EXTRACT FROM FINLAYSON'S JOURNAL TO HUDSON'S
RECORDS, HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY.
February 14, 1835.
There is a Lake near the Height of Land Pettaustickopau by name, which
would be an eligible situation for an Outpost. It is surrounded by a tolerable good fur country. At or near it the Indians always separate on their way to the different Settlements on the Gulf.
JOS. BEWLEY, RUPERT HOUSE, TO GOVERNOR SIMPSON.
RECORDS, HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY.
Rupert House, Feby. 26th, 1835.
I received on the 15th inst. advices from the several posts comprehended within the Ruperts River district—and with as little delay as possible, after devoting the requisite attention to matters of business immediately pressing thereon—and getting dispatches written and sent off to the Officers in charge of the respective stations, I joyfully avail myself of the first few moments respite from application to the local concerns of the district—to endeavour to communicate to you every information which present circumstances enable me to do in regard to the Honble. Company's affairs in this quarter. . . .
Mr. Kellock, with the party under his command, succeeded in reaching Nitchiquon Lake on the 12th Aug.—their 46th day from Ruperts House—and on the 19th of that month he dispatched two of his people to establish the post at Kaunaiaubiskau Lake—which is the source or head waters of the Kaunaiaubiskau or South River of Ungava Bay. The 2 men in company with their guide reached the 1ake on the 7th September, having been—owing to the difficulties experienced on the route—no less than 20 days on 30 the journey from Nitchiquan—although the distance between the 2 Lakes is supposed not to exceed 100 miles. As the letter I received from
Mr. Kellock may probably be interesting to you to peruse, I take the liberty to forward it to you, and to request reference thereto—merely observing that from all that I have ever heard, particularly from Indians whose hunting grounds lie in that direction, I think Mr. Kellock under-rates the distance between Ruperts House and Nitchiquon. In former times Nisquiscon used to be reckoned 300 miles from the coast, and every Indian who knows anything of the distance between Nisquiscon and Nitchiquon says that it considerably exceeds the distance between Ruperts House and Nisquiscon.
At Nitchiquon the furs collected up to the 21st December amounted to M. Beaver; and
At Kaunaiaubiskau the furs collected up to the 10th December amounted to 15 M. Beaver. . . .
I am most unfeignedly glad that we have succeeded in establishing the posts in question—as a regular and annual communication with Ungava district may now be established by water thro' the Interior—I have in my letter to Mr. Kellock dated 21st inst. which he will probably receive on or about the 15th April—directed him forthwith to endeavour to open a communication if possible with Mr. Chief Trader Finlayson—by dispatching to Ungava two of the servants that will then be at his disposal—in company with any Indian or Indians whom he can get hired to guide and assist them on their route thither and back again to Kaunaiaubiskau Lake. I have likewise apprised Mr. Kellock that it is requisite he should be down at Ruperts House as early as possible in the summer for the purpose of receiving the temporary charge of the district on my departure hence—but as the summer may probably be far advanced before Nitchiquan Lake opens, I cannot form any opinion as to the date on which he may possibly arrive here. . . ..
I have addressed the Chief Trader Finlayson by letter dated 23rd inst. apprising him of our having succeeded in establishing last summer the posts at Nitchiquon & Kaunaiaubiskau Lakes—and of the probability of Mr. Kellock's being able to open a communication with Ungava district in course of the summer. I have stated to him that “in event of the communication being opened, as I am in expectation of, between the two districts by route through the Interior—it will ensure, if such is considered desirable, a regular and annual transmission of intelligence—as letters conveyed from Ungava to Kaunaiaubiskau prior to the 10th December in any year will be received at Mistassiny by the 8th January following—and at Ruperts House on or about the 14th February; on the other hand letters for Ungava that may be at this place on the 22nd or 23rd February may be lodged at Kaunaiaubiskau by the middle of April. Further—Letters from Ungava that may be brought to Kaunaiaubiskau between the 10th December and the opening of the Lakes in the Nitchiquon Quarter in the summer following—will be received at Ruperts House per canoe bringing down the Nitchiquon and Kaunaiaubiskau returns—and letters that may then be at Ruperts House for Ungava will be sent to Nitchiquon by the canoes conveying up the outfit.”
With the ardent hope that from all parts of the extensive territories
under your Superintendence and government—you may receive favourable intelligence in regard to affairs of the current outfit, and that for very many years you may continue to manage and direct the multifarious concerns with which you are entrusted by the Governor & Committee of the Honble. Company,
I have the Honor to be,
Your most obedient humble Servt.
(SGD) JosH. BEWLEY.
SIR GEORGE SIMPSON TO SIMON McGILLIVRAY.
(RECORDS, HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY.)
Ship St. James, 18th April, 1836.
Simon McGillivray Esq.,
An opposition having lately been established at Esquimaux Bay by some people belonging to Quebec and Boston, with the view of benefitting by an encroachment on our trade with the Indians of the King's Posts and Mingan Seigniory and of anticipating us in the occupation of the district of country situated between Ungava and Esquimaux Bay behind the Moravian Settlements on the Labrador Coast the Govr. & Committee have determined on establishing such posts as may be necessary to watch and protect the interests of the Honble. Company in that quarter and to that end an expedition will be outfitted from Montreal & Quebec as early in the course of the summer as possible which is intended to be placed under your command. The expedition will consist besides yourself of two Clerks and twelve servants, say, fifteen in all, a sufficient complement for two Posts, which are as many as you can establish with safety and advantage the first year, a sufficient quantity of goods & provisions will be in readiness at 3 Quebec for shipment and Mr. James McKenzie the Company's agent there has been instructed to have a vessel in readiness about the latter end of May to take the people, goods and provisions to their destination.
I have to request you will accompany the expedition and proceed direct to Mingan without touching or losing time at the King's Posts. At Mingan you will find Mr. Cumming whom I have requested to provide you with two or three small canoes and a couple of Indian guides, so as to enable you to
proceed across land with six or eight men to Esquimaux Bay and as the distance is short, you will get there before the vessel and have an opportunity of examining the country, and of acquiring much information which may be useful on entering into the contest, in which you are likely to be engaged. If there be any difficulty in procuring canoes or guides or that after your arrival at Mingan it be considered inexpedient to quit the vessel, I do not wish you to do so. In this matter you will therefore use your own discretion....
Your principal establishment should be formed sufficiently close to the principal establishment of your opponents to enable you to watch their movements and operations and your outposts in like manner placed alongside their principal outposts and instead of pursuing the violent course which usually characterises opposition in their fur-trade, I beg you will use every proper endeavour to keep on good terms with your neighbours and endeavour to show your superiority as an Indian trader by activity, address and good management & on no consideration allow yourself be drawn into misunderstandings, quarrels or violence of any kind—unless in defence of lives and property. Great address, activity and good management however will be necessary to ensure success in your present mission and you are appointed to conduct this enterprise because you are known to possess these requisites while I have to recommend strict economy in all your arrangements particularly in the expenditure of provisions and in mens' wages which are the heavy items of expense in opposition, I think it will be good policy to raise the standard of trade and to pay the Indians so liberally for their furs that they can gain nothing by going to another market with them. There is another branch of business to be attended to from Esquimaux Bay, and that is in the articles of seal skins, oil, feathers & furs, collected by some Canadians & other settlers on the Labrador coast known by the designation of Planters with whom I understand our opponents carry on a profitable trade. This branch of business we should never of thought of meddling with had not these people driven us to it by seducing our Mingan Indians in the first instance and latterly interfering with our trade generally in that quarter....
I have to beg you will address me from time to time as frequently as opportunities offer reporting fully on the business under your management and conveying every information in regard to the country, trade &c. which you may consider likely to be useful or interesting and you will by the last conveyance of the season forward an Indent for the goods, provisions &c. &c., you may require for next year with a prospective scheme of your arrangements for next outfit.
I remain, Dear Sir,
Your most obedient Servt.
(Sgd.) GEO. SIMPSON.