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William Hamilton Gibson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making.
the monopoly, of all trade in these regions, and thus we see the origin of the Great Hudson’s Bay Company, which is to-day, one of the largest organizations of its kind on the globe.  The territory they claimed, extended from Hudson’s Bay, west to the Pacific, and north to the Arctic Ocean, excepting that occupied by the French and Russians.  They soon formed settlements upon the various rivers which empty into Hudson’s Bay, and carried on their operations with immense vigor and success.  They met with much opposition and open hostility from the French, and were subjected to vast expenses and losses, but in spite of all, they continued to prosper.  Their forts or factories were extended further into the interior of British America, and their power was supreme throughout the country, and in a great measure over the Indians, whom they employed to collect their skins.  In the course of time, the French Canadians organized themselves into a united band, under the name of the North West Company, and established their headquarters at Montreal.  Their operations were carried on with great energy and profit, and many factories were built in the western portion of the Province.  The company thus soon became a formidable competitor with the Hudson’s Bay Company and for a period of two years, an actual state of war existed between them.  This condition of affairs finally terminated in a consolidation of the two organizations, under the name of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the privileges of which extended over all the territory formerly occupied by both.

Thus, we have the history of the famous Hudson’s Bay Company, from its origin to its perfect organization.  It is a most stupendous concern, and its annual shipment of furs, is something amazing.  Their great sales take place in the month of March, in order to be completed before Easter; and again in September, every year at London, and are attended by purchasers from nearly all parts of the world.  Leipsic, the famous fur mart of Germany, is also the scene of a great annual fair, for the sale of skins.

The importance of the fur trade in this country, led to the [Page 281] early settlement of the Western territories of the United States; and many a frontier city, like St. Paul, has been built up by the enterprise of the trapper.  Mackinaw and Montreal owe much of their growth to the traffic of the fur trade; and many a kingly fortune—­John Jacob Astor’s, for instance—­has been founded on peltry.

Besides the above fur sales in London a moderate portion of those annually collected in the United States are retained for use, amounting to about 150,000 mink and 750,000 muskrat skins, besides a number of other furs which are manufactured and worn.

The annual yield of raw furs throughout the whole world is estimated at over twenty millions of dollars in value; and when we include the manufactured articles therefrom, the amount will swell to a hundred millions or over.  This will serve to give some idea of the immensity and value of the business.

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