[Enclosure 2 in No. 965.]
SIR G. SIMPSON TO THE EARL OF ELGIN AND KINCARDINE.
Hudson's Bay House
Lachine 16th. Nov. 1848.
I have the honor to acknowledge Colonel Bruce's letter of the 11th Instant forwarding to me, by your Lordship's direction, printed Copies of two letters reflecting on the conduct of the Hudson's Bay Company, addressed to your Lordship by a person of the name of Kennedy ; intimating your intention of forwarding those letters, in accordance with the author's request, to the Secretary of State, and, at the same time expressing your willingness to transmit any observations upon them which I may have to offer.
In speaking of the murder in question, Mr. Kennedy informs your Lordship that, “the Company's representative (meaning myself) was told of it by him but took no notice of it ;” and he further says that, “in a private letter to me he gave it as one among other reasons for leaving the service.” The only allusion Mr. Kennedy ever made to this murder was under date 28 August 1844, four years by his own showing after it had happened, and then incidentally, in the following words “I take the liberty of giving an instance, it is that of giving rum to Indians, by which, while in soundest health they not unfrequently lose their lives, an instance of which it has been my painful lot to witness.” . . . On reading this paragraph, the impression on my mind was that this case might have occurred in the midst of the settlements on the Ottawa River (where Kennedy had been stationed for five years,) as I knew that there Indians had access to liquor at every village and lumbering establishment. But from information I received three days ago, from a person who was on the spot, I, for the first time, learnt the following particulars of the case referred to ; that two Indians, while under the influence of liquor obtained at a post in the interior of Labrador, had, while crossing a Lake, quarrelled and fought in their canoes, and that one of the unfortunate men had fallen in the conflict. But even had I been acquainted with the whole circumstances of the case, I could not have taken any cognizance of the matter, the murder having been commited within the jurisdiction of Newfoundland, where the Company have no exclusive rights of trade, but are merely as one in the crowd of traders and settlers in that part of the Country, the only difference between the Company and the others, as regards our commercial dealings, being that, our means and better organization enable us to conduct our business on a more systematic and extended scale, penetrating to parts of the Country which, to many others, are inaccessible.