Pioneers in Canada

Pioneers in Canada


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Pioneers in Canada, by Sir Harry Johnston, Illustrated by E. Wallcousins
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online
Title: Pioneers in Canada
Author: Sir Harry Johnston
Release Date: July 23, 2004 [eBook #13003]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Janet Kegg and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
G.C.M.G., K.C.B.
The Pioneer Library
A standard series by Sir Harry Johnston. Tastefully bound.
Pioneers in Australasia. Pioneers in Canada. Pioneers in South Africa. Pioneers in West Africa. Pioneers in Tropical America. Pioneers in India.
I have been asked to write a series of works which should deal w i t h "real adventures", in parts of the world eithe r wild and uncontrolled by any civilized government, or at any rate regions full of dangers, of wonderful discoveries; in which the daring and heroism of white men (and sometimes of white women) stood out clearly against backgrounds of unfamiliar landscapes, peopled with strange nations, savage tribes, dangerous beasts, o r wonderful birds. These books would again and again illustrate the first coming of the white race into regions inhabited by people of a different type, with brown, black, or yellow skins; how the European was received, and how he treated these races of the soil which gradually came under his rule owing to his superior knowledge, weapons, wealth, or powers of persuasion. The books were to tell the plain truth, even if here and there they showed the white man to have behaved badly, or if they revealed the fact that the American Indian, the Negro, the Malay, the black Australian was sometimes cruel and treacherous.
A request thus framed was almost equivalent to aski ng me to write stories of those pioneers who founded the Bri tish Empire; in any case, the first volumes of this series do relate the adventures of those who created the greater part of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, by their perilous explorations of unknown lands and waters. In many instances the travellers were all u nconscious of their destinies, of the results which would arise from their actions. In some cases they would have bitterly railed at Fate had they known that the result of their splendid efforts was to be the enlargement of an empire under the British flag. Perhaps if they could know by now that we are striving under that flag to bejust andgenerous to all
types of men, and not to use our empire solely for the benefit of English-speaking men and women, the French who foun ded the Canadian nation, the Germans and Dutch who helped to create British Africa, Malaysia, and Australia, the Spaniards who preceded us in the West Indies, and the Portuguese in West, Central, and East Africa, in Newfoundland and Ceylon, might—if they have any consciousness or care for things in this world—be not so sorry after all that we are reaping where they sowed.
It is (as you will see) impossible to tell the tale of these early days in the British Dominions beyond the Seas, without describing here and there the adventures of men of enterprise and daring who were not of our own nationality. The majority, nevertheless, were of British stock; that is to say, they were English, Welsh, Scots, Irish, perhaps here and there a Channel Islander and a Man xman; or Nova Scotians, Canadians, and New Englanders. The bulk of them were good fellows, a few were saints, a few were ru ffians with redeeming features. Sometimes they were common men who blundered into great discoveries which will for ever preserve their names from perishing; occasionally they were men of Fate, predestined, one might say, to change the history of the world by their revelations of new peoples, new lands, new rivers, new lakes, snow mountains, and gold mines. Here and there is a martyr like Marquette, or Livingstone, or Gordon, dying for the cause of a race not his own. And others again are mere boys, whose adventures come to them because they are adventurous, and whose feats of arms, escapes, perils, and successes are quite as w onderful as those attributed to the juvenile heroes of Marryat, Stevenson, and the author ofThe Swiss Family Robinson.
I have tried, in describing these adventures, to give my readers some idea of the scenery, animals, and vegetation of the new lands through which these pioneers passed on their great and small purposes; as well as of the people, native to the soil, with whom they came in contact. And in treating of these subj ects I have thought it best to give the scientific names of the plant or animal which was of importance in my story, so that any of my readers who were really interested in natural history could at once ascertain for themselves the exact type alluded to, and, if they wished, look it up in a museum, a garden, or a natural history book.
I hope this attempt at scientific accuracy will not frighten away readers young and old; and, if you can have patienc e with the author, you will, by reading this series of books o n the great pioneers of British West Africa, Canada, Malaysia, West Indies, South Africa, and Australasia, get a clear idea of how the British Colonial Empire came to be founded.
You will find that I have often tried to tell the story in the words of the pioneers, but in these quotations I have adopted the modern spelling, not only in my transcript of the English original or translation, but also in the place and tribal names , so as not to
puzzle or delay the reader. Otherwise, if you were to look out some o f the geographical names of the old writers, you might not be able t o recognize them on the modern atlas. The pronunci ation of this modern geographical spelling is very simple and clear: the vowels are pronounceda= ah,e= eh,i= ee,o= o,ô= oh,ō= aw,ö= u in 'hurt', andunmost other Europea oo, as in German, Italian, or  = languages; and the consonants as in English.
Type of Ship sailed in by the English or French Pioneers in the Sixteenth CenturyFrontispiece Icebergs and Polar Bears Indians hunting Bison Indians lying in wait for Moose Caribou swimming a River Great Auks, Gannets, Puffins, and Guillemots Scene on Canadian River: Wild Swans flying up, disturbed by Bear
Big-horned Sheep of Rocky Mountains
Jacques Cartier Samuel de Champlain and Alexander Henry the Elder An Amerindian Type of British Columbia Lake Louise, the Rocky Mountains Samuel Hearne and Alexander Mackenzie The Upper Waters of the Fraser River The Kootenay or Head Stream of the Columbia River A Hunter's "Shack" in British Columbia: After a successful Shoot of Blue Grouse
Map of Canada Map of Eastern Canada and Newfoundland Map of Part of the Coast Region of British Columbia
List of the Chief Authorities
The Saint Lawrence Basin. By Dr. S.E. DAWSON. London. 1905. Lawrence & Bullen.
Relation Originale du Voyage de Jacques Cartier au Canada en 1534; Documents inédits, &c. Publiés par H. MICHELANT e t A. RAME. Paris. Librairie Tross. 1867.
Voyage de Jacques Cartier au Canada en 1534, &c. Par H. MICHELANT. Paris. 1865.
Champlain's Voyages: The Publications of the Prince Society. Boston. 1878. Three volumes.
Voyage of Verrazano, &c. By HENRY C. MURPHY. New York. 1875. (Also the Essay on the Journeys of Verrazano, by Al essandro Bacchiani, in the Bollettino della Societá Geografica Italiana. Rome. November, 1909.)
Volume IX of the Proceedings and Transactions of th e Royal Society of Canada. (For the History of Cape Breton and of the Beothiks of Newfoundland.)
The Search for the Western Sea. By Lawrence J. Burpee. London.
Alston Rivers. 1908.
Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, &c. Edited by REUBEN GOLD THWAITES. Vol. LIX. Cleveland, U.S.A. Burrows Bros. 1900. Travels and Explorations in Canada and the Indian T erritories between the years 1760 and 1776. By ALEXANDER HENRY, Esq. New York. 1809. Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans, in the years 1789 and 1793, &c. &c. By ALEXANDER MACKENZIE, Esq. London. 1801. A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's B ay to the Northern Ocean, &c. By SAMUEL HEARNE. London. 1795.
Les Bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest. By L.R. MASSON. Quebec. 1890. Two volumes. New Light on the Early History of the Greater North -West: The Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry, Jun., and o f David Thompson. Edited by ELLIOTT COUES. Three Volumes. N ew York. Harper. 1897. Sport and Travel in the Northland of Canada. By DAVID T. HANBURY. London. Edward Arnold. 1904. Henry Hudson the Navigator, &c. By G.M. ASHER. London. Hakluyt Society, 1860.
The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher. By Rear-Admiral RICHARD COLLINSON. London. Hakluyt Society. 1867.
The Voyages and Works of John Davis the Navigator. By Admiral S i r ALBERT HASTINGS MARKHAM. London. Hakluyt Society. 1880. The Voyages of William Baffin, 1612-1622. By Sir CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM. London. 1881.
The White Man's Discovery of North America
So far as our knowledge goes, it is almost a matter of certainty that Man originated in the Old World—in Asia possibly. Long after this wonderful event in the Earth's history, when the human species was spread over a good deal of Asia, Europe, and Africa, migration to the American continents began in attempts to find new feeding
grounds and unoccupied areas for hunting and fishing. How many thousands or hundreds of thousands of years ago it was since the first men entered America we do not yet know, any more than we can determine the route by which they travelled from Asia. Curiously enough, the oldest traces of man as yet discovered in the New World are not only in South America, but in the south-eastern parts of South America. Although the most obvious recent land connection between the Old and New Worlds is the Aleutian chain of islands connecting Kamschatka with Alaska, the ethnologist is occasionally led to think by certain evidence that there may, both earlier and later, have existed another way of reac hing western America from south-eastern Asia through Pacific archipelagoes and islets now sunk below the sea. In any case it seems quite probable that men of Mongolian or Polynesian type reached America on its western coasts long before the European came from the north-east and east, and that they were helped on this long jo urney by touching at islands since submerged by earthquake shocks or tidal waves.
The aboriginal natives of North and South America seem to be o f entirely Asiatic origin; and such resemblances a s there are between the North-American Indians and the peoples of northern Europe do not arise (we believe) from any ancient colonization of America from western or northern Europe, but mainly from the fact that the North-American Indians and the Eskimo (two distinct types of people) are descended from the same human stocks as the ancient populations of the northern part of Europe and Asia.
It was—we think—from the farnorth-west of Europe that America was first visited by the true White man, though there has been an ancient immigration of imperfect "White" men (Ainu) from Kamschatka. Three or four hundred years after the birth of Christ there were great race movements in northern and central Europe, due to an increase of population and insufficiency of food. Not only did these white barbarians (though they were not as barbarous as we were led to think by Greek and Roman literature) invade southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, but from the fourth century of the Christian era onwards they began to cross over to England and Scotland. At the same time they took more complete possession of Scandinavia, driving north before their advance the more primitive peoples like the Lapps and Finns, who were allied to the stock from which arose both the Eskimo and the Amerindian.[1] All this time the Goths and Scandinavians were eith er learning ideas of navigation from the Romans of the Mediterranean or the Greeks of the Black Sea, or they were inventing for themselves better ways of constructing ships; and although they propelled them mainly by oars, they used masts and sails as well.[2]got Having over the fear of the sea sufficiently to reach the coasts of England and Scotland, the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Shetlands, they became still more venturesome in their voyages from Norway, until they discovered the Faroe Archipelago (which tradition says they found
inhabited by wild sheep), and then the large island of Iceland, which had, however, already been reached and settled by the northern Irish.
Iceland, though it lies so far to the north that it is partly within the Arctic Circle, is, like Norway, Scotland, and Ireland, affected by the Gulf Stream, so that considerable portions of it are quite habitable. It is not almost entirely covered with ice, as Greenla nd is; in fact, Iceland should be called Greenland (from the large extent of its grassy pastures), and Greenland should be called Iceland. Instead of this, however, the early Norwegian explorers cal led these countries by the names they still bear.
The Norse rovers from Norway and the Hebrides colon ized Iceland from the year 850; and about a hundred and thirty-six years afterwards, in their venturesome journeys in search of new lands, they reached the south-east and south-west coasts of Greenland. Owing to the glacial conditions and elevated character of this vast continental island (more than 500,000 sq. miles in area)—for the whole interior of Greenland rises abruptly from the sea-coast to altitudes of from 5000 to 11,000 ft.—this discovery was of small use to the early Norwegians or their Iceland colony. Af ter it was governed by the kingdom of Norway in the thirteenth century, the Norse colonization of south-west Greenland faded aw ay under the attacks of the Eskimo, until it ceased completely i n the fifteenth century. When Denmark united herself with the kingdom of Norway in 1397, the Danish king became also the ruler of Iceland. In the eighteenth century the Norwegian and Danish settlements were re-established along the south-east and south-west coa sts of Greenland, mainly on account of the value of the whale, seal, and cod fisheries in the seas around this enormous frozen island; and all Greenland is now regarded as a Danish possession.
But the adventurous Norsemen who first reached Gree nland from Iceland attempted to push their investigations farther to the south-west, in the hope of discovering more habitable lands; and in this way it was supposed that their voyages extende d as far as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but in all probability they reached no farther than Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. This portion of North America they called "Vinland", more from the abundance of cranberries (vinbærthe open spaces than the few vines to be) on found in the woods of Nova Scotia.[3]
This brings us down to the year 1008. The Icelandic Norsemen then ceased their investigations of the North-Ameri can Continent, and were too ignorant to realize the value of their discoveries. Their c o l o n i e s on the coasts of Nova Scotia ("Vinland") a nd Newfoundland ("Estotiland") were attacked probably by Eskimos, at any rate by a short, thick-set, yellow-skinned ugly people whom the Norsemen called "Skræling",[4] who overcame the unfortunate settlers, murdered some, and carried off others into the interior.
But about this period, when Europe was going throug h that
dismal era, the Dark Age which followed the downfall of the Roman Empire of the west, various impulses were already d irecting the attention of European adventurers to the Western Oc ean, the Atlantic. One cause was the increased hold of Roman and Greek Christianity over the peoples of Europe. These Churches imposed fasts either for single days or for continuous periods. When people fasted it meant that they were chiefly denied any form of meat, and therefore must eat fish if they were not content wi th oil, bread, or vegetables. So that there was an enormous and increasing demand for fish, not only amongst those fortunate people w ho lived by the seashore, and could get it fresh whenever they liked, but among those who lived at a distance inland, and were still required to fast when the Church so directed. Of course in many parts of Europe they could get freshwater fish from the rivers or lakes. But the supply was not equal to the demand; and fish sent up from the seacoast soon went bad, so that the plan of salting and curi ng fish was adopted. The Norsemen found it a paying business to fish industriously in the seas round Iceland, Norway, Sc otland, and Ireland, salt and cure the fish, and then carry it to more southern countries, where they exchanged it against wine, oi l, clothing materials, and other goods. This led to the Venetia ns (who had absorbed so much of the carrying trade of the Mediterranean) sending their ships through the Straits of Gibraltar into the northern seas and trading with the Baltic for amber and salt fish. In the course of this trade some Venetians, such as Antonio Zeno, found their way t o Norway and Iceland.[5]is thought that by this means Venice It became acquainted with the records of the Icelandic voyages to N orth America, and that her explorers thus grew to entertain the idea of a sea journey westward, or north-westward, of Britain, bringing mariners to a New World represented by the far-eastern extension of Asia.
Christopher Columbus, the Genoese, conceived a similar idea, w h i c h also may have owed something to the tradition of the Norsemen's discovery of Vinland. But Columbus's theories were based on better evidence, such as the discovery on the coasts of the Azores archipelago, Madeira, and Portugal of strange seeds, tree trunks, objects of human workmanship, and even (it is said) the bodies of drowned savages—Amerindians—which had somehow drifted across, borne by the current of the Gulf Stream, and escaping the notice of the sharks.
Whilst Columbus was bestirring himself to find Asia across the Atlantic, a sea pilot, JOHN CABOT (Zuan Cabota)—Genoese by birth, but a naturalized subject of Venice—came to England and offered himself to King Henry VII as a discoverer o f new lands across the ocean. At first he was employed at Copenhagen to settle fishery quarrels about Iceland, and probably Cabota , or Cabot, visited Iceland in King Henry's service, and there heard of the Icelandic colonies on the other side of the Atlanti c, only recently abandoned.
In 1496 King Henry VII provided money to cover some of the expense of a voyage of discovery to search for the rumoured island across the ocean. The people of Bristol were ordered to assist John Cabot, and by them he was furnished with a small sailing ship, the Matthewcrew of fifteen mariners. Cabot, with his two sons,, and a Luis and Sancio, sailed for Ireland and the unknown West in May, 1497, and, after a sea voyage quite as wonderful as that of Columbus, reached the coast of Cape Breton Island (or "the New Isle", as it was first named[6]June 24, 1497. They found "the) on land excellent, and the climate temperate". The sea was so full of fish along these coasts that the mariners opined (t ruly) that henceforth Bristol need not trouble about the Iceland trade. Here along this "new isle" were the predestined fisheries of Britain.[7]
They encountered no inhabitants, though they found numerous traces of their existence in the form of snares, notched trees, and bone netting needles. John Cabot hoisted the English flag of St. George and the Venetian standard of St. Mark; then—perhaps after coasting a little along Nova Scotia—fearful that a longer stay might cause them to run short of provisions, he turned the prow of the Mattheweastward, and reached Bristol once more about August 6, and London on August 10, 1497, with his report to K ing Henry VII, who rewarded him with a donation of £10. He was further granted a pension of £20 a year (which he only drew for two years, probably because he died after returning from a second voyage to the North-American coast), and he received a renewal of his p atent of discovery in February, 1498. In this patent it is evidently inferred that King Henry VII assumed a sovereignty over these distant regions because of John Cabot's hoisting of the English flag on "the new Isle" (Cape Breton Island) in the preceding year.
The new expedition of 1498 was a relatively important affair. The king assisted to finance the ventures of the Bristol captains, and five of his ships formed part of the little fleet. It is probable that John Cabot was in command, and almost certain that his y oung son Sebastian was a passenger, possibly an assistant pilot. The course followed lay much farther to the north, and brought the little sailing vessels amongst the icebergs, ice floes, polar bears, and stormy seas of Greenland and Labrador. Commercially the voyage was a failure, almost a disaster. The ships returned sing ly, and after a considerable interval of time. Nevertheless, some of the king's loans were repaid to him; and in 1501 a regular chartered company was formed (perhaps at Bristol), with three Bristolians and three Portuguese as directors. Henry VII not only gave a royal patent to this association, but lent more money to enable it to explore and colonize these new lands across the western sea.
There can be little doubt that between 1498 and 150 5 these Bristol ships, directed by Italian, English, and Portuguese pilots, first revealed to the civilized world of western Europe the coasts of Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, a n d Delaware. They must have got as far south as th e State of