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Title: The Doctor's Secret Journal
Author: Morison, Daniel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Doctor's Secret Journal" ***

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    MICHILIMACKINAC 1769-1772]

    [Illustration: “... swore by a bloody oath he would come with a
    Hatchet and pull down my house.”]

                             _the_ DOCTOR’S
                            _Secret Journal_

                 _by_ DANIEL MORISON, _Surgeon’s Mate_

                       _Edited by George S. May_

    [Illustration: Inkwell and pen]

                    _Illustrated by Dirk Cringhuis_


                     Mackinac State Historic Parks
                       Mackinac Island, Michigan


    [Illustration: Private

          Copyright © 1960 by The Fort Mackinac Division Press
 Printed in the United States of America by Harlo Printing Co., Detroit
                   Third Printing, 1969 15,000 copies
                  Fourth Printing, 1974 15,000 copies
                   Fifth Printing, 1984 10,000 copies
                   Sixth Printing, 1993 5,000 copies
        Seventh Printing, 2001 3,000 soft cover—1,500 hard bound


    [Illustration: Cannon]

_On September 28, 1761, a year after France’s vast North American empire
had been surrendered to the British at Montreal, Canada, the flag of
Great Britain was raised over Fort Michilimackinac, far to the west at
what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan. A force under Major Robert Rogers,
leader of the almost legendary Rogers’ Rangers, had reached Detroit in
1760 and had taken control of that post, but the coming of winter had
compelled the British to wait until the following year to take over the
other French outposts in the upper Great Lakes._

_Although Major Rogers later was to serve as commanding officer at
Michilimackinac, the red-coated troops who marched into the little
stockaded fort on the south shore of the straits connecting Lake Huron
and Lake Michigan were commanded by Captain Henry Balfour. He found that
the French garrison had departed for the west months before, leaving the
fort in charge of Charles Langlade, a native of the area who had fought
brilliantly on the French side during the French and Indian War. Balfour
was greeted by several enterprising Englishmen who had gotten a head
start in the race to gain control of the lucrative fur trade which for
so long had been monopolized by French traders at Michilimackinac._

_After accepting the fort’s formal surrender and before leaving for the
west, Balfour detailed a small force from the famous Royal American or
60th Regiment to remain as the garrison. Two years later, during the
great Indian uprising of 1763, fierce Chippewa warriors massacred over
half of the soldiers and temporarily drove the British out. But within a
year they returned in greater numbers, and from then until 1781, when it
was abandoned for a new, more easily defended post on Mackinac Island,
Fort Michilimackinac was one of the key links in the chain of military
and trading posts which Great Britain maintained on the western frontier
of its American colonies._

_Among those who came to the fort in the late 1760’s was a Scotsman,
Daniel Morison, surgeon’s mate in the Royal Americans’ Second Battalion.
Of his life before and after his tour of duty at Fort Michilimackinac we
know nothing. Under ordinary circumstances we would agree with one of
Morison’s commanding officers who told him bluntly, “You are not worth
my Notice.” But Morison is worth our attention because between 1769 and
1772 he kept a journal in which he set down in language that is often
unintentionally hilarious and at other times brutally frank the best
account that we have of life at this outpost of European civilization._

_This important historical document, now published for the first time in
its entirety, was purchased in 1914 by the great collector of materials
relating to the history of Michigan and the Old Northwest, Clarence M.
Burton, who bought it from a book seller in London, England, for $55. He
brought the journal back to the state in which it was written where it
now rests in the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public

_Dr. Morison’s journal provides us with a picture of the English
population of the fort, a people beset by violence, lawlessness,
tyrannical officers, petty bickering, and assorted other problems. A
reading of the journal should dispel any romantic notions of what
conditions were like at an eighteenth-century frontier fort._

_The inhabitants of Michilimackinac consisted of several groups. There
were the soldiers, numbering around a hundred men. A few of them, we
learn from Morison, had brought out their wives. The commanding
officer’s house was the most impressive of the thirty-odd wooden
buildings located within the stockade. The other officers lived in
various cabins in the fort, as did the rank and file of the troops until
1769 when a large barracks was constructed in the center of the fort.
Dr. Morison’s complaints about the poor quality of the housing are
supported by statements of others who commented on the ramshackle
construction which necessitated constant repairs and made the danger of
fire an ever-present fear._

_As a military fort Michilimackinac was scarcely adequate even to
withstand the attacks of Indians. The post was maintained, however,
because it was a convenient center of the fur trade. The small garrison,
with its six-pound and nine-pound cannon mounted on the bastions, was
enough to impress the Indians who lived in the vicinity and those who
gathered here each summer with the reality of British armed might. This
symbol of military power protected the English fur traders who made up
the second, and most important, segment of the fort’s population._

_By 1767 Michilimackinac had become for the British as it had been for
the French the headquarters for the fur trade of a fourth of the
continent. Canoes were sent out from here loaded with trade goods to be
exchanged for furs at distant Indian villages located in the uncharted
wilderness north and west of Lake Superior, westward across the
Mississippi, and southward to the Illinois country. For two or three
months in the summer hundreds of _voyageurs_ and traders came back from
the west, bringing in the furs they had gathered during the previous
year or two. Like the lumberjacks of a later era, these men were bent on
enjoying to the fullest degree their brief contact with the comforts of
civilization before they returned to the west to barter for more furs._

_A few traders who had acquired sufficient means to enable them to hire
others to do the actual trading remained here the year round and
occupied cabins in the fort. These Michilimackinac traders, men like
Benjamin Frobisher, Isaac Todd, George McBeath, and others not mentioned
by Morison, together with their agents or partners in Montreal who
obtained the trade goods and sold the furs, dominated the fur trade for

_From Morison’s narrative we see that the officers and the traders
permanently in residence at the fort formed an elite group. It is
obvious that the French _habitants_ and half-breeds who comprised a
third part of the fort’s population, not to mention the Indians of the
area, were not admitted to this exclusive social club. That the strain
of being cooped up in the small fort, cut off from all contact with the
outside world for over half the year, proved too much for some of the
members of this clique, especially the bachelors, is also obvious._

_Equally apparent is the fact that Dr. Morison, poor man, was unsuited
to withstand the rigors of life at this post. He was apparently an
educated man who could quote accurately from Virgil’s _Aeneid_, and a
man of refinement and sensitivity. To some of the cruder members of the
English set he must have seemed an easy target and a source of amusement
when life became too dull and the bowls of toddy ran dry. Feeling
himself much persecuted, as he certainly was, and outraged by the
injustices of which he and others were the victims, Dr. Morison fumed,
but, with a few exceptions, as when he refused to permit the whipping of
a soldier to continue, he lacked the courage necessary to stand up to
his oppressors. So, like Lieutenant Maryk in _The Caine Mutiny_, who
kept a secret log on the activities of his sick captain, Dr. Morison
recorded in his journal the evidence which he no doubt hoped would some
day enable him to bring Ensign Robert Johnson, Captain George Turnbull,
and his other tormentors to justice._

_Actually, Dr. Morison probably was not a doctor at all. He was a
surgeon’s mate, which means that he may once have been an apprentice to
a surgeon and that he may have taken a course or two at a medical school
but that it is unlikely he ever graduated since had he done so he would
not have been simply a mate. The professional ability of the British
army surgeon’s mate was of a notoriously low order, and, if we may
believe one of the Royal Americans’ regimental surgeons, Daniel Morison
was no exception in this respect. Surgeons were scarce, however, and a
small frontier garrison, even when, as at Michilimackinac, it had been
plagued by much sickness, had to be satisfied with the services of a
mate. Unlike the surgeon, who was commissioned by the king, the
surgeon’s mate was only a warrant officer appointed by the colonel of
the regiment. The mate, therefore, was inferior in rank even to the
ensign, the lowest of the commissioned officers. This was undoubtedly
the source of many of Morison’s problems. He claimed the title of doctor
and demanded equal status with the officers, who, for their part,
treated him as they would a common soldier._

_Comments added at the end of the manuscript in a different handwriting
indicate that someone in England who possessed Morison’s journal in the
nineteenth century intended to publish it in a magazine. No evidence has
been found that this was done. In preparing the journal for publication
we have ignored the numerous changes that this earlier editor made in
the document and have retained Morison’s own phraseology at all times,
including the misspelled words and grammatical construction so typical
of his age. The narrative has been broken into five parts, and
paragraphing and punctuation has been supplied at some places in the
interest of easier reading. Material within brackets has been inserted
by the present editor._

                                                         _GEORGE S. MAY_

  _Lansing, Michigan_
  _March 6, 1960_

    [Illustration: “Doctor, damn your blood, get up & give us a bowl of

                 An Entertainment and a Violent Assault

    [Illustration: Musket and saber]

_Dr. Morison begins his journal innocently enough with an account of a
party which he and others gave in the fall of 1769. Among the other
hosts was Isaac Todd, who later helped found the great Canadian
fur-trading firm, the North West Company, and whose long-time partner,
James McGill, endowed McGill University in Montreal. The party began to
get out of hand with the arrival of a couple of rowdy traders—John
Chinn, who is best remembered as a partner in an unsuccessful
copper-mining venture in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Forrest Oaks,
who was a prominent fur trader at Michilimackinac and later at Montreal
for a number of years after 1769._

_Morison, who seems to have been something of a name-dropper, mentions
as he goes along other men who are familiar to students of the fur trade
and British military history. But all of them are dwarfed by Ensign
Robert Johnson, who crashed Morison’s party and soon turned the evening
into a nightmare. Johnson (which is apparently how he spelled his name,
although Morison insists on calling him Johnstone) is the villain of
Morison’s journal, a scoundrel and bully whom we come almost to admire
for the infinite variety of ways in which he gave vent to his evil

_He had been deeply involved in the Robert Rogers affair which had
rocked the little community at Michilimackinac two years before. Johnson
was in Detroit in the fall of 1767 where he had gone for the treatment
of an injury when a messenger from British military headquarters for
North America arrived with orders to place Major Rogers, commandant at
Michilimackinac, under arrest on suspicion of treason. Johnson brought
these orders back to the Straits, and it was Lieutenant John Christie,
an officer who also figures prominently in Morison’s journal, who
arrested Rogers. Johnson later asked to be given charge of the detail
that took Rogers to Montreal for trial, boasting that he would foil any
attempt that might be made to set Rogers free. However, when Rogers was
acquitted, those who had hoped to see him convicted charged that the
prosecution’s case had been fatally weakened by Johnson’s testimony
which had enabled the defense to show that Rogers had been mistreated
while he was a prisoner. Such mistreatment would be in keeping with the
picture of Johnson’s character which emerges from a reading of Dr.
Morison’s journal._

Narrative of an Action of Burglary and felony perpetrated on the
Dwelling House & person of Daniel Morison, Surgeon’s mate of the 2d.
Battn. 60th Regt. at Michilamackinac the Seventh day of November (about
5 Oclock in the morning) in the Year one thousand seven hundred & sixty
nine, Vizt:

That the evening before being the sixth of November, Isaac Todd,
merchant, William Maxwell, commissary of provisions & I proposed to give
an Entertainment at Sergt. [Thomas] MacMurrays to which we Severally
invited such people as we thought (in such a remote corner) qualified to
make the evening pass agreeably. Accordingly we met, and everything was
carryed on with the greatest Decency & innocent Mirth till John Chinn &
Forrest Oaks, traders, joined us.

After drinking a glass round, John Chinn (who appeared to be the worse
of liquor) before & at supper began to be troublesome, opened upon me
with Volleys of ragged raillery (without the least provocation on my
side) and that blended with Opprobrious Expressions, namely, that I was
an officer in the Rebellion &c. in the Year 1745 [the abortive Scottish
attempt to place Bonnie Prince Charlie on the British throne], which
tho’ I knew was an arrant untruth, did not think it prudent to make the
proper answer his wrongious Assertions deserved, [but] waved it off in
the smoothest manner, lest the Company should be disturbed.
Notwithstanding, our merriment was in a great measure unhinged, as the
said John Chinn’s only pleasure consisted chiefly in being officious, by
hobb or nobbing with everyone [who] would chuse to drink with him, &
indeed importunely pouring perpetually in upon those who did not chuse
to drink more than would do them good.

About the hour of eleven o’clock, Ens. Robert Johnstone (who for ought I
know invited himself) came in, accompanied by Ens. John Strickland & Mr.
[George] Main. We continued thus till about one O’clock in the morning,
when Numbers of our Company thought proper to retire. I proposed
retiring also, but Isaac Todd insisted upon my spending one hour or two
more with them. Rather than disoblige I consented.

About half one hour after, Ens. Johnstone asked the Company how their
punch pleased them. They answered, well enough. Then he, the said Ens.
Johnstone, blabbed out publickly, Vauntingly & wantonly, he had mingled
four ounces of Jallap [a purgative] with the water that was a boiling
for proportioning the Punch & Sangary [wine spiced and diluted with
water]. This giddy Declaration, instead of meeting with approbation,
occasioned the interjection of one universal sneer. I said nothing tho’
I perfectly knew such irregular proceedings could not be intended for
good. Therefore I silently winked over it, as others did; at the same
time took particular notice that Ens. Johnstone drank nothing but wine
all the night over.

John Chinn and Forrest Oaks, who left the Company about one o’clock,
seemingly fuddled, returned to the charge one hour & one half
thereafter. The abovesaid John Chinn appeared to be as unruly as ever.
In short, conversation became very insipid. Drinking was the principal
amusement, varnished over with various inconsistencys. At length time
dragged on very heavily. Consequently [I] excused myself to be away,
pleading the part I had to act in regard to my department. Upon which
John Chinn swore by a bloody Oath he would come with a Hatchet and pull
down my house, if I did not stay a little longer. To palliate this
foolish menace, I thought it prudent to humour, [rather] than exasperate
[him] on that Occasion.

[I] continued in [his] company till about four o’clock, then sheered off
quietly not imagineing he would persist in his folly. [I] went to bed
without dread or fear, as I gave no other plausible offense except what
my absence suggested to them. But the Sequel will evidently discover the
Maliciousness of their perverse intentions, for about five o’clock in
the morning the seventh of November abovesaid, the door of my house was
forcibly broke open, one plank of the Door-leaf, bars, bolt &c. pulled
down to the floor. Upon entering my Room they also broke down my stove
which was strongly made of bricks, clay & lime. This unwarrantable deed
was principally perpetrated by Ens. Robert Johnstone of the 2d Battn. &
Oaks the trader.

So fast was I asleep [that I] knew nothing of these violent proceedings
untill Oaks Surprized me out of a profound sleep, tumbling in roughly in
my bed [and] bawling loudly, “Doctor, Doctor, damn your blood, get up &
give us a bowl of Toddy, other wise You’ll repent it.”

I wakened as out of a dream. He, the said Oaks’ next question was if I
had my durk by my bed-side. I answered, “Never in time of peace.” Upon
this I called to my servant John Forbes to light a candle, which was no
sooner done, & set upon the table at my bed side after my servant
retired to the kitchen, then the said Ens. Johnstone kicked down &
overturned the table, candle, candlestick, &c., topsy turvy in great

“Is this You, Ens. Johnstone,” says I, “who behaves so rudely.”

“You ly,” he says, “I am a gentleman.”

I made answer that his rude behavior betrayed the contrary in the eyes
of good men.

Then he swore bloodily in the height of Rage, he would shew me that he
was a gentleman & immediately fell upon, attacked & pelted me violently
in my naked bed, he & his abbettor Oaks. The room being dark all my
attempts of defence were rendered ineffectual by Oaks’s exerting his
outmost strength to entangle me in my sheets & bed-Cloathes out of which
I struggled to extricate myself like a fish entangled in a net. They
pelted me pell-mell with incessant blows repeatedly, on the face, left
breast, &c., to the Effusion of my blood. Before I could recover myself
out of the jeopardy into which I was involved, my shirt, sheets &
pillowcase [were] all bespattered with gore & blood in my naked bed
untill Sergt. McMurray & Arthur Ross, soldier, with the assistance of my
servant, John Forbes, turned them out of the Room. Otherwise it is
[hard] to know where the consequences would end. William Maxwell, the
Commissary, & Christian Burgy, trader, came in who saw my face bruised
all over, besmeared [with] Blood.

In the meantime Forrest Oaks had the impudence to come back again, &
upon a rehearsal of my bad useage, very unmannerly gave me the ly twice
or thrice, in my own house. To this Sergt. MacMurray, Mr. Maxwell & the
abovesaid Christian Burgy was present, who can testify in this, as well
as other Circumstances. I imagined he intended this insult as a
provocation to stirr me up to do something rash, of which he might make
a handle to invalidate my pretensions to Justice on account of his being
accessory to the violent attack upon my person as abovesaid.

Whether there were more accomplices [who] acted in conjunction with Ens.
Johnstone & Forrest Oaks at the breakeing of my house &c., I cannot
positively determine (the room being dark) except what may be inferred
from a chain of Circumstances. For John Chinn (whose mind it seems was
so replete with the dregs of his former menaces abovesaid, as if he
intended to make his menace good) he, the said John Chinn, was met by
Isaac Todd on his way to my house, with a great Hatchet in his hand. Mr.
Todd asked where he was going. The said John Chinn answered, to break
down the Doctor’s house. Upon which Mr. Todd, partly by persuasion, &
partly by dint of strength, brought him home to his lodgeing.

Whether it was before this, or after, I cannot say, my servant John
Forbes catched the said John Chinn at the porch before my broken door,
with a large Hatchet, while the assailants abovesaid, to wit, Ens.
Johnstone & Oaks, were perpetrating their malicious designs against me.
He, the said John Forbes, asked the said John Chinn what was he going to
do with that Hatchet. John Chinn replyed, to break down the Doctor’s
house. After a little altercation my servant persuaded him to deliver up
the Hatchet.

No sooner the assailants abovesaid was expelled the house, as above
mentioned, then the said John Chinn entered my house abruptly, as
straight as a rush, & with an air of authority, impudently (tho’ he saw
my face &c. all over with blood besmeared) minding his belly more than
my hard treatment asked if I should give him a bowl of Toddy, in
presence of Mr. Maxwell & Mr. Burgy.

When these irregular proceedings perspired [_sic!_] the most
considerable gentlemen in the Garrison came to see me, to wit, Capt.
[Beamsley] Glazier [commandant, 1768-70], Lieut. Nordberg, Lieut. [John]
Christie, Ens. Strickland, Mr. Todd, Mr. Main, Mr. [Charles?] Morison,
Mr. Maxwell & Christian Burgy, who can all & one of them attest they
plainly saw that the door of my house &c. were forcibly broke open as
abovesaid, & that my face &c. was all over besmeared with blood & gore,
& my shirt, sheets, pillowcase, were plentifully bespattered with blood

John Chinn, upon Recollecting what he had done, [realized he had] forgot
his Hatchet, which he was very impatient to have in his possession once
more, as it was then in custody of my servant John Forbes for about half
one hour. The said John Chinn employed Christian Burgy, abovesaid, to
bring it back to him. I did not chuse to give it, but upon the said
Christian Burgy’s earnest Expostulations I complyed, & ordered my
servant to deliver it. At the same time [I] told Christian Burgy it was
to the same purpose, as he & my servant could testify with Isaac Todd,
[to] the maliciousness of his [Chinn’s] unwarrantable intentions as

Soon after Ens. Johnstone & his abbettor Forrest Oaks had been expelled
my house, he, the said Ens. Johnstone, went to Ens. Strickland’s. The
abovesaid Isaac Todd happened to be there, who upon Johnston’s
appearing, observed blood upon his hands &c. [Isaac Todd] asked him,
where he had been. The said Ensign Johnstone replyed Vauntingly, he was
giveing some knocks to the Doctor.

About half one hour after seven the evening before, Ens. Johnstone with
some other accomplices were discovered scaling up a ladder opposite to
which there was a half door, up the loft, at the lower end of my house.
My servant John Forbes & another soldier observing a noise, as if the
half door was thrown down upon the loft, [started out] but before my
servant & the other soldier could get out to make a real discovery, the
attempters were scattered about different ways. What their intentions
were in regard to this little Enterprise depends upon them to explain
but the judicious may readily conclude it a prelude to their malicious
perpetrations before daylight next morning.

Before, at, or about six weeks preceeding the 7th November abovesaid,
there was a strong report prevailed in [the] Garrison (which I am now
persuaded was not without foundation) that the said Ens. Johnstone,
being in company with some gentlemen in the fort, had breathed out
menaceing and malevolent expressions against me, threatening he would
use me ill.

Ens. Johnstone’s reasons for this extravagant Declaration I am yet a
stranger to, as it is conscious to myself I never did in word or deed
give him any just grounds of provocation. Notwithstanding this surmise,
I took no further notice of [it] than studying to evade his Company,
excepting behaveing with common civility on general terms, as I knew his
Character among the public to be of a turbulent & troublesome, meddling
[and] loquacious Disposition.

Upon the whole, I believe, it will not be attended with much Difficulty
to investigate sufficient evidences, who will attest to the Veracity of
the above, when they are legally called upon to declare their
Sentiments, Solemnly without the least partiality or mental reservation
in presence of any competent Tribunal, by which it will evidently appear
(to the Judicious) with other concurring Circumstances that the forcibly
breaking up of my house &c., together with the violent assault upon my
person as above specifyed, may be justly attributed to premeditated &
malicious intentions. Authentick witnesses to prove the last assertion
are Isaac Todd, Benjiman Roberts, late Lieut. in the 46th Regt.,
Benjiman Frobbisher, merchant, & William Maxwell, Commissary of
Provisions in this Fort.

N. B.: When Sergt. McMurray & Arthur Ross came into my house they found
Ens. Johnstone holding my servant by the hair of his head & pelting at
him with several knocks altennarly [alternately?] for attempting to
force him out of the house, which he got accomplished with the
assistance of Sergt. MacMurray & Arthur Ross.

N. B.: That in the month of March 1766, he [Johnson] threatened he would
break my head. No sooner [did] I put myself in a position of Defence,
but he desisted from his insolent menaces. Proof: Lieut. Allan Grant of
the 2d. Battn., Lieut. Varingon & Adjutant Biron [John Burrent], both of
the 1st. Battn. 60th Regt.

               Concerning the Most Irregular Proceedings

    [Illustration: Flags]

_Daniel Morison was so incensed by the events related in the preceding
narrative that he wrote out two versions, which, however, with the
exception of an occasional difference in wording are the same. Following
these events, from time to time he recorded some of the “irregular
proceedings” which transpired at the fort, largely as a result of the
actions of the irrepressible Ensign Johnson._

_Morison’s journal illustrates vividly how completely the military
authorities dominated the lives of the fort’s inhabitants. Not only were
the soldiers at the mercy of their officers, but civilians, such as
Morison’s nephew, William Morison, were helpless in the face of military
indifference to their problems since there was no civil authority at
Michilimackinac or anywhere else in what is now Michigan to which they
might appeal during this period. Traders constantly complained at the
high-handed actions of the fort’s commanders who, these traders charged,
used their position to gain great material benefits for themselves and
imposed ruinous regulations on those traders who would not give them a
cut of their profits. The royal government sought to correct these
abuses, but throughout the period of British rule Michilimackinac is
said to have had a reputation as a center of corruption and misrule._

    [Illustration: “Ensign Johnstone (who was there with his wife)
    saluted him with innumberable knocks & kicks.”]

Remarks December 1769.

[1stly.] That a few days after this unwarrantable Outrage perpetrated
against my dwelling House & person, John Chinn & Forrest Oaks were so
conscious of their Enormous guilt [and] struck with such a Remorse, that
they declared that they would upon their knees publickly on the Parade
beg to be pardoned if that would satisfy for the Errors they were
conscious of haveing committed. This they expressed in the Audience of
William Maxwell, Commissary, Sergt. McMurray, George McBeath, [and]
Henry Williams, traders.

2dly. That a certain gentleman heard it surmised among them that if the
above Submission would not take place, they might have another Resolve
which was to tamper with my Servant & advance him one hundred pounds by
way of bribe, as they looked on him as the most Material witness in my
intended process against them.

3rdly. Such is the depraved disposition of this profligate Garrison at
this Juncture (as well as now degenerateing into the most irregular
proceedings dayly) they had recourse to calumnious aspersions
contriveing to patch up false invective & ignominous Reports (as under
the Necessity of keeping my room, on account of the Severe [bruises] I
had sustained from such a rough handleing, that I wore Boots with
Creepers in my Room & [was] found lying down in my bed with them); with
this additional & abominable connivance that I kept so long close in my
Room to embrace one opportunity to drive away Sorrow & get drunk
privately. Such are the Diabolical dispositions of many in this remote
garrison who make a perpetual habit of murdering time in excesses of
Debauchery & most Licentious practices. These false aspersions I had
communicated to me by George Main and Charles Morison, trader, the 10th
December, 1769.

4thly. Upon the 11th do. Ens. Johnstone assumed to encroach upon my
Province by visiting Sergt. McPherson of the Colonel’s Company, who says
he never sent for him Directly or indirectly. He immediately insisted
upon seeing his wound, tho’ he was but newly dressed one hour before,
[and] took off the dressings, &c. After inspection he told my patient
for his comfort, it looked very bad, & that he knew nothing better for
him than to bathe it with brandy. [He] set off directly, & left the
tumefyed wound exposed to the Open air, till my servant was obliged to
go & dress him a second time. This among the rest is one specimen of the
Ens. Johnstone’s activity to interfere in matters which did not concern
him. That at the same time he told Sergt. McPherson if he belonged to
the Company, he [would give] commands. He would immediately confine Dr.
Morison in the common guard house.

N. B.: That in a few days after this Violent Assault, John Chinn and
Forrest Oaks were observed conjointly & severally, loading their guns &
pistoles, which I dare say were intended for bad purposes which they
would in all appearance have prosecuted had not their proceedings been
disapproved of by a certain gentleman in the Garrison.

One night the ensueing spring, when they carroused heartily at their
Bowl, John Chinn proposed to pay another Visit to the Doctor, which
being disapproved of by one of the principals in the Assault, was

The 25th. December 1769. Ens. Johnstone with his irregular associates,
contrived among them, about day set in the evening, to send a frenchman,
who served Isaac Todd merchant, upon a false Message to me two different
times in great haste, acquainting me that his master was very sick, &
that he earnestly, in the most pressing manner, demanded my immediate
assistance. Upon which I Repaired directly to wait upon Mr. Todd, & upon
due enquiry, found the Message to be a mere bubble, very like the
triffling projectors, Isaac Todd declareing himself well, & took it
highly amiss that they should take such libertys with his name, or give
me such Unnecessary trouble.

Some time in Summer 1770, Ens. Johnstone Knocked down a soldier of the
general’s Company, called Walker by name, in presence of the Commanding
officer, Capt. [George] Turnbull. The poor soldier applyed to me, & told
me he was afraid his cheek bone was broke, which did not happen to be
the case, tho’ it was prodigiously swelled. Which cost me five or six
days attendance and applications, before he recovered so as to be fit
for Duty.

Sunday evening at 11 O’clock, 2d. December 1770, a frenchman knocked at
the door of my house very hard, when I was abed. Imagining it Might be
from some sick soldier, [I] called to my servant to open the Door, &
there appeared a frenchman with a card in his hand, charged with Mr.
Chinn’s Compliments to Doctor Morison, begging the favour of his Company
to take a dance with them at Christian Burge’s house. This I rejected
with outmost derision & Contempt, as I never did prostitute my judgement
so low as to join Company of any Denomination to break the Lord’s day in
such a publick [and] infamous manner; & indeed I looked upon the Company
so mean that I should be very scrupulous to join them even on a Weekly
day. I doubt not but Ens. Johnstone might be at the head of such a
Heathenish proposition as there is no irregularitys committed here,
wherein he is not either a prompter or a ready Countenancer if not a

Sunday the 9th December 1770. Betwixt the hours of 11 & 12 o’Clock
forenoon, when the Garrison was at Church, Sergt. [Thomas] Carlile of
the general’s company had the guard that day, & being thirsty stepped
over to his own house (which was adjacent & directly opposite to his
guard) for a drink of spruce beer. He no sooner opened the Door of his
room than Ens. Johnstone (who was there with his wife) saluted him with
innumberable knocks & kicks till (almost in his own words to me) he had
knocked his head into blubber, then kicked him in the private parts
(from which Violence his private parts, particularly one of his
testicles, are greatly Swelled, of a hue black as his Hat). [Johnson
gave him] many bumps upon his head, [and] his jaw bones, as he himself
says, [are] so painful that he can scarce open his mouth, but with great

The poor Sergt. immediately returned to his guard & the next day applyed
to the commanding officer Capt. Turnbull of this Fort for his Protection
in regard to his most grievious situation, from the Attrocious and
barbarous usage he had sustained by the violent proceedings of Ens.
Johnstone whom he was determined to prosecute to the outmost for the
Violence done to his person, in his own house.

N. B.: Ens. Johnstone confined two or three soldiers in the black-hole
for being absent from Divine service, where they were in durance while
he himself was pounding & kicking the poor Sergt. in this barbarous

Late in the evening Sunday above said, Ens. Johnstone was swaggering
away upon the Parade with a naked sword, or Dagger, in his hand, & when
it seems he could not meet a Humane [_sic_] Subject to Use ill, he
wrecked his Vengeance on a dog (belonging to one of the Soldiers of the
Garrison) by cutting him to the back-bone. The poor brute made such a
hideous noise, his wound being beyond Remedy, [that] his master was
obliged out of Pity to put him out of pain by shooting him thro’ the

Wednesday 12th December 1770. A little before Roll-Call Ens. Johnstone
struck my servant, John Forbes, by giveing him several blows, which hurt
him prodigiously, for attempting to ridd some Dogs that were a fighting
& make[ing] a terrible Noise at the Door of my house. He struck Sergt.
McMurray, acting Sergt. Major in the fort, with a severe blow, at the
same time knocked down flat [on] the ground Henry Adams of the
Collonel’s Company, so that the dogs of this garrison are so Usefull,
Sergents & Soldiers must be knocked down for attempting to hinder them
from fighting & makeing a noise.

Ens. Johnstone kicked Sergt. McPherson of the Collonel’s Company in
presence of the Commanding officer, a little before he went down to
Detroit last fall. Wednesday 26th December 1770, upon the evening of
that day Ens. Johnstone knocked down Sergt. May upon the Parade, by
giveing him two severe blows on the neck & Jawbones, after which he
confined him, brought him to a tryal, & sentenced [him] to be reduced to
the ranks.

On Saturday 29th, Do., Ens. Johnstone wrangled with my nephew, William
Morison, erroneously & threatened to confine him in the common

Sunday evening 30th Do., Mrs. [George] McBeath invited me to walk into
her house. I was no sooner seated than she entered a grieveous Complaint
to me against Ens. Johnstone, affirming that he used uncommon libertys
with her Character, upon which she wrote him the evening before a very
spirited Letter of which she shewed me a Copy. She actually pronounced
him a very bad man. As a strong instance of which, among many she could
adduce, she declared he had frequently tampered with her by many
stratagems to destroy her peace with her husband, which she looked upon
as such a vile insinuation she was determined never to admit of his
Company for the future.

Tuesday evening the 1st. Jan’y 1771. John Savage, Taylor & Soldier in
the general’s Company, twixt 11 & 12, had the Door of his house forced
open [and was] committed to the guard-house for not suffering his wife
to comply with obscene proposit[ions made] to her. At this Exploit Ens.
Johnstone was one of the chief witnesses. The prisoner was set at
liberty next morning without any crime given against him.

Monday the 7th Jan’y 1771. Ens. Johnstone decoyed away Sergt. Carlile’s
wife, which he has been contriveing to accomplish many months before
this finishing stroake, & tho’ her husband was like to break his Heart,
and crying out his Eyes on the occasion, Yet no Remonstrances would be
payed the least attention to. Ens. Johnstone quitted his Room in the
officer’s barracks that evening which he exchanged with Mr. Main for
his. [He] sleeped with her that night in his new room where he lives
with her still, without dread or shame, while the poor Husband is left
in such a disconsolate situation that is not easy to describe. He next
morning (poor man) applyed to the Commanding Officer, who gave him no
satisfactory redress, as he did not chuse to interfere either pro or
con. Yet the next day after her Elopement from her husband she had the
honnour of dining with the commanding officer and his mess, who drank
tea with her that evening at her new lodgeings.

Sergt. Carlile had the mortification to see his wife dayly conducted by
one of the mess to dine with the commanding officer, Capt. Turnbul, &
the good Company with him, at which the poor Sergt. was like to go
distracted but could not help himself.

Ens. Johnstone in the month [of December?] 1770, haveing crossed on a
party of pleasure in company with Capt. Turnbull & William Maxwell,
Commissary, flogged Knight, Soldier in the general’s Company, with his
own hand, without any regular tryal for his crime. Proof: William
Maxwell, Commissary, Rogers & McLean, soldiers.

As Ens. Johnstone thought proper to turn trader by selling of common rum
to the soldiers & all others by whom he might gain a penny in this
clandestine Manner, in the month of October 1767, he was observed to
have filled up several Barrels of common rum with boiling water to make
up the Leakage. Afterwards [he] sold this at 18. sh. York currency pr.
gallon to Sergeants & Soldiers &c. in the Garrison. Proof: Sergeants
McMurray & Carlile with his own servant Arthur Ross, who assisted him by
his own self in the deceitfull operation.

Upon friday the 8th febry. 1771, Ens. Johnstone in presence of the
Commanding officer, Capt. Turnbull, Ens. Strickland, George Main,
William Maxwell, Commissary, [and] George McBeath, trader, attacked
William Morison, my nephew, in a most rude and Violent manner, without
any evident cause, in the billiard Room in the presence of six
witnesses. The Young man (who is sometimes liable to a fainting
Disposition) in the Scuffle he fell down & cryed Murder! William
Maxwell, Commissary of provisions, interposed, by which he received some
knocks from Ens. Johnstone without returning one blow, after which
Johnstone passed by [the] Commissary in a furious manner, & the young
man was flat down in a swoon. Ens. Johnstone raised up his left arm &
gave him repeated thumps opposite to the heart, by which it would appear
he intended to murder the young man.

He is now under care & it is a chance if ever he can get the better of
it. The commanding officer with all those of their Club was present to
all this. Some of them I am told stood firm with their backs to the room
door, I suppose to hinder any from comeing in to the assistance of the
ill-used Young man. At length the noise brought in Mr. Harise, who can
attest to everything he saw. Mr. Harise with one or two more carryed him
for dead to his room, where after untying his stock he gradually
recovered from his trance.

In the evening I went with my Nephew to wait on Capt. Turnbull to enter
a Complaint of his hard usage. After all the remonstrances he could
suggest, the Commanding Officer would give him no Redress, tho’ he
himself was personally present to the crime committed by Johnstone. Upon
which I myself made application to Capt. Turnbull in the humblest manner
to put Ens. Johnstone under arrest & that there was no possibility of
maintaining peace in the Garrison while Johnstone was at liberty, nor
could I think myself safe in the Execution of my Office if my
Remonstrances to him on that score did not take place, which Capt.
Turnbull Absolutely refused to do by saying, with some warmth, he would
not put Johnstone under arrest, tho’ there [were] as many crimes against
him as words on his Commission.

The 23d. feby. 1771. Ens. Johnstone quarrelled with William Maxwell,
Commissary, & revilled [him] (if not gave him a few blows) with
exasperating expressions, both in company of the commanding officer,
who, when words became too high, ordered Ens. Johnstone to his room,
wherein he did not continue above twenty four hours, for reasons best
known to the Commanding Officer & himself.

    [Illustration: “... a woman who I have the greatest regard for
    distracted me by her imprudent behaviour.”]

                       A Regimental Court-Martial

    [Illustration: Drum]

_The little domestic tragedy involving Sergeant Thomas Carlile, his
wife, and Ensign Robert Johnson, the first two acts of which transpired
in the last chapter, now comes to an end with the utter defeat and
humiliation of the poor sergeant._

_Brought to trial on a charge of being disrespectful to an officer,
Carlile sought to get his case tried not by a regimental court-martial,
but by a general court-martial which would have a larger number of
judges, including officers from other units, who would be more likely to
judge his case without prejudice. With Ensign Johnson sitting as a
member of the court it is not surprising that Carlile’s request was
denied nor that he was found guilty and reduced to the rank of private._

_Carlile shortly was restored to his sergeant’s rating but only after
agreeing to take back his faithless wife and writing a letter at
Johnson’s order in which he abjectly begged forgiveness for daring to
suggest that the ensign ought not to sit as a member of the court._

_The record of Carlile’s court-martial was stricken from the regimental
orderly book, but Morison copied the proceedings as follows:_

  _Michilamackinac, February 16th, 1771._

  _Proceedings of a Regimental Court Martial, 2d. Battn. 60th Regt. by
  order of Capt. Turnbull, Commandant._

                                             _President—Lieut. Christie_

  _Prisoner, Sergt. Carlile_

                                                _Ens. Johnstone, member_

  _Confined by order of Ens. Strickland for being insolent & behaveing
  with Disrespect to him. Ens. Strickland informs the Court that he went
  a Carrioling [riding in a cariole, a kind of sleigh] with a Woman
  under his Protection (namely Sergt. Carlile’s wife and Ens.
  Johnstone’s whore) [and] that the prisoner came up and wished that the
  Carriole, horse and all, might break in & go under the ice, with other
  insolent Language._

  _The Prisoner being put to defence denys the crime & says he will not
  be tryed by a Regimental Courtmartial, but desires a general one, &
  objects to Ens. Johnstone, for reasons he now will not mention. The
  Court is of oppinion the prisoner is guilty of the crime laid to his
  Charge, therefore do sentence him to be reduced and serve as private
  in the Ranks._

                                    _Signed/ Lieut. Christie, president_

                                _Approved, George Turnbull, Commandant._

Febry 1st. 1771. Ens. Johnstone by threats & promises prevailed upon
Sergt. Carlile, by frequent tamperings & Solicitations, to take his wife
back again. I imagine upon Examination of this accommodation it will
appear equally abominable as the original iniquitous & intrigueing

The 23d febry 1771. Ensigns Johnstone & Strickland haveing requested of
the commanding officer that Thomas Carlile, late Sergt. in generall
Armstrong’s Company, should be restored, he is therefore restored to his
former rank (after signing, I fancy, uncommon preliminarys dictated to
him by the Destroyer of his peace and tranquility). He is to be obeyed
as such. One infamous restoration indeed when the terms are narrowly

N. B.: That upon the 26th febry. 1771. Capt. Turnbull, Commandant,
Issued verbal orders to Sergt. [Mc]Murray of the General’s Company to
Erase the proceedings of the Regimental Court Martial concerning Sergt.
Carlile’s tryal out of the Regimental Orderly book, & if he could, would
get it Erased out of the orderly book of the Lieut. Colonel’s Company
also. Accordingly Sergt. McGann of the Colonel’s Company did erase it,
without any previous notice given to the officer who commanded the
Company. As that officer was not a little surprized at such uncommon
proceedings, he immediately confined him in the guard-house, who in his
own defence told his officer he received positive orders from the acting
Sergt. Major so to do, who had told him it was the orders of the day by
the commanding officer, Capt. Turnbull. Upon which the officer
commanding the Coll’s Company sent for the acting Sergt. Major who
acknowledged to him he had received orders from the Commanding officer
of the Fort to have the tryall of Sergt. Carlile torn out of the Book of
both Companies doing duty in Garrison. Upon which Declaration the
officer set Sergt. McGann at liberty.

                                      _Michilamackinac, 22d. febry 1771_


  _I hope You will pardon my takeing this Liberty to trouble You, but to
  ease my own mind I cannot avoid it, by the instigation of my own
  Notions. I was so imprudent to object to Ens. Johnstone’s being a
  member of my Court Martial, altho’ I am now well convinced that his
  own Honnour would not allow him to do anything prejudicial to Justice.
  The only Excuse I can make to him & Ens. Strickland is that a Woman
  who I have the greatest regard for distracted me by her imprudent
  behaviour. This, Sir, I hope in some part will Extenuate my Crimes, &
  I shall only further beg leave to Observe that Ens. Johnstone has
  behaved to me as a good officer, & I have no ground of Complaint
  against him, & I am extreamely sorry for, & beg his forgiveness & Ens.
  Strickland’s for my past behaveour, which I never will be guilty of

  _I have the Honnour to be, Sir,_

                    _Your most Dutifull & humble Servant,_

                   _Signed—Tho’s Carlile, late Sergt._

  _To Capt. Turnbull_
    _Commanding at Michilamackinac_

_The above is a coppy of a Letter directed to Capt. Turnbull by order of
Ens. Johnstone._

        _a true Copy_

                         _Signed/ Tho’s McMurray_
                          _acting Sergt. Major_

    [Illustration: Ft. Michilimackinac during the 1770’s]

                       A Catalogue of Foul Deeds

    [Illustration: Stocks]

_Dr. Morison now summarizes the evidence he had collected against Ensign
Johnson into a catalogue of his “exploits.” In addition to proving that
the ensign was a respecter of no one, regardless of age, rank, sex, or
position, the catalogue includes the intriguing report of alleged
intimacies between Johnson and Mrs. Robert Rogers. This information may
be true since we learn from another source that Major Rogers was said to
have been jealous of Johnson. The ironical aspect of this whole matter
is that ten years later when Elizabeth Rogers sued for a divorce from
the major one of her grounds for the action was that her husband had
been unfaithful to her while they were at Michilimackinac._

_Ensign Johnson finally met his match in the tough Connecticut trader,
Phineas Pond, and resigned his commission in November, 1771, and
disappeared from the scene._

_Sentencing a soldier to receive a thousand lashes, which Morison also
relates in this chapter, was an unusually brutal penalty, although at
least one sentence of fifteen-hundred lashes of the “cat” is on record.
Ordinarily ten lashes was regarded as sufficient punishment for most
offenses and as many as thirty-nine lashes was considered cruel._

    [Illustration: “... sentenced to Receive 1000 lashes for

Michilamackinack, 10th Aprile 1771. Ens. Johnstone attempted a rape on a
girl betwixt nine & ten Years of age. Her shrieking out Violently
alarmed her step-father, Arthur Ross, & others in the barracks. This
Arthur Ross was servant to Ens. Johnstone at the time, who upon makeing
remonstrances the next morning to Ens. Johnstone of his rude & uncommon
behaveour, Received a very severe blow on the left breast from his
master, Ens. Johnstone, which made him quit his service instantly.

Ens. Johnstone acknowledged publickly, by way of Bravado, he had carnal
dealings with Mrs. Oldham (the mother of this girl upon whom he
attempted this Rape) three years agoe, and about twenty Days agoe he
vaunted of the same foul deed, declaring publickly it was [no one’s
business?]. This declaration happened two or three days before he
attempted the Rape upon her Young Daughter.

Tuesday the 23d Aprile 1771. We had a kind of horse race here; the most
of the garrison walked out to enjoy the pleasure of the Show. Ens.
Johnstone being appointed as one of the Judges upon the Occasion, Ens.
Strickland’s mare was saddled for him, that he might be enabled to
execute the important office with the more Alacrity. The racers appeared
on the ground expecting Ens. Johnstone with outmost impatience. [They]
sent several messages in quest of him; his mare was found; but he
himself could not, & no wonder for he was then in a Captain’s Cabin
marking barrells of Liquor to be Rolled over to the Suttler’s house,
which was observed to be conveyed in this manner by Creditable
Witnesses. Ens. Johnstone seized this opportunity very seasonably while
the racers waited half one hour for his Judicial appearance before they
could start.

After secureing his Cargoe in this manner he appeared soon after the
racers started. The horse won & the mare lost the race (which is a
surprizing Circumstance) according [to] the prevailing constitution of
this fort.

Thursday 25th. Aprile 1771. A Barrell of Liquor, at least presumed to
be, was Rolled over to the Suttler’s about 12 o’clock forenoon. This
Barrell was marked Capt G. T. [George Turnbull] & rolled over by
Donaldson [?] of the General’s Company.

A Catalogue of Ens. Robert Johnstone of the 2d. Battl. Exploits.

1. Knocked down a frenchman at Grosse pointe.

2. Quarrelled with Mr. [Alexander] Baxter.

3. Quarrelled with Major [Robert] Rogers, & used uncommon freedom with
      his wife, common fame says to the extent of carnal conversation
      with her.

4th. Wounded Corpl. Johnstone of the general’s Company in the arm.

5thly. Attempted to draw his sword upon Mr. [Benjamin] Frobisher for
      which he was put under arrest.

6thly. Quarrelled with & insulted Capt. [Frederick] Spiecmacher
      [commandant, 1767-68], for which he was under arrest for five

7thly. Selling of Common Rum to the Soldiers, mixing water with it, &
      selling it afterwards at 18. sh. York Currency pr. Gallon.

8thly. Knockeing down Mr. Farrol, Barrack master, betwixt 70 & 80 Years
      of age, on board of the Gladwin.

9thly. Nonsuited at a prosecution in favours of a prostitute.

10thly. Committed Felony, attempted by him & two accomplices, against
      the person of Doctor Morison.

11thly. Intended murder by Poison.

12thly. Mixing four ounces of Jallap with the water boiled for Punch at
      a publick Enter[tain]ment.

13thly. Challenged Lieut. Christie, & asked him pardon without coming to
      a tryal.

14thly. Sporting with Capt. [John] Browne & Capt. Glazier’s Characters,
      calling the last a mean, low lived, Dirty fellow.

15thly. Flogged Knight, Soldier of the General’s Company, by his own
      hand with a wooden Switch, in presence of Capt. Turnbull without
      the benefit of a Court martial.

16thly. Kicked & Cuffed Sergeants & Soldiers upon the publick Parade, to
      which the Commanding officer was present at some of those

17thly. Attempted to Murder William Morison, Nephew to Doctor Morison,
      to which Capt. Turnbull, Commanding Officer, was present, with
      many others.

18thly. Kicked and Cuffed Sergt. Carlile in his own house upon a Sabbath
      day when the garrison was at Church, & in the Scuffle hurt one of
      his stones.

19thly. Some days after that he decoyed away the Sergt’s wife, Mrs.
      Carlile, who lived with him upwards of six weeks at Bed & board

20thly. Vaunted he had Carnal dealings with Mrs. Oldham & three Years
      after attempted a Rape upon her daughter betwixt 9 & 10 years of

2lst. Was put under arrest by Capt. Turnbull for the space of 24 hours
      for Quarrelling with Maxwell the Commissary.

22d. Attempted to sow Discord betwixt George McBeath and his wife to
      whom he offered one hundred pounds &c provideing she would take up
      with him & quit her husband.

23d. Sergt. Carlile of the General’s Company Objected to Ens. Johnstone
      as a member of a Regimental Court Martial, set upon his Accusation
      [to] which [he] pleaded not guilty, & for certain Reasons desired
      the benefit of a general Court martial, which was denyed him.

30th May 1771. That evening after Roll Call, a Delinquent, James
Coleman, soldier of the Lieut Colonel’s Company, sentenced to Receive
1000 Lashes for Desertion, received near five hundred & would have
received more had not I intervened to hinder any more proceedings as he
was not able to endure any more.

That very evening of the 30th he was ordered by the Commanding officer
to the flogging post to receive the rest of his punishment, without
Consulting me whether he was fit to receive them or not. He appeared
under a file of men, in presence of the whole garrison, to undergoe that
which he was not able to support. At that Juncture, he immediately fell
upon his Knees & begged Capt. Turnbull to delay the rest of his
punishment till he was more fit to undergoe them. Upon this application
Capt. Turnbull asked my oppinion. I answered he was not fit, &
consequently he was under the necessity of being carryed home to the
Guard house by two soldiers of the guard.

This lenity of mine in favours of the prisoner produced the following
Garrison orders (tho’ there was no previous complaint lodged):

  _Michilimackinac 31. May 1771. For the future the officer of the Day
  will visit the men’s barracks every forenoon at 12 o’clock to see that
  the Barracks are kept clean & that the sick or lame are regularly
  visited by the Surgeon; when prisoners are in that situation the
  Sergt. of the Guard will report to the officer of the day if it should
  happen that they are not Regularly attended._

The 10th of June 1771. Ens. Johnstone quarrelled with Phinehas Pond, a
trader from New England. The dispute became very warm with high &
insulting Expressions. At length in the height of their dispute Ens.
Johnstone took down a brace of pistoles off the chimney brace, presented
them to Pond at the Table, challengeing him to take up one of them,
which Phineas Pond did directly. Ens. Johnstone in wrath desired Mr.
Pond to give his Pistol to Mr. Howard, trader, to charge. He replyed he
would not give his Pistol to any man to charge; upon which Pond began to
charge his Pistol as fast as he could work. Ens. Johnstone (observeing
that Mr. Pond was about chargeing so brisk) took hold of his own pistol
by the barrell & pushed the butt of it violently & struck him with great
fury in the Pit of the stomach, which staggered him surpriseingly. This
unexpected proceeding prevented Pond from loading his Pistol, which he
was obliged to drop & make of his hands in his own defence, which he
plyed about so manfully that Ens. Johnstone fell flat directly upon the
floor. Phineas Pond gave him such terrible bruiseings, black eyes &c.
that Ens. Johnstone was obliged to keep his Room for several days, &
tho’ this day is the 6th. since his disaster, he is not Yet recovered,
walking about slowly with a pair of black Eyes. What the consequences of
this uggly affair will turn out to I cannot determine.

Ensign Johnstone sold Mr. [Ezekial] Solomon the Jew ninety gallons of
common Rum June 1771. The year before he sold fifty bundles of dryed
Venison to the said Solomon at 2 sh. & 6d for the benefit of Capt.
Turnbull, commanding officer of this Fort.

    [Illustration: “... without these expenses I must starve of cold.”]

                       Monstrum Horrendum Ingens!

    [Illustration: Flags]

_With this partial quotation of a line from Virgil’s Aeneid which refers
to the hideous one-eyed monster, Polyphemus, stumbling about after he
had been blinded by Ulysses, Morison expresses his opinion of Captain
Turnbull. Angered at the treatment he received from Turnbull, the
surgeon’s mate presumably pictured his commanding officer as a monster,
blind to the needs of his men._

_George Turnbull had received his commission in the Royal Americans in
1756 at the time this famous fighting force was being recruited “to
avenge Braddock’s defeat.” In 1758 he had been wounded in the costly
British attack on Ticonderoga. After the French and Indian War, Turnbull
was promoted to captain in 1765, and before coming to Michilimackinac in
1770 he had been the commander at Detroit for three years. While at
Detroit he had been involved with some of the local citizens in a
dispute over property rights on Belle Isle, but, according to the
adventurer, Jonathan Carver, who visited Detroit in 1768, Turnbull was
respected by the inhabitants and traders “for the propriety of his
conduct.” This record should be borne in mind as one reads what Morison
has to say about Turnbull._

Michilamackinac July 9th. 1771. Betwixt the hours of 3 & 4 [in the]
afternoon, Capt. Turnbull sent for me to his house upon an affair in
which he had not the least concern. No sooner I appeared than he Opened
upon me with Volleys of scurrilous Language (in presence of Lieut.
Donald McAlpin of the 2d. Battn.) viz: That I was a scandalous fellow, a
man of no principles, of a bad heart &c. lastly ordered me go out of his
house & commanded me to keep my Distance, which I am determined
punctually to observe.

N. B.: All these Epithets (to the conviction of many) are imputations
that more peculiarly belong _altenarly_ [alternately?] to himself when
his character is canvassed by proper judges. If [such things as]
Oppression, Detraction, Melediction, Violence, fornication, adultery,
breach of Sabbath, tradeing, selling of common rum, Molasses, Wine,
Spirits &c., Supporting a Suttlery in which he himself is principally
[interested], which is Diametrically opposed to a Military Character,
[be considered], he himself is justly entitled to these Epithets &
imputations which cannot be attended with much difficulty to prove. Upon
these considerations I left his house, whose dirt I shook off from my
feet & left the Dirt where I found it. Monstrum horrendum Ingens!

The 26th. augst. 1771. Sent the weekly return by my servt. as I happened
to be sick on that morning. Capt. Turnbull enquired of my servt. what my
sickness was. My servt. answered, it was a severe attack of the
Rheumatism to which I was subject. The Commandant asked my servt. if he
could cure me. My servt. replyed he would if he could. After many
frivolous questions of this nature, he at last ask[ed] him what did he
think I deserved, to which my servt. Replyed, he did not know, “but Sure
I am Sir, my master deserves well at my hands.”

Upon Tuesday the 17th. Sept. 1771. Capt. Turnbull after Roll Call sent
the Sergeant Major to acquaint me he wanted to speak to me. Accordingly
I appeared. Then Capt. Turnbull in presence of Lieut. Christie, Ens.
Graham and Ens. Strickland asked how I came to move to another house
without his leave, & I answered that I thought there was no necessity of
giveing any trouble to him for removeing to good Quarters, which I hired
for the Winter as there was no possibility of liveing for the Winter in
that house Which he ordered me to, May last; especially as both of them
were the property of traders in this place & tho’ I applyed to him last
fall for a Room in the officers’ Barracks, as there was one Vacant then,
as he did not grant this I thought I had a Right to provide myself the
best I could.

He told me [that] tho’ I have been so long in the army I made a[s] great
progress in the knowledge of my duty as I did in that of my profession,
meaning in which I appeared to be equally ignorant. (So far according to
the Sultan.)

“I suppose,” says he, “You want I should put You into arrest, that You
may be exempted from Your duty. But,” continued he, “I will not do You
that Honnour. You are not worth my Notice. I hope You will not give me
the trouble to provide a Room to provide for You next summer.”

I told him I’d give him as little trouble as possible and that I’d
endeavour [to do] the best I could for myself, tho’ at the same time I
beged leave to observe that I thought (while I continued to act in the
King’s Service) I had a right to a room in the King’s barracks, which
benefit was never granted me during his incumbency. He Replyed he did
not chuse to hear any more upon the Subject, and ordered me to be gone,
which I did quietly, in presence of the abovesaid gentlemen.

N. B.: When upon application last fall to Capt. Turnbull for a Room in
the King’s Barracks, which he did not grant, I then applyed to him if he
would please speak to influence Mr. Cardin to give me his house for last
winter. He gave himself not the least trouble about the matter, in
consequence of which I was necessitated to provide for myself. [I]
obtained the house from Mr. Cardin, where I lodged Comfortably last
winter. As I was obliged to pass the winters preceeding most wretchedly
in old houses, not habitable, notwithstanding of my Disbursements on
many repeated reparations, such as thatching with Bark, Claying &c, as
without these expenses I must starve of cold & every shower of rain
[came] in upon me, as also snow drift[ed in] from every quarter when the
wind blew high.

Upon Sunday the 1st December 1771. The officer of the day was ordered to
place Centrys at different corners of the Garrison upon four or five
houses, upon suspicion they smuggled some common rum to entertain
them[selves] at such a particular Season, as one of the Sub-Suttlers did
not Chuse to sell or had orders [not] to sell under a Dollar each quart.

A soldier and his wife with his Children [were] ordered to their
barracks, tho’ there was not a drop [of] liquor found in his house. The
officer of the day upon entring the room of Fiddler, one of the Royal
Artillery, who was enjoying himself with one of his Comrades in garrison
[with some rum] which he had purchassed from the Sub-Suttler. [The
bottle of rum] was broke to pieces [by the officer] which put a stop to
the entertainment tho’ they were all quite sober.

All this is supposed to proceed from the orders of the grand Suttler
[Captain Turnbull], who did not Chuse that any individual should
interfere in diminishing the grist which has been a long time now
comeing into his Mill & which he wants to keep agoing for his own
particular private interest.

December 15th. Mr. Harise, the interpreter, was committed to the common
guard-house by Capt. Turnbull where he remained from eight o’Clock in
the afternoon till ten next morning, for beating of a trader’s _Engagee_
[an _engagé_, one of the French boatmen who were hired to paddle the
traders’ canoes], tho’ many Circumstances of the most Extravagant
enormitys have been overlooked in this odious garrison during Capt.
Turnbull’s Incumbency.

Ensign Strickland [was] put under arrest by Capt. Turnbull’s order for
useing Sergt. Lewis ill upon his Guard, & the said Ensign continued
under his arrest untill he made proper Condescensions to the Sergt. &
Yet Ensign Johnstone would not be put under arrest by Captain Turnbull
(tho’ properly applyed to) for shedding the blood of a gentleman more
usefull to the King’s service in garrison, more than both, which can be
proven to a Demonstration, time & place Convenient.

N. B.: July 2d. 1772. I have now [served] going on four years here, &
during that period of time have neither received wood, nor chairs,
table, tongs, Dogirons, pockers, &c. from the Barrack master nor any
lodgeing in the King’s Barracks or from the King, notwithstanding my
frequent applications, but was obliged to Lodge in old french Houses,
not habitable, at a Vast Expense out of my Pay, by Plastering, thatching
&c. to preserve myself from the Inclemency of the Winter Season, which
is generally very intense here, and which continues upon average about
the space of eight months.

Notwithstanding so badly was I used, on account of provideing of
aforesaid lodgeings, haveing not beforehand informed Capt. Turnbull of
my intention of providing said Lodgeing for hire, he sent a Sergeant for
me to [attend] the Publick parade, where to my surprise in presence of
the officers of the Garrison & others he gave me very abusive &
Scandalous Language, unbecomeing the Expressions of a gentleman, & when
offering to speak in my own Defence, I was ordered Silence! & that he
desired for the future I should give him no more trouble about
Lodgeings. [He] ordered me about my business, that he would not put me
under arrested as he knew that was what I wanted, but would not do me
that Honnour. I was not worth his notice.

N. B.: Ensign Strickland & Ens. Graham were put under arrest for
differences subsisting among them at his house, which Capt. Turnbull
approved of till their differences were settled.


    [Illustration: Musket and saber]

_Daniel Morison’s journal ends at this point. After July 2, 1772, we
lose sight of the unhappy surgeon’s mate. It appears at least that he
did not remain much longer at the Straits for later that year the
various units of the Second Battalion of the Royal Americans were
assembled from Niagara, Fort Michilimackinac, and other frontier posts
and shipped off to serve in the balmier climate of the West Indies._

_Captain Turnbull retired from the army in 1775 by selling his
commission, but some of the others who had served at Michilimackinac
remained with the Royal Americans and fought in the Revolutionary War.
Turnbull’s predecessor as commandant, Beamsley Glazier, distinguished
himself in the fighting around Savannah, Georgia, in 1779, by leading
three companies of the Royal Americans in a fierce charge which drove
the American and French forces into headlong retreat and caused the
Allies to lift their siege of the British troops in the city. Ensign
Johnson’s erstwhile comrade-in-arms, John Christie, fought gallantly in
1780 at Mobile in a futile effort to beat off a Spanish attack on that
port. Christie thereby redeemed his reputation which had been badly
tarnished by his premature surrender to the Indians when he was in
command of a fort at present-day Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1763._

_Many changes took place at Michilimackinac after 1772, so many, in
fact, that John Askin, an old-time resident, in 1778 wrote to Thomas
McMurray, apparently the former acting sergeant-major who had retired to
a business in Montreal, that he would scarcely recognize the post any
more. In place of the drafty old houses, such as the ones Morison had
lived in, the people, Askin reported, were “now building tolerable good

_The fort also had a new surgeon’s mate—another Scotsman, David
Mitchell. Unlike his compatriot Morison, Mitchell adjusted very well to
the rough conditions of life on the fur-trading frontier. He married a
Chippewa woman, and when his regiment was transferred elsewhere he
received special permission to stay on as surgeon’s mate so that his
wife would not be separated from her people. He remained in the area in
various capacities until his death in 1830. By then old Fort
Michilimackinac had been abandoned for a half century and only a few
ruins sticking out of the sand reminded the occasional visitor of the
colorful days of the 1760’s and 1770’s._

    [Illustration: Michilimackinac Restored]


    [Illustration: Drum]

_Historians recently discovered in the Frederick Haldimand Papers of the
British Museum in London a document which sheds additional light on the
obscure life of Daniel Morison. The document is a petition written by
Morison to Frederick Haldimand in Quebec. The document is undated._

_To His Excellency Frederick Haldimand Captain General and Governor in
Chief in and over His Majestys Province of Quebec, and the Territories
depending thereon, in America, Vice Admiral of the same, General and
Commander in Chief of His Majestys Forces, in the said Province and the
Frontiers thereof etc, etc, etc._

_The Memorial of Daniel Morrison Humbly Sheweth That your Excellency’s
Memorialist was appointed surgeon to six independent Companies raised in
Scotland in the Year 1746, and reduced in two Years thereafter, That in
the year following he was appointed surgeon’s Mate to Lord Loudon’s
Highland Regiment soon afterwards reduced; That in the year 1757 he came
to America as Mate to Lieut. Colonel Frasor’s Regt. That during the
Winter 1760, he Passed an examination as surgeon, and received that
appointment to the 35th Regiment from His Excellency General Murray,
which the then Commander in Chief did not confirm, That at the reduction
of the 78th Regiment of Foot he was appointed surgeon’s mate to the 2d
Battallion of the 60th Regiment in which he had the Honor to serve
untill the Regiment was ordered for the West Indies where he Could not
attend them, on account of His health And that during the Blockade of
this City in 1775 he carried Arms, which extraordinary last Fatigue
reduced his health and strength still lower. He now most humbly Pray
Your Excellency’s attention to the length and nature of his Services,
and to his advanced time of life, and that you will be pleased to honour
him with some marke of your Favour, and your Memorialist as in duty
bound Shall ever pray—DAN MORISON SURGEON_

_British Museum, Haldimand Papers, ADD Manuscript 21,877, p. 440_


    [Illustration: Flags]

  ADAMS, Private Henry, 24
  ASKIN, John, 47

  BALFOUR, Captain Henry, 5-6
  Barracks, 35, 38
  Barracks, Officers’, 25, 43
  BAXTER, Alexander, 36
  Billiard room, 26
  Black hole, 24
  British Museum, 48
  BROWNE, Captain John, 36
  BURGY, Christian, 15-17, 23
  BURRENT, John, 18
  BURTON, Clarence, 6
  Burton Historical Collection, 6

  CARDIN, Mr.’s house, Morison stays at, 43-44
  Carioling, 30
  CARLILE, Mrs. Thomas,
      discovered with Johnson, 23;
      lives with Johnson, 25-26, 37;
      returns to husband, 29-31
  CARLILE, Sergeant Thomas,
      discovers Johnson with his wife, 23;
      seeks redress against Johnson, 24, 26;
      court-martialed, 29-32, 37;
      attacked by Johnson, 37
  Children, 35, 37, 44
  CHINN, John, 11;
      assaults Morison, 13-18, 21, 22, 23
  Chippewa Indians, 6
  CHRISTIE, Lieutenant John, 12, 16;
      presides over Carlile’s court-martial, 30;
      challenged by Johnson, 36, 43, 46-47
  Church, soldiers worship, 23, 24
  COLEMAN, Private James, receives 1000 lashes, 37-38
  Commissary, 27
  Courts-martial, 30-31, 36

  Dogs, attacked by Johnson, 24
  Drinking at Michilimackinac, 12-14, 21, 44
  Duel, Johnson challenges Pond to, 38

  FARROL, Mr., 36
  FIDDLER, Mr., member of Royal Artillery, 44
  Flogging, 26, 33, 37-38
  FORBES, John, servant to Morison,
      defends Morison, 14-18, 21;
      struck by Johnson, 24;
      takes return to Turnbull, 42
  FRASOR, Lieut. Colonel, 48
  FROBISHER, Benjamin, 8, 18, 36
  Furnishings, 45

  _GLADWIN_, 36
  GLAZIER, Captain Beamsley, 16, 36, 46
  GRAHAM, Ensign, 43, 45
  GRANT, Lieutenant Allan, 18
  Guard Duty, 23, 38, 44
  Guard House, 22, 24, 25, 31, 38, 44

  HALDIMAND, General Frederick, 48
  HARISE, Mr., interpreter, 27, 44
  Horse racing, 35
  Horses, 30, 35
  Houses at Michilimackinac, 43-45

  JOHNSON, Ensign Robert, 8, 11-12;
      assaults Morison, 13-18, 21-27;
      assaults Private Walker, 22-23;
      with Carlile’s wife, 23-24;
      attacks dog, 24;
      lives with Mrs. Carlile, 25-26;
      trades rum, 26, 35;
      orders Carlile court-martialed, 29-32;
      illicit relationships, 35;
      judges horse race, 35;
      catalog of misdeeds, 36-37;
      fights with Pond, 38-39
  JOHNSTONE, Corporal, 36

  KNIGHT, Private, flogged, 26, 36

  LANGLADE, Charles, 5
  LEWIS, Sergeant, 44
  LOUDON, Lord, Highland Regiment, 48

  McALPIN, Lieutenant Donald, 42
  McBEATH, George, 8, 21, 26, 37
  McBEATH, Mrs. George, complains about Johnson, 25, 37
  McGANN, Sergeant, 31
  McGILL, James, 11
  McLEAN, Private, 26
  MacMURRAY, Sergeant Thomas, 12, 15, 18, 21;
      struck by Johnson, 24, 26, 31-32, 47
  McPHERSON, Sergeant, 21-22;
  struck by Johnson, 24
  MAIN, George, 13, 16, 21, 25, 26
  MAXWELL, William, post commissary, 12, 15-18, 21;
      tries to stop attack against William Morison, 26-27;
      quarrels with Johnson, 27, 37
  MAY, Sergeant, struck by Johnson, 24-25
  Medical treatment, 21-22, 22-23, 37-38
  MITCHELL, David, 47
  MORISON, Charles, 16, 21
  MORISON, Daniel, 6-9, 11-12;
      house broken into, 12-18;
      treats McPherson, 21-22;
      sees Todd, 22;
      refuses invitation to Burgy’s house, 23;
      Johnson abuses, 36;
      intervenes in flogging, 37-38;
      to visit sick in barracks, 38;
      ill with rheumatism, 42;
      disputes with Turnbull over quarters, 42-43;
      journal ends, 46;
      petition and biographical data, 48
  MORISON, William, 19, 25;
      beaten by Johnson, 26-27, 37
  MURRAY, General, 48

  NORDBERG, Lieutenant John, 16
  North West Company, 11

  OAKS, Forrest, 11;
      assaults Morison, 12-18, 21, 22
  OLDHAM, Mrs., 35, 37

  Parade, 24, 37, 45
  POND, Phineas, 33;
      fights with Johnson, 38-39
  Prostitution, 36
  Punishment, 26, 33, 37-38

  QUEBEC, 48

  RACING, 35
  ROGERS, Elizabeth, 33, 36
  ROGERS, Major Robert, 12, 33, 36
  ROGERS, Private, 26
  Rogers’ Rangers, 5
  Roll call, 42
  ROSS, Arthur, 18, servant to Robert Johnson, 26, 35
  Royal American Regiment, see Sixtieth Regiment of Foot
  Royal Artillery, 44
  Rum trading,
      by Johnson, 26, 35, 36, 39;
      by Turnbull, 36, 42, 44;
      suspicion of smuggling, 44

  SAVAGE, Mrs. John, 25
  SAVAGE, Private John, Johnson puts in guard house, 25
  Scotland, 48
      John Forbes, servant to Daniel Morison, 14-18, 21-23, 24, 42;
      Arthur Ross servant to Robert Johnson, 26, 35
  Seventy-Eighth Regiment of Foot, 48
  Sixtieth Regiment of Foot, 6, 12, 48
  SOLOMON, Ezekiel, 39
  SPIECMACHER, Captain Frederick, 36
  Spruce beer, 23
  STRICKLAND, Ensign John, 13, 16, 17;
      orders Carlile confined, 30;
      races horse, 35, 43;
      arrested, 44-45
  Surgeon’s mate, 6, 9, 48
  Sutlers house, 35-36, 42

  TAILOR at Michilimackinac, 25
  Thirty-Fifth Regiment of Foot, 48
  TODD, Isaac, 8, 11, 12;
      defends Morison, 13-18, 22
  Traders at the fort,
      Benjamin Frobisher, 8, 18, 36;
      George McBeath, 8, 21, 26, 37;
      Isaac Todd, 8, 11, 12, 13-18, 22;
      John Chinn, 11, 13-18, 21, 22, 23;
      Forest Oaks, 11, 12-18, 21, 22;
      Henry Williams, 21;
      Phineas Pond, 33, 38-39;
      Ezekiel Solomon, 39;
      John Askin, 47
  TURNBULL, Captain George, 8;
      witnesses assault, 22-23;
      Carlile appeals to, 24, 26;
      dines with Johnson and Mrs. Carlile, 26;
      witnesses Johnson attack William Morison, 26-27;
      approves judgment against Carlile, 30;
      erases judgment against Carlile, 31;
      observes flogging and beatings, 36-37;
      arrests Johnson, 37;
      allows James Coleman to recuperate before receiving rest of
          punishment, 37-38;
      benefits from trade, 39;
      severely criticized by Morison, 41-45;
      biographical data, 46-47

  VARINGON, Lieutenant, 18
      perpetuated against Daniel Morison, 12-18;
      attempted rape, 35, 37;
      catalog of Robert Johnson’s misdeeds, 36-38;
      voyageur beaten, 44

  WALKER, Private, 22
  West Indies, 46, 48
  WILLIAMS, Henry, 21
      Mrs. Thomas Carlile, 23, 25-26, 29-31, 37;
      Mrs. George McBeath, 25, 37;
      Mrs. John Savage, 25;
      Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers, 33, 36;
      Mrs. Oldham, 35, 37
  Worship services, 23, 24

    An innocent evening’s entertainment ends in a wild brawl and an
                          attempted murder ...

     A judge arrives late to a horse race because he has been busy
                           smuggling rum ...

 The court-martial of a sergeant charged with being disrespectful to an
       officer who was cavorting with the sergeant’s own wife ...

  These are a few of the strange but always fascinating events related
by Dr. Daniel Morison in the journal he kept from 1769 to 1772 while he
              was surgeon’s mate at Fort Michilimackinac.

  Editing and interpreting this authentic and uncensored 18th-century
document, never before published in its entirety, is Dr. George S. May,
    former research archivist of the Michigan Historical Commission.
    Illustrating the text is the well-known artist, Dirk Gringhuis.

    [Illustration: Mackinac State Historic Parks]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos, but left the good doctor’s unique
  spellings unchanged.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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