Author: George Simpson (c1792-1860) edited by Edwin Ernest "E E" Rich
Publisher: Published by the Champlain Society for the Hudson Bay Record Society
lii+275+[x member list] pages with tables (some folding), appendices and index. Royal octavo (9 3/4" x 6 3/4") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering and insignia to spine. Introduction by W Steward Wallace. Hudson Bay Record Society Volume X. First edition Limited edition number 444.
In 1824, the London Committee decided to compete more aggressively with the Americans in the Columbia District, the region west of the Rockies. Simpson was instructed to visit the area and instate measures for economy and efficiency. Known as the “Little Emperor,” for his Napoleonic demeanor as much as his diminutive size, Simpson was a prodigious traveler, constantly on the move by canoe and horseback back and forth across the continent.
Leaving York Factory by canoe on August 15, 1824, he traversed the Athabasca Pass on route to the Columbia District. Simpson arrived at Fort George (Astoria, Oregon) on November 8, completing his journey in only 84 days, 20 fewer than the previous record. The following year, he would pioneer the Carlton Trail, which ran almost 1,448 kilometres (900 miles) overland from Upper Fort Garry to Edmonton House.
In 1826, Simpson was appointed to the dual Governorship of both Northern and Southern Departments of Rupert’s Land and established his headquarters in Lachine. Two years later, in 1828, he made another legendary canoe trip from York Factory to Fort Vancouver (in present day Washington State). A major reason for the trip was to determine if the Fraser River route to the Pacific could be developed as an all-British alternative to the Columbia. This journey covered over 11,265 kilometres (7,000 miles) and followed a northerly route via Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca and the Peace River, over the Rockies to the headwaters of the Fraser. From there, the party split into two, Simpson travelling overland to Kamloops, and the remainder continuing down the Fraser to the Forks of the Thompson, where they rendezvoused. The reunited party then continued downriver in two canoes to the Strait of Georgia, whence they travelled the coast to Puget Sound and finally overland to Fort Vancouver. They arrived on October 25, having left York Factory July 12, thereby completing a journey considered to be the longest ever attempted in North America in a single season.
Provenance of McGill University library with their plate to front paste down. labe removed from front paste down else very good.