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Mr. Le May tells me that Mr. Smith went before the council and said as the officer of the Hudson Bay Co. he was prepared to acknowledge the only government he had found in the country, and Le May added that his act would be followed generally. I think I see a chance for the amicable adjustment of this very serious business, and hope I have paved the way for Colonel de Salaberry and Father Thibeault to make some progress; but you will, I think, have to send ultimately a statesman of standing and ability, armed with large discretionary power.
Captain and Mrs. Cameron and I will leave here in a day or two, and I will lose no time in coming at once to you.—Ever yours faithfully,
(Sd.) C. TUPPER.
Hon. SIR J. A. MACDONALD.
It is only right to say here that Mr. Smith went to Fort Garry the day after I saw him, and discharged the duties imposed upon him by his commission with great judgment and ability.
Captain and Mrs. Cameron and myself—Mr. Vine having arrived with the baggage left Pembina at 4 p.m. on our return on January 3rd, 1870. On the 6th of the month we camped at Frog Point, and had to put up a canvas tent, as it snowed. We were much colder than when sleeping in the open, as we did not get the benefit of the fire. On the morning of the 7th a good deal of snow had fallen, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. We held a council of war to decide whether we should attempt to proceed. Our driver, who proved a most efficient man, did not think it was safe, as,
if the storm obliterated the track we would be lost. The mail courier with his train of six dogs, who slept at our fire, said that he was caught at that spot just a year previously in a similar storm, and was unable to proceed for three weeks, and had to eat one of his dogs.
We decided to leave the decision to my daughter, and the temptation of reaching Georgetown and sleeping in a house was so great that she said she would take the risk. We went, but had great difficulty in keeping the track, and reached Georgetown at 8 p.m. We slept there, and reached Harris's hotel at Fort Abercrombie the next day, January 9th, at dark. I found I had increased my weight during the twenty-one days since I left Fort Abercrombie from 170 to 190 lbs. We sent our baggage on to St. Cloud and rested on the 10th at Harris's hotel. We reached the railway at St. Cloud at 5 p.m. on the 13th and our baggage arrived ten minutes later. We left at 8 a.m., and reached St. Paul at 1 p.m. Mr. Kittson, the agent of the Hudson Bay Company, called with letters from home. My daughter, who had stood the journey admirably, was not very well. We left St. Paul at 8 a.m., reached Prairie du Chien at dark, where we took a sleeping car and arrived at Milwaukee at 7 a.m.
There we remained over Sunday the 16th; left there at 7 a.m., and reached Chicago at II a.m. Captain Cameron went on at 4 p.m., and Emma and I followed at 8 p.m., in the palace sleeping car. We met him at Detroit Junction at 8 a.m. on the I8th. We breakfasted at Sarnia and reached Toronto at 7 p.m., where we took a sleeping car
and reached Prescott Junction at 7.30, and Ottawa at 11 a.m. Captain and Mrs. Cameron remained at Ottawa. I left for Halifax at 8 a.m. on the 25th ; reached New York at 9 p.m., and sailed in the City of Boston at 3 p.m. I reached Halifax at 4 p.m. on the 28th, all well.
The City of Boston took on board a dozen of the leading merchants of Halifax and sailed for Liverpool
She was never heard of afterwards.
The foregoing account of my experiences with Riel rather amplifies the brief record of them given by Pope, in his memoirs of Sir John A. Macdonald, vol. ii., page 61.
“Mr. Smith was an officer of the Hudson Bay Company, ostensibly going as such, though provided with commission from the Canadian Government, to be used if occasion required. His special mission was to endeavour to bring about the dispersion of the half-breeds and the dissolution of their committee.
Dr. Tupper also paid a visit to the Red River at this time, and had a conference with certain of the disaffected leaders."
And in a footnote on the same page he says: “Dr. Tupper went up to bring back his daughter, Mrs. Cameron, and got into Fort Garry. He was in the country about two days, and did more good than anyone else who had hitherto gone there. (From Sir John A. Macdonald to the Hon. John Rose, dated Ottawa, January 21st, 1870.).”
Supplementary to this chapter I append one of the letters I received from Sister Riel, which will serve to illustrate the vicissitudes of the lives
of the “
Sisters of Charity,” who devoted themselves to the missions of the North-West :
Convent of St. Joseph,
Isle à la Crosse,
Sept. roth, 1880. TO THE HONOURABLE CHARLES TUPPER.
HONOURABLE SIR, I must apologise for having delayed so long to offer you the expression of my most sincere gratitude for the twenty dollars you have been so kind to give me for my poor dear orphans of Isle à la Crosse, which I received with your letter in May. I was delighted to know that God, in His infinite bounty, had spared your days so far. I praised Him for His paternal care of my most worthy and esteemed friend, and I began to hope, according to your letter, that I would have the happiness to see you in the course of the summer. My pupils and dear orphans prepared for the desired arrival, sharing the sentiments of their teacher; but how disappointed we were when days, weeks, months passing on, the beautiful season was gone, and with it the hope of seeing you at Isle à la Crosse; this explains you the silence I kept after the reception of your generous alms and so kind letter. My thanks have lost nothing of their sincerity, I assure you, and I pray you very humbly to accept them. My pupils, orphans and myself will every day, by earnest supplications, draw down on you Heaven's most precious gifts, a long and happy life, success and wealth, but above all the joys and felicity of the Other and most happy life!
Honourable and Dear Sir, our trials are very great this year; we have had one of the most rainy summers
Our immense lake covers nearly the whole island, and our beautiful crops are in a great danger, cattle starving, the hay made on the highest lands is presently in the water; the rivers, swamps and creeks overflowing on all sides; the water raises every day and puts our Mission in a great danger because our island, being small and sandy, our houses have no foundations and, made of wood, they certainly cannot resist long to the dreadful waves of our immense lake. We are in a great distress, not for us, but for our invalids, poor, orphans and pupils sheltered in our asylum. but
the holy will of God be done ! .
The ioth of August we had a dreadful storm after sunset, that made us think of the end of the world; the sky became of a bloody hue at first; then the wind, increasing fearfully, the lake was in a terrible agitation, the waves raising to an immense height, lightning, thunder so incessant and dreadful from eight o'clock to ten, that one expected to be struck at every minute. Rain poured down so heavily that in an hour the houses seemed built in the lake; the small space of land occupied by the Mission was flooded, we were all in a dreadful consternation; at last, when the clock struck ten, the storm diminished, thunder ceased, and stars gradually appeared in the sky. We all retired to bed, thanking God for having spared us in this hour of danger. In the morning we were much grieved in seeing our beautiful crops of wheat and barley soaking in the water and crushed down by