Thursday, 29 November 2012

Samuel Hearne 7. 1770 Return and Departure.

The twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth proved fine, clear weather, though excessively cold; and in the afternoon of the latter, we arrived at Prince of Wales's Fort, after having been absent eight months and twenty-two days, on a fruitless, or at least an unsuccessful journey.[44]

On my arrival at the Fort, I informed the Governor, of Matonabbee's being so near. On the twenty-eighth of November he arrived. Notwithstanding the many difficulties and hardships which I had undergone during my two unsuccessful attempts, I was so far from being {61} solicited on this occasion to undertake a third excursion, that I willingly offered my service; which was readily accepted, as my abilities and approved courage, in persevering under difficulties, were thought noways inferior to the task.
I then determined to engage Matonabbee to be my guide; to which he readily consented, and with a freedom of speech and correctness of language not commonly met with among Indians, not only pointed out the reasons which had occasioned all our misfortunes in my two former attempts, but described the plan he intended to pursue; which at the same time that it was highly satisfactory to me, did honour to his penetration and judgment; as it proved him to be a man of extensive observation with respect to times, seasons, and places; and well qualified to explain everything that could contribute either to facilitate or retard the ease or progress of travelling in those dreary parts of the world.

Finding deer and all other game very scarce, and not knowing how long it might be before we could reach any place where they were in greater plenty, the Indians walked as far each day as their loads and other circumstances would conveniently permit. On the sixteenth, we arrived at Egg River, where Matonabbee and the rest of my crew had laid up some provisions and other necessaries, when on their journey to the Fort. On going to the place where they thought the provisions had been carefully secured from all kinds of wild beasts, they had the mortification to find that some of their countrymen, with whom the Governor had first traded and dispatched from the Fort, had robbed the store of every article, as well as of some of their most useful implements. This loss was more severely felt, as there was a total want of every kind of game; and the Indians, not expecting to meet with so great a disappointment, had not used that[111]economy in the expenditure of the oatmeal and other provisions which they had received at the Fort, as they probably would have done, had they not relied firmly on finding a supply at this place.

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