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Primary Source Notes

The Selkirk Papers in the Dominion Archives consist of seventy-nine portfolios containing transcripts of correspondence, legal evidence, and other proceedings relating to the Earl of Selkirk's colonizing enterprises.
Lord Selkirk's principal works are: Observations on the Present State of the Highlands in Scotland (published in 1805 and describing the journey to Prince Edward Island, etc., in 1803); On the Necessity of a more Efficient System of National Defense (1808); A Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North America (1816).

The Letter Book of Miles Macdonell, July 27, 1811, to February 25, 1812 (Dominion Archives Report, 1886) - contains ten letters addressed by Macdonell to Selkirk from Yarmouth, Stornoway, York Factory, and Nelson Encampment; besides others to various individuals.

In consequence of the disasters which befell the Red River Colony in 1815 and 1816, there appeared in Great Britain A Statement respecting the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement upon the Red River in North America, etc. (republished by John Murray, London, 1817). In answer to this the North- West Company put forth A Narrative of Occurrences in the Indian Countries, etc. (1817), to which were appended twenty-nine documents to substantiate claims made. These works, although written in a partisan spirit, contain information which cannot be had from any other source.

The following are also useful: John M'Leod's Diary, 1815; Letter of Cuthbert Grant to J. D. Cameron, March 13, 1816; North-West Company's Account Book for Fort Gibraltar, 1815; Governor Macdonell's Proclamation, January 1814; Charter of the Hudson's Bay Company; Colonel W. B. Coltman's Report, 1817; A. Amos, Report of the Trials in the Courts of Canada relative to the Destruction of the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement on the Red River, with Observations (1820); Trials of the Earl of Selkirk against the North-West Company in 1818 (Montreal, 1819); Notices of the Claims of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Conduct of its Adversaries (Montreal, 1817); Chief Justice Powell's Report re North-West Disputes (Dominion Archives Report, 1897); a pamphlet against Lord Selkirk by John Strachan, D.D. (1816), and the reply thereto by Archibald Macdonald (1816); the communications of 'Mercator' appearing in the Montreal Herald (1816); Blue-book on Red River Settlement (Imperial House of Commons, 1819); Original Letters regarding the Selkirk Settlement (Manitoba Historical and Scientific Society, 1889); Lord Selkirk's Treaty with the Western Indians {vide Appendix to The Treaties of Canada by Alexander Morris, 1880).
Secondary Material

Since the present story closes with 1821, it is necessary to classify as secondary material a work that is to be regarded as a primary source on the later history of the colony, The Red River Settlement (1856) by Alexander Ross. Ross was a pioneer emigrant to the colony of Astoria on the Pacific Coast. In 1817 he entered the service of the North- West Company; after the union of the fur companies in 1821 he remained in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1825 he went as a settler to the Red River Colony, where he soon became an influential officer. His narrative is vigorous in style as well as fair-minded in its criticisms, and is an indispensable authority on the beginnings of Manitoba.

The most prolific writer upon the career of Lord Selkirk and the history of the Red River Colony is Professor George Bryce, of Winnipeg, who has been a resident at 'the Forks' of the Red and Assiniboine rivers since 1871. He has thus been in a position to gather and preserve the traditions handed down by redskin, trapper, and colonist. Consult his Romantic Settlement of Lord Selkirk's Colonists (1909); also Manitoba: Infancy, Progress and Present Condition (1872); The Remarkable History of the Hudson's Bay Company (1900); Mackenzie, Selkirk and Simpson (1906).

This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

The Red River Colony, A Chronicle of the Beginnings of Manitoba, By Louis Aubrey Wood, Toronto, Glasgow, Brook & Company 1915


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