By John Phillip Reid

Do legislation and felony techniques exist simply as long as there's an reputable authority to implement them? Or will we have an unstated experience of legislation and ethics?

To resolution those questions, John Phillip Reid’s Contested Empire explores the implicit notions of legislations shared by means of American and British fur investors within the Snake River nation of Idaho and surrounding components within the early 19th century. either the us and nice Britain had claimed this sector, and passions have been excessive. Focusing more often than not on Canadian explorer and dealer Peter Skene Ogden, Reid unearths 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 state, therefore marking the quarter a “fur desert.” With this mandate, nice Britain was hoping to neutralize any curiosity American furtrappers can have within the zone. any such mandate set British and American fur males on a collision direction, yet Ogden and his American opposite numbers implicitly a type of legislation and technique and saw a mutual feel of estate and rights while the 2 facets vied for keep an eye on of the fur trade.

Failing to take felony tradition into account, a few prior debts have depicted those conflicts as mere episodes of lawless frontier violence. Reid expands our realizing of the West by means of contemplating the unstated experience of legislations 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

Example text

Two theories explaining why Peter Skene Ogden thought himself not suited for the law are worth close consideration. They tell us a great deal about Ogden—at least why Ogden spurned law practice, not why he was drawn to the untamed, dangerous wilderness of the Saskatchewan River and places farther west. But the first question is almost as important as the second. Perhaps not for most mountain men, but certainly for Ogden, who gave up far more by abandoning eastern society than did almost any other fur trader we know of.

If the North West Company wanted the beaver of the Snake River country, it would have to harvest them itself. And McKenzie proved that the job could be done. He led the first brigade of North West trappers from Fort Nez Perces, a post he established for that purpose near the mouth of the Walla Walla River, east to the Snake River, where they trapped beaver and then rode back to the Columbia with their pelts. Donald McKenzie was perhaps the most memorable of the North Westers to command a Snake country expedition, but, unfortunately, he left few records.

They not only sound like what Ogden would have said, they show evidence of the legal training that he supposedly received in his youth. In a country . . in which there is no legal tribunal to appeal to, and into which the “King’s writ does not run,” many acts must be committed that would not stand a strict investigation in Banco Regis. ”31 These words may be genuinely Ogden’s, but they say nothing that is original and little that is surprising. Anyone would have pleaded necessity. ” Because Hudson’s Bay people had been mostly passive, not even fighting back on most occasions, it was Ogden himself who had determined the course of events.

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