Previous Index Next


Lord   While the fur-traders were opening up new

Selkirk. fields from which to draw supplies of buffalo and bear and wolf skins, a kind-hearted Scotch nobleman, Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, was planning to make a different use of the wide, unpeopled lands of North America. In his own country many poor peasants

were being driven from their little farms, and, after reading the story of Mackenzie's travels, he pro-posed that they should be sent to make new homes for themselves in what is now Manitoba. For years he could not carry out this plan, but in 1803 he brought out eight hundred Highlanders to Prince Edward Island, where they did well. He also settled a num-

LOAD SELKIRK.   ber of families in Upper Can-
(Prom a statue by Chantrey.) ada, near where Chatham now

stands ; but the land was swampy, and the colony did not flourish.

The Red   Selkirk had not given tip hope, however, of

River   planting a colony on the Red River, and in

Colony. 1811 he obtained a large tract of land from the Hudson's Bay Company, of which he was a member. But the rival fur-traders of the North-West Company declared that the English company had no right to this land, and a bitter quarrel broke out between them. No doubt both were in fault, but the Nor'westers, as they were often called, used Selkirk's unfortunate colonists most cruelly.,

First   Late in 1811 a party of ninety Scotch and

Colonists. Irish settlers, under the command of a young man named Miles Macdonell, sailed into Hudson Bay. They spent the winter at a trading-post on its


Previous Index Next