."

The two men chosen at the gathering in Grand Portage were well fitted for their work. Most forward was Alexander Macdonell. On his journey writing to a friend he said: "Much is expected of us.... So here is at them with all my heart and energy." But the master-mind was his companion Duncan Cameron who, as a leader, stands out in the conflicts of the times as a determined man, of great executive ability, but of fierce and over-bearing disposition. The Nor'-Westers, having planned bloodshed, all agreed that Duncan Cameron was well chosen. He had been a leading explorer and trader in the Lake Superior district and knew the fur traders' route as few others did. His well-nigh thirty years of service made him a man of outstanding influence in the Company. Moreover, he could be bland and jovial. He had the Celtic adroitness. He knew how to ingratiate himself with every class and possessed all the devices of an envoy. His appearance and dress at Red River were notable. Having had some rank as a U.E. Loyalist leader in the war of 1812, he came to the Forks dressed in a scarlet military coat with all the accoutrements of a Captain in the Army. He even made display of his Captain's Commission by posting it at the gate of Fort Gib99raltar. Of the Fort itself he took possession as Bourgeois or master and laid his plans in August, 1814, for the destruction of the Selkirk Colony. Cameron then began a systematic course of ingratiating himself with the Colonists. Speaking, as he did the Gaelic language, he appealed with much success to his countrymen. He represented himself as their friend and stirred up the people of Red River against Selkirk tyranny. He pictured to them their wrongs, the broken promises of the founder, and the undesirability of remaining in the Colony. He brought the settlers freely to his table, treating them openly to the beverage of their native country, and completely captured the hearts of a number of them. Those, friends of his, he made use of to carry out his deep plans. On the very day of the issue of the rations, he induced some of the Colonists to demand the nine small cannon in the Colony store houses. The request was refused by Archibald Macdonald, the acting Governor. The settlers then went forward, broke open the store houses and removed the cannon. Macdonald now arrested the leading settler, who had taken the field pieces, whereupon Cameron, like a small Napoleon, incited his clerks and men, to invade the Governor's house and release the prisoner. This was done, and now it may be said that war between the rival Com100panies was declared. On the return of Miles Macdonald, Cameron ordered his arrest. Macdonell refused to acknowledge the lawfulness of this action. The oily Nor'-Wester Highlander then threatened the people that if the Governor would not submit to the law, the whole body of settlers would be dispossessed of their farms and driven away from the banks of Red River. As if to make this threat seem more real, several loyal settlers were fired at by unseen marksmen.

Once having begun, Cameron was not the man to hesitate. Another Nor'-Wester plan was put into effect.

Cameron's comrade, Alexander Macdonell, now arrived from the Western plains leading it was said, a band of Cree Indians. The Crees are stubborn and determined warriors, but they are also crafty. The proposal by Alexander Macdonell ("Yellow Head as he was called" to distinguish him), was gravely considered by the Indians. The Indians respect authority and in this case they were not very sure who had the authority. The Indians declined the offer, and the report proved untrue.

The Nor'-Westers were, however, strong in their influence over the Chippewas of Red Lake in Minnesota. Similar propositions were made to the Sand Lake band of this tribe. Though offered a large reward to go on this expedition101 against the Selkirk settlers, the chief refused the bribe, and the tribe declined to undertake the enterprise.

Cameron however, knew the importance of keeping up the war-like spirit of his following, and early in June himself took part in an attack upon the Colony houses. The affray took place on the edge of the wood near the Governor's residence. Surgeon White and Burke the store-keeper, narrowly escaped being killed by the shots fired and four of the servants were actually wounded. Cameron like a real operator effusively thanked his followers for their grand attack. This state of constant hostility, ostensibly on account of the refusal of Governor Macdonell to respect the legal summons served upon him, was ended by the surrender of Miles Macdonell, who was taken as a prisoner to Montreal, though he was never brought up for trial.

Thus far Cameron had succeeded in his plans. He was an artful plotter. His capture of Miles Macdonell gave him great prestige. Besides, he had roused feelings of serious discontent in the minds of nearly all of the Selkirk Colonists. His apparent sincerity and kindness to them had also won their hearts. He was now to make the greatest move in the game. This was nothing less than a tempting offer to transfer the whole of them to the fertile townships102 of Upper Canada. He provided all the means of transport, he promised them free lands in the neighborhood of market towns—two hundred acres to each family. Any wages due to them by Lord Selkirk he would pay and should three-quarters of the Colony accept his offer they would have provisions provided for a year free of cost. When the poor Colonists thought of the bleak, uncultivated country in which they were, of the inevitable hardships which lay before them, and saw the dangerous, unsettled state of the Selkirk settlement, they could not well resist the offer. Furthermore, the schemer did not stop here. As was afterward found out, George Campbell, the arch-agitator and leader among the disaffected settlers received a promise of £100, and others of £20 and the like. Further to allay their fears it was urged that they were going where the British flag was flying and where the truest loyalty prevailed. It was pointed out that it had been to prevent any obstacles being raised against their going, that the nine guns had been seized and were in the custody of the Nor'-Westers. Accordingly full arrangements were made. A supply of canoes was obtained and on the 15th of June, 1815, no less than one hundred and forty of the two hundred Colonists on Red River embarked and drifted down the river on their long canoe voyage103 of more than a thousand miles. By the end of July they had gone over the dangerous Fur traders' route and passing over four or five hundred miles reached Fort William, near Lake Superior. But their journey was not one-half over. Along the base of the rugged shores of Lake Superior, through the St. Mary's River, down the foaming Sault and then along the shores of Georgian Bay, they paddled their way to Penetanguishene. From this point they crossed southward to Holland Landing, which is forty miles north of Toronto, and arrived at their destination on the 5th of September.

It is hard to find a parallel for such a journey. They were a large body, made up of men, women, and children, continuously journeying for eighty-two days, through an unsettled and barren country, running dangerous rapids, and exposed to storms with a poorly organized commissariat, and under fear of pursuit by the agents of Lord Selkirk, to whom many of them were personally bound. In the township of West Gwillinbury, north of Toronto, near London, and in the Talbot settlement, near St. Thomas—all in Upper Canada—they received their lands. Half a century later, in one of the townships north of Toronto, the writer had pointed out to him a man named MacBeth weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, of whom it was humourously told that he had104 been carried all the way from Red River. The explanation of course was, that he had been brought as an infant on this famous Hegira of the Selkirk Colonists.

The finishing of Cameron's work on the Red River, was handed over to Alexander Macdonell. The plan was nothing less than that the settlers remaining should be driven by force from the banks of Red River. The party led by Macdonell was made up of Bois-Brulés, under dashing young Cuthbert Grant. On their agile ponies they appeared like scourging Huns, to drive out the discouraged remnant of Colonists.

Each remaining settler was on the 25th of June served with a notice signed by four Nor'-Westers, thus:

"All settlers to retire immediately from Red River, and no trace of a settlement to remain." (Signed) Cuthbert Grant, etc.

Two days after the notice was served the beleaguered settlers, made up of some thirteen families—in all from forty to sixty persons, who had remained true to Lord Selkirk and the Colony—went forth from their homes as sadly as the Acadian refugees from Grand Pré. They were allowed to take with them such belongings as they had, and in boats and other craft went pensively down Red River with Lake Winnipeg and Jack River105 in view as their destination. The house of the Governor, the mill, and the buildings which the settlers had begun to build upon their lots were all set on fire and destroyed.

The U.E. Loyalists of Upper Canada and Nova Scotia draw upon our sympathies in their sufferings of hunger and hardship, but they afford no parallel to the discouragement, dangers, and dismay of the Selkirk Colonists.

Alexander Macdonell's party of seventy or eighty mounted men easily carried out this work of destruction. There was one fly in the ointment for them. The small Hudson's Bay House built by Fidler still remained. Here a daring Celt, John McLeod, was in charge. Seeing the temper of Macdonell's levy McLeod determined to fortify his rude castle. Beside the trading house of the Hudson's Bay Company stood the blacksmith's shop. Hurriedly McLeod, with a cart, carried thither the three-pounder cannon in his possession, then cut up lengths of chain to be his shot and shell, used with care his small supply of powder and with three or four men, his only garrison, stood to his gun and awaited the attack of the Bois-Brulés. Being on horseback his assailants could not long face his one piece of artillery. It is not known to what extent the assailants suffered in the skirmish, but John Warren, a gentleman of the Hudson's Bay Company, was106 killed in the encounter. The siege of McLeod's improvised fort continued for several days, but the defence was successful, and McLeod saved for the Company £1,000 worth of goods.107



The crisis has come. The Colony seems to be blotted out. The affair may appear small, being nothing more than the defence of the smithy, with one gun and the most primitive contrivances, yet as Mercutio says of his wound: "'Tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but it is enough."

The plucky McLeod, with three men held his fort and though the dusky Bois-brulés on their prairie ponies for a time hovered about yet they did not dare to approach the spiteful little field piece. The Metis soon betook themselves westward to their own district of Qu'Appelle.

The danger being over for the present, John McLeod began to restore the Colony buildings and even to aim at greater things than had been before.

One of the most discouraging things in connection with the Selkirk Colony was the long sea voyage and the difficult land-journey necessary, not only to gain assistance, but even to receive information from the founder in108 Britain for the guidance of the officers in Red River settlement. This being the case McLeod could not wait for orders and so as being temporarily in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company district at Red River, he planned a fort and proceeded at once to build a portion of it. Fortunately across the Red River in what is now the town of St. Boniface, he found the freemen who were willing to help him. He immediately hired a number of these and began work on the new fort.

Somewhat lower down the Red River than the Colony gardens he selected a site on the river banks, now partially fallen in, where George Street at the present days ends. Here McLeod began to erect a Governor's House, having confidence that the founder would not desert his Colony. Along with this important project, expecting that the Colonists would return, he turned his men upon the fields of grain—small, but to them very precious. The yield in this year was good. He also erected new fences and cured for the settlers quantities of hay from the swamp lands.

McLeod states in his diary—of which a copy of the original is in the Provincial Library in Winnipeg—that Fort Douglas was on the south side of Point Douglas, so called from Lord Selkirk's family name, and which McLeod has some claim to have so christened.109

Meanwhile the Colonists had taken their lonely way by boat or canoe, to the foot of Lake Winnipeg—not expecting a speedy delivery. They reached their rendezvous in July. Lord Selkirk knew in a general way that his Colony was in danger and so had given orders to his faithful officer—Colin Robertson, who had done yeoman service in collecting his first party in Scotland, but who was now in Canada—to engage a number of men and with them proceed to Red River settlement to help his Colonists. That the real state of things was not known to Robertson, or the founder, appears in the fact that Robertson coming from the East with twenty Canadians, passed up the Red River to the Forks to get the first news of the dispersing of the Colonists. With his usual dash their rescuer immediately followed the settlers to Jack River, found them very much discouraged but persuaded them to return again to the banks of the Red River. The work of rebuilding other houses which McLeod had not been able to overtake now went on, and there was the greatest anxiety to hear of Lord Selkirk's plans.

The Earl of Selkirk had not become in the slightest degree discouraged. Opposition and failure seemed but to inspire him the more. On the return of Miles Macdonell as a prisoner to Montreal in the hands of the Nor'-110 Wester emmissaries, the founder immediately sought for a competent successor to Macdonell, and determined to send out the best and strongest party of settlers that had yet been gathered.

He appointed, backed by all the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company, a retired officer, Captain Robert Semple. The new Governor was of American origin, born in Philadelphia, but had been in the British army. He was a distinctly high-class man, though Masson's estimate is probably true—"A man not very conciliatory, it is true, but intelligent, honorable and a man of integrity." He was an author of some note, but as it proved, too good or too inexperienced a man for the lawless region to which he was sent.

It would have been almost useless to despatch a new Governor to the Red River settlement unless there had also been obtained a number of settlers to fill the place of those so skillfully led away by Duncan Cameron. Lord Selkirk now secured the best band of Emigrants attainable. These were from a rural parish on the East Coast of Sutherlandshire in Scotland. They were from Helmsdale and from the parish of Kildonan and the noble founder afterwards conferred this name on their new parish on the banks of the Red River. The names of Matheson, Bannerman,111 Sutherland, Polson, Gunn and the like show the sturdy character of this band whose descendents are taking their full part in the affairs of the Province of Manitoba of to-day. Governor Semple accompanied this party of about one hundred settlers, and by way of the Hudson Bay route reached the Red River Settlement in the same year in which they started. They joined the restored settlers, whom Colin Robertson had placed upon their lands again. With Governor Semple's contingent came James Sutherland, an elder of the Church of Scotland, who was authorized to baptize and marry. He was the first ordained man who reached the Selkirk Colony. The influx of new and old settlers to the Colony, and the imperfect preparations made for their shelter and sustenance led to the whole Company betaking itself for the winter to Pembina, where at Fort Daer they might be within reach of the buffalo herds. Governor Semple accompanied the settlers to Pembina, though Alexander Macdonell had charge for the winter. In October of 1815, as the settlers were preparing for their winter quarters, the authorities of the Colony thought it right to seize Fort Gibraltar, and to retake the field pieces and other property of the Colony, which the "Nor'-Westers" had captured. This was done and Duncan Cameron who had returned was also taken prisoner. 112 113 Cameron, on his promising to keep the peace was almost immediately restored to his liberty and to the command of his fort. The feeling, however, all over the country where there were rival Forts was not a happy one and gave anxiety to both parties as to the future. After New Year, 1816, Governor Semple returned from Pembina and counselled with Colin Robertson, as to the disturbed state of things. They came to the conclusion that the only safe course was to again capture Fort Gibraltar. This they did about April, 1816, and again held Cameron as a prisoner. Duncan Cameron was however a dangerous prisoner. His ingenuity, courage, and force of character were so great that at any time he might be the centre of a movement among the Metis. It was in consequence decided that Duncan Cameron should be taken as a captive to England by way of York Factory and be tried across seas. Colin Robertson was instructed to conduct him to York Factory. No doubt this was a reprisal for the arrest and banishment meted out to Miles Macdonell. Cameron was delayed at York Factory on his way to England for more than a year and after a short stay in Britain returned to Canada. He afterwards obtained damages of £3,000 for his illegal detention.

Fort Douglas
From copy of a Pencil sketch made by Lord Selkirk and obtained by the author

But there was future trouble brewing all through the West.114

The new Governor, however, unaware of the real state of matters in Rupert's Land and probably ignorant of the claim of Canada to the West, and of the force of a customary occupation of the land, procured with high-handed zeal a further reprisal. Before Colin Robertson had gone to conduct Cameron to York Factory the Governor and Robertson had discussed the advisability of dismantling Fort Gibraltar. To this course Robertson, knowing the irritation which this would cause to the Nor'-Westers strongly objected. For the time the proposal was dropped, but when Robertson had gone, then the Governor proceeded with a force of thirty men to pull down Gibraltar, which was done in a week. The stockade was taken down, carried to the Red River and made into a raft. Upon this was piled the material of the buildings, and the whole was floated to the site of Fort Douglas and used in erecting a new structure and fully completing the Fort which John McLeod had begun. The same aggressive course was pursued under orders from the Governor in regard to Pembina House which was captured, its occupants sent as prisoners to Fort Douglas, and its stores confiscated for the use of the Colony. The spirit shown by Governor Semple, it is suggested, had something of the same treatment as that given to the Colonists by the official classes in England against115 which Edmund Burke burst out with such vehemence in his great orations.

Governor Semple's course would not satisfy Colin Robertson nor would it have been approved by Lord Selkirk. The course was his own and fully did he afterwards pay the price for his aggressions.

The last acts of Governor Semple as the report of them was carried westward and repeated over the camp fires of the Nor'-Westers and their Bois-brulés horsemen and voyageurs caused the most violent excitement. The Metis claimed a right in the soil from their Indian mothers. The Indian title had never been extinguished and afterwards Lord Selkirk found it necessary to make a treaty and satisfy the Indian claim. The Nor'-Westers were also by a good number of years the first occupants of the Red River district. The Canadian discovery of the West by French traders, the daring occupation by Findlay, the Frobishers, Thompson, and Sir Alexander Mackenzie all from Montreal even to the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, seemed strong to Canadians as against the undefined and shadowy claim to the soil of Lord Selkirk and his officers.

Certain signs of coming trouble might have pressed themselves upon Governor Semple. He had eyes but he saw not.

The Indians, it is true, with their reverence116 for King George III., and showing their silver medals with the old King's face upon them, were disposed to take sides with the British Company. This may have confirmed Semple in the tyrannical course he had followed, but had he studied the action of the free traders it might have opened his eyes. Just as certain animals of the prairie exposed to enemies have an instinctive feeling of coming danger, so these denizens of the plains felt the approach of trouble, and with their wives and half-breed children betook themselves—bag and baggage—to the far Western plains where the buffalo runs, and remained there to let the storm blow past, to return to the "Forks" in more peaceful times.

Lord Selkirk, Lady Selkirk, with his Lordship's son and two daughters, were on the other hand drawing nearer to the scene of conflict, as they came to Montreal in the summer of 1815. In the spring Lord Selkirk started westward to see the vast estate which he possessed, but alas! only to see it in the throes of division, of excited passion and of bloody conflict, and to face one of the greatest catastrophes of new world Colonization.117



Semple's course is on trial. Self-assertion and dictation bring their own penalty with them. That so experienced a leader as Colin Robertson, who had been in both Companies, who knew the native element, and was acquainted with the daring and recklessness of the Nor'-Wester leaders, hesitated about demolishing Fort Gibraltar should have given Governor Semple pause. Ignorance and inexperience sometimes give men rare courage. But while Semple was self-confident he could not be exonerated from paying the price of his rashness.

Undoubtedly the Governor knew that the "Nor'-Westers" after their aggressiveness during the year 1815 were planning an attack upon Fort Douglas and upon the Colonists. Letters intercepted by the Governor acquainted him with the fact that an expedition was coming from Fort William in the East to fall upon the devoted Colony; also a letter from Qu'Appelle written by Cuthbert Grant, the young Bois-118brulés leader, to John Dugald Cameron, stated that the native horsemen were coming in the spring from the Saskatchewan forts to join those of Qu'Appelle, and says the writer, "It is hoped we shall come off with flying colors, and never to see any of them again in the Colonizing way in Red River."

The evidence in hand was clear enough to the Governor. He expected the attack, and as a soldier he took action from the military standpoint in destroying the enemy's base in levelling their Fort Gibraltar. But on the other hand there was no open war. The forms of law were being followed by the Nor'-Westers, whose officers were magistrates, and who held that by the authorization of the British Parliament the administration of justice in the Western Territories was given over to Canada. The decision afterwards given in the De Reinhard case in Quebec seems against this theory, but this was the popular opinion.

Thus it came about that among the Hudson's Bay Company fur traders, who were somewhat doubtful about Lord Selkirk's movement, and certainly among all the "Nor'-Westers," who included the French Canadian voyageur population, Governor Semple's action was looked upon as illegal and unjust in destroying Fort Gibraltar and appropriating its materials for building up the Colony Headquarters—Fort Douglas.119

As the spring opened the wildest rumours of approaching conflict spread through the whole fifteen hundred miles of country from Fort William on Lake Superior, to the Prairie Fort, where Edmonton now stands on the North Saskatchewan. The excitement was especially high in the Qu'Appelle district, some three hundred miles west of Red River.

As the spring of 1815 opened, all eyes were looking to the action of the "New Nation" on the Qu'Appelle River as the Bois-brulés under Cuthbert Grant called themselves. As the whole of these events were afterwards investigated by the law courts of Upper Canada, there is substantial agreement about the facts. The first violence of the season is described by Lieutenant Pambrun, a most accurate writer. He had served in the war of 1812 and gained distinction. On entering the Hudson's Bay Company service he was sent to Qu'Appelle district. In order to supply food at Fort Douglas Pambrun started down the river to reach the Fort by descending the Assiniboine with five boat loads of pemmican and furs. At a landing place in the river Pambrun's convoy was surrounded and his goods seized by Cuthbert Grant, Pambrun himself being kept for five days as a prisoner. While in custody Pambrun saw every evidence of war-like intentions on the part of the half-breeds. Cuthbert Grant fre120quently announced their determination to destroy the Selkirk Settlement; in boastful language it was declared that the Bois-brulés would bow to no authority in Rupert's Land; in their gatherings they sang French war-songs to keep up the spirit of their corps. There was a ring of growing nationality in all their utterances.

A start was made late in May for the scene of action. Their prisoner Lieutenant Pambrun was taken with them and the captured pemmican was carried along as supplies for the journey.

On the way an episode of some moment occurred. On the river bank a band of Cree Indians was encamped.

Commander Macdonell addressed the redmen through an interpreter to incite them to action. A portion of his address was:

My Friends and Relations,—"I address you bashfully, for I have not a pipe of tobacco to give you.... The English have been spoiling the fair lands which belonged to you and the Bois-brulés and to which they have no right. They have been driving away the buffalo. You will soon be poor and miserable if the English stay. But we will drive them away, if the Indian does not, for the 'Nor'-West' Company and the Bois-brulés are one. If you (turning121 to the chief) and some of your young men will join I shall be glad."

But the taciturn Indian Chief coldly declined the polite proposal. As the party passed Brandon House Pambrun saw in the North-West Fort near by, tobacco, tools and furs, which had been captured by the Nor'-Westers from the Hudson's Bay Company fort. When Portage la Prairie was reached—about sixty miles from "The Forks"—the Bois-brulés cavalcade was organized.

The half-breeds were mounted on their prairie steeds and formed a company of sixty men under command of Cuthbert Grant. Dressed in their blue capotes and encircled by red sashes the men of this irregular cavalry had an imposing effect, especially as they were provided with every variety of arms from muskets and pistols down to bows and arrows. They were all expert riders and could equal in their feats on horseback the fabled Centaurs.

Down the Portage road which is a prolongation of the great business street of Winnipeg running to the West, they came. On the 19th of June, 1816, they had arrived within four miles of the Colony headquarters—Fort Douglas. Here at Boggy Creek, called also Cat-Fish Creek, a Council of War was held. Some importance has been attached to their action at this point, as showing their motive. That they 122 did not intend to attack Fort Douglas has been maintained, else they would not have turned off the Portage Road and have crossed the prairie to the Northeast. There is nothing in this contention. The plan of campaign was that the Fort William expedition and they were to meet at some point on the banks of Red River, before they took further action. Showing how well both parties had timed their movements, at this very moment those coming from the East under Trader Alexander McLeod, had reached a small tributary of Red River some forty miles from Fort Douglas. That they at present wished to avoid Fort Douglas is certainly true. Governor Semple and his garrison were on the look-out, and the alarm being given, the party from the Fort sallied forth. Was it to parley? or to fight?

The events which followed are well told in the evidence given by Mr. John Pritchard, who afterwards acted as Lord Selkirk's secretary. Mr. Pritchard was the grandfather of the present Archbishop Matheson of Rupert's Land. His evidence has been in almost every respect corroborated by other eye-witnesses of this bloody event:

"On the evening of the 19th of June, 1816, I had been upstairs in my own room, in Fort Douglas, and about six o'clock I heard the boy at the watch house give the alarm that the123 Bois-brulés were coming. A few of us, among whom was Governor Semple—there were perhaps six altogether—looked through a spyglass, from a place that had been used as a stable, and we distinctly saw armed persons going along the plains. Shortly after, I heard the same boy call out, that the party on horseback were making to the settlers."

"About twenty of us, in obedience to the Governor," who said, 'We must go and see what these people are,' took our arms. He could only let about twenty go, at least he told about twenty to follow him, to come with him; there was, however, some confusion at the time, and I believe a few more than twenty accompanied us. Having proceeded about half a mile towards the settlement, we saw, behind a point of wood which goes down to the river, that the party increased very much. Mr. Semple, therefore, sent one of the people (Mr. Burke) to the Fort for a piece of cannon and as many men as Mr. Miles Macdonell could spare. Mr. Burke, however, not returning soon, Governor Semple said, 'Gentlemen, we had better go on, and we accordingly proceeded. We had not gone far before we saw the Bois-brulés returning towards us, and they divided into two parties, and surrounded us in the shape of a half-moon or half-circle. On our way, we met a number of the settlers crying, and speaking in the Gaelic language, which I do not understand, and they went on to the Fort. went on to the Fort.

RED RIVER SETTLEMENT Fac-simile of section of Map (1818).
A—Seven Oaks, where Semple fell.
B—Creek where Metis left Assiniboine.
C—Frog Plain (since Kildonan church).
E to F—De Meuron Settlers on Seine.
G—Half-breeds (St. Boniface of to-day).
H—Fort Douglas (1815).
I—Colony Gardens.
J—Fort Gibraltar (N.W. Co.)
K—Road followed by Metis.
L—Dry Cart trail west of Settlers' lots.


"The party on horseback had got pretty near to us, so that we could discover that they were painted and disguised in the most hideous manner; upon this, as they were retreating, a Frenchman named Boucher advanced, waving his hand, riding up to us, and calling out in broken English, 'What do you want? What do you want?' Governor Semple said. 'What do you want?' Mr. Burke not coming on with the cannon as soon as he was expected, the Governor directed the party to proceed onwards; we had not gone far before we saw the Bois-brulés returning upon us.

"Upon observing that they were so numerous, we had extended our line, and got more into the open plain; as they advanced, we retreated; but they divided themselves into two parties, and surrounded us again in the shape of a half-moon."

"Boucher then came out of the ranks of his party, and advanced towards us (he was on horseback), calling out in broken English, 'What do you want? What do you want?' Governor Semple answered, 'What do you want?' To which Boucher answered, 'We want our Fort.' The Governor said, 'Well, go to your Fort.' After that I did not hear anything that passed, as they were close together. I saw the126 Governor putting his hand on Boucher's gun. Expecting an attack to be made instantly, I had not been looking at Governor Semple and Boucher for some time; but just then I happened to turn my head that way, and immediately I heard a shot, and directly afterwards a general firing. I turned round upon hearing the shot, and saw Mr. Holte, one of our officers, struggling as if he were shot. He was on the ground. On their approach, as I have said, we had extended our line on the plain, by each taking a place at a greater distance from the other. This had been done by the Governor's orders, and we each took such places as best suited our individual safety.

"From not seeing the firing begin, I cannot say from whom it first came; but immediately upon hearing the first shot, I turned and saw Lieut. Holte struggling." (Several persons present at the affair, such as a blacksmith named Heden, and McKay, a settler, distinctly state that the first shot fired was from the Bois-brulés and that by it Lieut. Holte fell).

"As to our attacking our assailants, one of our people, Bruin, I believe, did propose that we should keep them off; and the Governor turned round and asked who could be such a rascal as to make such a proposition? and that he should hear no word of that kind again. The Governor was very much displeased indeed at 127 the suggestion made. A fire was kept up for several minutes after the first shot, and I saw a number wounded; indeed, in a few minutes almost all our people were either killed or wounded. I saw Sinclair and Bruin fall, either wounded or killed; and a Mr. McLean, a little in front defending himself, but by a second shot I saw him fall.

"At this time I saw Captain Rodgers getting up again, but not observing any of our people standing, I called out to him, 'Rodgers, for God's sake give yourself up! Give yourself up!' Captain Rodgers ran toward them, calling out in English and in broken French, that he surrendered, and that he gave himself up, and praying them to save his life. Thomas McKay, a Bois-brulés, shot him through the head, and another Bois-brulés dashed upon him with a knife, using the most horrid imprecations to him. I did not see the Governor fall. I saw his corpse the next day at the Fort. When I saw Captain Rodgers fall, I expected to share his fate. As there was a French-Canadian among those who surrounded me, who had just made an end of my friend, I said, 'Lavigne, you are a Frenchman, you are a man, you are a Christian. For God's sake save my life! For God's sake try and save it! I give myself up; I am your prisoner.' McKay, who was among this party, and who knew me, said, 'You little toad, what do you do here?'128 He spoke in French, and called me 'un petit crapaud,' and asked what I did here! I fully expected then to lose my life. I again appealed to Lavigne, and he joined in entreating them to spare me. I told them over and over again that I was their prisoner, and I had something to tell them. They, however, seemed determined to take my life. They struck at me with their guns, and Lavigne caught some of the blows, and joined me in entreating for my safety. He told them of my kindness on different occasions. I remonstrated that I had thrown down my arms and was at their mercy. One Primeau wished to shoot me; he said I had formerly killed his brother. I begged him to recollect my former kindness to him at Qu'Appelle. At length they spared me, telling me I was a little dog, and had not long to live, and that he (Primeau) would find me when he came back.

"Then I went to Frog Plain (Kildonan), in charge of Boucher. In going to the plain I was again threatened by one of the party, and saved by Boucher, who conducted me safely to Frog Plain. I there saw Cuthbert Grant, who told me that they did not expect to have met us on the plain, but that their intention was to have surprised the Colony, and that they would have hunted the Colonists like buffaloes. He also told me they expected to have got round unperceived, and at night would have sur129rounded the Fort and have shot everyone who left it; but being seen, their scheme had been destroyed or frustrated. They were all painted and disfigured so that I did not know many. I should not have known that Cuthbert Grant was there, though I knew him well, had he not spoken to me."

"Grant told me that Governor Semple was not mortally wounded by the shot he received, but that his thigh was broken. He said that he spoke to the Governor after he was wounded, and had been asked by him to have him taken to the Fort, and as he was not mortally wounded he thought he might perhaps live. Grant said he could not take him himself as he had something else to do, but that he would send some person to convey him on whom he might depend, and that he left him in charge of a French-Canadian and went away; but that almost directly after he had left him, an Indian, who, he said, was the only rascal they had, came up and shot him in the breast, and killed him on the spot.

"The Bois-brulés, who very seldom paint or disguise themselves, were on this occasion painted as I have been accustomed to see the Indians at their war-dance; they were very much painted, and disguised in a hideous manner. They gave the war-whoop when they met Governor Semple and his party; they made a hideous noise and shouting. I know from Grant,130 as well as from other Bois-brulés, and other settlers, that some of the Colonists had been taken prisoners. Grant told me that they were taken to weaken the Colony, and prevent its being known that they were there—they having supposed that they had passed the Fort unobserved.

"Their intention clearly was to pass the Fort. I saw no carts, though I heard they had carts with them. I saw about five of the settlers prisoners in the camp at Frog Plain. Grant said to me further: 'You see we have had but one of our people killed, and how little quarter we have given you. Now, if Fort Douglas is not given up with all the public property instantly and without resistance, man, women and child will be put to death.' He said the attack would be made upon it that night, and if a single shot were fired, that would be a signal for the indiscriminate destruction of every soul. I was completely satisfied myself that the whole would be destroyed, and I besought Grant, whom I knew, to suggest or let them try and devise some means to save the women and children. I represented to him that they could have done no harm to anybody, whatever he or his party might think the men had. I entreated him to take compassion on them. I reminded him that they were his father's country-women and in his deceased father's name, I begged him to take pity and compassion on them and spare them.131

At last he said, if all the arms and public property were given up, we should be allowed to go away. After inducing the Bois-brulés to allow me to go to Fort Douglas, I met our people; they were long unwilling to give up, but at last our Mr. Macdonell, who was now in charge consented. We went together to the Frog Plain, and an inventory of the property was taken when we had returned to the Fort. The Fort was delivered over to Cuthbert Grant, who gave receipts on each sheet of the inventory signed 'Cuthbert Grant, acting for the North-West Company.' I remained at Fort Douglas till the evening of the 22nd, when all proceeded down the river—the settlers, a second time on their journey into exile.

"The Colonists, it is true, had little now to leave. They were generally employed in agricultural pursuits, in attending to their farms, and the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company in their ordinary avocations. They lived in tents or in huts. In 1816 at Red River there was but one residence, the Governor's which was in Fort Douglas. The settlers had lived in houses previous to 1815, but in that year these had been burnt in the attack that had been made upon them. The settlers were employed during the day time on their land, and used to come up to the Fort to sleep in some of the buildings in the enclosure. All was now left behind. The132 Bois-brulés victory being now complete, the messenger was despatched Westward to tell the news far and near."133



The Seven Oaks affair was the most shocking episode that ever occurred in North-Western history. The standing of the victims, including a Governor appointed by the Hudson's Bay Company, his staff men of position, the unexpectedness of the collision, the suddenness of the attack, the destruction of life, the cruelty and injustice of the killing, and the barbarous treatment of the bodies of the dead, by the Bois-brulés war party, fill one with horror, and remind one of scenes of butchery in dark Africa or the isles of the South Sea.

This is the more remarkable when it is considered that so far as known in the whole two hundred years and more of the career of the Hudson's Bay and Nor'-Wester Companies not so many officers and clerks of these two Companies have altogether perished by violence as in this unfortunate Seven Oaks disaster. No sooner was the massacre over than the Bois-brulés took possession of Fort Douglas and were under the command meantime of Cuth134bert Grant. There was the greatest hilarity among the Metis. This New Nation had been vindicated. About forty-five men under arms held possession of the Fort. The dead left upon the field were still exposed there days after the fight and were torn to pieces by the wild birds and beasts. The body of Governor Semple was carried to the Fort.

Word was meanwhile sent to Alexander Macdonell the partner who had brought with him the Qu'Appelle contingent and had waited at Portage la Prairie while Cuthbert Grant with his followers, chiefly disguised as Indians, had gone on their bloody work. Macdonell on receiving the news showed great satisfaction. He announced to those about him that Governor Semple and five of his officers had been killed; and becoming more enthusiastic shouted with an oath in French that twenty-two of the English were slain. His company shouted with joy at his announcement. Macdonell then went to Fort Douglas and took command of it. But what had become of the Eastern Company from Fort William? Of this a discharged non-commissioned officer, Huerter, of one of the mercenary regiments which had fought for Britain against the Americans in the War of 1812 was with them, and gives a good account of the journey. We need only deal with the ending of the expedition. Coming from Lake135 Winnipeg they reached Nettly Creek two days after the fight at Seven Oaks, expecting there to get news from the Western levy and Alexander Macdonell. But no news of that Company having reached them they started in boats up the Red River to reach the rendezvous agreed on at "Frog Plain," the spot where Kildonan church stands to-day. From this point they expected to meet with their Western reinforcement, and to move upon Fort Douglas and capture it, as Governor Semple had done with Fort Gibraltar. Their commander Archibald Norman McLeod was the senior officer and would later take command.

They had on the 23rd of June gone but a little way when they were surprised to meet seven or eight boats laden with men, women and children. These were the fragment of the Colony which had refused to go with Duncan Cameron down to Upper Canada. They had been sheltered in the Fort during the time of the fight and now were rudely driven away from the settlement, according to the announcement of Cuthbert Grant.

McLeod ordered the convoy of boats to stop and the Colonists to disembark. Their boxes and packages were opened, including the late Governor Semple's trunks, and examined for papers or letters which might give important information to the captors. The Western levy136 now joined them, and gave them full news of what had happened.

The Colonists were then ordered to re-embark and to proceed upon their journey to their lonely place of banishment whither they had gone the previous year—Jack River, near Norway House. One of the Bois-brulés followed after them to make sure that they went upon their long voyage. McLeod's party then pushed on with great glee to Fort Douglas and were received with discharges of artillery and firearms. McLeod now took command of the captured Fort.

Huerter, the discharged soldier, formerly mentioned, went to the field of Seven Oaks about a week after the fight and confirmed Pambrun's account.

A.N. McLeod now became the superior officer in the Fort and made preparation for defending it. He himself occupied the late Governor Semple's quarters and passed out compliments to white and native alike, praising them for their daring, their adroitness and their success. A great meeting was then gathered in the Governor's apartments and a levee was held at which all of the servants and employees of the Company were present, and in a speech McLeod told the audience that the English had no right to build upon their lands without their permission—a new doctrine surely.137

Leaving Fort Douglas McLeod with his officers and the Bois-brulés all mounted, made an imposing procession up to the site of old Fort Gibraltar. Here Peguis, now the chief of the Saulteaux who had shown such kindness to the settlers was camped, and to him and his followers McLeod showed his great displeasure. The Indian always loved the British-man, whom on the west coast he called, "King Shautshman," or King George's man.

The Indian is taciturn, unemotional, and cautious. He knew that the Bois-brulés had assumed their garb and committed the outrage of Seven Oaks, and therefore the tribe were unwilling to be under the stigma being thrown upon them. When McLeod had failed in his appeal, he laid many sins to their charge. They had allowed the English to carry away Duncan Cameron to Hudson Bay, they were a band of dogs, and he would count them always as his enemies if they should hold to their English friends. Peguis, who was a master diplomat, looked on with attention and held his peace.

It was now about a week from the time of the massacre. Huerter, the discharged soldier spoken of, rode down with a party from the Fort to the field of Seven Oaks. He saw a number of human bodies scattered on the plain, and in most cases the flesh had been torn off to the bone, evidently by dogs and wolves.138

Far from discouraging the talkative half-breeds, whose blood was up with the sights of carnage, McLeod and his fellow-officers expressed their approbation of the deeds done, and the Bois-brulés became boisterous in detailing their victories. The worst of the whole, old Deschamps, a French-Canadian, who murdered the disabled even when they cried for quarter, drew forth as he detailed his valorous actions to Alexander Macdonell, the exclamation, "What a fine, vigorous old man he is!" On the evening of this Red-letter day of the visit to the Indian encampment and to Seven Oaks, a wild and heathenish orgy took place. The Bois-brulés bedecked their naked bodies with Indian trinkets and executed the dance of victory, as had done their savage ancestors. The effect of these dances is marvellous. By a contagious shout they excite each other. They reach a frenzy which communicates itself with hypnotic effect to the whole dancing circle. At times men tear their hair, cut their flesh or even mutilate their limbs for life. The "tom-tom," or Indian drum, adds to the power of monotonous rhythm and to the spirit of excitement and frenzy.

To the partners McLeod and the others, however much in earnest the actors might be, it afforded much amusement, and gave hope of a strength and enthusiasm that would bind them fast to the "Nor'-Wester" side.139

The struggle over and the battle won, while leaving the garrison sufficient to hold the fort, ten days after the fight the partners and those forming the Northern brigade, who were to penetrate to the wilds to Athabasca, departed. They were following down the Red River and Lake Winnipeg, in the very path which the fleeing Colonists had gone, but they would turn toward the "Grand Rapids" at the spot where the great river of the West pours into Lake Winnipeg, and by this way speed themselves to the great hunting fields of the North. The departure of what was called the Grand Brigade was signalized by an artillery salute from Fort Douglas, which resounded through the wretched ruins of the houses burnt the previous year, and over the fields deserted by the Colonists and left to the chattering blackbird and the howling wolf. Almost every race of people—however small—has its bard. Among the Bois-brulés was the son of old Pierre Falcon, a French-Canadian, of some influence among the natives. This young poet was a character. He had the French vivacity, the prejudice of race, the devotion to the Scotch Fur Company and a considerable rhyming talent. Many years after Pierre Falcon won the admiration of the buffalo hunter and was the friend of all the dusky maidens who followed his song of love or war alike. He it was who sang140 the song of his race and helped to keep up the love of fun among the French people of the Red River. It was reminiscent of victory and also a forecast of future influence and power. Various versions of Pierre Falcon's song have come down to us celebrating the victory of Seven Oaks. We give a simple translation of the bard's effusion:

Pierre Falcon's Song.

Come listen to this song of truth!
A song of the brave Bois-brulés,
Who at Frog Plain took three captives,
Strangers come to rob our country.
When dismounting there to rest us,
A cry is raised—the English!
They are coming to attack us,
So we hasten forth to meet them.
I looked upon their army,
They are motionless and downcast;
So, as honor would incline us
We desire with them to parley.
But their leader, moved with anger,
Gives the word to fire upon us;
And imperiously repeats it,
Rushing on to this destruction.
Having seen us pass his stronghold,
He had thought to strike with terror
The Bois-brulés; ah! mistaken,
Many of his soldiers perish.
But a few escaped the slaughter,
Rushing from the field of battle;
Oh, to see the English fleeing!
Oh, the shouts of their pursuers!
Who has sung this song of triumph?
The good Pierre Falcon had composed it,
That the praise of these Bois-brulés
Might be evermore recorded.



The scene changes to the home of the founder of the Colony. The Earl of Selkirk is living at his interesting seat—St. Mary's Isle, and letter after letter arrives which has taken many weeks on the road, coming down through trackless prairie, across the middle and Eastern States of America and reaching him via New York. These letters continue to increase in being more and more terrible until his island home seems to be in a state of siege.

St. Mary's Isle lies at the mouth of the Dee on Solway Frith, opposite the town of Kirkcudbright. Here in 1778 Paul Jones, the so-called pirate in the employ of the Revolutionary Government in America, had landed, invested the dwelling with his men, and carried away all the plate and jewels of the House of Selkirk. The Old Manor House of St. Mary's Isle, with its very thick stone wall on one side, evidently had been a keep or castle. It was at one time given to the church and became a monastery, then it was enlarged and im143proved to become the dwelling of the family of the Douglasses, which it is to this day.

But now the far cry from Red River reverberated across the Atlantic. The startling succession of events of 1815 reached the Earl one after another. It was late in the year when he made up his mind, but taking his Countess, his two daughters and his only son, Dunbar, a mere boy, and crossing the ocean he heard, on his arrival in New York, of the complete destruction by flight and expulsion of the people of his Colony. About the end of October he reached Montreal, but winter was too near to allow him to travel up the lakes and through the wilds to Red River.

The winter in Montreal was long, but the atmosphere of opposition to Lord Selkirk in that city, the home of the Nor'-Westers, was more trying to him than the frost and snow. His every movement was watched. Even the avenues of Government power seemed by influential Nor'-Westers to be closed against him. An appeal to Sir Gordon Drummond, the Governor-General, could obtain no more than a promise of a Sergeant and six men to protect him personally should he go to the far West, and the appointment of himself as a Justice of the Peace in Upper Canada and the Indian Territory was grudgingly given.

The active mind of his Lordship occupied the144 time of winter well. He planned nothing less than introducing to the banks of Red River a body of men as settlers, who could, like the returned exiles to Jerusalem, work with sword in one hand and a tool of industry in the other. The man of resource finds his material ready made. Two mercenary regiments from Switzerland which had been fighting England's battles in America had just been disbanded, and Lord Selkirk at once engaged them to go as settlers, under his pay, to Red River. From the commanding officer of the larger regiment these have always been called the "De Meurons." From these two regiments—one at Montreal and the other at Kingston—he engaged an hundred men, each provided with a musket, and with rather more than that number of expert voyageurs started in June 16th, 1816, for the North-West. The route followed by him was up Lake Ontario to Toronto, then across country to Georgian Bay and through it to Ste. Sault Marie. At Drummond Island, being the last British garrison toward the West, he got from the Indians news of the efforts of the Nor'-Westers to involve them in the wars of the whites. The Indians had, however, resisted all their temptations. Lord Selkirk again overtook his party and passed through the St. Mary's River into Lake Superior.

Here a new grief awaited him.145

Two canoes coming from Fort William brought him the sad news about Governor Semple and his party being killed at Seven Oaks, as it did also of the second expulsion of the Colonists. Lord Selkirk had been intending to go west to where Duluth now stands and then overland to the Red River.

He now changed his plans and with true Scottish pluck headed directly to Fort William. Here assaults, arrests and imprisonments took place. It is needless for us to give the details of this unfortunate affair, except to say that the seizure of the Fort brought much trouble afterwards to the founder.

Moving some miles up the Kaministiquia River Lord Selkirk made his military encampment, which bore the name of "Pointe De Meuron."

Plans were soon made for the spring attack on Fort Douglas.

In March, stealthily crossing the silent pathways for upwards of four hundred miles and striking the Red River some where near the international boundary line, the De Meurons came northward and made a circuit towards Silver Heights. There, having constructed ladders, they next made a night attack on Fort Douglas, and being trained soldiers easily captured it, and restored it to its rightful owner, Lord Selkirk. 146

On May day, 1817, Lord Selkirk, with his body guard, left Fort William and following the water-courses arrived at his own Fort in the last week of June. Fort Douglas was the centre of his Colony, and there he was at once the chief figure of the picture.

None of the Selkirk Settlers' descendants who are living to-day saw him in Fort Douglas, but a number who have passed away have told the writer that they remembered him well. He was tall in stature, thin and refined in appearance. He had a benignant face, his manner was easy and polite. To the Indians he was especially interesting. They caught the idea that being a man of title he was in some way closely connected with their Great Father the King. Because of his generosity to them in making a treaty, they called him "The Silver Chief." He was the source of their treaty money.

It is said that some of the last party to reach his Colony had seen him at Kildonan in Scotland, where he had visited them, and encouraged them in their departure for the Colony.

His first duties were to the unfortunate settlers, who had been brought back from Jack River.

Lord Selkirk gathered the Colonists on the spot where the church and burial ground of St. John's are still found. "The Parish," said he, "shall be Kildonan. Here you shall build your147 church, and that lot," he said, pointing to the lot across the little stream called Parsonage Creek, "is for a school." He was thus planning to carry out the devout imagination of the greatest religious leader of his nation, John Knox: "A church and a school for every parish."

Perhaps the most interesting episode in Lord Selkirk's visit was his treaty-making with the Indians. The plan of securing a strip of land on each side of the river was said to have been decided to be as much as could be seen by looking under the belly of a horse out upon the prairie. This was about two miles. Hence the river lots were generally about two miles long.

His meeting with the Indians was after the manner of a great "Pow-wow." The Indians are fluent and eloquent speakers, though they indulge in endless repetitions.

Peguis, the Saulteaux chief, befriended the white man from the beginning. He denounced the Bois-brulés. He said, "We do not acknowledge these men as an independent tribe."

"L'Homme Noir," the Assiniboine chief, among other things, said: "We have often been told you were our enemy, but we hear from your own mouth the words of a true friend."

"Robe Noire," the Chippewa, tried in lofty style to declare: "Clouds have over-148whelmed me. I was a long time in doubt and difficulty, but now I begin to see clearly."

While Lord Selkirk was still in his Colony, the very serious state of things on the banks of Red River and the pressure of the British Government led to the appointment, by the Governor-General of Canada, of a most clear-minded and peace-loving man as Commissioner. This appointment was all the more pleasing on account of Mr. W.B. Coltman being a resident Canadian of Quebec. Coltman was one man among a thousand. He was patient and kind and just. Though he had come to the Colony prejudiced against Lord Selkirk, he found his Lordship so fair and reasonable that he became much attached to the man represented in Montreal and the far East as a destructive ogre.

The Commissioner's report covered one hundred pages, and it was in all respects a model. He thoroughly understood the motives of both parties, and his decisions led to a perfect era of peace, and moreover in the end to the union of the Hudson's Bay and Nor'-West Companies.

Lord Selkirk's coming was like a ray of sunshine to the Colonists of Red River. Being of an intensely religious disposition, the people reminded him afterwards that the elder who came out in 1815, who was able to baptize and marry, had been carried away by main force by the Nor'-Westers to Canada in 1818, so that they were 149 without religious services. They always continued to have prayer meetings and to keep up the pious customs of their fathers. This practise long survived among them. In repeating his promise of a clergyman, Lord Selkirk asserted to them: "Selkirk never forfeited his word."

His work done among his Colonists, he left them never to see them again. He went south from Fort Douglas to the United States, visited, it is said, St. Louis, came to the Eastern States, and rejoined in Montreal his Countess and children who had in his absence lived in great anxiety. One of his daughters, afterwards Lady Isabella Hope, told the writer nearly thirty years ago that she as a girl remembered seeing Lord Selkirk as he returned from this long journey, coming around the Island into Montreal Harbor paddled by French voyageurs in swift canoes to his destination. His attention was immediately given to law suits and actions brought against him in the courts of Upper Canada. These legal conflicts originated from the troubles about the two centres—Fort Douglas and Fort William—where the collisions had taken place. The influence of the Nor'-Westers in Montreal was so great that the U.E. Loyalists of Upper Canada sympathised with them against the noble philanthropist. Justice was undoubtedly perverted in Upper Canada in the150 most shameless way. Weak in body at the best, Lord Selkirk by his misfortunes, losses and legal persecution began to fail in health. With the sense of having been unjustly defeated, and anxious about his Colonists in Red River, he returned with his family to Britain to his beloved St. Mary's Isle. He sought for justice from the British Parliament, but could there get no movement in his favor. A copy of a letter to him from Sir Walter Scott, his old friend, is in the hands of the writer, but Sir Walter was himself too ill at the time to lend him aid in presenting his case before the British public. Heart-broken, he gave up the struggle. With the Countess and his family he went to the South of France and died on April 8th, 1820, at Pau, and his bones lie in the Protestant Cemetery of Orthes.

He had not fought in vain. He had broken down single-handed a system of organized terrorism in the heart of North America, for the Nor'-Westers never rose to strength again. They united in a few years with the Hudson's Bay Company. He established a Colony that has thriven; he cherished a lofty vision; he made mistakes in action, in judgment, and in a too great optimism, but if we understand him aright he bore an untainted and resolute soul.

151 "Only those are crown'd and sainted
Who with grief have been acquainted
Making Nations nobler, freer."
"In their feverish exultations,
In their triumph and their yearning,
In their passionate pulsations,
In their words among the nations
The Promethean fire is burning."
"But the glories so transcendent
That around their memories cluster,
And on all their steps attendant,
Make their darken'd lives resplendent
With such gleams of inward lustre."



Many Canadian Settlements have had a military origin. It was considered a wise, strategic move in the game of national defence when Colonel Butler and his Rangers, after the Treaty of Paris, were settled along the Niagara frontier, and when Captain Grass and other United Empire Loyalists took up their holdings at Kingston and other points on the boundary line along the St. Lawrence. The town of Perth was the headquarters of a military settlement in Central Canada. Traces of military occupation can still be found in such Highland districts of Canada as Pictou, Glengarry and Zorra, in which last named township the enthusiastic Celt in 1866 declared that perhaps the Fenians would take Canada, but they could never take Zorra. Numerous examples can be found all through Canada where there is an aroma of valor and patriotism surrounding the old army officer or the families of the veterans of the Napoleonic or Crimean wars.

The settlement of the De Meuron soldiers153 opposite Fort Douglas gave some promise of a military flavor to Selkirk Settlement. But as we shall see it was an ill-advised attempt at colonization. It was a mistake to settle some hundred or more single men as these soldiers were without a woman among them, as Lord Selkirk was compelled to do. To these soldier-colonists he gave lands along the small winding river now called the Seine, which empties into Red River opposite Point Douglas. Many of the De Meurons spoke German, and hence for several years the little stream on which they lived was called German Creek. The writings of the time are full of rather severe criticism of these bello-agricultural settlers. Of course no one expects an old soldier to be of much use to a new country. He is usually a lazy settler. His habits of life are formed in another mould from that of the farm. He is apt to despise the hoe and the harrow and many even of the half-pay officers who came to hew out a home in the Canadian forest, never learned to cut down a tree or to hold a plough, though it may be admitted that they lived a useful life in their sons and daughters, while the culture and decision of character of the old officer or sturdy veteran were an asset of great value to the locality in which he settled.

But the De Meurons were not only bachelors, but they came from the peasantry of Austria154 and Italy, they had not fought for home and country, and their life of mercenary soldiering had made them selfish and deceitful. A writer of the time speaks, and evidently with much prejudice, against the De Meurons. "They were," he says, "a medley of almost all nations—Germans, French, Italians, Swiss and others. They were bad farmers and withal very bad subjects; quarrelsome, slothful, famous bottle companions and ready for any enterprise however lawless and tyrannical." A few years later we find it stated that they made free with the cattle of their neighbors, and the chronicler does not hesitate to say that the herds of the De Meurons grew in number in exactly the same ratio as those of the Scottish settlers decreased.

Some four years after the settlement of the De Meurons a sunburst came upon them quite unexpectedly.

Lord Selkirk in the very last years of his life planned to bring a band of Protestant settlers from Switzerland. A Colonel May, late of another of the mercenary regiments, accepted the duty of going to Switzerland, issuing a very attractive invitation to settlers, and succeeded in shipping a considerable number of Swiss families to his so-called Red River paradise.

This band of Colonists, consisting as they did of "watch and clock-makers, pastry cooks and155 musicians," were quite unfit for the rough work of the Selkirk Colony. In 1821 they were brought by way of Hudson Bay, over the same rocky way as the earlier Colonists came. They were utterly poverty stricken, though honest, and well-behaved. Their only possession of value was a plenty of handsome daughters. The Swiss families on arrival were placed under tents nearby Fort Douglas. As soon as possible many of the Swiss settlers were placed alongside the De Meurons on German Creek. Good Mr. West, who had just been sent out as chaplain by the Hudson's Bay Company, in place of the minister of their own faith promised to the Scottish settlers, did a great stroke of work in marrying the young Swiss girls to the De Meuron bachelors of German Creek. The description of the way in which the De Meurons invited families having young women in them to the wifeless cabins is ludicrous. A modern "Sabine raid" was made upon the young damsels, who were actually carried away to the De Meuron homesteads. The Swiss families which had the misfortune to have no daughters in them were left to languish in their comfortless tents. The afflictions of the earlier Selkirk settlers were increased by the arrival of these settlers. With the Selkirk settlers in their first decade the first consideration was always food. Till that question is settled no Colony 156 can advance. Probably the most alarming and hopeless feature of their new colonial life was the appearance of vast flights of locusts or grasshoppers, which devoured every blade of wheat and grass in the country. To those who have never seen this plague it is inconceivable. Some thirty-five years ago in Manitoba the writer witnessed the utter devastation of the country by these pests. Some thirteen years before the coming of the first Colonists this plague prevailed. About the end of July, 1818, these riders of the air made their attack. In this year the Selkirk Colonists were greatly discouraged by the capture and removal to Canada, by the Nor'-Westers, of Mr. James Sutherland, their spiritual guide. But their labors now seem likely to be rewarded by a good harvest. The oats and barley were in ear, when suddenly the invasion came. The vast clouds of grasshoppers sailing northward from the great Utah desert in the United States, alighted late in the afternoon of one day and in the morning fields of grain, gardens with their promise, and every herb in the Settlement were gone, and a waste like a blasted hearth remained behind. The event was more than a loss of their crops, it seemed a heaven-struck blow upon their community, and it is said they lifted up their eyes to heaven, weeping and despairing. The sole return of157 their labors for the season was a few ears of half-ripened barley which the women saved and carried home in their aprons. There was no help for it but to retire to Pembina, although there was less fear than formerly for as a writer of the day says: "The settlers had now become good hunters; they could kill the buffalo; walk on snowshoes; had trains of dogs trimmed with ribbons, bells and feathers, in true Indian style; and in other respects were making rapid steps in the arts of a savage life."

The complete loss of their crops left the settlers even without the seed-wheat necessary to sow their fields. The nearest point of supply of this necessity was an agricultural settlement in the State of Minnesota, upwards of five hundred miles away. Here was a mighty task—to undertake to cross the plains in winter and to bring back in time for the seeding time in spring the wheat which was necessary. But the Highlander is not to be deterred by rocky crag or dashing river, or heavy snow in his own land and he was ready to face this and more in the new world. And so a daring party went off on snowshoes, and taking three months for their trip, reached the land of plenty and secured some hundred bushels at the price of ten shillings a bushel.

The question now was how to transport the wheat through a trackless wilderness. Up the158 Mississippi River for hundreds of miles the flat boats constructed for the purpose were painfully propelled, and passing through the branch known as the Minnesota River the Stony Lake was reached. This lake is the source of the Minnesota and Red rivers, and being at high water in the spring it was possible to go through the narrow lake from one river to the other with the rough boats constructed. The Red River was reached by the fearless adventurers who brought the "corn out of Egypt." They did not, however, reach the Red River with their treasure till about the end of June, 1820, and while the wheat grew well it was sown too late to ripen well, although it gave the settlers grain enough to sow the fields of the coming year. This expedition cost Lord Selkirk upwards of a thousand pounds sterling. In the following year the grasshoppers again visited the Red River fields, but by a sudden movement which, by some of the good Colonists was interpreted to be a direct interference of Providence on their behalf, the swarms of intruders passed away never to appear again in the Red River for half a century.

The presence of the grasshoppers upon the Canadian prairies is one of interest. It is known that they appeared throughout the territory of Red River a dozen years or so before the coming of the Selkirk Colonists, also during159 the period we have been describing, and then not till the period from 1868 to 1875. During the latter half of this period the writer saw their devastations in Manitoba. The occurrence of the grasshopper at times in all agricultural districts in America is very different from the grasshopper or locust plague which we are describing. The red-legged Caloptenus or the Rocky Mountain locust are provided for lofty flight and pass in myriads over the prairies, lighting whenever a cloud obscures the sun. At one time the writer saw them in such hordes that they were found from Winnipeg to Edmonton, over a region about one thousand miles in breadth. In that year they devoured not only crops and garden products but almost completely ate up the grass on the prairie to such an extent as to make it useless for hay. In the year 1875 they appeared, in the main, for the last time in Manitoba, and in that year their disappearance was as sudden as in the former case of 1821. Under the wing upon the body of each grasshopper was to be found one or more scarlet red parasites which drew all the juices from the body of the insect and produced death. For a third of a century they have been almost unknown, and the area of cultivated ground in the States of North and South Dakota, where they may supply their hunger renders it likely that Manitoba will know them no more. It 160 cannot be wondered at that such continuous disasters made the settler whether Scottish, De Meuron, or Swiss, extremely discontented. During the period of the scourge, the only resource was to winter at Pembina in reasonable distance from the buffalo-herds. In one of these years a number of the Selkirk Colonists did not return to their farms but emigrated to the United States. As we shall see in a few years after the grasshopper scourge the flood of the Red River took place, when the De Meurons and Swiss, with one or two exceptions, disappeared from the Colony and became citizens of the United States. 161



That such violence and bloodshed as that about Fort Douglas, should be seen by British subjects under the flag which stands for justice and equal rights made sober-minded Britons blush. While Lord Selkirk's agents on the banks of the Red River may have been aggressive in pushing their rights, yet to the Canadians was chargeable the greater part of the bloodshed. This was but natural. To the hunter, the trapper, and the frontiersman the use of firearms is familiar. The fur trader protects himself thus from the bear and the panther. The hot blood of the Metis as he careered over the prairie on his steed boiled up at the least provocation.

But the disheartening law suits through which Lord Selkirk passed in Sandwich, Toronto, and Montreal, reflected more dishonor on the Canadians than did even the bloody violence of the Bois-Brulés. The chicanery employed by the Canadian courts, the procuring162 of special legislation to adapt the law to Lord Selkirk's case, and the invocation of the highest social and even clerical influence in Upper Canada for the purpose of injuring his Lordship will ever remain a blot on earlier Canadian jurisprudence. Fortunately the rights of man, whether native or foreigner, are now better understood and more fully protected in Canada than they were in the second decade of the nineteenth century. Col. Coltman's report, as already stated, was a model of truthfulness, fair play and freedom from prejudice, and Coltman was a Canadian appointee.

So grave, however, were the rumours of these events happening on the plains of Rupert's Land, as they reached Britain that the House of Commons named a committee to enquire into the troubles. This committee sat in 1819, and the result is a blue-book of considerable size which exposes the injustice most fully. The violence and bloodshed which the fur traders now heard of far and near paralyzed the fur trade carried on by both fur companies, and brought the financial affairs of both companies to the verge of destruction. Two startling events of the next year produced a great shock. These were sudden and untimely deaths of the two great opponents—Lord Selkirk at an early age in France, and Sir Alexander Mackenzie, at his estate in Scotland, he having been seized163 with sudden illness on his way from London. The two men died within a month of one another in the spring of 1820. Their passing away was surely impressive. It seemed like an offering to the god of peace in order that the vast region with its scattered and thunderstruck inhabitants from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean might be saved from the horrors of a cruel war of brother against brother, and a war which might involve even the cautious but hot-blooded Indian tribes.

Though the two parties were made up of daring and head-strong men, yet adversity is a hard but effective teacher.

The Hudson's Bay Company was represented by Andrew Colville, a warm friend of the house of Selkirk, the opponents by Edward Ellice, a Nor'-Wester. It seemed, indeed, the very irony of fate that Ellice should be a negotiator for peace. He and his sons the writer heard spoken of by the late Earl of Selkirk—the son of the founder—as the bear and cubs. On the other hand the burly directors of the Hudson's Bay Company possessed with all the confidence of the British Lion, and with their motto of "Skin for skin" were only brought to a state of peace by the loss of dividends. Much correspondence passed between the offices of Leadenhall Street and Suffolk Lane in London, which the two companies occupied, but articles 164 of agreement were not sufficient to make a union.

All such coalitions to be successful must circle around a single man.

This man was a young Scottish clerk, who had spent a year only in the far Athabasca district. He had not depended on birth or influence for his advancement, was not yet wholly immersed in the traditions or prejudices of either company, and had consequently nothing to unlearn. Montreal became the Canadian headquarters of the company, but now the annual meeting of the traders where he as Governor presided, was held at Norway House. The offices in London were united, and thus the affairs of the fur trade were provided for and outward peace at least was guaranteed. We are, however, chiefly dealing with the affairs of Assiniboia as Lord Selkirk called it, or with what was more commonly called Red River Settlement. This belonged to Lord Selkirk's heirs. The executors were, of course, Hudson's Bay Company grandees. They were Sir James Montgomery, Mr. Halkett, Andrew Colville, and his brother the Solicitor-general of Scotland. When the news came of the death of Lord Selkirk, the mishaps and disturbances of the Colony had been so many, that Hudson's Bay Company, Nor'-Westers, Settlers, and Freemen all said, "That will end the Colony 165 now!" To the surprise of everyone the first message from the executors was one of courage, and the announcement was made that their first aim would be to send six hundred new settlers to the banks of Red River.

On Kildonan Road near Winnipeg.

The angry passions which had been roused166 led the English directors to take the very wise step of sending out two representatives—one from each of the old companies to rearrange all matters and settle all disputes. The two delegates were Nicholas Garry, the Vice-Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Simon McGillivray, who bore one of the most influential names of the Nor'-Wester traders. They were not, however, equally well liked. Garry was a courteous, fair, and kindly gentleman. He won golden opinions among officers and settlers alike. McGillivray was suspicious and selfish, so the records of the time state. They came to the Red River in 1821, and Garry entered particularly into the arrangement of the Forts at the Forks. The old Fort Douglas was retained as Colony Fort, and the small Hudson's Bay Company trading house as well as Fort Gibraltar were absorbed into the new fort which was erected on the banks of the Assiniboine between Main Street and the bank of the Red River. All the letters and documents of the time speak of Governor Garry's visits as carrying a gleam of sunshine wherever he went and it was appropriate that the new fort built in the following year should bear the name Fort Garry. This was the wooden fort, which still remained in existence though superseded as a fort in 1850.

At the time of Governor Garry's visit the167 population of the settlement may be considered to have been about five hundred. These were made up of somewhat less than two hundred Selkirk Colonists, about one hundred De Meurons, a considerable number of French Voyageurs and Freemen, Swiss Colonists perhaps eighty, and the remainder Orkney, employees of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Colony was, however, beginning to organize itself. The accounts of the French settlers are very vague, an occasional name flitting across the page of history. One family still found on Red River banks, gains celebrity as possessing the first white woman who came to Rupert's Land. With her husband she had gone to Edmonton in ——, and had wandered over the prairies. In 1811, with her husband, she first saw the Forks of Red River and wintered in 1811-12 at Pembina, the winter which the first band of Colonists spent at York Factory. Lajimoniere became a fast adherent of Lord Selkirk, and made a famous and most dangerous winter journey through the wilds alone, carrying letters from Red River to Montreal, delivered them personally to Lord Selkirk in 1815.

The Lajimonieres received with great delight in 1818 the first Roman Catholic missionaries who reached Red River. These were sent through Lord Selkirk's influence, and the large gift of land known as the Seigniory lying east168 of St. Boniface was the reward given to the early pioneer missionaries—Provencher and Dumoulin, men of great stature and manly bearing. In the year of their arrival James Sutherland, the Presbyterian chaplain of the Selkirk Colonists, was taken by the Nor'-Westers to Upper Canada, whither his son, Haman Sutherland, had gone in 1815 with Duncan Cameron. The Earl of Selkirk had promised to send to his Scottish Colonists a minister of their own faith. On his death in France his agent in London was Mr. John Pritchard. Seventeen days after the death of Lord Selkirk, Rev. John West was appointed to come as chaplain to the Colonists and the other Protestants of Red River. Pritchard arrived by Hudson's Bay ship at York Factory 15 Aug., 1820, having Mr. West in company with him.

And now Colville wrote to Alexander Macdonell, the Governor of the Settlement: "Mr. West goes out and takes with him persons acquainted with making bricks and pottery." Macdonell was a Roman Catholic, but Colville wrote: "I trust also that by your example and advice you will encourage all the Protestants, Presbyterians as well as others to attend divine service as performed by Mr. West. He will also open schools." As to Mr. West's support a curiosity occurs in one of Mr. West's letters written in the following year from York169 Factory. He speaks of an agreement between Lord Selkirk and the Selkirk Settlers.

"That the Settlers will use their endeavours for the benefit and support of the clergyman and shall be chargeable therewith as follows (that is to say): each settler shall employ himself, his servants, his horses, cattle, carts, carriages and other things necessary to the purpose on every day and at every place to be appointed by the clergyman to whom, or whose flock he shall belong, not exceeding at and after the rate of three days in the spring and three days in the autumn of each year."

This is a gem of ecclesiasticism.

Mr. West says: "I find that it is impracticable to carry the same into effect. This is attributable to the distance of most of the settlers and the reluctance of the Scotch Settlers."

Mr. West had made mention of this to Governor Garry.170



"Woe to the Nation," says a high authority, "whose King is a child," but far worse than even having a child-ruler is the fate of a Kingdom or Principality whose ruler is a hireling. The Roman Empire was ruled in the different provinces by selfish and dishonest adventurers, who tyrannized over the people, farmed out the revenues, bribed their favorites and defrauded their masters. Turkish Government or Persian Rule is to-day an organized system of extortion and oppression by unscrupulous Satraps. Lord Selkirk's two governors, Miles Macdonell and Robert Semple, had been removed, the former by capture, the latter by death. Alexander Macdonell in 1816 became acting governor and was confirmed in office for five or six years afterward. In his regime the Grasshoppers came and did their destructive work, but the French people nicknamed him "Governor Sauterelle," Grasshopper Governor, for, says the historian of this decade he was so called, "because he proved as171 great a destroyer within doors as the grasshoppers in the fields."

Lord Selkirk had been a most generous and sympathetic founder to his Scottish Colony. He was not only proprietor of the whole Red River Valley, but he felt himself responsible for the support and comfort of his Colonists. He had to begin with supplying food, clothing, implements, arms and ammunition to his settlers. He had erected buildings for shelter and a store house and fort for the protection of them and their goods. He had supplied, in a Colony shop, provisions and all requisites to be purchased by his settlers and on account of their poverty to be charged to their individual accounts.

George Simpson, who was the new Governor of the United Hudson's Bay Company, was for two years Macdonell's contemporary, and he in one of his letters says: "Macdonell is, I am concerned to say, extremely unpopular, despised and held in contempt by every person connected with the place, he is accused of partiality, dishonesty, untruth and drunkenness,—in short, by a disrespect of every moral and elevated feeling."

Alexander Ross says of him, "The officials he kept about him resembled the court of an Eastern Nabob, with its warriors, serfs, and varlets, and the names they bore were hardly less pompous, for here were secretaries, assistant secre172taries, accountants, orderlies, grooms, cooks and butlers."

Satrap Macdonell held high revels in his time. "From the time the puncheons of rum reached the colony in the fall, till they were all drunk dry, nothing was to be seen or heard about Fort Douglas but balling, dancing, rioting and drunkenness in the barbarous sport of those disorderly times." Macdonell's method of reckoning accounts was unique. "In place of having recourse to the tedious process of pen and ink the heel of a bottle was filled with wheat and set on the cask. This contrivance was called the 'hour glass,' and for every flagon drawn off, a grain of wheat was taken out of the hour glass, and put aside till the bouse was over."

As was to be expected this disgraceful state of things led to grave frauds in the dealings with the Colonists, and when Halkett, one of Lord Selkirk's executors, arrived on Red River to investigate the complaints, a thorough system of "false entries, erroneous statements and over-charges" was found, and the discontent of the settlers was removed, though they were all heavily in debt to the Estate.

It had been the object of Lord Selkirk from the beginning of his enterprise to give employment to his needy Colonists. Various enterprises were begun with this end in view, but they were all mere bubbles which soon burst.173 John Pritchard, whom Lord Selkirk had taken as his secretary to London, was largely instrumental in floating the ill-starred scheme known as the "Buffalo Wool Company." Just as on the shores of the Mediterranean, shawls were made from the long wool of the goats, so it was thought that shawls could be made of the hair or wool of the buffalo. A voluminous correspondence given in many letters of Pritchard's to Lady Selkirk and other ladies of high station and to an English firm of manufacturers exploiting this project is before us. Sample squares of the cloth made of buffalo wool were distributed and in certain circles the novelty from the Red River was the "talk of the town," in London.

On the banks of Red River the scheme took like wild-fire. All Red River people were to make fortunes. There were to be high wages and work for everybody. Wages were increased, and men were receiving nearly four dollars a day. Money became plentiful and provisions became dear and also scarce. The employees, higher and lower, became intoxicated with their success, as they now also became really intoxicated and fell into reckless habits. The work was neglected, and the enterprize collapsed. This was the earliest boom on Red River banks. Failure was sure to follow so mad a scheme. The buffalo wool cloth which174 it cost some twelve dollars and a half to manufacture, partly in Red River Settlement and partly in England, was sold for little more than one dollar a yard. The £2,000 of capital was all swallowed up, £4,500 of debt to the Hudson's Bay Company was never paid, the scheme became a laughing stock in England, and failure and misery followed its collapse in the Colony.

At this time the French-Canadian settlement at Pembina was induced to remove to St. Boniface on the Red River, where they gathered around their new priest, Provencher, to whom they became much attached.

The Selkirk Trustees, in every way, continued ungrudgingly to advance the interests of the Colony, but their plans, though often mere theories failed more from extravagance and want of good men to execute them than from any other cause.

Believing that farming was the thing needing cultivation in a country with so rich a soil, the Colonizers began the Hayfield farm on the north bank of the Assiniboine River, near what is now the outskirts of the City of Winnipeg, a little above the present Agricultural College buildings. Beginning with an expensive salary for Manager Laidlaw, the promoters erected ample farm buildings, barns, yards and stables. Importations were made of well-bred cattle and horses. Several years of mis175management and helplessness resulted from this trial of a model farm, and it was given up at a total loss to the proprietors of £3,500. The Assiniboine Wool Company was next started, but failed before the first payment of stock took place, without damage to anyone, so that, as was remarked, there was "much cry and little wool." The Flax and Hemp Company was the next unfortunate enterprise. This failed on account of there being no market, so that farmers never reaped the successful crops which they had grown. An expedition was made to Missouri, under Messrs. Burke and Campbell, to introduce sheep into the settlement. As the fifteen hundred sheep purchased had to be driven 1,500 miles to their destination on Red River, only two hundred and fifty of the whole flock survived. Failure after failure taking place did not prevent the formation of a Tallow Company, which resulted in the loss of £600 to £1,000, and a considerable sum was spent also in an abortive attempt to open up a road to Hudson's Bay, a scheme which Lord Selkirk's letters show, he had in view from the very beginning of the life of the Colony. The courage and generosity of the executors of Lord Selkirk shown to all these enterprises reflects the greatest credit upon them. True, the concession of so wide an area of fertile land was worth it, and the pledges made to176 the Selkirk settlers demanded it, but as in hundreds of other enterprises undertaken by British capitalists on the American continent, the choice of men foreign to the country and its conditions, the lack of conscience and economy on the part of the agents sent out, the dissension and jealousy aroused by every such attempt, as well as the absence of the means of transport by land and sea through the methods supplied by science to-day, resulted in a series of dismal failures, which placed an undeserved stigma upon the character of the soil, climate, and resources of Assiniboia. It took more than fifty years of subsequent effort to remove this impression.

These experiences took place under those governors who succeeded Alexander Macdonell—the Grasshopper Governor. The first of them was Captain Bulger, an unfortunate martinet, though a man of good conscience and high ideals. He had a most uncompromising manner. He quarreled with the Hudson's Bay Company officer at Fort Garry on the one hand, and with old Indian Chief Peguis on the other. A whole crop of suggestions made by the Captain on the improvement of the Colony remain in his "Red River Papers." Bulger's successor was Governor Pelly, a relative of the celebrated Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. The new Governor lacked nerve and de177cision, and was quite unfitted for his position. His method of dealing with an Indian murderer was long repeated on Red River as a subject for humor, when he instructed the interpreter to announce to the criminal: "that he had manifested a disposition subversive of all order, and if he should not be punished in this world, he would be sure to be punished in the next." The hopelessness of carrying on the affairs of the Colony apart from those of the general affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company, was now seen, and on the suggestion of Governor Simpson, the management was placed in the hands of governors immediately responsible to the company. This change led to the appointment as Governor of Donald McKenzie. This old trader had taken part in the formation of the Astor Fur Company, and was in charge of one of the famous parties, which in 1811 crossed the continent, as described by Washington Irving. Ross Cox says of this beleaguered party: "Their concave cheeks, protuberant bones, and tattered garments indicated the dreadful extent of their privations. The old trader thus case-hardened faced bravely for eight years the worries of the Colony.178



With fire and flood some of the greatest catastrophies of the world have been closely connected. The tradition of the Noachian deluge has been found among almost all peoples. Horace speaks of the mild little Tiber becoming so unruly that the fishes swam among the tops of the trees upon its banks. Tidal waves devastated the shores of England and France on several occasions. It is most natural that prairie rivers should exceed their banks and spread over wide areas of the land. Old Trader Nolin, one of the first on the prairies, states that a worse flood than that seen by the Selkirk Settlers took place fifty years before, and there were two other floods between these two. Each year, according to the tale of the old settlers, the rivers of the prairies have been becoming wider by denudation, so that each flood tends to be less. Several conditions seem to be necessary for a flood upon these prairie rivers. These are a very heavy snowfall during the prairie winter, a late spring in which the river ice retains its179 hold, and a sudden period in the springtime of very hot weather, these being modified as the years go on by the ever-widening river channel.

The winter of 1825-6 was one of the most terrific ever known in the history of the Selkirk Settlement. Just before Christmas the first woe occurred. The snow drove the herds of buffaloes far out upon the prairies from the river encampments and the wooded shelter. The horses in bands were scattered and lost, dying as they floundered in the deep snows. Even the hunters were cut off from one another, the hunters' families were driven hither and thither, and in many cases separated on the wide snowy plains. Sheriff Ross, who was a visitor from the Settlement to Pembina in the dreary winter there, describes the scene of horror. "Families here and families there despairing of life, huddled themselves together for warmth, and in too many cases, their shelter proved their grave. At first, the heat of their bodies melted the snow; they became wet, and being without food or fuel, the cold soon penetrated, and in several instances froze the whole into a body of solid ice. Some again, were found in a state of wild delirium, frantic, mad; while others were picked up, one here, and one there, overcome in their fruitless attempts to reach Pembina—some half-way, some more,180 some less; one woman was found with an infant on her back, within a quarter of a mile of Pembina. This poor creature must have travelled, at least, one hundred and twenty-five miles, in three days and nights, till she sunk at last in the too unequal struggle for life." Such scenes might be expected in the valleys of the Highlands of Scotland, or amid the heavy snows of New Brunswick or Quebec, but they were a surprise upon the open prairie. Some of the settlers had devoured their dogs, raw hides, leather and their very shoes. The loss of thirty-three lives cast a gloom over the whole settlement.

Anxiety had been aroused throughout the whole Colony. The St. Lawrence often overflows its banks at Montreal, the Grand River at Brantford and the Fraser at its delta, but the rarity of the Red River overflows led the people, after their winter disaster, to hope that they would escape a flood.

This was not to be.

As the Red River flows northward, the first thaw of spring is usually south of the American International Boundary line at the head waters of the river which divides Minnesota and Dakota. In these States the floods are always, in consequence, greater than they are in Manitoba. In this year the ice held very firm up to the end of April. On the second of May,181 the waters from above rose and lifted the ice which still held in a mass together some nine feet above the level of the day before. Indians and whites alike were alarmed. The water overflowed its banks, and still continued to rise at Fort Garry. The Governor and his family were driven to the upper story of their residence in the fort, with the water ten feet deep below that.

The whole river bank for miles was a scene of confusion and terror. Every home was an alarming scene as the flood reached it. The first thought was to save life. Amid the crying of children, the lowing of cattle and the howling of dogs, parents sought out all their children to see them safely removed. Parents and grown men and women fled in fright from their houses, and in many cases without any other garments than their working clothes. The only hope was to seek out somewhat higher spots more and more removed from the river. And with them went their cattle and horses.

To those in boats—the stronger and more venturesome men—the task now came of removing the wheat and oats, what little furniture they possessed and the necessary cooking utensils.

Blessed, on such occasions, are those who possess little for they shall have no loss.

As the waters rose, the lake became wider,182 and the wind blew the waves to a dangerous height. The ice broke up and the current increasing dashed this against the buildings, which at length gave way and all went floating down across the points—ice, log houses with dogs and cats frantic on their roofs. One eyewitness says: "The most singular spectacle was a house in flames, drifting along in the night, its one half immersed in water and the remainder furiously burning."

As the flood of waters widened into a great expanse it became plain that it would be some time,—if indeed less than several months,—before the waters would begin to abate, and in the absence of an Ararat on which to rest, the settlers occupied the rock-bared elevations, the highest Stony Mount, only eighty feet above the level, with the middle bluff, little Stony Mountain and Bird's Hill, east of the river. It is interesting to know that Silver Heights and the banks of the Sturgeon Creek near its mouth, were not submerged and at their various points the Colonists pitched their tents and sojourned.

In seventeen days from the first rise, the water reached its height, and hope began immediately to return. On the 22nd of May the waters commenced to assuage, and twenty days afterward the Settlers were able with difficulty to reach their homes again.183

But every disaster has its side of advantage. During the escape of the Settlers to the heights, the De Meurons, losing all sense of restraint, stole the cattle of the Settlers and actually sold them meat from their own slaughtered cattle. So intense was the feeling of the Scottish Settlers against the De Meurons that the Selkirk Colonists chose another situation and moved to it

Now that the flood was over, the De Meurons and Swiss became more restless than ever. They decided to move to the United States. The Selkirk Colonists were glad to see them go, and furnished them, free of cost, sufficient supplies for their journey. They departed on the 24th of June, their band numbering 243, and the sturdy pioneers who held to their land shed no tears of sorrow at their going.

With remarkable courage and hope the Settlers returned after what was to some of them, their fourth Hegira, and immediately planted potatoes and small quantities of wheat and barley. This grew well and supplied food for them, and in the next two or three years no less than two hundred and four houses were built. The Settlement, now freed from dissension, had not gone through its fiery ordeal in vain. The news of a home for themselves and their dusky wives and half-breed children, had spread over the whole of Rupert's Land, and184 now began, what Lieutenant-Governor Archibald, the first Governor of Manitoba, afterward spoke of as the floating down the rivers with their wives and children of the Hudson's Bay Company officers and men to the paradise of Red River. The great majority of the employees of the Company were Orkneymen. They gradually took up the most of the Red River lots surveyed, lying below Kildonan, and forming the Parishes of St. Paul's and St. Andrew's on Red River, down to St. Peter's Indian Reserve and St. James' and Headingly up the Assiniboine. The French half-breeds who removed from Pembina and different parts of Rupert's Land, made the great French parishes of St. Boniface, St. Norbert, St. Vital on the Red River, with St. Charles, St. Francois Xavier and Baie St. Paul on the Assiniboine. And now of Scottish Settlers with French and English half-breeds, the population of Red River Settlement had reached the number of 1,500 souls.185



Great crises in the world's history generally produce the men who solve them. Cromwell, Washington, Garibaldi—each of them was the movement itself. A wider philosophy may see that the age or the Community evolves the man, but as Carlyle shows, it is the man who reacts upon the community, becomes the embodiment of its ideal, and is the mouthpiece and the right hand of the age which produces him.

That Andrew Colville, a brother-in-law of Lord Selkirk, should select a young clerk in London and send him out to Athabasca to see the great fur-region of the Mackenzie River District, is not a wonderful thing, but that after one year of active service this young man should be chosen to guide the destinies of the great united fur company, made up of the Hudson's Bay and Nor'-Wester Companies is a wonder.

This was the case with George Simpson, a Scottish youth, who was the illegitimate son of the maternal uncle of Thomas Simpson, the186 famous Arctic explorer, who is known as having followed out a portion of the coast line of the Arctic Sea.

Anyone can see that from the proverbial energy that is developed in those of inferior birth, there was here one of Nature's commanding spirits, who would bring order out of chaos.

Moreover, the fact of his short service in a distant part of the fur country, left him free from prejudice, gave him an open mind, and permitted him to serve as a young man when he was yet plastic and adaptable—all this was in his favor.

Governor Simpson was short of stature, but possessed of great energy and endurance. He was keen in mind and observing in his faculties. Active and determined, he might at times seem a martinet and a tyrant, but he had at the same time an easy and pleasant manner that enabled him to attract to himself his servants and subordinates, but especially the savages with whom he had constantly to have dealings. His ardent Highland nature led him to rejoice in the picturesque and the showy, and he was fond of music and of society. Given to change, Simpson became a great traveller and made a voyage around the world before the days of steam or railway.

One of the first gatherings of the fur traders, in which the young Governor gained golden187 opinions, was held at Norway House, the old resting place of the Selkirk Settlers. This meeting took place in June, 1823; the minutes of this meeting have been preserved and are interesting. Such items as, that Bow River Fort at the foot of the Rocky Mountains was abandoned; that because of prairie fires the buffaloes were far beyond Pembina; that the Assiniboine Indians had moved to the Saskatchewan for food; that trouble with the French traders had arisen on account of their determination to trade in furs; that the French half-breeds had largely moved from Pembina to St. Boniface; that the trade should be withdrawn from beyond the American Boundary line; that the Sioux Indians should be discouraged from coming to the Forts to trade; and that the company intended to take over the Colony from Lord Selkirk's trustees, all came up for consideration.

These were all important and difficult problems, but the young Governor acted with such shrewdness and skill, that he completely carried the Council with him, and was given power to act for the Council during the intervals between its meetings—a thing most unusual.

The Governor was ubiquitous.

Governor of Rupert's Land, 1821-60.

Now at Moose Factory, then at York; now at Norway House, but every year at Red River, the Governor saw for himself the needs of the188 country, and the opportunities for advancing the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company. Forty times, that is, nearly every year of his Governorship, it is said he travelled the route between Montreal and Fort Garry, and this by canoe. He drove his men, who were chiefly French-Canadians, with irritating haste, and it is a story prevalent among the old Selkirk Settlers, that a stalwart French voyageur, who was a favorite of the Governor, was once, in189 crossing the Lake of the Woods, so infuriated with his master's urging that he seized the tormentor who was small in stature, by the shoulders, and with a plentiful use of "sacrés," dipped him into the lake, and then replaced him in the bottom of the canoe.

It does not fall within the scope of our story to tell of Simpson's journeys through Rupert's Land, nor of his famous voyage around the world, but there is extant an account of his methods of appealing to the interest of the Indians and servants of the company in his notable progresses through the wilds. Some seven years after his appointment Governor Simpson made a voyage from Hudson Bay, across country to the Pacific Ocean, namely, from York Factory to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. Fourteen chief officers, factors and traders, and as many more clerks had gathered to see the chieftain depart. Taking with him a lieutenant—Macdonald, a doctor and two canoe crews, of nine men each, the jolly Governor with dashing speed ascended the Hayes River, up which the Selkirk Colonists had laboriously come, receiving as he left the Factory, loud cheers from all the people gathered, and a salute of seven guns from the garrison. The French-Canadian voyageurs struck up their boating songs with glee, and with dashing paddles left the bay behind.190

The expedition was well provided with supplies, including wine for the gentlemen and spirits for the men.

The arrival at Norway House was a féte.

Before reaching the Fort the party landed on the shore, and paying much attention to their toilets, put themselves in proper trim. In full career the canoes dashed through the deep rocky gorge leading to the Fort, the Governor's canoe, had on its high prow, conspicuous the French guide, who for the time gave commands. The Governor always took his Highland piper with him, and now there pealed forth from the canoe the strident strains of the bagpipes, while from the second canoe sounded the shrill call of the chief factor's bugle. As the party approached the Fort they saw the Union Jack with its magic letters H.B.C. floating from the tall flag-staff of Norway pine erected on Signal Hill. Bands of Indians from all directions were assembled to meet the great chief or "Kitche Okema," as they called him. Ceasing the pipes and bugle, the voyageurs sang with lively spirit one of their boat songs, to the great delight of their old friends, the Indians.

The Governor was in 1839, at a time when Canada was much disturbed in both Provinces by the Mackenzie-Papineau rebellion, rewarded for the loyalty of his Company by having knighthood conferred upon him.191

Sir George Simpson's annual visits to Red River Settlement were the bright spots in the life of the Colony. Never did a Governor get so near the people as did Sir George. Old settlers tell how when Sir George arrived every grievance, disaster, suspicion, or bit of gossip was faithfully carried to him, and his patience and ingenuity were freely exercised in "jollying" the people and giving them condescending attention.

Sir George married in time, and on occasion brought Lady Simpson, who was a native of the country, to visit the Red River Settlement. Her presence was taken as a compliment by the people. Sir George Simpson, like many of the Hudson's Bay Company, had among all his business engagements the taste for literature. He encouraged the formation of libraries at the several trading posts, and in his letters throws in a remark about Sir Walter Scott, or Blackwood's last magazine, or other living topic, although the means of communication made literature often months late even on the banks of the Red River. His own effort in producing a book gave rise to a considerable amount of amusement. After his great journey around the world, he published an account of his travels in two considerable volumes. It is now no secret that these were prepared for him by a well-known judge of Red192 River Settlement, of whom we speak more fully in a later chapter. This double authorship became decidedly inconvenient to Sir George on the celebrated occasion when he was cited in 1857 to give evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons as to Rupert's Land. Sir George's experience in introducing farming into Red River Settlement had been so troublesome, and expensive as well, that he really believed agriculture would be a failure in the West, and so he gave his evidence. Unfortunately for him his editor had indulged in his book, in a pictorial and fulsome description of the Rainy River, as an agricultural region. Mr. Roebuck quoted this passage and Sir George was in a serious dilemma. If he admitted it his evidence would seem untrue, if he denied it then he must deny his authorship. He admitted that the book was somewhat too flattering in its description.

But, take him all in all, Sir George really stood for his duty and his people. He lifted the fur trade out of a slough of despond, he was kind and charitable to the people of the Red River Settlement, he was a good administrator and a patriot Briton, and though as his book tells and local tradition confirms it, he could not escape from what is called "the witchery of a pretty face," yet he rose to the position on the whole as a man who sought for the higher193 interests of the vast territory under his sway, as well as for the financial advancement of his company.



The struggle has always been between the masses and the classes. Privilege always strives to confine itself to a few. It could not be but that the echoes of the great British Reform Bill of 1832 should reach even the remote banks of Red River. The struggle for constitutional freedom was also going on in Upper Canada, as well as in Lower Canada where the French-Canadians were fighting bitterly for their rights. Besides all this in the Red River Settlement the existence of a Company store—a monopoly—could never prove satisfactory to a community of British blood. Had the Colony shop been ever so justly and honestly conducted it could not be popular, how much less so must it have been in the hands of Alexander Macdonell, the peculator and deceiver.

It is true the Company store, of which we speak, was not that of the Hudson's Bay Company proper, but rather the possession of Lord Selkirk's heirs.195

Gradually the rulership was coming under the direction of Governor Simpson, though there was the local Governor who was nominally independent.

Even when Governor Simpson was invoked, it is to be remembered that he and his company were the embodiment of privilege. But the Governor was a surprisingly shrewd man. He saw the aspiration after freedom, of both Scottish and French Settlers. True, gaunt poverty did not stalk along the banks of Red River as it had done in the first ten years of the Colony, but just because the people were becoming better housed, better clad, and better fed, were they becoming more independent. The unwillingness to be controlled was showing itself very distinctly among the French half-breeds as they grew in numbers and dashed over the prairies on their fiery steeds. They were hunters, accustomed to the use of firearms and were, therefore, difficult to restrain.

The Governor's policy clearly defined in his own mind became, for the next ten years, the policy of the Company. We have seen that the Governor built Lower Fort Garry, and he regarded this as his residence, nearly twenty miles down the river from the Forks, which was the centre of French influence. Even before doing this in 1831 he had, in the year preceding this, as Ross tells us, built a small powder 196 magazine at Upper Fort Garry, and it goes without saying that rulers do not build powder magazines for the purpose of ornament.

In 1834, as we learn from Hon. Donald Gunn, who was then a resident of Red River Settlement, and who has left us his views in the manuscript afterward published coming up to 1835, a most serious revolt took place among the Metis. Gunn's account is vivid and interesting.

The Sisters     The Ferry     The Forks       Fort Garry     Site of Fort Gibraltar
      Pontoon Bridge     French Half-breeds with Ox-carts     
(From Oil painting of Mr. W. Frank Lynn made in 1872, now in possession of the Author.)

The French half-breeds were entirely dependent upon hunting, trapping or voyaging. One hundred or one hundred and fifty men were required to transfer goods, furs, etc., from the boats during the time of open water. Generally they received advances from the Fur Company at the beginning of summer, for they were always in debt to the company. On the close of the open season they were paid the balance due them. After a few days of idleness and gossip the money would be spent and want would begin to press them. A new engagement with an advance would follow. The agreement was signed, and so like an endless chain, the natives were always held to the Company's interest. At Christmas, these workmen received a portion of their advance, and as is well known, the company relaxed somewhat its rules as to liquor selling at this season. At this Christmas time of 1834 payments were being made and indul197gence was supreme, when a French half-breed named Larocque entered the office of the accountant, Thomas Simpson, a relative of Sir George, and demanded his pay in a disrespectful way. Simpson replied somewhat roughly, which led Larocque to insult the officer of the company. Simpson seized the fire poker and striking Larocque's head made an ugly wound on his scalp.

Larocque's companions retired without violence, but on returning home, gathered the violent spirits together, came back to Fort Garry and demanded that Thomas Simpson should be given up to them for punishment, with the threat that if this were not granted, they would destroy the Fort, and take Simpson by violence. This being refused them, the Metis returned to their homes to prepare themselves for action, and began the war songs and war dances of their savage ancestors in true Indian style. Governor Christie, the local authority, took with him Chief Factor Cameron, Robert Logan and Alexander Ross, chief men of the Settlement, and visited the gathering of the Metis. One of the deputation writes that "they resembled a troop of furies more than human beings." For some time the mob refused the approaches of the officers of the Company. At length the quarrel was settled by the Company agreeing to pay the voyageur's wages in full, and that198 he should be allowed to remain at home. Probably, however, the most acceptable part of the concession, was the gift by the Company of a "ten-gallon keg of rum and tobacco."

Next spring another demonstration was made by the Metis for other demands, but these were refused.

Exterior View of Fort Garry
Exterior View of Fort Garry

Then, from every direction came the imperious suggestion that some more effective form of government should be adopted. This was granted. True, Governor Simpson did not succeed in satisfying all the Settlers, though in this respect he found it easier to supply the volatile French-Canadian hunters, than the hard-headed people of British origin. The method of Governor Simpson, along with the London 199 Board of the Hudson's Bay Company choosing the Council of Assiniboia, certainly did smack of the age of Henry VIII. or Charles I. in English history.

The Council consisted of fifteen members, viz.: the Governor-in-Chief Simpson, the Local Governor Christie, the Roman Catholic Bishop, two Church of England clergymen, three retired Hudson's Bay Company officers, the leading doctor of the Colony, Sheriff Ross, Coroner McCallum, and three leading business men, viz.: Pritchard, Logan and McDermott. It is noticeable that though the French element numbered about one-half of the people, that only one Councillor besides the Bishop was given them, and this was Cuthbert Grant, now settled down from the period of his Bois-brulés impulsiveness to be the Warden of the Plains, with an influence over the Metis, that can only be described as magical.

Judged by the methods of representative government the Council was rather a burlesque.

Sheriff Alexander Ross, though a member of the Council, says: "To guard against foolish and oppressive acts, the sooner the people have a share in their own affairs the better. It is only fair that those that have to obey the laws should have a voice in making them."

Hon. Donald Gunn, who was not on the Council, says: "The majority of the Council thus200 appointed were, no doubt, the wealthiest men in the Colony and generally well-informed, and yet their appointment was far from being acceptable to the people who knew that they were either sinecurists or salaried servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, and consequently were not the fittest men to legislate for people who retained some faint recollection of the manner in which the popular branch of the legislature in their native land was appointed, and who never ceased to inveigh against the arbitrary manner in which the Governor-in-chief chose the legislators."

Notwithstanding the writer's perfect sympathy with both of these opinions, it is but fair to state that the Council of Assiniboia did in ordinary times do many things which were most beneficial and helpful to the Red River Community.

Its most distressing failures were in those things which are very essential. (1) Being a compromise body it had no power of progressive development, and in the whole generation of its existence it did practically nothing to advance the public, intellectual, or moral interests of the people. (2) Perhaps its most serious breakdown took place, as we shall see, in the failure of its judicial system. Executive power it had none, as seen in the cases where jail-delivery took place again and again by the friends of201 the prisoners boldly extricating whom they would. (3) But most alarming and miserable was its failure to act in its moribund days, when it allowed, as we shall see, a mob to seize Fort Garry and bring in an era of disorder which made every self-respecting British subject blush with shame.

South and East Faces
South and East Faces, 1840 From sketch by wife of Governor Finlayson.

East Face In 1882, When Fort Was Dismantled
East Face In 1882, When Fort Was Dismantled
(From painting in author's possession.)
x Spot where Scott was Executed.



The wild life of the prairie or mountain cultivates a spirit of freedom. When individuals must become a law unto themselves, when the absence of steamers, railways, electric power, work-shops, and mills, throws men on their own resources, they find it irksome to obey the law. They regard its restrictions as tyrannical. The prairie horse becomes free. He must be caught with the lasso, he needs to be hobbled near the camp, it is necessary to curb him in his temper, but in his wild state he can provide for himself. He knows the best pasture and seeks it, he is acquainted with the water courses and finds them, he returns or not to his stable or covert at his own sweet will, he fights the wolf or the bear and protects the colts from the wild beasts.

As is the prairie steed, so to a large extent is his master. He is apt to despise civilization, prefers his buckskin coat and fringed leggings, and loves the moccasin rather than the stiff leather shoe.203

With him the idea of sub-division of property is not developed. There are no local game laws. He shoots large or small game, moose or prairie chicken, whenever he can find them. He traps on whatever stream he chooses. His idea of personal property is very liberal. He is large-hearted and bountiful, divides his find of game with his neighbors, and his shanty has, as he says, "a latch hanging outside the door," for any wanderer or passing stranger.

This many-sided notion of freedom belongs to all primitive peoples and societies. Of the Red River Community the French half-breed was of the most unsubdued and restive type, for he followed the ways of the Indians, while the Selkirk Colonists and their descendants always professed to be farmers, and hunting was only their diversion. Moreover, being of Scottish blood, they had been taught to fear God and honor the King.

We have seen that Governor Simpson had a plan in his mind for gaining control and preserving order in his own kingdom. His idea of building fortified stone forts is chiefly seen in the cases of Upper and Lower Forts Garry. Fort Garry was, as we have seen, well on the way to completion by the time of the French outbreak in connection with Larocque. And Governor Christie was authorized to go on and construct a still more elaborate fort at the204 Forks to replace the wooden Fort Garry built shortly after the union of the Companies. Thus, a large Fort with numerous buildings, suitable for trade and residence, was begun in 1835, and around it a substantial stone wall was built. The dimensions from east to west were 280 feet, and from north to south 240 feet. The fort faced the Assiniboine River, and each of its corners showed a large and well-built bastion. The bastions were provided with port holes, and all about the structure suggested the possibility of an armed struggle. This was begun in the same year as the formation of the Council of Assiniboia, and was fairly advanced to completion by 1839. Laws for the government of the people, and the administration of justice were passed by the Council, in accordance with the opening address of Governor Simpson, when he said: "The time is at length arrived, when it becomes necessary to put the administration of justice on a more firm and regular footing than heretofore."

And now, in 1839, in this Arcadia of Red River there became evident the dreadful presence of the law in the person of Adam Thom, first Recorder of Rupert's Land, who, as compared with the humble incomes of the people of Red River, had the enormous salary of £700 a year bestowed upon him by the Hudson's Bay Company. The plan was a very real one in205 Governor Simpson's mind when he took a step so decided.

Recorder and Author.
Lived in Red River Settlement 1839-1854.

And the man who had been chosen for this post was no man of putty. He was a Scotchman of commanding presence, decided opinions and strong will. He was a man of rather aggressive and combative disposition. The writer met him in London long after he had retired—and this was some thirty years ago, and though the judge was then upwards of three score and ten, he was yet a man of force and decision. A graduate of Aberdeen University, Adam Thom had come to Montreal as a lawyer, and was for a time on Lord Durham's staff. He had taken high ground against Papineau's rebellion, and was known as one of the strongest newspaper controversialists of the time. He was a determined opponent of the French-Canadian rebellion, as he was of rebellion in any form whatever. Evidently, Governor Simpson chose a man "after his own heart" for the difficult task, of introducing law and order among the turbulent Nor'-Westers.

The arrival of the new Judge in the Red River Settlement gave rise to much comment. The spirit of discontent had strengthened, as we have seen among the Colonists and English-speaking half-breeds. The Hudson's Bay Company had now re-bought the land of Assiniboia from Lord Selkirk's heirs. Hitherto 206 it was difficult to find out precisely who their oppressor was. Now, though Governor Simpson sought by diplomacy to evade the responsibility, yet the explanation given by the Colonists of the arrival of Recorder Thom, was that he had come to uphold the Company's pretensions and to restrict their liberties. According to Ross,the Colonists reasoned that "a man placed in Recorder Thom's position, liable to be turned out of office at the Company's pleasure, naturally provokes the doubt whether he could at all times be proof against the sin of partiality. Is it likely," they said, "that he could always take the impartial view of a case that might involve in its results his own interests or deprive him of his daily bread?"

Likewise, on the part of the French half-breeds, there was the same distrust in regard to the limiting of the privileges which they enjoyed, while along with this it had been noised about that during the Papineau trouble in Canada, the Judge was no favorite of the French. The French half-breeds, accordingly, became strongly prejudiced against the new Recorder.

In the year after the arrival of Recorder Thom, a most startling and mysterious event—which indeed has never been solved to the present day, happened in the case of Thomas Simpson, who it will be remembered had roused by his crushing blow on the head of Larocque, the207 rage of the whole French half-breed community. The case was that Thomas Simpson, with a party of natives, had been going southward through Minnesota, ahead of the main body of sojourners. In a state of frenzy he had shot two of his four companions. The other two returned to the main body, and got assistance. He was seen to be alive as they approached him, a shot was heard, and then shots were fired in his direction by those observing him. Whether he committed suicide or was killed by those approaching, some of whom were French, will never be known. The fact that he had quarreled with the French half-breeds, five years before this event, was used to throw suspicion. The body of Simpson was carried back to St. John's Cemetery in Winnipeg, and it is said was buried along the wall in token of the belief that he had committed suicide.

What the body of the people had feared in the tightening of the legal restrictions by the new laws and new officials, did actually take place. The French half-breeds were, as we have seen, chiefly given to hunting. In theory, the Hudson's Bay Company possessed all hunting rights under their charter. A French-Canadian, Larant, and another half-breed also, had the furs, which they had hunted for, forcibly taken from them by legal authority, while in a third case an offender against the game laws had been actually208 deported to York Factory. Alarm was now general among the French half-breeds. Hitherto the English half-breeds had been loyal to the Company. Alexander Ross gives an incident worth repeating as to how even the English half-breeds became rebellious. He says: "One of the Company's officers, residing at a distance, had placed two of his daughters at the boarding-school in the Settlement. An English half-breed, a comely well-behaved young man, of respectable connections, was paying his addresses to one of these young ladies, and had asked her in marriage. The young lady had another suitor in the person of a Scotch lad, but her affections were in favor of the former, while her guardian, the chief officer in Red River, preferred the latter. In his zeal to succeed in the choice he had made for the young lady, this gentleman sent for the half-breed and reprimanded him for aspiring to the hand of a lady, accustomed, as he expressed it, to the first society. The young man, without saying a word, put on his hat and walked out of the room; but being the leading man among his countrymen, the whole community took fire at the insult. 'This is the way,' said they, 'that we half-breeds are despised and treated.' From that time they clubbed together in high dudgeon and joined the French Malcontents against their rulers. The French half-breeds made a flag for use on209 the plains called 'The Papineau Standard.' It is plain that rightly or wrongly, Recorder Thom has a thorny path to tread."210



Canada looks with patriotic delight not only on her sons who remain at home to work out the problems of her developing life, but follows with keenest interest those Canadians who have gone abroad and made a name for themselves, and their country in other parts of the Empire or the world. Some of these are Judge Haliburton, Satirist; Roberts and Bliss Carman, Poets; Gilbert Parker, Grant Allen and Barr, Novelists; Romanes and Newcombe, Scientists; Girouard, Kennedy and Scott in the Army, and many others who have won laurels in the several walks of life. But Manitoba, or rather Red River Settlement has also its sons who have gone abroad to do distinguished service and bring honor to their place of birth. One of them was Alexander K. Isbister, most commonly known as the donor of upwards of $80,000, given as a Scholarship Fund to the University of Manitoba, but really more celebrated still, for the service he rendered his native land. A little less than thirty years ago the writer met Mr. 211 Isbister in London and enjoyed his hospitality. Isbister was a tall and handsome man, showing distinctly by his color and high cheekbones that he had Indian blood in his veins. Receiving his early education in St. John's School, he had gone home to England, taken his degrees, become a lawyer, and afterward had gone into educational work. He was, at the time of the visit spoken of, Dean of the College of Preceptors in London, and had much reputation as an educationalist. But the service he rendered to his native land out-topped all his other achievements. We have already shown the tendency toward restriction being developed under Recorder Thom's leadership, in Red River Settlement. James Sinclair, a member of a most respectable Scotch half-breed family, had obtained the privilege from the Company to export tallow, the product of the buffalo, by way of York Factory to England. The venture succeeded, but a second shipment was held at York Factory for nearly two years, and thus Sinclair was virtually compelled to sell it to the Company.

Twenty leading half-breeds then appealed to the Hudson's Bay Company to be allowed to export tallow at a reasonable rate. In 1844 two proclamations were issued, that before the Company would carry goods for any settler, a declaration from such settler, and the examination212 of his correspondence in regard to his dealing in furs would first be necessary. The native people determined to oppose them. They claimed as having Indian blood, that they were entitled to aboriginal rights. Twenty leading English-speaking half-breeds, among them such respectable names as Sinclair, Dease, Vincent, Bird and Garrioch, demanded from Governor Christie a definite answer as to their position and rights. The Governor answered with sweet words, but the policy of "thorough" was steadily pushed forward, and a new land deed was devised by which the land would be forfeited should the settlers interfere in the fur trade. Next, heavy freights were put on goods going to England by way of Hudson Bay, and Sinclair, as an agitator, was refused the privilege of having his freight carried at any price. The spirits of the English-speaking half-breeds were raised to a pitch of discontent, quite equal to that of the French half-breeds, although the latter were more noisy and demonstrative. James Sinclair became the "village Hampden" who stood for his rights and those of his compeers.

It was at this juncture that the valuable aid of Isbister came to his countrymen. In 1847 Isbister, with his educated mind, social standing, and valiant spirit led the way for his people, and with five other half-breeds of Red213 River forwarded a long and able memorial to Earl Grey, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, bringing the serious charges against the Company, of neglecting the native people, oppressing all the settlers, and taking from them their natural rights. A perusal of this document leads us to the opinion that the charges were exaggerated, but nevertheless they showed how impossible it was, for a Trading Company, to be at the same time the Government of a country and to be equitable and high-minded. The Hudson's Bay Company answered this document sent them by the Imperial Government, and so far relieved themselves of some of the charges. But the storm raised could not be quieted. Isbister obtained new evidence and attacked the validity of the Company's Charter. Lord Elgin, the fair-minded Governor of Canada, claimed that he, in Canada, was too far away from the scene of dispute to give an authoritative answer, but on the whole he favored the Company. Lord Elgin, however, based his reply too much upon the statement of Colonel Crofton, a military officer, who had been sent to Red River. Alexander Ross said of Crofton, on the other hand, that he was a man "who never studied the art of governing a people."

But the agitation still gained head.

The mercurial French half-breeds now joined214 in the struggle. They forwarded a petition to Her Majesty the Queen, couched in excellent terms, in the French language, in the main asking that their right to enjoy the liberty of commerce be given them. This petition was signed by nine hundred and seventy-seven persons, and virtually represented the whole French half-breed adult population.

An important episode soon took place among the French, usually known as the "Sayer Affair." Of this we shall speak in another chapter. The movement, headed by Isbister, still continued, and led to the serious consideration by the British Government of the whole situation in Red River Settlement. The impatience of the people of all classes in Red River led to a new plan of attack. Not being able to influence sufficiently the British authorities, they forwarded a petition, signed by five hundred and seventy English-speaking people of Red River Settlement, to the Legislative Assembly of Canada. The grievances of the people were given in detail. The reason suggested for the deaf ear which had been given them by the British Parliament were stated to be "the chicanery of the Hudson's Bay Company, and its false representations."

Isbister, in all his efforts, gained the unfailing respect and gratitude, not only of his own race, but very generally of the people of the215 Red River Settlement. Ten years after the petition of Isbister and his friends had been presented to Earl Grey, a committee of the House of Commons was sitting to investigate the affairs of the Hudson's Bay Company. It was a sifting inquiry, in which Gladstone, Roebuck and other friends of liberty, took part. It, however, took a quarter of a century to bring about the union of Rupert's Land with Canada, although, as we shall see, in less than five years, a measure of amelioration came to the oppressed and indignant settlers of Red River. For this the people of Red River Settlement were largely indebted to the self-denying and persistent efforts of Alexander Isbister. The old settlers of Kildonan, the French and English half-breeds of the several parishes, and their descendants as well as the University of Manitoba and all friends of education ought to keep his memory green for what he did for them, for as a writer of his own time says, "He gained for himself a name that will live in days yet to come."216



Stone forts and ermined judges were not, to the mind of the unbridled and ungovernable Metis. True, the French mind has a love for show and circumstance and dignity of demeanor, but the conviction had taken hold of the people of Red River, and especially of the French half-breeds, that these meant curtailment of their freedom. They felt the dice were loaded against them.

But, now, in the year after Sinclair and his friends had shown such a firm front to Governor Christie, and when something like a feudal system was being introduced into the Red River Settlement, a new surprise came upon French and English alike. This was immediately after the terrible visitation of a plague, which had cut down one-sixteenth of the whole population. It was the arrival of a party of the Sixth Royal Regiment of Foot, along with artillery and engineers, amounting in all to five hundred souls. The breath of the people was taken away by this demonstration of force, and a chronicler217 of the time says: "From the moment they arrived the high tone of lawless defiance and internal disaffection raised by our people against the laws and the authorities of the place were reduced to silence." Colonel Crofton, in command of the troops, was appointed Governor of the Settlement, and he proved a wise and honorable administrator. The regiment gained golden opinions from the people, and as they spent during their short stay of two years, a sum of £15,000 in supplies, it was, indeed, a golden age for the hard-working Colonists. The leaving of the regiment was regretted by the Colony.

Having now entered on a career of government by force, it would not do to let it drop. Hence the authorities enlisted in Britain a number of old pensioners, and under command of Major Caldwell, who was also to act as Governor of the Settlement, sent out, in each of two successive years, some seventy of these discharged soldiers to act as guardians of the peace. It was pretty well agreed that these men, to whom were given holdings of small pieces of land to the west of Fort Garry, now in the St. James District of Winnipeg, were simply imitators in conduct and disposition of the De Meurons, who had so vexed the Colonists. Major Caldwell, too, by his lack of business habits and his selfishness, alienated all the218 leading men of the Colony, so that they refused to sit with him in Council. It was the common opinion that the turbulence and violence of the pensioners was so great that, as one of the Company said, "We have more trouble with the pensioners than with all the rest of the Settlement put together." The pensioners were certainly absolutely useless for the purpose for which they had been sent, that is to preserve order in the country. The Metis, at any rate, spoke of them with derision.

PLAN OF FORT GARRY and of the other forts of Winnipeg.
1, Fort Rouge; 2, Fort Douglas; 3, Fort Gibraltar; 4, Fidler's Fort; 5, First Fort Garry; 6, Fort Garry.

In the year following the removal of the troops the policy of preventing the French219 half-breeds from buying and selling furs with the Indians was being carried out by Judge Thom, the relentless ogre of the law. Four men of the Metis had been arrested; of these the leader was William Sayer. He was the half-breed son of an old French bourgeois of the Northwest Company. He had been liberated on bail, and was to come up for trial in May. The charge against him was of buying goods with which to go on a trading expedition to Lake Manitoba.

Possibly the case would be easily disposed of, and most likely dismissed with a trifling fine, although it was true that Sayer had made a stiff resistance on his being arrested. This violent resistance was but an example of the bitter and dangerous spirit that was developing among the Metis.

A brave and restless man was now growing to have a dominating influence over the French half-breeds. This was Louis Riel, a fierce and noisy revolutionist, ready for any extremity. He was a French half-breed, was owner of a small flour mill on the Seine River, and he was the father of the rebel chief of later years. The day fixed for the Sayer trial by the legal authorities was a most unfortunate one. It was on May 17th, which on that year was Ascension Day, a day of obligation among the Catholic people of the Settlement. It was noticeable220 that there was much ferment in the French parishes. Louis Riel, who was a violent, but effective speaker, of French, Irish and Indian descent, busied himself in stirring up resistance. The fact that it was a Church day for the Metis made it easy for them to gather together. This they did by hundreds in front of the St. Boniface Cathedral, where, piling up their guns, with which all the men were armed, at the Church door, they then entered and performed their sacred duties. At the close of the service, Riel, "the miller of the Seine," made a fiery oration, advocating the rescue of their compatriot Sayer, who was to be held for trial at the Court House. A French sympathizer said of this public meeting: "Louis Riel obtained a veritable triumph on that occasion, and long and loud the hurrahs were repeated by the echoes of the Red River."

And now, under Riel's direction, by a concerted action, movement of the whole body was made to cross the Red River and march to the Court House, which stood beside the wall of Fort Garry. To allow the five hundred men to cross easily, Point Douglas was selected, and here by ferry boats, said to have been provided by James Sinclair, the English half-breed leader of whom we have spoken, the party crossed, and worked up to the highest pitch of excitement, stalked up the mile or two to the Court House. 221

South portion with stone wall and bastions built in 1835.
North portion with wooden wall and stone north gate still standing, built in 1850.

Though somewhat anxious, the Governor and Court officials passed through the excited crowd which surrounded the Court House. It was expected that the Governor would order out a guard of pensioners to protect the Court, but he had dispensed with this, and so he, Recorder222 Thom, and the Magistrate, took their seats upon the elevated platform of Justice precisely at eleven o'clock. Sayer's case was called first, but he was held by the Metis outside of the Court room. Other unimportant business was then taken up until one o'clock. An Irish relative of old Andrew McDermott, named McLaughlin, attempted to interfere, but was instantly suppressed. The Court then sent a suggestion to the Metis that they should appoint a leader with a deputation to enter the Court room with Sayer and state their case. This proposal was accepted, and James Sinclair, the English half-breed leader, undertook the duty. Sayer was then brought in, guarded by twenty of his compatriots, fully armed, while fifty Metis guards stood at the gates of the Court House enclosure. An attempt was then made to select a jury, but it was fruitless. Sayer next confessed that he had traded for furs with an Indian. The Court then gave a verdict of guilty, whereupon Sayer proved that a Hudson's Bay officer named Harriott, had given him authority to trade. The other three cases against the Metis were not proceeded with, and Governor, Recorder, officials and spectators all left the Court room, the mob being of the impression that the prisoners had been acquitted, and that trading for furs was no longer illegal. Though this was not the decision yet the crowd so took it up, and made223 the welkin ring with shouts (Le Commerce est libre, vive la liberté) "Commerce is free, long live liberty."

The Metis then crossed the river to St. Boniface, and after much cheering, fired several salutes with their guns. It was their victory, but it was one in which the vast mass of the English-speaking rejoiced for the bands of tyranny were broken. Judge Thom, under instructions from Governor Simpson, never acted as Recorder again, but was simply Secretary of the Court, and another reigned in his stead. After this the Court was largely without authority, and as has been said the rescue of prisoners was not an infrequent occurrence in the future life of the Settlement. 224



Alexander Ross was a Scottish Highlander, who came to Glengarry in Canada, quite a century ago, joined Astor's expedition, went around Cape Horn and in British Columbia rose to be an officer in the Northwest Company. He married the daughter of an Indian Chief at Okanagan, came over the Rocky Mountains, and was given by Sir George Simpson a free gift of a farm, where Ross and James Streets are now found in Winnipeg. This land is to-day worth many millions of dollars. Ross was also fond of hunting the buffalo, and we are fortunate in having his spirited story of 1840.


In the leafy month of June carts were seen to emerge from every nook and corner of the Settlement bound for the plains. As they passed us, many things were discovered to be still wanting, to supply which a halt had to be made at Fort Garry shop; one wanted this thing, another that, but all on credit. The day of payment was yet to come; but payment was promised. Many on the present occasion were sup225plied, many were not; they got and grumbled, and grumbled and got, till they could get no more; and at last went off, still grumbling and discontented.

From Fort Garry the cavalcade and camp-followers were crowding on the public road, and thence, stretching from point to point, till the third day in the evening, when they reached Pembina, the great rendezvous of such occasions. When the hunters leave the Settlement it enjoys that relief which a person feels on recovering from a long and painful sickness. Here, on a level plain, the whole patriarchal camp squatted down like pilgrims on a journey to the Holy Land, in ancient days: only not so devout, for neither scrip nor staff were consecrated for the occasion. Here the roll was called, and general muster taken, when they numbered on the occasion 1,630 souls: and here the rules and regulations for the journey were finally settled. The officials for the trip were named and installed into their office, and all without the aid of writing materials.

The camp occupied as much ground as a modern city, and was formed in a circle: all the carts were placed side by side, the trams outward. Within this line, the tents were placed in double, treble rows, at one end; the animals at the other in front of the tents. This is the order in all dangerous places: but when226 no danger is feared, the animals are kept on the outside. Thus, the carts formed a strong barrier, not only for securing the people and the beasts of burden within, but as a place of shelter and defence against an attack of the enemy without.

There is, however, another appendage belonging to the expedition, and to every expedition of the kind; and you may be assured they are not the least noisy. We allude to the dogs or camp followers. On the present occasion they numbered no fewer than 542; sufficient of themselves to consume no small number of animals a day, for, like their masters, they dearly relish a bit of buffalo meat.

These animals are kept in summer as they are, about the establishments of the fur traders, for their services in the winter. In deep snows, when horses cannot conveniently be used, dogs are very serviceable to the hunters in these parts. The half-breed, dressed in his wolf costume, tackles two or three sturdy curs into a flat sled, throws himself on it at full length, and gets among the buffalo unperceived. Here the bow and arrow play their part to prevent noise; and here the skillful hunter kills as many as he pleases, and returns to camp without disturbing the band.

But now to our camp again—the largest of its kind perhaps in the world. A council was held 227 for the nomination of chiefs or officers for conducting the expedition. Two captains were named, the senior on this occasion being Jean Baptiste Wilkie, an English half-breed brought up among the French, a man of good sound sense and long experience, and withal a bold-looking and discreet fellow, a second Nimrod in his way. Besides being captain, in common with others, he was styled the great war chief or head of the camp, and on all public occasions he occupied the place of president.

The hoisting of the flag every morning is the signal for raising camp. Half an hour is the full time allowed to prepare for the march, but if anyone is sick, or their animals have strayed, notice is sent to the guide, who halts until all is made right. From the time the flag is hoisted however, till the hour of camping arrives, it is never taken down. The flag taken down is a signal for encamping, while it is up the guide is chief of the expedition, captains are subject to him, and the soldiers of the day are his messengers, he commands all. The moment the flag is lowered his functions cease and the captains and soldiers' duties commence. They point out the order of the camp, and every cart as it arrives moves to its appointed place. This business usually occupies about the same time as raising camp in the morning, for everything moves with the regularity of clockwork.228

The captains and other chiefs have agreed on rules to govern the expedition, such as, that no buffaloes are to be run on Sunday, no party is to lag behind or to go before, no one may run a buffalo without a general order, etc. The punishment for breaking the laws are for a first offence: the offender had his saddle and bridle cut up: for the second, to have the coat taken off his back and cut up: for the third, the offender was flogged. Any theft was punished by the offender being three times proclaimed "THIEF," in the middle of the camp.

On the 21st of June, after the priest had performed mass, for many were Roman Catholics, the flag was unfurled at about six or seven o'clock and the picturesque line was formed over the prairie, extending some five or six miles towards the southwest. It was the ninth was gained. This was a journey of about 150 day from Pembina before the Cheyenne River miles, and on the nineteenth day, at a distance of 250 miles, the destined hunting grounds were reached. On the 4th of July, since the encampment was in the United States, the compliment was paid of having the first buffalo race.

No less than 400 huntsmen, all mounted and anxiously waiting for the word "Start," took up their position in a line at one end of the camp, while Captain Wilkie issued his orders.



At eight o'clock the whole cavalcade broke ground, and made for the buffaloes. When the horsemen started the buffaloes were about a mile and a half distant, but when they approached to about four or five hundred yards, the bulls curled their tails or pawed the ground. In a moment more the herd took flight, and horse and rider are presently seen bursting upon them, shots are heard, and all is smoke, dust and hurry, and in less time than we have occupied with a description a thousand carcasses strew the plain.

When the rush was made, the earth seemed to tremble as the horses started, but when the animals fled, it was like the shock of an earthquake. The air was darkened, the rapid firing, at first, soon became more and more faint, and at last died away in the distance.

In such a run, a good horse and experienced rider will select and kill from ten to twelve buffaloes at one heat, but in the case before us, the surface was rocky and full of badger holes. Twenty-three horses and riders were at one moment all sprawling on the ground, one horse gored by a bull, was killed on the spot, two more were disabled by the fall. One rider broke his shoulder blade, another burst his gun, and lost three fingers by the accident, another was struck on the knee by an exhausted bull. In the evening no less than 1,375 tongues were brought into230 camp. When the run is over the hunter's work is now retrograde. The last animal killed is the first skinned, and night not unfrequently, surprises the runner at his work. What then remains is lost and falls to the wolves. Hundreds of dead buffaloes are often abandoned, for even a thunderstorm, in one hour, will render the meat useless.

The day of a race is as fatiguing on the hunter as on the horse, but the meat well in the camp, he enjoys the very luxury of idleness.

Then the task of the women begins, who do all the rest, and what with skins, and meat and fat, their duty is a most laborious one.

It is to be regretted that much of the meat is wasted. Our expedition killed not less than 2,500 buffaloes, and out of all these made 375 bags of pemmican, and 240 bales of dried meat; 750 animals should have made that amount, so that a great quantity was wasted. Of course, the buffalo skins were saved and had their value.

Our party were now on the Missouri and encamped there. A few traders went to the nearest American fort, and bartered furs for articles they needed.

After passing a week on the banks of the Missouri we turned to the West, when we had a few races with various success. We were afterwards led backwards and forwards at the pleasure of the buffalo herds. They crossed and recrossed231 our path until we had travelled to almost every point of the compass.

Having had various altercations with the Indians, the party reached Red River, bringing about 900 lbs. of buffalo meat in each cart, making more than one million pounds in all. The Hudson's Bay Company took a considerable amount of this, and the remainder went to supply the wants of the Red River Settlement for another year. 232



The writer remembers meeting in Boston, a good many years ago, a scientific explorer, who along with two companies, one of whom is the greatest astronomer in the United States, as an astronomical party in 1860, made a visit through Red River Settlement, on their way to the North Saskatchewan to observe an eclipse. The disappointment of the party was very great, for, after travelling three thousand miles, their fate was "to sit in a marsh and view the eclipse through the clouds, so heavy was the rain."

The three astronomers have given their account under assumed names in a little book, of which there are few copies in Canada. Their view of Red River Settlement in 1860 is a vivid picture.

What an extraordinary Settlement! Here is a Colony of about ten thousand souls scattered among plantations for thirty miles along the Red and half as many along the Assiniboine River, almost wholly dependent for intelligence233 from the outer world on one stern-wheeled steamer. That breaks down; and before word can be sent of their complete isolation, weeks must pass before the old and painful canoe-route by way of Lake of the Woods can be opened, or the wagon make its tedious journey to the headwaters of the Red and back, improvising on the way its own ferries over the swift and deep streams which feed it.

Finding haste of no avail, and despatching our luggage on carts to the Upper Fort and centre of the Settlement, twenty miles away, we start there on foot the next day to view the land and its inhabitants. The road, "the King's road," is a mere cart-track in the deep loam, taking its independent course on either side of the houses, all of which front the river in a single wavering line; for the country is given up absolutely to farming, for which the rich mould, said to be three or four feet deep, eminently fits it; and the lots each with a narrow frontage at the bank of the river, extends back two miles into the prairie. All is at a dead level. John Omand had asked us to dine at his house; but accidentally passing it without recognizing it from his description, we select a fair representative of the common class of houses, and ask for dinner. It is a log-cabin, like all of this class (some far better ones have walls of stone) with a thatched roof and a rough stone and mortar234 chimney planted against one wall. Inside is but a single room, well whitewashed, as is indeed the outside and exceptionally tidy; a bed occupies one corner, a sort of couch another, a rung ladder leads up to loose boards overhead which form an attic, a trap door in the middle of the room opens to a small hole in the ground where milk and butter are kept cool; from the beam is suspended a hammock, used as a cradle for the baby; shelves singularly hung held a scanty stock of plates, knives and forks; two windows on either side, covered with mosquito netting, admit the light, and a modicum of air; chests and boxes supply the place of seats, with here and there a keg by way of easy-chair. An open fireplace of whitewashed clay gives sign of cheer and warmth in the long winter, and a half-dozen books for library complete the scene.

Our hosts feel so "highly honored to have such gentlemen enter the house"—these are their very words—that it is with the greatest difficulty they are forced to take any compensation for the excellent meal of bread, butter, and rich cream which they set before us, and to which we do ample justice.

This was not the only interior we saw; we had before called on the single scientific man of the Settlement, Donald Gunn, and later in the day are forced by a thunderstorm to seek shelter in the nearest house; where we are also warmly 235 welcomed, and the rain continuing, are glad to accept the cordial invitations of its inhabitants to pass the night. This is a larger house, but only the father of the family and his buxom daughter, Susie, a lively girl of eighteen or nineteen, are at home, the others being off at the other end of their small farm, where they have temporary shelter during the harvest.

We have each a chamber to ourselves in the garret, reached in the same primitive method as before mentioned—and are shown with a dip of buffalo-tallow to our rooms. The furniture of these consists of a sort of couch, with buffalo skins for mattress and wolf skins for sheets and coverlet, a chest for a seat, a punch-bowl of water on a broken chair for a washstand, and a torn bit of rag for towel; while a barrel covered with a white cloth serves as a centre-table, and is besprinkled with antique books. Among those in his chamber our naturalist discovers one which appears to be a catechism of human knowledge containing, among other entertaining and instructive information as an answer to the question, "What is a shark?" the highly satisfactory reply that it is "An animal having eighty-eight teeth."

The wants of the Colony were few, the peasantry simple and industrious, and their lot in life did not seem to them hard. The earth yielded bountifully, and in time of temporary236 disaster fishing and hunting stood them in good stead. When they hunt, they go accompanied by Indians, who live on the outskirts of the Colony. Further and further they have been compelled to go, until at our visit no buffalo could be found within a hundred miles at nearest.

The hunt is just over as we reach the Settlement, and every day carts come in laden with the buffalo meat, hides, and pemmican. The prairie, back from the river, by Fort Garry, is dotted with carts, lodges and tents. Many are living in rude shelters formed of the carts themselves, placed back to back, and the sides secured by hides.

These carts illustrate well the primitive nature and the isolation of the Colony. They are the vehicles in universal use, and are built on the general pattern of our one-horse tip-carts, though they do not tip, and not a scrap of iron enters into them. They are without springs, of course, and rawhide and wooden pins serve to keep together the pieces out of which they are constructed. As they have no tires, and the section of the wheel part or crowd together, according to the moisture, a train of these carts bringing in the products of the hunt is a strange sight. Each cart has its own peculiar creak, hoarse and grating, and waggles its own individual waggle, graceless and shaky, on the uneven ground. To add to its oddity, the shafts 237 are heavy, straight beams, between which is harnessed an ox, the harness of rawhide (shaga-nappi) without buckles.

Everybody makes for himself what he wishes in this undifferentiated Settlement. We return in tatters. Not a tailor, nor anything approaching the description of one, exists here, and a week's search is needed to discover such a being as a shoemaker. A single store in the Hudson's Bay post at each of the two forts, twenty miles apart, supplies the goods of the outside world, and the purchaser must furnish the receptacle for carriage. For small goods this invariably consists, as far as we can see, of a red bandanna handkerchief, so that purchases have to be small and frequent; not all of one sort, however, for the native can readily tie up his tea in one corner, his sugar and buttons in two others, and still have one left for normal uses. How many handkerchiefs a day are put to use may be judged from the fact that the average sale of tea at Upper Fort Garry is four large boxes daily—all, be it remembered, brought by ship to Hudson Bay, and thence by batteaux and portage to the Red River.

The caravan by which we and a number of others were carried back to civilization was a stylish enough turnout for Red River. It was supplied by McKinney, the host of the Royal Hotel of the village of Winnipeg. Three large238 emigrant wagons, with canvas coverings of the most approved pattern, but of very different hues, drawn each by a yoke of oxen, convey the patrons of the party, with the exception of a miner, who rides his horse. The astronomers take the lead under a brown canvas; a theological student for Toronto University, a gentleman for St. Paul, and others follow under a black canvas full of holes; and the third wagon with a cover of spotless purity, conveys the ladies of the party and a clergyman. Behind them follow not only half a dozen Red River carts, with a most promiscuous assortment of baggage, peltry, and squeak, but also a stray ox and a pony or two; a number of armed horsemen, and for the first day a cavalcade of friends giving a Scotch convoy to those who were departing. The astronomers at length reached St. Paul, when they declare their connection with the world again complete, after an absence of about three months, during which they had travelled thirty-five hundred miles.239



Shakespeare's play of "As You Like It" is an eulogy of the flight from the highly formal life of city life to the simplicity of the forest and the retirement of the plains. Even in the banished Duke, there is a strain of oddity and quaintness. Not many years after the middle of last century, a Detroit lawyer fled from the troubles of society and city life to the peaceful plains of secluded Assiniboia. Marrying, after his arrival, a daughter of one of our best native families, and on her death, a pure Indian woman, he reared a large family. The poetic spirit of Frank Larned was never repressed, and we give, with some changes, to suit our purpose, and at times some divergence from the views expressed, scenes of the Red River Settlement, in which he, for more than a generation, dwelt.


That brave old Englishman, Thomas More—afterwards, unhappily for his head—Lord High Chancellor of England—wrote out, in fair La240tin,—in his chambers in the City of London, over three centuries ago—his idea of an Utopia. This, modest as are its requirements, has yet found no practical illustration, even among the many seats of the great colonizing race of mankind.

The primitive history of all the colonies that faced the Atlantic—when the new-found continent first felt the abiding foot of the stranger—from Oglethorpe to Acadia, reveals, alas! no Utopia. It remained for a later time,—the earlier half of the present century, amid some severity of climate, and under conditions without precedent, and incapable of repetition,—to evolve a community in the heart of the continent, shut away from intercourse with civilized mankind—that slowly crystalized into a form beyond the ideal of the dreamers—a community, in the past, known but slightly to the outer world as the Red River Settlement, which is but the bygone name for the one Utopia of Britain—the clear-cut impress of an exceptional people living under conditions of excellence unthought of by themselves until they had passed away.


A people, whose name in the vast domain, was in days by gone, sought out and coveted by all. Unknown races had rested here and gone away,241 leaving only their careful graves behind them. The "Mandans"—the brave, the fair, the beautiful, and the "Cheyennes," pressed by the "Nay-he-owuk," and the "Assin-a-pau-tuk," had quitted their earthen forts on the banks of the streams and urged their way to the broader tide of the Missouri. More fatal to the conquerors came afterward, the white man, "Nemesis" of all Indian life, spying with the instinct of his race, a spot of abounding fertility, where the great water-reaches stretched from the mountains to the sea, and southward touched almost the beginning of the great River of the Gulf.

Quick changing his errant camp for barter into a stronghold for the trade, making the "Niste-y-ak" of the "Crees" his settled home, the white man's grasp of the fair domain but grew with years. From the seas of the far north came with the men, fair-haired, blue-eyed women and children. The glamour of the spot, the teeming soil, the great and lesser game, that swam past,—or wandered by their doors—soon drew to this Mecca of the Plains and Waters—the roving, scattered children of the trade—Bourgeois and voyageur alike heading their lithe and dusky broods. Here touched and fused all habitudes of life, the blended races, knit by ties conserving every divergence of pursuit, all forms of faith and thought, free from assail or taint begotten of contact with aught242 other than themselves. A people whose unchecked primal freedom was afterward strengthened by the light hand of laws that conserved what they most desired; whose personal relations with their rulers were of such primitive character as to make the Government in every sense paternal; the petty tax on imports attending its administration one practically unfelt!

A people whose land was dotted with schools and churches, to whose maintenance their contributions were so slight as to be unworthy of mention. The three separate religious denominations, holding widely different tenets—elsewhere the cause of bitter sectarian feeling,—was with them so unthought of as to give where all topics were eagerly sought—no room for even fireside discussion. Side by side, "upon the voyage,"—as they termed their lake or inland trips—the Catholic and the Protestant knelt and offered up their devotions—following the ways of their fathers,—no more to be made a subject of dispute than a difference in color or height.

The cursings and obscenities that taint the air and brutalize life elsewhere, were in this quaint old settlement unknown. Sweet thought, pure speech, went hand in hand, clad in nervous, pithy old English, or a "patois" of the French, mellowed and enlarged by their constant use of243 the liquid Indian tongues, flowing like soft-sounding waters about them, their daily talk came ever welcome to the ear.


Where locks for doors were unknown, or, known, unused, where a man's word, even in the transfer of land, was held as his bond—honesty became a necessity. Lawyers were none. Law was held to be a danger. Still the importance attached by simple minds to an appearance in public, the amusing belief cherished by some, that, if permitted to plead his own case, exert his unsuspected powers, there could be but one result, brought some honest souls to the Red River forum, with matter of much moment, "the like never heard before." None can read the quaint, minutely-detailed record of these "causes celébres" that shook the little households as with a great wind, without a smile, or resist the conviction that no scheme of an English Utopia can safely be pronounced perfect without some such modest tribunal to afford vent for that ever-germinating desire for battle inherent in the race.

Sheriff and Author.
Came to Red River Settlement in 1825 from British Columbia. Died in 1856.

Their manners were natural, cordial, and full of a lightsome heartness that robed accost with sunshine,—a quietude withal—that rare quality —that irked them not at all—one gathered from their Indian kin-folk. Their knowledge of each244 other was simply universal—their kin ties almost as general. These ties were brightened and friendships reknit in the holiday season of the year, the leisure of the long winters, when the far-scattered hewn log houses—small to the eye—were ever found large enough to hold the welcome arrivals,—greeted with a kiss that said,245 "I am of your blood." These widespread affiliations broke down aught like "caste." Wealth or official position were practically unheeded by a people in no fear of want and unaccustomed to luxuries, who sought their kinswoman and her brood for themselves, not for what they had in store. The children and grandchildren of men, however assured in fortune or position, wove anew equalizing ties, seeking out their mates as they came to hand; hence a genial, not a downward level, putting to shame fine-spun theories of democracy in other lands—spun, not worn.

This satisfaction of station—as said—grew out of the slight exertion necessary for all the wants of life, with unlimited choice of the finest land on the continent; the waters alive with fish and aquatic fowl; rabbits and prairie fowl at times by actual cart-load; elk not far, and countless buffalo behind,—furnishing meat, bedding, clothing and shoes to any who could muster a cart or go in search; the woods and plains in season, ripe with delicious wild fruit, for present use or dried for winter,—the whole backed by abundant breadstuffs. The quota of the farmers along the rivers, whose fertile banks were dotted by windmills, whose great arms stayed the inconstant winds, and yoked the fickle couriers to the great car of general plenty.246


Poverty in one sense certainly existed; age and improvidence are always with us, but it was not obtrusive, made apparent only towards the close of the long winter, when some old veteran of the canoe or saddle would make a "grand promenade" through the Settlement, with his ox and sled, making known his wants, incidentally, at his different camps among his old friends, finding always before he left his sled made the heavier by the women's hands. This was simply done; few in the wild country but had met with sudden exigencies in supply, knew well the need at times of one man to another, and, when asked for aid, gave willingly. Or it may be that some large-hearted, jovial son of the chase had overrated his winter store, or underrated the assiduity of his friends. His recourse in such case being the more carefully estimated stock of some neighbor, who could in no wise suffer the reproach to lie at his door, that he had turned his back, in such emergence, upon his good-natured, if injudicious countryman.

This practical communism—borrowed from the Indians, among whom it was inviolable—was, in the matter of hospitality, the rule of all, —a reciprocation of good offices, in the absence of all houses of public entertainment, becoming247 a social necessity. The manner of its exercise hearty, a knitting of the people together,—no one was at a loss for a winter camp when travelling. Every house he saw was his own, the bustling wife, with welcome in her eyes, eager to assure your comfort. The supper being laid and dealt sturdily with, the good man's pipe and your own alight and breathing satisfaction, —a neighbor soul drops in to swell the gale of talk, that rocks you at last into a restful sleep. How now, my masters! Smacks not this of Arcady?

Early and universal marriage was the rule. Here you received the blessings of home in the married life, and the care of offspring. There were thus no defrauded women—called, by a cruel irony, "old maids"; no isolated, mistaken men, cheated out of themselves, and robbed of the best training possible for man. This vital fact was fraught with every good.

On the young birds leaving the parent nest, they only exchanged it for one near at hand—land for the taking; a house to be built, a wife to be got—a share of the stock, some tools and simple furniture, and the outfit was complete. The youngest son remained at home to care for the old father and mother, and to him came the homestead when they were laid away. The conditions were all faithful, home life dear indeed.248

To the Hunters accepting their fall in the chase no wilder thought could scarce be broached than that of solicitude as to the future of their young. Boys who sat a horse almost as soon as they could walk, whose earliest plaything was a bow and arrows; girls as apt in other ways, happy; sustained in their environment with a faith truly simple and reverent.

With so large an infusion of Norse blood and certain traditions anent "usquebae" and "barley bree" it would—with so large a liberty—be naturally expected, a liberal proportion of drouthy souls, but with an abundance of what cheers and distinctly inebriates in their midst they were a temperate people in its best sense, with no tippling houses to daily tempt them astray their supplies of spirits were nearly always for festive occasions. "Regales" after a voyage or weddings that lasted for days, and these at times under such guard as may be imagined from the presence of a custodian of the bottle, who exercised with what skill he might his certainly arduous task of determining instantly when hilarity grew into excess.

This novel feature applies, however, almost entirely to the English-speaking part of the people. The Gallic and Indian blood of the Hunters disdained such poor toying with a single cherry and drank and danced and drank and danced again with an abandon, an ardor and249 full surrender to the hour characteristic alike of the strength of the heads, the lightness of their heels and the contempt of any restraint whatever.

These were, however, but the occasional and generous symposiums of health and vigor that rejects of itself continued indulgence. Our Utopia would be cold and pallid indeed lacking such expression of redundant strength, and joyful vigor.

Certainly the greatest negative blessing that this exceptional people enjoyed, was that they had no politics, no vote. The imagination of the average "party man" sinks to conceive a thing like to this; yet, if an astounding fact to others, no more gracious one can be conceived for them selves. In the unbroken peace in which they lived politics would be but throwing the apple of discord in their midst, an innoculation of disease that they might in the delirium that marked its progress vehemently discuss remedies to allay it.

Another great negative advantage was the peculiar and admirable intelligence of the great body of the population. The small circulating collection of books in their midst attracting little or no attention, their own limited to a Bible or prayer book,—many not these. With their minds in this normal healthy state, unharassed by the sordid assail of care, undepressed by any250 sense whatever of inferiority, unfrayed by the trituration of the average book, their powers of apprehension—singularly clear—had full scope to appropriate and resolve the world about them, which they did to such purpose as to master every exigence of their lives. Seizing upon the minutest detail affecting them they mastered as if by intuition all difficult handiwork, making with but few tools every thing they required from a windmill to a horseshoe.

Their real education was in scenes of travel or adventure in the great unbroken regions sought out by the fur trade, their retentive memories reproducing by the winter fireside or summer camp pictures so graphic as to commend themselves to every ear.

The tender heart and true of the brave old knight, Sir Thomas More, put a ban upon hunting in his Utopia. Alas and alack for the wayward proclivities of our Utopians, predaceous creatures all, hunting was to them as the breath of their nostrils, for to them, unlike the sons of Adam, it was given—with their brothers resting upon the tranquil river—to lay upon the altar of their homes alike the fruits of the earth and the spoils of the chase.


What pen can paint the life of the "Chasseurs of the Great Plains," tell of the gathering251 of the mighty Halfbreed clan going forth—each spring and fall—in a tumult of carts and horsemen to their boundless preserves, the home of the buffaloes, whose outrangers were the grizzly bear, the branching elk, the flying antelope that skirted the great columns, the last relieving the heavy rolling gait of the herds by a speed and airy flight that mocked the eye to follow them, scouting the dull trot of the prowling wolves—attent upon the motions of their best purveyor—man.

What a going forth was theirs! this array of Hunters, with their wives and little ones; this new tribe clad in semi-savage garniture, streaming across the plains with cries of glee and joyance; the riders in their "travoie" of arms and horse equipment—the vast "brigade" of carts and bands of following horses, kept to the cavalcade by those reckless jubilants—the boys—seeming a part of the creatures they bestrode. The sunshine and the flying fleecy clouds, emulous in motion with the troop below: what life was in it all; what freedom and what breadth!

And as the sun sank apace and the guides and Headmen rode apart on some o'er-looking height and reined their cattle in, the closing up of the flying squadron for the evening camp, the great circular camp of these our Scythians proof against sudden raid crowning the land252scape far and wide, seen, yet seeing every foe, whose subtle coming through the short-lived night was watched by eyes as keen as were their own.

When reached, their bellowing, countless quarry: the plain alive and trembling with their tumult, what tournament of mail-clad knights but was as a stilted play to this rude shock of man and beast—carrying in a cloud of dust that hid alike the chaser and the chased, till done their work the frightened herds swept onward and away, leaving the sward flecked with the huge forms that made the hunters' wealth! And now! on: fall prosaic from the wild charge, the danger of the fierce melee!—drifting from the camp the carts appear piled red in a trice with bosses, tongues, back fat and juicy haunch, a feast unknown to hapless kings.

We but glance at this great feature, that fed so fat our Utopia, leaving to imagination the return, the trade, the feasting and the fiddle when lusty legs embossed by "quills" or beads kept up the dance.

The outcome of the "Plain Hunt" was not only a wide spread plenty among the Hunters on reaching the quiet farmer folk upon the rivers, but also the diffusion of a sunshine, a tone of generous serenity that sat well on the chivalry of the chase—the bold riders of the Plain.253


Beneficent nature nowhere makes her compensations more gratefully felt than in the summer season of our Utopia of the north, where the purest and most vivifying of atmospheres hues with a wealth of sunshine the great reaching spaces of verdure covered with flowers in a profusion rivaling their exquisite beauty. Green waving copses dot the level sward, and rob the sky line of its sea-like sweep. The winding rivers, signalled by their wooded banks, upon which rest the comfortable homes of the dwellers in the "hidden land" guarding their little fields close by where the ranked grain standing awaits the sickle, turning from green to gold and so unhurried resting. The shining cattle couched outside in ruminant content or cropping lazily the succulent feast spread wide before them; the horses wary of approach, just seen in compact bands upon the verge; the patriarchal windmills—at wide spaces—signalling to each other their peaceful task; the little groups of horsemen coming adown the winding road, or stopping to greet some good wife and her gossip—going abroad in a high-railed cart in quest of trade, or friendly call. And as the day wanes, the sleek cows, with considered careful walk and placid mien, wend their way homeward, bearing their heavy udders to the house-254mother, who, pail in hand awaiting their approach, pauses for a moment to mark the feathered boaster at her feet, as he makes his parting vaunt of a day well spent and summons "Partlet" to her vesper perch hard by.

O'er all the scene there rests a brooding peace, bespeaking tranquil lives, repose trimmed with the hush of night, and effort healthful and cool as the freshening airs of morn.


Longfellow—moving all hearts to pity—has painted in "Evangeline" the enforced dispersion of the French in "Acadia." Who shall tell the homesick pain, the vain regrets, the looking back of those who peopled our "Acadia"? No voice bids them away; they melt before the fervor of the time; hasten lest they be 'whelmed by the great wave of life now rolling towards them. Vain retreat, the waters are out and may not be stayed. It is fate! it is right, but the travail is sore, the face of the mother is wet with tears.

This outline sketch proposed is at an end; we have striven to be faithful to the true lines. There is no obligation to perpetuate unworthy "minutæ." Joy is immortal! sorrow dies! the petty features are absorbed in the broad ones; those capable only of conveying truth.

The Red River Settlement in the days ad255verted to is an idyl simple and pure: a nomadic pastoral, inwrought with Indian traits and color; our one acted poem in the great national prosaic life. When the vast country in the far future is teeming with wealth and luxury, this light rescued and defined will shine adown the fullness of the time with hues all its own. The story that it tells will be as a sweet refreshment: a dream made possible, called by those who shared in its great calm, "Britain's One Utopia—Selkirkia." 256



Lord Selkirk's Colonists never had, as have seen, a bed of roses. Adversity had dodged their steps from the time that they put the first foot forward toward the new world—and Stornoway, Fort Churchill, York Factory, Norway House, Pembina and Fort Douglas start, as we speak of them, a train of bitter memories. Flood and famine, attack and bloodshed, toil and anxiety were the constant atmosphere, in which for a generation they existed. Higher civilization is impossible when the struggle for shelter and bread is too strenuous. Though the ministrations of religion were supplied within a few years of the beginning of the Colony, yet the Colonists were not satisfied in this respect till forty years had passed. It was a generation before the Roman Catholic Church had a Bishop, who held the See of St. Boniface instead of the title "in the parts of the heathen." It was not before the year 1849 that a Church of England Bishop arrived, and it was two years after that date when the first Presbyter257ian minister came to be the spiritual head of the Selkirk Colonists. Before this the education and elevation of the people was represented by a few schools chiefly maintained by private or church effort. The writer intends to bring out, from selected quotations from different sources, the few bright spots in the gloom—the pictures of silver—on a rather dark background.


The good Father's story circles around the first Canadian woman known to have reached Red River. This was Marie Gaboury, wife of J. Baptiste Lajimoniere, who reached the Forks in 1811 in the very year when the Colonists were lying at York Factory. The Lajimonieres spent the winter in Pembina. It was the brave husband of Marie Gaboury who made the long and lonely journey from Red River to Montreal. The Abbe says: "J.B. Lajimoniere was engaged by the Governor of Fort Douglas to carry letters to Lord Selkirk, who was then in Montreal. Lajimoniere said he could go alone to Montreal, and that he would make every effort to put the letters confided to his care into Lord Selkirk's hands. Being alone, Madame Lajimoniere left the hut on the banks of the Assiniboine to become an inmate of Fort Douglas. Lajimoniere is reported to have urged upon Lord Selkirk in Montreal to send as258 part of his recompense for his long journey, a priest to be the guide of himself and family. Father Dugas says: (See printed page 2.)

"Lord Selkirk before his departure had made the Catholic colony on the Red River sign a petition asking the Bishop of Quebec to send missionaries to evangelize the country. He presented this petition himself and employed all his influence to have it granted.

"Though a Protestant Lord Selkirk knew that to found a permanent colony on the Red River he required the encouragement of religion. Should his application succeed the missionaries would come with the voyageurs in the following spring and would arrive in Red River towards the month of July. This thought alone made Madame Lajimoniere forget her eleven years of loneliness and sorrow.

"Before July the news had spread that the missionaries were coming that very summer, but as yet the exact date of their arrival was not known. Telegraphs had not reached this region and moreover the voyageurs were often exposed to delays.

"After waiting patiently, one beautiful morning on the 16th of July, the day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a man came from the foot of the river to warn Fort Douglas and the neighborhood that two canoes bringing the missionaries were coming up the river, and that all the259 people ought to be at the Fort to receive them on their arrival.

"Scarcely was the news made known when men, women and children hurried to the Fort. Those who had never seen the priests were anxious to contemplate these men of God of whom they had heard so much. Madame Lajimoniere was not the last to hasten to the place where the missionaries would land. She took all her little ones with her, the eldest of whom was Reine, then eleven years old.

"Towards the hour of noon on a beautiful clear day more than one hundred and fifty persons were gathered on the river bank in front of Fort Douglas. Every eye was on the turn of the river at the point. It was who should first see the voyageurs. Suddenly two canoes bearing the Company's flag came in sight. There was a general shout of joy. The trader of the Fort, Mr. A. McDonald, was a Catholic, and he had everything prepared to give them a solemn reception. Many shed tears of joy. The memory of their native land was recalled to the old Canadians who had left their homes many years before. These old voyageurs who had been constantly called upon to face death had been deprived of all religious succour during the long years, but they had not been held by a spirit of impiety. The missionaries were to them the messengers of God.260

"The canoes landed in front of Fort Douglas, M. Provencher and his companion both invested in their cassocks stepped on shore and were welcomed with outstretched hands by this family, which was henceforth to be theirs.

"They were admired for their manly figures as much as for the novelty of their costumes. M. Provencher and his companion, M. Severe Dumoulin, were both men of great stature and both had a majestic carriage. They stood at the top of the bank and after making the women and children sit down around them M. Provencher addressed some words to this multitude gathered about him. He spoke very simply and in a fatherly manner. Madame Lajimoniere who had not listened to the voice of a priest for twelve years could hardly contain herself for joy. She cried with happiness and forgetting all her hardships, fancied herself for a moment in the dear parish of Maskinongé where she had spent such happy peaceful years.

"The missionaries arrived on Thursday, July 16th. M. Provencher having made known to his new family the aim of his mission wished immediately to begin teaching them the lessons of Christianity and to bring into the fold the sheep which were outside.

"While waiting till a house could be built for the missionaries, M. Provencher and his companion were hospitably entertained at the Fort261 of the Colony. A large room in one of the buildings of the Fort had been set apart for them, and it was there that they held divine service. M. Provencher invited all the mothers of families to bring their children who were under six years of age to the Fort on the following Saturday when they would receive the happiness of being baptised. All persons above that age who were not Christians could not receive that sacrament until after being instructed in the truths of Christianity.

"When M. Provencher had finished speaking the Governor conducted him with M. Dumoulin into the Fort. Canadians, Metis and Indians feeling very happy retired to return three days afterwards.

"There were four children in the Lajimoniere family, but only two of them could be baptised, the others being nine and eleven years of age. On the following Saturday Madame Lajimoniere with all the other women came to the Fort. The number of children, including Indians and Metis, amounted to a hundred and Madame Lajimoniere being the only Christian woman stood Godmother to them all. For a long time all the children in the colony called her 'Marraine.'

"M. Provencher announced that from the next day the missionaries would begin their work and that the settlers ought to begin at the262 same time to work at the erection of a home for them.

"M. Lajimoniere was one of the first to meet at the place selected and to commence preparing the materials for the building. The work progressed so rapidly that the house was ready for occupation by the end of October.

"Madame Lajimoniere rendered every assistance in her power to the missionaries."


With a few changes we shall allow an old friend of the writer, J.J. Hargrave, long an official of the Hudson's Bay Company, to give the tale of the Church of England in Red River Settlement. "As we have seen, the Rev. John West came from England to Red River as chaplain of the Hudson's Bay Company. One of his first works was the erection of a rude school-house, and the systematic education of a few children. Chief among the names of the clergymen, who came out from England in the early days of the Settlement, after Mr. West's return, were Rev. Messrs. Jones, Cochran, Cowley, McCallum, Smedhurst, James and Hunter. William Cochran is universally regarded in the Colony as the founder of the English Church in Rupert's Land, and from the date of his arrival till 1849 all the principal ecclesiastical business done may be said to 263 have received its impetus from his personal energy. The church in which he began his ministrations was replaced by the present Cathedral of St. John's. Mr. Cochran then built the first church in St. Andrew's, at the Rapids, and besides gathered the Indians together and erected their church at St. Peter's."

In 1849 arrived Bishop David Anderson, an Oxford man. He settled at St. John's, now in the City of Winnipeg, and occupied "Bishop's Court." After occupying the See for fifteen years, he retired, and was succeeded by Bishop Machray, whose commanding figure was known to all early settlers in Winnipeg. He revived St. John's College and gained fame as an educationalist.

The peculiarly situated nature of the Settlement, extending in a long line of isolated houses along the banks of the river, and in no place stretching back any distance on the prairies, render a succession of churches necessary to bring the opportunity of attending within the reach of the people. Ten Church of England places of worship exist (1870) on the bank of the river. Of these, eight are within the legally defined limits of the Colony.

About the middle of December, 1866, Archdeacon John McLean commenced the celebration of the Church of England service in the village of Winnipeg. The services were for a264 time held in the Court House at Fort Garry, and in the autumn of 1868 Holy Trinity Church was opened in Winnipeg.


After many disappointments the cry of the Selkirk Colonists for a minister of their own faith reached Scotland, and their case was referred to Dr. Robert Burns, of Toronto, who was further urged to action by Governor Ballenden, of Fort Garry. In August, 1851, the Rev. John Black, then newly ordained, was sent on by Dr. Burns to Red River. He was fortunate in becoming attached to a military expedition led by Governor Ramsey, of Minnesota, going northwest for nearly four hundred miles, from St. Paul to Pembina.

Leaving the military escort behind, in company with Mr. Bond, who wrote an account of the trip, Mr. Black floated down Red River in a birch canoe, and in a three-days' journey they reached the Marion's House in St. Boniface. It is said that it was from Bond's description of this voyage that the Poet Whittier obtained the information for the well-known poem.


The Red River Voyageur.

Out and in the river is winding
The banks of its long red chain,
Through belts of dusky pine land
And gusty leagues of plain.
Only at times a smoky wreath
With the drifting cloud-rack joins—
The smoke of the hunting lodges
Of the wild Assiniboines.
Drearily blows the north wind,
From the land of ice and snow;
The eyes that look are uneasy,
And heavy the hands that row.
And with one foot on the water,
And one upon the shore,
The Angel's shadow gives warning—
That day shall be no more.
Is it the clang of wild geese?
Is it the Indians' yell,
That lends to the voice of the North wind
The tones of a far-off bell?
The Voyageur smiles as he listens
To the sound that grows apace;
Well he knows the vesper ringing
Of the bells of St. Boniface.
The bells of the Roman Mission
That call from their turrets twain;
To the boatmen on the river,
To the hunter on the plain.
266 Even so on our mortal journey
The bitter north winds blow;
And thus upon Life's Red River
Our hearts, as oarsmen, row.
Happy is he who heareth
The signal of his release
In the bells of the Holy City—
The chimes of Eternal peace.

In the afternoon of the day of their arrival the party crossed from St. Boniface to Fort Garry, and the missionary well known as Rev. Dr. Black, went to the hospitable shelter of Alexander Ross, whose daughter he afterward married. Three hundred of the Selkirk Colonists and their children immediately gathered around Mr. Black, and though interrupted for a year by the great flood which we have described, erected in the following year, the stone Church of Kildonan, on the highway some five miles from Winnipeg. With the help of a small grant from the Hudson's Bay Company, the Selkirk Colonists erected, free from debt, their church which still remains. Two other churches were erected by the Presbyterians, and beside each a school. For several years before the old Colony ceased Mr. Black conducted service in the Court House near Fort Garry, and in 1868, with the assistance of Cana267dian friends, erected the small Knox Church on Portage Avenue, in Winnipeg. This building, though used, was not completed till after the arrival of the Canadian troops in 1870.


Strange as it may seem, the isolated Red River Colony was far from being an illiterate community. The presence of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, the coming of the clergy of the different churches, who established schools, and the leisure for reading books supplied by the Red River Library produced a people whose speech was generally correct, and whose diction was largely modeled on standard books of literature. Mrs. Marion Bryce has made a sympathetic study of this subject, and we quote a number of her passages:


The duty laid upon the Hudson's Bay Company officers and clerks of keeping for the benefit of their employers a diary recording everything at their posts that might make one day differ from another, or indeed that often made every day alike, cultivated among the officers of the fur trade the powers of observation that were frequently turned to scientific account, and we find some of them acting as corresponding members of the Smithsonian Institution in268 Washington. Valuable collections in natural history have been forwarded to the institution by such observers as the late Hon. Donald Gunn, the late Mr. Joseph Fortescue, and Mr. Roderick Ross Macfarlane.

Mr. William Barnston, a son of the Mr. Barnston, already mentioned, and a chief factor at Norway House, about 1854, was very fond of the cultivation of flowers and the study of botany, and some very valuable specimens of natural history in the British museum are said to have been of his procuring.


Collections of books were a great means of providing knowledge and contributing to amusement in the isolated northern trading posts.

The Red River library had its headquarters in St. Andrew's parish, and was for circulation in the Red River Settlement. It seems to have been chiefly maintained by donations of books by retired Hudson's Bay Company officers and other settlers. The Council of Assiniboia once gave a donation of £50 sterling for the purchase of books to be added to the library. There was one characteristic of this library that it contained in its catalogue very few works of fiction.269


In addition to libraries we find that at a later date in the history of the Settlement, literary clubs were formed. Bishop Anderson and his sister, who arrived in Red River in 1849, were instrumental in forming a reading club for mutual improvement, for which the leading magazines were ordered.


But we must now speak of more decided organization for the promotion of culture in Red River. The Selkirk settlers had now (1821) gained a footing in the land and the banks of the Red River had become the paradise of retired officers of the fur-trading companies. Happy families were growing up in the homes of the Settlement and education was necessary. A settled community made it possible for the churches and church societies in the homeland to do Christian work, both among the Indians and the white people, and to these institutions the Settlement was indebted for the first educational efforts made.


The Rev. John West, the first Episcopal missionary who arrived, in 1820, and his successors, the Rev. David Jones and Archdeacon Cochrane, as far as they could, organized common270 schools on the parochial system. A visitor to the Settlement in 1854, John Ryerson, says that there were then eight common schools in the country—five of them wholly, or in part, supported by the Church Missionary Society, two of them depending on the bishop's individual bounty, and one only, that attached to the Presbyterian congregation, depending on the fees of the pupils for support. The Governor and Council of Assiniboia had, a few years before made an appropriation of £130 sterling in aid of public schools. The Hudson's Bay Company may be said to have given aid to these schools indirectly by making an annual grant to each missionary of an amount varying according to circumstances from £150 to £50 sterling. The Catholics had similar schools for the French population along the banks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, and the writer already quoted says that there were seminaries at St. Boniface, one for boys and one for girls, under the Grey Nuns from Montreal.

Bishop Anderson, the first bishop of Rupert's Land, was not specially an educationalist. He turned his attention more to the evangelical work of the church. Bishop Machray, who came to the country in 1865, has, on the contrary, whilst not neglecting the duties of a bishop of the church of Christ, always given great attention to education, and the country is greatly in271debted to him for the foundations laid. It was his endeavor after entering on his bishopric to have a parish school wherever there was a missionary of the Church of England, and in the year 1869 there were 16 schools of this kind in the different parishes of Rupert's Land. This is bringing us very near the time of the transfer when our public school system was inaugurated.

Mrs. Jones, the wife of Rev. David Jones, the missionary of Red River, joined her husband in 1829. She very soon saw the need there was for a boarding and day school for the sons and daughters of Hudson's Bay Company factors and other settlers in the Northwest. A school of this kind was opened and in addition to the mission work in which she assisted her husband, Mrs. Jones devoted herself to the training of the young people committed to her charge until her death, which occurred somewhat suddenly in 1836. Mr. and Mrs. Jones were assisted by a governess and tutor from England and the Church Missionary Society gave financial assistance.

Mr. John Macallum, who was afterwards ordained at Red River, arrived from England in 1836, as assistant to Mr. Jones. He took charge of the school for young ladies and also the classical school for the sons of Hudson's Bay factors and traders. He was assisted by Mrs. Macallum and also had teachers brought out from272 England. He had two daughters who were pupils in the school, one of whom still survives in British Columbia.

One of the Red River ladies who attended that school when a very little girl says that the building occupied by it stood near the site of Dean O'Meara's present residence. The enclosure took in the pretty ravine formed by a creek in the neighborhood—the ravine that is now bridged by one of our public streets. It consisted of two large wings, one for the boys and one for the girls, joined together by a dining hall used by the boys. There were also two pretty gardens in which the boys and girls could disport themselves separately. The large trees that surrounded the building have long since disappeared. The young girl spoken of as a pupil seems to have had her youthful mind captivated by the beauty of the site, and indeed nowhere could the love of nature be better cultivated than along the bends of the Red River near St. John's, where groves of majestic trees succeed each other, where the wild flowers flourish in the sheltered nooks and the fire-flies glance among the greenery at the close of day and where for sound we have the whip-poor-will lashing the woods as if impatient of the silence.

Among other schools was one commenced in the early thirties by Mr. John Pritchard, at one273 time agent of Lord Selkirk, at a place called "The Elms," on the east side of Red River, opposite Kildonan Church. Mr. Pritchard was entrusted with the education of the sons of gentlemen sent all the way from British Columbia and from Washington and Oregon territories, besides a number belonging to prominent families of Red River and the Northwest. The Governor and Council of the Hudson's Bay Company granted to Mr. Pritchard a life annuity of £20 on account of his services in the interests of religion and education.

On coming to the diocese in 1865 Bishop Machray reorganized the boys' classical school, and it was opened as a high school in 1866. The bishop gave instruction in a number of branches himself, paying special attention to mathematics. Archdeacon McLean had charge of classics and the Rev. Samuel Pritchard conducted the English branches in what was now called St. John's College.

In connection with the parish school of Kildonan the Rev. John Black, who was, as we all know, a scholarly man, gave instructions in classics to a number of young men, who were thus enabled to take their places in Toronto University and in Knox College, Toronto.

In addition to these schools, Mr. Gunn, of St. Andrew's, afterwards Hon. Donald Gunn, had for a time a commercial school at his274 home for the sons of Hudson's Bay Company factors and traders, so that they might be fitted for the company's business in which they were to succeed their fathers.


From the death of Mr. Macallum, 1849, there was a vacancy in the school for girls until 1851, when Mrs. Mills and her two daughters came from England to assume its charge. A new building was erected for this school a little further down the river to which was given the name of St. Cross. This was the same building enlarged with which we were familiar a few years ago as St. John's Boys' College, and which has lately been taken down. Mrs. Mills is said to have been very thorough in her instruction and management. The young ladies were trained in all the social etiquette of the day in addition to the more solid education imparted. Miss Mills assisted her mother with the music and modern languages. Miss Harriet Mills, being younger, was more of a companion to the girls, and accompanied them on walks, in winter on the frozen river, in summer towards the plain, and unless her maturer years belie the record of her girlhood we may imagine she was a very lively and agreeable companion. In addition to her regular school duties Mrs. Mills had a class for girls who were beyond school 275 age. She also gave assistance in Sunday school work.

The pianos used in these school had to be brought by sea, river and portage by way of Hudson Bay; one of them is still in possession of Miss Lewis, St. James. The teachers from England had to traverse the same somewhat discouraging route in coming into the Settlement. Miss Mills, who came alone a little later than her mother and sister, traveled from York Factory under the care of Mr. Thomas Sinclair. She always manifested the highest appreciation of his kindness to her during the way, making his men cut down and pile up branches around her to protect her from the cold when his party had to camp out for the night.276



The conception of Red River Settlement being an Idyllic Paradise was not confined to the writer, whose picture we have described as "Apples of Gold." It was a self-contained spot, distant from St. Anthony Falls (now Minneapolis) some four or five hundred miles, and this was its nearest neighbor of importance. Our astronomers thus describe it as an orb in space, and the celebrated Milton and Cheadle Expedition of 1862 looked upon it as an "oasis." It was often represented as being enclosed behind the Chinese wall of Hudson's Bay Company exclusiveness, and thus as hopelessly retired. The writer remembers well, when entering Manitoba, in the year after it ceased to be Red River Settlement, as he called upon the pioneer of his faith, who, for twenty years, had held his post, the old man said, when youthful plans of progress were being advanced to him, oh, rest! rest! there are creatures that prefer lying quietly at the bottom of the pool rather than to be always plunging through the 277 troublous waters. Certainly, to the old people, there was a feeling of freedom from care, as of its being a lotus-eater's land—an Utopia; an Eden, before sin entered, and before "man's disobedience brought death into the world and all our woe."

We are not disposed to press Milton's metaphor any further in regard to the disturbers who came in upon Frank Larned's peaceful scene.

The time for opening up Rupert's Land was approaching. The agitation of the people themselves, the constant petitions to Great Britain and Canada called for it. The set time had come; 1857 was a red letter year in this advance. In that year the British Parliament appointed a large and powerful committee to investigate all phases of Rupert's Land, its history; government; geological, climatic, physical, agricultural, social, and religious conditions. The blue book of that year is a marvel of intelligent work. In this same year the British Government sent out the Palliser-Hector Expedition to Rupert's Land to obtain expert evidence in regard to all these points being considered by the Parliamentary Committee. Also in this year the Canadian Government dispatched the Dawson-Hind Expedition to obtain detailed information as to the physical and soil conditions of the prairie region, 278 and it is said that the report of this party of explorers is one of the most accurate, sane, and useful accounts ever given of this prairie country.

With all this attention being paid to the country and with the press of Canada awakened to see the possibility of extending Canada in this direction, it is not to be wondered at, that adventurous spirits found out this Eden and sought in it for the tree of life, perchance often finding in it the tree of evil as well as that of good.

Of course, to the modern philosopher the disturbances of these peaceful seats is simply the symptom of progress and the struggle that is bound to take place in all development.

But to the Hudson's Bay Company pessimist, or to the grey-headed sage, the greatest disturbers of this Eden were two Englishmen, Messrs. Buckingham and Coldwell, who, in 1859, entered Red River Colony, and established that organ for good or evil, the newspaper. This first paper was called "The Nor'-Wester." It is amusing to read the comments upon its entrance made by Hudson's Bay Company writers, both English and French. The constitution and conduct of the Council of Assiniboia was certainly the weak point in the Hudson's Bay regime, and the Nor'-Wester kept this point so constantly before the people279 that it was really a thorn in the side of the Company. The Nor'-Wester, itself, was surely not free from troubles. The Red River Community was very small, so that it could not very well supply a constituency. Comparatively few of the people could read, many felt no need of newspapers, and the Company certainly did not encourage its distribution. It would have been a subject of constant amusement had the Nor'-Wester been in operation in the days of Judge Thom and his policy of repression. Mr. Buckingham did not remain long in Red River Settlement. Mr. Coldwell became the dean of newspaperdom in the Canadian West. The great antagonist of the Hudson's Bay Company, Dr. John Schultz, a Western Canadian, came to the Settlement in the same year as The Nor'-Wester—a medical man, he became also a merchant, a land-owner, a politician, and in this last sphere held many offices. At times he succeeded in controlling The Nor'-Wester, at other times the Hudson's Bay Company were able to direct The Nor'-Wester policy; sometimes Mr. James Ross, son of Sheriff Alexander Ross, was in control, but it may be said that in general its policy was hostile to that of the Company. About this time of beginnings came along a number of Americans, or Canadians, who had been in the United States, and these congregated in the little village, which began to280 form at what is now the junction of Main Street and Portage Avenue, in Winnipeg. Certain Canadians in St. Paul, such as Messrs. N.W. Kittson, and J.J. Hill, began at this time to take an interest in the trade of Red River Settlement, and to speak of communication between the Settlement and the outside world. The demand for transport led a company to bring in a steamer, the Anson Northrup, afterwards called "The Pioneer," to break the Red River solitude with her scream. The steamer International was built to run on the river in 1862, and thus the Hudson's Bay Company was unwittingly joining with The Nor'-Wester in opening up the country to the world, and sounding the death-knell of the Company's hopes of maintaining supremacy in Rupert's land.

The Anson Northrup
The machinery was brought from the Mississippi to the Red River. The name was changed to Pioneer in 1860. "International," larger boat of similar pattern was built by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1861. These steamers were run on the Red River.

Until this time of arrivals there had been no village of Winnipeg. The first building back from the McDermott, Ross and Logan buildings on the bank of Red River, was on the corner of Main and Portage Avenue. Here gathered those, who may be spoken of as free traders, being rivals of the Hudson's Bay Company Store at Fort Garry. Another village began a few years after at Point Douglas on Main Street, near the Canadian Pacific Railway Station of to-day, while at St. John's, on Main Street, was another nucleus. These were in existence when the old order passed away 282 in 1870, but they are all absorbed into the City of Winnipeg of to-day. The Hudson's Bay Company, while long attached to its ancient customs, brought over from the seventeenth century, has fully and heartily adopted the new order of things. Glorying in the old, it has embraced the new, and has become thoroughly modern in all its enterprises. It has been a safe and solvent institution in its whole history. That it has been able to do this is no doubt, largely due to the enterprise and modern spirit of its great London Governor, who for years watched over its time of transition in Winnipeg—Donald A. Smith—Lord Strathcona of to-day.

When the regime of the Hudson's Bay Company is recalled old timers delight to think of a figure of that time who was an embodiment of the life of the Red River Settlement from its beginning nearly to its end. This was William Robert Smith, a blue-coat boy from London, who came out in the Company's service in 1813, served for a number of years as a clerk, and settled down in Lower Fort Garry District in 1824. Farming, teaching, catechising for the church, acting precentor, a local encyclopædia and collector of customs, he passed his versatile life, till in the year before the Sayer affair, 1848, he became clerk of Court, which place, with slight interruption, he held for twenty283 years. One who knew him says: "From his long residence in the Settlement, he has seen Governors, Judges, Bishops, and Clergymen, not to mention such birds of passage as the Company's local officers, come and go, himself remaining to record their doings to their successors."284



The agitation for freedom which we have described in Red River Settlement, and the efforts of Canada to introduce Rupert's Land into the newly-formed Dominion of Canada had, after much effort, and the overcoming of many hindrances, resulted in the British Government agreeing to transfer this Western territory to Canada, and in the Hudson's Bay Company accepting a subsidy in full payment of their claim to the country. This payment was to be paid by Canada. Somewhat careless of the feelings of the Hudson's Bay Company officers, and also of the views of the old settlers of the Colony—especially of the French-speaking section—the Dominion Government sent a reckless body of men to survey the lands near the French settlements and to rouse animosity in the minds of the Metis.

Now came the Riel Rising.

Five causes may be stated as leading up to it.

   1. The weakness of the Government of Assiniboia and the sickness and helplessness of Governor McTavish, whose duty it was to act.285

   2. The rebellious character of the Metis, now irritated anew by the actions of the surveyors.

   3. The inexplicable blundering and neglect of the Dominion Government at Ottawa.

   4. A dangerous element in the United States, and especially on the borders of Minnesota inciting and supporting a disloyal band of Americans in Pembina and Winnipeg.

   5. A cunning plot to keep Governor McTavish from acting as he should have done, and to incite the Metis under Riel to open revolt.

The drama opened with the appointment of Hon. William McDougall as Lieutenant-Governor of the Northwest Territories in September, 1869, and his arrival at Pembina in October. Mr. McDougall was to be appointed Governor by the Dominion Government as soon as the transfer to Canada of Rupert's Land could be made. McDougall, on his arrival at the boundary of Minnesota, was served with a notice by the French half-breeds, not to enter the Territories.

Meanwhile, Louis Riel, son of the old miller of the Seine, and a true son of his father—but vain and assertive, having the ambition to be a Cæsar or Napoleon, took the lead. He succeeded in October in getting a few of the Metis 286 to seize the highway at St. Norbert, some nine miles south of Fort Garry, and in the true style of a Paris revolt, erected a barricade or barrier to stop all passers-by. It was here that Governor McTavish failed. He was immediately informed of this illegal act, but did nothing. Hearing of the obstacle on the highway, two of McDougall's officers came on towards Fort Garry, and finding the obstruction, one of them gave command, "Remove that blawsted fence," but the half-breeds refused to obey. The half-breeds seized the mails and all freight coming along the road coming into the country.


It is rumored that Riel was thinking of seizing Fort Garry; an affidavit of the Chief of Police under the Dominion shows that he urged the master of Fort Garry to meet the danger, and asked leave to call out special police to protect the Fort, but no Governor spoke; no one even closed the gate of the Fort as a precaution; its gates stood wide open to its enemies who seemed to be the friends of its officers.

On November 2nd Riel and a hundred of his Metis followers took possession of Fort Garry, and without opposition.

Riel now issued a proclamation with the air of Dictator or Deliverer, calling on the English parishes to elect twelve representatives to meet287 the President and representatives of the French-speaking population. He likewise summoned them to assemble in twelve days.

McDougall, prospective Governor, on hearing of these things, wrote to Governor McTavish, calling on him to make proclamation that the rebels should disperse, and a number of the loyal inhabitants made the same request. The sick and helpless Governor fourteen days after the seizure of the Fort, and twenty-three days after the date of the affidavit of the rising, issued a tardy proclamation, condemning the rebels and calling upon them to disperse.

The convention summoned by Riel, met on November 16th, the English parishes having been induced to choose delegates. The convention at this meeting could reach no result and agreed to adjourn to December 1st. The English members saw plainly that Riel wished the formation of a provisional government, of which he should be head.

At the adjourned meeting, Riel and his fellows insisted on ruling the meeting and passed a bill of rights of fifteen clauses. The English representatives refused to accept the bill of rights, and after vainly trying to make arrangements for the entrance to the country of Governor McDougall, returned home, ashamed and discouraged.

Turn now to the condition of things in Pem288bina, from which prospective Governor McDougall is all this while viewing the promised land. He and his family are badly housed in Pembina, and he is of a haughty and imperious disposition.

December 1st was the day on which the transfer being made of the country to Canada, his proclamation as Governor would come into force. But it so happened on account of the breaking out of Riel's revolt, the transfer had not been made.

Now came about a thing utterly inexplicable, that Mr. McDougall, a lawyer, a privy councillor, and an experienced parliamentarian, should, on a mere supposition, issue his proclamation as Governor. Riel was aware of all the steps being taken by the Government, and so he and the Metis laughed at the proclamation. McDougall was an object of pity to his Loyalist friends, and he became a laughing stock for the whole world.

His proclamation, authorizing Col. Dennis to raise a force in the settlement to oppose Riel, was of no value, and prevented Col. Dennis from obtaining a loyal force of any strength, which under ordinary circumstances he would have done.

As all Canada looked at it, the whole thing was a miserable fiasco.

The illegality of McDougall's proclamation289 left the loyal Canadians in Winnipeg in a most awkward situation. One hundred of them had arms in their hands, and they were naturally looked upon by Riel as dangerous, and as his enemies.

Riel now acted most deceitfully to them. He promised them their freedom, and that he would negotiate with McDougall and try to settle the whole matter.

On the 7th of December the Canadians surrendered, but with some of them in the Fort and others in the prison outside the wall, where the Sayer episode had taken place, Riel coolly broke his truce, while the Metis celebrated their early victory by numerous potations of rum, from the Hudson's Bay Company Stores, and, of course at the Company's expense.

Encouraged by his victory and the possession of his prisoners, Riel, now in Napoleonic fashion, issued a proclamation which it is said was written for him by a petty American lawyer at Pembina, who was hostile to Britain and Canada.

An evidence of Riel's disloyalty and want of sense was shown by his superseding the Union Jack and hoisting in its place a new flag—not even the French tri-color, but one with a fleur-de-lis and shamrocks upon it, no doubt the flag of the old French regime with additions. He also took possession of Hud290son's Bay Company funds with the coolness of a buccaneer, and his manner in refusing personal liberty to people whom he dared not arrest was overbearing and impertinent.

The inaccessibility of Red River Settlement in winter added much to the anxiety. No telegraphic connection nearer than St. Paul, some four or five hundred miles, was possible, even the regular conveyance of the mails could not be relied on. Meanwhile the Canadian people were in a state of the greatest excitement, and the Government at Ottawa, well-knowing its mismanagement of the whole affair, was in desperate straits. To make the situation more serious the only man who could deal with Riel and could remedy the situation, Bishop Tache, of St. Boniface, was absent at the great conclave of that year in Rome. The more intelligent French people had no confidence in the sanity and reasonableness of Riel. He was to them as great a puzzle as he was to the English. It was a gloomy Christmas time in Red River, and the gloom was increased by the suspense of not knowing what the Government at Ottawa would do in the circumstances.291



On Christmas Day, 1870, John Bruce, who was but a figurehead, resigned his office of President of the so-called Provisional Government of Red River Settlement, and the ambitious Louis Riel was chosen in his stead. The Dominion Government had at length, been awakened to the danger. Divided counsels still prevailed. Two Commissioners, Grand Vicar Thibault and Col. De Salaberry, arrived at Fort Garry, but they were safely quartered at the Bishop's palace at St. Boniface, and as they professed to have no authority, Riel cavalierly set them aside. At this time the American element in the hamlet of Winnipeg became very offensive. Riel's official organ, "The New Nation," was edited by an American, Major Robinson. This journal was filled with articles having such head-lines as "Confederation," "The British-American Provinces," "Proposed Annexation to the United States," etc., etc. Or, again, "Annexation," "British Columbia Defying the Dominion," "Annexation our Mani292fest Destiny." All this was very disagreeable to the English-speaking people, and highly compromising to Riel.

But the real negociator was at hand, and he not only had the authority to speak for Canada, but had Scottish prudence and diplomacy, as well as real influence in the country, from holding the highest position in Canada of any of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. This chief factor was Donald A. Smith, whom we have since learned to know so well as Lord Strathcona. He, with his secretary, Hardisty, arrived on December 27th, and went immediately to Fort Garry. Riel demanded of Mr. Smith, the object of his visit, but received no satisfaction. On being asked for his credentials, Mr. Smith replied that he had left them at Pembina. Being a high Hudson's Bay Company officer, he was quartered in Government House, Fort Garry. The larger portion of the building was occupied by Governor McTavish, the smaller or official portion became the Commissioner's apartments. Here he was able to observe events, meet a number of the old settlers, and obtain his information at first hand. On the 15th of January Riel again demanded the Commissioner's papers; he, indeed, offered to send to Pembina for them, but Mr. Smith declined the offer. In the meantime the Commissioner had learned that the Dauphinais Settlement, ly293ing between Pembina and Fort Garry was loyal. Accordingly, with a guard, Hardisty started to bring the papers. Riel learned of this, and taking a body guard with him, went to the Dauphinais house, intending to seize the credentials. Hardisty arrived with his precious documents. Meanwhile, the Loyalists had made Riel's men prisoners, and when Riel attempted to interfere, Pierre Laveiller, a loyal French half-breed, put his loaded pistol to the Dictator's head, and threatened his life. Sixty or seventy of the Loyalists escorted Hardisty and his papers to Mr. Smith in Fort Garry.

Train of Huskie DogsFort Garry, north gate        
 (Governor's entrance still standing)
Toboggan with Hudson Bay trader
Permission Steele & Co., Winnipeg 

Now in possession of his documents, the Commissioner called a general meeting of the people for January 19th, and one thousand men appeared on that day in the Court Yard of the Fort. As there was no building in which they could assemble, the meeting was held in the open air, with the temperature 20° below zero. The people stood for hours and listened to the proceedings. Commissioner Smith then read the letter of his appointment, and also a letter from the Governor-General, which announced to the people that the Imperial Government would see that "perfect good faith would be kept with the inhabitants of the Red River and the Northwest." The Commissioner then demanded that Vicar Thibault's commission, which Riel had seized should be read. Riel re294fused it, but Mr. Smith stood firm. At length the Queen's message to the people was proclaimed. One John Burke then demanded that the prisoners be released and a promise was given. On the second day the people again assembled, and Mr. Smith then read authoritative letters, one from the Governor-General to Governor McTavish, and another to Mr. McDougall. It was then moved by Riel, seconded by Mr. Bannatyre, and carried unanimously, that twenty representatives should be elected by the English Parishes and twenty by the French, and that these should meet on January 25th to consider the subjects of Commissioner Smith's communications, and decide what was best for the welfare of the country. Speeches were made by the Bishop of Rupert's Land, and Father Richot and Riel closed the meeting by saying: "I came here with fear ... we are not enemies—but we came very near being so.... we all have rights. We claim no half rights, mind you, but all the rights we are entitled to."

Begg, an eye-witness, says: "Immediately after the meeting the utmost good feeling prevailed. French and English shook hands, and for the first time in many months a spirit of unity between the two classes of settlers appeared. The elections took place in due time, but in Winnipeg Mr. Bannatyne, the best citizen of the place, was beaten by Mr. A.H. Scott,295 and the greatest annoyance was felt at this by the better citizens on account of his being an American, and because of the 'New Nation' continuing to advocate annexation."

On the 25th of January the forty delegates assembled. Much excitement had been caused at this time among the French by the escape of Dr. Schultz, their great opponent. Commissioner Smith addressed the Convention. Riel wished him to accept the original Bill of Rights, but Mr. Smith refused to do this. A proposal was then brought up by the French Deputies that the proposal made by the Imperial Government to the Hudson's Bay Company to take over their lands be null and void. This was voted down by 22 to 17. Riel rose in rage and said: "The devil take it; we must win. The vote may go as it likes, but the motion must be carried." Riel raged like a madman. That night, in his fury, he went to the bedside of Governor McTavish, sick as he was, and it is said, threatened to have him shot at once. Dr. Cowan, the master of the fort, was arrested, and so was Mr. Bannatyne, the chief merchant, as well as Charles Nolan, a loyal French delegate.

On the 7th of February the delegates again met, and at this meeting Commissioner Smith, having the power given him by the Dominion Government, invited the Convention to send296 delegates to Canada to meet the Government at Ottawa. Two English delegates, Messrs. Sutherland and Fraser, not quite sure on this point, visited Governor McTavish for his advise. "Form a Government, for God's sake," said the Governor, "and restore peace and order in the Settlement." Being asked, if in such case, he would delegate his authority to anyone, he hastily replied, "I am dying, I will not delegate my authority to anyone."

The Convention then proceeded to elect a provisional government. Most of the officers were English, they being better educated and more prominent than the French members. But when it came to the election of a President, to their disgust Riel was chosen. Immediately after this, Governor McTavish, Dr. Cowan, and Mr. Bannatyne were released as prisoners, but Commissioner Smith was a virtual prisoner in his quarters in the fort, though his influence was still felt at every turn.

Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal.
Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company

Among the earliest acts of the new provisional government was on February 11th, the confiscation of Dr. Schultz's property, and of the office of The Norwester newspaper. The type of The Norwester was said to have been melted into bar lead and bullets. Judge Black, Father Richot, and A.H. Scott were chosen as delegates to Ottawa, though the appointment of the last of these, the "American delegate," 297 was very distasteful to the English-speaking people. The success of Riel led him to dismiss about a quarter of the prisoners in Fort Garry. The fact that he seemed to hold the remainder as hostages stirred up the English people living along the Assiniboine.

What is usually called the "Portage la Prairie" Expedition was now organized, to secure the release of the remaining prisoners. A body, varying from sixty to one hundred, marched down to Headingly, and were there joined by a number of English-speaking Canadians and others. They then pushed on to Kildonan Church, where they were increased by a number of English half-breeds from St. Andrew's and adjoining parishes. The proposal was to attack the fort and set free the prisoners. Alarmed at the movement, Riel released all the prisoners in the fort. Their object being gained, the men of the Kildonan Church camp, who had grown to be six hundred strong, dissolved, and were proceeding to their homes, when Riel, by an unheard of act of treachery, arrested some fifty of the Assiniboine party. Among them was Major Boulton, a former officer of the 100th Regiment. Riel again sought out a victim for revenge, and intended to execute this prominent man. It was only on the persistent request of Commissioner Smith and the urgency of Mrs. John Sutherland, whose 298 son had been killed by an escaping French prisoner at the Kildonan Church camp, that Boulton's life was spared.

Riel, however, seemed to feel that power was slipping from his hands. He was criticised on all hands for his treachery and for his arrogance. It is said his followers were dropping off from him, notwithstanding the luxurious lives they had been living on the Company's supplies in Fort Garry.

He determined, though with a divided Council, to make an example, and despite the solicitations of Commissioner Smith, the Rev. George Young, and others, publicly executed, on the 4th of March, outside of Fort Garry, a young Irish-Canadian named Thomas Scott. It was a cold-blooded, cruelly-executed and revolting scene—it was the act of a mad man.

"Whom the Gods destroy they first make mad." The execution of Scott was the death-knell of Riel's hopes as a ruler. Canada was roused to its centre. Determined to have no further communication with Riel, and feeling that he had done all that he could do, Commissioner Smith, on the 18th of March, returned to Canada. On the 8th of March, Bishop Tache returned from Rome. A few days after Chief Factor Smith's departure, he was followed to Canada by Father Richot and Mr. Scott, and they shortly after by Judge Black, accompan299ied by Major Button. The conflict of opinion was transferred to Ottawa, and the act constituting the Province of Manitoba was passed. 300



Canada's military experience, ever since the excitement of the "Trent Affair," had been in dealing with a persistent band of Irishmen, posing as Fenians, and egged on by sympathizers in the United States. Now there was trouble, as we have seen, in her own borders, and though here again, American influence of a hostile nature played its part, yet it was those connected with one of the two races in Canada who were now giving trouble in the Northwestern prairies. Such an outbreak was more dangerous than Fenianism, for to the credit of the Irish in Canada, it should be said that they gave no countenance to the Fenian intruders. The French people in Quebec, however, had strong sympathies for their race in the Red River Settlement. No one in Canada believed that any injustice could be done to either the English or French elements on the banks of Red River, but Sir George Cartier fought strongly for his own, and was very unwilling to allow an expedition to go out to Manitoba with hostile intent. Of 301 the two battalions of volunteers that went out to Red River, one was from Quebec, but one military authority states that there were not fifty French-Canadians all told in the Quebec battalion. It had been proposed that Col. Wolseley, who was to command the Red River Expedition, should be appointed Governor of the new province of Manitoba, but this was sturdily opposed by the French-Canadian section of the Cabinet, and Hon. Adams G. Archibald, a Nova Scotian, was appointed to the post of Governor. Hampered thus, in so far as exercising any civil functions were concerned, Col. Garnet Wolseley was chosen by the British officer in command in Canada—General Lindsay—to organize this expedition. Wolseley was very popular, having served in Burmah, India, the Crimea and China.302 The Ontario battalion soon had to refuse applications, and from Ontario the complement of the Quebec battalion was filled up. It was decided also that a battalion of regulars, with small bodies of artillery and engineers should take the lead in the expedition. Thus, a force of 1,200 men was speedily gathered together and put at the disposal of Colonel Wolseley. Two hundred boats, each some 25 to 30 feet long, carrying four tons as well as fourteen men as a crew, were built; the voyageurs numbered some four hundred men. No sooner did the Fenians in the United States hear of this expedition than they threatened Lower Canada, and spoke of interrupting the troops as they passed Sault Ste. Marie. The United States also refused to allow soldiers or munitions of war to pass up their Sault Canal. The rallying began in May, and though the troops were compelled to debark themselves and their stores at Sault Ste. Marie, portage them around the Sault and replace them in the steamers again, yet all the troops were landed at Port Arthur on Lake Superior by the 21st of June, their officers declaring "our mission is one of peace, and the sole object of it is to secure Her Majesty's Sovereign authority." Some time was lost in endeavoring to use land carriage up from Port Arthur as far as Lake Shebandowan. The difficulties were so great that the scouts were led303 to find another route for the boats up the Kaministiquia River. In this they were successful; in all this worry from mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies in millions, the troops preserved their good temper, and Col. Wolseley said, "I have never been with any body of men in the field so well fed as this has been." (July 10th.) The real start of the expedition was from Lake Shebandowan. The three brigades of boats—A. B. and C.—seventeen in all, got off from Shebandowan shore on the evening of July 16th; by the 4th of August Rainy River was reached, and at Fort Frances Colonel Wolseley met Captain Butler, who had acted as intelligence officer, having adroitly passed under Riel's shadow, and being able now to give the news required. It was still the statement and belief of Riel that "Wolseley would never reach Fort Garry." Crossing Lake of the Woods the regular troops were pushed ahead, and on descending Winnipeg River they reached Fort Alexander and Lake Winnipeg on August 20th. Here Commissioner Donald A. Smith, having come through in a light canoe, met Colonel Wolseley. After a short delay Colonel Wolseley's command hastened to the Red River, ascended it, and cautiously approached Fort Garry. It was still uncertain whether Riel was to oppose the expedition or not. The troops formed for what emergency might arise, and two small guns were 304 in readiness should they be required. When Fort Garry was sighted, its guns were mounted, and everything seemed ready for defence. The officers of the expedition, as they approached it were quite ready for a shot to be fired from the battlements, but there was no movement, Riel, Lepine, and O'Donoghue alone, were left of the Metis levy, and as the 60th Rifles drew near the Fort the three were seen to escape from the river gate and to flee across the bridge of boats on the Assiniboine River. Capt. Huyshe states that the troops took possession of the fort with a bloodless victory, the Union Jack was hoisted, three cheers were given for the Queen and the Riel regime was at an end. The militia regiments arrived on the 27th of August, and two days afterwards the Imperial troops started back to their headquarters in Ontario. Captain Buller, who afterward became so celebrated in South Africa, took his company down the Dawson road to the northwest angle of the Lake of the Woods, and thus returned eastward, while Colonel McNeil left the country by way of Red River, through the United States. Shortly afterward, on September 2nd, Lieutenant-Governor Archibald arrived by the Winnipeg River route, and began his work.

Winnipeg in 1871


The joy of all classes of the people was unbounded. The English half-breeds had been loyal through the whole of the disturbances. Kildonan306 Church had been the headquarters of the Loyalists in their attempted rally, and after the execution of Scott, the French half-breeds had gradually dropped off from Riel, until he and his two companions formed a helpless trio shorn of all power.307



Close in the wake of Wolseley's Expedition, there arrived on the 2nd of September, Adams G. Archibald, the newly-appointed Governor of the new Province of Manitoba. His arrival was greeted with joy, for he was a man of high character, and of much experience in his native Province of Nova Scotia. The two volunteer regiments, the Quebec and Ontario battalions, were quartered for the winter, the former in Lower Fort Garry, the latter in Fort Garry. The new Governor took up his abode in Fort Garry, in the residence with which our story is so familiar. The organization of his government began at once. The first Government Building stood back from the street in Winnipeg on the corner of Main Street and McDermott Avenue East, of the present-day. The Legislative Council—a miniature House of Lords—of seven members, was appointed, and electoral divisions for the election of members to the Legislative Assembly were made to the number of twenty-four—twelve French and 308 twelve English. The time for the opening of Parliament was the spring of 1871. It was a notable day, for the citizens were much interested in scrutinizing those who were to be their future rulers. The opening passed off with eclat. During the first session certain elementary legislation was passed including a short school act. There was yet no division of parties, and a sufficient cabinet was chosen by the Governor. Thus, institutions after the model of the mother of Parliaments at Westminster were evolved and Manitoba—the successor of our Red River Settlement—had conceded to it the right of local self-government.

In the year of the first parliament of Manitoba it was the fortune of the writer to take up his abode here. Winnipeg, a village of less than three hundred inhabitants was in that year, still four hundred miles distant from a railway. From the railway terminus in Minnesota, the stage coach drawn by four horses with relays every twenty miles, sped rapidly over prairies, smooth as a lawn to the site of the future city of the plains.

Since that time well-nigh forty years has passed away. The stage coach, the Red River cart, and the shaganappi pony are things of the past, and several railways with richly furnished trains connect St. Paul and Minneapolis with the City of Winnipeg. More import309ant, the skill of the engineer has surpassed what we then even dreamt of in his blasting of rock cuttings and tunnels through the Archæan rocks to Fort William, and this has been done by three main trunk lines of railway. The old amphibious route of the fur traders and of Wolseley's Expedition has been superseded, the tremendous cliffs of the north shore of Lake Superior have been levelled and the chasm bridged. To the west the whole wide prairie land has been gridironed by railways all tributary to Winnipeg, the enormous ascent of the four Rocky Mountain ranges, rising a mile above the sea, have been crossed by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The giddy heights of the Fraser River Canyon are traversed, and this is but the beginning, for three other great corporations are bending their strength to pierce the passes of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. We see to-day scenes more after the manner of the Arabian Nights Entertainments than of the humble dream that Lord Selkirk dreamt one hundred years ago.

Hon. John Norquay
A native of Red River Settlement.
Became Cabinet Minister in 1871 afterward Premier of Manitoba.

The towns and cities of Manitoba have sprung up on every hand where the railway has gone and these are but the centres of business of twenty thousand farms whose owners have come to this land, many of them empty-handed, and are now blessed with competence and in many cases wealth. What a vindication of311 Lord Selkirk's prospectus of a hundred years ago when he said: "The soil on the Red River and the Assiniboine is generally a good soil, susceptible of culture and capable of bearing rich crops." Lord Selkirk's dream is fulfilled, for his land is fast becoming the grainary of the world. As the traveller of to-day passes along the railways in the last days of August or early in September, he beholds the sight of a life-time, in the rattling reapers, each drawn by four great horses, turning off the golden sheaves of wheat and other cereals. A little later the giant threshers, driven by steam power, pour forth the precious grain, which is hurried off to the high elevators for storage, till the railways can carry it to the markets of the world to feed earth's hungry millions. When the historian recalls the statement that the few cattle of the early settlers had degenerated in size on account of the climatic conditions, that the shaganappi pony could never do the work of the stalwart Clydesdale, and that nothing could result from the straggling flock of foot-sore and dying sheep, driven by Burke and Campbell from far-distant Missouri, we look with astonishment at the horses now taken away by hundreds to supply with chargers the crack cavalry regiments of the Empire, at the vast consignments of cattle passing through Winnipeg every day to feed the hungry, and flocks of sheep supplying wool for Eastern manufacturers to clothe the naked.312

One of the greatest trials of the early Selkirk Settlers was to get schools sufficient to give the children scattered along the river belt, even the three R's of education. Kildonan parish manfully raised by subscription the means, unaided by Government help, to give some opportunity to their children. It is a notable fact which emerged in the great School Contention of twenty years ago in Manitoba, that not a dollar had been given to schools as aid by the old Government of Assiniboia. To-day the glory of Manitoba is its school system. For school buildings, school organization, attainments of the teachers, and efficient school management, the schools of Winnipeg are probably unsurpassed in any country, and the same is true of many other places in the Province. Two Winnipeg schools bear the names of Selkirk and Isbister. The University of Manitoba, with its seven affiliated colleges and twelve hundred and forty candidates in 1909 for its several examinations has its seat at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and one of the colleges is on the very lot where Lord Selkirk stood and divided up their lands to the Colonists.

Alexander Isbister, LL.B.
Red River Patriot and Benefactor of University of Manitoba.

One of the most continued and aggressive struggles which Lord Selkirk's Colonists maintained was seen in the efforts put forth to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and after the manner of their313 fathers. Their perseverance which showed itself in the erection of old Kildonan Church in the year immediately after the destructive flood of 1852, bore fruit in succeeding years. They were always a religious people. No one can even estimate what their religious disposition did in a 314 miscellaneous gathering of people who had, being scattered over the posts of the fur traders, been in most cases, without any religious opportunities whatever, before their coming to settle on Red River. The sturdy stand for principle which the Selkirk Colonists made created an atmosphere which has remained until this day. The well-nigh forty years of religious life of Manitoba has been marked by a good understanding among the several churches, by an energetic zeal in carrying church services in the very first year of their settlement to hundreds of new communities. The generosity of the people in erecting churches for themselves in maintaining among themselves their cherished beliefs, is in striking contrast to the new settlements of the United States. In the new Western States the religious movements fell behind the Western march of the immigrant. In the Canadian West from the very day that old Verandrye took his priest with him, from the time when the first Colonists brought a devout layman as their religious teacher with them, from the hour when the stalwart Provencher came, from the era when the self-denying West visited the Indian camps and Settlers' camp alike, from the time when the saintly Black came as the natural leader of the Selkirk Colonists, and during the forty years of the development of Manitoba, the foundations have been laid in that righteousness which exalteth a nation.315



How strange and wonderful is the web of destiny, which is being woven in our national, provincial and family life, which we poor mortals are simply the individual strands.

How marvellous it is to look into the seeds of time—yes, and these may be small as mustard seeds—which are the smallest of all seeds—and see the bursting of the husks, the peering out of the plumule, the feeding of the sprout, the struggle through the clods, the fight with frost and hail and broiling sun, and canker worm and blight, the growth of the strengthening stem, and then the leaf and blossoms and fruit! We say it has survived, it becomes a great tree under whose leaves and under whose branches the fowls of Heaven find shelter. How passing strange it was to see the seed-thought rise in316 the mind of Lord Selkirk, that suffering humanity transplanted to another environment might grow out of poverty, into happiness and content. See his sorrow as he meets with undeserved opposition from rival traders, from slanderous agents, from bitter articles in the press, from Government officials and even police officers who strive to break up his immigrant parties. Recall the troubles of the Nelson Encampment as they reach him in letters and reports. Think of the misery of knowing thousands of miles away that his Colonists were starving, were being imprisoned, banished, seduced from their allegiance, and in one notable case that men of honor, education and standing to the number of twenty, were massacred, while he, in St. Mary's Isle, in Montreal, or in Fort William, fretted his soul because he could not reach them with deliverance.

Marble Bust of Earl of Selkirk
By Chantrey, obtained by author from St. Mary's Isle, Lord Selkirk's seat.

The world looked coldly on and said, "A visionary Scottish nobleman! a dreamer a hundred years before his time! Is it worth while?" while he himself saw a dream of sunshine when he visited his Colonists on Red River, when he made allocations for their separate homes for them, when he pledged his honor and estate that the settlers might in time be independent, and when he made religious provision for both his Protestant and Catholic settlers, yet think of the unexampled ferocity with which he was317 attacked upon his return to Upper Canada, in law suits, and illegal processes, so that his estates became heavily encumbered, so that he went to France to pine away and die. The world failed to see any glamour in him, and carelessly said, what does it profit? Folly has its reward.

Yet the answer. Here is Manitoba to-day, it is the fruitage of all that bitter sowing time. Next year Manitoba will be in the fortieth year of its history. Its people have seen pain, strife and defeat, they have gone through excitement and anxiety and patient waiting, and at times have almost given up the strife. But the province and its great city, Winnipeg, are the meeting place of the East and West, the pivotal point of the Dominion. The national life of Canada throbs here with a steadier beat and a more normal pulse than it does in any other part of Canada, its dominating Canadian spirit is so hearty and so sprightly, that, it is taking possession of the scores of different nations coming to us and they feel that we are their friends and brothers. This, while it may not be the noisy and blatant type of loyalty is a practical patriotism which is making a united, sane and abiding type of national character.

Again we answer: Three years from now will be the hundredth year since the landing on the banks of Red River of the first band of318 Selkirk Colonists. It was as we have seen a struggle of an extraordinarily bitter type. To us it seems that no other American Colony ever had such a continuous distressing and terrific struggle for existence as had these Scottish Settlers, but we say it was worth while, judging by the loss to Canada of the northern portions of the tier of states of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Washington, which a line from Fond du Lac (Duluth) to the mouth of the Columbia would have given to us, and which should have been ours. We say that had it not been for the Selkirk Colonists we would have stood to lose our Canadian West. It was a settlement nearly a hundred years ago of families of men and women, and children that gave us the firm claim to what is now the three great provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Was it not worth while? Was it not worth ten, yes, worth a hundred times more suffering and discouragement than even the first settlers of Red River endured to preserve our British connection which the Hudson's Bay Company, loyal as it was, with its Union Jack floating on every fort, could not have preserved to us any more than it did in Oregon and Washington. It was the Red River Settlement that held it for us.

We are beginning to see to-day that Canada could not have become a great and powerful319 sister nation in the Empire had the West not been saved to her. The line of possible settlement has been moving steadily northward in Canada since the days when the French King showed his contempt for it by calling it "a few arpents of snow." The St. Lawrence route was regarded as a doubtful line for steamships, Rupert's Land was called a Siberia, but all this is changing with our Transcontinental and Hudson's Bay railways in prospect. In territory, resources, and influence the opening up of the West is making Canada complete. And, if so, we owe it to Lord Selkirk and to Selkirk Settlers, who stood true to their flag and nationality. Very willingly will we observe the Selkirk Centennial in 1912. "Many a time and oft" it looked in their case to be one long, continued and alarming drama, but on the 30th day of August, the day of their landing on the banks of the Red River, shall we recite the epic of Lord Selkirk's Colonists, and it will be of the temper of Browning's couplet:

God's in His Heaven,
All's right with the world.


The author notes the fact that the agents sent out by Lord Selkirk engaged (1) Labourers for the Company, (2) Settlers for the Red River Settlement. On this account in the lists given in the archives and other official documents, the labourers were often sent to the Posts of the Company, and after serving several years often became settlers. (List given in Manitoba Historical Society Transactions, 33.)


List of men who arrived at Hudson Bay in 1811 and left York Factory for the interior in July, 1812:

    Names.  Age.  Whence.
   1  Colin Campbell  21  Argyle
   2  John McKay  22  Rossshire
   3  John McLennan  23  Rossshire
   4  Beth Bethune  19  Rossshire
   5  Donald McKay  17  Rossshire
   6  William Wallace  21  Ayr
   7  John Cooper  26  Orkney, came to Upper Canada.
   8  Nichol Harper  34  Orkney
   9  Magnus Isbister  21  Orkney, probably father of A.K. Isbister
 10   George Gibbon  50  Orkney
 11   Thos. McKim  38  Sligo
 12   Pat Corcoran  24  Crosmalina
 13   John Green  21  Sligo
 14   Pat Quinn  21  Killala
 15   Martin Jordan  16  Killala
 16   John O'Rourke  20  Killala
 17   Anthony McDonnell  23  Killala
 18   James Toomey  20  Killala

The Author is not aware of the existence of any list of the first settlers other than these.


Owen Keveny's party (list found in Archives, Ottawa). The total list of seventy-one was engaged by Keveny in Mull, Broan, Sligo, etc. The following are known to have come. They reached York Factory 1812, and arrived at Red River October 27th, 1812:

  1  Andrew McDermott, became the famous Red River merchant.
  2  John Bourke, a useful man.
  3  James Warren, died of wounds in 1815.
321   4  Chas. Sweeny.
  5  James Heron.
  6  Hugh Swords.
  7  John Cunningham.
  8  Michael Hayden Smith, evidently Michael Heden, blacksmith.
  9  George Holmes.
10  Robert McVicar.
11  Ed. Castelo.
12  Francis Heron.
13  James Bruin.
14  John McIntyre.
15  James Pinkham.
16  Donald McDonald.
17  Hugh McLean.


The Churchill party, which landed from "Prince of Wales" ship convoyed by H.M.S. "Brazen," at Churchill in August, 1813, and some, marked C-Y., who walked overland on snowshoes to York Factory in April 14th, 1814, and reached Red River Settlement in 1814. This whole list is from Manitoba Historical Society Transactions, 33. Those marked C-Y. are from Archives, Ottawa.

    Names.   Age.   Whence.  
  1 George Campbell 25 Archurgle Parish, Creech, Scotland
  2 Helen, his wife 20 Archurgle
  3 Bell, his daughter   1 Archurgle
  4 John Sutherland 50 Kildonan, died 2nd Sept., at Churchill (a very respectable man)
  5 Catherine, his wife, C-Y. 46 Kildonan
  6 George, his son, C-Y. 18 Kildonan
  7 Donald, his son 16 Kildonan
  8 Alexander, his son   9 Kildonan
  9 Jannet, his daughter, C-Y. 14 Kildonan
10  Angus McKay, C-Y. 24 Kildonan
11 Jean, his wife, C-Y.  .. Kildonan
12 Alexander Gunn, C-Y. 50 Kildonan
13 Christine, his wife 50 Kildonan, died 20th Sept., Churchill
14 William, his son, C-Y. 18  
15 Donald Bannerman 50 Died 24th Sept., Churchill
16 Christine, his wife 44  
17 William, his son, C-Y. 18  
18 Donald, his son   8  
19 Christine, his daughter, C-Y. 16 322
20 George McDonald 48 Died 1st Sept., 1813, Churchill
21 Jannet, his wife 50  
22 Betty Grey 17  
23 Catherine Grey 23  
24 Barbara McBeath, widow 45 Borobal
25 Charles, her son 16  
26 Jenny, her daughter 23  
27 Andrew McBeath, C-Y. 10  
28 Jannet, his wife, C-Y.  ..  
29 William Sutherland 23 Borobal
30 Margaret, his wife 15  
31 Christian, his sister 24  
32 Donald Gunn 65 Borobal
33 Jannet, his wife 50  
34 Transferred to Eddystone, H.B. Co.    
35 George Gunn, 16 Borobal, Parish Kildonan
son of Donald, C-Y    
36 Esther, his sister, C-Y. 24  
37 Catherine, his sister 20 Died 29th August
38 Christian, his sister 10  
39 Angus Gunn 21  
40 Jannet, his wife  ..  
41 Robert Sutherland, 17 Borobal
brother of William, C-Y.    
42 Elizabeth Frazer, C-Y. 30  
43 Angus Sutherland 20 Auchraich
44 Elizabeth, his mother 60  
45 Betsy, his sister 18 Died of consumption, Oct. 26th
46 Donald Stewart  .. Parish of Appin, died 20th August, 1813, Churchill
47 Catherine, his wife 30  
48 Margaret, his daughter   8  
49 Mary, his daughter   5  
50 Ann, his daughter   2  
51 John Smith  .. Kildonan
52 Mary, his wife  ..  
53 John, his son  ..  
54 Jean, his daughter, C-Y.  ..  
55 Mary, his daughter  ..  
56 Alexander Gunn 58 Kildonan, Sutherlandshire
57 Elizabeth McKay,    
his niece, C-Y  ..  
58 Betsy McKay, his niece  ..  
59 George Bannerman, C-Y. 22  323
60 John Bruce 60 Parish of Clyve
61 Alex. Sutherland, C-Y. 24 Parish of Kildonan
62 William, his brother 19 Died
63 Kate Sutherland, his sister 20  
64 Haman Sutherland, C-Y. 18 Kenacoil. Settled in Upper Canada in West Gwillimbury.
      He and his sister were children of James Sutherland, catechist
65 Barbara, his sister, C-Y. 20  
66 James McKay, C-Y. 19 Cain
67 Ann, his sister, C-Y. 21  
68 John Matheson 22 Authbreakachy
69 Robert Gunn (piper), C-Y.  .. Kildonan
70 Mary, his sister, C-Y.  ..  
71 Hugh Bannerman, C-Y. 18 Dackabury, Kildonan
72 Elizabeth, his sister, C-Y. 20  
73 Mary Bannerman, C-Y.  ..  
74 Alex. Bannerman, C-Y. 19 Dackabury, Kildonan
75 Christian, his sister, C-Y.  .. Died January, 1814, from consumption
76 John Bannerman 19 Died January, of consumption
77 Isabella, his sister, C-Y. 16  
78 John McPherson, C-Y. 18 Gailable
79 Catherine, his sister, C-Y. 26  
80 Hector McLeod, C-Y. 19  
81 George Sutherland, C-Y. 18 Borobal
82 Adam, his brother, C-Y. 16  
83 John Murray, C-Y. 21 Sirsgill
84 Alex., his brother, C-Y. 19  
85 Helen Kennedy  .. Sligo
86 Malcolm McEachern  .. Skibbo, Isla (deserted)
87 Mary, his wife  .. Skibbo, Isla (deserted)
88 James McDonald, C-Y.  .. Inverness, to Fort Augustus
89 Hugh McDonald.  .. To Fort William, died 3rd of August, at sea
90 Samuel Lamont, C-Y.  .. Boromore, Isla
91 Alex. Matheson, C-Y.  .. Kildonan
92 John Matheson, C-Y.  .. Overseer
93 John McIntyre,C-Y.   To Fort William
(entered service of    
H.B. Co., July, 1814)  ..  
94 And. Smith  .. Son of No. 31, Isla
95 Edward Shell  .. Balyshannon
96   Joseph Kerrigan  .. Balyshannon
  Mr. P. La Serre   Surgeon, died at sea

List of settlers who came with Duncan Cameron from Red River to Canada, 1815. List prepared by Wm. McGillivray, of Kingston, August 15th, 1815. About one hundred and forty, probably forty or fifty families, and some single men, arrived at Holland River, September 6th, 1815.

Made at York (Toronto), September 22nd, 1815.


Donald Gunn, wife and daughter.
Alexander Gunn and wife.
Angus McDonell, wife and two children.
Neil McKinnon, wife and two boys.


Miles Livingston, wife and two children.
Angus McKay, wife and one child.
John Matheson, wife and one child.
John Matheson, Jr., and wife.
George Bannerman and wife.
Andrew McBeath, wife and one child.
William Sutherland, wife and one child.
Angus Gunn, wife and one child.
Alexander Bannerman and wife.
Robert Sutherland and wife.
William Bannerman and wife.
James McKay and wife.


Mrs. Barbara McBeath.
Mrs. Jeannet Sutherland and two boys.
Mrs. Elizabeth Sutherland.
Mrs. Christy Bannerman.
Mrs. Jeannet McDonell.


Jane Gray.
Elizabeth Gray.
Esther Bannerman.
Elspeth Gunn.
Jannet Sutherland.
Isabella McKinnon.
---- McKinnon.
Catta McDonell.
Elizabeth McKay.


John Murray.
Alexander Murray.
William Gunn.
325 Hugh Bannerman.
Hector McLeod.
George Gunn.
Charles McBeath.
Angus Sutherland.
Thomas Sutherland.
Alex. Matheson.
John McPherson.
Robert Gunn.
George Sutherland.


Miles Livingston.
James McKay.
Angus Sutherland.
John Cooper.
Mary Bannerman (wife of John McLean).
Haman Sutherland.
John Maburry.
Alex. McLellan.

Young people capable of labour generally employed between York and Newmarket. The old people are stationed at Newmarket for the present. Some of the settlers who have gone to Montreal not included.


List of passengers, chiefly from Old Kildonan, landed at York Factory, August 26th, 1815. Reached Red River Settlement in same year.

      Names.   Age.   Remarks.
  1   James Sutherland   47   An elder who was authorized by the Church of Scotland to baptize and marry
  2   Mary Polson   48
  3   James Sutherland   12
  4   Janet Sutherland   16
  5   Catherine Sutherland   14
  6   Isabella Sutherland   13
  1   Wm. Sutherland   54
  2   Isabell Sutherland   50
  3   Jeremiah Sutherland   15
  4   Ebenezer Sutherland   11   At school
  5   Donald Sutherland    7   At school
  6   Helen Sutherland   12   At school
  1   Widow Matheson   60
  2   John Matheson   18   School master
  3   Helen Matheson   21
  1   Angus Matheson   30
  2   Christian Matheson   18
  1   Alex. Murray   52
  2   Ebz. Murray   54
  3   James Murray   16
  4   Donald Murray   13
  5   Catherine Murray   27
  6   Christian Murray   25
  7   Isabella Murray   18
  1   George McKay   50
  2   Isabella Matheson   50
  3   Roderick McKay   19
  4   Robert McKay   11   At school
  5   Roberty McKay   16
  1   Donald McKay   31
  2   John McKay    1
  3   Catherine Bruce   33
  1   Barbara Gunn   50
  2   Wm. Bannerman   55
  3   Wm. Bannerman   16
  4   Alexander Bannerman      14
  5   Donald Bannerman    8   At school
  6   George Bannerman    7   At school
  7   Ann Bannerman   19
  1   Widow Gunn   40
  2   Alex. McKay   16
  3   Adam McKay   13
  4   Robert McKay   12
  5   Christian McKay   19
  1   John Bannerman   55
  2   Catherine McKay   28
  3   Alexander Bannerman    1
  1   Alex. McBeth   35
  2   Christian Gunn   50
  3   George McBeth   16
  4   Roderick McBeth   12
  5   Robert McBeth   10
  6   Adam McBeth    6
  7   Morrison McBeth    4
  8   Margaret McBeth   18
  9   Molly McBeth   18
10     Christian McBeth   14
  1   Alexander Mathewson   34   Sergeant of the passengers
  2   Ann Mathewson   34
  3   Hugh Mathewson   10   At school
  4   Angus Mathewson    6
  5   John Mathewson    1
  6   Cathern Mathewson    2
  1   Alexander Polson   30
  6   Catherine Mathewson    2
  3   Hugh Polson   10   At school
  4   John Polson    5   At school
  5   Donald Polson    1
  6   Anne Polson    7
  1   William McKay   44   Brought out millstones, embarked at Stromness
  2   Barbara Sutherland   35
  3   Betty McKay   10   At school
  4   Dorothy McKay    4
  5   Janet McKay    2
  1   Joseph Adams   25   Embarked at Gravesend
  2   Mary Adams   23
  1   Reginald Green   31   Sergeant of passengers
  2   George Adams   19
  3   Henry Hilliard   19
  4   Edward Simmons   20
  5   Christian Bannerman   22
  6   John Matheson   22
  7   Alexander Sutherland   25   Sergeant of passengers
  8   John McDonald   22

In Martin's "H.B. Co. Land Tenures" is found a petition to the Prince Regent, after the troubles of 1816, asking for troops and steps to be taken for their preservation. As these are those, from all the different parties, who held fast to Red River Settlement, they are worthy of highest honour. These were the real Kildonan settlers whom Lord Selkirk saw on his visit in 1817.

Donald Livingston
George McBeath
Angus Matheson
Alex. Sutherland
George Ross
Alexander Murray, lot 23
James Murray
John Farquharson
John McLean
John Bannerman
George McKay
Alexander Polson
Hugh Polson
Robert McBeath
Alexander McLean
George Adams
Martin Jordon
Robert McKay
Wm. McKay
Alex. Matheson
John McBeath
John Sutherland
Alex. McBeath, an old soldier, 73rd Rgt., lot No. 3
Christian Gunn (widow)
Alex. McKay
William Sutherland
Alex. Sutherland, Sr.
328 James Sutherland
James Sutherland
William Bannerman, father of lot 21
Donald McKay
John Flett
John Bruce
Robert MacKay
William Bannerman, Jr.
Roderick McKay
Ebenezer Sutherland
Donald Bannerman
Hugh McLean
George Bannerman
Donald Sutherland
Beth Beathen
John Matheson
George Sutherland
Margaret McLean (widow)


Page 74.--Andrew McDermott arrived at Red River Settlement in 1812.

Page 148.—Fourth line from the bottom, after the word "him"
insert "afterwards."

Page 218.—Add to the title of the cut "and of the other forts
of Winnipeg." 1, Fort Rouge; 2, Fort Douglas;
3, Fort Gibraltar; 4, Fidler's Fort; 5, First
Fort Garry; 6, Fort Garry.

Page 264.—Line 10; 1857 should be 1851.

Page 297 and following pages.—"Major Bulton" should be
"Major Boulton."

Appendix.—Words "Author's Note" should be, "The author
notes the fact, etc."

Transcriber's notes:
Addenda and errata, as above, incorporated into the text of the work.
Page 13.— added ) after fishing
Page 33.— importants [removed s]
Page 36.— removed " after Lake Winnipeg.
Page 41.— comma changed to period: obnoxious. The
Page 44.— Alexander Mackenize [changed to Mackenzie]
Page 44.— Porvince [changed to Province]
Page 61.— removed " after summer." The
Page 69.— thaat [changed to that]
Page 118.— daughers [changed to daughters]
Page 123.— Cat-Fsh [changed to Cat-Fish]
Page 130.— lfe [changed to life]
Page 139.— solider [changed to soldier]
Page 147.— steathily [changed to stealthily]
Page 151.— pasionate [changed to passionate]
Page 184.— setters [changed to settlers]
Page 196.— couuld [changed to could]
Page 204.— delivry [changed to delivery]
Page 275.— schools -- added s to "school"
Page 286.— Noebert changed to Norbert
Page 319.— The English half-breeds [added hyphen]
Page 337.— H.M.S.[added period] Brazen
Page 309.— Begg, an eye-witnss --corrected
Page 309.— C.-Y. [changed to C-Y.]
Appendix, Page 329.— changed Settle-Settlement to Settlement




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