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The Father of St. Kilda
Twenty Years in Isolation in the Sub-Artic Territory of the Hudson's Bay Company by Roderick Campbell, F.R.G.S. (1901)




It was said long ago, that “of the making of books there is no end.” I, too, wisely or unwisely, have made a book. In the fag-end of a weary century we have attained to the prosaic faculty of being able to measure sunshine, weigh winds, and analyse stars, yet the primitive instincts of humanity are still unconquered, still unconquerable. A sun-worshipper by nature and early training, I have loved dearly a life in the open air. Is it then folly, ignorance, or presumption that tempts me to become an author? My audacity stares me in the face. Yet “one must accomplish something,” says Goethe, “nay, fail in something, to learn to know one’s own capacities and those of others.” We discover an unsuspected vein in us, only in beginning to work it. And so work grows out of faith, and it takes both to make a man. It is by toil alone that we arrive at our true selves. Only by polishing do we reach the peculium of a diamond— its light-giving faculty; and only by the same process do we discover the hidden powers of a man, his peculiar office and function in the world, which none other can exactly fill.

The following pages contain a personal narrative—the history of my early years and ol my travels and adventures, strange and thrilling enough, in the territories around Hudson Bay. I have dealt little in geography and ethnology. Recent works on these matters have added greatly to the knowledge we possessed when I made my youthful journey from Stornoway to Hudson Bay and the Red River of the North. In the account of that and subsequent journeys I am able to give the first complete picture of these scarce-known regions and their primitive inhabitants as they were when first the white trader ventured among them. I have made it my care to tell my story with absolute truthfulness, and have yielded to no temptation to embellish it. If I can induce some youth, conscious of energy, ability and force of will, to ponder over and profit by the lessons of a unique career, I shall be happy; for, according to an ancient saying, to receive is only a single pleasure, but to give is a threefold one. Let me only say, further, that, in the words of Burns, “I am determined to make these lines my confidant. I will sketch every character that in any way strikes me to the best of my observation, with unshrinking justice.” Thus he whom these pages do not interest will have only himself to blame should he read further, and if he weary himself over them I can only desire him to recollect that for him they were not written.

Bushy Heath,
April, 1901.


Chapter I
Birth - Church Schism - General Remarks
Chapter II
My Parentage and Family History - School Days
Chapter III
I run away from  Home - The Return of the Prodigal - Death of my Mother -Bantrach Dhomhniull Roy
Chapter IV
From Lewis to Hudson Bay
Chapter V
Fort York in 1859
Chapter VI
Fort York to the Red River of the North
Chapter VII
History of the Settlement - First Impressions - Characteristics of the People
Chapter VIII
General Events during 1860 - 1868
Chapter IX
End of the Charter
Chapter X
Two Years on the Saskatchewan Prairies
Chapter XI
"Red Cloud" and "Sitting Bull" - Indians - A Winter in the Woods
Chapter XII
A Trip to the Further West
Chapter XIII
The Return Journey
Chapter XIV
A Visit to Scotland, England, France and the United States

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