The following day I examined
the pieces and to my great disappointment found them to consist of three
kegs of spirits, already adulterated by the voyagers who had brought
them, a keg of flour and thirty-five pounds of sugar, instead of sixty.
The ammunition and tobacco, the two greatest requisites, were left
I lost no time in making a demand from both parties and, though their
united list did not furnish the half of what was required, yet it is
possible that everything was given by them which could be spared
consistently with their separate interests, particularly by Mr. McVicar
who in many articles gave me the whole he had in his possession. These
things were sent away immediately for Fort Enterprise, when an
interpreter arrived with letters from Lieutenant Franklin which referred
to a series of injurious reports said to have been propagated against us
by someone at Fort Providence.
Finding a sufficiency of goods could not be provided at Moose-Deer Island
I determined to proceed to the Athabasca Lake and ascertain the
inclinations of the gentlemen there. With this view I communicated my
intentions to both parties but could only get dogs enough from the
North-West Company to carry the necessary provisions for the journey.
Indeed Mr. Smith informed me plainly he was of opinion that nothing could
be spared at Fort Chipewyan, that goods had never been transported so
long a journey in the winter season, and that the same dogs could not
possibly go and return; besides it was very doubtful if I could be
provided with dogs there; and finally that the distance was great and
could take sixteen days to perform it.