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The Arctic Regions and Hudson’s Bay Route

by John Rae

MHS Transactions, Series 1, No. 2
Read 11 October 1882

MHS Transactions were originally published by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make online versions available as a free, public service. As an historical document, Transactions may contain language that is no longer in common use and which may offend some readers. They should not be construed to represent the views of today’s Manitoba Historical Society.

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Dr. John Rae, the celebrated Arctic explorer, lectured on Saturday evening to a large audience, in Welsey Hall, for the benefit of the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba.

The chair was taken by the President of the Society, Mr. Alexander McArthur, who, in introducing the lecturer, announced that he had very kindly allowed the proceeds of the lecture to go to the funds of the society, and that it was intended to devote them to the formation of a nucleus of a library of Arctic travels and research, under the care of the society.

Dr. Rae prefaced his lecture with the observation that having passed the last week in traveling and consequently had not had time to look up the subject, and as he had no notes, he therefore craved the indulgence of his audience. The subject of Arctic exploration, he said, was a very large one, and he might go over the discoveries and researches of other people; but he rather thought that his hearers would like to have some of his own experience, (applause) not that he regarded it as of greater importance than those of others, but because it was always pleasanter to hear a man speak of what he had done himself, as he could speak with confidence of it. His first object in going to the Arctic readings was to trace out a large Bay (northwest of Hudson's Bay) which he pointed out on a map kindly furnished by Mr. R.D. Richardson. The bay was upwards of seven hundred miles around, and three or four Government expeditions, commanded by some of the most experience Arctic navigators of England had attempted the survey of the coast. Parry, Sir George Back, Capt. Lyons, and Sir John Ross had attempted to push through, but failed. The lecturer showed the points reached by these, also a gap which had still been left unsurveyed. In 1845, the Government having given up the search, after a cost to the country of £70,000 or £80,000, Sir George Simpson, Governor of the H.B. Company, asked the lecturer to undertake it, and for the purpose offered him a nice little schooner; but, as ships had hitherto failed, he had preferred to take two small boats and three or four month's provisions. He found difficulty in getting men on account of the small stock of provisions and the prevalent idea that fuel should be carried along. Nearly all of his men were engaged at Winnipeg (Fort Garry) and consisted of Scotchmen, Orcadians, one or two pure Indians and some splendid half-breeds. Hector McKenzie, who was still in the settlement, accompanied him on one of his voyages. A better set of men never went to perform any duties. His two boats were built at York Factory, and as soon as the ice broke up at the end of June, they started and sailed along the western coast of Hudson's Bay for nine hundred miles in these little open pen boats with no decks or other covering except a piece of oil cloth. They lived almost entirely on ducks and seals, keeping their pemmican for future use. Immense quantities of ice were encountered along Repulse Bay early in August. Taking one of the boats across the land, and finding the bay so full of ice that even their small boats could not get along, they decided to winter. The party numbered 15 altogether, including to Esquimaux as interpreters. There was very little sign of living creatures; they obtained scarcely enough venison to keep them, and were obliged to consume a considerable part of their pemmican. Observing, however, the tracks of reindeer, which had passed up north in the spring, he came to the conclusion that they would return later in the autumn. Not desiring to expose his men to danger without their consent, he asked them whether they would winter there with him, as if they went back to the woods for winter they would be too far away from their work in the spring. All agreed to stay. They then built a store house, with the door composed of skin on a frame, and took up their quarters while the clay was still wet. In fact, it never dried, but after a time it froze, so that the place became quite comfortable. A curious effect that produced was that it rather destroyed the lecturer's library. He had put his books on a piece of board on the wall where they became so damp from the moisture of the house, that when the frost came they froze solid. As their fuel was heather which they scraped up and which required much blowing to do their cooking, it would have destroyed the books to put them near the fire; so the only resource was to put them beside him. Having thawed out two or three in this way he distributed the other among his men who did the same; so that all came out right in the end, though the books still bore marks of the experience. All their drink was tea and water, not a drop of wine or spirits being used. In practice he was not a teetotaler, but he knew that spirits were very injurious in a cold climate. The deer having begun to return, one hundred and twenty were killed by the end of October. Their skins were used for clothing, and the lecturer became easy and comfortable in his mind, knowing that the party was now saved from starvation, though real hard work had been required to get the animals. Although he had been brought up a rather keen sportsmen in the north of Scotland, he had never shot deer before; yet he himself killed about half of the deer which kept them all winter. About a ton of stone had to be piled upon every one of the animals to keep the wolves and foxes from eating them. Sometimes the deer were hauled about a mile to the stones; at other times it was more convenient to haul the stones to the deer. Sometimes six or seven deer were taken in a day; and precious care was taken to save every bit of them. The blood was found to make beautiful soup, and it was saved by being put into the stomachs of the animals, which were prepared for the purpose by being turned inside out and rubbed with snow. When cooked with a little flower it made a very wholesome, nice dish. The Esquimaux, as regularly as possible, saved up the stomachs of the deer to be eaten in a frozen state. They had a sourish taste and were not at all unpleasant, and they were a preventative of Scorbutic diseases. The party lived very comfortable. A school was opened, but ink could not be used, as everything was frozen. They also could not wash, as the water froze immediately on coming in contact with the hair or beard. Clothes could not be washed but were cleaned by tramping them in dry snow. This was done with the blankets every week; and they kept their bodies clean by rubbing them with snow, never using water except for drinking. Attempts to wash linen resulted in being frozen hard in drying, so that it was broken in pieces by the action of the wind. It took two hours to boil the kettle, and the door had to be left open as the smoke would not go up the chimney. No advantage was derived from the fire in respect to warmth, but, on the contrary, the temperature of the house fell from 15 to twenty degrees while the fire was on, in consequence of the door having to be left open. Hence they were glad to get the kettle off and would eat the food even before it was well cooked. Their Christmas was as jolly a one as they had ever spent. As was the custom of the H. B. Company's officers all over the country, he had kept a little spirits to give a glass to every man at Christmas time. Their Christmas dinner consisted of a glass of hot brandy and water, some venison and a very good plum pudding; and a game of ball served to give an appetite. This was the lecturer's first expedition. All the party were green at the work. They tried to follow the habits of the Equimaux as far as they could. One thing they did which has never been done by those in charge of Government expeditions, as soon as they saw a snow hut made they set to work to construct one for themselves. The shape was that of a bee hive and the walls were six-inches thick. A great deal of ingenuity was required to build it properly. It was so translucent that one could read and write inside, and it was the best shelter that could be had. His object in making his men learn to do this was that when overtaken by the frequent storms in traveling, they might run up in half an hour or less a shelter that would completely protect them from the cold until the weather changed for the better. In the spring they prepared to make long sledge journeys, the first were made along the Arctic Coast in America. The sledges they made were like toboggans, with runners to protect from the ice; and they were loaded with about two hundred pounds per man. They traveled to the point where Sir John Ross had turned back and completed that lien of route. Other time pieces having failed, there was at length but one watch left which the lecturer had given to one of his men. The mainspring of this broke also, and though it was repaired once or twice it still gave way until an old spring which had been notched and converted into a saw for cutting iron, was found and inserted after which it went famously the whole season; although a watchmaker to whom it was afterwards shown would scarcely believe the fact. With nothing but this watch and a compass to guide them, they succeeded, after a journey of 300 and 400 miles, of striking within a couple of miles, the point for which they were aiming, and where they found marks of Sir John Ross. They at length turned back, having done over twenty miles a day during the whole journey. In returning along the shore with his one or two men, one of the hardest of their experiences were encountered. The masses of ice were so rough and the rocks so bold and rugged that they could not use their sledge and so had to carry everything on their backs a distance of five hundred miles. No such a thing had been ever before attempted in the Arctic regions. They underwent several curious experiences. Running short of food, they were reduced to eat pieces of bones and skin, etc. Ptarmigan they ate, bones and all, from the beak to the toenails. They killed one deer and ate him up, stomach and everything that was eatable, except the skin. The lecturer had never used tobacco; but a curious effect upon the poor men when they ran short of it was such a craving that they ate the linings of their coat pockets and chewed and smoked everything that had the taste or smell of tobacco. Having reached their supplies, although starving, the first thing they did was to have a chew of tobacco and a smoke. On getting back they found an immense quantity of salmon at the place. One morning 170 were killed, weighing an average about five pounds each, and ranging from four to fifteen pounds. The sagacity and acuteness of the salmon were shown in the fact that, although they had never seen a net before, yet having come in contact with it no power could drive them back to it but they would run between the legs of the men to escape. The lecturer considered the Esquimaux the finest savages in America. The Danes spoke favorably of them in Greenland; so also did the missionaries in Labrador and all others who had come in contact with them had found them a tractable and pleasant people. They even showed evidence of a higher civilization. An Esquimaux, on meeting strangers, first introduced himself and told his name, and then introduced his wife and pointed to his children. When offered a present, he always offered something in return. The lecturer had never known them to beg. All their worst habits they learned from white men. Those whom he had met, had never before seen whites, except on one or two instances. The men showed great kindness to their wives. Women were treated as equals of the men, and the children were treated with the utmost kindness. Children were dutiful to their parents. When children lost their parents there was a regular scramble to adopt them, as it was well known that they would, when grown up, take care of the aged. A young man was sometimes known to take his old father many days journey to see his birthplace before he died. It was not often than an Indian was seen to do that. They showed great gratitude for kindness received. At an instance the lecturer told of three or four old people whom he allowed to stay near his quarters during the absence of their people. They never came to ask for food and gave no trouble. He sent his servant from time to time to see if they had food, and gave them what they wanted. After their friends had returned, having been very successful in their seal fishing, a deputation was sent to express their thanks for the kindness shown to the old people; and they continued to supply the party with all the seal's fat required, refusing to accept any pay. They always started to retire from Dr. Rae's presence when they saw his breakfast or dinner brought, and even from the men's tent when they saw the kettle taken off, thus showing much delicacy. The party lived in very great amity with them. They had some curious notions. Their belief in a Supreme Being was perfect. They believed in a good and a bad spirit, but thought the good spirit was so beneficent that he would not hurt them as they were his own children. If they did not behave well they would be given up to the power of the evil spirit; hence they propitiated the evil spirit that he might not hurt them. They did not worship him, but they made him offerings to prevent him from injuring them. They believed the Aurora was the spirit of the dead visiting each other in heaven. The falling stars were of the same nature. Respecting the sun and the moon they said that a man took fire to heaven and lit the sun; that he afterwards took his sister up, but that, as he was cruel to her, she ran away and became the moon; and that he has ever since been chasing her, but he has never caught her. As soon as the ice broke up in the spring, the party, after laying in a stock of fish and venison and building an ova (the latter having been done by the very good mason, the one who had built their store house, John Corrigal, one of the best men the lecturer ever had with him), they made some very good bread and stayed for home: got back in due time to York Factory, and when home thence by ship. The expense of the expedition amounted to but £1400 as against £17,000 or £18,000 by a Government ship. The lecturer concluded his account of this expedition by referring to the Esquimaux method of treating frostbites on the face, namely, placing the warm hand upon the skin, and this fetching back the circulation, instead of rubbing with snow and thereby taking off the skin. In 1847, Dr. Rae, a few weeks after his return, joined Sir John Richardson in another expedition to look for Sir John Franklin. They went over the continent, up the McKenzie and Copper Mine rivers, left their boat which had been cut through by ice, and walked a long journey to Bear Lake, where they wintered. They found no trace of Sir John Franklin. In 1849 they went down the river again but ice blocked their passage. In 1850 the lecturer came back again, having been employed by the Government to look again for Franklin, though not knowing exactly where to go. Starting with three men in the spring from red River before navigation opened, he made the fastest journey ever made in the Arctic Circle. He himself drafted and superintended the construction of small boats at Bear Lake. Traveling on sledges 1,100 miles, with 80 or 90 pounds weight to each man, at the rate of 25 miles per day, they then took their boats down the Copper Mine River. Hector McKenzie and a number of men from Winnipeg were of the party. They went all around the coast, and named the Victoria Strait. Curiously, at that time one of Franklin's ships were lying within forty miles of where they passed, though they knew nothing of it, being separated from it by a channel which was filled up with ice, forced up by a back flow. This ice forced up great masses of table rock, twelve to fifteen feet square and fifteen feet high, until they stood on edge as if placed there by the work of men. Having completed all this search without finding any trace of the ships, they came back, keeping along the outer water of the McKenzie river, Slave Lake, and Athabasca where they were frozen in. They then mounted snow shoes and made 27 miles a day over the 1300 miles to Winnipeg, starting thence for St. Paul and traveling the intervening 450 miles in ten days walking with dogs, getting stronger and tougher all the time. In the latter part of the journey he had a cariole, and this was the only occasion on which he ever rode in one.

Dr. Rae's last expedition had for its chief object the completion of the survey of the coast of America. He had already passed over a very large portion of the Arctic Coast; but there was still a piece which had not been explored, and he proposed to the H.B.Company to fit out boats for that purpose. In 1853 he started with two boats on the old route. On arriving at the old place he found his stone house which they had formerly occupied. He here renewed his former winter experience, but lived this time in a snow house. He regretted that he had not a sketch of this shelter to exhibit. He had explained it to many architects in London, but not one of them could say he could build it. Yet, as with Columbus in breaking the egg to make it stand, it was not difficult to do after one had seen it done. The door was made very low, and the bed was raised three or four inched above the level of the top of the door, that it might be in the warm air at the top of the house, and out of the cold draught from the door. They killed venison also on this occasion, but had more difficulty than on the former one, as he had only seven men. They continued setting their nets until the ice was 5 feet thick. They did not attempt using their boats on this occasion. In traveling they built a snow hut every night. Having completed the house, they took of their moccasins and the wrappings of the blankets inside, scraped them free from snow and rime, and wrapped them round their bodies so as to have them dry and comfortable the next morning. They boiled their kettle outside, so as not to be annoyed by the smoke and the fumes of the alcohol. Their only bedding was a blanket and a half and a strip of reindeer skin underneath to keep them from thawing the snow. The quantity was only about a third of what is ordinarily used in houses, or what would have been required in a tent. They all slept under the same covering, the lecturer taking one of the outside places, as he had to rise to take observations, and the man who had to light the lamp in the morning taking the other, the men doing this by turns. He usually slept with his face outward; but if he wished to turn, would nudge the next man and he the next and so on, when all would turn. They became so accustomed to this that they would do it without waking. In the Government expeditions every man had a great blanket bag into which he got, and a quantity of clothing besides. The weight per man in marching was ninety pounds, while in Dr. Rae's expedition it was but 35 pounds, enabling them to take much longer journeys per day. In three journeys of 1100 miles each, their average per day was 20 to 25 miles, while others made but 10 or 11 miles. The latter had large crews of sixty men or so in the ships, and so were enabled to employ auxiliary sledges, one of which returned after five or six days, another after ten or twelve, etc. Their bedding became covered with their breath, which congealed, so that the blanket beds became like sheet iron, while Dr. Rae's party were able to keep all their material dry, so that after fifty or sixty days it was as fresh as on the first day. The latter enjoyed other advantages from having been accustomed to that sort of life in the H. B. Co's service, which was a famous school for arctic work, the men having to travel where the was no timber or other fuel. Although living in snow huts, without fire, light, or anything beyond their bare food, there we no jollier or healthier men, there being no scurvy, rheumatism, or any other disorder among them. On their way to survey the part of the coast referred to, they met an Esquimaux whom Dr. Rae asked, as his custom was, if he had ever seen whites before. He answered that he had seen some dead white men. A gold band which he had said he had got at a place where there were some dead people. That was the first trace met with of poor Dr. Franklin's party. The Esquimaux could not be made to tell where the place was. They said it was far away, and that they did not know the place, and they made other excuses. During the winter, as there were no Esquimaux passing, there was no means of knowing the facts afterwards learned. Learning what they did in the spring they could not clear up the question without remaining another winter. On coming back to their winter quarters, they found a number of Esquimaux with the three men whom they had left. The lecturer did not believe that the Esquimaux killed any of Franklin's people; as, if they had done so, they would have killed his (Dr. Rae's) men, knowing that he was 200 or 300 miles away, as all their goods were piled upon the rocks with only an oilcloth over them. He believed that Franklin's men had died of scurvy and starvation. Dr. Rae then hurried home and told the government that they were looking the wrong direction; as, when he left England there were four ships engaged in the search several hundred miles further north. He had proved to his satisfaction that all Franklin's people were dead. He had obtained a pretty clear knowledge of where the dead bodies had been seen. He offered any quantity of weapons to the Esquimaux if they would tell him of one man living, but they all held up four fingers to show that they had all been dead at least four years. He came to the conclusion that they told the truth, because he found that their statement on several occasions, concerning other matters, were consistent. Their statements corresponded exactly with what Perry had mentioned thirty years before. They also told a number of things about Sir John Ross which they recollected from twenty years before, and which corresponded with the facts. They had, however, since been a good deal confused by leading questions. The story of the Esquimaux was that a party of thirty or forty men had been seen in King William's Land traveling southward and hauling their boats seawards. The land where the dead bodies had been found was described as low, flat shore. Sir George Back had related that in 1833 or 1834 a gale of wind from the north had driven the water over the whole of these flats. A recurrence of this would cause any remains to be driven away. The lecturer had obtained in the spring either the crest or the initials of fourteen of the sixteen officers of both of the ships. Franklin himself had died in June or July, 1847, and in the winter of 1847-48 no less than 24 had died, nine of whom were officers. As but fifteen of the one hundred men had died, the proportion of officers was very large. The Esquimaux stated that among the dead bodies they had found bones and feathers of geese, showing that the men must have been living in June, when also the snow was a good deal off the ground and the deer were going northward, so that men such as Dr. Rae's party could have got their living. Those men, however, were very helpless, and not accustomed to hunt. Robert McClure, who made the Northwest Passage; saw hundreds of hare and ptarmigan and lots of deer, but in one month was only able to kill seven hares, though a hare is an easy thing to kill. The lecturer here illustrated with graphic minuteness the cunning of the hare and the fox in eluding their enemies, the fox even gnawing the rope which connected a bait with the trigger of a gun, or scraping the snow away so as to keep himself below the level of the gun while gnawing at the bait. The seal was also described as a very sagacious animal and its manner of preparing breathing places for itself in the ice while at the same time providing for its own concealment was described. The explorers never used any very warm clothing. They wore moleskin drawers but not so much fur as was customary here, as it would be much too heavy. In returning they met with large quantities of ice; but they succeeded in partly accomplishing their object and his men received a reward of £10,000. Americans had two or three times done something of the same kind, but not the same thing exactly. Dr. Rae's party did not depend at all upon the Esquimaux, but killed their own food and supplied the Esquimaux with more than they got from them. Also the Americans who went up always had more ships within a few days march of where they were. Capt. Hall went far away up Smith Sound, twelve or fifteen years after the lecturer returned. His account of a story among the Esquimaux concerning Capt. Crozier, the account of which corresponded with the circumstances of Dr. Rae's explorations; and he believed that he was the person meant, as the Esquimaux have no knowledge of names. In reference to the proposed Hudson's Bay route to Europe, the lecturer had every feeling of favor to this route and thought it would be a very great thing if practicable. If this country were to grow up to be a great country as there was on America every outlet that could be got for carrying out the produce would be advantageous. Many things, however, which had been said concerning Hudson's Bay and Straits did not all agree with his own experience; for instance, that the whole bay was open all winter and that the Strait was navigable four months of the year. He went through the Strait in July, 1833, he thought, as a surgeon on a sailing ship, and lay for three weeks without seeing a bit of open water. There were two ships a mile and a half apart, and ladies went from one to the other on the ice, to take dinner. They met the ship from York Factory which had been cruising backwards and forwards delayed by a barricade of ice through which no steamer could force its way. The deck was covered with two feet of ice, formed from the spray dashing over it; and the bows were covered with ice, weighing her down two or three feet by the head. That was the lecturer's first experience, but it was a very bad year. The ship got home very well the next year. When he went home in 1847, he saw very little ice; but in 1848 he met so much ice that it was a question whether they should put back again. He spoke of sailing ships; steamers might get through better. The lecturer pointed on the map to a large body of water whence the ice must come through many islands into Hudson's Bay. In the bay itself there would be no trouble, though it was not exactly true that it did not freeze over. At the southern extremity there was no open water in winter, but the ice was four or five feet thick. He did not say that the route was impracticable, but he suggested that a good Newfoundland sealer with good mean should be sent up in the early spring to see in what state the ice was. One year's observation would not decide the question; for the most experienced whaling captain could tell how the ice would be when he went up. The H. B. Company's sailing ships never left the north of Scotland before the latter part of June, knowing that if they did they would be impeded by ice, although they were anxious to get to York Factory early in the season. He would not recommend any great expenditure of money until the facts regarding the strait were fully established. Though the route was about 500 miles shorter, yet he feared there were be an averaged etention of between four and five days on each voyage. Lake Superior could, however, be navigated for six months of the year, or perhaps more; and the distance from here by rail was about the same as that to Hudson's Bay. Unless the question regarding Hudson's Strait was cleared up, he thought it would be very unwise to buy the latter road. The greatest absurdities were told by men who did not know. Thus the terminus of the road was placed on a low island two miles from shore, and it was represented that there was a narrow and deep ship's channel. Gentlemen had shown him this and he could not convince them that they were wrong. Again, it was said there was a fine climate at Moose Factory, that tomatoes grew there, etc., while the fact was that a green tomato an inch and a half in size had grown in a corner exposed to sun and coaxed with glass. So it was stated that cucumbers grew very nicely in open air; and it was true that anything could be grown when covered with glass. The lecturer concluded with an interesting reference to the recent expedition sent out it reach the pole by sledges and provided with a very complete outfit and the necessary qualifications of hardiness and skill in hunting. They were a plucky lot, and in every way fitted fir the work. He hoped that all the expeditions now out, of which there were some six or eight, might return safe.

The lecturer having resumed his seat amid applause, a couple of gentlemen proposed questions respecting the number of occasions he had found the Strait jammed with ice; and as to whether he thought that the climate was likely to have changed any during the past fifty years.

In answer to the first the lecturer repeated his statement that he had only been there three times. As to the second, he said that there were no facts to show that any change had taken place. Ships were still in the habit of meeting large quantities of ice. The whalers and H. B. Company's captains, with whom he had a large acquaintance, stated that the ice was as uncertain and dangerous now as it had ever been.

His Grace, the Archbishop of St. Boniface, rose to move a vote of thanks to the lecturer. In doing so he spoke in high terms of the ability of the lecturer for the interesting moments which the audience had spent. He thought that the experience related proved what a man might do in depending on himself. He was sure every person present was delighted with what he had heard. His Grace had frequently met men who had accompanied Dr. Rae on his expeditions; and from the way in which they spoke of him, he ought to be successful. He was always kind to his men, and took the lead, giving such an example as they were always delighted to follow, though the means at his command had been in some instances very small.

U.S. Consul Taylor, in seconding the motion, remarked that while he accorded heartily with every tribute to Dr. Rae as a hero of arctic discovery, yet he begged the indulgence of the audience in a few words recognizing his later and no less eminent service to the communities of Minnesota and Manitoba, in forwarding the enterprise of an international telegraph and railway connecting the Mississippi River and Lake Superior and Winnipeg with the mouth of the Fraser River in British Columbia, and with this view he would briefly recall some incidents of the year 1858. It was a year everyway memorable. A report upon the territory of Hudson's Bay Company, by a select committee of the English House of Commons, had made certain the speedy colonization of Central British America; Minnesota was organized in that year as a state, with ample subsidies for a railway system to the international boundary; the citizens of St. Paul inaugurated steamboat navigation on the Red River of the north; the gold discovery of the Fraser river was speedily followed by the creation of the colony of British Columbia; the English Colonial Secretary, Sir Bulwer Lytton, avowed the policy of continuous colonies from Lake Superior to the Pacific, and a viaduct across British America as the most direct route from London to Pekin or Jeddo; and, almost concurrently, the world was electrified by a message through the Atlantic depths, uniting Europe and America by telegraph. Then suddenly came an eclipse. The Atlantic cable, throbbing feebly for twenty days, became utterly silent on the 4th of September, 1858; the slavery agitation in the United States culminated in a civil war, convulsing one continent, and paralyzing the public activities in all the continents; and Canada, struggling with financial depression and political dissension, was groping slowly towards Confederation. These were dark days - but the leaders of men and events, in all the English speaking communities, bated not one jot of heart or hope. Passing other questions, the International Telegraph system suffered no neglect. For eight long years - from 1858 to 1866 - while there was no abandonment of the scheme of an Atlantic cable - there was a most energetic movement by the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Western Union Telegraph Company, seconded nobly by the Governments of Canada, the United States; British Columbia and Russia, to reach London through Northwest British America, by the coasts and islands of Alaska and the plains and cities of Siberia; and it is in connection with that worldwide enterprise that Dr. John Rae became again identified with the history and progress of North America. He surveyed and designated the route from Fort Garry to Victoria, and accumulated at both points the materials for the construction of a continental telegraph - a portion of which, under Canadian auspices, was afterwards in 1871 utilized in connecting the province of Manitoba with the Eastern Provinces and the "rest of mankind". Granted that the successful laying of the Atlantic Cable on the 27th July, 186, postponed the consummation of his labors, but none the less be honor to the march of Dr. Rae and his party across the continent eighteen years since. He is welcome now in 1882 to overtake his former footsteps by rail, and to mark the innumerable signs that the world is following his trail of 1864.

The motion was unanimously carried and the meeting broke up.

Page revised: 22 May 2010

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