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The Scottish Tradition in Canada
The Scot in the Fur Trade
Elaine Allan Mitchell

It would be almost impossible to overemphasize the pre-eminent position which Scots of every stripe, Highlander, Lowlander and Islander, attained during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the North American fur trade. The same political, economic and social pressures which forced them as a people to emigrate in such large numbers, brought them as a matter of course into this expanding trade. But it is clear that, in addition to the paramount need to earn a living, they possessed certain advantages of character or education, or both, which admirably fitted them for the service of the two principal and diverse interests in the northwest, the Canadians operating from Montreal and the English on Hudson's Bay. If the dashing Highlanders of the North West Company have captured the imagination of the general public, still they must yield pride of place to the less spectacular Orkneymen of the Hudson's Bay Company, who preceded them in that part of North America formerly known as Rupert's Land. In later years, too, the sons of both groups, the majority of them born of marriages with Indian women, were frequently to succeed their fathers and grandfathers, and themselves to play a substantial and worthy part in the continent-wide and virtually monopolistic corporation on whose foundations the modern Canadian nation has been built.

The fur trade dates back to the earliest days of the discovery of Canada. The Basque, Breton and other European fishermen who followed the explorers to the Gulf of St. Lawrence (and may even have preceded them) were the first to barter furs from the Indians with goods and trinkets, but the trade continued to be subsidiary to the fishing industry and of minor importance until the hatmakers of Europe discovered the superiority of beaver in the manufacture of their increasingly popular felt hats. The hooked ends of the under fur particularly suited it to the felting process and the most prized pelts came from the robes which the Indians wore to Protect themselves from the cold. These skins, taken when prime during he winter, were subjected to a special treatment which caused the guard hairs to fall out, leaving the soft fur underneath, while constant wear for fifteen to eighteen months further improved the quality, making them well-greased, pliable and yellow in colour.1

The new French colony, which Champlain founded on the St. Lawrence River in 1608, soon came to rely on the fur trade as its principal source of revenue and the adventurous coureurs de bois, preferring the free life of the woods, with its relatively high rewards, to the harsh and unremunerative toil of Quebec farms, spread out in all directions by way of the Ottawa River and the Great Lakes in pursuit of beaver. The story of Radisson and Groseilliers and the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company is too well known to be repeated here, but the presence of English traders after 1668 on the bay which the French regarded as their own had immediate repercussions on the St. Lawrence. Not only did it give fresh impetus to the French movement inland, in order to intercept the furs going down to the Bay, but it led to numerous attempts, first by sea and then by land, to oust the English from their posts. These campaigns featured the daring exploits of de Troyes and Iberville and constitute one of the most exciting periods in the history of New France.

In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht ended the struggle for the Bay by returning all the posts there to the English, and a glut of beaver in Europe gave temporary pause to the pace of French expansion in the interior. A few years later, however, it was again taken up by explorers like La Verendrye and his sons, who continued to press inland towards the Rocky Mountains and to establish posts in strategic places along their route.

Meanwhile the Hudson's Bay Company, emerging from a quarter of a century's precarious tenure of the Bay, was experiencing acute personnel problems. Its officers, as Professor Rich has pointed out in his history of the Company,2 were typical products of the English artisan class at the beginning of the eighteenth century, mostly promoted servants not bred to command. They proved unable to control obstreperous subordinates largely drawn from the slums of towns (principally London and its environs) and much given to excessive brandy-drinking and promiscuous Indian women. Restricting their access to these vices, the governor and the London Committee recognized, was no permanent solution and they began to look round for more biddable labourers. They had already tried the Scottish mainland (two presumably Scottish servants, James Mudie and Thomas Bannatine, signed the protest against Henry Sergeant's surrender of Fort Albany to de Troyes in 16863), but the distances involved and perhaps English distrust of the latent Jacobitism4 of the Highlanders had led them to give over their interest in Scots. Prospects for recruitment in the Orkneys, however, now seemed promising. The Company's ships frequently made Stromness their last port of call before sailing for Hudson's Bay and the islanders' hardihood, docility and diligence, as well as their obvious poverty, were likely to make them good servants.

Even today, despite centuries of patriotic adherence to the rest of Scotland, Orcadians (their proper connotation, although the Hudson's Bay records invariably refer to them as Orkneymen) are inclined to regard themselves as a separate people. And in a manner of speaking they are, for the Norse invasions obliterated every trace of the Celtic peoples who formerly inhabited the island. Until 1468, when they came under the Scottish crown, they were part of the Kingdom of Norway, although their hereditary earls had belonged to Scottish families for over two hundred years and Scottish influence had also come in through many of their bishops. The change of rulers was not a happy one for the islanders. Their ancient landholding system gradually disappeared as Scots became the largest proprietors, with little interest in their tenants' welfare. By the middle of the seventeenth century agriculture was backward, fishing on a commercial scale unknown and education only for the few, while the ordinary crofter was generally both impoverished and miserable. "Considering the oppression they had had to suffer, and the penalties and humiliation they had endured," The New Orkney Book observes, "the wonder is that they had any spirit left in them."5

Stromness harbour provides a splendid anchorage for ships and in the eighteenth century captains bound for North America used it to avoid privateers and French cruisers in the English Channel. During the Napoleonic Wars fleets of merchantmen assembled there to be taken in convoy by the Royal Navy, while whalers and sealers on their way to Greenland found it a convenient rendezvous for completing their crews. For the Hudson's Bay ships, the route by Stromness afforded a direct passage to Hudson Strait, allowing their captains more time in port to replenish stores and enjoy themselves, but the advantages of securing servants there probably outweighed all other considerations.

The London Committee wanted sober, industrious, dependable, strong and healthy young men, and the Orkneymen filled the bill. Bred as crofters and fishermen, handy both ashore and at sea, accustomed to cold and hunger, loyal, obedient and hard-working, they became the backbone of the Company's overseas operations, as essential to its prosperity as the French-Canadian voyageurs to the Montreal traders. In turn, they benefited from service with the Company. Small as their wages were, they could spend little money in the wilderness and, being extremely parsimonious, they often accumulated enough in a few years to retire, buy a small croft and settle down, to the envy of their neighbours. At a later date, after the Red River Settlement was founded on the present site of the City of Winnipeg, many of them remained in the country with their Indian wives and children, frequently to enjoy a more prosperous way of life than if they had returned home.

Naturally the Orkneymen were not without defects of character, although these were apparently of little consequence until the Hudson's Bay Company came up against the Canadians in the interior during the sec-ond half of the eighteenth century. Those with ability rose to the most important positions in the country as traders and officers but, with some notable exceptions, they were generally less enterprising and aggressive than their Canadian opponents. The common servants, on the other hand, showed less steadiness and reliability and, compared to their French counterparts, were overly cautious, deficient in energy and unwilling to stand up for themselves or their employers. Often dour and stubborn, they also lacked the French ability, or desire, to make themselves agreeable to the Indians. As individuals, they were usually docile but in numbers they were inclined to combine against authority and their clannish attachment to one another sometimes made governing them difficult. Despite his recognition of their virtues and their suitability for the country, Samuel Hearne, the Hudson's Bay officer who explored the Coppermine River, called them ''the slyest set of men under the sun.''6

The Hudson's Bay Company seems to have recruited Orkneymen as early as 1708. In January of that year, after consulting their captains, the governor and committee wrote to a "Mr Grimsay at the Orkneys," instructing him to hire twelve or fourteen servants, lusty young men between the ages of twenty and thirty of whom two were to be tailors.7 Isaac Cowie, a clerk in the Company's service from 1867-74 and himself a Shetlander, asserts that although the London Committee sent special agents four years later to engage another forty men, it was not until 1740 that the Hudson's Bay ships regularly called at Stromness.8 He gives no authority for his statement, however. Certainly the captains and outgoing officers, working through local contacts, played an important part in recruitment for many years, until the Company finally employed an agent at Stromness, paying him a commission on each recruit. The necessity for doing so was probably the result of the much larger numbers being hired. The New Orkney Book states that between 1700 and 1800, an average of seventy were enlisted yearly for a considerable period and that by 1799, of the Company's 530 men in North America, almost four out of five were Orkneymen.9

A carpenter recruit of 1876, N.M.W.J. McKenzie, who rose to become general manager of all the Company's eastern districts, has described the annual arrival of the Hudson's Bay ships as one of the two memorable events of the year in Stromness, the other being the Lammas market.10 During their stay, he relates, the captains and Company officers held high carnival, with dinner parties on board and ashore and dancing every night. At least one matrimonial match was made during those halycon days in 1848, when the agent's daughter, Anne Rose Clouston, became engaged to Edward Pelly, a clerk in the service and a cousin of the governor, Sir John Pelly. She followed him to York Factory on Hudson's Bay in 1849, in the care of the new Church of England bishop, who married them there. Anne Rose may have been the first girl to come from the Old Country to be married at York, for the officers usually married when on leave or chose their wives in the country. Letitia Hargrave, wife of the chief factor at York, remarked caustically in a letter to her family in Scotland that the bride had "brought an immense quantity of finery 5 perfectly new bonnets besides that she wore on board, & scarves, handkerchiefs & shawls as if she had been going to Calcutta, & napery, blankets & all from her Father and Mother. They have not much money & I am sure will feel the effects of such disbursement for many a day."11

About 1810, when the need for more aggressive servants to oppose the North West Company became imperative, the Hudson's Bay Company engaged young men from other parts of Scotland as well, principally the Highlands, Lewis and Shetland, assembling them at Stromness for embarkation. The ships usually came direct from Gravesend on the Thames and remained for a couple of weeks. When N.M.W.J. McKenzie joined the Company in 1876, the candidates, variously classified as clerks, carpenters, boat builders, blacksmiths, coopers, tinsmiths, sloopers and labourers, had to be between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five and pass a rigid medical examination before being accepted. At other periods, however, and especially during the Napoleonic Wars, when young men were scarce everywhere, the Company could not afford to be so choosy and many were the complaints from the country of the quality of recruits being sent out. As more men became available in Rupert's Land and Canada during the latter half of the nineteenth century, recruitment of Orkneymen diminished but was not finally discontinued until 1891, when the Company's ships ceased to call at Stromness.

Among Orkneymen who rose to prominence in the Hudson's Bay Company prior to its coalition with the North West Company in 1821 were Alexander Kennedy, Joseph Isbister and William Sinclair (the latter said to be descended from the old earls of Orkney). Another Orkneyman, William Tomison, the Company's dominant figure on the Saskatchewan for twenty years, is also remembered for his courage in caring for the Indians during the terrible smallpox epidemic of 1781-2. About 1826 the Company's agent in Orkney was John Rae, father of the famous Arctic explorer, Dr. John Rae, of whom we shall be hearing more later. Edward Clouston, a lawyer, took on the post in 1836, retaining it for almost thirty years. Gentle and kindly, he was affectionately remembered by many of the young men who passed through his hands. His two sons, Robert and James Stewart Clouston, became clerks in the service, Robert rising to the rank of chief trader before his premature death and James to that of chief factor. Both married into the Company's hierarchy. Robert's wife was Jessy Ross, daughter of Chief Factor Donald Ross of Norway House, and James's, Margaret Miles, whose father, Chief Factor Robert Miles, was his chief at Moose Factory. Jessy Clouston died from tuberculosis after a year of marriage and is buried in Playgreen cemetery at Norway House. James's eldest son, Edward Seaborn Clouston, had a distinguished career in Canada. Entering the Bank of Montreal at the age of sixteen, he became successively general manager and vice-president. He was honoured with a baronetcy in 1908.

It was only after 1763 that other Scots, Highlanders in particular, but Lowlanders too, began to play an increasingly influential part in the Canadian fur trade. As in the Orkneys, the principal spur for emigration was poverty. But in the case of the Highlanders, the poverty was not only more immediate and acute but intensified by political and religious persecution and social decay. The erosion of the power of their chieftains and of the old system of land tenure, which culminated in the defeat of the clans at Culloden in 1745, left many young Highlanders with no prospects for the future and still others no choice but exile. North America received the larger share of this emigration. The West Indian islands offered vast sugar plantations and a thriving foreign trade, while in Canada, once the French had withdrawn from the northwest, the most rapidly expanding and profitable field for exploitation was the fur trade.

Beyond all these considerations, however, Scots, generally speaking, seem to have had a natural affinity for the trade. In the first place, partly no doubt as a result of early political and commercial ties with France, as well as a shared dislike (or envy) of the English, they got along well with the French in Canada, without whose help the Canadian trade could never have been revived so soon. It appears moreover that the Highlanders at least (perhaps because of the intricacies of their own Gaelic) possessed an innate linguistic ability, which enabled them to acquire quickly a fluency in French and in the Indian tongues of the districts to which they were posted. Isaac Cowie noticed this facility in 1867, remarking that the newly engaged Highlanders in his group were picking up both languages much more readily than their companions.12

Cowie observed, too, that the Highlanders were generally livelier and more active than the others, besides adapting themselves more rapidly to a new and alien environment. Their native climate, which could be harsh at times, probably fitted them better for a country with a decided winter, while their own hills were rugged enough to predispose them to a liking for the Rockies. With lands at home only partly suitable for cultivation and even when arable worked with difficulty, they were more inclined to accept the hardships of the northwest and to be less intimidated by its overpowering physical characteristics than men used to gentler and lusher landscapes.

Aggressive, enterprising, courageous, ambitious, determined and shrewd, the Scottish recruits were finally, because of their common school system, better educated on the whole than their English counterparts of the day. One must not, of course, rate them too highly. Other nationalities share these desirable traits and undoubtedly Scottish clannishness, as we shall see, played a major role in their eventually overwhelming predominance in the Montreal trade. But when every tendency to exaggerate is discounted, a sufficient core of truth remains to sustain our argument that the Scot fitted naturally into the fur trade world.

Like the Orkneymen, needless to say, the Highlanders exhibited the defects of their virtues. If they were lively and quick, their tempers were equally so; with generations of clan wars behind them, they were apt to be quarrelsome, while their daring frequently led them into untenable positions. Excessively proud and often conceited, they were as easily offended and, when their numbers gave them superiority, sometimes hard to handle. At their best, however, they made loyal, capable, brave and intelligent officers and servants.

Some of the Scots who came to Canada at the close of the Seven Years' War to pursue the fur trade were, like Simon McTavish, already engaged in the Albany trade and merely moved north to be closer to the centre of activity. Others, like Richard Dobie and his associate, William Grant of Three Rivers, came directly from the Old Country. They represented all classes and degrees. Dobie, a Lowlander from the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, had a sister married to a poor Gilmerton weaver and presumably came from the same milieu. Grant's father farmed a small Highland holding, Inverlochy, in Strathavon, upper Banffshire, but William's uncles, John and Francis Grant, owned large plantations in Jamaica and John was Chief Justice of the island from 1783-90. When he retired, John bought Kilgraston, a Perthshire estate, to which his brother succeeded in 1793. Other Grants in the fur trade were so numerous and their relationships so confusing that so far no one has been able to sort them out.

The sons of Scots settled in the English colonies before the Revolutionary War, and who later came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists, also figured largely in the Montreal trade. One of them was the famous Nor-'Wester, Simon Fraser, explorer of the tempestuous river which bears his name, who was born in Bennington, New York, in 1776. Still others were the sons and grandsons of men attached to the Highland regiments disbanded after the Seven Years' War and again after the American Revolution, the best known being the 78th, or Fraser Highlanders, who settled about Murray Bay, Quebec, and the Glengarry Highlanders, who made homes for themselves in what is now Glengarry County, Ontario.

From the height of their own royally-chartered and century-old company the Hudson's Bay men referred to the early Canadian traders as "pedlars." Although intended as a term of opprobrium, that, in essence, was what they were - daring, resourceful and adventurous individuals, risking their own or borrowed capital, to say nothing of their lives, in an attempt to make their fortunes. Some of the earliest of them exploited fields relatively close to Montreal, Richard Dobie, for example, turning his attention to Timiskaming in 1764. William Grant of Three Rivers traded at Michilimackinac and in the Illinois country, while the Montreal firms of Todd, McGill & Co. and Forsyth, Richardson & Co. not only had extensive interests southwest of the Great Lakes but also secured a hold on Nipigon. James McGill, Thomas and John Forsyth, and John Richardson were all Scottish-born. Isaac Todd's birthplace is not known and he retired in England, but he was an active member of St. Gabriel's Presbyterian Church in Montreal and presumably also a Scot.

The first trader on the Saskatchewan after 1763 appears to have been a Frenchman previously engaged in that trade, known as "Franceway" (Francois). He wintered there in 1765 or 1766, probably outfitted by Isaac Todd and James McGill. James Finlay, Sr., a Scot trading on his own account, followed him in 1768. Another Scottish trader, Thomas Corry, spent the winters of 1771-2 and 1772-3 on the Saskatchewan and a measure of the profits to be made in those early days may be judged from the fact that he accumulated sufficient capital in the two seasons to allow him to retire from the trade.13 But although two Scots were thus apparently the first to follow a Frenchman to the northwest, French, Swiss, English, Irish and American traders were all soon to be found there.

Almost from the beginning, because of the high capital risk and the extended credit necessary for trading over such great distances, individual "pedlars" tended to combine forces. At first these unions were temporary, usually made for one year only and sometimes ending unhappily. Indeed it was hostilities among the various factions, climaxed by a murder in the interior, which led to the formation in 1783 of the first association of traders known as the North West Company. This amalgamation was primarily the work of Simon McTavish who, with the Frobisher brothers, Benjamin and Joseph, held six of the sixteen shares in the concern. The Frobishers were Yorkshiremen, the only two Englishmen among the original partners, while of the remaining seven, McTavish and three others were Scots, with one Irishman, one Frenchman and one American comprising the rest.

The infant North West Company was strongly opposed by another influential Montreal firm, Gregory, McLeod & Co., which had been left out of the new arrangement. One of its founders in 1773 had been James Finlay, Sr., who retired ten years later and was replaced by Normand McLeod, a Detroit trader born in Skye. Young Alexander Mackenzie entered its service about 1779, to be followed by his cousin, Roderick, in 1784. The increasing bitterness between the rivals in the northwest culminated during the winter of 1786-7 with the murder in Athabasca of John Ross, a partner of Gregory, McLeod & Co. Roderick Mackenzie and Simon McTavish's nephew, William McGillivray, brought the news down to the central depot at Grand Portage in the summer of 1787 and their respective principals, fearing that Ross's death would lead to reprisals, immediately decided to unite their interests under the name of the North West Company. Shortly afterwards the newly formed firm of McTavish, Frobisher & Co., whose partners, Simon McTavish and Joseph Frobisher, held the dominant interest in the North West Company, became its Montreal agents.

Meanwhile, in their turn, the English on Hudson's Bay had been pushing inland. Apparently the opposition of French traders in the interior had never been serious enough to force them to alter their original mode of conducting their trade and for some years after 1763 they had continued to maintain large, impressive and well-stocked factories on the sea-coast and to wait for the Indians to bring down their furs. But it was not long before it became clear that, with active Canadian traders swarming inland and intercepting their customers, they must try a new approach. Accordingly, in 1774 they built Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan and quickly established other posts in the interior to enable them to meet the Indians on their own lands. It was now that the disadvantages of a long residence on the Bay, as well as the drawbacks of their Orkney servants, became glaringly evident and their situation was even more serious, of course, when the independent Canadian traders combined to form the North West Company.

To begin with, there was the vexing problem of transporting goods and servants inland. On the larger rivers, where boats could be used, the Ork-neymen fared well enough, being accustomed to handling them from childhood. Indeed the development of the famed York boat, which was to be the Company's standby in the northwest until modern transportation reached the area, was directly due to Orkney knowledge and skill. Unfortunately, most of the rivers on the Laurentian Shield, which forms a vast collar about the Bay, were not only tortuous, but shallow during most of the summer and broken by falls. On them only canoes would answer.

The English suffered from grave disadvantages even in the matter of obtaining canoes. There was no suitable birch bark within a considerable distance of Hudson's Bay and they had therefore to depend largely on the inland Indians to supply them. But many of these Indians were strongly attached to the Canadian traders, or afraid of offending them, and when it suited their purpose, the Canadians did not scruple to pre-empt canoes which the English had ordered or, if necessary, take them from the Indians by force. Since the Orkney servants were unfamiliar with such unsteady craft, the Hudson's Bay Company had to rely for crews on its homeguard Indians (those about the Bay) and run the risk of having them "enticed" by the Canadians in the interior. Even if a few Orkneymen did become accustomed to handling canoes during the period of their contracts, they often left the country for good at their expiry, to be replaced by inexperienced hands. Moreover, hardy though they were and patient under hardships, the Orkneymen were slow in acquiring wilderness skills, many of them being intimidated by the prospect of living and travelling in the forests of the Shield. Worse still, they were neither as active nor as aggressive in the pursuit of furs as were the Canadian traders and their French and Scottish servants. All these handicaps took years to overcome and even up to the time of the union in 1821, as several Hudson's Bay officers frankly admitted, their own men rarely attained the standard of their opponents.

In these circumstances, the London Committee recommended hiring Canadians, who would not only be useful themselves but serve as examples and teachers for the Orkneymen. The officers in the interior did manage to entice a few from the opposition but this solution (again with some exceptions) proved unsatisfactory. Few Canadians would accept the salaries offered, and those who did frequently turned out to be not only untrustworthy but undisciplined, perhaps the most heinous of sins in a semi-militaristic organization like the Hudson's Bay Company. As N.M.W.J. McKenzie was later to remark of his chief factor at Fort Ellice, Archibald MacDonald, "you might break all the ten commandments in one clatter, but to break any of the rules and regulations of the service, that was quite another thing."14 On the whole, it would seem, deserters on both sides generally tended to be misfits or malcontents, unlikely to make good servants for either company.

During these same years changes were also taking place in the Canadian trade, and in the process the French in the country were losing out to the Scots. The partners of the various interested firms were bringing in needy, or deserving, relatives and friends as apprentice clerks and these newcomers were gradually replacing the French masters inland. It was not always, however, a case of nepotism or greed. Often the French servants or clerks, like Panneton, master of Fort Abitibi until 1776, were men of little or no education. Although they had grown up in the country and were at home with the Indians, they were probably not the organized and efficient managers which an increasingly complex and competitive trade was coming to need. Where the French were qualified, they appear to have held their own, but when they retired, as they were more and more often replaced by Scots, the general trend was unmistakable.

Even when there were no relatives or friends to consider, the North West Company apparently favoured Scottish clerks and servants. In October, 1798, McTavish, Frobisher & Co. requested Aneas Cameron of Fort Timiskaming, who was returning to Scotland on leave, to engage "four or five decent young men from the Age of 18 upwards, of good character & Sufficient Education as Apprentices or Clerks to the Concern, for 5. 6. or 7 years" on very favourable terms indeed. The agents also directed Cameron to write to a gentleman in the Orkneys, who was known to them, and to assist him in getting any servants he might be able to hire for them to Greenock. Should the gentleman fail to secure any, the agents added, Cameron himself should search out and engage an equal number of seamen from any other part of Scotland, as well as two or three good ship's carpenters, able to navigate the Company's small vessels on the Great Lakes and willing to double as seamen. To the latter he might offer from 50 to 100 a year, provided they had sufficient education to keep their cargo accounts.15

It is surprising to find the Nor'Westers looking to the Orkneys for servants, but we must remember that these were the days of the Napoleonic Wars, when labour was so scarce in Canada and Europe as to be at times virtually unobtainable. Whether they ever tried again is not disclosed, but certainly the practice of hiring Highlanders continued until eventually, in Dr. Wallace's words, their predominance in the Canadian trade made "the names of the North West Company partners sound like a roll-call of the clans at Culloden."16 It also presumably helped to account for the "much-changed" Montreal, which the retired Alexander Henry the Elder, one of the early "pedlars" and himself of English descent, found so incongenial. "The country is over run with Scotchmen," he wrote disparagingly.17

Despite the distressing effects of the war in Europe, which rapidly inflated the cost of goods and salaries and at first depressed the price of furs, the years from 1787 to 1798 were probably the most prosperous and peaceful for the Nor'Westers. Fur prices gradually recovered and the Hudson's Bay Company, though a palpable threat, was not yet affecting their profits. Besides, any progress the English achieved in the interior was counterbalanced by their own expansion in Athabasca and by Alexander Mackenzie's journeys to the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, which opened up vast new possibilities for trade. Although the opposition of independent Montreal traders still troubled them, like the partnership of David and Peter Grant from 1793-5, it was short-lived. By 1795, when the Nor-'Westers signed a new agreement to come into force in 1799, Simon McTavish's ambition to unite all the Canadian trade under the aegis of his own firm seemed close to becoming a reality.

But it was not to be. The subsequent defection from the agreement of the two influential firms of Todd, McGill & Co., and Forsyth, Richardson & Co., opposition to the agents both within and outside the North West Company, and the jealous enmity towards McTavish of men like Daniel Sutherland and Angus Shaw, was to shatter the dream. At Grand Portage in the summer of 1799 Alexander Mackenzie, who had been a partner of McTavish, Frobisher & Co. since 1795, announced his intention of withdrawing from that concern at the same time that Forsyth, Richardson & Co. and several other interests were launching an opposition in force against the North West Company. The new association was known as the XY Company from the markings on its bales (the letters X and Y following W in the alphabet) and after 1800, when Mackenzie joined its ranks, as the New North West Company.

Some have ascribed the disastrous rivalry which followed to the uncompromising individualism and divisiveness of the Scots on both sides and there is reason in their arguments. The obdurate Highland pride of the principals, McTavish and Mackenzie, was intensified by the personal rift which had opened between them. The latest evidence indicates that Mackenzie, the younger and apparently the more intransigeant, his influence in the Company bolstered by his feats of exploration, may have been more to blame for the quarrel.18 On the other hand, it is clear that he considered himself greatly injured by McTavish and his nephews, William and Duncan McGillivray, so much so, he wrote to Aneas Cameron in the spring of 1800, that he might for a time forget his former fur trade friends even forget that which we seldom Lose Sight of, my Interests."19 Pride can go no further.

Only the currently high prices for furs, as Richard Dobie pointed out in a letter to Cameron, allowed the two factions to indulge in such foolishness. Dobie had heard that McTavish and the McGillivrays had sworn to sacrifice 200,000 to be revenged of all opposition, and his grandson-in-law, James Finlay, Jr., a North West wintering partner, had told him that although the Nor'Westers did not expect to get a sixpence of profit during the seven years of the new agreement, still they reconciled themselves "with totally Ruin to Oppossers." "Mutuality woud anser better," Dobie concluded drily. But the Scots, after all, are not the only uncompromising controversialists and, given human nature in general and the lure of high profits, perhaps the battle between the Canadian fur interests for what they considered a fair share in the riches of the northwest would have been inevitable, whatever the racial derivation of the protagonists.

The opposition between the two Canadian companies continued until 1804, when McTavish's death cleared the way for a union between them. By then it must have been apparent to all that to continue as they were doing would mean ultimate ruin for both parties, and indeed it now seems likely that the financial losses which the Canadians suffered during these bitter years were a significant factor in their eventual defeat at the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company.20 For the time being, however, with the reunited Montreal interests free to devote all their energies to overcoming their remaining rival, the situation of the English company was to become so critical that again, as a century before, years were to pass without any dividends being paid to its shareholders.

Nevertheless the Hudson's Bay Company, with its advantages of a shorter and cheaper supply route through Hudson's Bay and its capital reserve fund, survived the crisis by instituting a rigid system of retrenchment, by adopting some of the better features of the North West Company's organization, and by renewing its pressure against the Canadians in the interior. After 1813, moreover, as its fortunes began to improve, those of the Canadians took a downward turn with the twin misfortunes of war with the United States and the intrusion into the northwest of Lord Selkirk's Red River Settlement. The war seriously interfered with the Nor-'Westers' main transport route by way of the Great Lakes and hampered the trade in other ways, while the clash between the colony and the North West Company was in the end to ruin the Montreal trade.

It is in the tradition of tragic irony that the final defeat of the North West Company should have been precipitated by another Scot, Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk. In 1812, with the support of the Hudson's Bay Committee, he founded a colony at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers for poor Scottish crofters displaced by the Highland clearances. It was in the heart of the Nor'Westers' pemmican country; this easily portable and highly nutritious food, compounded of dried and pounded buffalo meat mixed with grease and berries, was the mainstay of diet for all their brigades in the interior. When Selkirk's governor, Miles Macdonell, forbade the export of pemmican from the settlement, his action confirmed the Canadians' belief that the colony was part of a new and dangerous threat to their trade and they recklessly embarked on a course of intimidation which ended in 1816 in the notorious massacre of Seven Oaks.21

These years witnessed the crumbling of the North West Company under extreme pressure, its assets rapidly dwindling, a number of its wintering partners at odds with the Montreal agents and its trade in the northwest dislocated. Hoping to conclude a working arrangement with the Hudson's Bay Committee, William and Simon McGillivray were in London in 1820, when two of the dissident wintering partners, John McLoughlin and Angus Bethune, arrived to negotiate a settlement on behalf of themselves and their supporters. The British government was drawn into the affair because of the virtual state of war in the northwest, and the result of the negotiations was a coalition of the two opposing fur trade interests which was, in fact, a defeat for the North West Company.

Critics of the Nor'Westers have frequently imputed to the overweening pride and arrogance of its Highlanders, and the excesses to which they led, a large share in the retribution which overtook them. Washington Irving, with his partiality for Astor and the Americans, condemned "the swelling and braggart style" of these "Hyperborean Nabobs"22 and could charge with considerable truth that the wintering partners, many of them of good Scottish families, with a score of retainers at their bidding, fancied themselves in the role of Highland chieftains. He equally decried the convivial fraternity of the Beaver Club in Montreal, and the extravagant frolic and feasting of the summer gatherings at Fort William which, he claimed, communicated even to the lowliest of employees a dangerous sense of solidarity and superiority.

Their most partisan admirers do not deny these Highlanders' faults but the spell of their tremendous achievements remains undimmed, and even Irving could not resist it. The very phrase he coined to describe them, "the lords of the lakes and the forests," is likely to outlast the memory of their failings. The Hudson's Bay Company's victory over the Nor'Westers was the classic one of the tortoise over the hare, of the sober and canny over the gambler and adventurer, of the staid and durable chartered company over the loose partnership of individualists, with its inherent tendency towards disruption. Nevertheless the day would come when the English company, in its turn, would have to give way to pressures set in train by these same Nor'Westers who, in building Canada's first great industry based on the exploits of the French before them, laid secure foundations for the modern Canadian nation.23 In that sense, at least, although it would probably have been cold comfort at the time, their defeat was not as final as it appeared to be in 1821.

The union of the two companies changed many things in the northwest, but the predominance of Scots in the fur trade was not one of them. George (later Sir George) Simpson, the Hudson's Bay chief in Athabasca during 1820-1, soon rose to be overseas governor of all the Company's territories, and his rule spanned the years of its greatest power and prosperity, lasting until his death in 1860. Although more gifted than most, Simpson was typical of those energetic, shrewd and ambitious Scots with a genius for organization, economy and hard work, who have built empires and made names and fortunes for themselves all over the world. In contrast, his closest friend in the country, John George McTavish, a former Nor'Wester, whose advice helped him to salvage the best features of the Canadian company for the united concern, represented the high-spirited and intelligent but easy-going and extravagant Highlander, whose day in the northwest was almost over. For in the Rupert's Land of Simpson's day, men of his own type were increasingly to prevail, if only because his decisive and far-reaching control of affairs left little room for individualists.

In the early years of his governorship, Simpson was concerned with the problem of redundant servants left over from the years of competition. Dissatisfied with many of the Canadian halfbreeds, both former Nor-'Westers and those who had been recruited in Montreal for the Hudson's Bay Company, he favoured Orkney servants and "European" clerks, particularly for those districts bordering on the settled areas of Canada. The Canadians in the service, he argued, prided themselves on their knowledge of the country and their friendship with the Indians and were fully aware of their value to any opposition. This situation tended to make difficulties for the Company, not only in terms of employment and wages but also in the very real danger that they might leave the service and set up in the trade on their own or with others. If they were moved inland, or to the Bayside districts, and were replaced with "Europeans," all these drawbacks could be overcome. But Simpson had in fact an even more compelling reason for preferring "European" servants and clerks. The fewer the Canadians in the service, he was convinced, the less other Canadians would know about the Company's business.

Most of his officers on the frontier (largely former Nor'Westers) disagreed with him, objecting that Orkneymen were fit neither for voyaging nor for going after Indians, but Simpson was not to be deterred. Although conceding that they were seldom of much use during their first season, he continued to advocate them on the ground that they were steady and well-conducted. His preference for Orkneymen, however, did not preclude Highlanders and here he and his officers, many of them Highlanders themselves, found common ground. "Do not lose sight of our Sturdy Glenlivat men," he adjured Chief Factor Angus Cameron of Timiskaming in November, 1839, when that gentleman was home on leave, "and let three or Four of them be such as may look forward to the rank of Postmasters in due time. Stout strong active intelligent men who will not be above putting their hands to anything." Yet a decade later, outraged by the behaviour of two highly recommended men, Simpson had harsh words even for Highlanders. As a class, he declared indignantly, they had become "so uppish, self-sufficient, & selfish that I must say my countrymen do not now stand quite so high in my estimation as formerly."

For apprentice clerks, Simpson preferred young Scots with a reasonable degree of education, a view obviously shared by Chief Factor Alexander Christie, a Scot who had joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1809.

"Without any partiality to my Countrymen," Christie wrote to Cameron in 1826, "really in my humble opinion they will ever be found the most proper persons for this Country. I mean respectable Farmers sons who have received a plain education, and who's morals have not been neglected, having no prospects but what may be derived from perseverance and industry, - give me such for Indian traders in preference to any Dandy from behind a counter, or from the desk of a Counting house."

Following the earlier custom of both companies, Simpson and the London Committee were always ready to engage the sons of officers and servants in good standing, either active or retired, and as the quality of Orkneymen willing to emigrate fell off during the nineteenth century, they came to depend more and more on this pool of labour. The original Orkneymen had intermarried with the Crees, particularly the Swampies who lived about the Bay, a steady, reliable people of considerable character. The Orkney strain blended well with the Cree and the daughters of the first marriages, in turn, became wives of the newcomers to the country.24 After the Red River Settlement was founded, many of these men chose to retire there with their families. In some instances, the succession in the service went from father, to son, to grandson, a circumstance which further strengthened the esprit de corps of a company remarkable for that quality. Alexander Christie, twice Governor of Assiniboia, who eventually took his "country" wife to settle in Edinburgh, was one of those whose sons and grandsons followed him into the service and achieved distinction there.

Another kind of Scottish succession was exemplified in the rich Timiskaming district where "a dynasty of Camerons"25 followed one another over a period of almost a hundred years. The Camerons came from upper Banffshire (Strathavon and Glenlivet), and the first of them, Aeneas Cameron (a cousin of William Grant of Three Rivers and like him a nephew of Chief Justice John Grant of Jamaica), went to Fort Abitibi in 1788 as a clerk for Dobie & Grant, the Montreal firm which then owned the Timiskaming posts. After some years there and at Grand Lac he assumed command of Fort Timiskaming in 1793, two years before the North West Company bought the posts. He became a partner in the North West Company in 1798 and remained at Fort Timiskaming until 1804. By that time his nephew, Angus Cameron, was serving at Matawagamingue, one of Fort Timiskaming's subsidiary posts, having come out to Canada in the spring of 1801. On his uncle's retirement Angus became master of Matawagamingue (Mattagarni) and in 1816 a partner in the North West Company and head of the Timiskaming district. With the exception of seven years from 1827-34, which he spent at Lake of Two Mountains, Angus Cameron remained in charge of the Timiskaming district until he retired in 1843, having become a chief factor in 1837. He brought out two others of his family who eventually succeeded to the command of the district, his nephew James Cameron, who began his career in Timiskaming in 1836 and was in charge of the fort from 1847 until his untimely death in 1851, and a cousin, Charles Stuart, who served in the district from 1840-72, during the last four years of which he, too, commanded Fort Timiskaming. It is indeed a remarkable record.

George Bryce, an early historian of the Hudson's Bay Company, asserts that from 1821 to 1870, the year in which the Company's territories became part of the new Dominion of Canada, 171 out of a total of 263 commissioned officers, or 63%, were Scottish in origin, a situation which he credited entirely to Simpson's recruitment policy. Whether his figures are reliable or not, it seems safe to say that the Company's personnel during most of the nineteenth century were predominantly of Scottish blood and that even in the twentieth Scottish candidates enjoyed a preference. A case in point is that of Mr. Robert Laurence of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Born in Lerwick, Shetland, he applied from Chicago in 1906 in his early teens for a clerkship in the fur trade and was taken on immediately, sight unseen, subsequently serving for several years at the post of Matawagamingue in northern Ontario, before leaving the service to pursue a different career.26

Selecting the names of a few representative Scots from among all those who contributed so much to the fur trade is a truly bewildering task. We can do little more here than to mention some of the most outstanding, adding the caution that these men built on the achievements of lesser men, both their own countrymen and others, most of whom never rose to positions of importance in the country and are now largely forgotten.

The explorers necessarily come first, for without them there would have been no transcontinental trade. The earliest of course were French, although the Hudson's Bay Company also sent emissaries inland at an early date - Henry Kelsey in 1690, Anthony Henday in 1754-5 and Samuel Hearne in 1771-2. But the exploration "explosion" only really began after 1763, with the aggressive Montreal traders pushing into the northwest, and the predominantly Scottish character of the later North West Company insured Scots an important role in opening up the country. We should always remember, however, that without the friendship of the Indians the whole process of exploring the continent would have been much more arduous and dangerous than it actually was.

The man who made the most powerful impact on his contemporaries and more than any other, perhaps, has stirred the imagination of later generations of Canadians was the Nor'Wester Alexander Mackenzie, born near Stornoway on the Island of Lewis. In 1789 he reached the Arctic Ocean by the river named after him and four years later was the first white man to cross overland to the Pacific in the northern part of the continent. But the fact that he published his famous Voyages in London in 1801, and a year later received a knighthood, doubtless contributed much to his reputation in his own day. His book has reappeared in numerous editions since then, one of the most recent being Dr. Kaye Lamb's definitive volume of his journals and letters for the Hakluyt Society, published in 1970. In contrast, Simon Fraser, the Nor'Wester who in 1808 conquered the turbulent Fraser River by incredible feats of daring and endurance, was largely neglected in his lifetime and had to wait for general recognition until 1960, when Dr. Lamb edited his letters and journals.27 The name of Fraser's redoubtable companion, John Stuart (born in Strathspey), is commemorated in Stuart Lake, northern British Columbia, but he seems more often to be remembered, even by historians, as the uncle of Lord Strathcona.

At the time of the union of 1821 British exploration was principally concerned with the renewed search for a northwest passage. The Hudson's Bay Company, besides assisting the official expeditions at considerable cost to itself, undertook to complete the survey of the Arctic coastline. To this project two Scottish officers made the most significant contributions, Thomas Simpson, Master of Arts of King's College, Aberdeen, and a first cousin of Governor Simpson, and Dr. John Rae, an Orkney surgeon with an Edinburgh degree.

Simpson shared the command of the 1837-40 expeditions with an older officer, Peter Warren Dease, who seems to have been content to let him take the lead, a role for which he was eminently suited. By the time of his tragic death in 1840 most of the unknown portion of the coastline had been surveyed and the governor assigned the task of finishing it to Rae, who was already famous in the service as a marksman and for his feats of endurance in travelling about the country.

Rae's explorations covered the years 1846-53, during which he not only completed the survey of the coast but also discovered the first clues to the fate of Sir John Franklin and his men. His methods of travel anticipated the modern age of Arctic exploration in adopting the clothing and living habits of the Indians and Esquimaux but, in reality, he was only exploiting to the full practices which, in modified form, had long been in use in the fur trade. He was the first since Hearne, however, to depend on the food the land provided. The ten men he chose to accompany him on his first expedition represented a cross-section of the Company's personnel - four Orkneymen, one Shetlander, one Hebridean, two French Canadians, a boy from York Factory and an Indian deer hunter. Like Mackenzie, Rae was knighted for his services to exploration and his memorial in Stromness Cathedral is a particularly moving and appropriate one, the life-sized figure of a man asleep in a buffalo sleeping bag, with his moccasins on, and a gun and open book at his side.

During these years there were still vast unexplored areas of what is now Canada, especially in modern Yukon Territory and the northern parts of Labrador and Quebec. Four Scottish officers shared largely in opening up the Yukon. In 1834 John McLeod penetrated to the headwaters of the Stikine River by the hazardous Liard River route. John Bell established Fort McPherson on the Peel River and explored the Porcupine to its confluence with the Yukon. Alexander Hunter Murray built Fort Yukon there in 1847, the Company's most remote post and actually in Russian territory. Finally, Robert Campbell explored most of the Liard country between 1838 and 1852 and discovered the Pelly River (the upper portion of the Yukon), which the Company would have named for him, had he not modestly refused the honour.

The exploration of much of northern Labrador was the work of two other Scottish officers, Nicol Finlayson, brother of Duncan Finlayson, Sir George Simpson's brother-in-law, and John McLean. In 1831, from Moose Factory, Finlayson established Fort Chimo on Ungava Bay, travelling partly by way of the seacoast and partly overland. Six years later the governor assigned the Fort Chimo post to McLean, instructing him to open up communications with Esquimaux Bay (now Hamilton Inlet) on the Atlantic coast. McLean made a spectacular journey there and back in 1838 and the following year again travelled inland, being the first white man to see the Grand Falls of Labrador (later Hamilton and now Churchill Falls), half as high again as Niagara. At odds with the governor, McLean left the Company in 1845 after twenty-five years in the service, and the book he wrote about his experiences is still a fascinating account, if somewhat marred by his bitterness against his former employers.28

After the explorers came the administrators, whose genius transformed the fur trade into Canada's first transcontinental industry. We have already assessed the contributions of two outstanding Scots to fur trade affairs during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed the names of Simon McTavish and Sir George Simpson are virtually synonymous today in the popular mind with their respective companies. In vision and enterprise they were very much alike, but while one of Simpson's greatest assets was his ability to get along with all sorts of men, McTavish's basically understanding and generous nature was embittered by the quarrel with Mackenzie and his supporters, which darkened the last years of his life and earned him the reputation of the haughty "Marquis" of the Montreal trade. Simpson's nickname, "the little Emperor," on the other hand, fitted him perfectly and although he was not, perhaps, as sympathetic a character as McTavish, he probably excelled him in optimism and energy, and in the close attention to detail which turned the disaster of the pre-union period into the triumph of the united company.

When Simon McTavish died in 1804, his nephew, William McGillivray, succeeded him as head of the North West Company. McGillivray appears to have inherited both his uncle's attractive personal traits and his business ability but, faced with the effects of the disastrous years of conflict, 1799-1804, and the difficulties raised by the Red River Settlement, it is unlikely that even a much greater man could have forestalled the eventual absorption of the Canadian concern or the failure of the former North West Company agents in 1825.

Two other administrators of Scottish ancestry, Dr. John McLoughlin (born in Riviere-du-Loup and part Irish) and James Douglas (born in Demarara, British Guiana), made their names on the west coast. McLoughlin, as we have seen, was one of the spokesmen for the rebellious North West wintering partners in 1820, and after the union he was sent to the Columbia district. A very able, if passionate and arrogant man, he built an empire which extended as far north as Russian Alaska but which dissolved rapidly after 1840 with the advance of American settlement into Oregon. In the end he left the service and became an American citizen, revered by the settlers as "the Father of Oregon" or "The White-Headed Eagle."

Douglas replaced McLoughlin as the Company's chief on the west coast, his headquarters being Fort Victoria, which he himself had established in 1842 on Vancouver Island. The British government appointed him Governor of the colony of Vancouver Island in 1851 and he held this office in conjunction with his chief factorship in the Hudson's Bay Company but when, seven years later, he became the first Governor of the new colony of British Columbia, he left the service. He was knighted in 1863. Alexander Grant Dallas, another Scot, formerly of Jardine, Matheson & Co. and a newcomer to the Hudson's Bay Company, succeeded him at Fort Victoria. Dallas married Douglas's youngest daughter, Amelia, and followed Sir George Simpson as overseas governor from 1862-4. His successor in that office was Chief Factor William MacTavish, nephew of Simpson's old friend, John George McTavish, who had spent his life in the country and was to be the Company's last overseas governor. The difference in spelling of the surnames is because John George, second son of the then MacTavish chieftain, had changed his to accord with that of his patron, Simon McTavish.

Far and away the most successful of them all in terms of monetary reward and public acclaim was Donald Smith (born in Forres, Morayshire), who spent most of his fur trade years at the remote North West River post in Labrador. He was a canny investor and many of his fellow officers entrusted their funds to him. In 1869 he was appointed head of the Company's Montreal office and a few months later chief commissioner to deal with the rebellion at Red River. His real career, begun in his fifties, was remarkable. Member of Parliament, first in Manitoba and then at Ottawa, he also made a fortune in railways, later playing a prominent part in the financing of the Canadian Pacific and becoming in turn Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in London, President of the Bank of Montreal and Canadian High Commissioner in England. In 1897, after having received several previous honours, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. His benefactions, both in Canada and Britain, were legion.

The fur trade also boasted a good many writers within its ranks, a number of them Scots. Fascinating journals of travel and exploration are preserved in the Hudson's Bay Archives and the Hudson's Bay Record Society has already published several, Rae's among them. Other fur trade letters and diaries have appeared in various forms, while still other authors have used their experiences either as a basis for reminiscence, like Isaac Cowie and N.M.W.J. McKenzie, or for fiction, like Robert M. Ballantyne. A nephew of Sir Walter Scott's publisher and a clerk in the Company's service from 1841-7, Ballantyne was a prolific writer and his books of adventure are still popular with boys. The first of them, Hudson's Bay: or Every-Day Life in the Wilds of North America, published in 1848, is an account of his years in the country. Such was the romantic attraction of his stories that Cowie warned all boys against reading them, declaring that they had lured him, to his regret, into the service. Let them instead, he advised, "mark and digest" its realities as revealed by McLean.29

Alexander Ross, who settled in Red River in 1825, was probably the first of the fur trade historians. A clerk in Astor's Pacific Fur Company, he had taken part in the founding of Astoria, subsequently joining the Nor-'Westers, and his three books, Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia (1849), The Fur-Hunters of the Far West (2 vols., 1855) and The Red River Settlement (1856) are still read by those interested in the subjects, the last two having been reprinted in the 1950s.30 Another Red River historian was Joseph James Hargrave, son of Chief Factor James Hargrave and Letitia MacTavish, born at York Factory, educated at St. Andrew's and Edinburgh universities and secretary to his uncle, Governor William MacTavish. His book, Red River, was published in 1871. Alexander Hunter Murray contributed notes and drawings on the Loucheux Indians to Sir John Richardson's Arctic Searching Expedition, 31 while his own Journal of the Yukon, 1847-8, edited by L.J. Burpee, was published by the Canadian Archives in 1910. Chief Trader Bernard Ross wrote articles on natural history and gathered specimens for the Smithsonian Institution, while Chief Factor Roderick Macfarlane's Notes on Mammals collected and observed in the Northern Mackenzie River district form a valuable section of Charles Mair's Through the Mackenzie Basin. 32

Reminiscences or diaries, written by Scots employed in the Hudson's Bay Company's service, continue to come out and to attract enthusiastic readers. J.W. Anderson's delightful Fur Trader's Story (1961)33 deals mostly with the country around James Bay. Behind the Palisades (1963 )34 is the autobiography of George Simpson McTavish, great-grandson of Sir George's illegitimate daughter, Maria, who married Donald McTavish. In Rupert's Land (1970) 35 contains the memoirs of Walter Traill, whose mother was Catherine Parr Traill and his father a member of a well-known Orkney family, one of whose ancestors Scott immortalized as Magnus Troil in The Pirate. In Campbell of the Yukon (1970)36 Clifford Wilson, a former editor of The Beaver, has brought together the reminiscences and other records of the valiant and persevering Robert Campbell, discoverer of the Pelly River.

Many of the fur traders' descendants have long privately cherished their ties with the trade but their interest in it, like that of other Canadians, has immeasurably increased in the last fifty years, during which the achievements of the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies have at last been accorded their rightful place in our early history. Now the rebuilding of some of the most famous posts, among them Grand Portage (in upper Michigan), Lower Fort Garry and Fort Edmonton, as well as the current reconstruction of Fort William, is not only helping to bring the fur trade to life for all Canadians but must surely arouse in those of Scottish origin an even greater pride in the part played by their forbearers, or fellow countrymen, in the development of our nation.


Although this study is based primarily on secondary sources and on private papers in her possession, the author is much indebted to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company for permission to use their Archives over a period of years, during which, among other benefits, she came to appreciate the vital role played by Scots in the success of the Hudson's Bay Company.

1. Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962), pp. 10-14.

2. E.E.Rich, The History of the Hudson's Bay Company (The Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1958-9), I, pp. 497-9.

3. W.A. Kenyon and J.R. Turnbull, The Battle for James Bay (Toronto: Macmillan, 1971), p. 111.

4. See Chapter I.

5. John Shearer, W. Groundwater, J.D. Mackay, The New Orkney Book (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1966), pp. 15, 23. This collection of essays on Orkney and original poems updates The Orkney Book, published in Edinburgh in 1909, and prepared for use in the schools of Orkney by a group of young Orcadians resident in Edinburgh. The Orkney Book has long been out of print and the present volume was written in the hope that new readers would find pleasure in the story of Orkney.

6. Rich, II, pp. 128, 157, 168-9.

7. Rich, I, p. 499.

8. Isaac Cowie, The Company of Adventurers (Toronto: William Briggs, 1913), p.62.

9. The New Orkney Book, p. 64.

10. N.M.W.J. McKenzie, The Men of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1670 A.D. - 1920 A.D. (Fort William, Ontario: Times-Journal Presses, 1921), pp. 7ff.

11. The Letters of Letitia Hargrave, Margaret Arnett MacLeod, ed. (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1947), p. 247.

12. Cowie, p. 123.

13. Documents Relating to the North West Company, W. Stewart Wallace, ed. (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1934), pp. 3, 434.

14. McKenzie, p. 40.

15. Private papers in the possession of the author.

16. Wallace, p. 35.

17. Alexander Henry, Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories Between the Years 1760 and 1776, James Bain, ed., Introduction to the new edition by L.G. Thomas (Edmonton: M.G. Hurtig, 1969), p. xii.

18. E.A. Mitchell, "New Evidence on the Mackenzie-McTavish Break," Canadian Historical Review, XLI, 1, pp. 41-7.

19. Letter in possession of the author, printed in The Journals and Letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, W. Kaye Lamb, ed. (Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society, 1970), p. 499.

20. R. A. Pendergast, The Economic Organization of the Montreal-Based Fur Traders, Paper presented at the Second North American Fur Trade Conference, October, 1970.

21. Rich, ii, pp.317 ff.

22. Washington Irving, Astoria (London: Richard Bentley, 1836), I, p. 17; iii, p. 227.

23. Innis,p.262.

24. See W.J. Healy, Women of Red River (Winnipeg: The Women's Canadian Club, Peguis Publishers, 1923), Centennial Edition, June, 1967, and Sylvia Van Kirk, "Women and the Fur Trade," The Beaver, (Winter, 1972), pp. 4-21.

25. W. Stewart Wallace, The Pedlars from Quebec (Toronto: Ryerson, 1954), p. 83.

26. We may add that Scots did not confine themselves to the Canadian fur trade but figured prominently in that of the United States as well, in the early St. Louis trade, in Astor's Pacific Fur Company, in the American Fur Company and among the ranks of the free traders.

27. Simon Fraser, Letters and Journals 1806-1808, W. Kaye Lamb, ed. (Toronto: Macmillan, 1960).

28. John McLean's Notes of a Twenty-Five Years' Service in the Hudson's Bay Territory, W. Stewart Wallace, ed. (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1932).

29. Cowie, op. cit., p. 473.

30. The Fur Hunters of the Far West, K. Spaulding, ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956); The Red River Settlement (Minneapolis: Ross & Haines, Inc., 1957).

31. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1851, 2 vols.

32. Toronto: Briggs, 1908.

33. Toronto: Ryerson.

34. Published privately by his wife's sister, Evelyn Gurd.

35. Mae Atwood, ed., (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart).

36. Toronto: Macmillan.

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