Thomas Douglas, the Fifth Earl of Selkirk (1770–1820), was a complex man of his times, whose passions left an indelible mark on North American history.
As Earl, Selkirk became involved in local politics and developed a fascination with Scottish emigration to the New World. His first settlement was in Prince Edward Island, Canada; but his most famous plan, the Red River settlement, became his greatest passion and his ultimate demise.
The settlement quickly became the focus of an intense rivalry between the two giants of the fur trade, North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company. When this rivalry spilled over into violence at Red River, Selkirk was transformed from a politician to a soldier and a man of action.
The product of three decades of research, this is the definitive biography of Lord Selkirk. Bumsted's passionate prose and thoughtful analysis illuminate not only the man but also the social contexts in which he lived.