This is a virtually complete transcription of George Sutherlands Sturgeon Lake Journal from 1779-1780 by Alex Nicol
A short version is here
" A Journal keept by George Sutherland containing the most particular Occurrances that happened when he wintered near or with the pedlars inland. commencing July 26 1779 and ending May 31 1780"
July 26 1779
"Wind variable cloudy weather with shours of rain at times. set out from Albany Fort at half past one oClock P.M. accompanied by Captain abetawabeno and much ea te wa peshu and to winter with them up country. the french set out at the same time but we hardly had got 3 Miles from the fort when the latter went ashore to track. but they not being acquainted with that branch they run there canoe upon a stone and broak it which made us put up at 3 oClock. the Indians mended the canoe in the Evening."
July 27 1779
" Wind E clear fine weather. set out at 8 oClock trackt up the river Miles and put up at 7 oClock the french begin to tire of tracking already"
" wind variable cloudy weather with thunder and rain in the Evening. set out at 6 oClock and trackt up the river Miles and put up at 7 oClock in the Evening"
" Wind and weather as yesterday but it Rained all day which made us stay here to day"
" Wind w clear fine weather set out at 7 oClock AM trackt up the river Miles and put up at the fishing Creek at 7 oClock set a net no fish to be got"
July 31 1779
"Wind and weather as yesterday this morning the Indians told me that they were to set off and leave the Canadians and at the same time they had not room for me in their canoe, but desired me to take my passage with the french and that I would meet them up country. this did not sound very well in my ears however I am determined not to return hapen as it will, death before dishonour says my countryman. gave the Indians a little flour and they set off. we set off at 8 oClock and trackt up the river Miles and put up at 7 in the Evening. the french are heartily tired of tracking, their feet are all blistered, they say that the Anglois are no better then slaves and that their feet are made of stell"
" Wind SW clear hot weather. set off at 6 oClock in the morning paddled and trackt up the river Miles put up at 7 oClock in the Evening. in the fore noon Met david Saunderson and thomas Flett on their way down from Gloucester House no remarkable news."
" Wind E clear hot weather. set out at 10 oClock PM trackt up the river Miles and put up at 7 in the Evening it takes no lefs than 4 french Men to track this canoe and I am shour two of our men would be able to doo it. this convinces me of the truth of the common fraze that one English are always able for two french."
Aug 3 1779
"Wind W clear hot weather. set out at 9 oClock, trackt up the river Miles and put up at 7 oClock in the Evening. we had the misfortune to brake our canoe which delayed us greatly. never did I see such a parcel of lazey fellows as these frenchmen are, and they are fit to Eat the divel and smoak his mother. for they must stop and smoak and Eat at every miles end. as for my part I don't know how we will be able to get up as they have no master to rule them so that every wane dous as he thinks fit. we have left our small canoe and all hands are come into the large one. I don't know how we will prosper on this tack"
" Wind N fine weather set out at 7 oClock AM paddled and trackt up the river Miles and got to henley at half past 5 oClock found all well there In the Evening Mr. Favell very kindly gave a drink to the french on my account"
" Wind and weather as yesterday stayed here aresting our selves and baking bread"
" Wind Easterly clear fine weather. set out from henley at 9 oClock Paddled and trackt up the river 8 Miles and put up at 3 oClock on account of our canoe being very leaky."
Aug, 7 1779
" Wind and weather as yesterday. stayed here all day a mending our canoe. I cannot help remarking that Exactly at noon we had a Whirle wind on the opposite shore not above 800 yds from us. it first made a Terrible noise in the Woods then it all of a suden it got into the Water it made a noise like a clap of thunder making the Water flye from it like a perpendicular fall. it then run against the currant making the water fly from it like fogg. it then vanished about 300 yds up the river. it raged with such violence that it struck us all deaf for the space of a half an hour, there was none in the company that Ever saw the like before. the best of it was the dumb man notwithstanding he did not hear anything as soon as he saw the Water fly he fell to the ground as if he had been shot where he lay for dead a good while"
" Calm weather Exceeding hot Employed as yesterday compleated our canoe in the Evening."
" Weather as yesterday. set off at 8 oClock AM Paddled and trackt up the River Miles and put up at 6 in the Evening being very fatigued. as the Road between Albany and Gloucester House is already well known it would ansuer no end to take up paper with the courses besides I have need to keep my wit until I get into an unknown land to make my Remarks."
" Wind variable clear hot weather, set off at 8 oClock AM Paddled and trackt up the river Miles and put up at 6 oClock in the Evening. the french are all lame but the good appetite never feals them"
" Wind & weather with rain in the afternoon. set off at 7 oClock in the morning paddled and trackt up the river Miles and put up at 3 oClock PM on account of heavy rain."
" Wind W cloudy weather with continued rain all day which obliged us to stay here. our flour begins to look low and they don't seem inclined to shorten the allowance but the Event of it will be starvation before we get up. killed a Rabbit and two partridges to day"
" Wind SE clear fine weather. set off at 7 oClock AM trackt up the river Miles and put up at a fishing place set our nets"
" Wind W cloudy weather with rain in the Evening. left our hut at 9 oClock AM trackt up the river Miles and put up at 5 oClock PM on account of the rain, very bad tracking along shore yet and what must it have been when our Men went up with the boat. the water was in the woods. horses would have found it hard far more Christians. got a few Succars from our nets"
" Wind SE clear fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled and trackt up the river Miles and put up at 6 oClock in the Evening killed one puskee to day."
" Wind variable Cloudy weather with rain till noon afterwards clear set off at one oClock PM paddled up the river Miles and put up at 7 in the Evening very hard paddling againest a very strong currant and no pofsiblity of tracking along shore."
" Wind N clear fine weather. set off at 5 oClock in the morning paddled up the river Miles and put up at 6 oClock in the Evening. killed two Partridges, muskitoes and sand flys very troublesome."
" Wind variable cloudy weather with shours of rain at times. set off at 6 oClock AM padd up the river Miles and got to the falls at one oClock PM draged and handed our canoe up the falls Miles with great difficulty"
" Wind W clear fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled and carried our canoes up the falls Miles and put up at 7 oClock in the Evening. our people must have had terrible work of it indeed agetting up the goods to Glo'r House, for here are to be seen all along the brocken branches and willows where they hauled the canoes through the woods. If the french were lazy in tracking I find them very clever in the falls they understand the management of canoes in falls very well and carry very heavy loads."
" Wind SE clear fine weather. set off at ten oClock AM paddled and handed and carried our canoes up the falls Miles and put up at half past 7 in the Evening very fatigued. this canoe is by far too large to be navigated up the river on account of the bad falls. and if these had not been good men or at least well used to this Work it would be impofsible to have got her this far, in may opinion all the Men at Albany would not be able to have brought her this far. not but our Men are as good as these and better but they don't understand this Branch. our canoe very Leaky"
" Wind SW cloudy weather with continual rain all day which obliged us to stay here all day."
" Wind and weather as yesterday"
" variable clear fine weather. set off at 7 oClock AM paddled our canoes up the falls Miles and put up at 7 in the Evening."
" Wind Easterly clear fine weather. set off at 9 oClock AM paddled and carried our canoes up the falls Miles and got to Gloucester House at 5 oClock PM found all well there."
" Wind E cloudy weather with rain all day stayed here aresting our selves to day. to my great surprize found the largest turnips that I have seen since I have been in the country. and the house fortified round with palisades, indeed it looks much better then when I saw it last"
" Wind W cloudy weather. our large canoe being very leaky it is the canadians opinion that we will not be able to get up country with her and that it is now late in the year. I have some notion they want to winter here and make this an Excuse that the canoe was bad. but to put a stop to this grouing Evel I have requested 4 old small canoes from James Sutherland in the room of the large one which he readily complied with, merly with a view to get free of us. and the french have been Employed apatching them up and if good weather serves we intend to set off tomorrow morning"
" Wind N cloudy weather with rain. the french have not yet finished the canoes. houever this artfull delay of theirs will not help them, as I gave James Sutherland the Wink to speed them up"
" Wind NE clear fine weather till noon but afterwards cloudy with rain. set of from Gloucester house at ten oClock AM paddled up the river 8 Miles a winding course from S to W rapid currant several small falls. found it hard to drag our canoes up the water being still high. in one of the rapids we was obliged to carry out canoes about 60 yds on the north side of the river where we put up at sunset. met Jecob and crew agoing down to Gloucester house gave them a little tobacco"
" Wind SW cloudy weather with shours of rain and hail at times. set off at 7 oClock AM paddled and draged our canoes up the river 1/2 Mile carried our canoes up the river over a fall 300 yds on the north side of the river where we was obliged to stop for one of the canoes that had been overset by the rapidnefs of the currant and aukwardnefs of the dumb man. left the carriang place padled up the river 5 Miles and put up at the opening of Much ca ke batton lake at 3 oClock in order to dry those things that had got wet by the afore said accident. coarse the same as yesterday. I will find it hard to take my courses and distances and work my canoe besides."
" Wind NW cloudy weather. set off at 7 oClock in the morning. paddled acrofs the lake the following courses SWbW 5 Miles WSW 9 Miles W1/2 Mile came to the river. went up NNW 3/4 mile W 1 1/2 mile, afterwards a winding course from NbE to WSW 6 miles past 4 small falls which we handed our canoes up, low wet ground tall pine and poplar the river about half a mile broad in General very little Currant Except near the falls put up at half past 7 oClock PM very fatigued."
" Wind veriable cloudy weather with continual rain all day which obliged us to stay here all day"
" Wind veriable cloudy weather with rain till noon afterwards clear fine weather. set off at one oClock PM padled and handed our canoes up the river the following courses viz. NNW 2 miles WNW 2 Miles NNW 1/2 Mile W 2 Miles past 4 small falls in our whole days Journey. the country and river much the same as yesterday killed 2 pigeons. put up at the foot of Mishe poustick or the great fall at 7 oClock in the Evening"
Sept. 2 1779
"Wind Easterly cloudy weather with continual rain all day. set off at 9 oClock AM padled and handed our canoes up the fall one mile which brought us to a carriang place where we Carried our canoes 1/2 mile on the north side of the river. afterwards handed 400 yds more where we wear obligated to put up at the top of the fall on account of the rains increasing greatly. about an hour after we put up there came 3 canoes of Indians to our tent. I understand they ware agoing down to Glo'r to take debt for the winter. gave them a little Tobacco which pleased them mightyly they not having smoakt any this 3 weeks past as they say. I cannot help remarking last night about 9 oClock the Wind got to NW which brought with it a terrible storm of Wind rain hail thunder and lightning which lasted till four oClock this morning. the thunder was nothing but one continual flash and so bright that a short sighted man would be able to read the smallest print without the help of Specticles for the space of several hours. the hailstones was large peieces of Ice about the size of a partridges Egg. it knocked the pitch off our canoes as they lay bottom up which will take several hours to repair."
" Wind SW cloudy weather with shours of rain at times. not able to proceed on our march. Employed in mending our canoes to day."
" Wind SW clear fine weather. set off at 7 oClock AM paddled NNW 1/2 mile NW 1 3/4 mile. left Albany river or my track to lake Winapeg at the opening of Eabemit lake where a french Man had Wintered about 7 or 8 years ago. this place is called Shewesla we matoua. went up the river from W to WSW 3 miles which led us into a small lake, crofsed it SW 3 1/4 mile. got to the river again, handed our canoes up a small fall and after paddling 1/8 mile came to another small fall where we carried our canoes 200 yds on the south side which brought us into the river again. went up it from SSW to WbN 1 mile which brought us to the bottom of a fall which we left on our left hand and went up a small Creek which brought us to a carriang place which is made to avoid the afore said fall. carried our canoes course W 1 3/4 mile which brought us into the river again. after paddling 500 yds got into a small lake crofsed it SSW 1 1/2 mile which brought us into anormose? gut way where we put up at 6 oClock in the Evening. all hands very tired. country rocky with small pines hard frost last night"
" Wind SSW? cloudy weather with rain. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled up the gut which was very should 1/2 mile. got into a lake crofsed it 14 miles SW close along the north shore. got into a small Enterance where we paddled from W to S 2 mile which led us to the bottom of a fall where we put up at 2 oClock PM on account of the heavy rain. left a large view of the lake to the southuard - one thing I have omited is that in comming from Glo'r to the great fall we keept aluays on the north side of the river which is by far the best. we have had very ill luck as we have not had a dry day since we left Gloucester and it is now late in the year and we have far to go and little money to spend. and nothing to be got to kill"
" Wind & cloudy weather with rain. set off at noon. carried our canoes 3/4 Mile coarse W on the north side of the river. afterwards paddled up the river 6 miles course from NW to SSW. handed up 5 small falls. left abay agoing to the northward. found an Island in the river. leaving which on our left hand found a lake where we put up at a fishing place at 7 oClock. set our nets"
" Wind southerly fine weather. set off at 9 oClock AM crofsed the lake WSW 4 miles which brought us into the river. paddled up it awinding course from NNE to SW 1 1/2 mile past 4 small falls. got into a small lake keept the right hand side of it course NbE 1 Mile which brought us again into the river. went up it 6 miles awinding coarse from NNW to SW past no lefs than ten falls where we draged our canoes up with great difficulty got into a small lake crofsed it N 1 mile got into the river went up it 3 Miles NW which brought us into another small lake. crofsed it WNW 3 Miles SW 1 1/2 mile which brought us into a small lake and put up at 5 oClock. the river in General very narrow from 50 to 100 yds. high rocky ground. small woods. got 20 fish from our nett. did Ever any person see such a damned river. nothing but falls creeks and turnings. how is able to keep a Journal here. why this is fit to crack the brain of a philosopher far more mine"
" Wind W cloudy weather with that pleasant thing called rain which travillars are so fond of because it wets them to the skin. set off at ten oClock AM crofsed the lake coarse SE 1/2 mile S 1 mile SSW 1 1/4 mile SW 1/4 mile got to the river went up it from NNW to SSW 7 miles. past 5 small falls. got into a small lake. crofsed it WbN 1/4 mile. got into the river again paddled up it 4 1/2 mile from W to SSW. came to a fall where we carried our canoes 400 yds on the north side of the river. got into a small lake crofsed it SSE 1 mile afteruards in the river awinding course from E to WNW 9 miles. past 4 small falls where we handed them up as usual. about a mile above the last fall of the four we was obliged to keep close along the north shore to find the carriang place as it is a little difficult there being no sign of a fall to make it. carried our canoes about 500 yds on the north side of the river to avoid some bad falls which brought us into the river where we put up at 6 oClock in the Evening. country river and woods much the same as before. A poor Eagle had eat so much that he could not fly out of our way. I shot him and we found two large suckers in his stomach which made a hearty meal for two of the Canadians which was as much as culd? fall to their share. we devided the rest among us Eight. the old Indian woman Included"
" Wind WNW cloudy weather with shours of rain at times. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled up the river from W to S two miles. got into a small lake crofsed it WSW 3/4 mile south 3/4 mile which brought us to a fall where we carried our canoes 300 yds on the north side of the river. afteruards in the river from SE to SSW 3 miles. handed our canoes up three small falls quite near each other. got into a small lake crofsed it WSW 1 mile. afteruards in the river a winding course from South to WSW 14 miles came to a fall where we carried our canoes 1 mile south on the S side of the river. afteruards in the river SE to WNW 15 miles. which brought us to a carriang place at the End of the river or at least we thought so as there was no appearance of its going farther. put up in the carriang place at dark so that I can hardly see to write. the river very narrow hardly room for our canoes to pafs in some places not above 3 yds wide and not 8 inches water."
" Wind W cloudy weather with rain all day. set off at 6 oClock AM carried our canoes 1/2 mile SSE 1/2 mile which brought us into a lake called Wapinonick Saca heggan, or the White Earth lake. crofsed part of it course South 4 miles WSW 1/2 mile where we was obliged to put up on a sandy point at 9 oClock AM on account of very heavy rain. the lake as yet is but nerrou with many Islands. high rocky banks with white sandy points"
" Wind northerly clear fine weather for wonder. set off at 8 oClock AM crofsed the remaining part of the lake as follows VIZ. from WSW to SE 7 miles among ? lands not much broader than a river which brought us into a large vieu then WNW 12 miles straight course which brought us to the river again, paddled up it from SSW to SW 4 miles came to a fall where we carried our canoes 200 yds on the north side of the river. afterwards in the river course as before 3 1/2 Mile which brought us to another fall where we made a new carriang place on the north side of the river about 1/8? mile NW carried our things arcofs it and put up at 7 oClock in the Evening. country high and rocky with white sandy banks. I am told the lake takes its course into okeke river which fall into Albany river along way above henley. but it is so bad by the old womans account With bad falls and a very rappid currant that the Indians raither come and go the same road that we have come altho it is much farther about - lake St. Ams or animapeg likeweas communicate with okeke river, but our guide can give me no further account about it. I am told there are a french house settled a little below the white lake. this is too near Glo'r H."
" Wind SW clear fine weather. set off at half past 8 oClock AM paddled up the river 1/2 mile came into a lake called Wa buch ca mego Sacakeggan crofsed it SWbS 12 miles W 3 miles NW 1 mile WNW 7 miles. left a fine view to the southuard all day WbN 5 miles in a nerrou pafsage on the north side of the lake, then WSW 5 1/2 miles which brought us to a large rock in the lake from which rock straight course to the river SW 5 Miles which brought us to a fall where we put up at 6 oClock in the Evening set our nets. in the forenoon met two canoes of Indians on the lake. gave them a little tobacco powder and shot. they promised faithfully to meet me here in the spring and go down with me and trade at Albany. I told them if they wanted any thing in the winter that Gloucester House was not far off and it may be seposed that I told the Indians a long story concerning the treatment that the Indians meet with at that place."
Sept. 13 1779
" Wind S clear fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM carried our canoes 300 yds on the south side of the fall. after paddling 400 yds more came to another fall where we carried about 350 yds on the same side of the fall. then SSW 1/2 mile SWbW 3/4 mile through a kind of small lake which brought us to the river again. went up it from WNW to south 1 1/2 mile past two small falls where we handed our canoes up then W 1/3 mile came to another fall where we carried our canoes abour 60 yds over a rock on the south side which brought us into another long but nerrou lake crofsed it SW 1/4 mile WSW 7 Miles which brought us to a great fall where we was obliged to hand our canoes up 1/4 mile before we got to the carriang place in the utmost danger of our Lives. then carried our canoes 1/4 mile on the south side of the fall. handed our canoes up three bad falls all within a Miles distance of the carriang place a westerly course which brought us into another lake crofsed part of it SW 2 1/2 Miles close along the north shore and put up on a Island at the foot of a fall at 6 oClock in the Evening. here are a fall close by where we are to go up tomorrow. I understand that this is the pedlars road agoing to their house at Posh co coggan lake where Mr Bartie? used to Winter. I saw an old Indian man and his wife here who told me that two large canoes of french had passed by here about a week ago and are to winter at posh co coggan lake, gave the poor old man a little tobacco and a knife. never did I see such an old creature breathing. I dare say he has been one of those who Escaped in the Ark. I have a notion if a clever critic could only get the adventure of this poor old mans life that he would make up such along story of it that it would bring him more money then the History of rome would bring one if I was to write it for which reason I will not try it."
" Wind S cloudy weather. set off at 7 oClock oh what alzy sons of bitches these french are. for they never will start in a morning before 7.8 or nine oClock. I wish I had only as much to doo with them as I have with my old shoes. I would lay a Wager that we would be off Every morning at four oClock. set off at 7 oClock as I said before handed our canoes up againest a very Strong fall no lefs than two miles before we got to the carriang place. one of the men Like to have been drounded. at last got to the carriang place where we carried our canoes half a mile on the W side of the river where we was obliged to put up at two oClock PM on account of the violence of the Wind. and we are heaving a large view of the lake to crofs called Wa ba ka ma Sacaheggan. in the middle of the fall met 12 canoes of Indians all going down to Winter at wa buck camego lake. here I almost ruined myself by giving away the most of my tobacco, pouder and shot in hopes of drawing them down with me in the spring. they all promised faithfully to wait for me at Wa buch ca me go next spring and go down and trade at Albany. they likewise said if they wanted any thing in the Winter that they would go to Glo'r House for it and not take it from the pedlars. they tell me that they all used to trade at Albany before the french became so plenty. they are all strangers to me for I never saw any of them before in my life."
" Wind and weather as yesterday. set off at 11 oClock AM paddled acrofs part of the lake course WSW 4 miles SW 3 1/2 mile where we was obliged to put up at 3 oClock PM on account of the wind blowing hard. got ten fish from our nets this morning. saw two old Indian women a fishing. the dumb man went off with them as he Expects to get of to some other pedlars in the fall. country dry and pleasant. with stout pine and poplar. I almost forgot to mention that we was obliged to go to one meal of bargoo? a day. I well knew what the End would be, hard Work and Empty bellys."
" Wind and weather as before. set off at 6 oClock AM paddled acrofs the remaining part of the lake S 1 1/3 mile SE 1 1/2 mile E 3/4 mile NE 100 yds in a nerrou pafsage where there was little currant. got into a large view again went S 1 1/4 mile SSW 4 miles. got into a small river where there was not water for our canoes to pafs. carried them about 300 yds on the West side got into where the river was broader and deeper. paddled up it a winding course from South to West 2 miles. made 3 short carriang places about 100 yds Each which brought us into a long but nerrou lake. crofsed it SW 1/2 mile SSW 6 miles W 1/2 mile SW 3/4 mile which brought us to the river again at a fall where we carried our canoes 250 yds on the north side which brought us into a pond of water crofsed W 1/2 mile which brought us to a carriang place where we carried our canoes 1/8 mile which brought us into a large lake where we put up at 7 oClock very fatigued and hungary. country much the same river very should with many Stones."
" Wind and weather as before. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled acrofs the lake SSE 3 1/2 Miles left a large view of the lake to the Southuard. got into the river again went up it WbN 2 Miles came to a small fall where we handed our canoes up. then W 1 mile came to another fall where we carried our canoes 300 yds on the south side then went up the river 2 miles handed our canoes up two small falls quite near Each other course about West. got into a lake crofsed it course W 3 1/2 mile SSW 2 Miles which brought us to the river again. left a large view of the lake to the northuard went up the river SW 1/2 mile where a lake presented itself to the Westward. crofsed it SWbW 3 miles got to the river again. went up it 3 miles SW and put up at half past 6 oClock in the Evening. to day the country for most part nothing but barron high rocky ground with a few burnd woods. river broad and very little currant. a man would be puzzled to find Earth Enough to sow a quart of pease in twenty miles distance. I have traveled upuards of a thousand miles in the Country before now but never did I see anything like this"
" Wind SE clear fine weather. set off at 7 oClock AM paddled up the river SbW 2 miles SW 1/3 mile WSW 2 miles came to a fall where we handed our canoes up. after paddling 200 yds more came to another fall where we did as before. afterwards in the river a winding course from South to WNW 4 miles pretty strong currant. left a view of the river SWward. came to a carriang place where we carried our canoes about 300 yds NW which brought us into a small lake crofsed it SW 1 mile came to another carriang place where we carried our canoes SW 1/4 mile which brought us to another lake crofsed it South 2 1/2 mile W 1/2 mile got to another carriang place carried our canoes 5/8 mile WSW which brought us to another lake crofsed it SWbW 2 1/2 miles South 1 mile ESE 1/4 mile SW 2 miles WSW 1 mile which brought us to a fall where we deaged our canoes up about 200 yds farther came to another fall where we handed them up as before got into a small lake crofsed it SW 1 1/2 mile which brought us to a carriang place near a fall where we carried our canoes about 300 yds on the South side of the river where we put up at 6 oClock very fatigued and hungary. country high and rocky with burnd woods. plenty of hucle berrys."
" Wind Southerly fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled up the river W 1/8 mile SW 1/2 mile which brought us to a fall where we carried our canoes 1/3 mile on the south side of the river. got to the river again went up it South 1/4 mile WSW 3/4 mile same to another fall where we carried our canoes about 30 yds on the south side of the fall SSE 1/2 mile came to another fall where we handed our canoes up the South 1/4 mile got to another fall where we carried our canoes about 40 yds on the north side of the fall which brought us to along nerrow lake crofsed part of it SSW 1/2 mile SWbS 7 miles got to a fishing place on the South side of the lake where we put up at 8 oClock PM set our nets. the river nerrow and Should. Country Still high and rockey nothing but Small fir all along. our flour is all don tonight so that will be obliged to tye our belts a little harder now at meal times. these gluton? dogs of french have been the cause of this"
" Wind Southerly blows hard so that we are not able to proceed on our Journey. but very lucky for us we have happngd? for a good fishing place. got 50 fish from our nets this morning."
" wind Still Southerly set off at 8 oClock AM paddled acrofs the remaining part of the lake coarse SW 7 miles SSW 5 miles where we was obliged to put up at 3 oClock PM on account of the wind blowing hard a head and the lake Ruff. country Still high and rockey with burned woods"
" Wind W clear fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM paddled acrofs the remaining part of the lake course SW 2 miles which brought us to the river went up it SSW 5 miles handed our canoes up four small falls. got into another small lake crofsed it SSW 1/2 mile SW 1/3 mile which brought us to a fall where we carried our canoes 220 yds on the South side of the river went up the river about 150 yds got to another fall where we handed our canoes up as before. and after paddling about 400 yds more WSW came to another fall where we carried our canoes 180 yds on the south side which brought us into a small lake. crofsed it SW 1/2 mile which brought us to another fall where we carried our canoes 300 yds on the south side which brought us into a small lake crofsed it W 1 mile NW 2 1/2 mile which brought us to a nother carriang place of 100 yds on the south side then SW 1/3 mile WNW 1/2 mile afterwards awinding course from SW to SSE 1 1/2 Mile which brought us to the End of a small lake where we carried our canoes about 500 yds SbW which brought us into a pond of water. crofsed it SbE about 200 yds which brought us to another carriang place where we carried our canoes about 7/8 Mile course SSW which brought us into a large lake called nameu Saca heggan or the Sturgeon lake where we put up at 7 oClock very fatigued and hungary. country Still high and rocky with small Woods. lakes and rivers very Should with meny Stones. Indeed if this had been a dry year we would have found it very hard to have got here."
"Wind E cloudy weather with continual rain. set off at 7 oClock AM. paddled acrofs part of the lake SbW 2 1/2 mile. came to a tent of Indians four Men three women and seven Children. gave them some Tobacco. the one armed Man was one of the party. and as he was the man with whom I was to have winterd I thought that I was to have left the french now and go along with him. but to my great surprise he told me plainly that he could not take me with him because he had a large family and his country was very poor and the Indians always Starved here abouts. he likewise said that all the Indians here about would not be able to Maintain one Man among them all winter. ho lo where the divel have I got to now where all the Indians cannot maintain one person. this is bad news for me however I must take my chance with the french the best way I can."
Sept 24, 1779
"Wind and weather as yesterday. stayed here with the Indians afishing all day. by these Indians we are informed that there are pedlars abuilding a house at the other End of this lake to Winter here. and it is on this lake where monsieur mogenest left two men last spring to build a house for him againest he returned in the fall as he Expected to have got into the companys Service as soon as he got to hudsons bay. however the men built the house according to their Masters orders but when the pedlar came and found a house bult for the Companys use as they Supposed for then they sent their men across the lake with orders to burn it to ashes which they compleated after two days of hard labour. it was hard to burn as it was all green wood. this is only Indians information but to convince us of the truth of it Mr. Coates received the following letter this Evening from the master of the pedlar house at the other end of this lake.
Mr. Coates, I have sen thes letre to tel you that Mr. Shaw and me has burraned your hus that Michel and Conow mad hear. we did this becaus you ran away with Mr. Solomons peltere an I think you can dou no beter a thing than mak al the hast you can to buld anothear on and when I se you I wil tel you mor abut it and I am yours? James Clark. Lake Sturgon suptambre the 27 day 1779
This is an Exact copy of our pedlars letter both in words and spelling. besides this Gentleman must keep odd sort of time because he dates his letter 27th and Mr Coates received it the 24th. besides it has been in the Indians custody these five days. I hear that Mr Clark wears a sword. what a pity it was that I did not bring an old Cutlass up with me that I might Swagger along side these Pedling animals but stop Stop till I get on my ruffled shirt and my Gold laced hat I will cut some small figure yet. I have a good mind to make a sword out of an old Ice Chizzle but if I find it to be truth that the author of the afore written letter wears a sword If Ever I get to hudson's bay again I will have on an old Cutlass if I am obliged to sling it with ropyarns."
" Wind N cloudy weather with containual rain hail and Snow? all day. which obliged us to Stay here all day. plenty of fish"
" Wind and weather as yesterday. stayed here afishing got 22 fish from our nets"
" Wind Westerly clear fine weather. set off from here at 11 oClock AM. paddled up the lake 22 Miles course from S to SSW among Islands. fine large views at times and at times nerrow put up on the north side at 7 oClock."
" Wind and weather as yesterday. Employed a drying? our things and setting nets. gets plenty of fish from our nets. I intend to set off to pay a visit to the pedlars tomorrow morning"
Sept. 29 1779
"set out at 11 oclock to pay a visit to the pedlars. paddled a cross the lake 12 Miles course SW. I supose they knew we was acomming because as soon as we came in sight they hoist their flag and saluted us with several guns. and I did not forget to return them the salute. as soon as we landed I was very well received by Mr James Clark the Master an Englishman. and indeed I was very well Entertained by him. the first thing I had was a glafs of Jamaica rum. and pork and plum pudding for dinnar. after dinnar had the other glafs and in the Evening Tea sweetend with refined suggar. then we had fish for supper with salt, pepper, vinager, and mustard. Indeed I was surprised to see such good things in this part of the country. as I am to winter here it is time Enough to give any account? of them when I get better aquainted With them. I Expected to have got a great deal of American news. but as these people never go any farther then lake Superior they hardly Ever hear any thing. and when any news comes to Quebec or mountreal from the Colonies it is always printed in the newspapers that the English gain Every battle that is fought. and kill great numbers of the americans although it may be quite to the contrary. this method is taken to discurage the canadians from going to Join the colonies. and a very good one too. for I hear that very little Encouragement would be sufficient to turn the canadians againest the English. although they say themselves that canada is much better since the English took it then it was before. as when it belongs to france if a man had two oxen the king took one and they served his nighbour the same so that I found one ox, and my nighbour another to place? with this and many other Crueltys the poor canadians ware subject to formarly that they are not now. and yet they would Join the colonies for all that. the only news that Mr Clark could tell me was that there was no sign of peace. and that the Americans had taken pofsefsion of the misa sippy fort pit? and the Ilinos?. and had drawn from the spanish and french who are settled at new orleans 1200 lbs of pouder which they have brought into the Colonies by the Ohio river. that they have destroyed two or three villages of savages. one in particular belonging to the Cherokees the length of seven times the flight of an arrow. it is likeweas said that they intend to attack Mitchilimakinac and detroit this summer. it is likeweas added that they intend to pay us a visit at hudsons bay the next year but I think they have got Enough to doo at home yet. but he told me better news then all this. which was that there are no more then twenty canoes of pedlars gone into the upper country above york fort this year for want of goods. and the usual number of canoes that went to that part of the country Exceeded two hundred yearly. this gives me great hope that the Companys settlements to the northward will give a good account this year."
" Wind and weather as yesterday. had a Glafs in the morning. Chocolate and pan cakes for breakfast. bad Mr. Clark good by and returned to where our things was left. as we have no place to live in all Winter we will be obliged to build a house here abouts. but the french are atalking of going of and leaving us. if this be the case we will be badly off Indeed I wish I had any body to accompany me I would set off derectly for Gloucester house. but there are no person to be got. so that I most stay and take my Chance happen as it will. Mr. Clark was kind enough to tell me that I would always be welcome when I had a mind to come and see him"
" Wind S cloudy weather with rain in the Evening. stayed here aresting our selves and fishing. 21 fish to day."
" Wind variable cloudy weather. this fore noon all the french men went off and left us Except one so that we are now only Mr. Coates one frenchman and me to build the house and I am a ffraid that we will make but a poor hand of building. however it most be done and it is very late in the season now to begin"
" Wind N clear fine weather. Employed in getting ready our hatchets for building. got 14 fish to day"
" Wind northerly clear fine weather. begin to fall the wood for building. got 23 fish from our nets."
" Wind and weather as yesterday. employed as before. got 16 fish from our nets. I have been Enquiring of Mr. Coates and the french how many houses they might have about this part of the country. they told me as follow. Viz. that Mr. Clark has 8 canadians under his command in two large canoes that winters at this lake. four canoes more came in company with him. two of which are gone to winter at the Oker lake. the same place I made mention of in my Journal at lake winapeg. the other two are gone to Winter at a lake to the westward called the Eagle Lake. I am also told that there are two canoes more are gone to Winter below the White lake touards Gloucester House. two canoes more at animapeg or what we call Lake St. Anns. three canoes more at a place on the north side of Lake Superior called the pike. it is here where we have Captn. Muscounatoggie and crew come from. two Canoes more at a lake between that and henley called the tickameg Lake. two houses at Mishipicottow where Mr. James? was.
"now let us come back again toaurds the great Carriang place here are no lefs than three or four houses where they keep men Summer and winter and they Generally keep a stock of goods here. but they have got none this year to keep. I am likewas told they have Cattle and Hogs at the great Carriang place - 1 canoe more at a lake about 70 Miles to the southward of this lake called the dog ? . two houses at a Lake called Lake Laplue. another house at a lake called Lake deboies. these are all the houses that they have got Except one at a lake called Posh co coggan. here are no lefs than 17 houses that they got to the Eastwards of Lake Winapeg and to the northward of lake Superior. just about Albany River. it is no wonder that the trade is falln of late at Albany and who can raise it. one may strive till Eternity, give them presents and indulge them as much as he chuses and never be a bit the better for it. it does not signify talking about Indians for they will not come down give them what you plase. and it is very plain to be seen that the pedlars are in Every hole and cornor where there are any Indians to be found. besides as far as I can learn the pedlars give away more to the Indians then what we doo when we give them the most. but it is time Enough for me to treat on this head when I get better acquainted with their manners."
" Wind East cloudy weather with rain. all Employed as before got 27 fish from our nets."
Oct. 7 1779
"wind SE clear fine weather. begin to build our house to day. got 15 fish from our nets. I have come to understand that the water of this lake runs down to Lake Winapeg and so to hudsons bay by york fort river. what a terrible turn this most be. ho, lo, where have I got to now. I belive I am lost. have I not been coming SW and SSW all along from Gloucester house to here which I dar say is upuards of four hundred miles. I am now far and far Enough to the Southward of Albany. I wish I could get to some place where I might get the Suns altitude taken. and by that means know how far from the southward york fort water doos come. as I am told that they have it come no more than twenty miles to the southward of this lake. after that the water runs down to lake superior and to the Great river St. Lourance. upon Inquiry from both the french and Indians I find that the bearances and distances of the most capital lakes from here are as follows viz. Lake Winapeg bears about WNW 320 Miles. Lake debois W 200 Miles. Lake Lapleu SW 150 miles. the great carriang place in the West End of lake Superior 120 Miles. Lake St. Anns or animapeg EbN 100 Miles. from which you see the mountains of lake Superior distance about 40 miles. I have not had time yet to add up my distances from Albany to here but I think it will come about seven hundred Miles. now the canadians say they don't know which of Albany or Mitchelimancanac is the farthest off from this Lake. they think that they are nearly Equal in distance. only they would raither come two voyages from the latter then one from the formar on account of the difference on the road. the french say that the road from Albany to here was the last place in the world that was made. and they hope it is the first place to be destroyed."
Oct. 8 1779
"Wind variable clear fine weather. Employed aworking at our house to day. in the Evening there came two canadians to us belonging to Mr Clark to see the other french man. they told me that Mr Clark wanted to see me. I Excepted of his invitation and I intend to set off to see him tomorrow morning. but I don't chuse to carry my Journal with me so that I cannot write before I return. Indeed it will be time Enough as I have nothing now to write about."
Oct. 24, 1779
"Mr Clark was kind enough to keep me with him since the 8th. I lived but very poorly at times. and I observed that he wanted to get free of me. because that we having only one Meal per day these five days past. this was an odd method to take. I sepose he thought this method would be as Effectual as any to make me depart from him. I took the hint and left him this morning. when I got to Mr Coates I found our kind of a house finished and a poor house they have made of it. it is only 14 feet long and 9 feet broad and the crevices filled up with Moss instead of clay. what a parcel of lazy sons of bitches these pedlars are. Mr. Clarks house is almost finished. it is 40 feet long and 20 feet broad. the one half Mr Clarks room and the Warehouse. the other half for the men with a garret above the whole. it is plastered out side and in with Clay and Straw mixt together. the Chimneys are butt about two feet high with stones then they are bult all the way up with clay and straw in the form of lath and plaster. and to my great surprise I am told that they never fall down nor take fire all the Winter. the roof is covered with Clay and straw or at least long grass. their floors are laid with heud plank as pretty as can be. they likweas have got Iron hinges to their doors and stock locks. I don't see anything that they want here for all they are so far up in the country
"Whill I was there there came two Indians to Clark they only brought three summer Ottars and one beaver skin. the pelts was as black as the ace of spades and hardly any furr upon Either. Jas Clark traded the whole for about one and a half yards of Cloth. he told me that summer fur is as good for him as Winter and that the one sells as well as the other at Canada. I find that this is realy the same man that Wrote the letter to Mr Coates. let any body look at and Examen the afore said letter. and now again where he says Summer furr Sells as well as Winter. now what a blockhead this is. lay off your Sword and hold your tongue you thick headed blockhead and to tell you the truth you are nothing but a Ninnyhammer. I wish that we could only get all the winter furrs that are killed in the Country so he might take all the Summer furrs. divel take him and it too. then the Indians that had traded the summer furr took on trust two blankets three yards of cloth four lbs powder and 10 lbs shot and one hatchet. he then gave Each of them a present of two knives Seven flints 1/2 fathom of tabacco Brazil Eight yards of Gartering two auls two needles and about a Quarter pound of vermillion. as soon as he had given them these things he told me that he would gain by these Indians if he never saw them again. I askt him how could that be. Why only by these few Skins that I have now traded with them. now there was only three summer ottars and one Beaver skin traded from these Indians that he is to gain by, although he gave a yard and a half of Cloth for it in trade. besides the goods they took in debt and the presents that he gave them. he is to gain by them if he never sees them again. how Can this be. let them buy these goods Ever so Cheap and carrey them this far. I should think that they wuld not afoard to give so much for four stage skins. furrs most Sell very well indeed. or Elce he knows nothing about the mettar. but as I have no way at present to determine it, untill then I will look upon him in the same light that I did before. I mean A NINNYHAMMER. I told him I thought that he gave a great deal away to the Indians. oh says he you see nothing of what we are obliged to give them. but if this was in the spring of the year you would see me give them twice as much. pray sir what may the reason bee why you give them so much. why says he friend to tell you the truth We are obliged to doo it to Cox them from going down to Hudson's Bay. I ashure you Containued he you put us to a great deal of Expence. I might have said something to him that might have made us worce friends. but I did not say much because I knew very well that I would be the worce for it and the Company nothing the better. I only said that you Pedlars have hurt the Companys Trade greatly by approaching so far on their territorys however said I it was currant? the Honourable The Hudsons Bay Company intend to proscute you all for your Scandalous proceedings. and to take such other measures as to prevent any of you from comming to the northward of Lake Superior to trade. and that he could doo no better thing for him Self then to lave this part of the Country as fast as possible. and If he thought it too late in the fall now to depart that he ought to be off soon in the Spring. and when he got to lake Superior to tell all the other pedlars that have connections here what a dangerous Risque they run if they attempt to come into this part of the Country next year. but should any person attempt to come he may Expect to meet with his deserts. Jas Clark asked me what steeps this was that was so dangerous. I told him that I did not know and if I did that I was not authorized to tell any further then the danger of it might bee. I thought scame would have frightened the dog and if it does no good it can do no harm. he listened to me very attentively and at last told me that he saw a libel at the great Carrying place some years ago notifying to us that we was to depart from this part of the country or otherweas might Expect to be prosecuted according to the Law and such a parcel of stuff. but you see continued he we took no more notice of it then if it had been a pamphlet. and indeed says he it put me very much of one becawse Everybody that Ever read fell laughing at it with an air of derision because you most remember? it is not in your Companys powr to hinder us because this part of the country belonged to Canada Ever since Canada was Canada. we argued a long time upon this at last he grew warm upon it. then I was obliged to Strick having no reinforcements at hand.I found that he was only Employed by other people. I asked him if he never heard his Employers Say that they were under Apprehension of being prosecuted by the Hble HBC. no say he the only thing that I Ever heard them Say was desiring us to get nearer and nearer to you. I wish continued he that we could get within one hundred miles of Hudsons Bay which I make no dout but what we will in a few years. we would not only get more furrs but of a better kind. we sadly want our packs composed of some of your Hudsons Bay guinea Martins. I belive he said this apurpose to vex me. and as it is natural for a person to take the cause of those off whom he has his bread I could not bear him any longer. I fell a damning the whole bundle of them and told him that if they attempted to come any nearer to us that we would send them asmoaking hot to the Divel and such a parcel of Stuf. we had a hot battle of it and I belive it was in consequence of my making Such a Strong Resistance that he put me to one meal a day. besides I came of this morning fasting although it was half past ten oClock when I set off."
" Calm clear weather. got up on a rock to take the Suns altitude. my horizon the green woods about three miles distance. The noon Altitude was as follous
[noon reading is gone for a bit]
" Wind E clear fine weather. out aduck hunting returned in the Evening Succefsles. and only I saw two all day and they ware so Chay that we could not get within 400 yds of them"
" Wind and weather as yesterday. Employed afishing got 60 fish from our nets"
" Calm warm weather. Employed as before got thirty seven fish from our nets"
" Wind N Cloudy cold weather. Still Employed a fishing and drying our nets. I am afread that the fish have done Spawning and are gone and left us as we have only Caught 8 this morning in four nets"
"Wind veriable cloudy cold weather. no fish to be got as they are done Spawning. the French method of catching their winter Stock is this. about the Middle of October the Tickameg come in to shoulds in Rivers and Lakes to Spawn. now this is the time that they Catch their winter stock. the master Sends two men in one place and two in another and so on to fish. and some times when they happen on a good fishing place two men will kill near a thousand fish. they tye them in tens together and hangs them up againest winter on pouls. Just as they come out of the Water. that is without Either guting them or scaling them. in this posture they hang all the Winter if they last so long. now when the fall fishing is over as they call it. they all come home with their fish to the house. the Master then sees what fish he has got. Casts up how far they will go and how many he can give Each man per day that they may last the winter. it often happens that they don't catch much. then they Starve. Jas Clark told me that the year before last he had no lefs than four men dye of hunger at Posh co coggan Lake. this frightens me Sadly as we have only got 500 fish for our winters stock. and that will not bee Sufficiant to last us till Christmas at very moderate living. and what will we doo after that is done I am shur I don't know."
" Wind W clear weather Employed afishing or hanging up fish and making my winter rigging"
" Wind N cloudy cold weather. Employed afishing and cutting fire wood. got 8 fish today"
" Wind and weather as before as yesterday. Employed as before. I have taken a resolution not to write a daily Journal as I see no body so that I have got nothing to write about. only the same thing over again. I Shall only write once a month and then Insert any remarks that may occur"
" Wind S fine weather. the most particulars are these. all this month to the 20th has been very Warm and no Snow till the 22nd. we had ducks till the 22. the Lake did not Set fast till the 25th. I am always afishing and hunting and can get but very little fish. some days get one meal a day and sometimes not so much. and as for hunting I have been out many times and have only killed three partridges and one Rabbit. this is the poorest place that I Ever heard of in my life. it is nothing but all burned woods and Rocks all about the Country. I do not know what I will doo if the fish feal us as there is not a Rabbit track to be seen. we have set nets now under the Ice. get but very little in them but Several trout from our hooks. there has been here Several Indians who have taken debt at the pedlars. I gave them a little Tobacco and Several Small things Expecting to draw them away from the pedlars. but I am afread it is all in vain although they all say now that they will go with me in the Spring to Albany. I am Sadly afread that they will give me the bite that they get as much from me as they can. I never saw any of them before but they say all of them. Anna wach camegan ge ma hen meueshe. that is that we often went down to trade foremarly. The Chief men is called the Crow and the Pilican. by these Indians I am informed that one of the poor french men that was at Albany last year happened to be ahunting in a canoe by himself. and in turning round to fire at ducks aflying he unfortunately upset the canoe and was drownded. I traded them some Shoe leather from these Indians. I had a patient come here from Jas Clarks. it was an Indian Called by the french trim Sharp. he in a drunken fit to let the other Indians See that he was brave as he bore the name of a coward. he took it into his head to Stab himself. but in a wrong place. however the Stab was so violent that the knife penetrated quite through his thigh. we applied vitriol to the wound to learn him a little wit another time. this Medicine had the desired Effect as it mad him dance for upwards of an hour. we then applied drawing salve too it and sent him off. I have nothing more worth while mentioning in this month. only on the 11th we Caught a large trout and as it was remarkable large we weighed it on Stitiards and it was upwards of 18 lbs and our Canadian Eat it up for his breakfast. Blush thou gluttonous dog."
"this month has been the coldest for the Season that I have Ever seen in the country. With west and north West Winds and clear for the most part. very little snow fallen for the time of the year but so Sharp that I have been allmost Everday froze in overhauling our hooks and nets. working in the Ice and Water from morning to night is my Employment. a Striving to keep the Life in as long as I can. but we can get nothing out of the woods and hardly any thing out of the water. Some days one fish and Some days two. and very often nothing atall. for my part I doo not know what will become of me. the canadians are gone and left us and what can we doo. I don't understand fishing under the Ice and Mr. Coates is nothing better. and if we was Ever so good at it there are none to be got in the winter hardly. we have got only one uselefs french man Stay with us. and it is no matter whither he knows or not because he always is or pretends to be Sick. and when Ever we tell him that we will Starve if he dous not lend a hand his Ansuer is this. I don't care let us dye at once for I know we will be obliged to dye before winter is out. I knew very well that we could not live without English Provisions all winter. I well knew that when I was at Albany last Summer although I was obliged to Come back here again. I have not forgot last Winter yet Says he when five of us was not able to go to the door without the help of a Stick and not a bit of flesh on my bones. besides we had then thirty Bushels of Indian corn which keept the life in us. and all the men good fishermen, but now we have nothing to depend on. And? none of you understands fishing. I sepose when we came to albany last summer and you saw us look so fatt you natuarly imagined that we lived well all the year but now you see to the contrary. it was in the latter End of April when the fish frye. we get them in great plenty. that was the time that we got flesh on our bones. we lived on the fish then Just like Dogs. this Spetch of his has frightened me more then Ever. as our Stock is almost done and then what will become of me. I was desired before I left Albany If I was in ward in the winter to come down to Gloucester house but that shcame will never doo. for if I have not what to Subsist on here what have I to travel upwards of four hundred miles on. besides I have nobody to accompany me. I will much Sooner run the risque of kicking up my hells then to bring down a french man again. for I dare Say I would not be a welcome guest with one. besides we would only dye on the road. only Sepose that the Govenor of Albany orderd one or two of his men to go to Henley or Moose fort in this season of the year. without victuals. and where they cannot mifs the road. they would naturaly think that they ware hard dealt with and perhaps think that they would never get there. although they be plenty of partridges in their road. now when it is so difficult there what must it be here. more than three times as far and nothing to be got on the way to kill. I must stay and take my Chance happen as it will. I went to Mr Clarks on the 10th where I stayed only one night. he makes a terrible complaint for want. he is Sadly afread that he will lose all his men this Winter. as he has only caught about 1600 fish in the fall. this is all that they have to live upon although they be nine in number. and the reason why he will be so Short is that he lost the most part of his provisions in a fall last summer. and if that he had been plenty of provisions he would have asked me to Stay with him all the winter. besides Says he these french men are such a parcel of grouling sons of bitches that If one or two of them was to dye of hunger as is too often the case. the others would make a terrible compleant to the owners that he keept other people alive and let them Starve. however he gave me an invitation to pafs the Christmas Holi days with him. I Excepted of his Invitation and would doo mySelf the pleasure to wait upon him the day appointed. had a dram in the morning. and for brakefast Chocolate and pancakes. bad him good bye and returned to our hut. no remarkable news but all the Indians that have been at Clarks are astarving. he tells me that he has given out 800 Beaver in debt to the Indians this fall. but that he will be very well pleased if he could get in 300 of it in the Spring. I would not think much of it if that he got 500 in. the Indians certainly make fine bargains with the french. I have got a good many things to write about the pedlars but most not forget the Old proverb NECEFSITY HAS NO LAW. on the 14th there came three canoes of Indians to see me from Clarks. gave them some Tobacco. we had a long conversation together about old times. although I had never seen any of them before. nor can I learn what their names are. but I understand that one of them had been formarly an Albany Chief but now was drawn off by the Indulgance of the canadians. I asked him why he did not go down as usual. that the Encouragement was greater than Ever. that hookemausish gave a great dale of brandy and other presents to the Indians. to which he answerd that hudsons bay was far off and that they ware always Starved getting up again. besides we have Every thing that we Stand in need of brought to our country by the french. and they give us much more presents then you doo. we very well know that your cloth is better then What the french are. but then When my coat is wore out the french will give me another if I am not able to buy one. and that is more then you would doo if you was in my country. I know you from old. I was surprised to hear the Indian go on at this rate. indeed he would not let me Speak in my oun defence. when Ever I attempted to Speak a word he Shut up my mouth by saying I know of old the Generosity of the English well Enough so that you need not Say any more about it. houever after he had Ended his Storey I told him one as long as the main top?? ? Gallon boulen. the Indians Say they Starved in getting up again. I know it from My personal Experience. I have not forgot 1777 yet. when that I used to work hard on the leg of a partridge or Rabbit for two or three days together. therefore I know that it is one Capital reason why the Indians dous not come down. how often have I heard the poor Indians Say that we get powder and shot given us to carrey us back to our country again but then we cannot Eat it. and there are nothing to be got to kill in our road. now I think what would be a great Excitement to the Indians to come down would be to Allow them about 30 pounds of flour or Oatmeal and a little malafses to Each canoe. this would Enable them to get up to their familys without running the rique of Starving. and it would put a final stop to the Eternal compleant Buch ca te. I have nothing more worth while to mention but only that I went to Mr Clarks on the 24 according to appointment. where I Stayed all the Christmas. and Indeed there are hardly any thing worth while to Say about it. but only it is the french Custom to fast all the day before Christmas day. at twelve oClock at night all hands went to prayers. but in my opinion they had much better declined it. because as soon as prayers was over the General call was sacre dieu donnez nous La Sheudieve nous avons un sacre fain and such Stuff.that is god damn you give us the kettle for we are all damned hungary. I am not clear if this be translated accordind as it ought to be. but I am pretty clear that it is very near it. they then had a kettle of Indian corn which was prepaired for them before for a kind of feast like. all hands had a dram not forgetting me. then as soon as their bellys was full the fidler was called for and they danced till two oClock in the morning. the next morning which was Christmas day all hands had a dram again. had no breakfast but avery good dinnar of pork and plumb pudding and venison pye. Sunday was spent like the others in dancing playing the fidle drinking and playing Cards. never did I see Such heathens before. they drink all their liquor neat which method I did not approve of after the first glafs. and I Could partake in as Small a Share of their dancing it being Chiefly minuets. but if they had come to kiking with it I might have stood as great a chance as a good many of them. one night the most of them got drunk as is common Enough Every where about such a time. however one poor fellow got more or raither too far into the rays of the sun that he became so trublesome that he was helpt to bed by some who was very little better then him Self. be this as it may his bed being about six feet from the ground and he hearing some of his comerads call for him to come and take a glafs. he was in such a bustle a getting up that he came down to the floor by the run. by which tumble he knockt out his shoulder. we lived on very Short allowance of fish all the rest of Christmas Except new years day. which was as good as Christmas day."
January 31 1780
"this month has been very cold to the 10th but since pritty moderate. very little snow falln for the time of year. and for the most part N West and West Winds. very little drift. we are Entirely astarving now. all our fish is done some time ago. and now some days we have a morsel once a day and some days nothing. however we happned to Catch two small Jack which has made us a good breakfast. I have been amaking Enquirey all the year into the pedlars affairs. so that I have got a great dale to say about them if I had but time and I am determined to take time today as I had a good breakfast. because I cannot think of Writing when I am hungary. and if I refere it longer it may be too late as I have very little hope of surviving if I don't fall in with better fishing. the pedlars trade is carried on by Companys as they Call it. but I will bring it apeg lower by calling them men in partnership as there are seldom or never more then two or three in partnership together. the uper country to the Northward of lake Superior is poisoned with them. for it is impofsible for a man to travel 150 miles any course without finding a pedlars house. this upper country goes under two different names. the great north and the little north. or as the french man says La gran nore La pettit nore. the great north is the upper country above york fort. and those that go into it are obliged to pafs by the great carriang place in the West End of lake Superior. as for their mennar of trade I am an Entire Stranger too. but they are well known to the northward already.
the little north is this very country where I now am. as I Said before to the northward of Lake Superior and to the Eastward of Lake Winapeg among the Albany Indians. and those that come into here have Lake Superior when they get to a place on the north side of it called Paye Plat. about 130 miles to the Eastward of the great carriang place here they find a river which brings them into Lake Saint Anns or animapeg. afterwards they find different roads which lead them to there Several houses about this part of the Country. the names of them I have already mentioned. it is well known that they have their goods brought from England but I belive it is but very few of these pedlars that are able to import them themselves. however they are brough up from Quebec to mountreal by Shipping which is 180 Miles. then they bring them to Mitchelimacanac which is 900 miles in large Canoes 9 men in a canoe Each man 200 livers wages. at Macanak they buy of or from the Indians. Indian corn deers fatt and Sugar for the use of their men in the land as they call it. the Indians raise the corn and make the Sugar of the Maple tree.
" I had almost forgot to mention that they have their hatchets and files made at the Iron mines halfway between mountreal and Quebec. Mitchelamacanac is Situated on a point between Lake hurin and Lake Mishego. when they are fittd out with these thing at Macanak they get a pafs from the commanding officer there as all the pedlars are obliged to have before they get past that fort. then they set for Lake Superior at the south End of which there are another small kings fort at a place called the Soe. here they are obliged to show their pafs. the Soe is 90 miles from Mitchelimacanac. they have no other place to Stop at but crofses Lake Superior and comes to the Great carriang place and paye Plat where they find their traders and men awiting for them with the Honourable Hudsons bay companys property. [Furs]
" oh the theives the rascals the robers. why don't the Company hang them. I am willing to Stand Jack Ketch. why what better are any person or persons of getting a Charter or any country or part of a country if any and Everybody is to come and take away what it produces without Ever asking any Questions. they ought to be Severly Censured by the Company and prosecuted because in my opinion they are guilty of the highest violation of the law. and might have as well Employed themselves in stealing the goods out of the companys Warehouses. besides if it was Gentlemen of property I should not think so much of it. but to be Injured and Wronged by a parcel of thives and rascals as they all are. why the trade here in the little north as they call it is Entirely carried on by an Iliterate Jew. one Ezekial Solomon a kind of pedling merchant at mountreal. he is Mr Clarks master among the rest. I Saw some of his Writing and I declare it is ten times worse wrote and worse Spelt then this of Mine. and I am shour I don't write a copper plate hand nor am I a walking dictionary.
" he has got an old serjent in partnership with one Shaw who winters this year at the Red or Oker Lake. these are the rascals and many more such that have reduced the Companys trade so low of late. In my opinion it would have been much better for their Honours if Canada had still been in the hands of the french king.
but I don't desire that my friend Lord North Should hear that I said so. for perhaps he would be Saying that I was aswearing against the kings property and would be for bringing me in for the crime of high treason in north america not on the high Seas.
"Mr Clark was kind Enough to let me see All his goods. and as for their Cloth and blankets they are not one half so good as ours. but I don't see a single Article Elce but what is Every bit as good. they have brazil Tobacco of late as well as we have. and since the War with the americans they are obliged to have West Inde rum. they bring Ribbons and Calicos find Several Jimcracks for the Indians that we have not.
" their mannar of trading with the Indians are various and what make it so is it often happens that there are two or three houses close along one another but for different owners. when this is Case they overbid one another at an amazing rate. they are always Jelious of one another about the trade. and he is the cliverest fellow that has the good luck to see an Indian acomming first. he sets off directly to meet him. and perhaps runs three or four miles sometimes in very bad weather. all this is for fear that the others should Catch him. bring him home with him gives him a keg of Rum and trades with him after this mennar. a blanket or fathom of Cloth, 3 Beaver. a gun 8 beaver. a Mans coat 4 beaver. a three gallon kettle two beaver and the other kettles in preportian. a pair of sleves or Stockings one Beaver. a hatchet one Beaver. now these are the only commoditys tradeable in such a case. all the other things are given away for nothing. the catalogue of which I sepose will look surprising. however it is fact and the Articles are Rum, Powder, shot, Tobacco, Lookingglafses, paints, knives, beads, ribbons, flints, steels, Combs, awls, needles, gunworms, rings, Earrings, braselates, armbands, hare plates, Ruffles, shirts and Tobacco boxes. the powder shot and Tobacco they give them in large Quantitys. perhaps give a man 6 lbs of powder and shot in proportion, 3 or four fathom of brazil tobacco and a prick? of four pounds besides. and perhaps 5 Gallons of rum.
"is not this very surprising that they can afford to trade and give away at this rate after carrying their goods upwards of 1500 Miles through such a Country. why this is far cheaper then what we doo at Albany. which is the place where the Indians get the most for their goods of any of the Companys Settlements or at least as much. but I am told that the pedlars that trade in the great north trade very dear with the Indians.
now again when a pedlar finds himself alone as he calls it. that is when there are no other pedlars near him and he knows that the Indians have no other place to go too for their necefsaries in the winter, he trades with them after this mennar. a blanket or fathom of Cloth 7 Beaver. a Gun 12 Beaver. a pound of twine 2 Beaver. a hatchet 2 Beaver. a two Gallon kettle 5 Beaver. a duble handfull of powder which may be three Quarters of a pound one Beaver. about two pound of Shot in the palm of his hand one Beaver. twenty Ball one Beaver. 8 yards of gartering one Beaver. one fathom Brazeel Tobacco a Beaver. a looking glafs and comb one Beaver. a pair of sleve or stockings two Beaver. a mans coat five Beaver. their Coats Stockings and Sleves are Rady made and all trimed round with gartering very neatly. this article Gartering the Indians are very fond of and they are not able to purchafs it at our settlements. Especially at Gloucester House for if I remember right the standard of that place is only 1 1/2 yard. now the pedlars when they trade dear they give them only 8? yards and when the one overbids the other they think nothing of giving away a whole Roll to an Indian at a time.
"the following convinces me that they have Spoilt the Indians to a high degree. when an Indian finds two houses together he takes debt from the one in the fall. and when he comes in the winter if he be a bad Indian he will pafs by his Creditors door and go and trade with the other. and what is still more mortifing is that if the Indians creditor Should happen to be in the other house when the Indian, his Debtor, comes in it is very hard he dare not speak to him whom he knows is indebted to him. too close a confinement for a Generous Spirit. but if he Should attempt to speake to him the master of the house will desire him to walk out. that he has no right to Speak to an Indian in his house. it sometimes happen that the one kiks the other out on such occasions.
" now if he is a good honest Indian when he comes in the Winter. he will go to his creditors house and tell him a storey something after this mennar. you see that my hunt is but little my family are naked and my Gun brock. so that I cannot pay you anything. but if you don't choice to trade with me I will go and trade with the other. now he is glad to trade with him on very Easy terms and lose his debt besides which is perhaps forty or fifty Beaver. this happens but seldom. but when an Indian pay ahalf his debt he gets a large present. and when they trade dearest they never trade the small trifles such as knives, beads, vermillion, flints, steels, Gunworms, auls, needles, Ribbons, Earrings, Rings and the rest of the jim cracks. I am told they never give lefs to an Indian then a quarter of a pound of vermillion at a time. they never trade Rum. and very little Tobacco.
" now if this is but considered by people that know what trading with the Indians are I am Apt to think that If one of the companys Servants was to come here and trade and give away at this rate he would look very foolish when he went to make his accounts up after his trade was over. and if he did not trade as Cheap and give away as much as the pedlars he will not be over loaded with furrs in the Spring.. I doo not wonder when the Indians come down to the companys Settlements that they tell the Chiefs there that they have such and such things given them by the pedlars and if they don't give them so and so they never will come down the river again. it is very true the pedlars give them more then what we doo when we give them the most.. it is very Evident that the pedlars have Spoilt the Indians by letting? them into the velue of their goods so much by the one overbiding the other at such a rate.
" did I not see the damnd Indians this fall refuse our cloth and blankets and say that we traded very dear with the Indians. and Mr Coates only asking the Albany Standard. these ware the goods that the french man traded at Albany last Summer. they likeweas would only give ten beaver for our Guns. he gave out the few things that he had on trust to the Indians in the fall but has not seen any of the Indians yet and I sepose never will as he has got no Liquor and Mr. Clark is at hand. I will doo this much Justice to the Indians. that if I was one hudsons Bay should never See me as long as I could get thing on such reasonable terms at home as they certainly have.
"the next thing that I have to mention is their mens wages. which I sepose will be thought Extravegant. their traders or what they call Clerks have from two to three thousand Livers per Annum. and some times has a fifth Share of the adventures over which he presides besides. and found with Every necefsary so that he has not the least occasion to spend a farthing of his wages. now their common men have from 1000 to 1500 livers. besides Each man have a Gratuity of two blankets, four Cilico shirts, a jacket and trousars, two pair of Stockings, and Eight pounds of Tobacco. this may look very Extravagant wages for common men but it is Geneally paid with a few trifles of wearing apparel, some pounds of pork, flour, and a few bottles of Rum. some times a prudent fellow that saves his wages two or three years makes his fortune and sets off with him self. but then it is so hard for a poor man to save his wages. there are so many temptations which lye in his way that he most be more or lefs then man to Enable him to keep clear for so long a time. his companions who spend their wages always Exciting him to Expend. his master astriving to the same End. the hardships of a long voyage and seeing his comerades Eating and drinking well while he has nothing but Indian corn as they are not allowed nothing Elce but what they chuse to buy. if often forces a man though otherways prudently and soberly Inclined to fall into the same way of life as the others. and in a few days sees the fruts of a years hardship destroyed in a few Indifferent meals of victuals. they sell to their men pork ten livers per lb. flour the same price. Rum forty Livers the Quart. Sugar ten livers the lb. Tobacco fifty livers the lb. a calico Shirt twenty livers, a jacket fifty livers, a pair of trousars twenty livers, a blanket a hundred livers, a fathom of Cloth a hundred and twenty livers. by these Extravagant prices for the necefsaies of Life the poor men are soon paid their wages. and often indebted a year or two service besides. Indeed it is impofsible to describe all the low and mean arts made use of to defraud the poor man of his hard Earned due..this usage makes many a man abandon him self with the savages to free him self as he vainly thinks from starving. but this is truely Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. there are as I am creditably informed numbers of poor wretches lost after this mennar in the great north and become greater rascals in a short time then the Worst savages. teaching savages the vices of white people and in return terms the worst vices of theirs.
"the french man Mounsieur Moginest that went to England last year from Albany had an intention of comming into the companys service if pofsible meerly with a view to resent ingeries done him by some of the pedlars who have connections here. but again Mr Clark tells me that he is indebted thirty thousand livers to Mr Solomon the Jew. and that he has run away with the furrs. and that he has made this an Excuse that he wanted to get into the companys service. as for my part I don't know which to belive. but I know he most Either be a rogue or a damned fooll because that he said he would be able to get all the trade drawn out of the pedlars hands. I say it is impofsible Even if the company had twenty settlements in this part of the country the pedlars would have their share of the trade unlefs their Honrs should be detirmined to over bid the pedlars at all Events. and Even in such a case as this it would be impofsible to get goods brought up sufficient to do it. Even if they cost nothing but the truble of picking them up from the Sea Shore.. in his preposals to the company he wanted forty men and three Clerks.
"for gods sake who are these forty men to be. what? Orkney men. it is much better for the company to send out forty good fatt hogs. I know which their Honrs would lofs the least by at the years End. for depend upon it that the first bad fall that they attempted to get up they would soon make a night cap of the Canoe and that would put an End to them. now put the mens wages and goods that they lose together leaving the mens lives out of the Question. it would fall little short of the price of the hogs afore said. besides the Indent for pork would be lefs the year following.
"he likewise wanted three Clerks. perhaps this may not be Enough understood as he did not mean Writers to Write his Books. his meaning was men that was Capible of being Masters of houses nad trading with the Indians. but who are they to be. there are no such people of my Acquaintance. there is not a man on the Albany Establishment that is capable of trading with these Indians as they differ in their languags from our Indians at hudsons bay. Except it be people who holds better places already. and if such a preposal was to be made to them I am apt to think it would be rejected with disdain as that would only be Jumping out of the parlor into the Kitchen. Indeed in my oppinion it would be much better for a man to be a common labrour at Albany then Master of any house that Ever may be made above Gloucester house, because the River is so impractible that he cannot have the common necefsaries of life brought him and it is not to be got here. but should their Honours agree with the french man and send him out they will put themselves to a great deal of Expence wethout Ever getting any returns for it. but I think before he got to Albany Last Summer that he had but very little notion of returning back the same road again. although he still retained his foremar intention outwardly meerly with a view of getting to England in the Companys Ship. as I sepose he was ashamed to return to Canada. I sepose before he came to Albany he thought that the road was as Easey to get goods up as it is for them to bring them from Lake Superior. but he found his mistake as they have only to crofs the country out of one Small Lake into another and nothing but dead Water. now we have to come againest the Stream all along nothing but rappid currant and bad falls one upon another as appears by my Journey up. AGAIN I will sepose that the Company dont agree with him but at the same time their Honrs should be desirous of having Settlements farther Inland. and perhaps may give Mr Hutchins orders accordingly. but for gods Sake how is it to be done. where are the large Canoes to come from. why there are none to be got nearer then Mitchelimacanac and I sepose the company will not send there for them. and the Indians here cant make them. and small canoes will never doo as their provisions for the Journey would be as much as they could carrey so far together with the mens own things. Now Sepose great Canoes could be got, where is the men that is to work them. why there is not a man on the Albany Establishment capable of conducting a large canoe up one bad fall. the Company may send out men apurpos but as I said before they are Still worce?. it is true any lumper if he has strength Enough is Enough to cut fire wood and track, the latter I most allow is a very Slavish and disagreeable duty. but then any man is capable of douing it. when the men come down from the Ship the first work he does is to go to henly[Henley House] with the Boates.
"now if a man be lazier then the others the Stearsman calls out ho lo you white jacket(perhaps he does not know his name) haul you lazy son of a whore you don't haul a pound. now he sees that he is taken notice of he mends his pace and hauls the Boat againest the Currant by main Strength. this is well Enough where Strength puts it forward. but Such men as these are incapable of working large canoes as I am to be Bishop in the Church of Rome. besides here are another Capital Objection againest what we call green hands. that is that they don't inderstand fishing nor hunting which is the very thing on which their Lives most greatly depend on. it may be said how can they know these things before they learn them. I grant it. but then it is very unfit to Send these Men to the very place where their daily Subsistance depend on their knowledge and Experience.
"it first ought to be considered the truble and Expence that Gloucester is before more settlements should be thought of making Inland. because there are no lefs then Eight or ten of the best men besides all the Indians that can be procured Employed all the summer in getting up goods and provisions to that place and where they get the boat wethin four or five days Journey of. now it would not be worth while making a Settlement without it could be made at least as far above Gloucester as Glo is above Henley. and how is it to be done when it takes all the best hands to carrey the goods from the boat. as I said before four days Journey. why they are obliged to go three or four trips. but let me see how many trips they would go if they had two or three hundred miles farther to go. why they only could go once and could hardly carry anything but their provisions. it most be observed that this part of the Country is not like that where cumberland House where the Indians help up their goods and find them with provisions all the year. we have no Indians come down and all the provisions that all the Indians about this part of the Country would be able to find would not be Sufficient to last seven Men a week.
"So that it is my opinion that nothing can be done inland without the Company Chould chuse to Employ Canadians and large canoes. and their Honrs will not get a canadian under forty or forty five pound a year. and it would be only running a great Risque to intreat them with goods in the upper Country as the most of them are damned rogues. and perhaps stear for Canada inftead of hudsons bay with the Companys property in the spring. I don't mention Employing Canadians merely becaus they can work Canoes better then what the English can. but they are of a more hardy nature brought up as I may say among the Indians and can Eat any thing. why all the pedlars that are about this part of the Country live intirely upon fish without any thing with it. sometimes get a meal of Indian Corn once a month. would out Men live this way or as I have done all this year hithertoo. no they would not. no for no wages what Ever. have I not often heard them a grumbling when fish was served out to them after the oil was done. a saying is this fish victuals for Men without oil or butter. now when these men grumble here when they have both bread salt and Beer, what most they doo inland where they cannot have neither the one nor the other. I think it is needlefs what I am awritting about as there are very little propect of Ever getting any farther inland.
"I had almost forgot to mention Mr Clarks provisions last year. he had 400 lbs flour one Eight gallon keg of the fattest Beef without any bones. and as much as the fattest pork one keg of deers fat two Eight gallon kegs maple sugar twenty five pound Chocolate six pound Tea fifty pound of Barley and an Eight gallon keg of Butter. this is all that he is allowed for his own use. now for his men he has forty Bushels of Indian corn with three Eight gallon kegs of Deers fatt for seasoning. this is the only thing that they are allowed. Except fish as much as they can ketch. Indeed the Indian corn mostly intended for the Journeys from and too Lake Superior. I cannot help remarking that on Christmas day one of the frenchmen was determined to have a good dinner. for which purpose he bought two pound of pork and two pounds of flour. which cost him no lefs then one pound thirteen shillings and fourpence sterling. and only water to drink after dinner.
"the pedlars keep no accounts and never ask a man whither he can write or no. when they want a master for any of their houses the only Question that is put too him is if it be a frenchman, parle vu bo Savage. and if he be an Englishman, can you speak good Indian. if he answers this question he gets a place at once. if not he is cast, if he was the best scholar in america. the canadians are so illiterate in general that they are often obliged to keep their Indian debt by marking notches in sticks. they trade with the Indians one ottar as a Beaver, a Cat as a Beaver, two martens or minks as a Beaver, a moose skin as a Beaver, two deer skins as a Beaver, a Bear as a Beaver, a vulverind as one Beaver, one wejock as a Beaver. the martens they get here are not half so good as those that we get. indeed their primest martins are not so good as our common ones are and of a very Redish Colour.
"here are another scandalous art made use of by the pedlars to hurt the Companys trade. that is they tell their Indians that if they Should see any Indians that trade at Hudsons Bay to Exchange Cat for ottars with them. now our Indians are very glad to doo this because they get two Beaver for a Cat at the Companys Settlements and they only get one for an ottar. and the pedlars are as safe because the ottar perhaps sells near twice as well at market as the Cat does.
" I hear that Mr Solomon the Jew was foolish Enough to give a man 700 Livers to go and make discoverys among the Indians to the northward. and the place he sent him too was over to the northward of here about halfway between Albany and Severn Rivers. When the man back Mr Solomon asked him very foolishly if he had any Indians that had never seen White people yet. the man answered him very prettily o yes Says he I did indeed sir. lord says Solomon Can't we get among them. to be shour you can what is to hinder you. well done my lad I will double you your wages for this lucky jaunt of yours. oh sir I am afeard you will not because those Indians that I saw never killed any thing in their Lives. what the divel kind of Indians are they says Solomon. why says he I never saw any but two small Children and I thought they had never seen white people because they seemed to be afraid of me. To this the wisdom of Solomon to imagine there ware Indians within three or four hundred miles of hudsons bay that had never seen white people. Oh thou foolish blockhead change thy Name.
" here have I mentioned Every thing worth while that I have Either heard or seen since I have been up country. Likweas my opinion on making any future settlements Inland. and perhaps I have already said more then what will be well heard. it may be said that I am a blockhead and that any and Every thing can be done inland and that I know nothing about the matter. I say I doo know( pardon this freedom) better then any one that may say so. if I did not it would be ashame for me because I have gone through it more then once and that is more then any body Elce Ever did since Albany was first Establish'd. have I not lived two years in the uper country among the Indians. I think that I ought to know a little about it. but should any person think that know little about it let them take a turn here and see what he thinks of it. I was only sent up here to Explore the track (in case that it might be requierd) by taking the Courses and distances and I have done it as far as can depend upon me or at least as much as may be Expected from a person of my abilities."
Feb. 29, 1780
"this month has been the finest weather that I Ever Saw for the season. being Southerly Wind in General and very Warm very little snow and never drifted which was very lucky for us. we could get nothing from our nets nor hooks at our house so that perfect misery made us lave the house on the 7th after being obliged to Eat all the Skins and bones of the Rotten fish that we have been Eating all winter. the method we took with the bones was, we consumed them with long boiling and found the broth very good. and we roasted the Skins on the Coals which went down as well. Mr Coates and me traveld about from one place to another a seeking our livelihood. and god knows a poor hand we made of it. some times kill a Crow some days a squirrel. some days a small Jack and very often three and four days without Ever tasting a morsel atall so that we are hardly able to walk now. and hardly a bit of flesh on my bones. we was obliged to kill our dog on the 14th. and I am sorry to say we was obliged to Eat his very Skin and guts. I am almost Certain that I will never put over another Month as I have got into apart of the Country where there are not a Rabbit track to be seen. and indeed we don't know the way to go back to from whence we Came so that I am affraid we are lost. Add to this. I was taken Ill on the 14th which unfortunately turned out to be the fever which raged with great violence till the 26th. how can imigane the misery that I underwent in that time having only the broth of a dog to Eat or drink all that time. Mr. Coates was always Employed in keeping up the fire in the tent. but when our dog was all done perfect hunger made me get up and Cut Ice before I was hardly able to stand. I was very near to have died. but thank god I am getting the better of it a little. but I think it was far better that I had died at once as I cannot Expect to subsist long at this rate. here am I sent up country to starve. this is no less then five days that I have not teasted any thing in the world but three mice that I dug out of the ground this morning. how can I Expect to live. I can't find my Self as there is nothing to be got to kill about this part of the country. why the very savages die of hunger Every year here abouts. what does it Signify to me to be a writing for it is more then possible that it will never be seen nor me Either. but should it be our ill fate to dye here, as I am sadly afraid it will if times dous not alter. perhaps the Indians may find us in the spring as we are now lying in a carriang place where the Indians pafs and we pafs in the Summer season. and if we are found I am desirous that my poor old father should hear that I died in the upper country. but it adds pain to my present suffering lest he should have the mortification to hear that I died such a miserable death as I am Sadly afread I will soon undergo. but this I will Leave to my good friend and Late worthy Master to whom I am already bound to by the tyes of gratitude for the many good advices he gave and useful things taught me. my last wishes will be for his well fare and prosperity although he be but the Innocent cause of this my miserable and untimely End. I am desirous that Mr. Clark will send down my Journal by Indians to our nearest Settlement. Called by the Indians We Cashew Saca heggan or by the English Gloucester House. the Indians will be paid there for their truble in any Goods that they Chuse to the amount of twenty beaver Each. Mr. Clark for your trouble take my watch. I have nothing Else worth your while. but I beg that you will send it down as it will give some satisfaction to my friends at Hudsons bay. and perhaps it may be the means of hindering any poor wretch to undergo Such misery after me."
March 31 1780
"this month has been remarkable warm and calm and thaw'd so much that there was Geese seen here on the 25th. but have seen none since. and thank god I have saved the life hithertoo which was more than I Expected a month ago.
"tongue was not formed to Exprefs the one half of the misery and hardship that I underwent this month. I was daily a fainting away for want of the Necefsaries of life. we only caught seven small Jack which would not weigh two and a quarter of a pound Each. one Rabbit. two Crows and a few mice this was all that we had for this long month. and this we could have Eat in two days. but Mr. Coates very luckaly had a few Beaver Skins. which we greedily Roasted on the Coals and Eat to save the life. there are a kind of hard Mofs that grows upon the Stones. Called by the Indians Wachquanag. this we boild and found very nurishing. but when Every thing feald us we was obliged to Eat the shoes off our feet and the mittons off our hands. nay our very Snowshoe strings and in Short Every thing that was leather. the day before yesterday we boiled country Tea in the way of Greens with three mice in it which we found weakening instead of nurishing. who can imagine our misery. I only wish that I could see any person that would give me the Smallest morcal of any kind of food for my Watch. he should have it with all my heart. but there are no such lucky bargin to be met with here. Add to this I was taken ill again before I had thoroughly recoverd out of my late fever. all my body Legs and arms brock out and keept arunning the same as if I had been in the Small poxe for Sixteen days with inwardly Stitches and continual head Achs. the latter rages with as great Violence as Ever.
"we are now coming to the Sturgeon Lake as we Sepose. but together with Sicknefs and famine that I am hardly able to Walk a mile in a whole day. but I sepose if we was but out at the Sturgeon lake now and be able to cut Ice and set nets and hooks we might stand a good chance of ketching some fish as about this season they begin to Come in to the shoulds. on the 10th the one armed Indian man who had been at Mr Clarks and on his way back again he came to seek for us. and very luckily came on our track. and come up with us in the Evening. he was starving almost to death. but he cut us some holes and set us some hooks. he likweas gave us a little Rum which he had from Mr Clark which we found very refreshing. he likeweas put us on the way to the Sturgeon Lake and went off the next morning. he told us that Mr. clark and Men was astarving but not nothing like So bad as we are. he tells us that they Eat sometimes once a day and sometimes nothing. but this nothing to Compare to us. he likeweas told us the Melancholy news that one Single Indian had killed a french man the master of a trading house at posh co coggan Lake soon in the Winter. the french man had seven or Eight men but they all happnd to be out afishing at the time. and the Indian finding him by him self he asked the french man for some thing which he refused him upon which he drew a pistol and shot him in the breast. but it apeard that the shot did not kill him dead as there was a gun found brock. Seposed to be done between him and the Indian in the Strugle. the Indian plunderd the house of a good many things too tedious and uninteresting here to mention. he likeweas says that the rest of the men have wasted and given away the most of the goods that was left. by this account Gloucester House will certainly get a good trade this year as it is only about 170 miles to the Westward of it. Come it is a foul wind that blows in no mans sails
" I learn by this Man that no lefs then three families of Indians had been Starved to death where he was hunting this Winter. he adds that the Son Eat the father. now as these accidents often happen if I may call them so, that the Indians kill the french. it is my opinion that there are too few men at Gloucester House. for the Indians may be as ready to play them a trick of this kind as they are the french. it is very plainly to be seen that one Indian is as dangerous as ten. so that in these upper countrys there ought never to be lefs than three or four Men at the House at a time. and in some particular seasons there ought to be four Men Employed afishing. now if they ware to send four afishing from Gloucester House there are but one left at home. this may be attended with bad consequences. but it may be said that there are the not the least fear of that or anything of? the kind. but it is too late to Shut the Stable after the Stead is Stole. so that I think if they ware Seven Men there they would be in lefs danger and able to attend the fishing better.
" I could have written a good dale more on this Subject but I am so faint and hungary that I am not able to write. but if I could save the life another month I might recover yet."
April 30 1780
"This month has been very cold to the 20th with NE winds. but afterwards fine weather? the snow was all gone here about the 25th. we had Geese again on the 13th. the small Lakes and Rivers brock open on the 26th.
" and thank god I have saved the life. at last very surprisingly we got out to the Sturgeon Lake on the second. set two lines. caught a small Trout which made us a prity good breakfast. I then set off to see if the pedlars could give us no afsistance. and after resting upwards of twenty times I at last Effected it in the evening. but if I had another mile to have gone I dare say I could not have made it out. but when I came thence I found all hands astarving as bad as me and worce if possible. for Mr. Clark had not a man but one and himself out of Eight that was able to go and overhaul the nets or hooks. it is as much as Ever they can doo to get out of the door with the help of a stick. oh what a miserable life these poor wretches live. and what hard ships they undergo in getting the few furs that they get from this part of the country. Clark and the other man gets as much fish in little and little as what keep the life in the others. perfect weaknefs made me stay there three days as I was not able to come off sooner. during which time I had only two small morsels of fish. but Jas Clark most be a damn blackguard indeed to see his men astarving at this rate and heaving anything in the world by him. his men tells me that he has six or seven bushels of Indian corn bye him yet. they told him yesterday if he did not give them some corn that they would brake open the door of the shop and take it. his answer was the man that attempted it was a dead man.
" I came off and left them in this humour so that I can't tell how they made it out at last. I got in the Evening. he had Caught two small Jack. I think this good living. if we could but come out this well Every day I might make it out yet. on the fourteenth I took the Suns altitude at ther same place where I took it last fall. the noon altitude was as follous.
[another noon reading gone for a bit]
"Saw Indians on the 17th. went with them to a fishing place where they are to build their canoes. we all lived upon Squirrels till the 21th. on the 22th we caught 5 perch and on the 23th we caught 22 fish. and Ever since then we caught them by such large numbers that we was athroughing them away by hundreds at a time. but this will only last while they Spawn. perhaps a fortnight or so. we do nothing all day but Eat so that I begin to gather my flesh again. but I still Continue very ill with violent head achs and a vomiting blood. indeed sometimes twice or thrice a day. I can impute it to nothing but the nasty guts that hunger made me Eat in the winter. I am likeweas trubled with a pain in my left leg and thigh So that I am not able to walk a hundred yards in half an hour. but I don't wonder that I am badly when I think on the misery that I underwent in the long winter both of cold and hunger. here I was sent up country to live bye my Self and Starve as I have done all the year. I had never a Single meal Since the 19th of September from french English nor Indians. Except the few days that I was with the pedlars. but found my Self and Saved my life after all in this pitylefs country where the very Savages die Every year in heaps. this makes me think that I am a clever fellow yet. I only wish that I had not wrote a word of my being in want atall.
" now I can't tell how I am to get down. for I can get no Indians to go with me and I cannot go by myself as I am not well. but there is not the least fear of want now as there are plenty of fish Every where. but if I had but been able to have wrote a daily Journal all the Winter it would be Surprising how I subsisted atall. as from the 2 of January to the 22 of April I had not as much of any kind of food come to my Share for a whole week as I coould have Eat at a poor meal. here was near four months that I lived at this rate and if any person was to have come to our hut any time in the winter he would be apt to think that we was living upon Short Allowance of bread and cheese because we Eat up all the skins, guts and bones of Every thing we caught.
" one particular day in March I was a hunting or raither crawling about. I hapnd to see a rabbit track. and I followd it near a mile as I thought. although perhaps it was not half that distance. I had Several oppertunitys to fire at it but I was Still afeard that I was too far off. but at last I was weary with following of it. I fired and killed it. and I very greedily before it was dead bit of its Ears and Eat them. this and many things worce hunger made me doo this long winter which I will leave my readers to imagine as I am not capible of describing it."
May 20 1780
"This month hitherto has been Exceeding hot indeed. and we have not had a Shouar of rain but one all this Spring. Muskitoes we had in plenty before the 6th but now very troublesome. all the small lakes and rivers was open about the 8th but this lake did not break up before the 15th. I saw but very few Geese this spring. and they flew so high that Shot could not reach them. I fired several Shot in vain as I only killed one poor rooke which was the only Goose flesh (or is it called fowl) that I have Eat since I left Albany indeed if all the flesh that I have Eat since the 26th of July of last was put together I am Certain it would not weigh ten pounds. the dog Excepted. but lived on fish fish fish all weathers. if I had been a roman catholic I could not have keept a longer lent than what I have done. for I am certain I have hardly Eat any thing but fish these nine months. my health mends daily but I still continue avomiting blood once in two or three days. but I am sadly afeard that I have got a very dangerous disorder in my left leg and thigh. it pains me so much that I am hardly able to rise up when I sit down.
"I went to the pedlars on the 17th where I saw no lefs than 16 families of Indians in seven large tents. they have all traded with Clark. Except one old man and his Sons. they have been all adrinking these three days past. and yesterday they were all finely drefsed as they were about a cungering affair called Matewe. and never did I see a parcel of Indians so well drest as they ware. their Cloaths was finely tost off with Gartering and ribbons. and most of the Women Clothed in cilico, ruffles and ribbons. indeed the companys warehouse can't fit out or drefs the Indians half so fine although it be better sort of goods. they plase the Indians with these foolish trifles better than what we do with much better goods. whill they ware dancing Mr Clark carried out the brazil Tobacco to them by three or four fathom at a time. all the time that I was there the Indians was continualy acomming in. the one abeging a peice of Cloath another some Tobacco and a third powder Shot or a peice of Gartering etc. and I never saw him refuse them a single thing. but on the contrary he always was very ready to grant them their most Extravagant demands. he rigged out two Captains. to Each of which he gave an Eight Gallon keg of rum. he tells me that he has Traded and given away to the Indians this year 20 peieces of Cloth 70 blankets. 350 lbs gun powder, 600 weight of Shot. 100 Gallons of Rum. and all the other goods in proportion. and his whole trade is only 12 packs. Each pack weighs 80 lbs. among which he has got 300 martens but of a poor kind. and about 700 Beaver and about 200 ottars. the others are Cat, Bear. Moofe and deer Skins I will sepose the whole to amount 1300 Beaver in our way of valuation. and as the martens are not very good I will Value them three as a beaver.
Mr. Clarks Trade
Martins - No. 300 ... 100
Beaver - ? 700 .... 700
Ottars - No. 200 .. 200
and I sepose him to have Catts 100 .... 200
Bears and other coarse furrs to the value of 100
Total 1300 B.
here I have given a pretty good guefs of his trade but now let me see how far his trading good would go in our Standard. twenty peieces of Cloth and I will put them on an average to be 22 yards Each.
this comes to no lefs than - 880 Beaver
70 Blankets at 6 Beaver Each -420 do.
Gun Pouder lbs 350 ------------ 233 1/3 do.
Shot ..........672------------ 134 2/5 do.
Rum Gall.100------------------- 400 do.
now when these few articles comes to this many beaver what most his whole General charge come to. why I sepose not to lefs than four thousand Beaver for my part I cannot? tell how they make it out at this Rate. how Sheepish I would Look if I had 4000 Beaver in goods and only bring down 1300 Beaver and no remains. I cant belive it for all I see it Every day. how can they afoard it - by some Indians that are here I am told that two of the poor frenchmen that ware at Albany last Spring has Starved to death in the winter as they ware a living by themselves at a Lake called Mistounga. Mr. Clark tells me that there are but few years what Severals die of the same disorder about this part of the Country - Mr. Coates was to have Stayed for Mounsieur Mogionests comming out again. but he now knows that nothing can be done inland from Albany and he knew that very well last year when he was at Albany although he did not Chuse to say so then. but they aluays said that they would draw all the trade out of the pedlars hands - I don't winder that Governor Hutchins sent him to England as his proposals was so pretty that the Governor in Conjunction with his officers took the affair into consideration and thought that they could do no better a thing for the Companys Intrest then to send him home. and perhaps thought that they would be wanting in their duty if they did not. although I belive it is contrary to their Instructions.
" but if Mr Hutchins had only known then what I do to day he would soon have turned him back with the flye in in his Ear. but if he Should come out to Albany again in my opinion the best thing that can be done is to return him in the Ship to England again. if this method is taken it may save the Company of a deal of Expence for by god he never will succeed in inland affairs from Albany. because the river is so impracticable by numbers of bad falls Shoulds and stones and we have got neither men nor Craft fit for it at all. It certainly is apitty that we cant get among the pedlars for I think if we was the goodnefs of the companys goods would gain som of the indians. and might in a short time discurage part of the pedlars out of this part of the country. but then the country is so poor. the pedlars so plenty and the Indians so few. and so much Scattred that we would not be able to do much Even if we had men and Craft because nothing but fish in the Summer and in the winter nothing. it does not Signify we will never be able to get up goods and provisions to do any thing inland. as I have said before the canadians live on fish only and when that feals them they die. but our Men will make no such bargains. not for no money -
" Mr Coates Suffered so much in the winter that he would not run the risque of living here another year. not for all the furrs that Ever went from Hudsons bay - and Even if he had lived Ever so well he would not Stay another year as it is only Lofsing his time - and I am so much of his opinion that I would not doo it. not for the king of England place for the rest of my life as I might depend of not seeing many days after Christmas day
" Mr Coates set off for the colonies on the 17th the rest of the french men belonging to Mogienest was likweas to have Stayed for his return from England but there are three of them dead. two of them are gone with Mr Coates and the others are Engaged with James Clark. So if Mounsieur Mogienest comes out this year he will neither find his men nor his interpreter and he will find that he can do very little here without them or indeed with them -
" I have made so good friends with and Indian Chief that he and his two sons that? has promised to carrey me down as far as Gloucester House. for which I have promised to pay him twenty beaver at that place for his truble. I am obliged to do it. what can I do. I am not well. I can't stay here and I cannot get any Indians persuaded to come down to trade. this is all that I have made of it at last. after all my Endeavours to persuade Indians by giving auay all my things flattering and telling them such long Storeys all the year. I flatter my self that I speak the Indian tongue five times as well as any one down the bay (my Superiors Excepted) as these Indians dous? not say a word but what I know and can give them an ansuer to - it does not signify the Indians will not make a great custom of comming down whell the pedlars are so plenty. I may speak the Indian tongue well. I may say that I have been two years that I have hardly heard any thing Elce. and now I may call it unhappy oppertunity as I am Sadly? afeard that I have commenced cripple in the service which perhaps may last me for the rest of my life. I long much to be down as I have been on bad pasture a long time. and the Sooner that I can get to the doctor the better. besides if I don't bear a hand I will come too Late for the Strong beer for I am shour I have much need of it. indeed I am afeard that I have poisoned my self in the winter with Eating nastynefs."
May 21 1780
" Wind variable cloudy weather. Early this morning set off for Gloucester House in two canoes well gooded. I Expect to find some Indians that promised to meet me at Wa buch ca me go Saca heggan in the Spring. we have Just now put up at 8 oClock. very badly with my leg and thigh. I have got hardly any Strength to paddle and can hardly walk any in the carriang places. just before I left lake Sturgeon I took a drink of water that belongs to york fort and after carriang our canoes about 7/8 mile I took a drink of water that belongs to Albany and if I had gone about forty miles to the SEward I migh have drank water that belongs to the great river saint Loarance. traded some fish dryd from an Indian to carry me down on for some pouder and Shot. it is but poor Eating but I wish I had it in March last."
" calm hot weather. set off at 5 oClock AM. paddled hard all day and put up at 8 oClock in the Evening. never did I See Such a year for want of water. indeed there is hardly any at all in many places we are obliged to carrey our canoes for miles where there ware four feet water last fall."
" Wind SE cloudy warm weather. got to day to Wabuchemago Lake. saw some Indians that told me that the Indians who was to have waited for me are set off for Albany ten days ago in three canoes full of beaver. the reason why they set off so soon was they thought that I was not acomming."
" Wind and weather as yesterday. set off at 7 oClock in the morning. paddled and draged our canoes till 7 in the Evening. hardly any Water in Either lake or river. the one armed man who took debt at Albany last Summer had made a Statchequon of about fifty beaver at the white lake as he intended to come down to Albany with it and pay his debt but he comming in the winter to see Ja's Clark and trade the rest of his furrs with him. Clark used him so well and gave him Such a large present that he did not chuse to come down to pay his debt but he sent his two wives to bring the furrs from the White Lake. this he intended to trade with Clark but I very luckily happned to meet both the women in a fall where I made free and took twenty beaver out of their canoe without Ever asking them any Questons about it. I would have taken more but our canoes would not hold any more. the women sat still Indian fashion without Ever saying a word all the time that I was ataking the furrs. I dare say they will both get a good trimming from their husband but this is far better then to let the pedlars go off with the Companys debt."
May 25 1780
" Wind S clear fine weather. set off at 8 oClock AM. paddled and carried very hard all day and put up at half past 8 oClock in the Evening. my thigh and leg very bad. I have a great notion that there will not be a boat got up to Henley this year as I hardly can see any Water in this river where there was 8 feet last fall. and what will become of gloucester I cant tell."
" Wind Easterly cloudy weather with rain at times. set off at 8 oClock AM. paddled acrofs several lakes and carried several times and put up ay 8 oClock in the Evening. we have had such hot weather this Spring that there are several places along the lakes where a man could lift up the Sulphur by Shovel fulls.
" I saw an Indian to day whom I knew very well. his name is Unquan. I asked him why he did not go down to Glo'r House to trade this year. he past a very pritty compliment on me says he if there be no french in my country the nixt year I will go there to trade."
" Wind NW coudy weather with Showors of rain at times. I was so ill that I could not write any these two days past. but we have been acomming down as fast as we was able but not so fast as what we would have done if I had been able to work my Share.
set off thismorning at 6 oClock paddled and carried till two oClock PM when we was obliged to put up on account of the wind blowing hard and we having a lake to crofs. Met three canoes of Indians that had been at Gloucester House atrading. but I have some notion that it will be a long time before they go back to that place again as they seemed ill pleased. and his reason was because he was obliged to trade pouder and Shot and Tobacco. why says he I never trade any thing from the french but Cloth blankets and guns. I knew very well that Mr. Kipling most trade these things but I did not chuse to say so to the Indians - I told them the next year if they came back they would get more given them etc. - they said that he gave them plenty of brandy and other presents but it was hard to trade pouder Shot and tobacco. but by their own account he gave them much more than what he could have a face to put in his Expence book. we parted very good friends and he says that he will come back next year."
" Wind variable cloudy weather. set off at 6 oClock in the morning paddled and carried our canoes all day and put up at 7 oClock in the Evening. my thigh and leg so ill that I am hardly able to walk a step."
May 31 1780 Sturgeon Lake Journal
" Wind and weather as yesterday. set of at 5 oClock. got to Gloucester at 11 AM. found all well but not a bit of any kind of provisions is in the house but fish as they ketch it. their trading goods is all done. so that if any more Indians should come to trade there is nothing to trade with them. I have no occasion for me to be writting any more since I have got here. and I conclude wishing plenty of trade from those settlements already Established. as there are very little prospect of getting future ones. and I am Gentlemen your Honours much obligd most obedt and most Hble servt George Sutherland"