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weather, a mat or a piece of deer-skin is the slave's only clothing, whether by day or night, whether under cover or in the open air. To eat without permission, in the very midst of an abundance which his toil has procured, is as much as his miserable life is worth ; and the only permission which is ever vouchsafed to him is, to pick up the offal thrown out by his unfeeling and imperious lord. Whether in open war or in secret assassination, this cold and hungry wretch invariably occupies the post of danger.'
' But all this is nothing when compared with the purely wanton atrocities to which these most helpless and pitiable children of the human race are subjected. They are beaten, lacerated, and maimed -the mutilating of fingers or toes, the splitting of noses, the scooping out of eyes, being ordinary occurrences. They are butchered, without the excuse or the excitement of a gladiatorial combat, to make holidays; and, as if to carry persecution beyond the point at which the wicked are said to cease from troubling, their corpses are often cast into the sea, to be washed out and in by the tide. To show how diabolically ingenious the masters are in the work of murder, six slaves, on the occasion of a late merrymaking at Sitka, were placed in a row, with their throats over a sharp ridge of rock, while a pole, loaded with a chuckling demon at either end, ground away at the backs of their necks till life was extinct. What a proof of the degrading influence of oppression, that men should submit in life to treatment from which the black bondmen of Cuba or Brazil would be glad to escape by suicide !—(Vol. i., p. 243.) The chiefs not unfrequently revenge themselves on each other by slaying the slaves when unguarded. The Sebassamen, a numerous tribe, are said to consist chiefly of runaway slaves, who are always received with open arms by their chief.
Fort Simpson, one of the Company's establishments, in latitude 54° 30' north, longitude 130° 30' west, situated on a peninsula, washed on three sides by Chatham Sound, and Port Essington and Works' Canal, are the resort of a great number of Indians; about 14,000 of various tribes, such as the Chunseans, from Naas River, the Sebassamen, from Banks' Island, those of Queen Charlotte's Island, and many
from the Russian territories. All these Indians are turbulent and fierce, and have frequent fights with each other, arising from gambling quarrels or neglect of points of etiquette. About 800 of the Chunseans have settled under the protection of the guns of the fort.
The Russian Indians until recently obtained with facility spirits from the Russian Company in exchange for skins, and the demoralizing effect was seen among them, and also in the tribes contiguous in the British territory.
The admiration of the Indians for the superior skill and ingenuity of the Europeans is one great cause of the awe with which the Hudson's Bay Company's forts and officers are viewed, and in some measure explains the security of a handful of men scattered in different forts or stockaded ports over a vast territory inhabited by thousands of warlike people, among whom they are continually travelling in small bands, laden with (to the Indians) precious treasures.
Sir George Simpson thus illustrates the effect produced by the Hudson's Bay Company's Steamer, Beaver, in which he navigated the intricate waters of the North-Western Archipelago, from the Straits of Fuca to Sitka. ' According to the whole tenour of my journal, this labyrinth of waters is peculiarly adapted for the powers of steam. In the case of a sailing vessel, our delays and dangers would have been tripled and quadrupled; a circumstance which raised my estimate of Vancouver's skill and perseverance at every step of my progress. But, independently of physical advantages, steam, as I have already mentioned, may be said to exert an almost superstitious influence over the savages; besides acting without intermission on their fears, it has, in a great measure, subdued their very love of robbery and violence. In a word, it has inspired the red man with a new opinion, new not in degree but in kind, of the superiority of his white brother.
After the arrival of the emigrants from Red River, their guide, a Cree of the name of Bras Croche, took a short trip in the Beaver. When asked what he thought of her, ‘Don't ask me,' was his reply; 'I cannot speak; my friends will say I tell lies when I let them
know what I have seen ; Indians are fools, and know nothing ; I can see that the iron machinery makes the ship to go, but I cannot see what makes the iron machinery itself to go.' Bras Croche, though very intelligent, and, like all the Crees, partially civilized, was, nevertheless, so full of doubt and wonder, that he would not leave the vessel till he got a certificate to the effect, that he had been on board of a ship which needed neither sails nor paddlers. Though not one of his countrymen would understand a word of what was written, yet the most sceptical among them would not dare to question the truth of a story which had a document in its favour. A savage stands nearly as much in awe of paper, pen, and ink, as of steam itself; and, if he once puts his cross to any writing, he has rarely been known to violate the engagement which such writing is supposed to embody or to sanction. To him the very look of black and white is a powerful ' medicine.”—(Vol. i., p. 242.)
Time, prudence, courage, moral power, and probity, have contributed to make the name of the Hudson's Bay Company respected and feared throughout these wide-spread regions; but in several instances life has been lost, and great dangers incurred in establishing the stations or forts. Three or four posts which had been established by the Company on the Bow River, or Southern branch of the Saskatchewan, which was frequented by hostile tribes, were abandoned; and, in 1822, the Company sent a flying expedition into the same country, at an expense of £.10,000, but were obliged to retire with considerable loss in the ensuing year. Fort Pett, after being established ten years, was compelled, on account of its being visited by Crees, Assiniboines, and Blackfeet, to keep, both day and night, the system of watch and ward, which the older forts had abandoned
The exceptions to the general character of the Indians are few, and when any are met with by the Company's servants, they are highly prized and respected.
TREATMENT OF THE INDIANS.--The exclusive rights possessed by the Company have prevented that destruction of the native population in Rupert's Land, which has taken place in every other part
of the American Continent, and in the adjacent islands. At the British Settlements of Australia, Van Diemen's Land, South Africa, &c., the aborigines are fast perishing, and in Van Diemen's Island are utterly exterminated. But, as Mr. Greenhow and other Americans truly state, the preservation of the Indian population, and the animals on which they subsist, is a matter of the most careful attention from a humane feeling, as well as from motives of mercantile consideration. If the fur-bearing or food-yielding animals be recklessly destroyed, either out of season, when bearing young, or indiscriminately without reference to sex or age, the Company in the long run would be the principal sufferers ;—so also, if the Indian population be kept in ignorance, barbarism, and crime, the expenses of repression, of protection against theft and violence,--and the losses consequent upon non-payment of advances, must fall upon the Company. It is therefore for their immediate and permanent advantage that the Indian population be reclaimed from savage life,—that they be preserved from the effects of extreme cold, and privation of food, by a due and well-regulated protection,—that they be induced by examples of good faith, of honourable treatment, and of kind consideration, to rely on the promises, and to respect the persons and property of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The conduct of the Hudson's Bay Company indeed presents a marked contrast to that which has taken place in the United States, and in our own territories of the Crown. In Newfoundland, as in other parts of America, it seems to have been for a length of time a meritorious act to kill an Indian.'-(Report of Aborigines' Parliamentary Committee in 1837).
Newfoundland was once very densely peopled by Indians, who even recently run up fences to the extent of 30 miles' for deer; but the aborigines have been utterly destroyed by the English settlers. The last of the tribes, a man and a woman, were shot by two Englishmen in 1823.
In Upper Canada, a converted Chippeway chief, addressing Lord Goderich, says, “We were once very numerous, and owned all Upper Canada, and lived by fishing and hunting; but the white men who
came to trade with us, taught our fathers to drink the fire waters, which has made our people poor and sick, and has killed many tribes, till we have become very small.' These once numerous people are now a degraded race, and reduced to a state resembling that of the Gypsies in England
In 1825 the Indians in New Brunswick were reduced to a few, and in a' wretched condition. The same occurred in Nova Scotia.
The Cree Indians, in the north-west territories, once a powerful tribe, have been reduced in 30 years from 10,000 to 200, and much degenerated. But, adds the Aborigines Report of 1837, ‘it should be observed that this tribe had access to posts not comprehended within the Hudson's Bay Company's prohibition as to the introduction of spirituous liquors, and they miserably show the effects of the privilege.' "The Copper Indians also, through ill management, intemperance, and vice, are said to have decreased within the last five years to one-half the number of what they were.' (Aborigines Report, House of Commons, 1837). In Guyana, New Holland, Kaffraria, New Zealand, &c., we see how the aborigines have been treated, and how they have sunk and degenerated.
The Company, despite of many obstacles, have endeavoured to follow out the excellent instructions of Charles II., addressed to the Council of Foreign Plantations in 1670, which were as follows : “Forasmuch as most of our said colonies do border upon the Indians, and peace is not to be expected without the due observance and preservation of justice to them, you are, in our name, to command all the Governors that they at no time give any just provocation to any of the said Indians that are at peace with us,' &c. That with respect to the Indians who desire to put themselves under our protection, that they ‘be received;' and that the Governors do by all ways seek firmly to oblige them; and that they do employ some persons to learn the languages of them; and that they do not only carefully protect and defend them from adversaries, but that they more especially take care that none of our own subjects, nor any of their servants, do any way harm them. That if any shall dare to offer any violence to them in their persons, goods, or