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Early Strike Breaking in Western North America
The Breaking of a Labour Combination at Brandon House in North America by an English Joint Stock Company 1810-1812 By Norman James Williamson

Our thanks to Norman James Williamson for this article

Brandon House circa 1810

Introduction: master and man

During the long desperate struggle between the laborers and capitalists who were making themselves rich in the British Isles at the end of the eighteenth, century capital's most potent weapon was the statutes of English law which prevailed throughout Great Britain and the English Colonies at the time. These were laws which the middle class mercantile capitalists had bought with the bribery of the old English ruling elite.

In the English Empire this status quo was maintained through out the country’s history by three anchors; the navy press gang, the over supply of Irish labour and cheap gin.

When Orkneymen working in the English colony of Rupert’s land in “British” North America carried on a short struggle for a just return for their labour the capitalist interest there, being the joint stock company called the Hudson’s Bay Company, used those laws and physical intimidation to break that workmen’s combination.

With the aid of the ambitions of a prominent British North American plantation owner, one Thomas Douglas, this company was able to use the English statutes to destroy any attempt to organize the labour force in Rupertsland.

In my study of the following events which led to the labour dispute the company called a 'mutiny' and the means by which the company broke the combination of the workmen involved I believe I uncovered many of the fundamental problems of those early rudimentary unions.

It was the distinctive relationship between master and man under English law which dominated the position of labour in the fur trade.

Within that relationship wide reaching decisions concerning working conditions were made by the governing committee of the company on the basis of their English social and racial prejudices. Prejudices, which were then taken up as their own by the company officers, both English and non English, but especially by the so called lowland Scots among them.

When the men of the Orkney Islands made up the majority of the workmen, or servants [1] as they were called, they were particularly subjected to that racial bias.

This tendency to social and racial bias on the part of the committee members who were all either part of the upper mercantile class, landed aristocracy or international bankers, was a major contributing factor to the chaos in the work place that preceded the attempt at a combination of workmen at Brandon House, the site of the “mutiny".

Historically speaking, those who sought to make decisions concerning Orkney workmen did so on the basis of character and looked to Murdock MacKenzie’s 1750 publication of A Survey of The Orkney and Lewis Island [2] for their justification.

As for the validity of the committee's action Rich, the editor of the Hudson’s Bay Record Society, conceded that the committee, who used the stereotype in decision making,

“were mostly businessmen...of narrow experience and [were] regarding the American scene from a remote and very comfortable distance.” [3]

It was unfortunate that many of the scholars who study the company tend to separate the "American" from the "European, scene because this distorts the reality of the master and man relationship at that time in history.

In fact, the social distance between the committee members and the labourers at Brandon House was no greater than that between the same committee members and the labourers in the company warehouses in England.

I could not let geographic distance be confused with the actual differences in economic power and political influence which were at the heart of the matter. Nor could I loose sight of the fact that the operations of the company in Rupertsland were an inseparable, if small, part of the British economy.

In my own studies in anthropology and history I had noted that a group upon whom a stereotype has been fixed will sometimes assume that model when it suited their purpose to do so.

Orkneymen did, at times, assume some of the more positive aspects of the stereotype as a standard of respectability when petitioning their masters. William Yorston one of the labourers at Brandon House, for example assumed such a stance when he finally petitioning the company for his back wages. [4]

While there was clearly no real cultural or biological evidence that the workmen of the Orkneys fitted the Hudson’s Bay Company paradigm of them, there was strong evidence that there was a ambivalent attitude towards the company among the workers. Those attitudes were best portrayed in an anecdote recorded by Thomas Johnston in The History of the Working Classes in Scotland:

At Ballindalloch on the Spey, a poor man had been sentenced to death, and the gallows not being ready he was put in the baron's pit while the scaffold was being erected. At length everything was in order, and the baron's men called upon the prisoner to come up; but instead of coming up the doomed man drew a sword and threatened to slay the first individual who came down for him. Persuasion and threat were equally unavailing, until at last, the victim's wife appeared and cried, "Come up quietly and be hanget, Donal', and dinna anger the laird. [5]

Because of this ambivalence among the workers, at no time during the period of the unrest was the entire work force affected able to unite within the combination.

Some like William Yorston found themselves torn between his attitudes of servitude and rebellion. At once, he was a good servant and a servant betrayed by his master.

It was this ambivalence in the workmen's attitude towards the company and its officers that would do as much to destroy the combination as did the manipulations of the officers of the company.

The European Historical Background to Brandon House Mutiny.

In order to comprehend the situation of a labourer at Brandon in North America I first had to turn a moment to European History in general and to Scottish history in particular.

The turbulence in which the Scottish, working class found itself in the first decade of the nineteenth, century was due to two changes in land tenure and usage the clearances and enclosures. Although by no means blameless in their treatment of the clansmen before the defeat at Culloden in 1746, that loss definitively turned the Scottish lairds into English landlords who were totally inconsiderate of the welfare of the clansmen they abandoned for middle class English gentility.

These over-lords began the general depopulation of the Highlands in 1762. [6]

Euphemistically called a progressive agrarian revolution it included enclosure of the common lands. Then with the advent of the Napoleonic wars enclosure was made a matter of English patriotism by the landed gentry [7] as they forced more and more landless men into the English Empire’s war machine.

Traditionally the Orkneymen had drawn lots for the parcels of land in their run rig agricultural system. They like the Highlanders watched the unfolding events with apprehension.

In 1801 three thousand tenant farmers were evicted from Inverness shire. By 1808 they had been replaced by 50,000 sheep. [8]

On Whitsun, in 1807, the “bitch” started her Sutherland clearance of 25,000 Highlanders.

Many of these would be picked up and used by Selkirk and the Hudson’s bay Company to create a consistent oversupply of labour in Rupertsland.

The clearances and closures brought drastic changes to the prospects of the young of the labouring classes. Cunningham pointed out:

the labourers' condition was changed for the worse by the extinction of small farms; in the old days there had always been a possibility that he might become an independant farmer, but he was practically precluded from obtaining such, capital as was requisite for working a large farm. He was thus cut off from any hope of bettering himself, or becoming his own master;. [10]

The ultimate result was a growing landless underclass whose survival depended upon an earned wage. [11]

In the Orkney Islands the workmen had three choices; first the mills and collieries of the south, second the deep sea fleets fishing or the navy, and third, service in the fur trade.

In the collieries of Britain there was a growing agitation for better conditions which would develop into rudimentary unions. In order to overcome the threat these organizations posed to high profits, the capital controlled Parliament passed laws which made it illegal to combine for economic purposes.

By "Section IV of the Act, any person could be punished for attending a meeting designed for the purpose of raising wages...” [12]

As it was passed in 1800 by the English government this law forced workers brought to trial to give evidence against themselves a procedure that ran contrary to the custom of English law.

With the advent of the Napoleonic wars the conditions of the working classes in general grew worse. [13]

It was the economic uncertainty of the land based labour market that led most able bodied Orkneymen to choose employment at sea, [14] either in the Greenland fishing fleets or the Royal Navy.

However, not all of the workmen could meet the minimum standards of the fleets or even the army.

Failing to find employment led to a world of poor housing, disease, and death at an early age.[15] That only left the desperate service in the Hudson’s Bay Company[16] and that joint stock company expected that their desperation would make them excellent servants.

The Working Conditions at Brandon House

I found that in 1810 the workmen at Brandon House were a mixed group of long service veterans who knew that they faced a return to an uncertain economy if they left the company or were ejected from the company, and along side these were men in their first or second three year agreement who had joined the service after working conditions in Scotland had become particularly bad.

However, in spite of the danger entailed in getting into a labour dispute with the company, men from both these categories were involved in the combination at Brandon House. That was because the working conditions created by the company committee had become intolerable at the post.

When I undertook to look into those working conditions at Brandon House the first thing I noted was the pall of death that permeated the fur trade.

The root cause of that mortality was the company’s trade in alcohol. Even officers whose particular personalities brought them advancement in the company begged God's forgiveness for the trade in spirits. [17]

There were many notations in the Post Journals that I read that attested to the consequence of the trade in alcohol:

April 3 All my Indians fell a fighting two of them were killed and 3 wounded. This is a pretty affair I will loose all my debts.[18]

As noted diligent officers of the company kept their priorities correct, especially when reporting to their masters and what mattered to the company first and foremost was profit.

However for the servants at Brandon House the danger was more immediate:

Feb. 10 William Yorston and George Henderson brot (sic) letters from Mr. Miller also informs me of ye death of Mr. John Linklater who was stabed by an Indian when drunk.[19]

The two servants who brought, this intelligence to the master of Brandon House in 1800 would both play major roles in the events of 1810.

In addition to the dangers of the violence caused by the alcohol among the Indians the workmen were also in constant danger from The tribal warfare [20] in which battles, although small in magnitude, were quite often fought near the post. [21]

Furthermore servants caught out on the plains were subject to attack by the raiding Indian parties from outside the district:

Aug. 19 Easter and men returned from hunting with the meat of two bull they could not get where the cows were on account of the enemy forty of whom, perused them about seven hours, they may thank their good horses that their heads were not turned into footballs. [22]

These particular enemies had been the Gros ventre and Easter, by the way was an unpaid Eskimo slave of the Honorable company.

The year following this event one of the servants was shot in the neck with, an iron shod arrow, [23]

From the very onset of the establishment of the inland posts by the company the workmen had been reluctant to go inland to posts like Brandon House. [24]

That reluctance was due to the fact that the wages had to be agreed upon before assignment regardless of where the labourer was going to be sent.

This was done in order to keep wage demands low as a posting to the inland posts meant harder work and more danger than posting to the bay shore factories.

Therefore every year men who “agreed" at the same time for the same wages as their compatriots at Albany House on Hudson’s Bay found themselves posted inland to Brandon.

Many of these servants had to be forced to go inland by threat of punishment for disobedience if they did not. Much of the so called sullenness recorded by company officers was due to this practice.

Over a period of years veteran Factors like Hodgson, Chief at Albany had learned to maintain a balance between a relatively acquiescent work force and profit at his inland posts by the use of a number of wage supplementals and a less stringent work load.

A simple but highly effective supplemental was the practice of providing the servants in the interior with a decent share of the imported food like beef, pork and flour, which, were termed English provisions and were a reminder of home.

Further, he saw to it that they were given extensive access to the country victuals such as buffalo meat, pemmican and other game at the inland posts.

As the English company never provided any inland post with sufficient imported food for the men to survive a winter the men's lives depended upon the hunting of game.

When the over killing of local stocks or natural fluctuation of population reduced the amount of wild meat available these men faced the real possibility of starvation. [25]

Often their lives were in the hands of an Indian hunter hired for the sole purpose of providing the post with meat:

"At noon the Squirrel came in for his final payment of his winter hunt we would have all starved had I not engaged him.” [26]

It is therefore understandable that the men at Brandon House were extremely sensitive to the food supply available at any inland post and their access to them.

Indeed past experience had made the veterans extremely conscious of just how much meat and fat, in pounds, was needed in that severe climate in order to work during the winter months.

To summarize, given the normal food and clothing situation at Brandon House I found that the men knew from experience that the company “slops” were inadequate from year to year, but the prices for what there was available were at least tolerable.

The men also knew the English provisions would be short and of poor quality but they also knew that they got a share as well as the post Master.

The wild game did fluctuate but when it was available they got good red meat and plenty of fat for the winter.

If the trip in from Albany was back breaking there was brandy to be had at a discount from stores, as well as the traditional drams given to the tripmen.

It was this ability of a man to fill his belly that made the job tolerable if not enjoyable.

It would be the deliberate disruption of this policy by the Company committee that set in motion the events that followed.

The Financial State of the English joint stock Company

The Napoleonic wars had reduced the company shareholders return to nil. Three years of unsold fur pelts were in storage in England. Nor were the prospects for the future favorable.

On the North American continent both American and Canadian traders were competing with the English company for the Indian's trade.

While the company ostensibly held a monopoly in the fur trade, at least within the Hudson’s Bay drainage England had neither the time nor the inclination to send sufficient troops to enforce it. The company was, after all, a minor contributor to the British economy at best and totally useless to a war time administration.

By 1808 shares in the company were discounting at 40 percent.[27] Finally in April of 1809 George H. Wollaston of the committee presented his plan. [28]

Wollaston proposed that the company withdraw from the interior fur trade and turn its energies to the lumber trade along the Bay shore.

The intent of these proposals were thereupon conveyed to Hodgson at Albany and he began the preparations to withdraw from the interior. [29]

In the meantime, however a family capital combine had developed in Britain which would take an interest in the Rupertsland company.

Andrew Wedderburn a rum merchant viewed the company's withdrawal from the Indian trade as the loss of a market for his alcohol. In order to save that market he combined with two in laws, Thomas Douglas a plantation owner who was using the newly landless Highlanders to fill his plantations in British North America and John Halkett who was a London merchant. This partnership obtained sufficient stock in the company in order to hold a position of influence on the committee.

The plantation owner Douglas, along with other large land holders with large grants of crown land in North America had been playing a major role in stabilizing Britain's political scene during the agrarian revolution.

An officer of the Hudson's Bay Company put a positive spin on the role of Douglas:

The unprincipled rich in the Highlands Squeeze & Starve the poor in order to get more money. Bad however as these Rich are we have to thank providence that the more numerous class of Society had it not in their power to give the Law to the rest & it is better for themselves, as well as for the nation, that they are obliged to make a Shift for a livelihood in Canada & other parts of America rather than dispossess by strong hand the Lawful proprietors at home and turn masters in their turn as was the Case in miserable France.[30]

When Douglas first considered the establishing of a new plantation in Rupertsland he had sought and obtained an English legal opinion as to the jurisdiction of the English company in that region of North America.

The resulting opinion was to have a major influence on the forthcoming attitude of the committee of the company toward the use of legal power to control their labour force.

Critical in the statement of that opinion was the point that,

"...the grant of The civil and criminal jurisdiction is valid, though it is not granted to the company but to the Governor and Council at their respective judges, who are to proceed according to The laws of England.”[31]

This opinion and the resulting action of the committee due to it emphasizes the fact that the oppressive labour laws enacted in Britain were simultaneously existent in Rupertsland.

In 1811 even more legal power was placed in the hands of the company when its officers in North America were made magistrates [32] under the Canadian Jurisdiction Act Of 1803. [33]

Wedderburn quickly became the determinant in the company committee of 1809 and his plan for retrenchment superseded Wallston's plan of withdrawal.

Apologists for Thomas Douglas have maintained that Douglas was "disinterested”, in the materialistic aspects of the relationship. Further they have foisted that false image of a benevolent hero on Canadian school children. This position of the apologists is indefensible as Douglas was just one more plantation owner seeking the success of his business.

The English company would provide him with a ready market for the farm produce of his plantation in Rupertsland therefore he would need both farm labourers and the servants he had also promised to the company. In other words, Douglas success depended upon what he could get cheaply -- what other landlords in Scotland were throwing away - people.

Nevertheless I will concede one point to Douglas that is; that “perhaps” his attitude toward his servants may have been tempered by his Clapham philosophy.

In any event Wedderburn's system would maintain the company's presence in the interior and, therefore, their legal right to grant Douglas the land for his plantation. Of course Douglas supported the Wedderburn system of retrenchment and was equally responsible for its content and the consequences that occured.

Indeed, when His lordship was contacted on the matter of Yorston’s petition he took the side of the committee as did his brother in-law Halkett.

So much for his humanity and the bubble and squeek I got at school about him.

The Consequences of Retrenchment to the Workmen in Rupertsland.

From the point of view of the workmen at Brandon House the fundamental constituent of the retrenchment system was the order that every post initiate an accurate accounting of exactly every article of merchandise sold to the officers and servants. [34] In itself the order was innocuous enough. It was, however, coupled to a strictly adhered to a system of food rationing.

The precise weekly ration per man was to be 10 lbs. oatmeal, 1 barley, 1 pease, 2 meat, 1 fat or 1 pint molasses.[35]

There was no indication that any allowance for the seasonal labour requirements of an inland post were to be made.

Furthermore any extraneous circumstance, such as the strenuous nature of certain aspects of the fur trade, were not to contravene this order as to ration.

If a man needed, or thought he required more food to do the job he was ordered to do he was to purchase it himself from the company at inland prices. Further, any servant purchasing spirits from the company was to pay full inland price the same as the Indians did.

The best reduction on other goods or slops was to be a maximum of one fifth or 20 percent off the "inland" retail price of goods.

I found this interestingly stupid as the main losses to the company were not due to a lower profit margin on the sale of goods in the interior but the Company’s failure to find new markets for their furs.

Furthermore it was clear to the committee and the officers that these changes in company policy had to cause some unrest among the servants, particularly those working at the inland posts. However, the committee was confident they had little to fear on that account, for Douglas had guaranteed them an abundant oversupply of labour from his plantations on the continent.

In return for the land for the Rupertsland plantation Douglas had agreed to provide the company with 200 men for ten years at wages of no more than twenty ponds per annum.[36]

The Douglas Wedderburn proposal was accepted by the committee in principal in the year 1809 and Auld the Superintendent was ordered to make preparations for a colony on the Red River in Rupertsland.[37] This Lowland Scot Superintendent also began the implementation of the retrenchment policy.

Hodgson, the Chief at Albany, was fired and his wages stopped when the company ship reached the post.[38] The letter from the committee called it his lack of vigor and want of activity. Auld called it misconduct and used Hodgson’s fate as an example to threaten the other company officers under his power.

The company wanted all of the servants in Rupertsland placed on the same footing immediately. [39] That is to say, they wanted them stripped of all wage supplements and reduced to the same wage scale, using Douglas's offer as a measure.

This action would also add to the unrest. The company therefore decided to redistribute the labour force, particularly the Albany men in order to break up groups of friends that might tend to form pockets of resistance.

For example, of the Albany men at Brandon House many of the men had served together for more than five years, some such as Yorston and Henderson for as long as ten.

Because of the potential unrest among the interior Albany men, the Red River district of which Brandon House was a part was withdrawn from Albany and placed under Auld's direct supervision.

As the Douglas Wedderburn plan took shape it became clear that the committee was using their English racial bigotry to justify the shift from the Orkney workmen to Douglas's refugee Highlanders, and in the company "regulations” of the day I found:

In consequence of the representations which have been received from the different Factories we have determined to send no more men from the Orkneys. A few men have been procured from the Western Islands and Coast of Scotland where the people are of a more spirited race than in Orkney.[40]

The labour force of a company never deals with upper managements, be it a board of governors or a committee of shareholders as was the case in the Hudson’s Bay Company. It was lower management, chosen for their ability to augment company policy, that the workmen deal with. In the case in point that lower management consisted of Superintendent William Auld and the officers of his jurisdiction.

Thus not only were the workmen in the field, having to deal with the change in policy, but also the character and methods used by the officer in charge.

In the case of Auld, a lowland Scot who was a Uria Heap of an officer, who had good reason to dislike, even hate, the Orkney workmen because in 1805 a combination of Orkney workmen had refused to sign on with Auld.

Thus Auld had lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to make his fortune as a semi independent 'trader into the Athabaska district.[41]

Auld was always critical of the Orkneymen in his reports to the committee and after 1809 he boasted to a fellow officer

"That it is wholly owing to me that the Honorable Committee have left getting their servants from the usual place.” [42]

As for Auld's relationship to the servants under him he constantly attempted to force upon them the same servility he himself portrayed towards the committee.[43]

Among the new regulations, the committee decided that servants were no longer to have access to the English provisions at all.

Again the rationale for their penurious attitude was determined by their racial and class prejudices:

We are of opinion That the Rations of meat hitherto allowed have been extravagant, especially when in consideration that so great a proportion of our men are natives of a country where Butcher’s meat forms scarcely any part of the ordinary diet of the labouring people.[44]

It is doubtful that under any circumstances the transition to the new system would have been uneventful. But the problems with labour were compounded by the further blunders of the upper and lower management of the English company as they forced through the changes.

First, their rejection of the Orkney workmen by the committee had been woefully premature. Douglas's obligation to provide a cheap over supply of labour would not begin until 1812. As it turned out the company's own interim recruitment in the Highlands had been a failure.

Finding that they were still in need of the Orkneymen upper management decided to conceal the tenor of the regulations by refusing to allow even the officers in the field to read an official copy of them:

from a total want of success in procuring men in the Highlands & Western Islands of Scotland there are parts in the regulations which reflect on the character of the Orkney Servants so pointedly that in our present state of entire dependence on them it would be the extremity of folly to irritate them so unnecessarily as would be the case on their becoming acquainted [with the contents]...

We therefore earnestly recommend to you to conceal all these regulations from your officers so that no possible chance may allow of their contents getting among the lower Servants.... the same time we by no means desire to restrain you from complying with the regulations only enforcing them from you own private Authority which is amply sufficient.[45]

In the past the servants of the company had been ordered to obey the official "regulations” of the committee as they were posted at the Posts.

The work which the servant had agreed to do was also set down in those regulations. It was the responsibility of the officers to decide where and when but not what the men were to do.

This was the image held by the servants of the agreement under which they worked. It was an ideal, to be sure, as the men were often called upon to do employment outside the realm of their agreement with the company. However, when the men did feel put upon by a company officer they could demand to see his authority in the writing of the regulations.

This time it was Auld's intention to enforce the retrenchment system based solely upon his personal authority. Then through due process he expected to be able to transfer that personal authority to the officers within the Red River district.

This, however, gave them far more power than they had ever known before. Under this regime the servants were expected to accept and conform to the new regulations solely on the word of lower and lower levels of management.

These then were the factors that had originally shaped the conditions of the workmen at Brandon House and the factors added by company policy changes that introduced the “new order” in their world in their time.

The Key Participants in the Brandon House Labour Dispute

There were a number of individuals who were actively involved in the events at Brandon House. The key figures on the company side were William Auld, Superintendent of the company in America, Alexander Kennedy Master at Swan River and Brandon House, and Hugh Heney officer in charge of Red River. These were the middle and lower management personnel in the dispute

One of the chief organizers of the labour combination was George Henderson a fourteen year veteran in the company service. He was a common labourer and could not read or write. Twelve of those years had been spent at Brandon House.

The second leader of the combination was John Cumming. He was a relatively new man, only in his second three year contract.

Two other individuals took prominent positions in the events. The first was Archibald Mason. I believe Mason was origionally sent over as an agricultural advance man for the proposed colony. At first he appeared in the role of an officer in the company but at the time of the dispute he took the side of the combination. Later he fled to Canada with the help of the Nor’westers.

The second individual was William Yorston, a literate Orkney labourer who had come up through the ranks. He became the man caught in the middle. At the beginning of the events at Brandon House he was Indian trader and second in command. In the service since 1796 he had learned the trade in the field and the Indians "knew" him at Brandon House.

In 1808 09 he had also built the trading post at Manitoba House and had run it.

It was because of his personal ability that Brandon House did not loose the trade to the Canadian traders during the Post Master's annual trip to the bay during the summer.

In spite of his service and the promises of his immediate superiors his salary had remained at 18 pounds per annum. Furthermore the company was fifty seven pounds in arrears in the money owed to him.

Brandon House May 1810

I would say that the events at Brandon House began in May of 1810. It was then that Yorston requested permission from the Master at Brandon to go down to Albany and petition for the f35 a year salary he had been promised.

But McKay the Master was deathly ill with consumption. He asked Yorston to remain inland for the sake of the post and Yorston agreed to do so. On the 5 of July McKay died and Yorston took charge of the post.

Most of the men including Yorston himself appear to have expected that he would retain the position of Master until the order for the proposed withdrawal to the bayside came inland.

Brandon House was a difficult post to run. This was primarily due to the competition of the Canadian Northwesters. However, Yorston had built a good reputation among the Indians and as Indian trader he had held the trade at the post together.

Further, the men trusted him, particularly the veterans who had worked under him on trading expeditions onto the plains and the establishment of Manitoba House. Therefore it was a surprise to all of them when Thomas Norn was sent inland with orders to take command of the post. However his tenure by his own wishes was short lived

Mr. Norn however had been only Eight days in office when he owned to the petitioner, [Yorston] that from his ignorance of the trade in that district, and of the humour of the traders, whom, be saw daily leaving the place, he was quite unfit for the management, and begged that the Petitioner (to prevent the total ruin of the Company’s Interests in that quarter) would again take command.[46]

Once more Yorston took command. But an air of uncertainty grew as the summer passed and no word on the future, in the expected form of an order to move came in from Albany.

If they were to close down the establishment and remove to Albany they would have to do so soon or risk a very cold run down the Albany River to the Bay side. They might even be caught by the freeze up and be forced to walk out.

Then on October 23

"to [their) great surprise" Humphrey Favell arrived at the post with their letters from home and a letter from Hugh Heney the officer in charge of Red River. [47]

The letter informed the post that the company had changed its mind and that it intended to maintain the Red River district and the establishment at Brandon House.

Yorston's surprise increased when Heney did not include the copy of the regulations for the ensuing season in the packet.

This unusual occurrence was also noted by the men at the post, especially when Favell informed them of the rumors of he had picked up at Red River concerning the fantastic prices they would have to pay for slops.

In his letter Heney ordered that Brandon House send four carts, two horses with riding saddles and two pack horses, to the forks of the Assinaboine and Red rivers to meet Superintendent Auld. In the instructions Heney ordered: "You'll give the men a fortnights provisions to here, [the forks] in wait of our Superintendent." [48]

Yorston did as he was instructed and added 175 lbs. piece meat to the provisions. On 26 October he sent Thomas Measson, Andrew Barkie and John Wishart with Humphrey Favell with the outfit, to the forks.

The men arrived at the forks on 30 October but found that Auld had not yet arrived. Heney then decided that he wanted to go to Brandon House and ordered Measson and the Brandon House servants to remain at the forks until Auld appeared.

Measson objected to the indefinite period of time involved in the order. They did not have their winter clothing with them nor more than the provisions Heney had ordered.

Heney became furious at the mere questioning of the order. He ordered Measson to remain at the forks as it was his duty to obey and if he did not he would no longer be allowed to serve the company.[49]

Measson was one of the ten year veterans. He understood clearly the implications of remaining at the forks of the Red River during November without food, clothing or proper shelter and he continued to refuse.

Heney then tried to take control of the horses to force the men to remain at the forks. Measson refused to hand the stock over to the officer. Heney armed himself in an attempt to browbeat the men into submission.

Measson told the armed officer be had brought the horses from Brandon House and he would take them back there again. The Brandon House servants then left to go home.

Heney had ordered Brandon House to send two weeks provisions with the carts. It had taken the carts four days to reach the forks empty. Presumably it would take at least five days to return. That left a maximum of five days at the forks. We can presume that the meeting at the forks took up at least one day, leaving Measson and the men with only four days provisions.

Heney had demanded they remain at the forks indefinitely for Auld, who may have been delayed or may have changed his mind. They could not know.

However when Auld reported this incident to the committee he managed to turn Heney’s gross stupidity into a consciously mutinous act on Yorston's part.[50]

Auld claimed that Yorston bad deliberately short rationed the outfit in order to interfere with Auld's inspection trip. This Auld would state proved that the Orkneyman Yorston had been the first rebel and the instigator of the later mutiny.

With, the return of Measson and his story the anxiety of the men at Brandon House intensified. All they knew of what was going on was what they had heard from Favell and the rest of Heney’s men.

It was through this chain of rumor that they learned that Heney was telling the Indians in the Red River district not to hunt furs but to concentrate on bringing in provisions.[51]

This bizarre situation continued, for under Auld's orders Heney had no copy of the regulations to show Norn, Yorston or anyone else at Brandon House. Heney did, however, attempt to implement and enforce the new order regulations using his personal authority.

The reaction of the servants to this was understandably resistive and it was immediate. Even the even tempered Yorston was furious that Heney had not done him the courtesy of showing him the regulations which gave him the authority to implement the changes.

Later Yorston would inform Kennedy that,

“he [Yorston) considered no man in this Country to be his master, the Hudson’s Bay Company only were his masters, and to them be would be answerable for his conduct.” [52]

There was no doubt in my mind that Yorston was, throughout his entire service with the company, loyal to its interests. But that loyalty was misplaced for the company had chosen to abandon any right to personal fealty on the part of its servants for the English legal power they had vested in their Rupertsland officers.

When Heney undertook to tell the Brandon men the regulations that pertained to the costs to servants the men went on strike:

Nov. 5 Gave orders for the next day Employment to the men. They would not work till such times that the Price of Slops would be reduced to the Old Standard was their answer.[53]

Heney’s reaction was to threaten the men’s lives with expulsion from the safety of the company fort

Nov. 6 Wrote down to the men that whoever refused his duty I could not supply them with victuals they must take to the plains and shift for themselves till the Spring.[54]

This was an unmitigated bluff for Heney had no means of enforcing the threat. The servants knew this but the very idea that Heney might consider starving them into submission made the men hate him even more.

However, the barrack room lawyers in the men's quarters knew that a combination was illegal. As the men had apparently managed to get their slops for the winter bought before Heney had arrived they sent him a counter proposal:

They returned an answer that they did not refuse their duty and they wished that the Price of Slops as Mr. Kennedy's man 'had informed them and wished I could assure them that what they had bought to the day I arrived should be at the old Price of 1809 which I gave them without hesitation,[55]

Thus the men set aside the main problem of the price of slops for that winter at least. But the problem of provisions remained.

Brandon House had, for the most part, a good supply of meat when the buffalo herds were nearby. For example, in October 1809 the Assinaboine Indians had brought in 1,000 lbs. of meat and 2,400 lbs. of fat. [56]

Under the old regime the men had favourable access to that supply. But now they found Heney was weighing the fat on hand in order to insure it was only distributed by ration.

Thus Heney’s relationship with the servants of the post continued to deteriorate. He took to wearing his pistols in his belt, loaded and primed. He also began to abuse the men verbally, calling them Orkney dogs.

Heney was a Canadian.

The Work Slowdown

On 8 December Heney left for Pembina Post but returned on 17 January. With him he brought Archibald Mason

Mason would play an interesting role in what was to transpire. As I already noted he was ostensibly sent to the Red River to survey the potential for agriculture in the region. Aboard ship on the trip out Auld had treated him as an company officer.[57]

It was interesting to note that when the agreement between the plantation owner and the company was finally written into a legal document in June 1811 Mason's name appears among the officers considered to be servants of both the fur trade operation and the plantation.[58]

When they reached Brandon House Heney’s initial relationship with Mason appeared to be excellent. In fact Heney often relinquished the head of the table to him.[59] However, Mason at one time called the company committee Raskals and Jack Asses. [60]

While Auld had always been suspicious that the Canadian traders had been “concerned" with the mutiny as he put it, he had no proof [61]. On the other hand Mason, when he did escape the attempts of the English company to capture him, he did so with the help of the Norwesters. Therefore I concluded that that Mason may well have been an agent provocateur for the Norwesters or at the very least a spy for them.

On Heney's return to Brandon House I discovered that the journal entries indicated that the men had instituted what amounted to a work slowdown. He then attempted to get the men to put their hand to an agreement in principle, to his authority:

"Sent an order down to the men who ever were willing to Remain any longer in this Department to sign their names. None consented," [62]

Considering that it was the company's intent to reassign the men anyway, this order was a ploy on Heney’s part to institute a pseudo legally binding contract on the men to obey his authority.

Nevertheless not all the men at the post were in agreement with the combination although those who did not agree did defer to the will of the other men resident in the servant's quarters.

Barkie, for example, claimed neutrality. Although he did not support the combination he would refuse to comment under Auld's inquiry, stating he had heard nothing.

Isbister and Plowman went over to the company as soon as they were away from the combination.

Thomas Favell remained terrified throughout the period, first of Heney, then of the combination and finally of Auld.

The Mutiny

On 24 February Heney decided to return to Pembina. He wrote a letter officially placing Norn, not Yorston, in charge in his absence. He further aggravated the men by stating in the same letter: "Should the men ask to buy any Goods Brandy, Leather or any other articles whatever, you cannot sell any is to be your answer.[63]

Later on that evening Heney and Mason were engaged in a drinking bout. When he had become intoxicated Heney made a number of inappropriate remarks:

(Heney) has cast some curious capers of his own, with regards to Prices of Goods etc. etc. finding himself on his last legs, in Sending of his wedded wife and taking master McKays Eldest Daughter, which did not happen, in order to get his hands on the Deceasts (sic) money finding himself short of Cash in gowing (sic) to England...[64]

At some point in the evening Mason left the scene in an inebriated state and made his way to the Cooper's Room where he went to bed.

Soon after Heney armed himself with two pistols and set out to look for Mason. He intended to force Mason to Fight a duel with him. At that point the servants took the matter into their own hands.

The men on the Instant disarmed him and Told him it was not Customary for masters to go amongst their men armed and also said they would no longer be under his subjection or orders and when ever the Honble Company thinks proper to call them home concerning this Behavior they are ready to Plead their cause.[65]

Even Isbister, the company serf was shocked at Heney’s reaction to this interference. Isbister reported that Heney "almost broke down the room about himself with madness saying he would bring us to England and do for us all.” [66]

However Isbister also revealed that the combination had planned to force the removal of Heney from command even before this incident took place. [67]

After they had disarmed Heney the combination asked Mason to take charge as they assumed he was an officer in the company however Mason declined.

Yorston then wrote in the Brandon House journal: "Finding the House in want of a master I undertook it and managed the Business to the best of my knowledge . “[68]

Nor could I find any evidence that the circumstances were anything other than what Yorston reported.

He definitely shared the men's dislike of Heney and he no doubt felt he had a justifiable right to the position of Master for all his service to the company. But he had nothing to do with the disarming of Heney, and Heney had departed that night deserting the post.

If Yorston failed in his role as post Master it was because of his interest in the fur trade. It appears he did not appreciate Brandon House’s new role as butcher shop to the plantation owner.

The Orkney workmen had used the combination before in attempts to achieve their interests in Rupertsland. At times they had been successful and at other times they had failed.

For example in August 1777, a servant William Taylor had refused to go inland for less than fifteen pounds per annum. However Taylor made the mistake of mentioning the combination before the rest of the men reached the bayside to support him.

The company officer Martin put him on one pound of bread a day and threatened to fine him his past wages which were still in the company's hands, on the pretense of disobedience if he did not rehire immediately for six pounds. Taylor submitted. [69]

It was generally only the boatmen, who moved the company freight, who had fairly good results from the combinations.[70] But that was because they could use the threat of delay in the inward movement of trade goods to pry concessions out of the company officers. But with the guarantee of an over abundant supply of obedient cheap labour by Douglas [7l] even their weapon of solidarity was severely reduced.

However, in a case similar to the situation at Brandon House a combination of 15 workers had successfully forced the removal of the tyrannical Lowlander, Robert Longmoar, by refusing to work under him. [72]

When Auld heard of the events at Brandon House he determined, at any cost, to break the combination which he called a mutiny.

Breaking the Combination

With the coming of spring and just before the boats were about to leave Brandon House for the bayside the company officer Alexander Kennedy arrived at the post.

He had orders from Auld to bring them all down to York Factory not Albany. However the servants at the post informed him that they all intended to go down to Albany.

The men's argument remained what it had always been that they had not yet seen the new regulations in writing so they would abide by the old.

Yorston for his part asked Kennedy to show him the new regulations. Kennedy exploded with his characteristic vociferousness:

I told him if I had fifty papers, he should not be able to boast of having compell’d me to produce them as he had done with Mr. Heney & that if he did not chose to take my word he might do as he pleased but that he should stand to the consequence.[73]

This was another example of the absolute obedience now expected of the company servants.

It is interesting to note that the officer next attempted to weld the old “duty to the company" to his "word of authority" by use of coercion:

...if He would return to a sense of his duty, and go out to York with one or remain Inland as might be required. I should interest myself in his favour and do all I could for him. If on the contrary I was obliged to go to York & join Mr. Heney) in his accusations against him he might depend on being a ruined man. [74]

These creatures of the company who had survived the retrenchment purge were desperate in playing their roles as officers and gentlemen in the service of the Honorable Company.

Much had been taken from a military paradigm to fabricate this model. Part of their image was couched in the myth that a gentleman's word was 'his bond and therefore the lower ranks should obey that word without question.

The servants on the other hand, had their own ideal, even myths, that their relationship with the company was contractual. What they had put their hand to was not the equivalent of the King's shilling.

Auld would also offer his good word to Yorston in his letter of July 1811. [75] Auld offered to stand for Yorston if Yorston would betray Mason. But Yorston had no reason to trust the gentlemen officers of the company. Four others had given their word to him that his good service to the company would receive due reward and it had not.

Nor would his last experience with the company have changed his opinion as he was still trying in 1817 to get back his personal belongings that the company officers had seized in 1811 from The Honorable Committee.[76]

Returning to the events as they transpired Yorston at first decided to go down to the ship at York and face Auld. Then he changed his mind. Probably on second thought Kennedy's reaction made Yorston realize that he was in far more trouble than he had ever appreciated before.

Kennedy had made clear to him that the company that he had served so faithfully thought he had led the revolt against Heney.

The key to Kennedy's argument had been a lack of obedience. When Yorston had explained that the reason He had moved the location of the post was a lack of wood and pointed out that the move had been made in good order, Kennedy berated him for doing it without permission.

The officer had then told Yorston, “that a thing done contrary to orders was seen to be wrong be it never so right.” [77]

Yorston apparently then decided on the basis of his experience with Kennedy for he had not yet met with Auld nor apparently knew Auld's opinions on the matter at that time was to hold tight at Brandon House.

Mason on the other hand had already disappeared before Kennedy's arrival. Mason had learned, one expects, through the Norwester’s “moccasin telegraph" that Kennedy was bringing irons in with him. On his arrival Kennedy did make it clear that he had intended to send Mason to Auld in chains.

Some of the servants, who had participated in the combination, decided to go down to the bayside with the intention of just going home. Others attempted one last time to come to some reasonable terms with, the company:

I (Kennedy) had asked every man separately whether they would consent to go down to York according to the orders of the Honble Committee or were still determined on going to Albany contrary to their orders they all said to a man they were willing to go to York provided I would promise Them the same allowance they had formerly at Albany & That they should return again to Red River [78]

It was a futile gesture for although the officers had been given full authority to enforce absolute obedience to the regulations they had lost all their former personal initiative in dealing with the men.

It had become a standoff.

Kennedy then tried to win the men over by getting them drunk. When this failed he took the crew he could get and started for York Factory.

The rest of the servants who chose to leave Brandon House started for Albany House.

Once the men in the combination left Brandon House it was effectively broken.

By then the servants had made personal choices that broke them up into three separate groups; those that remained at Brandon House and those who went down to the bay side either to York Factory or to Albany.

At the bayside they became an isolated minority under the guns of armed officers.

York Factory Punishing the Workmen

The men who went down to York were questioned by Auld, apparently at oxford House where he had been awaiting them. He was afraid that they might get support from the ships crews or other workmen.

Under the English labour statute they could be forced to give evidence against themselves. Auld summed up the situation in his report to The committee in t1he following manner:

Those 5 men from Brandon House were told to proceed to other places to spend the remaining part of their Contracts at first they all refused but on finding us resolute in preventing them returning to Red River three of them acquised but two would rather be sent down to go home accordingly they are brought down to Y.F. but not to be allowed to go home they shall continue here until your pleasure is known next year we shall dispose of them to the best advantage I Hope also to have all their associates secured & waiting the arrival of the ship,[79]

Albany Punishing the Workmen

The same type of enforcement awaited those who had chosen Albany.

Their personal property, sent to York Factory, was seized. They were then refused "any supplies unless the bare necessities of life to enable them to perform their contracts.”[80]

The men were in effect put on half rations and had only the clothes they stood in.

On 23 July the Albany Factor under English legal authority brought the leaders of the combination to trial.

Cumming was already in irons and kept in solitary confinement for being insolent to the officers of the company.

They were tried by a tribunal. The officers were Thomas Vincent, William Thomas and Jacob Corrigal. [81]

Cumming and Henderson were found guilty of "Mutinous Conduct." They were left on half rations until they were sent home wageless to Scotland.

Auld had promised the company to have all the so called mutineers in custody upon the arrival of the ship the following year. That included Yorston.

The man sent to Brandon House to ensure that Yorston came in the following year was Kennedy.

Yorston and Kennedy The Winter of 1811 12

Kennedy arrived at Brandon House on 20 September 1811, to take charge. He immediately began to sabotage Yorston's trade

Yorston had never allowed the company's business to deteriorate during the entire episode. The fact that he had remained in position over the summer for so many years was what had made the post the success it was.

What occurred with the arrival of Kennedy is given here from Yorston's point of view:

Shortly after his arrival, he set out to purchase goods from the Indians, and the Petitioner who was creditor [Indian trader for the company] to several Dealers [Indian Captains] in the country, through which He was to travel requested that he would take to trouble of Collecting the Arrears due to him. Kennedy however instead of doing this told the Petitioners Debtors that they might pay their arrears at some other time and on this return falsely informed the petitioner that they had refused Payment. The first time that they came to Brandon House, the Petitioner reproached them for breach of faith and then the deceit which Kennedy had practiced upon both parties, was completely unraveled. The Indians, being quite indignant at this conduct, directly accused 'him of falsehood, declared that they would have no more dealing with Him and went over to the Canadians.[82]

The next major confrontation between Yorston and Kennedy occurred in January 1812 when Kennedy ordered Yorston to lead an expedition to the dangerous Missouri country to compete with the Americans.

Yorston had not been engaged to perform such dangerous service and his wage certainly did not indicate it. Further as he had watched the Missouri trade for some years he knew what the Indians would trade for. What Kennedy intended to send was unfit for that trade. [83]

Finally Yorston knew that the company rate of exchange would not compete with what the Americans were offering. He told Kennedy all this. Kennedy then lost his temper and struck Yorston.

What occurred is in the record in Kennedy's own words. The reader must recall that as far as the company officers were concerned Yorston had already been declared guilty of mutiny and was therefore beyond the pale of law:

I gave him a slap or two in the face which he endeavoured to return but I avoided or parried off. After the fist scuffle I insisted on his positively telling me whether he was determined on going to the missouri or not, that I might take my measures in case he refused his duty He told me I had prevented him from going by disabling him. I told him that not a, answer and insisted on his directly answering me the question I asked or I would throw him out doors he said he would not give me a more satisfactory answer nor would he go out doors till he pleased himself. Upon which I run for the next room and found a pair of tongs which I took up and threatened him two or three times to walk out and go into the mens house Where he should remain on half allowance till spring & If He did not I would break his head, he set as obstinate as a mule upon which I fetched him a crack on the arm with the tongs.[84]

Upon which Yorston rose from his place and disarmed Kennedy. Then he proceeded to give the officer a sound thrashing. When it was clear to Kennedy that he was to be given what he gave, he called upon the servants to remove Yorston. The men refused to interfere. Kennedy turned and ran.

Kennedy then armed himself and tried to kill Yorston. Yorston fled the Hudson’s Bay Company Post and sought sanctuary with the Norwesters.

Next Kennedy went to the Canadian post and offered 100 guineas for Yorston in chains.

To put this ridiculous bounty into perspective one must recall that Yorston's salary was less than 20 pounds per year.

The Canadians refused. But their comment to Kennedy was prophetically. They told Kennedy that if he really wanted Yorston all he had to do was wait until he got him to the bayside factory.

Why, I asked myself, did Yorston not go over to the Canadians? There is no doubt they would have taken him, not just to bother the English, but to increase their trade, for Yorston's Indians would have followed him.

But the company owed Yorston the equivalent of forty seven pounds in back wages and He would loose all of that plus his last two year's salary if he left.

Further, Yorston had been comfortably established at Brandon House before the chaos began. His property included small but expensive luxuries such, as silver tongs, six silver tea spoons, a coffee mill, six crystal glasses, and a small but substantial library.

Finally, Yorston still imagined that his problems lay specifically with Heney, Kennedy and Auld. He still could not believe that the Honorable company did not care to hear his side of the story. He still felt that once they had heard the truth, he would be vindicated and the post at Brandon House or its equivalent would be put in his charge. It was a forlorn and most foolish hope.

And so Yorston conceded once more to Kennedy and agreed to make the trip to the Missouri country. As he had predicted it was a disaster for the goods and prices could not compete with the American trade.

When he returned to Brandon House Yorston found the trade at the house was in an even worse state, for the general dislike of Kennedy had spread among the Indians.

Kennedy asked Yorston to take over the trade once more for the sake of the company and of course Yorston did.

Nor was Kennedy's relationship with the workmen at the post any better. He had enforced the company ration throughout the winter months. With the coming of spring the men’s resentment reached a peak and they went on strike:

April 16 the people sent to me that they wanted fat to eat with their meat which I refused, having served them out 56 lbs only eight days ago they again sent me word they would not go to work unless they were served out fat with their meat.[85]

Kennedy told them that the ration they had received was in the regulations. The men asked to see the regulations. Kennedy refused to do so and told them if they wanted more food he would sell it to them.

The Punishment of Yorston

With the coming of spring Yorston gave up and decided to leave the company. When he informed Kennedy of his intention the company officer ordered Yorston’s personal effects seized [86] and Yorston was forced to leave without them.

When Yorston reached York Factory Auld questioned Him and immediately lied to Yorston by telling him that he had not seen Yorston’s Brandon House journals. Later it came to light that Auld had read them all.

Two days later Yorston and The other men from Brandon House were ordered to appear once more. Auld informed Yorston that he and the other officers of the company intended to make an example of him.

Neither Yorston nor the others were allowed to answer to the charges or question their accusers.

On 12 July The Governor sent his second in command James Tait with an order that the Petitioner, Yorston, should proceed for six miles into the woods and remain there for fifteen days. [87]

Yorston was given a ration of two gills of unsifted oatmeal and one lb. of rotten bacon per day. He was without arms or shelter.

Yorston contracted what the medical profession of the day called distemper. But Auld, himself ostensively a physician, refused to allow him medical attention.

It was the unanimous decision of the officers of the English company to send Yorston to Scotland in chains. [88]

However, as it was the intent of the punishment to terrorize the workmen in Rupertsland Auld allowed Yorston to leave unchained.

It may have crossed the reader's mind that the officers of the company had overextended their authority by these actions. On the contrary, the English committee applauded and encouraged them to use the full extent of their authority to break the combinations:

We read with very great regret the account of the mutinous conduct of Archibald Mason, William Yorston & others at Brandon House & we cannot too forcibly impress upon your minds the importance of preserving the strictest discipline amongst the men & enforcing the most prompt & ready obedience to the orders of their respective chiefs [89],

The committee confirmed the punishment imposed on John Cumming and George Henderson. They confiscated all of Archibald Mason's wages and gave Auld a carte blanche to have punished Yorston with, “such punishment as may be thought commensurate to the enormity of the offense.” [90]

When Yorston sought the wages he was owed they informed him:

I am directed by the Governor and Committee of the Hudson’s Bay Company to inform you that from the official documents from Hudson’s Bay the conduct of the said Yorston instead of being that of a good Servant worthy of reward he appears to have been most unruly and mutinous and rather deserving of Punishment thanof any remuneration.[91]

In 1814 a further attempt faired no better. But it appears that Yorston may have received some money in 1815.

However, in 1817 Yorston still had not yet managed to retrieve 'his personal property from the company, [92]

My Conclusions

The struggle for descent working conditions and a fair return for service that has been outlined here was the same struggle that was going on in the collieries and mills throughout the British Isles. If there was a difference it was in the absolute success the English Hudson’s Bay Company had in suppressing the aspirations of the working class. This was achieved by the brutalization of the workmen.

In desperation one of the Brandon House men begged his Masters for forgiveness and pledged his entire life to the service of the company in the same subservient way as the wife had called upon her husband to die.

However, it is a letter from one officer of the company to another that best portrays the success of the campaign:

I am only able to send you one man at this time he was engaged by Lord Selkirk's Agent at 25(pounds) per annum & is now on no terms at all. He is one of a party that was off Duty part of last winter but having been scowered into obedience by a rejinem (sic) of Bacon & oatmeal & not a little chastised by the musketoes (sic) for he led a sylvan life he soon saw his error & is now willing to serve his time out at such, wages as maybe here after settled by the committee & it is certain he will not be allowed more than 20(pounds) pe(r) year.[93]


1. E.E. Rich, Cumberland House Journals and Inland Journal 1775-82, 2nd Series 1779-82. (The Hudson's Bay Record Society London 1952. xxxvii.

2. Eric Linklater, Orkney and Shetland. (Robert Hale, London 1971), 83.

3. E.E. Rich, Cumberland, 2nd Series, xxxix.

4. Petition for William Yorston to the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Company, Kirkwall, 1814, A/10/1 (Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg).

5. Thomas Johnston, The History of the Working Classes in Scotland. (Forward Publishing Co. Ltd. Glascow n.d.), 47.

6. G.D.H. Cole and Raymond Postgate, The Common People 1746-1946. (Methuen & Co. Ltd. London 1963), 7.

7. Ibid., 121.

8. Johnston, Working Classes in Scotland, 197.

9. John Prebble, The Highland Clearances. (Penquin Books, Harmondsworth 1969), 61.

10. W. Cunningham, The Growth of English Industry and Commerce, Vol. 3. (University Press, Cambridge 1912), 715.

11. Charlotte M. Waters, An Economic History of England 1066-1874. (Oxford University Press, London 1925), 317.

12. Johnston, Working Classes in Scotland, 265.

13. Frederic Morton Eden, The State of the Poor. (Benjamin Bloom, New York 1971), 111.

14. Rich, Cumberland, 2nd Series, xlviii.

15. Johnston, Working Classes in Scotland, 61.

16. Rich, Cumberland, 2nd Series, xl.

17. William Auld, Churchill, August 1810, B/42/6/53, (HBCA).

18. Brandon House 1803-04, B/22/a/11, (HBCA).

19. Brandon House 1799-1800, B/22/a/7, (HBCA).

20. Brandon House 1801-02, July 6, B/22/a/9, (HBCA).

21. Brandon House 1810-11, June 9, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

22. Brandon House 1804-05, B/22/a/12, (HBCA).

23. Brandon House 1805-06, August 8, B/22/a/13, (HBCA).

24. Rich, Cumberland 2nd Series, xlix.

25. Brandon House 1803-04, November 20, B/22/a/11, (HBCA).

26. Brandon House 1799-1800, March 22, B/22/a/7, (HBCA).

27. E.E. Rich, The Fur Trade and the North West to 1857, (McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1967), 205.

28. E.E. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1870, Vol. II, (McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1960), 271.

29. William Yorston & Thomas Norn, Brandon House, Nov. 1810, B/159/c/1 and Brandon House 1810-11, October 23, B/22/a/18a (HBCA).

30. D. Cameron, Lake of the Island, March 22, 1804, B/239/b/72, (HBCA).

31. Beckles Willson, The Great Company. (Copp Clark Co. Ltd., Toronto 1899), 374.

32. Arthur S. Morton, A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71. (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1973), 539.

33. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, Vol. II, 274.

34. William Auld, Churchill, August 1810, B/42/b/53, (HBCA).

35. Instructions for Conducting Trade, Hudson's Bay House, 31 May 1810, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

36. William, The Great Company, 378.

37. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company, Vol. II, 300.

38. Hudson's Bay House, 31 May 1810, A/6/18, (HBCA).

39. Instructions for Conducting the Trade, Hudson's Bay House, 31 May 1810, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

40. Instructions for Conducting the Trade, Hudson's Bay House 31 May 1810, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

41. Rich, Hudson's Bay Company Volume II, 284.

42. Williams Auld, Churchill, 3 March 1811, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

43. William Auld, Churchill, August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

44. Instructions for Conducting the Trade, Hudson's Bay House, 31 May 1810, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

45. Orders Received by Auld 1810, B/42/b/54, (HBCA).

46. The Petition of William Yorston, A/10/1, (HBCA).

47. Brandon House 1810-11, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

48. Ibid.

49. Deposition: Thomas Mason, (Measson), B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

50. Williams Auld, Churchill August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

51. Deposition: John Corrigal, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

52. Report of Alex Kennedy to Auld 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

53. Brandon House 1810-11, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

54. Ibid.

55. Brandon House 1810-11, November 6, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

56. Brandon House 1809-10, October 14, B/22/a/17, (HBCA).

57. William Auld, Churchill, August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

58. Chester Martin, Lord Selkirk's Work in Canada (Oxford University Press, Toronto 1916), 205.

59. Deposition: George Henderson, 10 June 1813, A/10/1, (HBCA).

60. Deposition: William Plowman, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

61. William Auld, Churchill, August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

62. Brandon House 1810-11, February 22, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

63. Brandon House 1810-11, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

64. Archibald Mason and William Yorston, Brandon House, 26 February 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

65. Notation signed William Yorston, Monday 25 [February] 1811, Brandon House 1810-11, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

66. John Isbister, February 24 and 26, 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

67. Ibid.

68. Notation signed William Yorston, Monday 25 [February] 1811, Brandon House 1810-11, B/22/a/18a, (HBCA).

69. E.E. Rich, Cumberland House Journals and Inland Journals 1775-82 First Series.(Hudson's Bay Record Society, London 1951), 142n.

70. Harold Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada. (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1856), 159.

71. Hudson's Bay House to Auld, 31 May 1811, A/6/18, (HBCA).

72. Rich, Cumberland 2nd Series, 183.

73. Alex Kennedy Report to Auld 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

74. Ibid.

75. William Auld Oxford House July 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

76. Hudson Bay House to William Yorston 29 November 1817, A/5/5, (HBCA).

77. Alex Kennedy Report to Auld 1811, B/22/Z/1, (HBCA).

78. Ibid.

79. William Auld, Churchill, August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

80. William Auld, Churchill, August 1811, A/11/16, (HBCA).

81. Albany House 1810-11, B/3/a/114, (HBCA).

82. Petition of William Yorston, A/10/1, (HBCA).

83. Ibid.

84. Brandon House 1811-12, B/22/a/18b, (HBCA).

85. Brandon House 1811-12, B/22/a/18b, (HBCA).

86. Petition: William Yorston, A/10/1, (HBCA).

87. Ibid.

88. William Auld, York Factory, January 1813, B/239/b, (HBCA).

89. Hudson Bay House, May 30, 1812, A/6/18, (HBCA).

90. Ibid.

91. Hudson Bay House, January 20, 1813, A/10/1, (HBCA).

92. Hudson Bay House, November 29, 1817, A/5/5, (HBCA).

93. Cook to Swain York Factory, 20 July 1812, B/239/b/84, (HBCA).

94. E.H. Oliver (ed.), The Canadian North-West Its Early Development and Legislative Records Volume II, (Government Printing Bureau Ottawa 1915), 1287.

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