McNabs and Selkirk. Saga part I

From the Selkirk Papers: Notes, References, and Transcripts, listed in Chronological Order

Index ‘MacDonell, John, and John McNab’ 92: reel C-2, p. 1245, image 196

i.e. letter, from  John Macdonell NWC to John McNab (10 October 1814, Point Fortune, Upper Canada [ON])

“Your time of starting being near at hand … I have reason to fear that my brother’s life and the safety of the infant colony in the Red River are in a perilous situation … difficulties being got over, I shall give you possession of this estate in all May next say 1000 acres Land in upper Canada adjoining the Eastern boundary line of the Province aforesaid, situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River better known by the name of Point Fortune, with all the Houses Barns & tenements thereon erected for and in consideration of £2,000 Half to be paid down upon signing the deeds, & interest at the rate of six per cent per annum to be paid for the remaining one thousand with a mortgage upon the property until paid off … . I propose going to Montreal … If you are still at Quebec should be happy to inform you of my progress.”

[Transaction did not take place]

Index ‘McNab, John, and John McDonnell’ 175: reel C-2, p. 1914, image 874

i.e. Lord Selkirk alludes in letter of 1815 to a letter received c. 1814 from John Macdonell written to Selkirk. Macdonnell had settled in Upper Canada (Point Fortune) but was desiring to sell his estate so as to settle at Red River with his family (the purchaser was to be John McNab).

[See letter immediately above]

Index ‘McNab, John, journey with’ 117: reel C-2, p. 1456, image 414

i.e. Thomas Vincent’s report to HBC (13 Jan 1816, HBC New Brunswick House [ON])

“31 Dec. [1815] – Kevny [sic: Keveny] arrived with news of ships … received nothing for Journey with McNab & not even year’s wages”.

Index ‘McNab, John, on way to meet Selkirk’ 216: reel C-3, p. 2374, image 2374

i.e. extract from letter, from James Hughes NWC to John McTavish (27 July 1816, NWC Fort William)

Miles Macdonell with “late Governor” John McNab is “in full retreat from this place.” They are on the way to meet Selkirk at Sault Ste. Marie, to report on the deaths at Red River of Robert Semple and about 20 men in the 19 June 1816 confrontation at Seven Oaks. Hughes remarks “God bless them all out of our Territories.”

Index ‘McNab, John, memo’ 229: reel C-3, p. 2541, image 445

i.e. copy of McNab’s “Account of Arrests at Fort William, 17 August 1816” (17 August 1816)

“I arrived at Fort William in Company with 12 Boats or Batteaus in which were two Captains and two Lieutenants with about 100 men late of the Meuron Regiment. We pitched our tents about a mile above the Fort where we found the Encampment of Earl Selkirk with a body guard of 6 men and one non-commissioned Officer of the 37 Regiment from Drummond Island and Captain Lorimer with an Indian Chief from Coknawaga in Lower Canada”.

After the commission, conferred “early” on 13 August, McNab was instructed by Selkirk to arrest William McGillivray “Esq. Agent of the N.W. Company,” which was accomplished without incident; he was then instructed to arrest Kenneth McKenzie (who would drown 26 Aug. 1816 near Sault Ste. Marie) and John McLoughlin/ McLaughlin, which was also accomplished; he was then was told to arrest the remaining NWC partners “in the King’s name,” which attempt met with resistance, but McNab eventually succeeded in arresting Alexander McKenzie, John McDonald, Hugh McGillis/ McGillies, Simon Fraser, Daniel McKenzie, and Allan McDonald.

Index ‘McNab, John, made special constable’ 232: reel C-3, p. 2567, image 475

i.e. letter, from Selkirk to “Lt. Governor Genr.” [in Upper Canada, Frederick Philipse Robinson] (21 August 1816, Fort William)

Selkirk recounts his version of events and motive; he had asked John Askin Jr. at Drummond Island and Charles Oakes Ermatinger at Sault Ste Marie for assistance but was declined; then went to Fort William appointing John McNab and John McPherson as special constables “in the King’s name”.

Index ‘McNab, John, and Selkirk’ 235: reel C-3, p. 2649, image 554

i.e. copy of letter, from John McNab to Selkirk (1 September 1816, Little Bay, Lake Superior)

McNab is meeting complaints of lack of supplies; met men going to Sault Ste Marie who related that there are no canoes at that place to convey men to Montreal; therefore is arranging transport of goods to other places, (or storage), leaving them behind, and is proceeding on in 1 canoe.

Index ‘McNab, John, Ermatinger goes to Drummond Island with’ 238: reel C-3, p. 2699, image 603

i.e. letter, from Charles Oakes Ermatinger to Selkirk (9 September 1816, Sault Ste Marie)

McNab arrived, but with potential to have trouble with men, therefore Ermatinger went to Drummond island with him; the men behaved well after all; apparently flour is in short supply.

Index ‘McNab, John, and Selkirk’ 282: reel C-4, p. 3320, image 171

i.e. copy of letter, from Selkirk to J.D. [John Duncan] Campbell NWC (1 April 1817).

Selkirk objects (highly peeved) that a letter of an earlier date, from Daniel McKenzie to John McNab, purporting grounds for protest, is full of falsehoods.

Index ‘McNab, John, journal of’ 914: C-18, p. 18606, image 193

i.e. journal by McNab at Fort William 1817, begun for Lady Selkirk (10 May–19 October 1817).

[NB: for the purpose of this chronology, broken into sections and inserted by date where appropriate]

“McNabb’s Journal at Fort William &c &c &c


I trust your Ladyship will not consider this address as presumptive.  I have thought it would be displeasing to lay before you the less interesting transactions at Fort William since Earl Selkirk’s departure, who has been pleased to leave me in charge of the stores &c remaining, till the arrival of the Special Commissioners to whose determinations I am directed afterwards to adhere. The particulars are stated to your Ladyship in the simple journalized state as they occurred.-

May 10th

This forenoon Capt Mathey [sic: Matthey] set sail in a Batteau for Pt. Meuron leaving here Willin, Albert, Igis, Fritko, Lauba, Commsky, & Wisnet. Messrs Spencer and Murphy are Messmates and occasionally Mr Bucher [sic: Boucher] from Pt Meuron- Soon after the Captns departure Mr Murphy (having removed his necessaries to the Captn’s empty chamber) went to Sergt Rheinhard [sic:Reinhard] (a prisoner) and desired him to move into the same House with himself telling him there was apartments there convenient for his residence. Rhienhard refused to comply, saying he found the room he occupied all the winter very convenient and that he was determined to continue in it till the Commissioners came- Mr Murphy disappointed in his expectations expressed a wish to have intelligence sent to Capt. Mathey stating the circumstance, a Canoe was sent with his Note- Sometime after I went to the Sergent, mentioned to him what Mr Murphy related, the truth thereof he acknowledged and added that when Earl Selkirk called him into the Mess room before Mr. Murphy some weeks ago he then first told him his intentions of placing him under Mr Murphy’s care- after his own and Capt, Mathey’s departure, that his Lordship then recommended to him continuance of the same peaceable and prudent conduct as he had hitherto shown, that Mr. Murphy would permit him to take a walk out of the Fort occasionally with himself or one deputed by him till the arrival of the Commissioners, that he never required that he should quit his present Chambers, that Capt. Mathey had conversed a long time with him this morning giving him the same advice his Lordship had done, but never expressed the least hint or desire that he should remove from his present dwelling- he said he would therefore continue where he was, promising an adherence to the same orderly and prudent conduct and behavoir [sic] hitherto observed by him and which had already been commended by them. I left him and told Mr. Murphy the purport of our conversation, recommended to him concilatory[sic] measures to which he accorded- Much Ice on the Bay and about the Traverse Islands- Three men from Pt Meuron came to spend the evening with their acquaintances, previous to Captn. Mathey’s departure I repeatedly asked how the Boats were to be disposed or where placed during the summer for safety- he replied more help must be obtained before they could be repaired and removed from their present situations.

May 11

Sunday. Wind SEt [southeast] blows fresh, most of the Ice in Lake disappeared, after the three men of yesterday have prepared their Canoe for returning to Point Meuron, among other articles a few boards being part of her contents Mr Taitt came to me in a formal manner, saying his Lordship had told him that the Fort was to be left in the same state of repairs as when entered into, and that I was permitting the Materials for that purpose to be carried away. I replied that as Capn. Mathey had repeatedly countenanced the conveyance of Boards, and that he himself had witnessed the transaction without making any remarks on the occasion- that I had no orders to the contrary, and considered it no impropriety in countenancing the same measures- a few hours after this I again saw Mr. Taitt.- I mentioned to him if he had any further reply to make to the answer I gave to his former representations that he would be so good as commit it to writing, he in an evasive manner said he did not mean any reproof, wished I would speak to the Sheriff concerning it, this I told him I would not do but recommended it to him to inform the Sheriff that any writing from him or from Mr. Campbell on the subject would be answered, this he instantly conceded to and said he would soon inform me of the result.- Mr. Bucher and a youth came in a Canoe from Point Meuron.-

May 12

This morning Mr. Murphy observed the deputy Sheriff going towards Sergt. Rheinhard with a paper in his hand- he went to him and said he disapproved of such actions, the Sheriff irritated by this interference caused Mr. Murphy to use expressions which the other threatened to make him answer for at a future day, the Paper was soon posted up in front of the large hall and is as follows

‘50 Guineas reward

Escaped from the custody of the Under Sheriff on the 1st and 10th of May Last in open defiance of the Law the Right Honable. Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, Frederick Matthey and John Allen, any person or persons apprehending or securing them or either of them so that I may have their bodies before our Lord the King’s Justices at Sandwich Western district will receive the above reward and all reasonable expenses.’

Willin expressed to Mr. Murphy a desire to tear the Paper, Mr. Murphy advised him to refrain therefrom An hour or two after this, a Canoe arrived with dispatches from Montreal, the men departed thence the middle of March last, they left the S. St. Mary the 2nd Inst.- Mr. Spencer offered his services to carry the packet to Capn. Matthey and Buchey with two Inds. to accompany him. When ready to start the Sheriff sent Le Blanc to execute on him the following warrant-

‘Western district

To Wit

William Foulds Esquire, Sheriff of the district aforesaid- To Pierre le Blanc Special Bailiff. Greeting – By Virtue of his Majesty’s Writ to me directed I command you that you take the Right Honble. Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, Frederick Matthey, Potius de le Mosennins, John McNab, Donald McPherson, Gustavus Adolphus Fouche, John Allan, Miles McDonnell, John Spencer, and Frederick de Groffenrud or either of them if they shall be found within the district and them safely keep so that I may have their bodies before Francois Baby, Esquire, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the district aforesaid at Sandwich to answer his Majesty for a Felony which they as is alledged [sic] have committed and further to be dealt with according to Law

Herein fail you not

Wm. Bands, Sheriff

By Wm. Smith Under Sheriff’

Date of the Writ 19th Oct. last.

Mr Spencer read the Warrant and told the Special Bailiff to inform the Sheriff he would prosecute his intended journey, but that he would wait his return to know the Sheriff’s answer to his resolution, the Bailiff soon came back with a verbal answer saying Mr Spencer must abide by the consequences.- Mr. Spencer then immediately set out for Capn. Matthey’s Brigade with the dispatches for Lord Selkirk- no intervention hitherto received from the dy [deputy] Sheriff or Mr Campbell (as Mr Taitt expected) relative to the business mentioned yesterday.

May 13

This forenoon the Special Bailiff handed me the follg. Letter.

‘Fort William

12th May 1817


Being informed that you are his Lordship’s Agent here, I have- I have [sic] therefore to require and demand of you in the Name of our Sovereign Lord the King the restitution of the Premises at Fort William as is more particularly directed in his Majesty’s Word of Restitution now shewn to you     There of fail not

I shall point out some part of the Premises for yourself and persons under you to reside in untill [sic] the arrival of the partners where you shall be unmolested

You need not be apprehensive of an arrest so long as you show no wish to leave the place, before the arrival of the Commissioners.

I am Sir

Your Obedt Servt

John McNab                                       Wm Smith

Agent of the Earl of Selkirk          Under Sheriff

Fort William                                       W.D.U.C.’

Answered as Under

‘Fort William 13th May 1817


I have received your Letter dated yesterday demanding the restitution of the Premises at Fort William

Most of the Premises in question being occupied by the Property of Earl of Selkirk since the purchase was made by him, and countenanced by you since your arrival here I would recommend an observance of the same measures till the Commissioners arrival.

I am Sir

William Smith, Esquire                 Your Obedt Servt

Under Sheriff                                   John McNab


A few hours after I received the following address from the Special Bailiff

‘Fort William 13th May 1817


I have yours acknowledging mine of yesterday’s date.

Altho’ the Law admits of no argument to lay aside a Writ – yet as your Letter conveys a mysterious meaning, I require an explanation. You say “most of the premises in question being occupied by the property of the Earl of Selkirk, since the purchase made by him, and countenanced by you since your Arrival here”- This I deny- and as it involves a question which hereafter may be discussed more fully, I will thank you to be candid in giving your explanation.

I am Sir

Your Obedt Servt

John McNab Esq                              Wm. Smith

&c &c                                                  Under Sheriff

Fort William                                     U.C.’

The above I answered as follows

‘Fort William 13th May 1817


I have yours requiring an explanation of the expression “most of the premises &c as above

I meant most of the premises in question being occupied by the property of the Earl of Selkirk, since the purchase made by him, and not altogether unknown to you since you arrived here.

I am Sir

William Smith Esq                         Your Obedt Servt

&c &c                                                   John McNab

Fort William’

Mr Spencer returned in the afternoon. Capn. Matthey had broke his Canoe in the Rapids and his progress much retarded by the inexperience of his Crew, he advised Mr Spencer to inform me that he requested I would send St. Pierre and Crew for his assistance and to take a new Canoe with them, this will prevent my sending his Lordship’s despatches immediately to Montreal as I had intended

May 14

Buchey [sic: Boucher] and men preparing a Canoe to set off in for Captn Matthey’s Brigade- In the mornig [sic] the special Bailiff handed me the following Letter.

‘Fort William 14th May 1817


I have again to require an explicit answer from you, whether you mean to oppose the Execution of his Majesty’s Writ of Restitution of Fort William.

I have to remark that any property in the premises belonging either to his Lordship or to the N.W. Coy. I have nothing to do with.

I am Sir

Your Obedt Servt

John McNab Esq.                              Wm Smith

&c &c                                                    Under Sheriff

Fort William                                       W.D.U.C.’

Answered as follows

‘Fort William 14th May 1817


I have no other answer to give than what I have already mentioned to you; the results I will answer for to the Commissioners and untill their arrival defer further literary correspondence on the subject.

I am Sir,

William Smith Esq.                        Your Obedt Servt

&c &c                                                   John McNab

Fort William’

By Bushey and men who set out at 1 pm for Capn Mathey’s Brigade I sent the following Letter to Lord Selkirk

‘Fort William 14th May 1817.

My Lord,

I have the Honor of sending to your Lordship. Three Letters from the deputy Sheriff enclosing their response in answers. Since the most of this day was sent in, while Mr Bucher & I were on the Observatory he came up to us with his special Bailiff- a desultory conversation ensued- no observations on what had passed between us– After continuing half an hour less of more Mr Bucher & I left them how he intends to proceed in future I know not

I have the Honour to be

My Lord

Your Lordships most obedient

The Right Honourable                   and Humble Servant

The Earl of Selkirk                          John McNab’

The following I sent to Captn. Matthey


Mr Spencer tells me you require these mens assistance and a good Canoe- both are sent- I wish you had mentioned in a few lines your requests yourself- I intended sending these men instantly to Montreal with his Lordship’s despatches

I am Sir

Yours truly

Captn Matthey                                  John McNab’

Previous to setting out Bushey and men requested Bay Shoes or Mokassins, neither of which are here- I trust some will be sent by the first canoes from Montreal.

May 15

Cold weather  Wind Sly [southerly] 2 men in a Canoe came for requests at Pt Meuron- they returned with the articles. Mr. Taitt began ploughing the Sheriff and Mr. Campbell walking about the latter was on the Observatory.

[May] 16

Cold weather continues blows fresh Sly [southerly] Mr. Bourke and three men came from Pt Meuron for necessaries requested there. Mr. Campbell and deputy Sheriff walking about the fields in the evening Messrs. Allan, Bucher and Bourke arrived in a Canoe from Pt Meuron brought the follg. Letters from Earl Selkirk

‘Arrow Lake Road [NB: in fur-trade travel parlance, a road is a waterway]

May 16,

Dear Sir,

I have your two Letters of 10th & 12th the latter along with the despatches from Montreal.- I have requested Mr. Allan to send you an Abstract of the News- On receipt of the dispatches I walked back yesterday to meet Capt. Matthey, and hoped to have seen St Pierre and Bourke in person. But as they are not yet come up, and I do not think it advisable to be longer absent from the Brigade who are nearly thro’ the Portage- I hope however that St. Pierre as well as the rest of the men who have come with him, will come forward according to the plan pointed out by Captn Matthey to Mr Spencer, St Pierre and Harnois are not under engagement to come further than to Fort William, but I trust that any rate they will not object to take a walk to see me.

When my dispatches left Montreal my friends there had not so distinct information about the Sandwich Warrants as I have received from York; but Mr. Coltman declared that he would not hesitate to grant Bail if they were of the same stamp as the Drummond Island one, so that I trust there is no chance of your having to make a voyage to Sandwich- These Warrants are if possible worse than Dr Mitchell’s & our disregard of his summons &c do not appear to have excited the smallest animadversion except from participants of the N.Wt.Co.

I am informed that a Mr Lemoine is engaged as Clerk to the HBCo. to conduct the Brigade of Canoes fitting out at Montreal. They will bring little cargo from Montreal except provisions but are to be loaded with the Goods left at Point Meuron, I beg you to take measures that he may be apprised of Mr. Bourke’s having the Articles there ready to be delivered to him with the Packing Lists. I write a Letter to him which is also to be left in Mr. Bourke’s hands.

I am Dear Sir



P.S. Sergt. Griste remains at the Paripue with a few Bales of Goods which cannot now be conveniently taken forward, but will wait the 2nd Brigade by Mr. Lemoine by which Griste himself is to go.- It would be a great accomodation [sic] if a small Indian or Wooden Canoe could be sent to the Paripue for the passage of persons coming up and down. I trust that the arrangements that Capn Matthey made by my desire before leaving Fort William have been satisfactory to you, and that Willin will behave properly- He has been well lectured- and has promised well- but any thing likely to ruffle his temper ought to be avoided

Arrow Lake Road,

May 16th

Dear Sir,

Since writing my Letter this morning I have received yours of the 16th by Bourke with Mr. Smith’s enclosed- and your answers I entirely approve of your reference of everything to the Commissioners, and if more is said on the subject I would suggest your warning Mr. Smith that we are well advised of the illegality of this Writ, and that his pretendings upon it is in defiance of the disapprobation of the  Chief Justice &c, &c. even against the orders of the very Magistrate who signed it, & that he had better be cautious how he attempts to carry matters to extremities.-

I am informed by the same opportunity of Mr. Murphy’s intention of proceeding down with Rheinhard in St. Pierre’s Canoe. This is a very judicious Idea, and affords a sufficient reason for not pressing St Pierre to come up as I wrote this morning Harnois & Crete must go up with him, and by mounting the canoe with Oars and [sockets?] she will navigate the Lake very well with these hands. Mr. Bucher will probably avail himself of the opportunity to go down Rheinhard ought to be taken direct to Drummond Island if possible. without stopping at the Sault. If Coll. Maule will take charge of Rheinhard it will be desirable that Mr. Murphy should free himself from the responsibility as early as possible, and he may then return by the first opportunity to Michipicoton &c.

Will you give Mr. Murphy the Letter for Mr. Robertson desiring him to call at Mishipuocton and enquire whether Mr R. is still a Moose or no

I am,

&c &c


[P.S.] I think Mr Murphy might be useful in the Athabasca department and perhaps you may think it right to write Govr. Vincent to suggest the Idea of his being sent there if there is not particular need of him in the Sothn. department.- I think Mr. M himself would like it.’

May 17

The Canoe and crew being nearly ready for setting out for Montreal I beg leave to be


Your Ladyship’s

Most obedient & humble servant

John McNab

The Right Honourable

The Countess of Selkirk”


“Fort William

19th May 1817.


I consider it a duty to lay the continuation of my journalized remarks at Fort William before your Ladyship

[May] 18

Sunday. Two Canadians Cretien and Dufond, who last night offered their services to accompany Mr. Murphy, this morning declined going. Mr. Murphy threatened to take them in the King’s Name- in order to assist him in the more safe conveyance of his prisoner Rhienhard. the acknowledged murderer of the late Mr. Kevenay [sic] to the nearest jail or place of Civil Security:- this came to the knowledge of Mr. Campbell (who it would appear had dissuaded these men) he asked Mr. Murphy if he would take them by force who replied he would be warranted in doing so, a short irritating conversation ensued-. Mr Smith was mute on the occasion,- Sent by Mr. Murphy the Follg. letter.

‘Fort William 18th May 1817


In case no Bay Shoes are sent forward to the receipt of this, a quantity by the first conveyance will be very necessary here. Crete accompanies St Pierre his Lordship desires no more of his services if they can possibly be avoided. Mr. Spencer (having delivered the mens Accts. to his Lordship) says he has little if any balance of wages to receive- Ossina is engaged for the journey down, and to return- to receive 400 [Livres?] and part of Equipments- Mr Spence thinks he has at least 300 [Livres?] in advance from his Lordship. After his return here his services will not be accepted of.

I am Sir


John McNab

Henry Forrest Esqr.’

In giving the above letter to Mr. Murphy he soon set out with the prisoner and two Military Settlers in lieu of Cretien & Dufond the party are Mssrs Murphy & Bucher, St Pierre, Barnois, Crete, Osima, and 2 Military Settlers with the Prisoner Rheinhard- A short time after their departure I accompanied Mr. Gordon to the Observatory (or look out station) we had not been there long when Messrs Smith & Kennedy joined us Various remarks passed on the early season &c when Smith & Kennedy made observations on Mr. McKenzies’s Sale at Fort William- how despicable he appeared before the Commissioners, how iniquitous the Transaction, and his want of power to perform it &c saying he surely had no right to sell the Canoes- neither Mr. Gordon nor myself made any reply and soon left them, soon after Mr. Taitt came into my room with a small paper in his hand, stating various articles requested by Mr. Campbell- he delivered it to me saying Mr. Campbell would be obliged with a compliance therewith, that he was tired of waiting here so long, and that he desired to amuse himself about the Lake and look for Canoes &c coming- being advised by Earl Selkirk to grant his requests as far as ability admitted and prudence sanctioned- I told Mr. Taitt (who has [Canoes?] hitherto considered as his own) Mr. Campbell’s requests would be attended to as far as circumstances would admit, remarking that Mr. Campbell would certainly be aware of the impropriety of approaching now, or of having the smallest intercourse with Mr. Murphy’s party- this he answered no he would not- The articles were delivered and 10 men soon in readiness- when I went out at the Gate I perceived a large Canoe in the water and the men putting their bedding &c into her- I walked with Mr. Spencer before the Gate some time till all was ready when Mr. Campbell came out he approached to us, offering his hand so frankly that neither would decline accepting said he was tired waiting so long, and that he was going to meet the Commissioners or the N.W. Canoes solemnly saying he would have no intercourse with Mr. Murphy nor any of his party in the hearing of Mr. Spencer and Willin. I told him in their presence he had taken a canoe without request or permission and that he must abide by the consequences, this he acknowledged and said he would be answerable for doing so- thus we parted

The above Canoe had been prepared by Paraseaux for his Lordship’s Brigade and for some reason had been left behind in an open court or yard- this I was ignorant of till I saw her on the water.-

May 19

Sent the follg. letters by St. Pierre

‘Fort William 17th May 1817


It is Earl Selkirk’s desire that the Furs collect at Fort William (11 or 12 Packs 80 [lbs?] each) should be sent to Britain this year by Michipicoton for Moose Factory- I shall be glad to know if a certain conveyance can be obtained- his Lordship in a letter to me of yesterday says “I think Mr. Murphy might be useful in the Athabascan department, perhaps you may think it right to write to Govr. Vincent to suggest the Idea of his being sent there, if there is not particular need of him in the Southern department. I think Mr. Murphy himself would like it.”

Should you receive this soon I shall be glad to know your sentiments as early as possible- Earl Selkirk it is hoped will reach Red River in two weeks hence- before his departure he intimated that most probably you would come to Fort William, if so, these matters can be duly regulated

I am

Dear Sir,

Govr. Vincent                                    Your Obedt Servant

Moose Factory, Hudson’s Bay      John McNab’


Our stock of meat is now very small, you will of course endeavour to send a supply; our only dependance in this respect is on you.

I am, Sir

Charles Ermatinger Esqr               &c &c

Sault St Mary                                     John McNab’


I shall be glad to know if a certain conveyance for the Furs collected at Fort William (11 or 12 Packs) can be obtained by Michipicoton so as to reach Britain by the Company’s Ships this year.

I am

Mr Richard Good                             &c &c

Michipicoton                                    John McNab’

In the morning Mr Allan returned to Lord Selkirk with the follg Letter

‘Fort William 17th May 1817

My Lord,

Mr Allan favoured me with your Lordships two Letters of yesterday’s date Mr. Lemoine shall be informed of your directions respecting the Articles at Pt Meuron, being conveyed by his Brigade.

If I can possibly procure the conveyance of a Canoe to the Parisseaue it shall be done, a Wooden one cannot be purchased here- so far Willin behaves remarkably well.

St. Pierre and 6 hands are preparing for Montreal Messrs Murphy and Bucher passengers- the two men and crew were discordant to the wishes of the Gentlemen and to St. Pierre more so as his dispatches could not have been soon or well forwarded in that manner.

I have mentioned to Govr. Vincent your Lordship’s representations and requested to know from him or from Mr. Good if the Furs collected here could with certainty reach Moose in time to be forwarded to Europe this year as I presume your Lordship would rather send them by Montreal than that they should be left till another year exposed to the danger of ill covered houses &c if an opportunity occurs I shall be glad of your Lordship’s directions on this business.

I have the Honor to be

My Lord

Your Lordship’d most obedt.

The Right Honorable                      Servt.

The Earl of Selkirk                           John McNab

May 19

Messrs Bucher & Bourke returned to Pt. Meuron, Mr Allan accompanied them, previous to Mr. Allan’s departure Mr. Smith had a Paper or Proclamation posted up in the publick square (the contents I did not learn) for the detention of Mr. Allan, late in the Evening Mr. Bucher came with his necessaries from Pt. Meuron prepatory for his departure to-morrow.

May 19

This morng while standing before the Gate in conversation with Mr Taitt, Messrs Smith and Kennedy came towards us after trifling remarks on the weather, Mr. Smith said, that in the presence of the above Gentlemen he would make the follg. proposals

That he would in company with La Blanche Messrs Taitt & Kennedy inspect the Premises at Fort William; that one person appointed by me should also be present That he would then take an account of the difficulties, alterations &c. that have occurred here since his Lordship’s Entry. That I would deliver the Keys for that purpose, and that he would appoint a residence for myself and Mr. Spencer that neither the N.Wt. Company nor the Commissioners would deprive us of of giving a reason for all this. That when the Commissioners or the N.Wt. Gentlemen arrived there would be no leisure for performing so necessary a duty.

I replied, I should deliver no Keys to him, permit none of his Lordship’s servants to witness such a Transaction, but would wait the Commissioners arrival That he Messrs Taitt and Kennedy might act as they pleased in the occasion Mr. Spencer [present?] during the conversation, who after I had made the above reply accompanied me into the Fort, soon after they separated, Messrs Smith and Kennedy walked up the side of the river- Mr Taitt staid by himself Le Ewgen from above with 2 of Bourke’s children came for a supply of food to Sergt. Griste at the Parisseaux with which he soon returned and took some articles requested by Mr. Bourke at Pt. Meuron Mr. Sayer who went with Indians (several weeks ago) to make sugar arrived in a Canoe with an Indian- 4 Horses daily ploughing the Farm.

May 20

Very fine weather- One of the N.Wt. Canadians assisted two of the Military Settlers in laying 4 casks Corn Mr. Taitt sowing Onions, Radishes, &c. in the garden Mr Sayer sent a request for 2 [lbs.?] Butter, & 4 [lbs.?] Biscuit. I desired the Bearer to tell him I wished to speak to him, some hours after he came to me on the Observatory. I mentioned to him that Earl Selkirk to a similar request, required Mr. Campbell’s signature thereto. I desired he would therefore state his request on account of the N.Wt.Co. he made some remarks on Mr. Campbell being made a Prisoner, and acknowledged the regularity of my proposal.

May 21

This morning Violette with Crete’s wife brought some fish from Pt Meuron and requesting several articles for Mr. Bourke whom I addressed as follows

‘Mr. Bourke,

Mr. Spencer gave me his Lordship’s remarks on Violette’s circumstances; on the same paper I see your statements of Mr. Crete’s supply of provisions for the week, which I think sufficient without Pork, an article she must not expect from here nor from you- if she boils the [Ssap? sap?] or shows a readiness to do any other service your own prudence will suggest to you the propriety of consideration Mr. Spencer mentions you request some tea, an article very scarce here- 2 lbs. Coffee are sent.- I thank you for the fine fish.

I am &c.

[P.S.] Any communication on publick affairs I would recommend to you to copy in your daily remarks as I in future will do for his Lordship’s inspection.’

Violette and companions returned to Pt. Meuron Mr. Gordon’s Servant Languemoir and young Viunce (who have been looking for Inds. to barter their Furs) came here.

In the afternoon Mr. Spencer on making some arrangements accidentally saw Sankirke in the publick square, he asked him if he would have the goodness to carry some chains into my apartment, he readily complied- Mr. Taitt soon after accosting Sankirke wit- pressed his disapprobation in very abusive language.- This was made known to Mr. Spencer who soon after called on Mr. Taitt told him he was sorry in being the cause of Sankirke’s having done anything reprehensible, that he, and not the man was blamable, and wished that himself only should answer for it Mr. Taitt replied in a fawning and conciliatory manner that he was sorry Mr. Spencer had shown the least concern on the occasion that he did not disapprove of what he had done, but Sankirke was a d—-d rascal, &c. adding other opprobrious names

May 22

This morning Willin told me that last night Mr. Taitt in a formal manner took Sankirke into Mr. Smith’s Apartment, told him what the man had done Mr. Smith disapproved of Sankirke’s actions and ordered him in the King’s name to go out of his House which he instantly did.- That sometime after while Sankirke was sitting in Mr. Kennedy’s House and in conversation with him and Mr. Sayer, Mr. Taitt entered (with a stick in his hand) and standing behind Sankirke struck him on the head (with the stick) which stunned him considerably, Mr. Taitt repeated his blow; and kicked him with his foot, when Mr. Sayer interfered and advised Mr. Taitt to desist from further violence, Willin added Sankirke wished to speak to me concerning the usage he had received. I desired Willin to inform the man I would avoid interfering in the rules of their subordination- heavy rain all the forenoon, fine weather towards evening

[May] 23

Mr. Smith sent a request for a weeks food for 2 men Mr. Spencer had an explanation- got his Note of hand payble. on demand and Willin issued the provisions- Cold weather, many a trip up the observatory, and many anxious looks by both parties, probably with a dread in each of their destinations- Ploughmen finished the Eastern field. In the Evening Bapt. Desmarais and 7 men in a Canoe with 2 Indians arrived from L l Pluie, came by the way of the Grand Portage, they brought Letters for Earl Selkirk, and a List of goods much wanted by Mr. McPherson

[May] 24

Mr. Spencer and 2 men prepared the packages containing Mr. McPherson’s requests; and the men had their wants supplied, and began preparations for a return to L l pluie- Sent the follg. note to Mr. Gordon.


I enclose Mihkockishick’s debt I suspect he wishes to avoid paying it- I trust you will not countenance such practices.

I am &c


The behavoir [sic] of this young man apparently influenced by Mr. Sayer his companion to have caused the above suspicion- Sayer has not again applied for food nor has he had any from the Stores- I believe he has had recourse to Mr. Gordon- in the eveng. La Blanc (Special Bailiff) arrested me in the King’s Name, I read his warrant sent by Mr. Smith; told Le Blanc I would pay no attention to it till the Commissioners arrival- during the day he has repeatedly desired the men of yesterday into his apartment- Desmarais says he asked him while there, if he was under an Engagement to the N.W.Co. or if he was free; he answered he was a free man and under no engagement, nor was he indebted to them.- Mr. Smith then told him he ought not to go from here till the Commissioners arrival. Desmarais answered he would not stop, as an additional endeavour to prevent their departure it would seem, that forgetting his former promise of the 12th he has arrested me.”