Carlton House Journal James Bird
January 8 1817
" I called in Thomas Costollo who gives the following account of what occured within his knowledge from the time he left Albany Factory in June last till he left the North West Company House at Queppelle in the latter end of October or beginning of November
Thomas Costollo being duly sworn deposith that on about the fifth of June 1816 he left Albany factory in company with Mr Owen Keveney, McCauley and several Men amongst whom were Cornelius Hoy, Thomas Seveny John Kennedy, John Corrigle, Patrick Cavener, John Tierney, Hugh Linklatter, David Saunders, and Joseph Brown and William Donald (who were going to settle in Red River) in a boat and two small Canoes, in which they had on board two young Cows and two young Bulls to go to Red River. Mr Keveney treated the Men on the way very harshly and in consequence when he arrived at Osnaburgh House, two men Viz. John Corrigle and Patrick Cavener deserted from Mr Keveny and concealed themselves in the woods. Mr Keveny pursued his Journey from Osnaburgh without his deserters but he had not proceeded far till they were brought to him, when Mr Keveny obliged every Man of his Crew to give them many severe blows with a large willow, Mr Keveny standing near during the operation with loaded Pistols in his hands and a sword by his side to enforce severe punishment on the delinquents. When the flogging was over the two men were hand-cuffed and obliged to row in the boat and do other work in that state (except when they were employed carrying over portages) till they proceeded on about twenty days Journey from Osnaburgh when Patrick Cavanier concealed himself in the woods on a carrying place and as he could not be found he was left there by Mr Keveny who continued his Journey with the boat and the rest of his crew till they came to Skibbue? Lake where they heard certain accounts of the destruction of the colony by the North West Company and the death of Govenor Semple.
this news terrified the whole crew and induced Brown and Donald to Exprefs to Mr Keveny their determination to return to Albany which Mr Keveny opposed, threatening Brown and forcibly taking from him his Nets which alone could procure him food for his subsistance on his return to Albany. he was therefore obliged to accompany Mr Keveny who the following night encamped on portage des Lisle in Winnipeg river where in the course of the night, Joseph Brown, William McDonald, Hugh Linklatter and David Saunders got on board two small Canoes, the property of Brown, and left Mr Keveny to return as deponent believes to Albany Factory. Mr Keveny with the men who still adhered to him pursued the deserters but they were not overtaken and Mr Keveny resumed his Journey towards Red River. The day after these men deserted a few Canoes of the North West Company of which a Mr Grant seemed to have the charge pafsed by Mr Keveny who was informed by Mr Grant that Lord Selkirk was on his way to Red River, but that his Lordship would be unable to reach his destination from a scarcity of provisions.
Mr Keveny and party still continued their Journey when one morning in the white River Mr Keveny ordered deponent to cut willows with which Seveny was severely beaten for having slept too long in the morning (Mr Keveny had before beaten Seveny and stabbed him slightly in the thigh with a Bayonet), The whole party afterwards proceeded on to the Bonnet Carrying place in Winnipeg River where ten of the North West Canoes pafsed them and encamped on a portage quite near to the Bonnet where Mr Keveny and party remained for the night. There in the evening, Mr Keveny perceived after the other men had done work, Hoy going over the carrying place and asked what he was going after, Hoy answered 'a Keg Sir' ( Hoy had let a keg fall and broken it and afraid to let Mr Keveny know what had happened intended to get the keg over in the dark without Mr Keveny seeing it) 'You rascal' replied Mr Keveny 'you never do your work in time' and he cried out to deponent Costollo 'mind you get willows ready in order that we may give Hoy a good beating to morrow which I have long intended for him'. Hoy heard what Mr Keveny said and in course of the night following, deserted and went to the Canadians who were encamped near Mr Keveny who with the men who remained with him again proceeded on till they came to a carrying place called the Silver Falls. The bank of this portage was high and the few men Mr Keveny now had were unable to take the Boat up it, tho they exerted all their strength and tried every method their ingenuity could suggest, the boat therefore remained about half way up the bank and Mr Keveny, seeing that he could not get further said to the deponent 'well I see I must remain here' and they all accordingly pitched their Tents.
In the evening Deponent and Kennedy were examining their Cloathes and going to put on clean shirts, when Mr Keveny called to Deponent saying 'Costollo what are you doing' Deponent answered ' we are going to put on clean shirts Sir' 'You lie you rascal' replied Mr Keveny ' I know that you are preparing to desert to the Canadians' deponent insisted on it that he had no such intentions and added that nothing lefs than even worse wages than he had yet received would induce him to leave the Hudson Bay Companys Service. some further altercations ensued and Mr Keveny struck deponent, still however he persisted in refusing to go away till Mr Keveny gave him, John Corrigle, John Kennedy and Seveny positive orders to go to the Canadians House at Point aux foutre to morrow, and ordered McCauley to server them out two days allowance of provisions for their Journey to the French Fort which was only about half a days Journey off. Deponent accompanied by Corrigle, Kennedy and Seveny fearing that Mr Keveny would inflict some severe punishment on them if they remained, set of the next morning and arrived at Point aux Foutre where they found Hoy, who had left them as before mentioned.
McCauley and Tierney remained with Mr Keveny on the carrying place at the Silver Falls. Deponent and party were well treated by the Canadians at point aux foutre and Mr Archibald McLelland frequently told them that if they wished to have any satisfaction of Mr Keveny they should soon obtain it as Mr Archibald Norman McLeod who is a Magistrate would soon arrive there. Mr McLeod arrived a few days afterward When Hoy, Seveny, Kennedy and Deponent were succefsively called before him and depositions (regarding the treatment they received from Mr Keveny) by Mr McLeod taken of all except deponent who was told by Mr McLeod that he had not time to take his. The following morning Mr McLeod sent for Deponent (who had been sworn in Constable at Albany) and one Reynard or Rainaird, Mr McLeod first spoke to deponent saying 'Costollo I have heard that you have been sworn Constable at Albany and you can therefore have no objections to go and arrest, in virtue of a lawful warrant that I will ifsue, McKeveny, who had used you and your companions so Shamefully.' 'Yes' Deponent answered 'I have objections, Mr Keveny is my Master and it would be a disgrace for me to take him in the distrefsed situation in which he now is'. 'Oh' replied McLeod 'you must not be backward for if the Half-breeds here know that you have still a regard for the English (meaning the Hudson Bay Company) they will not hesitate to take your life - they think no more' continued McLeod 'of the life of a man than they do of a pin' - Deponent still persisted in exprefsing an unwillingnefs to seize Mr Keveny. MrMcleod advised deponent to engage with the North West Company to which deponent answered that he could not as he had very lately signed a Contract to serve the Hudson Bay Company for three years. Oh that is nothing at all replied McLeod we will engage you and pay you well! and he again threatned deponent with the vengance of the Half-breed when deponent thought it would be but prudent for his safety to afsent to accompany another Constable to seize Mr Keveny and deponent was accordingly sworn in Constable by Mr Mcleod as was Rainard, a few minutes afterwards in presence of deponent. The morning deponent was sworn as Constable he, accompanied by Rainard, Primo, La Sarte, Hefse, Baptist, Michelle Martin, Francois Melville and another Halfbreed named Francois ( the six men last named are all Half-breeds) went according to their orders to seize Mr Keveny.
They arrived accordingly at Mr Kevenys Tent when Rainard tapped him on the shoulder saying he was his prisoner upon which Mr Keveny attempted to take his Gun but on of the half breeds seized Mr Keveny who then abused them all, which occaisioned Primo to attempt to shoot him but he was prevented. Mr Keveny soon submitted and was conveyed to point aux foutre. The half breeds who accompanied deponent plundered Mr Kevenys Tent of every thing that was loose and Mr Kevenys desk and papers were conveyed to Mr Archibald McLellan at Point aux Foutre. After Mr Keveny had been two days at point aux foutre Deponent and a half breed young man were sent by Mr Archibald McLellan with orders to inform McCauley that McLellan wished to speak to him at his house. While Deponent was at the carrying place with McCauley five Half breeds arrived there in a Canoe with Mr Keveny who there, in presence of Deponent, abused a good deal the Half breeds who had him in charge one of whom named La Sarte them put hand-cuffs on Mr Keveny and when he was Ironed put him again in the Canoe which set off towards Fort William. Not one of the Half breeds who had Mr Keveny in custody could either speak or understand English, so that he could not understand them or be understood by them. Soon after Mr Kevenys departure several Canadians sent by Mr Archibald McLellan arrived at the carrying place and they and deponent took Mr Kevenys Boat, the four Calves, and all other property belonging to the Hudson Bay Company which was there and proceeded with the whole to Point aux Foutre where it was delivered to Mr Archibald McLellan.
While Deponent remained at Point aux Foutre news was brought there that Lord Selkirk had taken pofsefsion of Fort William, and about a week after the arrival of this news Mr Alexander McDonnell accompanied by about thirty Halfbreeds and about twenty-two Seauteau Indians arrived at point aux foutre to go, as deponent understood, to meet Lord Selkirk who was supposed to be on his way to Red River.
But the Half-breeds would not go on this Expedition unlefs Mr Alexander McDonnell accompanied them which he would not do and the proposed expedition was dropped. Soon after this Mr Alexander McDonnell with nearly all his adherents left point aux foutre and proceeded to the Forks of Red River where they remained a few days. Whilst they were there deponent heard Seraphin Lemar call the Canadians and Half-breeds who were there together and ask them who would go to plunder Mr Fidler (who had charge of a post in Manitowappew? for the Hudson Bay Company) of his Goods. Several immediately volunteered to perform what was required of them, and a large party set off accordingly, among whom Deponent recollects the names of the following persons Viz. Seraphin Lemar, Francois Duchamp(both Canadians),Francois Duchamp Jun., Gros Tete, Pirish Peltier, Charles Peltier, Hefse, Roderick McKenzie, Alexander McKay, Afsinniboine Moostoos, and Primo all Halfbreeds, Angus McDonald, Belguard, and Chartier, three Canadians and three Seauteau Indians. After a few days the party returned with only a small quantity of Goods, and deponent understood that Mr Fidler had retired with the most of the property under his care to an Island where the Canadian party could not discover him. After these people returned, deponent heard Mr Alexander McDonnell say 'so the coward Fidler has run away but we will catch him yet and then the half breeds will pay him'.
About this time William Shaw a half-breed read a paper to deponent, which he, deponent, was told was drawn up by Alexander McDonnell by which the Half-breeds were informed that they had a right to plunder wherever they found it, the property of the Hudson Bay Company in retaliation for Lord Selkirk having captured Fort William.
During Deponents stay at the Forks he saw part of the Cloathes which Mr McKeveny was accustomed to wear on an Indian, which made deponent suspect that Mr Keveny was destroyed. and on making inquiries he, deponent, was told that Mr Keveny was stabbed in the breast with a sword by Reynard (who first apprehended him) and that a Half-breed put an end to his existance by shooting him through the head.
In the month of October (1816) Mr Alexander McDonnell accompanied by a large party of Half-breeds, a few Canadians and, deponent, Seveny, Hoy and Kennedy arrived at Queppelle. A short time after their arrival at that place Mr Alexander McDonnell set off to the Mifsoirie to make peace, as deponent was told, with the Mandal Indians in case Lord Selkirk should arrive in such force to render it necefsary for Alexander McDonnell and his band of afsafsins to seek a retreat to the United States. In Mr McDonnells absence deponent was urgent with Mr McLellan to let him go to the settlement of the Hudson Bay Company and Mr McLellan at length reluctantly allowed him and Thomas Seveny to depart from Queppelle (Kennedy and Hoy prefered to remain with the Canadians) Deponent and Seveny set off accordingly, and after travelling ten days (being unacquainted with the road) arrived at Fort Hibernia.
Deponent sayeth that while he was at Queppelle he heard Cuthbert Grant (the leader of the half-breeds) say that he would go with a party in course of the winter and plunder Fort Hibernia - Deponent further sayeth that while Mr Alexander McDonnell and his half-breeds and Indians remained as aforesaid at point aux foutre the four Calves brought from Albany were all killed, three of them were shot by Michelle Bourafsa (a half-breed) and the other was killed for Mr Alexander McDonnells table by his orders. Deponent also further sayeth that while he was at point aux foutre he saw the Canadians taking one brafs cannon lately belonging to the Colony to conceal it in the woods where he believes it was concealed.
(signed) Thomas Costollo
Sworn before me
Carlton House Journal
Feb. 27 1817
" Mr Lewes and Pierre Matte arrived from Lefser Slave Lake and brought us the disagreeable intelligence of Mr Decoique with all his Men having been taken prisoner and the property that was under his care seized by Alexander Stewart of the North West Company.
Mr Lewes gives the following Account of this astonishing outrage.
About eight oClock in the evening of the second of December last Mr Francois Decoique, myself and the Little Pigeon, our interpreter, being then sitting by the fire in our House at Lefser Slave Lake, nine Canadians, all servants of the North West Company suddenly rushed into our room seized us all three (Viz. Francois Decoique, Myself and the Little Pigeon) and forcibly dragged us out of our House, at the Door of which I saw about eight armed Men among whom were Alexander Stewart a partner of the North West Company, Mitchell Flyne and Robert Henry two Clerks in the service of the North West Company drawn up in two files which I was made to pafs through several cocked Guns being pointed towards me on each side as I pafsed. When the three men who had seized me, Viz. Andrew Saint Querque, one du Chene, and one Longtin, had dragged me without the outer Gates of our House, Saint Querque took off his sash and tied my Hands, du Chene and Longtin holding me till Saint Querque had affected his purpose after which they pulled me away to the House of Alexander Stewart refusing, though I repeatedly requested them to allow me to put on my Coat and socks in consequence of which one of my Feet was severely frozen the night being cold and the distance from our House to Stewarts House being about half a mile. I was put into a room in Stewarts House with the Little Pigeon who was also dragged over by three Canadians and a guard placed over us during the night.
After I had been in Stewarts House about ten minutes Mr Francois Decoique was forcibly brought into the room where I was by several of Stewarts Men. Mr Decoique asked Alexander Stewart on what account or by what Authority he had taken us Prisoners to which Stewart answered 'I have seized You because I heard from some free Canadians and Indians that you intended to seize my House and Property' but soon after Stewart told us that we were made Prisoners by way of revenge for what happened in Red River last spring and indeed it is quite evident that our apprehension was determined on before Stewart arrived, in October last at Lefser Slave Lake as contrary to the custom of the North West Company Stewart after his arrival did not take any active Measure to procure furs or to prevent the Natives, most of whom were trading with us, giving us their furs and Provisions. The Day after I was taken Prisoner as above related Viz. on the third of December last, Alexander Stewart sent his Men with Horses and Sledges to our House and in course of the Day they brought over and delivered to Stewart all the Property of the Hudsons Bay Company which we had in our House and partly destroyed the Buildings - only five of our Men, Canadians, were at home when we were seized and these Alexander Stewart prevented from coming to our afsistance by Standing at the Door with his party of Armed Men and desiring them not to come out. Our Men who were absent at the time of our being seized gradually came to Stewarts House and they asked Mr Decoique what they were to do when he told them to live in their own House and receive Provisions from Stewart to whom they were Prisoners. Stewart refused to feed our Men unlefs they lived at his House, and he tried every means in his Power, but with little Succefs to induce the Men to desert and engage in the service of the North West Company. Alexander Stewart detained Mr Decoique myself and the Little Pigeon Prisoners till the ninth of December last when he told us that we might go whither we pleased. Mr Decoique chose to remain at Stewarts House, several of our Men dispersed in different parties to provide food for themselves. I went away with Antoine Desjarlais (a Native of this Country and a good Hunter) Pierre Matte and Joseph Francour we moved on gradually to Red Deer's Lake and from there to Moose Lake where we arrived on the fifteenth of February last and from whence I set off on the eighteenth of February following with Pierre Matte for the place where I arrived (as you know) on Friday last. Mr Decoique informed me that he was seized first by Charles Delorme, Stewarts guide, la Batte, a half breed, and one la Frinier, that when about half way between our house and Stewarts House he extricated himself from them and ran towards our House but being surrounded was retaken and forced into Stewarts House as I had been. Mr Decoique further informed me that when he broke away from the Men who first held him, Charles Delorme called out 'fire at him, fire at him' and that he saw one Appishahsish accordingly kneel down to take aim but a Canadian interposed and prevented his firing. Mr Decoique had his Feet and Ears frozen.
I declare the above to be tthe truth.
(signed) John Lewes."
Carlton House Journal
March 3 1817
" Two Men arrived from the Nippoe with three rolls of Tobacco. John McDougald also and two Canadians arrived from Isle a la Crofse and delivered me the following Letter from Mr Mcleod.
Hoping this will come to your hands with lefs struggle than what I received from your Quarter.
I venture once more.
The manner that Dechamps and Party were taken with the Letters in their charge I refer you to my letter of the 14th Instant - It was my Justly suspecting it was a scheme of theirs to get hold of my Person that made me not comply with Thompsons request at first, but send off to inform you of what had taken place and to caution those who were coming from Edmonton. About ten miles from here the People I sent off on the morning Met Patt? Cunningham and the others remaining with the Packet and both Parties returned back here to gather but they scarcely had turned about when they met Ogden and six men, he and party returned to their Fort and when within hearing fired and alarmed their people they all turned out in a body and Mr Black at their head of which there is a list Enclosed. on seeing them turned out I immediately Turned also with a few that followed me and came to them upon the Lake but to my Grief found them between me and my People who were coming with the Letters - Black and Ogden advanced towards me and I towards them. I asked them what did they mean by his manouvers to day did they intend to begin the Butchering work again. If he did to give us Man for Man. he replied it was my fault by not complying with Mr Thompsons request. They both put the question to me if I would go and see Mr Thompson I answered in the negative they then returned to their main body or Party who were blockading our people who were coming with the Packet. our people made a motion to come on but were immediately surrounded and after a great deal of resistance and struggle our people were disarmed. on seeing my People thus used I ran to their aid and found them still struggling. Ogden attacked me with a cocked pistol. I immediately prepared mine and was just in the act of taken aim when he desisted and said he only wants to speak to me, at the same time he offered to seize my arms but I kept him off and told in French before all his Men him and I to decide the affair he and Black replied again and put the question to me if I would promise to go and see Mr Thompson to day. Seeing my People and Letters in their hands I consented to go on Condition they would restore their arms? to my Men and let them home to the Fort to which they agreed but they still kept Dechamp and Party in Confinement. Without waiting to open any of the Letters brought by the last Party I went to see Mr Thompson and with no expectation of coming back soon but I was resolved neither to open any letters in the Fort nor give any Goods whatever Might be the result. I was no sooner in his Fort than Thompson gave me the Letters and wished me to open them. I told him I would not in his Fort but I would take them with me and made a move to go off but I was immediately arrested. I then told him that he certainly must have formed a very silly opinion of me indeed to think I would devulge any Secrets intrusted to me. He found on examination that I had more to say against the North West Company then they had against me. he then proposed to bind? myself and Servants to the peace for a twelve? Month. I consented to bind myself only and that on Condition I should be justified in taking up arms in defence of self and property intrusted to my charge in case I should be attacked or insulted. To relate You all that pafsed will fill up a few more pages. I as well as McDougald were kept from noon 15th till 1 AM 17th Inst. during which time I can afsure you that they insisted hard to obtain goods as a security for my future conduct. and particularly Black finding at last they could not obtain the goods they all said they would follow Lord Selkirks plan. I put them to the Test. After we had agreed and settled for 1st Article in the Agreement the second was proposed finding they had all the men that Knew the road that way? in their pofsefsion as well as Mr Clarkes Letters in their hands and McDougald informing me at the same time that the News was sent Mr Clarke by Slave Lake I agreed not to send towards the North. Mr Thompson suggested to me privately if it was himself Matters would be much easier with me but that he was obliged to act as he did, and whither I would consent or not, not to send any letters that way. they were determined not to allow any to go. The third Day after I had sent off Mr Clarkes letters towards you the North West People who followed Dechamp from atthabasca arrived here by whom we learned that a North West Clerk with a strong party were sent after Dechamp but finding they could not overtake him they returned - And now at this place they are watching as close as ever they were so that it will be in vain to attempt sending this way until the Navagation - for the way they wrought at me to obtain the Goods I refer you to McDougald who was detained prisoner as well as me
On the event you will not approve of the arrangement I made with Mr Thompson you have only to call me from here and all is void and null. I can afsure you if I had not made such? Arrangements it would have cost Blood shed and property and I think their principle motive was to obtain Goods which they did not accomplish - Black and Ogden did not seem well pleased with the agreement. To day I was just on eve of setting off to speak to you in person but Black objected to my going at present. Say I was the only security they had for the agreement made between us.
I do not think it safe to bring any Pemican lower than Green Lake except what will be sent to Mr Clarke and what may serve me out. I likewise intend removing all the Goods from here before the North West comes out in the Spring. I think I shall be able to be at Cumberland House before my adversaries comes here in greater Numbers than they are.
I have made enquiry about getting the Pemican brought here by Perch? River which I am told it is impofsible as the river is not practicable.? but I rather doubt it as I have seen where it discharges itself into the Beaver River below Green Lake and it appears very large however I shall enqire more minutely about and if thought navagable with either large or small Canoes I shall send towards you very soon.
The North West seems to have a Claim against Mr Decoique for engaging their prior engaged Servants last Year so that it will be as well for him to go out your way than to come this way as I shall be off before he comes here. In fact we have to be on our guard for if the North West will hear no Confirmation of these reports in circulation we may rely on an attack. I think three or four of the Half breeds here will go and afsist in protecting the Pemican in the Spring.
I think I shall be able to get six Canoes made I am to send Marchard to Green Lake in a few days to begin to prepare Wood for them. You mentioned that our People does not gain any Ground at Green Lake which is owing in a great measure to mismanagement of our people in the first place their whole time is taing up with hauling of Provisions to so many uselefs invalids - where as they might have made a fall fishing some of the people that wintered there told me they used to put from 3 to 4000 Fish by in the Fall.
You justly accused me for engaging so many of these Sloths? I mean Freemen not even those who were here but likewise those brought from Red River. They are a set lazy, saucy, Proud, Indolent People before I received your Letters I had three months ago wrote to Ducharme to send Boorie about his Businefs - I can shew you Mr Logans recommendation and wishes to engage Boorie and Ducharm told me last fall that Boorie was worth half of his Men, Old Michel, Mr Clarke had engaed him before my arrival and Marchand I have made no final agreement with I merely kept him for the sake of making Canoes which if not done he is to receive no wages - Mr Logan mentioned in his last Letter hoping I had enagaed Boorie - There are so many recommendators and those so very officious that they are apt to lead any young Man astray.
In my present situation I am not able to judge how I may arrange for the summer. If time and Businefs will admit without? any detrement to the concern I shall endeavour to see you before the snow is off the Ground. You will please to let me know what wages I may give Patt. Cunningham. I am sure you cannot exceed his expectations. If he agrees fro another year he wishes to remain inland to be employed in searching for Indians etc. There are a great number of our Canadian Servants whose times are nearly expired. I suppose the Depot will be the best place to reengage them - It is a hard case to be involved in such troubles as we are but I hope it will soon terminate
I think it rather strange that those People who came to Mr Sutherland to carry Letters for the North West and now for their employers but still there is something appertaining to truth in it - whenever the navagation is open I shall send Dechamp andf the others that came from that Quarter to meet Mr Clarke which will enable m and my people to leran this sooner than I otherwise would.
To search for Indians the summer certainly is the best season while the main force of our opponents are away<.br> Mr Frobisher of the North West that hired the Indian to attack me in the going out, of which I am not in the least dread. I met a few of these Indians and found them remarkable kind but I make not doubt but Frobisher will urge them to do so.
It was purposely to attack us here that the North West Converted all their Officers in the English River. Say Frobisher from Lac La Ronge, Ogden from Green Lake and several of their Men from those parts besides what force they had here. Their Men were very unanimous. Mr Thompson tells me that the news brought has a very bad effect on his Men. If it was only the Masters we had to contend with it would not be a hard matter for their Bodies are not made of Iron more than ours. I wrote Mr Carswell to send if pofsible 40 or 50 bags Pemican to Beaver River as the conveyance you mentioned is not certain. I cannot committ to paper at present what I would wish. I principally send to inform you of the state of affairs here. I am still in hopes to get safe out with all Party in mean time Conclude with best respects
Your most obt. Servant
(signed) Jn McLeod"
Carlton House James Bird
April 16 1817
"An Indian who accompanied William Tate and Malcolm Rosie on the fourth Instant on a reconnoitering excursion towards Green Lake arrived - He relates that as he and his companions were pursuing their journey they saw within a days walk of Green Lake an Iroquoy who traded during the winter with Mr Ducharme and by whom they were informed that some of the Company's Servants had a few days before been at his Tent for furs and that Mr Ducharme was at that time of course undisturbed by the Canadians, This information induced Tate and party (contrary to instructions I had given them) to proceed in open day and on the open Lake towards Mr Ducharmes House. and the consequences that when they reached the middle of the Lake they were overtaken and surrounded by about twenty Canadians with Ogden at their head who conducted them prisoners to the North West Company House there. Tate and Rosie having been disarmed were soon sent off towards Isle a la Crofse escorted by two armed Canadians. After having been a few hours absent Tate and party returned to Green Lake accompanied by John McDonald and two more servants of the comapny, who, the Indian understood, had left Isle a la Crofse privately but meeting Tate etc.the whole five allowed themselves to be led prisoners by two Canadians to Ogdens House. The evening after McDonalds arrival at Green Lake, three armed men, two Half Breeds and one Canadian arrived in pursuit of him. John McDonald took an opportunity to whisper to the Indian that McLeod and all his people were prisoners at Isle a la Crofse and that it is the intention of the partners of the North West Company to take all our inland settlements and when the Navagation opens to proceed to York to capture that place also. Ogden confined the Indian three days and then allowed him to return to his Tent under a promise that he would not come to this place to acquaint us with what had happened."
Carlton House Journal
April 27 James Bird
" William Tate and Patrick Quin arrived from Isle a la Crofse and delivered the following Letter.
Isle a la Crofse 18th April 1817
" Yours of the 3rd Ultimo came to my hand the sixth day after it left you wherein you mentioned that the conduct of my opponents unjustifiable as it was would not bear a Comparison with Alexander Stewarts at Lefser Slave Lake but I think when you peruse the following lines you'll find it very little deficient and I am sorry to inform you that these depredations are not altogether Confined to this place and Lefser slave Lake. They have likewise disarmed Mr Clarke and party in Athabasca.
Conformed to your request I with two Men left here on the fifteenth of March with the intention of paying you a visit - I was followed by Samuel Black and four of his Men. we proceeded on untill we came to the South end of this Lake which is about eight miles from this fort and there we met lying in ambush eight more men under arms whom John Thompson had sent for the purpose of apprehending me, we were immediately seized and brought prisoners to Thompsons Fort where I and the other two men were kept in close confinement for fifteen days-
Sunday the sixteenth of March which was the next morning after I was taken about 4 AM Black with all his and Thompsons Men Broke into our Fort when he found all the People asleep and seized and disarmed them and returned to his Fort with our Arms. In a few hours after Black accompanied by Thompson returned to our Fort and entered into the house where in presence of and with desire of John Thompson Black broke open the warehouse Door and seized all the Hudsons Bay Companys property which I saw afterwards brought to Thompsons Fort and put into his ware-house -
Black left here on the eighteenth following with a party and on the night of the nineteenth he seized all our people at Green Lake and took pofsefsion of all the Hudson's Bay Company's property there, took all the people to this place, even the women and children who were not able to walk were dragged down here, Some of the Women and Children who were not able to keep up with Black and the Men were left along the Road and none of the Men were allowed to remain along with them till they were afterwards fetched and it is really cruel how they behaved here.
It is vain for me to attempt to describe what a disagreeable situation we are placed in, it is grieving to me to see so many as there are here of Men deprived of their liberty and of course of great lofs and detriment to their employers. They are prevented from going where they can be of service and perform their dutys - we are told that we are to be kept behind the north west people going out in the spring and that we are to be detained at some fishing Place till such time as the whole of the North West will get out first - for my own part I am informed that I shall be brought to some remote Quarter where I can bear no testimony against any person - Black told me some days ago that they are not done with seizures yet - I am informed they are determined upon going to York and seize all the Property their. As for the tyrant Black he sticks at nothing for he will not attempt to go down himself - they had it in agitation all the winter to have gone to your place and brought you to Green Lake. At the time I was allowed to join the rest of our people which was on the twenty ninth of March Thompson promised me before witnefses that none of us should be detained after the eighth of April, on the ninth John McDonald and two others went off to endeavour and get to your place, but no sooner Black missed them than he immediately made a search for them and not finding them about the house he sent some of his half-breeds after them who came up to them at Green Lake from whence they were brought back to this place. Whatever may be the consequence I am fully resolved not to lend them a single scripe of a Pen - They seem quite regardlefs of the laws of their Country and they most undoubtedly know that they act contrary to any thing contained in the English Constitution. They ever? confefs themselves that they have no room to complain of my conduct since I came here - I have not been hitherto commanded by any of my Superior officers in the Hudsons Bay Company service to do any illegal action nor shall their concern sustain the least injury on my account. If I have committed myself anyways let them (the North West) bring me before a Court of Justice and if found Guilty let me suffer accordingly. This I have already told them here.
Should there be nothing against them in this Quarter but the stopping of my sending in due time to you or Mr Carswell for Provisions, it is a serious affair that such a number of People as what there are here and with Mr Clarke should run the risk of being starved for the want of these provisions on which we all depend.
I have already advertized them before witnefses that the Hudsons Bay Company would not be answerable for any supplies they may give as they prevented us from providing for ourselves in due time - If it can be done it is most needful that Mr Carswell would send lefs or more Pemican say fifty or sixty bags to Cold Lake Portage. You cannot be too much upon your guard - with no hopes of seeing you - I conclude with best respects
Yr mo obt Servant
(signed) John McLeod
P.S. I have a great deal more to add but I must refer it till a future period."
... "William Tate says that Mefs Thompson and Black have at Isle a la Crofse about fifty-five Men, Canadians and Half-breeds, and that Ogden has about twenty-five Men at Green Lake. Mr John McLeod has about fifty-three Men."
April 27 1817 James Bird
" Three Indians arrived from Edmonton which they left about the third of April at which time the Canadians had made no attempt on that Settlement. These Indians hunted for Mr Hughes during the winter, but, about the first of April last they availed themselves of a favorable opportunity which offered to kill near Edmonton two young blackfeet Indians, and immediately afterwards decamped and fled to this place. This circumstance added to the mafsacres committed by the Southward Indians last Summer will certainly cause a very general War amongst the Indians of the plains during the present Summer and the consequence may be, if the Southward and Stone Indians stand their ground, that no white Men will be permitted to go higher up this River next fall then this place. An event which has been expected to take place these two or three Years past."
May 2 1817 James Bird
" A Southward Indian arrived from Jack Lake who informs us that a party of Stone Indian Horse Stealers lately arrived at his Tent from the Moose Hill where they (by their accounts) Met with Mr. Hallett and about seven Canadians conveying on Horses Goods, Furs etc. from Moose Lake to this River. one of whom they killed and the rest they robbed of all their property including their Clothes and Horses. Mr. Hallett they stripped naked and in that condition sent him back to his House at Moose Lake. Our informant adds that there is little room to doubt the truth of the above account as several of the Stone Indians had Handkerchiefs and other fineries on their heads which it is not probable that they could procure in any other way. This event has perhaps been in some measure occaisioned by the violent proceedings of the North West Company at Red River, Green Lake etc. The Indians are not unconcerned Spectators of the conduct of the North West Company towards us. many of those who are attached to us feel some inclination to revenge on our adversaries the wrongs we suffer from them, while the ease with which these have seized large Quantities of the Company's Goods seems to have produced in the minds of the Indians who adhere to them a desire to follow their example but all have hitherto been prevented from taking an active part in our difsentions by the fear of its leading to serious quarrels among themselves. in short should the present contention between the two Companies be of long duration there can be little reason to doubt that the southward indians will takea part in them, and when they have once tasted the sweets of plunder they will not fail again to satisfy their wants in the same easy way whenever favorable opportunitires occur. These Indians from long habit have become fond of visiting the Houses frequently and of living with white People on terms of reciprocal confidence and familiarity. but if they once generally commit any acts by which they feel that that confidence must be destroyed they will certainly become the most audacious and the most mischevious of all the Tribes that inhabit this part of the Country."
May 20 1817 James Bird
" Mr Lewes with five Men arrived in a large Canoe from Edmonton with the pleasing intelligence that we may expect Mr Carswell and all the Boats etc. of Edmonton to arrive here in a few days - This agreeable news is however accompanied by other of the most distrefsing nature, which is the death of Henry Hillier who was shot about the 19th of April last by a party of Horse Stealers.-
Mr Lewes gives the following account of that melancholy accident. He says that he became so lame on his way to Edmonton as to be under the necefsity of remaining in the plains (about fifty miles above Buckingham House) and of sending forwards two of the Men who accompanied him from this place to fetch a horse from Edmonton to carry him to that settlement. a few days after those men had left him Mr Lewes went from his hut to shoot at some Buffalo which were near - & during his absence, it appears, a party of Stone Indians (Horse Stealers) killed poor Hillier, and plundered the hut of every thing that was in it including Letters & other papers that I had sent to Mr Carswell. Pierre Matte was at the hut with Hillier but perceiving the Stone Indians coming he threw himself into a Bush where he lay, concealed & from thence saw the Death of his companion. After shooting at the Buffalo Mr Lewes returned to his hut which he soon found had been robbed, & not finding his men there he ran Calling them as he went to the top of a little hill where he saw four Stone Indians who approached him but on his presenting his Gun at them they rode off - He again returned towards the hut in search of his men but not finding them he took the Road & set off alone in the direction of Edmonton - At Eight Oclock in the evening he put up, and about two hours afterwards was joined by Pierre Matte and informed of what had happened - The following morning they together pursued their Journey but were so very unfortunate as to meet with another party of Horse Stealers, consisting of about twenty-five Men, by whom they were Robbed of every thing they had except their Shirt & trowsers and in that half naked state left without anything to make a fire with, without any thing to eat, And , at three days Journey distant from Edmonton fortunately however for them they were soon overtaken by three Canadians who furnished them with food & Blankets as well as fire - The two Men Mr Lewes sent off before him arrived safe at Edmonton.
It is the unfortunate and shocking occurences that I have just related, which gave birth to the information received & which I have mentioned in full in this Journal under Date the Second of May for Mr Hallett has not been stripped nor has any Canadian been lately killed, though two were robbed of twelve Horses and completely stripped by a party of the same Indians who killed poor Hillier - Mr Lewes resembles Mr Hallett sufficiently to be taken for him by persons not intimately acquainted with him & Hillier was drefsed like a Canadian. It must not however be understood from this that if Mr Lewes had been known, he or his men would have escaped unhurt, for the Stone Indians are now become so numerous & daring that they often ill treat all without distinction, who are so unfortunate as to meet with them in the plaiins, And there is every reason to suppose that if measures cannot soon be taken will make these Indians put their dependance on us, it will be impofsible to convey Goods in safety higher up this river than this place. Last fall a party of this same restlefs tribe Robbed a party of Canadians who were conveying Goods on HorseBack to Moose Lake of twelve Horses & a considerable quantity of Goods & shot one of the men through the hand -
The Murder of the unfortunate Hillier was an act of the most wanton cruelty as he was surrounded by about ten Stone Indians and not having a Gun in his hand could make no serious resistance by the account of Matte, who sawall that pafsed, Hilliers death was immediately occaisioned by his persisting to hold a handsome Canadian Belt (the property of Mr Lewes) which a Stone Indian seized & in vain tried to take it from him by mere strength.
Sent off the young half breed I had called up here from Cumberland to convey to that place in the Canoe that arrived this morning, Canada, one of Mr Decoigne's Men who is in a deplorable state with the venereal disease in hopes that Mr Todd may be able to render him some afsistance."
May 28 1817
" Embarked for Cumberland with all the boats etc. and the trade of Carlton & Edmonton, the quantity of Pemican procured in this River amounts to no more than 365 Bags of 80 lbs each of Pemican and about 1200 lbs of loose fat which is about 100 Bags of Pemican lefs than were procured last year - Afsured that a unusual quantity of provisions will be required this present summer and there being a prospect that a considerable quantity may be oprocured at Carlton early enough to be of considerable service. I have left Mr Pruden to pafs the summer at that place although there is a considerable risk of his being visited & perhaps attacked by war parties of Slave Indians, on which account more men are left with him than usual - Mr. Pruden now has with him Mr. Whitford, James Sandison Sen., Robert Sandison, Richard Colen, James Spence, Edward Simmons, Oman Norquay, George Rofs & Mr. John Harriott"
1M19 B.27/a/6 "