Mackenzie was the first white man to cross the Rockies, discover the river named for him, following it to the Arctic Ocean, and to write the early history of the fur trade.
p. iii: In this voyage, I was not only without the necessary books and instruments, but also felt myself deficient in the sciences of astronomy and navigation: I did not hesitate, therefore, to undertake a winter’s voyage to this country [i.e. Britain] in order to procure the one and acquire the other.
p. xxviii, on missionary influence on the Algonquins and the Iroquois: Near the extremity of the point their church is built, which divides the village in two parts, forming a regular angle along the water side. On the East is the station of the Algonquins, and on the West, one of the Iroquois, consisting in all of about five hund- red warriors.Each party has its missionary, and divine worship is performed according to the rites of the Roman Catholic religion, in their respective languages in the same church: and so assiduous have their pastors been, that these people have been instructed in reading and writing in their own language, and are better instructed than the Canadian inhabitants of the country of the lower ranks: but notwithstanding these advantages, and though the establishment is nearly coeval with the colonization of the country, they do not advance towards a state of civilization but retain their ancient habits, language, and customs, and are becoming every day more depraved, indigent, and insignificant.
p. 166: Lost a book of my observations for several days.
p. 174, a footnote: *From this day [Monday, 27.] to the 4th of June the courses of my voyage are omitted, as I lost the book that contained them. I was in the habit of sometimes indulging myself with a short doze in the canoe, and I imagine that the branches of the trees brushed my book from me, when I was in such a situation, which renders the account of these few days less distinct than usual.
p. 180, another footnote: *I shall now proceed with my usual regularity, which, as I have already mentioned, has been, for some days, suspended, from the loss of my book of observation.