Joseph Howse in Search of Glory and Gold in the New World

Powerful Essays
During the height of the British Empire—a time of exploration, discovery and colonization—lower class citizens of Great Britain were suffering under the weight of upper-class oppression. Many of these farmers, braziers, blacksmiths and etcetera passed the long arduous hours of manual labor by daydreaming of freedom, adventure, excitement and most of all landownership in the New World. The class system of eighteenth century England was rigid and restrictive to upward mobility; whereas, the New World was rumored to be a place where a man of any stripe could establish himself. Amongst these tired and sweaty daydreamers, a handful of ambitious men were not content to simply dream. These few courageous young lads were willing to take the risks of sea travel to find out for themselves if the rumors were true. Thus, the men made their arrangements and braved the howling gales and icy waters of the North Atlantic in search of their destiny. Joseph Howse was amongst the men who chased their dreams through the rigorous demands of the inhospitable landscape of Prince Rupert’s Land. Howse may have shared their enthusiasm about what lay ahead in the New World, but he did not share their motives. It has been said that Europeans went over to the New World in search of God, Glory and Gold. For the most part, the two latter motives were what drew men to the wildernesses of unknown continents; but still, mixed within these desperate attempts to forage a better life or to discover extravagant riches, history has shown that some men aspired to nobler ends. Howse was a capable bookkeeper, inland trader and an avid explorer for the Hudson’s Bay Company, who is accredited with being the first company trader to cross the Continental Divide. ... ... middle of paper ... ... every oppressed young man in Britain. In Rupert’s Land, Howse found fame and fortune; he found a pass through the Rocky Mountains; he found a wife; he found an eloquent and sophisticated people; he found land and in many ways, he found himself. However, it is not what Howse found in the New World that made his life so noteworthy and impacting to both those around him and those who followed him; for, it was what Howse did not lose in the New World that is so striking—his purpose, his mission and his intent. The ability Howse showed for keeping his morality intact and his purpose at hand in a land laden with temptation, tough choices and even tougher people was extremely rare among colonists. Without that higher cause, Joseph Howse would just be another European who came over the New World for personal gain; and they are, as history has shown, far too common.
Get Access