McNabs’ Saga. part VII

Index ‘McNab, John, discharge from arrest of’ 351: reel C-4, p. 4437, image 1302    

i.e. copy of discharge from arrest, by Francois Baby, of Selkirk and others (16 January 1818, Sandwich); preceded by copy of warrant by Francois Baby for arrest of Selkirk and others (19 October 1816, Sandwich)

“Copy of discharge of the Earl of Selkirk and others from their arrest under the Warrant served upon them by William Smith Under Sheriff, Western District Upper Canada

Upper Canada Western District Sandwich to wit:

To the Sheriff of the said district, Greeting, For as much as Jasper Vander Slaye and James Chisholm MacTavish late of the City of Montreal Gentlemen, have this day made information & Complaint upon Oath before me Francois Baby Esqr. one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for the said district, that on the Fourteenth day of August last past the Right Honourable Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk … Miles MacDonell, John Spencer … John McNabb, Donald McPherson … together with a party of armed people to the amount of fifty and upwards to the complainants unknown; did forcibly and violently by means of arms enter a place called Fort William in the district aforesaid, and did then and there feloniously steal take and carry away Eighty three Fusils [flintlock muskets] of the value of two Hundred and Fifty Pounds Sterling money of Great Britain of the goods and chattle of the Honourable William McGillivray, Simon McGillivray, Archibald Norman McLeod …[many more names] and John Haldane; These are therefore to command you forthwith to apprehend the said [same names as complained against] … and to bring them before me to answer unto the said information and complaint.- Herein fail you not- Given under my hand and Seal this nineteenth day of October in the year One thousand eight hunderd & sixteen.

[signed F Baby]

At a Special Session of the Peace held at Sandwich on the Sixteenth day of January, One thousand, Eight hundred and Eighteen, the Magistrates have decided that the Earl of Selkirk & all the other persons named in a Warrant Granted by Francois Baby Esqr. one of his Majestys Justices of the Peace for the Western District, on the nineteenth day of October, One Thousand Eight Hundred & Sixteen, be discharged  from this arrest under the same”

[signed Fr Baby

JB Baby

Geo Jacob, all J.P.W.D.]

Index ‘McNab, John, warrant of’ 389: reel C-5, p. 5175, image 670  

i.e. letter, from ‘O.O.L./ Countess Selkirk’ to ‘Dearest Love’ Lieut. Philpotts [George Phillpotts?], Royal Engineers [or vice versa: Philpotts to Selkirk?] (Thursday, 16 July 1818 York [Toronto ON]), about Selkirk’s warrant actioned by McNab; asking can they get a witness attesting to NWC resistance of arrest at Fort William.

Index ‘McNab, John, and Selkirk’ 402: reel C-5, p. 5401, image 899

i.e. letter seems to be from Selkirk to James Woods (27 September 1818); beginning with the copy of a letter to John McNab; about land [the next page in the Selkirk Papers has a letter that might be about Baldoon taxes not having been paid by Selkirk and an opinion about selling the whole thing, rather than parcelling it into lots]

“I hope you will be able to obtain from the Surveyor General’s office a Memorandum of the Lots of Land for which patents are issued to me, in the Tp. of Dover & Chatham.- They are mostly on the front towards Cival Ecarte, containing both woodland & meadow. The Field notes in the Surveyor’s General’s Office describe the quantity of the lands, so that you may judge which lots may be recommended to settlers. I have authorized Mr Woods at Sandwich to sell any of these lands at the rate of 1 ½ [unidentified symbol] per acre- one third in cash and the remainder in 4 yearly installments.- any settlers recommended by you will undoubtedly meet a preference.-

I have also in contemplation to open a road from the River Thames to Baldoon-beginning at the Town plot of Chatham opposite to McGregore mills & running along the Township line between D & C to the 12th Consession. thence slanting to the left hand within the Township of Dover, keeping along some dry ridges near the watercourse which will bring the road to Little Bear Creek near the place where it comes out of the woods in the 15th or 16th concession. then it is to start again to the right along the edge of the woods till it comes opposite to the upper end of Baldoon farm.- this road will go almost entirely thro’ dry fine sand- & except for about ¼ of a mile before crossing Big Bear Creek it will hardly require any causewaying & but two bridges.-

I mean to sell lands along this road at the rate of 1 [symbol that looks like arpents, but that makes no sense] per acre, where the lot is entirely woodland or 1 ½ [symbol] where it is partly meadow.- This road however cannot be completed at present on account of questions which are under discussion with the Land office at York.- But in the meantime if you can find 5 or 6 Settlers who will undertake to open one mile of road thro the wood, for every 50 acres, I will allow them to take up the land at the [Fees?] of Office.- The road in this case must be made practicable for a wheel carriage.- but as the land is generally dry & sound this will not cost much labour

John McNab Esq

 I annex the copy of a letter which I have given to Mr. McNab & by means of which he thinks he may induce some settlers to come out with him to D & Dm. [Notice?] the equivocal date of the Title to the Township I think it would be worth while to lay out a small sun- say 20 0r 30 dollars in order to trace & make out the road as discribed [sic] in this letter & marked on Mr. Smith’s plan- I should suppose that Mr. [D?] would find 3 or 4 good woodsmen who in the space of 2 or 3 days might cut out a path, such that in dry weather a man could pass on horseback- after that it would be more easy to get settlers to go on- & I think it possible that you may then find 6 or 8 Settlers to take up 100 acres each, at the end nearest to the Thames, on the terms mentioned in the enclosed, so as to have the road opened all the way without any further expense in Cash.- I presume that if their names are sent to Mr. Ridout with a specification of the lots they apply for, the patents will be issued in the name of the settlers on payment of the fees so that you can Keep the Deeds in your custody till the conditions of making the road is fairly executed.- It will be best to apply for no more than 100 acres to each. dividing each lot along the Tp. line into two. which will give the settler a convenient square lot. & the lots immediately behind will thereby be increased in value.

James Woods.

P.S. Biny & Macon will apply to you for some B of Flour on my acct. which they are to repack in Bags & forward in Spring.”

Index ‘McNab, John, and Selkirk’ 424: C-6 p. 5934 image 329  

i.e. letter from McNab to Selkirk (18 February 1819, 5 Castle Street, Falcon Square [London, England); about buying Baldoon; McNab interested by a proposed North Pole expedition

“My Lord

Afraid of being wearisome to Your Lordship yesterday I ommitted mentioning the mode of Pyt of Baldoon. I had arranged with Mr. Anderson in Edinb.- It was to pay £1000 in May 1820, and 5 or 600 £ in May 1821, the other 4 or 500 £ to pay to your Agent Mr. Woods in Canada. that method I must now vary as I had the honor of shewing Your Lordship Yesterday. I should be glad to know if the remaining £1000 may be paid to Woods, as I may find most convenient after the payt I propose making in May 1819.- The same motive prevented my particularizing, the N. Pole business which I now presume doing, trusting it will not be considered tedious by your Lordship.- Soon after my first interview with Professor Leslie he said he had a grand Idea in view- To define the limits of N. America by a land expedition and that he wished me to make the Attempt, adding the Company I had been connected with, were Monopolists, pernicious and jealous of the least peep into their concerns. That the NWt. Co. were able and ever ready to assist and promote the views of Governt. I replied the Hudson’s Bay Company had been, and would be ready to promote Government intentions, and mentioned the journey of Hearne as an example of private endeavours and expense, and further to evince their readiness to aid the views of Govt. I would make the Attempt in its Service.- he contrasted Hearne with McKenzie’s expedition saying the latter was immediately made known to the world, but that the other was not published for a lapse of years, thus matters stood, till the meeting of Parliament, when he said he intended writing his Correspondents or Members of the House- I left Edinb. a few days, on my return he said I should wait till he recd. an answer, I replied my determination was fixed to be in Liverpool on a certain day, but if he was successful, I would not shrink but arrange matters then so as be ready to fulfill my promise- next day after his Lecture from Professor Playfairs chair was over, he introduced me to Capt. Hall, who expressed a desire for the Attempt, saying he would give me a Letter to Mr. Barron understanding I had been with your Lordship at Fort William, he desired me to meet him next day, in the same place (last Thursday)- I found his father Sir James, and another Gentleman with him; Sir James asked several questions about Hudson’s Bay, my time of residence there &c &c. the Captain then said he would write Your Lordship, by mail, I came to Town with on Monday last and that a Letter to Mr. Barron would be inclosed, and an introductory one for me to deliver; on my entering the Court at Edinb., Professor Leslies Servant handed me a Note saying ‘If you see Mr. Halkett, give my Compliments to him let me hear all the news, be sure to attend Sir Joseph’s parties’ this I defer till I know Mr. Barrows Sentiments- tomorrow I shall write to Professor Leslie.”

Index ‘McNab, John, and Selkirk’ 436: C-6 6238 image 635 

i.e. letter from McNab to Selkirk (24 May 1819, Montreal); submitting terms for personal service (angrily); with a P.S note included.

“My Lord

I consider it a respect due to Your Lordship to State my concern on finding the result of the proceedings at York Upper Canada at a Court of Oyer and Terminer held there 22d Feby last; in consequences thereof I have been advised by some to remain here in hopes that the decisions of that Court will be annulled; others recommend my procedure to Upper Canada and abide the consequence, my affairs there imperiously require my presence, which was my adopting the latter resolution, Your Lordship will admit my disappointment in experiencing while in Britain all endeavours to obtain a remuneration, for my services, while in Your Lordships and the Hudson’s Bay Companys employ to be in vain from reasons which their Secretary says in a Letter dated 15th Jany. last ‘that at the conference you had when in Town, You did not substantiate any claims you made upon the Company, Your request therefore cannot be complied with’ I am loth to have further recourse than stating the directions I received and the acknowledgements of their having fulfilled to your satisfaction as mentioned in Your Lordships Letters, I might obtain Mr. Gardens avowal of my having attended duties consonant with your desires and his own; also Mr. Gales testimony of my detention, contrary to my repeated Requests to him, and to Your Lordship, but to such modes for substantiating claims as a reward for my services I am unwilling to apply: I lay before the Committee a detail of general occurrences, all of which I consider either as having received or may be entitled to Your Lordships Sanctions permit me My Lord, to bring to your recollection, a Letter I addressed to Your Lordship at Fort William 7th April 1817 I therein stated, that my services were and would be continued, on the terms agreed on by Your Lordship above the S. St. Mary; specifying that the remuneration would be no less, than when in the Companys employ and expressly mentioning that a passage to Europe in one of the Companys Ships was to be obtained; You will recollect my being called in to Your Lordship’s apartment in consequence and of an explanation taking place, and that to these requests no refusal was given Could I then, or would I now, or ever, presume to doubt either Your Lordship’s honor, or equity, on that or on any other occasion, God forbid, I therefore confide, on that candour and integrity so conspicuously attached to Your Lordships Character, and so fully displayed in Your acting that my Servitude of 2 years and near 3 months Vizt. from 28th July 1816 to 30th October 1818, will be entitled to a recompence adequate to that I latterly received when in the Companys employ to £320 P.Annm. and that this will be paid to my Gent John Carstairs Esqr. Merchts. Abchurch Lane London and allow me to add that this reward I consider as barely adequate to cover the Losses I have sustained by so long a detention from the Management of my Concerns exclusive from the separation from those (pining in misery and want) which no such reward would have been accepted as a recompence for leaving them so destitute, as also the deprivations and ignomy I otherwise suffered, for which no compensation would have been considered as equal had it been in my power to have avoided them.”

[McNab’s signature etc]

“The Right Honble.

The Earl of Selkirk.

I am advised to solicit the Warrants I acted under at Fort William whom the Proprietors of the NWt. Company were arrested, they were sent to Lady Selkirk by Mr. Gardens.


“Claims for Servitude rendered to Earl Selkirk and the Hudsons Bay Company by John McNab

1 Years Servitude from 28th July 1816 to do [ditto] 1817

£320 -.-.

1 Do                                           do 1817 to do 1818.   £320 -.-.

1 Years Interest £320              do           do              .       16 . . . .

Servitude from 28th July 1818 to 20th Oct. idem.      70 . . . .


Interest of £640 from 21st July 1818 to 20th Oct. idem. 7 ….

Do                £140+70 = 710 from 20th Oct. 1818 to

Do        £1000 paid one year before due the first Installment as payment for Baldoon from May 1819 to Do 1820.                                   50….

One Years Intt. of the above £50 from May 1820 to Do 1821.-  –  – 2-10-.

Errors Excepted

John McNab”

Index ‘McNab, John, will and claim of’ 471: C-7, pp. 7449-7457, image 839  

i.e. letter, James Woods to T. Clarke (8 November 1821, Sandwich); extract of will appended [p. 7458]

“Dear Sir:

I have to apologize to you for having so long delayed in writing to you, tho’ I intended to have done so from one week to another. I have considerable writing to do, and owing to the infirmity of my sight, I can only write in the day time, and much of my time is occupied with the cares of a large family. Besides all these I daily expect some information that would have enabled me to have written you with greater satisfaction at least in relation to the affairs of the late Mr. McNab, but in this expectation I have hitherto been disappointed.

I received on the 25th ulto. A letter from Mr. J. Hackett dated at Kingston on the 9th who informs me that he is appointed one of Lord Selkirks Executors &c and desires that I would write directly to you that you would communicate with him. I shall in consequence shortly furnish you with a statement of the very little I have been able to do in the collection of the Bonds &c you forwarded to me.- The greater number of the Drs [debtors] have not the means of paying but are willing to give up the lands they get from Lord Selkirk; some have left the Country and others say they do not owe what they are charged with.-

I drew the conveyance from Lord Selkirk to the late Mr. McNab, & a Bond & Mortgage from the latter to the former: the Bond I delivered to Lord Selkirk, the Mortgage I had registered & it still remains in my possession. Mr. McNab it appears when last in England borrowed a thousand pounds sterling on some landed property he had in Fife-shire & paid it to Lord Selkirk on acct. of the Baldoon farm one year before it came due, then charged Lord Selkirk with the Interest for one year. The consideration as money for the Baldoon farm was £2000 Stg. And when the farm was seized at the fiat of Mr. George Jacob, I of course gave the Sheriff notice of the Mortgage & of the Balance. Due on it, and, if the farm is sold, it will be sold subject to the balce. Due on the Mortgage. The first payment was to be made in Scotland (£1000) on the 1st June 1821, at the same place. No interest was payable.- The 2nd payt. Was also to be made in Scotland.

The Debts due Mr. Jacob including all expenses amounts to £291:0:2, this Debt was contracted by Mr. McNab after his arrival here in 1819 for money & merchandize advanced him by Mr. Jacob and for which he drew a Bill on Messrs. Maitlands Gordon to [would be?] Payable at a long sight, which Bill was grounded on a bill drawn by Mr. McNab on John Carstairs Esq. London, the payt. of which also depended on Mr. Carstairs being supplied with funds from Scotland these failed Mr. Carstairs refused to pay the bill drawn on him, the house in Montreal of course did the same & Jacob had no other remedy than to revert to an action against me as acting Executor. Mr. Jacob had been appointed a joint Executor but when he saw such bad prospects he renounced the Executorship since these circumstances have occurred I have labored hard to prevail on McNabs relations at home to unite in discharging the Debts, but from the best information I can obtain, the Debts due there will nearly amt. to the Value of the real & personal property in Scotland, and it would seem that a Will made in this country does not operate on lands in Scotland unless all the formalities of the Scotch have been complied with .- It is also said that by those laws a man must live a certain time after the making of his Will otherwise it will be a nullity. The Relations would be inclined to take advantage of the illegitimacy of Mr. McNabs children if it would avail them any. I send you an extract of his Will in relation to his property in Scotland which he desires to be sold for the purpose of paying the balce. on Baldoon after deducting what he claimed for his service to Lord Selkirk.

I have expected all last Summer Thos. McNab, to whom Baldoon is devised, in the hope that he would have the means of discharging Mr. Jacob’s Execution & that the farm might eventually be saved for the children, but I have not heard from him this year & I daresay he is pennyless. There is another brother at Baldoon, who is almost an idiot, & when I have been obliged hitherto to suppose otherwise he would have starved. He was a common soldier for many years: this simpleton has also a son with him, whom I wished the father to bind out but he is opposed to doing so.

As to the late Mr. McNab’s claims on Lord Selkirk it is considerable amounting to upwards of £700. He applied to his Lordship for a Settlement in London in the Spring of 1819 as he informed me, but his Lordship was ill and referred him to the H.B.Co. but they rejected any claim on them. It would appear also from Mr. Carstairs Letters to Mr. McNab that his Lordship had been repeatedly applied to for a Settlement, but that he made no answer to the written applications. No doubt he was then in a poor state of health. Knowing as I do that Mr. McNab was a most faithful servant of Lord Selkirks, I acknowledge I consider that he was justly entitled to a liberal remuneration, and I trust his Lordships Execrs will do justice to his claim & thereby to his Creditors & to his children. It is a subject that I will most readily consent to refer to your decision either alone or jointly with one or two more, & I should hope his Lordships Exers would willingly consent to determine the unpleasant business in this equitable and amicable manner. Mr. Carstairs blames Mr. McNab for having paid the first installment before his claims were settled and advises him not to pay the 2nd until they are. But it would afford me real satisfaction if the business could be settled in an amicable & equitable mode, & with your advice & assistance I am confident it could be. For my own part I think I may truly say I hate litigation.- Poor Mr. McNab appears to have been disappointed in all his views. He seems to have expected that the H.B.Co. would as an old Servant, have given him the preference in supplying them with produce or provisions for carrying on their trade: for which purpose he entered into partnership with Mr. W. Jones his Tenant, & at great expense, for his limited means erected a Wind Mill for which he was to have paid 1450$. He also made repairs to the house and farm, & leased the farm for 3 years to Mr. Jones at $400 p. an. But all necessary repairs new fences to be deducted.- Mr. Jones called on me after his death to supply him with Mr. McNab’s proportion of Stock in trade, a part of which had not been furnished, but after consulting with the most intelligent Merchts here, I was advised to conclude the concern, & a fortunate circumstance it was that I did so. The money Mr. Jones had to pay me I made over to the person who contracted to build the Mill, but there is still between $4 & $500 due him which I hope to discharge by means of the Rent due & to become due by Mr. Jones. There is still one year of his Lease unexpired from the 1st of this month. At his death Mr. McNab had $30 in his possession which were due a Mason who was then at work at his house & which I gave Mr. Jones to pay him.- Many debts have appeared against him. I have paid the Drs bill servants wages &c from such part of the little personal property he left & in some instances I have advanced my own money. I forgot to mention that Messrs. Maitlands &c furnished me with an acct. of advances made Mr. McNab on L.S’s acct, a part of which is no doubt subject to be deducted from his claim on L.S.- I say apart, because to my knowledge sums are charged to Mr. McNab which were advanced by me to Mr. McNab to defray his expenses & those of others who were brought here as Prisoners by the N.W.Co. Messrs. Maitlands & Co. have also a claim on the Estate in their own right, as well as a Mr. Thomas for money lent him some years ago to take him home. So short was he of money that he borrowed 3 guins. of his servants an Englishman & wife whom he hired at Montreal. He was considered a man of wealth, but from what I can learn he wasted his money on a barren farm in Scotland & was at great expense in the education of a Grand Son to be a Drctor in Scotland.- I did not consider Mr. McNab in danger when he sent for me & therefore I did not ask him any questions relative to his personal Estate & he was naturally silent and reserved; but from the dispositions in his will I had reason to suspect that he had no money, but that his means were derived from the Rents of his farm which I understood have not been regularly paid from the insolvency of the Tenants & the general depression in the landed interest.- To enter into further details might be tedious, I shall therefore close this subject with my views of what would be just and for the interest of all parties.-

First, by the Will it is evident that the Testator was desirous that his property should be sold in Scotland for the purpose of defraying the balance due Lord Selkirk, and by the terms of the Bond & Mortgage the paymts for Baldoon were to be made in Scotland; therefore the Executors, in justice to the Crs. [creditors] In this country & to the Children of the deceased, to whom the Testator devised Baldoon, should resort to the property in Scotland for the balance due Lord Selkirks Estate; subject to an equitable adjustment of the claims of each Estate in the manner before proposed.-

2.- That as it would be sacrificing the property at Baldoon, to have it sold by Sheriffs Sale at this time of peculiar depression, it should be bought in for the benefit of the Crs & others interested in the Estate, and afterwards sold in parcels and by private Sale.-

3. I should be desirous that you should be the person in whose name it should be purchased in trust for the purposes above mentioned.

Mr. Jacob is in want of his money & has been Kept out of it a much longer time than he had reason to expect yet on my calling on him and requesting to prolong the Sale of the farm; which was fixed for the beginning of December he immediately consented to defer the sale for one two or more months, if I judged it for the benefit of the Estate so to do; I shall therefore request him to defer the sale till the 1st of Feby next, and, as a particular favor, I will request of you not only to give me your opinion on the best means of saving, if possible, the farm from being sold; or, if that is not possible the best means of disposing of it to the best advantage.- but also your assistance.- If an amicable arrangement could be affected with the Executors of Lord Selkirk for Mr. McNabs claims, & that they would endeavor to recover the balance from the property in Scotland, I think the farm might be saved for the children, But in case the Executors would not agree to this, I would wish that you would purchase the farm in trust as before mentioned until all the claims could be adjusted. My sincere wish is that justice should be done to all parties.- Mr. Charles Askin Or Mr. James Gordon could act as your Agent, should you be inclined to agree to my proposal.-

I will if you desire it send you the Mortgage from Mr. McNab to the Earl of Selkirk.-

I made two attempts with John Brown to come to a Settlement & had the assistance of Mr. M. [Berezy?], but we could make nothing of the business in a satisfactory manner Hoping you will favor me with a few lines at your convenience. …

James Woods

The Honble. Thos Clarke Esq.

 “Extract from the Will of the late John McNab. Dated 2d Octr. 1819.”

“And whereas I stand indebted to the Earl of Selkirk in the sum of £1000 Stg money of Great Britain & Interest, and, for securing the payt. Of the same, he holds a Bond & Mortgage executed by me on my said Farm, and whereas I have a considerable claim on the said Earl of Selkirk & the Hudsons Bay Co. for services by me rendered to them: it is my will and desire that one demand should be set off against the other so far as the same will go.- And to enable my Executors hereinafter named fully to meet the Debt due me of the said Earl of Selkirk, I give & devise to my friend John Dingwall of Ramornie in Fife-shire aforesaid Gentleman, & to his heirs, in case he has not already made Sale of the Same, my Estate in Scotland called Trent-hill, situated in the Parish of Kettle Aforesaid, In trust to sell dispose of the same to any person or persons and their heirs and assigns for ever, for the best price which can be got therefor, and the proceeds thereof paid to my said Exrcutors or to the Survivor of them, who will therewith discharge the debt so due by me to the said Earl of Selkirk.-”

“Claims for Servitude rendered to the Earl of Selkirk & the H.B.Co. by John McNab.-”

“1 Years Servitude 28th July 1816 to Do. 1817 £320:0:0

1______Do._____Do._____1817 to Do. 1818   320:0:0

1 years interest on £320___________________16:0:0

Servitude from 28 July 1818 to 20th Oct. idem____70:0:0

Interest of £640

claims for servitude.”