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The History of the Northern Interior of B. C.
Formerly New Caledonia (1660 - 1880) By the Rev. A. G. Morice (1906)


THE present volume is an enlargement of a paper the writer had prepared on Aboriginal History, embodying facts which, on account of the light they throw-on the manners and customs of the natives in pre-European times, he thought it well to preserve for posterity As he went on in his studies, he soon discovered that only a part of the history of British Columbia had so far been written; that which is most interesting and, from a certain point of view, most important, has to this day never been presented to the public. Who knows, for instance, that long before Victoria and New Westminster had been called into existence, the province had been settled in a way, and had possessed a regular capital—at Stuart Lake—whence a representative of our own race ruled over reds and whites? Not one in a thousand Canadians or even British Columbians, The record of these times and ways of life which are irrevocably past has never been written, not to say published, and the only author who has ever touched on some of the events with which we will soon entertain the reader, Hubert Howe Bancroft, is so irretrievably inaccurate in his remarks that his treatment of the same might be considered well-nigh worthless. Nay, two months have scarcely elapsed since there was issued in this city, under the auspices of that same Hudson’s Bay Company to which we shall have so frequently to refer, a little pamphlet, in which we read that “although McKenzie came west . . . in 1793, it was not until thirty years later (or in 1823) that the first post was established in British Columbia." What of the six most important forts which flourished long hefore that date in the northern interior of the province, and whose aggregate formed one of the most valuable districts under the management of the fur-traders? Yet, if any set of individuals ought to be familiar with the early history of British Columbia, it must surely be the members of that trading corporation, whose immediate predecessors discovered and kept under sway more than half of its territory.

This apparently unaccountable ignorance shall be our excuse for offering the present volume to the kind appreciation of Canadian and other readers. The originality of the material of which it is mainly composed and the novelty of the scenes it records have, in our humble opinion, rendered it imperative that we should enter into details and tarry on minor facts which, under other circumstances, might well have been passed over with a brief mention. We have aimed at giving a faithful picture uf the times, persons and places of which we have written. The reader will judge of the degree of success which our efforts have met with.

It is hardly necessary to mention that none of the letters and other manuscript documents we quote from was written with a view to meet the critical eyes of modern readers. Therefore it is but fair to remark that, out of consideration and regard for the proprieties of grammar and orthography, we have occasionally taken slight liberties—though as seldom as possible—with the recorded utterances of the Hudson’s Bay Company and other writers, while religiously conserving their sense or meaning.

Had it not been for the courtesy of Mr. A. C. Murray, the gentleman in charge of Fort St. James, on Stuart Lake, this little work could never have been made what it is. For the generous access he gave us to all the old papers, letters, journals, account books, and memoranda in his keeping, we beg to return our sincerest thanks. The same is also due to such gentlemen as the Hon. Senator R. W. Scott, Secretary of State for Canada, who kindly put at our disposal a photograph of the first British Columbian, Simon Fraser, whose portrait has hitherto never appeared in print; to Messrs. R. E. Gosnell and E. Scholefield, of Victoria, for the loan, by the former, of a volume of unpublished letters by the pioneer traders and the blocks of some illustrations, and for the readiness with which the latter laid open for our benefit the well-guarded riches of the Legislative Library at the provincial capital. Finally, the services of Archbishop Orth, of Victoria, call likewise for public acknowledgment, as do also those of Messrs. A. P. Mclnnes, of Alexandria; G. Hamilton, an old Hudson’s Bay Company officer; James Bain, D.C.L., the obliging Librarian of Toronto, and last, though not least, Bernard McEvoy, the well-known poet and journalist, who so kindly lent us his valued aid in seeing the work through the press.

Vancouver, B.C., July, 1905.

Below you can see the contents of this book but you can download the whole book in pdf format here.


Introduction. The Country and Its Aborigines.
7he Country and Its Aborigines.—Boundaries—Flora—Lakes and streams—Fish and game—Various native tribes—Manners and customs of the same—Their probable origin—Original seat of the Babines.

Chapter I. Earliest Historical Times 1660 - 1765
Earliest Historical Times.—Na’kwcel and his iron axe—Lost and found —Quick with his bow—His son killed by his wives—Prompt retribution—A great patriarch—Chinlac and its sad fate—Spitted through the ribs—A raid on the Chilcotins—Battling with spear and armor—Why Khalhpan could not dance.

Chapter II.
Still Pre-European Times.—A new chieftain—A dishonorable adventure—Stuart River massacre—K’wah tries to avenge it—A successful attack—Between “ two fires”—Hostile reception of the victors— K’wah becomes a gambler—Blood pays for an insult—Firearms first heard of—The Beavers oppress the Sekanais—The latter retaliate.

Chapter III.
Discovery by Alexander Macksnzie.—The. fur-trade in the east—Alexander Mackenzie—He crosses the Rockies—Liquor in great demand —He ascends the Parsnip River—First intercourse with the Carriers —Dread on both sides—An exciting episode—Panic and discouragement—A blind man opens the eyes of the adventurers—All’s well that ends well.

Chapter IV.
First Foundations.—Mackenzie turns litterateur—Simon Fraser—First view of Stuart Lake—P'raser prepares his great expedition—Difficulties from nature and from men—A well named river—The Fraser—Ready, ye warriors !—Surprise and consternation—First trading—Lake Stuart—Its aborigines—-Errors of Bancroft and others.

Chapter V.
Founding and Exploring.—Erecting a new fort —The pioneers starve—And then complain of their abundance—Fraser Lake—A large bill —Reinforcements—Fort George founded—Disagreeing authors all in the wrong—Fraser’s trip to the sea-coast—“Awful and forbidding appearance ” of the river—Native ladders for a trail along an abyss—The river not the Columbia—Bancroft unfair to Fraser.

Chapter VI.
Stuart and Harmon at Stuart Lake.—Stuart succeeds Simon Fraser— Harmon comes to Stuart Lake—The first drunken orgy—’Kwah is chastised—Cremation of a Carrier—Harmon and McDougall go to Babine—Received with a display of war clubs and axes—The very first mail within British Columbia—Stuart’s shortcomings—Massacres and murders—Conflict between the rival companies—Amalgamation of the latter.

Chapter VII.
The Hudson!s Bay Company in New Caledonia.—The Company’s Charter—Its organization—The servants and their grades—The clerks and the apprentices—A privileged class—Original status—A new Deed Poll—An American proud of his title—Lord paramount —Hudson’s Bay Company forts—The Company’s influence detrimental to the moral welfare of the Indians—Fire-water and vendettas.

Chapter VIII.
William Connolly Succeeds Stuart.—Governor Simpson—Forts Alexander and Chilcotin are founded—Bancroft mistaken—Warlike Indians—Fort Babine erected—Bancroft wrong again—Poor Mary!—Douglas comes upon the scene—He acts as Connolly’s fisherman—Did he found Fort Connolly?—Difficult times—Furs, furs—A buffoon causes a war.

Chapter IX.
An Episode and its Consequences.—A fanciful account of the occurrence —The heroical role attributed to the wrong party—The real facts —“The man he killed was eaten by the dogs; by the dogs he must be eaten”—The aggressor on the defensive—Dr. Bryce’s mistakes —Bancroft’s dramatized version of the affair—The Governor at Stuart Lake—How the Company had the last word—But Douglas
had to leave.

Chapter X.
Connolly and Dease at Stuart Lake.—Greed for furs—Fisher has recourse to tricks to get them—Lively correspondence—The original Tete Jaune Cache—Fifteen dogs on the tables—An alert in the woods—Dease arrives at Stuart Lake—Why Connolly was relieved of his post—Opposition traders on the Skeena—A clerk on strike—John McLean at Stuart Lake—First burial among the Carriers.

Chapter XI.
Peter S. Ogden takes Charge of the Country.—Ogden’s antecedents—His characteristics—The trickster tricked—Resources of the different posts—Salmon—The engages—Hard on evil-doers—A boorish officer and a clerk in a tight place—A philippic—Caught in his own net.

Chapter XII.
The Country and its Resources.—A new route established—Salmon and staple food—How that fish is caught—Articles of trade—Odd items —Canoes and guns.

Chapter XIII.
Peter S. Ogden Governs.—An undesirable post—Anderson’s census—Its inaccuracies—’Kwah falls sick—And dies—Ogden asserts his authority—The wails of a culprit—A quick-tempered officer—Uprisings among the natives—A deserter causes trouble—Campbell’s expedition.

Chapter XIV.
Among the Babines.—A new fort wanted—Domestic troubles of the officer in charge—McBean is removed—His instructions to his successor—Morwick pays his imprudence with his life—The avenging expedition—Treachery wins—Cameron despondent—A double murder and its consequences—Even D. McLean is apprehensive.

Chapter XV.
First Catholic Missions.—Canadian priests on the Columbia—Ogden asks for contributions towards their maintenance—Father Demers goes to Stuart Lake—His description of the voyage—Missionary work—Degraded Indians—Among the Shushwaps—Father Nobili —The devil apes the Almighty—False prophets.

Chapter XVI.
Mattson's Tribulations.—Manson succeeds Ogden—How McIntosh died—Desertions more and more numerous—The officers leave one after the other—An unfaithful man—The manager is disgusted—The terrible Waccan—His manifold services—A deserter caught—Anderson’s new route is tried—And found wanting.

Chapter XVII.
A 'exis Belanger and His Avenger.—An unnatural joy—Alexis is cast away—One of his tricks—More disdemeanors—A provocation —Shot while steering—D. McLean and his principles—“Where is Tlel ”—Approval of a crime—Forced to scalp—Was that right?

Chapter XVIII.
“Club Law” in New Caledonia.—The personnel of the district— Manson dissatisfied-Pack-trains under difficulties—A curt officer—Paul Fraser is killed— Manson reproved—Trouble with the chief— Annihilation threatened—Half-hearted reconciliation—The “Prince of darkness:"—Douglas on the Crimean War—First symptoms of the gold craze.

Chapter XIX.
Golden Cariboo.—First discoveries—Hill Bar—New mail facilities—The Horsefly discovered—The Cariboo mines—Fabulous yields—An overland party reaches the gold fields—Shipwreck and consequent hardships—Gruesome scenes of cannibalism.

Chapter XX.
Improvements and Trials.—New seekers after gold—The Cariboo waggon road—A newspaper in the wilds—Improved conditions at Stuart Lake—The smallpox—Traders and miners—Down on free traders—The bottle is called into requisition.

Chapter XXI.
From Chi cotin to Omineca.—The Waddington Trail—The Chilcotins— Fourteen whites massacred—The Bentinck Arm massacre—The causes of the rising—Punitive expeditions—D. McLean is shot—Some of the murderers are captured—Their fate—The Western Union Telegraph Co.—Mining in Omineca—A steamboat at Stuart.

Chapter XXII.
Some oj the Later Pioneers.—Lively scenes near Fort St. James—Judge P. O’Reilly—Themis at fault—G. Hamilton succeeds P. Ogden—P. Dunlevy and his trading ventures—A mystified official—James Reid—Strenuous life finally crowned with success.

Chapter XXIII.
Laudetur Jesus Christus !—First Anglican missions—Various Catholic expeditions—P'ather McGuckin—Bishop D’Herbomez visits the district—At Stuart Lake and Babine—Father Lejacq—A rebellious medicine-man comes to grief—Danger from alien races—A mission is established near Fort St. James—The first resident missionaries and their flock.


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