chapter  6
21 Pages

Economic intelligence and fur trade management by the Hudson’s Bay Company

An examination of district reports in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
WithArthur J. Ray

When the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) began establishing permanent posts in present-day Canada towards the late seventeenth century, its London directors, known as the Governor and Committee (GC), faced numerous business challenges related to building construction and maintenance, labour management, and inventory control. They also had to deal with fluctuating local environmental circumstances and ever-changing fur and 'country produce' markets. For students of the economic history of the Canadian fur trade, the district accounts in their various formats are one of the management records that offers the researcher thumbnail sketches and analyses of local fur trading activities. For various reasons, district reports offer economic historians excellent entry points into the massive HBC archives. This chapter dealts with trade goods accounts and concerns the 'stores accounts'. It provides a detailed inventories of provisions and the craftsmen/tradesmen 'stores' such as 'armourer's store, 'blacksmith's store, carpenter's store, etc.