I have translated “Marie,” mostly literally, a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (26 August 1880 – 9 November 1918) set to music by singer-songwriter Léo Ferré. Marie is Marie Laurencin (31 October 1883 – 8 June 1956), an “avant-garde” artist and advocate of Cubism, but not a follower of the movement. However, she was a moderniste. Marie’s paintings are relatively easy to identify. Her style is quite unique.
Marie Laurencin was acquainted with a large number of artists, literary figures, and persons associated with Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes, one of whom was a young Pablo Picasso. She also attended the salons of wealthy United States expatriates who made Paris their base and helped propel to fame and sometimes to wealth artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Georges Braque.
Celebrated artist Marie Laurencin was very different. Marie was married to German Baron Otto von Waëtjen from 1814 until 1820, but she was romantically involved with revered and now legendary poet Guillaume Apollinaire,born Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki. Apollinaire was wounded during World War I and died two years later. He was a victim of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, a flu akin to the Swine flu of 1976, but as merciless as the plague.
However, the first character Apollinaire introduces is a little girl, petite fille, who will be mère-grand (as mère-grand in The Little Red Riding Hood). (Time passes.)
In Marie Laurencin’s painting, the dancer carries a rose. Roses die, so let us seize the day. The poem therefore contains a carpe diem (Pierre de Ronsard‘s Hélène): “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” (petite fille/mère grand)
We have colours, that of the sheep and of the snow: white, but also silver or grey (grey hair).
We hear bells. (1)
There is an allusion to soldiers. Apollinaire had been a soldier.
In the fifth stanza, the poet introduces himself: “Je”. He is walking by the Seine which flows unendingly. (5)
This is a rich poem one wishes to explore further, but…
I thank you for your kind words. They’ve helped. My university and the insurance company played with my life and it has been extremely painful. So I am pleased I have my WordPress colleagues and send all of you my love.
Various circumstances, illness and a dysfunctional computer mostly, but also memories of the days, better days, when I lived in a blue house, have kept me away for a few days. My blue house is on the market and on my mind and in my hearth.
I cannot afford it at its current price but will try to buy it back. I lost it because an insurance company employee did not tell me that my application for permanent disability benefits had not been approved. Selling the house was conditional upon my application for permanent disability benefits being approved. One does not relocate if granted a temporary leave.
The Independent Medical Examiner to whom she referred me, asked her, in writing, to tell me not to relocate as he believed I would be able to resume my career after an indefinite leave of absence. He wrote that I should not make any important decision for six months. Adjustments would have to be made to my programme-load. But, on the basis of past accomplishments, he was certain I would be able to return to work. He was right.
When requested to prepare two new courses, I had to abandon a sabbatical leave I was devoting to my long-awaited book on Molière in order to prepare two new courses, one of which was Animals in Literature. I could not refuse assignments because the Chair of my department was prone to anger. I once fainted in his office and landed on the back of my head. No, I would not have survived Chernobyl!
What is very strange is that I still like him, but he will no longer serve as Chair of a department, which is a blessing for everyone. There is no advantage to being Chair, financial or otherwise, at least not where I worked.
I was also the person who had to create a multi-media lab component for a language course. It was not upgraded during my sabbatical and I was not told. I upgraded it when I returned to work, which is why I fell ill. Every lecture of my course on Animals in Literature was prepared, but it had been a huge effort. I had no energy left for extra work. I should have asked for that component of the course to be cancelled until the following academic year and assigned to someone else.
At any rate, when suddenly I lost the ability to look after myself properly, the biggest challenge is brushing one’s teeth, my doctors requested I leave the classroom immediately. I phoned the Dean, who was at a complete loss, and I presented a doctor’s note to the effect that I was sick. My doctor’s note was not taken seriously. As a result, my students no longer had a teacher. The secretary of the Department remarked that I could still walk and that I should “negotiate an arrangement” with the Chair.
I therefore “negotiated an arrangement” with the Chair. For two weeks I would continue to teach Animals in Literature. During that time, he would teach my two other courses, provided I graded the students’ last quiz and all their assignments. He also asked me to return to work in time to prepare the students for their final examination, which I would also have to grade, etc.
Under the circumstances, I did not have to “negotiate an arrangement.” However, my Chair is not entirely to blame because the Dean would not let him hire a replacement.
Fille au chapeau bleu et noir, vers 1950
When my case manager learned I had finished my teaching assignment for the year, she rushed to judgment. I had been on a sabbatical, which she probably viewed as a holiday, and could not prepare a new course! My application was fraudulent. She didn’t know that I was granted a sabbatical to write my book, at long last. Sabbaticals are seldom granted for the preparation of new courses.
To punish me, she did not relay the doctor’s message to me. As I wrote above, the IME had specified that I was too sick to make serious decisions for at least six months. The sale of the house was conditional upon my application for permanent disability benefits being approved. When it sold, my blue house was not for sale.
I am unlikely ever to recover fully from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My fatigue is due to a cerebral blood flow problem triggered by a flu I caught in 1976. But I have worked despite this problem. It meant reorganizing my life and eliminating outings in the evening.
At any rate, I lost my house and now, several years later, my share, one ninth of the small building I live in, is for sale. My co-owners will not create a reserve fund for the upkeep of the building, which is a major problem and a deterrent for persons who would otherwise be interested in buying. One never knows when the next bill will land at one’s door. Others may enjoy this form of gambling, but I would not have survived Chernobyl.
I chose the apartment, but my family bought it on my behalf. The notary they hired did not tell me there was no reserve fund. Moreover, I had requested, in writing, that the apartment and building be examined by a certified inspector. I am not blaming anyone. It would not help.
The rest I will not tell. The above, however, happens in several teaching institutions. One simply works a person out of his or her position. In fact, I told this story in an earlier post, but differently.
I do not think I will be returning to blue house, but I will have tried. If I can’t purchase my blue house back, it may be easier to forget.
There is more to say about Gabriel Franchère. When the Astorians travelled away from Fort Astoria, they named Mount St Helens. It was then an active volcano, but no one ever suspected the tragic events of 18 May 1980. At 8 hours 32, it exploded and then “imploded,” sort of. The mountain folded in.
I apologize for my tardiness and send my kindest regards. ♥
In 1846, Gabriel Franchère (1786 – 1863), a humble and probably “submissive” Canadien from Montreal was praised by American Senator Thomas H. Benton and spoken of as a “gentleman of Montreal,” with whom Senator Benton had “the pleasure to be personally acquainted.”
“In 1846, when the boundary question (that of the Oregon Territory in particular) was at its height, the Hon. THOMAS H. BENTON delivered in the United States Senate a decisive speech, of which the following is an extract:
‘Now for the proof∗ of all I have said. I happen to have in my possession the book of all others, which gives the fullest and most authentic details on all the points I have mentioned—a book written at a time, and under circumstances, when the author, himself a British subject and familiar on the Columbia) had no more idea that the British would lay claim to that river, than Mr. Harmon, the American writer whom I quoted, ever thought of our claiming New Caledonia [British Columbia]. It is the work of Mr. FRANCHERE, a gentleman of Montreal, with whom I have the pleasure to be personally acquainted, and one of those employed by Mr. ASTOR in founding his colony. He was at the founding of ASTORIA, at its sale to the Northwest Company, saw the place seized as a British conquest, and continued there after its seizure. He wrote in French: his work has not been done into English, though it well deserves it; and I read from the French text. He gives a brief and true account of the discovery of the Columbia.’” [EBook #15911]
∗ I have underlined certain portions of my quotations. The authors I am quoting did not. They, however, used capital letters.
Moreover, J. V. Huntington, the translator and editor of Franchère’s account of his sea voyage from New York to the short-lived Fort Astoria, preferred Franchère’s Relation, published in French in 1820, to Washington Irving’s Astoria, based on Franchère’s French-language Relation. Astoria was published in 1836 and it is a Project Gutenberg publication [EBook #1371]. J. V. Huntington writes that:
“[w]ithout disparagement to Mr. IRVING’S literary, fame, I may venture to say that I found in his work inaccuracies, misstatements (unintentional of course), and a want of chronological order, which struck forcibly one so familiar with the events themselves. I thought I could show—or rather that my simple narration, of itself, plainly discovered—that some of the young men embarked in that expedition (which founded our Pacific empire), did not merit the ridicule and contempt which Captain THORN attempted to throw upon them, and which perhaps, through the genius of Mr. IRVING, might otherwise remain as a lasting stigma on their characters.”[EBook #15911]
Franchère’s Claim to Fame: his Book
Had Franchère not written an accurate narrative of the Tonquin‘s journey to the northwest coast of the current United States, and of events related to this sea expedition, such as the incident at the Falkland Islands and the demise of the Tonquin, I doubt that future generations would remember Gabriel Franchère. He was a simple clerk but a witness and his book, the proof. He told Astoria.
In many footnotes, the editor of a reprint of Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813 (London, 1849) refers his readers to Gabriel Franchère’s 1820 Relation.
Moreover, although Franchère seems to have emerged from the annals of history recently, he is a familiar figure to readers of Grace Lee Nute’s The Voyageur, published in 1931.
The Many Stories
War of 1812
Given its many links: the War of 1812, American Expansionism, ethnography, Gabriel Franchère’s Relation d’un voyage à la côte du Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique septentrionale dans les années 1810, 11, 12, 13 et 14 is a book that is difficult to overlook. It is moreover a fine narrative and could be considered both a récit de voyage (a traveler’s tale) and, to a certain extent, a coming-of-age story. Gabriel Franchère was not in his teens, but he was young, 24, and he had never left home or met so evil a man as Captain Jonathan Thorn.
Franchère’s récit is linked to many events, but let us situate his narrative in its immediate context: the fur tradeand, specifically, John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company. Franchère (Internet Archives) wrote about:
the account of Captain Black claiming Fort Astoria for Britain (beginning p. 166); (12 December 1813)
the departure from Fort George (p. 263); (4 April 1814)
an account of the Astorians’ trip north.
Gabriel Franchère (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Main Story
Yet the main story could be the story of Gabriel Franchère himself who, in the eyes of Senator Thomas H. Benton, was a “gentleman of Montreal” and a hero to Americans.
On 12 December 1813, the Canadien clerk (un commis) did see Captain Black of the Racoon(or Raccoon) claim Fort Astoria for Britain and rename it Fort George, in honour of George III, the reigning British monarch. Yet, Gabriel Franchère is an unlikely hero to Americans and, truth be told, an unlikely hero. He was a clerk, not a partner and, as a Canadien, he was a British subject. However, he was a witness to history and told the tale.
In a post about voyageurs, I quoted Ramsay Crooks, John Jacob Astor’s successor. In his opinion, Congress “had to make an exception in the case of voyageurs when passing a law excluding all foreigners from the American fur trade,” which is how, i.e. almost accidentally, Gabriel Franchère became an American. According to Ramsay Crooks:
“tis only in the Canadian we find that temper of mind, to render him patient docile and preserving. in [sic] short they are a people harmless in themselves whose habits of submission fit them peculiarly for our business and if guided as it is my wish they should be, will never give just cause of alarm to the Government of the Union[.]
Be that as it may, J. V. Huntington, Gabriel Franchère’s translator and editor, tried “[t]o preserve in the translation the Defoe-like [Robinson Crusoe] simplicity of the original narrative of the young French Canadian.”
Gabriel Franchère’s Relation was published in his life time, in 1820, but it was not republished in Quebec until 2002. Gabriel Franchère may have been an unlikely American, but he retired in Minnesota, USA, because of the Treaty of 1818, or accidentally (again).
It so happens that under the terms of the Treaty of 1818, the 49th parallel would be the boundary between Canada and the United States, which meant that territory that was American became Canadian, and territory that was Canadian ended up “south of the border.” (See Treaty of Ghent and Treaty of 1818, Wikipedia.)
The map below can be enlarged by clicking on the image.
Treaty of 1818: the Boundary between Canada and the United States(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“[t]he Astorians have been famous in American history for over a century. Ramsay Crooks, W. P. Hunt, Robert McLellan, Gabriel Franchere, and the two Stuarts, Robert and David—who does not know of their heroic adventures in crossing the great West and navigating around the Horn to found near the mouth of the Columbia an American trading post named in honor of the master spirit of the enterprise, John Jacob Astor?”
Gabriel Franchère and J. V. Huntington, Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814; or, the First American Settlement on the Pacific, Project Gutenberg [EBook #15911] EN
Gabriel Franchère and J. V. Huntington, Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814; or, the First American Settlement on the Pacific (Internet Archives) EN
Gabriel Franchère, Relation d’un voyage à la côte du Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique septentrionale dans les années 1810, 11, 12, 13 et 14 (Montréal : C. B. Pasteur, 1820) (Internet Archives) FR
Ross’s Adventures of the First Setters on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813 (London, 1849) (Internet Archives) EN
With my kindest regards.♥ ____________________
 Gabriel Franchère and J. V. Huntington, translator and editor, Preface to the second edition of a Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1810, 1811, 1813 and 1814, or the First American Settlement on the Pacific (New York, 1854).
 This may also be the case with Alexander Ross‘ narrative. Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813 (London, 1849). (Reprint, Carlisle, Massachusetts: Applewood Books).
I wish to thank Petrel41, dearkitty1.wordpress, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. It is a privilege. I have nominated 15 bloggers, but had to replace one nomination. My nominee had an award-free weblog.
1. I truly loved my profession, university teaching, despite the following:
2. My employers limited my ability to further my research by giving me new courses to teach. (I didn’t like it.)
3. However, I had the ability to learn a discipline in very little time. In order to do so, I would call on the world’s foremost experts for guidance. (They liked it.)
4. Music and the fine arts have been my best refuge.
5. In 1976, I caught a virus and never fully recovered. In order to remain a university teacher, I had to limit my social life drastically.
6. I simply love sharing coffee or a fine meal with a good friend, or good friends.
7. I have read a large number of books.
e. My Answers
1. In which city, town or village (except where you live), anywhere in the world, would you like to live?
2. In which city, town or village (except where you live), anywhere in the world, would you never like to live?
3. Which screen do you watch more: computer screen or TV screen?
The computer screen.
4. Do you watch sports on TV?
5. If yes, what is your favourite sport on TV?
6. What is your favourite kind of music?
“Classical” music, but not exclusively.
7. What is your best experience so far in 2015?
Not having to leave my apartment on the coldest days of the past winter.
f. My Questions
1. During which period of the day do you work best?
2. Do you have a pet and which kind?
3. What is your best source of energy?
4. Have you ever made a truly catastrophic decision?
5. What is your very first memory?
6. What do you like best about yourself?
7. Do you have a refuge?
Thank the person who gave you this award. (a)
Include a link to their blog. (b)
Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award with links to their blogs. (c)
Finally, post 7 things about yourself. (d)
(Answer the questions from the person who nominates you, (e) and then ask 7 of your own.) (f)
Also remember to add the Versatile Blogger image to your post.
About The Rules
You need not thank me or show a link to my weblog.
If you do not have the time to follow all the rules and nominate WordPress colleagues for a versatile blogger award, accept this nomination as a sign of appreciation. Simply show that you were nominated. Thank you.
I am posting an article by Don MacPherson of the Montreal Gazette. It is an accurate résumé of Premier Couillard’s address to delegates. Mr MacPherson’s article should be posted.
By the way, I’m still working on my next post: nominations for the Versatile Blogger award.
Paul Robeson sings Antoine Gérin-Lajoie‘s Un Canadien errant. The first half of Mr Robeson‘s interpretation is in English. He then sings Un Canadien errant in very clear French. I have used this video before, but I feel it should be heard again.
This is a very busy day. So allow me to post an image and music by Maurice Ravel. I have featured Ginette Neveu (11 August 1919 – 28 October 1949) in an earlier post. She was a famous virtuoso violinist who died in a plane crash at the age of 30.
My readers from France love Maxine Noel’s art. I think her art is exquisite and others share that opinion.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard waves to the crowd at the Quebec Liberal Party convention in Montreal on Saturday. Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS
I apologize for not posting sooner. Quebec’s Liberal Party held its convention in Montreal and I was a delegate. Premier Philippe Couillard addressed us. He was reassuring. As you know, he and members of National Assembly have made cuts that many oppose. In the 60s and early 70s, Quebec leaders promised a welfare state.
Access to a free education is an admirable goal, but for this goal to be achieved, the government needs taxpayers. Separatism and terrorism caused many to leave Quebec and the money used to cover the costs of a welfare state is collected through taxation. If people leave, the number of taxpayers is reduced.
Moreover, several workers insist on being paid on a cash basis, nothing is deducted from their income. Tax evasion also precludes a welfare state. It isn’t an option. Why should people who pay their taxes support those who are able to conceal more substantial earnings? I am not discussing the wages of cleaning ladies.
young Liberals given a stronger voice
We were amending the constitution. It was a long process. Therefore, I will mention only one topic. It was decided that young Liberals would be given a stronger voice in the Party.
I was a witness to the student strikes of 2012 and felt reticence supporting this amendment. In 2012, students were willing to break the law and they did break the law so their tuition fees would not be raised.
Young Liberals may well be better young citizens than other young citizens, but that is not necessarily the case. Many were brought up at the same time as the students who created mayhem in 2012. In fact, many were brought up in the same milieu.
However, I recognize that they are the future. Let them see the bills and let them also see whether or not they have the money to pay these bills.
We escaped a reenactment of the 2012 student strikes this spring. Students started to demonstrate, but injunctions were issued and the Quebec government decided it would not fund an extra semester if students had not completed their term. The 2012 strike cost millions of dollars.
At any rate, what I had witnessed here in Sherbrooke when Liberals last met was a mere sample of what I saw in Montreal. There was a large number of armed policemen and plainclothes security agents. I saw security personnel carrying machine guns. These were in bags, but the bags nevertheless concealed machine guns. One could tell by the shape. As for the delegates, all of us were meticulously screened. There was violence when members of the Liberal Party met in Victoriaville in May 2012.
Cutbacks are painful, but the government has to operate with the money it levies through taxation. Quebec’s prosperity is not endangered. It has untapped natural resources that should allow it to bounce back in the not-too-distant future. Despite cutbacks, we still enjoy universal healthcare and tuition fees will not be out of reach.
Although Alexander Ross described the sinking of the Tonquin, he was not aboard the ship when it was attacked by Nootka Amerindians at Clayoquot Sound, in June 1811. It seems an Astorian left aboard the ship blew it up. As the story was conveyed to Alexander Ross, “one hundred and seventy-five Amerindians perished[.]” (Ross reprint, p. 170.)Alexander Ross writes that Captain Thorn’s temper “was cruel and over-bearing,—and his fate verifies the sacred decrees, that ‘he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.’” (Ross reprint, p. 171.) According to Ross’ report, not only had Captain Thorn (8 January 1779 – 15 June 1811) insulted the Amerindians, but he had also detained two chiefs.
On the 12th Day of December
Young Alexander Ross had remained at Fort Astoria when the Tonquin set sail to the north, its crew and passengers hoping to collect precious pelts. However, on 12 December 1813, he witnessed Fort Astoria’s “death-warrant:”
“On the 12th Day of December , the death-warrant of short-lived Astoria was signed.” (Ross reprint, p. 250.)
On that day, Captain Black, who arrived on the Racoon, took possession of Fort Astoria and renamed it Fort George, in honour of his “Britannic Majesty” George III. However, men employed by the Montreal-based North West Company had preceded Captain Black by more than a year, nearly two. The soon-to-be Fort George had already become the property of the North West Company. Captain Black acted graciously, but there was no reward for him and his men at Fort George.
Let us now trace our way back to the beginning of Gabriel Franchère’s Narrative, a year before the Tonquin’s demise on the west coast of Vancouver island, at Clayoquot Sound, but also, a year before, to her losses at the entrance to the Columbia River.
Franchère’s Story Begins …
The Pacific Fur Company (est. 24 June 1810)
Voyageurs to New York
GabrielFranchère (3 Nov. 1786 in Montreal – d. 12 April 1863 in St Paul, Minn.) was entrusted by John Jacob Astor to take voyageurs to the Columbia River and the Oregon Country. He is the author of a Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814; or, the First American Settlement on the Pacific. Born in Quebec, he was the son of Gabriel Franchère, merchant, and Félicité Morin (Miron, Marin). Franchère joined the Pacific Fur Company, founded on 24 June 1810, as a clerk.
Franchère travelled down Lake Champlain in a canoe. There must have been some portage, but, by and large, rivers were found all the way to Long Island. The canoe was in fact put on a wagon (une charette) and the voyageurs went down the Hudson River. (Gabriel Franchère’s Narrative, 24-25)
Franchère takes Astorians from New York to the Oregon Country
Narratives of the Voyage
As John Jacob Astor’s employee, Gabriel Franchère is remembered for his taking Canadiens voyageurs around Cape Horn and up to Fort Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, today’s Astoria, Oregon (US).
But more importantly, Franchère kept notes on the Astor Expedition and, as mentioned above, he wrote a narrative of his epic journey, which was used by Washington Irving, the author of Astoria (1836), a book commissioned by John Jacob Astor. However, Franchère’s book has now been recognized as a very fine and accurate account of the Astor Expedition. It is a good book, reflecting uncommon understanding and sensitivity on the part of its author.
Aboard the Tonquin
Aboard the Tonquin when she left New York on 8 September, 1810, were partners Duncan McDougall, Robert Stuart and his uncle David Stuart, and Alexander MacKay, who took along his 13-year son, Alexander Ross (9 May 1783 – 23 Oct. 1856), not a partner (See Alexander MacKay, Wikipedia.) Alexander MacKay co-founded Fort Astoria. Also aboard were 12 clerks and 13 Canadian voyageurs, plus four tradesmen:Augustus Roussel, a blacksmith; Johann Koaster, a carpenter; Job Aitkem, a boat builder; and George Bell, a cooper. (See Tonquin, Wikipedia.)
The Falkland Islands
Stopover: fresh water
Captain Thorn’s callousness
I should include the ship’s crew and captain Jonathan Thorn (8 January 1779 – 15 June 1811) who was nearly shot to death by Robert Stuart when he set sail off the Falkland Islands, leaving behind Robert’s uncle, David Stuart, and 8 men (SeeRobert Stuart, Wikipedia.) Gabriel Franchère and other Astorians were nearly abandoned. In his Narrative, Gabriel Franchère writes that “nothing could excuse the act of cruelty and barbarity of which he was guilty.” (Franchère’s Narrative, pp. 48-49.)
Until it reached Fort Astoria, the story of the Tonquin is, by virtue of its subject-matter, an extraordinary story, but not a tragedy, except for Jonathan Thorn’s callous behaviour. The ship stopped at the uninhabited Falkland Islands because it needed small repairs and because its crew and passengers were nearly out of fresh water. However, had it not been for Robert Stuart, Jonathan Thorn would have caused the death of David Stuart and 8 men, one of whom was Franchère. In one description of Captain Thorn, Franchère states that:
“[h]is haughty manners, his rough and overbearing disposition, had lost him the affection of most of the crew and all the passengers.” (Franchère’s Narrative, pp. 48-49.)
Naukane, by Paul Kane, 1847 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Tonquin also stopped in the Hawaiian Islands, then called the “Sandwich Islands” and “Karakakooa.” It took aboard Naukane (ca. 1779 – 2 February 1850), the son of high chief Tamanawa. At Oahu, 20 men, called kanakas, were also taken aboard and placed under the care of Naukane (ca. 1779 – 2 February 1850). Other explorers had stopped at the Sandwich Islands. Captain James Cook was murdered on one of the Islands, in 1779.
Naukane’s name was changed to John or George Cox(e). Naukane sailed to England twice. In 1812, he travelled to Britain on the ship Isaac Todd. Later, in 1823, King Kamehameha II, of Hawaii, and Naukane were both sent to England to meet George IV, who ascended to the throne when George III grew mentally incapable of functioning as King of the United Kingdom.
After the demise of the Pacific Fur Company, in late 1813, Naukane returned to Hawaii. However, he would journey back to the Pacific Northwest and join the North West Company, as would Alexander Ross. He married a very young Aboriginal woman and lived at Kanaka, near Fort Vancouver. He died at Fort Vancouver. (See Naukane, Wikipedia.)
The Tonquin at the Columbia Bar (Photo credit: Internet Archives)
Astoria, as it was in 1813(Photo credit: Internet Archives)
The Tonquin’s Sorry Fate
The Columbia Bar
There are two endings to the story of the Tonquin. When the boat arrived at the entrance of the Columbia River, it faced a deadly obstacle: the Columbia bar, known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Three boats were dispatched on successive days to find an entrance to the Columbia River. This search claimed some eight lives, including the life of one the kanakas.
Astorians began building Fort Astoria, but the Tonquin sailed north to her death at Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. By leaving Fort Astoria, Captain Thorn had also imperiled the men he left behind. They could no longer escape, which meant that they were at the mercy of Amerindians and facing difficult circumstances. The characteristics that make Oregon a fine destination, its gigantic trees in particular, were a nightmare to men building a fort. How could such trees be felled?
You know the rest of the story. Insulted and otherwise provoked by Jonathan Thorn, the Nootka Amerindians retaliated.
As written above, Fort Astoria was renamed Fort George after the War of 1812, when Captain Black, aboard the Racoon, claimed Fort Astoria for George III. A few months later, on 4 April 1814, Gabriel Franchère and other Astorians (Internet Archives, p. 263), left Fort George.
“We quitted Fort George (or Astoria if you please) on Monday morning, the 4th of April, 1814, in ten canoes, five of which were bark and five of cedar wood, carrying each seven men and crew, and two passengers, in all ninety persons, and all well armed.” (Narrative, p. 263)
Gabriel Franchère returned to Montreal. As noted above, Alexander Ross joined the North West Company and then the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), when the North West Company was merged with the HBC, in 1821. Ross married an Okanagan Amerindian princess and eventually settled in the Earl of Selkirk‘s Red River Colony, present-day Winnipeg. His descendants are Métis.
The Astor Expedition was not a complete failure. The Oregon Trail was traced, giving settlers a road to follow as they travelled west of the former Louisiana. The Oregon Trail allowed them to circumvent impassable terrain: a terrifying mountain range.
As for Franchère’s Narrative, it is, as I wrote above, a fine book written by a fine man. It stands on its own merit. What Franchère wrote about Captain Jonathan Thorn corroborates Alexander Ross’ description.
As he concludes his narrative, Gabriel Franchère points out that Irving did not give a completely accurate account of Astoria.
Washington Irving was a writer of fiction. It is therefore unlikely that he conveyed the real truth about Astoria. The truth he conveyed would be “poetical.” It may in fact resemble the truth about the demise of the Tonquin.
The truth about the Tonquin’s final moments is not the truth an eye-witness would tell, yet we know that Ross’ account reveals a more profound truth, which is that Captain Thorn’s death,
“verifies the sacred decrees, that ‘he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.’” (Ross reprint, p. 171)
Gabriel Franchère and J. V. Huntington, Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the Years 1811,1812,1813, and 1814; or, the First American Settlement on the Pacific, Internet Archives EN
Gabriel Franchère, Relation d’un voyage à la côte Nord-Ouest de l’Amérique septentrionale dans les années 1810, 11, 12, 13 et 14 (Montréal : C.B. Pasteur, 1820) (Internet Archives) FR
Ross, Alexander: Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or ColumbiaRiver, 1810-1813 (Internet Archives) EN
Alexander Ross, Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813 (London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1849 [ReprintCarlisle Massachusetts: Applewood Books]).
Gabriel Franchère (Photo credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
I am reading online publications of Gabriel Franchère‘s narrative of the journey that took him from New York to short-lived Fort Astoria, as well as my own copies of such works as Alexander Ross’s account of his adventures in the Oregon country.
Gabriel Franchère, a clerk, was one of John Jacob Astor’s most trusted employees who, as it turns out, would become an author. Franchère wrote a detailed Relation, a narrative, of the trip that took him and all men aboard the Tonquin, from partners in the Company to the lowliest employees, from New York to Fort Astoria, around Cape Horn.
In 1836, John Jacob would commission famed author Washington Irving (3 April 1783 – 28 November 1859; Rip van Winkle) to write Astoria.Consequently, Franchère’s narrative was requisitioned. Gabriel Franchère was a mere clerk.
In Franchère’s Narrative, translated and edited by J. V. Huntington, Aboriginals are often referred to as “barbarians” and “savages,” but Franchère observed that it was best to treat them as equals and thereby avoid hostility. I don’t know what led Chief Wickaninnish to murder most of the crew of the Tonquin.
Coincidentally, my husband and I spent our honeymoon at Wickaninnish Inn, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the area where the Tonquin was destroyed. The food was extraordinary and we were in the company of celebrities who flew to the Inn regularly to “get away from it all.” At the time, there was no road to Wickaninnish Inn. We had Long Beach all to ourselves. Emily Carr had lived in that area. So we visited and worshipped.
Haida Totems by Emily Carr (Photo Credit: Google Images)
When we returned to Vancouver, I took a course on textile and was taught the Haida people‘s techniques for spinning, dyeing, and weaving wool. I still have wool I spun decades ago, but I gave my artwork. I believe it was destroyed, which could be what it deserved.
The years I spent on the west coast were my happiest.
I am also inserting, once again, Canada’s National Film Board‘s documentary on Paul Kane. It is a 1972 production by Gerard Budner (1972: 14 min 28 s.). It cannot be embedded, but one is a mere click away, below:
Cunnawa-bum, Metis (Plains Cree and British ancestry) by Paul Kane, c. 1849–56 (Courtesy: Art Institute of Canada)
The Métis in Canada
“The term ‘Métis’ does not mean any white person who believes they also have some Native ancestry.” (See Métis, Wikipedia.)
Many Canadians combine European and Amerindian ancestry to a lesser or greater extent. In the early years of the colony, French settlers married Amerindian women. After the arrival, between 1663 and 1673, of the “Filles du Roy,” men could marry French women.
However, we can’t presume that Quebecers of French ancestry stopped marrying Aboriginals, the minute the King’s Daughters arrived in New France. People of European extraction still marry Amerindians, but their children are not necessarily Métis in the narrow sense of the word. They are Métis if one uses the word Métis in its broadest acceptation. In other words, all Canadians who have some Aboriginal ancestry are métissés(e)s.
However, persons with aboriginal ancestry are not necessarily members of the Métis Nation. In this matter, the word “nation” makes all the difference. The people who took a dim view of the Earl of Selkirk’s endeavor to settle the Red River, which they inhabited and suddenly recognized as their home, were members of the Métis Nation, and so are their descendants. These may be the great or great-great grandchildren of French-speaking voyageurs, men who paddled canoes, but also men who managed the fort during the winter but not exclusively.
There were indeed Scottish, Irish and English fur traders who also married Amerindian women. Cuthbert Grant was a Métis. It could be that Canadiens were less reluctant to marry Amerindians. But Cuthbert Grant’s father, also named Cuthbert, nevertheless chose his wife, a woman he loved, and created a family. In short, there were Anglo-Métis, also known as Countryborn.
Cuthbert Grant (1793 – 15 July 1854) was an Anglo-Métis who may have been educated in Scotland. (See Cuthbert Grant, Wikipedia.) Young Cuthbert Grant led the Métis at the Battle of Seven Oaks, which has been called a massacre. The Métis outnumbered Governor Robert Semple and his settlers. Approximately 65 Métis fought some 28 settlers and their governor, Robert Semple. However, given that the Métis were realizing that the Red River was their territory; given, moreover that Amerindians were protected by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, it was imprudent of Governor Semple to leave the safety of Fort Douglas and venture out with settlers. However, did he know he was facing danger?
With respect to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, I should note that Cuthbert Grant, a genuine Métis, was never prosecuted. In fact, one wonders to what extent the Indian Act of 1876(Canadian Encyclopedia) was valid. The enfranchisement or assimilation of Amerindians, advocated by Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald, reflects the tenets of his age, i.e. the belief that the white race was the “civilized” race. The Indian Act could therefore be viewed as an encroachment on the Royal Proclamation of 1763. So could, for that matter, Prime Minister John A. MacDonald’s role in the execution of Louis Riel, the leader of the Métis Nation. This fascinating question is for historians and constitutional scholars to debate.
To the left is a map showing the Proclamation Line. After the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 18 February 1815), which opposed Britain and the United States, the border between Canada and the United States was drawn mostly along the 49th parallel, which means that after the Treaty of Ghent, a number of voyageurs were suddenly living in Minnesota. Many were Canadiens voyageurs who had been employees of John Jacob Astor. These voyageurs retired in Minnesota.
We have seen some watercolours by Peter Rindisbacher. Swiss-born Peter Rindisbacher’s family moved to the United States. Peter settled in St. Louis, but he had lived in the Red River Colony and had made watercolours, a portrayal of the life of Amerindians and Métis. Consequently, he alone depicted Assiniboia itself.
Homes on narrow river lots along the Red River in 1822 by Peter Rindisbacher with Fort Douglas in the background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, Paul Kane (1810 – 1871) bequeathed a more complete tableau of Canada’s Amerindians, including Métis, than Peter Rindisbacher. I have therefore included a National Film Board documentary on Paul Kane. However, American artist Alfred Jacob Miller‘s “Trapper’s Bride” has to appear on the front cover of the book telling the story of the children born to voyageurs, fur traders and, perhaps, bourgeois. Companies hired voyageurs, but so did bourgeois.
In short there are Métis and there are Métis. Thousands of Canadians have Amerindian ancestry, which makes them Métis if the word is given its broadest meaning. People belonging to the Métis Nation are the descendants of the people engaged in the fur trade who married Amerindian women and whose children were “Countryborn.” They live in Manitoba and Saskatchewan or they originate from these two prairie provinces. Louis Riel was executed in Regina, Saskatchewan, not Manitoba.
I have read many books on the voyageurs and started with Grace Lee Nute’s The Voyageur, first published in 1931. The Voyageur is a perfect introduction to the topic of voyageurs and their songs. Pierre Falcon was a Métis singer-songwriter who composed a song celebrating the Métis victory at Seven Oaks: La Chanson de la grenouillère [from frog, grenouille].
Norma J. Hall, Ph.D.
But we have reached the end of this post. WordPress author Norma J. Hall, Ph.D. has published authoritative posts on Assiniboia and provided lovely images. I would encourage you to read her articles. (See Sources and Resources, below.)
 Voyageurs were mostly Canadiens, but the Bourgeois who hired them originated from various countries. St. Louis, Missouri where Peter Rindisbacher moved, was a city founded by Frenchmen Pierre Laclède, a fur trader, and Auguste Chouteau, a Louisiana fur trader. St. Louis was in French Louisiana, before its purchase by the United States in 1803.