Voyages From Montreal Through The Continent Of North America To The Frozen And Pacific Oceans In 1789 And 1793 With An Account Of The Rise And State Of The Fur Trade

CHAPTER VII.
AUGUST, 1789.

_Saturday, 1._–We embarked at three this morning, the
weather being clear and cold, with the wind at South-East. At three in
the afternoon we traversed and landed to take the canoe in tow: here was
an encampment of the natives, which we had reason to suppose they had
quitted the preceding day. At five we perceived a family, consisting of
a man, two women, and as many children, stationed by the side of the
water, whom we had not seen before. They informed us, that they had but
few fish, and that none of their friends were in the neighbourhood,
except the inhabitants of one lodge on the other side of the river, and
a man who belonged to them, and who was now occupied in hunting. I now
found my interpreter very unwilling to ask such questions as were
dictated to him, from the apprehension, as I imagined, that I might
obtain such intelligence as would prevent him from seeing Athabasca this
season. We left him with the Indian, and pitched our tents at the same
place where we had passed the night on the fifth of last month. The
English chief came along with the Indian to our fire; and the latter
informed us that the native who went down part of the river with us had
passed there, and that we should meet with three lodges of his tribe
above the river of the Bear Lake. Of the river to the Westward he knew
nothing, but from the relation of others. This was the first night
since our departure from Athabasca, when it was sufficiently dark to
render the stars visible.

_Sunday, 2._–We set off at three this morning with the towing-line.
I walked with my Indians, as they went faster than the canoe, and
particularly as I suspected that they wanted to arrive at the huts of
the natives before me. In our way, I observed several small springs of
mineral water running from the foot of the mountain, and along the beach
I saw several lumps of iron ore. When we came to the river of the Bear
Lake, I ordered one of the young Indians to wait for my canoe, and I
took my place in their small canoe. This river is about two hundred and
fifty yards broad at this place, the water clear and of a greenish
colour. When I landed on the opposite shore, I discovered that the
natives had been there very lately from the print of their feet in the
sand. We continued walking till five in the afternoon, when we saw
several smokes along the shore. As we naturally concluded, that these
were certain indications where we should meet the natives who were the
objects of our search we quickened our pace; but, in our progress,
experienced a very sulphurous smell, and at length discovered that the
whole bank was on fire for a very considerable distance. It proved to
be a coal mine, to which the fire had communicated from an old Indian
encampment. The beach was covered with coals, and the English chief
gathered some of the softest he could find, as a black dye; it being the
mineral, as he informed me, with which the natives render their quills
black.

Here we waited for the large canoe, which arrived an hour after us. At
half past ten we saw several Indian marks, which consisted of pieces of
bark fixed on poles, and pointing to the woods, opposite to which is an
old beaten road, that bore the marks of being lately frequented; the
beach also was covered with tracks. At a small distance were the poles
of five lodges standing; where we landed and unloaded our canoe. I then
despatched one of my men and two young Indians to see if they could find
any natives within a day’s march of us. I wanted the English chief to
go, but he pleaded fatigue, and that it would be of no use. This was
the first time he had refused to comply with my desire, and jealousy, I
believe, was the cause of it in the present instance; though I had taken
every precaution that he should not have cause to be jealous of the
Canadians. There was not, at this time, the least appearance of snow on
the opposite mountains, though they were almost covered with it, when we
passed before. Set two nets, and at eleven o’clock at night the men and
Indians returned. They had been to their first encampment, where there
were four fires, and which had been quitted a short time before; so that
they were obliged to make the circuit of several small lakes, which the
natives cross with their canoes. This encampment was on the borders of
a lake which was too large for them to venture round it, so that they
did not proceed any further. They saw several beavers and beaver lodges
in those small lakes. They killed one of these animals whose fur began
to get long, a sure indication that the fall of the year approaches.
They also saw many old tracks of the moose and reindeer. This is the
time when the rein-deer leave the plains to come to the woods, as the
mosquitoes begin to disappear; I, therefore, apprehended that we should
not find a single Indian on the river side, as they would be in or about
the mountains setting snares to take them.

_Monday, 3._–We proceeded with a strong Westerly wind, at four this
morning, the weather being cloudy and cold. At twelve it cleared up and
became fine; the current also increased. The water had fallen so much
since our passage down the river, that here, as in other places, we
discovered many shoals which were not then visible. We killed several
geese of a larger size than those which we had generally seen. Several
Indian encampments were seen along the river, and we landed at eight for
the night.

_Tuesday, 4._–At four in the morning we renewed our course, when it
was fine and calm. The night had been cold and a very heavy dew had
fallen. At nine we were obliged to land in order to gum the canoe, when
the weather became extremely warm. Numerous tracks of rein-deer
appeared on the side of the river. At half past five we took our
station for the night, and set the nets. The current was very strong
all day, and we found it very difficult to walk along the beach, from
the large stones which were scattered over it.

_Wednesday, 5._–We raised our nets, but had not the good fortune to
take a single fish. The water was now become so low that the eddy
currents would not admit of setting them. The current had not relaxed
its strength; and the difficulty of walking along the beach was
continued. The air was now become so cold; that our exercise, violent
as it was, scarce kept us warm. We passed several points which we
should not have accomplished, if the canoe had been loaded. We were
very much fatigued, and at six were glad to conclude our toilsome march.
The Indians killed two geese. The women, who did not quit the canoe,
were continually employed in making shoes of moose-skin, for the men, as
a pair did not last more than a day.

_Thursday, 6._–The rain prevented us from proceeding till half past
six, when we had a strong aft wind, which, aided by the paddles, drove
us on at a great rate. We encamped at six to wait for our Indians, whom
we had not seen since the morning; and at half past seven they arrived
very much dissatisfied with their day’s journey. Two days had now
elapsed since we had seen the least appearance of Indian habitations.

_Friday, 7._–We embarked at half past three, and soon after perceived
two rein-deer on the beach before us. We accordingly checked our
course; but our Indians, in contending who should be the first to get
near these animals, alarmed and lost them. We, however, killed a female
rein-deer, and from the wounds in her hind legs, it was supposed that
she had been pursued by wolves, who had devoured her young one: her
udder was full of milk, and one of the young Indians poured it among
some boiled corn, which he ate with great delight, esteeming it a very
delicious food. At five in the afternoon we saw an animal running along
the beach, but could not determine whether it was a grey fox or a dog.
In a short time, we went ashore for the night, at the entrance of a
small river, as I thought there might be some natives in the vicinity of
the place. I ordered my hunters to put their fusees in order, and gave
them ammunition to proceed on a hunting party the next day; they were
also instructed to discover if there were any natives in the
neighbouring mountains. I found a small canoe at the edge of the woods,
which contained a paddle and a bow: it had been repaired this spring,
and the workmanship of the bark excelled any that I had yet seen. We
saw several encampments in the course of the day. The current of the
river was very strong, and along the points equal to rapids.

_Saturday, 8._–The rain was very violent throughout the night, and
continued till the afternoon of this day, when the weather began to
clear, with a strong, cold, and Westerly wind. At three the Indians
proceeded on the hunting expedition, and at eight they returned without
having met with the least success; though they saw numerous tracks of
the rein-deer. They came to an old beaten road, which one of them
followed for some time; but it did not appear to have been lately
frequented. The rain now returned, and continued till the morning.

_Sunday, 9._–We renewed our voyage at half past three, the weather
being cold and cloudy; but at ten it became clear and moderate. We saw
another canoe at the outside of the wood, and one of the Indians killed
a dog, which was in a meagre, emaciated condition. We perceived various
places where the natives had made their fires; for these people reside
but a short time near the river, and remove from one bank to the other,
as it suits their purposes. We saw a path which was connected with
another on the opposite side of the river. The water had risen
considerably since last night, and there had been a strong current
throughout the day. At seven we made to the shore and encamped.

_Monday, 10._–At three this morning we returned to our canoe; the
weather fine and clear, with a light wind from the South-East. The
Indians were before us in pursuit of game. At ten we landed opposite to
the mountains which we had passed on the second of the last month, in
order to ascertain the variation of the compass at this place: but this
was accomplished in a very imperfect manner, as I could not depend on my
watch. One of the hunters joined us here, fatigued and unsuccessful.
As these mountains are the last of any considerable magnitude on the
South-West side of the river, I ordered my men to cross to that side of
it, that I might ascend one of them. It was near four in the afternoon
when I landed, and I lost no time in proceeding to the attainment of my
object. I was accompanied only by a young Indian, as the curiosity of
my people was subdued by the fatigue they had undergone; and we soon had
reason to believe that we should pay dearly for the indulgence of our
own. The wood, which was chiefly of spruce firs, was so thick that it
was with great difficulty we made our way through it. When we had
walked upwards of an hour, the under-wood decreased, while the white
birch and poplar were the largest and tallest of their kind that I had
ever seen. The ground now began to rise, and was covered with small
pines, and at length we got the first view of the mountains since we had
left the canoe; as they appeared to be no nearer to us, though we had
been walking for three hours, than when we had seen them from the river,
my companion expressed a very great anxiety to return; his shoes and
leggins were torn to pieces, and he was alarmed at the idea of passing
through such bad roads during the night. I persisted, however, in
proceeding, with a determination to pass the night on the mountains and
return on the morrow. As we approached them, the ground was quite
marshy, and we waded in water and grass up to the knees, till we came
within a mile of them, when I suddenly sunk up to my arm-pits, and it
was with some difficulty that I extricated myself from this disagreeable
situation. I now found it impossible to proceed; to cross this marshy
ground in a straight line was impracticable, and it extended so far to
the right and left, that I could not attempt to make the circuit; I
therefore determined to return to the canoe, and arrived there about
midnight, very much fatigued with this fruitless journey.

_Tuesday, 11._–We observed several tracks along the beach, and an
encampment at the edge of the woods, which appeared to be five or six
days old. We should have continued our route along this side of the
river, but we had not seen our hunters since yesterday morning. We
accordingly embarked before three, and at five traversed the river, when
we saw two of them coming down in search of us. They had killed no
other animals than one beaver, and a few hares. According to their
account, the woods were so thick that it was impossible to follow the
game through them. They had seen several of the natives’ encampments,
at no great distance from the river and it was their opinion that they
had discovered us in our passage down it, and had taken care to avoid
us; which accounted for the small number we had seen on our return.

I requested the English chief to return with me to the other side of the
river, in order that he might proceed to discover the natives, whose
tracks and habitations we had seen there; but he was backward in
complying with my desire, and proposed to send the young men; but I
could not trust to them, and at the same time was become rather doubtful
of him. They were still afraid lest I should obtain such accounts of
the other river as would induce me to travel overland to it, and that
they should be called upon to accompany me. I was, indeed, informed by
one of my own people, that the English chief, his wives and companions,
had determined to leave me on this side of the Slave Lake, in order to
go to the country of the Beaver Indians, and that about the middle of
the winter he would return to that lake, where he had appointed to meet
some of his relations, who, during the last spring, had been engaged in
war.

We now traversed the river, and continued to track the Indians till past
twelve, when we lost all traces of them; in consequence, as we imagined,
of their having crossed to the Eastern side. We saw several dogs on
both shores; and one of the young Indians killed a wolf, which the men
ate with great satisfaction: we shot, also, fifteen young geese that
were now beginning to fly. It was eight when we took our evening
station, having lost four hours in making our traverses. There was no
interruption of the fine weather during the course of this day.

_Wednesday, 12._–We proceeded on our voyage at three this morning,
and despatched the two young Indians across the river, that we might not
miss any of the natives that should be on the banks of it. We saw many
places where fires had been lately made along the beach, as well as fire
running in the woods. At four we arrived at an encampment which had
been left this morning. Their tracks were observable in several places
in the woods, and as it might be presumed that they could not be at any
great distance, it was proposed to the chief to accompany me in search
of them. We accordingly, though with some hesitation on his part,
penetrated several miles into the woods, but without discovering the
objects of our research. The fire had spread all over the country, and
had burned about three inches of the black, light soil, which covered a
body of cold clay, that was so hard as not to receive the least
impression of our feet. At ten we returned from our unsuccessful
excursion. In the mean time the hunters had killed seven geese. There
were several showers of rain, accompanied with gusts of wind and
thunder. The nets had been set during our absence.

_Thursday, 13._–The nets were taken up, but not one fish was found in
them; and at half past three we continued our route, with very
favourable weather. We passed several places, where fires had been made
by the natives, and many tracks were perceptible along the beach. At
seven we were opposite the island where our pemmican had been concealed:
two of the Indians were accordingly despatched in search of it, and it
proved very acceptable, as it rendered us more independent of the
provisions which were to be obtained by our fowling pieces, and
qualified us to get out of the river without that delay which our
hunters would otherwise have required. In a short time we perceived a
smoke on the shore to the South-West, at the distance of three leagues,
which did not appear to proceed from any running fire. The Indians, who
were a little way ahead of us, did not discover it, being engaged in
the pursuit of a flock of geese, at which they fired several shots, when
the smoke immediately disappeared; and in a short time we saw several of
the natives run along the shore, some of whom entered their canoes.
Though we were almost opposite to them, we could not cross the river
without going further up it, from the strength of the current; I
therefore ordered our Indians to make every possible exertion, in order
to speak with them, and wait our arrival. But as soon as our small
canoe struck off, we could perceive the poor affrighted people hasten to
the shore, and after drawing their canoes on the beach, hurry into the
woods. It was past ten before we landed at the place where they had
deserted their canoes, which were four in number. They were so
terrified that they had left several articles on the beach. I was very
much displeased with my Indians, who instead of seeking the natives,
were dividing their property. I rebuked the English chief with some
severity for his conduct, and immediately ordered him, his young men,
and my own people, to go in search of the fugitives, but their fears had
made them too nimble for us, and we could not overtake them. We saw
several dogs in the woods, and some of them followed us to our canoe.

The English chief was very much displeased at my reproaches, and
expressed himself to me in person to that effect. This was the very
opportunity which I wanted, to make him acquainted with my
dissatisfaction for some time past. I stated to him that I had come a
great way, and at a very considerable expense, without having completed
the object of my wishes, and that I suspected he had concealed from me a
principal part of what the natives had told him respecting the country,
lest he should be obliged to follow me: that his reason for not killing
game, &c., was his jealousy, which likewise prevented him from looking
after the natives as he ought; and that we had never given him any cause
for any suspicions of us. These suggestions irritated him in a very
high degree, and he accused me of speaking ill words to him; he denied
the charge of jealousy, and declared that he did not conceal any thing
from us; and that as to the ill success of their hunting, it arose from
the nature of the country, and the scarcity, which had hitherto
appeared, of animals in it. He concluded by informing me that he would
not accompany me any further: that though he was without ammunition, he
could live in the same manner as the slaves (the name given to the
inhabitants of that part of the country), and that he would remain among
them. His harangue was succeeded by a loud and bitter lamentation; and
his relations assisted the vociferations of his grief; though they said
that their tears flowed for their dead friends. I did not interrupt
their grief for two hours, but as I could not well do without them, I
was at length obliged to soothe it, and induce the chief to change his
resolution, which he did, but with great apparent reluctance when we
embarked as we had hitherto done.

The articles which the fugitives had left behind them, on the present
occasion, were bows, arrows, snares for moose and rein-deer, and for
hares; to these may be added a few dishes, made of bark, some skins of
the marten and the beaver, and old beaver robes, with a small robe made
of the skin of the lynx. Their canoes were coarsely made of the bark of
the spruce-fir, and will carry two or three people. I ordered my men to
remove them to the shade, and gave most of the other articles to the
young Indians. The English chief would not accept of any of them. In
the place, and as the purchase of them, I left some cloth, some small
knives, a file, two fire-steels, a comb, rings, with beads and awls. I
also ordered a marten skin to be placed on a proper mould, and a beaver
skin to be stretched on a frame, to which I tied a scraper. The Indians
were of opinion that all these articles would be lost, as the natives
were so much frightened that they would never return. Here we lost six
hours; and on our quitting the place, three of the dogs which I have
already mentioned followed us along the beach.

We pitched our tents at half past eight, at the entrance of the river of
the mountain; and while the people were unloading the canoe, I took a
walk along the beach, and on the shoals, which being uncovered since we
passed down, by the sinking of the waters, were now white with a saline
substance. I sent for the English chief to sup with me, and a dram or
two dispelled all his heart-burning and discontent. He informed me that
it was a custom with the Chepewyan chiefs to go to war after they had
shed tears, in order to wipe away the disgrace attached to such a
feminine weakness, and that in the ensuing spring he should not fail to
execute his design; at the same time he declared his intention to
continue with us as long as I should want him. I took care that he
should carry some liquid consolation to his lodge, to prevent the return
of his chagrin. The weather was fine, and the Indians killed three
geese.

_Friday, 14._–At a quarter before four this morning, we returned to
our canoe, and went about two miles up the river of the mountains. Fire
was in the ground on each side of it. In traversing, I took soundings,
and found five, four and an half, and three and an half fathoms water.
Its stream was very muddy, and formed a cloudy streak along the water of
the great river, on the West side to the Eastern rapid, where the waters
of the two rivers at length blend in one. It was impossible not to
consider it as an extraordinary circumstance, that the current of the
former river should not incorporate with that of the latter, but flow,
as it were, in distinct streams at so great a distance, and till the
contracted state of the channel unites them. We passed several
encampments of the natives, and a river which flowed in from the North,
that had the appearance of being navigable. We concluded our voyage of
this day at half past five in the afternoon. There were plenty of
berries, which my people called _poires:_ they are of a purple hue,
somewhat bigger than a pea, and of a luscious taste; there were also
gooseberries, and a few strawberries.

_Saturday, 15._–We continued our course from three in the morning
till half past five in the afternoon. We saw several encampments along
the beach, till it became too narrow to admit them; when the banks rose
into a considerable degree of elevation, and there were more eddy
currents. The Indians killed twelve geese, and berries were collected
in great abundance. The weather was sultry throughout the day.

_Sunday, 16._–We continued our voyage at a quarter before four, and
in five hours passed the place where we had been stationed on the 13th
of June. Here the river widened, and its shores became flat. The land
on the North side is low, composed of a black soil, mixed with stones,
but agreeably covered with the aspen, the poplar, the white birch, the
spruce-fir, &c. The current was so moderate, that we proceeded upon it
almost as fast as in dead water. At twelve we passed an encampment of
three fires, which was the only one we saw in the course of the day.
The weather was the same as yesterday.

_Monday, 17._–We proceeded at half past three; and saw three
successive encampments. From the peculiar structure of the huts, we
imagined that some of the Red-Knife Indians had been in this part of the
country, though it is not usual for them to come this way. I had last
night ordered the young Indians to precede us, for the purpose of
hunting, and at ten we overtook them. They had killed five young swans;
and the English chief presented us with an eagle, three cranes, a small
beaver, and two geese. We encamped at seven this evening on the same
spot which had been our resting-place on the 29th of June.

_Tuesday, 18._–At four this morning I equipped all the Indians for an
hunting excursion, and sent them onward, as our stock of provision was
nearly exhausted. We followed at half past six, and crossed over to the
North shore, where the land is low and scarcely visible in the horizon.
It was near twelve when we arrived. I now got an observation, when it
was 61. 33. North latitude. We were near five miles to the North of the
main channel of the river. The fresh tracks and beds of buffaloes were
very perceptible.

Near this place a river flowed in from the Horn Mountains, which are at
no great distance. We landed at five in the afternoon, and before the
canoe was unloaded, the English chief arrived with the tongue of a cow,
or female buffalo, when four men and the Indians were despatched for the
flesh; but they did not return till it was dark. They informed me, that
they had seen several human tracks in the sand on the opposite island.
The fine weather continued without interruption.

_Wednesday, 19._–The Indians were again sent forward in pursuit of
game; and some time being employed in gumming the canoe, we did not
embark till half past five, and at nine we landed to wait the return of
the hunters. I here found the variation of the compass to be about
twenty degrees East.

The people made themselves paddles and repaired the canoe. It is an
extraordinary circumstance for which I do not pretend to account, that
there is some peculiar quality in the water of this river, which
corrodes wood, from the destructive effect it had on the paddles. The
hunters arrived at a late hour, without having seen any large animals.
Their booty consisted only of three swans and as many geese. The women
were employed in gathering cranberries and crowberries, which were found
in great abundance.

_Thursday, 20._–We embarked at four o’clock, and took the North side
of the channel, though the current was on that side much stronger, in
order to take a view of the river, which had been mentioned to me in our
passage downwards, as flowing from the country of the Beaver Indians,
and which fell in hereabouts. We could not, however, discover it, and
it is probable that the account was referable to the river which we had
passed on Tuesday. The current was very strong, and we crossed over to
an island opposite to us; here it was still more impetuous, and assumed
the hurry of a rapid. We found an awl and a paddle on the side of the
water; the former we knew to belong to the Knisteneaux: I supposed it to
be the chief Merde-d’ours and his party, who went to war last spring,
and had taken this route on their return to Athabasca. Nor is it
improbable that they may have been the cause that we saw so few of the
natives on the banks of this river. The weather was raw and cloudy, and
formed a very unpleasant contrast to the warm, sunny days, which
immediately preceded it. We took up our abode for the night at half
past seven, on the Northern shore, where the adjacent country is both
low and flat. The Indians killed live young swans, and a beaver. There
was an appearance of rain.

_Friday, 21._–The weather was cold, with a strong Easterly wind and
frequent showers, so that we were detained in our station. In the
afternoon the Indians got on the track of a moose-deer, but were not so
fortunate as to overtake it.

_Saturday, 22._–The wind veered round to the Westward, and continued
to blow strong and cold. We, however, renewed our voyage, and in three
hours reached the entrance of the Slave Lake, under half sail; with the
paddle, it would have taken us at least eight hours. The Indians did
not arrive till four hours after us; but the wind was so violent, that
it was not expedient to venture into the lake; we therefore set a net,
and encamped for the night. The women gathered large quantities of the
fruit already mentioned, called Pathagomenan, and cranberries,
crowberries, mooseberries, &c. The Indians killed two swans and three
geese.

_Sunday, 23._–The net produced but five small pike, and at five we
embarked, and entered the lake by the same channel through which we had
passed from it. The South-West side would have been the shortest, but
we were not certain of there being plenty of fish along the coast, and
we were sure of finding abundance of them in the course we preferred.
Besides, I expected to find my people at the place where I left them, as
they had received orders to remain there till the fall.

We paddled a long way into a deep bay to get the wind, and having left
our mast behind us, we landed to cut another. We then hoisted sail, and
were driven on at a great rate. At twelve the wind and swell were
augmented to such a degree, that our under yard broke, but luckily the
mast thwart resisted, till we had time to fasten down the yard with a
pole, without lowering sail. We took in a large quantity of water, and
had our mast given way, in all probability, we should have filled and
sunk. Our course continued to be very dangerous, along a flat
lee-shore, without being able to land till three in the afternoon. Two
men were continually employed in bailing out the water which we took in
on all sides. We fortunately doubled a point that screened us from the
wind and swell, and encamped for the night, in order to wait for our
Indians. We then set our nets, made a yard and mast, and gummed the
canoe. On visiting the nets, we found six white fish, and two pike.
The women gathered cranberries and crowberries in great plenty; and as
the night came on, the weather became more moderate.

_Monday, 24._–Our nets this morning produced fourteen white fish, ten
pikes, and a couple of trouts. At five we embarked with a light breeze
from the South, when we hoisted sail, and proceeded slowly, as our
Indians had not come up with us. At eleven we went on shore to prepare
the kettle, and dry the nets; at one we were again on the water. At
four in the afternoon, we perceived a large canoe with a sail, and two
small ones ahead; we soon came up with them, when they proved to be
M. Le Roux and an Indian, with his family, who were on a hunting party,
and had been out twenty-five days. It was his intention to have gone as
far as the river, to leave a letter for me, to inform me of his
situation. He had seen no more Indians where I had left him; but had
made a voyage to Lac la Marte, where he met eighteen small canoes of the
Slave Indians, from whom he obtained five pack of skins, which were
principally those of the marten. There were four Beaver Indians among
them, who had bartered the greatest part of the above mentioned articles
with them, before his arrival. They informed him that their relations
had more skins, but that they were afraid to venture with them, though
they had been informed that people were to come with goods to barter for
them. He gave these people a pair of ice chisels each, and other
articles, and sent them away to conduct their friends to the Slave Lake,
where he was to remain during the succeeding winter.

We set three nets and in a short time caught twenty fish of different
kinds. In the dusk of the evening, the English chief arrived with a
most pitiful account that he had like to have been drowned in trying to
follow us; and that the other men had also a very narrow escape. Their
canoe, he said, had broken on the swell, at some distance from the
shore, but as it was flat, they had with his assistance been able to
save themselves. He added, that he left them lamenting, lest they
should not overtake me, if I did not wait for them; he also expressed
his apprehensions that they would not be able to repair their canoe.
This evening I gave my men some rum to cheer them after their fatigues.

_Tuesday, 25._–We rose this morning at a late hour, when we visited
the nets, which produced but few fish: my people, indeed, partook of the
stores of M. Le Roux. At eleven, the young Indians arrived, and
reproached me for having left them so far behind. They had killed two
swans, and brought me one of them. The wind was Southerly throughout
the day, and too strong for us to depart, as we were at the foot of a
grand traverse. At noon I had an observation, which gave 61. 29. North
latitude. Such was the state of the weather, that we could not visit
our nets. In the afternoon, the sky darkened, and there was lightning,
accompanied with loud claps of thunder. The wind also veered round to
the Westward, and blew a hurricane.

_Wednesday, 26._–It rained throughout the night, and till eight in
the morning, without any alteration in the wind. The Indians went on a
hunting excursion, but returned altogether without success in the
evening. One of them was so unfortunate as to miss a moose-deer. In
the afternoon there were heavy showers, with thunder, &c.

_Thursday, 27._–We embarked before four, and hoisted sail. At nine
we landed to dress victuals, and wait for M. Le Roux and the Indians.
At eleven, we proceeded with fine and calm weather. At four in the
afternoon, a light breeze sprang up to the Southward, to which we spread
our sail, and at half past five in the afternoon, went on shore for the
night. We then set our nets. The English chief and his people being
quite exhausted with fatigue, he this morning expressed his desire to
remain behind, in order to proceed to the country of the Beaver Indians,
engaging at the same time, that he would return to Athabasca in the
course of the winter.

_Friday, 28._–It blew very hard throughout the night, and this
morning, so that we found it a business of some difficulty to get to our
nets; our trouble, however, was repaid by a considerable quantity of
white fish, trout, &c. Towards the afternoon the wind increased. Two
of the men who had been gathering berries saw two moose-deer, with the
tracks of buffaloes and rein-deer. About sunset we heard two shots, and
saw a fire on the opposite side of the bay; we accordingly made a large
fire also, that our position might be determined. When we were all gone
to bed, we heard the report of a gun very near us, and in a very short
time the English chief presented himself drenched with wet, and in much
apparent confusion informed me that the canoe with his companions was
broken to pieces; and that they had lost their fowling pieces, and the
flesh of a rein-deer, which they had killed this morning. They were, he
said, at a very short distance from us; and at the same time requested
that fire might be sent to them, as they were starving with cold. They
and his women, however, soon joined us, and were immediately
accommodated with dry clothes.

_Saturday, 29._–I sent the Indians on an hunting party, but they
returned without success; and they expressed their determination not to
follow me any further, from their apprehension of being drowned.

_Sunday, 30._–We embarked at one this morning, and took from the nets
a large trout, and twenty white fish. At sunrise a smart aft breeze
sprang up, which wafted us to M. Le Roux’s house by two in the
afternoon. It was late before he and our Indians arrived; when,
according to a promise which I had made the latter, I gave them a
plentiful equipment of iron ware, ammunition, tobacco, &c., as a
recompense for the toil and inconvenience they had sustained with me.

I proposed to the English chief to proceed to the country of the Beaver
Indians, and bring them to dispose of their peltries to M. Le Roux, whom
I intended to leave there the ensuing winter. He had already engaged to
be at Athabasca, in the month of March next, with plenty of furs.

_Monday, 31._–I sat up all night to make the necessary arrangements
for the embarkation of this morning, and to prepare instructions for
M. Le Roux. We obtained some provisions here, and parted from him at
five, with fine calm weather. It soon, however, became necessary to
land on a small island, to stop the leakage of the canoe, which had been
occasioned by the shot of an arrow under the water mark, by some Indian
children. While this business was proceeding, we took the opportunity
of dressing some fish. At twelve, the wind sprang up from the
South-East, which was in the teeth of our direction, so that our
progress was greatly impeded. I had an observation, which gave
62. 15. North latitude. We landed at seven in the evening, and pitched
our tents.

_Tuesday, 1._–We continued our voyage at five in the morning, the
weather calm and fine, and passed the Isle a la Cache about twelve, but
could not perceive the land, which was seen in our former passage. On
passing the Carreboeuf Islands, at five in the afternoon, we saw land to
the South by West, which we thought was the opposite side of the lake,
stretching away to a great distance. We landed at half past six in the
evening, when there was thunder, and an appearance of change in the
weather.

_Wednesday, 2._–It rained and blew hard the latter part of the night.
At half past five the rain subsided, when we made a traverse of twelve
miles, and took in a good deal of water. At twelve it became calm, when
I had an observation, which gave 61. 36. North latitude. At three in
the afternoon, there was a slight breeze from the Westward which soon
increased, when we hoisted sail, and took a traverse of twenty-four
miles, for the point of the old Fort, where we arrived at seven, and
stopped for the night. This traverse shortened our way three leagues;
indeed we did not expect to have cleared the lake in such a short time.

_Thursday, 3._–It blew with great violence throughout the night, and
at four in the morning we embarked, when we did not make more than five
miles three hours, without stopping; notwithstanding we were sheltered
from the swell by a long bank. We now entered the small river, where
the wind could have no effect upon us. There were frequent showers in
the course of the day, and we encamped at six in the evening.

_Friday, 4._–The morning was dark and cloudy, nevertheless we
embarked at five; but at ten it cleared up. We saw a few fowl, and at
seven in the evening, went on shore for the night.

_Saturday, 5._–The weather continued to be cloudy. At five we
proceeded, and at eight it began to rain very hard. In about half an
hour we put to shore, and were detained for the remaining part of the
day.

_Sunday, 6._–It rained throughout the night, with a strong North
wind. Numerous flocks of wild fowl passed to the Southward; at six in
the afternoon, the rain, in some measure, subsided, and we embarked, but
it soon returned with renewed violence; we, nevertheless took the
advantage of an aft wind, though it cost us a complete drenching. The
hunters killed seven, geese, and we pitched our tents at half past six
in the evening.

_Monday, 7._–We were on the water at five this morning, with a head
wind, accompanied by successive showers. At three in the afternoon, we
ran the canoe on a stump, and it filled with water before she could be
got to land. Two hours were employed in repairing her, and at seven in
the evening, we took our station for the night.

_Tuesday, 8._–We renewed our voyage at half past four in a thick mist
which lasted till nine, when it cleared away, and fine weather
succeeded. At three in the afternoon we came to the first
carrying-place, _Portage des Noyes_, and encamped at the upper end of it
to dry our clothes, some of which were almost rotten.

_Wednesday, 9._–We embarked at five in the morning, and our canoe was
damaged on the men’s shoulders, who were bearing it over the
carrying-place, called _Portage du Chetique_. The guide repaired her,
however, while the other men were employed in carrying the baggage. The
canoe was `gummed at the carrying-place named the _Portage de la
Montagne_. After having passed the carrying-places, we encamped at the
Dog River, at half past four in the afternoon, in a state of great
fatigue. The canoe was again gummed, and paddles were made to replace
those that had been broken in ascending the rapids. A swan was the only
animal we killed throughout the day.

_Thursday, 10._–There was rain and violent wind during the night: in
the morning the former subsided and the latter increased. At half past
five we continued our course with a North-Westerly wind. At seven we
hoisted sail: in the forenoon there were frequent showers of rain and
hail, and in the afternoon two showers of snow: the wind was at this
time very strong, and at six in the evening we landed at a lodge of
Knisteneaux, consisting of three men and five women and children. They
were on their return from war, and one of them was very sick: they
separated from the rest of their party in the enemy’s country, from
absolute hunger. After this separation, they met with a family of the
hostile tribe, whom they destroyed. They were entirely ignorant of the
fate of their friends, but imagined that they had returned to the Peace
River, or had perished for want of food. I gave medicine to the
sick,[1] and a small portion of ammunition to the healthy; which,
indeed, they very much wanted, as they had entirely lived for the last
six months on the produce of their bows and arrows. They appeared to
have been great sufferers by their expedition.

Friday, 11 — It froze hard during the night, and was very cold
throughout the day, with an appearance of snow. We embarked at half
past four in the morning, and continued our course till six in the
evening, when we landed for the night at our encampment of the third of
June.

Saturday, 12 — The weather was cloudy, and also very cold. At
eight, we embarked with a North-East wind, and entered the Lake of the
Hills. About ten, the wind veered to the West-ward, and was as strong
as we could bear it with the high sail, so that we arrived at Chepewyan
fort by three o’clock in the afternoon, where we found Mr. Macleod, with
five men busily employed in building a new house. Here, then, we
concluded this voyage, which had occupied the considerable space of one
hundred and two days.

[1] This man had conceived an idea, that the people with whom he had
been at war, had thrown medicine at him, which had caused his present
complaint, and that he despaired of recovery. The natives are so
superstitious, that this idea alone was sufficient to kill him. Of this
weakness I took advantage; and assured him, that if he would never more
go to war with such poor defenceless people, I would cure him. To this
proposition he readily consented, and on my giving him medicine, which
consisted of Turlington’s balsam, mixed in water, I declared that it
would lose its effect, if he was not sincere in the promise that he made
me. In short, he actually recovered, was true to his engagements, and
on all occasions manifested his gratitude to me.

CHAPTER VIII.
OCTOBER 10, 1792.

Having made every necessary preparation, I left Fort Chepewyan, to
proceed up the Peace River, I had resolved to go as far as our most
distant settlement, which would occupy the remaining part of the season,
it being the route by which I proposed to attempt my next discovery,
across the mountains from the source of that river; for whatever
distance I could reach this fall, would be a proportionate advancement
of my voyage.

In consequence of this design, I left the establishment of Fort
Chepewyan, in charge of Mr. Roderic Mackenzie, accompanied by two canoes
laden with the necessary articles for trade: we accordingly steered West
for one of the branches that communicates with the Peace River, called
the Pine River; at the entrance of which we waited for the other canoes,
in order to take some supplies from them, as I had reason to apprehend
they would not be able to keep up with us. We entered the Peace River
at seven in the morning of the 12th, taking a Westerly course. It is
evident, that all the land between it and the Lake of the Hills, as far
as the Elk River, is formed by the quantity of earth and mud, which is
carried down by the streams of those two great rivers. In this space
there are several lakes. The Lake Clear Water, which is the deepest,
Lake Vassieu, and the Athabasca Lake, which is the largest of the three,
and whose denomination in the Knisteneaux language implies, a flat, low,
swampy country, subject to inundations. The two last lakes are now so
shallow, that from the cause just mentioned, there is every reason to
expect, that in a few years they will have exchanged their character,
and become extensive forests.

This country is so level, that, at some seasons, it is entirely
overflowed, which accounts for the periodical influx and reflux of the
waters between the Lake of the Hills and the Peace River.

On the 13th at noon we came to the Peace Point; from which, according to
the report of my interpreter, the river derives its name; it was the
spot where the Knisteneaux and Beaver Indians settled their dispute; the
real name of the river and point being that of the land which was the
object of contention.

When this country was formerly invaded by the Knisteneaux, they found
the Beaver Indians inhabiting the land about Portage la Loche; and the
adjoining tribe were those whom they called slaves. They drove both
these tribes before them; when the latter proceeded down the river from
the Lake of the Hills, in consequence of which that part of it obtained
the name of the Slave River. The former proceeded up the river; and
when the Knisteneaux made peace with them, this place was settled to be
the boundary.

We continued our voyage, and I did not find the current so strong in
this river as I had been induced to believe, though this, perhaps, was
not the period to form a correct notion of that circumstance, as well as
of the breadth, the water being very low; so that the stream has not
appeared to me to be in any part that I have seen, more than a quarter
of a mile wide.

The weather was cold and raw, so as to render our progress unpleasant;
at the same time we did not relax in our expedition, and, at three on
the afternoon of the 17th we arrived at the falls. The river at this
place is about four hundred yards broad, and the fall about twenty feet
high: the first carrying place is eight hundred paces in length, and the
last, which is about a mile onwards, is something more than two-thirds
of that distance. Here we found several fires, from which circumstance
we concluded, that the canoes destined for this quarter, which left the
fort some days before us, could not be far a-head. The weather
continued to be very cold, and the snow that fell during the night was
several inches deep.

On the morning of the 18th, as soon as we got out of the draught of the
fall, the wind being at North-East, and strong in our favour, we hoisted
sail, which carried us on at a considerable rate against the current,
and passed the Loon River before twelve o’clock; from thence we soon
came along the Grande Isle, at the upper end of which we encamped for
the night. It now froze very hard: indeed, it had so much the
appearance of winter, that I began to entertain some alarm lest we might
be stopped by the ice: we therefore set off at three o’clock in the
morning of the 19th, and about eight we landed at the Old Establishment.

The passage to this place from Athabasca having been surveyed by
M. Vandrieul, formerly in the Company’s service, I did not think it
necessary to give any particular attention to it; I shall, however, just
observe, that the course in general from the Lake of the Hills to the
falls, is Westerly, and as much to the North as the South of it, from
thence it is about West-South-West to this fort.

The country in general is low from our entrance of the river to the
falls, and with the exception of a few open parts covered with grass, it
is clothed with wood. Where the banks are very low the soil is good,
being composed of the sediment of the river and putrefied leaves and
vegetables. Where they are more elevated, they display a face of
yellowish clay, mixed with small stones. On a line with the falls, and
on either side of the river, there are said to be very extensive plains,
which afford pasture to numerous herds of buffaloes Our people a-head
slept here last night, and, from their carelessness, the fire was
communicated to and burned down, the large house, and was proceeding
fast to the smaller buildings when we arrived to extinguish it.

We continued our voyage, the course of the river being South-West by
West one mile and a quarter, South by East one mile, South-West by South
three miles, West by South one mile, South-South-West two miles, South
four miles, South-West seven miles and a half, South by West one mile,
North-North-West two miles and a half, South five miles and a quarter,
South-West one mile and a half, North-East by East three miles and a
half, and South-East by East one mile.

We overtook Mr. Finlay, with his canoes, who was encamped near the fort
of which he was going to take the charge, during the ensuing winter, and
made every necessary preparative for a becoming appearance on our
arrival the following morning. Although I had been since the year 1787,
in the Athabasca country, I had never yet seen a single native of that
part of it which we had now reached.

At six o’clock in the morning of the 20th, we landed before the house
amidst the rejoicing and firing of the people, who were animated with
the prospect of again indulging themselves in the luxury of rum, of
which they had been deprived since the beginning of May; as it is a
practice throughout the North-West neither to sell or give any rum to
the natives during the summer. There was at this time only one chief
with his people, the other two being hourly expected with their bands;
and on the 21st and 22d they all arrived except the war chief and
fifteen men. As they very soon expressed their desire of the expected
regale, I called them together, to the number of forty-two hunters, or
men capable of bearing arms, to offer some advice, which would be
equally advantageous to them and to us, and I strengthened my admonition
with a nine gallon cask of reduced rum, and a quantity of tobacco. At
the same time I observed, that as I should not often visit them, I had
instanced a greater degree of liberality than they had been accustomed
to.

The number of people belonging to this establishment amounts to about
three hundred, of which, sixty are hunters. Although they appear from
their language to be of the same stock as the Chepewyans, they differ
from them in appearance, manners, and customs, as they have adopted
those of their former enemies, the Knisteneaux; they speak their
language, as well as cut their hair, paint, and dress like them, and
possess their immoderate fondness for liquor and tobacco. This
description, however, can be applied only to the men, as the women are
less adorned even than those of the Chepewyan tribes. We could not
observe, without some degree of surprize, the contrast between the neat
and decent appearance of the men, and the nastiness of the women. I am
disposed, however, to think, that this circumstance is generally owing
to the extreme submission and abasement of the latter: for I observed,
that one of the chiefs allowed two of his wives more liberty and
familiarity than were accorded to the others, as well as a more becoming
exterior, and their appearance was proportionably pleasing; I shall,
however, take a future opportunity to speak more at large on this
subject.

There were frequent changes of the weather in the course of the day, and
it froze rather hard in the night. The thickness of the ice in the
morning was a sufficient notice for me to proceed. I accordingly gave
the natives such good counsel as might influence their behaviour,
communicated my directions to Mr. Findlay for his future conduct, and
took my leave under several vollies of musketry, on the morning of the
23d. I had already dispatched my loaded canoes two days before, with
directions to continue their progress without waiting for me. Our
course was South-South-East one mile and an half, South three quarters;
East seven miles and a half, veering gradually to the West four miles
and an half, South-East by South three miles, South-East three miles and
an half, East-South-East to Long Point three miles, South-West one mile
and a quarter, East by North four miles and three quarters, West three
miles and an half, West-South-West one mile, East by South five miles
and a half, South three miles and three quarters, South-East by South
three miles, East-South-East three miles, East-North-East one mile, when
there was a river that flowed in on the right, East two miles and an
half, East-South-East half a mile, South-East by South seven miles and
an half, South two miles, South-South-East three miles and an half; in
the course of which we passed an island South by West, where a rivulet
flowed in on the right, one mile, East one mile and an half, South five
miles, South-East by South four miles and an half, South-West one mile,
South-East by East four miles and an half, West-South-West half a mile,
South-West six miles and three quarters, South-East by South one mile
and an half, South one mile and an half; South-East by South two miles,
South-West three quarters of a mile, South-East by South two miles and
an half, East by South one mile and three quarters, South two miles,
South-East one mile and an half, South-South-East half a mile, East by
South two miles and an half, North-East three miles, South-West by West
short distance to the establishment of last year, East-North-East four
miles, South-South-East one mile and three quarters, South half a mile,
South-East by South three quarters of a mile, North-East by East one
mile, South three miles, South-South-East one mile and three quarters,
South by East four miles and an half, South-West three miles, South by
East two miles, South by West one mile and an half, South-West two
miles, South by West four miles and an half, South-West one mile and an
half, and South by East three miles. Here we arrived at the forks of
the river; the Eastern branch appearing to be not more than half the
size of the Western one. We pursued the latter, in a course South-West
by West six miles, and landed on the first of November at the place
which was designed to be my winter residence: indeed, the weather had
been so cold and disagreeable, that I was more than once apprehensive of
our being stopped by the ice, and, after all, it required the utmost
exertions of which my men were capable to prevent it; so that on their
arrival they were quite exhausted. Nor were their labours at an end,
for there was not a single hut to receive us: it was, however, now in my
power to feed and sustain them in a more comfortable manner.

We found two men here who had been sent forward last spring, for the
purpose of squaring timber for the erection of a house, and cutting
pallisades, &c., to surround it. With them was the principal chief of
the place, and about seventy men, who had been anxiously waiting for our
arrival, and received us with every mark of satisfaction and regard
which they could express. If we might judge from the quantity of powder
that was wasted on our arrival, they certainly had not been in want of
ammunition, at least during the summer.

The banks of the river, from the falls, are in general lofty, except at
low woody points, accidentally formed in the manner I have already
mentioned: they also displayed, in all their broken parts, a face of
clay, intermixed with stone; in some places there likewise appeared a
black mould.

In the summer of 1788, a small spot was cleared at the Old
Establishment, which is situated on a bank thirty feet above the level
of the river, and was sown with turnips, carrots, and parsnips. The
first grew to a large size, and the others thrived very well. An
experiment was also made with potatoes and cabbage, the former of which
were successful; but for want of care the latter failed. The next
winter the person who had undertaken this cultivation, suffered the
potatoes which had been collected for seed, to catch the frost, and none
had been since brought to this place. There is not the least doubt but
the soil would be very productive, if a proper attention was given to
its preparation. In the fall of the year 1787, when I first arrived at
Athabasca, Mr. Pond was settled on the banks of the Elk River, where he
remained for three years, and had formed as fine a kitchen garden as I
ever saw in Canada.

In addition to the wood which flourished below the fall, these banks
produce the cypress tree, arrow-wood, and the thorn. On either side of
the river, though invisible from it, are extensive plains, which abound
in buffaloes, elks, wolves, foxes, and bears. At a considerable
distance to the Westward, is an immense ridge of high land or mountains,
which take an oblique direction from below the falls, and are inhabited
by great numbers of deer, which are seldom disturbed, but when the
Indians go to hunt the beaver in those parts; and, being tired with the
flesh of the latter, vary their food with that of the former. This
ridge bears the name of the Deer Mountain. Opposite to our present
situation, are beautiful meadows, with various animals grazing on them,
and groves of poplars irregularly scattered over them.

My tent was no sooner pitched, than I summoned the Indians together, and
gave each of them about four inches of Brazil tobacco, a dram of
spirits, and lighted the pipe. As they had been very troublesome to my
predecessor, I informed them that I had heard of their misconduct, and
was come among them to inquire into the truth of it. I added also that
it would be an established rule with me to treat them with kindness, if
their behaviour should be such as to deserve it; but, at the same time,
that I should be equally severe if they failed in those returns which I
had a right to expect from them. I then presented them with a quantity
of rum, which I recommended to be used with discretion; and added some
tobacco, as a token of peace. They, in return, made me the fairest
promises; and having expressed the pride they felt on beholding me in
their country, took their leave.

I now proceeded to examine my situation; and it was with great
satisfaction I observed that the two men who had been sent hither some
time before us, to cut and square timber for our future operations, had
employed the intervening period with activity and skill. They had
formed a sufficient quantity of pallisades of eighteen feet long, and
seven inches in diameter, to inclose a square spot of an hundred and
twenty feet; they had also dug a ditch of three feet deep to receive
them; and had prepared timber, planks, &c., for the erection of a house.

I was, however, so much occupied in settling matters with the Indians,
and equipping them for their winter hunting, that I could not give my
attention to any other object, till the 7th, when I set all hands at
work to construct the fort, build the house, and form store houses. On
the preceding day the river began to run with ice, which we call the
last of the navigation. On the 11th we had a South-West wind, with
snow. On the 16th, the ice stopped in the other fork, which was not
above a league from us, across the intervening neck of land. The water
in this branch continued to flow till the 22d, when it was arrested also
by the frost, so that we had a passage across the river, which would
last to the latter end of the succeeding April. This was a fortunate
circumstance, as we depended for our support upon what the hunters could
provide for us, and they had been prevented by the running of the ice
from crossing the river. They now, however, very shortly procured us as
much fresh meat as we required, though it was for some time a toilsome
business to my people, for as there was not yet a sufficient quantity of
snow to run sledges, they were under the necessity of loading themselves
with the spoils of the chase.

On the 27th the frost was so severe that the axes of the workmen became
almost as brittle as glass. The weather was very various until the 2d
of December, when my Farenheit’s thermometer was injured by an accident,
which rendered it altogether useless. The table on page 353, therefore,
from the 16th of November, to this unfortunate circumstance, is the only
correct account of the weather which I can offer.

END 5 [Transcriber’s Note: The table referenced in the preceding paragraph
follows immediately below.]

Month|Date|Hours|Below|Above|Wind|Weather||Hour|Below|Above|Wind|Weather||Hour|Below|Above|Wind|Weather||
and | |A.M. | 0 | 0 | | || | 0 | 0 | | ||P.M.| 0 | | | ||
year | | | | | | || | | | | || | | | | ||
———————————————————————————————————
1792 | | | | | | || | | | | || | | | | ||
Nov. |16 | 8½ | … | 10 |….| || 12 | 0 | 14 |….| || 6 | .. | 15 |….|Cloudy.||
|17 | 8½ | … | 17 |….|Clear. || 12 | .. | 20 |… |Clear. || 6 | .. | 23 |….|ditto. ||
|18 | 9 | … | 19 |ESE | || 12 | .. | 21 |ESE | || 6 | .. | 14 |ESE |Clear. ||
|19 | 8 | … | 5 |NW | || 12 | .. | 12 |NW | || 6 | .. | 9 |NW |ditto. ||Strong wind
|20 | 8½ | … | 4 |… |ditto. || 12 | .. | 14 |….|ditto. || 6 | .. | 19 |….|Cloudy.||At 10 last night 1 below 0
|21 | 8 | … | 19 |… | || 12 | .. | 25 |….| || 6 | .. | 23 |….|…… ||River stopped.
|22 | 9 | … | 27 |… |Cloudy.|| 12 | .. | 29 |….|Cloudy.|| 6 | .. | 28 |….|Cloudy ||Ice drove and water rises.
|23 | 8½ | … | 2 |N |Clear. || 12 | .. | 23 |….|Clear. || 6 | .. | 15 |N |…… ||Ice drove again.
|24 | 8 | 3 | .. |… |ditto. || 12 | 0 | 0 |NE | || 6 | 1 | .. |NE |Cloudy.||
|25 | 8 | 14 | .. |… |ditto. || 12 | 4 | .. |….| || 6 | 2 | .. |….|Clear. ||Snowed last night 2 inches.
|26 | 9 | 10 | .. |N |ditto. || 12 | .. | 2 |N | || 6 | 0 | 0 |N |ditto. ||
|27 | 8 | 2 | .. |… |ditto. || 12 | 3 | 2 |….| || 6 | .. | 1 |SW |ditto. ||
|28 | 8 | 16 | .. |… |ditto. || 12 | .. | .. |….| || 6 | 7 | .. |S |ditto. ||After dark, overcast.
|29 | 7½ | … | 4 |… |Cloudy.|| 12 | .. | 13 |….| || 6 | .. | 7 |….|ditto. ||Ditto, a little wind S. W.
|30 | 9 | … | 4 |S | || 12 | .. | 13 |S |Cloudy.|| 6 | .. | 16 |S |Cloudy.||
Dec.| 1 | 9 | … | 0 |… | || 12 | | 19 |SE | || 5 | .. | 24 |SE |ditto. ||Fell 3 inches snow last night.
| 2 | 9 | … | 27 |E | || | | | | || 5 | | | | ||

In this situation, removed from all those ready aids which add so much
to the comfort, and, indeed is a principal characteristic of civilized
life, I was under the necessity of employing my judgment and experience
in accessory circumstances by no means connected with the habits of my
life, or the enterprise in which I was immediately engaged. I was now
among the people who had no knowledge whatever of remediable application
to those disorders and accidents to which man is liable in every part of
the globe, in the distant wilderness, as in the peopled city. They had
not the least acquaintance with that primitive medicine, which consists
in an experience of the healing virtues of herbs and plants, and is
frequently found among uncivilised and savage nations. This
circumstance now obliged me to be their physician and surgeon, as a
woman with a swelled breast, which had been lacerated with flint stones
for the cure of it, presented herself to my attention, and by
cleanliness, poultices, and healing salve, I succeeded in producing a
cure. One of my people, also, who was at work in the woods, was
attacked with a sudden pain near the first joint of his thumb, which
disabled him from holding an axe. On examining his arm, I was
astonished to find a narrow red stripe, about half an inch wide, from
his thumb to his shoulder; the pain was violent, and accompanied with
chilliness and shivering. This was a case that appeared to be beyond my
skill, but it was necessary to do something towards relieving the mind
of the patient, though I might be unsuccessful in removing his
complaint. I accordingly prepared a kind of volatile liniment of rum
and soap, with which I ordered his arm to be rubbed, but with little or
no effect. He was in a raving state throughout the night, and the red
stripe not only increased, but was also accompanied with the appearance
of several blotches on his body, and pains in his stomach; the propriety
of taking some blood from him now occurred to and I ventured, from
absolute necessity, to perform that operation for the first time, and
with an effect that justified the treatment. The following night
afforded him rest, and in a short time he regained his former health and
activity.

I was very much surprised on walking in the woods at such an inclement
period of the year, to be saluted with the singing of birds, while they
seemed by their vivacity to be actuated by the invigorating power of a
more genial season. Of these birds the male was something less than the
robin; part of his body is of a delicate fawn colour, and his neck,
breast, and belly, of a deep scarlet; the wings are black, edged with
fawn colour, and two white stripes running across them; the tail is
variegated, and the head crowned with a tuft. The female is smaller
than the male, and of a fawn colour throughout, except on the neck,
which is enlivened by an hue of glossy yellow. I have no doubt but they
are constant inhabitants of this climate, as well as some other small
birds which we saw, of a grey colour.