Fort Albany

Diary Excerpt

Wednesday, Aug. 2
…arrived at Fort Albany at 9 30 am where we were received by Mr [blank] and Mr Patterson formerly of Nipigon House who is replacing the former who is returning to England on leave of absence. Fort Albany is situated on an Island in the Albany River, and beside the Hd’s Bay buildings wh. are on a large scale owing to the Post being a distributing point for the Upper River Posts, there are two churches, Episcopal with a residence for the Missionary, R.C. with residence Convent and Hospital combined in charge of 4 nuns – accommodation for 25 children in the convent, everything connected with the Hospital & school is in perfect order and marvellously neat and clean; there are also two priests and 4 brothers of the Oblate Order. Cattle are kept by the Hds Bay people, potatoes, rhubarb and vegetables grown in the garden.

After getting warmed up at the managers residence, and partaking of dinner the leading Indians not absent were assembled in a room off the Office at the Fort and it was then explained to them thro Interpeter James Linklater that the King had sent his representatives to enter into Treaty with them as he wished all his subjects both whites and Indians to be happy and prosperous and that he wished to set aside a tract of land for their sole use and benefit upon which no white man would be permitted to trespass, he also wishing to assist them would after the signing of the Treaty make a present this year of $8 per capita and an annuity during all time of $4 per annum, that an agent would be appointed to meet them at a season to be agreed upon and he would pay to all present absentees $8 in addition to the $4 annuity falling due next year, and that they would be paid the money promised after signing the Treaty as soon as the pay list were prepared, also that the King had ordered a feast for them in commemoration of this event which would not be continued year after year being provided this year on account of it being the Treaty year, it was also explained that so many of their band being absent the choosing of Chief and Councillors would be deferred until next year when they were all assembled & that on the Election of chief he would be given a flag which he was to fly on all occasions when visitors or Gov’t officials visited his camp & that after the term of 3 years, the flag would be transferred to his successor unless he was reelected. They were then asked if they had anything to say in return.

Wm Goodwin – said that they were very glad to accept the terms as stated, that the King was good & that his present would help them very much, then said we are ready to sign the Treaty which was duly signed at 3:30 pm.

Friday 4th
The paylists being completed the Indians were called up in families, carefully counted and paid.

In the afternoon we paid an official visit to the R.C. Convent and Hospital, there is accommodation for 25 children, everything reflects credit on the Order of sisters who besides being teachers are trained nurses and attend to the sick Indians who come for treatment to their Hospital. We also visited the Church which is and [sic] ideal chapel the painting and ornamentation having been done by Bro Tremblay who has in the Church here as well as at Fort Hope done all the carving with a pocket knife. The work is beautifully executed and would do credit to any sculptor.

Bidding adieu to the sisters, priest and Brothers, as we proceeded along the path leading to the fort, the steamer Inenew here in sight coming up the Bay from Moose Factory with supplies for the Post and having on board Bishop Holmes of the discese of Moosonee who I met and had a conversation with during the afternoon re matters connected with his missionary work.

Saturday 5th
During the day attended to posting the pay sheets and in the evg attended the Indian feast wh was held at 7 pm. When the Indians were all armed with raisin bannoks [sic], tea, pipes and tobacco Chas Stephens arose and read a letter from Wm Goodwin thanking the King for his kindness in giving them a present of money wh would help them along and providing a feast for them, they then before leaving gave three cheers for the King and three cheers for the Commissioners, Bishop Holmes leading – they then dispersed and went to their homes contented and happy at 5 pm.