ONE undertaking to
write a history of such a redoubtable corps as the Royal North-West
Mounted Police, a corps which might be said to be constantly on
strenuous active service, and consequently peculiarly prolific of
stirring story, is tempted to dwell rather upon the dramatic and
sensational incidents of the records of the force than upon the more
matter of fact and historically valuable annals.
I have tried to resist
this temptation as far as possible, my desire being to produce a volume
of some sort of historical valueŚrather an authentic record of the
origin, development and work of the force than a spicy collection of
stirring adventures, more or less apocryphal in character. A few,
comparatively a very few, thoroughly authenticated stirring incidents of
the service of the force are related in the following pages, but no more
than enough to intelligently illustrate the character of that service.
The late Inspector
Dickens upon one occasion informed me that he had for some time been
collecting, with a view to their publication, a number of the
well-authenticated stories of daring and adventure within the force, and
it is greatly to be regretted that his intention was never put into
execution, for what a stirring volume might have been added to Canadian
As to the present
modest volume, the record of the Royal North-West Mounted Police is so
largely the history of Western Canada that the preservation in some sort
of an endurable form accessible to the reading and writing public, of
the annals of the force seemed an actual necessity, particularly with
the control of the force undergoing a change as at present.
Every care has been
taken to secure accuracy of fact, and I must especially express my
thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Fred. White, the Comptroller, for his
courtesy in assisting me greatly, not only with personal information,
but by placing documents and photographs in his possession at my
disposition. I feel that grateful acknowledgements are also due to
Assistant Commissioner J. H. Mclllree, for assistance in securing many
of the portraits used in the illustration of this work, and to Mr. D. A.
McLaughlin, Chief Government Photographer, Ottawa, for a number of
excellent illustrations procured from him.
I have drawn to some
extent, too, upon Dr. H. J. Morgan's volume, Canadian Men and
Women of the Day," for some biographical information. It is rarely one
produces a Canadian book of historical character without doing so.
Having resided for some
time in the North-West, having gone through the rebellion of 1885.
including the chase after Big Bear, and having many friends among the
officers and men of the Royal North-West Mounted Police. 1 have had the
privilege of knowing something of the way the force does its work and of
the excellent spirit pervading all ranks, and I only hope this volume
may do something towards perpetuating the record of the invaluable
contribution towards Empire building in this Canada of ours, made by
this truly admirable body of men.
ERNEST m CHAMBERS.
The Senate, Ottawa. September 1, 1906.