THE first quarter of this century witnessed the concluding chapter in the sad history of this poor child of Nature, the Beothuck. So far as can be learned or is ever likely to be known, this ill-treated race passed out of existence as mysteriously as they entered thereupon, at least within the first half of the century. Gone, no one knows whither. Gone,

" Like the cloud-rack of a tempest:

Like the withered leaves of Autumn."

To-day a few mouldering remains, hidden away under the sea-cliffs, in remote localities, some indistinct, almost obliterated circular hollows which mark the sites of their former habitations, and an occasional stone spear or arrow head are all that is left to attest that such a people ever had an existence.

Found here by the first European visitors in their primitive ignorance and barbarity, they remained in that condition to within the memory of some persons still living, then they disappeared for ever. Perhaps in the happy "Hunting Grounds" of the hereafter they are now enjoying that peace and rest denied them on earth. Who can say ?

To quote from an admirable article in the Maritime Monthly Magazine of June, 1875, by the late Rev. Moses Harvey, entitled "Memoirs of an Extinct Race,"

"The friendly relations which at first existed between the White and Red men in Newfoundland, did not long continue. The savage people speedily began to exhibit a tendency to annex the white man's goods, when an opportunity offered; such objects as knives, hatchets, nails, lines or sails presenting a temptation which to them was almost irresistible. Their petty thefts were regarded by their invaders as crimes of the darkest dye, quite sufficient to justify the unsparing use of the strong arm for their extermination. The rude fishermen, hunters and trappers of those days were a rough lawless order of men, little disposed to try conciliation or kindness on a tribe of savages whose presence in the country was felt to be an annoyance. That they treated the poor Beothucks with brutal cruelty admits of no doubt. In fact, for two hundred years they seem to have regarded the red men as vermin to be hunted down and destroyed. We can hardly doubt that such treatment provoked the red men to deeds of fierce retaliation, and that at length `war to the knife' became the rule between the two races. The savages, at first mild and tractable and disposed to maintain friendly relations, became at length the fierce and implacable foe of the white man; and sternly refused all overtures for peaceable intercourse, when at length such offers were made by a humane government. Deeds of wrong and cruelty were perpetrated by the invader, and followed by retaliation on the part /63/ of the savages. In such a conflict the weak must go to the wall. Bows, arrows and clubs could avail little against the fire-arms of the white man; and gradually their numbers were thinned; they were driven from the best hunting ground -- grounds where for centuries their forefathers had trapped the beaver and pursued the reindeer; war, disease and hunger thinned their ranks; and now not a single representative of the red race of Newfoundland is known to be in existence."

About this time a reward having been offered for the capture of a Red Indian alive, at length a fisherman contrived to seize a young female, who was paddling in her canoe to procure birds' eggs from an islet a short distance from the mainland. This woman was immediately conveyed to the capital, the fisherman received his reward, and the captive was treated with great humanity, kindness, and attention.

" The principal merchants and ladies of St John's vied with each other in cultivating her good graces, and presents poured in upon her from all quarters. She seemed to be tolerably contented with her situation, when surrounded by a company of female visitors; but became outrageous if any man approached, excepting the person who deprived her of her liberty: to him she was ever gentle and affectionate. Her body and hair were stained of a red colour; as it is supposed, by juice extracted from the alder tree: and from the custom of dyeing the skin and hair, the nation has acquired the appellation of Red Indians(1)."

The records of Government House contain the following reference to this woman, dated September 17th, 1803:

"William Cull having brought an Indian woman from Gander's Bay to this Harbour, I have for his trouble and loss of time, paid him the sum of fifty pounds. The said William Cull also promised to convey the woman back to the spot from whence she was brought and to use his endeavours to return her to her friends among the Indians, together with the few articles of clothing which have been given her."

She remained with Cull the following winter, and was not brought back till the next season. Chappell is authority for the following statement, that

"The villain who deprived this poor savage of her relations, her friends, and her liberty, conceived, and actually carried into execution the diabolical scheme of murdering her on her voyage back, in order to possess himself of the baubles which had been presented to her by the inhabitants of St John's."

I do not think this statement has any real foundation on fact, as will afterwards be made apparent from Cull's narrative.

Anspach(2) gives the fullest and clearest account of this woman as she appeared before a large party of ladies and gentlemen at an entertainment given at Government House, as follows:

"Another remarkable occurrence assisted likewise in giving employment to the public curiosity, and attention. It was the arrival of a female native Indian of Newfoundland, brought in by the master of a vessel, who had seized her by surprise in the neighborhood of the Bay of Exploits. She was of a copper colour, with black eyes, and hair much like the hair of an European. She showed a passionate fondness for children. Beiog introduced into a large assembly by Governor Gambier, /64/ never were astonishment or pleasure more strongly depicted in a human countenance than hers exhibited. After having walked through the room between the Governor and the General, whose gold ornaments and feathers seemed to attract her attention in a particular manner, she squatted on the floor holding fast a bundle, in which were her fur clothes, which she would not suffer to be taken away from her. She looked at the musicians as if she wished to be near them. A gentleman took her by the hand, pointing to them at the same time; she perfectly understood his meaning, went through the crowd, sat with them for a short time, and then expressed in her way a wish for retiring. She could not be prevailed upon to dance, although she seemed inclined to do so. She was every where treated with the greatest kindness, and appeared to be sensible of it. Being allowed to take in the shops whatever struck her fancy. She showed a decided preference for bright colours, accepted what was given her, but would not for a moment leave hold of her bundle, keenly resenting any attempt to take it from her. She was afterwards sent back to the spot from whence she had been taken, with several presents, and a handsome remuneration was given to the master of the vessel who had brought her with strict charge to take every possible care for her safety(3)."

Bonnycastle says of this female: "She was stained both body and hair, of a red colour, as it is supposed from the juice of the Alder, and was not very uneasy in her new situation when in the presence of her own sex only, but would not permit any men to approach her, except her enslaver, to whom (which speaks volumes for him) she was ever gentle and affectionate."

Letter from William Cull to the Governor.

(Dated) FOGO, Sept. 27, 1804.

Addressed to Mr. Trounsell,

Admiral's Secretary.


This is to inform you that I could get no men until the 28th day of August, when we proceeded with the Indian to the Bay of Exploits and went with her up the river as far as we possibly could, for want of more strength, and there let her remain ten days, and when I returned the rest of the Indians had carried her off in the country. I would not wish to have any more hand with the Indians unless you will send round and insure payment for a number of men to go in the country in the winter. The people do not hold with civilizing the Indians, as they think they will kill more than they did before.

(Signed) WM. CULL.

Proclamation by His Excellency John Holloway, Esq., Vice-Admiral of the

"Red," Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Island of Newfoundland etc.

It having been represented to me that various acts of violence and inhuman cruelties, have been, at different times, committed by some of the people employed as Furriers, or otherwise, upon the Indians, the original Inhabitants of this island, residing in the interior parts thereof, contrary to every principle of religion and /65/ humanity, and in direct violation of His Majesty's mild and beneficial Instructions to me respecting this poor defenceless tribe. I hereby issue this my Proclamation, warning all persons whatsoever, from being guilty of acts of cruelty, violence, outrage and robbery against them, and if any Person or Persons shall be found after this Proclamation, to act in violation of it, they will be punished to the utmost rigor of the law, the same as if it had been committed against myself, or any other of His Majesty's Subjects. And all those who may have any intercourse or bide with the said Indians, are hereby earnestly entreated to conduct themselves with peaceableness and mildness towards them, and use their utmost endeavours to live in kindness and friendship with them that they may be conciliated and induced to come among us as Brethren, when the public, as well as themselves, will be benefited by their being brought to a state of civilization, social order, and to a blessed knowledge of the Christian Religion. And I hereby offer a Reward of Fifty Pounds to such person or persons as shall be able to induce or persuade any of the male Tribe of Native Indians to attend them to the Town of St. John's, as also all expenses attending their journey or passage. The same Reward shall be paid to any person who shall give information of any murder committed upon the bodies of the aforesaid Indians and being proved upon the oath of one or more credible witnesses.

I therefore call upon all Magistrates and other Officers of Justice, to promote to the utmost of their power, the intention of this Proclamation, by apprehending and bringing to justice all persons offending against the same.

Given under my hand at Fort Townshend

St John's, Newfoundland, the 30th July, 1807,


By Command of His Excellency,

G. MacBean.

Mr. Bland's fourth letter.


22nd September, 1807.


Since my return hither I have learnt that an Indian Canoe had been taken on the North part of this Island and carried to St. John's and that enquiries had been made respecting the manner by which our Fishermen had become possessed of this Boat. From all I can learn of this transaction, as the Fishermen concerned in it belong to Bonavista, no other mischief happened than that of depriving the poor Indians of their Canoe.

Government has frequently expressed a wish that some means could be suggested of effecting a friendly intercourse between our People and the Native Indians of this Island, but nothing serious has hitherto been attempted towards so desirable an end.

Without reference to correspondence with former Governors on this subject I will take the liberty to propose to Your Excellency that a small and select military party be stationed in the Bay of Exploits with a guide during the winter season and should it afterwards be found necessary one of the King's schooners during the summer months when the Indians resort to the sea coast in order to provide food for the winter. It is during this period that they are often met by the Northern Fishermen and unhappily interrupted in their endeavours to make this provision. There can be little doubt under present management that one at least of the two modes proposed would be successful in securing some of these savages, and common sense would then suggest what was further necessary to conciliate their good will and improve the intercourse.

The good to result from a successful attempt at conciliation must be an end to a long course of hostilities between our Savages and the native Savages of this /66/ Island, in which many lives on both sides have been lost, and I am sorry to add, there is too much reason to believe that the mischief with respect to the latter has been more extensive than is generally known.

That the condition of these unfortunate Savages would be considerably ameliorated by an intercourse with us can admit of no doubt, for they are an ingenious people, as all they do plainly evinces.

It would be useless, Sir, to enter upon long descriptions of this question. Your Excellency I am sure, independently of the pleasure of doing good, must discover the general advantage of effecting the measure proposed.

I have the honour to be, with great respect,


Your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant,


His Excellency,

John Holloway, Esq., etc.

From Governor Holloway to John Bland, Esq,.

October 5th, 1807.

I am favoured with your letter respecting canoe which some Fishermen had inhumanely taken from the Native Indians of this Island, and as the offenders are discovered, Lieut. McKillop has direction to bring them to this place where they will be tried for the same, and dealt with according to law. I feel much with you a desire to make some attempt to conciliate the minds of those poor wretches, and I have made a proposition to H. M. Ministers on that subject, which I hope will be attended to next summer, when I shall be happy to receive from you any further advice as to the best means of attaining an intercourse with these people.

Governor Holloway's letter to Viscourt Castlereagh(4).


20th May, 1808.

My Lord,

I have the honour to lay before Your Lordship, a copy of a Proclamation issued by me last year at Newfoundland respecting the Native Indians upon that Island. His Majesty's Instructions to the Governors have at all times directed that particular attention should be paid to these ignorant people, by endeavouring to bring them to a state of Civilization and friendly intercourse; and although every attempt to obtain this desirable end has hitherto failed on account of the cruelties that have heretofore been committed upon them I feel it imperiously my Duty to persevere in this humane attempt and therefore submit the following ideas which have occurred to me, for your Lordship's consideration, viz.: --

To have Paintings representing the Indians and Europeans in a Group, each in the usual Dress of their Country, the Indians bringing Furs, etc. to traffic with the Europeans, who should be offering Blankets, Hatchets, etc. in exchange. These pictures to be taken (by an Officer Commanding one of the Schooners) to the place usually resorted to by the Indians, and left with a small quantity of European goods and Trinkets, and when taken away by the Indians to be replaced by another supply.

A Guide (who is well acquainted with the Country) also to be employed, the expense of whom would probably amount to Thirty Pounds, and the Blankets, /67/ Hatchets, etc. to fifty Pounds more. Should this conciliatory overture fail the first year I think it might be advisable to repeat it a second; because these poor wretches have been so long ill treated that it may perhaps take some time to wean their minds from the strong impression of mistrust which they have imbibed from suffering repeated cruelties.

I suspect that the parties hitherto employed on this Service have purloined the Articles intended to have been given to the Indians and have claimed remuneration for pretended endeavours of effecting a social intercourse and friendship, which they have never attempted; or certainly so great an Inveteracy and Warfare could not have continued for so many years, as we have had possession of that Island, without effecting the least step towards a good understanding between us and them?

Waiting Your Lordship's opinions and Determination on this subject.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient, humble servant,


The Right Honourable,

Viscount Castlereagh, etc.

20th May, 1808. A similar letter to the preceding, which is addressed to Lord Castlereagh, was sent the same day to Sir T. Cottrell, to be laid before the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations, with a copy of the Proclamation respecting the Indians of Newfoundland.

The Governor's suggestion as to the picture was carried out, and it appears from the Colonial Records that he received it at Portsmouth before leaving for Newfoundland.

June 13th, 1808. Governor Holloway writes to Mr. Faukener (Sec. of the Board of Trade) from Portsmouth. "Picture from Mr. Reeves not yet arrived." And on June 14th /08 "Picture arrived." (Col. Records.)

Governor Holloway's reference to this expedition.

June 8th, 1808. Sundries purchased for the use of the Native Indians of Newfoundland:

40 prs. Blankets @ 10/ 20 0 0

20 " " @ 11/ 11 0 0

24 yds. crimson coating 7/6 9 0 0

36 " " baize 1/9 3 3 3

30 Red baize shirts 7/ 10 10 0

6 doz. glass bead necklaces 3/ 18 0

4 " " " " 4/ 16 0

18 Tin Pots 1/6 1 7 0

24 Helved Hatchets 1/9 2 2 0

12 " " 2/9 1 13 0

12 Pottery 2/ 1 4 0

1 cwt. 7 in. nails 2 10 0


64 3 0

Unexpected 35 17 0

- ------------

100 0 0


Nov. 19th, 1808. The Governor writes: "I am concerned at being disappointed in my endeavours to open an amicable intercourse with the Native Indians of Newfoundland, and to show their Lordships what steps I have taken for this desirable purpose, I beg leave to annex a copy of my orders to Lieut. Spratt, together with a list of the articles thought necessary for this service, but the Native Indians have not been seen on the sea coast this year. The same Officer is now under my orders to proceed again to Bay of Exploits as early as the ice permits with the painting and the articles he carried this year, all of which were brought back and are now deposited in the Court House at St. John's. The Micmac Indians who frequent the Island of Newfoundland from Cape Breton or Nova Scotia are at enmity with this unfortunate race of Natives, but I have taken steps to forbid their coming at all, being only plunderers and destroyers of the Beaver and other animals to the extinction of the species by taking them at improper times."

To Admiral Holloway from M. Faukener, Dec. 2nd, 1808. I lament that the united efforts of our friend Reeves and Miss Cuoran could not tame and catch a single Indian.

"In 1809 Lieut. Spratt was again ordered by Governor Holloway to proceed in an armed schooner to the Bay of Exploits and neighbouring parts, in order to attempt a communication with the native savages of the Island. He carried with him several articles which were intended as presents for them, and a large painting(5), which represented an officer of the Royal Navy in full dress shaking hands with an Indian chief, and pointing to a party of seamen behind him who were laying some bales of goods at the feet of the chief. Behind the latter were some male and female Indians presenting furs to the officers. Further to the left were seen an European and an Indian mother looking with delight at their respective children of the same size, who were embracing one another. In the opposite corner a British tar was courting, in his way, an Indian beauty.

"The importance of this attempt, and promise of promotion were sufficient inducements to Mr. Spratt to use every possible exertion in order to bring the enterprise to a successful issue. He was however disappointed. Notwithstanding his zeal and activity, he could not meet with any of the tribe; and after having remained the appointed time on that station, he returned to St. John's." (Anspach.)

The picture referred to above was Governor Holloway's idea which he communicated to Lord Castlereagh, when he was appointed Governor. It was painted in England, and sent down in a coach to Portsmouth to the Governor, who brought it out with him. Lieut. Spratt carried it back to St. John's, where it was lodged in the Court House(6).

Before leaving the country in 1809, Governor Holloway employed William Cull and several other men to make a winter journey into the /69/ interior of the country in quest of the Red Indians. These men, though they did not fall in with any of them, yet came across some interesting evidences of their existing in some numbers in this island, also of their

means of support and their modes of life. (Pedley(7).)

In 1810 Sir Thomas Duckworth, Governor, reissued the Proclamation of Commodore Duff. (Anspach.) Bonnycastle says "he published a new Proclamation for the protection of the Red Indians, and in the year following also another, offering a reward of one hundred pounds to any person who should bring about a friendly understanding with them."

Substance of the Narrative of Wm. Cull of Fogo.

On January 1st, 1810, Wm. Cull, John Cull, Joseph Meww, John Waddy, Wm. Waddy, Thomas Lewis, James Foster, and two of the Micmac Indians, set out upon the River Exploits, then frozen over, in quest of the residence of the native Indians, in the interior of the country. On the fourth day, having travelled about sixty miles, they discovered a building on the bank of the river, about forty or fifty feet long and nearly as wide. It was constructed of wood, and covered with rinds of trees and skins of deer. In this building they found in quantity about l00 deer, some part of which from its extreme fatness must have been obtained early in the fall. The fat venison was in junks entirely divested of bone, and stowed in boxes made of birch and spruce rinds, each box containing about 2 cwt. The tongues and hearts of the deer were stowed in the middle of each package. The lean venison, or that more recently killed, was in quarters and stowed in bulk, some part of it, with the skin on. In this store they saw three lids of tin tea kettles, which Cull believes to be the same given by Governor Gambier to the old Indian woman, taken in the second year of his Government. They also found several martin, beaver and deer skins, some of which were dressed after the manner of our furriers. On the opposite bank of the river stood a second store house considerably larger than the former, but they did not examine it, the ice being broken and the passage across being attended with some risk. They believe the width of the Exploits in this place to be nearly two hundred yards. In exchange for three small beaver-skins and nine martins, they left one pair of swan-skin trousers, one pair of yarn stockings, three cotton handkerchiefs, three clasped knives, two hatchets, some small bits of printed cotton, needles, pins, thread and twine. They saw two of the natives on their way to this store-house, but unfortunately they discovered the party and retired. The two store-houses above mentioned are opposite each other, and from the margin of the river on each side there extended for some miles into the country a high fence for the purpose of leading the deer to the river, as these animals travelled south or north. Along the margin of the river in the neighbourhood of these store-houses were erected extensive fences on each side, in order to prevent the deer, when they had taken the water, from landing. It appears that as soon as a company of deer, few or many, enter the river in order to /70/ pass south or north, the Indians, who are upon the watch launch their canoes, and the parallel fences preventing the relanding of the deer, they fall an easy prey to their pursuers, and the buildings above mentioned are depots for their reception. From these store-houses the Indians occasionally draw their supplies in the winter.

Cull and his companions conjecture that the residence of the Indians could not be very remote from these magazines, but want of bread and some difference of opinion among the party prevented them from exploring further.

Governor Sir John Thomas Duckworth, K.C.B., visited the Labrador in the summer of this year 1810, and issued a Proclamation to the native inhabitants thereof, warning them to live on terms of friendship with the Indians of Newfoundland.


WHEREAS, it is the gracious pleasure of His Majesty the king, my master that all kindness should be shown to you in his island of Newfoundland, and that all persons of all nations at friendship with him should be considered in this respect as his own subjects, and equally claiming his protection while they are within his dominions, as your brothers, always ready to do you service, to redress your grievances, and to relieve you in your distress. In the same light also are you to consider the native Indians of this island: they too are equally with ourselves under the protection of our King and therefore equally entitled to our friendship. You are entreated to behave to them on all occasions as you would do to ourselves. You know that we are your friends, and as they too are our friends, we beg you to be at peace with each other; and withall, you are hereby warned that the safety of these Indians is so precious to His Majesty, who is always the support of the feeble; that if one of ourselves, were to do them wrong he would be punished as certainly and as severely as if the injury had been done to the greatest among his own people; and he who dares to murder any one of them would be surely punished with death. Your own safety is in the same manner provided for. See therefore that you do no injury to them. If an Englishman were known to murder the poorest and the meanest of your Indians, his death would be the punishment of his crime. Do you not, therefore, deprive any one of our friends the native Indians of his life, or it will be answered with the life of him who has been guilty of the murder.(8)


At the same time Governor Duckworth offered a reward of £100 to any one who should zealously and meritoriously exert himself to bring about and establish on a firm and settled footing an intercourse with the natives. He further promised to such person that he should be honourably mentioned to his Majesty, and should find from the Governor such countenance and further encouragement as might be in His Excellency's power to give. (Pedley.)

This same year 1810 an armed schooner, the Adonis, was sent in command of Lieut. Buchan to renew the attempt to open up communication with the Indians. The schooner proceeded with a considerable /71/ quantity of such articles as were supposed to be acceptable to them. Buchan remained in the Bay of Exploits during the months of August and September, without seeing anything of the Indians. (Anspach.)

Buchan decided to winter here, and proceed up the river on the ice in search of them. His vessel was anchored in Ship Cove (now Botwood) and made secure for the winter by heavy chains passed around the trunks of stout trees on shore. Some of these stumps were to be seen when first I visited the Exploits River now some thirty-four years ago. They were studded all around with brass nails to prevent the chains from chafing through.

NOTE. Anspach believes the Bay and River Exploits was probably so called, "from successful rencounters with the native Indians who frequented this locality so much." He also says that Fogo Island was much frequented by them, in search of birds and eggs, especially the Penguin Rocks near it, where the great Auk formerly bred in such numbers.

In the name of His Majesty, King George the Third.


WHEREAS the Native Indians of this Island have by the ill treatment they have received from mischievous and wicked Persons been driven from all communication with His Majesty's subjects and forced to take refuge in the woods and have continually resisted all efforts that have since been made to invite them to a friendly intercourse, and Whereas it is His Majesty's gracious pleasure that every exertion should still be used to accomplish an end so desirable, for the sake of humanity. All persons are hereby enjoined and required on meeting with any of these Indians or of those who may resort to Newfoundland to treat them with kindness so as to conciliate their affections, and induce them to come among us and live in friendship with us, And as a reward to any Person who shall zealously and meritoriously exert himself as to bring about and establish on a firm and settled footing an intercourse so much to be desired he shall for the great service which he will thereby have rendered to His Majesty and to the cause of humanity receive the sum of One Hundred Pounds and shall moreover be honourably mentioned to His Majesty and shall find such countenance from the Governor and such further encouragement as it may be in his power to give. Or if the exertions of any person shall so far only succeed as to afford the probable means of effecting this object and as inducing a single Indian to communicate with us, through whom something more might be accomplished, or if any one shall discover their place of resort so as that an attempt may be made to treat with them, such person shall receive such lesser reward as the Governor shall deem adequate, and his services shall be acknowledged as they may deserve. And all Officers and Magistrates are commanded and enjoined to maintain and support good order and behaviour towards the said Indians, and in case any Person or Persons shall murder or commit any outrage upon them to use their utmost endeavours to apprehend such offenders and bring them to justice.

Given at Fort Townshend, St. John's, Newfoundland, this first day of August, 1810.


By Command of His Excellency,

R. C. Sconce.


Narrative of Lieut. Buchan's Journey up the Exploits River In search

of the Red Indians, in the winter of 18l0-1811.

Saturday, January 12th, 1811. -- On the eve of this date my arrangements were closed, and every necessary preparation made to advance into the interior, for the purpose of endeavouring to accomplish the grand object of your orders, relative to the Native Indians of this Island. For this service I employed William Cull and Mathew Hughster as guides, attended by twenty three men and a boy of the crew of his Majesty's schooner, and Thomas Taylor, a man in Mr. Miller's employ, and well acquainted with this part of the country.

The provisions, arms and other requisite articles, together with presents for the Indians, were packed on twelve sledges, and consisted of as follows: -- bread 850 lbs., sugar 100 lbs., cocoa 34 lbs., pork 660 lbs., salt fish 30 lbs., spirits 60 gals., equal to 480 lbs., rice 30 lbs., tea 6 lbs., tare of casks and packages 500 lbs., ships muskets, seven; fowling pieces, three; pistols, six; cut lasses, six; with cartouch boxes and ammunition equal to 270 lbs.; ten axes, and culinary utensils, forty pounds. Presents for the Indians; blankets, 30, woollen wrappers nine; flannel shirts eighteen; hatchets twenty six; tin pots, ten; with beads, thread, knives, needles, and other trifles, equal to 180 lbs. The sledges with their lashings and drag ropes are estimated at 240 lbs. One lower studding sail and painted canvas covers for the sledges, 120 lbs., spare snow shoes, Buskins, vamps, cuffs and 28 knapsacks, eighty pounds; making independent of a small quantity of baggage allowed to each individual, 3,620 pounds.

Jan. 13th. -- Wind NW., blowing strong; at 7 A.M. commenced our march; in crossing the arm from the schooner to Little Peter's Point which is two miles, we found it extremely cold, and the snow drifting, and the sledges heavy to haul from the sloppiness of the ice, but having rounded the Point we became sheltered from the wind until reaching Wigwam Point, which is two miles further up on the north side; here the river turns to the northward; a mile farther on is Mr. Miller's upper salmon station; the winter crew have their house on the south shore. 3 P.M., having reached the remains of a house occupied by Wm. Cull last winter we put up for the night, our distance made good being but eight miles in as many hours travelling. The night proved so intensely cold, with light snow at times, that none of our party could refresh themselves with sleep.

Jan. 14th. -- Wind NW., with sharp piercing weather. Renewed our journey with dawn, not sorry to leave a place in which we had passed so intolerable a night. Having proceeded on two miles, we came to the Nutt Islands, four in number, situated in the middle of that river, a mile above these is the first rattle or small waterfall, as far as the eye could discern up the river, nothing but ridgy ice appeared, its aspect almost precluded the possibility of conveying the sledges along; but determined to surmount all practicable difficulties, I proceeded on with the guides to choose among the hollows those most favorable. 3 P.M. put /73/ up on the north side, and fenced round the fireplace for shelter. This day's laborious journey I computed to be seven miles; the crew, from excessive fatigue, and the night somewhat milder than last, enjoyed some sleep. Left a cask with bread, pork, cocoa and sugar for two days, to be used on our return.

Jan. 15th. -- Blowing fresh from WNW. to NNW. with snow at times; the river winding from W. to NW. At 3 P.M. stopped on the north bank for the night, one mile above the Rattling Brook, which empties itself into this river. On the south side, on the western bank of its entrance, we discovered a canoe which I observed to be one that belonged to the Canadians who had resided at Wigwam Point. This day's journey exhibited the same difficulties as yesterday, having frequently to advance a party to cut and level, in some degree, the ridges of ice to admit the sledges to pass from one gulf to another, and to fill up the hollows to prevent them from being precipitated so violently as to be dashed to pieces; but notwithstanding the utmost care, the lashings, from the constant friction, frequently gave way; and in the evening, most of the sledges had to undergo some repair and fresh packing. Fenced the fire-place in; at supper the people appeared in good spirits; the weather milder; fatigue produced a tolerable night's rest. The day's distance is estimated to be seven miles.

Jan. 16th. -- Strong breezes from NNW. with sharp frost. Began our journey with the day. Several of the sledges gave way, which delayed us a considerable time. At 11 A.M. discovered two old wigwams on the north bank of the river; although they did not appear to have been lately inhabited, yet there were some indications of the natives having been here this fall. 2 P.M. Having reached the lower extremity of the great waterfall, we put up on the north side. While the party were preparing a fire and fence, I proceeded on, with Cull and Taylor, in search of an Indian path, through which they convey their canoes into the river above the overfall. Taylor, not having been here for many years, had lost all recollection where to find it; after a tedious search we fortunately fell in with it; there were evident signs of their having passed this way lately, but not apparently in any great number. Evening advancing, we retraced our steps, and reached our fire place with the close of day. The night proved more mild than any hitherto, and our rest proportionably better. Here I left bread, pork, cocoa and sugar for two days, and four gallons of rum.

Jan. 17th. -- South-westerly winds, with sleet, and raw cold weather. Began this day's route by conducting the sledges in a winding direction amongst high rocks, forming the lower extremity of the waterfall; having proceeded half a mile, we had to unload and parbuckle the casks over a perpendicular neck of land, which projecting into the rapid prevented the ice attaching to its edge, having reloaded on the opposite side, and turned the margin of coves for a third of a mile, we arrived at the foot of a steep bank, where commenced the Indian path; here it was also necessary to unload. Leaving the party to convey the things up the bank, I went on with Cull and Taylor, to discover the further end of the path; having come to a marsh, it was with difficulty we again traced it; at length we /74/ reached the river above the overfall, its whole extent being one mile and a quarter; having gone on two miles beyond this, we returned. At noon, the wind having veered to the SE. it came on to rain heavily; sent a division on to the further end of the path to prepare a fire &c. 3 P.M. All the light baggage and arms being conveyed to the fire-place, the sledges were left for the night halfway in the path, so that after eight hours fatigue, we had got little farther than one mile and a half. It continued to rain hard until 9 P.M. when the wind shifted round to the westward, and cleared up, the crew dried their clothes, and retired to rest.

Jan. 18th. -- Wind WNW. and cold weather. Leaving the party to bring on the sledges to the Indian Dock, and to repack them, I and the guides having advanced a mile, it was found requisite to cut a path of a hundred yards to pass over a point which the sledges could not round for want of sufficient ice being attached to it.

10 A.M. We now rounded a bay leaving several islands on our left; the travelling pretty good, except in some places where the ice was very narrow, and water oozing over the surface; most of us got wet feet. 2.30 P.M. Put up in a cave on the north shore as we should have been unable to reach before dark another place where good fire-wood was to be found; here the river forms a bay on either side, leaving between them a space of nearly one mile and a half, in which stood several islands, from the overfall up to these, the river in its centre was open. Having given directions for a fire-place to be fenced in, and the sledges requiring to be repaired, Cull and myself went on two miles to Rushy Pond Marsh, where he had been last winter, two wigwams were removed which he stated to have been there. The trees leading from the river to the marsh were marked, and in some places a fence-work thrown up; the bushes in a particular line of direction through a long extent of marsh had wisps of birch bark suspended to them by salmon twine(10), so placed as to direct the deer down to the river; we killed two partridges and returned to the party by an inland route; we reckon the distance from Indian Dock to this resting-place to be six miles.

Jan. 19th. -- Westerly wind and moderate, but very cold. Most of this day's travelling smooth, with dead snow, the sledges consequently hauled heavy, having winded for two miles amongst rough ice to gain a green wood on the south shore, that on the north being entirely burnt down, we put up at 4 P.M. A little way on the bank of a brook, where we deposited a cask with bread, pork, cocoa and sugar for two days consumption. In all this day's route the river was entirely frozen over; we passed several islands; saw a fox and killed a partridge, estimated distance ten miles; rested tolerably during night.

Sunday Jan. 20th. -- Wind WNW. and cold. Renewed our journey with the first appearance of day; at first setting out the sledges, in passing over a mile of sharp pointed ice, broke two of them repairing and packing delayed some time. At noon the sun shone forth, the weather warm, and a fine clear sky.

/75/ 4 P.M. -- Halted on an island situated two miles above Badger Bay Brook, which falls into this; on the north side; it appears wide, with an island in its entrance, and the remains of a wigwam on it. From this brook upwards, as also on the opposite side of the river, are fences of several miles, and one likewise extended in a westerly direction, through the island on which we halted, and is calculated to be twelve miles from the last sleeping place, and twenty miles from the Indian Dock: Hodge's Hills bearing from this ESE.

Jan. 21st, -- Wind westerly, with bleak weather. At dawn proceeded on. At noon several difficulties presented themselves in crossing a tract of shelvy ice, intersected with deep and wide rents, occasioned by a waterfall: the sledges were, however, got over them, as also some steps on the north bank. Having ascended the waterfall, found the river open and faced with ice sufficient on the edge of its banks to admit the sledges. At 4.30 P.M. put up for the night, and fenced in the fire-place. This day's distance is estimated at eleven miles, allowing seven from the island on which we slept last night up to the overfall, and from thence four miles to this.

From the waterfall upwards, on either side of the river where the natural bank would have been insufficient, fences were thrown up to prevent the deer from landing, after taking to the water, by gaps left open for that purpose. Repacked the sledges, two of them being unfit to go on farther, deposited a cask with bread, pork, cocoa and sugar, for two days. The party slept well.

Jan. 22nd. -- SW. winds with mild hazy weather. Having advanced two miles, on the south side, stood a store-house: Wm. Cull stated that no such building was there last winter; it appeared newly erected and its form circular, and covered round with deer skins, and some carcases left a little way from it; two poles were stuck in the ice close to the water, as if canoes had lately been there. Four miles from this, passed an Island, and rounded a bay, two miles beyond its western extremity, on a projecting rock, were placed several stag's horns. Wm. Cull now informed me that it was at this place he had examined the store-houses (mentioned in his narrative), but now no vestige of them appeared: there was, however, ample room cleared of wood for such a building as described to have stood, and at a few hundred yards off was the frame of a wigwam still standing; close to this was a deerskin hanging to a tree, and further on a trope with the name of "Rousell"; the Rousells live in Sops Arm and in New Bay. On the south bank, a little lower down, also stood the remains of a wigwam, close to which Cull pointed out the other store to have been; a quarter of a mile below on the same side, a river, considerable in appearance, emptied itself into this; directly against its entrance stands an Island well wooded. We continued on four miles, and then the party stopped for the night. Cull accompanied me two miles farther and we returned at Sunset. During this day's journey, at intervals, we could discern a track which bore the appearance of a man's foot going upwards. One of the sledges fell into the water, but it fortunately happened to be a shoal part, nothing was lost. Our distance made good today we allow to be twelve miles, and the river open from the last overfall with scarcely /76/ enough of ice attached to the bank to admit the sledges to pass on, and there are banks and fences in such places as the natives find necessary to obstruct the landing of the deer, some of these extending two or three miles, others striking inland. Divided the party into three watches, those on guard, under arms during the night.

Jan. 23rd. -- Wind westerly, wild cold weather. At daylight renewed our journey: the river now shoaled and ran rapidly; I wished to have forded it, conceiving that the Indians inhabited the other side; but found it impracticable. At 10 A.M., having advanced six miles, and seeing the impossibility of proceeding farther with the sledges, I divided the party, leaving one half to take care of the stores, whilst the other accompanied me, and taking with us four days' provisions, we renewed our route, the river now winded more northerly. Having proceeded on about four miles we observed on the south side a path in the snow where a canoe had evidently been hauled across to get above a rattle, this being the only sure indication that we had discovered of their having passed upwards from the store on the south side. The river narrowed, ran irregular, and diminished in depth very considerably. Having passed several small rivers on this side, we came abreast of an island, opposite to which, on the south side, was a path in the snow, from the water, ascending a bank where the trees were very recently cut, clearly evincing the residence of the natives to be at no great distance; but it being impossible to ford the river at this place, we continued on, but had not gone more than a mile, when turning a point, an expansive view opened out, and we saw before us an immense lake extending nearly in a NE. and SW. direction, its surface a smooth sheet of ice. We saw tracks but could not be certain whether of deer or men. We had lost for some miles the trace seen yesterday. On approaching the pond or lake we discovered on its NW. side two bodies in motion, but were uncertain if men or quadrupeds, it being nearly three o'clock. I drew the party suddenly into the wood to prevent discovery, and directed them to prepare a place for the night, I went on to reconnoitre. Having skirted along the woods for nearly two miles, we posted ourselves in a position to observe their motions; one gained ground considerably on the other: we continued in doubt of their being men until just before loosing sight of them in the twilight, it was discernible that the hindermost dragged a sledge. Nothing more could be done until morning; as it would have been impossible to have found their track in the dark; observing, on our return, a shovel in a bank of snow, we found that venison had been dug out, we however, found a fine heart and liver; this made a good supper for the party, whom we did not rejoin till dark. One third of the party were successively under arms during the night which proved excessively cold and restless to all.

Jan. 24th. -- Wind NE. and intensely cold. Having refreshed ourselves with breakfast and a dram to each at 4 A.M. commenced our march along the east shore with the utmost silence; beyond the point from whence I had the last view of the two natives, we fell in with a quantity of venison, in carcases and quarters, close to which was a path into the wood. Conjecturing that the Indians' habitations were here, we advanced in, but found /77/ it to be an old one; the party complained much of the cold, and occasionally sheltered themselves under the lee of the points. It at length became necessary to cross the pond in order to gain the track of their sledge; this exposed us entirely to the bitterness of the morning; all complained of excessive cold. With the first glimpse of morn, we reached the wished-for track, this led us along the western shore to the NE., up to a point, on which stood an old wigwam; then struck athwart for the shore we had left. As the day opened it was requisite to push forth with celerity to prevent being seen, and to surprise the natives whilst asleep. Canoes were soon descried, and shortly wigwams two close to each other, and the third a hundred yards from the former. Having examined the arms, and charged my men to be prompt in executing such orders as might be given at the same time strictly charging them to avoid every impropriety, and to be especially guarded in their behaviour towards women. The bank was now ascended with great alacrity and silence, the party being formed into three divisions, the wigwams were at once secured. On calling to the people within, and receiving no answer, the skins which covered the entrance were then removed, and we beheld groups of men, women and children lying in the utmost consternation; they remained absolutely for some minutes without motion or utterance. My first object was now to remove their fears, and inspire confidence in us, which was soon accomplished by our shaking hands, and showing every friendly disposition. The woman embraced me for my attentions to their children; from the utmost state of alarm they soon became curious, and examined our dress with great attention and surprise. They kindled a fire and presented us with venison steaks, and fat run into a solid cake, which they used with lean meat. Everything promised the utmost cordiality; knives, handkerchiefs, and other little articles were presented to them, and in return they offered us skins, I had to regret our utter ignorance of their language and the presents at a distance of at least twelve miles, occasioned me much embarrassment; I used every endeavour to make them understand my great desire that some of them should accompany us, to the place where our baggage was, and assist bringing up such things as we wore, which at last they seemed perfectly to comprehend. Three hours and a half having been employed in conciliatory endeavours, and every appearance of the greatest amity subsisting between us; and considering a longer tarry useless, without the means of convincing them farther of our friendship, giving them to understand that we were going, and indicating our intention to return, four of them signified that they would accompany us. James Butler, corporal, and Thomas Bouthland, private of marines, observing this, requested to be left behind in order to repair their snow shoes; and such was the confidence placed by my people in the natives that most of the party wished to be the individuals to remain among them, I was induced to comply with the first request from a motive of showing the natives a mutual confidence, and cautioning them to observe the utmost regularity of conduct, at 10 A.M., having myself again shook hands with all the natives, and expressed, in the best way I could, my intentions to be with them in the morning, we set out. They expressed satisfaction by /78/ signs on seeing that two of us were going to remain with them, and we left them accompanied by four of them. On reaching the river head, two of the Indians struck into our last night's fire place. One of these I considered to be their chief; finding nothing there for him, he directed two of them to continue on with us, these went with cheerfulness, though at times they seemed to mistrust us. Parts of the river having no ice it was difficult to get along the banks occasioning at times a considerable distance between me and the hindermost Indian. Being under the necessity of going single, in turning a point one of the Indians having loitered behind, took the opportunity, and set off with great speed calling out to his comrade to follow. Previous precautions prevented his being fired at. This incident was truly unfortunate as we were nearly in sight of our fire place. It is not improbable but he might have seen the smoke, and this caused his flight, or actuated by his own fears as no action of my people could have given rise to his conduct. He had however, evidently some suspicions, as he had frequently come and looked eagerly in my face, as if to read my intentions. I had been most scrupulous in avoiding every action and gesture that might cause the least distrust. In order to try the disposition of the remaining Indian he was made to understand that he was at liberty to go if he chose, but he showed no wish of this kind. At 3 P.M. we joined the rest of our party, when the Indian started at seeing so many more men; but this was of momentary duration, for he soon became pleased with all he saw; I made him a few presents and showed the articles which were to be taken up for his countrymen consisting of blankets, woollen wrappers, and shirts, beads, hatchets, knives and tin pots, thread, needles and fish hooks, with which he appeared much satisfied, and regaled himself with tea and broiled venison, for we brought down two haunches with us in the evening. A pair of trousers and vamps, being made out of a blanket, and a flannel shirt being presented to him he put them on with sensible pleasure, carefully avoiding any indecency; being under no restraint, he occasionally went out, and he expressed a strong desire for canvass, pointing to a studding sail which covered us in on one side. He laid by me during the night, still my mind was somewhat disturbed for it occurred to me that the natives on the return of their comrade who deserted us, might be induced from his misrepresentation dictated by fear to quit the wigwams, and observe our motions, but I was willing to suppress any fear for the safety of our men, judging that they would not commit any violence, until they should see if we returned and brought their companion; I was moreover satisfied that the conduct of our men would be such as not to give occasion to any animosity, and in the event of their being removed they would see the impossibility of safety in any attempt to escape.

Friday the 25th of Jan. -- Wind NNE. and boisterous with sleet. At 7 A.M. set out leaving only eight of the party behind. On coming up to the river head, we observed the tracks of three men crossing the pond in a direction for the other side of the river. The violence of the wind with the sleet and drift snow rendered it laborious to get on, and so thick was it at times that all the party could not be discerned, although at no great /79/ distance from each other. When within half a mile of the wigwams, the Indian, who walked sometimes on before, at others by my side, pointed out an arrow sticking in the ice; we also perceived a recent track of a sledge. At 2 P.M. we arrived at the wigwams, when my apprehensions were unfortunately verified; they were left in confusion, nothing of consequence remaining in them but some deer skins. We found a quantity of venison packs conveyed a little way off, and deposited in the snow; a path extended into the wood, but to no distance. Perceiving no mark of violence to have been committed, I hoped that my former conjectures would be realized, and that all would yet be well. The actions of the Indian however, were indicative of extreme perplexity and are not describable. Having directed the fire to be removed from the wigwam we were now in to one more commodious; one of the people taking up a brand for that purpose, he appeared terrified to the last degree, and used his utmost endeavour to prevent its being carried out. He either apprehended that we were going to destroy the wigwams and canoes, (of which latter there were six) or that a fire was going to be kindled for his destruction. For sometime he anxiously peeped through the crevices to see what was doing, for he was not at liberty. Perplexed how to act, and evening drawing on, anxiety for the two marines, determined me to let the Indian go, trusting that his appearance and recital of our behaviour would not only be the means of our mens' liberation, but also that the natives would return, with a favourable impression. After giving him several things, I showed a wish that his party should return, and by signs intimated not to hurt our people. He smiled significantly, but he would not leave us. He put the wigwam in order, and several times looked to the west side of the pond and pointed. Each wigwam had a quantity of deers' leg bones ranged on poles (in all three hundred). Having used the marrow of some of these opposite that we occupied, the Indian replaced them with an equal number of others signifying that these were his; he pointed out a staff and showed that it belonged to the person that wore the high cap, the same that I had taken to be the chief; the length of this badge was nearly six feet, and two inches at the head, tapering to the end, terminating in not more than three quarters of an inch; it presented four plain equal sides, except at the upper end, where it resembled three rims one over the other, and the whole stained red(11). The day having closed in, it blew very hard, with hail, sleet and rain. It became necessary to prepare against any attack that might be made upon us. The following disposition was made for the night, the wigwam being of a circular form, and the party formed into two divisions, they were placed intermediately, and a space left on each side of the entrance so that those on guard could have a full command of it; the doorway was closed up with a skin, and orders given for no one to go out. The rustling of the trees, and the snow falling from them would bave made it easy for an enemy to advance close to us without being heard. I had made an exchange with the Indian for his bow and arrows, /80/ and at 11 o'clock laid down to rest; but had not been asleep more than ten minutes, when I was aroused by a dreadful scream, and exclamation of "O Lord" uttered by Mathew Hughster. Starting at the instant in his sleep, the Indian gave a horrid yell, and a musket was instantly discharged. I could not at this moment but admire the promptness of the watch, with their arms presented, and swords drawn. This incident, which had like to prove fatal, was occasioned by John Guieme, a foreigner going out. He had mentioned it to the watch. In coming in again, the skin covering of the doorway made a rustling noise. Thomas Taylor, roused by the shriek, fired direct for the entrance, and had not Hughster providentially fallen against him at the moment, which moved the piece from the intended direction Guieme must inevitably have lost his life. The rest of the night was spent in making covers of deer skin for the locks of the arms.

Saturday 26th Jan. -- Wind ENE., blowing strong, with sleet and freezing weather. As soon as it was light the crew were put in motion, and placing an equal number of blankets, shirts and tin pots in each of the wigwams, I gave the Indian to understand that those articles were for the individuals who resided in them. Some more presents were given to him, also some articles attached to the red staff, all of which he seemed to comprehend. At 7 A.M. we left the place intending to return the Monday following. Seeing that the Indian came on, I signified my wish for him to go back; he however continued with us, sometimes running on a little before in a zigzag direction, keeping his eyes to the ice as having a trace to guide him, and once pointed to the westward, and laughed. Being now about two-thirds of a mile from the wigwams, he edged in suddenly, and for an instant halted; then took to speed. We at this moment observed that he had stopped to look at a body lying on the ice, he was still within half a musket-shot, but as his destruction could answer no end, so it would have been equally vain to attempt pursuit; we soon lost sight of him in the haze. On coming up we recognised with horror the bodies of our two unfortunate companions lying about a hundred yards apart; that of the corporal being first, was pierced by one arrow in the back; three arrows had entered that of Bouthland. They were laid out straight with their feet towards the river, and backs upwards; their heads were off, and carried away, and no vestige of garments left. Several broken arrow lying about and a quantity of bread, which must have been emptied out of their knapsacks; very little blood was visible. This melancholy event naturally much affected all the party; but these feelings soon gave way to sensations of revenge. Although I had no doubt as to the possibility of finding out the route they had taken, yet prudence called on me to adopt another line of conduct. As I could have no doubt that our movement had been watched, which the cross track, observed in coming up, evinced, my mind consequently became alarmed for the safety of those left with the sledges, and hence made it of the utmost moment to join them without loss of time. Prior to entering the river the people were refreshed with some rum and bread, and formed into a line of march, those having fire arms being in the front and rear, those with cutlasses remaining in the /81/ centre, and all charged to keep as close together as the intricacies would permit. On opening the first point of the river head, one of the men said he observed an Indian look round the second point, and fall back; on coming up, we perceived that two men had certainly been there, and retreated; we afterwards saw them at times at a good distance before us; the tracks showed that they had shoes on; this caused considerable perplexity; the guides (and indeed all the party) were of opinion that the Indians had seen the sledges, and that those two were returning down the river to draw us into a trammel; for they supposed a body of them to be conveniently posted to take advantage of us in some difficult pass. These conjectures were probable. They strongly urged my taking to the woods as being more safe; although this was certainly true, it would have been attended with great loss of time, for from the depth and softness of the snow, we could not possibly perform it under two days; and as the immediate joining my people was paramount to every other consideration -- for our conjectures might be erroneous -- and I was in this instance fain to suspect that curiosity had predominated over the obligations of duty, and that want of consideration had led our men up to view the pond, I therefore continued on by the river side. On seeing excrement recently evacuated it was found on examination to contain particles of bread, this relieved the mind for the Indians do not use this diet. At noon we arrived at the fireplace, and found all well after having spent four hours in unutterable anxiety for their fate. The two men that had acted so imprudently were easily discovered by the sweat that rolled down their faces; being made acquainted with the uneasiness they had occasioned, contrition for their misconduct was manifest. Whilst the party dined on pork, bread and rum, I pondered on the late events, and what in the present juncture was best to be done; my thoughts often wandered to the pond, but after half an hour's reflection, the following considerations fixed me in the resolution of proceeding down the river: -- 1st, it appeared to me next to a certainty that a numerous body of natives resided in the environs and outlets of the pond; taking this for granted, the hazard would have been greater than prudence would justify, for, after their perpetration, was it not to be supposed they would anticipate our conduct according to their diabolical system? I could not therefore entertain any hope of securing their persons without bloodshed, which would frustrate all future expectation of their reconciliation and civilization, the grand object in view. It will not be considered improper to remark that the very nature of the service intrusted to my care required the test of faith, and the danger increased by the sincere wish of rendering acts of friendship on our part whilst a malignant inveteracy subsists in the hearts and actuates the natives to deeds most horrid. 2nd, the state of the weather promising a rapid thaw, which would render our retreat down the river mpracticable; this, with the local situation of this part of the Exploits, were cogent reasons to follow the plan of descending the river. The thawing of the ice and snow, and waters from the interior causing the ice already to founder from the banks, so as to render it impossible to conduct the sledges, the knapsacks were filled with as much provisions as /82/ they could contain, and, taking with us rum for three days, we commenced our return, obliged to leave everything else behind. On reaching the point on which the old store has been stated to have stood, we observed on the island situated on this part of the river (as described on Jan. 22nd) nearly at its western end, the frame of an extensive store, apparently erected last summer, and not yet covered in; this island being well wooded, had obstructed our seeing it in passing upwards, and so surrounded with trees as to prevent our having a full view of it; this is a strong corroboration of Cull's statement. We continued our journey until dark, when we reached the fireplace occupied on the 21st; thus having performed four days' route, making in distance thirty-two miles, between this and where we left the sledges; the ice had become so much weakened as to give way several times, leaving some of the party for a short period on detached pieces from that bound to the banks.

Jan. 27th. -- Wind ESE. with small rain. At daylight renewed our journey, taking with us the provisions that had been left here. Having descended the upper waterfall, we found the river open in many places, that we had passed over in coming up, and the water flooded considerably over the ice, indeed we were under apprehension of the river breaking up, as the drift ice under us made a great noise. We reached our fireplace of the 19th and halted for the night, having performed two days' journey, a distance of twenty-three miles. Here we had deposited two days' provisions in a cask well headed, and placed fifty yards in from the west bank of the brook (the fire-place being on the east) and covered over with bushes and snow, insomuch as to consider it perfectly secure from any beast. I was therefore much surprised to find the bushes removed, the head taken out, seven pieces of pork missing, and some of the bread lying by the cask. The rapid thaw obliterated any track that might have formed our judgment as to its having been done by men or beast. I am inclined to attribute it to the former. One of the pieces of pork was found about two hundred yards from the spot. Some of the party complained of swollen legs.

Jan. 28th. -- Light winds from the SE., with rain during the night. The legs of several more of the party began to swell. The thaw still continued very rapid, with prospect of an immediate change. This circumstance, and the great probability of the river's bursting, from the likelihood of the drift ice becoming pent amongst the shoals, determined me, notwithstanding our fatigue and pain, to push forward, and if possible, to reach our fireplace of the 16th immediately below the great overfall, as the depth of the river below this would make it less subject to break up, and should it become necessary to undertake the laborious and slow travelling in the woods, our distance would become considerably diminished. By dark my wish was accomplished, after a most harassing and uncomfortable march of eighteen miles, the greater part of this distance being nearly knee deep in water, in all the days route we found the river opened in the middle.

All those with swollen legs had the parts effected rubbed with rum and pork fat.

Jan. 29th. -- Fresh winds from the SE. with rain. At dawn renewed /83/ our journey, the river still continuing to flood and open. On coming to the Rattling Brook, in addition to the canoe mentioned on the 15th we now found another. I knew them both to have belonged to the Canadians before spoken of, and as these were all they had, I supposed them to have travelled by land to St George's Bay. Halted at our fireplace of the 14th and refreshed ourselves; and took with us the provisions that had been left, and at 4 p.m. reached Cull's old house, where we had spent so intolerable a night on the 13th. Although my people were much fatigued and several of them with their legs much swollen and inflamed, yet they all solicited to proceed to the schooner, thinking they might get to her in a few hours. They were too sanguine, for I was sensible that many of them were in a state unable to perform what they so eagerly asked. I had also strong objections to approach the schooner by night, so we put up, having travelled this day twenty-two miles. It froze a little during the night.

Jan. 30th. -- Wind E. with fresh gales and rain; at 7 a.m. proceeded for the schooner, all hearts elated. We found it extremely tiresome; the waters that had flooded over the ice being partially frozen, but insuffficient to bear our weight, made it painful to all, but particularly to those with inflamed ankles; indeed, from the wet state our feet had been in for the last four days, no one escaped being galled. Abreast of Wigwam Point the river was considerably opened. At noon we arrived on board and found all well.

March 4th. -- The people having recovered from the effects of the former excursion, and sledges and casks being made for the reception of stores necessary for a second journey, the day was employed in packing and making the requisite preparations for our departure.

March 5th. -- Wind W. At 7 a.m. I left the schooner with a party of thirty men, having with us provisions and every necessary for twenty-two days. The day proved pleasant and mild, and hauling good, the ice being much levelled by the late thaws; halted for the night on the north side of the river, one mile above the second fireplace of the former journey.

March 6th. -- Wind W. with falls of snow. At 4 p.m. having reached our former fireplace at the end of the Indian path by the great waterfall we put up for the night and repacked our sledges. I went with a small party to view the waterfall, which circumstances prevented me from doing before. The sight repaid the trouble of getting to it. The scene was truly interesting; the upper part was formed by a number of cascades, and at last joining their united streams, rolled down one stupendous height of at least eighty feet perpendicular(12). The sound of this waterfall was at times plainly heard on board the schooner when lying in Peter's Arm, from which ascended a vapour that darkened the atmosphere for a considerable extent. The cavity below exhibited a number of small islands originally formed by the torrent.

March 7th. -- Wind S. with constant snow. At l0 a m., having come up to the islands opposite Rushy Pond Marsh, we found a wigwam on one of them where the natives had lived last summer. At 1 p.m. put up on the north side, about three miles above our fireplace of January 18th and /84/ distant from the Indian Dock nine miles. Very heavy fall of snow. Killed five partridges.

March 8th. -- Strong NE. gales, with constant snow and drift; no possibility of hauling. One of the party received so violent a contusion on the shoulder as to render his arm useless, by a tree falling on him. The snow this day fell ten inches.

March 9th. -- Wind W., blowing hard, with severe weather, rendering it unsafe to proceed.

March 10th. -- Strong gales, with constant snow, and very sharp weather, which continued throughout the day, with considerable drift.

March 11th. -- Wind W. with clear sharp weather. At 7 a.m. recommenced our journey. This morning four of our party were frost-burned. The hauling proved heavy, from the late snow and drift. At 2 p.m. put up on the north side, two miles below the Badger Bay Brook, and fourteen miles from our last night's sleeping place.

March 12th. -- Cloudy weather; wind W. At 8 o'clock passed Badger Bay Brook. At noon Hodges Hill bore ENE. two leagues. At 2:30 p.m. put up on the north side, about half a mile below the waterfall (which we had passed on January 21st)(13), and sixteen miles from our last resting place.

March 13th. -- Strong gales from ENE., and constant snow and sleet. At 7 a.m. crossed over and ascended the waterfall on the south side; hauled the sledges through some Indian paths; found several places in the skirts of the woods that had been recently dug up, where something must have been concealed, for the vacuums were lined with birch rind. At l0 a.m. we came up to the storehouse mentioned on Jan. 22nd; the poles that were then seen in the ice still remained, but their position altered. This store was circular, and covered in with deer skins; it was not so large as their wigwams. It was evident that the natives had been there since our passing down in the former journey; they had taken all the prime venison away, and had left nothing but a few inferior haunches, and a number of paunches, which were frozen firmly together; but many of these had, notwithstanding, been removed for the purpose of digging up the ground, where it formed a place somewhat longer than necessary for containing arrows; it is probable that it held arrows, darts, and other implements used by them in killing deer. I was surprised to find that the skins covering in that part of the store fronting the river and the inland side, were perforated with many arrows; this circumstance led me to conclude that they had come down in their canoes, and that some of them had taken a station on the bank, and had shot their arrows at the store, to ascertain whether we might not be concealed in it. Seeing that they had acted with such cautious suspicion, and considering it as betraying an inclination for resistance, made me abandon any further pursuit. Leaving red shirts in the storehouse, as an exchange for such venison as we could take, I returned to our last night's fireplace, not feeling myself warranted to run any further risk. It continued to snow, hail, and sleet the whole of this day.

March 14th. -- Wind W. At 9.30 a.m. set out on our return down the river, the hauling very heavy from the sleet and snow that had fallen /85/ yesterday. At 2:30 p.m. halted for the night, having travelled nine miles. Found John Weatherall deranged in mind.

March 15th. -- Wind SW. At daylight renewed our march: halted two miles below Badger Brook, at our fireplace of the 11th instant. Found it necessary to have a guard over John Weatherall.

March 16th. -- Wind N. with pleasant weather and good hauling. At 2 o'clock halted at the sleeping place of the 9th instant, three miles from Rushy Pond Marsh.

March 17th. -- Moderate with snow. At 11 o'clock reached the upper part of the great waterfall; hauled the sledges to the further end of the path, and put up at the sleeping-place of the 6th instant, called Indian Dock.

March 18th. -- Wind from the westward, with clear frosty weather. At noon heavy hauling; at dark reached Upper Sandy Point, and put up for the night at Millar's upper salmon station; the distance from the waterfall to this is reckoned twenty miles.

March 19th. -- Fresh breezes and clear frosty weather. At 9 o'clock set out, and at 11 arrived on board the schooner and found all well.

Concluding Remarks by Lieut. Buchan.

It will not be expected that I can give much information respecting the Indians of Newfoundland. Of a people so little known or rather not known at all, any account, however imperfect, must be interesting. It appears then that they are permanent inhabitants, and not occasional visitors.

The wigwams of the Newfoundland Indians are of a circular and octagonal structure. The first of these is simply a few poles supported by a fork and common to the various tribes in North America, but this kind is used by the natives of this island as a summer residence whilst employed on the ponds and rivers in procuring food for winter. Considerable pains were employed on these I found them in, and which were of the octagonal structure, the diameter of the base being nearly 22 feet, and enclosed with studs of four feet above the surface. On these was affixed a wall plate from which were projected poles forming a conic roof and terminating in the top in a small circle sufficient for emitting the smoke and admitting light, this and the entrance being the only apertures. A right line being drawn to equal distances from each of the angular points, was fitted neatly with a kind of lattice work forming the points of so many recesses which were filled with neatly dressed deer skins. The fire was placed in the centre of the area around which was formed their place of repose, everyone lying with their feet towards the centre and their heads up to the lattice work somewhat elevated. The whole was covered in with birch bark, and banked on the outside with earth, as high as the studding, making these abodes with little fuel warm even in the inclemency of winter. The whole was finished in a manner far superior to what might have been expected.

According to the report of William Cull, the storehouses seen by him were built with a ridge pole, and had gable ends. The frame of the store seen on the island I conceive to have been of that description as it certainly had a ridge pole.

Their canoes were finished with neatness, the hoops and gunnel formed /86/ of birch, and covered over with that bark cut into sheets, and neatly sewn together and lackered over with the gum of the spruce tree. Their household vessels were all made of birch or spruce bark. It did not appear that these were applied to any purpose of cookery. I apprehend that they do not boil any part of their diet,(14) but broil or roast the whole; there were two iron boilers which must have been plundered from our settlers. To what purpose they may apply these is uncertain, but they set a value on these, as on leaving their wigwams they had conveyed them out of our sight. They were well supplied with axes, upon which a high value is set; these they keep bright and sharp, as also the blades of their arrows, of which we found upwards of a hundred new ones in a case.

Report has famed these Indians as being of gigantic stature, this however is not the case as far as regards the tribe we saw, and must have originated from the bulkiness of their dress and partly from misrepresentation. They are well formed, and appear extremely healthy and athletic, and of the medium structure, probably from five feet eight to five feet nine inches and with one exception black hair. Their features are more prominent than any of the Indian tribes that I have seen, and from what could be discovered through a lacker of oil and red ochre (or red earth) with which they besmear themselves, I was led to conclude them fairer than the generality of Indian complexions. Conceive my astonishment at beholding a female bearing all the appearance of an European, with light sandy hair, and features strongly similar to the French, apparently about 22 years of age, with an infant which she carried in her cossack, her demeanour differing materially from the others. Instead of that sudden change from surprise and dismay to acts of familiarity, she never uttered a word, nor did she recover from the terror our sudden and unexpected visit had thrown them into. Their dress consisted of a loose cossack, without sleeves, but puckered at the collar to prevent it falling off the shoulders, and made so long that when fastened up around the haunches it became triple, forming a good security against accident happening to the abdomen. This is fringed round with cutting of the same substance. They also had leggings, moccasins, and cuffs, the whole made of the deer skin, and worn with the hair side next to the body, the outside lackered with oil and red ochre, admirably adapted to repel the severity of the weather. The only discernible difference between the dress of the sexes, was the addition of a hood attached to the back of the cossack of the female for the reception of their children. Their males, in having occasion to raise their bows, have to disengage the right shoulder and kneel down on their right knee. The bow is kept perpendicular, and the lower extremity supported against the left foot. Their arrows display some ingenuity, for the blade, which is of iron, is so proportioned to the shaft that, when missing their object, if in water it does not sink; but the blade preponderates and the feathers which direct its flight now becomes a buoy, and they take them up at pleasure. The blade of the arrow is shouldered, but not barbed.

The snow shoes, or rackets as they are called by some, differed from all others that I have seen. The circular part of the bow, which was cross-barred /87/ with skin thong, was in breadth about 15 inches, and lengthwise near three feet and a half, with a tail of a foot long. This was to counterbalance the weight of the front before the forecross beam. So far their make is like ours, with the difference of length, which must be troublesome in the woods, but if my conjectures are right, they travel but little in the woods when the snow is on the ground. Now this being placed on the ground and the foot on it, forms a curve from the surface, both ends being elevated. Their reason for this is obvious for the twofold purpose of preventing any quantity of snow from resting before the foot, and the other which shows a thought of effects tends to accelerate their motions, for it will appear that there will be a gaining on each pace equal to the distance between a straight line drawn from the centre of the foot to the front extremity, and the section of the curve contained between these two points. This together with the ease this form makes in walking must be considerable.

Fearful of raising suspicion prevented my ascertaining their exact number, but I shall be within bounds by observing that there could not be less than thirty-five grown persons. Of this number probably two-thirds were women, or it is likely that some of the men were absent. There could not be less than thirty children, and most of them not exceeding six years of age, and never were finer infants seen.

It has been conceived that want of sufficient quantity of nutritious food has prevented them from increasing, and the only thing connected with this idea is that they are not seen on the coast in such numbers as formerly. All else must be mere speculative reasoning, but it will be granted that my excursion has opened up a field from which to draw a fair conclusion. It will be readily admitted that a country intersected throughout with rivers and ponds and abounding with wood and marshy ground is well adapted for uncivilized life, and calculated for the vast herds of deer that annually visit it. This is proved by the incredible quantity of venison they had packed up, and there yet remained on the margin of the pond a vast number of carcases which must have been killed as the frost set in, many being frozen in the ice. The packs were nearly three feet in length, and in breadth and depth fifteen inches, closely packed with fat venison cleared of the bone, and in weight from 150 to 200 lbs., the cases were neatly made of bark.

The ponds abound with trout, and flocks of wild geese visit them in the months of May and October, and their vigorous appearance points out, that /88/ their exercise to procure food is only conducive to health. They are free from the pestilential attendants that await civil society also by war and disease brought on by intemperance. They can be subject to but few casualties and these only from the hazard of their canoes overturning passing down the rapids, which experience must in a great degree obviate.

To those entertaining an opinion of their numbers being few because of their not being seen so much as formerly, it may be proper to observe that formerly the disgraceful idea was conceived by many of our countrymen resorting to, and settling on the island, that their destruction attached merit to their persecutors and thus were they banished from their native haunts and looked upon as little better than beasts of the forest. Probably in those days they knew but little of the interior, and their chief dependence for food was on fish and sea fowl, for I cannot think that they were provided with the necessary implements for killing deer in sufficient numbers for their subsistence.

As our establishments and population advanced to the northward of Cape Freels, so were they obliged to retreat from the coast, but thus necessitated, the cause was rooted in their minds and the injuries they wantonly received were handed down from one generation to another. Providence bountifully supplied all creation according to their necessities, the evil that forced the natives to retreat brought with it the means whereby they led a more independent life, for as the fisheries increased and settlers became more numerous so were they enabled to procure iron and other articles by plunder, and from wrecks. We now find them with the requisites for their present situation, and the country shows that they have progressively fallen back and are now occupying the most central position from whence they can emerge without difficulty, in canoes, by rivers and a succession of ponds to either side of the island. Although it is still imagined that they from necessity, all come to the sea coast in the summer, as their canoes were seen last summer in various places between Cape John and Cape Freels, and at the same period. This only tends to satisfy me more strongly in the opinion that their population is considerably more than is generally admitted, for circumstances determine that the greater number remains in the ponds and rivers for the purpose of procuring venison for the winter, and that those who come out are but a small division compared to the whole, or that they are small parties sent from the distant bodies for the purpose of collecting what may be of use to them, and particularly for building canoes, as they have not, for the want of birch in the interior, the means.(15)

I have already stated the party that I came up with to be about 75 in number but surely it would be absurd to suppose that the whole of their tribe resided there. I will venture my ideas on the subject satisfied of their knowledge and respect for individual property and the great number of deer skins which were neatly dressed being so much more than equal to their own consumption. This would naturally lead us to conjecture that the overplus of skins was intended for barter for instance to exchange /89/ for canoes, iron and other articles brought in by those who came out to the seacoast. This is by no means unlikely, and coincides with the supposition that they live in independent companies, but having one principal chief. My leading reason for this conjecture is that those who come out do not return in time to lay in winter provisions; various inferences might be drawn on the subject. To venture even a guess of their total numbers would be hazarding too much. I am however inwardly convinced that their numbers are considerable and from what has been said may in some degree be drawn data from which those conversant in the rise and progress of population may form a reasonable conclusion.

Opinions are various as to their origin, some conceiving them to be from the continent of America, others, that they are of Norwegian extraction, nor can the veil of obscurity be removed until a free communication is opened with them. I had persons with me that could speak Norwegian and most of the dialects known in the North of Europe, but they could in no wise understand them. To me their tongue was a complete jargon uttered with much rapidity, and vehemence, and differing from all other Indian tribes that I had heard, whose language, generally flows in soft melodious sounds.

How far a continuation of leaving things for them might in time bring them to a friendly intercourse with us is not at present my object to enquire. I cannot however but express my strong desire that the business may be followed up until an opportunity occurs by which we may convince them of our good intentions towards them, and though I sensibly know and feel the effects of a winter journey to their abodes, and that it is attended with extreme labour, difficulty and risk, yet if other means fail, this with all its dangers I would again cheerfully undertake, but as far as respects the mere obtaining some of them, and which appears to me the first consideration, from the months of April to September is a likely time to fall in with them when out among the islands, extending from the river Exploits to the Wadhams, and from the river Exploits to Cape John, but to pursue this with success it is necessary to employ several boats. (Here follows a description of the country timber, &c.)

Had it not been for the disastrous fate of the two marines I should have esteemed my journey fortunate beyond all expectations. But however much I lament this circumstance, it by no means diminishes my hopes that every effort will be made to bring the natives into civil society, for it should be considered as a national object and ultimate success would wipe away a certain degree of stigma brought on us by the former barbarity of our countrymen. My opinion of the natives is not the worse for the fatal circumstance that has occurred, for I do not think the deed to have been premeditated. It is nevertheless impossible for me to assign a reason so to be freed from all doubt of the real cause of this unfortunate accident, but I may be permitted to suggest my ideas arising from reflection on the subject. Let it be observed that I had left the two unfortunate men without small arms, that the natives might have no cause for distrust, and without liquor lest it might lead them into improprieties. They were steady and well behaved, and my cautious injunctions for the guidance of /90/ their conduct, I flatter myself were not disregarded. Thus far I am satisfied that no offence was given to the natives. I therefore attribute to the flight of the Indian that was accompanying us to our sledges, the source from which sprung the misfortune. What could induce him but his own apprehensions it is impossible to say, but not so with his conduct afterwards, for it is reasonable to suppose that on joining his companions he told a tale of wonder but such as not to call his courage in question, for we know the actions of fear are narrated as those of boldness. I shall now turn the imagination to the wigwams; behold the natives thrown all into commotion and expressing themselves in vehement gesticulations and hasty preparations making for their departure. Our men view these motions with astonishment and are perplexed as to the reason; various ideas rush on the mind, they fancy me to have been attacked by another body of them, and in the skirmish suppose the Indian to have escaped. Their span of life is drawing to a crisis, the natives are now setting out, and of course taking them along with them. Courage heightened into madness by their critical situation, they determine to attempt an escape. Alas! fatal error, had cool reason been their guide, she would have pointed out the impossibility, for the appearance of fear is certain death from an Indian, that in looking for security we often rush into inevitable destruction, and thus we reason when secure from danger. This may be said to be the fancy of imagination but this is surely a foundation for her to work upon. Many other circumstances might have produced the same result, for instance, another tribe might have arrived at the wigwams and not having themselves seen, would not trust the recital of our friendly interview; be this as it may, on the first conjecture I rest as next to a certainty. I trust that in this dilemma my subsequent movements will be approved of, for any further attempt at that time, to a subsequent interview would in all probability have produced direful consequences, for their unenlightened minds would look to us for nothing but retaliation, the line adopted by me may tend to remove such an impression from their minds. To have urged them by pursuit to acts of defence would not only be highly unjustifiable in my own sight, but would have been acting diametrically opposite to the orders and object I was entrusted to execute."

Surveyor General Noad is authority for the statement, that Buchan made another expedition this same season (1811) and was to have undertaken still another the next spring, Noad says,

"Capt. Buchan, on his return to St. John's, after his ill fated expedition, sought and obtained permission from the Governor to return again in the summer, in the hope of meeting with the natives who came, at that seasaon, to the seacoast to fish, but he was disappointed in not meeting with them. He merely succeeded in finding some recent traces of them. He still solicited and obtained leave to winter in St. John's and go in quest of them early the ensuing spring. This request was also acceded to."

We have no other record of either of these latter expeditions, and with the exception of Governor Keats' proclamation of 1813, there does not appear to have been any effort made for at least five years to renew the attempt at opening communication with the natives, yet many complaints /91/ of their continued depradations were made from time to time, by the settlers on the northern parts of the island.

My own impression is that Buchan made a great mistake in taking along with him so many of the furriers, those inveterate enemies of the poor Red man, whose very presence was alone sufficient to cause their distrust. I believe were he to have taken instead some of those Canadians, whom he mentions, Micmac's, Abanakie's, or Mountaineers but especially the latter, they would have probably succeeded in making themselves understood by the natives, and thus his interview, which at first promised so well, might have resulted very differently, if indeed it were not crowned with complete success.

Proclamation issued by Governor Keats 1813.

In the name of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, acting in the name and on behalf of His Majesty King George III.


WHEREAS, It is His Royal Highness the Prince Regent's gracious will and pleasure that every kindness should be shown and encouragement given to the native Indians of this island, to enter into habits of intercourse and trade with His Majesty's subjects, resident or frequenting this Government. -- ALL PERSONS are therefore enjoined and required, to aid by all such means as may be in their power, the furtherance of this His Royal Highness's Pleasure. Such as may hereafter meet with any of the said Indians inhabitants are especially called upon by a kind and amicable demeanour to invite and encourage communication, and otherwise to cultivate and improve a friendly and familiar intercourse with this interesting people. -- If any person shall succeed in establishing on a firm and settled footing an intercourse so much to be desired, he shall receive One hundred pounds as a reward for his meritorious services. But if any of His Majesty's subjects, contrary to the expression of these, His Royal Highness's commands, shall so far forget themselves, and be so lost to the sacred duties of Religion and Hospitality, as to exercise any cruelty, or be guilty of any illtreatment towards this inoffensive people, they may expect to be punished with the utmost rigour of the Law.

Given under my hand at Fort Townshend

Saint John's Newfoundland, this 10th

day of August 1813, In the fifty third

year of His Majesty's Reign.

(signed) R. G. Keats Governor.

By Command of His Excellency

"countersigned" P. C. Le Geyt.

Capture of Mary March (Demasduit) on Red Indian Lake, in the month of

March 1819.

Various versions of this event have appeared from time to time in our histories and other publications, but as numerous discrepancies characterize these accounts, I prefer to give the story as I had it from the lips of the late John Peyton, J.P. of Twillingate, himself the actual captor of the Beothuck woman.(16)

/92/ The circumstance which lead to the capture of Mary March is related thus by Mr. Peyton. While prosecuting the salmon fishery and fur trade in the bay and river of Exploits, he was much tormented by the depradations of the Indians, who came, usually in the night time, and pilfered everything they could lay hands upon. The articles stolen were not often of great value, and consisted generally of such things as knives, axes, traps, hooks, lines, rope, canvass &c. Annoying as this undoubtedly was Mr. Peyton bore with it for a long time, and without using any retaliative measures. At length the Indians became so emboldened as to commit a theft and act of destruction of more than ordinary character, which he could not overlook. Mr. P. was living at the time at Lower Sandy Point, in the Bay of Exploits, his house and stores stood upon the sloping bank of the river and a long wharf, built on piers, extended from the shore out to the deep water. On this occasion, his large open boat, loaded with the seasons produce, lay at the head of the wharf, ready to proceed down the bay to market. It was one of those old style of boats, open amidship, with a cuddy at the forward and after ends, somewhat on the lines of the ancient caraval. Besides the cargo of salmon and furs, Mr. P. had stowed away in the cuddies his clothes, bedding, and several articles of value, including two silver watches, and some coins which were in his vest pockets, and there were also two guns and ammunition, culinary and other utensils aboard for use on the voyage.

Everything being in readiness, he and his crew were awaiting daylight and the turn of the tide to proceed on their journey. The night was very dark, and knowing that the Indians were about, a strict watch was kept, but seeing no prospect of a favourable time up till past midnight, he directed his men to lie down and take a rest while he himself would remain on guard. He took frequent turns up and down the wharf, and at one time said he thought he descried a dark object lying on the beach not far off which he was about to investigate, when one of his men assured him it was a splitting table that had been left there during the day, so he did not pay further heed to it. As the night drew on and everything appeared quiet, he concluded nothing would be disturbed during the few remaining hours before dawn, so feeling somewhat tired himself, he took one more thorough survey and then retired to the house to rest awhile. He threw himself down on a couch without removing his clothing, but he was so restless and uneasy that he could not sleep. An hour or so may have elapsed, when he jumped up and again visited the wharf. To his great mortification he found the boat with all its effects gone, and in the inky darkness could find no clue to the direction taken by the marauders.

He now called all his crew, and as soon as daylight made its appearance, started in pursuit. After many hours search they at length found the boat hauled up in a small creek at the mouth of Charles' Brook, away down on the other side of the bay. She was completely rifled, everything /93/ of a portable nature, including the cordage and sails being carried off. The guns alone, battered and broken, and otherwise rendered perfectly useless, were found in the bed of the brook not far away. To follow up the trail just then would be very difficult and most probably futile. Mr. Peyton accordingly proceeded to St. John's and laid the whole matter before the authorities whom, he said, were very reluctant to believe his story. The Governor, Sir Charles Hamilton, however, gave full credence to it, and empowered Mr. Peyton to search for his stolen property, and if possible try and capture one of the Indians alive.

Armed with this authority he chose the following winter, 1819, to make the attempt. At that season of the year the travelling on the frozen surface of the river would be easiest, and the Indians who would then have retired to their winter quarters in the interior would be least suspicious of being disturbed. He chose the month of March to make the journey, this month always being considered the best for winter travelling, owing to the settled character of the snow and hardness of the surface. With half a dozen of his hardy furriers he set out to traverse the Exploits River, but instead of following its entire course to Red Indian Lake, as Buchan had done, he turned off to the right some distance below, rightly conjecturing that by so doing he would strike the lake near the head of the N.E. Arm, where he expected the Indians would be encamped. His party reached the shore of the lake one afternoon late, but in time to observe the smoke of three wigwams on the north side, nearly opposite to where Buchan had found them encamped. Although the night proved intensely cold Peyton would not allow his men to kindle a fire lest the Indians should detect their presence. They sheltered themselves as best they could in a deep gully near the mouth of a small brook, and at the first appearance of daylight were on the move towards the wigwams, where they arrived before the occupants had yet awakened. They then surrounded them, but the Indians being aroused, darted forth and fled in all directions, some through the woods, others out on the frozen surface of the lake, before any of them could be secured. Being, as he said, a young active man at that time, Peyton determined to try and outrun some of them. Divesting himself of superfluous clothing, he gave chase to the nearest one on the lake, who seemed to lag somewhat behind the rest, and soon found that he gained considerably on this individual. After a while the Indian began to show evident signs of exhaustion, and finally stopped and made supplication for mercy. She, for it proved to be a woman, tore open her deer-skin cossack exposing her bosoms in an appeal to his manhood. In order to reassure her and allay her fears, he cast his gun aside into a bank of soft snow and then leisurely approached her with signs of amity, he laid hold of her and endeavoured to lead her back. He was now considerably in advance of his party who were following on behind, and as he tried to drag the woman with him some of the Indians turned and approached him. One powerful looking fellow came up furiously brandishing a bright new axe with which he would certainly have killed Mr. Peyton had not his men just then arrived on the scene and prevented it. The Indians then moved off and the party, taking the woman along with them /94/ returned to the wigwams which with their contents they thoroughly overhauled. One of the three wigwams was covered with the stolen boat sails, the other two as usual with birch bark. Inside were found many of the pilfered articles belonging to Mr. Peyton, besides several others similarly appropriated from other parties. They consisted of kettles, knives, axes, fish hooks and fishing lines &c. Some of the axes were quite new, and Mr. P. afterwards learned that they had been stolen from a store in White Bay the previous fall.

The watches had been broken into small pieces, which together with the coins were strung on deer-skin thongs, passed through holes drilled in them, and presumably intended for necklaces, amulets or some such adornment.

Mr. Peyton did not think there were more than fourteen or fifteen individuals in these three wigwams, but it was impossible to count them as they darted through the woods.

His party now retreated as they had come taking the woman with them, keeping a close watch all the time lest she should escape which she made attempts to do. Once while all were asleep she nearly succeeded. Taking off her outer deer-skin robe and placing it on the snow she noiselessly crawled along, dragging the skin after her to deaden the sound of her footsteps, or obliterate her track in the snow. She had gained a considerable distance when her absence was noticed, but she was soon recaptured and brought back. After this she made no further attempt but kept close to Mr. P. all the time, as though for protection, no doubt recognising in him the leader of the party and a man superior in every way to his fellows.

The woman was successfully conveyed to the shore, and according to Pedley, "was placed under the care of the Episcopal missionary of Twillingate." She appeared to be about twenty-three years of age, was of a gentle disposition, and intelligent enough to acquire and retain many English words which she was taught. It was ascertained that she had a child of three or four years old: it therefore became an object, dictated by the first feelings of humanity to restore her to her tribe. She was first brought to St. John's, where she remained several months, exciting a strong and kindly interest towards herself by her modest intelligent demeanour, she was everywhere treated with the greatest consideration and loaded down with presents by all parties. It is stated that she was allowed to go into the shops, select whatever she fancied, and take it away without question. Lieut. now Capt. Buchan was again selected by the Governor, and entrusted with the charge of returning her to her people, and great hopes were entertained that the recital of all she saw and of the kindly treatment meted out to her, would at last convince her tribe that nothing but amity and good feeling was desired by the whites henceforth.

Buchan proceeded to the Bay of Exploits with the woman (?) in the autumn of 1820, in his ship the Grasshopper, which was again secured for the winter at the same place as the Adonis in Ship Cove, now Botwood. Here he awaited the freezing up of the bay and river, before making the attempt to ascend to Red Indian Lake. Unfortunately, /95/ all his hopes were frustrated by the sad death of poor Mary March, on board his ship, Jan. the 8th 1820. Alas! this sad event was destined to frustrate the object of the expedition, and dash all the high hopes which it was expected to achieve. There was nothing left for him to do, but to convey the poor remains of the woman back to the place from whence she was taken. Her body was enshrouded in a neat deal coffin together with such trinkets as she had shown a preference for, including two wooden dolls much affected by her, a copper plate was also placed upon the coffin with her name, probable age, and date of her capture and death engraved thereon. While these preparations were in progress, the ship's armourer was employed in making a number of iron spear and arrow heads, all stamped with the broad arrow, to be presented to the Indians, should they be met with; or otherwise distributed along the banks of the river; where they could easily find them.(17)

When the ice was sufficiently strong the party, consisting of 60 marines and blue jackets, with Mr. Peyton and a few of his men as guides, set out on the journey up country. They dragged after them several sledges, constructed for the purpose, loaded with 32 cwt. of provisions, goods, and presents for the Indians. After passing the Grand Falls, twenty men were sent back, and afterwards batches of three or four, according as the loads grew lighter, and the men became fatigued. At a point on the river about 40 miles up, Mr. Peyton, who was in advance, struck his snow-shoe against something buried in the snow, which on examination proved to be the fresh frozen liver of a deer. Judging from this circumstance that the Indians could not be far off, he wished to make a search in the neighbourhood with a few of his men, but Capt. Buchan would not consent to dividing the party. They therefore proceeded onward to the lake, but found it entirely deserted. The three wigwams of last year were still standing, but had not apparently, been tenanted for some time. Through the roof of one of the wigwams they stuck two stout poles, and hoisting up the coffin containing Mary March's remains, lashed it firmly to the projecting ends of the poles, so as to place it beyond the reach of wolves or other wild animals.

After an ineffectual search about the lake Capt. Buchan concluded to make a detour on his return journey, persuaded thereto by Mr. Peyton. Instead of following the course of the river back to the bay the party struck into the country from the head of the N.E. Arm of the lake, and made a circuit of Hodges' Hill, coming out on the shore of Badger Bay Lake. No further indications of the Indians were met with in this journey, and the men becoming wearied with the long toilsome tramp, began to murmur loudly particularly the blue jackets who accused Peyton of having led them astray, and lost them. In order to reassure them that he knew where he was he brought them to a place where he showed them some of his traps with his name stamped on them. They now abandoned the search and returning to the sea coast rejoined their ship.

There is another version of the capture of Mary March which was /96/ published in the Liverpool Mercury of date -- written by an anonymous correspondent, who alleges that he accompanied Peyton's party and was witness to the whole transaction. This person appears to have been an agent for one of the mercantile firms at Fogo, and was on a visitation to some lumber camps belonging to his firm in the Bay of Exploits when the expedition was about setting out. He asked to be allowed to accompany it, which request was granted. His account coincides, in most particulars with that already given, except in some minor details, but it also contains some interesting particulars not there stated. It bears every evidence of being reliable, so without repeating what is unnecessary, I will give, in his own words, such further facts as are of interest in this connection.


Mr. Peyton afterwards learned from the woman Shanawdithit, the full particulars of the manner in which his boat was stolen. She was present all the time and knew every incident connected with this event. As Mr. P. rightly conjectured, it appears the Indians were watching all his movements very closely. There was a high wooded ridge behind his house, which from its peculiar outline had been named Canoe Hill. It bore some resemblance to a canoe turned bottom up. One tall birch tree on the summit of this ridge, (still standing at the time of my first visit 1871), was pointed out by Shanawdithit as the lookout from whence the Indians observed Peyton's movements, during several days preceding the depradation. She also informed him, that when he paid his last visit of inspection to the long wharf, before the taking of the boat, that the Indians were actually hidden in their canoe beneath the wharf, but kept so perfectly motionless, that in the dense darkness he did not observe their presence.


To the Editor of the "Liverpool Mercury."


Observing among the deaths in the Mercury of September 18th that of "Shanawdithit" supposed to be the last of the "Red Indians" or aborigines of Newfoundland, I am tempted to offer a few remarks on the subject, convinced as I am that she cannot be the last of the tribe by many hundreds. Having resided a considerable time in that part of the north of Newfoundland which they most frequented, and being one of the party who captured Mary March in 1819, I have embodied into a narrative the events connected with her capture, which I am confident will gratify many of your readers.

Proceeding northward, the country gradually assumes a more fertile appearance; the trees, which in the south are, except in a few places, stunted in their growth, now begin to assume a greater height and strength till you reach the neighbourhood of Exploits River and Bay; here the timber is of a good size and quality, and in sufficient quantity to serve the purposes of the inhabitants: -- both here and at Trinity Bay some very fine vessels have been built. -- To Exploits Bay it was that the Red Indians came every summer for the purpose of fishing, the place abounding with salmon. No part of the Bay was inhabited; the islands at the mouth consisting of Twillingate, Exploits island, and Burnt islands, had a few inhabitants. There were also several small harbours in a large island, the name of which I now forget,(18) including Herring Neck and Morton. In 1820 the population of Twillingate amounted to 720, and that of all the other places might perhaps /97/ amount to as many more; -- they were chiefly the descendants of West England settlers; and having many of them been for several generations without religious or moral instruction of any kind, were immersed in the lowest state of ignorance and vice. Latterly, however, churches have been built and schools established, and I have been credibly informed that the moral and intellectual state of the people is much improved. While I was there the church was opened, and I must say that the people came in crowds to attend a place of worship, many of them coming 15 and 20 miles purposely to attend. On the first settlement of the country, the Indians naturally viewed the intruders with a jealous eye, and some of the settlers having repeatedly robbed their nets &c., they retaliated and stole several boats sails, implements of iron &c. The settlers in return mercilessly shot all the Indians they could meet with: -- in fact so fearful were the latter of fire arms, that in an open space one person with a gun would frighten a hundred; when concealed among the bushes, however, they often made a most desperate resistance. I have heard an old man named Rogers, living on Twillingate Great Island boast that he had shot at different periods above sixty of them. So late as 1817, this wretch, accompanied by three others, one day discovered nine unfortunate Indians lying asleep on a small island far up the bay. Loading their guns very heavily, they rowed up to them and each taking aim fired. One only rose, and rushing into the water, endeavored to swim to another island, close by, covered with wood: but the merciless wretch followed in the boat, and butchered the poor creature in the water with an axe, then took the body to the shore and piled it on those of the other eight, whom his companions had in the meantime put out of their misery. He minutely described to me the spot, and I afterwards visited the place, and found their bones in a heap, bleached and whitened with the winters blast.

I have now I think said enough to account for the shyness of the Indians towards the settlers, but could relate many other equally revolting scenes, some of which I shall hereafter touch upon. In 1815 or 16,(19) Lieutenant, now Captain Buchan, set out on an expedition to endeavour to meet with the Indians, for the purpose of opening a friendly communication with them. He succeeded in meeting with them, and the intercourse seemed firmly established, so much so, that two of them consented to go and pass the night with Capt. Buchan's party he leaving two of his men who volunteered to stop. On returning to the Indians' encampment in the morning, accompanied by the two who had remained all night,(20) on approaching the spot, the two Indians manifested considerable disquietude, and after exchanging a few glances with each other, broke from their conductors and rushed into the woods. On arriving at the encampment, Capt. Buchan's poor fellows lay on the ground a frightful spectacle, their heads being severed from their bodies, and almost cut to pieces.

In the summer of 1818, a person who had established a salmon fishery at the mouth of the Exploits River, had a number of articles stolen by the Indians; they consisted of a gold watch, left accidentally in the boat, the boats, sails, some hatchets, cordage and iron implements. He therefore resolved on sending an expedition into the country, in order to recover his property.

The day before the party set off I arrived accidentally, at the house, taking a survey of numerous bodies of wood cutters belonging to the establishment with which I was connected. The only time anyone can penetrate into the interior is in the winter season, the lakes and rivers being frozen over, even the Bay of Exploits, though salt water, was then (the end of January) frozen for sixty miles. Having proposed to accompany the party they immediately consented. Our equipment consisted of a musket, bayonet, and hatchet; to each of the servants, a pistol; Mr. ______ and myself had, in addition, another pistol and a dagger, and a doubled /98/ barrel gun instead of a musket; each carried a pair of show shoes, a supply of eight pounds of biscuits and a piece of pork, ammunition, and one quart of rum; besides, we had a light sled and four dogs, who took it in turns in dragging the sled, which contained a blanket for each man, rum and other necessaries. We depended on our guns for a supply of provisions, and at all times could meet with plenty of partridge and hares, though there were few days we did not kill a deer. The description of one day's journey will suffice for all, there being but little variation. The snow was all the time about eight feet deep.

On the morning of our departure we set off in good spirits up the river, and after following its course for about twelve miles, arrived at the rapids, a deer at full speed passed us; I fired, and it fell the next instant, a wolf, in full pursuit made his appearance; on seeing the party he haulted for an instant, and then rushed forward as if to attack us. Mr. ______ however, anticipated him; for taking a steady aim and at the same time sitting coolly on an old tree, he passed a bullet through the fellows head, who was soon stretched a corpse on the snow, a few minutes after another appeared, when several firing together he also fell, roaring and howling for a long time, when one of the men went and knocked him on the head with a hatchet.

And now ye effeminate feather-bed loungers, where do you suppose we were to sleep? There was no comfortable hotel to receive us; not even a house where a board informs the benighted traveller that there is "entertainment for man and horse," not even the skeleton of a wigwam; the snow eight feet deep, -- the thermometer nineteen degrees below the freezing point. Everyone having disencumbered himself of his load, proceeded with his hatchet to cut down the small fir and birch trees. The thick part of the trees was cut in lengths, and heaped up in two piles between which a sort of wigwam was formed of the branches; a number of small twigs of trees, to the depth of about three feet were laid on the snow for a bed; and having lighted the pile of wood on each side, some prepared venison steaks for supper while others skinned the two wolves, in order, with the deerskin to form a covering to the wigwam; this some opposed as being a luxury we should not every day obtain. Supper being ready, wee ate heartily and having melted some snow for water, we made some hot toddy, that is, rum, butter, hot water and sugar; a song was proposed, and acceded to: and thus in the midst of a dreary desert far from the voice of our fellow men, we sat cheerful and contented, looking forward to the morrow without dread, anxious to renew our labors. After about an hour thus spent the watch was appointed, and each wrapped in his blanket; we vied in convincing each other, with the nasal organ, which was in the soundest sleep; mine was the last watch about an hour before daybreak. The Aurora Borealis rolled in awful splendour across the deep blue sky, but I will not tire my readers with a description. When the first glimpse of morn showed itself in the light clouds, floating in the Eastern horizon, I awoke my companions, and by the time it was sufficiently light, we had breakfasted and were ready to proceed. Cutting off enough of the deer shot the night before, we proceeded on our journey, leaving the rest to the wolves. Each day and night was a repetition of the same; the country being in some places tolerably level, in general covered with wood, but occasionally barren tracts, where sometimes for miles not a tree was to be seen. Mr. ______ instructed the men in which way he wished them to act, informing them that his object was to open a friendly communication with the Indians, rather than act on the principle of intimidating them by revenge; that if they avoided him, he should endeavour to take one or two prisoners and bring them with him, in order that by the civilization of one or two an intercourse might be established that would end in their permanent civilization. He strictly exhorted them not to use undue violence; everyone was strictly enjoined not to fire on any account. About three O'clock in the afternoon two men, who then led the party were about two hundred yards before the rest; three deer closely followed by a pack of wolves, issued from the woods on the left, and bounded across the lake, passing very near the men, whom they totally disregarded. /99/ The men incautiously fired at them. We were then about half a mile from the point of land that almost intersected the lake, and in a few minutes we saw it covered with Indians, who instantly retired. The alarm was given; we soon reached the point, about five hundred yards on the other side we saw the Indians houses, and the Indians, men, women and children rushing from them, across the lake(21), here about a mile broad. Hurrying on we quickly came to the houses; when within a short distance from the last house, three men and a woman carrying a child issued forth. One of the men took the infant from her, and their speed soon convinced us of the futility of pursuit; the woman however, did not run so fast. Mr. ______ loosened his provision bag from his back and let it fall, threw away his gun and hatchet and set off at a speed that soon overtook the woman. One man and myself did the same, except our guns. The rest, picking up our things followed. On overtaking the woman, she instantly fell on her knees, and tearing open the cossack, (a dress composed of deer-skin bound with fur), showing her breasts to prove she was a woman, and begged for mercy. In a few moments we were by Mr.______'s side. Several of the Indians, with the three who had quitted the house with the woman, now advanced, while we retreated towards the shore. At length we stopped and they did the same. After a pause three of them laid down their bows, with which they were armed, and came within two hundred yards. We then presented our guns, intimating that not more than one would be allowed to approach. They retired and fetched their arms, when one, the ill fated husband of Mary March, our captive, advanced with a branch of a fir tree (spruce) in his hand. When about ten yards off he stopped and made a long oration. He spoke at least ten minutes; towards the last his gesture became very animated and his eye "shot fire." He concluded very mildly, and advancing, shook hands with many of the party -- then he attempted to take his wife from us; being opposed in this he drew from beneath his cossack, an axe, the whole of which was finely polished, and brandished it over our heads. On two or three pieces(22) being presented, he gave it up to Mr. ______ who then intimated that the woman must go with us, but that he might go also if he pleased and that in the morning both should have their liberty. At the same time two of the men began to conduct her towards the houses. On this being done he became infuriated, and rushing towards her strove to drag her from them; one of the men rushed forward and stabbed him in the back with a bayonet; turning round, at a blow he laid the fellow at his feet; the next instant he knocked down another and rushing on -- like a child laid him on his back, and seizing his dirk from his belt brandished it over his head; the next instant it would have been buried in him had I not with both hands seized his arm; he shook me off in an instant, while I measured my length on the ice; Mr. ______ then drew a pistol from his girdle and fired. The poor wretch first staggered then fell on his face: while writhing in agonies, he seemed for a moment to stop; his muscles stiffened: slowly and gradually he raised himself from the ice, turned round, and with a wild gaze surveyed us all in a circle around him. Never shall I forget the figure he exhibited; his hair hanging on each side of his sallow face; his bushy beard(23) clotted with the blood that flowed from his mouth and nose; his eyes flashing fire, yet with the glass of death upon them, -- they fixed on the individual who first stabbed him. Slowly he raised the hand that still grasped young ______'s dagger, till he raised it considerably above his head, when uttering a yell that made the woods echo, he rushed at him. The man fired as he advanced, and the noble Indian again fell on his face; a few moments struggle, and he lay a stiffened corpse on the icy surface of the limpid waters. The woman for a moment seemed scarcely to notice the corpse, in a few minutes however, she showed a little motion; but it was not until /100/ obliged to leave the remains of her husband that she gave way to grief, and vented her sorrow in the most heartbreaking lamentations. While the scene which I have described was acting, and which occurred in almost less space than the description can be read, a number of Indians had advanced within a short distance, but seeing the untimely fate of their chief haulted. Mr. ______ fired over their heads, and they immediately fled. The banks of the lake, on the other side, were at this time covered with men, women and children, at least several hundreds; but immediately being joined by their companions all disappeared in the woods. We then had time to think. For my part I could scarcely credit my senses, as I beheld the remains of the noble fellow stretcbed on the ice, crimsoned with his already frozen blood. One of the men then went to the shore for some fir tree boughs to cover the body, which measured as it lay, 6 feet 7 1/2 inches. The fellow who first stabbed him wanted to strip off his cossack, (a garment made of deer skin, lined with beaver and other skins, reaching to the knees), but met with so stern a rebuke from ______, that he instantly desisted, and slunk abashed away.

After covering the body with boughs, we proceeded towards the Indian houses -- the woman often required force to take her along. On examining them, we found no living creature, save a bitch and her whelps, about two months old. The houses of these Indians are very different to those of the other tribes of North America; they are built of straight pieces of fir about twelve feet high, flattened at the sides, and driven in the earth close to each other; the corners being much stronger than the other parts. The crevices are filled up with moss, and the inside entirely lined with the same material, the roof is raised so as to slant from all parts and meet in a point at the centre, where a hole is left for the smoke to escape; the remainder of the roof is covered with a treble coat of birch bark, and between the first and second layers of bark is about six inches of moss; about the chimney clay is substituted for it.

On entering one of the houses I was astonished at the neatness which reigned within. The sides of the tenement were covered with arms, -- bows, arrows, clubs, axes of iron (stolen from the settlers), stone hatchets, arrow heads, in fact, implements of war and for the chase, but all arranged in the neatest order, and apparently every mans' property carefully put together. At one end was a small image, or rather a head, carved rudely out of a block of wood; round the neck was hung the case of a watch, and on a board close by, the works of the watch which had been carefully taken to pieces, and hung on small pegs on the board; the whole were surrounded with the main spring. In the other houses the remainder of the articles stolen were found. Beams were placed across where the roof began; over which smaller ones were laid: on these were piled a considerable quantity of dried venison and salmon, together with a little codfish. On ______ taking down the watch and works, and bringing the image over to the fire the woman surveyed him with anger, and in a few minutes made free with her tongue, her manner showing us that she was not unused to scolding. When Mr. ______ saw it displeased her, he rather irreverently threw the log on one side: on this she rose in a rage, and would, had not her hands been fastened, have inflicted summary vengeance for the insult offered to the hideous idol. Wishing to pacify her he rose, and taking his reverence carefully up, placed him where he had taken him from. This pacified her. I must here do the poor creature the justice to say, that I never afterwards saw her out of temper.

A watch was set outside; and having partaken of the Indian's fare, we began to talk over the events of the day. Both ______ and myself bitterly reproached the man who first stabbed the unfortunate native; for though he acted violently, still there was no necessity for the brutal act, -- besides, the untaught Indian was only doing that which every man ought to do, -- he came to rescue his wife from the hands of her captors, and nobly lost his life in his attempt to save her. ______ here declared that he would rather have defeated the object of his journey a hundred times than have sacrificed the life of one Indian. The fellow merely replied, "it was only an Indian, and he wished he had shot a hundred instead of one." The /101/ poor woman was now tied securely, we having, on consideration, deemed it for the best to take her with us, so that by kind treatment and civilization she might, in the course of time, be returned to her tribe, and be the means of effecting a lasting reconciliation between them and the settlers.

After the men had laid themselves down around the fire, and the watch was set outside the door, Mr. ______ and myself remained up and, in a low voice talked over the events of the day. We then decided on remaining to rest for three or four days; and in the meantime, to endeavour to find the Indians. I would I could now describe how insensibly we glided from one subject to another; religion -- politics -- country -- "home sweet home," -- alternately occupied our attention; and, thus in the midst of a dreary waste far away from the haunts of civilized man, we sat contentedly smoking our pipes; and Englishman-like, settled the affairs of nations over a glass of rum and water -- ever and anon drinking a health to each friend and fair, who rose uppermost in our thoughts. From this the subject turned to "specific gravity." Here an argument commenced. When illustrating a position I had advanced, by the ascension of the smoke from my pipe, we both turned up our eyes to witness its progress upwards: on looking towards the aperture in the roof what was our astonishment at beholding the faces of two Indians, calmly surveying us in the quiet occupation of their abode. In an instant we shouted "The Indians!" and in a moment every one was on the alert, and each taking his arms rushed to the door -- not a creature was to be seen; in vain we looked around; -- no trace save the marks of footsteps on the snow, was to be discovered, but these seemed almost innumerable. We fired about a dozen shots into the woods, and then retired to our dwelling -- and I then resolved to take alternate watch, and every half hour at least to walk around the house. During the night, however, we were not again disturbed, save by the howling of wolves and barking of foxes.

(signed) E. S.(24)

Still another account of the capture and death of Mary March with added details of much interest, appears in a lecture delivered by the Hon. Joseph Noad, Surveyor General of the Colony, in 1859, before the Mechanics' Institute at St John's. There is internal evidence that Mr. Noad derived most of his information direct from Mr. John Peyton, also from Mr. W. E. Cormack, with both of whom he must have been personally acquainted. Cormack again derived his information partly from the Beothuck woman Shanawdithit, which renders it all the more interesting.

After relating the circumstances which led to Mr. Peyton's expedition up the Exploits in 1819, pretty much as already given, he goes on to state, that on the 1st of March, 1819, the expedition set out with a most anxious desire, as they asserted, of being able to take some of the Indians and thus through them, to open a friendly communication with the rest. The leader of the party giving strict orders not on any account to commence hostilities without positive directions. On the 2nd of March a few wigwams were seen and examined, they appeared to have been frequented by the Indians during spring and autumn for the purpose of killing deer. On the 3rd a fireplace on the side of a brook was seen, where some lndians had recently slept. On the 4th the party reached a storehouse belonging to the Indians and on entering it they found five traps, and recognised them as the property of persons in Twillingate, as also part of a boat's jib, /102/ footprints were seen about the storehouse and these tracks were followed with speed and caution. On the 5th the party reached a very large pond(25), and footmarks of two or more Indians were distinctly discovered and soon after an Indian was seen walking in the direction of the spot where the party were concealed while three other Indians were observed further off going in a contrary direction. The curiosity of the whole party being strongly excited the leader of them showed himself openly on the point. When the Indian discovered him she was for a moment motionless, then screamed violently and ran off -- at this time the persons in pursuit were in ignorance as to whether the Indian was male or female. One of the party immediately started in pursuit, but did not gain on her until he had taken off his jacket and rackets, when he came up with her fast; as she kept looking back at her pursuer over her shoulder. He dropped his gun on the snow and held up his hands to show her he was unarmed, and on pointing to his gun which was some distance behind, she stopped, -- he did the same, then he advanced and gave her his hand, she gave hers to him and to all the party as they came up. Seven or eight Indians were then seen repeatedly running off and on the pond, and shortly three of them came towards the party -- the woman spoke to them and two of the Indians joined the English, while the third remained some 100 yards off. Something being observed under the cassock of one of them, he was searched, and a hatchet taken from him. The two Indians then took hold of the man who had seized the woman, and endeavoured to force her away from him, but not succeeding in this, one of them tried to get possession of three different guns, and at last succeeded in getting hold of one, which he tried to wrest from the man who held it; not being able to accomplish this the Indian seized the Englishman by the throat, and the danger being imminent, three shots were fired, all so simultaneously that it appeared as if only one gun had been discharged. The Indian dropped, and his companions immediately fled. In extenuation of this most deplorable event, to say the least of it, it is said, "Could we have intimidated him, or persuaded him to leave us, or even have seen the others go off, we should have been most happy to have spared using violence -- but when it is remembered that our small party were in the heart of the Indian country a hundred miles from any European settlement, and that there were in our sight at times, as many Indians as our party amounted to, and we could not ascertain how many were in the woods that we did not see, it could not be avoided with safety to ourselves. Had destruction been our object, we might have carried it much further."

The death of this Indian was subsequently brought before the Grand Jury, and that body having enquired into the circumstances connected with it, made the following statement in its presentment to the Court. "It appears that the deceased came to his death in consequence of an attack upon the party in search of them, and his subsequent obstinacy in not desisting when repeatedly menaced by some of the party for that purpose, and the peculiar situation of the searching party and their men, was such as to warrant their acting on the defensive."

/103/ Thus perished the illfated husband of poor Mary March, and she herself from the moment her hand was touched by the whiteman, became the child of sorrow, a character which never left her, until she became shrouded in an early tomb. Among her tribe she was known as "De-mas-do-weet," her husband's name was "No-nos-baw-sut."

In the official report Mary March is described as a young woman of about twenty-three years of age, -- of a gentle and interesting disposition, acquiring and retaining without any difficulty any words she was taught. She had one child, who, as was subsequently ascertained, died a couple of days after its mother's capture(26). She was taken to Twillingate where she was placed under the care of Revd. Mr. Leigh, Episcopal Missionary; who on the opening of spring came with her to St. John's. During the summer a small sloop was sent back with her to the northward. The commander was to proceed to the summer haunts of the Indians and restore her to her people, but he was unsuccessful in finding them, and he returned to St John's.

Capt. Buchan in the Grasshopper was subsequently sent. He left St. John's in September 1819 for Exploits Bay to winter there. Poor Mary March died on board the vessel at the mouth of the river, and her remains were conveyed up to Red Indian Lake by Buchan as already related.

Mary March or "Demasduit," according to herself had another name, " Waunathoake."

It was subsequently learnt from Shanawdithit, that the Indians saw Buchan's party passing up the river with the body of Mary March. They were, as Peyton conjectured, camped at the time in the woods, not far from where he saw the fresh liver of a deer, but on seeing the white men they lay very close till the latter had passed on out of sight. They then immediately broke camp and proceeded cautiously down to the sea shore by devious routes, there they concealed themselves and remained till they saw Buchan's party return and go aboard the ship. They then went back again and visited the Great Lake where they found the body suspended from the poles struck through the roof of the wigwam. They took it down and opened the coffin with their axes, on seeing its contents, they prepared a grave in which they placed the body together with that of her husband and child. Mr. W. E. Cormack afterwards saw this grave in 1817, and recognised the remains of Mary March from the plate that had been placed on the coffin by Buchan.

According to Bonnycastle, "Mary March, it is said, had hair much like that of an European, but was of a copper colour with black eyes. Her natural disposition was docile; and although fifty years old (?)(27), she vas very active, and her whole demeanour agreeable; in this respect, as wel1 as in her appearance, she was very different from the Micmacs, or any other Indians we are acquainted with."


Further references to Buchan's Two Expeditions, taken from the London "Times," in the British Museum, copied by Engineer Lieut. R. A. Howley, 1906.

LONDON "TIMES," Nov. 27th, 1811.

Extract of a letter from St. John's, dated Aug. 1, 1811,

"Lieut. Buchan returned from his expedition up the Bay of Exploits, about a month ago. It appears, that in the month of January he, with a party of sixteen or seventeen of the crew of the `Adonis' in exploring the interior of the country, came up with three wigwams, occupied by about seventy of the native Indians, by whom he and his party were received in a friendly manner; that after staying with them some time, he endeavoured to make known to them his intention of returning, for the purpose of presenting them with such articles as he had been supplied with, and which he apparently made them understand, would contribute to their comfort and convenience. Four of the natives voluntarily went with him; and two of his marines, with equal confidence, agreed to remain with the Indians until his return. Three out of the four Indians, however, parted from him in the course of the first day; the other remained with him all night, and returned with him and his party, back to the wigwams the next morning, which, they found, had been totally abandoned, and at no great distance from which, they found the dead bodies of the two marines they had left behind, both of whom had been murdered and their heads severed from their bodies; upon discovering which the remaining Indian ran off with the utmost speed, and neither him, nor any of the others, were they able to come up with afterwards.

Thus, unfortunately, has ended our attempt to open a friendly intercourse with the natives of this Island. Lieut. Buchan says, that he clearly understood, by signs which they repeatedly made to him to cross over an adjoining lake, that their principal encampment was in that neighbourhood and that they were much more numerous than we had formed any idea of. He seems anxious to engage in a second expedition, but thinks it advisable to send a considerable augmentation of force to ensure success to the undertaking. Whether any further attempt will be made at present, or not is uncertain."

LONDON "TIMES," JULY 1Oth, 1820.

"We learn by letters just received here from Newfoundland, dated June 5th that the expedition which left St. John's in the autumn of last year, under the direction of Capt. Buchan of H.M.S. `Grasshopper' having for its object, to open a communication with the aborigines of the island, by way of the Bay of Exploits, had failed, and that skilful and intelligent officer with his persevering companions, had returned.

It appears, that the `Grasshopper,' having reached the river, from St. John's, in December last, was housed over, and made secure, to enable the persons left on board to encounter the inclemency of a Newfoundland winter. Mary March the female native Indian prisoner, who was to have been the medium of communication with her native friends died on board the `Grasshopper,' before the expedition could set out from the Bay of Exploits.

About the middle of January, Captain Buchan, Mr. C. Waller midshipman, the Boatswain, and about sixty men, proceeded with sleighs on the ice, containing their provisions &c., as also the body of the female Indian; and the spot, having been pointed out by Mr. Peyton, a merchant who accompanied the expedition, where the rencontre took place between his party and the Indians, when the husband of Mary March was killed, her body, ornamented with trinkets &c. was deposited alongside that of her husband.

/105/ Captain Buchan continued a research of 40 days, but was not able to discover the slightest trace of the native Indians. Whether they had fled to some other part of the island, or had been exterminated by the Esquimaux(28) Indians, who, to obtain the furs with which they are covered are known to invariably murder them at evey opportunity, could not be ascertained; but it appeared useless to proceed any further in the search."


25th May, 1819.

The Grand Jury beg leave to state to the Court that they have, as far as it was possible, investigated the unfortunate circumstances which occasioned the loss of life to one of the Red Indian Tribe near the River of Exploits, in a late rencontre which took place between the deceased and John Peyton, Sr., in the presence of Peyton, Jr., his son, and a party of their own men, to the number of ten in all, and in sight of several Indians of the same tribe. The Grand Jury are of opinion that no malice preceded the transaction, and that there was no intention on the part of Peyton's party to get possession of any of them by such violence as would occasion bloodshed. But it appears that the deceased came by his death in consequence of the attack on Peyton, Sr., and his subsequent obstinacy, and not desisting when repeatedly menaced by some of the party for that purpose, and the peculiar situation of the Peytons and their men, was such as to warrant their acting on the defensive. At the same time that the Grand Jury declare these opinions arising from the only evidence brought before them, they cannot but regret the want of other evidence to corroborate the foregoing, viewing it as they do a matter of the first importance, and which calls for the most complete establishment of innocence on the part of the Peyton's and their men, they therefore recommend that four of the party should be brought round at the end of the fishing season for that purpose.



John Peyton's Narrative.


I beg leave to lay before Your Excellency the following statements by which it will appear to what extent I have been a sufferer by depredation committed on my property by the Native Indians, and which at last drove me to the necessity of following them to endeavour to recover some part of it again.

In April 1814, John Morris, a furrier of mine, came out from one of my furrier's tilts in the country on business to me, leaving in the tilt his provisions, some fur and his clothes. On his return to the tilt again he found that some persons had been there in his absence, and carried away and destroyed the provisions, and all the fur with many other little things but yet valuable to a furrier; the distance being 20 miles from the tilt to my residence he was obliged to sleep there that night, but the next day Morris came out and told me what had happened, and that he had evey reason to suspect that it had been done by the Red Indians. On the following morning I, with Thomas Taylor, another of my furriers, and John Morris, went to Morris's tilt and found what he had told me to be correct, and near the tilt I found part of an Indian's snow racket and a hatchet, which convinced me that the depredation had been committed by them. We, after this followed their tracks to Morris's different beaver houses and found that they had carried away seven of my traps. The damage done and loss I sustained on this occasion cannot be estimated at less than £15 independent of losing the season for catching fur.

In June 1814 Mathew Huster and John Morris were sent by me to put out a /106/ new fleet of salmon nets consisting of two nets 60 fathoms long. On going the following morning to haul them, they were cut from the moorings and nothing but a small part of the Head Rope left. From the manner the moorings were cut and hackled, and the marks of Red Ochre on the Buoys, we were satisfied that it was done by the Indians, no other persons being near us at that season. In the following August some of my people had an occasion to land on a point often frequented by the Indians, they saw there had been two wigwams built there that summer, but the Indians had left it some time, there they found the cork and part of the head rope of the nets, which convinced us who it was had cut away the nets in June. The damage done me by the loss of the nets was 20 lbs. independent of the fish that might have been caught by them that summer.

In August 1815 the Red Indians came into the harbour of Exploits Burnt Island in the night, and cut adrift from my stage a fishing boat, carried away her sails and fishing tackle; they also the same night cut a boat adrift belonging to Geo. Luff, of the same harbour. The loss I sustained here was full £10. In October 1817 I sent Edward Rogers, an apprentice, to set a number of traps for catching marten cats, they being apparently very plenty at that time. On going to visit his traps he found that fourteen of his best traps were carried away, and an Indian's arrow driven through the roof of the cat-house, at the end of the path were two Indian paddles, the loss here, independent of the fur, was 4 pounds, 18 s.

In September 1818 the Indians came to my wharf at Sandy Point, and cut adrift a large boat of mine which I had in the day loaded with salmon, &c., for St. John's market, and was only waiting for a fair wind to sail. On my missing her at half past one in the morning, I took a small boat, and with a servant went in search of her. About seven O'Clock in the evening I discovered her ashore in a most dangerous situation. With great diffficulty I boarded her, and found that the Indians had cut away her sails and part of her rigging, and had plundered her of almost every thing moveable. Her hull being much damaged, it was impossible to get her off without assistance. I proceeded to Exploits Burnt Island for a crew, and brought her into the harbour, the damage done to the boat and some part of her cargo, and the property stolen cannot be replaced under 140 or 150 lbs. Having so frequently suffered such heavy losses, on my arrival I waited on Your Excellency requesting permission to follow the property and regain it if possible, I made deposition of the truth of what I had asserted, and obtained Your Excellency's permission to go into the country during the winter.

On the first of March, 1819, l left my house accompanied by my father and eight of my own men with a most anxious desire of being able to take some of the Indians and thus through them open a friendly communication with the rest, everyone was ordered by me not upon any account to commence hostilities without my positive orders. On the 2nd March we came up with a few wigwams frequented by the Indians during the spring and autumn for the purpose of killing deer. On the 3rd we saw a fireplace by the side of the brook where some Indians had slept a few days before. On the 4th, at 10 O'Clock we came to a storehouse belonging to the Indians. On entering it I found five of my cat traps, set, as I supposed, to protect their venison from the cats, and part of my boat's jib, from the fireplace and tracks on the snow, we were convinced the Indians had left it the day before in the direction SW. We therefore followed their footing with all possible speed and caution -- at 11 O'Clock we left the greatest part of our provisions in order to make the more speed, as we were expecting to come up with them very soon -- at 1 O'Clock we came to a path where they entered the woods leading away about NNE. At 2 O'Clock we saw where they had slept the night before; we continued to travel till dark. On the 5th we commenced walking as soon as it was day. At eight we came to a large brook which ran about SW. We followed the course of the water which brought us into a very large pond. The wind blowing strong occasioned a heayy drift which destroyed all signs of the tracks; after travelling about one and a half miles I discovered the footing of two or more Indians quite fresh, we imagined they were gone into the /107/ woods for the purposes of partridge shooting. I ordered the men to keep close together and keep a good lookout towards the woods. On proceeding a little further I saw a high point projecting on the pond, and on looking over it very carefully I discovered one Indian coming towards us, and three more going the contrary way at some considerable distance. I fell back and told our party what I had seen, their curiosity being excited I could not restrain them from endeavouring to get sight of the Indians. I was not then certain there were no more in the same course I saw the one in. I could not tell at this time whether the Indian I saw was a male or female. I showed myself on the point openly, when the Indian discovered me she for a moment was motionless. She screamed out as soon as she appeared to make me out and ran off. I immediately pursued her, but did not gain on her until I had taken off my rackets and Jacket, when I came up with her fast, she kept looking back at me over her shoulder, I then dropped my gun on the snow and held up my hands to show her I had no gun, and on my pointing to my gun which was then some distance behind me, she stopped. I did the same and endeavoured to convince her I would not hurt her. I then advanced and gave her my hand, she gave hers to me and to all my party as they came up. We then saw seven or eight Indians repeatedly running off and on the pond and as I imagined from their wigwams. Shortly after three Indians came running towards us -- when they came within about 200 or 300 yds. from us they made a halt. I advanced towards them with the woman, and on her calling to the Indians two of their party came down to us, the third halted again about 100 yards distant. I ordered one of the men to examine one of the Indians that did come to us, having observed something under his cassock, which proved to be a hatchet, which the man took from him, -- the two Indians came and took hold of me by the arms endeavouring to force me away. I cleared myself as well as I could still having the woman in my hand. The Indian from whom the hatchet was taken attempted to lay hold of three different guns, but without effect, he at last succeeded in getting hold of my father's gun, and tried to force it from him, and in the attempt to get his gun he and my father got off nearly fifty yards from me and in the direction of the woods, at the same time the other Indian was continually endeavouring to get behind our party. The Indian who attacked my father grasped him by the throat. My father drew a bayonet with the hope of intimidating the Indian. It had not the desired effect, for he only made a savage grin at it. I then called for one of the men to strike him, which he did across the hands with his gun; he still held on my father till he was struck on the head, when he let my father go, and either struck at or made a grasp at the man who struck him, which he evaded by falling under the hand, at the same time this encounter was taking place, the third Indian who had halted about 100 yards, kept at no great distance from us, and there were seven or eight more repeatedly running out from the woods on the look out, and no greater distance from us than 300 yards. The Indian turned again on my father and made a grasp at his throat -- my father extricated himself and on his retreat the Indian still forcing on him, fired. I ordered one of the men to defend my father, when two guns were fired, but the guns were all fired so close together that I did not know till some time after that more than one had been fired. The rest of the Indians fled immediately on the fall of the unfortunate one. Could we have intimidated or persuaded him to leave us, or even have seen the others go off, we should have been most happy to have spared using violence, but when it was remembered that our small party were in the heart of the Indians country, one hundred miles from any European settlement, and that there were in our sight at times as many Indians as our party amounted to, and we could not ascertain how many were in the woods that we did not see, it could not be avoided with safety to ourselves. Had destruction been our object we might have carried it much further. Nor should I have brought this woman to the capital to Your Excellency, nor should I offer my services for the ensuing summer, had I wantonly put an end to the unfortunate man's existence, as in the case of success in taking any more during the summer and opening a friendly intercourse with them, I must be discovered.

/108/ My object was and still is to endeavour to be on good terms with the Indians for the protection of my property, and the rescuing of that tribe of our fellow-creatures from the misery and persecution they are exposed to in the interior from Micmacs, and on the exterior by the Whites. With this impression on my mind I offer my services to the Government for the ensuing summer and I implore Your Excellency to lend me any assistance you may think proper. I cannot afford to do much at my own expense, having nothing but what I work for, the expenses of doing anything during the summer would be less than the winter, as it will not be safe ever to attempt going into their country with so small a crew as I had with me last winter. Still these expenses are much greater than I can afford, as nothing effectual can be expected to be done under £400. Unless Your Excellency should prefer sending an expedition on the service out of the fleet, in which case I would leave the woman at Your Excellency's disposal, but should I be appointed to cruise the summer for them, and which I could not do and find men and necessaries under £400, I have not the least doubt but that I shall, through the medium of the woman I now have, be enabled to open an intercourse with them, nor is it all improbable but that she will return with us again if she can to procure an infant child she left behind her. I beg to assure Your Excellency from my acquaintance with the bays and the place of resort for the Indians during the summer, that I am most confident of succeeding in the plan here laid down(29).

I have the honour to be,

Your Excellency's very humble

and obedient servant,

(signed) John Peyton, Jr.


May 27, 1819.

Resolutions of a Town Meeting respecting the Indians.

At the Court House (Charity School) Sunday, 30th May, 1819.

Mr. Forbes in the Chair.

Resolved as follows: --

1st. That the gentlemen present do presently open a subscription for the purpose of defraying the expense attending the prosecution of the object before stated.

2nd. That a Committee of Five gentlemen be appointed by ballot to adopt the necessary measures in order to open a friendly communication with the Native Indians in the course of the ensuing winter, in the event of that object not being effected during the ensuing summer, and that the Committee be empowered to add to their number as they may deem fit, and that any three of their number be competent to act.

3rd. That the Rev. Mr. Leigh be considered one of the Committee independent of the five to be elected by ballot, &c.

Letter to Rev. Mr. Leigh.



31st May, 1819.


I have to desire you will cause it to be made known in the manner you may deem most expedient, to the Tribes of Micmac Esquimaux and other Indians frequenting the Northern parts of this Island, -- That they are not under any presence /109/ to harass or do any injury whatever to the Native Indians; for if they should be detected in any practices of that nature they will surely be punished and prevented from resorting to the Island again. But as they are all equally under the protection of His Majesty's Government, it is on the contrary recommended to them to live peaceably with the Native Indians, and endeavour to effect an intercourse and traffic with each other.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

Rev. John Leigh,



31st May, 1819.


I am requested to communicate to Your Excellency the resolutions of a meeting of certain of the principal inhabitants of this town which took place yesterday for the purpose of promoting a friendly intercourse with the Native Indians of the Island; and to lay before you an outline of the plan formed by the Committee of Gentlemen appointed for the purpose of carrying their wishes into effect; and at the same time to express the united hope of all, that Your Excellency will regard their proceedings as a sincere proof of the pleasure with which they view the benevolent work which has been commenced under your auspices, of extending to the Indians of this island the blessings of peace and the protection of law.

Having been informed by the Rev. Mr. Leigh that the Indian woman was to return with him to Twillingate, and that Your Excellency would shortly after despatch a sloop of war to the same place for the purpose of communication with her country men, if possible, in the course of the summer, we cannot but sincerely sympathise in all those feelings which such an undertaking is naturally calculated to awaken, and we indulge in the heartfelt hope that it will be attended with all the success it so justly deserves, and as far as success may depend upon zeal and perseverance, we have the surest pledge in the character of the service to which the enterprise is committed. At the same time the great interest which we will take in the measure naturally suggests the apprehension of possible failure and it is principally with the view of providing for that event, should it unfortunately occur, that we have been led to form a plan for an expedition in the winter, upon a scale which with the benefit of past experience, and the countenance of Your Excellency, we are induced to hope, cannot entirely fail in its object.

It is proposed in consequence of the exposure of a winter expedition, to engage about thirty men at Twillingate, who, from being inured to privations, and accustomed to fatigue in the woods, are supposed to be better fitted for a winter campaign, than men of more regular habits of life. And with this view Mr. Leigh has promised to inform us of the best men for the occasion. At the fall of the year a certain number of persons in whom every confidence may be placed, will proceed from this place to Twillingate, with every suitable provision for the expedition, and being joined with the other party will proceed in a body up to the lake in the centre of the island where it is ascertained the Indians pitch their winter habitations. Upon meeting with the Natives they will deliver up the woman to her friends, as the offering of peace, and the best pledge of sincerity, together with such presents as may be deemed suitable, should they be able to induce two or three of the Chiefs to accompany them to Twillingate, they will return immediately, but should the Indians want confidence the party will secure themselves from attack, and remain some days in the country with the view of dissipating their doubts by daily acts of confidence and kindness.

As the success of every enterprise must in a principal degree depend upon the safe keeping of the Indian woman, we have to request that Your Excellency would /110/ be pleased to direct her to be delivered over to Mrs. Cockburn of Twillingate (the sister of Mr. Hart of London) or Mr. Burge, a respectable inhabitant of that place, where means will be provided for her instruction in as much of our language as time will allow, until the expedition may be ready to move in February or March.

Of course, Sir, all these arrangements are made in the contemplation of the possible event of not being able to effectuate any intercourse during the summer, and of its not being deemed proper to pursue the measure on the part of the Government in the winter. But in the meantime we are anxious to contribute our endeavours to promote the general object, and shall be most happy to be employed in any way that Your Excellency may think we can be useful.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) FRANCIS FORBES.(30)

His Excellency

Sir Charles Hamilton.

Capt. Glascock, H.M.S. Drake. Orders to proceed to the Northward to endeavour to return an Indian woman to her Tribe.

By Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart, Vice-Admiral of the Blue and Commander-in-chief of His Majesty's Ships and vessels employed and to be employed at and about the Island of Newfoundland, &c.

You are hereby required and directed to proceed without loss of time in His Majesty's Sloop Drake under your command to Greenspond, in Bonavista Bay, for the purpose of communication with His Majesty's Surveying vessel Sydney or the Scrub Tender, and on falling in with either you will put on board the stores and instruments brought out in the Drake for the surveyor, and discharge into her Mr. Payne, Midshipman appointed to the Sydney.

You will then proceed forthwith to Morton's Harbour in New World Island, and on passing the Harbour of Twillingate in the island of that name you will make the signal (by firing two guns) previously concerted on to the Rev. Mr. Leigh, who will meet you at Morton's Harbour with a female Indian who was recently taken and brought round to this place, and who it is an object of much interest and importance to return to her tribe, or to any of the settlements or wigwams of the Native Indians that may be seen on the coast during the summer, and you will concert with Mr. Leigh and Mr. Peyton, Jr., the measure best calculated for carrying this object into execution and act accordingly.

As the coast on which you are likely to find these Indians has never been surveyed, and is little known, but is represented as being very dangerous. You will leave His Majesty's Sloop at Morton's Harbour and proceed with your boats, entering such bays and rivers as may be most likely to be frequented by the Indians during the summer season. But this is not to prevent your proceeding in the Drake to some other port further to the Northward, if you can without unnecessary risk or hazard effect it with the assistance of any person acquainted with the coast. As the principal objects in view are to return the female Indian in question to her tribe and to establish a friendly communication with these aborigines, great care must be taken to select for this enterprise such persons of the crew as are most orderly and obedient, and every proper means you can suggest used to bring them to an interview, in doing which, as the greatest caution must be observed, it will be advisable to refrain from using fire-arms for any purpose before these objects are accomplished.

/111/ Notwithstanding these instructions, the best mode of returning this female Indian to her friends, and of effecting an amicable intercourse with them, must in a great degree depend upon local and unforeseen circumstances. It is therefore entirely left to your own discretion in conjunction with the Rev. Mr. Leigh, under the fullest reliance upon your care and attention to her while she is under your protection, but it would be advisable that you should take that gentleman and Mr. Peyton, Jr., with you in the boats, and none others except those who may be absolutely serviceable on such an expedition.

So soon as you shall have effected the object of these instructions, you will return immediately in the sloop you command to this port. Or in the event of your finding it impossible for you to return the female Indian without imminent risk to her or your own party before your provisions are exhausted you will consult with Mr. Leigh on the best method of providing for her until I am informed of the result of your efforts and return hither.

Before you leave Morton's Harbour, as directed in the former part of these instructions, you will attend to the directions contained on the accompanying letter marked No. 2.

Given under my hand on board the Sir Francis

Drake, in St. John's Harbour, the 3rd June, 1819.

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

To William Nugent Glascock, Esq.,

Commander of His Majesty's Sloop Drake.

By command of the Commander-in-Chief.

(signed) P. C. LEGEYT.

Order to Capt. Glascock to search for Indians.

NO. 2.



3rd June, 1819.


Adverting to the circumstances attending a journey undertaken by Mr. John Peyton, Jr., accompanied by his father and a party into the woods in the spring of this year for the purpose of endeavouring to recover some property which had been stolen from him during the last year, it appears that in a scuffle with some Native Indians, one of the latter fell -- and as the subject was during the stay of Mr. Peyton at St. John's brought before the Grand Jury, I send herewith a Copy of the Proceedings on that occasion, together with the copy of Mr. Peyton's Narrative, and I desire that before leaving Morton's Harbour with the female Indian as directed by my order of this date, you do in conjunction with the Rev. Mr. Leigh (Magistrate) call before you the persons engaged in that expedition, and take down their examinations touching this transaction, and if it should appear that any of the party are culpable you are to bring him or them to St. John's to take their trial in the Supreme Court for the same, with such witnesses as may be necessary to establish the fact.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

Captain Glascock, (Magistrate),

His Majesty's Sloop Drake.


List of Articles delivered to Capt. Glascock for the Indians.

NO. 1. List of Articles delivered to Captain Glascock of His Majesty's Sloop Drake for distribution among the Native Indians pursuant to the foregoing order -- viz.:

Blankets Double 30 in No.

Frocks Red 8 "

Cloaks 5 "

Looking-glasses, small 24 "

Knives 24 "

Strings of Beads 15 "

Dishes of Tin 3 sets of 6 Ea.

Small tin pots 12 in No.

Sail needles of sizes 72 "

Awls 24 "

(signed) C. HAMILTON


3 June, 1819.

NO. 2.

List of Presents intended for the Native Indians.

41 yds. Blanketing 14 lbs. Soap

17 1/2 yds. Red Baize 6 Pairs of Child's Hose

6 Single Hatchets 2 Lock Saws

6 " 6 Tin Pans

1 Doz. Clasp Knives 1 Tinder Box, complete

6 Boat's Kettles 1 Rand of Salmon Twine

1 Doz. Large Clasp Knives 3 Doz. Trout Hooks fitted

1 Doz. Men's Sanquahan Hose 400 Sewing Needles

6 Teapots with covers 4 lbs. Bohea Tea

6 tin Pints 6 " Shingle Nails

6 Hammers 12 " Mixed "

5 Pairs Scissors 2 " Thread of colours

1 Pair large ditto 1 Iron Saucepan (gal)

2 Doz. Iron tablespoons 1 " (quart)

1 gross Middle G. Hooks 12 Half pint tin cups

2 Doz. Long Lines 12 Pair of Blankets of Sizes

1 Rand of Ganging Twine 2 Doz. Red Shirts

1 Doz. Rands of Sewing Twine 30 lbs. Loaf Sugar

3 gin Traps 1 Iron pot

1 Pitsaw Files 9 1/2 lbs. Cheese

1 Doz. Flat Files 1 Doz. Rack Combs

3 Tartan Caps 1 Oak Cask

4 Red Caps 1 Cask Butter

Copy. P. C. Geyt, Secy.



3 June, 1819.


You are aware that before you left St. John's a meeting of the inhabitants took place respecting Shendoreth,(31) the Native woman. The gentlemen who form the Committee appointed on that occasion have, through the Chief Justice, laid the /113/ outline of their plan before the Governor and as that plan is chiefly formed upon the possibility of failure in the summer expedition they have expressed their wishes in such an event that the Indian may be delivered over to Mrs. Cockburn, of Twillingate (the sister of Mr. Hart of London) or Mr. Burge, a respectable inhabitant of that place, to whom they will send instructions. I am therefore desired by the Governor to communicate the same for your information in consulting with Capt. Glascock respecting her disposal in the event of your not succeeding in the desired object.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

(signed) P. C. LEGEYT,


Rev. John Leigh,


To the Chief Justice in reply respecting the intended communication with

the Native Indians.



5th June, 1819.


I have been favoured with your letter of the 31st May enclosing the Resolutions of a meeting of the principal inhabitants of St. John's, and I feel great pleasure in observing the liberality with which they have come forward in the cause of humanity and to the establishment of an intercourse with the Native Indians of this Island, and particularly their anxious solicitude towards the female herself, who was the immediate object of their meeting. I trust, however, that the measures I have been induced to adopt will be the means of returning her in safety to her tribe, and that her reception amongst us may produce the long desired object of an intercourse which cannot fail to afford them many of the comforts and benefits of civilization.

I have communicated to Capt. Glascock and the Rev. Mr. Leigh the wishes of the meeting, respecting the Indian woman being left under the care of Mrs. Cockburn in the event of their not being able to return her to her friends, as from the total want of the means of communication much has necessarily been left to their prudence and local knowledge in all cases that could not be absolutely foreseen.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

Francis Forbes, Esq.,

Chief Justice.

Report of Capt. Glascock.



20th July, 1819.


I beg leave to report my proceedings relative to the manner in which I have executed your Order of the 3rd ult. since I last communicated with you from Morton's Harbour dated the 11th June. From that period to the 14th I corresponded with the Rev. Mr. Leigh on the subject of the Indian female joining at /114/ Morton's Harbour, when he, accompanied by her, arrived for the purpose of delivering her up to my charge. She being then in a delicate state of health, and as Mr. Peyton, Jr., would be otherwise occupied by private business until the 17th ult. I took the opportunity of the lapse of time to open a Surrogate Court to transact the necessary business of the District. From having run through the ice on the 6th I had reason to suppose the cutwater and copper about the bows was damaged, and from the carpenter reporting to me he could repair the same by heaving the brig down three or four streaks, I, in consequence of his report lightened her of her guns, stores and provisions and hove her partly down alongside a schooner on the 15th ult.

The distance from Morton's Harbour to that line of coast on which the Indians frequent during the summer being too great for boats to communicate with His Majesty's Brig, I found it necessary to survey the coast from the above to Fortune Harbour, which port appeared to me to be the safest and most convenient for the Drake to remain during the absence of the majority of her crew who would be employed in the boats. On the 17th I sailed for Fortune Harbour and arrived there in the evening of that day, having on board Mr. Peyton and the Indian female, and on the 18th after issuing the Edict marked No. 1, I proceeded with the cutter and gig accompanied by Mr. Peyton and the Indian female to New Bay, and returned on the 20th without having seen any symptoms of newly cut paths to lead me to suppose the Indians had yet visited the coast.

On the 22nd ult., accompanied by Mr. Peyton, I proceeded in the cutter up the Bay and River Exploits taking the precaution on the night of the 23rd to row with muffled oars as far as the lower waterfall(32) would allow a boat to reach, and at dawn on the morning of the 24th I entered the woods with Mr. Peyton in search of the wigwams, but found none except those in which the Indians had resided in the last summer. After having rowed a Night Guard from the 23rd to the 25th I returned to the brig, confident the Indians had not fixed their abode in the lower part of the Exploits for a distance of forty-five miles which I thoroughly examined.

The Indian woman being indisposed I sent the Master on a week's cruise in the cutter for the purpose of making a sketch in order to enable us to row a Night Guard instead of wandering about it by day for want of local information as to the extent of those Bays most frequented by the Indians. He returned on the 4th instant, for the particulars of his cruise I refer Your Excellency to his log.

On the 28th ult. I again proceeded up the River Exploits with Mr. Peyton in the gig a report (which proved false) having reached me of the Indians having arrived at the lower waterfall wigwams of last year, I as before rowed up at night with muffled oars, with the hope of surprising the Indians before daylight. But again, to my disappointment, after the boat's crew having suffered much from every description of insect, so much as to cause blindness. I left Exploits for a new line of coast to the Southward of the above river called Indian Arm, a distance of forty miles, and returned as per log on the 30th sick with three of the boat's crew.

The Indians having been seen in Badger Bay, a distance of forty miles to the Westward of Fortune Harbour, I despatched the first lieutenant in the gig, accompanied by Mr. Peyton, on the morning of the 1st instant, giving him the written Order marked No. 2. On the 5th instant finding myself equal to duty, I left Fortune Harbour in the cutter, accompanied by the Indian woman for Seal Bay, SW. distant 20 miles. About 7 in the evening of that day during a heavy thunder squall, I perceived a canoe to windward of me a mile, crossing from the Western Shore, but before I could come up with her, she disappeared round a point throwing overboard a paddle and a few live birds. From the first moment of my seeing her to the time she disappeared occupied a lapse of time of twenty minutes, and from the circumstance of not having seen her on the beach where the Indians landed, authorizes me to suppose they have some mode of concealing their boats, either by /115/ sinking them in the deep water, or folding them up in a portable shape for the convenience of conveying them quickly through the woods.

I immediately landed my party, the Indian female at the time remaining quiet in the cutter exhibiting an apathetic indifference as to the result of the fate of these unfortunate savages. I asked her on my return (not having seen any traces of either canoe or Indians) whether she would follow them in the woods, or remain with me, the latter choice she preferred, and from the conversation I had with her, I have every reason to believe she never wishes to join them, unless either brought to the tribe she was taken from originally, or delivered safe up to some of the larger settlements of these aborigines.

At sunset on the 5th I left Seal Bay with an intention to enter it again at night so as to be exactly on the spot where the Indians landed by dawn of the morning of the 6th. I arrived there at that time and having examined well the woods about it, I determined upon withdrawing the three boats employed in the three Bays to preclude the possibility of the Indians supposing our intention was to harass them. On the boats joining me I took advantage of Mr. Peyton's local knowledge of an Indian path which communicated from Charles' Brook, River Exploits, to the Southern Arm of New Bay, to concert a plan with Lieut. Munbee to form a junction with my party at a pond off that brook, where I should be at 2 precisely on the morning of the 9th. In order to effect this the boats were unavoidably separated from each other a distance of thirty-three miles, merely to cross a neck of land about a mile and a half in breadth. At the appointed time each party entered the woods, taking the Indian paths on both sides, so that in the event of any settlement having been established there (as is customary every summer) we must inevitably by the plan adopted have surprised them before daylight. Our hopes, however, were disappointed by finding the old wigwams totally unoccupied.

From the circumstance of the Indians having deserted this favourite abode in which they have resided for the last seven successive summers, it appears almost conclusive that it is not their intention to visit the River Exploits so soon after the many depredations they committed in it last year. This conclusion may be strengthened by the probability of their dreading a premeditated punishment, a consequence their own guilt might teach them to expect, added to the fact of Mr. Peyton's having taken an Indian female from their tribe; I returned on the evening of the 9th, as also did Lieut. Munbee.

On the 10th I directed Lieut. Munbee, accompanied by Mr. Peyton and the Indian woman, to proceed into Badger and Seal Bays, and land with her together with Mr. Peyton, soliciting her to convey them to the neighbouring wigwams, which she accordingly did through paths which they never could have discovered without her assistance. She gave them to understand the Indians had been there some few days back, but in consequence of her not having had a personal interview with them, she could not possibly be prevailed on to remain there. Lieut. Munbee, after having left a few presents in the wigwams, returned with her and the two boats on the 14th.

Thus, Sir, have I accounted to you of the proceedings of the boats from the 18th June to the 14th July, during which time a continual Night Guard has been rowed for upwards of ninety miles along the coast, and the most zealous and active energy manifested by the officers and ship's company I ever witnessed.

They have suffered much in consequence of being exposed for upwards of a week at a time in open boats, but custom would have seasoned them to this, could they have taken their natural rest by sleep, of which they were totally deprived by the tormenting tortures of every description of insects which infest this coast.

I cannot, Sir, conclude this detail without mentioning to you the steady, zealous and ever active conduct of Mr. Peyton, Jr., whose exertions were unexampled to accomplish the desired purpose for which he accompanied me. His whole time has been devoted to this service, and I don't hesitate to pronounce it to be my opinion that Your Excellency could not have selected a more proper person to assist me in the execution of your orders.

/116/ Not having many days bread on board, I thought it expedient to return forthwith to St. John's, delivering up on the 16th instant the Indian female into the charge of the Rev. Mr. Leigh, who came on board off Twillingate for that purpose and I this day beg leave to report the arrival of H. M. Sloop under my command now safely moored in this harbour.

I have the honour, etc.,

(signed) WM. NUGT. GLASCOCK.


Instructions to Commander Buchan, R. N.

By Sir C. Hamilton, Bart., Vice Admiral of the Blue, and Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels employed and to be employed at and about the Island of Newfoundland, &c.

You are hereby required and directed to proceed in His Majesty's Sloop Grasshopper under command to Twillingate where you will deliver to the Rev. Mr. Leigh the accompanying letter respecting an Indian woman taken in the spring of this year, whose return to her tribe (the aborigines of this island) it is an object highly desirable to accomplish, and you will therefore after consultation with him take such measures for affecting this purpose as in your judgment may appear to be most likely to lead to a favourable result; but as those measures must almost wholly depend upon local circumstances and considerations, it is entirely left to your discretion to adopt such course of proceeding as the information you will obtain may suggest; you will remain on the service herein directed until the decreasing state of your provisions shall render it necessary to return to St. John's. If, on the contrary you should be of opinion that the object of returning this Indian before the winter season is impracticable, you will return forthwith to this place, making such arrangement for her disposal until that period as under all circumstances you may judge most convenient and desirable.

You will be supplied with some articles of use and interest to the Native Indians (a list of which you will receive herewith) which you will dispose of as may appear most advantageous in availing yourself of any occasion that may be presented of a friendly intercourse with those people, or that may open the door to so desirable an object.

You will, if it should not interfere with other arrangements, call at Trinity on your return to St. John's, to transact such Court business as may be brought before you, and to enquire into such of the petitions herewith enclosed as opportunity may offer.

Given under my Hand on board the Sir

Francis Drake in St. John's

Harbour, the 8th August, 1819.

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

To David Buchan, Esq.

Commander of His Majesty's Sloop,


By command of the Commander-in-Chief.

(signed) P. C. Legeyt.

/117/ List of Articles delivered to Captain Buchan of His Majesty's Sloop Grasshopper for distribution among the Native Indians pursuant to the foregoing order, viz.: --

Looking-glasses 27 in No.

Knives 24 "

Strings of Beads 9 "

Dishes of Tin 3 sets of 6 ea.

Small Tin Pots 12 in No.

Boiling Kettles & Pots 5 "

Smaller " 6 "

Sail needles of sizes 72 "

Awl blades 36 "

Salmon Twine 6 lbs.

Ganging Twine 7 Rands.

Small Cod Lines 12 in No.

Thread 3 lbs.

(signed) C. HAMILTON

Vice-Admiral & Governor.

St. John's, Newfoundland,

8 August, 1819.

Instructions to Capt. David Buchan in his 2nd Expedition during

the winter of 1819-20.

By Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart., Vice- Admiral of the White and Commander-in- Chief of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels employed and to be employed at and about the Island of Newfoundland, &c.

Whereas the establishment of an amicable intercourse with the Native Indians of this Island is an object to which my attention is particularly directed by His Majesty's instructions, and is highly to be desired as affording future means of extending to that miserable people the blessings of civilization. And whereas I have great confidence that from your known zeal, prudence and perseverance joined to the advantages arising from previous local knowledge gained by you on a former expedition of the same nature, the best hopes may be entertained of a successful result to an enterprise of so much interest. You are therefore hereby required and directed to complete the provisions of His Majesty's Sloop Grasshopper under your command to ten months, and proceed the first favourable opportunity to Twillingate where you will receive on board the Indian woman with the circumstances of whose detention in the spring of this year you are already acquainted and the returning of whom to her tribe, is under every consideration of humanity, an object of special solicitude, and may also prove of the utmost utility in facilitating the ultimate end of these orders. You will then go on to the River Exploits and there take up such a situation as you may consider most appropriate and convenient in which to secure His Majesty's Sloop for the winter; when your attention will first be directed to cutting wood for housing her in and preparing the additional apparel and materials peculiarly adapted to the journey into the interior, for which purpose you will be supplied with whatever you may consider and point out as necessary or desirable, not only as regards the preservation of the health of your people in general, but as may tend to the accommodation and comforts in particular of the party who may accompany you.

You will also be provided with such articles as are considered of use and interest to the Native Indians, of which you will dispose of in such manner as you may deem best calculated to answer the intention.

/118/ With the knowledge and experience which you already possess, you may yet consider it desirable to be accompanied by some steady persons who from having lived long in the vicinity of the summer haunts of the Indians may be presumed to be well informed on many local points and you are therefore authorised to bear as supernumeraries for victuals only on the books of the Grasshopper any such persons as you may conceive may be of service to you in that character, provided that the number you may so bear shall not exceed the number of men she may be short of her established compliment.

Having secured the ship for the winter and completed the necessary preparations for the journey, you will set out with such number of officers and men as you may consider advisable, adequately supplied with provisions and armed for defence according to your judgment and proceed in quest of the Native Indians with the object already promised, of returning to her people the Indian woman beforementioned and endeavouring by the best means in your power to open and establish a friendly intercourse with them.

In an undertaking of this nature it is impossible to give any specific instructions, where so much must depend on adventitious circumstances, but in leaving the execution of this enterprise wholly to the dictates of your own mind, with the object always in view of treating amicably with this people, I have the fullest confidence that in the sound exercise of your judgment and discretion the best hopes of a favourable result may be entertained.

As soon as the season is sufficiently advanced you will return to St. John's unless you should consider that your remaining longer in the Exploits would be advantageous to the service in which you are employed, in which case you will transmit to me an account of your proceedings by the earliest opportunity.

Given under my Hand on board the Sir Francis Drake in St. John's Harbour the 22nd September, 1819.

(signed) C. HAMILTON.

To David Buchan, Esq.,

Commander of His Majesty's Sloop GRASSHOPPER,

By command of the Commander-in-Chief,

(signed) P. C. Legeyt.


September 10, 1819.

To His Excellency

Sir Charles Hamilton.

I humbly beg leave to address Your Excellency stating that in the month of April 1817, I was plundered by the Red Indians in the bottom of White Bay, property to the amount of fifty pounds taken from the winter house, and the Micmac Indians infest White Bay in that manner that makes it impossible for me or any other person settled here to make a life of it by catching fur. I have 200 traps and used to catch three hundred pounds of a winter, but now I do not catch forty or fifty pounds in consequence of the Micmacs infesting that Bay. They also infest the Bay of Islands, Boon Bay and the Bay of St. George's. I am informed by those that live there that they do a great deal of injury to the fur catchers in that quarter. Their principal resort is in St. George's Bay where they are in the habit of selling their fur to Mr. Philip Le Chewy, a Jersey Merchant. I am fully convinced that if an order was sent to the principal people of the above places, it would deter them in future, the name of a Man of War would make them keep off. If Your Excellency thinks proper to send any communications to the principal people of the above Bays, I will be the bearer, as I am in the habit of crossing the Island, the names of the principal /119/ people living in the different bays are Ralph Blake, Bay of Islands, Philip Le Arvy, St. George's Bay, and John Payne, of Boon Bay. I am fully persuaded that if those are empowered it will put a stop finally to their visiting the Island, which is much desired by all who are concerned in the fur business.

I am,

Your Excellency's

most obedient and humble servant,


(signed) JOHN X GALE



(signed) Henry Knight

" Jno. Sarrel

Colonial Correspondence. Newfoundland, Vol. 39.

Despatch from Governor Hamilton to Earl Bathurst.



Sept. 27th, 1819.

My Lord,

With reference to the 11th article of the general instructions of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to me as Governor of Newfoundland, relative to the Native Indians of this Island. I have the honour to lay before your Lordship a statement of occurrences which I should have communicated at an earlier period, had I not hoped that from the measures I adopted on my first knowledge of the subject, I should at the same time have had to announce that the result had answered my expectations. Such however was not the case -- but subsequent considerations have induced me to pursue a plan which I have a confident hope may essentially promote and ultimately effectuate the benevolent object of the instructions above mentioned the protection and civilization of that unfortunate Tribe.

The circumstances to which I allude are briefly these. A respectable person of the name of Peyton, who carries on considerable Salmon Fisheries in the River Exploits, and who is also a conservator of the Peace, had for the last four years been greatly annoyed and suffered extensive injury in his fishing Establishments, evidently (from traces which could not be mistaken) occasioned by the Indians, who, taking advantage of the temporary absence of his servants carried away or damaged his property to that degree that he was induced at last to go into the interior, with the view if not of recovering a part to endeavour by an interview to show that he was ready to barter with them for any articles of which they might stand in need, and he accordingly set forward on the 1st of March of this year, accompanied by his father and eight of his own men, and proceeded into the interior. Upon the 5th day on a frozen lake of some extent, he came in sight of a party of Indians who immediately ran off. Mr. Peyton however, by throwing away his arms, and making signs of an amicable nature, induced one to stop, who upon his coming up proved to be a woman, and who interchanged with himself and his men, such expressions of a friendly disposition as appeared to be perfectly understood by her. The other Indians however did not seem to possess the same peaceable sentiments, but approaching in increased numbers from different parts of the lake, laid hands on some of Mr. Peyton's men, when a scuffle ensued, in the course of which it is to be regretted that one of the Indians fell by a musket ball at the moment when the life of Mr. Peyton Senr., whom the Indian had seized by the throat, was in imminent danger. The others then dispersed, and Mr. Peyton returned accompanied by the woman, and proceeded immediately to the island of Twillingate in the vicinity of his establishment, where he placed her under the care of the Revd. Mr. Leigh Episcopal Missionary, who, upon the opening of the season came with her to St. John's to receive my instructions.

/120/ The circumstances of the transactions on the lake were by my desire laid before and minutely investigated by the Grand Jury, who were of opinion that the party were fully justified under all the circumstances in acting as they did, on the defensive.

I mention this as a proof to Your Lordship that no wanton act of cruelty was committed or attempted by Mr. Peyton or his men.

This female appeared to be about 23 years of age, of a gentle and interesting disposition, acquiring and retaining without much difficulty any words she was taught; in the course of her residence at Twillingate Mr. Leigh ascertained that she has a child 3 or 4 years old. It therefore became, under every feeling of humanity, independent of all other considerations, an object in my mind to restore her to her tribe; and I accordingly with this view sent a small sloop of war to that part with orders to her commander to proceed to the summer haunts of the Indians, and endeavour to fall in with some of them. From this attempt however he returned unsuccessful, not having met with any. Such was the state of the case, when the opportune arrival on this station of Captain Buchan in the Grasshopper who had before been employed on a winter expedition in search of the Indians (of the particulars of which Your Lordship is already in possession) determined me to avail myself of his voluntary service in an endeavour to return the Indian woman, and to effectuate an object for which he is so eminently qualified, as well from his previous experiences as from his cool judgment, zeal, perseverance, and conciliatory conduct, and when the condition of this miserable people, subject to the wanton attacks of the Micmac and other tribes of Indians frequenting and traversing this Island, who have an inveterate aversion to them is considered. I hope the measures I have been induced to adopt for their protection and with the view of obtaining their confidence and bringing about a friendly intercourse with them, will meet with Your Lordship's approbation.

Having made the necessary arrangements, Capt. Buchan sailed on the 25th inst., under orders of which I have the honour to enclose a copy.

The additional clothing for his crew, peculiarly requisite in such an undertaking and the necessary articles of traffic or presents for the Indians have occasioned an expense which I shall have the honour of laying before Your Lordship with my accounts for the present year.

I have the honour to be with great respect,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient humble servant,


Colonial Correspondence. Newfoundland, Vols. 40 to 48.


28th June 1820.

Governor Hamilton to Earl Bathurst.

Encloses Capt. Buchan's account of his journey in search of the Native Indians. The presence of the Indian woman had led them to hope for amicable intercourse with her tribe, and her unfortunate death may have a bad effect. However the conciliatory measures used by Capt. Buchan in the disposal of her remains will, he hopes diminish any hostile feeling.

An Officer of H. M. Sloop Drake has used fire-arms, during an attempt to fall in with some of the Indians in their summer haunts. This was a direct violation of orders. Believes he acted through an error in judgment.

/121/ Captain Buchan's Report of 2nd Expedition.



10th March, 1820.

Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart.

Commander in Chief &c.


My letter of the 8th of October stated up to that period the progress that had been made in preparation for wintering at this anchorage; and that Your Excellency may be put in the earliest possession of the more prominent events that have since occurred, I avail myself of an opportunity of conveyance to Fogo to state with brevity such particulars only as seem necessary to convey a general outline of my proceedings.

It was not until the 25th of November that I received Mary March, the Indian female, conducted hither by Mr. John Peyton Jr. and notwithstanding that my first interview in August led me to conclude that she was in delicate state of health, I could not but grieve to see the progress that a rapid decline had made in the interval, and I observed that she had imprudently thrown aside the flannels which during the summer she wore next to her body, and was otherwise thinly clad. Warm dresses were now provided for her and a woman to attend carefully on her; it however soon became too apparent that even should the skill and great care of the surgeon protract her existence through an inclement winter, it was utterly impossible that she could be in a state to travel into the interior; it therefore became a matter of such solicitude to commence the journey as soon as the weather would permit with the view if possible of opening a communication with her countrymen, and of inducing some of them to accompany me to her, as a meeting must in its consequence have operated most powerfully towards effecting the desirable object of producing to those poor creatures the blessings arising from civilization, every preparation was consequently made. She often would express to Mr. Peyton and myself that we should not find the Indians, and said "gun no good" but would never hear of us going in without her, at the same time giving us to understand that she only wanted her child and that she would return with us. Nature gradually sunk, but she always continued cheerful until the 8th of January, when she suddenly expired at 2 P.M. A few hours before she had been looking over the track of my former journey which I had frequently got her to do, and which she latterly understood, and took delight in speaking of the wigwams. A short period before her death she was seized with a sort of suffocation, and sent for me and Mr. Peyton who had that morning gone for a walk, she soon recovered and appeared as usual, but I had not left her more than a quarter of an hour when being again summoned, I hastened to her and beheld her lifeless, her last wish appears to have been to see Mr. Peyton, and she ceased to respire with his name upon her lips. She seemed always much satisfied when he was near and looked up to him as her protector. Her mild and gentle manners and great patience under much suffering endeared her to all, and her dissolution was deeply lamented by us.

As the melancholy event had not been anticipated, it left me without instructions how to act, and as it was now out of my power to return to St. John's, I considered it still desirable to prosecute the original design, and many reasons determined me to have the corpse conveyed to the place of her former residence.

The unusual openness of the season prevented my venturing to put this into practice until the 21st of January, when accompanied by Mr. John Peyton Jr. (of whose unremitting zeal and attention and that of my officers no expressions of mine can do sufficient justice, but I shall feel it my duty to speak my sentiments more fully in a subsequent communication) I set out, the party fifty in number were amply provided with every necessary for forty days, that could with propriety be taken on such a service. In expectation of meeting considerable difficulty between this and the first /122/ overfall, twenty five miles from hence, an auxiliary party of ten men and an Officer was selected to accompany us so far, even with this additional reinforcement the impediments were so many and in some cases almost insurmountable that it was not until the 26th that we reached the Indian path only one mile beyond the lower part of the fall. On the 27th the auxiliary party set out on their return with the addition of one man that had got slightly burnt in the feet. We were until the 29th employed repairing the sledges which had become much shattered, and others totally useless were replaced with catamarans. We must otherwise have been delayed here, for until this morning there was not sufficient ice attached to the banks of this part of the river for conducting the sledges.

Former experience led me to expect that the greatest difficulties and most laborious part of our route was now over, but new and more serious obstacles occurred. The ice which covered the surface of the river, from former eruptions was exceedingly treacherous. On the 28th after halting the party for the day, I proceeded half a mile on to a point to observe the state of the ice beyond, when it suddenly lifted several feet attended with a rumbling noise, and the immediate overflowing of the ice near the bank made my return somewhat difficult. On the 31st many of the party with myself fell in, precautionary measures were instantly taken to prevent frostburn, and was put up on the South side of the river, about two miles and a half below the Badger Bay Ponds, and twenty-three from the Indian path.

Mr. Waller and Mr. Peyton with one man were sent forward to a point a mile off to examine its sufficiency for the party to continue on in the morning, they crossed to the other side and Mr. Peyton ascended a tree to obtain a more commanding view; just as they obtained this position the ice appeared in great agitation, and fearful of being totally cut off from us they made a desperate push to recross, the ice now ran rapidly, the pans coalesced and receded with great velocity, leaving them in great jeopardy, but they at length providentially reached the shore.

Towards the evening the river became pent and burst with repeated noise, not unlike the discharge of Artillery; it was with the utmost difficulty we were able in time to get our sledges which had been secured on a bed of Alders, sufficiently into the woods to ensure their safety, as their former position was so quickly overflown that several of the bread packs upon them were unavoidably got wet. There being no immediate prospect of quitting this place, a store was thrown up for the reception of our provisions, ammunition, &c. whilst some of our sledges might undergo repair to enable us to proceed on. The Catamarans were broken to pieces, not being of a construction calculated for the description of travelling we had to contend with, which compelled me most unwillingly to send back a Midshipman and thirteen men, the necessary supplies of provisions, axes, &c. were got in readiness and on the morning of the 2nd of February they proceeded down the banks of the river, two of this party were considerably frost-burnt in the feet, and a third had a severe cut with an axe in the foot. They nevertheless got safe on board on the 6th. Four sledges out of twelve were all that could be put in a condition to proceed on, and lest these should give out, knapsacks were provided for each individual, in order to be able at anytime to abandon them. The frost had been very severe for three days which fastened the river above, where we reached by passing over two necks of burnt woods for three miles. On the 6th after halting for the night, Mr. Peyton with a reconnoitring party observed evident signs of Indian snow-shoes going upwards but were soon lost on hard ice, and although a light fall of snow took place during the night a feint trace was visible next morning. The river was still very feeble, and a quantity of bread got wet by one of the sledges falling in.

On the 7th at noon we got to the north side about four miles below the second overfall, which have nothing but burnt woods on its banks, obliged me in the face of great danger to cross to the south shore to reach a place fit to stop at for the night, to do so we were under the necessity of conveying each package separately about a mile and a half, the ice in many places so fragile as to admit with risk but one at a time to pass: every appearance indicated the probability of its again bursting and /123/ this was soon demonstrated. Mr. Peyton and myself leaving the party to prepare for the night proceeded on to the overfall, where from the deep and wide rents in the ice of great thickness, it appeared that not more than two hours before there must have been a great convulsion, the body of water that occasioned this found vent under, so that the surface was but little overflowed.

On the 8th after crossing this part and cutting a path through the woods, we ascended until reaching the level above the cataract, we again trimmed along the bank, many places having no more ice attached than merely to admit the sledges to pass.

On the spot where I had before found the small storehouse, was now erected a very large one with wall-plates; it was uncovered and appeared to have been left in haste and much disorder; coming opposite we found a raft of thirty feet in length and four and a half broad, this was formed of three logs of dry asp, eighteen inches in diameter, and secured together with much ingenuity. A great quantity of deer skins, some paunches, liver and lights were found concealed in the snow, several wigwams appeared to have been inhabited in the early part of the winter, and one in particular must have had a fireplace in it a few days before. The marks of the sledges were yet distinctly seen, in which they had conveyed the venison, and some of that meat was scattered about some way further on. The Indians having had recourse to rafts, and the hurried manner in which they appeared to have removed their means of subsisting for the winter, strongly marked on my mind the improbability of at this time accomplishing an interview with them, and I could not but lament the unguarded proceedings of one of the officers employed in the Drake's Boats, after the recent and unhappy occurrence that took place at the taking of the Indian female which must have convinced this untutored race that a plan was laid for their destruction, it is not unlikely that they discovered us on our approach to the Badger Bay water; the dread of our intentions no doubt stimulated them and our long detention in that vicinity gave them time for the removal of their stores, and every appearance tended to convince that it must have been effected about that period. I shall here remark that a deposit of provisions was left at the great overfall to cover our retreat from that to the Brig, and at our store two miles below Badger Bay River, everything was left but what was considered essential to carry with us which consisted of nineteen days provisions, the remains of Mary March, and requisite presents to make our visit acceptable in the event of our falling in with the tribe; at the fireplace just below the second overfall, distant from Badger Bay River twelve miles and a half, was also left two days provisions to succour our return to the store just mentioned. Leaving the party to prepare a resting place for the night, Mr. Peyton accompanied me four miles further and returned at dusk. The water oozed over the narrow sheet of ice that had adhered to the bank where the Indians hauled their sledges, from which circumstance all trace of their route was soon lost, it was not however, observed that the bank had in any place been ascended by them. The next morning continuing our journey, encountering many obstructions from the open state of the river, after abandoning one of the four sledges and passing several wigwams, we at length on the 11th reached the great Pond, a distance of twenty-two miles from the second overfall, which we crosssed in a NE. direction for five miles, and at three O'Clock arrived at the former residence of our deceased friend. The frame of two wigwams remained entire, the third had been used as part of the materials in the erection of a cemetery of curious construction where lay the body no doubt of the Indian that had fallen, and with him all his worldly treasure, amongst other things was linen with Mr. Peyton's name on it, everything that had been disturbed was carefully replaced, and this sepulchre again closed up, some additional strengthening had been put to it this fall. The coffin which was conveyed to this spot with so much labour was unpacked and found uninjured, it was neatly made and handsomely covered with red cloth ornamented with copper trimmings and breastplate. The corpse, which was carefully secured and decorated with the many trinkets that had been presented to her, was in a most perfect state, and so little was the /124/ change in the features that imagination would fancy life not yet extinct. A neat tent that was brought for the purpose was pitched in the area of one of the wigwams, and the coffin covered with a brown cloth pall, was suspended six feet from the ground in a manner to prevent its receiving injury from any animals; in her cossack were placed all such articles as belonged to her that could not be contained in the coffin, the presents for the Indians were also deposited within the tent as well as the sledge on which they had been carried, and all properly secured from the weather.

A footing was seen here and considered that of a man; these wigwams were situated on the North-West side four or five miles from the North-Eastern extremity of the pond by which Mr. Peyton formerly entered and nearly opposite to where I found the natives. Not doubting that ere long this place would be visited, and that the steps that had been taken might make some favourable impression I resumed my journey along the North-West side something more than forty-six miles, and nearly in a West direction, when our view became obstructed by the intersection of two points from the opposite shores; here I halted at 2 P.M. on the 14th and despatched Mr. Waller accompanied by Mr. Peyton and a party to reach the extremity of the pond, if possible to do so and regain me by night. In our way to this place several places were observed where the natives had formerly resided and in one instance a temporary wigwam, such as would have been erected by a person on a march, had very lately been occupied, and I was induced to believe that in many spots were to be seen the almost obliterated impression of rackets and moccasins, but so indistinct as to make it extremely doubtful; these led to the eastward. At nightfall the party returned having reached the extremity of the pond which extended about five miles further on in a west and west by North direction, and terminated by a river fifty yards wide which continued in the same course as the pond; a wigwam was observed near its termination where still remained the apparatus for killing deer and preserving the venison and skins which had been used late in the fall. It was remarked that the Southern side of a ridge of elevated mountains on the opposite side to our fireplace, extending in a West North West direction, was clothed in snow whilst those parts facing the North were bare, this indicated our near approach to the sea, but the scarcity of my provisions and still more some of the party being unwell, forbade following my strong desire to ascertain this point, I therefore reluctantly yielded to the necessity of returning and with the rising Sun the following morning began to retrace our steps. At noon on the 16th we reached the head of the river Exploits the only one receiving its water from the great Pond, though several disembogue into it. My intention had been to return by a chain of marshes connected with the Eastern end of the pond and leading to the river halfway between its head and the first overfall; but increasing indisposition of several of the party amongst whom was Mr. Peyton, lame in one foot, and being left with only two days provisions rendered it expedient to lose no time in falling back on our deposits, we accordingly retreated down the river and slept on the 17th at our former fireplace opposite the Indians store, where we discovered a second raft similar to that before mentioned, which had escaped observation in going up from being covered with snow. A trap belonging to Mr. Peyton found here was with some arrows suspended to a pole, and a red flag left displayed to attract notice. This was done at several places, and an Union Jack was shown at the tent that contained the coffin. On the 18th after winding along the banks and taking to the woods occasionally below the waterfall, we were enabled to cross to the South side some distance beyond our deposit, for the river had opened where it was formerly pent. A party was despatched to bring down the provisions, whilst the rest halted to take refreshments, and on their return we again proceeded, and by the 19th reached the store, where commenced preparations for extending the journey along the Badger Bay waters. The following day Mr. Stanly midshipman with 13 men including all those that were indisposed was directed to proceed down to the brig by easy stages. Mr. Peyton's feet had got so much better that he made one of my party on our new route which we began on the 21st, entered upon the Badger /125/ Bay waters at 10 A.M. and soon discovered the track of a racket and sledge, but unfortunately could not trace it to any distance; we passed several uninhabited wigwams and a quiver that had lately been placed on the stump of a tree. We continued to follow up a succession of ponds laying generally in a ENE. direction, passed cutting of trees and other Indian marks; but none that appeared to be very recent until entering the fifth pond, where we found a tree upon a projecting point just above a cataract, about forty feet in height, the bark of which was stripped off leaving only a small tuft on the top and from that downwards were painted alternate circles of red and white, resembling wide hoops. There was also a temporary wigwam, and the whole had the appearance of a place of observation. Having penetrated four miles into the seventh pond and twenty-four miles from our first entrance into these waters we crossed a ridge and took to a chain of marshes and woods and on the evening of the 25th reached a furrier's tilt of Mr. Peyton situatead on the New Bay Great Pond distant from the seventh pond before mentioned twenty miles ESE. nearly one day's march from Peter's Arm.

Desirous of gaining all information possible connected with the natives, on the morning of the 26th having previously seen Mr. Waller with the rest of the party on his way to the Brig, I proceeded with Mr. Peyton and two men only towards New Bay, and following the run of a river connected with ponds and marshes, &c. making nearly a NE. course for twelve miles we reached at midnight Mr. Rousells house in the SW. Arm of New Bay, but not finding him at home we hastened our departure on Sunday morning the 27th for the ship, as rain and a rapid thaw had now set in. After five miles of very heavy travelling we reached Mr. Skinner's South Arm, New Bay, and remained there until Monday, when, after crossing ridges, woods and marshes we came out on the Exploits opposite to Mr. Peyton's establishment at Lower Sandy Point, five miles below Peter's Arm, and arrived on board the next morning after an absence of forty days. Found that Mr. Waller and his party had reached the Brig on the day he left me; Mr. Stanly from the weak state of his men that were with him did not arrive until the following day. Circumstances had obliged him to leave behind most of the stores. I trust, notwithstanding the haste with which this narrative is drawn up that the occurrences are set forth sufficiently clear to enable Your Excellency to appreciate the infinite labour and difficulty attending this journey and that nothing has been omitted within my power for the attainment of the desirable object of my mission, this plain detail will enable Your Excellency to determine if it still be an object to keep me employed longer on this service. In order to be perfectly ready for its continuance, I have two gigs finished, and two more will be in readiness ere the ice enables me to move.

It is impossible for me to hold out success when so much depends on fortuitous circumstances but I will venture to say that it is my opinion that there would be a great probability of it by following up the operations without intermission until the last of August, for I cannot but indulge a hope that the appearance of amity which we have left behind must manifestly tend to convince them of our friendly intentions in opposition to the unhappy event in the one case, and the unwarrantable conduct of Mr. Trivick in the other. I therefore under these considerations shall continue to prosecute this enterprise until I receive your further instructions for my guidance, and to this end a party of fifteen in a few days will proceed agreeable to the enclosed order. I could have wished to go myself, but feel at present unequal to such an undertaking, and my presence on board becomes necessary for future arrangements. I am happy to report that an expedition where so much was necessarily hazardous that no individual of the party has received any material injury, and those that were indisposed are now recovered or in a state of convalescence. On the discharge of the nine men that were entered after my arrival here, for the winter only, the compliment of the Brig will remain nine seamen, one boy, and four marines short, this includes the three deserters on board the Sir Francis Drake; it would be desirable on a continuance of this service to be complete. The provisions to the /126/ end of July are complete in all species, and the enclosed will shew what is wanted to make them so to the end of August.

I have the honour to &c.,

(signed) D. BUCHAN,




28th May, 1820.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th inst. this day, requiring me to state what took place when I fell in with a party of Native Indians in Badger Bay, near New Bay, and the orders I received from Capt. Glascock on that occasion.

In reply I beg to state that on the 30th June last in pulling round a small point in Badger Bay I observed three Indians in a canoe about 150 yards distance, and 50 from the shore. I immediately made towards them endeavouring to make them understand that we wished to communicate with them, but they shewed no disposition to listen to us, were evidently getting away, and might if they got ashore easily escape into the woods, where it would be fruitless to follow them; under these circumstances I thought the only means left me to come up with them, was by firing a musket and thus throwing them into confusion, which it partially effected, but being by this time near the shore they unfortunately escaped as I anticipated.

I beg further to state that the almost certain hope of being able to intercept them before they got on shore, together with my anxiety and the utter impossibility of tracing them through the woods, could possibly have induced me so far to deviate from Capt. Glascock's orders not to fire.

We went into the woods after them, but found it in vain to pursue them; we left some presents in the wigwams near where the Indians landed, and afterwards pulled to some distance from this place and concealed ourselves in hopes of their returning but next morning when we went back we found everything in the state we left it; we came two days after and found they had returned and canoes, presents, &c., all taken away.

I have the honour to be,

Sir, with the greatest respect,

Your most obedient servant,

(signed) JNO. TRIVICK,(33)


H. M. Sloop Drake.


Sir Charles Hamilton, Bart.

/127/ Colonial Office. Newfoundland. Out Letters. Vol. 2.


9th October, 1820.

Governor C. Hamilton,


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th June last, transmitting Captain Buchan's detailed accounts of his journey in search of the Native Indians in the early part of the present year; and to acquaint you that the conduct of Capt. Buchan affords an additional instance of the zeal and judgment of that Officer in situations of no inconsiderable difficulty and delicacy, and although he has not succeeded in the actual object which he had in view, yet his failure is in no degree to be attributed to other than accidental causes.

I have, &c.,


Further characteristics of Mary March (Waunathoake).

The following particulars of Mary March were obtained from Revd. Mr. Leigh, with whom she stayed, by Sir Hercules Robinson, Commander on H.M.S. Favourite on the Newfoundland station.

Sir Hercules' paper was written on board his ship at sea and is dated November 7th 1820. He says he is writing from memory of several conversations he held with Mr. Leigh at Harbour Grace some weeks previously. He regrets he did not immediately note them down before many interesting facts had escaped his memory. He does not say whether he himself ever saw the Indian woman, but it is not probable he did, as she died on board Buchan's ship the Grasshopper at the mouth of the Exploits, on Jan. 8th 1820, and it is not likely Sir Hercules was then or previously in the country.

The first part of his paper is merely a reiteration of what has already been given relative to the relations subsisting between the Micmac's and the Beothucks, and the latter and the Whites (fishermen). Coming down to the actual capture of Mary March, and the shooting of her husband, the author goes on to state. "The anguish and horror which were visible in her intelligent countenance, appeared to give place to fear, -- and she went to the murderer of her husband clung to his arm as if for protection, and strange to say a most devoted attachment appeared from that moment to have been produced towards him, which only ended with her life. -- To him alone she was all gentleness, affection and obedience, and the last act of her "brief eventful history" was to take a ring from her finger and beg it might be sent to him.

The tribe were in the neighbourhood of this disastrous meeting and it was necessary that the party should secure their retreat, they had a sleigh drawn by dogs in which Mary March, as she was afterwards named, and as we may now call her, immediately placed herself, when she understood she was to accompany the party, and directed them by signs to cover her over, holding her legs out to have her moccasins laced, and both here and subsequently, by her helplessness, by the attention she appeared habitually, to expect at the hands of others, and by her unacquaintance with any laborious employment, she indicated either a superiority of station, or that she was accustomed to a treatment of female savages very different from that of all other tribes. She was quite unlike an Esquimau in face and figure, tall and rather stout body, limbs very small and delicate, particularly her arms. Her hands and feet were very small and beautifully formed, and of these she was very proud, her complexion a light copper colour, became nearly as fair as an European's after a course of washing and absence from smoke, her hair was black, /128/ which she delighted to comb and oil, her eyes larger and more intelligent than those of an Esquimau, her teeth small, white and regular, her cheek bones rather high, but her countenance had a mild and pleasing expression. Her miniature taken by Lady Hamilton, is said to be strikingly like her; her voice was remarkably sweet low and musical. When brought to Fogo, she was taken into the house of Mr. Leigh, the missionary, where for some time she was ill at ease, and twice during the night attempted to escape to the woods, where she must have immediately perished in the snow. She was however carefully watched, and in a few weeks was tolerably reconciled to her situation and appeared to enjoy the comforts of civilization, particularly the clothes, -- her own were of dressed deer-skins tastefully trimmed with martin, but she would never put them on, or part with them. She ate sparingly, disliked wine or spirits, was very fond of sleep, never getting up to breakfast before 9 O'Clock. She lay rolled up in a ball in the middle of the bed. Her extreme personal delicacy and propriety were very remarkable and appeared more an innate feeling than any exhibition of "tact" or conventional trick. Her power of mimicery was very remarkable and enabled her quickly to speak the language she heard, and before she could express herself, her signs and dumb Crambo were curiously significant. She described the servants, black-smiths, Taylor, shoemaker, a man who wore spectacles, and other persons whom she could not name, with a most happy minuteness of imitation; it is a beautiful provision that savages and children who have much to learn, should be such good mimics, as without the faculty they could learn nothing, and we observe it usually leaves them when they no longer want its assistance. To this we should often ascribe family resemblances which we think are inherited, but to return to Mary March. She would sometimes though rarely speak fully to Mr. Leigh, and talk of her tribe, they believed in a Great Spirit but seem to have no religious ceremonies -- Polygamy does not appear to be practised. Mr. Leigh is of opinion there are about 300 in number. I forget the data from which he calculated. They live in separate wigwams. Mary's consisted of 16 -- the number was discovered in a rather curious manner. She went frequently to her bed room during the day, and when Mr. Leigh's housekeeper went up she always found her rolled in a ball apparently asleep, at last a quantity of blue cloth was missed, and from the great jealousy that Mary shewed about her trunk suspicion fell upon her, her trunk was searched and the cloth found nicely converted into 16 pairs of moccasins, which she had made in her bed, two pairs of children's stockings were also found, made of a cotton night-cap, Mr. Leigh had lost one, but Mary answered angrily about her merchandize. "John Peyton, John Peyton," meaning that he had given it to her, at last in the bottom of the trunk the tassell of the cap and the bit marked "J. L." were found, when looking steadfastly at Mr. Leigh she pointed to her manufacture said slowly -- "Yours" and ran into the woods. When brought back she was very sulky and remained so for several weeks. The poor captive had two children and this was probably the tie that held her to her wigwam, for though she appeared to enjoy St. John's when she was taken there and her improved habits of life -- She only "dragged a lengthened chain" and all her hopes and acts appeared to have a reference to her return. She hoarded clothes, trinkets and anything that was given her and was fond of dividing them into 16 shares. She was very obstinate but was glad to be of any service in her power, if not asked to assist, she was playful, and was pleased with startling Mr. Leigh by stealing behind softly, her perception of anything ridiculous and her general knowledge of character showed much archness and sagacity. An unmarried man seemed an object of great ridicule to her, when she was taken into St. John's on entering the harbour, she said to Messrs. Leigh and Peyton, "You go shore, John Peyton, when go shore no Emamoose,"(34) ha ha. She was quite indifferent to music, did not seem to perceive it, liked exhibiting herself to strangers, and was very fond of putting on and taking off all the dresses, ribbons and ornaments that were given her.

Mr. Leigh once drew on a bit of paper, a boat and crew, with a female figure /129/ in it going up a river and stopping a moment at a wigwam, described the boat freighted as before returning -- Mary immediately applied the hieroglyphic, and cried out -- "no, no, no, no." She then altered the drawing taking the woman out and leaving her behind at the wigwam, when she cried very joyfully "Yes, Yes good for Mary." A variety of representations more obscure than this she perceived with great quickness and had much satisfaction in the mode of communication. She remained a short time at St. John's, and acquired such facility in speaking English that sanguine hopes of conciliating, and opening a communication with the tribe through her means were entertained and when Sir Charles Hamilton despatched Captain Buchan to the Exploits to make the attempt it was hoped for this poor devoted handful of Indians that the measure of their sufferings was full, and that they were at last to be brought within the influence and blessings of Christianity and civilization. It was ordered otherwise, the change of dress, or change of living or whatever it may be that operates so fatally on savages separated from their native habits, spared not poor Mary. She left St. John's with a bad cough and died of consumption on nearing the Exploits, aged 24 -- Capt. Buchan after a laborious journey reached the wigwams -- but found them empty; and deposited there the coffin of Mary with her presents, dresses, moccasins, &c. The experiment I think was hazardous, the Indians on returning may perceive the truth, or they may fancy poison, insult, or any barbarities practised on their forefathers, which they carefully and immemorially record.

I have written these notes, from recollection of conversations with Mr. Leigh at Harbour Grace several weeks ago, and I regret that I neglected to note them before many interesting particulars had escaped my memory.


His Majesty's Ship "Favourite"

at sea, November 7th 1820.

The author then gives a vocabulary of the Beothuck language, obtained by Mr. Leigh from Mary March, during her stay with the latter. As this is fully dealt with in one of Prof. Gatschet's papers I need not give it here. I might observe, however, that any vocabulary obtained from this woman can scarcely fail to be defective. She could not in so short a time have acquired so perfect a knowledge of English as to make herself clearly understood, whilst her interlocutors could not have so fully mastered the phonetics of her own language as to be able to render the sounds correctly. As much of the interpretation also had to be conducted by signs, it is but reasonable to suppose misunderstandings must have occurred between the parties, as to what was really meant at times.

In 1822, Mr. William E. Cormack, a philanthropic gentleman, who had conceived an intense desire to communicate with the Red Indians and endeavour to ameliorate their hapless condition, undertook a journey on foot across the interior of the Island, accompanied only by one Micmac Indian. He failed in finding any trace of them, but his daring undertaking and the intensely interesting character of his journal of the trip across country, in its then, utterly unknown condition, warrants me in giving it a place here.