Testimony of Thomas E. Jackson


Examined by MR. OSLER:

Q. Do you live at Prince Albert, Mr. Jackson? A. I do.
Q. You are a druggist? A. I am.
Q. You have been there for some years? A. Some six years.
Q. Your brother, William Henry Jackson, I believe, was one of the prisoners? A. He was.
Q. And he had been in the company of Riel immediately prior to these troubles and during the troubles? A. For some time previous to them.
Q. You had known of the movement and the agitation that was in the country? A. Oh, yes, and I sympathised with it.
Q. Did you know of the prisoner being in the country? A. Yes, I knew of his coming to the country. I heard he was coming shortly before he came back.
Q. You knew of him after he came to the country? A. Yes.
Q. I believe you have seen him write? A. Yes.
Q. Do you know his handwriting? A. I know his handwriting.
Q. You went over, I believe, on an occasion shortly after the Duck Lake fight for the bodies of those who were slain? A. I did. I was one of those who went.
Q. How many days after? A. Three days after. It was the Sunday after the fight.
Q. How did you come to go? Under what circumstances did you take that journey? A. Mr. Sanderson, who had been a prisoner of Riel, was released by him to carry a message to Major Crozier to remove the dead bodies, and Crozier had taken him prisoner at Carlton, and then took him to Prince Albert. I interviewed Sanderson, and asked him about my brother, and he told me he was insane.
Q. You were inquiring about your brother from Sanderson? A. Yes.
Q. It was arranged Sanderson should go? A. Yes, Sanderson said he was going and I offered to go with him.
Q. And who else went with you? A. William Drain.
Q. You started, I think, on the 31st? A. Sunday the 29th, the Sunday after the fight.
Q. You went to Duck Lake? A. Yes.
Q. Did you see the prisoner there? A. I did.
Q. What passed between you? A. General conversation.
Q. Give us the material part of it? A. He spoke of having taken up arms, that they had done it in self-defence; and in talking about the Duck Lake fight he said he had gone there in person, that after Major Crozier had fired the first volley, he replied and urged his men to fire, first, in the name of God the Father; secondly, in the name of God the Son; and thirdly, in the name of God the Holy Ghost; and repeated his commands in that manner through out the battle.
Q. That is what he told you about the engagement? A. Yes.
Q. What else did he say? A. He spoke of the people in the town and of the settlers generally. He said he had no desire to molest them, that this quarrel was with the Government and the police and the Hudson Bay Company. He wished the settlers to hold aloof from taking arms in opposition to him, and he said if they held aloof he would prevent the Indians from joining them. If they kept aloof he was to oppose the police himself.
Q. Did he ask you to do anything in reference to that? A. He gave me a letter to the people generally, stating so.
Q. What have you done with that letter? A. I have destroyed it.
Q. It is not now in existence? A. No.
Q. Did you read the letter? A. Yes.
Q. What was in it? What was the purport of it? A. To the effect that if the people would hold aloof and remain neutral, that he would not bring in the Indians, and also to the effect that the last part of it, that if they did hold aloof he believed they would celebrate the 24th of May; but that if they did not, the Indians would come in, and parties from across the boundary, and the result would be they would celebrate the 4th of July, or something like that.
Q. What was he going to do with Prince Albert? A. He said he would give them a week to decide whether they would accept his terms or not.
Q. And in the event of their not accepting his terms? A. Then he would take the place. He said Prince Albert was the key of the position, and that he must attack it. He said that if the settlers did not stay at home, but kept in town with the police, he would attack them all.
Q. Whom did you arrange with to get the bodies of the slain? A. We requested first some assistance from him, that some of the half breeds would go with us to remove them, but there was some discussion about it, and when they learned Major Crozier was suspicious of them, he refused assistance, and the French half-breeds also he refused to let go. In fact, I believe the suggestion came through some of them in the first place, and in consequence we had to go and remove them ourselves.
Q. Who was in charge there? Who were you taking orders from at Duck Lake? A. Mr. Riel.
Q. Who was giving orders? A. Riel.
Q. Anybody else? A. Nobody else.
Q. Then you went to get the bodies? A. Yes.
Q. I believe he showed you the bodies that had been slain on their side? A. Yes, he did, just as we were leaving.
Q. Then you made another visit within the rebel lines? A. Yes, about a week later.
Q. What was the occasion of that visit? A. I heard from a half-breed named Toussant Lussier that Albert Monkman and fifteen men were in charge of the prisoners at Fort Carlton and that my brother was with them and they left them across the south branch to attack General Middleton, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get my brother away. I knew Monkman and I thought he would give him up. I obtained a pass from Irvine and went after my brother.
Q. What did you find when you got there? A. I went to Carlton first and then to Duck Lake. I found Carlton was burned down and I found Duck Lake in ashes. I went to Batoche and arrived there on the Tuesday after.
Q. What is the date? A. About the 1st of April - no, about the 4th of April probably.
Q. You reached Batoche when? A. That was the time, on the Tuesday.
Q. When had you left Prince Albert? A. On the Saturday.
Q. That was the 4th of April? A. I reached Batoche on the 4th April, on the Tuesday following.
Q. That would be the 7th of April? A. Yes, I suppose so.
Q. Then did you see the prisoner after you got there? A. Yes, I did.
Q. Had you any conversation with him? A. I had.
Q. This was where? A. On the south side of the river.
Q. The day you got there was the day of the fight? A. The day I got there.
Q. You had a talk with him about your brother? A. Yes.
Q. Did he say what was the matter with your brother? A. He said he was sick; he said his mind was affected. He said it was a judgment on him for opposing him.
Q. He seemed to know his mind was affected? A. Oh yes.
Q. Did you find his mind was affected? A. I did.
Q. How were they considering him, as a sane or insane man? A. Allowing him his own way, but they had a guard over him.
Q. Did Riel speak as to what was best to do with him or what they were doing with him? A. Yes, he thought he would improve there, but I applied for permission to get him away. Riel said he was getting along very nicely there and that he would recover.
Q. He did not let you take him away? A. No, he refused to do so.
Q. Then did you make any formal application to get him away? A. I did to the council.
Q. And it was refused, I believe? A. Yes, it was refused.
Q. What kept you in the camp? A. They refused to let me go or my brother either.
Q. Giving any reason? A. Yes, I heard a discussion. I was upstairs in the council room and I had spoken to Albert Monkman to speak in my favor and I heard them discussing the matter. Of course they spoke in French and I did not understand, but Monkman was speaking in Cree. Riel came down to the room and commenced to eat, and while he was eating Monkman kept on talking, and he rushed up stairs and attacked Monkman and in the course of his remarks he accused him of not doing his duty with the English half-breeds, that he had not brought them up with the twenty men he had sent for them. Monkman defended himself and there was a discussion about. Monkman said the reason he did not bring them was because one man said he would go if another would, and Riel told him he had given him these twenty armed men to bring the leading men of the English half-breeds by force.
Q. And what Riel was complaining about was that the orders had not been obeyed? A. Yes.
Q. And Monkman was excusing himself? A. Yes.
Q. Did you hear any discussion after you arrived there as to what they should do, as to any places that should be attacked? A. They talked about attacking Prince Albert, but I believe they were waiting for the Indians to join them in greater numbers.
Q. Had they Indians there? A. They had Indians there.
Q. At this time, about the 8th of April, could you form any idea as to the number of men under arms? A. I could not say. I was told, when I first arrived there, they had 1,800, but I did not believe it. They said they were in houses near by. Afterwards I was told by English half-breeds that there was only about 700.
Q. Then, do you remember an occasion of a false alarm - do you remember anything being done by Riel on that occasion? A. On one occasion I remember he rushed to the church and brought down the crucifix, and ran around among the houses calling out the men, and insisting all should come, and I saw him go out and choose the ground upon which to defend themselves, expecting an attack from the Humboldt trail.
Q. He went out and arranged the ground and warned the men? A. Yes, and urged them all to fight, and made preparations for the defence.
Q. Did he ask you to do anything for him? A. Yes; the first night I was there he intimated he would like me to write some letters to the papers, and place a good construction on his acts.
Q. Wanting you to write to the eastern papers? A. Yes; to place a favorable construction on his action in taking up arms.
Q. Do you remember anything, any particular matter he wanted inserted? A. I refused to do so at first, because he had not allowed me my liberty and had taken my brother away. In my application to the council I said unless they showed me some consideration they could not expect any consideration from me in writing letters. After the Fish Creek fight I thought the thing was going to last all summer, and commenced to write for him.
Q. Then, do you remember Riel's asking you to write any particular matter with reference to himself? A. Yes. He claimed that he had applied to the Government for an indemnity through D. H. Macdonald, and in reply the Government had made use of some expressions.
Q. What indemnity had he applied for through Macdonald? A. For $35,000.
Q. For what? A. For supposed losses through being outlawed and his property being confiscated.
Q. That was the money he wanted from the Dominion Government? A. Yes.
Q. He did not tell you how he made up the account? A. No. He claimed in all his claim against the Dominion Government amounted to $100,000.
Q. Did you know from him anything as to his personal motives in taking up arms? A. Yes. He disclosed his personal motives to me on this occasion. He became very much excited and angry, and attacked the English and the English constitution, and exhibited the greatest hatred for the English, and he showed his motive was one of revenge more than anything else.
Q. Revenge for what? A. For his supposed ill-treatment, his property being confiscated and he being outlawed.
Q. Did you hear anything about the half-breed struggle? A. Yes, he spoke of their grievances.
Q. In his communications with you whose grievances were the most prominent? A. I think his own particular troubles were the most prominent. Of course, he spoke of the half-breed troubles.
Q. Were you put in close confinement at any time? A. Shortly after this outburst he placed me in confinement with my brother.
Q. Had you refused to write for him in this way? A. Yes; and it was in reference to discussing that that he became excited, and it was shortly after that he placed me in close confinement.
Q. You were kept with the other prisoners? A. No, I was kept by myself with my brother. They would not allow me to communicate with the other prisoners.
Q. When you were placed in close confinement had you any conversation with him? A. He came in on one occasion and accused me of trying to incite an English half-breed named Bruce to desert. He said I had been seen speaking with him, and if he could prove I had been inciting him it would go hard with me.
Q. Any other interview with him while you were in close confinement? A. Not just then. Shortly after Middleton approached Batoche he placed us in the cellar; in the cellar of George Fisher's house. The first day he took me up to attend the wounded, in case there should be any wounded, and he had some talk then in regard to the wounded, and he asked me if I would attend to them as well as if nothing had happened between us.
Q. Did you attend to the wounded? A. No; they suspected I was going to desert and they put me back in the cellar that night.
Q. Did anything material happen until the 12th of May? A. No.
Q. What happened then? A. On the 12th of Maya half-breed opened the cellar and called out and said Riel was wounded. I came up to the council room, and presently Riel entered with Astley, and as soon as he came in he told us Middleton was approaching and if he massacred the families he would massacre my brother and the rest of the prisoners, and he wished to send both of us with messages to Middleton.
Q. Were you to deliver the message? A. I was.
Q. Did you see Riel write the message? A. I did.
Q. Is this the message produced? A. I believe that is the message.
Q. By whom was it written? A. Written by Riel. (The message alluded to is exhibit 2.)
Q. Do you remember what you did with this message? A. I believe I delivered it to General Middleton.
Q. You don't know? A. I don't remember the fact, but I believe I did.
Q. With that message you left the camp? A. I did.
Q. The rebel camp? A. Yes.
Q. And I believe you did not go back? A. I did not go back. I did not go directly to Middleton because he changed his mind at the last.
Q. Who changed his mind? A. Riel. He took us down about a mile and a-half and he ordered me to go to Lepine's house and wave a flag in front of it.
Q. Just to go back for a moment - did you ever see the prisoner armed? A. I did on one occasion.
Q. When was that occasion? A. It was some time after the Fish Creek fight.
Q. Who was in charge at Batoche? A. Riel.
Q. Who instructed the movements of the armed men? A. Well, Gabriel Dumont instructed them immediately, but Riel was over him.
Q. Do you remember what he did on the occasion of the Fish Creek fight? A. He went out with 180 men the night before and returned with 20, thinking there might be an attack on Batoche from Prince Albert or Humboldt or from the other side of the river, as he knew General Middleton's forces were divided.
Q. You said you knew the hand-writing of the prisoner? A. Yes.
Q. Look at this document dated 8t Anthony, 21st March 1885. In whose hand-writing is that? A. Louis Riel's. (Document put in, exhibit 5.)
Q. Is all this writing on the 3rd page his? A. Yes, it is all his writing.
Q. These signatures are in Garnot's writing? A. Yes, they seem to be Garnot's.
Q. In whose hand-writing is this document? A. Louis Riel's. (Document put in, exhibit 6.)
Q. Is this paper in the writing of Louis Riel? A. Yes, that is his writing. (Document put in, exhibit 7.)
Q. Are the two papers attached here in Riel's hand-writing? A. Yes. (Put in, exhibit 8.)
Q. Is this document in Riel's hand-writing? A. It is. (Put in, exhibit 9.)
Q. Perhaps you can tell me the meaning of the word 'exovede'? A. It means one of the flock.
Q. Is this letter in the hand-writing of Riel? A. It is, with the exception of a piece of back-hand which appears to be in Garnot's writing. (Document put in, exhibit 10.)
Q. In whose hand-writing is this? A. Riel's. (Exhibit 11.)
Q. Is exhibit 12 in Riel's writing? A. Yes.
Q. Exhibit 13 and exhibit 14 are both in Riel's hand-writing? A. Yes, it is all Riel's.
Q. Are these five sheets comprising exhibit 15 in Riel's writing? A. They are all in the hand-writing of the prisoner.
Q. Exhibit 16 is in the hand-writing of the prisoner? A. Yes.
Q. And exhibit 17 is in his hand-writing? A. Yes.
Q. Exhibit 18. Is this document in his hand-writing? A. It is, all but the last signatures.
Q. Exhibit 19. Is that in the hand-writing of Riel? A. Yes.
Q. Is it Riel's signature that is to this document? A. Yes. (put in, exhibit 20.)
Q. The body of the writing, is that Riel's? A. No.
Q. But the signature is? A. Yes.

Examined by MR. FITZPATRICK:

Q. You know nothing more of the documents that have been shown you, except that you know they are in the hand-writing of Riel? A. That is all I know.
Q. You don't know if they ever left Riel's possession or not? A. I don't.
Q. You said, at the beginning of your deposition, that you were aware of a certain amount of agitation going on in the Saskatchewan district during last autumn and fall? A. I did.
Q. Will you explain the nature of that agitation? A. That agitation was for provincial rights principally, also for half-breed claims, and also against duties and such things as that. We felt the duties onerous.
Q. A purely political agitation? A. Yes.
Q. You were in sympathy with the agitation? A. Yes.
Q. You were aware Riel was brought into the country for the purpose of taking part in the agitation? A. He was brought to this country on account of his supposed knowledge of the Manitoba Treaty.
Q. The people of the Saskatchewan district were of opinion Riel could be useful to them in connection with the agitation? A. Well, he was brought in principally by the half-breeds. The Canadians knew nothing about it till he was very nearly here.
Q. Almost the whole of the people in that district had joined together for the purpose of this agitation? A. They had.
Q. That agitation had been going on for a considerable length of time? A. For some time.
Q. Can you say for about how long? A. Five or six years or longer.
Q. Did you attend any meetings held by Riel? A. I attended the meeting in Prince Albert.
Q. You were present during that meeting? A. During the greater part of it.
Q. You heard what Riel said? A. I did.
Q. What date was that meeting held? A. I could not say exactly, some time in June or July.
Q. At his first arrival? A. Yes.
Q. He stated he wished the movement to be entirely a constitutional movement? A. Purely a constitutional movement. He said if they could not get what they agitated for in five years to agitate for five years more, that constitutional agitation would get what they wanted.
Q. You knew he continued assisting in the' agitation up to the time of the difficulty in March? A. He was there as a sort of half-breed adviser principally. He was not a member of the committee, but he was there in the capacity of half-breed adviser.
Q. Did you at any time hear that he wished to resort to any means other than constitutional up to the - March? A. Nothing.
Q. You being an active participator would naturally have heard of any such intention if it had existed? A. Certainly.
Q. There was no such movement up to that time? A. No.
Q. After the 1st of March when did you first see Riel? A. When I went to Duck Lake.
Q. When had you seen him previous to that time? A. Sometime in January he was in the town.
Q. Had you conversation with him then? A. I had.
Q. Did you speak to him about the movement? A. I daresay I did, but I cannot remember.
Q. Did he at that time say anything to you that would lead you to believe he intended to do anything that was not a constitutional agitation? A. Nothing of the kind. He never referred to anything that was not a constitutional agitation.
Q. At the discussions you had had with him previous to March last it always appeared to you that the ordinary means adopted by the settlers were adopted by him? A. Certainly.
Q. When you saw him at Duck Lake you spoke to him about your brother and he told you your brother had become insane? A. He did.
Q. He told you he had become insane because he had opposed Riel, and that he was punished by God for his opposition to Riel? A. That is what he said.
Q. You never heard such a remark by Riel previous to that time in any of your other conversations with him? A. No.
Q. Did it strike you as a peculiar remark? A. No, I don't think so.
Q. You thought it was quite natural such a thing should occur? A. I didn't agree with it, but I thought it was a very nice explanation on his part to make.
Q. He told you at that time the priests were entirely opposed to him and the movement and were entirely opposed to the interests of the North-West settlement? A. No, but he said they were opposed to him.
Q. He gave you then to understand the priests were entirely wrong and he was entirely right? A. Certainly.
Q. In fact they did not know anything they were talking about and he knew it all? A. He said they were working only for their own interests.
Q. Did he explain to you what his intentions were as to the division of the territories, what he intended doing when he succeeded in chasing the Canadians out of the country? A. Sometimes, probably when I was a prisoner I heard him talk of dividing the country in sevenths or giving a seventh of the proceeds to assist the Poles; a seventh to the half-breeds and a seventh to the Indians.
Q. Some more to the Hungarians? A. Yes, and so on.
Q. You said when you were Riel's prisoner, that it was after the 17th and 18th of March you heard him discussing the future division which he intended making of the territories if he got rid of the Canadians? A. Something to that effect, but I cannot remember exactly what it was.
Q. You heard him talking of dividing the country into different parts? A. I understood it was one-seventh of the proceeds of the sale of land and 'takes' would be given to these different people.
Q. Did he then say he expected any assistance from these people? A. No, it seemed to be a scheme of immigration more than anything else.
Q. His plan as he then unfolded it - did it appear in conformity with the plans you had heard him discussing at the public meetings at which you had assisted? A. Oh, no, altogether different.
Q. Would you look at this document called the foreign policy document and say if you can see anything on it which would bear out that intention to divide up the country (witness looks at exhibit)? A. Yes.
Q. Do you recognize the hand-writing as that of Louis Riel? A. It is scribbled so that it is difficult to say.
Q. What is on the other side of the sheet is certainly in his hand­- writing? A. Yes, it certainly is.
Q. And is the ink on the other side not the same as that? A. I think it is.
Q. And don't you think the hand-writing is also the same? A. I could not say.
Q. To the best of your knowledge does it not represent Riel's handwriting? A. I think it is.
Q. Riel explained to you what was meant by the word 'exovede'? A. He did.
Q. That it was meant to convey that he was simply one of the flock? A. Yes.
Q. That he had no independent authority but simply acted as one of the others? A. Yes, it was simply an affectation of humility.
Q. You are aware all the documents signed by him as far as you know bore the word 'exovede'? A. The most of them.
Q. You had several conversations with Riel after the conversion of your brother, on religious matters? A. After I was taken prisoner, but nothing much on religious matters. He used to talk about his new religion, about leaving the errors of the Church of Rome out and adopting a more liberal plan.
Q. He explained to you his new religion? A. He explained it as a new
liberal religion, he claimed the Pope had no rights in this country.
Q. Did he condescend to inform you as to the person in whom his authority should be vested? A. No.
Q. You believed from him there was some person in this country who would probably take the position of Pope in this country? A. I think very likely he intended himself to take the position, that the Pope was in his way.
Q. This took place after you were made a prisoner - this conversation about the new religion? A. I think so, and he also spoke about it at Duck Lake.
Q. All the conversations you had with him in reference to this political movement never in any way referred to this new religion? A. No; he spoke of religion but merely as ordinary men do.
Q. The first time you heard of this new religion and these new theories of religious questions was after the rebellion had begun? A. Yes.

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