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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/123

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Discovery of Fraser River.

Simon Fraser.

Simon Fraser was a near relative of the noted Baron Simon Fraser Lovat, a Scotchman known as Lord Lovat. The latter was a Jacobite intriguer, who took part in the Scottish rebellion of 1745, which ended in the battle of Culloden. He was executed in 1747. His family is one of the oldest in the Scottish Highlands. Simon Fraser, the explorer of Fraser River, was born in 1776, on his father's farm near Bennington, Vermont. His father, also named Simon Fraser, emigrated from Scotland in 1773. In the American Revolutionary War his father was a British Loyalist or Tory, one of the so-called United Empire Loyalists. He became a captain in the British army. He was captured in the war and died in prison. Young Simon Fraser was taken by his widowed mother to St. Andrews, Ontario, which was his home during his youth, although he attended school at Montreal. In 1792, when he was sixteen years old, he joined the Northwest Company. His promotion was rapid. In 180.2 he became a bourgeois or partner of that company. That he arrived at this position when he was only twenty-six years old is a proof of his ability and of how he was considered by his company. This is also shown from his being sent to, and placed in command of, this new field of operation in New Caledonia.

Fraser's Exploration of the Fraser River.

In the fall of 1807 Simon Fraser received instructions from the Northwest Company to explore the Tacoutche to its mouth. It was then believed that this river was a part of the great Columbia River. This belief was strengthened by the fact that for a long distance, to the point Mackenzie ceased to descend the Tacoutche, its course was almost due south, and the mouth of the Columbia was only about one degree of longitude west of this part of the Tacoutche. There were political reasons for this exploration because the expedition of Lewis and Clark, in 1804- 1806, was a military expedition of----