The Hargrave Correspondence 1821-1843.

p. 44-5, Cuthbert Cumming to James Hargrave, 2 March 1830: The Manner of doing a thing well is of the utmost consequence, & it would appear that in presenting the Books to the old Gentleman [John Stuart], you were aware of this, & did it well in his last letter to me he dwells with pleasure, & dilates with much apparent satisfaction on this triffling affair— I rejoice to think that I have been in the least instrumental in giving the old Gentleman one moments satisfaction & I am sure so are you.—In my mind there was not a doubt as to your choice. I was fully aware that the Life of Napoleon by our renowned Countryman, would never by you be willingly transferred to any others & yet I assure you that Southey’s Peninsular War is highly extolled by all parties—apropos you have seen Lockharts life of Burns it is said to be the best that ever appeared—I have every reason to expect it out this Summer— Your Indians Select’d Library I have every reason to approve of, yet I cannot conceive it all together Complete, without the addition of the Life of the Bard of Coila above mentioned— I expect this Summer the life of J. Knoxthe stern the austere the undaunted Champion of the Kirk— I am inclined to think, that much information & instruction is to be found in it, and no doubt, will through [throw?] much light on the obscurity of our Kirk History in those eventfull times, & help to clear many doubtfull & disputed points of Scottish History in days of yore—the only books I had from England this year was several volms of that masterly performance Blackie’s magazine and a few reviews. (by the by I sent you 2 or three pr Mr. Jos, pr’y have you received them, I wish’d to send you Blackie’s, but this is impossible as anything of bulk is rejected san[s] ceremony by the light Canoe.—I am by no means surprised however disappointed I may be—that my books should be detained at Swan River every thing considered I expected no better— I hope you will recover some of them this Summer— I cannot for the Soul of me imagine for what reason he is continually spouting at me of this….

p. 101, Donald Ross to Hargrave from Norway House 30th Dec. 1832: I have to the last moment looked out for a few News Papers from York—but in vain—perhaps none come out now a days as formerly with the Goods. I certainly did get three numbers of the Standard from Mr. Christie for which I feel much obliged.—but what are three solitary Papers for such a News Worm as I am—three Files of them would scarce satisfy my gnawing appetite….

p. 107, Duncan Finlayson to James Hargrave: Your Worthy Burgeois wrote me, that the Albion was ordered for us— I am glad of it, as the Quebec Mercury is not fit for lighting ones pipe with—and as there is nothing in the World, of which I would suspect you of laying violent hands upon, but a Book or Newspaper, I must candidly confess that, I have some apprehensions of its being taken by the [illeg.] by you—if one file only come up, I give it over for lost, as it would be much easier, to wring a piece of rare & valuable goods from you, in secure times, than a publication of the day…–.

p. 129-30, Donald Ross to James Hargrave Norway House 18th Decr 1833: As I understand the oxen had to return to Oxford again without getting to the end of their journey— you wish to tantalize me with the prospect of having a peep into your Book Case—but I meant to have played you a nice trick on the same score last fall when I desired that you would examine the condition of my box from home, that package contained a variety of fine things—such as Logan’s Highlands & Highlanders—Hoods Comic Annual, Friendships Offering, theLiterary Souvenir, thePenny Magazine,theSaturdayMagazine, thePenny Cyclopedia,theOlio, theMirror,theLiterary Gazetteand theAtlas; What a feast for a hungry book worm?— next year if my letters get home I expect in addition to the continuation of these—the whole of Sir Waltty’s Novels—besides other fineries such as Robinson Crusoe and the Pilgrims Progress.—and some others which I do not now recollect.—I dare say you will think it altogether a strange selection—but I have already got a good stock of standard works—to resort to when I am in the mood— my taste is decidedly for light reading this does not certainly proclaim any great depth of intellect or soundness of understanding on my part but I cannot help it— my belief is that a man should regulate his reading much in the same manner as he does his other appetites and propensities—by enjoying that which affords him the greatest share of satisfaction, providing that its tendency is not to injure himself or any one else— if you can lay down a sounder or more rational system of Philosophy than this I may perhaps become a convert to your opinion….

p. 196, Robert Wilson to James Hargrave Severn June 23rd 1835: Sir I must take the liberty and I hope not to offend of troubling you a little, if you Honour me with this place for another year have the goodness to send me by D. Bird a few of your Books that you are not in the habit of Perusing yourself and the others shall be returned safe to you….

p. 223, Donald Ross to James Hargrave Norway House 22 Feby 1836: My Literary treasures of last fall (as you have already learnt) have all miscarried owing to the carelessness of some of our worthy secretary’s understrappers— …. I have actually devoured Chamber’s volumes, it is most amazing the quantity of new and highly interesting matter he has managed to glean up in those fields that have so often been gone over before him by many a canny chielin search of the same material.—I am however by no means pleased at his treatment of Ossian, and with all due deference for his extensive knowledge and penetrating judgement in matters of ancient research, it seems very evident that he has not given this subject sufficient attention to enable him to speak out decisively of it either way….

p. 329, J. L. Lewes to James Hargrave Fort Simpson Nov. 1840: If you do not send me something to read by the P. L. L. Boats I shall sett you down as a thirsty book worm, wishing to keep all the good things’ to yourself, any thing I care not what it is I am miserable for want of something to drive away the dull hours’, so Charity, it is one of the Cardinal Virtues, and you should extend it even to the far distant clime of MK. R.—

p. 340, Joseph Beioley to James Hargrave Moosefactory February 1st. 1841: The latest News papers from Montreal— belonging to the Company or to myself— are up to Sept 12th—only— and under the impression that you have not at York the Canada intelligence to so late a date I forward a few— say Mont Gazettes of June, July, Aug & part of Septr. In the latest dated one there is a shocking account of Mr. Thos. Simpson’s having committed suicide after killing a Mr. John Bird & old Legros the Guide— ….

p. 426, Archibald McDonald to James Hargrave Colville 21 March 1843: As you will most likely be at Red River this spring, and will have something to say in the distribution of the Canada Newspapers I hope you will think of us— Strange not one of us as individuals can be allowed a single paper by the Lachine Canoes—….

p. 463, John Bell to James Hargrave Peels’ River Decr 31st 1843: I thank you kindly for the Political news you were pleased to transmit me, I received a few Papers from my Canada correspondents, from which I have learned the settlement of the long disputed boundary line between Canada & the U. States.

See also Michael R. Angel: “Clio in the Wilderness; Or, Everyday Reading Habits of the Honourable Company of Merchant Adventurers Trading into Hudson’s Bay,” Manitoba Library Association Bulletin 10 no. 3 (June 1980) p. 14-19.