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Lords of the North   By: (1871-1936)

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Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand nine hundred, by WILLIAM BRIGGS, at the Department of Agriculture.



by A. C. LAUT]


Pioneers and their Descendants






The author desires to express thanks to pioneers and fur traders of the West for information, details and anecdotes bearing on the old life, which are herein embodied; and would also acknowledge the assistance of the history of the North West Company and manuscripts of the Bourgeois , compiled by Senator L. R. Masson; and the value of such early works as those of Dr. George Bryce, Gunn, Hargraves, Ross and others.


"The adventurous spirits, who haunted the forest and plain, grew fond of their wild life and affected a great contempt for civilization."

You boxed up, mewed up artificials, Pent in your piles of mortar and stone, Hugging your finely spun judicials, Adorning externals, externals alone, Vaunting in prideful ostentation Of the Juggernaut car, called Civilization What know ye of freedom and life and God?

Monkeys, that follow a showman's string, Know more of freedom and less of care, Cage birds, that flutter from perch to ring, Have less of worry and surer fare. Cursing the burdens, yourselves have bound, In a maze of wants, running round and round Are ye free men, or manniken slaves?

Costly patches, adorning your walls, Are all of earth's beauty ye care to know; But ye strut about in soul stifled halls To play moth life by a candle glow What soul has space for upward fling, What manhood room for shoulder swing, Coffined and cramped from the vasts of God?

The Spirit of Life, O atrophied soul, In trappings of ease is not confined; That touch from Infinite Will 'neath the Whole In Nature's temple, not man's, is shrined! From hovel shed come out and be strong! Be ye free! Be redeemed from the wrong, Of soul guilt, I charge you as sons of God!


I, Rufus Gillespie, trader and clerk for the North West Company, which ruled over an empire broader than Europe in the beginning of this century, and with Indian allies and its own riotous Bois Brul├ęs , carried war into the very heart of the vast territory claimed by its rivals, the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company, have briefly related a few stirring events of those boisterous days. Should the account here set down be questioned, I appeal for confirmation to that missionary among northern tribes, the famous priest, who is the son of the ill fated girl stolen by the wandering Iroquois. Lord Selkirk's narration of lawless conflict with the Nor' Westers and the verbal testimony of Red River settlers, who are still living, will also substantiate what I have stated; though allowance must be made for the violent partisan leaning of witnesses, and from that, I as a Nor' Wester do not claim to be free.

On the charges and counter charges of cruelty bandied between white men and red, I have nothing to say. Remembering how white soldiers from eastern cities took the skin of a native chief for a trophy of victory, and recalling the fiendish glee of Mandanes over a victim, I can only conclude that neither race may blamelessly point the finger of reproach at the other.

Any variations in detail from actual occurrences as seen by my own eyes are solely for the purpose of screening living descendants of those whose lives are here portrayed from prying curiosity; but, in truth, many experiences during the thrilling days of the fur companies were far too harrowing for recital. I would fain have tempered some of the incidents herein related to suit the sentiments of a milk and water age; but that could be done only at the cost of truth... Continue reading book >>

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