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RED RIVER REBELLION, 1869-70   253

destroyed by the folly of McDougall and Dennis; and Riel, intoxicated with success, was about to throw off all pretense of legal agitation.

The Dominion Government, meanwhile, found itself in a quandary. Obviously, the situation on the Red river was serious, and was rapidly becoming worse. Until the Imperial Government should transfer the territory to Canada, the Dominion Government was without authority in the region. And even if the transfer had been completed, there was no present means of enforcing its authority. The Government at Ottawa could not even keep itself informed as to what was going on in Winnipeg, except in a very roundabout and imperfect way. It was of the utmost importance that it should have someone on the spot who could watch the course of events, and, if possible, bring the Metis to their senses. McDougall had been tried, and had only succeeded in setting a smouldering fire ablaze. Someone blessed with more tact and less egotism was badly needed. The ideal peacemaker was Bishop Tache, who had spent many years in the North-West, and had probably more influence over the half-breeds than any one else. Bishop Tache, however, was in Rome, and Rome was a long way from Winnipeg. Another venerable missionary proved to be available in the person of Grand Vicar Thibault, who had spent thirty-seven years in the Red River District. He and Colonel de Sala-berry, a son of the hero of Chateauguay, accepted the difficult task, and left Ottawa early in December for the Red river. The Government then had the inspiration of sending Donald A. Smith (afterwards Lord Strathcona), of the Hudson's Bay Company, as a special commissioner. The cool judgment of Donald A. Smith was to do more than any other agency to bring peace to the troubled settlement. With him went Dr. Tupper, on a private visit to Winnipeg.'

1 See Longley, J. W.: Sir Charles Tupper, p. 262, et seq. "Makers of Canada," New Series.


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