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Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay
Date Dec. 18, 1820
Description 1 letter; 6 pages
People Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Scope & Content New York 18 Dec. 1820
Anthony Barclay Esqr

On the 22nd October
Mr. Alexander Stevenson joined us; as I saw the
quantity of drawings ? had to do required his aid
I enquired of him if he was engaged for the winter,
he told me he was; upon which I kept him until
all? the week was finished. Finding it not profita
ble to live at less than 38 L per month at Chippewa?
I removed to Fort George, where the least price, for
which we cold procure an office, Board &? for our
selves and Andrew Johnson, was at the rate of 21 dollars
per week, and we're half starved with cold and not too
well fed. On the 19th Novr. I found it necessary to go
to Black Rock to process the survey of the American
Party to copy for forming? the two maps complete, and
at the same time left several sheets of one of our
own as a pledge. With committed perseve
rance we finished the original map, one copy for the
ministry and one copy for you, a? I shall? really
done. The original map this season is completed
with tolerable accuracy, so that we have only to
copy it, to? form the two fair copies for the Board.
In minutely examining the state of the roads,
conveyance &c &c we found that to reach Montreal
by the way of York and Kingston would be, at near
double the expense, of the way by Albany. As
both Majors Stevenson and Gibbs were very anxious
to see their friends I let them have 30 L ?
their ravelling expenses; at the same time I in
formed them, that I had no authority for this, or
no actual business of the Commission demanded
their presence at Montreal; and I have taken tri
plicate receipts of Mr. Stephenson for the above sum,
by which he acknowledgdes his responsibility for it.

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It is therefore entirely at your pleasure to act as you
please. On the 5th December werr placed every thing
in security in the stores of Mssr I an Dr ? at
Niagara (in ? ?) and Messr. Stevenson and Gibbs
went off for Montreal by the way of Lewistown and
albany. As I had no person to whom I could
entrust my son he came with me; I proceeded to
black Rock and on the 6th Inst. exchanged with Mr.
Secretary Fraser, the maps, field notes &c&c and laid
before Genl. Porter the plan of the survey of Lake
St. Clair, which he approved; Mr. Bird had j? to
his home some time. Conversing? in this plan I
remarked to Genl Porter, that to insure accuracy
and dispatch in the survey of Lake Huron, it
would be necessary to have a Patent Log for each
boat; he requested me to procure them for him; I
report? his application to you as far more efficient
and he has wrote you. On the 7th Decr. I left Buffalo
and intended to ? with Mr. Hale at Quebec
and then settle my accounts, and advise with
him on many points relating to this winter and
the ensuing summer operations. the responsibility
of which I d not like to take wholly on myself
but Genl Porter assuring me that I could not miss
finding you at New York, and that it would be
only 3 days from Utica; I by far preferred seeing you
in person; he also wished me to see Mr. Bird at Albany.
At Utica my son went off for his home, this also ought
to have been the route of Mr. Gibbs. At Albany Mr. Bird
came to me, and I explained to him the plan of
survey for Lake St. Clair, and give it as my opinion,
that could we procure the patent logs in good time
they might save us the survey by ?triangles of the
shores of Lake St. Clair. from the head of Detroit River,
up to the ? of the channels; on explaining their

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use them he readily agreed to it; which wwill thus per
form in one fine day what will otherwise probably
keep both parties employed about ten days; I also
showed him the plan which I have the honour to in
close to you, of Lake Huron, and explaining every part
he thought we could not find a better; at the same
time I requested him to ponder the plan in his own
mind, and if he could adduce any thing to add to
it's accuracy and dispatch, I would readily adapt
it. The steam Boat having just left ? Lake?
I was obliged to wait its return, and at Albany was
still aground I should have the pleasure of seeing you
here, but have now the tedious, dreary journey to
Quebec still before me. Inclosed is a statement
of all monies expended by me for the service of the
Commission, of which sum you will filel on to ?
116 L & 71/2 has been laid? away for wages due; but
we have ? to pay Dr. Mitchel of Drummond Island
and the passage of the party from Niagara to Kingston
in the steam Boat ?Frontenac - say ? L: ?

other advantages which I hoped would result to the
survey from my journey here, is my procuring 3 good
compasses and 3 patent logs, or such things cannot
be found in the Canadas. On my application to ?
Monday he very readily gave me permission to search
for the required instruments; the compasses I have
got and sighs added to them, they each cost
7 dollars besides packing &c but the patent logs
with measuring machinery to be fixed to ?, they
had not even heard of. Col. Barclay is so good as
write to Philadelphia for them, and if they cannot
be procured there, will directly write to England.-
the compasses we had from the Naval Yard at Kings-
ton could serve only when constantly connected by
the known interval between the stations.

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with Colonel Barclay I have left a copy of all the
survey of both parties of this last summer, on the
scale of ?2? inches per mile, which is an exact counter
part of the copy for the Ministry. Most of yours is on
imperial paper, and is not so well put together as I
would wish from the circumstance of having been obli-
ged to leave the major part of it in sheets at Black
Rock in place of the Survey of Mr. Bird until a yalos?
exchange was made, which did not take place until
the 6th Decr. I should gladly have reduced your map
tot he scale of 1 inch to a mile, had I not thought the
present scale would be just as acceptable as giving
a more correct view of the country surveyed. I
shall keep a ? on htis, and as soon as possible
get a ? map in the scale of an inch to a mile
ready by you. I also proposed to Mr. Bird, that next
Spring, so soon as we can finish the survey of the
Channels of Lake St. Clair, to recommence the survey
of Lake Huron, and if possible finish it before the stor-
my season commences, at which time we shall be
able to continue the survey of the River St. Clair until
ended; even tho it should be in the beginning of Decem
ber. General Porter wished very much to know what
the Confiance cost you per month. Mr. Secretary Fraser
said he had learned at Amherstberg from either
Mr. Hale or Dr. Bigsby, that the Confiance would cost
100 L per month. Their vessel was hired of mssr.
Thompson and Party? of Black Rock, and Genl Porter
did not wish to pay them more than he would be
certain the Confiance cost, and it seems made no
other bargain with them, than they should have
the same price as the cost of the Confiance to your
Commission, which they suppose may be from
300 to 400 Doll per month. Genl Porter very earnestly
requested that the extra field notes, and maps of their

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Survey of the thousand islands should be returned
to them; I promised to lay this care before you, as I do
not think myself authorised to return them without
your sanction; exclusive of their field notes and
maps which are extra; the exchange maps are redun
dant for part of that section, and deficient in ano-
ther part.When? with Mr. Hale, I shall point out
to him all those provisions which I think can be
processed at a less expense in the interior country
All the servants were very much given to drink
whenever they could get at it. An Mr. Johnson by
far the best is but too fond of liquor, yet never to
neglect his duty. I left him at Fort George to board
at 8 dollars per month until our return as I though
it too expensive to travel with a servant. There are
many things that I do not consider proper for a
letter on which I shall consult Mr. Hale. I would
most willingly avoid going to quebec? as I
am by travelling at this cold uncomfortable time
of year, but I do not as yet see how I can avoid it
for if all our measures are not decisively prepara
tory for finishing the 6th article of the survey in 1821
I am very doubtful if we shall not have still to
talk of another year. If we are fortunate I hope the
survey of the channels of Lake St. Clair will be finish
ed by the beginning of May. Could I have prevailed
on Mr. Gibbs to remain at Fort George the expenses of
my son would not have been, and they would have finished
at least one fair map for the Board. I have fixed the
time for the surveyers leaving Montreal to be the 8th
January - an the 12th at York and in 8 or 9 days more
at Amherstburg; probably I shall not be able to set
off so soon, but I shall draw up a set of instructions
to commence the rough work which will cause no
delay. The letters of us have strangely miscarried

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and have not only not seen seen [sic] my family, but am
also ignorant of the state of my private affairs-
Every attention will be paid by me to economy
and no expense will be incurred but what I think
will certainly add to the celerity of the survey, and
insure the finishing of the 6th article in the year
I am with respect
your humble servant
David Thompson
Astr. Surveyor &c&c

On the map sent you, many of the lines which form
the triangles are not drawn from the circumstances
above related, and our paper entirely exhausted

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.