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The Columbia River; or, scenes and adventures during a residence of six years on the western side of… Cox, Ross, 1793-1853 1832

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The following Narrative embraces a period of six
years, five of which were spent among various
tribes on the banks of the Columbia River and
its tributary streams; and the remaining portion
was occupied in the voyage outwards, and the
journey across the continent.
During this period the Author ascended the
Columbia nine times, and descended it eight;
wintered among various tribes; was engaged in
several encounters with the Indians: was lost
fourteen days in a wilderness, and had many
other extraordinary escapes.
He kept journals of the principal events which
occured during the greater part of this period,
the substance of which will be found embodied in
the following pages. Those who love to read of
" battle, murder, and sudden death," will, in his
description of the dangers and privations to which
the life of an Indian trader is subject, find much
to gratify their taste;  while to such as are fond VI
of nature, in its rudest and most savage forms,
he trusts his sketches of the wild and wandering
tribes of Western America may not be found uninteresting.
They cannot lay claim to the beautiful colouring which the romantic pen of a Chateaubriand
has imparted to his picture of Indian manners;
for the Author, unfortunately, did not meet with
any tribe which approached that celebrated
writer's splendid description of savage life. He
has seen many of them before the contamination
of white men could have deteriorated their native character; and, while he records with pleasure the virtues and bravery of some, truth compels him to give a different character to the great
The press has of late years teemed with various
" Recollections," " Reminiscences," &c. of travels,
scenes, and adventures in well known countries,
but no account has been yet published of a
great portion of the remote regions ' alluded to
in this Work. They are therefore new to the
world; and, if the Author's unpretending narrative possesses no other claim to the public favor,
it cannot at least be denied that of novelty. INTRODUCTION.
In the year 1670 a charter was granted by
Charles the Second to the Hudson's Bay Company, whose first governor was Prince Rupert, by
which the Company was allowed the exclusive
privilege of establishing trading factories on the
shores of that noble bay and its tributary rivers.
Owing to this charter, the fur-trade, which forms
an important and extensive branch of American
commerce, was for a long period monopolised by
the Company; but, from the peculiar nature of
its constitution, little progress was made by its
officers in extending its trading posts, or exploring the interior, until the year 1770, when
Mr. Hearne was sent on an expedition to the
Arctic Sea, for an account of which I beg to
refer the reader to that gentleman's simple and
interesting narrative.
While Canada belonged to France the Cana- Vlll
dian traders had advanced many hundred miles
beyond Lake Superior, and established several
trading posts in the heart of the country, some of
which the voyageurs still call by their original
names; such as Fort Dauphin, Fort Bourbon,
and others.
The conquest of that province opened a new
source of trade to British enterprize; and while
the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company fancied
their charter had secured them in the undisturbed
possession of their monopoly, an active and enterprising rival was gradually encroaching on their
territories, and imperceptibly undermining their
influence with the Indians; I allude to the North-
West Fur Company of Canada, which originally
consisted of a few private traders, but subsequently became the first commercial establishment in British America.
It is not here necessary to enter into a detail of
the formation and increase of this Company. Its
first members were British and Canadian merchants; among whom Messrs. Rocheblave, Fro-
bisher, Fraser, M'Tavish, Mackenzie, and M'Gil-
livray, were the most prominent. Their clerks were INTRODUCTION.
chiefly younger branches of respectable Scottish
families, who entered the service as apprentices
for seven years; for which period they were allowed one hundred pounds, and suitable clothing.
At the expiration of their apprenticeship they
were placed on yearly salaries, varying from eighty
to one hundred and sixty pounds, and according
to their talents were ultimately provided for as
partners; some, perhaps, in a year or two after
the termination of their engagements; while others
remained ten, twelve, or sixteen years in a state
of probation.
This system, by creating an identity of interest,
produced a spirit of emulation among the clerks
admirably calculated to promote the general
good; for, as each individual was led to expect
that the period for his election to the proprietory
depended on his own exertions, every nerve was
strained to attain the long-desired object of his
Courage was an indispensable qualification
not merely for the casual encounters with the Indians, but to intimidate any competitor in trade
with whom he might happen to come in collision. X
Success was looked upon as the great criterion of
a trader's cleverness; and provided he obtained
for his outfit of merchandise what was considered
a good return of furs, the partners never stopped
to inquire about the means by which they were
The Hudson's Bay Company, on the contrary,
presented no such inducements to extra exertion
on the part of its officers. Each individual had a
fixed salary, without any prospect of becoming
a proprietor; and some of them, whose courage
was undoubted, when challenged to single combat
by a Nor-Wester, refused ; alleging as a reason,
that they were engaged to trade for furs, and not
to fight with fellow-subjects !
Independently of the foregoing circumstances,
the North West Company, in the selection of its
canoe-men, or, as they are called, engage's, had
another great advantage over its chartered rival.
These men were French Canadians, remarkable
for obedience to their superiors; and whose skill
in managing canoes, capability of enduring hardship, and facility of adapting themselves to the
habits and peculiarities of the various tribes, ren-
*tiL -iK-vii^ Art—fW INTRODUCTION
dered them infinitely more popular in the eyes of
the Indians than the stubborn, unbending, matter-
of-fact Orkney men, into whose ideas a work of
supererogation never entered.*
The diminished amount of their imports, joined
to the increased demand of goods from their factories, at length opened the eyes of the Hudson's
Bay directors to the success of their formidable
opponents, and induced them to attempt, when
too late, to arrest their career. By their charter
they now laid claim to the exclusive privilege of
trading, not merely on the English River and its
various branches, but also on the Saskachawan,
Red River, and all the other streams which empty
themselves into the great Lake Winepic, the
waters of which are carried to Hudson's Bay by
the rivers Nelson and Severn.
This territorial claim, unsupported by any physical power, had but little weight with their persevering rivals. They were far beyond the reach
of magisterial authority; and an injunction could
* The chief part of the boatmen and several of the officers
of the Hudson's Bay Company were, formerly, natives of the
Orknej Islands.
4 Xll
not be easily served, nor obedience to it enforced,
in a country fifteen hundred or two thousand miles
beyond the limits of any recognised jurisdiction.
After establishing opposition trading posts adjoining the different factories of the Hudson's
Bay Company in the interior, the indefatigable
North-Westers continued their progress to the
northward and westward, and formed numerous
trading establishments at Athabasca, Peace River,
Great and Lesser Slave Lakes, New Caledonia,
the Columbia, &c.; to none of which places did
the officers of the Hudson Bay attempt to follow
them. By these means the North-West Company
became undisputed masters of the interior. Their
influence with the natives was all-powerful: and
no single trader, without incurring imminent
danger from the Indians, or encountering the risk
of starvation, could attempt to penetrate into
their territories.
A few independent individuals, unconnected
with either company, the chief of whom was Mr.
John Jacob Astor, a wealthy merchant of New
York, still carried on a fluctuating trade with the
Indians,  whose   lands   border Canada and  the INTRODUCTION.
United States; but their competition proved injurious to themselves, as prices far above their value
were frequently given to the natives for their
With the interior thus inaccessible, and the
confines not worth disputing, Mr. Astor turned
his thoughts to the opposite side of the American
continent; and accordingly made proposals to the
North-West Company to join with him in forming
an establishment on the Columbia River. This
proposition was submitted to the consideration of
a general meeting of the wintering proprietors;
and, after some negociations as to the details, rejected.
Mr. Astor therefore determined to make the
attempt without their co-operation ; and in the
winter of 1809 he succeeded in forming an association called the " Pacific Fur Company," of
which he himself was the chief proprietor. As
able and experienced traders were necessary to
ensure success, he induced several of the gentlemen connected with the North-West Company to
quit that establishment and join in his speculation.    Among these was Mr. Alexander M'Kay, XlV
an old partner, who had accompanied Sir Alexander Mackenzie in his perilous journey across
the continent to the Pacific Ocean.
It was intended in the first instance to form a
trading establishment at the entrance of the Columbia, and as many more subsequently on its
tributary streams as the nature and productions
of the country would admit. It was also arranged
that a vessel laden with goods for the Indian
trade should sail every year from New York to
the Columbia, and after discharging her cargo at
the establishment, take on board the produce of
the year's trade, and thence proceed to Canton,
which is a ready market for furs of every descrip^
tion. On disposing of her stock of peltries at
the latter place, she was to return to New York
freighted with the productions of China.
The first vessel fitted out by the Pacific Fur
Company was the Tonquin, commanded by Capt.
Jonathan Thorne, formerly a lieutenant in the
service of the United States. She sailed from
New York in the autumn of 1810, and had on
board four partners, nine clerks, with a number of
mechanics and voyageurs, with a large and well INTRODUCTION.
assorted cargo for the Indian and Chinese trades.
Much a,bout the same period a party under the
command of Messrs. W. P. Hunt, and Donald
Mackenzie, left Saint Louis on the Missouri, with
the intention of proceeding as nearly as possible
by Lewis and Clarke's route across the continent
to the mouth of the Columbia. This party consisted, besides the above gentlemen, who were
partners, of three clerks, and upwards of seventy
The following year, 1811, another vessel, the
Beaver, of four hundred and eighty tons, commanded by Captain Cornelius Sowles, sailed for
the Columbia. She had on board one partner,
six clerks, and a number of artisans and voyageurs, with a plentiful supply of every thing
that could contribute to the comfort of the crew
and passengers.
The exaggerated reports then in circulation relative to the wealth to be obtained in the Columbia, induced merchants of the first respectability
to solicit for their sons appointments in the new
Company; and many of their applications were
unsuccessful. The Author, who was at this period XVI
in New York, captivated with the love of novelty,
and the hope of speedily realising an independence in the supposed El Dorada, exerted all
his influence to obtain a clerkship in the Company.
He succeeded, and was one of those who embarked on board the Beaver.
With what success his golden anticipations
were crowned, together with all his 1 travels'
history," will be amply detailed in the following
Narrative. _
Singularly luminous appearance of the ocean—The Equator—
Magellanic clouds—Falkland Tsland—Storm, and loss of
two men—Cape Horn—Dreadful storm—Island of Juan
Fernandez and Massafuero—Trade winds in the Pacific—
A shark—Arrival at Sandwich Islands.    ...        1
Whoahoo—Visit from a chief—Nocturnal excursion—King
and queens—invasion of the ship—White men—Gardens
—Foot race, and summary justice—Throwing the spear—
Royal residence, and body guard—Mourning for a chief's
wife—Billy Pitt, George Washington, &c.     .        .        21
Tamaahmaah—The Dooranee—Curious custom—Fickleness
in dress —Character of natives—Important position, of the
islands—Cow hunting—Complete our supplies—Take a
number of natives—Departure—New discovery—Arrival
at the Columbia.   .     ||||      .....        46
VOL. I. b xvm
Account of the Tonquin—Loss of her chief mate, seven men,
and two boats—Extraordinary escape of Weekes-—Erection
of Astoria—Mr. Thompson of the N. W. Company—Arrival
of Messrs. Hunt and Mackenzie, and sketch of their journey
overland.        ........    68
|j       CHAPTER V.
Particulars of the destruction of the Tonquin and her crew—Indians attack a party ascending the river—Description of
fort, natives, and the country.     ~ |^;     ...        88
Departure from Astoria—Description of our party, lading
&c.—Appearance of river and islands—Fleas and musquitoes—First rapids, dangerous accident—Indian cemetery—
Ugly Indians—Gibraltar—Cape Horn—The narrows and
falls—Change in the appearance of the country—Attempt
at robbery—Mounted Indians.        .        .        .        .107
Party commence eating horses—Remarkable escape from a
rattlesnake—Kill numbers of them—Arrive among the Wallah Wallah tribe—Description of the country—The Pierced
nose Indians—Author's party proceeds up Lewis River—
Purchase horses for land-travelling—Prickly pears—Awkward accident—Leave the canoes, and journey inland. 127
Author loses the party—Curious adventures, and surprising
escapes from serpents and wild beasts during fourteen days CONTENTS.
in a wilderness—-Meets with Indians, by whom he is hospitably received, and conducted to his friends      .     .     144
Remarkable case of Mr. Pritchard, who was thirty-five days
lost—Situation of Spokan House—Journey to the Flathead lands, and description of that tribe—Return to Spokan
House—Christmas day—Horse-eating—-Spokan peculiarities—Articles of trade—A duel. .        .        .        ] 68
Execution of an Indian for robbery—War between Great
Britain and the Ilnited States—Dissolution of the Pacific
Fur Company—Author joins the North-west Company, and
proceeds to the Rocky Mountains—Meets a party, and returns to the sea—Robbery of goods, and successful stratagem
to recover the property—Attack at night—Dog-eating—
Author and three men pursued by Indians — Narrow
escape.     L;:^y     .......     185
Author proceeds to Oakinagan, and thence to the Flat-heads,
where he passes the winter—Cruel treatment of the Black-
feet prisoners by the Flat-heads—Horrible spectacle—Buffalo the cause of war between the two tribes—Women-
Government—Peace and war chiefs—Wolves—Anecdote
of a dog—Syrup of birch—Surgical and medical knowledge
of Flat-heads—Remarkable cure of rheumatism—Their ideas
of a future state; and curious tradition respecting the
beavers—Name of Flat-head a misnomer—A marriage. 209
Effect of snow on the eyes—Description of a winter at Oakinagan—News from the sea—Capture of Astoria by the Ra- XX
coon sloop of war—Offer of Chinooks to cut off the British
—A party attacked; Mr. Stewart wounded ; two Indian s
killed—Arrival of Mr. Hunt—Shipwreck of the Lark—
Massacre of Mr. Read and eight of his men—Extraordinary
escape of Dorrien's widow and children        .        .        237
Arrival of the Isaac Tod—Migs Jane Barnes, a white woman
—Murder of one of our men by Indians—Trial,and execu-
tion of the murderers—Death of Mr. Donald M'Tavish
and five men . 258
Sketch of the Indians about the mouth of the Columbia—Process of flattening the head—Thievish disposition—Treatment of their slaves—Suggestions to the missionary societies—Dreadful ravages of the small-pox—Jack Ramsay—
Their ideas of religion—Curious superstition—Marriage
ceremonies—Anecdote—Aversion to ardent spirits—Government—War—Arms and Armour—Canoes and houses
—System of cooking — Utensils— Gambling — Haiqua —
Quack doctors—Mode of burial     ....     274
Voyage to the interior-—Party attacked, and one man killed—
Arrive at Spokan House—Joy of the Indians at our return—
The chief's speech—Sketch of Mr. McDonald—Duel prevented between him and a chief—Kettle Indians, their surprise at seeing white men—Curious account of an hermaphrodite chief—Death of Jacques Hoole •        .     306 SIX  YEARS'   RESIDENCE
Singularly luminous appearance of the ocean—The Equator—
Magellanic clouds—Falkland Islands—Storm, and loss of
two men—Cape Horn—Dreadful storm—Islands of Juan
Fernandez and Massafuero—Trade winds in the Pacific—
A shark—Arrival at Sandwich Islands.
On Thursday the 17th of October, 1811, we
sailed from New York, with a gentle breeze
from the northward, and in a few hours lost
sight of the high, lands of " Never Sink." Our
cabin passengers were, Messrs. Clarke, Clapp,
Halsey, Nicolls, Seton, Ehninger, and self; with
Captain Sowles, and Messrs. Rhodes, Champe-
nois, and Dean, officers of the ship.
VOL.   I. 9
Nothing particular occurred until the night
of the 7th of November, when we were gratified
with observing the ocean assume that fiery appearance mentioned by several of our circumnavigators ; to account for which has not a
little perplexed the most erudite inquirers into
marine phenomena. During our passage through
these liquid flames we had what sailors term a
" smacking breeze " of eight knots. The captain declared that he had never witnessed so
luminous an appearance of the sea ; and so great
was the light afforded by the waves, that we
were thereby enabled to peruse books of a moderate sized print!
On the following day, the 8th, we made the
Cape de Verds, at which place it was the captain's intention to stop for a day or two ; but
the wind being favourable he relinquished the
idea, and kept under way. We had fine gales
and pleasant weather until the 17th, on which
day we crossed the Equator, in longitude 30°
west, with a light northerly breeze, which on
the following day subsided into a dead calm:
this calm continued eight days, during which
period we did not advance ten miles.
On the 26th a smart breeze sprang up, which
drove us on nobly at the rate of from seven to THE  EQUATOR MAGELLANIC   CLOUDS.
ten knots an hour. The 28th we spoke a Portuguese brig bound from Rio Grande to Per-
nambuco. The captain and crew of this vessel
Were all negroes, the lowest of whom was six
feet high. We inquired from the sable commander what was his longitude; but he could
not give us any information on the subject!
After setting this unfortunate navigator right
we pursued our course ; and the wind still continuing fresh, we were quickly emancipated from
the scorching influence of a vertical sun.
On the 10th of December, in latitude 39°, we
spoke the American ship Manilla, Captain
M'Lean, on her return from a whaling voyage,
and bound to Nantucket, Rhode Island. The
captain came on board, and politely waited till
we had written a few letters, of which he
took charge. A few days after this we lost
sight of the celebrated Magellanic clouds, which
had been visible almost from the time we crossed
the Equator. That these nebulae should be so
immutable in their form and station, has been a
source of no trifling perplexity to our natural
philosophers, As so much ink has already been
consumed in speculations respecting these phenomena, and such various and conflicting opu
nions elicited from the most learned astronomers
of the last and present age, I conceive it would
be presumptuous in me to offer a single word on
the subject. These clouds are white, and in
shape nearly resemble an equilateral triangle,
rounded at each angular point.
On the 21st of December, at five A. m., land
was discovered on our weather bow. The captain pronounced it to be the coast of Patagonia;
and acting on this opinion, we kept along-shore,
in order to pass between the Falkland Islands
and the mainland ; but, strange to tell! at noon,
when he obtained a meridian observation, he
discovered that what he previously conceived to
be the Patagonian coast was in reality a part of
the Falkland Islands. To account for this mistake, it is proper to mention, that during the
preceding ten days the haziness of the weather
precluded the possibility of our obtaining either
a solar or lunar observation ; we therefore were
compelled to sail entirely by dead reckoning.
To this may be added, the effect of a strong-
westerly current: and had the obscure weather
continued but a day longer, the consequences
might have proved fatal.
As the wind was fair, and we had proceeded
so far, the captain abandoned his original intention, and determined to  sail round the eastern 1
extremity of the islands, and from thence to
shape his course for Cape Horn. We coasted
along the shore until the 24th, with light west-
erly and south-westerly breezes. Albatrosses,
penguins, and pintado birds were very numerous
around the ship. We shot several, and took
others with a hook and bait. One albatross
which we caught in this manner received but
little injury. It had an enormously large bill,
measured eleven feet from wing to wing when
extended, and kept a fierce English bull-dog at
bay for half an hour.
Although the Falkland Islands occupy in the
southern hemisphere a similar degree of latitude
to that of Ireland in the northern, still they
possess none of the characteristic fertility of the
| Emerald Isle." Of grass, properly so called,
there is none in those islands. In vegetable and
animal productions they are also deficient; and
the climate, generally speaking, is cold, variable,
and stormy: yet for such a place the British S-**j
empire was on the point of being involved in a &^a '^
war, the preparations for which cost the nation
some millions!# (l 7To - M t §j/fj
* It maybe remembered that our ejection from these islands
by Buccarelli, a Spanish officer, brought the celebrated Samuel
Johnson in collision with Junius.
I 6
On the 24th we took leave of the islands
with a gentle breeze right aft, but this changed
ere we had cleared the Sea-lion rocks to a
violent head-gale. All the lighter sails were
instantly furled ; in the hurry of doing which,
the gaskets or small ropes which bound the
flying jib gave way, and two sailors were sent
out to adjust it. While they were in the act
of performing this hazardous duty a tremendous
wave struck the forepart of the ship, carried
away the jib-boom, and with it the two unfortunate men who were securing the sail.
The ship was immediately hove to, and every
piece of timber, empty barrel, or hen-coop
on deck was thrown over to afford the unfortunate men a chance of escape. Unhappily all our efforts were unavailing; the
poor fellows remained in sight about ten minutes, when they disappeared amidst the raging
billows. When the accident occurred, two of
the ship's company jumped into the jolly-boat,
and with all the thoughtless good-nature of
sailors, were about cutting away the lashings to
go to the assistance of their ill-fated messmates,
when the captain observing them, ordered them
out of the boat, exclaiming, I D—n you, have
you a mind to go to hell also ?" 1
This was the most gloomy Christmas eve I
ever spent. The above melancholy accident had
thrown a cloud over every countenance j and
when to this was added the darkness of the cabin,
(the dead-lights being all in,) with the loud roaring of the storm, and the Alpine waves threatening every instant to ingulph us, our situation
may be more easily imagined than described.
Home, with all its mild and social endearments
at this season of general festivity, involuntarily
obtruded itself on our recollections. The half
expressed wish of being once more on terra firma
was unconsciously communicated from one to
another. But when we looked upon the weather-
beaten face of our veteran captain, and observed
the careless, if not contented air of his officers
and crew ; when we felt that they were enduring
the " peltings of the pitiless storm" unmoved
and without a murmur ; and when we reflected
on the immense expanse of ocean through which
we had to plough our way, and how fruitless
would be the indulgence of unmanly apprehension,—" to the wind we gave our sighs," ascended to the deck, and tendered our feeble assistance to the captain.
The gale continued with much violence until
the 29th j when, at two p.m.,  we made Staten
! 8
Land. At four p. m. we perceived the " snow-
topt" mountains of Terra del Fuego, rearing
their majestic heads above the clouds, and surveying with cold indifference the conflict of the
contending oceans that on all sides surround
them. As we approached Cape Horn the weather moderated, and the captain ordered all the
lighter masts and yards again to he rigged.
January 1st, 1812, at two p.m., on this day,
we bade adieu to the Atlantic, and sailed round
the long-dreaded southern extremity of America,
with a gentle breeze from the N.N.W., at the
rate of one mile per hour, and under top-gallant
studding-sails; a circumstance I believe unparalleled in the history of circumnavigation.
Toward evening the wind died away, and
Not a breeze disturb'd the wide serene.
Our entrance into the great Pacific was marked
by none of those terrible concussions of the
"vasty deep," the frequency of which have given
such afearful celebrity to Cape Horn. It seemed
as if the two mighty oceans had ceased for a
period their dreadful warfare, and mingled their
waters in the blessed calm of peace. On our
right rose the wild inhospitable shores of Terra
del Fuego ; on the left lay the low desert islands CAPE   HORN.
of Diego Ramarez; while all around myriads
of whales, porpoises, and other marine monsters,
emerging at intervals from the deep, and rolling
their huge bodies over the placid surface of the
surrounding element, agreeably diversified the
This calm was of short duration. On the following day the wind shifted once more ahead,
and drove us as far as 61° S. before we cleared
Cape Noire, the south-western point of Terra
del Fuego. During this period we had a succession of cold boisterous weather, and occasionally came in collision with large masses of
floating ice, from which we however escaped
without injury.
It is unnecessary to mention to my geographical readers that the period at which we doubled
the cape is the summer season in the high southern latitudes ; and if such be its attractions in
the balmy season of the year, what a region must
it be on the arrival of
Barren Winter, with his nipping colds !
We are informed by the early geographers,
that Terra del Fuego was so called from several
volcanoes which contrasted their vivid flames
with the surrounding icy wastes :   and from the 10
same authority we learn that Patagonia, which
is on the opposite side of the Straits of Magellan,
was inhabited by a race of people of immense
stature. Modern travellers, however, have obtained a more correct knowledge of that country,
and have reduced the wonderful altitude of the
supposed giants to the common standard of
humanity. Young travellers should not make
rash assertions, particularly if opposed to the received opinions of the world. I cannot however
avoid saying, that it is my belief there is no
better foundation for the volcanoes than there
was for the accounts of the giants. For several
days that we were in sight of this supposed land
of fire, we did not observe the smallest appearance of smoke; and our captain, who had made
many voyages round Cape Horn, declared he
had never perceived the slightest volcanic appearance in its neighbourhood.
On the 12th of January the wind veered in our
favour, and enabled us to proceed with brisk
southerly breezes till the 19th, on which day, in
lat. 52°, long. 79° W., nearly abreast of the Straits
of Magellan, we encountered a most dreadful
gale from the eastward, which lasted eighteen
hours. Our ship was a stout strong-built vessel,
notwithstanding which she sustained considerable DREADFUL   STORM.
damage. The bulwarks were completely washed
away ; the head carried off j the mainmast and
bowsprit sprung; and the foresail, which was
the only one set, was blown to a thousand
shivers. We shipped several heavy seas in the
cabin, and for some time all our trunks were
floating. The violence of the storm however
moderated on the 20th, and enabled us once
more to bring the vessel under control: had it
continued twelve hours longer, we should inevitably have been dashed to pieces on the iron-
bound shores of Terra del Fuego; for, at the
period the hurricane broke, we were not twenty-
five leagues from shore ; and owing to the unmanageable state of the vessel, the wind was
driving us with unopposed force in that direction. The billows made sad havock among the
remainder of our live stock. The sheep, poultry,
and most of our hogs, were carried away ; and a
few only of the last, fortunately for us, escaped
drowning, to die by the hands of the butcher.
On the 27 th a young man named Henry Wil-
lets, who had been engaged as a hunter in the
Company's service, died of the black scurvy, a
disease which it is supposed he had contracted
previous to his embarkation, as no other person
on board had any scorbutic affection.    As many 12
of my readers may not be acquainted with the
melancholy ceremony of consigning the body of a
fellow being to the deep, I shall mention it. The
deceased was enveloped in his blankets, in which
two large pieces of lead were sewed, and placed
immediately under his feet. The body was then
laid on a plank, one end of which rested on the
railing, and the other was supported by his comrades, the crew and passengers forming a circle
about it. The beautiful and sublime burial service of the Church of England was then read in
an audible and impressive manner by Mr. Nicolls,
who officiated as chaplain, after which the plank
was raised, the body -with the feet downwards
slided gently into the ocean, and in a moment
we lost sight of it for ever.
On the 4th of February, at two p. m., we made
the island of Juan Fernandez j and at six, that
of Massafuero, at the latter of which the captain
determined to touch for a supply of wood and
water. It was on the former island in the beginning of the eighteenth century, that Alexander
Selkirk, a Scotchman, resided for several years,
and from whose rude undigested story the ingenious De Foe, by adding the fictitious Friday,
&c. has given to the world the delightful romance of Robinson Crusoe. n
On the morning of the 5th we stood in to
about five miles off shore, when the ship was
hove to ; and at six o'clock we proceeded for the
island in the pinnace and jolly-boat, with twenty-
four empty water-casks. Our party, including^
mates, passengers, and sailors, amounted to
twenty-three. A heavy surf broke along the
beach, and after searching in vain for a fair
opening to disembark, we were reduced to the
disagreeable necessity of throwing ourselves
through the surf, and succeeded in accomplishing
a landing at the imminent risk of our lives.
After making a cheering fire to dry our clothes,
we divided into two parties, for the purpose of
exploring the island. Messrs. Clarke, Clapp,
and Seton, formed one; and Messrs. Nicolls,
Halsey, and myself, the other ; Messsrs. Rhodes,
Dean, and Ehninger, remained in the boats, and
at the landing-place, to superintend the watering
and fishing business.
The island appears to be one vast rock split by
some convulsion of nature into five or six parts.
It was through one of these chasms that our
party determined to proceed; and accoutred
each with a fowling-piece, horn, and pouch, we
set forward in quest of adventures. The breadth
of the  aperture at its entrance did not exceed EP
fifty feet, and it became narrower as we advanced : through the bottom meandered a clear
stream of fine water, from which the boats were
supplied, and which proved of great service to us
in the course of our excursion. We had not
proceeded more than half a mile, when we encountered so many difficulties in climbing over
steep rocks, passing ponds, waterfalls, Sec, that
we were compelled to leave our guns behind us.
Thus disembarrassed, we continued our course
for upwards of two miles up a steep ascent, following the different windings of the stream,
which, at intervals, tumbling over large rocks,
formed cascades which greatly impeded our
In proportion as we advanced the daylight
seemed to recede, and for some time we were
involved in an almost gloomy darkness, on account of the mountain tops on each side nearly
forming a junction. We now regretted the want
of our guns, as we observed a great number of
goats on the surrounding precipices; and the
dead bodies of several, in a more or less decayed
state, which we supposed must have fallen in
bounding from cliff to cliff, and ascending the
slippery and almost perpendicular hills among
which they vegetate.     A little farther on,  on MASSAFUERO.
turning the point of a projecting rock, we were
agreeably relieved by the bright rays of the sun,
which shone with great splendour on the chaotic
mass of rocks by which we were encompassed.
Reanimated by the presence of this cheering
object, we redoubled our pace, and were already congratulating ourselves with being near
the summit of the mountain, (which from the
height we had ascended must have been the
case,) when our progress was arrested by a
large pond, upwards of twenty feet deep; and
from the steepness of the rocks on each side,
it was impossible to pass it except by swimming. We therefore determined to return before night overtook us in such a dreary place;
and after encountering fifty hair-breadth escapes,
reached the watering place about seven o'clock,
hungry as wolves, and almost fatigued to death.
Here we found the other party, who had arrived
a short time before us. Messrs. Clarke and Clapp
shot two fat goats; and Mr. Dean, who with
three men remained in the boats, caught between
three and four hundred excellent fish, out of which
we succeeded in making an excellent supper.
Sixteen of the casks being now filled, Mr.
Rhodes judged it expedient to proceed with them
to the ship, and to return the following day for 16
the remainder. Ten were made fast to the pinnace, and six to the jolly boat, and at one o'clock,
a.m., on the morning of the 6th, after some
hours' hard rowing, we reached the ship amidst
a storm of thunder, lightning, and rain. During
that day it blew too fresh to permit the boats to
return, and we kept standing off and on till the
7th, when the breeze moderated, and enabled us
to bring off the remaining casks.
Massafuero rises abruptly from the sea, and
has but a narrow stripe of beach. It was formerly
well stocked with seals, but these animals have
been nearly destroyed by American whalers.
The goats are numerous, but too rancid to be
used for food, except in cases of necessity. The
island also appears to be devoid of wood. The
carpenter who went on shore for the purpose of
procuring some that could be used in building a
boat, found only a few pieces with a close grain,
very hard, and in colour resembling box: it was
fit only for knees. Mr. Clapp's party in their
tour, which was along the beach, round the
western extremity of the island, saw none of
this necessary article; and in the cleft of the
mountain through which our party proceeded,
we observed only a few trees of the kind found
by the carpenter,  growing among  inaccessible r-n-a
rocks. The most valuable production of Mas-
safuero is undoubtedly its fish, of which there is
a great variety. No one on board was able to
appropriate names to all we took. The smallest
is a species of whiting, and very delicate when
fried. The largest bears a strong resemblance
to cod, and by some of our people was deemed
superior. There are also several kinds of bass,
herrings, crabs, &c, We caught a few conger
eels; the most disgusting I ever saw: but, as a
counterbalance, the Massafuero lobster, for largeness of size, beautiful variety of colours, and de-
liciousness of taste, is, I believe, unrivalled.
With the exception of the fish, there is nothing
to induce a vessel to touch at this place, while
the fruitful island of Juan Fernandez is so near,
but a desire, as was our case, of concealing the
object of its voyage from the inquisitive and
jealous eye of the Spanish authorities, who were
stationed at the latter island.*
* While Spain held possession of South America, every
vessel touching at Juan Fernandez was subjected to' a rigor-,
ous search ; and from the number of our guns, joined to the
great quantities of warlike stores on board, the captain did
not deem it prudent to run the risk of an inquisitorial inspection. T should hope the officers of the Chilian republic stationed here have adopted a more liberal policy.
IB 18
A few days after leaving Massafuero we got
into the trade winds, which wafted us on at an
even steady rate, varying from four to seven
knots an hour. A curious incident occurred on
Sunday the 23rd of February, early on the morning of which day a hog had been killed; a practice which had been generally observed every
sabbath morning during the voyage.
After breakfast, the weather being calm, a
number of the crew and passengers amused
themselves by bathing around the vessel. Some
of them had returned on board, when a sailor on
the forecastle discovered a large shark gliding
slowly and cautiously under the starboard bow.
With great presence of mind, he instantly seized
a small rope called a clew-line, and with characteristic dispatch made a running knot, which he
silently lowered into the water: the monster unwarily passed the head and upper fin through the
noose; on observing which, the sailor jerked the
rope round the cat-head, and, with the assistance
of some of his messmates, succeeded in hauling it
on deck. In the mean time, those who were still
sporting in the water were almost paralysed on
hearing the cry of "a shark! a shark!" and not
knowing on which side of them lay the dreaded
danger, some made for the ship, and others swam SANDWICH   ISLANDS.
from it; each momentarily expecting to come in
contact with
His jaws horrific, arm'd with threefold fate,
when their fears were dissipated by announcing
to them the welcome intelligence of his caption.
On dissecting him, the entire entrails of the hog
which had been killed in the morning were
found in his belly! so that he must have been
alongside during the whole of the forenoon, and
was doubtless intimidated by the number of the
swimmers, from attacking any of them individuals.
On the 4th of March we crossed the Equator,
for the second time this voyage, with a brisk
south-easterly breeze ; and on the 25th, at daybreak, we made the island of Owhyee, the largest
in the group of the Sandwich Islands. It was
the captain's original intention to stop at this
place for his supplies; but on approaching Ka-
rakakooa bay we were informed by some natives,
who came off in canoes, that Tamaahmaah, the
king, then resided in Whoahoo. As we were
anxious, for several reasons, to have an interview
with his majesty, the captain relinquished the
idea of stopping here, and stood about for the
latter island.
As we sailed along Owhyee, with a fine east-
c 2 I
erly breeze, nature and art displayed to our view
one of the finest prospects I ever beheld. The
snow-clad summit of the gigantic Mouna Roah,
towering into the clouds, with its rocky and
dreary sides, presented a sublime coup d'wil, and
formed a powerful contrast to its cultivated base,
and the beautiful plantations interspersed along
the shore. Eternal winter reigned above, while
all beneath flourished in the luxuriance of perpetual summer. The death, too, of the ill-fated
and memorable Cook will attach a melancholy
celebrity to this island ; as it was here that that
great navigator was sacrificed in a temporary
ebullition of savage fury, and closed a brilliant
career of services, which reflect honour on his
country, and will perpetuate his name to the
latest posterity.
As the wind continued fresh, we soon cleared
Owhyee, and passed in succession the islands of
Mowee, Ranai, Morotoi, and in the evening
came in sight of Whoahoo. While we sailed
along this interesting group of islands several
Indians boarded us, from whom we purchased a
few hogs, some melons, plantains, &c. It being
too late to attempt anchoring this evening, we
stood off and on during the night. II
Whoahoo—Visit from a chief—Nocturnal excursion—King
and queens—Invasion of the ship—White men—Gardens
—Foot race, and summary justice—Throwing the spear—
Royal residence, and body guard—Mourning for a chief's
wife—Billy Pitt, George Washington, &c. .
On Thursday the 26th of March, at noon, we
came to anchor outside of the bar in Whytetee
bay, about two miles from shore, and nearly
abreast of a village from which the bay is named.
A short time after anchoring we were visited
by an eree or chief, named Tiama, in a double
canoe, who was sent by the king to learn from
whence the ship came, whither bound, &c.
After obtaining the necessary information, and
taking a glass of wine, he returned, and was accompanied by the captain, who went on shore in
order to acquaint his majesty with the particular
object he had in touching here. Tiama informed
us that a taboo* was then in force, which accounted for our not being visited by any of the
natives. At ten o'clock the captain came back
with Tiama. He had met with a favourable re-
* See Cook, Vancouver, &c. 9.9.
ception from Tamaahmaah, who promised to expedite his departure as soon as possible.
Mr. Nicolls observing the chief preparing to
return, and being impatient to go on shore, proposed  that  the   passengers  should   accompany
him : this was opposed by others ;   upon which
it was put to the vote, when four appearing in
its favour,  the motion was of course   carried.
The ayes were Messrs. Nicolls,  Clapp,  Halsey,
and myself:   the minority chose to remain on
board.    The weather was calm,  and we took
with us a couple of flutes.    Our canoe   went
on briskly until we passed the channel of the
bar, when a most delightful nocturnal prospect
opened on us.    The  serenity  of the sky,  and
the brightness of the moon enabled us to discern objects distinctly on shore.     The  village
*S of Whytetee,   situated  in  an   open   grove  of
cocoa-nut trees, with the hills rising gently in
the   rear,   presented   a   charming   perspective
by moonlight,  while the solemn stillness of the
night,  interrupted   at   intervals by the  hoarse
murmurs of the surges, as they broke over the
bar, rendered the scene  in the highest degree
romantic.    On landing we found the beach covered with a concourse of natives, whom   the
sound of our flutes had attracted thither : they
1 1
came pressing on us in such crowds, that were it
not for the chief's authority, we should have had
considerable difficulty in forcing a passage through
them. About midnight we reached the village,
and Tiama conducted us to his house, where we
experienced a hospitable reception from his fa«
mily, which consisted of three strapping wives,
two handsome daughters, and a brother, about
twenty years of age. A young pig lost its life
by our arrival, on which, with some cocoa-nuts
and bananas, we made an excellent supper.
Tiama's brother was our major domo: he attached
himself particularly to Nicolls, who called him
Tom ; and as a compensation for his trouble and
obliging attention to us, made him a present
of his stockings, which, unfortunately for poor
Tom, Were silk ones. He was so proud of the
gift, that he immediately put them over his olive-
coloured calves, and without any shoes, he continued walking and working about the house:
this was usage to which silk stockings were not
accustomed, and the consequence was that before
morning their soles had vanished. Our repast
being finished, the chief ordered a bevy of young
females, who since our arrival had been hovering
about the house, to entertain us with one of their
native airs: they at once complied, and having 11
formed themselves into a semicircle, sang in
rather an harmonious manner : their languishing
eyes, and significant pauses, evidently showed,
without the aid of an interpreter, that the subject was amatory. This over, Tom conducted
us to a neat lodge which Tiama had allotted for
our use, and in which we enjoyed the remainder
of the night in undisturbed repose on soft beds
of island cloth.
On the following morning we arose early, and
took a refreshing walk on the sea-shore, after
which we returned to the ship in Tiama's canoe.
Our appearance was a subject of merriment to
those on board.   One bare-leerg-ed, another with-
DO        *
out his cravat, the coat of a third closely buttoned up to conceal the absence of his vest; all
in fact lighter than when we set out; but nothing was purloined. We had been hospitably
entertained by the chieftain and his family; gratitude demanded a return, and as we had omitted
to furnish ourselves with trinkets, we could only
supply the deficiency by parting with a portion
of our least useful clothing.
As the taboo had ceased to operate this day,
we found the vessel crowded with natives bartering their produce with our people. At noon we
were honoured by a visit from their majesties, ta
the king, and four queens, attended by Krimacoo,
the prime minister, and several of the principal
chiefs, together with Messrs. Maninna and Hair- <
bottle, two white men; the former a Spaniard,
who held the office of chief interpreter to the
king, and the latter an Englishman, and head
pilot of his majesty's fleet.
The king and queens came in a large double
canoe, which was formed by lashing two canoes
together, separated by bars of two and a half feet
in length from each other. Each canoe had fourteen chosen men. On the bars was raised a kind
of seat on which the queens reposed, and above
all was placed an arm-chest well stored with
muskets, on which the king
Above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Sat like—a tailor.
Immediately before his majesty was a native who
carried a handsome silver-hilted hanger, which
was presented to him by the late emperor of
Russia, and which on state occasions he had
always carried before him, in imitation as we
supposed of European sword-bearers. Behind
the royal personage sat another native who carried a large and highly-polished bowl of dark- f
brown wood, into which his majesty ever and
anon ejected all his superabundant saliva.
After he had arrived on the deck, Tamaah-
maah shook hands in the most condescending
manner with every one he met between the cabin
and the gang-way, exclaiming to each person,
" Aroah, Aroah nuee" (I love you, I love you
much.) There was a degree of negligent simplicity about his dress, which strongly characterised the royal philosopher. His head was crown-
ed with an old woollen hat; the coat was formed
of coarse blue cloth in the antique shape, with
large metal buttons ; the waistcoat, of brown
velvet, which in its youthful days had been
black: a pair of short, tight, and well-worn
velveteen pantaloons displayed to great advantage coarse worsted stockings and thick-soled
shoes, all admirably adapted for the tropics;
while his shirt and cravat, which had formerly
been white, seemed to have had a serious misunderstanding with their washerwoman. Such,
gentle reader, was the costume of Tamaahmaah
the First, king of the Sandwich Islands, hereditary prince of Owhyee, and protector of a
confederation of escaped convicts from New
South Wales!" #
* Tamaahmaah was hereditary king of Owhyee only;   he KING   AND   QUEENS.
The royal party remained on board to dine.
The king only sat at table, and was placed at
the right hand of the captain, with the attendant
who carried his saliva reservoir behind him.
He ate voraciously, and in a very commendable
manner   washed   down the  solids  with   a   fair
quantum of Madeira, to the virtues of which he
appeared by no means to be a stranger. On
filling the first glass he drank our healths individually ; after which he plied away nobly, and
apparently unconscious of the presence of any of
the company. He did not touch the port, but
finished between two and three decanters of the
Madeira. As the ladies are prohibited from
eating with the men, we were of course deprived
of the pleasure of their society at our repast;
but after we had quitted the table they were
graciously permitted to occupy our seats. Their
dinner had been dressed on shore by their own
cooks, and was brought by them on board; it
consisted of small raw fish, roasted dogs, and a
white mixture colled pooah, of the consistence of
flummery : this last they take by dipping the
two forefingers of the right hand into the dish
subsequently conquered all the other islands. A number of
convicts are at Whoahoo, who escaped from Botany Bay by
means of American vessels, and who reside here in security. 28
which contains the pooah, and after turning
them round in the mixture until they are covered
with three or four coats, they raise the hand,
and giving the fingers a dexterous twist, to shake
off the fag-ends, bring them forward rapidly to
the mouth, which is ready open for their reception, and by a strong labial compression, they
are quickly cleared of their precious burden!
But in plain, unadorned simplicity of dress, they
far exceeded their royal consort. It merely
consisted of a long piece of their country cloth
wrapped in several folds round the waist, and
reaching only to the knees, leaving the breasts
and legs exposed to the criticisms of amateurs in
female beauty; to this they occasionally add a
scarf of the same material, which is negligently
thrown over the shoulders, and falls behind►
They are very corpulent: the favourite measured nearly nine feet in circumference round
the waist; and the others were not much inferior in size. We may say of the royal taste,
They were chosen as we choose old plate,
Not for their beauty, but their.weight.
Still they possess mild engaging countenances,
with that " soft sleepiness of the eye" by which KING   AND   QUEENS.
Goldsmith distinguishes the beauties of Cashmere. Their conduct is under strict surveillance.
Mr. Hairbottle informed us, that a few days
previous to our arrival an intrigue had been
discovered between the favourite queen and one
of the king's body guard. As their guilt admitted of no doubt, the unfortunate paramour
was strangled on the same night; but as Tamaahmaah still cherished a lingering affection
for his frail favourite, he pardoned her, with
the short but pithy expression, " If you do it
During the afternoon the king employed himself in. taking the dimensions of the ship, examining the cabins, state-rooms, &c. Scarcely an
object escaped the royal scrutiny : observing Mr.
Seton writing, he approached him, and began
to examine the various little nic-nacs with
which the desk was furnished. Seton showed
him a handsome penknife of curious workmanship, containing a number of blades, not with an
intention of bestowing it: with this he appeared
particularly pleased, and putting it into one of
the pockets of his capacious vest, said, " Mytye,
nue nue mytie," (good, very good,) and walked
away. It was in vain for Seton to expostulate ;
his majesty did not understand English, and all t
entreaties to induce him to return the penknife
were ineffectual. On the following day, however, a chief brought Seton a handsome present from the king, of mats, cloth, and other
native productions, with two hundred fine cocoa-
In the course of the evening the queens played
draughts with some of our most scientific amateurs, whom they beat hollow; and such was
the skill evinced by them in the game, that not
one of our best players succeeded in making a
Late in the evening our illustrious guests took
their departure, accompanied by all their attendants ; but they had scarcely embarked in
their canoes when the ship was boarded on all
sides by numbers of women, who had come off
in small canoes paddled by men or elderly females, and who, after leaving their precious
cargo on deck, returned quickly to the island,
lest the captain should refuse his sanction to their
remaining in the vessel. They crowded in such
numbers about the crew as to obstruct the performance of their duty, and the captain threatened to send them all on shore in the ship's
boats if they did not behave themselves with
more   propriety.     This had the desired effect, WHITE   MEN.
and while they remained on board they gave no
farther cause for complaint.
On the   following   morning,   the   28th,   we
weighed anchor, and worked the ship a few miles
higher up, exactly opposite the village of Ho-
naroora, where the king resided.    We spent the
day on shore, at the house of a Mr. Holmes, a
white man, and a native of the United States,
by whom we were sumptuously entertained. He
had been settled here since the year 1793, and at
the period I speak of was, next to the king, the
greatest chief on the island.    He had one hundred   and   eighty servants,   or   under-tenants,
whom he called slaves, and who occupied small
huts in the immediate vicinity of his house.    He
had also extensive plantations on Whoahoo, and
on the island of Morotoi, from whence he derived
a  considerable income.    He was married to a
native wife, by whom he had several children.
The eldest was a most interesting girl, aged about
fifteen years, with a peculiarly soft and expressive  countenance.    Nature,  in her freaks, had
bestowed upon this island beauty an extraordinary profusion of hair, in which the raven tresses
of the mother were strangely intermingled with
the flaxen locks of the father.    She spoke tolerably good English, and always sat near him.    He
inn 32
appeared to watch her conduct with all the
parental solicitude of a man who, from long experience, well knew the danger to which she
was exposed from the general demoralization of
manners that prevailed about her. Mr. Holmes
is greatly respected by the natives, by whom he
is entitled Eree Homo, or the Chief Holmes.
As we met here several other respectable white
men, I shall mention their names ; and, first, Mr.
Maninna. This gentleman had been a Spanish
officer, and in consequence of having while stationed at Mexico killed a superior officer in a
quarrel, he fled to Californio, from whence he
escaped to the Sandwich islands, where, having
acquired the language with wonderful facility, he
was appointed to the office of chief interpreter.
He was a man of general information, spoke
French and English fluently, and from his easy
manners, and insinuating address, shortly became
a general favourite. He had built a handsome
stone house, the only one on the island, in which
he resided with his wife, who was the daughter
of a chief: her sister lived also in the same
house; and the busy tongue of scandal, which
even here has found an entrance, did not hesitate to say that the two sisters equally participated in his affections.    His drawing-room was S3P?«5!
<Jecorated with a number of Chinese paintings,
which he obtained from Canton, of the crucifixion, the Madonna, different saints, &c.; but
on removing a sliding pannel from the opposite
side, subjects of a far different nature were represented !
Mr. Davis, the king's gardener, was a Welshman, and at this period had been settled on the
island twelve years. He had also considerable
plantations, and had a native wife, who was a
most incontinent jade. He had just returned
from a distant part of the island, whither he had
been in pursuit of his faithless cara sposa, who
had eloped a few days before with one of her
native beaux. Poor Davis felt rather sore on
being bantered by old Holmes on this affair.
| Tam the strap," said he, "I cot her snug
enough to be sure with her sweetheart; but I
think she'll remember the pasting I gave her
all the tays of her life." We were informed
he might have easily parted from her, and procured a more suitable match, but he was unfortunately too much attached to her to think of
taking another.
Mr. Hairbottle, the chief pilot, is a native of
Berwick, and was formerly boatswain of an English merchant ship.    He had resided upwards of
i p
fourteen years on the different islands, and had
been married to a native wife, who was <lead for
some years. He was a quiet, unassuming old
man, whose principal enjoyments consisted in a
glass of rum grog and a pipe of tobacco.
Mr. Wadsworth, an American. This gentleman had been chief mate of a ship which had
touched here about six years before. Having
quarrelled with his captain, they separated, and
he took up his residence in the island. The
king, who gave particular encouragement to
white men of education to settle here, immediately presented Wadsworth with a belle brunette for a wife, together with a house and some
Here we also found a gentleman from New
York, under the assumed name of Cook ; but
who was recognized by Mr. Nicolls as a member of a highly respectable family in that city,
named S s.    He had, like Wadsworth, been
also chief officer of an American East Indiaman*
which had touched here about three months previous to our arrival; and in consequence of a
misunderstanding with the captain, he left the
ship, and took up his abode with Mr. Holmes.
On hearing of this circumstance, Tamaahmaah,
as an encouragement to his settling permanently
V f"l
on the island, gave him the daughter of a principal chief for a wife, some land, and a number
of hogs.    S s,  however, did not appear to
relish his situation : he had been too long accustomed to the refinements of civilization, at
once to adapt himself to Indian habits, and received with apathy the fond caresses of his olive-
coloured spouse. He expressed a desire to return in our ship, but the captain's arrangements
eowld not permit it.
While on this subject I may as well mention
that  the example  of Wadsworth   and   S s
seemed to be contagious; for a few days after
our arrival, Mr. Dean, our third officer, had a
serious altercation with the captain, which ended
in his quitting the ship ; and on its coming to
the king's knowledge, he sent for him, and told
him if he would remain, and take charge of his
fleet, he would give him a house and lands,
plenty of hogs, and a beautiful daughter of a
chief for a wife. Dean told him he had not yet
made up his mind on the subject, and requested
time to consider the offer. The king did not
object, and the interview ended. I believe however that Dean subsequently quitted the island,
and returned to New York.
Mr. Holmes gave us a plentiful dinner of roast
d 2 (
pork, roast dog, fowl, ham, fish, wine, and rum,
with a profusion of excellent tropical fruit. A
number of native servants attended at table, each
holding a napkin : they performed their duty in
a very expert manner, and appeared to be well
acquainted with all the domestic economy of the
table. Their livery was quite uniform, and consisted merely of a cincture of country cloth round
the waist, from which a narrow piece of the
same stuff passed between the legs, and was fastened to the belt, leaving the remainder of the
body totally uncovered ! Our noble commander
was vice-president, and undertook to carve the
dog; which duty he performed in a manner
quite unique. He was the only one of our party
who partook of it. The idea of eating so faithful an animal without even the plea of necessity,
effectually prevented any of us joining in this
part of the feast; although, to do the meat justice, it really looked very well when roasted.
The islanders esteem it the greatest luxury they
possess ; and no one under the dignity of an eree
of the first class is permitted to partake of this
delicious food. However singular their taste
may be regarded in this respect by modern civilization, my classical readers may recollect that
the ancients reckoned dogs excellent eating, par- WHITE   MEN.
ticularly when young and fat; and we have the
authority of Hippocrates for saying that their
flesh is equal to pork or mutton : he also adds,
that the flesh of a grown dog is both wholesome and strengthening and that of puppies relaxing. The Romans, too, highly admired these
animals as an article of food, and thought them a
supper in which the gods themselves would have
Independently of the white men whose names
I have mentioned, there were about fourteen
others, belonging to all nations, the majority of
whom were convicts who had effected their escape from Botany Bay, and were held in no
estimation by the natives. They are supremely
indolent, and rum and women seemed to constitute their only enjoyment.
On the 29th we made an excursion into the
interior with Davis. His gardens were extensive, and pleasantly situated at the foot of the
hills, between four and five miles from Hona-
roora. They were laid out with taste, and kept
in excellent order. Exclusive of the indigenous
productions of the country, with which they were
plentifully stocked, he planted a few years before
some Irish potatoes, and the crop more than
equalled his expectations.     We   also   observed go
some prime plantations of sugar cane. A few
of those we measured had fourteen feet eatable,
and were one foot in circumference, which, I am
informed, far exceeds the best Jamaica canes.
The climate of the Sandwich islands is, however,
more propitious to the growth of the cane than
that of the West Indies, at which latter place it
has, besides, many enemies to encounter which
are strangers to the islands in the Pacific; such
as monkies, ants, bugs, the blast, &c, one or
other of which often destroys the fairest hopes of
the planter. The islanders distil an inferior
spirit from it, which the resident white people
have dignified by the title of " country rum,"
It is weak, and has a smoky, insipid taste, and
does not produce intoxication except taken in
large quantities.
On our way back we visited the king's gardens,
which were contiguous to Davis's. They were
much more extensive than his, although far inferior in neatness, and contained nothing particularly deserving notice. Davis was the only
white man who superintended his own plantations : the others were left to the management of
their servants, and were seldom visited by the
proprietors; and as he was a good practical
agriculturist, his gardens were superior to any KING S GARDENS*
we saw on the island. In the course of this tour
we did not observe a spot that could he turned
to advantage left unimproved. The country all
around the bay exhibits the highest state of cultivation, and presents at one view a continued
range of picturesque plantations, intersected by
small canals, and varied by groves of cocoa-nut
trees ; the whole bounded on the back ground by
gently sloping hills, and in the front by the
ocean. We returned late in the evening, highly
delighted with our day's excursion, and sat down
to an excellent dinner prepared for us by the
worthy Cambrian, in whose hospitable mansion
we spent the night.
On the 30th we were present at a grand pedestrian racing match, between Krikapooree, the
king's nephew, and an American black named
Anderson, who was his armourer: the latter
won, after a well contested struggle. The racecourse presented a novel and striking appearance. At the upper end was erected a covered
platform about twenty feet from the ground, on
which the king sat cross-legged, and without any
covering whatever, save the waistband commonly worn by the natives: his guards armed
with muskets paraded around the platform -,
while on each side, and close to the guards, were BR
assembled an immense concourse of natives of all
classes, mingled together without any regard to
rank, age, or sex. The two favourite queens
were richly dressed : one wore a light-blue satin
gown, trimmed with broad gold lace j the other
had on a cream-coloured riding-habit of cassi-
mere, ornamented with silver lace, and a profusion of sugar-loaf buttons, &c. These dresses
were made for them in England, fitted them admirably, and set off their persons to great advantage. They walked through the crowd along
with several chiefs' wives, and seemed in a high
degree to enjoy the bustling scene before them.
Betting was very spirited on the issue of the
race. Money of course was out of the question;
but among the lower classes its place was supplied by axes, beads, knives, scissors, handkerchiefs, and various kinds of trinkets ; and among
the erees of the first and second grades we could
distinguish scarlet and blue cloths, silks, Chinese
shawls, calicoes, ribbons, &c. Several quarrels
occurred among the men, which were settled
a VAnglaise by the .fist. One of the natives had
a dispute about a bet with an Englsh sailor who
had been left here a short time before by his
captain for mutiny. The Indian felt he was
right,  and refused to yield to the chicanery of SUMMARY   JUSTICE.
the sailor, who, in order to intimidate him, drew
from his pocket a small pistol, which he cocked,
and presented in a menacing manner at the islander's breast, swearing if he did not submit he
would shoot him : this however was disregarded
by the other, who seemed determined not to
flinch; but the king, who had observed the
whole transaction from his elevated position,
ordered the sailor to be brought up to him, which
was instantly complied with. He then took the
pistol, and delivered it to one of his attendants
to be placed in the royal armoury ; and addressing the sailor, told him the only punishment he
should then inflict on him would be the forfeiture
of the pistol; but in case he ever offended in the
same manner again, he would have him put to
death. We were quite delighted with this summary administration of justice, for the sailor appeared to be a quarrelsome rascal, and bore an
infamous character among his associates.
After the race was over, several wrestling and
boxing matches took place, on which there was
also considerable betting. Some of our party
who were amateur pugilists declared their style
of hitting to be admirable; but as I unfortunately never studied the noble science of self-defence,   I  am  quite  incompetent  to   hazard an 42
opinion on the subject. I will however say,
that no unfair play was used, and that no blow
was struck while a man was down. At the
termination of these encounters a large space
was formed, for two natives to display their skill
in throwing the spear. A full account of this
wonderful performance is given in Cook's
voyages ; and I can only add, that the amazing
activity evinced in avoiding each other's weapons, by leaping to the right or left, or allowing
them to pass under their arms, between their
legs, &c.; and their surprising dexterity and
self-possession in a situation in which an European would be transfixed ere he had time to
look about him, must be seen to be credited.
This exercise forms the amusement of their
earliest years, and is the ne plus ultra of their
education. No islander can take a wife until he
is able to withstand the attacks of any old warrior whom the chief of his tribe may appoint to
try him ; so that this condemnation to celibacy,
among a people so notoriously amorous, contributes, I should imagine, more than any other
cause, to the wonderful perfection at which they
have arrived in this exercise.
In  front  of the  royal   residence  there  are
planted thirty- pieces of cannon ; fifteen on each MOURNING   FOR   A   CHIEF S   WIFE.
side; chiefly six and nine pounders. A body
guard of handsome athletic young men are stationed close to the house; two of whom are
placed as sentinels at the door, and are relieved
with as much regularity as at any garrison in
England. In the day-time their muskets generally remain piled before the door, but are taken
in at night. These gardes-du-corps have no
particular dress to distinguish them from civilians ; and after the amusements just mentioned
had ended, the king ordered them to go through
the manual and platoon exercises; which, considering the limited means they have had for
learning, they performed with tolerable precision.
Shortly after quitting this noisy and bustling
scene of mirth and festivity we were attracted
by the sounds of mourning voices to a large
house in a retired corner of the village; in
front of which sat eight women, in a circle, all
in a state of intoxication. At times their voices
died away to a low mournful tone ; when, suddenly changing, they vented the wildest and
most frantic cries, tearing their hair, beating their
breasts, and gnawing the ends of their fingers:
in the intervals they moistened their parched
throats from a bottle which was passed round 44
- a
from one to the other ; and after all had partaken of the libation they renewed their cries
with redoubled vigour. Their hanging breasts,
dishevelled hair, and fiery eyes, presented more
the appearance of furies than of human beings ;
and we were at first afraid to approach them,
apprehensive of an attack in the height of one of
their paroxysms. We were told, however, there
was no danger, and they would injure no one
save themselves. On inquiry, we ascertained
that the dead body of a chief's wife of the second
class lay in an adjoining house, and that these
women were her friends and relatives mourning
her death. This ceremony, although possessing
a degree of rude lachrymose comicality, had
nothing peculiarly interesting, and we quickly
left the scene.
Several of the chiefs have punctured on their
arms the names of celebrated English and American statesmen, captains of ships, &c. At the
race-course I observed Billy Pitt, George Washington, and Billy Cobbett, walking together in
the most familiar manner, and apparently engaged in confidential conversation; while, in
the centre of another group, Charley Fox, Thomas Jefferson, James Maddison, Bonaparte, and
Tom Paine, were to be seen on equally friendly ^
terms with each other* They seem to be proud
of these names, and generally prefer them to
their own. Krimacoo, the prime minister, is
called Billy Pitt, from the great influence- he
possesses. He is consulted by the king on all
subjects of importance ; and in cases of particular
emergency Mr. Holmes is sent for to give his
advice. I
Tamaahmaah—The Eooranee—Curious custom—Fickleness
in dress—Character of natives—Important position of the
islands—Cow hunting—Complete our supplies—Take a
number of natives—Departure—New discovery—Arrival
at the Columbia.
From this period until our departure we were
honoured with several visits from the royal
family, principally connected with the business
of procuring our supplies. The king was a
hard bargain maker, and although he had
several pipes of Madeira in his stores, he would
not barter a single article until he obtained
a quarter-cask of that wine, of which he was
passionately fond. He was by no means as
generous as many of his subjects, and he
seldom committed an act of liberality without
having a particular object in view. He had
upwards of forty small schooners built by
the natives, which, were quite useless to him
from their ignorance of navigation; and
when he made the presents which I have already mentioned to the officers who had quarrelled with their captains, he had in view their TAMAAHMAAH.
settling on the island, and availing himself of
their services in teaching the natives to navigate
these vessels. The taboos of Tamaahmaah were
often influenced by his dreams; one of which
gave rise, while we remained here, to an extraordinary proclamation, which ordered, that during the space of one day " no native should
leave the island; and that no dogs should bark,
hogs grunt, or cocks crow!" This whimsical
prohibition was strictly complied with by the
islanders; but I need scarcely state, that the
three last-mentioned classes of his majesty's subjects did not yield it the same ready obedience.
This was called a dreaming taboo, to distinguish
it from the established ones, which occur at
stated periods, and are regulated by the high
At this time Tamaahmaah had only three children living, two sons and one daughter. They
were rather homely in their appearance, and
afforded a bad specimen of royal beauty. The
eldest son was about twenty years of age, and
was called the Eooranee. He possessed considerable authority, and was more feared than his
father, though not so much beloved. The following anecdote will show the dread in which he
was held by the natives.    Some of the men en- IIS
gaged in the Company's employment had received permission to spend a day on shore: as
they did not return that night, I accompanied
Mr. Clarke the following morning in search of
them ; and after wandering about for some time,
we discovered the party descending a hill near
the village, each with a lass under his arm, their
hats decorated with flowers, ribbons, and handkerchiefs, and a fifer and fiddler at their head,
playing away merrily. They were all nearly
" half-seas over," and were on their way to the
ship when they perceived us. They insisted in
an humble good-natured manner on our taking
the lead; and as we were anxious to get them
on hoard, we accordingly joined them, and
marched on at their head. We had not proceeded far when the Eooranee met us, and he
appeared so much pleased with the procession,
that he fell into the ranks. As we approached
the wharf, several of the natives, who had been
drawn by the sound of the music to the party,
retired on seeing the young prince ; but one unfortunate rascal, who was quite drunk, annoyed
us as we passed him, by pushing us and pulling
our clothes ; and as the king's son was dressed
like an European, he treated him in the same
manner;   but   I   never   saw  consternation  so 3
strongly depicted as when the poor wretch
looked up, and beheld the frowning countenance
of the dreaded Eooranee : the effect was instantaneous ; he fell prostrate, as if thunderstruck,
and remained perfectly motionless until we lost
sight of him. We however did not part with
the prince until he had promised that no punishment should be inflicted on the offending
The male branches of the royal family are
held in peculiar veneration, more particularly
their heads. No individual, with the exception
of the domestics specially appointed for that
purpose, is permitted to touch that part of their
sacred person, or any covering that has ever
been on it, upon pain of death. My ignorance
of this law was near embroiling me in a serious
scrape. A few days after our arrival, while
strolling on the outskirts of the village, I observed an individual walking before me dressed
in a handsome green frock-coat, Well-made pantaloons, and Hessian boots, followed by a native
carrying the tail of a white cow, which he used
in driving away the flies that annoyed his master.
As I was given to understand that I had been
introduced to all the white men of respectability
on the island, I felt anxious to ascertain who this
VOL. I. E f!
I J'1
important personage was, and therefore took a
circuitous turn in order to have a front view
of him. It was the Eooranee. He called me
to him, and we sat down under the shade of
some plantain trees. He then began to examine
my clothes very minutely, and took off my hat,
which was a handsome one of Portuguese willow. While this examination was going on, I
felt a desire to look at his, which was of a peculiarly fine texture, and therefore uncovered the
head of his highness with as little ceremony as
he had observed towards me; but I had scarcely
touched the forbidden covering when I received
a warm soufflet on the right cheek from the attendant. Not knowing the cause of this aggression, I determined on instant retaliation, and
seizing a stone, was in the act of hurling it at
the fellow's head, when my arm was arrested by
the Eooranee, who begged of me, in broken
English, to desist, and at the same time turned
to his domestic, whom he reprimanded with
marks of evident displeasure, after which he ordered him to retire.
While this was going on, I observed Anderson
the armourer pass, to whom I related the circumstance. The king's son then spoke to him for
some time, after which Anderson told me that if ■■
u, ■
any islander had committed such an offence, instant death would have followed;  and added,
that the prince begged him to assure me that he
deeply regretted the conduct of his domestic, who
should have distinguished   between a stranger
and a native, and that he had dismissed him with
disgrace.     When   Anderson  had  finished,  the
Eooranee grasped my hand in the most friendly
manner; and as I felt satisfied with the explanation he had given, I returned its pressure with
equal warmth.   At this period the resident white
people looked to his succession with considerable
apprehension, as he was supposed to entertain
views hostile to their interests. They might have
heen led to form this conclusion from his distant
habits, and capricious tyranny towards his immediate followers; but I am happy to state, their
fears were groundless;  for on his accession to
the supreme  power  at  his  father's  death,   he
treated them with marked indulgence, and held
out the greatest encouragement to white people
to settle on the island.    The day after the circumstance above detailed, I met him near the
king's house in a state of nudity, conversing with
some of the guards,   and the same  evening  I
again saw him in the loose light dress of a West
India planter.    His father and himself were very
e 2 52
fickle in their clothing. I saw the old man one
day in the full dress of an English general, which
had been sent to him by his late majesty George
III. ; but he felt so awkward in the cocked-hat,
boots, &c. that he quickly got rid of them, and a
few hours afterwards we saw him lounging about
the village, sans hat, sans coat, sans shirt, sans culottes, sans every thing! On the death of the
old king the Eooranee succeeded by the title of
^•/Tamaahmaah the Second.* At the period of
our visit they knew nothing of the Christian religion ; and the white professors of it who were
resident among them, were badly calculated to
inculcate "its divine precepts. Since then, however, thanks to the indefatigable and praiseworthy exertions of the missionaries, this rude, but
noble-hearted race of people, have been rescued
from their diabolical superstitions, and the greater
part of them now enjoy the blessings of Christianity.
Cook, Vancouver, Perouse, and others, have
already written so ably on the manners, customs,
amusements, laws, religion, and natural productions of these islands, that I might very probably
* This unfortunate prince is the same who, with his young
queen, lately fell misjudged British hospitality,
joined to a climate to which they were unaccustomed.
pj^ <rw aCq~-—^<^—X~^~ /  | 77\ CHARACTER   OF   NATIVES.
subject myself to the charge of plagiarism, or
book-making, if I touched on them. To those
therefore who feel anxious for farther information on these subjects, I would recommend the
above authorities, in which they will have their
curiosity amply gratified.
The vice of thieving attributed to the male
inhabitants is rather exaggerated. It is certainly
true, that numbers of those who visit trading
ships are not scrupulous in appropriating to their
own use every trifling article on which they can
conveniently lay their hands ; but it should be
observed, they do not consider such abstractions
in the same light as if they robbed each other.
This circumstance I think it necessary to mention, without attempting to justify it; for were
we to consider all their petty thefts in the same
point of view that we are accustomed to regard
such offences in civilised countries, we should
form a very poor opinion of their honesty.
The women, too, have been generally accused
of lasciviousness ; but from what I saw, joined
to the information I obtained, I am induced to
think the charge too general. It must, indeed,
be admitted, that the deportment of those who
are in the hahit of frequenting trading ships is
not calculated to impress a stranger with a high 54
idea of their virtue: but why make the censure
general ? If a native of Owhyee were to form
his opinion of the morality of our countrywomen
from the disgusting conduct of the unfortunate
females who crowd our sea-ports and ships, I
should imagine he would entertain a very poor
estimate of English chastity. In the interior of
the islands, and at a distance from sea-ports, I
am informed that in the relative situation of
wife and mother, their conduct is irreproachable.
It is true, that in the places at which ships are
accustomed to touch, a universal depravity seems
to pervade all classes; for it is no uncommon
sight to see parents bring their daughters ; brothers their sisters ; and husbands their wives, to
earn the wages of prostitution. These vices
cannot, I fear, be totally eradicated ; but it is
pleasing to learn, that through the active agency
of the missionaries, their frightful predominancy
has been greatly diminished. In other respects,
the natives are brave, active, hospitable, true to
their word, confiding, cleanly in their domestic
economy, easily satisfied at their meals, obedient
to proper authority, excellent agriculturalists,
quick in learning, with an aptitude for improvement that is really astonishing; and on the
whole I would say, that their character presents
r ■MP
a fairer field for success to the exertions of the
moral cultivator than that of any untutored
people whom I ever met.
Recent events seem destined to place the
Sandwich Islands in a much more important
situation on the political map of the world, than
they occupied fifteen or twenty years ago. While
Spain had possession of Mexico, California, and
the southern continent, they were seldom visited
but by fur traders, for the purpose of refitting,
or obtaining fresh provisions; and were regarded
by the world more as objects of curiosity than as
places from which any political advantages were
likely to be derived. But now that the Mexicans and southern Americans have succeeded in
emancipating themselves from the slothful despotism of their ancient rulers, the native energies
of their character will shortly begin to develope
themselves ; and uncontrolled by the trammels
which so long fettered their commercial prosperity, a few years may see their fleets, in imitation of their bold and enterprising brethren of the
northern continent, ploughing their way through
the Pacific, and, in exchange for their precious
metals, bringing back to their country the luxurious productions of China and the Indies. The
Sandwich Islands are nearly   equidistant  from f
the western coast of Mexico and the eastern
boundaries of China, and consequently lie nearly
in the track of vessels passing between the two
continents. But the circumstance of all others
calculated to raise them to the highest degree of
importance, is the stupendous enterprise lately
set on foot of forming a junction between the
Pacific and Atlantic, by cutting a canal through
the Isthmus of Darien. If this magnificent
undertaking succeed, the long and dangerous
voyages round Cape Horn, and the Cape of
Good Hope will be avoided, and comparatively
short and safe passages made to the western
coast of America, Japan, China, our East Indian
possessions, &c.
In the course of these voyages, particularly to
the East, the Sandwich Islands must be touched
at for fresh supplies, or, at least, closely passed.
In either case, they will become an important
acquisition to a maritime power. With the assistance of science, they can be rendered impregnable ; and when we take into consideration their
great natural capabilities of defence, their noble
harbours, productive soil, and temperate climate,
joined to the inoffensive deportment of the inhabitants, we may safely conclude that their present
state of independence will not be of long dura- COW   HUNTING.
tion. It is probable they will ultimately become
tributary to Great Britain, Russia, or America;
and in the event of war between any of these nations, the power in possession of the islands, from
their commanding position, will be able, during
the continuation of hostilities, not only to con-
troul the commerce of the Pacific, but also neutralise, in a great degree, the advantages likely
to be derived from the Grand Junction Canal.
Several of our domestic quadrupeds are now
reared on the islands; such as cows, sheep, goats,
and horses. The last are brought from California,
and are a small hardy race. The cows at Woahoo
are the descendants of those left there by our
navigators, and are perfectly wild. We purchased two of them from the king; and he ordered upwards of one hundred men of his body
guard, with several chiefs, to proceed to the place
where the animals were grazing, to assist us in
catching those we had bought. It was situated
a few miles from the village, in a handsome valley, studded with cocoa-nut trees. A couple of
hundred additional natives volunteered to join us.
They proceeded cautiously in the first instance,
until they surrounded the herd, which they succeeded in driving to an inclosure. One more expert than the rest then advanced, under the cover
ell I tf
; I
of some trees, with a long rope, at the end of
which was a running noose. Having quietly
waited for some time until a proper opportunity
offered, he at length threw the rope, and succeeded in catching a young cow. On feeling the
noose round her neck, she became quite furious,
and made a desperate plunge at him, which he
skilfully avoided by running up a cocoa-nut tree;
having previously fastened one end of the rope
round the trunk. We had intrenched ourselves
with the chiefs behind a stone wall, close to the
herd ; and being apprehensive that the captive
might break loose, we fired, and shot her. Upon
hearing the report, the herd rushed furiously out
of the inclosure, and ran at the natives ; but as
they had anticipated such a result, each man
secured a retreat behind a tree; and in a moment
after the furious animals had gained their freedom
three hundred cocoa-nut trees might have been
seen, each manned with a native, who looked
down with the full confidence of security on the
enraged herd below. Finding it impossible to
catch another, we were obliged to fire among
them, and killed a second. A few shots without
ball were then discharged, which drove them to
their old pasture, and enabled the natives to descend.    The king preserved these cattle for the ENLISTMENTS.
purpose of bartering with ships touching there
for provisions; and though he killed none for
the royal table, he very condescendingly accepted
from us a present of a sirloin.
As we intended to engage some of the natives
for the Company's service at the Columbia, and
as the captain also required some to assist in
working the ship, (several of the crew being indifferent sailors,) he demanded permission from
Tamaahmaah to engage the number that should
be deemed necessary: this was at once granted ;
and Messrs. Holmes and Maninna were requested to act as recruiting sergeants on the occasion, which duty they kindly undertook to
perform. On the intelligence being announced,
the vessel was crowded with numbers, all offering to " take on." With the assistance of the
above gentlemen we selected twenty-six of the
most able-bodied of these volunteers: sixteen
for the Company's service, and ten for the ship's.
We agreed to pay each man ten dollars a month,
and a suit of clothes annually. An old experienced islander, who was called Boatswain Tom,
and who had made several voyages both to Europe and America, was engaged to command
them: he got fifteen dollars a month, and was
to have the sole Gontrol of his countrymen.    Se- 60
veral of the females also volunteered to accompany us, but we were obliged to decline their
kind offers. Mr. Wadsworth, of whom I have
already spoken, was also engaged for the Company's service, to act as an officer on sea or
land, as occasion should require. He brought
his lady with him, not being accustomed, as he
declared, to live in a state of single blessedness.
On the 5th of April we got all our supplies on
board. They consisted of sixty hogs, two boats
full of sugar-cane to feed them, some thousand
cocoa-nuts, with as much bananas, plantains,
taro, melons, &c, as could be conveniently
stowed in the ship. The same evening we took
leave of the king and royal family, and bade
adieu to our kind white friends ; after which we
embarked; and on the following morning, Tuesday, April the 6th, we weighed anchor, and set
sail for the Columbia. Krikapooree, the king's
nephew, and several young chiefs, accompanied
us three or four leagues from land, and took
leave of us with tears in their eyes. The addition we received to our numbers in live stock,
joined to the cargo of fruit, &c, lumbered our
deck greatly, and annoyed the crew in working
the ship. When any number of the natives were
wanted to perform a particular duty, word was mm
passed to Bos'n Tom; who, to do him justice,
betrayed none of the softer feelings of national
partiality to his countrymen. The moment he
gave " the dreadful word " it was followed by a
horrid yell; and with a rope's end he laid on the
back and shoulders of every poor devil who did
not happen to be as alert as he wished, accompanied by a laughable melange of curses in
broken English, and imprecations in his own
We had tolerably good easterly breezes, and
nothing particular occurred until the 18th, at
four p.m., when a man ahead cried out " Land
on the weather-bow!" As we were then not
more than half way between the islands and the
American continent, we eagerly rushed on deck
to feast our eyes with a view of our new discovery.
After looking at it for some time very attentively through his glass, the captain pronounced
it to be an island, with a dark-brown soil, and
apparently destitute of vegetation ; and added,
with marks of evident exultation, that he always
felt certain we should fall in with unknown
islands in these latitudes, (about 35° north,) and
in that expectation had diverged materially from
the Usual course   of vessels proceeding to the 62
north-west coast. We now sounded, but got no
bottom with one hundred fathoms : and while
this was going on we were all busy in forming
conjectures respecting this terra incognita. The
first thing to be decided on was the name. One
thought that Mr. Astor, being the owner of the
ship, and the founder of the company, had the
best claim, and therefore moved that it be called
ff Astor's Island :" this having been seconded,
an amendment was moved by another person,
who argued that the ship had a prior right to
the honour, and stated he would have it called
" Beaver Island :" the amendment having been
seconded, was about to be put, when the captain
declared that, fond as he was of his ship, and
highly as he respected his owner, he thought the
claims of their immortal president superior to
either, and that he would therefore, without
consulting the wishes of any one, call it " Mad-
dlson's Island." Although there were few admirers of the " immortal " president on board,
the captain's decision settled the controversy ;
for on such occasions he is always the high priest.
Mr. Clarke said, if it proved any way fruitful,
he would colonize it, and appoint Wadsworth,
with his island beauty, king . and queen. Some
hoped the inhabitants would  not be afraid of
I* mm
white men ; while others cursed the inhabitants, -
particularly the females, and expressed a wish
that the new discovery would contain some cooling simples. In the mean time, we kept standing under easy sail for this unknown paradise;
but in proportion as we advanced the hills
seemed to ascend, and blend their craggy sum*
mits with the passing clouds : a pale bright opening appeared to divide the land ; and the sad
conviction was at length forced on us, that Mad-
dison's Island was, like his immortality, based
on a nebulous foundation : in fact, it turned out
what sailors call " a cape fly-away island ;" and
all our glorious speculations dissolved literally
in nubibus.
This disappointment chagrined us much ; but
none felt it more sensibly than the captain, who
was quite chapfallen on the occasion. However,
on the 1st of May, we made the real terra firma,
in lat. 41° N., Cape Orford in sight. We
coasted along-shore until the 5th, when we had
the happiness of beholding the entrance of the
long-wished-for Columbia, which empties itself
into the Pacific in lat. 46° 19' N., and long.
120° W. Light baffling winds, joined to the aa^
captain's timidity, obliged us to stand off and'on
until the 8th, on which dav we descried a white
<r I
flag hoisted on Cape Disappointment, the northern
extremity of the land at the entrance of the river.
A large fire was also kept burning on the cape
at night, which served as a beacon. A dangerous bar runs across the mouth of the Columbia ;
the channel for crossing it is on the northern side
close to the cape, and is very narrow, and from
thence to the opposite point on the southern side,
which is called Point Adams, extends a chain
or reef of rocks and sand-banks, over which the
dreadful roaring of the mighty waters of the
Columbia, in forcing their passage to the ocean,
is heard for miles distant.
Early on the morning of the Qth Mr. Rhodes
was ordered out in the cutter, on the perilous
duty of sounding the channel of the bar, and
placing the buoys necessary for the safe guidance
of the ship. I While he Was performing this duty
we fired several guns; and, about ten o'clock
in the morning, we were delighted with hearing
the report of three cannon from the shore in
answer to ours. Towards noon an Indian canoe
was discovered making for us, and a few moments
after a barge was perceived following it. Various
were the hopes and fears by.which we were
agitated, as we waited in anxious expectation
the arrival of the strangers from whom we were COLUMBIA   RIVER.
to learn the fate of our predecessors, and of the
party who had crossed the continent Vague
rumours had reached the Sandwich Islands from
a coasting vessel, that the Tonquin had been cut
off by the Indians, and every soul on board
destroyed; and, since we came in sight of the
river, the captain's ominous forebodings had
almost, prepared the weaker part of our people
to hear that some dreadful fatality had befallen
our infant establishment. Not even the sound
of the cannon, and the sight of the flag and fire
on the cape, were proofs strong enough to shake
his doubts. " An old bird was not to be caught
with chaff:" he was too well acquainted with
Indian cunning and treachery to be deceived by
such appearances. It was possible enough that
the savages might have surprised the fort, murdered its inmates, seized the property, fired the
cannon, to induce us to cross the bar, which,
when once effected, they could easily cut us off
before we^could get out again. He even carried his caution so far, as to order a party of
armed men to be in readiness to receive our visitors. The canoe arrived first alongside : in it
was an old Indian, blind of an eye, who appeared
to be a chie£ with six others, nearly naked, and
the most repulsive looking beings that ever dis-
VOL. I. f 66
graced the fair form of humanity. The only intelligence we could obtain from them was, that
the people in the barge were white like ourselves,
and had a house on shore. A few minutes afterwards it came alongside, and dissipated all our
fearful dreams of murder, &c, and we had the
delightful, the inexpressible pleasure of shaking
hands with Messrs. Duncan M'Dougall and Donald M'Lennan ; the former a partner, and the
latter a clerk of the Company, with eight Canadian boatmen. After our congratulations were
over, they informed us, that on receiving intelligence the day before from the Indians that a
ship was off the river, they came down from the
fort, a distance of twelve miles, to Cape Disappointment, on which they hoisted the flag we
had seen, and set fire to several trees to serve in
lieu of a lighthouse.
The tide was now making in, and as Mr.
Rhodes had returned from placing the buoys,
Mr. M'Lennan, who was well acquainted with
the channel, took charge of the ship as pilot;
and at half-past two p. m. we crossed the bar,
on which we struck twice without sustaining any
injury; shortly after which we dropped anchor
in Baker's Bay, after a tedious voyage of six
months and twenty-two days.    Mr. M'Dougall VISITS  FROM  SHORE.
informed us that the one-eyed Indian who had
preceded him in the canoe was the principal
chief of the Chinook nation, who reside on the
northern side of the river near its mouth ; that
his name was Comcomly, and that he was much
attached to the whites : we therefore made him
a present, and gave some trifling articles to his
attendants, after which they departed. i
Account of the Tonquin—Loss of her chief mate, seven men,
and two boats—Extraordinary escape of Weekes—Erection
of Astoria—Mr. Thompson of the N. W. Company—Arrival
of Messrs. Hunt and Mackenzie, and sketch of their journey
After the vessel was securely moored Captain
Sowles joined our party, and we took our leave
of the good ship Beaver; in which, after a
voyage of six months and three weeks, we had
travelled upwards of twenty thousand miles.
In the evening we arrived at the Company's
establishment, which was called Fort Astoria in
honour of Mr. Astor. Here we found five proprietors, nine clerks, and ninety artisans and
canoe-men, or, as they are commonly called in
the Indian country, voyageurs. We brought an
addition of thirty-six, including the islanders ;
so that our muster-roll, including officers, &c.
amounted to one hundred and forty men.
The accounts which we received from our
friends at Astoria were highly discouraging as
to our future prospects, and deeply melancholy
as to the past.    But, that my readers may un- ACCOUNT   OF   THE   TONQUIN.
derstand the situation of affairs at the time of
our arrival, it will be necessary to take a short
retrospect of the transactions that occurred antecedent to that period.
The ship Tonquin, to which I have alluded in
the introduction, sailed from New York on the
6th September, 1810. She was commanded by
Captain Jonathan Thorn, a gentleman who had
been formerly a first lieutenant in the navy of
the United States ; and while in that service,
during their short war. with Algiers, had distinguished himself as a bold and daring officer.
His manners were harsh and arbitrary, with a
strong tincture of that peculiar species of American amor patrice, the principal ingredient of
which is a marked antipathy to Great Britain
and its subjects.
Four partners, namely, Messrs. Alexander
M'Kay, Duncan M'Dougall, David and Robert
Stuart, embarked in her, with eight clerks, and
a number of artisans and voyageurs, all destined
for the Company's establishment at the Columbia. These gentlemen were all British subjects : and, although engaged with Americans in
a commercial speculation, and sailing under the
flag of the United States, were sincerely attached
to their king and" the  country of their birth. f
Thek* patriotism was no recommendation to
Captain Thorn, who adopted every means in his
■power to annoy and thwart them. To any
person who has been at sea it is unnecessary to
mention how easy it is for one of those nautical
despots to play the tyrant, and the facilities
which their situation affords, and of which they
too often avail themselves, of harassing every one
who is not slavishly subservient to their wishes.
Messrs. M'Kay, M'Dougall, and the Stuarts,
4iad too much Highland blood in their veins to
submit patiently to the haughty and uncivil
treatment of the captain ; and the consequence
was, a series of quarrels and disagreeable recriminations, not merely in the cabin but on the
They touched at the Falkland Islands for a
supply of water; and while Mr. David Stuart
and Mr. Franchere, with a party, were on shore,
the captain, without any previous intimation,
suddenly gave orders to weigh anchor, and stood
out to sea, leaving the party on one of the most
desert and uninhabitable islands in the world.
The gentlemen on board expostulated in vain
against this act of tyrannic cruelty, when Mr.
Robert Stuart, nephew of the old gentleman
who had been left on shorej seized a brace of
pistols, and presenting one at the captain's head,
threatened to blow out his brains if he did not
instantly order the ship to lay to and wait for
his uncle's party. Most part of the crew and
officers witnessed this scene ; and as they appeared
to sympathise deeply with young Stuart, the captain thought it more prudent to submit, and gave
orders accordingly to shorten sail, and wait the
arrival of Mr. Stuart's party.
The determined resolution evinced by young
Mr. Stuart on this occasion, and the apparent
apathy of his officers, who stood quietly by while
a pistol was presented to his head, were never
forgiven by Captain Thorn.
The Tonquin doubled Cape Horn in safety,
and arrived in the middle of February at the
Sandwich Islands, from which place they took
ten natives for the establishment, and sailed
for the coast on the 1st of March.
On the g3rd of March they arrived at the
mouth of the Columbia; and although it blew a
stiff breeze, the captain ordered Mr. Fox, the
chief mate, with two American sailors and two
Canadian voyageurs, to proceed in the long-boat
towards the bar, for the purpose of sounding the
From the threatening appearance of the sky
II 72
and the violence of the gale, Mr. M'Kay thought
this a most hazardous undertaking, and implored
Captain Thorn to postpone it until the weather
became more moderate. His orders however
were peremptory; and finding all remonstrance
useless, Mr. Fox with his little crew embarked,
and proceeded to fulfil his instructions. That
unfortunate officer seemed to have a presentiment of his approaching fate, for on quitting the
vessel he took an affectionate farewell of all his
friends ; to some of whom he mentioned he was
certain they would never see him again. His
prediction was verified; but we could never
ascertain correctly the particulars of their fate.
It is supposed however that the tide setting in,
joined to the violence of the wind, drove the
boat among the breakers, where it and its unfortunate crew must have been dashed to pieces.
The ship stood off and on during the 24th, and
on the 25th, the wind having moderated, she
stood in for Cape Disappointment. Mr. Aikin,
one of the officers, accompanied by Weekes, the
smith, Coles, the sailmaker, and two Sandwich
islanders, were sent ahead in the jolly-boat to
ascertain the lowest depth of water in the channel ; the ship in the mean time following after,
under easy sail.    Aikin reported by signal that PERILS   OF   THE   TONQUIN.
there was water sufficient; upon which the captain ordered all sail to be crowded, and stood in
for the bar. The jolly-boat was now ordered
to fall back and join the ship ; but having unfortunately got too far to the southward, it was
drawn within the influence of the. current, and
carried with fearful rapidity towards the breakers.
It passed within pistol shot of the vessel, its
devoted crew crying out in the wildest accents
of despair for assistance. This however was
impossible, for at that moment the Tonquin
struck on the bar; and the apprehension of
instant destruction precluded the possibility of
making any attempt to save the jolly-boat, which
by this time was carried out of sight. The wind
now moderated to a gentle breeze ; but owing
to the tide setting out strongly, the water became
so low, that the ship struck several times; and
to add to the horror of their situation, they
were quickly surrounded by the darkness of
night. During an awful interval of three hours,
the sea beat over the vessel; and at times some
of the crew imagined they heard the screams of
their lost companions, borne by the night winds
over the foaming billows of the bar. A little
after twelve o'clock however the tide set in
strongly, with a fresh breeze from the westward; 7*
and all hands having: set to work, they providentially succeeded in extricating themselves
from their perilous situation, and worked the
ship into Baker's Bay, inside Cape Disappointment, where they found a safe asylum. It blew
a perfect gale the remainder of the night.
On the morning of the 26th, some of the
natives came on board. They appeared to be
very friendly, and betrayed no symptoms of fear
or distrust. Parties were immediately despatched towards the northern shore, and round the
cape, in order to ascertain, if possible, the fate
of the two boats. |||
Shortly after one of them returned accompanied by Weekes, who gave the following account
of his miraculous escape from a watery grave.
" When we passed the vessel, the boat, owing
to the want of a rudder, became quite unmanageable, and notwithstanding all our exertions,
we were carried into the northern edge of the
great chain of breakers. The tide and current
however were setting out so strongly, that we
were absolutely carried through the reef without
sustaining any injury, but immediately on the
outer edge a heavy sea struck us, and the boat
was upset. Messrs. Aikin and Coles disappeared
at once, and I never saw them afterwards.    On
recovering my first shock, I found myself close
to the Sandwich islanders, who had stripped off
their clothes with extraordinary dispatch. We
&11 seized the boat, and after much difficulty succeeded in righting it. We then got out a little
of the water, which enabled one of the islanders
to enter the boat, and he quickly baled out the
remainder. His companion also recovered the
oars, and we then embarked. I endeavoured to
persuade the two poor islanders to row, well
knowing the exertion would keep them alive;
but it was quite useless, they were so spent from
fatigue, and benumbed by the cold, that they
refused to do any thing, and threw themselves
down in the boat, apparently resigned to meet
their fate. I had no notion, however, of giving
up my life in that manner, and therefore pulled
away at the oars with all my strength. About
midnight one of my unfortunate companions
died, and his surviving countryman flung himself on the body, from which I found it impossible to dislodge him. I continued hard at work
during the night, taking care to keep to the
northward of the bar, and at daylight found myself close to a sandy beach, on which the surf
beat heavily. I was nearly exhausted, and therefore determined to run all risks to get ashore. 76
I fortunately succeeded, and ran the boat on the
beach. I then assisted the islander, who had
some signs of life still in him, to land; but the
poor fellow was too weak to follow me. I was
therefore obliged to leave him, and shortly after
fell on a well-beaten path, which in a few hours
brought me in sight of the ship, when I met the
party who conducted me on board. Thanks to
the Almighty for my wonderful escape !"
The people who went in search of the surviving islander did not find him until the following morning, when they discovered him in a
deplorable state, close to some rocks. They
carried him to the ship; and in a few days, by
the proper and humane treatment of Mr. Fan-
chere, he was perfectly restored to his health.
Some time was occupied after their arrival in
looking out for a proper place to build their fort;
and at length, on the 12th of April, they selected
a handsome and commanding situation, called
Point George, twelve miles from the cape, and
on the south side of the river. The keel of a
schooner of thirty tons' burden was also laid at
the same time, the skeleton of which had been
brought out from New York.
During the month of May Messrs. M'Kay,
Stuart, Franchere, and Matthews, made several *
excursions up the river as far as the first rapids,
in which they were well received by the natives,
from whom they collected a quantity of furs.
It having been arranged that the Tonquin was
to make a coasting excursion as far as Cook's
River, and touch at the various harbours between
that place and the Columbia, she weighed anchor
on the 1st of June, and dropped down to Baker's
Bay. Mr. M'Kay, and Mr. Lewis, one of the
clerks, embarked in her for the purpose of obtaining a correct knowledge of the various tribes
on the coast, it being intended that after her
cruise to the northward, the ship was to return
to the Columbia, take what furs they might have
purchased during her absence, which the captain
was to dispose of in Canton, from whence he
was to return to New York with a cargo of
Chinese goods.
Mr. Mumford, the chief mate, in consequence
of a dispute with Captain Thorn, refused to proceed farther with him, and was engaged by the
Company to take the command of the little
schooner when finished.
The Tonquin took her final departure from
Columbia on the 5th of June, with a fair wind,
and passed the bar in safety.
In the month of July Mr. David Thompson, B f fo
astronomer to the North-west Company, of
which he was also a proprietor, arrived with
nine men in a canoe at Astoria, from the interior. This gentleman came on a voyage of
discovery to the Columbia, preparatory to the
North-west Company forming a settlement at
the entrance of the river. He remained at Astoria until the latter end of July, when he took
his departure for the interior; Mr, David Stuart,
with three clerks and a party of Canadians accompanying him, for the purpose of selecting a
proper place on the upper parts of the river for
a trading establishment.
Early in the month of August a party of Indians from Gray's Harbour arrived at the mouth
of the Columbia for the purpose of fishing.
They told the Chi nooks that the Tonquin had
been cut off by one of the northern tribes, and
that every soul on board had been massacred.
This intelligence was not at first believed ; but
several other rumours of a similar nature having
reached Astoria, caused considerable uneasiness,
particularly as the month passed away without
any  news of a satisfactory nature having been
During the month of September the people at
the fort were kept in a state of feverish alarm NEWS   FROM   THE   INTERIOR.
by various reports of an intention on the part of
the natives to surprise and destroy them. October commenced, and the period fixed for the
return of the Tonquin had long since elapsed,
still no intelligence of her arrived, with the exception of farther reports of her destruction,
accompanied by additional evidence, of a nature
so circumstantial as to leave little doubt but that
some dreadful fatality had occurred.
On the 5th of October, Messrs. Pillet and
M'Lennan, two of the clerks who had gone to
the interior with Mr. D. Stuart, returned to
Astoria, accompanied by a free hunter named
Bruguier, and two Iroquois hunters. They
stated that Mr. Stuart had chosen a place for a
trading post about seven hundred miles up the
Columbia, at the mouth of a river called Oakinagan, and among a friendly tribe, who appeared
to be well furnished with beaver. About this
period the schooner was completed and launched.
She was called the Dolly, in honour of Mrs,
Astor; and as provisions at the fort became
scarce, she was despatched up the river for a
supply, under the command of Mr. R. Stuart
and Mr. Mumford.
The dark and dismal months of November and
December rolled over their heads without bring- II
ing them any certain intelligence of the Tonquin.
During this period it rained incessantly; and the
Indians had withdrawn themselves from the banks
of the Columbia to their winter-quarters in the
sheltered recesses of the forests, and in the vicinity of springs or small rivulets.
They continued in this state of disagreeable
anxiety until the 8th of January, 1812, when
their drooping spirits were somewhat raised by
the arrival of Mr. Donald M'Kenzie with two
canoes from the interior. This gentleman was
accompanied by Mr. M'Lellan, a proprietor, Mr.
Read, a clerk, and ten men. He had left St.
Louis in the month of August, 1810, in company
with Mr. Hunt. They passed the winter of that
year at a place called Nadwau, on the banks of
the Missouri, where they were joined by Messrs.
M'Lellan, Crooks, and Miller, three American
traders, connected with Mr. Astor.
In the spring of 1811 they ascended the Missouri in two large barges, until they arrived on
the lands of a powerful tribe named the Arika-
raws. Here they met a Spanish trader, Mr.
Manuel Lisa, to whom they sold their barges and
a quantity of their merchandise.
Having purchased one hundred and thirty
horses from the Indians, they set off in the begin- OVERLAND   JOURNEY.
ning of August on their land journey, to cross
the Rocky Mountains. Apprehensive of coming
in contact with the Black Feet, a warlike and
savage tribe, who have a strong antipathy to the
white men, they were obliged to proceed as far
south as the latitude of 40°, from whence they
turned into a north-west course. This brought
them to an old trading post, situated on the
banks of a small river ; and as they had no doubt
it would bring them to the Columbia, they immediately set about making canoes, for the purpose of descending that river.
Mr. Miller, not liking the aspect of affairs at
this place, requested permission to return to the
United States, which was granted; and a few
men were allowed to accompany him on his way
The party, which now consisted of about sixty
people, commenced their voyage downwards; but
from the rapidity of the current, and the number
of dangerous rapids, they determined, after having
lost one man and a portion of their baggage, to
abandon such a perilous navigation, and undertake the remainder of their journey on foot.
In pursuance of this resolution they divided
into four parties, under the commands of Messrs.
M'Kenzie, Hunt,  M'Lellan, and  Crooks ; still
VOL. I. g 82
keeping in view their original intention of following the course of the river. Messrs. M'Kenzie
and M'Lellan took the right bank, and Messrs.
Hunt and Crooks the left. They were under a
strong impression that a few days would bring
them to the Columbia, but they were miserably
disappointed. For three weeks they followed the
course of the river, which was one continued tor*
rent; and the banks of which, particularly the
northern, consisted of high precipitous rocks,
rising abruptly from the water's edge. The greater
part of this period was one of extreme suffering.
Their provisions became shortly exhausted, and
they were reduced to the necessity of broiling
even the leather of their shoes to sustain nature;
while, to complete their misfortunes, they were
often unable to descend the steep declivities of
the rocks for a drink of the water which they
saw flowing beneath their feet.
From the tormenting privations which they experienced in following the course of this stream,
they called it Mad River ; and in speaking of it
afterwards, the Canadians, from the bitterness of
their recollections, denominated it la maudite ru
vidre enragee. Mr. Hunt's party did not suffer so
much as those on the right bank, in consequence
of occasionally meeting some of the natives; who, *****
although they always fled on perceiving them,
left their horses behind. The party were obliged
to kill a few of these animals, and in payment
for them, left some goods near their owners'
After a separation of some days the two parties
came in sight of each other ; and Mr. Hunt had
a canoe made out of the skin of a horse, in which
he sent some meat over to his famishing friends.
He also suggested the idea of their crossing over
in the canoe one by one to the south side, where
they would, at all events, have a better chance
of escaping death by starvation. This was readily
agreed to; but the attempt was unfortunately unsuccessful. One of the best swimmers embarked
in the canoe, but it had scarcely reached the
centre of the river when, owing to the impetuosity of the current, it upset, and the poor voyageur
sunk to rise no more.
Finding the impracticability of their reunion
by this means, they continued to pursue their
respective courses, and in a few days after Mr.
M'Kenzie's party fell on a considerable river,
which they subsequently ascertained to be Lewis'
River. Here they met a tribe of friendly Indians,
from whom they purchased several horses, and
with renovated spirits they pursued their journey
g2 84
Sji/M     along the banks of the principal river.    Among
* 11
i II
}•- ■■
1 f
m r
this tribe they found a young white man in a
|f j state of mental derangement. He had, however,
lucid intervals, and informed them that his name
was Archibald Petton, and that he was a native
of Connecticut; that he had ascended the Missouri with Mr. Henry, an American trader, who
built the house our people saw at the upper part
of Mad River; that about three years ago the
place was attacked by the savages, who massacred
every man belonging to the establishment with
the exception of himself; and that having escaped
unperceived, he wandered about for several
weeks, until he met the friendly tribe with whom
we found him. The dreadful scenes he had
witnessed, joined to the sufferings he had gone
through, produced a partial derangement of his
intellect. His disorder was of an harmless nature : and as it appeared probable that civilized
companionship would, in the course of time, restore him to his reason, Mr. M'Kenzie very
humanely brought him along with the party.
On arriving at the entrance of Lewis' River,
they obtained canoes from the natives in exchange for their horses; and meeting with no
obstruction from thence downwards, arrived at
Astoria on the 18th of January,  1812.    Their OVERLAND   JOURNEY.
concave cheeks, protuberant bones, and tattered
garments, strongly indicated the dreadful extent/
of their privations;  but  their health appeared
uninjured,   and  their  gastronomic powers unimpaired.
From the day that the unlucky attempt was
made to cross in the canoe, Mr. M'Kenzie had
seen nothing of Mr. Hunt's party, and he was of
opinion they would not be able to reach the fort
until the spring was far advanced. He was, however mistaken; for on the 15th of February, Mr.
Hunt, with thirty men, one woman, and two
children, arrived at Astoria.
This gentleman stated that shortly after his last
separation from the northern party he arrived
among a friendly tribe, whose village was situated in the plains. They treated him and his
party with great hospitality; in consequence of
which he remained ten days with them, for the
double purpose of recruiting his men and of
looking for one of his hunters, who had been
lost for some days. Having received no intelligence of the man, Mr. Hunt resumed his
journey, leaving Mr. Crooks, with five men, who
were much exhausted, among the Indians, who
promised to pay every attention to them, and
41 M
I: 86
conduct them part of the  way downwards on
their recovery.
Mr. Hunt, in the mean time, fell on the Columbia, some distance below its junction with
Lewis' River; and having also obtained canoes,
arrived safely on the day above mentioned. The
corporeal appearance of his party was somewhat
superior to that of Mr. M'Kenzie's, but their
outward habiliments were equally ragged.
The accession of so many hungry stomachs to
the half-starved garrison at Astoria, would have
produced serious inconvenience had not the fishing season fortunately commenced earlier than
Was anticipated, and supplied them with abun-
Hdance of a small delicious fish resembling pilchard,
and which is the same mentioned by Lewis and
Clarke as anchovy.
On the 30th of March the following departures
took place: Mr. Read for New York, charged
with dispatches to Mr. Astor, accompanied by
Mr. M'Lellan, who quitted the country in disgust. This gentleman had fancied that a fortune
was to be made with extraordinary celerity in
the Columbia; but finding his calculations had
exceeded the bounds of probability, he preferred
renewing his addresses to the fickle jade in a
country less subject to starvation and fighting. DEPARTURES.
Messrs. Farnham and M'Gillis, with a party,
also embarked for the purpose of proceeding to
the head of Mad River, for the trading goods
which Mr. Hunt had deposited there en cache ;
and Mr. Robert Stuart set off at the same time,
with a fresh supply for his uncle's establishment
at Oakinagan. HBSSgmil
Wd T
Particulars of the destruction of the Tonquin and crew—Indians attack a party ascending the river—Description of
fort, natives, and the country.
It is now time to return to the Tonquin, of
which no news had been heard during the winter, with the exception of the flying rumours
already alluded to. That vessel, as mentioned
in the preceding chapter, sailed from the Columbia on the 5th of June 1811, on a trading
speculation to the [northward ; and Mr. M'Kay
took on board, as an interpreter, a native of
Gray's Harbour, who was well acquainted with
the various dialects of the tribes on the coast.
From this Indian the following melancholy particulars were learned.
A few days after their departure from the
Columbia they anchored opposite a large village,
named New Whitty, in the vicinity of Nootka,
where Mr. M'Kay immediately opened a smart
trade with the natives. He went on shore with
a few men; was received in the most friendly
manner,  and  slept a  couple   of nights  at the THE   TONQUIN.
village. During this period several of the natives visited the vessel with furs. The harsh
and unbending manners of the captain were not
calculated to win their esteem ; and having
struck one of their principal men whom he had
caught in a petty theft, a conspiracy was formed
by the friends of the chief to surprise and cut off
the vessel. The faithful interpreter, having discovered their designs, lost no time in acquainting
Mr. M'Kay, who instantly hurried on board for
the purpose of warning the captain of the intended attack. That evening Mr. M'Kay told
the interpreter that the captain only laughed at
the information, and said he could never believe
that a parcel of lazy thieving Indians would have
the courage to attack such a ship as his. The
natives, in the mean time, apprehensive from
Mr. M'Kay's sudden return that their plans
were suspected, visited the ship in small numbers,
totally unarmed, in order to throw our people
off their guard. Even the chief who had been
struck by Captain Thorn, and who was the head
of the conspiracy, came on board in a manner
seemingly friendly, and apparently forgetful of
the insult he had received,
Early in the morning of the day previous to
that on which the ship was to leave New Whitty
I h
a couple of large canoes, each containing about
twenty men, appeared along-side. They brought
several small bundles of furs ; and, as the sailors
imagined they came for the purpose of trading,
were allowed to come on deck. Shortly after,
another canoe, with an equal number, arrived
also with furs: and it was quickly followed by
two others, full of men carrying beaver, otter,
and other valuable skins. No opposition was
made to their coming on board; but the officer
of the watch-perceiving a number of other canoes
pushing off, became suspicious of their intentions, and warned Captain Thorn of the circumstance. He immediately came on the quarterdeck, accompanied by Mr. M'Kay and the interpreter. The latter, on observing that they
all wore short cloaks or mantles of skins, which
was by no means a general custom, at once
knew their designs were hostile, and told Mr.
M'Kay of his suspicions. That gentleman immediately apprised Captain Thorn of the circumstances, and begged him to lose no time in
clearing the ship of the intruders. This caution
was however treated with contempt by the captain, who remarked, that with the arms they
had on board they would be more than a match
for three times the number.    The sailors in the^
.SSL ffVvwOW
2. i-3
Jf- f.     ^*ww   <K^f^,
<f <T<?.
mean time had all come on the deck, which was
crowded with Indians, who completely blocked
up the passages, and obstructed the men in the
performance of their various duties. The captain requested them to retire, to which they paid
no attention.    He then told them he was about
* *
<^ i v going to sea, and had given orders to the men to
i   -»  raise the anchor ; that he hoped they would go
4    ji& away quietly; but if they refused, he should be
.{        be compelled to force their departure.    He had
J* scarcely finished, when, at a signal given by one
p of the chiefs, a loud and frightful yell was heard
J? from the assembled savages, who commenced a
J. sudden and simultaneous attack on the officers
^   and   crew   with  knives,   bludgeons,  and  short
X sabres,  which they had  concealed under their
J  robes.
Mr. M'Kay was one of the first attacked..
One Indian gave him a severe blow with a bludgeon, which partially stunned him ; upon which
he was seized by five or six others, who threw
him overboard into a canoe alongside, where he
quickly recovered, and was allowed to remain
for some time uninjured.
Captain Thorn made an ineffectual attempt to
reach the cabin for his fire-arms, but was overpowered by numbers.    His only weapon was a ii
jack-knife, with which he killed four of his savage assailants by ripping up their bellies, and
mutilated several others. Covered with wounds,
and exhausted from the loss of blood, he rested
himself for a moment by leaning on the tiller
wheel, when he received a dreadful blow from a
weapon called a pautumaugan,* on the back
part of the head, which felled him to the deck.
The death-dealing knife fell from his hand ; and
his savage butchers, after extinguishing the few
sparks of life that still remained, threw his^
mangled body overboard.
On seeing the captain's fate, our informant,
who was close to him, and who had hitherto
escaped uninjured, jumped into the water, and
was taken into a canoe by some women, who
partially covered his body with mats. He states
that the original intention of the enemy was to
detain Mr. M'Kay a prisoner ; and, after securing the vessel, to give him his liberty, on obtaining a ransom from Astoria: but on finding
the resistance made by the captain and crew, the
former of whom had killed one of their principal
chiefs, their love of gain gave way to revenge,
and they  resolved  to   destroy him.    The  last
* A species of half sabre, half club, from two to three feet
in length, six inches in breadth, and double edged. THE   TONQUIN.
time the ill-fated gentleman was seen, his head
was hanging over the side of a canoe, and three
savages, armed with pautumaugans, were battering out his brains,
In the mean time the devoted crew, who had
maintained the unequal conflict with unparalleled
bravery, became gradually overpowered. Three
of them, John Anderson, the boatswain, John
Weekes, the carpenter, Stephen Weekes, who had
so narrowly escaped at the Columbia, succeeded,
after a desperate struggle, in gaining possession
of the cabin, the entrance to which they securely fastened inside. The Indians now became
more cautious, for they well knew there were
plenty of fire-arms below; and they had already
experienced enough of the prowess of the
three men while on deck, and armed only with
hand-spikes, to dread approaching them while
they had more mortal weapons at their command.
Anderson and his two companions seeing their
commander and the crew dead and dying about
them, and that no hope of escape remained, and
feeling moreover, the uselessness of any farther
opposition, determined on taking a terrible revenge. Two of them, therefore, set about laying
a train to the powder magazine, while the third 94
addressed some Indians from the cabin windows,
who were in canoes, and gave them to understand, that if they were permitted to depart unmolested in one of the ship's boats, they would
give them quiet possession of the vessel without
firing a shot; stipulating, however, that no canoe
should remain near them while getting into the
boat. The anxiety of the barbarians to obtain
possession of the plunder, and their disinclination to risk any more lives, induced them to
embrace this proposition with eagerness, and the
pinnace was immediately brought astern. The
three heroes having by this time perfected their
dreadful arrangements, and ascertained that no
Indian was watching them, gradually lowered
themselves from the cabin windows into the
boat; and having fired the train, quickly pushed
off towards the mouth of the harbour, no obstacle being interposed to prevent their departure.
Hundreds of the enemy now rushed on deck
to Seize the long-expected prize, shouting yells of
victory; but their triumph was of short duration. Just as they had burst open the cabin
door, an explosion took place, which in an instant hurled upwards of two hundred savages
into eternity, and dreadfully injured as many
more.    The interpreter, who had by this time 1
reached land, states he saw many mutilated
bodies floating near the beach, while heads,
arms, and legs, together with fragments of the
ship, were thrown to a considerable distance
on the shore.
The first impression of the survivors was, that
the Master of Life had sent forth the Evil Spirit
from the waters to punish them for their cruelty
to the white people. This belief, joined to the
consternation occasioned by the shock, and the
reproaches and lamentations of the wives and
other relatives of the sufferers, paralysed for a
time the exertions of the savages, and favoured
the attempt of Anderson and his brave comrades
to escape. They rowed hard for the mouth of
the harbour, with the intention, as is supposed,
of coasting along the shore to the Columbia; but
after passing the bar, a head wind and flowing
tide drove them back, and compelled them to
land late at night in a small cove, where they
fancied themselves free from danger; and where,
weak from the loss of blood, and the harassing
exertions of the day, they fell into a profound
In the mean time, the terror of the Indians
had in some degree subsided, and they quickly
discovered that it was by human agency so many
I 96
If &
of their warriors had been destroyed. They
therefore determined on having the lives of those
who caused the explosion; and being aware,
from the state of the wind and tide, that the
boat could not put to sea, a party proceeded
after dark cautiously along the shore of the bay,
until they arrived at the spot where their helpless
victims lay slumbering. Bleeding and exhausted,
they opposed but a feeble resistance to their
savage conquerors; and about midnight, their
heroic spirits mingled with those of their departed comrades.
Thus perished the last of the gallant crew of
the Tonquin : and in reflecting on their melancholy fate, it is deeply to be regretted that there
was no person of sufficient influence at Astoria
to bring about a reconciliation between Captain
Thorn and Mr. M'Kay ; for were it not for the
deplorable hostility and consequent want of
union that existed between these two brave
men, it is more than probable this dreadful catastrophe would never have occurred.*
On the morning of the 11th of May, the day
after our arrival, while walking with some of my
* From the particular description given by our informant
of the dress and personal appearance of Anderson and the two
Weekeses, we had no doubt of their identity.
companions  in front of the fort,  indulging in
gloomy reflections on the fate of the Tonquin,
and the unpromising appearance of our general
affairs, we were surprised by the arrival of two
canoes with  Messrs.  Robert Stuart, M'Lellan,
Reed, and Farnham, together with Messrs. David
Stuart, and R. Crooks*    The unexpected return
of the four first individuals, who had only left
the fort on the 30th March,  was caused by a
serious rencontre which they had with the natives
in ascending.    On arriving at the portage of the
falls, which is very long and fatiguing, several of
the Indians in a friendly manner tendered their
horses to transport the goods.    Mr. Stuart, having no suspicion of their dishonesty, gladly accepted the offer, and entrusted a few of them
with  several small  packets of merchandize  to
carry.    On arriving,  however, in a rocky and
solitary part of the portage, the rascals turned
their horses' heads into a narrow pathway and
galloped off with the goods, with which they escaped.    Their comrades on foot in the mean time
crowded about the voyageurs who were carrying the packages, and as Mr. Stuart observed
the  necessity   of greater  precaution,   he  took
his post at the upper end of the portage, leaving  Messrs. Reed and  M'Lellan in charge of
VOL.   I. H II     :
the rear-guard. Mr. Reed.was the bearer of
the dispatches, and had a tin case, in which they
were contained, flung over his shoulders. Its
brightness attracted the attention of the natives,
and they resolved to obtain possession of the
prize. A group, therefore, patiently watched his
motions for some time, until they observed he
had separated himself from M'Lellan, and gone
ahead a short distance. The moment they supposed he was alone they sprung on him, seized
his arms, and succeeded in capturing the tin
case after a brave resistance, in the course of
which he was knocked down twice, and nearly
killed. Mr. M'Lellan, who had been an attentive observer of the whole transaction, instantly
fired, and one of the robbers fell; upon which
his companions fled, not however without securing the plunder. Mr. M'Lellan, imagining that
Mr. Reed had been killed, immediately joined
Mr. Stuart, and ijrged that gentleman to fly
from a place so pregnant with danger. This,
however, he refused until he was satisfied respecting Mr. Reed's fate ; and taking a few men
with him, he repaired towards the spot where
Reed had been attacked. The latter had in the
mean time somewhat recovered from the effects
of his wounds, and was slowly dragging himself INDIAN   ATTACK.
along when Mr. Stuart's party came to his assistance, and conducted him to the upper end of
the portage in safety. The loss of the dispatches
determined Mr. Stuart to postpone Mr. Reed's
journey to New York, and the whole party proceeded to Oakinagan, the post established by
Mr. David Stuart. They remained here only a
few days, and early in May left it on their return
to Fort Astoria. On their way down, near the
entrance of the Shoshone river, they fell in with
Mr. R. Crooks and a Kentucky hunter, named
John Day, in a state of miserable destitution.
I have already mentioned that this gentleman,
with five of his men, owing to their inability to
continue the journey from excessive fatigue, had
been left by Mr. Hunt among a tribe of friendly
Indians, supposed to be a branch of the extensive
Snake nation. Finding, however, that they had
nothing to expect from the strangers, these savages, shortly after the departure of Mr. Hunt,
robbed them of every article in their possession,
even to their shirts, in exchange for which they
gave them a £ew old skins to cover their nakedness.
The miserable party, thus attired, and without
any provisions, recommenced their journey to the
h2 100
Columbia, on the banks of which they arrrived a
few days previous to the descent of Mr. Stuart's
Here was a frightful addition to our stock of
disasters. Fighting, robbery, and starvation, in
the interior, with drownings, massacres, and apprehensions of farther attacks from the Indians
on the coast, formed a combination sufficient to
damp the ardour of the youngest, or the courage
of the most enterprizing. The retrospect was
gloomy, and the future full of " shadows, clouds,
and darkness." The scene before us, however,
was novel, and for a time our ideas were diverted
from the thoughts of "battle, murder, and sudden death," to the striking peculiarities connected
with our present situation.
The spot selected for the fort was on a handsome eminence called Point George, which commanded an extensive view of the majestic Columbia in front, bounded by the bold and thickly
wooded northern shore. On the right, about
three miles distant, a long, high and rocky peninsula covered with timber, called Tongue Point,
extended a considerable distance into the river
from the southern side with which it was connected by a narrow neck of land ; while on the
extreme left, Cape Disappointment, with the
bar and its terrific chain of breakers, were distinctly visible.
The buildings consisted of apartments for the
proprietors and clerks, with a capacious dining-
hall for both, extensive warehouses for the trading goods and furs, a provision store, a trading
shop, smith's forge, carpenters workshop, &c.
The whole surrounded by stockades forming a
square, and reaching about fifteen feet over the
ground. A gallery ran round the stockades, in
which loop-holes were pierced sufficiently large
for musketry. Two strong bastions built of logs
commanded the four sides of the square : each
bastion had two stories, in which a number of
chosen men slept every night. A six-pounder
was placed in the lower story, and they were
both well provided with small arms.
Immediately in front of the fort was a gentle
declivity sloping down to the river's side, which
had been turned into an excellent kitchen garden ; and a few hundred yards to the left, a
tolerable wharf had been run out, by which bateaux and boats were enabled at low water to
land their cargoes without sustaining any damage.
An impenetrable forest of gigantic pine rose in
the rear ;   and the ground was covered with a j
thick underwood of brier and huckleberry, intermingled with fern and honeysuckle.
Numbers of the natives crowded in and about
the fort. They were most uncouth-looking objects ; and not strongly calculated to impress us
with a favourable opinion of aboriginal beauty, or
the purity of Indian manners. A few of the men
were partially covered, but the greater number
were unannoyed by vestments of any description.
Their eyes were black piercing, and treacherous ;
their ears slit up, and ornamented with strings of
beads; the cartilage of their nostrils perforated,
and adorned with pieces of hyaquau placed horizontally ; while their heads presented an inclined
plane from the crown to the upper part of the
nose, totally unlike our European rotundity of
cranium ; and their bodies besmeared with whale
oil, gave them an appearance horribly disgusting.
Then the women,—O ye gods! With the same
auricular, olfactory, and craniological peculiarities,
they exhibited loose hanging breasts, short dirty
teeth, skin saturated with blubber, bandy legs,
and a waddling gait; while their only dress consisted of a kind of petticoat, or rather kilt, formed
of small strands of cedar bark twisted into cords,
and reaching from the waist to the knee. This
covering in calm weather, or in an erect position, THE   PINE   TREE.
served all the purposes of concealment; but in a
breeze, or when indulging their favourite position
of squatting, formed a miserable shield in defence
of decency; and worse than all, their repulsive
familiarities rendered them objects insupportably
odious; particularly when contrasted with the
lively eyes, handsome features, fine teeth, open
countenance, and graceful carriage of the interesting islanders whom we had lately left.
From these ugly specimens of mortality we
turned with pleasure to contemplate the productions of their country, amongst the most wonderful of which are the fir-trees. The largest
species grow to an immense size, and one immediately behind the fort at the height of ten feet
from the surface of the earth measured forty-six
feet in circumference! The trunk of this tree had
about one hundred and fifty feet free from branches. Its top had been some time before blasted;
by lightning; and to judge by comparison, its
height when perfect must have exceeded three
hundred feet I This was however an extraordinary tree in that country, and was denominated
by the Canadians Le Boi de Pins.*
* A pine  tree has been  subsequently discovered in the
Umpqua country, to the southward of the Columbia, the cir- IH    lHIBJMIII„„|jJHIIII4t
The general size however of the different species of fir far exceeds any thing on the east side
of the Rocky Mountains ; and prime sound pine
from two hundred to two hundred and eighty
feet in height, and from twenty to forty feet in
circumference, are by no means uncommon.
Buffon asserts that " living nature is less active,
less energetic in the new world than the old,"
which he attributes to the prevalence of moisture
and deficiency of heat in America. This assertion was ably combated by the late Mr. Jefferson;
but, without entering into the arguments of these
celebrated philosophers, we may safely state, that
if America be inferior to the old continent in the
animal world, she can at least assert her superiority in the vegetable.
En passant, I may here remark, that although
constant rains prevail eight months out of the
twelve, and during the remaining four, which are
the summer months, the heat is far from excessive, the large and stately elk, which are numerous about the lower shores of the Columbia, are
equal, if not superior in size to those found in the
hottest and driest parts of the world.
There are five or six different species of fir,
cumference of which is 57 feet j its height 216  feet without
branches! THE COUNTRY.
with the peculiar qualities of which I am unacquainted. They split even, make good canoes,
yield little ashes, scarcely produce any gum, and
are excellent for building and other domestic
Our table was daily supplied with elk, wild
fowl, and fish. Of the last, we feasted on the
royal sturgeon, which is here large, white, and
firm; unrivalled salmon ; and abundance of the
sweet little anchovy, which is taken in such <n^
quantities by the Indians, that we have seen their
houses garnished with several hundred strings of
them, dry and drying. We had them generally
twice a day, at breakfast and dinner, and in a few
weeks got such a surfeit, that few of us for years
afterwards tasted an anchovy.
We remained upwards of six weeks at the fort,
preparing for our grand expedition into the interior. During this period I went on several short
excursions to the villages of various tribes up the
river and about the bay. The natives generally
received us with friendship and hospitality. They
vary little in their habits or language ; and the
perfect uniformity in the shape of their heads
would, I fancy, puzzle the phrenological skill of
the most learned disciples of Gall or Spurzheim.
I made a few midnight visits to their cemeteries,
from which I abstracted a couple of skulls, which in   1
appeared totally devoid of any peculiar organic
developeinent. I regret that our travelling arrangements prevented me from bringing them
across the mountains ; for, without ocular proof,
I fear the faculty could not be brought to believe
that the human head was capable of being moulded to a shape so unlike the great mass of mankind. This however is dangerbus ground ; and
I shall not pursue the subject farther, lest I
might provoke the gall of the believers in the
theory of craniology, among whom, I am aware,
may be reckoned some of the most eminent men
in the literary world.
We also visited Fort Clatsop, the place where
Captains Lewis and Clarke spent the winter of
1805-6 ; an accurate description of which is
given in the journal of those enterprising travellers. The logs of the house were still standing, and marked with the names of several of
their party.
The most striking peculiarity of the immense
forests which we observed in the course of these
excursions was the total absence of the " wood
notes wild" of the feathered tribe; and, except
in the vicinity of a village, their deep and impervious gloom resembles the silence and solitude of death. DEPARTURE   FROM   ASTORIA.
Departure from Astoria—Description of our party, landing
&c.—Appearance of river and islands—Fleas and musquitoes—First rapids, dangerous accident—Indian cemetery—
Ugly Indians—Gibraltar—Cape Horn—The narrows and
falls—Change in the appearance of the country—Attempt
at robbery—Mounted Indians.
In travelling through the Indian country several days must necessarily elapse devoid of
interesting matter ; and to the general reader a
succinct detail of the diurnal proceedings of Indian
traders would be rather dry. I do not profess
to write a journal, and shall therefore make
no apology for sparing my readers the trouble of
perusing in every page the verbose accuracy
which details, that in summer journies we rise
each morning between three and four o'clock,
breakfast between nine and ten, and encamp between six and seven in the evening; and that,
while on the water, few days elapse in which we
are not obliged to put ashore several times to repair the damage sustained by our canoes in passing rapids, portages, or sunken trees.
On the #9th of June, 1812, all the necessary "^Vffl
f I
l     !
ii v
arrangements having been perfected, we took our
departure from Astoria for the interior. Our
party consisted of three proprietors, nine clerks,
fifty-five Canadians, twenty Sandwich islanders,*
and Messrs, Crooks, M'Lellan, and R. Stuart,
who, with eight men, were to proceed with dispatches to St. Lewis. Messrs. Hunt, M'Dougal,
Clapp, Halsey, and Franchere, remained at the
fort. The Beaver had previously sailed for Canton, whence it was intended she should return to
New York.
We travelled in bateaux and light-built wooden
canoes: the former had eight, and the latter six
men. Our lading consisted of guns and ammunition, spears, hatchets, knives, beaver traps, copper and brass kettles, white and green blankets,
blue, green, and red cloths, calicoes, beads, rings,
thimbles, hawk-bells, &c.; and our provisions of
beef, pork, flour, rice, biscuits, tea, sugar, with a
moderate quantity of rum, wine, &c.: the soft
and hard goods were secured in bales and boxes,
and the liquids in kegs, holding on an average
nine gallons : the guns were stowed in long
cases.     From thirty to forty of these packages
* The Tonquin had brought fifteen of the Sandwich islanders from Whoahoo, which joined with those we brought,
amounted to thirty-one.    Eleven remained at the fort.
and kegs were placed in each vessel, and the
whole was covered by an oil-cloth or tarpaulin,
to preserve them from wet. Each canoe and
barge had from six to eight men rowing or
paddling, independent of the passengers.
The Columbia is a noble river, uninterrupted
by rapids for one hundred and seventy miles;
one hundred of which are navigable for vessels
of three hundred tons. It is seldom less than
a mile wide; but in some places its breadth
varies from two to five miles. The shores are
generally bold and thickly wooded. Pine in all
its varieties predominates, and is mixed with
white oak, ash, beech, poplar, alder, crab, and
cotton wood, with an undergrowth of briers,
&c, through which our hunters made many ineffectual attempts to pass. The navigation is often
obstructed by sand-banks, which are scattered
over different parts of the river below the rapids,
and are dry at low water. In the neighbourhood
of these sand-banks the shores are generally low,
and present some fine flat bottoms of rich
meadow ground, bordered by a profusion of
blackberry and other wild fruit shrubs : in the
deep and narrow paths of the channel, the shores
are bolder. The river, up to the rapids, is
covered with several islands, from one to three 110
: ;i j
miles in length; some of which are fine meadows, and others well wooded. Great caution
is required to avoid sunken trees, called snags or
planters, and by the Canadians chicots, which
are generally concealed under the surface of the
Water ; and which, if they come in contact with
canoes, sailing rapidly, may cause them to sink if
assistance be not at hand.
About three miles above the fort a long and
narrow point of land, rather high, runs near half
a mile into the river from the south side: it is
called Tongue Point, and in boisterous weather
is very difficult to double. On quitting Astoria
it blew pretty freshj and we took in a good deal
of water in doubling this point. We stopped for
the night about six miles above Tongue Point,
on the south side, close to an old uninhabited
village, but having no lack of animated beings of
another description ; I mean fleas, with which
the place was completely alive ; and we had not
been on shore five minutes when we were obliged
to strip, get a change of clothes, and drown the
invaders of our late suit by dipping them in the
river.* We had to pitch our tents on the sandy
beach to avoid their attacks ; but this was only
* During the warm months of summer it is difficult to select
a spot for an encampment free from these annoying insects. MUSQUITOES.
" out of the frying-pan," &c.; for about midnight
the tide came on us unawares ; and the first intimation we received of our danger was the noise
of the water beating against the canoes and baggage ; and when the alarm was given, it was
nearly up to our knees on the beach. It was a
spring tide, on which the men did not calculate,
and therefore kept no watch; added to which,
every man was nearly drunk.on quitting the
We had immediately to set about getting the
goods on the grass, and dressing ourselves. On
examination the following morning, we found
several bales were wet, which we were obliged
to open for the purpose of drying. This detained
us late, and we only made about ten miles on the
second dav, and landed on a small bottom, free
from the tide, but somewhat infested by fleas and
musquitoes. On the 1st of July it blew rather
stiffly from the south-east, which retarded our
progress considerably, and we did not make more
than fifteen miles ; but on the 2nd we had a good
run, and encamped on a fine meadow island,
where we hoped to spend a pleasant night, free
from fleas. Our hopes were partly realised :
none of the little agile backbiters attacked us;
but their absence was more than amply compen- 112
sated by myriads of musquitoes, from which we
suffered the most painful torments all night; the
face, ears, neck, and hands, were peculiar objects
of their affection; and what between them and
their brethren of the blanket, we scarcely had an
unpunctured spot in our bodies. I was particularly honoured with their preference ; and in the
morning my eyes were completely closed up from
the effects of their infernal stings.
We arrived on the evening of the 4th at the
foot of the first rapids, where we encamped,
The Indians so far had been always friendly, and
were in the habit of occasionally trading at
Astoria; but as the tribe who resides at the
rapids had previously manifested hostile feelings,
it was deemed necessary to prepare for action.
Each man was provided with a musket, and
forty rounds of ball-cartridge, with pouch, belts,
&c.; and over his clothes he wore leathern
armour: this was a kind of shirt made out of
r the skin of the elk, which reached from the neck
to the knees. It was perfectly arrow-proof;
j and at eighty or ninety^ yards impenetrable by a
j musket bullet. Besides the muskets, numbers
had daggers, short swords, and pistols; and,
when armed cap-a-pie*, we presented a formidable appearance.
A council of war was then called, in which it
was arranged that five officers should remain at
each end of the portage, and the remainder, with
twenty-five men, be stationed at short distances
from each other. Its length was between three
and four miles, and the path was narrow and
dangerous ; one part greatly obstructed by slippery rocks ; and another ran through a thick
wood, from which a skilful enemy could have
attacked us with advantage. We only made one
half of the portage the first day, and encamped
near an old village ; with the river in front; a
deep wood in the rear; at one end a natural in-
trenchment of rocks ; and at the other a barrier
formed by the canoes and bateaux. The whole
brigade was divided into three watches, with
five officers to each.
In the course of the day, in the most gloomy
part of the wood, we passed a cemetery, materially different from those belonging to the
lower tribes. There were nine shallow excavations, closely covered with pine and cedar
boards, and the top boards sloping to let off the
rain. Each place was about seven feet square,
and between five and six feet in height. They
contained numbers of dead bodies ; some in a
state of greater or less decomposition, and a few
VOL.   I. I 1
( M'
II •
quite fresh : they were all carefully enveloped in
mats and skins. Several poles were attached to
these burial places, on which were suspended
robes, pieces of cloth, kettles, bags of trinkets,
baskets of roots, wooden bowls, and several
ornaments ; all of which the survivors believed
their departed friends would require in the next
world. Their veneration is so great for these
offerings, that it is deemed sacrilege to pilfer one
of them ; and although these Indians are not remarkable for scrupulous honesty, I believe no
temptation would induce them to touch these
articles. Several of the boards are carved and
painted with rude representations of men, bears,
wolves, and animals unknown. Some in green,
others in white and red, and all most hideously
unlike nature.
About midnight we were thrown into a state
of frightful confusion by the report of a gun,
and the cries of Mr. Pillet, one of the clerks,
that he was shot. Every one instantly seized'his
arms, and enquired on which side was the enemy ;
but our apprehensions were quickly appeased, on
learning it was merely an accident. One of the
gentlemen, in examining the musket of a Sandwich islander, to see if it was primed, handed it
to him at full cock ; and just as the islander had
taken ijt, the piece went off, and the contents
lodged in the calf of poor Pillet's leg, who naturally enough exclaimed he was shot. This was
however, in cmr present circumstances, a disagreeable event, as it rendered Mr. Pillet not
only incapable of fighting, but required three or
four men to carry him in a litter over the various
portages. The wound was dressed with friar's
balsam and lint; the ball extracted the next
day ; and in about a month afterwardb he was able
to walk.
We commenced proceedings at four o'clock on
the morning of the 6th, and finishing the portage
about two in the afternoon. During our progress the Indians occasionally hovered about the
loaded men, 5 and made two or three trifling
essays to pilfer them: but the excellent precautions we had adopted completely kept them in
check, and deterred them from attempting any
thing like forcible robbery. At the upper end
of the portage, and wMIe we were reloading the
canoes, a number of the natives, several of whom
were armed, assembled about us : they conducted
themselves peaceably; but our numbers and
warlike arrangements enforced respect. The
dress of the men does not differ materially from
that of the Lower Indians; but they are incon-
1 2 ii
testably more filthy and ugly. Their teeth are
almost .worn away. The greater number have
very sore eyes : several have only one ; and we
observed a few old men and women quite blind.
The men are generally naked ; and the women
merely wear a leathern belt, with a narrowr
piece of the same material joined to the front,
which very imperfectly answers the purposes intended. Some wear leathern robes over the
breast and shoulders ; but others allow these
parts to remain naked. We observed no one
who appeared to assume the authority of a chief.
Each seemed quite independent of the other, and
complete master in his own house and family.
Their unfeeling brutality to the few old blind
people I have mentioned was really shocking;
and I may safely say, a more unamiable race of
democrats "ftre, not to be found in that country of
republics. We distributed a quantity of tobacco
among them, with which they appeared satisfied ;
after which we embarked, and proceeded „&»•
The upper part of the chain of rapids is a perpendicular fall of nearly sixteen feet; after which
it continues down nearly one uninterrupted
rapid for three miles and a half. The river here
is compressed by the bold shore on each side to
about  two  hundred  yards or less in breadth.
The channel is crowded with large rocks, over
which the water rushes with incredible velocity,
and with a dreadful noise. Above the portage
the river widens to about half a mile, and is
studded for some distance with several rocky
and partially wooded islands. We encamped
above five miles from the portage, in a pretty
little creek on the north side. The pine declines
considerably in size above the rapids, and is more
equally mixed with other trees ; among which,
on the left shore, from the portage up to our encampment, the hazel is predominant. We purchased some salmon on our way up, by which
we were enabled to husband our own provisions
with more economy. I omitted to mention that
below the rapids we also got a quantity of excellent roots, called by the Indians wappitioo 1
in size they resemble a small potatoe, for which it
is a good substitute when roasted or boiled ; it
has a very slight tinge of bitterness, but not unpleasantly so; and is highly esteemed by the
natives, who collect vast quantities of it for their
own use and for barter: none of it grows above
the rapids. On the evening of the 8th we reached the foot of the narrows, or, as the Canadians
call them, les dalles. The river from the first
rapids to the narrows is broad, deep, and rapid, iff
■•Iiff"  il f
with several sunken rocks, scattered here and
there, which often injure the canoes. The
Canadians, who are very fertile in baptizing remarkable places, called an island near our encampment of the 6th, Gibraltar, from the rocky
steepness of its shore : and about half way between the first rapids and narrows a bold promontory of high black rock stretches a considerable distance into the river, which, from the
difficulty we experienced in doubling it, received
the name of Cope Horn. The current here is
very strong and full of whirlpools ; so that except in calm weather, or with a fair wind, it is
rather a dangerous undertaking to " double the
cape." The islands in the distance are crowded
with great numbers of seals, which afforded excellent sport to our marksmen. As we approached the narrows the shores on each side
were less covered with wood, and immediately
close to them it had entirely disappeared. The
land on the north side was bold and rocky, and
about our encampment rather low, mixed with
rocks, « sandy soil, and totally devoid of vegetation, except loose straggling bushes some distance inland. The Columbia, at the narrows,
for upwards of three miles is compressed into a
narrow channel, not exceeding sixty or seventy COURSE   OF   THE   COLUMBIA.
yards wide ; the whole of which is a succession
*of boiling whirlpools. Above this channel, for
four or five miles, the river is one deep rapid, at
the upper end of which a large mass of high
black rock stretches across from the north side,
and nearly joins a similar mass on the south:
they are divided by a straight not exceeding fifty
yards wide ; and through this narrow channel,
for upwards of half a mile, the immense waters
of the Columbia are one mass of foam, and force
their headlong course with a frightful impetuosity, which cannot at any time be contemplated
without producing a painful giddiness. We
were obliged to carry all our lading from the
lower to the upper narrows, nearly nine miles.
The canoes were dragged up part of the space
between the narrows. This laborious undertaking occupied two entire days, in consequence of
the number of armed men we were obliged to
keep as guards to protect those who carried the
goods. It was a little above this place where
our party had been recently attacked, and we
were therefore obliged to be doubly cautious.
The chief and several of the Indians kept about
us during the portage. We gave them some
tobacco and trifling presents to cultivate their
friendship, in return for which they brought us It
some salmon. They had the discrimination to
see from our numbers, and the manner we were
prepared to receive them, that an attack would
be attended with rather doubtful success; and
therefore feigned an appearance of friendship,
which we affected to believe sincere. The propriety of " assuming a virtue if we had it not,"
however questionable in morals, must be often
practised among Indians; for they are such
thorough-bred hypocrites and liars, that we
found it often necessary to repose apparent
confidence in them, when we well knew they
were exerting their utmost skill to impose on
and deceive us. Even here while the chief
and some of his tribe were smoking with us
at one of the resting places, a few of the gentlemen who were at the upper end of the portage, seeing no symptoms of danger, wandered
a short distance among the rocks to view the
narrows, leaving part of the goods unguarded :
this was instantly observed by two fellows who
were lurking close to the place, and who availed
themselves of the opportunity to attempt carrying off an entire bale; but finding it rather
heavy, were about rifling its contents when two
of the loaded men arrived, and gave the alarm.
The robbers had the audacity to attack the men, ATTEMPTED   ROBBERY.
one of whom they knocked down; when the
officers, on seeing what occurred, returned b>sk_
quickly, upon which the savages fled. A shot
was fired at them by our best marksman, who
was told merely to wing one, which he did with
great skill, by breaking his left arm, at upwards
of a hundred yards distance. The fellow gave a
dreadful shout on receiving the ball, but still
continued his flight with his comrade, until we
lost sight of them. This piece of severity was
deemed necessary, to prevent repetitions of similar aggressions. The chief, in strong terms, declared his ignorance of any previous intention on
, the part of these fellows to commit robbery,
which we appeared not to doubt; at the same
time giving him to understand, that in case any
farther attacks were made, our balls would be
directed to a more mortal part.
On the morning of the 11th we embarked, and
proceeded a few miles with great labour, by
dragging the canoes against the current, which is
very strong between the upper narrows and the
falls. The. passengers all walked, and at some
ugly rocky points part of the lading had to be
taken out: this consumed the greater portion of
the day ; and we encamped that evening on the
south side near the foot of the falls.    Here several I2g
Indians visited us; some armed and on horseback, others unarmed, and on foot. In language,
dress, and manners, they appeared to belong to
distinct nations. The horsemen were clean,
wore handsome leathern shirts and leggings, and
had a bold daring manner, which we did not
observe with any of the tribes from the sea upwards. The more humble pedestrians were the
natives of the place: they were nearly naked,
and rather dirty in their persons, and professed
to be friendly : but from several attempts they
made at pilfering, we entertained strong doubts
of their sincerity; and were obliged to order
them to remove some distance from the camp.
They seemed to regard the mounted Indians
with a suspicious degree of apprehension, for
which we were for some time at a loss to account ; but which we subsequently learned was
caused by their having been lately at war, in
which they were vanquished, and several of
their tribe killed by the equestrians. The latter
remained on horseback most part of the time,
making observations on our party, by which they
apparently intended to regulate their future proceedings : they made no show of friendship,
were rather cold and distant in their manners,
and appeared to be a reconnoitring party sent HOSTILE  APPEARANCES.
out by the main body to watch our progress.
As a precautionary measure, we judged it expedient to show them we were fully prepared
for action, and accordingly assembled all the
men in the evening, each encased in his coat of
mail, and armed with a musket and bayonet.
They remained looking at us very attentively,
while our officers proceeded to examine each
man's firelock with all due military solemnity:
one half of the men were then ordered to form
a barrier with the canoes on our rear and flanks,
which, with the river in front, effectually served
to prevent a surprise during the night* The
whole brigade was equally divided; and one
half of the men having retired to rest, the re*
mainder were posted as sentinels about the camp.
Owing to the extreme heat, the Sandwich islanders had thrown off their jackets and shirts
during the day, and their swarthy bodies, decorated with buff belts, seemed to excite the particular attention of the Indians, who repeatedly
pointed towards them, and then spoke to each
other with considerable animation. Having completed our arrangements for the night, we offered
them some tobacco, which they accepted, and
then left us. It is necessary to observe, that in
the course of the day a calumet was presented to \H I
some of the horsemen, which they refused ; from
which circumstance, joined to their general deportment, we were led to believe their visit was
not of a pacific nature. We passed the night
without any interruption to our repose, and
commenced the portage of the falls early on the
morning of the 12th; but as the ground over
which the men were obliged to carry the baggage was covered with a deep bed of dry loose
sand, which fatigued them extremely, they did
not finish their laborious duty before night. We
encamped late at the upper end of the falls, near
a village of the Eneeshurs, from whom we pur-*
chased some salmon. A few of the horsemen
occasionally reconnoitred us during the day;
but as our men made short resting-places, or
pauses in the portage, by- which the entire party
were always in view of each other, the natives
made no hostile attempt; and on observing the
manner we had fortified our camp, and placed
our sentinels for the night, they departed. The
principal fall does not exceed fifteen feet in
height; but at low water it is much higher.
The descent of the Columbia from above this
fall to the end of the lower narrows exceeds
seventy feet, and throughout the whole distance
(about ten miles) the river is strewed with im- COURSE   OF   THE   COLUMBIA.
mense masses of hard black rock, mostly honeycombed, and worn into a variety of fantastic
shapes by the perpetual friction of the water in
its fearful course downwards. The appearance
of the country here is high, rocky, barren, and
without timber of any kind. We found this a
sensible inconvenience ; for we were obliged to
purchase some drift wood from the Indians for
the purposes of cooking.
On quitting this place the following morning,
a number of natives collected about us, among
whom we distributed a quantity of tobacco. The
river for some distance above this place is deep
and rapid, and the banks steep and rocky. The
canoes were dragged up several miles, and some
of them damaged by the rocks. About four or
five miles above the fall a high rocky island three
miles in length lies in the centre of the river,
on which the Indians were employed drying,
salmon, great quantities of which were cured
and piled under broad boards in stacks. We
encamped on the north side opposite the island,
and were visited by some Indians, from whom
we purchased salmon: they appeared friendly,
and belonged to the Eneeshur tribe at the falls.
Here, and for several hundred miles farther
upwards, the country assumes a new aspect: it I
ul! r
[ ;\'M
is free from any rising grounds, or timber, and
on each side nothing is to be seen but immense
plains-stretching a great distance to the north
and south: the soil is dry and sandy, and covered with a loose parched grass, growing in
tufts. The natives reside solely on the northern
side : they have plenty of horses, and are generally friendly* Here also rattlesnakes are first
seen, and are found for four or five hundred
miles farther on.    Between this place and Lewis
River the Columbia is interrupted by several
rapids ; some of which are trifling, others dangerous ; but there are long intervals of smooth
current which occasionally allowed us to hoist
small sails, and thereby diminished the laborious
duty of the canoe-men in paddling. PROVISIONS.
Party commence eating horses—Remarkable escape from a
rattlesnake—Kill numbers of them—Arrive among the Wallah Wallah tribe—Description of the country—The Pierced
nose Indians—Author's party proceeds up Lewis River-
Purchase horses for land-travelling—Prickly pears—Awkward accident—Leave the canoes, and journey inland.
The day after quitting the encampment at the
end of the rocky island we stopped about one
o'clock at a village, where we purchased five
horses. The value of the goods we paid for each
in England would not exceed five shillings. As
these horses were intended for the kettle, they
were doomed to instant destruction. Our comparatively recent separation from the land o
" bread and butter," caused the idea of feeding
on so useful and noble an animal to be at first
highly repugnant to our feelings ; but example,
and above all, necessity, soon conquered these
little qualms of xtf civilization ; and in a few days
we almost brought ourselves to believe that the
animal on which we fed once carried horns, was
divided in the hoof, and chewed the cud. A curious incident occurred at this spot to one of our
■a II
men named La Course, which was nearly proving
fatal. This man had stretched himself on the
ground, after the fatigue of the day, with his
head resting on a small package of goods, and
quickly fell asleep. While in this situation I
passed him, and was almost petrified at seeing a
large rattlesnake moving from his side to his left
breast. My first impulse was to alarm La Course ;
but an old Canadian whom I had beckoned to the
spot requested me to make no noise, alleging it
would merely cross the body and go away. He
was mistaken; for on reaching the man's left
shoulder, the serpent deliberately coiled itself, but
did not appear to meditate an attack. Having
made signs to several others, who joined us, it was
determined that two men should advance a little
in front, to divert the attention of the snake, while
one should approach La Course behind, and with
a long stick endeavour to remove it from his body.
The snake, on observing the men advance in front,
instantly raised its head, darted out its forked
tongue, and shook its rattles; all indications of
anger. Every one was now in a state of feverish
agitation as to the fate of poor La Course, who
still lay slumbering, unconscious of his danger;
when the man behind, who had procured a stick
seven feet in length, suddenly placed one end of MUSQUITOES.
it under the coiled reptile, and succeeded in pitching it upwards of ten feet from the man's body.
A shout of joy was the first intimation La Course
received of his wonderful escape, while in the
mean time the man with the stick pursued the
snake which he killed. It was three feet six
inches long ; and eleven years old, which I need
not inform my readers we easily ascertained by
the number of rattles. A general search was
then commenced about the encampment, and
under several rocks we found upwards of fifty of
them, all of which we destroyed. There is no
danger attending their destruction, provided a
person has a long pliant stick, and does not approach them nearer than their length, for they
cannot spring beyond it, and seldom act on the
offensive except closely pursued. They have a
strong repugnance to the smell of tobacco, in
consequence of which we opened a bale of it, and
strewed a quantity of loose leaves about the tents,
by which means we avoided their visits during
the night. We had however nearly as bad visitors—the musquitoes, which from the falls upwards annoyed us dreadfully. We were obliged
to make a slight fire of rotten wood in the cul-
de-sac of our tents, which merely caused a smoke
without flame, and which effectually drove them
VOL.   I.
K if I
away : but the remedy was as bad as the disease,
as we were nearly blinded and suffocated by the
Owing to the many accidents which befell our
canoes in the rapids, and the time consequently
employed in repairing them, and drying damaged
goods, our progress was greatly retarded, and
we did not reach the Wallah Wallah river until
the 28th. During this period, we generally encamped on the northern banks of the river ; purchased a number of horses for eating; and were
several times without wood for cooking them.
The Indians behaved in the most peaceable manner, and freely bartered with us such other provisions as they could spare. A few miles below
the Wallah Wallah the land on the south side
rises into rocky cliffs, near two hundred feet
high, which extend some distance inland. There
is a long and very dangerous rapid at their base,
which, by way of pre-eminence, the Canadians
call the Grande Rapide. We landed on the
south side, up which the canoes were dragged
with great difficulty. We observed immense
numbers of rattlesnakes here, basking in the sun,
and under the rocks, several of which we killed.
Half a dozen of us fired together at a batch
lying under one rock, and killed or wounded EXPEDITION.
thirty-seven! Our guns were charged with
goose shot. There was scarcely a stone in this
place which was not covered with them. All
the time we walked we were constantly on the
qui vive ; and I need not say, picked our steps
very cautiously. From the friendly character of
the natives, we had thrown by our armour for
some days, which relieved us greatly ; the heat,
while we were obliged to wear it, being almost
insupportable. Above this rocky eminence the
country opened again into an extended plain.
The river here, and for several miles lower
down, is occasionally bordered with straggling
clusters of willow, cotton wood, stunted red
cedar, and sumach, with quantities of sarsapa-
rilla. There is also abundance of furze bushes
and wormwood, through which we observed
several hares running, some of which, we killed.
In the evening we encamped at the entrance
of the Wallah Wallah river: a number of that
tribe visited us, and remained for some time
smoking. We informed Tamtappam, their chief,
that we wanted good horses fit to carry luggage,
and others to eat, and requested he would procure for us as many as he could the following day:
this he promised to do, and departed.
On the 29th we purchased twenty horses for
k 2 132
Mr. Robert Stuart's party ; which being deemed
sufficient for them, he, with Messrs. Crooks and
M'Lellan, and eight men, left us the next
morning, under a salute of three cheers, to pursue their dangerous journey across the mountains, and thence by the Missouri to St. Louis.
The Wallah Wallahs were decidedly the most
friendly tribe we had seen on the river: they
had an air of open unsuspecting confidence in
their manner that at once banished suspicion,
and insured our friendship. There was a degree
of natural politeness, too, evinced by them on
entering their lodges, which we did not see
practised by any others. We visited several
families in the village ; and the moment we
entered, the best place was selected for us, and a
clean mat spread to sit on ; while the inmates,
particularly the women and the children, remained at a respectful distance, without manifesting any of the obstrusive curiosity about our
arms or clothing by which we were so much annoyed amongst the lower tribes. The females,
also, were distinguished by a degree of attentive
kindness, totally removed from the disgusting familiarity of the kilted ladies below the rapids, and
equally free from an affectation of prudery : prostitution is unknown among them ; and I believe
1 K5EESa32££2t=
no inducement would tempt them to commit a
breach of chastity.
The Wallah Wallah is a bold, rapid stream,
about fifty-five yards wide, and upwards of six
feet deep : the water is clear, and rolls over a
bed of sand and gravel. On the 31st we moved
up to the north side of the mouth of Lewis
River, which is about fourteen miles above the
Wallah Wallah: its course is nearly due west,
and at its junction with the Columbia it is upwards of six hundred yards wide. The current
is very rapid; its waters deep, whitish, and
slightly tepid, in which respect it forms a marked
contrast to the Columbia, the waters of which
are quite clear and cool : the latter river at this
place is upwards of one thousand yards wide,
and the current descends at an even rate of about
four miles an hour. A little below the junction,
however, it widens from a mile to a mile and a
half, and has several islands, two of which are
low and sandy, and are nearly tthree miles in
length. Below these islands, a range of high
hills are seen on each side of the river, running
nearly from S. W. to N. E., and uncovered by any
timber : but at an immense distance, in a southeasterly direction, a chain of high craggy mountains are visible, from which it is supposed the ;
.'a r-  Ih
Wallah Wallah takes its rise. From their colour
the Canadians called this chain Les Montagnes
Bleues. The banks of both rivers at their junction are low with a gentle rise on each side. The
plains are covered with immense quantities of
prickly pear, which was a source of great annoyance. Above Lewis River the Columbia runs in
a northerly direction: below it in a westerly.
We remained here three days purchasing horses
for our journey inland. Mr. David Stuart and
party proceeded in their canoes up the Columbia
to the trading establishment which he had formed
at Oakinagan river, which falls into the Columbia, from the northward, about two hundred and
eighty miles above this place. Mr. Donald
M'Kenzie and his party proceeded up Lewis
River in order to establish a trading post on the
upper parts of it, or in the country of the Snake
Indians ; his choice to be regulated according to
the appearance of beaver in either place. The
natives of this district are called the Pierced-
nose Indians ; but as French is the language in
general use among traders in this country, owing
to most part of their being Cana?
dians, we commonly called them Les Nez Perces.
They do not differ much from the Wallah Wallahs in their dress or language, but are not so INDIAN   CLOTHING. 135
friendly, and demand higher prices for their
horses. Their habitations are covered with large
mats, fixed on poles: some are square, others
oblong, and some conical: they are of various
sizes, from twenty to seventy feet long, and
from ten to fifteen feet broad. There are no
interior divisions, and an opening in the top
serves the double purpose of a window and
chimney. These dwellings are pretty free from
vermin, and are easily changed when occasion
requires. The women wear leathern robes,
which cover the shoulders, part of the arms, the
breast, and reach down to their legs. The men
have robes nearly similar, but not so long, with
leggings which reach up half the thigh, and are
fastened to a belt round the waist by leathern
thongs. They are clean, active, and smart-looking, good hunters, and excellent horsemen.
They enjoy good health, and with the exception
of a few sore eyes, did not appear to have any
disorder. They are fond of their children, and
attentive to the wants of their old people. Their
saddles are made of dressed deer-skin stuffed
with hair: the stirrups are wooden, with the
bottom broad and flat, and covered over with
raw skin, which when dry becomes hard, and
lasts a long time.    The bridles are merely ropes 136
made out of the hair of the horses' tails, and are
tied round their under jaw. The women ride
like the men : their saddles are high in front and
rear, and formed something like the humps on a
camel's back ; and they must bring their horses
to a rock or old tree to enable them to mount.
The men are hard and unfeeling riders : the rope
bridles cut the corners of the poor horses'
mouths; and the saddles generally leave their
backs quite raw : yet in this state they ride them
for several days successively without the least
pity for the tortured animals. We got plenty of
salmon while we remained here, and some lamprey eels, the latter of which were oily and very
strong. Having purchased twenty-five horses,
we took our departure on the 3rd of August,
and proceeded up Lewis River ; some on land
with the horses, but the greater part still in the
-canoes. The water was very high, and rapid,
and in many places the banks steep and shelving,
which made the process of dragging up the canoes very difficult. Poling was quite impossible ;
for on the off, or outer side, the men could not
find bottom with their poles. I remained on
shore part of the time with the horses. In some
places the path wound along the almost perpendicular declivities of high hills on the banks of
the river, and was barely wide enough for one
horse at a time. Yet along these dangerous
roads the Indians galloped with the utmost composure ; while one false step would have hurled
them down a precipice of three hundred feet into
the torrent below. Even walking along these
dangerous declivities, leading my horse, I experienced an indescribable sensation of dread on
looking down the frightful abyss.
On the 7th we reached a small stream which
falls into Lewis River from the north : the mouth
is wide, and forms a kind of semicircular bay,
but suddenly narrows to about ten or twelve
yards. A village of about forty mat-covered
tents was situated at its junction with the main
river. The inhabitants were busily employed
in catching and drying salmon for their winter
and spring stock; and as it was here we.intended
to leave the canoes and proceed to our destination
by land, we encamped on the west side of the
little bay, and immediately commenced a trade
with the natives for horses. This place is not
more than fifty miles from the Columbia; but
owing to the rapidity of the current, and the
many rapids with which it was interrupted, our
progress was slow. The business of collecting
and catching the horses, which generally occu- 138
pied until eleven or twelve o'clock each day,
also contributed to cause this delay. With the
exception of small willow and cotton wood, there
are no trees from the Columbia upwards. The
ground is covered with loose grass, and abounds
in great quantities of the prickly pear, the thorns
of which are remarkably sharp, and strong
enough to penetrate the leather of the thickest
On the third day, while riding a short distance
ahead of the men, my horse happened to stand
on a bunch of the prickly pears, which pained
him so.much that he commenced plunging and
kicking, and ultimately threw me into a cluster
of them. My face, neck, and body, were severely
pierced; and every effort to rise only increased
the painfulness of my situation, for wherever I
placed my hands to assist in raising my body they
came in contact with the same tormenting thorns.
In fact I could not move an inch; and to add to
my disaster, I observed three rattlesnakes within
a few feet of my head. The men who were in
the rear driving the horses, hearing my cries,
quickly came to my assistance, and with considerable difficulty disentangled me . from my
painful situation: the snakes in the mean time
had disappeared.    I immediately hailed the ca- THEFTS. 139
noes, and resumed my old place on board, firmly
resolved never again to ride while a prickly pear
was visible.
The inhabitants of this fishing village were
part of the Pierced-nose Indians. We remained
here seven days, endeavouring to complete our
number of horses, which we at length effected.
The natives were hard to deal with, and we had
to raise our prices. Several trifling articles were
stolen from us, which the chief promised to recover ; but he either made no attempt, or the
means he used were ineffectual. He apologised
for his want of success by saying that the thieves
belonged to another tribe higher up the river,
and that they had departed with the stolen property. In their dress, language, and dwellings
these people differed little from those at the
mouth of Lewis River. On the evening of the
14th we laid up our bateaux and canoes in a
snug spot covered with willow and loose shrubs,
and recommended them to the care of the chief,
who promised that they should be carefully preserved until our return the following spring.
We made him a present of a fathom of blue cloth,
an axe, and a knife : to his wife we gave a few
strings of white and blue beads, and three dozen
of hawk-bells for  her  chemise de cuir;    and ,v
.  I
among the remainder we distributed a few heads
of leaf-tobacco.
We purchased altogether fifty horses to carry
the goods and baggage ; and from the difficulty
we experienced in procuring that number, we
were not able to obtain enough for our own use.
M'Lennan and I, however, succeeded in purchasing one for our joint use ; and Farnham and
Pillet got another. The men also obtained a few
which occasionally served to relieve them in the
progress of their journey. Our destination was
fixed for the Spokan tribe of Indians, whose lands
lay about one hundred and fifty miles from Lewis
River in a north-east direction, and among whom
we were given to understand the North-west
Company had already established a trading post
from the east side of the Rocky Mountains. We
also engaged an Indian guide to conduct us to
the Spokan lands.
On the 15th of August, at five a. m., we took
our departure from Lewis River. Our party consisted of one proprietor, four clerks, twenty-one
Canadians, and six Sandwich islanders, with the
Indian guide. We proceeded nearly due north
along the banks of the small river for some miles
through an open plain, which was bounded by a
range of steep rugged hills, running from the \
westward over which we had to cross. In some
places the path led over steep and slippery rocks,
and was so narrow, that the horses which were
loaded with large bales could not pass without
running the risk of falling down the craggy precipices ; and the men were obliged to unload
them and place the bales singly on the top of the
pack saddles. After we had passed as we imagined the most dangerous part of the pathway,
and had commenced our descent into the plain,
one of the horses missed his footing, and rolled
down a declivity of two hundred feet, loaded
with two cases of axes : the cases were broken,
and their contents scattered about the rocks;
but, with the exception of his sides, the skin of
which was scraped off, the horse received no
material injury. We arrived on the north side
of these hills about eleven o'clock, when we
stopped to breakfast on the banks of the river,
which here turns to the eastward. We resumed
our journey at two o'clock, and suffered severely
during the day, from the intense heat, and the
want of water. The country was a continued
plain, with sandy and rocky bottom, mixed with
loose tufts of grass. About seven in the evening
we reached a cool stream, on the banks of which
were a profusion of wild cherries, currants, and n
blackberries, which afforded us an unexpected
and welcome treat. We encamped here for the
night; and did not hobble the horses,* as we
were certain the luxurious herbage of the prairie
would prevent them from wandering.
At four a. m. on the 16th we set off from our
encampment, still pursuing a northerly course.
The country still champaign, and the grass long
and coarse, but loosely imbedded in a sandy soil.
About eight we came to a fine spring, at which
we breakfasted, as our guide told us we should
not find water beyond it for a great distance.
After waiting here a few hours, we reloaded,
and pursued our journey in the same direction.
During the remainder of the day no " green spot
bloomed on the desert" around us. The country
was completely denuded of wood ; and as far as
the eye extended, nothing was visible but immense plains covered with parched brown grass,
swarming with rattlesnakes. The horses suffered
dreadfully, as well as their masters, from heat
and thirst. Two fine pointers belonging to Mr.
Clarke were so exhausted that we were compelled to leave them behind, and never saw them
I When we were apprehensive that the horses might wander
from an encampment, their two fore legs were tied together.
This we called hobbling. INDIAN   PRECISION.
afterwards. Several of the horses being on the
point of giving up, and numbers of the men
scarcely able to walk, Mr. Clarke sharply questioned the guide as to his knowledge of the
country, and the probable time we might expect
to fall in with water : the latter saw his doubts,
and calmly replied, pointing to the sun, that
when it should have gained a certain distance
we might expect relief. We knew half an hour
would not elapse before it should attain the desired point, and every watch was out to judge of
the Indian's accuracy. He was right; and about
half-past five p. m. we reached a small stream,
by the side of which we encamped for the night.
The guide gave us to understand we should find
plenty of water the following day. E-9se*0!9m
i u m
Author loses the party—Curious adventures, and surprising
escapes from serpents and wild beasts during fourteen days
in a wilderness—Meets with Indians, by whom he is hospitably received, and conducted to his friends.
On the 17th of August we left our encampment
a little after four a. m. During the forenoon the
sun was intensely hot. Occasional bright green
patches, intermixed with wild flowers, and gently
rising eminences, partially covered with clumps
of small trees, gave an agreeable variety to the
face of the country ; which we enjoyed the more,
from the scorched and sterile uniformity»of the
plains through which we had passed on the two
preceding days. We got no water, however,
until twelve o'clock, when we arrived in a small
valley of the most delightul verdure, through
which ran a clear stream from the northward,
over a pebbly bottom. The horses were immediately turned loose to regale themselves in the
rich pasture ; and as it was full of red and white
clover, orders were given not to catch them
until  two o'clock, by which time we  thought AUTHOR   LOSES  THE  PARTY.
they would be sufficiently refreshed for the evening's journey.
After walking and riding eight hours, I need
not say we made a hearty breakfast; after which
I wandered some distance along the banks of the
rivulet in search of cherries, and came to a sweet
little arbour formed by sumach and cherry trees*
I pulled a quantity of the fruit, and sat down in
the retreat to enjoy its refreshing coolness. It was
a charming spot, and on the opposite bank was
a delightful wilderness of crimson haw, honeysuckles, wild roses, and currants: its resemblance
to a friend's summer-house in which I had spent
many happy days, brought back home with all its
endearing recollections; and my scattered thoughts
were successively occupied with the past, the present, and the future. In this state I fell into a
kind of pleasing, soothing reverie, which, joined
to the morning's fatigue, gradually sealed my eyelids ; and unconscious of my situation, I resigned
myself to the influence of the drowsy god. But
imagine my feelings when I awoke in the evening,
I think it was about five o'clock, from the declining appearance of the sun ! All was calm and
silent as the grave. I hastened to the spot where
we had breakfasted: it was vacant. I ran to the
place where the men had made their fire : all, all
VOL. I. L 146
were gone, and not a vestige of man or horse appeared in the valley. My senses almost failed me.
I called out, in vain, in every direction, until I
became hoarse; and I could no longer conceal
from myself the dreadful truth that I was alone
in a wild, uninhabited country, without horse or
arms, and destitute of covering.
Having now no resource but to ascertain the
direction which the party had taken, I set about
examining the ground, and at the north-east point
of the valley discovered the tracks of horses'feet,
which I followed for some time*, and which led
to a chain of small hills with a rocky, gravelly
bottom, on which the hoofs made no impression.
Having thus lost the tracks, I ascended the
highest of the hills, from which I had an extended
view of many miles around; but saw no sign of
the party, or the least indication of human habitations. The evening was now closing fast, and
with the approach of night a heavy dew commenced falling. The whole of my clothes consisted merely of a gingham shirt, nankeen trow-
sers, and a pair of light leather moccasins, much
worn. About an hour before breakfast, in consequence of the heat, I had taken off my coat
and placed it on one of the loaded horses, intending to put it on towards the cool of the evening; VIEW   OF   HORSEMEN.
and one of the men had charge of my fowling-
piece. I was even without my hat; for in the
agitated state of my mind on awaking I had left
it behind, and had advanced too far to think of
returning for it. At some distance on my left
I observed a field of high, strong grass, to which
I proceeded; and after pulling enough to place
under and over me, I recommended myself to
the Almighty, and fell asleep. During the night
confused dreams of warm houses, feather beds,
poisoned arrows, prickly pears, and rattlesnakes,
haunted my disturbed imagination.
On the 18th I arose with the sun, quite wet
and chilly, the heavy dew having completely
saturated my flimsy covering, and proceeded in
an easterly direction, nearly parallel with the
chain of hills. In the course of the day I passed
several small lakes full of wild fowl. The general
appearance of the country was flat, the soil light
and gravelly, and covered with the same loose
grass already mentioned; great quantities of it
had been recently burned by the Indians in hunting the deer, the stubble of which annoyed my
feet very much. I had turned into a northerly
course, where, late in the evening, I observed,
about a mile distant, two horsemen galloping in
an easterly direction.   From their dresses I knew
l 2 a
*   &|
they belonged to our party. I instantly ran to a
hillock, and called out in a voice to which hunger
had imparted a supernatural shrillness; but they
galloped on. I then took off my shirt, which I
waved in a conspicuous manner over my head,
accompanied by the most frantic cries; still they
continued on. I ran towards the direction they
were galloping, despair adding wings to my flight.
Rocks, stubble, and brushwood were passed with
the speed of a hunted antelope—but to no purpose ; for on arriving at the place where I imagined a pathway would have brought me into
their track, I was completely at fault. It was
now nearly dark. I had eaten nothing since the
noon of the preceding day; and, faint with hunger
and fatigue, threw myself on the grass, when I
heard a small rustling noise behind me. I turned
round, and, with horror, beheld a large rattlesnake cooling himself in the evening shade. I
instantly retreated, on observing which he coiled
himself. Having obtained a large stone, I advanced slowly on him, and taking a proper aim,
dashed it with all my force on the reptile's head,
which I buried in the ground beneath the stone.
The late raee had completely worn out the
thin soles of my moccasins, and my feet in consequence became much swoln.     As night ad-
&fi EXTREME privations.
vanced, I was obliged to look out for a place
to sleep, and, after some time, selected nearly as
good a bed as the one I had the first night. My
exertions in pulling the long, coarse grass nearly
rendered my hands useless by severely cutting
all the joints of the fingers.
I rose before the sun on the morning of the
19th, and pursued an easterly course all the day.
I at first felt very hungry, but after walking a few
miles, and taking a drink of water, I got a little
refreshed. The general appearance of the country was still flat, with burned grass, and sandy
soil, which blistered my feet. The scorching
influence of the sun obliged me to stop for some
hours in the day; during which I made several
ineffectual attempts to construct a covering for
my head. At times I thought my brain was on
fire from the dreadful effects of the heat. I got
no fruit those two days, and towards evening felt
very weak from the want of nourishment, having
been forty-eight hours without food; and to make
my situation more annoying, I slept that evening
on the banks of a pretty lake, the inhabitants of
which would have done honour to a royal table.
With what an evil eye and a murderous heart did
I regard the stately goose and the plump waddling
duck as they sported on the water, unconscious of 150
,iij }
my presence ! Even with a pocket pistol I could
have done execution among them. The state of
my fingers prevented me from obtaining the
covering of grass which I had the two preceding
nights : and on this evening* I had no shelter
whatever to protect me from the heavy dew.
On the following day, the 20th, my course was
nearly north-east, and lay through a country more
diversified by wood and water. I saw plenty of
wild geese, ducks, cranes, curlews, and sparrows,
also some hawks and cormorants, and at a distance about fifteen or twenty small deer. The
wood consisted of pine, birch, cedar, wild cherries,
hawthorn, sweet-willow, honeysuckle, andsumach.
The rattlesnakes were very numerous this day,
with horned lizards, and grasshoppers; the latter
kept me in a constant state of feverish alarm from
the similarity of the noise made by their wings to
the sound of the rattles of the snake when preparing to dart on its prey. I suffered severely
during the day from hunger, and was obliged to
chew grass occasionally, which allayed it a little.
Late in the evening I arrived at a lake upwards of
two miles long, and a mile broad, the shores of
which were high, and well wooded with large
pine, spruce, and birch. It was fed by two rivulets, from the north, and north-east, in which
K= \
I observed a quantity of small fish; but had no
means of catching any, or I should have made a
Sandwich-island meal. There was however an
abundant supply of wild cherries, on which I made
a hearty supper, I slept on the bank of the
nearest stream, just where it entered the lake; but
during the night the howling of wolves and growling of bears broke in terribly on my slumbers, and
"balmy sleep" was almost banished from my eyelids. On rising the next morning, the 21st, I
observed on the opposite bank at the mouth of the
river, the entrance of a large and apparently
deep cavern, from which I judged some of the
preceding night's music had issued. I now determined to make short journies for two or three
days in different directions, in the hope of falling
on some fresh horse-tracks; and in the event of
being unsuccessful, to return each night to the
lake, where I was at least certain of procuring
cherries and water sufficient to sustain nature.
In pursuance of this resolution I set out early in
a southerly direction from the head of the lake,
through a wild, barren country, without any
water or vegetation, save loose tufts of grass like
those already described. I had armed myself
with a long stick, with which during the day
I killed several rattlesnakes.    Having discovered smau mwm
no fresh tracks, I returned late in the evening
hungry and thirsty, and took possession of my
berth of the preceding night. I collected a heap
of stones from the water side; and just as I was
lying down observed a wolf emerge from the
opposite cavern, and thinking it safer to act on
the offensive, lest he should imagine I was afraid,
I threw some stones at him, one of which struck,
him on the leg: he retired yelling into his den ;
and after waiting some time in fearful suspense
to see if he would re appear, I threw myself on
the ground, and fell asleep ; but, like the night
before, it was broken by the same unsocial noise
and for upwards of two hours I sat up waiting
in anxious expectation the return of day-light.
The vapours from the lake, joined to the heavy
dew, had penetrated my frail covering of gingham ; but as the sun rose, I took it off, and
stretched it on a rock, where it quickly dried.
My excursion to the southward having proved
abortive, I now resolved to try the east, and
after eating my simple breakfast, proceeded in
that direction ; and on crossing the two small
streams, had to penetrate a country full of " dark
woods and rankling wilds," through which,
owing to the immense quantities of underwood,
my progress was slow.    My feet too were un- NOCTURNAL SERENADE.
covered, and, from the the thorns of the various
prickly plants, were much lacerated, in conse-
quence'of which, on returning to mylatebivouack,
I was obliged to shorten the legs of my trowsers
to procure bandages for them. The wolf did
not make his appearance ; but during the night
I got occasional starts, from several of his brethren of the forest.
I anticipated the rising of the sun on the
morning of the 23rd, and having been unsuccessful the two preceding days, determined to
shape my course due north, and if possible not
return again to the lake. During the day I
skirted the wood, and fell on some old tracks,
which revived my hopes a little. The country
to the westward was chiefly plains covered with
parched grass, and occasionally enlivened by
savannahs of refreshing green, full of wild flowers
and aromatic herbs, among which the bee and
humming bird banqueted. I slept this evening
by a small brook, where I collected cherries and
haws enough to make a hearty supper. I was
obliged to make farther encroachments on the
legs of my trowsers for fresh bandages for my
feet. During the night I was serenaded by
music which did not resemble " a concord of
most sweet sounds;"  in which the grumbling .au-miuH
bass of the bears was at times drowned by the
less pleasing sharps of the wolves. I partially
covered my body this night with some pieces of
pine bark which I stripped off a sapless tree.
The country through which I dragged my
tired limbs on the 24th was thinly wooded. My
course was north and north east. I suffered
much from want of water, having got during the
day only two tepid and nauseous draughts from
stagnant pools, which the long drought had
«nearly dried up. About sunset I arrived at a
small stream, by the side of which I took up my
quarters for the night. The dew fell heavily ;
but I was too much fatigued to go in quest of
bark to cover me ; and even had I been so inclined, the howling of the wolves would have
deterred me from making the dangerous attempt.
There must have been an extraordinary nursery
of these animals close to the spot; for between
the weak, shrill cries of the young, and the more
loud and dreadful howling of the old, I never
expected to leave the place alive. I could not
sleep. My only weapons of defence were a heap
of stones and a stick. Ever and anon some
more daring than others approached me. I presented the stick at them as if in the act of levelling a gun, upon which they retired, vented a
few yells, advanced a little farther, and after
surveying me for some time with their sharp,
fiery eyes, to which the partial glimpses of the
moon had imparted additional ferocity, retreated
into the wood. In this state of fearful agitation
I passed the night; but as day-light began to
break, Nature asserted her supremacy, and I fell
into a deep sleep, from which, to judge by the
sun, I did not awake until between eight and
nine o'clock on the morning of the 25th. My
second bandages having been worn out, I was
now obliged to bare my knees for fresh ones ;
and after tying them round my feet, and taking
a copious draught from the adjoining brook for
breakfast, I recommenced my joyless journey.
My course was nearly north-north-east. I got
no water during the day, nor any of the wild
cherries. Some slight traces of men's feet, and
a few old horse tracks occasionally crossed my
path ; they proved that human beings sometimes
at least visited that part of the country, and for
a moment served to cheer my drooping spirits.
About dusk an immense-sized wolf rushed out
of a thick copse a short distance from the pathway, planted himself directly before me, in a
threatening position, and appeared determined
to dispute my passage.     He was not more than *~.   !     JP1
twenty feet from me. My situation was desperate, and as I knew that the least symptom of
fear would be the signal for attack, I presented
my stick, and shouted as loud as my weak voice,
would permit. He appeared somewhat startled,
and retreated a few steps, still keeping his
piercing eyes firmly fixed on me. I advanced a
little, when he commenced howling in a most appalling manner ; and supposing his intention was
to collect a few of his comrades to assist in
making an afternoon repast on my half-famished
carcass, I redoubled my cries, until I had almost
lost the power of utterance, at the same time
calling out various names, thinking I might
make it appear I was not alone. An old and a
young lynx ran close past me, but did not stop.
The wolf remained about fifteen minutes in the
same position ; but whether my wild and fearful
exclamations deterred any others from joining
him, I cannot say. Finding at length my determination not to flinch, and that no assistance was
likely to come, he retreated into the wood, and
disappeared in the surrounding gloom.
-_ The shades of night were now descending fast,
when I came to a verdant spot surrounded by
small trees, and full of rushes, which induced me
to hope for water ; but after searching for some APPALLING   SITUATION.
time, I was still doomed to bitter disappointment. A shallow lake or pond had been there,
which the long drought and heat had dried up.
I then pulled a quantity of the rushes and spread
them at the foot of a large stone, which I intended for my pillow ; but as I was about throwing myself down, a rattlesnake coiled, with the
head erect, and the forked tongue extended in a
state of frightful oscillation, caught my eye immediately under the stone. I instantly retreated
a short distance ; but assuming fresh courage,
soon dispatched it with my stick. On examining
the spot more minutely, a large cluster of them
appeared under the stone, the whole of which I
rooted out and destroyed. This was hardly accomplished when upwards of a dozen snakes of
different descriptions, chiefly dark brown, blue,
and green, made their appearance : they were
much quicker in their movements than their
rattle-tailed brethren; and I could only kill a
few of them.
This was a peculiarly soul-trying moment. I
had tasted no fruit since the morning before, and
after a painful day's march under a burning sun,
could not procure a drop of water to allay my
feverish thirst. I was surrounded by a murderous brood of serpents, and ferocious beasts of m
prey, and without even the consolation of knowing when s.uch misery might have a probable
.termination. I might truly say with the royal
psalmist that " the snares of death compassed me
round about/'
Having collected a fresh supply of rushes,
which I spread some distance from the spot
where I massacred the reptiles, I threw myself
on them, and was permitted through divine goodness to enjoy a night of undisturbed repose.
I arose on the morning of the 26th considerably
refreshed ; and took a northerly course, occasionally diverging a little to the east. Several
times during the day, I was induced to leave the
path by the appearance of the rushes, which I imagined grew in the vicinity of lakes ; but on
reaching them my faint hopes vanished: there
was no water, and I in vain essayed to extract a
little moisture from them. Prickly thorns and
small sharp stones added greatly to the pain of
my tortured feet, and obliged me to make farther
encroachments on my nether garments for fresh
bandages. The want of water now rendered me
extremely weak and. feverish ; and I had nearly
abandoned all hopes of relief, when, about half-
past four or five o'clock, the old pathway turned
from the prairie grounds into a thickly wooded UNPLEASANT   INTRUSION.
country, in an easterly direction ; through which
I had not advanced half a mile when I heard a
noise resembling a waterfall, to which I hastened
my tottering steps, and in a few minutes was delighted at arriving on the banks of a deep and
narrow rivulet, which forced its way with great
rapidity over some large stones that obstructed
the channel.
After offering up a short prayer of thanksgiving for this providential supply, I threw myself
into the water, forgetful of the extreme state of
exhaustion to which I was reduced: it had
nearly proved fatal, for my weak frame could not
withstand the strength of the current, which
forced me down a short distance, until I caught
the bough of an overhanging tree, by means of
which I regained the shore. Here were plenty
of hips and cherries; on which, with the water,
I made a most delicious repast. On looking
about for a place to sleep, I observed lying on
the ground the hollow trunk of a large pine,
which had been destroyed by lightning. I retreated into the cavity ; and having covered myself completely with large pieces of loose bark,
quickly fell asleep. My repose was not of long
duration ; for at the end of about two hours, I
was awakened by the growling of a bear, which 160
had removed part of the bark covering and was
leaning over me with his snout, hesitating as to
the means he should adopt to dislodge me; the
narrow limits of the trunk which confined my
body preventing him from making the attack
with advantage. I instantly sprung up, seized
my stick, and uttered a loud cry, which startled
him, and caused him to recede a few steps ;
when he stopped, and turned about apparently
doubtful whether he would commence an attack.
He determined on an assault; but feeling I had
not sufficient strength to meet such an unequal
enemy, I thought it prudent to retreat, and accordingly scrambled up an adjoining tree. My
flight gave fresh impulse to his courage, and he
commenced ascending after me. I succeeded
however in gaining a branch, which gave me a
decided advantage over him; and from which I
was enabled to annoy his muzzle and claws in
such a manner with my stick as effectually to
check his progress. After scraping the bark some
time with rage and disappointment, he gave up
the task, and retired to my late dormitory, of
which he took possession. The fear of falling
off, in case I was overcome by sleep, induced me
to make several attempts to descend ; but each
attempt aroused my ursine sentinel; and after
many ineffectual efforts, I was obliged to remain
there during the rest of the night. I fixed myself in that part of the trunk from which the
principle grand branches forked, and which prevented me from falling during my fitful slumbers.
On the morning of the 27th, a little after sunrise, the bear quitted the trunk, shook himself,
" cast a longing, lingering look" towards me, and
slowly disappeared in search of his morning repast. After waiting some time, apprehensive of
his return, I descended and resumed my journey
through the woods in a north-north-east direction. In a few hours all my anxiety of the
preceding night was more than compensated
bj falling in with a well-beaten horse-path, with
fresh traces on it, both of hoofs and human feet:
it lay through a clear open wood, in a northeast course, in which I observed numbers of
small deer. About six in the evening, I arrived
at a spot where a party must have slept the
preceding night. Round the remains of a large
fire which was still burning were scattered several half-picked bones of grouse, partridges and
ducks, all of which I collected with economical industry. After devouring the flesh I broiled the bones. The whole scarcely sufficed to
give me a moderate meal, but yet afforded a most
VOL.  i. M of
seasonable relief to my famished body. I enjoyed a comfortable sleep this night close to the
fire, uninterrupted by any nocturnal visitor. On
the morning of the 28th I set off with cheerful
spirits, fully impressed with the hope of a speedy
termination to my sufferings. My course was
northerly, and lay through a thick wood. Late
in the evening I arrived at a stagnant pool, from
which I merely moistened my lips ; and having
covered myself with some birch bark, slept by its
side. The bears and wolves occasionally serenaded me during the night, but I did not see any of
them. I rose early on the morning of the 29th,
and followed the fresh traces all day through the
wood, nearly north-east by north. I observed
several deer, some of which came quite close to
me ; and in the evening I threw a stone at a
small animal resembling a hare^ the leg of which
I broke. It ran away limping, but my feet were
too sore to permit me -to follow it. I passed the
night by the side of a small stream, where I got
a sufficient supply of hips and cherries. A few
distant growls awoke me at intervals, but no animal appeared. On the 30th the path took a
more easterly turn, and the woods became thicker
and more gloomy. I had now nearly consumed
the remnant of my trowsers in bandages for my SUFFERINGS ALLEVIATED.
wretched feet; and with the exception of my
shirt, was almost naked. The horse-tracks every
moment appeared more fresh, and fed my hopes.
Late in the evening I arrived at a spot where the
path branched off in different directions : one led
up rather a steep hill, the other descended into a
valley, and the tracks on both were equally recent. I took the higher : but after proceeding a
few hundred paces through a deep wood, whieh
appeared more dark from a thick foliage whBefi
shut out the rays of the sun, I returned apprehensive of not procuring water for my supper,
and descended the lower path. I had not advanced far when I imagined I heard the neighing of a horse. I listened with breathless attention, and became convinced it was no illusion. A
few paces farther brought me in sight of several
of those noble animals sporting in a handsome
meadow, from which I was separated by a rapid
stream. With some difficulty I crossed over, and
ascended the opposite bank. One of the horses
approached me : I thought him " the ? prince
of palfreys; his neigh was like the bidding of
a monarch, and his countenance enforced homage."
On advancing a short distance into the meadow
the cheering sight of a small column of gracefully
M 2 HX
curling smoke announced my vicinity to human
beings, and in a moment after two Indian women
perceived me : they instantly fled to a hut which
appeared at the farther end of the meadow.    This
movement made me doubt whether I had arrived
among friends or enemies ; but my apprehensions
were quickly dissipated by the approach of two
men, who came running to me in the most friendly
manner.     On  seeing the lacerated state of my
feet, they carried me in their arms to a comfortable dwelling covered with deer-skins.    To wash
and dress my torn limbs, roast some roots, and
boil a small salmon, seemed but the business of a
moment.    After returning thanks to that great
and good Being, in whose hands are the issues of
life and death, and who had watched over  my
wandering steps, and rescued me from the many
perilous dangers I encountered, I sat down to my
salmon, of which it is needless to say I made a
hearty supper.
The family consisted of an elderly man, and
his son, with their wives and children. I collected from their signs that they were aware of
my being lost, and that they, with other Indians,
and white men, had been out several days scouring the woods and plains in search of me. I
also understood from them that our party had 1
arrived at their destination, which was only a few
hours' march from their habitation. Thev be-
haved to me with affectionate solicitude ; and
while the old woman was carefully dressing my
feet, the men were endeavouring to make me
comprehend their meaning. I had been four-
teeen days in a wilderness without holding " communion kind" with any human being; and I
need not say I listened with a thousand times
more real delight to the harsh and guttural
voices of those poor Indians, than was ever
experienced by the most enthusiastic admirer of
melody from the thrilling tones of a Catalani,
or the melting sweetness of a Stephens. As it
was too late, after finishing my supper, to proceed farther that night, I retired to rest on a
comfortable couch of buffalo and deer, skins. I
slept soundly; and the morning of the 31st was
far advanced before I awoke. After breakfasting on the remainder of the salmon, I prepared
to join my white friends. A considerable stream
about ninety yards broad, called Cceur a" Alene
River, flowed close to the hut. The old man
and his son accompanied me. We crossed the
river in a canoe; after which they brought over
three horses, and having enveloped my body in
an Indian mantle of deer-skin, we mounted, and if H
set off at a smart trot in an easterly direction.
We had not proceeded more than seven miles
when I felt the bad effects of having eaten so
much salmon after so long a fast. I had a severe
attack of indigestion, and for two hours suffered
extreme agony ; and, but for the great attention
of the kind Indians, I think it would have proved
fatal. About an hour after recommencing our
journey we arrived in a clear wood, in which,
with joy unutterable, I observed our Canadians
at work hewing timber. I rode between the
two natives. One of our men named Frangois
Gardepie, who had been on a trading excursion,
joined us on horseback. My deer-skin robe and
sun-burnt features completely set his powers of
recognition at defiance, and he addresed me as
an Indian. I replied in French, by asking him
how all our .people were. Poor Francois appeared electrified, exclaimed " Saint Vterge /"
and galloped into the wood, vociferating " O
mes amis ! mes amis I il est trouve /— Oui, oui,
il est trouvS /"—" Qui f qui ?" asked his comrades. " Monsieur Cox ! Monsieur Cox /" replied Francois. " Le voild ! le voild !n pointing
towards me. Away went saws, hatchets, and
axes, and each man rushed forward to the tents,
where we had by this time arrived.    It is need,*
mm, \
less to say that our astonishment and delight at
my miraculous escape were mutual. The friendly
Indians were liberally rewarded ; the men were
allowed a holiday, and every countenance bore
the smile of joy and happiness. 168
Remarkable case of Mr. Pritchard, who was thirty-five days
lost—Situation of Spokan House—Journey to the Flathead lands, and description of that tribe—Return to Spokan
House—Christmas day—Horse-eating—Spokan peculiarities—Articles of trade—A duel.
i M
After partaking of some refreshment we naturally reverted to the cause of my egaremens.
It was easily explained. M'Lennan and I, as
already mentioned, could only get one horse between us. On the morning of the 17th I had
ridden from ten o'clock until twelve, at which
hour we breakfasted. It was then M'Lennan*s
turn to mount. The party were divided into
three divisions, and kept up rather a straggling
march while in the plains. Every one had his
own business to mind. Those who set off first,
thought I was with the second or third division ;
while they imagined I was with the first. In
this manner they coutinued on for upwards of
two hours, until it became my turn to ride, when
M'Lennan, after galloping up and down the line
of march, missed me. On communicating the
intelligence to  Mr. Clarke, he at once ordered EXPLANATION.
the whole to stop, and sent the Indians with
several men back in search of me. In the mean
time I had recovered from my summer-house
dream, and had crossed the track by which they
returned, and by that means missed them. On
comparing the places where we slept the first
night, we could not have been more than three
miles asunder; and although they fired shots
repeatedly, I was not fortunate enough to hear
any of them. The direction I took the second
morning separated us farther; for they went
north, and I nearly due east; and the two
horsemen I saw on that evening were part of
those who were scouring the country in quest of
me. The arrangements made for my recovery
were hastily adopted, badly carried into execution, and too soon abandoned; for after the
third night, they imagined I had fallen a prey to
the wolves, and continued on their course. On
arriving at Spokan several other parties were
sent out, but with what success it is needless to tell.
From my youth, and consequent inexperience in
the Indian country, the oldest voyageurs had
given me up after the sixth day. A better
knowledge of the productions of the soil would
have enabled me to obtain other wild fruit and
roots which, by contributing to my sustenance, ■■■
■  <  7i
would have greatly alleviated my sufferings;
but my ignorance of such as were wholesome
and nutricious prevented me from tasting any
thing with which I had not been previously acquainted. On the day before my arrival, my
clothes, &c. had been sold by auction; all of
which were however returned by the purchasers.
After a few days' rest and proper attention I
became nearly renovated in health, and before
the end of a fortnight every trace of my painful
privations had disappeared.
To such as may feel disposed to doubt the accuracy of the foregoing statement, I beg leave to
say that Mr. Clarke, who then commanded the
party, and who is now a member of the Hud-
son's-Ray Company, and the other gentlemen
who were with him, are still alive ; and although
they cannot vouch for the truth of each day's detail, they can for my absence and the extent of
my sufferings, as evinced by my emaciated appearance on rejoining them. I can with truth
assert that I have rather softened down than
overcharged the statement, and therefore trust
candid readers will acquit me of any intention
to practise on their credulity. Mine, however,
was not a solitary case ; and the sceptical no
doubt will be more surprised to learn that a few SIMILAR  ADVENTURE.
years prior to this occurrence a gentleman named
Pritchard, who belonged to the North-west Company, while stationed in the neighbourhood of
English River, on the east side of the mountains,
lost himself, and was thirty-jive days wandering
through the woods before he was found!    In
some respects he was better off than I; for he
was well clothed, and from his experience of the
country had recourse to expedients to procure
food of which I never should have thought.    He
supported himself for some time by setting traps
for hares, a few of which he took in the Indian
manner.    He likewise made snares out of the
hair of his head, with which he caught some small
fish; and he also occasionally succeeded in killing a bird.    These he was obliged to eat raw;
and when all other resources failed, he was reduced to the necessity of eating grass, and a kind
of moss, called by the Canadians tripe de rocher.
He was found by Indians close to a small stream,
endeavouring to crawl on his hands and feet, in
a state of utter helplessness and exhaustion; and
for some days previous to his being discovered
he had eaten nothing whatever. On being brought
to the fort he quickly recovered his ordinary
health, the possession of which, I am happy to
say, he enjoys to the present moment. \W'
The spot selected for forming our establishment was a handsome point of land, formed by
the junction of the Pointed Heart and Spokan
rivers, thinly covered with pine and other trees,
and close to a trading post of the North-west
Company, under the command of a Mr. M'Millan,
one of their clerks, who had ten men With him.
He had two other posts detached from this: one
about two hundred and forty miles from it, in a
^north-easterly direction, among a tribe called the
Flat-heads,   whose lands lie at the feet of the
Rocky Mountains,  and are well  stocked with
buffaloes; the other about two hundred miles,
nearly  due  north,   among  a   tribe   called  the
Cootonais, in whose country there are plenty of
Jbeavers,   deer,  mountain sheep, and, at times,
y rrbuffaloes.    Mr. Finan M'Donald of the North-
V* west Company had charge of the post among the
Flat-heads; and a Mr. Montour was stationed
among the Cootonais. Mr. Pillet was despatched
with six men to oppose the latter; and Farnham
and I were destined for the Flat-heads. Owing
to the length of time our men were detained at
Spokan to assist in cutting down timber for the
fort, we did not set out until the 17th of October.
We had twelve men and fourteen loaded horses.
On leaving Spokan our course for four days was
north-east, and lay through a handsome open
country well watered, and bounded by hills
rather thickly wooded. On the evening of the
20th we encamped on the banks of a fine river,
which rises in the Rocky Mountains, flows
through the lands of the Flat-heads, Pointed
Heart, Spokan and Chaudiere Indians, and falls
into the Columbia about nine hundred miles
from the sea. Its general course is westerly, and '
it is commonly called the Flathead River. The
part at which we had arrived was about four hundred yards wide, with an easy current. As this
was the spot for crossing to proceed to the Flat-a*^*^
head country, we had to construct rafts for that <
purpose \ which being prepared on the 21st,
we crossed over, and passed all our goods
and horses in safety, with the exception of one
of the latter, which was drowned by the awkwardness of the man who held the reins. The
day after, the weather set in very cold, accompanied by snow, which continued almost incessantly
for fourteen days. During this period our route
lay nearly due east through thick woods of lofty
pine and cedar. The horses suffered dreadfully
from the want of grass, the deep snow having
completely covered the ground, and their only
nourishment was obtained by plucking and chew- m
ing the branches of the adjoining trees. A detail of each day's proceedings would be a cold and
unnecessary repetition. We rose each morning
at day-break, loaded the horses, travelled two or
three hours, when we stopped for breakfast;
waited an hour for thisdmeal, and then continued
on until four or five o'clock in the evening, when
we stopped for the night. The path was narrow,
and the trees covered with snow, which, from the
loaded horses constantly coming in collision with
the branches on either side, fell down at every
moment in immense masses, annoyed us considerably,, and greatly impeded our progress. Where
the pine predominated^ the under-growth was so
thick that we could not obtain sufficient space
for our tent; but where the cedar prevailed, we
occasionally were enabled to pitch it. This cheerless and gloomy march continued for jcon^teen
days, during which period we seldom had a dry
article of clothing on us?
On the 4th of November we cleared the woods,
and arrived In a large meadow of prime grass, in
which we immediately pitched our tent, and
remained for three days to refresh the horses.
Our principal subsistence while in the woods was
horse-flesh and boiled rice ; but here our hunters
supplied us with some of the Rocky Mountain
sheep called big-horns, the flesh of which is delicious, and resembles in taste Welch mutton, but
at this season is more delicate. From the time
we quitted Spokan we had not seen a native. On
the 7th we recommenced our journey eastward ;
the weather became more moderate, and the recent snows quickly vanished from the surrounding
trees. For three days and a half our progress
was through undulating meadows, thinly wooded,
in which our hunters killed some deer. On the 10th
we came to a small village of the Flat-head nation,
chiefly consisting of old men, women, and children. We were quite charmed with their franlA
and hospitable reception, and their superiority in
cleanliness over any of the tribes we had hitherto
seen. Their lodges were conical, but very spacious, and were formed by a number of buffalo
and moose skins thrown over long poles in such
a manner as to keep them quite dry. The fire
was placed in the centre, and the ground all
around it was covered with mats and clean skins
free from the vermin we felt so annoying at the
lower parts of the Columbia. They had a quantity of dried buffalo, of which we purchased a
good deal; and as they gave us to understand
that the great body of their tribe were in the
mountains hunting, we determined to stop here: I
and accordingly set about constructing a log-
house. The cold now became more severe, and
the snow began again to fall heavily, which
induced the men to work hard; and before three
weeks we had erected the frame of a good substantial building, which in another week was
roofed in, and afforded a welcome shelter to the
poor fellows whose only covering was their
While the house was being built many of the
tribe arrived, from whom we purchased a number of beaver skins. Their hunt had been rather
unsuccessful, and attended with disastrous results;
for they informed us, that after killing buffalo
sufficient for the winter, they were surprised by
their old enemies the Black-feet Indians, (whose
lands lie on the east side of the Rocky Mountains,)
who killed several of their warriors, and took
many prisoners. They appeared much dejected
at their misfortunes; and one of the chiefs
seemed to lament the loss of his wife, who had
been captured with some other women by the
enemy. Part of the tribe pitched their tents
some distance above us at the north-west establishment. They were passionately fond of tobacco,
and while they remained with us never ceased
smoking.     Having bought all their skins,  and
given them credit for some articles until the
spring, the greater part of them set off to
.make their winter's hunt, which their recent
misfortunes had protracted to a very late period.
When the house was finished I got a good
canoe built of cedar planks in which I embarked
with six men, and taking leave of Farnham,
on the 18 th of December descended the Flathead river on my return to Spokan. Our
progress was slow and full of danger, from the
great number of rapids, and the force of the
current. The land on each side was high, and
the banks in some places so precipitous, that
for three nights we could not find room enough
to make our beds on shore, and were constrained to sleep in a standing position, rolled
up in our cloaks and blankets; leaving the
canoe in the water, fastened to poles driven
some distance into the ground. On the 25th
we arrived at a place where the river forked
into four or small channels, which afterwards
united and formed a lake about five miles" long,
and two broad. We took the centre channel;
but it was full of snags, which broke several
of the ribs of our canoe, and we were forced to
land on a marshy island, full of small willows,
and without a bit of dry wood to make a fire.
This was a horrible situation ; and the state of
our canoe prevented us from proceeding to the
main land ; so that we had no alternative but,.
seated on fallen trees and covered with our
blankets, to pass the night in water up to .mo
ancles. About midnight it commenced snowing,
which continued until morning. I thought of
my preceding Christmas off Cape Horn, and was
puzzled to decide which was the most enviable,
—a tempestuous storm in the high southern
latitudes, after losing a couple of men—or a
half-inundated island, without fire, at the foot
of the rocky mountains covered with sheets of
snow. In my slumbers I imagined I was sitting
at my father's table surrounded by the smiling
domestic group, all anxious to partake of a
smoking sirloin, and a richly dotted plumb-
pudding, while the juvenile members recounted
to each other with triumphant joy the amount of
their Christmas boxes ; but, alas!
Sorrow returned with the dawning; of morn.
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
The i6th opened on us with snow-clad mountains
and forests. With much difficulty we succeeded
in patching our battered canoe sufficiently tight
to bring us to terra firma, where we struck up a HUNTING,   FISHING,   &C
fire of pine, spruce, and cedar, that would have
roasted a solid square of oxen. We remained
here all the day,, and repaired the canoe, so a§
to enable us to proceed on the 27th. The day
after, we reached the place at which we crossed -i-avwc*^
on our Way upwards : here we left the canoe,
set off by land on foot, and reached Spokan in
time to partake of the new year's festivities.
During my absence Mr. Clarke had constructed
a snug and commodious dwelling-house, containing four rooms and a kitchen, together with a
comfortable house for the men, and a capacious
Store for the furs and trading goods ; the Whole
surrounded by paling, and flanked by two bastions with loop-holes for musketry. I passed
the remainder of the winter at this place ; and
between hunting, fishing, reading, &c. we contrived to spend the time agreeably enough. We
lived principally on deer, trout, and carp, and
occasionally killed a fat horse, as a substitute for
beef. Custom had now so far reconciled us to
the flesh of this animal, that we often preferred
it to what in Europe might be regarded as luxuries. Foals or colts are not good, although a
few of our men preferred them. A horse for \
the table should not be under three years or j
above seven.    The flesh of those which are tame,
n 2
UW^v**' -—
well-fed, and occasionally worked, is tender and
firm, and the fat hard and white : it is far superior to the wild horse, the flesh of which is loose
and stringy, and the fat yellow and rather oily.
We generally killed the former for our own
table ; and I can assure my readers, that if they
sat down to a fat rib, or a rump-steak off a well-
fed four-year-old, without knowing the animal,
they would imagine themselves regaling on a
piece of prime ox beef. In February we
took immense quantities of carp in Spokan river
above its junction with the Pointed-heart, and
in a few weeks after the trout came in great
The Spokans we found to be a quiet, honest,
inoffensive tribe ; and although we, had fortified
our establishment in the manner above mentioned,
we seldom closed the gates at night. Their country did not abound in furs, and they Were rather
indolent in hunting. Their chief Illimspokanee,
or the Son of the Sun, was a harmless old man,
who spent a great portion of his time between us
and Mr. M'Millan. We entered into a compact
(with that gentleman to abstain from giving the
* Indians any spirituous liquors, to which both
parties strictly adhered. Mr. Clarke, who was
an old trader himself, had often witnessed the
baneful effects of giving ardent spirits to Indians,
while he was in the service of the North-west
Company, at all whose establishments on the
east side of the Rocky Mountains it was an almost
invariable custom. When in a state of intoxication, it is quite impossible to check their savage
propensities, and murder frequently is the consequence ; a remarkable instance of which I
subsequently witnessed in my journey across the
continent. By this arrangement both parties
saved themselves much trouble and expense, and
kept the poor natives in a state of blissful ignorance. In other respects also we agreed very t
well with our opponent, and neither party evinced
any of the turbulent or lawless spirit, which gave
so ferocious an aspect to the opposition of the \
rival companies on the east side of the moun^
tains. The great object of every Indian was to
obtain a gun. Now a good gun was not to be
had under twenty beaver skins; a few short
ones we gave for fifteen : and some idea of the
profit may be formed, when I state that the
wholesale price of a gun is about one pound
seven shillings, while the average value of twenty
beaver skins is about twenty-five pounds! Two
yards of cloth, which originally cost twelve shillings, would generally bring six or eight beavers, ■aaHMjw
it Mi
value eight or ten pounds ! and so on in proportion for other articles;—but they were satisfied,
and we had no cause to complain. The Spokans
are far superior to the Indians of the coast in
cleanliness; but by no means equal in this
respect to the Flat-heads. The women are good
wives, and most affectionate mothers: the old,
cheerful, and complete slaves to their families;
the'young, lively and confiding; and whether
married or single, free from the vice of incontinence. Their"yjllag£_w£S_j§it^^ thg
point formed by thexjunction of the two rivers.
Some houses were oblong, others conical; and
were covered with mats or skins, according to
the wealth of the proprietor. Their chief riches,
are their horses, which they generally obtain in
barter from the Nez Perces, in return for the
goods they obtain from us for their furs: each
man is therefore the founder of his own fortune,
and thejr riches or poverty are generally proportioned to their activity or indolence. The vice
of gambling, however, is prevalent among them,
and some are such slaves to it," that they frequently lose all their horses.    The spot where
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep
is about midway between the village and the DUEL.
fort, and has rather a picturesque effect at a distance. When a man dies, several horses are
killed, and the skins are attached to the end of
long poles, which are planted in the graves : the
number of horses sacrificed is proportioned to
the wealth of the individual. Besides the horse-
skins, buffalo and deer robes, leather shirts,
blankets, pieces of blue, green, and scarlet cloth,
strips of calico, moccasins, provisions, warlike
weapons, &c. are placed in and about the cemetery ; all of which they imagine will be more or
less necessary for the deceased in the world of
spirits. As their lands are much infested by
wolves, which destroy the foals, they cannot rear
horses in such numbers as the Nez Perces, from
whom they are obliged to purchase them annually. They never kill any for their own use,
but felt no repugnance to eat the flesh at our
place. As I may hereafter have occasion to
speak more of this tribe, I shall for the present
revert to the continuation of our proceedings.
In the beginning of May, Messrs. Farnham and
Pillet returned from their wintering posts. Their
success exceeded our anticipations. Both Flat-
heads and Cootonais made excellent winter hunts,
and returned in the spring loaded with beaver.
Mr. Pillet fought a duel with Mr. Montour of 0
the North-west, with pocket pistols, at six paces;
both hits ; one, in the collar of the coat, and the
other in the leg of the trowsers. Two of their
men acted as seconds, and the tailor speedily
healed their wounds.
Execution of an Indian for robbery—War between Great
Britain and the United States—Dissolution of the Pacific
Fur Company—Author joins the North-west Company, and
proceeds to the Rocky Mountains—Meets a party, and returns to the sea—Robbery of goods, and successful stratagem
to recover the property—Attack at night—Dog-eating—
Author and three men pursued by Indians—Narrow escape.
The different parties having now assembled at
Spokan house, we took our departure from that
establishment on the 25th of May, on our return
to Astoria with the produce of our winter's
trade. Mr Pillet was left in charge of the fort
with four men. We had twenty-eight loaded
horses; and on the 30th of May reached the
entrance of the creek off Lewis River, where we
had left our barge and canoes.
In the course of this journey we passed some
of the places at which I had slept during my
wanderings in the preceding August. I pointed
out to my fellow-travellers several heaps of
stones which I had piled together, and on which
I had scratched my name.
We were detained a couple  of days at the ROBBERY.
entrance of the creek, to repair the barge and
canoes, in consequence of the  Indians having
taken a quantity of nails out of the former.   Our
tents were pitched close to the village, and not
suspecting any dishonesty on  the part of the
natives, we kept no watch the first night.    Our
confidence, however, was misplaced, for in the
morning we  discovered that a daring robbery
had been committed during the night.    In the
tent in which Mr. Clarke slept he kept a large
garde-vin, which he had locked on retiring to
rest, but the key of which he had omitted to take
out: the tent was closely fastened, and while he
was asleep, the strings were untied, the garde-vin
opened, and a valuable silver goblet stolen thereout !   Several loose articles were also taken, and
bundles belonging to many of the men were carried away.    Mr. Clarke immediately assembled
the principal Indians; told ftem of the robbery;
declared if the stolen property were retu?ngdA J$e
would pardon the offender; but added, if it were
not, and that he should find the thief, he woul4
hang him.    The chief, with several others, promised they would use their best exertions to discover the delinquent and bring back |h§ property ;   but the day passed over without tj<}iBgs
of either. || On the second night, (the ^jLst,) two OFFENDER   DISCOVERED.
sentinels were placed at each end of the camp
with orders to conceal themselves and keep a
sharp look-out. Shortly after midnight they observed the figure of a man creeping slowly out
of one of the tents, and carrying with him a
bundle of clothes, a powder horn, &c. They
silently watched his progress, until they saw him
in the act of jumping into a small canoe which
he had in the creek, upon which they sprung
forward, stopped the canoe, and seized him,
We were instantly alarmed; and a general
search taking place, a quantity of articles belonging to the men were missed, together with
a pistol of Farnham's and a dagger of mine, all
of which were stolen th^t night. Most of the
property was found in the canoe J but he refused
to give any account of the remainder. We had
not the slightest suspicion of this man, who ha.4
been remarkably well treated by us; in conse*
quence of which, and the aggravated nature of
the robbery, Mr. C!a?ke determined to put Ins
threat into execution. JJe accordingly ordered
a temporary gallows to be erected, and had the
■arms and legs of the culprit pinioned. About
eight o'clock in tjie morning of the 1st of June
he assembled the chief and all the Indians of the
village, and majde a short speech, in which he 188
told them that the prisoner had abused his confidence, violated the rights of hospitality, and
committed an offence for which he ought to
suffer death; that from an anxiety to keep on
good terms with all their nation, he had overlooked many thefts committed while he had been
there last August; which lenity, he was sorry to
say, had only led to more daring acts of robbery ^
and that as a terror to others, and in order to
show that it was not fear that prevented him
from taking an earlier notice of such aggressions,
he had now resolved that this robber should be
hanged. The Indians acquiesced in this decision;
and the chief declared that the prisoner did not
belong to their tribe, but was a kind of outlaw,
of whom they were all afraid. The gallows
being now prepared, Mr. Clarke gave the signal,
and after great resistance, during which he
screamed in the most frightful manner, the
wretched criminal was launched into eternity.
His countrymen looked on the whole proceeding
with the greatest unconcern; but the unfortunate
being himself exhibited none of that wonderful
self-command, or stoical indifference to death,
which we observed in others, and for which
Indians in general are so celebrated. By the
time   it was   supposed   life  was  extinct,  Mr.
M'Lennan with three men set off with the horses
on his return to Spokan, and we embarked in
the canoes. The current was swift, and we arrived early the following day at the mouth of
Lewis River, a little below which we found the
parties of Messrs. M'Kenzie and Stuart, where
we had appointed to meet them on our separation the preceding autumn. From this place we
proceeded together, and arrived at Astoria on
the 11th of June, 1813, without incurring any
material accident. We found all our friends in
good health; but a total revolution had taken
place in the affairs of the Company.    Messrs. r
John George M'Tavish and Joseph La Rocque, >^ i ^
of the North-west Company, with two canoes
and sixteen men, had arrived a few days before
us. From these gentlemen we learned for the
first time, that war had been declared the year
before between Great Britain and the United
States; and that in consequence of the strict
blockade of the American ports by British cruisers,
no vessel would venture to proceed to our remote establishment during the continuation of
hostilities: added to which, a trading vessel
which had touched at the Columbia in the early
part of the spring, had informed our people that
the ship Beaver was blocked up in Canton. 190
¥ I
These unlucky and unexpected circumstances,
joined to the impossibility of sustaining ourselves
another year in the country without fresh supplies, which, in the then posture of affairs, it
would be hopeless to expect, induced our proprietory to enter into negociations with Mr.
M'Tavish, who had been authorised by the
North-west Company to treat with them. In a
few weeks an amicable arrangement was made,
by which Mr. M'Tavish agreed to purchase all
the furs, merchandise, provisions, &c. of our
Company at a certain valuation, stipulating to
provide a safe passage back to the United States,
either by sea, or across the continent, for such
members of it as chose to return ; and at the same
time offering to those who should wish to join
the North-west Company and remain in the country, the same terms as if they had originally been
members of that Company. Messrs. Ross, M'Lennan, and I, took advantage of these liberal proposals, and some time after Mr. Duncan M'Dou-
gall, one of the directors, also joined the Northwest. The Americans of course preferred returning to their own country, as did also Mr. Gabriel
Franchere,# and a few other Canadian clerks.
* From this gentleman's knowledge of the Chinook language Mr. M'Tavish made him handsome offers to join the
The pleasure I experienced in joining an establishment, every member of which was a fellow-
subject, was mingled with deep regret at parting
from so many of my late associates, for some of
whom I entertained a sincere regard,—a regard
which I feel pleasure in saying was mutual, and
which the difference of country could not diminish. My friends Clapp, Halsey, and Matthews,
were genuine Americans of the Washingtonian
school, and consequently untinctured by any of
the unnatural and acrimonious hatred to the land
of their forefathers which among a large portion
of their countrymen, was so prevalent at that
angry period. And though the sanguine hopes
they had entertained of realising in a few years
an independence were destroyed by the war, I
feel pleasure in being able to add, that they are
now happily flourishing in their native country.
As Mr. M'Tavish expected dispatches overland from the directors at Montreal, and as it
was necessary to acquaint the gentlemen inland
with the change that affairs had taken at Astoria,
Mr. La Rocque and I proceeded with two canoes
and sixteen men well armed to the interior, with
orders to leave letters at Oakinagan and Spokan,
North-west Company, which he  refused.    He however remained until the following spring. ^\
explanatory of these circumstances, and thence
continue on across the Rocky Mountains to Fort
William, (the great central depdt at the head of
Lake Superior,) unless we met an express, in
which case we were to return to the sea. We
left Astoria on the 5th of July, and having no
lading in our canoes, except provisions, we
passed in safety the hostile Indians at the great
rapids and falls. They were very numerous at
the latter place ; but seeing our men well armed,
and our canoes empty, they had no idea of risking their lives, when no plunder could be obtained. As I shall have occasion hereafter to
give a particular description of the country about
the upper parts of the Columbia, I shall now
merely mention that we passed the navigable
part of it, and reached the place where one of
its sources issues out of the Rocky Mountains on
the 2nd of September, after a tedious and laborious voyage of two months, against a strong
current. We laid up our canoe, and were preparing to set out on foot, when we were agreeably surprised by the arrival of Messrs. John
StUart, Alexander Stewart, and Joseph M'Gil-
livray, partners of the North-west Company,
who with twenty men were on their way to
Astoria, armed with   full powers to join Mr.
M'Tavish, in purchasing the stock of the American Company. They acquainted us that the
North-west Company's ship called the " Isaac
Tod" sailed from London, under the convoy
of a sloop of war for the Columbia, and would
arrive early in the autumn, with a large cargo
for the Indian trade. These gentlemen brought
several newspapers; and having heard nothing
from the civilised world for two years, we de-
voured their contents. Mr. ]ffifGilHvray had \
served the preceding campaign in the American
war as a lieutenant in the Canadian chasseurs, I
a corps commanded by his father, the Hon.
William M'Gillivray, and composed chiefly of
the gentlemen and voyageurs of the Northwest Company. He had been engaged in several smart affairs with the enemy, and was at
the taking of Michilimacinac, at which and
other places, he had considerably distinguished
himself. He was therefore our great chronicler
of recent events, and during our passage downwards our thousand and one interrogatories seldom allowed his tongue half an hour's rest.
None but those who have been so long debarred
from the passing scenes of the great world can
form an idea of the greedy voracity with which
exiles so circumstanced swallow the most trifling
VOL.   I.
o ■¥
lii ;     1   [
■V ft
m      >.
news.. A remnant of a newspaper is invaluable ;
and even an auctioneer's advertisement, or a
quack-doctor's puff, is read with interest.
We reached Astoria on the 11th of October,
having travelled from the 5th of July upwards of
two thousand three hundred miles. We remained here till the latter end of the month in
the expectation of seeing the " Isaac Tod;"
as that vessel did not arrive, the proprietors determined to send a strong party to the interior
with a supply of such goods as the fort could
furnish for the winter's trade. The necessary
arrangements being completed, we set off on the
29th of October. Our party consisted of Messrs.
John Stuart, Donald Mackenzie, Joseph M'Gil-
livray, La Rocque, M'Donald, Read, and the
author, with fifty-five men. On arriving at the
first rapids few Indians made their appearance ;
and from their peaceable demeanour, we did not
think it necessary to observe our usual caution
in guarding the portages. We passed the first
unmolested, and had carried about one-third of
the goods over the second, when we were alarmed by a loud cry, and immediately after one of
the men appeared, and stated that he and another man had been attacked by a large party of
the natives, who had knocked them down, and INDIAN   ATTACK.
robbed them of two bales of dry goods, with
which they made off into the woods, and that he
feared others of the men would also be attacked.
Orders were immediately despatched to Messrs.
La Rocque and M'Gillivray, who were at the
foot of the portage, to advance with a few of
their men, while Mr. John Stuart and I, with
ten men, proceeded from the upper end. Mr.
M'Donald remained in charge at one end, and
Mr. Donald Mackenzie at the other.
On arriving about the middle of the portage,
where  the  village was situated, we found the
pathway guarded by fifty or sixty Indians, with
their war-shirts on, and fully armed, apparently
determined to dispute the passage.    The moment
they perceived our approach they placed their
arrows in their bows, which they presented at us,
at the same time jumping like kangaroos backwards and forwards, and from right to left, in
such a manner as to render it almost impossible
to take a steady aim at any of them.     In our
hurry we had not time to put on our leathern
armour, and from the hostile appearance of the
savages, some of our men declared they would
not advance a step farther.    Mr. Stuart shortly
addressed  them,   pointing out    the   dangerous
situation in which we were placed, between two
o 2 196
portages ; that if the enemy observed the least
symptom of fear, they would become the assailants, in which case we could neither advance nor
retreat, and must ultimately be cut off, adding
at the same time he would do every thing in his
power to avoid coming to extremities ; but that,
above all things, it was absolutely necessary to
show them the most determined front. The
men hereupon consented to fight. He then informed the Indians that he did not wish to fight
—but that if the stolen goods were not returned,
the white men would destroy their village and
take all their property. We were imperfectly
acquainted with their language, and they either
did not, or affected not to understand the meaning of his address ; for they still continued their
kangaroo movements with their arrows presented, preserving at the same time the strictest
silence. We were somewhat pUzzUd at this
conduct; but as we were anxious to avoid
bloodshed, and at the Same time to recover the
stolen property, Mr. Stuart judged it prudent to
wait the arrival of the other party. In a few
seconds Messrs La Roequeattid M'Gillivray with
their men appeared at the rear of the Indians,
who were thus placed between two fires; but
they h&d the sagacity to perceive that we could STRATAGEM.
not act on the offensive without endangering our
own lives. About one half of them therefore
quickly turned round, and by this movement
presented a hostile front to each of our small
parses. During this time none of their old men,
Women, or children, made thejb appearance; and
as Mr Stuart supposed they had been conveyed
from the village, he requested Mr. JLa Rocque to
advance with a few of his men into the wood on
his right, and at the same time sent me with five
of our party to the left, ordering each of us to
seize all men, women, and children, we could
find, for the purpose of detaining t&em as hos*
tages unt^l the property should be returned.
Messrs. Stuart and M'Gillivray, with the remainder of the men, still kept possession of the
pathway iin front and rear of the village, and thke
enemy for some thug were ignorant of the ruse
de guerre we had adopted. I proceeded about
forty yards in an oblique 4irection to the left,
with my party, when we imagine^ we heard
voices before us : we therefore advanced slowly
and cautiously a few paces farmer, until we arrived at a large rock. I sent three men round
one end of it, and proceeded myself with tjie remaining two round the otjier ; anfl, as we turned
the left corner, we perceived three old men, with 195
Hi . :<■
several women and children, sitting round a fire ;
some of whom were sharpening iron and flint
heads for arrows, which, after being heated in
the fire, were dipped into a wooden bowl containing a thick blackish liquid. On observing
us they attempted to escape, when the other
three men appeared. We instantly seized their
armoury, and took two of the old men, three
women, and some children prisoners. They
were much frightened, and thought we would
put them to death, but on our explaining that
they would sustain no injury if our goods were
returned, they appeared more tranquil, and came
with us quietly unjtil we reached Mr. Stuart, who
was still in the same situation. La Rocque was
equally fortunate, and had captured one old man,
four women, and five children, on his side of the
wood, with whom he had just appeared in sight
as my party arrived.
The warriors were quite staggered at .finding
we had made so many prisoners, and fearing we
might follow their own mode, which was either
to kill them or make them slaves, they at once
laid down their arms, and offered to go in search
of the bales, provided we would liberate the
prisoners. Mr. Stuart replied that none of them
would be injured, but that they should remain in A
custody until the property was restored and our
people safely over the portage. A guard was
then stationed over the prisoners, and word was
sent to M'Donald to order bis men to recommence the carriage of the goods ; during the progress of which we kept up a chain of sentinels
en route. By the time we had nearly finished,
three of the Indians, whose wives were captives,
brought a great part of the contents of the bales,
which they alleged they took by force from the
thieves, who had cut open the envelopes and concealed the remainder ; and they therefore hoped
we would allow their relations to return home.
Mr. Stuart told them he was determined not to
allow one of them to stir until every article that
had been stolen was brought back. The eldest
of the three declared that it was very unjust of
the white men to punish him and his relations
for the dishonesty of others, and that when he
expected a reward for his exertions in bringing
back so much property, he found his wife and
children were to be detained as slaves. All this
appeared very plausible ; but we recognized this
very fellow as one of the most prominent and
active of the armed band, and apparently their
He made some farther remonstrances to the 200
same effect; but finding we were inflexible, he
went away with his two companions; and in
about half an hour after returned, accompanied
by several others, with the remainder of the
stolen property. They alleged the thieves had
run away, and on asking them for their chief,
they said he was absent. The canoes having
been now laden, Mr. Stuart told them that he
should release their friends and relations for this
time, but th$t if another attempt was ever made,
the white people would punish them severely;
and as a mark of his anger at their late conduct,
he would not then give them the usual gratuity
of tobacco. The prisoners were then released,
&ttd we pushed off. As it was rather late we
could not advance more than three miles, when
we encamped in a small cove on the left side,
behind which was a thick wood of hazel, beech,
and pine. We had a 3&rge fire at the end of
the camp; and the parity was divided into two
watches. The forepart of the night passed off
quietly; but about two o'clock in the meaning
we were alarmed by one of the flank sentinels
being brought to the centre wounded. BeMated
that he and two of his comrades had approached
the fire for the purpose of lighting their pipes,
when several arrows were discharged at them ENEMY   REPULSED.
from the wood, one of which wounded him in
the left arm; upon bearing which Messrs. La
Rocque and M'Donald, who commanded the
watch, fired into the wood. The tents were
immediately struck, and the men ordered to
withdraw from the fires and concentrate themselves behind the canoes. About ten minutes
afterwards a shower of arrows was discharged
from the same place, followed by loud yells ;
but some passed over our heads, while others
were intercepted by the canoes, in which they
remained fast. The two watches were now ordered to fire a volley alternately, and load immediately. The first discharge caused much
rustling among the leaves and branches 5 the second, as we supposed, completely dislodged them,
and from moans heard from the retreating savages we had reason to think that some of our
balls took effect. It was a cold damp morning,
and what between the fatigues and dangers of
the preceding day, fear, chikaess, aftd the want of
sleep, our men did not seem much disposed for
fighting. Mr. Stuart therefore ordered each
man a double allowance of rum, " to make his
courage cheerie," and the moment daylight began to dawn the canoes were thrown into the
water, and the lading- immediately commenced. nip
1 1™ 1
(1 :l.f
if  1
The canoe-men embarked first; and we followed. The last man on shore was a celebrated
half-bred hunter, named Pierre Michel, and just
as he was about stepping into his canoe, one of
the men perceived a tall Indian emerge from the
wood, and bend his bow: he had scarcely time
to warn Michel of his danger ere the arrow
winged its flight, and completely pierced his hat,
in which it remained fixed. Michel instantly
turned round, and as the savage retreated into
the wood, fired, and hit him somewhere about
the knee. He then sprang into the canoe : we
discharged a few more shots, pushed off, and paddled quickly to the opposite side. From the
greyish twilight of the morning we had only an
imperfect view of the Indian; but the men who
had the best opportunity of seeing him were of
opinion that he was the same who had expostulated the day before about the detention of his
wife, after he had brought back part of the goods.
We landed about ten miles farther up on the
right side, on an open point; and as the canoes
wanted repairing, and the men stood in need of
repose, it was deemed expedient to remain there
during the day. I forgot to mention that one of
our Iroquois hunters sucked the wound- which
the  man had received from the arrow in the
arm : this probably saved the poor fellow's life,
as we had reason to think that the arrow was
poisoned. The day after, the arm became quite
black from the wrist to the shoulder; but, by the
use of caustic applications, the dangerous symptoms were dispersed, and in a few weeks he recovered his ordinary health.
From this place to the narrows and falls we
saw no Indians; but at the latter we found about
fifteen lodges of the Eneeshurs. As our provisions were nearly consumed, we were obliged to
purchase twenty dogs from them. It was the
first time I had eaten any of the flesh of this animal, and nothing but stern necessity could have
induced me to partake of it. The president of
our mess called it mutton, which it somewhat
resembles in taste. We generally had it roasted,
but the Canadians preferred it boiled, and the
majority of them seemed to think it superior to
horse-flesh. In this, however, I entirely differ
from them, for the latter is a cleaner animal, and
in taste bears a stronger resemblance to beef than
the dog does to mutton. The natives behaved
themselves quietly, and did not show any disposition to pilfer.
From hence to the Wallah Wallah river we
obtained no horses, and our chief support con- 204
sisted of one hundred and fifty dogs, which we
purchased at the different villages, The Wallah
Wallahs received us in their usual friendly manner, and we purchased from them about twenty
good horses.
Mr. Read, accompanied by eight men, (excellent hunters,) left us here on an experimental
journey to the country of the Shoshon6 or Snake
Indians, on whose lands he had seen great quantities of beaver in the course of his journey
across the continent with Mr. Hunt. His party
took sixteen of the horses with them.
After leaving this place the weather set in very
cold, accompanied by occasional showers of snow,
and we became apprehensive that we should encounter much difficulty in reaching our various
wintering posts. We therefore stopped at a village a short distance above Lewis River, on the
south side of the Columbia; where, with hard
bargaining, and after giving an exorbitant price,
we obtained six horses. With these and three
men I was ordered to proceed across the country
to Spokan House, for the purpose of bringing
down a sufficient number of the company's
horses to Oakinagan, where the ca©*oes were to
stop, the trading goods having to be conveyed
from thence by land-carriage to their respective
winter destinations. EXPERIMENTAL  EXCURSION.
Two of the horses carried our provisions and
blankets; and as we learned from the Wallah
Wallahs that the relations of the Indian who had
been hanged by Mr. Clarke in the spring were
in the plains, and had declared their determination to have satisfaction for his death, we got
particular orders not to separate, or on any account to tire our horses by deer-hunting. I made
the men change their muskets for short trading
guns, about the size of carbines; with which, a
brace of pistols, and a dagger each, We set out
on our overland journey. The two first days
we passed in hard galloping, without meeting any
thing worth noticing; but about ten o'clock on
the morning of the third day, as we were pre-
jparing to remount after breakfast, we observed
three Indians about a mile distant, advancing
from the direction of Lewis River. They were
mounted, and, on perceiving, us, stopped a few
minutes in order to ascertain our numbers. We
did not like this ; and made signs to them to approach, which they affected not to understand :
but after reconnoitrhig us sbme time, and tnaldng
themselves certain that our number did not exceed four, they wheeled about, and galloped
baisk in the same direction. Being now of opinion
that their intentions were not friendly, we in- w
creased our speed, and for upwards of three
hours none of them made their appearance. Our
horses being nearly exhausted, we slackened the
reins for about half an hour, after putting two of
the most jaded under the saddle-bags. This rest
brought them to again, and probably saved us;
for about two o'clock we observed large clouds
of dust in a south-westerly direction, which, on
clearing away, displayed to our view between
thirty and forty of the savages on horseback in
pursuit of us. Sauve qui peut was now the cry;
and as the two spare horses with the saddle-bags
retarded our escape, we left them behind, and
galloped away for our lives. The enemy gradually gained on us; but we observed that the
greater number had fallen back, or given up the
pursuit, and at the end of two hours only ten
were in sight. Still we did not think ourselves
a match for them; but shortly after their numbers were reduced to eight, apparently well
mounted and armed. Our horses began to totter,
and it became quite evident could not proceed
much farther at such a rate. I knew the men
were made of good materials, and therefore proposed to them to dismount, take our station behind the horses, and when our pursuers came
within the range of our shot, each to cover his SKIRMISH.
man, and fire ; after which, if we had not time
to reload, we could work with our pistols. They
all agreed; but the moment the enemy perceived
us dismount and take up our position, they at
once guessed our object, and turned about for
the purpose of retreating. We instantly fired,
and two of their horses fell: their riders quickly
mounted behind their companions, and in a short
time disappeared. We were now quite overjoyed
at seeing the horse with our provisions gallop up
to us; but the other, which carried our blankets
was, I suppose, captured. The report of our
fire-arms brought us much more important relief,
by the appearance of ten young hunters belonging to the Spokan nation, with every one of
whom we were well acquainted, and on whose
hunting grounds we then were. On telling them
of our escape, they were quite indignant, and
declared that, although they were not at war
with the Nez Percys Indians, they would willingly join us in pursuit of them, and chastise
them for their presumption in following their
white friends to their hunting-grounds ; adding,
that they knew their chief's heart would be,glad
at any assistance they could render us. I thanked
them for their friendly offer, which I declined;
assigning as a reason, that we wished to live on 208
good terms with all the nations, and that I had
no doubt we should be able to convince the foolish people who had lately pursued us of the impolicy of their conduct towards the whites. We
proceeded about ten miles farther that evening*
and slept in company with the Spokans, who
kept watch in turn during the night. The following day, the 21 st of November, two of them accompanied us, and we arrived at the fort about
four in the evening, without meeting any thing
Author proceeds to Oakinagan, and thence to the Flat-heads,
where he passes the winter—Cruel treatment of the Black-
feet prisoners by the Flat-heads—Horrible spectacle—Buffalo the cause of war between the two tribes—Women—
Government—Peace and war chiefs—-Wolves—Anecdote
of a dog—Syrup of birch—Surgical and medical knowledge
of Flat-heads—Remarkable cure of rheumatism—Their ideas
of a future state; and curious tradition respecting the
beavers—Name of Flat-head a misnomer—A marriage.
As dispatch was necessary, owing to the lateness of the season, I remained only one night at
Spokan House, and set off early in the morning
of the 22d November for Oakinagan. I took
two additional men with me, and fifty horses.
The road was good, the distance about one
hundred and fifty miles, and no danger to be
apprehended from Indians. Having plenty of
horses to change, we went on briskly; and on
the evening of the 25th arrived at the Columbia,
opposite the entrance of the Oakinagan river,
where the fort was built. On crossing over,
I found that the northern parties had set off for
their wintering quarters ; and as I was appointed
to take charge of those intended for the eastern
VOL. i. p 210
posts, I slept only that night at Oakinagan, and
the next morning (the 26th) had all the goods
transported across the river. The following is
an extract from the letter of instructions directed
to me on this occasion, the whole of which is
rather lengthy and uninteresting for insertion:—
" On your arrival here, you will assume the
immediate management of the brigade, and every
thing else during the voyage; * and make the
best of your way to Spokan House, where you
will make as little delay as possible. From
thence you will proceed to join Mr. M'Millan
at the Flat-heads ; and if you are reduced to eat
horses, either at Spokan or farther on, they
ought to be the worst." The liberal writer of
this economical advice was in other respects
a very worthy, good-natured individual, and in
his own person evinced the most Spartan contempt for the. good things of the table. Tobacco
was his mistress; and from the moment he rose
until he retired to rest, his calumet was seldom
allowed to cool. I was not, however, philosopher enough to prefer the intoxicating fumes
of the Virginian weed to the substantial enjoy-
* This word is used generally in the Indian country for all
terraqueous journies; and voyageurs is the term applied to the
Canadian canoe men. SEVERE   TRIALS.
ment of fat and lean; and candidly confess, that
in my choice of horSes for the kettle, I wilfully
departed from my instructions, by selecting those
whose ribs were least visible.
We arrived safely at Spokan, at which place
I slept one night, and then continued on for the
Flat-heads with eight men and twelve loaded
horses. We pursued the same route I had followed the preceding winter with my friend
Farnham, through the thick woods along the
banks of the Flat-head river ; and after suffering
great hardships from cold and snow, reached
Mr. M'Millan on the 24th of December, with
the loss of two horses, which we were obliged to
leave in the woods from exhaustion. The fort
was about forty miles higher up in an easterly
direction than the place Farnham and I had
chosen for the log-house. It had a good trading
store, a comfortable house for the men, and
a snug box for ourselves ; all situated on a point '
formed by the junction of a bold mountain tor- «^T
rent with the Flat-head river, and surrounded
on all sides with high and thickly wooded hills,
covered with pine, spruce, larch, beech, birch,
and cedar. A large band of the Flat-head warriors were encamped about the fort. They had
recently returned from the buffalo country, and
p 2
Hvr«C| 212
had revenged their defeat of the preceding year,
by a signal victory over their enemies the Black-
feet; several of whose warriors, with their women,
they had taken prisoners. M'Millan's tobacco
and stock of trading goods had been entirely
expended previous to my arrival, and the Indians
were much in want of ammunition, &c. My
appearance, or I should rather say, the goods
I brought with me, was therefore a source of
great joy to both parties. The natives smoked
the much-loved weed for several days successively. Our hunters killed a few mountain
sheep, and I brought up a bag of flour, a bag of
rice, plenty of tea and coffee, some arrow-root,
and fifteen gallons of prime rum. We spent a
comparatively happy Christmas, and, by the side
of a blazing fire in a warm room, forgot the
sufferings we endured in our dreary progress
through the woods. There was, however, in the
midst of our festivities, a great drawback from
the pleasure we should have otherwise enjoyed,
I allude to the unfortunate* Black-feet who had
been captured by the Flat-heads. Having been
informed that they were about putting one of
their prisoners to death, I went to their camp to
witness the spectacle. The man was tied to a
tree ; after which they heated an old barrel of a
gun until it became red hot, with which they
burned him on the legs, thighs, neck, cheeks, and
belly. They then commenced cutting the flesh
from about the nails, which they pulled out, and
next separated the fingers from the hand joint by
joint. During the performance of these cruelties
the wretched captive never winced, and instead
of suing for mercy, he added fresh stimulants to
their barbarous ingenuity by the most irritating
reproaches, part of which our interpreter translates as follows :—"My heart is strong.—You do
not hurt me.—You can't hurt me.—You are fools.
—You do not know how to torture.—Try it
again.—I don't feel any pain yet.—We torture
your relations a great deal better, because we
make them cry out loud, like little children.-—
You are not brave: you have small hearts, and
you are always afraid to fight.'* Then addressing one in particular, he said, " It was by my
arrow you lost your eye ;" upon which the Flathead darted at him, and with a knife in a moment
scooped out one of his eyes; at the same time
cutting the bridge of his nose nearly in two.
This did not stop him : with the remaining eye
he looked sternly at another, and said, " I killed
your brother, and I scalped your old fool of a
father/'     The warrior to  whom this was ad- f M
»i«> ,.juj as
1      i
Hi t
i   If
dressed instantly sprung at him, and separated
the scalp from his head. He was then about
plunging a knife in his heart, until he was told
by the chief to desist. The raw skull, bloody
socket, and mutilated nose, now presented a
horrific appearance, but by no means changed
his tone of defiance.—*' It was I," said he to the
chief, " that made your wife a prisoner last fall;
■=—we put out her eyes ;—we tore out her tongue ;
we treated her like a dog.    Forty of our young
warriors "
The chieftain became incensed the moment his
wife's name was mentioned: he seized his gun,
and, before the last sentence was ended, a ball
from it passed through the brave fellow's heart,
and terminated his frightful sufferings. Shocking, however as this dreadful exibition was, it
was far exceeded by the atrocious cruelties practised on the female prisoners; in which I am
sorry to say, the Flat-head women assisted with
more savage fury than the men. I only witnessed
part of what one wretched young woman suffered,
a detail of which would be too revolting for publicity. We remonstrated against the exercise of
such horrible cruelties. They replied by saying
the Black-feet treated their relations in the same
manner ; that it was the course adopted by all SUCCESSFUL   REMONSTRANCE.
red warriors; and that they could not think of
giving up the gratification of their revenge to the
foolish and womanish feelings of white men.
Shortly after this we observed a young female led
forth, apparently not more than fourteen or fifteen years of age, surrounded by some old women,
who were conducting her to one end of the vil-,
lage, whither they were followed by a number
of young men. Having learned the infamous intentions of her conquerors, and feeling interested
for the unfortunate victim, we renewed our re^
monstrances; but received nearly the same
answer as before. Finding them still inflexible,,
and wishing to adopt every means in our power
consistent with safety in the cause of humanity,
we ordered our interpreter to acquaint them, that,
highly as we valued their friendship, and much as
we esteemed their furs, we would quit their country for ever, unless they discontinued their un*
manly and disgraceful cruelties to their prisoners.
This had the desired effect, and the miserable
captive was led back to her sorrowing group of
friends. Our interference was nearly rendered
ineffectual by the furious reproaches of the infer-
nal old priestesses who had been conducting her
to the sacrifice. They told the young warriors
they were cowards, fools, and had not the hearts DECREASE   OF  POPULATION.
of fleas; and called upon them in the names
of their mothers, sisters, and wives, to follow the
steps of their forefathers, and have their revenge
on the dogs of Black-feet. They began to waver;
but we affected not to understand what the old
women had been saying. We told them that this
act of self-denial on their part was peculiarly
grateful to the white men ; and that by it they
would secure our permanent residence among
them, and in return for their furs be always furnished with guns and ammunition sufficient to
repel the attacks of their old enemies, and preserve their relations from being made prisoners.
This decided the doubtful; and the chief promised faithfully that no more tortures should be
inflicted on the prisoners, which I believe was
rigidly adhered to, at least for that winter.
The Flat-heads were formerly much more nu?
merous than they were at this period ; but owing
to the constant hostilities between them and the
Black-feet Indians, their numbers had been
greatly diminished. While pride, policy, ambition, self-preservation, or the love of aggrandisement, often deluges the civilised world with
Christian blood ; the only cause assigned by the
natives of whom I write, for their perpetual warfare, is their love of buffalo.    There are extensive
plains to the eastward of the mountains frequented in the summer and autumnal months by
numerous herds of buffaloes. Hither the rival
tribes repair to hunt those animals, that they may
procure as much of their meat as will supply
them until the succeeding season. In these excursions they often meet, and the most sanguinary
conflicts follow.
The Black-feet lay claim to all that part of the
country immediately at the foot of the mountains,
which is most frequented by the buffalo ; and
allege that the Flat-heads, by resorting thither
to hunt, are intruders whom they are bound to
oppose on all occasions. The latter, on the contrary, assert, that their forefathers had always
claimed and exercised the right of hunting on
these " debateable lands;" and that while one
of their warriors remained alive the right should
not be relinquished. The consequences of these
continual wars are dreadful, particularly to the
Flat-heads, who, being the weaker in numbers
were generally the greater sufferers. Independently of their inferiority in this respect, their
enemy had another great advantage in the use
of fire-arms, which they obtained from the Company's trading posts established in the department of Forts des Prairies.    To these the Flat- 218
heads had nothing to oppose but arrows and their
own undaunted bravery. Every year previous
to our crossing the mountains witnessed the gradual diminution of their numbers ; and total annihilation would shortly have been the consequence, but for our arrival with a plentiful supply
of " villanous saltpetre." They were overjoyed
at having an opportunity of purchasing arms and
ammunition, and quickly stocked themselves with
a sufficient quantity of both.
From this moment affairs took a decided change
in their favour ; and in their subsequent contests
the numbers of killed, wounded, and prisoners^
were more equal. The Black-feet became enraged at this, and declared to our people at Forts
des Prairies, that all white men who might happen
' to fall into their hands, to the westward of the
mountains, would be treated by them as enemies,
in consequence of their furnishing the Flat-heads
with weapons, which were used with such deadly
effect against their nation. This threat, as
will appear hereafter, was strictly put in execution. The lands of the Flat-heads are well
stocked with deer, mountain sheep, bears, wild
fowl, and fish ; and when we endeavoured to
induce them to give up such dangerous expeditions, and confine themselves to the produce of THE   FLAT-HEADS.
their own country, they replied, that their fathers had always hunted on the buffalo grounds;
that they were accustomed to do the same thing
from their infancy; and they would not now
abandon a practice which had existed for several
generations among their people.
With the exception of the cruel treatment of
their prisoners, (which, as it is general among all
savages, must not be imputed to them as a peculiar vice,) the Flat-heads have fewer failings than
any of the tribes I ever met with. They are
honest in their dealings, brave in the field, quiet
and amenable to their chiefs, fond of cleanliness,
and decided enemies to falsehood of every description. The women are excellent wives and
mothers, and their character for fidelity is so well
established, that we never heard an instance of
one of them proving unfaithful to her husband.
They are also free from the vice of backbiting,
so common among the lower tribes ; and laziness
is a stranger among them. Both sexes are comparatively very fair, and their complexions are a
shade lighter than the palest new copper after
being freshly rubbed. They are remarkably well
made, rather slender, and never corpulent. The
dress of the men consists solely of long leggings,
called mittasses by the  Canadians, which reach 220
from the ancles to the hips, and are fastened by
strings to a leathern belt round the waist, and a
shirt of dressed deer-skin, with loose hanging
sleeves, which fall$ down to their knees. The
outside seams of the leggings and shirt sleeves
have fringes of leather. The women are covered
by a loose robe of the same material reaching
from the neck to the feet, and ornamented with
fringes, beads, hawk-bells, and thimbles. The
dressess of both are regularly cleaned with pipeclay, which abounds in parts of the country ; and
every individual has two or three changes. They
have no permanent covering for the head, but in
wet or stormy weather shelter it by part of a
buffalo robe, which completely answers all the
purposes of a surtout. The principal chief of the
tribe is hereditary; but from their constant wars,
they have adopted the wise and salutary custom
of electing, as their leader in battle, that warrior
in whom the greatest portion of wisdom, strength,
and bravery are combined. The election takes
place every year; and it sometimes occurs that
the general in one campaign becomes a private in
the next. This " war-chief," as they term him,
has no authority whatever when at home, and is
as equally amenable as any of the tribe to the
hereditary chief; but when the warriors set out GOVERNMENT.
on their hunting excursions to the buffalo plains,
he assumes the supreme command, which he exercises with despotic sway until their return. He
carries a long whip with a thick handle decorated
with scalps and feathers, and generally appoints
two active warriors as aides-de-camp. On their
advance towards the enemy he always takes
the lead; and on their return he brings up the
rear. Great regularity is preserved during the
march; and I have been informed by Mr.
M'Donald, who accompanied some of these
war parties to the field of action, that if any
of the tribe fell out of the ranks, or committed
any other breach of discipline, he instantly received a flaggellation from the whip of the chieftain. He always acted with the most perfect
impartiality, and would punish one of his subalterns for disobedience of orders with equal severity as any other offender. Custom, however,
joined to a sense of public duty, had reconciled
them to these arbitrary acts of power, which they
never complained of or attempted to resent. After
the conclusion of the campaign, on their arrival on
their own lands, his authority ceases ; when the
peace chief calls all the tribe together, and they
proceed to a new election. There is no canvassing, caballing, or intriguing ; and should the last m
f    E?j
' w ■    f r
leader be superseded, he retires from office with
apparent indifference, and without betraying any
symptoms of discontent. The fighting chief at
this period had been five times re-elected. He
was about thirty-five years of age, and had killed
twenty of the Black-feet in various battles, the
scalps of whom were suspended in triumphal
pride, from a pole at the door of his lodge. His
wife had been captured by the enemy the year
before, and her loss made a deep impression on
him. He was highly respected by all the
warriors for his superior wisdom and bravery ;
a consciousness of which, joined to the length of
time he had been accustomed to command, imparted to his manners a degree of dignity which
we never remarked in any other Indian. He
would not take a second wife ; and when the recollection of the one he had lost came across his
mind, he retired into the deepest solitude of the
woods tor indulge his sorrow, where some of the
tribe informed us they often found him calling
on her spirit to appear, and invoking vengeance
on her conquerors. When these bursts of grief
subsided, his countenance assumed a tinge of
stern melancholy, strongly indicating the mingled
emotions of sorrow and unmitigated hatred of
the Black-feet.    We invited him sometimes to WARFARE.
'the fort, upon which occasions we sympathised
with him on his loss; but at the same time acquainted him with the manner in which civilized
nations made war. We told him that warriors
only were made prisoners, who were never tortured or killed, and that no brave white man
would ever injure a female or a defenceless man ;
that if such a custom had prevailed among them,
he would now by the exchange of prisoners be
able to recover his wife, who was by their barbarous system lost to him for ever ; and if it were
impossible to bring about a peace with their
enemies the frightful horrors of war might at
least be considerably softened by adopting the
practice of Europeans. We added that he had
now a glorious opportunity of commencing the
career of magnanimity by sending home uninjured the captives he had made during the last
campaign ; that our friends on the other side
of the mountains would exert their influence
with the Black-feet to induce them to follow his
example and that ultimately it might be the means
of uniting the two rival nations in the bonds of
peace. He was at first opposed to making any
advances ; but_on farther pressing he consented
to make the trial, provided the hereditary chief
and the tribe started no objections.    On quitting fr.
us he made use of the following words : " My
white friends, you do not know the savage nature of the Black-feet; they hope to exterminate
our tribe; they are a great deal more numerous
than we are; and were it not for our bravery,
their object would have been long ago achieved.
We shall now, according to your wishes, send
back the prisoners; but remember, I tell you,
that they will laugh at the interference of your
relations beyond the mountains, and never spare
a man, woman, or child, that they can take of
our nation. Your exertions to save blood show
you are good people. If they follow our example, we shall kill no more prisoners; but I
tell you, they will laugh at you and call you
We were much pleased at having carried
our point so far; while he, true to his
word, assembled the elders and warriors, to
whom he represented the subject of our discourse, and after a long speech, advised them
to make the trial, which would please their
white friends, and show their readiness to
avoid unnecessary cruelty. Such an unexpected proposition gave rise to an animated debate, which continued for some time ;.
but being supported by a man for whom they PACIFIC   OVERTURE.
entertained so much respect, it was finally carried ; and it was determined to send home the
Black-feet on the breaking up of the winter.
We undertook to furnish them with horses and
provisions for their journey, or to pay the Flat-
heads a fair price for so doing. This was agreed
to, and about the mindle of March the prisoners
took their departure tolerably well mounted, and
with dried meat enough to bring them to their
friends. Mr. M'Millan, who had passed three
years in their country, and was acquainted with
their language, informed them of the exertions
we had used to save their lives, and prevent
farther repetitions of torture : and requested them
particularly to mention the circumstance to their
countrymen, in order that they might adopt a
similar proceeding. We also wrote letters by
them to the gentlemen in charge of the different
establishments at Forts des Prairies, detailing our
success, and impressing on them the necessity of
their attempting to induce the Black-feet in their
vicinity to follow the example set them by the
Flat-heads. The lands of this tribe present a
pleasing diversity of Woods and plains, valleys
and mountains, lakes and rivers. Besides the
animals already mentioned, there are abundance
of beavers,.otters, martens, wolves, lynxes, &c.
yol. l. a mm
i ff I! I i
l M
The wolves of this district are very large and
daring ; and Were in great numbers in the immediate vicinity of the fort, to which they often approached closely, for the  purpose  of carrying
away the offals.    We had a fine dog of mixed
Dreed, whose sire was a native of Newfoundland*
f   and whose dam was  a wolf, which had been
caught young,   and  domesticated   by  Mr.  La
v - Rocque, at Lac la Ronge, on the English River.
He had many rencontres with his maternal tribe,
in  which  he was generally worsted.    On observing a wolf near the fort, he darted at it with
great courage : if it was a male, he fought hard ;
but if a female, he either allowed it to retreat
harmless, or commenced fondling it.    He sometimes was absent for a week or ten days ; and on
his return, his body and neck appeared gashed
with wounds inflicted by the tusks of his male
rivals in their amorous encounters in the woods.
He was a  noble  animal, but always appeared
more ready to attack a wolf than a lynx.
Our stock of sugar and molasses having
failed, we were obliged to have recourse to the
extract of birch to supply the deficiency. This
was obtained by perforating the trunks of the
birch trees in different places. Small slips of
bark were then introduced into each perforation, PHARMACY.
and underneath kettles were placed to receive
the juice. This was afterwards boiled down to
the consistency of molasses, and was used with
our tea as a substitute for sugar: it is a bitter
sweet, and answered its purpose tolerably well.
The Flat-heads are a healthy tribe, and subject
to few diseases. Common fractures, caused by
anoccasional pitch off a horse;, or a fall down a
declivity iifcthe ardour of hunting, are cured by
tight bandages and pieces of wood like staves
placed longitudinally around the part, to which
they are secured by leathern thongs. For contusions they generally bleed, either in the temples, arms, wrists, or ancles, with pieces of sharp
flint, or heads of arrows: they however preferred
being bled withthe lancet, and frequently brought
us patients, who were much pleased with that
mode; of operation. Very little snow fell after
Christmas ; but the cold was intense, with a clear
atmosphere. I experienced some acute rheumatic
attacks in the shoulders and knees, from which
I suffered much annoyance. An old Indian pro-,
posed to relieve me, provided I consented to follow the mode of cure practised by him in similar
cases on the young warriors of the tribe. On
inquiring the method he intended to pursue, he
replied that it merely consisted in getting up
0, 2 FT
early every morning for some weeks, and plunging into the river, and to leave the rest to him.
This was a most chilling proposition, for the
river was firmly frozen, and an opening to be
made in the ice preparatory to each immersion.
I asked him, " Would it not answer equally well
to have the water brought to my bed-room ?"
But he shook his head, and replied, he was surprised that a young white chief, who ought to
be wise, should ask so foolish a question. On
reflecting, however, that rheumatism was a
stranger among Indians, while numbers of our
people were martyrs to it, and, above all, that I
was upwards of three thousand miles from any
professional assistance, I determined to adopt the
disagreeable expedient, and commenced operations the following morning. The Indian first
broke a hole in the ice sufficiently large to admit
us both, upon which he made a signal that all
was ready. Enveloped in a large buffalo robe,
I proceeded to the spot, and throwing off my
covering, we both jumped into the frigid orifice
together. He immediately commenced rubbing
my shoulders, back, and loins : my hair in the
mean time became ornamented with icicles ; and
while the lower joints were undergoing their
friction, my face, neck, and shoulders were in-
cased in a thin covering of ice. On getting released I rolled a blanket about me, and ran back
to the bedroom, in which I had previously ordered a good fire, and in a few minutes I experienced a warm glow all over my body. Chilling and disagreeable as these matinal ablutions
were, yet, as I found them so beneficial, I continued them for twenty-five days, at the expiration of which my physician was pleased to say that
no more were necessary, and that I had done my
duty like a wise man. I was never after troubled
with a rheumatic pain! One of our old Canadians^ who had been labouring many years under
a chronic rheumatism, asked the Indian if he
could cure him in the same manner: the latter
replied it was impossible, but that he would try
another process. He accordingly constructed
the skeleton of a hut about four and a half feet
high, and three broad, in shape like a bee-hive,
which he covered with deer-skins. He then
heated some stones in an adjoining fire, and
having placed the patient inside in a state of nudity, the hot stones were thrown in, and water
poured on them : the entrance was then quickly
closed, and the man kept in for some time until
he begged to be released, alleging that he was
nearly suffocated.    On coming out he was in a r
I   *
state of profuse perspiration. The Indian ordered him to be immediately enveloped in
blankets and conveyed to bed. This operation
was repeated several times, and although it did
not effect a radical cure, the violence of the pains
Was so far abated, as to permit the patient to follow his ordinary business, and to enjoy his sleep
in comparative ease.
The Flat-heads believe in the existence of a
good and evil spirit, and consequently in a future
state of rewards and punishments. 'They hold,
that after death the good Indian goes to a country
in which there will be perpetual summer; that
he will meet his wife and children ; that the
rivers will abound with fish, and the plains with
the much-loved buffalo; and that he will spend
his time in hunting and fishing, free from the
terrors of war, or the apprehensions of cold or
famine. The bad man, they believe, will go to
a ^place covered with eternal snow; that he will
always be shivering with cold, and will see fires
at a distance which he cannot enjoy; water
which he cannot procure to quench his thirst,
and buffalo and deer which he cannot kill to
appease|his hunger. An impenetrable wood,
full of wolves, panthers, and serpents, separates
these "shrinking slaves of winter" from  their BEAVERS.
fortunate brethren in the "meadows of ease."
Their punishment is not however eternal, and
according to the different shades of their crimes
they are. sooner or later emancipated, and permitted to join their friends in the Elysian fields.
Their code of morality, although short, is comprehensive. They say that honesty, bravery,
love of truth, attention to parents, obedience to
Aheir chiefe and affection for their wives and
children, are the principle virtues which entitle
them to the place of happiness, while the opposite
vices condemn them to that of misery. They
have a curious tradition with respect to beavers.
They firmly believe that these animals are a
fallen race of Indians, who, in consequence of
their wickedness, vexed the Good Spirit, and
were condemned by him to their present shape ;
but that in due time they will be restored to
their humanity. They allege that he-beavers
have the powers of speech; and that they have
heard them talk with each other, and seen them
sitting in council on an offending member.
The lovers of natural history are already well
acquainted with the surprising sagacity of these
wonderful animals ; with their dexterity in cutting down trees, their skill in constructing their
houses, and their foresight in collecting and stor- tin
ing provisions" sufficient to last them during the
winter months: but few are aware, I should
imagine, of a remarkable custom among them,
which, more than any other, confirms the Indians
in believing them a fallen race. Towards the
latter end of autumn a certain number, varying
from, twenty to thirty, assemble for the purpose
of building their winter habitations. They immediately commence cutting down trees; and nothing can be more wonderful than the skill and
patience which they manifest in this laborious
undertaking ; to see them anxiously looking up,
watching the loaning of the tree when the trunk
is nearly severed, and, when its creaking announces its approaching fall, to observe them
scampering off in all directions to avoid being
crushed. |||
When the tree is prostrate they quickly strip it
of its branches; after which, with their dental
chisels, they divide the trunk into several pieces
of equal lengths, which they roll to the rivulet
across which they intend to erect their house.
Two or three old ones generally superintend the
others; and it is no unusual sight to see them
beating those who exhibit any symptoms of laziness. Should, however, any fellow be incorrigible, and persist in refusing to work, he is driven INDIAN   DESIGNATIONS.
unanimously by the whole tribe to seek shelter
and provisions elsewhere. These outlaws are
therefore obliged to pass a miserable winter, half
starved in a burrow on the banks of some stream,
where they are easily trapped. The Indians call
them " lazy beaver," and their fur is not half so
valuable as that of the other animals, whose persevering industry and prevoyance secure them
provisions and a comfortable shelter during the
severity of winter.
I could not discover why the Black-feet and ]
Flat-heads received their respective designations ; /
for the feet of the former are no more inclined to (
sable than any other part of the body, while the I
heads of the latter possess their fair proportion
of rotundity.    Indeed it is only below the falls
and rapids that real flat-heads appear, and at the I
mouth of the Columbia that they flourish most
supernaturally. ?#
Pierre Michel, the hunter, was the son of a
respectable Canadian by an Indian mother. He
also held the situation of interpreter, and was a
most valuable servant to the Company. Michel
accompanied the Flat-heads on two of their war
campaigns, and by his unerring aim and undaunted
bravery won the affection of the whole tribe. The
war chief in particular paid great attention to his r
opinion, and consulted him in any difficult matter.
Michel wanted a wife ; and having succeeded in
gaining the affections of a handsome girl about
sixteen years of age, and niece to the hereditary
chieftain, he made a formal proposal for her. A
council was thereupon called, at which her uncle
presided, to fake Michel's offer into consideration.
One young warrior loved her ardently, and had
obtained a previous promise from her mother that
she should be his. He, therefore, with all his
relations, strongly opposed her union with Pierre,
and urged his own claims, which had been sanctioned by her mother. The war-chief asked him
if she had ever promised to become his wife : he
replied in the negative. The chief then addressed
the council, and particularly the lover, in favour
of Michel's suit; pointing out the great services
he had rendered the tribe by his bravery, and
dwelling strongly on the policy of uniting him
more firmly to their interests J>y consenting to
the proposed marriage, which he said would for
ever make him as one of their brothers. His
influence predominated, and the unsuccessful
rivaL immediately after shook hands with Michel,
and told the young woman, as he could not be
her husband, he hoped she would always regard
him as a brother.    This she readily promised to MARRIAGE   RITES.
do, and so ended the opposition. The happy
Pierre presented a gun to her uncle, some cloth,
calico, and ornaments to her -female relatives ;
with a pistol and handsome dagger to his friend.
He proceeded in the evening to the chief's lodge,
where a number of her friends had assembled to
smoke. Here she received a lecture from the
old man, her mother, and a few other ancients,
on her duty as a wife and mother. They
strongly exhorted her to be chaste, obedient,
industrious, and silent; and when absent with
her husband among other tribes, always to stay
at home, and have no intercourse with strange
Indians. She then retired with the old women
to an adjoining hut, where she underwent an
ablution, and bade adieu to her leathern chemise,
the place of which was supplied by one of gingham, to which was added a calico and green
cloth petticoat, and a gown of blue cloth. After
this was over, she was conducted back to her
uncle's lodge, when she received some further
advice as to her future conduct. A procession
was then formed by the two chiefs, and several
warriors carrying blazing flambeaux of cedar, to
convey the bride and her husband to the fort.
They began singing war sons in praise of Michel's
bravery, and of their triumphs over the Black- sFfl
feet. She was surrounded by a group of young
and old women, some of whom were rejoicing,
and others crying. The men moved on first, in
a slow solemn pace, still chaunting their warlike
epithalamium. The women followed at a short
distance ; and when the whole party arrived in
front of the fort, they formed a circle, and commenced dancing and singing, which they kept up
about twenty minutes. After this the calumet
of peace went round once more, arid when the
smoke of the last whiff had disappeared, Michel
shook hands with his late rival, embraced the
chiefs, and conducted his bride to his room.
While I remained in the country they lived
happily together; and as I mean to finish this
chapter here, I may as well state that he was the
only person of our party to whom the Flat-heads
would give one of their women in marriage.
Several of our men made applications, but were
always refused. JOURNEY   RENEWED.
Effect of snow on the eyes —Description of a winter at Oakinagan—News from the sea—Capture of Astoria by the Racoon sloop of war—Offer of Chinooks to cut off the British
—A party attacked; Mr. Stewart wounded; two Indians
killed—Arrival of Mr. Hunt—Shipwreck of the Lark—
Massacre of Mr. Read and eight of his men—Extraordinary
escape of Dorrien's widow and children.
On the 4th of April 1814, we took leave of our
Flat-head friends, on our way to Spokan House,
while they proceeded to make preparations for
the ensuing summer's campaign. We pursued
our route partly by land, and partly by water.
In some places, the snow had entirely disappeared ; but in others, particularly the dense
forests, it was covered with a slight incrustation.
The sun was very hot, and where its rays were
reflected from the congealed, or partly dissolved
masses of snow, it caused a very painful sensation
in the eyes of all, and nearly blinded half the party.
My sight was partially injured, and my nose, lips,
and cheeks so severely scorched, that I did not
recover from the effects for more than a month
after.    We arrived safely at Spokan House on sssa
the 15th, where I found a couple of letters which
had been written to me by my friend M'Gilliv-
ray from Oakinagan, at which place he had wintered ; but which, from want of a conveyance,
could not be forwarded to me from Spokan.
Although accustomed to the style of living on
the eastern side of the mountains, and well acquainted with Indians, this was his first winter
on the Columbia; and, for the information of
some of my readers, I shall give an extract from
one of his letters ; viz.
i^tf \
« Oakinagan, Feb. 1814.
" This is a horribly dull place. Here I have
been, since you parted from us, perfectly solus.
My men, half Canadians and half Sandwich islanders. The library wretched, and no chance of my
own books till next year, when the Athabasca
men cross the mountains. If you, or my friends
at Spokan, do not send me a few volumes, I shall
absolutely die of ennui. The Indians here are
incontestably the most indolent rascals I ever
met: and I assure you it requires no small degree of authority, with the few men I have, to
keep them in order. Montignier left me on the
23rd of December to proceed to Mr. M'Donald
at Kamloops.    On his way he was attacked by CORRESPONDENCE.
the Indians at Oakinagan Lake, and robbed of a
number of his horses. The natives in that quarter seem to entertain no great friendship for us,
and this is not their first attempt to trespass on our
good-nature. My two Canadians were out hunting at the period of the robbery ; and the whole
of my household troops merely consisted of Bonaparte ! Washington ! ! and Ccesar III * Great
names, you will say; but I must confess, that
much as I think of the two great moderns, and
highly as I respect the memory of the immortal
Julius, among these thieving scoundrels ' a rose
by any other name, would smell as sweet.' The
snow is between two and three feet deep, and
my trio of Owhyee generals find a sensible difference between such hyperborean weather and the
pleasing sunshine of their own tropical paradise.
Poor fellows! They are not adapted for these
latitudes, and I heartily wish they were at home
in their own sweet islands, and sporting in the
' blue summer ocean' that surrounds them.
" I have not as yet made a pack of beaver.
The lazy Indians won't work; and as for the
emperor, president, and dictator, they know as
much about trapping as the monks of La Trappe.
*  The individuals bearing these formidable names were
merely three unsophisticated natives of the Sandwich Islands. SPd
I have hitherto principally subsisted on horseflesh. I cannot say it agrees with me, for it
nearly produced a dysentery. I have had plenty
of pork, rice, arrow-root, flour, taro-root, tea,
and coffee ; no sugar. With such a variety of
bonnes choses you will say I ought not to complain ; but want of society has destroyed my relish
for luxuries, and the only articles I taste above
par are souchong and molasses. What a contrast
between the manner I spent last year and this!
In the first, with all the pride of a newly-created
subaltern, occasionally fighting the Yankees a la
mode du pays; and anon sporting my silver
wings between some admiring paysanne along
the frontiers. Then what a glorious winter in
Montreal, with captured Jonathans, triumphant
Britons, astonished Indians, gaping habitans, agitated beauties; balls, routs, dinners, suppers ;
parades, drums beating, colours flying, with all
the other 'pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!'—but ' Othello's occupation's gone V
and here I am, with a shivering guard of poor
islanders, buried in snow, sipping molasses,
smoking tobacco, and masticating horse-flesh !—
But I am sick of the contrast."
On the 24th of April, Messrs. David Stuart NAVAL   AFFAIRS.
and Clarke arrived on horseback with three men.
They informed us that they had left Fort George
on the 4th in company with Mr. John George
M'Tavish and  the  gentlemen lately belonging
to the Pacific Fur Company, who were British
subjects, and who were on their return home to
Canada.    They left the main party about a day's
march  above Lewis River, for the purpose of
procuring provisions at Spokan, with which they
were to meet the canoes at the Kettle Falls, and
from thence proceed up the Columbia on their
route to Canada.    The intelligence brought by
these gentlemen was by no means of a pleasing
description.    At the period of their departure
from the sea the Isaac Tod had not arrived, nor
had any accounts been received of her.    That
vessel sailed from London in March 1813, in
company with the Phoebe frigate and the Cherub
and Racoon sloops of war.    They arrived safe
at Rio  Janeiro,  and  thence  proceeded  round
Cape Horn  to the   Pacific,  having previously
made arrangements to meet at Juan Fernandez.
The three men-of-war reached the latter island
after encountering dreadful gales about the Cape.
They waited here some  time for the arrival of
the Isaac Tod ; but as she did not make her appearance, Commodore Hillier did not deem it
prudent to remain any longer inactive. He,
therefore, in company with the Cherub, proceeded in search of Commodore Porter, who, in
the American frigate Essex, was clearing the
South Sea of the English whalers, and inflicting
other injuries of a serious nature on our commerce.*
At the same time he ordered Captain Black in
the Racoon to proceed direct to the Columbia,
for the purpose of destroying the American establishment at Astoria. The Racoon arrived at
the Columbia on the 1st of December 1813.
The surprise and disappointment of Captain
Black and his officers were extreme on learning
the arrangement that had taken place between
the two companies, by which the establishment
had become British property. They had calculated on obtaining a splendid prize by the capture of Astoria, the strength and importance of
which had been much magnified : t and the contracting   parties   were   therefore ^fortunate   in
* He shortly after met the Essex at Valparaiso, and after
a severe contest captured her. She is now the convict hulk at
Kingstown near Dublin.
•f- On looking at the wooden fortifications, Captain Black
exclaimed, " Is this the fort about which I have heard so
much ? D—n me, but I'd batter it down in two hours with
a four-pounder!"
having closed their bargain previous to the arrival
of the Racoon.
Captain Black however took possession of Astoria in the name of his Britannic Majesty, and
re-baptised it by the name of " Fort George."
He also insisted on having an inventory taken
of the valuable stock of furs, and all other property purchased from the American company,
with a view to the adoption of ulterior proceedings
in England for the recovery of the value from
the North-west Company; but he subsequently
relinquished this idea, and we heard no more
about his claims. The Indians at the mouth of
the Columbia knew well that Great Britain and
America were distinct nations, and that they
were then at war, but were ignorant of the
arrangement made between Messrs. M'Dougall
and M'Tavish, the former of.whom still continued as nominal chief at the fort. On the
arrival of the Racoon, which they quickly discovered to be one of " King George's fighting
ships," they repaired armed to the fort, and requested an audience of Mr. M'Dougall. He
was somewhat surprised at their numbers and
warlike appearance, and demanded the object of
such an unusual visit. Comcomly, the principal
chief of the Chinooks, thereupon addressed him
r 2 ■ Jill I
■      il  >
in a long speech ; in the course of which he said
that King George had sent a ship full of warriors, and loaded with nothing but big guns to
take the Americans, and make them all slaves;
and that as they (the Americans) were the first
white men who settled in their country, and
treated the Indians like good relations, they had
resolved to defend them from King George's
warriors, and were now ready to conceal themselves in the woods close to the wharf, from
whence they would be able with their guns and
arrows to shoot all the men that should attempt
to land from the English boats ; while the people
in the fort could fire at them with their big guns
and rifles. This proposition was uttered with
an earnestness of manner that admitted no doubt
of its sincerity: two armed boats from the Racoon were approaching; and had the people in
the fort felt disposed to accede to the wishes of
the Indians, every man in them would have been
destroyed by an invisible enemy. Mr. M'Dougall thanked them for their friendly offer ; but
added that notwithstanding the nations were at
war, the people in the boats would not injure
him or any of his people, and therefore requested
them to throw by their war-shirts and arms, and
receive the strangers as their friends.    They at INDIAN   ATTACK.
first seemed astonished at this answer ; but on
assuring them in the most positive manner that
he was under no apprehensions, they consented
to give up their weapons for a few days. They
afterwards declared they were sorry for having
complied with Mr. M'DougalPs wishes; for
when they observed Captain Black surrounded
by his officers and marines, break the bottle of
port on the flag-staff, and hoist the British ensign
after changing the name of the fort, they remarked that, however we might wish to conceal
the fact, the Americans were undoubtedly made
slaves ; and they were not convinced of their
mistake until the sloop of war had departed without taking any prisoners.
Mr. Stuart farther informed us, that a party of
seventeen men under the command of Messrs.
James Keith and Alexander Stewart, which had
left Fort George early in January with merchandise for the interior, had been attacked by the
natives between the first and second portages of
the first rapids ; that Mr. Stewart was dangerously wounded by two arrows, one of which
entered his left shoulder, and the other penetrated between his ribs close to the heart, notwithstanding which he succeeded in shooting
two of the savages dead.    By this  time some of fig
the men came to his assistance, and for a while
succeeded in keeping back their assailants, who
every moment became more daring, and evinced
not merely a determination to revenge the death
of their countrymen, but to seize and carry away
all the merchandize in the portage. Mr. Keith
having observed a large reinforcement of the
savages from the opposite side approach in their
war-canoes, to join those by whom Mr. Stewart
was surrounded, and seeing that gentleman's
wounds bleeding profusely, felt that it would
have been foolish obstinacy, and would have
produced an unnecessary sacrifice of lives, to remain longer in such a dangerous situation. |§ He
therefore determined to abandon the goods;
and having embarked Mr. Stewart, the whole
party pushed off in one canoe, leaving the other
with all the property, to the mercy of the Indians. The latter were so overjoyed at becoming masters of such an unexpected quantity of
plunder, that they alloWea the party to effect
their retreat unmolested ; and on the second day
the canoe reached Fort George.
Among the goods thus abandoned were upwards of fifty guns, and a considerable quantity
of ammunition, which, if allowed to remain in
the hands of the savages, might have been turned STRATAGEM.
against us on a future occasion ; and as this was
the first attack which had proved successful, the
proprietors at once determined not to allow it to
pass with impunity. They accordingly sent Mr.
Franchere to the principal friendly chiefs in the
vicinity of the fort, for the purpose of acquainting
them with the late occurrence, and inviting them
to join our people in their intended expedition
against the enemy. They readily consented,
and on the following morning a brigage of six
canoes, containing sixty-two men, under the
command of Messrs. M'Tavish, Keith, Franchere, Matthews, &c. took their departure from
Fort George.
Having no lading, they quickly reached the
rapids. Every thing there appeared hostile. The
warriors lined the beach at different places well
armed, and the old men, women, and children
were invisible. A council of war was immediately held, at which two chiefs of the Clatsops
(one of whom was an old female) were present.
They advised the gentlemen to assume the appearance of friendship ; and after entering into a
parley with the natives, and inviting them to
smoke, to seize one of their chiefs, and detain
him as a hostage until the property should be restored.   This advice was followed, and succeeded 248
to perfection. Having by some coaxing, and
repeated offers of the calumet, collected a number
of the natives about them, to whom they made
trifling presents of tobacco, they were at length
joined by the principal chief of the place, who
had for some time cautiously kept out of view.
He was instantly seized, bound hand and foot,
and thrown into a tent, with two men to guard
him armed with drawn swords. The others
were then sent away, with directions to acquaint
their countrymen of their chief's captivity, and
were told that if the entire of the property was
not forthwith restored, he should be put to death.
This had the desired effect, and shortly after all
the guns, part of the kettles, and nearly one half
of the other goods were brought back. They
declared they could not recover any more, and
asked our gentlemen, " would they not allow
them any thing to place over the dead bodies of
their two relations, who had been killed by Mr.
The most important object of the expedition
having been thus attained without bloodshed,
and as the aggressors had been pretty severely
punished in the first instance, the party deemed
it both humane and prudent to rest satisfied with
what they had recovered.    They also felt that
an unnecessary waste of human blood might
prove ultimately prejudicial to their own interests, by raising up a combined force of natives,
against whom their limited numbers would find
it impossible to contend. They therefore gave
the chief his liberty, and presented him with a
flag, telling him at the same time, that whenever
that was presented to them unfurled, they would
consider it as a sign of friendship; but that if
any of his tribe ever approached them without
displaying this emblem of peace, it would be
taken as a symptom of hostility, and treated as
such. The chief promised faithfully to abide by
this engagement, and the parties then separated.
Mr. Hunt, late of the Pacific Fur Company,
arrived at Fort George early in February this
year, in a brig which he had purchased at the
Sandwich Islands. When the Beaver had left the
Columbia, this gentleman embarked in her on a
trading voyage to the northward, which proved
very successful. At the termination of her northern trip the season was too far advanced to permit
her returning to the Columbia, in consequence of
which Mr. Hunt sent her on to Canton, and embarked on board an American trading vessel on
the coast.    Shortly after the unwelcome intelli- I
gence of the war reached him; and finding no
vessel bound for the Columbia, he proceeded in
the trader to the Sandwich Islands. He did not
remain long here, when he re-embarked on board
another trader, and after traversing an immense
space of the Pacific Ocean, in the course of which
he encountered many dangers, returned again to
the islands. At Whoahoo he purchased a brig
called the Pedler, and was preparing to come in
her to the Columbia, when he was informed by
some of the natives that an American vessel had
been wrecked on the island of Tahoorowa. He
instantly repaired thither, and found Captain
Northrop, late commander of the ship Lark, with
several of his crew, all in a state of great destitution. The Lark had been despatched from
New York by Mr. Astor, freighted with provisions and merchandise for the establishment at
the Columbia. After escaping various British
cruisers, she made an excellent passage, until she
arrived within about three hundred miles of the
Sandwich Islands, when a sudden squall threw
her on her beam ends. By this unfortunate accident the second mate and four men perished.
The captain, however, and the rest of the crew,
by cutting away the masts, succeeded in righting DEPARTURES.
her; but she was completely water-logged. With
much difficulty they hoisted a sail on a small jury
foremast. They fortunately got out of the cabin
a box containing a few dozen of wine ; on which,
with the raw flesh of a shark they had caught,
they supported nature thirteen days ! At the
end of this period the trade-winds, which had
been for some time favourable, drove the vessel
on the rocky coast of Tahoorowa, where she
went to pieces. The captain and his surviving
crew were saved and kindly treated by the natives, who however plundered the wreck of all
the property they could find.
Mr. Hunt took Captain Northrop and his men
on board the brig, and sailed forthwith for the
Columbia, which he reached in the beginning of
February. Being ignorant of the events that had
occurred during his absence, he was confounded
at the intelligence he received ; and censured in
strong terms the precipitate manner in which the
sale had been effected. It was, however, irrevocable, and he was obliged to submit.
Having no farther, business at Fort George,
Mr. Hunt determined on returning to the United
States without loss of time. He took on board
such x\merican citizens as preferred returning
home by sea to crossing the continent, and after mmmmma—mm
rather a tedious voyage they all arrived safely at
New York.*
We also learned from Messrs. Stuart and Clarke
the following melancholy intelligence :—On their
way up, a few miles above the Wallah Wallah
river, they were followed by some Indian canoes,
from one of which a voice hailed them in French,
and requested them to stop. They accordingly
put ashore, and were joined by the Indians, among
whom they were surprised to find the widow of
Pierre Dorrien, (a half-bred hunter, who had accompanied Mr. Read to the country of the Shoshones the preceding autumn, as already mentioned,) with her two children. She told them,
that shortly after Mr. Read had built his house
she proceeded, with her husband and two other
hunters, named Peznor and Le Clerc, between
four and five days' march from the post to a part
of the country well stocked with beaver, of which
they succeeded in trapping a considerable quantity.     One   evening,   about  the  beginning   of
* Mr. Hunt subsequently returned to St. Louis, at the entrance of the Missouri, in which neighbourhood he possessed
extensive property, and from accounts which I have recently
received, I feel pleasure in stating, has been elevated to the
important office of governor of the state. A more estimable
individual could not be selected for the situation.
January, while the poor fellows were thus
occupied, Le CI ere staggered into her hut mortally wounded. He had merely strength sufficient
to acquaint her that the savages had suddenly
fallen on them while they.were at their traps,
and had killed her husband and Peznor :—he was
then proceeding to give her directions as to the
best means of effecting her escape ; but ere he
had concluded, death terminated his existence.
With that courage and self-possession of which
few Indian women are devoid in times of necessity, she at once determined on flying from a
spot so dangerous. With considerable difficulty
she succeeded in catching two horses. On one
she placed her clothes, a small quantity of dried
salmon, and some beaver meat which remained
in the hut. She mounted on the other with her
two children, the elder of whom was only three
years old, and the other did not exceed four
months. Thus provided, she commenced her
journey towards Mr. Read's establishment. On
the third day, she observed a number of Indians
on horseback, galloping in an easterly direction :
she immediately dismounted with the children,
and was fortunate enough to escape unnoticed.
That night she slept without fire or water. Late
in the evening of the fourth day, on which she mmm
expected to have arrived at Mr. Read's house,
she came in sight of the spot on which it had
stood ; but was horror-struck at beholding there
only a smoking ruin, with fresh marks of blood
scattered all around. Her fortitude, however,
did not forsake her, and she determined to ascertain whether any of the party were still living.
Having concealed the children and horses in
an adjoining cluster of trees, she armed herself
with a a tomahawk and a large knife, and after
night-fall she cautiously crept towards the scene
of carnage. All was silent and lonely, and at
every step fresh traces of blood met her view.
Anxious to ascertain if any had escaped the massacre, she repeatedly called out the various names
of the party, but no voice responded. By the
expiring glare of the smouldering timbers she observed a band of prairie wolves engaged in a san?
guinary banquet. The sound of her voice scared
tbem, and they fled. Fearful that they might
bend their way to the spot in which she had deposited her precious charge, she hastened thither,
and arrived just in time to save her children
from three of those ferocious animals which were
then approaching them.
From thence she proceeded the following
morning towards a range of mountains not far
from the upper parts of the Wallah Wallah river,
where she intended to remain the rest of the
winter. This place she reached on the next day
in a state of great exhaustion from the want of
food. Fortunately she had a buffalo robe, and
two or three deer skins, with which, aided by
some pine bark and cedar branches, she constructed a wigwam, that served to shelter her
tolerably well from the inclemency of the weather.
The spot she chose was a rocky recess close by a
mountain spring. She was obliged to kill the
two horses for food, the meat of which she smoke-
dried, and the skins served as an additional
covering to her frail habitation. In this cheerless and melancholy solitude, the wretched widow
and her two poor orphans dragged on a miserable existence during a severe season. Towards
the latter end of March, she had nearly consumed the last of her horseflesh, in consequence
of which she found it necessary to change her
quarters. During the whole of this period she
saw none of the natives, or any indication of
human habitations. Having packed up as much
covering and dried meat as she could carry, she
placed it with her younger child on her back,
and taking the elder by the hand, she bade adieu
to her wintry encampment.    After crossing the wmmm
il 1
ridge of mountains she fell on the Wallah Wallah
river, along the banks of which she continued
until she arrived at its junction with the Columbia. Her reception and treatment by the tribe
at that place was of the most cordial and hospitable description; and she had been living
with her about a fortnight when the canoes
passed, and took her up to Oakinagan.
The house that had been built by Mr. Read
had no paling or defence of any kind; and as
the men were constantly out hunting, or procuring provisions, she supposed he had not more
than one or two with him at the time they were
attacked, and that the others had been cut off
in the same manner as her husband and his companions. She could not assign any reason for
this butchery, and up to the period I quitted the
country, the cause of it was never satisfactorily
ascertained. Some imagined that it was committed by the tribe to which the man belonged
that had been hanged by Mr. Clarke, in revenge
for his death; but this could not have been the
case ; for, leaving the policy or impolicy of that
execution out of the question, we subsequently
learned that his tribe inhabited the upper parts
of Lewis River, and never crossed the mountains
beyond which Mr. Read had formed his establishment.
From the quantity of blood Dorrien's widow
saw, she thinks that several of the savages must
have been killed or wounded before their bloodthirsty efforts were crowned with such fatal
success. |yg|
Mr. Read was a rough, warm-hearted, brave,
old Irishman. Owing to some early disappointments in life he had quitted his native country
while a young man, in search of wealth among
Where beasts with man divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim;
and after twenty-five years of toils, dangers, and
privations, added another victim to the long list
of those who have fallen sacrifices to Indian
VOL.   I. '.W,
Arrival of the Isaac Tod—Miss Jane Barnes, a white woman
—Murder of one of our men by Indians—Trial and execution of the murderers—Death of Mr. Donald M'Tavish
and five men.
We left Spokan House on the 25th of May,
and reached Oakinagan on the 29th, where I
found my disconsolate friend, the ex-subaltern,
just recovering from the melancholy into which
his hibernal solitude had thrown him. The different parties having now assembled, we all
started for the sea on the 30th of May, and on
the 11th of June arrived at Fort George. We
were highly gratified at finding the so long expected Isaac Tod safe at anchor. After parting
company with the men of war off Cape Horn,
she touched at Juan Fernandez and the Galli-
pagos Islands, from whence she proceeded to
Monterey, a Spanish settlement on the coast of
California, for provisions. Here the captain was
informed that a British man-of-war had put into
San Francisco in distress, and was unable to
leave it. This latter place is also a Spanish
establishment, and is situated in Lat. 38° N, about THE RACOON.
two degrees to the southward of Monterey.
Captain Smith of the Isaac Tod immediately
proceeded thither, and found the vessel alluded
to was the Racoon sloop of war, commanded
by Captain Black. This vessel, on quitting the
Columbia, struck several times on the bar, and
was so severely damaged in consequence, that
she was obliged to make for San Francisco, which
port she reached in a sinking state, with seven
feet water in her hold. Finding it impossible to
procure the necessary materials there to repair
the damage, Captain Black and his officers had
determined to abandon the vessel, and proceed
overland to the Gulf of Mexico, whence they
could have obtained a passage to England; but
when the Isaac Tod arrived they succeeded,
with her assistance, in stopping the leaks, and
putting the Racoon in good sailing order; after
which the Isaac Tod weighed anchor, and on
the 17th of April crossed the bar of the Columbia, after a voyage of thirteen months from
She brought out the following passengers; viz.
Messrs. Donald M'Tavish and John M'Donald,
proprietors ; and Messrs. Alexander and James
M'Tavish, Alexander Frazer, and Alexander
M'Kenzie, clerks, with Doctor Swan, a medi-
s 2 mm*
cal gentleman engaged as resident physician at
the fort.
The two first-named gentlemen, from their
long experience of Indian living, knew well the
little luxuries that would be most grateful to
men so long debarred from the enjoyments of
civilised life;  and they accordingly brought out
a few casks of bottled porter,  some excellent
cheese, and a quantity of prime English beef,
which they had dressed and preserved in a peculiar manner in tin cases impervious to air; so
that we could say we ate fresh beef which had J|j
been  killed  and  dressed  in  England  thirteen
months before!    Acceptable as were these refreshers to  our  memory of " lang syne," they
brought out another object which more strongly
recalled to our semi-barbarised ideas the thoughts
of our " dear native home," than all the other
bonnes choses contained in the vessel.    This was
neither more nor less than a flaxen-haired, blue-
eyed daughter of Albion, who, in a temporary fit
of erratic enthusiasm, had consented to become
le   compagnon   du   voyage   of  Mr.   Mac 3*~y**^
Miss Jane Barnes had been a lively bar-maid at
an hotel in Portsmouth, at which Mr. Mac	
had   stopped   preparatory  to   his  embarkation.
This gentleman,  being  rather  of an  amorous PROPOSALS OF MARRIAGE.
temperament, proposed the trip to Miss Jane,
who, " nothing loth," threw herself on his protection, regardless of consequences, and after
encountering the perils of a long sea voyage,
found herself an object of interest to the residents at the fort, and the greatest curiosity that
ever gratified the wondering eyes of the blubber-
loving aboriginals of the north-west coast of America. The Indians daily thronged in numbers
to our fort for the mere purpose of gazing on,
and admiring the fair beauty, every article of
whose dress was examined with the most minute
scrutiny. She had rather an extravagant wardrobe, and each day exhibited her in a new dress,
which she always managed in a manner to display her figure to the best advantage. One day,
her head, decorated with feathers and flowers,
produced the greatest surprise; the next, her
hair, braided and unconcealed by any covering,
excited equal wonder and admiration. The
young women felt almost afraid to approach her,
and the old were highly gratified at being permitted to touch her person. Some of the chiefs
having learned that her protector intended to
send her home, thought to prevent such a measure by making proposals of marriage. One of
them in particular,  the son of Comcomly, the REJECTED   ADDRESSES.
principal chief of the Chinooks, came to the fort
attired in his richest dress, his face fancifully
bedaubed with red paint, and his body redolent
of whale oil. He was young, and had four native
wives. He told her, that if she would become
his wife, he would send one hundred sea-otters
to her relations; that he would never ask her to
carry wood, draw water, dig for roots, or hunt
for provisions ; that he would make her mistress
over his other wives, and permit her to sit at her
ease from morning to night, and wear her own
clothes ;* that she should always have abundance
of fat salmon, anchovies, and elk, and be allowed
to smoke as many pipes of tobacco during the
day as she thought proper; together with many
other flattering inducements, the tithe of which
would have shaken the constancy of a score of
the chastest brown vestals that ever flourished
among the lower tribes of the Columbia.
These tempting offers, however, had no charms
for Jane. Her long voyage had not yet eradicated certain Anglican predilections respecting
mankind, which she had contracted in the country
of her birth, and among which she did not include a flat head, a half naked body, or a copper-
coloured skin besmeared with whale oil.
Meaning that he would not insist on her wearing the
light covering of the Indian females. A   CHINESE   ALLIANCE.
Her native inamorato made several other ineffectual proposals ; but finding her inflexible, he
declared he would never more come near the
fort while she remained there. We shortly
afterwards learned that he had concerted a plan
with some daring young men of his tribe to carry
her off while she was walking on the beach,
(her general custom every evening while the
gentlemen were at dinner,) a practice which,
after this information, she was obliged to discontinue. - S £-*w*~»
Mr. Mac ^^at first intended to have brought
her with him across the continent to Montreal; *^C,
but on learning the impracticability of her performing such an arduous journey, he abandoned
that idea, and made arrangements with the captain for her return to England by way of Canton. A few words more, and I shall have done
with Miss Barnes. On the arrival of the vessel
at Canton she became an object of curiosity and
admiration among the inhabitants of the " Celestial empire." An English gentleman of great
wealth, connected with the East-India Company,
offered her a splendid establishment. It was
infinitely superior to any of the proposals made
by the Chinook nobility, and far beyond any
thing she could ever expect in England : it was .««p^l»Wi.«J'"^lH>
therefore prudently accepted, and the last account
I heard of her stated that she was then enjoying
all the luxuries of eastern magnificence.*
About a month after the arrival of the Isaac
Tod a circumstance occurred which, as it caused
a considerable sensation for some time, I shall
fully relate.
About two miles at the rear of the fort, on the
I it!
* Miss Barnes was fond of quotations ; but she was no
Blue. One of the clerks was one day defending the native
and half-bred women, whose characters she had violently attacked, and he recriminated in no very measured language on the
/conduct of the white ladies: | O Mr. Mac !" said she " I
suppose you agree with Shakspeare that te every woman is
at heart a rake ?"—g Pope, ma'am if you please."—S Pope !
[ Pope!" replied Jane. " Bless me, sir! you must be wrong'»
\ rake is certainly the word.—I never heard of but one female
Pope." Then in order to terminate the argument, she pretended to read an old newspaper which she held in her hand.
He quicklydiscovered b y her keeping the wrong end uppermost that she did not know a syllable of its contents. He
quitted her abruptly ; and as he was coming out I met him at
the door, a wicked and malicious grin ruffling his sun-burnt
features. " Well, Mac," said I, " what's the matter? You
seem annoyed."—u What do you think," he replied, f I have
just had a conversation with that finedooking damsel there,
who looks down with such contempt on our women, and may
I be d—d if the b—h understands B from a buffalo !"
Her supposed education was the only excuse in his opinion
to justify her usurpation of superiority;—that gone, he judged
her I poor indeed." DREADFUL   MURDER,
Clatsop  River, a place had been established for
making charcoal.    One of the men employed at
this business was a poor half-witted American
from Boston, named Judge, who had crossed the
continent with Mr. Hunt's party, and whose sufferings  during  that journey had partially  deranged his intellect.    He was however a capital
woodsman ; and few men could  compete with
him, as he said himself, in hewing down forests
"by the acre."    His comrade had been absent
one day, selecting proper wood for charcoal, and
on returning to the lodge in the evening he found
the body of the unfortunate Judge lying stretched
on the ground, with his skull completely cleft in
two by the blow of an axe which was lying beside  him. steeped  in  blood.    He instantly repaired to the fort, and communicated the dreadful intelligence;   upon which a party was despatched for the mangled remains of poor Judge.
Mr. M'Tavish  forthwith   summoned  all  the
neighbouring chiefs to attend at the fort; and
on the following day there was a congress of representatives from the Chinooks, Chilts, Clatsops,
Killymucks, and Cathlamahs.    They could not
assign any reason for the murder; nor indeed
could any one, for Judge was the most harmless
individual belonging to our establishment.    They
f fr.
I:fc- ;   j
promised, however, that every exertion should
be made on their part for the discovery of the
perpetrators ; and Mr. M'Tavish offered a large
reward for their apprehension. Some time
elapsed in vain inquiry; but, through the agency
of the Clatsop chief, we received private information that the murderers were two of the Kil-
lymucks, and that if we sent a party well armed
to his village, he would render every assistance
to take them into custody. Mr. Matthews and
seven men were accordingly ordered on this
dangerous duty. They proceeded early in the
day in a canoe up the Clatsop River, as if on a
hunting excursion, and stopped late in the evening at a place previously agreed on, where they
were joined by three Clatsops and a Killymuck,
who was the informer. After night-fall they continued on until they arrived at the Killymuck
village, where they landed. The informer having
pointed out the lodges in which the murderers
slept, and told their names, separated from the
party. Mr. Matthews immediately proceeded to
the chief's dwelling, and made him acquainted
with the object of his visit. He appeared somewhat surprised ; but stated, that having promised
to assist in discovering them, he would not oppose   their  apprehension,  provided  they were
«'- Rft
allowed a fair trial, and that nothing should befall them but on the clearest testimony. This
was of course agreed to ; and Mr. Matthews^
with his party, then cautiously approached the
habitations of the two delinquents, which were
adjoining each other; and having divided his
men, leaving the Clatsops to mind the canoe,
they entered the houses, and succeeded in seizing, binding, and hurrying the prisoners on board
before the village was alarmed. The -men paddled hard until they arrived at the Clatsop village, where they stopped to rest, and the following; morning at day-break they reached Fort
George in safety. The day subsequent to that
of our arrival was fixed for the trial. It was
held in the large dining-hall; and the jury was
composed of the gentlemen belonging to the
Company, with an equal number of Indians, consisting of chiefs and chieftainesses, for among
these tribes old women possess great authority.
It appeared in the course of the investigation
that revenge was the cause of the murder.
About two years before this period, while houses
were being built for the men, the greater number of them were lodged in tents and huts about
the fort, from which the Indians were constantly
in the practice of pilfering whatever they could 268
lay their hand on; particularly at night, when
the workmen were buried in sleep after the labour
of the day. .
Judge and three others were lodged together ;
and one night, when it was supposed they were
fast asleep, one of them heard the noise of footsteps outside approaching the tent. Through
a slit in the canvass he ascertained they were
natives, and without awaking his comrades, he
cautiously unsheathed his sword, and waited
a few minutes in silence, watching their motions, until they at length reached the tent,
the lower part of which they were in the act
of raising, when, by a desperate blow of the
sword, he severely cut one of their arms. The
savage gave a dreadful yell, and the Canadian
rushed out, when he distinctly perceived two
Indians running away quickly, and disappear
in the gloom of the forest behind. This
circumstance made some noise at the time; the
parties were not discovered, and in a few weeks
the event was forgotten by our people; but it
was not so with the savages. They harboured
the most deep and deadly revenge; and thinking that Judge was the person who had inflicted
the wound, they determined to wreak their vengeance on him.    For this purpose they had been
for nearly two years occasionally, lurking about
the fort, until the fatal opportunity presented
itself of gratifying their demoniacal passion. On
the day of the murder, after Judge's comrade
had quitted the lodge, they stole unperceived on
him, and while he was engaged at the fire they
felled him to the ground with a blow of his own
axe, after which they split his skull, and made
their escape. All these facts were brought out
during the trial, which lasted the greater part of
the dav- Several of the witnesses underwent a
strict cross-examination, particularly by the old
women, who evinced much more acuteness than
was displayed by the chiefs.
The prisoners made no defence, and observed
a sulky taciturnity during the whole of the proceedings, They were found guilty by the unanimous verdict of the jury, and. sentenced to be
shot the following morning. They showed no
signs of repentance or sorrow; and on being
led out of the hall, the fellow whose arm had
been cut held it up, and exclaimed, " Were I
now free, and he alive, I would do the same
thing again!"
About nine o'clock .the next morning they
were brought from the guard-house pinioned,
and conducted to the farther end of the wharf, Jr.
at which place it was arranged they were to
suffer. Twenty-four men were selected by ballot
to  carry the  dreadful sentence into execution
under the command of Mr.  M , to whom
the lot fell. Immense numbers of Indians belonging to the various surrounding nations were
in attendance; some on shore, and others in
canoes. The guns on the battery and in the
bastions were loaded with grape, and attended
by men with slow matches. The remainder of
our people were drawn up in front of the fort,
all armed with muskets and bayonets. The culprits made considerable opposition to their being
tied together, and refused to kneel, or allow the
caps to be drawn over their eyes. At length,
between force and entreaty, these preliminaries
were accomplished, and orders were given to
fire. After the discharge a loud and frightful
yell was sent forth from the surrounding savages ; but they remained tranquil. On the
smoke clearing away, it was perceived that both
the unfortunate men were still alive, although
several balls had taken effect. M. M ordered the party to reload quickly, and a second
volley was discharged: one only was killed;
and as the other made repeated attempts to rise,
and appeared to suffer great agony, he was de- FATAL   ACCIDENT.
spatched by one of the men, who fired a ball
through his head. The party then gave three
cheers, and retired to the fort, while the friends
and relatives of the deceased took away their
bodies amidst the greatest lamentations ; during
which not a murmur was heard, or the slightest
symptom of disapprobation expressed. Shortly
after a number of the chiefs and elders came up
to the fort, when Mr. M'Tavish invited them
into the hall, to thank them for their assistance ;
and having paid the promised rewards, and
made various presents, they smoked the calumet
of peace, and departed for their respective villages, apparently much gratified with the manner
they had been treated.
Scarcely was this tragedy ended when one
more fatal to the interests of the Company occurred by the melancholy and untimely death of
Mr. Donald M'Tavish. This gentleman had
embarked in an open boat, with six voyageurs,
to proceed to the opposite side of the Columbia.
It blew a stiff gale ; and about the middle of
the river, owing to some mismanagement of the
sail, a heavy wave struck the boat, whch instantly filled and went down. With the exception of one man, they all perished; he succeeded in gaining a snag which was a few feet ■MB
above the water, and on which he remained for
nearly two hours, until he was rescued when in
a state of great exhaustion by two Chinooks, who
proceeded to his assistance in a small canoe.
Thus perished the respected Mr. Donald M'Tavish, one of the oldest proprietors of the Northwest Company, and for many years the principal
director for managing the affairs of the interior.
He had realized an independent fortune; and
had, in fact, retired from the Company, when he
volunteered his services to organise the new department of Columbia; after effecting which object it was his intention to have crossed the continent to Canada, and from thence to proceed to
Scotland, where he had purchased an estate, on
which, after a life of fatigues and hardships, he
had hoped to spend an old age of ease and comfort. Mr. M'Tavish was a man of bold and decided character. His enmity was open and
undisguised; his friendship warm and sincere.
Sprung from a comparatively humble origin, he
was the founder of his own fortune ; and merit
with him was sure to be appreciated without
reference to a man's family or connexions.
The day after this melancholy event the body
of the lamented gentleman, with those of four f
of the  men,   were  found,  and  interred   in  a MR.   DONALD   M TAVISH.
handsome spot behind the north-east bastion of
Fort George, where a small monument, tolerably well engraved, points to the future Indian
trader the last earthly remains of the enterprising
Donald M'Tavish.
vol. 1. THE   NATIVES.
Sketch of the Indians about the mouth of the Columbia—Process of flattening the head—Thievish disposition—Treatment of their slaves—Suggestions to the missionary societies—Dreadful ravages of the small-pox—Jack Ramsay—
Their ideas of religion—Curious superstition—Marriage
ceremonies—Anecdote—Aversion to ardent spirits—Government—War—Arms and Armour—Canoes and houses
—System of cooking — Utensils — Gambling — Haiqua —
Quack doctors—Mode of burial.
We remained a couple of months this summer
at Fort George, making the necessary arrangements for our winter's campaign. During this
period we made several excursions on pleasure
or business to the villages of the various tribes,
from one to three days' journey from the fort.
They differ little from each other in laws, manners, or customs, and were I to make a distinction, I would say the Cathlamahs are the most
tranquil, the Killymucks the most roguish, the
Clatsops the most honest, and the Chinooks the
most incontinent. The Chilts, a small tribe who
inhabit the coast to the northward of Cape Disappointment, partake in some degree of these
various  qualities.    The  abominable   custom   of DISTORTION   OF   THE   HEAD.
flattening their heads prevails among them all.
Immediately after birth the infant is placed in a
kind of oblong cradle formed like a trough, with
moss under it. One end, on which the head
reposes, is more elevated than the rest. A
padding is then placed on the forehead with a
piece of cedar-bark over it, and by means of cords
passed through small holes on each side of the
cradle, the padding is pressed against the head.
It is kept in this manner upwards of a year, and
is not I believe attended with much pain. The
appearance of the infant, however, while in this
state of compression, is frightful, and its little
black eyes, forced out by the tightness of the
bandages, resemble those of a mouse choked in a
trap. When released from this inhuman process,
'-jSS hepfcl is perfectly flattened, and the upper
part of it seldom exceeds an inch in thickness.
It never afterwards recovers its rotundity. They
deem this an essential point of beauty, and the
most devoted adherent of our first Charles never
than these savages.*
* Doctor Swan, on examining the skulls I had taken, candidly confessed thatpjaothing short of ocular demonstration
could have convinced him  of the possibility of moulding the
human head into.Such a form*
T   2 276
They allege, as an excuse for this custom, that
all their slaves have round heads ; and accordingly every child of a bondsman, who is not
adopted by the tribe, inherits not only his
father's degradation, but hm parental rotundity
of cranium.
This deformity is unredeemed by any peculiar
beauty either in features or person. The height
of the men varies from five feet to five feet six
inches; that of the women is generally six or
eight inches less. The nose is rather flat, with
distended nostrils; and a mouth, seldom, closed,
exposes to view an abominable set of short dirty
irregular teeth. The limbs of the men are in
general well-shaped; but the women, owing to
tight ligatures which they wear on the lower
part of the legs, are quite bandy, with thick
ankles, and broad flat feet. They have loose
hanging breasts, slit ears, and perforated noses,
which, added to greasy heads, and bodies saturated with fish-oil, constitute the sum total of
their personal attractions.
The good qualities of these Indians are few;
their vices many. Industry, patience, sobriety,
and ingenuity nearly comprise the former ; while
in the latter may be classed thieving, lying, incontinence,  gambling,   and  cruelty.    They are THIEVING   PROPENSITIES.
also perfect hypocrites. Each tribe accuses the
other of " envy, hatred, malice, and all' uncha-
ritableness." Even the natives of the same village, while they feign an outward appearance of
friendship, indulge in a certain propensity called
back-biting; in this respect differing but little
from the inhabitants of more civilised countries,
among whom the prevalence of such ill-natured
practices has, by certain envious and satirical
coffee-drinkers, been unjustly attributed to the
scandalising influence of tea.
Their bravery is rather doubtful; but what
they want in courage they make up in effrontery.
Fear alone prevents them from making any open
or violent attempt at robbery ; and their offences
under this head, in legal parlance, may more
strictly be styled petty larcenies. I have seen a
fellow stopped on suspicion of stealing an axe.
He denied the charge with the most barefaced
impudence; and when the stolen article was
pulled from under his robe, instead of expressing
any ^ogret, he burst out laughing, and alleged he
was only joking. One of the men gave him a
few kicks, which he endured with great sangfroid ; and on joining his companions, they received him with smiling countenances, and bantered him  on the failure of his attempt.    They Wh
seldom make any resistance to these summary
punishments ; and if the chastisement takes place
in the presence of a chief, he seems delighted at
the infliction. |I|
They purchase slaves from the neighbouring
tribes for beaver, otter, beads, Sec. I could never
learn whether any were taken by them in war.
While in good health and able to work, they are
well treated; but the moment they fall sick, or
become unfit for labour, the unfortunate slaves
are totally neglected, and left to perish in the
most miserable manner. After death their bodies
are thrown without any ceremony at the trunk
of a tree, or into an adjoining wood. It sometimes happens that a slave is adopted by a family ;
in which case he is permitted to marry one of
the tribe, and his children, by undergoing the
flattening process, melt down into the great mass
of the community.
Chastity is an item seldom inscribed on
the credit side of their account current with
futurity. Indeed a strict observance of it before marriage is not an article of their moral
Formerly an act of post-nuptial incontinence
subjected the woman to the loss of life; but in
latter times infractions of conjugal rights are often
connived at, or if committed sans permission,
only slightly punished.*
Numbers of the women reside during certain
periods of the year in small huts about the fort
from which it is difficult to keep the men. They
generally retire with the fall of the leaf to their
respective villages, and during the winter months
seldom visit Fort George. But on the arrival of
the spring and antumn brigades from the interior
they pour in from all parts, and besiege our
voyageurs much after the manner which their frail
sisters at Portsmouth adopt when attacking the
crews of a newly arrived India fleet. Mothers
participate with their daughters in the proceeds
arising from their prostitution ; and, in many in-
stanceSj'liusbands share with their wives the wages
of infamy. Disease is the natural consequence of
this state of general demoralization, and numbers
of the unfortunate beings suffer dreadfully from
the effects of their promiscuous intercourse.
Now that the North-west and Hudson's Bay
Companies have become united, and that rivalship
in trade cannot be brought forward as an excuse
for corrupting Indians, it would be highly de_
sirable that the   missionaries would turn their
*   We were told by an old man that he knew but of one instance in which a husband killed his wife for infidelity. It
'III 1 '
I   r I
thoughts to this remote and too long neglected
corner of the globe. Their pious labours have
already effected wonders in the comparatively
small islands of the Pacific, where idolatry, human sacrifices, and other crimes more revolting
to humanity, have been abolished. I would
therefore respectfully suggest to the consideration
of the benevolent individuals who constitute the
missionary societies, the propriety of extending
the sphere of their exertions to the North-west
coast of America, and from thence through the
interior of that vast continent; the aboriginal inhabitants of which, with the exception of Canada
and a very trifling part of the frontiers, are still
buried in the deepest ignorance. During the period that France held possession of the Canadas,
the Jesuits made wonderful progress in converting the Indians, and most of the natives of the
two provinces are now Christians. In my journey
across the continent, small wooden huts, ornamented with crucifixes and other symbols of
Christianity, situated from five to seven hundred
miles beyond the limits of civilization, were pointed
out to me, which had formerly been inhabited by
these enterprising missionaries in their progress
through the wilderness. These dwellings are
now deserted ; but are still regarded with pious
reverence by the thoughtless voyageurs | and
even the poor Indians, who by the cessation of
the Jesuit missions, have relapsed into their former habits, pay the utmost respect to the houses,
which were inhabited, as they say, by " the good
white fathers, who, unlike other men, never
robbed or cheated them." Since the annexation
of Canada to the British crown, Indian conversion
has almost ceased ; or has made, at most, a slow
and sickly progress. Their moral amelioration
is completely neglected by both English and
Americans ; and it is only in periods of war that
we pay them any attention. The first settlers of
the United States did not act so. They fought
their way through the country with the Bible in
one hand and the sword in the other ; and it was
not until the former ceased to convince that recourse was had to the latter. Objectionable, however, as this system undoubtedly was, the plan
adopted by the modern Americans is more so.
Their anti-republican love of aggrandizement, by
the continual extension of their territorial possessions, must sooner or later destroy the unity of
their confederation ; and it is a subject deeply to
be lamented that, in their gradual encroachments
on the Indian lands, Christianity is forgotten, the
word of God does not now, as in the time of their 282
-;   !|
1 PI
forefathers, keep in check the sanguinary sword
of man ; and extermination, instead of regeneration, seems to be their motto. To return to the
Columbia. It is the only situation on the northwest coast, to the northward of California, free
from danger; and I have no doubt that by a
proper application the Hudson's Bay Company,
who have now possession of Fort George, would
give a passage, and afford every facility to resident missionaries. Odious as the vices are to
which I have referred, the few good qualities
which the Indians possess would materially assist
in bringing them to a knowledge of the true
religion. Independently of the beneficial results
which we might naturally expect to flow from
their exertions among the natives, there is another consideration which induces me to think
that the Company would, for its own interest,
render them every assistance in its power. I
allude to the situation of a number of men in its
employment whose knowledge of Christianity,
owing to a long absence from their native country, has fallen into a kind of abeyance, and which
would undoubtedly be revived by the cheering
presence of a minister of God. Cannibalism,
although unknown among the Indians of the
Columbia,  is practised by the  savages  on   the
coast to the northward of that river; so that by
the progressive labours of the missionaries, this
dreadful custom, with the others, might be gradually abolished. The settlement formed by Lord
Selkirk on Red River, which falls into the great
Lake Winepic, and which suffered so much in its
infancy from interested enemies, is at present, I
am happy to hear, in a thriving condition. A
missionary has been established here, whose labours have already been productive of much
good. Numbers of the surrounding natives have
become converts, and they are yearly increasing.
The progress of civilization will gradually gain
ground among the western tribes ; and we may
indulge the pleasing hope that the day is not far
distant when the missionaries, in their glorious
career eastward and westward, from the St.
Lawrence and the mouth of the Columbia, despite the many difficulties and dangers they must
unavoidably encounter, may meet on the Rocky
Mountains, and from their ice-covered summits
proclaim to the benighted savages " Glory to
God in the highest, and on earth peace and
good-will towards men."
About thirty years before this period the smallpox had committed dreadful ravages among these
Indians, the vestiges of which were still visible 284
on the countenances of the elderly men and
women. It is believed in the north-west that
this disease was wilfully introduced by the American traders among the Indians of the Missouri,
as a short and easy method of reducing their
numbers, and thereby destroying in a great
measure their hostility to the whites. The Americans throw the blame on the French; while
they in turn deny the foul imputation, and
broadly charge the Spaniards as the original
delinquents. Be this as it may, the disease first
proceeded from the banks of the Missouri, and
the British are free from having had any participation in the detestable act. It travelled with
destructive rapidity as far north as Athabasca
and the shores of the Great Slave Lake, crossed
the Rocky Mountains at the sources of the Missouri, and having fastened its deadly venom on
the Snake Indians, spread its devastating course
to the northward and westward, until its frightful
progress was arrested by the Pacific Ocean.
Some of the old voyageurs who were stationed
at English River and Athabasca, when this
scourge made its first appearance, give the most
harrowing details of its ravages. The unfortunate Indians, when in the height of the fever,
would  plunge  into   a   river,   which  generally THE   SMALL-POX.
caused instant death; and thousands of the
miserable wretches by suicide anticipated its
fatal termination. Whole villages were depopulated, and an old man well known in the
Indian country, named Louis La Libert^, told
me that one morning during its height he saw
between two and three hundred bodies of men,
women, and children, suspended from trees, close
to an adjoining village of the Cree nation, the
surviving inhabitants of which did not exceed
forty persons. They believed that the " Great
Master of Life had delivered them over to the
Evil Spirit for their wicked courses;" and for
many years afterwards those who escaped, or
survived the deadly contagion, strictly conformed
themselves to their own code of moral laws.
The recollection of it, however, is now fast
wearing away from their memory. Those who
bore any traces of it are nearly extinct; and on
the eastern side of the mountains, intoxication,
and its attendant vices are becoming too prevalent. The western tribes still remember it with
a superstitious dread, of which Mr. M'Dougall
took advantage, when he learned that the Tonquin had been cut off. He assembled several of
the chieftains, and showing them a small bottle,
declared that it contained the small pox;  that &F-
11   II
although his force was weak in number, he was
strong in medicine ; and that in consequence of
the treacherous cruelty of the Northern Indians,
he would open the bottle and send the small-pox
among them. The chiefs strongly remonstrated
against his doing so. They told him that they
and their relations were always friendly to the
white people; that they would remain so ; that
if the small-pox was once let out, it would run
like fire among the good people as well as among
the bad; and that it was inconsistent with justice
to punish friends for the crimes committed by
enemies. Mr. M'Dougall appeared to be convinced by these reasons, and promised, that if
the white people were not attacked or robbed
for the future, the fatal bottle should not be
uncorked. He was greatly dreaded by the Indians, who were fully impressed with the idea
that he held their fate in his hands, and they
called him by way of pre-eminence, " the great
small-pox chief."
An Indian belonging to a small tribe on the
coast, to the southward of the Clatsops, occasionally visited the fort. He was a perfect lusus
natures, and his history was rather curious. His
skin was fair, his face partially freckled, and his
hair quite red. He was about five feet ten inches FUTURE   STATE.
high, was slender, but remarkably well made ;
his head had not undergone the flattening process;
and he was called Jack Ramsay, in consequence ^*f
of that name having been punctured on his left a^ * -f|,i"  1
arm. The Indians allege that his father was an
English sailor, who had deserted from a trading
vessel, and had lived many years among their
tribe, one of whom he married; that when Jack
was born, he insisted on preserving the child's
head in its natural state, and while young had
punctured the arm in the above manner. Old
Ramsay had died about twenty years before this
period : he had several more children, but Jack
was the only red-headed one among them. He
was the only half-bred I ever saw with red hair,
as that race in general partake of the swarthy
hue derived from their maternal ancestors. Poor
Jack was fond of his father's countrymen, and
had the decency to wear trousers whenever he
came to the fort. We therefore made a collection
of old clothes for his use, sufficient to last him for
many years.
The ideas of these Indians on the subject of a
future state do not differ much from the opinions
entertained by the natives of the interior. They
believe that those who have not committed murder ; who have fulfilled the relative duties of son,
father, and husband ; who have been good fishermen, &c. will after their death go to a place of
happiness, in which they will find an abundant
supply of fish, fruit, &c.; while those who have
followed a contrary course of life will be condemned to a cold and barren country, in which
bitter fruits and salt water will form their principal means of subsistence. Mr. Frahchere, who
was stationed permanently at Fort George, and
who obtained an accurate knowledge of their language, &c. states they have a tradition relative to
the origin of mankind, of which the following is
the substance:—Man was at first created by a
divinity named Etalapass ; but he was originally
imperfect. His mouth was not divided, his eyes
were closed, and his hands and feet immoveable ;
in short, he was rather a statue of flesh than a
living being. A second divinity, named Ecan-
num, less powerful than Etalapass, but more
benevolent, seeing man in this imperfect state,
took pity on him, and with a sharp stone opened
his mouth, unclosed his eyes, and imparted motion to his hands and feet. Not satisfied with
these gifts, the compassionate deity taught mankind how to make canoes, paddles, nets, and all
their domestic utensils. He also overturned
rocks into the rivers, which, by obstructing the SUPERSTITIOUS   OBSERVANCES.
progress of the fish through the waters, enabled
them to take sufficient to satisfy their wants. We
observed no idols among them; and although
they had some small grotesque-looking figures,
carved out of wood, they seemed to pay them
no respect, and often offered to barter them for
Civilized countries are not exempt from superstition ; it is therefore not surprising to find
it exist among untutored savages. They believe
that if salmon be cut crossways the fishery will
be unproductive, and that a famine will follow.
In the summer of 1811, they at first brought but
a small quantity to the people who were then
building the fort. As Mr. M'Dougall knew
there was no scarcity, he reproached the chiefs
for furnishing such a scanty supply : they admitted the charge, but assigned as a reason their
fears that the white people would cut it in the
unlucky way. Mr. M'Dougal promised to follow
their plan, upon which they brought a tolerable
good quantity, but all roasted; and which, in
order to avoid displeasing them, our people were
obliged to eat before sunset each day.
The negotiations preceding a marriage are
short, and the ceremony itself simple. When a
young man has made his choice, he commissions
VOL. I. u
0 wammmmmmmi
his parents or other relations to open the business
to the girl's relations. They are to receive a certain quantity of presents; and when these ai*e
agreed on, they all repair to the house intended
for the future residence of the young couple, to
which nearly all the inhabitants of the village
are invited. The presents, which consist of
slaves, axes, beads, kettles, haiqua, brass and
copper bracelets, &c. are now distributed by the
young man, who in his turn receives an equal or
perhaps greater quantity, from the girl's relations.
The bride, decorated with the various ornaments
common among the tribe, is then led forth by a
few old women, and presented to the bridegroom.
He receives her as his wife ; and the elders, after
wishing them plenty of fish, fruit, roots, and
children, retire from the house, accompanied by
all the strangers. The marriage tie is not indissoluble. A man may repudiate his wife, who
is then at liberty to take another husband. Infidelity is the general cause of these separations,
which however are of rare occurrence.
A man may have as many wives as his means
will permit him to keep. Some have four or
five. They live together in the greatest harmony; and although their lord may love one
more than another, it causes no jealousy or disunion among the rest. RECOGNITION   AND   REPULSE.
Many of these women, who have followed a
depraved course of life before marriage, become
excellent and faithful wives afterwards ; an instance of which I shall here relate:—In the early
part of this summer, one of the clerks^ who had
been out on a trading excursion, happened to be
present at a marriage in the Clatsop village. He
was surprised at recognising in the bride an old
chere amie, who the preceding year had spent
three weeks with him in his tent, actually decorated with some of the baubles he had then given
her. His eye caught hers for a moment; but his
appearance excited not the least emotion, and
she passed him by as one whom she had never
seen. A few days afterwards she came to the
fort accompanied by her husband and other
Indians. She remained at the gate while the
men were selling some fish in the trading store.
Her old lover, observing her alone, attempted to
renew their former acquaintance; but she betrayed no symptom of recognition, and in a
cold distant manner told him to go about his
All the Indians on the Columbia entertain a
strong aversion to ardent spirits, which they
regard as poison.    They allege that slaves only
u 2 292
drink to excess ; and that drunkenness is degrading to free men. On one occasion some of the
gentlemen at Fort George induced a son of Com-
comly the chief to drink a few glasses of rum.
Intoxication quickly followed, accompanied by
sickness; in which condition he returned home
to his father's house, and for a couple of days
remained in a state of stupor. The old chief
subsequently reproached the people at the fort
for having degraded his son by making him
drunk, and thereby exposing him to the laughter
of his slaves.
Each village is governed by its own chief. He
possesses little authority, and is respected in proportion to the number of wives, slaves, &c.
which he may keep. The greater number of
these, the greater the chief. He is entitled, however, to considerable posthumous honour; for
at his death the tribe go into mourning by cutting their hair, and for some months continue to
chant a kind of funeral dirge to his memory.
As each village forms a petty sovereignty, governed by independent chieftains, differences
often arise between them. These differences are
generally settled by giving compensation for the
injury inflicted; but in the event of a serious
offence, such as murder, (which is very rare,) or
the abduction of a woman, (which is not uncommon,) the parties prepare for war.
The great mass of the American Indians, in
their warlike encounters, fall suddenly on their
enemies, and taking them unprepared, massacre
or capture men, women, and children. The
plan adopted by the Chinobks forms an honourable exception to this system. Having once determined on hostilities, they give notice to the
enemy of the day on which they intend to make
the attack ; and having previously engaged as
auxiliaries a number of young men whom they
pay for that purpose, they embark in their canoes
for the scene of action. Several of their women
accompany them on these expeditions, and assist
in working the canoes.
On arriving at the enemy's village they enter
into a parley, and endeavour by negotiation to
terminate the quarrel amicably. Sometimes a
third party, who preserves a strict neutrality,
undertakes the office of mediator ; but should
their joint efforts fail in procuring redress, they
immediately prepare for action. Should the day
be far advanced, the combat is deferred, by mutual consent, till the following morning; and
they pass the intervening night in frightful yells, mxMM
and making use of abusive and insulting language to each other, They generally fight from
their canoes, which they take care to incline to
one side, presenting the higher flank to the
enemy; and in this position, with their bodies
quite bent, the battle commences. Owing to the
cover of their canoes, and their impenetrable
armour, it is seldom bloody; and as soon as one
or two men fall, the party to whom they belonged
acknowledge themselves vanquished, and the
combat ceases. If the assailants be unsuccessful,
they return without redress ; but if conquerors,
they receive various presents from the vanquished
party in addition to their original demand. The
Women and children are always sent away before
the engagement commences.
Their warlike weapons are the bow and arrow,
with a curious kind of short double-edged sword
or club, two and a half feet in length by six
inches in breadth. They seldom, however, fight
near enough to make use of this formidable instrument.
Their armour consists of a shirt of elk-skin
remarkably thick, doubled, and thrown over the
shoulders, with holes for the arms. It descends
to the ankles; and from the thickness of the leather   is   perfectly  arrow-proof.     The  head  is ARMOUR. CANOES.
covered by a species of helmet made of cedar
bark, bear grass, and leather, and is also impenetrable by arrows. The neck, therefore, is the
only vital part of the body exposed to danger in
action. In addition to the above they have another kind of armour, which they occasionally
wear in place of the leathern shirt. It is a species of corset, formed of thin slips of hard wood
ingeniously laced together by bear grass, and is
much lighter and more pliable than the former ;
but it does not cover so much of the body.
They have a few gunsj which they seldom use.
They are not good hunters; and their chief
dependence for support is on the produce of the
water. It is unnecessary to mention that in
their warlike expeditions their faces and bodies
are painted in various colours, and with the
most grotesque figures.
Their canoes are of various forms and sizes.
The following description of the largest kind of
these vessels I take from Lewis and Clarke. It is
perfectly accurate, and more technical than I
could give it. " They are upwards of fifty feet
long, and will carry from eight to ten thousand
pounds weight, or from twenty to thirty persons.
Like all the canoes we have mentioned, they are
cut out of a single trunk of a tree, which is gene* :fr.
rally white cedar, though the fir is sometimes
used. The sides are secured by cross bars or
round sticks, two or three inches in thickness,
which are inserted through holes made just below
the gunwales, and made fast with cords. The
upper edge of the gunwale itself is about five-
eighths of an inch thick, and four or five in
breadth ; and folds outwards so as to form a kind
of rim, which prevents the water from beating
into the boat. The bow and stern are about the
same height, and each provided with a comb reaching to the bottom of the boat. At each end also
are pedestals, formed of the same solid piece, on
which are placed strange grotesque figures of men
or animals rising sometimes to the height of five
feet, and composed of small pieces of wood firmly
united, with great ingenuity, by inlaying and
mortising, without a spike of any kind. The
paddle is usually from four and a half to &ve feet
in length; the handle being thick for one-third
of its length, when it widens and is hollowed and
thinned on each side of the centre, which forms
a sort of rib. When they embark, one Indian
sits in the stern and steers with a paddle ; the
others kneel in pairs in the bottom of the canoe,
and sitting on their heels paddle over the gunwale next to them.    In this way they ride with
perfect safety the highest waves, and venture
without the least concern in seas where other
boats or seamen could not live an instant.
They sit quietly and paddle, with no other movement, except when any large wave throws the
boat on her side, and to the eye of the spectator
she seems lost: the man to windward then steadies her by throwing his body towards the upper
side, and sinking his paddle deep into the waves,
appears to catch the water, and force it under
the boat, which the same stroke pushes on with
great velocity."
The description of their houses, and their
manner of building them, I also extract from the
same authority:—
" The houses in this neighbourhood are all
large wooden buildings, varying in length from
twenty to sixty feet, and from fourteen to twenty
in width.* They are constructed in the following manner: Two or more posts of split timber,
agreeably to the number of partitions, are sunk in
the ground, above which they rise to the height
of fourteen or eighteen feet. They are hollowed
at the top so as to receive the ends of a round
beam or pole, stretching from one end to the
* I have seen some of their houses upwards of 90 feet long,
and from 30 to 40 broad. Wf
' I
I t
other, and forming the upper point of the roof
for the whole extent of the building. On each
side of this range is placed another, which forms
the eaves of the house, and is about five feet
high; but as the building is often sunk to the
depth of four or five feet, the eaves come very
near the surface of the earth. Smaller pieces of
timber are now extended by pairs in the form of
rafters, from the lower to the upper beam, where
they are attached at both ends with cords of
cedar bark. On these rafters two or three
ranges of small poles are placed horizontally, and
secured in the same way with strings of cedar
bai'k. The sides are now made with a range of
wide boards sunk a small distance into the
ground, with the upper ends projecting above
the poles at the eaves, to which they are secured
by a beam passing outside, parallel with the eave
poles, and tied by cords of cedar bark passing
through holes made in the boards at certain distances. The gable ends and partitions are frpmed
in the same way, being fastened by beams on the
outside, parallel to the rafters. The roof is then
covered with a double range of thin boards, except an aperture of two or three feet in the
centre, for the smoke to pass through. The entrance is by a small hole, cut out of the boards, HOUSES.
and just large enough to admit the body. The
very largest houses only are divided by partitions ; for though three or more families reside
in the same room, there is quite space enough for
all of them.
" In the centre of each room is a space six or
eight feet square, sunk to the depth of twelve
inches below the rest of the floor, and enclosed
by four pieces of square timber. Here they make
the fire, for which purpose pine bark is generally preferred. Around this fire-place mats are
spread, and serve as seats during the day, and
very frequently as beds at night: there is however a more permanent bed made, by fixing in
two, or sometimes three sides of the room, posts
reaching from the roof down to the ground, and
at the distance of four feet from the wall. From
these posts to the wall itself one or two ranges
of boards are placed, so as to form shelves, on
which they either sleep, or stow their various articles of merchandise. The uncured fish is hung
in the smoke of their fire, as is also the flesh of
the elk, when they are fortunate enough to procure any, which is but rarely."
Their culinary articles consist of a large square
kettle made of cedar wood, a few platters made
of ash, and awkward spoons made of the same 300
material. Their mode of cooking is however
more expeditious than ours. Having put a certain quantity of water into the kettle, they throw
in several hot stones, which quickly cause the
water to boil; the fish or meat is then put in,
and the steam is kept from evaporating by a
small mat thrown over the kettle. By this
system a large salmon will be boiled in less than
twenty minutes, and meat in a proportionably
short space of time. They are not scrupulously
clean in their cooking. A kettle in which salmon
is boiled in the morning may have elk dressed in
it the same evening, and the following day be
doomed to cook a dish of sturgeon, without
being washed out, or scarcely rinsed. They occasionally roast both their meat and fish on small
wooden brochettes, similar to those used by the
upper Indians.
It will no doubt be regarded as a subject of
surprise, that in felling the timber for their
houses, and in the laborious operation of forming
their canoes, they had not, previous to our arrival, an axe. Their only instruments consisted
of a chisel generally formed out of an old file, a
kind of oblong stone, which they used as a hammer, and a mallet made of spruce knot, well oiled
and hardened by the action of fire.    With these FISHING.
wretched tools they cut down trees from thirty
to forty feet in circumference ; and with unparalleled patience and perseverance continued their
tedious and laborious undertaking until their
domicile was roofed or their canoe fit to encounter the turbulent waves of the Columbia.
As their chief source of subsistence depends
on their fisheries, they pay great attention to their
nets, in the manufacture of which they exhibit
their usual ingenuity. They occasionally fish
with the hook and line. They make use of the
common straight net, the scooping or dipping
net, and the gig. Lewis and Clarke mention
that " the first is of different lengths and depths,
and used in taking salmon, carr, and trout, in the
deep inlets among the marshy grounds, and the
mouths of deep creeks. The scooping net is used
for small fish in the spring and summer season ;
and in both kinds the net is formed of silk grass,
or the bark of white cedar. The gig is used at
all seasons, and for all kinds of fish they can procure with it; so too is the hook and line ; of
which the line is made of the same material as
the net, and the hook generally brought by the
traders ; though before the whites came, they
made hooks out of two small pieces of bone,
resembling the European hook, but with a much GAMING.—HAIQUA.
more acute angle, where the two  pieces were
Gambling is one of their most incorrigible
vices; and so inveterately are they attached to
it, that the unfortunate gamester often finds himself stripped of slaves, beads, haiqua, and even
nets. Their common game is a simple kind of
hazard. One man takes a small stone which he
changes for some time from hand to hand, all the
while humming a slow monotonous air. The
bet is then made ; and according as his adversary
succeeds in guessing the hand in which the stone
is concealed, he wins or loses. They seldom
cheat; and submit to their losses with the most
philosophical resignation.
Haiqua, which I have so often mentioned, is
a white round shell of extreme hardness, varying
from one to four inches, in length, and from
three eighths to half an inch in circumference.
It is hollow, slightly curved, and tapers a little
towards the ends. These shells are highly estimated, the longest being the most valuable.
They are found in the neighbourhood of Nootka.
and form an important article of local traffic.
The Indians regulate the prices of their various
articles by haiqua ; a fathom of the best description being equal in value to ten good beaver skins. MEDICAL   TREATMENT.
p| The most enlightened nations are Mundated
with charlatans : it is therefore not surprising
they  should flourish   among   rude   barbarians.
Every Indian village has its quack doctor; or,
as they call him, " the strong man of medicine."
The moment a native is attacked with sickness,
no matter of what description, the physician is
sent for.    He immediately commences operations
by stretching his patient on his back; while a
number of his friends and relations surround him,
each carrying a long and a short stick, with which
they beat time to a mournful air which the doctor chants, and in which they join at intervals.
Sometimes a slave is despatched to the roof of
the house, which he belabours most energetically
with his drum-sticks, joining at the same time
with a loud voice the chorus inside.    The man
of medicine then kneels, and presses with all his
force his two fists on the patient's stomach.   The
unfortunate man, tortured with the pain produced
by this violent operation, utters the most piercing
cries; but his voice is drowned by the doctor
and the by-standers, who chant loud and louder
still the mighty " song of medicine."
At the end of each stanza the operator seizes
the patient's hands, which he joins together and
blows on.    He thus continues alternately press- mem
.; M
Iff if
ill I I
ing and blowing until a small white stone, which
he had previously placed in the patient's mouth,
is forced out. This he exhibits with a triumphant
air to the man's relations ; and with all the confidence and pomposity of modern quackery, assures them the disease is destroyed, and that the
patient must undoubtedly recover. Mr. Fran-
chere states he has seen some of them carefully
envelop the small stone, which they call the
source of evil, in a piece of cedar bark, and
throw it into the fire.
It frequently happens that a man, who might
have been cured by a simple dose of medicine, is
by this abominable system destroyed ; but whether recovery or death be the consequence, the
quack is equally recompensed. Some of the
more intelligent undoubtedly perceive the imposition which these fellows practise; but the
great faith which the ignorant and superstitious
multitude have in their skill, deters any man
from exposing their knavery. Latterly, however, numbers of their sick have applied for relief and assistance at Fort George ; and as our
prescriptions have been generally attended with
success, their belief in the infallibility of those
jugglers has been considerably weakened.
From the doctor to death, the charlatan to the FUNERAL   RITES.
coffin, the transition is not unnatural. When a
Chinook dies, it matters not whether from natural causes or the effects of quackery, his remains
are deposited in a small canoe, the body being
previously enveloped in skins or mats. His bow,
arrows, and other articles are laid by his side.
The canoe is then placed on a high platform near
the river's side, or on rocks out of the reach of
the tide, and other mats tied over it. If the relations of the deceased can afford it, they place a
larger canoe reversed over the one containing
his body, and both are firmly tied together. His
wives, relatives, and slaves go into mourning by
cutting their hair ; and for some time after his
death repair twice a-day, at the rising and setting
of the sun, to an adjoining wood to chant his funeral dirge.
VOL.   I.
x fei
Voyage to the interior—Party attacked, and one man killed—
Arrive at Spokan House—Joy of the Indians at our return—
The chief's speech—Sketch of Mr. M'Donald—Duel prevented between him and a chief—Kettle Indians, their surprise at seeing white men—Curious account of an hermaphrodite chief—Death of Jacques Hoole.
On the 5th of August, 1814, we left Fort
George. Our party, including proprietors and
clerks, consisted of sixty men in nine heavily
loaded canoes. We arrived early the third day
at the foot of the rapids. It was here our men
had been robbed the preceding autumn ; and
here also Mr. Stewart's party had been attacked,
and himself wounded the following winter. We
therefore took more than usual precautions, and
formed a strong guard to protect the carriers.
The natives were numerous, but evinced no disposition to be troublesome. As the chief did
not appear with the flag, a party proceeded to
the village and inquired for him. They were
told he was absent from home. The Indian
whom we suspected of having fired at Michel
was also invisible.    Their non-appearance looked
rather suspicious, and induced us to be doubly
cautious. By hard labour we finished the portage
in one day, and encamped at the upper end. We
arranged the goods and canoes in such a manner
as to prevent a surprise, and the whole party was
divided into two watches. At intervals during
the night we heard footsteps among the rocks,
and in the woods; but it passed over quietly,
and at day-break we commenced reloading. A
few of the natives came to us unarmed, and
brought with them some fish and roots, which
we purchased ; and having distributed some tobacco among them, pushed off. The day after
we reached the narrows and falls in safety.
When the last portage had been nearly finished
numbers of the Eneeshurs collected about us, and
became very troublesome. They made several
attempts to pilfer, and we were constrained to use
some violence to keep them in check. We asked
repeatedly for the chief; but were answered that
he was in the plains hunting: this we did not
believe, and finding that they still persevered in
seizing every loose article they could pick up, we
were obliged to order corporal punishment to be
inflicted on three of the ringleaders. They went
away followed by a numerous party of their friends.
Their looks betokened revenge; and the few who
remained told us to be on our guard, as they heard
the others talking in a threatening manner.    We
therefore reloaded quickly, and crossed over to
the opposite side.    It was high and rocky, and
possessed many points from which an enemy could
attack us with effect.    The day-light was fast receding ; every one lent a hand to work the canoes,
and still no place  presented itself at which we
could land with safety.    With much difficulty and
labour we at length reached the long rocky island
already mentioned; and as it was then quite dark,
we had no alternative but to land in a small sandy
bay surrounded by high craggy rocks, of which
the island was chiefly composed.    We could not
procure any wood, and were obliged to dine and
sup on some cold boiled rice which had been left
from morning.    It was judged adviseable not to
pitch the tents ; and we slept on the beach behind
the bales and cases of merchandise in rather an
irregular manner.    The first watch, to which I
belonged, passed over tranquilly ; and we retired
to sleep  at midnight,  on being relieved by the
Our repose was not of long continuance. About
half an hour before day-break the sry of Les saw
vages nousflechent! Les sauvages nousjldchent !*
* The savages are shooting at us with arrows. LOSS   OF   LIFE.
rung in our ears, followed by the report of several shots. Every man instantly seized his arms,
and we discharged a volley at a rocky eminence
which commanded the little bay, and from which
the enemy had fired down on our sentinels. This
dislodged the savages ; but owing to the darkness
of the morning, and our ignorance of the interior of the island, we did not think it prudent to
pursue them.
It was impossible to ascertain whether any of
our balls had taken effect on the enemy ; and apprehensive of another attack in a spot so badly
calculated for defence, and in which we were
completely exposed, orders were given to load the
canoes. In the hurry attendant upon this operation we did not at first miss one of our men,
named Baptiste L'Amoureux, whom we found
lying wounded at the farther end of the bay, at
which he had been posted as a sentinel. His
moans conducted us to the .spot. A ball had
passed through his left breast, and came out near
the shoulder. Every assistance was rendered
him, but in vain ; he never uttered a word; and
ere the morning dawned he had ceased to breathe.
We did not before imagine these savages had
any fire-arms among them; but this event showed
that we had been mistaken. rf
No other fatality occurred, although several of
the party had wonderful escapes. An arrow
passed through the collar of one man's coat, and
the nightcap of another was pierced through.
Mr. La Rocque and I slept together, and an
arrow penetrated six inches into the ground between our necks. Our safety may in a great
degree be attributed to a number of the arrows
having been intercepted by the bales and cases of
trading goods.
The canoes were quickly loaded, and at daybreak we pushed off from this dangerous spot.
As we paddled up the south side of the river
some arrows were discharged at us from the
island. We fired a few shots in return; but
from the manner the assailants were covered,
we conjectured our balls fell harmless.
On nearing the upper end of the island, we
caught a passing view of forty or fifty of the
savages not more than two hundred yards distant. Orders were immediately given to those
who had their guns ready to fire; but before a
trigger was pulled they had vanished. We landed
at the spot; and a few of us, who ascended the
rocks, observed them at a considerable distance
running like hunted deer. We discharged a few
random shots after them,   upon which we re-
i if
embarked and proceeded on our voyage. At
half-past eight we put ashore at a low sandy
point covered with willows and cotton wood,
for the purpose of breakfasting, and interring the
body of L'Amoureux. The men were immediately set to work to dig a grave, into which
Were lowered the remains of the unfortunate
Canadian. A few short prayers were said in
French: and after the earth was thrown in, to a
level with the surface, it was covered over with
dry sand in such a manner as to keep the natives
in ignorance of the occurrence.
We remained here a few hours to refit, at the
end of which we resumed our journey. We
saw no Indians during the remainder of the day,
and encamped late on a low stony island, above
a rapid, on which we found plenty of drift wood.
The following day we passed a few villages of
the friendly tribes, from whom we purchased
some horses for the kettle. From hence to the
Wallah Wallahs, with whom we stopped one day,
nothing particular occurred. They received us
in their usual friendly manner ; and on inquiring
from them to what tribe the Indians belonged
who had given my small party such a chase the
preceding autumn, they replied that th@y were
relatives of the man who had been hanged by III!
1  I
s m
Mr. Clarke on Lewis River, and were part of
the Upper Nez Percys ; that they were very bad
people, much addicted to thieving, and that we
should be very cautious how we fell in their
way, as they had vowed to kill a white man as a
satisfaction for the death of their relation.
We met a few of the Nez Percys at the mouth
of Lewis River:   they appeared friendly, and
sold us some horses.    From this place nothing
/ y\ (J particular occurred until the 23d of August, on
which day we arrived at Oakinagan.    The news
of the attack had preceded us, accompanied by
( <£ the usual exaggerations of Indians.    Mr. Ross,
^,?' ic/who   was in charge of that establishment, in-
*"* formed us that the first intelligence he received
stated that ten white men and twenty Indians
had been killed.    By  other  accounts our loss
was  varied   from  fifteen  to  twenty,   and one
statement destroyed half the party,  and sent the
remainder back to the sea, with the loss of all
the goods.
From this place Mr.  Keith proceeded with
dispatches to the other side of the mountains;
and the various parties   separated for their sum-
>£      mer destinations.    Mine was Spokan  House, in
M    rt,v* company with Messrs. Stewart, M'Millan, and
^X M'Donald.    We  left  Oakinagan on the 27th,
and reached Spokan on the 31st of August.
The trading goods had been exhausted long before, and the Indians had been upwards of two
months without ammunition. Our arrival therefore was hailed with great joy.
The whole tribe assembled round the fort,
and viewed with delight the kegs of powder and
the bales of tobacco as they were unloaded from
the horses. A large circle was formed in the
court-yard, into the centre of which we entered; and having lit the friendly calumet,
smoked a few rounds to celebrate the meeting.
A quantity of tobacco was then presented to
each of the men, and the chief delivered a long
oration; part of which, addressing us, ran as
" My heart is glad to see you: my heart is
glad to see you. We were a long time very
hungry for tobacco; and some of our young
men said you would never come back. They
were angry, and said to me, ' The white men
made us love tobacco almost as much as we love
our children, and now we are starving for it.
They brought us their wonderful guns, which
we traded from them ; we threw by our arrows
as useless, because we knew they were not so
strong to kill the deer as the guns ; and now we IS
¥ r
s i
are idle, with our guns, as the white men have
no fire-powder, or balls, to give us, and we have
broken our arrows, and almost forgotten how t o
use them: the white men are very bad, and
have deceived us.' But I spoke to them, and I
said, You are fools ; you have no patience. The
white men's big canoes are a long time coming
over the Stinking Lake* that divides their
country from ours. They told me on going
away that they would come back, and I know
they would not tell lies." Then turning to his
countrymen, he continued, " Did I not tell you
that the white men would not tell lies ? You
are fools, great fools, and have no patience.
Let us now show our joy at meeting our friends;
and to-morrow let all our hunters go into the
plains, and up the hills, and kill birds and deer
for the good white men." They then commenced dancing, jumping, and crying out in a
most discordant manner,
The good white men, the good white men,
Our hearts are glad for the good white men,
The good white men, the good white men,
Dance and sing for the good white men.
Then giving  three cheers,  something like the
* The sea.    So called from its saline qualities. LIVE-STOCK.
" Hip, hip, hurra!" of our domestic bacchanalians, they retired to the village.
The next morning the hunters procured a fresh
stock of ammunition, and, for some weeks following, our table was plentifully supplied with excellent grouse, wild geese, and ducks in prime
order. We had planted the year before some
turnips, potatoes, cabbage, and other esculents,
which yielded a pretty good crop. The quantity
was increased the following spring; and this
autumn we had an abundance of these vegetables.
We had brought up a cock, three hens, three
goats, and three hogs. The Indians were quite
astonished at beholding them. They called the
fowl " the white men's grouse;" the goats were
denominated " the white men's deer ;" and the
swine, " the white men's bears." They inquired
if animals of the above description were all tame
in our country; and on being answered in the
affirmative, they asked, if they caught some of
those to which they compared them, could we
tame them in a similar manner ? we told them to
catch a few young ones, and we would make the
attempt. A young bear was shortly secured: he
was tied in the stye with the pigs, and fed daily
by one of our Canadians, of whom he became
very fond, and who in a short time taught him ill II
to dance, beg, and [play many tricks, which delighted the Indians exceedingly.
While we were here a curious incident oc-
cured between Mr. M'Donald and an Indian,
which I shall preface by a short account of the
former. He belonged to a highly respectable
family which emigrated from Inverness-shire to
Canada while he was a lad. His first accents
were lisped in Gaelic; but in the capital of the
Highlands, so celebrated for its pure English, he
made considerable progress in our language. On
arriving in Canada he was obliged to learn
French, in which he had made some proficiency,
when he joined the North-west Company as an
apprentice-clerk. At the period I speak of he
had been ten years absent from Canada, and had
travelled over animmense extent of Indian country. He seldom remained more than one winter
at any particular place, and had a greater facility
of acquiring than of retaining the language of the
various tribes with whom he came in contact.
He was subject to temporary fits of abstraction,
during which the country of his auditory was forgotten, and their lingual knowledge set at defiance by the most strange and ludicrous mSlange
of Gaelic, English, French, and half a dozen
Indian dialects.    Whenever any thing occurred SQUABBLE.
to ruffle his temper, it was highly amusing to
hear him give vent to his passion in Diaouls, God
d—s, Sacres, and invocations of the " evil spirit"
in Indian: he was however a good-natured, inoffensive companion, easily irritated, and as easily
appeased. His appearance was very striking :
in height he was six feet four inches, with broad
shoulders, large bushy wiskers, and red hair,
which for some years had not felt the scissors,
and which sometimes falling over his face and
shoulders, gave to his countenance a wild and
uncouth appearance. He had taken a Spokan
wife, by whom he had two children. A great
portion of his leisure time was spent in the company of her relations, by whom, and indeed by
the Indians in general, he was highly beloved:
their affection however was chastened by a moderate degree of fear, with which his gigantic
body and indomitable bravery inspired them.
One day as we were sitting down to dinner,
one of our men, followed by a native, rushed into
the dining-room, and requested we would instantly repair to the village to prevent bloodshed,
as Mr. M'Donald was about to fight a duel with
one of the chiefs. We ran to the scene of action,
and found our friend surrounded b> a number of
Indians, all of whom kept at a respectful distance. 318
He had his fowling-piece, which he changed
from one hand to the other, and appeared violently chafed* The chief stood about twenty
yards from him, and the following colloquy
took place between them, which, for the information of my unlearned readers, I shall
M'D.—" Come on, now, you rascal! you toad!
you dog!    Will you fight ?"
Indian.—" I will:—but you're a foolish man.
A chief should not be passionate. I always
thought the white chiefs were wise men."
M'D.—" I want none of your jaw : I say you
cheated me.    You're a dog!     Will you fight ?"
Indian.—" You are not wise. You get angry
like a woman ; but I will fight. Let us go to the
wood.    Are you ready ?"    |||
M'D.—" Why, you d—d rascal, what do you
mean ? I'll fight you here. Take your distance
like a brave man, face to face, and we'll draw
lots for the first shot, or fire together, whichever
you please.
Indian.—" You are a greater fool than I
thought you were. Who ever heard of a wise
warrior standing before his enemy's gun to be
shot at like a dog ? No one but a fool of a white
man would do so." INDIAN   SELF-POSSESSION.
M'D.—" What do you mean ? What way do
you want to fight ?"
Indian.—" The way that all red warriors fight.
Let us take our guns, and retire to yonder wood ;
place yourself behind one tree, and I will take
my stand behind another, and then we shall see
who will shoot the other first!"
M'D.—" You are afraid, and you're a coward."
Indian.—" I am not afraid ; and you're a fool."
M'D.—" Come then, d—n my eyes if I care.
Here's at you your own. way." And he was
about proceeding to the wood, when we interfered, had the combatants disarmed, and after
much entreaty induced our brave Gael to return
to the fort.
The quarrel originated in a gambling transaction, in which M'Donald imagined he had been
cheated, and under that impression struck the
chief and called him a rogue. The latter told
him he took advantage of his size and strength,
and that he would not meet him on equal terms
with his gun. This imputation roused all his
ire. He instantly darted into the field with his
fowling-piece, followed by the chief, when by
our arrival we prevented an encounter which, in
all probability, would have proved fatal to our
friend. 320
111   I
The gigantic figure, long red flowing locks,
foaming mouth, and violent gesticulation of
M'Donald, presented a striking and characteristic contrast to the calm and immutable features
of the chieftain. His inflexible countenance was
for a moment disturbed by something like a
smile, when he told his opponent that no one
but a fool would stand before a gun to be shot at
like a dog. In fact, M'Donald's proposition appeared to him so much at variance with his received notions of wisdom, that he could not. comprehend how any man in his senses could make
such an offer. On explaining to him afterwards
the civilised mode of deciding gentlemanly quarrels, he manifested the utmost incredulity, and
declared that he could not conceive how people
so wise in other respects, should be guilty of
such foolishness. But when we assured him in
the most positive manner that we were stating
facts, he shook his head, and said, " I see plainly
there are fools every where."
M'Donald was a most extraordinary and original character. To the gentleness of a lamb he
united the courage of a lion. He was particularly affectionate to men of small size, whether
equals or inferiors, and would stand their bantering with the utmost good-humour;   but if any
man approaching his own altitude presumed to
encroach too far on his good nature, a lowering
look and distended nostrils warned the intruder
of an approaching eruption.
One of our Canadian voyageurs, named Bazil
Lucie, a remarkably strong man, about six feet
three inches high, with a muscular frame, and
buffalo neck, once said something which he
thought bordered on disrespect. Any man under
five feet ten might have made use of the same
language with impunity, but from such a man
as Lucie, who Was a kind of bully over his comrades, it could not be borne ; he accordingly told
him to hold his tongue, and threatened to chastise him if he said another word. This was said
before several of the men, and Lucie replied
by saying that he might thank the situation he
held for his safety, or he should have satisfaction
sur le champ. M'Donald instantly fired, and
asked him if he would fight with musket, sword,
or pistol; but Lucie declared he had no notion
of fighting in that manner, adding that his only
weapons were his fists. The pugnacious Celt
resolving not to leave him any chance of escape,
stripped off his coat, called him un enfant de
chienne, and challenged him to fight comme
un polisson.    Lucie immediately obeyed the call,
VOL.   I Y 322
and to work ^hey fell. I was not present at the
combat; but some of the men told me that in
less than ten minutes Bazil Was completely disabled, and was unfit to work for some weeks
M'Donald frequently, for the mere love of
fighting, accompanied the Flat-heads in their
war excursions against the Black-feet. His
eminent bravery endeared him to the whole
tribe, and in all matters relating to warfare his
word was a law. The following anecdote,
which was related to me by several Indians, will
at once show his steady courage and recklessness
of danger. In the summer of 1812, at the
buffalo plains they fell in with a strong party of
the Black-feet, and a severe contest ensued.
M'Donald was to be seen in every direction, in
the hottest of the fire, cheering and animating his
friends ; and they at length succeeded in driving
the Black-feet to take shelter in a thick cluster
of trees, from whence they kept up a constant
and galling fire on the Flat-heads, by which a
few were killed, and several wounded. In vain
he exerted all his influence to induce his friends
to storm the trees, and drive the enemy from
their cover.
Their mode of attack was extremely foolish,
and productive of no benefit; for each warrior
advanced opposite to the spot from whence the
Black-feet fired, and after discharging a random
shot into the group of trees, instantly galloped
away. M'Donald, vexed at this puerile method
of fighting, offered to take the lead himself to
dislodge the enemy; but, with the exception of
the war-chief, they all refused to join him. He
therefore resolved to try the effect of example,
and putting his horse into a smart trot, rode opposite to the place from whence the chief fire of
the Black-feet proceeded: he then dismounted,
took a deliberate aim at the head of a fellow
which had just popped from behind a tree, and
let fly. The bullet entered the Black-foot's
mouth, and he fell. A shower of balls instantly
whizzed about M'Donald and his horse ; but he,
undismayed, re-loaded, while his friends cried
out and besought him to retire. He covered
another in the same manner, who also fell, after
which he calmly remounted, and galloped to his
party uninjured. A prisoner, who was subse-
sequenty taken, declared that the only two killed
of those who had taken refuge among the trees,
were both shot in the head by the " big white
chief," as they termed our friend. His friends
at Forts des Prairies repeatedly wrote to him
y 2 324.
that the Black-feet complained greatly of his
having joined the Flat-heads, who had, by his
assistance and that of Michel, become powerful,
and that they vowed vengeance against them if
ever they fell in their way ; but M'Donald paid
no attention either to their warning or our entreaties. War was his glory, and " piping peace"
his aversion. Up to the period I quitted the
Columbia he escaped harmless ; but I regret to
state that a few years afterwards, one of the
enemy's balls brought him to the ground : half-
a-dozen savages instantly rushed on him, and
commenced hacking his skull with their toma-
haws: the scalping-knife was in the act of beginning its dreadful operation, and in a moment
all would have been over, had not the war-chief,
accompanied by a few friends, dashed to his assistance, killed three of the Black-feet, and
rescued their benefactor from impending death.
He subsequently recovered; but I understand
the wounds he then received have left evident
traces of their violence on his bold and manly
About seven hundred miles from Fort George,
and ninety from Spokan House, there is an immense fall in the Columbia, between sixty and
seventy feet perpendicular, at low  water, and THE   OHAUDIERES.
about forty-five in the spring and early part of
the summer, when the melting of the snow contributes to swell the mighty torrent. The basin
at the foot of the cascade resembles a boiling
cauldron, in consequence of which the fall is
called " La Chaudiere." A small tribe, called
" I^es Chaudieres," reside at this place : their
village is situated on the north side, just below
the fall, where they remain the greater part of
the year. They take little beaver ; but their
lands are well stocked with game and fish; there
is also abundance of wild fruit, such as choke-
cherries, currants, small strawberries, with black
and blue berries. They take vast quantities of
salmon, which they dry and preserve for use
during the winter and spring months. Cleanliness cannot be ranked amongst their virtues.
Their habitations are filthy in the extreme, and.
the surrounding atmosphere is impregnated with
the most noxious effluvia, produced by the piscatory offals which lie scattered about their dwellings. I visited their village in September, in
company with my friend M'Donald, his wife,
some of her relations, and two of our own men.
They received us in a friendly manner, and
treated us to abundance of roast and boiled
salmon.    A small  branch of  this tribe  reside w
I it?!
r > r
in the interior, about a day and a half's march
to the northward.    A family of them, consisting
pf a father, mother, and several children, arrived
at the falls the day before us.    They had never
seen white  men,   and  their astonishment was
extreme   at  the   great   contrast   exhibited  between the tall,  raw-boned figure, and flowing
red hair of my friend, compared to the cropped
head, John-Bullish face, low, and somewhat corpulent person of the author.    The old woman
requested   to   see   my arms   uncovered;   and
having gratified her,   she   begged   to  see  my
breast.    I accordingly opened my shirt, and she
at length became satisfied that the skin was all
white, of which ^he appeared previously to entertain some doubts.     Her curiosity was next
directed to what she looked upon as the supernatural colour of M'Donald's hair, and expressed a
wish to have a close examination of it: he complied, and having sat down, she commenced an
inquisitorial  search  about  its  radical  terminations, after certain  animalculi which  shall  be
nameless.    She appeared much disappointed at
not finding a solitary " ferlie," the absence of
which she attributed to the extraordinary colour
of his hair, which she said frightened them away.
Then turning to me, and observing mine was of INDIAN   CHIEF.
a darker hue, she asked if I would allow her to
take a "look." I immediately consented ; but
her eyes and digits having for some time toiled
in vain, she appeared annoyed at her want of
success, and rose up quite vexed, declaring we
were altogether " too clean."
We visited a small tribe, consisting of not more
than fifteen families, who occupied a few hunting
lodges about midway between Spokan House
and the Chaudiere falls : their language is a dialect of that spoken by the natives of the above
places, but approaching more nearly to the Spokan. Their immediate lands consist of beautiful
open prairies, bounded by clear woods, and interspersed with small rivulets and lakes. The
latter are visited in the autumnal months by
numbers of wild-geese and ducks, and their hills
are well stocked with grouse. They are an inoffensive race, and received us with every demonstration of friendship. We remained a week
among them, during which period we had excellent sport. The aquatic birds were large and
fat; and the grouse much beyond ours in size ;
and so tame, that they seldom took wing until
we approached within a few yards of them.
The chief of this tribe is an extraordinary
being.     The Indians allege that he belongs to tor
the epicene gender. He wears a woman's dress,
overloaded with a profusion of beads, thimbles,
and small shells ; add to which, the upper part
of the face and the manner of wearing the hair
are quite feminine; but these appearances are
more than counterbalanced by a rough beard,
and a masculine tone of voice, which would seem
to set his virility beyond dispute. He never
gambles, or associates with either sex, and he is
regarded with a certain portion of fear and awe
by both men and women, who look upon him
as something more than human. He has a calm
and rather stern countenance, and I never observed any tendency towards a relaxation of his
risible muscles. He is usually attended by two
or three children, to whom he pays great attention. Their chief occupation is to catch his
horses, collect provisions, make fires, and cook
his meals, When they attain a proper age, he
gives them a portion, gets them married, and
dismisses them ; after which he selects from the
largest and poorest families a fresh set of juvenile
domestics: their parents make no opposition,
and are glad to get them so well provided for.
This chief possesses a large number of horses,
some of which are the finest in the country.
We purchased a few,* and found him liberal in
his dealings. He is free from the canting hypocrisy so common among Indians; and if he finds
any of his young attendants tell a lie, or prevaricate in the least, the offender is punished by
a flogging and sent home, after which no consideration whatever would induce him to take
back the delinquent.
He seldom visited our fort; but whenever we
called on him we were received with a degree of
courteous hospitality which I never experienced
elsewhere. He was communicative, and inquisitive, and ridiculed the follies of the Indians in
the most philosophical manner. Of these he inveighed principally against gambling, and their
improvident thoughtlessness in neglecting to
provide during the summer and autumnal months
a sufficient quantity of dried salmon for the
spring, which is the season of scarcity; by which
neglect they have been frequently reduced to
starvation. He had heard of M'Donald's quarrel with the Indian, which he adduced as one of
the bad effects resulting from gambling, and
added, " had the Spokan been mad enough to
follow the foolish custom of your countrymen,
it is probable one of you would have been killed
about a foolish dispute arising out of a bad prac*
tice, which every wise man should avoid." AN   INDIAN  PHILOSOPHER.
He inquired particularly about our form of
government, laws, customs, marriages, our ideas
of a future life, &c. Our answers proved generally satisfactory; but the only two things he
could not reconcile to wisdom, was the law of
primogeniture and the custom of duelling: the
first, he said, was gross injustice ; and he thought
no one but a man bereft of his senses could be
guilty of the latter. Our knowledge of his
language was necessarily imperfect, owing to
which the attempts I made to explain to him
some of the abstruse doctrines of our religion were
rather bungling ; but he appeared much pleased
whenever he ascertained that he comprehended
what I wished to convey ; and, at the conclusion
of our discourse, said he would be glad to converse with some of the wise men we call priests
on these matters, and more particularly on the
subject of a future state.
He is fond of tobacco; and the Indians say
they often see him sitting late at night, enjoying
his calumet at the door of his tent, and observing
the various revolutions in the firmament. On all
subjects therefore connected with the changes of
weather his opinion is deemed oracular, and I
understand he is seldom or never mistaken in his
prognostications. HIS   RESIDENCE.
Although clothed in the garments of a female,
I have hitherto classed this uncommon being
among the masculine portion of the human race ;
and from his muscular frame, bushy beard, and
strong decided tone of voice, I conceive myself
justified in so doing. I never saw him angry but
once, and that was occasioned by observing some
private whispering and tittering going on in his
presence, which he suspected had some allusion
to his doubtful gender. His countenance instantly
assumed a savage fierceness; but he quickly
regained his composure on finding the supposed
offenders had changed their conduct.
His dwelling was covered with large deerskins, and was completely water-proof. The interior was remarkably clean, and spread over
with mats. In one corner he had a stock of
dried provisions, stored in leather and mat bags,
which in periods of scarcity he shared liberally
among the tribe ; in fact he wanted nothing that
could add to his happiness or comfort, and possessed a degree of calm contentment uncommon
among savages, and which would put to the
blush much of the philosophical wisdom of civilised man.
While preparing for an autumnal journey to
the sea, we learned that one of our free hunters, 332
named Jacques Hoole, had been murdered by the
Black-feet. His too was a character hors du com-
mun. He was a native of France, and had been
a soldier. He began his military career in Scotland in J 7^5, was slightly wounded and made
prisoner at Culloden : after being exchanged he
was sent to Canada, and was actively engaged
in the old American war. He was present in
the battle on Abraham's Plains, when the gallant
Wolfe lost his life, and was one of the men who
assisted in carrying the Marquis de Montcalm
into Quebec, after he had received his death-
The conquest of Canada induced him to quit
the army : he married and became a farmer. On
the revolutionary war breaking out, the gallant
veteran bade adieu to the plough, became a sergeant of militia, and for the second time stood
the siege of Quebec; in a sortie from which
he received a wound in the knee, which caused
a slight lameness during  the remainder of his
life. .   jgbg ..  k ■-.----
On the termination of the war, misfortunes
came crowding on him. The republicans had
destroyed his farm ; his wife proved faithless, and
his children disobedient. He therefore determined to proceed with some traders to the inte- SINGULAR   CHARACTER.
rior of the Indian country. He would not
engage in the service of the Company, but preferred trapping beaver on his own account,
which he afterwards disposed of at the nearest
trading post. This extraordinary old man was
ninety-two years of age at the period of his death.
I saw him the year before, and he then possessed
much of the lightness and elasticity of youth, with
all the volatility of a Frenchman. His only luxury was tobacco, of which he consumed an incredible quantity. From his great age he was
called "Pere Hoole." The Canadians treated
him with much respect, and their common salutation of " Bon jour, pire" was answered by
I Merci, Merci^monjils" His body was found
by the Flat-heads, close to a beaver dam :—a ball
had penetrated his temples, and the few white
hairs that remained on his aged head did not
prevent his inhuman butchers from stripping it
of the scalp. His clothes remained on him ; but
his horses, traps, and arms had been taken by the
I ij&     fC
C 0,9%
1   t
cop. 3 


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