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The Oregon Territory : a geographical and physical account of that country and its inhabitants with outlines… Nicolay, C. G. (Charles Grenfell) 1846

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1846.  CONTENTS.
• •
SETTLERS IN OREGON         .177:
-   CHAPTER XI.    ' .    -||;       |
7*i    ■
MAP To face page 102 I THE  OREGON.
Not long since a very general ignorance prevailed
respecting the western coast of North America, and
no less general apathy. With the idea of Nootka
Sound was associated only that of some subterraneous habitations, their roofs supported by cylindrical heads of colossal dimensions, festooned with
fish and black with smoke, inhabited by mat-
covered savages. The valley of the Columbia was
but remembered as the abode of famine, separated
by the fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains, guarded
by an army of grizzly bears, from the civilisation
of the East; or if perchance some note emanating
from the diplomatists on either side of the Atlantic
appeared in the newspapers, or some notice was
given in the national assemblies, the confusion of
various statements and conflicting: claims left but a
very vague notion on the mind as to what the Oregon
territoiy was—or what it was worth—what its
history, its condition, or future prospects. Now
the case is altered: not only do solitary travellers
and residents entertain us with their experiences,
and commanders of exploring expeditions speaking,
as it were, ex cathedra, give more positive descriptions, while the untiring pen of the diplomatist
still runs on, making perhaps, by his deep and zea-
f' - 8
lous researches after right and title, confusion only
worse confounded; but our periodical, nay, our
daily literature teems with reviews, paragraphs,
letters, leaders, until the Oregon, the Columbia,
Vancouver's Island, the Straits of Fuca, the 42
and 49 parallels, Admiralty Inlet, and Bullfinches'
Harbour, are familiar as household words, and we
seem to have a personal acquaintance with the
worthies of the western coast, from old Apostolos
Valerianus himself and his Strait of Anian, to the
stately Spaniards and persevering Englishmen who
more perfectly discovered the coast, and itibeir
^worthy successors, whether English or American—
Why then, it may be asked, increase the number ?
Let it be sufficient t& reply—the potage, a la Me^
Merrilies, which so excited the worthy Dominie's
olfactory nerves and gastronomic propensities, derived its savour, not from the virtue of a single
ingredient, but from the combined good qualities
of many.
The peculiar /interest arising from the desire of
knowledge implanted in the human mind, and the
love of novelty consequent upon it, which attaches
itself to the idea of a new country as such, exclusive *?f anything national or personal, make
the inquiry into its comparative excellences, whether
of climate, situation, or produce, an agreeable oe-
cupationio all.    But when, in addition to this, there
is an interest
connection,  whether
physical  or  local,  such  inquiries cannot fail  to
excite in the mind corresponding emotions.
If this be true, there are few countries whose
history should command more attention than that
^f the Oregon territory; for to it in its strongest
.application must connection, as a source of interest, INTRODUCTION.
appertain, not less on account of its own iatumsic
val&e, the  salubrity,  fent^ity, and   beauty of the
country, than the superior facilities its situation as
well as its character   afford for agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.    Its circumstances are
peculiar.    Among the many startling phenomena
of modern hktory, perhaps none is more remarkable
than the widely-extended dominion to which the
Anglo-Saxon, race  has   attained, and  more   particularly the  development  of its energy  in fthat
•democracy which, arising out of the comparatively
small colonies of Great Britain on the east coast of
America, has stretched out her Briarean araaas, like
those of her own rivers, over the length and breadth
of the land until she embraces in  them by far
the more valuable part of the entire North American continent; and having reached her utmost
limits north and south, there is scope for fcrther
progress   only   towards  the  west.     In the same
direction, if not  with the same  energy,  because
wanting in the same variety of sources from which
it proceeds, the acquired colonies of Great Britain
in   the north,   more  essentially English in their
character and habits, are following those which,
originally of her owp planting in  the south, but
modified by foreign ingredients and local circumstances, have become a nation differing essentially
in character and in constitution, until, meeting on
the shores of the Pacific, the boundary between
them has to be traced across the continent. The connection therefore between England and the Unated
States is of the closest possible kind ; of the same
origin, there is scarce one, if $iere be one, among
us who  must  not  recognise  there  soine ties of
^kindred and affection; or if this is wanting, at the
b 2
j*. mt
least none can be uninterested in the progress of
civilisation, arts, and sciences, which it has been
the honoured office of our race to spread over the
world, and in the kindred spirit of the institutions
which it has established, recognise that relationship
where it cannot otherwise be traced, and look forward to the consummation of our destinies as the
harbingers of that peaceful reception of the gospel
of Christ by the world at large which all long for
and all look forward to with hope.
The natural intimacy which now exists between
the two nations, so well becoming their relationship to each other, quickened as it is by the rapidity of the communication which steam has
established, the mutual dependence it must generate, and the social interests it must originate, serves
to heighten and expand those feelings; so that it
might well have been anticipated that nothing could
ever arise with sufficient power to disturb the harmony of their political and commercial relations,
but that, encircling the globe, the mother and
daughter, hand in hand, should shed over less
favoured nations the blessings of their united influence, and, strong in that union, preserve, against
all who Would infringe it, the peace which it is
their interest no less than their duty to maintain
—how much desired and striven for by all right-
hearted men, but how liable to be broken by the
predominance of pride, avarice, and ambition, still
so fatally prevalent in the world!
It not unfrequently happens that those means
which should be conducive to the attainment of any
object are, by the perverseness of man, converted
into a serious obstacle to it; and so in this case it
seems not unlikely that the commercial superiority m
possessed by England and the United States over all
other nations, which should be the means of their
spreading religion and civilisation, peace and prosperity over the face of the globe, may interfere to
stop their progress, and the very energy which has
given them their present position be the cause of its
destruction. The progressive propensity of their
common nature seeking advance to anything however distant, if only of apparently possible attainment, though doubtless a wise dispensation of the
Creator, and, if applied to its proper purposes, as
beneficial to others as to themselves, is also one
which, bringing with its gratification incitement to
many irregular and unnecessary desires, may well
feed the flame it should be instrumental in extinguishing.
From the earliest ages, before the ships of Solomon traded to Ophir ev^ry three years for gold and
silver, ivory, apes and peacocks, the trade of the
East had raised above its fellows that state which
possessed it: in turns it had enriched Phoenicia,
Arabia and Palestine, Turkey, Venice, Portugal,
Spain, Holland, and England; and in turn all but
our own country have fallen in the scale of nations
with its loss, and nothing has so frequently been
the cause of strife and contention among commercial nations, as indeed the strenuous efforts
making at the present time by France and Austria
to secure the passage of the high road to the East
through their respective territories, sufficiently
evidence. It was the desire for the acquisition
of this trade that animated the voyagers and
travellers of the middle ages with an ardour peculiarly their own, and led to the knowledge of the
continent on that account called the New World. 12
Its possession, wliicb has elevated our merchants
to an equality, not in weaifrh only but in power,
with the princes rf the earth, that by inflaming
the animosity of Napoleon Buonaparte against
them, led to his first check and ultimate defeat,
may now prove? the apple of discord between thoaqg
whose circumstances no lesm than their origin
should incline them to unity and concord.
The success which has attended our endeavours
to open the trade of CMaa, round which ignorance
and prejudice had erected such apparently impassable barriers, while it has directed the attention
of the world to that quarter of Asia especially, has
considerably narrowed the interval which separated
it not fr©m Europe so much as Americayand to this
the flood of emigration continually setting towards
the west has not a little contributed ; so that the
countries which were the extreme limits of commercial intercourse are naw in close proximity, and
the trade which has till now been carried round
the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn must
soon find a more direct route across the Pacific, at
least foir the supply of the interior of America, if
the bulk of ite d» not return to its old channel by
the union of that ocean with the Atlantic, a contingency which the possibility of a north-west
passage round America, and of crossing the isthmus which unites its north and south continents,
either by a canal or rail-road, renders doubly imminent, and which must consequently form an element of all calculations which have any connection
with that trade. The initiative having thus been
taken by England, may probably have added to
the warmth o^feelcng produced by collision of interests, and the survey of that chain of colonies with INTRODUCTION.-
which she all but girdles the world, have excited
the suspicion that, by securing to herself the western
coast of America, she intended to unite its two ends
by a firm and steadfast clasp, and become what it
was desired for one of her kings, by a poet more
patriotic than euphonious* in his verses—
 that he should be
Lord round about and ruler of the sea ;.
and indeed many things in her former policy might
seem to confirm this supposition; and these considerations have doubtless served to quicken the
desire of the United States for territories in addi~
tion to the vast extent of surface thefy' have ac-
quired, and which they have not even now the
means of occupying—formed a powerful inducement to purchase Louisiana, and urged them on
to the occupation and annexation of Texas, which
latter had the more value as |fc more nearly
approached the Pacific—originated their demands
on Mexico for an approach to it through her
territories, and on Great Britain for the whole
of that tract called Oregon, who, with becoming
moderation, though asserting at least an equal
claim to the whole, is wiHing, from a sense of
justice, to require but an equal share of its soil and
an equal participation in the advantages its situation affords. That these circumstances, which
unite to give commercial and political importance
to the west coas& of America, are not exaggerated,
may be conceded, when i&is remembered that India
has contributed her share to the political discussions on the subject, and concentrating in itself, as
it does at the present moment, the interests of the
United States, the Canadas, and Great Bidtain ; 14
the one for her advancement, the other for self-
defence, and, as of necessity concerned in their
ultimate decision of the subject (involving as it
must do the peace of the world), the interest of all
civilized nations.
The condition and character of the country
and its inhabitants cannot fail to be a subject
of inquiry with all who can appreciate the importance of its situation. Nor will the inquiry disappoint their expectations. The Oregon territory
is not dependent on its locality alone for subjects
of interest. It will'be found to fall short of but
very few countries either in salubrity of climate,
fertility of soil and consequent luxuriance of vegetation and utility of production, or in the picturesque character of its scenery; and not incon-
siderable must be the interest attaching to the
voyagers and travellers by whose exertions they
have been made known to us, especially when
we find the most successful among them not only
those of our race, but of our country. Nor is this
all:—the course of its history has placed it for a
long period under the control of a commercial
company, a peculiarity unknown except in British
India, and which, incorporated like the East India
Company for the purposes of trade, has yet
exerted a most benevolent and beneficial authority
over dominions larger than many an independent
kingdom, and which, consequently, has exercised
a great, and doubtless is exercising, and will exercise, a still greater influence not only on the political aspect of North America, but of the islands
of the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and China,
reflecting back through them upon every part of
the  world;   and, therefore, whether  we look  at INTRODUCTION*
the original discoveries by which the Oregon territory was made known, its character, past history,
or future prospects, there cannot but be found food
for much useful and interesting reflection. Induced by these considerations, it is the object of
this volume to give a familiar account of the character and history of this territory, with as little
reference to the political movements which have
been made respecting it as possible; and it is presumed the questions—What the Oregon is ? What it
is worth ? and What are its present circumstances ?
will find their solution in its pages, and give some
indication of what are its future prospects.
To the desire to avoid political discussion must
be attributed the absence of notice of diplomatic
correspondence, the comparative meagreness of the
history of voyages, and the entire neglect of one
important branch of history, viz., that which treats
of the effect of individual actions upon the world
at large; still it is believed that nothing is omitted
which could be instrumental in assisting to a sufficient knowledge of the truth respecting it, whether
as regards discovery or occupation, though the uncertain effects of treaties are not more within its
province than the labyrinths of diplomatic correspondence. With respect to its final destiny it
may be sufficient to remark, that the very amalgamation of interests from which the dispute arises, no
less than the daily increasing feeling of dependence
on each other which is drawing all parties nearer
together, joined to the circumspection this nearer
approach of opposite elements must of necessity
generate, while it delays action and increases hesitation as to any course to be pursued, insures at the
same time the utmost vigour and energy in accom-
b 3
Jgi 16
plishing it when once determined on; and to this
we may with confidence look as the security for
the preservation of our invests in the West, as it
has been the source of our present national prosperity, restraining or increasing the power of the
country, whether political or commercial, like the
ball-governor of a steam-engine, by its command
over the sources from whence it proceeds. There
ought at the present day to be no doubt.; that the
principles of justice and eqviity, not deduced from
antiquated and abstract notions of right, but as
between man and man, must ultimately tmimph
over fraud and faction; it can scarcely be conceived possible that, knowing as all do the loss to
all which necessarily follows any war, no less than
the miseries it must occasion, any civilized nation will wantonly incur them.
Peace can, however, only be lasting if based on
truth, and even truth must be known to be appreciated ; conflicting accounts only create doubt and
distrust, and few have time or inclination to balance
them,—to refuse the evil and choose the good : if,
therefore, the present volume contribute even in a
small degree to this so desimble end, it will have
answered a sufficient purpose; it professes no merits but careful collation, little information but what
is derived from sources of general access, but it
does profess to set forth the truth, so far as it can
be obtained from the conflicting statements of different parties.
A predisposition towards one opinion, or bias to
one side of an argument, too often warps both the
judgment and the understanding; and one man in
consequence sees fertile plains where another could
see only arid wastes on  which  even the lizards JENTTRODUCTION.
appear starving, while the other looks forward to
their being covered with countless flocks and herds
at no very distant period of time. Both Cook
and Vancouver, having previously made up their
minds against jfche existence of a river near parallel
46°, passed the Columbia without perceiving it, and
the former even declared most decidedly that the
strait seen by Juan de Fuca had its origin only in
the fertility of the pilot's brain. As they were
discovered to be in error, so it is not impossible
that others not less positive in their assertions may
be convicted of th&same carelessness!of examination
as those navigators, so remarkable in all other
•respects for their accuracy, and so indefatigable
and minute in their researches, that little has been
left to their successors bu&vto cheek their work.
With respect, however, to the attributed barrenness of great part of the territory, so peremptorily
insisted on by many, there is some excuse for the
earlier traveller from whom that opinion is derived.
Ignorant of the best routes, and frequently famishing in the immediate neighbourhood of plenty, they
most justly reflect back to others the impressions
they received ; but in so doing, though they speak
truth, they give very erroneous ideas of the country they think themselves to be describing most
accurately, and of this very pregnant examples are
found in the travels of Lewis and Clarke, and the
party who came overland to Astoria : both struck
the head waters of the Sap tin, both continued its
course to its junction with the main stream, both
suffered — the latter party intensely ; but had
they, by the fertile bottoms of Bear and Roseaux
rivers, found access to the valley between the Cascade and Blue Mountains—or, keeping still further 18
west, crossed the former range into that of the
Wallamette, they would have found game, and
grass, and wood, and water in abundance, the word
sterile would have been banished from their pages,
and the Oregon would have appeared in her holiday
IA nymph of healthiest hue—"
and the depth of ravines and the elevation of rocks
-and precipices would have been changed into the
unerring evidences of fertility and luxuriance of
vegetation afforded by the dense forests and gigantic
pine-trees of the Coast district. We can scarce
estimate the transition of feeling and change which
would have been produced in their estimate of the
country, if they could have been suddenly transported from their meagre horse-steak cut from an
animal so jaded with travel as to be in all probability only saved from death by starvation and
fatigue, by being put to death to save overwearied
men from famine, and this cooked at a fire of bois
de vache, with only the shelter of an overhanging
rock, to the fat venison and savoury wildfowl of
the woods and lakes^ broiled on the glowing hardwood embers under the comfortable roof of sheltering bark, or the leafy shade of the monarch of the
forest; while the cheerful whinny of their now7
well-fed beasts gave joyful token that Nature in
her bounty had been forgetful of nothing which her
dependent children could desire.
While such and so great is the power of circumstances to vary the impressions made upon the
senses, some hesitation must be used in their reception until fully confirmed, or they must be limited
by other accounts, as unbiassed judgment may
direct, especially as the temperament of individuals fTRODUCTION.
may serve to heighten the colouring, whether
sombre or sunny, in which circumstances may have
depicted the landscape. It is not every traveller
who can, with Mackenzie, expatiate on the beauty
of scenery while in fear of treachery from fickle
and bloody savages; or like Tremont, though
dripping from the recent flood, and uncertain of the
means of existence even for the day, his arms,
clothes, provisions, instruments, deep in the whirlpools of the foaming Platte, stop to gaze with admiration on the " fantastic ruins" Nature has j piled"
among her mountain fastnesses, while from his bare
and bleeding feet he draws the sharp spines of the
hostile cacti. Truth from travellers is consequently for the most part relative. Abstractedly,
with reference to any country, it must be derived
from the combined accounts and different phases of
truth afforded by many. Such is the endeavour of
this work, and such it is hoped may be its result. ( m )
The continent of North America may now be divided into five parts—
The British dominions-on the north-east,
The United States on the south-east,
The Russian territory on the north-wrest, and
The territory in dispute between Great Britain
and the United States, called the Oregon, on the
And to the south of all, the Californias and
Mexico, which unite it to the southern continent.
The most remarkable features of both North and
South America are the rivers and mountains,—the
former for their size and number, and the latter
not only for their size, but on account of their
position, running in an almost unbroken chain from
the northern to the southern extremity, having on
their east side an immense breadth of country open
to the rivers, four of which, the St. Lawrence,
with its lakes and tributaries, the Mississippi, the
Amazon, and Plate (the Rio de la Plata of the
Portuguese), not to mention those flowing into the
Northern Ocean, are among the largest in the
world; and but a narrow strip to the west, wider
in the northern than the southern continent, sufficiently so indeed to give space for several rivers,
but still narrow compared to the extended plains to OUTLINE of discovery.
the wrest. These mountains are called in the
southern continent the Andes* and in the northern
by the several names of the Anahuac; Oregon, of
Rocky Mountains, of which the term Anahuac applies only to the southern part of the range, while
the latter is used throughout its whole length; and
that of Oregon must be ltaaited to the part which
lies between parallels 42 and 54, and divides the
United States and loVer part of Canada from the
Oregon territory, and is so called from having
throughout that distance the sources? of the largest
river of the West, the Oregon or Columbia, within
its rocky bosom.
These peculiarities will help to account for the
direction taken by the flood-tide of discovery which,
at the end of the fifteenth century, bore Columbus
to the New World, and which rolling first north and
south from the Gulf of Mexico along the coasts
€if the Atlantic, and then flowing round Cape
Horn and crossing the narrow isthmus which
divides it from the Pacific, spread along the south*
ern coast of that ocean, and eventually to the
northern,; but the object which he, as well as the
other early navigators and those who sent them
forth, had in view, must not be forgotten, as it
influenced even to a greater degree the course of
discovery. That object was to secure, by means
of the sea&j the trade of the East Indies, which j
hitherto carried on overland, had enriched the.
west of Asia and east of Europe, and had latterly
raised the small republic of Venice to an equality
with the great monarchies of the Old World. For
this purpose the Portuguese had long been engaged
in exploring the coast of Africa to the southward ;
and having obtained from  Pope Nicholas V. a 22
grant of all countries to the east, excluded other-
nations from participating in the advantages of a
route in that direction, if they should discover one.
Thus barred from the object of their wishes by
an easterly course, the conviction of the rotundity
of the earth's surface, which the dawn of science
had revealed to some, excited the hope that a way
might be found to the west; and when at length,
in 1492, the islands known as the West Indies were
discovered by Columbus, they were so named on
the supposition of their forming part of the continent of Asia, from whence Europe had hitherto
procured her precious stones and metals, spices,
silks, and other valuable merchandise; and of the
extent and riches of the eastern kingdoms, of which
travellers had brought back such marvellous accounts as might welly—in an age when the minds
of men were peculiarly open and accessible to novelty, when the arts and sciences were in the vigour
of youth, and literature, stimulated by the discovery of printing, making rapid strides, and every
indication of expansion and advance being evident
on the face of society,—as might well stimulate the
exertions and endurance necessary to the outfit and
conduct of the numerous expeditions despatched
in that day for this purpose.
The success of Columbus having secured the
centre of America to the Spaniards, and indeed all
lands discovered to the west having been granted
them by the pope, as those to the east had been to
the Portuguese, all who were bold enough to disregard his authority were forced to seek new lands,
if not the riches which the East and West Indies
produced, in other directions. Foremost among
those, the English,   under John Cabot  and   his OUTJEjINE of discovery*
son Sebastian, in 1497, first reached the shores of
the northern continent of America, which they
called Nova Vesta (Newfoundland), and probably
the Strait of Labrador, now called Hudson's Strait,
the Portuguese navigator,Gaspar Cortereal, having,
in 1499 or 1500, first reached its bleak and desolate shores.
The partition of the ocean between the Spaniards
and Portuguese was limited to a meridian line
passing 370 leagues west of the Cape Verd Islands.
In 1499 the latter, sailing round the south part of
Africa, now called the Cape of Good Hope, established themselves in the commerce they had thus
opened with the East Indies; but having about
the same time, in their endeavours to reach those
parts by a western course, discovered the Brazils,
finding them beyond the meridian prescribed, they
took possession, thus establishing themselves also
on the western coast of America, which the Spaniards had hitherto looked upon as their own.
The value of the countries thus discovered by
them, no less than the constant assurance given
by their inhabitants of a great sea and rich countries toward the setting: sun, added new viscour to
the adventure of both nations ; and in 1513 Vasco
Nunez de Bilboa, governor of the Spanish settlement at Darien, beheld for the first time the vast
expanse glittering in its golden light. His discovery of the proximity of the two oceans naturally
induced the supposition that they were connected,
and in the endeavour to ascertain this, the fact of
their separation, at least in that quarter, was fully
ascertained. The search was now directed north
and south, and in 1520 Fernando Magellan, or
Magelhaen—a Portuguese, but in the service of 2?fe
Spain — discovered the strait which ri@w bears
his name; and sailing t^iumphafitly through it to
the ocean discovered by Bilboa, continued his
voyage to the East Indies* It was named by hiipg;
from it®, state when he entered it, the Pacific
Ocean. By the Spaniards under Hernando Cortez,
in 1513, the rich and powerful empire of Mexico
was discovered, and shortly after Peru by those
under Pizarro ; and thfeir attention being absorbed
by the value of these acquisitions, the Bast Indies
were left for the present to the undisputed possession of the Portuguese. The energies of the
thousands of ardent spirits whom the news of their
discoveries attracted to the west, found full employment under these active leaders, and especially
under Cortez, who caused diligent examination of
the Mexican coasts to be made; and even after
having been superseded in his government, he sent
several expeditions to the north from his own port,
Tehuantefjee, one of «ffeich he commanded in person.
In. these California was discovered; and his lieutenant, Don Francisco de Ulloa, traced the gulf on
both sides, and ascertained that it was not an island.
Subsequently the Spaniards discovered the Colorado river, and, traversing the Floridas and south
of the Arkansas, descended to the mouth of the
Mississippi. Among the leaders of these expeditions, lM*nando de Soto was conspicuous. Failing,
in all these to discover the rich countries that had
been anticipated, or a passage between the Atlantic
and Pacific, attempts were again made on the coast
and in 154M Baitolomi Ferrelo reached a cape
which he called Cape Perils, or Stormy Cape, in
lat. 44° by solar observation, of course dependent
on the inaccurate computations of these days.   The OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
limit of his discovery is uncertain. It had, however, the effect of inducing the Spaniards to discontinue the search ; bufe some time after, having
seized the PMippine islands, and ascertained the
practicability o§ a voyage from Asia through, the
Pacific by taking a northerly course, they succeeded at length in attaining the object of their
endeavours-, and opening a trade with Eastern
Asia, and their galleons commenced their annual
voyages, conveying the produce of the eastern continent to Europe by Mie path they had opened
across the Western.
This offered a temptation too strong to be resisted by such as were not sharerein the booty; and
the EngMsh, encouraged by their Queen, and inlawed by the Papal bull or the power of their
adversaries^ attacked on all sides the Spanish settlements- on die Atlantic, and thus originated Flibus-
tiers or Buccaneers, so famous in the naval history
of that age, who, at first private adventurers, afterwards united in organised bands under chosen*
commanders, and spread* terror and devastation
throughout 9%\e new world, and their crimes and
cruelties even yet glitter in the meretricious
gilding of their romantic adventures, and their
names—better known than the conquerors of later
date—are still the tewor of the people of these
countries. But the harvest afforded by the Atlantic did not long content them, and in 1575 they
crossed the isthmus of P&nama in search of plunder, but without success ; shortly after, the famous
Sir Francis Drake, having sailed through the straits
of Magellan, appeared on the Mexican coasts.
With the rich booty he had obtained, in 1579 he
endeavoured to discover a north-easfr passage home,
i'Kfl 26
but having reached the 48th, or as some say, only
the 42nd parallel, was forced by the cold to return,
when, finding shelter in a bay below lat. 38°, he
received from the native chief formal cession of the
country surrounding it, which he called New Albion. Two things must be taken into consideration in determining how far north Drake really
sailed; his observations for the latitude, and his
account of his voyage. The first could scarcely
be depended upon if it stood alone, but it is confirmed by the narrative, for such cold as is described in the account of his voyage, allowing suJj
ficiently for amplification, would not, probably, be
felt in a lower latitude than he asserts. We find
the land, from lat. 46, gradually trending westward
until the shores of Vancouver's island, in lat. 48 J°,
" run continually to the north-west§—to use hjl
own words, "as if it went directly to meet Asia;"
and if in addition we consider that the variation of
the compass is there 21° E., it will be apparent
that the coast which with that deduction bears
north by west, would, without it, be full northwest, thus making good the account of Drake, and
confirming to that navigator the honour of discovert
ing the coast of the Oregon territory ; and it may
be remarked by the way, as a collateral proof, that
Sebastian Yiscaino gives the same account of the
north-west direction of the land above lat. 42°, in
his second voyage; and the Pussians, so late as
1774, in a work published by order of the government, have given a north-west direction to the
whole coast from California. The only objection;
to this determination in favour of Drake arises from
the supposition that if so, he must have sailed
through six degrees of latitude in two days; bi|| OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
this is entirely gratuitous, for the " &nous voyage*
expressly tells us, " the 5 th day of June, being in 43°
N. (i. e. having sailed about 1 degree in a day and
a half), we found the air so cold that our men
complained ; and the further we went the more it
increased upon us; wherefore we thought it best
for that time to seek the land, and did so, finding
it not mountainous till we came to 38 degrees toward the line;" where it is obvious that the date
is given to show the peculiar severity of the season,
for there is no more mention made of the time occupied in sailing the 5 degrees south than in the
uncertain distance they proceeded north of 43
degrees. Nor does the unusual cold they experienced—probably much exaggerated in the accounts, and rendered more severe by their recent
cruise between the tropics — invalidate this, for
the proximity of the range of snowy mountains to
the coast, throughout its whole length between
those parallels, is quite sufficient to confirm it. The
account therefore given in the f World Encompassed,' " We searched this coast diligently, even
to the 48th degree," may be so far relied on.
Driven back, however, by the prevailing northerly winds, Drake returned to England by the
Second only to Drake in the terror his name
inspired, was Thomas Cavendish, who circumnavi*
gated the globe in 1587 ; in this voyage, near the
southern extremity of California, he took the Spanish Manilla galleon,  f Santa Anna,' with a rich
and setting the crew on shore burnt the
ship; but she driving on shore, her crew succeeded
in repairing and refitting her sufficiently to enable
them to reach the opposite coast. Among these
R Confessors of Mammon'
• 28
Viscaino and the pilot Juan de Fuca, now both deservedly celebrated as discoverers on these coasHi—
the former making two voyages in 1596 and 1602;
and the latter, being sent by the viceroy of Mexico
on a voyage to the north, immediately on his arrival
there, after this escape, but returning without success, sailed again in a smalMvessel in which he
followed the coast west arli north-west un&il he
came to lat. 47° ; and then, " finding the land
trending north and north-east, with a broad inldl
of the sea between 47 and 48 degrees of latitude,
he entered thereinto, and sailed therein more than
twenty days, and found that land trending sMl some-
times -north-west, and nortHi-east, ani north, and
also east and south-east, and very much broader sea l
than warat the said entrance, and he passed divers!
islands in that sailing. Being entered thus far
into theHsaid strait, and being come into the northern sea already, and finding the sea wide^enough
everywhere, and to be about 30 or 40 leagues wide
at the mouth of the straits where he entered, he
thought he head well discharged his office, and
therefore set sail and returned to Acapulco." Receiving no further encouragement from the Spa- I
niards, whose interest it now was not to open any
path by which other nations might reach the PacMc,
Juan de Fuca returned to Europe, being a Cephalo-
nian by birth, and by name originally Apostolos
Valerianus. At Venice, meeting with Michael
Lock, an English merchant of eminence and erudition, he related this his discovery, and his being
taken in the ' Santa Anna;' and while he was anxij
ous to be indemnified for *his losses at that time, he
offered to command an expedition to be sent to
examine the said Strait of Anian, of which extraordinary reports had been circulated, as forming a OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
connection between the Atlantic and Pacific, and
which he did not doubt but that he had discovered.
Mr. Lock strove hard to interest the English government—through Sir Walter Raleigh\and othets
—in his favour, but witliout success, and the old
man died ; his story was discredited until later discoveries had gone far towards its confirmation,
nothing appearing to confute it; the allowance of
the variation of the compass being made to account
for that westerly trending of the coast which he, like
Sir Francis Drake, notices. The anxiety to discover a north*west passage to the Pacific doubtless
originated the many false reports prevalent at this
time, of such a strait called the Strait of Anian;
and Urdaneta, Maldonado, and others did not hesitate to assert that they had sailed through it,
the latter even offering a card or chart descriptive of it. But it has been well observed " that,
while the accounts of all such ^voyages yet made
public, are now known to be as false, with regard
^o the principal circumstances related, as those of
the discovery of the philosopher's stone, or the
elixir vitae, current at the same time in Europe, and
the former, like the latter, had their origin, generally, in the knavery or vanity of their authors,
*t&©ugh some of them were evidently mere fictions,
invented for the purpose of exercising ingenuity,
or testing the credulity of the public; yet, as the
conviction of the possibility of transmn^i»g other
metals Into gold, and of prolonging life indefinitely, led to the knowledge of many of i&e most
important facts in ehemistijp, so did the belief in
the existence of a north-west passage from the
Atlantic to the Pacific serve to accelerate the progress of geographical discovery and scientific navi- 30
gation."    Like the assertions of the empirics  in
science, the pretended discoveries of Urdaneta and
Maldonado, and afterwards of De Fonte, attained I
a fictitious importance, but for a time only ; while
the real discoveries of De Fuca receive an additional lustre from the discovery of their falsity, as
the advance in the sciences is estimated the more
from the knowledge of the futility of the endeavours!
which led to it.    Yet in his day De Fuca received I
no help towards prosecuting his discovery, and died
unnoticed — an  instance  of the  frequency   with
which, in this world, posterity affords that tardjl
justice to men of merit which has been denied them j
by their contemporaries.
The fear of opening a passage to other nations)
deterring the Spaniards, and the attention of the'j
English, French, and Dutch being turned to the
eastern side of the American continent, where they
had made permanent settlements, or, as they wen
called, plantations, and still more by the hope of
success in finding a north-w?est passage to the Indies
by  Hudson's Bay and Baffin's Bay,  both which;
had been discovered in the course of the voyages
which, originating in the false reports before mentioned, had been undertaken  with, now at length,]
every appearance of future success, in a quarter)
where even till now the hopes and labours of succeeding navigators have been alternately revived
and frustrated, and from whence even yet the palm
of honour may reward the successful adventurer;
for many years consequently the coasts of Western
America north of lat. 42° remained unvisited, for
though the Jesuit missionaries established themselves
in California, they went no further, and the commanders of the Spanish galleons, in their annual OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
voyages, were too anxious to get into port with
their valuable cargoes to think of sailing north
of Cape Mendocino, which was their point for
making the coast; but the acquisition of Canada
by Great Britain, and her growing power in North
America, making the discovery of a north-west
passage daily more important to her, and more to
be feared by the Spaniards, it became an object of
importance to them, if usuch a passage existed, to
be the first toaiuBCupy its western entrance: as a
preliminary step to this they increased the naval
power of Mexico, and established settlements on
the western coast of California ; of these the principal were at San Francisco, Monterey, and San
?J[n 1774, in pursuance of this design, Juan
Perez was sent, and with him Estevan Martinez, as
pilot to examine the coast from the 60th degree of
latitude southward to Cape Mendocino, but they
only succeeded in reaching lat. 54°, when they discovered land, which they named Cape San Margarita : this is supposed to have been the west side
of tfee island now called Queen Charlotte's by the
British, and Washington by the American navigators. Sailing northward, Perez again made landj.
lat. 49° 30', and discovered a deep bay between
two high points, which he named Port Lorenzo^
supposed to have been that afterwards named by
Cook King George's, and now universally termed
Nootka Sound* Sailing still northwards, in lat.
47° he observed a lofty mountain covered with
snow, which he named Sierra Santa Rosalia, and
thence returned home without further discovery.
The accounts of thi&yhowever, cannot be entirely
depended  upon, the Spanish government  having
c 32
caused the destruction of those officially made, and
therefore the discovery of Nootka Sound has been
by general consent assigned to Captain Cook in
1778. On the return of Perez, the viceroy of Mexico
immediately despatched another expedition, consisting of two vessels, which proceeded to the north,-
he Santiago, under the command of Captain Bruno j
Heceta with Juan Perez as ensign, and the Sonora, j
a small schooner, under that of Juan Francisco de j
la Bodega y Quadra. Passing Cape Mendocino,
they entered a roadstead which they named Port 1
Trinidad, and took possession of the country with 1
the usual formalities, erecting a small cross with j
an inscription, which was found when Vancouver j
visited the place in 1793. Proceeding north, they j
again found land in lat. 48°: here seven men be-1
longing to the schooner were murdered by the
natives, and the point off which they were at the
time named Des Martires, and an island, the only
one of consequence on the coast, called " De
Dolores," in memory of the event. Near this
«place part of the crew of the Imperial Eagle of
*Ostend were massacred some years later, and the
island obtained the name of Destruction Island : it
is in lat. 47° 42', just above Point Grenville. This
event, and the breaking out of the scurvy among
the crews, induced Heceta to wish to return: this
was opposed by the other officers ; but taking advantage of a storm which occurred shortly after,
Heceta bore up and returned to the south, while
Bodega, with insubordinate but perhaps -praiseworthy determination, continued his voyage. Heceta
proceeding south made Port San Lorenzo, and
passing the Straits of Fuca without perceiving,
although he is said to have sought them in the OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
right direction, arrived opposite an opening in
46° 7', which the outward current prevented his
entering; this he named Assumption Inlet, and it is
considered to have been the mouth of the Columbia
or Oregon, the largest river of all Western America,
which is called in the Spanish charts Esenada de
Heceta, Heceta's Inlet, or Rio de San Roque, from
the day on which he left it, being the day after its
discovery, from which he himself had named it
Assumption. This was the 15th of August, 1775.
Still proceeding southward, he marked the positions of the principal head lands, and returned to
Seeking, according to their instructions, to make
the 65th parallel, Bodega and his company came in
sight of a conical mountain covered with snow, and
landing in a bay to the north, attempted to take
possession of the country by erecting, after their
custom, a cross; this, however, the natives pulled
down and destroyed ; they then proceeded along the
coast to the 58th degree of lat., when sickness and
violent winds compelled them to return. They now
commenced their endeavours after the discovery of
the river " Des Reyes," by which de Fonte, in his
fabulous voyage, was said to have penetrated far
into the continent, and which was one principal
object of their expedition. In this they were unsuccessful ; nor do they appear to have examined the
coast with any minuteness; they however landed in
a harbour, named by them Port Bucarelli, in lat.
55y°, where they took possession, and after a few
other unimportant observations they returned to
California, having for the first time entered the
bay of La Bodega, near San Francisco, so named
after the commander of the expedition, without
c 2 34
having succeeded in the object of their voyage!
viz. the diseovery «#f an entrance in$o the continent
towards th&*east.   ,Jn 1778 the English #pf>eare4|
again on the, wast; saud in 1779 another Spanish
expedition, under Arteaga and Bodega* am& de*
spatehed io the newly discovered Port JBasearelli ;J
but, as an American writer n*a#vely remarks of this^
voyage, "a short notice will sufHee, as all the places
discovered in the course of it had been vimted and
mhmtely exammed in the  preceding ^ar by them
English under Captain James Cook."
To the Russians we owe n&uch of our early information respecting this coast.
While the power of Spain was on the decline, \
and the attention of England directed to her
plantations ©aa the Atlantic coast and her newly
opened trade with the East Indies, Russia having,
thrcsugh the energies of Peter the Great, taken!
rank among the kingdoms of Europe, and stretched
her sceptre over Asia to the Pacific, fully aware,
of the commercial importance of a direct com-
$&unka-t!on with America, had traced the north
coast of Asia lor a very considerable distance, and;
having 4fcrmed settlements la JKkmschatka, had
opened a trade with China; the Empress Kathe-
rine, not less alive than her predecessor to the importance, of the subject, in 1728 fitted out a small
vessel in Kamschatka, which was placed under the
command of Alexander Behring, who was instructed " to examine the coast north and east,
to find wj&ether they were contiguous to
An&ejfica or not; and then to reach, if possible,
some port of the Europeans in the same sea." He
sailed, tracing the coast as far as lat. 67° 18', and
finding it then take a westerly direction, without OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
fend to the north or east, he concluded he had discovered the north-east point of Asia-, and had ascertained the fact of i*s separation &®m American
These conditions time has fully verified, and the
sta&it has universally been named after him, Behr-
ing's Strait. The next year Behring attempted to
reach the Amerkan continent, but was*driven back ;
but Martin Spangberg, who had been %m lieutenant,
passed between the Kurile Islands ten yeaa?s after*-
wards> and in the interim the north coast of Asia
had been traced in various voyages and journeys to
the point whence Behring had returned on Ms first
voyage. This stimulated the Russians to another
attempt towards the easts and in lT^i^Behting was
commissioned, by the Empress Anne, to search for
the western continent. He sailed in 1741, in two
vessels, the St. Peter and St. Paul, boUt for the
purpose in Kamschatka; but the St. Paul was
almost immediately separated from her consoft, and
Behring proceeded on his voyage alone ; and under
the 60th parallel discovered, at a distance of &ghty
miles, a mountain, supposed to be that now called
Mount St. Elias. Here Behring determined to
retlmi, which he did, tracing the coasted islands
westward, until his course was impeded by the
peninsula of Aliaska, where turning south-west, he
ftllowed the coarse of the archipelago to lat. 53,
when storms arising, " they were," he says, "driven
about, a sport for the winds, in misery, des^ifeion,
and almost despair ;" till at last making land tliey
(determined to winter on a small Mand. Here
Behring and thirty of the crew died, and the survivors having made a small vessel with the wreck
of the St. Peter, returned to Kamschatka. This
island is in ia& 54J to 5&£, about eighty miles
1 36
from Kamschatka; it is still called Behring's
Island. By this voyage some important geographical information was acquired, and a stimulus to
further exertions, for the skins of the animals taken
during their winter sojourn on Behring's Island
fetched such high prices as to induce many of the
seamen to return for more. From this small beginning a trade of some importance sprung up,
which, in 1766, claimed the attention of the Russian government, who despatched an expedition of
inquiry, and another in 1768, to the north-west
coast of America, neither of which produced any
important geographical result.
The extension of the British dominions in Canada and consequent importance of a communication with the Pacific induced the government to
offer a reward of 20,000/. for the discovery of a
west passage to the north of the 52nd degree of
latitude ; and an expedition was fitted out to make
the attempt from the west; the command of this
was given to the famous James Cook, and his instructions were to sail for New Albion (which
was evidently considered British territory), and
then proceeding north to lat. 65Q, to endeavour,
above that parallel, to discover the wished-for passage, and to take possession of such places as were
either uninhabited, or had not been discovered by
any European nation. His search was to be
limited towards the south by parallel 65, because,
before his departure, the discovery of the Copper*
Mine River having its mouth in the North Sea under
that parallel had been made by Mackenzie, and
consequently the impossibility of any passage to
the south of it, across the continent, placed beyond
doubt; and this knowledge may account for the OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
carelessness with which Cook examined the coast
in 46°, 47°, and 48°, for passing the river Columbia and the Straits of Fuca, without perceiving
them, he entered Nootka Sound, where he remained
to examine and refit his vessels. In passing Cape
Flattery, he remarks, " it is in this very latitude that
geographers have placed the pretended Strait of
Juan de Fuca; but we saw nothing like it, nor is
there the least probability that ever any such
thing existed."
From this point the discoveries of Cook established the fact of there being no opening into the
North Sea until Behring's Straits. But the voyage
had another effect, in opening the fur trade with
China, for after the deaths of Cook and Clarke,
the ships returning to England, put into Canton,
and a ready mart was found for the skins which
had been collected, to the amount of 10,000
This becoming fully known at the end of the
war, in which Great Britain was then engaged with
the United States, France, and Spain, the Russians
were the first to profit by the discovery by forming
settlements on the more northern coasts, the enterprise of the English being fettered by the monopoly of the trade of the Pacific, conveyed by the
charters of the South Sea and East India Company's ; some few voyages were however made
under the flag of the latter, and by private adventurers under that of Portugal, and in 1785, by the
vessels of a company styled King George's Sound
Company, under licence from the South Sea Company, who carried their furs to Canton, to be disposed of by the agents of the East India Companjr,
according to agreement with them.  These voyages
-• ■ •-£
however produced   no further  knowledge  of the
coast; but in 1787, Berkeley, an EngMshman, commanding the Imperial Eagle, under the flag of the!
Austrian   East  India   Company,   at  length   discovered that broad arm of the sea, the existence oil
which, so feng before reported by Juan de Fuca,
was now, for the first time, placed beyond dispute.
He did not, however, enter it, and nothing else
worthy ©f notice occurred during his voyage, except the massacre of his boat's crew on I>estru^
tion Island, as before mentioned.
From this period the independence of the United
States having been acknowledged, the#Americans»
engaged actively in the trade of the North Pacific,
and the voyages made on this account bguve*
been the origin of the politfeal disputes respecting the Oregon territory, but as the object of this?
work is a historical and geographical, and not
political account of the territory, it will be sufficient to state such particulars respecting them as
have direct relation to discovery. In 1789 an
American trader named Gray, sailed round the
island now named Queen Charlotte's, and gave it
the name of his sloop, Washington ; he afterwards
entered the Sfraitsiof Juan de Fuca, and sailed iaf
U south-south-east for fifty miles; itis* also stated,
though on not very satisfactoa^r^vidence, that the
same sloop, under the command of one Ken-rick,
subsequently sailed through the whole length of the
Strait, and to 55th degree north, ascertaining the
insular character of the country in which Nootka
Sound is situated. In 1790, the Spaniards having
taken possession of Nootka and the coast generally,
two vessels, the Discoverv and the Chatham, under
the command of Captai© Vancouver and Lieutenant OUTLINE OF DISCOVERY.
Bronjspi tony were despatched, under the authority
of a convention with the Spaniards, to recede tfci
cession of them from their officers in the Pacific.
They arrived on the coast in 1792, and in the interim the Spaniards made some progress in ascertaining the character of the Strait of Juan de Fuca;
one of their officers, Lieutenant Quimper, having,
in 1791, proceeded to its eastern limit, and aseer*-
tained the position of the principal openings of the
coast in that direction, though it does not appear
thai he entered them. In the au&inm of the same
year Captain Gray, in the Columbia, visited the
more northern coasts, and e^sjijored a canal in lat.
54° 33', which is supposed to have been that afterwards named by Vancouver Portland Canal, and
wintering at Clayquot Sound, near Noot&a, proceeded southward in the spring, when he fell in
with Vancouver and Broughton, after whteh he
discovered Bullfinches' or Gray's Harbour, between
the Strait of Fuca and Columbia River in lat.
46° 58', and the day following entered the mouth
of that river, and sailed up it about ten miles,
from whence he proceeded in boats some fifteen
miles further, and after some delay, succeeded in
his endeavour to get to sea. He gave it the name
it now bears, and which Vancouver continued on
that account, being that of his brig the Columbia,
she having been altered from a sloop since her
first voyage. Vancouver and Broughton having
passed the Columbia River without perceiving it,
entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca, making a
minute survey of the continental shore, the first
that had been attempted, and which has been in
use among voyagers from that time. Having surveyed the southern branches they proceeded north-
c 3
II 40
ward, and in the Gulf of Georgia met the Spanish
exploring vessels under Senors Galiano and Valdez,
which had been previously despatched from Nootka, \
and had surveyed the eastern coast of Vancouver
Island ; with them, having surveyed the continental^
shore to lat. 51° 57' he returned to Nootka; from
thence proceeding southward, he caused Mr. Whid-
bey to survey Gray's or Bullfinches' Harbour, and
Mr. Broughton the Columbia River, which he did
for upwards of one hundred miles to a point which
he named Point Vancouver.    In 1794 Vancouver
completed his survey of the coasts north of 51° 57',
and expressed himself well satisfied that the preci-,
sion with which it had been conducted would remove every opinion of a north-west passage within"
its limits, since which time little has been done by-
succeeding navigators but to substantiate - his dis--
coveries.  The result of the knowledge of the coast
thus obtained will be detailed in the next chapter. (   41    )
From Cape Mendocino, where a spur from the
Snowy Mountain range meets the coast line, to
lat. 42°, one and a half degree to the northward,
the boundary conceded to America by the Spaniards in 1819, and where, according to their
authorities, the Oregon territory commences, and
from thence to the mouth of the Columbia in lat.
46° 20', the coast presents a range of lofty hills
descending to the shore in sandy cliffs and beaches,
through an undulating, hilly country, clothed with
luxuriant forests. Its line is broken by projecting
headlands rising precipitously from the sea, round
which numerous rocks are scattered, the principal
of which are Cape Orford, Cape Foul weather,
and Cape Look-out, and by the mouths of the rivers
Clamet and Umqua, and some others of less consequence, which here fall into the sea, but afford
no shelter to vessels; so small are the openings
which they present, that from the sea the coast
appears entirely unbroken, insomuch that Vancouver sailed close to the shore without perceiving
any indication of a harbour or the mouth of a river
throughout its whole length, and indeed he passed
the Columbia itself without being aware of it.
This, however, must have happened more from
the peculiarity of its situation and character than
its insignificance.     It is in truth a noble river, 42
but from the rapidity of its course through the
mountains, and the quantity of debris which itsj
waters carry with them, its mouth is too much
choked with banks of sand to be ever available as
a port of the first class.
Its entrance, between Cape Disappointment on
the north and Point Adams on the south, is ill
width about seven miles, spreading north and;
southland forms two dmp bays ; but Chinook Point,
the eastern extremity of the northern bay, projecting before the entrance, and Point Adams concealing the true entrance of the river, between Point
Chinook and Point George, where it is above five
ipailes wide, the estuary below being formed by the
junction o£the mouths of two sradfl river^ one on
the south and another on the north, with that of the
Columbia, gives a continuous appearance to the
coast. The bar is, at the deepest point, not
more than from four and a half to five fathoms,
and the banks of sand of w^iich it is composed^
stretching five or six mite into the sea, together
with the current of the river, cause a very ^olenl;
swell, and the water breaking on the height#of thel
banks from each side**one line of breakers overlapping the other, gives the appearance of an
unhroken line of foam, rendering the entrance
even more dangerous in prospect than it is in
reality, although all authorities agree as to its
difficiilty, and Lieut. WiHes, who wited it in
command of the late exploring expedition from the
United States, gives it as his opinion that it is only
accessible for three months of the year. It is,
however, for more than thfe, but the shallowness
of the water on the bar, no less than the intricacy
of Ihe channel, must always unfit it for the resort COASTS AND HARBOURS.
of large vessels. In the two bays above mentioned
there is indeed good anchorage in fi?om five to
seven fathoms, but being exposed to the run of the
sea they are not safe stations for shipping.
The entrance of thi#-river has been well known
and much frequented both hy the vessels of the
Hudson's Bay Company and American ttaders since
its discovery, and its principal features have been
several times laid down in charts ; but as they all
differ more or less from each other in the positions of the bar and sand-banks, it is to be presumed
that they are of a shifting character, and therefore
the continuance of the present capacity of this
entrance cannot be depended upon. In this
opinion M. Duflot de Mofra&coincides. The sandbanks occupy the middle of the river for twenty-
five miles above its entrance. On the south side
a narrow channel was supposed 4o terminate at
Tongue Point, about ten miles from Point Adams,
until Lieut. Wilkes ascertained the existence of
one beyond it far better than that generally
used, which is on the north, affording a clear
ftough narrow passage for ships to Calumet or
KaRamet Island, to which the course of the river
is nearly east and west. This island divides the
river int» two channels for h$e miles, and Puget's
island extends immediately above it for three more,
and for ten miles fhrther the river is impeded by
several islands and sand-banks as far as Mount
Coffin, a conspicuous eminence on the north shore,
and a burial-place of the Indians, above which
it receives the waters of the Cowelitz River,
about fifty miles from the sea. To this point
its course is circuitous; from thence its direction is  north-west   and south-east for about ten 44
miles, when it again bends east and west till it
receives the waters of the Wallamette or Multo-
nomah from the south, upwards of eighty miles from
its mouth.* This river enters it in two channels,
separated by the Island of "Wappatoo (so called
from an edible root with which it abounds) : it is
about nine miles long and five above the east mouth.
On the north side of the river is Fort Vancouver,
the principal settlement of the Hudson's Bay
Company, above which the stream narrows in its
passage through the mountains, and is broken by
rapids and cascades. To this point the river is navigable for large vessels, being 1700 yards wide and
six fathoms deep.
About ten miles from the mouth of the Columbia, on its north shore, is Red Rock, the
western extremity of Gray's Bay, so named from
Gray the American merchant captain who first
entered it; protected from the west by this and
Point Ellice, it has tolerable anchorage.
About Point Adams, at the south of the entrance, the land is . low and sandy, but increasing
in fertility as it recedes from the shore.. On
Point George, at the opposite or north side of
the bay formed by the mouth of Young's River,
bearing E.S.E. six miles, stands Fort George or
Clatsop, the Astoria of the Americans. The*
history of this settlement will be given in another
From this river, called, it is said, by the natives
Oregon, and which has thus given its name to the
territory; and by the Spaniards Heceta, from the
navigator of that name, who is said to have first
* M. Duflot de Mofras says by the river 120. COASTS AND HARBOURS.
perceived its mouth, as before-mentioned—large
exportations of furs have been made yearly by the
Hudson's Bay Company to England, and some
smaller quantities have been sent by the Americans
to China and the United States; there is now also
a flourishing trade carried on with the Sandwich
Islands and other parts of the Pacific in lumber and
shingles, and here the Russian vessels and others
trading on the coast are supplied with provisions ;
it has hitherto been the principal if not the only port
of this district, because the numerous branches
of the Columbia have been the roads by which the
peltries (furs), the chief and at one time the only
exports of the country, were brought to the sea.
With a change of circumstances its position must
change also, and the emporium of the West must
be looked for elsewhere.
Cape Disappointment, to the north of the mouth
of the Columbia, is a high rocky bluff covered with
pine-trees, joined to the main land by a low narrow
strip of sand, to which it slopes gradually : its latitude is 46° 19'.
From the mouth of the Columbia forty-five miles
of unbroken coast reaches Whidbey's Bay, called
by the Americans Bullfinches' Harbour, and not
unfrequently Gray's Bay, which, with an entrance
of scarce two miles and a half, spreads seven miles
long and nine broad, forming two deep bays like
the Columbia ; here there is secure anchorage behind Point Hanson to the south and Point Brown
to the north, but the capacity of the bay is
lessened to one-third of its size by the sandbanks
which encroach on it in every direction. Like the
Columbia, its mouth is obstructed by a bar which
has not more than four fathoms water, and as it
stretches some three miles to seaward, with breakers 46
on each side,   extending  the  whole way to  the
shore, the difficulty of entrance is increased.    It
lies nearly east.and west, and receives ftom the
east the waters of the river Chikelis, having its
rise at the base of the mountains, which, stretching
from Mount  Olympus  in   tfe north, divide   the
coast from Puget's Sound.    From Whid&ey's Bay
to   Cape  Flattery, about eighty miles,   but  two
streams, and   those unimportant,   break the  iron
wall of the coast, which rising gradu^ly into lofty
mountains is cro#ned in hoary grandeur  by the
snow-clad peaks of Mount Olfftnpus.    Cape Bl&ilj
tery, called also Cape ©asset, is a conspicuous promontory in lat. 48° 27';   beyond  it, distant o»ij
mile, lies Tatouches Island, a large flat rwak, wi$B
perpendicular sides, producing a few trees, surrounded by rocky islets: it is one mile in lengtSfl
joined to the shore by a reef of rocks, and a nailer
further, leaving a clear passage between them, ifr-.
a reef named Duncan's Rock.   Here commeif&e^ljB
lat. 48° 30', tha$ mighty arm of the sea, which has
been justly named from its first disco vwew,  the
Strait of Juan de Fuca, and which we lilMve seen
Cook pass without perceiving it, indulging a£?the
same time in an unwo&t&y strain of confident exultation over the ol^ Greek pilot, who had so long
before opened the pathway for the futitlie fleets of
the Pacific to the emporium of West%rn America.
The entrance of this strait is about ten miles ini
width, and varies from that to twenty with the indentations of its shores, of which the northern,
stretching to the north-west and south-east across
the entrance, gives an appearance of continuity to
its  line  on  the   Pacific.     Running  in  a  southeasterly  direction  for  upwards  of one   hundred COASTS AND HARBOURS.
milesy' its ftirther progress is suddenly stopped by
a range of snow-elad mountains, at the base of
which, spreading abroad its mighty arms to the
noajth and somth, il gives to the continent the appearance; of a vast archipelago.
The southern shore of this strait is described by
Vancouver as being composed of sandy cliffs of
moderate height, falling perpenddcaalarly into the
sea, from the top of which the land takes a furth^
gentle ascent^ where it is entirely covered with
trees, chiefly of the pine tribe, until the forest
reaches a range of high craggy mountains which
seem te rise from the woodland in a very abrupt
manner, with a few scattered trees on their sterile
sides,, and their tops covered with snov^ On the
north the shore is not so high, the ascent more
gradual from thence to the tops of the mountains,
which are less covered wilh snow than those to the
south. They have from the strait the appearance
of a compact range. Proceeding up the stra^
about seventy miles, a long low sandy point attracted Vancouver's attention; from its resemblance to Dtangeaess, on the coast of Kent, he
named it New Dungeness, and found within it good
anchorage in. from ten to three fathoms: beyond
this the coast forms a deep bay about nine miles
across; and three miles from its eastern point lies
Protection Island, so named from the position it
occupies at the entrance of Port Discovery. Va**
couver landed on it on the 1st of May, 1792, and
thus describe*lis appearance:—" On landing on the
west end, and ascending its eminence, which was a
nearly perpendicular cliff, our attention was immediately called to a landscape almost as enchantingly
beautiful as the most elegancy finished pleasure- 48
grounds in Europe. The summit of this island
presented nearly a horizontal surface, interspersed
with some inequalities of ground, which produced
a beautiful variety on an extensive lawn covered I
with luxuriant grass and diversified with abundance
of flowers. To the north-westward was a coppice
of pine trees, and shrubs of various sorts, that seemed
as if it had been planted for the purpose of protecting from the north-west winds this delightful
meadow, over which were promiscuously scattered
a few clumps of trees that would have puzzled the!
most ingenious designer of pleasure-grounds tol
have arranged more agreeably. While we stopped
to contemplate these several beauties of nature in a
prospect no less pleasing than unexpected, we
gathered some gooseberries and roses in a state of
considerable forwardness." Lieut. Wilkes, who
visited this spot in April, 1841, writes thus:—
" The description of Vancouver is so exactly applicable to the present state of this port, that it is
difficult to believe that almost half a century has
elapsed since it was written. The beautiful woods
and lawns of Protection Island remain unchanged.
The lawns produce the same beautiful flowers and
shrubs, and although they are surrounded by dense
woods, do not seem to have been encroached upon
by their luxuriant growth, although there is no
apparent reason why it should not long ere this
have overrun them." He adds, P this island cover!
Port Discovery completely to the north, and would
render it easily defensible against the most formidable attack."
From this island, lying at the entrance of Port
Discovery, commences the maritime importance of
the territory, with, says Vancouver^ as fine a har- COASTS AND HARBOURS.
bour as any in the world, though subsequently he
awards the palm to its neighbour Port Hudson ; and
among the many harbours on the coast in more
northern latitudes, which afterwards presented to
him their varied advantages, it is probable he found
others as worthy. But, in truth, little more can be
desired than this affords; for in addition to the
roadstead, which, protected by the island before
named, affords secure anchorage in deep water
without rock or shoal, the harbour itself extends
above nine miles inland in a partly winding direction north and south, with an average width of
something less than two miles, shoaling from thirty-
six fathoms at one-half its length to twenty-eight
and three-quarters, and thence gradually to seven
at its extremity, where it receives (the waters of a
considerable stream. Its shores and scenery have
been thus described by Vancouver.
" The delightful serenity of the weather greatly
aided the beautiful scenery that was now presented ;
the surface of the sea was perfectly smooth, and
the country before us presented all that bounteous
nature could be expected to draw into one point of
view. As we had no reason to imagine that this
country had ever been indebted for any of its decorations to the hand of man, I could not possibly believe that any uncultivated country had
ever been discovered exhibiting so rich a picture.
The land which interrupted the horizon below the
north-west and north quarters seemed to be much
broken, from whence its eastern extent round to
south-east was bounded by a ridge of snowy mountains, appearing to lie nearly in a north and south direction, on which Mount Baker rose conspicuously
remarkable for its height and the snowy mountains m
that stretch from its base to the north and south.
Bet wee® us and this si$owy rai^e, the land, whidte
on the sea-shore terminated like that we had lately
passed in low perpendicular cliffs, or *on beaches of
sknd or stbne, rose here in a very gentle ascent,
and was well covered with a variety of stately
forest trees: these, however, did not conceal tte
whole face of the country in on*e uninterrupted
wilderness, bui pleas&ntly clothed its eminences
and cheqiffiered the valleys, presenting in many
directions extensive spaces ttofcfwore the appearance
of hmmg befen cleared by art, like the beautiful
island we had visited lie day before. A picture
so pleasing eonM not fail to call to our remembrance ceiiaia* ^d^Iightiul and beloved situations in
Old England." Both the n^roaches t& this port,
rounds the extremMes of Protected Island, are
perfectly free from? obstruction, and about a league
in breadth.
Separated from Port Discovery only by a narrow
slip of lan# from a mile- and a half to two miles;
broied, which trending to the east protects it from
the north and west, is Port Hudson, having its
entrance &t the extremity ofi the point on the east
side, but little more than one mile broad; from
which the harbour extends, in s& .semicircular form,
for about four miles westward, and then trending
for about six more, affords ex*©ellent shelter a»$fc
anchorage for vessels in from ten to t^nty faithorns,
with an even bottom of mud. It is to be remarked
that Mr. Wilkes makes this harbour only three
miles and a quarter long, but it may be presumed
that the measurement refers to Hie lower part only.
Its eastern side presents a very peculiar feature,
being formed of two riarrow tongues of land en- COASTS AND HARBtoRS^
iB&bfflig a narrow canal of equal length with the
harbour, and having " a snug ]&£ke port" at the
northern, and a passage for boats at their southern
extremity, practicable from half flood to half ebb,
hut dry at low water. These tongues, projecting
into the arm of tlm sea which bonds south from the
strait of Juan de Fuca, are almost isolated, being
washed on the south side by the water of a deep
bay, in which also there is sefeure a»ihorage, and
forming altogether a corabinaMon of maritime advantages rarely, if ever, to be met with elsewhere.
Here nature seems to have made meet preparation
for the future foundation of the capital of the west,
and p here," says an American writer, ^whatever
course emigration may for the present take, the
commercial operations of the territory will eventually centre ;" the great rise and fall of the iides
offering unsurpassed facilities for building maritime
establishments, and the passage of the strait fe&feg
never obstrsieted, while the country affords everf
inducement to occupation and cultivation, the soil
being, for the most part, a light sandy loam, in
many placest)f >very considerable depth, and abundantly mixed with decayed vegetables. The vigour
and luxuriance of its productions sufficiently attest
its fertility ; it abounds with all useful timbers ;f he
woods are filled, with game, and the waters teem
with fish, and are covered during the season with
aquatic fowl; the hills contain iron, and coal is
act far distant, so that there m no' want even of
civilized man which its prolific soil does not supply
In hi. 48° 16' the waters of thestrak are divided
by a high white sandy cliff, with verdant lawns on
each side; thisMwas named by Vancouver Point
Partridge.    It forms the western extremity of an 52
island, long, low, verdant, and well wooded, lying;]
close to the coast, and having its south end at the |
mouth of a river rising in those mountains which
here form a barrier to the further progress of thej
sea.    The snow-covered peak of the most lofty of
these  is  visible  soon  after  entering   the  strait.]
Vancouver named it Mount Baker, from the officer j
of his ship by whom it was first seen.    This moun- 1
tain, with Mount Olympus, and another further to
the south, named by the same navigator Mount
Rainier, form nearly an equilateral triangle, and
tower over the rest, the'giant wardens of the land. \
From Point Partridge the  southern branch  extends about fifteen miles below the island before |
mentioned ; this Vancouver named Admiralty In-1
let.    Here the tides begin to be sufficiently rapid I
to  afford obstruction   to   navigation ; and   hence j
it parts in two arms, one named Hood's Canal, 1
taking a south-west course, and the other continu- \
ing a south course for forty miles, and then also I
bending to the west, terminates in a broad sound
studded with islands called by him Puget's Sound.
These, as affording a communication with the Co-1
lumbia, from which the latter is distant only about \
sixty miles, and with the interior by its tributaries!
of which the   nearest  approaches  within thirty,
over the undulating prairie country between the
mountains, and with Gray's Harbour by the river I
Chikelis, afford great inducement for settlement,
and accordingly the Hudson's Bay Company have
established a fort and joint stock cattle farm. Here
again nature seems  to indicate an advantageous
position for the future mercantile industry of man.
Of this sound and country M. Duflot de Mofras
writes:—" La longueur de la baie de Puget est COASTS AND HARBOURS.
d'une demi lieue; ses bords, ainsi que tous les environs du fort, presentent l'aspect d'une longue
suite de prairies semees de bouquets de bois et
coupees par des ruisseaux; et l'illustre Vancouver
avait raison de dire avant nous qu'il laissait a la
plume exercee d'un ecrivain habile, le soin de de-
crire cette magnifique contree." Both these arms
afford many places of anchorage, and are only inconvenient for navigation on account of their great
depth, and the rapidity of the tides in narrow
places. Port Orchard in Puget's Sound affords
the greatest possible security.
On the east coast of Admiralty Inlet, at the
mouth of the river before mentioned (said to be
named Samlikamug, but by Wilkes called the
Tuxpam), there is a broad sound with very deep
water and rapid tides, but affording good anchorage
in the mouth of the river. Here Vancouver landed
and took formal possession of the country on Monday the 4th of June, in the name of his Britannic
Majesty King George the Third, and for his heirs
and successors, that day being his Majesty's birthday, from lat. 39Q 20' to the entrance of this inlet,
supposed to be the strait of Juan de Fuca (this he
did with the usual solemnities, and under a roval
salute from the ships), as well the northern as the
southern shores, together with those situated in the
interior sea, extending from the said strait in various directions between the north-west, north-east
and south quarters; which interior sea he named
the Gulf of Georgia, and the continent bounding
the said gulf, and extending southward to the
45th degree of north latitude, New Georgia, in
honour of his Majesty George III.
This sound he namer*, from this incident, Pos- 54
session Sound; and it sfeoiald be leemarked that,
though the Spaniards had, the preceding winter,
been in Port Discovery, they had from thence proceeded north to Nootka, and not eastward; so that
Vancouver was m truth the discoverer of these
regions ; and if anything could-feaduce the qpinion
of their being a desirable appanage I® the BrMsh
crowr% his description, might. Of the country
round Possession Sound he thus writes:—§ Our
eastern view was n©w boanded by the range of
snowy mountains from Mount Baker, bearing by
compass north, to MoujakiRainier, bearing N. 54°
E. This mountain *was hid by the more elevated
parts of the low land ; and the intermediate snowy
mountains, in various rugged and -grotesque shapes, I
were seen |us,t to rear their heads above the lofty
pine trees, w&ich appeared to compose an umnte:$8
rupted forest, between us and the snowy range,
presenting a most pleasing landscape ; nor was our
west view destitute of similar diversification. The
ridge of mountains on which Mount Olympus is
situated, whose rugged summits were seen no less
fencifully towering over the Ibrest than those of
the east aide, bounded to a considerable extent our
western horizon; on these, however, not one conspicuous eminence arose, nor could we noavr distinguish that which on the isea-coast appeared to be
centrally situated, forming an elegant biforked
mountain. From the south extremity of these
ridges of mountains there seemed to be an extensive tract of land, moderately elevated and beautifully diversified by pleasing inequalities of surface, enriched with every appearance of fertility. ;
The narrow channel from Possession Sound, at
the back of the long isjand lyifig at its mouth, COASTS AND HARBOURS.
which Vancouver named Whidbey's Island, affords
some small but convenient harbours ; its northern
entrance is so choked with rocks3 as to be scarcely
practicable for vessels; but itssouthern is wide, and
the navigation unimpeded; here the country wore the
same appearance, presenting a delightful prospect,
consisting chiefly of spacious meadows, elegantly
adorned with clumps of trees* In these beautiful
pastures, bordering on an expansive sheet of water,
the deer were seen playing about in great numbers.
The soil principally consists of a rich black vegetable mould, lying on a sandy or clayey substratum.
The country in the vicinity is represented as of the
finest description, its nat^ri8*productions luxuriant,
and well supplied with streams of water.
The northern arm of the straits commences in an
archipelago of small islands, well wooded and fertile,
but generally without water; in one of them, however, Vancouver found good anchorage, though
exposed to the south, having* wood, water, and every
necessary; this he named Strawberry Cove, from
that fruit having been found there in great plenty,
and the island, from the trees which covered it,
Cypress Island. About this part the continental
shore is high and rocky, though covered with
wood; and, it may be remarked generally, that the
northern shore of the gulf becomes more rocky and
sterile, showing gradually a less and less variety of
trees, until those of the pine tribe alone are found.
Above the archipelago the straits widen, swelling out to the east in a double bay, affording good
anchorage, beyond which the shores become low
and sandy, and a wide bank of sand extends along
them about one or two miles, closely approaching
the  opposite  side of the gulf, leaving a narrow
i jj il
but clear channel. This bank, affording large sturgeon, was named by Vancouver after that fish ;
and keeping to the south around it, he did not observe that here the gulf receives the waters of
Frazer's river from the north. It is navigable for
seventy miles, but vessels drawing more than (
twelve feet water cannot pass the bar at its mouth,
and its course is, like that of the Columbia, impeded by sandbanks. The Hudson's Bay Company
have a fort, called Langley, twenty miles from its
mouth. Here the gulf is open, and the navigation unimpeded, except by a few islands on the
north shore ; one of them, named by the Spaniards
de Feveda, deserves notice ; it is parallel with the
shore, narrow, and about thirty miles long.
In this part of the gulf, in the month of June,
Vancouver saw a great number of whales; and
here also he met, as we have seen, the Spanish
vessels, Subtil and Mexicana, despatched for
that purpose from Nootka Sound, under the command of Senors Galiano and Valdez, who, having
already examined the south-western shore of the
gulf, proceeded to assist him in prosecuting an
inquiry into the character of the north-eastern.
The peculiar feature of this continental shore is,
the long narrow channels of deep water, from this
circumstance called canals, which wind circuitously
round the base of its rocky mountains; towards
the north-west they get longer and more intricate;
the gulf becomes contracted and blocked up with
islands, and the shores rise abruptly, in high black
perpendicular rocks, wearing on the whole so barren
and dreary an aspect that this part of the gulf
obtained the name of Desolation Sound.
It is, however, probable that the general feel- COASTS AND HARBOURS.
ing of the dreariness of this region proceeds in a
great degree from the contrast it affords to the rich
and beautiful country to the south; for it is described as highly romantic in character, cleft by
deep dells and ravines, down which torrents rave
with foam and thunder, high rocks of every variety
of fantastic shape, and, above all, snow-covered
mountains of massive grandeur; yet escaping the
imputation of being " sublime in barrenness," from
the number of fir-trees, which, springing from every
crevice, clothe with dark verdure their rocky and
precipitous sides. Among the natural features
of this part of the north shore of the gulf, must
not be omitted, on account of their singularity, the
small salt-water lakes, which are found divided
from the sea only by a narrow ledge of rock,
having a depth over it of four feet at high-water.'
They are consequently replenished by the sea every
tide, and form salt-water cascades during the ebb
and rise of the tides; some of them, divided into
several branches, run through a low swampy woodland country. Here also are streams of water, so
warm as to be unpleasant to the hand; and every
feature of this district evidences the violent effort
of nature in its production. Except the coast and
canals, nothing is known of it; but its mineral
riches are scarcely problematical. The channels
between the several islands which here obstruct the
gulf are narrow, deep, and much impeded by the
strength of the tide, which is sufficient in some
places to stop the progress of a steam-vessel, as has
been frequently experienced by the Hudson's Bay
Company's steam-boat Beaver; yet Vancouver
found no difficulty in working his vessels through
Johnstone's Strait, the passage between these islands
d 2
I 58
and the southern shore, against a head-wand; being
compelled, as  he  says,  to   perform a  complete
traverse from shore  to  shore through its whole
length, and without meeting the least obstruction
from rocks or shoals.    He addsy " the great dep&fcjj
of water, not only here, but that which is generalhd
found washing the shores- of this very broken and,
divided  country, must ever be considered a peculiar circumstance, and a great inconvenience to
its   navigalfcion; we,   however,  found; a sufficient
number of stopping-places to answer all our purposes, and in general without going far out of o»i|
way."    From this archipelago,  extending  about
sixty mile% the strait widens into a broad expanse,
which swells to the north in a deep sound, filled
wfthislands, called Broughton's Archipelago.   Thiss
part was named by Vancouver Queen Ghastotte's-
Sound; and is here fifteen miles broad, exclusive
of the archipelago, but it contracts* immediately tov
less  than  ten, and   sixty miles  from   Johnstone
Straits joins the Pacific, its northern boundary,,
Cape Caution being in lat. 51° 10'.    The entrance
to the Sound is choked with rocks and shoals.
Here, between Broughton's Archipelago and
Cape Caution, another mountain, called Mount
Stephens,, conspicuous from its irregular form and
great elevation, and worthy to be named* with those!
to the south, seems to mount guard oventhe northern entrance to the Straits.
The southern shore of Queen Charlotte's Gulf
and JohnstoneVStraits, and the Gulf of Georgia
and the northern shore of the Strait of Juan de
Fuca proper, are formed by the east and south sides|
of a large island, of which the Spaniards, having
examined the coast in 1792, as we have see% IB COASTS AND HARBOURS.
was named by mutual consent of the English and
Spanish, after their commanders, the island of
.'Vancouver and Quadra.
It is in form long and narrow, in length about
250 miles, and in average breadth 50, with a
surface of upwards of 12,000 square miles. A
range of lofty hills extends through its whole
length, and it is perhaps even more fertile, and has
more open glades and land fit for cultivation, than
the southern continental shore. Its western side
is pierced by deep canals, and has many excellent
harbours. Of these, Nootka, Clayquot, and Nitti-
nat Sounds are the principal and best^known ; but
there are others, especially one on the south-east
side, of great value. This 'has been described as
formed by two bays, each capable of containing a
large fleet. Mr. Dunn describes this country, in
point of beautiful scenery and fertility of the plains,
though not so large, as even superior to the Walla-
mette Valley, south of the Columbia, which, with
that of the Umqua and* Clamet, are considered the
garden of Oregon. It has beautiful rivers of
[water, and clumps and groves of trees of various
.kinds, scattered through the level lands; and here,
on account of the advantages it affords, and the fertility of the country round it, the Hudson's Bay
Company have established a large cattle-farm and
fort which is called Victoria. We have seen
«i3rat Nootka Soimd was discovered by Captain
Cook in 1778. His description, which succeeding voyagers have confirmed, is as follows:—It
4s situated at the bottom of a wMe bay, and
entered between two rocky points lying east-southeast and north^aorth-west, distant from each x)ther
between  three and   four   miles.     "Within  these 60
; mt
points the sound widens considerably, and extends
on to the northward four leagues at the least, exclusive of several branches towards its bottom. In
the middle are a number of islands of various
sizes: the cove in which our ship lay is on the
east side of the sound, and the east side of the
largest of them. The depth of water in the middle
of the sound, and even close down to the shore, is
from forty-seven to ninety fathoms. The harbours
and anchoring places within its circuit are numej
rous. The land bordering on the sea-coast is of a^
middling height and level; but within the sound it
rises everywhere into steep hills, which agree in
their general formation, ending in round or blunted!
tops, with some sharp though not very prominent
ridges on their sides. Some of these hills may be
reckoned high, while others of them are of a very
moderate height, but even the very highest are
entirely covered to their tops with the thickest
woods, as well as every flat part towards the sea.
He adds, the hills are little more than stupendous
rocks, covered with a thin layer of decayed vegetable matter, but qualifies this assertion by stating
that the trees in general grow with great vigour,
and are all of a large size. The climate is salubrious, and incomparably milder than that on the
east coast of America under the same parallel.
Clayquot and Nittinat Sounds partake of the same
character; indeed the former has been preferred
by some navigators. This, though, as we have seen,
the first spot on the coast occupied by Europeans,
and contested by the English and Spaniards, is now
nearly deserted, the trade in furs not being so
brisk as along the continental shores and northern
At the northern extremity of this island there is
a large and excellent field of coal. Spanish naturalists assert that iron, copper, and silver are
to be found in its mountains. Separated only by
a very narrow channel from the eastern shore,
lie the islands of Galiano and Valdez, near the
entrance of Queen Charlotte's Sound; of which
a group of scattered rocky islands, called Scott's
Islands, stretching away to the north, forms the
southern limits.
From Cape Caution, off which are several groups
of rocks to lat. 54° 40', where the Russian territory
commences, the coast has much the same character
as that already described between the Gulf of
Georgia and the sea, but that its harsher features
are occasionally much softened, and its navigation
less impeded. Throughout its whole length it is
cut up by long and deep canals, which form various
archipelagos of islands, and penetrate deeply and
circuitously into the land, which is high, but not
so precipitous as about Desolation Sound, and
generally covered with trees.
The islands lying close to the shore follow its
sinuosities, and through the narrow channels thus
formed the currents are rapid : those more detached
are more fertile: they are all the resort of the
natives during the fishing season. Their formation
is granite, the prevailing rock north of lat. 49°.
Distant thirty miles at its nearest and ninety at
its farthest point from the line of islands which
cover this coast, and under parallels 52° and 54°,
lies Queen Charlotte's Island, called by the Americans Washington. It is in form triangular, about
one hundred and fifty miles long, and above sixty
at its greatest breadth, and contains upwards of
sfc 62
four thousand square miles. Possessed of an ex 4
cellent harbour on its east coast, in lat. 53° 3', and
another on the north, at Hancock's River |the Port
Entrada of the Spaniards), it is a favourite resort
of traders. The climate and soil are excellent, |
hills lofty and well wooded, and its coast, especially
on the west side, deeply indented by arms of the
sea^among which may be named Englefield Bay j
andiGartwiaght's Sound.
Coal and some metals are said to have  been j
found on this island.
It has been remarked that the principal feature |
of this coast is its canals: these are connected with
the sea  by sounds, where their channels enlarge j
between the islands on the coast.    Of these, between  Cape  Caution   and   Cape   Ommany,   the
southern point of the Russian territory, there are
four, Fitzhugh, Millbank, Nepean, and Chatham I
/Sounds.    At the mouth of Fitzhugh Sound lies
Calvert's Island, above the Pearl and Virgin Rocks, j
off Cape Caution.   On it there is a mountain which j
is a conspicuous object from the entrance to Queen
Charlotte's. Sound. * This sound spreads into two "!
canals, the south of which  is divided  into two .]
channels^ called Bentink's Arms, and of these the l
northern is remarkable as receiving the waters of
Mackenzie's Salmon River.    Here, after crossing
the continent, he found by observation  that  he j
must be near the Pacific, and made an inscription
on the rock, which was visible when Dunn visited ]
the spot in 1833,    Near this place also Vancouver
found two good harbours, which he named respec- j
tively Poifes John and Restoration.     Here the
prevailing growth is hard wood, beech, maple, &c,
and the feature of the countBysnuch softened. COASTS AND HARBOURS.
M^bank Sound* lies a little to>the north of Fitzhugh Sound,- and near it the Hudson's Bay Company have a fort, called Fort M'Loughlin. Frenr
Ilitzhugh to Nepean Sound the Princess? Royal
Islands extend for about one hundred miles, and
are separated lorn the shore by a very narrow
channel*^ It dMdes into two arms. About the
southern the country is roGky and desolate, but
round the northern it is well wooded. Into this a
river, whicfo has been called Salmon River, falls?
and it terminates in a valley of considerable extend
from three to four miles wide, covered with tall
forest trees, chiefly of the pine tribes
Between Nepean and Chatham Sounds lie BItt's
Archipelago, which follows the coast-line for ahout
one hundred miles, and Banks Island, separated
from it by a very narrow channel about forty miles
long: the;chores are rocky and covered with pine-
trees. Inland the country is mountainous. At
Port Essington, on the continental shore, a variation
of 13°, from the obsecmtions of the previous day,
was observed in the needle by Vancouver, indicating the highly magnetic character of the rock^
From Port Essington another island extends for
about thirty miles* parallel to the coast; on its
northern point, which Vancouver named Maske-
leyne, the Hudsonte B&y Company have established
a fort, called Simpson. This is the northern liftiit
of the coast of this territory. From this point two
long and wide canals stretch deep into the land in
a northerly direction: the western divides the
British from the Russian territory for upwards of
fifty miles; the eastern, terminating in Salmon
Cove, receives the waters of Simpson River above
two hundred miles north of Mackenzie's Salmon
d 3
% 64
River ; and about half way between these another
river, called also Salmon River, has been noticed ;
the three divide the inland country into nearly
equal portions. These canals form an inland navigation, called, it was supposed, from its magnitude,
Ewen Nass, but more probably after the Nass tribe,
who inhabit the coast; unless, indeed, they take
their name from it, ewen signifying great. But ii
is to be remarked that tesse signifies water, and a
mistake of nass, or ness, for tesse is not improbable
on the part of the voyagers. The country is here
well watered and wooded, and abounding witH
game. North of Chatham Sound is the coast claimed
by the Russians for ten leagues inland to Mount
Elias, in lat. 60° 15', the interior being part of
the British dominions in North America. Beyond
that point the north-western part of the continent
belongs solely to that country: its features are
similar to those that have been described as prevailing north of lat. 51°, excepting that the island!
are larger, the canals wider and deeper, and the
harbours more numerous and important, until lad
58°, when the coast, bending towards the west, presents an unbroken line to Point Riou, below Mount
Elias, with the exception of one large and deep
inlet, named Behring's Bay, where there is a harboui
of some capacity. From this description of the
principal features of this coast, extending 1100
miles from Cape Mendocino to Cape Ommanyj
the northern part of Chatham Sound ; to the nortli
its iron-bound coasts and Western Archipelago;
in the centre, Vancouver's Island; the Straits of
Fuca and Puget's Inlet; and to the south the mouth
of the Columbia, and the unbroken coast to the
north and south of it;   the truth of the asser- (   65   )
/Ss*%//> doyquot
Capt Flattery. C ^vj[**Wy,^
Scale of Mi leu.
IS        80        45      60
1 ' ' «
Destruction 1.^
Print GfronWW«71
Gray's or
Bull/inched Harbow
tort* Dfocotwy\(un //evil
Mount \  #*
Olympu..        JrlWw)  If
D»ja/>/>o»'nrm«nf. /,      "t6
Point Adams
If ii
tion before made is most evident, viz. that its maritime importance is entirely confined to the strait of
Juande Fuca and southern extremity of Vancouver's
Island,—the entrance to the ports south of that
limit being embarrassed with sand-banks, and of
those to the north impeded by the rapid currents,
depth of water, and rocky shores. Here, however^
are presented a series of harbours unrivalled in
quality and capacity, at least within the same
limits; and here, as has been remarked, it is evident the future emporium of the Pacific, in West
America, will be found; so that we aire not surprised to find M. Duflot de Mofras, in his i Exploration xlu Territoire de l'Oregon,' saying of it,
with whatever itruth, but with especial reference to
Admiralty Inlet, "XTest le point a la conservation duquel tendent ^tous les efforts de la Com-
pagnie d'Hudson, dans les negociations du gou-
vernement Anglais avec les Etats Unis pour le
reglement des frontieres;" or Mr. Wilkes, expressing their character thus briefly but significantly :—
Nothing can exceed the beauty of these waters
and their safety; not a shoal exists within the
straits of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet, Puget's
Sound, or Hood's Canal, that can in any way interrupt their navigation by a 14-gun ship. I
venture nothing in saying there is no country in
the world that possesses waters equal to these." 68
Although there has been always a prestige in
favour of the sailor whose adventurous prow ha J
first tracked the waters and penetrated the harJ
bours of strange lands,—though imagination warms!
with   the delights of the sunny sea, scarce  dimpled by the soft breath of the zephyr,-.—while the
gallant vessel, spreading her white canvass to the]
balmy air, glides swiftly under its influence toward J
the wished for shores, already beginning to casts
their varied and picturesque shadows in the ocean's!
glassy mirror, while sea and sky are vocal with the
notes of their feathered tenants, and dolphins sporq
their thousand hues before the stranger's eyes, the!
beaux of the deep waters,—-so that at the thought )
we exclaim with the poet—
g He who hath sailed upon the deep blue sea,
Hath seen at times, I ween, a full fair sight p
or recurring to the horrors of the lee-shore and!
midnight gale, the surf-covered reefs and iron-
bound coast, or the still more terrific tornado of
the tropics, the vessel on her beam-ends, and masts
bending like bulrushes and snapping by the board ;
the sea, boiling like a whirlpool, making a clear
breach over all, and yet by "hairbreadth 'scapes'
they live to tell the tale, how the wind changing, or
the over-strained vessel righting, or perchance in
open boats they get safe to land, and there in val*
leys breathing perfume, amid groves loaded with
fruit and gladdened with the song of birds, they
recruit their wearied bodies, and refit or rebuild
their ocean home, to proceed to new dangers and
new escapes: although such scenes have thrown
a halo round maritime discovery, and led many an
ardent spirit to $ tempt the-briny foam," yet, if
the labours and dangers be considered, the traveller
may well claim an equal share of glory and
admiration with the sailor, although it be not
heightened by the poetry of the ocean. Not less
are his fatigues, not less his dangers; nay, he carries not with him, snail like, his home and its
comparative comforts; nor has he the means of
escape from dangers when imminent, nor under
difficulty and discouragement so many comrades to
assist and assure him; strong in himself alone, he
must proceed, independent of circumstances, and
prepared to find in the course of his travels those
necessaries of life which he is unable to carry with
Such ideas naturally suggest themselves to the
mind when about to review the series of journeys
by which the interior, and more especially of the
north-west part of America, was opened to the
knowledge of the civilized world, and which display not only the dangers and difficulties, but the
courage and endurance necessary to meet them in
the brightest colours; and numerous are the
" moving accidents by flood and field " which the
narration of these record.
Previous, however, to entering on the series, it
is necessary to advert to the causes which led to
such undertakings in North-West America.   They
I w
i ill
Sky be stated bidefly as springing from -tbe desire*
t$ discover a north-west passage, but with respeca
to the Oregon territory, more especially from thef
rivalry of the British and American i&r traders,,
which has been continued in that of nations.
Canada havi^ been transferred to the former!
nation, and the United States having become^ independent,  peace let loose the active spirits foa
which war had found employment; many of them!
sought excitement in the life of wild adventurel
which the woods, plains, and mountains afforded, ;j
a&Ofci! to which   sufficient zest  was given  by thm
danger arising from wild beasts, and the natural
marauding propensities of the savages, who inhabit
them.   Inured by such a life to Ml and danger, and]
to- such a haMt of self-denial as would reduce thm
sum even of the necessaides of life to a very comparatively trMing amount, the hunters and trap--
pers, into which the soldiers of*'the war had beeiii
converted, spread themselves over the north and
west frontiers, and while, in many cases, enriching-
themselves   at   the expense   of   the Indian,  and
causing fearful scenes of oppression on the one hand,
and retaliation on the other, scenes grateful only
to the novelist, who had ratlier paint the conquest!
of man over his fellow men than over himself—
were nevertheless the pioneers of civilization and
science; and, to use an expression familiar at leasts
to them, " broke  ground'   for  their  successor^
whose united efforts  completed what their  individual strength and energy had begun.    Such men*
have been in all cases the guides of the exploring
parties; their unsettled  life,  consequent  on   thei
pursuit of game, giving them the necessary local
knowledge, and their self-dependent existence en- TRAPPERS AND VOYAGEURS.
abling them to meet and overcome the difficulties
and dangers incident to such expeditions. Of these
America produces three classes—the hunter of
eastern forests and lakes, the voyageur of the northern rivers, and the trapper of the western mountains and prairies; yet to all these perhaps equally
belong the characteristics of the borderer, un-
blenching courage, untiring energy, and unerring
precision of judgment in case of uncertainty;
the characteristics of the borderer not only in the
West, but universally, whether, as in days of yore,
when, on our own borders, they
" Cheered the dark bloodhound on his way
Or with the bugle roused the fray;"
«r, as at present, oi& the shores of the Baltic, the
plains of Africa, or the ghauts of India, modified
only by local circumstances and the influence of climate ; in short, a development of the animal faculties resulting from constant cultivation, to the exclu-
:sion of all mental, excepting such as are necessary to
the cultivation of the other, or, from want of knowledge are evidenced only in morbid affections like
ttiperstition, the natural result of the*solitude and
sifece which during a great part of their time
surround them, and the sources of natural sublimity among which they pass their days. Another
century^nd their place will know them no more;
they wil exist but in &he pages of history and
romance; in productions of the imagination too
strange forttruth, and truth stranger than fiction.
It will   not   appear  strange  that superstition
s& one characteristic of the borderer, even to paralyzing   his   courage,   weakening   his  perception,
and abridging his powers  of endurance.    Who
i ?
SP"1 -«, W"JJ* ■
f n
that has passed, if but one night, amid the
solitudes of the primaeval forests, and seen the
shades gathering slowly around the stately pillars
that support their ribbed roofs of Nature's vaulting, but must have acknowledged his own insignificance, and the presence of superior intelligences,
whose aspirations might befit so mighty a temple,
and rise accepted by its maker,—who, that-has
listened till his sense of hearing, travelling the
deep profound, hath in the lowest depth attained
a lower still, until consciousness, tuned to the
highest pitch, responds to the rustle of a leaf, or
the slightest breath which gives it motion; whose
eye, fathoming the gloom, grows conversant with
shades of darkness, and measures its depths until
imagination peoples its immensity, and establishes
a kingdom of shadows, but must have felt the chill
power of that undefined fear which acknowledges
the connexion of matter with mind, and body with
spirit, the visible with the invisible; and even if
rebuked by reason and education, his mind rebels;
yet still he feels the icy chain wrapped close around
him, paralyzing his attempts at resistance, till he
confesses that wnat is called superstition is inherent in human nature. Who that has felt this,
but must acknowledge the mighty influence she
must exert over those whose house is of Nature's
building, whose associates are her productions,
whose communings are of the lessons she teaches.
Who that has watched the broad expanse of a
transatlantic lake flinging back from the trans
parent emeralds which deck her sunny bosom the
U. level light" of the declining orb of day, till the
rosy hues of the autumnal woods deepen into
purple, and the hoarse croak of the frog and nigb&l TRAPPERS AND VOYAGEURS.
hawk are hushed to silence, as in one broad blush
of crimson light the glorious luminary sinks to
rest, and as the shades grow deeper and the outlines melt in softer shadows, myriads of fairy lamps,
flitting from side to side, enliven without enlightening the scene, till the eye is fixed on one without
motion which glistens with softer light and deeper
scintillations; and the broad disk of the Queen of
Night rising slowly over the darkening woods,
silvering their leafy sides, and reflected by the calm
depth of the silent lake, pales all the lesser fires,
and reveals her harbinger; and as she pours her
silver floods on hill and vale, on wood and wave,
again revealing all that had been lost—
" In fond imaginings,- has thought it meet
For the abode of rarer spirits, or has deemed
In such a world his soul might ever dwell,
There rove the everlasting woods, and quench
His thirst in founts of immortality ¥'
or is it strange that the wilder scenes, where
nature's vast convulsions seem to have prepared a
fitting place for the dwelling of wilder habitants,
have been, by the same imaginative process, peopled
with darker and fiercer spirits, whose hatred of mankind is emulated by the wild beasts, and natives
as wild as they ? or that the spirits of the dead
still haunt the scene of murder, and glide ghastly
over the grass waving dark and rank from their
own blood ? or that from father to son the memory
of such deeds is handed down, and the feud bequeathed as a sacred trust to be executed at a fitting
opportunity? or that so conversant with danger
and uncertain of life, the heart should grow harder
and the feelings become blunted, and human suffering be but lightly estimated, much less that of THE OREGON.
the brute creation ? is it not rather to be wondered
at that any sense of responsibility is retained, that
any kindly feelings are left, and that not unfre-
quently the deeds of generosity and heroic self-
devotion should emulate those of bodily endurance
and animal courage ? Here is no morality but that
$f£the heart, no religion but that of nature : here
no Sabbath bells awik-e the soul with joyful harmony to a glad reception df the words of peace and
love; in the desert there is no God of grace but
as he is so manifested in the wor%s of nature. If
then we read, or have read, of a want of the outward circumstances of religion among the trapped
and hunters of the west; if superstition enchains
their minds and quenches their manly courage in
childish fear; if the fiercer passions are most prof
minent, and the softer and more amiable less frequently developed, let not the children of civilizB
tion and luxury recoil from them as unworthy the
name of brothers, but rather consider whether the
many vices which prevail among themselves are nm
a greater disgrace to humanity than the harsher
lines which darken the features of the lonely inhal
bitant of the deseri, like the deep shadows of his
native rocks and woods, or whether his virtues|
which, though perhaps less beautiful than the sofdl
effects of cultivation, are not yefc*findications of
superior energy and strength.
On the great plains at the foot mf the Rocky
Mountains ^the trapper is equestrian: these are
u the Mountaineers " of the romances of the Wesjl
With his blanket and traps on his back, his welk
tried rifle, and his faithful horse, he is perhaps the
most independent of human beings; and the ardour
with which he will pursue his solitary labour from TRAPPERS AND VOYAGEURS.
year to year in wilds and deserts, through pathless-
woods and over trackless mountains—now stemming the swollen river, now galloping over the
far-extended prairie—at night lying down by the
embers of has fire, uncertain what the morrow may
bring forth, but prepared at all events to overcome
its difficulties and dangers by fresh exertions of his
indomitable courage and perseverance.
Of the trappers there are two kinds; one in the
regular pay of the Hudson's Bay Company, now the
usual  source of employment  in  the West;   the
other the free trapper.    The former is supplied
with all necessaries for his sojourn in the desert
from the Company's stores, and returns to them all
the skins he procures*    The latter is paid so much
per skin.    These generally leave the fort near or
in which they have wintered in parties of fift$ or
sixty, who, during their search after the fur-bearing
animals, keep sufficiently near to afford some protection to each other, and, if possible, they return
to the fort ins the fall.    It frequently happens, however, that they are obliged to camp out during the
winter.    In this? more regular mode of trapping,
the fear of the Hudson's Bay Company is no inconsiderable safeguard, and their hunting-grounds,
excepting towards the United States and California,
being well defined, and occupied with consent of the
Indians, there is not so much of the excitement*
which has been spoken of;  but about the head
waters- of the southern branch of the Columbia^
the Missouri, and tributaries of the Mississippi, the
Colorado, and Rio del Norte, where yet linger the
solitary free trappers, relics of the American Fur
Companies, the peculiarities of this life are still to
be found in all their lights and shadows.    In these '6
dwell the Blackfeet Indians, the whij
man's mortal enemies, and, it must be confessed;
not without reason; and their hatred should seem to
be continually fomented by numerous aggressions
on the part of the Americans, citizens of th$
United States; for the wholesome discipline of the
Hudson's Bay Company prevents this odium at*
taching to their servants. To rob a Black foot trap!
per and despoil him of his hard-earned stock of
furs is no uncommon occurrence when opportunity)
offers. This is of course retaliated, and not unfrel
quently murder is added to robbery, for whichB
deep revenge is taken in due season. The accounts
given by the American travellers, Townsend and
Farnham, of the escape of two trappers, will, what4
ever amount of credit be attached to them, serve
to exemplify the character and habits incident to
their life. The former of these travellers, perceiv-f
ing the chief hunter of his party standing aloof
from the circle in which some Otto Indians were
smoking with their principal men, inquired thej
reason. The hunter, whose name was Richardson j
and whose tall iron frame and almost child-like
simplicity of character rendered him the counter-!
part of Cooper's Hawkeye, thus explained hisj
conduct. " Why," said he, " that Injun that sat
opposite to you is my bitterest enemy. I was once
goittg down alone from the rendezvous with letters
for St. Louis, and when I arrived on the lower
part of the Platte river, just a short distance be-J
yond us here, I fell in with about a dozen Ottos.
They were known to be a friendly tribe, and
I therefore felt no fear of them. I dismounted
from my horse, and sat with them on the ground.
It was in the depth of winter; the ground was co- TRAPPERS AND VOYAGECRS.
vered with snow, and the river was frozen solid.
While I was thinking about nothing but my dinner,
which I was then about preparing, four or five of
the cowards jumped on me, mastered my rifle, and
held my amis fast, while they took from me my
knife and tomahawk, my flint and steel, and all
my ammunition. They then loosed me and told
me to be off. I begged them, for the love of God,
to give me my rifle and a few loads of ammunition,
or I should starve before I could reach the settlements. No, I should have nothing; and if I did
not start off immediately, they would throw me
under the ice in the river; and," continued the
excited hunter, while he ground his teeth with
bitter and uncontrollable rage, %. that man that sat
opposite you was the chief of them." They had"
taken his horse, his blankets, and everything he
had, except his clothes, and he only contrived to
prevent starvation and reach the settlements by
trapping prairie squirrels with nooses made of his
own hair; and can we wonder at his declaration,
" Several years have passed since this happened,
but, if any opportunity offers, I will shoot him
with as little hesitation as I would shoot a deer "?
More marvellous is the story told by Farnham
of a trapper who had separated from his companion,
and travelling far up the Missouri by chance discovered a most beautiful valley. Here he thought
he could remain till his death. " The lower mountains were covered with tall pines, and above and
around, except in the east, where the morning sun
sent his rays, the bright glittering ridges rose high'
against the sky, decked in the garniture of perpetual frosts. Along the valley lay a clear, pure
lake, in the centre of which played a mj&ber of m
fountains that threw their waters many feet abw
its surface, and sending tiny waves rippling aw%
to the pebbly shores, made the mountains and
groves that were reflected from its bosom seem to
leap and clap their hands for joy at the sacred
quiet that reigneeb among them. He pitched his
tent on the shore, in a little copse of hemlock, and
set his trapm. Having done this he explored can
fjally the valley for ingress,, egress, signs, &c. His
object was to ascertain if the valley were tenanted
by human beings, and if there were places of
escape should it be entered by hostile person
through the pass that led himself to it. He fow
no other, except one for the waters oil the lake,
throu^i a deep chasm in the mountain, and tUfe
was such that no one could descend it aifve to the
lower valleys ; for as he waded and swam by turns
down its waters he soon found himself drawn by
an increasing current, which sufficiently indicated
to him the cause of the deep roar thati*resounded
from the cavernie bekrw. He accordingly made
the share, and climbed along among the project™
crags till he overlooked an abyss of fallen rocfej
into which the stream poured and foamed, and
was lost in the mist. He returned to his camp
satisfied he had found an hitherto undiscovered
valley stored with beaver and trout, and grass for
his horses; where he could trap fish and dream
a while in safety. And every morning for three
delightfdl weeks did he draw the beaver from the
deep pools, where they had plunged when the
quick trap had seized them; and stringing th0
two and two together over hisi*pack-horse, bore
them to his camp, and with his long side-knift
stripped  off the   skins   for fur, pinned them to
the ground to dry, and in his camp-kettle cooked
the much-prized tails] for his mid-day repast.
j Was it not a fine hunt that ?' asked he, ; Beaver
as thick as mosquitos, trout as plenty as water.
But the ungodly Blackfeet!' The sun had thrown
a few rays upon the rim of the eastern firmament
when the Blackfeet war-whoop rung around his
tent a direful " whoopah hoon," ending with a
yell, piercing sharp and shrill through the clenched
teeth. He had but one means of escape—the
lake. Into it he plunged, beneath a shower of
poisoned arrows—plunged deeply—and swam under
while he could endure the absence of air. He
rose; he was in the midst of his foes swimming and
shouting1 round  him:   down
and   up  to
breathe, and on he swam with long and powerful
sweeps. The pursuit was long, but at last he
entered the chasm which he had explored, plunged
along the cascade as near as he dared, clung to a
shrub that grew from the crevice of the rock, and
lay under water for the approach of his pursuers.
On they came; they passed, they shrieked, and
plunged for ever into the abyss of mist."
But after the summer hunt, with the winter they
return either to the Company's forts or to some hill-
embosomed valley, where they may rest safe from its
storms; where, although the snow lies thick on the
mountains, and the winter blasts howl over their
rocky sides, their horses can crop the green grass
of the river bank, and round the table, smoking
with the fat loins of the mountain sheep, they
forget the trials they have undergone, and recruit
their strength for the next campaign. Such a
place is one called Brown's Hole, situated about
lat, 42°  north on  the Sheetskadee River.     Its
*meh wM%l&"
elevation is about 8000 feet ab®ve the sea, about;
six miies in diamete%ishut in in all directions byt
darkfrowniig mountains rising 1000 feet above it/
The river sweeps through it in a beautiful curve
to the south-west, when it rushes through a narrow
channel of lofty cliflsi.    The plain  is rich with
mountain grass, even in the winter, and "dotted?
with little copses  of   cotton wood   and willow."
Around it the Snake Indians often winter^iand the?
trappers collecting pass the time together in animal
enjoyment and wild revelry.     In the centre is ar
little fort, named Fort David Crocket.
But the race is giving place to the squatter, an<&
he again will be supfdantedrlby the farmer and me^
chanic. The cultivation of mind and soil wMl pro+
gress together, and as the country is made more*
accessible by theii labours, and they become less!
wanted, they will gradually cease from among men#
The race of- trappers, says Fremont, has almost
entirely disappeared—dwindled to a few scattered
individuals—some one or two of whom are regu4
larly killed in the course of each year by the Inv
The voyageurs, more fortunate in their extended
usefulness, continue their enterprising and active
lives. The trappers are oft all counMes, the*
voyageurs principally French Canadians; the for^
mer of a solitary and thoughtful forecasting
character, cold and immoveable as his BlackfocS
adversary jj the latter with not less powers of endurance, not less courage: pursuing their contest
with floods and rapids in company, are more livefjl
and excitable, and not unfrequently do the lofty*
rocks and overhanging woods ring with their wild
harmony, and the joyous chorus of their boat-songs, TRAPPERS AND VOYAGEURS.
as their canoes or batteaux dance madly over the foam
of the torrent, to the inexperienced eye threatening
immediate destruction, and which, indeed, even
thek skill and courage cannot always prevent.
Such a scene has been described by a late traveller,
and illustrates not less forcibly tfte 4£haracter of the
men than of the dangers and difficulties they encounter. It is subjoined in his own words :—
% We^ re-embarked at nfee o'clock, and in aboT#
twenty minutes reached the next canon (tMs word,
pronounced kanyon, is of Spanish origin, signifying
a hollow tube). Landing on the rocky shore at
its commencement, we ascended a ridge to recon-
noMre. Portage was out of the question. So far
as we could see, the jagged rocks pointed out the
course of the canon, on a winding line of seven or
eight miim; It was simply a narrow dark chasm
in the rock ; and here5 the perpendicular faces wer#>
much higher than in the preceding pass, being at
this end two to three hundred, and further down,
as we afterwards ascertained, five hundred feet in
vertical height. Our previous success had made
us bold, and we determined again to run the canon.
Everything was secured as firmly as possible, and
having divested ourselves of the greater part of
our clothing, we pushed into the stream. To save
our chronometer, Mr; Preuss took it, and attempted to proceed along the shore on masses of
rock, which in places were piled up on either side ;
butr after he had walked about Hve minutes, everything like shore had disappeared, and the vertical
wall came squarely down into the water. He
therefore waited until we came up. An ugly pass^
lay before us; we made fast to the stern of the
boat a strong rope about fifty feet long, and three
e 2 82
men clambered along among the rocks, and with
this rope let her down slowly through the pass. In
several places high rocks lay scattered about in the
channel; and in the narrows it required all our
strength and skill to avoid staving the boat (it was
of Indian rubber material, fitted with air-cases at
the sides) on the sharp rocks. In one of these the
boat proved a little too broad, and stuck fast for
an instant, while the water flew over us; fortujl
nately, it was but for an instant, as our united
strength forced her immediately through. The
water swept overboard only a sextant and a pair of
saddle-bags. I caught the sextant as it passed byj
me, but the saddle-bags became a prey to the whirlpools. We reached the place where Mr. Preuss
was standing, took him on board, and with the aid
of the boat, put the men with the rope on the succeeding pile of rocks. We found this passage
much worse than the previous one, and our cohJ
dition was rather a bad one. To go back was impossible ; before us the cataract was a sheet of foam,
and, shut up in the chasm by the rocks, which in
some places seemed almost to meet overhead, the
roar of the water was deafening. We pushed off
again, but after making a little distance the force
of the current became too great for the men on the
shore, and two of them let go the rope : Lajeunesse,
the third man, hung on and was jerked head foremost into the river from a rock about twelve feet
high, and down the boat shot like an arrow, Basil
following us in the rapid current, and exerting all
his strength to keep in the mid-channel—his head
only seen occasionally like a black spot in the
white foam. How far we went I do not exactly
know, but we succeeded in turning the boat into TRAPPERS AND VOYAGEURS.
an eddy below: " 'Cre Dieu," said Basil Lajeu-
nesse, as he arrived immediately after us; "je
crois bien que j'ai nage un demi mille." He had
owed his life to his skill as a swimmer, and I determined to take him and the two others on board,
and trust to skill and fortune to reach the other
end in safety. We placed ourselves on our knees,
with short paddles in our hands, the most skilful
boatman being in the bow; and again we commenced our rapid descent. We cleared rock after
rock, and shot past fall after fall, our little boat
seeming to play with the cataract. We became
flushed with success, and familiar with the danger,
and yielding to the excitement of the occasion,
broke forth together into a Canadian boat-song.
Singing or rather shouting, we dashed along; and
were, I believe, in the midst of the chorus, when
the boat struck a concealed rock immediately'at
the foot of a fall, which whirled her over in an
instant. Three of my men could not swim, and
my first feeling was to assist them, and save some
of our effects; but a sharp concussion or two convinced me that I had not yet saved myself. A
few strokes brought me into an eddy, and I landed
on a pile of rocks on the left side. Looking round,
I saw that Mr. Preuss had gained the shore, on
the same side, about twenty yards below, and a
little climbing and swimming soon brought him
to my side. On the opposite side against the wall
lay the boat bottom up; and Lambert was in the
act of saving Descouteaux, whom he had grasped
by the hair, and who could not swim. " Lache
pas," said he, as I afterwards learned, " lache pas,
B Crains pas," was the reply, " je
avant que de te l&cher."    Such
cher frere.
m'en vais mourir i
,was the reply of courage and generosity in this
danger. For a hundred yards below, the current
was covered with floating books and boxes, bales of
blankets, and scattered articles of clothing ; and so
strong and boiling was the stream, that even our
heavy instruments, which were all in cases, kept
on the surface, and the sextant, circle and long
black box of the telescope were in view at once.
For a moment I felt somewhat disheartened. All
our books—almost every record of the journey^-our
journals and registers of astronomical and baro-
metrieal observations—had been lost in a moment
But it was no time to indulge in regrets, and I immediately set about endeavouring to save something
from the wrefek. Making ourselves understood as
well as possible by signs (for nothing could be
heard in the roar of waters), we commenced out
operations. Of everything on board, the orify^M
tide that had been saved was my double-barrelled
gun, which Descouteaux had caught and clung to
with drowning tenacity. The men continued down
the river on the right side; Mr. Preuss andssnyr
self desoended on the side we were on ; and Lajeu-
nesse, with a paddle in his hand, jumped on the
boat alone and continued down the canon. She
was now light, and cleared every bad place wilt
m^ch less difficulty: in a short time he was joined
by Lambert, and the search was continued for
about a mile and a half, which was as far as the
boat could proceed in the pass. Here the iwatt
were about five hundred feet high, and the fragments of rocks from above had choked the river
into a hollow pass but one or two feet above tte
surface. Through this and the interstices of the
rock the river found its way.    Favoured beyond
our expectations, all our.registers had been recovered, with the exception of one of my journals,
which contained notes and incidents of travel, topographical descriptions, and a number of scattered
astronomical observations; in addition to these we
saved the circle; and these with a few blankets
constituted everything that had been rescued from
the waters." Their dangers by water thus over, they
had got others in prospect by land; the sfcpry is
thus continued:—" The day was running rapidly
away, and it was necessary to reach Goat Island,
whither the party had proceeded on, before night.
In this uncertain country the traveller is so much
in the power of dhance, that we became somewhat
uneasy in regard to them. Should anything have
^occurred, in the brief interval of our separation, to
'prevent our rejoining them, our situation would be
rather a desperate one. We had not a morsel of
provisions—our arms and ammunition were gone,
and we were entirely at the mercy of any straggling party of savages, and not a little in danger
of starvation. We therefore set out at once.
Climbing out of She canon, we found ourselves in
a very broken country, where we were not able to
recognize any locality* The scenery was extremely
picturesque, and notwithstanding our forlorn condition, we were frequently obliged to stop and admire it. At one point of the canon the red argillaceous sandstone rose in a wall of five hundred
feet, surmounted by a stratum of white sandstone;
and in an opposite ravine, a column of red sandstone rose, in form like a steeple, about one hundred and fifty feet high. Our progress was not
very rapid. We had emerged from the water half
naked, and on arriving at the top of the precipice
/i 86
I found myself with only one moccasin. The fragments of rock made walking painful; and I was
frequently obliged to stop and pull out the thorns
of the cactus, here the prevailing plant, and with
which a few minutes' walk covered the bottom of
my foot. We crossed the river repeatedly, sometimes able to ford it, and sometimes swimming,
climbed over the ridges of two more canons, and
towards evening reached the cut, which was named
the Hot Spring Gate. Leaving this Thermopylae
of the west, in a short walk we reached the red
ridge, which has been described as lying just above
Goat Island. A shout from the man who first
reached the top of the ridge, responded to from
below, informed us that our friends were all on the
island; and we were soon among them. We founj
some pieces of buffalo standing round the fire for
us, and managed to get some dry clothes among the
people. A sudden storm of rain drove us into
the best shelter we could find, where we slept
soundly, after one of the most fatiguing days I
have ever experienced." Amid such scenes and
their accompanying difficulties and dangers, and by
men so competent to overcome them, was the western part of the interior of North America discovered* m
(   87   )
The fur traders of Canada having, through their
dissensions with the Hudson's Bay Company, and,
indeed, among themselves, previous to the establishment of the North-Western Company, reduced
the number of fur-bearing animals in the immediate neighbourhood of the great lakes, pushed
their operations in all directions into the Indian
country, and having established forts on the Sas-
catchewan, Athabasca, and Red Rivers, as well as
the head waters of the Mississippi, stretched northward to the Lake of the Hills, where they erected
the trading fort, since then so well known as the
starting point of expeditions for discovery of the
interior and north coast of the American continent, by the name of Fort Chippewayan.
Alexander Mackenzie, who had risen to the station of a partner in that Company, and was even
among them remarkable for his energy and activity both of body and mind, having, with others
of the leading partners, imbibed very extensive
views of the commercial importance and capabilities
of Canada, and considering that the discovery of a
passage by sea from the Atlantic to the Pacific
would • contribute greatly to open and enlarge it,
^undertook the task of exploring the country to the
north of the extreme point occupied by the fur
traders.    This he calculated on doing by means of
ii 88
• i
a river reported by the Indians to flow from the
Slave Lake into the sea, to the west of the Copper
Mine River, which had, in 1771, been discovered
by Hearne.
For this purpose, in the year 1789, he left Fort
Chippewayan, in lat. 58° 40' N.; and crossing thi
Lake of the Hills in a canoe, entered the Peace
River, or rather, the river connecting the Lake of
the Hills with the Slave Lake, now called the
Slave River, into which the Peace River flows.
Following its course, he passed through the Slave
Lake, and entered a river, until this time unknown
to Europeans, except by report, which has been
called by his name Mackenzie River; and following its course, arrived in the end of July at ita
mouth, in lat. 69°. Having thus established thJ
fact of the continuation westward of that northern
ocean which Hearne had, in 1771, discovered
more to the eastward, he returned home.
As this journey does not directly affect thi
country to the west of the Rocky Mountains, a j
more extended notice is unnecessary. It may,
however, be mentioned that in their recent disi
coveries Mr. Bell and Mr. Isbister have ascertained
the source of the Peel and the Rat tributaries]
of Mackenzie's River. The former, rising near
the sources of the northern head waters of the
Peace River, in lat. 63° 40', and running in a
north-western direction, joins Mackenzie's River
near its mouth. The other, having its sources*
in a chain of lakes near the Russian boundary,
about lat. 65°, by a northerly and easterly
course joins the Peel with one mouth and the
Mackenzie, close to the sea, with the other. The
character of the country lying between these rivers PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
being low and swampy, and covered with lakes,
and the continuation of the Rocky Mountain chain
here developing itself in limestone strata, all serve
to direct us to the west as the continuation of the
main line of those mountains.
Mackenzie's views of commerce in the northwest of America led him to desire the knowledge
of a communication with the Pacific, if one existed
(which he did not doubt), equally with the northern
ocean; and accordingly, in Oct., 1792, he left
Fort Chippewayan on an expedition for the purpose
of obtaining it.
In order to commence his discoveries as early in
the*spring as possible, he had determined to proceed to the most distant settlement of the traders
towards the west in the autumn, and accordingly
ascended the Peace, or, as it is called by the
Indians, the Unijah River, for upwards of two
hundred miles, where he built a log house, in lat.
56° 9' and long. 117° 35' W.: here he spent the
Leaving this place on the 9th of May, 1793, he
continued his course up the river, which he found
flowing through a delightful and verdant country;
but as they approached the mountains the banks
became higher, the current more rapid, and the
forests denser- After not a few difficulties and
dangers, which were overcome more by his own
courage and self-possession than the constancy of
has Canadians, he reached the source of the Peace
Biver in the beginning of the month of June.
This he found in a small lake situated in a deep
snowy valley, embosomed in woody mountains'.
The lake is about two miles in length, and from
three to h've hundred yards wide: he found in it
trout and carp, and its banks were clothed with
spruce, white birch, willow, and alder: it is in
lat. 54° 24', long. 121° W., by his computation.
This is the principal water of Mackenzie River ;
which, after its junction with the Elk River below
the Lake of the Hills, having already run a distance of upwards of five hundred miles, reaches,
under the names of Slave River and Mackenzie
River, the Arctic Ocean after a further course of
one thousand miles.
From this lake he found a beaten path leading
over a low ridge of land of eight hundred and
seventeen paces in length to another lake rather
smaller than the last. It is situated in a valley
about a quarter of a mile wide, with precipitous
rocks on either side, down which fall cascades,
feeding both lakes with the melting snows of the
mountains. Passing over this lake, he entered a
small river, which, however, soon gathered strength
from its tributary mountain streams, and rushed
with great impetuosity over a bed of flat stones:
these are the head waters of the Tatouche Tesse,
or Frazer's River. In following its course he met
with many difficulties and dangers from the extreme rapidity of the current, its many falls and
rapids. He found the Indians here differing little
from the Rocky Mountain Indians, whom he had
seen on his first journey, but much from the Chip-
pewayans, Knistenaux, and other Indians with
whom he had been in communication in Canada:
they dwelt in semi-subterranean houses, and are now
called the Carriers. The country he describes as
very beautiful after reaching the more open part
of the river: it rose rather abruptly about twenty-
five feet, when the precipice was succeeded by an PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
inclined plain to the foot of another steep, which
was followed by another extent of gently rising
ground,— these objects, which were shaded with
groves of fir, presenting themselves alternately to
a considerable distance.
Having received from the natives a description
of the river, he continued his journey to lat. 52i°,
when, altering his original intention, he returned
up its course to lat. 53i°, and prepared to go from
thence toward the Pacific by land. Building a log-
house to contain his canoe and such articles as
could not be carried, Mackenzie and his companions
started on their land journey, each carrying a load
of pemmican, and having, besides their arms, ammunition, instruments for astronomical observations,
and articles for presents. According to the report
of the Indians, it did not require more than six
days to reach a country where they bartered their
fors for iron, and that from thence to the sea required only two days more. Among them he found
two halfpence, one the coin of Great Britain, the
other of the State of Massachusetts, coined in 1787,
six years before. Proceeding westward, he found
women clothed in matted bark, edged with the skin
of the sea-otter.
Here, in July, he found the mountains covered
with compact snow; and yet the weather was
warm, and the valleys beautiful. Descending from
these, probably the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, among the precipitous sides of which two
rivers have their rise, and unite at 1 the base, he
found the country covered with large trees, pinesj
spruce, hemlock, birch, and abounding in animals ;
and lower down the river he observed the loftiest
elder and cedar trees he had ever seen.   Following THE OREGON.
the course of the river thriugh a deep ravine, he
reached an Indian village, where the river abounded
in salmon. Here he commenced his voyage down
it towards the Pacific, having obtained a large canoe
from the natives. This he found adorned with the
teeth of the sea-otter; and as the chief to whom it
belonged affirmed that he had some years before
seen on the coast large canoes full of white men,
Mackenzie conceived that the similarity wliieh these
teeth bear to those of man would account for
Cook's report that the natives of the coast decorated
their canoes with human teeth, especially as these
Indians corresponded in dress and manner with
those described by him.
On the 19th July he arrived where the river
discharges itself into a narrow arm of the sea. On
the 21st, continuing his voyage along the coast j
and across the sound, to that point which Van*
couver, as lately as the 4th of June preceding,
had named Point Menzies, he met an Indian,
who told him that a large canoe had come
into the bay, filled with white people; that
one of them called Macubah had fired on him
and his friends. This was, perhaps, one of Va™
couver's vessels, but the transaction cannot be
On the south-east face of the rocks bordering
what he subsequently ascertained to be the Cas*
cade Canal of Vancouver, Mackenzie inscribed in
large characters with vermilion, mixed in melted
grease, this brief memorial:—| Alexander Mao
kenzie, from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of
July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four."
He computed the latitude at 52° 21' N. On the
23rd he reached the mouth of the river whence he PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
had set out, and from thence returned by the
Tatouche and Peace rivers to Canada.
The results of this journey were important, more
especially when taken in connexion with his former
discoveries, and Vancouver's and Cook's surveys of
the coast, proving beyond doubt that there could be
no communication between the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans from the mouth of Mackenzie's river to Cascade Canal; and as the former lies under the 135th
meridian of longitude, it in a great measure confirmed Vancouver's opinion, so decidedly expressed,
that none would be found on the N. W. coast.
It is to be observed that, from the description of
the natives, Mackenzie imagined the Tatouche to
be the Columbia, a mistake which, when the contiguity of their sources and channels are considered*
need not much surprise us.
In 1766, Captain Jonathan Carver of Connecticut, a soldier of the Canadian war, left Boston by
way of Detroit and Michilimaekinac for the waters
of the Upper Mississippi; here he spent two years-
among the Indians.
His avowed object was to cross the continent, and
having accomplished this, to induce the government
of England to establish a fort on some part of the
Strait of Anian, which having, he adds, been disw
covered by Sir F. Drake, of course belongs to the
British. The course he proposed to have taken was
by the Lake of the Woods and Lake Winipeg to the
head waters of the great river of the West, which
falls into the Strait of Anian. This he mentions
more than once as the Oregon, and he appears to
have derived his knowledge from the Indians, and,
considering its sources, it is not incorrect. He states
that the four most capital rivers in America have '
i 94
their sources near each other—this shows that these
parts are the highest in America.—He calls them
the Shining Mountains, and his description of them,
excepting in regard to latitude, which must have
been with him only estimated by guess, is sufficiently accurate to identify them with the Snowy
and Rocky Mountains.
It is certain, however, that his is the first account
of the river, and that it offered a stimulus to further
The cession of Louisiana to the United States
by the French directed the attention of the govern!
ment of that country to the head waters of the
Missouri and Mississippi, with the view, doubtless,
of extending their territories as far to the west as
possible. For this purpose President Jefferson organised an expedition of discovery to those regions,
which he placed under the command of Captains
Lewis and Clarke, with instructions to proceed
from thence across the Rocky Mountains to the
* In May, 1804, they were afloat on the Missouri,
their party consisting of forty-five; and having
traced its waters to lat. 41° in the country of the
Mandan Indians, they built a fort in which to pass
the winter.
In April, 1805, they left Fort Mandan, and as-f
cending the stream, passed the Yellowstone River,
the Roche Jaiine of the French traders. Above
this they came to the great Falls of the Missouri,
where for many miles it forms a continuous series
of rapids, and in one place throws itself in an unbroken sheet over a shelving rock, which crosses
the whole breadth of the river.
Qn th$ 19th of July they came to the pass which* PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
they called the Grand Gates of the Rocky Mountains. Here the rocks for five miles rise perpendicularly from the water's edge, and for three miles
there is no possibility of passage on either side. The
river is here 350 yards wide, and forms one of the
most sublime scenes in nature, the dark rocks which
overhang its mighty waters frowning fearfully on the
daring intruder.
Delayed by the rapidity and windings of the
river, Capt. Clarke went forward on foot to explore
the route, and pierced into the recesses of the
mountains, until the stream became so small that
one of the party, in a fit of enthusiasm, " thanked
God he had lived to bestride the Missouri." At
length they reached a chasm in the mountain, from
one side of which welled out the spring-head of
the mighty river whose course they had traced for
more than three thousand miles. " They had now
reached the hidden sources of that river which had
never yet been seen by civilized man; and as they
quenched their thirst at the chaste and icy fountain,
as they sat by the side of the little rivulet, they
felt rewarded for all their labours and difficulties."
Crossing the rocky barrier that was before them,
they soon descended into the country west of the
mountain. Here they fell iu with some women of
the Shoshones or Snafce Indians, and conciliating
them by presents, gained the confidence of the
tribe. Having smoked the calumet with them
Capt. Lewis succeeded in prevailing on some of
them to go to the assistance of his companions,
whom he had left with the canoes. A great inducement to them to render this assistance was
found in the knowledge that with them there was
a black man with curled hair. i
From hence they struck the waters of the Koos-
kooskee, and proceeding down for about four hundred miles, reached to the main branch of the Snake,
which they called Lewis River, They suffered
much from the roughness of the mountain side,
over which their path lay, and the want of food,
which compelled them to kill and eat their horses
and purchase dogs of the natives for food. From
this they obtained the sobriquet of dog-eaters
from the Indians, who, however, were not long in
acquiring a preference for it over the usual food of
dried fish.
On the Lewis River they buSt canoes, and soon
arrived at the Great Falls. The first deseent was
twenty feet, round which they carried their canoes.
A mile below the river shot rapidly over a ledge
eight feet in height; down thisjfehey dropped their
canoes by ropes. They had now passed the first
pitch of the falls. The next day they came to the
second, where the river foicbes itself through a narrow
passage of only forty-five feet, having a huge wall
of black rock on either side. Seeing no possibility
of carrying the canoes and luggage over this precipice, they determined to shoot the fall, and, to
4he astonishment of the Indians, piloted their frail
barks in safety through its foaming whirlpools.
Below they passed another bad rapid; and at
length they arrived at the Great Narrows, where
the river is compressed for three miles in a channel
of from fifty to one hundred yards wide. They
had, however, gained confidence by their former
success, and though the current rushed over its
roeky bed with fearful rapidity and terrible noise,
they succeeded in passing safely through.
As they descended the river its channel widened PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY
gradually, and shortly they perceived the tides*
Ascending a .hill, they enjoyed a view of that
ocean which they proudly imagined was to be the
only barrier to the spread of American dominion
towards the west. It took them, however, a fortnight more to reach the river's mouth and esta?-
bhfih themselves for the winter. They first landed
at Cape Disappointment, but finding this not suitable, from the rise of the water, crossed the river
to Port Adams. Here they built a fort, which
they ealled Fort Clatsop. From this point they
only succeeded in reaching the coast thirty miles
below the mouth of the river, near Cape Look-out,
and in March, 1806, commenced their homeward
journey by the same route as they had arrived.
On reaching the Koos-kooskee at the point
where they had embarked,- they took a due easterly
course, and struck the waters of the Flat-head
River, which they named Clarke's River, near where
.the forty-seventh parallel crosses it; and Capt.
Clarke proceeded up the river and across the Rocky
Mountains to the sources of the Yellowstone River,
down which he floated in canoes to its junction
with the Missouri; while Capt. Lewis, descending
the river £qr some distance, crossed the mountains
in lat. 47-J-0 to Maria's River, one of the sources
of the Missouri; and following i& course, found
his companions at the mouth of the Yellowstone,
when they proceeded home together. The account
of this journey abounds in romantic incidents, and
is generally well known. It was important in a
geographical point of view, as affording correct
information of the source of the Missouri and
Yellowstone, and more particularly of the Columbia, and the territories through which they flow.
Three passes were also ascertained as existing in m
R m"
that part of the Rocky Mountain Chain, not,
indeed, now of any great importance, but sufficient
to prove the practicability of reaching by therii
th£ shores of the Pacific.
The spirit of enterprise induced by the fur trade
now began to extend a knowledge of the country
to the west of the Rocky Mountains, and in 1806
Mr. Simon Frazer, in the employ of the North
West Company, crossed that chain and established
a trading fort on a lake at the head of the Tatouche
Tesse, called from him Frazer's Lake and river, one
hundred miles to the north of Mackenzie's track.
This was consequent on the compelled cession of
Forts Detroit and Michilimackinac to the American
Fur Company, and the consequent contraction of the
North West Company's operations towards the south.
In 1808 the Missouri American Fur Company
established a fort on the Snake River by their
agent, Mr. Henry, but the enmity of the savages
and difficulty of procuring provisions rendered the
attempt abortive.
In 1810 another .attempt, which also proved a?
failure, was made to establish a trading fort on
Oak Point, about forty miles up the Columbia
River, on its south bank. But the competition oj
the American traders with their Canadian rivals
did not stop here; a scheme for monopolizing the
whole trade of the territory west of the Rocky
Mountains, and extending it across the ocean to
China and Russia, was the same year broached at
New York by Mr. John Jacob Astor, a German
merchant residing there, who had for many years
been engaged in the trade of the Pacific, and in it
had accumulated a large fortune.
In pursuance of this plan, he engaged the assistance of several British subjects accustomed to the *!R*P
fur trade, three of whom had belonged to the North
West Company, and the English Consul at New
York agreed that in the event of war their property
should be respected as that of British subjects.
Voyageurs and others were also engaged, many
from the rival company, others American citizens,
and in September, 1810, the 4 Tonquin,' under the
command of Captain Rous, proceeded with the
first detachment to the mouth of the Columbia,
and in the January following another party started
for the same point by way of the Missouri and
Rocky Mountains. The ' Tonquin' arrived at the
mouth of the river and crossed the bar on the
24th of March. This was not effected however
without much danger and difficulty, and the loss
of three men, who tried to find the entrance in the
ship's boat.
They immediately commenced building a fort
and wharf at Point George, intending to establish
the chief factory of the company there. They
named it Astoria in honour of Mr. Astor, and commenced trade with the Indians.
The North West Company was not much behindhand in its exertions. Aware of the importance of the object of the Americans, Mr.
David Thompson, their astronomer, was sent with
a party across the Rocky Mountains, but the
severity of the winter delayed him there, and he
did not reach Astoria till July. He had followed the course of the Columbia from the 52nd
parallel, and was the first white man who navfe/
gated its northern branch: having accomplished
the purpose of his mission, he returned almost
The party which had been despatched overland
in 100
did not arrive at Astoria till the beginning oft
1812, having been more than a yearsjm their:* journey from the Mississippi. Their progress had been
retarded not only by the usual difficulties, but by
the Missouri Fur Company before mentioned,.-ifho
seem to have been more chrectly opposed to them
than the North West Company.
They took a different  route  from Lewis andt*
Glarke, bearing to^the south for fear of the Blacks
feet Indians to lat. 40°, whence proceeding with as
north-west course, they struck  one of the head
waters- of the Snake.    Here some of their partjl
quailed  before  the   difficulties  which   presented
themselves and returned to the States.    Now only
thirty in number, " they commenced their voyage
downwards, but froim*ihe rapidity of #ie current
and number of rapids, they determined, after having lost one man and a portion of their baggage,
to abandon such perilous navigation, and undertakes
the remainder of the journey on foot.    Some of
them however determined still to keep the river."
They were under a strong impression that a few
days would bring 4hem to the river Columbia, but
they were miserably disappointed ; for three weeksi
they followed the course of the river, which was one
continued   torrent,  running between   precipitous*
rooks.    Their sufferings were intense, being frequently obliged to broil the leather of their shoes
to sustain nature ; $ while to complete their misfortunes, they were often unable to descend the
declivities oft?the rocks for a drink of the water
which they saw flowing beneath their feet."
The Canadians, in the bitterness of their recollections, denominated this river " la maudite ri*«
viere enragee.
The other party did not suffer so much, from
occasionally meeting  the natives, who  however
always fled from them, leaving their horses behind;
some of these they killed for food, leaving goods in;
After a separation of some days the two parties
came-In sight of each other on different banks of
the river; in attempting to unite by means of a
canoe formed of a horse's skin^ one voyageur was
drowned, and the attempt was given up; subsequently, however, both parties reached Astoria in
safety by the help of the Indians.
The sufferings experienced in this journey gave
a bad name to thee head waters of the Snake river.
In June, 1812y a party from Fort Astoria,
among whom was Mr. Ross Cox, who has lefl*an
account of these transactions, proceeded up the
river in batteaux and wooden canoes to the fork,
and thence up the Snake river; subsequently they
established a fort on the Spokane river, and at the
mouth of the Okanagan, from whence they explored a considerable portion of the country in
that direction. But war with Great Britain breaking out, and a party of the North West Company's
servants, headed by Messrs. MacTavJbh and La-
roque, arriving with? the news, the head partners
at Astoria agreed to the sale of the Pacific Company's stations and furs to the North West Company, and their establishments were eventually
broken up. This measure has been animadverted
upon as unnecessary, but it appears to have offered
the only indemnification for the expenses of the
expedition, as the English were masters of the Pacific, and had despatched a vessel io destroy the
settlements on the Columbia.    All trade therefore:
]i< 102
u i
was at an end, and although the Company was in a
great measure composed of British subjects, yet
the vessels sailing under the American flag, as well
as the forts which hoisted it, were liable to seizure^
After this, although at the end of the war Astoria was provisionally restored to the United States,
yet they never took possession of it, and the whole
country remained under the influence of the North
West Company, which was much extended after
its union with the Hudson's Bay Company, and the
Americans did not appear in Oregon for fifteen
In 1827, Mr. Pilcher, an American trader, entering the south pass proceeded northward by the
Lewis river to Flathead Lake. On this beautiful water he remained during the winter, and
proceeded to Fort Colville, then a recent establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company on the
Columbia, a little below the union of Flathead
River with the main stream. if§§jlf     . |
In 1832, Captain Bonneville with a large party
passed some time in the Oregon; but little geographical knowledge is to be obtained from these
sources or from the missionary or emigrant expeditions which have of. late frequently crossed the
Rocky Mountains. The path is open, but the only
information of any value respecting it is to be derived from the accounts of Messrs. Spalding, Town-
send, and Farnham, from 1834 to 1840, and from
the recent expeditions to the Rocky Mountains
and down the Columbia to Fort Vancouver, and
thence into California, undertaken by Mr. Fremont, for the government of the United States.
One important feature the latter traveller has
developed, viz., the isolated character of the table   PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
land lying between the Snowy and Rocky Mountains and the rivers Colorado and Sacramento,
terminating in a point at the head of the Gulf of
California, thus demonstrating that the only value
which can attach to that country is confined to
its coast, to the west of the snowy range, and that
the Colorado and Sacramento are respectively its
connecting links with the Texas and Oregon districts. (  104 )
I i
Bounded on the south by the Snowy Mountain
range, on the north by the Babine and Peak mountains and the spurs which incline from the latter
to the coast; on the west by the Pacific; and on the
east by the Rocky Mountains; the natural district of
the river of the west lies compact and clearly defined by those great land-marks which the Author
of Nature has placed around it. Politically, with the
same boundaries east and west, it is limited by the
42nd parallel to the south, and by that of 54° 40f
to the north; but these arbitrary land-marks may
be varied, while the natural are unchangeable. On
entering on a geographical account of the territory,
it should be described as nature has left it; and it
may be remarked by the way that, with whatever
labour and cost arbitrary boundaries may be for a
time maintained, it will always be found at length
to have been without profit, and must of necessity
have a speedy termination.
Taking, then, these natural boundaries, and commencing from the south, we find the Snowy Mountains—the Sierra Nevada of the Spaniards—dividing, by a somewhat circuitous south-west course,
the head-waters of the river Colorado, falling into
the Gulf of California, and the Sacramento, which
empties itself into the harbour of San Francisco,
from those of the south branch of the Columbia DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
and the Clamet rivers, wrhich fall into the Pacific ;
they approach the Rocky Mountains near the south
pass from the United States, about which are the
sources of six great rivers, the Missouri, the Platte,
the Arkansas, the Rio Bravo del Norte, the Colorado, and the Snake, or south branch of the Columbia
river, near the 42nd parallel, and are the most lofty
mountains of the northern continent; and here also
are some detached but lofty ranges, jutting out into
the lower country, among which the most remarkable are the Wind Mountains, Long's Range, and the
White Mountains, which separate the river Bravo
from the Arkansas. South of this range, and separated from North California by a continuation of it
parallel to the coast, there is a great natural basin,
5000 feet above the level of the sea, of about 300
miles in breadth, stretching east arid west, and
about 500 in length, north and south, forming a
triangle, and filling a space between the mountain
barrier of the Sacramento and Colorado on the
east and west, and the Snake river on the north,
containing its own system of lakes and rivers,
having no outlet or communication with the sea,
and forming an almost impassable barrier between
the Oregon and California in that direction. The
road between the Snowy Mountains and the coast
line is not, however, difficult. Having passed the
Blue Mountain chain in lat. about 42^°, it then
abuts on the sea at Cape Mendocino, in lat. 40°,
while another branch takes a south course to the
east of the waters of the Sacramento. Running
north from their junction with the Snowy Mountains, the Blue Mountains bound the valley of the
Saptin or Snake or Lewis river on the west, and
terminate at the upper falls of the river Columbia.
M     !    ?, THE OREGON.
Here open plains extend between the two maidj
branches of the river, but to the north a chain of
mountains runs rn^the same direction between the
main branch of the Columbia and its tributary the
Okanagan, and unites with the Rocky Mountains
near the source of Frazer's River.
The Blue Mountains are united to the Cascade
or Presidents' range on the west by spurs between
the head-waters of the Clamet and Umqua and
the Wallamette and Cascade rivers, tributaries of
the Columbia, between which the Cascade range
runs north to that river, and thence past the inland
navigation of the branches of Juan de Fuca Straits*
till it loses its identity in the confusion of the
mountainous region north of Frazer's River.
This range obtains its name from the difficulties
it opposes to the passage of the Columbia to the sea,
breaking its course in a succession of rapids and
falls. It has also been called the President's range
by the citizens of the United States, who hav
given to its principal peaks the names of the chiei
magistrates of that commonwealth. From lat. 42^Q
to about the 47th parallel, these keep the line of the
coast, at about 150 miles distant, and spurs from
them and the Rocky Mountains occupy #ie terri*
tory of New Caledonia about the head-waters of the
Columbia and Frazer's river, and a branch striking
out of the confusion north of the Gulf of Georgia,
Broughton's Archipelago, and Queen Charlotte's
Sound, and running
a north-west direction, di
vides the head-waters of the tributaries of Frazer't
River from those of the Salmon and Mackenzie
rivers, falling into the Canals of the coast of the
Great Western Archipelago, under the parallels
5t2° and 54° norith lat., and then trending east round DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
those of Simpson's River, joins the Babine and Peak
ranges, which stretch north and west beyond the
limits of the territory. These, from recent discoveries of the course of the west tributaries to Mackenzie's River, may justly be considered the main
branch of the Rocky Mouatsains, dividing the
waters of the rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean
from those falling into the Pacific. The consideration of these mountain ranges will, in some
measure, indicate the course of the rivers, the two
principal of which, the Columbia and Frazer's
river, having their rise in the Rocky Mountains
east, and fed by tributaries from the Blue and
middle ranges on the west, and from the Babine and
Snowy Mountains on the north and south, by the
united forces of their hundred streams, breaking
for themselves a passage through the giant barrier
of the Cascade or Presidents' range, find their way
respectively into the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of
Georgia; there is, however, another range of mountains which runs close to the coast, as far as Moua#
Olympus, and passing through the entire length of
Vancouver's Island and the West Archipelago,
unites with the north-east branch of the Cascade or
Presidents' range, which is joined by the Babine and
Peak Mountains, at Mount Fairwe&ther, in lat. 59°,
and continues thence north-east to Mount St. Elias,
from wfelch the various ranges seem to originate,.and
whose Cyojopean rocks and snow-covered summits*
afford a fitting barrier between the two mighty
empires of Britain and Russia, the dominions of
which, embracing the globe from the east to the
west, unite at its base. Wherever the head-waters
of the rivers on the east and west sides of the Rocky
Mountains approach nearest each other, there have 108
been found passes through them: of these perhaps
the most important is the south pass, where the
Snowy Mountains are joined by the Wind River
Mountains and Long's Range, between the head
waters of the rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,
the California, and the Pacific Ocean. Through this
is the common road, rendered daily more practicable, by which the emigrants from the United
States bring their families and property in waggons
to the Oregon territory across the great prairies;
the highest peak at this pass was calculated by Mr.
Fremont in his recent journey to be about 13,570
feet above the level of the sea. There are two
passes a little to the north, between the head-waters
of the Missouri on the west, and Flathead and
Waptiacoos or north branch of the Saptin to
which the name of Lewis, originally given to the
whole, is usually now confined, which were the
routes taken by Lewis and Clarke, on their homeward journey; and again between those of the
Saskatchawan on the east, and Macgillivray's
River and the Columbia on the west; and more
northerly still, between Mount Brown and Mount
Hooker, in lat. 52^°, another very important
pass, offering great facility of communication between the Oregon and Canada, by the waters of the
Columbia and north branches of the Sarsatchawan,
which, flowing into Lake Winnipeg, gives easy
access to Hudson's Bay and the great lakes. Farther north still, the Unijah or Peace River gives
access by the Slave Lake and Mackenzie's River
to the Arctic Sea. These two latter break what is
usually esteemed the Rocky Mountain range; but
the flow of the rivers would rather induce the opinion which has been before expressed, that it does DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
not run from Mackenzie's River northward, but
is continued in the Peak and Babine ranges more
to the west, that which is usually esteemed the continuation forming a branch of them, and separating
the waters which run by various courses into the
Frozen Ocean, like the White Mountains on the
south those that fall into the Gulf of Mexico. They
may be called the Chippewayan range. The highest
point of the Rocky Mountains is probably Mount
Brown, said to be 16,000 feet high. Mount Hooker
has nearlv the same altitude.
The height of the Snowy Mountains has never
been accurately tested, but they are considered by
Mr. Fremont to be higher than the Rocky Mountains, the pass by which he crossed them to the
valley of the Sacramento being 2000 feet above
the south pass of the eastern range. Pitt Mountain, or, as it is called by the Americans, Mount
Jackson, or as by the trappers Mount Shaste, is
said to be 20,000 feet above the level of the sea:
the snow line of these mountains has been calculated at 6500 feet.
From Mount Pitt the Presidents' range or
Cascade Mountains are broken into many lofty
peaks, distinguished by the names of the Presidents
of the United States. They are not, however,
very generally known by them. Three of the
most remarkable have already been mentioned in
describing the coast, under the names given them
by Vancouver, Mounts Hood, St. Helen's, and
Rainier. Mount St. Helen's is perhaps the most
beautiful, if not the highest; it is of a conical
form, about 17,000 feet high : it is the Mount
Washington of the Americans.
The intricate courses of  the mountain chains
aa 110
indicating, as they must do, those of the rivers, it
will not appear strange that for the most part they
should be found very irregular also.
Tins is to be particularly remarked of the Columbia. It has two principal branches^ the southernmost of which has been mentioned as having
its sources under the 42nd parallel, not far from
those of the great waters of South America. It
is called the Nezperces, Saptin, or Snake River,
and bending to the west and north flows with a
serpentine course for nearly 800 miles, to lat. 46°,
where it joins the north branch, and their united
course is continued for upwards of 250 more to tfi0
sea, forcing a passage through the Cascade
Mountains to about half that distance, up to which
point, not far above Fort Vancouver, the river is
navigable, and the tides of the ocean are apparent.
The principal tributaries to the south branch
are the Malheur River, having its rise in the Blue
Mountains, and flowing under parallel 44°, about
half-way from the source, the Waptiacoos or north
branch, now usually called Lewis' River, having
its sources not far north of those of the main
branch, and the Kooskooskee or Salmon River,
whose head-waters closely approach those of the
Jflathead or south arm of the northern branch of
the Columbia. Besides these, there are numerous
others descending from the Snowy Mountains on
the south, the Blue Mountains on the west, and the
spurs of the Rocky Mountains on the east, among
which should be mentioned the Boisais, flowing
into the Snake a little above the Malheur, but
from the east side. The Hudson's Bay Company
have a fort situated near its mouth.    The course DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
of the north branch is very peculiar; it has its
souroe under the 50th parallel, whence flowing
north along the base of the Rocky Mountains, in
about lat. 52° 10', it unites with the water of Canoe
River, whi&h rises to the north in lat. 58°, near
the head-waters of Frazer's River; and another
branch, which rises in the north-west between
Mounts Brown and Hooker, having its source near
the head-waters of the Athabasca, which flows
into the chain of lakes through which the Mackenzie river discharges its waters into the Arctic
Sea. Here, as before mentioned, among the most
awlul features of mountain scenery, lies the great
northern outlet of the territory, resembling the
southern in many of its features, with even more
sublimity of character, but especially in having
the sources of several great rivers within a very
short distance of eaeh other. Here are the headwaters of the Athabasca and north tributaries of
the Saskatchawan, which falls into Lake Winnipeg,
and on the east the northern waters of the Columbia and the eastern branch of Frazer's River,
near a deep cleft in the mountains, which has been
called by the British traders | The Committee's
From the point of union of these three streams,
which has been called Boat Encampment, this,
which may be considered the main branch of the
Columbia, flows in a course nearly due south for
upwards of 250 miles, in the northern part of
which it rushes through defiles of the mountains,
but under the 50th parallel it spreads into a large
lake or chain of lakes; and lower still another,
below which it receives the waters of M'Gilliv-
ray's River, which having its rise to the north-west
f 3 112
of the head-waters of the main branch running
south as it does north along the base of the Rocky
Mountains, bends to the west, below parallel 42°,
whence taking a semicircular course to the north,
through a large lake, it joins the main branch
about four hundred miles from its source.
To these, not far to the south, are added the
waters of the Flathead, or Clarke's River, which,
from its sources in a great bend of the Rocky
Mountains, a* little to the north of those of the
Lewis River, under the forty-sixth parallel, skirts
the base of that range in a north-westerly direction
to Fort Flathead, in lat. 47° 40', when it continues
the same course through a great lake till it joins
the northern branch of the Columbia, about thirty
miles below M'Gillivray's River.
Their united waters take a westerly course for
upwards of one hundred miles, from Fort Colville
to Fort Okanagan, receiving by the way the
Spokain River from the Great Plain to the south,
and, at Fort Okanagan, a river of the same name,
the outlet of a chain of lakes which runs north one
hundred and fifty miles parallel to the great north
branch; and from hence, with a southern but sinuous
course, perhaps two hundred miles, to its junction
with the south branch at Fort Nezperces.
Below the junction of the main branches the
Columbia receives, among others of less note,
the waters of the Falls River, flowing from the
south between the Blue and Cascade ranges, and
below the cascades of the Wallamette, or Willamette, watering1 with its tributaries the vallevs to
the south of the latter mountains: lower still it
receives the Cowelitz from the north, havin.g its
source at the foot of Mount Rainier, from which DESCRIPTION OF INFERIOR.
also spring the Chekelis, which falls into Bullfinches'
or Gray's Harbour, and those flowing into Puget's
Sound, and which thus, in a measure, unite the Pacific and the Columbia with Admiralty Inlet in the
Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The mountainous country through which, for
the most part, all these rivers flow, contracts their
channels and quickens their currents, frequently
breaking: them into falls and cascades: in many
places they run in deep clefts worn in the solid
rock, and in others are compressed between walls
of rock. Such features, though contributing to
the picturesque, do not add to the navigable
quality of these waters: they are, however, generally navigable by canoes and batteaux, which are
carried round the falls and rapids.
The other rivers of South Oregon, besides the
tributaries of the Columbia, I are the Umqua and
Clamet. These, having their sources at the foot of
the Cascade and Snowy Mountain ranges, flow
through fertile and fragrant valleys to the sea, in
latitudes respectively 43° 50' and 42° 40', the one
close to Cape Gregory, and the other immediately
south of Cape Orford, the two most remarkable
promontories of the coast. The district watered
by these and the Wallamette has been esteemed
the Garden of the West.
The head waters of Frazer's River, or Tatouche
Tesse, have been mentioned as rising near those of
Canoe River, the most northern branch of the
Columbia, in lat. 531°: their united waters flow
with a western course about one hundred and fifty
miles, when they receive the Salmon River from the
north. To the sources of which, those of the Unijah
or Peace River closely approach, in one place
being only  three  hundred and  seventeen  yards 114
distant; tikis river having its rise, as has been
remarked, within the limits usually assigned tfl|
the Oregon: territory, breaking the chains of the
Rocky Mountains, falls into Lake Athabasca, and
then, by Mackenzie's River, unites with the Arctic
Ocean. A HfcWow Sainton River the waters of
Strait's River are added from the north-west, after
which it flows in a circuitous course till it unites
with the northern branch, or Thompson's Hiveff
whieh, rising near the source of Quesnel's River,
flows at the base of the mountains which bound
the Columbia to the west: this receives the waters
of several lakes in a course of above three hundred
miles. ^Tthe principal of the^e is Thompson^
above which it is joined by the Shouschwap, wWeh
has its rise between the Okanagan Lakes and main
streams of tfee Colitabia. Below parallel fifty,
bending to the west, it breaks through thelCascacle
Range and falls into thelprulf of Georgia. Its
whole course, though frequently stated at onljjk
three hundred and fifty, probably exceeds six tem-
clred miles in length. Its character differs from
pe Columbia generally, though assimilating partially with the northern branch of that river, ihfflMf
ing through marshy lands and lakes, among winch
Stuart's, on the tributary of that name, and Quesnel's, on one from the east, and Chilean on th|j
west, under paralM fifty-three, Thompson's on the
North River, and Shouschwap on a branch of the
same, are the most remarkable. The river is n&|
vigable for siventy miles up to Fort Langley. Its
character near~lhe Cascade Range is similar to that
of the Columbia.
Of the two rivers to the north, the Salmon and
Simpson^ittle is known.
As the mountain ranges indicate by their cours^A DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
those of the rivers, separating them from each
other, so they divide the Oregon territory into districts as essentially different m character as they
are distinct in locality-. The number of these has
usually been stated as three, but it is to be presumed this is with reference almost exclusively to
the Lower Oregon, or at most to the valleys of the
Columbia and its tributaries. It is only below
lati&490 that they may be distinctly traced. Of
these the first, and by far the best, lies between the Cascade Range and the sea: in it the
land is fertile, the forests of the most gigantic
grow$i, single pine-trees occurring more than two
hundred feet without a branch, and upwards of
three hundred feet high, while prime sound trees
from two hundred to two hundred and eighty feet
in height and forty feet in circumference are by no
means uncommon: it is ftchly diversified with hill
and dale, well watered by numerous streams,
abounding in game and fish, and backed by the
lofty peaks of the snow-covered mountains, offers
a prospect no less delightful for the luxuriance of
its productions than the beauty of its scenery,
heightened as both are by the fragrance of the
myrtaceous plants, whose slightest movement in the
summer breeze perfumes the valleys. This district
extends from the Clamet on the south to Vancouver's Island, and, indeed, may be said to be
continued through the whole length of the western
archipelago, but gradually losing its fertility as M
reaches the higher latitudes. The opinion of that
great navigator respecting the district about Ad*
miralty Inlet has been recorded, and that to the
south is in no way inferior. Its superficial extent
may be forty thousand square miles, exclusive of
I 116
Vancouver's Island. Among the northern islands
Queen Charlotte's partakes most strongly of the
character of this region.
^ Of the southern partof this district Lieut. Wilkes,
who commanded the late exploring expedition under
the United States government, says, " Few portions
of the globe are so rich in soil, so diversified in surface, or so capable of being rendered the happy
homes of an industrious and civilized community.
For beauty of scenery and salubrity of *climate it
cannot be surpassed. It is peculiarly adapted for
an agricultural and pastoral people, and no portion
of the world beyond the tropics can be found that
will yield so readily with moderate labour to the
wants of man." It may be added that cattle increase
spontaneously, swine multiply rapidly in the woods,
and the character of the country and climate is
admirably suited to European constitutions, the
latter being subject to no violent extremes, though
it is dry, But little rain falling from April to No|
vember, while the other three months form a rainy
season. With all its fertility it has not probably
more than one person for every five square miles
of soil. Into this district also extend the maritime
inlets and harbours which have been described in
the Strait of Fuca, and the mouths of the rivers,
though in the lower part, south of the Columbia, it
has ho maritime or mercantile advantages to boast
of, the value of the country for these purposes being
centred in Admiralty Inlet. The whole of this
district is naturally connected with the volcanoes
of the Caseade Range, and appears as rich in
minerals and metals as it is in vegetable and animal
productions: of all of these notice will be taken in
a subsequent chapter. DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
The second region lies between the Cascade and
the Blue Mountains on the south of the Columbia,
and the Cascade and spurs of the Rocky Mountains
on the north-west. Its lower part, through which
runs the Fall river, consists of terraced plains, projecting from the mountains, the sides of which are
covered with thick forests. It is a beautiful and fertile district. Its upper part, north of the Columbia,
expands, and the plains occupy the entire space
between the Flathead and Snake rivers, forming a
triangle upwards of two hundred miles in length,
and about one hundred in breadth, and extend to
the west of the main branch, and north between it
and the Okanagan to lat. 49°. The soil is chiefly a
sandy clay, and is covered with grass, and would
afford food to innumerable flocks and herds. The
undulations are however covered with small shrubs
and prickly pears; the bottoms near the rivers are
richer, having good grass ; these are found principally in the'south parts of the district, where the
usual sandy clay is mixed with vegetable mould.
The climate is dry, the days warm and the nights
cool, and the absence of moisture renders it even
more salubrious than the western district. The
rainy season, though as long, is not so severe ; snow
seldom lies in this region. It has, however, one
serious want, viz., wood, of which its northern part
is in a great measure destitute. Ross Cox, who
built Fort Okanagan, at the junction of the river
of that name with the Columbia, at the northern
extremity of this district, found there a large tract
of very fertile soil, sufficiently watered by the heavy
dews; there is also good hfnd about Fort lEkdville,
more to the west; also on the Spokain river, and
westward near the base of the Rocky Mountains, 118
I  W
thedand is generally fertile and well wooded, espe-
ciallv round the lakes in which the tributaries of
the Columbia have their rise.    Farnham, however,
a more recent traveller, seems to ha^e been-! wearied
by what he calls  | the monotonous desolation"
into a not very pleasing description of the plains,
but he admits the fertility of the valleys as well to
the south as near the rivers of the Okanagan and
Columbia   Of the %)okain river and its valley he,
speaks in higher terms; the upper part he describes
as   flowing   among   high   and   bold   mountains,
| sparsely covered \*?fth pines and cedars of a fine
size," spurs from the Rocky Mountain chain; indeed
this nfight almost be considered as belonging to the
thiifd district, but around the Pointed Heart Lake,,
through wjich it flows about fifty miles from its
source, are some grass lands, many edible roots,
and   wild  fruits.    This lake  is twenty-five miles^
long  by twelve broad.    " On all the remaining
course of the stream," he adds, " are found at intervals productive spots, capable of yielding modeJ
rate crops of grain and vegetables; there is considerable pine and cedar timber out the neighbouring hills, and near the Columbia are large forests;
growing on sandy plains ; in a word, the Spokain
valley can be extensively used as a grazing district^
but its agricultural capabilities are limited.    Thm
district Js continued to the east of Snake riven|
which is a buffalo country, and the hunting-ground
of the Snake Indians.
T|te third or highland district of Oregon is
formed by rocky mountain chains and deep gorges,
through which the upper waters and tributaries ©IS
the main rivers rush with great rapidity over ledges
of solid rock to the main valley.    However, the DESCRIPTION OF INTERIOR.
bases of the hills are generally partly covered with
trees, and present spots affording pasturage and
capable of cultivation; this we have seen to be the
case about Pointed Heart Lake, as it is also on
Clarke's or Flathead river and lake; indeed above
parallel 45 the character of this district is in comparison much ameliorated. Some notion of its features may be derived from the description afforded
by travellers of the great Northern and Southern
Ross Cox thus describes the country round Canoe river:—| On the morning of the 29th of May,
a thick mist still enveloped its, and rendered
the awful solitude of this gloomy valley peculiarly
impressive; it appeared never to have been trodden
by the foot of man until the enterprising spirit of
British commerce, after having forced its way over
the everlasting snows of the Rocky Mountains,
penetrated into the antisocial glen, and from
thence entered the mighty waters of the Columbia.
As the mists gradually aseended into the Jjigher
regions, we obtained a more distinct view of the
surrounding scenery. On the northern side tiers
of mountains, thickly covered with large pine and
cedar trees, towered to an immeasurable height j
while the southern presented dark perpendicular
rocks of immense altitude, partially covered with
moss, stunted pine, &c, over which at intervals
cascades of seven or eight hundred feet high forced
a'passage to swell the torrent below. The sun,
except in the intervals between the rocks, was invisible, and with the exception of our own party*
no trace of animated nature could be distinguished
aver the magnificent solitude."
This grand c£te, or principal belt, over which
I 120
the north pass ascends, he thus describes:—f At
its base were cedar and pine trees of enormous
magnitude; but in proportion as we ascended they
decreased in size, and at the summit of the hill
their appearance was quite dwarfish. We com-
jileted the ascent in about four hours and a half.
A short time before we reached the summit, and
from thence to the table-land, our progress lay
through a wilderness of snow, which wre had to
beat down, to form a pathway for the loaded met]
At one p.m. we arrived at two small lakes, between
which we encamped. They are only a few hujfl
dred feet each in circumference, and the distance
between them does not exceed twenty-five or thirty
feet; they lie on the most level part of the height;
of land, and are situated between an immense cut
of the Rocky Mountains. From these two rivers
take their rise, which pursue different courses, and
fall into separate oceans; the first winds into the
valley we had lately left, and after joining the Columbia, empties itself into the North Pacific, while
the other, called the Rocky Mountain River, a
branch of the Athabasca, follows first an eastern
and then a northern course, until it forms a junction with the Unijah or Peace River. This falls
into the Great Slave Lake, the waters of which are
ultimately carried by M'Kenzie's river to the
Arctic Ocean. The country round our encampment presented the wildest and most terrific appearance of desolation that can well be imagined ;
the sun, shining on a bright range of stupendous
glaeiers, threw a chilling brightness over the chaotic mass of rocks, ice, and snow, by which we were
surrounded ; close to our encampment one gigantic
mountain of a conical form towered magnificently
into the clouds far above the others, while at intervals the interest of the scene was heightened by
the rumbling noise of a descending avalanche,
which, after being detached from its bed of centuries, increased in bulk in its headlong career downwards, until it burst with a frightful crash, more
resembling the explosion of a magazine than the
dispersion of a mass of snow." Such are the Alpine
scenes of the north part of this region, as described
by one of the earliest travellers in it; and it may be
appropriately followed by the account of Captain
Fremont, the last who has described the scenery
around the South Pass. Respecting the general
character of the mountains he thus expresses himself:—" It is not by the splendour of the far-off
views, which have lent such a glory to the Alps,
that these impress the mind, but by a gigantic
corridor of enormous masses, a savage sublimity
of naked rock, in wonderful contrast with innumerable green spots of a rich floral beauty shut up
in their stony recesses." The correctness of the
impression thus conveyed is borne out by his description of the mountains below the South Pass.
"We entered directly on rough and rocky ground,
and had a glimpse of a waterfall as we rode along;
and crossing in our way two fine streams, tributary
to the Colorado, in about two hours' ride we
reached the top of the first row or range of the
mountains. Here again a view of the most ro-
mantic beauty met our eyes. It seemed as if, from
the vast expanse of uninteresting prairies we had
passed over, Nature had collected all her beauties
together in one chosen place: we were overlooking a valley which was entirely occupied by three
lakes, and from their brink the surrounding ridges
I 122
rose precipitously five hundred or a thousand jpejj
covered with the dark green of the balsam pine!
relieved on the border of the lake by the ligh§
foliage of the aspen. They all communicated with
each other, and the green of their waters, commoJ
to mountain lakes of great depth, showed it woul|j
be impossible to cross them. Descending the^JiiJlj
we proceeded to make our way along the margis
to the southern extremity. A narrow strip of an-*
gular fragments of rock sometimes afforded a rougll
pathway for our mules; but generally we $ode
along the shelving sides, occasionally scrambling
up, at a considerable risk of falling back into tin
lake. The slope was frequently 60°; the pines
grew densely together, and the ground was covered
with branches and trunks of trees. The air wjm
fragrant with the odour of the pines ; and I rel
alized this delightful morning the pleasure of
breathing that mountain air which makes a con-?
stant theme of the hunter's praise, and which now
made us feel as if we had all been drinking some
exhilarating gas. The depths of this unexplored
forest were a place to delight the heart of a bof
tanist; there was a rich undergrowth of plants and
numerous gay-coloured flowers in brilliant bloom*
We reached the outlet at length, where some,
freshly barked willows that lay in the water showed
the beaver had been recently at work. The hills on)
the southern end were low, and the lake looked like
a mimic sea, as the waves broke on the sandy
beach in th& force of a strong breeze. In sear|K
of smoother ground we rode a little inland, and
passing through groves of aspen, soon found ourselves among the pines; emerging from these, we
straek the summit of the ridge above the upper
end of the lake. We reached a very elevated spot;
and in the valley below, and among the hills, were
a number of lakes of different levels, some two
or three hundred feet above others, with which
they communicated by foaming torrents; even to
our great height the roar of the cataracts came up,
and we could see them leaping down in lines of
snowy foam. From this scene of busy waters we
turned abruptly into the stillness of a forest, where
we rode among the open bolls of the pines, over a
lawn of verdant grass, having strikingly the air of
cultivated grounds : this- led us, after a time, among
masses of rock which had no vegetable earth but
in hollows and crevices, though still the pine forest
continued. Towards evening we reaehed a defile,
or rather a hole in the mountain, entirely shut in
by dark pine-covered rocks. A small stream with
a scarcely perceptible current flowed through a
level bottom of perhaps eighty yards' width, where
the grass was saturated with water; ascending a
peak, we saw that the little defile in which we lay
communicated with the long green valley of some
stream, which, here locked up in the mountains,
far away to the south found its way in a dense
forest to the plains. We made our bivouac among
the pines: the surrounding masses were all of
granite. Among all the strange places on which
we had occasion to encamp during our long journey,
none has left so vivid an impression on my mind
as the camp of this evening; the disorder of the
masses which surrounded us, tjie little hole through
which we saw the stars overhead, the dark pines
where we slept, and the rocks lit up with the glare
of our fires, made a night picture of wild beauty
worthy the pencil of Salvator Rosa.
•77*1 (    124   )
The whole territory west of the Rocky Mountains;
having been subject to volcanic action, presents, as
has been observed, great diversity in surface and
the quality of its soil. To this cause it owes the
picturesque magnificence of its general outlines,
the lofty mountain peaks, the precipitous ravines,
the rapid torrents which characterise its romantic
scenery, and perhaps not less the fertility of its valleys,
the gigantic growth of its forests, and the verdure
of its plains. Consequent also upon this are many
curious natural features and phenomena which
should not be passed over unnoticed.
And first, among those as more particularly indicative of their origin, may be mentioned the Soda
Springs, or, as they are called from their acid taste
and effervescence, the Beer Springs, near the
southern pass.
They are situated at the bottom of a deep valley
formed by a circular bend of the mountain, at the
foot of which the river flows, and close to a grove
of cedars, at the source of Bear River, a tributary
of the Great Salt Lake, known only by reports of
the trappers until lately visited by Mr. Fremont.
The principal springs lie in six circular hollows^
sunk about two feet in the ground, and seven or
eight feet in diameter, each containing a number of
J fountains discharging gas and water with a noise
resembling the boiling of immense caldrons. In
these pools the water is clear, though some are
tufted with coarse grass, among which the water
wells up continually. They are also very abundant in the bed of the river, and for the space
of several hundred yards its surface is agitated by
the effervescing
gas into countless little bubbling
About a quarter of a mile lower down the river
the most remarkable of these springs is found. It
is called the Steam-boat Spring, having been so
named by different parties at different times, from
recalling to the recollection of each individually
the noise and appearance of a steam-boat in motion :
the gas, pent up in a cavernous receptacle below,
escapes from a small hole in the surface, in intermitting jets, with much the same sound as steam
from the escape-pipe of a high-pressure engine.
Above from the rock—which, gathered up in an
urn-like form, with a small basin at the top, appears to have been formed by continual deposits,
and is coloured bright red with oxide of iron—the
water is discharged in a scattered jet of some three
feet high, at irregular intervals, dependent on the
temperature of the spring, which is usually about
blood heat. The gas from the orifice produces a
sensation of giddiness and nausea when smelt.
The following analyses of the deported rock are
given by Mr. Fremont:—
Carbonate of lime       . . . 92
magnesia . . 0*42
Oxide of iron      .        . . . 1*05
Silica, alumina, water . . . 5*98
I 126
The water contains, by his computation,
Sulphate of magnesia.
„ -     of lime
Carbonate of lime
„ magnesia
Chloride of calcium .
12*10 graiti&
„ sodium  .
Vegetable matter
The carbonic acid, escaping before the analyses,
could not be taken into consideration. He thought
them less highly flavoured than those at the foot of
Pike's Peak, more to the eastward, which are also
of a much higher temperature. Near this place is
another very remarkable spring, contained in a
basin about fifty yards in circumference, the sides
of which are of calcareous tufa, composed principally of the remains of mosses, rising from three
to ten feet in height, and supporting the water
above the surface of the ground about it. It is
clear and pure, and about three or four feet deep.
At the base of a small hill in this neighbourhood
is another peculiar feature, consisting of numerous small limestone columns, tapering towards
the top, from whence the water welling over is
constantly increasing the height of those natural
obelisks. They are from three to four feet high,
and about one foot in diameter at the base. This
valley is wildly beautiful, walled in on all sides
with dark mountains rearing their craggy peaks
high into the air, and between their sombre walM
the verdant vajley and limpid river wind in soft
and mellow beauty. The scenery and phenomena
of the place inspired Mr. Farnham with prophetic
visions, and in the dim futurity of second-sight he
saw the springs surrounded by the lofty architecture NATURAL PECULIARITIES.
of baths and assembly-rooms, among which the rank
and fashion of the Oregon and Missouri, Texas and
California, flitted like gay insects in the sunbeam,
•seeking in the various modes of excitement offered
a refuge from ennui, or in the vigour-bestowing
properties of the water an escape from the lassitude
and indolence of body and mind which the same
debilitating vanities in their own countries had in-
duced, and sent them there to alleviate, if not to
And that some such fate may await this locality
is not unlikely: situated in the direct road from
the United States to the Columbia and California,
and at the head of the valleys of the Arkansas, Rio
Bravo del Norte, and Colorado, and not far from
the coast, it must ultimately form the nucleus of
four great roads connecting the Pacific and the Gulf
of Mexico with the United States. What may happen in the meantime is perhaps less easy to foretell.
Bear River flows through a level plain about
twenty-five miles in length, which it enters through
a Canon Gap, opposite where it receives the
waters of the Roseaux or Reed River, which rises in
ground filled with saline springs. This plain is
situated about four thousand five hundred feet above
the level of the sea, between rocky mountains whose
-snowy peaks are lost in the clouds four thousand
feet above; below, the river, winding through grassy
bottoms for fifteen miles, almost loses itself among
small pools and swamps abounding in wild-fowl and
fringed with stunted willows and rushes; in these
extensive marshes which form its mouth, the
ground is covered with saline efflorescences, with
only a narrow strip of vegetation, where sunflowers, roses, and flowering trees spring from the
1 128
verdant grass, which is fringed on the marsh with
saline plants. Near its mouth Mr. Fremont found
a stream of remarkably clear water flowing into
Bear River, and from this place he directed his
course to a lofty hill having the appearance of a
peninsula, where he hoped to gain the shores of the
lake; near this, in a gorge of the mountains, he
found a well-timbered stream about a hundred and
fifty yards wide, with high banks and clear water,
without any indications of salt; at the foot of the
mountains, however, he found hot saline springs,
where the thermometer rose above 130°, and
which stood in pools on the ground, coloured
bright red with oxide of iron, and having one-
fiftieth of its " components | carbonate of lime.
From the top of this peninsula he saw for the first
time the waters of the Great Salt Lake " stretching
in still and solitary grandeur far beyond the limits
of vision; several islands raised their rocky heads
out of the waves;" along the shores was not the
semblance of tree or bush, and but little appearance
of grass, and even on the river they had just left
the timber gathered into groves, and at last disappeared entirely, as they approached the lake. A
sudden squall, however, rushing down from the
mountains, entirely shut out from their view distant
objects, and left them still a prey to the excitement of imagination.
Having left some of his party in charge of the
horses and baggage, Mr. Fremont with the rest
embarked on the lake in an Jndia-rubber canoe
eighteen feet long, and provided with air-tight
cylinders to increase its buoyancy. Sitting by
their camp-fire—the summer frogs chirping round
them—under a mild autumn sky, glowing with the NATURAL PECULIARITIES.
brilliant orange and green of the setting sun, they
had the evening before been speculating on the
events the morrow would bring forth ; in these busy
conjectures they fancied they should find every one
of the large islands a tangled wilderness of trees and
shrubbery, teeming with game of every descrip
tion that the neighbouring
region afforded,  and
which had never been violated by the foot of white
man or Indian. Frequently during the day clouds
had rested on the summits of these lofty mountains,
and they indulged in anticipations of the luxurious
repast with which they should be indemnified for
their past privations, among their verdant groves
and limpid streams. Nor were the mysterious
dangers with which, in Indian traditionary story,
its shores are haunted, nor the mighty whirlpool
which, terrible as Chajybdis—
" imo barathri ter gurgite vastos
Sorbet in abruptum fluctus, rursusque sub auras
Erigit alternos, et sidera verberat unda"—
lessened by the discovery that their boat, instead of
being strongly sewed (like that which had the preceding year rode triumphantly through the Canons
of the Upper* Great Platte River), was only pasted
together, and this added to the impression of danger arising from the prospect of an undertaking
which had never before been attempted, naturally
gave a serious turn to the conversation; and the
view they had obtained of the lake the day before,
its great extent and mountainous islands dimly
seen among its dark waters in the obscurity of a
sudden storm, was well calculated to heighten the
idea of undefined danger with which it had been
usually  associated.    At  night   the   trappers had
g2 W£
ominous dreams, and with gloom on their counter
nances but gaiety on their tongues they prepared
for the adventure. Having passed a ridge of fetid
mud dividing the fresh water of the river from the
salt water of the lake, they steered for one of the
islands; but as the water deepened, and the waves
rose, the spray dashed over them, and in the
distance the white breakers rising high above the
surface recalled to their minds the whirlpool tradition ; and their frail boat, having burst two divi*
sions of its cylinders, requiring a constant supply
of air to keep it afloat, their efforts at gaiety
became subdued. Their bark, however, floated
over the waves like a water-bird, and they slowrjl
reached an island, the shores of which they found
covered with salt deposited by the spray of the
waves. At noon they landed on a broad beach *
here they found a bank from ten to twenty feet in
breadth and one foot in depth, composed of the
larvae of insects about the size of a grain of oats,
which had been washed up by the waters of the
lake, and ascertained that the insects which had
inhabited them formed an article of food among the
On the summit of this island, eight hundred
feet high, they enjoyed an extended view of the
lake enclosed in a basin of rugged mountains,
sometimes projecting in bold precipitous bluffs, at
others separated from the lake by marshy flats;
towards the south several peninsular mountains,, of
from three thousand to four thousand feet high!
entered the lake, appearing to be connected by flats
or low ridges with the mountains in their rear.
These are probably the islands usually indicated on
maps of this region; and  as it is possible that NATURAL PECULIARITIES.
during the high waters in the spring the low
grounds and marshes are overflowed, they may
then bear that character.
Their day-dreams of fertile islands entirely vanished in the prospect of the rugged rocks which
alone broke the surface of the lake; yet, as they
gazed on the vast expanse of its waters they could
hardly resist their desire to continue their explorations; the lateness of the season, however, compelled them to desist.
The waters of this lake are highly impregnated
with salt, and those which flow into the lake from
the east, as well as those which are tributary to
the Colorado, pass through cliffs of rock-salt.
Mr. Fremont in returning to the shore was
unable, from the strength of the gale which opposed him, to obtain the depth of the water of the
lake, or the character of its bed in deep water,
which, however, was of clay near the shore. The
mountains to the north of the lake seem principally
of blue limestone and granular quartz. The
bottoms by the rivers are verdant and extensive,
soil good, and timber sufficient. The mountain
sides bear good grasses. The salt-mines which
might be opened in this district would make it as
valuable, in a commercial point of view, as Mr.
Fremont's description would lead to the opinion of
its eligibility for the habitation of a pastoral people.
Its connexion with the United States is easy, and
the pass in the mountains dividing Bear River from
the head-waters of the Snake River, though steep,
is not difficult, being not more than two thousand
feet above the lake, which he estimated as six
thousand ^ve hundred feet above the Gulf of
Mexico. 132
Not far from the Beer Springs, on the plains to
the north of Fort Hull, are the Trois Butes or
Buttes, which form another very remarkable feature
in the country, and evidence of volcanic action.
The river here enters those apparently hewnJ
channels in the rock which can be traced gradually
increasing in depth from hence to the Dalles.
It runs through a high plain, bordered on the
south by the range of the Snowy Mountains. To
the north the plain is so rent and broken up by
these channels, as to be, according to Mr. Fremont,
altogether impassable: it is eight thousand feet
above the level of the sea. Here the Snake River
is nearly nine hundred feet broad, but suddenly
contracted by jutting "piles of scoriaceous basalt," in the form of a lock, over which the water
is precipitated. The plain to the south is bounded
by the Salmon River range, in front of which,
but standing prominently out from it, the 1 Trois
Buttes," three pyramidal peaks, probably volcanic
in their origin, rise some two thousand feet above
the level of the ground around them. Their bases
are richly clothed with evergreens, and small rills
bursting from their summits irradiate their dark
sides with verdant strips, which are continued along
the plain : their tops are usually covered with snow.
The whole scene is peculiar; in an elevated mountain region the sensation of flatness," existing to a
very great degree, diversified only by these three
huge masses rearing themselves out of the plain,
and they, standing there immovable, more like
works of art than nature,—gigantic tumuli fit to
have received the ashes of the Indian chieftains,
who, before the intrusion of the white men, roved
the undisputed masters of the plains. NATURAL PECULIARITIES.
The French word " butte," which has been naturalised among these rocky mountains, serves fully
to identify the objects to which it refers; its peculiarities of use are similar to the English butt,
which is no doubt derivable from it. Its local
application is to the detached hills or ridges which
rise abruptly, reaching too high to be called hills
and not high enough to be called mountains.    Mr.
o o
Fremont thinks the word knob, as applied in the
Western States, is the most descriptive term in
English, forgetting our application of the very
word to the mounds which formerly were the
marks for practice with the long-bow, and which
have afforded local names to many places in England. ;i Cerro," he says, "is the Spanish term,
but thinks no paraphrase or translation would preserve the identity of these picturesque landmarks,
familiar to the traveller, and often seen at a great
On the south side of the Snake River, below its
^inction with the Salmon or Lewis River, is another very remarkable natural feature, called the
" Grande-ronde;" it is a mountain valley surrounded by a wall of basaltic rock, as its name
intimates, circular, having a diameter of about
twenty-five miles, forming a beautiful level basiii,
covered with luxuriant grass, and well watered
by a tributary of the Snake River, which has its
rise within its circuit, and takes its name from it.
The soil is rich, and the hills above covered with
magnificent timber, principally larch; at its northwest side is also a " heavy body of timber," descending into the plain about the head of a very
deep and still creek. From Grande-ronde the
stream flows through a fertile valley of the same
,i M
character, but well wooded, till it falls into the
Saptin. Here the Cayuse, Nez Perce, and
Walla-walla Indians meet the Shoshones or Snake
tribe every year to barter salmon and horses in
exchange for roots, skin lodges, and elk and buffalo
meat; and here also a transaction took place which
is worth recording.
When Messrs. Lewis and Clarke were among the
Cayuse or Skyuse tribe, they presented them with
an American flag, calling it an emblem of peace :
how far it has ever proved such to Indian nations
need not now be inquired into; as such, however,
the Cayuse tribe received it. They had, with
their allies, been before this continually at war with
the Shoshones, but the latter hearing that such a,
flag was in their possession, it was by mutual consent brought and placed in the Grande-ronde, and
a lasting peace was established between those tribes,,
the consequence of which was the annual meeting
above mentioned: perhaps this accident has been
the most salutary consequence to the natives of
the journey of those officers, their general communications with them not having had, to all appearance, either a pacific or moral tendency beyond
what was essential for their own safety and the
progress of their expedition.
The narrow chasms into which the rivers of
Western America are frequently compressed have
been noticed in the account given of the journey of
Messrs. Lewis and Clarke and Fremont; they are
called by the Canadians Dalles: those of the
Columbia are very remarkable; the river is compressed into a very narrow channel, which Lieut.
Wilkes computes to be three hundred feet wide
and half a mile long: the walls are of basalt, per- NATURAL PECULIARITIES,
pendicular, and flat at the top ; above this narrotr
channel the river swells in a semicircular form,
filling the basin of a basaltic amphitheatre extending several miles to the north-west. The accumulation of water thus heaped up causes a fall of
about fifty feet in the distance of two miles; and
the black rocks, rushing stream, and tremendous
roar of the pent up waters struggling to escape,
may be more readily imagined than described.
Indian tradition would lead to the conclusion
that in former times the whole body of water
passed over the rocks, until having gradually worn
its present deep channel, it sunk below their level.
This is confirmed by the appearance of the country,
and by the additional smaller channels on each
side of the main stream, through which the water
flows during the freshets: indeed its whole surface
evidences the original character of the Columbia to
to have been rather that of a chain of lakes than a
continuous river; this is especially to be remarked
above John Day's river, not far from the Dalles,
where the country is flat, sandy, and the river
broken by sandy islands. It is entirely destitute
of trees, and produces grass and a small sort of
cactus, in many places mixed irith pebbles rounded
by the action of water ; it abounds in large hares
and the pin-tailed grouse, which are so tame
as to permit a very near approach. There are also
on the north branch of the river two similar but
smaller passages, called the Upper and Lower
Dalles; and below its junction with the Flathead
River are the Kettle Falls, one of the greatest
natural curiosities in the country. A flat bed of
quartz rock crosses the river, and being harder
than the rocks above and below, has formed a
g 3
1 136
basin, which renders the name not inappropriate,
The main fall at this place is about fifteen feet
high; where, boiling and foaming in the hollow
rock, it gives additional force to the application.
Above, the water falls fifty feet in a series of rapids,
sufficiently broken to permit the passage of boats.
The river here is above two thousand feet wide,
and the current runs four miles per hour; the land
is about two thousand two hundred feet above the
level of the sea. Some miles lower down the river
is another remarkable place, denominated the
" Grande Coulee :" this is a broad <diasm between
basaltic palisades, of from seven to eight hundred
feet in height; it varies from two to three miles in
width, and is about forty-five miles long, running
nearly north and south. The cliffs in some places are
broken in with tributary valleys of the same character. The bottom is a plain, in appearance perfectly level, but having some irregularities ; in the
north part there are several granitic knolls resembling islands, above seven hundred feet high,
capped with basalt: they are called Isles des
Pierres. There are in it three lakes; one on the
top of the mountain side, another lower down, and
a third between two of the knolls; this is the
largest, and may be about a mile in length by three
hundred feet in breadth; they have no visible outlet, and though the country around is covered
with saline efflorescences, they are perfectly
fresh, and abound in wild-fowl. From the
Grand Coulee a gently undulating prairie country,
affording pasture for sheep, leads to the Coulee des
Pierres, the features of which are very similar to
those of the Grand Couhfo, but on a smaller scale,
running for two miles in the same direction; it
turns off at right angles to the Columbia. Their
course has doubtless given rise to the opinion of
the original passage of the river having been
through this channel, an opinion in some measure
countenanced by the boulders of granite found at
its southern extremity, there being no rock of that
character nearer than its northern; the rocks however afford no signs of the abrasion consequent on
the passage of a river, and it seems more probable
that it was connected with or contained a system
of lakes, whose barriers being burst by some convulsion, found a passage for the waters through the
southern channel into the Columbia. In corroboration of this opinion, it may be remarked that
the entrance of the Grande Coulee is so choked
with granite hills as to leave no room for the passage of water. The character of the district is
volcanic, the ground covered with saline incrustations, and without further examination it is impossible to say what elevation or depression of the
ground in any part may have left it in its present
condition : at least this is Mr. Wilkes's opinion.
Many places occur on the banks of the Columbia
where portions of pine-trees stand not only on the
shore, but in the waters, and to a considerable
depth below the surface. These have been called
the submerged forests, and supposed to be the
effects of some convulsion which, by damming up
the river, placed these trees under water and destroyed them. It is evident, however, that their
position has been the result of immense land-slides,
when the river, closely hemmed in by the mountains,
has probably undermined some part of the base
on which the soil that the forest grew in was
placed, or the water percolating between it and 138
the strata upon which it lies, has produced the
same effect, that, from whatever cause, is evident;
for Mr. Fremont observed in one place on the right I
bank a portion of one of those slides, which seemed ■
to have planted itself with all the evergreen foliage
and vegetation of the neighbouring hill directly
amid the falling and yellow leaves of the riveri
All their peculiar features, indicative of great I
epnvulsions and volcanic action,  serve to show
the   great   alteration   the face   of   the country"
may have undergone within, perhaps, no very remote period : they impress it with the evidence of
Baighty energies in nature, and afford the prospect
of the equal operation in the development of it*i
natural resources and the physical and moral energy
of its future population. (  139 )
It is a sad reflection, that before the advance of"
civilization, savage life melts away like snow before
the beams of spring,—that the forces of the two are
so antagonistic, that, instead of imparting mutually
vigour and intelligence, instead of the development
of the functions of the body assisting the progress-*
of the operations of the mind, the animal sinks be**-
fore the mental, and that not by its direct operan-
tion, but, by the extraneous force it imparts to the'
same animal development in others, it gives it for
the time the mastery, to be displaced in its turn by
that from which it received its power; thus the
trapper and hunter teaching the Indians the wants
of civilization, open also a market for its luxuries, and with the introduction of artificial wants
engraft the vices of civilization and their fruits on
those of nature, until, having engrossed the profits*
of Indian labour, the squatter and emigrant occupy
that soil which should have yielded its produce
to him, and, thus oppressed by the arts, not of
war, but of peace, he is overwhelmed in the flood.
How different from the end he would have chosen,
how self-destructive his confidence, how parasitical
the embrace of his concealed enemy, how surely,-
instead of smoking the peaceful calumet with the
Wise men from the sun-rising—the Sagamores of
the East—would the war dance and death song
%a 140
I  Ii
have been the prelude to a war of extermination and
despair. But wisely does the Providence of God
withhold from us the knowledge of the end, whiMi
employing man as a means to that which was purposed from the beginning—the greatest and most
evident reflection of the Deity must take the place
of the least—civilization must be the pioneer
of Christianity till the earth be filled with the
knowledge of the glory of God as the water covers
the sea.
Yet is this reflec^ton modified and softened not
only by this general but by its more particular
effects as well. Though the nations which had
signed undisturbed lords over the land are
disappearing, the scarce perceived amalgamation'
of their races has frequently resulted in the advancement of the descendants of the aborigines,
and many occupy places of honour and trust among!
the abodes of civilization, wealth, and intellectual
refinement, whose fathers dwelt under the canopy
of heaven, to whom the riches of Croesus woulS
have had no more value than so much tinsel, and
who expressed in the intuitive rhetoric of nature
the wants which they felt and the passions which
excited them. This is a source of consolation
when we recur to the extinct races of the eastern
stores of America, the glory of her forests and
waters, when, in traditionary recollection, we hear
again the soft dove-like sounds which floated softly
over the council-fires of the chivalric Delawares,
breathing love and friendship to those who so soon
weie to be the exterminators of the race, why
should we not say of heroes? heroes indeed, if
judgment be ruled by poetry or romance, and in the
strictesti^justice not inferior to many to whom even
|M NATIVE tribes.
modem intelligence  and morality have  awarded
the title.
Stripped, however, of all fictitious ornaments,
savage life, though it has natural beauties, yet the
darker shadows of its vices overcome the lustre of its
virtues; and though we may regret individual loss,
we cannot but rejiice in the universal advantage
and progress. The mill and the factory of the white
man may be less picturesque than the deer-skin
lodge of the red ; the smoky steamer, as, panting
and rattling, she cuts through the lakes or rivers,
less in harmony with their features than the undulations of the buoyant canoe—the blackened clearing less grateful to the eye than the woodland
glade, the dusty road than the forest trail—but the
perfection to which they lead, the bright day of
peace and love, of which they are the harbingers—
though but faintly discernible in the long perspective of years to come— is too pregnant with the
happiness of the human race, and the glory of the
Deity, to leave any serious pain, from the means by
"Which it is of necessity to be obtained, upon the
f&ind which looks forward to it.
The rapidity of the advance of civilization to the
west has, in the rapid development of its vices,
obscured the poetry of its savage life, insomuch
jfchat the very knowledge of the existence of the
tribes inhabiting it was coupled with that of their
demoralisation and degradation. Even the gentlemanly Mandans of Catlin were found by Lewis
and Clarke, among the earliest jof their visitors,
far inferior to many of the eastern tribes, as described by the earlier travellers and in the annals
of history ; while of the Sioux, Blackfeet, and the
great  majority of  the tribes  of the  west,   the 142
darker and fiercer passions ruling with unbridled
sway, that character which might have had
the sublimity of terror or fear, if possessed by them
only, was rendered hateful and disgusting by the
addition of the meaner propensities,—pride, anger,
and revenge being joined to lust, avarice, and
deception, and their mutually attendant vices.
This might also have been the case to the west
of the Rocky Mountains, as indeed it has in some
measure, had not the peculiarities of their situation not only geographically but politically separated the native inhabitants of that territory from
those of the east, and made their interest identical
with that of the " avant couriers " of civilization,
who have taken up their abode among them; and
although before this was understood much of the
evil which is flagrant in the east made rapid
progress in the west, at length comparative peace,
order, and their attendant, prosperity, have
settled down over the length and breadth of the
Yet even here, where the red man is the useful
servant of the white, the deadly effects of their
union are not wanting, and are not less evident in
the vices than the diseases which it has brougm
among them, whole districts having been depopulated and whole tribes destroyed. The small-pox
has made dreadful ravages among them, and as it
is related that, after his own recovery from that malady, a chief on the Missouri survived his family,
children, and his whole tribe, but to find the same
fate from despair—so, in the valley of the Columbia
is to be seen one, like him a chief, the sole survivor
of his race—not the least numerous of the forest
clans,—a solitary lingerer among their tonibs, but a
frequent and welcome guest at the hospitable boardy
and supported under his trials by the sympathy of
that race by whose unwilling instrumentality they
met their destruction — Casinove, friend of the
white man, last of theKlachatah, ranges the woods
and hills of the Columbia, and the halls of Fort
Vancouver, the type of his race and its destiny.
The principal Indian tribes, commencing from
the south, are the Callapuyas, Shaste, Klamet,.
Umqua, Rogues' River, and Chinooks, between the,
Californian boundary and Columbia, to the west of
the Cascade Mountains. The Shoshones or Snake
and Nezperces tribes about the southern branch
of. the Columbia, and Cascade Indians on the
river of that name; between the Columbia and
the Strait of Fuca, the Tatouche or Classet tribe;
and the Clalams about Port Discovery; the
Sachet about Possession Sound; the Walla-walla,
Flat-head, Flat-bow Indians, and Cour d'Aleine
or Pointed Heart, about the rivers of the same
names; the Chunnapuns and Chanwappans between the Cascade range and the north branch
of the Columbia; the Koootanie to the east, between it and the Rocky Mountains; and to the
north about Okanagan, various branches of the
Carrier tribe. Of those on the coast to the north
and on Vancouver Island not much is known.
Their numbers may be stated at a rough estimate
On the coast below the Columbia
About the Cascades •        .        •
On the Snake River and its tributary .
Between the Columbia and Strait of De Fuca
About Fort Vancouver      ....
Walla-walla    ......
Flat-head, &c.
I 144
Okanagan        ......
Northward      ......
Vancouver's and Queen Charlotte's Island   •
Possession Sound      .....
Frazer's River .....
On the coast of the Gulf of Georgia    .
Thi* k, however, six thousand less than was reported to the Congress of the United States, and
four thousand more than Mr. Wilkes's calculation.
That there  are errors in his there can be no
doubt; and it is probable that some smaller tribe™
may  be  omitted  in the  above  calculation;  the
number, therefore, between parallels 42° and 54° 4(4
may be roughly estimated at thkty thousand.
Through the care of the Hudson's Bay Company
and the semi-civilised habits they have adopted!
the number of Indians to the north of the Columbia!
is not on the decrease ; to the south it is ; and the
total must be very considerably less than it was
before the settlement was made among them.
The Indian nations in Oregon may be divided into!
three classes, differing in habits and character ac-J
cording to their locality and means of sustenance
—the Indians of the coast, the mountains, and the
plains. The first feed mostly on fish, and weave
cloth for clothing from the wool or hair of the
native sheep, having to a great extent settled residences, though these last characteristics are rapidly
disappearing; the second, trappers and hunters,
wandering for the most part in pursuit of game;
and the third, the equestrian tribes, who, on the
great plains about the waters of the rivers, chase
on their fleet horses the origantic bison, whose flesh
supplies them Vfith food, and. whose hide covers
them. The former bear some resemblance to the
native inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific.
The two latter are in every respect Red men.
Those on the coast were first known, and when
visited by the early voyagers had the characteristics
which, from contiguity to White men, have deteriorated in the south, but which have been
retained in the north—high courage, determination, and great ingenuity, but joined to cruelty and
faithlessness; and as in the south Destruction Island
obtained its name from their savage cruelty, so
does the coast throughout its length afford the
same testimony. Cook, who first discovered them,
says, " They were thieves in the strictest sense of
the word, for they pilfered nothing from us but
what they knew could be converted to the purposes
of utility, and had a real value according to their
estimation of things."
Their form is thick and clumsy, but they are
not deficient in strength or activity ; when young,
their colour is not dark nor their features hard,
but exposure to the weather, want of mental culture, and their dirty habits soon reduce them all
to the same dark complexion and dull phlegmatic
want of expression whteh is strongly marked in
all of them.
In Cook's time, and till the White men settled
among them, their dress was a flaxen mantle ornamented with fur above, and tassels and fringes,
which, passing under the left arm, is tied over the
right-shoulder, leaving the right side open: this is
fastened round the waist by a girdle : above this*
which reaches below the knee, a circular cape,
perforated in the centre to admit the head, made
of the same substance, and also fringed in the
«3S& ill J
lower part, is worn:   it covers the arms to   the,
elbows.    Their head is covered with a cap, conical!
but truncated, made of fine matting, ornamented at
the top with a knot or tassels.    Besides the above
dress, common to both sexes, the men. frequently i
throw over their garments the skin of a bear, wolf, j
or sea-otter, with the  fur outwards:  they wear
the hair loose, unless tied up in the scalping-lock;
they cover themselves with paint, and swarm with
vermin; upon the paint they strew mica to make
it glitter.    They perforate the nose and ears, andJ
put various ornaments into them.
But besides these common habits, they have
official and ceremonious occasions, on which they
wear beautiful furs and theatrical dresses and disguises, including large masks ; and their war-dress,
formed of a thick doubled leathern mantle of elk or
buffalo skin, frequently with a cloak over it, on
which the hoofs of horses were strung, makes an
almost impervious cuirass. Their love for music,
general lively dispositions, except from provocation, but determination in avenging insult or
Wrong, is testified by all.
Cook also gives a full description of their houses!
and manner of life. Of the former, he says they
are made of split boards, and large enough for
several families, who occupy small pens on each
side of the interior. They have benches and boxes*
and many of their utensils, such as pipes, &c, are
frequently carved ; as are also gigantic human
faces on large trunks of trees, which they set up
for posts to their dwellings.
In their persons and houses they were filthy in
the extreme: in their habits lazy; but the women
Jrere modest and industrious.    Their principal food
was fish, but they had edible roots and game from
the land. A favourite article of food was also the
roe of herrings, dried on pine-branches or sea-weed.
Their weapons were spears, arrows, slings, and
clubs, similar to the New Zealanders; also an axe,
not dissimilar to the North American tomahawk,
the handle of which is usually carved.
They made garments of pine-bark beaten fine ;
these were made by hand with plaited thread and
woollen, so closely wove as to resemble cloth, and
frequently had worked on them figures of men
and animals ; on one was the whole process of the
whale-fishery. Their aptitude for the imitative
arts was very great. Their canoes were rather
elegantly formed out of trees, with rising prow,
frequently carved in figures. They differ from
those of the Pacific generally, in having neither sails
nor outriggers; they had harpoons and spears for
whale - fishing. Vancouver, when at Port Discovery, saw some long poles placed upright on the
beach at equal distances, the object of which he
could not discover, and it was not till the last voyage of discovery despatched from the United States
under Commodore Wilkes, that they were ascertained to have been used for hanging nets upon, to
catch wild-fowl by night; their ingenuity in this
and in netting salmon is very remarkable. They
have two nets, the drawing and casting net, made of
a silky gfrass found on the banks of the Columbia^
or the fibres of the roots of trees, or of the inner
bark of the white cedar. The salmon-fishina: on
the Columbia commences in June, the main body,
according to the habit of this fish, dividing at the
mouth of the tributary streams to ascend them to
their sources.    At the rapids and falls the work 148
m    l
of destruction commences; with a bag-net, not
unlike to an European fisherman's landing-net,
on a pole thirty feet long the Indians take their
stand on the rocks, or on platforms erected for the
purpose, and throwing their nets into the river
above their standing-places, let them float down!
the rapids to meet the fish as they ascend. By
this means many are caught; they have also stake-
nets and lines with stones for leads; they also
catch many with hook and line, and sometimes!
now they have fire-arms, shoot them. Their mode
of fishing for sturgeon is also peculiar. The line,
made of twisted fibres of the roots of trees, is attached to a large wooden hook and let down over
the side of a canoe; those used for this purpose
are small, having only one or two men at most in
them : having hooked a fish, they haul him gently
up till he floats on the water, then, with a heavy
mallet, with one blow on the head they kill him ;
with singular dexterity they contrive to jerk a fish
of three hundred pounds over the lowered side of
the canoe by a single effort. They catch whales
also by the means of harpoons with bladders attached. The oil is sold to the Hudson's Bay Company. It has been said that their houses werj|
made of boards, but some constructive art is displayed in their erection; as was much ingenuity
in procuring the materials before axes were introduced among them; for they contrived to fell
trees with a rough chisel and mallet. The houses
are made of centre-posts about eighteen feet
high, upon which a long pole rests, forming the
ridge of the roof, from whence rafters descend to
another like it, but not more than five feet from
the ground ; to these again, cross poles are attached,
and against these are placed boards upright, and
the lower end fixed in the ground; across these
again, poles are placed, and tied with cords of
cedar-bark to those inside of the roof, which are
similarly disposed; the planks are double. These
houses are divided on each side into stalls and
pens, occupied as sleeping-places during the night,
and the rafters serve to suspend the fish, which are
dried by the smoke in its lengthened course
through the interstices of the roof and walls. In
their superstitions, theatricals, dances, and songs
they have much similarity to the natives of Polynesia. Debased now, and degraded even beneath
their former portrait—fast fading away before the
more genial sun of the fortunes of the white man—
the Ihdians on the southern coast are no longer
free and warlike, and being in subjection to the
Hudson's Bay Company, English manufactures are
substituted for the efforts of their native industry.
The mode of burial practised among the tribes
on the coast is very peculiar. The corpse is placed
sometimes in a canoe raised a few feet from the
ground, with arms and other necessaries beside it.
These are not unfrequently spoiled beforehand, to
prevent their being stolen, as if they thought they
might, like their owner, be restored to their former
state in a new world. Sometimes they are put in
upright boxes like sentry-boxes-—sometimes in
small enclosures—but usually kept neat, and those
of the chiefs frequently painted. Mount Coffin,
at the mouth of the Cowelitz, seems to have been
appropriated to the burial of persons of importance:
it is about seven hundred feet high, and quite isolated ; on it were to be seen the canoe-coffins of
the natives in every stage of decay;   they were h ■
hung between the trees about five feet from the
ground. This cemetery of the Columbia is, however, destroyed, for the American sailors under
Wilkes neglecting to put out their cooking-fire,
it spread over the whole mountain and continued
to rage through the night till all was burnt. A
few small presents appeased the Indians, who but
a few years before could only have drowned the
remembrance of such a national disgrace in the
blood of those who caused it.
Among the tribes about the lower part of the
Columbia the singular custom of flattening the
head still prevails, though not to the extent it
did formerly; Mr. Dunn thus describes the operation :—
j8 Immediately after the birth the infant is laid
in an oblong wooden trough, by way of cradle,
with moss under the head; the end on which the
head reposes is raised higher than the rest; a pad*
ding is then placed on the infant's forehead with a
piece of cedar-bark over it; it is pressed down by
cords, which pass through holes on each side of the
trough. As the tightening of the padding and
pressure of the head is gradual, the process is said
not to be attended with much pain. The appearance of the infant, however, while under it, is
shocking: its little black eyes seem ready to start
from their sockets; the mouth exhibits all the appearance of internal convulsion; and it clearly
appears that the face is undergoing a process of
unnatural configuration. About a year's pressure
is sufficient to produce the desired effect; the head
is ever after completely flattened;" and as slaves
are always left to nature, this deformity is consequently a mark of free birth.    The Indians on NATIVE TRIBES.
the north coast possess the characteristics of the
southern, but harsher and more boldly defined—
they are of fiercer and more treacherous dispositions. Indeed, those of the south have a disposition
to merriment and light-hearted good humour.
Their mechanical ingenuity is more remarkably displayed in the carving on their pipes, and especially
in working iron and steel. The Indians of the
coast are doubtless all from the same stock, modified by circumstances and locality. Those, however, to the south of the Columbia, about the
waters of the rivers Klamet and Umquah, partake largely of the characteristics of the Indians otf
the plains, their country having prairies, and thenP
selves possessing horses: they are remarkable for
nothing but their determined hostility towards the
whites. Idleness and filth are inveterate among all
three, but among the Indians of the plains there is
a marked difference; there, their food consists of
fish, indeed, and cfried for winter, but not entirely,
being more varied by venison than on the coast,
and in the winter by roots, which they dig up
and lay by in store. They live more in moveable
tents, and to the south their great wealth is their
horses; they are not, like the coast Indians, of small
stature and inelegantly made, but remarkable for
comeliness of person and elegance of carriage.
They are equestrian in their habits, and show to
great advantage on horseback. The principal
tribes are the Shoshones and Walla-walla, between
whom, as between the former and the Blackfeet,
there has been continual war. The Shoshones dwell
between the Rocky and Blue Mountain ranges,
the Walla-walla about the river of that name, the
Blackfeet at the f^ot of the Rocky Mountains,
£ m
principally, but not entirely, on the eastern side.
Warlike and independent, the Blackfeet had for a
long time the advantage, having been earlier introduced to the use of fire-arms ; but by the instrumentality of the Hudson's Bay Company they
have been of late years more on an equality : they
are friendly to the whites, but the Blackfeet, their
mortal enemies, and their hill-forts overhanging the
passes of the Rocky Mountains, make the future
safety of the journey to the United States depend
on the temper of this fickle and bloodthirsty nation, who have been well termed the Arabs of the
West, for truly their hand is against every man,
and every man's hand against them, and though
seriously lessened in number by war and disease,
they still dwell in the presence of all their brethren.
The Shoshones feed frequently on horse-flesh, and
have also large quantities of edible roots, which
stand them in great stead during the winter. When
the men are fishing for salmon, the women are employed in digging and preserving the roots. There
is indeed one tribe inhabiting the country of the
salt lakes and springs to the south of the headwaters of the Snake, or Saptin River, who have
no wish beyond these roots, living in the most
bestial manner possible; these, from their single
occupation, have been named Diggers. Above the
Walla-walla also there is a tribe called the Basket]
people, from their using a basket in fishing for
salmon. The apparatus consists of a large wicker
basket, supported by long poles inserted into it,
and fixed in the rocks; to the basket is joined a
long frame, spreading above, against which the
fish, in attempting to leap the falls, strike and fall
iftto the basket j it is taken up three times a dayf NATIVE TRIBES.
and at each haul not unfrequently contains three
hundred fine fish.     The Flatheads dwelling about
the river of that name are the most northern of the
equestrian tribes; their characteristics are intelligence and aptitude for civilization, yet in the early
history of the country their fierceness and barbarity
in war could not be exceeded, especially in their
retaliation on the Blackfeet, of which Ross Cox
gives a horrible account.    The usual dress of these
tribes is a shirt, leggings, and moccassins of deerskin, frequently much  ornamented with  fringes
of beads, and   formerly  in   the   | braves"  with
scalps;  a cap  or handkerchief generally covers
the head,  but   the   Shoshones  twist their long
black  hair into  a  natural  helmet, more. useful
as a protection than many artificial defences: in
winter   a  buffalo  robe   is   added  to  the usual
clothing.      Horses   abound   among   them,   and
they are usually well armed.    Through the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company, these tribes
are   becoming   amalgamated   by' intermarriage,
and will doubtless, from their pliability of disposition, readiness of perception, and capability
for improvement   generally,  no  less  than  their
friendship for the whites and devotion to the Company, gradually lose their identity in acquired
habits and knowledge, and become the peaceful
proprietors of a country rich in flocks and herds,
even very much cattle. . The more northern Indians inhabiting the mountainous country round
the head-waters of Oregon River and the branches
of the Columbia evidence an origin similar to the
Chippewayan tribes on the east of the Rocky Mountains.   Mackenzie found but little difference, when
travelling from one to the other, and his guides
ii 2 154
m \
were generally well understood; like them, they
have exchanged their shirts and robes of skins for
European manufactures, and their bows and spears
for fire-arms. Among them the greater part of
the furs exported by the Hudson's Bay Company
are procured, and the return of the traffic supplies
all their wants: they differ, however, in manners
and habits; for among them is found the tribe of
Carriers, whose filthiness and bestiality cannot be
exceeded; whose dainties are of putrid flesh, and
are eaten up with disease; nevertheless they are
a tall, well-formed, good-looking race, and not
wanting in ingenuity. Their houses are well
formed of logs of small trees, buttressed up internally, frequently above seventy feet long and fif*
teen high, but, unlike those of the coast, the roof
is of bark: their winter habitations are smaller,
and often covered over with grass and earth ; some
even dwell in excavations of the ground, which
have only an aperture at the top, and serves aliha
for door and chimney. Salmon, deer, bears, and
wild-fowl are their principal food; of the latter,
they procure large quantities.
Their mode of taking salmon is curious. They
build a weir across the stream, having an opening
only in one place, at which they fix a basket, three
feet in diameter, with the mouth made something
like an eel-trap, through which alone the fish can
find a passage. On the side of this basket is a hole,
to which is attached a smaller basket, into which
the fish pass from the large one, and cannot return
or escape. This, when filled, is taken up without
disturbing the larger one.
Of the religion and superstitions of the Indians
little need be said ; the features of polytheism being
everywhere as similar as its effects. Impudent conjurors are their priests and teachers, and exerted
once unlimited sway; but under the satisfactory
proofs of the value of scientific medical practice
and the tuition of the missionaries, it is to be hoped
both their claims to respect will be negatived ; and
as they have evinced great aptitude to embrace
and profit by instruction, it may perhaps happen
that secular knowledge may combine with religious
to save them from the apparent necessary result.
There are among the Indians Wesley an and
Baptist *|rom the United States, and Roman Catholic missionaries* They were the first American
settlers in the valleys of the Columbia, excepting
those who had formerly been engaged in the fur
trade, and becoming, with the exception of the
Roman Catholics, at the same time farmers, and in
one case trading or endeavouring to trade in fur.
It is understood, on the best authority, that lately
some of them have been recalled on this account.
Yet notwithstanding this division of their labours,
much good has been done by them: of this the
sketch of his Guide given by Mr. Farnham will be
sufficient evidence. " Creekie, so he was named,
was a very kind man; he turned my worn-out
animals loose, an& loaded my packs upon his own;
gave me a splendid saddle-horse to ride, and intimated, by significant gestures, that we would go a
short distance that afternoon. I gave my assent,
and we were soon on our way; having made about
ism miles, we encamped for the night. I noticed,
during the ride, a degree of forbearance towards
each other which I had never before observed in
that race. When we halted for the night the two
boys were behind; they had been frolicking with
9BB \\
their horses, and as the darkness came on, lost the
trail. It was a half-hour before they made their
appearance, and during this time the worthy parents manifested the most anxious solicitude for
them. One of them was but three years old, and
was lashed to the horse he rodei; the other only
seven years of age—young pilots in the wilderness
at night! But the elder, true to the sagacity of
his race, had taken his course, and struck the brook
on which we were encamped within three hundred
yards of us. The pride of the parents at this feat,
and their ardent attachment to the children, were
perceptible in the pleasure with which they received
them at their evening fire, and heard the relation of
their childish adventures.
" The weather was so pleasant that no tent was
pitched. The willows were beat, and the buffalo
robes spread over them. Underneath were laid
other robes, on which my Indian host seated himself with his wife and children on one side, and
myself on the other. A fire burned brightly in
front. Water was brought, and the evening ablution having been performed, the wife presented a
dish of meat to her husband and one to myself.
There was a pause. The woman seated herself
between her children. The Indian then bowed his
head and prayed to God. A wandering savage in
Oregon calling upon Jehovah in the name of Jesus
Christ. After the prayer he gave meat to his
children, and passed the dish to his wife. While
eating, the frequent repetition of the words Jehovah
and Jesus Christ, in the most reverential manner,
led me to suppose they were conversing on religious topics, and thus they passed an hour. Meanwhile the exceeding weariness of a long day's travel
admonished me to seek rest. I had slumbered, I
knew not how long, when a strain of music awoke
P The Indian family was engaged in its evening
devotions. They were singing a hymn in the
Nez Perces language. Having finished, they all
knelt and bowed their faces upon the buffalo
robes, and Creekie prayed long and fervently.
Afterwards they sang another hymn, and retired.
To hospitality, family affection, and devotion Creekie added honesty and cleanliness to a great degree, manifesting by these fruits, so contrary to the
nature and habits of his tribe, the beautiful influence of the work of grace on the heart. How acceptable that prayer and praise must have ascended
to the Creator, though poured forth beneath the
silent heaven from the lips of one so-called savage,
and how the honour rendered by him to God was returned into his own bosom a hundredfold in peace
and prosperity, let those say whose ideas of prayer
and praise are coupled to sanctified places and conventional rites, and who would confine the presence
of the omnipresent Creator to their temples of
stone, and not the living temple of the heart of his
faithful people." (    158   )
The fur of animals has from the earliest periods
been used by men for clothing, and those found j
in the more northern regions, from the thickness, I
softness, length, and consequent warmth or deli- \
cacy of their furs, have been more sought after
as articles of commerce; indeed most furs now used
for warmth or ornament by civilized nations are
brought from countries north of the fortieth parallel
of latitude.    The value of furs depends not only on
the above-mentioned useful qualities, but also oni
the more arbitrary distinction of colour.    First in
value for both reasons stands the royal ermine; its
dazzling whiteness set off by*ihe glossy black of
its tail, gives it a richness;fof contrast not to be J
found in any others; then follow the marten, sable, j
foxes, red, silver, and black, the beaver, sea-otter, \
racoon, weasel, and muskrat; of these the last is]
collected in the largest quantities, and with the I
beaver and otter used in the manufacture of hats, j
In civilized nations generally fur is an article of]
comfort,  fashion,  and  luxury,  according to  its J
quality  or beauty;   but  in   Russia,   China,  and
Turkey they form part of the official costume ojfl
officers of state and government (as indeed they do
in some sort even among ourselves), and are the
distinguishing characteristic of the rich and noble, SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
even of the male sex. The gradual assimilation
of Russia and Turkey to the dress and manners of
the west of Europe has sensibly decreased the
demand for furs, as no doubt Vill also the entrance
now obtained for European manufactures, a thing
to be desired, as- the supply has long been on the&
decrease. This supply is kept up principally by
thesHudson's Bay Company, the Russian Fur Company, and the individual traders in the western part
of the United States, through the ports of London,
Canton, and New York, and the Russian settlements in Northern Asia. All these draw some of
their supplies from the north-west part of North
America, but the trade of the citizens of the United
States, excepting on the border of California, has
been snatched from them by the giant grasp of the
Hudson's Bay Company.
Of the Russian Fur Company mention has already been made in the account given of Voyages
of Discovery. Their trade is entirely carried on
through the native Indians, and their supplies are
obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company by contract. Their principal settlement is at Sitka, called
New Archangel,—-at the Norfolk Sound of Cook—
in King George the Third's Archipelago, lat. about
57^-°. The Russians having received much annoyance from the intrusion of American vessels,
they are carefully excluded from their limits, i. e.
north of 54° 40'. They have, however, leased the
continental shore to the Hudson's Bay Company,
whose territories extend from Hudson's Bay on the
east to Mount Saint Elias on the west, from the
Arctic Ocean to lat. 54° 40f, and for all trading
purposes unimpeded by any rival to lat. 42°.
This Company was established in the reign of
h 3 i
Charles II., a.d. 1669, by royal charter, granted
to Prince Rupert, the first governor, the Duke
of Albemarle, Lord Craven, and Lord Arlington,
who, with other persons of note, in all seventeen,
constituted the first committee.
The objects for which this charter was granted
are clearly defined:—the discovery of a new passage to the South Sea, and for the finding of some
trade in  furs,   minerals,   and other  considerable
commodities.   But in addition to these commercial,
intentions, for the benefit of Great Britain and
their own profit, the good of the natives was not
forgotten.    The  propagation  of the  Gospel, thej
civilization  of the   Indians,   and j the   establishment of trade on terms of equity and mutual advantage, were leading features in the original intentions of the Company; and although it is to
be wished they had been   more particularly attended to, it must be confessed that the rule overj
the vast territories occupied by that Company has
been far more beneficial to the natives of them
than that of any other body or nation engaged in
the same traffic in Western America, as is evidenced j
by the peaceful character and ready obedience of
the Indian tribes around their settlements, when
compared   with the results  of the iron   rule  of
the Russians or the  exterminating" svstem of the
Americans.    The effect of the latter has been al-J
ready noticed in the fate of their trappers, and is
evidenced also in the determined hostility of thm
Blackfeet and Camanches, and bordering tribes to
the westward, generally.
The powers the Company received were most
ample. By the charter were granted to them and*
their successors the whole trade and commerce of SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
all those seas, straits and bays, rivers, lakes,
creeks and sounds, in whatsoever latitude they
shall be, that lie within the entrance of the
straits, commonly called Hudson's Straits, together
with all the lands, countries, and territories upon
the coasts and confines of the seas» straits, bays,
lakes and rivers, creeks and sounds aforesaid,
which are not now actually possessed by any other
Christian prince or state. Of these lands and territories the Company was proprietor by free and
common soccage; had power, as such, to receive
and enjoy all rents, and possess and retain all privileges, liberties, and franchises thereto belonging ;
and to have jurisdiction over such their territories,
being empowered to make such laws and regulations for the government of their possessions as may
be reasonable, and are not repugnant to the laws,
statutes, and customs of England. The Company
was also empowered to send ships and build fortifications for the defence of its possessions, and to
make war or peace with all nations, not being
Christian, inhabiting those territories; and all others
of the king's subjects were forbidden to " visit,
haunt, frequent, trade, or traffic" therein, under
heavy penalties.
According to the strict letter of this charter,
the Company's dominions extend from Hudson's
Bay, south of lat. 50° W. to the sources of the
Athabasca and Saskatchawan, and the Unijah or
Peace River beyond the Rocky Mountain Range,
and to the Arctic Sea on the north, besides the
country lying east of Hudson's Bay; and the area
may be roughly estimated at 2,250,000 square
miles: by the union with the North-west Company
the trade of the Oregon district has been added to this.
M   "vl II
It was styled the Honourable Company of
Adventurers of England trading to Hudson's Bay,
and its management was vested in a governor,
deputy governor, and committee of seven members.
Their original stock was, in 1676, 10,500/. This]
was trebled in 1690, and in 1720 this was again
increased by subscription to 103,950/.: #ie clear
profits of the trade for ten years amounted to
63,646/. 15«y. 4d., realizing a dividend of about 6
per cent.
Notwithstanding this, the progress of the Con^l
pany was slow and heavy—jealousy, Ithe true characteristic of monopoly, paralyzing all its proceedings ; nor, if we may trust contemporary accounts,
were the dealings of the Company's servants with
the Indians altogether in accordance with the
purposes of its incorporation. It is not on record
that they took any care to introduce the Indians
to the knowledge of Christianity, but they very
soon did to the^use of ardent spirits, consequent on
which much evil and disease resulted. Nor was
the mixture of its servants with the Indian race
productive of just ideas of morality, more than
their mode of traffic, which, by introducing a commercial medium of arbitrary value, and reducing
all others to it, left the Indian completely at their
mercy. This standard measure of the Company
was the beaver-skfei: and the comparative value of
this may serve to show4he source of the Company's
profits and its manner of dealing, by which it put
the Indians at the mercy of the factors and traders.
In a table given by Umfraville, we find the following equivalents for a beaver-skin:—half a pound
of glass beads, one pound of powder, one comb,
one small burning-glass,#welve needles, one file, SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
one ice*©his&l, and one quart of brandy. Now,
taking the last as an instance, one quart of brandy
of the usual strength was worth one beaver-skim;
but by being half water, the price is made two.
Now for spirits the Company pay at the rate of
20s. a gallon: this produces eight beaver-skins,
weighing about ten pounds, which, at the medium
of exchange, supposing it to be 12s. per pound,
amounts to 61. sterling; if the bratidy were traded
for other skins, the return would be about 8/. This
calculation is considerably below the present prices.
A fourpenny comb, says that writer, will barter
for a bear's-skin worth 21. The absence of competition and the absolute dependence of the Indians
for what had, by the Company's means, become to
them necessaries — fire-arms and ammunition,—
not to say blankets, beads, and spirits,- enabled its
traders to keep up these prices. This state of
things did not, however, long continue. The conquest of Canada by the English had opened a new
field of commercial enterprise and speculation; and
it being presumed that the Hudson's Bay Company's
chatter could not affect that territory, an association,
principally consisting of Scotchmen, was formed at
Montreal, numbering among its original members
the names of Mackenzie and Frazer. Perceiving
the want of spirit in the operations of the Hudson's
Bay Company, arising from the absenee of interest,
the employed, having no prospect of advancement in the service, they established their new
Company on a very different footing. The ranks
of the North-west Company were recruited from
respectable families in Canada by offering to the
clerks a salary of 100/., exclusive of maintenance,
during their apprentice of seven years;   then a
b*'v * TBI
salary of from 80/. to 160/. ; and by permitting
partners, on their retiring, to name junior members
to fill their places ; thus giving a stimulus to theJ
whole body, which was entirely wanting to thei
older society, whose writers, when out of their apprenticeship, received only 15/., their assistants only
25/., and the ultimate but most uncertain object of
their hopes being the obtaining the situation of
governor of a fort at 150/. per annum.
The North-west  Company thus established in
1805, proceeded on a system of trade as opposite
from the Hudson's Bay Company as their consti«
tutions were different.    The old Company induced!
the Indians to resort to the factories for trade,
whereby they made the risk of hunting and carriage of skins fall  on  them; but  the Canadian
traders followed the Indians to their lodges andl
hunting-grounds, and traded with them there.    A
general meeting was held every summer near the]
Grand Portage, at the north-western extremity of
Lake Superior, when the partners decided on the
plan of operation, and the clerks and traders received their instructions, and, after some days' fes-j
tivities, proceeded to. put them in execution.    " lil
has been remarked that no system could have been i
better devised to infuse activity into every department* and so extend the influence of the Company."
This its members succeeded in doing to such an]
extent, that it employed two thousand voyageursj
at 40/.  a year each,  whose knowledge of the;
frontier and connection with the Indians enabled!
it to be of much service to Great Britain duringi
the war with America-
Mackenzie gives the following account of the
number of skins collected in one year:— SKETCH OF FUR TRADE,
106,000 beaver
2,100 bear
1,000 fox
4,000 kitt fox
4,600 otter
17,000 musquash
32,000 marten
1,800 mink
6,000 lylix
600 wolverine
1,650 fisher
100 racoon
3,800 wolf
700 elk
750 deer
1,200 deer dressed
500 buffalo robes and a quantity of castorum.
And comparing this with the table given by Bliss
in 1831, the increase appears to be chiefly in the
smaller animals, and not so great as might have
been expected:—
126,994 beaver
375,731 musk rat
58,000 lynx
5,947 wolf
3,850 bear
8,765 fox
34 weazel
9,298 mink
325 racoon
2,290 tails
1,744 wolverine
645 deer
The total of these has been reckoned at 203,316/.
9*. Qd. There has been, however, a great increase
in the buffalo robes.
This account is no doubt incorrect, for in the
average of its first ten years the Company purchased seventy thousand bear-skins and nineteen
thousand marten-skins, an item not mentioned in it.
Notwithstanding the closeness which marked
the dealings of the Hudson's Bay Company
with the Indians, there had been much regularity
and good faith, so that a corresponding fidelity
was generated in them; but, by degrees, the new
mode of trading introduced by the North-west
Company, and the unlimited use of spirits, changed
the face of things. The Indian, passionately fond
of gambling, and, indeed, of excitement of any
kind, supplied the demand by all or any means,
\.i 166
even to killing the young animals, so that the
new system became as injurious to the trade as to
the Indian; and, indeed, equally so to the trader
himself, for the life thus led offered to young
ardent men every inducement to excess; and the
Company afforded the greatest possible inducement for those who had no other recommendation
than courage and ability to join its ranks; allowing credit to its servants for goods supplied,
until, in many cases, there was but one step from
the Company's service to the debtor's prison: it
was truly in all its features most demoralising. It
is not, therefore, to be wondered at that, when the
two companies came into collision, serious outrages were perpetrated.
In 1806 we have seen the North-west Company
stretching across the Eocky Mountains, and establishing a fort on Frazer's Lake. In the same
year at Bad Lake, near Albany factory, and in the
Hudson's Bay territory, the North-west Company,
having established a fort, attacked one belonging to
the Hudson's Bay Company, situated very near it,
and carried off all the furs contained in it: the
same thing happened at Red Lake. From robbery
they proceeded to personal violence, and a succession
of excesses ended in a skirmish near Eagle Lake,
in which some of the Hudson's Bay Company's servants were wounded, and the leader of the North-
lifcest Company's party shot, while in hot pursuit, by
a man whom he was about to cut down. This affair
happened in the year 1809. The servant of the
Hudson's Bay Company was taken to Montreal,
tried, and finally condemned, after eighteen months'
imprisonment, to six months more, and to be branded
in the hand with a red-hot iron.    In all these the SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
North-west Company's servants were aggressors, and
the interest of the partners at Montreal appears to
have operated invariably in behalf of the servants.
The character of the operations of the two.Companies
may be imagined from Ross Cox's (afterwards intheh?
service) description of the essentials for the Northwest Company's service:—" Courage was an indispensable qualification, nofe merely for casual
encounters with the Indians, but to intimidate any.
competitor in the ^mrfewijiwhom he might happen
to come in collision. Success was looked upon as
the great criterion of the trader's fitness, 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 acquired." He adds: " The
Hudson's Bay Company, on the contrary, presented
no inducement to extra exertion on the part of its
officers. Some of them, whose courage was undoubted, whent^hallanged rito single combat by a
Nor-wester, refused, alleging as a reason that they
were engaged to trade in furs and not to fight with
their fellow-subjects. The character of Hhe U engages," as the canoemen were called, gave the new
Company a decided advantage over the old, the
Canadian voyagemrs having been initiated into the
mysteries of the Indian trade from early youth, and
the Scotch and Orkney men, who formed the gf eater
part of the Hudson's Bay Company's servants, having
to learn them after their arrival in the country.
This more than counterbalanced the advantages
derived by the Hudson's Bay Company from age
and chartered rights* The North-west Company
in 1812 carrying the trade to the mouth of the
Columbia, their activity was soon manifested by the 168
purchase of the forts of the citizens of the United
States at Astoria, Spokain, and Okanagan.
In 1811, Lord Selkirk having obtained fronj
the Hudson's Bay Company a grant of 100,00(
square miles for the establishment of agricultural
colonies, made a settlement on the Red Rivea
This the North-west Company resisted, and th<
colonists retreated in alarm ; they however returnee
next year, and open war broke out between th<
parties, which ended in the dispersion of th<
colonists. This was brought before the BritisS
parliament some time after, and resulted in the amalgamation of the two bodies, the extension of the
jurisdiction of the Canada Courts to the Pacific,
or, as it is worded, p other parts of America
not within the limits of either of the provinces of
Upper or Lower Canada, or of any civil government of the United States." Having thus given
consistency to the united bodies, their trade rapidly
spread, and the American traders and trappers, exj
cepting such as enlisted under their banners, were
driven from the country west of the Rocky Mountains, and they reigned in undisturbed security for
many years. The amalgamation took place in
1824, and afterwards a new charter was given for
the period of twenty-one years, by which the same
privileges were confined to the united Company
under the old name of the Hudson's Bay Company,
but containing a reservation to the Crown of power
to colonise in or annex any portion of their territories to any existing province or colony, but not
of right to the Indian trade. This last Act, however, was not passed till May 30, 1838. It confirms all the privileges of the former grant, with the
above reservation.
It fully carries out the spirit of the original
charter, making provision not only for the good
order and government of the territory, having an
express stipulation " for gradually diminishing and
ultimately preventing the sale and distribution of
spirits among the Indians, and also for their moral
and religious improvement, as well as for the remedy of any evils which had before been known to
The Company entered into a bond of 5000/. with
the government of Great Britain for the due exercise of their powers under their charter, especially
with respect to the right of arrest and imprisonment granted to it in cases of debt under 200/., as
well as in more serious offences.
The union of the two Companies, the authority
thus given them by government, and the weight of
public opinion in England—for the quarrels of the
opposing parties had brought the evils of the existing system of trade to light, by rendering it no less
dangerous than unnecessary—combined to introduce
more of the spirit: of the original charter into the
Company's proceedings; and the result was shortly
apparent in a return to good order and regularity
not only among their own servants, but among the
natives; and their system being now one of fair
trade and reciprocal advantage, the use of ardent
spirits as a bribe, or even the sale of them to the
Indians, was discouraged and gradually discontinued.
Among the standing orders of the Company is the
" That the Indians be treated with kindness and
indulgence, and mild and conciliatory means resorted to, in order to encourage industry, repress
vice, and inculcate morality; that the use of spi- THE OREGON.
Mtenis liquors be gradually discontinued in the
fur districts where it is yet indispensable, and tiiat
the Indians be liberally supplied With requisite
necessaries, particularly with articles of ammuni*
tion, whether they have the means of paying for
them or not." That the interest of the Company is
evidently studied in this order, does not detract
Som its justice. To it indeed may be attributed the
present power of the Company over the Indians^
and the peace and plenty which generally reign
throughitheir territories. Mr. Dunn bears the following testimony to their recent exertions since
these general orders were issued:—The Company,
finding the success of their humane and judicious
policy gradually answering the proposed end, has
at last adopted the bold and decided course of abolishing altogether the use of spirituous liquors as an
article of trade with the natives. They have not
only done this in the territories-within their juris!
diction, Iput have, by a new article introduced into
the treaty of commerce entered into with the
Russians by Sir Gr. Simpson, stipulated that the
Russians should act in their trading with the
natives on the same principle, so that henceforth
one source of demoralization will be dried up.
It is to be wished that all other objects of their
charter had been as much attendedi to; but in the
matter of religion especially we may discover
much remissness; there have been, it is true, oc*
casional chaplains at the principal stations in
Hudson's Bay and the Oregon, and they have
assisted the Church Missionary Society at their stations of Red River and Cumberland House, and are
prepared to do so to a still further extent if that
Society should be enabled to accomplish its present SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
intentions, as also the missionaries of the various
dissenting denominations, and those from the United
States in the Oregon, and more especially of the
Roman Catholic church both in the Oregon and
Upper Canada, or perhaps properly Rupert's Land;
but these efforts have been desultory and unconnected ; nothing has been done yet by the Company for the conversion of the Indians, and little,
very little, for the instruction and protection from
the temptations with which they are surrounded, of
their own servants, and consequently their moral^
not to say spiritual condition, as well as that of their
Indian dependants, is at best at a low ebb.   Schools
have however been established for the education of
the half-breed and orphan children of the Indians.
But although much remains to be done, still much
has been done by the Company;   and it has been
well  observed,   that  no  stronger proof   of   the
salutary effect of their injunctions can be-adduced
than that, while peace and decorum mark the general conduct of the  northern  (and,  it  may be
added, the western) tribes, bloodshed, rapine, and
unbridled lust are the characteristics of the fierce
hordes of Assinaboines, Piegan, Blackfeet, Circees,
Fall and Blood Indians, who inhabit the  plains
between the Saskatchewan and Missouri rivers, and
are without the pale of their influence and authority;
and this is not less applicable to those living still
farther south, at the head-watejw*flthe Yellowstone
and Arkansas, the Klamet and the Umqua.
In the territory west of the Rocky Mountains
the Company has now the following forts and
1. Fort Vancouver and its dependencies:—
Forts George (la), the Astoria of the American^ 172
near the mouth of the Columbia; and Umqua
(lb), at the mouth of that river, both on the south
side of the Columbia. Forts Hall (It?) in the
Snake country, at the head-waters of the south!
branch, and Boisee (Id), on the tributary of that
name. Forts Cowelitz (le), on the river of that
name, about fifteen miles from its mouth on the
north side, Nisqually (If), on Puget's Sound, and
Nezperces (1</), near the great fork of the Columbia.
2. Fort Victoria, a settlement fast rising into
importance, at the south-east point of Vancouver's
3. Fort Langley, on Frazer's River.
4. Fort Simpson, on Chatham Sound, in lat.
54° 35', and its dependencies; Forts M'Loughlin
(4a), in Millbank Sound; Stikeen (46), and Ta-
kow (4c), in the Russian territory.
5. Fort Colville, below the junction of the Flathead river with the main stream, with its dependent
posts, Kootonais (5a), Spokain (5b), and Flathead (5c)jj on the rivers of the same names.
6. Fort Thompson, on the east branch of Frazer's
River, with its dependencies.
Fort Okanagan (6a), at the mouth of that river;
Alexandria (6b), on Frazer's River, lat. 52°; Chil-
cotin (6c), and Frazer (6d), on the lakes of the
same names; Fort George (6e), at the junction of
Stuart's River with the main stream, and St.
James (6f), M'Leod (6g), Conolly (6h), Babine
(6i), about the head-waters of Frazer's and Peace
Rivers, and Fluscuss near the Russian territory.
Of all these, Fort Vancouver is now the principal ; here Dr. M'Loughlin, the governor of the
territory, resides, and here is the principal depot
of the Company, in which all the goods brought SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
from England and furs collected in the interior
are warehoused ; it is indeed the emporium of trade
from Kamschatka to California.
The fort is in shape a parallelogram, about two
hundred and fifty yards long by a hundred and fifty
broad, enclosed by a sort of wooden wall, made oi
pickets or large beams firmly fixed in the ground,
and closely fitted together, twenty feet high, and
strongly secured on the inside by buttresses; the
area is cultivated, and surrounded by houses and
offices,  the    governor's  residence being   in   the
centre: there is a chapel and school.    The officers
of the Company dine together in the common hall,
the governor presiding; but it has been remarked,
that the absence of their wives and the females of
the establishment from the table does not contribute
to the refinement  of manners.    There is also a
public " batchelors' hall," where after dinner the
time is passed in conversation and smoking, but the
latter is said to be declining as a habit.     The hospitality of Fort Vancouver and its governor has
been highly praised, especially by American writers,
it should seem not without good reason; and the
general feeling of regret at leaving the society it
affords speaks much in praise of the officers of the
Company,  not less than the good cheer of the
Beyond the fort are large granaries and storehouses ; and before it, on the bank of the river, is
the village in which the servants of the Company
reside; in all, the residents may be seven hundred.
In the village is an hospital.
Attached to Fort Vancouver is a magnificent
farm, of more than three thousand acres; saw-mills
cutting many hundred thousand feet per annum; 174
fM-'.l I
grist-mills, and every other requisite for commerce
and agriculture. Vessels of fourteen feet draught
can come abreast of it at low water |says Lieutenant
Wilkes), and at the store of the Company every
necessary can be supplied as cheap as in the United
States ; this however must be taken with consider*
able limitation, and refers probably to the English
goods in particular. From hence the Company
carries on a lucrative trade with California^ the
Sandwich Islands, and the Russian settlements,
besides its exports to England; but of this notiospt
will be taken iM another chapter.
The Company's servants are principally Scotch
and Canadians, but there is also a great number of
half-breeds, children of the Company's servants
and Indian women. These are generally a well-
featured race, ingenious, athletic, and remarkabljj
good horsemen; the men make excellent trappers,
and the women, who frequently marry officers of
the Company, make clever, faithful, and attentive
wives; they are ingenious needlewomen, and good
managers. They frequently attend their husbands
in their trading excursions, in which they are most
useful; they retain some peculiarities of their
Indian ancestors, among which is the not unfre-
quent use of the moccasin, though usually it is
made of ornamented cloth, instead of deer-skin.
The approach to this the principal establishment of
the Hudson's Bay Company in the west gives the
slranger a high idea of its prosperity and import*
ance; the thickly peopled village, the highly cultivated fields, the absence of all guards and defences, the guns of the fort having long since
been dismounted, the civilized appearance of its
interior, and the activity and energy which every* SKETCH OF FUR TRADE.
1 HK
1 I o
where prevail,—the noble | river, here seventeen
hundred yards wide, on which perhaps some of the
Company's vessels, brigs, or steamers, well appointed, manned, and armed, are at anchor; and
these are heightened in their effect by the magnificent scenery by which it is surrounded; the
noble woods flanking the mighty stream, and
backed by lofty mountains, the snow-covered peaks
of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens towering
over all; while the wild flowers and fruits in their
season carpet the ground in wild luxuriance.
This fort was established by Governor Simpson
in 1824, and its present importance justified his
selection of its site. Here is, and doubtless will
continue, the chief trade of "Western America, until
the increasing demands of commerce and national
industry transport it to the shores of Juan de Fuca
Straits and Admiralty Inlet; yet even then, as the
only naval and mercantile station in South Oregon,
and as receiving the trade of all branches of the
Columbia, and having immediate and rapid connection with Puget's Sound by the Cowelitz and
Nisqually, and with Gray's Harbour by the
Chikelis—thus connecting the great fresh-water with
the great salt-water navigation; the Columbia with
the Strait of Fuca—it will occupy only the second
place. Sir H. Pelly, in his letter to Lord Glenelg,
in 1837, gives this account of the state of the
Company:—The Company now occupy the country
between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific by
six permanexit establishments on the coast, sixteen
in the interior country, besides several migratory
and hunting parties, and they maintain a marine
of six armed vessels and a steam-vessel on the coast.
Their principal establishment and depot for the 176
trade of the coast and interior is situated ninetji
miles from^he Pacific, on the northern banks of the
Columbia river, and called Vancouver, in honou8
of that celebrated navigator ; in the neighbourhood
they have large pasture and grain farms, affording!
most abundantly every species of agricultural produce, and maintaining large herds of stock ofeverjjl
description : these have been gradually established,
and it is the intention of the Company still further
not only to augment and increase them, and to establish an export trade in wool, tallow, hides, and
Other things, but to encourage the settlement of
their  retired  servants  and the  emigrants  unde^S
their protection; and he asserts further, that the
soil,   climate,   and   other  circumstances  of   the
country, are as much, if not more adapted to agricultural purposes than any other spot in America*
m . (   177   )
The presence of missionaries among the natives of
the territory has already been mentioned, and some
notice taken of their success. One result, how*
ever, remains to be considered.
It seems but the right and proper order of things
that the missionary in uncivilized lands should be
the harbinger not only of the blessings of the Christian religion, but of civilization also, and therefore
that he should be followed in his track by the settler and farmer, the mechanic and artisan, who obtain as the reward of their superior intelligence
and knowledge the wealth and independence which
in their own country their simple equality with
others could not expect; and this is just, the
benefit they confer is incalculable : it does not de-
crease its value that others in distant lands possess
the same, but rather increases it as the means
whereby they may be raised to the same eminence.
Now though this is to be expected and desired, it
has ever been thought a just ground of complaint
against men whose lives are devoted to the service
of God and the spread of his Gospel, if they let
<other occupations interfere with that which ought
to be their piimary one, or seek to make " a gain of
godliness;" and still more if the influence accorded
to them, in consequence of their important duty
and sacred office, be converted into an engine for
i 2 178
political purposes, or they teach other doctrine
with respect to our neighbours than the words of
the Apostle—I Follow peace with all men."
In reviewing the history of the settlers in Oregon, all this will appear by their own showing to
lie at the door of the American missionaries who
have established themselves there ; and the necessity
for drawing attention to it is this, that no satisfactory account of Oregon could be given without
some notice of the Wallamette Settlement, and
certainly no true statement of affairs there can be
given without these facts being referred to. In
their settlements at Okanagan, "Walla - walla,
Cowelitz, and Nisqually this charge is so far true,
that their principal attention, as Lieut. Wilkes
testifies, is devoted to agriculture, but on the Walr
lamette they sink into political agents and would-
be legislators. This the history of that settlement
will sufficiently evidence.
When the Hudson's Bay Company had established their authority over the Oregon by the
expulsion of American traders, the country began
to be esteemed by their servants residing there as
British. The peculiar mode of life to which they
are of necessity subject, renders the inhabitants
of the west scarcely fit to return to the abodes of
refinement or civilization, and these considerations
induced many, whose engagements with the Company were at an end, to determine on settling in
that country, for existence in which they were fully
qualified, and to which they had become in a man^
ner naturalized. For this purpose they selected
the valley of the Wallamette as most eligible, and
received every assistance from the Company in
promoting   their   intentions.    Their   success led
Some of the Company's officers to establish farms
there also, still retaining their connexion with it,
and thus the germ of a colony of some prospective
importance was formed.
Indeed the situation selected was highly advantageous, as well for present cultivation as for future
mercantile connexion not only with other districts
of Oregon, but with the Pacific generally. The
Wallamette river, having its rise below the 44th
parallel, flows in a northerly course between the
Cascade Mountains and the coast range, and falls
into the Columbia five miles below Fort Vancouver, forming by the two channels into which it
separates, as has been stated, a large island, called
by the natives Wappatoo from an edible root of
that name growing there in great quantities. This
river is navigable for about twenty-five miles to
the mouth of a small tributary j the Klackamus,
for vessels of moderate size: here there is a rapid
when the water is low, and in addition this river
rushes with such rapidity from its mountain source
as to create a heavy and dangerous swell; the
Wallamette is here five hundred yards wide. Three
miles above this it is broken by three separate falls j
in which the water is precipitated through deep
channels worn in the black trap rocks, and crossing the river diagonally; the resistance thus given
produces'columns of spray, the effect of which is
beautiful in the extreme; they are about twenty
feet in height. The banks of the river to this
ppint are irregular and rocky, but beyond undulating table-land, covered with luxuriant oak-groves
of a white species, very hard and elastic; and
above for about fifteen miles the mountains' rise
precipitously from the titer's bank, clothed with THE OREGON*
the largest pine-trees in a dense forest, but beyond
this again the country opens, the banks fall gently
towards the river, and rich verdant undulating
plains spread to a great extent on either side. At
this point, about fifty miles from the mouth of the
river, the Wallamette settlement was established.
The success of the experiment spread through the
territory, and was not long in passing the Rocky
Mountains, by means of the free trappers who
still kept up their communication with the States,
and shortly reached the seat of government, and
the principal cities of the east coast. It may be
remembered that hitherto all efforts made by Amed
rican citizens to get a footing in Oregon had proved
abortive, because they had entered into competition with a body to whose capital and organization they could offer no sufficient opposition. A
new line was now open, and as they had retired
from the country foiled, but ready to take advantage of any opportunity to return, a new plan of
operations was prepared to accord with the new
and favourable circumstances which had thus
arisen. And in saying this no blame is attached
to the parties who originated it, but rather to those
who took advantage of it to divert from iis primary intention a work of Christian benevolence
and charity.
The destitute state of the country, and even ofl
the Company's servants, with respect to the means
of attaining not only religious but secular knowledge, was well known; and to remove this missionaries were sent: on their arrival they received
every assistance and encouragement from Dr. Mac-
Loughlin—as became their professed object; but,
as it has been observed, "in accordance with their
true purpose, they commenced resident farmers,
teaching, it is true, the natives the great elements
of Christianity and forms of prayer, but using
,tbeir gratuitous labour in the cultivation of their
fields." The reports sent home by them induced
others to follow their example, which led to the
establishment of other missionary stations, and the
accession to the Wallamette settlement of some
few American farmers and others to whom the
Oregon offered advantages not to be found to the
east, of the Rocky Mountains, or the excitement
necessary to the irritable and roving disposition of
the inhabitants of the back settlements.
From this beginning the colony increased, till,
when Lieutenant Wilkes visited it in 1841, it
counted sixty families, who, he says, consisted of
American missionaries, trappers, and Canadians,
who were formerly servants of the Hudson's Bay
Company; and that the origin of the settlement
has been fairly stated, may be gathered from the
conclusion he arrived at concerning it. All of
them appeared to be doing well; but he was, he
says, " on the whole disappointed, from the reports
whfch had been made to me, not to find the settlement in a greater state of forwardness, considering
the advantages the missionaries have had ;"—thus
making the prosperity and advancement of the
settlement depend in a great measure, if not entirely, upon them: but that their missionary intentions have merged in a great measure in others
more closely connected with ease and comfort, is
still more plainly evidenced by the following account given by him of the Wesleyan Mission there :
" The lands of the ]fl*ethodist Mission are situated
on the banks of the Wallamette river, on a rich
p 1   '!
plain adjacent to fine forests of oak and pine.
They are about eight miles beyond the Catholic
Mission, in a southern direction. Their fields are
well enclosed, and we passed a large one of wheat
which we understood was half sown by the last
year's crop which had been lost through neglect.
The crop so lost amounted to nearly a thousand
bushels, and it is supposed that this year's crop
will yield twenty-five bushels to the acre. About
all the premises of this mission there was an evident
want of the attention required to keep things in
repair, and an absence of neatness tnat I regretted
much to witness. We had the expectation of .j
getting a sight of the Indians, on whom they were
inculcating, good habits and teaching the word of
God, but, with the exception of four Indian servants, we saw none since leaving the Catholic
Mission. On inquiring I was informed that they
had a school of twenty pupils some ten miles
distant at the mill, that there were but few adult
Indians in the neighbourhood, and that their intention and principal hope was to establish a colony,
and by their example to induce the white settlers
to locate near them, over whom they trusted to
exercise a moral and religious influence."
At the mills, which were badly situated and
managed, he saw twenty lay members of the
Mission under the charge of a principal, and
about twenty-five Indian boys, who, he was told,
were not in a condition to be visited or inspected.
They were nearly grown up, ragged, and half
clothed, and lounging about under the trees. He
might well add, " Their appearance was any^
thing but satisfactory, and I must own I was
greatly disappointed, for I had been led to ex^ 8ETTLEES IN OREGON.
pect that order and neatness at least (he could
scarce have expected less) would have been found
among them, considering the strong force of missionaries engaged here. From the number of
persons about the premises this little spot wore the
air and stir of a new secular settlement. It was
intended to be the home and location of the mission, and the missionaries had made individual selections of lands to the amount of one thousand
acres each, in prospect of the whole country falling under the American dominion."
Holding these views,. and with such interests
to incite them, it is not surprising to find these
missionaries among the first to excite political
changes, and to introduce the consequent discussions and dissensions.
A committee of five, principally lay members of
the mission, waited on Mr. Wilkes to consult him
and ask his advice relative to the establishments^
laws (it will be remembered that some of the
officers of the Hudson's Bay Company exercised the
authority of magistrates under the government of
Canada). The principal reasons which induced
them to this step appeared to Lieutenant Wilkes to
be, " That it would give them importance in the
eyes of others at a distance, and induce other
settlers to flock in, thereby raising the value of
their farms and flocks." He could not view the
subject in this light, and differed from them entirely as to the necessity or policy of adopting the
change, for reasons among which may be numbered
the following:—
1. On account of their want of right, as those
wishing for laws were in fact a small minority of
the settlers.
I 3 J
2. That they were not necessary even on their
own account.
3. The great difficulty they would have in enforcing any laws, and defining the limits over
which they had control, and the discord this
might occasion in their small community.
It appears that the Roman Catholic Missionaries
were placed in advantageous contrast to their Protestant brethren ; for he was satisfied from observation, as well as information, that they, though the
larger body, had neither any inclination nor necessity for a penal code. Mr. Wilkes therefore
suggested that they should wait until the United
States should throw its mantle over them. His
view then expressed determined a postponement of
their intention, but it was a postponement only.
The number of the citizens of the United States
has increased rapidly and favoured their purposes;
they have accordingly established a territorial, and,
it is presumed, provisional government. This consists of two legislative bodies and a chief justice,
with the necessary officers to enforce their decisions.
The two houses meet at stated periods of the year
for the transaction of business, and already there is
a rumour, of an intention to establish an independent
state, heard over the more reasonable and more
generally expressed opinion of the necessity of
union with the North American commonwealth.
The authorities of the Hudson's Bay Company
have in some measure sanctioned the arrangement
by accepting, through the chief factor and governor,
Dr. MacLoughlin, the grant of exclusive right
to a canal to be constructed by him around the
Wallamette Falls, on condition that it should
afford passage for boats thirteen feet in width, and
- ——
be completed in two years; but it has been well
remarked that " the recognition of the legislative
confederacy would be a politic course in the resident Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, even
ijbough he were ever so averse to it, for such recognition would not affect the interests of his association in case it were overthrown by his own government, and it would afford him meanwhile an opportunity for the quiet pursuit of his plans; it is but
just, however, to bear in mind that the jurisdiction
exercised by the Company over all the citizens in
the territory previous to the legislative convention
was not their own abrogation, but the investiture
of the British Government, for its own special object ; and it is no less just to say that this power
was exercised by the gentleman above named during his- rule with a temperance and fairness but
seldom found in those who have no immediate
superior to account to."
Various reports have of late given a strong impression of the flourishing progress of this settlement. The Doctor has by this time finished his
canal, and in addition erected a grist-mill with
" four run of burrs ;" and B>r. MacCarver, at present -Speaker of the Lower House of Oregon, writes
thus concerning it:—" The harvest is just at hand,
and such crops of wheat, barley, oats, peas and
potatoes, are seldom if ever to be seen in the United
States—that of wheat in particular, the stalks being
in many instances as high as my head, the grains
generally much larger;"—stay, gentle reader; not,
as might appear at first sight, than the general's
head;—but he would not much exaggerate, he tells
us, " to say that they are as large again as those
grown east of the mountains.    The soil is good,
and the climate most superior, being mild the year
round, and very healthy, more so than any country
I ever lived in the same length of time. Produce
bears an excellent price: pork, ten cents; beef,
six cents; potatoes, fifty cents; wheat, one dollar
per bushel. These articles are purchased at the
above prices with great avidity by the merchants
for shipment generally to the Sandwich Islands and
Russian settlements on the continent, and are paid
for monthly in stores and groceries, particularly
sugar and coffee (both products of the Sandwich
Islands), of which abundant supplies are furnished.
Wages for labourers are high ; common hands are
getting from one to two dollars a-day. It is with
difficulty men can be procured at these prices, so
easily can they do better on their own farms. The
plains are one perpetual meadow, furnishing two
complete new crops every year, spring and fall,
the latter remaining green through the winter.
Beef is killed off the grass at any season of the
year; and," adds the gallant general, m if you have
aiiy enterprise left, or if your neighbours have,
here is the place for them;"—thus corroborating
the opinion of Mr. Wilkes, who says | The wheat
of this valley yields thirty-five to forty bushels for
one sowing, or from twenty to thirty to the acre.
Its quality is superior to that grown in the United
States, and its weight nearly four pounds to the
bushel heavier. The above is the yield of the new
land, but it is believed it will greatly exceed this
after the third crop, when the land has been broken
up and well tilled. In comparison to our own
country, I should say that the labour necessary to
acquire wealth and subsistence is in the proportion
of one to three, or in other words, a man must work
through the year three times as much in the United
States to gain the same competency. The care of
stock, which occupies so much time with us, requires
no attention here, and on the increase alone a man
might find support." And although this has been
animadverted on by Mr. Farnham and others, it
must be remembered that he at least held, at the
time when he drew up and subsequently presented
to Congress the memorial of the settlers in the Wallamette, a very different opinion from that which
he has lately expressed; it moreover agrees with
the account given by Sir George Simpson, the Inspector-General of the Hudson's Bay Company's
forts and settlements.
The Wallamette settlement, and its younger
sister, Oregon city, begin to wear some little appearance of civilization, having chapels and school-
houses, an hospital (though this is used for missionary purposes), besides public buildings. The
extent of land, however, under cultivation does not
probably exceed the Company's farm at Fort Vancouver, and certainly cannot be compared to it in
management and appearance, or comparative produce ; and when estimated by the amount of their
farming and grazing establishments put together,
it is but insignificant.
The farm at Vancouver is about nine miles
square; on this there are two dairies and above
one hundred cows; here are one thousand acres
fenced into fields, sprinkled with dairy-houses and
cottages; by the labour of one hundred half-breeds
and Iroquois, with twenty or thirty ploughs and
an equal proportion of harrows, thirty or forty
acres are tilled in a day ; there are ten acres of
apple-trees at the north of the fort, and a large
m 188
garden abounding m every edible necessary and
luxury; on Wappatoo Island there are also two
dailies, where butter and cheese are made for the
Russian settlements from a hundred and fifty cows.
On the farm at Vancouver there are above three
thousand head of cattle, two thousand five hundred
sheep, and three hundred brood mares; The mills
and butter are excellent; the fleeces heavy, but not
very tine. In 1841 the yield of wheat was three
thousand bushels, averaging sixty-three pounds to
the bushel.
The cattle thrive on natural hay ; for the grass,
which in the beginning of the summer grows
rapidly, is afterwards converted by the heat and]
drought into hay; it is very nutritious, all its
jnices being preserved. The prairies along the
river have two luxuriant growths of grass, as
General M'Carver describes in the Wallamette ?
the first in the spring, and the second soon after the
overflowing of the river subsides, which is generally
in July and August. This last remains through
the season- The cattle require no shelter^ though
they are penned for protection against: the wolves,
and to manure the land. Of the scenery of this
farm Lieutenant Wilkes speaks m. terms of the
highest admiration; he says it wa&one of the most
beautiful rides he had yet taken, through fine
prairies adorned with flarge oak&and pities; these
are of gigantic dimensicftis, with their branches
drooping to the groimd. The prairies have such
an appearance of being artificially kept that they
ne?er cease to create surprise, and it is difficult to
believe that the hand of taste and refinement has
not been at wtfrk upon them* The ground is covered wiih columbine, lupins, and cammass flowers.
3£he scene from this place is truly beautiful; the
noble river can be traced in all its windings for a
long distance through the cultivated prairie, with
its groves and clumps of trees beyond; the eye
sweeps over an interminable forest melting into a
blue haze, from which Mount Hood, capped with its
eternal snows, rises in great beauty; the purple tints
in the atmosphere seem peculiar to the country.
The Company's farm at Fort Colville is situated
on a peninsula containing about two hundred acres
of rich soil, the only alluvial on j:he course of the
Columbia, except at the missionary settlement near
the Dalles. One hundred and thirty acres are in
cultivation in wheat, barley, and potatoes ; and
upon this farm the northern forts of the Company
depend for provisions. Here are two hundred head
of cattle, thirty brood mares, and sixty horses fit for
work. It may be remarked, that the country
between the main branch of the Columbia and the
Kooskooskee is very suitable for rearing sheep and
horned cattle.
There is another farm on the Cowelitz River,
which, rising below Mount Rainier, in the Cascade   Range, flows with a tortuous course into
the Columbia, near Mount Coffin, forty milea
below Fort Vancouver. The farm is about fifteen
miles up the river. Here are six or seven hundred
acres enclosed and under cultivation; large farm*-
houses, granaries, dairy, and cattle*pheds. Wheat
grows luxuriantly, producing twenty bushels per
acre: besides the dairy, as at Fort Vancouver and
Colville, are a grist and saw-mill.
At the head of Puget's Inlet the^e is a farm,
near Fort Nisqualljr, where also there is a large
daiiy, many hundred cattle, with seventy milch 190
cows; large crops of wheat, peas, oats, and potatoes. On the 15th of May Lieut. Wilkes saw peas
a foot high, strawberries and gooseberries in full
bloom, and some of the former nearly ripe, with
salad that had gone to seed. This is the principal
establishment of the Puget's Sound' Agricultural
Company, as has been already mentioned.
On the Fallatry Plains, near the mouth of the
Wallamette, and at Fort Langley, there are also
From these comparative accounts it will be seen
that the Hucfeon's Bay Company have many times
more land under cultivation than at Wallamette,
and that putting the Fur Trade out of the question,
their stake in the country is so much larger.
Having been obliged to show the consequence
of this departure of the missionaries on the Wallamette from their proper sphere of duty, it is. both
pleasant and profitable to offer, in concluding this
rsubject, an example of the effects of another and
more suitable line of conduct. At Lapwai, on
dhe Kooskooskee, Mr. Spalding, an American
missionary, has established himself. We find him,
•indeed, in a two-story house with board floors (a
great advance in civilization for the back settlements), with a grist and saw-mill, and that these
are the work of his own hands; that he has
twenty acres of fine wheat and potatoes, pumpkins,
corn, melons, peas, and beans in fine order; but
we also find him instructing the Indians in agriculture, lending them ploughs and other implements, and assisting them to cultivate farms of their
own, so that on one was raised, in 1840, four
hundred bushels of potatoes and forty-five bushels
of wheat; and Mrs. Spalding teaching their wives
(squaws no longer) to spin, to knit, and assist in
household work. Both he and his wife are in the
winter constantly engaged in teaching. They,
appear to have made considerable progress :with
the natives-—so far indeed, that with a map they
could comprehend the course of the United States
Exploring Expedition. $%#&4
Still the progress of the people in religious
knowledge does not seem great, and their expressions
of it being principally through prayers and hymns,
are not very satisfactory; still it may be hoped
that something is done—as much, perhaps, as this
union of occupations will allow.
At the Walla-walla station, however, more success is apparent; about forty or fifty families may
be under instruction, and assemble regularly for
worship on the Lord's Day, while residing near
the mission, but their wandering propensities
are not yet entirely overcome. At the Dalles also,
on the Columbia, the missionaries have occasion
to exercise much self-denial, and are said to live
in constant fear, this being the resort of all the
worst characters among the Indians. But they
are located on a rich alluvial plain of some two
thousand acres, where they raise good crops of
wheat and potatoes: of the former they had two
hundred bushels.    The harvest is in the month of
During the past year the number of settlers on
the Wallamette must have increased considerably,
for we hear, through the medium of the public
press, not only of Oregon city, but of the city of
Multonomah and the town of Linton, of buildings
worth seven thousand dollars, raised by individuals,
of a court  of justice and academical building,
B 192
while a military corps is being organized. This
might well excite a/smile did we not know irons!
how small beginnings great things arise in the far
west: but whatever opinion may be formed on
such reports of the Oregon cities and towns, at
least one thousand five hundred bushels of wheat,
seventy head of cattle, fifteen horses, and nine hundred hogs, are tangible results to the settlers from
a few years' labour.
By a census taken last year, the population of
the Wallamette valley is given as three thousand.
Of the natural productions of the Oregon territory
only a general idea can be given, and this may be
formed from what has been already said. In the
early days of its discovery scientific men were
seldom travellers, and since they have been an
essential branch of every expedition of discovery,
few but those residing in the district have visited
the interior, besides the United States' expedition,
commanded by Mr. Wilkes, and the particular information collected by him has not as yet been made
The animals found to the west of the Rocky
Mountains do not differ essentially from those immediately to the east. The elk, several species of
deer, antelopes, mountain-sheep, goats, and the different fur-bearing animals, lynxes, foxes, red, cross,
and silver, minks, musquash, marten, wolverine,
beavers, otters, marmots, and, above<all, the ermine.
In Southern Oregon a species of leopard spreads
terror and destruction among the flocks; and
throughout the middle and western region wolves
are numerous; the black and brown bear are common, and especially in the Rocky Mountains the
terrible grizzly bear, whose strength, ferocity, and
tenacity of life form the theme of so many romantic
incidents in thelives of the'trappers, and have been 194
rendered familiar by the accounts of so many travellers.
The dog is the companion, and not unfrequently
the food of the Indians; it is of the same species
as the Esquimaux dog, but not, as by them, trained
to useful purposes.
Snakes are numerous; the principal of them is
the rattle-snake: they are not, however, found
either on the coast or mountainous districts. On
the plains of the middle district horses abound ;
they are a fine race of animals, of a moderate
height, but with good shoulders, muscular loins,
fine limbs and small feet, strong action, of immense
powers of endurance, considerable speed, and
equalling the mule in sureness of foot. Every
variety of colour is found among them; not only
the more uncommon mixtures, roan, piebald, and
spotted, but these again varied with other colours.
Mr. Farnham saw a roan with bay ears and white
mane and tail; and some spotted with white on a
roan or bay or sorrel ground, with tail and ears
tipped with black.
The Indians, and especially the Cayuse or
Skyuse, possess large herds, even the poorest
having several. The same writer thinks them
better trained to the saddle than those of civilized countries. He thus describes the process of
catching and taming the wild animals:—
% When an Indian wishes to increase the number
of his working horses, he mounts the fleetest he
has, and, lasso in hand, rushes into the band of wild
animals, throws it upon the neck of the chosen
one, and chokes him down, and while in a state of
insensibility ties the hind and fore feet firmly!
together.    When consciousness returns, the animal NATURAL PRODUCTIONS.
struggles violently, but in vain, to get loose. His
fear is then acted upon by throwing bear-skins,
wolf-skins, and blankets at his head, till he becomes
quiet; he is then loosened from the cords, and rears
and plunges furiously at the end of a long rope,
and receives another introduction to bear-skins, &c.
After this he is approached and handled; and if still
too wild, he is again beat with blankets and
bear-skins as before, until he is docile. The captive is then initiated into the mysteries of the bridle
and saddle, and, after the same mode practised in
South America, frequently forced at full gallop
" by the armed heel" until thoroughly " subdued."
In this mode of horse-breaking the Indians are
most admirably proficient, and by it they make of
the wild horse the most pleasant, docile, and fearless animal in existence. Of their speed and
powers of endurance some estimate may be formed
from the following story, related by Mr. Cox-:—
" In the spring of 1813, before the dissolution of
the Pacific Fur Company, while I was stationed at
Spokane House, with Mr. Clarke, he received a
letter from Mr. Farnham, who had charge of the
party sent to the Flatheads, stating that he had
arrived at the Flathead portage, a distance of
Seven ty-t\#o miles from Spokane House, where he
should be obliged to remain a few days to recruit
his horses; that his trading goods were exhausted,
and that he was entirely out of tobacco; that a
party of Flatheads were following them with a
quantity of valuable skins; that his rival, Mr.
McDonald, was also unsupplied with tobacco ; that
whichever of them got the first supply of that
article would, by treating the Indians to a grand
smoking match, succeed in getting the produce of
i If
their hunt, and that in order to attain their object
it was absolutely necessary the tobacco required
should be with him that night, lest the natives
should go over in a body to Mr. McDonald, with
whom they had been longer acquainted.
" It was eleven o'clock in the forenoon when this
letter reached us, and Mr. Clarke thought it impossible for any horse to go a distance of seventy-
two miles during the remainder of the day ; at all
events he knew that none of the Company's horses
were fit for such a task, and was about giving up
the idea as hopeless, %hen I offered to undertake it
with a celebrated horse of his own, named | Le
Bleu.' The case was important; a blow was
necessary to be struck; and although he prized the
horse above all his chattelsrin the Indian country,
he at once determined to sacrifice his private feelings to the interests of the Company. Two men
were selected to accompany me, and orders were
given to catch 1 Le Bleu.' He was a noble animal, between fifteen and sixteen hands high, seven
years of age, admirably built, and derived his
name from his colour, which was dappled white
and sky-blue. He was also a prime racer, and had
beaten all his competitors on the turf. Owing to
the delay occasioned by catching the horses, we did
not start till twelve o'clock. I remained in com*
pan^ with the men the first two hours at a slight
canter; after which I took the lead at a hand-*
gallop, and quickly lost sight of them. I followed
an excellent and well-beaten pathway for upwards
of sixty miles through the Pointed Heart plains,
but late in the evening it brought me to a wood$
through which it runs for a distance of ten miles$
when it terminates at the portage."
" Shortly after entering the wood night overtook
me, and I several times lost the pathway, which,
owing to the darkness and a quantity of fallen
trees and brushwood, became exceedingly intricate.
The s*agaeity of my horse, however extricated me
from these 1 egaremens," and a little after e%ht
o'clock I emerged from the forest, and was delighted at the cheering appearance of a range of
fires along the banks of the river. Le Bleu,
whifeh had been for some time drooping, on seeing
the light, knew his task was at an end, and galloped
up in fine style to Mr. Farnham's tent, when he
was immediately let loose to regale himself on the
prairie. I had brought a few fathoms of thick
twist tobacco with me, on hearing which the Indians crowded round us, and in a few seconds each
man's head was enveloped in clouds of smoke.
They promised that we should have all their skins %
but in order to make assurance doubly sure, we
requested them to bring their respee&ve packages
to the tent and deposit them therein until morning.
This was at once complied with, after which
smoking recommenced. About two hours after,
two of our rivals came in with a quantity of tobacco ; they had started from Spokane House shortly
after us, but were never able to overtake the gallant Bleu. They were much better acquainted
with the intricacies of the pathway through the
wood than I was, and if their horses had been
equal to mine, it is very probable the result would
have been different: they were much chagrined at
our success, and on taxing the Indians with having
deserted them for strangers, they replied, that
being the first to satisfy their hungry cravings afte$
tobacco, they could do no more than give us the
*%m 198
preference; but added that they would punctually
pay them any debts which they had contracted
with Mr. M'Donald, which promise they faithfully
kept. About midnight the two men whom I had
left behind me reached the encampment; they also
were for some time lost in the wood, and, like m«
self, were obliged to depend on the sagacity of
their horses to set them right.
fjj We returned to Sopkane House by easy stages,
but I did not ride the Bleu. In less than a week
after he was perfectly recovered from the fatigue
of his journey, and in the summer of the same year
beat the fleetest horses of both Companies on the
It should be remarked that the Indian horses
are not shod, and owing to this circumstance
the hoofs, particularly of such as are in constant
wrork, are nearly worn away before they are ten or
eleven years old; they are never taught to trot,
but their pace is a canter or hand-gallop. The
Indians ride them with hair-rope bridles and pad«
ded deer-skin saddles, which are not only severe, but
cruel in their operation. Their average price may
be stated at 21., and they unite in herds of sometimes three or four thousand. In the south thei«
increase is so rapid, that in 1812 the Spaniards at
San Francisco were obliged to kill thirty thousand
to procure grass for the buffalo, the fat of which
is a staple commodity. It is killed in immense
numbers for the sake of its skin, and on the great
prairies still more for food, where the skin a^d
bones and inferior parts are left for the birds, p-id
the wolves. The rapidity with which the buffal* p
are disappearing is remarked by all traveller^ in
the western prairies; two circumstances combine NATURAL PRODUCTIONS.
to their destruction ;—the Indians every year
making fresh lodges of their skins, and the business of the American trading posts being almost
exclusively confined to them. The average annual
number of skins traded is given by Mr. Fremont,
as follows:—
American Fur Company . 70,000
Hudson's Bay Company . 10,000
Other Companies .       .        10,000
But to this large number must be added those
killed without their skins being taken. The Ca-
manchees, whose country abounds in buffalo, trade
in skins, and the greatest number killed on the
prairies is during the summer months, when their
skins are valueless to traders, as it is only from
November to March that they are fit for dressing:
the skins of bulls are never taken or dressed.
From these data some notion may be attained of
the number killed annually. West of the Rocky
Mountains, the buffalo is now only found to the
south of the Great Pass; formerly the hunting-
.grounds extended over all the south and west headwaters of the Columbia as far as the Dalles. It h
probable, however, that the period of their first
crossing the mountain is not very remote, as in the
.region to the west the " great highways" made
by them in passing from river to river or across
the mountain ranges are never met with. The
"Snake Indians attribute their crossing to the American trappers. To the south, on the Colorado
jmd head-waters of Rio del Norte, they never
'extended any considerable distance. At the present time they are for the most part confined to a 200
very limited range along the east base of the
Rocky Mountains, sometimes extending into the
plains of the Platte and Arkansas, and along the
eastern frontier of Mexico as far as Texas. Of
the animal productions of Oregon the fur-bearing animals are at present of most importance,
their skins forming the staple trade of the territory ; but many considerations combine to induce
the conclusion that it will not long continue so :
indeed the operations of the Company by which it
is carried on impress this forcibly upon the mind ;
for while in its conduct economy is the order of
the day, and the receipts are said to be on the decrease, insomuch that the expense of procuring the
fur is not much exceeded by the proceeds of its
sale, the farming and grazing operations of its
offspring, the Puget's Inlet Agricultural Society,
are carried on with much spirit, and it has its
agents not only in England, but in California and
the Sandwich Islands. Latterly, however, the
Company has reduced the expenses of collecting
furs by supplying the trapping parties with food
from the Company's farms. The present annual
value of the furs exported from the Columbia has
been very differently stated; it may, however,
safely be reckoned as between forty and fifty thousand. This is, however, a large amount when
the smallness of the means employed is considered.
The number of the Company's forts has been
already stated as about thirty. It has on the
coast six vessels and a steamer, and its immediate «
servants and dependants do not probably exceed
fifteen hundred.
But whatever be the state of this branch of trade
at present, it cannot continue long in it.    Every
new settler, every fresh location, reduces, if but a
little, the number of fur-bearing animals; and
though the marten tribe, frequenting principally
the mountainous districts, especially New Caledonia, may continue to be, for some time, of importance in commerce, the beaver and all animals
inhabiting the more fertile districts must soon become extinct. That this is the inevitable consequence of the occupation and cultivation, the constant occurrence of deserted beaver-dams and entire
absence of the animal itself from the eastern shores
of the continent, sufficiently prove, and it therefore
becomes probable that at no distant period the fur-
trade of the Oregon will be carried on in the
smaller animals only.
It is, however, obviously the policy of the Hudson's Bay Company to prevent this, and accordingly great care is taken not to exhaust any district
by over hunting; so that, when the fur-bearing
animals have become scarce in any particular
locality, the post established there is temporarily
relinquished ; and so strictly is this policy adhered
to, that Lieut. Wilkes exonerates even their migratory trapping parties in Lower Oregon and the
borders of California, and round Fort Hall, from
the blame which has usually attached to them of
killing all fur-bearing animals without respect to
age, although they cannot hope to retain those
districts long in their own hands.
One source from which skins may be obtained
has been as yet comparatively untried. The coast
swarms with amphibious animals of the seal kind,
known by the vulgar names of sea-lion, sea-elephant, and sea-cow; but, above all, with the common seal:   the traffic to be derived from these in
H 202
i   i
skins, oil, &c,, could not but be lucrative. To this
may be added the whale-fishery, both the black and
spermaceti whales being found in the North Pacific,
and from which large supplies of oil and cetine
may always be obtained. ^g| |||
Great advantages would be derived by carrying
on this trade from the shores of the Pacific: not
only would the demoralizing effect of so long?% an
absence from home, usually three years, to which
the whale-fishers are now subject, be avoided,.but
also the expenses attending the outfit and maintenance of such large vessels as are necessary for the
trade at present; for by building them on the spot,
a great proportion of their first cost would be
About twenty whales are killed annually in the
straits of Juan de Fuca. Vancouver, in the month
of June, met with numbers in the Gulf of Georgia;
and De Mofras places the new whaling-ground
from the equator to the Aleutian Archipelago,
parallel to the coast of North America. Lieut.
Wilkes makes the parallels 30° south and north
the principal grounds in the Pacific in direct lines
from Asia to America ; the coast of South America
from lat. 5° S. to 40° N. off California; and the
entire line of Japanese and Aleutian Islands; so
that the harbours of the Oregon are most admirably
situated with respect to the northern grounds, as
New Zealand is to the southern.
The causes which he assigns for the choice of
these localities by the whale are important, as
they go far to prove that these grounds will never
be deserted. He thinks he has established as a
fact, | that the course of the great currents of the
ocean, sweeping with them the proper food of the
great cetaceous animals, determines not only the
places to which they are in the habit of resorting,
nut the Seasons at which they are to be found frequenting them/' His theory, based upon observations made during his extended and circuitous
exploring voyage, is this, that towards the western
sides of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans,
streams of heated water, making their way from
low to high latitudes, prevail. Those in the two
northern oceans become easterly, setting towards
the opposite continent, causing, beyond all question,
the comparatively equable and elevated temperature
that is found on their western coasts, and which so
peculiarly distinguishes the climate of the British
Islands. To keep up the equilibrium of the ocean,
the body of water thus thrown from the equator towards the poles must, after being cooled and rendered more dense in higher latitudes, return towards the equator; and the mode in which at first
sight it might be expected to do this is by currents
wholly submarine, but the influence of the returning water is felt on the surface also: the meeting"
of these currents form nuclei, by checking, modifying, and changing their rapidity and progress. By
this method it would appear that the Creator has
made provision for regulating the fluid mass of the
ocean " in its endless gyrations, seeking to attain
an equilibrium it never reaches," at the same time,
and by the same course, distributing the excess of
the tropical heats throughout the whole surface of
the globe, and bringing towards the equator the
icy masses which would otherwise accumulate in
the frozen zones. But the favourite food of the
sperm-whale is the gelatinous medusae; and experience proves that the temperature of water around
SaH. 204
the ice in the Arctic Seas makes them their favourite
abode. Their powers of locomotion are feeble, and
confined principally to rising and sinking at pleasure. If, therefore, currents exist, they will be carried by them from it \ and in their passage through
lower latitudes, will exert this power to continue
in the low temperature of water which they prefer.
In fact, the natural laws which govern the medusae
and the denser water coincide. When this happens, the sperm-whale leaves the high latitudes,
and follows in quest of food. Upon inquiry we
find that the currents commence at the period
when the moluscae are most numerous, and also
that the nuclei of the currents correspond closely
with the known whaling grounds.
The time of the whales appearing in the North
Pacific, off Japan and California northward, is
from May to November.
Now the route indicated by this theory for
whaling vessels from the United States is, in the
beginning of summer, to take the route round
Cape Horn, and taking the various " grounds " in
their route, will spend the ensuing summer on the
North Pacific ground above mentioned. Now, it
is obvious that the plan to be adopted is to follow
the current; therefore any accidental delay may be
of serious consequence, and so it is often found.
The advantage, therefore, of being on the spot, and
subject to no delay, cannot be over estimated ; and
when it is considered that out of the first eighteen
months of the cruise two months are probably
spent recruiting at Peru or Chili, and perhaps
three at the Sandwich Islands, the expense so incurred must be a serious deduction from the profits,
besides the benefits derivable to the masters and NATURAL PRODUCTIONS.
owners from having a moral and trustworthy
crew, one indeed which cannot be too highly estimated. The advantage to the sailors themselves, by depriving them of their chief incentive
to immorality, and releasing the natives of the
islands of the Pacific from their evil influence, and
removing a great scandal from the profession of
Christianity—these considerations combine to persuade that a whaling station on the western coast
of America would be most valuable, especially to
the natives who may first establish it.
Of this profitable trade the citizens of the United
States possess at present all but a monopoly. Their
whaling fleet consists of six hundred and seventy-
five vessels, most of them of four hundred tons
burden, and amounting in all to one hundred
thousand tons. The majority of them cruize in
the Pacific. It requires between fifteen thousand
and sixteen thousand men to man them. Their
value is estimated at twenty-five million dollars,
yielding an annual return of five million, or twenty
per cent. The quantity of oil imported is about
four hundred thousand barrels, of which one-half
is sperm.
Respecting the importance of this trade, Mr.
Wilkes remarks—u The number of those on shore
to whom this branch of business gives employment
will readily be admitted to be twice as great as that
of the crews.
When we add to this profitable occupation for
many persons, the value of the domestic products
consumed by them, and the benefit that is thus
conferred upon both our agricultural and manufacturing interests, the importance of this branch
of business will appear greatly enhanced. 206
By a large majority of persons it is believed that
the whale fishery is a mere lottery, in which success is more owing to good luck than good management. Those, however, who entertain such an
opinion are in error. There is perhaps no employment on the ocean where a sound judgment is
more necessary, and no business whose success depends more on the experience, enterprise, and industry of the commander, than that of whaling.
The whaling fleet of the United States has been
stated as six hundred and seventy-five vessels.
That of England and her colonies may be considered as not exceeding one hundred and fifty.
The remarks of Mr. Alexander Simpson on the
subject, with reference to the Sandwich Islands, are
equally appropriate to the west coast of America.
" The formation of a British colony in the very
centre of the fishery, which would serve as a starting point for the cruising vessels, and whence the'
oil could be shipped to market soon after it has
been  taken,  would  secure for
England a
share of this valuable branch of trade, and obviate
many of its present evils. Thirteen whaling vessels
(of whose fishings I have a record), which sailed
from the port of Hoolulu, in the spring of 1842,
procured, during their summer cruize, four hundred
and twenty-four tons of spermaceti, and eight
hundred and fifty-five tons of black oil; these
cruises averaged one hundred and sixty-five days,
and the value of their fishings 4500/. per vessel."
These thirteen include English and American, and
are rather below than above the usual success.
The evils to which he refers, and which have
been already alluded to, are consequent on the
distance of the ship's port from the fishing grounds, NATURAL PRODUCTIONS.
and the time which on that account the vessels are
absent, and perhaps not a little on the share which
all hands take in the interest and profits of the
voyage; giving it all the excitement, as well as
the uncertainty of gambling, and in consequence
personal skill is all that is required in the officers ;
and among them are many reckless characters,
who, in the excitement of the voyage and dissipation of the time spent on shore, seek to dissipate
the recollection of their former lives.
Besides the whale fishery, that on the banks and
coast is important. Cod, halibut, and herring
are found in profusion, and sturgeon near the shore
and mouths of rivers. ' Already the salmon fishery,
which, among the Indians, has been described,
affords not only a supply for home consumption,
but is an article of commerce, being sent to the
Sandwich Islands; they are also supplied to the
Russian settlements, according to contract.
The land affords even now exports of cattle,
wool, hides, and tallow, as well as salted meat,
beef and pork, wheat, barley, and Indian corn,
apples and timber. Of these, all are sent to the
Sandwich Islands, some to California, and hides
and wool have been sent to England. Those exports are principally in connection with the Puget's
Inlet Agricultural Society, of whose farms some
account has been given.
This Company, originally formed of servants
of the Hudson's Bay Company—its charter, and
consequently its capital, being confined to trade
with the Indians — nominally, it has a capital of
500,000/., but its available capital is only 200,000/.
The Company has imported cattle from California,
and live stock from England, and is laying the
k 3
m 208
foundation of a profitable trade through the medium
of the Hudson's Bay Company with the Russians
at Sitka, in supplying their settlements with flour,
butter, cheese, &c.; as well as with the Sandwich
Islands and California.
The woods of Oregon present another fertile
source of national wealth, not less important from
the size than variety of the timber they contain.
Pine of several kinds, cedar, spruce, oak, ash, iMrch,
beech, maple, arbor vitae, and others. The hard
wood is sufficient for ship-building, but the enormous pines of the western districts have excited
universal admiration, although it must be confessed
that the wood of the larger trees is of a coarser
texture and much less durable than the comparatively smaller growth of the mountains. The
growth of timber of all sorts in the neighbourhood
of the harbours in the de Fuca Straits adds much to
their value as a naval and commercial station, and
there can be no doubt that the western coast
will supply the islands of the Pacific with timber
of all kinds, as the eastern does the Bermudas and
West Indies, and no one acquainted with the value
of that trade can doubt the advantages to be derived
from this.
But the necessity which is gradually developing
itself for steam-fleets in the Pacific will open a
mine of wealth to the inhabitants of the west coast
of America, in the rich measures of coal with
which it abounds. It is found in the whole western district, but principally shews itself above the
surface on the north part of Vancouver's Island.
Mr. Dunn gives a curious account of its discovery,
at least by white men. It happened when he was
trader and interpreter in the Beaver, the Company's
steam trading vessel, under Mr. Finlayson, as chief
factor. He says: " The cause of the discovery was
as curious as the discovery itself was important.
Some of the natives at Fort M'Loughlin having,
on coming to the fort to traffic, observed coal burning in the furnace of the blacksmiths ; and in their
natural spirit of curiosity made several inquiries
about it, they were told it was the best kind of fuel,
and that it was brought over the Great Salt Lake,
six months' journey. They looked surprised, and
in spite of their habitual gravity, laughed and capered about. The servants of the fort were surprised at their unusual antics, and inquired the
cause. The Indians explained, saying that they
had changed in a great measure their opinion
of the white men, whom they thought endowed
by the Great Spirit, with the power of effecting
great and useful objects, as it is evident they
were not then influenced by his wisdom in bringing fuel such a vast distance, and at so much
cost. They then pointed out where it could be
found of the richest quality close to the surface,
rising in hillocks, and requiring very little labour
to dig it out. This intelligence having been reported at Fort Vancouver, we received instructions
to make the necessary inquiries and exploration.
Mr. Finlayson, with a part of the crew, went on
shore, and after some inquiries, and a small distribution of rewards, found from the natives that the
original account given at Fort M'Loughlin was
true. The coal turned out to be of excellent quality, running in extensive fields, and even in clumpy
mounds, and most easily worked all along that part
of the country. The natives were anxious that we
should employ them to work the coal; to this we 210
II '<:-
consented, and agreed to give them a certain sum
for each large box,—the natives being so numerous
and labour so cheap, for us to attempt to work the
coal would have been madness."
To these sources of commercial and national
wealth must be added the minerals. These we
have described as lying generally to the west of the
Cascade Range,—iron, lead, tin, and to the north,
near the Russian settlements, copper, but as the
veins have never been worked, little can be said
either as to quality or quantity.
The mountains and sea coasts produce granite,
slate, sandstone, and in the interior oolites. Limestone is plentiful, and to the north most easily worked,
and very rich in colour. Add to this the salt mines
which might be opened near the Snowy Mountains,
and it may be said with truth that nothing can be
wanting to civilized life which is not found in profusion in this favoured district.
^^^^* -■■       - ■■  ■ CHAPTER XI.
Although it is not the intention to enter on the
thorny paths of political controversy, yet, in accordance with the objects of this work, it may
be expected that some notice should be taken of
the geographical relations and consequent comparative value of the different parts of the Oregon
territory in connection with the propositions that
have been made for the settlement of the dispute
by the parties concerned. It is much to be wished
that such considerations entered more frequently
into treaties respecting boundary lines, and that they
were not so commonly formed according to mere
temporary or extraneous interests; or, as if to save
the trouble and thought such a course would require, and forgetful of the abiding character of the
geographical, i. e., the natural features of a country,
by running an arbitrary line across the map, severing, as is almost certain to be the case, interests
most closely connected by nature, and reducing, if
not entirely destroying, the value of perhaps otherwise important tracts of country. Such a line
on the east of the Rocky Mountains now separates the sources of the northern tributaries of
the Missouri from their mouths, and consequently
from all connection with that uiver; while with
still stranger perversity it cuts off not only the
Moose   River   from   the   main   stream   of  the iir UlfrN
Assiniboin, but far the more considerable portion
of the Red River from their united waters, which
fall into Lake Winnipeg—an example forcibly illustrative of the absurdity of a system which it is
desired to perpetuate in the west, and which, if
carried out, would be followed by perhaps even
greater inconveniences and inconsistencies.
As an illustration of this, it may be observed
that the value of water power, which is more frequently found qn the head-waters of the tributaries
of the larger rivers, is, especially if used for
sawing, entirely dependent on the facility which
the streams themselves afford for carrying the produce of the mills to market. This every one who
has travelled in America must be fully aware of.
In such cases, therefore, the cutting off the upper
waters of a stream from the lower by a boundary
line must neutralize any advantage to be derived
from their possession ; and if, as is most probable,
the floods which some years since did so much
damage in the Red River district were caused by
the overflowing of the Missouri into the Moose
River, it is easy to conceive that hereafter, on the
occurrence of such a calamity, it might cause a
collision of interests, one party desiring that the
surplus waters should find an outlet in that direction, and the other naturally anxious that they
should be kept in their proper channel.
It may be concluded, from the description already
given of the Oregon territory, that Sir George
Simpson's opinion, as expressed in the account
given by him in his letter to Sir Henry Pelly on
the renewal of the Hudson's Bay Company's charter,
respecting the state of the country at that time,
and which has been printed by order of parliament CONCLUSION.
with the other papers relating to it, is substantially
correct, viz., that the only part of it north of the
Columbia at present valuable for any   purpose
except the fur trade is between that river and
Frazer's, including, of course, the lands surrounding
Admiralty  Inlet,  Puget's Sound,  &c.     In  this
tract is contained all the land in the country fit for
cultivation, the more northern parts of New Caledonia affording little else but mountain and flood,
rock and water; and although they may hereafter
support a hardy population similar to that of other
highland districts, they offer no advantages to tempt
the settler, and must ever be in a great measure dependent on the more favoured districts to the south,
where we have seen fertile land of every description is not wanting, whether rich arable, as on the
coast district, or abundant pasture on the plains,
not to mention  the tobacco to be found on the
more elevated table-lands, the heavy growth of the
forests, or the universality of edible roots. Already
exporting, as it does, a considerable quantity of
the  produce of the soil,  its fertility is beyond
doubt; and although there may be disputes as to
its comparative amount—whether we, with Mr.
Wilkes, esteem it more fertile by three times than
the United States, or with others, consider it less
so than Canada—there can be none as to its capabilities for supporting a large population in ease
and comfort, with the enjoyment of every necessary,
and hot a few of the luxuries of life.
It has been remarked, also, that the maritime
advantages of the country are concentered in the
Strait of Juan de Fuca and Admiralty Inlet; and
that Puget's Sound, from its contiguity to the
Columbia by the Cowelitz, and to Gray's Bay by :
the Chikelis, as well as to the strait, must form
the centre of the commercial as well as the agricultural energies of the west; and nothing so satisfactorily establishes this importance of the southern
waters of the inland navigation as the inconvenience,
to say the least, of the northern channels, blocked
up, as we have seen them to be, by rocks and
islands, and impeded by the rapidity of the tides.
The situation of Ports Discovery and Hudson,
in the angle between the Strait and Admiralty
Inlet, over which they have consequently the entire
command, should also be remembered.
The value of these ports as a naval station has
already been stated ; but it may be remarked, that
though Mr. Wilkes fully confirms Vancouver's
opinion of Port Discovery, he is all but silent respecting Port Hudson, which our great navigator
preferred before it. This silence may be significant,
for he not only corroborates Vancouver's expressions generally, but asserts particularly that he
ventures nothing in saying that no other country
possesses such waters: and it should be observed
that the only remark^ he makes is, that on the
table-land opposite the entrance, and consequently
between Ports Discovery and Hudson, is an admirable site for a town ; but observing, with respect
to Port Discovery, that Protection Island is so
situated as to make good its appellation, having
the entire command of both entrances to it.
It follows, therefore, that the cession of the
country south of Frazer's river would include that
which contains within itself both the commercial
and agricultural importance of the territory; and
it remains to be inquired how far these considerations
have formed an element of the calculations which
have resulted in the offers made by the contending
parties for the settlement of their dispute ; and although this is presented naturally to the mind as
connected immediately with the objects of the present work, its importance as a general consideration
should not be overlooked: for, as abstract right
appears to have been abandoned as a means of deciding the question, how can it be settled except
on a basis of reciprocal advantage ?
The truth, therefore, which is now involved is,
not one of right or title, but of commercial necessity and national interest.
It may be remarked, however, that the claims of
the two countries are distinct, both in quality and
extent; for while the United States now claim the
entire territory, Great Britain has never (though
professing a belief in her just title to the whole)
made any endeavour to obtain more than a part.
The difficulty is to apportion it.
All the former offers of the diplomatists who
have at various times attempted a settlement of
this question, resolve themselves into those which
were last made by Messrs. Gallatin and Canning,
and to them the moderate men in both countries
seem desirous to recur, and of them alone therefore
will it be necessary to take any notice, more especially as the entire political aspect of the question,
whether of right by discovery, treaty, international
law, or custom, has been so ably argued by Messrs.
Falconer and Wallace, and now also by Dr. Twiss,
that the moderation, to say no more, of the British
Government in its demands, no less than its desire
to preserve peace, and permit every reasonable advantage to the United States (even at much sacrifice), must be most evident to all.
mi 216
The original offer of Great Britain was to carry
the boundary along the 49th parallel of latitude,
which separates the territories of the two nations
from the Lakes to the Rocky Mountains, until it
should strike the waters of MacGillivray's river,
and then follow the course of that river and the
Columbia to the sea, retaining the freedom of navigating the Columbia; and as by this arrangement
it was considered that the United States would have
no harbour on the coast—that at the mouth of the
Columbia being, as has been shewn, of very little
value—a detached territory, from Bullfinches' Harbour to Hood's Canal, of course including Ports
Discovery and Hudson, was subsequently added.
On the part of the United States it was proposed
that parallel forty-nine should be the boundary
across Vancouver's Island to the Pacific, and that
the navigation of the Columbia should be common
to both nations ; but, in order to give Great Britain
a harbour in the Strait of Fuca, the south part of
Vancouver's Island, which that line would have
cut off, was offered to her in addition ; but, subsequently, the navigation of the Columbia was reserved to the United States.
These offers respectively Great Britain could
not, and the United States would not, accept. The
reasons will be apparent, on a geographical consideration of their several tendencies.
It will be seen, by reference to the map, that by
her own offer Great Britain would deprive her subjects of the posts and farms occupied by them south
of MacGillivray's and the Columbia rivers, viz.
Forts George, Umqua, Hall, Boisee, Nezperces,
Colville, Kootonais, Spokane, and Flathead, all of
which  are  of considerable   relative  importance. CONCLUSION.
The land under cultivation at Fort Colville, which
supplies all the northern posts ; the farms at Wap-
patoo Island ; the Wallamette and Fallatry plains,
the value and extent of which have already been
described; and, in addition to those already in occupation, the fertile vallies of the Flathead and
Spokane Rivers and Lakes, as well as the plains
between the main fork of the Columbia,—concessions which might be thought sufficient, when it
is considered that she never hesitated to allow to
the United States the possession of the southern—
the richest part—the so-called Garden of Oregon,
viz., the fertile valleys of the Wallamette, Umqua,
and Clamet, resigning, as she would thus do, of her
own accord, by far the greater part of the cultivate-
able land in the country; but when to this is added
the detached territory which she subsequently offered, it may well excite surprise that any government should be willing to add to the loss of the
agricultural that of the commercial advantages
which its possession would afford.
A glance at the position, and remembrance of
the opinions expressed respecting Ports Discovery
and Hudson by Vancouver, and confirmed by
others, will afford sufficient proof that they are
the keys of the inland navigation, commanding not
only the entrance to Hood's Canal, but of Admiralty Inlet, and consequently Puget's Sound, and
neutralizing any advantages to be derived from its
possession; and that it was not without some, if
not sufficient knowledge of this, that the offer was
made, is evident from the expressions used by hei
Commissioners, Messrs. Huskisson and Addington,
in their statement*
P Great Britain, on her part, offers to make the
f 218
river the boundary, each country retaining the
bank of the river contiguous to its own territories,
and the navigation of it remaining for ever free
and open, upon a footing of perfect equality to
both nations."
" To carry into effect this proposal, on one part
Great Britain would have to give up ports and settlements south of the Columbia. On the part of
the United States there could be no reciprocal withdrawing from actual occupation, as there is not,
and never has been, a single American citizen settled north of the Columbia (this was in a.d. 1826).
The United States decline to accede to this proposal, even when Great Britain has added to it the
further offer of a most excellent harbour and an
extensive tract of country on the Straits of Juan
de Fuca—a sacrifice tendered in the spirit of accommodation, and for the sake of a final adjustment
of all differences; but which, having been made in
this spirit, is not to be considered as in any degree
recognising a claim on the part of the United
States, or as at all impairing the existing right
of Great Britain over the port and territory in
Such being the losses which would have been
consequent on the acceptance of the British offer,
those which would have been added to them by
adopting the proposal of the United States are
sufficiently evident. Let the expression used by
Sir George Simpson be borne in mind, that all the
cultivateable land lies south of Frazer's River, and
then let the eye be carried along the forty-ninth
parallel, and it will be seen how much of it would
be left to Great Britain. Fort Okanagan, with
its little fertile district of alluvial soil, would be CONCLUSION.
added to the list, and the only harbour retained on
the continental shore would be the mouth of Frazer's
River, in itself of no importance (the river being,
as has been observed, too rapid and too much obstructed for navigation), and that accessible only
by the narrow and difficult, if not dangerous,
northern entrance to the Gulf of Georgia, while
not onlv would the Columbia River be under the
control of the Americans, from Fort Okanagan,
which commands the northern branches, to the sea,
but the entire harbours of the south of Juan de Fuca
Strait. Ports Hudson and Discovery, Possession
Sound, Port Orchard, Puget's Sound, as well as
Hood's Canal and Bullfinches' Harbour, would, with
the fertile plains adjoining them, be in their hands,
and the British and their Canadian brethren be
virtually excluded from all connection with the
Pacific south of latitude fifty-two. Of what value
the intermediate country would be to her, except as a sufficient separation from such neighbours, it would be difficult to say. It is not surprising, therefore, that the monopoly thus claimed
by the United States over the entire valuable part
of the Oregon territory should have put an end for
the present to all negotiations concerning it, though
it may well excite our admiration that this country
and her ministers should, after such moderation,
have been insulted by expressions and insinuations
with which American publications on the subject
so much abound, and of which the following is a
very moderate example:—
" The consideration of the maritime advantages
of the southern coast of the Strait of Fuca and
Puget's Sound suggests a pretty forcible view of
the remarkable liberality of Great Britain's offer
\   1 fftMj
of the Columbia as a line of compromise. This,
while it secures to her every navigable harbour,
does not leave us one."
With reference to the country east of the main
fork of the river, it may be remarked, that on the
plains of this district it is that the horse more particularly abounds; and that, with respect to the
abandonment of them, and especially of the Flathead country, a question of morality as well as
of interest is involved.
We have seen that the Indians inhabiting it are
of a far more civilized character, or, at least, far
more capable of civilization, than those of the coast
or northern districts; and that under the influence
of American missionaries they are improving in
social condition, if in nothing else: nevertheless
they are yet in a great measure dependent on the
Hudson's Bay Company for many necessaries of
life, and still consider them the rulers of the
country, if not its lawful possessors; they therefore trust to them and in them to Great Britain
(perhaps not unmindful of the conduct of the
United States to their brethren on the east of the
Rocky Mountains) for protection and support;
they have prospered under our rule, and seem to
afford a prospect of being exceptions to the general
rule of their race, and likely to preserve their
identity, even under the supremacy of the white
man. How then shall we leave them to the uncertain fate attendant on the cession of their
country to the United States, the probable chances ;
of a war of extermination, and the certainty that
individual settlers, seeking each his own livelihood
from agriculture, can ever be to them, in the day
of adversity, what the Hudson's Bay Company has conclusion;
been, relieving their wants and supplying their
necessities when a return was impossible. Nor
should the enmity be forgotten, which, lurking in
their bosoms against the American free trappers,
breaks out when opportunity offers, as we have
seen Fremont witnessing, and which has so essentially contributed to render any attempt to establish trading ports in the Oregon by them
always abortive; nor the probability that in despair
they might unite with the Blackfeet and other
border tribes in a war of retaliation and revenge,
in which the inhabitants of our own frontiers
might in the end be considerable sufferers. But
on higher considerations, surely if St. Paul was
debtor not to the Jews only, but to the barbarians,
how much more are we debtors to those who have
so long considered themselves the allies, if not the
subjects, of Great Britain.
It is not then impossible that had these things
been taken fairly into consideration no such offer
as that alluded to would have been made by the
British Government; but in addition to these particulars there are some general geographical considerations which militate strongly against it.
It has been shewn that north of Broughton's
Archipelago, perhaps from Mount Stephen, a confused mountain chain runs north-west to the
southern points of the Babine and Peak Ranges,
separating Frazer's River and its tributaries, as
they do the Unijah or Peace River, its tributaries,
and the head waters of the Mackenzie River, from
the rivers falling into the Pacific, thus dividing
the country through which they flow from the
Oregon territory, properly so called, excepting at
the Table Lands, in which all these rivers have 222
their sources, and affording no access to the sea
between the parallels 49i° and 51^-°, so that it
must be a considerable period before any intimate
connexion can exist between settlers in these districts ; and it may well become a question whether
there is any probability of their being inhabited, if
disconnected by any circumstance from the more
fertile districts of the south, and the supplies which
may so easily be conveyed to them from thence by
sea. It is remarkable also, that on the south, as
has been observed, the Great Salt plains between
the Snowy Mountain ranges confine the culti-
vateable part of California to the comparatively
narrow strip between their western range and the
Pacific, so that it is cut off from all connexion with
the east, except by the valley of the Colorado,
while it is most intimately connected with Southern
Oregon by that of the Sacramento. Its excellent
harbours, especially San Francisco, seem to offer
a more fitting outlet for its produce than those to
the north. This the Americans perceiving, are
not remiss in their endeavours to annex that
country as they have already done the Texas; and
if political speculations could here be indulged in,
it would not be difficult to show that an arrangement which reserved the ports north of the Columbia to Great Britain, giving those of California
to the United States, would be most advantageous
to both parties, and might probably be effected :
without trouble or opposition from Mexico, whose
hold pn that province has long since been relaxed.
This would, however, be out of place here; but
the intimate connection of the future destinies of
the Oregon and California may excuse the remark
that the value of San Francisco as a naval station I
has probably been very much overrated:  indeed,
if Vancouver may be credited—and his opinion
should be sufficient authority—it would seem that
the united harbours of Port Discovery and Hudson
have some considerable advantages over it;   its
very size, some thirty miles long by ten  in its
widest and four in its narrowest part, renders it
inconvenient, especially as its enormous area of
some two hundred square miles is two-thirds of it
Unavailable, being choked with sand and mud, reducing it to about seventy miles, extended over its
whole length; while from the same cause, no less
than the marshy character of its shores, they are
in many places unapproachable, and the deep-water
channel consequently much exposed; and for all
these reasons it must prove difficult of defence,—a
difficulty much enhanced by the necessarily isolated
position of the settlements around it: it moreover
is connected with nothing except the Oregon, and
the valleys watered by the rivers flowing into it,
of which the Sacramento has a course of not more
than three hundred miles, and the others of much
less;   the anticipated produce of gold-mines and
pearl-fisheries are not now to be considered, because, according to the old  proverb, a mine of
gold has never equalled in value one of. copper, and
the latter are, from their very nature, most uncertain ;   but the harbours at the angle of the Strait
of De Fuca not only form the key of that extensive
inland navigation, but connect it with the Columbia
and Frazer's River, the latter of which has a longer
course than the Sacramento, if it does not water so
valuable a country ; while with respect to the Columbia, its  comparative   importance   cannot   be
1 224
doubted; and, in addition, presenting an available
area of fifty miles, lying close and compact in two
channels, affording perfect security for vessels, and
without rock or shoal, besides the extensive facilities and advantages offered by the various har-
bours of Admiralty Inlet, without mentioning
those on the opposite shore of Vancouver's Island,
one of which at least, viz., that on which the Hudson's Bay Company have established their Fort
Victoria, is of a very high character. It is worthy
also of remark, that if San Francisco were in the
hands of the British, as some desire it should be,
it would be totally isolated, and destitute in itself
of any means of defence except at its entrance, and
must, therefore, cause great expense in protecting
it artificially; but possessed by the Americans, and
resting to the right on their part of the Oregon, it
could be supported on the left by the Valley of the
Colorado, which, by the Gulf of California, would
connect the Texas with the Pacific; while the
facilities of defence at Ports Discovery and Hudson
have been the theme of universal praise, and if surrounded by a British territory, must render them
These considerations force themselves upon us
after a survey of the position and natural features
of the country. It may be asked, If so, what do
we ? Already the American settlers number their
thousands, while the servants of the Hudson's Bay
Company are principally Indians and half-breeds.
We have at home a superabundant population, subject to a very rapid increase on any reduction of
the price, if but of the necessaries of life: how
can it be better employed than in seeking with its
own advance in social position and means of acquiring its comforts, if not its luxuries, the spread
of our free institutions, equal laws, and holy religion ? We desire an enlarged sphere for commercial enterprize, new markets for our manufactures: these every fresh colony supplies in its
measure. If then the Oregon be what it appears
to be—if its climate, soil, agricultural and commercial capabilities be as represented—why leave
its future destiny to time and circumstances ? Where,
it may well be asked again, is the enterprizing
spirit of our Raleighs and Grenvilles?—where
the feeling of responsibility which prompted the
disinterested Bray ? To stimulate us to follow the
former if not the latter example, let us hear what
Mr. Wilkes says on this matter, and draw our own
" It is very probable that this country will become united with Oregon, with which it will perhaps form a state that is destined to control the
destinies of the Pacific. This future state is
admirably situated to become a powerful maritime
nation, with two of the finest ports in the world,
that within the Straits of Juan de Fuca and San
Francisco. These two regions have, in fact, within
themselves everything to make them increase and
keep up an intercourse with the whole of Polynesia,
as well as the countries of South America on the
one side, and China, the Philippines, New Holland,
and New Zealand on the other. Among the latter,
before many years, may be included Japan. Such
various climates will furnish the materials for a
beneficial interchange of products, and an intercourse that must in time become immense; while 226
this western coast, enjoying a climate in many
respects superior to any other in the Pacific, possessed as it must be by the Anglo-Norman race,
and having none to enter into rivalry with it but
the indolent inhabitants of warm climates, is evidently destined to fill a large space in the world's
future history."
I|i»" -#»
London : William Ciowes and Sons, Stamford Street. \A 'IP!
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