The Remarkable History of the Hudson’s Bay Company / Including that of the French Traders of North-Western Canada and of the North-West, XY, and Astor Fur Companies

The Remarkable History of the Hudson’s Bay Company / Including that of the French Traders of North-Western Canada and of the North-West, XY, and Astor Fur Companies

Author:
George Bryce
Author:
George Bryce
Format:
epub
language:
English

%title插图%num
Author: Bryce, George, 1844-1931
Northwest
Canadian — History
Hudson’s Bay Company
North West Company
XY Company
Fur trade — Northwest
Canadian
The Remarkable History of the Hudson’s Bay Company
Including that of the French Traders of North-Western Canada and of the North-West, XY, and Astor Fur Companies
The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


THE REMARKABLE HISTORY
OF THE

HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY

INCLUDING THAT OF
The French Traders of North-Western Canada
and of the North-West, X Y, and
Astor Fur Companies

BY
GEORGE BRYCE, M.A., LL.D.
PROFESSOR IN MANITOBA COLLEGE, WINNIPEG; DÉLÉGUÉ RÉGIONAL DE L’ALLIANCE SCIENTIFIQUE DE PARIS; MEMBER OF GENERAL COMMITTEE OF BRITISH ASSOCIATION; FELLOW OF AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE; PRESIDENT ROYAL SOCIETY OF CANADA (1909); MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION ON CANADIAN RESOURCES (1909); MEMBER OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON TECHNICAL EDUCATION (1910); AUTHOR OF “MANITOBA” (1882); “SHORT HISTORY OF CANADIAN PEOPLE” (1887), MAKERS OF CANADA SERIES (MACKENZIE, SELKIRK AND SIMPSON); “ROMANTIC SETTLEMENT OF LORD SELKIRK’S COLONISTS” (1909); “CANADA” IN WINSOR’S NAR. AND CRIT. HIST. OF AMERICA, ETC., ETC.
THIRD EDITION
WITH NUMEROUS FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS
LONDON
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & CO., LTD.


Prince Rupert,
First Governor.

James, Duke of York,
Second Governor.

Lord Churchill, afterwards
Duke of Marlborough,
Third Governor.

Lord Strathcona and
Mount Royal
Current Governor.

Four Great Governors of the Hudson’s Bay Company


PREFACE

The Hudson’s Bay Company! What a record this name represents of British pluck and daring, of patient industry and hardy endurance, of wild adventure among savage Indian tribes, and of exposure to danger by mountain, precipice, and seething torrent and wintry plain!
In two full centuries the Hudson’s Bay Company, under its original Charter, undertook financial enterprises of the greatest magnitude, promoted exploration and discovery, governed a vast domain in the northern part of the American Continent, and preserved to the British Empire the wide territory handed over to Canada in 1870. For nearly a generation since that time the veteran Company has carried on successful trade in competition with many rivals, and has shown the vigour of youth.
The present History includes not only the record of the remarkable exploits of this well-known Company, but also the accounts of the daring French soldiers and explorers who disputed the claim of the Company in the seventeenth century, and in the eighteenth century actually surpassed the English adventurers in penetrating the vast interior of Rupert’s Land.
Special attention is given in this work to the picturesque history of what was the greatest rival of the Hudson’s Bay Company, viz. the North-West Fur Company of Montreal, as well as to the extraordinary spirit of the X Y Company and the Astor Fur Company of New York.

A leading feature of this book is the adequate treatment for the first time of the history of the well-nigh eighty years just closing, from the union of all the fur traders of British North America under the name of the Hudson’s Bay Company. This period, beginning with the career of the Emperor-Governor. Sir George Simpson (1821), and covering the life, adventure, conflicts, trade, and development of the vast region stretching from Labrador to Vancouver Island, and north to the Mackenzie River and the Yukon, down to the present year, is the most important part of the Company’s history.
For the task thus undertaken the author is well fitted. He has had special opportunities for becoming acquainted with the history, position, and inner life of the Hudson’s Bay Company. He has lived for nearly thirty years in Winnipeg, for the whole of that time in sight of Fort Garry, the fur traders’ capital, or what remains of it; he has visited many of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s posts from Fort William to Victoria, in the Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods region, in Manitoba, Assiniboia, Alberta, and British Columbia; in those districts he has run the rapids, crossed the portages, surveyed the ruins of old forts, and fixed the localities of long-forgotten posts; he is acquainted with a large number of the officers of the Company, has enjoyed their hospitality, read their journals, and listened with interest to their tales of adventure in many out-of-the-way posts; he is a lover of the romance, and story, and tradition of the fur traders’ past.
The writer has had full means of examining documents, letters, journals, business records, heirlooms, and archives of the fur traders both in Great Britain and Canada. He returns thanks to the custodians of many valuable originals, which he has used, to the Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1881, Right Hon. G. J. Goschen, who granted him the privilege of consulting all Hudson’s Bay Company records up to the date of 1821, and he desires to still more warmly acknowledge the permission given him by the distinguished patron of literature and education, the present Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, to read any documents of public importance in the Hudson’s Bay House in London. This unusual opportunity granted the author was largely used by him in 1896 and again in 1899.
Taking the advice of his publishers, the author, instead of publishing several volumes of annals of the Company, has condensed the important features of the history into one fair-sized volume, but has given in an Appendix references and authorities which may afford the reader, who desires more detailed information on special periods, the sources of knowledge for fuller research.


PREFACE

TO THE THIRD EDITION
The favor which has been shown to the “Remarkable History of the Hudson’s Bay Company” has resulted in a large measure from its being written by a native-born Canadian, who is familiar with much of the ground over which the Company for two hundred years held sway.
A number of corrections have been made and the book has been brought up to date for this Edition.
It has been a pleasure to the Author, who has expressed himself without fear or favor regarding the Company men and their opponents, that he has received from the greater number of his readers commendations for his fairness and insight into the affairs of the Company and its wonderful history.
George Bryce.
Kilmadock, Winnipeg,
August 19, 1910.


CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.
THE FIRST VOYAGE FOR TRADE. Page
Famous Companies—”The old lady of Fenchurch Street”—The first voyage—Radisson and Groseilliers—Spurious claim of the French of having reached the Bay—”Journal published by Prince Society”—The claim invalid—Early voyages of Radisson—The Frenchmen go to Boston—Cross over to England—Help from Royalty—Fiery Rupert—The King a stockholder—Many hitherto unpublished facts—Capt. Zachariah Gillam—Charles Fort built on Rupert River—The founder’s fame 1
CHAPTER II.
HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY FOUNDED.
Royal charters—Good Queen Bess—”So miserable a wilderness”—Courtly stockholders—Correct spelling—”The nonsense of the Charters”—Mighty rivers—Lords of the territory—To execute justice—War on infidels—Power to seize—”Skin for skin”—Friends of the Red man 12
CHAPTER III.
METHODS OF TRADE.
Rich Mr. Portman—Good ship Prince Rupert—The early adventurers—”Book of Common Prayer”—Five forts—Voting a funeral—Worth of a beaver—To Hudson Bay and back—Selling the pelts—Bottles of sack—Fat dividends—”Victorious as Cæsar”—”Golden Fruit” 20
CHAPTER IV.
THREE GREAT GOVERNORS.
Men of high station—Prince Rupert primus—Prince James, “nemine contradicente”—The hero of the hour—Churchill River named—Plate of solid gold—Off to the tower 27
CHAPTER V.
TWO ADROIT ADVENTURERS.
Peter Radisson and “Mr. Gooseberry” again—Radisson v. Gillam—Back to France—A wife’s influence—Paltry vessels—Radisson’s diplomacy—Deserts to England—Shameful duplicity—”A hogshead of claret”—Adventurers appreciative—Twenty-five years of Radisson’s life hitherto unknown—”In a low and mean condition”—The Company in Chancery—Lucky Radisson—A Company pensioner 33
CHAPTER VI.
FRENCH RIVALRY.
The golden lilies in danger—”To arrest Radisson”—The land called “Unknown”—A chain of claim—Imaginary pretensions—Chevalier de Troyes—The brave Lemoynes—Hudson Bay forts captured—A litigious governor—Laugh at treaties—The glory of France—Enormous claims—Consequential damages 47
CHAPTER VII.
RYSWICK AND UTRECHT.
The “Grand Monarque” humbled—Caught napping—The Company in peril—Glorious Utrecht—Forts restored—Damages to be considered—Commission useless 56
CHAPTER VIII.
DREAMS OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.
Stock rises—Jealousy aroused—Arthur Dobbs, Esq.—An ingenious attack—Appeal to the “Old Worthies”—Captain Christopher Middleton—Was the Company in earnest? The sloop Furnace—Dobbs’ fierce attack—The great subscription—Independent expedition—”Henry Ellis, gentleman”—”Without success”—Dobbs’ real purpose 61
CHAPTER IX.
THE INTERESTING BLUE-BOOK OF 1749.
“Le roi est mort”—Royalty unfavourable—Earl of Halifax—”Company asleep”—Petition to Parliament—Neglected discovery—Timidity or caution—Strong “Prince of Wales”—Increase of stock—A timid witness—Claims of discovery—To make Indians Christians—Charge of disloyalty—New Company promises largely—Result nil 70
CHAPTER X.
FRENCH CANADIANS EXPLORE THE INTERIOR.
The “Western Sea”—Ardent Duluth—”Kaministiquia”—Indian boasting—Père Charlevoix—Father Gonor—The man of the hour:—Verendrye—Indian map-maker—The North Shore—A line of forts—The Assiniboine country—A notable manuscript—A marvellous journey—Glory, but not wealth—Post of the Western Sea 78
CHAPTER XI.
THE SCOTTISH MERCHANTS OF MONTREAL.
Unyielding old Cadot—Competition—The enterprising Henry—Leads the way—Thomas Curry—The elder Finlay—Plundering Indians—Grand Portage—A famous mart—The plucky Frobishers—The Sleeping Giant aroused—Fort Cumberland—Churchill River—Indian rising—The deadly smallpox—The whites saved 92
CHAPTER XII.
DISCOVERY OF THE COPPERMINE.
Samuel Hearne—”The Mungo Park of Canada”—Perouse complains—The North-West Passage—Indian guides—Two failures—Third journey successful—Smokes the calumet—Discovers Arctic Ocean—Cruelty to the Eskimos—Error in latitude—Remarkable Indian woman—Capture of Prince of Wales Fort—Criticism by Umfreville 100
CHAPTER XIII.
FORTS ON HUDSON BAY LEFT BEHIND.
Andrew Graham’s “Memo.”—Prince of Wales Fort—The garrison—Trade—York Factory—Furs—Albany—Subordinate forts—Moose—Moses Norton—Cumberland House—Upper Assiniboine—Rainy Lake—Brandon House—Red River—Conflict of the Companies 109
CHAPTER XIV.
THE NORTH-WEST COMPANY FORMED.
Hudson’s Bay Company aggressive—The great McTavish—The Frobishers—Pond and Pangman dissatisfied—Gregory and McLeod—Strength of the North-West Company—Vessels to be built—New route from Lake Superior sought—Good will at times—Bloody Pond—Wider union, 1787—Fort Alexandria—Mouth of the Souris—Enormous fur trade—Wealthy Nor’-Westers—”The Haunted House 116
CHAPTER XV.
VOYAGES OF SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE.
A young Highlander—To rival Hearne—Fort Chipewyan built—French Canadian voyageurs—Trader Leroux—Perils of the route—Post erected on Arctic Coast—Return journey—Pond’s miscalculations—Hudson Bay Turner—Roderick McKenzie’s hospitality—Alexander Mackenzie—Astronomy and mathematics—Winters on Peace River—Terrific journey—The Pacific Slope—Dangerous Indians—Pacific Ocean, 1793—North-West Passage by land—Great achievement—A notable book 124
CHAPTER XVI.
THE GREAT EXPLORATION.
Grand Portage on American soil—Anxiety about the boundary—David Thompson, astronomer and surveyor—His instructions—By swift canoe—The land of beaver—A dash to the Mandans—Stone Indian House—Fixes the boundary at Pembina—Sources of the Mississippi—A marvellous explorer—Pacific Slope explored—Thompson down the Kootenay and Columbia—Fiery Simon Fraser in New Caledonia—Discovers Fraser River—Sturdy John Stuart—Thompson River—Bourgeois Quesnel—Transcontinental expeditions 133
CHAPTER XVII.
THE X Y COMPANY.
“Le Marquis” Simon McTavish unpopular—Alexander Mackenzie, his rival—Enormous activity of the “Potties”—Why called X Y—Five rival posts at Souris—Sir Alexander, the silent partner—Old Lion of Montreal roused—”Posts of the King”—Schooner sent to Hudson Bay—Nor’-Westers erect two posts on Hudson Bay—Supreme folly—Old and new Nor’-Westers unite—List of partners 148
CHAPTER XVIII.
THE LORDS OF THE LAKES AND FORESTS.—I.
New route to Kaministiquia—Vivid sketch of Fort William—”Cantine Salope”—Lively Christmas week—The feasting partners—Ex-Governor Masson’s good work—Four great Mackenzies—A literary bourgeois—Three handsome demoiselles—”The man in the moon”—Story of “Bras Croche”—Around Cape Horn—Astoria taken over—A hot-headed trader—Sad case of “Little Labrie”—Punch on New Year’s Day—The heart of a “vacher” 155
CHAPTER XIX.
THE LORDS OF THE LAKES AND FORESTS.—II.
Harmon and his book—An honest man—”Straight as an arrow”—New views—An uncouth giant—”Gaelic, English, French, and Indian oaths”—McDonnell, “Le Prêtre”—St. Andrew’s Day—”Fathoms of tobacco”—Down the Assiniboine—An entertaining journal—A good editor—A too frank trader—”Gun fire ten yards away”—Herds of buffalo—Packs and pemmican—”The fourth Gospel”—Drowning of Henry—”The weather cleared up”—Lost for forty days—”Cheepe,” the corpse—Larocque and the Mandans—McKenzie and his half-breed children 166
CHAPTER XX.
THE LORDS OF THE LAKES AND FORESTS.—III.
Dashing French trader—”The country of fashion”—An air of great superiority—The road is that of heaven—Enough to intimidate a Cæsar—”The Bear” and the “Little Branch”—Yet more rum—A great Irishman—”In the wigwam of Wabogish dwelt his beautiful daughter”—Wedge of gold—Johnston and Henry Schoolcraft—Duncan Cameron on Lake Superior—His views of trade—Peter Grant, the ready writer—Paddling the canoe—Indian folk-lore—Chippewa burials—Remarkable men and great financiers, marvellous explorers, facile traders 178
CHAPTER XXI.
THE IMPULSE OF UNION.
North-West and X Y Companies unite—Recalls the Homeric period—Feuds forgotten—Men perform prodigies—The new fort re-christened—Vessel from Michilimackinac—The old canal—Wills builds Fort Gibraltar—A lordly sway—The “Beaver Club”—Sumptuous table—Exclusive society—”Fortitude in Distress”—Political leaders in Lower Canada 189
CHAPTER XXII.
THE ASTOR FUR COMPANY.
Old John Jacob Astor—American Fur Company—The Missouri Company—A line of posts—Approaches the Russians—Negotiates with Nor’-Westers—Fails—Four North-West officials join Astor—Songs of the voyageurs—True Britishers—Voyage of the Tonquin—Rollicking Nor’-Westers in Sandwich Islands—Astoria built—David Thompson appears—Terrible end of the Tonquin—Astor’s overland expedition—Washington Irving’s “Astoria, a romance”—The Beaver rounds the Cape—McDougall and his smallpox phial—The Beaver sails for Canton 193
CHAPTER XXIII.
LORD SELKIRK’S COLONY.
Alexander Mackenzie’s book—Lord Selkirk interested—Emigration a boon—Writes to Imperial Government—In 1802 looks to Lake Winnipeg—Benevolent project of trade—Compelled to choose Prince Edward Island—Opinion as to Hudson’s Bay Company Charter—Nor’-Westers alarmed—Hudson’s Bay Company’s Stock—Purchases Assiniboia—Advertises the new colony—Religion no disqualification—Sends first colony—Troubles of the project—Arrive at York Factory—The winter—The mutiny—”Essence of Malt”—Journey inland—A second party—Third party under Archibald Macdonald—From Helmsdale—The number of colonists 203
CHAPTER XXIV.
TROUBLE BETWEEN THE COMPANIES.
Nor’-Westers oppose the colony—Reason why—A considerable literature—Contentions of both parties—Both in fault—Miles Macdonell’s mistake—Nor’-Wester arrogance—Duncan Cameron’s ingenious plan—Stirring up the Chippewas—Nor’-Westers warn colonists to depart—McLeod’s hitherto unpublished narrative—Vivid account of a brave defence—Chain shot from the blacksmith’s smithy—Fort Douglas begun—Settlers driven out—Governor Semple arrives—Cameron last Governor of Fort Gibraltar—Cameron sent to Britain as a prisoner—Fort Gibraltar captured—Fort Gibraltar decreases, Fort Douglas increases—Free traders take to the plains—Indians favour the colonists 215
CHAPTER XXV.
THE SKIRMISH OF SEVEN OAKS.
Leader of the Bois Brûlés—A candid letter—Account of a prisoner—”Yellow Head”—Speech to the Indians—The chief knows nothing—On fleet Indian ponies—An eye-witness in Fort Douglas—A rash Governor—The massacre—”For God’s sake save my life”—The Governor and twenty others slain—Colonists driven out—Eastern levy meets the settlers—Effects seized—Wild revelry—Chanson of Pierre Falcon 229
CHAPTER XXVI.
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