The New International Encyclopædia/Selkirk, Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of
SELKIRK, Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of (1771-1820). A colonizer and man of letters, born in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, and educated at the University of Edinburgh. His life was devoted mainly to directing emigration from the Scottish Highlands to British North America. In 1803 he made a settlement at Prince Edward's Island, which from the first was prosperous; and after heroic efforts and a bloody conflict with the Northwest Fur Company, he finally established, under the auspices of the Hudson's Bay Company, a colony in the Red River Valley, now the flourishing Province of Manitoba (1817). In 1818 he left America, and, completely broken in health, went to Pau, in Southern France, where he died. An account of his troubles in settling the Red River territory is given in his Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North America (1816). Consult Bryce, Manitoba (London, 1882); and see Canadian Literature.