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A Year Inland

The Journal of a Hudson’s Bay Company Winterer

Barbara Belyea

Publication Year: 2001

Anthony Henday, a young Hudson’s Bay Company employee, set out from York Factory in June 1754 to winter with “trading Indians” along the Saskatchewan River. He adapted willingly and easily to their way of life; he also kept a journal in which he described the plains region and took note of rival French traders’ success at their inland posts. A copy of Henday’s journal was immediately sent to the company directors in London. They rewarded Henday handsomely although they were uncertain where he had travelled, what groups he had met on the plains, and what success he had in opposing rival French traders. Since then, uncertainty about Henday’s year inland has increased. The original journal disappeared; only four copies, dating from 1755 to about 1782, are extant. Each text differs from the other three; the differences range from variant spellings to word choice to contradictory statements on vital questions. All four copies are the work of a company clerk, later factor, named Andrew Graham, who used them to support his own views on HBC trading policies. Twentieth-century scholars have based their claims for Henday’s importance as an explorer, trader and observer of Native cultures on a poorly edited transcript of the 1782 text. They have been unaware or careless of the journal’s textual ambiguity. A Year Inland presents all four copies for the first time, together with contextual notes and a commentary that reassesses the journal’s information on plains geography, people and trade.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

I am grateful to Shirlee Anne Smith, former Keeper of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Provincial Archives of Manitoba, for initial permission to edit Henday’s journal. Judith Hudson Beattie, present Keeper of the HBCA, confirmed this permission, answered many requests, and never lost faith that the edition would appear one day. ...

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pp. 1-6

In 1754 Anthony Henday, employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a netmaker and general labourer at York Fort, set out with a group of Natives from the plains to winter with them and promote trade at the Bayside forts. Henday’s year inland, praised by York’s chief factor as fulfilling all its aims, set the main pattern of HBC inland trade for the...

The Four Manuscripts

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pp. 7-14

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From Manuscript to Print

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pp. 15-36

Historical claims for Henday’s exploration of the western plains refer to his journal for evidence of his actions and observations. The earliest of the four extant manuscripts, all conserved in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, is a copy sent to London a few weeks after Henday’s return to York in June 1755; the latest was copied about 1782. No ...


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A Copie of Orders and Instructions to Anthy Hendey: upon a Journey in Land, Dated att York Fort, June 26th 1754

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pp. 39-42

Having intimated to the Hudson’s Bay Company 1752, that in my opinion it was Requisit and wou’d be to their Interest if a proper person was sent up the Country, by wch Such a person might Enlarge and Encrease the Said Company’s trade &c with unknown Inds: It is therefore the Company’s will and pleasure answerable to their general Letter 1753 that ...

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pp. 43-198

The Following is a Journal of a Voyage or Journey in Land, from YORK FORT up Hayes River, By Captn Anthy Hendey from June the 26th 1754 to June the 23d 1755. . . . 1754 June ye 26 Wednesday fine weather, wind att Wt took my Departure from York Fort and padled up his River to ye Big stone,* here we put up for the night. ...

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Notes and Remarks appended to the B.239/a/40 journal

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pp. 199-208

This Finished Captn Hendey’s Journey and beg Leave, & beg Leave to observe some Remarks on the foresaid Journal, and what he observes to me of ye Country. Captn Hendey was gone from the fort one year; by his observations & accounts he gives me, he underwent not a little hardship, in particular att times travelling some days, and not a drop of sweet ...


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pp. 209-218

Notes to the Texts

Codes Used in Notes to the Texts

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pp. 221-222

Notes to the Texts

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pp. 223-318

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pp. 319-324

Historians and anthropologists have regarded Henday’s record as a valuable source of information on British exploration of the continental interior, Native plains cultures and French-British commercial rivalry. The three essays of this section take stock of almost a century of historical and anthropological reference to Henday’s year inland. ...

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Tracing Henday’s Route

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pp. 325-342

Isham’s instructions drawn up for Henday’s departure on 26 June 1754 ordered the explorer to travel with a ‘‘Leading Indian’’ to ‘‘his Country’’ with the object of persuading inland Natives to trade at the Bay. The only specific geographical feature for which he was to search and enquire was an inland sea, the fabulous ‘‘mer de l’ouest’’ which had so ...

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Indians, Asinepoets and Archithinues

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pp. 343-368

More than a decade before Henday left York Fort to winter inland, James Isham interviewed an Earchithinue man whose ‘‘Country Lyes on the back of this Land, and to the westward of Churchill River, where the Spaniards frequents those seas.’’ Isham learned that the Earchithinues did not trade at the Bay forts because they were often ...

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Uses of Henday’s Journal

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pp. 369-394

During the middle decades of the eighteenth century, would-be competitors criticized the Hudson’s Bay Company for its lack of interest in exploration; the company, they said, monopolized trade while it ‘‘slept at the edge of a frozen sea.’’ 1 At the same time, French advances west of the Great Lakes caused trade returns to fall; Natives ...

List of Sources

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pp. 397-410


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pp. 411-416

E-ISBN-13: 9780889208834
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889203433

Page Count: 424
Publication Year: 2001