The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur Trade

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The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur Trade

Messagepar JONKYARD » 2010-09-06, 09:07

L'arrivée des Loyalistes, des déportés de la Vallée de la Rivière Mohawk surtout, viennent faire compétition à la traite des Mi'kmaq.

Ces Loyalistes auraient refusé de s'installer dans le Haut Canada, de peur de la compétition des coureurs des bois Canadiens.

Ils se sont dirigés vers les Maritimes. Peut-être qu'ils savaient qu'ils pourraient facilement prendre la place de ces habitants, mais pas ce ceux du Haut Canada.

Le secteur de la rivière Mohawk était depuis très longtemps, le spot de la trappe et traite des fourrures, (les Dutch étant les premiers arrivés), comme bien d'autres endroits....d'ailleurs.

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The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur
Trade, 1783-1853
This study has two purposes: to identify the part of the fur trade carried on
to the 1850s within the 21,000 square miles that constitute present-day Nova Scotia and Cape Breton; and to estimate the extent to which the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq became involved.

[b]Evidence gathered here demonstrates that the fur trade in Nova Scotia was much more significant in the first half of the nineteenth century [/b][color=red]than at any time in the Eighteenth, and that the from the arrival of the loyalist refugees in the 1780s onwards[/color], [color=blue][b]the Mi’kmaq, formerly the usually suppliers of fur for export, were obliged thereafter to share this market with poor settlers[/b].[/color]

Manuscript sources
The statistical framework for this study is principally derived from the papers of the London Customs House. Known as the Inspector-General’s Ledgers of Imports and Exports, they are housed in the National Archives, Kew. These manuscript ledgers contain the best records extant of the visible trade to the British Isles, when London was the world’s fur emporium. They have their shortcomings. Though the Customs House ledgers obviously ignore smuggled goods, there was little incentive to smuggle furs that, when re-exported from London – which happened to the bulk of them – were assigned a drawback, or refund of import duties paid, while the export duty was so small as to make any gain from smuggling, if it was attempted, not worth the risk.

The ledgers list commodities, annually imported into, exported and reexported from the British Isles. These are arranged by country, colony, or territory. Thus when consideration focuses on furs (also termed “skins” in the ledgers) from all these places, the annual aggregated imports into the British Isles and annual re-exports to continental European states can be calculated.

The relative importance of one fur species over another, one source of furs and another, or one market for furs and another can then be demonstrated. The changing imports into Great Britain from each place, Nova Scotia for instance, can be analysed in great detail. The relative importance of one particular skin, 65
New Series, Vol. 14/Nouvelle Série, Vol. 14 such as bear or mink, can be scrutinized year by year, decade by decade, or by periods of war and peace, a matter of great importance especially until 1815.
War, which was so dislocating to overseas commerce, was perhaps the most important non-economic element to influence fur prices because of its effect on supply and markets. As Britain’s fur imports in any given year, when war was declared, had usually been trapped the year before, the fur and skin harvest in the first year of a war manifested only inconsequential differences
from production during the last year of peace. Significant changes usually became unmistakable in the second year of war.
The statistical data underpinning this study deliberately limits consideration to those types of furs and skins that were imported from Nova Scotia, and for which there are comparable data from other fur-exporting regions. Some species have been ignored, such as the eastern cougar, wolf, or wolverine as they were exported so rarely from Nova Scotia. Also ignored are a variety of furs of lesser importance, such as those of weasel, squirrel, hare, and rabbit, even when they are found among Nova Scotia’s exports to the British Isles or occasionally, in the early years, because of their quantity they proved more valuable than the very skins actually noted here.
What historians have written
Whereas there is a considerable body of secondary literature on the international fur trade and that of North America in particular, very little of it deals in a significant way with the economics of the trade. Only two earlier historians of the fur trade have made any use of the British Customs

the two successive editions of The Historical Statistics of Canada, which ignored the fur trade.4
The classic earlier account of Canada’s fur trade by Innis used neither the London Customs House ledgers nor the papers of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and was unfamiliar with customs records for French ports.5 As with almost all historians of the fur trade, he had little interest in the export market, the very reason the business had become established. Only one of his published
appendices dealt with Canada’s annual beaver exports to France for the twentynine years for which they were available, between 1701 and 1755.6 One recent rare example of interest in the export market is the research of Thomas Wien who refined some of the fur export data during the last forty years of New France, when the French appeared to have been out-competing the British for the sources of the best pelts. Though his principal focus remained on beaver, he treated the full range of pelts exported from Canada.7 His particular concerns were prices, both those paid by Canadian merchants for goods imported from France and those fetched in Paris for New France furs, and in London for those from Hudson Bay. When Wien turned his attention briefly to the post-conquest
era to 1790, he ignored data from the Inspector General’s ledgers.8
Of the historians drawn to the HBC, only three demonstrated interest in fur and skin exports to the British Isles. Using the company’s fur importation book, Ann Carlos prepared one table which provided data for all varieties of fur exported from Hudson Bay for 1804-10.9 Elizabeth Mancke used customs data
to 1726 collected by Arthur Ray,10 while Ray himself relied on HBC records to provide details of exports and London auction prices but only to 1760.
4 M.C. Urquhart & K.A.H. Buckley, eds., Historical Statistics of Canada, 2nd ed. (Ottawa:
Statistics Canada, 1983).
5 Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade of Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1930).
6 These data appeared in a form modified by Lawson, Appendix L, 136.
7 Thomas Wein, “Exchange Patterns in the European Market for North American Furs and
Skins, 1720-1760,” in The Fur Trade Revisited: Selected Papers of the Sixth North American
Fur Trade Conference, ed. Jennifer S.H. Brown et al (East Lansing: Michigan State University
Press, 1994), 19-37; and his “Selling Beaver Skins in North America and Europe, 1720-1760,”
Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (1990): 293-317. There are no references to
CUST3, though he claims to have used it.
8 Thomas Wein, “Castor, peaux, et pelleteries dans le commerce canadien des fourrures, 1720-
1790,” in ‘Le Castor fait tout.’ Selected Papers of the Fifth North American Fur Trade
Conference, 1985, ed. Bruce G. Trigger et al, 72-92 (Montreal: Lake Saint Louis Historical
Society, 1987).
9 Ann M. Carlos, The North American Fur Trade 1804-1821: A Study in the Life-Cycle of a
Duopoly (New York: Garland, 1986), 133.
10 Ray’s publications refer nowhere to his use of English Customs House data. Elizabeth
Mancke, A Company of Businessmen: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Long-Distance Trade
(Winnipeg: Rupert’s Land Research Centre, 1988), 34.
Of historians who focus exclusively on Nova Scotia, none has treated the
colony’s fur trade in any depth. Interested in the impact on native institutions
and culture of European – New World rivalries in the seventeenth century, the
economics of the trade in skins is of small concern to them.11 George Rawlyk
grasped the importance of fur in the seventeenth century, and believed that the
bulk of Acadie’s furs that reached Boston came less from peninsular Nova
Scotia than from the St. John River Valley.12 He added nothing to the economic
context, and remained unaware of the details thereafter. Earlier, MacNutt’s
important history of the Atlantic colonies from 1712 to the Confederation era
ignored the topic.13
Despite the absence of research, the views of two authors have had an unaccountable
influence. Virginia Miller, an authority on Mi’kmaq population,
stated, without a shred of evidence, that “hundreds of thousands of beaver,
moose, and other skins were taken out of the Maritime area before the late eighteenth
century.”14 Likewise, Haarold McGee, who studied Mi’kmaq land
holding, believed that “ecological changes and rapacious exploitation of furbearing
mammals destroyed the fur trade in the Atlantic region, before the
period of the fur trade even began in Upper and Lower Canada.”15 Such inaccurate
and unsupported views have widely circulated even in such
highly-praised recent studies as J.R. Miller’s history of Indian-white relations.16
Acadie-Nova Scotia’s fur trade to 1783
The few statistics available indicate that the fur trade of Acadie-Nova Scotia
was insignificant before 1710, and expanded in a marked way only with the
11 John G. Reid, Acadia, Maine, and New Scotland. Marginal Colonies in the Seventeenth
Century (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981).
12 George A. Rawlyk, Nova Scotia’s Massachusetts: A Study of Massachusetts-Nova Scotia
Relations, 1630 to 1784 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1973), 7, 35-6.
13 W.S. MacNutt, The Atlantic Provinces: The Emergence of Colonial Society, 1712-1857
(Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1965).
14 Virginia Miller, “The Micmac: A Maritime Woodland Group,” in Native Peoples: The
Canadian Experience, ed. R. Bruce Morrison & C. Roderick Wilson (Toronto: McClelland &
Stewart, 1986), 340.
15 Harold Franklin McGee, “The Micmac Indians: The Earliest Migrants” in Banked Fires: The
Ethnics of Nova Scotia, ed. Douglas F. Campbell (Port Credit: Scribblers Press, 1978), 25.
Dickason remarked only that “Indians traded furs and game for supplies, but this did not reach
the level of organized commerce.” Olive P. Dickason, “Louisbourg and the Indians: A Study
in Imperial Race Relations, 1713-1760,” History and Archaeology 6 (1976): 1-206.
16 “In the process of pursuing furs they also induced the Maritime Indians to exhaust the fur
resources of their region. Before the seventeenth century was over, the Mi’kmaq found their role
as fur traders destroyed by the efficiency with which they and other nations had trapped the
beaver.” James R. Miller, Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in
Canada, 3d ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), 52. Some 40,400 pelts from beaver
trapped in Nova Scotia were exported to London between 1749 and 1853, about 385 a year.
arrival of Loyalist refugees in the 1780s. Until the first permanent French settlements
were established, the trade within the region resulted from casual
contacts largely between fishermen, who traded for furs when drying their
catches on the coast or when fetching fresh water and firewood. There were
few early fur-trading voyages, as far as the slim evidence indicates.17 In the
Bay of Fundy region Anglo-French rivalries made settlement dangerous and
uncertain, leaving the whole region very sparsely settled and economically
The St. John River basin, and not Nova Scotia, proved “the richest area for
furs in all Acadia.”18 There are records of thirty vessels departing La Rochelle
for Acadie and Cape Breton between 1632 and 1650, but the quantity of furs
traded and their value are unknown.19 Thereafter much of Acadie’s fur trade
went to Boston, where, for instance in 1697, the French reported that annually
New Englanders brought “brandy, sugarcane from Barbados, molasses and the
utensils which are needed, taking in exchange pelts and grain” obtained in
Beaubassin, Minas, and Port Royal.20 Where the pelts originated remains a
matter of speculation. The English attacks on Port Royal in 1707 and 1710 were
in part occasioned by the discovery that six Boston merchants were implicated
in the illicit trade with the French in Acadie.21 Nails, boards, knives, butter,
rice, wine, mackerel, and textiles had been shipped, but what the returns were
is unknown, though furs perhaps formed a principal part.
With Port Royal (renamed Annapolis Royal) in English hands, little more
of Nova Scotia’s fur trade is known. There is evidence also of fifteen ships
trading between Annapolis Royal and Boston in 1718-9, half of which had fur
17 British Library Add. MS 14027, 289-290. See David B. Quinn, “The Voyage of Etienne
Bellenger, 1583,” Canadian Historical Review 63 (1962): 328-43. He sailed along Cape
Breton and Nova Scotia and into the Bay of Fundy, then down the Maine coast to Penobscot
Bay. Along the way he collected a cargo of furs, but abandoned his plans when his pinnace and
part of his crew were lost in an attack by natives.
18 George MacBeath, “Claude de Saint-Etienne de la Tour, 1570-1636,” Dictionary of Canadian
Biography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966), 1: 597.
19 From evidence in the Les Archives departementales Charente-Maritime. Marcel Delafosse,
“La Rochelle et le Canada au xviie siècle,” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française 4 (1950-
51): 469-511.
20 July 1697, “Memoire on the Present State of the Province of Acadia,” in Acadia at the End of
the Seventeenth Century: Letters, Journals and Memoirs of Joseph Robineau de Villebon,
Commandant in Acadia, 1690-1700, and Other Contemporary Documents, ed. J.C. Webster,
154 (Saint John: New Brunswick Museum, 1934). Jean Daig1e, “Nos amis les ennemis:
Rélations commerciales de l’Acadie avec le Massachusetts, 1670-1711” (PhD diss., University
of Maine, 1975); and his “Les rélations commerciales de l’Acadie avec le Massachusetts. Le
cas de Charles-Amador de Saint-Etienne de La Tour, 1695-1697,” Revue de l’Université de
Moncton 9 (1976): 53-61.
21 Details taken from three pamphlets, Memorial of the Present Deplorable State of New England
(London, 1708); A Modest Inquiry (London, 1707); and The Deplorable State of New England
(London, 1708). Rawlyk, Nova Scotia’s Massachusetts, 99-100.

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Re: The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur Trad

Messagepar tobey_maguire » 2013-03-31, 23:24

Which one story is this ?
I don't know the name but it looks interesting,
I want to read this...!
please share the link with me...!!!

Re: The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur Trad

Messagepar JONKYARD » 2014-10-02, 09:16

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Re: The Mi’kmaq, Poor Settlers, and the Nova Scotia Fur Trad

Messagepar JONKYARD » 2014-10-06, 07:53

Bon, tu n'es pas revenu, mais yé quand-même des pistes!

Bonne place pour tendre, y'a quand-même des pistes.

V'la bon vent... v'la jolis vents. v'vla bons vents je prends la mer!

Quand-même bain tranquille par icite! là..là

fffouhhh! fffouhhh! un peu d'vent dans le voiles, et me revoilà reparti.

Gare aux plumes!!!

Jumk'y le vrai marin... loup! loup!
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