Document 1: George Simpson Describes the Importance of the Timber Trade for the HBC, 1828-29

Frederick Merk, ed., Fur Trade and Empire: George Simpson's Journal, rev. ed.
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968), p. 298, 309-10.

Return to Document Concordance

Governor George Simpson to Captain Aemelius Simpson of the Cadboro

[No date on the letter; probably written in October 1828]

            Now that our Saw Mill is in operation we can supply timber of various kinds in such quantity as to meet all demands either in the Sandwhich Islands [now called the Hawaiian Islands], or at the Spanish Missions, and if the prices as so high as they have been represented to us, the Timber Trade as a distinct branch of business would yield us large profits in proportion to the Tonnage employed therein—at the lowest quotations given us say 60 Dollars per M [M is the roman numeral for 1,000] feet we can furnish 200,000 feet annually by the shipping employed in our Coasting Fur Trade, & realize handsome profits & even at 40 Dollars per M it will be an object worthy of our attention, but if 200 Dollars the highest quotation can be had, we shall undertake to supply any quantity required for a term of Years.

Governor George Simpson to John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of Fort Vancouver

15 March 1829

            The timber trade promises to become a valuable branch of the business combined with the Fur Trade of the Coast as the latter cannot afford employment all the Year round. . . .
[Simpson directed McLoughlin to build two vessels of 200 tons each for the timber trade.]
The Saw Mill will require Eight Men and should be kept constantly at Work, as I expect that fully as much advantage will be derived from the Timber as from the Coasting Fur Trade.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest