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Title: An Account of Six Years Residence in Hudson's-Bay, From 1733 to 1736, and 1744 to 1747.
Author: Joseph Robson (fl. 1733-1763)
Date of first publication: 1752
Place and date of edition used as base for this ebook: London: J. Payne and J. Bouquet, 1752 (First Edition)
Date first posted: 29 January 2008
Date last updated: 17 June 2014
Faded Page ebook#20080107

This ebook was produced by: David T. Jones, Carlo Traverso, & the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

The images for this project were generously provided by Canadiana Online.

Nelson & Hayes's Rivers







From 1733 to 1736, and 1744 to 1747.


Late Surveyor and Supervisor of the Buildings to the
Hudson's-bay Company.
Containing a Variety of Facts, Observations, and
Discoveries, tending to shew,

I. The vast Importance of the Countries about Hudson's-Bay to Great-Britain, on Account of the extensive Improvements that may be made there in many beneficial Articles of Commerce, particularly in the Furs and in the Whale and Seal Fisheries. And,

II. The interested Views of the Hudson's bay Company; and the absolute Necessity of laying open the Trade, and making it the Object of National Encouragement, as the only Method of keeping it out of the Hands of the French.

To which is added an APPENDIX; containing,

I. A short History of the Discovery of Hudson's-bay; and of the Proceedings of the English there since the Grant of the Hudson's-bay Charter: Together with Remarks upon the Papers and Evidence produced by that Company before the Committee of the Honourable House of Commons, in the Year 1749.

II. An Estimate of the Expence of building the Stone Fort, called Prince of Wales's-fort, at the entrance of Churchill-river.

III. The Soundings of Nelson-river.

IV. A Survey of the Course of Nelson-river.

V. A Survey of Seal and Gillam's Islands. And,

VI. A Journal of the Winds and Tides at Churchill-river, for Part of the Years 1746 and 1747.

The Whole illustrated,

By a Draught of Nelson and Hayes's Rivers; a Draught of Churchill-river; and Plans of York-fort, and Prince of Wales's fort.


Printed for J. Payne and J. Bouquet in Pater-Noster-Row; Mr. Kincaid, at Edinburgh; Mr. Barry, at Glasgow; and Mr. J. Smith, at Dublin.


The reader is desired to correct the following Errata, occasioned
by the author's distance from the press.
Page 3. l. 12. 16. 17. for Hay read Hoy.
22. l. 21. for eight read six.
27. l. 17 and page 28. l. 19 for Allen read Alson.
29. l. 5 and 6 for less by two thirds than, read less than two thirds of.
30. Note at the bottom, for fig. 3 read fig. 1.
39. l. 21. delete all
46. l. 11. for them, read a frog.
  l. 12 and 13. for them read it
  l. 14. for they were, read it was.
50. l. 29 and 30. for Cockapocko, read Cockacapo.
54. l. 19. for Pocathusko, read Pockaracisco.
66. l. 24 and 25. delete, of many tons
  l. 27. for seal-skin read sea-horse skin.
67. l. 11. after who, add, know the country, and
68. l. 10. for great, read greater.


Page 12. l. 35. for steered, read sheered.
13. l. 7. delete and.
15. l. 26 and 29. for fort read port.

I Preface
II The Vast Importance of the Countries about HUDSON's-BAY
I Short History of the Discovery of Hudson's Bay
II Estimate of the Expence of Building Prince of Wales's-Fort
III The Soundings of Nelson-river
IV A Survey of the Course of Nelson-river
V A Survey of Seal and Gillam's Islands
VI A Journal of the Winds and Tides at Churchill-river


The Right Honourable


Earl of HALIFAX,

First Lord Commissioner


Trade and Plantations,

&c. &c.

My Lord,

Your Lordship is the only person in the kingdom to whom I ought to dedicate the following sheets. I was prompted to write them by a strong desire to serve my native country; and I flatter myself that your Lordship will look into them at a leisure hour, and find, at least, some amusement from the facts, though represented in a homely dress.

The opening a new channel for trade to a vast country, abounding with inhabitants, and with many beneficial articles of commerce, is a work that highly merits the attention of our wisest and greatest men.

There are furs, my Lord, on this large tract of land, sufficient to supply all Europe; which yet are locked up by a few men, from the body of the people of Great Britain, though not from the French. The poor inhabitants are clad in the skins of wild beasts, which they part with freely for our woollen and iron manufactures, on such amazing low terms, as will scarcely be credited by those who have not tasted of the sweets of the Hudson's-bay monopoly.

Whales and various other fish are so plenty in the Bay, and in the inlets leading from thence to the western ocean, that the natives catch more than are necessary for their subsistence, with their own simple contrivances. The land abounds with mines and minerals, and is also capable of great improvement by cultivation; and the climate within the country is very habitable. If the able poor or the convicts were sent thither, with suitable encouragement, they would very soon become happy themselves and useful to the public.

Your Lordship's wise and steady conduct since you appeared at the head of the board of trade, has drawn upon you the eyes of every trader in the nation; even the lowest manufacturers now say, "They are happy, since Halifax presides: He knows the true interest of the nation, that it depends upon trade and manufactures; that we have now more rivals than ever; that navigation is our bulwark, and colonies our chief support; and that new channels of trade should be industriously opened: therefore, he surveys the whole globe in search of fresh inlets, where our ships may enter and traffic."

These are the sentiments that are universally entertained of your Lordship, and I am abundantly convinced that they are just; which makes me rejoice in the present opportunity of professing myself, with the greatest possible respect,

My Lord,
Your Lordship's
Most obedient and
Most humble Servant

London, April
15th, 1752.

Joseph Robson.



After having been six years in the countries adjoining to Hudson's-Bay, upon my return to London I found that the mercantile part of the nation thought it a matter of the utmost importance to put the trade to that place upon a different footing, by laying it open to all the British merchants, and setting aside a hurtful monopoly, granted only by charter, and not confirmed by parliament but for seven years, which expired above fifty years ago.

It was evident, that notwithstanding the Hudson's-Bay Company had enjoyed the benefits of an exclusive charter for near eighty years, and had received no interruption to their possession since the peace of Utrecht, they had not procured all the trade they might have done; having dealt in nothing considerable but the Fur-trade, and thro' their parsimony on one hand, and exorbitancy on the other, confined even that to a very narrow channel; so that the trade to those vast countries has been kept locked up, as if this kingdom wanted no new vent for its manufactures, nor increase to its shipping. It was evident also, that tho' the Company had thus neglected the improvement of their own trade, and discouraged a more extensive one by industriously preventing people from settling about the Bay, and improving the lands and fisheries there, they had not taken care to check the incroachments of the French, who are daily increasing and extending their Fur-trade within land to the south-westward and westward of the bay, among the lakes and near the sources of the several rivers upon which the Company have made settlements. The chief trading cities and towns of Great Britain, therefore, from a just concern for their own interest and the interest of their country, which are inseparably united, in the year 1749 petitioned the parliament against the Company's charter.

To support the allegations contained in these petitions, several persons were examined before a committee of the honourable house of commons appointed to enquire into the state and condition of the countries about Hudson's-Bay, and the trade carried on there. Of these I was one: but for want of confidence, and an ability to express myself clearly, the account I then gave was far from being so exact and full as that which I intended to have given. And, indeed, it is impossible, from all the accounts united, to form a just idea, either of the countries about Hudson's-Bay, or the Company's management of the trade: I am acquainted with several of the witnesses, and know that they omitted upon their examination many important circumstances which I had before often heard them relate; which must be attributed, either to their confusion upon appearing before so awful an assembly, or to their having a dependance upon the Company, and an expectation of being employed again in their service. I will beg leave to give one instance of this deficiency:

Arthur Slater mate of one of the Company's sloops in the Bay, being with Christopher Banister, a witness, said, that "Longdon and Hay ought to be hanged for laying down, in a draught of a discovery, places in Hudson's-Bay which they never saw or knew anything of": and Banister reprimanding Hay for laying down those places upon conjecture without having seen them; Hay answered, "Peugh, it signifies nothing; it will never be known": but Banister said nothing of this before the committee. I could produce many more instances of the same failure in point of evidence: but the reader will easily observe the difference between that which was produced before the committee, as related in their report; and the account contained in the following pages.

On the other hand the Company's defence was made principally from journals and letters, which could not lie under the same disadvantages; and those produced, were only such as were calculated to set their affairs and conduct in the most favourable light.

Being sensible therefore, that the committee had been amused by partial representations; that a much more extensive trade may be established in Hudson's-Bay, both for pelts and furs; that there are great appearances of valuable mines along the coast; and that a profitable fishery for whales, seals, &c. might be carried on by means of the natives at a small expence; considering also, the great spirit for trade which appears in all the European nations, and the obligations we are under upon that account to remove every thing that obstructs our own trade and manufactures; and being at the same time convinced, that the mismanagement of the Hudson's-Bay Company in locking up these countries from Britain, in not settling them, and sending up traders to the lakes and sources of the rivers in the Bay, not only gives the French an opportunity of taking off the very best commodities, but lays a foundation for their wresting the whole country from us upon the first war; a truth acknowleged even by the Company's principal officers: I say, taking all these things together, I thought myself indispensably obliged to recover the truth out of that thick darkness in which it had been designedly involved, and set it in the fullest and clearest light I was able, by the publication of the following sheets.

I know it has been industriously propagated, by a set of self-interested men, that the countries adjoining to the Bay are incapable of any beneficial improvements; and that the severity of the climate renders them unfit for human creatures to inhabit. The same was once said of Siberia: but Siberia, which begins to be better known than the most cultivated parts of Russia were a century ago, is found to be watered with large navigable rivers, to have spacious and fertile plains, and many rich mines of gold, silver, and other metals. Yet this country, as it lies parallel with the more northerly part of Hudson's-Bay, and is as it were the center of a much larger continent, is several degrees colder than the countries westward of the Bay; for the farther easterly all northern countries are, they are proportionably colder, from the prevailing westerly winds, in the higher latitudes, crossing over large tracts of land covered with snow, whilst the winds which come from the ocean and open sea, are milder and more temperate. Banishment to this country was at first thought little better than immediate death: but by venturing to make use of it for this purpose, it was found to be very habitable, its immense treasures were discovered, and the power of the Russian empire was greatly extended and increased. Let us make the same experiment with the countries about Hudson's-Bay; either assign them as a place of banishment for our convicts, or send thither properly furnished a number of men of capacity and resolution, or do both; and the same, or better, I am persuaded, will be the effects.

The Company have for eighty years slept at the edge of a frozen sea; they have shewn no curiosity to penetrate farther themselves, and have exerted all their art and power to crush that spirit in others. They have kept the language of the natives, and all that might be gained by a familiar and friendly intercourse with them, as much as possible, a secret to their own servants; and the invaluable treasures of this extensive country a profound secret to Great Britain. But there are not only bare symptoms, but confirmed accounts of many rich mines here; there are fine rivers running from and leading to the southward and south-westward, inviting the people to go up and see what the countries afford: and interpreters have gathered from the natives, that they have been in countries where the rivers run a contrary course to the rivers in the Bay; that some have seen the sea and ships on the other side of the land to the westward; that the people dwell in towns; that little snow lies in that country [1]; and that the French live and trade with them within the country at the heads of those rivers that run down to the English factories.

I had an opportunity during my residence in Hudson's-Bay, to obtain many accounts of the country, and the conduct of the Company; by which, and my own observations, the following articles are confirmed to me as matters of fact.

I. That the Hudson's-Bay Company have shewn no concern for the improvement of their trade, extending it but partially to the Furs, and totally neglecting the Mines and Fisheries.

II. That they believe a more extensive trade, and farther discoveries inconsistent with their interest; as an exclusive trade and valuable discoveries might alarm the people of Great Britain, and engage them in schemes to lay the trade open and settle the countries.

III. That in consequence of this narrow spirit of self-interest, the French have been encouraged to travel many hundred miles over land from Canada, and up many rivers that have great water-falls, in order to make trading settlements; and that they carry on a friendly intercourse with the natives at the heads of most of our rivers westward of the Bay, even as far as Churchill-river, and intercept the Company's trade.

IV. That there are fine improveable lands up the rivers in the Bay; and no British settlements, or colonies, made or attempted to be made there.

V. That it is very practicable to navigate the rivers and lakes, and settle colonies upon them, which might be comfortably subsisted by tillage and pasturage, to the great improvement of the trade of the country, and the consumption of British manufactures.

VI. That the several tribes of natives hinder each other, by their wars, from hunting to advantage, and coming to the English factories: whereas, if the English had settlements among them, and took pains to civilize and endear them, they would apply themselves to hunting in the proper seasons, and bring all their Furs to the English factories; which would put an effectual stop to the incroachments of the French.

VII. That there are the strongest symptoms, and even confirmed accounts of valuable mines about the Bay.

VIII. That a very profitable fishery might be established in the Bay and Straits for Whales and Seals, by means of the Eskimaux and other natives.

IX. That it is practicable in two summers, and with very little expence, to determine the reality of a north-west passage. And,

X. That the laying open the trade of Hudson's-Bay, and making it the object of national encouragement, is the only method left of keeping both the trade and the country out of the hands of the French.

All these particulars I have endeavoured to set in the clearest light; and I have to the best of my knowlege kept within the bounds of truth.





Six Years Residence




In the year 1733 I embarked on board the Mary frigate, commanded by captain George Spurrell, bound for Churchill-river in Hudson's-Bay. We sailed from Gravesend the 16th of May, put into Tinmouth the 24th, touched at Carstown in the Orkneys the 7th of June, and arrived at Churchill-river the 3d of August.

I was ordered directly to Eskimaux-point at the entrance of the river, where I found several persons employed in laying the foundation of a stone-fort. The principal workman was an old man, named Tuttie, who had been a labourer to masons in London, and knew nothing of the theory of building; and the person whom the governor had appointed overseer, was one Thomas Giddins, formerly a common soldier, but lately a hosier near London, who failing in his business, was taken into the Company's service and sent to Churchill-river, not as a tradesman, but as a common servant. Under such influence was the building carried on, as if it had been the first attempted to be made by the nation to whom it belonged.

In these circumstances it was natural to conclude, that the governor would be pleased to find a man capable of conducting the building properly; and accordingly I ventured to interfere in the direction. But upon the governor's first visit, who, as it was the season for the coming in of the ship from England, was obliged to reside chiefly at the old factory five miles distant, I found myself egregiously mistaken. He shook his horsewhip at me, and asked, Who made me a director over these men? But notwithstanding this discouraging check, I still applied diligently to the work; for I was young and fond of shewing my abilities, and was besides much grieved to see a building of such consequence ruined thro' ignorance and want of care.

The next time the governor came, he offered me a dram, and told me I must do nothing without first acquainting him. But as he lived at so great a distance, I thought it wrong to retard the work by sending to him for instructions which I knew he was incapable of giving; for he was an absolute stranger to the rules of building, having been brought up from a boy in Hudson's-Bay, where nothing is to be learned but the language and manners of the natives, and the methods of trading with them.

The stones we made use of being of the pebble kind, could only be hammered into shape. The choosing out those which were most proper for the purpose was the first step, the laying them near the place where they would be wanted the next, and the fixing them to the best advantage, and with least hammering, was the third and principal. The second only was the province of our overseer, who in every thing else acted under my direction as mason: and being piqued at receiving orders from a stranger, who, perhaps, examined too narrowly and reproved too freely for his interest, he took every opportunity of secretly opposing my plan, and often ordered the labourers to lay the stones down wrong. This retarded the work exceedingly; for I was determined to rectify all mistakes, whether they proceeded from ignorance or malice. Indeed after I left the country the building proceeded in the old way, without any useful guidance or inspection; and every error past uncorrected. This was evident upon my return in 1746; for part of that which they conducted had tumbled, and much more of it bulged: and I am convinced that if the cannon upon the rampart had been loaded and fired for service, much of it must have fallen upon the first or second discharge.

We left off building in the beginning of September, and repaired to the old factory five miles up the river; and when winter set in, the servants were ordered abroad to their several works, some to fish, others to the woods, and some to hunt and trap. The fishers go up to the lakes, as well as up the rivers. There are some particular places, where fish are only to be caught when the river is frozen over, as at the foot of a deep stream, or the mouth of a creek. They sometimes make large openings in the ice, where they angle with a hook and line, and catch salmon, pike, mothy, titemag, &c. Sometimes they cut several small holes in a right line, at such distances as they can pass a line at the end of a stick, from hole to hole, and hawl a net through under the ice; but in the beginning of winter when the ice is not very thick, they cut a larger opening, and set nets. By some of these methods fish are taken 'till after Christmas.

Those that are sent to the woods, cut down trees, or square the timber that was cut down the former winter, or saw it into planks; and after Christmas hawl it upon sleds to the river side, setting it up near the fire wood that is intended to be rafted to the factory in the summer.

The hunters and trappers shoot partridges, pheasants, and other game for the subsistence of the factory; and set traps in their walks made of small stakes, and a pretty large log, that falls upon ermines, martins, foxes, or any beast that happens to take the bait. They are obliged to carry all the furs they get to the factory, to be sent home in the Company's cargo, for which they are allowed the half of what they produce at the Company's sale; but I know by experience, that this of late has turned to very little account. In this manner we spend the autumn and winter. We had brought over in the ship a bull, four heifers, two oxen, and a horse; there was an Orkney bull and cow there before: some of the heifers afterwards calved, and I think with care they would have increased and done well; tho' this place is in 59 deg. and the most northerly settlement in the Bay.

In the spring 1734, all hands were employed to hawl down necessaries on a large sled upon the ice, and to prepare materials for the building against the weather would permit us to work. By this time I discovered in what manner affairs were managed in the Bay, having contracted an intimacy with the surgeon, who had lived in the country three years.

As the wind suffered very little snow to lie on the hill where the fort was to be erected, upon the first thaw I began to examine whether it was laid out conformably to the plan; but finding it very ill executed, I altered the piquets, and had the foundation dug afresh; and the governor seemed pleased, and secretly offered me such trifling favours as they bestow upon the Indians. We contended, however, about many points; and with some difficulty I obtained mortar, which tho' not very good was yet better than none. I was sollicitous for the perfection of the building, and therefore opposed every step which I thought not calculated to answer the end; while he, on the contrary, seemed more desirous to have much work done, than to have it well done.

As soon as the second summer was over, and we were settled again in our winter quarters at the old factory, the governor sent for me to instruct him in dialling. I had the preceding winter taught him numbers and drawing, for which he paid me at the rate they pay the Indians for their furs, with a dram now and then, which I refused almost as often as it was offered. But the indignity he put upon me at my first arrival, the disputes that continually subsisted between us in relation to the building, the tyranny of his temper, and the poverty of his understanding, had at length created in me such a dislike of the man and his conversation, that I now refused to be with him. This he resented highly, and ordered me out to hawl the sled, and do other drudgeries of a common servant. I obeyed his capricious commands with seeming chearfulness, because I would not give him any pretence for complaining to the Company: but my mind was so embittered and depressed by this treatment, that in the summer 1735, I was unable to carry on the building with any spirit. This he perceived; and being bent upon a voyage to England when the ships returned, and so well convinced of the incapacity of the other workmen, as not to be willing to leave the building to their management, he endeavoured to sooth me by promises of favour, which, as I knew the man, I did not rely on; however, as he made some concessions which I thought I had a right to expect, I assured him I would exert all my skill and care in directing the building while I staid, but that I was determined to go home at the expiration of the time specified in my contract. And accordingly I gave notice of my resolution to the Company by a letter in which I could not help complaining of the governor's behaviour to me, and remonstrating that the fort would be spoiled if it was left to his management. Soon after this he embarked for England; and at his return next year, 1736, we learnt that he had given the Company such a favourable representation of his conduct as to procure very high commendations, closed with a promise of an advanced salary of 20l. per ann. for five years, if he would use all his application to expedite the building of the fort. The bringing this to a speedy conclusion, was the point that engrossed all their attention, and the encouragement was well adapted to that end; but, taking the governor's want of skill into the account, it was no less calculated to render the building totally useless. What was the real effect, the reader will see in the course of this work, for whose satisfaction I have inserted in the appendix an estimate of the expence the Company have been at in ruining this fort.

After three years of vexation and almost ineffectual labour, I left the people at the Bay to pursue their own measures, and set sail for London; where I had no sooner arrived than I went to pay my respects to the Company. But instead of taking notice of my services, they did not even ask me a single question about the fort, but treated me as a troublesome and refractory fellow. For this I am sensible I was indebted to the governor, who had so grosly imposed upon them in every respect, that they asked a mason who was going over in their service whether a wall built with or without mortar was the strongest; and by the event they were made to believe the latter, as no mortar was used for the fort after I left the country.

Though every intelligent man in the Bay believed that the Company was averse to the making discoveries, I could not for some time help controverting an opinion that charged them with so much weakness and inattention to their interest; but I was obliged at last to submit to the evidence of facts, among a variety of which they told me the following:

Governor Knight and captain Barlow being well assured that there were rich mines to the northward, from the accounts of the Indians of those parts who had brought some of the ore to the factory, they were bent upon making the discovery; and the governor said he knew the way to the place as well as to his bedside. When they returned to England, therefore, they importuned the Company to fit them out a ship and sloop to go in quest of these mines; but meeting with no encouragement, they told the Company, with a becoming spirit, that if they did not chuse to equip them for this service, they would apply to those that would do it chearfully. Upon this the Company complied; and they set out upon the expedition, but were unhappily lost in the Bay. Those who told me this assured me, that some of the Company said upon this occasion, that they did not value the loss of the ship and sloop as long as they were rid of those troublesome men; and that it was some time after, that they sent Scraggs to the northward to discover if they or any of the crew were alive. My informants could not mention this circumstance without indignation; and justly observed, that as it was possible these unhappy sufferers might have got safely to land, where they could have supported themselves with the ship's provisions, the sending a sloop directly in search of them might have saved their lives.

The settlements which the French had made about the Bay were also a subject of discourse among the servants: but as no notice was then taken of the French being at the head of Nelson-river, as there is now, it is probable, that they have pushed on to Nelson-river since that time; and they will extend their settlements 'till we have not the power of dislodging them, if some speedy methods are not taken to prevent it. The Company had done many things, they observed, particularly the sending a sloop to Whale-cove, to quiet the importunities of a gentleman in London who had charged the Company with being asleep. Sir Biby Lake indeed, they added, had closetted this gentleman, and endeavoured to remove the charge; but they were of opinion it was too justly founded, or they would not tamely suffer the French to make such dangerous incroachments.

It was then the general opinion of the servants at the Bay, that the Company thought the discovery of a north-west passage inconsistent with their interest; and accordingly all who have attempted the making this discovery are considered by the servants as the Company's worst enemies. While I was in the Bay, the Churchill-sloop went twice or thrice to York-fort, and I heard much about Whale-cove and the sloop's having been there; particularly, that the sloop having once a hawser fastened round a large stone on the shore at low-water mark, about high water a black whale got foul of the hawser, forced it from the stones, and towed the sloop to sea. Many things were also told about the natives at Whale-cove, and of Scragg's sloop that was sent after Knight and Barlow: but in all the discourses about these and other expeditions, there was no mention of the Company's inclination to discover a north-west passage, nor of any attempt that they had ever made for that purpose.

To converse with an Indian is a great crime, but to trade with him for a skin is capital, and punished by a forfeiture of all wages. If a servant is guilty of theft, or any act that would be deemed gross felony by the laws of England, and subject him to capital punishment, the governor only whips him, and afterwards sends him home to be prosecuted by the Company: but from a mistaken lenity, or for some secret reasons, they proceed no farther than a quiet dismission from their service. There are instances of this within my own knowlege, and I never heard of a single one to the contrary. But men are generally tenacious of their own interests, and if they are worthy members of the community, must shrink at admitting into it one whom they know to be a villain, and suffering him to live at large when the law has put it in their power to cut him off, or at least to stigmatize him with marks of public infamy. The natural conclusion, therefore, is, that the Company are unwilling to try the issue of a legal process, lest by any accidental mention of their transactions in the Bay, their whole conduct should be too nicely scrutinized, and their right to an exclusive trade examined and set aside.

Many other important observations were made by me during my first abode in this country, and many well-attested accounts given me by the Company's servants: but as they will be more suitably connected with what happened to me in the time of my second residence there, I have chosen to incorporate them with the relation of those events which I shall enter upon immediately.

In the year 1744 I embarked aboard the Prince Rupert, George Spurrel commander, bound first to Churchill-river, and afterwards to York-fort. I lived with the captain upon very good terms, and conversed freely with him about the affairs of the Hudson's-Bay Company. Speaking one day of the new association for sending ships to the Bay for the discovery of a north-west passage, he told me, that it was his opinion the Company would not have entertained me a second time, if it had not been to keep me from Mr. Dobbs. I replied, I was not sensible that I could be of any service to those gentlemen. Yes, rejoined he, you know the nature of the country, and how to lay down a fort.

The French settlements were also a subject of our conversation; upon which occasion I expressed my surprize, that the Company did not send Englishmen up the rivers to encourage and endear the natives, and by that means put a stop to the progress of the French. The captain admitted the expediency of such a step, but urged the hazards an Englishman was exposed to, and the hardships he must suffer, in going up the rivers with goods. To this I answered, that the French came many hundred miles over land from Canada, carrying goods at their backs, and surmounting every difficulty, 'till they penetrated to the very sources of those rivers upon which we might carry up all the conveniences both for subsistence and traffic with little hazard and less toil. So far from controverting this, he said, that he believed the French would have all the country in another century: To which I could not help immediately replying, that such an alienation could only be effected thro' the remissness of the English. In all that passed between us upon this subject, I did not hear a single reason that in any tolerable manner accounted for the Company's conduct.

The stone-fort at Churchill-river was once mentioned; and the captain informed me, that it was very badly executed after I left it; for some parts had fallen, which were obliged to be rebuilt; and others were ready to fall: but that which I had conducted, he said, stood firm, and he believed would continue to stand. I was willing to discover the true cause of this mismanagement, and, therefore, said, that I greatly wondered the Company did not take more care of a building of such importance. But I soon perceived that the subject was too tender to dwell upon; for the captain answered me with great reserve. He said enough, however, to convince me, that the Company had not the well-building of the fort at heart, but desired the name more than the thing itself, which they might surely have purchased at a much cheaper rate. I hope I shall not lose the good opinion of the reader, by mentioning these things, which would not have escaped me, if I did not think that the making known every testimony I could procure in confirmation of these facts tended to the good of my country, my obligations to promote which supersede the rights of private conversation, if they are not made sacred by a promise of secrecy.

Off Cape-farewell we discovered several sail of ships, and gave chace to a vessel larger than the rest, (for we were four in company) which afterwards proved to be a Dutchman. When we were got near the Savage-Islands in Hudson's-straits, the Eskimaux for several days came off to us in great numbers, and gave us, in exchange for whatever we thought fit to offer them, whalebone, sea-horse-teeth, seal-skins, furs, and even the apparel they had on. A few days after we thought we had discovered a commodious harbour, and a consultation was proposed about sending off boats to examine it; but I heard our captain declare, that they were not permitted to send a boat ashore in the straits upon any account. At Cape-Diggs the captain expected more Eskimaux; but none appearing, he conjectured that the Indians from the east-main had cut them off. Here two boats were ordered ashore to look for a harbour, and found a good one. When we had run almost across the Bay, and were got near some banks to the northward of Churchill-river, the captain expressed his regret that they were not tried for cod; for it seemed highly probable to him, he said, that there was almost as many to be taken there as at Newfoundland. However, he did not stay to make the experiment, but made the best of his way for Churchill-river, where we arrived soon after.

I went ashore immediately, for I was impatient to see the fort; and at the first view the effects of the extraordinary salary allowed the governor for expedition, were easily perceived. Instead of a defensible fort capable of resisting the force of an enemy, it had in many places yielded to its own weakness and the attacks of wind and weather; and was not only unworthy of the name by which it was distinguished, but even of the persons at whose cost it was built. I hastened back to the ship, grieved to see so excellent a plan spoiled; and convinced, that for the same money as was expended upon this fort, though far short of the sum of thirty or forty thousand pounds, at which it was rated by a gentleman before the house of commons, upon a very wrong information given him by some of the Company, who could have expended no more than eight thousand pounds [2]; I say, that even for so small a sum, a good fort might have been erected, capable of securing the subjects and the trade of Britain from the attacks and incroachments of her worst enemies.

We sailed out of Churchill-river, and soon arrived at York-fort upon Hayes's-river, where the ship was to deliver her cargo and take in another. After her departure for England, I applied myself to the setting up beacons in order to make a chart of the river. The governor, who had resided in the country twenty years, was perfect master of the traditional history of it, even from the first settlement of the English; and being a free and communicative man, he used frequently to entertain us with a regular account of all the principal events and discoveries; to which the linguists seldom failed to add the information they had gathered from the natives. By their means I soon obtained a general knowlege of the country, as well inland as upon the coasts.

When the season approached for going abroad, I mentioned to the governor a design I had long entertained of travelling up the country, not only to confirm what I had heard, but to make new discoveries. This brought on dismal tales of the difficulties to be encountered in such an expedition: and when I talked of going up the rivers, I was told of stupendous heaps of ice and dreadful water-falls, which would not only obstruct my passage, but endanger my life. To confirm this he said, that governor Maclish, in company with him and one or two more, once attempted to go a little way up Nelson-river to look for timber, in order to build a factory: that when they had crossed the island, they found such heaps of ice in the river, that they were discouraged from proceeding any higher: the governor, therefore, returned, saying it was so fatiguing and dangerous, that he would venture no farther; and that if they went as high as he intended, they might perhaps meet with no timber. He added other accounts to intimidate me, and drive me from my purpose; and the rest of the people also, of whom I did not fail to enquire, related exactly the same stories: but I could not find that a single man among them told these things from his own experience, but only from the reports of others, which, as they might have a weaker foundation the higher they were traced, I resolved not to credit, but to be determined solely by the evidence of my own senses. Accordingly, I acquainted the governor, that with his permission I would set out immediately for Nelson-river, which I had a strong inclination to go up. He gave me his consent indeed, but with such evident marks of displeasure, that tho' a guide is always sent out with a stranger even to the most trifling distance, lest by the weather's proving hazy he should be lost; and tho' it was eight miles from York-fort to Nelson-river, thro' woods and plains where I had never been; I was suffered to go alone exposed to all hazards: however I found the way, and got home again safe and well.

That part of the river where I took my first view appeared to be about four miles broad. The ice was then driving about in great quantities, and the weather was very thick and snowy. This formed a dreadful prospect, and had such an effect upon me, that I could not help feeling some impression from the stories I had heard; which perhaps my being alone and a stranger, did not a little contribute to strengthen: I therefore relinquished my first design, and contented myself the remainder of that winter with making a chart of Hayes's-river. During this employment, I learnt that Nelson and Hayes's-rivers were but different branches of the same river, which divided about one hundred miles above York-fort, forming an island betwixt them. The greater part of the natives that trade at York-fort, I was told, came down the branch called Hayes's-river; it being reckoned by them much the shorter way, and not so wide and dangerous as Nelson-branch. But upon examining the interpreters more closely, they could not make it appear, that the natives found much greater difficulties in coming down or going up the one than the other; and the only substantial reason I could find for the preference, was, that as York-fort lay upon Hayes's-river, and Nelson-river was very broad below, they could not bring their furs round by sea below the point of the island which divides the branches, without great danger, nor conveniently carry them by land across the island. But with regard to the difficulties of navigating the different branches, which were so magnified on the Nelson side, I argued thus: They both proceed from the same level of water at the head of the island, one hundred miles above the factory; and at the sea are again upon an equal level; if then there were greater falls or sharps upon Nelson-river (as they allow it was longer in its course) than upon Hayes's-river, there must be more upon Hayes's-river; and the distances betwixt fall and fall upon Nelson, must be greater and the waters more level, than upon Hayes's-river; as a fall of three feet in ten, must be twice as sharp as a fall of three feet in twenty: therefore I concluded, that there was as good going up and down Nelson-river as Hayes's-river; which upon examination I afterwards found true.

In the year 1744, on occasion of a French war, the Company thought it expedient to winter the Sea-horse frigate, captain Fowler, in the Bay. He accordingly wintered in Churchill-river; but as soon as the river was open, and the ice was cleared from the shore, he sailed from thence to Hayes's-river, to be ready upon the approach of any of the enemy's ships, to take up the buoys and beacons, and run up a-breast of the factory. In this interval of leisure, captain Fowler prevailed with the governor to lend him the factory's long boat, that he and I might sound Nelson-river; for it was then totally unknown to the Company's servants, whether a ship could go in or out: a point surely well worth determining, as the ships, which always lie in five-fathom-hole, the entrance of which is very bad, might be secure of a retreat in case of danger from storms or an enemy. Accordingly, on the 15th July, 1745, we left the ship in five-fathom-hole to go upon this expedition; and a journal of the soundings and the courses of the river is added in the appendix.[see Appendix IV]

When we entered the river's mouth, it blew a fresh gale; and soon after there came on so thick a fog, that we could not see the shore on either side. We had now a rough sea, and only three feet water, and if the boat had struck and filled here we must inevitably have perished; for in two casts more of the line, which the man cast as quick as he could, we found ourselves in eight fathom water. When the fog blew off sufficiently to let us see the shore on both sides, we steered up the river along the north shore, and passed Seal island, beyond which we met a strong stream, but having a fair wind we sailed up 'till we found smooth water. Soon after we returned and pitched our tent upon a fine gravelly point of Gillam's island, where our boat lay very safely all night.

The next day we made our observations upon the islands, and along the banks; but in all our searches no signs could be discovered of their having ever been a settlement upon this river. I went up much higher than the Company would have fixed a factory, if one may judge from their factories upon other rivers; and the trees all the way were of full size and growing near the edge on both sides, without a single stump among them, or the least token of any having ever been cut down: but where there is a settlement, a great quantity of wood is cut down in one year's time, and that is taken which is nearest and to be got with least labour. Indeed when I was up this river in the winter, I found in a creek on the north side, a little way above Gillam's island, two or three stumps of large trees; but I immediately conjectured, that they must have been cut down many years ago by persons who had accidentally tented in that creek; for the stumps were very old and decayed, and they do not decay fast in this country. Besides, if any of the Company's ships had ever gone up this river, the entrance of it could not have been unknown in 1745: neither would they have left it to settle upon Hayes's-river, where they had a settlement above sixty years ago when the French took possession of it, and gave the name of Fort Bourbon to what the Company at first called Port Nelson from the master of Sir Thomas Button's ship, but afterwards York-fort in compliment to the duke of York; nor would they have had two factories so near each other. Indeed, either thro' ignorance or design, the old name of Port Nelson has been since restored; the Company's letters in 1688, 1690, and 1691 being addressed to governor Geyer and council at Port Nelson; yet the answers to these very letters are all of them dated from York-fort. From the whole therefore it is evident, that no settlement has ever been made upon the branch called Nelson-river, since the date of the Company's charter.

As we walked along the river side we saw many stones in shape and colour like a cannon ball; and upon breaking them against larger stones we found that the inside also looked like iron. Up another river, called Ship-river, a few miles eastward along shore from York-fort, there is a bank abounding with these round stones. When we had repassed the mouth of the river and were got near the ship, it being then young flood and a fine afternoon, the white whales appeared upon the surface in such shoals, that we could look no way round without seeing a company of thirty or forty going into the river with the flood. I had seen many at Churchill-river, but here the number was much greater. We got aboard about seven o'clock.

At the close of this year I took a second survey of Nelson-river from Flamborough-head upwards, and also of Seal and Gillam's islands; it being my opinion that if ever the trade of these countries is improved, Seal-island is the properest place for the principal factory and settlement. It was about the end of January 1745 when I completed this perambulation. The river was frozen fast every where except at Flamborough-head, and where captain Fowler and I attempted to sail up, which I now found we had almost effected when we turned back. However, as these streams were not frozen, it was evident that here were the sharpest falls I had met with. I saw many rabbet-tracks on both sides the river, in the creeks, and on the island. I shot a pheasant also and some partridges; and had not the weather been exceedingly severe, I should have attempted to fish. But the few days I was out, the cold happened to be more intense than it was at any other time throughout the season, and I had no more cloathing upon me than what I usually wore in the warmest days in winter: this consisted of breeches made of thin deer-skin not lined, a cloth waistcoat, and Elk-skin coat, and a pretty thick covering upon my head, hands, legs and feet. I suffered only in my thighs, which were ready to freeze whenever I walked against the wind, and would have frozen if I had not rubbed them very frequently.

I met with the same opposition, and heard the same common-place stories, upon proposing this second visit to Nelson-river as I did on occasion of the first: but I had now acquired more experience, and was therefore less likely to forego an expedition upon which my heart was bent. I shall here relate a few particulars of it, chiefly to give the reader an idea of the method of travelling thro' this country, and to enable him to account for the long journies which it is pretended the natives take whenever they come down to our factories.

I set out from the fort in company with one William Allen, and went to a tent fifteen miles up Hayes's-river, where we lay that night. Next morning it snowed much, and the weather was foggy: but having a draught of the island and rivers thus far up, and both the tent places being marked, I thought we might safely venture to beat a path across the island, which would enable our dog to go with us more easily the next day. This dog hawled a sled with near three quarters of a hundred weight upon it; but the snow being deep, he had no hold for his feet but sunk at every step. Accordingly we set out, steering by the compass; for the weather still continued very thick, and the snow fell plentifully. We made but small progress in our snow-shoes, which were three feet and a half long, and one foot and a quarter broad, beating a path of the breadth of two feet. When we had travelled about three hours my mate began to fear that we were lost. He said he was sure we had gone more than seven miles (for I had told him in the morning that it was above seven miles to Nelson-river) and it was his opinion that we were travelling directly into the inland country. I comforted him by the most earnest assurances that we were right, and repeating frequently that as the snow was deep we advanced but slowly, having gone not half so far as he imagined: and upon the strength of this we went forward an hour longer. It was now my own opinion that we were near the river, and the weather clearing up, I climbed a tall tree to look for it, but could observe nothing by which to form a judgment of our situation. It therefore occurred to me that some accident had occasioned a variation of the needle, and that we had indeed wandered out of the way. However I took no notice of this to my comrade, but endeavoured to keep up his spirits by chearful conversation. The weather thickened again more than ever, the snow fell in greater quantities, and the day was far spent. Having no mind to take up my residence where we were, I told Allen that we would only light a small fire in order to make some bumbo with melted snow, and return immediately to the tent. He complied, tho' with many asseverations that we should not reach the tent before dark; and after having cleared away the snow, made a fire, and refreshed ourselves, we turned back in our beaten path, and arrived at the tent in a little more than an hour and a half. We found every thing safe; and the next morning, the weather proving very fine and clear, we got all our necessaries together, and set out with the dog, who now travelled with great ease. We had good walking till we got to the extent of our path, but then found the same obstructions we had met with the preceding day. Nevertheless we kept on our course for many hours, till my poor mate was a second time driven almost to despair. I bade him climb the next tree we came to, and before he was half way up he discovered the river. I then climbed it myself, and saw plainly that we were steering right for the tent, where we arrived a little before dark. This difficulty of walking thro' the country renders the computed distances very inaccurate: I measured some of them, and found them less by two thirds than what they were rated at.

The natives talk of two moons as the shortest time in which they perform their journies to the factories: but it is to be considered, that they are an improvident and lazy people, having no concern but for the subsistence of the present day; and that they are perpetually wandering out of the way to hunt for provisions, and loitering when they have procured them. This, together with the obstructions they must unavoidably meet with in travelling a pathless country, will easily account for the length of time they mention, without supposing that they come from places at several hundred miles distance, and that the continent is of such a prodigious extent to the westward. My mate and I travelled very hard; and yet if we had crossed the island in one uninterrupted journey, though the distance between tent and tent is not eight miles, it would have required near eight hours to have performed it in: and even when but little snow had fallen, and it was very good walking without snow-shoes, I have not been able to accomplish the same journey in less than six hours. If the reader is still doubtful of the fact, let him make the experiment himself in any pathless piece of coppice, marsh, or heath: let him also carry sixty or seventy pounds weight, (for the natives always come laden to the factories;) and let him travel in this manner for several days together; and then see how many miles he will be able to go in eight hours, day after day. And yet this would not be equal to the taking long journies in snow-shoes, and through light snow, where he must lift his foot at every step as if he was ascending steep stairs. I was now ordered to a different station; but before I leave York-fort, I will give some account of its situation and strength.

York-fort [3] stands above high-water-mark, about eighty yards from Hayes's-river, and four miles from the sea. It is built with logs of white fir eight or nine inches square, which are laid one upon another. In the summer the water beats between the logs, keeping the timber continually damp; and in the winter the white frost gets through, which being thawed by the heat of the stoves, has the same effect: so that with the water above and the damp below, the timber both of the foundation and super-structure rots so fast, that in twenty-five or thirty years the whole fort must be rebuilt with fresh timber, which with the great quantity used for firing, will occasion a scarcity there in a few years.

It has four bastions, but not fit for cannon: the distance between the salient angle of each bastion is ninety feet. On each curtain there are three pateraroes, or swivel-guns, and loop-holes for small arms: it is also surrounded by two rows of pallisadoes, some three inches thick, and the largest seven inches; but there is no ditch. The wall is of wood, eight or nine inches thick. The magazine is in the west bastion; its wall is of the same thickness as the fort-wall, its floor is raised two feet and a half or three feet above the level of the fort, and its sides are lined with slit-deal plaistered. Upon the banks of the river are planted two batteries from twelve to six pounders, one of four guns, the other of ten. A guard of thirty men was kept in the fort during the late war, and while the sea-horse wintered in the Bay it consisted of thirty-six.


From this description it is plain, that York-fort has not strength enough to resist a vigorous attack: the bringing only one six-pounder against it on the land-side, where the batteries on the river could be of no service, would be sufficient to make the men surrender or abandon it; a six-pounder planted behind the fort, at such a distance that no gun upon the fort could answer it, would pierce it through and through: and surely a prudent man would not stay to defend it in such circumstances, when the first ball might blow up the magazine, and fort, and all that were near it: the only thing left for resolute courage to do, would be to meet the enemy in the field, tho' twice superior in number.

When I had been here two or three months, and the whole mess were together in the governor's apartment, I said, that it was usual in such buildings as the fort, to have a foundation of brick or stone; which would preserve the super-structure from decaying much longer than if it was raised only upon logs of wood laid level in the ground. The governor replied, that they would have taken this method if bricks could have been procured; and every one present acknowleged the superior advantages of such a foundation. I then rejoined, that since bricks could not be got, stones would answer the purpose equally, if not better; and there was great plenty of them upon the flats on Hayes's-river. The governor answered peevishly, that those stones would not make a foundation; and the carpenter supported the assertion, by alleging the difficulty of levelling the stones fit for the logs to lie upon (which in fact could be done as easily here as at Churchill-river;) and adding another assertion, that the driving spikes into the logs would shake such a foundation to pieces; as if a brick of five or six pounds could bear more force than a stone of ten times the weight. The stones upon the flats are hard and white; and not only fit for a foundation, but for strong walls: I have seen very good walls built with much worse. But notwithstanding this abundant plenty of good stone, they have persisted in building their forts with wood, and upon no other foundation than logs laid level in the ground; the consequence of which is, that they are reduced to rebuild them every twenty-five or thirty years: whereas if they had laid down a stone-foundation, the forts would have lasted three times as long, and saved the Company two thirds of the expence.

In the year 1745 I wrote a letter to the Company upon the comparative advantages of building their foundations at least, with stone rather than wood; in which I represented,

"That the evil of being obliged to rebuild their forts every twenty-five or thirty years, could not be remedied but by laying their foundations in a different manner, or making them of different materials. Logs laid in the ground, tho' of the very best oak, must be subject to unavoidable decay from the wet that continually surrounds them; and it was well known, that the timber in the upper works of every building will endure many years longer than the timber at the bottom, if it be not raised high enough to preserve it from the damps of the earth.

"That in those parts of England where stone and brick are scarce, they drive pieces of oak into the ground two or three feet deep, whose upper ends are tenanted into the under side of the sill or bottom of the timber house, supporting it a foot or more above the ground, and the spaces between these piles are filled up with flints and pebbles, or whatever can be got. These piles, when decayed, may be taken out; and new ones may be fixed in their places, without injuring the superstructure.

"That if the expence of building stone-foundations be compared with the advantages, it will be found to be very inconsiderable. Suppose that a wooden fort was to be built in any place in the Bay where stones are to be got: a mason in England would get stones, and lay a foundation for such a building as York-fort, for less than twenty pounds; but allowing for the difference of the price of labour in Hudson's-Bay, a stone-bottom raised a foot or more above the ground would not exceed fifty pounds. Upon this the fort might be erected; round which I would have pieces two or three inches square fastened perpendicularly against the log-wall about a foot asunder, their ends resting upon the stone-bottom: these should be well lathed and rough-cast with good mortar; by which means the log-wall would be kept secure from wet, and would last as long as the beams or any of the timber within: it is evident upon inspecting any old building, that timber carefully kept from wet will remain sound and serviceable sixty or eighty years. Now if the expence of keeping a fort strong and fit for service sixty or eighty years, be compared with that of rebuilding it twice within the same time, there surely can be no room for hesitating which method to take; especially if it be considered, of what importance it is to keep the woods near the settlements from being cut away, and how great a saving of timber a stone-foundation would make every time the fort was rebuilt. I remember to have seen rough-cast about the old fort upon Hayes's-river: but it was laid on in such a manner that the wet got in behind, and kept there in spite of sun or wind; so that the timber rotted as fast, as if it had lain against a bank of wet earth.

"That there is a method to make under-settings to buildings of wood, much less expensive than an entire stone or brick foundation. A fort of the dimensions of York-fort may be supported by forty-eight stone or brick piers, one at each salient and re-entring angle; with a pier or two under each face and curtain. The interstices between these piers may be made of any stuff that can be got, and repaired at any time without disturbing the superstructure. If lime cannot easily be got for these purposes, stones might be prepared in the Orknies or elsewhere, each large enough to make a pier, and not exceed five hundred weight. Forty-eight of these stones would sustain such a fort as York-fort, and the whole would not cost above six pounds in the Orknies: fifty of them would be about twelve or thirteen tons. Stone or brick piers may be put under a building of timber after it is erected, which would make it endure many years long then it would without them." The Company took not the least notice of these remonstrances.

In the summer, 1746, I received the following letter:

Hudson's-Bay house, London April 30th, 1746.

Mr. Joseph Robson,


"We received your letter of the 5th of August, and observe the contents; and also the several draughts you mentioned; and have paid your wife's bill for ten pounds, as you desired. We have thought proper to remove you to Prince of Wales's-fort, where you are to act in the same station as surveyor and supervisor of the buildings: and we expect that you exert yourself in the repairs, and whatever may be necessary in strengthening the fort; and that you send us a draught of the river, &c. We remain your loving friends."

Signed by the governor, deputy governor, and six of the committee.

In obedience to this order I embarked aboard the Churchill-sloop,—Horner master, which happened to come to York-fort, and arrived at Churchill-river the 18th of August. After two or three days I began to correct the erroneous method the men were then taking in building the stone parapet; which brought on the resentment of the governor, who renewed the customary opposition against me, notwithstanding the unlimited powers given me by the Company. There was among them a man who had been lately sent over under the character of engineer, in the exercise of which office he had just before I arrived passed his approbation upon the only two embrassures that were finished: but when I examined them and pointed out their errors and defects, he retracted his former opinion, and was as peremptory in his disapprobation. By this and other proofs, I was soon convinced, that he knew very little of the theory of military architecture, and less of the practice: however, I made a point of having his concurrence for the sake of order, and he very complaisantly acquiesced in every thing I proposed. I laid down the lines of an embrassure upon a floor in full proportion according to the best modern rules, and he resolutely supported the propriety of them against the outrageous cavils of the governor, telling him that my method would bear demonstration, and he would take upon himself to answer for the event. Thus I hoped I should be enabled to keep that part of the parapet which we were to be employed upon that season, out of the power of ignorance and precipitation. When the frost became so severe that we could no longer lay any mortar, I employed myself in making coins for the embrassures, but without offering to consult the opinion of the governor about them, who I was certain would not fail to be on the contrary side: and finding by this, that the authority of his office would avail him but little against such united opposition, before Christmas he estranged himself from four of the mess, the surgeon, the master of the sloop, the titular engineer, and myself. The engineer, however, beginning to reflect that he had hitherto sacrificed his interest to his complaisance, and that nothing was to be produced by siding with us but the displeasure and ill offices of the governor, left us very soon, and lived by himself for several weeks, waiting, as we could easily perceive, to be restored to favour. He succeeded at last by disavowing all our proceedings; and the governor finding his party strengthened, ordered all the coins I had made before winter to be altered to his own method: in consequence of which, the following spring was lost to the building, and the parapet was entirely spoiled.

When I came to England I sollicited a long time for an opportunity of laying a true state of this affair before the Company: at length they sent for me from Portsmouth by the following letter;

London, 19th December, 1747.

Mr. Robson,

"The gentlemen have received your letter, and cannot pay your bill until they have had some discourse with you touching your draughts, and some other things that lie before them; therefore they desire you to attend on Wednesday the 13th of January next at ten o'clock in the morning."

Your humble servant,

Charles Hay secretary.

I attended accordingly, and demonstrated by the models in the committee room, that my method of conducting the building was right, and the governor's wrong. The committee acknowleged it to be so: yet such is their partiality for their principal officers, that all present, except Sir Atwell Lake, treated me with great rigour and disrespect: and governor Knap in particular said, "That they found their fort was spoiled and good for nothing, and that I had a great hand in building it." This ungenerous speech shocked me, as it retracted the acknowlegement they had just before unanimously made, and seemed calculated to withdraw the attention of the rest from the demonstrative evidence I had given, that my skill and care had been usefully exerted. In vain I urged the integrity of my conduct, and remonstrated that by my invariable attention to the Company's interest, I had exposed myself to the resentment and cruelty of the governor, whose behaviour to me rendered my manner of life almost intolerable, and that not for a day or a week, but for years; my arguments produced no effect: nor was the least notice taken of any of the representations I had made them, since my first arrival in the Bay; but I was dismissed their service as a man who had constantly neglected his duty.

The reader will from hence see the uncontrolable influence which the governors in the Bay maintain over the Company; an influence which neither omissions of duty, positive injuries with regard to their interest, oppression of their servants, nor the worst of crimes, is capable of diminishing. The governor at Churchill-river had a thousand times rendered himself unworthy of society: the surgeon, soon after my arrival there, told me of his cruelties to the servants with tears in his eyes; and the account he gave me was then attested by every other intelligent man, and afterwards abundantly confirmed by my own experience. The surgeon laid before the Company a full and clear representation of this man's crimes; and it was expected that he would be ordered to England, the year I came away: but he was continued in his office without any diminution either of honour or profit, and the surgeon treated with unparalleled neglect.

It is not very difficult to assign the true reason of this extraordinary policy in the Company with regard to their superior officers, and I may hereafter take an opportunity of explaining it: nor is the ground of the oppressive and cruel behaviour of the governors and captains towards the inferior servants a more impenetrable secret. These men have generally sea-officers principles, and exert the same arbitrary command, and expect the same slavish obedience here, as is done on board a ship. But as this sort of government is not necessary, so it will not be submitted to: and the extreme rigour on one hand, and the impatient sense of it on the other, are a perpetual source of personal disgust; which discovers itself in ineffectual complaints and murmurings from the servants, and in the most malicious cruelties and oppressions from the officers. But farther, as they have positive instructions in what manner they are to treat those servants, who happen to be too active and inquisitive for the Compay's interest; they go a step higher, and use the same methods of security with regards to their own inteest; and either treat with great severity, or find a pretence for sending home laden with faults, any man whom they suspect has sense enough to detect, and spirit enough to expose any of their unjust gains, particularly those of the over-plus-trade.

This over-plus trade is big with iniquity; and is no less inconsistent with the Company's true interest, than it is injurious to the natives, who by means of it became more and more alienated from us, and are either discouraged from hunting at all, or induced to carry all their furs to the French. The Company have fixed a standard for trade, as the rule by which the governors are to deal with the natives. According to this they raise upon some of the goods, which they know the natives must or will take, a gain of near £2000 per cent, computing by the value of a beaver-skin, which is made the measure of every thing else: so that a beaver-skin which is often sold for eight shillings, is purchased at the low rate of four-pence or six-pence. This extravagant gain discourages the natives, considerably lessens the consumption of British manufactures, and gives the French an opportunity of underselling the Company, and carrying off the best and lightest furs to Canada. Yet not content with this, the governors add to the price of their goods, exact many more furs from the natives than is required by the standard, and sometimes pay them not equally for furs of the same value; and I wish it could not be said, that taking advantage of the necessities of this abused people, who as they have no other market to go to are obliged to submit to any terms that are imposed upon them, they derive some gains also from weights and measures. This they call the profit of the over-plus trade; part of which they always add to the Company's stock for the sake of enhancing the merit of their services, and apply the remainder to their own use, which is often expended in bribes to skreen their faults and continue them in their command. It is this trade that is the great bond of union between the governors and captains, who are so extremely watchful over their strange privileges, that, as I said before, if there is the least suspicion of a man's having understanding enough to discover their iniquities, and honesty enough to detest and expose them, he is sure to be undermined in the Company's esteem; he is kept as ignorant of the trade and nature of the country as possible; and when his time is expired, if not before, is sent home with such a character as will effectually hinder his return.

It is certain that the cruel and oppressive behaviour of the governors and captains towards the inferior servants, not only deters useful people from engaging in the Company's service, a circumstance which they ought to attend to for their own interest; but furnishes one pretence for the bad character that is given of the country. Those men that are driven from it by ill usage, come home with minds embittered and full of resentment; and finding no redress from the Company, they make a point of discouraging others from going thither, by magnifying the distresses they have undergone, without mentioning a single circumstance to counter-balance them. But there are others, that from very different motives, give an impression of the country not at all to its advantage; who rather than not establish a character for capacity and resolution, do it at the expence of truth; and they think they safely do it, as it is not likely that they will be soon detected. A man in Hudson's-Bay has not much opportunity for signalizing himself: his sphere of action is confined within the very narrow limits of carrying large logs of wood, walking in snow-shoes, setting traps, hunting and fowling. The being a dextrous hunter, and travelling well in show-shoes, are esteemed the chief points of honour: they, therefore give the most romantic account of their journies, magnify every little difficulty into a more than Herculean labour, and endeavour to convince their hearers, that nothing could have carried them through, less than the most consummate strength of mind and body: hence people have imagined, that it must be the last distress that can drive a man to a country, where he has so few chances not only for comfortable subsistance but for life itself. It must be acknowleged indeed, that upon his first arrival in the Bay, an Englishman makes a very disadvantageous comparison between the appearance of that country and his own; and it may be a year or two before he is thoroughly reconciled to the climate and the manner of living; but it is an indisputable fact, that those who have staid there their full time, and have lived tolerably under the governor, had rather go back again than enjoy the same advantages in their native country: I myself am an instance of this; and I have heard the captains frequently attest the same of others. This inclination, therefore, to return to Hudson's-Bay, when thus founded upon an experimental knowlege of the country, is surely a much stronger proof of its being very habitable, than all the stories which have been propagated by the idle or the interested are of the contrary. For my own part, if I had paid the least credit to the frightful tales I heard upon my arrival, I should not have ventured six miles from my place of residence. But that the reader may have a more perfect knowlege of the country, I will give some account of the soil and climate at York-fort and Churchill-river.

It is not to be imagined, that the most northerly settlements in the Bay, should have as good a climate as the southerly settlements, there being so great a difference of latitude as from 59 deg. to 51 deg. 30 min. I was no farther up Churchill-river than eight or nine miles; but those who have been up thirty miles say, that there are pleasant meadows and good grass, that the soil is very good, and that there are gooseberries and black and red currants growing near the sea, upon points that appear almost barren. Those that I have seen grow so low that the grass covers them. The marshes and low grounds are full of good grass; and there is a patch of ground near the fort on Eskimaux-point which, though exposed to the north and north-east winds, produces good radishes, coleworts, turnips, small carrots, and lettices and other sallading: black-berries also grow upon the heath. Upon clearing away the snow in the spring, we generally found the under part of it congealed to ice three or four inches thick, lying hollow from the ground. Whether this was caused by the snow's melting and thawing downwards, and then congealing from the coldness of the earth; or by the sun's drawing up thawing vapours from the earth, and moistening the snow which was afterwards congealed again, I am not able to determine. I am inclined to believe the latter, because the top of the snow was formed into a hard icy crust, and within it was heavy tho' soft. However, beneath this arch of ice we found green vegetables growing up an inch or two above the ground. The cattle here would live and do well, if the same care was taken of them as is generally taken in England. The horses I found among them had been kept several years, and were constantly employed in drawing stones and other materials for the use of the fort. And if they can subsist and be fit for service at Churchill-river in 59 deg. they would surely subsist and increase also at the bottom of the Bay, in 51 deg. 30 min. and in all the southerly settlements.

The soil about York-fort, which is in 57 deg. 10 min. is much better than that at Churchill-river. Most kinds of garden-stuff grow here to perfection, particularly pease and beans. I have seen a small pea growing without any culture; and am of opinion that barley would flourish here, and consequently in much greater perfection at Moose and Albany-rivers, which are in 51 deg. 30 min. and 52 deg. Gooseberries and red and black currants are found in the woods growing upon such bushes as in England. Up the river are patches of very good ground; and battones under banks, so defended from the north and north-west winds, that there is a fine thaw below when the top is freezing: here whole families might procure a comfortable subsistence, if they were as industrious as they are in their own country. Upon Hayes's-river, fifteen miles from the fort, is such a bank as I have just mentioned, near which I pitched my tent: after paling in some ground, for a coney-warren, and for oxen, sheep, goats, &c. I should expect by no more labour than would be proper for my health, to procure a desirable livelihood; not at all doubting of my being able to raise pease and beans, barley and probably other kinds of grain. The island on which York-fort stands, is more capable of improvement than can be imagined in such a latitude, and so near the Bay. It is narrow twenty miles up from the sea; so that drains might be cut to very useful purpose. I cut a drain near the fort, to dry a piece of ground for a battery of four cannon, which afterwards wore quite a new face; the snow did not lie upon it near so long as before, and the grass flourished with new vigor. I observed also, that before the snow was thoroughly thawed, several vegetables were springing up beneath it; and by the time it had left only a very thin shell of ice, these vegetables were grown up three or four inches.

In September 1745 I tried the frost in the ground, by digging in a plain near the fort. I dug three feet and a half before I came to the frost, which was eight inches thick. I then struck an iron bar eighteen inches below the frozen vein, and found the earth very dry, the frost having stopped the passage of the water for nine months; and it might be a month longer before the thaw would enable it to get so low: it must thaw every year, or no water would ever penetrate so deep. This, however, is not necessary to vegetation; since three feet and a half of soil is sufficient, not only for all kinds of grain, but also for timber, which seldom strikes its roots so deep, unless it be in the crevices of rocks. As the frost does not penetrate four feet and a half, the water has full three months to thaw it in, and is certainly able to effect it in that time; though perhaps the frost may return again above, before the thaw is thoroughly completed below; and this, probably, is the case with all level and moist grounds: but in dry grounds, or in moist grounds with southern declivities, it may be otherwise. It is the moisture that communicates the freezing quality, and where that fails the frost can proceed no farther: in swamps or wet plains, therefore, or in northern declivities where the sun is weak, the frost enters as far as there is any moisture, is very long in thawing, and sometimes continues in the ground the whole year; but in dry ground it has but little power, and even in wet grounds that have a southern declivity, the frost does not keep possession so long; for the moisture acquires from the sun in the day, a warmth that it retains all night, and it may be a thaw under ground while the surface is freezing. Cultivated land also thaws much sooner than barren. I perceived that the garden-ground at York-fort and Churchill-river thawed much sooner and deeper in the space of one month, than the waste that lies contiguous to it; and the same is to be observed in England. By the heat therefore which the earth here would acquire from a general and careful cultivation, the frost might be so soon overcome, that the people might expect regular returns of seed-time and harvest.

The natural produce of Hudson's-Bay grows very fast, and comes to perfection much sooner than that of England. The alteration of the weather is very sudden and great: the wind veering perpetually between north and south, occasions a perpetual alternate change of summer and winter, which should prevail upon those who go abroad to provide against the worst that can happen; a stranger to the climate ought never to venture out alone. These sudden alterations, however, make me conjecture that the climate differs much in a little way, especially in going from north to south; at York-fort the difference is less perceptible than at Churchill-river. In summer, when the wind is about west-south-west, it becomes sultry; and if it happens to blow fresh, it comes in hot gusts as if it blew from a fire, and the hardest gusts bring the greatest heat: but this is not the case when the wind blows from any other point. In winter, the sky west of the fort generally looks with a more thawing aspect, than in any other quarter except towards the east. I noted this in my journal, and concluded that these black watry clouds must be generated in places where the waters are not frozen; for when I observed them at west-by-south, I turned immediately to the east, where I knew was an open sea, and found that the clouds in that point had exactly the same appearance. The former is the point where the natives say is a deep strait, and the copper-mine. Frogs and some kinds of fish are found here frozen in solid pieces of ice, which upon the thaw recover their activity, and appear to have as much life as before. This was confirmed by laying them near a gentle fire: but upon exposing them afterwards to the frost, and bringing them to the fire a second time, they were always found dead.

I might here give a particular description of all the animals peculiar to this country; but as it does not enter into the nature of my design, and besides, has been already done by other writers about Hudson's-Bay, sufficiently enough to give a complete idea both of the benefits and evils that arise from them; I shall only relate an event or two with regard to the white bear, and then proceed to an account of the natives.

Governor White of York-fort told me that he and another being abroad together one winter, as they walked up the river, they discovered an opening in the bank, and upon looking into it found a white bear, which they killed. The beast in making this den had thrown up the earth behind her as she went in, with a design, they thought, of obliging herself to continue there the whole season of the frost, which had so hardened the earth, that a complete thaw only could deliver her: it was difficult even with hatchets and ice-chizzels to cut the mouth of the den wide enough to let the body through. Having at length accomplished this, they cut off the skin and fat, and left them with the carcase in the hole secure enough as they imagined from any beast that might happen to come that way: but before morning a quiquihatch or wolverine, a very strong, cunning and rapacious creature, had broke through the fence and devoured all but the bones. The governor communicated this story to an old Indian, and asked him, if it was common for the white bears that are big with young, as this proved to be, to bury themselves during the frost: he said no; but that when they do, it is with a design to stay in their holes till the frost is over, and they have brought forth their young; that they will live a long time without food; and that the black bear generally lies in his den as long as he finds any moisture in his paws to subsist on, but when that is gone he is forced abroad again: tho' it is more probable that he passes the winter-months in sleep.

While I was at Churchill-river, I went out one afternoon with my gun towards Eskimaux-point, and among some large stones that lie thereabouts, discovered an enormous bear. Not being above a quarter of a mile distant from the house, I was not much alarmed at the sight of this animal, but crept forwards with a design to shoot him. By this time he had winded me, and was making towards me I suppose in the expectation of meeting with a good prey: for presently after, when I raised myself behind a stone to look for him, he was reared on the other side to look for me. The surprize was mutual, depriving us both of the power of hurting each other: for he, turning suddenly upon his hind-feet, made off with great precipitation; and I, having lost my recollection, did not think of firing till he was far out of my reach. Indeed I never heard, that a bear will seize upon a man before he is attacked and wounded himself. I have been present at the killing of several white bears, and never saw an instance of their turning upon a man but once. We had hunted the creature many hours first on land and afterwards at sea: being almost spent with the loss of blood, and forced to quit the water, he made one bold effort to come ashore; but finding himself surrounded, so that he could make no way up the country, he ran with open mouth at one Richard Walton, in order to force a passage. The man had the presence of mind to fire his piece, and the bear being wounded by it took to the sea again; and tho' pursued for several hours more, made his escape at last under shelter of the night. There is no beast truly dangerous but the grizzled bear; and he always keeps up the country in a warmer climate, where indeed he makes dreadful ravages, devouring whole families in a short time.

The natives are a white people, without any thing peculiar in their shape and size to distinguish them from the rest of mankind. They are less hairy, indeed, than the Europeans, the men having little or no beard; and those who have conversed with the women say, that they have no hair but upon their heads. Every master of a family of any eminence keeps by him a small parcel, for which he has a most superstitious reverence. This he calls his father's head, and is highly provoked if any one offers to look into it; but upon examination it has proved to be nothing more than a bundle of feathers tied round with a piece of leather. They have a religious apprehension of some malevolent and capricious being, whom they are frequently afraid of; for when they eat, they throw a piece of flesh into the fire as a kind of offering to him, and when they go out in their canoes, they cast something ashore to render him propitious. At other times, as capricious themselves as the god they worship, they go out in parties with guns and hatchets to kill him; and at their return will boast that they have killed him, telling where they have set up the painted stick in testimony of their success. A tradition prevails among them, that all the people of the country were drowned except eight, who were saved in a canoe.

They make pretensions to divination; for the exercise of which they form a square close tent, by laying skins upon four sticks cut green from the tree, peeled, and fixed perpendicularly in the ground. Into this they enter, staying two or three hours; in which time many future events, they say, are made known to them. Some of our people are weak enough to give credit to this prophetic spirit. In the year 1735 the ship was so late in coming from England, that the governor very seriously applied to an Indian to inform him what was become of her; and after her arrival he assured us that the man had told him the exact truth. This power of divination, it seems, is checked, if an Englishman approaches the tent.

They have a generous sense of property, and a disdain of oppression: the largest beasts and fowls, they say, are their own; and they call all the Company's servants, except the governor, slaves. They are exemplary in their affection to the orphans of the same family; for upon the death of the parents the children are divided among the nearest of kin, who feed and take care of them preferably to their own.

When an Indian dies, they usually bury all he possesses with him, because, they think he will want it in the other country, where, they say, their friends are making merry as often as they see an Aurora-borealis. The corpse being placed upon its hams, the grave is filled up and covered over with brush-wood, in which they put some tobacco; and near the grave is fixed a pole with a deer skin, or some other skin, at the top. This method of placing the corpse is no longer observed by the people who resort to the English factories; but the upland Indians still retain their ancient customs. I have heard that the superannuated and helpless among them are strangled at their own request; which ceremony is always performed by the nearest relations, who, after placing these voluntary victims in a grave, finish the horrid task after the manner of the Turkish bow-string.

They describe days by the times of sleeping, years by winters, and different parts of the year by moons; as the frog-moon, or the season when the frogs spawn, which is in May or June; the geese-moon, when the geese fly across the country to breed; and other moons, distinguished by some stated appearance.

They are fond of the taste of brandy, and of being intoxicated with it; esteeming it an honour to be drunk, and striving who shall continue so longest: indeed this is a corruption not of their own growth, but introduced among them by the folly and villainy of Europeans. Instead of using water, they cleanse themselves with grease and oil; and when they have a mind to be ornamented, they paint their faces with a kind of red and yellow oaker, which with a string of beads hanging at the nose, and a piece of greasy red cloth fixed on one side of the head, makes an Indian as fine as he desires to be.

They use for an emetic a herb called cockapocko, and after the operation another herb called woshapocko; and their method of sweating themselves is to sit in a close tent by a heap of heated stones. Before the use of kettles was introduced among them, they dressed their meat in a wooden or birch-rind dish, heating the water, and keeping it boiling by constantly putting in these hot stones. They eat as much flesh at a time as will serve three or four Europeans; but then they can fast three or four times as long: and these habits of voraciousness and abstinence seem to be determined by their natural temper, and their taste of life; for they are lazy and improvident, lying in their tents and feasting upon their stock till they have not a day's provision left; and if they are unfortunate enough to fail of a supply before their power of fasting is gone, they perish with hunger. This has given birth to many stories of their being reduced to eat the skins that cover them, and sometimes their children. Many families in their journey to the factories have been so near starving, that they have fainted by the way, and must have perished, if some among them had not been strong enough to come to the governors for relief.

Upon going out to hunt, and at the death, they sing two songs, the latter at the head of the beast; a practice that prevails among more refined, but less innocent sportsmen here. If several different parties of hunters happen to meet in the pursuit, they do not regard who kills the beast, but share the prey in common. The chief of a family has an appropriated part, which, by way of distinction, he dresses himself: a woman is not suffered to touch it, nor to perform the least part of the culinary office, nor even to be present at the feast. When he thinks it is boiled enough, he takes it out of the kettle, and gives the first piece to the man he respects most, proceeding in this manner through the whole company. They have a maxim very prejudicial to the country, which is, that the more beasts they kill, the more they increase; and in consequence of this they destroy great numbers for the sake of the tongues, leaving the carcases to rot.

The families take down their tents in the morning, and the chief orders where they shall be pitched at night. In winter when they can follow his tract in the snow, he leaves the women to strike the tent, and come after him with the baggage; and where they find a long white stick fixed in the ground, they pitch the tent again till the next morning. At night the man comes home and sits down, but without speaking, while his wife pulls off his wet cloaths, and cleanses his face with grease or oil: he then takes the chief seat, and begins to talk.

In marrying they have the eastern custom of a plurality of wives; though they generally content themselves with two, which are as many as they can well maintain by hunting. They are not very susceptible of the tender passions; for an Indian will gladly lend his wife to an Englishman for a bottle of brandy. It is customary for the man upon his marriage to leave his own friends, and live with his wife's father, to whose defence and subsistence he devotes himself for the remainder of his life, which makes the having daughters a much more desirable part of their possessions than sons. A woman once in her life separates herself from all kind of converse, and lives three weeks alone; in which time, those who administer to her, leave her food in a certain place, and return immediately without speaking. I employed a man who understood the language, and was intimate with several of the people of both sexes, to enquire into the nature and end of this ceremony: but with all his art and address he was never able to obtain more than a general knowlege of the fact.

At their feasts and merry meetings, when they are disposed to dance, the company join hands and shuffle round the musician, who sits upon the ground, and beats a kind of drum, the dismal sound of which he accompanies with a more dismal tone of voice. They smoke brazil-tobacco mixed with a peculiar herb, of which both sexes and all ages are fond to excess. They have even stated entertainments of smoaking; on which occasion a pipe is produced, ornamented with feathers of various kinds. This pipe is two feet long, the bowl being made of stone, and the barrel of wood: the principal man has always the privilege of lighting it, who after taking his share of whiffs, gives it to the second in eminence; proceeding through the whole company with such equitable management, that the last man, who constantly finishes, has very seldom a larger or smaller share than the first. When the business of traffic is over at the factory, they smoak after the same manner in the governor's room, always depositing the pipe with him as a kind of pledge for their return the following year. This ornamented pipe is what I suppose the French call the calumet of peace. The Indians generally travel with one, which they offer to any party of a different nation that they happen to meet with; and their accepting it, and smoaking with them, are considered as an exchange of peace and friendship.

The governors make titular officers of those who are accounted the best huntsmen and warriors, and most esteemed for their understanding by the rest of the party. To each of these they give a coat, a pair of breeches and a hat, appointing him captain of a river. It is the opinion of those who live at great distance from the factories, that the English are a kind of creators of all the goods they sell; and when we first appeared in the Bay, the people on the coast believed us to be inhabitants of the water, because they saw us come from the sea, and return thither again.

The true character of the inland natives is, that they are plain and ignorant, but very gentle, and disposed to receive any impression. Their chief vice is laziness: but all they have of ill may in a great measure be removed, and all they want of good be supplied, by a proper and generous cultivation. They behave well to the English, but better to the French, because the French have taken more pains to civilize their manners, and engage their esteem.

The Indians upon the coasts and in the islands have customs peculiar to themselves, very different from those of the uplanders on the continent. Of these I may possibly speak hereafter; but shall now proceed with an account of the many oportunities that still remain for enlarging discoveries by sea and land, and for improving many beneficial articles of trade, particularly the fisheries. And first, there are several reasons to support a belief, that the land which separates Hudson's-Bay from the western-ocean, must be narrow to the northward of Churchill-river, if it should prove to be continuous, and without a navigable passage.

The rivers north of Churchill, that have yet been discovered, are very inconsiderable. Seal and Pocathusko are the only ones; the latter in 59: 30, small but well wooded; the former in 60, somewhat larger, running a considerable way from the south-west. Knapp's-Bay is only a deep inlet; and nothing but inlets have appeared upon the coasts, discovered by the ships sent out in search of a north-west-passage. There are no rivers near Whale-cove nor Rankin's-inlet; nor on the coast from thence to Wager's-inlet, which terminates in a small stream running from an inland fordable lake. Chesterfield-inlet has no more title to the character of a fresh river than Wager-inlet. It is a continued channel at least four leagues wide; the water is salt and brackish; it ebbs eight or nine hours at the rate of five or six miles an hour, and flows two hours at the rate only of one mile an hour; and yet it does not seem to contract even at more than thirty leagues up. The known rivers to the northward, therefore, will not bear a comparison with Churchill-river; nor even with our Thames, Humber, Tweed, or Tyne. Seal-river, which is the larger, and which, by the bye, flows from the west and not from the south-west, does not vent so much water as the second-rate rivers in England. There are also fewer within the same distance along shore than in England; and tho' many runs of water generally fall into them, they decrease as much in a course of twenty miles as our rivers. If then we may compute the breadth of a country, by the length of the course of its rivers, and the quantity of water which they discharge; it may be fairly presumed, that as the courses of the above rivers are not so long, nor their discharge so great, as some rivers in England, the land where they are situated is not so broad. But as it is urged that rivers are larger or smaller, in proportion to the rains that fall on the adjacent land, it may be proper to compare the quantity of rain that falls in a year in Hudson's-Bay, with the quantity that falls in England. From the beginning of May to the end of September, the proportion of rain is pretty equal; and from the beginning of October to the end of April, the quantity of snow in the Bay, which covers the surface about two feet and a half thick, and perhaps more, does not greatly exceed. The inference, therefore, of the breadth of the land from the size of the rivers still holds good. But this is farther confirmed, as in or near the bottom of the Bay, where the continent is known to be broad, the rivers are larger in proportion, and more in number within the same distance, than to the northward; and when the snow melts, the Indians to the southward of York-fort, who are near or within forty miles of the sea, keep their canoes always in readiness, that they may escape the torrent that pours down from the inland country, overflowing the adjacent plains, and bearing down the trees. But these annual floods are not known to the northward of Churchill-river; and it is easy in the summer to discern which rivers are subject to them, from the deep hollows which the ice constantly plows up on both sides. The inference, therefore, still remains just and natural, that the lands northward of Churchill-river, are much narrower than those southward, and cannot be far from the western ocean.

This is farther confirmed in point of testimony, from the evidence of the Indians dwelling upon Nelson and Churchill-rivers, who say, that they have been upon rivers that run a contrary course to those in the Bay; and at the western sea on the other side of the land, where they have seen ships.

But another natural evidence of there being a sea-coast to the westward not far from Churchill, is that the flights of wild-geese in the spring are seen to the northward of Churchill, before those which come along the Bay from the southward are seen at York-fort. It is received as an established and confirmed fact among the people at the Bay, that those flocks of wild-geese which appear in the spring, come from the southward according as the snow melts, and the marshes and rivers are thawed sufficiently to afford them subsistence in their flight northward, whither they repair to seek for unfrequented places to hatch and breed their young. But if it happens to freeze again, they fly back southward to get food, and do not renew their flight northward till the thaw is renewed. It is also said, that their course is generally parallel to the coast of the Bay, near the mouths of rivers and along the marshes; and that they do not come from the inland country west to east, but from south to north, being always first seen at the most southerly factories. But at Churchill, long before the ice is broken up southward, there are always flights of geese to be seen to the northward, hovering about for a convenient place to feed upon; which not finding on account of the continuance of the frost, they fly back again inland to the westward. It is, therefore, pretty certain, that these flights are made from another country, and are not the same that come from the southward, which do not appear till a considerable time after. Some probably come along the coast of the western ocean from the southward, as these in the Bay; and some along the east coast of America, and the west coast of Europe; all making northward to Spitzburg and Greenland, where they breed: while those, which I suppose come from the western coast of America, take their flight by California and the coast northward of it, where there is a great difference of climate at a small distance from the Bay; and being earlier upon the wing, and flying at the rate of sixty miles an hour, they shoot into a frozen climate upon the Bay, before they are aware; but finding no food, retreat back to the warmer climate they came from.

If it should be urged, that those geese which are seen so early to the northward, may fly from the inland northward, and happen to light upon the shore north of Churchill, and so be first seen there; I answer, that if it must be left to accident, they might as easily light upon the shore to the southward, and so be first seen at Churchill or York-fort, which has never yet been done. Besides, the flight is always observed to be made along shore; and never from the inland country directly to the shore. Since, therefore, all other flights of geese are seen coming from the southward in the spring, and returning to the northward in autumn; and this flight, which is seen first to the northward of Churchill, is on a direct contrary course; the conclusion is very natural, that it must come from a different country, and a different sea-coast, most probably to the westward; which is having a much warmer climate on account of an open sea, the flight is taken early, but obstructed by coming too suddenly into a frozen climate. This flight may possibly be made along the shore of the north-west passage: however, the first supposition stands very strongly supported, that the continent to the northward of Churchill is very narrow, and the western sea not far distant from the Bay.

I shall next endeavour to shew the probability of entering Hudson's-Bay much earlier than is done annually by the Company's ships. The ice from the north part of the Bay drives through Hudson's-straits into the ocean; and the Company's ships generally enter the straits in the beginning of July. At York-fort and Churchill-river I have observed that the ice did not break off close at the shore, but gradually; the first field leaving the shore-ice two or three miles broad, the second less, and so on till it was cleared away. These several fields of ice drive through the straits; but as they go off at intervals, one field may be driven through before the next enters from the Bay: consequently the strait is sometimes pretty clear of ice.

As the straits then are never frozen over, nor always unnavigable, even when there is much ice in the Bay; I imagine that a safe passage may be often found in the beginning of June: for as the ice enters the strait at intervals, according as it breaks off, and as the wind and current drive it out of the Bay; so the wind may keep the ice back at this season as well as any other. Besides, the ice at the bottom of the Bay, and the north and west ice, will not have had time to reach the strait; but after June all the Bay-ice commonly reaches it. The beginning of June therefore seems to be the likeliest time in which to expect a free passage. If ships should get through by this time, and yet the Bay prove too full of ice to proceed, harbours might be found; and as they would have smooth water and light nights, small boats might be sent out upon discovery. These boats should be made of strong leather, with the ribs and other timber moveable at pleasure. They would not then be liable to be broken by the ice; they would row swiftly; and might be let out or contracted, and so made fit for shoal or deep water. And that the ships may not lose the first opportunity of a clear passage, by waiting for the return of the boats; a common place of rendezvous should be appointed, from whence they might pursue their discoveries in concert; and either return to England, or winter as they found encouragement. All the evil arising from this experiment, if it fails, would be only the expence of having taken the voyage one month earlier; but if it should succeed, it would save the much greater charge of wintering in the Bay, and be attended with all the advantages that can be wished for towards enlarging our discoveries.

I know that but a few years ago this voyage was thought very difficult and tedious; that the Company's ships almost always wintered in the Bay; and that they were well satisfied with that captain who wintered safely, and returned the following year, allowing him a gratuity of fifty guineas. But of late this gratuity is with-held from him, and given only to those who go out and return the same year: so that what was once represented as absolutely impracticable, is now very easily and speedily preformed; and it is with great reluctance that any captain winters in the Bay. If the discovery of a north-west passage was pursued with the same ardour and encouragement, the same expedition would take place; and the reality of such a passage be speedily determined.

The great means of settling this is a knowlege of the tides; and therefore proper persons should try it in 66 deg. north-east of Cary-swan's-nest, and ascertain Middleton's frozen strait, and the tide and current there, which he says is so great as to fill the Welcome. Others should be sent at the same time and for the same purpose to Whale-cove, Rankin's-inlet, Chesterfield-inlet, Wager-bay, and Repulse-Bay; in one of which the passage, if there is any, must exist. In all these places they should be ordered to stay a limited time, and make repeated experiments upon the tides and currents: and if in any of the inlets the tides do not flow into the Bay, but meet in the middle of the strait; or if the ebb into the Bay exceeds the flood from the Bay, and yet the water continues salt or brackish; or if the tide of flood lasts fewer hours than the tide of ebb, and the water still proves brackish; such symptoms of a fresh river would afford the strongest evidence of a clear passage. These first steps to a discovery being thus deliberately and accurately made, the people, if they had time, might venture to proceed; but if the season should be too far elapsed, they might at worst winter in the Bay, and renew the search the following summer.

But still much less expence would be incurred, more expedition would be used, and more certainty obtained, by making the experiment over land. And I greatly wonder it has not yet been attempted, considering the repeated testimonies of the natives that come to York-fort, who say that they have been at rivers which run a contrary course to those in the Bay, and have seen the sea on the other side of the country.

A man resolved upon the expedition, might very easily engage a select number of the Copper-Indians, who come to Churchill-factory, to conduct him up the country, upon the offer of some inconsiderable reward, and making one of their chiefs captain of the undertaking. Nor is it necessary that he should understand the language, as the linguist, who might be of the party, could communicate every thing to the Indians that it was proper for them to know. By this means the copper-mine at least would be discovered, and probably the distance of the western ocean, and the reality of a passage between that and the Bay.

The same advantages might be as effectually obtained, tho' not perhaps so immediately, if the Company was to issue a general order, that the children of all those natives who would give their consent, should be brought up at the factories, and instructed in every part of learning that was necessary to fit them for useful service; and if at the same time also they would send over from England a number of indigent children to be educated with them. By such connection and intercourse these boys would learn each others language, be accustomed to each others tempers and manners, be soon able to travel together up the country, and soon capable of understanding as much of the mathematics as would qualify them to observe the latitudes and keep a journal. And if, in aid of their endeavours, rewards were proposed for those who made the most important discoveries, all the parts of the countries adjoining to the Bay, would in a few years be intimately known.

Expedients like these must occur to every man who has the least reflexion, and the least knowlege of the country; but as the Hudson's-Bay Company have not yet made any trial of them, it is to be questioned whether any trial will ever be made, till the trade and management become the business of the nation. The Company have had apprentices in the Bay, both able and willing to do in part what has been just now proposed. I have myself heard many of their servants say, that they would gladly undertake a journey with the natives, if the Company would give them any encouragement; and one of them in particular told me, that he once offered voluntarily to do this without soliciting a reward, but was rebuked by the governor for his officiousness and treated ill the remainder of his time: yet this method of making discoveries would not only be less expensive, than any the Company have hitherto taken, but far more certain, and more successful; of which they have a melancholy proof from the very formidable incroachments which the French, by the same means, are continually making upon them.

It is universally believed among the servants, that the French travel many hundred miles over land from Canada to the heads of our rivers in the Bay, and that they have erected huts and settled a considerable factory upon a lake at the head of Nelson-river; trading with the natives for the lightest and most valuable furs, which they carry a long way before they find a conveyance by water: and this general opinion is not taken up at random, but supported by particular incontestable evidences of the fact. I have seen French guns among the natives that come to York-fort; and once heard Mr. Brady, the surgeon, converse with one of them in the French language. I have also frequently seen in the governor's hand, a letter addressed to him from the chief factor at the French settlement on Nelson-river. It was written in French and Indian; and the purport of it was to establish a trade between them and the English at York-fort, for those heavy goods which the French stood in great need of, but could not bring from Canada, such as guns, kettles, tobacco, &c. and the English were desired to say, how much beaver they expected in exchange for these articles. The governor told us, that he had sent a copy of the letter to England; and added, that if the Company consented to such a treaty, we should get no furs but what came through the hands of the French, who would soon have huts all the way down Nelson-river.

The linguists informed me, that they have had a description of the French factory at the head of Nelson-river from different Indians, who all agreed in the principal circumstances, and remarkably in this, that the French have a large boat or sloop upon the lake. These people formerly would have been glad to have had the English accompany them up the rivers; and were once very sollicitous to engage us to go up, that we might head them against the French Indians: but they are now very easy and silent upon that subject: the French by kind offices and a liberality in dealing, which we think of no consequence, have obtained so much influence over almost all the natives, that many of them are actually turned factors for the French at our settlements for heavy goods. This the Indians openly acknowleged to the linguist in the year 1746, just before I left York-fort.

But it is now time to say something of the fisheries; the wretched condition of which is not owing to any natural defect, but merely to negligence or design in those who pretend a right to the country and its productions.

The Eskimaux, who are the professed fishers, used to inhabit the country on the east-main between the straits and the bottom of the Bay: but they are since driven away to the northward by the other Indians, who are rendered much superior to them, on account of the supply of arms and ammunition which they receive from the English: so that a tract of land of more than three hundred miles extent from north to south, lies almost waste, without trade and without inhabitants. Churchill-river was much frequented by the Eskimaux before we settled there, the point on which the fort is built being called Eskimaux-point. Upon digging for the fort many traces were discovered of their abode here, such as the pit in which they secured their provisions, pieces of stone-pots, spears, arrows, &c. This point they kept some time after they were driven from the adjacent country, because as it lies far in the open sea, they could discover the distant approaches of their enemies, and repair in time to their canoes, in the management of which they are peculiarly dexterous: but they were at length forced to go farther northward, to Cape-Eskimaux and Whale-cove; and are now totally dispossessed of this retreat, by our making a settlement here, and drawing down the northern upland Indians to trade, whom also we have supplied with arms.

Thus have we consented to the depopulation of both the east and west coasts of the Bay, by suffering the inhabitants, perhaps the most useful of all the natives, to be banished to Hudson's-straits on one side, and to Whale-cove on the other. But a people do not easily lose their characteristic virtues: that art and industry for which the Eskimaux are distinguished, they still retain even in a state of flight and dispersion; and those that are scattered about the straits, kill whales, sea horses, seals, bears, &c. not only for common subsistence, but for trade, which they are very eager to carry on with our ships, as often as they go by in their passage to the Bay. But our ships give them little encouragement; nor is it the design of the Company that the fisheries should be improved.

A sloop is indeed sometimes sent to Whale-cove for a few days in a season, and sometimes not sent at all. The people, therefore, having no dependance upon our coming to trade with them, take very little care to provide a supply larger than is necessary for their own subsistence.

In those years in which the sloop was not sent to Whale-cove, viz. 1745, 1746, and 1747, all the whale-finn that the Company brought to England was procured in the straits: the first year 303 pounds, the second 1314 pounds, and the third 226 pounds; in all 1843 pounds, as appears from the account of their public sales. But in the seven preceeding years, when the sloop was sent to Whale-cove, the account of their sales stands thus; 1738, finn 207 pounds; 1739, finn 518 pounds; 1740, finn 630 pounds, oil 123 gallons; 1741, finn 149 pounds; 1742, finn 679 pounds, oil one ton at £18: 13: 0; 1743, finn 496 pounds, oil and blubber 5 tons 234 gallons at £14: 8: 0 per ton; 1744, finn 302 pounds, oil and blubber 3 tons 218 gallons at £10: 1: 0 per ton. So that upon an average the trade in finn those years in which the sloop was sent to Whale-cove, does not equal the trade when the sloop was not sent: therefore the greater part must have been procured in the straits, which, as I said before, is done cursorily as the ships pass into the Bay. But if so much can be gained without any efforts, what must the produce be from a professed design and vigorous endeavour to bring these fisheries to perfection?

The previous step to this, is the re-establishment of the Eskimaux in the quiet possession of their properties and lives; suffering them to extend at pleasure towards the bottom of the Bay, where they would find a milder climate and better country: and this appears very easy to be effected, by making a settlement to the southward of the straits, which abounds with wood and good harbours; and taking care to inform the Indians upon the east-main, that the Eskimaux are desirous to live at peace with them, that they will not interfere in their furr-trade, and that they are friends to the English and under their protection, who, if hostilities are continued, will supply them with arms and ammunition for their defence: which impartial distribution of kindness and good offices would effectually dissipate that malignity we have given birth to by the opposite conduct, to the destruction of both people, and the ruin of the trade. And if the same pacific measures were taken also on the western-coast, and settlements made southward of Whale-cove, for the protection and encouragement of those Eskimaux who lie scattered thereabout, the foundation of a most extensive fishery would be effectually laid.

These last Eskimaux subsist in winter upon the stock they raise in summer, which is supposed to be oil, blubber, and the like: and yet the season of the whale-fishery seldom lasts above nine weeks; in which time they must kill a prodigious quantity to be able not only to lay up a store for a long winter, but to make a reserve of many tons of oil for the Company's annual sloop. And if this poor people can in their one-man seal-skin canoes, with such tackling as their little skill enables them to make of ivory, wood, and leather, kill so many whales in so short a time, and in so small a part of the Bay; there is no fixing bounds to the profusion, if a fishery was carried on at all the rivers under proper direction and encouragement, and the natives furnished with harpoons, nets, hooks, and other tackling made in England, and prompted besides to exert their utmost art and industry by a kind and generous treatment.

The circumference of the Bay is at least 2500 miles, with so many rivers and inlets all round, that a considerable river or inlet may be allowed to every hundred miles. In the three rivers where I resided, as much oil etc. might be procured as would be sufficient to load 150 tons of shipping annually: consequently, by the same computation, the whole Bay would employ 1250 tons; and in a short time, I dare say, many hundred more. But the first trial must be made by those who are possessed of judgment, spirit, and integrity, or no plan, however excellent, would insure success.

I have attempted to form a plan as well for the improvement of the inland-trade as of the fisheries, and would have inserted them in this account, if some prudential reasons did not restrain me; one is that the Company might possibly be tempted to shut up those avenues which I should point out: but I am ready to give all the private information in my power to any, who I am convinced are willing to send out ships, and take other sincere steps for the advancement of the trade of this country; and I think I can demonstrate, that ships need not return the second voyage from Hudson's-Bay with a small or unprofitable cargo.

If it should be objected, that since the westerly rivers in the Bay are not clear of ice till the beginning of June, and the fishery is over by the middle of August, the season would last only ten weeks, which would be too short to kill whales enough to defray the expence; I answer first, that the fisheries of Greenland and Davy's-straits do not last longer; and secondly, that the expence in a great measure might be saved, if as the Bay-fishery does not begin till the Davy's-straits fishery is over, the same ships were employed in both. If it be farther objected, that ships cannot get into the Bay by the beginning of June, and therefore a great expence would be incurred, by so many Englishmen being obliged to winter there; I answer farther, that few Englishmen need be kept in the Bay, since the natives may be hired upon very reasonable terms to attend the whole time of the fishery. The home Indians even now, kill geese for the Company for very low wages, and a much great number offer themselves for this service than can be employed, and the season of killing geese is over a week before the fishery-season comes on. Indeed these home Indians are tender, dull and inactive; but they need only be employed in the fishery while in its infant state; for upon making peace between them and the Eskimaux, those native fishers would carry on the whole business alone, without any assistance from the home Indians, or even from the English who need only act as supervisors. But should it be at last objected, that the Company long before this would have set such a fishery on foot, if it was near so beneficial as is now represented; the answer may be easily drawn from their whole conduct for many years past, and the mean and ungenerous motives that have influenced it.

Indeed it is to be feared, that all remonstrances, intreaties and persuasions for the opening a passage to this extensive field of trade, will prove ineffectual, till they are addressed to the Legislature, who by purchasing the right the Company pretend to have to the Bay and all the countries round it, would soon see how well they have acted under the faith of their allegiance to the crown, who granted them a charter only as trustees for the public. Such a purchase, made even upon the Company's own estimation of their profits, would I think be as beneficial a one as ever was made by a British parliament: for besides the fisheries and fur-trade, and their being capable of inconceivable improvement, there are the strongest appearances of rich mines in various parts of the country. I have seen pieces of shining ore which were brought from Knight's-hill about thirty miles east-by-south from Churchill-river. And it appeared upon the evidence before the Committee, that ore has been brought to the southern factories, of which buckles were made; that there is a valuable lead-mine upon the east-main, the ore of which was produced; and that native cinnabar was found upon the coast between Churchill and Nelson-rivers, from which quicksilver was extracted and a specimen of it sent over to the Company. There are also the strongest probabilities of there being a rich copper-mine north-west of Churchill-river; I have seen several pieces of this ore; the Indians of those parts wear them by way of ornament about their necks and wrists; and a man who was present at making the settlement upon Churchill-river informed me, that the Indians had ice-chizzels, and other implements made of this copper, and that the people of the factory called them the Copper-Indians by way of distinction, as by their own account they came from that part of the country where the mine is situated. But notwithstanding the cogency of such a variety of proofs, the Company have set it at defiance, and made not the least sincere and effectual effort to push the discovery of these mines. Nay, for the sake of invalidating the evidences for the copper-mine, their friends have even ventured to assert, that the copper brought down by the Indians was not the produce of a mine, but broken pieces of brass guns belonging to a Danish wreck which they found upon some coast; not considering that tho' the brass of which cannon is made be indeed copper compounded with lapis calaminaris, all the hammering, or any other method that the Indians were capable of taking, could never reduce it again to pure copper.

The circumstances mentioned in the papers produced by the Company before the Committee of the honourable house of Commons in the year 1749, come next to be considered: but as those papers are minutely stated and examined in the Appendix, I shall here only make a few cursory and general remarks, and then conclude with a short review of the Company's whole conduct.

In looking over the list of the Company's papers and letters prefixed to the report of the Committee, I was surprized to find that of all the letters written while I was in the country, one only was inserted, dated 1733. The inserting others, I imagine, would have exposed some parts of their management that are not fit for the public eye; the dread of which it is likely forced them to plead hard against producing either original papers or original entries, and to beg that their secretary might be permitted to extract and copy such as they should select for that purpose.

The addressing their orders to the governor and council is a matter of mere form, for the council is seldom consulted; being named chiefly for the sake of distinguishing those who belong to the governor's mess. The governor is absolute, and not to be diverted from following the dictates of his own will, for which he has the sanction of the Company: I have myself heard the surgeon, who is one of the council, charge him with not standing by the general letter and order; when he replied, with the utmost contempt, "Do you think I have no other orders but what are there?"

In one of their letters to John Bridgar, dated May 15th, 1682, they order him to make a settlement on the river of Port-Nelson; they also address several letters to the governor and council at Port-Nelson; but the answers to these letters are all dated from York-fort, which is erected not upon Nelson-river but upon Hayes's. The Company could not be ignorant of its situation; and therefore by talking so affectedly of Port-Nelson it is probable they hoped to lead the Committee into a belief, that they had built a fort upon Nelson-river. I am the more confirmed in this, as, after my return to London, I found in the print-shops a newly-published chart of Hayes's and Nelson-rivers, with a fort half way between them, named Port-Nelson fort; and to support this disposition, the Company, upon being charged with criminal negligence in not securing the possession of so fine a river as Nelson, said in their vindication, that Port-Nelson fort (i. e. York-fort) defended [4] both rivers, which however was not in their power to prove. About the same time there was hanging up in the Royal-exchange a paper annexed to a draught done by captain Smith, in which it was asserted, that it was false that north-west winds made the highest tides at Churchill-river: this also was an imposition; for I had kept a journal of the winds and tides, and know that to be a fact which the author of the paper has the confidence to deny. These things would almost justify a suspicion, that none of the papers produced by the Company are genuine; that there is a private intercourse between them and the Bay-governors; and that they give plausible instructions to amuse the public, but send orders directly the reverse to prevent the execution.

The papers relating to Henry Kelsey, are thoroughly examined in the Appendix; but it is worth observing here, that by the account of this man, which has been invariably handed down and confidently believed among the servants in the Bay [5], it appears that either Geyer, who was governor in his time, has grossly imposed upon the Company, or the Company upon the public. Geyer pretends, that he sent out Kelsey to make discoveries; and a journal of his is produced, dated July 1691, before he had even the common requisites of paper pens and ink to make one; for it is not till the September following, that Geyer says he had received, not a journal, but a letter from him, (which letter we may fairly suppose to be that written with charcoal upon a piece of birch-rind) and in return sent him a new commission and a supply of those things he wrote for; including among them, no doubt, the necessary materials for writing, which enabled him to keep the same identical journal of 1691, under the date of the following year. But referring the reader to the Appendix,[See Appendix I] I shall only add, that, from many circumstances mentioned in this journal, I no more believe that it is Kelsey's than it is mine. There is one particular, that with any man who knows enough of the appearances of the ground in Hudson's-Bay to have made them a rule to travel by, must be sufficient to discredit the whole. It is said, 20th July.—Setting forward again, had not gone above nine miles, but came on the track of Indians, which had passed four days before, having seen their old tents. And again, 11th September—Now setting forward, about noon came up with the track, and followed it, and, in the evening, came to with them. Distance 16 miles. From hence the writer of the journal would have it believed, that it is a very easy and common thing, even in summer when no help can be gained from the snow, to discover the track of a particular set of people, at many miles distance, and after the lapse of three or four days. In the first instance, the difficulty is attempted to be solved by adding, having seen their tents: but in the other, the way is left naked, with not a single token to guide them; yet after travelling from morn till noon they came by instinct upon the track, and followed it. Now would any one in his senses believe that man who should say, that, after spending six hours in a long pursuit, he had found out a particular track, where scarcely any track is to be discerned? Admitting that the grass was long, and continued so for many miles together, which it does not here, would he be able to follow this track from noon till evening, unless it was much beaten? and if it was much beaten, how should he know that his friend had lately passed it? But Kelsey knew the Indians track, and that they only had made it; computing, I suppose, the number of men, the weight of their bodies, the size of their feet, and the angle of each step; tho' the appearances would have been exactly the same, and his opinion the same, if a herd of deer or buffaloes had gone that way. In winter, indeed, when the snow lies thick upon the ground, such an assertion as this might gain some little credit; yet often as I have traversed the ground in Hudson's-bay, I would not undertake to follow any track but a beaten one, as the least wind is able effectually to dissipate all traces of the first foot-steps.

The Company find the profits arising from that inconsiderable part of the produce of this country which they have monopolized, so enormous, that, while they are resolved to be undisturbed in the possession, they can have no motive to increase them, but are rather induced to prevent this, as an evil that would endanger the loss of the whole.

From hence, perhaps, proceeds that vigorous exertion of their art and power to keep all their servants, except the chief factors and the captains of of their ships, totally ignorant both of the country and trade: hence their treatment of the natives; which so far from aiming at instructing their minds, and reforming their manners, is made up of cruelty to their persons, impositions upon their ignorance or their necessity, and a fomentation of a spirit of discord among them that in time must destroy them all: hence also their aversion to all discoveries and improvements, cloaked under the specious pretence, that they have already done all that men could do, for the advantage of so barren a soil, and so bad a climate: and hence their stupid inattention, not only to the interest of Britain, but even of their own immediate successors; silently and tamely suffering the French to make such incroachments, as must speedily end in the total alienation of this vast source of wealth and power.

The absolute authority over all other servants, which is invested in the governor, who is indulged in the most malicious gratification of his own private resentments, and directed to exercise the severest cruelties upon every man who seems desirous to pry into the Company's affairs, to cultivate a friendship with the natives, or to discover the country; and the silent allowance also of his gross impositions upon the natives, particularly in that iniquitous species of traffic the over-plus trade, could only take place from the necessity of trusting somebody, and the dangerous evidence which these men, when trusted, are capable of giving upon any inquiry into the Company's management. A bricklayer at York-fort, with whom I was well acquainted, being desirous to perfect himself in writing, once inadvertently took down from the place where it was fixed, a well-written bill of orders, in order to copy it. This was deemed so heinous an offence, that the poor bricklayer was immediately sent home incapacitated for all future employment in the Company's service; and the captain who had charge of him, took care in their passage to England, to get him pressed on board a man of war.

The instances of neglect and abuse of the natives are so gross, that they would scarcely gain credit, even among civilized barbarians, who never heard of the mild precepts of Christianity. Besides the facts already mentioned, the following one was well attested by the servants in the Bay, and was also produced in evidence before the Committee: An Indian boy at Moose-factory, being taught to read and write, through the humanity and indulgence of a governor there, wrote over to the Company for leave to come to England, in order that he might be baptized; but upon the receipt of this request, which any men who had the least sense of religion, and the least regard for the spiritual happiness of a fellow creature, would with joy have complied with; an order was sent to the governor to take the boy's books from him, and turn him out of the factory, with an express prohibition against any Indians being instructed for the future. This was the source of much affliction to the poor boy, who died soon after, with a penitence and devotion that would have done honour to his masters. But from whence can such preposterous and unnatural behaviour take its rise, unless from the apprehension, that if the natives were properly instructed and made converts to Christianity, they would all claim the privileges of British subjects, and apply to Britain to be supported in them? The Company, therefore, to prevent their suffering a remote evil as traders, have violated their indispensible duty as men and Christians; have even sacrificed their own servants to their fear, and lest the natives should be instructed and reformed, have hitherto neglected the sending over a clergy-man to keep up a sense of religion at any of their factories. Why are the Eskimaux suffered to be driven from their native residence, and the shore of the Bay to be left desolate, but for the sake of discouraging all attempts to establish a fishery? Or why are animosities and divisions cherished among the upland Indians, but to keep the fur-trade within a certain value, that none may be tempted to engage in it to the Company's disadvantage? They have made it plain from their own account of Kelsey, that an Englishman can travel the country as well as a Frenchman; and that an Englishman has it in his power to reconcile the differences among the natives, and engage them in a mutual endeavour, to encrease the number of pelts and furs for the supply of the factories. And there can be no plausible objection to the taking the same measures now, except the distance of the factories, and the interruptions from the French: but the first may be removed by making a settlement at the head of Nelson-river, and other rivers fit for the purpose; and the second, by dealing with the natives only upon the same equitable terms, that the French deal with them. The Company have advantages of traffic superior to the French, being able to supply the natives with many heavy goods, which the French, on account of their distance and the want of a water-carriage, cannot supply them with; the same generous and friendly behaviour towards them, therefore, which the French shew, must give the Company a superiority of advantage upon the whole.

Through this abuse, and neglect of the natives, the source of all important and useful discoveries is effectually stopped. But the Company proceeding upon the same selfish principle, have constantly discouraged all discoveries and improvements; have used their servants ill for shewing the least distant inclination to become acquainted with the country and the people; and have looked with an evil eye upon every design formed in Britain for this purpose, and exerted their utmost efforts to defeat it. Is it not astonishing and past credit, that tho' they had a factory before the year 1688 within six miles of the mouth of Nelson-river, which is the finest river in the country for trade, and have been in constant possession ever since the peace of Utrecht, they had not in the year 1744 discovered whether a ship could go in and out with safety. As it is the custom in the Bay to represent every thing in the worst light, it was confidently asserted, that there was no safe entrance, till captain Fowler and I made the attempt in 1745, and found a very fine one. It is not thirty years ago that a ship was lost off Hayes's-river, for want of knowing that there was a good harbour and safe entrance at Nelson; yet, necessary as this discovery was, if captain Fowler had not been in the country, I question whether I should have had interest enough with the governor to borrow a boat, and obtain leave to make it. It was also confidently asserted, that there was no timber upon Nelson-river; but when I went up and viewed the banks and creeks, I found timber in great quantities, and very good.

Among the many obstructions that they pretend lie in the way of all attempts of this kind, they never fail to urge the severity of the climate, and the danger that life itself is exposed to from it at certain seasons. But in the coldest part of winter, I have lain many a night in the open air, with only a fence to the windward made with branches of trees, and a fire upon the ground; and sometimes by the veering of the wind, both fence and fire have been rendered totally useless: and yet I can honestly say, that I was never ill half an hour all the time I staid in the country. If it be said, that resolution only is wanting in the people at the Bay, let them be shamed out of so much effeminacy by a neighbouring example: the Danes have been indefatigable in settling the country in Davys's straits, which though it lies in a much higher latitude than the most northerly part of Hudson's-bay, they think well worth possessing and improving. But of how much greater value would they esteem the possession of the country which we abandon through weakness, or something worse.

This plea, however, of severity of climate, the Company would be deprived of, if they were obliged to account for their not settling Moose and Albany-rivers, and others to the southward of the Bay; for they cannot pretend that the climate here, which is but in 51:28 is not very habitable; or that the land is not fertile enough to yield to the industrious a comfortable subsistence. In this instance, they must be reduced to acknowlege, at least every intelligent man will be ready to do it for them, that a private company has no motive to make settlements, since an exclusive trade and monopoly with no more settlements than are barely necessary, must be infinitely more profitable to the possessors, than settling the whole country, and enjoying the produce in common with people who would claim the privileges of British subjects.

The Company not only sit down contented at the edge of a frozen sea, when they have it in their power to settle in a warm climate and fertile country, but suffer the French to come behind them, and carry off the best of the trade: yet with a fourth part of the trouble and expence that the French are at in making these incroachments, it is in the power of the Company, from the many fine rivers of which they have the absolute possession, to stop their progress and recover to Britain all that is lost of the trade and country.

But these rivers, for eighty years past, have only been made use of, for catching a few fish for occasional subsistence, floating down timber for fire-wood, and bringing a few Indians once a year with those furs that are too heavy or too bad to be carried to Canada, and some intelligence of the dangerous expeditions of the French. It is universally believed at the [6] Bay, and I myself believe it, as much as I do that there is a King of France, that the French will soon be in possession of our rivers, and claim the whole country and trade as their property: and then, surely, it will appear, how very conscientiously the Company have made use of a royal grant to answer the valuable ends for which it was granted.

How dangerous is security when built upon the conduct of selfish men! The act for confirming the Company's charter expired above fifty years ago [7]; they have not had the assurance to apply for a renewal, and yet have been mean enough to keep the absolute possession of what they knew was become the property of the nation. This could only be done by little artifices unworthy the character of men; and accordingly, the trade has been contracted, the country not only unsettled and concealed, but industriously vilified, and charts have been prohibited lest the navigation should be found safe and easy. In the mean time the French are quietly permitted to extend their trade and factories within land to such a length, as must end in the total alienation of this country, if the Legislature does not quickly interpose to save it.

Upon the whole: The countries surrounding Hudson's-bay and straits have a sea-coast of above two thousand miles extent, from 52 deg. 30, to more than 65 deg. north latitude; great part of which is in the same latitude as Britain. Upon this sea-coast are many broad and deep rivers, the sources of which are at several hundred miles distance south, south-east, and south-west of the Bay. Some of these rivers are navigable as far to the southward as 45 deg. thro' many spacious lakes encompassed by populous nations. The country abounds with beaver, martins, foxes, and other animals, whose furs are of great price; and with elks, and moose, and innumerable herds of deer and buffaloes: the soil is fertile and the climate temperate, fit for the produce of all kinds of grain, and for raising stocks of tame cattle: and the coast abounds with black and white whales, seals, sea-horses, and various kinds of small fish: there are also many valuable mines and minerals, and a vast track of land to the south-west still to be discovered and improved.

The trade of these extensive countries, equal almost to a fourth part of Europe, is monopolized by the Hudson's-bay Company under the pretended sanction of a charter, and confined to a small capital and an annual export of less than five thousand pounds. The Company have only four small factories and two small houses, in which they do not employ one hundred and fifty Europeans; and but three or four vessels, under two hundred tons burden each. The factories are situated at the mouths of rivers upon a frozen sea; whilst the inland countries, which are pleasant, fruitful, and temperate, are suffered to lie a useless and unprofitable waste. The trade consists only of those furs which the natives bring down in their birch-canoes, scarce large enough to contain two men with an inconsiderable cargo: and as this abused people receive little or nothing in exchange for their furs on account of the extravagant standard by which British goods are rated, they bring down no more than will purchase them common necessaries, and now and then a few trifling toys; being either restrained from taking many furs, or induced to leave them to rot at home, from the want of a sure and advantageous market.

During the long time in which the Company have been in possession, they have not once attempted to civilize the manners or inform the understandings of the natives; neither instructed them in the great principles and duties of piety, nor in the common arts of secular life, how to navigate the rivers and lakes with better vessels, how to improve their hunting and fishing, how to raise and propagate tame cattle, or draw sleds in winter as is practised in Russia. Nor have they ever encouraged their own servants to navigate the rivers, and carry up goods for the supply of the natives at home; nor allowed any British subjects to settle, plant, and trade here, as is usual in other proprietary colonies. On the contrary, so very insensible are the Company to the welfare of Britain, that they not only connive at the trade which the French are carrying on about the Bay, but use every artifice to prevent the knowlege of the fact. Indeed the French support this trade at great labour and expence; yet, on account of the exorbitant price which the Company fix upon their goods, they are able to undersell them, and, in consequence, to carry off the choicest and most valuable furs. And having thus an undisturbed and improving possession, they will soon claim a right to the whole country and its productions, as they have already done at Penobscot, St. Croix, and Chignecto.

Are these countries and seas then perpetually to be locked up from Britain by a charter which is no longer supported by act of parliament? Is this vast continent, the due improvement of which would bring immense wealth to the nation, to lie uncultivated and unknown; or to be discovered, settled, and improved, only by the French? This, indeed, seems to be the alternative chosen by the Company, who either will keep to themselves an inconsiderable part, or suffer the French to be in possession of the whole. But as an extended commerce and a formidable marine, are now the great points aimed at by all the kingdoms and states in the neighbourhood of Britain, it is more than ever become her wisdom and her duty, not only to secure the possessions she already has, but to lay hold of every opportunity to multiply and enlarge them. This and this alone, will enable her to maintain the balance of Europe, and to preserve herself from becoming one day a tributary dependent upon some more active and vigilant power.

If what I have suggested in these sheets proves in the least degree instrumental towards securing the possession, and bringing on the universal settlement and culture of the countries about Hudson's-bay, it will gratify my highest expectations. With this view alone I have laid these facts and observations before the public, hoping that the eyes of my country will be opened, before so large a proportion of her best interests as a trading nation are for ever buried from her sight.










Of the British Proceedings there since
the Grant of the Hudson's-Bay Charter.
With REMARKS upon the Papers and
Evidence produced by that COMPANY,
in the Year 1749, before a Committee of
the Honourable House of Commons,
appointed to enquire into the State and Condition
of the Countries about HUDSON's-BAY,
and the Trade carried on there.



Number I.

Containing a short Account of the Discovery of
Hudson's-Bay, and of the British Proceedings
there since the Grant of the
Charter, &c.

John and Sebastian Cabot sailed from Bristol, and discovered Newfoundland, or Prima Vista, in 1494; and Sebastian sailed again, at the expence of King Henry VII, in May 1497, in quest of a north-west passage to India. He proceeded as far north as 67 deg. 30 min. returned to 56 deg. and sailed along the coast from thence to 38 deg. being the first who discovered the continent of America; Columbus at that time having only discovered the West-India islands.

Captain Davys in the years 1585, 1586, and 1587, discovered the strait which is called after him, as far as 73 deg. north; and the coast from thence along the entrance of Hudson's-strait, which made way for Hudson's discovery; and from thence the coast to 55 deg. meeting with a fine harbour and inlet in 56 deg. two leagues wide, with a strong tide, where he expected a passage, and where he also saw and caught a great number of fine fish.

Hudson sailed in April 1610, and discovered all the strait, and the east and south coast of the Bay called after him, and wintered there: but upon his return he was set adrift by his men, and never heard of afterwards. Sir Thomas Button sailed in 1612, wintering in a river in 57 deg. 20 min. which he named Nelson-river, after his master who died there: he discovered all the west-side of that, and Button's-Bay, from Nelson-river to Ne Ultra in 65 deg. and Cary's Swan's-nest. Bylot and Baffine, who had been in both the former voyages, in 1615 discovered the north-west part of the straits, to Cape-comfort in 65 deg. and Baffine in 1616 sailed to the bay in 78 deg. which is called after him. The captains James and Fox sailed in 1631. James discovered all the south-east, south, and south-west sides of the Bay, from Nelson-river southward, and wintered in Charleton island; and Fox discovered all the west of the Bay, from Cape Henrietta Maria in 55 deg. to the Welcome in 64 deg. 30 min. and the east of Cary's Swan's-nest, beyond Cape Comfort, to lord Weston's Portland in 66 deg. 47 min. where the coast rounded away to the south-east, ending in a bay. So that the whole Strait, Bay, and Labrador coast, were discovered by the English, without any competitors, except Munck, who was sent by the King of Denmark in 1619, when he wintered in Churchill, or Seal-river; but I rather think in Churchill-river, a brass gun being taken up there some years after Hudson and Button had discovered the Strait and Bay.

No farther discovery was made by sea, of which there is any journal or record, except De Fonte's account of the Boston ship under Shapley in 1640; till captain Gillam's, who sailed with Rattisson and De Groiseleiz, in 1668. These Frenchmen, being in Canada, in the country of the Outaouas, near the upper lake, and hearing of Hudson's-Bay, formed a scheme to possess it: but meeting with no encouragement in Canada, where a company was formed, who had got a monopoly of the fur-trade; and having no fund of their own to carry on the project, they went to Boston, and from thence to London, where they were listened to with pleasure, and several persons of rank, and wealth, joined in fitting out the Nonsuch ketch, under the command of captain Zechariah Gillam, who lived in New-England, and probably had sailed northwards from thence, and was acquainted with those northern seas; and Rattisson and De Groiseleiz accompanied him.

By Gillam's journal, he sailed from Gravesend the 3d of June 1668; on the 4th of August he saw Resolution isle, at the entrance of the Strait; by the 19th he got to Diggs's isle, at the entrance of the Bay, without mentioning any difficulty from the ice; on the 31st anchored at an island in the Bay, near the east-main, in 57 deg. 49 min.; on the 4th of September got in with the east-main, in 55 deg. 30 min. and by the 25th, to a bay near 51 deg. 20 min., and by the 29th to a river then called Nemisco, as running from Nemisco-lake, but called by them Rupert's river, where they wintered; it had eight foot water on the bar, and two fathom and a half within, and was about a mile broad; they were frozen up the 9th of December, and the cold was almost over in April; in June it was very hot, when they prepared to sail for England.

I have been the more particular in abridging this journal, because it has been said in some printed accounts of the Hudson's-Bay affairs, that after entering and sailing thro' the Straits, he had sailed up to 78 deg. in Baffine's-bay, and then returned and wintered in Rupert's-river; which is a false state of the fact. But from these false accounts, several charts, since published, have traced an opening north of Nottingham and Salisbury isles, and east of Cary's Swan's-nest, into Baffine's-bay; and captain Middleton adopts this, having inserted it in his new chart, as an undiscovered strait, to support his frozen strait; which has no other foundation but those false accounts given of Gillam's voyage.

The adventurers, upon their return in 1669, with Prince Rupert and several other great men at their head, applied and obtained an unlimited charter for ever, of all the land around and beyond the Bay, which was to be called Rupert's land; together with an exclusive trade, in order to make settlements, as in other American colonies; and to extend the British trade, and find out a passage to the western ocean; which charter bears date the 2d of May 1670; and Charles Bayly, Esq; was sent over governor that year, in order to begin a settlement, and fix a factory, which accordingly was fixed at Rupert's-river in 51 deg. 20 min. where Rattisson, De Groiseleiz and Gillam, who went with Bayly, wintered before. A little to the northward is a river called Petre-river, and to the southward another called Frenchman's-river, and more to the southward a third and large river, called Nodway-river, which was five miles over to the falls. In 1674, after consultation, they proposed removing to Monsebi, or Moose-river, in 51 deg. 28 min. where, as it was farther from Canada, they expected a better trade; accordingly the governor sailed to discover it, and from thence sailed to Schatawam, afterwards called Albany river in 52 deg. and from thence also by Viner's island to Cape Henrietta Maria, in 55 deg. going ashore at the river Equam, in about 53 deg. In 1673, a jesuit, a native of England, was sent from Canada over land to discover the country, and our situation, under pretence of friendship; bringing with him some letters to captain De Groiseleiz from his friends there, which gave the governor a suspicion of his corresponding with the French, to our prejudice.

By the printed account of the proceedings in the Bay, William Lyddal arrived from England, as governor the 17th of September 1674, in the Prince Rupert, accompanied by the Shaftsbury captain Shepherd. But by the papers produced by the Company, before the Committee of the honourable house of commons in 1749, it appears, that Bayly was governor in 1676, at which time they wrote to him to send up men into the country to make discoveries; and by a letter from him to the Company in 1678, he was then also a governor; but whether he was appointed at Moose or Albany, when Lyddal was governor at Rupert's-river, doth not appear, as no place is mentioned in the letters. Lyddal was afterwards succeeded by Nixon; in whose time they thought of moving to Albany-river, and made Charleton island the rendezvous of their ships, and a kind of storehouse for their goods. Some time after the Company dismissed Rattisson and De Groiseleiz from their service, upon which they returned to the French in Canada.

Monsieur de la Poterie, in his history of New France, says, that Jean Bourdon, who was out in the year 1656, was the first Frenchman who was in Hudson's-Bay; having sailed round from Canada, in a bark of 30 tons, by the Labrador-coast, and Hudson's Straits, 7 or 800 leagues; altho' it was only 130 leagues by land from Quebec: that he then made an alliance with the natives, and they hearing of a strange nation in their neighbourhood, sent to Quebec in 1661, to begin a trade, and to desire a missionary might be sent to them; and accordingly one was ordered, but the Indians, upon their return, repenting of what they had done, refused to conduct them, so they went back to Canada: yet he says they sent again in 1663, and prayed the governor to send them some French, and he sent one Couture, who proceeded to the Bay, and erected a cross upon an eminence, and set up the French arms engraven in copper, taking possession of these countries for the king of France. This is the foundation of all the claim the French pretend to have to the Bay, which had so long and so often before been discovered, and possessed for whole winters together by the subjects of Britain; and hence Rattisson and De Groiseleiz thought of going to England to take possession of the Bay for the English: but when these men were dismissed the Company's service, he says they repented of having engaged in it, and obtained their pardon in France; and upon their return to Canada, they prevailed with the French Company there to join them, and to fit out a bark to take possession of Nelson-river, which the English Company had not at that time settled.

Whilst De Groiseleiz and Rattisson were sailing round in their bark in 1682, the English Company at the same time resolved to possess Nelson-river, and appointed John Bridgar governor, who was to fix a factory there by the advice of captain Gillam; which letter, as given in to the Committee, was dated the 15th of May 1682. But before either of them got there, Benjamin Gillam, son to captain Gillam, had from New-England made a lodgment there; but was not left by the ship above fourteen days, before Rattisson and De Groiseleiz arrived. The English had fixed at the mouth of Nelson-river; and the French had entered St. Theresa, or Hayes's-river, the other branch of Nelson, on the south side of the island; and ten days after Bridgar arrived, but was ordered away by De Groiseleiz, who had got possession of the river: however Bridgar stayed, and made a settlement on the Nelson branch, seven leagues from the entrance of the river. The French and he continued good friends till February, when the French surprized them, and put the men on board a rotten ship, and sent them down to the bottom of the Bay; but carried Bridgar and Gillam prisoners to Canada; leaving De Groiseleiz's son, Chouart, and five men, to keep possession of Fort Bourbon. This is the account given by the English: but there are two more accounts given by the French, different from each other, and from this; one by monsieur Jeremie, who afterwards was governor of Fort Bourbon; and the other by De la Poterie; both which I shall give in their own words.

Monsieur Jeremie says, that De Groiseleiz hearing of Hudson's-Bay from the Outaouas, upon his return to Canada, engaged some merchants, and fitted out a bark, and sailed to St. Theresa, or Hayes's-river where he wintered. During the winter some of his people hunting upon the ice, found that there were some Europeans at the entrance of Nelson-river, and informing the governor, he went and found six Englishmen almost starved with hunger, who submitted to him, telling him they were left by a Boston ship, which had been forced to sea. After this some savages told him, that there were other Englishmen fixed seven leagues up Nelson-river, upon which he went one feasting night, when they had been drinking freely, and surprized and took eighty, tho' he had but fourteen with him. The following year he left his son Chouart, with five men, to keep the fort, and returned to Canada: but being disgusted, at his employers, who had charged him with concealing part of his cargo, he sent his brother-in-law, Rattisson, into France to complain; but his remonstrances not being regarded, he reconciled himself to the English, and went to England, from whence he returned to the Bay, to relieve his nephew, and give up the possession.

Monsieur De la Poterie says, that De Groiseleiz and Rattisson having formed a scheme to possess Hudson's-Bay, went to Boston, and from thence to London; and afterwards, by the aid of the English Company, erected factories on Rupert's, Moose, and Albany-rivers. By the time that this was known in France, and Mr. Colbert was sent to Descheneau, intendant of Canada, in May 1678, to contest the possession with the English, De Groiseleiz and Rattisson had repented of the expedition, and having obtained their pardon from the French court, returned to Canada, where the French formed a Company for the Bay, and fitted out two small vessels under their command, who went to St. Theresa-river, and built a little fort: a vessel from Boston came three days after with ten men, which they received as friends, permitting them to go to Bourbon, or Nelson-river: and four days after that a ship arrived from London, the crew of whom offering to land, were opposed by the fort, and in the contest, the ice cutting the cables, the ship was lost with fourteen of the men; the rest implored the succour of the fort, which they in pity granted, and gave them a bark to carry them to the bottom of the Bay. De Groiseleiz and Rattisson, leaving eight men in the fort, took the interlopers to Quebec, who were released by the governor; and they being disgusted with their associates returned to France, when lord Preston was there embassador from England, who engaged Rattisson to go again to London, and give up the fort his nephew Chouart commanded to the English Company, which he accordingly did. At the same time the French Company had sent from Canada two little ships under Montignie, who when he came to St. Theresa, was surpized to find it in possession of the English; he was therefore obliged to winter in a little river near it called Gargousse, and return next year with a bad trade to Quebec. The Company having suffered the loss of 100,000 livres, petitioned the French King to redress them, who on the 20th of May 1684, gave them St. Theresa, & Hayes's-river, in property. Which of these three accounts is genuine, is left to the reader to determine.

In this period of time the English Company sent captain John Abraham with stores, who finding Bridgar gone, stayed there, and was made governor in 1684. In 1683 governor Nixon was recalled, and Henry Sargeant was made governor of Albany: they then had a factory on Hayes's-island, near Moose-river, and had found a river on the east main, which they called Ison-glass-river, where they also fixed a factory, expecting great riches from a mine they had discovered, but it turned to no account. In 1685 they had five factories, Albany, Hayes, Rupert, Nelson, and Severn, and were in a flourishing condition; but in 1686, the chevalier De Troyes in time of peace, went from Canada by land, and took Rupert's, Hayes's, and Albany factories; at which time Thomas Phipps was made governor at Nelson-river. Monsieur D'Iberville in 1690 attempted to take York fort, when Geyer was governor, but failed of success; however he obliged the English to desert New-Severn factory. In 1693, the Company, by the assistance of the Crown, retook Albany, Moose, and Rupert factories, and Knight was appointed governor of Albany. In 1694 the French again recovered them; but in 1695, by the assistance of two of the King's ships, the Bonaventure and Seaford, they were again recovered from the French, and Knight again restored to his government. In the year 1694, when Geyer was still governor, D'Iberville took York-fort: he set sail with two ships the Polí and Charente, carrying with him 120 men from Canada: he arrived at the fort the 24th of September, and took it the 14th of October, and wintered there, leaving Mr. Forest governor, the 20th of July 1695. The next year, 1696, it was retaken by the English, with four ships, and the garrison carried prisoners to England, among whom was Monsieur Jeremie, where they remained four months. After their return to France, a squadron of five ships was fitted out, consisting of the Pelican of 50 guns, the Palmier of 40, the Wasp, the Profound, and the Violant: these were put under the command of D'Iberville, at Newfoundland; and in Hudson's-straits were met by the Hampshire, and two Hudson's-Bay ships, the Deering and Hudson's-Bay, which De la Poterie says were of 56, 36, and 32 guns. An engagement ensued with the Profound, but without any effect, being separated by the ice. Four of the French afterwards took shelter in Danish, or Churchill-river, the Palmier having lost her rudder in hard weather; but the Pelican, commanded by Monsieur D'Iberville, arrived at the entrance of Hayes's-river the 3d of September, and next morning the three English ships arrived. The Pelican had sent her shallop on shore, but weighed and fought the three ships, and by some unlucky accident the Hampshire overset, upon which the two other ships steered off; but he came up with, and took the Hudson's-Bay: all on board the Hampshire perished, as the Pelican had no boat to relieve them. A storm succeeding that night, the Pelican was driven ashore, and lost, with part of her crew; as was also the Hudson's-Bay: but D'Iberville, with the greater part of his crew, getting safe to shore, upon the arrival of the other ships from Danish-river, besieged and took York-fort; and after wintering, returned in the Profound: and as there was no timber upon the river fit to make a rudder for the Palmier, before his departure, he appointed Mr. Serigny governor, and Mr. Jeremie lieutenant, who was afterwards made governor in 1708; the French possessing it from that time to the peace of Utrecht, when Jeremie delivered it up to the Company in 1714. Baily was governor, and Henry Kelsey deputy in 1697, when York fort was taken by the French: so that from that time to 1714, the Company had only Albany-fort, carrying on an inconsiderable trade, until they were restored to York-fort by the treaty of Utrecht.

After they had regained the possession of York fort, in the year 1718 they built a wooden fort at Churchill-river, which they called Prince of Wales's fort; and in 1730 built another at Moose-river; and about the same time a small house, to contain eight or ten men, at Slude-river on the east main; and about eight or ten years ago Henley-house, 150 miles up Albany-river, for eight men, as a check to the Indians who carried on a trade with the French.

In order to state the conduct of the Company from the beginning, and shew the spirit that has prevailed among them at different periods for promoting trade and discoveries by sea and land, I shall take notice of their papers in the order of time, and not according to their own numerical disposition observed in the list prefixed to the report.

The Company's first instruction is to governor Bayly, dated May 9, 1676, Nº. XXVII. At this time, which was soon after the grant of their charter, the Company was in good hands; the noblemen and gentlemen of fortune, who had procured the charter, and promoted the trade to the Bay, still continued proprietors, and were consulted in the management, which was made subservient to the national interest as well as their own.

The paragraph of the letter referred to stands thus: You are to use your utmost diligence to make discoveries, both of the coast and country, of mines, and of all sorts of commodities which the country doth produce; giving us notice thereof, and of all the discoveries you shall make, by the first opportunity. The answer from Charles Bayly, dated September 1678, is as follows: William Bond, Thomas Moon, and George Geyer, have been with me now about six years in a constant discovery of these parts; yea, in very dangerous places, where I am sure no stranger, yet come into the country, is capable of going to the said places, without much danger and peril, notwithstanding the best directions, I am capable of giving them; and I will assure your honours, that any one miscarriage in such a case, will prove very disadvantageous to your interest. Tho' the above cited instructions were very good, and probably some useful discoveries had been made along the sea coast at the bottom of the Bay, yet the Company did not produce any particulars of such discoveries; and indeed as no factories were established but Rupert's, they being only preparing to fix at Moose and Albany, very few useful discoveries could be made within land at that time, except such as related to the soil and climate, when the Nodways were their enemies upon the east-main, and the French were spiriting up the savages near Canada against them in that corner of the Bay.

The next article produced, is a paragraph of a letter to John Bridgar, upon appointing him governor at Fort Nelson, dated May 15, 1682; wherein after saying, that on account of his abilities they had thought fit to chuse him to make a settlement in Fort Nelson-river, they add; In the first place, upon your arrival there, you are, with the advice of captain Gillam, to chuse out the most convenient place for building a house and fort, for your safety and accommodation; which when you have well done, you are to use your diligence to penetrate into the country, to make what discoveries you can; and to get an acquaintance and commerce with the Indians thereabouts, which we hope in time may turn to account, and answer the great charge we shall and may be at in making this settlement. But Bridgar was taken prisoner by the French under De Groiseleiz, and carried away with Gillam; therefore nothing could then be done towards making discoveries.

The next paragraph produced (for the Company would not trust the Committee with whole letters, for fear of discovering the secrets of their management) is addressed to Henry Sargeant, whom they had appointed governor of Albany, then their prime factory, dated April 27th, 1683. You are to chuse out from amongst our servants such as are best qualified with strength of body, and the country language, to travel and to penetrate into the country, to draw down the Indians by fair and gentle means to trade with us. The Company had not yet given themselves up to selfish views: prerogative also ran high at this time, exclusive monopolies were not enquired into, and the charter was deemed a sufficient title to their trade; they could therefore safely venture to encourage their servants to learn the several Indian languages, and to cultivate an acquaintance, and make friendships with the people. But this policy has been exploded since the peace of Utrecht; the Indian tongue being now confined to an interpreter, and all familiarity and intercourse with the natives forbidden, under the penalty of forfeiture of wages, and bodily correction. Mr. Sargeant answers this from Charleton-island, 13th of September, 1683, that island being the place then appointed for the rendezvous of their ships and trade: I shall not be neglectful as soon as I find any man capable and willing for to send up the country with the Indians, to endeavour to penetrate into what the country will and may produce, and in doing their utmost in bringing down the Indians to our factory; but your honours should give good encouragement to those who undertake such extraordinary service, or else I fear there will he but few that will embrace such employment.

The next abstract is to Mr. Sargeant, dated May 22, 1685, twenty months after the receipt of his. We perceive our servants are unwilling to travel up into the country by reason of danger, and want of encouragement. The danger we judge is not more now than formerly; and for their encouragement we shall plentifully reward them, when we find they deserve it, by bringing down Indians to our factories, of which you may assure them. And then they name four persons whom they think qualified to go up into the country. Sargeant answers this from Charleton-island, August 24, 1685. Mr. Sandford does not accept the terms your honours propose, but rather chuses to go home: neither he, nor any of your servants, will travel up the country, altho' your honours have greatly desired it, and I pressed it upon those proposals you have hinted. At this time the French in Canada had received orders from France to dispossess us of our factories in the Bay, which they were preparing to effect. But for the four or five preceding years they had been paving the way to this, by gaining over the Indians, and promoting divisions betwixt them and the English: this was sufficient to deter the servants from travelling up the country, where they would endanger their lives without any prospect of advantage, but what depended upon bare promises of rewarding them when they brought down Indians to trade. But considering the little chance there was for this, and that they were not permitted to trade upon their own account, the encouragement proposed was not equivalent to the hazard. Yet how different are these instructions from those which the policy of the Company has induced them to issue since. Then their servants were invited, pressed, and encouraged to go up the rivers into the inland country, in order to make discoveries, establish a friendship with the Indians, and bring them down to trade with us. But now if a servant betrays the least inclination to do this, he is discouraged, ill treated, and often sent home as a dangerous man, more busy and inquisitive than is consistent with the interest of the Company, and of their governors in the Bay. The year following, 1686, the French took all our factories at the bottom of the Bay, and kept them till 1693, when they were retaken by the English, who lost them again in 1694, and recovered them a second time in 1695: in this interval the Company held nothing but York-fort and New-Severn, to which two factories only they could send instructions, till they were dispossessed by D'Iberville of New-Severn in 1690, and of York-fort in 1694.

The next paragraph produced by the Company is addressed to governor Geyer and Council at Port Nelson, 2d of June 1688. We direct that the boy, Henry Kelsey, be sent to Churchill-river, with Thomas Savage; because we are informed he is a very active lad, delighting much in Indians company, being never better pleased than when he is travelling amongst them, nevertheless would not have him too soon trusted amongst those unknown natives, without a pledge from the Indians; cautioning our men likewise that they be not too secure when they shall come to a treaty with any number of these people, who have a distinguishing character of being more treacherous than any other Indians in the country. It does not appear that this was executed. Nelson-factory had been only fixed in 1684, after Bridgar was carried off, and Chouart had given it up to the Company; and Churchill or Danish-river was not then settled: how it came therefore by the name of Churchill-river is only to be guessed at, as Lord Churchill in 1688 had made no great figure, tho' he and his sister were favourites with King James. However, as the Company have produced no answer to this letter, I shall drop all farther observation upon it.

Their next instruction is also to governor Geyer and Council at Port Nelson, dated 22d of May, 1690. If any two or three of our servants shall shew their forwardness to go upon new discoveries, we require you to encourage the undertaking, and upon their good success, to allow them such advance of wages or gratuity for their pains, as you in your discretion shall find convenient; which we will, upon your intimation of it to us, allow and approve of. Tho' the Company yet kept up the spirit for making discoveries, it is to be observed, that the encouragement which they here propose is very trifling; nothing was to be given the men before they went, and nothing when they returned, unless they were successful, and then it was left in the power of the governor. Geyer answers this letter from York-fort the 8th of September, the same year 1690, immediately after he received it. This summer I sent up Henry Kelsey (who chearfully undertook the journey) up into the country of the Assinæ-poets, with the captain of that nation, to call, encourage, and invite the remoter Indians to a trade with us, and am in great hopes of a plentiful increase of trade from that nation. By the Company's letter in 1688, only two years before, Kelsey was then deemed but a boy, and ordered to be sent to Churchill, which was not complied with, though without any reason given for that neglect by the governor, or for his sending him a quite contrary way without orders from the Company. In two years, however, he could not be much altered from a boy; and therefore, as I shall afterwards have occasion to take particular notice of Kelsey's journal, I shall only now observe, that the account of his first going, as handed down by the Company's servants in the Bay ever since, is most probably the truth; namely, that Geyer did not send him up, but that having severely corrected him for some misbehaviour, the boy resented it, and being very intimate with the Indians, took the opportunity of running away along with them: so that Geyer, finding the Company desirous of sending up upon discoveries, made a merit of Kelsey's going up; saying that he had sent him up, before he received their orders: and this will be farther confirmed from the other letters and the answers about it, and from Kelsey's journal. The Company in their answer to this, dated the 21st of May 1691 to Geyer and Council, say, Are glad you prevailed with Henry Kelsey to undertake a journey with the Indians to those remote parts, hoping the encouragement you have given him, in the advance of his salary, will instigate other young men in the factory to follow his example. The Company we see still keep up the spirit of discovering the inland countries. Geyer answers this from York-fort, the 12th of September 1691. I have received a letter from Henry Kelsey, the young man I sent up last year with the Assinæ-poets, which gives me to understand that the Indians are continually at war within land, but have promised to get what beaver they can against next year; others not before the next summer come twelvemonths, when they promise to come down; but Kelsey I have ordered to return next year, with as many Indians as he can, that being informed of the humour and nature of these strange people, I may know the better how to manage them at their arrival. I have sent the said young man a new commission, and necessary instructions, with a supply of those things he wrote for, that he might the better accomplish the end I sent him for, and gave him charge to search diligently for mines, minerals, or drugs of what kind soever, and to bring samples of them down with him; and for other young men qualified to undertake such a journey, when I see their willingness, and find it convenient, I will not fail to give them by his example all suitable encouragement.

Geyer again writes from York-fort September 9, 1692. Henry Kelsey came down with a good fleet of Indians; and hath travelled and endeavoured to keep the peace among them according to my orders. The Company answer the 17th of June 1693, We are glad that Henry Kelsey is safe returned, and brought a good fleet of Indians down with him, and hope he has effected that which he was sent about, in keeping the Indians from warring one with another, that they may have more time to look after their trade, and bring a larger quantity of furs and other trade with them to the factory; which you also may dissuade them from, when they are with you, by telling them what advantages they may make; that the more furs they bring, the more goods they will be able to purchase of us, which will enable them to live more comfortably, and keep them from want in time of scarcity; and that you inculcate into them better morals, than they yet understand; that it doth advantage them nothing to kill and destroy one another; that thereby they may so weaken themselves, that the wild ravenous beasts may grow too numerous for them, and destroy those that survive; besides, if fair means will not prevail, you may tell them, if they war and destroy one another, those that are the occasion of it, whoever they are, you will not sell them any more guns, powder, or shot, which will expose them to their enemies, who will have the master of them, and quite destroy them from the earth, them and their wives and children, which must work some terror in them; and that you are sent thither to make peace amongst them; and that on the other side, if they do live peaceably and quietly without war, you will let them have any thing you have for their support, and be kind to them all, and supply them with all necessaries, let their number be ever so great. These and other arguments you may use to them, as they occur to your mind and memory.

This letter is written with a truly christian and British spirit. But there was no opportunity for executing these generous purposes till after the peace of Utrecht; the French having taken York-fort the following year, and kept possession of it for above twenty years together, except the year 1695. In the mean time, as the Company had only Albany-factory, and were surrounded on every side by the French, their trade declined very much; and the chief among them, despairing of ever seeing their affairs in a flourishing condition again, left the management to a kind of unchangeable Committee, who introduced a new policy, and acted upon maxims entirely selfish.

I shall now consider Kelsey's journal; but before I abstract it, I cannot but take notice that the Company in the title of Nº. XXVII, call it a journal of Henry Kelsey in the years 1691 and 1692, sent by the Hudson's-Bay Company to make discoveries, and increase their trade inland from the Bay; and in Nº. XXVIII, A journal of a voyage and journey undertaken by Henry Kelsey to discover and endeavour to bring to a commerce the Naywatamee-Poets 1691; and the immediately subjoin, A journal of a voyage and journey undertaken by Henry Kelsey, through God's assistance, to discover and bring to a commerce the Naywatamee-Poets, Duplicate.

The date in Nº. XXVIII is July 5, 1691; and in what is called Duplicate, July 15, 1692: yet the journals are exactly alike, excepting only a few trifling variations in the expression, chiefly in the first paragraphs, and the address at the end; the first concluding, Sir, I remain your most obedient and faithful servant, as if directed to the governor; and the second, I rest, honourable masters, your most obedient, and faithful servant, at command, as to the Company. But the Company, surely, could not hope that the Committee would read only the titles of the papers that were laid before them, and so take it for granted that Kelsey had made two journals; one in 1691 in compliance with the governor, and the other in 1692 in obedience to the Company. It is also to be observed, that at the time the Company gave orders that two or three of their servants should be sent up to make discoveries, the bill for an act to confirm their charter was before the Commons, which confirmation they expected would be perpetual.

Geyer says, he sent Kelsey up with the Assinæ-poets, in 1690, along with their captain, to encourage and invite the remote Indians to trade with them; yet by Kelsey's journal he had not attempted this till a year after he first set out, beginning only the 5th of July 1691, after the governor had sent him, as he himself says, fresh instructions and a new commission, and had supplied him with proper presents to make to the Naywatamee-Poets. The substance of his journal is, that he got his supplies the 5th of July 1691; sent the Stone-Indians ten days before him and set out from Deering's-point (where the Indians always assemble when they go down to trade) to seek the Stone-Indians, and after overtaking them, travelled with them and Nayhaythaway-Indians, to the country of the Naywatamee-Poets, and was fifty-nine days in his journey, including the resting days. He went first by water seventy-one miles from Deering's-point, and then laid up his canoes, and went by land three hundred and sixteen miles through a woody country; and then forty-six through a plain open country, having only seen one river in his journey, shallow, but a hundred yards over; and after crossing ponds, woods, and champain lands, for eighty-one miles more, which abounded with buffaloes and beavers, he returned back fifty-four miles, where he met the Naywatamee-Poets, and made the proper presents to their chief, telling him, that he came to make peace betwixt him and the Nayhaythaway-Indians and Stone-Indians, and to invite them to come to the factory with their furs, which he promised to comply with next spring, and to meet him at Deering's-point; but he did not come, because the Nayhaythaway-Indians had killed three of his people in the winter, and he was afraid they would have intercepted him on his return home, however he promised to go down the following year; adding, that the beaver in their country are innumerable, and would certainly come down every year.

According to this journal, Kelsey did not go by land and water above five hundred English miles in two months; and as it does not appear that he had any compass with him to know upon what point he travelled, he probably did not go in all a hundred and twenty leagues in a strait line from Deering's-point, and perhaps much less; for if Kelsey only computed these miles he would take care not to make them less than they were. By this we may judge of the Indians' rate of travelling, which including their days of rest, can very little exceed eight miles a day: Kelsey did not travel more than five hundred miles in 59 days, and yet in all that time he had but three days rain, and no snow, frost, or sleet, before the 12th of September, when he closed his journal. But to return: if Kelsey was sent in 1690 by the governor to make discoveries and observations, it is very strange, that he kept no journal of this expedition: but he did not even think of beginning a journal till after he got his supplies and new commission in July 1691; nor from the 12th of September 1691 to June 1692, when he returned with a fleet of Indians, did he keep any journal, or make any observations that we know of, but what are in the journal of his two months expedition in 1691. We must therefore admit the truth of the account handed down by the servants in the Bay, that he was not sent by the governor, but ran away with the Indians upon being corrected; that when he wrote to the governor for pardon and leave to return, telling him at the same time, what service he could do among the Indians, upon giving them proper presents, he had neither pen, ink, nor paper, but wrote with charcoal on a piece of birch-rind; and that Geyer finding the Company desirous of making discoveries upon the prospect of obtaining a perpetual confirmation of their charter, he in 1691 sent Kelsey instructions, with goods to give in presents, and paper, pens and ink to make observations, which lasted him no longer than the 12th of September in the same year: for if Kelsey continued his journal and observations down to September 1692, the time of his return to the fort, we must conclude that the Company have thought proper to suppress them, lest the making public such authentic testimonies of a temperate climate, fertile soil, and a trade capable of vast extension, should bring too severe a reproach upon the present management.

There are only three letters more contained in Nº. XXVII relative to inland discoveries after this period; for the French being in possession of York-fort till the conclusion of the peace at Utrecht, the Company could only send instructions to Albany. The first is to John Fullerton at Albany-fort, dated so late as the 26th of May, 1708. We order you so soon as it has pleased God that you are arrived safe in the country to send word amongst the natives, to give them notice that you are there with a considerable cargo of goods of all sorts for their supply, and to encourage them to come with their commodities as much as you can to trade with you. The second is to captain Anthony Beal, at Albany-fort, dated the 29th of May 1711, containing the very same words, which need not be repeated. I shall only observe here, that if orders to inform the natives that they had goods at the factories to trade with them, can be taken for orders to make discoveries, the Company may pass what they please upon the Public.

The third and last letter about inland-discoveries, as it is dated but thirty-three years ago, may be allowed to be written by the present Committee of the Company, if it can be of any service to them: it is directed to Mr. Richard Stanton, or chief, at Prince of Wales's-fort, 4th of June, 1719. You having one Richard Norton our apprentice under your command, whom we are informed by captain Knight has endured great hardship in travelling with the Indians, and has been very active and diligent in endeavouring to make peace amongst them, we being always desirous to encourage diligent and faithful servants, upon application of his mother in his behalf, have ordered him a gratuity of fifteen pounds. What proof of inland-discoveries this letter could afford the Committee, I cannot comprehend. If Norton made any upon his being sent by Knight to the northward, to inform the natives that there were goods at Churchill-river to trade with them, or to learn from the northern Indians whereabout the copper mine was, (as is mentioned in captain Carruthers's evidence, which I shall hereafter consider, he being the person who carried him to Churchill, and put him into a canoe with two northern Indians to discover to the northward;) he either kept no journal of such discoveries, or the Company they have concealed it from the Committee: it appears however by Brown's evidence, that Norton owned to him that he was at the copper mine. After this trifle of a letter they only say, What farther relates to the discoveries inland is contained in the papers already delivered in to the Committee, pursuant to their order, concerning Richard Norton. Since which time it has been customary for the chief factors to give presents to the leading Indians, to invite the far distant natives down to trade at the factories, and to make peace amongst any of the Indians they shall find at enmity.

Here is a plain declaration, that since the year 1719 they have never taken the least step towards making inland discoveries; nor does their care, or their judgment, at least, about the means of improving their trade, appear from hence in a more advantageous light: the making presents to the leading Indians, who come to the factory, is rather calculated to keep the distant Indians away; for it is evidently the interest of these people to keep the trade to themselves, and not divide it with others perhaps their enemies, to whom they are rendered superior by the arms and ammunition which they procure from the Company.

The papers referred to about Norton are the letters in Nº. XXVI, consisting of five from Norton to the Company from 1724 to 1741, and of six from the Company to him, all relative to the trade at Churchill and to the northward. The first letter in 1724, and the answer 1725, are about A leading upland Indian, who brought a strange Indian to the factory, telling them he had supplied him with tobacco and goods to carry him home again; upon which Norton supplied the leading Indian with other goods to carry him home. Norton adds, That he returned the following year, and upon being asked after the strange Indian, he said, he had heard nothing of him, and was afraid that in returning to his own country he had fallen into the hands of his enemies and was destroyed. But it is more probable, that this leading Indian either killed him himself to get his own goods back again, or, as he had gained his point by procuring goods from Norton upon his account, persuaded him to come no more. Norton's next letter in 1733, and the answer in 1734, are nothing to the purpose, he only setting forth his services, and they acknowledging them. In the Company's letter to him in May 1738, they desire him to encourage the Northern-Indians and Eskimaux in order to get oil and whale-bone, and to send over deer, elk, and moose skins; which he answers in August, saying, That he will send what deer and elk skins he can, and promote the other trade; but complains that few Indians came that year, as those who came the preceding year were so near perishing with hunger in the winter, that they were obliged to eat their deer-skins.

In 1739, the Company repeat their orders about the northern trade, and order the sloop to Whalecove to get finn and oil, allowing one five per cent. upon the profit to the master, and another five per cent. to be divided among the crew. This he answers by saying, that he will send the sloop to the northward, and observing, that they ought to have two years stock of all sorts. In 1740 they write, that they are pleased to see so good a cargo from him; that they hope his increased trade won't lessen that at York-fort, and that he has sent the sloop to the northward as before directed. He answers in August 1740, that he will endeavour no to lessen the trade at York-fort, but proposes not to send out the sloop to the northward next year, as well to enable them to expedite the building for their defence, as upon account of the Spanish war, and the danger of a French war. This they answered the 23d of April 1741, acknowledging the receipt of the sloop's journal, and that the trade was small, but might increase if the sloop went out earlier. They disapprove of his laying the sloop aside upon account of the war, contrary to their orders, being desirous of making new discoveries, and improving the trade with the Indians that frequent those parts; and direct him to send over elks' and deers' horns. He answers in August, that he will comply with their orders in sending the sloop annually to the northward. These are the important papers they refer to in farther proof of their encouragement of trade and discoveries. The last letter about discoveries in 1741 was plainly forced from them, upon captain Middleton's being sent that year in the Furnace-bomb upon the north-west discovery.

I shall next extract from numbers XVI and XX, which relate to the same subject, considering the papers in each according to the respective dates. Nº. XVI is entitled, Copies of instructions given by the Hudson's-Bay Company to their officers abroad, so far as they relate to the discovery of a north-west passage. And Nº. XX, Copies of orders given by the Hudson's-Bay Company to sundry persons, so far as they relate to the discovery of a north-west passage. This last is an abstract of their orders and instructions to Knight, Barlow (or Berley), Vaughan, and others, about the expedition to the northward, which seems to be very imperfect.

To captain James Knight, 4th of June 1719, Upon the experience we have had of your ability and conduct in the management of our affairs, we have upon your application to us, fitted out the Albany Frigate, captain George Berley, and the Discovery, captain David Vaughan commander, upon a discovery to the northward; and to that end have given you power and authority to act and do all things relating to the said voyage, (the navigation of the said ship and sloop only excepted) and have given our said two commanders orders and instructions to that purpose. You are with the first opportunity of wind and weather to depart from Gravesend, on your intended voyage, by God's permission, to find out the Straits of Anian, in order to discover gold and other valuable commodities to the northward, &c.

To captain George Berley. 2dly, You are also with the first opportunity of wind and weather, to sail our ship Albany Frigate under your command, to what place captain James Knight shall order you to sail to, that is to the northward and westward of 64 deg. in Hudson's-Bay; and to use your utmost endeavours to keep company with the Discovery, captain David Vaughan, commander; but in case you should be separated from the Discovery by stress of weather, or otherwise, in your outward-bound voyage, before you enter the straits, then you are to make towards the island Resolution, and ply off thereabouts for ten days, unless you meet with him sooner, that you may proceed on your voyage together; and in all things during the whole term of this your intended voyage, (except the navigation part) you are to obey and follow the directions and orders of captain James Knight, &c.

To captain David Vaughan. 2dly, You are also with the first opportunity, &c. (same paragraph as to captain Berley) 3dly, But in case you have staid ten days at the island Resolution, and do not meet with the Albany in that time, you are then to proceed to the latitude 64 deg. north latitude, and from thence northward, to endeavour to find out the Straits of Anian; and, as often as conveniently you can, to send your boats to the shore-side, in order to find how high the tide rises, and what point of the compass the flood comes from; and to make such discoveries, and obtain all such trade as you can, &c.

Private instructions not to be opened but in case of the death of captain James Knight. First of all we order you to proceed upon your intended voyage to the latitude of 64 deg. and endeavour to find out the Straits of Anian, and to make what discoveries you possibly can, and to obtain all sorts of trade and commerce for such commodities as shall be for the Company's advantage, &c.

Before I animadvert upon these instructions it will be proper to recite some other paragraphs of letters from Nº. XVI, which, as they were written within two or three years of the time of the above voyage, may have some connection with it; particularly the instructions about Scroggs, who was supposed to be sent to know what was become of the ship and sloop. The first in that number is a paragraph of a letter to captain Henry Kelsey and council at York-fort, June 1st, 1720. We also order you to send us copies of all those Journals that have been kept by yourself and others, and what discoveries have been made in the voyages to the northward; also what number of people, and what sort you have met with; and what quantity of whales have been seen, or what other sort of fish are in these parts; likewise from whence the flood comes, and from what point of the compass, and how much the tides have flowed up and down. I must here observe, that if Kelsey went upon the discovery of a north-west passage, as the title of Nº. XVI implies, he doubtless kept a journal of the expedition, and obeyed the orders of the Company to send them a copy of his journal: but as the Company have thought proper not to lay any journal before the Committee, the evident conclusion is, either that they have secreted it, or that there never was a journal, nor any attempt made by Kelsey to find a passage. The next paragraph is directed to Kelsey, dated May 26, 1721, principally relating to Scroggs, to whom they also address a letter of the same date in Nº. XX, in which he is only ordered to sail, and keep company with the other ships till his arrival at York-fort, and to give up his cargo to governor Kelsey, or to those he deputes, and to follow all such orders as he shall receive from him, or those deputed by him.

The paragraph to Kelsey says, You acquaint us of your design of wintering to the northward. We desire to know whether you mean at Churchill-river; for we cannot approve of your wintering farther northward at the hazard of your life, and those with you; we apprehending if you go any time in June, you may make as much discovery, both of whales and other commodities, as if you wintered to the northward, and return by the latter end of August. We have sent you this year a vessel called the Whalebone, John Scroggs, master, which we would have sent upon discovery next year, as soon as the season of the year will permit, if you can spare her to go to the northward upon discovery; and let them make the best of their way towards the latitude of 66 and a half, Sir Thomas Roe's Welcome, and not to stop as they go along to view the coast; and to make what discovery they can coming back, but not to stay to the northward beyond the 15th of August, so that she may be back by the beginning of September, we mean by the first five days in September; and to deliver in their journals to you at their return; with an account what whales and other extraordinaries they see; and not to spend their time amongst the Indians, but to return to you in order to your perfecting the discovery the year following. I presume it was not Kelsey's intention to winter north of Churchill, but only to go to Churchill to winter; tho' he would have run no greater risk from the cold in wintering farther northward, than the French with Maupertuis did at Tarneo in the Bothnick gulph in 66 deg. The discovery Kelsey was to go upon is here pointed out, namely Whales and other commodities; and in the instructions they send to him to give Scroggs, they have nothing more in view. It had been always supposed, that they sent out Scroggs to enquire about the ship and sloop which were lost under Knight, &c: but by these instructions it appears, that this was the least part of their care; tho', had they sent out Knight willingly in search of a passage, it may be presumed that they would have been as anxious for his safety as for Kelsey's: but the case was quite the reverse; Knight and Barlow went out contrary to their inclinations, and they thought themselves amply recompensed for the loss of their ships, by getting rid of those troublesome discoverers.

In their orders about Scroggs, they direct that he shall go to 66:30, a degree and half beyond the Welcome, at first push without stopping, which is somewhat extraordinary: but he is to make what discovery he can in coming back, yet not to spend his time amongst the Indians, who were the only proper persons to inform him of the coast, inlets, and country: here also they point out what discovery it was which Kelsey was to perfect next year, viz. Whales, and other extraordinaries.

If other instructions had not been given besides those which are made public, the master's journals would have corresponded with the Company's orders; but it appears from Scroggs's journal, that so far from sailing to 66 deg. 30 min. he had no notion of going to 65 deg. to the Welcome; for which he even makes an apology, alleging, that he was driven so far to the northward in a fog by a hard gale at south: and probably but for this friendly gale, which helped him to all the discovery he made of the north-west coast, by forcing him into Whalebone-bay near 65 deg. he would have gone no farther than Marble-island, where he saw the wreck of the ships with the Indians. The whole discovery therefore that the Company wanted to the northward, was whales and some other articles of trade.

Their next fragment of a letter is directed to Richard Norton and Council at Prince of Wales's-fort, 19th May, 1725.—And if you can by any means find out any discovery or matter to northward, or elsewhere, for the Company's interest or advantage, fail not to let us know every year, with your remarks and opinion thereupon; and we shall make due improvements thereof.—This new governor Norton having been with the northern Indians, as already mentioned, and on board of Scroggs upon his discovery, was surely capable of informing the Company of any discoveries that were made; but if he gave them any information, in pursuance of this letter, or of prior directions, they have concealed it from the Committee, before whom it was their duty to lay, as well the proofs of their servants having executed their orders, as the orders themselves.

These are all the orders and instructions that have been given by the Company for the discovery of a north-west passage to the western ocean of America, and for other discoveries to the northward, from the grant of their charter to the year 1736, when they gave directions to Norton and council at Churchill-river to send out Napper and Crow upon that discovery, at the solicitation of Mr. Dobbs, which I shall recite and remark upon, after I have made some observations upon Knight's instructions and voyage.

That we may have a comprehensive view of this affair, I shall first give the substance of captain Caruthers's evidence, which principally relates to the voyage made by Knight.

Captain Caruthers, who was the only person produced in the Company's defence with regard to the discoveries they had made by sea and land, after saying that he had quitted their service thirty-five years ago, and that it was his opinion that the navigation in the Bay was dangerous and troublesome; adds that he believes no attempts were made to find a north-west passage, while he was in the country; that he apprehends there is no such passage; but if there is, it was impracticable to navigate it on account of the ice; and that the climate ten leagues within land in Hudson's-Bay was not much warmer than at the sea-shore. But upon being cross-examined, he owned, that the climate was warmer within land than near the shore; and that the ice breaks much sooner up in the country than at the sea-shore; for he had seen the ice drive down the rivers before it broke at the mouth of those rivers. He says farther, that Knight was governor of Nelson-factory when he was there; that he used the Indians well, and was very inquisitive with them about a copper-mine north of Churchill, which they described sometimes as a gold-mine, sometimes as a copper-mine. That Knight was very earnest also about this discovery, which was always his topic; and he took all opportunities of making presents to the natives; and that he, the witness, carried Norton, who was afterward governor, and two northern Indians to Churchill, where he put them in a canoe; and the purport of their voyage was to make discoveries, and encourage the Indians to come down to trade, and to bring copper-ore; that he does not recollect, that he ever heard how far it was to this mine, nor whether there was an easy passage to it by land, having never travelled by land alone, nor heard of any expedition of that kind, except that of Norton and the two Indians. It is evident even from this witness on the Company's behalf, that Knight had no intention to find the north-west passage; all his thoughts and discourse were taken up with enquiring after the mine: and that the ships fitted out and lost with him were not sent upon discovering any passage, except the passage to this copper-mine, which the Company were pleased to call the Straits of Anian.

But to shew more particularly the nature and design of Knight's voyage, let us consider the orders and instructions he received about it, already cited.

Captain Knight had been many years in the Company's service, and one of their governors, being sent over to be governor of Nelson-factory soon after the peace of Utrecht. There was a Knight made governor of Albany-fort as early as 1693, who probably was the same person, as this man was near 80 years old when he undertook the voyage in 1719. It was he however, who fixed the factory at Churchill-river, in or about the year 1718, and sent Norton with Caruthers to Churchill upon the northern discovery of the copper-mine, &c. By his friendly intercourse with the northern Indians, he had obtained a pretty exact knowlege of the situation of the mine, which he was confident he should find out, having been told that it lay upon a river near a navigable inlet or strait, whither vessels could go from the Bay. Full of these expectations he came to England, to solicit the Company to fit out two vessels under his command, for the discovery of these rich mines; but the Company, for private reasons, refused to comply, probably fearing that if rich mines were found out, or a navigable passage to the American ocean discovered, they should not be long in possession of their invaluable monopoly.

Knight, made more sanguine by as opposition which he could not expect, told them, that they were obliged by their charter to make discoveries and extend their trade; and particularly to search for a north-west passage by the straits of Anian to the south-sea; but that if they would not fit out ships under him and Barlow for the discovery he came about, he would apply to the crown, and get others to undertake it; and accordingly waited upon one of the secretaries of state. When the Company perceived him so resolute, and that his troublesome zeal, if left to itself, might actually bring on an enquiry into the legality of their charter, they thought it necessary to comply, and fitted out the ship and sloop beforementioned. Knight was so confident of success, that he had strong chests made, bound with iron, to hold the gold and copper-ore which he expected: his mind was full of this single discovery; and it was only to engage the Company in it the more effectually, that he urged their obligations to find out a north-west passage. However, as he did make use of this argument, the Company could do no less in their instructions, than mention the Straits of Anian, either as a passage to the western ocean, or to the mines; but how slightly they have done it, and how lame and imperfect their orders are, the reader may easily perceive. Knight's instructions are to find the straits of Anian, in order to discover gold and other valuable commodities to the northward.—Barlow is ordered to go where Knight shall send him; but is limited expresly to the northward and westward of 64 deg. in Hudson's-Bay. Why they obliged him not to sail to the southward of 64 deg. to discover Anian, which lay in near 50 deg. lat cannot be accounted for, unless it was to defeat the discovery; nor why westward of 64 deg. lat in the Bay, when no longitude was mentioned: this seems to be a blunder, for I cannot suppose it ignorance. Vaughan's instructions are the same, if they kept together; but in case of separation, he was ordered to proceed to 64 deg. and from thence northerly, to find out Anian: but can any instructions be more absurd, to confine him to go from 64 deg. northward, to find a strait which lay south-west? The instructions, in case of Knight's death, were the same, to sail to 64 deg. It is evident therefore, that the Company had no intention to find out Anian, or a passage to the western American ocean, but only to defeat Knight's scheme; and Anian was thrown into their instructions for a plausible pretence: and indeed from such trifling paragraphs as were produced before the Committee, it appears plainly, that they made known only those things that set their conduct in a favourable light; for they were sensible that their original books and papers would have opened a very different scene, and disproved the false representations they have given of the country, climate, and trade of Hudson's-Bay.

How far they were disgusted at this voyage, appears from their not interesting themselves in the safety of the Ships and their crews, having never sent to enquire after them. When Kelsey only proposed to winter to the northward (as they thought) of Churchill, they were exceedingly anxious for him and his people; but poor Knight, who they acknowlege had long served them faithfully, and whom they would have it believed they had themselves sent out upon a very advantageous discovery, he was not worth their care: if they had felt the least regard for him and his people, they would have ordered the governor of Churchill to enquire of the northern Indians about their ships, or have ordered out a sloop in search of them: but they did neither; and such cruel negligence is not very reconcileable with an approbation of his voyage.—At first indeed it was supposed that Scroggs had been sent northward to enquire after them; but, upon producing their instructions to Scroggs, nothing like this appeared.

The last and only specious pretence of an attempt to discover the north-west passage, was their sending Napper and Crow to the northward, in 1737, at the solicitation of Mr. Dobbs: and the instructions they gave for this purpose were produced before the Committee, consisting of a letter to Norton in Nº. XVI, wherein they gave him instructions to send them; and of a paper in Nº. XX, which contains the instructions drawn up for them by Norton, by the Company's order: but as the instructions are long, I shall only extract the material part of them.

To Mr. Norton at Prince of Wales's-fort, 6th of May, 1736. We do hereby order, upon the arrival of captain Spurrel and captain Coates at Churchill-river, this year, which may probably be in July, 1736, that you fit out the Churchill-sloop, James Napper master, and the Musquash-sloop, with all expedition for the sea, the one to carry twelve sailors, and the other six; also to take three or four home Indians, and to sail directly as far as Sir T. Roe's Welcome, to find out a proper Bay or harbour to lie secure in, and trade with the Indians; also to pitch a tent on the land, and make observations how far distant from trees, and what the soil is, and to endeavour to promote a trade, by persuading the Indians to kill whales, sea-horses, and seals, for whale-finn, ivory, seal-skins and oil, in the best manner they can, using them very civilly; and to acquaint them that the sloop will return the next opening of the ice, to the same bay or harbour, &c. We likewise order, that the two sloops be fitted out with all proper necessaries, and the same number of men, early the next spring, which may be the beginning of July, 1737, or sooner; and that they be directed to sail close along the western shore, trading with the Indians as far as the Welcome, and pitch a tent on said land, and stay there trading with the Indians, and digging in search of mines, and to observe and view the land, until the ship shall call on you which goes out of England next year, which we propose to give directions to the commanders so to do, and may possibly arrive 24th July, 1737; and in case she arrive, you are to sail with them as far to the northward as possible, and endeavour to make what discoveries you can, and keep a particular account of every transaction that shall happen; but if the ship don't come before 20th August, 1737, you are to return to Churchill-river.—It is our order that the masters be very particular and exact in sounding, taking an account of the current of the tide, the rise and fall at ebb and high water, and the distance of the time of flood, and enter them in proper journals to be delivered to the chief of the factory, to be transmitted to us.—We have entertained Robert Crow for two years, and appoint him master of the Musquash-sloop to proceed on the discovery, in company with Napper; and in case of Napper's death, we appoint Mr. Light to be master of the Churchill sloop, and to proceed on the voyage. These instructions were sent to Norton; out of which he forms instructions for Napper and Crow. Orders and instructions to Mr. James Napper on his voyage upon discovery to the northward in Hudson's-Bay. You are to take the first opportunity to sail to the northward in Hudson's-Bay upon discovery, in company with Crow, whose company you are to keep as long as you can do it with safety; his sloop being of less draught of water, is fittest to make free with the shore, among islands or in bays, &c. in order to discover harbours of safety for shipping, or any thing else that may tend to the interest of the Company. You are to sail close along the western shore, making discovery into the Welcome, for a proper bay or harbour for ships to lie in, in or as near the Welcome as can be found, and to pitch a tent on land, making observations, &c. These you are to enter in proper journals, to be delivered to me or the chief of this factory, to be sent to the Company, signing the original, the copies to be kept here, which you are to make before you arrive at the factory. You are to trade with all the natives you meet in your voyage, and persuade them to kill whales, &c.—to the purport of the former instruction. You are to continue upon discovery in or near the Welcome, till the 24th July, and then make the best of your way to Whale-cove, there to wait a ship's arrival from England, making there the beforementiond search for mines, &c. and trading with the natives till the 12th of August; and if a ship does not then arrive, you are to consult with Crow and others, either to stay till the 20th of August, or to return to Churchill, as the weather offers, pursuant to the Company's instructions; but if a ship arrives in that time, you are to sail with her as far to the northward as possible, and make what discoveries you can, entering all transactions in a journal, as before mentioned. I have shipped on board you thirteen weeks provision for eleven men. So God send you a successful discovery and to return in safety.—By order of the honourable the governor, deputy governor, and committee of the Hudson's-Bay Company. Prince of Wales's-fort, July 4th, 1737. vera copia. Crow's instructions are the same, only in case of separation before they get to Whale-cove, after waiting a few days, to return to Churchill-river.

The reader, I doubt not, has observed a material difference betwixt the instructions sent by the Company and those given by Norton: whether it was owing to a blunder of Norton's, or originally intended by the Company, I shall not pretend to determine; but it could do no less than defeat the discovery. The Company order the sloops to go to the Welcome, and wait for ships they will order to meet them there, from England, which they expect may be by the 24th July, 1737; and if they arrive, to sail with them to the northward; but if they do not come by the 20th of August, then to make the best of their way to Churchill: but Norton bids them continue upon discovery, in or near the Welcome, till the 24th of July; and then to make the best of their way to Whale-cove, and there to wait a ship's arrival from England till the 12th of August; and if the ship should arrive there by this time, then to sail with them to the northward; but if she should not by that time arrive, then to consult with Crow and others, whether to wait till the 20th, or to return immediately to Churchill. But if the Company had actually intended to order any ship to call from England, it must, in consequence of their own instructions, have called at the Welcome, and not at Whale-cove, as Norton has directed, who by changing the place of rendezvous effectually defeated the discovery. Till such ship arrived, they were only directed to sail along the west-coast to the Welcome, and there to look out for a harbour; but not to search for inlets, or make any observations but about the bearings of head-lands, soundings, and currents; nor to do any thing more but encourage the natives to catch whales, &c., and after the arrival of the ship, they were to proceed upon the discovery; but even then were limited to search to the northward of the Welcome, without any order to search southward. Now it is apparent, that no ships were ordered to meet these people from England; if they were, the Company could and ought to have produced their instructions for that purpose; which not doing, they tacitly confess that they never ordered any ships to meet them, nor perhaps ever intended it. It is probable therefore, that private instructions were given to Norton, counter to those they gave publicly for the sloops; for the sloops did not at all follow these public instructions. It is plain by their journal, that they had no intention to sail to the Welcome, but only to Whale-cove, in 62 deg. 30 min; nor to sail northward, till after they could procure no more trade there. They staid till the 27th July, pretending they were blocked up by ice; tho' Smith in three of four voyages after this, met with no obstructions from the ice; and then Crow says, the 27th (for Napper was dead) there being no more trade, and being limited by our instructions to return the 24th, we could not sail to 63 deg. 20 min. as we were ordered, but returned to Churchill: they no where mention their expectation of a ship; nor was 63 deg. 20 min. whither Crow says he was ordered, any part of the Welcome, which lay from 64 to 65 deg. nor have they in their journals made any observations upon the soil, tides, mines, &c. as directed in the instructions which are published. Upon the whole it appears, that not any of these papers can be depended upon as genuine; being modelled to secure a selfish concealment of the countries about the Bay, to the prejudice of the interest and rights of Britain.

Having now gone through the Company's orders and instructions for promoting trade and discoveries, I shall make some observations upon the other papers produced before the Committee; and first upon those in Nº. XXI and XXII, containing the Company's reasons for trebling their stock, first in 1690, and afterwards in 1720. In September, 1690, it was moved by several in a committee to double or treble their stock, as hath been designed some years since, and practised by another Company with extraordinary success and advantage, who upon debate unanimously voted it to be trebled. They then consulted the many motives to do it: and being desirous to make the stock as diffusive amongst his majesty's subjects as possible, and more and more a national interest; to justify their proceedings, they set down some of the grounds and motives which induced them to treble it, viz. First, that they had in their warehouses above the value of their original stock. Secondly, that they had sent out in their ships and cargo that year above the value of their first stock, upon which they expected as much profit. Thirdly, that their factories at Port-Nelson, and New-Severn, are under an increasing trade, and that their returns that year they expected would be worth £20,000. Fourthly, their forts, factories, guns, &c. and the prospect of new settlements and further trade, may be estimated at a considerable value. And Fifthly, the expectation of satisfaction from France at the end of the war, and restoring their places and trade at the bottom of the Bay; which, upon proof, was made out above £100,000. Upon which motives and other prudential reasons which might be alleged, the committee did, and do, unanimously resolve and declare, that the original stock shall be and is trebled, viz. £10,500, original stock shall be deemed and computed at £31,500 stock or credit; and each interessent shall have his stock trebled in the Company's books; and no person shall have a vote who has less than £300 credit; nor be capable of being of the committee, who has not £600 stock or credit; and so proportionally in all other things, according to the charter.—It must be owned, that some of their reasons for trebling their stock are unexceptionably good, particularly those of making it more diffusive amongst all his majesty's subjects, and more and more a national interest; and the having as much more in their warehouses as their original stock, provided it was to be added to their stock in trade to increase their annual exports. But how they could urge the prospect of their gains upon the year's trade, or the money sunk in building their factories, or their future demand upon the French, as additions to their stock, is not quite so comprehensible: nor is it easy to account, how their losses by the French should, upon so small a capital as £10,500, amount to £100,000, (or £150,000, as was set forth in their petition to parliament, as an inducement to pass an act for a perpetual confirmation of their charter;) for their whole loss was confined to the small factories at Rupert, Moose, and Albany, which could not amount to the tenth part of that sum; unless they included in the estimate, the gain they might have made upon their trade in the time they were out of possession. Neither can I see, when no new subscriptions were taken in, how the trebling their stock could make it more diffusive amongst the rest of his majesty's subjects, which was the only good national reason for taking this step. As the whole was nominal, it could be of no real benefit to the proprietors, nor to the nation, unless they had determined to treble their annual exports: it can therefore only be supposed, that having just obtained an act to confirm their charter for seven years, they thought it prudent to make a show of doing something to increase their trade, that they might be entituled to a renewal when that act expired; an expectation, by the way, not very substantially founded, as the act was altered by the Lords, from ten years, for which term it had passed the Commons, to seven years; and as the Commons, having been almost surprized into a confirmation of their charter for ever, upon their granting it only for a few years, entered a standing order, that no petition should be received for confirming any charter, unless the charter itself was annexed to the petition. But it is evident, that the chief motive for trebling their stock was, that their dividends would appear smaller upon a large nominal capital, than upon a real small capital; the only good reason for trebling their stock, the making it more diffusive amongst his majesty's subjects, and more and more a national interest, having never taken place; for the stock is not set up to public sale, but confined to about ninety members, as appears by their list of proprietors produced before the Committee.

Nº. XXII, contains reasons and resolutions for the Hudson's-Bay Company again trebling their stock in 1720.

At a committee, 29th August, 1720. The committee, pursuant to the order of the general court, having taken into consideration the most proper method for raising money for enlarging and extending the Company's trade to Hudson's-Bay and Buss-island; and for the more effectual putting in execution the powers and privileges granted them by their charter, do make the following resolutions, viz. That according to the best account and calculation that can be made of the quick and dead stock and lands, the same may be computed to amount to £94,500, a moderate computation.

That the joint or capital stock of this Company be enlarged to £378,000, and divided into 3780 shares of £100 each; and that the present stock being £31,500, or 315 shares, be made and reckoned 945 shares, and valued at £100 each share, which amounts to £94,500, and to be clear and discharged of all the payments to be made for enlarging the stock to £378,000. That the sum of £283,500 be raised by the present members, and to be engrafted on the present stock, valuing each share at £100, to compleat the said £378,000. That each member for every £100 by him subscribed, shall be entituled to one share in the Company's stock. That the times of payment be as follows, viz. £10 per cent. paid the 7th of September next; £10 per cent. on the 6th of December next; and so on, £10per cent. every three months, till the whole is paid in. That a proper instrument be prepared for these purposes, and the Company's seal affixed thereto; and that such of the present members as are willing may subscribe, obliging themselves to advance and raise such sums as they shall set down against their respective names. That no member shall be capable of being governor, or of the committee, who has not in his own name and right £1800, or 18 shares in the stock; and of giving a vote in any election, or any general court, who has not £900, or 9 shares in the stock; which resolutions were unanimously agreed to, and ordered to be laid before the general court the next day,—which the court next day confirmed.

At a general court 23d December, 1720.—The governor acquainted the court, that by reason of the present scarcity of money and deadness of credit, the committee did not think it a proper time to proceed upon the subscription agreed to in August last; and then ordered the secretary to read the opinion of the committee of this day, viz.—Resolved that it is the opinion of the committee, that the said subscription be vacated; and that the Company's seal be taken off from the said instrument.—And, That each subscriber shall have £30 stock for each £10 by him paid in,—which resolutions were agreed to by this court.

In these resolutions, of trebling their stock, the only reasons alleged for it were, the enlarging and extending their trade to Hudson's-Bay and Buss-island: so that the unanimous opinion at this time was, that their trade might be enlarged and extended by increasing their capital and stock in trade; and that at least £94,500 might be annually employed in trade; for that sum was designed actually to have been raised, over and above the present stock in trade. But all the late allegations of the Company before the Committee, tended to shew, that the trade could not be extended or increased; and that they had done their utmost for this, by exporting annually goods to the value of three or four thousand pounds. If this had been the case also in 1720, and the Company neither intended nor had it in their power to extend the trade, the new subscription taken from their own members must have been designed as a bubble, to draw in others who were not proprietors; by which each member would gain in cash £200 per cent, and the Company actually have £94,500 paid in cash, which, according to their own declaration, could not have been employed in trade. To explain this; the Company, before they took in the new subscription, trebled their nominal stock by a gross computation of their dead and living stock, lands, &c. which had in like manner been done before in 1690, by a computation produced, from £10,500 to 31,500; but now, without any computation produced, to £94,500: this nominal stock they were to increase to £378,000, by adding a subscription from their own members of £283,500 to be made in payments of £10 per cent every three months, till the whole was raised. Now if this £10 per cent was to be paid upon their newly trebled capital of £94,500, £9450 would have been paid in every three months, and the whole subscription of £283,500 completed in seven years and a half: but if only £3150 was to be paid in every three months upon their former capital of £31,500, then twenty-two years and a half would have been necessary to complete the whole sum; which could not answer the end proposed, of extending and improving their trade in any reasonable time: and yet it appears from their increased capital in Nº. XVIII, that the £10 per cent paid in amounted to no more than £3150; for tho' at the general court the members were allowed £30 stock for each £10 they had paid in, their capital was increased only from £94,500 to £103,500, produced before the Committee as the present capital. How then was the sum of £283,500, to be raised in seven years and a half? Why probably thus,—every member was allowed a share of £30 stock for every £10 he paid in, and consequently £300 for £100. Now by bringing this £100 share to market, he would have got £300, and the purchaser have stood possessed of three shares in the Company's stock of £100 each. So that by the time the whole was completed, the original members would have received £189,000 for their own use, and the Company £94,500 to be employed in trade or in any way they pleased: and this design seems only to have been frustrated by the sudden fall of south sea and other stocks, which deprived them of purchasers: however, they succeeded so far as to raise their nominal stock from £31,500 to £103,500. It is scarce worth mentioning, that one of the resolutions passed in this Committee of August 25th 1720, by which every man who has not nine shares of £100 each, is deprived of his right to vote at any election or in any general court, is a manifest violation of their charter; which expresly says, that each member shall have one vote for every £100 he has in stock, and so proportionably for more or less; ten persons having only £10 each in a joint stock, to have one vote amongst them.

By the standard of their trade in Nº. XIX, we may see how vast a price is charged to the natives upon the goods given them in exchange for their furs, which are all valued by the beaver skin as the standard. Thus for a quart of English spirits which the Company export at six-pence, and before they sell it to the natives mix it with one third water, which reduces it to four-pence; they take a beaver skin, which has been sold at the Company's sale, at a medium of ten years[8], for six shillings three farthings the pound weight, and a beaver skin generally weighs a pound and half; so that they get nine shillings and one penny for four pence, which is £2700 per cent profit. Upon other articles not so material they do not gain above £500 or £600 per cent: but in exchange for martins the profit is double of that upon beaver; for they value three martins only as one beaver, and those, at a medium of ten years, have sold for six shillings a skin. It appears also from the standard, that one third more is charged upon many articles at Nelson and Churchill-factories, than at Moose and Albany; those factories being farther from the French, who till within these few years had not intercepted the trade there; and not content even with this extravagant profit, the factors are allowed to sell their goods considerably above the standard, which is called the profit upon the over-plus trade: yet with all this advance upon their goods, the profit of the Company is reduced, by the expence of management, shipping, factories, officers and servants, to a little more than £200 per cent. For by a medium of ten years trade, (Nº. XXIV.) their sales amount annually to £27,354: 5: 5¾; and their expences, Nº. XXIII, to £19,417: 8: 6: their nett profit therefore, at the same medium, amounts to £7936: 16: 11¾; which upon £3674: 3: 1¾, their annual export at the same medium, is about £216 per cent profit upon the annual stock in trade, and near £7-2/3 upon the nominal capital of £103,950. But this expence would be considerably lessened, except in the article of freight, if the trade was laid open, the countries settled, and possessions secured without charge; whilst both the exports and imports would be vastly increased, perhaps to one hundred times the present value, as we find it is in other colonies; and here is a scope of country sufficient, by proper cultivation and due encouragement to the natives, to support the computation.

In the list of subscribers in Nº. VIII, which are rated at about ninety, the King's name is placed at the head; but the King was not originally a proprietor, merely as King, and consequently can be none now without having been a purchaser: all that is reserved by the charter for him, is two elks and two black beavers, as often as he shall land in those countries. However, within these twenty years, the Company have made three or four payments, by way of douceur, to her late Majesty, and since her death to his present Majesty: tho' the first payment was not made till Mr. Dobbs had first sollicited them, and afterwards the admiralty, to send out ships for the discovery of a north-west passage; when being apprehensive that the legality of their charter might be brought into question they thought it prudent to endeavour to secure an interest in the government: they therefore attended Sir Robert Walpole, and informed him that there was an arrear due from them to the late queen Mary, amounting to several thousand pounds, which they apprehended the present queen was entitled to, as no part of it had been paid to queen Anne; alleging that queen Mary was a proprietor; in virtue, I suppose, of her relationship to Prince Rupert, who was an original proprietor. Accordingly, a sum, at the rate of two or three hundred pounds per annum profit upon the trade, was paid to Sir Robert upon his Majesty's account; and while he continued in the treasury, another small sum was paid upon the same account; and since that time two other small sums, which the treasury was obliged to receive implicitly; for the Company excused themselves from producing their books upon this occasion, tho' urged to do it as the only authentic proof, that his Majesty was entitled to any share, and that the sum paid was the exact amount of it. The circumstances of which behaviour evidently shew, with what view they made this sacrifice; and with what view they now place the King's name at the head of the list of proprietors; little reflecting, that if at any time their monopoly and charter should be proved illegal, and injurious to the trade of Britain, his Majesty would be induced to skreen them by any surrender that is in their power to make.

It was suspected, and upon good foundation, that the Committee of the Company, which is elective by the charter, had made themselves absolute and unchangeable, by engrossing the greater part of the stock; so that no general court could oblige them to produce their books, nor call them to an account even for the grossest mismanagement. At the request, therefore, of the petitioners, it was moved, that the Company should be ordered to give in a list of their proprietors, distinguishing how many shares each person possessed of the stock, that it might appear in how few hands the bulk of it lay: but this being strongly opposed, from a persuasion that a compliance with it would expose the secrets of the Company, and that it was a matter of mere curiosity and of no importance to the public, who held the stock; and the petitioners apprehending, that debating these points would too much retard the principal business, this motion was withdrawn; and also another motion made to oblige the Company to lodge their original books: by which last step, all the evidence that could be brought against them, was limited to those who either were or had been their servants; no others having been at the Bay except the people of the discovery ships, who had no means of judging how affairs were administered there.

In Nº. II the Company give a list of nine vessels, which they pretend they had fitted out upon the discovery of a north-west passage; but by their instructions already cited, it appears that there were only five sent upon that expedition, two with Knight, two with Napper, and one with Scroggs. Of the four others here mentioned, two were the Prosperous-sloop under Henry Kelsey, and the Success John Hancock; the first sailed from York-fort, June 19th, and the other from Churchill, July 2d, 1719, and both returned the 10th of August. These had no instructions about the passage; their business was only to try to bring down the northern Indians to trade at Churchill, where the Company the year before had fixed a factory; and Norton was sent by land for the same purpose, and to enquire about the mine: for it is not probable that they would send out Kelsey and Hancock the same year with Knight, unless they had given them instructions to discover in concert with him, which they did not. The last two were the same sloop under Kelsey, who sailed 26th June, 1721, upon the same account as before, and returned the 2d of September; and with her, her old consort the Success then under Napper, who was lost four days after in the ice near Churchill. So that these additional sloops seem to be inserted only to make an ostentatious and false shew of their great zeal for the discovery of a north-west passage.

Nº. XXV contains orders given by the Hudson's-Bay Company to their present chief factors in the Bay, so far as they relate to the government of the factories.

I have little to observe upon these orders, and believe that they may be proper enough for the security of their forts in time of war, considering how very weak they are, and what a small number of men there is to defend them. There is one piece of an instruction indeed that does them honour, which they first mention in their letter to Isbester at Albany in 1745, and repeat it to him in 1746, and also to Pelgrim at Prince of Wales's-fort in 1747, and to Newton at York-fort in 1748, recommending sobriety to them and their servants, that they may be capable of making a vigorous defence if attacked. But there is a paragraph addressed to captain John Newton personally, annexed to the instructions sent jointly to him and council, 5th May, 1748, which contains a very extraordinary evidence of the reformation of the Company's Committee; and is the first instance, since the peace of Utrecht, of their shewing any concern for the religious welfare of their servants.

London, 5th May, 1748.

Captain John Newton,


Lastly, having reposed such a confidence as to place you at the head of our best factory, we expect that all our servants under your command, will, by your example, be encouraged to a religious observance of the Lord's day, to virtue and sobriety; and that by your moderation, they may meet with such treatment, as may make them love as well as fear you, which will conduce much to your ease, and our interest; in full hopes of which we commit you to the divine protection.

Here seem to be the dawnings of a christian spirit; and had it ever appeared before, and its excellent dictates been sincerely followed, the causes of complaint against the Company would have been considerably lessened: but never to have sent over a clergyman to any of their factories, nor shewn the least concern for the religion and morality of their servants, was surely capital. I would not willingly lessen the merit of the exhortation last quoted; but for the sake of truth it must be observed, that it was not sent over till after several hearings against the Company, before his Majesty's attorney and sollicitor-general, upon a reference made to them by the Lords of his Majesty's most honourable privy council, of the merits of a petition from the Committee of the subscribers for discovering a north-west passage; in which their barbarity to the natives and their servants, was proved by sundry affidavits, having never attempted to civilize the one, or sent over a clergyman for the instruction of the other, nor kept up the least appearance of religion in any factory in the Bay: yet I do not pretend to assign these circumstances of danger as the motive of this new concern for the spiritual welfare of their people; nor of the following directions sent at the same time to Mr. Isbester and council at Prince of Wales's-fort, viz.—23d; As we have nothing more at heart than the preservation of our factories, the security of our people, and the increase of our trade, therefore we direct that nothing may be omitted, that may strengthen the former and extend the latter; to which end we strictly order, that all possible encouragement be given to the natives, by treating them civilly, and dealing justly with them on all occasions; and we recommend it to you to use our servants under your command in such manner, that they may esteem as well as fear you.—If instructions like these proceed from real compunction and a just abhorrence of their former misconduct, part of the end aimed at by the proceedings against them is obtained: and should they be so fortunate as to survive the charge still to be brought against them, by the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain, and find interest enough to keep possession of their charter and invaluable monopoly; I hope they will give no room for the application of a censure, that is due only to the character of the prince of hypocrites:

The devil was sick—the devil a monk would be:
The devil was well—the devil a monk was he.

These are all the papers of consequence laid by the Company before the Committee. There only remains to be considered the evidence of the witnesses which they thought proper to produce in their defence: these were only two, captain Caruthers, whose evidence I have already cited in my observations upon Knight's voyage, and Mr. Henry Sparling merchant and furrier, and a proprietor of the Company. This gentleman, as some persons have insinuated, was called upon to give his opinion of the furs which the Company imported, and also to discredit the account of the French getting Hudson's-Bay furs; but principally to support his own affidavit, made on the hearing before the attorney and sollicitor-general, that Hudson's-Bay ermines and squirrels were of small value; and also the affidavit made by Anthony Lutkins and Nicholas Lewis, that they were not worth one penny per dozen; which brought on another affidavit, that upon going to a furrier to enquire the price of Hudson's-Bay ermines, under a pretence of purchasing some, the furrier said, they generally were sold for about two shillings a piece.

Upon Mr. Sparling's being examined about skins and pelts, he produced a deer's skin from Hudson's-Bay full of holes, and said that there was not one in ten that was not so; but when killed at one season of the year the defect was not apparent, till they were dressed in oil; adding, that the Virginia deer-skins are much more valuable.—He said, that ermine and squirrel-skins from Hudson's-Bay were not worth paying custom for; the last squirrel-skins being sold for a farthing a piece, after paying a halfpenny duty: that he had bought no ermines from the Bay of a long time, the best coming from Siberia. To prove this he produced two ermines from the Bay, one the best, the other the worst he could pick out of a parcel, and one from Siberia; and said that the Siberia ermines sold from one shilling to one shilling and six-pence each: he then produced two Siberia squirrel-skins, and two from the Bay.—He said farther, that he had annual accounts from Rochelle of what furs the French imported, which all came there; and that they imported three or four hundred martins annually, and with them a small quantity of Hudson's-Bay furs.—This is the substance of his evidence.

It had been strongly urged against the Company, that they did not endeavour to encrease and extend their fur-trade as they ought; that the French carried away many of their rich furs from the inland at the heads of their settlements; that by not sending up persons to trade upon the rivers and lakes, great numbers of deer and buffalo skins were lost, the natives having no conveyance for them down the rivers but small birch-canoes; and that a great many other kinds of furs might be had, if the natives were not discouraged from taking them, on account of the high price of the Company's goods, such as white hares, ermines, and squirrels. Mr. Sparling's testimony was intended to invalidate this charge; and with that view he produced the deer, ermine, and squirrel-skins.

The deer-skin he produced was probably the vilest he could pick out, full of holes, and killed at an improper season; for deer-skins, like other pelts and furs, have their season. At one time of the year they are troubled with an insect that eats holes in their skins, a disorder called the warbles, of which, however, they are perfectly cured before winter; but if the deer are killed at this season, the skins must unavoidably have holes in them; and is that a reason why the natives should not be encouraged to kill them at a proper season, by allowing a just price for good skins? Had the natives any reason to expect that their care would be rewarded, they would never kill deer out of season, unless hunger obliged them; and if they were civilized, they would raise tame cattle for their subsistence, and hunt only for profit. It is notorious, that as good deer-skins have been brought from Hudson's-Bay, as from other parts of America; and the Company in their instructions to Norton, have expresly ordered him to send over deer as well as moose and elk-skins, which they would not have done but from a knowlege of their value.

It appears from the Company's own account of their sales in Nº. X, that deer-skins, according as they were taken in season or not, have sold from two shillings to four shillings and nine-pence per skin; and, at a medium of ten years, at two shillings and eleven-pence halfpenny: but at a medium of ten years, the number brought over annually was but three hundred forty-six; when, if trade had been extended up the rivers and lakes, they might probably have imported two or three hundred thousand annually, which if killed in season, and properly dressed by the Indians, would have sold for ten shillings per skin.

Mr. Sparling next produced two ermines from the Bay extremely bad, and one from Siberia extremely good; so good, that a Russia merchant who examined it, said, that he had a present of choice ermines lately sent him from Russia, and in the whole parcel, which might be presumed were not bad, there was not a skin better than that. The two American ermines were pretended to be the best and worst of a parcel; but then it was a parcel that contained none but bad skins killed out of season, for they were ill coloured, small, and almost without fur. The ermines, like the hares and partridges in cold countries, turn white in winter, except the tips of their ears and tails; and if taken out of season before they recover their colour, or the young ones are full grown, they must necessarily be small, ill coloured, and bare of fur. The same may be said of squirrels, with regard to size, and goodness of fur: and those bad ermines and squirrels are constantly killed by the Company's servants and home Indians at improper seasons, who have no encouragement to kill them in the right season; and they are sent over at random, in small parcels, for the sake of what they may accidentally produce. But to shew how far his great zeal has carried him beyond the point which it was necessary for him to keep in view, in order to preserve a consistency between his own and the Company's account of this matter; we need only look into Nº. X, which specifies the price of furs at their sales, and into Nº. XXIV, which specifies the number as well as price; and it will appear that in ten years sale there was only one article of seventeen ermines, which sold at one shilling and five-pence per skin, as high as the best Siberia ermines, which Sparling himself acknowleges fell generally from one shilling to one shilling and six-pence; and yet these are not worth paying custom for.

The next article he produced of the contents of his budget, was squirrels, which at the last sale he says sold for a farthing a piece, and paid a halfpenny duty. But from the same papers it appears, that in a course of ten years sale squirrel-skins were sold for five years, viz. 276 in 1742 at 4d¼ each, 127 in 1744 at 4d¼ each, 2070 in 1745 at 1d¼, 540 in 1746 at 20s the whole: and 500 in 1747 at 21s 6d the whole: so that there were two sales at which squirrel skins, when probably in full season, sold at 4d¼ each; one sale, when more out of season, at 1d¼, and two sales, when quite out of season, or ill saved, at about a halfpenny each, i. e. for double the price that Sparling upon his evidence rated them at; which however is something more modest than the price fixed by Lutkins and Lewis, who in their respective affidavits had asserted, that they were not worth a penny a dozen. But if furs are thus blown upon at market, only because they are killed out of season, or ill saved, must therefore no encouragement be given to kill them in season, and to save them well; when by such prudent care, as the Company themselves have demonstrated, they would produce eight times the value?

The last part of his evidence I shall take notice of, is that which relates to the Canada furs, and the few Hudson's-bay furs imported with them. He has, it seems, regular accounts from Rochelle, of the annual imports; and the amount of martins imported are but three or four hundred annually, amongst which are a few, but very few, Hudson's-bay furs. I cannot exactly recollect this part of his evidence as he delivered it; but am afraid it has suffered, either thro' an error of the press, or of the person who took it down; since it is notorious that the French carry on a great fur-trade from Canada, and deal so largely in martins, that if he had said thirty or forty thousand, he had fallen far short of the truth; nay three or four hundred packs of one hundred or two hundred in a pack would not perhaps have exceeded it. The Company themselves in some years have imported near twenty thousand martins; and as the French, who value only one at a beaver, give three times the price that the Company give, who value three at a beaver, we may reasonably conclude, that the French procure three times the number that the Company procure; for the Indians know how to sell their goods to the best advantage.

I shall only add two remarks; first, that the Company were right to rest their evidence here, and not expose themselves by any more vain attempts to invalidate that which was brought against them; as no evidence after this would have borne even the hearing. And secondly, that if the evidence brought against them had not had the sacred support of truth itself, it was in the Company's power, from the number of captains and servants still in their pay, over whose souls as well as bodies they have the absolute command, to have detected not only falshood but error; whereas the petitioners could only procure a few of their servants, whose integrity stood opposed to the distress of poverty, and the power of wealth, and whose integrity notwithstanding carried them through with incontestable authority.

I shall now proceed to sum up the material part of the evidence produced against the Company, relative to their misconduct, and to the country, climate, trade, fisheries, and navigation of the Bay.

First, it appears, that the countries about the Bay are capable of great improvement; that the lands southward and westward of the Bay, are in good climates, equal in their several latitudes to those in Asia and Europe, and that the climate improves farther within land, the spring being earlier and the winter shorter; that by Kelsey's journal produced by the Company, and by Joseph de la France's which they have not controverted, the country abounds with woods, champains, plains, ponds, rivers and lakes, several hundred leagues west from the Bay; that the land is covered with beaver, buffaloes, deer, martins, and other valuable furs; and the rivers and lakes are full of sturgeon and other excellent fish. It appears also, that these fine rivers are navigable every where with canoes, and in most places with larger vessels, having but inconsiderable falls, up which canoes can be towed against the stream, and that the lakes are navigable by larger vessels.—That upon these rivers and about the lakes, are many nations or tribes of docible and humane Indians, willing to be instructed, and eager to engage in trade.—That the lands are capable of tillage, affording good pasture for horses and cattle in the summer, and good hay for their subsistence in winter.—That at Churchill, the most northerly factory, horses and cows have been kept in winter, tho' greatly exposed to the frost and cold.—That all sorts of garden stuff flourish at the factories, and where barley and oats have been sown, they come to perfection: at Moose-factory at the bottom of the Bay, sown wheat has stood the winter frosts, and grown very well the summer following; tho' the cold and frost is greater, and continues longer here than within land: black-cherries also planted here have grown and borne fruit, as would other trees if propagated.—That the rivers upon the Bay, abound with white whales and other valuable fish; and the sea to northward, with black whales, sea-horses, seals, and white bears, which afford whale-finn, oil, ivory, and skins; the western coast being no way mountainous, as in Davys's and Hudson's-strait.—And that the seas and navigation are not dangerous; there being few instances of the loss of ships in the Bay, or in the passage thither.

Secondly, it appears, that notwithstanding the unspeakable advantages to be obtained by planting and settling these countries, the climates of which are not worse than Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Poland, and north Germany; yet the Company have not made, nor encouraged to be made, any one settlement or colony; having only four small factories, in which they keep about one hundred and thirty servants, and two small houses with only eight men in each, which is all the force they have provided to keep the possession, and protect the trade of a country, equal to one third of Europe.—That they have not in fifty years sent above one person to make discoveries within land, which was Norton, who by Brown's evidence had been at the copper-mine, tho' his journal was not produced to the Committee; but none to make friendships and alliances with the natives, discouraging even their servants from going up into the inland to trade, tho' for their own benefit; nor even to prevent the natives from trading with the French, tho' they are sensible of their perpetual incroachments, and that they daily carry away the richest furs.—That notwithstanding there are incontestable evidences of rich copper and lead mines, and even of cinnabar, out of which mercury has been extracted; yet no encouragement has been given, or attempts made, to search after them with a view to their improvement.—That the annual exports of the Company have not exceeded four thousand pounds; and in time of peace their navigation has been confined to three ships of 150 or 200 tons, with two or three small sloops stationed in the Bay, that some years are not sent out of harbour.—That no means have been used to civilize or convert the natives; nor even a clergyman sent over to instruct and take care of the souls of their own servants; on the contrary, the learning of the Indian language, or keeping up any correspondence with the people, is severely prohibited under penalty of loss of wages and bodily correction.—And that none but plausible and insincere attempts have been made to find out a passage to the western-ocean of America; tho' the probability of there being such a passage is more and more strengthened from the late discovery of bays, inlets, and broken lands, the western ends of which are not yet discovered; and from there having been no rivers yet observed on the north-west coast.

And what have the Company and its friends been able to advance, in opposition to these accumulated proofs of negligence and folly? Why no more than this;—"That if the country and trade could have been improved to the degree that is alleged, merely by making fresh discoveries and carrying on an industrious cultivation, it is not to be supposed that the taking such practicable steps would have been omitted by the Company, which without doubt is composed of men of experience who are wise enough to pursue their own interest." This was the fundamental point with regard to which they ventured to cross-examine the petitioners witnesses, most of whom were men of inferior stations, unqualified to assign the true reason, why the Company have acted so manifestly against the interest of the public, and so apparently against their own. But the true reason is obvious: "They have had no legal right to their exclusive trade since the year 1698, at which time the act expired that confirmed their charter only for seven years; if, therefore, after this period, the least evidence had been suffered to transpire, that the climate of Hudson's-bay is very habitable; that the soil is rich and fruitful, fit for growing corn and raising stocks of cattle, and abounds also with valuable mines; that the fisheries are capable of great improvement, and the navigation not more dangerous than in other countries; that the trade may even be extended, by means of a navigable passage, or at least by a short land-passage, to the western ocean; and that the Company from these discoveries and improvements are grown immensely rich and powerful:" I say, had such proofs of a fine country and beneficial trade stolen abroad in the world, as they must unavoidably have done if proper experiments had been made, "the Company knew, that the Legislature would have taken the right into its own hands; and settled the country, and laid the trade open, for the benefit of Britain:" they have, therefore, contented themselves with dividing among one hundred persons, a large profit upon a small capital; have not only endeavoured to keep the true state of the trade and country an impenetrable secret, but industriously propagated the worst impressions of them; and rather then enjoy the inconceivable advantages of a general cultivation in common with their fellow-subjects, have, even to the hazard of their own separate interest, exposed both country and trade to the incroachments of the French.

The French, who are grasping at universal dominion, watch every opportunity for extending their trade, and secure all those countries which we abandon. But tamely to suffer them to dispossess us of this important source of wealth and power is, besides the loss, a disgrace not to be borne by Britain; tho' borne it must be, if the Company are permitted any longer to sacrifice the good of the nation to their own private interest. The Legislature only can prevent the one, by putting an immediate stop to the other; and the Legislature has but two methods to make choice of; either,

First, to purchase the Company's right to any lands they have a legal title to; to lay the trade open with the customary privileges and immunities; to settle the rivers and the coasts adjoining with European protestants, who are now in great numbers seeking for a place of shelter, in which they may enjoy their civil and religious liberties with safety; and lastly, to civilize the natives, treat them with gentleness and humanity, instruct them in the knowlege of useful arts, and encourage their industry by allowing them an equitable trade, and thus lay a foundation for their conversion to Christianity. Or,

Secondly, to confirm the sole property of these extensive countries, with all the royalties powers and privileges originally granted by the charter, to the Company for ever.

For as by this they would become lords paramount like the Dutch Company in the Indies, and but barely subordinate to the Crown of Great Britain; so by this, and by this only, they will be induced to pursue those measures that can procure any advantages to the public.

Utrum horum mavis, accipe.


Number II.

An estimate of the expence of building
the stone-fort at the entrance of
Churchill-river, called Prince of

Prince of Wales's-fort is a square fort with four bastions. But before I begin the estimate, it may be proper to observe, that as no labourers were set apart for the building, which always was stopped as often as any other kind of business interfered; and as no regular account was kept of these frequent interruptions; it will be difficult to form an estimate in any other way, than by taking the quantity of work that was done during the three years that I was concerned, and the number of masons, labourers, and horses, that were necessary to perform that work; and then computing the expence of the whole, in proportion to the expence of this part.

    £. s. d.
Four masons at £25 [9] per annum each for three years } 300: 0: 0
Maintenance of ditto at 5s per week each } 156: 0: 0
Ditto in their passage out and home, five months } 20: 0: 0
Eleven labourers at [10] £6 per annum each for three years } 198: 0: 0
Maintenance of ditto at 5s per week each } 429: 0: 0
Ditto in their passage out and home } 55: 0: 0
Four horses at £15 each } 60: 0: 0
Charges of ditto in the ship } 8: 8: 0
Ditto----in the country at 6d per day each for three years } 109: 10: 0
Three hundred pounds wt. of gunpowder for blowing up stones } 15: 0: 0
Utensils for three years, as carriages, ropes, blocks, &c. } 60: 0: 0
Iron-crows, great hammers, &c. } 15: 0: 0
  Total, 1425: 18: 0

All the stone, lime-stone, sand, and the wood for burning the lime, was upon the spot. Most of the stone and lime-stone lay within a quarter of a mile's distance from the fort, and none at more than half a mile's distance.

The little smith's and carpenter's work also that was done in these three years, for neither lead nor iron was used in cramping the stones, was performed by the Company's common servants, whose charges are not to be brought into the account, till the expences of building the house within the fort are rated. So that the expence of the fort in the first three years, at a large allowance, does not exceed £1425: 18: 0. I carefully examined how much of the wall was built in this time, and found that, at the same expence, and with the same number of hands, the rampart might have been finished in six years more, and in a far better manner; for great part of what was afterwards done has tumbled, but what was then done stands well.

In these three years we built two bastions and the curtain between them about seven feet and a half high; and also laid the foundation of another bastion, and built a curtain and half a curtain, and one face of the bastion about two feet and a half or three feet high; which made considerably more than one third of the measurement of the whole rampart: trebling, therefore, the first three years expence, and only deducting the price of four horses valued at £60, the charge of the whole rampart could not exceed £4217: 14: 0.

The next part to be estimated is the parapet. This was at first built of wood; but as the wood was supplied from the old demolished fort five miles up the river, and as the carpenter put it up in thirteen weeks, with very little assistance, the expence of it to the Company could not be very large. In the year 1746, I assisted in building the stone-parapet; and tho' I had only two masons with me, and much of my own time was taken up in selecting proper stones and in surveying, yet the parapet was carried along the flank of a bastion and curtain in one summer; and if the governor had not obstructed the work, but had allowed us a stated number of labourers, having always either too few or too many, we should have been able to have finished another flank.

The two masons could not do much to the parapet after I came away, as they were employed in erecting a battery at Cape-merry on the other side of the harbour: at the time, therefore, that it was represented, that the building had cost the Company between thirty and forty thousand pounds, very little more than a fifth part of the parapet was completed, the expence of which may be easily ascertained; for, if a flank and curtain were made by three masons, in one summer and autumn; surely, four masons and eleven labourers might do as much in one year; and the expence of four masons, eleven labourers, and four horses, with utensils for one year, cannot exceed 460 l.

A house was built within the fort, the length of which, from out to out, was 101 feet 6 inches; the breadth 33 feet; and the height of the wall 17 feet, making two stories, with a flat roof covered with lead: but all the materials, except iron, lead, glass, and some large beams, were procured upon the spot; and I would undertake to build such a house there, with the advantage of carrying materials from England in the annual ship, for 600 l.

Three of the bastions had arches for storehouses 40 feet 3 inches by 10 feet; and in the fourth bastion was built a stone-magazine 24 feet long, and 10 feet wide in the clear, with a passage to it thro' the gorge of the bastion, 24 feet long, and 4 feet wide. Now comparing the expence of building these, with that of the other parts of the fort; I think, that two thirds of the expence of the first three years would be sufficient; that is, four masons, eleven labourers, and four horses, &c. for two years, amounting to about 920 l. with 42 l. more for the lead made use of to cover the magazine.

I have rated the expences of the masons and labourers, as if they had been constantly employed upon the building both winter and summer; whereas, the building could be carried on only from May to September, and during the remaining seven months, the people were engaged in other business for the service of the Company, by which they defrayed, at least, the charge of their maintenance for this interval, which yet I have placed to the account of the fort. Indeed, in the whole estimate I have rated every article so high, that an experienced workman, if he was acquainted with the nature of the country, would not compute the total expence at so much by some hundred pounds.

It appears, therefore,

First, That in the year 1749, the Company could not have expended more than £6239 : 14 : 0. And,

Secondly, That, as a fifth part of the parapet was then finished for £460, and the rest, consequently, might have been done for £1840 more, the whole expence of compleating the fort, and all the buildings within it, cannot possibly exceed £8000.


Number III.

The Soundings of Nelson-River

Monday the 15th of July 1745, fifteen min. past seven in the morning, set sail in the Factory's long-boat, in company with Capt. Fowler, from on board the Sea-horse pink, then lying in Five-fathom-hole, to found and discover Port Nelson-river. At thirty-eight min. past seven, a breast of the beacon that stands at Five-fathom-hole, the water fallen one foot; a neap tide, wind N. E. a fresh gale; course from the beacon S. E. by E. one mile and a quarter; sounded from four fathom and a half to eleven feet; the beacon bore W. N. W. distance one mile and a half. Nine min. past eight, altered our course, steered N. N. W. one mile and a quarter, sounded from eleven feet to two fathom, being across the channel that leads into Five-fathom-hole in Hayes's-river; this channel is of a considerable breadth. At this time of tide we found two fathom and a half in the best or deepest of the channel, and close to the north sand sounded three fathom and a half; ship and beacon in one, bearing S. W. half W. distance one mile. Twenty-one min. past eight, altered our course, steered S. E. by E. three miles, crossing the Fair-way into Hayes's-river; sounded from two fathom to six feet; sounded two fathom and a half in the best of the channel; the beacon bore W. by N. distance three miles and a half. Four min. past nine, altered our course, steered N. N. W. two miles and a quarter, sounded from six fathom to nine feet, being from side to side of the Fair-way into Hayes's-river; found a considerable breadth of channel, where was two and a half and two and a quarter fathom at that time of tide; the beacon bore W. S. W. distance three miles. Twenty-nine min. past nine, altered our course, steered S. E. by E. one mile and a quarter; sounded from nine to ten feet across the entrance of Hayes's-river; sounded two and a half and two and a quarter fathom in the best of the channel; beacon bore W. distance four miles. Forty-seven min. past nine, altered our course, steered N. N. W. five miles; sounded from ten feet to five fathom and three quarters in this course. At sixteen min. past ten, we had three fathom water; being on the north side of the sand that parts the Fair-way into the two rivers Nelson and Hayes, from whence we had three fathom water; the ship in Five-fathom-hole, bore S. W. half W. distance five miles: but at the end of this course where we had five fathom and three quarters, the ship bore S. S. W. distance six miles. Sixteen min. past eleven, altered our course, steerd N. W. one mile, sounded from five three quarters to six fathom; the ship bore S. by W. distance seven miles. Thirty-three min. past eleven, altered our course, steered W. four miles, tried the tide of ebb by bringing the Jolly-boat to a grapnel, the tide run E. one knot and a half. At twelve hove the logg; the boat's way was two knots and a half; four knots run off the reel; sounded from six fathom to two and a half; the ship bore S. by E. distance eight miles and a half. At one, altered our course; steered S. W. half a mile, to try to deepen our water: it now began to be a thick fog, the wind blowing fresh at N. E.; sounded from two fathom and a half to eleven feet. Thirty min. past one, altered our course, steered N. W. two miles and a half; sounded from eleven feet to four fathom and three quarters. Forty-five min. past one, altered our course, steered W. two miles, sounded from four fathom and three quarters to two and a half. Eleven min. past two, altered our course, steered S. W. one mile, sounded from two fathom and a quarter to eleven feet. Twenty-six min. past two, altered our course, steered N. W. one furlong, sounded from eleven feet to eight feet. Twenty-nine min. past two, altered our course, steered S. half a mile, sounded from eight feet to four feet; we had now a very thick fog, a fresh gale, and a great sea. Thirty-nine min. past two, altered our course, steered S. W. four miles, sounded from four feet (the next cast seven feet, the second cast seven fathom, the third cast eight fathom and a half) to four fathom: the fog being gone, we found we were four or five miles within the river. Fifteen min. past three, altered our course, steered S. two miles, to try the channel, sounded from four fathom to six feet. Forty-five min. past three, steered right across the river one mile and a half, from six feet on south-side, to six feet on north-side; found the channel half a mile broad, from three to three fathom; in the middle of the channel there is four fathom and a half, a soft clay bottom; we run up this channel one mile and a half, sounded from four fathom and a half to two fathom and a half, then three fathom; presently we were in five fathom; then six fathom; we were now a-breast of the first remarkable gully, near one mile and a half above the foot of the high land: from five fathom, we sounded very uneven soundings; one cast two fathom, the next four or five feet, then three feet in the middle of the river; here we were upon the middle ground, the channel being near the north and south sides of the river: then we run near the north shore; sounded from four feet to two fathom several times. When we got to Flamborough-head, the soundings were more regular. Three min. past six, we passed Flamborough-head, sounded from ten feet to three fathom and a quarter, and from three fathom and a quarter to two fathom; we had these soundings near a mile; now it was first quarter flood. From these good soundings to Seal-island, we sounded twice, from two fathom to six feet. Within three or four hundred yards of Seal-island, the channel is very shallow; close to the north end of Seal-island there is from two to three fathom water; neap tides flow here about four feet, spring tides about eight feet. Seal-island is about three miles and a half above Flamborough-head by computation. Thirty min. past seven, a breast of Seal-island, sounded from two to three fathom. We past Seal and Gillam's-islands, thinking to sail up a stream we met there: but it being neap tide, and we not knowing where the deepest water was, and seeing the tops of stones above water, at fifteen min. past eight we returned to Seal-island, where the water was fallen half a foot; and landed at forty-five min. past eight; pitching our tent on the N. E. point of Gillam's-island.

Tuesday the 16th, in the morning, Capt. Fowler and I went round Gillam's-island; we climbed up the west end, which is very steep to look up the river: we imagined, that if we had got up that stream, and we were very near the head of it when we turned back, we might have sailed in the longboat a great way farther up the river: at thirty min. past eight, we returned to our tent. After breakfast we left two men to take care of the boats, and went down the north shore of the river to observe the flats at low water. When we were five miles below Flamborough-head, we climbed up to the top of the bank, where we saw the lower end of the middle ground, the top of some large stones being above water; flood at thirty min. past five this afternoon. From the place where we stood to these stones on the lower end of the middle ground, and to the outer point of woods on the south shore, it bore E. half N. As we went down the shore we saw plainly there was a channel on the north side, and another on the south side of the middle ground; we thought the channel on the north side the best, and it lay close to the shore, within half a cable's length of it; all the way from two or three miles above the lower end of the high land up to Flamborough-head, and from two or three miles above the foot of the high-land, the channel is in the middle of the river, leading out of the river's mouth.

This north shore lies 42 deg. N. E. and S. W. and is a sand from the height of three quarters flood to low water mark; towards high water mark, close under the bank, it is full of large pebble stones; there are several small creeks along this shore, where we found tenting poles left by the Indians who had lain there to fish: it thundered and rained much while we were upon this journey. Between Seal-island and Flamborough-head, there are large parcels of fine trees growing close to the river side. Fifteen min. past eight, we got to our tent, having suffered much from the muskettos.

The Captain and I judging these islands very proper to make settlements upon, the lesser island being as we apprehended an extraordinary fine place for a fort to secure that river, I made a particular survey of these islands, as follows;

Wednesday morning the 17th, surveyed Seal-island, and found its length 21 chains or 1386 feet. Its breadth 4 chains or 297 feet. Its circumference at high water mark 62 chains or 4092 feet. Its perpendicular height 86 feet. Its form resembles a long oval. Its height from low water mark makes an angle of 33 deg. Length of the slope, 2 chains 40 links. We sounded the water round the island, from 2 to 3 fathom on the N. W. and N. E. sides: the S. W. and S. E. sides lie to the main river, being shoal water near the island; but at half a mile from the island the water is deep: between this and the large island above it, there is two fathom and a half and three fathom water, where a vessel may lie safe both in winter and summer, and a vessel of eight or nine feet water may get up safe to this place. At the N. E. end of Seal-island, on the main shore, is a very fine low bottom, where grow a parcel of as fine trees as I have seen in the country, close to the river; we cut our names on the trees in the N. E. end of Seal-island. The breadth of the water that parts Seal-island from the larger island above it is 8 chains or 176 yards; this larger island is about three miles in circumference, the west end being as high as any land thereabouts; neap tides flow here, about four feet, and spring tides about eight feet; but the chart of this river will best shew the situation of these islands. Along the river side are the stones already mentioned, round as cannon balls, which when broke look like iron. At forty-five min. past eight, almost high-water, we made sail to go down the river; wind S. W. sounded from the N. E. corner of Seal-island, from three fathom and a half to five feet; from five feet to four fathom and three quarters just above Flamborough-head, then eleven feet, then three fathom, then two fathom just below the head; water fallen half a foot. From the head downwards, the shore lies N. E. by N. and S. W. by S. nearly; the channel lies within half a cable's length of the shore; the least soundings down this channel were ten feet. The water fallen a foot about one mile and a half above the foot of the high-land on the north side of the river: we stood off from the shore near a mile, sounded two fathom, then stood in and shoaled gradually to nine feet: we stood off and on several times, and found the bottom near level; sounded off shore a mile, found twelve feet water, then stood in shore; the water shoaled gradually to nine feet. At Forty-five min. past ten, we were a little below the foot of the high-land, and stood across the river; found the channel in the middle from three fathom to three fathom and a half, half a mile broad; in the middle of the channel four fathom and a half, soft clay: By working down this channel, towards the river's mouth, we found it steep on each side, when we stood into two fathom and a half before put the helm a lee; ere the boat was stayed, she shot into ten feet water. When we came pretty far down, seemingly without the river's mouth, we stood into two fathom and a half on the south side, then stood to the northward till we sounded four fathom and a half, then to the southward till we sounded three fathom, then to the northward till we sounded eight fathom and a half, in the best of the channel. The channel is deeper here than farther out; for as we came up we crossed the channel three miles without this place, and had only six fathom. From eight fathom and a half, we stood to the S. eastward about three miles, saw a point or ridge of stones on the south-side, distance three quarters of a mile, sounded three fathom: this point of stones dries four or five feet perpendicular, and seems to lie two or three miles from shore; but there are flats that dry at low-water all the way to the shore, so that a man may walk from these stones to the land: then we stood northward; the water deepened little in half a mile. When we had stood a mile northward, we saw stones dry on the north-side, distance three quarters of a mile; sounded three fathom and a half to four fathom, (now we were almost as far out as when we steered N. W. a-cross the channel in going up the river, and had six fathom) Then we steered E. S. E. two or three miles. Keeping three fathom, near the south flats, towards low-water (it was low-water when we were hereabouts in our progress up the river) made a little trip to the northward to deepen our water; wind at S. W. a fresh gale: hawled up for the ship, which we saw very plain in Five-fathom-hole, all the way after we had passed the point of stones mentioned above, and got aboard fifteen min. past seven in the evening.


Number IV.

A survey of the course of Nelson-river,
taken along the south shore at high-water
mark. Each course set by
compass, variation 16°, 45', and
measured by a wheel; with observations.

First course W. by N. half N. 74 chains.

This first course begins at Beacon A, on the point of marsh that parts Nelson and Hayes's-rivers; and goes to Beacon B that stands on the marsh towards Nelson-river. [See the chart in Plate 1]

Second course W. by N. 190 chains.

Whaywee-creek is 20 chains on this course. There are two other small creeks before the course ends. At the end is the geese tent, where the English and Indians in the season lie to kill geese, bearing S. W. Distance half a mile.

Third course W. 160 chains.

This course reaches to a ledge, called at York-fort the ledge of woods, which are generally small trees.

Fourth course W. by S. 430 chains.

The end of the Indian path from York-fort to Nelson-river, is at 240 chains up this course. Here the Indians quit the woods, and go up by the river side. In this course are patches of timber-trees.

Fifth course W. S. W. 160 chains.

Forty chains up this course opened Flamborough-head. Some large trees a little distant from the river side.

Sixth course S. W. by W. 240 chains.

Burn'd wood upon this course. Now the place begins to look green again.

Seventh course S. W. 270 chains.

A considerable quantity of timber-trees along this course close to the river; at the end of it a creek between two high banks, where are many rabbets; this creek deep; I imagine ships may winter in it, but being frozen I could not sound it. The first stream or fall is at Flamborough-Head.

Eighth course S. W. by W. 110 chains.

Timber-trees along this course, and several creeks.

Ninth course W. S. W. 50 chains.

Timber-trees and a marsh all this course.

Tenth course W. by S. 40 chains.

Nothing remarkable.

Eleventh course W. 30 chains.

A barren steep bank and stone shore all this course.

Twelfth course W. by N. 250 chains.

The river runs near the bank which is barren, the shore stony. At 210 chains is a creek with some timber in it. The end of this course abreast of Seal-island.

Thirteenth course W. half S. 160 chains.

Sixty chains up this course is a creek, where there is a large, quantity of timber-trees. Here is a long fall or stream of water, where captain Fowler and I sailed up in a long-boat, and turned back when we were almost up it.

Fourteenth course W. S. W. 180 chains.

Runs into a Bay, but the river lyeth W. half S. five miles up from Gillam's-island. At the end of this course is a creek, where is a good quantity of timber.

Fifteenth course N. W. 210 chains.

The third fall or stream of water.

Sixteenth course W. by N. 560 chains.

At the beginning of this course on the north side just above a point, is an island as large as Gillam's. Sixty chains higher are four islands, three of which are abreast of each other, the largest lies higher up in a Bay on the south side. Sugar-loaf island is the largest of the three abreast of each other. Small trees upon all these islands.

There are two creeks on this course, one on the north side below the three islands, the other on the south side in the Bay over-against the great island.

Seventeenth course W. N. W. 480 chains.

The land is very high; on this course is a creek that the Indians tell us goes quite through to Hayes's-river, where it is called Penny-Cutaway. The Indians are said to have gone thro' this creek in their canoes from river to river.

Eighteenth course N. W. by W. 390 chains.

High land and barren; but in low places by the river side there is fine timber, and also in the creeks. These two last courses I did not measure with the wheel, apprehending if I did, I should not get back to my tent that night; so only walked these two courses, setting them by compass.

The next day I inspected the north side of the river; opposite to Seal-island is a low plain, where are some very fine timber-trees, and near it great store of fire-wood.

Abreast of Gillam's-island on the north side is a creek, in which we found two or three stumps of trees that had been cut by Europeans. Three eighths of a mile above Gillam's-island is a fine small creek, where is a great number of timber-trees; here we also found old stumps cut by Europeans many years ago: there being so few of these, I conjectured the people had only tented here a few days.

There are many trees growing on the north bank from Flamborough-head, and the same on the south bank as far as I went up, which if cut down would fall into the water. In all my survey I did not see any thing from which I could infer, that there had been any settlement on this river.


Number V.

A survey of Seal and Gillam's islands,
which lie 79 deg. 30 min. S. W. of
Flamborough-head; distance three

First station at a point on the south side of the river close to high-water mark. The S. E. corner of Seal-island bore 26 deg. N. W. Flamborough-head and that corner of Seal-island made an angle of 86 deg. 30 min. distance from first station six furlongs.

Second station at S. E. corner of Seal-island. Flamborough-head bore 74 deg. 30. min. N. E. making an angle with first station of 79 deg.

From the first station to a creek's mouth westward, on the south side the angle to second station is 80 deg.

From second station betwixt the same creek's mouth and the first station the angle was 72 deg. 30 min.

Third station at N. E. corner of Seal-island, to a point at the lower end of a bottom of woods, 58 deg. 30 min. N. E. distance 3 furlongs 7 chains.

Fourth station at S. W. corner of Seal-island, to Beacon A, or south point of Gillam's-island, 69 deg. 30 min. S. W. distance 4 furlongs 1 chain. These stations were made in so cold a day, that every time I touched the instrument it stuck to my fingers.

The breadth of the water from the north shore to Seal-island, 2 furlongs 8 chains.

Breadth of water from Seal to Gillam's-island 8 chains; the water between Seal and Gillam's-island is from 2 to 3 fathom deep at low water, and the same from Seal-island to north shore: the other sides lie to the main river: the length, breadth, circumference, height and slope I have mentioned in Nº. III. The best way up to the top of Seal-island is the middle of the S. S. E. side; the other sides being very steep. The west end of Gillam's is four or five feet higher than Seal-island; it has a descent from thence to the eastward, over against Seal-island, where it is so low that spring-tides flow over it.

The acclivity at the top makes the distance there eighty yards more than at the water.


Number VI.

A journal of the winds and tides at
Churchill-river in Hudson's-bay,
for parts of the years 1746 and
    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
1746, Octob. 1   N. A strong gale 14½
  2   No remark  
New moon. 3   N. W. no remark
  4   E. by N. a strong gale 14
  5   N. N. W. a strong gale 15½
  6   W. N. W. moderate 15½
  7   W. by S. ditto 14½
      No remark till the  
  16   S. S. W. veerable 10
  17   S. W. by W. ditto 10½
  18   N. W. 11½
  19   N. W. by W. moderate 12½
  20   E. a fresh gale 12½
  21   N. E. a strong gale 12
  22   N. E. by N. a fresh gale 12
  23   N. E. moderate 11½
  24   N. by W. very moderate 10½
  25   S. W. by S. very moderate 10½
  26   E. by N. a low tide
  27   E. by N. a strong gale
  28   E. did not mind the tide
  29   S. by W. moderate 10
  30   N. by W. ditto 11½
  31   S. W. by W. ditto 11½
November 1   N. N. W. moderate 12
New moon 2   N. by W. a fresh gale 14
  3   W. by N. 14½
  4   N. by W. a gentle breeze 14½
  5   W. by N. ditto 13½
  6   N. by W. a fresh gale 14
  7   N. W. moderate 11
  8   N. W. ditto 11
  9   N. W. ditto
  10   N. W. by N. a fresh gale 9
  11   W. N. W. a gentle breeze.  

The ice obstructs my knowing exactly the tide's height, but it is a low tide.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  12   W. N. W. a low tide
  13   W. by N. ditto
  14   the river frozen over within a mile of the sea a low tide
  15   E. moderate; so it hath been three days past  
  16   S. E. moderate a low tide
  17   W. S. W. moderate ditto
  18   S. W. moderate, as near as I could guess tide 9 feet
  19   W. by N. moderate tide flowed near 9 feet
  20   W. S. W. moderate a low tide.

These ten days past, the tide has not ebbed so low as it ebbs in summer by 2 feet perpendicular; and from its not flowing above 9 feet these last springs, I am induced to believe that the straits thro' which it comes into the Bay, must at this time be full of ice; and that therefore these straits are shallow and more subject to the frost than Churchill-river; Churchill-river being not yet frozen over near the sea.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
Nov. 1746 21   S. W. a gentle breeze, the tide is lower than any tide in summer  
  22   W. by S. the frost is so violent, that no observations can be made upon the tides till the river is open again, which will not be till June.  
  23   N. N. W.  
  24   N. W.  
  25   W. by N.  
  26   W. N. W.  
  27   W. by N.  
  28   W. by S.  
  29   N. W.  
  30   N. W.  
Decem. 1   W. by N.  
  2   W.  
  3   W.  
  4   W. N. W.  
  5   W. by N.  
  6   N. N. W.  
  7   N. W. by W.  
  8   N. W.  
  9   N. W.  
  10   N. W. by W.  
  11   S. W.  
  12   E.  
  13   N. W.  
  14   N. W. by N.  
  15   N. by W.  
  16   W. N. W.  
  17   W. S. W.  
  18   N. W. by N.  
  19   N. W.  
  20   N. N. W.  
  21   N. W. by N.  
  22   N. W. by N.  
  23   N. W. by N.  
  24   W. N. W.  
  25   N. W. by N.  
  26   S. W.  
  27   N. W. by W.  
  28   N. N. W.  
  29   N. W.  
  30   N. W. by W.  
  31   N. W. by W.  
Jan. 1   W. by N.  
1747 2   W.  
  3   N. W. by W.  
  4   N. W.  
  5   N. W. by N.  
  6   N. W.  
  7   N. W. by N.  
  8   N. W.  
  9   N. W.  
  10   N. W.  
  11   N. W.  
  12   N. W.  
  13   S. W.  
  14   S. by W.  
  15   N. W. by W.  
  16   W. N. W.  
  17   N. by W.  
  18   N. W.  
  19   W. N. W.  
  20   N. N. W.  
  21   W. N. W.  
  22   S. by W.  
  23   N. W.  
  24   N. W.  
  25   N. W.  
  26   N. by E.  
  27   N.  
  28   E. by N.  
  29   N. N. E.  
  30   N. N. E.  
  31   N. E.  
Feb. 1   W. N. W.  
  2   N. W.  
  3   N. N. W.  
  4   N. W.  
  5   S. W.  
  6   S. by E.  
  7   S. by W.  
  8   S. by E.  
  9   N.  
  10   Easterly.  
  11   N. N. E.  
  12   W.  
  13   S. S. E.  
  14   S.  
  15   S. by W.  
  16   W. by N.  
  17   N. W.  
  18   W. by N.  
  19   N. N. W.  
  20   N. W.  
  21   N. W.  
  22   N. W.  
  23   N. W. by W.  
  24   S. by W.  
  25   N. W.  
  26   N. W.  
  27   S. W.  
  28   N. W. by N.  
Mar. 1   S.  
  2   N. N. W.  
  3   N. W.  
  4   no report  
  5   W. N. W.  
  6   W. by N.  
  7   W. N. W.  
  8   W. N. W.  
  9   S. by W.  
  10   N. W.  
  11   N. W.  
  12   S. S. W.  
  13   W. N. W.  
  14   N. W.  
  15   S.  
  16   N. W.  
  17   N.  
  18   N. N. W.  
  19   N. W.  
  20   N. W. by W.  
  21   E.  
  22   S. E.  
  23   S.  
  24   Southerly.  
  25   N.  
  26   W. N. W.  
  27   Southerly.  
  28   Southerly.  
  29   Northerly.  
  30   Easterly.  
  31   Easterly.  
April 1   N. N. E.  
  2   Northerly.  
  3   Northerly.  
  4   Northerly.  
  5   Northerly.  
  6   Southerly.  
  7   Very veerable.  
  8   N. veerable.  
  9   S. veerable.  
  10   N. W.  
  11   S. veerable.  
  12   Easterly.  
  13   N. N. E.  
  14   N. N. W.  
  15   N. W.  
  16   Southerly.  
  17   Northerly.  
  18   Southerly.  
  19   Northerly.  
  20   Northerly.  
  21   Northerly.  
  22   Northerly.  
  23   Northerly.  
  24   N. W.  
  25   Veerable.  
  26   E.  
  27   Easterly.  
  28   E. by N.  
  29   N.  
  30   Northerly.  
May 1   Veer'd all round the compass.  
  2   Veer'd in N. E. quarter.  
  3   N. W. by W.  
  4   Northerly.  
  5   Northerly.  
  6   Northerly.  
  7   N. N. E.  
  8   Northerly.  
  9   E. by S.  
  10   N. N. W.  
  11   Southerly.  
  12   Northerly.  
  13   Northerly.  
  14   Northerly.  
  15   S.  
  16   Easterly.  
  17   Easterly.  
  18   Easterly.  
  19   Easterly.  
  20   N. E. by E.  
  21   E. N. E.  
  22   N. E. by N.  
  23   N.  
  24   N.  
  25   Northerly.  
  26   E. by N.  
  27   Westerly.  
  28   N. W. by W.  
  29   N. W. by N.  
  30   N. N. W.  
  31   S.  
June 1   N. W.  
  2   N. W.  
  3   N. W.  
  4   S. E.  
  5   S. W. by S.  
  6   N. W. by N.  
  7   N. W.  
  8   W. N. W.  
  9   Easterly.  
F moon 10   W. N. W.  
  11   W. S. W.  

Moderate; the river is broke open, tide 10 feet.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  12   E. a fresh gale 10½
  13   N. N. E. ditto.  
  14   N. by E. moderate 12
  15   W. veered much 12
  16   W. moderate 11
        Evening tide 10½
  17   S. moderate 10½
  18   N. by W. a fresh gale 11

The tide ebbs out lower since the river broke open than any other time a-year.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  19   S. moderate
  20   W. moderate did not mind the tide's height
  21   W. N. W. a low tide
  22   N. moderate tide height not observed
  22   W. S. W. moderate

The tide ebbs out now as it generally does all the year.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  24   N. N. W. a brisk gale 11
New moon. 25   N. W. by N. ditto  
  26   W. moderate 11
        Evening tide 11½
  27   N. W. by N. blows fresh 11
  28   N. W. by W. moderate 11½
        Evening tide 12
  29   Southerly, moderate 12
  30   N. N. W. a brisk gale 13
July 1   Northerly, a brisk gale 13½
  2   S. W. by S. moderate  
  3   Northerly, moderate 11½
  4   N. E. by E. moderate 11½
  5   Easterly, blows fresh 12
  6   Easterly, blows hard 11½
  7   N. by E. a fresh gale 11½
  8   Westerly, moderate 11½
  9   W. N. W. moderate 12
  10   Westerly, ditto 11½
  11   Westerly, moderate 11½
        Evening tide 13½
  12   Northerly, blows fresh 14
  13   N. E. blows hard 15
  14   N. E. moderate 12
  15   N. E. by N. a fresh gale  
  16   Southerly, moderate  
  17   Southerly, ditto  
  18   N. E. by N.  
  19   Westerly.  
  20   W. by S.  
  21   S. by E.  

I am employed so much in other business that I cannot take the particular height of the tides, but they are moderate.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  22   Northerly.  
  23   N. E.  
  24   N. E.  

At this time I was engaged in sounding Nelson-river.

    WINDS. Tides height in feet.  
  25   N. E. by E. little wind and veered much. With such veerable winds the tides are always low here.  
  26   Southerly, a fine gale  
  27   Southerly, ditto  
  28   Westerly, veerable  
  29   Easterly, blows fresh  
  30   Southerly, moderate  
  31   S. W. a fine breeze  
August 1   Westerly, moderate and veerable  
  2   Northerly, blows fresh  
  3   S. W. a fine breeze and veerable  
  4   N. N. W. moderate and veerable  
  5   Westerly, moderate and veerable  
  6   S. W. a fine gale and veerable  

The Hudson's-bay, captain Fowler came into the river.

  7   S. W. veerable  

I was discharged out of the fort and went on board the ship for England.

The nights of the 5th and 6th September 1745, the tide flowed higher than the proper springs; the moon seven days old. 20th September 1745, tide flowed 13 feet 7 inches. At this season the highest tides are often five or six days after the full or change of the moon, occasioned by hard gales in the N. W. quarter.



[1] Some of the Indians that come to York-fort have wondered to see the snow-shoes; and upon being told to what use they were applied, have answered, that as they had but little snow, they had no occasion for such helps. And a trader informed me, that having one day offered an Indian woman some prunes to make up the defects of a bad commodity, she asked him how he could offer her fruit of which she had plenty in her own country.

[2] See the estimate, Appendix, No. II.

[3] See the plate No. III. Fig. 3.

[4] See the Draught of Nelson and Hayes's-rivers, Plate Nº. I.

[5] The account I received of Henry Kelsey from the servants in the Bay, is in general this: Henry Kelsey, a little boy, used to take great delight in the Company of the natives, and in learning their language, for which, and some unlucky tricks that boys of spirit are always guilty of, the governor would often correct him with great severity. He resented this deeply; and when he was advanced a little in years and strength, he took an opportunity of going off with some distant Indians, to whom he had endeared himself by a long acquaintance and many little offices of kindness.

A year or two after, the governor received by an Indian a piece of birch-rind folded up, and written upon with charcoal. This was a letter from Kelsey; in which he intreated the governor to pardon him for running away, and to suffer him to return with favour and encouragement. Accordingly he came down with a party of Indians, dressed after their manner, and attended by a wife, who wanted to follow him into the factory. The governor opposed this; but upon Kelsey's telling him in English, that he would not go in himself if his wife was not suffered to go in, he knew him, and let them both enter. Many circumstances of his travels were related: that the Indians once left him asleep; and while he slept, his gun was burnt by the fire's spreading in the moss, which he afterwards stocked again with his knife: that he and an Indian were one day surprized by two grizzled bears, having but just time to take shelter, the Indian in a tree, and Kelsey among some high willows; the bears making directly to the tree, Kelsey fired and killed one of them; the other, observing from whence the fire came, ran towards the place; but not finding his prey, returned to the tree, which he had just reached when he dropped by Kelsey's second fire. This action obtained him the name of Miss-top-ashish, or Little Giant.

When Kelsey was afterwards made governor of York-fort, I was told that he wrote a vocabulary of the Indian language, and that the Company had ordered it to be suppressed.

[6] On the 28th of this last February, 1752, one Dominic Manners, a German, who came from Hudson's-bay with the last ships, informed me, that the French had got to such a head, that they were coming down to attack Prince of Wales's-fort, and were actually within a few days journey of it, when the Indians persuaded them to return by the account they gave of the strength of the place. This, he said, was confidently believed at all the forts.

[7] It being alleged in the Committee, that the Company's charter was confirmed by act of parliament, the Lords and Commons journals were inspected; in which it appeared, that in 1690 the Company, sensible that they had no legal title to their monopoly, petitioned the Commons for a bill to confirm their charter, upon account of the great losses they had sustained from the French, and their having no right to restrain English interlopers. Accordingly a bill for a perpetual confirmation was brought into the house; but upon a petition against the bill from the furriers, and afterwards from the northern colonies of America, some of which came too late to be heard, at the third reading a rider was proposed to make it temporary; and upon a division, whether for seven or ten years, it was carried for the latter; but the Lords returning it amended, by inserting seven years instead of ten, the Commons agreed to the amendment and passed the bill. The Commons, however, to prevent their being surprized into such an act for the future, came to a resolution, which was made a standing order of the House, that no petition should be received for confirming any charter, unless the charter itself was annexed to the petition.

[8]See Nº. XXIV.

[9] I was informed, that, after I came away, masons were sent over at £18 per annum each.

[10] These men are hired in the Orkneys.

Top London, April 15th, 1752.
Just Published,





Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri;
Quo me cunque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes.


Sworn to no master's arbitrary sway,
I range where-e'er occasion points the way.


which compleat the Work, are in the Press;
With which will be printed
A Table of Contents to each Volume, and a
Translation of all the Greek and Latin Passages.

II. MANNERS: A correct and elegant
Translation of Les Moeurs. With the
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Respicere exemplar vitæ morumque.   Hor.

The Second Edition, 12mo. Price bound 3s.

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——Rectius hoc est:
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Being an Abridgment of the Portuguese Original,
which was compiled by Don Francisco
, from the Journals and Papers of
Francisco de Alcaforado.

To which is added,






[End of An Account of Six Years Residence in Hudson's Bay by Joseph Robson]