Agnes Christina Laut.

The conquest of the great Northwest: being the story of the ..., Volumes 1-2 online

. (page 1 of 50)
Online LibraryAgnes Christina LautThe conquest of the great Northwest: being the story of the ..., Volumes 1-2 → online text (page 1 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|



fVfA



t



The conquest

of the great Northwest

Agnes Christina Laut



^•^i-^.^;



[ARVARD UNIVERSITY



LIBRARY

OF THB

PEABODY MUSEUM

GIFT OF
ROLAND BURRAGE DIXON

(A.B. 1897, Ph.D. igoo)
OF HARVARD, MASSACHUSETTS

ived May 7, 1936



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



THE CONQUEST OF
THE GREAT NORTHWEST



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



Collier's famous picture of Hudson's Last Hours.



Digitized by



Google



THE CONQUEST OF THE
GREAT NORTHWEST



Being th£ story of the ADVENTURERS OF ENGUND
Jhi0wm4xs THE HUDSON'S BAT COMPANY. Ne^ pages
in the history of the Canadian Northwest and Western States



BY

AGNES C.sl.AUT

AutkT of " Lord* of ike North;'
'* Patkfindtrs 0/ iht West;'' etc.



TWO VOLUMES IN ONE




NEW YORK

MOFFAT, YARD AND COMPANY

MCMXIV

3 \^1U



Digitized by



Google






Ke>c'c\ '^^L\^ ^, fl3fc



Copyright, 190!, by
THE OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY



Entered at Stationeni* Hall, London, England
AH Right* Rutrvtd

NEW EDITION IN ONE VOLUME

OCTOBBK. I91I



■AMWAV, N. 4.



Digitized by



Google



ro

G. C. L.

and
CM. A.



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I

PART I

CHAPTER I
Henry Hudson's First Voyage 3

CHAPTER n
Hudson's Second Voyage . .16

CHAPTER III
Hudson's Third Voyage .36

CHAPTER IV
Hudson's Fourth Voyage .49

CHAPTER V

The Adventures of the Danes on Hudson Bay — Jens

Munck's Crew ....... 72

PART II

CHAPTER VI

Radisson, the Pathfinder, Discovers Hudson Bay and

Founds the Company of Gentlemen Adventurers . 97

CHAPTER VII

The Adventures of the First Voyage — Radisson Driven
Back Orp^anizes the Hudson s Bay Company and
Writes his Journals of Four Voyages — The Charter
and the First Shareholders — Adventures of Radisson
on the Bay — ^The Coming of the French and the
Quarrel 11 1

ix



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Contents



CHAPTER VIII

PAGB

"Gentlemen Adventurers of England" — Lords of the
Outer Marches — ^Two Centuries of Company Rule-
Secret Oaths — ^The Use of Whiskey — ^The Matrimonial
Offices — The Part the Company Played in the Game
of International Juggling— -How Trade and Voyages
Were Conducted 133

CHAPTER IX

If Radisson Can Do Without the Adventurers, the Adven-
turers Cannot Do Without Radisson — ^The Eruption
of the French on the Bay — ^The Beginning of the
Raiders i6a

CHAPTER X

The Adventurers Furious at Radisson, Find it Cheaper to
Have him as a Friend than Enemy and Invite him
Back — ^The Real Reason Why Ramsson Returned —
The Treachery of Statecraft — Young Chouart Out-
raged, Nurses his Wrath and Gayly Comes on the
Scene Monsieur Pdrd — Scout and Spy . . .180

. CHAPTER XI

Wherein the Reasons for Young Chouart Groseiller's
M3rsterious Message to Our Good Friend "P^r6" are
Explained — ^The Forest Rovers of New France Raid
the Bay b^ Sea and Land — ^Two Ships Sunk — ^P^,
the Spy, Seized and Sent to England . . .198

CHAPTER XII
Pierre le Mojme d' Iberville Sweeps the Bay . . .211

CHAPTER XIII
D' Iberville Sweeps the Bay {continued) . . . .228

CHAPTER XIV

What Became of Radisson? — New Facts on the Last

Dajrs of the Famous Pathfinder . .356



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Contents



PART III
CHAPTER XV

PAOB

The First Attempts of the Adventurers to Explore —
Henry Kelsey Penetrates its far as the Valley of the
Saskatchewan — Sanford and Arrington, Known as
" Red Cap," Found Henley House Inland from Albany
— Beset from Without, the Company is also Beset
from Within — ^Petitions Against the Cnarter — Increase
of Capital — Restoration of the Bay from France . 277

CHAPTER XVI

Old Captain Knight, Beset by Gold Fever, Hears the Call of
the North—The Straits and Bay— The First Harvest
of the Sea at Dead Man's Island — Castaways for
Three Years — ^The Company, Beset by Gold Fever,
Increases its Stock — Pa3rs Ten Per Cent, on Twice
Trebled Capital — Coming of Spies Again .298

CHAPTER XVII

The Company's Prosperity Arouses Opposition — ^Arthur
Dobbs and the Northwest Passage and the Attack on
the Charter — No Northwest Passage is Found, but
the French Spur the English to Renewed Activity . 320

CHAPTER XVIII

The March Across the Continent Begins — ^The Company
Sends a Man to the Blackfeet of the South Sas^tche-
wan — Anthony Hendry is the First Englishman to
Penetrate to tne Saskatchewan — The First Englishman
to Winter West of Lake Winnipeg — He Meets the
Sioux and the Blackfeet and Invites them to the Bay 334

CHAPTER XIX

Extension of Trade toward Labrador, Quebec and Rockies
— Heame Finds the Athabasca Country and Founds
Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan — Cocking
Proceeds to the Blackfeet — Howse Finds the Pass in
Rockies 355

xi



Digitized by



Google



Contents



CHAPTER XX

PAOB

"The Coming of the Pedlars"— "A New Race of Wood-
rovers Throngs to the Northwest — Bandits of the
Wilds War Among Themselves — ^Tales of Border War-
fare, Wassail and Gtandeur — ^The New Northwest
Companv Challenges the Authority and Feudalism of
the Hudson's Bay Company 389



xii



Digitized by



Google



FOREWORD

IT HAS become almost a truism to say that no
complete account of the Hudson's Bay Adven-
turers has yet been written. I have often
wondered if the people who repeated that statement
knew what they meant. The empire of the fur trade
Adventurers was not confined to Rupert's Land, as
specified by their charter. Lords of the Outer
Marches, these gay Gentlemen Adventurers setting
sail over the seas of the Unknown, Soldiers of Fortune
with a laugh for life or death carving a path through
the wilderness — ^were not to be checked by the mere
fiction of limits set by a charter. They followed the
rivers of their bay south to the height of land, and
looking over it saw the unoccupied territory of the
Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi. It was
American territory; but what did that matter? Over
they marched and took possession in Minnesota and
the two Dakotas and Montana. This region was
reached by way of Albany River. Then they fol-
lowed the Saskatchewan up and looked over its
height of land. To the north were MacKenzie
River and the Yukon; to the west, the Fraser and

XV



Digitized by



Google



Foreword



the Columbia. By no feat of imagination could the
charter be stretched to these regions. Canadian
merchants were on the field in MacKenzie River.
Russians claimed Alaska. Americans claimed Ore-
gon down as far as the Spanish Settlements; but
these things did not matter. The Hudson's Bay
Adventurers went over the barriers of mountains and
statecraft, and founding their fur empire of wild-
wood rovers, took toll of the wilderness in cargoes of
precious furs outvaluing all the taxes ever collected
by a conqueror. All this was not enough. South of
the Columbia was an unknown region the size of half
Europe — California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho.
The wildwood rovers of the Hudson's Bay Adven-
turers swept south in pack-horse brigades of two- and
three-hundreds from the Columbia to Monterey.
Where Utah railroads now run, their trappers found
the trail. Where gold seekers toiled to death across
Nevada deserts, Hudson's Bay trappers had long
before marched in dusty caravans sweeping the wil-
derness of beaver. Where San Francisco stands to-
day, the English Adventurers once owned a thousand-
acre farm. By a bold stroke of statecraft, they had
hoped to buy up Mexico's bad debts and trade those
debts for proprietary rights in California. The story
of why they failed is theme for novelist or poet rather
than historian. Suffice to say, their Southern Bri-

xvi



Digitized by



Google



Foreword



gades, disguised as Spanish horsemen, often went
south as far as Monterey. Yet more! The Hud-
son's Bay Adventurers had a station half way across
the Pacific in Hawaii.

In all, how large was their fur empire? Larger,
by actual measurement, much larger, than Europe.
Now what person would risk reputation by sa3dng
no complete account had yet been written of all
Europe? The thing is so manifestly impossible, it
is absurd. Not one complete account, but hundreds
of volumes on different episodes will go to the making
of such a complete history. So is it of the vast area
niled by the Hudson's Bay Company. The time
will come when each district will demand as separate
treatment as a Germany, or a France or an Italy in
its history. All that can be attempted in one volume
or one series of volumes is the portrayal of a single
nK)vement, or a single episode, or a single character.
In this account, I have attempted to tell the story
of the Company only as adventurer, pathfinder, em-
pire-builder, from Rupert's Land to California —
feudal lord beaten off the field by democracy. Where
the empire-builder merges with the colonizer and
pioneer, I have stopped in each case. In Manitoba,
the passing of the Company was marked by the Riel
Rebellion; in British Columbia, by the mad gold
stampede; in Oregon, by the terrible Whitman

xvii



Digitized by



Google



Foreword



massacres; in California, by the fall of Spanish
power. All these arevdramas in themselves worthy
of poet or novelist; but they are not germane to the
Adventurers. Therefore, they are not given here.
Who takes up the story where I leave oflF, must hang
the narrative on these pegs. j

Another intentional omission. From the time the
Adventurers wrote oflF £100,000 loss for search of the
Nprth-West Passage, Arctic Exploration has no part
in this story. In itself, it is an enthralling story;
but to give even the most scrappy reference to it
here would necessitate crowding out essential parts
of the Adventurers' record — such as McLoughlin's
transmontane empire, or the account of the South
Bound Brigades. Therefore, latter day Arctic work
has no mention here. For the same reason, I have
been compelled to omit the dramatic story of the
early missions. These merit a book to themselves.

Throughout — with the exception of four chapters,
I may say altogether — I have relied for the thread
of my narrative on the documents in Hudson's Bay
House, London; the Minute Books of some two
hundred years, the Letter Books, the Stock Books,
the Memorial Books, the Daily Journals kept by
chief factors at every post and sent to London from
1670. These documents are in tons. They are not

xviu



Digitized by



Google



Foreword



open to the public. They are unclassified; and in
the case of Minute Books are in duplicates, "the
Foule Minutes" — as the inscription on the old parch-
ment describes them — being rough, almost unread-
able, notes jotted down during proceedings with
interlinings and blottings to be copied into the Minute
Books marked "Faire Copie." In some cases, the
latter has been lost or destroyed; and only the un-
corrected one remains. It is necessary to state this
because discrepancies will be found — noted as the
story proceeds — ^which arise from the fact that some
volumes of the corrected minutes have been lost.
The Minute Books consist variously from one to five
hundred pages each.

Beside the documents of Hudson's Bay House,
London, there is a great mass of unpublished, unex-
ploited material bearing on the Company in the
Public Records Office, London. I had some thou-
sands of pages of transcripts of these made which
throw marvelous side light on the printed records of
Radisson; of Iberville; of Pari. Report 1749; of the
Coltman Report and Blue Book of 1817-22; and the
Americans in Oregon.

In many episodes, the story told here will differ
almost unrecognizably from accepted versions and
legends of the same era. This is not by accident.
Nor is it because I have not consulted what one writer

xix



Digitized by



Google



Foreword



sarcastically called to my attention as "the secondary
authorities" — the words are his, not mine. Nearly
all these authorities from earliest to latest days are
in my own library and interlined from many read-
ings. Where I have departed from old versions of
famous episodes, it has been because records left in
the handwriting of the actors themselves compelled
me; as in the case of Selkirk's orders about Red
River, Ogden's discoveries in Nevada ahd Utah
and California, Thompson's explorations of Idaho,
Howse's explorations in the Rockies, Ogden's rob-
bery of the Americans, the Americans' robbery of
him.

I regret I have no clue to any Spanish version of
why Glen Rae blew out his brains in San Francisco.
On this episode, I have relied on the legends current
amcmg the old Hudson's Bay officers and retold so
well by Bancroft.

To Mr. C. C. Chipman, commissioner of the Hud-
son's Bay Company, to Mr. William Ware, the sec-
retary, and Lord Strathcona-and-Mount-Royal, the
Governor — ^I owe grateful thanks for access to the
H. B. C. documents.

On the whole, the record of the Adventurers, is
not one to bring the blush of regret to those jealous
for the Company's honor. It is a record of daring
and courage and adventuring and pomp — in the best

XX



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Foreword



sense of the words — ^and of intrigue and statecraft
and diplomacy, too, not always in the best sense of
the words — which must take its place in the world's
history far above the bloody pageantry of Spanish
conqueror in Mexico and Peru. It is the one case
where Feudalism played an important and successful
r61e in America, only in the end to be driven from
the stage by Young Democracy.



XXI



Digitized by



Google



Digitized by



Google



PART I

1610-1631

Being an Account of the Discoveries in the Great
Sea of the North by Henry Hudson and the Dane,
Jens Munck. How the Search for the North- West
Passage Led to the Opening of two Regions — ^New
York and the North- West Territories.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Digitized by



Google



THE CONQUEST OF
THE GREAT NORTHWEST

CHAPTER I
1607

HENKY HUDSON'S FIRST VOYAGE

PRACTICAL men scorn the dreamer, espe-
ciaUy the mad-souled dreamer who wrecks
life trying to prove his dream a reqlity. Yet
the mad-souled dreamer, the Poet of Action whose
poem has been his b'fe, the Hunter who has chased
the Idea down the Long Trail where all tracks point
one way and never return — has been a herald of
light for humanity.

Of no one is this truer than the English pilot,
Henry Hudson.

Hudson did not set out to find the great inland
waters that bear his name — Hudson River and Hud-
son Bay. He set out to chase that rainbow myth —
the Pole — or rather the passage across the Pole. To

3



Digitized by



Google



The Conquest of the Great Northwest

him, as to all Arctic explorers, the call had become a
sort of obsession. It was a demon, driving him in
spite of himself. It was a siren whom he could not
resist, luring him to wreck, which he knew was cer-
'tain. It was a belief in something which reason
couldn't prove but time has justified. It was like a
scent taken up by a hound on a strange trail. He
could not know where it would lead but because of
Something in him and Something on the Trail, he
was compelled to follow. Like the discoverer in
science, he could not wait till his faith was gilt-edged
with profit before risking his all on the venture. Call
it demon or destiny! At its voice he rose from his
place and followed to his death.

The situation was this:

Not a dozen boats had sailed beyond the Sixtieth
degree of north latitude. From Sixty to the Pole
was an area as great as Africa. This region was
absolutely unknown. What did it hide? Was it
another new world, or a world of waters giving
access across the Pole from Europe to Asia? The
Muscovy Company of England, the East India Com-
pany of Holland, both knew the Greenland of the
Danes; and sent their ships to fish at Spitzbergen,
east of Greenland. But was Greenland an island,
or a great continent? Were Spitzbergen and Green-

4



Digitized by



Google



Henry Hudson's First Voyage

land parts of a vast Polar land? Did the mountains
wreathed there in eternal mists conceal the wealth
of a second Peru? Below the endless swamps of
ice, would men find gold sands? And when one fol-
lowed up the long coast of the east shore — ^as long as
from Florida to Maine — where the Danish colonies
had perished of cold centuries ago — what beyond?
A continent, or the Pole, or the mystic realm of frost
peopled by the monsters of Saga myth, where the
Goddess of Death held pitiless sway and the shores
were lined with the dead who had dared to invade
her realm? Why these questions should have
pierced the peace of Henry Hudson, the English
pflot, and possessed him — can no more be explained
than the Something on the Trail that compels Some-
thing in the hound.

I Like other dreamers, Hudson had to put his
dreams in harness; hitch his Idea to every day uses.
The Muscovy Company trading to Russia wanted to
find a short way across the Pole to China. Hudson
had worked up from sailor to pilot and pilot to master
on the Dutch traders, and was commissioned to seek
the passage. The Company furnished him with a
crew of eleven including his own boy, John. It
would be ridiculous if it were not so pathetic — these
simple sailors undertaking a venture that has baffled
every great navigator since time began.

S



Digitized by VjOOQIC



The Conquest of the Great Northwest

Led by Hudson with the fire of a great faith in his
eyes, the men solemnly marched to Saint Ethelburge
Church oflf Bishopgate Street, London, to partake
of Holy Communion and ask God's aid. Back to
the muddy water-front opposite the Tower; a gold
coin for last drinks; a hearty God-speed from the
gentlemen of the Muscovy Company pompous in
self-importance and lace ruffles — and the little crew
steps into a clumsy river boat with brick-red sails.
One gentleman opines with a pinch of snuff that it
may be "this many a day before Master Hudson
returns.'' Riffraff loafers crane necks to see to the
last. Cursing watermen clear the course by thump-
ing other rivermen out of the way. The boat slips
under the bridge down the wide flood of the yeasty
Thames through a forest of masts and sails of as
many colors as Joseph's coat.

r It is like a great sewer of humanity, this river tide
with its city's traffic of a thousand years. Farmers
rafting down loads of hay, market women punting
themselves along with boat loads of vegetables, fish-
ing schooners breasting the tide with full-blown sails,
high-hulled galleons from Spain, flat-bottomed,
rickety tubs from the Zee, gay little craft— barges with
bunting, wherries with lovers, rowboats with nothing
more substantial than silk awnings for a sail — ^jostle
and throng and bump each other as Hudson's crew

6



Digitized by



Google



Henry HvdsorCs First Voyage

shoots down with the tide. Not a man of the crew
but wonders — is he seeing it all for the last time?

But here is the Muscovy Company's ship all newly
rigged waiting at Gravesend, absurdly small for such
a venture on such a sea. Then, in the clanking of
anchor chains and sing-song of the capstan and last
shouts of the noisy rivermen, apprehensions are for-
gotten. Can they but find a short route to China,
their homely little craft may plough back with as
rich cargo as ever Spanish caravel brought from
the fabulous South Sea. The full tide heaves and
rocks and bears out; a mad-souled dreamer standing
at the prow with his little son, who is very silent.
The air is fraught with something too big for words.
May first, 1607, Hudson is oflE for the Pole. He
might as well have been following the Flying Dutch-
man, or ballooning to the moon.

The city along the banks of the Thames has
presently thinned to towns. The towns slide past
into villages. The villages blur into meadow lands
with the thatch roof of the farmer's cot; and before
night, the last harbor light has been left in the offing.
The little ship has headed her carved prow north.
The billows of the North Sea roll to meet her. Dark-
ness falls with no sound but the swish of the waters
against the ports, the hum of the wind through the

7



Digitized by



Google



I The Conquest of the Great Northwest

rigging, and the whirring flap of the great sails
shifting to catch the breeze.

For six weeks, north; north-west, they drove over
the tumbling world of waters, sliding from crest to
trough, from blue hollow to curdling wave-top, plough-
ing a watery furrow into the region of long, white
light and shortening nights, and fogs that lay without
lifting once in twenty days. The farther north they
sailed, the tighter drew the cords of cold, like a violin
string stretched till it fairly snapped — air full of pure
ozone that set the blood jumping and finger-tips
tingling! Green spray froze the sails stiff as boards.
The rigging became ropes of ice, the ship a ghost
gliding white through the fogs. At last came a
squall that rolled the mists up like a scroll, and
straight ahead, high and lonely as cloud-banks,
towered the white peaks of Greenland's mountains.
Though it was two o'clock in the morning, it was
broad daylight, and the whole crew came scrambling
up the hatches to the shout of "Land!" Hudson
enthusiastically named the mountain "God's Mercy" ;
but the lift of mist uncurtained to the astonished
gaze of the English sailors a greater wonder than the



Online LibraryAgnes Christina LautThe conquest of the great Northwest: being the story of the ..., Volumes 1-2 → online text (page 1 of 50)