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By John Phillip Reid

Do legislation and criminal systems exist simply as long as there's an respectable authority to implement them? Or can we have an unstated feel of legislation and ethics?

To resolution those questions, John Phillip Reid’s Contested Empire explores the implicit notions of legislation shared via American and British fur investors within the Snake River kingdom of Idaho and surrounding parts within the early 19th century. either the us and nice Britain had claimed this zone, and passions have been severe. Focusing as a rule on Canadian explorer and dealer Peter Skene Ogden, Reid reveals that either aspect mostly kept away from violence and different problems simply because they held an analogous definitions of estate, agreement, conversion, and possession.

In 1824, the Hudson’s Bay corporation directed Ogden to decimate the furbearing animal inhabitants of the Snake River kingdom, therefore marking the zone a “fur desert.” With this mandate, nice Britain was hoping to neutralize any curiosity American furtrappers may have within the sector. this sort of mandate set British and American fur males on a collision direction, yet Ogden and his American opposite numbers implicitly one of those legislations and method and saw a mutual experience of estate and rights at the same time the 2 aspects vied for regulate of the fur trade.

Failing to take felony tradition under consideration, a few prior money owed have depicted those conflicts as mere episodes of lawless frontier violence. Reid expands our knowing of the West via contemplating the unstated feel of legislation that existed, regardless of the shortcoming of any formalized specialists, in what had another way been thought of a “lawless” time.

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Extra resources for Contested Empire: Peter Skene Ogden and the Snake River Expeditions

Sample text

The one possibility has to be that Simpson feared Ogden would join an American trading and trapping company. If he ever did join an American outfit, Ogden certainly would head directly for Oregon and the Snake country. If we can measure Simpson’s concerns by his actions—by the fact that he will order that the Snake country be denuded of all its beaver to make it unattractive for Americans—then it is safe to say the very last thing that Simpson wanted to see in 1823 was Americans in Oregon. In July 1823, at a council meeting at York Factory, Peter Ogden was voted into the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Patterson disagreed. He thought Ogden exactly the right Hudson’s Bay officer to meet the Americans, and for exactly opposite reasons—not because he was violent but because he was educated. Noting that Simpson had sent Samuel Black, “who was best at playing a lone hand,” to explore the Finlay-Stikine-Liard headwaters, and Ogden to confront the Americans in the Snake country, Patterson argued: 34 CONTESTED EMPIRE In these two men who had so distinguished themselves in the struggle between the Companies that they were specially excluded by the terms of the coalition, the Governor found, ready at his hand, two instruments that might have been specially designed to carry out his plans in the empty countries on the edges of the known lands.

Ross was a fine writer. He published a history of the Red River settlement, the future Winnipeg, and the memoirs of his years on the Columbia with the Pacific Fur Company, the North West Company, and Hudson’s Bay filled two printed volumes. He was not, however, an effective leader in the Snake country. He was, rather, quite inept. It is a close question whether he led his men or they led him. He had expected to go out again, leading the 1825 expedition, but when he returned with his brigade to Flathead Post in today’s northwestern Montana, Ross was told that he would be replaced.

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