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Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay
Date Aug 9, 1820
Description 1 letter; 4 pages
People Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Scope & Content
Shoal between St. Josephs and
Drummond's Isle Augs 9th 1820

Anthony Barclay Esqr
Sir, After waiting with anxiety the
arrival of the american party, I had the pleasure of seeing
Mrss Bird and Stevenson on the 3rd Inst. and they passed the
evening here, when we arranged the plan of the survey for the
rest of the season, and which in effect is the same I have al-
ready communicated to you. Before commencing I ad-
vised Mr. Bird to row up to the Neebish Rapids, out as far
as the falls of St. Maries, by which he would satisfy himself
of the propriety of the survey hitherto carried on and of the
plan proposed. The next morning he set off and returned in
the night of the 6th inst. The next day they weighed anchor
from St. Josephs and came here, when after a conference of
an hour, they sailed to the Strait between the south end of
Drummond's Isle and the great Manitoualin Isle, which
they are to survey, and come ? on each side of Drum-
mond's Isle to join my work. We have finished all
the Neebish Rapids and the Strait between St. Josephs and
Drummond's Isle, and the new main land. and the strait
between Drummond's Isle and St. Josephs with its?
? will be finished in a weeks time of good
weather. to this I have paid great attention as it is in
my opinion the debateable ground. We have then
to join these Isle with the E main shore, and survey
the strait between St. Josephs and the NE main land, up
to within about 2 miles of the foot of the Neebish Rapids
when we left off. This survey will I think fully occupy
this season, and in my opinion finish all for the tri-
ansular survey in the Lake. The Logs? are too frequent
to admit of such a tedious process demanding ? as fine
weather. My present plan, and to which Mr. Bird
agreed, is to lose no time, as in the summer past, of much?
fine weather, in getting up maps, field notes &c &c for ex-
change with each other at the end of every survey of ?
miles

end s1
begin 22

Miles; but to employ the whole season in collecting materials, at
the same time these are then kept in every order by stat, and
when the cold windy season comes on with rain and heavy
fog? about the 20 or 26 of Sept run directly down to ?
Erie and there in some quiet place get our maps, field
notes &c &c in good order and a ? exchange made
with eeach other. This plan will have these advanc-
tages. The confiance will probably have time to beat
back to Lake Huron and get to her wintering ground-
be? shall be in a place to supply ourselves with provisions
as cheap as possible. and then not wanting the men, and
the host of servants now about us, shall send Mr. Pomain-
ville with all the men and servants directly for Montreal
these to be paid off reserving only Johnson to attend us, which
will save at least half a month's wages and provisions.
Say we have the surveying ground? the 25th Septr. we may
be at Fort Erie about the 6th or 8th of Octr. and shall require
at least 15 days to make up our maps, field notes &c &c
which may close all the work about the 23 or 25 Octr. and
I may then get to Montreal to settle accts with Mr. Hale
about the 2nd ? Novr. from which to the 1 January is
all the time we shall have to get the maps ready for the
ministry, when we must set off for Amherstburg - But
the time we shall quit this Lake will be wholly re?-
lated by the weather. I cannot say that we feel Mr. Gray's
loss. I could never get him to reduce any thing he did to ac-
curacy by calculation, which Samuel is obliged to do.
and the content of the survey done this season, tho so late
on it, will I hope show that the greatest activity has
been constantly kept up. The American Party have
finished the River St. Clair up to the Lake, and were
getting very sickly when they quitted, one half of their men
had the fever and ague when they came here, and the
inhabitants of that River anticipated a very sickly

season. They have chartered a schooner, the Red
Jacket at 100 L (pounds) per month and very well? accomodated

end p2
begin p3


on board. Such? we have derived very little from the Confiance
of what we expected. I wrote to Mr. Wm. McGillivary, who
has very obligingly answered my letter, and sent me a for-
mal statement of prices of provisions as settled by con-
tract in January 1820 for the north west carry? ferry? with Mr.
Angus McIntosh, the original of which I have sent to Mr.
Hale - by which it appears they pay? 11d ? pork isl-
in part? of flour and 8/9 ? bushel of hulled corn. all
of the very best quality. In his letter he remarks that
they have often had provisions from other merchants
but the quality always faulty, and that none will
services? with that st? satisfaction as Mr. Angus McIn-
tosh. This will not prevent me paying every attention
to prices of Provisions as I go down. As Dr. Bigsby informd
me he expects to see you at New York in November. I shall by
that time have matured my thoughts on the future carry-
ing on the survey which I shall then communicate to
you, and part of it will be to lesson the expence if attend
ance &c The present estaglishment appears too great
as it is in the basics that either the Commissioners as
Agent, or both would be present, we have now Cook?
with Johnson besides the Doctor's servant in the Camp
which we visit once a fortnight for provisions, and
quit it directly in our business. All our instruments
will be left at Amherstburg, and we shall go down
as light as possible. They 9 inch theodolite will require
the hand of a good workman to repair it whether such
a person could be found at New York is doubtful.
I am anxiously waiting the arrival of the Wellington
that I may finish affairs with her and then keep stea-
dily to the survey. Mr. Ferguson on Saturday the 12th
Aug paid a visit to the American Party, and returned on
Monday? morning, he brings word that the strait be-
tween the great Manitoualin and Drummond's
Island, is about three miles wide, and almost
totally

end p3
begin p 4

Unincumbered with Islands, only 2 and ? those
at a distance from each other. In this strait ? however
many the islands, the passages between are bold and
deep - fit for any vessel of 12 ft water, until you
are several miles above St. Joseph's Garrison Place.
It appears to me that we must now make a careful
survey of the NE strait, upon which we are
going the morrow -
I am with Respect

15th Augustyour Obedient Servt.
David Thompson
This morn has set in stormy and rainy.

[sideways]

Astr. Thompson
Dated Aug 9th 1820
Recd. Oct 21 1820
Ansd. Oct. 31 1820


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.