CANADA'S HERO OF THE WEST
How the children of the Fort Garry Band met the great Canadian hero in the west.
In the final days of old Rupert’s Land, a Canadian bootlegger, John Christian Schultz and his partner of the day Walter Bown were operating out of the Pembina Hills near the American border. They were ostensibly selling beer and vegetables from Red River to the American soldiers at Fort Totten using Bown as a cover on the Yankee side.
Bown had moved to western United States in about 1860 and would claim that he had participated as a volunteer during the Sioux war of 1862-63. A claim which gave him the usual standing among the American military types.
He had been in the trade, during the mid 1860s out of St Paul, Pembina and Devil’s Lake selling vegetables through his firm, the International Vegetable House.
This had always been a cover for the illicit trade in hard liquor, and guns from Red River colony to the Indians on both sides of the
In order to get away with this illegal trade in America the partners were bribing the American commanding officers at Fort Totten with free booze (P.A.M. MG 12 E-1).
Schultz had other partners in the bootleg business including the half-breeds Joseph McKay and George Racette who went under the nickname "Shaman".
But Racette was restricted to the Canadian side as he, along with another prominent half-breed, James Mckay of the HBC, were wanted men on the American side for gun running to the Sioux.
After he had “married off” his part Negro daughter to Shultz James Farquharson, another petty thief in Red River, also became a partner in this trade. She had initially agreed on the “arranged” marriage but she changed her mind and wanted to return to the convent. However the nuns would not have her so she became his “wife”.
On one particular venture Farquharson and “Pa-pe-nay” Racette, a son of George Racette, were plundered by a band of Assiniboines before they got to Qu’Appelle fort. The Indians took everything they had except the clothes they were wearing. When they reached the post Farquharson introduced himself to Cowie the HBC servant as the father-in-law of “Doctor” Schultz. Schultz had, however, never obtained a legal medical degree, unless he had bought one, but he was “practising” medicine in Red River.
Shultz was in every way the lowest form of petty gangster not seen in the north-west since the days of the New York whiskey peddlers out of Detroit and Montreal.
In January of 1868 John Schultz's crimes would catch up to him and the Canadian was arrested in Red River by Rupert’s Land law enforcement officers and jailed for non-payment of debt and resisting an officer of the law.
Then fifteen of his Canadian mob, including his wife, overpowered the jail guard, broke open the cell and
Schultz escaped legal custody (Ronaghan 1986:8).
By then the Canadian political patronage system was at work in the west.
For example, in the fall of 1867 a swarm of locusts had settled on the Red River and when their eggs hatched in the following spring they stripped the country bare, threatening the entire region, colony, Indians and all, with starvation.
Money for relief was raised in Canada,
London and the United States (Morton 1939:866) and the Canadian government took advantage of the situation to use a make work relief scheme, as an excuse to build a military access road from Fort Garry to the Lake of the Woods in order to facilitate the annexation of the
Hudson bay Company territories.
The road was one of McDougall’s public works patronage schemes but when Snow,
the appointee boss of the project, got to Red River he, John Schultz and
a third Canadian, Charles Mair went into partnership in a fraud scam.
John Schultz set up a store at Oak Point on the west end of the construction. Then Snow would only pay the men working on the road, who were getting paid at a rate of £3 a month, on orders at Schultz's store.
Shultz then overcharged the crews. For example he was charging the laborers £3. 12 shillings for a £3 barrel of flour (Stanley 1978:34).
Furthermore Schultz and his Canadian mob which included Col. Dennis, a government spy Snow and Charles Mair began to stake the best property in a land grab along the Dawson road.
Because of the over hunting by the population of the Red River settlement the Indians of the region, known as the Fort Garry Band were starving and it was easy for Shults at Oak Point to get them to sign away land for food for their children.
This band appears in the report of the Indian branch of the department of the secretary of state for the provinces in 1872 as having been paid at the Stone Fort on Aug 4 and 5th 1871,
Because of the embarrassment their claim to the city of Winnipeg lands outside the Selkirk survey and their reservation within that survey were to Canadians like Schultz who was the largest land owner in Winnipeg they were scattered among other bands by the Canadian government. Today they are ignored at places like “the Forks”, which was the camping ground by which they took their name, for the same reason.
The same Schultz game is in the works again today as agents of the corporations in the government and universities are getting Indians to lay out their traditional lands so that they can be dealt with individually as was The Fort Garry Band members were by the Canadian Hero of the west.
By February of 1869, the whole Shultz mob was in court at Red River this time they were charged for selling liquor to Indians. But this case against Schultz and the rest of the Canadians did not materialize either (Ronaghan 1986:93).
Morton tells us that
The final suit involved the sum of £275, due to a Mr. Kew, the London merchant who had supplied the firm. Judgment had gone against Schultz by default, for he had absented himself from the colony. When he insisted on a second trial, Judge Black only granted it when Schultz entered into an agreement to accept the verdict of the jury. Schultz brought forward his clerk to testify to having seen his employer pay the money without taking a receipt, and won the case. Governor Mactavish was so sure that this was perjury and so humiliated that Judge Black had been drawn into a trap that, out of his private purse, he paid Kew the sum due to him. All the while Schultz harped in his paper on the nullity of the Government of the colony, and asserted that no justice could be found in its courts.
Meanwhile other Canadians were squatting off the parish lots on Indian land and the Indians voiced their objection to this. The Canadian squatters immediately got in touch with John Shultz who by this time had become the leader of the "Canada First" Party in Rupertsland.
This political organization, which was affiliated with the Orange Lodge in Ontario was anti-catholic and pro-annexation. Schultz and Charlie Mair another “Canada First” member accompanied by a gang of armed Canadians rode out to confront the Portage Indians.
The HBC company chief Yellow Quill was absent but they found Tie-te-pe-pe-tung, the traditional pipe chief of the band. He, along with two sons of Peguis who were members of the Portage band, met with the Canadians.
Mair, would later complain for the record that he found that these leaders were both "shrewd" and "selfish". Faced with this determination Mair threatened the Indians with the flood of armed settlers who would come into their lands and overrun their insignificant numbers.
Mair also reiterated the belief that it was the Canadian god that had given the land to the Canadians and he told the Indians that the fact that the Canadians were taking up the land had nothing to do with their claims "whatever they may be."
When McTavish the Hudson Bay Governor in Red River heard of the growing displeasure among the Plains Ojibway he sent out James McKay to try and make a temporary compromise.
After negotiation with McKay a temporary three year agreement was signed on June 14, 1869 at Portage la Prairie and published in the Toronto
Globe of September 11, 1869.
This agreement not only diverted an Indian war it had a lot to do with keeping the Portage Bands neutral during the conflict that arose between the Métis and the Canadians.
On the 22nd of June the Canadian ruling elite had the temporary Government Act, for Rupertsland and the Northwest Territories passed.
Section 6 of this Act stated that all the public officials of Rupertsland would retain their positions except the Hudson Bay Company governor who would be replaced by a Canadian Lieutenant Governor.
The following day, June 23rd, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis was ordered west by the Canadian government to begin the official public survey of the land. Annexation had begun
William McDougall was appointed the Lieutenant Governor and he received his orders on September 28, 1869 (British Parl. Papers 1970:259). But then on November the 23rd, 1896 the Imperial Parliament in London received the following telegram from Canada:
/McDougall, who has been designated Lieutenant-Governor of North-West Territory when transferred, has been stopped on his way to Fort Garry by a small force of armed insurgent half-breeds. Authorities of Hudson's Bay Company, with whom the Government still rests, are apparently inactive and powerless. Provisional Committee of Government: John Bruce, President, has been appointed by half-breeds. McTavish, the Governor, is very ill, and reported to be dying./(British Parl. Papers 1970:259)
For those St Vital Métis involved in this action the matter was a simple one; the Americans had ignored half-breed rights in the 1851 and 1863 treaties with the Indians and they were not going to let it happen to them again at Red River; they had their families to think of.
On the other side of the dispute were the Canadians in Red River who were led by the members of the Canada First Party, Shultz included. Their interests were simple enough; they wanted it all for themselves or at the very least as much as they could lay their hands on.
The Canada first party had powerful patrons in Ontario. It was William McDougall's old Ministry of Public Works that acted as a money conduit between the MacDonald government and the leaders of the Canada First Party in Ontario and the Orange Lodge street gangs they controlled.
The “Canada First” man on the inside of the Federal government bureaucracy was Public Works secretary Henry Morgan. On the outside the centers of power for Canada First were in the Toronto Orange Lodges and in the Canadian Methodist church enclaves in Hamilton Ontario and other Canadian centers.
The Canada First representative in the Portage area was Charles Mair who had been a research assistant to William McDougall during the early negotiations with the Hudson Bay Company.
If Mair had joined the party because he was a rabid Imperialist Schultz had joined the party for his own personal gain.
The Canada First connections between Ontario and Canadians in Red River had been set up in the following manner: Henry Morgan had met Denison the Toronto leader of Canada First in 1866 and Morgan had then introduced Mair to Denison in 1868. Mair had then made the contact with the Liberal newspaper The Globe.
In their fanatical desire to annex Rupertsland and the Northwest Territories to Canada the basically Conservative Canada First Party had even welcomed Liberals into its ranks.
Denison also brought into the clique another newspaper, the Toronto
Monetary Times and its chief editorial writer, William Foster. Foster
went on to became a high ranking officer of Canada First.
Mair had known the small time gangster John Schultz in the east in 1863.
When Schultz had gotten into those financial problems mentioned earlier
he had fled back east and Mair had gotten him into the Canada First
Party. Schultz had then immediately used party influence to make
lucrative financial contacts for himself.
Denison the leader of the party was a descendant of Yankee Tories or
United Empire Loyalists as they were called in Canada. Denison hated two
things with his heart and soul. They were Catholics and the American
Denison had come to prominence in Canadian politics by his judicial use
of the street gangs of Ulster Protestant Orangemen called the "Young
Britons." He did, however, also have some legitimate military training
and he used his military contacts to integrate military men into the
Leadership of his anti-catholic street gangs.
The Young Britons had been formed to oppress the catholic Irish
Immigrants in Upper Canada in order to keep them "in their place" in
The English economical and political oppression in Ireland had driven
hundreds of thousands of Irish from their homelands to the far reaches
of the globe in search of work and food. They were the cheap oversupply
of labor of their day, particularly in Protestant Ontario. They worked
as the laborers who build the railroads and the other "public works" so
dear to the hearts of the corrupt Canadian politicians.
Both the railroad speculators and the protestant politicians thought
these laborers needed to be constantly brutalized or they might demand
higher wages or worse run their own candidates for election. The orange
lodge gangs such as the Young Britons were used for this purpose.
The gangs were part of an elaborate network of influence peddling and
vote buying which also acted as the strong arm of the two political
parties in the country.
For example, Captain James Bennet of the Toronto City Orange Lodge was
also a member of Canada First He was the connection between Denison and
the ruling elite and the street gangs in Toronto and in the other Upper
Canada cities. John A. MacDonald's power base was in Toronto and he needed the support of the Orangemen to be re-elected.
While the overall plan of the Canada First Party was to flood
Rupertsland with Protestant settlers, there were individuals like John
Schultz and others in the organization who were only interested in being
first in line for the biggest chunks of land.
I had discovered an example of this in the manner in which Schultz and
his partners had attempted to use McDougall's Public Works welfare
project, the Dawson Road, to their own advantage. But the Canada First
leaders had made the mistake of sending members of their own street
gangs to work on the Dawson Road project, and when these toughs were
cheated along with the other laborers they turned on Snow and their
leader Thomas Scott threatened to dunk him in cold water.
Schultz learned a valuable lesson on the Dawson Road; that was; that you
cannot let your followers know you are cheating them along with everyone
else. It was a lesson he learned extremely well.
Scott the ruffian on the Dawson road project was typical of the Young
Britons hooligan of the Ontario street gangs.
Even at Oak Point on the Dawson road they terrorized the Catholic Métis
families. At one point when the Métis buffalo hunters were away Scott
and the Canadian gang forced their way into a house, kidnapped the women
and forced them to dance with them. The Canadians even refused to let
the mothers take their young children to a neighbors house so that they
wouldn't have to see what was going on. (Ronaghan 1986:21).
Never the less as it had been clear to the politicians in Ottawa for some time that there might be some resistance in Red River to their takeover of
Rupertsland they had decided to arm the Canada First members and their
sympathizers in Red River.
To this end on September 17th while he had still been in the east,
McDougal had ordered guns and ammunition to be sent west to arm the
filibuster or what the Canadians called "police" and "volunteers."
This shipment of arms consisted of 100 Spencer carbines and 250 Peabody
muskets with bayonets along with 10,000 rounds of ammunition.
Also sent west were military supplies of pork and flour which were
consigned to non other than John Schultz at Red River.
On September 22, 1869 the Canadian Cabinet confirmed this order, signed
it and the Governor General approved it (P.A.C. RG 2 Vol. 1 17 PC 708).
Therefore there could be no doubt that the Canadian ruling elite had
always intended to take Rupertsland by force and that decision had been
made a long time before the Métis stopped McDougall from entering
Rupertsland. In fact the Canadian survey crews who had already been sent
west included Militia officers carefully chosen for that purpose.
In the meantime during the summer of 1869 the Ontario settlers continued
to move westward in order to get in on the land rush.
One such group consisted of the Graham family men. They had left Elgin
County, Ontario, on July 4th (P.A.M. MG 9 A74 B8 #14). On July 20th they
overtook Kenneth McKenzie and his two sons bringing in farm machinery
for their huge illegal "claim" of Indian land on Rat Creek near Portage
The grasshoppers were already numerous by that time. On the 22nd of July
they passed Frank Ogletree on his way out to bring back his women and
children. On the 26th of July the Grahams reached Portage la Prairie.
In other words, the hordes of settlers that Charles Mair and John
Schultz had promised were now coming and were only twenty-two days
travel away. In fact the Canada First Party was raising money to pay the
travelling expenses of these squatters and Mcdougal was bringing the guns
to arm them.
The Grahams stayed at the McBaine's in Portage la Prairie while McKenzie
stopped at the McLean's. Both the McBaines and the McLeans were acting
as paid agents for Canada First. On August 4th with the help of these
agents the Grahams staked out 1600 acres on Rat Creek and begin cutting
timber for a house (P.A.M. MG 9 A76 Box 14).
The McKenzie claim on Rat Creek represented the western edge of the
Ontario Methodist enclave. McKenzie's daughter had married into the
George McDougall family. In 1869 John McDougall, a Merchant in
partnership with W. E. Sanford, a leader of the Methodist enclave in the
city of Hamilton, was out west scouting for Ontario Methodist capitalist
speculation which would reach a peak in the 1890s with Liberal Clifford
Sifton’s Methodist, Grace Church, mob.
The Métis had been watching these growing numbers of Canadian squatters
with particular alarm, especially when the Canadians began to brag that
they would take up arms and drive out the Catholic half-breeds when
Governor McDougall arrived (Ronaghan 1986:96).
The Catholic Bishop a relative of a former Prime Minister of the United
Canadas told E. Cartier about the threat and Cartier who was the militia
Minister in the McDonald government told Tache that the Canadian Cabinet
knew all about what was going on.
I found Tache was an interesting character. While he appeared to be a
champion of the Métis he was in fact a member of the innermost circle of
the Quebec wing of the Canadian ruling elite. Above all else he wanted
to see Rupertsland transferred to Canada with Quebec Catholic rights
established and guaranteed and he was willing to sacrifice the Métis'
rights to that end. Indian's rights never even entered his mind.
When the Métis stopped McDougall from entering Rupertsland the Canadians
in Red River, particularly Shultz, immediately set out to draw the
Indians into a war with the Métis on the Canadian side. They used
alcohol, food and the Queen's name in their attempt.
As early as November 22, 1869 the Canadians were reporting:
"Mr. /Boyd is of the opinion, that the Indians will act with the
Canadians, but that some steps should be taken at once to have a treaty
with them. Trade, he says, is gone, and everything unsatisfactory under
the present state of things" (British Parl. Papers 1970:3/05).
The whiskey peddler Schultz reported that, "the Chippewa and Sioux
Indians are with the Government, and willing to assist in suppressing the Revolt at any time" (British Parl. Papers 1970:305).
However I got a better idea of how things were actually unfolding on the
ground when I read this report from a Canadian spy:
The Indians, from what I can learn from [the person is not named by the
spy] and others, are with the Canadian Government; but there is no
trusting to them without a treaty. At present I think some of them are
endeavouring to get subsidies from both parties. "Chief Henry Prince" I
know has been taking from both" (British Parl. Papers 1970:306/)
And why not? I thought when I read this. Neither side gave a tinker's
damn about the Indians and they were the ones who had families to feed
in a growing wasteland being over-hunted by Sioux refugees, the mixed
bloods and the Canadian squatters.
Nevertheless the escalating conflict made the situation for the Portage
Bands of Indians particularly difficult for a number of reasons. They
had a temporary treaty in which they were honor bound to remain neutral.
Nevertheless if the Canadian did arm the Sioux as they threatened to do
old animosities might arise. But more importantly there were already
armed and belligerent Canadians in Portage la Prairie staking out claims
on their hunting grounds.
In order to give consideration to Shultz’s claim that the "Indians" were
all on the side of Canada I had to note the locations and relationship
of the various Indian bands in the lower Red and Assiniboine River basin
to the Canadians in 1869.
By this time the Cree band of The Fox, the son of Sonnant, had shifted
their hunting grounds from the Turtle Mountains to the edge of the
Saskatchewan Parklands near Fort Ellice.
The Dakota Sioux refugees were, for the most part, in camps along the
banks of the Assiniboine from Poplar Point through High Bluff to the
eastern edge of the Portage la Prairie settlement.
The St. Peter's Swampy Cree with their Saulteaux chief Henry Prince were
living at Cook's Creek.
Most of the traditional Ojibway families of the old Peguis band had long
ago moved up the west shore of Lake Winnipeg from the mouth of the Red
River or had gone over to the Broken Head River. Some who hunted the
west side of Lake Winnipeg were also camped up on the White Mud River of
There were also Ojibway still associated with the Forks. These were an Ojibway band who hunted the marshes of the Shoal Lakes and the St. Laurent area and east to oak point was the Fort Garry band.
Another band that of Grand Oreilles, was also quite small by 1869. This
band's homelands lay between the Forks and the sand hills east of the
Red River Valley. By 1869 their country was exhausted. Destitute members of this band who had signed papers for the Schultz gang as the Dawson Road passed through their homelands in return for food.
In 1869 the following Plains Ojibway villages and camps of the Portage
Bands were still intact; they were on the White Horse Plains at the
primarily catholic village of Baie St. Paul. They were at the White Mud
River villages at Rat Creek and at the Crossing, the Prairie Portage
village on the reserve in St. Mary's parish, Portage la Prairie, the
Half Way bank villages on both sides of the Assiniboine River and the
old Brandon House villages further to the west.
All of these villages also had seasonal camps, like the camp at Indian
Spring, on the Fat Back Lakes on the way to the camps in the Turtle
Mountains and there were hunting camps all along the Assiniboine river
and upland towards the Riding Mountains and over to Lake Manitoba. Some
of these camps were used for sugar making, sturgeon fishing, or stood on
the old roads to the buffalo hunt.
Finally, during the trapping seasons individual bands and families had
favorite wintering sites.
Besides these domestic locations there were a number of sacred sites,
some associated with particular villages, others of a uniquely religious
The Plains Ojibway families who participated in the White Horse Plains
buffalo hunt had strong ties to the Métis and some had become nominal
Catholics when Belcourt settled his mission in their Assiniboine River
community fishing station at Baie St. Paul. In turn some Catholic Métis
had also settled on the White Mud River. This village became a mixture
of Catholics and traditional families.
The incursion of the Sioux after 1862 onto the Portage Plains somewhat
isolated the White Horse Plains Ojibway and they were more in touch with
the Métis there for a time. But this village broke up during the
Canadian reign of terror and the people moved west to the White Mud
river of Lake Manitoba.
The Plains Ojibway who resided on the Assiniboine River west of Portage
la Prairie were related to the Pembina bands both those who had moved
west and camped along the southern slopes of the Pembina and Turtle
Mountains and those who still camped on the Red River north and south of
the line at Pembina.
Furthermore being central on the Assiniboine, the Portage Bands were
also related to the Ottawa-Ojibway families who were settled along the
southern slopes of the Riding Mountains and to the wandering Saulteaux
bands of the eastern Saskatchewan parklands.
When considering the historic Métis connection with the Portage Bands I
had to keep in mind the distinct political differences between the St.
Vital and the White Horse Plain buffalo hunters.
Although Riel was considered to be a leader of the Red River Métis at
the time of the Manitoba disturbances he did not have the same
leadership status within the White Horse Plain community.
Riel was given due respect by the White Horse Plain Buffalo hunters,
yes, but not yet the power that would come to him later in Saskatchewan.
Nor did Riel have any status among the Plains Ojibway. But then neither
did the Canadians.
It was Red River Métis farmers who stopped the Canadian Lieutenant
Governor McDougall from crossing the line.
McDougall's official Canadian party consisted of McDougall, A. N.
Richards, J. A. N. Provencher, a nephew of the late Catholic Bishop of
Rupertsland, D. R. Cameron, the son-in-law of a cabinet minister, and J.
Later J. A. N. Provencher would be given a patronage appointment as
Indian Commissioner and use it to enrich the local members of his own
clique to the detriment of the Treaty Indians.
Forced to leave Rupertsland again by the Red River Métis the Canadians
holed up at Pembina on the American side.
On Monday, September 13th Janet Ogletree wrote in her diary: "Leave home
today and start for Red River Settlement which is our expected future
home" (from a copy in the hands of the author). A young Canadian by the
name of George McVicar had joined the Ogletree party on the way west and
he provided an enlightening view of what these Canadians who came west
thought of the Métis:
/The French half-breeds, the most ignorant, degraded and indolent class
of people you can picture to yourself, are an important element in the
population here. They are led and encouraged by villain catholic Priests
and scheming traders not much better than themselves./(P.A.M. MG 3 B9 H4)
By November 1st Riel had 402 armed men with him at Fort Garry. That same
day two Kildonan men, descendents of the Selkirk settlers, visited
Governor McTavish at the Hudson Bay Company fort and suggested that a
"loyal" body of volunteers be raised within the old colony to protect
the fort from the French rebels in an attempt to keep the Fort neutral.
When McTavish refused their offer one of the Scottish men warned
McTavish not to be surprised if the "English" meaning the pro-Canadian
element took the fort by force. The angry Governor told them he would
shoot the first man who came into the fort (Ronaghan 1986:105).
Interestingly enough McTavish later sent a note to Riel's "National
Committee" suggesting that they secure the fort (Ronaghan 1986:105) to
keep it out of the wrong hands.
The day after the note arrived, Francis Marion, one of Riel's men, came
over and checked to see if the Schultz gang had occupied the fort yet.
He found it was empty of Canadians so he waved a handkerchief and Andre
Nault led about twenty Métis into the fort. They were unopposed by the
Hudson Bay Company. (Ronaghan 1986:106).
In the meantime, at Pembina McDougall, Colonel Dennis and an English
half-breed, a Mr. Hallet, were weaving a net to draw the Ojibway warriors into another one of those small imperial wars. (British Parl. Papers 1970:275)
William Graham, a Canadian squatter, was among those who brought the
news to the Canadian Party at Portage la Prairie that the Catholic Métis
had taken over Fort Garry and had stopped the mails. Furthermore, the
Métis had given Schultz and his partner a deadline to leave the country.
Graham also repeated the Canada First lie that the Métis had threatened
to do the same with all Canadians (P.A.M. MG 9 A76 Box 8 #14).
This attempt to panic the Canadian settlers at Portage into action was a
part of Schultz' continuing strategy of war agitation.
In fact, on the 6th of November Riel's committee had issued a call to
all the "Christian" inhabitants of Rupertsland to send delegates to a
November 16th convention.
Yet when the drunken John A. MacDonald learned what was going on in Red
River he wrote:
/"These impulsive half-breeds have got spoiled by this emeute and must
be kept down by a strong hand until they are swamped by the influx of
Even as the Red River delegates met at their convention changes were
taking place in the Ottawa administration.
Joseph Howe was now Secretary of State for the Provinces. He took the
place of A. G. Archibald who had just lost an election, but MacDonald,
who always looked after the losers in his party, would soon find a job
for Archibald in Manitoba as the replacement Lieutenant Governor in the
Meanwhile Dennis, the chief Canadian surveyor in the west, who was
actually McDougall's military adviser, had sent orders to Portage la
Prairie and the Canadians there began to prepare for war:
…/the settlers deemed it necessary to form themselves into a company for
regular drill. The command was given to Captain Webb and drill was
regularly attended to. The object was for the company to march out to
meet McDougall,... /
/Towards this end leggings were purchased and the women of the
settlement gathered at the school and at Rev. Mr. George's residence to
sew them. A considerable quantity of scarlet cloth was being contracted
for at the Hudson Bay Company's store to make coats etc. /(Bell 1926:6)
On November 25, 1869 history presents again an excellent example of how
the members of the imperial ruling elite were always casually willing to
put in the mouth of the Queen words of their own making when it suited
their own purpose:
/Copy of a TELEGRAM from the Earl of Granville, K.G., to Governor the
Rt. Hon. SIR JOHN YOUNG, Bart., G.C.B., G.C.M.G./
/"Do what you like with the following: ---/
/"The Queen has learnt with regret and surprise that certain misguided
men have joined together to resist the entry of the Lieutenant Governor
into Her Majesty's possessions on the Red River./
/"The 'Queen does not distrust Her subjects' loyalty in those
Settlements, and must ascribe their opposition to a change plainly for
their advantage to misrepresentation or misunderstanding./
/"She relies upon your Government for taking every care to explain where
there is a misunderstanding, and to ascertain the wants and conciliate
the good will of the Settlers of the Red River. But at the same time she
authorizes you to tell them that she views with displeasure and sorrow
their lawless and unreasonable proceedings, and that she expects that if
they have any wish to express, or complaints to make, they will address
themselves to the Governor of the Dominion of Canada, of which in a few
days they will form a part./
/"The Queen relies upon Her Representative being always ready on the one
hand to give redress to well founded grievances and on the other hand to
repress, with the authority which she has entrusted him, any unlawful
disturbance."/(British Parl. Papers 1970:426)
But the colonial ruling elite in Canada did not think this was enough
and the Canadian Government tried to force the Imperial Government into
taking military action against the Métis by refusing to "/accept the
transfer of the Territories hereto occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company,
unless quiet possession can be given/" (British Parl. Papers 1970:170).
While the Imperial government in London did not fall for this ploy
Ottawa did obtain Imperial consent for a small war the “Canadian” military takeover of Red River.
Meanwhile at the All-Christian Delegates Conference at Red River Henry
Prince represented the St. Peter's mission Indians (Begg 1956:165), and
John Garrioch represented the Parish of St. Mary's at Portage la Prairie.
The Conference ended in a deadlock, the Protestants (English, Scots,
Swampy Cree, Scottish half-breeds, English half-breeds and other
protestant half-breeds) insisting that McDougall be let in immediately,
and the Catholics (Métis, French, and the odd leftover Swiss) insisting
that McDougall could not come in until the Métis land claims were settled.
On the 29th Graham who was at Portage la Prairie wrote in his diary that
Kenneth McKenzie had returned from Fort Garry and that the Canadian
Party were holding a war meeting at Portage that night (P.A.M. MG 9 A76
Box 8 #14).
On November 22nd the Parish delegates met again but the deadlock
remained. All that they could agree to was to meet again the next day.
In the meantime Riel's scouts had learned that a consignment of goods
was coming in to John Schultz. What Riel did not know was that this was
McDougal's military supply of provisions mostly salted pork.
Schultz had always refused to pay any custom dues in the past and Riel
meant to make him obey the law. Therefore, on the 23rd the National
Committee took over the account books of the old Hudson Bay Company's
Assiniboine Council and enforced the revenue and tax laws for the first
When the military stores of pickled pork and flour arrived they were
unloaded with the aid of helpful Métis into the Schultz warehouse.
This was stage one of the Pickled Pig war.
However all those arms meant for the Canadian filibusters were still
across the American border at Pembina.
Meantime in Ottawa the Cabinet were making their plans for a full-scale
military invasion, which including the necessity of purchasing boats to
transport the troops (Ronaghan 1986:315).
Then things began to get really convoluted as the Pickled Pork War
D. A. Grant, a Canadian sympathizer, went to Dennis and told him that
the Canadians in Red River wanted to go to the Schultz Store and
"secure" the pork, in the hope that, that might incite the Métis to
reacting and give Canada First an excuse to occupy the Company’s Stone
Fort where a large amount of ammunition was stored (Ronaghan 1986:126).
Dennis was already aware that the Métis were prepared to fight if provoked so he advised Grant to go to Governor McTavish and arrange to set a guard over the pig meat.
McTavish agreed but it did not work as the Canadians the Canadians had hoped. Therefore as the Pickled Pig War progressed there were Canadians guarding the pig meat and Métis guarding the
Canadians guarding the pig meat.
By this time individual Indian Chiefs were allowing themselves to be
drawn into the Pickled Pig War by Shultz:
/I have received a friendly letter from the Indian Chief "Pegwis," who
lives at Winnipeg, in which he strongly condemns the conduct of the
French half-breeds. He reminds me that they came from my own country,
and are "very bad men." He wishes to see me to shake hands and bargain
about his land. He has offered his services to the Canadians in the
Settlement to put down Riel and his party, evidently foreseeing that if
they got the mastery the Indian title to theland (sic) in Assiniboine
will not be treated with much respect or realize much profit./
/I have returned a verbal answer to his letter, expressing the most
friendly feelings towards him and his people, and my desire to see them
at Fort Garry as soon as possible. I thought it better to put nothing in
writing, and indeed to say nothing that should be construed into an
invitation to the Indians to arm or attack any class of the inhabitants
--- not even those now under arms and in a state of insurrection. It is
very satisfactory to find that the Indians in all directions, and under
different chiefs, are well disposed and unwilling to give any aid to the
French half-breeds. I have taken pains, through the agency of loyal
persons having influence with them, to arouse the apprehensions of the
Indians in reference to the annexation features of the half-breed
movement, and its effect upon them and their land claims. They have been
quick to perceive that the outbreak bodes no good to them, and they
cannot therefore be seduced into any kind of sympathy with it. This fact
is already producing a marked effect upon the plans and operations of
the Insurgents./(British Parl. Papers 1970:312)
Peguis was of course long dead and buried as a trophy by the Anglicans
at their church, it was just the Rice Christian Indian Henry Prince evoking his
On November 26th MacDonald cabled his agent in London, John Rose, and
told him not to hand over the 300,000 [pounds sterling] payment to the
Hudson Bay Company on December 1st, which had been the date set for the
transfer of Rupertsland to Canada.
MacDonald had sound political and legal reasons for doing this, for the
Rupertsland Act of 1868 stipulated that the surrender of Rupertsland by
the Hudson Bay Company would become null and void unless Rupertsland was
then transferred to Canada within a month. MacDonald could not be sure
that the Northwest would be in his hands by January 1st.
This left an intriguing "legal" situation in Rupertsland. According to
the Act for Temporary Government McTavish was no longer Governor, but
then if there was no legal transfer then McDougall was not Lieutenant
Governor either. It was into this void in legal authority that the Provisional Government of Riel stepped.
In the meantime the "cold" Pickled Pig War heated up as two hundred
armed Protestants marched out from the lower Red River settlements to
save the Canadian pickled pork from the hungry Métis who they believed
were threatening to eat it.
This matter of eating the pork, however, turned out to be only a rumor
and Thomas Gunn had to turn his Protestant army around.
Suddenly fifty armed Swampy Cree Anglican mission Indians appeared from
St. Peter's and Gunn had to send them back home as well (Ronaghan
Meanwhile, James Ross of the provisional government made an attempt to
draw the Scottish settlers of Kildonan into the pickled pig war, but
Alex Polsen, on behalf of himself and his Scottish neighbors, sent back
word that as far as Government pork went, it could go to the devil
While the tensions in the cold war had been occupying everyone's
attention Dennis had been organizing the Canadian filibusters and by
December he could claim he had the following army:
/Head Quarters Officers. Men/
/Stone Fort 3 71/
/St. Andrew's 3 50/
/St. Paul's 3 35/
/Kildonan 3 74/
/Winnipeg (supposed) 3 40/
/Poplar Point 3 31/
/High Bluff 3 32/
/Portage La Prairie 3 36/
/Chief Prince and Men 1 50/
(British Parl. Papers 1970:347)
On December 1st William McDougall, believing that the transfer of
Rupertsland to Canada had taken place declared himself legal Lieutenant
Governor of Rupertsland (Oliver 1915:895) and declared war on the
That same day he commissioned Dennis "Lieutenant and Conservator of the
Peace" and ordered him "to raise, organize, arm, equip and provision," a
force to "attack, arrest, disarm, or disperse" the rebels. To do this he
was to "assault, fire upon, pull down or break into any fort, house,
stronghold, or other place in which" the rebels were found.
Dennis was also authorized "to hire, purchase, impress and take all
necessary clothing, arms, ammunition and supplies, and all cattle,
horses, wagons, sleighs or other vehicles" (Oliver 1915:897) that he
needed to execute these orders.
In Fort Garry the French delegates had been meeting and A. G. B.
Bannatyne brought over McDougall's Proclamation for them to read. Riel
agreed that if the Proclamation was truly that of the Queen's then it
must be given due regard.
Upon discussion the Métis then decided that if McDougall was truly the
Queen's representative then he still could not enter Rupertsland until
an Act of Parliament had guarantied their rights, which they declared
were as follows:
/1. That the Indian title to the whole country shall be at once paid for./
/2. That on account of their relationship with the Indians a certain
portion of this money shall be paid over to them./
/3. That all their claims to land shall be at once conceded./
/4. That two hundred acres shall be granted to each./
/5. That they and their descendants shall be exempted from taxation./
/6. That a certain portion of lands shall be set aside for the support
of the R. C. Church and clergy./
/7. That the Council shall be elected and at once chosen./
/8. That Dr. Schultz and others shall be sent out of the territory
forthwith and unless these demands are assented to by Mr. McDougall he
shall not be permitted to come within the territory. /(Ronaghan 1986:149)
The Hudson Bay Company had been informed by the Canadian government that
the treaties would have to be made with the Indians before the transfer.
Therefore the Métis were also assuming that this would be the case.
What was important for the Métis was that when these treaties were made
they, the mixed-bloods, were not going to be done out of what they
considered to be their rights as had occurred in the Pembina Treaties in
the United States.
All the while this was going on Dennis was at work on his orders. He had
arrived at William Hallet's house in the Red River settlement at five in
the morning and sent for James McKay and Robert Tait. He showed them his
Commission and McDougall's Proclamation Tait then joined him and drove
Dennis to see Schultz.
The half-breed James McKay, on the other hand saw a shooting war coming
and always careful of his own skin he packed up his family and left
town. When they went looking for him again the Canadians discovered that
he was gone:
/I ascertained from him that Mr. McKay, from Red River Settlement, was
at a Mr. Charles Grant's, about seven miles distant from Mr. Dease's. I
drove there to see him, and found he had brought his family, and had
left the Settlement with the intention of remaining amongst his
relatives at St. Joe during the present troubles./(British Parl. Papers
Meanwhile Dennis continued on his visits. He was making the round of the
protestant clergy to make sure that they and their god were all on side.
He went to see the Anglican Bishop Mackray, then over to Archdeacon
McLean, and Black the Presbyterian churchman in Fort Garry. Next he
visited the most rabid imperialist the Anglican churchman Gardiner of
St. Andrew's and finally Archdeacon Cowley, who had so much to do with
getting Prince and the Swampy Cree of St. Peters to join the Canadians
in the pickled pig war.
The protestant clergy all supported his call to arms. Then, with their
blessing at hand Dennis proceeded to the Stone Fort of Lower Fort Garry
where he wrote a report to McDougall:
/By this time it was six o'clock P.M., and I came on, introduced myself
to Mr. Flett, the Master of this Fort, showed him my Commission, and
took possession. He was very kind, and showed every desire to further
the object in view, placed one large building entirely at my disposal,
and undertook at once to see to the lighting and heating of it./
/By eight o'clock there were some 70 young men assembled in a large room
in an upper part of this building, and one of the gentlemen of * * *,
gave them an hour's drill./
/I read the Queen's Proclamation to them, which was enthusiastically
received. A guard for the Fort volunteered for the night from those
present, which was increased by a reinforcement from Chief Prince's band
of some 70 men to 120 men. I have sent the Indians home, all but 50,
who, with the Chief I have retained for the present to serve as a
permanent guard to the Fort. I proposed to avail myself of their
services in that way rather than by allowing the Indian element to be
mixed up in any actual fighting just at present./
/There was an excellent feeling exhibited by these poor men. They
cheered and fired off their guns enthusiastically on being called upon
to cheer the Queen, and a distribution of provision and tobacco sent
them away happy./
/The chief relieves his guard without the imposing ceremony observable
among regular soldiers; but I doubt not, nevertheless, it will take a
very active enemy to get into the Fort without the knowledge of the
/I find Major Bolton of great service, and have called in Mr.. Hart's
party, with a view to using himself and the other members of his party,
who are all cadets, in drilling and otherwise assisting./
/I have ordered 20 fat cattle, which will be ready for use by Monday
next, and will have no difficulty in procuring other necessary supplies./
/I have sent Mr. Webb, who is surveying up the Assiniboine, and who is a
volunteer officer of very considerable experience, full instructions to
proceed to the Portage without delay, and there to organize 4 companies
of 50 men each equip and provision them, and then report to me, drilling
them in the meanwhile industriously. The other gentlemen in his party,
including Mr. Newcombe, are all cadets of the Military Schools, and I
have therefore directed him to take them up to assist them in organizing
and drilling the companies. I shall, fortunately, have a Military
School-man to command each of the companies in the whole force. The
other and subordinate officers I will let the men select from among
/The companies will be thrown into one battalion, of which I shall take
the immediate command, with Major Bolton as second./(British Parl.
Hart and Boulton were among those Canada First officers who had been
smuggled into the country as surveyors.
Interestingly, Dennis was sure that it was Stuttsman, an American
annexationist who lived in Fork Garry at the time who was agitating the
"rebels" and he added in his report:
"/Should we succeed in getting hold of the prime conspirator named,
Stuttsman I shall put him in a strong room in this place, under the
charge of my friend Pima, the Indian Chief and his warriors, until he
may be delivered by some due, but, we shall hope, tedious, course of
law"/(British Parl. Papers 1970:320).
Apparently He was willing to chance a war with the American troops in
the Dakota Territory which was just what the American annexationists
On the third of the month young Graham of Portage la Prairie had joined
Schultz in protecting the pickled pig meat. There were now forty armed
Canadians occupied in that job.
Then Alexander Begg noted in his diary that "news came in from Portage
that George Racette alies "Shaman" was on the way into the settlement
with 1100 Siex (sic) Indians" (Begg 1956:198).
This report terrified the Americans in the Red River Settlement, many of
whom were army deserters, and they gathered together into their own
armed vigilante company to fight off the Sioux from their favourite tavern.
But it was just another Shultz rumour, because there were not that many
Sioux warriors over the line in Rupertsland in the first place and,
furthermore, the Sioux were waiting to see just what the wily James
McKay would do. They knew Big Jim Mckay and they knew he would come up
on the right side of this situation "smelling like a rose."
Racette, on the other hand, they knew was just a loud-mouthed small time
idiot bootlegger working for Shultz.
By the 4th of December the Schultz gang guarding the pig meat had
increased to seventy men, including some Swampy Cree from St. Peter's
and George Young, the rabidly anti-catholic Methodist.
The next day, the 5th, the Métis surround these Canadians and cut them
off entirely from Dennis' force at the Stone Fort.
Inside the warehouse compound Schultz and the rest of the pig meat
guards sat waiting impatiently for Dennis to march out of his Stone Fort
and save them (P.A.M. MG 9 A76 Box 8 #14) It did not happen.
The next day Graham recorded that ten of Shultz's gang voluntarily went
out on a scouting patrol but they didn't come back. Of course the
Canadians had to claim they had been taken prisoner.
About this time Alexander Begg went over to see Bishop Machray and asked
the Anglican churchman if he wouldn't use his influence to get Schultz
to disperse the armed men in his gang. Machray, who had been pretending
to be neutral, had in fact been secretly encouraging the Canadians
towards war. The head of the Anglican church in Red River told Begg that
"he felt that the Government Pork should be protected ---that if it fell
into the hands of the French it would only serve to prolong the present
troubles" (Begg 1956:211).
Dennis, on the other hand did not think the stinking pickled pork was
worth risking his skin over and he ordered the Schultz people out of the
indefensible buildings (Ronaghan 1986:143).
When Bolton one of the Militia officers in the Canadian survey crew
visited Dennis on the 5th of December Dennis told him that whoever
remained with the pork did so at their own risk.
On the 7th Graham recorded that a "girl" [McVicar] came through the
Métis lines with a note from Dennis telling them that he could not help
them and that they had better make the best terms they could.
The Canadian pickled pig guards surrendered to the amused Métis (P.A.M.
MG 9 A76 Box 8 #14).
Thus the Pickled Pig War had ended in humiliation and defeat for the
Common sense and peace should have prevailed.
Soon after this Frank Ogletree's in-law T. W. Boddy who was on his way
east again reported to the St. Paul newspapers that the troubles in Red
River were subsiding (Begg 1956:231).
By the 24th Graham and the rest of the old pig meat guard had learned
that McDougall's Proclamation and declaration of war had all been illegal. A royal Canadian Fuckup eh?
Then just when it looked like things would settle down to some sanity,
Donald Smith of the Hudson Bay Company appeared in Red River.
When the Canadian Government and the Hudson's Bay Company made the deal
to transfer the right to Rupertsland land to Canada, the deal included a
transfer of 1120 acres per township south of the North Saskatchewan to
the Company in fee simple, plus specified acreages surrounding the
company posts. This would make a total of seven million acres plus in
direct ownership for the international corporation to play around with –
which was Smith’s personal incentive.
And Smith was a crooked Lowland Scot of the worst kind. When the deal
was being made, a rumor was deliberately circulated that it was a "bad
deal". A panic developed in the stock market during which Donald Smith
had agents secretly purchasing all the depressed stock they could get
for himself and his partners. Particularly the stocks of the widows of
old company men. In time, he would control a majority of the stock and
thus, the Hudson's Bay Company itself (Preston nd: 38-39).
However, as Louis Riel’s Provisional Government had put a halt to the
procedures, owning the stock was suddenly not the big deal it had first
appeared to be; for it was the land, with free and clear title, that was
to be the money-maker for Smith and his mob.
Then one of those amazingly “Canadian” things had occurred. The Canadian
Government gave Smith a commission to go to the West to divest the Red
River people of the false opinions which had been spread about the
intentions of the Canadian Government.
The reason that Smith was given this most opportune commission by the
Government was because "someone" had created the myth that Donald Smith
"knew the West", a place where he had never been.
Therefore, it was this individual, with an enormous vested interest, who
was sent to deal with the Provisional Government which was trying to
maintain the rights of their own people to their land in spite of Smith
and his cronies.
Smith had a commission from the Canadian Government ostensibly to
persuade the people of Rupertsland of Canada's good intentions. In
reality his hidden agenda was an authorization from the Canadian cabinet
to spend £500 to corrupt as many of Riel's followers with bribes as he
could (Ronaghan 1986:169) and to cause as much disruption and disunity
as he could in the settlement which he proceeded to do, immediately upon
On December 30th some Sioux did approach Red River but they were stopped
by the Métis at White Horse Plains and questioned. The Métis discover
that they are fifty strong, well-armed, and have lots of ammunition and
blankets, all of which they had received from the "English" at Portage
la Prairie they said (Begg 1956:246)
However James McKay had returned to Silver Heights by that time and he
told the Sioux that the trouble was none of their business. The Sioux
chief stated that his "English" medal had protected them for eight years
and he did not want to loose that protection from the Americans but he
consented to return to Portage la Prairie.
It is clear from the Chief’s statement that Shultz had told the Sioux
that if they did not attack the Métis that they would be driven out of
British North America.
The next day the Provisional Government presented the Sioux with
presents and they left for Portage. Begg noted that "these Indians deny
having been employed by the Canadian government but one cannot believe
what they say --- they are noted liars as well as murderers" (Begg
But it is clear from Janet Ogletree's diary that on New Year's Day of
1870 the Canadians at Portage were in no danger from the Métis or the
Indians and they knew it:
/Went out for a sleigh ride with Farmer, R & J McBaine Daniel and Mary
Ann. Dined at McBains took tea at home/
/O swift /
/Then hoofs keep time to the musics chime/
/As merrily we go o'er the fleecy Snow/
/And the moonbeams sparkle round on we bound as merrily on/
/As merrily on as merrily we go as merrily/
/on we go./(Ogletree, Janet)
The Canadian named Farmer mentioned by Janet was one of Webb's
But the tranquility at Portage la Prairie was soon shattered as fleeing
Canadian filibusters began to arrive from Red River calling for war!
They included Charles Mair and Thomas Scott and the conspiracies began
all over again. Mair and Scott, along with Farmer and Setter a drunkard
and an anti-catholic Kildonan settler living at Portage were at the
center of the agitation for a preemptive attack on the Provisional
Meanwhile, at Red River, Riel lost his patience with Donald Smith's
provocations and demanded to see Smith's credentials. Up to that point
Smith had led the people in the settlement to believe that he had the
power to "satisfy" their demands. But when the document was finally
produced it turned out to have none of the powers he had hinted it had. It turned out that Smith was an even bigger liar than Schultz was.
The people at Red River then decided on the spot to have parish delegates meet at a convention on January 26th.
On the 24th of January Donald Smith arranged to have the guards bribed
with rum and Schultz escaped again this time he went to the Stone Fort.
Nevertheless the political meeting was held on the 26th. This time Henry
Cochran, the Anglican Indian, was the delegate from St. Peter's and
Kenneth McKenzie, a Canadian, represented Portage la Prairie.
These delegates nominate Louis Riel, Louis Schmidt, Charles Nolin, James
Ross and Dr. Bird, all old settlers, both Francophone and Anglophone, to
draw up a new list of Rights, which they did by January 29th, 1870
Meanwhile, in Portage la Prairie, a secret group of eight conspirators
had been organized and were at work agitating for war under the joint
leadership of Mair, Setter, Thomas Scott and William Farmer.
Included in this group was William Gaddy, a leader of the English
half-breed buffalo hunters. He had joined the Portage Party in order to
break his old partner William Hallet out of jail. Hallet was among those
still held by the Provisional Government.
By February 10th the Provisional Government had elected Riel President
and it appeared that the Catholic Métis were going to be a force in the
development of the New Province after all.
By this time Riel and the Provisional government also knew that the
Portage Canadian Party intended to try to free the remaining Pig Meat
The British Imperial government was, to say the least, reluctant to get
embroiled in the mess at Red River because of the possible American
implications and by April MacDonald was furious at the imperial delay in
When the filibusters left Portage la Prairie to "free" the prisoners,
Captain Bolton was their general, William Farmer led the Canadian
squatters and William Gaddy led the old Anglican half-breed settlers who
had joined the Canadians.
It is of interest to note that on the very day that the Portage Party
began its expedition James W. Taylor, an American spy living in Red
River who was working for both the American State Department (Sanborn
1931:23) and Jay Cooke the Railroad speculator (Hafter: n.d. :451),
wrote that it would "probably develop on the locomotive to finally
settle the future of North West British North America (Sanborn 1931 :26).
This reminded me that the promoters and speculators, Canadian, American,
and their International bankers who were the root cause of the conflict
were all watching the events as they transpired from the usual
Before the filibusters could reach Winnipeg, William Hallet, Gaddy's
friend, raised his bail and was set free by the provisional government.
Other prisoners follow his example and soon there are only fourteen
hard-nosed Canada Firsts who refuse to make their bail.
The next day, February 13th, a correspondent from the _Montreal
Witness_newspaper reported the following from Fort Garry:
/...two men from the Portage came down here telling the people that they
had 200 men ready: that Dease had possession of the Stinking River
barricade: that Nolan [sic ] was at Oak Point: Laviny at White Horse
Plains, all keeping back the French from joining Riel while they, with
the help of the Indian Settlement and St., Andrews, would take the Fort,
liberate the prisoners, and establish a government with Mr. Donald Smith
at the head./(Ronaghan 1986:192)
As reality would have it the report was just another fabrication by the
Canada First conspirators intended to incite their supporters in Red
River to arms.
Furthermore the Portage Party had in fact bogged down at Headingly
because while they were there, Lonsdale the Headingly delegate to the
latest convention, had urged them to forget it and go home,
Then along came McKenzie their own delegate on his way home. He stopped
and he also told them to go home.
By the 14th their plans are such common knowledge in Red River that Begg
noted in his diary:
/The band of men from Portage la Prairie are still at Headingly --- and
a rumor was abroad that Shultz was raising a body of men near the Stone
Fort. Henry Prince the Indian chief at the Indian Settlement it is said
has declared that if any armed French half breed comes down further than
sugar Point he had better look out for his life./(Begg 1956:307)
The night of the l4th Riel told the remaining prisoners what the
Canadians meant to do and he warned them that they would also die in
such an attack (P.A.M. MG 9 A76 Box #14).
At about 4 a.m. the next morning the Portage Party, sixty odd strong,
marched through the town of Fort Garry to William Inkster's house. On
the way there they broke into Henry Coutu's house on the chance that
Riel might be sleeping there (Begg 1956:307).
Next they moved over to the Kildonan schoolhouse and J. J. Setter was
sent to the Stone Fort to let Schultz know they were in town. Setter
returned with the news that 500 Loyalists and Indians with cannon and
ammunition were on their way, led by Schultz.
By then however, Bolton who was leading the Portage Party had noticed
that their arrival in the midst of the Scottish Kildonan community was
not being treated as a joyful event by those settlers ,who, as a whole,
made it clear, that they preferred to be left alone by one and all.
The Scottish settlers sent John Norquay over to Riel to suggest that he
release the prisoners who were left and thus take away the Canadians'
only excuse to being there in the first place. Riel agreed.
The Provisional Government had the remaining prisoners sign an oath to
keep the peace and obey the laws of the land which they did. That is all
except Schultz's father-in-law. He had broken his word so often they
just pushed the old thief out of the door and were glad to be rid of him.
William Driver then picked up Victoria McVicar, who everyone had known
had been acting as a messenger and spy for the Canadian gangs, and took
her over to the school house to tell the Canadians of Riel's decision to
release the prisoners.
By that time, however, the Canadians had themselves taken three
prisoners; John McKenny, a man named Porter and a young Métis named
They forced the Catholic boy into the cramped space inside the
Protestant church pulpit where his religious senses must have been
Upon hearing the report from the woman the Canadian war
council, which included Henry Prince, convened.
They decided that they could not trust McVicar, a woman, to have gotten
it right and they sent John McLean and George McVicar to see for them.
Upon which these two disappeared for reasons of their own for the rest
of the day. Thereupon the Council of war assumed that their one excuse
for existing was still good for a war.
It was the American Consul in Winnipeg, Oscar Malmos, who described the
Canadian army at Kildonan:
/"200 Swampy Indians abundantly plied with whiskey by the notorious Dr.
Schultz, about 160 english [sic] halfbreeds [sic] and 80 men from the
Canadian settlement and vicinity near Portage la Prairie"/(Ronaghan
The filibuster's war council then decided to place the cannon among the
buildings of St. Boniface and bombarded the fort from there because they
believed that the Métis would not use the fort cannon to retaliate for
fear of hitting the Catholic Church.
The next morning as they were preparing to move out to start the
bombardment young Parisien took his chance to escape. He grabbed a
double-barreled shot gun and waved it at his guard who immediately took
refuge in the crowd.
The young Métis then ran down the trail towards the river with the
Canadian Party shooting at him.
He took the river ice trail and met young John Sutherland approaching on
horse back. Parisien shot once and hit Sutherland in the hand. The horse
reared and threw Sutherland. Then one of the shots from the Canadians on
the river bank hit Parisien in the thigh. In his agony and fear the boy
shot Sutherland with the other barrel and throwing the useless gun away
ran for the nearby woods.
Meanwhile Robert McBaine and Wildred Bartlett of P.la P. along with
Thomas Scott and the two Pochain brothers from High Bluff had mounted
horses and gave chase.
They rode the wounded boy down in the woods but he fought like a hero
and even managed to take McBaine's gun from him before one of the
Pochains clubbed him down from behind.
Then Thomas Scott took Parisien's own assumption sash from around his
waist and tied it around the wounded boy's neck. Then Scott tied the
other end of the sash to the tail of the horse he had been riding. The
Orangeman then got up behind Bartlett and they dragged the unconscious
youth back to the crowd to be lynched.
Bolton always claimed that it was he who had interfered to stop the
lynching of the boy. However, Ochillalla Moss pointed out that:
"Grandfather [Francis Ogletree] and Captain [W] Farmer and some other
older men had [a] great deal of difficulty in stopping the younger men
from hanging him" (Moss, Ochillalla n.d.:n.p.).
Then J. Delworth and Dan Sissons were assigned to guard the dying Métis
Ironically, as Riel would point out to the Canadians, Parisien was not
even one of his supporters (Ronaghan 1986:207).
Elsewhere the Sutherland family was also tending to the dying Sutherland
boy. All the time this was going on John Schultz was shouting for "War!
War!" (Ronaghan 1986:214).
Now the Canadians were definitely not welcome in Kildonan.
The women of the community came and fell on their knees and pleaded with
the Portage Party to go home and to Schultz to take his drunken,
Anglican Swampy Cree away.
It was all becoming a terrible embarrassment even more so than the
pickled pig defeat for the Canadians.
The War Council was meeting again at Mr. Black's when Riel sent them
notice that the rest of the prisoners were indeed free, but, the Métis
would fight if that is what they wanted. The coolness of the
note froze the Canadian ambitions.
In the evening Schultz left with his army for the Stone Fort and the
majority of the Portage Party went over to William Inkster's.
When they reached Inkster's some of them decided to go home immediately
that night. Those that left were Francis Ogletree, Charles Mair, George
Garrioch, Marten Burnell, John Cameron, W. B. Hall and a Bell from Rat
Creek in whose sled Ogletree got a ride. The next morning Riel's men
captured the rest without firing a shot.
But why did the Métis even bother to do that? The answer was in what
William Gaddy had told the Métis.
Gaddy was supposed to have ridden south to attack the Métis barricade at
the Stinking River but he had been captured, at William Dease's house.
Once he faced his old Métis comrades of the Red River hunt everything
had changed for Gaddy. He told them everything the Canadians had planned
to do. The Métis in turn felt sorry for him and set him loose, telling
him to cross the line to the American side and hide himself. Gaddy did
what he was told and the Métis let the Canadians believe that they had
shot him. It was Begg who commented on the Shultz "plan" that Gaddy had
/The worst feature of the whole is that the Sioux Indians were to
participate in it and the plan was for these wretches to attack the
houses of the French settlers murdering women and children and burning
the homes./(Begg 1956;313)
It was for this war crime that Riel's Provisional government condemned
to death the four of the forty seven Canadians they took prisoner.
The condemned war criminals were Bolton, John Taylor, George Parker and
According to Bolton himself and Donald Smith, Taylor, Scott, and Parker
along with Mair, M. Powers and Murdock McLeod had been the most rabid of
But then when the Sutherland boy's parents asked Riel to spare the
Canadians he commuted three of the sentences on humanitarian grounds,
even that of the Orange hooligan Thomas Scott. The grateful Taylor told
Riel and the Provisional government officers all they wanted to know.
What he told them confirmed Gaddy's testimony.
Riel insisted that Bolton the leader of the attackers had to die because
"/Indians had been raised and the homes of our men are threatened/"
But finally the humanitarian nature of the Métis prevailed and even
Bolton's life was spared. He later expressed his gratitude to the Métis
people and Riel by leading another band of Canadian bandits against the
Métis in Saskatchewan in 1885 who raided and plundered Métis homes.
Scott was another matter. Although his life had been spared he got so
loud and abusive that Bolton asked the Métis to put him in Scott's room
to keep him quiet (Ronaghan 1986:239).
In the meantime the bootlegger Schultz made one last attempt to raise
the Sioux and The Fox's Cree in the West to attack the Métis but he
failed. Afraid of capture he abandoned Prince and the Swampy Cree
Anglicans to the Métis and ran for it.
So did Charles Mair and Dr. Lynch another one of those Canadian doctors
who's only interest in the west was politics and profits.
They would all arrive in Toronto together on April 7th. On his way east
Schultz had reached St. Paul on the 31st of March and contacted the
Canada First people in Ontario.
But Denison discovered to his dismay that most Canadians in Ontario did
not give a damn about Red River.
It all seemed it might be a lost cause but then the Métis finally
executed the war criminal Thomas Scott and that gave Canada First the
ideal martyr to use in their propaganda.
Much has been made of why Scott was hung but it is usually wrong. The
Metis could have over looked everything he had done accept what he had
done to the innocent young Parisien.
Typical of the propaganda was the Methodist "lie." used by the
Canadian's to justify the armed annexation of Rupertsland: When George
Young the Methodist preacher was with the condemned man Scott had told
him that he belonged to no religion. In fact when the pious Métis heard
this they got a priest to pray with them for Scott's soul.
Nevertheless when the Methodist described the hooligan to the Canadian
press he claimed that "poor Scott," as Young called him, was an ardent
Christian. Not until 1893 would the Methodist finally admit that he had
lied and that Scott was not "/professedly a Christian/" (Ronaghan 1986:241).
Denison next instigated the agitation for war against the French
Half-breeds by calling out the Orange Lodges to create street
demonstrations while W. A. Foster call for immediate armed intervention
in the Press.
But John A. MacDonald had a problem. He had to make the Imperial
Colonial office believe that the majority of the Red River population
wanted annexation to Canada. So the word went out to “Canada First” to
change their tactics.
Suddenly Foster, Denison, Lynch, Mair and even Schultz, began to claim
that it was only a small minority of the Métis who had rebelled under
Riel's misbegotten leadership. Schultz even went so far as to reveal to
the world that his wife was part Negro in a crude attempt to prove that
he could have had nothing against the Métis who were also mixed blooded.
Meanwhile the Provisional government in Red River had been left with the
threat of a possible Sioux attack from the West. Therefore Riel sent
thirty men out onto the White Horse Plains to stand watch (Begg 1956:319).
Later when scouts reported Sioux activity about Portage la Prairie this
force was increased to 300 horsemen. They used Lane's Post at Pigeon
Lake as their headquarters.
Nevertheless with the dispersal of the Canadian gangs things took a turn
towards sanity again in Red River.
On March 1, 1870 Francis Ogletree and Fred A. Bird, on behalf of the
public of St. Mary's Parish, Portage la Prairie, signed the credentials
of William Garrioch the parish representative in the Provisional
Government (P.A.C. MG 3 A1 #14).
It was clear that some of the Canadians, who remained at Portage la
Prairie, including Francis Ogletree, were tired of being manipulated by
the Canada First party and that they were willing to give the
Provisional Government a try.
It was this Provisional Government that sent delegates to Ottawa to
arrange the peaceful entry of the new province into the Dominion.
In spite of the obvious intent of Red River to join Canada peacefully
the MacDonald administration appointed the Anglo-Irish Protestant Col. G.
Wolsely as the leader of a punitive military expedition to occupy
Rupertsland by force of arms. Wolsely was the choice of “Canada First”
and he was in constant personal contact with Denison the head of Canada
On April 6th, the day after his appointment, Wolsely informed his
brother that the government wanted his appointment kept a secret as
"/some vagabond delegates/" from the Provisional Government of Red River
were expected and the Canadians did not want it known that they were
preparing for war while they were pretending to treat the peace
overtures with fairness. (Ronaghan 1986:257).
As I considered the process by which a province was hacked out of
Rupertsland it gave me an opportunity to study more closely the mentality and morality of the group that constituted the Canadian ruling elite at this time. Because the future of the children of the Fort Garry Band was now in their hands.
My chief source of information on their leadership other than the
sessional papers and Hansard, turned out to be the published diary of
one Stafford Northcote an English politician.
Like so many others of his ilk in Canada I discovered him to be both a
politician and an agent for a corporation.
He was in Canada during 1870 to look after the interests of the Hudson
Bay Company during the transfer of Rupertsland. His diary provided an
excellent glimpse into the murky centres of the patronage rings and how
the members of the various participants used social and political
functions to obtain exclusive information and to promote their own
I will begin with his entry of April 20, 1870:
/After breakfast went down to see Genl. Lindsay, who is staying here,
and had some talk with him. He confirmed what Mr. Brydges said of the
eagerness of the Ontario people, and remarked that if an expedition were
not sent filibusters would go. He thought he ought to have a larger
proportion of regular troops. He is at present to take 250 British and
750 Canadians./(Morton 1984:75)
On the 21st Northcote was visited by Donald Smith, stock holder and
officer of the Hudson Bay Company. Smith told Northcote that
/Mr. Hugh Allan had been in communication with the Government about a
Railway, and had submitted to Sir J. A. Macdonald a plan for
constituting a Commission, vesting 50,000,000 acres of land in them, and
authorizing them to employ them in raising money for a Railway to the
Rocky Mountains. He thought it would facilitate this arrangement if we
came to terms with the Government for the surrender of our
land-reserves, which he thought we should have great difficulty in
turning to account ourselves. I afterwards called on Mr. Allan who spoke
much as Smith had done as to the position and prospects of the Company,
and was very confident that a good turn might be given to them, but
thought we should not find the man we want in Canada. He considered with
regard to the Railway that we ought to facilitate the scheme by granting
alternate blocks to the promoters, retaining the remainder./(Morton 1984:79)
But with so much at stake the Canadian ruling elite are not happy with
the antics of their shock troops in Rupertsland -- the petty thieves in
the Canada First Party who they now believed were getting out of control.
Northcote wrote in his diary: /"If some one would arrest Dennis and
Schultz and lock them up for a twelve-month there would be a hope of a
settlement/" (Morton 1984:81).
I also discovered how easily international corporations like the Hudson
Bay Company were able to obtain exclusive information on Canadian
April 24th (Sunday):
/After breakfast Sir J. Young showed me a telegram just received from
the Col. office saying that the troops might advance on the following
conditions --- (1) That Rose be authorized to pay the 300,000 at once,
and H. M. Govt. to make the transfer complete before the end of June.
(2) That the British Govt. should pay the expense only of the British
troops, which should not exceed 250; Canada to send at least 500
regularly trained soldiers with them. (3) That Canada should agree to
abide by the decision of H.M.'s Govt. upon any points that might remain
in dispute with the settlers. (4) That the military arrangements should
have the approval of Genl. Lindsay. Genl. L. does not seem to like the
limitations contained in Article 2. Col. Wolseley told me that on the
British troops being recalled from Canada there was a large quantity of
stores available, and that these had been offered to the Canadian Govt.
at cost price for the equipment of their own force; but that no notice
had been taken of the offer, and that the Govt. had ordered everything
new from New York, --- about the most expensive market they could have
picked out, No doubt there was a good deal of jobbing in the matter.
Lady Young told me, as we walked home from Church, that the Irish were
greatly preferred to the English here as servants or labourers. Her cook
will never allow her to engage an English kitchen-maid but always
desires a good useful Irish girl./(Morton 1984:85-86)
This particular Young, incidentally, was the Governor General of Canada.
Northcote's diary painted a picture of a cozy domestic coterie of
acquaintances within which patronage, racism and corruption took on the
mundane attributes of a very dull twentieth century soap opera, much as
it does today, in both Ottawa and London.
On April 29th I found the following entry in Northcote's diary:
/As I was going out to Rideau I fell in with Sir John Young, and walked
back to his office, where I wrote my letters. I spoke to him of our
claim for compensation, and said I thought it ought to be acknowledged
before we made our surrender of the land. He told me he was to see Sir
G. Cartier and could mention the subject to him. Sir J. A. M[acDonald]
is now unfortunately //_hors_//_de combat_//. He has for several months
been practicing total abstinence from wine and had been getting into a
very exhausted state. Various circumstances, --- the sudden death of a
friend, the worry about the Tariff, (with respect to which a very
awkward evolution has just been performed which is only comparable to
our Ten Minutes' Reform bill), and the troublesome Red River
negotiations, --- have told upon him and he has had recourse to the
bottle again and is not likely to be up to work before Monday. /(Morton
And so I discovered another one of those dark ironies of Canadian
history, the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada, John A. MacDonald,
was an unreliable, binge-drinking, alcoholic and also the fact that the
groups who were using him were covering up for him.
Finally we come to May 2nd and the introduction of the Manitoba Bill in
the House of Commons in Ottawa and I learned that Northcote had in fact
spoken to John A. MacDonald before the debate had even begun. Northcote
would report in his diary:
/May 2. Sir John told me this morning that the U.S. government would not
allow the Sault Ste. Marie Canal to be used in any way for the purposes
of the expedition. It was well he had insisted on asking the question,
as his Ministers, in their usual spirit of over sanguine confidence, had
declared there would be no difficulty, and that it was not worth, the
while to inquire. Sir John thinks arraignments can be made to dispense
with the necessity of using the Canal. He said he supposed the
Government measure would be ready to-day. I asked whether it would be
sent to him before it was introduced. He said, No, that he had arranged
with Cartier that this need not be done. He seemed to be very much in
the dark as to the nature of the arrangements, especially as regarded
the reservation of land for the half-breeds. Finding that he could tell
me little or nothing, I walked up to Sir G. Cartier's house, and sent in
my card. He came to speak to me leaving the delegates with Sir J. A.
M.[MacDonald in the next room. I said, "I have not liked to intrude upon
you while the negotiations have been going on, but as I understand they
are now nearly concluded I venture to ask whether you will allow me to
see the measure before it is introduced, in order that I may see whether
it in any way affects the interests of the Company." He said, "We
propose to form a small province and to give it a constitution which
will be fit for it, but we do not mean to give the local legislature
power over the lands, because we have to provide for the extinction of
the Indian title, for our engagements to the H.B. Co., and for the
construction of a Railway. We therefore mean to keep the power of
dealing with the lands in our own hands, making a larger contribution to
the provincial expenses than we usually do in consideration of our doing
so. But we propose to allot 1,500,000 acres, or thereabouts, to the
half-breed population, who seem to have a kind of Indian claim to some
land." I asked, "How are these 1,500,000 acres to be given? Will a block
of land be set apart, and will not this affect the Company's claim?" He
said, "It cannot affect the Company's claim. The Company's bargain with
Canada takes precedence of any other, and if we break it you will have a
claim for indemnity from Canada, which I suppose you won't object to." I
understood him to say further that there would not be a block set apart
for the half-breeds, but that each person whose claim to land was
recognized would receive an order entitling him to claim his allotment
at any time. I said I supposed, then, they would be much in the same
position with the Company and that both they and we would come and claim
our allotments as the blocks were set out. He appeared to agree that
this would be so, but again added "If you find you are injured you must
come to Canada for an indemnity in some shape or other;" and then, as I
was going out, he added, laughing, "Mind, I don't say this officially."
Then it was back to the domestic scene:
/Mr. Reynolds took me into his drawing room to introduce me to his
daughter, a very nice looking person. Lady Macdonald was sitting with
her and gave a good account of her husband. Mr. Reynolds spoke to me of
Sir John's infirmity in the same spirit in which almost every one here
seems to speak, except perhaps Mr. Macdougall. Sir John Young says he is
a man whom everybody likes, and that people do not attribute his
drinking to vice, but to a physical state of exhaustion which renders
him obliged sometimes to have recourse to a stimulant, and which gives
the stimulant a very powerful effect. When he once begins to drink he
becomes almost mad and there is no restraining him till the fit is over.
No doubt all this is occasioned by intemperance in times past./(Morton
From these excuses for the alcoholic who was supposed to be protecting
the “Canadian” public interest Northcote returned to the Parliament:
/After luncheon I went up to the House of Commons, and was just in time
to hear Sir J. Macdonald's speech introducing the Northwest bill. He
seemed feeble and looked ill, but spoke with great skill. He makes no
pretension to oratory, but is clear and dexterous in statement, and gaze
very ingenious turns to his difficult points. The new province,
Manitoba, (//Dieu qui//parle//) is to contain about 11,000 square miles.
The population is reckoned at 15,000. Sir John interrupted himself by
offering to point out the limits on the map, which he took to the table,
and explained to a number of members who crowded round him. He then gave
an outline of the proposed constitution, and, observing a smile at the
Senate &c. for so small a territory turned round and asked if honble.
members were aware what was the population of Upper Canada when its
first constitution was granted, --- under 10,000, And now there are
upwards of 1,600,000. He took care not to point out that Upper Canada
contained a good deal more than 11,000 square miles. His mode of
introducing the vexed question of the land reserved for the half-breeds
was ingenious. He treated the land (1,200,000 acres) as being reserved
simply for the purpose of extinguishing the Indian claims. and he threw
in the suggestion that the grants to the people who might be entitled to
them were to be made in much the same way as the old grants to the U.E.
Loyalists, (United Empire Loyalists, to whom grants were made in Canada
after the Independence of the United States), a reference very
acceptable to the Ontario men. The speech was well received, but there
is never much cheering or noise in this House, so far as I have
observed. Mr. Mackenzie made a regular opposition comment on the
measure, ridiculing some parts of the scheme, and complaining of the
costliness of the machinery. He was answered by Sir G. Cartier, in a
speech which was probably intended for [the] English, delivered with
considerable energy, and very provocative of laughter, though there was
plenty of good sense in it. After a few observations had been made by
one of the French members, and one or two questions had been asked and
answered, Sir George got up again and said that with the permission of
the House he could repeat his speech in French, which he accordingly
proceeded to do. A little buzz of conversation began to make himself
heard on the English benches, but Sir George having rebuked the
offenders and restored quiet went on with his speech entirely to his own
satisfaction. Mr. Howe, who came and sat by me while this was going on,
remarked that all the French members understood English though some of
the English did not understand French. The Manitobans, he said, would
prove themselves more instructed than any others, for they would be able
to speak English, French and Indian./(Morton 1984:98-100)
On the 4th of May Northcote saw John A. MacDonald:
/I afterwards saw Sir John MacDonald, who showed me the clauses in the
bill which affect the Company's claims. They seem satisfactory. I asked
him how the allotments to the half-breeds were to be made, and he said
that when blocks were set out the Government would make provision for
giving lots to such of the half-breeds as were claimants, taking care
not to put them all together. Our twentieths would of course be reserved
to us whether the rest of the block were sold or given away./(Morton
On May the 7th Adams Archibald, Conservative Member of Parliament from
Nova Scotia, rose to speak on the Manitoba Bill. Among other things he said:
/Sir, I see provisions in this Bill, which are creditable to the
Government. It has, hitherto been the pride of Canada, that in her
dealings with the Indian tribes, she has evinced a spirit of generosity.
That in making treaties she has dealt liberally, and what she has
promised solemnly, she has kept faithfully. And at this moment she is
reaping the reward of her good faith. If there is any one thing more
than another that will assist us in putting an end to these Western
troubles, it is the fact that the Indian tribes in every quarter are
grateful to their great mother the Queen, for the way in which they have
been dealt with, and are loyal to a man./(Morton 1984:521)
It was good enough to get him a job in the west making the treaties with
The Bill would pass third reading on May 9th and would be assented to on
Schultz was dead set against the bill. Like the Liberals he believed it
gave the Métis too much land. However, the Conservatives bought Schultz
off by paying him $11,000 of the $70,000 he claimed to have “lost” in
the Red River Rebellion.
As for the rest of the Canada First Party, they were quite satisfied
because the military expedition was being sent first and there would be
plenty of time to "select" large land claims before the surveyors got to
On May 9th Northcote visited George Stephens' woolen goods factory.
Stephens would become, first, a Director of the Bank of Montreal in
1873, and second, the first President of the Canadian Pacific Railroad
in 1881. Northcote reported:
/Had some conversation with Mr. S. on Canadian politics and found him
inclining to independence, with a view to, not a political but, a
commercial, union with the U.S. /
/He said Canada did not require independence herself, but that it would
be fair to the Home Govt. that if England found the colony a cause of
embarrassment on account of its relations with the U.S., she should be
freed from it. He said the Canadians would feel more free to make
commercial arrangements with the U.S. if they were unconnected with
England. They would at present "think it shabby" to make arrangements
which would give a preference to American over British manufacturers. /
/Had some talk with him about the Hudson Bay Co. He thought there would
not be much difficulty in finding capitalists here, who would take
shares in it with proper arrangements for giving them a share in the
After that hearing with the prophet Northcote noted in a May the 21st
entry this interesting piece of information about MacDonald's plans for
all that land
Northcote had been talking to David L, MacPherson a senator and railroad
promoter and MacPherson told him,
/that he understood that but for his illness Sir J. A. M[acDonald] would
have brought the subject of Railway communication before the House this
last session, and he intimated to me that his plan would have been to
connect Fort Garry with Pembina at once, and to commence a line westward
towards the Rocky Mountains, exploring at the same time eastward towards
the North of Lake Superior; but he begged me to consider this
confidential, as Sir John had not yet mentioned it to his colleagues,
among whom, he observed, there were several leaky vessels./(Morton 1984:121)
Meanwhile in May the Small Pox drove both the Indians and the White
Horse Plains Métis in from the Plains.
Riel's Provisional Government met with the White Horse Plains Métis on
May 23th and requested they accept the legitimacy of the Provisional
government which they did.
It was interesting to note that this separation of the St. Vital
community and White Horse Plains community still existed at this point
On the 24th of May Northcote was again talking to MacPherson:
/Mr. Macpherson talked to me a good deal about the North West Territory,
and recommended the employment of Sir A. Galt to make a report on the
whole question. He thought he might do it in 3 months, visiting Fort
Garry and the Saskatchewan. A fee of $5,000 would be about the right sum
to offer. Mr. W. M. Simpson M.P. for Algoma (D. M'Tavish says Mr.
Simpson is of rather weak intellect) might perhaps be joined with him,
if he left the Company's service on friendly terms, --- or Galt might
choose some other companion. Mr. M. spoke highly of Galt's ability and
breadth of view, but thought him too sanguine and too
This evaluation of Simpson is interesting, as the government would
appoint him the Indian Commissioner for the Stone Fort Treaty
Finally one last entry from Northcote’s diary. On May 26th he recorded:
/Went down to H. B. House, and discussed the arrangements for the
Northern Council with Mr. D. M'Tavish and Mr. Smith. Judge Black came
in, and we talked over Red Rivers affairs rather uneasily. We all fear
that Riel may yet give trouble; but what we fear more is an Indian
difficultly. Judge Black said he had heard that Dr. Schultz has not only
received large compensation for his losses, but that he was to be
appointed to some place of authority. Such a step would be very
mischievous. Schultz and his like are just the men to stir up an Indian
war. His compensation may be accounted for by his having a good many
influential creditors in Canada, who don't see any way of getting their
debts paid except by getting him a grant from the public purse. His
rumoured appointment, if true, is a sop to Ontario, intended to
counteract the reception of Richot and Scott, and the provisions in the
Manitoba Act which are thought too favourable to the French. This sort
of balancing is the unsatisfactory feature in confederation politics. It
has led to the miserable tariff, to many of the North West blunders, and
no doubt to countless jobs and extravagances. even in the fitting out of
the expedition there has been much loss of time and efficiency, because
Cartier would not allow Col. Wolseley to recruit in Ontario, where he
could have got any number of zealous volunteers, but required that a due
proportion of men should be taken from Quebec, which has furnished them
tardily and has sent far less efficient soldiers./(Morton 1984:125-26)
Richot, one of the Provisional government's delegates sent to Ottawa,
returned to Red River on June 17th and for awhile everyone thought there
was a general amnesty and that a peaceful solution to the crisis at Red
River had been found.
Begg noted that the promise of a general amnesty had been given on the
word and honour of the Governor General of Canada (Ronaghan 1986:300).
Tache, however, knew better and soon so did the Métis. When they did
they wanted to attack the invading Canadian army when it was crossing
the Lake Superior-Lake Winnipeg traverse. Tache knew that they would cut
the British and Canadian troops to shreds on the Winnipeg River. He also
knew that some of those invading troops were French Canadians.
Therefore, in order to keep the Métis off balance the Quebec catholic
churchman lied to the Métis. He gave them his word of honour as the
Catholic Bishop that there would be a general amnesty before the
Lieutenant-Governor was installed (Ronaghan 1986:302). Then he left for
the east abandoning the Métis to their fate at the hands of the invaders.
When he had joined the Canadians Henry Prince had opened a can of worms
and in the true English tradition the Canadians had left him holding it.
When the Canadians had abandoned Swampy Cree, the Anglican mission
Indians had been afraid that the Métis would attack them. Therefore,
Henry Prince had sent the traditional tobacco and a plea for aid to his
"pagan" kinsmen the Ojibway.
In Ojibway tradition blood and family outweigh sectarian differences.
When such a call for aid was made it could not be refused. Therefore,
the Ojibway of Lake Winnipeg and the Winnipeg River responded and moved
to St. Peter's to protect Prince and the mission Indians from attack.
During those tense summer months the Mission Indian Settee was in his
glory as he saw the whole procedure as a way to attack Ojibway religion.
He would report later:
/The French rebellion have proved advantageous both to the heathen and
to the missionary. The heathen who live outside the limit of this
settlement, and who never cares to see Red River and to see the
missionaries lest they should be contaminated with their doctrines for
the heathen idolators are quite afraid to mix with the Christians in
worship, was drawn by the late rebellion to Red River to provide for the
security of their friends who were in danger. /
/The heathen who came from around the country planted their camp at
Henry Prince's premises. /
/A long wigwum was made alongside the chief's flag staff and employed as
a council wigwum during the week days the principle men held
consultation in it about the subject of their friends for they declared
publicly that they intended to befriend their loyalists and invite Her
Majesty's troops to come and relieve the oppressed. On Sundays the long
wigwam was open for Divine Services and the tent would at times be
crowded. I remember counting my congregation one Sunday morning they
were more than 160 souls not including our members from St. Peter's
parish. At those moments it was a great pleasure to declare God's free
offer of mercy through faith in our ever adorable Redeemer: the heathen
who came from distant spots and who had few opportunities to learn the
Way the Truth and the Life: attended to things taught to them with a
manifest desire to learn more of the truth and its saving health my
venerable friend and benefactor Archdeacon Cowley preached at the long
wigwum too administering to the poor starving souls the true bread which
come down from heaven. Our Reverend brethren in England would be highly
delighted could they have been present to witness the earnestness of the
Archdeacon to bring the heathen to the foot of the cross. My native
brother was Reverend Mr. Cochran took also a conspicuous part he is
fluent in Ojibway tongue/(P.A.M. MG 7 B2 CMS A99 C1-0)
The Canadian invasion army consisted of three sections; a number of
regular British troops and two battalions of Canadian irregulars or
volunteers, as they preferred to be called; One battalion from Quebec
and the other from Ontario. Of these latter two battalions the Ontario
Rifles were no more than paid filibusters under the hidden command of
Denison and Canada First.
When Tache reached the east with word of the peace plan it appeared for
a moment to the Canada First Party that the MacDonald administration
might weaken and recall the troops. To overcome this possibility the
Canada First Party brought out their street gangs to demonstrate for a
When a commanding officer of the Canadian militia, by the name of Durie,
attempted to raise a military escort for Cartier and Tache who were on
their way to discuss amnesty with Young, the Governor General the
officer of the day, Lt. Col. Boxall of the 10th Royal Regiment of
Militia, who was a Canada Fist supporter refused to obey the order to
act as a guard of honour.
Then Denison arrived on the scene and he threatened Durie further.
Denison informed Durie that if he tried to order an escort again that
he, Denison, would call out the Orange gangs and take possession of the
militia armory and all its weapons.
Durie told Denison that he was threatening revolution and Denison
replied "Yes I know I am and we can make it one. Half a continent is at
stake, and it is a stake worth fighting for" (Denison 1909:34).
Sectarian civil war was about to break out in Canada. Durie, however
backed down and Denison ordered Bennet and his seventeen Orange Lodges
to stand down.
Then Denison sent orders up to the officers and men of the First Ontario
Rifles to the effect that they were to intercept or delay any order sent
to the army from Ottawa to return. If, however, the British regulars and
the Quebec battalion did obey any such orders and turned around the
Ontario rifles were to keep going on to the west regardless and conquer
it for Canada.
At that point in Canadian history the future of the nation was being
decided by a megalomaniac psychotic and a drunk. The Canadian elite
could do nothing but go along or risk an armed insurrection in Ontario
and an American takeover in the west. The punitive expedition proceeded.
On August 2, 1870 A. G. Archibald now appointed the second Lieutenant
Governor of "Manitoba" was also appointed administrator of the
un-granted or waste lands in that province. As part of these duties as
the Land-grave of Rupertsland Archibald was required to submit a report
to Ottawa covering all aspects of the land situation in Manitoba (Kemp
Then Dennis, the chief surveyor followed his orders from Canada First to
delay his own memorandum until January of 1871 and then, and only then,
did the Secretary of State, Howe, asked Alexander Campbell to devise a
public land policy in Manitoba.
Campbell, a painstaking administrator, had a wide knowledge of public
lands, knowledge gained from his experience as a lawyer and in his
patronage position as Commissioner of Crown Lands in Ontario from 1864
On March 1, 1871 he presented a memorandum to the Privy Council
outlining a lands policy for Manitoba which included a survey system. An
Order-in-Council of the same date brought the policy into effect and
confided the control and management of Crown lands in Manitoba and the
North-West Territories to the Secretary of State.
The survey system thus adopted was to be rectangular with townships
consisting of 36 sections of one mile square each and with road
allowances of one chain in width between all townships and sections, The
International Boundary was to be the base of townships 1 and 2, and east
and west lines between townships 4 and 5, 8 and 9, and so on were to be
base lines or standard parallels in the system.
The Winnipeg Meridian, run in 1869, was to be continued as the Meridian
from which the ranges of townships, east and west, were to be numbered
The necessity for a "jog" resulting from the convergence of Meridians
was to be allowed and was to be set out on specific lines according to a
fixed plan. It was also provided that the deficiency or surplus, as the
case might be, resulting from convergence, was to be set out and allowed
in the quarter sections on the west boundary of the approximate
townships and the areas of these quarter sections were to be returned in
the survey accordingly at their actual contents (Kemp 1950:40-41)
Tache had returned to Red River on August 23 and had assured Riel that
all was well. This was a blatant lie and the Catholic Bishop knew it.
Tache had sacrificed the Métis for "Catholic church rights" in Manitoba.
That evening the news came in that the invaders were north of the Stone
Fort on the Red River.
A Scotsman by the name of James G. Stewart had met the Canadian army on
the Winnipeg River on his way east on holiday from his job with the
Hudson Bay Company. But He had turned around and had joined the
expedition. At Fort Alexander Donald Smith of the Hudson Bay Company
also joined the invading army and Stewart learned that the Canadians
intended to murder Riel during the takeover of the settlement
The expedition was traveling in York boats provided by the Anglican
Bishop, and brought to the army by J. P. Gardiner.
When the first of these Anglican boats reached the Store Fort and the
Canadian troops paused to takeover the Fort Stewart slipped away, and
picking up a horse in the lower settlement he rode into Fort Garry to
warn Riel of the Canadians' intentions to slaughter the Métis leaders of
the Provisional government.
Riel had trusted Tache and he had allowed his Red River Métis to go out
on the buffalo hunt. Without a counter force he and his companions were
forced to flee.
As for Henry Prince and the Anglican Swampy Cree, they expected to be
treated with special consideration when the treaties were made. They
also had a shock coming to them. They were cheated then and they would
be cheated for a third time in 2009
With the arrival of the Canadian occupation forces began a reign of
terror as they began a brutal search for the Métis leadership.
Meanwhile a special meeting of the old Assiniboin Council of the Hudson
Bay Company was called. In attendance were Donald A. Smith, the Anglican
Bishop of Rupertsland, the Catholic Bishop of St. Boniface, Robert
McBeth, John Sutherland and William Fraser.
They were there to validate an address to Archibald composed not by them
but by Donald Smith. There were none of the Métis members of the Council
The intention of the address was to rewrite history by leaving the
impression that Smith the Hudson Bay Company Governor was relinquishing
authority to the Canadian Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. The Canadians
intended to have their grandchildren believe that the Provisional
Government had never existed.
Archibald had arrived on the 2nd of September and that Royal levee was
held on the 6th. Appropriately, Wolsely stood on Archibald's right and
the two Bishops stood on the devil’s side, while Smith read the speech.
On September 11th Wolsely addressed the invasion army. He called the
Métis "banditti" and said that those who had oppressed the people had
fled (Ronaghan 1986:498).
The Cree chief Makasses, The Fox, came into Winnipeg on the 13th of
September. Because he was a regular customer of the whiskey peddler John
Schultz, the Chief called upon him for a letter of introduction to
Archibald. He then went to Fort Garry where the Canadian troops got him
drunk. When he passed out they stripped him of his Imperial medals,
ornaments and medicine paint, then cut off all his hair.
When the chief recovered he was so shamed that he returned to Fort Pelly
without going to see Archibald. The Schultz newspaper then accused
Archibald of refusing to see the Cree leader (Ronaghan 1986:652).
Canadian culture had come to Rupertsland.
With the Small Pox spreading among the Indian people on the Plains
Archibald appointed a committee to oversee vaccinations. When MacDonald
learned of this he was furious. He said it was because Archibald had no
authority to make such appointments (Ronaghan 1986:433). But I have
always wondered if MacDonald wasn't angry because he had thought that
the Small Pox was solving his "Indian" problems for him.
On September the l8th the Orange gangs begin to incorporate in Winnipeg.
The first Lodge was organized in secret aboard the schooner Jessie
McKenney a boat owned by Shultz’s half brother anchored out in the
river. Of the first 10 members 9 were filibusters of the Ontario Rifles.
By February of 1871 there would be 110 of them in the "Lodge."
In accordance with Denison's plans Wolsely had ordered the British
Regulars home and the Quebec battalion was ordered out of Fort Garry to
the Lower Stone Fort to stand guard over nothing.
This left the best lands in Rupertsland and the Settlement at the Forks
in the hands of the Ontario filibusters.
They began their work early on September 3rdas seven of them torn down
the fence of old "Wabishka" Morin out at Baie St. Paul, and after
threatening his life the Canadians stole what they pleased.
However all the people at Baie St. Paul at this time were not Métis they
were Catholic Plains Ojibway. Wabishka belonged to one of the
This terrorism soon had its desired effects and on the 20th of September
the Manitoba News Letter would brag that Riel's loyal men were selling
their lots dirt cheap and fleeing. The paper suggested that Canadians
should "invest" in these lots and they do.
The St. Paul Weekly Press called the situation in Winnipeg a reign of
terror designed to drive out "/by threats or actual violence all the
French half-breed population/" (Ronaghan 1986:354).
During one of their raids on the Métis community on September 13th the
Canadians killed Elzear Goulet. It was "Old Depravity" as they called
Schultz's father-in-law, who had pointed him out to the irregulars.
The officer of the day was Hugh John MacDonald. He would later claim
weakly that he had "told" the men to desist. This coward’s daddy was
none other than the drunken Prime Minister of Canada.
The Canadians drove the man into the waters of the river where he was
struck by one of their stones and drowned.
At that very time a number of the Canadian "volunteers" were sick and
the Catholic Grey nuns had volunteered to tend to them. Elzear Goulet's
sister was a Grey Nun and that very day it was her turn to look after
the sick Canadians. "/I'll go willingly tomorrow/," she told her
Superior, "/but I can't do it today, I'm not strong enough for that/"
There were 241 valid citizens living in the village of Winnipeg that
September and there were 326 irregulars loose among them, although that
number was later reduced to 278 (Ronaghan 1986:418).
Shultz and the Canadian filibusters were in their glory! They had it
all! On November the 3rd, 1870 the preacher William Fletcher wrote from
Portage la Prairie:
/Mr. Bell raised 420 bushels of oats from 20 sown worth 75 cents per
bushel, I get for my share 105 of oats, 58 barley and 85 or 90 of wheat,
worth in all about $200. Pretty good for an investment of 800 or 900 and
prospects of more next year/(P.A.M. MG 7 C13)
During November the campaigning began for the first Manitoba political
election. Schultz was running for office and he traveled on the campaign
trail with his own personal body guards.
His favorite goon was a very large man by the name of George Lee, who
was a drummer from the First Ontario Rifles. At a St. Andrew's parish
election meeting where Schultz didn't like the way things were going
against him so he decided to close the meeting by ordering his goons to
break it up.
As they rushed the organizers of the meeting, the Canadian drummer
caught a man called Joe McDermott around the throat. That was a mistake.
Joe gave the big drummer such a thrashing that it left him sprawling on
the floor. But the other citizens were not as brave and the meeting
broke up. Canadian politics has come to Manitoba.
It was during one of these Canadian attacks on a meeting of voters that
James Tanner was killed. As the Manitoban newspaper stated:
/The tactics of the self styled "Loyalist Party" of this province have
taken a new phase. Their course in the present Political contest, has
generally taken the shape of rowdyism at meetings, preventing free
discussion and sometimes "pitching out" or "kicking out" without a
hearing those who differed from them in opinion,/
/A new and more fatal development of their rowdyism occurred at Poplar
Point, on Wednesday evening of last week, after the public meeting
referred to elsewhere. After being beaten in argument, and out-voted in
the meeting --- which defeat was mainly due to the able speeches of Mr.
James Tanner, a venerable Half-breed of about 60 years of age --- a
couple of men lay in wait for him along the public road, about three
hundred yards from the place of meeting; and as he was driving off home
with a very spirited horse, these two men suddenly jumped up and
frightened the horse. The animal at once started at a full race. Mr.
John Tait and Mr. David MacKenzie were also in the vehicle - the former
being the driver. In his efforts to stop the horse, the driver broke one
of the reins, and the horse became perfectly furious and unmanageable.
Mr. Tanner either jumped out or was jerked out; and the result was a
broken skull and fearful laceration of part of the face He was
apparently killed on the spot...../
/A correspondent describes the pitiful wailing and grief of his poor
widow, on meeting the waggon, as something awfully thrilling and heart
rending. But a couple of hours before, her beloved husband and companion
for 35 years, had left her in the best of health and spirits, stating
that he hoped to accomplish some good, that night, for his countrymen.
Poor man! He did so, as he had been trying to do all his life long; but
it was the last time./
(Manitoban Vol. l No.9 Dec. 10, 1870)
But what the paper does not tell the reader is the fact that James
Tanner was also an Elder of the Portage Bands of Plains Ojibway and that
his family was married into, among others the family of Chief Yellow
Quill. It was because of this incident that the small Plains Ojibway
community at Baie St. Paul was abandoned and the people fled westward.
Schultz used his goons at other meetings, but he lost anyway to D. A.
Smith of the Hudson Bay Company, who had unlimited money to spend on
bribing the voters.
Moreover Schultz's henchman, Monkman, also lost at St. Peters. He was
defeated there by Tom Howard. Howard's father was a friend of Cartier in
Ottawa and he had married into a prominent Montreal family. For this
reason Howard had the support of Archdeacon Cowley. Cowley led his
Anglican Swampy Cree to vote in a block.
Ironically these Christian Indians were considered to be eligible to
vote because they lived in "houses" before they signed the treaty but
they would not be eligible to vote after they had signed the treaty.
When Schultz lost at the polls his supporters including two companies of
Ontario Rifles rioted in the town of Winnipeg when the results came in.
In the new year the Canadian reign of terror continued. In January a
"volunteer" entered the house of the widow Vaudry and insulted her three
daughters. Her son Toussaint forced the Canadian out of the house.
The irregular soon returned with ten other Canadians and they almost
beat Toussaint to death in front of his mother and sisters
The standard fine for such an incident was forty dollars, which was paid
by passing the hat around the Ontario Rifle's barracks and was paid to
the Canadian officers.
In February the Canadians bayoneted Andre Nault at Pembina and left him
for dead. However, he recovered. No charges were ever proved. Even the
Toronto newspapers had to admit that Archibald had no control over the
army of occupation (Ronaghan 1986:601).
Neither did the Canadian officers like Hugh John MacDonald, as the
barracks mutiny of February 18, 1871 proved.
When Federal elections were announced for April, Taylor, an American spy
who was now the U.S. Consul in Winnipeg reported that if Schultz was
defeated this time "/I am forced to consider the probability of anarchy
and civil war within the next thirty days/” (Ronaghan 1986:587).
In fact J. J. Setter wrote from the Canadian Party stronghold in Portage
la Prairie that every Jesuit would be driven from the country if Schultz
lost (Ronaghan 1986:587).
Then in March Joseph Howe reminded Archibald what the game was all about:
/I am not quite sure that I understand your explanation about the Land.
The policy of the Government was embodied in certain rules and
regulations, first confidentially printed and carefully reviewed, and
then sanctioned by Order-in-Council. Mr. Aikin [sic] and Colonel Dennis
were then instructed to carry out this policy. No authority could be
given to you to change or vary it, unless sent in official form through
this Department. No such instructions have been sent, and therefore I
assume that the policy, whatever it is, has never been changed. We may
be mistaken, but I have discussed the land Policy for the North-West
several times with Mr., Aikin [sic], and we understand it the same way,
and what is of more importance to you, is that Dennis acting under his
orders, is practically carrying it out. That 1,500,000 [sic] acres of
land were secured to the HalfBreeds [sic] it is true, but those lands
were to be surveyed and set apart by the government, and until this was
done the settlement of the Country was not to be obstructed. Emmigrants
[sic] and Volunteers, going into the country, had a right to occupy and
preempt vacant lands anywhere. The young men who were already in
Manitoba had precisely the same right, but none of these classes could
establish proprietory rights in any but the half or quarter Section
which they occupied and improved. If any of these classes staked off and
claimed en bloc, large tracts of land in favorable situations, in my
judgement they violated the instructions and their claims cannot be
sustained. When the million and a half [sic] of acres have been
surveyed, the Government must then see, not that any particular "ring"
gets a particular block, but that each individual Half-Breed [sic],
including minors and infants who are in no condition to scramble just
now is put in possession of his quarter section., if it should turn out
that he has not helped himself in this quiet and reasonable way in the
Schultz, Mair, Denison and company all knew the rules of this game and
had started an agency in Ontario called the North West Emigration Aid
Society to organize and financed the initial wave of Protestant
immigrants from Ontario. By the spring this partisan organization had a
budget of $30,000 to work with. The settlers were told to go directly to
the Manitoba Newsletter offices for directions to the best land.
In order to ensure these squatters would get their titles in Fee Simple,
Dennis, the chief surveyor, sent to Ottawa a number of recommendations
to which the Cabinet committee reported on May 26, 1871:
/On a memorandum dated 23rd May, 1871, from the Surveyor General of
Dominion lands calling the attention of the Secretary of State for
Canada to the fact that although the surveys in Manitoba are not yet
made, many immigrants are on the way, and others are about leaving for
that province, and that they consist for the most part of a class the
object of whom is to take up land for Farming purposes./
/That under the circumstances as these people will go on the land, and
numerous Settlements will inevitably be formed during the present
season, it is recommended as a matter of general expediency that such
proceeding although irregular be countenanced so far as to issue
instructions for the guidance of such parties, by which means the
disputes and confusion which will otherwise be sure to occur would be
/That the promulgation of something to the following effect would
perhaps be all that is necessary./
/"Whereas the public survey of Manitoba cannot be affected in time to
facilitate settlement on the lands by the numerous parties now in, and
those about emigrating to that Province, and it is deemed expedient
temporarily to countenance settlements being made in advance thereof
---Notice is hereby given ---/
/1. That parties found upon the lands at the time of survey, having
settled upon and improved the same in good faith as settlers under the
land regulations, will be protected in the enjoyment thereof, whether
the same be preemption or Homestead Right provided they respectively
enter for such right with the Land Office, and otherwise carry out the
provisions of the said regulations in that behalf, within three months
after the Survey shall have been made./
/2. That in settling on the lands parties will require to bear in mind
the system of Survey adopted, by which the lines run due East and West,
and North and South, and the 160 acres or quarter section is an exact
square of half a mile each way under which system alone pre-emption
[sic] or Homestead Rights based upon settlement previous to survey will
/"On the recommendation of the Hon. the Secretary of State," the report
concluded, "the Committee advise that the foregoing memorandum be
As it was extensively Dennis' responsibility to get his surveyors into
the west, he deliberately added to the delay by slowing down the process
in his own office.
When the surveyors did arrive in July they immediately surveyed the
property at "Oak Point" which was Schultz Canada First territory and
then Portage la Prairie which was Charlie Mair's Canada First territory.
The delay was again perpetuated when the officer in charge of the land
office was not sent out until October.
All of these delays were designed to give the Ontario filibusters lots
of time to stake out the best lands.
When the Indian treaties were finally concluded Archibald would make a
speech in Portage la Prairie. He would tell the squatters who were
"legal" pioneers by then that the "Iron horse" would soon come as it was
all part of the Canadian governments "National Policy."
Shultz the bootlegging gangster had won his war and was now a Canadian hero.
With his real estate holdings in old Rupertsland, including the homeland of the Fort Gary band children, the North-West Trading Company, and his interest in the South Western Railway Company and the
Great North-West Telegraph Company he would accumulate considerable wealth.
As a reward for his services the Canadian ruling elite would appointed
him Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba on the first of July 1888 and in
1894 he was knighted as Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George.
Lady Aberdeen, the wife of the Governor General, recorded, during a
visit to Winnipeg in 1895, that Schultz and his wife had been
Shultz resigned 1 September 1895 and died in Mexico trying to stay alive
on 13 April 1896.
Ironically enough he was pickled and brought back to Red River.
Sheriff Colin Inkster on reading the complimentary description on
Schultz’s tombstone, remarked, “/What a pity we knew him/.”
Schultz had died at fifty-six, and a Dr. Mitchell who had seen him as a
schoolboy in 1894 said he had the typical appearance of pernicious anemia.
I personally interviewed Francis “Frankie” Ormond who had seen them both
when they visited her school in Portage la prairie and she told me that
they were both particularly dark but he was more yellow -- like a China
man, she said, from the jaundice that was killing him.
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