Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gilbert Malcolm Sproat

This posting will wander around a bit and it might actually take more than a little while to write -- but it should be interesting.
But the writing came even more difficult when a workman broke the wires that led to my computer and made my connection to the internet a little fragile, to say the least.
I completed this entire posting last Sunday, but when finished I discovered that my computer was not connected to the internet, and more than half of what I had posted had actually not made it to the blog to be saved.
Sigh!... but now all is repaired and working better than it did before, which is good.

So let us begin here:
On pages 92-93 of my book, The Pathfinder, I wrote the following: "After building their houses, the Dakelh men chopped wood for their weirs, which they set up in the murky waters of the Fraser.
"The first salmon to swim past the fort in early July were the Sa-qui (now known as the Chinook or spring salmon.)
"Anderson preferred these fish, which were stronger and richer than the later catch, equal in size and quality to the salmon of his native Scotland.
"The second rush of salmon, which arrived in mid-July, was the Suck-kai, a name later transformed into the fish's modern name, sockeye...."
Which is fine, except that as I wrote the blog-posting for Saturday February 18, 2012, I took another look at this and thought, "I might have been mistaken in what I said."
As you will see in this merged "Salmon" manuscript, Anderson says; "of these the most conspicuous are the two first named -- the Sa-quai (Kase of the Carriers) entering the Fraser in April and continuing through May and June; and the Suck-kai (Ta-lo of the Carriers), a much smaller species arriving early in July..."
At Fort Alexandria Anderson was still amongst the Carriers or Dakelh -- I think now that the Sa-qui and Suck-kai names were the names given them at Fort Langley -- not at Fort Alexandria.
I made a mistake!

And so, having made a mistake (not the only one by the way), what should I do about it?
Make a note of it.
Admit it if anyone points it out.
And that's it.
And may I say that no one has actually pointed this error out to me, if anyone has noticed it at all.

And if you have found an error in the book, what do you do about it?
One person was careful to tell me immediately that he found two so-called errors in my book.
Did he ever contact me again to tell me he enjoyed the book?
That is what you don't want to do; it is ungenerous.

It is a reality that, as they put their books together, historians or writers juggle thousands of tiny facts which may or may not change the story -- everyone will have an error or more that they will quietly correct in the second edition of the book.
For the most part the reader will never notice the error or incorrect statement.
In his Mapmakers' Eye, Jack Nisbet said that 'when retired fur man Alexander Caulfield Anderson visited Lachine House.. he saw the legendary explorer of the Columbia District in a very decrepit condition.'"
As we all know, Anderson was seventeen when he met David Thompson -- but if you look for that statement in any of Jack's books currently on sale, you won't find it.
He has corrected it; even better than that, he wrote a generous and amazing cover quote for my book, for which I am immensely grateful!

So what I am saying, I think, is that every book has value even if errors do appear in them.
And, like it or not, errors will appear.
Also, what you might be objecting to is not an error, but an opinion or point of view that might differ from yours.
In this posting, I am not only talking about correcting errors in a book -- I am also talking about people trying to correct what the author has to say about a person, a thing, or an event.
Authors are going to write things that you are not going to enjoy reading -- especially if the person he or she is writing about is your ancestor or a member of your extended family.
I will admit that no descendant of either Archibald McKinlay or Gilbert Malcolm Sproat is going to enjoy what I had to say about them in my book.
But it is my book, and I can say what I want to say about these people -- that's just the way it is.
I actually know or have talked to descendants of both these people, and the Archibald McKinlay descendant phoned me to tell me how much he had enjoyed the book.
The Gilbert Malcolm Sproat descendant I talked to before the book was published, and warned her that Sproat was my antagonist, so she will not be too surprised at what I have to say.
But she might be angry about what I say... That is up to her.
I want to make it very clear that if she is angry, she has not expressed that anger to me.
And in that regard, she has behaved very well and done the right thing.

Descendants of both Archibald McKinlay and Gilbert Malcolm Sproat -- or any other historical person -- do not own their ancestor.
Their ancestor is a public figure and writers can say whatever they want about them, with information taken from their own research and guided by their own point of view.
Academics especially write horrible things about Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his work on the Indian Reserve Commission; some of them even admire Gilbert Malcolm Sproat and think he is the best of the three Commissioners.
But I saw something different in the relationship, and because I have sympathy for Anderson (perhaps), and I am writing his story, I approached the story of the Commission from a point of view that differed from theirs.
While this posting is not particularly aimed at the Sproat descendant I conversed with some time ago, if she is still reading this blog she will have a better understanding of what I am saying about him.
Because, in a sense, Gilbert Malcolm Sproat is the reason for this posting.

When I spoke in front of the Historical Maps Society, one attendee who had read my book asked me why I said that Gilbert Malcolm Sproat called himself Chief Commissioner of the Indian Reserve Commission.
It appears to me that many people -- even those who are reading the letters of the Indian Reserve Commissioners -- have not seen the following two letters from Sproat.
I told you that Sproat complained about the two men he worked with, calling McKinlay a well intentioned gentleman, but not bright -- Anderson was, he said, intellectually superior but "deficient in will."
I will now include the letters that Sproat wrote, that gave me a really queasy feeling and told me -- correctly or incorrectly -- what was actually going on in the background of this Commission.
This first letter is where where Sproat refers to himself as Head Commissioner, and McKinlay and Anderson as Associate Commissioners!
While Mr. Lenihan is mentioned, he is unimportant to this story.
The letter is found in RG10, Volume 3653, File 8702, Head of Okanagan Lake B.C., Correspondence regarding the relations between the BC Reserve Commissioners and Superintendant James Lenihan, 1877:

"British Columbia (in camp), Head of Okanagan Lake, 27th August 1877
Confidential (our relations with Mr. Lenihan ...)
The Honorable Minister of the interior, Ottawa, Canada
Sir; this seems to be a suitable time and place from which to take a view of Indian Affairs generally in reference to the land settlement...
This order in council plan besides being defective in principal, would as I have shown, not be economical. The only way of saving money in the work is by reducing the three members of the Commission to one member, and something may be said against that though by saying that a Superintendent shall do the work, the Governments have agreed to the one man principal. This naturally leads me as Chief Commissioner, to make frankly a confidential report to you about persons concern, much as I would give to you in conversation had I the opportunity.I have been all my life dealing in public matters with other men, and have no likes or dislikes where the public interests are concerned, and only now refer to persons to assist your judgement in dealing with matters which you are responsible for, and which I feel are not on a footing as satisfactory as they might be.
To speak first of Mr. McKinlay, the Provincial Commissioner, he formerly was a Chief Trader in the service of the Hudsons Bay Company, and is now between 60 and 70 years of age. He is a kindly well-intentioned gentleman who would do harm to nobody and who gets on well with all. He is known to some of the Indians, his wife being an Indian woman [McKinlay's wife was Peter Skene Ogden's daughter]. This circumstance and his respectable aged appearance makes him useful, but intellectually he is not bright and I cannot recall any idea that he has contributed in aid of the work for the past twelve months. He especially lacks clear perceptions and firmness. He had been the worse for liquor in public too often since his appointment, but being well know on the Cariboo road where his house is and where he and his excellent wife have showed kindness to many, no one is disposed to judge him harshly. He was appointed as a friend of a member of the local house who supports Mr. Elliott, and on my complaining to the latter of the extra work thrown on me by the inefficiency of the Provincial Commissioner, he said things must be as they were, and that I must look after Provincial interests on the Commission.
The Dominion Commissioner Mr. Anderson has been of more assistance to me in the work. His age and past history are about the same as those of Mr. McKinlay. They were partners in business after leaving the service of the Company. Mr. Anderson is a well read man, and intellectually Mr. McKinlay's superior, but is deficient in will, and cannot see all round a subject, and does not seem able to decide what should be done. When the line is pointed out to him he is useful, and his history and appearance disposed the Indians to regard him favorably. Both he and Mr. McKinlay are well disposed toward the Indians and ready to do justice to them. Mr. Anderson is very vain and jealous and has a knack of offending people. He has offended every person about the camp, and some outside it, not I believe intentionally but from his pragmatical manner and clumsy jokes. He has been drunk several times in public, and I am sorry to say on one notable occasion before Indian chiefs since we came to Kamloops. This so much annoyed me that I threatened to suspend proceedings and report both Comms. to their respective governments, and there has been no more of it. The occurrence took place at the inn at Savona's Ferry. I have determined not to stay at any more inns even to save expense but always to have our camp where we can have some discipline. Mr. Anderson, though his outward repute in that respect is better has proved to have less knowledge of the Indian character than Mr. McKinlay, who may be said to know Indians well though he does not appear to be able to use his knowledge. Mr. Anderson's chief faults in Indian negotiations are too much familiarity with the Indians, and he has had to be checked for communicating with individual chiefs supposed decisions of the Commrs. before they were formally arrived at, and also for sending messages by individual Indians, which is quite contrary to practice as Indians might corrupt the message. But it would be impossible to say that Mr. Anderson has not a benevolent heart towards the Indians, and has not faithfully tried to promote their interests by his work on the commission. Notwithstanding his faults it would also be impossible for me to say that he has not been useful in proceeding along lines marked out. Neither of the Associate Commissioners has been of any use in deciding any questions between whites and Indians which had to be regarded from legal and [?] point of view. In addition to the general responsibilities of the work, I have had to decide these questions entirely by myself, and also to manage as best I could the accounts and correspondence for both governments, having, it is true, in the absence of a secretary, the invaluable aid of the general Assistant Mr. [George] Blenkinsop. This gentleman, who was formerly a Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company has been really my chief adviser, quietly, at times of difficulties with the Indians. This Commission, as you know, has the same fault as the Fishery Commission in its construction. Literally, the consent of all three Commrs. is necessary to any act though perhaps the intention was that a majority should carry the day. I pointed this out at an early period, but after getting to work, and finding that I had no difficulty in getting a common agreement, I did not again allude to the point. There have been no protests, only a short lasting difference of view. Personal questions of course have arisen, but I decline on principle to refer any such to headquarters. Men who cannot settle all such matters and fall into their places have no business in employment like this. For very sound reasons stated to you, and for others which on reading the foregoing may be appreciated, I, as Chief Commissioner, declined to admit that my Reports to either Government should be open to my associates, and when Mr. Anderson wrote to you on this subject, what I showed to him was untruthful, irrelevant and offensive, I made him apologize to me and there was an end of it. Everybody is now in his place, and the Commission is in good working order..."

A later letter continues in the same vein. This one is found in RG10, Volume 3656, file 9063, GM Extensive private memorandum from Sproat on the reorganization of the management of Indian Affairs in British Columbia, 1877:
"Indian Reserves Commrs Camp, south of Okanagan Lake, 27th Oct. 1877
Private, E.A. Meredith, Ottawa
Dear sir; ... Having some experience among Indians, and made a study of them, and having during the last 15 months been obliged officially to direct very close attention to the Indians of this country both on the coast and on the mainland, it will not, I hope, be considered intrusive on my part that I have written some letters today -- being a sort of off day -- to the minister and sent them through the Lt. Gov. on the General question of your Indian administration in this Province. Take my opinions, as the opinions of a humble individual, for what they may be worth.
I have dealt merely with the system in my letters to the Minister. Your system is a wasteful farce, not to put too fine a point on it. To have 4 men drawing their salaries, and laboriously, and on no system or local knowledge of tribal wants expending credits which you send from Ottawa, nearly all the money departmentally expended here since 1872 has in my judgement, so far as I am able to judge, and I do not dogmatise, been thrown away, and it would mount up to a big sum though not I imagine to anything like the money which you get rid of east of the mountains...
Powell and Moffat (in the Victoria office) are very good men. [Superintendent Israel Wood] Powell I should say, is a shrewd, able, common sense, unimaginative man, deficient perhaps in insight, and power of combining, an administrator, rather than an organizer. He is well off, and a money making man; a nice wife and family and house and friends in Victoria. He has quite unknown to himself, I should say, probably become a little flabby, from the circumstance of the last 5 years. Moffat is a good man that [but?] an hour or two of Powell a day suffices. His weak point among the Indians is perhaps his uniform --  too much uniform and too much ship of war -- too little rough shirt and ragged trousers. That is my reading of Powell -- a capable man -- the [worst?] servant of the Department here, and therefore the first to be considered in any reorganization.
Moffat, formerly Chief Trader, HBCo., vigourous mentally and bodily, not yet 50, strong headed, downright but not calm, been at Kamloops and also on coast in HB service. Known to the Indians of course better than Powell, but has little zeal for their improvment though careful of their interests, and just in his views of their treatment. Is first rate in official work. Both these in fact are very good men. Mr. Lenihan, poor fellow, I have already written to you about. He should not be in this work at all, for his own sake and for the sake of the Indians and the public, but there he is....."

Sproat carried on for a few more pages filled with complaints about his fellow members of the Commission, but I was no longer interested in him and, frankly, felt quite sick to my stomach after copying out these complaints.
I had the feeling that something was very wrong with this man....
I think I am right.
How are you feeling about this man, after reading those two letters?

I think that Gilbert Malcolm Sproat was a bully!

Bullying is unacceptable behaviour because it breaches principles of equality and fairness, and it represents an abuse of power and authority. It is a predatory behaviour -- the bully picks on a person with less power to prove he or she is more powerful.
Bullying can be both physical and psychological.
In physical bullying the bullier hits the victim or bumps into him accidentally. He moves into the other persons personal space or occupies a chair that they normally use, or takes their property or intentionally damages it -- everyone has known someone like this!
Psychological bullying can be even more harmful: It seeks to demean the victim by attacking their identity and changing their self image. Bulliers criticize the victim; they let the victim know they are worthless; they spread damaging lies and talk about the victim in front of them as if they were not there -- or refuse to acknowledge the victim's presence.
The intent of the bully is to build their own self control through the control of others. They enjoy the sense of power this brings and they feed off their victim's fears. They build themselves up at the expense of others' feelings.

These are bullying behaviours, in various forms: This is a partial list of behaviours; the entire list is found at WAVE, at

Forms of intimidation generating fear and insecurity can include yelling or raising voice inappropriately, verbal abuse, expressing hostility in words or tone of voice, menacing behaviour and throwing things, pushing, physical assault, sarcasm, mocking, mobbing, pranks and horseplay and a refusal to acknowledge or to listen.

Forms of demeaning behaviours include put downs and belittling comments, rudeness, constant impoliteness, sneering, rolling eyes, ridicule, teasing, taunting in front of others, using offensive graffitti, treating a person as incompetent in their job and insinuating a person is weak.

Forms of abuse of power or treating persons unfairly include: making subtle threats or false allegations, taking credit for one's work, refusal to provide information about a job or to clarify work expectations, conducting unfair performance appraisals or making arbitrary judgements that are unfair, nitpicking and micromanaging, constant criticism, being dictatorial and demanding and using heavy handed behaviour.

Forms of undermining or attempts to make a person look bad to others: saying false and malicious things about someone, gossiping, back-biting, whispering; setting people against each other; making claims that others agree or support the bully's criticisms; constantly over-ruling a person in meetings; unfair disciplinary meetings without providing time to consider a response; going above a person to complain about them without first giving them a chance to resolve the issue.

Forms of isolation and exclusion include: ignoring, marginalizing and dismissing a person or their ideas; encouraging others to bully or harass another person; refusing to cooperate or supply information, singling a person out for treatment different than others and applying unfair administrative sanctions; encouraging others to spy or report secretly on a person.

It is useful when identifying bullying to consider what characterizes Bullying -- this list comes from a Wikipedia article on Workplace Bullying:

Repetition -- it occurs regularly. Any person might bully once or twice, accidentally. A bully bullies all the time.

Duration -- the bullying is ongoing and does not stop (see above sentence).

Escalation --increasing aggression is often part of the bullying if the victim is seen as powerless.

Power Disparity -- the target lacks the power to defend themselves against the more powerful attacker.

Attributed Intent -- Bullying is a repeated behaviour -- does the bully intend to bully, or is the situation workplace stress?

Bullies excel at deception and are convincing and practised liars who, when called to account, will make up stories to fit their needs at that moment.
Bullies have a vindictive nature in private, but can act innocent and charming in front of others in public places; they bully with a smile.
Bullies are self-opinionated, arrogant, audacious, and act with a superior sense of entitlement.
They are control freaks and have a compulsive need to control everything and everyone; they are practiced manipulators of emotions, perceptions, or beliefs.
They criticize everyone and refuse to value, praise, and acknowledge others, their achievements, or sometimes even their very existence.
They undermine and destroy; they create conflict; they discredit; they belittle; they gain gratification from denying people what they are entitled to.
They have a need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind and caring person, in contrast to their behaviour and treatment of others.
They are often unbelievably petty.
Just reading the list of bullying behaviours on the bullying website at will  make you sick.

The nice thing about this today, at least, is that bullying is recognized as abuse and once you know what it is you can deal with it, if you have the courage to do so.
General approaches to bullying may include letting the bullier know that something is "too close to bullying" in its nature; be prepared to specify why.
You can next speak up and tell the bullier that his or her behaviour is unacceptable and must stop; sometimes people don't know that what they are doing is bullying.
You can humiliate with a mild insult that attacks the bully's insecurity (Where did you get that haircut?).
If this is a workplace situation, you can report the bully to his superior and have them address the problem.

So how was it that both Alexander Caulfield Anderson and Archibald McKinlay were so easily subject to the supposed bullyiing of Gilbert Malcolm Sproat?
I have to say here that I do not know that he was a bully, but I see, in his letters, evidence that he may well have been.
Someone else might read these letters and come out of this with an entirely different point of view -- which is fine: they might be right and I might be wrong.
But in fact, no one is really to know because we weren't there and we don't know exactly what happened.
But if Sproat bullied and demeaned his fellow Commissioners, they had no defences.
They didn't know how to deal with bullies -- they had no information and no way to protect themselves from his attacks.
They did not know to stand up to him and tell him that his behaviour was wrong; and if they had done so, there was no one who would stand behind them and support them in their opinion and put boundaries on Sproat's behaviour.
In those days there was no anti-bullying policies in place and people did not even recognize bullying as a problem.

Moreover, even though I see evidence of bullying in Sproat's letters, I cannot be certain he was a bully -- though I believe he was.
This is what an argument is: I am stating what I believe to be true and others can argue this with me if they wish and state opposite points of view and no one is wrong because no one can prove what we are saying is true or not.
We weren't there.

So why do I think that Sproat was a bully? What makes me come to this conclusion?
Firstly, it was the way I felt after reading many of his letters in the many reels of the Indian Reserve Commission. I just got to the point that I couldn't read any more of them, and that is what made me feel that something was wrong.
But look at the tone of voice in those letters above.
From the first letter, 27th August 1877, Sproat says: "I have been all my life dealing in public matters with other men, and have no likes or dislikes where the public interests are concerned..." -- is he portraying himself as a kind and caring person here? If so, this statement is immediately followed by other statements that are anything but kind and caring.
He does the same again at the beginning of the next letter, when he states: "Take my opinions, as the opinions of a humble individual, for what they may be worth."
He said that Anderson was "deficient in will and cannot see all round a subject, and does not seem to be able to decide what should be done. When the line is pointed out to him he is useful...."
When people are controlled by a bully and do not have any ability to fight, they accede to the bully's opinion -- what was the point in Anderson suggesting his point of view if he would only be over-ruled by Sproat, anyway?
Poor pathetic Sproat -- "In addition to the general responsiblities of the work, I have had to decide these questions entirely by myself, and also to manage as best I could the accounts and correspondence for both governments...." Is he absolutely unable to delegate or to give up any control of anything, at all?
"Having some experience among Indians, and having during the last 15 months been obliged officially to direct very close attention to the Indians...."
Has he set himself up as an authority after 15 months on the job; and though both Anderson and McKinlay lived and worked with the Natives for twenty or more years, as fur traders, their knowledge and experience is downplayed -- well actually, it is not mentioned at all.
He then goes on to demean Dr. Israel Wood Powell who has become "flabby," in his eyes and wears a uniform -- something typical of fur traders and done, intentionally I suspect, to impress the Natives -- which the Natives would have fully understood and appreciated.
But mostly I went on the feeling I had after reading many of his letters.
I felt physically sick -- nauseous -- and I knew there was something wrong.

Who was Gilbert Malcolm Sproat anyway?
He arrived in the colony in the 1860's as representative and manager of a London shipping form called Anderson and Co., who was to build a sawmill at the head of the Alberni Canal.
Sproat purchased the Natives' lands for the equivalent of 20 pounds of trade goods, and forced them to move.
In 1865, when the mills went bust, he returned to London, where he set up a three man "London Committee for watching the affairs of British Columbia," that tried to control the terms of union between the two colonies of Vancouver's Island and mainland British Columbia.
He was a literary man who served as correspondent to the London Times and won a $1,000 prize for his essay about British Opium Policy in India and China.
He translated some of Horace's odes and published a critical work on the poetry of Sir Walter Scott; his major contribution to British Columbia literature was an account of Indian life on the West coast of Vancouver's Island, called Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (London: smith, Elder and Co.)
The book contains a conversation he had with a reluctant Sechelt chief -- I don't believe this was when he was on the Indian Reserve Commission, but sometime before that:
The one-sided conversation went:
"Whether or not [the chief co-operated?], the white men will come...
"All your people know that they are your superiors; they make the things which you value.
"You cannot make muskets, blankets, or bread.
"The whitemen will teach your children to read printing, and to be like themselves."

Did Sproat bully the two commissioners on their journeys up and down the coast in 1876? I don't know.
But I do know that as they returned to Saanich, Anderson wrote that the Natives said they had found the Indian Reserve Commissioners "hard and unyielding."
I made a note of this but didn't write down its location formally, and when I went back to confirm it (as it suddenly appeared to be an important statement considering the bullying I was finding later) I could not find it again.
I will have to go through all the microfilm reels again to locate this phrase, and until I do that it should not form an important part of this argument.
But it might indicate that Sproat had begun his bullying tactics even while they were travelling up and down the coast, and that those tactics only worsened later.
Certainly they began (if they were not continuing) immediately after the three Commissioners reached Victoria, and Sproat forced Anderson to apologize to him.
Let us go through the letter that Anderson wrote on his return to Victoria.
The letter is found in RG10, volume 3645, file 7937, Correspondence regarding independent reports by Gilbert Malcolm Sproat..., 1877:

"British Columbia, Victoria, B.C., 22nd March 1877
The Honorable, the Minister of the Interior. Ottawa, Canada
Sir; on my arrival here a few days ago I learnt with some surprise that certain Reports, purporting to be of the proceedings of the Commission, had from time to time reached Dr. Powell, addressed to you, from Mr. Sproat; and being supposed by Dr. Powell to proceed officially from the Commission, had been copied here and then forwarded.
I consider it proper now to inform you that, while our relations in all other respects have been of the most cordial nature, this course was adopted by the Joint Commissioner without the concurrence, or even cognizance, of either the Provincial Commissioner or myself. At the same time I respectfully submit that the proceeding was not in accordance with the ordinary rules of official etiquette.
So far as I can judge from a cursory glance over these voluminous copies (for I confess I have not read them) I do not suppose that their tenor will differ much from the Official Report. The possibility of such difference on any point, however, impels me to disclaim all responsibility for any statement thus privately made.
The Official Journal (a bulky affair) from which the public Report has been compiled, was kept by myself, and was always open for common reference and comment, and, as casually stated in a former communication, it was understood, as I supposed by all, that the Complete report of our proceedings was to be made, under common approval, after the return of the Commission to Victoria -- as has been done."

Do you remember that Sproat wrote: "For very sound reasons stated to you... I, as Chief Commissioner, declined to admit that my Reports to either Government should be open to my associates, and when Mr. Anderson wrote to you on this subject, what I showed to him was untruthful, irrelevant and offensive, I made him apologize to me and there was an end of it. Everybody is now in his place, and the Commission is in good working order...."
The above letter seems to be the letter that Sproat objected to; it appears to be the trigger that set off Sproat's bullying behaviours.
Bullying sometimes has a trigger, something that sets the bully off.
To me Anderson's letter seems to be quite politely worded and not offensive, but concerned.
But bullies are insecure people, and Sproat apparently felt threatened by something in this letter.

Well, I have wandered all over in this posting, but also I have mostly concentrated on Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, the supposed bully.
But I started this posting with errors and corrections and talking to authors.
One of the so-called errors mentioned at the front of the posting was in fact an error, and one that all of you have seen and figured out -- in spite of all the editing and double-checking that we did in the last few days of editing the book and its images, my editor and I missed one mislabelled map where the names of the Coquihalla brigade trail and the Anderson River brigade trail are reversed.
That was an error.
The other criticism, made at the same time, was that Anderson's River should be called Anderson River -- well, I did the research, and Anderson's River was called Anderson's River in the HBC correspondence, even though it is Anderson River today.
So when you approach an author with what you think is an error, please be polite and remember to say something nice first.
Then ask why I called it Anderson's River, for example, and wait for an explanation -- I might admit I am wrong.
But you might also learn something new -- or you might find that the author is happy to learn something new, and happy to correct the information contained in her book in the next edition.
If you approach me in a respectful and courteous fashion to point out what you believe is an error, I will thank you for the new information.

I keep editing out paragraphs and so I think I will stop here.
This is what I want to say: respect your local author and be kind to her or him.
We are keeping your history alive, even if it is not a word-perfect history.
If you don't like what we are saying about your ancestors, then perhaps you will have to write your own book to correct everyone else.
I guess that's what I have done, in presenting Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story to you.
But remember, it is my view of the man, and everyone else's view of the man is as legitimate as mine and as correct as mine.
It is all point of view.

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