1	          August 1993
     4	               Alcohol use and the Fur Trade, 1822
     5	                       ...........edited by Marijan Salopek
     9	              ====================================
    10	Letter from George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company,
    11	to Andrew Colvile, member of the Governing Committee in London,
    12	20 May 1822
    14	     Re: Alcohol use and the fur trade.
    16	It is not my province to go into this subject in a moral point of
    17	view and shall therefore confine my opinion thereon as to the
    18	effect such restriction might have on our Trade.  If the quantity
    19	of Spirits given to Indians was calculated I am satisfied it
    20	would not amount to a pint p. man annually on an average, which
    21	may give some idea of the extent of Crime likely to result
    22	therefrom; and I'll venture to say there are not three murders
    23	committed annually on the average of the last Ten Years in the
    24	whole tract of Country occupied by the Hudson's Bay Coy. from
    25	ebrity.  As an article of trade it is not generally used and I do
    26	not suppose we make Ten packs of Furs p. annum by it:  it is,
    27	however, the grand Stimulus to call forth the exertions of the
    28	Indians and I have often heard them reason thus, "it is not for
    29	your Cloth and Blankets that we undergo all this labor and
    30	fatigue as in a short time we could reconcile ourselves to the
    31	use of Skins for Clothes as our forefathers did, but it is the
    32	prospect of Drink in the Spring, to enable us to communicate
    33	freely and speak our minds to each other that carries us through
    34	the Winter and induces us to Work so hard."  This I really
    35	believe to be the case, and that if Spirits were withheld it
    36	would materially discourage them and produce a lassitude which
    37	Weight of other property could not remove.--
    38	     In the Provision Countries it is, however, a very principal
    39	article of Trade and indispensibly necessary:  the Plain Indians
    40	are a bold, independent race, Dress entirely in Skins and with
    41	them Tobacco and Spirits are the principal commodities, a Quart
    42	of Mixed Liquor will at times procure more Pounded Meat and
    43	Grease than a Bale of Cloth, indeed our whole profit in that
    44	Trade is upon those articles, and if Provisions were paid for in
    45	Dry Goods they would eat up all the gains of the Fur Trade.  I
    46	therefore sincerely hope the Committee will take due time to
    47	examine this subject and that they will not prematurely determine
    48	thereon as it might be very injurious to the interests of the
    49	Concern; ...
    51	Source:
    53	     Public Archives of Canada, Selkirk Papers, M.G. 19, EL
    54       (1), vol. 24.