There is no lack of
material for a history of Manitoba, The books written by early
navigators and explorers, the annals of the Jesuit priests and other
missionaries, the journals kept by the fur traders, the records of the
Hudson's Bay Company and its factors, the minutes of the Council of
Assiniboia, and government reports furnish an inexhaustible store of
facts for the historian. These sources of information are supplemented
by accounts of military expeditions, given by officers or chaplains who
accompanied them, by the reports of scientists, and by many books of
Students of the history of the Canadian west will always be under
obligation to the early historians of the Red River Settlement, Sheriff
Alexander Ross, Mr. Donald Gunn, and Mr. Joseph Hargrave, and the author
frankly acknowledges his indebtedness to them. He is also greatly
indebted to writers who have recently investigated and sifted so much of
the historical material to be found in the London office of the Hudson's
Bay Company, especially to Mr. Beckles Willson, Rev. George Bryce, D.
D., and Miss Agnes C. Laut. He owes much to many other writers, but it
is impossible to mention all of them here. A partial list of the
authorities which have been consulted in the preparation of this volume
is given in another part of the book. It may prove of some service to
readers who wish to make a more detailed study of the history of the
The writer wishes to acknowledge his obligation to the members of his
advisory committee and to many friends who have helped him to secure
facts for the book and material for its illustrations. His thanks are
due to the librarians of the Provincial Library and the Carnegie Library
of Winnipeg for their uniform kindness and interest. Above all, he is
grateful to his wife for the unfailing help, sympathy, and encouragement
which made it possible for him to complete the work.
While there is abundant material for a history of Manitoba, it is marked
by many discrepancies. Different writers have given different accounts
of the same event, and sometimes a writer has given different versions
of the same incident in different books. Men who took part in the same
expedition have not agreed as to the names of the ships in which it
sailed, leaders in the same skirmish have written widely different
accounts of it, and witnesses under oath have given such inconsistent
versions of the same affair that judges have been unable to elicit the
facts. Under such conditions it is difficult to eliminate all
inaccuracies in preparing a history. The author of this volume has aimed
to present absolutely accurate statements in it; and if some errors have
crept into its pages, he hopes that its readers will give him credit for
conscientious effort to avoid them.
If the work does something to promote interest in the past history of
the province, pride in its progress, and a feeling of responsibility for
its future welfare, some of the author's aims will be attained.
F. H. S.
WINNIPEG, March, 1913.
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