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Title David Thompson letter to Anthony Barclay; Williamstown
Date March 3, 1823
Description 1 letter; 2 pages
People Thompson, David, 1770-1857
Search Terms International Boundary Commission
Treaty of Ghent
Scope & Content
3 March 1823 Williamstown
Dear Sir
I duly received your Letter of the 12th
[?]The estimate of the probable expence,
would, as you judiciously remark, take away most
of the responsibility of money matters; and with the
view I have now of those Countries, in their present
appalling state of destitution, and of the temper of
the Indians, I could draw up an Estimate fit for
the Survey.But the question is, from the informa-
tion I forwarded last Autumn to the Commissioner,
and from whom I have not sence heard any thing
whatever. What on his Ideas on the Operations for
the ensuing Summer; - until I learn from him
in those Countries, or a plan of Survey which he
may send me, any Estimate I may make, would
be but a baseless scheme. I shall wait until
about the 20th of this month, when, if I do not hear
from Mr Barclay, I shall forward to you the
Estimate required; the greatest difficulty of
which will be, how to take Provisions enugh
with us into the Interior, and avoid Freight.
Mr Sayes, will, in the opinion of all those
acquainted with those Countries, send the
Survey an essential Service if he fulfils my
request; and it is only, as you justly remark,
with a view to direct my future operations to
those places, when the head waters closely ap-
proach each other, and to neglect those that
are more distant.You can hardly conceive
end p1
begin p2
the innumerable Rills, Brooks, Lakes &c &c which rise, and
run in all directions in that mountainous rocky Region
- you may form some Idea of it, by supposing 17 or 18
enormous Elms thrown down with their heads all lying
one way, representing an irregular Curve of about
250 miles. – And at hand an equal number of Elms
thrown down in the opposite direction, head to head.
whose Boughs and Twigs do all but touch; and then
demand, in what place lie the two opposite Boughs
that approach the nearest to each other. Very
little satisfactory information can be obtained from
the Indians in a Journey; especially as their Jealousy
is already awakened by our examination of their
Country.Until I saw the state of those Countries
I did not expect so great a change for the worse in the
Lands of the Hudson’s Bay Company; and Mr [?] Stew-
-art put an end to every hope I could form on a supply
from Lake la Pluie, once the granary of the North
West Company.The winter of late presents
uncommonly deep Snow, unusual severe weather
and no appearance of Spring.
Your most Obedient
humble Servant
David Thompson
The Honorable John Hale

(upside down:
Recd Burton
17th March 1823)
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.