Liverpool/Pulling Manuscript 3
Thus Richard Richmond related to me the expedition as he was taking me towards Charle's Brook, August 12th 1792:
When we went up the brook in February 1790 in search of the Indians, we set out with a determination to kill everyone we came across both big and small and continued in the same mind all the way, talk of it to each other every night when we halted, and swore we would for the hurt they had done us.
Question: Why, what hurt had hey done you?
Answer: They killed Thomas Rowsell last summer and stole Mr. Miller's salmon nets and some of his traps; indeed they take every opportunity to steal all they can from us.
About a mile before we came to their wigwams we saw fresh footing of theirs in the snow. We then shook the old priming out of our guns, pricked the touch holes, and freshed primed, and then repeated to each other, we would kill all we could. But thank God when we see they all ran away our conscience would not let us do it. Some of us had slugs, some quarter shot, some drop shot and some balls in our pieces. I got nine balls in my piece.
I was the first who saw their canoes and called to Thomas Taylor and the rest of my comrades. Says I, here they are , handy, for I see their canoes just to the side of that point. Presently, down comes an Indian and calls out ' yoho' three times. I answered 'Halloo'. Back he goes and alarms all of them in their wigwams and two Indians came out upon the point again and all of them came out in a body from their wigwams. We could see them by this time , very plain. Our consciences would not suffer us to fire, and Thomas Taylor says one, we'll give them fair play, if they run, why let 'em, and we won't fire; and so they did as fast as they could scamper. I counted them to thirty and then lost count and I don't think that was much more than a quarter of them.
Three of us stayed by the wigwam and the other five ran after the Indians and brought back two women and a child.
In the dusk of the evening, says I to Thomas Taylor, I'll go down to the landwash (beach) and burn their canoes to be revenged for their burning our punt last summer. So we went down and put two of the canoes into the third and put a bit of lighted birch rind under them and they soon blazed away.
Then we fired three powder guns and gave three cheers to let the Indians know if they were near that we were still at their wigwam.
The women, when they heard the report of the guns , I believe, thought we were going to kill them for they ran out of the wigwam into the woods desperately frightened,. But we brought them back and when they found that we were not going to hurt them, they seemed very well contented , especially the young woman , for she made four pairs of moccasins that night, also a pair of arm sleeves or gloves for her child
When Thomas Taylor took the old woman she made mouths at him and was very sulky indeed.
We stayed all night in the wigwam and got our skins packed up against the morning. Some of us kept watch all night.
The young woman was very modest for Thomas Taylor took her child to look at it and put his hand upon her knees, when she supposing he meant to take liberties pushed back his hand and seemed much displeasured.
In the morning when we were preparing to go away the young woman combed he child's hair and also her own and rubbed seal's fat over it, also mixed some of the fat with ochre in her hand and rubbed it over the child's body.
She pressed us to take some more venison and the old woman gave Thomas Taylor a lump of deer's fat rendered down very clear.
When we came away they followed us down to the brook side and seemed desirous to come with us but we thought best not to take them.
In the morning just before we came away we set fire to three of the wigwams out of the four to be revenged for their burning one of our winter houses at the mouth of the Exploits.
The wigwams we burned were all covered with sails they had stolen.
We got about a hundred deer skins made up in eight bundles and put each bundle on a swile's skin which served as a sledge to haul them on.
We found a tin kettle, an iron pot, several traps and some of our salmon nets. Some of the beds of the traps they had worked into spears and arrows, and some of the salmon nets they had taken to pieces and plaited four parts of the twine together to make rope of. The tea kettle, iron pot, , traps, etc. with about 500 arrows and many other things we threw into the brook, indeed, everything that was useful except what we took away with us and their provisions.
Thomas Taylor (who is the head man under Miller) James Lilly and Nicholas Eton, all told me nearly the same story but were much less communicative than the Richmond's. My being out several hours in a boat with Richard Richmond, beating towards Charles's Brook ( As I had a desire to see the place where Mr. Stone's girl was taken) gave me an opportunity of asking several questions which I would not do at Miller's house.
Richard Richmond informed me these Indians which I compute to among to five or six hundred begin coming down the Main Brook the beginning of May and continue coming until about the 20th-seldom any come later. They return up the brook again to their winter's quarters from 1st to the 20th of September laden with birds, eggs, and all that they can pilfer. They go two, three and sometimes four canoes together but are seldom seen by any of Miller's people though they must pass very near several houses inhabited by Miller and his crew.
Miller told me that a few years ago as he was standing near his house , four canoes of Indians stopped opposite to where he was standing and he hallooed to them. They strayed a few minutes and then paddled along very leisurely -only himself was at home, which he says the Indians knew, for they got on a rising ground in the woods and watched the motions of his crew. They generally choose foggy weather for coming by the houses.
They undoubtedly are surprising clever in finding their way about in a fog as they do. They will go off to the Funk Islands ( where Mac Donald found the a short time since), which is seventeen leagues from any part of the Isle of Newfoundland, in the thickest fog, which is the time I am told they generally choose for that voyage and I think there's no probability of their having even a substitute for a compass-so that the wind and sea (which is very treacherous) is their only guide.
Some of their canoes are said to contain thirty or forty. Mac Donald said those two he last saw contained more, but from what I can learn from the best authority they generally go eight or ten in a canoe.
We could not get so far as Charle's Brook as the wind and tide was so strong against us, so contented myself with landing at a cove called Indian Cove, which a few years ago was muched used by the Indians but they have been so harrased they seldom come there now. There use to be seven or eight of their wigwams but when I was there only three was standing. There had been some of the Indians there not long since but they did not stay to fit up the wigwams. The grass and weeds had been beaten down by them and I picked up some of their birch rind dishes with some other trifles they had left. The wigwams are seventeen to eighteen fathoms from the water side. The one that I dined in had seven or eight holes or births formed around the center which they make their fire place.
Here I saw some of their frames which they dry their skins on , also some of their rope which they make by plaiting for parts of salmon net twine together. The wigwams were made the same way as I have seen hop-poles placed together in Hampshire when not in use.