The Great Lone Land eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 440 pages of information about The Great Lone Land.
prisoner named Thomas Scott.  This act, committed in the coldest of cold blood, bears only one name:  the red name of murder-a name which instantly and for ever drew between Riel and his followers, and the outside Canadian world, that impassable gulf which the murderer in all ages digs between himself and society, and which society attempts to bridge by the aid of the gallows.  It is needless here to enter into details of this matter; of the second rising which preceded it; of the dead blank which followed it; of the heartless and disgusting cruelty which made the prisoners death a foregone conclusion at his mock trial; or of the deeds worse than butchery which characterized the last scene.  Still, before quitting the revolting subject, there is one point that deserves remark, as it seems to illustrate the feeling entertained by the leaders themselves.  On the night of the murder the body was interred in a very deep hole which had been dug within the walls of the fort.  Two clergymen had asked permission to inter the remains in either of their churches, but this request had been denied.  On the anniversary of the murder, namely, the 4th March, 1871, other powers being then predominant in Fort Garry, a large crowd gathered at the spot where the murdered man had been interred, for the purpose of exhuming the body.  After digging for some time they came to an oblong box or coffin in which the remains had been placed, but it was empty, the interment within the walls had been a mock ceremony, and the final resting-place of the body lies hidden in mystery.  Now there is one thing very evident from the fact, and that is that Riel and his immediate followers were themselves conscious of the enormity of the deed they had committed, for had they believed that the taking of this man’s life was really an execution justified upon any grounds of military or political necessity, or a forfeit fairly paid as price for crimes committed, then the hole inside the gateway of Fort Garry would have held its skeleton, and the midnight interment would not have been a senseless lie.  The murderer and the law both take life—­it is only the murderer who hides under the midnight shadows the body of his victim.


Chicago—­“Who is S. B. D.?”—­Milwaukie—­The Great Fusion-Wisconsin—­The Sleeping-car—­The Train Boy-Minnesota—­St. Paul—­I start for Lake Superior—­The Future City—­“Bust up” and “Gone on”—­The End of the Track.

Alas!  I have to go a long way back to the city of Toronto, where I had just completed the purchase of a full costume of a Western borderer.  On the 10th of June I crossed the Detroit River from Western Canada to the State of Michigan, and travelling by the central railway of that state reached the great city of Chicago on the following day.  All Americans, but particularly all Western Americans, are very proud of this big city, which is not yet as old as many of its inhabitants, and they are justly proud of it.  It is by very much the largest and the richest of the new cities of the New World.  Maps made fifty years ago will be searched in vain for Chicago.  Chicago was then a swamp where the skunks, after whom it is called, held undisputed revels.  To-day Chicago numbers about 300,000 souls, and it is about “the livest city in our great Republic; sir.”

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The Great Lone Land from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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