Intelligence Gathering

Our first object was to obtain some certain information respecting our future route; and accordingly we received from one of the North-West Company’s interpreters, named Beaulieu, a half-breed, who had been brought up amongst the Dog-ribbed and Copper Indians, some satisfactory information which we afterwards found tolerably correct, respecting the mode of reaching the Copper-Mine River, which he had descended a considerable way, as well as of the course of that river to its mouth. The Copper Indians, however, he said, would be able to give us more accurate information as to the latter part of its course, as they occasionally pursue it to the sea. He sketched on the floor a representation of the river, and a line of coast according to his idea of it.

Just as he had finished, an old Chipewyan Indian named Black Meat, unexpectedly came in, and instantly recognised the plan. He then took the charcoal from Beaulieu, and inserted a track along the sea-coast, which he had followed in returning from a war excursion, made by his tribe against the Esquimaux. He detailed several particulars of the coast and the sea, which he represented as studded with well-wooded islands, and free from ice, close to the shore, in the month of July, but not to a great distance. He described two other rivers to the eastward of the Copper-Mine River, which also fall into the Northern Ocean. The Anatessy, which issues from the Contway-to or Rum Lake, and the Thloueea-tessy or Fish River, which rises near the eastern boundary of the Great Slave Lake; but he represented both of them as being shallow, and too much interrupted by barriers for being navigated in any other than small Indian canoes.

John Franklin
Fort Chipewyan
March 26, 1820

Note that “Beaulieu” refers to Franc̨ois Beaulieu II and the Anatessy to the Burnside River.