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Title: Voyages from Montreal Through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans in 1789 and 1793 - Vol. II
Author: Mackenzie, Alexander, 1764-1820
Language: English
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IN 1789 and 1793








Registered at the
Library of Congress, August, 1902

Table of Contents.


Removed from the tent to the house.  Build habitations
 for the people.  The hardships they suffer.  Violent
 hurricane.  Singular circumstances attending
 it.  The commencement of the new year.  An
 Indian cured of a dangerous wound.  State of
 the weather.  Curious customs among the Indians,
 on the death of a relation.  Account of a
 quarrel.  An Indian's reasoning on it.  Murder
 of one of the Indians.  The cause of it.  Some
 account of the Rocky Mountain Indians.  Curious
 circumstance respecting a woman in labour, etc.  A
 dispute between two Indians, which arose from
 gaming.  An account of one of their games.  Indian
 superstition.  Mildness of the season.  The Indians
 prepare snow shoes.  Singular customs.  Further
 account of their manners.  The slavish state of the
 women.  Appearance of spring.  Dispatch canoes
 with the trade to Fort Chepewyan.  Make preparations
 for the voyage of discovery.


Proceed on the voyage of discovery.  Beautiful
 scenery.  The canoe too heavily laden.  The
 country in a state of combustion.  Meet with a
 hunting party.  State of the river, etc.  Meet
 with Indians.  See the tracks of bears, and one of
 their dens.  Sentiment of an Indian.  Junction of
 the Bear River.  Appearance of the country.  State
 of the river.  Observe a fall of timber.  Abundance
 of animals.  See some bears.  Come in sight of the
 rocky mountains.  The canoe receives an injury and
 is repaired.  Navigation dangerous.  Rapids and
 falls.  Succession of difficulties and dangers.


Continuation of difficulties and dangers.  Discontents
 among the people.  State of the river and
 its banks.  Volcanic chasms in the earth.  Dispatch
 various persons to discover ways across the
 mountain.  Obstacles present themselves on all
 sides.  Preparations made to attempt the mountain.
 Account of the ascent with the canoe and baggage.
 The trees that are found there.  Arrive at the
 river.  Extraordinary circumstances of it.  Curious
 hollows in the rocks.  Prepare the canoe.  Renew
 our progress up the river.  The state of it.  Leave
 some tokens of amity for the natives.  The weather
 very cold.  Lost a book of my observations for
 several days.  Continue to proceed up the river.
 Send a letter down the current in a rum-keg.
 Came to the forks, and proceed up the Eastern
 branch.  Circumstances of it.


Continue our voyage.  Heavy fog.  The water
 rises.  Succession of courses.  Progressive account
 of this branch.  Leave the canoe to proceed,
 and ascend a hill to reconnoitre.  Climb a tree to
 extend my view of the country.  Return to the
 River.  The canoe not arrived.  Go in search of
 it.  Extreme heat, musquitoes, etc.  Increasing anxiety,
 respecting the canoe.  It at length appears.  Violent
 storm.  Circumstances of our progress.  Forced
 to haul the canoe up the stream by the branches
 of trees.  Succession of courses.  Wild parsnips
 along the river.  Expect to meet with natives.  Courses
 continued.  Fall in with some natives.  Our
 intercourse with them.  Account of their dress, arms,
 utensils, and manners, etc.  New discouragements
 and difficulties present themselves.


Continue the voyage.  State of the river.  Succession
 of courses.  Sentiment of the guide.  Conical
 mountain.  Continuation of courses.  Leave the main
 branch.  Enter another.  Description of it.  Saw
 beaver.  Enter a lake.  Arrive at the upper source
 of the Unjigah, or Peace River.  Land, and cross
 to a second lake.  Local circumstances.  Proceed
 to a third lake.  Enter a river.  Encounter
 various difficulties.  In danger of being lost.  The
 circumstances of that situation described.  Alarm
 and dissatisfaction among the people.  They
 are at length composed.  The canoe repaired.  Roads
 cut through woods.  Pass morasses.  The guide
 deserts.  After a succession of difficulties, dangers,
 and toilsome marches, we arrive at the great river.


Rainy night.  Proceed on the great river.  Circumstances
 of it.  Account of courses.  Come to rapids.  Observe
 several smokes.  See a flight of white ducks.  Pass
 over a carrying-place with the canoe, etc.  The
 difficulties of that passage.  Abundance
 of wild onions.  Re-embark on the river.  See some
 of the natives.  They desert their camp and fly into
 the woods.  Courses continued.  Kill a red deer,
 etc.  Circumstances of the river.  Arrive at an Indian
 habitation.  Description of it.  Account of a curious
 machine to catch fish.  Land to procure bark for the
 purpose of constructing a new canoe.  Conceal a
 quantity of pemmican for provision on our
 return.  Succession of courses.  Meet with some
 of the natives.  Our intercourse with them.  Their
 information respecting the river, and the country.
 Description of those people.


Renew our voyage, accompanied by two of the natives.
 Account of courses.  State of the river.  Arrive at a
 subterranean house.  See several natives.  Brief
 description of them.  Account of our conference with
 them.  Saw other natives.  Description of them.  Their
 conduct, etc.  The account which they gave of the
 country.  The narrative of a female prisoner.  The
 perplexities of my situation.  Specimen of the
 language of two tribes.  Change the plan of my
 journey.  Return up the river.  Succession of dangers
 and difficulties.  Land on an island to build
 another canoe.


Make preparations to build a canoe.  Engage in that
 important work.  It proceeds with great expedition.
 The guide who had deserted arrives with another
 Indian.  He communicates agreeable intelligence.  They
 take an opportunity to quit the island.  Complete
 the canoe.  Leave the island, which was now named the
 Canoe Island.  Obliged to put the people on short
 allowance.  Account of the navigation.  Difficult
 ascent of a rapid.  Fresh perplexities.  Continue our
 voyage up the river.  Meet the guide and some of his
 friends.  Conceal some pemmican and other
 articles.  Make preparations for proceeding over
 land.  Endeavour to secure the canoe till our
 return.  Proceed on our journey.  Various circumstances
 of it.


Continue our journey.  Embark on a river.  Come to a
 weir.  Dexterity of the natives in passing it.  Arrive
 at a village.  Alarm occasioned among the natives.  The
 subsequent favourable reception, accompanied with a
 banquet of ceremony.  Circumstances of it.  Description
 of a village, its houses, and places of
 devotion.  Account of the customs, mode of living, and
 superstition of the inhabitants.  Description of the
 chief's canoe.  Leave the place, and proceed on
 our voyage.


Renew our voyage.  Circumstances of the river.
 Land at the house of a chief.  Entertained by
 him.  Carried down the river with great rapidity
 to another house.  Received with kindness.  Occupations
 of the inhabitants on its banks.  Leave the canoe
 at a fall.  Pass over land to another village.
 Some account of it.  Obtain a view of an arm of
 the sea.  Lose our dog.  Procure another canoe.
 Arrive at the arm of the sea.  Circumstances of
 it.  One of our guides returns home.
 Coast along a bay.  Some description of it.  Meet
 with Indians.  Our communication with them.
 Their suspicious conduct towards us.  Pass onwards.
 Determine the latitude and longitude.
 Return to the river.  Dangerous encounter with
 the Indians.  Proceed on our journey.


Return up the river.  Slow progress of the canoe,
 from the strength of the current.  The hostile
 party of the natives precedes us.  Impetuous conduct
 of my people.  Continue our very tedious
 voyage.  Come to some houses; received with
 great kindness.  Arrive at the principal, or Salmon
 Village.  Our present reception very different from
 that we experienced on our former visit.
 Continue our journey.  Circumstances of it.
 Find our dog.  Arrive at the Upper, or Friendly
 Village.  Meet with a very kind reception.  Some
 further account of the manners and customs of
 its inhabitants.  Brief vocabulary of their language.


Leave the Friendly Village.  Attentions of the natives
 at our departure.  Stop to divide our provisions.
 Begin to ascend the mountains.  Circumstances of the
 ascent.  Journey continued.  Arrive at the place from
 whence we set out by land.  Meet with Indians there.
 Find the canoe, and all the other articles in a state
 of perfect security and preservation.  Means employed
 to compel the restoration of articles which were
 afterwards stolen.  Proceed on our homeward bound
 voyage.  Some account of the natives on the river.
 The canoe is run on a rock, etc.  Circumstances
 of the voyage.  Enter the Peace River.  Statement of
 courses.  Continue our route.  Circumstances of it.
 Proceed onwards in a small canoe, with an Indian,
 to the lower fort, leaving the rest of the people
 to follow me.  Arrive at Fort Chepewyan.  The voyage


DECEMBER 23, 1792.

I this day removed from the tent into the house which had been erected
for me, and set all the men to begin the buildings intended for their
own habitation.  Materials sufficient to erect a range of five houses
for them, of about seventeen by twelve feet, were already collected.  It
would be considered by the inhabitants of a milder climate, as a great
evil, to be exposed to the weather at this rigorous season of the year,
but these people are inured to it, and it is necessary to describe in
some measure the hardships which they undergo without a murmur, in order
to convey a general notion of them.

The men who were new with me, left this place in the beginning of last
May, and went to the Rainy Lake in canoes, laden with packs of fur,
which, from the immense length of the voyage, and other concurring
circumstances, is a most severe trial of patience and perseverance:
there they do not remain a sufficient time for ordinary repose, when
they take a load of goods in exchange, and proceed on their return, in a
great measure, day and night.  They had been arrived near two months,
and, all that time, had been continually engaged in very toilsome
labour, with nothing more than a common shed to protect them from the
frost and snow.  Such is the life which these people lead; and is
continued with unremitting exertion, till their strength is lost in
premature old age.

The Canadians remarked, that the weather we had on the 25th, 26th, and
27th of this month, denoted such as we might expect in the three
succeeding months.  On the 29th, the wind being at North-East, and the
weather calm and cloudy, a rumbling noise was heard in the air like
distant thunder, when the sky cleared away in the South-West; from
whence there blew a perfect hurricane, which lasted till eight.  Soon
after it commenced, the atmosphere became so warm that it dissolved all
the snow on the ground; even the ice was covered with water, and had the
same appearance as when it is breaking up in the spring.  From eight to
nine the weather became calm, but immediately after a wind arose from
the North-East with equal violence, with clouds, rain, and hail, which
continued throughout the night till the evening of the next day, when it
turned to snow.  One of the people who wintered at Fort Dauphin in the
year 1780, when the small pox first appeared there, informed me, that
the weather there was of a similar description.

_January 1, 1793._--On the first day of January, my people, in
conformity to the usual custom, awoke me at the break of day with the
discharge of fire-arms, with which they congratulated the appearance of
the new year.  In return, they were treated with plenty of spirits, and
when there is any flour, cakes are always added to their regales, which
was the case, on the present occasion.

On my arrival here last fall, I found that one of the young Indians had
lost the use of his right hand by the bursting of a gun, and that his
thumb had been maimed in such a manner as to hang only by a small strip
of flesh.  Indeed, when he was brought to me, his wound was in such an
offensive state, and emitted such a putrid smell, that it required all
the resolution I possessed to examine it.  His friends had done every
thing in their power to relieve him; but as it consisted only in singing
about him, and blowing upon his hand, the wound, as may be well
imagined, had got into the deplorable state in which I found it.  I was
rather alarmed at the difficulty of the case, but as the young man's
life was in a state of hazard, I was determined to risk my surgical
reputation, and accordingly took him under my care.  I immediately
formed a poultice of bark, stripped from the roots of the spruce-fir,
which I applied to the wound, having first washed it with the juice of
the bark: this proved a very painful dressing: in a few days, however,
the wound was clean, and the proud flesh around it destroyed.  I wished
very much in this state of the business to have separated the thumb from
the hand, which I well knew must be effected before the cure could be
performed; but he would not consent to that operation, till, by the
application of vitriol, the flesh by which the thumb was suspended, was
shrivelled almost to a thread.  When I had succeeded in this object, I
perceived that the wound was closing rather faster than I desired.  The
salve I applied on the occasion was made of the Canadian balsam, wax and
tallow dropped from a burning candle into water.  In short, I was so
successful, that about Christmas my patient engaged in a hunting party,
and brought me the tongue of an elk: nor was he finally ungrateful.
When he left me I received the warmest acknowledgments, both from
himself and his relations with whom he departed, for my care of him.  I
certainly did not spare my time or attention on the occasion, as I
regularly dressed his wound three times a day, during the course of a

On the 5th in the morning the weather was calm, clear, and very cold;
the wind blew from the South-West, and in the course of the afternoon it
began to thaw.  I had already observed at Athabasca, that this wind
never failed to bring us clear mild weather, whereas, when it blew from
the opposite quarter, it produced snow.  Here it is much more
perceptible, for if it blows hard South-West for four hours, a thaw is
the consequence, and if the wind is at North-East it brings sleet and
snow.  To this cause it may be attributed, that there is now so little
snow in this part of the world.  These warm winds come off the Pacific
Ocean, which cannot, in a direct line, be very far from us; the distance
being so short, that though they pass over mountains covered with snow,
there is not time for them to cool.

There being several of the natives at the house at this time, one of
them, who had received an account of the death of his father, proceeded
in silence to his lodge, and began to fire off his gun.  As it was
night, and such a noise being so uncommon at such an hour, especially
when it was so often repeated, I sent my interpreter to inquire into the
cause of it, when he was informed by the man himself, that this was a
common custom with them on the death of a near relation, and was a
warning to their friends not to approach, or intrude upon them, as they
were, in consequence of their loss, become careless of life.  The chief,
to whom the deceased person was also related, appeared with his war-cap
on his head, which is only worn on these solemn occasions, or when
preparing for battle, and confirmed to me this singular custom of firing
guns, in order to express their grief for the death of relations and
friends.[1] The women alone indulge in tears on such occasions; the men
considering it as a mark of pusillanimity and a want of fortitude to
betray any personal tokens of sensibility or sorrow.

The Indians informed me, that they had been to hunt at a large lake,
called by the Knisteneaux, the Slave Lake, which derived its name from
that of its original inhabitants, who were called Slaves.  They
represented it as a large body of water, and that it lies about one
hundred and twenty miles due East from this place.  It is well known to
the Knisteneaux, who are among the inhabitants of the plains on the
banks of the Saskatchiwine river; for formerly, when they used to come
to make war in this country, they came in their canoes to that lake, and
left them there; from thence, there is a beaten path all the way to the
Fork, or East branch of this river, which was their war-road.

_January 10._--Among the people who were now here, there were two
Rocky Mountain Indians, who declared, that the people to whom we had
given that denomination, are by no means entitled to it, and that their
country has ever been in the vicinity of our present situation.  They
said, in support of their assertion, that these people were entirely
ignorant of those parts which are adjacent to the mountain, as well as
the navigation of the river; that the Beaver Indians had greatly
encroached upon them, and would soon force them to retire to the foot of
these mountains.  They represented themselves as the only real natives
of that country then with me; and added, that the country, and that part
of the river that intervenes between this place and the mountains, bear
much the same appearance as that around us; that the former abounds with
animals, but that the course of the latter is interrupted, near, and in
the mountains, by successive rapids and considerable falls.  These men
also informed me, that there is another great river towards the midday
sun, whose current runs in that direction, and that the distance from it
is not great across the mountains.

The natives brought me plenty of furs.  The small quantity of snow, at
this time, was particularly favourable for hunting the beaver, as from
this circumstance, those animals could, with greater facility, be traced
from their lodges to their lurking-places.

On the 12th our hunter arrived, having left his mother-in-law, who was
lately become a widow with three small children, and in actual labour of
a fourth.  Her daughter related this circumstance to the women here
without the least appearance of concern, though she represented her as
in a state of great danger, which probably might proceed from her being
abandoned in this unnatural manner.  At the same time without any
apparent consciousness of her own barbarous negligence, if the poor
abandoned woman should die, she would most probably lament her with
great outcries, and, perhaps cut off one or two joints of her fingers as
tokens of her grief.  The Indians, indeed, consider the state of a woman
in labour as among the most trifling occurrences of corporal pain to
which human nature is subject, and they may be, in some measure
justified in this apparent insensibility from the circumstances of that
situation among themselves.  It is by no means uncommon in the hasty
removal of their camps from one position to another, for a woman to be
taken in labour, to deliver herself in her way, without any assistance
or notice from her associates in her journey, and to overtake them
before they complete the arrangements of their evening station, with her
new-born babe on her back.

I was this morning threatened with a very unpleasant event, which,
however, I was fortunately able to control.  Two young Indians being
engaged in one of their games, a dispute ensued, which rose to such a
height, that they drew their knives, and if I had not happened to have
appeared, they would I doubt not, have employed them to very bloody
purposes.  So violent was their rage, that after I had turned them both
out of the house, and severely reprimanded them, they stood in the fort
for at least half an hour, looking at each other with a most vindictive
aspect, and in sullen silence.

The game which produced this state of bitter enmity, is called that of
the Platter, from a principal article of it.  The Indians play at it in
the following manner.

The instruments of it consist of a platter, or dish, made of wood or
bark, and six round or square but flat pieces of metal, wood, or stone,
whose sides or surfaces are of different colours.  These are put into
the dish, and after being for some time shaken together, are thrown into
the air, and received again into the dish with considerable dexterity;
when, by the number that are turned up of the same mark or colour, the
game is regulated.  If there should be equal numbers, the throw is not
reckoned; if two or four, the platter changes hands.

On the 13th, one of these people came to me, and presented in himself a
curious example of Indian superstition.  He requested me to furnish him
with a remedy that might be applied to the joints of his legs and
thighs, of which he had, in a great measure lost the use for five
winters.  This affliction he attributed to his cruelty about that time,
when having found a wolf with two whelps in an old beaver lodge, he set
fire to it and consumed them.

The winter had been so mild, that the swans had but lately left us, and
at this advanced period there was very little snow on the ground: it
was, however, at this time a foot and a half in depth, in the environs
of the establishment below this, which is at the distance of about
seventy leagues.

On the 28th the Indians were now employed in making their snow-shoes, as
the snow had not hitherto fallen in sufficient quantity to render them

_February 2._--The weather now became very cold, and it froze so hard
in the night that my watch stopped; a circumstance that had never
happened to this watch since my residence in the country.

There was a lodge of Indians here, who were absolutely starving with
cold and hunger.  They had lately lost a near relation, and had
according to custom, thrown away every thing belonging to them, and even
exchanged the few articles of raiment which they possessed, in order, as
I presume, to get rid of every thing that may bring the deceased to
their remembrance.  They also destroy every thing belonging to any
deceased person, except what they consign to the grave with the late
owner of them.  We had some difficulty to make them comprehend that the
debts of a man who dies should be discharged, if he left any furs behind
him: but those who understand this principle of justice, and profess to
adhere it, never fail to prevent the appearance of any skins beyond such
as may be necessary to satisfy the debts of their dead relation.

On the 8th I had an observation for the longitude.  In the course of
this day one of my men, who had been some time with the Indians, came to
inform me that one of them had threatened to stab him; and on his
preferring a complaint to the man with whom he now lived, and to whom I
had given him in charge, he replied, that he had been very imprudent to
play and quarrel with the young Indians out of his lodge, where no one
would dare to come and quarrel with him; but that if he had lost his
life where he had been, it would have been the consequence of his own
folly.  Thus, even among these children of nature, it appears that a
man's house is his castle, where the protection of hospitality is
rigidly maintained.

The hard frost which had prevailed from the beginning of February
continued to the 16th of March, when the wind blowing from the
South-West, the weather became mild.

On the 22d a wolf was so bold as to venture among the Indian lodges, and
was very near carrying off a child.

I had another observation of Jupiter and his satellites for the
longitude.  On the 13th some geese were seen, and these birds are always
considered as the harbingers of spring.  On the first of April my
hunters shot five of them.  This was a much earlier period than I ever
remember to have observed the visits of wild fowl in this part of the
world.  The weather had been mild for the last fortnight, and there was
a promise of its continuance.  On the 5th the snow had entirely

At half past four this morning I was awakened to be informed that an
Indian had been killed.  I accordingly hastened to the camp, where I
found two women employed in rolling up the dead body of a man, called
the White Partridge, in a beaver robe, which I had lent him.  He had
received four mortal wounds from a dagger, two within the collar bone,
one in the left breast, and another in the small of the back, with two
cuts across his head.  The murderer, who had been my hunter throughout
the winter, had fled; and it was pretended that several relations of the
deceased were gone in pursuit of him.  The history of this unfortunate
event is as follows:--

These two men had been comrades for four years; the murderer had three
wives; and the young man who was killed, becoming enamoured of one of
them, the husband consented to yield her to him, with the reserved power
of claiming her as his property, when it should be his pleasure.

This connection was uninterrupted for near three years, when, whimsical
as it may appear, the husband became jealous, and the public amour was
suspended.  The parties, how ever, made their private assignations,
which caused the woman to be so ill treated by her husband, that the
paramour was determined to take her away by force; and this project
ended in his death.  This is a very common practice among the Indians,
and generally terminates in very serious and fatal quarrels.

In consequence of this event all the Indians went away in great apparent
hurry and confusion, and in the evening not one of them was to be seen
about the fort.

The Beaver and Rocky Mountain Indians, who traded with us in this river,
did not exceed an hundred and fifty men, capable of bearing arms; two
thirds of whom call themselves Beaver Indians.  The latter differ only
from the former, as they have, more or less, imbibed the customs and
manners of the Knisteneaux.  As I have already observed, they are
passionately fond of liquor, and in the moments of their festivity will
barter any thing they have in their possession for it.

Though the Beaver Indians made their peace with the Knisteneaux, at
Peace Point, as already mentioned, yet they did not secure a state of
amity from others of the same nation, who had driven away the natives of
the Saskatchiwine and Missinipy Rivers, and joined at the head water of
the latter, called the Beaver River: from thence they proceeded West by
the Slave Lake just described, on their war excursions, which they often
repeated, even till the Beaver Indians had procured arms, which was in
the year 1782.  If it so happened that they missed them, they proceeded
Westward till they were certain of wreaking their vengeance on those of
the Rocky Mountain, who being without arms, became an easy prey to their
blind and savage fury.  All the European articles they possessed,
previous to the year 1780, were obtained from the Knisteneaux and
Chepewyans, who brought them from Fort Churchill, and for which they
were made to pay an extravagant price.

As late as the year 1786, when the first traders from Canada arrived on
the banks of this river, the natives employed bows and snares, but at
present very little use is made of the former, and the latter are no
longer known.  They still entertain a great dread of their natural
enemies, but they are since become so well armed, that the others now
call them their allies.  The men are in general of a comely appearance,
and fond of personal decoration.  The women are of a contrary
disposition, and the slaves of the men: in common with all the Indian
tribes polygamy is allowed among them.  They are very subject to
jealousy, and fatal consequences frequently result from the indulgence
of that passion.  But notwithstanding the vigilance and severity which
is exercised by the husband, it seldom happens that a woman is without
her favourite, who, in the absence of the husband, exacts the same
submission, and practises the same tyranny.  And so premature is the
tender passion, that it is sometimes known to invigorate so early a
period of life as the age of eleven or twelve years.  The women are not
very prolific: a circumstance which may be attributed in a great
measure, to the hardships that they suffer for except a few small dogs,
they alone perform that labour which is allotted to beasts of burthen in
other countries.  It is not uncommon, while the men carry nothing but a
gun, that their wives and daughters follow with such weighty burdens,
that if they lay them down they cannot replace them, and that is a
kindness which the men will not deign to perform; so that during their
journeys they are frequently obliged to lean against a tree for a small
portion of temporary relief.  When they arrive at the place which their
tyrants have chosen for their encampment, they arrange the whole in a
few minutes, by forming a curve of poles, meeting at the top, and
expanding into circles of twelve or fifteen feet diameter at the bottom,
covered with dressed skins of the moose sewed together.  During these
preparations, the men sit down quietly to the enjoyment of their pipes,
if they happen to have any tobacco.  But notwithstanding this abject
state of slavery and submission, the women have a considerable influence
on the opinion of the men in every thing except their own domestic

These Indians are excellent hunters, and their exercise in that capacity
is so violent as to reduce them in general to a very meagre appearance.
Their religion is of a very contracted nature, and I never witnessed any
ceremony of devotion which they had not borrowed from the Knisteneaux,
their feasts and fasts being in imitation of that people.  They are more
vicious and warlike than the Chepewyans, from whence they sprang, though
they do not possess their selfishness, for while they have the means of
purchasing their necessaries, they are liberal and generous, but when
those are exhausted they become errant beggars: they are, however,
remarkable for their honesty, for in the whole tribe there were only two
women and a man who had been known to have swerved from that virtue, and
they were considered as objects of disregard and reprobation.  They are
afflicted with but few diseases, and their only remedies consist in
binding the temples, procuring perspiration, singing, and blowing on the
sick person, or affected part.  When death overtakes any of them, their
property, as I have before observed, is sacrificed and destroyed; nor is
there any failure of lamentation or mourning on such occasion: they who
are more nearly related to the departed person, black their faces, and
sometimes cut off their hair; they also pierce their arms with knives
and arrows.  The grief of the females is carried to a still greater
excess; they not only cut their hair, and cry and howl, but they will
sometimes, with the utmost deliberation, employ some sharp instrument to
separate the nail from the finger, and then force back the flesh beyond
the first joint, which they immediately amputate.  But this
extraordinary mark of affliction is only displayed on the death of a
favourite son, a husband, or a father.  Many of the old women have so
often repeated this ceremony, that they have not a complete finger
remaining on either hand.  The women renew their lamentations at the
graves of their departed relatives, for a long succession of years.
They appear, in common with all the Indian tribes, to be very fond of
their children, but they are as careless in their mode of swadling them
in their infant state, as they are of their own dress: the child is laid
down on aboard, of about two feet long, covered with a bed of moss, to
which it is fastened by bandages, the moss being changed as often as the
occasion requires.  The chief of the nation had no less than nine wives,
and children in proportion.

When traders first appeared among these people, the Canadians were
treated with the utmost hospitality and attention; but they have, by
their subsequent conduct, taught the natives to withdraw that respect
from them, and sometimes to treat them with indignity.  They differ very
much from the Chepewyans and Knisteneaux, in the abhorrence they profess
of any carnal communication between their women and the white people.
They carry their love of gaming to excess; they will pursue it for a
succession of days and nights, and no apprehension of ruin, nor
influence of domestic affection, will restrain them from the indulgence
of it.  They are a quick, lively, active people, with a keen,
penetrating, dark eye; and though they are very susceptible of anger,
are as easily appeased.  The males eradicate their beards, and the
females their hair in every part, except their heads, where it is strong
and black, and without a curl.  There are many old men among them, but
they are in general ignorant of the space in which they have been
inhabitants of the earth, though one of them told me that he recollected
sixty winters.

An Indian in some measure explained his age to me, by relating that he
remembered the opposite hills and plains, now interspersed with groves
of poplars, when they were covered with moss, and without any animal
inhabitant but the rein-deer.  By degrees, he said, the face of the
country changed to its present appearance, when the elk came from the
East, and was followed by the buffalo; the rein-deer then retired to the
long range of high lands that, at a considerable distance, run parallel,
with this river.

On the 20th of April I had an observation of Jupiter and his satellites,
for the longitude, and we were now visited by our summer companions the
gnats and musquitoes.  On the other side of the river, which was yet
covered with ice, the plains were delightful; the trees were budding,
and many plants in blossom.  Mr. Mackay brought me a bunch of flowers of
a pink colour, and a yellow button, encircled with six leaves of a light
purple.  The change in the appearance of nature was as sudden as it was
pleasing, for a few days only were passed away since the ground was
covered with snow.  On the 25th the river was cleared of the ice.

I new found that the death of the man called the White Partridge, had
deranged all the plans which I had settled with the Indians for the
spring hunting.  They had assembled at some distance from the fort, and
sent an embassy to me, to demand rum to drink, that they might have an
opportunity of crying for their deceased brother.  It would be
considered as an extreme degradation in an Indian to weep when sober,
but a state of intoxication sanctions all irregularities.  On my
refusal, they threatened to go to war, which, from motives of interest
as well as humanity, we did our utmost to discourage; and as a second
message was brought by persons of some weight among these people, and on
whom I could depend, I thought it prudent to comply with the demand, on
an express condition, that they would continue peaceably at home.

The month of April being now past, in the early part of which I was most
busily employed in trading with the Indians, I ordered our old canoes to
be repaired with bark, and added four new ones to them, when, with the
furs and provisions I had purchased, six canoes were loaded and
dispatched on the 8th of May, for Fort Chepewyan.  I had, however,
retained six of the men, who agreed to accompany me on my projected
voyage of discovery.  I also engaged my hunters, and closed the business
of the year for the company by writing my public and private dispatches.

Having ascertained, by various observations, the latitude of this place
to be 56. 9. North, and longitude 117. 35. 15. West: on the 9th day of
May, I found, that my achrometer was one hour forty-six minutes slow to
apparent time; the mean going of it I had found to be twenty-two seconds
slow in twenty-four hours.  Having settled this point, the canoe was put
into the water; her dimensions were twenty-five feet long within,
exclusive of the curves of stem and stern, twenty-six inches hold, and
four feet nine inches beam.  At the same time she was so light, that two
men could carry her on a good road three or four miles without resting.
In this slender vessel, we shipped provisions, goods for presents, arms,
ammunition, and baggage, to the weight of three thousand pounds, and an
equipage of ten people; viz. Alexander Mackay, Joseph Landry, Charles
Ducette,[2] Francois Beaulieux, Baptist Bisson, Francois Courtois, and
Jaques Beauchamp, with two Indians, as hunters and interpreters.  One of
them, when a boy, used to be so idle, that he obtained the reputable
name of Cancre, which he still possesses.  With these persons I embarked
at seven in the evening.  My winter interpreter, with another person,
whom I left here to take care of the fort, and supply the natives with
ammunition during the summer, shed tears on the reflection of those
dangers which we might encounter in our expedition, while my own people
offered up their prayers that we might return in safety from it.

[1] When they are drinking together, they frequently present their guns
to each other, when any of the parties have not other means of procuring
rum.  On such an occasion they always discharge their pieces, as a
proof, I imagine, of their being in good order, and to determine the
quantity of liquor they may propose to get in exchange for them.

[2]Joseph Landry and Charles Ducette were with me in my former voyage.


MAY, 1793.

 _Thursday, 9._--We began our voyage with a course South by West
against a strong current one mile and three quarters, South-West by
South one mile, and landed before eight on an island for the night.

_Friday, 10._--The weather was clear and pleasant, though there was a
keenness in the air; and at a quarter past three in the morning we
continued our voyage, steering South-West three quarters of a mile,
South-West by South one mile and a quarter, South three quarters of a
mile, South-West by South one quarter of a mile, South-West by West one
mile, South-West by South three miles, South by West three quarters of a
mile, and South-West one mile.  The canoe being strained from its having
been very heavily laden, became so leaky, that we were obliged to land,
unload, and gum it.  As this circumstance took place about twelve, I had
an opportunity of taking an altitude, which made our latitude
55. 58. 48.

When the canoe was repaired we continued our course, steering South-West
by West one mile and an half, when I had the misfortune to drop my
pocket-compass into the water; West half a mile, West-South-West four
miles and an half.  Here, the banks are steep and hilly, and in some
parts undermined by the river.  Where the earth has given way, the face
of the cliffs discovers numerous strata, consisting of reddish earth and
small stones, bitumen, and a greyish earth, below which, near the
water-edge, is a red stone.  Water issues from most of the banks, and
the ground on which it spreads is covered with a thin white scurf, or
particles of a saline substance: there are several of these salt
springs.  At half past six in the afternoon the young men landed, when
they killed an elk and wounded a buffalo.  In this spot we formed our
encampment for the night.

From the place which we quitted this morning, the West side of the river
displayed a succession of the most beautiful scenery I had ever beheld.
The ground rises at intervals to a considerable height, and stretching
inwards to a considerable distance: at every interval or pause in the
rise, there is a very gently-ascending space or lawn, which is alternate
with abrupt precipices to the summit of the whole, or, at least as far
as the eye could distinguish.  This magnificent theatre of nature has
all the decorations which the trees and animals of the country can
afford it: groves of poplars in every shape vary the scene; and their
intervals are enlivened with vast herds of elks and buffaloes: the
former choosing the steeps and uplands, and the latter preferring the
plains.  At this time the buffaloes were attended with their young ones
who were frisking about them: and it appeared that the elks would soon
exhibit the same enlivening circumstance.  The whole country displayed
an exuberant verdure; the trees that bear a blossom were advancing fast
to that delightful appearance, and the velvet rind of their branches
reflecting the oblique rays of a rising or setting sun, added a splendid
gaiety to the scene, which no expressions of mine are qualified to
describe.  The East side of the river consists of a range of high land
covered with the white spruce and the soft birch, while the banks abound
with the alder and the willow.  The water continued to rise, and the
current being proportionately strong, we made a greater use of setting
poles than paddles.

_Saturday, 11._--The weather was overcast.  With a strong wind a-head,
we embarked at four in the morning, and left all the fresh meat behind
us, but the portion which had been assigned to the kettle; the canoe
being already too heavily laden.  Our course was West-South-West one
mile, where a small river flowed in from the East, named _Quiscatina
Sepy_, or River with the High Banks; West half a mile, South half a
mile, South-West by West three quarters of a mile, West one mile and a
quarter, South-West a quarter of a mile, South-South-West half a mile,
and West by South a mile and a half.  Here I took a meridian altitude,
which gave 55. 56.  3. North latitude.  We then proceeded West three
miles and a half, West-South-West, where the whole plain was on fire,
one mile, West one mile, and the wind so strong a-head, that it
occasioned the canoe to take in water, and otherwise impeded our
progress.  Here we landed to take time, with the mean of three
altitudes, which made the watch slow 1. 42. 10.

We now proceeded West-South-West one mile and a quarter, where we found
a chief of the Beaver Indians on a hunting party.  I remained, however,
in my canoe, and though it was getting late, I did not choose to encamp
with these people, lest the friends of my hunters might discourage them
from proceeding on the voyage.  We, therefore, continued our course, but
several Indians kept company with us, running along the bank, and
conversing with my people, who were so attentive to them, that they
drove the canoe on a stony flat, so that we were under the necessity of
landing to repair the damages, and put up for the night, though very
contrary to my wishes.  My hunters obtained permission to proceed with
some of these people to their lodges, on the promise of being back by
the break of day; though I was not without some apprehension respecting
them.  The chief, however, and another man, as well as several people
from the lodges, joined us, before we had completed the repair of the
canoe; and they made out a melancholy story, that they had neither
ammunition or tobacco sufficient for their necessary supply during the
summer.  I accordingly referred him to the Fort, where plenty of those
articles were left in the care of my interpreter, by whom they would be
abundantly furnished, if they were active and industrious in pursuing
their occupations.  I did not fail, on this occasion, to magnify the
advantages of the present expedition; observing, at the same time, that
its success would depend on the fidelity and conduct of the young men
who were retained by me to hunt.  The chief also proposed to borrow my
canoe, in order to transport himself and family across the river;
several plausible reasons, it is true, suggested themselves for
resisting his proposition; but when I stated to him, that, as the canoe
was intended for a voyage of such consequence, no woman could be
permitted to be embarked in it, he acquiesced in the refusal.  It was
near twelve at night when he took his leave, after I had gratified him
with a present of tobacco.

_Sunday, 12._--Some of the Indians passed the night with us, and I was
informed by them, that according to our mode of proceeding, we should,
in ten days, get as far as the rocky mountains.  The young men now
returned, to my great satisfaction, and with the appearance of
contentment; though I was not pleased when they dressed themselves in
the clothes which I had given them before we left the Fort, as it
betrayed some latent design.

At four in the morning we proceeded on our voyage, steering West three
miles, including one of our course yesterday, North-West by North four
miles, West two miles and a half, North-West by West a mile and a half,
North by East two miles, North-West by West one mile, and
North-North-West three miles.  After a continuation of our course to the
North for a mile and a half, we landed for the night on an island where
several of the Indians visited us, but unattended by their women, who
remained in their camp, which was at some distance from us.

The land on both sides of the river, during the two last days, is very
much elevated, but particularly in the latter part of it, and, on the
Western side, presents in different places, white, steep, and lofty
cliffs.  Our view being confined by these circumstances, we did not see
so many animals as on the 10th.  Between these lofty boundaries, the
river becomes narrow and in a great measure free from islands; for we
had passed only four: the stream, indeed, was not more than from two
hundred to three hundred yards broad; whereas before these cliffs
pressed upon it, its breadth was twice that extent and besprinkled with
islands.  We killed an elk, and fired several shots at animals from the

The greater part of this band being Rocky Mountain Indians, I
endeavoured to obtain some intelligence of our intended route, but they
all pleaded ignorance, and uniformly declared, that they knew nothing of
the country beyond the first mountain: at the same time they were of
opinion, that, from the strength of the current and the rapids we should
not get there by water; though they did not hesitate to express their
surprise at the expedition we had already made.

I inquired, with some anxiety, after an old man who had already given
me an account of the country beyond the limits of his tribe, and was
very much disappointed at being informed, that he had not been seen
for upwards of a moon.  This man had been at war on another large
river beyond the Rocky Mountain, and described to me a fork of it
between the mountains; the Southern branch of which he directed me
to take; from thence, he said, there was a carrying-place of about
a day's march for a young man to get to the river.  To prove the truth
of his relation, he consented, that his son, who had been with him in
those parts, should accompany me; and he accordingly sent him to the
fort some days before my departure; but the preceding night he deserted
with another young man, whose application to attend me as a hunter,
being refused, he persuaded the other to leave me.  I now thought it
right to repeat to them what I had said to the chief of the first band,
respecting the advantages which would be derived from the voyage,
that the young men might be encouraged to remain with me; as without
them I should not have attempted to proceed.

_Monday, 13._--The first object that presented itself to me this
morning was the young man whom I have already mentioned, as having
seduced away my intended guide.  At any other time or place, I should
have chastised him for his past conduct, but in my situation it was
necessary to pass over his offence, lest he should endeavour to exercise
the same influence over those who were so essential to my service.  Of
the deserted he gave no satisfactory account, but continued to express
his wish to attend me in his place, for which he did not possess any
necessary qualifications.

The weather was cloudy, with an appearance of rain; and the Indians
pressed me with great earnestness to pass the day with them, and hoped
to prolong my stay among them by assuring me that the winter yet
lingered in the rocky mountains; but my object was to lose no time, and
having given the chief some tobacco for a small quantity of meat, we
embarked at four, when my young men could not conceal their chagrin at
parting with their friends, for so long a period as the voyage
threatened to occupy.  When I had assured them that in three moons we
should return to them, we proceeded on our course West-North-West half a
mile, West-South-West one mile and a half, West by North three miles,
North-West by West two miles and a half, South-West by West half a mile,
South-South-West a mile and a half, and South-West a mile and a half.
Here I had a meridian altitude, which gave 56. 17. 44. North latitude.

The last course continued a mile and a half, South by West, three
quarters of a mile, South-West by South three miles and a half, and
West-South-West two miles and a half.  Here the land lowered on both
sides, with an increase of wood, and displayed great numbers of animals.
The river also widened from three to five hundred yards, and was full of
islands and flats.  Having continued our course three miles, we made for
the shore at seven, to pass the night.

At the place from whence we proceeded this morning, a river falls in
from the North; there are also several islands, and many rivulets on
either side, which are too small to deserve particular notice.  We
perceived along the river, tracks of large bears, some of which were
nine inches wide, and of a proportionate length.  We saw one of their
dens, or winter-quarters, called _watee_, in an island, which was ten
feet deep, five feet high, and six feet wide; but we had not yet seen
one of those animals.  The Indians entertain great apprehension of this
kind of bear, which is called the grisly bear, and they never venture to
attack it but in a party of at least three or four.  Our hunters, though
they had been much higher than this part of our voyage, by land, knew
nothing of the river.  One of them mentioned, that having been engaged
in a war expedition, his party on their return made their canoes at some
distance below us.  The wind was North throughout the day, and at times
blew with considerable violence.

The apprehensions which I had felt respecting the young men were not
altogether groundless, for the eldest of them told me that his uncle had
last night addressed him in the following manner:--"My nephew, your
departure makes my heart painful.  The white people may be said to rob
us of you.  They are about to conduct you into the midst of our enemies,
and you may nevermore return to us.  Were you not with the Chief,[1] I
know not what I should do, but he requires your attendance, and you must
follow him."

_Tuesday, 14._--The weather was clear, and the air sharp, when we
embarked at half past four.  Our course was South by West one mile and a
half, South-West by South half a mile, South-West.

We here found it necessary to unload, and gum the canoe, in which
operation we lost an hour; when we proceeded on the last course one mile
and a half.  I now took a meridian altitude, which gave 56. 1. 19. North
latitude, and continued to proceed West-South-West two miles and a half.
Here the Bear River which is of a large appearance, falls in from the
East; West three miles and an half, South-South-West one mile and an
half, and South-West four miles and an half, when we encamped upon an
island about seven in the evening.

During the early part of the day, the current was not so strong as we
had generally found it, but towards the evening it became very rapid,
and was broken by numerous islands.  We were gratified as usual, with
the sight of animals.  The land on the West side is very irregular, but
has the appearance of being a good beaver country; indeed we saw some of
those animals in the river.  Wood is in great plenty, and several
rivulets added their streams to the main river.  A goose was the only
article of provision which we procured to-day.  Smoke was seen, but at a
great distance before us.

_Wednesday, 15._--The rain prevented us from continuing our route till
past six in the morning, when our course was South-West by West three
quarters of a mile; at which time we passed a river on the left, West by
South two miles and a half.  The bank was steep, and the current strong.
The last course continued one mile and a half, West-South-West two
miles, where a river flowed in from the right, West by South one mile
and a half, West-North-West one mile, and West by North two miles.  Here
the land takes the form of an high ridge, and cut our course, which was
West for three miles, at right angles.  We now completed the voyage of
this day.

In the preceding night the water rose upwards of two inches, and had
risen in this proportion since our departure.  The wind, which was
West-South-West, blew very hard throughout the day, and with the
strength of the current, greatly impeded our progress.  The river, in
this part of it, is full of islands; and the land, on the South or left
side, is thick with wood.  Several rivulets also fall in from that
quarter.  At the entrance of the last river which we passed, there was a
quantity of wood, which had been cut down by axes, and some by the
beaver.  This fall, however, was not made, in the opinion of my people,
by any of the Indians with whom we were acquainted.

The land to the right is of a very irregular elevation and appearance,
composed in some places of clay, and rocky cliffs, and others exhibiting
stratas of red, green, and yellow colours.  Some parts, indeed, offer a
beautiful scenery, in some degree similar to that which we passed on the
second day of our voyage, and equally enlivened with the elk and the
buffalo, who were feeding in great numbers, and unmolested by the
hunter.  In an island which we passed, there was a large quantity of
white birch, whose bark might be employed in the construction of canoes.

_Thursday, 16._--The weather being clear, we re-embarked at four in
the morning, and proceeded West by North three miles.  Here the land
again appeared as if it run across our course, and a considerable river
discharged itself by various streams.  According to the Rocky Mountain
Indian, it is called the Sinew River.  This spot would be an excellent
situation for a fort or factory, as there is plenty of wood, and every
reason to believe that the country abounds in beaver.  As for the other
animals, they are in evident abundance, as in every direction the elk
and the buffalo are seen in possession of the hills and the plains.  Our
course continued West-North-West three miles and a half, North-West one
mile and a half, South-West by West two miles; (the latitude was by
observation 56. 16. 54.)  North, West by North half a mile,
West-North-West three quarters of a mile; a small river appearing on the
right, North-West one mile and a half, West by North half a mile, West
by South one mile and a half, West one mile; and at seven we formed our

Mr. Mackay, and one of the young men, killed two elks, and mortally
wounded a buffalo, but we only took a part of the flesh of the former.
The land above the spot where we encamped, spreads into an extensive
plain, and stretches on to a very high ridge, which, in some parts,
presents a face of rock, but is principally covered with verdure, and
varied with the poplar and white birch tree.  The country is so crowded
with animals as to have the appearance, in some places, of a stall-yard,
from the state of the ground, and the quantity of dung which is
scattered over it.  The soil is black and light.  We this day saw two
grisly and hideous bears.

_Friday, 17._--It froze during the night, and the air was sharp in the
morning, when we continued our course West-North-West three miles and a
half, South-West by South two miles and a half, South-West by West one
mile and a half, West three quarters of a mile, West-South-West one mile
and a quarter, and South-West by South one mile and a half.  At two in
the afternoon the rocky mountains appeared in sight, with their summits
covered with snow, bearing South-West by South: they formed a very
agreeable object to every person in the canoe, as we attained the view
of them much sooner than we expected.  A small river was seen on our
right, and we continued our progress South-West by South six miles, when
we landed at seven, which was our usual hour of encampment.

Mr. Mackay, who was walking along the side of the river, discharged his
piece at a buffalo, when it burst near the muzzle, but without any
mischievous consequences.  On the high grounds, which were on the
opposite side of the river, we saw a buffalo tearing up and down with
great fury, but could not discern the cause of his impetuous motions; my
hunters conjectured that he had been wounded with on arrow by some of
the natives.  We ascended several rapids in the course of the day, and
saw one bear.

_Saturday, 18._--It again froze very hard during the night, and at
four in the morning we continued our voyage, but we had not proceeded
two hundred yards, before an accident happened to the canoe, which did
not, however, employ more than three quarters of an hour to complete the
repair.  We then steered South by West one mile and three quarters,
South-West by South three miles, South-West by West one mile and a
quarter, West by South three quarters of a mile, South-West half a mile,
West by South one mile, South by West one mile and a half,
South-South-West, where there is a small run of water from the right,
three miles and a half, when the canoe struck on the stump of a tree,
and unfortunately where the banks were so steep that there was no place
to unload, except a small spot, on which we contrived to dispose the
lading in the bow, which lightened the canoe so as to raise the broken
part of it above the surface of the water; by which contrivance we
reached a convenient situation.  It required, however, two hours to
complete the repair, when the weather became dark and cloudy, with
thunder, lightning, and rain; we, however, continued the last course
half a mile, and at six in the evening we were compelled by the rain to
land for the night.

About noon we had landed on an island where there were eight lodges of
last year.  The natives had prepared bark here for five canoes, and there
is a road along the hills where they had passed.  Branches were out and
broken along it; and they had also stripped off the bark of the trees, to
get the interior rind, which forms part of their food.

The current was very strong through the whole of the day, and the coming
up along some of the banks was rendered very dangerous, from the
continual falling of large stones, from the upper parts of them.  This
place appears to be a particular pass for animals across the river, as
there are paths leading to it on both sides, every ten yards.

In the course of the day we saw a ground hog, and two cormorants.  The
earth also appeared in several places to have been turned up by the
bears, in search of roots.

_Sunday, 19._--It rained very hard in the early part of the night, but
the weather became clear towards the morning, when we embarked at our
usual hour.  As the current threatened to be very strong, Mr. Mackay,
the two hunters, and myself, went on shore, in order to lighten the
canoe, and ascended the hills, which are covered with cypress, and but
little encumbered with underwood.  We found a beaten path, and before we
had walked a mile, fell in with a herd of buffaloes, with their young
ones: but I would not suffer the Indians to fire on them, from an
apprehension that the report of their fowling pieces would alarm the
natives that might be in the neighbourhood; for we were at this time so
near the mountains, as to justify our expectation of seeing some of
them.  We, however, sent our dog after the herd, and a calf was soon
secured by him.  While the young men were skinning the animal, we heard
two reports of fire arms from the canoe, which we answered, as it was a
signal for my return; we then heard another, and immediately hastened
down the hill, with our veal, through a very close wood.  There we met
one of the men, who informed us that the canoe was at a small distance
below, at the foot of a very strong rapid, and that as several
waterfalls appeared up the river, we should be obliged to unload and
carry.  I accordingly hastened to the canoe, and was greatly displeased
that so much time had been lost, as I had given previous directions that
the river should be followed as long as it was practicable.  The last
Indians whom we saw had informed us that at the first mountain there was
a considerable succession of rapids, cascades, and falls, which they
never attempted to ascend; and where they always passed over land the
length of a day's march.  My men imagined that the carrying place was at
a small distance below us, as a path appeared to ascend a hill, where
there were several lodges, of the last year's construction.  The account
which had been given me of the rapids, was perfectly correct: though by
crossing to the other side, I must acknowledge with some risk, in such a
heavy laden canoe, the river appeared to me to be practicable, as far as
we could see: the traverse, therefore, was attempted, and proved
successful.  We now towed the canoe along an island, and proceeded
without any considerable difficulty, till we reached the extremity of
it, when the line could be no longer employed; and in endeavouring to
clear the point of the island, the canoe was driven with such violence
on a stony shore, as to receive considerable injury.  We now employed
every exertion in our power to repair the breach that had been made, as
well as to dry such articles of our loading as more immediately required
it: we then transported the whole across the point, when we reloaded,
and continued our course about three quarters of a mile.  We could now
proceed no further on this side of the water, and the traverse was
rendered extremely dangerous, not only from the strength of the current,
but by the cascades just below us, which, if we had got among them,
would have involved us and the canoe in one common destruction.  We had
no other alternative than to return by the same course we came, or to
hazard the traverse, the river on this side being bounded by a range of
steep, over-hanging rocks, beneath which the current was driven on with
resistless impetuosity from the cascades.  Here are several islands of
solid rock, covered with a small portion of verdure, which have been
worn away by the constant force of the current, and occasionally, as I
presume, of ice, at the water's edge, so as to be reduced in that part
to one fourth the extent of the upper surface; presenting, as it were,
so many large tables, each of which was supported by a pedestal of a
more circumscribed projection.  They are very elevated for such a
situation, and afford an asylum for geese, which were at this time
breeding on them.  By crossing from one to the other of these islands,
we came at length to the main traverse, on which we ventured, and were
successful in our passage.  Mr. Mackay, and the Indians, who observed
our manoeuvres from the top of a rock, were in continual alarm for our
safety, with which their own, indeed, may be said to have been nearly
connected: however, the dangers that we encountered were very much
augmented by the heavy loading of the canoe.

When we had effected our passage, the current on the West side was
almost equally violent with that from whence we had just escaped, but
the craggy bank being somewhat lower, we were enabled, with a line of
sixty fathoms, to tow the canoe, till we came to the foot of the most
rapid cascade we had hitherto seen.  Here we unloaded, and carried every
thing over a rocky point of an hundred and twenty paces.  When the canoe
was reloaded, I, with those of my people who were not immediately
employed, ascended the bank, which was there, and indeed, as far as we
could see, composed of clay, stone, and a yellow gravel.  My present
situation was so elevated, that the men, who were coming up a strong
point, could not hear me, though I called to them with the utmost
strength of my voice, to lighten the canoe of part of its lading.  And
here I could not but reflect, with infinite anxiety, on the hazard of my
enterprize; one false step of those who were attached to the line, or
the breaking of the line itself, would have at once consigned the canoe,
and every thing it contained, to instant destruction: it, however,
ascended the rapid in perfect security, but new dangers immediately
presented themselves, for stones, both small and great, were continually
rolling from the bank, so as to render the situation of those who were
dragging the canoe beneath it extremely perilous; besides, they were at
every step in danger, from the steepness of the ground, of falling into
the water: nor was my solicitude diminished by my being necessarily
removed at times from the sight of them.

In our passage through the woods, we came to an inclosure, which had
been formed by the natives for the purpose of setting snares for the
elk, and of which we could not discover the extent.  After we had
travelled for some hours through the forest, which consisted of the
spruce, birch, and the largest poplars I had ever seen, we sunk down
upon the river where the bank is low, and near the foot of a mountain;
between which, and a high ridge, the river flows in a channel of about
one hundred yards broad; though, at a small distance below, it rushes on
between perpendicular rocks, where it is not much more than half that
breadth.  Here I remained, in great anxiety, expecting the arrival of
the canoe, and after some time I sent Mr. Mackay with one of the Indians
down the river in search of it, and with the other I went up to it to
examine what we might expect in that quarter.  In about a mile and a
half I came to a part where the river washes the feet of lofty
precipices, and presented, in the form of rapids and cascades, a
succession of difficulties to our navigation.  As the canoe did not come
in sight, we returned, and from the place where I had separated with
Mr. Mackay, we saw the men carrying it over a small rocky point.  We met
them at the entrance of the narrow channel already mentioned; their
difficulties had been great indeed, and the canoe had been broken, but
they had persevered with success, and having passed the carrying-place,
we proceeded with the line as far as I had already been, when we crossed
over and encamped on the opposite beach; but there was no wood on this
side of the water, as the adjacent country had been entirely over-run by
fire.  We saw several elks feeding on the edge of the opposite
precipice, which was upwards of three hundred feet high.

Our course to-day was about South-South-West two miles and a half,
South-West half a mile, South-West by South one mile and a half, South
by West half a mile, South-West half a mile, and West one mile and a
half.  There was a shower of hail, and some rain from flying clouds.  I
now dispatched a man with an Indian to visit the rapids above, when the
latter soon left him to pursue a beaver, which was seen in the shallow
water on the inside of a stony island; and though Mr. Mackay, and the
other Indian joined him, the animal at length escaped from their
pursuit.  Several others were seen in the course of the day, which I by
no means expected, as the banks are almost every where so much elevated
above the channel of the river.  Just as the obscurity of the night drew
on, the man returned with an account that it would be impracticable to
pass several points, as well as the super-impending promontories.

_Monday, 20._--The weather was clear with a sharp air, and we renewed
our voyage at quarter past four, on a course South-West by West three
quarters of a mile.  We now, with infinite difficulty passed along the
foot of a rock, which, fortunately, was not an hard stone, so that we
were enabled to cut steps in it for the distance of twenty feet; from
which, at the hazard of my life, I leaped on a small rock below, where I
received those who followed me on my shoulders.  In this manner four of
us passed and dragged up the canoe, in which attempt we broke her.  Very
luckily, a dry tree had fallen from the rock above us, without which we
could not have made a fire, as no wood was to be procured within a mile
of the place.  When the canoe was repaired, we continued towing it along
the rocks to the next point, when we embarked, as we could not at
present make any further use of the line, but got along the rocks of a
round high island of stone, till we came to a small sandy bay.  As we
had already damaged the canoe, and had every reason to think that she
soon would risk much greater injury, it became necessary for us to
supply ourselves with bark, as our provision of that material article
was almost exhausted two men were accordingly sent to procure it, who
soon returned with the necessary store.

Mr. Mackay, and the Indians who had been on shore, since we broke the
canoe, were prevented from coming to us by the rugged and impassable
state of the ground.  We, therefore, again resumed our course with the
assistance of poles, with which we pushed onwards till we came beneath a
precipice, where we could not find any bottom; so that we were again
obliged to have recourse to the line, the management of which was
rendered not only difficult but dangerous, as the men employed in towing
were under the necessity of passing on the outside of trees that grew on
the edge of the precipice.  We, however, surmounted this difficulty, as
we had done many others, and the people who had been walking over land
now joined us.  They also had met with their obstacles in passing the

It now became necessary for us to make a traverse, where the water was
so rapid, that some of the people stripped themselves to their shirts
that they might be the better prepared for swimming, in case any
accident happened to the canoe, which they seriously apprehended; but we
succeeded in our attempt without any other inconvenience, except that of
taking in water.  We now came to a cascade, when it was thought
necessary to take out part of the lading.  At noon we stopped to take an
altitude, opposite to a small river that flowed in from the left: while
I was thus engaged, the men went on shore to fasten the canoe, but as
the current was not very strong, they had been negligent in performing
this office; it proved, however, sufficiently powerful to sheer her off,
and if it had not happened that one of the men, from absolute fatigue
had remained and held the end of the line, we should have been deprived
of every means of prosecuting our voyage, as well as of present
subsistence.  But notwithstanding the state of my mind on such an
alarming circumstance, and an intervening cloud that interrupted me, the
altitude which I took has been since proved to be tolerably correct, and
gave 56. North latitude.  Our last course was South-South-West two miles
and a quarter.

We now continued our toilsome and perilous progress with the line West
by North, and as we proceeded the rapidity of the current increased, so
that in the distance of two miles we were obliged to unload four times,
and carry every thing but the canoe: indeed, in many places, it was with
the utmost difficulty that we could prevent her from being dashed to
pieces against the rocks by the violence of the eddies.  At five we had
proceeded to where the river was one continued rapid.

Here we again took every thing out of the canoe, in order to tow her up
with the line, though the rocks were so shelving as greatly to increase
the toil and hazard of that operation.  At length, however, the
agitation of the water was so great, that a wave striking on the bow of
the canoe broke the line, and filled us with inexpressible dismay, as it
appeared impossible that the vessel could escape from being dashed to
pieces, and those who were in her from perishing.  Another wave,
however, more propitious than the former, drove her out of the tumbling
water, so that the men were enabled to bring her ashore, and though she
had been carried over rocks by these swells which left them naked a
moment after, the canoe had received no material injury.  The men were,
however, in such a state from their late alarm, that it would not only
have been unavailing but imprudent to have proposed any further progress
at present, particularly as the river above us, as far as we could see,
was one white sheet of foaming water.

[1] These people, as well as all the natives on this side of Lake
Winipic, give the mercantile agent that distinguished appellation.


MAY, 1793.

That the discouragements, difficulties, and dangers, which had hitherto
attended the progress of our enterprise, should have excited a wish in
several of those who were engaged in it to discontinue the pursuit,
might be naturally expected; and indeed it began to be muttered on all
sides that there was no alternative but to return.

Instead of paying any attention to these murmurs, I desired those who
had uttered them to exert themselves in gaining an ascent of the hill,
and encamp there for the night.  In the mean time I set off with one of
the Indians, and though I continued my examination of the river almost
as long as there was any light to assist me, I could see no end of the
rapids and cascades: I was, therefore, perfectly satisfied, that it
would be impracticable to proceed any further by water.  We returned
from this reconnoitring excursion very much fatigued, with our shoes
worn out and wounded feet; when I found that, by felling trees on the
declivity of the first hill, my people had contrived to ascend it.

From the place where I had taken the altitude at noon, to the place
where we made our landing, the river is not more than fifty yards wide,
and flows between stupendous rocks, from whence huge fragments sometimes
tumble down, and falling from such an height, dash into small stones,
with sharp points, and form the beach between the rocky projections.
Along the face of some of these precipices, there appears a stratum of a
bitumenous substance which resembles coal; though while some of the
pieces of it appeared to be excellent fuel, others resisted, for a
considerable time, the action of fire, and did not emit the least flame.
The whole of this day's course would have been altogether impracticable,
if the water had been higher, which must be the case at certain seasons.
We saw also several encampments of the Knisteneaux along the river,
which must have been formed by them on their war excursions: a decided
proof of the savage, blood-thirsty disposition of that people; as
nothing less than such a spirit could impel them to encounter the
difficulties of this almost inaccessible country, whose natives are
equally unoffending and defenceless.

Mr. Mackay informed me, that in passing over the mountains, he observed
several chasms in the earth that emitted heat and smoke, which diffused
a strong sulphureous stench.  I should certainly have visited this
phenomenon, if I had been sufficiently qualified as a naturalist, to
have offered scientific conjectures or observations thereon.

_Tuesday, 21._--It rained in the morning, and did not cease till about
eight, and as the men had been very fatigued and disheartened, I
suffered them to continue their rest till that hour.  Such was the state
of the river, as I have already observed, that no alternative was left
us; nor did any means of proceeding present themselves to us, but the
passage of the mountain over which we were to carry the canoe as well as
the baggage.  As this was a very alarming enterprize, I dispatched
Mr. Mackay with three men and the two Indians to proceed in a strait
course from the top of the mountain, and to keep the line of the river
till they should find it navigable.  If it should be their opinion, that
there was no practicable passage in that direction, two of them were
instructed to return in order to make their report; while the others
were to go in search of the Indian carrying-place.  While they were
engaged in this excursion, the people who remained with me were employed
in gumming the canoe, and making handles for the axes.  At noon I got an
altitude, which made our latitude 56. 0. 8.  At three o'clock had time,
when my watch was slow 1. 31. 32. apparent time.

At sun-set, Mr. Mackay returned with one of the men, and in about two
hours was followed by the others.  They had penetrated thick woods,
ascended hills and sunk into vallies, till they got beyond the rapid,
which, according to their calculation, was a distance of three leagues.
The two parties returned by different routes, but they both agreed, that
with all its difficulties, and they were of a very alarming nature, the
outward course was that which must be preferred.  Unpromising, however,
as the account of their expedition appeared, it did not sink them into a
state of discouragement; and a kettle of wild rice, sweetened with
sugar, which had been prepared for their return, with their usual regale
of rum, soon renewed that courage which disdained all obstacles that
threatened our progress: and they went to rest, with a full
determination to surmount them on the morrow.  I sat up, in the hope of
getting an observation of Jupiter and his first satellite, but the
cloudy weather prevented my obtaining it.

_Wednesday, 22._--At break of day we entered on the extraordinary
journey which was to occupy the remaining part of it.  The men began,
without delay, to cut a road up the mountain, and as the trees were but
of small growth, I ordered them to fell those which they found
convenient, in such a manner, that they might fall parallel with the
road, but, at the same time not separate them entirely from the stumps,
so that they might form a kind of railing on either side.  The baggage
was now brought from the water side to our encampment.  This was,
likewise, from the steep shelving of the rocks, a very perilous
undertaking, as one false step of any of the people employed in it,
would have been instantly followed by falling headlong into the water.
When this important object was attained, the whole of the party
proceeded with no small degree of apprehension, to fetch the canoe,
which, in a short time, was also brought to the encampment; and, as soon
as we had recovered from our fatigue, we advanced with it up the
mountain, having the line doubled and fastened successively as we went
on to the stumps; while a man at the end of it, hauled it around a tree,
holding it on and shifting it as we proceeded; so that we may be said,
with strict truth, to have warped the canoe up the mountain; indeed by a
general and most laborious exertion, we got every thing to the summit by
two in the afternoon.  At noon, the latitude was 56. 0. 47. North.  At
five, I sent the men to cut the road onwards, which they effected for
about a mile, when they returned:

The weather was cloudy at intervals, with showers and thunder.  At about
ten, I observed an emersion of Jupiter's second satellite; time by the
achrometer 8. 32. 20. by which I found the longitude to be 120. 29. 80
West from Greenwich.

_Thursday 23._--The weather was clear at four this morning, when the
men began to carry.  I joined Mr. Mackay and the two Indians in the
labour of cutting a road.  The ground continued rising gently till noon,
when it began to decline; but though on such an elevated situation, we
could see but little, as mountains of a still higher elevation, and
covered with snow, were seen far above us in every direction.  In the
afternoon the ground became very uneven; hills and deep defiles
alternately presented themselves to us.  Our progress, however, exceeded
my expectation, and it was not till four in the afternoon that the
carriers overtook us.  At five, in a state of fatigue that may be more
readily conceived than expressed, we encamped near a rivulet or spring
that issued from beneath a large mass of ice and snow.

Our toilsome journey of this day I compute at about three miles; along
the first of which the land is covered with plenty of wood, consisting
of large trees, encumbered with little underwood, through which it was
by no means difficult to open a road, by following a well-beaten elk
path: for the two succeeding miles we found the country overspread with
the trunks of trees, laid low by fire some years ago; among which large
copses had sprung up of a close growth, and intermixed with briars, so
as to render the passage through them painful and tedious.  The soil in
the woods is light and of a dusky colour; that in the burned country is
a mixture of sand and clay with small stones.  The trees are spruce,
red-pine, cypress, poplar, white birch, willow, alder, arrow-wood,
red-wood, liard, service-tree, bois-picant, &c.  I never saw any of the
last kind before.  It rises to about nine feet in height, grows in
joints without branches, and is tufted at the extremity.  The stem is of
an equal size from the bottom to the top, and does not exceed an inch in
diameter; it is covered with small prickles, which caught our trowsers,
and working through them, sometimes found their way to the flesh.  The
shrubs are, the gooseberry, the currant, and several kinds of briars.

_Friday, 24._--We continued our very laborious journey, which led us
down some steep hills, and through a wood of tall pines.  After much
toil and trouble in bearing the canoe through the difficult passages
which we encountered, at four in the afternoon we arrived at the river,
some hundred yards above the rapids or falls, with all our baggage.  I
compute the distance of this day's progress to be about four miles;
indeed I should have measured the whole of the way, if I had not been
obliged to engage personally in the labour of making the road.  But
after all, the Indian carrying-way, whatever may be its length, and I
think it cannot exceed ten miles, will always be found more safe and
expeditious than the passage which our toil and perseverance formed and

Those of my people who visited this place on the 21st, were of opinion
that the water had risen very much since that time.  About two hundred
yards below us, the stream rushed with an astonishing but silent
velocity, between perpendicular rocks, which are not more than
thirty-five yards asunder: when the water is high, it runs over those
rocks, in a channel three times that breadth, where it is bounded by far
more elevated precipices.  In the former are deep round holes, some of
which are full of water, while others are empty, in whose bottom are
small round stones, as smooth as marble.  Some of these natural
cylinders would contain two hundred gallons.  At a small distance below
the first of these rocks, the channel widens in a kind of zig-zag
progression; and it was really awful to behold with what infinite force
the water drives against the rocks on one side, and with what impetuous
strength it is repelled to the other: it then falls back, as it were,
into a more strait but rugged passage, over which it is tossed in high,
foaming, half-formed billows, as far as the eye could follow it.

The young men informed me that this was the place where their relations
had told me that I should meet with a fall equal to that of Niagara: to
exculpate them, however, from their apparent misinformation, they
declared that their friends were not accustomed to utter falsehoods, and
that the fall had probably been destroyed by the force of the water.  It
is, however, very evident that those people had not been here, or did
not adhere to the truth.  By the number of trees which appeared to have
been felled with axes, we discovered that the Knisteneaux, or some
tribes who are known to employ that instrument, had passed this way.  We
passed through a snare enclosure, but saw no animals, though the country
was very much intersected by their tracks.

_Saturday, 25._---It rained throughout the night, and till twelve this
day; while the business of preparing great and small poles, and putting
the canoe in order, &c. caused us to remain here till five in the
afternoon.  I now attached a knife, with a steel, flint, beads, and
other trifling articles to a pole, which I erected, and left as a token
of amity to the natives.  When I was making this arrangement, one of my
attendants, whom I have already described under the title of the Cancre,
added to my assortment, a small round piece of green wood, chewed at one
end in the form of a brush, which the Indians used to pick the marrow
out of bones.  This he informed me was an emblem of a country abounding
in animals.  The water had risen during our stay here one foot and a
half perpendicular height.

We now embarked, and our course was North-West one mile and three
quarters.  There were mountains on all sides of us, which were covered
with snow; one in particular, on the South side of the river, rose to a
great height.  We continued to proceed West three quarters of a mile,
North-West one mile, and West-South-West a quarter of a mile, when we
encamped for the night.  The Cancre killed a small elk.

_Sunday, 26._--The weather was clear and sharp, and between three and
four in the morning we renewed our voyage, our first course being West
by South three miles and a half, when the men complained of the cold in
their fingers, as they were obliged to push on the canoe with the poles.
Here a small river flowed in from the North.  We now continued to steer
West-South-West a quarter of a mile; West-North-West a mile and a half,
and West two miles, when we found ourselves on a parallel with a chain
of mountains on both sides of the river, running South and North.  The
river, both yesterday and the early part of to-day, was from four to
eight hundred yards wide, and full of islands, but was at this time
diminished to about two hundred yards broad, and free from islands, with
a smooth but strong current.  Our next course was South-West two miles,
when we encountered a rapid, and saw an encampment of the Knisteneaux.
We now proceeded North-West by West one mile, among islands, South-West
by West three quarters of a mile, South-South-East one mile, veered to
South-West through islands three miles and a half, and South by East
half a mile.  Here a river poured in on the left, which was the most
considerable that we had seen since we had passed the mountain.  At
seven in the evening we landed and encamped.

Though the sun had shone upon us throughout the day, the air was so cold
that the men, though actively employed, could not resist it without the
aid of their blanket coats.  This circumstance might, in some degree, be
expected from the surrounding mountains, which were covered with ice and
snow; but as they are not so high as to produce the extreme cold which
we suffered, it must be more particularly attributed to the high
situation of the country itself, rather than to the local elevation of
the mountains, the greatest height of which does not exceed fifteen
hundred feet; though in general they do not rise to half that altitude.

But as I had not been able to take an exact measurement, I do not
presume upon the accuracy of my conjecture.  Towards the bottom of these
heights, which were clear of snow, the trees were putting forth their
leaves, while those in their middle region still retained all the
characteristics of winter, and on the upper parts there was little or no

_Monday, 27._[1]--The weather was clear, and we continued our voyage
at the usual hour, when we successively found several rapids and points
to impede our progress.  At noon our latitude was 56. 5. 54. North.  The
Indians killed a stag; and one of the men who went to fetch it was very
much endangered by the rolling down of a large stone from the heights
above him.

_Tuesday, 28._--The day was very cloudy.  The mountains on both sides
of the river seemed to have sunk, in their elevation, during the voyage
of yesterday.  To-day they resumed their former altitude, and run so
close on either side of the channel, that all view was excluded of every
thing but themselves.  This part of the current was not broken by
islands; but in the afternoon we approached some cascades, which obliged
us to carry our canoe and its lading for several hundred yards.  Here we
observed an encampment of the natives, though some time had elapsed
since it had been inhabited.  The greater part of the day was divided
between heavy showers and small rain; and we took our station on the
shore about six in the evening, about three miles above the last rapid.

_Wednesday, 29._--The rain was so violent throughout the whole of this
day, that we did not venture to proceed.  As we had almost expended the
contents of a rum-keg, and this being a day which allowed of no active
employment, I amused myself with the experiment of enclosing a letter in
it, and dispatching it down the stream to take its fate.  I accordingly
introduced a written account of all our hardships, &c.  carefully
enclosed in bark, into the small barrel by the bung-hole, which being
carefully secured, I consigned this epistolatory cargo to the mercy of
the current.

_Thursday, 30._--We were alarmed this morning at break of day, by the
continual barking of our dog, who never ceased from running backwards
and forwards in the rear of our situation: when, however, the day
advanced, we discovered the cause of our alarm to proceed from a wolf,
who was parading a ridge a few yards behind us, and had been most
probably allured by the scent of our small portion of fresh meat.  The
weather was cloudy, but it did not prevent us from renewing our progress
at a very early hour.  A considerable river appeared from the left, and
we continued our course till seven in the evening, when we landed at
night where there was an Indian encampment.

_Friday, 31._--The morning was clear and cold, and the current very
powerful.  On crossing the mouth of a river that flowed in from the
right of us, we were very much endangered; indeed all the rivers which I
have lately seen, appear to overflow their natural limits, as it may be
supposed, from the melting of the mountain snow.  The water is almost
white, the bed of the river being of limestone.  The mountains are one
solid mass of the same material, but without the least shade of trees,
or decoration of foliage.  At nine the men were so cold that we landed,
in order to kindle a fire, which was considered as a very uncommon
circumstance at this season; a small quantity of rum, however, served as
an adequate substitute; and the current being so smooth as to admit of
the use of paddles, I encouraged them to proceed without any further
delay.  In a short time an extensive view opened upon us, displaying a
beautiful sheet of water, that was heightened by the calmness of the
weather, and a splendid sun.  Here the mountains which were covered with
wood, opened on either side, so that we entertained the hope of soon
leaving them behind us.  When we had got to the termination of this
prospect, the river was barred with rocks, forming cascades and small
islands.  To proceed onwards, we were under the necessity of clearing a
narrow passage of the drift wood, on the left shore.  Here the view
convinced us that our late hopes were without foundation, as there
appeared a ridge or chain of mountains, running South and North as far
as the eye could reach.

On advancing two or three miles, we arrived at the fork, one branch
running about West-North-West, and the other South-South-East.  If I had
been governed by my own judgment, I should have taken the former, as it
appeared to me to be the most likely to bring us nearest to the part
where I wished to fall on the Pacific Ocean, but the old man, whom I
have already mentioned as having been frequently on war expeditions in
this country, had warned me not, on any account, to follow it, as it was
soon lost in various branches among the mountains, and that there was no
great river that ran in any direction near it; but by following the
latter, he said, we should arrive at a carrying-place to another large
river, that did not exceed a day's march, where the inhabitants build
houses, and live upon islands.  There was so much apparent truth in the
old man's narrative, that I determined to be governed by it; for I did
not entertain the least doubt, if I could get into the other river, that
I should reach the ocean.

I accordingly ordered my steersman to proceed at once to the East
branch, which appeared to be more rapid than the other, though it did
not possess an equal breadth.  These circumstances disposed my men and
Indians, the latter in particular being very tired of the voyage, to
express their wishes that I should take the Western branch, especially
when they perceived the difficulty of stemming the current, in the
direction on which I had determined.  Indeed the rush of water was so
powerful, that we were the greatest part of the afternoon in getting two
or three miles--a very tardy and mortifying progress, and which, with
the voyage, was openly execrated by many of those who were engaged in
it: and the inexpressible toil these people had endured, as well as the
dangers they had encountered, required some degree of consideration; I
therefore employed those arguments which were the best calculated to
calm their immediate discontents, as well as to encourage their future
hopes, though, at the same time, I delivered my sentiments in such a
manner as to convince them that I was determined to proceed.

On the 1st of June we embarked at sun-rise, and towards noon the current
began to slacken; we then put to shore, in order to gum the canoe, when
a meridian altitude gave me 55. 42. 16. North latitude.  We then
continued our course, and towards the evening the current began to
recover its former strength.  Mr. Mackay and the Indians had already
disembarked, to walk and lighten the boat.  At sun-set we encamped on a
point, being the first dry land which had been found on this side the
river, that was fit for our purpose, since our people went on shore.  In
the morning we passed a large rapid river, that flowed in from the

In no part of the North-West did I see so much beaver-work, within an
equal distance, as in the course of this day.  In some places they had
cut down several acres of large poplars; and we saw also a great number
of these active and sagacious animals.  The time which these wonderful
creatures allot for their labours, whether in erecting their curious
habitations or providing food, is the whole of the interval between the
setting and the rising sun.

Towards the dusky part of the evening we heard several discharges from
the fowling pieces of our people, which we answered, to inform them of
our situation; and some time after it was dark, they arrived in an equal
state of fatigue and alarm; they were also obliged to swim across a
channel in order to get to us, as we were situated on an island, though
we were ignorant of the circumstance, till they came to inform us.  One
of the Indians was positive that he heard the discharge of fire-arms
above our encampment; and on comparing the number of our discharges with
theirs, there appeared to be some foundation for his alarm, as we
imagined that we had heard two reports more than they acknowledged; and
in their turn, they declared that they had heard twice the number of
those which we knew had proceeded from us.  The Indians were therefore
certain, that the Knisteneaux must be in our vicinity, on a war
expedition, and consequently, if they were numerous, we should have had
no reason to expect the least mercy from them in this distant country.
Though I did not believe that circumstance, or that any of the natives
could be in possession of fire-arms, I thought it right, at all events,
we should be prepared.  Our fusees were, therefore, primed and loaded,
and having extinguished our fire, each of us took his station at the
foot of a tree, where we passed an uneasy and restless night.

The succeeding morning being clear and pleasant, we proceeded at an
early hour against a rapid current, intersected by islands.  About eight
we passed two large trees, whose roots having been undermined by the
current, had recently fallen into the river; and, in my opinion, the
crash of their fall had occasioned the noise which caused our late
alarm.  In this manner the water ravages the islands in these rivers,
and by driving down great quantities of wood, forms the foundations of
others.  The men were so oppressed with fatigue, that it was necessary
they should encamp at six in the afternoon.  We, therefore, landed on a
sandy island, which is a very uncommon object, as the greater part of
the islands consist of a bottom of round stones and gravel, covered from
three to ten feet with mud and old drift-wood.  Beaver-work was as
frequently seen as on the preceding day.

On the 3d of June we renewed our voyage with the rising sun.  At noon I
obtained a meridian altitude, which gave 55. 22. 3. North latitude.  I
also took time, and the watch was slow 1. 30. 14. apparent time.
According to my calculation, this place is about twenty-five miles
South-East of the fork.[2]

[1] From this day to the 4th of June the courses of my voyage are
omitted, as I lost the book that contained them.  I was in the habit of
sometimes indulging myself with a short doze in the canoe, and I imagine
that the branches of the trees brushed my book from me, when I was in
such a situation, which renders the account of these few days less
distinct than usual.

[2] I shall now proceed with my usual regularity, which, as I have
already mentioned, has been, for some days, suspended, from the loss of
my book of observation.


JUNE 4, 1793.

We embarked this morning at four in a very heavy fog.
The water had been continually rising, and, in many places, overflowed
its banks.  The current also was so strong that our progress was very
tedious, and required the most laborious exertions.  Our course was this
day, South-South-East one mile, South-South-West half a mile, South-East
three quarters of a mile, North-East by East three quarters of a mile,
South-East half a mile, South-East by South one mile, South-South-East
one mile and three quarters, South-East by South half a mile, East by
South a quarter of a mile, South-East three quarters of a mile,
North-East by East half a mile, East by North a quarter of a mile,
South-East half a mile, South-East by South a quarter of a mile,
South-East by East half a mile, North-East by East half a mile,
North-North-East three quarters of a mile to South by East one mile and
a half.  We could not find a place fit for an encampment, till nine at
night, when we landed on a bank of gravel, of which little more appeared
above water than the spot we occupied.

_Wednesday, 5._--This morning we found our canoe and baggage in the
water, which had continued rising during the night.  We then gummed the
canoe, as we arrived at too late an hour to perform that operation on
the preceding evening.  This necessary business being completed, we
traversed to the North shore, where I disembarked with Mr. Mackay, and
the hunters, in order to ascend an adjacent mountain, with the hope of
obtaining a view of the interior part of the country.  I directed my
people to proceed with all possible diligence, and that, if they met
with any accident, or found my return necessary, they should fire two
guns.  They also understood, that when they should hear the same signal
from me, they were to answer, and wait for me, if I were behind them.

When we had ascended to the summit of the hill, we found that it
extended onwards in an even, level country; so that, encumbered as we
were, with the thick wood, no distant view could be obtained; I
therefore climbed a very lofty tree, from whose top I discerned on the
right a ridge of mountains covered with snow, bearing about North-West;
from thence another ridge of high land, whereon no snow was visible,
stretched towards the South: between which and the snowy hills on the
East side, there appeared to be an opening, which we determined to be
the course of the river.

Having obtained all the satisfaction that the nature of the place would
admit, we proceeded forward to overtake the canoe, and after a warm walk
came down upon the river, when we discharged our pieces twice, but
received no answering signal.  I was of opinion, that the canoe was
before us, while the Indians entertained an opposite notion.  I,
however, crossed another point of land, and came again to the waterside
about ten.  Here we had a long view of the river, which circumstance
excited in my mind, some doubts of my former sentiments.  We repeated
our signals, but without any return; and as every moment now increased
my anxiety, I left Mr. Mackay and one of the Indians at this spot to
make a large fire, and sent branches adrift down the current as notices
of our situation, if the canoe was behind us; and proceeded with the
other Indian across a very long point, where the river makes a
considerable bend, in order that I might be satisfied if the canoe was
a-head.  Having been accustomed, for the last fortnight, to very cold
weather, I found the heat of this day almost insupportable, as our way
lay over a dry sand, which was relieved by no shade, but such as a few
scattered cypresses could afford us.  About twelve, we arrived once more
at the river, and the discharge of our pieces was as unsuccessful as it
had hitherto been.  The water rushed before us with uncommon velocity;
and we also tried the experiment of sending fresh branches down it.  To
add to the disagreeableness of our situation, the gnats and mosquitoes
appeared in swarms to torment us.  When we returned to our companions,
we found that they had not been contented with remaining in the position
where I had left them, but had been three or four miles down the river,
but were come back to their station, without having made any discovery
of the people on the water.

Various very unpleasing conjectures at once perplexed and distressed us:
the Indians, who are inclined to magnify evils of any and every kind,
had at once consigned the canoe and every one on board it to the bottom;
and were already settling a plan to return upon a raft, as well as
calculating the number of nights that would be required to reach their
home.  As for myself, it will be easily believed, that my mind was in a
state of extreme agitation, and the imprudence of my conduct in leaving
the people, in such a situation of danger and toilsome exertion added a
very painful mortification to the severe apprehensions I already
suffered: it was an act of indiscretion which might have put an end to
the voyage that I had so much at heart, and compelled me at length to
submit to the scheme which my hunters had already formed for our return.

At half past six in the evening, Mr. Mackay and the Cancre set off to
proceed down the river, as far as they could before the night came on,
and to continue their journey in the morning to the place where we had
encamped the preceding evening.  I also proposed to make my excursion
upwards; and, if we both failed of success in meeting the canoe, it was
agreed that we should return to the place where we now separated.

In this situation we had wherewithal to drink in plenty, but with solid
food we were totally unprovided.  We had not seen even a partridge
throughout the day, and the tracks of rein-deer that we had discovered,
were of an old date.  We were, however, preparing to make a bed of the
branches of trees, where we should have had no other canopy than that
afforded us by the heavens, when we heard a shot, and soon after
another, which was the notice agreed upon, if Mr. Mackay and the Indian
should see the canoe: that fortunate circumstance was also confirmed by
a return of the signal from the people.  I was, however, so fatigued
from the heat and exercise of the day, as well as incommoded from
drinking so much cold water, that I did not wish to remove till the
following morning; but the Indian made such bitter complaints of the
cold and hunger he suffered, that I complied with his solicitations to
depart; and it was almost dark when we reached the canoe, barefooted,
and drenched with rain.  But these inconveniences affected me very
little, when I saw myself once more surrounded with my people.  They
informed me, that the canoe had been broken; and that they had this day
experienced much greater toil and hardships than on any former occasion.
I thought it prudent to affect a belief of every representation that
they made, and even to comfort each of them with a consolatory dram:
for, however difficult the passage might have been, it was too short to
have occupied the whole day, if they had not relaxed in their exertions.
The rain was accompanied with thunder and lightning.

It appeared from the various encampments which we had seen, and from
several paddles we had found, that the natives frequent this part of the
country at the latter end of the summer and the fall.  The course to-day
was nearly East-South-East two miles and a half, South by West one mile,
South-South-East one mile and a half, East two miles, and South-East by
South one mile.

_Thursday, 6._--At half past four this morning we continued our
voyage, our courses being South-East by South one mile, East by South
three quarters of a mile, South-East by East two miles.  The whole of
this distance we proceeded by hauling the canoe from branch to branch.
The current was so strong, that it was impossible to stem it with the
paddles; the depth was too great to receive any assistance from the
poles, and the bank of the river was so closely lined with willows and
other trees, that it was impossible to employ the line.  As it was past
twelve before we could find a place that would allow of our landing, I
could not get a meridian altitude.  We occupied the rest of the day in
repairing the canoe, drying our cloaths, and making paddles and poles to
replace those which had been broken or lost.

_Friday, 7._--The morning was clear and calm; and since we had been at
this station the water had risen two inches; so that the current became
still stronger; and its velocity had already been so great as to justify
our despair in getting up it, if we had not been so long accustomed to
surmount.  I last night observed an emersion of Jupiter's first
satellite, but inadvertently went to bed, without committing the exact
time to writing: if my memory is correct, it was 8. 18. 10. by the
timepiece.  The canoe, which had been little better than a wreck, being
now repaired, we proceeded East two miles and a quarter,
South-South-East half a mile, South-East a quarter of a mile, when we
landed to take an altitude for time.  We continued our route at
South-East by East three quarters of a mile, and landed again to
determine the latitude, which is 55. 2. 51.  To this I add, 2. 45.
Southing, which will make the place of taking altitude for time
55. 5. 36. with which I find that my time-piece was slow 1. 32. 23.
apparent time; and made the longitude obtained 122. 35. 50. West of

From this place we proceeded East by South four miles and a half,
East-South-East one mile and a half, in which space there falls in a
small river from the East; East half a mile, South-East a mile and a
half, East a quarter of a mile, and encamped at seven o'clock.
Mr. Mackay and the hunters walked the greatest part of the day, and in
the course of their excursion killed a porcupine.[1] Here we found the
bed of a very large bear quite fresh.  During the day several Indian
encampments were seen, which were of a late erection.  The current had
also lost some of its impetuosity during the greater part of the day.

_Saturday, 8._--It rained and thundered through the night, and at four
in the morning we again encountered the current.  Our course was East a
quarter of a mile, round to South by East along a very high white sandy
bank on the East shore, three quarters of a mile, South-South-East a
quarter of a mile, South-South-West a quarter of a mile,
South-South-East one mile and a quarter, South-East two miles, with a
slack current; South-East by East two miles and a quarter, East a
quarter of a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile, South-East by
South four miles and a half, South-East one mile and a half,
South-South-West half a mile, East-North-East half a mile,
East-South-East a quarter of a mile, South-East by South one mile,
South-East by East half a mile, East by South three quarters of a mile,
when the mountains were in full view in this direction, and Eastward.
For the three last days we could only see them at short intervals and
long distances; but till then, they were continually in sight on either
side, from our entrance into the fork.  Those to the left were at no
great distance from us.

For the last two days we had been anxiously looking out for the
carrying-place, but could not discover it, and our only hope was in such
information as we should be able to procure from the natives.  All that
remained for us to do, was to push forwards till the river should be no
longer navigable: it had now, indeed, overflowed its banks, so that it
was eight at night before we could discover a place to encamp.  Having
found plenty of wild parsnips, we gathered the tops, and boiled them
with pemmican for our supper.

_Sunday, 9._--The rain of this morning terminated in a heavy mist at
half past five, when we embarked and steered South-East one mile and a
half, when it veered North-North-East half a mile, South-East three
quarters of a mile, East by South three quarters of a mile,
East-South-East a quarter of a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a
mile, South-East by East one mile, North-East by East half a mile,
South-East by East half a mile, South-East by South three quarters of a
mile, South-East three quarters of a mile, East by South half a mile,
South-East by East half a mile, East-North-East three quarters of a
mile, when it veered to South-South-East half a mile, then back to East
(when a blue mountain, clear of snow, appeared a-head) one mile and a
half; North-East by East half a mile, East by North one mile, when it
veered to South-East half a mile, then on to North-West three quarters
of a mile, and back to North-East by East half a mile, South by West a
quarter of a mile, North-East by East to North-North-East half a mile,
South-South-East a quarter of a mile, and East by North half a mile;
here we perceived a smell of fire; and in a short time heard people in
the woods, as if in a state of great confusion, which was occasioned, as
we afterwards understood, by their discovery of us.  At the same time
this unexpected circumstance produced some little discomposure among
ourselves, as our arms were not in a state of preparation, and we were
as yet unable to ascertain the number of the party.  I considered, that
if there were but few, it would be needless to pursue them, as it would
not be probable that we should overtake them in these thick woods; and
if they were numerous, it would be an act of great imprudence to make
the attempt, at least during their present alarm.  I therefore ordered
my people to strike off to the opposite side, that we might see if any
of them had sufficient courage to remain; but, before we were half over
the river, which in this part is not more than a hundred yards wide, two
men appeared on a rising ground over against us, brandishing their
spears, displaying their bows and arrows, and accompanying their hostile
gestures with loud vociferations.  My interpreter did not hesitate to
assure them, that they might dispel their apprehensions, as we were
white people, who meditated no injury, but were, on the contrary,
desirous of demonstrating every mark of kindness and friendship.  They
did not, however, seem disposed to confide in our declarations, and
actually threatened, if we came over before they were more fully
satisfied of our peaceable intentions, that they would discharge their
arrows at us.  This was a decided kind of conduct which I did not
expect; at the same time I readily complied with their proposition, and
after some time had passed in hearing and answering their questions,
they consented to our landing, though not without betraying very evident
symptoms of fear and distrust.  They, however, laid aside their weapons,
and when I stepped forward and took each of them by the hand, one of
them, but with a very tremulous action, drew his knife from his sleeve,
and presented it to me as a mark of his submission to my will and
pleasure.  On our first hearing the noise of these people in the woods,
we displayed our flag, which was now shewn to them as a token of
friendship.  They examined us, and every thing about us, with a minute
and suspicious attention.  They had heard, indeed, of white men, but
this was the first time that they had ever seen a human being of a
complexion different from their own.  The party had been here but a few
hours; nor had they yet erected their sheds; and, except the two men now
with us, they had all fled, leaving their little property behind them.
To those which had given us such a proof of their confidence, we paid
the most conciliating attentions in our power.  One of them I sent to
recall his people, and the other, for very obvious reasons, we kept with
us.  In the mean time the canoe was unloaded, the necessary baggage
carried up the hill, and the tents pitched.

Here I determined to remain till the Indians became so familiarized to
us, as to give all the intelligence which we imagined might be obtained
from them.  In fact, it had been my intention to land where I might most
probably discover the carrying-place, which was our more immediate
object, and undertake marches of two or three days, in different
directions, in search of another river.  If unsuccessful in this
attempt, it was my purpose to continue my progress up the present river,
as far as it was navigable, and if we did not meet with natives to
instruct us in our further progress, I had determined to return to the
fork, and take the other branch, with the hope of better fortune.

It was about three in the afternoon when we landed, and at five the
whole party of Indians were assembled.  It consisted only of three men,
three women, and seven or eight boys and girls.  With their scratched
legs, bleeding feet, and dishevelled hair, as in the hurry of their
flight they had left their shoes and leggins behind them, they displayed
a most wretched appearance: they were consoled, however, with beads, and
other trifles, which seemed to please them; they had pemmican also given
them to eat, which was not unwelcome, and in our opinion, at least,
superior to their own provision, which consisted entirely of dried fish.

When I thought that they were sufficiently composed, I sent for the men
to my tent, to gain such information respecting the country as I
concluded it was in their power to afford me.  But my expectations were
by no means satisfied: they said that they were not acquainted with any
river to the Westward, but that there was one from whence they were just
arrived, over a carrying-place of eleven days march, which they
represented as being a branch only of the river before us.  Their
iron-work they obtained from the people who inhabit the bank of that
river, and an adjacent lake, in exchange for beaver skins, and dressed
moose skins.  They represented the latter as travelling, during a moon,
to get to the country of other tribes, who live in houses, with whom
they traffic for the same commodities; and that these also extend their
journies in the same manner to the sea coast, or, to use their
expression, the Stinking Lake, where they trade with people like us,
that come there in vessels as big as islands.  They added, that the
people to the Westward, as they have been told, are very numerous.
Those who inhabit the other branch they stated as consisting of about
forty families, while they themselves did not amount to more than a
fourth of that number; and were almost continually compelled to remain
in their strong holds, where they sometimes perished with cold and
hunger, to secure themselves from their enemies, who never failed to
attack them whenever an opportunity presented itself.

This account of the country, from a people who I had every reason to
suppose were well acquainted with every part of it, threatened to
disconcert the project on which my heart was set, and in which my whole
mind was occupied.  It occurred to me, however, that from fear, or other
motives, they might be tardy in their communication; I therefore assured
them that, if they would direct me to the river which I described to
them, I would come in large vessels, like those that their neighbours
had described, to the mouth of it, and bring them arms and ammunition in
exchange for the produce of their country; so that they might be able to
defend themselves against their enemies, and no longer remain in that
abject, distressed, and fugitive state in which they then lived.  I
added also, that in the mean time, if they would, on my return accompany
me below the mountains, to a country which was very abundant in animals,
I would furnish them, and their companions, with every thing they might
want; and make peace between them and the Beaver Indians.  But all these
promises did not appear to advance the object of my inquiries, and they
still persisted in their ignorance of any such river as I had mentioned,
that discharged itself into the sea.

In this state of perplexity and disappointment, various projects
presented themselves to my mind, which were no sooner formed than they
were discovered to be impracticable, and were consequently abandoned.
At one time I thought of leaving the canoe, and every thing it
contained, to go over land, and pursue that chain of connexion by which
these people obtain their iron-work; but a very brief course of
reflection convinced me that it would be impossible for us to carry
provisions for our support through any considerable part of such a
journey, as well as presents, to secure us a kind reception among the
natives, and ammunition for the service of the hunters, and to defend
ourselves against any act of hostility.  At another time my solicitude
for the success of the expedition incited a wish to remain with the
natives, and go to the sea by the way they had described; but the
accomplishment of such a journey, even if no accident should interpose,
would have required a portion of time which it was not in my power to
bestow.  In my present state of information, to proceed further up the
river was considered as a fruitless waste of toilsome exertion; and to
return unsuccessful, after all our labour, sufferings, and dangers, was
an idea too painful to indulge.  Besides, I could not yet abandon the
hope that the Indians might not yet be sufficiently composed and
confident, to disclose their real knowledge of the country freely and
fully to me.  Nor was I altogether without my doubts respecting the
fidelity of my interpreter, who being very much tired of the voyage,
might be induced to withhold those communications which would induce me
to continue it.  I therefore continued my attentions to the natives,
regaled them with such provisions as I had, indulged their children with
a taste of sugar, and determined to suspend my conversation with them
till the following morning.  On my expressing a desire to partake of
their fish, they brought me a few dried trout, well cured, that had been
taken in the river which they lately left.  One of the men also brought
me five beaver skins, as a present.

_Monday, 10._--The solicitude that possessed my mind interrupted my
repose; when the dawn appeared I had already quitted my bed, and was
waiting with impatience for another conference with the natives.  The
sun, however, had risen before they left their leafy bowers, whither
they had retired with their children, having most hospitably resigned
their beds, and the partners of them, to the solicitations of my young

I now repeated my inquiries, but my perplexity was not removed by any
favourable variation in their answers.  About nine, however, one of
them, still remaining at my fire, in conversation with the interpreters,
I understood enough of his language to know that he mentioned something
about a great river, at the same time pointing significantly up that
which was before us.  On my inquiring of the interpreter respecting that
expression, I was informed that he knew of a large river, that runs
towards the mid-day sun, a branch of which flowed near the source of
that which we were now navigating; and that there were only three small
lakes, and as many carrying-places, leading to a small river, which
discharges itself into the great river, but that the latter did not
empty itself into the sea.  The inhabitants, he said, built houses,
lived on islands, and were a numerous and warlike people.  I desired him
to describe the road to the other river, by delineating it with a piece
of coal, on a strip of bark, which he accomplished to my satisfaction.
The opinion that the river did not discharge itself into the sea, I very
confidently imputed to his ignorance of the country.

My hopes were now renewed, and an object presented itself which awakened
my utmost impatience.  To facilitate its attainment, one of the Indians
was induced, by presents, to accompany me as a guide to the first
inhabitants, which we might expect to meet on the small lakes in our
way.  I accordingly resolved to depart with all expedition, and while my
people were making every necessary preparation, I employed myself in
writing the following description of the natives around me:

They are low in stature, not exceeding five feet six or seven inches;
and they are of that meagre appearance which might be expected in a
people whose life is one secession of difficulties, in procuring
subsistence.  Their faces are round, with high cheek bones; and their
eyes, which are small, are of a dark brown colour; the cartilage of
their nose is perforated, but without any ornaments suspended from it;
their hair is of a dingy black, hanging loose and in disorder over their
shoulders, but irregularly cut in the front, so as not to obstruct the
sight; their beards are eradicated, with the exception of a few
straggling hairs, and their complexion is a swarthy yellow.

Their dress consists of robes made of the skins of the heaver, the
ground-hog and the reindeer, dressed in the hair, and of the moose-skin
without it.  All of them are ornamented with a fringe, while some of
them have tassels hanging down the seams; those of the ground-hog are
decorated on the fur side with the tails of the animal, which they do
not separate from them.  Their garments they tie over the shoulders, and
fasten them round the middle with a belt of green skin, which is as
stiff as horn.  Their leggins are long, and, if they were topped with a
waistband, might be called trowsers: they, as well as their shoes, are
made of dressed moose, elk, or rein-deer skin.  The organs of generation
they leave uncovered.

The women differ little in their dress, from the men, except in the
addition of an apron, which is fastened round the waist, and hangs down
to the knees.  They are in general of a more lusty make than the other
sex, and taller in proportion, but infinitely their inferiors in
cleanliness.  A black artificial stripe crosses the face beneath the
eye, from ear to ear, which I first took for scabs, from the
accumulation of dirt on it.  Their hair, which is longer than that of
the men, is divided from the forehead to the crown, and drawn back in
long plaits behind the ears.  They have also a few white beads, which
they get where they procure their iron: they are from a line to an inch
in length, and are worn in their ears, but are not of European
manufacture.  These, with bracelets made of horn and bone, compose all
the ornaments which decorate their persons.  Necklaces of the grisly or
white bear's claws, are worn exclusively by the men.

Their arms consist of bows made of cedar, six feet in length, with a
short iron spike at one end, and serve occasionally as a spear.  Their
arrows are well made, barbed, and pointed with iron, flint, stone, or
bone; they are feathered, and from two or two feet and a half in length.
They have two kinds of spears, but both are double edged, and of well
polished iron; one of them is about twelve inches long, and two wide;
the other about half the width, and two thirds of the length; the shafts
of the first are eight feet in length, and the latter six.  They have
also spears made of bone.  Their knives consist of pieces of iron,
shaped and handled by themselves.  Their axes are something like our
adze, and they use them in the same manner as we employ that instrument.
They were, indeed, furnished with iron in a manner that I could not have
supposed, and plainly proved to me that their communication with those,
who communicate with the inhabitants of the sea coast, cannot be very
difficult, and from their ample provision of iron weapons, the means of
procuring it must be of a more distant origin than I had at first

They have snares made of green skin, which they cut to the size of
sturgeon twine, and twist a certain number of them together; and though
when completed they do not exceed the thickness of a cod-line, their
strength is sufficient to hold a moose-deer; they are from one and a
half to two fathoms in length.  Their nets and fishing-lines are made of
willow-bark and nettles; those made of the latter are finer and smoother
than if made with hempen thread.  Their hooks are small bones, fixed in
pieces of wood split for that purpose, and tied round with fine watape,
which has been particularly described in the former voyage.  Their
kettles are also made of watape, which is so closely woven that they
never leak, and they heat water in them, by putting red-hot stones into
it.  There is one kind of them, made of spruce-bark, which they hang
over the fire, but at such a distance as to receive the heat without
being within reach of the blaze; a very tedious operation.  They have
various dishes of wood and bark; spoons of horn and wood, and buckets;
bags of leather and net-work, and baskets of bark, some of which hold
their fishing-tackle, while others are contrived to be carried on the
back.  They have a brown kind of earth in great abundance, with which
they rub their clothes, not only for ornament but utility, as it
prevents the leather from becoming hard after it has been wetted.  They
have spruce bark in great plenty, with which they make their canoes, an
operation that does not require any great portion of skill or ingenuity,
and is managed in the following manner.--The bark is taken off the
tree the whole length of the intended canoe, which is commonly about
eighteen feet, and is sewed with watape at both ends; two laths are then
laid, and fixed along the edge of the bark which forms the gunwale; in
these are fixed the bars, and against them bear the ribs or timbers,
that are out to the length to which the bark can be stretched; and, to
give additional strength, strips of wood are laid between them: to make
the whole water-tight, gum is abundantly employed.  These vessels carry
from two to five people.  Canoes of a similar construction were used by
the Beaver Indians within these few years, but they now very generally
employ those made of the bark of the birch tree, which are by far more
durable.  Their paddles are about six feet long, and about one foot is
occupied by the blade, which is in the shape of an heart.

Previous to our departure, the natives had caught a couple of trout, of
about six pounds weight, which they brought me, and I paid them with
beads.  They likewise gave me a net, made of nettles, the skin of a
moose-deer, dressed, and a white horn in the shape of a spoon which
resembles the horn of the buffalo of the Copper-Mine-River; but their
description of the animal to which it belongs does not answer to that.
My young men also got two quivers of excellent arrows, a collar of white
bear's claws, of a great length, horn bracelets, and other articles, for
which they received an ample remuneration.

[1] We had been obliged to indulge our hunters with sitting idle in the
canoe, lest their being compelled to share in the labour of navigating
it should disgust and drive them from us.  We, therefore, employed them
as much as possible on shore, as well to procure provisions, as to
lighten the canoe.


JUNE, 1793.

_Monday, 10._--At ten we were ready to embark.  I then took leave of
the Indians, but encouraged them to expect us in two moons, and
expressed an hope that I should find them on the road with any of their
relations whom they might meet.  I also returned the beaver skins to the
man who had presented them to me, desiring him to take care of them till
I came back, when I would purchase them of him.  Our guide expressed
much less concern about the undertaking in which he had engaged, than
his companions, who appeared to be affected with great solicitude for
his safety.

We now pushed off the canoe from the bank, and proceeded East half a
mile, when a river flowed in from the left, about half as large as that
which we were navigating.  We continued the same course three quarters
of a mile, when we missed two of our fowling pieces, which had been
forgotten, and I sent their owners back for them, who were absent on
this errand upwards of an hour.  We now proceeded North-East by East
half a mile, North-East by North three quarters of a mile, when the
current slackened; there was a verdant spot on the left, where, from the
remains of some Indian timber-work, it appeared, that the natives have
frequently encamped.  Our next course was East one mile, and we saw a
ridge of mountains covered with snow to the South-East.  The land on our
right was low and marshy for three or four miles, when it rose into a
range of heights that extended to the mountains.  We proceeded
East-South-East a mile and a half, South-East by East one mile, East by
South three quarters of a mile, South-East by East one mile, East by
South half a mile, North-East by East one mile, South-East half a mile,
East-North-East a mile and a quarter, South-South-East half a mile,
North-North-East a mile and a half: here a river flowed in from the
left, which was about one-fourth part as large as that which received
its tributary waters.  We then continued East by South half a mile, to
the foot of the mountain on the South of the above river.  The course
now veered short, South-West by West three quarters of a mile, East by
South a quarter of a mile, South half a mile, South-East by South half a
mile, South-West a quarter of a mile, East by South a quarter of a mile,
veered to West-North-West a quarter of a mile, South-West one eighth of
a mile, East-South-East one quarter of a mile, East one sixth of a mile,
South-South-West one twelfth of a mile, East-South-East one eighth of a
mile, North-East by East one third of a mile, East by North one twelfth
of a mile, North-East by East one third of a mile, East one sixteenth of
a mile, South-East one twelfth of a mile, North-East by East one twelfth
of a mile, East one eighth of a mile, and East-South-East half a mile,
when we landed at seven o'clock and encamped.  During the greatest part
of the distance we came to-day, the river runs close under the mountains
on the left.

_Tuesday, 11._--The morning was clear and cold.  On my interpreter's
encouraging the guide to dispel all apprehension, to maintain his
fidelity to me, and not to desert in the night, "How is it possible for
me," he replied, "to leave the lodge of the Great Spirit!--When he
tells me that he has no further occasion for me, I will then return to
my children." As we proceeded, however, he soon lost, and with good
reason, his exalted notions of me.

[Transcriber's Note:  The date of this journal entry was given as
_Wednesday, 12._ in this edition. It has been corrected here to be in
agreement with context and with other editions.]

At four we continued our voyage, steering East by South a mile and a
half, East-South-East half a mile.  A river appeared on the left, at the
foot of a mountain which, from its conical form, my young Indian called
the Beaver Lodge Mountain.  Having proceeded South-South-East half a
mile, another river appeared from the right.  We now came in a line with
the beginning of the mountains we saw yesterday: others of the same kind
ran parallel with them on the left side of the river, which was reduced
to the breadth of fifteen yards, and with a moderate current.

We now steered East-North-East one eighth of a mile, South-East by South
one eighth of a mile, East-South-East one sixth of a mile, South-West
one eighth of a mile, East-South-East one eighth of a mile,
South-South-East one sixth of a mile, North-East by East one twelfth of
a mile, East-South-East half a mile, South-West by West one third of a
mile, South-South-East one eighth of a mile, South-South-West one
quarter of a mile, North-East one sixth of a mile, South by West one
fourth of a mile, East three quarters of a mile, and North-East one
quarter of a mile.  Here the mountain on the left appeared to be
composed of a succession of round hills, covered with wood almost to
their summits, which were white with snow, and crowned with withered
trees.  We now steered East, in a line with the high lands on the right
five miles; North one twelfth of a mile, North-East by North one eighth
of a mile, South by East one sixteenth of a mile, North-East by North
one fourth of a mile, where another river fell in from the right;
North-East by East one sixth of a mile, East two miles and a half, South
one twelfth of a mile, North-East half a mile, South-East one third of a
mile, East one mile and a quarter, South-South-West one sixteenth of a
mile, North-East by East half a mile, East one mile and three quarters,
South and South-West by West half a mile, North-East half a mile, South
one third of a mile, North-East by North one sixth of a mile, East by
South one fourth of a mile, South one eighth of a mile, South-East three
quarters of a mile.  The canoe had taken in so much water, that it was
necessary for us to land here, in order to stop the leakage, which
occasioned the delay of an hour and a quarter, North-East a quarter of a
mile, East-North-East a quarter of a mile, South-East by South a
sixteenth of a mile, East by South a twelfth of a mile, North-East one
sixth of a mile, East-South-East one sixteenth of a mile, South-West
half a mile, North-East a quarter of a mile, East by South half a mile,
South-South-East one twelfth of a mile, East half a mile, North-East by
North a quarter of a mile, South-South-East a quarter of a mile,
North-East by North one twelfth of a mile, where a small river flowed in
from the left, South-East by East one twelfth of a mile, South by East a
quarter of a mile, South-East one eighth of a mile, East one twelfth of
a mile, North-East by North a quarter of a mile, South half a mile,
South-East by South one eighth of a mile, North-East one fourth of a
mile, South-East by East, and South-East by South one third of a mile,
East-South-East, and North-North-East one third of a mile, and South by
West, East and East-North-East one eighth of a mile.

Here we quitted the main branch, which, according to the information of
our guide, terminates at a short distance, where it is supplied by the
snow which covers the mountains.  In the same direction is a valley
which appears to be of very great depth, and is full of snow, that rises
nearly to the height of the land, and forms a reservoir of itself
sufficient to furnish a river, whenever there is a moderate degree of
heat.  The branch which we left was not, at this time, more than ten
yards broad, while that which we entered was still less.  Here the
current was very trifling, and the channel so meandering, that we
sometimes found it difficult to work the canoe forward.  The straight
course from this to the entrance of a small lake or pond, is about East
one mile.  This entrance by the river into the lake was almost choked up
by a quantity of drift-wood, which appeared to me to be an extraordinary
circumstance: but I afterwards found that it falls down from the
mountains.  The water, however, was so high, that the country was
entirely overflowed, and we passed with the canoe among the branches of
trees.  The principal wood along the banks is spruce, intermixed with a
few white birch, growing on detached spots, the intervening spaces being
covered with willow and elder.  We advanced about a mile in the lake,
and took up our station for the night at an old Indian encampment.  Here
we expected to meet with natives, but were disappointed; but our guide
encouraged us with the hope of seeing some on the morrow.  We saw beaver
in the course of the afternoon, but did not discharge our pieces from
the fear of alarming the inhabitants; there were also swans in great
numbers, with geese and ducks, which we did not disturb for the same
reason.  We observed also the tracks of moose-deer that had crossed the
river; and wild parsnips grew here in abundance, which have been already
mentioned as a grateful vegetable.  Of birds, we saw bluejays, yellow
birds, and one beautiful humming-bird; of the first and last, I had not
seen any since I had been in the North-West.

_Wednesday June 12._--The weather was the same as yesterday, and we
proceeded between three and four in the morning.  We took up the net
which we had set the preceding evening, when it contained a trout, one
white fish, one carp, and three jub.  The lake is about two miles in
length, East by South, and from three to five hundred yards wide.  This
I consider as the highest and Southernmost source of the Unjigah, or
Peace River, latitude, 54. 24. North, longitude 121. West from
Greenwich, which, after a winding course through a vast extent of
country, receiving many large rivers in its progress, and passing
through the Slave Lake, empties itself into the Frozen Ocean, in
70. North latitude, and about 135. West longitude.

[Transcriber's Note: The  date of the current journal entry is located
incorrectly in the text of this edition.  It is moved here from context
and in agreement with other editions.]

We landed and unloaded, where we found a beaten path leading over a low
ridge of land eight hundred and seventeen paces in length, to another
small lake.  The distance between the two mountains at this place is
about a quarter of a mile, rocky precipices presenting themselves on
both sides.  A few large spruce trees and liards were scattered over the
carrying-place.  There were also willows along the side of the water,
with plenty of grass and weeds.  The natives had left their old canoes
here, with baskets hanging on the trees, which contained various
articles.  From the latter I took a net, some hooks, a goat's-horn, and
a kind of wooden trap, in which, as our guide informed me, the
ground-hog is taken.  I left, however, in exchange, a knife, some
fire-steels, beads, awls, &c.  Here two streams tumble down the rocks
from the right, and lose themselves in the lake which we had left; while
two others fall from the opposite heights, and glide into the lake which
we were approaching; this being the highest point of land dividing these
waters, and we are now going with the stream.  This lake runs in the
same course as the last, but is rather narrower, and not more than half
the length.  We were obliged to clear away some floating drift-wood to
get to the carrying-place, over which is a beaten path of only an
hundred and seventy-five paces long.  The lake empties itself by a small
river, which, if the channel were not interrupted by large trees that
had fallen across it, would have admitted of our canoe with all its
lading: the impediment, in deed, might have been removed by two axe-men
in a few hours.  On the edge of the water, we observed a large quantity
of thick yellow, scum or froth, of an acrid taste and smell.

We embarked on this lake, which is in the same course, and about the
same size as that which we had just left, and from whence we passed into
a small river, that was so full of fallen wood, as to employ some time,
and require some exertion, to force a passage.  At the entrance, it
afforded no more water than was just sufficient to bear the canoe; but
it was soon increased by many small streams which came in broken rills
down the rugged sides of the mountains, and were furnished, as I
suppose, by the melting of the snow.  These accessory streamlets had all
the coldness of ice.  Our course continued to be obstructed by banks of
gravel, as well as trees which had fallen across the river.  We were
obliged to force our way through the one, and to cut through the other,
at a great expense of time and trouble.  In many places the current was
also very rapid and meandering.  At four in the afternoon, we stopped to
unload and carry, and at five we entered a small round lake of about one
third of a mile in diameter.  From the last lake to this is, I think, in
a straight line, East by South six miles, though it is twice that
distance by the winding of the river.  We again entered the river, which
soon ran with great rapidity, and rushed impetuously over a bed of flat
stones.  At half past six we were stopped by two large trees that lay
across the river, and it was with great difficulty that the canoe was
prevented from driving against them.  Here we unloaded and formed our

The weather was cloudy and raw, and as the circumstances of this day's
voyage had compelled us to be frequently in the water, which was cold as
ice, we were almost in a benumbed state.  Some of the people who had
gone ashore to lighten the canoe, experienced great difficulty in
reaching us, from the rugged state of the country; it was, indeed,
almost dark when they arrived.  We had no sooner landed than I sent two
men down the river to bring me some account of its circumstances, that I
might form a judgment of the difficulties which might await us on the
morrow; and they brought back a fearful detail of rapid currents, fallen
trees, and large stones.  At this place our guide manifested evident
symptoms of discontent: he had been very much alarmed in going down some
of the rapids with us, and expressed an anxiety to return.  He shewed us
a mountain, at no great distance, which he represented as being on the
other side of a river, into which this empties itself.

_Thursday, 13._--At an early hour of this morning the men began to cut
a road, in order to carry the canoe and lading beyond the rapid; and by
seven they were ready.  That business was soon effected, and the canoe
reladen, to proceed with the current which ran with great rapidity.  In
order to lighten her, it was my intention to walk with some of the
people; but those in the boat with great earnestness requested me to
embark, declaring, at the same time, that, if they perished, I should
perish with them.  I did not then imagine in how short a period their
apprehension would be justified.  We accordingly pushed off, and had
proceeded but a very short way when the canoe struck, and
notwithstanding all our exertions, the violence of the current was so
great as to drive her sideways down the river, and break her by the
first bar, when I instantly jumped into the water, and the men followed
my example; but before we could set her straight, or stop her, we came
to deeper water, so that we were obliged to re-embark with the utmost
precipitation.  One of the men who was not sufficiently active, was left
to get on shore in the best manner in his power.  We had hardly regained
our situations when we drove against a rock which shattered the stern of
the canoe in such a manner, that it held only by the gunwales, so that
the steersman could no longer keep his place.  The violence of this
stroke drove us to the opposite side of the river, which is but narrow,
when the bow met with the same fate as the stern.  At this moment the
foreman seized on some branches of a small tree in the hope of bringing
up the canoe, but such was their elasticity that, in a manner not easily
described, he was jerked on shore in an instant, and with a degree of
violence that threatened his destruction.  But we had no time to turn
from our own situation to enquire what had befallen him; for, in a few
moments, we came across a cascade which broke several large holes in the
bottom of the canoe, and started all the bars, except one behind the
scooping seat.  If this accident, however, had not happened, the vessel
must have been irretrievably overset.  The wreck becoming flat on the
water, we all jumped out, while the steersman, who had been compelled to
abandon his place, and had not recovered from his fright, called out to
his companions to save themselves.  My peremptory commands superseded
the effects of his fear, and they all held fast to the wreck; to which
fortunate resolution we owed our safety, as we should otherwise have
been dashed against the rocks by the force of the water, or driven over
the cascades.  In this condition we were forced several hundred yards,
and every yard on the verge of destruction; but, at length, we most
fortunately arrived in shallow water and a small eddy, where we were
enabled to make a stand, from the weight of the canoe resting on the
stones, rather than from any exertions of our exhausted strength.  For
though our efforts were short, they were pushed to the utmost, as life
or death depended on them.

This alarming scene, with all its terrors and dangers, occupied only a
few minutes; and in the present suspension of it, we called to the
people on shore to come to our assistance, and they immediately obeyed
the summons.  The foreman, however, was the first with us; he had
escaped unhurt from the extraordinary jerk with which he was thrown out
of the boat, and just as we were beginning to take our effects out of
the water, he appeared to give his assistance.  The Indians, when they
saw our deplorable situation, instead of making the least effort to help
us, sat down and gave vent to their tears.  I was on the outside of the
canoe, where I remained till every thing was got on shore, in a state of
great pain from the extreme cold of the water; so that at length, it was
with difficulty I could stand, from the benumbed state of my limbs.

The loss was considerable and important, for it consisted of our whole
stock of balls, and some of our furniture; but these considerations were
forgotten in the impressions of our miraculous escape.  Our first
inquiry was after the absent man, whom in the first moment of danger, we
had left to get on shore, and in a short time his appearance removed our
anxiety.  We had, however, sustained no personal injury of consequence,
and my bruises seemed to be in the greater proportion.

All the different articles were now spread out to dry.  The powder had
fortunately received no damage, and all my instruments had escaped.
Indeed, when my people began to recover from their alarm, and to enjoy a
sense of safety, some of them, if not all, were by no means sorry for
our late misfortune, from the hope that it must put a period to our
voyage, particularly as we were without a canoe, and all the bullets
sunk in the river.  It did not, indeed, seem possible to them that we
could proceed under these circumstances.  I listened, however, to the
observations that were made on the occasion without replying to them,
till their panic was dispelled, and they had got themselves warm and
comfortable, with an hearty meal, and rum enough to raise their spirits.

I then addressed them, by recommending them all to be thankful for their
late very narrow escape.  I also stated, that the navigation was not
impracticable in itself, but from our ignorance of its course; and that
our late experience would enable us to pursue our voyage with greater
security.  I brought to their recollection, that I did not deceive them,
and that they were made acquainted with the difficulties and dangers
they must expect to encounter, before they engaged to accompany me.  I
also urged the honour of conquering disasters, and the disgrace that
would attend them on their return home, without having attained the
object of the expedition.  Nor did I fail to mention the courage and
resolution which was the peculiar boast of the North men; and that I
depended on them, at that moment, for the maintenance of their
character.  I quieted their apprehension as to the loss of the bullets,
by bringing to their recollection that we still had shot from which they
might be manufactured.  I at the same time acknowledged the difficulty
of restoring the wreck of the canoe, but confided in our skill and
exertion to put it in such a state as would carry us on to where we
might procure bark, and build a new one.  In short, my harangue produced
the desired effect, and a very general assent appeared to go wherever I
should lead the way.

Various opinions were offered in the present posture of affairs, and it
was rather a general wish that the wreck should be abandoned, and all
the lading carried to the river, which our guide informed us was at no
great distance, and in the vicinity of woods where he believed there was
plenty of bark.  This project seemed not to promise that certainty to
which I looked in my present operations; besides, I had my doubts
respecting the views of my guide, and consequently could not confide in
the representation he made to me.  I therefore dispatched two of the men
at nine in the morning, with one of the young Indians, for I did not
venture to trust the guide out of my sight, in search of bark, and to
endeavor, if it were possible, in the course of the day, to penetrate to
the great river, into which that before us discharges itself in the
direction which the guide had communicated.  I now joined my people in
order to repair, as well as circumstances would admit, our wreck of a
canoe, and I began to set them the example.

At noon I had an altitude, which gave 54. 23. North latitude.  At four
in the afternoon I took time, with the hope that in the night I might
obtain an observation of Jupiter, and his satellites, but I had not a
sufficient horizon, from the propinquity of the mountains.  The result
of my calculation for the time was 1. 32. 28. slow apparent time.

It now grew late, and the people who had been sent on the excursion
already mentioned, were, not yet returned; about ten o'clock, however, I
heard a man halloo, and I very gladly returned the signal.  In a short
time our young Indian arrived with a small roll of indifferent bark: he
was oppressed with fatigue and hunger, and his clothes torn to rags: he
had parted with the other two men at sunset, who had walked the whole
day, in a dreadful country, without procuring any good bark, or being
able to get to the large river.  His account of the river, on whose
banks we were, could not be more unfavourable or discouraging; it had
appeared to him to be little more than a succession of falls and rapids,
with occasional interruptions of fallen trees.

Our guide became so dissatisfied and troubled in mind, that we could not
obtain from him any regular account of the country before us.  All we
could collect from him was, that the river into which this empties
itself, is but a branch of a large river, the great fork being at no
great distance from the confluence of this; and that he knew of no lake,
or large body of still water, in the vicinity of these rivers.  To this
account of the country, he added some strange, fanciful, but terrifying
descriptions of the natives, similar to those which were mentioned in
the former voyage.

We had an escape this day, which I must add to the many instances of
good fortune which I experienced in this perilous expedition.  The
powder had been spread out, to the amount of eighty pounds weight, to
receive the air; and, in this situation, one of the men carelessly and
composedly walked across it with a lighted pipe in his mouth, but
without any ill consequence resulting from such an act of criminal
negligence.  I need not add that one spark might have put a period to
all my anxiety and ambition.

I observed several trees and plants on the banks of this river, which I
had not seen to the North of the latitude 52. such as the cedar, maple,
hemlock, &c.  At this time the water rose fast, and passed on with the
rapidity of an arrow shot from a bow.

_Friday 14._--The weather was fine, clear, and warm, and at an early
hour of the morning we resumed our repair of the canoe.  At half past
seven our two men returned hungry and cold, not having tasted food, or
enjoyed the least repose for twenty-four hours, with their clothes torn
into tatters, and their skin lacerated, in passing through the woods.
Their account was the same as that brought by the Indian, with this
exception, that they had reason to think they saw the river, or branch
which our guide had mentioned: but they were of opinion that from the
frequent obstructions in this river, we should have to carry the whole
way to it, through a dreadful country, where much time and labour would
be required to open a passage through it.

Discouraging as these accounts were, they did not, however, interrupt
for a moment the task in which we were engaged, of repairing the canoe;
and this work we contrived to complete by the conclusion of the day.
The bark which was brought by the Indian, with some pieces of oil-cloth,
and plenty of gum, enabled us to put our shattered vessel in a condition
to answer our present purposes.  The guide, who has been mentioned as
manifesting continual signs of dissatisfaction, now assumed an air of
contentment, which I attributed to a smoke that was visible in the
direction of the river; as he naturally expected, if we should fall in
with any natives, which was now very probable, from such a circumstance,
that he should be released from a service which he had found so irksome
and full of danger.  I had an observation at noon, which made our
latitude 54. 23. 48.  North.  I also took time, and found it slow
apparent time 1. 38. 44.

_Saturday, 15._--The weather continued the same as the preceding day,
and according to the directions which I had previously given, my people
began at a very early hour to open a road, through which we might carry
a part of our lading; as I was fearful of risking the whole of it in the
canoe, in its present weak state, and in a part of the river which is
full of shoals and rapids.  Four men were employed to conduct her,
lightened as she was of twelve packages.  They passed several dangerous
places, and met with various obstructions, the current of the river
being frequently stopped by rafts of drift wood, and fallen trees, so
that after fourteen hours hard labour we had not made more than three
miles.  Our course was South-East by East, and as we had not met with
any accident, the men appeared to feel a renewed courage to continue
their voyage.  In the morning, however, one of the crew, whose name was
Beauchamp, peremptorily refused to embark in the canoe.  This being the
first example of absolute disobedience which had yet appeared during the
course of our expedition, I should not have passed it over without
taking some very severe means to prevent a repetition of it; but as he
had the general character of a simple fellow, among his companions, and
had been frightened out of what little sense he possessed, by our late
dangers, I rather preferred to consider him as unworthy of accompanying
us, and to represent him as an object of ridicule and contempt for his
pusillanimous behaviour; though, in fact, he was a very useful, active,
and laborious man.

At the close of the day we assembled round a blazing fire; and the whole
party, being enlivened with the usual beverage which I supplied on these
occasions, forgot their fatigues and apprehensions; nor did they fail to
anticipate the pleasure they should enjoy in getting clear of their
present difficulties, and gliding onwards with a strong and steady
stream, which our guide had described as the characteristic of the large
river we soon expected to enter.

_Sunday, 16._--The fine weather continued, and we began our work, as
we had done the preceding day; some were occupied in opening a road,
others were carrying, and the rest employed in conducting the canoe.  I
was of the first party, and soon discovered that we had encamped about
half a mile above several falls, over which we could not attempt to run
the canoe, lightened even as she was.  This circumstance rendered it
necessary that the road should be made sufficiently wide to admit the
canoe to pass; a tedious and toilsome work.  In running her down a rapid
above the falls, a hole was broken in her bottom, which occasioned a
considerable delay, as we were destitute of the materials necessary for
her effectual reparation.  On my being informed of this misfortune, I
returned, and ordered Mr. Mackay, with two Indians, to quit their
occupation in making the road, and endeavour to penetrate to the great
river, according to the direction which the guide had communicated,
without paying any attention to the course of the river before us.

When the people had repaired the canoe in the best manner they were
able, we conducted her to the head of the falls; she was then unloaded
and taken out of the water, when we carried her for a considerable
distance through a low, swampy country.  I appointed four men to this
laborious office, which they executed at the peril of their lives, for
the canoe was now become so heavy, from the additional quantity of bark
and gum necessary to patch her up, that two men could not carry her more
than an hundred yards, without being relieved; and as their way lay
through deep mud, which was rendered more difficult by the roots and
prostrate trunks of trees, they were every moment in danger of falling;
and beneath such a weight, one false step might have been attended with
fatal consequences.  The other two men and myself followed as fast as we
could, with the lading.  Thus did we toil till seven o'clock in the
evening, to get to the termination of the road that had been made in the
morning.  Here Mr. Mackay and the Indian joined us, after having been at
the river, which they represented as rather large.  They had also
observed, that the lower part of the river before us was so full of
fallen wood, that the attempt to clear a passage through it, would be an
unavailing labour.  The country through which they had passed was
morass, and almost impenetrable wood.  In passing over one of the
embarras, our dog, which was following them, fell in, and it was with
very great difficulty that he was saved, as the current had carried him
under the drift.  They brought with them two geese, which had been shot
in the course of their expedition.  To add to our perplexities and
embarrassments, we were persecuted by mosquitoes and sand-flies, through
the whole of the day.

The extent of our journey was not more than two miles South-East; and so
much fatigue and pain had been suffered in the course of it, that my
people, as might be expected, looked forward to a continuance of it with
discouragement and dismay.  I was, indeed, informed that murmurs
prevailed among them, of which, however, I took no notice.  When we were
assembled together for the night, I gave each of them a dram, and in a
short time they retired to the repose which they so much required.  We
could discover the termination of the mountains at a considerable
distance on either side of us, which, according to my conjecture, marked
the course of the great river.  On the mountains to the East there were
several fires, as their smokes were very visible to us.  Excessive heat
prevailed throughout the day.

_Monday, 17._--Having sat up till twelve last night, which had been my
constant practice since we had taken our present guide, I awoke
Mr. Mackay to watch him in turn.  I then laid down to rest, and at three
I was awakened to be informed that he had deserted.  Mr. Mackay, with
whom I was displeased on this occasion, and the Cancre, accompanied by
the dog, went in search of him, but he had made his escape: a design
which he had for some time meditated, though I had done every thing in
my power to induce him to remain with me.

This misfortune did not produce any relaxation in our exertions.  At an
early hour of the morning we were all employed in cutting a passage of
three quarters of a mile, through which we carried our canoe and cargo,
when we put her into the water with her lading, but in a very short time
were stopped by the drift-wood, and were obliged to land and carry.  In
short, we pursued our alternate journeys, by land and water, till noon,
when we could proceed no further, from the various small unnavigable
channels into which the river branched in every direction; and no other
mode of getting forward now remained for us, but by cutting a road
across a neck of land.  I accordingly dispatched two men to ascertain
the exact distance, and we employed the interval of their absence in
unloading and getting the canoe out of the water.  It was eight in the
evening when we arrived at the bank of the great river.  This journey
was three quarters of a mile East-North-East, through a continued swamp,
where, in many places, we waded up to the middle of our thighs.  Our
course in the small river was about South-East by East three miles.  At
length we enjoyed, after all our toil and anxiety, the inexpressible
satisfaction of finding ourselves on the bank of a navigable river, on
the West side of the first great range of mountains.


JUNE, 1793.

_Tuesday, 18._--It rained throughout the night and till seven in the
morning; nor was I sorry that the weather gave me an excuse for
indulging my people with that additional rest, which their fatigues,
during the last three days, rendered so comfortable to them.  Before
eight, however, we were on the water, and driven on by a strong current,
when we steered East-South-East half a mile, South-West by South half a
mile, South-South-East half a mile, South-West half a mile, went round
to North-West half a mile, backed South-South-East three quarters of a
mile, South-South-West half a mile, South by East a quarter of a mile,
and South-West by South three quarters of a mile.  Here the water had
fallen considerably, so that several mud and sand-banks were visible.
There was also a hill a-head, West-South-West.

The weather was so hazy that we could not see across the river, which is
here about two hundred yards wide.  We now proceeded South by West one
third of a mile, when we saw a considerable quantity of beaver work
along the banks, North-North-West half a mile, South-West by West one
mile and a half, South-South-West one third of a mile, West by South one
third of a mile, South by East half a mile.  Mountains rose on the left,
immediately above the river, whose summits were covered with snow;
South-West half a mile, South a quarter of a mile, South-East one third
of a mile, South-South-West half a mile.  Here are several islands; we
then veered to West by South a third of a mile, South-South-East a sixth
of a mile.  On the right, the land is high, rocky, and covered with
wood; West-South-West one mile; a small river running in from the
South-East; South-West half a mile, South three quarters of a mile,
South-West half a mile, South by West half a mile.  Here a rocky point
protrudes from the left, and narrows the river to a hundred yards;
South-East half a mile, East by South one eighth of a mile.  The current
now was very strong, but perfectly safe; South-East by South an eighth
of a mile, West by North one third of a mile, South by West a twelfth of
a mile, South-West one fourth of a mile.  Here the high land terminates
on one side of the river, while rocks rise to a considerable height
immediately above the other, and the channel widens to a hundred and
fifty yards, West by South one mile.  The river now narrows again
between rocks of a moderate height, North-North-East an eighth of a
mile, veered to South-West an eighth of a mile, South and South-West
half a mile.  The country appeared to be low, as far as I could judge of
it from the canoe, as the view is confined by woods at the distance of
about a hundred yards from the banks.  Our course continued West by
North two miles, North half a mile, North-West a quarter of a mile,
South-West two miles, North-West three quarters of a mile; when a ridge
of high land appeared in this direction; West one mile.  A small river
flowed in from the North; South a quarter of a mile, North-West half a
mile, South-South-West two miles and a half, South-East three quarters
of a mile; a rivulet lost itself in the main stream, West-North-West
half a mile.  Here the current slackened, and we proceeded
South-South-West three quarters of a mile, South-West three quarters of
a mile, South by East three quarters of a mile, South-East by East one
mile, when it veered gradually to West-North-West half a mile; the river
being full of islands.  We proceeded due North, with little current, the
river presenting a beautiful sheet of water for a mile and a half,
South-West by West one mile, West-North-West one mile, when it veered
round to South-East one mile, West by North one mile, South-East one
mile, West by North three quarters of a mile, South one eighth of a
mile, when we came to an Indian cabin of late erection.  Here was the
great fork, of which our guide had informed us, and it appeared to be
the largest branch from the South-East.  It is about half a mile in
breadth, and assumes the form of a lake.  The current was very slack,
and we got into the middle of the channel, when we steered West, and
sounded in sixteen feet water.

A ridge of high land now stretched on, as it were, across our present
direction: this course was three miles.  We then proceeded
West-South-West two miles, and sounded in twenty-four feet water.  Here
the river narrowed and the current increased.  We then continued our
course North-North-West three quarters of a mile, a small river falling
in from the North-East.  It now veered to South by West one mile and a
quarter, West-South-West four miles and a half, West by North one mile
and a quarter, North-West by West one mile, West a mile and a quarter:
the land was high on both sides, and the river narrowed to an hundred
and fifty, or two hundred yards; North-West three quarters of a mile,
South-West by South two miles and a half: here its breadth again
increased; South by West one mile, West-South-West half a mile,
South-West by South three miles, South-South-East one mile, with a small
river running in from the left, South with a strong current one mile,
then East three quarters of a mile, South-West one mile,
South-South-East a mile and a half; the four last distances being a
continual rapid, South-West by West one mile, East-North-East a mile and
a half, East-South-East one mile, where a small river flowed in on the
right; South-West by South two miles and a half, when another small
river appeared from the same quarter; South by East half a mile and
South-West by West one mile and a quarter: here we landed for the night.
When we had passed the last river we observed smoke rising from it, as
if produced by fires that had been fresh lighted; I therefore concluded
that there were natives on its banks: but I was unwilling to fatigue my
people, by pulling back against the current in order to go in search of

This river appeared, from its high water-mark, to have fallen no more
than one foot, while the smaller branch, from a similar measurement, had
sunk two feet and a half.  On our entering it, we saw a flock of ducks
which were entirely white, except the bill and part of the wings.  The
weather was cold and raw throughout the day, and the wind South-West.
We saw a smoke rising in columns from many parts of the woods, and I
should have been more anxious to see the natives, if there had been any
person with me who could have introduced me to them; but as that object
could not be then attained without considerable loss of time, I
determined to pursue the navigation while it continued to be so
favourable, and to wait till my return, if no very convenient
opportunity offered in the mean time, to engage an intercourse with

_Wednesday, 19._--The morning was foggy, and at three we were on the
water.  At half past that hour, our course was East by South three
quarters of a mile, a small river flowing in from the right.  We then
proceeded South by East half a mile, and South-South-West a mile and a
half.  During the last distance, clouds of thick smoke rose from the
woods, that darkened the atmosphere, accompanied with a strong odour of
the gum of cypress and the spruce-fir.  Our courses continued to be
South-West a mile and a quarter, North-West by West three quarters of a
mile, South-South-East a mile and a quarter, East three quarters of a
mile, South-West one mile, West by South three quarters of a mile,
South-East by South three quarters of a mile, South by West half a mile,
West by South three quarters of a mile, South by West two miles and a
half.  In the last course there was an island, and it appeared to me,
that the main channel of the river had formerly been on the other side
of it.  The banks were here composed of high white cliffs, crowned with
pinnacles in very grotesque shapes.  We continued to steer South-East by
South a mile and a half, South by East half a mile, East one mile and a
quarter, South-East by East one mile, South by East three quarters of a
mile, South-East by East one mile, South-South-East half a mile, East
one mile and a quarter, South by East half a mile, East a mile and half,
South-South-East three miles, and South-West three quarters of a mile.
In the last course the rocks contracted in such a manner on both sides
of the river, as to afford the appearance of the upper part of a fall or
cataract.  Under this apprehension we landed on the left shore, where we
found a kind of footpath, imperfectly traced, through which we
conjectured that the natives occasionally passed with their canoes and
baggage.  On examining the course of the river, however, there did not
appear to be any fall as we expected; but the rapids were of a
considerable length and impassable for a light canoe.  We had therefore
no alternative but to widen the road so as to admit the passage of our
canoe, which was now carried with great difficulty; as from her frequent
repairs, and not always of the usual materials, her weight was such,
that she cracked and broke on the shoulders of the men who bore her.
The labour and fatigue of this undertaking, from eight till twelve,
beggars all description, when we at length conquered this afflicting
passage, of about half a mile, over a rocky and most rugged hill.  Our
course was South-South-West.  Here I took a meridian altitude which gave
me 53. 42. 20. North latitude.  We, however, lost some time to put our
canoe in a condition to carry us onwards.  Our course was South a
quarter of a mile to the next carrying-place; which was nothing more
than a rocky point about twice the length of the canoe.  From the
extremity of this point to the rocky and almost perpendicular bank that
rose on the opposite shore, is not more than forty or fifty yards.  The
great body of water, at the same time tumbling in successive cascades
along the first carrying-place, rolls through this narrow passage in a
very turbid current, and full of whirlpools.  On the banks of the river
there was great plenty of wild onions, which when mixed up with our
pemmican was a great improvement of it; though they produced a physical
effect on our appetites, which was rather inconvenient to the state of
our provisions.

Here we embarked, and steered South-East by East three quarters of a
mile.  We now saw a smoke on the shore; but before we could reach land
the natives had deserted their camp, which appeared to be erected for no
more than two families.  My two Indians were instantly dispatched in
search of them, and, by following their tracks, they soon overtook them;
but their language was mutually unintelligible; and all attempts to
produce a friendly communication were fruitless.  They no sooner
perceived my young men than they prepared their bows and arrows, and
made signs for them not to advance; and they thought it prudent to
desist from proceeding, though not before the natives had discharged
five arrows at them, which, however, they avoided, by means of the
trees.  When they returned with this account, I very much regretted that
I had not accompanied them; and as these people could not be at any very
great distance, I took Mr. Mackay, and one of the Indians with me in
order to overtake them; but they had got so far it would have been
imprudent in me to have followed them.  My Indians, who, I believe, were
terrified at the manner in which these natives received them, informed
me, that, besides their bows, arrows, and spears, they were armed with
long knives, and that they accompanied their strange antics with
menacing actions and loud shoutings.  On my return, I found my people
indulging their curiosity in examining the bags and baskets which the
natives had left behind them.  Some of them contained their fishing
tackle, such as nets, lines, &c., others of a smaller size were filled
with a red earth, with which they paint themselves.  In several of the
bags there were also sundry articles of which we did not know the use.
I prevented my men from taking any of them; and for a few articles of
mere curiosity, which I took myself, I left such things in exchange as
would be much more useful to their owners.

At four we left this place, proceeding with the stream South-East three
quarters of a mile, East-South-East one mile, South three quarters of a
mile, South-South-West one mile, South by East three quarters of a mile,
South-South-East one mile, South-South-West two miles, South-South-East
three miles and a quarter, East by North one mile, South-South-East one
mile and a quarter, with a rapid, South-South-West three quarters of a
mile, South one mile and a half, South-East one mile and a quarter,
South three quarters of a mile, and South-South-East one mile and a
half.  At half past seven we landed for the night, where a small river
flowed in from the right.  The weather was showery, accompanied with
several loud claps of thunder.  The banks were overshadowed by lofty
firs, and wide-spreading cedars.

_Thursday, 20._--The morning was foggy, and at half past four we
proceeded with a South wind, South-East by East two miles,
South-South-East two miles and a half, and South-South-West two miles.
The fog was so thick, that we could not see the length of our canoe,
which rendered our progress dangerous, as we might have come suddenly
upon a cascade or violent rapid.  Our next course was West-North-West
two miles and a half, which comprehended a rapid.  Being close in with
the left bank of the river, we perceived two red deer at the very edge
of the water: we killed one of them, and wounded the other, which was
very small.  We now landed, and the Indians followed the wounded animal,
which they soon caught, and would have shot another in the woods, if our
dog, who followed them, had not disturbed it.  From the number of their
tracks it appeared that they abounded in this country.  They are not so
large as the elk of the Peace River, but are the real red deer, which I
never saw in the North, though I have been told that they are to be
found in great numbers in the plains along the Red, or Assiniboin River.
The bark had been stripped off many of the spruce trees, and carried
away, as I presumed, by the natives, for the purpose of covering their
cabins.  We now got the venison on board, and continued our voyage
South-West one mile, South a mile and a half, and West one mile.  Here
the country changed its appearance; the banks were but of a moderate
height, from whence the ground continued gradually rising to a
considerable distance, covered with poplars and cypresses, but without
any kind of underwood.  There are also several low points which the
river, that is here about three hundred yards in breadth, sometimes
overflows, and are shaded with the liard, the soft birch, the spruce,
and the willow.  For some distance before we came to this part of the
river, our view was confined within very rugged, irregular, and lofty
banks, which were varied with the poplar, different kinds of spruce fir,
small birch trees, cedars, alders, and several species of the willow.
Our next course was South-West by West six miles, when we landed at a
deserted house, which was the only Indian habitation of this kind that I
had seen on this side of Mechilimakina.  It was about thirty feet long
and twenty wide, with three doors, three feet high by one foot and an
half in breadth.  From this and other circumstances, it appears to have
been constructed for three families.  There were also three fire-places,
at equal distances from each other; and the beds were on either side of
them.  Behind the beds was a narrow space, in the form of a manger, and
somewhat elevated, which was appropriated to the purpose of keeping
fish.  The wall of the house, which was five feet in height, was formed
of very strait spruce timbers, brought close together, and laid into
each other at the corners.  The roof was supported by a ridge pole,
resting on two upright forks of about ten feet high; that and the wall
support a certain number of spars, which are covered with spruce bark;
and the whole attached and secured by the fibers of the cedar.  One of
the gable ends is closed with split boards; the other with poles.  Large
rods are also fixed across the upper part of the building, where fish
may hang and dry.  To give the walls additional strength, upright posts
are fixed in the ground, at equal distances, both within and without, of
the same height as the wall, and firmly attached with bark fibres.
Openings appear also between the logs in the wall, for the purpose, as I
conjectured, of discharging their arrows at a besieging enemy; they
would be needless for the purpose of giving light, which is sufficiently
afforded by fissures between the logs of the building, so that it
appeared to be constructed merely for a summer habitation.  There was
nothing further to attract our attention in or about the house, except a
large machine, which must have rendered the taking off the roof
absolutely necessary, in order to have introduced it.  It was of a
cylindrical form, fifteen feet long, and four feet and an half in
diameter; one end was square, like the head of a cask, and an conical
machine was fixed inwards to the other end, of similar dimensions; at
the extremity of which was an opening of about seven inches in diameter.
This machine was certainly contrived to set in the river, to catch large
fish; and very well adapted to that purpose; as when they are once in,
it must be impossible for them to get out, unless they should have
strength sufficient to break through it.  It was made of long pieces of
split wood, rounded to the size of a small finger, and placed at the
distance of an inch asunder, on six hoops; to this was added a kind of
boot of the same materials, into which it may be supposed that the fish
are driven, when they are to be taken out.  The house was left in such
apparent order as to mark the design of its owners to return thither.
It answered in every particular the description given us by our late
guide, except that it was not situated on an island.

We left this place, and steered South by East one mile and a quarter
when we passed where there had been another house, of which the
ridge-pole and supporters alone remained: the ice had probably carried
away the body of it.  The bank was at this time covered with water, and
a small river flowed in on the left.  On a point we observed an erection
that had the appearance of a tomb; it was in an oblong form, covered,
and very neatly walled with bark.  A pole was fixed near it, to which,
at the height of ten or twelve feet, a piece of bark was attached, which
was probably a memorial, or symbol of distinction.  Our next course was
South by West two miles and a half, when we saw a house on an island,
South-East by East one mile and three quarters, in which we observed
another island, with a house upon it.  A river also flowed from the
right, and the land was high and rocky, and wooded with the epinette.

Our canoe was now become so crazy that it was a matter of absolute
necessity to construct another; and as from the appearance of the
country there was reason to expect that bark was to be found, we landed
at eight, with the hope of procuring it.  I accordingly dispatched four
men with that commission, and at twelve they returned with a sufficient
quantity to make the bottom of a canoe of five fathom in length, and
four feet and a half in height.  At noon I had an observation, which
gave me 53. 17. 28. North latitude.

We now continued our voyage South-East by South one mile and a half,
East-South-East one mile, East-North-East half a mile, South-East two
miles, South-East by South one mile, South-East six miles, and
East-North-East.  Here the river narrows between steep rocks, and a
rapid succeeded, which was so violent that we did not venture to run it.
I therefore ordered the loading to be taken out of the canoe, but she
was now become so heavy that the men preferred running the rapid to the
carrying her overland.  Though I did not altogether approve of their
proposition, I was unwilling to oppose it.  Four of them undertook this
hazardous expedition, and I hastened to the foot of the rapid with great
anxiety, to wait the event, which turned out as I expected.  The water
was so strong, that although they kept clear of the rocks, the canoe
filled, and in this state they drove half way down the rapid, but
fortunately she did not overset; and having got her into an eddy, they
emptied her, and in an half-drowned condition arrived safe on shore.
The carrying-place is about half a mile over, with an Indian path across
it.  Mr. Mackay, and the hunters, saw some deer on an island above the
rapid; and had that discovery been made before the departure of the
canoe, there is little doubt but we should have added a considerable
quantity of venison to our stock of provisions.  Our vessel was in such
a wretched condition, as I have already observed, that it occasioned a
delay of three hours to put her in a condition to proceed.  At length we
continued our former course, East-North-East a mile and a half, when we
passed an extensive Indian encampment; East-South-East one mile, where a
small river appeared on the left; South-East by South one mile and three
quarters, East by South half a mile, East by North one mile, and saw
another house on an island; South half a mile, West three quarters of a
mile, South-West half a mile, where the cliffs of white and red clay
appeared like the ruins of ancient castles.  Our canoe now veered
gradually to East-North-East one mile and a half, when we landed in a
storm of rain and thunder, where we perceived the remains of Indian
houses.  It was impossible to determine the wind in any part of the day,
as it came a-head in all our directions.

_Friday, 21._--As I was very sensible of the difficulty of procuring
provisions in this country, I thought it prudent to guard against any
possibility of distress of that kind on our return; I therefore ordered
ninety pounds weight of pemmican to be buried in a hole, sufficiently
deep to admit of a fire over it without doing any injury to our hidden
treasure, and which would, at the same time, secure it from the natives
of the country, or the wild animals of the woods.

The morning was very cloudy, and at four o'clock we renewed our voyage,
steering South by East one mile and a quarter, East-South-East half a
mile, South by East one mile and a half, East half a mile, South-East
two miles, where a large river flowed in from the left, and a smaller
one from the right.  We then continued South by West three quarters of a
mile, East by South a mile and a half, South three quarters of a mile,
South-East by East one mile, South by East half a mile, South-East three
quarters of a mile, South-East by South half a mile, South-East by East
half a mile, the cliffs of blue and yellow clay, displaying the same
grotesque shapes as those which we passed yesterday, South-South-East a
mile and a half, South by East two miles.  The latitude by observation
was 52. 47. 51. North.

Here we perceived a small new canoe, that had been drawn up to the edge
of the woods, and soon after another appeared, with one man in it, which
came out of a small river.  He no sooner saw us than he gave the whoop
to alarm his friends, who immediately appeared on the bank, armed with
bows and arrows, and spears.  They were thinly habited, and displayed
the most outrageous antics.  Though they were certainly in a state of
great apprehension, they manifested by their gestures that they were
resolved to attack us, if we should venture to land.  I therefore
ordered the men to stop the way of the canoe, and even to check her
drifting with the current, as it would have been extreme folly to have
approached these savages before their fury had in some degree subsided.
My interpreters, who understood their language, informed me that they
threatened us with instant death if we drew nigh the shore; and they
followed the menace by discharging a volley of arrows, some of which
fell short of the canoe, and others passed over it, so that they
fortunately did us no injury.

As we had been carried by the current below the spot where the Indians
were, I ordered my people to paddle to the opposite side of the river,
without the least appearance of confusion, so that they brought me
abreast of them.  My interpreters, while we were within hearing, had
done every thing in their power to pacify them, but in vain.  We also
observed that they had sent off a canoe with two men, down the river, as
we concluded, to communicate their alarm, and procure assistance.  This
circumstance determined me to leave no means untried that might engage
us in a friendly intercourse with them, before they acquired additional
security and confidence, by the arrival of their relations and
neighbours, to whom their situation would be shortly notified.

I therefore formed the following adventurous project, which was happily
crowned with success.  I left the canoe, and walked by myself along the
beach, in order to induce some of the natives to come to me, which I
imagined they might be disposed to do, when they saw me alone, without
any apparent possibility of receiving assistance from my people, and
would consequently imagine that a communication with me was not a
service of danger.  At the same time, in order to possess the utmost
security of which my situation was susceptible, I directed one of the
Indians to slip into the woods, with my gun and his own, and to conceal
himself from their discovery; he also had orders to keep as near me as
possible, without being seen; and if any of the natives should venture
across, and attempt to shoot me from the water, it was his instructions
to lay him low: at the same time he was particularly enjoined not to
fire till I had discharged one or both of the pistols that I carried in
my belt.  If, however, any of them were to land, and approach my person,
he was immediately to join me.  In the meantime my other interpreter
assured them that we entertained the most friendly dispositions, which I
confirmed by such signals as I conceived would be comprehended by them.
I had not, indeed, been long at my station, and my Indian in ambush
behind me, when two of the natives came off in a canoe, but stopped when
they had got within a hundred yards of me.  I made signs for them to
land, and as an inducement, displayed looking-glasses, beads, and other
alluring trinkets.  At length, but with every mark of extreme
apprehension, they approached the shore, stern foremost, but would not
venture to land.  I now made them a present of some beads, with which
they were going to push off, when I renewed my entreaties, and, after
some time, prevailed on them to come ashore, and sit down by me.  My
hunter now thought it right to join me, and created some alarm in my new
acquaintance.  It was, however, soon removed, and I had the satisfaction
to find, that he and these people perfectly understood each other.  I
instructed him to say every thing that might tend to soothe their fears
and win their confidence.  I expressed my wish to conduct them to our
canoe, but they declined my offer; and when they observed some of my
people coming towards us, they requested me to let them return; and I
was so well satisfied with the progress I had made in my intercourse
with them, that I did not hesitate a moment in complying with their
desire.  During their short stay, they observed us, and every thing
about us, with a mixture of admiration and astonishment.  We could
plainly distinguish that their friends received them with great joy on
their return, and that the articles which they carried back with them
were examined with a general and eager curiosity; they also appeared to
hold a consultation, which lasted about a quarter of an hour, and the
result was, an invitation to come over to them, which was cheerfully
accepted.  Nevertheless, on our landing they betrayed evident signs of
confusion, which arose probably from the quickness of our movements, as
the prospect of a friendly communication had so cheered the spirits of
my people, that they paddled across the river with the utmost
expedition.  The two men, however, who had been with us, appeared, very
naturally, to possess the greatest share of courage on the occasion, and
were ready to receive us on our landing; but our demeanour soon
dispelled all their apprehensions, and the most familiar communication
took place between us.  When I had secured their confidence, by the
distribution of trinkets among them, and treated the children with
sugar, I instructed my interpreters to collect every necessary
information in their power to afford me.

According to their account, this river, whose course is very extensive,
runs towards the mid-day sun; and that at its mouth, as they had been
informed, white people were building houses.  They represented its
current to be uniformly strong, and that in three places it was
altogether impassable, from the falls and rapids, which poured along
between perpendicular rocks that were much higher, and more rugged, than
any we had yet seen, and would not admit of any passage over them.  But
besides the dangers and difficulties of the navigation, they added, that
we should have to encounter the inhabitants of the country, who were
very numerous.  They also represented their immediate neighbours as a
very malignant race, who lived in large subterraneous recesses; and when
they were made to understand that it was our design to proceed to the
sea, they dissuaded us from prosecuting our intention, as we should
certainly become a sacrifice to the savage spirit of the natives.  These
people they described as possessing iron, arms, and utensils, which they
procured from their neighbours to the Westward, and were obtained by a
commercial progress from people like ourselves, who brought them in
great canoes.

Such an account of our situation, exaggerated as it might be in some
points, and erroneous in others, was sufficiently alarming, and awakened
very painful reflections: nevertheless it did not operate on my mind so
as to produce any change in my original determination.  My first object,
therefore, was to persuade two of these people to accompany me, that
they might secure to us a favourable reception from their neighbours.
To this proposition they assented, but expressed some degree of
dissatisfaction at the immediate departure, for which we were making
preparation; but when we were ready to enter the canoe, a small one was
seen doubling the point below, with three men in it.  We thought it
prudent to wait for their arrival, and they proved to be some of their
relations, who had received the alarm from the messengers which I have
already mentioned as having been sent down the river for that purpose,
and who had passed on, as we were afterwards informed, to extend the
notice of our arrival.  Though these people saw us in the midst of their
friends, they displayed the most menacing actions, and hostile postures.
At length, however, this wild, savage spirit appeared to subside, and
they were persuaded to land.  One of them, who was a middle aged person,
whose agitations had been less frequent than those of his companions,
and who was treated with particular respect by them all, inquired who we
were, whence we came, whither we were going, and what was the motive of
our coming into that country.  When his friends had satisfied him as far
as they were able, respecting us, he instantly advised us to delay our
departure for that night, as their relations below, having been by this
time alarmed by the messengers, who had been sent for that purpose,
would certainly oppose our passage, notwithstanding I had two of their
own people with me.  He added, that they would all of them be here by
sunset, they would convinced, as he was, that we were good people, and
meditated no ill designs against them.

Such were the reasons which this Indian urged in favour of our remaining
till the next morning; and they were too well founded for me to hesitate
in complying with them; besides, by prolonging my stay till the next
morning, it was probable that I might obtain some important intelligence
respecting the country through which I was to pass, and the people who
inhabited it.  I accordingly ordered the canoe to be unloaded, taken out
of the water, and gummed.  My tent was also pitched, and the natives
were now become so familiar, that I was obliged to let them know my wish
to be alone and undisturbed.

My first application to the native whom I have already particularly
mentioned, was to obtain from him such a plan of the river as he should
be enabled to give me; and he complied with this request with a degree
of readiness and intelligence that evidently proved it was by no means a
new business to him.  In order to acquire the best information he could
communicate, I assured him, if I found his account correct, that I
should either return myself, or send others to them, with such articles
as they appeared to want: particularly arms and ammunition, with which
they would be able to prevent their enemies from invading them.  I
obtained, however, no addition to what I already knew, but that the
country below us, as far as he was acquainted with it, abounded in
animals, and that the river produced plenty of fish.

Our canoe was now become so weak, leaky, and unmanageable, that it
became a matter of absolute necessity to construct a new one; and I had
been informed, that if we delayed that important work till we got
further down the river, we should not be able to procure bark.  I
therefore dispatched two of my people, with an Indian, in search of that
necessary material.  The weather was so cloudy that I could not get an

I passed the rest of the day in conversing with these people: they
consisted of seven families, containing eighteen men, they were clad in
leather, and handsome beaver and rabbit-skin blankets.  They had not
been long arrived in this part of the country, where they proposed to
pass the summer, to catch fish for their winter provision: for this
purpose they were preparing machines similar to that which we found in
the first Indian house we saw and described.  The fish which they take
in them are large, and only visit this part of the river at certain
seasons.  These people differ very little, if at all, either in their
appearance, language, or manners, from the Rocky-Mountain Indians.  The
men whom I sent in search of bark, returned with a certain quantity of
it, but of a very indifferent kind.  We were not gratified with the
arrival of any of the natives whom we expected from a lower part of the

[1]The observation, already mentioned, I got on my return.


JUNE, 1793.

_Saturday, 22._--At six in the morning we proceeded on our voyage,
with two of the Indians, one of them in a small pointed canoe, made
after the fashion of the Esquimaux, and the other in our own.  This
precaution was necessary in a two-fold point of view, as the small canoe
could be sent ahead to speak to any of the natives that might be seen
down the river, and, thus divided, would not be easy for them both to
make their escape.  Mr. Mackay also embarked with the Indian, which
seemed to afford him great satisfaction, and he was thereby enabled to
keep us company with diminution of labour.

Our courses were South-South-East a mile and a half, South-East half a
mile, South by East four miles and a half, South-East by South half a
mile, South by West half a mile, South-East by East one mile,
South-South-West a mile and a half, South by East one mile and a
quarter.  The country, on the right, presented a very beautiful
appearance: it rose at first rather abruptly to the height of
twenty-five feet, when the precipice was succeeded by an inclined plain
to the foot of another steep; which was followed by another extent of
gently-rising ground: these objects, which were shaded with groves of
fir, presenting themselves alternately to a considerable distance.

We now landed near a house, the roof of which alone appeared above
ground; but it was deserted by its inhabitants who had been alarmed at
our approach.  We observed several men in the second steep, who
displayed the same postures and menacing actions as those which we have
so lately described.  Our conductors went to them immediately on an
embassy of friendship, and, after a very vociferous discourse, one of
them was persuaded to come to us, but presented a very ferocious aspect:
the rest, who were seven in number, soon followed his example.  They
held their bows and arrows in their hands, and appeared in their
garments, which were fastened round the neck, but left the right arm
free for action.  A cord fastened a blanket or leather covering under
the right armpit, so that it hung upon the left shoulder, and might be
occasionally employed as a target, that would turn an arrow which was
nearly spent.  As soon as they had recovered from their apprehensions,
ten women made their appearance, but without any children, whom, I
imagine, they had sent to a greater distance, to be out of reach of all
possible danger.  I distributed a few presents among them, and left my
guides to explain to them the object of my journey, and the friendliness
of my designs, with which they had themselves been made acquainted;
their fears being at length removed, I gave them a specimen of the use
to which we applied our firearms: at the same time, I calmed their
astonishment, by the assurance, that, though we could at once destroy
those who did us injury, we could equally protect those who shewed us
kindness.  Our stay here did not exceed half an hour, and we left these
people with favourable impressions of us.

From this place we steered East by North half a mile, South by East
three quarters of a mile, and South by West a mile and a half, when we
landed again on seeing some of the natives on the high ground, whose
appearance was more wild and ferocious than any whom we had yet seen.
Indeed I was under some apprehension that our guides, who went to
conciliate them to us, would have fallen a prey to their savage fury.
At length, however, they were persuaded to entertain a more favourable
opinion of us, and they approached us one after another, to the number
of sixteen men, and several women, I shook hands with them all, and
desired my interpreters to explain that salutation as a token of
friend-ship.  As this was not a place where we could remain with the
necessary convenience, I proposed to proceed further, in search of a
more commodious spot.  They immediately invited us to pass the night at
their lodges, which were at no great distance, and promised, at the same
time, that they would, in the morning, send two young men to introduce
us to the next nation, who were very numerous, and ill-disposed towards
strangers.  As we were pushing from the shore, we were very much
surprised at hearing a woman pronounce several words in the Knisteneaux
language.  She proved to be a Rocky Mountain native, so that my
interpreters perfectly understood her.  She informed us that her country
is at the forks of this river, and that she had been taken prisoner by
the Knisteneaux, who had carried her across the mountains.  After having
passed the greatest part of the summer with them, she had contrived to
escape, before they had reached their own country, and had re-crossed
the mountains, when she expected to meet her own friends: but after
suffering all the hardships incident to such a journey, she had been
taken by a war-party of the people with whom she then was, who had
driven her relations from the river into the mountains.  She had since
been detained by her present husband, of whom she had no cause to
complain; nevertheless she expressed a strong desire to return to her
own people.  I presented her with several useful articles, and desired
her to come to me at the lodges, which she readily engaged to do.  We
arrived thither before the Indians, and landed, as we had promised.  It
was now near twelve at noon, but on attempting to take an altitude, I
found the angle too great for my sextant.

The natives whom we had already seen, and several others, soon joined
us, with a greater number of women than I had yet seen; but I did not
observe the female prisoner among them.  There were thirty-five of them,
and my remaining store of presents was not sufficient to enable me to be
very liberal to so many claimants.  Among the men I found four of the
adjoining nation, and a Rocky-Mountain Indian, who had been with them
for some time.  As he was understood by my interpreters, and was himself
well acquainted with the language of the strangers, I possessed the
means of obtaining every information respecting the country, which it
might be in their power to afford me.  For this purpose I selected an
elderly man, from the four strangers, whose countenance had prepossessed
me in his favour.  I stated to these people, as I had already done to
those from whom I had hitherto derived information, the objects of my
voyage, and the very great advantages which they would receive from my
successful termination of it.  They expressed themselves very much
satisfied at my communication, and assured me that they would not
deceive me respecting the subject of my inquiry.  An old man also, who
appeared to possess the character of a chief, declared his wish to see
me return to his land, and that his two young daughters should then be
at my disposal.  I now proceeded to request the native, whom I had
particularly selected, to commence his information, by drawing a sketch
of the country upon a large piece of bark, and he immediately entered on
the work, frequently appealing to, and sometimes asking the advice of,
those around him.  He described the river as running to the East of
South, receiving many rivers, and every six or eight leagues encumbered
with falls and rapids, some of which were very dangerous, and six of
them impracticable.  The carrying-places he represented as of great
length, and passing over hills and mountains.  He depicted the lands of
three other tribes, in succession, who spoke different languages.
Beyond them he knew nothing either of the river or country, only that it
was still a long way to the sea; and that, as he had heard, there was a
lake, before they reached the water, which the natives did not drink.
As far as his knowledge of the river extended, the country on either
side was level, in many places without wood and abounding in red deer,
and some of a small fallow kind.  Few of the natives, he said, would
come to the banks for some time; but, that at a certain season they
would arrive there in great numbers, to fish.  They now procured iron,
brass, copper, and trinkets, from the Westward; but formerly these
articles were obtained from the lower parts of the river, though in
small quantities.  A knife was produced which had been brought from that
quarter.  The blade was ten inches long, and an inch and a half broad,
but with a very blunted edge.  The handle was of horn.  We understood
that this instrument had been obtained from white men, long before they
had heard that any came to the Westward.  One very old man observed,
that as long as he could remember, he was told of white people to the
Southward; and that he had heard, though he did not vouch for the truth
of the report, that one of them had made an attempt to come up the
river, and was destroyed.

These people describe the distance across the country as very short to
the Western ocean; and, according to my own idea, it cannot be above
five or six degrees.  If the assertion of Mr. Mears be correct, it
cannot be so far, as the inland sea which he mentions within Nootka,
must come as far East as 126.  West longitude.  They assured us that the
road was not difficult as they avoided the mountains, keeping along the
low lands between them, many parts of which are entirely free from wood.
According to their account, this way is so often travelled by them, that
their path is visible throughout the whole journey, which lies along
small lakes and rivers.  It occupied them, they said, no more than six
nights, to go to where they meet the people who barter iron, brass,
copper, beads, &c., with them, for dressed leather, and beaver, bear,
lynx, fox, and marten skins.  The iron is about eighteen inches of
two-inch bar.  To this they give an edge at one end, and fix it to a
handle at right angles, which they employ as an axe.  When the iron is
worn down, they fabricate it into points for their arrows and pikes.
Before they procured iron they employed bone and horn for those
purposes.  The copper and brass they convert into collars, arm-buds,
bracelets, and other ornaments.  They sometimes also point their arrows
with those metals.  They had been informed by those whom they meet to
trade with, that the white people, from whom these articles are
obtained, were building houses at the distance of three days, or two
nights journey from the place where they met last fall.  With this route
they all appeared to be well acquainted.

I now requested that they would send for the female prisoner whom I saw
yesterday; but I received only vague and evasive answers.  They probably
apprehended, that it was our design to take her from them.  I was,
however, very much disappointed at being prevented from having an
interview with her, as she might have given me a correct account of the
country beyond the forks of the river, as well as of the pass, through
the mountains, from them.

My people had listened with great attention to the relation which had
been given me, and it seemed to be their opinion, that it would be
absolute madness to attempt a passage through so many savage and
barbarous nations.  My situation may indeed, be more easily conceived
than expressed: I had no more than thirty days provision remaining,
exclusive of such supplies as I might obtain from the natives, and the
toil of our hunters, which, however, was so precarious as to be matter
of little dependence: besides, our ammunition would soon be exhausted,
particularly our ball, of which we had not more than a hundred and
fifty, and about thirty pound weight of shot, which, indeed, might be
converted into bullets, though with great waste.

The more I heard of the river, the more I was convinced it could not
empty itself into the ocean to the North of what is called the river of
the West, so that with its windings, the distance must be very great.
Such being the discouraging circumstances of my situation, which were
now heightened by the discontents of my people, I could not but be
alarmed at the idea of attempting to get to the discharge of such a
rapid river, especially when I reflected on the tardy progress of my
return up it, even if I should meet with no obstruction from the natives;
a circumstance not very probable, from the numbers of them which would
then be on the river, and whom I could have no opportunity of conciliating
in my passage down, for the reasons which have been already mentioned.  At
all events, I must give up every expectation of returning this season to
Athabasca.  Such were my reflections at this period; but instead of
continuing to indulge them, I determined to proceed with resolution, and
set future events at defiance.  At the same time I suffered myself to
nourish the hope that I might be able to penetrate with more safety, and
in a shorter period, to the ocean by the inland western communication.

To carry this project into execution I must have returned a considerable
distance up the river, which would necessarily be attended with very,
serious inconvenience, if I passed over every other; as in a voyage of
this kind, a retrograde motion could not fail to cool the ardour,
slacken the zeal and weaken the confidence of those, who have no greater
inducement to the undertaking, than to follow the conductor of it.  Such
was the state of my mind at this period, and such the circumstances with
which it was distressed and distracted.

To the people who had given me the foregoing information I presented
some beads, which they preferred to any other articles in my possession,
and I recompensed in the same manner two of them who communicated to me
the following vocabulary in the language of the Nagailer and Atnah

             The Negailer or   The Atnah, or
             Carrier-Indians.  Chin-Indians.
 Eye,        Nah,              Thlouatin.
 Hair,       Thigah,           Cahowdin.
 Teeth,      Gough,            Chliough.
 Nose,       Nenzeh,           Pisax.
 Head,       Thie,             Scapacay.
 Wood,       Dekin,            Shedzay.
 Hand,       Lah,              Calietha.
 Leg,        Kin,              Squacht.
 Tongue,     Thoula,           Dewhasjiak.
 Ear,        Zach,             Ithlinah.
 Man,        Dinay,            Scuyloch.
 Woman,      Chiquoi,          Smosledgenak.
 Beaver,     Zah,              Schugh.
 Elk,        Yezey,            Ookoy-Beh.
 Dog,        Sleing,           Scacah.
 Ground-hog, Thidnu,           Squaisquais.
 Iron,       Thilisitch,       Soucoumang.
 Fire,       Coun,             Teuck.
 Water,      Tou,              Shaweliquolih.
 Stone,      Zeh,              Ishehoinah.
 Bow,        Nettuny,          Isquoinah.
 Arrow,      Igah,             Squailai.
 Yes,        Nesi,             Amaig.
 Plains,     Thoughoud,        Spilela.
 Come here,  Andezei,          Thla-elyeh.

[Transcriber's Note: 'Negailer', above,  appears to be a transcription
error in this edition. Elsewhere it is rendered as 'Nagailer']

The Atnah language has no affinity to any with which I am acquainted;
but the Nagailer differs very little from that spoken by the Beaver
Indians, and is almost the same as that of the Chepewyans.

We had a thunder-storm with heavy rain; and in the evening when it had
subsided, the Indians amused us with singing and dancing, in which they
were joined by the young women.  Four men now arrived whom we had not
yet seen; they had left their families at some distance in the country,
and expressed a desire that we should visit them there.

_Sunday, 23._--After a restless night, I called the Indians together,
from whom I yesterday received the intelligence which has been already
mentioned, in the hope that I might obtain some additional information.
From their former account they did not make the least deviation; but
they informed me further, that where they left this river, a small one
from the Westward falls into it, which was navigable for their canoes
during four days, and from thence they slept but two nights, to get to
the people with whom they trade, and who have wooden canoes much larger
than ours, in which they go down a river to the sea.  They continued to
inform me, that if I went that way we must leave our own canoe behind
us; but they thought it probable that those people would furnish us with
another.  From thence they stated the distance to be only one day's
voyage with the current to the lake whose water is nauseous, and where
they had heard that great canoes came two winters ago, and that the
people belonging to them, brought great quantities of goods and built

At the commencement of this conversation, I was very much surprised by
the following question from one of the Indians: "What," demanded he,
"can be the reason that you are so particular and anxious in your
inquiries of us respecting a knowledge of this country: do not you white
men know every thing in the world?" This interrogatory was so very
unexpected, that it occasioned some hesitation before I could answer it.
At length, however, I replied, that we certainly were acquainted with
the principal circumstances of every part of the world; that I knew
where the sea is, and where I myself then was, but that I did not
exactly understand what obstacles might interrupt me in getting to it;
with which, he and his relations must be well acquainted, as they had so
frequently surmounted them.  Thus I fortunately preserved the impression
in their minds, of the superiority of white people over themselves.

It was now, however, absolutely necessary that I should come to a final
determination which route to take; and no long interval of reflection
was employed, before I preferred to go over land: the comparative
shortness and security of such a journey, were alone sufficient to
determine me.  I accordingly proposed to two of the Indians to accompany
me, and one of them readily assented to my proposition.

I now called those of my people about me, who had not been present at my
consultation with the natives; and after passing a warm eulogium on
their fortitude, patience, and perseverance, I stated the difficulties
that threatened our continuing to navigate the river, the length of time
it would require, and the scanty provision we had for such a voyage: I
then proceeded for the foregoing reasons to propose a shorter route, by
trying the overland road to the sea.  At the same time, as I knew from
experience, the difficulty of retaining guides, and as many
circumstances might occur to prevent our progress in that direction, I
declared my resolution not to attempt it, unless they would engage if we
could not after all proceed over land, to return with me, and continue
our voyage to the discharge of the waters, whatever the distance might
be.  At all events, I declared, in the most solemn manner, that I would
not abandon my design of reaching the sea, if I made the attempt alone,
and that I did not despair of returning in safety to my friends.

This proposition met with the most zealous return, and they unanimously
assured me, that they were as willing now as they had ever been, to
abide by my resolutions, whatever they might be, and to follow me
wherever I should go.  I therefore requested them to prepare for an
immediate departure, and at the same time gave notice to the man who had
engaged to be our guide, to be in readiness to accompany us.  When our
determination to return up the river was made known, several of the
natives took a very abrupt departure; but to those who remained, I gave
a few useful articles, explaining to them at the same time, the
advantages that would result to them, if their relations conducted me to
the sea, along such a road as they had described.  I had already given a
moose skin to some of the women for the purpose of making shoes, which
were now brought us; they were well sewed but ill-shaped, and a few
beads were considered as a sufficient remuneration for the skill
employed on them, Mr. Mackay, by my desire, engraved my name, and the
date of the year on a tree.

When we were ready to depart, our guide proposed, for the sake of
expedition, to go over land to his lodge, that he might get there before
us, to make some necessary preparation for his journey.  I did not
altogether relish his design, but was obliged to consent: I thought it
prudent, however, to send Mr. Mackay, and the two Indians along with
him.  Our place of rendezvous, was the subterraneous house which we
passed yesterday.

At ten in the morning we embarked, and went up the current much faster
than I expected with such a crazy vessel as that which carried us.  We
met our people at the house as had been appointed; but the Indian still
continued to prefer going on by land, and it would have been needless
for me to oppose him.  He proceeded, therefore, with his former
companions, whom I desired to keep him in good humour by every
reasonable gratification.  They were also furnished with a few articles
that might be of use if they should meet strangers.

In a short time after we had left the house, I saw a wooden canoe coming
down the river, with three natives in it, who, as soon as they perceived
us, made for the shore, and hurried into the woods.  On passing their
vessel, we discovered it to be one of those which we had seen at the
lodges.  A severe gust of wind, with rain, came from the
South-South-East.  This we found to be a very prevalent wind in these
parts.  We soon passed another wooden canoe drawn stern foremost on the
shore; a circumstance which we had not hitherto observed.  The men
worked very hard, and though I imagined we went a-head very fast, we
could not reach the lodges, but landed for the night at nine, close to
the encampment of two families of the natives whom we had formerly seen
at the lodges.  I immediately went and sat down with them, when they
gave some roasted fish; two of my men who followed me were gratified
also with some of their provisions.  The youngest of the two natives now
quitted the shed, and did not return during the time I remained there.
I endeavoured to explain to the other by signs, the cause of my sudden
return, which he appeared to understand.  In the mean time my tent was
pitched, and on my going to it, I was rather surprised that he did not
follow me, as he had been constantly with me during the day and night I
had passed with his party on going down.  We, however, went to rest in a
state of perfect security; nor had we the least apprehension for the
safety of our people who were gone by land.

We were in our canoe by four this morning, and passed by the Indian hut,
which appeared in a state of perfect tranquillity.  We soon came in
sight of the point where we first saw the natives, and at eight were
much surprised and disappointed at seeing Mr. Mackay, and our two
Indians coming alone from the ruins of a house that had been partly
carried away by the ice and water, at a short distance below the place
where we had appointed to meet.  Nor was our surprise and apprehension
diminished by the alarm which was painted in their countenances.  When
we had landed, they informed me that they had taken refuge in that
place, with the determination to sell their lives, which they considered
in the most imminent danger, as dear as possible.  In a very short time
after they had left us, they met a party of the Indians, whom we had
known at this place, and were probably those whom we had seen to land
from their canoe.  They appeared to be in a state of extreme rage, and
had their bows bent, with their arrows across them.  The guide stopped
to ask them some questions, which my people did not understand, and then
set off with his utmost speed.  Mr. Mackay, however, did not leave him
till they were both exhausted with running.  When the young man came up,
he then said, that some treacherous design was meditated against them,
as he was induced to believe from the declaration of the natives, who
told him that they were going to do mischief, but refused to name the
enemy.  The guide then conducted them through very bad ways, as fast as
they could run; and when he was desired to slacken his pace, he answered
that they might follow him in any manner they pleased, but that he was
impatient to get to his family, in order to prepare shoes, and other
necessaries, for his journey.  They did not, however, think it prudent
to quit him, and he would not stop till ten at night.  On passing a
track that was but lately made, they began to be seriously alarmed, and
on inquiring of the guide where they were, he pretended not to
understand them.  They then all laid down, exhausted with fatigue, and
without any kind of covering: they were cold, wet, and hungry, but dared
not light a fire, from the apprehension of an enemy.  This comfortless
spot they left at the dawn of the day, and, on their arrival at the
lodges, found them deserted; the property of the Indians being scattered
about, as if abandoned for ever.  The guide then made two or three trips
into the woods, calling aloud, and bellowing like a madman.  At length
he set off in the same direction as they came, and had not since
appeared.  To heighten their misery, as they did not find us at the
place appointed, they concluded that we were all destroyed, and had
already formed their plan to take to the woods, and cross in as direct a
line as they could proceed, to the waters of the Peace River, a scheme
which could only be suggested by despair.  They intended to have waited
for us till noon, and if we did not appear by that time, to have entered
without further delay on their desperate expedition.

This alarm among the natives was a very unexpected as well as perilous
event, and my powers of conjecture were exhausted in searching for the
cause of it.  A general panic seized all around me, and any further
prosecution of the voyage was now considered by them as altogether
hopeless and impracticable.  But without paying the least attention to
their opinions or surmises, I ordered them to take every thing out of
the canoe, except six packages: when that was done, I left four men to
take care of the lading, and returned with the others to our camp of
last night, where I hoped to find the two men, with their families, whom
we had seen there, and to be able to bring them to lodge with us, when I
should wait the issue of this mysterious business.  This project,
however, was disappointed, for these people had quitted their sheds in
the silence of the night, and had not taken a single article of their
little property with them.

These perplexing circumstances made a deep impression on my mind, not as
to our immediate safety, for I entertained not the least apprehension
of the Indians I had hitherto seen, even if their whole force should
have been combined to attack us, but these untoward events seemed to
threaten the prosecution of my journey; and I could not reflect on
the possibility of such a disappointment but with sensations little
short of agony.  Whatever might have been the wavering disposition of
the people on former occasions, they were now decided in their opinions
as to the necessity of returning without delay; and when we came back
to them, their cry was--"Let us re-embark, and be gone."  This, however,
was not my design, and in a more peremptory tone than I usually employed,
they were ordered to unload the canoe, and take her out of the water.
On examining our property, several articles appeared to be missing,
which the Indians must have purloined; and among them were an axe,
two knives, and the young men's bag of medicines.  We now took a position
that was the best calculated for defence, got our arms in complete order,
filled each man's flask of powder, and distributed an hundred bullets,
which were all that remained, while some were employed in melting down
shot to make more.  The weather was so cloudy, that I had not an
opportunity of taking an observation.

While we were employed in making these preparations, we saw an Indian in
a canoe come down the river, and land at the huts, which he began to
examine.  On perceiving us he stood still, as if in a state of suspense,
when I instantly dispatched one of my Indians towards him, but no
persuasions could induce him to have confidence in us; he even
threatened that he would hasten to join his friends, who would come and
kill us.  At the conclusion of this menace he disappeared.  On the
return of my young man, with this account of the interview, I pretended
to discredit the whole, and attributed it to his own apprehensions and
alarms.  This, however, he denied, and asked with a look and tone of
resentment, whether he had ever told me a lie?  Though he was but a
young man, he said, he had been on war excursions before he came with
me, and that he should no longer consider me as a wise man, which he had
hitherto done.

To add to our distresses we had not an ounce of gum for the reparation
of the canoe, and not one of the men had sufficient courage to venture
into the woods to collect it.  In this perplexing situation I
entertained the hope that in the course of the night some of the natives
would return, to take away a part at least of the things which they had
left behind them, as they had gone away without the covering necessary
to defend them from the weather and the flies.  I therefore ordered the
canoe to be loaded, and dropped to an old house, one side of which, with
its roof, had been carried away by the water; but the three remaining
angles were sufficient to shelter us from the woods.  I then ordered two
strong piquets to be driven into the ground, to which the canoe was
fastened, so that if we were hard pressed we had only to step on board
and push off.  We were under the necessity of making a smoke to keep off
the swarms of flies, which would have otherwise tormented us; but we did
not venture to excite a blaze, as it would have been a mark for the
arrows of the enemy.  Mr. Mackay and myself, with three men kept
alternate watch, and allowed the Indians to do as they fancied.  I took
the first watch, and the others laid down in their clothes by us.  I
also placed a centinel at a small distance, who was relieved every hour.
The weather was cloudy, with showers of rain.

_Tuesday, 25._--At one I called up the other watch, and laid down to a
small portion of broken rest.  At five I arose, and as the situation
which we left yesterday was preferable to that which we then occupied, I
determined to return to it.  On our arrival Mr. Mackay informed me that
the men had expressed their dissatisfaction to him in a very unreserved
manner, and had in very strong terms declared their resolution to follow
me no further in my proposed enterprise.  I did not appear, however, to
have received such communications from him, and continued to employ my
whole thoughts in contriving means to bring about a reconciliation with
the natives, which alone would enable me to procure guides, without
whose assistance it would be impossible for me to proceed, when my
darling project would end in disappointment.

At twelve we saw a man coming with the stream upon a raft, and he must
have discovered us before we perceived him, as he was working very hard
to get to the opposite shore, where he soon landed, and instantly fled
into the woods.  I now had a meridional altitude, which gave
60. 23. natural horizon (the angle being more than the sextant could
measure with the artificial horizon) one mile and a half distant; and
the eye five feet above the level of the water, gave 62. 47. 51.  North

While I was thus employed, the men loaded the canoe, without having
received any orders from me, and as this was the first time they had
ventured to act in such a decided manner, I naturally concluded that
they had preconcerted a plan for their return.  I thought it prudent,
however, to take no notice of this transaction, and to wait the issue of
future circumstances.  At this moment our Indians perceived a person in
the edge of the woods above us, and they were immediately dispatched to
discover who it was.  After a short absence they returned with a young
woman whom we had seen before: her language was not clearly comprehended
by us, so that we could not learn from her, at least with any degree of
certainty, the cause of this unfortunate alarm that had taken place
among the natives.  She told us that her errand was to fetch some things
which she had left behind her; and one of the dogs whom we found here,
appeared to acknowledge her as his mistress.  We treated her with great
kindness, gave her something to eat, and added a present of such
articles as we thought might please her.  On her expressing a wish to
leave us, we readily consented to her departure, and indulged the hope
that her reception would induce the natives to return in peace, and give
us an opportunity to convince them, that we had no hostile designs
whatever against them.  On leaving us, she went up the river, without
taking a single article of her own, and the dog followed.  The wind was
changeable throughout the day, and there were several showers in the
course of it.

Though a very apparent anxiety prevailed among the people for their
departure, I appeared to be wholly inattentive to it, and at eight in
the evening I ordered four men to step into the canoe, which had been
loaded for several hours, and drop down to our guard-house, and my
command was immediately obeyed: the rest of us proceeded there by land.
When I was yet at a considerable distance from the house, and thought it
impossible for an arrow to reach it, having a bow and quiver in my hand,
I very imprudently let fly an arrow, when, to my astonishment and
infinite alarm, I heard it strike a log of the house.  The men who had
just landed, imagined that they were attacked by an enemy from the
woods.  Their confusion was in proportion to their imaginary danger, and
on my arrival I found that the arrow had passed within a foot of one of
the men; though it had no point, the weapon, incredible as it may
appear, had entered an hard, dry log of wood upwards of an inch.  But
this was not all: for the men readily availed themselves of this
circumstance, to remark upon the danger of remaining in the power of a
people possessed of such means of destruction.  Mr. Mackay having the
first watch, I laid myself down in my cloak.

_Wednesday, 26._--At midnight a rustling noise was heard in the woods
which created a general alarm, and I was awakened to be informed of the
circumstance, but heard nothing.  At one I took my turn of the watch,
and our dog continued unceasingly to run backwards and forwards along
the skirts of the wood in a state of restless vigilance.  At two in the
morning the centinel informed me, that he saw something like an human
figure creeping along on all-fours about fifty paces above us.  After
some time had passed in our search, I at length discovered that his
information was true, and it appeared to me that a bear had occasioned
the alarm; but when day appeared, it proved to be an old, grey-haired,
blind man, who had been compelled to leave his hiding-place by extreme
hunger, being too infirm to join in the flight of the natives to whom he
belonged.  When I put my hand on this object of decaying nature, his
alarm was so great, that I expected it would have thrown him into
convulsions.  I immediately led him to our fire which had been just
lighted, and gave him something to eat, which he much wanted, as he had
not tasted food for two days.  When his hunger was satisfied, and he had
got warm and composed, I requested him to acquaint me with the cause of
that alarm which had taken place respecting us among his relations and
friends, whose regard we appeared to have conciliated but a few days
past.  He replied, that very soon after we had left them, some natives
arrived from above, who informed them that we were enemies; and our
unexpected return, in direct contradiction to our own declarations,
confirmed them in that opinion.  They were now, he said, so scattered,
that a considerable time would elapse, before they could meet again.  We
gave him the real history of our return, as well as of the desertion of
our guide, and, at the same time, stated the impossibility of our
proceeding, unless we procured a native to conduct us.  He replied, that
if he had not lost his sight, he would with the greatest readiness have
accompanied us on our journey.  He also confirmed the accounts which we
had received of the country, and the route to the Westward.  I did not
neglect to employ every argument in my power, that he might be persuaded
of our friendly dispositions to the inhabitants wheresoever we might
meet them.

At sun-rise we perceived a canoe with one man in it on the opposite side
of the river, and at our request, the blind man called to him to come to
us, but he returned no answer, and continued his course as fast as he
could paddle down the current.  He was considered as a spy by my men,
and I was confirmed in that opinion, when I saw a wooden canoe drifting
with the stream close in to the other shore, where it was more than
probable that some of the natives might be concealed.  It might,
therefore, have been an useless enterprise, or perhaps fatal to the
future success of our undertaking, if we had pursued these people, as
they might, through fear have employed their arms against us, and
provoked us to retaliate.

The old man informed me, that some of the natives whom I had seen here
were gone up the river, and those whom I saw below had left their late
station to gather a root in the plains, which, when dried, forms a
considerable article in their winter stock of provisions.  He had a
woman, he said, with him, who used to see us walking along the small
adjoining river, but when he called her he received no answer, so that
she had probably fled to join her people.  He informed me, also, that he
expected a considerable number of his tribe to come on the upper part of
the river to catch fish for their present support, and to cure them for
their winter store; among whom he had a son and two brothers.

In consequence of these communications, I deemed it altogether
unnecessary to lose any more time at this place, and I informed the old
man that he must accompany me for the purpose of introducing us to his
friends and relations, and that if we met with his son or brothers, I
depended upon him to persuade them, or some of their party, to attend us
as guides in our meditated expedition.  He expressed his wishes to be
excused from this service, and in other circumstances we should not have
insisted on it, but, situated as we were, we could not yield to his

At seven in the morning we left this place, which I named Deserter's
River or Creek.  Our blind guide was, however, so averse to continuing
with us, that I was under the very disagreeable necessity of ordering
the men to carry him into the canoe; and this was the first act during
my voyage, that had the semblance of violent dealing.  He continued to
speak in a very loud tone, while he remained, according to his
conjecture, near enough to the camp to be heard, but in a language that
our interpreters did not understand.  On asking him what he said, and
why he did not speak in a language known to us, he replied, that the
woman understood him better in that which he spoke, and he requested
her, if she heard him, to come for him to the carrying-place, where he
expected we should leave him.

At length our canoe was become so leaky, that it was absolutely unfit
for service; and it was the unremitting employment of one person to keep
her clear of water: we, therefore, inquired of the old man where we
could conveniently obtain the articles necessary to build a new one; and
we understood from him that, at some distance up the river, we should
find plenty of bark and cedar.

At ten, being at the foot of a rapid, we saw a small canoe coming down
with two men in it.  We thought it would be impossible for them to
escape, and therefore struck off from the shore with a design to
intercept them, directing the old man at the same time to address them;
but they no sooner perceived us, than they steered into the strength of
the current, where I thought that they must inevitably perish; but their
attention appeared to be engrossed by the situation of their canoe, and
they escaped without making us the least reply.

About three in the afternoon we perceived a lodge at the entrance of a
considerable river on the right, as well as the tracks of people in the
mud at the mouth of a small river on the left.  As they appeared to be
fresh, we landed, and endeavoured to trace them, but without success.
We then crossed over to the lodge, which was deserted, but all the usual
furniture of such buildings remained untouched.

Throughout the whole of this day the men had been in a state of extreme
ill-humour, and as they did not choose openly to vent it upon me, they
disputed and quarrelled among themselves.  About sun-set the canoe
struck upon the stump of a tree, which broke a large hole in her bottom;
a circumstance that gave them an opportunity to let loose their
discontents without reserve.  I left them as soon as we had landed, and
ascended an elevated bank, in a state of mind which I scarce wish to
recollect, and shall not attempt to describe.  At this place there was a
subterraneous house, where I determined to pass the night.  The water
had risen since we had passed down, and it was with the utmost exertion
that we came up several points in the course of the day.

We embarked at half past four, with very favourable weather, and at
eight we landed, where there was an appearance of our being able to
procure bark; we, however, obtained but a small quantity.  At twelve we
went on shore again, and collected as much as was necessary for our
purpose.  It now remained for us to fix on a proper place for building
another canoe, as it was impossible to proceed with our old one, which
was become an absolute wreck.  At five in the afternoon we came to a
spot well adapted to the business in which we were about to engage.  It
was on a small island not much encumbered with wood, though there was
plenty of the spruce kind on the opposite land, which was only divided
from us by a small channel.  We now landed, but before the canoe was
unloaded, and the tent pitched, a violent thunder-storm came on,
accompanied with rain, which did not subside till the night had closed
in upon us.  Two of our men who had been in the woods for axe-handles,
saw a deer, and one of them shot at it, but unluckily missed his aim.  A
net was also prepared and set in the eddy at the end of the island.


JUNE, 1793.

_Friday, 28._--At a very early hour of the morning every man was
employed in making preparations for building another canoe, and
different parties went in search of wood, watape, and gum.  At two in
the afternoon they all returned successful, except the collectors of
gum, and of that article it was feared we should not obtain here a
sufficient supply for our immediate wants.  After a necessary portion of
time allotted for refreshment, each began his respective work.  I had an
altitude at noon, which made us in 53. 2.  32. North latitude.

_Saturday, 29._--The weather continued to be fine.  At five o'clock we
renewed our labour, and the canoe was got in a state of considerable
forwardness.  The conductor of the work, though a good man, was
remarkable for the tardiness of his operations, whatever they might be,
and more disposed to eat than to be active; I therefore took this
opportunity of unfolding my sentiments to him, and thereby discovering
to all around me the real state of my mind, and the resolutions I had
formed for my future conduct.  After reproaching him for his general
inactivity, but particularly on the present occasion, when our time was
so precious, I mentioned the apparent want of economy, both of himself
and his companions, in the article of provisions.  I informed him that I
was not altogether a stranger to their late conversations, from whence I
drew the conclusion that they wished to put an end to the voyage.  If
that were so, I expressed my wish that they would be explicit, and tell
me at once of their determination to follow me no longer.  I concluded,
however, by assuring him, that whatever plan they had meditated to
pursue, it was my fixed and unalterable determination to proceed, in
spite of every difficulty that might oppose, or danger that should
threaten me.  The man was very much mortified at my addressing this
remonstrance particularly to him; and replied that he did not deserve my
displeasure more than the rest of them.  My object being answered, the
conversation dropped, and the work went on.

About two in the afternoon one of the men perceived a canoe with two
natives in it, coming along the inside of the island, but the water
being shallow, it turned back, and we imagined that on perceiving us
they had taken the alarm; but we were agreeably surprised on seeing them
come up the outside of the island, when we recognised our guide, and one
of the natives whom we had already seen; The former began immediately to
apologize for his conduct, and assured me that since he had left me, his
whole time had been employed in searching after his family, who had been
seized with the general panic, that had been occasioned by the false
reports of the people who had first fled from us.  He said it was
generally apprehended by the natives, that we had been unfriendly to
their relations above, who were expected upon the river in great numbers
at this time: and that many of the Atnah or Chin nation, had come up the
river to where we had been, in the hope of seeing us, and were very much
displeased with him and his friends for having neglected to give them an
early notice of our arrival there.  He added, that the two men whom we
had seen yesterday, or the day before, were just returned from their
rendezvous, with the natives of the sea coast, and had brought a message
from his brother-in-law, that he had a new axe for him, and not to
forget to bring a moose-skin dressed in exchange, which he actually had
in his canoe.  He expected to meet him, he said, at the other end of the

This was as pleasing intelligence as we had reason to expect, and it is
almost superfluous to observe that we stood in great need of it.  I had
a meridian altitude, which gave 53. 3. 7. North latitude.  I also took
time in the fore and afternoon, that gave a mean of 1. 37. 42.
Achrometer slow apparent time, which, with an observed immersion of
Jupiter's first satellite, made our longitude 122. 48. West of

The blind old man gave a very favourable account of us to his friends,
and they all three were very merry together during the whole of the
afternoon.  That our guide, however, might not escape from us during the
night, I determined to set a watch upon him.

_Sunday, 30._--Our strangers conducted themselves with great good
humour throughout the day.  According to their information, we should
find their friends above and below the carrying-place.  They mentioned,
also, that some of them were not of their tribe, but are allied to the
people of the sea coast, who trade with the white men.  I had a meridian
altitude, that gave 53. 3. 17. North latitude.

JULY. _Monday, 1._--Last night I had the first watch, when one of my
Indians proposed to sit up with me, as he understood, from the old man's
conversation, that he intended, in the course of the night, to make his
escape.  Accordingly, at eleven I extinguished my light, and sat quietly
in my tent, from whence I could observe the motions of the natives.
About twelve, though the night was rather dark, I observed the old man
creeping on his hands and knees towards the water-side.  We accordingly
followed him very quietly to the canoe, and he would have gone away with
it, if he had not been interrupted in his design.  On upbraiding him for
his treacherous conduct, when he had been treated with so much kindness
by us, he denied the intention of which we accused him, and declared
that his sole object was to assuage his thirst.  At length, however, he
acknowledged the truth, and when we brought him to the fire, his
friends, who now awoke, on being informed of what had passed, reprobated
his conduct, and asked him how he could expect that the white people
would return to this country, if they experienced such ungrateful
treatment.  The guide said, for his part, he was not a woman, and would
never run away through fear.  But notwithstanding this courageous
declaration, at once I awakened Mr. Mackay, related to him what had
passed, and requested him not to indulge himself in sleep, till I should
rise.  It was seven before I awoke, and on quitting my tent I was
surprised at not seeing the guide and his companion, and my
apprehensions were increased when I observed that the canoe was removed
from its late situation.  To my inquiries after them, some of the men
very composedly answered that they were gone up the river, and had left
the old man behind them.  Mr. Mackay also told me, that while he was
busily employed on the canoe, they had got to the point before he had
observed their departure.  The interpreter now informed me that at the
dawn of day the guide had expressed his design, as soon as the sun was
up, to go and wait for us, where he might find his friends.  I hoped
this might be true; but that my people should suffer them to depart
without giving me notice, was a circumstance that awakened very painful
reflections in my breast.  The weather was clear in the forenoon.  My
observation this day gave 53. 8. 82. North latitude.

At five in the afternoon our vessel was completed, and ready for
service.  She proved a stronger and better boat than the old one, though
had it not been for the gum obtained from the latter, it would have been
a matter of great difficulty to have procured a sufficiency of that
article to have prevented her from leaking.  The remainder of the day
was employed by the people in cleaning and refreshing themselves, as
they had enjoyed no relaxation from their labour since we landed on this

The old man having manifested for various and probably very fallacious
reasons, a very great aversion to accompany us any further, it did not
appear that there was any necessity to force his inclination.  We now
put our arms in order, which was soon accomplished, as they were at all
times a general object of attention.

_Tuesday, 2._--It rained throughout the night, but at half past three
we were ready to embark, when I offered to conduct the old man where he
had supposed we should meet his friends, but he declined the
proposition.  I therefore directed a few pounds of pemmican to be left
with him, for his immediate support, and took leave of him and the
place, which I named Canoe Island.  During our stay there we had been
most cruelly tormented by flies, particularly the sand-fly, which I am
disposed to consider as the most tormenting insect of its size in
nature.  I was also compelled to put the people upon short allowance,
and confine them to two meals a day, a regulation peculiarly offensive
to a Canadian voyager.  One of these meals was composed of the dried
rows of fish, pounded, and boiled in water, thickened with a small
quantity of flour, and fattened with a bit of grian.  These articles,
being brought to the consistency of an hasty pudding, produced a
substantial and not unpleasant dish.  The natives are very careful of
the rows of fish, which they dry, and preserve in baskets made of bark.
Those we used were found in the huts of the first people who fled from
us.  During our abode in Canoe Island, the water sunk three
perpendicular feet.  I now gave the men a dram each, which could not but
be considered, at this time, as a very comfortable treat.  They were,
indeed, in high spirits, when they perceived the superior excellence of
the new vessel, and reflected that it was the work of their own hands.

[Transcriber's Note: The word 'grian' above is printed thus in this,
and other, editions.]

At eleven we arrived at the rapids, and the foreman, who had not
forgotten the fright he suffered on coming down it, proposed that the
canoe and lading should be carried over the mountain.  I threatened him
with taking the office of foreman on myself, and suggested the evident
change there was in the appearance of the water since we passed it,
which upon examination had sunk four feet and an half.  As the water did
not seem so strong on the West side, I determined to cross over, having
first put Mr. Mackay, and our two hunters, on shore, to try the woods
for game.  We accordingly traversed, and got up close along the rocks,
to a considerable distance, with the paddles, when we could proceed no
further without assistance from the line; and to draw it across a
perpendicular rock, for the distance of fifty fathoms, appeared to be an
insurmountable obstacle.  The general opinion was to return, and carry
on the other side; I desired, however, two of the men to take the line,
which was seventy fathoms in length, with a small roll of bark, and
endeavour to climb up the rocks, from whence they were to descend on the
other side of that which opposed our progress; they were then to fasten
the end of the line to the roll of bark, which the current would bring
to us; this being effected, they would be able to draw us up.  This was
an enterprise of difficulty and danger, but it was crowned with success;
though to get to the water's edge above, the men were obliged to let
themselves down with the line, run round a tree, from the summit of the
rock.  By a repetition of the same operation, we at length cleared the
rapid, with the additional trouble of carrying the canoe, and unloading
at two cascades.  We were not more than two hours getting up this
difficult part of the river, including the time employed in repairing an
hole which had been broken in the canoe, by the negligence of the

Here we expected to meet with the natives, but there was not the least
appearance of them, except that the guide, his companion, and two
others, had apparently passed the carrying-place.  We saw several fish
leap out of the water, which appeared to be of the salmon kind.  The old
man, indeed, had informed us that this was the season when the large
fish begin to come up the river.  Our hunters returned, but had not seen
the track of any animal.  We now continued our journey; the current was
not strong, but we met with frequent impediments from the fallen trees,
which lay along the banks.  We landed at eight in the evening; and
suffered indescribable inconveniences from the flies.

_Wednesday, 3._--It had rained hard in the night, and there was some
small rain in the morning.  At four we entered our canoe, and at ten we
came to a small river, which answered to the description of that whose
course the natives said, they follow in their journies towards the sea
coast; we therefore put into it, and endeavoured to discover if our
guide had landed here; but there were no traces of him or of any others.
My former perplexities were now renewed.  If I passed this river, it was
probable that I might miss the natives; and I had reason to suspect that
my men would not consent to return thither.  As for attempting the
woods, without a guide, to introduce us to the first inhabitants, such a
determination would be little short of absolute madness.  At length,
after much painful reflection, I resolved to come at once to a full
explanation with my people, and I experienced a considerable relief from
this resolution.  Accordingly, after repeating the promise they had so
lately made me, on our putting back up the river, I represented to them
that this appeared to me to be the spot from which the natives took
their departure for the sea coast, and added, withal, that I was
determined to try it: for though our guide had left us, it was possible
that, while we were making the necessary preparations, he or some others
might appear, to relieve us from our present difficulties.  I now found,
to my great satisfaction, that they had not come to any fixed
determination among themselves, as some of them immediately assented to
undertake the woods with me.  Others, however, suggested that it might
be better to proceed a few leagues further up the river, in expectation
of finding our guide, or procuring another, and that after all we might
return hither.  This plan I very readily agreed to adopt, but before I
left this place, to which I gave the name of the West-Road River, I sent
some of the men into the woods, in different directions, and went some
distance up the river myself, which I found to be navigable only for
small canoes.  Two of the men found a good beaten path, leading up a
hill just behind us, which I imagined to be the great road.

At four in the afternoon we left this place, proceeding up the river;
and had not been upon the water more than three quarters of an hour,
when we saw two canoes coming with the stream.  No sooner did the people
in them perceive us than they landed, and we went on shore at the same
place with them.  They proved to be our guide, and six of his relations.
He was covered with a painted beaver robe, so that we scarcely knew him
in his fine habiliment.  He instantly desired us to acknowledge that he
had not disappointed us, and declared, at the same time, that it was his
constant intention to keep his word.  I accordingly gave him a jacket, a
pair of trowsers, and a handkerchief, as a reward for his honourable
conduct.  The strangers examined us with the most minute attention, and
two of them, as I was now informed, belonged to the people whom we first
saw, and who fled with so much alarm from us.  They told me, also, that
they were so terrified on that occasion, as not to approach their huts
for two days; and that when they ventured thither, they found the
greater part of their property destroyed, by the fire running in the
ground.  According to their account, they were of a different tribe,
though I found no difference in their language from that of the Nagailas
or Carriers.  They are called Nascud Denee.  Their lodges were at some
distance, on a small lake, where they take fish, and if our guide had
not gone for them there, we should not have seen a human being on the
river.  They informed me that the road by their habitation is the
shortest, and they proposed that we should take it.

_Thursday, 4._--At an early hour this morning, and at the suggestion
of our guide, we proceeded to the landing-place that leads to the
strangers' lodges.  Our great difficulty here was to procure a temporary
separation from our company, in order to hide some articles we could not
carry with us, and which it would have been imprudent to leave in the
power of the natives.  Accordingly Mr. Mackay, and one of our Indians
embarked with them, and soon run out of our sight.  At our first
hiding-place we left a bag of pemmican, weighing ninety pounds, two bags
of wild rice, and a gallon keg of gunpowder.  Previous to our putting
these articles in the ground, we rolled them up in oilcloth, and dressed
leather.  In the second hiding-place, and guarded with the same rollers,
we hid two bags of Indian corn, or maize, and a bale of different
articles of merchandise.  When we had completed this important object,
we proceeded till half past eight, when we landed at the entrance of a
small rivulet, where our friends were waiting for us.

Here it was necessary that we should leave our canoe, and whatever we
could not carry on our backs.  In the first place, therefore, we
prepared a stage, on which the canoe was placed bottom upwards, and
shaded by a covering of small trees and branches, to keep her from the
sun.  We then built an oblong hollow square, ten feet by five, of green
logs, wherein we placed every article it was necessary for us to leave
here, and covered the whole with large pieces of timber.

While we were eagerly employed in this necessary business, our guide and
his companions were so impatient to be gone, that we could not persuade
the former to wait till we were prepared for our departure, and we had
some difficulty in persuading another of the natives to remain, who had
undertook to conduct us where the guide had promised to wait our

At noon we were in a state of preparation to enter the woods, an
undertaking of which I shall not here give any preliminary opinion, but
leave those who read it to judge for themselves.

We carried on our backs four bags and a half of pemmican, weighing from
eighty-five to ninety pounds each; a case with my instruments, a parcel
of goods for presents, weighing ninety pounds, and a parcel containing
ammunition of the same weight.  Each of the Canadians had a burden of
about ninety pounds, with a gun, and some ammunition.  The Indians had
about forty-five pounds weight of pemmican to carry, besides their gun,
&c., with which they were very much dissatisfied, and if they had dared
would have instantly left us.  They had hitherto been very much
indulged, but the moment was now arrived, when indulgence was no longer
practicable.  My own load, and that of Mr. Mackay, consisted of
twenty-two pounds of pemmican, some rice, a little sugar, &c., amounting
in the whole to about seventy pounds each, besides our arms and
ammunition.  I had also the tube of my telescope swung across my
shoulder, which was a troublesome addition to my burthen.  It was
determined that we should content ourselves with two meals a day, which
were regulated without difficulty, as our provisions did not require the
ceremony of cooking.

In this state of equipment we began our journey, as I have already
mentioned, about twelve at noon, the commencement of which was a steep
ascent of about a mile; it lay along a well-beaten path, but the country
through which it led was rugged and ridgy, and full of wood.  When we
were in a state of extreme heat, from the toil of our journey, the rain
came on, and continued till evening, and even when it ceased, the
underwood continued its drippings upon us.

About half past six we arrived at an Indian camp of three fires, where
we found our guide, and on his recommendation we determined to remain
there for the night.  The computed distance of this day's journey was
about twelve geographical miles; the course about West.

At sun-set, an elderly man and three other natives joined us from the
Westward.  The former bore a lance, which very much resembled a
serjeant's halberd.  He had lately received it, by way of barter, from
the natives of the Sea-Coast, who procured it from the white men.  We
should meet, he said, with many of his countrymen, who had just returned
from thence.  According to his report, it did not require more than six
days' journey, for people who are not heavily laden, to reach the
country of those with whom they bartered their skins for iron, &c., and
from thence it is not quite two days' march to the sea.  They proposed
to send two young men on before us, to notify to the different tribes
that we were approaching, that they might not be surprised at our
appearance, and be disposed to afford us a friendly reception.  This was
a measure which I could not but approve, and endeavoured by some small
presents to prepossess our couriers in our favour.

These people live but poorly at this season, and I could procure no
provision from them, but a few small, dried fish, as I think, of the
carp kind.  They had several European articles; and one of them had a
strip of fur, which appeared to me to be of the sea otter.  He obtained
it from the natives of the coast, and exchanged it with me for some
beads and a brass cross.

We retired to rest in as much security as if we had been long habituated
to a confidence in our present associates: indeed, we had no
alternative; for so great were the fatigues of the day in our mode of
travelling, that we were in great need of rest at night.

_Friday, 5._--We had no sooner laid ourselves down to rest last night,
than the natives began to sing, in a manner very different from what I
had been accustomed to hear among savages.  It was not accompanied
either with dancing, drum, or rattle; but consisted of soft plaintive
tones, and a modulation that was rather agreeable: it had somewhat the
air of church music.  As the natives had requested me not to quit them
at a very early hour in the morning, it was five before I desired that
the young men, who were to proceed with us, should depart, when they
prepared to set off: but on calling to our guide to conduct us, he said
that he did not intend to accompany us any further; as the young men
would answer our purpose as well as himself.  I knew it would be in vain
to remonstrate with him, and therefore submitted to his caprice without
a reply.  However, I thought proper to inform him, that one of my people
had lost his dag or poignard, and requested his assistance in the
recovery of it.  He asked me what I would give him to conjure it back
again; and a knife was agreed to be the price of his necromantic
exertions.  Accordingly, all the dags and knives in the place were
gathered together, and the natives formed a circle round them; the
conjurer also remaining in the middle.  When this part of the ceremony
was arranged, he began to sing, the rest joining in the chorus; and
after some time he produced the poignard, which was stuck in the ground,
and returned it to me.

At seven we were ready to depart; when I was surprised to hear our late
guide propose, without any solicitation on our part, to resume his
office; and he actually conducted us as far as a small lake, where we
found an encampment of three families.  The young men who had undertaken
to conduct us, were not well understood by my interpreters, who
continued to be so displeased with their journey, that they performed
this part of their duty with great reluctance.  I endeavoured to
persuade an elderly man of this encampment to accompany us to the next
tribe, but no inducement of mine could prevail on him to comply with my
wishes.  I was, therefore, obliged to content myself with the guides I
had already engaged, for whom we were obliged to wait some time, till
they had provided shoes for their journey.  I exchanged two halfpence
here, one of his present Majesty, and the other of the State of
Massachusett's Bay, coined in 1787.  They hung as ornaments in
children's ears.

My situation here was rendered rather unpleasant by the treatment which
my hunters received from these people.  The former, it appeared, were
considered as belonging to a tribe who inhabit the mountains, and are
the natural enemies of the latter.  We had also been told by one of the
natives, of a very stern aspect, that he had been stabbed by a relation
of theirs, and pointed to a scar as the proof of it.  I was, therefore,
very glad to proceed on my journey.

Our guides conducted us along the lake through thick woods, and without
any path, for about a mile and a half, when we lost sight of it.  This
piece of water is about three miles long and one broad.  We then crossed
a creek and entered upon a beaten track, through an open country,
sprinkled with cyprus trees.  At twelve the sky became black, and a
heavy gust with rain shortly followed, which continued for upwards of an
hour.  When we perceived the approaching storm, we fixed our thin light
oil-cloth to screen us from it.  On renewing our march, as the bushes
were very wet, I desired our guides, they having no burdens, to walk in
front and beat them as they went: this task they chose to decline, and
accordingly I undertook it.  Our road now lay along a lake, and across a
creek that ran into it.  The guides informed me, that this part of the
country abounds in beaver: many traps were seen along the road, which
had been set for lynxes and martens.  About a quarter of a mile from the
place where we had been stopped by the rain, the ground was covered with
hail, and as we advanced, the hailstones increased in size, some of them
being as big as musket-balls.  In this manner was the ground whitened
for upwards of two miles.  At five in the afternoon we arrived on the
banks of another lake, when it again threatened rain; and we had already
been sufficiently wetted in the course of the day, to look with
complacency towards a repetition of it: we accordingly fixed our shed,
the rain continuing with great violence through the remainder of the
day: it was therefore determined, that we should stop here for the

In the course of the day we passed three winter huts; they consisted of
low walls, with a ridge pole, covered with the branches of the Canadian
balsam-tree. One of my men had a violent pain in his knee, and I asked
the guides to take a share of his burden, as they had nothing to carry
but their beaver robes, and bows and arrows, but they could not be made
to understand a word of my request.

_Saturday, 6._--At four this morning I arose from my bed, such as it
was.  As we must have been in a most unfortunate predicament, if our
guides should have deserted us in the night, by way of security, I
proposed to the youngest of them to sleep with me, and he readily
consented.  These people have no covering but their beaver garments, and
that of my companions was a nest of vermin.  I, however, spread it under
us, and having laid down upon it, we covered ourselves with my camblet
cloak.  My companion's hair being greased with fish-oil, and his body
smeared with red earth, my sense of smelling as well as that of feeling,
threatened to interrupt my rest; but these inconveniences yielded to my
fatigue, and I passed a night of sound repose.

I took the lead in our march, as I had done yesterday, in order to clear
the branches of the wet which continued to hang upon them.  We proceeded
with all possible expedition through a level country with but little
underwood; the larger trees were of the fir kind.  At half past eight we
fell upon the road, which we first intended to have taken from the Great
River, and must be shorter than that which we had travelled.  The
West-road river was also in sight, winding through a valley.  We had not
met with any water since our encampment of last night, and though we
were afflicted with violent thirst, the river was at such a distance
from us, and the descent to it so long and steep, that we were compelled
to be satisfied with casting our longing looks towards it.  There
appeared to be more water in the river here, than at its discharge.  The
Indian account, that it is navigable for their canoes, is, I believe,
perfectly correct.

Our guides now told us, that as the road was very good and well traced,
they would proceed to inform the next tribe that we were coming.  This
information was of a very unpleasant nature; as it would have been easy
for them to turn off the road at an hundred yards from us, and, when we
had passed them, to return home.  I proposed that one of them should
remain with us, while two of my people should leave their loads behind
and accompany the other to the lodges.  But they would not stay to hear
our persuasions, and were soon out of sight.

I now desired the Cancre to leave his burden, take a small quantity of
provision, with his arms and blanket, and follow me.  I also told my men
to come on as fast as they could, and that I would wait for them as soon
as I had formed an acquaintance with the natives of the country before
us.  We accordingly followed our guides with all the expedition in our
power, but did not overtake them till we came to a family of natives,
consisting of one man, two women, and six children, with whom we found
them.  These people betrayed no signs of fear at our appearance, and the
man willingly conversed with my interpreter, to whom he made himself
more intelligible, than our guides had been able to do.  They, however,
had informed him of the object of our journey.  He pointed out to us one
of his wives, who was a native of the sea coast, which was not a very
great distance from us.  This woman was more inclined to corpulency than
any we had yet seen, was of low stature, with an oblong face, grey eyes,
and a flattish nose.  She was decorated with ornaments of various kinds,
such as large blue beads, either pendant from her ears, encircling her
neck, or braided in her hair: she also wore bracelets of brass, copper,
and horn.  Her garments consisted of a kind of tunic, which was covered
with a robe of matted bark, fringed round the bottom with skin of the
sea otter.  None of the women whom I had seen since we crossed the
mountain wore this kind of tunic; their blankets being merely girt round
the waist.  She had learned the language of her husband's tribe, and
confirmed his account, that we were at no great distance from the sea.
They were on their way, she said, to the great river to fish.  Age
seemed to be an object of great veneration among these people, for they
carried an old woman by turns on their backs who was quite blind and
infirm from the very advanced period of her life.

Our people having joined us and rested themselves, I requested our
guides to proceed, when the elder of them told me that he should not go
any further, but that these people would send a boy to accompany his
brother, and I began to think myself rather fortunate, that we were not
deserted by them all.

About noon we parted, and in two hours we came up with two men and their
families: when we first saw them they were sitting down, as if to rest
themselves; but no sooner did they perceive us than they rose up and
seized their arms.--The boys who were behind us immediately ran
forwards and spoke to them, when they laid by their arms and received us
as friends.  They had been eating green berries and dried fish We had,
indeed, scarcely joined them, when a woman and a boy came from the river
with water, which they very hospitably gave us to drink.  The people of
this party had a very sickly appearance, which might have been the
consequence of disease, or that indolence which is so natural to them,
or of both.  One of the women had a tattooed line along the chin, of the
same length of her mouth.

The lads now informed me that they would go no further, but that these
men would take their places; and they parted from their families with as
little apparent concern, as if they were entire strangers to each other.
One of them was very well understood by my interpreter, and had resided
among the natives of the sea coast, whom he had left but a short time.
According to his information, we were approaching a river, which was
neither large nor long, but whose banks were inhabited; and that in the
bay which the sea forms at the mouth of it, a great wooden canoe, with
white people, arrives about the time when the leaves begin to grow; I
presume in the early part of May.

After we parted with the last people, we came to an uneven, hilly,
swampy country, through which our way was impeded by a considerable
number of fallen trees.  At five in the afternoon we were overtaken by a
heavy shower of rain and hail, and being at the same time very much
fatigued, we encamped for the night near a small creek.  Our course till
we came to the river, was about South-West ten miles, and then West,
twelve or fourteen miles.  I thought it prudent, by way of security, to
submit to the same inconveniences I have already described, and shared
the beaver robe of one of my guides during the night.

_Sunday, 7._--I was so busily employed in collecting intelligence from
our conductors, that I last night forgot to wind up my timepiece, and it
was the only instance of such an act of negligence since I left Fort
Chepewyan on the 11th of last October.  At five we quitted our station,
and proceeded across two mountains, covered with spruce, poplar,
white-birch, and other trees.  We then descended into a level country,
where we found a good road, through woods of cypress.  We then came to
two small lakes, at the distance of about fourteen miles.  Course about
West.  Through them the river passes, and our road kept in a parallel
line with it on a range of elevated ground.  On observing some people
before us, our guides hastened to meet them, and, on their approach, one
of them stepped forward with an axe in his hand.  This party consisted
only of a man, two women, and the same number of children.  The eldest
of the women, who probably was the man's mother, was engaged, when we
joined them, in clearing a circular spot, of about five feet in
diameter, of the weeds that infested it; nor did our arrival interrupt
her employment, which was sacred to the memory of the dead.  The spot to
which her pious care was devoted, contained the grave of an husband, and
a son, and whenever she passed this way, she always stopped to pay this
tribute of affection.

As soon as we had taken our morning allowance, we set forwards, and
about three we perceived more people before us.  After some alarm we
came up with them.  They consisted of seven men, as many women, and
several children.  Here I was under the necessity of procuring another
guide, and we continued our route on the same side of the river, till
six in the evening, when we crossed it.  It was knee deep, and about an
hundred yards over.  I wished now to stop for the night, as we were all
of us very much fatigued, but our guide recommended us to proceed
onwards to a family of his friends, at a small distance from thence,
where we arrived at half past seven.  He had gone forward, and procured
us a welcome and quiet reception.  There being a net hanging to dry, I
requested the man to prepare and set it in the water, which he did with
great expedition, and then presented me with a few small dried fish.
Our course was South-West about twelve miles, part of which was an
extensive swamp, that was seldom less than knee deep.  In the course of
the afternoon we had several showers of rain: I had attempted to take an
altitude, but it was past meridian.  The water of the river before the
lodge was quite still, and expanded itself the form of a small lake.  In
many other places, indeed, it had assumed the same form.

_Monday, 8._--It rained throughout the night, and it was seven in the
morning before the weather would allow us to proceed.  The guide brought
me five small boiled fish, in a platter made of bark; some of them were
of the carp kind, and the rest of a species for which I am not qualified
to furnish a name.  Having dried our clothes, we set off on our march
about eight, and our guide very cheerfully continued to accompany us;
but he was not altogether so intelligible as his predecessors in our
service.  We learned from him, however, that this lake, through which
the river passes, extends to the foot of the mountain, and that he
expected to meet nine men, of a tribe which inhabits the North side of
the river.

In this part of our journey we were surprised with the appearance of
several regular basons, some of them furnished with water, and the
others empty; their slope from the edge to the bottom formed an angle of
about forty-five degrees, and their perpendicular depth was about twelve
feet.  Those that contained water, discovered gravel near their edges,
while the empty ones were covered with grass and herbs, among which we
discovered mustard, and mint.  There were also several places from
whence the water appears to have retired, which are covered with the
same soil and herbage.

We now proceeded along a very uneven country, the upper parts of which
were covered with poplars, a little under-wood, and plenty of grass: the
intervening vallies were watered with rivulets.  From these
circumstances, and the general appearance of vegetation, I could not
account for the apparent absence of animals of every kind.

_Tuesday, 9._--At two in the afternoon we arrived at the largest river
that we had seen, since we left our canoe, and which forced its way
between and over the huge stones that opposed its current.  Our course
was about South-South-West sixteen miles along the river, which might
here justify the title of a lake.  The road was good, and our next
course, which was West by South, brought us onward ten miles, where we
encamped, fatigued and wet, it having rained three parts of the day.
This river abounds with fish, and must fall into the great river,
further down than we had extended our voyage.

A heavy and continued rain fell through great part of the night, and as
we were in some measure exposed to it, time was required to dry our
clothes; so that it was half past seven in the morning before we were
ready to set out.  As we found the country so destitute of game, and
foreseeing the difficulty of procuring provisions for our return, I
thought it prudent to conceal half a bag of pemmican: having sent off
the Indians, and all my people except two, we buried it under the
fire-place, as we had done on a former occasion.  We soon overtook our
party, and continued our route along the river or lake.  About twelve I
had an altitude, but it was inaccurate from the cloudiness of the
weather.  We continued our progress till five in the afternoon, when the
water began to narrow, and in about half an hour we came to a ferry,
where we found a small raft.  At this time it began to thunder, and
torrents of rain soon followed, which terminated our journey for the
day.  Our course was about South, twenty-one miles from the lake already
mentioned.  We now discovered the tops of mountains, covered with snow,
over very high intermediate land.  We killed a whitehead and a grey
eagle, and three grey partridges; we also saw two otters in the river,
and several beaver lodges along it.  When the rain ceased, we caught a
few small fish, and repaired the raft for the service of the ensuing

_Wednesday, 10._--At an early hour of this morning we prepared to
cross the water.  The traverse is about thirty yards, and it required
five trips to get us all over.  At a short distance below, a small river
falls in, that comes from the direction in which we were proceeding.  It
is a rapid for about three hundred yards, when it expands into a lake,
along which our road conducted us, and beneath a range of beautiful
hills, covered with verdure.  At half past eight we came to the
termination of the lake, where there were two houses that occupied a
most delightful situation, and as they contained their necessary
furniture, it seemed probable that their owners intended shortly to
return.  Near them were several graves or tombs, to which the natives
are particularly attentive, and never suffer any herbage to grow upon
them.  In about half an hour we reached a place where there were two
temporary huts, that contained thirteen men, with whom we found our
guide who had preceded us, in order to secure a good reception.  The
buildings were detached from each other, and conveniently placed for
fishing in the lake.  Their inhabitants called themselves
Sloua-cuss-Dinais, which denomination, as far as my interpreter could
explain it to me, I understood to mean Red-fish Men.  They were much
more cleanly, healthy, and agreeable in their appearance, than any of
the natives whom we had passed; nevertheless, I have no doubt that they
are the same people, from their name alone, which is of the Chepewyan
language.  My interpreters, however, understood very little of what they
said, so that I did not expect much information from them.  Some of them
said it was a journey of four days to the sea, and others were of
opinion that it was six; and there were among them who extended it to
eight; but they all uniformly declared that they had been to the coast.
They did not entertain the smallest apprehension of danger from us, and,
when we discharged our pieces, expressed no sensation but that of
astonishment, which, as may be supposed, was proportionably increased
when one of the hunters shot an eagle, at a considerable distance.  At
twelve I obtained an altitude, which made our latitude 53. 4. 32. North,
being not so far South as I expected.

I now went, accompanied by one of my men, an interpreter, and the guide,
to visit some huts at the distance of a mile.  On our arrival, the
inhabitants presented us with a dish of boiled trout, of a small kind.
The fish would have been excellent if it had not tasted of the kettle,
which was made of the bark of the white spruce, and of the dried grass
with which it was boiled.  Besides this kind of trout, red and white
carp and jub, are the only fish I saw as the produce of these waters.

These people appeared to live in a state of comparative comfort; they
take a greater share in the labour of the women, than is common among
the savage tribes, and are, as I was informed, content with one wife.
Though this circumstance may proceed rather from the difficulty of
procuring subsistence, than any habitual aversion to polygamy.

My present guide now informed me, that he could not proceed any further,
and I accordingly engaged two of these people to succeed him in that
office; but when they desired us to proceed on the beaten path without
them, as they could not set off till the following day, I determined to
stay that night, in order to accommodate myself to their convenience.  I
distributed some trifles among the wives and children of the men who
were to be our future guides, and returned to my people.  We came back
by a different way, and passed by two buildings, erected between four
trees, and about fifteen feet from the ground, which appeared to me to
be intended as magazines for winter provisions.  At four in the
afternoon, we proceeded with considerable expedition, by the side of the
lake, till six, when we came to the end of it: we then struck off
through a much less beaten track, and at half past seven stopped for the
night.  Our course, was about West-South-West thirteen miles, and West
six miles.

_Thursday, 11._--I passed a most uncomfortable night: the first part
of it I was tormented with flies, and in the latter deluged with rain.
In the morning the weather cleared, and as soon as our clothes were
dried, we proceeded through a morass.  This part of the country had been
laid waste by fire, and the fallen trees added to the pain and
perplexity of our way.  A high, rocky ridge stretched along our left.
Though the rain returned, we continued our progress till noon, when our
guide took to some trees for shelter.  We then spread our oil-cloth,
and, with some difficulty, made a fire.  About two the rain ceased, when
we continued our journey through the same kind of country which we had
hitherto passed.  At half past three we came in sight of a lake; the
land at the same time gradually rising to a range of mountains whose
tops were covered with snow.  We soon after observed two fresh tracks,
which seemed to surprise our guides, but they supposed them to have been
made by the inhabitants of the country, who were come into this part of
it to fish.  At five in the afternoon we were so wet and cold (for it
had at intervals continued to rain) that we were compelled to stop for
the night.  We passed seven rivulets and a creek in this day's journey,
As I had hitherto regulated our course by the sun, I could not form an
accurate judgment of this route, as we had not been favoured with a
sight of it during the day; but I imagine it to have been nearly in the
same direction as that of yesterday.  Our distance could not have been
less than fifteen miles.

Our conductors now began to complain of our mode of travelling, and
mentioned their intention of leaving us; and my interpreters, who were
equally dissatisfied, added to our perplexity by their conduct.  Besides
these circumstances, and the apprehension that the distance from the sea
might be greater than I had imagined, it became a matter of real
necessity that we should begin to diminish the consumption of our
provisions, and to subsist upon two-thirds of our allowance; a
preposition which was as unwelcome to my people, as it was necessary to
put into immediate practice.

_Friday, 12._--At half past five this morning we proceeded on our
journey, with cloudy weather, and when we came to the end of the lake,
several tracks were visible that led to the side of the water; from
which circumstance I concluded, that some of the natives were fishing
along the banks of it.  This lake is not more than three miles long, and
about one broad.  We then passed four smaller lakes, the two first being
on our right, and those which preceded, on our left.  A small river also
flowed across our way from the right, and we passed it over a
beaver-dam.  A larger lake new appeared on our right, and the mountains
on each side of us were covered with snow.  We afterwards came to
another lake on our right, and soon reached a river, which our guides
informed us was the same that we had passed on a raft.  They said it was
navigable for canoes from the great river, except two rapids, one of
which we had seen.  At this place it was upwards of twenty yards across,
and deep water.  One of the guides swam over to fetch a raft which was
on the opposite side; and having encreased its dimensions, we crossed at
two trips, except four of the men, who preferred swimming.

Here our conductors renewed their menace of leaving us, and I was
obliged to give them several articles, and promise more, in order to
induce them to continue till we could procure other natives to succeed
them.  At four in the afternoon we forded the same river, and being with
the guides at some distance before the rest of the people, I sat down to
wait for them, and no sooner did they arrive, than the former set off
with so much speed, that my attempt to follow them proved unsuccessful.
One of my Indians, however, who had no load, overtook them, when they
excused themselves to him by declaring that their sole motive for
leaving us, was to prevent the people, whom they expected to find, from
shooting their arrows at us.  At seven o'clock, however, were so
fatigued, that we encamped without them; the mountains covered with snow
now appeared to be directly before us.  As we were collecting wood for
our fire, we discovered a cross road, where it appeared that people had
passed within seven or eight days.  In short, our situation was such as
to afford a just cause of alarm, and that of the people with me was of a
nature to defy immediate alleviation.  It was necessary, however, for me
to attempt it; and I rested my principles of encouragement on a
representation of our past perplexities and unexpected relief, and
endeavoured to excite in them the hope of similar good fortune.  I
stated to them, that we could not be at a great distance from the sea,
and that there were but few natives to pass, till we should arrive among
those, who being accustomed to visit the sea coast, and, having seen
white people, would be disposed to treat us with kindness.  Such was the
general tenor of the reasoning I employed on the occasion, and I was
happy to find that it was not offered in vain.

The weather had been cloudy till three in the afternoon, when the sun
appeared; but surrounded, as we were, with snow-clad mountains; the air
became so cold, that the violence of our exercise, was not sufficient to
produce a comfortable degree of warmth.  Our course to-day was from West
to South and at least thirty-six miles.  The land in general was very
barren and stony, and lay in ridges, with cypress trees scattered over
them.  We passed several swamps, where we saw nothing to console us but
a few tracks of deer.

_Saturday, 13._--The weather this morning was clear but cold, and our
scanty covering was not sufficient to protect us from the severity of
the night.  About five, after we had warmed ourselves at a large fire,
we proceeded on our dubious journey.  In about an hour we came to the
edge of a wood, when we perceived a house, situated on a green spot, and
by the side of a small river.  The smoke that issued from it informed us
that it was inhabited.  I immediately pushed forward towards this
mansion, while my people were in such a state of alarm, that they
followed me with the greatest reluctance.  On looking back, I perceived
that we were in an Indian defile, of fifty yards in length.  I, however,
was close upon the house before the inhabitants perceived us, when the
women and children uttered the most horrid shrieks, and the only man who
appeared to be with them, escaped out of a back door, which I reached in
time to prevent the women and children from following him.  The man fled
with all his speed into the wood, and I called in vain on my
interpreters to speak to him, but they were so agitated with fear as to
have lost the power of utterance.  It is impossible to describe the
distress and alarm of these poor people, who believing that they were
attacked by enemies, expected an immediate massacre, which, among
themselves, never fails to follow such an event.

Our prisoners consisted of three women, and seven children, which
apparently composed three families.  At length, however, by our
demeanor, and our presents, we contrived to dissipate their
apprehensions.  One of the women then informed us, that their people,
with several others had left that place three nights before, on a
trading journey to a tribe whom she called Annah, which is the name the
Chepewyans give to the Knisteneaux, at the distance of three days.  She
added also, that from the mountains before us, which were covered with
snow, the sea was visible; and accompanied her information with a
present of a couple of dried fish.  We now expressed our desire that the
man might be induced to return, and conduct us in the road to the sea.
Indeed, it was not long before he discovered himself in the wood, when
he was assured, both by the women and our interpreters, that we had no
hostile design against him; but these assurances had no effect in
quieting his apprehensions.  I then attempted to go to him alone, and
showed him a knife, beads, &c., to induce him to come to me, but he, in
return, made a hostile display of his bow and arrows: and, having for
some time exhibited a variety of strange antics, again disappeared.
However, he soon presented himself in another quarter, and after a
succession of parleys between us, he engaged to come and accompany us.

While these negotiations were proceeding, I proposed to visit the
fishing machines, to which the women readily consented, and I found in
them twenty small fish, such as trout, carp, and jub, for which I gave
her a large knife; a present that appeared to be equally unexpected and
gratifying to her.  Another man now came towards us, from a hill,
talking aloud from the time he appeared, till he reached us.  The
purport of his speech was, that he threw himself upon our mercy and we
might kill him, if it was our pleasure but that from what he had heard,
he looked rather for our friendship than our enmity.  He was an elderly
person, of a decent appearance, and I gave him some articles to
conciliate him to us.  The first man now followed with a lad along with
him, both of whom were the sons of the old man, and, on his arrival, he
gave me several half dried fish, which I considered as a peace-offering.
After some conversation with these people, respecting the country, and
our future progress through it, we retired to rest, with sensations very
different from those with which we had risen in the morning.  The
weather had been generally cloudy throughout the day, and when the sun
was obscured, extremely cold for the season.  At noon I obtained a
meridian altitude, which gave 52. 58. 58.  North latitude.  I likewise
took time in the after-noon.

_Sunday, 14._--This morning we had a bright sun, with an East wind.
These people examined their fishing machines, when they found in them a
great number of small fish, and we dressed as many of them as we could
eat.  Thus was our departure retarded until seven, when we proceeded on
our journey, accompanied by the man and his two sons.  As I did not want
the younger, and should be obliged to feed him, I requested of his
father to leave him, for the purpose of fishing for the women.  He
replied, that they were accustomed to fish for themselves, and that I
need not be apprehensive of their encroaching upon my provisions, as
they were used to sustain themselves in their journies on herbs, and the
inner tegument of the bark of trees, for the stripping of which he had a
thin piece of bone, then hanging by his side.  The latter is of
glutinous quality, of a clammy, sweet taste, and is generally considered
by the more interior Indians as a delicacy, rather than an article of
common food.  Our guide informed me that there is a short cut across the
mountains, but as there was no trace of a road, and it would shorten our
journey but one day, he should prefer the beaten way.

We accordingly proceeded along a lake, West five miles.  We then crossed
a small river, and passed through a swamp, about South-West, when we
began gradually to ascend for some time till we gained the summit of a
hill, where we had an extensive view to the South-East, from which
direction a considerable river appeared to flow, at the distance of
about three miles: it was represented to me as being navigable for
canoes.  The descent of this hill was more steep than its ascent, and
was succeeded by another, whose top, though not so elevated as the last,
afforded a view of the range of mountains, covered with snow, which,
according to the intelligence of our guide, terminates in the ocean.  We
now left a small lake on our left, then crossed a creek running out of
it, and at one in the afternoon came to a house, of the same
construction and dimensions as have already been mentioned, but the
materials were much better prepared and finished.  The timber was
squared on two sides, and the bark taken off the two others; the ridge
pole was also shaped in the same manner, extending about eight or ten
feet beyond the gable end, and supporting a shed over the door: the end
of it was carved into the similitude of a snake's head.  Several
hieroglyphics and figures of a similar workmanship, and painted with red
earth, decorated the interior of the building.  The inhabitants had left
the house but a short time, and there were several bags or bundles in
it, which I did not suffer to be disturbed.  Near it were two tombs,
surrounded in a neat manner with boards, and covered with bark.  Beside
them several poles had been erected, one of which was squared, and all
of them painted.  From each of them were suspended several rolls or
parcels of bark, and our guide gave the following account of them;
which, as far as we could judge, from our imperfect knowledge of the
language, and the incidental errors of interpretation, appeared to
involve two different modes of treating their dead; or it might be one
and the same ceremony, which we did not distinctly comprehend: at all
events, it is the practice of these people to burn the bodies of their
dead, except the larger bones, which are rolled up in bark and suspended
from poles, as I have already described.  According to the other
account, it appeared that they actually bury their dead; and when
another of the family dies, the remains of the person who was last
interred are taken from the grave and burned, has been already
mentioned; so that the members of a family are thus successively buried
and burned, to make room for each other; and one tomb proves sufficient
for a family through succeeding generations.  There is no house in this
country without a tomb in its vicinity.  Our last course extended about
ten miles.

We continued our journey along the lake before the house, and, crossing
a river that flowed out of it, came to a kind of bank, or weir, formed
by the natives, for the purpose of placing their fishing machines, many
of which of different sizes, were lying on the side of the river.  Our
guide placed one of them, with the certain expectation that on his
return he should find plenty of fish in it.  We proceeded nine miles
further, on a good road, West-South-West, when we came to a small lake:
we then crossed a river that ran out of it, and our guides were in
continual expectation of meeting with some of the natives.  To this
place our course was a mile and a half, in the same direction as the
last.  At nine at night we crossed a river on rafts, our last distance
being about four miles South-East, on a winding road, through a swampy
country, and along a succession of small lakes.  We were now quite
exhausted, and it was absolutely necessary for us to stop for the night.
The weather being clear throughout the day, we had no reason to complain
of the cold.  Our guides encouraged us with the hope that, in two days
of similar exertion, we should arrive among people of the other nation.

_Monday, 15._--At five this morning we were again in motion, and
passing along a river, we at length forded it.  This stream was not more
than knee deep, about thirty yards over, and with a stony bottom.  The
old man went onward by himself, in the hope of falling in with the
people, whom he expected to meet in the course of the day.  At eleven we
came up with him, and the natives whom he expected, consisting of five
men, and part of their families.  They received us with great kindness,
and examined us with the most minute attention.  They must, however,
have been told that we were white, as our faces no longer indicated that
distinguishing complexion.  They called themselves Neguia Dinais, and
were come in a different direction from us, but were now going the same
way, to the Anah-yoe Tesse or River, and appeared to be very much
satisfied with our having joined them.  They presented us with some fish
which they had just taken in the adjoining lake.

Here I expected that our guides, like their predecessors, would have
quitted us, but, on the contrary, they expressed themselves to be so
happy, in our company, and that of their friends, that they voluntarily,
and with great cheerfulness proceeded to pass another night with us.
Our new acquaintance were people of a very pleasing aspect.  The hair of
the women was tied in large loose knots over the ears, and plaited with
great neatness from the division of the head, so as to be included in
the knots.  Some of them had adorned their tresses with beads, with a
very pretty effect.  The men were clothed in leather, their hair was
nicely combed, and their complexion was fairer, or perhaps it may be
said, with more propriety, that they were more cleanly, than any of the
natives whom we had yet seen.  Their eyes, though keen and sharp, are
not of that dark colour, so generally observable in the various tribes
of Indians; they were, on the contrary, of a grey hue, with a tinge of
red.  There was one man amongst them of at least six feet four inches in
height; his manners were affable, and he had a more prepossessing
appearance than any Indian I had met with in my journey; he was about
twenty-eight years of age, and was treated with particular respect by
his party.  Every man, woman, and child carried a proportionate burden,
consisting of beaver coating, and parchment, as well as skins of the
otter, the marten, the bear, the lynx, and dressed moose-skins.  The
last they procure from the Rocky-Mountain Indians. According to their
account, the people of the sea coast prefer them to any other article.
Several of their relations and friends, they said, were already gone,
as well provided as themselves, to barter with the people of the coast;
who barter them in their turn, except the dressed leather, with white
people, who, as they had been informed, arrive there in large canoes.

Such an escort was the most fortunate circumstance that could happen in
our favour.  They told us, that as the women and children could not
travel fast, we should be three days in getting to the end of our
journey; which must be supposed to have been very agreeable infomation
to people in our exhausted condition.

In about half an hour after we had joined our new acquaintance, the
signal for moving onwards was given by the leader of the party, who
vociferated, the words Huy, Huy, when his people joined him and
continued a clamorous conversation.  We passed along a winding road,
over hills, and through swampy vallies, from South to West.  We then
crossed a deep, narrow river, which discharges itself into a lake, on
whose side we stopped at five in the afternoon, for the night, though we
had reposed several times since twelve at noon; so that our mode of
travelling had undergone a very agreeable change.  I compute the
distance of this day's journey at about twenty miles.  In the middle of
the day the weather was clear and sultry.

We all sat down on a very pleasant green spot, and were no sooner
seated, than our guide and one of the party prepared to engage in play.
They had each a bundle of about fifty small sticks, neatly polished, of
the size of a quill, and five inches long: a certain number of these
sticks had red lines round them; and as many of these as one of the
players might find convenient were curiously rolled up in dry grass, and
according to the judgment of his antagonist respecting their number and
marks, he lost or won.  Our friend was apparently the loser, as he
parted with his bow and arrows, and several articles which I had given

_Tuesday, 16._--The weather of this morning was the same as yesterday;
but our fellow-travellers were in no hurry to proceed, and I was under
the necessity of pressing them into greater expedition, by representing
the almost exhausted state of our provisions.  They, however, assured
us, that after the next night's sleep we should arrive at the river
where they were going and that we should there get fish in great
abundance.  My young men, from an act of imprudence, deprived themselves
last night of that rest which was so necessary to them.  One of the
strangers asking them several questions respecting us, and concerning
their own country, one of them gave such answers as were not credited by
the audience; whereupon he demanded, in a very angry tone, if they
thought he was disposed to tell lies, like the Rocky Mountain Indians;
and one of that tribe happening to be of the party, a quarrel ensued,
which might have been attended with the most serious consequences, if it
had not been fortunately prevented by the interference of those who were
not interested in the dispute.

Though our stock of provisions was getting so low, I determined,
nevertheless, to hide about twenty pounds of pemmican, by way of
providing against our return.  I therefore left two of the men behind,
with directions to bury it, as usual, under the place where we had made
our fire.

Our course was about West-South-West by the side of the lake, and in
about two miles we came to the end of it.  Here was a general halt, when
my men overtook us.  I was now informed, that some people of another
tribe were sent for, who wished very much to see us, two of whom would
accompany us over the mountains; that, as for themselves, they had
changed their mind, and intended to follow a small river which issued
out of the lake, and went in a direction very different from the line of
our journey.  This was a disappointment, which, though not uncommon to
us, might have been followed by considerable inconveniences.  It was my
wish to continue with them whatever way they went; but neither my
promises or entreaties would avail; these people were not to be turned
from their purpose; and when I represented the low state of our
provisions, one of them answered, that if we would stay with them all
night, he would boil a kettle of fish-roes for us.  Accordingly, without
receiving any answer, he began to make preparation to fulfil his
engagement.  He took the roes out of a bag, and having bruised them
between two stones, put them in water to soak.  His wife then took an
handful of dry grass in her hand, with which she squeezed them through
her fingers; in the mean time her husband was employed in gathering wood
to make a fire, for the purpose of heating stones.  When she had
finished her operation, she filled a water kettle nearly full of water,
and poured the roes into it.  When the stones were sufficiently heated,
some of them were put into the kettle, and others were thrown in from
time to time, till the water was in a state of boiling; the woman also
continued stirring the contents of the kettle, till they were brought to
a thick consistency; the stones were then taken out, and the whole was
seasoned with about a pint of strong rancid oil.  The smell of this
curious dish was sufficient to sicken me without tasting it, but the
hunger of my people surmounted the nauseous meal.  When unadulterated by
the stinking oil, these boiled roes are not unpalatable food.

In the mean time four of the people who had been expected, arrived, and,
according to the account given of them, were of two tribes whom I had
not yet known.  After some conversation, they proposed, that I should
continue my route by their houses; but the old guide, who was now
preparing to leave us, informed me that it would lengthen my journey;
and by his advice I proposed to them to conduct us along the road which
had already been marked out to us.  This they undertook without the
least hesitation; and, at the same time, pointed out to me the pass in
the mountain, bearing South by East by compass.  Here I had a meridian
altitude, and took time.

At four in the afternoon we parted with our late fellow-travellers in a
very friendly manner, and immediately forded the river.  The wild
parsnip, which luxuriates on the borders of the lakes and rivers, is a
favourite food of the natives: they roast the tops of this plant, in
their tender state, over the fire, and taking off the outer rind, they
are then a very palatable food.

We now entered the woods, and some time after arrived on the banks of
another river that flowed from the mountain, which we also forded.  The
country soon after we left the river was swampy; and the fire having
passed through it, the number of trees, which had fallen, added to the
toil of our journey.  In a short time we began to ascend, and continued
ascending till nine at night.  We walked upwards of fourteen miles,
according to my computation, in the course of the day, though the strait
line of distance might not be more than ten.  Notwithstanding that we
were surrounded by mountains covered with snow, we were very much
tormented with musquitoes.

_Wednesday, 17._--Before the sun rose, our guides summoned us to
proceed, when we descended into a beautiful valley, watered by a small
river.  At eight we came to the termination of it, where we saw a great
number of moles, and began again to ascend.  We now perceived many
ground-hogs, and heard them whistle in every direction.  The Indians
went in pursuit of them, and soon joined us with a female and her
litter, almost grown to their full size.  They stripped off their skins,
and gave the carcases to my people.  They also pulled up a root, which
appeared like a bunch of white berries of the size of a pea; its shape
was that of a fig, while it had the colour and taste of a potatoe.

We now gained the summit of the mountain, and found ourselves surrounded
by snow.  But this circumstance is caused rather by the quantity of snow
drifted in the pass, than the real height of the spot, as the
surrounding mountains rise to a much higher degree of elevation.  The
snow had become so compact that our feet hardly made a perceptible
impression on it.  We observed, however, the tracks of an herd of small
deer which must have passed a short time before us, and the Indians and
my hunters went immediately in pursuit of them.  Our way was now nearly
level, without the least snow, and not a tree to be seen in any part of
it.  The grass is very short, and the soil a reddish clay, intermixed
with small stones.  The face of the hills, where they are not enlivened
with verdure, appears, at a distance, as if fire had passed over them.
It now began to hail, snow, and rain, nor could we find any shelter but
the leeward side of an huge rock.  The wind also rose into a tempest,
and the weather was as distressing as any I had ever experienced.  After
an absence of an hour and a half, our hunters brought a small doe of the
rein-deer species, which was all they had killed, though they fired
twelve shots at a large herd of them.  Their ill success they attributed
to the weather.  I proposed to leave half of the venison in the snow,
but the men preferred carrying it, though their strength was very much
exhausted.  We had been so long shivering with cold in this situation
that we were glad to renew our march.  Here and there were scattered a
few crow-berry bushes and stinted willows; the former of which had not
yet blossomed.

Before us appeared a stupendous mountain, whose snow-clad summit was
lost in the clouds; between it and our immediate course, flowed the
river to which we were going.  The Indians informed us that it was at no
great distance.  As soon as we could gather a sufficient quantity of
wood, we stopped to dress some of our venison; and it is almost
superfluous to add, that we made an heartier meal than we had done for
many a day before.  To the comfort which I have just mentioned, I added
that of taking off my beard, as well as changing my linen, and my people
followed the humanising example.  We then set forwards, and came to a
large pond, on whose bank we found a tomb, but lately made, with a pole,
as usual, erected beside it, on which two figures of birds were painted,
and by them the guides distinguished the tribe to which the deceased
person belonged.  One of them, very unceremoniously, opened the bark and
shewed us the bones which it contained, while the other threw down the
pole, and having possessed himself of the feathers that were tied to it,
fixed them on his own head.  I therefore conjectured, that these funeral
memorials belonged to an individual of a tribe at enmity with them.

We continued our route with a considerable degree of expedition, and as
we proceeded the mountains appeared to withdraw from us.  The country
between them soon opened to our view, which apparently added to their
awful elevation.  We continued to descend till we came to the brink of a
precipice, from whence our guides discovered the river to us, and a
village on its banks.  This precipice, or rather succession of
precipices, is covered with large timber, which consists of the pine,
the spruce, the hemlock, the birch, and other trees.  Our conductors
informed us, that it abounded in animals, which, from their description,
must be wild goats.  In about two hours we arrived at the bottom, where
there is a conflux of two rivers, that issue from the mountains.  We
crossed the one which was to the left.  They are both very rapid, and
continue so till they unite their currents, forming a stream of about
twelve yards in breadth.  Here the timber was also very large; but I
could not learn from our conductors why the most considerable hemlock
trees were stripped of their bark to the tops of them.  I concluded,
indeed, at that time that the inhabitants tanned their leather with it.
Here were also the largest and loftiest elder and cedar trees that I had
ever seen.  We were now sensible of an entire change in the climate, and
the berries were quite ripe.

The sun was about to set, when our conductors left us to follow them as
well as we could.  We were prevented, however, from going far astray,
for we were hemmed in on both sides and behind by such a barrier as
nature never before presented to my view.  Our guides had the precaution
to mark the road for us, by breaking the branches of trees as they
passed.  This small river must, at certain seasons, rise to an uncommon
height and strength of current most probably on the melting of the snow;
as we saw a large quantity of drift wood lying twelve feet above the
immediate level of the river.  This circumstance impeded our progress,
and the protruding rocks frequently forced us to pass through the water.
It was now dark, without the least appearance of houses, though it would
be impossible to have seen them, if there had been any, at the distance
of twenty yards, from the thickness of the woods.  My men were anxious
to stop for the night; indeed the fatigue they had suffered justified
the proposal, and I left them to their choice; but as the anxiety of my
mind impelled me forwards, they continued to follow me, till I found
myself at the edge of the woods; and, notwithstanding the remonstrances
that were made, I proceeded, feeling rather than seeing my way, till I
arrived at a house, and soon discovered several fires, in small huts,
with people busily employed in cooking their fish.  I walked into one of
them without the least ceremony, threw down my burden, and, after
shaking hands with some of the people, sat down upon it.  They received
me without the least appearance of surprize, but soon made signs for me
to go up to the large house, which was erected, on upright posts, at
some distance from the ground.  A broad piece of timber with steps cut
in it, led to the scaffolding even with the floor, and by this curious
kind of ladder I entered the house at one end; and having passed three
fires, at equal distances in the middle of the building, I was received
by several people, sitting upon a very wide board, at the upper end of
it.  I shook hands with them, and seated myself beside a man, the
dignity of whose countenance induced me to give him that preference.  I
soon discovered one of my guides seated a little above me, with a neat
mat spread before him, which I supposed to be the place of honour, and
appropriated to strangers.

In a short time my people arrived, and placed themselves near me, when
the man, by whom I sat, immediately rose, and fetched, from behind a
plank of about four feet wide, a quantity of roasted salmon.  He then
directed a mat to be placed before me and Mr. Mackay, who was now
sitting by me.  When this ceremony was performed, he brought a salmon
for each of us, and half an one to each of my men.  The same plank also
served as a screen for the beds, whither the women and children were
already retired; but whether that circumstances took place on our
arrival, or was the natural consequence of the late hour of the night, I
did not discover.  The signs of our protector seemed to denote that we
might sleep in the house, but as we did not understand him with a
sufficient degree of certainty, I thought it prudent, from the fear of
giving offence, to order the men to make a fire without, that we might
sleep by it.  When he observed our design, he placed boards for us, that
we might not take our repose on the bare ground, and ordered a fire to
be prepared for us.  We had not been long seated round it, when we
received a large dish of salmon roes, pounded fine and beat up with
water, so as to have the appearance of a cream.  Nor was it without some
kind of seasoning that gave it a bitter taste.  Another dish soon
followed, the principal article of which was also salmon roes, with a
large proportion of gooseberries, and an herb that appeared to be
sorrel.  Its acidity rendered it more agreeable to my taste than the
former preparation.  Having been regaled with these delicacies, for such
they were considered by that hospitable spirit which provided them, we
laid ourselves down to rest, with no other canopy than the sky; but I
never enjoyed a more sound and refreshing rest, though I had a board for
my bed, and a billet for my pillow.

_Thursday, 18._--At five this morning I awoke, and found that the
natives had lighted a fire for us, and were sitting by it.  My
hospitable friend immediately brought me some berries and roasted
salmon, and his companions soon followed his example.  The former, which
consisted among many others, of gooseberries, hurtleberries, and
raspberries, were of the finest I ever saw or tasted, of their
respective kinds.  They also brought the dried roes of fish to eat with
the berries.

Salmon is so abundant in this river, that these people
have a constant and plentiful supply of that excellent fish.  To take
them with more facility, they had, with great labour, formed an
embankment or weir across the river, for the purpose of placing their
fishing machines, which they disposed both above and below it.  I
expressed my wish to visit this extraordinary work, but these people are
so superstitious, that they would not allow me a nearer examination than
I could obtain by viewing it from the bank.  The river is about fifty
yards in breadth, and by observing a man fish with a dipping net, I
judged it to be about ten feet deep at the foot of the fall.  The weir
is a work of great labour, and contrived with considerable ingenuity.
It was near four feet above the level of the water, at the time I saw
it, and nearly the height of the bank on which I stood to examine it.
The stream is stopped nearly two-thirds by it.  It is constructed by
fixing small trees in the bed of the river, in a slanting position
(which could be practicable only when the water is much lower than when
I saw it) with the thick part downwards; over these is laid a bed of
gravel, on which is placed a range of lesser trees, and so on
alternately till the work is brought to its proper height.  Beneath it
the machines are placed, into which the salmon fall when they attempt to
leap over.  On either side there is a large frame of timber-work, six
feet above the level of the upper water, in which passages are left for
the salmon leading directly into the machines, which are taken up at
pleasure.  At the foot of the fall dipping nets are also successfully

The water of this river is of the colour of asses' milk,
which I attributed in part to the limestone that in many places forms
the bed of the river, but principally to the rivulets which fall from
mountains of the same material.

These people indulge an extreme superstition respecting their fish, as
it is apparently their only animal food.  Flesh they never taste, and
one of their dogs having picked and swallowed part of a bone which we
had left, was beaten by his master till he disgorged it.  One of my
people also having thrown a bone of the deer into the river, a native,
who had observed the circumstance, immediately dived and brought it up,
and, having consigned it to the fire, instantly proceeded to wash his
polluted hands.

As we were still at some distance from the sea, I made application to my
friend to procure us a canoe or two, with people to conduct us thither.
After he had made various excuses, I at length comprehended that his
only objection was to the embarking venison in a canoe on their river,
as the fish would instantly smell it and abandon them, so that he, his
friends, and relations, must starve.  I soon eased his apprehensions on
that point, and desired to know what I must do with the venison that
remained, when he told me to give it to one of the strangers whom he
pointed out to me, as being of a tribe that eat flesh.  I now requested
him to furnish me with some fresh salmon in its raw state; but, instead
of complying with my wish, he brought me a couple of them roasted,
observing at the same time, that the current was very strong, and would
bring us to the next village, where our wants would be abundantly
supplied, In short, he requested that we would make haste to depart.
This was rather unexpected after so much kindness and hospitality, but
our ignorance of the language prevented us from being able to discover
the cause.

At eight this morning, fifteen men armed, the friends and relations of
these people, arrived by land, in consequence of notice sent them in the
night, immediately after the appearance of our guides.  They are more
corpulent and of a better appearance than the inhabitants of the
interior.  Their language totally different from any I had heard; the
Atnah or Chin tribe, as far as I can judge from the very little I saw of
that people, bear the nearest resemblance to them.  They appear to be of
a quiet and peaceable character, and never make any hostile incursions
into the lands of their neighbours.  Their dress consists of a single
robe tied over the shoulders, falling down behind, to the heels, and
before, a little below the knees, with a deep fringe round the bottom.
It is generally made of the bark of the cedar tree, which they prepare
as fine as hemp; though some of these garments are interwoven with
strips of the sea-otter skin, which give them the appearance of a fur on
one side.  Others have stripes of red and yellow threads fancifully
introduced toward the borders, which have a very agreeable effect.  The
men have no other covering than that which I have described, and they
unceremoniously lay it aside when they find it convenient.  In addition
to this robe, the women wear a close fringe hanging down before them
about two feet in length, and half as wide.  When they sit down they
draw this between their thighs.  They wear their hair so short, that it
requires: little care or combing.  The men have their's in plaits, and
being smeared with oil and red earth, instead of a comb they have a
small stick hanging by a string from one of the locks, which they employ
to alleviate any itching or irritation in the head.  The colour of the
eye is grey with a tinge of red.  They have all high cheek-bones, but
the women are more remarkable for that feature than the men.  Their
houses, arms, and utensils I shall describe hereafter.

I presented my friend with several articles, and also distributed some
among others of the natives who had been attentive to us.  One of my
guides had been very serviceable in procuring canoes for us to proceed
on our expedition; he appeared also to be very desirous of giving these
people a favourable impression of us; and I was very much concerned that
he should leave me as he did, without giving me the least notice of his
departure, or receiving the presents which I had prepared for him, and he
so well deserved.  At noon I had an observation which gave 52. 28. 11.
North latitude.


JULY, 1793.

At one in the afternoon we embarked, with our small baggage, in two
canoes, accompanied by seven of the natives, The stream was rapid, and
ran upwards of six miles an hour.  We came to a weir, such as I have
already described, where the natives landed us, and shot over it without
taking a drop of water.  They then received us on board again, and we
continued our voyage, passing many canoes on the river, some with people
in them, and others empty.  We proceeded at a very great rate for about
two hours and a half, when we were informed that we must land, as the
village was only at a short distance.  I had imagined that the Canadians
who accompanied me were the most expert canoe-men in the world, but they
are very inferior to these people, as they themselves acknowledged, in
conducting those vessels.

Some of the Indians ran before us, to announce our approach, when we
took our bundles and followed.  We had walked along a well-beaten path,
through a kind of coppice, when we were informed of the arrival of our
couriers at the houses, by the loud and confused talking of the
inhabitants.  As we approached the edge of the wood, and were almost in
sight of the houses, the Indians who were before me made signs for me to
take the lead, and that they would follow.  The noise and confusion of
the natives now seemed to encrease, and when we came in sight of the
village, we saw them running from house to house, some armed with bows
and arrows, others with spears, and many with axes, as if in a state of
great alarm, This very unpleasant and unexpected circumstance, I
attributed to our sudden arrival, and the very short notice of it which
had been given them.  At all events, I had but one line of conduct to
pursue, which was to walk resolutely up to them, without manifesting any
signs of apprehension at their hostile appearance.  This resolution
produced the desired effect, for as we approached the houses, the
greater part of the people laid down their weapons, and came forward to
meet us.  I was, however, soon obliged to stop from the number of them
that surrounded me.  I shook hands, as usual with such as were nearest
to me, when an elderly man broke through the crowd, and took me in his
arms; another then came, who turned him away without the least ceremony,
and paid me the same compliment.  The latter was followed by a young
man, whom I understood to be his son.  These embraces, which at first
rather surprised me, I soon found to be marks of regard and friendship.
The crowd pressed with so much violence and contention to get a view of
us, that we could not move in any direction.  An opening was at length
made to allow a person to approach me, whom the old man made me
understand was another of his sons.  I instantly stepped forward to meet
him, and presented my hand, whereupon he broke the string of a very
handsome robe of sea otter skin, which he had on, and covered me with
it.  This was as flattering a reception as I could possibly receive,
especially as I considered him to be the eldest son of the chief.
Indeed, it appeared to me that we had been detained here for the purpose
of giving him time to bring the robe with which he had presented me.

The chief now made signs for us to follow him, and he conducted us
through a narrow coppice, for several hundred yards, till we came to a
house built on the ground, which was of larger dimensions, and formed of
better materials than any I had hitherto seen; it was his residence.  We
were no sooner arrived there, than he directed mats to be spread before
it, on which we were told to take our seats, when the men of the
village, who came to indulge their curiosity, were ordered to keep
behind us.  In our front other mats were placed, where the chief and his
counsellors took their seats.  In the intervening space, mats, which
were very clean, and of a much neater workmanship than those on which we
sat, were also spread, and a small roasted salmon placed before each of
us.  When we had satisfied ourselves with the fish, one of the people
who came with us from the last village approached, with a kind of ladle
in one hand, containing oil, and in the other something that resembled
the inner rind of the cocoa-nut, but of a lighter colour, this he dipped
in the oil, and, having eat it, indicated by his gestures how palatable
he thought it.  He then presented me with a small piece of it, which I
chose to taste in its dry state, though the oil was free from any
unpleasant smell.  A square cake of this was next produced, when a man
took it to the water near the house, and having thoroughly soaked it, he
returned, and, after he had pulled it to pieces like oakum, put it into
a well-made trough, about three feet long, nine inches wide, and five
deep; he then plentifully sprinkled it with salmon oil, and manifested
by his own example that we were to eat of it.  I just tasted it, and
found the oil perfectly sweet, without which the other ingredient would
have been very insipid.  The chief partook of it with great avidity,
after it had received an additional quantity of oil.  This dish is
considered by these people as a great delicacy, and on examination, I
discovered it to consist of the inner rind of the hemlock tree, taken
off early in summer, and put into a frame, which shapes it into cakes of
fifteen inches long, ten broad, and half an inch thick; and in this form
I should suppose it may be preserved for a great length of time.  This
discovery satisfied me respecting the many hemlock trees which I had
observed stripped of their bark.

In this situation we remained for upwards of three hours, and not one of
the curious natives left us during all that time, except a party of ten
or twelve of them, whom the chief ordered to go and catch fish, which
they did in great abundance, with dipping nets, at the foot of the Weir.

At length we were relieved from the gazing crowd, and got a lodge
erected, and covered in for our reception during the night.  I now
presented the young chief with a blanket, in return for the robe with
which he had favoured me, and several other articles, that appeared to
be very gratifying to him.  I also presented some to his father, and
amongst them was a pair of scissors, whose use I explained to him, for
clipping his beard, which was of great length; and to that purpose he
immediately applied them.  My distribution of similar articles was also
extended to others, who had been attentive to us.  The communication,
however, between us was awkward and inconvenient, for it was carried on
entirely by signs, as there was not a person with me who was qualified
for the office of an interpreter.

We were all of us very desirous to get some fresh salmon, that we might
dress them in our own way, but could not by any means obtain that
gratification, though there were thousands of that fish strung on cords,
which were fastened to stakes in the river.  They were even averse to
our approaching the spot where they clean and prepare them for their own
eating.  They had, indeed, taken our kettle from us, lest we should
employ it in getting water from the river; and they assigned as the
reason for this precaution, that the salmon dislike the smell of iron.
At the same time, they supplied us with wooden boxes, which were capable
of holding any fluid.  Two of the men who went to fish, in a canoe
capable of containing ten people, returned with a full lading of salmon,
that weighed from six to forty pounds, though the far greater part of
them were under twenty.  They immediately strung the whole of them, as I
have already mentioned, in the river.

I now made the tour of the village, which consisted of four elevated
houses, and seven built on the ground, besides a considerable number of
other buildings or sheds, which are used only as kitchens, and places
for curing their fish.  The former are constructed by fixing a certain
number of posts in the earth, on some of which are laid, and to others
are fastened, the supporters of the floor, at about twelve feet above
the surface of the ground; their length is from a hundred to a hundred
and twenty feet, and they are about forty in breadth.  Along the centre
are built three, four, or five hearths, for the two-fold purpose of
giving warmth, and dressing their fish.  The whole length of the
building on either side is divided by cedar planks, into partitions or
apartments of seven feet square, in the front of which there are boards,
about three feet wide, over which, though they are not immovably fixed,
the inmates of these recesses generally pass, when they go to rest.  The
greater part of them are intended for that purpose, and such are covered
with boards, at the height of the wall of the house, which is about
seven or eight feet, and rest upon beams that stretch across the
building.  On those also are placed the chests which contain their
provisions, utensils, and whatever they possess.  The intermediate space
is sufficient for domestic purposes.  On poles that run along the beams,
hang roasted fish, and the whole building is well covered with boards
and bark, except within a few inches of the ridge pole; where open
spaces are left on each side to let in light and emit the smoke.  At the
end of the house that fronts the river, is a narrow scaffolding, which
is also ascended by a piece of timber, with steps cut in it; and at each
corner of this erection there are openings for the inhabitants to ease
nature.  As it does not appear to be a custom among them to remove these
heaps of excremental filth, it may be supposed that the effluvia does
not annoy them.

The houses which rest on the ground are built of the same materials, and
on the same plan.  A sloping stage that rises to a cross piece of
timber, supported by two forks, joins also to the main building, for
those purposes which need not be repeated.

When we were surrounded by the natives on our arrival, I counted
sixty-five men, and several of them may be supposed to have been absent;
I cannot, therefore, calculate the inhabitants of this village at less
than two hundred souls.

The people who accompanied us hither, from the other village, had given
the chief a very particular account of everything they knew concerning
us: I was, therefore, requested to produce my astronomical instruments,
nor could I have any objection to afford them this satisfaction, as they
would necessarily add to our importance in their opinion.

Near the house of the chief I observed several oblong squares, of about
twenty feet by eight.  They were made of thick cedar boards, which were
joined with so much neatness, that I at first thought they were one
piece.  They were painted with hieroglyphics, and figures of different
animals, and with a degree of correctness that was not to be expected
from such an uncultivated people.  I could not learn the use of them,
but they appeared to be calculated for occasional acts of devotion or
sacrifice, which all these tribes perform at least twice in the year, at
the spring and fall.  I was confirmed in this opinion by a large
building in the middle of the village, which I at first took for the
half finished frame of a house.  The groundplot of it was fifty feet by
forty-five; each end is formed by four stout posts, fixed
perpendicularly in the ground.  The corner ones are plain, and support a
beam of the whole length, having three intermediate props on each side,
but of a larger size, and eight or nine feet in height.  The two centre
posts, at each end, are two feet and a half in diameter, and carved into
human figures, supporting two ridge poles on their heads, at twelve feet
from the ground.  The figures at the upper part of this square represent
two persons, with their hands upon their knees, as if they supported the
weight with pain and difficulty; the others opposite to them stand at
their ease, with their hands resting on their hips.  In the area of the
building there were the remains of several fires.  The posts, poles, and
figures, were painted red and black; but the sculpture of these people
is superior to their painting.

_Friday, 19_--Soon after I retired to rest last night, the chief paid
me a visit to insist on my going to his bed-companion, and taking my
place himself; but, notwithstanding his repeated entreaties, I resisted
this offering of his hospitality.

At an early hour this morning, I was again visited by the chief, in
company with his son.  The former complained of a pain in his breast; to
relieve his suffering, I gave him a few drops of Turlington's Balsam on
a piece of sugar; and I was rather surprised to see him take it without
the least hesitation.  When he had taken my medicine, he requested me to
follow him, and conducted me to a shed, where several people were
assembled round a sick man, who was another of his sons.  They
immediately uncovered him, and showed me a violent ulcer in the small of
his back, in the foulest state that can be imagined.  One of his knees
was also afflicted in the same manner.  This unhappy man was reduced to
a skeleton, and, from his appearance, was drawing near to an end of his
pains.  They requested that I would touch him, and his father was very
urgent with me to administer medicine; but he was in such a dangerous
state, that I thought it prudent to yield no further to the
importunities than to give the sick man a few drops of Turlington's
Balsam in some water.  I therefore left them, but was soon called back
by the loud lamentations of the women, and was rather apprehensive that
some inconvenience might result from my compliance with the chief's
request.  On my return I found the native physicians busy in practising
their skill and art on the patient.  They blew on him, and then
whistled; at times they pressed their extended fingers, with all their
strength, on his stomach; they also put their forefingers doubled into
his mouth, and spouted water from their own with great violence into his
face.  To support these operations, the wretched sufferer was held up in
a sitting posture; and when they were concluded, he was laid down and
covered with a new robe made of the skins of the lynx.  I had observed
that his belly and breast were covered with scars, and I understood that
they were caused by a custom prevalent among them, of applying pieces of
lighted touch-wood to their flesh, in order to relieve pain or
demonstrate their courage.  He was now placed on a broad plank, and
carried by six men into the woods, where I was invited to accompany
them.  I could not conjecture what would be the end of this ceremony,
particularly as I saw one man carry fire, another an axe, and a third
dry wood.  I was indeed, disposed to suspect that, as it was their
custom to burn the dead, they intended to relieve the poor man from his
pain, and perform the last sad duty of surviving affection.  When they
advanced a short distance into the woods, they laid him upon a clear
spot, and kindled a fire against his back, when the physician began to
scarify the ulcer with a very blunt instrument, the cruel pain of which
operation the patient bore with incredible resolution.  The scene
afflicted me, and I left it.

On my return to our lodge, I observed before the door of the chief's
residence, four heaps of salmon, each of which consisted of between
three and four hundred fish.  Sixteen women were employed in cleaning
and preparing them.  They first separate the head from the body, the
former of which they boil; they then cut the latter down the back on
each side of the bone, leaving one third of the fish adhering to it, and
afterwards take out the guts.  The bone is roasted for immediate use,
and the other parts are dressed in the same manner, but with more
attention, for future provision.  While they are before the fire,
troughs are placed under them to receive the oil.  The roes are also
carefully preserved, and form a favourite article of their food.

After I had observed these culinary preparations, I paid a visit to the
chief, who presented me with a roasted salmon; he then opened one of his
chests, and took out of it a garment of blue cloth, decorated with brass
buttons; and another of flowered cotton, which I supposed were Spanish;
it had been trimmed with leather fringe, after the fashion of their own
cloaks.  Copper and brass are in great estimation among them, and of the
former they have great plenty: they point their arrows and spears with
it, and work it up into personal ornaments; such as collars, ear-rings,
and bracelets, which they wear on their wrists, arms, and legs.  I
presume they find it the most advantageous articles of trade with the
more inland tribes.  They also abound in iron.  I saw some of their
twisted collars of that metal which weighed upwards of twelve pounds.
It is generally beat in bars of fourteen inches in length, and one inch
three quarters wide.  The brass is in thin squares: their copper is in
larger pieces, and some of it appeared to be old stills cut up.  They
have various trinkets; but their manufactured iron consists only of
poignards and daggers.  Some of the former have very neat handles, with
a silver coin of a quarter or eighth of a dollar fixed on the end of
them.--The blades of the latter are from ten to twelve inches in
length, and about four inches broad at the top, from which they
gradually lessen to a point.

When I produced my instruments to take an altitude, I was desired not to
make use of them.  I could not then discover the cause of this request,
but I experienced the good effect of the apprehension, which they
occasioned, as it was very effectual in hastening my departure.  I had
applied several times to the chief to prepare canoes and people to take
me and my party to the sea, but very little attention had been paid to
my application till noon; when I was informed that a canoe was properly
equipped for my voyage, and that the young chief would accompany me.  I
now discovered that they had entertained no personal fear of the
instruments, but were apprehensive that the operation of them might
frighten the salmon from that part of the river.  The observation taken
in this village gave me 52. 25. 52. North latitude.

In compliance with the chief's request I desired my people to take their
bundles, and lay them down on the bank of the river.  In the mean time I
went to take the dimensions of his large canoe, in which, it was
signified to me, that about ten winters ago he went a considerable
distance toward the mid-day sun, with forty of his people, when he saw
two large vessels full of such men as myself, by whom he was kindly
received: they were, he said, the first white people he had seen.  They
were probably the ships commanded by Captain Cook.  This canoe was built
of cedar, was forty-five feet long, four feet wide, and three feet and a
half in depth.  It was painted black and decorated with white figures of
fish of different kinds.  The gunwale, fore and aft, was inlaid with
the teeth of the sea-otter.[1]

When I returned to the river, the natives who were to accompany us and
my people, were already in the canoe.  The latter, however, informed me,
that one of our axes was missing.  I immediately applied to the chief,
and requested its restoration; but he would not understand me till I sat
myself down on a stone, with my arms in a state of preparation, and made
it appear to him that I should not depart till the stolen article was
restored.  The village was immediately in a state of uproar, and some
danger was apprehended from the confusion that prevailed in it.  The
axe, however, which had been hidden under the chief's canoe, was soon
returned.  Though this instrument was not, in itself, of sufficient
value to justify a dispute with these people, I apprehended that the
suffering them to keep it, after we had declared its loss, might have
occasioned the loss of every thing we carried with us, and of our lives
also.  My people were dissatisfied with me at the moment; but I thought
myself right then, and, I think now, that the circumstances in which we
were involved, justified the measure which I adopted.

[1] As Captain Cook has mentioned, that the people of the sea-coast
adorned their canoes with human teeth, I was more particular in my
inquiries; the result of which was, the most satisfactory proof that he
was mistaken; but his mistake arose from the very great resemblance
there is between human teeth and those of the sea-otter.


JULY, 1793.

_Saturday, 18._--At one in the afternoon we renewed our voyage in a
large canoe with four of the natives.  We found the river almost one
continued rapid, and in half an hour we came to a house, where, however,
we did not land, though invited by the inhabitants.  In about an hour we
arrived at two houses, where we were, in some degree, obliged to go on
shore, as we were informed that the owner of them was a person of
consideration.  He indeed received and regaled us in the same manner as
at the last village; and to increase his consequence, he produced many
European articles, and amongst them were at least forty pounds weight of
old copper stills.  We made our stay as short as possible, and our host
embarked with us.  In a very short time we were carried by the rapidity
of the current to another house of very large dimensions, which was
partitioned into different apartments, and whose doors were on the side.
The inhabitants received us with great kindness; but instead of fish,
they placed a long, clean, and well made trough before us full of
berries.  In addition to those which we had already seen, there were
some black, that were larger than the hurtleberry, and of a richer
flavour; others white, which resembled the blackberry in everything but
colour.  Here we saw a woman with two pieces of copper in her under lip,
as described by Captain Cook.  I continued my usual practice of making
these people presents in return for their friendly reception and

[Transcriber's Note: By context, the date above should read  _Friday, 19._]

The navigation of the river now became more difficult, from the numerous
channels into which it was divided, without any sensible diminution in
the velocity of its current.  We soon reached another house of the
common size, where we were well received; but whether our guides had
informed them that we were not in want of anything, or that they were
deficient in inclination, or perhaps the means, of being hospitable to
us, they did not offer us any refreshment.  They were in a state of busy
preparation.  Some of the women were employed in beating and preparing
the inner rind of the cedar bark, to which they gave the appearance of
flax.  Others were spinning with a distaff and spindle.  One of them was
weaving a robe of it, intermixed with stripes of the sea-otter skin, on
a frame of adequate contrivance that was placed against the side of the
house.  The men were fishing on the river with drag-nets between two
canoes.  These nets are forced by poles to the bottom, the current
driving them before it; by which means the salmon coming up the river
are intercepted, and give notice of their being taken by the struggles
they make in the bag or sleeve of the net.  There are no weirs in this
part of the river, as I suppose, from the numerous channels into which
it is divided.  The machines, therefore, are placed along the banks, and
consequently these people are not so well supplied with fish as the
village which has been already described, nor do they appear to possess
the same industry.  The inhabitants of the last house accompanied us in
a large canoe.  They recommended us to leave ours here, as the next
village was but at a small distance from us, and the water more rapid
than that which we had passed.  They informed us also, that we were
approaching a cascade.  I directed them to shoot it, and proceeded
myself to the foot thereof, where I re-embarked, and we went on with
great velocity, till we came to a fall, where we left our canoe, and
carried our luggage along a road through a wood for some hundred yards,
when we came to a village, consisting of six very large houses, erected
on pallisades, rising twenty-five feet from the ground, which differed
in no one circumstance from those already described, but the height of
their elevation.  They contained only four men and their families.  The
rest of the inhabitants were with us and in the small houses which we
passed higher up the river.[1] These people do not seem to enjoy the
abundance of their neighbours, as the men who returned from fishing had
no more than five salmon; they refused to sell one of them, but gave me
one roasted of a very indifferent kind.  In the houses there were
several chests or boxes containing different articles that belonged to
the people whom we had lately passed.  If I were to judge by the heaps
of filth beneath these buildings, they must have been erected at a more
distant period than any which we had passed.  From these houses I could
perceive the termination of the river, and its discharge into a narrow
arm of the sea.

As it was now half past six in the evening, and the weather cloudy, I
determined to remain here for the night, and for that purpose we
possessed ourselves of one of the unoccupied houses.  The remains of our
last meal, which we brought with us, served for our supper, as we could
not procure a single fish from the natives.  The course of the river is
about West, and the distance from the great village upwards of
thirty-six miles.--There we had lost our dog, a circumstance of no
small regret to me.

_Saturday, 20._--We rose at a very early hour this morning, when I
proposed to the Indians to run down our canoe, or procure another at
this place.  To both these proposals they turned a deaf ear, as they
imagined that I should be satisfied with having come in sight of the
sea.  Two of them peremptorily refused to proceed; but the other two
having consented to continue with us, we obtained a larger canoe than
our former one, and though it was in a leaky state we were glad to
possess it.

At about eight we got out of the river, which discharges itself by
various channels into an arm of the sea.  The tide was out, and had left
a large space covered with sea-weed.  The surrounding hills were
involved in fog.  The wind was at West, which was ahead of us, and very
strong; the bay appearing to be from one to three miles in breadth.  As
we advanced along the land we saw a great number of sea-otters.  We
fired several shots at them, but without any success from the rapidity
with which they plunge under the water.  We also saw many small
porpoises or divers.  The white-headed eagle, which is common in the
interior parts; some small gulls, a dark bird which is inferior in size
to the gull, and a few small ducks, were all the birds which presented
themselves to our view.

At two in the afternoon the swell was so high, and the wind, which was
against us, so boisterous, that we could not proceed with our leaky
vessel, we therefore landed in a small cove on the right side of the
bay.  Opposite to us appeared another small bay, in the mouth of which
is an island, and where, according to the information of the Indians, a
river discharges itself that abounds in salmon.

Our young Indians now discovered a very evident disposition to leave us;
and, in the evening, one of them made his escape.  Mr. Mackay, however,
with the other, pursued and brought him back; but as it was by no means
necessary to detain him, particularly as provisions did not abound with
us, I gave him a small portion, with a pair of shoes, which were
necessary for his journey, and a silk handkerchief, telling him at the
same time, that he might go and inform his friends, that we should also
return in three nights.  He accordingly left us, and his companion, the
young chief, went with him.

When we landed, the tide was going out, and at a quarter past four it
was ebb, the water having fallen in that short period eleven feet and an
half.  Since we left the river, not a quarter of an hour had passed in
which we did not see porpoises and sea-otters.  Soon after ten it was
high water, and rendered it necessary that our baggage should be shifted
several times, though not till some of the things had been wetted.

We were now reduced to the necessity of looking out for fresh water,
with which we were plentifully supplied by the rills that ran down from
the mountains.

When it was dark the young chief returned to us, bearing a large
porcupine on his back.  He first cut the animal open, and having
disencumbered it of the entrails, threw them into the sea; he then
singed its skin, and boiled it in separate pieces, as our kettle was not
sufficiently capacious to contain the whole; nor did he go to rest, till
with the assistance of two of my people who happened to be awake, every
morsel of it was devoured.

I had flattered myself with the hope of getting a distance of the moon
and stars, but the cloudy weather continually disappointed me, and I
began to fear that I should fail in this important object; particularly
as our provisions were at a very low ebb, and we had, as yet, no reason
to expect any assistance from the natives.  Our stock was, at this time,
reduced to twenty pounds weight of pemmican, fifteen pounds of rice, and
six pounds of flour, among ten half-starved men, in a leaky vessel, and
on a barbarous coast.  Our course from the river was about West-South-West,
distance ten miles.

_Sunday, 21._--At forty minutes past four this morning it was low
water, which made fifteen feet of perpendicular height below the
high-water mark of last night.  Mr. Mackay collected a quantity of small
muscles which we boiled.  Our people did not partake of this regale, as
they are wholly unacquainted with sea shell-fish.  Our young chief being
missing, we imagined that he had taken his flight, but, as we were
preparing to depart, he fortunately made his appearance from the woods,
where he had been to take his rest after his feast of last night.

At six we were upon the water, when we cleared the small bay, which we
named Porcupine Cove, and steered West-South-West for seven miles, we
then opened a channel about two miles and a half wide at
South-South-West, and had a view of ten or twelve miles into it.

As I could not ascertain the distance from the open sea, and being
uncertain whether we were in a bay or among inlets and channels of
islands, I confined my search to a proper place for taking an
observation.  We steered, therefore, along the land on the left,
West-North-West a mile and a half; then North-West one fourth of a mile,
and North three miles to an island the land continuing to run
North-North-West, then along the island, South-South-West half a mile,
West a mile and a half, and from thence directly across to the land on
the left, (where I had an altitude,) South-West three miles.[2] From
this position a channel, of which the island we left appeared to make a
check, bears North by East.

Under the land we met with three canoes, with fifteen men in them, and
laden with their moveables, as if proceeding to a new situation, or
returning to a former one.  They manifested no kind of mistrust or fear
of us, but entered into conversation with our young man, as I supposed,
to obtain some information concerning us.  It did not appear that they
were the same people as those we had lately seen, as they spoke the
language of our young chief, with a different accent.  They then
examined everything we had in our canoe, with an air of indifference and
disdain.  One of them in particular made me understand, with an air of
insolence, that a large canoe had lately been in this bay, with people
in her like me, and that one of them, whom he called _Macubah_ had fired
on him and his friends, and that _Bensins_ had struck him on the back,
with the flat part of his sword.  He also mentioned another name, the
articulation of which I could not determine.  At the same time he
illustrated these circumstances by the assistance of my gun and sword;
and I do not doubt but he well deserved the treatment which he
described.  He also produced several European articles, which could
not have been long in his possession.  From his conduct and appearance,
I wished very much to be rid of him, and flattered myself that he would
prosecute his voyage, which appeared to be in an opposite direction to
our course.

However, when I prepared to part from them, they turned their canoes
about, and persuaded my young man to leave me, which I could not

We coasted along the land[3] at about West-South-West for six miles, and
met a canoe with two boys in it, who were dispatched to summon the
people on that part of the coast to join them.  The troublesome fellow
now forced himself into my canoe, and pointed out a narrow channel on
the opposite shore, that led to his village, and requested us to steer
towards it, which I accordingly ordered.  His importunities now became
very irksome, and he wanted to see everything we had, particularly my
instruments, concerning which he must have received information from my
young man.  He asked for my hat, my handkerchief, and in short,
everything that he saw about me.  At the same time he frequently
repeated the unpleasant intelligence that he had been shot at by people
of my colour.  At some distance from the land a channel opened to us, at
South-West by West, and pointing that way, he made me understand that
_Macubah_ came there with his large canoe.  When we were in mid-channel,
I perceived some sheds, or the remains of old buildings on the shore;
and as, from that circumstance I thought it probable that some Europeans
might have been there I directed my steersman to make for that spot.
The traverse is upwards of three miles North-West.

We landed, and found the ruins of a village, in a situation calculated
for defence.  The place itself was overgrown with weeds, and in the
centre of the houses there was a temple, of the same form and
construction as that which I described at the large village.  We were
soon followed by ten canoes, each of which contained from three to six
men.  They informed us that we were expected at the village, where we
should see many of them.  From their general deportment I was very
apprehensive that some hostile design was meditated against us, and for
the first time I acknowledged my apprehensions to my people.  I
accordingly desired them to be very much upon their guard, and to be
prepared if any violence was offered to defend themselves to the last.

We had no sooner landed, than we took possession of a rock, where there
was not space for more than twice our number, and, which admitted of our
defending ourselves with advantage, in case we should be attacked.  The
people in the three first canoes, were the most troublesome, but, after
doing their utmost to irritate us, they went away.

They were, however, no sooner gone, than a hat, a handkerchief, and
several other articles, were missing.  The rest of our visitors
continued their pressing invitations to accompany them to their village,
but finding our resolution to decline them was not to be shaken, they,
about sun-set relieved us from all further importunities, by their

Another canoe, however, soon arrived, with seven stout, well-looking
men.  They brought a box, which contained a very fine sea-otter skin,
and a goat skin that was beautifully white.  For the former they
demanded my hanger, which, as may well be supposed, could not be spared
in our present situation, and they actually refused to take a yard and a
half of common broad cloth, with some other articles, for the skin,
which proves the unreflecting improvidence of our European traders.  The
goat-skin was so bulky that I did not offer to purchase it.  These men
also told me that _Macubah_ had been there, and left his ship behind a
point of land in the channel, South-West from us; from whence he had
come to their village in boats, which these people represented by
imitating our manner of rowing.  When I offered them what they did not
choose to accept for the otter-skin, they shook their heads, and very
distinctly answered, "No, no." And to mark their refusal of anything we
asked from them, they emphatically employed the same British
monosyllable.  In one of the canoes which had left us, there was a seal,
that I wished to purchase, but could not persuade the natives to part
with it.  They had also a fish, which I now saw for the first time.  It
was about eighteen inches in length, of the shape and appearance of a
trout, with strong sharp teeth.  We saw great numbers of the animals
which we had taken for sea-otters, but I was new disposed to think that
a great part of them, at least, must have been seals.  The natives
having left us, we made a fire to warm ourselves, and as for supper,
there was but little of that, for our whole daily allowance did not
amount to what was sufficient for a single meal.  The weather was clear
throughout the day, which was succeeded by a fine moon-light night.  I
directed the people to keep watch by two in turn, and laid myself down
on my cloak.

_Monday, 22._---This morning the weather was clear and pleasant; nor had
anything occurred to disturb us throughout the night.  One solitary
Indian, indeed, came to us with about half a pound of boiled seal's
flesh, and the head of a small salmon, for which he asked a
handkerchief, but afterwards accepted a few beads.  As this man came
alone, I concluded that no general plan had been formed among the
natives to annoy us, but this opinion did not altogether calm the
apprehensions of my people.

Soon after eight in the morning, I took five altitudes for time, and the
mean of them was 36° 48' at six in the afternoon, 58. 34. time, by the
watch, which makes the achrometer slow apparent time 1h 21m 44s.

Two canoes now arrived from the same quarter as the rest, with several
men, and our young Indian along with them.  They brought a very few
small sea-otter skins, out of season, with some pieces of raw seal's
flesh.  The former were of no value, but hunger compelled some of my
people to take the latter, at an extravagant price.  Mr.  Mackay lighted
a bit of touch-wood with a burning-glass, in the cover of his
tobacco-box, which so surprised the natives, that they exchanged the
best of their otter skins for it.  The young man was now very anxious to
per suede our people to depart, as the natives, he said, were as
numerous as musquitoes, and of very malignant character.  This
information produced some very earnest remonstrances to me to hasten our
departure, but as I was determined not to leave this place, except I was
absolutely compelled to it, till I had ascertained its situation, these
solicitations were not repeated.

While I was taking a meridian, two canoes, of a larger size, and well
manned, appeared from the main South-West channel.  They seemed to be
the fore-runners of others, who were coming to co-operate with the
people of the village, in consequence of the message sent by the two
boys, which has been already mentioned; and our young Indian, who
understood them, renewed his entreaties for our departure, as they would
soon come to shoot their arrows, and hurl their spears at us.  In
relating our dangers his agitation was so violent, that he foamed at the
mouth.  Though I was not altogether free from apprehensions on the
occasion, it was necessary for me disguise them, as my people were panic
struck, and some of them asked if it was my determination to remain
there to be sacrificed?  My reply was the same as their former
importunities had received, that I would not stir till I had
accomplished my object; at the same time, to humour their fears, I
consented that they should put everything into the canoe, that we might
be in a state of preparation to depart.  The two canoes now approached
the shore, and in a short time, five men, with their families, landed
very quietly from them.  My instruments being exposed, they examined
them with much apparent admiration and astonishment.  My altitude, by an
artificial horizon, gave 52° 21' 33"; that by the natural horizon was
52° 20' 48" North latitude.[4]

These Indians were of a different tribe from those which I had already
seen, as our guide did not understand their language.  I now mixed up
some vermilion in melted grease, and inscribed, in large characters, on
the South-East face of the rock on which we had slept last night, this
brief memorial--"Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the
twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three."

As I thought that we were too near the village, I consented to leave
this place, and accordingly proceeded North-East three miles, when we
landed on a point, in a small cove, where we should not be readily seen,
and could not be attacked except in our front.

Among other articles that had been stolen from us, at our last station,
was a sounding-line, which I intended to have employed in this bay, though
I should not probably have found the bottom, at any distance from the
shore, as the appearance both of the water and land indicated a great
depth.  The latter displayed a solid rock, rising as it appeared to me,
from three to seven hundred feet above high water mark.  Where any soil
was scattered about, there were cedars, spruce-firs, white birch, and
other trees of large growth.  From its precipices issued streams of fine
water, as cold as ice.

The two canoes which we had left at our last station, followed us
hither, and when they were preparing to depart, our young chief embarked
with them.  I was determined, however, to prevent his escape, and
compelled him, by animal force, to come on shore, for I thought it much
better to incur his displeasure than to suffer him to expose himself to
any untoward accident among strangers, or to return to his father before
us.  The men in the canoe made signs for him to go over the hill, and
that they would take him on board at the other side of it.  As I was
necessarily engaged in other matters, I desired my people to take care
that he should not run away; but they peremptorily refused to be
employed in keeping him against his will.  I was, therefore, reduced to
the necessity of watching him myself.

I took five altitudes, and the mean of them was 29. 23. 48, at
3. 5. 53. in the afternoon, by the watch, which makes it slow apparent

                   1h 22m 38s
  In the forenoon} 1  21  44     2  44  22
    it was       }
                   ----------    ----------
                 Mean of both    1  22  11

  Difference of nine hours go- }         8
    ing of the time-piece slow }
                                 1  22  19

I observed an emersion of Jupiter's third satellite, which gave 8° 32'
21. difference of longitude.  I then observed an emersion of Jupiter's
first satellite, which gave 8° 31' 48.  The mean of these observations
is 8° 32' 2. which is equal to 128. 2. West of Greenwich.

I had now determined my situation, which is the most fortunate
circumstance of my long, painful, and perilous journey, as a few cloudy
days would have prevented me from ascertaining the final longitude of

At twelve it was high water, but the tide did not come within a foot and
an half of the high water mark of last night.  As soon as I had
completed my observations, we left this place: it was then ten o'clock
in the afternoon.  We returned the same way that we came, and though the
tide was running out very strong, by keeping close in with the rocks, we
proceeded at a considerable rate, as my people were very anxious to get
out of the reach of the inhabitants of this coast.

_Tuesday, 23._--During our course we saw several fires on the land to
the Southward, and after the day dawned, their smokes were visible.  At
half past four this morning we arrived at our encampment of the night of
the 21st, which had been named Porcupine Cove.  The tide was out, and
considerably lower than we found it when we were here before; the
high-water mark being above the place where we had made our fire.  This
fluctuation must be occasioned by the action of the wind upon the water,
in those narrow channels.

As we continued onwards, towards the river, we saw a canoe, well manned,
which at first made from us with great expedition, but afterwards
waited, as if to reconnoitre us; however, it kept out of our way, and
allowed us to pass.  The tide being much lower than when we were here
before, we were under the necessity of landing a mile below the village.
We observed that stakes were fixed in the ground along the bay, and in
some places machines were fastened to them, as I afterwards learned, to
intercept the seals and otters.  These works are very extensive, and
must have been erected with no common labour.  The only bird we saw
to-day was the white headed eagle.[6]

Our guide directed us to draw the canoe out of the reach of the tide and
to leave it.  He would not wait, however, till this operation was
performed, and I did not wish to let him go alone.  I therefore followed
him through a bad road encumbered with under-wood.  When we had quitted
the wood, and were in sight of the houses, the young man being about
fifteen or twenty paces before me, I was surprised to see two men
running down towards me from one of the houses, with daggers in their
hands and fury in their aspect.  From their hostile appearance, I could
not doubt of their purpose.  I therefore stopped short, threw down my
cloak, and put myself in a posture of defence, with my gun presented
towards them.  Fortunately for me, they knew the effect of firearms, and
instantly dropped their daggers, which were fastened by a string to
their wrists, and had before been held in a menacing attitude.  I let my
gun also fall into my left hand, and drew my hanger.  Several others
soon joined them, who were armed in the same manner; and among them I
recognised the man whom I have already mentioned as being so troublesome
to us, and who now repeated the names of Macuba and Benzins, signifying
at the same time by his action, as on a former occasion, that he had
been shot at by them.  Until I saw him my mind was undisturbed; but the
moment he appeared, conceiving that he was the cause of my present
perilous situation, my resentment predominated, and if he had come
within my reach, I verily believe, that I should have terminated his
insolence forever.

The rest now approached so near, that one of them contrived to get
behind me, and grasped me in his arms.  I soon disengaged myself from
him; and, that he did not avail himself of the opportunity which he had
of plunging his dagger into me, I cannot conjecture.  They certainly
might have overpowered me, and though I should probably have killed one
or two of them, I must have fallen at last.

One of my people now came out of the wood.  On his appearance they
instantly took to flight, and with the utmost speed sought shelter in
the houses from whence they had issued.  It was, however, upwards of ten
minutes before all my people joined me; and as they came one after the
other, these people might have successively dispatched every one of us.
If they had killed me, in the first instance, this consequence would
certainly have followed, and not one of us would have returned home to
tell the horrid fate of his companions.

After having stated the danger I had encountered, I told my people that
I was determined to make these natives feel the impropriety of their
conduct toward us, and compel them to return my hat and cloak which they
had taken in the scuffle, as well as the articles previously purloined
from us, for most of the men who were in the three canoes that we first
saw, were now in the village.  I therefore told my men to prime their
pieces afresh, and prepare themselves for an active use of them, if the
occasion should require it.  We now drew up before the house, and made
signs for some one to come down to us.  At length our young chief
appeared, and told us that the men belonging to the canoes had not only
informed his friends, that we had treated him very ill, but that we had
killed four of their companions whom he had met in the bay.  When I had
explained to them as well as it was in my power, the falsehood of such a
story, I insisted on the restoration of everything that had been taken
from us, as well as a necessary supply of fish, as the conditions of my
departure; accordingly the things were restored, and a few dried fish
along with them.  A reconciliation now took place, but our guide or
young chief was so much terrified that he would remain no longer with
us, and requested us to follow with his father's canoe, or mischief
would follow.  I determined, however, before my departure, to take an
observation, and at noon got a meridian altitude, making this place,
which I named Rascal's Village, 52. 23. 43. North latitude.

On my informing the natives that we wanted something more to eat, they
brought us two salmon; and when we signified that we had no poles to set
the canoe against the current, they were furnished with equal alacrity,
so anxious were they for our departure.  I paid, however, for everything
which we had received, and did not forget the loan of the canoe.

[1] Mr. Johnstone came to these houses the first day of the preceding

[2] The Cape or Point Menzies of Vancouver.

[3] Named by Vancouver King's Island.

[4] This I found to be the cheek of Vancouver's Cascade Canal.

[5] Mr. Meares was undoubtedly wrong in the idea, so earnestly insisted
on by him, in his voyage, that there was was North-West practicable
passage to the Southward of sixty-nine degrees and an half of latitude,
as I flatter myself has been proved by my former voyage.  Nor can I
refrain from expressing my surprise at his assertion, that there was an
inland sea or archipelago of great extent between the islands of Nootka
and the main, about the latitude where I was at this time.  Indeed I
have been informed that Captain Grey, who commanded an American vessel,
and on whose authority he ventured this opinion, denies that he had
given Mr. Meares any such information.  Besides, the contrary is
indubitably proved by Captain Vancouver's survey, from which no appeal
can be made.

[6] This bay was now named Mackenzie's Outlet.


JULY, 1793.

The current of the river was so strong, that I should have complied with
the wishes of my people, and gone by land, but one of my Indians was so
weak, that it was impossible for him to perform the journey.  He had
been ill some time; and, indeed, we had been all of us more or less
afflicted with colds on the sea coast.  Four of the people therefore set
of with the canoe, and it employed them an hour to get half a mile.  In
the mean time the native, who has been already mentioned as having
treated us with so much insolence, and four of his companions, went up
the river in a canoe, which they had above the rapid, with as many boxes
as men in her.  This circumstance was the cause of fresh alarm, as it
was generally concluded that they would produce the same mischief and
danger in the villages above, as they had in that below.  Nor was it
forgotten that the young chief had left us in a manner which would not
be interpreted in our favour by his father and friends.

At length the canoe arrived, and the people declared in the most
unreserved terms, that they would proceed no further in her; but when
they were made acquainted with the circumstances which have just been
described, their violence increased, and the greater part of the men
announced their determination to attempt the mountains, and endeavour,
by passing over them, to gain the road by which we came to the first
village.  So resolved were they to pursue this plan, that they threw
everything which they had into the river, except their blankets.  I was
all this time sitting patiently on a stone, and indulging the hope that,
when their frantic terror had subsided, their returning reason would
have disposed them to perceive the rashness of their project; but when I
observed that they persisted in it, I no longer remained a silent
listener to their passionate declarations, but proceeded to employ such
arguments as I trusted would turn them from their senseless and
impracticable purpose.  After reproving my young Indian in very severe
terms, for encouraging the rest to follow their mad design of passing
the mountains, I addressed myself generally to them, stating the
difficulty of ascending the mountains, the eternal snows with which they
were covered, our small stock of provisions, which two days would
exhaust, and the consequent probability that we should perish with cold
and hunger.  I urged the folly of being affected by the alarm of danger
which might not exist, and if it did, I encouraged them with the means
we possessed of surmounting it.  Nor did I forget to urge the inhumanity
and injustice of leaving the poor sick Indian to languish and die.  I
also added, that as my particular object had been accomplished, I had
now no other but our common safety; that the sole wish of my heart was
to employ the best means in my power, and to pursue the best method
which my understanding could suggest, to secure them and myself from
every danger that might impede our return.

My steersman, who had been with me for five years in that capacity,
instantly replied that he was ready to follow me wherever I should go,
but that he would never again enter that canoe, as he had solemnly sworn
he would not, while he was in the rapid.  His example was followed by
all the rest, except two, who embarked with Mr. Mackay,[1] myself, and
the sick Indian.  The current, however, was so strong, that we dragged
up the greatest part of the way, by the branches of trees.  Our
progress, as may be imagined, was very tedious, and attended with
uncommon labour; the party who went by land being continually obliged to
wait for us.  Mr. Mackay's gun was carried out of the canoe and lost, at
a time when we appeared to stand in very great need of it, as two
canoes, with sixteen or eighteen men, were coming down the stream; and
the apprehensions which they occasioned did not subside till they shot
by us with great rapidity.

At length we came in sight of the house, when we saw our young Indian
with six others, in a canoe coming to meet us.  This was a very
encouraging circumstance, as it satisfied us that the natives who had
preceded, and whose malignant designs we had every reason to suspect,
had not been able to prejudice the people against us.  We, therefore,
landed at the house, where we were received in a friendly manner, and
having procured some fish, we proceeded on our journey.

It was almost dark when we arrived at the next house, and the first
persons who presented themselves to our observation were the turbulent
Indian and his four companions.  They were not very agreeable objects;
but we were nevertheless well received by the inhabitants, who presented
us with fish and berries.  The Indians who had caused us so much alarm,
we now discovered to be inhabitants of the islands, and traders in
various articles, such as cedar-bark, prepared to be wove into mats,
fish-spawn, copper, iron, and beads, the latter of which they get on
their own coast.  For these they receive in exchange roasted salmon,
hemlock bark cakes, and the other kind made of salmon roes, sorrel, and
bitter berries.  Having procured as much fish as would serve us for our
supper, and the meals of the next day, all my people went to rest except
one, with whom I kept the first watch.

_Wednesday, 24._--After twelve last night, I called up Mr. Mackay, and
one of the men, to relieve us, but as a general tranquillity appeared to
prevail in the place, I recommended them to return to their rest.  I was
the first awake in the morning, and sent Mr. Mackay to see if our canoe
remained where we left it; but he returned to inform me that the
Islanders had loaded it with their articles of traffic, and were ready
to depart.  On this intelligence I hurried to the water side, and
seizing the canoe by the stem, I should certainly have overset it, and
turned the three men that were in it, with all their merchandise, into
the river, had not one of the people of the house, who had been very
kind to us, informed me, that this was their own canoe, and that my
guide had gone off with ours.  At the same moment the other two Indians
who belonged to the party, jumped nimbly into it, and pushed off with
all the haste and hurry that their fears may be supposed to dictate.

We now found ourselves once more without a guide or a canoe.  We were,
however, so fortunate as to engage, without much difficulty, two of
these people to accompany us; as, from the strength of the current, it
would not have been possible for us to have proceeded by water without
their assistance.  As the house was upon an island, we ferried over the
pedestrian party to the main bank of the river and continued our course
till our conductors came to their fishing ground, when they proposed to
land us, and our small portion of baggage; but as our companions were on
the opposite shore, we could not acquiesce, and after some time
persuaded them to proceed further with us.  Soon after we met the chief
who had regaled us in our voyage down the river.  He was seining between
two canoes, and had taken a considerable quantity of salmon.  He took us
on board with him, and proceeded upwards with great expedition.  These
people are surprisingly skilful and active in setting against a strong
current.  In the roughest part they almost filled the canoe with water,
by way of a sportive alarm to us.

We landed at the house of the chief, and he immediately placed a fish
before me.  Our people now appeared on the opposite bank, when a canoe
was sent for them.  As soon as they had made their meal of fish, they
proceeded on their route, and we followed them; the chief and one of the
natives having undertaken to conduct us.

At five in the afternoon we came to two houses, which we had not seen in
going down.  They were upon an island, and I was obliged to send for the
walking party, as our conductors, from the lateness of the hour, refused
to proceed any further with us till the next day.  One of our men, being
at a small distance before the others, had been attacked by a female
bear with two cubs, but another of them arrived to his rescue, and shot
her.  Their fears probably prevented them from killing the two young
ones.  They brought a part of the meat, but it was very indifferent.  We
were informed, that our former guide, or young chief, had passed this
place, at a very early hour of the morning, on foot.

These people take plenty of another fish, besides salmon, which weigh
from fifteen to forty pounds.  This fish is broader than the salmon, of
a greyish colour, and with a hunch on its back: the flesh is white, but
neither rich nor well flavoured.  Its jaw and teeth are like those of a
dog, and the latter are larger and stronger than any I had ever seen in
a fish of equal size: those in front bend inwards, like the claws of a
bird of prey.  It delights in shallow water, and its native name is

We received as many fish and berries from these people as completely
satisfied our appetites.  The latter excelled any of the kind that we
had seen.  I saw also, three kinds of gooseberries, which, as we passed
through the woods, we found in great abundance.

_Thursday, 25._--I arose before the sun, and the weather was very
fine.  The men who were to accompany us went to visit their machines,
and brought back plenty of fish, which they strung on a rope, and left
them in the river.  We now embarked thirteen in a canoe, and landed my
men on the South bank, as it would have been impracticable to have
stemmed the tide with such a load.  The underwood was so thick that it
was with great difficulty they could pass through it.  At nine we were
under the necessity of waiting to ferry them over a river from the
South, which is not fordable.  After some time we came to two deserted
houses, at the foot of a rapid, beyond which our boatmen absolutely
refused to conduct us by water.  Here was a road which led opposite to
the village.  We had, however, the curiosity to visit the houses, which
were erected upon posts, and we suffered very severely for the
indulgence of it; for the doors were covered with fleas, and we were
immediately in the same condition, for which we had no remedy but to
take to the water.  There was not a spot round the houses free from
grass, that was not alive, as it were, with this vermin.

Our guides proposed to conduct us on our way, and we followed them on a
well-beaten track.  They, however, went so fast, that we could not all
of us keep up with them, particularly our sick Indian, whose situation
was very embarrassing to us, and at length they contrived to escape.  I
very much wished for these men to have accompanied us to the village, in
order to do away any ill impressions which might have arisen from the
young chief's report to his father, which we were naturally led to
expect would not be in our favour.

This road conducted us through the finest wood of cedar trees that I had
ever seen.  I measured several of them that were twenty-four feet in the
girth, and of a proportionate height.  The alder trees are also of an
uncommon size; several of them were seven feet and an half in
circumference, and rose to forty feet without a branch; but my men
declared that they had, in their progress, seen much larger of both
kinds.  The other wood was hemlock; white birch, two species of
spruce-firs, willows, &c.  Many of the large cedars appeared to have
been examined, as I suppose by the natives, for the purpose of making
canoes, but finding them hollow at heart, they were suffered to stand.
There was but little underwood, and the soil was a black rich mould,
which would well reward the trouble of cultivation.  From the remains of
bones on certain spots, it is probable that the natives may have
occasionally burned their dead in this wood.

As it was uncertain what our reception might be at the village, I
examined every man's arms and ammunition, and gave Mr. Mackay, who had
unfortunately lost his gun, one of my pistols.  Our late conductors had
informed us that the man whom we left in a dying state, and to whom I
had administered some Turlington's balsam, was dead; and it was by no
means improbable that I might be suspected of hastening his end.

At one in the afternoon we came to the bank of the river, which was
opposite to the village, which appeared to be in a state of perfect
tranquillity.  Several of the natives were fishing above and below the
weir, and they very readily took us over in their canoes.  The people
now hurried down to the water side, but I perceived none of the chief's
family among them.  They made signs to me to go to his house; I
signified to them not to crowd about us, and indeed drew a line, beyond
which I made them understand they must not pass.  I now directed
Mr. Mackay, and the men to remain there, with their arms in readiness,
and to keep the natives at a distance, as I was determined to go alone
to the chief's house; and if they should hear the report of my pistols,
they were ordered to make the best of their way from these people, as it
would then be equally fruitless and dangerous to attempt the giving me
any assistance, as it would be only in the last extremity, and when I
was certain of their intention to destroy me, that I should discharge my
pistols.  My gun I gave to Mr. Mackay, when, with my loaded pistols in
my belt, and a poignard in my hand, I proceeded to the abode of the
chief.  I had a wood to pass in my way thither, which was intersected by
various paths and I took one that led to the back, instead of the front
of the house; and as the whole had been very much altered since I was
here before, I concluded that I had lost my way.  But I continued to
proceed, and soon met with the chief's wife, who informed me, that he
was at the next house.  On my going round it, I perceived that they had
thrown open the gable ends, and added two wings, nearly as long as the
body, both of which were hung round with salmon as close as they could
be placed.  As I could discover none of the men, I sat down upon a large
stone near some women who were supping on salmon roes and berries.  They
invited me to partake of their fare, and I was about to accept their
invitation when Mr. Mackay joined me, as both himself and all my party
were alarmed at my being alone.  Nor was his alarm lessened by an old
man whom he met in the wood, and who made use of signs to persuade him
to return.  As he came without his gun, I gave him one of my pistols.
When I saw the women continue their employment without paying the least
attention to us, I could not imagine that any hostile design was
preparing against us.  Though the non-appearance of the men awakened
some degree of suspicion that I should not be received with the same
welcome as on my former visit.  At length the chief appeared, and his
son, who had been our guide, following him; displeasure was painted in
the old man's countenance, and he held in his hand a bead tobacco pouch
which belonged to Mr. Mackay, and the young chief had purloined from
him.  When he had approached within three or four yards of me, he threw
it at me with great indignation, and walked away.  I followed him,
however, until he had passed his son, whom I took by the hand, but he
did not make any very cordial return to my salutation; at the same time
he made signs for me to discharge my pistol, and give him my hanger
which Mr.  Mackay had brought me, but I did not pay the least attention
to either of his demands.

We now joined the chief, who explained to me that he was in a state of
deep distress for the loss of his son, and made me understand that he
had cut off his hair and blackened his face on the melancholy occasion.
He also represented the alarm which he had suffered respecting his son
who had accompanied us; as he apprehended we had killed him, or had all
of us perished together.  When he had finished his narrative, I took him
and his son by their hands, and requested them to come with me to the
place where I had left my people, who were rejoiced to see us return,
having been in a state of great anxiety from our long absence.  I
immediately remunerated the young chief for his company and assistance
in our voyage to the sea, as well as his father, for his former
attentions.  I gave them cloth and knives, and, indeed, a portion of
everything which now remained to us.  The presents had the desired
effect of restoring us to their favour; but these people are of so
changeable a nature, that there is no security with them.  I procured
three robes and two otter-skins, and if I could have given such articles
in exchange as they preferred, I should probably have obtained more.  I
now represented the length of the way which I had to go, and requested
some fish to support us on our journey, when he desired us to follow him
to the house, where mats were immediately arranged and a fish placed
before each of us.

We were now informed, that our dog, whom we had lost, had been howling
about the village ever since we left it, and that they had reason to
believe he left the woods at night to eat the fish he could find about
the houses.  I immediately dispatched Mr. Mackay, and a man, in search
of the animal, but they returned without him.

When I manifested my intention to proceed on my journey, the chief
voluntarily sent for ten roasted salmon, and having attended us with his
son, and a great number of his people, to the last house in the village,
we took our leave.  It was then half past three in the afternoon.

I directed Mr. Mackay to take the lead, and the others to follow him in
Indian files, at a long and steady pace, as I determined to bring up the
rear.  I adopted this measure from a confusion that was observable among
the natives which I did not comprehend.  I was not without my suspicions
that some mischief was in agitation, and they were increased from the
confused noise we heard in the village.  At the same time a considerable
number came running after us; some of them making signs for us to stop,
and others rushing by me.  I perceived also, that those who followed us
were the strangers who live among these people, and are kept by them in
a state of awe and subjection; and one of them made signs to me that we
were taking a wrong road.  I immediately called out to Mr. Mackay to
stop.  This was naturally enough taken for an alarm, and threw my people
into great disorder.  When, however, I was understood, and we had
mustered again, our Indian informed us, that the noise we heard was
occasioned by a debate among the natives, whether they should stop us or
not.  When, therefore, we had got into the right road, I made such
arrangements as might be necessary for our defence, if we should have an
experimental proof that our late and fickle friends were converted into

Our way was through a forest of stately cedars, beneath a range of lofty
hills, covered with rocks, and without any view of the river.  The path
was well beaten, but rendered incommodious by the large stones which lay
along it.

As we were continuing our route, we all felt the sensation of having
found a lost friend at the sight of our dog; but he appeared, in a great
degree, to have lost his former sagacity.  He ran in a wild way
backwards and forwards; and though he kept our road, I could not induce
him to acknowledge his master.  Sometimes he seemed disposed to approach
as if he knew us; and then, on a sudden, he would turn away, as if
alarmed at our appearance.  The poor animal was reduced almost to a
skeleton, and we occasionally dropped something to support him, and by
degrees he recovered his former sagacity.

When the night came on we stopped at a small distance from the river,
but did not venture to make a fire.  Every man took his tree, and laid
down in his clothes, and with his arms, beneath the shade of its
branches.  We had removed to a short distance from the path; no sentinel
was now appointed, and every one was left to watch for his own safety.

_Friday, 26._--After a very restless, though undisturbed night, we set
forward as soon as day appeared, and walked on with all possible
expedition, till we got to the upper, which we now called Friendly
Village, and was the first we visited on our outward journey.

It was eight in the morning of a very fine day when we arrived, and
found a very material alteration in the place since we left it.  Five
additional houses had been erected and were filled with salmon: the
increase of inhabitants was in the same proportion.  We were received
with great kindness, and a messenger was dispatched to inform the chief,
whose name was Soocomlick, and who was then at his fishing-weir, of our
arrival.  He immediately returned to the village to confirm the cordial
reception of his people; and having conducted us to his house,
entertained us with the most respectful hospitality.  In short, he
behaved to us with so much attention and kindness, that I did not
withhold anything in my power to give, which might afford him
satisfaction.  I presented him with two yards of blue cloth, an axe,
knives, and various other articles.  He gave me in return a large shell
which resembled the under shell of a Guernsey oyster, but somewhat
larger.  Where they procured them I could not discover, but they cut and
polish them for bracelets, ear-rings, and other personal ornaments.  He
regretted that he had no sea-otter skins to give me, but engaged to
provide abundance of them whenever either my friends or myself should
return by sea; an expectation which I thought it right to encourage
among these people.  He also earnestly requested me to bring him a gun
and ammunition.  I might have procured many curious articles at this
place, but was prevented by the consideration that we must have carried
them on our backs upwards of three hundred miles through a mountainous
country.  The young chief, to his other acts of kindness, added as large
a supply of fish as we choose to take.

Our visit did not occasion any particular interruption of the ordinary
occupation of the people; especially of the women, who were employed in
boiling sorrel, and different kinds of berries, with salmon-roes, in
large square kettles of cedar wood.  This pottage, when it attained a
certain consistency, they took out with ladles, and poured it into
frames of about twelve inches square and one deep, the bottom being
covered with a large leaf, which were then exposed to the sun till their
contents became so many dried cakes.  The roes that are mixed up with
the bitter berries, are prepared in the same way.  From the quantity of
this kind of provision, it must be a principal article of food, and
probably of traffic.  These people have also portable chests of cedar,
in which they pack them, as well as their salmon, both dried and
roasted.  It appeared to me that they eat no flesh, except such as the
sea may afford them, as that of the sea-otter and the seal.  The only
instance we observed to the contrary, was in a young Indian who
accompanied us among the islands, and has been already mentioned as
feasting on the flesh of a porcupine; whether this be their custom
throughout the year, or only during the season of the salmon fishery;
or, whether there were any castes of them, as in India, I cannot pretend
to determine.  It is certain, however, that they are not hunters, and I
have already mentioned the abhorrence they expressed at some venison
which we brought to their village.  During our former visit to these
people, they requested us not to discharge our fire-arms, lest the
report should frighten away the salmon, but now they expressed a wish
that I should explain the use and management of them.  Though their
demeanour to us was of the most friendly nature, and they appeared
without any arms, except a few who accidentally had their daggers, I did
not think it altogether prudent to discharge our pieces; I therefore
fired one of my pistols at a tree marked for the purpose, when I put
four out of five buck shot with which it was loaded, into the circle, to
their extreme astonishment and admiration.

These people were in general of the middle stature, well set, and better
clothed with flesh than any of the natives of the interior country.
Their faces are round, with high cheek bones, and their complexion
between the olive and the copper.  They have small grey eyes, with a
tinge of red; they have wedge heads, and their hair is of a dark brown
colour, inclining to black.  Some wear it long, keep it well combed, and
let it hang loose over their shoulders, while they divide and tie it in
knots over the temples.  Others arrange its plaits, and bedaub it with
brown earth, so as to render it impervious to the comb; they, therefore,
carry a bodkin about them to ease the frequent irritation, which may be
supposed to proceed from such a state of the head.  The women are
inclined to be fat, wear their hair short, and appear to be very subject
to swelled legs, a malady that probably proceeds from the posture in
which they are always sitting: as they are chiefly employed in the
domestic engagements of spinning, weaving, preparing the fish, and
nursing their children, which did not appear to be numerous.  Their
cradle differed from any that I had seen; it consisted of a frame fixed
round a board of sufficient length, in which the child, after it has
been swathed, is placed on a bed of moss, and a conductor contrived to
carry off the urinary discharge.  They are slung over one shoulder by
means of a cord fastened under the other, so that the infant is always
in a position to be readily applied to the breast, when it requires
nourishment.  I saw several whose heads were inclosed in boards covered
with leather, till they attain the form of a wedge.  The women wear no
clothing but the robe, either loose or tied round the middle with a
girdle, as the occasion may require, with the addition of a fringed
apron, already mentioned, and a cap, in the form of an inverted bowl or
dish.  To the robe and cap, the men add, when it rains, a circular mat
with an opening in the middle sufficient to admit the head, which
extending over the shoulders, throws off the wet.  They also
occasionally wear shoes of dressed moose-skin, for which they are
indebted to their neighbors.  Those parts, which among all civilized
nations are covered from familiar view, are here openly exposed.

They are altogether dependent on the sea and rivers for their
sustenance, so that they may be considered as a stationary people; hence
it is that the men engage in those toilsome employments, which the
tribes who support themselves by the chase, leave entirely to the women.
Polygamy is permitted among them, though, according to my observation,
most of the men were satisfied with one wife, with whom, however,
chastity is not considered as a necessary virtue.  I saw but one woman
whose under lip was split and disfigured with an appendant ornament.
The men frequently bathe, and the boys are continually in the water.
They have nets and lines of various kinds and sizes, which are made of
cedar bark, and would not be known from those made of hemp.  Their hooks
consist of two pieces of wood or bone, forming when fixed together, an
obtuse angle.

Their spears or darts are from four to sixteen feet in length; the barb
or point being fixed in a socket, which, when the animal is struck,
slips from it: thus the barb being fastened by a string to the handle,
remains as a buoy; or enables the aquatic hunter to tire and take his
prey.  They are employed against sea-otters, seals, and large fish.

Their hatchets are made principally of about fourteen inches of
bar-iron, fixed into a wooden handle, as I have already described them;
though they have some of bone or horn: with these, a mallet and wooden
wedge, they hew their timbers and form their planks.  They must also
have other tools with which they complete and polish their work, but my
stay was so short, my anxiety so great, and my situation so critical,
that many circumstances may be supposed to have escaped me.

Their canoes are made out of the cedar tree, and will carry from eight
to fifty persons.

Their warlike weapons, which, as far as I could judge, they very seldom
have occasion to employ, are bows and arrows, spears, and daggers.  The
arrows are such as have been already described, but rather of a slighter
make.  The bows are not more than two feet and an half in length; they
are formed of a slip of red cedar; the grain being on one side untouched
with any tool, while the other is secured with sinews 'attached to it by
a kind of glue.  Though this weapon has a very slender appearance, it
throws an arrow with great force, and to a considerable distance.  Their
spears are about ten feet long, and pointed with iron.  Their daggers
are of various kinds, being of British, Spanish, and American

Their household furniture consists of boxes, troughs, and dishes formed
of wood, with different vessels made of watape.  These are employed,
according to their several applications, to contain their valuables, and
provisions, as well as for culinary purposes, and to carry water.  The
women make use of muscle-shells to split and clean their fish, and which
are very well adapted to that purpose.

Their ornaments are necklaces, collars, bracelets for the arms, wrists,
and legs, with ear-rings, &c.

They burn their dead, and display their mourning, by cutting their hair
short, and blackening their faces.  Though I saw several places where
bodies had been burned, I was surprised at not seeing any tomb or
memorial of the dead, particularly when their neighbours are so
superstitiously attentive to the erection and preservation of them.

From the number of their canoes, as well as the quantity of their chests
and boxes, to contain their moveables, as well as the insufficiency of
their houses, to guard against the rigours of a severe winter, and the
appearance of the ground around their habitations, it is evident that
these people reside here only during the summer or salmon season, which
does not probably last more than three months.  It may be reasonably
inferred, therefore, that they have villages on the sea-coast, which
they inhabit during the rest of the year.  There it may be supposed they
leave the sick, the infirm, and the aged; and thither they may bear the
ashes of those who die at the place of their summer residence.

Of their religion I can say but little, as my means of observation were
very contracted.  I could discover, however, that they believed in a
good and evil spirit: and that they have some forms of worship to
conciliate the protection of one, and perhaps to avert the enmity of the
other, is apparent from the temples which I have described; and where,
at stated periods, it may be presumed they hold the feasts, and perform
the sacrifices, which their religion, whatever it may be, has instituted
as the ceremonials of their public worship.

From the very little I could discover of their government, it is
altogether different from any political regulation which had been
remarked by me among the savage tribes.  It is on this river alone that
one man appears to have an exclusive and hereditary right to what was
necessary to the existence of those who are associated with him.  I
allude to the salmon weir, or fishing place, the sole right to which
confers on the chief an arbitrary power.  Those embankments could not
have been formed without a very great and associated labour; and, as
might be supposed, on the condition that those who assisted in
constructing it should enjoy a participating right in the advantages to
be derived from it.  Nevertheless, it evidently appeared to me, that the
chief's power over it, and the people, was unlimited, and without
control.  No one could fish without his permission, or carry home a
larger portion of what he had caught, than was set apart for him.  No
one could build a house without his consent; and all his commands
appeared to be followed with implicit obedience.  The people at large
seemed to be on a perfect equality, while the strangers among them were
obliged to obey the commands of the natives in general or quit the
village.  They appear to be of a friendly disposition, but they are
subject to sudden gusts of passion, which are as quickly composed; and
the transition is instantaneous, from violent irritation to the most
tranquil demeanor.  Of the many tribes of savage people whom I have
seen, these appear to be the most susceptible of civilization.  They
might soon be brought to cultivate the little ground about them which is
capable of it.  There is a narrow border of a rich black soil, on either
side of the river, over a bed of gravel, which would yield any grain or
fruit that are common to similar latitudes in Europe.

The very few words which I collected of their language, are as

 Zimilk,         Salmon.
 Dilly,          A fish of the size of a salmon, with canine teeth.
 Sepnas,         Hair of the head.
 Kietis,         An axe.
 Clougus,        Eyes.
 Itzas,          Teeth.
 Ma-acza,        Nose.
 Ich-yeh,        Leg.
 Shous-shey      Hand.
 Watts,          Dog.
 Zla-achle,      House.
 Zimnez,         Bark mat robe.
 Couloun,        Beaver or otter ditto.
 Dichts,         Stone.
 Neach,          Fire.
 Ulkan,          Water.
 Gits com,       A mat.
 Shiggimis,      Thread.
 Till-kewan,     Chest or box.
 Thlogatt,       Cedar bark.
 Achimoul,       Beads got upon their coast.
 Il-caiette,     A bonnet.
 Couny,          A clam shell.
 Nochasky,       A dish composed of berries and salmon roes.
 Caiffre,        What?

[1] It is but common justice to him, to mention in this place that I had
every reason to be satisfied with his conduct.


JULY, 1793.

At eleven in the morning we left this place, which I called Friendly
Village, accompanied by every man belonging to it, who attended us about
a mile, when we took a cordial leave of them; and if we might judge from
appearances, they parted from us with regret.

In a short time we halted to make a division of our fish, and each man
had about twenty pounds weight of it, except Mr. Mackay and myself, who
were content with shorter allowance, that we might have less weight to
carry.  We had also a little flour, and some pemmican.  Having completed
this arrangement with all possible expedition, we proceeded onwards, the
ground rising gradually, as we continued our route.  When we were clear
of the wood, we saw the mountain towering above, and apparently of
impracticable ascent.  We soon came to the fork of the river, which was
at the foot of the precipice, where the ford was three feet deep, and
very rapid.  Our young Indian, though much recovered, was still too weak
to cross the water, and with some difficulty I carried him over on my

It was now one in the afternoon, and we had to ascend the summit of the
first mountain before night came on, in order to look for water.  I left
the sick Indian, with his companion and one of my men, to follow us, as
his strength would permit him.  The fatigue of ascending these
precipices I shall not attempt to describe, and it was past five when we
arrived at a spot where we could get water, and in such an extremity of
weariness, that it was with great pain any of us could crawl about to
gather wood for the necessary purpose of making a fire.  To relieve our
anxiety, which began to increase every moment for the situation of the
Indian, about seven he and his companions arrived; when we consoled
ourselves by sitting round a blazing fire, talking of past dangers, and
indulging the delightful reflection that we were thus far advanced on
our homeward journey.  Nor was it possible to be in this situation
without contemplating the wonders of it.  Such was the depth of the
precipices below, and the height of the mountains above, with the rude
and wild magnificence of the scenery around, that I shall not attempt to
describe such an astonishing and awful combination of objects; of which,
indeed, no description can convey an adequate idea.  Even at this place,
which is only, as it were, the first step towards gaining the summit of
the mountains, the climate was very sensibly changed.  The air that
fanned the village which we left at noon, was mild and cheering; the
grass was verdant, and the wild fruits ripe around it.  But here the
snow was not yet dissolved, the ground was still bound by the frost, the
herbage had scarce begun to spring, and the crowberry bushes were just
beginning to blossom.

_Saturday, 27._--So great was our fatigue of yesterday, that it was
late before we proceeded to return over the mountains, by the same route
which we had followed in our outward journey.  There was little or no
change in the appearance of the mountains since we passed them, though
the weather was very fine.

_Sunday, 28._--At nine this morning we arrived at the spot, where we
slept with the natives on the 16th instant, and found our pemmican in
good condition where we had buried it.

The latitude of this place, by observation, when I passed, I found to be
52. 46. 32.  I now took time, and the distance between sun and moon.  I
had also an azimuth, to ascertain the variation.

We continued our route with fine weather, and without meeting a single
person on our way, the natives being all gone, as we supposed, to the
Great River.  We recovered all our hidden stores of provisions, and
arrived about two in the afternoon of Sunday, August the 4th, at the
place which we had left a month before.

A considerable number of Indians were encamped on the opposite side of
the small river, and in consequence of the weather, confined to their
lodges: as they must have heard of, if not seen us, and our arms being
out of order from the rain, I was not satisfied with our situation; but
did not wish to create an alarm.  We, therefore, kept in the edge of the
wood, and called to them, when they turned out like so many furies, with
their arms in their hands, and threatening destruction if we dared to
approach their habitations.  We remained in our station till their
passion and apprehensions had subsided, when our interpreter gave them
the necessary information respecting us.  They proved to be strangers to
us, but were the relations of those whom we had already seen here, and
who, as they told us, were upon an island at some distance up the river.
A messenger was accordingly sent to inform them of our arrival.

_Monday, 5._--On examining the canoe, and our property, which we had
left behind, we found it in perfect safety, nor was there the print of a
foot near the spot.  We now pitched our tent, and made a blazing fire,
and I treated myself, as well as the people, with a dram; but we had
been so long without tasting any spirituous liquor, that we had lost all
relish for it.  The Indians now arrived from above, and were rewarded
for the care they had taken of our property with such articles as were
acceptable to them.

At nine this morning I sent five men in the canoe, for the various
articles we had left below, and they soon returned with them, and except
some bale goods, which had got wet, they were in good order,
particularly the provisions, of which we were now in great need.

Many of the natives arrived both from the upper and lower parts of the
river, each of whom was dressed in a beaver robe.  I purchased fifteen
of them; and they preferred large knives in exchange.  It is an
extraordinary circumstance, that these people, who might have taken all
the property we left behind us, without the least fear of detection,
should leave that untouched, and purloin any of our utensils, which our
confidence in their honesty gave them a ready opportunity of taking.  In
fact, several articles were missing, and as I was very anxious to avoid
a quarrel with the natives, in this stage of our journey, I told those
who remained near us, without any appearance of anger, that their
relations who were gone, had no idea of the mischief that would result
to them from taking our property.  I gravely added, that the salmon,
which was not only their favourite food, but absolutely necessary to
their existence, came from the see which belonged to us white men; and
that as, at the entrance of the river, we could prevent those fish from
coming up it, we possessed the power to starve them and their children.
To avert our anger, therefore, they must return all the articles that
had been stolen from us.  This finesse succeeded.  Messengers were
dispatched to order the restoration of everything that had been taken.
We purchased several large salmon of them and enjoyed the delicious meal
which they afforded.

At noon this day, which I allotted for repose, I got a meridian
altitude, which gave 53. 24. 10. I also took time.  The weather had been
cloudy at intervals.

Every necessary preparation had been made yesterday for us to continue
our route to-day; but before our departure, some of the natives arrived
with part of the stolen articles; the rest, they said, had been taken by
people down the river, who would be here in the course of the morning,
and recommended their children to our commiseration, and themselves to
our forgiveness.

The morning was cloudy, with small rain, nevertheless I ordered the men
to load the canoe, and we proceeded in high spirits on finding ourselves
once more so comfortably together in it.  We landed at a house on the
first island, where we procured a few salmon, and four fine beaver
skins.  There had been much more rain in these parts than in the country
above, as the water was pouring down the hills in torrents.  The river
consequently rose with great rapidity, and very much impeded our

The people on this river are generally of the middle size, though I saw
many tall men among them.  In the cleanliness of their persons they
resemble rather the Beaver Indians than the Chepewyans.  They are
ignorant of the use of fire arms, and their only weapons are bows and
arrows, and spears.  They catch the larger animals in snares, but though
their country abounds in them, and the rivers and lakes produce plenty
of fish, they find a difficulty in supporting themselves, and are never
to be seen but in small bands of two or three families.  There is no
regular government among them; nor do they appear to have a sufficient
communication or understanding with each other, to defend themselves
against an invading enemy, to whom they fall an easy prey.  They have
all the animals common on the West side of the mountains, except the
buffalo and the wolf; at least we saw none of the latter, and there
being none of the former, it is evident that their progress is from the
South-East.  The same language is spoken, with very little exception
from the extent of my travels down this river, and in a direct line from
the North-East head of it in the latitude 53.  or 54. to Hudson's Bay;
so that a Chepewyan, from which tribe they have all sprung, might leave
Churchill River, and proceeding in every direction to the North-West of
this line without knowing any language except his own, would understand
them all: I except the natives of the sea coast, who are altogether a
different people.  As to the people to the Eastward of this river, I am
not qualified to speak of them.

At twelve we ran our canoe upon a rock, so that we were obliged to land
in order to repair the injury she had received; and as the rain came on
with great violence, we remained here for the night.  The salmon were
now driving up the current in such large shoals, that the water seemed,
as it were, to be covered with the fins of them.

_Wednesday, 7._--About nine this morning the weather cleared, and we
embarked.  The shoals of salmon continued as yesterday.  There were
frequent showers throughout the day, and every brook was deluged into a
river.  The water had risen at least one foot and an half perpendicular
in the last twenty-four hours.  In the dusk of the evening we landed for
the night.

_Thursday, 8._--The water continued rising during the night; so that
we were disturbed twice in the course of it, to remove our baggage.  At
six in the morning we were on our way, and proceeded with continual and
laborious exertion, from the increased rapidity of the current.  After
having passed the two carrying places of Rocky Point, and the Long
Portage, we encamped for the night.

_Friday, 9._--We set off at five, after a rainy night and in a foggy
morning.  The water still retained its height.  The sun, however, soon
beamed upon us; and our clothes and baggage were in such a state that we
landed to dry them.  After some time we re-embarked and arrived at our
first encampment on this river about seven in the evening.  The water
fell considerably in the course of the day.

_Saturday, 10._--The weather was cloudy with slight showers, and at
five this morning we embarked, the water falling as fast as it had
risen.  This circumstance arises from the mountainous state of the
country on either side of the river, from whence the water rushes down
almost as fast as it falls from the heavens, with the addition of the
snow it melts in its way.  At eight in the evening we stopped for the

_Sunday, 11._--At five this morning we proceeded with clear weather.
At ten we came to the foot of the long rapid, which we ascended with
poles much easier than we expected.  The rapids that were so strong and
violent in our passage downwards, were now so reduced, that we could
hardly believe them to be the same.  At sunset we landed and encamped.

_Monday, 12._--The weather was the same as yesterday, and we were on
the water at a very early hour.  At nine we came to a part of the river
where there was little or no current.  At noon we landed to gum the
canoe, when I took a meridian altitude, which gave 54. 11. 36. North
latitude.  We continued our route nearly East, and at three in the
afternoon approached the fork, when I took time, and the distance
between the sun and moon.  At four in the afternoon we left the main
branch.  The current was quite slack, as the water had fallen six feet,
which must have been in the course of three days.  At sunset we landed
and took our station for the night.

_Tuesday, 13._--There was a very heavy rain in the night, and the
morning was cloudy; we renewed our voyage, however, at a very early
hour, and came to the narrow gut between the mountains of rock, which
was a passage of some risk; but fortunately the state of the water was
such, that we got up without any difficulty, and had more time to
examine these extraordinary rocks than in our outward passage.  They are
as perpendicular as a wall, and give the idea of a succession of
enormous Gothic churches.  We were now closely hemmed in by the
mountains, which had lost much oh their snow since our former passage by
them.  We encamped at a late hour, cold, wet, and hungry: for such was
the state of our provisions, that our necessary allowance did not answer
to the active cravings of our appetites.

_Wednesday, 14._--The weather was cold and raw, with small rain, but
our necessities would not suffer us to wait for a favourable change of
it, and at half past five we arrived at the swampy carrying-place,
between this branch and the small river.  At three in the afternoon the
cold was extreme, and the men could not keep themselves warm even by
their violent exertions which our situation required; and I now gave
them the remainder of our rum to fortify and support them.  The canoe
was so heavy that the lives of two of them were endangered in this
horrible carrying-place.  At the same time it must be observed, that
from the fatiguing circumstances of our journey, and the inadequate
state of our provisions, the natural strength of the men had been
greatly diminished.  We encamped on the banks of the bad river.

_Thursday, 15._--The weather was now clear, and the sun shone upon us.
The water was much lower than in the downward passage, but was cold as
ice, and, unfortunately, the men were obliged to be continually in it to
drag on the canoe.  There were many embarras, through which a passage
might have been made, but we were under the necessity of carrying both
the canoe and baggage.

About sun-set we arrived at our encampment of the 13th of June, where
some of us had nearly taken our eternal voyage.  The legs and feet of
the men were so benumbed, that I was very apprehensive of the
consequence.  The water being low, we made a search for our bag of ball,
but without success.  The river was full of salmon, and another fish
like the black bass.

_Friday, 16._--The weather continued to be the same as yesterday, and
at two in the afternoon we came to the carrying-place which leads to the
first small lake; but it was so filled with drift wood, that a
considerable portion of time was employed in making our way through it.
We now reached the high land which separates the source of the Tacoutche
Tesse, or Columbia River, and Unjigah, or Peace River: the latter of
which, after receiving many tributary streams, passes through the great
Slave Lake, and disembogues itself in the Frozen Ocean, in latitude
69. 30. North, longitude 135 West from Greenwich; while the former,
confined by the immense mountains that run nearly parallel with the
Pacific Ocean, and keep it in a Southern course, empties itself in
46. 20.  North latitude and longitude 124 West from Greenwich.

If I could have spared the time, and had been able to exert myself, for
I was now afflicted with a swelling in my ancles, so that I could not
even walk, but with great pain and difficulty, it was my intention to
have taken some salmon alive, and colonised them in the Peace River,
though it is very doubtful whether that fish would live in waters that
have not a communication with the sea.

Some of the inhabitants had been here since we passed; and I apprehend,
that on seeing our road through their country, they mistook us for
enemies, and had therefore deserted the place, which is a most
convenient station; as on one side, there is a great plenty of white
fish, and trout, jub, carp, &c., and on the other abundance of salmon,
and probably other fish.  Several things that I had left here in
exchange for articles of which I had possessed myself, as objects of
curiosity, were taken away.  The hurtle-berries were now ripe, and very
fine of their kind.

_Saturday, 17._--The morning was cloudy, and at five we renewed our
progress.  We were compelled to carry from the lake to the Peace River,
the passage, from the falling of the water, being wholly obstructed by
drift wood.  The meadow through which we passed was entirely inundated;
and from the state of my foot and ancle, I was obliged, though with
great reluctance, to submit to be carried over it.

At half past seven we began to glide along with the current of the Peace
River; and almost at every canoe's length we perceived Beaver roads to
and from the river.  At two in the afternoon, an object attracted our
notice at the entrance of a small river, which proved to be the four
beaver skins, already mentioned to have been presented to me by a
native, and left in his possession to receive them on my return.  I
imagined, therefore, that being under the necessity of leaving the
river, or, perhaps, fearing to meet us again, he had taken this method
to restore them to me; and to reward his honesty, I left three times the
value of the skins in their place.  The snow appeared in patches on the
mountains.  At four in the afternoon we passed the place where we.
found the first natives, and landed for the night at a late hour.  In
the course of the day, we caught nine outards, or Canada geese, but they
were as yet without their feathers.

_Sunday, 18._--As soon as it was light we proceeded on our voyage, and
drove on before the current, which was very much diminished in its
strength, since we came up it.  The water indeed, was so low, that in
many parts it exposed a gravelly beach.  At eleven we landed at our
encampment of the seventh of June, to gum the canoe and dry our clothes:
we then re-embarked, and at half past five arrived at the place, where I
lost my book of memorandums, on the fourth of June, in which were
certain courses and distances between that day end the twenty-sixth of
May, which I had now an opportunity to supply.  They were as follows:
North-North-West half a mile, East by North half a mile, North by East a
quarter of a mile, North-West by West a quarter of a mile,
West-South-West half a mile, North-West a mile and a quarter,
North-North-West three quarters of a mile, North by East half a mile,
North-West three quarters of a mile, West half a mile, North-West three
quarters of a mile, West-North-West one mile and a quarter, North three
quarters of a mile, West by North one quarter of a mile, North-West one
mile and an half, West-North-West half a mile, North-North-West three
quarters of a mile, West one quarter of a mile, North-North-East half a
mile, North-North-West two miles, and North-West four miles.

We were seven days in going up that part of the river which we came down
to-day; and it now swarmed, as it were, with beavers and wild fowl.
There was rain in the afternoon, and about sunset we took our station
for the night.

_Monday, 19._--We had some small rain throughout the night.  Our
course to-day was South-South-West three quarters of a mile,
West-North-West half a mile, North half a mile, North-West by West three
quarters of a mile, North by West half a mile; a small river to the
left, South-West by West three quarters of a mile, West-North-West a
mile and an half, North-West by North four miles, a rivulet on the
right, West-North-West three quarters of a mile; a considerable river
from the left, North-North-West two miles, North half a mile,
West-North-West one mile and a half; a rivulet on the right, North-West
by West one mile and a quarter, West-North-West one mile,
West-South-West a quarter of a mile, North-North-West half a mile,
North-West half a mile, West-South-West three quarters of a mile,
North-West by West three miles, West-South-West three quarters of a
mile, North-West by West one mile; a small river on the right,
South-West a quarter of a mile, West-North-West, islands, four miles and
a half, a river on the left, North half a mile, West a quarter of a
mile, North a quarter of a mile, North-West by West three quarters of a
mile, North-North-East three quarters of a mile, North-West by North
half a mile, West-North-West a mile and an half, and North-West by North
half a mile.  The mountains were covered with fresh snow, whose showers
had dissolved in rain before they reached us.  North-West three quarters
of a mile, South-West a quarter of a mile, North a mile and three
quarters, West-North-West a mile and a quarter, North-West a mile and a
half, North-North-West half a mile, West-North-West a quarter of a mile,
North half a mile; here the current was sleek: North-West by North half
a mile, North-West by West a quarter of a mile, North-North-West a
quarter of a mile, North-West by West one mile and a quarter, North half
a mile, North-East by North one mile and three quarters, South-West one
mile and a quarter, with an island, North by East one mile, North-West.
Here the other branch opened to us, at the distance of three quarters of
a mile.

I expected from the slackness of the current in this branch, that
the Western one would be high, but I found it equally low.  I had every
reason to believe that from the upper part of this branch, the distance
could not be great to the country through which I passed when I left the
Great River; but it has since been determined otherwise by Mr. J. Finlay,
who was sent to explore it, and found its navigation soon terminated by
falls and rapids.

The branches are about two hundred yards in breadth, and the water was
six feet lower than on our upward passage.  Our course, after the
junction, was North-North-West one mile, the rapid North-East down it
three quarters of a mile, North by West one mile and a quarter, North by
East one mile and an half, East by South one mile, North-East two miles
and an half, East-North-East a quarter of a mile; a rivulet; East by
South one mile and an half, North-East two miles, East-North-East one
mile, North-North-East a quarter of a mile, North-East by East-half a
mile, East-South-East a quarter of a mile, East-North-East half a mile,
North-East two miles, North-East by East two miles and a quarter,
South-East by East a quarter of a mile; a rivulet from the left; East by
North a mile and an half, East by South one mile, East-North-East one
mile and three quarters; a river on the right; North-North-East three
quarters of a mile, North-East a mile and a half, North-East by East a
mile and a quarter, East-North-East half a mile, and North-East by North
half a mile.  Here we landed at our encampment of the 27th of June, from
whence I dispatched a letter in an empty keg, as was mentioned in that
period of my journal, which set forth our existing state, progress, and

_Tuesday, 20._--Though the weather was clear, we could not embark this
morning before five, as there was a rapid very near us, which required
daylight to run it, that we might not break our canoe on the rocks.  The
baggage we were obliged to carry.  Our course was North by East a mile
and an half, North-North-East a mile and a half down another rapid on
the West side; it requires great care to keep directly between the eddy
current, and that which was driving down with so much impetuosity.  We
then proceeded North-North-West, a river from the right; a mile and a
quarter, North-North-East a mile and a half, a river from the left;
North one mile and three quarters, North-East two miles, North-East by
East two miles and a quarter, East by North one mile, North-East by East
four miles, a river from the left, and East by South a mile and a half.
Here was our encampment on the 26th of May, beyond which it would be
altogether superfluous for me to take the courses, as they are inserted
in their proper places.

As we continued our voyage, our attention was attracted by the
appearance of an Indian encampment.  We accordingly landed, and found
there had been five fires, and within that number of days, so that there
must have been some inhabitants in the neighbourhood, though we were not
so fortunate as to see them.  It appeared that they had killed a number
of animals, and fled in a state of alarm, as three of their canoes were
left carelessly on the beach, and their paddles laying about in
disorder.  We soon after came to the carrying-place called the Portage
de la Montagne de Roche.  Here I had a meridian altitude, which made the
latitude 56. 3. 51.  North.

The water, as I have already observed, was much lower than when we came
up it, though at the same time the current appeared to be stronger from
this place to the forks; the navigation, however, would now be attended
with greater facility, as there is a stony beach all the way, so that
poles, or the towing-line, may be employed with the best effect, where
the current overpowers the use of paddles.

We were now reduced to a very short allowance; the disappointment,
therefore, at not seeing any animals was proportioned to our exigencies,
as we did not possess at this time more than was sufficient to serve us
for two meals.  I now dispatched Mr. Mackay and the Indians to proceed
to the foot of the rapids, and endeavour in their way to procure some
provisions, while I prepared to employ the utmost expedition in getting
there; having determined, notwithstanding the disinclination of my
people, from the recollection of what they had suffered in coming that
way, to return by the same route.  I had observed, indeed, that the
water which had fallen fifteen feet perpendicular, at the narrow pass
below us, had lost much of its former turbulence.

As dispatch was essential in procuring a supply of provisions, we did
not delay a moment in making preparation to renew our progress.  Five of
the men began to carry the baggage, while the sixth and myself took the
canoe asunder, to cleanse her of the dirt, and expose her lining and
timbers to the air, which would render her much lighter.  About sun-set
Mr. Mackay and our hunters returned with heavy burdens of the flesh of a
buffalo: though not very tender, it was very acceptable, and was the
only animal that they had seen, though the country was covered with
tracks of them, as well as of the moose-deer and the elk.  The former
had done rutting, and the latter were beginning to run.  Our people
returned, having left their loads mid-way on the carrying-place.  My
companion and myself completed our undertaking, and the canoe was ready
to be carried in the morning.  A hearty meal concluded the day, and
every fear of future want was removed.

_Wednesday, 21._--When the morning dawned we set forwards, but as a
fire had passed through the portage, it was with difficulty we could
trace our road in many parts; and with all the exertion of which we were
capable, we did not arrive at the river till four in the afternoon.  We
found almost as much difficulty in carrying our canoe down the mountain
as we had in getting it up; the men being not so strong as on the former
occasion, though they were in better spirits; and I was now enabled to
assist them, my ancle being almost well.  We could not, however, proceed
any further till the following day, as we had the canoe to gum, with
several great and small poles to prepare; those we had left here having
been carried away by the water, though we had left them in a position
from fifteen to twenty feet above the water-mark, at that time.  These
occupations employed us till a very late hour.

_Thursday, 22._--The night was cold, and though the morning was fine
and clear, it was seven before we were in a state of preparation to
leave this place, sometimes driving with the current, and at other times
shooting the rapids.  The latter had lost much of their former strength;
but we, nevertheless, thought it necessary to land very frequently, in
order to examine the rapids before we could venture to run them.
However, the canoe being light, we very fortunately passed them all, and
at noon arrived at the place where I appointed to meet Mr. Mackay and
the hunters: there we found them, with plenty of excellent fat meat,
ready roasted, as they had killed two elks within a few hundred yards of
the spot where we then were.  When the men had satisfied their
appetites, I sent them for as much of the meat as they could carry.  In
coming hither, Mr. Mackay informed me, that he and the hunters kept
along the high land, and did not see or cross the Indian path.  At the
same time, there can be no doubt but the road from this place to the
upper part of the rapids is to be preferred to that which we came, both
for expedition and safety.

After staying here about an hour and a half, we proceeded with the
stream, and landed where I had forgotten my pipe-tomahawk and seal, on
the eighteenth of May.  The former of them I now recovered.  On leaving
the mountains we saw animals grazing in every direction.  In passing
along an island, we fired at an elk, and broke its leg; and as it was
now time to encamp, we landed; when the hunters pursued the wounded
animal, which had crossed over to the main land, but could not get up
the bank.  We went after it, therefore, in the canoe, and killed it.  To
give some notion of our appetites, I shall state the elk, or at least
the carcase of it, which we brought away, to have weighed two hundred
and fifty pounds; and as we had taken a very hearty meal at one o'clock,
it might naturally be supposed that we should not be very voracious at
supper; nevertheless, a kettle full of the elk flesh was boiled and
eaten, and that vessel replenished and put on the fire.  All that
remained, with the bones, &c. was placed, after the Indian fashion,
round the fire to roast, and at ten next morning the whole was consumed
by ten persons and a large dog, who was allowed his share of the
banquet.  This is no exaggeration; nor did any inconvenience result from
what may be considered as an inordinate indulgence.

_Friday, 23._--We were on the water before daylight; and when the sun
rose, a beautiful country appeared around us, enriched and animated by
large herds of wild cattle.  The weather was now so warm, that to us,
who had not of late been accustomed to heat, it was overwhelming and
oppressive.  In the course of this day we killed a buffalo and a bear;
but we were now in the midst of abundance, and they were not
sufficiently fat to satisfy our fastidious appetites, so we left them
where they fell.  We landed for the night, and prepared ourselves for
arriving at the Fort on the following day.

_Saturday, 24._--The weather was the same as yesterday, and the
country increasing in beauty; though as we approached the Fort, the
cattle appeared proportionably to diminish.  We now landed at two lodges
of Indians, who were as astonished to see us, as if we had been the
first white men whom they had ever beheld.  When we had passed these
people, not an animal was to be seen on the borders of the river.

At length, as we rounded a point, and came in view of the Fort, we threw
out a flag, and accompanied it with a general discharge of our
fire-arms; while the men were in such spirits, and made such an active
use of their paddles, that we arrived before the two men whom we left
here in the spring, could recover their senses to answer us.  Thus we
landed at four in the afternoon, at the place which we left on the ninth
of May.

Here my voyages of discovery terminate.

Their toils and their dangers, their solicitudes and sufferings, have
not been exaggerated in my description.  On the contrary, in many
instances, language has failed me in the attempt to describe them.  I
received, however, the reward of my labours, for they were crowned with

As I have now resumed the character of a trader I shall not trouble my
readers with any subsequent concern, but content myself with the closing
infomation, that after an absence of eleven months, I arrived at Fort
Chepewyan, where I remained, for the purposes of trade, during the
succeeding winter.


The following general, but short, geographical view of the country may
not be improper to close this work, as well as some remarks on the
probable advantages that may be derived from advancing the trade of it,
under proper regulations, and by the spirit of commercial enterprize.

By supposing a line from the Atlantic, East, to the Pacific, West, in
the parallel of forty-five degrees of North latitude, it will, I think,
nearly describe the British territories in North America.  For I am of
opinion, that the extent of the country to the South of this line, which
we have a right to claim, is equal to that to the North of it, which may
be claimed by other powers.

The outline of what I shall call the first division, is along that track
of country which runs from the head of James-Bay, in about latitude
51. North, along the Eastern coast, as far North as to, and through
Hudson's Straits, round by Labrador; continuing on the Atlantic coast,
on the outside of the great islands, in the gulf of St. Laurence, to the
river St. Croix, by which it takes its course, to the height of land
that divides the waters emptying themselves into the Atlantic, from
those discharged into the river St. Laurence.  Then following these
heights, as the boundary between the British possessions, and those of
the American States, it makes an angle Westerly until it strikes the
discharge of Lake Champlain, in latitude 45. North, when it keeps a
direct West line till it strikes the river St. Laurence, above Lake
St. Francis, where it divides the Indian village St. Rigest; from whence
it follows the centre of the waters of the great river St. Laurence: it
then proceeds through Lake Ontario, the connection between it and Lake
Erie; through the latter, and its chain of connection, by the river
Detroit, as far South as latitude 42.  North, and then through the lake
and river St. Clair, as also lake Huron, through which it continues to
the strait of St. Mary, latitude 46. 30. North; from which we will
suppose the line to strike to the East of North, to the head of James
Bay, in the latitude already mentioned.

Of this great tract, more than half is represented as barren and broken,
displaying a surface of rock and fresh water lakes, with a very
scattered and scanty proportion of soil.  Such is the whole coast of
Labrador, and the land, called East Main to the West of the heights,
which divide the waters running into the river and gulf of St. Laurence,
from those flowing into Hudson's Bay.  It is consequently inhabited only
by a few savages, whose numbers are proportioned to the scantiness of
the soil; nor is it probable, from the same cause, that they will
encrease.  The fresh and salt waters, with a small quantity of game,
which the few, stinted woods afford, supply the wants of nature; from
whence, to that of the line of the American boundary, and the Atlantic
Ocean, the soil, wherever cultivation has been attempted, has yielded
abundance; particularly on the river St. Laurence, from Quebec upwards,
to the line of boundary already mentioned; but a very inconsiderable
proportion of it has been broken by the plough-share.

The line of the second division may be traced from that of the first at
St. Mary's, from which also the line of American boundary runs, and is
said to continue through Lake Superior (and through a lake called the
Long Lake which has no existence), to the Lake of the Woods, in latitude
49. 37. North, from whence it is also said to run West to the
Mississippi, which it may do, by giving it a good deal of Southing, but
not otherwise; as the source of that river does not extend further North
than latitude 47. 38. North, where it is no more than a small brook;
consequently, if Great Britain retains the right of entering it along
the line of division, it must be in a lower latitude, and wherever that
may be, the line must be continued West, till it terminates in the
Pacific Ocean, to the South of the Columbia.  This division is then
bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the West, the Frozen Sea and Hudson's
Bay on the North and East.  The Russians, indeed, may claim with
justice, the islands and coast from Behring's Straits to Cook's Entry.

The whole of this country will long continue in the possession of its
present inhabitants, as they will remain contented with the produce of
the woods and waters for their support, leaving the earth, from various
causes, in its virgin state.  The proportion of it that is fit for
cultivation, is very small and is still less in the interior parts; it
is also very difficult of access; and whilst any land remains
uncultivated to the South of it, there will be no temptation to settle
it.  Besides, its climate is not in general sufficiently genial to bring
the fruits of the earth to maturity.  It will also be an asylum for the
descendants of the original inhabitants of the country to the South, who
prefer the modes of life of their forefathers, to the improvements of
civilization.  Of this disposition there is a recent instance.  A small
colony of Iroquois emigrated to the banks of the Saskatchiwine, in 1799,
who had been brought up from their infancy under the Romish
missionaries, and instructed by them at a village within nine miles of

A further division of this country is marked by a ridge of high land,
rising, as it were, from the coast of Labrador, and running nearly
South-West to the source of the Utawas River, dividing the waters going
either way to the river and gulf of St. Laurence and Hudson's Bay, as
before observed.  From thence it stretches to the North of West, to the
Northward of Lake Superior, to latitude 50. North, and longitude
98. West, when it forks from the last course at about South-West, and
continues the same division of waters until it passes North of the
source of the Mississippi.  The former course runs, as has been
observed, in a North-West direction, until it strikes the river Nelson,
separating the waters that discharge themselves into Lake Winipic, which
forms part of the said river, and those that also empty themselves into
Hudson's Bay, by the Albany, Severn, and Hay's or Hill's Rivers.  From
thence it keeps a course of about West-North-West, till it forms the
banks of the Missinipi or Churchill River, at Portage de Traite,
latitude 55. 25. North.  It now continues in a Western direction,
between the Saskatchiwine and the source of the Missinipi, or Beaver
River, which it leaves behind, and divides the Saskatchiwine from the
Elk River; when, leaving those also behind, and pursuing the same
direction it leads to the high land that lies between the Unjigah and
Tacoutche rivers, from whence it may be supposed to be the same ridge.
From the head of the Beaver River, on the West, the same kind of high
ground runs to the East of North, between the waters of the Elk and
Missinipi River forming the Portage la Loche, and continuing on to the
latitude 57. 15. North, dividing the waters that run to Hudson's Bay
from those going to the North Sea: from thence its course is nearly
North, when an angle runs from it to the North of the Slave Lake, till
it strikes Mackenzie's River.

The last, but by no means the least, is the immense ridge, or succession
of ridges of stony mountains, whose Northern extremity dips in the North
Sea, in latitude 70. North, and longitude 135. West, running nearly
South-East, and begins to be parallel with the coast of the Pacific
Ocean, from Cook's entry, and so onwards to the Columbia.  From thence
it appears to quit the coast, but still continuing, with less elevation,
to divide the waters of the Atlantic from those which run into the
Pacific.  In those snow-clad mountains rises the Mississippi, if we
admit the Missouri to be its source, which flows into the Gulph of
Mexico; the River Nelson, which is lost in Hudson's Bay; Mackenzie's
River, that discharges itself into the North Sea; and the Columbia
emptying itself into the Pacific Ocean.  The great River St. Laurence
and Churchill River, with many lesser ones, derive their sources far
short of these mountains.  It is, indeed, the extension of these
mountains so far South on the sea coast, that prevents the Columbia from
finding a more direct course to the sea, as it runs obliquely with the
coast upwards of eight degrees of latitude before it mingles with the

It is further to be observed, that these mountains, from Cook's entry to
the Columbia, extend from six to eight degrees in breadth Easterly; and
that along their Eastern skirts is a narrow strip of very marshy, boggy,
and uneven ground, the outer edge of which produces coal and bitumen:
these I saw on the banks of Mackenzie's River, as far North as latitude
66.  I also discovered them in my second journey, at the commencement of
the rocky mountains in 56. North latitude, and 120. West longitude; and
the same was observed by Mr. Fidler, one of the servants of the Hudson's
Bay Company, at the source of the South branch of the Saskatchiwine, in
about latitude 52 North, and longitude 112. 30. West.[1] Next to this
narrow belt are immense plains, or meadows, commencing in a point at
about the junction of the River of the Mountain with Mackenzie's River,
widening as they continue East and South, till they reach the Red River
at its confluence with the Assiniboin River, from whence they take a
more Southern direction, along the Mississippi towards Mexico.
Adjoining to these plains is a broken country, composed of lakes, rocks,
and soil.

From the banks of the rivers running through the plains, there appeared
to ooze a saline fluid, concreting into a thin, scurf on the grass.
Near that part of the Slave River where it first loses the name of Peace
River, and along the extreme edge of these plains, are very strong salt
springs, which in the summer concrete and crystallize in great
quantities.  About the Lake Dauphin, on the South-West side of Lake
Winipic, are also many salt ponds, but it requires a regular process to
form salt from them.  Along the West banks of the former is to be seen,
at intervals, and traced in the line of the direction of the plains, a
soft rock of lime-stone, in thin and nearly horizontal stratas,
particularly on the Beaver, Cedar, Winipic, and Superior lakes, as also
in the beds of the rivers crossing that line.  It is also remarkable
that, at the narrowest part of Lake Winipic, where it is not more than
two miles in breadth, the West side is faced with rocks of this stone
thirty feet perpendicular; while, on the East side, the rocks are more
elevated, and of a dark-grey granite.

The latter is to be found throughout the whole extent North of this
country, to the coast of Hudson's Bay, and as I have been informed,
along that coast, onwards to the coast of Labrador; and it may be
further observed, that between these extensive ranges of granite and
lime-stone are found all the great lakes of this country.

There is another very large district which must not be forgotten; and
behind all the others in situation as well as in soil, produce, and
climate.  This comprehends the tract called the Barren Grounds, which is
to the North of a line drawn from Churchill, along the North border of
the Rein-Deer Lake, to the North of the Lake of the Hills and Slave
Lake, and along the North side of the latter to the rocky mountains,
which terminate in the North Sea, latitude 70. North, and longitude
135. West; in the whole extent of which no trees are visible, except a
few stinted ones, scattered along its rivers, and with scarce anything
of surface that can be called earth; yet, this inhospitable region is
inhabited by a people who are accustomed to the life it requires.  Nor
has bountiful nature withheld the means of subsistence; the rein deer,
which supply both food and clothing, are satisfied with the produce of
the hills, though they bear nothing but a short curling moss, on a
species of which, that grows on the rocks, the people themselves subsist
when famine invades them.  Their small lakes are not furnished with a
great variety of fish, but such as they produce are excellent, which,
with hares and partridges, form a proportion of their food.

The climate must necessarily be severe in such a country as we have
described, and which displays so large a surface of fresh water.  Its
severity is extreme on the coast of Hudson's Bay, and proceeds from its
immediate exposure to the North West winds that blow off the Frozen

These winds, in crossing directly from the bay over Canada and the
British dominions on the Atlantic, as well as over the Eastern
States of North America to that ocean, (where they give to those
countries a length of winter astonishing to the inhabitants of the same
latitudes in Europe), continue to retain a great degree of force and
cold in their passage, even over the Atlantic, particularly at the time
when the sun is in its Southern declination.  The same winds which come
from the Frozen Ocean, over the barren grounds, and across frozen lakes
and snowy plains, bounded by the rocky mountains, lose their frigid
influence, as they travel in a Southern direction, till they get to the
Atlantic Ocean, where they close their progress.  Is not this a
sufficient cause for the difference between the climate in America, and
that of the same latitude in Europe?

It has been frequently advanced, that the clearing away the wood has had
an astonishing influence in meliorating the climate in the former: but I
am not disposed to assent to that opinion in the extent which it
proposes to establish, when I consider the very trifling proportion of
the country cleared, compared with the whole.  The employment of the axe
may have had some inconsiderable effect; but I look to other causes.  I
myself observed in a country, which was in an absolute state of nature,
that the climate is improving; and this circumstance was confirmed to me
by the native inhabitants of it.  Such a change, therefore, must proceed
from some predominating operation in the system of the globe which is
beyond my conjecture, and, indeed, above my comprehension, and may,
probably, in the course, of time, give to America the climate of Europe.
It is well known, indeed, that the waters are decreasing there, and that
many lakes are draining and filling up by the earth which is carried
into them from the higher lands by the rivers: and this may have some
partial effect.

The climate on the West coast of America assimilates much more to that
of Europe in the same latitudes: I think very little difference will be
found, except such as proceed from the vicinity of high mountains
covered with snow.  This is an additional proof that the difference in
the temperature of the air proceeds from the cause already mentioned.

Much has been said, and much more still remains to be said on the
peopling of America.--On this subject I shall confine myself to one or
two observations, and leave my readers to draw their inferences from

The progress of the inhabitants of the country immediately under our
observation, which is comprised within the line of latitude 45. North,
is as follows: that of the Esquimaux, who possess the sea coast from the
Atlantic through Hudson's Straits and Bay, round to Mackenzie's River
(and I believe further), is known to be Westward; they never quit the
coast, and agree in appearance, manners, language, and habits with the
inhabitants of Greenland.  The different tribes whom I describe under
the name of Algonquins and Knisteneaux, but originally the same people,
were the inhabitants of the Atlantic coast, and the banks of the river
St.  Laurence and adjacent countries: their progress is Westerly, and
they are even found West and North as far as Athabasca.  On the
contrary, the Chepewyans, and the numerous tribes who speak their
language, occupy the whole space between the Knisteneaux country and
that of the Esquimaux, stretching behind the natives of the coast of the
Pacific, to latitude 52. North, on the river Columbia.  Their progress
is Easterly, and, according to their own traditions, they came from
Siberia; agreeing in dress and manner with the people now found upon the
coast of Asia.

Of the inhabitants of the coast of the Pacific Ocean we know little more
than that they are stationary there.  The Nadowasis or Assiniboins, as
well as the different tribes not particularly described, inhabiting the
plains on and about the source and banks of the Saskatchiwine and
Assiniboin rivers, are from the Southward, and their progress is


The discovery of a passage by sea, North-East or North West from the
Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, has for many years excited the attention
of governments, and encouraged the enterprising spirit of individuals.
The non-existence, however, of any such practical passage being at
length determined, the practicability of a passage through the
continents of Asia and America becomes an object of consideration.  The
Russians, who first discovered, that, along the coasts of Asia no useful
or regular navigation existed, opened an interior communication by
rivers, &c., and through that long and wide-extended continent, to the
strait that separates Asia from America, over which they passed to the
adjacent islands and continent of the latter.  Our situation, at length,
is in some degree similar to theirs: the non-existence of a practicable
passage by sea and the existence of one through the continent, are
clearly proved; and it requires only the countenance and support of the
British Government, to increase in a very ample proportion this national
advantage, and secure the trade of that country to its subjects.

Experience, however, has proved, that this trade, from its very nature
cannot be carried on by individuals.  A very large capital, or credit,
or indeed both, is necessary, and consequently an association of men of
wealth to direct, with men of enterprise to act, in one common interest,
must be formed on such principles, as that in due time the latter may
succeed the former, in continual and progressive succession.  Such was
the equitable and successful mode adopted by the merchants from Canada,
which has been already described.

The junction of such a commercial association with the Hudson's Bay
Company, is the important measure which I would propose, and the trade
might then be carried on with a very superior degree of advantage, both
private and public, under the privilege of their charter, and would
prove, in fact, the complete fulfilment of the conditions, on which it
was first granted.

It would be an equal injustice to either party to be excluded from the
option of such an undertaking; for if the one has a right by charter,
has not the other a right by prior possession, as being successor to the
subjects of France, who were exclusively possessed of all the then known
parts of this country, before Canada was ceded to Great Britain, except
the coast of Hudson's Bay, and having themselves been the discoverers of
a vast extent of country since added to his Majesty's territories, even
to the Hyperborean and the Pacific Oceans?

If, therefore, that company should decline, or be averse to engage in,
such an extensive, and perhaps hazardous undertaking, it would not,
surely, be an unreasonable proposal to them, from government, to give up
a right which they refuse to exercise, on allowing them a just and
reasonable indemnification of their stock, regulated by the average
dividends of a certain number of years, or the actual price at which
they transfer their stock.

By enjoying the privilege of the company's charter, though but for a
limited period, there are adventurers who would be willing, as they are
able, to engage in, and carry on the proposed commercial undertaking, as
well as to give the most ample and satisfactory security to government
for the fulfilment of its contract with the company.  It would, at the
same time, be equally necessary to add a similar privilege of trade on
the Columbia River, and its tributary waters.

If, however, it should appear, that the Hudson's Bay Company have an
exclusive right to carry on their trade as they think proper, and
continue it on the narrow scale, and with so little benefit to the
public as they now do; if they should refuse to enter into a
co-operative junction with others, what reasonable cause can they assign
to government for denying the navigation of the bay to Nelson's River:
and, by its waters, a passage to and from the interior country, for the
use of the adventurers, and for the sole purpose of transport, under the
most severe and binding restrictions not to interfere with their trade
on the coast, and the country between it and the actual establishments
of the Canadian traders.[2]

By these waters that discharge themselves into Hudson's Bay at Port
Nelson, it is proposed to carry on the trade to their source, at the
head of the Saskatchiwine River, which rises in the Rocky Mountains, not
eight degrees of longitude from the Pacific Ocean.  The Tacoutche or
Columbia River flows also from the same mountains, and discharges itself
likewise in the Pacific, in latitude 46. 20.  Both of them are capable
of receiving ships at their mouths, and are navigable throughout for

The distance between these waters is only known from the report of the
Indians.  If, however, this communication should prove inaccessible, the
route I pursued, though longer, in consequence of the great angle it
makes to the North, will answer every necessary purpose.  But whatever
course may be taken from the Atlantic, the Columbia is the line of
communication from the Pacific Ocean, pointed out by nature, as it is
the only navigable river in the whole extent of Vancouver's minute
survey of that coast: its banks also form the first level country in all
the Southern extent of continental coast from Cook's entry, and,
consequently, the most Northern situation fit for colonization, and
suitable to the residence of a civilized people.  By opening this
intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and forming regular
establishments through the interior, and at both extremes, as well as
along the coasts and islands, the entire command of the fur trade of
North America might be obtained, from latitude 48. North to the pole,
except that portion of it which the Russians have in the Pacific.  To
this may be added the fishing in both seas, and the markets of the four
quarters of the globe.  Such would be the field for commercial
enterprise, and incalculable would be the produce of it, when supported
by the operations of that credit and capital which Great Britain so
pre-eminently possesses.  Then would this country begin to be
remunerated for the expences it has sustained in discovering and
surveying the coast of the Pacific Ocean, which is at present left to
American adventurers, who without regularity or capital, or the desire
of conciliating future confidence, look altogether to the interest of
the moment.  They, therefore, collect all the skins they can procure,
and in any manner that suits them, and having exchanged them at Canton
for the produce of China, return to their own country.  Such
adventurers, and many of them, as I have been informed, have been very
successful, would instantly disappear from before a well-regulated

It would be very unbecoming in me to suppose for a moment, that the
East-India Company would hesitate to allow those privileges to their
fellow-subjects which are permitted to foreigners in a trade, that is so
much out of the line of their own commerce, and therefore cannot be
injurious to it.  Many political reasons, which it is not necessary here
to enumerate, must present themselves to the mind of every man
acquainted with the enlarged system and capacities of British commerce
in support of the measure which I have very briefly suggested, as
promising the most important advantages to the trade of the united

[1] Bitumen is also found on the coast of the Slave Lake, in latitude
60. North, near its discharge by Mackenzie's River; and also near the
forks of the Elk River.

[2] Independent of the prosecution of this great object, I conceive,
that the merchants from Canada are entitled to such an indulgence (even
if they should be considered as not possessing a rightful claim), in
order that they might be enabled to extend their trade beyond their
present limits, and have it in their power to supply the natives with a
larger quantity of useful articles; the enhanced value of which, and the
present difficulty of transporting them, will be fully comprehended,
when I relate, that the tract of transport occupies an extent of from
three to four thousand miles, through upwards of sixty large fresh water
lakes, and numerous rivers; and that the means of transport are slight
bark canoes.  It must also be observed, that those waters are
intercepted by more than two hundred rapids, along which the articles of
merchandise are chiefly carried on men's backs, and over a hundred and
thirty carrying-places, from twenty-five paces to thirteen miles in
length where the canoes and cargoes proceed by the same toilsome and
perilous operations.


_It is to be observed, that the Courses throughout the Journals are
taken by_ Compass, _and that the Variation must be considered._

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