Theo. Myers (Theodore Myers) Riley.

A memorial biography of the Very Reverend Eugene Augustus Hoffman : D.D. (Oxon.) D.C.L., L.L.D., late dean of the General Theological Seminary (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryTheo. Myers (Theodore Myers) RileyA memorial biography of the Very Reverend Eugene Augustus Hoffman : D.D. (Oxon.) D.C.L., L.L.D., late dean of the General Theological Seminary (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 28)
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the surface. This may account for the clearness of
it. They have quite heavy frost here early in August,
and although we are dressed in very heavy flannel
shirts and drawers we find a great coat quite a neces-
sary garment night and morning. The voyageurs we
employ are a queer set of men. They are all half-
breed Indians, although one has straight red hair.
They speak a broken French and the Chippeway
language. On starting from the Sault they seemed to
care little for loading the boats, but the next morn-
ing they were up bright and early getting breakfast,
etc. They appear to live very happily without a



thought for to-morrow, although they merely live
like beasts of burden. They generally work cheer-
fully, singing their wild Canadian boat-songs, and are
almost indefatigable, working sometimes twelve or
fourteen hours a day on the paddle or the oar.
Their cooking, to be sure, is none of the best, and
its best qualification is its speed; but then if sole
leather were only boiled twenty minutes I believe
we could relish it. To give an instance of our ap-
petites, each of the party will drink two quart bowls
of coffee or tea of the strongest kind, sweetened only
with a little maple sugar, morning or evening; and
then will eat salt pork boiled only twenty minutes,
and bread made with flour and water and fried with
a piece of salt pork. This bread will answer equally
well to leaJ fish-lines and to eat. At noon, when we
have not always time to cook, we devour raw ham
with the greatest gusto.

Jufy iith. — Pushed on as usual to-day. Saw many
beautiful lichens and mosses, which grow in great
abundance in this part of the country on the rocks
and trees. On the trees they grow in such great quan-
tities as often to kill them, and by applying a match
to them in the evening they instantly burst into a
flame and we have an exceedingly beautiful exhibition
of fireworks. The woods here are not very handsome,
being composed of evergreen with a few birch-bark.
In many places for miles they were entirely burnt off
a few years ago during an unusual drought. Encamped
to-night on a high rock some fifteen feet above the



lake to avoid mosquitoes. Saw magnificent "Northern
Lights." We lay out by the fire nearly all night
watching them. They covered two thirds or more
of the heavens, starting from a common center. They
were beautiful beyond description, and I had no con-
ception of what a northern light was before, although
I have seen many that they called splendid ones at

July 1 2th. — Arrived at Le Pic, which is a miser-
able small station and surrounded by a wretched set
of thieving Indians. Caught one or two sturgeons
here. Found a dissection of them very interesting.
The liver was of a peculiar gray color, the stomach
being very powerful, the covering being in some places
an inch thick. Shot some pigeons and a small squirrel,
which differs from our "chip squirrel" in having four
stripes instead of three. On Thursday took an Indian
guide to show us a lake a mile distant. He could not
speak a word of English, and we could only com-
municate with him by signs. The scamp led us, as
we afterwards discovered, a roundabout way through
a stream up to our waists, whereas he might have
taken us dryshod. Mosquitoes and black flies here are
terrible, although as we proceed north we find the
weather sensibly becoming colder.

July i^th. — Left Stone quite ill and Loring to
take care of him. Very sorry to leave them so.
Passed, on our way out, the Governor of the Hudson
Bay Co. He is a queer charadter, and when he travels
he travels twenty-two hours out of the twenty-four.



They say you might as well attempt to catch a whirl-
wind as to chase him. They tell many marvellous
stories of his travelling. Saturday passed as usual.
Sunday were prevented again from travelling by the
high winds. Regret I cannot spend Sundays by my-
self, for I am prevented from reading my Bible or
Morning and Evening Prayer as I wish.

July ijth. — Expected to-day to stop on St. Ignace
and ascend the highest peak on the lake, 1300 feet
above the level of the water; but the canoes pushed
on so far that we lost them, and our chart being very
small and the men ignorant of the country, we missed
the place and ran by the canoes while they were lying
in a little bay. The party in the canoes went up, but
were disappointed and not repaid for their trouble; so
we lost nothing, after all. Found a great many agates
in the rocks. Encamped at night alone, knowing
nothing of where the canoes were. Tuesday we
pushed on, knowing if canoes were behind they would
soon catch us, and if ahead might be waiting for us.
After dinner we thought we saw them some four or
five miles astern and accordingly fired off guns which
they heard and answered. They had found the gla-
cial scratches on the very top of the mountain. In
afternoon came across an Indian village. The people
were a squalid, wretched looking set, principally
women and babies. Next day landed on Point Por-
phyry, where we saw a beautiful example of the in-
tervention of trap into the sandstone formation. The
sandstone had in places evidently been altered into



porphyry. Had poor camping-ground this night;
grass wet, and in fact everything wet, so much so
that we could hardly keep up fire. Rained hard all

yufy 20th. — As it was very wet and men tired,
routed up quite late. What a luxury it is to lie until
7 o'clock and not hear the cry of "Up! up!" at 3^
a. m., or else have the tent down on top of you to
warn you we are going to start ! Saw some beautiful
metamorphic changes in the sandstone where it was
intersected by trap dikes and very much altered. As
we neared Thunder Bay saw some beautiful pal-
isades, higher than those on the North River, though
not so horizontal on the top. Pie Island looks, too,
very like a pie turned upside down. Wind quite
high and nearly swamped us in crossing Thunder
Bay. Arrived at Fort William just before dark. Mr.
McKenzie treated us very hospitably. The agents of
the Hudson Bay Co. are all educated men. At all
the stations they have hoisted their ensigns on our
arrival and departure. Found papers and letters here
from home up to July 4th. How acceptable they all
were ! The Indians here are a better class than any
we have yet seen. Traded some with them. The sta-
tion is the best we have seen ; better buildings and
more businesslike. In the evening our men and those
of the fort assembled in one of the log-houses and
commenced dancing to the music of an old broken

"July 22nd. — Prepared our baggage and canoes to



ascend the river called Kaministiquia. Left all super-
fluous baggage and took only the three canoes. This
was the first time we have actually paddled. We had
eight men in a canoe to paddle, and it really was a
beautiful sight. They keep stroke by a song, and the
eight paddles strike the sides of the canoe so simul-
taneously that only one sound is heard, and this I can
compare to nothing better than the puffing of a steam
engine which has no condenser. The river was truly
beautiful, being bordered by large birch-bark trees in-
terspersed with a few evergreens and growing down
to the water's edge. After ascending about 1 1 miles
stopped to make a "walkage," — that is, to walk
through the woods while the men poled the canoes
up the rapid stream. It proved to be about 5 miles
long, first through a swamp and then through a pine
barren. The latter was very fatiguing, and some of
the party complained greatly. Encamped within five
miles of the falls at night.

Sunday y July 2jrd. — Showered during night, but
still started before 5 a. m. on the "walkage" to the
falls. The trail had not been travelled in a year, and
bushes were somewhat grown over it. I led the way,
but when I got at the falls I was as wet as if I had
waded the river; in fact, I had to take off my boots
and pour the water out which had dripped down from
my trousers into them. The falls were magnificent,
being 100 feet in height and falling conically; i. e.,
being smallest at the bottom. This caused them to
roar tremendously. In the center there is a curious



rock standing like a column and completely dividing
the sheet of water. The water of the river is of the
color of light brandy, and the rock through which it
flows an old clay slate. Lay still to-day as usual.

yufy 24th. — Intended to have gone two days' jour-
ney further up the river to Dog Lake, but here our
Indian guide declared he had never been any further
up. We felt very much like ducking him, but as we
could not travel the river without a guide who knew
the portages, very reluctantly returned to Fort Wil-
liam. We went down in about eight hours, doing
little more than steer the canoes a great part of the
way. The agent said we were the largest party of
white men who had ever visited the falls, and most
of the ground we trod on had never been visited by
white men before. Indeed, we were the second party
of Americans who had been at the Kakkabekka Falls
or up the Kaministiquia River.

July 2^th. — Off by 9 a.m., but wind dead ahead.
Stopped for dinner, and on going out again saw that
a canoe containing an Indian and four squaws, which
was quite wide off^ when we went in, had stopped but
a short distance from us. The man had been pointed
out to us at the fort as the greatest rascal in the coun-
try, so we thought his movements suspicious. As we
went ashore to camp at night, saw a porcupine run-
ning up the bank; immediately gave chase and one
of us killed him with the axe. He was afraid that it
would throw its quills at him. Dissected it. Found
the stomach full of mountain ash or Norway cherry-



tree leaves. Skinned it, and made a good supper of
the flesh. After working a great while to clear fat
from the skin, hung it on a bush to finish it in the
morning. About i o p. m., saw the dog of the rascal
Indian about the camp. This showed the Indian was
again not far off. Moved baggage in tent to prevent
stealing, but set no watch ; for armed as we each are
with a bowie-knife and a revolving pistol loaded and
capped in our belts, there is little fear of Indians.

July 26th. — Waked up by two reports of a gun
right near the tent. Found one of the men had seen
the skin and skeleton of the porcupine to be missing,
and seeing the Indian's dog prowling around had
wreaked vengeance on him. No doubt he was the
thief, and I only wished he had killed the dog. Ar-
rived at Prince's Location by 1 2 o'clock. Here, to
our astonishment, we again saw the rascally Indian,
and to our still greater surprise we learned he had a
letter from Mr. Mackenzie for us, and, to obey his
orders, he had followed us here to deliver it, because
Mr. Mackenzie supposing he would not catch us till
we arrived had told him to come here and give it to
us. Very kindly treated by Mr. Robinson, the super-
intendent here. After dinner visited Spar Island to
see a beautiful vein of carbonate of lime, containing
ponderous spar ( sulphate of barytes ), copper pyrites,
and cobalt. Evening descended the mine by a rope
and obtained some beautiful specimens of Iceland spar
crystals. This mine contains much zinc, though they
are working it for silver.



July 2Jth. — Left with intention of visiting Isle
Royal; but wind rising, encamped by 9 o'clock on
a small island a short distance from the shore. Wind
still rising, and the traverse being 14 miles from land
to land, dared not attempt it, so very reluctantly
rigged sails and started homeward. I verily think
the girls at home must have had hold of the tow-
lines, for we had a smacking fair breeze. Waves ran
very high, so much so that, although our canoes were
not more than fifty yards apart, when we sunk in the
trough of the sea we lost sight of each other.

'July 28th. — Again good fair breeze. Stopped only
a few minutes for dinner, as we could not afford to
lose the breeze. It is wonderful how a hungry man
in the woods can eat raw ham and sea-biscuit ! I am
sure they tasted full as good as anything I ever ate at
home. Some of the party begin to be awfully home-
sick, particularly those who take little interest in the
expedition. I have not felt so at all till now, as I
have been so interested making observations. But
now that we are on our way home I feel a little so.
Made over fifty miles to-day.

July 2gth. — Wind ahead, made little progress to-
day. Stopped in Neepigon Bay, and at Cape Gourgan
at an old mining station now deserted. Found large
quantities of cord wood, with which we made glo-
rious fires.

Sunday y July joth. — Woke up and found it raining.
Tompkins and myself got into a discussion with Ken-
dall and Wiley on the absurdity of objecting to the


Mary Crooke Elmendorf

From a daguerreotype, about 1849


dodrine of the Trinity because it is against reason.
We of course easily confuted the arguments they
brought forward. Who can say but that the few
words spoken by us on that occasion, earnestly but
in all kindness, may not prove to them a blessing.?
I earnestly pray that they may.

July J I St. — Still raining hard and everything by
this time saturated with water. Weather cold and

Aug. 2nd. — Stopped at some beautiful terraces to
dine. Ascended them and found they were 300 feet
high and laid at an angle of 30° to 33°, the greatest
angle at which sand and loose materials can lay. En-
camped at night on Black River. Beautiful falls in it
near the lake. Rock, red granitic. Saw on the very
edge, where the water would wear the rock if any-
where, the glacial scratches. Found Mr. Salter and
company, who were surveying locations. They made
us visit their camp and take some toddy and cake.

Aug. jrd. — Unable to proceed on account of fog.
Visited falls of 60 feet, two miles up the river. Ar-
rived on Saturday at Le Pic by 8 a. m. Found Stone
well again.

Aug. gth. — Been detained here till now by head
winds and so heavy we dared not venture out. If
ever our fare is bad, it is while we are lying by in
this way doing nothing. Out of sugar. Found it to
be one of our greatest misfortunes, for I believe we
could more easily do without anything else than it.
Mr. Bagshad treated Stone very kindly, and Sir



George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson Bay
Co., left him some port wine when he was there.
All our thanks are due to the company for taking
care of Stone gratis and furnishing us with provisions
at a reasonable price. I suppose, however, it is due
to the circular letter we have from the Lieut. -Gover-
nor of Canada.

Aug. loth. — As we have been detained so long,
pushed on without visiting Michipicoten Island, which
disappointed greatly some of the party who had great
expectations of collecting agates.

Aug. nth. — Weather begins to grow sensibly
warmer as we proceed South. Sun scorching hot,
had to wet hats to keep head cool; and yet, not-
withstanding all this, the water is too cold to keep
the hands in it while the boat is in motion. Ar-
rived at Michipicoten about 3 p. m. The distance
from Sault Ste. Marie to Michipicoten is 135 miles,
to Le Pic 90 miles, and to Fort William 135 miles —
in all 360 miles. We found Sir George Simpson had
travelled the whole distance in 5 days ! He stops but
two to four hours at night merely to allow a man to
cook, and then is right off. He makes his men ( 8 or
I o in each canoe ) paddle w hether the sails are up or

Aug. 1 2th. — Pushed on. Passed what is called the
"Devil's Storehouse." It is an island the one side of
which is a perpendicular rock 200 feet or so high and
2000 feet long. It is colored by different mosses that
grow on it, and presents a very singular appearance.



In one corner of it is a place called the *' Devil's
Chimney." Here the men threw some tobacco into
the water for propitious weather. Opposite to it we
accidentally discovered a magnificent echo. By firing
a gun the report was increased in volume and echoed
from mountain to mountain until it burst like a report
of thunder in a large mountain gorge.

Sunday, Aug. Ijth. — Rained hard all day, and had
they not all been in such a hurry to reach the Sault,
would not have travelled. Rained so hard had fre-
quently to stop and bale out the boat. Arrived at
Mica Bay by sundown, having had no dinner and
well soaked to the skin. Mr. Matthews was at Mich-
ipicoten Island, but Mr. Palmer treated us very kindly.
Showed us a "pothole" in the mine 200 feet above
the lake. The water has evidently been at that height

Aug. i^th. — Pushed on, and in crossing a traverse
the wind arose as we were about in the middle, and
we commenced in spite of all exertions drifting rap-
idly out to sea. For about an hour we were in great
peril, expecting every wave to swamp us, which would
have been instant death to all the party in such cold
water. The men trembled like leaves. Providentially,
by our exertions, we were enabled to make a low sand
island, or bar I should say, which lay out to sea. If
it had not been for this, there would have been but a
slight chance for our lives.

Aug. I^th. — Reached Gros Cape in time for break-
fast. Must say I now feel sorry to leave the lake, for


I have enjoyed myself very much. But then I should
like again to visit home. It is a strange feeling which
comes over one when he has been shut out for six
weeks from all communication with the rest of the
world. A feeling comes as if he never again would
care to visit his fellow men. Arrived at Sault St.
Marie about 4 o'clock. The canoes shot the rapids.
Almost the first thing we did was to hunt up the post-
master and obtain all the letters and papers. Wednes-
day and Thursday engaged in packing specimens in
barrels and boxes suitable for transportation home-
ward. To give an idea of the quantity of specimens,
we have seven barrels of fish, among which are 20
new species.

Aug. 1 8th. — To-day I unexpectedly met Uncle
Laidlie in the hotel. He came up in the steamboat
on a fishing excursion. Among the party was a son
of Sir Robert Peel. I was introduced to them, and was
amused at the deference with which I was treated as a
scientific man.

Aug. igth. — Left in the steamer Gore. Stopped at
Bruce mines in the afternoon. Found two men very
badly wounded by the explosion of a blast they were
boring out. Took them on board to give them medi-
cal attendance. The mine is a very fine one worked
very near surface, the greatest depth being 60 feet.
The captain is quite pleased with Prof. Agassiz, and
has given us the entire ladies' cabin. The Lord Bishop
of Toronto and two clergymen are also on board.

Sunday, Aug. 20th. — Stopped at Manitouline Island



to allow the clergy to hold service. They are building
a very neat, pretty little church here, to hold about
300. Prayers were read by the Rev. Mr. O'Meara in
the schoolhouse, in Indian, and a sermon preached in
English by the Rev. Mr. Grisette from I Jno., iii, i.
There were some 50 or 60 Indians present, mostly
women, and they all knelt in prayer. What a silent
reproof is this to Christian congregations in a Chris-
tian land ! Very much pleased with the service.
Would that our own Church would make as great
endeavors to spread " the faith once delivered to the
saints" as the Romanists do their dodlrines. I had
intended speaking of the Bishop and clergy, but
owing to an unfortunate controversy one of them
commenced with Prof. Agassiz, which has preju-
diced me against them, I pass without writing down
anything of them.

Aug. 2 1st. — Arrived at Sturgeon Bay about 3 p. m.
and took stage, or rather a large open wagon about six
feet above the ground. A great part of the road was
corduroy, and of a villainous character. The woods
are magnificent, and consist of red and white pine,
larch, spruce, arbor vitas, Canada plum, red and white
oak, black and white ash. One pine-tree we saw
branched into four a short distance above the ground,
each branch two feet in diameter. Arrived at Orilla
at 10 p. m.; got supper in hotel, and went aboard of

Aug. 22nd. — Boat started at 5 a. m., long before
we were up. Boat small but nice. Lake small and



very beautiful, although water was not so clear as in
the large lakes. Stopped and took some ladies on
board. Cannot help thinking how oddly they ap-
peared to be dressed, full as much so as the Indians
when we first went among them. All this shows what
creatures of habit we all are. I am now becoming re-
conciled again to sitting on chairs and sleeping on
beds. At first I was continually trying to draw up
my legs and double them under me. And when I
was in bed could not sleep, with the feeling that I
was in a soft muddy camping-ground. About 3 p. m.
arrived at Holland's Landing. Had to walk three
miles to St. Albans. Here took dinner and then stage
for Toronto. Only charge 25 cts. here for meals.
Road to Toronto macadamized and very fine, cutting
through numerous hills of drift. Observed many boul-
ders on north sides of hills. Passed many fine coun-
try-seats. About 10 p. m. the servant of the Bishop
fell off the box of the driver and was severely injured
about the head as well as had his thumb completely
mashed. Stopped at a tavern to dress. Arrived in
Toronto a little after 12 p. m. Stopped at the Wel-
lington House, which is but a poor one.

Aug. 2jrd. — Took boat and arrived at Niagara,
where we stopped at the Cataract House and had din-
ner at 2% P- "^- First civilized dinner we have had
in nearly two months.

Aug. 24th. — Took carriage and visited St. David's
to see the old channel of the river. Muddy Run,
Lundy's Lane and towers thereon, whirlpool. The



channel of the river has evidently been changed by
drift, and the falls have worked up from the whirl-
pool to their present position.

yiug. 2^th. — Woke up at 5 a. m., and as I had no
watch and it was cloudy could not tell how late it was ;
so rang bell, and was told by waiter that breakfast was
half over. Dressed and hurried down in great haste.
Found to my surprise that it was the early breakfast
for those who left in the cars. So took a walk to
Goat Island and found in the water, just on the brink
of the American Fall, the plant called wild celery
which the canvasback ducks feed on in the Chesa-
peake. This I was told was the first time it had ever
been found in fresh or rapid running water. Packing
and writing letters till dinner, and then left for Lock-
port. Railroad villainous — flat rail; had to stop and
nail down snake-heads, and once got out of steam. So
took three hours to travel the 24 miles. Rained on
my arrival about as hard as it did ten years ago when
I arrived here at 11 p.m. The "locks" here are
beautiful. There are five of twelve feet fall each,
and they can "lock" a packet through in five min-
utes. It is a noble piece of work, and they are now
adding a similar set alongside so as to have a double

Aug. 26th. — Went fossil hunting with Col. Jewett
and Dr. Wooster. Found many beautiful ones.

Sunday, Aug. 2yth. — Morning party went looking
for fossils. I went to Grace Church, where we had a
lay reader, the clergyman being absent on a tour with



a new wife. This is the first time I have been to
church in over two months. Was disappointed to find
only a lay reader. No one can realize the great ad-
vantage of living in a Christian land until deprived of
it for a time.

Aug. 28th^ 2gth. — Left in a stage for Batavia, where
we dined and took cars for Utica. Arrived at 8 a. m.
Went to Trenton Falls, where I spent a day and re-
turned. Took cars at 1 2 o'clock at night and arrived
in Albany Thursday morning in time to take the Alida
down the river, and if had not been detained by a
very thick fog would have arrived in N. Y. in time
to take the 5 p. m. train home and thus make 270
miles in eighteen hours.




iN his first venture out into the world alone
(which practically was the case with young
Hoffman at Harvard) he was of course fol-
lowed by the solicitude and love of his family, and
by the interest and affed:ion of his friends. A series
of letters addressed to him at this time by his pains-
taking and anxious father, by his loving mother, by

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Online LibraryTheo. Myers (Theodore Myers) RileyA memorial biography of the Very Reverend Eugene Augustus Hoffman : D.D. (Oxon.) D.C.L., L.L.D., late dean of the General Theological Seminary (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 28)