Maine Historical Society header
Maine Historical Society header

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay; Montreal
Date May 4, 1824
Description 1 letter; 4 pages
People Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Scope & Content 1824_Apr_3

April 3, 1824 Williamstown
River Raisin
Dear Sir/
Yesterday I had the honor of receiving
your letter of the 8th March, inclosing the bills No. 83
for my salary of the 4th Inst for which please accept
my grateful thanks; and had they arrived a month
ago, no bills would have quitted my hands, until the
period of time was fully come. Also, at the
same time your letter of the 11th March, and a copy of
Captain Barre's letter. If we should meet the
vessel at the Falls of St. Maries in quest of provisions,
which, I think, is probable, we may visit Caribou Island,
and should this meeting not happen, I shall visit Lieut
Bayfield to know how far he will be able to cooperate
with us, in the latter end of August or beginning of
September. At the same time, I am well aware he
will have less to do the next summer, and he may be
fully prepared to meet us at the Falls of St. Maries, as
soon as we arrive there in May, or June, 1825.
We left Albany with fine weather, but a
storm, which hurled very many trees to the ground-
overtook us the day we reached Burlington, on the 29th
of February we arrived at Montreal. I now com-
menced my enquiries of Mr. Thain for the efficient service
of the ensuing summer, and learned they had given up
the canoe making business &c. I had to go 18 miles

end p1
begin p2

below Montreal to engage a [Mens Luttesville?] to build two
North Canoes, of the best materials and workmanship at
40$ pr canoe, which is cheap. The Birch Rind Canoe of last
year would take at least 10 to 12 $ to repair it, and could only
last to Fort William, when we should have to pay 60 $ for
a new Canoe, without a possibility of selling the old one.
The 2 new Canoes (barring violent accidents) ought to do
all the duty of the season and return to Montreal. the
old Birch Rind and cedar canoe will be sold.
I had then to go into the back concessions of the
cedars in search of Bernardin Challe, an excellent guide
for the Ottawa River &c he told me he was willing to go
and knew he could no longer expect one dollar per day,
but insisted on 20$ pr month. I informed him 17$
pr month was all I had to offer him, and gave him 6 days
to consider it. at the end of which he engaged for the wages
offered and we shall no longer require Mr. Pomainville.
I am now using my efforts to obtain two expert
Boat Canoes, who are at the same time good linguists-
and offer 16$ pr month for as yet I have not secured, but
have hopes of getting them. This will not only be a
saving, but an important advantage to us in our enqui-
ries, especially on the sources of the Fond du Lac River.
(or St. Louis) The other men, as last summer will be en-
gaged at 15$ pr Month for the boat canoes, and 12$ pr
month for the middlemen; and have every hope that the
expences of this year will fall considerably short of last
year. On my arrival at Montreal I spoke to the Propri
etor of the Canadian Times, who agreed to print both pieces

end p2
begin p3

so soon as he should get the copper plate. On the 13th March
Mr. Hale wrote me he should send the copper plate to Mr. Ross
but on the 29th March Mr. Ross has not received it. Yesterday
I received one copy of the Quebec Mercury and 2 copies of
Mr. Fishers extra paper. I have wrote Mr. Ross to place
the copper plate in the honor of the editor of the Canadian
Times, and to forward you 3 copies of it folded up, so as
not to be undone yet open at the end. Those pieces
have changed the popular torrent of opinion, and will
no doubt gradually cause the whole ferment to subside.
They were well times, as on the 12 March Mr. Arch
McLean, the lawyer and MP an intimate acquaintance
told me, he had just drawn up and forwarded a strong
memorial to each of the governors of Canada, requesting
military force, as promised by Earl Dalhousie, to
maintain the Barnharts in possession of the Island a-
gainst the sheriff of the state of New York. It surprized
me how the Earl could so compromise himself. but
to all appearance, at present, there is an end of memori-
als, and the laws will be quietly executed.
the Assistant has just finished a sett of copies
of thorough maps of last year to be taken with us on
the survey: and I have ready the calculations of the
geographical position of the Lake of the Woods for the
maps, which we begin next Monday, and which is all
we can hope to do this season.

end p3
begin p4

the spring is a full month later than usual, only the first
spots of bare ground just appear, and the snow is deep in the
woods. I intend to be at Montreal on the 21 Instant to
get every thing ready, and have ordered the men to be there
on the 25th Inst and please God, as soon as the Lake of
the Two Mountains is clear of ice shall proceed on the
Your most obedient
humble servant
David Thompson

Anthony Barclay Esqr
H.M. Commissioner

[sideways on page]
Mr. Thompson
dated April 3, 1824
Recd May 3 1824
Ans? June 19 1824

Admin/Biographical History This compiled collection includes papers from Thomas Barclay (1753-1830), his son, Anthony Barclay (1792-1877), John Ogilvy (d. 1819), Ward Chipman (1754-1824), Ward Chipman, [Jr.] (1787-1851), David Thompson (1770-1857), Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow (1814-1901) and others related to the determination of the boundary between Canada and the United States. Materials include government documents, correspondence, maps, surveys, diaries and Indian deeds related to the determination of the boundary between Canada and the United States, particularly of the years of the St. Croix Commission, 1796-1812, the Commissions appointed after the Treaty of Ghent, 1814-1838, and the Commissions under the Treaty of Washington, 1842. Papers of diplomats appointed by the British and American governments include the correspondence of explorers who surveyed the boundary zones and of several other diplomats, political officers and aids who became involved in the arbitration of the border. The explorations around the Island of St. Croix by Robert Pagan and Native American Francis Joseph Neptune, and a map by Chief Wasp of the Ojibway tribe in the vicinity of Ontario and Minnesota are noteworthy.