Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 25th, 1827

In the course of the morning the boat was considerably injured descending this stream, the water being low. At noon, while descending a rapid, the boat struck heavily on the rock and shattered seven of the timbers and planking. Just had time to reach a small island when she was filled. My hands tied up - could not get off. [He then notes, for no apparent reason, that three of his planted specimens are all fresh and berates himself for not doing more of that] (Why did you not bring Gaultheria alive - across the continent - 2900 miles? It could be done.

August 25th, 2008

We've spent the day at the Hudson's Bay Co'y Archives in Winnipeg, looking at their records from 1827 through to 1834. This is fascinating stuff - they were obsessive record keepers so that everything could be brought to account.

In the 1827 York Factory Account Books we found the list of materials issued to Douglas at York Factory for his journey home, and which would eventually be paid for by the Horticultural Society. They include a gallon of rum, for a four week journey!! But also - David Douglas's Underpants. The records include 2 pairs of white flannel drawers at nine shillings and eightpence each. Only two pairs of pants for a 4 week sea journey. They'd have been a bit whiffy by the end, altho once he'd got the gallon of rum down his neck I doubt he'd have noticed.

26th August, 1827

Employed all day at the boat until three o'clock when we set out again, the boat making a great deal of water.

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