This is a virtually complete transcription of the Edmonton House Journal 1810-11 by Alex Nicol
" An Irregular Sketch of the principal Transactions and Occurances at Saskatchewan Factory and on the Pafsage from and to York Factory Commencing Sept. 2 1810 and Ending the 27th June 1811"
Sept. 2 1810
" Took Leave of Mr Auld and Embarked with eight Men in two Canoes, Mr Kennedy with one Canoe in Company for Cumberland House."
" Found myself so very unwell as to be under the Necefsity of taking six Men in one canoe and returning to York Factory, the other canoe I left with three Men to proceed on towards Cumberland, in Company, and with the Afsistance of Mr Kennedy."
" Again took leave of Mr Auld and Mr Cook and set off with Mr Sinclair in company towards Oxford House."
" Found the Men Canoe, & Goods I had left at Steel River to proceed with Mr Kennedy, on the spot from whence I returned to York Factory. this unexpected event occasions our being too heavily loaded for this season of the Year, yet I hope still to be able to reach Cumberland House by water."
" At 12 AM Arrived at Oxford House. at 3 PM took leave of Mr Sinclair, & continued our Journey towards Cumberland."
" Overtook Mr Kennedy at the Enterance of Lake Winnipeg where he has been four Days wind Bound."
Oct. 1 1810
" Parted company with Mr Kennedy, in the cedar Lake, who directed his canoe for Swan River."
" Arrived at cumberland House and had the pleasure to find Mr Sutherland well."
" Left three Men & a few Goods which Mr Sutherland requires at Cumberland and set off with five Men in a small Boat for Carlton House."
" Arrived at Carlton House (which is now situated at the Crofsing place, that is, about 70 Miles above Old Hudson House) and had the pleasure to find Mr Pruden & Men well. There we Met a Man & two Boys from Edmonton House with horses to convey us, and some Goods, up to that place. Received also Letters from Mr Howes and party who were well, and had Embarked safe on the Cootanee River on their way to the Columbia. Gave Mr Pruden every? Instructions, circumstances require. & prepared for continuing our journey to Edmonton house."
" Sett off with six Men & horses for Edmonton."
" Arrived all safe at Edmonton House, and had the satisfaction to find Mr Hallet and Men all very well."
" Received Letters from Mr Howes, dated Cootanee River 20th Aug. 1810, in which he says that, having been Informed by some Cootanahas that a Battle had been fought between a party of Flatt Head Indians with Whom a Mr Macdonald clerk to the NWC was in company, and a party of Muddy River Indians, in which the latter were defeated with the lofs of 14 Men killed: and that the Muddy River Indians in consequence were laying in Ambush to intercept him, or any white Man, who might attempt to convey Goods to the Flatt Heads, he had determined on remaining some time at the place where this Letter was dated to gain further intelligence, after which, he should detemine on his future proceedings. The News Mr Howes had received has been seriously confirmed by the Muddy River Indians themselves who stopped 4 French canoes, which were bound for the Columbia, a Little above old Acton House, and this band of Indians that stopped the Canadians declare that, another is Laying on the banks of the River (called by Mr Thomson Macgillvereys? River) which Mr Howes intended to decend, to intercept them there in case they had pafsed Acton House without their knowledge.
I am concequently not without serious approbations for the Safety of Mr Howes & party without a probability of being able to render them any asifstance or, having it in my power to obtain any intelligence of their present situation. Mr Thomson it appears after a Settlement had been formed & Goods left for the Muddy River Indians at Acton House set of privately with twenty Men & Horses conveying a few Goods, to go by another way towards his last years abode near the Columbia. The NWC appears now to pursue their trade to that Quarter with an avidity which can be created by prospects of great benefit only. They amuse us with Stories of their intention to send a Ship round to the Mouth of the Columbia in pursuit of this trade, they tell us likewise that they are to hold a third part of the Stock of a large American Company (Aster & Co.) which is formed at New York to undertake a trade up the Mifsowrey & by that River to the Pacific Ocean."
Nov. 1 1810
" Sent off Mr Macfarlane with one Man for Acton House (which it has been found Necefsary for the season to resettle) to afsist Wm Flett who is in charge of that place, and to give him every Instruction the new system of conducting the trade requires. Sent off two Men likewise to join two others who are at a small out post called white Earth House, a little west of old Edmonton."
" The River froze over. a few crees arrived."
" The crees of the 8th traded what skins they Brought & went away."
" Three Blackfeet Young Men arrived who brought a few Wolves."
" The Young Blackfeet Men traded their Wolves for Tobacco and returned to their tents. they slept four nights on their way to the House & say that there are no Buffaloe near. - Received a letter from Mr Pruden by the servant of our Neighbours - he expects to make a tolerable trade both of furs & provisions."
" Received Letters from Acton House by some canadians who arrived from thence - these Letters contain no News of Importance."
" Having now been able to calculate the value of Trading goods at this place it appears that, including every Expence, in Stores, Crafts, Provisions, & Mens Wages, Attending the Maintainance of this Factory & its Dependances they cost 110 pr Ct on their Value at York Factory: the value of a certain Quantity of each trading Article at this place is inclosed to Wm Flett, and he is directed to regulate himself thereby in his future trafic with the Indians."
" Received a Letter from Mr Pruden by the Arrival of some canadians. he has Expectation of procuring a good Quantity of pemican and hopes that his Indians will make tolerable hunts."
" Four Blackfeet arrived at our Neighbours they brought him a few Wolves & Informd us that they slept four nights since they left the? Buffalo which is a peice of very unpleasant News as we are 166 Mouths, Four Hunters can with difficulty furnish us with a sufficiency of Meat."
" A few Blackfeet Arrived. they have slept nine nights on their way to the house and tell us that they saw scarcely a Buffalo in their whole journey, and that there are very few even at their tents which is an unpleasant peice of intelligence as our provisions are becoming very low."
" The Blackfeet of yesterday traded and went away they Brought about forty Wolves but no provisions of any kind. the Man that is tenting with our hunters Arrived for something to eat as the Extreme cold weather and scarcity of Animals has prevented their killing any these several days past. This new Reduced me to the necefsity of Borrowing 249 lbs of Beat meat from our Neighbours."
" Sent off two partys Amounting together to 10 Men on a hunting Expedition. one party with horses are to go to the Southward & remain till they find Buffalo, the others are to go downwards till they find Cows."
" Our hunters & Families Arrived on their way downwards in hopes of being able to find a few Animals in that Quarter."
" Our hunters moved away. Found myself under the Necefsity of again borrowing Beat meat from our Neighbours."
" One of the parties who went on hunting the 20th Inst. Arrived with the meat of only 5 Bulls. a few crees arrived at our Neighbours."
Jan. 2 1811
" The crees above went away and encamped, to drink, near the House."
" Early AM a Woman arrived from the crees of yesterday and Informed us that, a Quarrel had taken place amongst them last night which terminated in the Death of one Man, and another man receiving two stabs in the Back."
" Sent off a Free Canadian, who is engaged to hunt? & four Men on a hunting Expedition."
" The party off Men who went with? Dogs on hunting the 20th Inst. Arrived after an absence of seventeen days with the meat of two old Buffalo Bulls. Two crees arrived for a supply of Ammunition."
" Had the Mortification to learn from the young crees of yesterday that, their relations, and indeed most of the Indians belonging to this place, had made no hunts whatever; Men that were accustomed to kill 80 or 100 MB have no more than 10 MB, and others in the same proportion: the reasons afsigned for this Dimunition in their hunts are, the scarcity of Beaver and unaccountable difsappearance of the Martins; and the Extreme severity of the winter & Extraordinary Depth off snow. Two Men? young crees Arrived, they came from one of our very best hunters who has killed no more since the fall then 19 Beaver."
" The Indians of yesterday received a small supply Ammunition for their relations and set off on their way home: sent one Man for their skins."
" Two Men arrived from Acton House, & one from the white Mud; the former are sent by Wm Flett for a supply of Goods: The Situation of Wm Flett & Men at Acton House appears to be exactly similar to ours at this place. they have the greatest Difficulty in procuring provisions even of the poorest kind sufficient for their subsistance, and have not seen any Indians from the plains since the fall. The cause of their and our Distrefs for Provisions is, the Burning of the plains between the red Deer & south Branch Rivers, which has prevented Buffalo from coming this way as usuall. An Indian arrived from another party of crees: his only hunt since the fall consists of 2 Otters & 1 Beaver; & those he has left, by his Acct., have much worse hunts than himself, he says they could find no Martins and that, owing to the great Depth of snow, Starvation Drove them from the woods."
" We are now reduced to the necefsity of serving out a few dried berries & a little old fatt to the Men for present subsistance; &, for want of provisions to give them for their Journey; I am unable to send off the Men who arrived from Acton House. Thus are we an hundred Mouths without more than two days provisions of any kind in the house."
" Sent off two Men with Dogs & Sledges on a hunting party down the River; and these two Men are to be followed to morrow by four others with Horses & Dogs to bring home the Bulls which we expect them to kill.
It appears that Mr Thomson is pafsing the winter close to the Rocky Mountain in one of the Branches of the Athapaskow River, from whence he expects to find a Pafsage to some Branch of the Columbia next spring: Our men from Acton House met seven of his Men on their way to that place who were going as we suppose, for a supply of provisions. Four Men arrived with the Meat of 4 old Bulls killed by the Freeman; these Men have been five days coming home."
" The Men of Acton House sett off on their return home. the Man from White Mud is too unwell to accompany them. I have sent by them the trading Articles required at that place. The Man who went for skins on the 8th Inst. arrived with 32 Beaver the hunts of 4 Men! Received four Mouse? from Indian Hunters."
" Sent five Men with five Horses & Sledges for meat."
" The weather became suddenly Mild & thawing. the snow on the Roofs of the Houses almost thawed away."
" Still soft weather but blowing from the North. It appears from the Acct. of some canadians sent to discover Buffalo that there is not a Bull to be found to the South'd within 80 Miles of this place & that our Freeman has killed no more than one Bull Since the Men who arrived here the 14th Inst. left him; If this Intelligence is confirmed by the Men I expect home in a few days I shall be under the necefsity of sending the greater part of our familys Downwards, to live on Buffalo."
" The Men who went off for meat the 16th Inst arrived with the Meat of only three old Bulls. These Men confirm the Acct. given us by the Canadians and our freeman is in consequence moving downwards in hopes of Finding a few old Bulls in that Quarter."
" Sent off two Men, & their families, to kill Buffalo for themselves about Paint Creek."
" A young Lad arrived from four tents of Crees who have made as bad hunts as any of those we have previously heard from. One of the best Hunters belonging to this place. An Indian who in 1809 killed 145 MB has now no more than 8 Beavers three Martins and a few Leather skins. The Lad says they have been unable to find Martins & that the Indians all suppose they must have been Destroyed by the Fires which raged thro' the woods last spring; as to the Beaver they are no longer to be found here in any numbers. The surprising & unaccountable scarcity of Martins will cause a severe Dimunition in the returns of this place and prevent the greater part of the Indians from Paying one half of their Debts."
" Sent one Man with the Lad of yesterday to Fetch the few skins which are at his tent. a Man arrived from Isle of Crofs with Letters from Mr Fidler."
" Copy of a Letter fm Mr Fidler
Isle of Crofs 8th Jan. 1811
Your Letter from Cumberland house of June last concerning your supplying us here in Pemican &c came to hand in Sept. And as the cause for a similar repetition seems no longer to exist I shall forbear dwelling on the contents of it.
The Packet containing our European letters for these last two years past was brought here safe and received on Christmafs Eve from Mr Pruden at Hudson House.
As we are Directed to renlinquish this place (as nothing can be done) in the Spring Ten bags of Pemican is all that will be necefsary for you to send over land to Cold Lake. We shall have people there to Receive it 10th of May who will at the same time take up for your department 16 or 17 afsorted Pieces of Trading Goods of 80 lb ea. and five Men who are to go down to York Factory by the way of Cumberland House according to Mr Aulds Desire.
Wishing You a Good Trade
Your Obt Servt.
" Sent Mr Fidler's man down to paint River to live there Till the canadians, who accompanied him hither, return to Isle a La Crofs."
" Copy of a Letter to Mr Fidler
Your Man arrived here the 27th Inst & delivered me your Letter safe.
Your demand of Pemican is certainly very moderate yet situated as I am, without a pound in my Pofsefsion, & without hopes of being able to procure any Quantity of concequence hereafter, I cannot presume to promise that it shall be sent you; If pofsible however you shall be supplied. Our Indians, all without Exception, have made such poor hunts as to leave no Probability of our being short of Trading Goods, in sending up, or not, therefore the pieces you Mention you may ? your own convenience only - Want of provisions will oblige us to leave this Early; the sooner therefore your men are at Cold Lake the better.
Your Humble Servt.
" A few Blackfeet arrived they have slept twelve nights on their way to the house and have brought only a few Wolves & Buffalo tongues as the snow is too Deep to admit of their horses traveling. A few crees arrived to Inform us that there are a few Buffalo near their tents which are about 50 Miles from this."
Feb. 2 1811
" Sent two Men with the crees of yesterday to Endeavour to get a little Meat. The Blackfeet went away they brought 50 Wolves & 4 red Foxes. a few more Blackfeet arrived."
" The Blackfeet of the 2nd Inst. went away, and a few others with Dogs hauling a few Wolves & a little Meat arrived."
" The Indians of the 4th went away & a few more of the same tribe Arrived."
" All the Blackfeet went away. Sent our Man with them to see what Distance their Buffalo Pond is from this. and if it is not too great, to collect the Meat of 20 Cows there. The two Men I sent off with the Crees on the 2nd Inst. returned home without any meat, and say that, all the Buffalo that were near the Crees tents are driven off by the Blackfeet coming Backwards & forwards to the Houses."
" Two crees Arrived from a party of five tents whom we have not heard from since the Fall. these have made no better hunts than those we have already heard from, having no More than 3 or 4 Beaver without a single Martin, pr Man."
" Two Men arrived from our Canadian hunter who Informs us that he has killed 15 Cow Buffalo. These men slept two nights on their way to the House."
" Sent off a Party of men with twelve Horses & Sledges to fetch meat from the Canadian Hunters Tent. Two Canadians Arrived at our Neighbours who brought us Letters from Acton House. From these letters and from the Information of our Neighbour, I am Acquainted that two of the NWC Clerks Arrived at Acton house the 23rd Jan. from the place at which Mr Howes is Wintering, which they left on the 12th Dec. they have brought no letters from Mr Howes; but we have the Satisfaction of Knowing that he reached the place of his Destination in safety, and that they left him & Party in good health."
" The Man I sent off with the Blackfeet on the 9th arrived. This man found the Distance of the Blackfeet Pound from this (he having been four Days on his way to it) too great to admit of our being able to fetch meat from thence; and the Blackfeet had no Meat on hand to spare us."
" Four Crees Arrived from a party of five Tents who sent for Men to fetch their skins."
" Sent two Men to fetch the Indians Skins to the House."
" Two young Crees Arrived for a supply of Ammunition for their relations; they are of a Party from which we heard in Jan. since which time they have scarcely made any Addition to their hunts."
" The Men of the 21 Inst. Arrived with 110 Beaver and only 26 Martins."
" The Party of Men which set off the 17th Inst. Arrived with the Meat of 18 Cows Buffalo: Our hunters also Arrived from the Plains having killed the number of Buffalo that I required of them."
Mar. 1 1811
" Sent off a Party of Men with Horses & Dogs, with Sledges, to fetch meat; & with them one of our Indian Hunters who is gone to kill 10 more Cows."
" Sent off a Party of Men with Several horses & dogs to fetch Meat."
" Some Canadians Arrived from the Crofsing Place and some from the Rocky Mountain House also, who brought me letters from Mr Pruden and from Wm Flett: the Accounts of neither of these settlements are at all gratifying: Mr Pruden complains of his Indians not doing so well as he Expected, Wm Flett has hitherto got very little & knows not what he has to expect."
" The Men who set off the 2nd & 3rd Inst. Arrived with the meat of 40 Cow Buffalo.
a few Cree Women Arrived with three or four Beaver & a few Leather skins. The Cree Hunter of the 3rd Inst. Arrived having Killed the number of Cows required."
" A few Sufsees & Blood Indian young Men Arrived for a little Tobacco for their Relations who are on their way to the House. From the Intelligence we have received from the young Men it appears that the Indians of the plains have made no better hunts then those of the woods that they have neither Wolves nor Provisions and the cause of this Poverty is by them ascribed to a scarcity of Buffalo, and the Extreme severity of the weather, and great Depth of snow which has destroyed their horses & concequently prevented them from Running Wolves."
" Two Men Arrived from Acton House for a few Articles of Goods which are required at that place. A few Blackfeet Arrived but apparently very poor."
" Sent off the two Men of Acton House, & by them the Goods required at that Place."
" The Blackfeet of the 18th Inst. went away. They Brought only 97 Wolves 120 lbs Beat Meat & 18 lb Fatt."
" Sent five Men with Dogs & Sledges to fetch home Birchrind, taken off the trees last Summer. also two with some Crees, who Arrived yesterday, to fetch furs."
" Sent off two Men to go to Acton House, and from thence with horses & Pemican to Meet Mr Howse at the Cootanha River, on the West side of the Rocky Mountain. the Men of the 22nd Arrived with 60 Beavers, 4 Otters, and a few Martins, & Leather Skins."
" The Canadian who hunted for us went off to look for Beaver to make his Spring hunt."
" Sent off two Men for Acton House to afsist down with the Crafts from that House."
Apr. 15 1811
" A few Blackfeet Arrived."
" The Blackfeet of yesterday traded and went away - they brought only 15 Wolves and 3 Pounds of Dry Meat."
" The Freeman of the 26th Ult. Arrived. He wished to make his Hunt in the Battle River and in small Rivulets that fall into it from the Southward; but found the Blackfeet too Apprehensive of Meeting with their Enemies who Inhabit the Banks of the Mifsifsoury to be prevailed on to Accompany him; he says that the Blackfeet have nothing to Trade. & that, ? the Buffalo are near their tents in great numbers, the snow is so very Deep that they cannot drive them into their Ponds, and the few horses the severity of the Weather has left them alive are so very wretched, that they have difficulty in procuring their own Subsistance."
" Two men Arrived from Acton House; they are come down for a supply of Tobacco for the Summer season. The Trade of this House considering the number of Indians who have visited it, is nothing superior to the rest. & they have not been able to procure one single Bag of Pimican for the support of the men in the Summer, so that this, is on the whole, the most unsuccefsfull winter ever Experienced in this River."
" A few Blackfeet Arrived but seem to have brought very little Indeed."
" The Indians of yesterday traded & went away. they Brought 17 Wolves & 120 lbs beat Meat, but not an Ounce of Fatt."
" Another small Band of Blackfeet Arrived Apparently more Poor then the foregoing."
" The Indians of yesterday went away they brought only 12 Wolves & 80 lbs Beat Meat."
May 3 1811
" A Band of Indians Arrived consisting of seven Chiefs (Blackfeet)"
" The Indians of yesterday traded and set off. they brought no more then 43 Wolves and 150 lb beat Meat."
" The River Ice broke opposite the house, but soon Stopt."
" The River Ice moved again & Continued to Drive Leaving great Quantitys of Ice on the shores.
A Band of Crees Arrived near twenty men, They have not brought forty Skins amongst them for their spring hunts."
" Another Band of Crees Arrived - these have made no better spring hunts than the rest. After Receiving a present of Brandy they returned to their tents."
" Sent off two Men in a small boat to go to the Crofsing Place with a few Articles of trading Goods required at Carlton House."
" (Copy of a Letter to Mr Pruden)
As it has become necefsary to Occupy Acton House during the summer and as Mr Hallett will in a short time leave the Service, your presence is necefsary here, for the managing the affairs of this place till Mr House Arrives. You will therefore leave Carlton place as soon as you have settled with your Indians, and taken an Inventory of the Goods you have remaining and proceed to this place as Expeditiously as you can. James Sandison must have charge of your Post till I arrive there - wishing you a pleasant journey
P.S. Inclosed is an Acct. of Trading Goods sent you."
" Sent off two men & a boy with nine horses to fetch acrofs the Goods Mr Fidler Intends sending up for us to Cold Lake, and to take him all the pimican we can spare."
" (Copy of a Letter sent to Mr Fidler)
My Apprehensions were too well founded, at this place and Acton House together we are not in pofsefsion of more than six bags of Pimican consequently I am unable to send you more than three bags with a little pounded Meat for your Men to subsist on, on their Return to Isle a La crofs. The Inconveniences we must ourselves feel from this total want of Dry Provisions will be sufficient to convince the most uncandid that, it has not been in our Power to Procure more, and induce you to ascribe our inability to supply you more amply to a concurrence of circumstances beyond our control. The unexampled Depth of snow and severity of the Winter, by Destroying the greater Part of the Indian horses and impoverishing the Buffalo, have been the cause of our present Distrefs; nor has this affected the provision trade alone, our trade in furs is Little superior, and this has, on the whole, been the most uncomfortable and unprofitable season, ever Experienced in this river.
I have not sent acrofs so Early as you Appointed because our River did not open till the 10th of May. and I had every reason to conclude that the season could not be forwarder in your Quarter
your Humble Servt.
" Mr Macfarlane and the Men of Acton House arrived with the trade of that place. Wm Flett and four Men remained there to pafs the summer. A desire to conciliate the minds of the Indians, and to dispose them as much as in our power to behave friendly towards Mr Howse, and party should they, as is too probably, Meet with him in their Excursions, has induced us, and the Canadians, to comply with the urgent Solicitations of the Indians to leave Men and Goods at this Settlement during the Summer, and on this Acct. (and a few freemen making their Spring hunts in that Quarter) only could this place have been thought worth maintaining.
The Muddy River Indian Chiefs have promised not to molest Mr Howse on his return from the flat head Country; but declared that, if they again meet with a white Man going to supply their Enemies, they would not only plunder & kill him, but that they would make dry Meat of his body. This threat they are sufficiently brutal to fulfill in its utmost intent, for, according to the concurring testimony of their own, and several other tribes, the Blood Indians, in course of last summer, after Destroying three American Settlements on the Mifsifsoury and killing most of the Men, horrid to relate roasted the Body of the principal American and eat it with the most savage Exultation."
" Sent off one Man with his family and an Indian Lad as hunter, to pafs the summer at a small Post called Little white earth house."
" Sent off four Men in two boats to go down the River till they meet with buffalo and there remain till we arrive."
" Sent off three Men in a boat to join those who left this yesterday - A few Blood Indians Arrived with a few Wolves and Buffalo robes, which they traded and went away. These Indians inform us that they have very lately lost seventy of their horses, stolen by Indians called the Crow Mountain Indians, - who Inhabit the Banks of the Mifsifsoury and they afsure us that we may Expect to be Attacked by them in course of Summer."
" Mr Hallet took leave of us and Embarked for the Crofsing place, at which place he is to have charge of a Settlement for the NWC. This Factory has thus lost perhaps the best Indian Trader belonging to it and if the NW proprietors take the advantage of our present weaknefs his lofs may be of more concequence than may have been Expected.
A few Blackfeet Arrived traded the little they brought and went away; these tell us the same Story of the Crow Mountain Indians, as the Blood Indians did, and tell us to be on our guard during the Summer."
" (Copy of a letter to Mr Howse)
Unacquainted with the succefs of your Expedition, and Apprehension for your safety it is impofsible for me to point precisely the measures you are to pursue hereafter: all I can say, and indeed all that is necefsary to be said, is, that if a trade to the flat head country should prove to be sufficiently Valuable to justify us in continuing it, though the additional danger and Difficulties, with which it must now be Attended, I rely on your making use of every Means in your power to Accomplish so Desirable an object.
The experience you will have gained with the papers? you will find here, must be quite sufficient to enable you to form a proper Estimate? of this undertaking, and you pofsefs abilities and Inclinations sufficient to promote, and conduct, any Enterprise that can be beneficial to the Company. I confefs that I have but little hope of our being able to recrofs the Mountain with advantage; I have however notwithstanding, Left several Extra Men, to be at your disposal, if past succefs has induced you to form a different opinion you will also find here a proper Afsortment of Goods &c; and I hope a sufficient quantity of Dry Provisions will be procured by the time they may be required.
Inclosed is a Statement of the terms to be offered to those of your men whose contracts Expire; as also of the measures to be pursued should you Determine to relinquish our Intercourse with the flat heads. Wishing you a safe & Early Arrival at this place.
" Left Mr Macfarlane in charge of Edmonton House till Mr Pruden arrives, and Embarked for York Factory."
" Met Mr Pruden on his way by land, to take charge of Edmonton House and encamped together for that night."
" Arrived at Carlton House. The trade of this place is like all the rest very trifling, but Mr Pruden has fortunately been able to procure sufficient Pemican for our oun Cunsumption and to enable us to afsist in a small Degree, other Factories."
June 1 1811
" Took on board the Furs Pemican and Fat procured at this Settlement and set off for Cumberland house."
" Arrived at Cumberland House and had the pleasure to find Mr Sutherland well also to hear that he has made the best trade procured at Cumberland these several Years."
" Embarked with the Cumberland House Men in Company for Oxford House."
" Arrived at Oxford House, had the Satisfaction to see Mr Sinclair in good health, and to hear that his trade is tolerably good."
" Embarked, Mr Sinclair and his Canoes in Company, for York Factory. Had the Misfortune to break a Boat which has occasioned us some delay; but I hope that no part of her Cargo is materially damaged."
" Arrived at the Head of Hill River. left here our large Boats, and part of their Cargoes; and Embarked with all our small Boats and Canoes, for York Factory."
" Arrived at York Factory and had the Satisfaction to see Mr Cook in good health."
" Employed repacking, for England, the Furrs we have brought to this Factory."
" Settled with a few Men whose Contracts expire, and made the requisite Preparation for two Canoes to start tomorrow."
July 1 1811
" Sent off two Canoes, loaded with forty Pieces of Goods, for the Head of Hill River or Swampy Lake, from whence they are to return to Gordon House with Cargoes of the Furrs left at that place."
" Finished packing our Furrs for England and Goods for Inland."
" Prepared every Thing for three Boats to embark tomorrow."
" Sent off three Boats, carrying one Hundred and five Pieces of Goods, to proceed to Swampy Lake."
" Embarked, with eight Men in two Canoes, for Swampy Lake."
" Encamped with the Boats, which left York Factory the Day before us, on the second Portage in Hill River. Here arrived, also, the Canoes of the 1st Inst. from Swampy Lake, with thirty six Bundles of Furrs. The Men of these Canoes are to exchange Cargoes with some Men from York Factory who are waiting for them at old Gordon House, and then follow us to Swampy Lake."
" Arrived at Swampy Lake."
" Sent off the two Canoes with twenty Bundles of Furrs, a few Kegs of Fat &c for York Factory. The two Canoes of the 11th Inst. arrived from Gordon House."
" The three Boats of the 11th Inst. arrived."
" Embarked with ten Men in two small Boats for Oxford House; Eighteen Men remain to make a few Oars and then to follow us in two large Boats tomorrow."
" Arrived at Oxford House."
" Mr Wm Auld, and Mr Wm Sinclair arrived from York Factory."
" The two large Boats I left at Swampy Lake arrived."
" Embarked with two large Boats, and one small one, manned with twenty three Men, and carrying the Goods required for the Saskatchewan Factory, and its Dependencies."
" Met six Men in two Canoes carrying thirty six Bundles of good Furrs procured by Mr Howse from the Flat Head Indians. These Skins have been obtained at a clear profit on the Outfit, of 7.5 PrCent. - Whilst I am happy at finding my Fears for Mr Howse and Party, thus agreeably removed, it is no small Mortification to learn that he has thought it too Dangerous, till a safer Road than that by which he went, is examined further to pursue a Trade thus so advantageously begun, and which he is of opinion would be productive of great Benefit; From his own Observation as well as the concurring Testimony of Free Canadians, and the Natives, Mr Howse has every Reason to believe that Beaver are, there, extremely numerous and spread over a great extent of Country. how soon the Neighbourhood of the Americans may prevent this being a lucrative Trade to us is a Consideration that deserves some Notice, and can be justly appreciated by those only who are acquainted with the Extent of their Right to the Countries on the West Side of the Rocky Mountains. - The particular Danger which has prevented us from recrofsing the Mountain this Season has arisen from the unfortunate Skirmish between a Party of Flat Heads, and a Party of Muddy River Indians, already mentioned, and the consequent Determination of the latter to prevent, if pofsible, a supply of Arms and Ammunition being carried to their Enemies."
" James Bird"