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Adventures of the first settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River : being a narrative of the expedition… Ross, Alexander, 1783-1856 1849

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Array         ADVENTURES
\ 811
1849. ERRATA.
Page   4, line 6 from bottom, omit " to."
- 22,  - 10 from bottom, for " Volverine" read "Wolverine."
- 103, lines 8 and 9, for | dollars each" read « pounds weight." ADYENTUEES
Introductory remarks—John Jacob Astor—Grasping views—Early-
traders of Canada—The Hudson's Bay Company—American fur
companies—Astor's policy—Russian settlements—Coasting vessels
—The Pacific Fur Company—Flattering results—Oregon territory—
New association — Mr. Hunt — Golden prospects — Proposals accepted—list of adventurers—Land party—Sea party—The ship
Tonquin — Remarks — Opinion against opinion — Observations —
Land expedition departs—Sea party set off for New York—Bark
canoe—Spectators—Canadian voyageurs. f
When I first conceived the idea of writing the
following narrative, my design was to begin with
a brief outline of the discoveries already made On
the coast of the Pacific, from Drake in 1579 to
Vancouver in 1792 ; or, rather, down to the present
time; but, on second thoughts, I felt convinced that
enough had been done already in that branch of * JOHN JACOB  ASTOR.
inquiry; or, at least, that the further prosecution
of it might be better left to those who aspire to
literary fame. Mine is an humbler ambition—not
to figure as an author, but to record faithfully, as
a trader, the events in which I bore a part; and, in
so doing, to gratify a desire kindled by an acquaintance with strange scenes and new fields of action,
in a remote country which is still but little known.
The progress of discovery contributes not a little
to the enlightenment of mankind; for mercantile
interest stimulates curiosity and adventure, and
combines with them to enlarge the circle of know-
ledge. To the spirit of enterprise developed in the
service of commercial speculation, civilized nations
owe not only wealth and territorial acquisitions, but
laiso their acquaintance with the earth and its productions. The illustration of these remarks will be
found in the following pages.
Mr. Astor of New York, a German by birth, but
a citizen of the United States, raised himself, by his
adventurous and enterprising spirit, from small beginnings to be one of the wealthiest and most eminent merchants in America. Soon after his arrival
in the United States, about the year 1784, he commenced his commercial career in the traffic of furs :
at first on a very narrow scale, but gradually expanding as his means increased. In this way he made
visits to Canada, purchasing furs in that country, and
shipping them from thence to the London market:
and it is supposed that at this period his buoyant and
aspiring mind conceived the vast project of grasping
in his own hands, at some future day, the whole for
trade of North America.
The valuable furs and peltries scattered in former
days over the extensive forests, lakes, and rivers of
the Canadas, like the rich mines of Potosi and Mexico, invited many adventurers. The French, for
some time after settling there, carried on an irregular
but lucrative traffic in furs and peltries, with very
little opposition, until the year 1670, when the Hudson's Bay Company, established by royal charter,
took possession of the territory now called H Rupert's
Land," or Hudson's Bay. The Canada, or as it was
more generally called, the North-West Company,
was formed in 1787; and these soon became the two
great rival companies of the north, as we shall have
occasion to notice more fully hereafter. Next on the
theatre of action appeared the Mackina Company,
which swept the warm regions of the south, as the
two others did those of the wintry north, until the
American Fur Company, established by Mr. Astor in
1809, commenced operations; but he, finding the
Mackina fur traders somewhat in his way, bought
out that Company, and added its territorial resources in 1811 to those of the American Fur
Company. This body corporate was entitled the
South-West, in contradistinction to the North-West
Mr. Astor now saw himself at the head of all the
B 2
iii i; H
fur trade of the south, and his intention was to penetrate through the barriers of the Northern Company,
so as eventually to come into possession of all the fur
trade east of the Rocky Mountains. With this plan
still before him, he now turned his views to the trade
on the coast of the Pacific, or that new field lying
west of the Rocky Mountains, and which forms the
subject of our present narrative. In this quarter the
Russians, alone had regular, trading port^, opposite to
Kamtschatka, where they still carry on a considerable
•trade in furs and seal skins, sending them across the
Pacific direct to China. Their capital is limited, and
their hunting grounds almost entirely confined to the
sea-coast and islands, around their establishments.
The American coasting vessels also frequent this
quarter, collecting vast quantities of valuable furs,
which they convey to the Chinese market. This
casual traffic by coasters, yielded to their owners in
former days, by means of the returning cargo, an
average clear gain of a thousand per cent, every
second year; but these vessels are not so numerous
of late, nor are the profits thus made so great as
The comprehensive mind of Mr. Astor could not
but see these things in their true light, and to perceive that if such limited and desultory traffic pro-
*duced such immense profits, what, might not be
expected from a well-regulated trade, supported by
capital and prosecuted with system: at all events,
the Russian trader would then be confined within THE  PACIFIC  FUR  COMPANY.
his own limits, and the coasting vessels must soon
disappear altogether.
Towards the accomplishment of the great plan
which he had in view, Mr. Astor now set about
opening a new branch of the fur trade on the Pacific,
under the appellation of the I Pacific Fur Company,"
the grand central depot of which was to be at the
mouth of the Columbia River, the | Oregon of the'
Spaniards." By this means he contemplated carrying
off the furs of all the countries west of the Rocky
Mountains; at the same time forming a chain of
trading posts across the Continent, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific, along the waters of the great Missouri:
connecting by this chain the operations of the South-
West Company on the east, with that of the Pacific
Fur Company on the west side of the dividing ridge.
This grand commercial scheme, appearing now
plain and practicable, at least to men of sanguine
disposition, gave much satisfaction to the American
public, who, from the results contemplated, became
deeply interested in its success; for all the rich cargoes of furs and peltries thus to be collected annually
over the vast expanse were to be shipped in American vessels for the great China mart, there to be
sold, and the proceeds invested in a return cargo
of teas, silks, beads, and nankeens, and other articles
of high demand in the United States; which would
not only prevent to some extent the American specie
from going out of the Union for such articles, but
also  turn the barren wilds of the north and far 6
west into a source of national wealth. Some, however, of the more sagacious and influential among
the Americans themselves observed to Mr. Astor at the
time, that his plan would be likely to give umbrage
to the British, and arouse them to assert more speedily
their claims of prior discovery to the Oregon quarter,
and that such a step would operate against him. To
these suggestions Mr. Astor simply observed, "that
he had thought of that, but intended chiefly to employ in his undertaking British subjects, and that he
should on that account give less offence; besides,"
added he, " the claims of prior discovery and territorial right are claims to be settled by Government
only, and not by an individual."
Mr. Astor's plans, hitherto known only to a few,
now began to develope themselves more publicly.
On the first intimation of the scheme, the North-
Westerns took the alarm; for having already, in the
prosecution of their trade, penetrated to the west side
of the Rocky Mountains, in the direction of New
Caledonia and the north branch of the Columbia,
where they expected to reap a rich harvest, they
viewed Astor's expedition to that quarter with a
jealous eye, according to the old adage that " two of
a trade seldom agree;" but others again extolled the
brilliant project, as the brightest gem in the American
Union, and particularly many of the retired partners
of the North-West Company, who, not being provided for in some late arrangements, had left that
concern in disgust, and therefore were the most likely NEW ASSOCIATION.
to oppose with effect the ambitious views of their
former coadjutors. These were just the men Mr.
Astor had in his eye; men of influence and experience among savages, and who from their earlier days
had been brought up in, and habituated to, the hardships of the Indian trade. To several of these persons
Mr. Astor disclosed his plans and made proposal^
whereupon Messrs. M'Kay, M'Kenzie, M'Dougall,
and Stuart, entered into his views, and became part*
ners in the new concern. The former of these gentlemen had accompanied Sir Alexander M'Kenzie in
his voyages of discovery to the North Polar Sea in
1789, and to the Pacific in 1793, the narratives of
which are before the public; and most of the others
had equal experience, and were all of them in some
way or other related to the great men at the head of
the North-West Company.
Articles of association and co-partnership were
therefore entered into and concluded at New York,
in the spring of 1810, between those gentlemen and
Mr. Astor, establishing the firm of the Pacific Fur
Company, as already noticed; to which firm five
other partners, namely, Messrs. Hunt, Crooks, Miller,
McLellan, and Clarke, were soon afterwards added.
The association was not a joint-stock concern; Mr*
Astor alone furnished the capital, amounting to
200,000 dollars, divided into 100 shares of 2000
dollars each, with power to increase the capital to
500,000 dollars.
The association was formed for a period of twenty 8
years, but with this proviso, that it was to be dissolved if it proved either unprofitable or impracticable, after a trial of five years; during which trial,
however, Mr. Astor, as stock-holder, was alone to
bear all expenses and losses, the other partners giving
only their time and labour. Of the above shares,
Mr. Astor held fifty in his own hands; Mr. Hunt, as
his representative and chief manager of the business,
five; while the other partners, who were to carry on
the trade with the Indians, were to have four each,
in the event of the business succeeding. The remaining shares were reserved for the clerks, who
joined the concern as adventurers, without any other
remuneration than their chance of success at the end
of the five years' trial. The only exceptions were
Mr. Robert Stuart and myself^ who were to have our
promotion at the end of the third year. From the
proportion of interest, or number of shares in the
hands of the stockholder and his representative, it
will appear evident that the other partners, however
unanimous they might be, could never have gained a
majority of votes in any case over those which might
have been by proxy appointed to represent Astor.
At the head depot, or general rendezvous, was to
be stationed Mr. Astor's representative. The person
appointed to this important trust was Wilson Price
Hunt, a gentleman from New Jersey, who alone, of
the whole party, had never been engaged in the
Indian trade; yet his active habits, perseverance,
and enterprise, soon made good his want of expe- GOLDEN PROSPECTS.
rience, and enabled him to discharge the duties of his
station. In him was also vested the chief authority,
or, in his absence, in M'Dougall. It was therefore to
either or to both of these gentlemen that all Mr.
Astor's measures were made known, and all his
cargoes consigned.
At the time when these novel schemes were first
agitated, I was in Upper Canada; and the first
intimation I had of them was in a letter from Mr.
McKay, the senior partner, requesting an interview
with me at Montreal. To Montreal I accordingly
went in the month of May; and there, for the first
time, I saw the gilded prospectus of the new Company, and, accepting the proposals made to me by
Mr. Astor, was the first to join the expedition;—
and who at the time would not have joined it, for,
although the North-Westerns tried to throw aU the
cold water of the St. Lawrence on the project, yet
they could not extinguish the flame it had spread
abroad. The flattering hopes and golden prospects
held out to adventurers, so influenced the public
mind, that the wonder-stricken believers flocked in
from all quarters to share in the wonderful riches of
the far west.
It need not be wondered at, if, under the influence
of such extravagant expectations, many applicants
appeared; but in accordance with Astor's plan, that
the business should be carried on only by persons of
well-tested merit and experience, for on their habits
of perseverance and enterprise alone rested all hopes
■;   : a 10
of ultimate success, his assistants were selected with
more than ordinary care, every poor fellow that
engaged being led to believe that his fortune was
already made. Here Messrs. Franchere, Pillet,
M'Gillis, Famham, and M'Lennan, besides Mr.
Stuart and myself, joined the adventurers; besides
five tradesmen or mechanics, and twenty-four canoe
men, the best that could be found of their classes.
Operations were now deemed requisite for the
accomplishment of the Company's views; therefore,
while one party, headed by Mr. Hunt, was ordered
to make its way across the Continent by land,
another party, headed by Mr. M'Kay, was to proceed by sea in the Tonquin, a ship of 300 tons, and
mounting twelve guns. The Tonquirfs course was
round Cape Horn, for the north-west coast. The
Columbia River was to be the common destination of
both parties. The land party at its outset consisted
of only seventeen persons, but Mr. Hunt's object
was to augment that number to about eighty as he
passed along, by means of American trappers and
hunters from the south. Here M'Kenzie strongly
recommended Mr. Hunt to take all his men from
Canada, as too much time might probably be lost
in collecting them from the south; and besides,
Canadians, as he thought, would answer much
better; but Mr. Hunt adhered to his first plan.
The P arrangement of these two expeditions, in
which M'Kay, whose life had been spent in voyaging
through the Indian countries, and who was nowise LAND AND SEA PARTIES.
qualified as a merchant, had resigned the inland
voyage to a gentleman, bred to mercantile pursuits,
but unacquainted with this his new mode of travelling, exhibited such an egregious inversion of the
ordinary rules of prudence, as gave rise to much
Matters being so far settled, Mr. Hunt, who was
now seconded by Mr. M'Kenzie, left La Chine, nine
miles south of Montreal, with the land expedition,
in the beginning of July; and, on the 20th of the
same month, the ship party, consisting of three
partners, five clerks, Mr. Stuart, and myself, five
mechanics, and fourteen canoe men, left Montreal
for New York, where we were to embark. Of this
number, however, M'Kay and eight of the most
expert voyageurs proceeded in a bark-canoe through
the States: on all such occasions there is a kind of
mutual understanding between both parties, that is,
between the canoe men and the canoe, the former
undertaking to carry the latter over the land part of
the journey, while the latter is bound to carry the
others safe over water. The appearance of this
unusual kind of craft on the American waters, with
the cheerful chantings of its crew, their feathered
caps and sylvan appearance, as they approached the
gay city of New York, attracted such a crowd of
spectators of all classes around them, as left but little
space to land; but what was the astonishment, when,
in the twinkling of an eye, two of the crew were
seen to shoulder their craft, capable of containing
i   , ■■ii        iassm
two tons weight, and to convey it to a place of safety
on terra firma. Mr. Astor, who happened to be
present, was so delighted with the vivacity and
dexterity of the two men, that he gave them an
eagle to drink his health; then turning round, observed to some gentlemen who were standing by,
that " six Americans could not do what these two
brawny fellows had done," which observation gave
rise to some further remarks, when Mr. M'Kay,
with an air of confidence, challenged the swiftest
New York boat for a three mile race, offering to
bet ten to one on his canoe men, but, after what had
been witnessed, no one appeared disposed to risk his
money. It is scarcely necessary in this place to
observe, that the Canadian voyageurs are among the
most expert and venturesome canoe men in the
The Tonquin sails—Quarrels on board—The captain's character—
Accommodations—A sudden squall—Flying fish—The captain's
harshness—Cape de Verd Islands—Alarm of fire—A suspicious sail
—Crossing the Line—Springing a leak—Short allowance of water
—Immense wave—The Falkland Islands—Rocky passage—Wild
fowl—Port Egmont Bay—The party on shore—Mr. Farnham's
gray goose—Old graves renewed—Epitaphs—Party left behind-
New dangers—Mr. Robert Stuart's determined conduct—Feuds on
board —Cape Horn doubled — The weather—Pilot fish—Trade
winds—Rogues' mess—Little pilot—Mouna Roa—A man overboard—The mate in irons.
On the 6th of September 1810, all hands—twenty-
two belonging to the ship, and thirty-three passengers—being on board, the Tonquin set sail, and a
fresh breeze springing up, soon wafted her to a
distance from the busy shores of New York. We
had not proceeded far when we were joined by the
American frigate Constitution, which was to escort us
clear of the coast. On the 7th, in the afternoon, we
passed Sandy Hook lighthouse, and the next day the
Constitution returned, we dismissed our pilot, and
were soon out of sight of land, steering a S.E. course.
i  \;
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laili 14
So far all was bustle and confusion upon deck, and
every place in the ship was in such a topsy-turvy
state, with what sailors call live and dead lumber, that
scarcely any one knew how or where he was to be
stowed; and it was in settling this knotty point that
the crusty supremacy of the high-minded captain
was first touched. Captain Jonathan Thorn had
been brought up in the American navy, had signalized himself, and upon the present occasion he
stood upon his own quarter-deck. Matters went on
well enough till we came to the mechanics: these
young men had been selected from the most respectable of their class, had been promised by their
employers situations as clerks in the trade whenever
vacancies should occur, and in consequence, serving
in the twofold capacity of clerks and tradesmen, they
were entitled, by their engagements, whilst on boa/d
ship to the same treatment as the other clerks; but
behold when the captain came to assign them their
place, it was not in either the second or the third
cabin, no, nor in the steerage, but before the mast
among the common sailors. In vain did they remonstrate, and equally vain was it for them to produce
copies of their engagements; right or wrong, forward
they must go; but that was not all; to the grievance
of bad accommodations was added that of an insult
to their feelings, by being compelled, as a further
punishment for their obstinacy, to perform the duties
of common seamen both by day and night. After
this bit of a row with the captain, they applied for ■■- -■-.» ——
.. ■   .1     mi  hull       I .^^Ihwj. ■"   '.fl -" ■        —      ■
redress to the partners on board, the very persons
with whom they had executed their agreements.
The partners interposed, and in their turn remonstrated with the captain, but without effect; he
remained inexorable. Both [parties then getting into
a violent passion, Mr. M'Kay said, fj That his people
would defend themselves rather than suffer such
treatment." On hearing this, the captain, suddenly
turning round on his heel, defied Mr. M'Kay and his
people, adding, " that he would blow out the brains
of the first man who dared to disobey his orders on
board his own ship." In the midst of this scene,
Mr. David Stuart, a good old soul, stept up, and by
his gentle and timely interference put an end to the
threatening altercation.
This was the first specimen we had of the captain's
disposition, and it laid the foundation of a rankling
hatred between the partners and himself, which
ended only with the voyage, and not only that, but
it soon spread like a contagion amongst all classes, so
that party spirit ran high: the captain and his people
viewing the passengers as the passengers did them,
with no very cordial feelings. Whilst these feuds
agitated the great folks at the head of affairs, we
amused ourselves with conjectures as to the issue of
the contest. A new leaf was to be turned over, the
captain forbade the partners the starboard side of the
quarter-deck; the clerks, the quarter-deck altogether;
and as for the poor mechanics and Canadians, they
were ruled ever after with a rod of iron.    All this =
time the Tonquin was speeding her way proudly over
the wide bosom of the Atlantic, until the 18th, in the
morning, when she was struck with a sudden squall,
which backed all the sails and placed her in a critical
position for about two minutes; her stern going down
foremost was almost under water, when all 5 1 once
she recovered and relieved our anxiety. The next
day two sail were descried a head, all hands were
mustered on deck, and each had his station assigned
to him in case of coming to close quarters. For
some days past the flying fish appeared in immense
numbers, passing frequently through the. ship's rigging, and now and then falling on the dec^. We
measured one of them 'and found its length to be 5-t
inches, circumference of the body 2 ine ^ wings,
situate near the gills, resemble in texture the wings
of the bat, and measure, when stretched, 5 inches
between the tips. In their flight they generally rise
to 15 or 20 feet above the surface of the water, and
fly about 150 yards at a time. As soon as their wings
get dry they fall again into the water, and only fly
to avoid their pursuers. They are the prey of the
dolphin and other large fishes.
On the 6th of October we made one of the Cape
de Yerd Islands, on the coast of Africa. It proved
to be Bonavista, in lat. 16° N. and long. 22° 47' W.
The land, covered with a blue haze, appeared broken,
barren, and rocky. The weather was overcast, and
we had heavy rain and thunder at the time. Near
this place immense shoals of porpoises kept skipping ALARM OF  FIRE.
on the surface of the water going southwards. They
were said to prognosticate the near approach of bad
weather. We found the changes of the weather here
very remarkable, from calm "to rough, from foul to
fair; clear, cloudy, wet, dry, hazy, and squally
alternately, with the usual finale of mist and rain,
and . unfrequently all these changes within the
twenty-four hours.
After leaving the land, some of the gentlemen
amused themselves one fine evening with shooting at
a mark suspended from the ship's stern, under which
a boat lay secured; soon afterwards, in the dusk of
the ev*~ * """*, smoke was seen to issue from that
quarter; the alarm of fire was given, and in an
instant all the people assembled on deck in a state of
wild connu _on, some calling out to broach the water-
casks, others running to and fro in search of water,
some with mugs, others with decanters, while the
maitre de cuisine was robbed of his broth and diab
water—-no one, in the hurry and bustle of the
moment, ever thought of dipping the buckets alongside. At length, to the inexpressible joy of aU, it
was discovered that the smoke was occasioned only
by the wadding of the guns setting Hxq to some old
junk which was lying in the boat astern. This
gentle warning, however, put an end to such sport
in future. Some angry words took place between
the captain and Mr. Fox, the first mate, on which the
latter was suspended from duty, and ordered below:
no other reason could be assigned for this act but
c 5*252
t   I
the friendly and sociable terms existing between the
mate and the partners; for by this time such was the
ill-feeling between the captain and the passengers
generally, that scarcely a word passed between
them. After three days' confinement Mr. Fox was
Just as we entered the trade winds, a sail appeared
about two leagues to leeward; she gained fast upon
us, and dogged us all day, and the next morning
was close under our stern. She appeared to be an
armed brig, and pierced for twenty guns, and looked
very suspicious; very few hands, however, were to
be seen on her deck, which might have been a
manoeuvre to decoy us alongside. We were prepared for combat, at least as far as a good display
of numbers on deck: for to our numbers, and not to
either our skill or discipline, did we chiefly trust, and
it is probable this show had the desired effect, for she
soon bore away and we saw her no more.
On the 25th, in long. 26° 24' W. we crossed the
equinoctial line, and here the usual ceremony of
ducking was performed on such of the sailors as had
never before entered the southern hemisphere. The
heat was intense, the weather a dead calm, and the
ocean smooth as a sheet of glass. The thermometer
stood at 92° in the shade.
In lat. 3° 11' S. and long. 26° 40' W. we spoke a
brig from Liverpool bound to Pernambuco. On
nearing this old and ghastly-looking hulk, which
apparently had but few hands on board, we thought VIOLENT GALES.
ourselves exceedingly strong compared to her, and I
suppose from the bold front we presented, put her in
as much bodily fear as the armed brig some days
before did us.
On the 10th of November a violent gale came on,
which lasted for fifty hours without intermission,
and did us considerable damage, our jib and jib-
boom being both carried off, and a leak of considerable extent sprung; but as it was easy of access, we
soon got it stopped again. In the night of the 14th,
an alarm of fire was again given; but after much
confusion it ended without serious consequences. Of
all calamities that of fire on board ship seems to be
the most terrific, and every precaution was taken to
prevent any accident of the kind, for at nine o'clock
every night all the lights were, by the captain's
orders, put out, and this rule was strictly observed
during the voyage. In these latitudes we saw many
turtle, and caught some of them sleeping on the
water, one of which weighed forty-five pounds; we
also frequently met with what the sailors call | a
Portuguese man-of-war, or sea-bladder, floating on
the surface of the waters.
In lat. 35° S. and 42° 17' W. we experienced
another tempestuous gale, which lasted upwards of
forty hours. During this violent storm the ship
laboured hard, and sustained damage. Two new
leaks were observed, and many of the sails blown to
rags. Although the top and top-gallant masts had
been lowered, six of the guns got dismounted, and
C 2
[i ii 20
kept for some time rolling like thunder on the deck,
and the ship in a constant heavy sea. For seventeen
hours she scudded before the wind, and went in that
time two hundred and twenty miles; nothing alarming, however, took place until eight o'clock in the
morning of the second day, when a very heavy sea
broke over the stern, and filled us all with consternation. This wave, like a rolling mountain,
passed over her deck ten feet high, and broke with
a tremendous crash about the mainmast; yet, fortunately, no lives were lost, for on its near approach
we all clung to the rigging, and by that means
saved ourselves. On the weather moderating the
carpenter was soon at work, and succeeded effectually in stopping the leaks. On the 20th our
allowance of water, already short by one-half, was
lessened to a pint and a half per man, and on the
2nd of December to a pint each man per day—then
a gallon of brandy was offered for a pint of fresh
water! but on the 5th, when the joyful sight of
land was announced, a hogshead of water was
offered in return for a pint of brandy. In the afternoon of this day, we made the N. W. point of one
of the Falkland Islands, the rugged and solitary
features of which presented a truly romantic appear-^
ance. Near this spot are three remarkable peaked
rocks, or insular bluffs, of considerable height, and
nearly equal distance from each other. We soon
afterwards came close in with the shore, and beheld
a rocky surface, with an aspect of hopeless sterility* ■fBMM
Here we came to an anchor; but the captain not
liking the place changed his resolution of taking in
water there.
During the few hours, however, which we spent
on shore, while the ship lay at anchor, one of the
sailors, named Johnston, strolled out of the way.
The captain, nevertheless, gave orders to weigh
anchor, declaring that he would leave the fellow to
his fate; but after much entreaty he consented to
wait an hour, adding, that if the man did not
return in that time he should never more set foot on
board his ship. A party immediately volunteered
to go in search of the lost tar. This party after
beating about in vain for some time, at last
thought of setting fire to the few tufts of grass which
here and there alone decked the surface. This
expedient succeeded, and the man was found, having fallen asleep near the water's edge. But the
hour had unfortunately elapsed, and the loss of
a few minutes more so enraged the captain, that he
not only threatened the man's life, but maltreated
all those who had been instrumental in finding him.
We then set sail, and had much difficulty in effecting a passage through a narrow strait which lay
before us, interrupted in many places by ledges
of rocks, which were literally covered with seals,
penguins, white and grey geese, ducks, shags, albatrosses, eagles, hawks, and vultures. After making
our way through this intricate pass, we again came
to anchor.
m 22
On the 7th of December we anchored in Port
Egmont Bay, for the purpose of taking in a supply
of water. The bay or inlet of Port Egmont is
about a mile long, and half a mile broad, and
sheltered from almost every wind that blows. All
hands now were set to work; two of the mates and
two-thirds of the crew, together with the mechanics
and Canadians, commenced replenishing the water-
casks, whilst the other two mates with the remainder
of the people were employed on board repairing the
rigging, and putting everything in a fit condition for
a new start. During these operations the partners
and clerks, and frequently the captain also, went
sporting on shore, where wild fowl of all kinds
stunned our ears with their noises, and darkened
the air with their numbers, and were generally so
very tame, or rather stupid, that we often killed
them with sticks and stones, and the sailors in their
boats often knocked down the ducks and penguins
with their oars in passing the rocks. The only quadruped we saw on land was a volverine of ordinary,
size, which one of our party shot.
Our tent was pitched on shore, not above four,
hundred yards from the ship; this was our sporting
rendezvous. On the 10th all the water-casks were
ready, and the captain on going on board that evening said to Mr. M'Dougall, that the ship would
probably sail the next day. Soon after, however,
Messrs. M'Kay and McDougall also went on board,
where they passed the night;  but coming ashore THE  PARTY ON  SHORE.
the next morning, they told us that the ship would
not sail till the 12th, and that all hands were ordered
on board on that night.
In the mean time Mr. Farnham, one of the clerks
had caught a grey goose, which he tied to a stone
between our hut and the landing-place, in order to
have some sport with it. Soon afterwards the captain, happening to come on shore, and seeing the
goose, he up with his gun to shoot at it. Thinking,
however, that he had missed it, he instantly reloaded and fired again, and seeing the goose flutter
he ran up to catch it, when he discovered his mistake, on which we all burst out a laughing. Nettled at this, he immediately turned round and went
on board again. Meantime, Messrs. M'Dougall and
Stuart started across the point after game; whilst
Mr. M'Kay, myself, and some others, went up the
bay a little to repair two old graves which we had
discovered in a dilapidated state the day before.
On one of these graves was the following rudely-cut
inscription on a board:—" William Stevens, aged
twenty-two years, killed by a fall from a rock, on
the 21st of September 1794 ;" on the other, " Benjamin Peak died of the smallpox on the 5th of
January 1803, ship Eleonora. Captain Edmund Cole,
Providence, Bhode Island."
While we were thus eagerly employed, little did
we suspect what was going on in another quarter;
for, about two o'clock in the afternoon, one of our
party called out, " The ship's off!"—when all of us, 24
running to the top of a little eminence, beheld, to our
infinite surprise and dismay, the Tonquin9 under full
sail, steering out of the bay. We knew too well the
callous and headstrong passions of the wayward captain to hesitate a moment in determining what to do;
with hearts, therefore, beating between anxious hope
and despair, some made for the boat, whilst others
kept running and firing over hill and dale to warn
Messrs. M'Douga! and Stuart, who had not yet
returned. In half an hour we were all at the water's
edge; the ship by this time was three miles out at
sea. We were now nine persons on shore, and we
had to stow, squat, and squeeze ourselves into a
trumpery little boat, scarcely capable of holding half
our number. In this dreadful dilemma, we launched
on a rough and tempestuous sea, and, against wind
and tide, followed the ship. The wind blowing still
fresher and fresher, every succeeding wave threatened
our immediate destruction. Our boat already half
full of water, and ourselves, as may be supposed,
drenched with the surges passing over her, we gave
np all hope of succeeding in the unequal struggle,
and a momentary pause ensued, when we deliberated
whether we should proceed in the perilous attempt
or return to land. The ship was now at least two
leagues ahead of us, and just at this time the man
who was bailing out the water in the boat unfortu-
nately let go and lost the pail, and one of our oars
being broken in the struggle to recover it, our destiny
seemed sealed beyond a doubt..  A second delibera- MR. STUART S DETERMINED  CONDUCT.
tion ended in the resolve to reach the ship or perish
in the attempt. The weather now grew more violent;
the wind increased; and, what was worst of all, the
sun had just sunk under the horizon, and the fearful
night began to spread its darkness over the turbulent
deep. Every ray of hope now vanished: but so
short-sighted is man, that the moment when he least
expects it, relief often comes from an nnseen hand;
and such was our case; *£br in an instant our hopeless
anxiety was turned into joy by the ship suddenly
making down to our assistance: but here again we
had a new danger to contend with; for, on coming
alongside, we were several times like to be engulfed
or dashed to pieces by the heavy seas and rolling of
the ship. The night was dark; the weather stormy;
and death in a thousand forms stared us in the face.
At length, after many ineffectual attempts and much
manoeuvring, we succeeded in getting on board;
having been in the boat upwards of six hours. That
the captain's determination was to leave us all to our
fate, there is not the least doubt; for he declared so
afterwards, in a letter written to Mr. Astor from the
Sandwich Islands, and he was only prevented from
carrying his purposes into effect by the determined
conduct of Mr. Robert Stuart, who, seizing a brace
of pistols, peremptorily told the captain to order
about ship and save the boat; or, he added, ei You
are a dead man this instant."
During the night the gale increased almost to a
hurricane, so that two of our sails were torn to pieces, *
and the-side-rails broke by the labouring of the ship;
so we had to lie-to under a storm-staysail for six
hours. The reader is here left to picture to himself
how matters went on after the scene just described.
All the former feuds and squabbles between the captain and passengers sink into insignificance compared
to the recent one. Sullen and silent, both parties
passed and repassed each other in their promenades
on deck without uttering a word; but their looks
bespoke the hatred that burnt within. The partners
on the quarter-deck made it now a point to speak
nothing but the Scotch dialect; while the Canadians
on the forecastle spoke French—neither of which
did the captain understand; and as both groups frequently passed hours together, cracking their jokes
and chanting their outlandish songs, the commander
seemed much annoyed on these occasions, pacing the
deck in great agitation. Yet all this time the good
ship was hastening on her way.
On the 15th we saw Staten Land, whose forked
peaks and rugged surface exhibited much snow. Soon
afterwards, Terra del Fuego came in sight; and on
the 19th, at 9 o'clock in the morning, we had a full
view of Cape Horn. But adverse winds meeting us
here, we were unable to double it before Christmas
morning, and were carried, in the mean time, as far
south as lat. 58° 16'. While in these latitudes, notwithstanding the foggy state of the weather, we could
read common print at all hours of the night on deck
without the aid of artificial light.     The sky was "GENERAL TURN-OUT."
generally overcast, and the weather raw and cold,
with frequent showers of hail and snow, but we saw
no ice. Here the snow birds and Cape pigeon frequently flew in great numbers about the ship. After
doubling the Cape, a speckled red and white fish,
about the size of a salmon, was observed before the
ship's bow, as if leading the way. The sailors gave
it the name of the pilot-fish.
With gladdened hearts, we now bent our course
northward on the wide Pacific. On the 19th of
January 1811, all hands passed the ordeal of inspection, or as the sailors more appropriately called it,
the "general turn-out;" and as none could guess
what this new manoeuvre portended, we all judged it
to be a relic of man-of-war discipline, which the captain introduced merely to refresh his memory; but
the proceeding must be described:—After breakfast,
all hands were summoned on deck, and there ordered
to remain, while the officers of the ship got up the
trunks, chests, hammocks, dirty shirts, and old shoes
belonging to each individual, on deck. They were
then ordered to empty out the contents of the boxes,
examine, and expose the whole to view, each man's
paraphernalia separately. While this was going on,
the bystanders were ordered to claim any article belonging to them in the possession of another. This
declaration cleared up the matter, and set our judgment right as to the captain's motives; but, to the
credit of all, very little stolen property was found—
being only three articles, namely, a pamphlet, a clasp- 28
knife, and a spoon, and even as to them the theft
was not very well proved; but the three individuals
implicated were nevertheless condemned, and placed
on what is called the "rogue's mess" for a month.
On the 24th we again crossed the Equator, and
entered the northern hemisphere, and here the pilot-
fish that joined us at Cape Horn disappeared. During a run of upwards of 5,000 miles, our little
piscatory pilot was never once known, by day or
night, to intermit preceding the ship's bow. On the
10th of February, the cloud-capped summit of the
towering Mouna Boa—a pyramidal mountain in
Owhyhee, and the loftiest in the Sandwich Islands—
was visible at the distance of 50 miles.
As we drew near to the land, going at the rate of
eight knots an hour, a Canadian lad named Joseph
LaPierre fell overboard. This was an awkward
accident, as all eyes were at the time gazing with
admiration on the scenery of the land. In an instant*
however, the sails were backed, boats lowered, and
everything at hand thrown overboard to save the
drowning man; but before he could be picked up
the ship had distanced him more than a mile, and
when the boatswain reached the ship with the body,
the captain, in his usual sympathizing mood, peremptorily ordered him about to pick up all the trumpery
which had been thrown into the water. This took a
considerable time. The apparently lifeless body was
then hoisted on board, and every means tried to restore
animation, and at last, by rolling the body in warm THE  FOURTH MATE IN IRONS.
blankets, and rubbing it with salt, the lad recovered,
after being thirty-eight minutes in the water, and
though unable to swim.
Mr. Fox, who had again fallen under the captain's
displeasure, and who had been, in consequence, off
duty for a week past, was reinstated this morning.
This was no sooner done, however, than the fourth
mate, the captain's own brother, was put into irons.
The young Thorn was as factious and morose a subject as his brother; with this only difference, that he
had less power to do mischief. He had maltreated
one of the passengers; and the captain, in order to
show impartiality, awarded liim the above punishment. 30
Karakakooa Bay—The sailors desent—The captain's conduct—Productions of Owhyhee — Tocaigh Bay — Governor Young — Royal
proclamation—Woahoo—Ourourah, the residence of Tammeatameah
—Harhour fees—Excursion on shore—The Queen's umbrella—The
King's appearance—Royal palace and guards—Arsenal, or royal
workshop—Royal dinner—His Majesty's fleet—Morals, or places
of public worship—Sacred or puranee ground tabooed—Storm—
A sailor left to his fate among the natives—Parting visit from his
Majesty—His meanness—Diving of the natives—Native proas:
how made—Clothing—Customs and peculiarities—Character of the
women—White men at the Sandwich Islands—The King's dispo-.
sition towards foreigners—Captain Cook—Pahooas, or war spears—
A sham fight—Religion—Tammeatameah conqueror and king—Apparent happiness of the natives —Prophetic hint—Distressed situation
of a boat.
On the 13th of February the ship anchored in
Karakakooa Bay, in the island of Owhyhee, and
within a mile of the place where the unfortunate
Captain Cook fell in 1779. The Sandwich Islands
are eleven in number, and He between the 19th and
22nd parallels of N. latitude, and the meridians of
151° and 160° W. longitude. The climate is warm
but healthy, and more temperate and uniform than w—
..:.'-  ./
is usual in tropical countries; nor is it subject to
hurricanes and earthquakes. In their customs and
manners the natives resemble the New Zealanders,
and like them are a warlike people: all classes
tattoo their bodies.
Karakakooa Bay is about a mile or more in extent,
but sheltered only on one side, which presents a high
rugged front of coral rock, resembling a rampart or
battery in the bottom of the bay, facing the ocean,
with two bushy trees on it waving in the wind like
flags. The shores, with the exception of the above-
mentioned rock, are everywhere low, with here and
there clumps of cocoa-nut and other trees, which
give a pleasing variety to the scene; and the land,
rising gradually as it recedes to a considerable
height, looks down over intervening hill and dale
upon the delightful little villages of Kakooa and
We were now near land, and the captain's conduct
to both passengers and crew had fostered a spirit of
desertion among the sailors: Jack Tar, slipping off
in the night, was seen no more. This new feature
in our affairs portended no good, but brought about
a sweeping change, for the captain had now no
resource but to place his chief confidence in those
whom he had all along maltreated and affected to
despise. In this state of things, the natives were
employed to bring back the deserters. One Roberts,
a yankee, was confined below; Ems, a Welshman,
was tied up and flogged; Johnston, an Englishman,
I i
was put in irons; and Anderson, the boatswain,
could not be found. Storming and stamping on
deck, the captain called up all hands; he swore, he
threatened, and abused the whole ship's company,
making, if possible, things worse. I really pitied the
poor man, although he had brought all this trouble
upon himself: with all his faults he had some good
qualities, and in his present trying situation we all
forgot our wrongs, and cheerfully exerted ourselves
to help him out of his difficulties. The clerks were
appointed to assist the officers, and the Canadians to
supply the place of the sailors in keeping watch
and doing the other duties on shore; while tho
partners, forgetting former animosities, joined hand in
hand with the captain in providing for the wants of
the ship.
Order being now restored, the partners and some
of the clerks went occasionally on shore; meantime,
the natives having paid several visits on board, and
sounded our bargain-making chiefs (for they are
shrewd dealers), a brisk trade commenced in plantains, bananas, yams, taro, bread-fruit, sweet potatoes,
sugar-canes, cocoa-nuts, and some pork, the principal
productions of the place. We had not been long
here, however, till we learned that the chief of the
island resided at a place called Tocaigh Bay, some
distance off; and, as we expected a further and better
supply there, we sailed for that place, where we had
an interview with the governor, a white man, named
John Young.     He received us kindly, and with GOVERNOR YOUNG.
every mark of attention peculiar to an Indian chief;
showed us his wife, his daughter, his household, and
vassals —a strange assemblage of wealth and poverty,
filth and plenty.
Governor Young was a native of England, and
belonged to an American ship, the Eleanor, of which
he was boatswain. That vessel, happening to touch
at the Sandwich Islands in 1790, left Young there
to shift for himself; but his nautical skill and good
conduct soon recommended him to the reigning
prince, Tammeatameah, and he is now Viceroy or
Governor of Owhyhee. He is about 60 years of
age, shrewd, and healthy; but, from his long residence among the natives, he has imbibed so much of
their habits and peculiarities, that he is now more
Indian than white man.
We had not been long at the village of Tocaigh,
when Governor Young gave us to understand that
no rain had fallen in that neighbourhood during the
four preceding years, and that in consequence provisions were very scarce, and good water was not to
be found there at any time. These details were
discouraging. The natives, however, began a brisk
trade in fruits and vegetables; we, however, were
desirous of purchasing hogs and goats, but were told
that the sale of pork had been prohibited by royal
proclamation, and that, without the permission of the
king, who resided in the island of Woahoo, no subject could dispose of any. Anxious to complete our
supplies, we immediately resolved on sailing to
Woahoo. D 34
On the 21st of February, we cast anchor abreast
of Ourourah, the metropolis of Woahoo, and royal
residence of Tammeatameah. This is the richest and
most deHghtful spot in the whole archipelago. On
Our approaching the land, two white officers came on
board; the one a Spaniard, secretary to his majesty;
the other a Welshman, the harbour master: the
latter brought us safe to anchor in Whyteete Bay,
for which service he demanded and was paid five
Spanish dollars.
The royal village of Ourourah is situate at the foot
of a hill, facing the ocean, on the west side of the
island. The houses were 740 in number, and contained 2025 inhabitants. It will appear strange that
so few inhabitants should require so many houses,
but this will be explained hereafter. Behind the
village there is an extensive field under fine cultivation—perhaps it may measure 500 acres; but its
appearance was greatly injured by irregular enclosures, or rather division lines, formed of loose
Stones running on the surface, intersecting and
crossing each other in every possible direction, for
the purpose of marking the plot claimed by each
individual or family: the whole is cultivated with
much skill and industry, the soil teemingly rich, and
the labour abundant, with here and there small
water-courses and aqueducts.
Immediately after coming to anchor, Captain
Thorn, accompanied by Mr. M'Kay and Mr.
M'Dougall, waited on his majesty, Tammeatameah, VISIT OF THE KING.
and after dining with him, returned on board. In
the afternoon his majesty and three queens returned
the visit in state, the royal canoe being paddled by
sixteen chiefs, with the state arm-chest on board.
Their majesties were received with becoming ceremony. The flag was displayed, and three guns fired.
The king was conducted to the cabin, followed by
his valet, who held a spitting-box in his hand, but
the queens preferred remaining on deck. While
here, they very unceremoniously disrobed themselves,
plunged overboard, and after swimming and sporting
for some time in the water, came on board again
and dressed themselves, after which they joined
Tammeatameah in the cabin, where they did ample
justice to a good collation, drank two bottles of wine,
and left us apparently well pleased with their reception. The chiefs remained all the time in the royal
yacht alongside.
Tammeatameah appeared to be about fifty years of
age; straight and portly, but not corpulent; his
countenance was pleasing, but his complexion rather
dark, even for an Indian. He had on a common
beaver hat, a shirt, and neckcloth, wiiich had once
been white; a long blue coat with velvet collar, a
cassimere vest, corduroy trousers, and a pair of
strong military shoes; he also wore a long and not
inelegant sword, which he said he got from his
brother, the king of England.
During these interviews and visits of ceremony,
the captain had broached the subject of pork to
D 2 36
his maiesty; but this was not the work of an hour
nor of a day; pork was a royal monopoly, and the
king well knew how to turn it to his advantage on
the present occasion, for several conferences were
held, and all the pros and cons of a hard bargain dis-
cussed, before the royal contract was concluded.
Time, however, brought it about, and the negociation
was finally closed; the king furnished the requisite
supplies of hogs, goats, poultry, and vegetables, for
all of which a stipulated quantity of merchandize was
to be given in return. Business now commenced,
and good water and provisions were brought to the
ship in boat-loads; and as the king further pledged
himself, that if any of the sailors deserted he would
answer for their safe delivery again, this assurance,
although the words of kings are not always sacred,
had the effect of relieving the passengers from the
ship's duties; we were, therefore, enabled to go on
On walking up to the royal city on our first landing, we were met by two of the queens, accompanied
by a page of honour. They were all three walking
abreast, the page in the middle, and holding with his
two hands a splendid parasol of the richest silk, mea-*
suring six feet eight inches in diameter. From this
umbrella hung twelve massy tassels, weighing at least
a pound each. The ladies were very communicative,
and after detaining us for nearly half an hour passed
on. We were soon afterwards introduced to his
majesty, who honoured us with a glass of arrack. Here ROYAL PALACE AND GUARDS.
we had a full view of the royal palace, the royal
family, and the life-guards. The palace consisted of
thirteen houses, built so as to form a square. All
the buildings of the country are a kind of wicker
work, remarkable for their neatness and regularity;
and although slender, they appear to be strong and
durable; nor did there appear any difference between
the royal buildings and the other houses of the place,
the square and court-yard excepted. The king occupied three of these houses; one for eating, another
for sleeping, and the third for business, which may
be called the audience chamber. Each of the queens
occupied three also; a dressing house, a sleeping
house, and an eating house. His majesty never
enters any of the queens' houses, nor do they ever
enter any of his: in this respect, they are always
tabooed. There is a house set apart exclusively for
their interviews. The established custom of the land
is, that each family, however poor, invariably occupies
three houses; and this will explain why so many
houses are required for so few inhabitants.
We also saw two of the king's sons; one of them
was in disgrace and tabooed; that is, interdicted from
speaking with anybody. We were next shown the
life-guards, consisting of forty men, accoutred in
something of the English style, with muskets, belts,
and bayonets; but their uniform was rather old and
shabby. The parade-ground, or place where the
guards were on duty, lay just behind the royal buildings, on a level square green spot made up for the 38
purpose, and on which were placed eighteen four or
six pounders, all mounted, and apparently in good
From this we proceeded to a long narrow range
of buildings, where a number of artisans were at
work, making ship, sloop, and boat tackling, ropes,
blocks, and all the other et ceteras required for his
majesty's fleet; while others again, in a wing of the
same building, were employed in finishing single and
double canoes; the former for pleasure, the latter
for commercial purposes. At the far end of the
buildings was erected a blacksmith's forge; and beyond that, in a side room, lay the masts, spars, and
rigging of a new schooner. The tools used by the
different workmen were very simple, slender, few,
and ill-made, and yet the work done by them surprised us.
While in the workshops, Mr. M'Kay took a fancy
to a small knot of wood, about the size of a pint-pot,
and asked it of the king. His majesty took the bit
of wood in his hand, and after looking at it for some
time, turned round to Mr. M'Kay and said, % This
is a very valuable piece of wood; it is the finest
koeye, and what my Erees make their pipes of; but
if you will give me a new hat for it, you can have it."
Mr. M'Kay smiled, adding, " Your majesty shall
have it." So the.bargain was struck^ but Mr. McKay
fell in love with no more of his majesty's wood.
They make their own cloth, cordage, salt, sugar, and
whisky. THE  KING S  FLEET.
The king then invited us to dine; and entering a
small wretched hovel adjoining the workshop, we
all sat down round a dirty little table, on which was
spread some viands, yams, taro, cocoa-nuts, pork,
bread-fruit, and arrack. The king grew very jovial,
ate and drank freely, and pressed us to follow his
example. After dinner, he apologized for the meanness of the place, by saying that his banqueting
house was tabooed that day. Dinner being over, he
brought us to see a large stone building, the only
one of the kind on the island, situate at some dist
tance from the other buildings; but he showed no
disposition to open the door and let us have a peep
at the inside. He said it cost him 2,000 dollars. We
were told the royal treasure and other valuables were
kept there. Behind the stone building, and near the
shore, was lying at anchor an old ship of about 300
tons, with some guns and men on deck—said to be
the guard-ship. From this position, we saw sixteen
vessels of different sizes, from 10 to 200 tons, all
lying in a wretched and ruinous condition along the
beach; some on shore, others afloat, but all apparently
useless. The day being excessively warm, and our
curiosity gratified, we took leave of his majesty, and
staid for the night at the house of a Mr. Brown, an
American settler, who had resided on the island for
several years.
After passing an agreeable night, we bade adieu to
our hospitable landlord, and set out to view the
morais, or places of public worship.    Of these, Ou- 40
rourah alone contains fifteen of this description. Each
morai is composed of several miserable-looking little
huts, or houses. Passing by all the inferior ones, we
at length reached the king's morai, or principal one
of the place. It consisted of five low, gloomy, and
pestiferous houses, huddled close together; and alongside of the principal one stood an image made of
wood, resembling a pillar, about 28 feet high, in
the shape of the human figure, cut and carved with
various devices; the head large, and the rude sculp-,
ture on it presenting the likeness of a human face,
carved on the top with a black cowl. About thirty
yards from the houses, all round about, was a clear
spot called the ei king's tabooed ground," surrounded
by an enclosure. This sacred spot is often rigorously tabooed and set apart for penance. It was while
walking to and fro on this solitary place that we saw
Tatooirah, the king's eldest son, who was in disgrace.
We were prevented from entering within the enclosure. At the foot of this pagod, or pillar, were scattered on the ground several dead animals: we saw
four dogs, two hogs, five cats, and large quantities
of vegetables, almost all in a state of putrefaction;
the whole emitting a most offensive smell. On the
death of the king or other great eree, and in times
of war, human sacrifices are frequently offered at the
shrine of this moloch. The word taboo implies interdiction or prohibition from touching the place, person, or thing tabooed; a violation of which is always
severely punished, and at the king's morai, with
«c mmmm
We had scarcely got on board, late in the evening,
when a tremendous gale from the land arose and
drove the ship out to sea. The fury of the tempest
and darkness of the night obliged us to cut cable,
and two days were spent in anxious forebodings, ere
we got back again into harbour.
On the 27th, all our supplies, according to contract, were safe on board; and from the good conduct
of the sailors since our arrival, we began to think
matters would go on smoothly for the future; but
these hopes were of short duration—the hasty and
choleric disposition of the captain destroyed our anticipations. Two of the boats had gone on shore as
nsual; but on the call for all hands to embark, three
of the sailors were missing. The boats, without
waiting a moment, pushed off, but had reached the
ship only fifteen minutes before two of the three men
arrived in an Indian canoe. Notwithstanding the
anxiety they manifested, and their assurance that the
boat had not been off five minutes before they were
on the beach, they were both tied up, flogged, and
then put in irons. But this was not all; Emms, the
third man, not being able to procure a canoe, had
unfortunately to pass the night on shore, but arrived
the next morning by sunrise. On arriving alongside, the captain, who was pacing the deck at the
time, did not wait till he got on board, but jumping
into a boat which lay alongside, laid hold of some
sugar-canes with which the boat was loaded, and
bundled the poor fellow, sprawling and speechless, at
1.,;      I.
: il! '
I), kp ^^p—■""
11 J
It* tHilL
«) •
his feet; then jumping on deck, kept pacing to and
fro in no very pleasant mood; but on perceiving
Emms still struggling to get up, he leaped into the
boat a second time, and called one of the sailors to
follow him. The poor fellow, on seeing the captain,
called out for mercy; but in his wrath the captain
forgot mercy, and laid him again senseless at his
feet, then ordered him to be thrown overboard! Immediately on throwing the man into the sea, Mr»
Fox made signs to some Indians, who dragged him
into their canoe and paddled off to shore. During
this scene, no one interfered; for the captain, in his
frantic fits of passion, was capable of going any
lengths, and would rather have destroyed the expedition, the ship, and every one on board, than be
thwarted in what he considered as ship discipline, or
his nautical duties.
In the evening, the Indians brought Emms again
to the ship. Here the little fellow implored forgiveness, and begged to be taken on board; but the captain was inexorable, and threatened him with instant
death if he attempted to come alongside. Soon after
he made his appearance again, but with no better
effect. He then asked for his protection, a paper
which the American sailors generally take with them
to sea. The captain returning no answer to this request, Mr. Fox contrived to throw his clothes and
protection overboard unperceived, at the same time
making signs to the Indians to convey them to
Emms.    On receiving the little bundle, he remained
for some time without uttering a word; at last,
bursting into tears, he implored again and again to
be admitted on board, but to no purpose. All hopes
now vanishing, the heroic little fellow, standing up
in the canoe, took off his cap, and waving it in the
air, with a sorrowful heart bade adieu to his shipmates ; the canoe then paddled to land, and we saw
him no more.
Our supplies being now completed, the king came
on board before our departure; and it will appear
something surprising that the honest and wealthy
monarch, forgetting the rank and pomp of royalty,
should at his parting visit covet everything he saw
with us: he even expressed a wish to see the contents of our trunks; he begged a handkerchief from
me, a penknife from another, a pair of shoes from a
third, a hat from a fourth, and when refused, talked
of his kindness to us on shore; while, on the other
hand, he bowed low when presented with a breastpin, a few needles, or paper-cased looking-glass, not
worth a groat. Even the cabin-boy and cook were
not forgotten by this " King of the Isles," for he
asked a piece of black-ball from the former, and an
old saucepan from the latter. His avarice and meanness in these respects had no bounds, and we were
all greatly relieved when he bade us farewell and
Having taken leave of his majesty, I shall now
make a few remarks on the habits, dress, and language of the natives. 44
The Sandwich Islanders are bold swimmers, and
expert navigators. They are like ducks in the
water. As soon as we had cast anchor in Karakakooa Bay the natives, men and women, indiscriminately flocked about the ship in great numbers:
some swimming, others in canoes, but all naked,
although the Tonquin lay a mile from the shore.
Few, however, being admitted on board at once
(probably a necessary precaution), the others waited
very contentedly floating on the surface of the
water alongside, amusing themselves now and then
by plunging and playing round the ship. After
passing several hours in this way, they would then
make a simultaneous start for the land, diving and
plunging, sporting and playing, like so many seals or
fish in a storm all the way. During their gambols
about the ship, we often amused ourselves by dropping a button, nail, or pin into the water; but such
was their keenness of sight and their agility, that
the trifle had scarcely penetrated the surface of the
water before it was in their possession; nothing
could escape them. On one occasion a ship's block
happening to fall overboard, one of the natives was
asked to dive for it in thirty-six feet of water; but
after remaining three minutes and fifty seconds under
water he came up unsuccessful; another tried it and
succeeded, after being under water four minutes and
twelve seconds: the blood, however, burst from his
nose and ears immediately after.
Their voyaging canoes are made to ride on the CLOTHING OF  THE  NATIVES.
roughest water with safety by means of a balance or
outrigger shaped like a boat's keel, and attached to
the canoe at the distance of five feet by two slender
beams. The canoe goes fully as well with as without
the balance, skipping on the surface of the water as
if no such appendage accompanied it. When the
swell or surge strikes the canoe on the balance side,
the weight of the outrigger prevents its upsetting,
and when on the opposite side the buoyancy of the
outrigger, now sunk in the water, has the same
The climate here is so very mild and warm that
the natives seldom wear any clothing, and when they
do, it is of their own manufacture, and extremely
simple. The inner bark of different trees (the touta
in particular) is prepared by beating it into a pulp
or soft thin web, not unlike grey paper, called tuppa.
The common people wear it in this raw state, but the
better sort paint it with various colours, resembling
printed cotton. Tappa is as strong as cartridge
paper, but not so thick, and can answer for clothing
only in dry climates. The common dress of the men
consists of a piece of this tappa, about ten inches
broad and nine feet long, like a belt, called maro.
The maro is thrown carelessly round the loins, then
passed between the thighs, and tied on the left side.
The females wear the pow or pau, a piece of tappa
similar to the maro, only a little broader, and worn in
the same manner; but the queens had on, in addition
to the pow, a loose mantle or shawl thrown round 46
the body, called Mhei, which consisted of twenty-one
folds of tappa; yet when compressed it did not equal
in thickness an English blanket. The kihei is gene-
rally worn by persons of distinction, but seldom of
more than two or three folds, excepting among the
higher ranks. Like a Chinese mandarin, a lady here
makes known her rank by her dress, and by the
number of folds in her Mhei.
A custom prevalent here, and which is, I believe,
peculiar to these islanders, is, that the women always
eat apart from the men, and are forbidden the
use of pork. The favourite dish among all classes
is raw fish, mashed or pounded in a mortar. Considering their rude and savage life, these people
are very cleanly. The houses of all classes are
lined and decorated with painted tappa, and the
floors overspread with variegated mats. The women
are handsome in person, engaging in their manners, well featured, and have countenances full
of joy and tranquillity; but chastity is not their
The king's will is the paramount law of the
land, but he is represented as a mild and generous
sovereign, invariably friendly to the whites whom
choice or accident has thrown on these islands. To
those who behave well the king allots land, and gives
them slaves to work it. He protects both them and
their property, and is loth ever to punish an evildoer. Near Ourourah we saw eight or ten white
men comfortably settled;   and upwards of thirty wmmm
others naked and wild among the natives, wretched
unprincipled vagabonds, of almost every nation in
Europe, without clothing and without either house or
I have already noticed the principal esculent
vegetables growing here; there are also some beautiful kinds of wood; that called koeye, of which
the war spears or pahooas are made, and sandalwood, are the Mnds most highly esteemed among
the natives for their hardness and polish. The
cocoa-nut, in clumps here and there, forms delightful groves, and these are often frequented by the
industrious females for the purpose of manufacturing and painting their tappa — preferring the
cool shade and open air to the heat of a dwelling-
At the place where Captain Cook was killed,
which we visited soon after our arrival, were still a
few old and shattered cocoa-nut trees, pierced with
the shot from his ships; and a flat coral rock, at the
water's edge, is still pointed out to strangers as the
fatal spot where he fell.
The chief weapon used in their warfare is the
pahooa or spear, 12 feet long, polished, barbed, and
painted. It is poised and thrown with the right
hand with incredible force and precision. His
majesty ordered fifty men to parade one day, and
invited us to see them exercising, and we were certainly much gratified and astonished at their skill in
throwing and parrying the weapons.
=—- 48
After going through several manoeuvres, the Mng
picked four of the best marksmen out, and ordered
one of them to stand at a certain point; the three
others at a distance of sixty yards from him, all armed
with pahooas, and facing one another. The three
last mentioned were to dart their spears at the single
man, and he to parry them off or catch them in
passing. Each of the three had twelve pahooas; the
single man but one. Immediately after taking his
position the single man put himself upon his guard,
by skipping and leaping from right to left with the
quickness of lightning: the others, equally on the
alert, prepared to throw. All eyes were now
anxiously intent; presently one threw his spear, at
a short interval the next followed; as did the third—
two at a time next threw, and then all three let fly
at once, and continued to throw without intermission
until the whole thirty-six spears were spent, which
was done in less than three minutes. The single
man, who was placed like a target to be shot at,
defended himself nobly with the spear he had in his
hand, and sent those of his opponents whistling in
every direction, for he had either to parry them off
like a skilful boxer, or be run through on the spot; but
such was the agility with which he shifted from one
position to another, and managed the spear with his
right hand, that he seemed rather to be playing and
amusing himself than seriously engaged, for twice or
thrice he dexterously seized his opponent's spear at k   ""
the moment it came in contact with his own, allowing
at the same time the latter to fly off^ and this shifting
or exchanging spears is thought a masterpiece, being
the most difficult and dangerous manoeuvre in the
whole affair, and it is only an adept that can attempt
it with safety. When all was over, the man had
received a slight wound on the left arm; but it
happens not unfrequently that he who is thus placed
is killed on the spot; for if he allows the spear
to be knocked out of his hand without catching
another, he is almost sure to fall, as the throwers
are not allowed to stop while a pahooa remains
with them, and every weapon is hurled with a
deadly intention.
The king is said to be a dexterous pahooa man
himself, and it was his prowess and knowledge in
war, and not his rank, that made him sovereign of
these islands. After the people had dispersed, the
man who had acted so conspicuous a part in the
exhibition just described, came to us and offered to
risk his life for a handkerchief, at the distance of
twenty yards; telling us to select the best marksman among us, with a fowlingpiece either with sho£
or ball, and he would stand before him, and either
win the handkerchief or lose his life! We were
not disposed, however, to accept the challenge, but
gave the fellow a handkerchief and sent him about
his business.
All the islands of this group, excepting one, have
i!H 50
acknowledged Tammeatameah as their king, and the
jarring interests and feuds of the different islands have
at last sunk into a system of union which, if we may
judge from appearance, renders this country, under
its present government, an earthly paradise, and the
inhabitants thereof as free from care, and perhaps as
happy, as any in the globe;—but mark! civilized man
has now begun to trade on its innocent and peaceful
soil: there is an end, therefore, to all primeval simplicity and happiness.
These people speak with a quickness which almost
baffles imitation; and in very many instances, the
same word is repeated twice. The language is
bold and masculine; and, although the accent
be clear, is very difficult to be attained by the
We shall now take our leave of the friendly and
hospitable natives of these islands. On his majesty
leaving the ship, a boat was sent to shore for a few
remaining articles; meantime, preparations were
made for weighing anchor. The wind from the sea be-
ginning to blow retarded the boat's return; and the
delay so nettled our worthy commander, that he gave
orders to set sail, and the ship stood out to sea, leaving the boat to follow as she could. The wind soon
increasing to a gale, the boat had to struggle with a
tempestuous sea for six hours, during which time we
expected every minute to witness her destruction.
The Falkland Island affair was yet fresh in our THE  SHIP S  BOAT.
minds, and this seemed to equal, if not surpass it in
cruelty. At length, however, the ship bore down,
and with much difficulty rescued the boat's crew from
a watery grave. on
•   !  I
Departure from the Sandwich Islands—Bad weather—Live stock
destroyed—Columbia River—A boat and crew lost—Captain's conduct towards Mr. Fox—Mouth of the river—Bar and breakers—
Cape Disappointment—Point Adams—Narrow escape of the long
boat—Sounding the bar—A boat and crew left to perish—The ship
in the breakers—Critical situation—Melancholy narrative of Steven
"Weeks—Search made for the lost boat, and narrow escape—Long
boat swamped—Fidelity of the natives—Preparations for leaving the
ship—Captain Thorn—The voyage concluded.
On the 1st of March 1811, we took our departure
from the Sandwich Islands; steering direct for
Columbia Biver. The first step taken, after leaving
the land, was to liberate those who had been put in
irons. Poor fellows! they considered themselves
particularly unfortunate, and doubly punished, in not
having been partakers of the pleasures which the
others had enjoyed on shore. All our thoughts now
tended to one point; and the hope of soon terminating a long and irksome voyage made us forget all
former misunderstandings, and a few days passed in
harmony and good-fellowship, until the 12th, when
the weather becoming squally and cold, with snow
and sleet, the partners wished to serve out some
articles of clothing to the passengers, who now began
to feel very sensibly the change of climate; but the
captain considered the broaching of a bale or box as
an encroachment on his authority, and a violation of
ship rules, and therefore steadily opposed it. This
gave rise to bad blood on both sides. The partners
swore they would have such articles as they wanted;
the captain swore they should touch nothing. The
dispute went to such a height that pistols were
resorted to, and all, from stem to stern, seemed for a
moment involved in the flame of civil war; but on
this, as on a former occasion, Mr. David Stuart and
some others interfering brought about a reconciliation.
The partners desisted; the captain kept his bales and
boxes untouched; and the men froze in the icy rigging of the ship until many of them were obliged to
take to their hammocks.
On the 14th, in lat. 37° & and long 137° W., a
violent gale came on, which increased almost to a
hurricane, and lasted four days without intermission,
during which we were much puzzled in manoeuvring
the ship. She had sprung a leak, but not seriously.
Sometimes we had to let her scud before the wind;
sometimes she lay-to ; sometimes under one sail,
sometimes under another, labouring greatly; and
much anxiety was felt by all on board. During this
storm, almost everything on deck was carried off or
dashed to pieces; all our live stock were either killed
or washed overboard; and so bad was the weather,
Ml 54
first with rain, and then with sleet, hail, frost, and
snow, which froze on the rigging as it fell, that there
was no bending either ropes or sails, and the poor
sailors were harassed to death. But bad and harassing as this state of things was, it proved to be only
the beginning of our troubles, and a prelude to far
greater trials. During this gale, we sustained considerable damage in the sails and rigging, besides the
loss of our live stock, and other things on board.
On the 22nd of March, we came in sight of land,
which, on a nearer approach, proved to be Cape Disappointment, a promontory forming the north side of
the Great Oregon or Columbia River. The sight filled
.every heart with gladness. But the cloudy and
stormy state of the weather prevented us seeing
clearly the mouth of the river; being then about ten
miles from land. The aspect of the coast was wild
and dangerous, and for some time the ship lay-to,
until the captain could satisfy himself that it was the
entrance of the river; which he had no sooner done,
than Mr. Fox, the first mate, was ordered to go and
examine the channel on the bar. At half-past one
o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Fox left the ship5 having with him one sailor, a very old Frenchman, and
three Canadian lads, unacquainted with sea service—
two of them being carters from La Chine, and the
other a Montreal barber. Mr. Fox objected to such
hands; but the captain refused to change them, adding, that he had none else to spare. Mr. Fox then
represented the impossibility of performing the busi- THE  CAPTAIN'S CONDUCT  TO  MR.  FOX.
ness in such weather, and on such a rough sea, even
with the best seamen, adding, that the waves were
too high for any boat to live in. The captain, turning sharply round, said—| Mr. Fox, if you are afraid
of water, you should have remained at Boston." On
this Mr. Fox immediately ordered the boat to be
lowered, and the men to embark. If the crew was
bad, the boat was still worse—being scarcely seaworthy, and very small. While this was going on,
the partners, who were all partial to Mr. Fox, began
to sympathize with him, and to intercede with the
captain to defer examining the bar till a favourable
change took place in the weather. But he was deaf
to entreaties, stamped, and swore that a combination
was formed to frustrate all his designs. The partners'
interference, therefore, only riveted him the more in
his determination, and Mr. Fox was peremptorily
ordered to proceed. He, seeing that the captain was
immoveable, turned to the partners with tears in his
eyes, and said—"My uncle was drowned here not
many years ago, and now I am going to lay my bones
with his." He then shook hands with all around him,
and bade them adieu. Stepping into the boat—
f§ Farewell, my friends!" said he; " we will perhaps
meet again in the next world." And the words were
The moment the boat pushed off, all hands crowded
in silence to take a last farewell of her. The weather
was boisterous, and the sea rough, so that we often
lost sight of the boat before she got 100 yards from III
the ship; nor had she gone that far before she
became utterly unmanageable, sometimes broaching
broadside to the foaming surges, and at other times
almost whirling round like a top, then tossing on
the crest of a huge wave would sink again for a
time and disappear altogether. At last she hoisted
the flag; the meaning could not be mistaken; we
knew it was a signal of distress. At this instant all
the people crowded round the captain, and implored
him to try and save the boat; but in an angry tone
he ordered about ship, and we saw the ill-fated boat
no more.
Mr. Fox was not only an able officer, but an
experienced seaman, and a great favourite among
all classes on board; and this circumstance, I fear,
proved his ruin, for his uniform kindness and
affability to the passengers had from the commencement of the voyage drawn down upon his head the
ill-will of his captain; and his being sent off on the
present perilous and forlorn undertaking, with such
awkward and inexperienced hands, whose language
he did not understand, is a proof of that ill-will.
The mouth of Columbia Biver is remarkable for
its sand-bars and high surf at all seasons, but more
particularly in the spring and fell, during the
equinoctial gales: these sand-bars frequently shh%
the channel of course shifting along with them, which
renders the passage at all times extremely dangerous. The bar, or rather the chain of sand-banks,
over which the huge waves and foaming breakers wmmmmmm
roll so awfully, is a league broad, and extends in a
white foaming sheet for many miles, both south and
north of the mouth of the river, forming as it were
an impracticable barrier to the entrance, and threatening with instant destruction everything that comes
near it.
The river at its mouth is 4 J miles broad, confined
by Cape Disappointment on the north, and Point
Adams on the south; the former is a rocky cliff or
promontory, rising about 500 feet above the level of
the water, and covered on the top with a few scattered trees of stinted growth; the latter a low sandy
point, jutting out about 300 yards into the river,
directly opposite to Cape Disappointment: the deepest water is near the Cape, but the channel is both
narrow and intricate. The country is low, and the
impervious forests give to the surrounding coast a
wild and gloomy aspect.
After the captain ordered about ship, as already
stated, some angry words passed between himself
and Mr. Mumford, the second officer, which ended
in the latter being^ordered below. After passing an
anxious night, the return of day only increased the
anxiety, and every mind was filled with gloomy
apprehensions. In the course of this day, Mr. Mum-
ford resumed his duties, and the ship kept beating
off and on till noon, when she cast anchor in fourteen
fathoms, about a mile from the breakers; and the
weather becoming calm, Mr. M'Kay, Mr. David
Stuart, myself, and several others, embarking in the
11 58
long boat, which was well manned and armed, stood
in for the shore, in hopes of being able to effect a
landing. On approaching the bar, the terrific chain
of breakers, which keep rolling one after another in
awful succession, completely overpowered us with
dread; and the fearful suction or current became
so irresistibly great, that, before we were aware of
it, the boat was drawn into them, and became
unmanageable: at this instant, Mr. Mumford, who
was at the helm, called out, f£ Let us turn back, and
pull for your lives; pull hard, or you are all dead
men." In turning round, the boat broached broadside to the surf, and was for some time in imminent
danger of being engulfed or dashed to pieces; and,
although every effort was made, we were for twelve
minutes struggling in this perilous situation, between
hope and despair, before we got clear, or the boat
obeyed the oars, and yet we were still two miles
from the shore; and, had it not been for the prompt
and determined step taken by Mr. Mumford, the
boat and every soul on board of it must have inevitably perished. Notwithstanding our narrow escape,
we made a second and third attempt, but without
success, and then returned to the ship. The same
afternoon, Mr. Mumford was sent more to the south
to seek for a channel, but to no purpose. The charts
were again examined, and every preparation made
for next morning.
On the 25th, early in the morning, Mr. Mumford
was again ordered in another direction to go and dis- IN  SOUNDING  THE  BAR.
cover if possible the proper channel, and ascertain
the depth of water. After several trials, in one or
two of which the boat got again entangled in the
breakers, and had a very narrow escape, she at
length came into 2 J fathoms of water, and then
returned; but the captain seemed to hint that Mr.
Mumford had not done so much as he might have
done, or in other words, he was dissatisfied; indeed,
his mind was not in a state to be satisfied with anything, not even with himself; but his officers, whatever they did, were sure to displease.
The captain now called on Mr. Aikens, the third
mate, and ordered him to go and sound in a more
northerly direction, and if he found 3 J fathoms
water to hoist a flag as a signal. At three o'clock
in the afternoon, Mr. Aikens, together with the sail-
maker, armourer, and two Sandwich Islanders, embarked in the pinnace, and proceeded to the bar. As
soon as the pinnace hoisted the flag agreed upon, the
ship weighed anchor and stood in for the channel;
at the same time the boat, pulling back from the
bar, met the ship about half a mile from the breakers,
in eight fathoms, going in with a gentle sea-breeze,
at the rate of three knots an hour.
As the ship and boat drew near to each other, the
latter steered a little aside to be out of the ship's way,
then lay upon her oars in smooth water, waiting to
be taken on board, while the ship passed on within
twenty yards of them in silence; nor did the people
in the boat speak a single word.    As soon as the
i i
II 60
ship had passed, and no motion made to take the
boat on board, every one appeared thunderstruck,
and Mr. M'Kay was the first that spoke,—" Who,"
said he, " is going to throw a rope to the boat ?"
No one answered; but by this time she had fallen
astern, and began to pull after the ship. Every one
now called out, § The boat, the boat!" The partners, in astonishment, entreated the captain to take
the boat on board, but he coolly replied, " I can
give them no assistance." Mr. Mumford said it
would not be the work of a minute. ee Back a sail,
throw a rope overboard," cried the partners; the
answer was, " No, I will not endanger the ship."
We now felt convinced that the boat and crew were
devoted to destruction—no advice was given them,
no assistance offered, no reasons assigned for risking
so cruel a sacrifice of human life—for the place
where the boat met us was entirely free from the
influence of the breakers, and a long way from the
bar. It is impossible, therefore, to account for the
cool indifference manifested towards the fated boat
and her crew, unless we suppose that the mind of
the captain was so absorbed in apprehension, and
perplexed with anxiety at the danger which stared
him in the face, and which he was about to encounter
in a few minutes, that he could not be brought to
give a thought to anything else but the safety of
the ship.
During this time the ship was drawing nearer and
nearer to the breakers, which called our attention THE  SHIP IN  THE  BREAKERS.
from the boat to look out for our own safety; but
she was seen for some time struggling hard to follow
the ship as we entered the breakers, the sight of
which was appalling. On the ship making the first
plunge, every countenance looked dismay; and the
sun, at the time just sinking below the horizon,
seemed to say, § Prepare for your last." Mr. Mumford was now ordered to the mast-head, to point out
the channel. The water decreasing from 8 to 2\
fathoms, she struck tremendously on the second reef
or shoal; and the surges breaking over her stern
overwhelmed everything on deck. Every one who
could, sprang aloft, and clung for life to the rigging.
The waves at times broke ten feet high over her, and
at other times she was in danger of foundering: she
struck again and again, and, regardless of her helm,
was tossed and whirled in every direction, and became completely unmanageable. Night now began
to spread an impenetrable gloom over the turbulent
deep. Dark, indeed, was that dreadful night. We
had got about a mile into the breakers, and not far
from the rocks at the foot of the Cape, against which
the foaming surges wreaked their fury unceasingly.
Our anxiety was still further increased by the wind
dying away, and the tide still ebbing. At this
instant, some one called out, 9 We are all lost, the
ship is among the rocks." A desperate effort was
then made to let go the anchors—two were thrown
overboard; the sails kept flapping for some time:
nor was the danger diminished by learning the fact 62
that the surf dragged ship, anchors, and all, along
with it.. But there is a limit* to all things: hour
after hour had passed, and terrific was the sight; yet
our faithful bark still defied the elements, until the
tide providentially beginning to flow—just at a time
when it appeared as if no earthly power could save
us from a watery grave—brought about our deliverance by carrying the ship along with it into Baker's
Bay, snug within the Cape, where we lay in safety.
Here are two points for consideration; first, the
time of sounding: and, secondly, the time chosen for
entering the breakers. In respect to both, there was
an.unwarrantable precipitation—a manifest want of
sound judgment. We made the land in the middle
of a storm, the channel and coast both unknown to
us, and without either pilot or guide: under such
circumstances, it was evident to all that no boat
could live on the water at the time, far less reach the
shore; and our entering the breakers at so late an
hour, the sun at the time not being fifty minutes
above the horizon, the channel also being unexplored,
was certainly a premature and forlorn undertaking:
but there existed such disunion—such a spirit of contradiction on board—that the only wonder is how we
ever got so far. But I must now inform the reader
what became of the boat.
In the morning of the 26th, Captain Thorn, Mr.
M'Kay, myself, and a few men, left the ship, to take
a view of the coast from the top of Cape Disappointment, to try if we could learn any tidings of the NARRATIVE  OF  STEVEN WEEKS.
Doats. We had not proceeded fifty yards, when we
saw Steven Weeks, the armourer, standing under
the shelter of a rock, shivering and half-dead with
cold. Joy for a moment filled our hearts, and running up to the poor fellow, we inquired for his comrades, but could get no satisfactory reply; we then
brought him to the ship, and, after giving him some
food, resumed our inquiries; but he appeared so
overpowered with grief and vexation, that we could
scarcely get a word from him; in short, he seemed
to reproach us bitterly. " You did it purposely,"
said he, in great agitation; but after some time, and
when we had first told him what we had suffered, he
seemed to come round, as if his feelings were soothed
by the recital of our dangers; and then he related
his melancholy tale, in the following words:—
" After the ship passed us we pulled hard to follow her, thinking every moment you would take us
on board; but when we saw her enter the breakers
we considered ourselves as lost. We tried to pull
back again, but in vain; for we were drawn into the
breakers in spite of all we could do. We saw the
ship make two or three heavy plunges; but just at
this time we ourselves were struck with the boiling
surf, and the boat went reeling in every direction; in
an instant a heavy sea swamped her—poor Mr. Aikens
and John Coles were never seen after. As soon as
I got above the surface of the water, I kept tossing
about at the mercy of the waves. While in this
state I saw the two Sandwich Islanders struggling
ti wmd
through the surf to get hold of the boat, and being
expert swimmers they succeeded.    After long struggles they got her turned upon her keel, bailed out
some of the water, and recovered one of the oars.
I made several attempts to get near them, but the
weight of my clothes and the rough sea had almost
exhausted me.    I could scarcely keep myself above
water, and the Owhyhees were so much occupied
about the boat, that they seemed to take no notice
of anything else.    In vain I tried to make signs,
and to call out; every effort only sank me more and
more.    The tide had drawn the boat by this time
out to sea, and almost free of the breakers, when the
two islanders saw me, now supporting myself by a
floating oar, and made for me.    The poor fellows
tried to haul me into the boat, but their strength
failed them.    At last, taking hold of my  clothes
in their teeth,  they fortunately succeeded.     We
then stood out to sea as night set in, and a darker
one I never saw.    The Owhyhees, overcome with
wet and cold, began to lose hope, and their fortitude
forsook them, so that they lay down despairingly in
the boat, nor could I arouse them from their drowsy
stupor.    When I saw that I had nothing to expect
from them, I set to sculling the boat myself, and yet
it was with much ado I  could stand on my legs.
During the night one of the Indians died in despair,
and the other seemed to court death, for he lost all
heart, and would not utter a single word.    When
the tide began to flow I was roused by the sense THE  BOAT  THROWN  ON  SHORE.
of my danger, for the sound of the breakers grew louder
and louder, and I knew if I got entangled in them in
my exhausted state all was lost; I, therefore, set
too with might and main, as a last effort, to keep
the boat out to sea, and at daylight I was within
a quarter of a mile of the breakers, and about double
that distance short of the Cape. I paused for a
moment, 'What is to be done?' I said to myself;
f death itself is preferable to this protracted struggle.' So, turning the head of my boat for shore,
I determined to reach the land or die in the attempt.
Providence favoured my resolution, the breakers
seemed to aid in hurrying me out of the watery
-element; and the sun had scarcely risen when the
boat was thrown up high and dry on the beach. I
had much ado to extricate myself from her, and
to drag my benumbed limbs along. On seeing myself once more on dry land, I sat down and felt a
momentary relief; but this was followed by gloomy
reflections. I then got into the boat again, and
seeing the poor islander still alive, but insensible, I
hauled him out of the boat, and with much ado
carried him to the border of the wood, when covering him with leaves I left him to die. While gathering the leaves I happened to come upon a beaten
pathj which brought me here." Such was Weeks's
melancholy story: himself and the Indian being the
only survivors of the last boat, it follows that eight
men in all lost their lives in entering this fatal
F 66
In the evening the Sandwich Islander who died
in the boat was interred on the beach where the boat
came ashore; the other poor fellow was carried to
the ship, and afterwards recovered.
On the 27th I was appointed to head a party to
go in search of the boat that was lost on the 22nd;
but after examining the coast for upwards of forty
miles southwards, not a trace of our missing friends
was discovered, nor did we ever learn any tidings of
We had on this occasion a specimen of Chinooke
navigation. While crossing the river in an Indian
canoe, on our way back to the ship, we were suddenly overtaken by a storm, and our craft was
upset in the middle of the passage. The expertness
of the natives in their favourite element was here
put to the test. At this time we were upwards of
two miles from the shore, while eight persons unable
to swim were floating in every direction; coats, hats,
and everything" else adrift, and all depending on the
fidelity of the four Indians who undertook to carry
us over; yet, notwithstanding the roughness of the
water, and the wind blowing a gale at the time,
these poor fellows kept swimming about like so
many fishes, righted the canoe, and got us all into
her again, while they themselves staid in the water,
with one hand on the canoe and the other paddling.
In this manner they supported themselves, tossing
to and fro, till we bailed the water out of our frail
craft, and got under weigh again.    Here it was that
the Indians showed the skill and dexterity peculiar
to them. The instant the canoe rose on the top of a
wave, those on the windward side darted down their
long paddles to the armpits in the water to prevent
her from upsetting; while those on the leeside at
the same moment pulled theirs up, but kept ready
as soon as the wave had passed under her to thrust
them down again in a similar manner, and thus
by their alternate movements they kept the canoe
steady, so that we got safe to shore without another
upset, and with the loss of only a few articles of
clothing; but we suffered severely from wet and
During this time the Indians from the village
which we had left, seeing our critical situation, had
manned and sent off two canoes to our assistance.
One of the boats from the ship was also despatched,
for the same purpose; but all would have proved too
late had we not been fortunate enough of ourselves
to weather the storm.
The Indians all the time never lost their presence
of mind. Indeed, it was supposed, from the skilful
manner in which they acted afterwards, that the
sordid rascals had upset us wilfully, in order to
claim the merit of having saved us, and therewith
a double recompense for their trip. The boat
ewhich had put off to our assistance was upset on
her return to the ship; and had it not been for the
two Indian canoes that followed us, its crew would
have all perished.
F 2
S.■ t;
II 68
On the 4th of April the long boat was swamped
off Chinooke Point, when ten persons were saved by
Comecomly and his people. On this occasion, however, many articles of value were lost, so that every
hour admonished us that we stepped on insecure and
slippery ground. Every succeeding day was marked
by some new and alarming disaster; but a few
remarks will now suffice to conclude the account
of our voyage, in which we sailed, according to the
ship's log, 21,852 miles.
Captain Thorn was an able and expert seaman;
but, unfortunately, his treatment of the people under
his command was strongly tinctured with cruelty
and despotism. He delighted in ruling with a rod
of iron; his officers were treated with harshness, his
sailors with cruelty, and every one else was regarded
by him with contempt. With a jealous and peevish
temper, he was easily excited; and the moment he
heard the Scotch Highlanders speak to each other in
the Scottish dialect, or the Canadians in the French
language, he was on his high horse, making every
one on board as unhappy as himself; and this
brings us down to the period of our departure from
the ship, a period to which we all anxiously looked
forward, and the satisfaction both felt and expressed
was universal, when the general order was read that
all the passengers should prepare to land on the
Preparations for landing—Site of the new emporium of the west—
Astor's representative—Hard work—Huge trees—Natives—Comecomly—Mode of felling the trees—Danger—Trying scenes—Three
men killed—Three wounded—Party reduced by sickness—Disaffection—Conduct of the deputy—Desertion—Mr. Astor's policy-
Climate—Indian rumours—Comecomly's intrigues and policy—
Trip to the cascades —Mr. M'Kay and north-west notions —
Anecdote—Exploring party to the north—Several persons killed—
Hostile threats of the Indians—Potatoes and other seeds planted—
New building—Astoria—Departure of the ship —Dangerous situa*
tion of the whites—Great assemblage of Indians—People under
arms—Blunderbuss accident—Alarming moment—Two strangers
arrive—Mr. Thompson at Astoria—M'Dougall's policy—The two
great functionaries.
For some days, much time was spent in examining
both sides of the inlet, with the view of choosing a
suitable place to build on. At last it was settled
that the new establishment should be erected on the
south side, on a small rising ground situate between
Point George on the west and Tonquin Point on the
east, distant twelve miles from the mouth of the inlet
or bar. If Nil
On the 12th of April, therefore, the whole party,
consisting of thirty-three persons, all British subjects
excepting three (eleven Sandwich Islanders being
included in that number), left the ship and encamped
on shore.
However pleasing the change, to be relieved from
a long and tedious voyage, and from the tyranny of
a sullen despotic captain, the day was not one of
pleasure, but of labour. The misfortunes we had
met with in crossing the fatal bar had deadened all
sensibility, and cast a melancholy gloom over our
most sanguine expectations. In our present position,
everything harmonized with our feelings, to darken
our future prospects. Silent and with heavy hearts
we began the toil of the day, in clearing aWay brush
and rotten wood for a spot to encamp on.
The person who now assumed the command was
the deputy-agent, Duncan M'Dougall, Esq., an old
north-western, who, in the absence of Mr. Hunt,
held the first place in Mr. Astor's confidence. He
was a man of but ordinary capacity, with an irritable,
peevish temper; the most unfit man in the world to
head an expedition or command men.
From the site of the establishment, the eye could
wander over a varied and interesting scene. The
extensive Sound, with its rocky shores, lay in front;
the breakers on the bar, rolling in wild confusion,
closed the view on the west; on the east, the country
as far as the Sound had a wild and varied aspect;
while towards the south, the impervious and magni-
ficent forest darkened the landscape, as far as the eye
could reach. The place thus selected for the emporium of the west, might challenge the whole
continent to produce a spot of equal extent presenting more difficulties to the settler: studded with
gigantic trees of almost incredible size, many of
them measuring fifty feet in girth, and so close
together, and intermingled with huge rocks, as to
make it a work of no ordinary labour to level and
clear the ground. With this task before us, every
man, from the highest to the lowest, was armed
with an axe in one hand and a gun in the other;
the former for attacking the woods, the latter for
defence against the savage hordes which were COn-
stantly prowling about. In the garb of labourers,
and in the sweat of our brow, we now commenced
earning our bread. In this manner we all kept
toiling and tearing away, from sunrise till sunset—
from Monday till Saturday; and during the nights
we kept watch without intermission.
On our first arrival, the natives of the place
appeared very friendly towards us, owing no doubt
to some trifling presents which they now and then
received from us; but still, circumstances occurred
occasionally which indicated treachery, and kept us
always on our guard, against the more distant tribes
in particular, for their attitude was invariably shy
and hostile. Our ill opinion of them proved but
too true in the sequel; but we had all along received
every assurance of fidelity and protection from Come-
; I ft
cpmly, the principal chief of the place, and in him
we reposed much confidence.
The frame of a coasting vessel, to be named the
Dolly, was brought out on board the Tonquin^ and
as soon as we had got a spot cleared, the carpenters
were set to work, to fit her up for immediate service;
but the smallness of her size, of only thirty tons,
rendered her useless for any purpose but that of
navigating the river.
It would have made a cynic smile to see this
pioneer corps, composed of traders, shopkeepers,
voyageurs, and Owhyhees, all ignorant alike in this
new walk of life, and the most ignorant of all, the
leader. Many of the party had never handled an
axe before, and but few of them knew how to use
a gun, but necessity, the mother of invention, soon
taught us both. After placing our guns in some
secure place at hand, and viewing the height and
the breadth of the tree to be cut down, the party,
with some labour, would erect a scaffold round it;
this done, four men—for that was the number appointed to each of those huge trees—would then
mount the scaffold, and commence cutting, at the
height of eight or ten feet from the ground, the
handles of our axes varying, according to circumstances, from two and a half to five feet in length.
At every other stroke, a look was cast round,
to see that all was safe; but the least rustling
apaong the bushes caused a general stop; more or
less time was thus lost in anxious suspense.    After TRYING SCENES.
listening and looking round, the party resumed their
labour, cutting and looking about alternately. In
this manner the day would be spent, and often to
little purpose: as night often set in before the tree
begun with in the morning was half cut down.
Indeed, it sometimes required two days, or more,
to fell one tree; but when nearly cut through, it
would be viewed fifty different times, and from as
many different positions, to ascertain where it was
likely to fall, and to warn parties of the danger.
There is an art in felling a tree, as well as in
planting one; but unfortunately none of us had
learned that art, and hours together would be spent
in conjectures and discussions: one calling out that
it would fall here; another, there; in short, there
were as many opinions as there were individuals
about it; and, at last, when all hands were assembled
to witness the fall, how often were we disappointed!
the tree would still stand erect, bidding defiance to
our efforts, while every now and then some of the
most impatient or fool-hardy would venture to jump
on the scaffold and give a blow or two more. Much
time was often spent in this desultory manner, before
the mighty tree gave way; but it seldom came to the
ground. So thick was the forest, and so close the
trees together, that in its fall it would often rest its
ponderous top on some other friendly tree; sometimes a number of them would hang together,
keeping us in awful suspense, and giving us double
labour to extricate the one from the other, and when 74
we had so far succeeded, the removal of the monster
stump was the work of days. The tearing up of the
roots was equally arduous, although less dangerous:
and when this last operation was got through, both
tree and stump had to be blown to pieces by gunpowder before either could be removed from the
Nearly two months of this laborious and incessant
toil had passed, and we had scarcely yet an acre of
ground cleared. In the mean time three of our men
were killed by the natives, two more wounded by
the falling of trees, and one had his hand blown off
by gunpowder.
But the labour, however trying, we were prepared
to undergo. It was against neglect and ill-treat-
ment that our feelings revolted. The people suffered
greatly from the humidity of the climate. The
Sandwich Islanders, used to a dry, pure atmosphere,
sank under its influence; damp fogs and sleet were
frequent, and every other day was a day of rain.
Such is the climate of Columbia at this season of the
year, and all this time we were without tents or
shelter; add to this the bad quality of our food,
consisting solely of boiled fish and wild roots, without
even salt, and we had to depend at all times on the
success or good-will of the natives for our daily
supply, which was far from being regular; so that
one-half of the party, on an average, were constantly
on the sick list; and on more than one occasion I
have seen the whole party so reduced that scarcely
one could help the other, and all this chiefly owing
to the conduct of Mr. Astor; first, in not sending
out a medical man with the party ; and, secondly, in
his choice of the great pasha,. M'Dougall, whom he
placed at the head of his affairs. The sick and the
sound both fared alike; the necessities of both were
overlooked, while he, himself, was served in state;
for a good many articles of provision had been put on
shore before the ship sailed.
Our hard labour by day, with the watching during
night, had not only reduced our party by sickness to
a mere nothing, but raised a spirit of (Mscontent, and
plots and plans were set on foot to abandon all, and
cross the continent by land. This extravagant resolution was, however, overruled by the more moderate of the malcontents, yet it resulted in a party
waiting on M'Dougall with the view of bettering the
existing state of things, and opening his eyes to his
own situation; but this produced no good effect; it
rather augmented the evil: and a. second deputation proved equally unsuccessful. At last four men
deserted, and had proceeded eighty miles up the
river when they were laid hold of by the Indians and
kept in a tent; nor would the stern and crafty chief
of the tribe deliver them up until he had received a
ransom for them.
Yet all this could not open the eyes of MfDougall,
nor was it till he had rashly ventured to provoke all
classes, that he began to see clearly that he was.
standing on the verge of a precipice.    Everything at-
i j ■j- ;■
1 oil
this moment seemed at a stand; the folly and im*
prudence of the man in power had nearly extinguished all hopes of success. Another party of six
men, headed by one of the Americans, deserted, but
were brought back the third day by our friendly
chief, Comecomly. We had some time ago found out
that the sordid hope of gain alone attached this old
and crafty chief to the whites.
The desertion of these parties, and the number
confined by sickness, began now to admonish the man
at the head of affairs that he had probably gone a
step too far, and that it is much easier to destroy than,
restore confidence. He suddenly changed for the
better; tents were distributed among the sick, and
more attention was paid to their diet; still there was
no medical man to attend the sufferers. In this case
we surely look in vain for that sagacity and forethought which Mr. Astor was thought to possess.
His own interest was involved in the result, and
nothing could more clearly prove his reckless indifference for the lives of his people than his not
providing a medical man of some kind or other,
either for his ship or his infant colony.
But feuds and petty grievances among ourselves,
arising chiefly from our minds being soured by
hardships, were not the only obstacles we had to
contend with; our weakness and forlorn situation
began to open our eyes to a sense of common
danger, and fear began to exercise its influence, so
that unanimity alone could enable us to oppose a INDIAN RUMOURS.
common enemy. Rumours from all quarters and
suspicious appearances had raised an alarm that the
distant tribes were forming some dark design of
cutting us off, and reports countenancing this belief
were daily brought us by Comecomly and his people.
We now established a regular patrol of six men,
which diminished our labouring body to a mere
nothing, but under such circumstances self-preservation obliged us to adopt every precaution. Comecomly was sent for, and questioned on the occasion;
but all we could learn from him was, that the
hostile tribes were a very bad people, and ill-disposed towards the whites, and this we had no reason
to disbelieve, because Comecomly and his people were
the only Indians who had regularly traded with
us; consequently, we were anxious to ascertain the
cause of this rupture between us and the distant
We had now begun to pick up a few words of the
language, and were given to understand that the
crafty Chinookes, like the cat in the fable, had
fomented and nourished the misunderstanding between
us and the distant tribes; that they had artfully impressed the latter with the idea that we were hostile
towards them, and, by the same crafty policy, assuring us of their enmity. By this stratagem, they kept
them from coming near us—thereby monopolizing all
the trade themselves, by buying up all the furs,
and selling them again to us at double their first cost.
As soon, however, as we were convinced of the
HI 78
intrigues of old Comecomly and his people, we set
about counteracting them. For this purpose, several
parties were sent up the country in different directions, to do away with the unfavourable impressions,
and to convince the natives, far and near, of our
friendly intentions to alL
On the 2nd of May, Mr. MfKay, accompanied by
Mr. Robert Stuart, in a small canoe, and four men,
proceeded up the river to sound the dispositions of
the Indians, and to assure them of our good-will towards them; and likewise to gain some information
respecting the surrounding country and state of the
water. Having proceeded as far as the cascades, a
distance of 180 miles, made some presents to the
principal men, and convinced all the different tribes
they saw of the friendly intentions of the whites, the
party returned again at the end of twelve days,
reporting most favourably of both natives and country.
Mr. M'Kay had figured in the north-west as an
Indian trader—was very active, but whimsical and
eccentric. An anecdote will picture the man:—It is
a habit among the grandees of the Indian trade to
have May-poles with their names inscribed thereon
on conspicuous places, not to dance round, but merely
to denote that such a person passed there on such a
day, or to commemorate some event. For this purpose, the tallest tree on the highest ground is generally selected, and all the branches are stripped off
excepting a small tuft at the top.
On   Mr.  M'Kay's return from his reconnoitring EXPLORING PARTY TO THE NORTH.
expedition up the river, he ordered one of his men to
climb a lofty tree and dress it for a May-pole. The
man very willingly undertook the job, expecting, as
usual on these occasions, to get a dram; but he had
no sooner reached the top than his master, through
love of mischief, lighting a fire at the bottom, set the
tree in a blaze. The poor fellow was instantly
enveloped in a cloud of smoke, and called out for
mercy. Water was dashed on the tree; but this only
increased the danger by augmenting the smoke, for
the fire ran up the bark of the gummy pine like gunpowder, and was soon beyond our reach, so that all
hope of saving the man's life was at an end. Descending a little, however, he leaped, in despair, on to a
branch of another tree, which fortunately offered him a
chance of safety; and there he hung between earth
and heaven, like a squirrel on a twig, till another
man, at no small risk, got up and rescued him from
his perilous situation.
Soon after M'Kay's return from the cascades, Mr.
Robert Stuart, myself, and five men, proceeded on an
excursion to the north. It was here that we became
fully acquainted with the dangerous effects of the
Chinooke policy. The Indians, on our approach,
flew to arms, and made signs for us to keep at a distance. We halted, and tried to moderate their ferocity
by a display of presents; but they would not listen
to us. Their forces were collecting fast; every
moment's delay increased our danger; and, fearful of
being surrounded, we were deliberating on a hasty
f! 80
retreat, when, fortunately, a friendly Indian happened
to arrive, by means of whom we got into conversation
with the others; and the result was, that they explained and cleared up the matter to our utmost
satisfaction, and showed us several piles of furs laid
up in store waiting the Chinooke traders; but when
they saw and compared the prices we paid with that
which the Chinookes were in the habit of giving
them, they put their hands on their mouths in astonishment, and strongly urged us to return again, saying
they would never more trade with the one-eyed chief.
We got back again to the establishment on the
fifteenth day; yet, notwithstanding the apparent
friendly impression we had made on these sordid and
treacherous rogues, we had a very narrow escape in
crossing one of the rivers—for a party of them had
got before us, taken up a strong position on the opposite bank, and disputed the passage; but, by a little
manoeuvring, we defeated their intentions, Soon
afterwards, however, one of our men was killed by
them; and on another occasion, a Mr. M'Kenzie and
his whole party, consisting of eight men, were cut to
pieces by them.
But we shall now return, for a moment, to notice
what was going on at the establishment. On the
fourth day after our landing, we planted some potatoes and sowed a few garden seeds, and on the 16th
of May we laid the foundations of our first building:
but in order to procure suitable timber for the purpose, we had to go back some distance—the wood on DEPARTURE  OF  THE  SHIP.
the site being so large and unmanageable; and for
want of cattle to haul it, we had to carry it on our
shoulders, or drag it along the ground—a task of no
ordinary difficulty. For this purpose, eight men were
harnessed, and they conveyed in six days all the
timber required for a building or store of sixty feet
long by twenty-six broad. On the 18 th, as soon as
the foundation was completed, the establishment was
named Astoria, in honour of Astor, the projector of
the enterprise.
The  Tonquin, in the prosecution of her voyage
along the coast, left Astoria on the 1st of June, and
crossed the bar on the 5th, when we saw her for the
last time.    The captain had landed but a small part
of the cargo, intending  on his return to  put the
rest on shore; but with the ship all was lost, and
Astoria, in consequence, was left almost destitute of
the necessary articles  of trade.     Mr.   M'Kay,   as
supercargo, went on board with Mr. Lewis and two
Canadians;   but Mr. Mumford, the second officer,
was dismissed and sent on shore.    On M'Kay's embarking, he called me aside, and taking me by the
hand recommended his son to my care ; then adding—
" You see," said he, | how unfortunate we are: the
Captain, in one of his frantic fits, has now discharged
the only officer on board," alluding to Mr. Mumford.
" If you ever see us safe back, it will be a miracle."
So saying, we parted, and he slept on board.    The
departure of the ship unfolded to us the danger of
our situation.    It is allowed by all experienced fur-
G 82
traders, that in forming an establishment among
savages, the first consideration is safety; and although
we had been aware that the ship's stay protected the
embryo settlement, and that her departure would
proclaim to all the hostile tribes around our defenceless state, yet was there any preparation made for the
event ?—None. When the ship left us, not a gun
was mounted; not a palisade raised; nor the least
precaution taken to secure either life or property.
Such was the character of the man whom Mr. Astor
placed at the head of his affairs.
The Indians from all quarters now began to assemble in such swarms, that we had to relinquish all
labour, and think only of defence. We naturally put
the worst construction on so formidable an array of
savages in arms. On the other hand, the arrival of
the different tribes might have been produced by the
steps we had lately taken in regard to the Chinooke
policy, of assuring them of our friendly intentions;
but the departure of the ship had left us so powerless and weak, that we could not help suspecting
their intentions ; and our suspicion was strengthened
by the absence of Comecomly and his people, who
had avoided coming near us ever since the arrival
of the strangers. We had frequently sent for the
crafty chief, but he as frequently disappointed us>
until he was given to understand that a large present would be the reward of his good offices in
the present emergency, for we had reason to believe that now, as on former occasions, he was very
busy in labouring to conceal the truth, or, in other
words, sowing the seeds of alienation, in order that
he and his people might as usual engross all the
foreign trade themselves.
At length Comecomly arrived; necessity compelled us to dissemble our opinion of his conduct:
he was received with open arms, behaved well, and
rendered us essential services. We now opened a
friendly intercourse with the strangers; traded with
each tribe in turn; made some presents; and they
left us, apparently well satisfied with the friendly
reception they had experienced, while we were no
less agreeably relieved by their departure. The
guard was reduced, and the people set to work as
usual. Comecomly and his two sons received each
a suit of chief's clothing; nor did they omit to insinuate, that to their influence and good offices We not
only owed our safety, but were indebted for all the
furs obtained from our distant visitors.
Some days afterwards, however, an awkward circumstance took place, which threatened to involve us
again in serious troubles. While in the act of re-
moving some leaf tobacco, an Indian was detected in
the act of pilfering—for they are notorious thieves;
the tobacco was taken from him, and he was reprimanded for his conduct. " What!" said the fellow,
indignantly, (ido you say I am a thief?" at the same
time drawing his bow. MfDougall then ordered him
to be hand-cuffed and imprisoned, with a sentinel
over him, in one of the deep but open pits, out of
G 2 84
which a large tree had been dug.   In the night, how*
ever, he contrived to effect his escape, carrying off
not only his irons, but the sentinel's gun along with
him.     Next   day   Comecomly,   accompanied by  a
large retinue, arrived at Astoria; the great mufti, as
usual, was ushered into the  tent  of state.     Here
MfDougall was showing the Chinooke Tye-yea, among
other things, the properties of a blunderbuss, and in
so doing made a woful blunder, for off went  the
piece unexpectedly, shattering a corner of his majesty's robe.   The report and the dense smoke issuing
&om the place proclaimed danger, and the affrighted
chief, darting out of the tent without his robe, cap,
or gun, began caning to his people, who in a moment,
giving the war-whoop and arming themselves, fiercely
menaced the whites with destruction.    In the mean
time one of our sentinels, hearing the report of the
gun, and seeing the tent enveloped in a cloud of
smoke, and the clpef running off at full speed from
it, supposed that he had murdered M'Dougall, and
fired after him, calling out treason! murder I at the
sound of which our people flew to arms; and every
man, with his finger on the trigger of his gun, advanced to the spot.     M'Dougall  and myself, who
fortunately knew the circumstances, hastened to run
in between the hostile ranks, making signs of peace,
and after a tumultuous moment, the mysterious affair
was  explained without bloodshed;  yet long afterwards the chief retained some suspicion that a plot
had been formed against his life. i
Among the many visitors who every now and then
presented themselves, were two strange Indians, in
the character of man and wife, from the vicinity of
the Rocky Mountains, and who may probably figure
in our narrative hereafter. The husband, named
Ko-come-ne-pe-ca, was a very shrewd and intelligent
Indian, who addressed us in the Algonquin language,
and gave us much information respecting the interior
of the country.
On the 15th of July, we were rather surprised at
the unexpected arrival of a north-west proprietor at
Astoria, and still more so at the free and cordial reception given to an opponent. Mr. Thompson, northwest-like, came dashing down the Columbia in a light
canoe, manned with eight Iroquois and an interpreter,
chiefly men from the vicinity of Montreal. MfDou-
gall received him like a brother; nothing was too
good for Mr. Thompson; he had access everywhere;
saw and examined everything; and whatever he
asked for he got, as if he had been one of ourselves.
Mr. Thompson at once recognised the two strange
Indians, and gave us to understand that they were
both females. His own visit had evidently no others
object but to discourage us—a manoeuvre of the
North-West policy to extend their own trade at the
expense of ours; but he failed. The dangers and
difficulties, which he took great pains to paint in their
worst colours, did not deter us. He forgot that in
speaking to us, he was speaking to north-westerns—
men as experienced and as cunning as himself.    The
il 86
North-West had penetrated to the west side of the
mountains as early as 1804, and had in 1811 two or
three small posts on the waters of the Columbia, exclusive of the New Caledonia quarter. Every one
knew this, and knowing it, how could we account for
the more than warm and unreserved welcome Mr.
Thompson met with from Astor's representative.
Unless, as some thought at the time, M'Dougall was
trying to pay Mr. Thompson back with his own coin,
by putting on a fair face, so as to dupe him into an
avowal of his real object. This is more than probable, for in point of acuteness, duplicity, and diplomatic craft, they were perhaps well matched. mm
The ten tribes—Number of warriors—Their laws—Chief's arbitrary
power—Dress, games, and arms of the men—Dress of the women,
slaves, and basket-making—Lewdness of the women—Food, ornaments—The salmon—Superstitious customs—Sturgeon—Fathom-
fish—Roots and berries—Circulating medium—Econe, or Good
Spirit—Ecutoch, or Bad Spirit—Etaminua, or priests—Keelalles.,
or doctors—War canoes—Diseases—Winter houses—Temporary,
or Summer houses—Fleas—Practice of flattening the head—Colonization—Wallamitte—Cowlitz, or Puget's Sound—Conclusion.
All the Indian tribes inhabiting the country about
the mouth of the Columbia, and for a hundred miles
round, may be classed in the following manner:—j
1. Chinooks; — 2. Clatsops;—3. Cathlamux ; — 4.
Wakicums; — 5. Wacalamus; — 6. Cattleputles;—
7. Clatscanias;—8. KiUimux; — 9. Moltnomas ; —
and, 10. Chickelis; amounting collectively to about
2,000 warriors. But they are a commercial rather
than a warlike people. Traffic in slaves and furs is
their occupation. They are said to be decreasing in
numbers. All these tribes appear to be descended
from the same stock, live in rather friendly inter- 88
course with, and resemble one another in language,
dress, and habits. Their origin, like that of the other
aborigines of the continent, is involved in fable, although they pretend to be derived from the musk-rat.
Polygamy is common among them, and a man may
have as many wives as he pleases, but he is bound
to maintain his own children. In war, every man
belonging to the tribe is bound to follow his chief;
and a coward is often punished with death. All
property is sacred in the eye of the law, nor can any
one touch it excepting the principal chief, or head
Tye-yea, who is above the law, or rather he possesses an arbitrary power without any positive
check, so that if he conceive a liking to anything
belonging to his subjects, be it a wife or a daughter,
he can take it without infringing the law; but he
must, nevertheless, pay for what he takes—and their
laws assign a nominal value to property of every
The Chinooks are crafty and intriguing, and have
probably learned the arts of cheating, flattery, and
dissimulation in the eourse of their traffic with the
coasting traders: for, on our first arrival among them,
we found guns, kettles, and various other articles of
foreign manufacture in their possession, and they
were up to all the shifts of bargaining. Nor are
they less ingenious than inquisitive; the art they
display in the making of canoes, of pagods, and of
fishing-tackle, and other useful instruments, deserves
commendation.     They show much skill in carved
work,  which   they  finish with   the   most   delicate
The men are generally stout, muscular, and
strong, but not tall, and have nothing ferocious in
their countenances. Their dress invariably consists
of a loose garment, made of the skin of the wood-rat,
neatly sewed together and painted, which they wrap
round the body like a blanket; nor does the hardy
savage, though constantly rustling through the
woods, ever wear shirt, leggings, or shoes. The
chiefs robe is made of sea-otter skin and other
valuable furs. All classes wear the cheapool, or hat,
which is made of a tough strong kind of grass, and
is of so close a texture as to be water-proof. The
crown is of a conic form, terminating generally in a
point at the top, and the rim so very broad as to
screen the shoulders from the rain. The cheapool
is chequered or diversified with the rude figures of
different animals, particularly the dog and deer, not
painted, but ingeniously interwoven. Their war
garments are of two kinds, one is termed clemal, of
elk-skin, dressed and worked to the thickness of
nearly half an inch, and arrow-proof. The clemal
nearly covers the whole body, with an opening left
on the right side to allow the arm free action in
combat. The other is a kind of vest, made of small
round sticks of the size and shape of arrows, twelve
inches long: they are laid side to side, and then
sewed together, and fixed on the body like a waistcoat.    This is arrow-proof also.    They carry a cir- 90
cular shield, about eighteen inches in diameter,
which is likewise made of the elk-skin; but in addition to its thickness it is hardened by fire and
painted, and is not only arrow-proof, but proof
against the knife and the tomahawk also. Their
implements of warfare are guns, bows and arrows,
knife, bludgeon, and tomahawk, all of which they
use with great dexterity. A Chinooke Indian armed
cap-a-pie is a most unsightly and hideous being.
When not employed either in war or hunting,
the men generally spend their time in gambling.
The chief game, chal*e-chal, at which they stake
their most valuable property, is played by six:
persons, with ten circular palettes of polished wood,
in size and shape resembling dollars. A mat three
feet broad and six feet long is spread on the ground,
and the articles at stake laid at one end, then the
parties seat themselves, three on each side of the
mat, facing one another; this done, one of the
players takes up the ten palettes, shuffling and shifting them in his hands, when at a signal given he
separates them in his two fists, and throws them out
on the mat towards his opponent, and according as
the palettes roll, slide, or lie on the mat when
thrown, the party wins or loses. This he does three
times successively. In this manner each tries his
skill in turn, till one of the parties wins. Whole
days and nights are spent in this game without ceas*
ing, and the Indians seldom grumble or repine even
should they lose all that they possess.    During the DRESS  OF  THE  WOMEN.
game the players keep chanting a loud and sonorous
tune, accompanying the different gestures of the
body just as the voyageurs keep time to the paddle.
Having noticed some of the characteristic manners
and customs of the men, I shall now indulge the
reader's curiosity with a few remarks on the habits
and accomplishments of the fair sex. The women
are generally of the middle size, but very stout and
flabby, with short necks and shapeless limbs; yet they
are well-featured, with something of a smile on the
countenance, fair complexion, light hair, and prominent eyes. In addition to the rat-garment used by
the men, the women wear a kind of fringed petticoat
suspended from the waist down to the knees, made
of the inner rind of the cedar bark, and twisted into
threads, which hang loose like a weaver's thrums,
and keep flapping and twisting about with every
motion of the body, giving them a waddle or duck
gait. . This garment might deserve praise for its
simplicity, or rather for its oddity, but it does not
screen nature from the prying eye; yet it is remarkably convenient on many occasions. In a calm
the sails lie close to the mast, metaphorically speaking, but when the wind blows the bare poles are
Instead of the cedar petticoat, the women of some
tribes prefer a breech cloth, similar to the pow of
the Owhyhee females, and is nothing more than a
piece of dressed deer-skin, six inches broad and four
feet long, which, after passing between the thighs, 92
is tied round the waist. Words can hardly express
the disgusting unsightliness of this singular female
dress. The women, when not employed in their
domestic labour, are generally occupied in curing
fish, collecting roots, and making mats and baskets;
the latter, of various sizes and different shapes, are
made of the roots of certain shrubs, which are
flexible and strong, and they are capable of containing any liquid. In this branch of industry they
excel among Indian tribes. The neatness and good
taste displayed in the Chinooke baskets are peculiar
to that article, which is eagerly sought after as a
The women here are not generally subject to that
drudgery common among most other Indian tribes.
Slaves do all the laborious work; and a CMnooke
matron is constantly attended by two, three, or more
slaves, who are on all occasions obsequious to her
will. In trade and barter the women are as actively
employed as the men, and it is as common to see the
wife, followed by a train of slaves, trading at the
iajetory, as her husband. Slaves are the frails of
war and of trade among the tribes along the sea-
iCoast far to the north, and are regularly bought and
sold in the same manner as any other article of
property; but I never knew a single instance of a
Chinooke, or one of the neighbouring tribes, ever
selling his wife, or daughter, or any other member of
his family.
Chastity is not considered a virtue by the Chi- GAMES  OF  THE  WOMEN.
nooke women, and their amorous propensities know
no bounds. All classes,, from the highest to the
lowest, indulge in coarse sensuality and shameless
profligacy. Even the chief would boast of obtaining
a paltry toy or trifle in return for the prostitution of
his virgin daughter.
The females are excessively fond of singing and
adorning their persons with the fantastic trinkets
peculiar to savages; and on these occasions the
slaves are generally rigged out the best, in order to
attract attention and procure admirers. All classes
marry very young; and every woman, whether free
born or a slave* is purchased by her husband.
Children are suckled at the breast till their second
or third year, and the mother, in consequence, becomes an old hag at the age of thirty-five.
The women have also their own amusements;
Their chief game, called omintook, is played by two
only, with four beaver teeth, curiously marked and
numbered on one side, which they throw like dice.
The two women being seated on the ground, face to
face, like the men at chal-e-chal, one of them
takes up the teeth, keeps shaking them in her hands
for some time, then throws them down on the maty
counts the numbers uppermost, and repeating the
sum thrice, hands the teeth over to the other party,
who proceeds in like manner. The highest number
wins. At this game, trinkets of various descriptions
and value are staked. On a fine day, it is amusing
to see a whole camp or village, both men and women,
:     tl   '
ill).' 94
here and there in numerous little bands, gambling,
jeering, and laughing at one another, while groups
of children keep in constant motion, either in the
water or practising the bow and arrow, and even the
aged take a livery interest in what is passing, and
there appears a degree of happiness among them,
Which civilized men, wearied with care and anxious
pursuits, perhaps seldom enjoy.
These people live by hunting and fishing; but the
greater part of their food is derived from the waters.
The Columbia salmon, of which there are two species,
are perhaps as fine as any in the world, and are
caught in the utmost abundance during the summer
season: so that, were a foreign market to present
itself, the natives alone might furnish 1,000 tons
annually. The largest caught in my time weighed
forty-seven pounds. Sturgeon also are very abundant,
and of uncommon size, yet tender and well flavoured,
many of them weighing upwards of 700 pounds, and
one caught and brought to us, measured 13 feet 9
inches in length, and weighed 1,130 pounds. There
is a small fish resembling the smelt or herring, known
by the name of ulichan, which enters the river in
immense shoals, in the spring of the year. The
ulichans are generally an article of trade with the
distant tribes, as they are caught only at the entrance
of large rivers. To prepare them for a distant market,
they are laid side to side, head and tail alternately,
and then a thread run through both extremities links
them together, in which state they are dried, smoked, CIRCULATING MEDIUM.
and sold by the fathom, hence they have obtained the
name of fathom-fish. Roots and berries likewise
form no inconsiderable portion of the native's food.
Strawberries are ripe in January. The wapatoe, a
perennial root, of the size, shape, and taste of the
common potato, is a favourite article of food at all
times of the year. This esculent is highly esteemed
by the whites; many other roots and berries are to
be had, all of which grow spontaneously in the low
marshy ground. Fish, roots, and berries, can therefore be had in perfection, all along the coast, every
month in the year. But not a fish of any kind is
taken out of the ocean.
The circulating medium in use among these people
is a small white shell called higua, about two inches
long, of a convex form, and hollow in the heart, resembling in appearance the small end of a smoking
pipe. The higua is thin, light, and durable, and may
be found of ah lengths, between three inches down to
one-fourth of an inch, and increases or decreases in
value according to the number required to make a
fathom, by which measure they are invariably sold..
Thirty to a fathom are held equal in value to three
fathoms of forty, to four of fifty, and so on. So high
are the higua prized, that I have seen six of 2\ inches
long refused for a new gun. But of late, since the
whites came among them, the beaver skin called
enna, has been added to the currency; so that, by
these two articles, which form the medium of trade,
all property is valued, and all exchange  fixed  and
si: 96
determined. An Indian, in buying an article, invariably asks the question, Queentshich higua ? or,
Queentshich enna ? That is, how many higua ? or,
how many beaver skins is it ?
All Indians are more or less superstitious, and we
need scarcely be surprised at that trait in their character, when even civilized men respect so many
prejudices. Every great chief has one or more
pagods or wooden deities in his house, to which, in
all great councils of peace or war he presents the
solemn pipe, and this is the only religious temple
known among them.
They acknowledge a good and a bad spirit, the
former named Econe, the latter Ecutoch. The
Etaminuas, or priests, are supposed to possess a secret
power of conversing with the Econe, and of destroying the influence of the Ecutoch: they are employed in all cases of sickness to intercede for the
dying, that these may have a safe passage to the
land of departed spirits. Besides the Etaminua,
there i& another class called Keelalles, or doctors,
and it is usual for women, as well as men, to assume
the character of a Keelalle, whose office it is to administer medicine and cure diseases. But the antic
gestures, rude and absurd ceremonies gone through
by them in visiting the sick, are equally useless and
ridiculous, humming, howling, singing, and rattling of
sticks, as if miracles were to be performed by mere
noise; yet if we forget these useless gesticulations,
which may be called the ornamental part, we must
3K ill
allow them to be a serviceable and skilful class of
people. Their knowledge of roots and herbs enables
them to meet the most difficult cases, and to perform
cures, particularly in all external complaints.
The property of a deceased person is generally
destroyed, and the near relations cut their hair, disfigure and lacerate their bodies; nor is this all, at
the funeral ceremony strangers are here, as among
some oriental nations, paid to join in the lamentation.
All, excepting slaves, are laid in canoes or wooden sepulchres, and conveyed to some consecrated rock or
thicket assigned for the dead; but slaves are otherwise disposed of; that is, if he or she dies in summer,
the body is carelessly buried; but if in winter, a
stone is tied about the neck, and the body thrown
into the river, and none but slaves ever touch a slave
after death.
When the salmon make their first appearance in
the river, they are never allowed to be cut crosswise,
nor boiled, but roasted; nor are they allowed to be
sold without the heart being first taken out, nor to
be kept over night; but must be all consumed or
eaten the day they are taken out of the water; all
these rules are observed for about ten days. These
superstitious customs perplexed us at first not a
little, because they absolutely refused to sell us any
unless we complied with their notions, which of
course we consented to do. All the natives along
the coast navigate in canoes, and so expert are they
that the stormiest weather or roughest water never
M 98
prevents them from cruising on their favourite element. The Chinook and other war canoes are
made like the Birman barge, out of a solid tree, and
are from forty to fifty feet long, with a human face
or a white-headed eagle, as large as life, carved on
the prow, and raised high in front.
If we may judge from appearances, these people
are subject to but few diseases. Consumption and
the venereal disease are the complaints most common
amongst them; from their knowledge in simples, they
generally succeed in curing the latter even in its
worst stages.
In winter they live in villages, but in summer rove
about from place to place. Their houses are oblong,
and built of broad, split cedar-planks, something in
the European style, and covered with the bark of the
same tree. They are sufficiently large and commodious to contain all the members of a numerous
family, slaves included. At the top or ridge pole,
an opening gives free passage to the smoke; they
have one or more, according to the number of families
in each. But I never saw more than four fires, or
above eighty persons—slaves and all—in the largest
Towards the spring of the year, or as soon as the
rainy season is over, all the Indians on the coast
break up their winter quarters, and form large square
sheds, for the purpose of drying and curing their fish,
roots, and berries. Within this huge enclosure they
then live in hordes, like so many cattle in a fold; but
these sheds are only for temporary purposes; and it
must have been on some such occasion that Meares
found Wickananish in his "household of 800 persons." They migrate towards the interior sometimes
for months together; war and traffic in slaves often
call them to a distance; and this may account for
the absence of inhabitants about Port Discovery and
Desolation Sound when Vancouver was there. But
another cause, and perhaps the best that can be assigned, for their abandoning their winter domiciles
as soon as the warm weather sets in, is the immense
swarms of fleas that breed in them during that season. You might as well encounter a bee-hive, as
approach one of these deserted villages.
Among other fantastic usages, many of the tribes
on the coast of the Pacific, and particularly those
about Columbia, flatten the heads of their children.
No sooner, therefore, is a child born, whether male
or female, than its head is put into a press, or mould
of boards, in order to flatten it. From the eyebrows,
the head of a Chinook inclines backward to the
crown; the back part inclining forward, but in a less
degree. There is thus a ridge raised from ear to ear,
giving the head the form of a wedge; and the more
acute the angle, the greater the beauty. The flatness
of the head is considered the distinguishing mark of
being free born. All slaves are forbidden to bear
this aristocratic distinction. Yet I have seen one
or two instances to the contrary, where a favourite
slave was permitted to flatten the head of a first-born
H 2 100
child. No such custom is practised in any part of
the interior. But all nations, civilized as well as
savage, have their peculiar prejudices. The law of
the land compels a South-Sea Islander to pull out a
tooth; a northern Indian cuts a joint off his finger;
national usage obliges a Chinese lady to deform her
feet; an English lady, under the influence of fashion,
compresses her waist; while a Chinook lady deforms her head. But Solomon hath said, " That
which is crooked cannot be made straight."
As tracts suitable for agricultural purposes, may
be mentioned several fertile and rich flats on the
Columbia, although the country generally presents
but a rocky, light, and sandy soil. On the south
side, the river is joined, about eighty miles above
Astoria, by the Wallamitte, a fine clear stream, 300
miles long, which, with its tributary rivulets, fertilizes
one of the finest valleys west of the Becky Mountains.
The Wallamitte was always called by the whites,
ee the garden of the Columbia." For forty miles the
river is navigable for boats of the largest size, to the
falls, but there it is barred across by a ledge of
rocks, over which the whole body of water descends
—a height of 30 feet—in one smooth green sheet.
The climate of this valley is salubrious and dry,
differing materially from that of the sea-coast; and
the heat is sufficiently intense to ripen every kind of
grain in a short time.
Descending from the Wallamitte to Puget's Sound,
north of the Columbia, where there is a large and LANGUAGE.
convenient sea-port, or harbour, we find here a tract
ranking next, perhaps, in an agricultural point of
view. The plain is well watered by several fine
rivers, and is far more extensive than the valley of
the Wallamitte, nor is the soil much inferior; but
there is a vast difference in the climate; rain falls
near the coast almost incessantly from the beginning
of November till April, and the country in other
respects is gloomy and forbidding.
But, however inviting may be the soil, the remote
distance and savage aspect of the boundless wilderness along the Pacific seem to defer the colonization
of such a region to a period far beyond the present
generation; and yet, if we consider the rapid progress of civilization in other new and equally remote
countries, we might still indulge the hope of seeing;
this, at no distant time, one of the most flourishing;
countries on the globe.
The language spoken by these people is guttural,
very difficult for a foreigner to learn, and equally
hard to pronounce. To speak the Chinook dialect,,
you must be a Chinook.
■ " ;. 102
First expedition into the interior—Number of the party—Tongue
Point—Canoe swamped — Sailing difficulties — Indian villages—
Cedars -— First night's encampment—Mount Coffin —Cowlitz—
Wallamitte—Columbia Valley—Point Vancouver—Difficulties—The
Cascades—Concourse of Indians—General appearance of the country—The portage—Description of the cascades—The roll of tobacco
—Pilfering—Mr. Thompson—Exchange of men—The Long Narrows—Warlike appearance of the Indian cavalry—Button contract
—Critical situation of the party—Camp of gamblers—The Narrows
—Hard work at the carrying place—A day's work—Description of
the portage—Number of Indians—Aspect of the country—The
plains begin—End of the woods—Want of sleep—Demeanour of
the Indians.
Notwithstanding the departure of the ship, and
our reduced numbers, measures were taken for extending the trade; and the return of Mr. Thompson
up the Columbia, on his way back to Canada, was
considered as affording a favourable opportunity for
us to fit out a small expedition, with the view of
establishing a trading post in the interior: we were
to proceed together, for the sake of mutual protection
and safety, our party being too small to attempt anything of the   kind   by itself.      Accordingly, Mr. NUMBER OE THE PARTY.
David Stuart, myself, Messrs. Pillette and McLennan, three Canadian voyageurs, and two Sandwich
Islanders, accompanied by Mr. Thompson's party and
the two strangers, in all twenty-one persons, started
from Astoria, at eleven o'clock on the 22nd of July
In two clumsy Chinook canoes, laden each with
fifteen or twenty packages of goods, of ninety dollars
each, we embarked to ascend the strong and rapid
Columbia; and, considering the unskilfulness of our
party generally in the management of such fickle
craft, the undertaking was extremely imprudent;
but then, being all of us more or less ambitious, we
overlooked, in the prospect of ultimate success, both
difficulty and danger. After our canoes were laden,
we moved down to the water's edge—one with a
cloak on his arm, another with his umbrella, a third
with pamphlets and newspapers for amusement, preparing, as we thought, for a trip of pleasure, or
rather all anxious to be relieved from our present
harassing and dangerous situation. The wind being
fair and strong, we hoisted sail; but had not proceeded to Tongue Point, a small promontory in the
river, not three miles distant from Astoria, when the
unfriendly wind dashed our canoes, half-filled with
water, on the shore; and, as we were not able to
double the Point, we made a short passage across the
isthmus, and then, being somewhat more sheltered
from the wind, proceeded, but had not got many
miles before our progress was again arrested by a
m 104
still worse accident; for, while passing among the
islands and shoals, before rounding Oathlamuck
Point, at the head of Gray's Bay, the wind and
swell drove us on a sandbank, where we stuck fast—
the waves dashing oyer us, and the tide ebbing
rapidly. Down came the mast, sail, and rigging
about our ears; and, in the hurry and confusion, the
canoes got almost full of water, and we were well
drenched: here we had to carry the goods and drag
the canoes till we reached deep water again, which
was no easy task. This disaster occupied us about
two hours, and gave us a foretaste of what we might
expect during the remainder of the voyage. Cloaks
and umbrellas, so gay in the morning, were now
thrown aside for the more necessary paddle and
carrying strap, and the pamphlets and newspapers
went to the bottom. Having, however, got all put
to rights. again, we hoisted sail once more, passed
Puget's Island, and then the great Whill Wetz
village, situated on Oak Point, where the river
makes a sudden bend to S.S.E.: here, on the south
side, the rocks became high and the current strong,
and night coming on us before we could reach low
ground, we were compelled to encamp on the verge
of a precipice, where we passed a gloomy night—
drenched with wet, without fire, without supper, and
without sleep. During this day's journey, both sides
of the river presented a thick forest down to the
water's edge—the timber being large, particularly
the cedars,    The sound, from Cape Disappointment INDIAN VILLAGE.
to the head of Gray's Bay, which we passed to-day,
Is about twenty-five miles in length, and varies from
four to seven in breadth.
On the 23rd, after a restless night, we started,
stemming a strong and almost irresistible current by
daylight. Crossing to the north side, not far from
our encampment, we passed a small rocky height,
called Coffin Rock, or Mount Coffin, a receptacle for
the dead: all over this rock—top, sides, and bottom
—were placed canoes of all sorts and sizes, containing relics of the dead, the congregated dust of
many ages.
Not far from Mount Coffin, on the same side, was
the mouth of a small river, called by the natives
Cowlitz, near which was an isolated rock, covered
also with canoes and dead bodies. This sepulchral
rock has a ghastly appearance, in the middle of the
stream, and we rowed by it in silence ; then passing
Deer's Island, we encamped at the mouth of the
Wallamitte. The waters of the Columbia are exceedingly high this year—all the low banks and ordinary
water-marks are overflowed, and the island inundated.
At the mouth of the Wallamitte, commences the great
Columbian valley of Lewis and Clarke; but in the
present state of flood, surrounded on all sides by
woods almost impervious, the prospect is not fascinating. The Indians appeared very numerous in
several villages. General course the same as yesterday, S.E.
On the 24th, after a good night's rest, and having 106
r- h
made some trifling presents to a principal chief,
named Kiasno, we proceeded on our voyage; but
had not gone far, when we passed another and larger
branch of the Wallamitte—so that this river enters the
Columbia by two channels, from the last of which
the Columbia makes a gradual bend to the E.N.E.
During this day, we passed the jNamowit Village,
Bellevue Point, Johnson's Island, and stayed for the
night at Wasough-ally Camp, near Quicksand River,
which enters the Columbia on the left.
Bellevue Point on the right-hand side of the river,
although but low, presents a scene of great beauty,
compared to what we had yet seen during the voyage:
here the eye is occasionally relieved from the monotonous gloomy aspect of dense woods, by the sight of
green spots, clumps of trees, small lakes, and meadows
On the 25th, early this morning, we arrived at
and passed Point Vancouver, so named after the
celebrated navigator, and the extreme point of
Broughton's survey of the Columbia. From the
lower branch of the Wallamitte to Point Vancouver,
the banks of the river on both sides are low; but, as
we proceeded further on, a chain of huge black rocks
rose perpendicularly from the water's edge: over
their tops fell many bold rills of clear water.
Hemmed in by these rocky heights, the current
assumed double force, so that our paddles proved
almost ineffectual; and, to get on, we were obliged
to drag ourselves along from point to point, by lay- DIFFICULTIES  OF  THE PABTY.
ing hold of bushes and the branches of overhanging
trees, which, although they impeded our progress in
one way, aided us in another. After a day of severe
toil, we halted for the night. We saw but five
Indians all this day; and, for the first time, now
came to our camp at night. The ebb and flow of
the tide is not felt here. The country, generally,
has a wild and savage appearance : course, E.N.E.
On the 26th, it was late this morning before we
could muster courage to embark. The burning sun
of yesterday, and the difficulty of stemming the rapid
current, had so reduced our strength that we made
but little headway to-day; and, after being for six
hours rowing as many miles, we stopped, tired and
rather discouraged: course, N.E.
On the 27 th, we were again early at work, making
the best of our way against a turbulent and still
increasing current: as we advanced, the river became narrower, the hills and rocks approaching
nearer and nearer to the river on either side. Here
the view was very confined, and by no means
We, however, continued our toil till late in the
evening, when, in place of a uniform smooth and
strong current, as usual, the water became confused
and ripply, with whirlpools and cross currents, indicating the proximity of some obstruction. At the
foot of a rocky cliff, which we named Inshoach Castle,
we put ashore for the night; nor did we see a single
Indian all day.  Mr. Thompson encamped on one side 108
of the river, and we on the other. General course,
to-day, nearly east.
During last night the water rose ten inches. This
was supposed to be occasioned by the tide, although,
after passing Bellevue Point, the influence of tide
was not perceptible on the current. From the mouth
of the river to this place—a distance of a hundred and
eighty miles—there is sufficient depth of water for
almost any craft to pass; even ships of 400 tons might
reach Inshoach Castle had they power to stem the
As regards agricultural purposes, Bellevue Point
and the valley of the Wallamitte were the most
favourable spots we met with. Generally speaking,
the whole country on either side of the river, as far as
the eye could reach, presented a dense, gloomy forest.
We found, however, a marked improvement in the
climate. Here the air is dry and agreeable. Fogs,
mists, damp and rainy weather, ceased after we had
passed the Wallamitte.
On the 28 th, early in the morning, Mr. Thompson
crossed over to our camp, and informed us that we
were within a short distance of the cascades. We
then embarked, and proceeded together. After making some distance with the paddles, we had recourse
to the poles, and then to the hauling line, till at
length we reached the point of disembarkation.
We had no sooner landed, than a great concourse
of Indians assembled at a short distance from us, and,
after holding a consultation, came moving on in a ^
body to meet us, or rather, as we thought, to welcome
our arrival. The parley being ended, and the ceremony of smoking over, they pointed up the river,
signifying that the road was open for us to pass.
Embarking again, we pushed on, and passing the
Strawberry Island of Lewis and Clarke, we continued
for some distance further, and finally put on shore at
the end of the portage, or carrying-place, situate on
the right-hand side of the river, and at the foot of a
rather steep bank. Here the Indians crowded about
us in fearful numbers, and some of them became very
troublesome. A small present being made to each
of the chiefs, or great men, in order to smooth them
down a little in our favour, they pointed across the
portage, or carrying-place, as much as to say—All is
clear; pass on.
From this point we examined the road over which
we had to transport the goods, and found it to be
1450 yards long, with a deep descent, near the Indian
villages, at the far end, with up-hills, down-hills, and
side-hills, most of the way, besides a confusion of
rocks, gullies, and thick woods, from end to end. To
say that there is not a worse path under the sun
would perhaps be going a step too far, but to say
that, for difficulty and danger, few could equal it
would be saying but the truth. Certainly nothing
could be more discouraging than our present situation
—obstacles on every side; by land, by water, and
from the Indians—all hostile alike. Having landed
the goods, and secured the canoe, we commenced the 110
it I
ft r
laborious task of carrying, and by dividing ourselves
in the best possible manner for safety, we managed
to get all safe over by sunset. Not being accustomed
myself to carry, I had of course, as well as some
others, to stand sentinel; but seeing the rest almost
wearied to death, I took hold of a roll of tobacco, and
after adjusting it on my shoulder, and holding it fast
with one hand, I moved on to ascend the first bank;
at the top of which, however, I stood breathless, and
could proceed no farther. In this awkward plight, I
met an Indian, and made signs to him to convey the
tobacco across, and that I would give him all the
buttons on my coat; but he shook his head, and
refused. Thinking the fellow did not understand me,
I threw the tobacco down> and pointing to the buttons
one by one, at last he consented, and off he set at a
full trot, and I after him; but just as we had reached
his camp at the other end, he pitched it down a precipice
of two hundred feet in height, and left me to recover it
the best way I could. Off I started after my tobacco;
and if I was out of breath after getting up the first
bank, I was ten times more so now. During my
scrambling among the rocks to recover my tobacco,
not only the wag that played me the trick, but fifty
others, indulged in a hearty laugh at my expense;
but the best of it was, the fellow came for his payment, and wished to get not only the buttons but the
coat along with them. I was for giving him—what
he richly deserved—buttons of another mould; but
peace, in our present situation, was deemed the better
policy: so the rogue got the buttons, and we saw
him no more.
Before leaving this noted place, the first barrier
of the Columbia, we may remark that the whole
length of the cascade, from one end to the other, is
two miles and a half. We were now encamped at the
head or upper end of them, where the whole river is
obstructed to the breadth of one hundred or one
hundred and twenty feet, and descends in high and
swelling surges with great fury for about one hundred yards. Then the channel widens and the river
expands, and is here and there afterwards obstructed
with rocks, whirlpools, and eddies throughout, rendering the navigation more or less dangerous; but
there are no falls in any part of it, either at high or
low water, and with the exception of the first shoot,
at the head of the cascade, where the water rushes
with great impetuosity down its channel, they are,
with care and good management, passable at all
seasons for large craft, that is boats.
All the Indians we saw about this place were in
three small camps or villages, and might number two
hundred and fifty or three hundred at most. They
call themselves Cath-le-yach-e-yachs, and we could
scarcely purchase from the lazy rascals fish and roots
enough for our supper. In dress, appearance, and
habits they differed but little from those about
Astoria; but they spoke a different language,
although many of them understood and spoke
Chinook also. 112
At first we formed a favourable opinion of them;
but their conduct soon changed, for we had no
sooner commenced transporting our goods than they
tried to annoy us in every kind of way—to break
our canoes, pilfer our property, and even to threaten
ourselves, by throwing stones and pointing their
arrows at us. We were not, however, in a situation
to hazard a quarrel with them, unless in the utmost
extremity; and it was certainly with great difficulty,
and by forbearance on our part, that we got so
well off as we did. After finishing the labour of the
day, we arranged ourselves for the night. The
Indians all assembled again about our little camp,
and became very insolent and importunate; they
looked at everything, and coveted all they saw.
Indeed we were afraid at one time that we would
have to appeal to arms; but fortunately, after distributing a few trifling presents among the principal
men, they smoked and left us; but we kept a constant watch all night. The only domestic animal we
saw among them was the dog.
On the 29th, early in the morning, we prepared
to leave the cascades; but the bank being steep,
and the current very strong where we had to embark, we did not venture off before broad daylight,
and before that time the Indians had crowded about
us as usual. Their pilfering propensities had no
bounds. The more we gave them the more they
expected, and of course the more trouble they gave
us; and notwithstanding all our care and kindness OF  THE  INDIANS.
to them, they stole our canoe axe and a whole suit
of clothes, excepting the hat, belonging to Mr.
M'Lennan, which we were unable to recover. We
had no sooner embarked, however, than Mr. MfLen-
nan in his usual good-humour, standing up in the
canoe, and throwing the hat amongst them, said,
" Gentlemen, there's the hat, you have got the rest,
the suit is now complete," and we pushed off and left
Immediately above the cascade the river resumes
its usual breadth, with a smooth and strong current.
The day being exceedingly warm, we made but little
headway. In the evening we passed a small river
on our left, near which we encamped for the night.
Here we had promised ourselves a quiet night and
sound sleep; but the Indians finding us out partly
deprived us of both, as we had to keep watch. They
were but few, however, and therefore peaceable.
Course this day, JST.N.E.
On the 30th we set off early, leaving the five
Indians, who slept in our camp last night, sitting by
the fire, enjoying a pipe of tobacco. As we proceeded, the country became more bold, rough, and
mountainous; but still covered with thick woods
and heavy timber. The day being very hot, we encamped early on a very pleasant and thickly-wooded
island—course, N.E.
On the 31st, after breakfast, Mr. Thompson and
party left us to prosecute their journey, and Mr.
Stuart, in one of our canoes, accompanied him as far WARLIKE  APPEARANCE  OF
as the long narrows, nor did he return till late in the
afternoon, and then thinking it too late to start, we
passed the remainder of the day in camp, enjoying
the repose which we had so much need of. The two
strangers remained with us.
On Mr. Thompson's departure, Mr. Stuart gave
him one of our Sandwich Islanders, a bold and trustworthy fellow, named Cox, for one of his men, a
Canadian, called Boulard. Boulard had the advantage of being long in the Indian country, and had
picked up a few words of the language on his way
down. Cox, again, was looked upon by Mr. Thompson
as a prodigy of wit and humour, so that those respectively acceptable qualities led to the exchange.
On the 1st of August we left our encampment at
daylight, but a strong head-wind impeded our progress, and not being able to get on, we put ashore,
and encamped at a much earlier hour than we wished.
Course, N.E.
On the 2d, at three o'clock in the afternoon, we
reached Sandy Bay, at the foot of the narrows.
The Indians, being apprised of our coming, had assembled, as might be expected, in great numbers,
and presented to us quite a new sight, being all
armed cap-a-pie, painted, and mounted on horseback.
To us in our present situation they were rather objects
of terror than of attraction, but we had to put the
best face we could on things, so we landed our goods
and invited them to smoke with us.
We had not hitherto settled upon any plan, whether THE  INDIAN  CAVALRY.
to continue our route by water up the long narrows,
or undertake the portage by land, both appearing
equally difficult and equally dangerous: at last we
adopted the latter plan, because it was recommended
by the Indians, in whose power we were either way.
The plan being now settled, we bargained with the
chiefs for the carriage of the goods—ten metal
buttons for each piece was the price stipulated, which
reduced our stock by exactly two and a half gross:
and in less than ten minutes after the whole cavalcade, goods and all, disappeared, leaving us standing
in suspense and amazement. While we were in this
painful state of anxiety, one man and an Indian
were left to guard the canoes, whilst the rest of us,
carrying what we could on our backs, followed the
Indians on foot to the other end of the portage,
where we arrived at sunset, and found, to our great
satisfaction, all the property laid together in safety,
and guarded by the chiefs. Having paid the Indians
what we promised, and a small recompense to the
different chiefs, we arranged our little camp for the
night, the chiefs promising us their protection. All
the Indians now flocked around us, men, women, and
children, and ■ spent the whole night in smoking,
dancing, and singing, while we kept watch in the
centre of the ominous circle. During the night,
however, notwithstanding the chief's guarantee of
protection, we perceived some suspicious movements,
which gave us considerable alarm. We had recourse
again and again to the chiefs, who at last admitted
that there was some indication of danger; but added
that they were still our friends, and would do their
utmost to protect us. Just at this moment, as we
were consulting with the chiefs, several harangues
were made in the camp, the smoking ceased, and the
women and children were beginning to move off.
It was a critical moment; we saw the cloud gathering,
but could not dispel it; our fate seemed to hang
upon a hair. At last we hit upon a stratagem; we
persuaded the chiefs to come and stop within our
little circle for the night, which they did, and from
that position they harangued in turn, which had a
good effect, and in this manner we passed the night,
not forgetting every now and then to give the chiefs
some little toy or trifle, to stimulate their exertions
in our favour.
Early in the morning of the 3rd, four of us re-
turned to the other end of the portage, and by two
i&'dtock got one of the canoes safe across. Returning
again immediately, we arrived with the other a little
after dark; one man still remaining across, taking
care of the canoe-tackling and camp .ntensils. The
Indians all the day kept dancing and smoking, and
it was our interest to keep them so employed as
much as possible; and no one knew better how to
do so than Mr. Stuart, his eye saw everything at a
glance, and his mild and insinuating manners won
their affections.
As night came on, the Indians were to be seen
divided in groups, as if in consultation; but there HARD WORK AT  THE  CARRYING PLACE.     117
appeared no sign of unanimity among them; each
chief seemed occupied with his own little band, and
we learned that they were not all one people, with
one interest, or under one control, and this divided state no doubt added greatly to our safety;
for wherever we found one chief alone, he invariably
pointed to the others as bad men, calling them sho-
sho-nez, or inlanders. Not knowing, however, who
were our friends or who our foes, we had to keep a
strict watch all night.
At daybreak on the 4th, three of our men crossed
the portage for the remainder of the goods, and
arrived safely at an early hour, but had enough to
do to save their kettles from some scamps they met
with on the way.
The length of this dry and sandy portage is nine
miles; and when it is taken into consideration that
we had to go and come all that distance four times
in one day, without a drop of water to refresh ourselves, loaded as we were, and under a burning sun,
it will be admitted that it was no ordinary task.
Under any other circumstances but a struggle between life and death, it could never be performed;
but it was too much; the effort was almost beyond
human strength, and I may venture to say, all circumstances considered, it will never be done again.
The main camp of the Indians is situated at the
head of the narrows, and may contain, during the
salmon season, 3,000 souls, or more; but the constant inhabitants of the place do not exceed 100 118
persons, and are called Wy-am-pams; the rest are
all foreigners from different tribes throughout the
country, who resort hither, not for the purpose of
catching salmon, but chiefly for gambling and speculation ; for trade and traffic, not in fish, but in other
articles; for the Indians of the plains seldom eat
fish, and those of the sea-coast sell, but never buy
fish. Fish is their own staple commodity. The articles of traffic brought to this place by the Indians
of the interior are generally horses, buffalo-robes,
and native tobacco, which they exchange with the
natives of the sea-coast and other tribes, for the
higua beads and other trinkets. But the natives
of the coast seldom come up thus far. Now all
these articles generally change hands through gambling, which alone draws so many vagabonds together
at this place; because they are always sure to live
well here, whereas no other place on the Columbia
could support so many people together. The long
narrows, therefore, is the great emporium or mart
of the Columbia, and the general theatre of gambling
and roguery.
We saw great quantities of fish everywhere; but
what were they among so many: we could scarcely
get a score of salmon to buy. For every fisherman
there are fifty idlers, and all the fish caught are
generally devoured on the spot; so that the natives
of the place can seldom lay up their winter stock
until the gambling season is over, and their troublesome visitors gone.   All the gamblers, horse-stealers,
and other outcasts throughout the country, for hundreds of miles round, make this place their great
rendezvous during summer.
The narrows by water are not a great deal longer
than the portage by land. At the upper end, during
low water, a broad and flat ledge of rocks bars the
whole river across, leaving only a small opening or
portal, not exceeding forty feet, on the left side,
through which the whole body of water must pass.
Through this gap it rushes with great impetuosity;
the foaming surges dash through the rocks with ter-
rific violence; no craft, either large or small, can
venture there in safety. During floods, this obstruction, or ledge of rocks, is covered with water, yet
the passage of the narrows is not thereby improved.
Immediately above the rocks, the river resembles a
small still lake, with scarcely any current.
The general aspect of the country around the
long narrows cannot be called agreeable; the place
is lone, gloomy, and the surface rugged, barren, and
rocky; yet it is cheering in comparison with the
dense forests which darken the banks of the river
to this place. At the foot of the narrows the whole
face of nature is changed, like night into day.
There the woody country ceases on both sides of
the river at once, and abruptly; the open and
barren plains begin. The contrast is sudden, striking, and remarkable. Distance from the cascades to
this place seventy miles.
The great  bend or  elbow  of the  Columbia is
m •^
formed by the long narrows: here, on the west side,
terminates that long, high, and irregular chain of
mountains which lie parallel to the coast, dividing
the waters which flow into the Pacific on the west,
from those running into the Columbia on the east.
This range abounds in beaver and elk, and is often
frequented by the industrious hunter. At the
Indian tents we saw several small packages of
beaver, but we purchased none, our canoes being too
small; and, besides, they will always find their way
to Astoria. We have all along, however, impressed
on the natives the object of our visit to their country,
and the value of beaver.
The Indians have been more troublesome, more
importunate and forward to-day than at any time
since our arrival among them. They often expressed a wish to see what we had in our bales and
boxes. The chiefs also gave us to understand that
their good offices merited a reward, and they could
not comprehend why people who had so much as we
were not more liberal. We endeavoured to satisfy
their demands, and towards evening the chiefs were
invited to sleep in our camp; but for us there was no
sleep: there is no rest for the wicked.
Columbia Falls—A canoe swamped—Suspicious behaviour of the
Indians—Stratagem—Umatallow—Walla-Walla — Great body of
Indians—Harangues—Indian ceremonies—The great forks—Difference in the waters—Length of the forks—The British flag—Mr.
Thompson's design—Indian ideas—Salmon—European articles—
Tummatapam — Departure from the Forks — Indian honesty—
Eyakema — Marl-hills — Dead children — Superstitions — Priest's
Rapid—Rattlesnakes—Appearance of the country—Kewaugh-chen
—Perilous situation of a canoe—The two sisters—The old Indian—
Hunting party — HorSjes — The priest — Piss-cows — Sopa — Great
assemblage of Indians—The comet—Oakinacken—Distance from
Astoria—Indian council—Resolve to winter—Some account of the
place—The stolen watch—The priest dismissed—Voyage concluded
—The two strangers—First building—Division of the party—
Lonely winter—The lost party —Indian trade—Mr. Stuart's
On the 5th of August, early in the morning, after
making the chiefs a few presents, we proceeded, and
had the singular good luck to get off with the loss of
only one paddle. As we left the beach, the sullen
savages crowded to the water's edge, and in silence
stood and gazed at us, as if reproaching themselves
for their forbearance.    As we proceeded, the banks 122
of the river were literally lined with Indians. Having ascended about seven miles, we arrived at the
falls—the great Columbia Falls, as they are generally called; but, from the high floods this year, they
were scarcely perceptible, and we passed them without
ever getting out of our canoes. In seasons of low
water, however, the break or fall is about twenty feet
high, and runs across the whole breadth of the river,
in an oblique direction. The face of the country
about this place is bare, rugged, and rocky, and, to
our annoyance, every point was swarming with Indians, all as anxious to get to us as we were to avoid
them. Our exertions, and the want of sleep for the
last three nights in succession, almost stupified us,
and we were the more anxious to find some quiet
resting-place for the night. We halted a short distance above the falls, and there encamped. The
current was strong, and rapid the whole of this day.
Course, north.
On the 6th, after passing a comfortless and almost
sleepless night, owing to the crowd of Indians that
had collected about us, we were on the water again
before sunrise, stemming a strong and rapid current.
About a mile from our last encampment, and opposite
to a rocky island, the river Lowhum enters the
Columbia on the east side. Its breadth is considerable, but the depth of water at its mouth is scarcely
sufficient to float an Indian canoe, and over the rocky
bottom it made a noise like thunder. Proceeding
from this place, we observed, a short distance ahead, ii
a very large camp of Indians, and in order to avoid
them we crossed over towards the left shore; but
found the current so powerful, that we had to lay our
paddles aside and take to the lines. In this rather
dangerous operation, we had frequently to scramble
up among the rocks. Soon after, a few Indians
volunteered their services to help us, and we found
them very useful; but one of them, while conducting
the line round a rock, endeavoured to cut it with a
stone; he was detected, however, in the act, and
just in time to prevent accident. Had the villain
succeeded, not only the goods, but in all likelihood
some lives would have been lost. The wind springing up, we hoisted sail; but found the experiment
dangerous, owing to the rapidity of the current. We
encamped at a late hour without seeing a single
Indian.    Course as yesterday.
On the 7th, early in the morning, we passed the
river Day—not broad, but pretty deep, and distant
about thirty miles from the river Lowhum. In all
directions, the face of the country is one wide and
boundless plain, with here and there some trifling
inequalities, but not a tree nor bush to be seen.
General course as yesterday.
On the 8th, after a quiet and comfortable night's
rest, we embarked early; and hoisting sail with a fair
wind, we scudded along at a good rate till two o'clock
in the afternoon, when, all of a sudden, a squall overtook us and broke the mast of one of our canoes,
which, in the hurry and confusion of the moment,
filled with water, so that we had great difficulty in
getting safe to shore.
The day being fine, we set about drying our things,
and for that purpose began to spread them out, for
every article had got thoroughly soaked; but this
task we had no sooner commenced than the Indians
flocked about us in great numbers. We therefore
soon perceived the impropriety and danger of exhibiting so great a temptation before their eyes. In a few
minutes we were almost surrounded by bows and
arrows, one volley of which might have extinguished
the expedition for ever; and one of the fellows had
the audacity to shoot an arrow into one of our bales,
as a warning of what might follow. In short, we
thought we could read in the savage expression of
their countenances some dark design; we therefore
immediately commenced loading. Wet and dry were
bundled together, and put into the canoes; and in
order to amuse for a moment, and attract the attention of the crowd, I laid hold of an axe, and set it
up at the distance of eighty yards, then taking up my
rifle, drove a ball through it. This manoeuvre had
the desired effect. While the Indians stood gazing
with amazement at the hole in the axe, our people
were not idle. We embarked and got off without a
word on either side. Having reached a small, snug
island near the Suppa river, we put ashore for the
night.    Course as yesterday.
The 9th, we remained all day encamped drying the
goods, and were visited only by the Indians in one
canoe, who sold us a fine salmon. THE  RIVER UMATALLOW.
On the 10th, at an early hour, we proceeded on our
voyage, and met with no obstacle till the evening,
when we arrived at the foot of a long and strong
rapid, where we encamped near the mouth of a considerable river called Umatallow, which enters the
Columbia here. This river takes its rise in a long
range of blue mountains, which runs nearly east and
west, and forms the northern boundary of the great
Snake nation. Opposite to our encampment, on the
west side, is situated a large mound or hill of considerable height, which, from its lonely situation and
peculiar form, we called Dumbarton Castle. During
this day we saw many Indians, all occupied in catching salmon.    Course as usual.
On the 11th we commenced ascending the rapid—
a task which required all our skill and strength to
accomplish; and paddles, poles, hauling lines, and
carrying-straps were in requisition in turn, and yet
half the day was consumed ere we got to the top. At
the foot of tins rapid, which is a mile in length, the
river makes a quick bend to the east for about two
miles, then comes gradually round again to the north
from the head of the rapid. The channel of the river
is studded on both sides with gloomy black rocks
arranged like colonnades, for npwards of twenty
miles. Here are some sandy islands also, on one of
which we encamped; and a dark and cheerless
encampment it was, surrounded and shaded by these
gloomy heights.
On the 12th we left our camp early, and in a short 126
time came to the colonnade rocks, which suddenly
terminated in two huge bluffs, one on each side of the
river, exactly opposite to each other, like monumental
columns. The river between these bluffs lies right
south and north. The banks of the river then become
low with sand and gravel, and the plains open full to
view again, particularly on the east side.
Close under the right bluff issues the meandering
Walla-Walla, a beautiful little river, lined with weeping willows. It takes its rise in the blue mountains
already noticed. At the mouth of the Walla-Walla
a large band of Indians were encamped, who expressed
a wish that we should pass the day with them. We
encamped accordingly; yet for some time not an Indian came near us, and those who had invited us to
pass the day with them seemed to have gone away;
so that we were at a loss what construction to put
upon their shyness. But in the midst of our perplexity we perceived a great body of men issuing
from the camp, all armed and painted, and preceded
by three chiefs. . The whole array came moving on
in solemn and regular order till vvithin twenty yards
of our tent. Here the three chiefs harangued us.
each in his turn; all the rest giving, every now and
then, a vociferous shout of approbation when the
speaker happened to utter some emphatical expression.
The purport of these harangues was friendly, and as
soon as the chiefs had finished they all sat down on
the grass in a large circle, when the great calumet of
peace was produced, and the smoking began.    Soon
after the women, decked in their best attire, and
painted, arrived, when the dancing and singing commenced—the usual symbols of peace and friendship;
and in this pleasing and harmonious mood they passed
the whole day.
The men were generally tall, raw-boned, and well
dressed; having all buffalo-robes, deer-skin leggings,
very white, and most of them garnished with porcupine quills. Their shoes were also trimmed and
painted red;—altogether, their appearance indicated
wealth. Their voices were strong and masculine, and
their language differed from any we had heard before.
The women wore garments of well dressed deer-skin
down to their heels; many of them richly garnished
with beads, higuas, and other trinkets—leggings and
shoes similar to those of the men. Their faces were
painted red. On the whole, they differed widely in
appearance from the piscatory tribes we had seen
along the river. The tribes assembled on the present
occasion were the Walla-Wallas, the Shaw Haptens,
and the Cajouses; forming altogether about fifteen
hundred souls. The Shaw Haptens and Cajouses,
with part of the Walla-Wallas, were armed with guns,
and the others with bows and arrows. The names of
the principal chiefs were (in the order of the tribes)
Tummatapam, Quill- Quills -Tuck-a-Pesten, and
Allowcatt. The plains were literally covered with
horses, of which there could not have been less than
four thousand in sight of the camp.
On the 13th, we prepared to be off as early as
hi. ^mmmmmm*
possible; but Tummatapam would not let us go till
we had breakfasted on some fine fresh salmon. He
told us he would be at the forks before us. We
then embarked, and continued our voyage. The
banks on both sides of the river, above the Walla-
Walla, are low, and the country agreeable. After
passing three islands, we arrived at the forks late in
the evening, and there encamped for the night. The
crowd of Indians assembled at that place was immense, and among the rest was our friend Tummatapam. The Indians smoked, danced, and chanted
all night, as usual, while we kept watch in turn.
On the 14th, early in the morning, what did we
see waving triumphantly in the air, at the confluence
of the two great branches, but a British flag, hoisted
in the middle of the Indian camp, planted there by
Mr, Thompson as he passed, with a written paper,
laying claim to the country north of the forks, as
British territory. This edict interdicted the subjects of other states from trading north of that station ; and the Indians at first seemed to hint that we
could not proceed up the north branch, and were
rather disposed to prevent us, by saying, that Koo-
Koo-Sint—meaning Mr. Thompson—had told them
so, pointing at the same time to the south branch,
as if to intimate that we might trade there. The
chiefs likewise stated that Koo-Koo-Sint had given
them such and such things, and among others the
British flag, that they should see his commands respected; but that if Mr. Stuart would give them MR.  THOMPSON S DESIGN DEFEATED.
more than Koo-Koo-Sint had done, then he would
be the greater chief, and might go where he pleased.
The opposition of the Indians on the present occasion suggested to our minds two things; first, that;
Mr. Thompson's motive for leaving us at the time he
did was to turn the natives against us as he went
along, with the view of preventing us from getting
further to the north, where the North-West Company, had posts of their own; and, secondly, that
the tribes about the forks would prefer our going
up the south branch, because then we would be in^
the midst of themselves. But it was our interest
then to defeat these schemes, and so completely did
we upset Mr. Thompson's plans, that I verily believe
had he to pass there again, he would have some difficulty in effecting bis purpose. Mr. Thompson's
conduct reminds us of the husbandman and the
snake in the fable. That he who had been received
so kindly, treated so generously, and furnished so
liberally by us, should have attempted to incite the
Indians against us, in our helpless and almost forlorn
state, was conduct which the world must condemn.
At the junction of the two great branches of the
Columbia, the country around is open and very
pleasant, and seems to be a great resort, or general
rendezvous, for the Indians on all important occasions. The south-east branch is known by the name
of Lewis's River, the north by that of Clarke's, in
honour of the first adtenturers. They are both large
rivers, but the north branch is considerably the larger
of the two. At the junction of their waters, Lewis's
River has a muddy or milk-and-water appearance,
and is warm; while Clarke's River is bluish, clear,
and very cold. The difference of colour, like a
dividing line between the two waters, continues for
miles below their junction. These branches would
seem, from a rough chart the Indians made us, to
be of nearly equal length from the forks—perhaps?
700 miles—widening from each other towards the
mountains^ where the distance between their sources
may be 900 males.
All the tributary rivers entering between this and
the falls, a distance of 200 miles, are on the east side.
The most important fishing place on the Columbia*
after the long narrows, is here, or rather a little
below this, towards the Umatallow. Yet although
the salmon are very fine and large, weighing from
fifteen to forty pounds each, they are not taken in the
immense quantities which some other countries boast
of. A Columbian fisherman considers it a good day's
work to kill 100 salmon, whereas, at the Copper-
Mine River, a fisherman will kill 1000 a. day; and
a Kamtsehatkan, it is said, will kill, with the same
means, 10,000 a day; but if these countries can
boast of numbers, the Columbia can boast of a
better quality and larger size.
The only European articles seen here with the
Indians, and with which they seemed perfectly contented, were guns, and here and there a kettle, or
a knife; and, indeed, the fewer the better.    They CHARACTER OF  TUMMATAPAM.
require but little, and the more they get of our
manufacture the more unhappy will they be, as the
possession of one article naturally creates a desire for
another, so that they are never satisfied.
In the afternoon the chiefs held a council, at which
Mr. Stuart and myself were present. It was then
finally settled that we might proceed up the north
branch, and that at all times we might count upon
their friendship. This being done, Tummatapara
came to our tent, smoked a pipe, and took supper
with us; and as he was going of£ Mr. Stuart presented him with a suit of his own clothes, which
highly pleased the great man. The Indians having
retired, we set the watch for the night as usual.
Tummatapam is a middle-aged man, well feature^
and of a very agreeable countenance; and what is
still better, he is, to all appearance, a good man, was
very kind to us, and rendered us considerable service ; but the other two chiefs appeared to take pr^*
cedence of him in all matters of importance.
On the 16th, we left the forks and proceeded up
the north branch, which to the eye is as broad and
deep here as below the forks. About twelve miles
up, a small river entered on the west side, called
Eyakema. The landscape at the mouth of the Eya-
kema surpass€d in picturesque beauty anything we
had yet seen. Here three Walla-Walla Indians
overtook us on horseback, and to our agreeable sur*-
prise delivered us a bag of shot which we had left
by mistake at our encampment of last night—a conic 2 AN INDIAN BREAKFAST.
vincing proof that there is honesty among Indians;
and if I recollect well, a similar circumstance, attesting the probity of the Walla-Wallas, occurred when
Lewis and Clarke passed there in 1805. We saw
but few Indians to-day, and in the evening we encamped without a night watch, for the first time since
we left Astoria.    General course, north.
On the 17th, we were paddling along at daylight.
On putting on shore to breakfast, four Indians on
horseback joined us. The moment they alighted,
one- set about hobbling their horses, another to
gather small sticks, a third to make a fire, and the
fourth to catch fish. For this purpose, the fisherman cut off a bit of his leathern shirt, about the size
of a small bean ; then pulling out two or three hairs
from his horse's tail for a fine, tied the bit of leather
to one end of it, in place of a hook or fly. Thus
prepared, he entered the river a little way, sat down
on a stone, and began throwing the small fish, three
or four inches long, on shore, just as fast as he
pleased; and while he was thus employed, another
picked them up and threw them towards the fire,
while the third stuck them up'round it in a circle,
on small sticks; and they were no sooner up than
roasted. The fellows then sitting down, swallowed
them—heads, tails, bones, guts, fins, and all, in no
time, just as one would swallow the yolk of an egg*
Now all this was but the work of a few minutes;
and before our man had his kettle ready for the fire,
the Indians were  already eating their   breakfast. TWO  DEAD  CHILDREN.
When the fish had hold of the bit of wet leather, or
bait, their teeth got entangled in it, so as to give
time to jerk them on shore, which was to us a new
mode of angling; fire produced by the friction of
two bits of wood was also a novelty; but what surprised us most of all, was the regularity with which
they proceeded, and the quickness of the whole process, which actually took them less time to perform,
than it has taken me to note it down.
Soon after passing the Eyakema, a long range of
marl hills interrupts the view on the east side of the
river. . Here two dead children were presented to
us by their parents, in order that we might restore
them to life again, and a horse was offered us as the
reward. We pitied their ignorance, made them a
small present, and told them to bury their dead.
As we advanced along the marl hills, the river in-
clined gradually to the N.W. After a good day's
work, we stopped for the night near a small camp
of Indians, who were very friendly to us. Here
and there were to be seen, on small eminences,
burial-places. The dead are interred, and a few
small sticks always point out the cemetery.
On the 18 th, we reached the end of the marl hills.
Just at this place the river makes a bend right south
for about ten miles, when a high and rugged hill
confines it on our left. Here the increasing rapidity
of the current gave us intimation that we were not
far from some obstruction ahead; and as we advanced a little under the brow of the hill, a strong THE PIPE OF PEACE.
and rocky rapid presented itself in the very bend
of the river. Having ascended it about half way, we
encamped for the night.
Here a large concourse of Indians met us, and
after several friendly harangues, commenced the
usual ceremony of smoking the pipe of peace: after
which they passed the night in dancing and singing.
The person who stood foremost in all these introductory ceremonies, was a tall, meagre, middle-aged
Indian, who attached himself very closely to us from
the first moment we saw him. He was called Ha-
qui-laugh, which signifies doctor, or rather priest;
and as this personage will be frequently mentioned
in the sequel of our narrative, we have been thus
particular in describing him. We named the place
Priest's Rapid," after him.
The name of the tribe is Ska-moy-num-acks; they
appear numerous and well affected towards the whites.
Prom the Priest's Rapid, in a direct line by land to
the mouth of the Umatallow, the distance is very
short, owing to the great bend of the river between
the two places.
The Priest's Rapid is more than a mile in length,
and is a dangerous and intricate part of the navigation. The south side, although full of rocks and
small channels, through which the water rushes with
great violence, is the best to ascend.
On the 19th, early in the morning, we started, but
found the channel so frequently obstructed with
rocks, whirlpools, and eddies, that we had much dif- RATTLESNAKES,
ficulty in making any headway. Crossing two small
portages, we at length, however, reached the head
of it, and there encamped for the night, after a very
hard day's labour, under a burning sun. From the
head of the Priest's Rapid, the river opens again due
The ground here is everywhere full, covered with
flat stones, and wherever these stones lie, and indeed
elsewhere, the rattlesnakes are very numerous. At
times they may be heard hissing all around, so that
we had to keep a sharp look-out to avoid treading on
them; but the natives appeared to have no dread of
them. As soon as one appears, the Indians fix its
head to the ground with a small forked stick round the
neck, then extracting the fang or poisonous part, they
take the reptile into their hands, put it into their
bosoms, play with it, and let it go again. When any
one is bitten by them, the Indians tie a ligature
above the wounded part, scarify it, and then apply a
certain herb to the wound, which they say effectually
cures it.
On the 20th we left the Priest's Rapid, and proceeded against a strong ripply current and some
small rapids, for ten miles, when we reached two
lofty and conspicuous bluffs, situate directly opposite
to each other, like the piers of a gigantic gate,
between which the river flowed smoothly. Here we
staid for the night, on some rocks infested with innumerable rattlesnakes, which caused us not a little
uneasiness during the night.    From this place due
11 136
east, the distance, in a direct line, to the marl hills
left on the 18 th is very short. At the southern
angle of this flat is situated the Priest's Rapid, which
we left this morning.    Course, north.
Early on the 21st, we were again on the water.
The country on the east side is one boundless rough
and barren plain; but on the west, the rocks, after
some distance, close in to the water's edge, steep and
rugged, and the whole country behind is studded with
towering heights and rocks, giving the whole face of
the country, in that direction, a bleak, broken, and
mountainous appearance. We saw but few natives
to-day, but those few were very friendly to us. Towards evening we put ashore for the night, at a late
hour.   General course, north.
On the 22nd we left our camp early, and soon
reached the foot of a very intricate and dangerous
rapid, so full of rocks that at some little distance off
the whole channel of the river, from side to side,
seemed to be barred across, and the stream to be
divided into narrow channels, whirlpools, and eddies,
through which we had to pass. At the entrance of
one of these channels, a whirlpool caught one of the
canoes, and after whirling her round and round
several times, threw her out of the channel altogether
into a chain of cascades, down which she went, sometimes the stem, sometimes stern foremost. In this
critical manner she descended to the foot of the
rapids, and at last stuck fast upon a rock, when, after
much trouble and danger, we succeeded in throwing
lines to the men, and ultimately got all safe to shore.
Here we encamped for the night, and spent the remainder of the day in drying the goods, mending the
canoe, and examining the rapid.
On the 23rd we again commenced ascending, and
found on the right-hand side a neck of land, where
we made a portage : from thence we towed ourselves
among the rocks, from one to another, until we
reached the head of the rapid, and a most gloomy and
dismal rapid it was. Both sides of the river at this
place is rocky, and in no part of the Columbia is the
view more confined. A death-like gloom seems to
hang over the glen. This rapid, which is called Ke-
waugh-tohen, after the tribe of Indians inhabiting the
place, who call themselves Ke-waugh-tohen-emachs,
is about thirty miles distant from the Priest's Rapid.
Having got clear of the rapid early in the day, we
proceeded on a smooth current for some little distance, when the river makes a short bend nearly
west. Here, on the south side, were observed two
pillars on the top of an eminence, standing erect side
by side, which we named the Two Sisters.' They
proved to be of limestone, and at a little distance
very much resembled two human figures. Prom the
Two Sisters, the river turns to the north again, where
once more we had a sight of the open country.
Nature, in these gloomy defiles just passed through,
wears the dreary aspect of eternal winter. On the
west, the hills are clothed with woods; but on the
east side, the plains are bleak and barren.    On a ■PH
beautiful green spot, near a small Indian Gamp, we
put ashore and passed the night. Here the priest,
for the reader must know he had still followed us,
introduced us to a friendly Indian, called Ma-chy-
keu-etsa, or the Walking Bear. This gray-headed,
little, old man made us comprehend that he had seen
€%hty-four winters or snows, as he expressed himself
—he looked very old, but was still active, and walked
On the 24th we embarked early, and soon reached
the mouth of Pisscow's river, a beautiful stream,
which empties itself into the Columbia, through a
low valley, skirted on each side by high halls. Its
mouth, in the present high state of the water, is eighty
yards broad. Here the Indians met ns in great
numbers, and vied with each other in acts of kindness. Sopa, the chief, made us a present of two
horses, and others offered some for sale. We purchased four, giving for each one yard of print and
two yards of red gartering, which was so highly
prized by them that horses from all quarters were
brought to us; but we declined buying any more,
not knowing what to do with them. Our six horses
were now delivered over in charge to the priest, who
was to proceed with them by land.
The higher we ascend the riy*er, the more friendly
and well disposed are the aborigines towards us.
Sopa invited us to pass the day with him, which we
did, and were highly gratified to see the natives hunt
the wild deer on horseback.    They killed several ^1
head of game close to our camp, and we got a two-
days' supply of venison from them. Sopa and his
tribe kept smoking, dancing, and singing the whole
night, and at every pause a loud and vociferous exclamation was ^uttered, denoting that they were
happy now. The whites had visited their land,
poverty and misery would no longer be known
amongst them; we passed the night without keeping
On the 25th we left Pkscows, and proceeded on
our voyage, passing another small river, named Inty-
clook, and from thence to Oak Point, at the foot of
a steep crag, where we passed fine night.
Early in the morning of the 26th we left our encampment, but the stream becoming more and mom
rapid, we advanced but slowly, and towards evening
had a good deal of pulling or hauling to ascend White-
hill rapid, where the river, almost barred across by a
ledge of low flat rocks, makes several quick bends.
The west side is mountainous and gloomy to the
water's edge. Encamping at the head of the rapid,
we passed a quiet night, nor did a single Indian
trouble us. Here we saw the ibex, the white musk
goat, and several deer, and supped on a half devoured
salmon, which a white-headed eagle had very opportunely taken out of the river.    Course, north.
On the 27th we started early, and about ten
o'clock passed a small but rapid stream, called by the
natives Tsill-ane, which descended over the rocks
in white broken sheets.    The Indians told us it took
ii! 140
its rise in a lake not far distant. From Tsill-ane,
the hills on the west side receded, and the river
became smooth. Meeting with some Indians, we
put ashore, and the priest, with his horses, joining us
soon after, we passed the night together. Here we
got some salmon, roots, and berries from the Indians,
which proved a very seasonable supply. The Indians were very friendly, communicative, and intelligent.
On the 28th, after despatching the priest with his
charge, we left our camp and pursued our voyage
against a strong current. The country on both
sides was open, and the banks of the river low, yet
many rapid places detained us long, and this detention was increased by a strong head-wind, which so
fatigued us that we halted early. On our way
to-day, we saw many deer and some beavers swimming about, but they were very shy.
On the 29th we reached the foot of a short but
strong rapid, where the river abruptly veers round
to east. Opposite to this rapid enters a tributary
stream, which the Indians call Buttle-mule-emauch,
or Salmon-fall River. It is less than the Pisscows,
shallow, and full of stones, having its source near the
foot of some lofty mountain not far distant. After
making a discharge, we got over the rapid, and
encamped for the night. Here the Indians assembled
in friendly crowds, according to their usual habit—
presented us with abundance of salmon, offered many
horses for sale, and were in all other respects exceed- VISIT  OF  INDIAN HORSEMEN.
ingly kind. Here also they invited us to remain,
to build, and to winter among them: they said their
country abounded in beaver, nor should we want for
On the 30th, just as we were pushing off from the
shore early in the morning, a large band of Indians,
all mounted on horseback, arrived at our camp: we
immediately put about to receive them, which was
no sooner done than harangue after harangue,
smoking, and speechifying commenced; and after
one party, another arrived, so that we were absolutely obliged to remain the whole day where we
From the strangers we learned that there were
whites before us, but a long way off. The Indians
showed us a gun, tobacco, and some other articles,
which they said had been purchased from the whites
ahead, which confirmed the report. We therefore
at once suspected that it must be a party of the
North-Westerns; and here Mr. Stuart, for the first
time, began to thiuk of finding a suitable place to
winter in.
On the 31st, we parted early from our friendly
visitors, and shaping our course in an easterly direction along the bend of the river, we pushed on for
about nine miles till we reached the mouth of a
smooth stream called Oakinacken, which we ascended
for about two miles, leaving the main Columbia for
the first time, and then pitched our tents for the
night.    A great concourse of Indians followed us all 142
day, and encamped with us. After acquainting them
with the object of our visit to their country, they
strongly urged us to settle among them. For some
time, however, Mr. Stuart resisted their pressing
solicitations, chiefly with the view of trying their
sincerity; but, at last consenting, the chiefe immediately held a council, and then pledged themselves*
to be always our friends, to kill us plenty of beavers^,
to furnish us at all times with provisions, and to
ensure our protection and safety.
During this afternoon we observed, for the first
time, about 20° above the horizon, and almost due
west, a very brilliant comet, with a tail about 10°
long. The Indians at once said it was placed there
by the Good Spirit—which they called Skom-malt-
squisses—to announce to them the glad tidings of
our arrival; and the omen impressed them with a
reverential awe for us, implying that we had been
sent to them by the Good Spirit, or Great Mother
of Life.
On the 1st of September 1811, we embarked, and
descending the Oakinacken again, landed on a level
spot, within half a mile of its mouth. There we
unloaded, took our canoes out of the water, and
pitched our tents—which operation concluded our
long and irksome voyage of forty-two days*
The mouth of the Oakinacken is situate 600 miles
up the Columbia, and enters it through a low level
plain, a mile wide. This plain is surrounded on all
sides by high hills, so that in no direction does the
The source of the Oakinacken is 280 miles due
north, and in its course south the stream runs
through three lakes: near its junction with the
Columbia, it is hemmed in on the east by a sloping
range of high rocky hills, at the foot of which the
two rivers meet. On the south bank of the
Oakinacken, half a mile from its mouth, was the
site pitched upon for the new establishment.
The general aspect of the surrounding country is
barren and dreary. On the west the hills are clothed
with thick woods—a dense forest: on the south and
east, the scene is bare; but to the north the banks
of the river were lined with the willow and poplar*
and the valley through which it meanders presents
a pleasing landscape.
Here it may be remarked, that all the tributary
iphrers from this place to the falls, a distance of 200
miles, enter on the right-hand, or west, side of the
Columbia, having their sources in the lofty range of
mountains which terminates at the great narrows, as
noticed by me on the 4th of August; so that from
this point, or rather a few miles below this, the
Columbia runs south to the narrows; nor is the
distance from this place to the Pacific, in a direct
line due west by land, far off. If we can rely on
Indian report, it is not 150 miles.
Soon after the tent was pitched, the priest arrived
with his horses all safe. In the course of the day,
Mr. Stuart missed his time-piece, which had been
stolen out of the tent: a general search was made> and I)
the watch was found, by hearing it strike, although
concealed under the.dry sand in the face of the bank.
The theft was traced to the holy man, the priest,
which circumstance greatly lessened the high opinion1
we had formed of him. On this discovery being
made, he was paid for his services and dismissed.
This little incident taught us that, however strong
might be the friendly professions of the natives, it
was still necessary to guard against their pilfering
In the account of our voyage, I have been silent
as to the two strangers who cast up at Astoria, and
accompanied us from thence; but have noticed
already, that instead of being man and wife, as they
at first gave us to understand, they were in fact both
women—and bold adventurous amazons they were.
In accompanying us, they sometimes shot ahead,
and at other times loitered behind, as suited their
plans. The stories they gave out among the unsuspecting and credulous natives, as they passed, were
well calculated to astonish as well as to attract
attention. Brought up, as they had been, near the
whites—who rove, trap, and trade in the wilderness—
they were capable of practising all the arts of well-
instructed cheats; and, to effect their purpose the
better, they showed the Indians an old letter, which
they made a handle of, and told them that they had
been sent by the great white chief, with a message
to apprize the natives in general that gifts, consisting
of goods and implements of all kinds, were forthwith; 'FIRST BUILDING.
to be poured in upon them; that the great white
chief knew their wants, and was just about to supply
them with everything their hearts could desire;
that the whites had hitherto cheated the Indians, by
selling goods in place of making presents to them, as
directed by the great white chief. These stories, so
agreeable to the Indian ear, were circulated far and
wide; and not only received as truths, but procured
so much celebrity for the two cheats, that they were
the objects of attraction at every village and camp
on the way : nor could we, for a long time, account
for the cordial reception they met with from the
natives, who loaded them for their good tidings with
the most valuable articles they possessed—horses,
robes, leather, and higuas; so that, on our arrival at
Oakinacken, they had no less than twenty-six horses,
many of them loaded with the fruits of their false
As soon as we could get the distant tribes, who
had come to welcome our arrival, dismifsed, we
commenced erecting a small dwelling-house, sixteen
by twenty feet, chiefly constructed of drift wood,
being more handy and easier got than standing
timber; but, while the building was in a half-finished
state, Messrs. Pillet and M'Lennan, with two men,
were despatched to Astoria, as had been agreed upon.
Mr. Stuart, with Montigny and the two remaining
men, set off on a journey towards the north, or head
waters of the Oakinacken, intending to return in the
course of a month; while I was to remain alone at LONELY WINTER.
the establishment till Mr. Stuart's return; my only
civilized companion being a little Spanish pet dog
from Monterey, called Weasel.
Only picture to yourself, gentle reader, how I
must have felt, alone in this unhallowed wilderness,
without friend or white man within hundreds of
miles of me, and surrounded by savages who had
never seen a white man before. Every day seemed
a week, every night a month. I pined, I languished, my head turned gray, and in a brief space
ten years were added to my age. Yet man is born
to endure, and my only consolation was in my Bible;
The first thing I did after my friends left me, was
to patch up the house a little, and put the few goods
I had, so tempting to Indians, into a kind of cellar
which I made in the middle of the house. This
done, I set to in earnest to learn the Indian language, and wrote vocabulary after vocabulary; and
although the task was a hard one, I soon found, from
my progress, that perseverance would overcome
many difficulties.
The novelty of white men, and particularly of a
white man alone, drew crowds of inquisitive Indians
about the place. I mixed with them, traded with
them, and at last began to talk with them, and from
a constant intercourse soon came to understand
them; but still the evenings were long, and the
winter dreary. Every night before going to bed
I primed my gun and pistol anew, and barricaded
the door of my lonely dwelling; and the Indians, PERPLEXING DILEMMA.
friendly inclined, always withdrew from the house at
dusk; yet they had often alarms among themselves/
and often gave me to understand that enemies, or
ill-disposed Indians, were constantly lurking about;
and whenever they began to whoop or yell in the
night, which they frequently did, I of course partook
of the alarm.
One night I was suddenly awakened out my
sleep by the unusual noise and continual barking of
Weasel, running backwards and forwards through
the house. Half asleep, half awake, I felt greatly
agitated and alarmed. My faithful gun and pistol
were at hand, for they lay always at my side in
bed; but then all was dark, I could see nothing,
could hear nothing but the barking of Weasel, which
was continually growing louder and louder. I then
thought there must be somebody in the house; for I
was ready to put the worst construction on appearances. In this perplexing dilemma I got my hand,
with as little noise as possible, to the muzzle of my
gun, and gradually drawing out the ramrod, tried,
with my right arm stretched out, to stir up the
embers, so that I might see; but here again a new
danger presented itself; I was exposing myself as
a mark to a ball or an arrow, without the chance
of defending myself, for the light would show me
to the enemy before I could see my object; but
there was no alternative, and something must be
done. Between hope and despair I managed to stir
up the ashes, so that I could see little Weasel run-
L 2 148
ning to and fro to the cellar-door. I concluded that
the enemy must be skulking in the cellar. I then,
but not without difficulty, got a candle lighted.
Holding the candle in my left hand, I laid hold of
my pistol. With the lynx-eye and wary step of a
cat ready to pounce on its prey, I advanced rather
obliquely, with my right arm stretched out at
full length holding the cocked pistol, till I got
to the cellar-door, the little dog all the while making
a furious noise; when, lo! what was there but a
skunk sitting on a roll of tobacco ! The shot blew
it almost to atoms, and so delicately perfumed
everything in the house that I was scarcely able
to live in it for days afterwards; but that was not
all, the trivial incident was productive of very bad
consequences. Several hundreds of Indians being
encamped about the place at the time, no sooner
did they see the light, or hear the shot, than they all
rushed into the house, thinking something serious
had happened. So far, however, there were no
great harm; but when they beheld two rolls of
tobacco and two small bales of goods, it appeared
such wealth in their eyes that they could scarcely
recover from the surprise. These tempting articles
I had endeavoured all along to keep as much as
possible out of their sight, and dealt them out with a
sparing hand, and as long as the Indians did not
see them in bulk all went well; but after the
overwhelming exhibition of so much property there
was no satisfying them.    They became importunate UNFAVOURABLE  CHANGE.
and troublesome for some time, and caused me
much anxiety. The time fixed for Mr. Stuart's
return had now arrived, and I most anxiously looked
for him every hour. Often had I reason to curse
the intrusion of the skunk into my house. After
some time, however, things settled down again to
their usual level, and good order and good feelings
were again renewed between us.
October had now passed by and November also,
but no Mr. Stuart came, and various reports were
circulated by the Indians as to his fate; and I
myself now began to despair of his return. The
delay of Mr. Stuart's party had a visible effect on
the conduct of the Indians; they became more bold,
neglected their hunting, and loitered about the place,
as if in expectation of some sudden change. Strange
Indians were every day swelling the camp; they
held councils, too; altogether, they were a changed
Seeing this unfavourable change fast spreading
among the Indians, in consequence of Mr. Stuart's
delay, I set about counteracting it. I assembled all
the chiefs and other great men, and after smoking
the pipe of friendship, told them not to be uneasy at
Mr. Stuart's absence; that I could easily account
lor it; that finding the country rich in furs as he
went along, and the Indians peaceable and well
disposed, he had most probably gone off to the
white men's land for more goods, and would be back
early with a rich supply and many people, so that RETURN OF THE LOST PARTY.
all their wants would be satisfied; that those who
hunted best would get most; that they had better
exert themselves in hunting and procuring furs; that
their success would entitle them to the favour of
Mr. Stuart and the great white chief; and that I
would not fail to represent their conduct in the
fairest light. This harangue had the desired effect.
The Indians set to hunting in earnest, and kept
bringing in furs regularly, and in other respects
behaved exceedingly well during the whole of the
Thus I wished to make them believe what I did
not believe myself, because in my critical situation
safety required it. But to return to Mr. Stuart:
December now was passed, and the new year of
1812 ushered in; but still there was no account of
the absent party. January passed, and likewise
February, but no Mr. Stuart; nor was it till the
22nd of March that little Weasel announced, early
in the morning, the approach of strangers, and I was
rejoiced to meet again at my lonely dwelling my
long-expected friends all safe and well.
During Mr. Stuart's absence of 188 days I had
procured 1550 beavers, besides other peltries, worth
in the Canton market 2,2501. sterling, and which on
an average stood the concern in but 5\d. a piece,
valuing the merchandize at sterling cost, or in round
numbers 35/. sterling; a specimen of our trade
among the Indians!
Here follows Mr. Stuart's account of his journey: mr. stuart's adventures.
—i After leaving this place," said he, ff we bent
our course up the Oakinacken, due north, for upwards of 250 miles, till we reached its source;
then crossing a height of land fell upon Thompson's
River, or rather the south branch of Fraser's
River, after travelling for some time amongst a
powerful nation called the She Whaps. The snow
fell while we were here in the mountains, and precluded our immediate return; and after waiting for
fine weather the snows got so deep that we considered it hopeless to attempt getting back, and,
therefore, passed our time with the She Whaps and
other tribes in that quarter. The Indians were
numerous and well disposed, and the country
throughout abounds in beavers and all other kinds
of fur; and I have made arrangements to establish
a trading post there the ensuing winter. On the
26th of February we began our homeward journey,
and spent just twenty-five days on our way back.
The distance may be about 350 miles."
Anxieties at Astoria—Indians depart—A schooner built—The Dolhfs
Jfrst trip—Criminal curiosity — The powder keg —The schooner
condemned—Mr. Astor's cargoes—His policy—Remarks on the
North-West coast—Unwelcome rumours — Calpo's statement —
Rumours renewed—Hard cases—Joe Lapierre—Kasiascall's account of the Tonquin—Strange Indian—Kasiascall's conduct—
His character—-His design on Astsria—Remarfes.
Having- in the preceding chapters given a detailed
account of our first expedition into the interior, we
propose in the present briefly to notice the state of
things at Astoria after our departure, and the fate of
the Tonquin.
No sooner had we left the establishment in July
last, than the natives became more and more hostile
and annoying to the whites at Astoria, so that under
the impression of danger, all other labour being suspended, the hands and minds of all were employed
both day and night in the construction and pallisading
of a stronghold for self-defence; but after various
alarms the savage horde, without making any hostile
demonstration more than usual, took their departure A  SCHOONER  BUILT.
from the place, leaving the whites once more in the
enjoyment of peace and tranquillity.
In the fall of the year, a schooner, of twenty-five
tons, to be named the Dolly, the frame of which had
come out in the Tonquin, was built at Astoria. This
vessel was intended only for the coast trade; but in
the present instance was placed as a guard-ship in
front of the infant establishment. She was found,
however, to be too small for the coast trade, and even
unfit for tripping up and down the river; and from
her unwieldiness, not so safe as either open boats or
canoes. The people were also awkward and unskilful, as might be expected, having never been
accustomed to such duties. In the very first trip
up the river, she had well nigh fallen into the hands
of the Indians: getting becalmed one day a little
above the mouth of the Wallamitte, with only four
men on board, curiosity drew a crowd of Indians
about her, and once on board it was no easy matter
to get them off again. Curiosity led to theft: every
one began to help himself, and to take whatever he
$onld lay his hands upon. The pillage was begun,
when the interpreter boldly and opportunely called
out that he was going instantly to set fire to a keg
of powder, and would blow all up into the air, unless
they left the ship that moment: the Indians g®t
frightened; those who had canoes jumped into them,
made for shore with the hurry of despair; others
jumped overboard, and in an instant the vessel was
cleared of her troublesome visitors, and let go before THE  SCHOONER CONDEMNED.
the current. It will be recollected that Mr. Aikins,
the officer who had come out to take command of
the Dolly, was, with several others, unfortunately
drowned on the bar. Having made two or three
trips up the river, she was condemned, and laid aside
altogether as useless.
It is a true saying, that the wisest of us is not
always wise. In appointing so small a vessel as the
Dolly to a station so dangerous, was manifested a
total ignorance of the character of the natives on the
coast. Mr. Astor ought to have known that even
well appointed large and armed ships often ran
great hazards there, some of that class having been
taken and pillaged by the hostile savages of that
The American traders, with their usual spirit of
enterprize, had long carried on a lucrative business
on the north-west coast; they knew well, and none
knew better than Astor himself, what was necessary
and suitable for that market; but we had got nothing
of this kind. Instead of guns, we got old metal
pots and gridirons; instead of beads and trinkets, we
got white cotton; and instead of blankets, molasses.
In short, all the useless trash and unsaleable trumpery which had been accumulating in his shops and
stores for half a century past, were swept together
to fill his Columbia ships. That these cargoes were
insured need not be told; sink or swim, his profits
were sure.
But these we might have overlooked, had we not MR.  ASTOR'S  SELFISH POLICY.
felt aggrieved in other matters closely connected
with the general interest. The articles of agreement
entered into, and the promises of promotion held
out, when the company was formed, were violated,
and that without a blush, by the very man at the
head of the concern,—that man who held its destinies
in his hand. This perhaps may be rendered a little
more intelligible, by stating, that according to the
articles of co-partnership made at New York, two of
the clerks were to be promoted to an interest in the
concern, or, in other words, to become partners, after
two, years' service, and on that express condition they
' joined the enterprize; but what will the reader say,
or the world think, when it is told that a young man
who had never seen the country was, by a dash of
the pen, put over their heads, and this young man
was no other than Mr. Astor's nephew. Although a
little out of place, we shall just mention another
circumstance which may shew how deeply and how
sincerely Mr. Astor was interested in the success and
prosperity of his Columbia colony. When the war
broke out between Great Britain and the United
States, the Boston merchants sent out, at a great
expense, intelligence of the event to their shipping
on the north-west coast, and applied to Astor for his
quota of that expense, as he too had people and property there at stake. What was his reply? "Let
the United States' flag protect them." Need it then
be told that we were left to shift for ourselves. So
much did Mr. Astor care about our safety. 156
But from this disagreeable subject we turn to
another still more so, and that is the fate of the unfortunate Tonquin, which ship, it will be remembered, left Astoria in June last.
On the 5th of August, Caljpo, a friendly Chinook
Indian, informed M'Dougall that it was current
among the Indians that the Tonquin had been
destroyed by the natives along the coast, and this
was the first tidings the Astorians had of her fate:
the report had spread quickly and widely, although
we remained ignorant of the fact; for not many days
a&r we had arrived at Oakinacken, a party of
Indians reached that place, on their return from the
Great Salt Lake, as they called it, and gave us to
understand by signs and gestures that a large ship,
with whi&e people in it, had been blown up on the
water; and, in order the better to make us comprehend the subject, they threw up their arms in the
air, blew with the mouth, and made the wild grimace of despair, to signify the explosion. On our
part all was conjecture and suspense, unwilling as
we were to believe what we did not wish to be true;
but the more we reflected, the more we were disposed
to believe the report, from the well-known fact that
Mr. Astor's choice of a captain was most unfortunate:
in this instance, he seemed to have wanted his* usual
sagacity j and this was the fir^t rock on which his:
grand enterprize had split. A man who could deliberately leave, as we have already seen,- nine of his
fellow-creatures to perish on the Falkland Islands;
£55*P*3»wg!" OALPO S  REPORT.
who pould throw one of his sailors overboard, at the
Island of Woahoo; who could offer the Indians at
Owhyhee a reward for the head of one of his own
officers; who could force from his ship four of his
men in a storm, to perish at the mouth of the
Columbia; who could witness unmoved, from his own
deck, three of his men left to perish on Columbia
bar; and, to cap the climax of cruelty, we might,
however disagreeable, mention another circumstance.
On the 11th of February 1811, while sailing on the
high seas, a man named Joe Lapierre fell from the
mainmast-head overboard, the ship at the time going
eight knots—a boat was instantly lowered: in the
mean time a hen-coop, binnacle, and some boards
were throwii into the water, but he failed to get hold
of anything, and soon fell a good mile or more astern.
When picked up he was in a state of insensibility,
and the crew made all possible haste to reach the
ship; but, as they were approaching, the captain, in
a peremptory tone, ordered them back to pick up the
hen-coop, binnacle, and boards, before they came
alongside, or put the man on board. The boat
obeyed orders, went back again, picked up all, and
leturned to the ship at the end of fifty-two minutes—
yet fife was not quite extinct, for, after applying the
usual remedies of salt, warm blankets, and fraction,
Lapierre revived.
But to return to the subject of Calpo's report—
the conduct of Captain Thorn throughout, coupled
with the fact of his having left Astoria without a 158
single officer on board his ship, led strongly to the
conclusion that all was not right, and that the reports
in circulation might ultimately prove true. The
facts above stated I myself witnessed—fifty others
witnessed them also: they cannot be denied nor
gainsaid—yet such was the man who enjoyed Mr.
Astor's unbounded confidence.
Various and conflicting were the reports that had
from time to time reached Astoria respecting the
fate of the Tonquin; yet all agreed in the main
point—that is, in her destruction. She had also
passed, by some months, the time of her expected
return, so that there remained but little doubt of her
fate; yet, subsequently to Calpo's statement, nothing
transpired to add to our fears for a month or two,
although during that time various individuals and
parties had been employed to trace out the true story
of her fate.
On the 12th of October, however, three Chinooks
were fitted out, and set off with the determination
not to return until they should reach the place where
it was reported she had been cut off, or obtain certain
accounts respecting her. These men had not, however, proceeded far, before they were met by a
strange Indian, on his way to Astoria with the
unwelcome news of the Tonquiris tragical end: so
the Chinooks turned about, and accompanied the
stranger back to Astoria, where they arrived on the
eighth day; and here the strange Indian made his
report, which we shall give in his own words:— KASIASCALL S  STATEMENT.
"My name is Kasiascall, but the Chinooks and
other Indians hereabout call me Lamazu. I belong
to the Wick-a-nook tribe of Indians near Nootka
Sound. I have often been on board ships. The
whites call me Jack. I understand most of the
languages that are spoken along the coast. I can
speak some Chinook, too. I have been twice at this
place before; once by land and once by sea. I saw
the ship Tonquin ; Captain Thorn was her commander.
I went on board of her at Woody Point harbour in
June lost. We remained there for two days. We
then sailed for Vancouver's Island; and just as we
had got to it, a gale of wind drove us to sea, and it
was three days before we got back again. The fourth
morning we cast anchor in Eyuck Whoola, Newcetu
Bay. There we remained for some days; Indians
going and coming, but not much trade. One day
the Indians came on board in great numbers, but did
not trade much, although they had plenty of skins.
The prices offered did not please the Indians; so they
carried back their furs again. The day following the
chiefs came on board, and as usual asked the captain
to show them such and such things, and state the
lowest price, which he accordingly did. They did
not, however, trade, but pressed the captain for
presents, which he refused. The chiefs left the ship
displeased at what they called stingy conduct in the
captain, as they were accustomed to receive trifling
presents from the traders on the coast.
In the evening of the same day, Mr. M'Kay and
myself went on shore, and were well received by the
chiefs, and saw a great many sea-otter skins with the
Indians.    We both returned to the ship the same
evening.    Next day the Indians came off to trade in
great numbers.    On their coming alongside, the captain ordered the boarding-netting to be put up round
the ship, and would not allow more than ten on board
at a time ; but jmsife as the trade had commenced, an
Indian  was  detected cutting  the  boarding-netting
with a knife in order to get on board.    On being
detected, he instantly jumped into one of the canoes
which were alongside, and made his escape.    The
captain then, turning round, bade the chiefs to call
him back.    The chiefs smiled and said nothing, which
irritated the captain, and he immediately laid hold of
two of the chieis, and threatened to hang them up
unless they caused the delinquent io be brought back
to be punished.    The moment the chiefs were seized,
all the Indians fled from the ship in consternation.
The chiefs were kept on board all night with a guard
over them.    Food was offered them, but they would
neither  eat nor drink.     Next day,  however,  the
offender was brought to the ship and delivered up,
when the captain ordered him to be stripped and tied
up, but did not flog him.    He was then dismissed.
The chiefs were  also liberated, and left the ship,
refusing with disdain a present that was  offered
them, and vowing vengeance on the whites for the
insult received.
Next day not an Indian came to the ship; but in PLOT TO DESTROY THE SHIP.
the afternoon an old chief sent for Mr. M'Kay and
myself to go to his lodge. We did so, and were very
kindly treated. Mr. M'Kay was a great favourite
among the Indians; and I have no doubt that the
plot for destroying the ship was at this time fully
arranged, and that it was intended, if possible, to save
McKay's fife in the general massacre. But not finding this practicable without the risk of discovery, he,
as we shall soon learn, fell with the rest. When we
were on shore we saw the chiefs, and they seemed all
in good humour, and asked me if the captain was still
angry; and on being assured that they would be well
treated and kindly received by him if they went on
board, they appeared highly pleased, and promised to
go and trade the following day. Mr. MfKay returned
to the ship that evening, but I remained on shore till
the next morning. When I got on board, Mr. MfKay
was walking backwards and forwards on deck in
rather a gloomy mood, and considerably excited;
himself and the captain having, as he told me, had
some angry words between them respecting the two
chiefs who had been kept prisoners on board, which
was sorely against M'Kay's will.
" As soon as I got on deck, he called me to him.
* Well,' said he, c are the Indians coming to trade today?' I said, e They are.' 6I wish they would not
come,' said he again; adding,f I am afraid there is an
under-current at work. After the captain's late conduct to the chiefs, I do not like so sudden, so flattering a change.    There is treachery in the case, or they
differ from all other Indians I ever knew. I have
told the captain so—I have also suggested that all
hands should be on the alert when the Indians are
here; but he ridicules the suggestion as groundless.
So let him have his own way.' M'Kay then asked
me my opinion. I told him it would be well to have
the netting up. He then bid me go to the captain,
and I went; but before I could speak to him, he
called out, 'Well, Kas, are the Indians coming today ?' I said I thought so. He then asked—' Are
the chiefs in good humour yet?' I said I never
saw them in better humour. '1 humbled the fellows
a little; they '11 not be so saucy now; and we will
get on much better,' said the captain. At this moment M'Kay joined us, and repeated to the captain
what he had just stated to me. The captain laughed;
observing to M'Kay, ' You pretend to know a great
deal about the Indian character: you know nothing
at all.'    And so the conversation dropt.
"Mr. M'Kay's anxiety and perturbation of mind was
increased by the manner in which the captain treated
his advice; and having, to all appearance, a presentiment of what was brooding among the Indians, he
refused going to breakfast that morning, put two pair
of pistols in his pockets, and sat down on the larboard
side of the quarter-deck in a pensive mood. In a
short time afterwards, the Indians began to flock
about the ship, both men and women, in great crowds,
with their furs ; and certainly I myself thought that
there was not the least danger, particularly as the
O        r     X v MASSACRE  OF  THE  CREW.
women accompanied the men to trade; but I was
surprised that the captain did not put the netting up.
It was the first time I ever saw a ship trade there
without adopting that precaution. As soon as the
Indians arrived, the captain, relying no doubt on the
apparent reconciliation which had taken place between M'Kay and the chiefs on shore, and wishing
perhaps to atone for the insult he had offered the
latter, flew from one extreme to the other, receiving
them with open arms, and admitting them on board
without reserve, and without the usual precautions.
The trade went on briskly, and at the captain's own
prices. The Indians throwing the goods received
into the canoes, which were alongside, with the
women in them; but in doing so, they managed to
conceal their knives about their persons, which circumstance was noticed by one of the men aloft, then
by myself, and we warned the captain of it; but he
treated the suggestions, as usual, with a smile of contempt, and no more was said about it; but in a
moment or two afterwards, the captain began to suspect something himself, and was in the act of calling
Mr. M'Kay to him, when the Indians in an instant
raised the hideous yell of death, which echoed from
stem to stern of the devoted ship, the women in the
canoes immediately pushed off, and the massacre
began. The conflict was bloody but short. The
savages, with their naked knives and horrid yells,
rushed on the unsuspecting and defenceless whites,
who were dispersed all over the ship, and in five
M 2 pf
minutes' time the vessel was their own. M'Kay was
the first man who fell, he shot one Indian, but was
instantly killed and thrown overboard, and so sudden
was the surprise that the captain had scarcely time
to draw from his pocket a clasp-knife, with which he
defended himself desperately, killed two, and wounded
several more, till at last he fell dead in the crowd.
The last man I saw alive was Stephen Weeks, the
armourer. In the midst of the carnage, I leapt overboard, as did several other Indians, and we were
taken up by the women in the canoes, who were
yelling, whooping, and crying like so many fiends
about the ship; but before I had got two gun-shots
from the ship, and not ten minutes after I had left,
her, she blew up in the air with a fearful explosion,
filling the whole place with broken fragments and
mutilated bodies. The sight was terrific and over-
whelming. Weeks must have been the man who
blew up the ship, and by that awful act of revenge,
one hundred and seventy-five Indians perished, and
some of the canoes, although at a great distance ofi^
had a narrow escape. The melancholy and fatal
catastrophe spread desolation, lamentation, and terror
throughout the whole tribe.
" Scarcely anything belonging to the ship was saved
by the Indians, and so terrifying was the effect, so •
awful the scene, when two other ships passed there
soon afterwards, not an Indian would venture to go
near them. I knew that the Tonquin belonged to
the whites at  Columbia, I was eighteen days on TREACHERY  OF  KASIASCALL.
board of her, and had started long ago with the
tidings of her tragical end; but falling sick, I was
prevented from coming sooner. There might have
been twenty-four days between the time the Tonquin
left the Columbia and her destruction by the Indians."
Thus ended the sad story of Kasiascall, a story
which we at the time believed to be perfectly true;
but not many days after, some Indians belonging to
the same quarter reached Astoria also, and gave a
somewhat different version of the affair, particularly
as regarded Kasiascall himself, and what convinced
us that he had acted a treacherous part, was the fact,
that on hearing that the other Indians were coming,
he immediately absconded, and we saw him no more.
These Indians confirmed Kasiascall's story in every
respect as regarded the destruction of the ill-fated
Tonquin ; but persisted in assuring us that he was
not on board at the time, and that he was privy to
the whole plot. They said, that before that affair-
he had caused the death of four white men, and that,,
early in the morning of the Tonquvrfs fatal day, he
had induced the captain, through some plausible
artifice, to send a boat with six men to shore, and
that neither he nor the six men were on board at the
time of her destruction. That in the evening of the
same day, Kasiascall himself headed the party who
went, and brought the six unfortunate men, after
the ship was blown up, to the Indian camp, where
they were first tortured with savage cruelty, and
then all massacred in the most inhuman manner.
II 166
We have now brought the tragical story of the
fated Tonquin nearly to a close. Wise men profit
by experience, listen to counsel, and yield to circumstances. Captain Thorn, on the contrary, looked
upon every suggestion as an attempt to dictate
to him, despised counsel, and treated advice with
contempt. Had he profited either by the errors
or misfortunes of others, or had he listened to* the
dictates of common prudence, and used the means
he had at command, the savages along the coast,
numerous and hostile as they are, would never have
obtained the mastery, nor taken the Tonquin. We
lament the fate of her unfortunate crew and commander. Captain Thorn had many good qualities—
was brave, had the manners of a gentleman, and was
an able and experienced seaman; but his temper was
cruel and overbearing,—and his fate verifies the
sacred decree, that " he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy."
The destruction of the Tonquin left Astoria defenceless and almost hopeless, and might have proved fatal
to the enterprise; but, whilst these scenes were yet
fresh in the minds of the Astorians, and augmented
the gloom occasioned by their harassing and perilous
situation, the timely arrival of M'Kenzie, with the
first division of Mr. Hunt's party, overland, made
them for a moment forget that their friends of the
Tonquin were no more. This seasonable addition
to their numbers, with the daily expectation of
others—for the main party had not yet arrived— PLANS OF  KASIASCALL.
hushed, for a time, the threatening tone of the
Indians, and relieved the whites from that incessant
watching which prudence and a regard to safety
obliged them to adopt, ever since the first rumour
of the Tonquirfs fate had reached their ears. The
subject of the land expedition we shall reserve for
the next chapter, concluding the present withra few
cursory observations on the conduct of that per-?
fidious wretch, Kasiascall.
After absconding from Astoria, as already stated,
he lurked for some time among the neighbouring
tiabes, trying to stir them up to betray the whites,
and take Astoria. He had laid several plans for the
purpose; and, being desperate and daring himself,
he had, on the 5th of December, with twenty or
thirty others of like character, approached the establishment on the south side, through the woods, till
within sight of the back gate, with the intention of
examining the place, in order to make the attack
sure the following morning; but, providentially, his
treason was baulked by one of those fortunate
incidents which sometimes intervene to save the
innocent; for, that very evening, the Astorians5 as
good luck would have it, had collected some Indians,
who, with the whites, made a display at the back
gate, with the intention of proceeding next morning
to the chase, to hunt up some wild hogs which were
roaming at large in the woods; and were, as we
were well informed afterwards, seen by Kasiascall
and his party as they were making their approaches PERILS OF AN INDIAN TRADER.
to the fort. They, supposing from the armed array
that their own atrocious designs had been discovered,
immediately took to flight, leaving, in the hurry, a
gun, a quiver full of arrows, and some other things
behind; so that, in all probability, to this circumstance alone the place owed its preservation, and the
whites their fives. How precarious is the life of an
Indian trader, if we take into consideration the
habits of the country and the spirit of the people he
has to five among—a people who feel no remorse in
using the instruments of death—a people who delight in perfidy! Perfidy is the system of savages,
treachery and cunning the instruments of their
power, and cruelty and bloodshed the policy of their
Land expedition—Hunt and M'Kenzie—Montreal recruits—La Chine
—'Devout farewell—Mackina in 1810—Fur traders of the South—
Frolic parties—Comparison between the South and North—Arrival
at St. Louis—Recruiting service—Yankees—Canoe-men—Delays
at St. Louis—Difficulties—Mr. Miller—The Missouri—Canadian
voyageurs —Winter quarters — Mr. Hunt revisits St. Louis —
M'Kenzie — Mr. Astor's policy — The Yankees desert — Winter
quarters broken up—Rocky Mountains—Pilot knobs—New scenes
—Columbia River—The horses abandoned—Take to canoes—The
canoes abandoned—Trappers—Mr. Miller—Party on foot—Hardships—Starvation—Conflicting councils—Gloomy prospects—Property en cache—The party divided—Three men perish—M'Kenzie's
speech—He arrives at Astoria—Mr. Crooks and others left behind
—Mr. Hunt's arrival at Astoria—Voyage concluded.
We have already mentioned the departure of the
land expedition from Montreal, and now propose to
follow up its history, through its zig-zag windings
and perils, to Columbia, the place of its destination.
The gentleman appointed to head the adventurous
party was Mr. Wilson Price Hunt, a citizen of the
United States—a person every way qualified for the
arduous undertaking.    Had Mr. Astor been as for- Ii
tunate in his choice of a marine commander to conduct his expedition by sea as he was in that of his
land expedition, a very different result would have
Mr. Hunt was also accompanied on this journey
by Mr. Donald M'Kenzie, another partner, who had
formerly been in the service of the North-West Company. This gentleman had already acquired great
experience in the Indian countries, was bold, robust,
and peculiarly qualified to lead Canadian voyageurs
through thick and thin. Mr. Astor placed great
confidence in his abilities, perseverance, and prudence.
Under, therefore, two such leaders as Hunt and
M'Kenzie, he had, in fact, everytliing to hope and
little to fear.
The trumpet of enterprize was, therefore, no sooner
sounded at the office of the new company for recruits,
than crowds of blustering voyageurs, of all grades and
qualities, flocked thither to enrol themselves under
the banner of this grand undertaking. Money was
tempting, and Jean Baptiste has ever been fond of
novelty. The list of adventurers therefore might
have been filled up in an hour; but a different line
was pursued. M'Kenzie was too sagacious and wary
to be taken in by appearances; he drew a line of
distinction, and selected those only who had already
given proofs of capacity. The picking and choosing
system, however,gave great offence to many; eonse--1
quently, those who had been rejected put every iron
in the fire, out of pure spite, to discourage those MONTREAL  RECRUITS.
already engaged, or about to engage; and the money
once expended, little persuasion was required to effect
their purpose.
Mr. M'Kenzie, from his knowledge of the Canadian
character, wished to engage at once a sufficient num-
ber for the enterprize, so that no subsequent delays
might interrupt their progress ; and this was generally
allowed to be the better plan, as we shall have occasion to notice hereafter. But Mr. Hunt-—grave,
steady, and straightforward, himself—detested the
volatile gaiety and ever-changing character of the
Canadian voyageurs, and gave a decided preference to
Americans, and the mongrel Creoles of the south,
who, as he alleged, might be got on the route, either
at Mackina or St. Louis; and this was the plan
ultimately adopted: so that no more Canadian
voyageurs were taken than were barely OTJfficient to
man one large canoe. These men, however, were
voyageurs of the first class, whose well-tried experience
on the lakes, rivers, and frozen regions of the north,
made them anticipate the pleasures of a holiday
voyage on the waters of the south—hardy veterans,
who thought of nothing but to toil and obey. Such
were the men—second to no canoe-men in Canada—•
that joined the expedition at Montreal. The party
now assembled in high spirits, and after bidding a
dozen adieux to their friends and companions, embarked at La Chine on the 5th of July. On arriving:
at St. Anne's, the devout voyageurs, according to
usual custom, expressed a wish to go on shore to make MACKINA  DRUNKARDS.
their vows at the holy shrine before leaving the
island. There, prostrated on the ground, they
received the priest's benediction; then embarking,
with pipes and song, hied their way up the Ottawa
or Grand Biver for Mackina, which place they reached
on the seventeenth day.
MicHlimackina, or Mackinaw, was their first resting-place after leaving La Chine; and here they had
again to recommence the recruiting service, as at
Montreal—with this difference, however, that the
Montreal men are expert canoe-men, the Mackina
men expert bottle-men. That Canadians in general
drink, and sometimes even to excess, must be admitted ; but to see drunkenness and debauchery, with all
their concomitant vices, carried on systematically, it
is necessary to see Mackina.
Here Hunt and M'Kenzie in vain sought recruits,
at least such as would suit their purpose; for in the
morning they were found drinking, at noon drunk, in
the evening dead drunk, and in the night seldom
sober. Hogarth's drunkards in Gin Lane and Beer
Alley were nothing compared to the drunkards of
Mackina at this time. Every nook and corner in the
whole island swarmed, at all hours of the day and
night, with motley groups of uproarious tipplers and
whisky-hunters. Mackina at this time resembled a
great bedlam, the frantic inmates running to and fro
in wild forgetfulness; so that Mr. Hunt, after spending several weeks, could only pick up a few disorderly
Canadians, already ruined in mind and body; whilst MACKINA  IN   1810.
the cross-breeds and Yankees kept aloof, viewing the
expedition, as an army views a forlorn hope, as destined to destruction. Mr. Hunt now saw and confessed his error in not taking M'Kenzie's salutary
advice to engage more voyageurs at Montreal, but
regretted most of all the precious time they had lost
to no purpose at Mackina, and therefore set about
leaving it as soon as possible.
But before we take our leave of a place so noted
for gallantry and gossiping, we may observe that it
was, at the date of this narrative, the chief rendezvous
of the Mackina Fur Company, and a thousand other
petty associations of trappers and adventurers, all in
some way or other connected with the Indian trade.
Here then Mackina was the great outfitting mart of
the south—the centre and head-quarters of all those
adventurers who frequented the Mississippi and
Missouri waters in search of furs and peltries.
These different parties visit Mackina but once a
year, and on these occasions make up for their dangers
and privations among the Indians by rioting, carousing, drinking, and spending all their gains in a few
weeks, sometimes in a few days; and then they return
again to the Indians and the wilderness. In this
manner these dissolute spendthrifts spin out, in feasting and debauchery, a miserable existence, neither
fearing God nor regarding man, till the knife of the
savage, or some other violent death, despatches them
In the fur trade of the north many have attained ARRIVAL  AT  ST.   LOUIS.
to a competency, not a few to independence, and
many have realized fortunes after a servitude
of years; but in the slippery and ruinous traffic
of the south many fortunes have been lost, and an
awful sacrifice made of human life; so that of all the
adventurers engaged, for half a century past, in the
fur trade of that licentious quarter, few, very few
indeed, ever left it with even a bare competency.
At Mackina, Mr. Crooks, formerly a trader on
the Missouri, joined the expedition as a partner.
The odds and ends being now put together, and all
ready for a start, the expedition left Mackina on
the 12th of August, and crossing over the lake to
Green Bay, proceeded up Fox Biver, then down to
Prairie du Chien by the Wisconsin, and from thence
drifted down the great Mississippi to St. Louis,
where they landed on the 3rd of September.
No sooner had the St. Louis papers announced
the arrival of Astor's expedition at that place, than
the rendezvous of Hunt and M'Kenzie teemed
with visitors of all grades, anxious to enlist in the
new company. Pleased with the flattering prospect of soon completing their number, they commenced selecting such countenances as bespoke health
and vigour; but, alas! few of that description was
to be found in the crowd.
The motley group that presented itself could
boast of but few vigorous and efficient hands, being
generally little better, if not decidedly worse, than
those lounging   about the  streets  of Mackina,  a YANKEES  DISSATISFIED.
medley of French Creoles, old and worn-out Canadians, Spanish renegades, with a mixture of Indians
and Indian half-breds, enervated by indolence, debauchery, and a warm climate. Here, again, Mr.
Hunt's thoughts turned to Canada; and in the
bitterness of disappointment he was heard to say,
" No place like Montreal for hardy and expert
voyageurs!" Several Yankees, however, sleek and
tall as the pines of the forest, engaged as hunters and
trappers; but here again another difficulty presented
itself, the sapient Yankees, accustomed to the good
things of St. Louis, must have their dainties, their
tea, their coffee, and their grog. This caused a
jealousy; the Canadians, who lived on the usual
coarse fare of the north, began to complain, and insisted on receiving the same treatment which the
hunters and trappers had,—such is the force of
example; and dissatisfaction once raised is not so
easily allayed again. To adjust these differences,
Mr. Hunt adopted an expedient which, in place of
proving a remedy, rather augmented the evil.
Thinking it easier, or at all events cheaper, to reduce his own countrymen, being but few in number,
to the Canadian pot-luck, rather than pamper Jean
Baptiste with luxurious notions, he issued his orders
accordingly, that all denominations should fare alike;
but Jonathan was not to be told what he was to
eat, nor what he was to drink. Finding, however,
Mr. Hunt determined to enforce the order, the new
comers shouldered their rifles to a man, and, in the MR. MILLER JOINS  THE EXPEDITION.
true spirit of Yankee independence, marched off with
their advance in their pockets, and the expedition
saw them no more; and not only that, but they
raised such a hue-and-cry against the parsimonious
conduct of the new enterprize, that not a man could
be afterwards got to engage; and this state of
things the other traders, and particularly the Missouri Fur Company, turned to their advantage,
by representing to the people the horrors, the dangers, and privations that awaited our adventurous
friends; that if they were fortunate enough to
escape being scalped by the Indians, they would
assuredly be doomed, like Nebuchodnezzar, to eat
grass, and never would return to tell the sad tale of
their destruction.
While Mr. Hunt's affairs thus seemed almost at
a stand, a new impulse was given to the expedition
by the timely acquisition of another partner, a Mr.
Miller, who had been a trader up the Missouri, had
considerable experience among Indians along the
route to be followed, and was a great favourite with
the people at St. Louis. As soon, therefore, as
Mr. Miller joined the expedition, people from all
quarters began again to enlist under the banner
of the new company. Canoemen, hunters, trappers,
and interpreters were no longer wanting, and the
number of each being completed, the expedition left
St. Louis, after a vexatious delay of forty-eight
On the 21st of October the expedition started SUPERIORITY OF  THE  NORTH  MEN.
in three boats, and soon after reached the mouth of
the Missouri, up which the party proceeded. Our
Canadian voyageurs were now somewhat out of
their usual element. Boats and oars, the mode of
navigating the great rivers of the south, were new
to men who had been brought up to the paddle, the
cheering song,' and the bark canoe of the north.
They detested the heavy and languid drag of a Mississippi boat, and sighed for the paddle and song of
former days. They soon, however, became expert at
the oar, and Mr. Hunt, who was somewhat partial
to the south men, was forced to acknowledge that
their merits were not to be compared to the steady,
persevering, habits of the men of the north. Yet
the progress was. but slow, scarcely averaging twenty-
one miles a day, so that it was the 16th of November before they reached the Nodowa, a distance of
only 450 miles up the Missouri, and there, from the
coldness of the weather and lateness of the season,
they were obliged to winter.
Mr. M'Kenzie, accustomed, during the days of
the North-West, to start from Montreal and reach
the mouth of Columbia river, or Great Bear's Lake,
the same season, did not much like this slow travelling, and had his advice been acted on, the expedition, in place of wintering at the Nodowa, would
have wintered on the waters of the Columbia.
Here it was that Mr. M'Lellan, another partner,
joined the expedition. This gentleman was one of
the first shots in America, nothing could escape his
keen eye and steady hand; hardy, enterprizing, and
brave as a Hon: on the whole, he was considered a
great acquisition to the party.
After settling the winter quarters, Mr. Hunt returned to St. Louis, which place he reached on the
20th of January 1811, and before he joined his
wintering friends at the Nodowa Biver again, it was
the 17th of April.
During Mr. Hunt's visit at St. Louis, orders ar-
rived, among other instructions, from Mr. Astor, that
the sole command of the expedition should be vested
in him alone, although hitherto it was intrusted to
Hunt and M'Kenzie. This underhand proceeding
of Astor's gave umbrage to the other partners, and
particularly to M'Kenzie, and added new difficulties
to Mr. Hunt's situation, by throwing the whole
responsibility of the enterprize upon him alone; but
such was Astor, that no confidence could be placed
in his arrangements; his measures, like the wind,
were ever changing.
During Mr. Hunt's absence, several changes had
taken place in the wintering camp; some of the men
had deserted, others again, under various pretences
shook themselves clear of the ill-omened undertaking,
and even after Mr. Hunt's return, several more
turned their backs and walked off, without the least
compunction, and all those who so unceremoniously
and treacherously left the expedition, excepting one,
were Americans. Mr. Hunt, in his eagerness to press
forward, was perfectly worn out with anxiety.
On the 22d of April, however, the adventurers
broke up their camp, or winter quarters, and bent
their course up the strong and rapid current of the
Missouri, no less formidably in itself, than dangerous
on account of the numerous savage hordes that in-
fest its banks.
On the 14th of September the party reached the
heights of the Bocky Mountains, safe and in good
spirits, after many hairbreadth escapes, and drew
near to the Pilot Knobs, or Trois Tetons, that great
landmark, so singular and conspicuous, near which
is the romantic source of Louis Biver, or the great
south branch of the Columbia. From the Nodowa
to the Pilot Knobs occupied them one hundred and
forty-five days.
The Pilot Knobs, so cheering to our wayfaring
friends, proved but the beginning of their real
troubles: for, after various projects and plans, it
was resolved, on the 18th of October, to abandon
their hitherto serviceable and trusty horses, and they
were, therefore, turned loose, to the number of one
hundred and eighty, and the party embarking in
fifteen crazy and frail canoes, undertook to descend
the rugged and boiling channels of the head waters
of the great south branch of the Columbia. Having
proceeded about 350 miles, they were at last compelled to abandon the project of navigating these
bold and dangerous waters; but not before one of
their best steersmen was drowned, and they were
N 2 mm
convinced as to the impracticability of proceeding by
At this time, two small and separate parties, consisting in all of twelve persons, were fitted out as
trappers to hunt the beaver, and, to the astonishment
of all, Mr. Miller, in one of his headstrong fits,
turned his back on the expedition abruptly, and became a trapper also.
The canoes being now abandoned altogether,
various plans were thought of; two or three parties
were sent out as scouts, to try and fall in with
Indians, provisions being now so scarce that the
most gloomy apprehensions were entertained. These
parties, however, saw but few Indians, and those
few were destitute themselves. At this time a
starving dog that could hardly crawl along was a
feast to our people, and even the putrid and rotten
giins of animals were resorted to in order to sustain
fife. Whilst these parties were exhausting themselves to little or no purpose, another party attempted to recover the horses, which had been so
thougMessly and imprudently left behind; but they
returned unsuccessful, after a week's trial and hunger.
A fifth party was despatched ahead to explore the
riirer, and they also returned with the most gloomy
presage-—all flailed, and all fell back again on the
cheerless camp, to augment the general despondency;
the party now, as a last resource, set about depositing
and securing the goods and baggage, by putting
them in caches ; this done, the party finally separated FATAL  DISASTERS.
into four bands, each headed by a partner, and the
object of one and all was, to reach the mouth of the
Columbia by the best and shortest way. That part
of the country where they were was destitute of
game, and the provisions of the whole party taken
together were scarcely enough for two days' journey.
At that season of the year, the Indians retire to the
distant mountains, and leave the river till the return
of spring, which accounts for their absence at this
We have already stated that one man, named
Clappine, had been drowned—another of the name
of Prevost had become deranged through starvation,
and drowned himself—and a third, named Carrier,
lingered behind and perished; these fatal disasters
happened in the parties conducted by Messrs. Hunt
and Crooks. M'Kenzie and his party were more
fortunate : as soon as the division of the men and
property took place, that bold North-Wester called
his little band together,—" Now, my friends," said he,
" there is still hope before us; to linger on our way,
to return back, or to be discouraged and stand still,
is death—a death of all others the most miserable;
therefore, take courage; let us persevere and push
on ahead, and all will end well; the foremost will
find something to eat, the last may fare worse." On
hearing these cheering words, the poor fellows took
off their caps, gave three cheers, and at once shot
ahead. They kept as near the river as possible, and
got on wonderfully well, until they came into the
"n   JMM' v**AihiiiiTn" M'KENZIE  AND  HUNT S
narrow and rugged defiles of the Blue Mountains:
there they suffered much, and were at one time five
days without a mouthful to eat, when, fortunately,
they caught a beaver; and on this small animal and
its skin, scarcely a mouthful to each, the whole party
had to subsist for three days. At this time some of
them were so reduced that M'Kenzie himself had to
carry on his own back two of his men's blankets,
being a strong and robust man, and long accustomed
to the hardships and hard fare of the north. He
alone, of all the party, stood the trial well; and, by
still cheering and encouraging his men on, he brought
them at length to the main waters of the Columbia, at
Walla-Walla, a little below the great forks; from
thence they descended with the current to the long-
looked-for Astoria, where they arrived safe and
sound on the 10th of January 1812.
Mr. Hunt and the other parties still lingered
behind; and from the severe trials and privations which
M'Kenzie, who was reckoned the boldest and most
experienced adventurer in the expedition, suffered,
fears were entertained as to the safety of the other
parties, more particularly as many gloomy reports
had reached Astoria; some saying that they had been
killed by the Indians, others that they had died of
hunger in the mountains; but at last, on the 15th of
February, the joyful cry of white men approaching,
announced at Astoria the glad tidings of Mr. Hunt's
The emaciated, downcast looks and tattered gar- PARTIES ARRIVE AT ASTORIA.
ments of our friends, all bespoke their extreme sufferings during a long and severe winter. To that Being
alone who preserveth all those who put their trust
in Him, were in this instance due, and at all times,
our thanksgiving and gratitude. 184
Doings at Astoria—Three parties on foot—Their object—M'Lellan's
resolution—Hostile attack at the Long Narrows—Mr. Reed—Two
Indians shot—Heroic conduct of M'Lellan—Difficulties adjusted-
Advance of the party—Remarks—Arrival at Oakinacken—Departure again for Astoria—Scene at Umatallow—Mr. Crooks's adventures and suffering—Yeck-a-tap-am—Umatallow left—Merit
rewarded—Arrival of the party at Astoria—The ship Beaver there
As the spring advanced, various resolutions were
passed, and preparations made in furtherance of
the views of the concern for the current year. In
the prosecution of these plans, three parties were set
on foot for the interior; one, consisting of three
men, under Mr. Beed, for New York, overland;
another, under Mr. Farnham, for the goods left en
cache by Mr. Hunt on his journey; and a third, to
be conducted by Mr. Bobert Stuart, for Oakinacken,
with supplies for that post.
On the 22nd of March, all these parties, consisting
of seventeen men, left Astoria together, under the
VI i'
direction of Mr. Stuart. On the departure of the
party, Mr. M'Lellan, following the example of his
colleague, Mr. Miller, abruptly resigned, and joined
the party for New York. This gentleman possessed
many excellent qualities, but they were all obscured
and thrown into the shade by a fickle and unsteady
Everything went on smoothly till the party reached
the long narrows; that noted resort of plunderers,
where few can pass without paying a heavy tax; but
there, while in the act of making the portage, the
party being unavoidably divided, they were furiously
attacked by a strong, party of Indians, Mr. Beed,
bearer of the express for New York, was knocked
down in the scuffle, and severely wounded; and had
not M'Lellan, with a bravery and presence of mind
peculiar to himself, leaped dexterously over a canoe,
he would have been felled to the ground; but his
agility saved him, and in all probability saved the
whole party, for he instantly shot the man who
aimed the blow, then drawing a pistol from his belt,
shot him who had assailed Beed dead at his feet;
then clapping his hand to his mouth, in the true
Indian style, he gave the war-whoop, fired his rifle,
arid the Indians fled. During the critical scuffle, the
despatches were carried off by the savages, and a few
other articles of but little value. The firing and the
war-whoop summoned in a moment all the whites
together, and the Indians, being panic-struck at
M'Lellan's  heroic  conduct,  retired   rather  discon- 18P
certed, giving Mr.  Stuart and his party time to
collect their property, embark, and depart.
They had not proceeded far, however, when the
Indians assembled again in battle array, and taking
up a position some distance ahead, appeared determined to dispute the passage. But Mr. Stuart was
on the alert, and took up his station on a rock some
distance from the shore, and from the savages also;
when, after a momentary suspense, and many wild
flourishes and threats on the part of the Indians, a
parley ensued, and Mr. Stuart had tbe good fortune
to negociate a peace. Six blankets and a few trifling
articles satisfied the Indians, or at least they preferred them to the doubtful issue of a second attack.
As soon, therefore, as they had received the stipulated oblation for their dead, they retired, and our
friends pursued their journey without any further
molestation; but for some days and nights after, our
party kept a good look-out.
Mr. Stuart, although brave and prudent, erred in
attempting to pass the portage in the night; that
stealthy proceeding revealed their fears or weakness,
and was, in all probability, the cause of the whole
disaster. Mr. Beed gradually recovered, but the
despatches were lost; so that there was an end to the
expedition overland. Mr. Beed and his men therefore accompanied Mr. Stuart, as did Mr. Farnham
and the cache party; it not being considered prudent
to divide. The party now continued their route together, and arrived safe at Oakinacken on the 24th SCENE AT  UMATALLOW.
of April. Here they remained for five days, when
the party left for Astoria, in four canoes, carrying
off with them 2500 beaver skins. Mr. David Stuart
and two of our men accompanied the party down,
leaving at Oakinacken only myself, Mr. Donald
M'Gillis, and one man.
On their way down, one morning a little after
sunrise, while near the Umatallow Biver, where a
crowd of Indians were assembled together, they were
hailed loudly in English to " come on shore." The
canoes instantly closed together, and listened with
some anxiety to hear the words repeated. They had
no sooner done so than the voice again called out to
"come on shore." To shore the canoes instantly
steered; when, to the surprise of all, who should be
there, standing like two spectres, but Mr. Crooks
and John Day, who, it will be remembered, had
been left by Mr. Hunt among the Snake Indians
the preceding autumn; but so changed and emaciated were they, that our people for some time
could scarcely recognise them to be white men; and
we cannot do better here than give their story in
their own words. The following is, therefore, Mr.
Crooks's account of their adventures and their suffer
ings :•
" After being left by Mr. Hunt, we remained for
some time with the Snakes, who were very kind to
us. When they had anything to eat, we ate also;
but they soon departed, and being themselves without provisions, of course they left us without any. 188
We had to provide for ourselves the best way we
couH. As soon, therefore, as the Indians went ofi^
we collected some brushwood and coarse hay, and
made a sort of booth or wigwam to shelter us from
the cold; we then collected some firewood; but
before we got things in order, John Day grew so
weak that when he sat down he could not rise again
without help. Following the example of the Indians,
I dug up roots for our sustenance; but not knowing
how to cook them, we were nearly poisoned. In
this plight, we unfortunately let the fire go out, and
for a day and night we both lay in a torpid state,
unable to strike fire, or to collect dry fuel. We
had now been a day without food, or even water
to drink, and death appeared inevitable. But Providence is ever kind. Two straggling Indians happening to come our way, relieved us. They made
ss a fire, got us some water, and gave us something
to eat; but seeing some roots we had collected for
food lying in a corner, they gave us to understand
that they would poison us if we ate them. If we
had had a fire, those very roots would have been our
first food, for we had nothing else to eat; and who
can tell but the hand of a kind and superintending
Providence was in all this? These poor fellows
staid with us the greater part of two days, and gave
us at their departure about two pounds of venison.
We were really sorry to lose them.
" On the same day, after the Indians had left us, a
very large wolf came prowling about our hut, when
John Day, with great exertions and good luck, shot
the ferocious animal dead; and to this fortunate hit I
think we owed our lives. The flesh of the wolf we
cut up and dried, and laid it by for some future
emergency, and in the mean time feasted upon the
skin; nor did we throw away the bones, but pounded
them between stones, and with some roots made a
kind of broth, which, in our present circumstances,
we found very good. After we had recovered our
strength a little*, and were able to walk, we betook
ourselves to the mountains in search of game ; and,
when unsuccessful in the chase, we had recourse to
our dried wolf. For two months we wandered
about, barely sustaining life with our utmost exertions. All this time we kept travelling to and fro,
until we happened, by mere chance, to fall on the
Umatallow Biver; and then following it, we made
the Columbia about a mile above this place, on the
15th day of April, according to our reckoning. Our
clothes being all torn and worn out, we suffered
severely from cold; but on reaching this place, the
Indians were very kind to us. This man," pointing
to an old grey-headed Indian, called Yeck-a-tap-am,
ff in particular treated us like a father. After resting ourselves for two days with the good old man
and his people, we set of£ following the current, in
the delusive hope of being able to reach our friends
at the mouth of the Columbia, as the Indians gave us
to understand that white men had gone down there
in the winter, which we supposed must have been
Mr. Hunt and his party. ■' •
We had proceeded on our journey nine days,
without interruption, and were not far from the falls,
which the Indians made us comprehend by uttering
the word ' tumm,' which we understood to mean
noise or fall; when one morning, as we were sitting
near the river, gazing on the beautiful stream before us,
the Indians in considerable numbers collected around
us, in the usual friendly manner: after some little
time, however, one of them got up, and, under pretence of measuring the length of my rifle with his
bow,# took it in his hands; another in the same manner, and at the same moment, took John Day's rifle
from him. The moment our guns were in their
possession, the two Indians darted out of the crowd
to some distance, and assuming a menacing attitude,
pointed them at us; in the same instant, all the
others fled from us and joined the two who had
carried off our guns. All began to intimate to us by
signs, in the most uproarious and wild manner, that
some of their people had been killed by the whites,
and threatened to kill us in turn. In this critical
conjunction, John Day drew his knife, with the
intention of rushing upon the fellows to get hold of
his gun; but I pointed out to him the folly of such a
step, which must have instantly proved fatal to us,
and he desisted.
" The Indians then closed in upon us, with guns
pointed and bows drawn, on all sides, and by force
stripped us of our clothes, ammunition, knives, and
everything else, leaving us naked as the day we were CLOTHING  TAKEN  BY  THE  INDIANS.
born, and, by their movements and gestures, it appeared evident that there was a disposition on their
part to kill us; but, after a long and angry debate,
in which two or three old men seemed to befriend
us, they made signs for us to be off: seeing the
savages determined, and more of them still collecting, we slowly turned round, and went up the river
again, expecting every moment to receive a ball or
an arrow. After travelling some little distance, we
looked back and saw the savages quarrelling about
the division of the booty; but fearing pursuit, we
left the river and took to the hills. All that day we
travelled without tasting food, and at night concealed
ourselves among the rocks—without fire, food, or
clothing. Next day we drew near to the river, and
picked up some fish-bones at a deserted Indian
encampment; with these we returned to the rocks
again, and pounding them with stones, tried to eat a
little, but could not manage to swallow any: that
night also we hid ourselves among the rocks, but at
last we resolved to keep by the river, and, as it
seemed impossible to avoid death, either by the
Indians or starvation, to brave all dangers in the
attempt to reach our good old friend Yeck-a-tap-am
—and Providence still guarded us.
" Soon after we arrived at the river, we unexpectedly fell on a small Indian hut, with only two
old people and a child in it: we approached with
hesitating and doubtful steps, but on entering the
solitary   wigwam,   the   poor   inmates   were   more 192     AGAIN  BEFRIENDED  BY  YECK-A-TAP-AM.
frightened than ourselves; and, had they had timely
notice of our approach, they would have certainly
fled. The good people, however, gave us fish, broth,
and roots to eat; and this was the first food we had
tasted, and the first fire we had seen, for four days
and four nights. Our feet were severely cut and
bleeding, for want of shoes; yet we lost no time, but
set off, and arrived here three days ago, and our good
old friend, Yeck-a-tap-am, received us again with
open arms, and gave us these skins to cover our
nakedness, as ye now see.
" The good old man then killed a horse, which his
people cut up and dried for us, and with that supply
we had resolved to set out this very day and retrace
our steps back again to St. Louis overland, and when
you came in sight we were just in the act of tying up
our little bundles; regretting, most of all, that we had
no means of recompensing our good and faithful
friend Yeck-a-tap-am."
Mr. Crooks having concluded his narrative, Mr.
Stuart called the old man to him, and clothed liim
from head to foot for his friendly services. Mr.
Crooks and his fellow-sufferer then cordially shaking
hands with Yeck-a-tap-am, the party pushed off, and
continued their voyage. On arriving at the place
where Crooks had been robbed, the party put on
shore; but the Indians, having notice of their approach,
fled to the interior; so that they had no opportunity
of either recovering the guns or inquiring into the
From the long narrows the party met with no interruption, but continued their route till they reached
Astoria, on the 12th of May, where Crooks and all the
party were greeted with a hearty welcome; and what
made the meeting more joyous was the safe arrival,
three days previous, of the Company's ship Beaver
from New York, with a supply of goods, and a reinforcement of men. GENERAL  MEETING OF  THE PARTNERS.
General meeting of the partners—Resolutions passed—-Departure of
the parties for the interior—Mr. Clarke—The cascades—Wyampam,
or the Long Narrows—Situation of the party—Loss of time—Mr.
M'Kenzie—A stroll through the Indian camp—Mr. Clarke's alarms
—Command transferred—Reed's rifle recovered—A robber in irons
—The five shots—Yeck-a-tap-am rewarded—Mr. Stuart's departure
for St. Louis—Second division—Summer trip to She Whaps —
Boullard and his squaw—Mr. Stuart's arrival at Oakinacken—
Departure for She Whaps—Winter operations at Oakinacken—
Visits—Travelling scenes—A night in the snow—Jacque and his
powder-horn—Mr. Stuart's account of his journey—Arrival at
Walla Walla.
All parties being now at their posts, for the first
time a meeting of the partners was convened, at
which the following resolutions, among others, were
passed—" That Mr. David Stuart proceed to his post
at Oakinacken, explore the country northward, and
establish another post between that and ISTew Caledonia: That Mr. M'Kenzie winter on the Snake
country; recover the goods left in cache there by
Mr. Hunt; and report on the state of the country:
That Mr. Clarke winter at Spokane, as an intermediate RESOLUTIONS PASSED.
post, between Mr. Stuart on the north and Mr.
M'Kenzie on the south, in order to oppose and keep
in check the North-West Company established there:
That Mr. Robert Stuart proceed to St. Louis across
land, with despatches for Mr. Astor: That all these
several parties, for mutual safety, advance together
as far as the fdrks, or entrance of the great south
branch." It was likewise settled at this council,
" That Mr. Hunt should accompany the ship Beaver
to the Russian settlements on his coasting trip."
These preparatory steps being taken, the several
parties, numbering sixty-two persons, left Astoria for
the interior on the 29th of June.
This was the first formidable and regular party that
left Astoria, which seemed to impart to the concern
a character of permanency and success, and was conducted by Mr. Clarke, the brightest star in the Columbian constellation, as Mr. Astor expressed himself—
for to him, by mutual consent, was conceded the
important command,
On their progress, no interruption impeded the
party till they reached the cascades, where the Indians
were rather troublesome, and shot a few arrows at the
canoes as they passed; but on the party landing all
was submission; the portage was made; and the party
advanced at a rapid rate till they reached the long
narrows: that intricate and gloomy pass is constantly
infested with gambling Indians of the vilest character.
Here, as usual, the thievish subjects of Wyampam
assembled in numbers, and showed a formidable and
determined front. To one used to their gasconading
threats, there was nothing in all this to intimidate;
but to Mr. Clarke, although a man of nerve on most
occasions, the sight was overwhelming. He stood
appalled, and almost speechless. In short, he looked
npon all as irretrievably lost. To advance, to retreat,
or to stand still with safety, seemed to him equally
hopeless. Guards and patrols were stationed round
the tempting bales of goods, and days and nights
wasted in useless harangues and parleys, without
result. Mr. Clarke's lofty tent, pitched in the centre
of the arena, as a beacon on the top of a hill shining
afar, was guarded on every side by trusty Sandwich
Islanders; while the rest, forming the circumvallation,
had to protect all within. This state of things continued for several days and nights, until Mr. M'Kenzie
and Mr. David Stuart, taking a voluntary stroll for
upwards of two miles through the Indian camp, proved
by their safe return that the alarm and fears of Mr.
Clarke were utterly groundless, and urged him to
press forward, as every moment's delay only increased
the danger.
Mr. Clarke, however, viewed their situation as
desperate, and the thought of advancing as utterly
hopeless. Mr. M'Kenzie then told him that he could
wait no longer, but would proceed with his own
party alone; Mr. Stuart said the same. To this
threat Mr. Clarke replied, that if they could pass
he could pass also, but would not answer for the consequences.    Mr. M'Kenzie replied that he would M'KENZIE  RECOVERS  A STOLEN  RIFLE.     197
answer for them, and therefore took upon himself the
command, and immediately ordered the tents to be
struck and the party to advance. The party advanced
accordingly, and by adopting judicious arrangements
got through the suspicious pass without molestation
or loss.
Before we proceed further, however, we may here
mention that whilst M'Kenzie and Stuart were on
their ramble through the Indian camp, they saw in a
corner of one of the chief's lodges the rifle which
had been taken from Mr. Peed when he wa&
wounded, and they were resolved at all hazards to
recover it.
As soon, therefore, as all were safe above the
narrows, M'Kenzie took eight men, well armed,
with him, and went direct to the chief's lodge; then
stationing four of his men at the door, he, himself,
went in with the other four, and demanded the stolen
rifle; but the chief denied that he had it, or that it
was in his lodge. Mr. M'Kenzie, however, insisted
that it was there, and said he was determined to have
it; and seeing that fair means would not avail he
drew his dagger, and began to turn over and cut up
everything that came in his way, until at last the
rifle was discovered, when M'Kenzie upbraided the
chief for falsehood and dishonesty, took the rifle, and
with his party made for the door of the lodge.
The Indians were now assembling: together in
crowds; but before they had time to decide on any
step, M'Kenzie and his men were out of their reach, AN INDIAN  THIEF  IN IRONS.
carrying the rifle with them. The business was well
timed, for had they delayed some minutes longer in
the lodge, it is hard to say what the consequences
might have been. Early in the morning our party
proceeded on their journey; passed the falls, and.
encamped for the night near the spot where Mr.
Crooks and John Day had been robbed on their
forlorn adventures down the river.
The Indians, however, flocked round our party as
if nothing had happened, and among the rest the
ruffian who took John Day's rifle was recognised.
He was immediately laid hold of and secured in one
of the canoes. Mr. Crooks's rifle was alone recovered.
Some were for hanging the offender, others were for
cutting his ears off; but after keeping him a prisoner
for two days, he was set at liberty without any
further punishment; and, under all circumstances,
that was perhaps the wisest course. Before he went
off, however, Mr. M'Lellan, to show him the effect of
fire-arms in the hands of the whites, set up a piece
of board, with a white spot on it, only two inches in
diameter, and in three successive shots, at a hundred
yards distance, with his rifle he pierced the bull's eye;
then stopping up the holes of two of the shots, put a
hazel-nut in the third, and broke it with two successive shots at the same distance.
On passing the Umatallow, Yeck-a-tap-am was not
forgotten, Mr. Crooks giving him a chief's coat in
return for the kindness shown to the latter while in
distress* mr. stuart's departure for st. louis.    199
On the 29th of July, all the parties arrived safe at
Walla-Walla; here they were to separate, and here
it was that Mr. Bobert Stuart, after staying for two
days with Tummeatapam, and purchasing ten horses,
the number requisite for his journey overland, took
his departure for St. Louis. The party consisted of
Mr. Stuart, Benjamin Jones, Andre Vallar, Francis
Le Clerc, and Mr. Crooks and Mr. M'Lellan. The
two latter gentlemen relinquished all connection
with the concern, and joined the party for St. Louis.
This little, bold, and courageous party bade adieu to
their associates, and commenced their perilous undertaking on the 31st of July. In the mean time, the
main party struck off at the forks, leaving M'Kenzie
and Clarke on their way up the Snake Biver, or
south branch, to their respective destinations. We
shall, for the present, accompany Mr. David Stuart
to his wintering ground, and back again to this place,
where the parties agreed to meet in the following
June. The histories of the other parties shall be
recounted hereafter, each in its proper place.
From the forks, Mr. Stuart and his party,
ascending the north branch, continued their voyage,
and arrived at Oakinacken on the 12th of August.
Here it will be remembered that when the party
left this on the 28th of April for Astoria, I remained
at Oakinacken, having only Mr. M'Gillis and one
man, named Boullard, with me. On the 6th of May
I started with Boullard and an Indian, with sixteen
horses, on a trading excursion, and following Mr. 200
boullard and his squaw.
Stuart's route of last winter, reached the She Whaps
on Thompson's Biver, the tenth day, and there encamped at a place called by the Indians Cumcloups,
near the entrance of the north branch. From this
station I sent messages to the different tribes around,
who soon assembled, bringing with them their furs.
Here we stayed for ten days. The number of Indians
collected on the occasion could not have been less
than 2,000. Not expecting to see so many, I had
taken but a small quantity of goods with me; nevertheless, we loaded all our horses—so* anxious were
they to trade, and so fond of tobacco, that one
morning before breakfast I obtained one hundred and
ten beavers for leaf-tobacco, at the rate of five leaves
per skin; and at last, when I had but one yard of
white cotton remaining, one of the chiefs gave me
twenty prime beaver skins for it.
Having now finished our trade, we prepared to
return home; but before we could get our odds-and-
ends ready, Boullard, my trusty second, got involved
in a love affair, which had nearly involved us all in a
disagreeable scrape with the Indians. This was the
very man Mr. Stuart got from Mr. Thompson in
exchange for Cox, the Owhyhee. He was as full of
latent tricks as a serpent is of guile. Unknown to
me, the old fellow had been teasing the Indians for a
wife, and had already an old squaw at his heels, but
could not raise the wind to pay the whole purchase-
money. With an air of effrontery he asked me to
unload one of my horses to satisfy the demands of the
V departure for she whaps.
old father-in-law, and because I refused him, he
threatened to leave me and to remain with the
savages. Provoked at his conduct, I suddenly turned
round and horsewhipped the fellow, and, fortunately^
the Indians did not interfere. The castigation had a
good effect: it brought the amorous gallant to his
senses—the squaw was left behind. We started;
but were frequently impeded on our journey by
the sudden rise of the rivers. As we were often
obliged to swim our horses, our packs of beaver got
now and then wet, but without sustaining any serious
injury; and on the 12th of July we reached home,
well pleased both with our trade and the reception
we had met with from the Indians. On this trip we
had frequent opportunities of paying attention to the
aspect and topography of the country through which
we passed.
On the 25th of August, Mr. Stuart, with his men
and merchandise, left Oakinacken to winter among
the She Whaps, appointing me, as a recompense for
my successful voyage to Cumcloups, to the post of
Oakinacken. Although not hitherto formally appointed, I had virtually been in charge of it since its
first establishment. Having escorted Mr. Stuart for
seventy miles, I returned to prepare my own post for
the winter operations. After spending all the autumn
in trading excursions, according to the custom of the
country, I resolved on the 2nd of December to pay
a visit to Mr. John Clarke, at Fort Spokane, which
place we reached on the fourth day.    Spokane lies —
1 I _ I
due east from Oakinacken—distant about 150 miles.
The face of the country is rocky and barren.
I had never seen Mr. Clarke before; but certainly a more affable, generous, and kind gentleman
in his own house could not be met with.
During the three days I remained with him, I
had frequent opportunities of observing the sly and
underhand dealings of the competing parties, for the
opposition posts of the North-West Company and
Mr. Clarke were built contiguous to each other.
When the two parties happened to meet, they made
the amplest protestations of friendship and kindness,
and a stranger, unacquainted with the polities of
Indian trade, would have pronounced them sincere;
but the moment their backs were turned, they tore
each other to pieces. Each party had its manoeuvre-
ing scouts out in all directions, watching the motions
of the Indians, and laying plots and plans to entrap
or foil each other. He that got most skins, never
minding the cost or the crime, was the cleverest
fellow j and under such tutors the Indians were
apt disciples. They played their tricks also, and
turned the foibles and wiles of their teachers to their
own advantage.
Leaving Spokane Fort, we turned towards home
again. In the evening of the 13th, not far from
home, as we were ascending a very steep hill, at the
top of which is a vast plain, I and my man had to
walk, leaving our horses to shift for themselves, and
climb up as they could; and so steep and intricate A  SNOW  STORM.
were the windings that I had to throw off my coat,
which, together with my gun, I laid on one of the
pack-horses. The moment we reached the top, and
before we could gather our horses or look about us,
we were overtaken by a tremendous cold snowstorm; the sun became instantly obscured, and the
wind blew a hurricane.
e were taken by surprise. I immediately called out to the men to shift
for themselves, and let the horses do the same.
Just at this moment I accidentally came in contact
with one of the loaded horses, for such was the
darkness that we could not see three feet ahead;
but, unfortunately, it was not the horse on which
I had laid my coat and gun. I instantly cut the
tyings, threw off the load, and mounting on the
pack-saddle, rode off at full speed through the deep
snow, in the hopes of reaching a well-known place
of shelter not far off; but in the darkness and con-
fusion I missed the place, and at last got so benumbed with cold that I could ride no farther; and,
besides, my horse was almost exhausted. In this
plight I dismounted and took to walking, in order
to warm myself. But no place of shelter was to be
found. Night came on; the storm increased in
violence; my horse gave up; and I myself was so
exhausted, wandering through the deep snow, that I
could go no further. Here I halted, unable to decide what to do. My situation appeared desperate:
without my coat; without my gun; without even a
fire-steel.    In such a situation I must perish.    At
1 204
last I resolved on digging a hole in the snow; but
in trying to do so, I was several times in danger of
being suffocated with the drift and eddy. In this
dilemma I unsaddled my horse, which stood motionless as a statue in the snow. I put the saddle under
me, and the saddle-cloth, about the size of a handkerchief, round my shoulders, then squatted down
in the dismal hole, more likely to prove my grave
than a shelter. On entering the hole I said to
myself, " Keep awake and live; sleep and die." I
had not been long, however, in this dismal burrow
before the cold, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to keep my feet warm, gained so fast upon me
that I was obliged to take off my shoes, then pull
my trousers, by little and little, over my feet, till at
last I had the waistband round my toes; and all
would not do. I was now reduced to the last shift,
and tried to keep my feet warm at the risk of freezing my body. At last I had scarcely strength to
move a limb; the cold was gaining fast upon me;
and the inclination to sleep almost overcame me.
In this condition I passed the whole night; nor did
the morning promise me much relief; yet I thought
it offered me a glimpse of hope, and that hope induced me to endeavour to break out of my snowy
prison. I tried, but in vain, to put on my frozen
shoes; I tried again and again before I could sue-
ceed. I then dug my saddle out of the snow, and
after repeated efforts, reached the horse and put the
saddle on; but could not myself get into the saddle. MIRACULOUS  ESCAPE.
Ten o'clock next day came before there was any
abatement of the storm, and when it did clear up a
little I knew not where I was; still it was cheering
to see the storm abate. I tried again to get into
the saddle; and when I at last succeeded, my half-
frozen horse refused to carry me, for he could
scarcely lift a leg. I then alighted and tried to
walk; but the storm broke out again with redoubled
violence. I saw no hope of saving myself but to
kill the horse, open him, and get into his body, and
I drew my hunting-knife for the purpose; but then
it occurred to me that the body would freeze, and
that I could not, in that case, extricate myself. I
therefore abandoned the idea, laid my knife by, and
tried again to walk, and again got into the saddle.
The storm now abating a little, my horse began to
move; and I kept wandering about through the
snow till three o'clock in the afternoon, when the
storm abated altogether; and the sun coming out,
I recognised my position. I was then not two miles
from my own house, where I arrived at dusk; and
it was high time, for I could not have gone much
farther; and after all it was my poor horse that
saved me, for had I set out on foot, I should never,
in my exhausted condition, have reached the house.
How my men weathered the storm we shall presently see. Two of them got home a little before
myself, but much frost-bitten. The other two had
not made their appearance yet; but some Indians
were instantly despatched in search of them;  and 206 VISIT  TO  MR.  STUART.
one was found that night; the other not till the
next day. He was carried home almost in a dying
state, but ultimately recovered. One of the horses
was found dead; all the rest were recovered, but
the load which I had thrown off the horse which I
rode was totally destroyed by the wolves. Such a
destructive storm had not been felt in these parts
for many years previous. An Indian, with his
whole family, consisting of seven persons, perished
by it; two more were severely frost-bitten, and
more than twenty horses were lost.
On the 20th of December, just six days after my
return from Spokane, I set out with one man on a
visit to Mr. Stuart, at the She Whaps, and arrived
at Cumcloups on the last day of the year; soon
after, Mr. Stuart reached his wintering place. The
North-West, jealous of that quarter, followed hard at
his heels, and built alongside of him. So that there
was opposition there as well as at Mr. Clarke's place,
but without the trickery and manoeuvring. M. La
Bocque, the North-West clerk in charge, and Mr.
Stuart, were open and candid, and on friendly terms.
The field before them was wide enough for both
parties, and, what is more, they thought it so; consequently they followed a fair and straightforward
course of trade; with Mr. Stuart I remained five
days, and in coming home I took a near and unknown route, in order to explore a part of the
country I had not seen before; but I chose a bad
season of the year to satisfy my curiosity: we got JACQUES AND  HIS  POWDER-HORN.
bewildered in the mountains and deep snows, our
progress was exceedingly slow, tedious, and discouraging. We were at one time Hve days in
making as many miles, our horses suffered greatly,
had nothing to eat for four days and four nights,
not a blade of grass appearing above the snow,
and their feet were so frightfully cut with the crust
on the snow that they could scarcely move, so that
we were within a hair's breadth of losing every one
of them.
One evening, the fuel being damp, we were unable
to kindle a brisk fire. In this predicament, I called on
Jacques to give me a little powder, a customary thing
in such cases; but in place of handing me a little
powder, or taking a little out in his hand, wise
Jacques, uncorking his horn, began to pour it out
on the heated coal. It instantly exploded, and blew
all up before it, sending Jacques himself sprawling
six feet from where he stood, and myself nearly as
far, both for some time stunned and senseless, whil«
the fire was completely extinguished.
We, however, Teceived no injury beyond the fright,
though Jacques held the horn in his hand when it
was blown to atoms. On recovering, we were not
in the best humour, and sat down for some time in
gloomy mood; cold, however, soon admonished us
to try again; but it was midnight before we could
get a fire lighted and ourselves warmed, and we
passed a disagreeable night without sleep or food.
We hastened next morning from this unlucky en- VARIOUS  TRADING TRIPS.
campment, and getting clear of the mountains, we
descended into a low and pleasant valley, where we
found the Indians I had been in search of, and something both for ourselves and our horses to eat. At
the Indian camp we remained one day, got the
information we required about the country, procured
some furs, and then, following the course of the Sa-
milk-a-meigh Biver, got to Oakinacken at the forks;
thence we travelled almost day and night till the 24th
of January, when we reached home again. On this
journey we met with several cross purposes, and
suffered a good deal from both cold and hunger, so
that I got heartily tired of visiting. During my
absence, Mr. M'GiUis managed matters at the post
very well. Several other trading trips took place in
the course of the spring, and these, with the ordinary
routine business of the place, kept our hands full
till the hour of embarkation arrived. In the course
of the last year I had travelled in various directions
through the country, 3,355 miles.
On the 13th of May, Mr. Stuart, with his men
and furs, arrived from the She Whaps. In reference
to his post, he remarked, " I have passed a winter
nowise unpleasant, the opposition, it is true, gave me
a good deal of anxiety when it first arrived, but we
agreed very well, and made as much, perhaps more,
than if we had been enemies. I sent out parties
in all directions, north as far as Fraser's Biver, and
for two hundred miles up the south branch. The
accounts from all quarters were most satisfactory. ARRIVE AT WALLA WALLA.
The country is everywhere rich in furs, and the
natives very peaceable. The She Whaps will be one
of the best beaver posts in the country, and I have
now brought a fine stock of valuable furs with me."
After remaining at Oakinacken for ten days, to
get the furs packed and pressed, Mr. Stuart and
myself, w\jth the men and furs, set out for Walla
Walla, the place of general rendezvous settled upon
last summer, where we arrived on the 30th of May;
the other parties not having yet come in. MR.   CLARKE AND HIS PARTY
Mr. Clarke—Stragglers—Hard travelling—Cox's pilgrimage—Visit to
Spokane—Trade—Mr. Pillet—Mr. Farnham—Cootanais and Flat-
heads— M'Lennan—Plunge in the lake—Adventures—Outposts—
Catatouch chief—Curiosity—Fracas—Introduction of civilization—
Commotion—M'Kenzie—Great Snake River—Caches robbed—
Canadian wanderers—Character of the Shahaptains—Visit to Spokane—M'Tavish—Account of the war—Winter travels—M'Kenzie
at Astoria—New resolves—M'Kenzie's return to his post—Indian
chiefs—Bold enterprize—Property recovered—Chiefs and their
horses—Stratagems—Indians outwitted—Plotting—Friendly Island
—Conference—Marauding propensities—Treaty of peace—System
changed—Plentiful market—The island abandoned—Arrival at
Walla Walla—Commotions among the savages—Tummeatapam—
Arrival at Astoria.
We now come to the history of Mr. Clarke and
his party, whom we left at the forks in August
last, on his way to his winter-quarters at Spokane.
Having proceeded up the South-branch, or Louis
Biver, for about fifty miles, he reached the Catatouch band, at the mouth of the Pavilion Biver.
The Catatouches are a small and friendly tribe of
the great Nez Perce nations, and the lowest of
them on the South-branch. This spot terminated
Mr. Clarke's voyage by water. From thence his
route lay across land to the Spokane Biver, distant STRAGGLERS—HARD TRAVELLING.
about 170 miles. Leaving his canoes under the care
of the friendly Catatouch chief, he purchased horses
from the Indians for the transportation of his goods.
Mr. Clarke had four clerks with him, Messrs.
Pillet, Farnham, M'Lennan, and Cox. He had also
more men and merchandize than any of the other
parties, as it was supposed he would have most to
do in opposing a formidable opposition.
Having purchased a sufficient number of horses,
he left the Pavilion on the 10th of August, and
set out on his journey by land. He had not proceeded far, however, when he got into some little
difficulties with his people. They had started together ; but before they had been two hours on the
march, some of them lagged so far behind that the
motley cavalcade outstretched a mile in length;
while Mr. Clarke, like a general at the head of an
army, had to keep riding backwards and forwards
to keep together the broken line of stragglers, the
greater part of whom being on foot, and having to
keep up with horses, over a barren and sandy plain,
in the hot and sultry weather of a Columbia summer, had a task too severe, perhaps, even for the
best travellers.
The most refractory of the rear-guard wag Mr.
Cox—the little Irishman, as he was generally called.
Mr. Clarke riding back ordered him, in an angry
tone, to quicken his steps. " Give me a horse," said
Cox, "and I'll ride with yourself at the head." At
this reply Mr. Clarke raised his whip—some say he
put his threats in execution—and then rode off. Be
that as it may, Cox slunk off and took to the mountains; the party moved on, and Cox remained behind. The sixth day the party arrived at Spokane.
Indians were then sent out in all directions; but it
was the seventh day after the party had reached its?
destination before Cox made his appearance. The
Indians had picked him up in a most destitute and forlorn condition on the thirteenth day of his wayward
pilgrimage; his clothes all torn, his feet bare, and
his belly empty. When I was there in the winter,
Cox had hardly recovered yet. Mr. Clarke's mode
of trading might do for a bourgeois; but it was not
fit for a clerk. What was considered moderate at
Spokane would be denounced as exorbitant at Oakinacken. Mr. Clarke was extravagant; but to be
called by the Indians a generous chief was his
greatest glory.
Mr. Clarke established himself at the corner of
the opposition post;  and being formerly a North-;
Wester himself he was up to the rigs of his opponents.    The Indians were assembled, long speeches
were made, and mighty things were promised on
both sides, but never fulfilled.    As soon as Mr. i
Clarke had got himself and property under shelter,
following the North-West system, he gave a grand
ball to his men, and appointed three or four of5
the most conceited and blustering fellows in his
party to be a guard, such as the Sioux and other
savage nations employ as instruments of tyranny COOTANAIS  AND  FLATHEAD   TRIBES.
in the hands of despotic chiefs. These fellows wore
feathers in their caps, the insignia of their office.
To challenge, fight, and bully their opponents, stand
at the heels of their bourgeois, to be ready at a
wink to do whatever he commands them, is their
duty ; and they understand it well. All these preliminary steps being taken, Mr. Clarke set about
establishing outposts, to compete with his opponents
and keep them in check.
Mr. Pillet, with some men and a supply of goods,
was sent to the Cootanais to oppose Mr. Mantour
on the part of the North-West. Mr. Pillet travelled
a great deal, and turned his time to good account.
Both were zealous traders, and they could fight a
duel as well as buy a skin, for they carried pistols
as well as goods along with them. They therefore
fought and traded alternately, but always spared
the thread of life, and in the spring parted good
Mr. Farnham was fitted out for the Selish, or
Flathead tribe—crossed with them the Bocky Mountains—visited the head waters of the Missouri—saw
much of the country, and made a good trade.
Farnham was a bustling, active, and enterprising
Both the Cootanais and Selish tribes live and
range along the foot of the mountains, often crossing
them, and have frequent rencounters with the Black-
feet, by whom they have suffered greatly of late
years; the Blackfeet being too numerous for them.
ill msgm
Mr.  M'Lennan was  stationed   at   the   Pointed
Hearts, or  Sketch-hugh Lake.     In going to his
destination, he was rather unlucky, for his canoes
upset in crossing the lake, and swamped his goods;
but he swam like a fish, got the two men he had with!
him into the canoe again, then kept diving like a
seal, although the weather was cold and the water
deep, till he recovered the most of his property: hisi
exertions on this occasion astonished every one who
knew the difficulties of the task,    M'Lennan was
hardy as steel, and bold as a Hon: he made a very
good and a very cheap trade, and was altogether a
favourite among the Indians.
Spring now drawing nigh, Mr. Clarke got in all
his outposts and scouts, and left Spokane, with thirty-*
two horses loaded with furs, on the 25th of May: a
confidential man, named Pion, a newly-promoted
clerk, with three men, was left in charge of the post.
The party performed the journey across land to the
Pavilion in six days, and found the canoes, which
had been left there in charge of the Catatouch chie£
all safe.
The most trivial incidents sometimes prove instructive, and may in their consequences afford an
important lesson. As soon as Mr. Clarke arrived at
the Pavilion, and found his canoes safe, pleased at
the conduct of the chief, he made him a present
of some ammunition and tobacco; this done, they
set about packing up the different articles in order
to embark, and among others  two  silver goblets THE  SILVER GOBLET  STOLEN.
belonging to Mr. Clarke himself, who took this
opportunity of showing them to the chief, and
expatiated on their high value; then pouring a little
wine into one of them made the chief drink out of
it, telling him when done that he was a greater man
now than ever he was before. The chief was delighted, and turning the goblet over and over in his
hands, and looking at it with intense interest, handed
it over to the next great man, and he to another, and
so on till, like the pipe of peace, it had gone round
the whole circle. The precious curiosity was then
laid by, and the Indians retired,
Next morning, however, the pearl of great price
was gone ! everything in and about the camp was
turned topsy-turvy in search of the silver goblet, but
to no purpose: all business was now suspended—the
goblet must be found. At last it was conjectured
the Indians must have stolen it; and Mr. Clarke,
with fury in his countenance, assembled the whole
Catatouch camp, and made known his loss—the loss
of his silver goblet! he coaxed, he flattered, he
threatened to bring down vengeance upon the whole
tribe for the loss of his goblet, and, in his wrath and
vexation, denounced death upon the offender should
he be discovered. The poor Indians stood gazing in
amazement; they sympathized with him, pitied him,
and deplored his loss, and promised to do their
utmost to find the goblet: with this solemn declara-
tion they went off, the whole tribe was called
together, the council sat, and soon afterwards they THE  THIEF  HUNG.
returned in a body, like messengers of peace, bringing the glad tidings to Mr. Clarke that the silver
goblet was found; at the same time the chief, stepping forward and spreading out his robe, laid the
precious vessel before him. " Where is the thief?'5
vociferated Mr. Clarke. The chief then pointed to
a fellow sitting in the ring as the criminal. " I
swore," said Mr. Clarke, " that the thief should die,
and white men never break their word." The fellow
was told of his fete; but he kept smiliug, thinking
himself^ according to Indian custom, perfectly safe;
for the moment the stolen article is returned to the
rightful owner, according to the maxims of Indian
law, the culprit is exonerated. Mr„ Clarke, however,
thought otherwise, and, like Herod of old, for the
sake of his oath considered himself bound to put his
threat into execution, and therefore instantly com-
manded the poor, unsuspecting wretch to be hung up
—and hung he was accordingly: and the unhallowed
deed was aggravated by the circumstance of their
taking the poles of his own lodge to make the
The Indians all the time could not believe that the
whites were in earnest, till they beheld the lifeless
body. The deed was, however, no sooner committed
than Mr. Clarke grew alarmed. The chief, throwing
down his robe on the ground, a sign of displeasure,
harangued his people, who immediately after mounted
their fleetest horses, and scampered off in all directions to circulate the news and assemble the sur- MR.   M'KENZIE AND  PARTY.
rounding tribes, to take vengeance on the whites.
In the mean time, leaving the enraged Indians to
follow their inclination, the canoes were thrown into
the water, loaded, and down the current Mr. Clarke
and bis men pushed their way day and night till they
reached the Walla Walla, where they arrived safe on
the 4th of June; and here we shall leave them for
the present, while we detail M'Kenzie's winter
adventures. Fortunately for the whites, the defunct
Indian was a person of very low degree, even in the
estimation of the Indians themselves, being an outcast without friends or relatives, which made them
less bent on revenge, but not the less disposed to
annoy, as we shall have occasion to notice hereafter.
Mr, M'Kenzie and party before mentioned accompanied Mr. Clarke up the South-branch as far as the
Pavilion: here Clarke and his party forked off for
Spokane in August, leaving M'Kenzie to prosecute
his voyage up the same river till he reached the very
centre of the Great Shahaptain, or Nez Perce nation,
where he established himself for the winter. By
way of clearing up some points not very intelligible
to many, we may here mention that the Great Snake
Biver, Louis Biver, South-branch, Shahaptain Biver,
and Nez Perc6 Biver, are all one and the same
stream, with different denominations.
As soon as M'Kenzie had got his goods safe under
cover, he sent off Mr. Beed, at the head of a small
party, to bring the caches of goods left by Mr. Hunt
to his own post.    On his way, he picked up seven of 218
the Canadians belonging to the trapping parties
fitted out by Mr. Hunt on his land expedition:
these were, Dubreuil, Carson, the gunsmith, De-
launay, St. Michel, Turcotte, Landrie, and La
Chapelle, the blacksmith. Some of these fellows,
despairing of ever reaching the Columbia, and no
doubt thinking the caches would be lost, went, accompanied by a band of the Snakes, and rifled several of
them; and what they did not take was destroyed by
the rains, the wolves, and other animals: some, however, had not been touched, and these Mr. Beed and
his party carried off with them to M'Kenzie's post,
which place they reached at the end of thirty-five
On questioning the wanderers, the true story of the
cache robbery came out; for M'Kenzie learned from
Turcotte and La Chapelle, that, having lost their
horses by a marauding party of Blackfeet, and being
otherwise destitute, they, in company with Landrie,
meditated a descent upon the caches in order to
supply their wants, and took the Snakes along with
them as a safeguard; with their share of the spoil
they purchased more horses, then following the
Snakes to the Buffalo, they were again surprised by
the Blackfeet, lost their horses and everything else,
and were left as poor, if not poorer, than before.
Filled with remorse, they promised to five honest
men the rest of their lives.
M'Kenzie now began to learn the true character
of the Indians about him.    Their occupations were CHARACTER OF THE SHAHAPTAINS.
war and buffalo-hunting. Their country did not
abound in furs, nor would men accustomed to an
indolent and roving life submit to the drudgery of
killing beavers. They spurned the idea of crawling
about in search of furs; " Such a fife," they said,
" was only fit for women and slaves." They were,
moreover, insolent and independent. I say independent, because their horses procured them guns
and ammunition; the buffaloes provided them with
food and clothing; and war gave them renown.
Such men held out but poor prospects to the fur-
trader ; so that M'Kenzie soon got sick of them, and
weary of the place. He then equipped the seven
Snake wanderers, and sent them out to trap beaver;
but they had to go to the mountains, and on their
way thither the Indians annoyed them, stole their
traps, and frightened them back again to the post.
M'Kenzie then resolved to abandon that post, and
proceed further up the river; but before taking this
step, he went over to Spokane to visit Mr. Clarke;
and while there, Mr. John George M'Tavish, a
partner of the North-West Company, arrived with
a strong reinforcement of men and goods from the
east side of the mountains, bringing an account of
the war between Great Britain and the United
States. On receiving this unwelcome news, M'Kenzie hastened back to his post; but instead of removing further up, as he had contemplated, he put
his goods in cache, and set off with all his men for
Astoria, where he arrived on the 15th of January
m I
M'Kenzie was dismayed on reaching Astoria to
find that the Beaver had not returned. M'Dougall
and M'Kenzie, weighing circumstances, concluded
that all was hopeless. The North-West Company
now strong in numbers and well supplied with
goods; the Tonquin lost, and the Beaver not returned, nor any account of her; add to these
untoward circumstances, the declaration of war. In
this gloomy state of things, M'Kenzie and M'Dougall were of opinion that prompt measures should be
adopted for abandoning the undertaking altogether,
and that ways and means should be concerted
to remove the furs and goods at Astoria into the
interior, to be out of the way in case of British
ships of war entering the river.
On the 2nd of February, M'Kenzie turned his
face towards the interior; and in two canoes, with
eighteen men, pushed on to his post, having letters
from M'Dougall pointing out the actual state of
things, and informing Messrs. Clarke and Stuart of
the resolution entered into between himself and
M'Kenzie for abandoning the enterprize early in
the spring. Messrs. Stuart and Clarke, however,
viewed things in a different light, and condemned
the proposed step as premature.
On his way up, Mr. M'Kenzie met two North-
West canoes sweeping down the current. In these
were M'Tavish, two clerks, and twenty men, on
their way to the mouth of the Columbia, to meet
the far-famed ship Isaac   Todd, destined for that m'kenzie's bold enterprize.
part. On the twenty-second day after leaving Astoria, Mr. M'Kenzie arrived at his post on the Shahaptain Biver; but was mortified to find his cache
The Indians indicated their guilt by their shyness,
for scarcely one of them came to visit the trader.
M'Kenzie therefore summoned the chiefs, and they
appeared, expecting no doubt to receive something.
When they were all seated, he opened the business
of the cache, and demanded the goods; adding, that
if they were given up, friendship would again be
restored. But they all, with one accord, denied
having any knowledge of, or hand in, the pillage or
robbery. They admitted the fact of the robbery,
but denied that they were in any way accessory to
it.. They regretted the misconduct of their young
men; but the goods were now gone, and they could
do nothing; and so the conference ended. Seeing
that the chiefs would not assist to recover the stolen
property, and that every hour's delay lessened the
chance of regaining it, M'Kenzie at once resolved
on a bold and hazardous step; namely, to dash into
the heart of the Indian camp, and recover what he
could. Accordingly next morning, after depositing
in a safe place the few articles he had brought with
him, he and his little band, armed cap-a-pie, set out
on foot for the camp. On their approach, the Indians, suspecting something, turned out in groups
here and there, also armed. But M'Kenzie, without
a moment's hesitation, or giving them time to reflect, 222
ordered Mr. Seaton, who commanded the men, to
surround the first wigwam or lodge reached with;
charged bayonets, while he himself and Mr. Beed'
entered the lodge, ransacked it, turning everything
topsy-turvy, and with their drawn daggers cutting
and ripping open everything that might be supposed
to conceal the stolen property.    In this manner they
went from one lodge to another till they had searched-
five or six with various success, when the chiefs demanded a parley, and gave M'Kenzie to understand
that if he desisted they would do the business themselves, and more effectually*    M'Kenzie, after some
feigned reluctance, at last agreed to the chiefs' proposition.    They then asked him to withdraw;  but
this he peremptorily refused, knowing from experience that they were least exposed in the camp; for
Indians are always averse to hostilities taking place
in their camp, in the midst of .their women and children.    Had the Indians foreseen or been aware of
the intention of the whites, they would never have
allowed them within their camp.     But they were
taken by surprise, and that circumstance saved the*
whites.    However, as soon as the chiefs undertook
the business, M'Kenzie and his men stood still and
looked on.    The chiefs went from house to house,
and  after about  three  hours  time  they returned,
bringing with them a large portion of the property,
and delivered it to M'Kenzie, when he and his men
left the camp and returned home, bearing off in
triumph the fruits of their valour; and well pleased THE  CHIEFS  AND  THEIR  HORSES.
with their hairbreadth adventure; an adventure not
to be repeated. And under all circumstances, it was
at the time considered the boldest step ever taken by
the whites on Columbian ground.
This dispute with the Indians led to others; and
if the whites got the upper hand in the late affair, the
Indians were determined to be even with them in
another way—for not a single horse would they sell,
and on horse-flesh M'Kenzie  and his men had to
depend.     On   this  head various   conferences  took
place between the parties, and higher prices than
usual were tendered; but the chiefs were inexorable.
They had resolved either to drive the whites off their
country altogether, or make them pay the most extravagant prices.    The object of the whites in delaying their departure was to procure  horses, which
would be absolutely required in the event of Messrs.
Stuart and Clarke acceding to the views of M'Dougall
and M'Kenzie; but the Indians, free and independent
as the air they breathed or the wind that blew, could
not brook the restraint which the whites were always
affecting to exercise over them.    After some little
time, all intercourse between the parties was at an
end; not an Indian was to be seen about M'Kenzie'&
camp, except by stealth in the night, to beg, curry
favour, Or carry reports, yet Hve of these secret spies
were always kept in pay by M'Kenzie to watch the
motions of the Indians, and through them he knew
every move in the hostile camp.
At this time one of the spies reported that the
.     ■        . ■.■ -.■■ INDIANS OUTWITTED.
Indians had plotted together to starve M'Kenzie into
terms, or drive him off altogether. M'Kenzie, on his
part, had recourse to a stratagem to bring them to
terms. Both were on the alert. When the whitest
had nothing to eat, the articles usually paid for a
horse were tied up in a bundle; that done, M'Kenzie,
with ten or twelve of his men, would sally forth with!
their rifles to the grazing grounds of the horses, shoot
the fattest they could find, and carry off the flesh to
their camp ; leaving the price stuck upon a pole alongside the head of the dead horse.
This manoeuvre succeeded several times, and
annoyed the Indians very much; some of them lost
their best horses by it; Then it was that they combined to attack the whites in their camp. This news
was brought M'Kenzie by one of his hired spies, and
was confirmed by the fact of an Indian offering to seHj
a horse for powder and ball only. From various
other suspicious circumstances, there remained but;
little doubt on the minds of the whites but that there
was some dark design in agitation. In this critical
conjuncture, M'Kenzie again eluded their grasp by
ensconcing himself and his party in an island in the
middle of the river. There they remained, in a man~
ner blockaded by the Indians; but not so closely
watched but that they appeared every now and then
with their long rifles among the Shahaptain horses ■
so that the Indians grew tired of their predatory
excursions, and therefore sent a messenger to
M'Kenzie.   A parley ensued between the main land COMMOTION AMONG THE  SAVAGES.
and the island; the result of which was, that the
Indians agreed to sell horses to the whites at the
usual price—the whites, on their part, to give up
their marauding practices.
Notwithstanding this formal treaty, the whites did
not put implicit faith in their Indian allies, nor deem
it prudent to leave the island; but the trade in horses
went on briskly, and without interruption, M'Kenzie
getting all his wants supplied. He bought, besides,
an extra reserve of eighty horses for contingencies,
which he sent off to Spokane; and on the return of
his men he left the island, apparently on good terms
with the Indians, and reached the Walla Walla, to
join his associates, on the 1st of June.
When we reached the Walla Walla on the 30th of
May, as already mentioned, we were at a loss to
account for the unusual movement and stir among the
Indians, who seemed to be assembling from all quarters in great haste. The mystery was, however, soon
cleared up when Mr. Clarke joined us, and related the
affair of the silver goblet at the Catatouch  camp.
What did Stuart and M'Kenzie say ? What could
any man say ? The reckless deed had been committed,
and Clarke's countenance fell when the general voice
of disapprobation was raised against him. The Indians
all along kept flying to and fro, whooping and yelling
in wild commotion. At this time, Tummeatapam
came riding up to our camp at full speed. " What
have you done, my friends?" called out the old and
agitated chief.    " You have spilt blood on our lands!"
Then pointing to a cloud of dust raised by the Indians,
who were coming down upon us in wild confusion
' There, my friends, do you see them ? What can
I do ?" The chief did not dismount, but wheeling
round his horse again, off he went like a shot, leaving
us to draw a salutary inference from the words
" What can I do ?"—meaning, no doubt, that we had
better be off immediately. Taking the hint, we lost
no time. Tents were struck; some had breakfasted,
some not—kettles and dishes were all huddled toge-
ther and bundled into the canoe, and, embarking
pell-mell, we pushed with all haste from the inauspicious shore. We pushed our way down the current,
passing the falls, the narrows, and the cascades, without the least interruption, and arrived safe at Astoria
on the 14th day of June. And here we shall leave
the party to recount to each other their various
exploits, while we take up the thread of Mr. Stuart's
adventures from Columbia to St. Louis. MR.   STUART  AND  PARTY.
Mr. Stuart—Snake River—Trappers—Joyous meeting—Trappers'
resolution—Crow Indians' troubles—Horses change masters—Mr.
Stuart on foot—M'Lellan left alone—Hardships of the party—
Famine—Le Clerc's horrid proposition—The old bull—The old
horse — Pilot-knobs — Winter quarters — Unwelcome visitors —
Change of quarters—Spring—Travelling at random—An Otto-
Indian—River Platte—Two traders—News of the war—The Missouri—The old horse given for an old canoe—St. Louis—Mr.
Astor—Wallamitte—Falls—Scenery—Habits of the Col-lap-poh-
yea-ass tribes — Concourse of savages — M'Dougall's letter —
M'Kenzie's stratagem—Indian disappointment—The ship Beaver
—Coasting voyage—Mr. Astor's policy—Captains—Their instructions—Mr. Hunt baulked in his plans—The Boston merchants—
Mr. Astor's conduct—Difficulties of Mr. Hunt's situation—The
ship Albatross—All the parties at head-quarters.
When we left Mr. Stuart on the 31st of July last, he
had then just mounted his horse on his journey across
land for St. Louis; we now propose keeping him
company, and will make such remarks during his
perilous route as barren, wild, and savage hordes
may from time to time suggest.
From-WaUa Walla the party journeyed onwards,
first over the open plains, and next across the Blue
Q 2 '228
Mountains, till at length they fell on the Great Snake
Biver, along which they occasionally continued their
route for many days without any interesting occur-
rence till the 20th of August, when they, by mere
^j *j *       ,
chance, stumbled on Mr. Miller, and three of the
beaver-trappers, Hoback, Besner, and Bobinson,
fitted out by ^Ir. Hunt.
It will be remembered that Mr. Miller abruptly
left Mr, Hunt and party to join one of the trapping
parties. The joy manifested by both parties at
meeting was, as might be expected, the most cordial
and lively. They swore that they had met to part
no more till they parted in that land which had given
them birth. So Mr. ]\Iiller and his prodigal children
joined Mr. Stuart with the determination to follow
him to St. Louis. These wanderers had been twice
robbed by the Indians, had exhausted their strength^
*/ o       *
wasted their means, and saved nothing; and seemed
on the present occasion quite overjoyed and happy at
the prospect of once more returning to their native
homes. Xet what will the reader think when he is
told that only eight days after all these fine resolu-
tions, they again expressed a wish to remain where
they were, and try their fortune once more in the*
wilderness ! Strange infatuation! Change of climate
seldom makes a change of character. Mr. Stuart rea-
soned with them, but in vain: and at last, seeing them
resolved, he supplied them with a new and full equipment of everything they wanted. So the .parties
separated; Mr. Miller following Mr. Stuart and his km
party, while the7other three trappers bade then
well, and stayed behind.
On the 7th of September they left the Great S
Biver,  and  entered the  defiles  of the mounti
Here they met some saucily-disposed Crow India
but they got clear of them without harm, and |
Stuart continued his toilsome journey, winding his
way among the rugged and rapid streams near the
source of the Great Snake Biver to which they drew
near again, in the hopes of avoiding the Crows; but
it mattered little what course they steered, or what
-direction they took, the Crows were everywhere at
their heels; and in front provisions were also scarce,
and the party were now much reduced by hunger
and fatigue.
On the 19th, early in the morning, the Crows, like
a Scythian horde, dashed on their little camp, giving
the Indian war-whoop, and swept all their horses off
in a moment. This misfortune left them in an awful
plight. They stood motionless and hopeless. They
had now to turn over a new leaf, and from mounted
cavalry, to become foot soldiers. They now set about
making up each man's load, and what they could not
carry they destroyed on the spot rather than let any
of it fall into the hands of their implacable enemies,
for their every movement was now watched with an
eagle's eye by the Indians on the heights. To avoid,
-therefore, the hostile C^owjf, they had to shun the
l)uffalo, and run the risk of starving or of going right
into the jaws of the Blackfeet; but there was no PERVERSITY OF  M'LELLAN.
'native, and to lessen the evil as much as possible
" bent their course northward, through a country,
VIr. Stuart's own words, "more fit for goats than
n;"  and so closely were they watched by the
•savages, that they could not venture to separate for
the purpose of hunting.    They had likewise to keep
watch by night, and were every moment in danger
of being surrounded or waylaid in the narrow and
intricate defiles through which they had to pass.
Yet these trying circumstances, when danger
stared them in the face, failed to unite them together
in heart and hand. Mr. M'Lellan, with a fool-hardiness and wayward disposition peculiar to himself, left
the party in a pet, nor was it till the tenth day afterwards that he was picked up, lying in his cheerless
and forlorn encampment, without fire or food, and
reduced through hunger, fatigue, and cold to a mere
skeleton. Always perverse and stubborn, he had
now become peevish and sullen, yet in this torpid and
reduced state he revived on seeing his friends, .became
cheerful^ and joyfully joined the party again; but
being unable to carry anything, or even to walk, the
party halted for two days that he might recruit a
little, and then his rifle, pistols, and other things
being carried by the others, the party set forward on
their journey. They wandered about for five days
and nights without a mouthful to eat, and were now
reduced to the last extremity; nor had they strength
to make use of their rifles, although now and then
some deer were seen. HARDSHIPS of the party.
On the 15th of October, the sixth day of their
fasting, just as the party had halted for the night, Le
Clerc, one of the Canadians, proposed to cast lots,
saying, "It is better one should die than that all
should perish." Mr. Stuart reproved him severely;
and as the fellow stood haggard and wild before him,
with his rifle in his hand, he ordered the others to
wrest it from his grasp. A watch was kept all night,
nor did Mr. Stuart himself close an eye. During
this scene, M'Lellan, scarcely able to move, kept
eyeing Le Clerc all the time, and looking round for
his rifle; but Mr. Stuart had put it out of the way.
Next day, however, Providence directed their forlorn
steps to an old and solitary buffalo-bull, which they
managed to kill, and this fortunate rencontre saved
their lives.
On the 18th, the wanderers fell in with a straggling
camp of Snakes, from whom they purchased a sorry
old horse, the only one the ruffian Crows had left
with them. This horse appeared in their eyes a
prize of no small vahi£. With him they set out, not
a little cheered and comforted by the two lucky
acquisitions—the old bull and the old horse. Our
party were then wandering between the lofty Pilot-
knobs and the head-waters of the Missouri; but far
from the latter. They now kept veering more to the
east, and advancing irregularly, as the valleys and
ravines opened a road for them to pass, till the snow
and cold weather precluded all hopes of getting much
farther for this season, so that they began to look -.1 .JJHw
out for a place of security, and rest from their
On the 2nd of November they pitched their camp
:for winter; built a log-hut, and the buffalo being
plenty, and the party tolerably recovered in strength,
they soon laid in an ample stock of provisions; but
in the wilderness all plans are precarious, hopes
delusive. Our friends had not been long in their
comfortable quarters before they were pestered with
unwelcome visitors, for a war party of Arapahays
discovered their retreat, and annoyed them so much
that they thought it best to look out for some other
quarters, more secluded and secure.
On the 13th of December they abandoned their
dwelling with infinite regret, and setting out through
deep snows, over a rugged and inhospitable country,
they travelled for fifteen days, when a bleak and
boundless plain presented itself before them. Here
they held a consultation. The plain before them,
•destitute both of animals and firewood, appeared like
an ocean of despair. The more they reflected, the
more awful did their situation appear. At last they
retraced their wearied steps for about eighty miles,
and took up a second position.
On the 30th of December they again pitched their
winter camp, built a house, laid in a stock of food,
>and found themselves once more in comfortable
^quarters. In this last retreat the Indians did not
ifind them out, and there they awaited the return
of spring. RIVER  PLATTE.
On the 20th of March they broke up their winterr
quarters, and in two canoes, made during the winter,
they essayed to push their way down a broad but
shoal river. In this, however, they failed, and leaving their canoes they took to land again with their
old but faithful Snake-horse. All this time they
were wandering in hopes of reaching some known
branch of the Missouri: for they had lost their way,
and did not know where they were for the last three
On the 1st of April the party fell in with an
Indian of the Otto tribe. This stranger gave them
to understand that they were then treading on the
banks of the Biver Platte, and not far from white
men. The same Indian then conducted them to
Messrs. Dornin and Boi, two Indian traders, established in that quarter. From these gentlemen
Mr. Stuart got the first news of the war between
Great Britain and the States; and they also undertook to furnish him with a canoe for the voyage
down the Missouri, in exchange for the old and
faithful Snake-horse.
On the 16th they all embarked, and after descending about fifty miles on the Biver Platte they found
themselves on the broad and majestic Missouri, down
which with buoyant spirits they now pushed their
way, without accident or interruption, till they
reached St. Louis on the 30th of April. Mr. Stuart
lost no time in acquainting Mr. Astor with his safe
arrival at that place with despatches from Columbia,
km 234
and that the success and prospect of affairs there
were such as to warrant the most flattering results.
The information conveyed by Mr. Stuart was
hailed by Mr. Astor as a sure presage of future
prosperity: and, in his exultation, he said, " That
will do; I have hit the nail on the head." Mr.
Stuart's journey with so small a party, across a
region so distant, wild, and hostile, was fraught
with many perils and privations. During the period
of ten long months, he was never free'from danger
and anxiety. The eventual success of that expedition, so often reduced to extremities, reflects great
credit on him who conducted it. Leaving now Mr.
Stuart to enjoy himself among his friends at St.
Louis, we shall go back to Columbia again to see
what has been doing in the Wallamitte quarter.
The Wallamitte quarter has always been considered by the whites as the garden of the Columbia,
particularly in an agricultural point of view, and certain animals of the chace; but in the article of beaver,
the great staple commodity of the Indian trader, several other places, such as the Cowlitz, Blue Mountains,
and She Whaps, equal, if not surpass it. In the spring
of 1812, Mr. M'Kenzie had penetrated some hundred miles up the Wallamitte Biver, but more with
the view of exploring the southern quarter, seeing
the Indians, and studying the topography of the
country, than for the purpose of procuring beaver.
This year another party, fitted out by M'Dougall
on a beaver-trading excursion,   spent some months SCENERY,  AND  FALLS.
in that quarter, among the Col-lap-poh-yea-ass.
These parties penetrated nearly to the source of the
Wallamitte, a distance of live hundred miles. It
enters the Columbia by two channels, not far distant from each other; the most westerly is the main
branch, and is distant from Cape Disappointment
from eighty to ninety miles, following the course of
the river. The Wallamitte lies in the direction of
south and north, and runs parallel with the sea-
coast; that is, its source lies south and its course
north. In ascending the river the surrounding
country is most delightful, and the first barrier to be
met with is about forty miles up from its mouth.
Here the navigation is interrupted by a ledge of
rocks running across the river from side to side, in
the form of an irregular horse-shoe, over which the
whole body of water falls at one leap down a precipice of about forty feet, called the Falls. To this
place, and no farther, the salmon ascend, and during
the summer months they are caught in great quantities. At this place, therefore, all the Indians
throughout the surrounding country assemble, gamble, and gormandize for months together. From the
mouth of the Wallamitte up to the falls it is navigable for boats only, and from the falls to its
source for canoes, and it is sufficiently deep for the
ordinary purposes of the Indian trader. The banks
of the river throughout are low, and skirted in the
distance by a chain of moderately high lands on each
side, interspersed here  and there with  clumps   of i-jimmi
wide-spreading oaks, groves of pine, and a variety
of other kinds of wood. Between these high lands,
lie what is called the Valley of the Wallamitte, the
frequented haunts of innumerable herds of elk and
The natives are very numerous and well disposed;
yet they are an indolent and sluggish race, and live
exceedingly poor in a very rich country. When
our people were travelling there, the moment the
report of a gun was heard forth came the natives;
men, women, and children would follow the sound
like a swarm of bees, and feast and gormandize on
the offal of the game, like so many vultures round a
dead carcass; yet every Indian has his quiver full
of arrows, and few natives are more expert with the
bow. The names of the different tribes, beginning
at the mouth of the river and taking them in sue-
cession as we ascend, may be ranged in the following-
order :—Wa-come-app, Naw-moo-it, Chilly-Chan-
dize, Shook-any, Coupe, She-hees, Long-tongue-bufi^
La-malle, and Pee-you tribes; but as a great nation
they are known under the general name of Col-lap-
poh-yea-ass, and are governed by four principal
chiefs. The most eminent and powerful goes by the
name of Key-ass-no. The productiveness of their
country is, probably, the chief cause of their extreme
apathy and indolence; for it requires so little exertion to provide for their wants, that even that little
is not attended to; they are honest and harmless, yet
there is a singular mixture of simplicity and cunning CONCOUItSE  OF  SAVAGES.
about them. The river, towards its head-waters,
branches out into numerous little streams, which rise
in the mountains. There is also another fine river
near the source of the Wallamitte; but lying rather
in the direction of east and west, called the Imp-qua;
this river empties itself into the ocean. The finest
hunting-ground' on the Wallamitte is towards the
Imp-qua. There beaver is abundant, and the party
that went there to trade this year made handsome
returns: but the Indians throughout are so noto-
riously lazy that they can hardly be prevailed upon
to hunt or do anything else that requires exertion.
Yet, with all their apathy and inertness, we find
that they can be roused into action; for while
M'Kenzie was visiting their country, a slight quarrel
took place between some of them and a white man,
named Jervais, at the Wa-come-app village. Jer-
vais had beaten one of the Indians, which gave great
offence to the tribe; and they had been muttering
threats in consequence. M'Dougall, hearing of the
circumstance, sent off a letter to apprize M'Kenzie,
that he might keep a good look-out on his way back,
as the Indians intended to intercept or waylay him.-
M'Kenzie arrived at the hostile camp, situate at the
mouth of the Wallamitte, crossed to the opposite or
north side of the Columbia, and then went on shore,
without in the least suspecting what was going on,
although he had remarked once or twice to his
people, the unusual multitude of Indians collected
together, and their bold and daring appearance; and son
also that Key-ass-no, the chief, had not come to see
them. On his way up, M'Kenzie had left his boat
at the falls till his return, and now took it down
with him. While he was revolving in his mind
those suspicious appearances, one of a neighbouring
tribe slipped into his hand, privately, M'Dougall's
letter. The moment he read the letter he was convinced of his critical situation, and whispered to his
men to be ready to embark at a moment's warning.
But, behold, the tide had left his boat high and dry
on the beach. What was now to be done ? Always
fertile, however, in expedients, he feigned the greatest
confidence in the Indians, and at the same time
adopted a stratagem to deceive them. He told them
he had some thoughts of building among them, and
would now look out for a suitable site; for which
reason, he said, he would stay with them for the
night, and requested them to prepare a good encampment for him, which they immediately set
about doing. This threw the Indians off their
guard, as they could then accomplish their purpose
more effectually, and with less risk. This manoeuvre had the desired effect. Some of the Indians
were busied in clearing the encampment; others he
amused in looking out for a place to build, till the
following tide set his boat afloat again; then taking
advantage of it, he and his men instantly embarked
and pushed before the current, leaving the Indians
in painful disappointment, gazing at one another.
Next morning they arrived safe ,among their friends
at Astoria. THE  SHIP  BEAVER.
Before we close the account of this year's campaign, we must take up the subject of the ship
Beaver, Capt. Sowle, from New York, with the
annual supplies, who arrived at Astoria, as we have
before noticed, on the 9th of May, after a voyage of
212 days. The Beaver remained at the infant establishment of Astoria till the 4th of August. On the
6th, she crossed the bar with some difficulty, having
grounded twice, which so frightened old Sowle, the
captain, that he was heard to say " I '11 never cross
you again." Having cleared the bar, she left the
Columbia on a three months' cruise along the coast,
towards the Bussian settlements at Kamtschatka,
intending to be back again about the latter end of
October, and as had been settled upon in the council
of partners. Mr. Hunt was on board. It may, however, be easily inferred that this was a part of Astor's
general plan, that the man at the head of affairs
should accompany the ship on her coasting trip. It
was so with the Tonquin, as well as with the Beaver;
and this again goes far too prove how little Astor
cared about the Columbia, or those carrying on the
business there, when the man at the head of the
establishment was liable to be removed from his
important charge, and sent as a peddling supercargo
on board the ship, merely for the purpose of receiving a few seal-skins from old Count Baranhofi^ at
Kamtschatka. This, as I have already said, was
done by Astor's orders; for he, in his arm-chair at
New York, regulated all the springs of action at 240
Astoria, just as if he had been on the spot. Work
well, work ill, his commands remained like the laws-
of the Medes and Persians: there was no discretionary power left to alter them.
The *ship, therefore, with Mr. Hunt on board,*
reached her destination without any accident or
delay; visited New Archangel, Sitka, and St. Paul's,
taking in at these places a valuable cargo of furs,:
chiefly seal-skins; but was detained in these boisterous seas much longer than had been calculated
upon, for she had not left the most northern of these
parts, which is St. Paul's, before the beginning of
And here we have another instance of that fatal
policy pursued by Astor in giving to his captains-
powers which made them independent of the consignees.    This  was the  case with Captain Thorny
who left what he pleased, and carried off what he
pleased; and when M'Dougall and the other parties;
remonstrated with him for leaving the infant colony
so bare, he put his hand in his pocket and produced
his instructions from Astor, which at once shut their
mouths.   The same game was now played by Captain
Sowle.    Mr. Hunt could not prevail upon him, on
his way back from the Bussian settlements, to touch
at Columbia;  and when Mr.  Hunt threatened to-
remove him and give the command to another, he
then, as Captain Thorn had done before him, produced his private instructions from Mr. Astor, justi-^
lying his proceedings; for after Mr. Hunt's arrival fe^T3
at Columbia, he often repeated, in the anguish of his
-soul, that " the underhand policy of Astor and the
conduct of his captains had ruined the undertaking."
In this perplexing situation, Mr. Hunt had to submit, and Captain Sowle, spreading his canvass,
steered for the Sandwich Islands direct, carrying
Mr. Hunt, like a prisoner, along with him. From
the Sandwich Islands, the Beaver sailed for Canton,
in the first week of January 1813; a serious loss to
Astor, and the ruin of Astoria.
It was a part of Mr. Astor's general plan to supply
the Bussian factories along the coast with goods;
and it would appear, from the conduct of his captains, that to this branch of the undertaking he
devoted his chief attention; reserving for them the
choicest part of all his cargoes, and for Columbia the
mere refuse. This alone gave great umbrage to the
partners at Astoria; it soured their dispositions to
see many articles which they stood in need of pass by
their door.
While at Woahoo, Mr. Hunt heard some faint
rumours of the war, but nothing certain. The Boston merchants had, at a great expense, fitted out, it
was said, a despatch ship for the Pacific, in order to
apprise the coasting vessels there of the declaration
of war. But Mr. Hunt could gain no certain information on that head; because Astor had not contributed his mite towards the expense of fitting out the
vessel, they were determined not to let the least hint
of it reach Hunt, who was therefore left in the dark.
I I L—i
Can anything point out in a clearer light Astor's
indifference about the fate of his little devoted colony at Columbia, than his not joining the Boston
merchants, or taking any steps whatever to apprise
the Astorians of the war ?
In the mean time, Mr. Hunt waited at the Sandwich Islands, in the hope that another annual ship
from New York might cast up for the relief of
Astoria; but waited in vain. At last, by the ar-
rival of the ship Albatross, Captain Smith, from Canton, he was no longer in doubt as to the declaration
of war; and this increased his anxiety to get back
to Astoria. Chartering, therefore, the ship Albatross, he sailed in her, after a ruinous delay, and
arrived safe at Astoria on the 20th of August. And
this brings the parties once more to Astoria, and
closes the transactions of the year. SECOND MEETING  OF  THE  PARTNERS.
Meeting of the partners—Warm discussion—M'Kenzie—Eloquence
of the times—Reasons for dissolving the company—Dissenting
partners converted—Final resolve—The deputy's powers—Departure of the brigade—A canoe lost—A man's leg in jeopardy—
Rumours at the narrows—Snake party—Rumours renewed—
Tummeatapam's counsel—Hostile appearance at the forks—Number
of Indians—Nez Perces' fleet—Fears of the whites—Indian visit-
Strong guard—Mr. Clarke—Relic of the silver goblet—Mr. Hunt
at Astoria—Face of affairs changed—Mr. Hunt departs from Astoria—North-West squadron—A great Eri duped—Bill of sale—
Petty manoeuvring—Rumours of ships—The Astorians at their post
—Bills signed—Astoria delivered up—North-West Company.
Astoria now became the scene of business and
bustle. A council was convened, and a second
meeting of the partners took place. Last year their
expectations were raised to the highest pitch, and
everything promised an abundant harvest of wealth
and glory: the present state of affairs was somewhat clouded with reverses and cross-purposes. The
resolutions of M'Dougall and M'Kenzie last winter,
to abandon the undertaking, were now discussed
anew:   on the one hand, M'Dougall found great
R 2
239 ■onm
"f «mm
fault with Clarke and Stuart for not taking such
steps for leaving the country as were pointed out in
the resolutions alluded to; on the other hand, these
gentlemen were equally displeased with M'Dougall
for having acted, as they considered, prematurely
and without their consent. Two days were spent in
mutual recrimination: at last M'Kenzie, who had
hitherto left both parties to settle the dispute the
best way they could, now sided with M'Dougall,
and poured forth such a torrent of persuasive
eloquence, backed by facts, that the opposite party
were reduced to silence.
<( Gentlemen," said he, § why do you hesitate so
long between two opinions ? your eyes ought to have
been opened before now to your own interests. In
the present critical conjuncture, there is no time to
be lost: let us then, by a timely measure, save what
we can, lest a British ship of war enter the river and
seize all. We have been long enough the dupes of a
vacillating policy—a policy which showed itself at
Montreal on our first outset, in refusing to engage at
once a sufficient number of able hands.
W At Nodowa that policy was equally conspicuous. Did not Astor's private missive to Mr. Hunt
at that place give umbrage to all ? Did not his private
orders to Mr. Hunt to put his nephew, with one
scratch of his pen, over the heads of all the clerks in
the concern add to that umbrage ? Could there be
anything more impolitic and unjust ? Could there be
any measure more at variance with the letter and mr. Mckenzie's speech.
the spirit of the articles of agreement ? Did not his
private instructions to his captains annihilate the
power and authority of the partners? When the
unfortunate Tonquin left this, what did she leave
behind? did she not, by virtue of Astor's private
instructions to her captain, carry everything off that
was worth carrying off? Has not the same line of
policy been pursued in the case of the Beaver ? And
this year there is no ship at all! Has it not been
obvious from the beginning, that under Astor's policy
we can never prosper ? and, besides, there are other
untoward matters over which Mr. Astor had no
control, such as the delay of the Beaver, the absence
of Mr. Hunt, our formidable rivals the North-West
Company, and, to crown all, the declaration of war.,
" Now, gentlemen, all these inauspicious circumstances taken together point out, in my opinion, the
absolute necessity of abandoning the enterprize as
soon as possible. We owe it to Astor—we owe it to
ourselves; and our authority for adopting such a
course is based on the 15th and 16th articles of the
copartnership, which authorize us at any time within
the period of five years to abandon the undertaking,
should it prove impracticable or unprofitable. Not,
gentlemen, that there is any fault in the country—no
country, as to valuable furs, can hold out better
prospects; but Astor's policy, and a chain of misfortunes, have ruined all. Astor, with all his
sagacity, either does not or wiH not understand the
business.    The system we were bound to follow was DISSOLUTION OE PARTNERSHIP.
bad, and that system we cannot alter; so that we
are bound in honour to deliver the whole back
into the hands from which we received it—and the
sooner the better." These representations, stamped
with the authority of experience, had the desired
effect; the resolution to abandon the country was
adopted, and Messrs. Stuart and Clarke gave it their
cordial consent: as it was now too late to carry it
into execution this year, it was postponed till the
next; and the 1st of June was the time fixed upon
for our departure.
These preliminary arrangements being now com-
pleted, a resolution was signed on the 1st of July;,
by all the partners present, to dissolve the concern
and abandon the enterprize the next year. It was
then resolved that Mr. Stuart should betake himself
to his post at the She ISYhaps, and that Mr. Clarke
should proceed to Spokane, while Mr. M'Kenzie was.
to winter on the Wallamitte, with the express understanding that we were all to meet again at Astoria
next May, and to take our final departure from that
establishment on the 1st of June, unless a new
supply should arrive, and peace be concluded before
that time. That Mr. Beed, with some himters and
trappers, should pass the winter in the Snake country, collect the stragglers still wandering through
that quarter, and at a certain point await the arrival
of the main body, and join it on its way across.
Meanwhile, Mr. M'Dougall was still to continue in
the command of Astoria until Mr. Hunt's return. r
M'Dougall was also empowered, in the event of Mr.
Hunt's non-arrival, to treat with Mr. M'Tavish for
the transfer of all the goods and furs belonging to
the Bacific Fur Company in the country, at certain.
fixed prices, should that gentleman be disposed to'
purchase on behalf of the North-West Company,*,
considering a sale of this nature, under all circum-1
stances, to be a safer speculation than the conveyance of so much property across the long and
vdangerous route to St. Louis. Such were the:
resolutions passed on the present occasion, and copies
of them all were delivered over to MfTavish, to be
forwarded to Mr. Astor by the North-West Com-^
pany's winter express. The parties then left Astoria
for the interior on the 5th of July.
We have now so often related the voyage up and
down the Columbia, that on the present occasion it
will not be necessary to dwell on minute details;
suffice it to say, therefore, that we reached the
cascades or first barrier without any remarkable
occurrence, till we got opposite to Strawberry Island;
where one  of the canoes  in ascending the  rapid,
o X       J
sheered out in the stream, whirled round and round,
and upset. With great difficulty and danger the
men were saved, but a good deal of property was
irrecoverably lost, and, among other things, a box
©f mine, containing books and mathematical instruments, quadrant, sextant, and a valuable pair of
pistols—all went to the bottom. It is a singular
fact, that we have never yet once been able to .pass 248
this Charybdis without paying tribute either to the
natives or the whirlpools: but misfortunes seldom
come alone, and to add to the confusion, as we were
all running to and fro saving the men's fives and
the property, Mr. Cox's gun, being held in some
awkward and careless position, went off, and both
balls passed through the calf of Mr. Pillet's right leg,
but fortunately without breaking the bone.
Proceeding onwards, we passed the long narrows
and the Wyampam banditti, for the first time, without any trouble. It was, however, rumoured here
that we were to be attacked in passing the forks; that
the Indians had assembled there in hostile array. And
here Mr. Clarke Would fain have avoided the rencounter ; he made several attempts, but in vain, to
engage a guide to lead him through the interior by a
back path. At the Umatallow, the small party bound
for the Snake country left us, and departed in the
direction of the Blue Mountains.
On reaching the Walla Walla, about six miles
from the forks, Tummeatapam made signs for us to
go on shore. Here the good old Sachem appeared
much agitated, and sat for some time without uttering
a single word. At last he broke silence, and exclaimed
—"White men! white men!" then pointing to a
dark cloud of dust rising near the forks, said,
u There they are—there they are !" Then taking up
a handful of sand and throwing it in the air, exclaimed
again—" They are as numerous as the grains of sand;
the Indians have bad hearts: I am hoarse with speaking FORMIDABLE  ASSEMBLAGE   OF  INDIANS.       249
to them; but they will not listen to me." He advised
us earnestly to turn back; but seeing us determined
to ascend the river, he asked leave to embark and
accompany us: but this we refused. We took him,
however, to one of our boats, and showed him a brass
four-pounder, some hand-grenades, and sky-rockets;
then giving him some tobacco to smoke, we embarked,
and crossing over to the right-hand side, pushed on
along shore ; the Indians being all on the left bank&
As we advanced, the Indians, mounted in numerous
squadrons, kept flying backwards and forwards,
seemingly bent on some great design. We paddled
on, however, without a moment's delay, anxious to
get to a certain point a little beyond the forks, but
on the opposite side of the river, which is here nearly
a mile broad. When we came just opposite to the
Indians, they all formed into one mass, and could not
have been less than two thousand, with a fleet of one
hundred and seventy-four canoes along the beach.
Their appearance was certainly very imposing and
formidable; and the noise of the war-dance and war-
song, mingled with whooping and yelling, was terrific.
We in the mean time reached the wished-for point,
landed, took our stand, fortified our camp, and awaited
the threatened attack. This took place in the afternoon, about two hours before sunset. All at once
the canoes were launched, and we beheld fifty-seven
of them filled with people making for our camp. All
was suspense. Every man squatted down with his
gun in his hand, and his finger on the trigger.    As
t  i
C7 •■ V . - 250
the fleet approached our anxiety increased, till Mr
Stuart, who kept eyeing them all the time with a
spy-glass, called out—" There is nothing to fear;
there are women and children in the canoes." This
was glad news to some of our party, who were more
intent on saying their prayers than on fighting. By
this time they had got almost close to us, when they
all disembarked at the distance of about two hundred
yards. Mr. Stuart, advancing to meet them, drew a
line on the sand, as much as to say, iS Do not pass
this": they obeyed—the pipe of peace was smoked,
and'laid aside. After a short pause, a few harangues
were made. They smoked again ; a trifling present
followed; the business was ended, and at dusk the
Indians returned quietly to their camp. We supposed
that Tummeatapam's account of our big gun influenced
their conduct not a little. Their peaceable behaviour,
however, did not altogether quiet our apprehensions;
a strong watch was set for the night, and before the
morning dawn every man had his gun in his hand;
but the Indians had disappeared. This demonstration
of the Indians prevented Mr. Clarke from proceeding
to his destination by the usual route. He had therefore to continue with us, and pass by Oakinacken for
Spokane, making a circuitous route of more than
three hundred miles.
Prom the forks, we proceeded without interruption till we reached Oakinacken on the 15th of
August, where I was to winter; and here we shall
leave the different parties to proceed to their respec- MR.  HUNT  DEPARTS  FROM  ASTORIA.
tive quarters, while we, in the mean time, return
back a little to see what is going on at Astoria.
o       o
It has already been stated that Mr. Hunt arrived
at Astoria, in the ship Albatross, on the 20th of
August. He was mortified to find, from the resolutions of the 1st of July, that the partners had made
up their minds to abandon the country. M'Dougall
and M'Kenzie now exerted their reasoning powers to
convince Mr. Hunt of their desperate and hopeless
situation. Nor could that gentleman, with all his
zeal for the interest of Mr. Astor, and the success
of his enterprize, shut his eyes or close his ears
against facts so self-evident. After weighing, there-
fore, all the circumstances of our situation, Mr.
Hunt acquiesced in the measures that had been
taken, and likewise confirmed the powers given to Mr.
M'Dougall to  transfer the   goods  and furs to the
O' o
North-West Company. These points being settled,
Mr. Hunt, after remaining a week at Astoria, left the
Columbia again in the Albatross. This vessel was*
bound for the Marquesas, and Mr. Hunt took a
passage in her with the view of purchasing a ship to
carry the furs at Astoria to market, in the event of
no transfer being made to the North-West Company,
as well as to convey thirty-two Sandwich Islanders,
now in the service of the Company, back to their
own country; and here I shall take my leave of Mr.
Hunt for the present, and return to my post at
Everything now  assumed a calm  and   tranquil l>
aspect; the dye was cast; we were now but sojourners
for a day; the spring would remove us to other
scenes, and till then we had to make the best we
could of the passing hour. Under this impression, I
soothed myself with the hope of passing a quiet
winter, thinking at times on our disappointments.
After all our labours, all our golden dreams, here is
the result! Well might we say, with Solomon, that
ce all is vanity!" While musing one day on passing
events, I was surprised all at once by the arrival of a
strong party of North-Westers, seventy-five in number, in a squadron of ten canoes, and headed by
Messrs. Mf Tavish and Stuart, two North-West bourgeois, on their way to the mouth of the Columbia, in
high glee, to meet their ship, the Isaac Todd, which
was expected daily. Mr. Clarke also accompanied the
North-West brigade, on his way to Astoria. With
the craft peculiar to Indian traders, they had crammed
down Mr. Clarke's throat that nothing could be done
at Astoria without him, although his accompanying
them was like the third wheel to a cart; but it
answered their purpose: for his leaving Spokane
threw at once all the trade of the district into their
hands, and Mr. Clarke found out, when it was too
late, that he had been duped. At Astoria, the party
arrived safe on the 7th of October.
Here it was that the negotiation between the two
great functionaries, M'Dougall and M'Tavish, commenced. The terms were soon adjusted, and the prices
fixed. The whole of the goods on hand, both at Astoria PETTY MANCEUVRING.
and throughout the interior, were delivered over to the
North-West Company, at 10 per cent, on cost and
charges. The furs were valued at so much per
skin. The whole sales amounted to 80,500 dollars:
MfTavish giving bills of exchange on the agents for
the amount, payable in Canada. This transaction
took place on the 16th of October, and was considered fair and equitable on both sides.
But, after all, a good deal of petty manoeuvring
took place, not very creditable to the representative
of a great body. MfTavish expected the armed ship
Isaac Todd, fitted out as a letter of marque, into the
river daily, and in that case Astoria would have been
captured as a prize, and become the property of the
North-West Company without purchase; and besides,
he had learned that the British Government had
despatched a ship of war to cruise on the coast of the
Pacific, and that she might be looked for hourly; and
the moment she entered the river all the American
property, as a matter of course, would have been
seized as a prize. In either case, M'Tavish would
have saved his bills of exchange. Under this impression he put off from time to time, under various pretences, the signing of the documents. M'Dougall
and M'Kenzie, however, saw through this piece of
artifice, and insisted that the business should be ratified at once. M'Tavish, however, full of commercial
wiles, tried to evade and retard every step taken.
MfDougall, in the mean time, had a squadron of boats
in readiness, should any suspicious vessel come in ASTORIA DELIVERED  UP-
sight, to transport the furs and goods up to the Wallamitte out of her reach. While matters were in this
unsettled state, Mr. M'Kenzie suggested a decisive
measure, which brought the negotiation to a speedy
M'Tavish and his party were encamped at the
time within a few yards of the fort, and sheltered, as
it were, under the protection of our guns. They
were also indebted to the generosity of the Astorians
for their daily supplies; being themselves without
goods, ammunition, or provisions.
One morning before daylight Messrs. M'Dougall
and M'Kenzie summoned all hands together, seventy-
two in number, and after a brief statement of the
views of the North-West in reference to the negotia-
tion, ordered the bastions to be manned, the guns to
be loaded and pointed, and the matches lighted. In
an instant every man was at his post, and the gates
shut. At eight o'clock a message was sent to
MfTavish, giving him two hours, and no more, either
to sign the bills or break off the negotiation altogether
and remove to some other quarters. By eleven o'clock
the bills were finally and formally signed, and Astoria
was delivered up to the North-West Company on the
12th of November, after nearly a month of suspense
between the drawing and the signing of the bills. MR.   FRANCHERE.
Mr. Franchere—Comecomly's anxiety—His report of a sail—His
attachment to the Americans—Laframboise, the interpreter—Mr.
M'Dougall's visit—The Racoon sloop-of-war—Comecomly grows
partial to the British flag—North-West partners—British officers —
Astoria changed to Fort George—Captain Black's character—Mr.
Hunt's voyage—Commodore Porter—Mr. Hunt leaves the Marquesas—Arrival at the Sandwich Islands—Rumours—The ship Lark
—Eight persons perish—Columbian affairs—The property delivered
—No ice—The people assembled—Voyage—The Cascade banditti—
Two North-West canoes—North-West affray at the cascades—Mr.
Stuart wounded—Mr. Keith's conduct—Preparations for war—The
great expedition—Conduct of the Cath-le-yach-e-yach Indians—
Expedition fails—The effect—Remarks.
The fate of unfortunate Astoria being now sealed,
and the place in the possession of the North-West
Company, the Astorians looked on merely as indifferent spectators. Mr. Franchere was the only
clerk in the American service who showed a wish
to ioin the new comers. He was a Canadian from
Montreal; and in those days the North-West stood
high in Canada, and particularly in Montreal. There
they were everything, and the Canadian voyageurs 256
comecomly's alarms.
had a liberal share of their bounty. It was therefore natural for him to join that body which was
the admiration of his countrymen.
On the 29th of November, Comecomly arrived
in great haste at Astoria, with a report that a sail
had been seen off the Cape, and expressed great
alarm lest it might be a King George ship. He
did not wish, he said, to see any more Britons
among them. He and his people were fond of the
Americans, and would make war against any other
people entering the river. The old chief uttered
this threat in an angry determined tone. Then
turning to MfDougall, he said, $ See those few
King George people who come down the river: they
were poor; they had no goods, and were almost
starving; yet you were afraid of them, and delivered
your fort and all your goods to them; and now
King George's ships are coming to carry you all off
as slaves. We are not afraid of King George's
people. I have got eight hundred warriors, and we
will not allow them to enslave you. The Americans
are our friends and allies." MfDougall tried to con-
sole him, and told him that the British would not
hurt the Americans. He also rewarded the chief's
devotedness to the American cause with a new suit
of clothing; then told him to keep a sharp look-out
to discover whether the ship was British or American;
forbidding, at the same time, either himself or his
people to go on board. This he promised faithfully
to do, and went off highly pleased. the racoon sloop-of-war.
The moment Comecomly left Astoria, Laframboise,
the interpreter, was called in, decked and painted in
the full Chinook costume, and despatched to Cape
Disappointment to report whether a vessel was to
be seen, and if so, whether British or American. In
the mean time, M'Dougall prepared to start the instant a ship was seen. Laframboise had scarcely
reached the Cape when the ship hove in sight, and
soon afterwards came dashing over the bar in fine
style, and anchored in Baker's Bay, within the Cape.
Laframboise immediately returned, and on his way
back met Mr. M'Dougall, in a boat well manned,
going to the ship, and told him that the new arrival
was a British ship of war. MfDougall proceeded,
and after remaining for about an hour on board
returned to Astoria and reported the vessel to be
the Racoon British sloop of war, of twenty-six guns,
Captain Black, commander.
As soon as MfDougall had left the Racoon, his
royal father-in-law* with a squad of followers, repaired to the ship to pay their homage to the British
captain* Then the crafty old chief traduced the
Americans and extolled the British; expressing
his joy that he had lived long enough to see once-
more a great ship of his brother King George
enter the river. Then, with a grin of contempt,
he remarked, " The Americans have no ships to
be compared to King George's ships." Saying this,
he laid a fine sea-otter skin at Captain Black's feet,
and prepared to leave the ship.    The captain called
him back, gave him a good bumper of wine, and in
return for so much loyalty presented him with an
old flag, a laced coat, cocked hat, and sword. His
Chinook majesty then left the Racoon, and returned
to shore as stanch a Briton as ever he had previously been an American partisan. But the best
part of the farce was to see Comecomly sailing
across, the very next day, to Astoria in full British
uniform, with the Union Jack flying at the masthead.
On board of the Racoon was Mr. McDonald, one
of the senior partners of the North-West Company,
generally known by the name of Brascroche. He
assumed forthwith the direction of affairs at Astoria.
Comecomly soon got into his sleeve; and before the
former was twenty-four hours in office, the latter
had a new chief's suit on.
On the second day after the Racoon came to
anchor, Captain Black and his officers landed at
Astoria, and found they had been baulked in their
expectations; the place being already in the possession of the North-West Company by an amicable
arrangement. They laughed heartily at their own
disappointment, for they had made up their minds
that the capture of Astoria would yield them a rich
prize; but in place of a golden egg they found only
an empty shell. After visiting the place, Captain
Black, turning round to one of his officers, said,
" The Yankees are always beforehand with us."
On the 12th day of December, the death-warrant ASTORIA CHANGED  TO  FORT GEORGE.
of short-lived Astoria was signed. On that day,
Captain Black went through the customary ceremony of taking possession, not only of Astoria, but
of the whole country. What the vague term of
6i whole country': in the present case meant, I know
not. Does it mean the Columbia? Does it mean
all the country lying west of the Bocky Mountains ?
Or does it merely mean the coast of the Pacific?
That part of the ceremony which referred to the
"whole country" might have been dispensed with;
for the country had already been taken possession
of in the name of his Britannic Majesty, and that
many years ago, by Drake, by Cooke, by Vancouver,
and lastly by Black. The name of Astoria was now
changed to that of Port George ; and this done, the
Racoon prepared to leave the Columbia. Captain
Black was a gentleman of courteous and affable
manners. He was never once heard to utter an
oath or indecorous expression all the time he was in
the river; and there was a general and sincere regret felt when he left Fort George.
Having now detailed the principal occurrences at
Astoria, we return to take up the subject of Mr.
Hunt's voyage. The reader will bear in mind that
Mr. Hunt sailed in the Albatross in August last, for
the Marquesas, where he arrived safe. Nor had he
been long there till he met with Commodore Porter,
of the United States' frigate Essex, from whom he
learned that a British frigate called the Phoebe, with
two sloops of war, the Cherub and Racoon, were on
S 2
their way to Columbia. Hearing this, Mr. Hunt
tried his uttermost to get some assistance from Captain Porter in order to secure the American property now in jeopardy at Astoria, but to no purpose. The commodore would not budge, having no
instructions from his government to that effect; and
having besides learned, no doubt, that Mr. Astor
refused to join the Boston merchants in their praiseworthy designs. Mr. Hunt, now finding all his efforts at the Marquesas fruitless, sailed for the Sandwich Islands, and landed at Woahoo on the 18th of
December. While at that island, he received the
disastrous intelligence that a vessel bound for Co-
lumbia had been wrecked some time previous, at
the island of Tahvorowa. Thinking it possible that
it might be a vessel from Astor bound for Astoria,
he repaired thither with all possible despatch, and
found, to his mortification, that his conjectures were
but too true.
The vessel in question proved to be the Lark,
Captain Northcop, bound for Astoria. The Lark,
which ought to have sailed in September 1812, did
not leave New York till the 6 th of March 1813, the
very time when she was expected to arrive at the
place of her destination. And this unaccountable
delay of six months accelerated the downfall of
unfortunate Astoria; for had the Lark left New
York at the usual time, and reached the Columbia,
her seasonable arrival would have beyond a doubt WRECK  OF  THE  SHIP  LARK.
But there was a fatality attending the ships bound
for Columbia, and the loss of the Lark added another
link to the chain of misfortune. This ill-fated vessel
upset in a squall, about 250 miles from the Sandwich
Islands, and so sudden and unexpected was the
violent wind, that not a hatch was shut at the time,
so she filled with the second wave and became completely water-logged. The sufferings of the crew
were extreme: they remained lashed to the bowsprit
for four days and four nights without drink, food, or
sleep! the rest of the vessel being completely under
water. On the eighth day after the accident, a
jury-mast was rigged, and a small scaffolding erected,
on which the men could sleep. Still their sufferings
from thirst and hunger were intolerable, their only
drink a little wine, and a very scanty supply of raw
pork their food. On the twelfth day they came in
sight of land, and six days after that they abandoned
the ship and got to shore. Up to the time of their
leaving the ship, six men, a boy, and one of the
officers perished, and the rest of the crew were so
reduced from various causes, that they were utterly
incapable of helping themselves, much less the sinking ship. Soon after the vessel was abandoned,
it neared the beach, stranded, and went to pieces.
Nor could all the efforts of the captain prevent the
savage horde from seizing and destroying everything
that came in their way; and not only that, but they
effectually prevented him or any of the crew from
approaching the  wreck, or touching anything the ■ju mx -x |
waves threw on shore. Nor did the tumultuous
spirit of the rabble subside till they stripped the
shipwrecked men of their clothes, as well as the
vessel of her cargo; so that the condition of the
sufferers was very little improved by their getting
to land.
During these proceedings Mr. Ogden, the supercargo, set off for Woahoo, the residence of king
Tammeatameah, to claim protection and restitution
of the property; but behold! his majesty told him in
few words that the wreck belonged to the state.
<e Who," said Tammeatameah, ie brought the ship to
shore?" " The waves," replied Mr. Ogden. H. Then
the waves are mine," rejoined the king. M Had you
brought the vessel to land," said his majesty to Mr.
Ogden, (e the ship and cargo both would have
belonged to you, and I should have granted you
protection and restitution; but as you abandoned
the wreck at sea, and fortune drove it on my territories, the wreck is no longer yours but mine. The
clothing you and your people brought to shore, shall
be restored; but whatever was in the ship, at the
time of her stranding or grounding, belongs to me:*
and here the conversation ended.
Such, then, was the fate of the unfortunate Lark,
and such the statement of her commander to Mr.
Hunt on his arrival at the Sandwich Islands; and
here again we must leave Mr. Hunt in the happy
isles, while we go back to see what is passing in the
Columbia interior, and after that we shall return COLUMBIAN AFFAIRS.
again to the subject of Mr. Hunt's voyage: by so
doing, we shall conform better to the natural connection of the different subjects, without perplexing
the reader's attention. In the mean time, it may be
stated that Messrs. M'Kenzie and John Stuart proceeded to the interior, to see the property delivered
over to the North-West Company, agreeably to the
late contract. After these gentlemen had settled the
business at Spokane, and assembled all the people of
the late concern belonging to that district, they came
to me at Oakinacken on the 15th of December: here
also Mr. Stuart, from the She Whaps, had arrived
with the men of that quarter. Finishing, then, the
business at Oakinacken, we all prepared to embark,
and left that place for Port George on the 20th of
On our way down the Columbia, such was the
mildness of the winter that not a speck of ice was to
be seen. At the head of the cascades, a place always
notorious for its bad population, we encamped, and
were disturbed all night by the whooping and yelling of savages, who kept prowling in the woods
round us. Notwithstanding the strictest watch,
several arrows were shot into our camp, and a man
named Plessis was wounded in the ear. We fired
several shots into the woods, from a three-pounder,
which kept the Indians at a distance. In the
morning we passed the cascades peaceably, and
arrived safe at Fort George on the 7th of January
1814. The people from the Wallamitte had just
reached that place before us. TWO  NORTH-WEST CANOES.
Below the cascades, there is no impediment whatever to the navigation of the river, by night or by day.
The brigade, therefore, went sweeping down the
current in the dark. In passing the last of the bad
places, however, my boat happening to get broken,
we had to put ashore to repair, and, by the time we
got under weigh again, the brigade had left us far be-
hind. Next morning at daybreak, I met, opposite to
the Wallamitte, two North-West canoes and twenty
men, under the direction of Messrs Keith and Alex.
Stuart, two partners of the North-West Company, on
their way to the interior. We breakfasted together,
and I strongly advised them to turn back, since so
small a party, and strangers too, could never hope to
pass through the hostile tribes in safety. They,
however, made" fight of the matter, giving me to
understand that they were North-Westers! so we
parted, and they proceeded. While talking on the
subject of danger, one of those swelling fellows, such
as may be ordinarily seen stuck up in the end of a
north-west canoe, with a bonnet of feathers surpassing in size the head of a buffalo bull, turned round
to my men and said,—cc Do you think we are
Americans? we will teach the Indians to respect
us." In the darkness of the night, they had not seen
pur people on their way down. The moment Mr.
M'Kenzie reached Fort George, he represented to
McDonald and M'Tavish the folly and danger of the
attempt; consequently, a canoe with twelve men,
under the direction of Mr. Franchere, was imme- AFFRAY AT  THE  CASCADES.
diately despatched to bring them back; but it was
unfortunately too late.
On Messrs. Keith and Stuart's arrival at the
portage of the cascades, the Indians collected, as
usual, in great numbers; but did not attempt anything till the people had got involved and dispersed in
the portage; they then seized the opportunity, and
began to help themselves; they drew their bows,
brandished their lances, and pounced upon the gun-
cases, powder-kegs, and bales of goods, at the place
where Mr. Stuart was stationed. He tried to defend
his post, but owing to the wet weather his gun missed
fire several times, and before any assistance could
reach him he had received three arrows, and his gun
had just fallen from his hand as a half-breed, named
Pinlay, came up and shot his assailant dead. By this
time the people had concentrated, and the Indians
fled to their strongholds behind the rocks and trees.
To save the property in this moment of alarm and
confusion was impossible; to save themselves, and
carry off Mr. Stuart, was the first consideration.
They, therefore, made for their canoes with all haste,
and embarked. Here it was found that one man was
missing, and Mr. Keith, who was still on shore,
urged the party strongly to wait a little; but the
people in the canoes called on Mr. Keith, in the tone
of despair, to jump into the canoe or else they would
push off and leave him also; but he, being a resolute
man and not easily intimidated, immediately cocked
his gun and threatened to shoot the first man that MR.  STUART WOUNDED.
moved. Mr. Stuart, who was faint from loss of
blood, seeing Mr. Keith determined, and the men
frightened out of their wits, beckoned to Mr. Keith
to embark. The moment he jumped into the canoe
they pushed off and shot down the current; nor had
they proceeded far before they met Mr. Franchere,
who had been sent after them. Both canoes then
hastening day and night, reached the fort the second
day. During this time Mr. Stuart suffered much,
and was very low, nor had his wounds been yet
examined. The barbs of the arrows were of iron,
and one of them had struck on a stone pipe which
he carried in his waistcoat pocket, and to that
fortunate circumstance he perhaps owed his life : one
of these barbs it was found impossible to extract, and
he suffered great pain, and was confined to bed for
upwards of two months. He then began gradually
to recover. On the ninth day the man who had been
abandoned in the affray with the Indians reached the
fort in a state of nudity, having torn his clothes
wandering through the woods, suffering at the same
time the miseries of cold and hunger; and thus terminated the first adventure of the North-West on
the Columbia.
The object of this expedition was threefold—to
forward despatches for the east side of the mountains,
to convey supplies of ammunition to the interior, and
thence to proceed to the Snake country for Mr. Beed
and his party; but the unlucky affair at the cascades
knocked the whole  on  the head, and taught the PREPARATIONS FOR WAR.
strutting and plumed bullies of the north that,
although they were North-Westers, the lads of the
cascades did not respect their feathers.
This disaster set the whole North-West machinery
at Fort George in motion. Revenge for the insult,
and a heavy retribution on the heads of the whole
Cath-le-yach-e,-yach nation, was decreed in a full
council; and for a whole week nothing was to be
heard about the place but the clang of arms and the
sound of war. Every man worth naming was armed
cap-a-pie, and besides the ordinary arms and accoutrements, two big guns, six swivels, cutlasses, hand-
grenades, and handcuffs, with ten days' provisions,
were embarked; in short, all the weapons and missiles
that could be brought into action were collected and
put in train for destroying the vile banditti of the
cascades, root and branch.
Eighty-five picked men and two Chinook interpreters, under six chosen leaders, were enrolled in
the expedition, and the command of it tendered to
Mr. M'Kenzie, who, however, very prudently declined
the honour, merely observing that as he was on the
eve of leaving the country, he did- not wish to mix
himself up with North-West affairs; but that he
would cheerfully go as a volunteer. The command
then devolved on Mr. M'Tavish; and on the 20th of
January, with buoyant hearts and flags flying, a fleet
of ten sail conveyed the invincibles to the field of
action, where they all arrived safe on the third day,
and cast anchor at Strawberry Island, near the foot
of the rapids. On their way up, the name of this
formidable armament struck such terror into the
marauders along the river, that they fled to the fastnesses and hiding-places of the wilderness; even the
two Chinook interpreters could neither sleep nor
eat, so grieved were they at the thoughts of the
bloody scenes that were soon to follow.
On the next morning after the squadron came to
anchor, the Indians were summoned to appear and
give an account of their late conduct, and they were
desired, if they wished mercy to be extended towards
them, to deliver up at once all the property plundered
from the expedition of Messrs. Keith and Stuart.
The Cath-le-yach-e-yach chiefs, not the least intimidated by the hostile array before them, sent back this
answer, " The whites have killed two of our people,
let them deliver up the murderers to us, and we will
deliver to them all the property in our possession."
After returning this answer, the Indians sent off all
their wives and children into the thick woods; then
arming themselves, they took their stand behind the
trees and rocks. M'Tavish then sent the interpreters
to invite them to a parley, and to smoke the pipe of
peace. The Indians returned for answer, that " When
the whites had paid according to Indian law for the
two men they had killed, they would smoke the pipe
of peace, but not till then. Their wives and children
were safe, and as for themselves they were prepared
for the worst." And this was all the progress that
was made during the first day* A COUNCIL  ON THE  PRISONERS.
The next day the interpreters were sent to sound
them again. Towards noon a few stragglers and
slaves approached the camp and delivered up a small
parcel of cloth and cotton, torn up into pieces, and
scarcely worth picking up, with this message from
the chiefs:—M We have sent you some of the property ; deliver us up the murderers, and we will send
you the rest." Some were for hanging the Indians up
at once; others for detaining them: at last, however,
it was resolved to let them go, and they departed.
In the evening two of the principal Indians surrendered themselves to M'Tavish, bringing also a
small parcel of odds-and-ends, little better than the
last. Being interrogated on the subject of the stolen
property, they denied being present at the time, and
had cunning enough to make their innocence appear,
and also to convince M'Tavish that they were using
their utmost influence to bring the Indians to terms,
and deliver up the property. A council was then
held to decide on the fate of the prisoners. Some
were, as in the former case, for hanging them up
without judge or jury; some for taking them down
to Fort George in irons. The council was divided,
and at last it was resolved to treat the prisoners
liberally and let them go; and, to the disgrace of the
expedition, they were set at liberty—nor did they
ever return again; and thus ended the negotiations
of the second day.
The third day the interpreters were at work again;
but in place of making any favourable impression on 270
the Indians, they were told that if they returned
again without delivering up the murderers, they
would be fired upon. During this day, the Indians
came once or twice out to the verge of the woods.
Some were for firing the big guns where they were
seen thickest; others, more ardent, but less calculating,
were for storming their haunts, and bringing the
matter to a speedy issue. Every movement of the
whites was seen by the Indians, but not a movement
of the Indians could be discerned by the whites; and
the day passed away without any result. Next morning it was discovered that some of the Indians lurking
about had entered the camp and carried off two guns,
a kettle, and one of the men's bonnets, and the Indians
were seen occasionally flying from place to place, and
now and then whooping and yelling, as if some plan
of attack were in contemplation. This was a new
symptom, and convinced the whites that they were
getting more bold and daring in proportion as their
opponents were passive and undecided. These circumstances made the whites reflect on their own
situation. The savages, sheltered behind the trees
and rocks, might cut them all off without being seen;
besides, it was intimated by the interpreters that the
Indians might all this time be increasing their num-
bers by foreign auxiliaries; and whether true or false,
the suggestion had its effect in determining the whites
that they stood upon dangerous ground, and that the
sooner they left it the better. They therefore, without recovering the property, firing a gun, or securing EFFECTS OF ITS FAILURE.
a single prisoner, sounded the retreat, and returned
home on the ninth day—making the matter ten times
worse than it was before. This warlike expedition
was turned into ridicule by the Cath-le-yach-e-yachs,
and had a very bad effect on the Indians generally;
but the best of it was, on their way back, some turned
off towards the Wallamitte to hide their disgrace,
others remained for some days at the Cowlitz, and
M'Tavish himself reached Fort George in the night;
and so ended this inglorious expedition, which promised so much and did so little.
Here it may be observed that the nature of the
ground along the cascades, on both sides of the river,
is such as to afford no position secure from attack or
surprise; and it showed a manifest want of judgment,
not only in a military commander, but in an Indian
trader, to expose his people in such a dangerous situation, where the Indians might have waylaid and cut
them off to a man, and that without quitting their
fastnesses; whereas the whole difficulty might have
been easily obviated—for a very simple stratagem on
the part of the whites might have quietly secured, as
hostages, three or four of the principal men, and that
would have soon settled effectually the whole affair,
without noise or any such warlike demonstration. wmmmm
Party to the Wallamitte—Hunt's voyage concluded—The brig Pedlar
—-M'Dougall suspected—His character vindicated—Mr. Hunt's
remarks on the late concern—His liberality—His farewell address
to the clerks—Final departure from Columbia—The party for
Canada—Efforts and disappointments—Snake expedition — The
melancholy story of Pierre Dorion's wife—Massacre of the Snake
party—Remarks—A winter in the Blue Mountains—List of
casualties—Astor's hopes disappointed—Comment on the late
After the late expedition to the cascades, in which
our people had mixed themselves up with the North-
West Company, and of course came in for a share of
the general odium, they retired to pass the remainder
of the winter in the Wallamitte—a place notorious
for gormandizing; and here we shall leave them to
enjoy, in peace and quietness, the fruits of the chace,
while we turn again to take up and finish the wanderings of Mr. Hunt, who, it will be remembered, was
left at the Sandwich Islands in quest of a vessel.
After Mr. Hunt had learned the fate of the unfortunate Lark, as already related, he had but one course m'dougall suspected.
left, namely, to purchase a ship and return to Columbia
with all possible despatch. On meeting with Captain
Northcop, he bargained for and purchased a snug
little brig for ten thousand five hundred and fifty
dollars, called the Pedlar, from Boston, and giving the
command of her to the captain of the Lark, they embarked, bade a farewell to the Sandwich Islands on
the 22nd of January, and sailed direct for the Columbia
Biver, where they arrived, after a rather tedious
voyage, on the 28th of February.
When Mr. Hunt arrived, he expressed himself dissatisfied with some points of the negotiation that had
taken place; but chiefly with that part of it which
related to the sale of the furs. But it was now too
late : the whole business was irrevocably settled. To
repine or find fault was therefore useless; and, under
all circumstances, Mr. M'Dougall had perhaps made
the best bargain he could. Nor was it likely that
two men placed in different positions, such as Mr.
Hunt at the Sandwich Islands and McDougall at
Columbia, could view the same object in the same
fight. The circumstance, however, of M'Dougall
having joined the North-West Company, and having
already become a partner in that concern, threw suspicion on his conduct, and this perhaps, weighed more
heavily on Mr. Hunt's mind than anything else; and
certainly, to say the least of it, M'DougaU's conduct,
in this particular, was indiscreet, and might in some
degree justify imputation—at least, his enemies made
a handle of it; yet there is not the least proof that he
had betrayed his trust. M'Dougall always bore the
character of integrity; he was a man of principle,
faithful to his word, and punctual to his engagements;
but at times he was overbearing, peevish, haughty,
and obstinate; and this unfortunate temper had well
nigh proved fatal to the undertaking in the commencement of his career at Astoria. With these slight
exceptions, however, M'DougalTs conduct was fair
and unimpeachable. He was not a man of fortune;
he had already sacrificed four years of his time on the
Columbia; and, besides, it was not M'Dougall that
proffered his services, nor was he more than half
inclined to accede to the offers made to him—this we
know; but it was the North-Westers themselves who
wished to secure him, being aware that he was a man
of ambition, and fond of enterprize. His experience
also gave him a strong ascendant. M'Dougall had
been with the nabobs of the North-West before, and
did not leave them without tasting of the bitter cup
of disappointment; he could, therefore, have had no
predilection in their favour. Add to this, that previous to any arrangement with the North-West Com-
pany, he had finally closed Mr. Astor's affairs, and
delivered up all the papers and documents of that
concern into the hands of Mr. M'Kenzie. This
delivery was confirmed by Mr. Hunt.
On the 27th of March, as soon as the people from
all quarters were assembled together, and the papers
and drafts, belonging to Mr. Astor delivered over to
Mr. M'Kenzie, Mr. Hunt called all the clerks before MR. HUNT S LIBERALITY.
him, and, entering into a full detail of the unfortunate
circumstances which brought about the failure of the
enterprize, he expressed his deep and sincere regret
that so much talent and zeal had been employed to no
purpose, and thrown to the winds; that we had been
the pioneers of a more successful and fortunate rival;
that the North-Westers would now reap the fruits of
our industry; and the only consolation left us was
that every man had done his duty, and to circumstances over which we had no control might chiefly
be attributed the failure of our undertaking. He then
went on:—
1 My friends, I am now about to leave you, and
it may be that we part to meet no more. I am
exceedingly sorry that it is not in my power to reward you according to your zeal and merit. There
are two of you, however, to whom I am in honour
bound to make some acknowledgment before leaving
this place; they having come here not for salary, but
for promotion. As a small testimony of my regard,
1 have placed at their disposal five hundred dollars
each, and wish it were even more for their sakes.
I am to leave this place by sea, and those of you who
prefer that course may embark with me; while for
those who feel disposed to remain in the country, I
have made such arrangements with the North-West
gentlemen as may turn to their advantage. For those
that will accompany me I shall do my utmost to provide ; the same I '11 do for those that remain, or go
home by land, if in my power."    These words were
T 2
ii 276
not the hollow efforts of cunning or deceit; they were
the genuine expressions of the heart. For Mr. Hunt
was a conscientious and upright man—a friend to all,
and beloved as well as respected by all. I found five
hundred dollars placed to my account, and Mr.
Seaton the same; we being the pair alluded to by
Mr. Hunt.
On the 3rd of April Mr. Hunt, accompanied by
Mr. Halsey, Mr. Seaton, Mr. Clapp, and Mr.
Farnham, embarked on board the Pedlar at three
o'clock in the afternoon, and took their final departure from Fort George. Mr. M'Lennan, Boss
Cox, and myself, entered the North-West service;
and I proceeded to resume my former charge at
On the 4th of April the North-West brigade left
Fort George for the interior, and along with it Messrs.
M'Kenzie, Stuart, and Clarke, with all those of the
late concern intending to leave the country, set out
on their journey across land for Montreal, Mr. Fran-
chere among the number. It will be recollected
that he had entered the North-West service; but by
mutual consent he became free, and preferred accompanying the party for Canada. We shall now leave
the Montreal party on their journey, and turn to
another subject.
It will be remembered, that one of the objects of
the unfortunate expedition of Messrs. Keith and
Stuart was to proceed to the Snake country in
search of Mr. Beed and his party, who were sent THE  SNAKE EXPEDITION.
thither last summer; but that expedition having
failed, it was now proposed that Mr. Keith with a
small party should undertake the business, and proceed to Spokane Fort. From the mouth of the
Umatallow, Mr. Keith was to have taken his
departure, and a guide was there engaged for the
purpose; but when everything was arranged, and
the party ready to start, the guide expressed a wish
to continue with the brigade as far as the Walla
Walla, and from thence set out for the Snake
country. Mr. Keith and his party accordingly
reimbarked, and we reached the Walla Walla early
the next day; here, again, we were on the eve of
starting, when a few Indians arrived, and with them
the wife of Pierre Dorion the interpreter. The
timely arrival of this poor unfortunate woman put
an end to the Snake expedition; and we shall relate
her melancholy story in her own words:—
" About the middle of August we reached the
Great Snake Biver, and soon afterwards, following
up a branch to the right hand, where there were
plenty of beaver, we encamped; and there Mr. Beed
built a house to winter in. After the house was
built, the people spent their time in trapping beaver.
About the latter end of September, Hoback, Bobin-
son, and Bezner came to us; but they were very
poor, the Indians having robbed them of everything
they had about fifteen days before. Mr. Beed gave
ihem some clothing and traps, and they went to
iii 278
hunt with my husband. Landrie got a fall from his
horse, lingered a while, and died of it. Delaunay
was killed, when trapping: my husband told me that
he saw his scalp with the Indians, and knew it from
the colour of the hair. The Indians about the place
were very friendly to us; but when strange tribes
visited us, they were troublesome, and always asked
Mr. Beed for guns and ammunition: on one occasion,
they drove an arrow into one of our horses, and took
a capot from La Chapelle. Mr. Beed not liking the
place where we first built, we left it, and built
farther up the river, on the other side. After the
second house was built, the people went to trap as
usual, sometimes coming home every night, sometimes sleeping out for several nights together at a
time. Mr. Beed and one man generally stayed at the
es Late one evening, about the 10th of January, a
friendly Indian came running to our house, in a great
fright, and told Mr. Beed that a band of the bad
Snakes, called the Dog-rib tribe, had burnt the first
house that we had built, and that they were coming
on whooping and singing the war-song. After
communicating this intelligence, the Indian went off
immediately, and I took up my two children, got
upon a horse, and set off to where my husband was
trapping; but the night was dark, the road bad, and
I lost my way. The next day being cold and
stormy, I did not stir.   On the second day, however, PIERRE  DORION S WIFE.
I set out again; but seeing a large smoke in the
direction I had to go, and thinking it might proceed
from Indians, I got into the bushes again and hid
myself.    On the third day, late in the evening, I got
in sight of the hut, where my husband and the other
men were hunting; but just as I was approaching
the place, I observed a man coming from the opposite
side, and staggering as if unwell: I stopped where I
was till he came to me.    Le Clerc, wounded and
faint from loss of blood, was the man.    He told me
that La Chapelle, Bezner, and my husband had been
robbed and murdered that morning.    I did not go
into the hut; but putting Le Clerc and one of my
children on the horse I had with me, I turned round
immediately, took to the woods, and I retraced my
steps back again to Mr. Beed's: Le Clerc, however,
could not bear the jolting of the horse, and he fell
once or twice, so that we had to remain for nearly a
day in one place; but in the night he died, and I
covered him over with brushwood and snow, put
my children  on the horse, I myself walking and
leading the animal by the halter.    The second day
I got back again to the house.    But sad was the
sight! Mr. Beed and the men were all murdered,
scalped, and cut to pieces.    Desolation and horror
stared me in the face.    I turned from the shocking
sight in agony and despair; took to the woods with
my children  and horse, and passed the  cold and
lonely night without food or fire.    I was now at a
-: ^
11 280
loss what to do: the snow was deep, the weather
cold, and we had nothing to eat. To undertake
a long journey under such circumstances was inevitable death. Had I been alone I would have run
all risks and proceeded; but the thought of my
children perishing with hunger distracted me. At
this moment a sad alternative crossed my mind:
should I venture to the house among the dead to
seek food for the living ? I knew there was a good
stock of fish there; but it might have been destroyed
or carried off by the murderers; and besides, they
might be still lurking about and see me: yet I
thought of my children. Next morning, after a
sleepless night, I wrapped my children in my robe,
tied my horse in a thicket, and then went to a rising
ground, that overlooked the house, to see if I could
observe anything stirring about the place. I saw
nothing; and, hard as the task was, I resolved to
venture after dark: so I returned back to my
children, and found them nearly frozen, and I was
afraid to make a fire in the day time lest the smoke
might be seen; yet I had no other alternative, I must
make a fire, or let my children perish. I made a fire
and warmed them. I then rolled them up again in
the robe, extinguished the fire, and set off after dark
to the house: went into the store and ransacked
every hole and corner, and at last found plenty of
fish scattered about. I gathered, hid, and slung upon
my back as much as I could carry, and returned MRS.  DORION  AND  CHILDREN.
again before dawn of day to my children. They were
nearly frozen, and weak with hunger. I made a fire
and warmed them, and then we shared the first food
we had tasted for the last three days. Next night I
went back again, and carried off another load; but
when these efforts were over, I sank under the sense
of my afflictions, and was for three days unable to
move, and without hope. On recovering a little,
however, I packed all up, loaded my horse, and
putting my children on the top of the load, set out
again on foot, leading the horse by the halter as
before. In this sad and hopeless condition I travelled
through deep snow among the woods, rocks, and
rugged paths for nine days, till I and the horse could
travel no more. Here I selected a lonely spot at the
foot of a rocky precipice in the Blue Mountains, intending there to pass the remainder of the winter.
I killed my horse, and hung up the flesh on a tree
for my winter food. I built a small hut with pine
branches, long grass, and moss, and packed it all
round with snow to keep us warm, and this was a
difficult task, for I had no axe, but only a knife
to cut wood. In this solitary dwelling, I passed fifty-
three lonely days! I then left my hut and set out
with my children to cross the mountains; but I
became snow blind the second day, and had to
remain for three days without advancing a step; and
this was unfortunate, as our provisions were almost
exhausted. Having recovered my sight a little, I set
out again, and got clear off the mountains, and down 282
to the plains on the fifteenth day after leaving my
winter encampments; but for six days we had
scarcely anything to eat, and for the last two days
not a mouthful. Soon after we had reached the
plains I perceived a smoke at a distance; but being
unable to carry my children farther, I wrapped them
up in my robe, left them concealed, and set out alone
in hopes of reaching the Indian camp, where I had
seen the smoke; but I was so weak that I could
hardly crawl, and had to sleep on the way. Next
day, at noon, I got to the camp. It proved to belong
to the Walla Wallas, and I was kindly treated by
them. Immediately on my arrival the Indians set
off in search of my children, and brought them to the
camp the same night. Here we staid for two days,
and then moved on to the river, expecting to hear
something of the white people on their way either
up or down."
This ended the woman's story of hardships and
woe. That it was the Snakes who killed the party
there is not the least doubt. The Dog-ribbed tribe
have always passed for bad Indians; and besides, in
the dead of winter, neither the Blackfeet on the
east, nor the Nez Ferces on the north, can wage
war with the Snakes at that season of the year.
In recapitulating the number of casualties or disasters which befell the Bacific Fur Company during
its short existence, we cannot help lamenting so
great a sacrifice of human life in so limited a period.
The tragical fist stands thus:— ,    8
. 27
.    8
.    1
Lost on the bar  ...»
Land expedition *       •
Tonquin *        *        »        •
Astoria    ......
j^ar/i)   .        . «        .        .        t
Snake country *
Final departure   .        ♦        «        .
Total       .        .       .       *       .       61
Well might we, with Virgil, say, cc Who can relate such woes without a tear!"
We have now brought together, and within a
small compass, the accounts of all the different and
widely extended branches of the concern. That
concern which proposed to extend its grasping influence from ocean to ocean, and which, to use the
projector's own words, " was to have annihilated the
South Company; rivalled the North-West Company ; extinguished the Hudson's Bay Company;
driven the Bussians into the Frozen Ocean; and
with the resources of China to have enriched America." But how vain are the designs of man ! That
undertaking which but yesterday promised such
mighty things, is to-day no more.
Various in those days were the opinions entertained as to the merits of the undertaking in a speculative light; but few there were who saw clearly
through the mist inseparable from a novel and remote design.     The means were ample,  the field
i 284
unbounded, and the Biver Columbia was the contemplated centre of a trade conducted by talent, and
in the hands of a nation ^yhich^ in the natural course
of events, must soon encircle the remotest parts of
the earth, and draw- within its sphere of action the
fairest portion of the fur trade.
It is therefore not surprising that the jealousy of
the Canada traders should have eagerly seized on
the first opportunity tp check the encroachments, or
extinguish the rising fame of this infant but gigantic
rival. The course of events was favourable to their
ambition, and the end justified the means conducive
to their future aggrandizement.
The multifarious avocations of Mr. Astor must
inevitably have prevented his bestowing the requisite degree of attention on each particular subject
which came under his consideration. Hence, matters
within his immediate reach, or which appealed to
his own experience, engrossed his special care as
objects of primary importance; while, on the other
hand, those referring to a distance, or which he had
not habitually at heart, were neglected by him as
comparatively trivial.
During the slow progress of a distant and struggling establishment, exposed to the cruelty and
rapacity of savages, or the perils of uncertain navigation, it may be naturally expected that the owner
should lean to such other parts of the undertaking
as may hold out a fair promise of recompensing for
the hazard of the adventure.    Hence it was that DISAPPOINTED BY THE FAILURE OF ASTORIA.  285
his ships were the chief objects of his solicitude; that
the captains retained his special trust; that the
settlement was ill supplied; and hence the ungenerous dispensation of his confidence among its venturesome though too credulous leaders.
Had he, however, acquired such insight into the
practice of the Indian as he so eminently attained
in all other branches of trade; had his mind been
as liberal as it was acute, or as ready to reward
merit as to find fault; or were he as conversant with
human nature as he was expert in a bargain; and
had he also begun his undertaking not at the com-
mencement of a war, but at its close, then competency and ease might have been the lot of his
servants, instead of misery and want — success
might have crowned his ambition, glory finished
his career, and the name of Astor might have been
handed down with admiration, as having borne away
the palm of enterprize.
iii 286
Origin of the Oakinackens—Religion—Good Spirit—Evil Spirit—
Ideas of a future state—Ceremonies—End of this world—Extent of
country"—Names and number of tribes—Warriors—Population—
Royal family—The great chief, or Red Fox—Wild hemp—Long
journeys—Barter—Emblem of royalty—Government—Indian ideas
—Council of chiefs—Manners—Employments—Plurality of wives
—Brawls—Dress and clothing—Stratagems—A savage in wolf's
clothing—Painted faces and sleek hair.
After closing the drama of the Pacific Fur Com-
pany we shall now raise the curtain a little, and take
a cursory peep at the Indians of the interior; but
more particularly of the Oakinackens.
The origin of savage nations is mixed up with so
much fable that it is scarcely possible, through the
mist of tradition, to trace their descent clearly to any
source: nor can this surprise us when we consider
how unsatisfactory the most learned inquiries often
prove, with respect to the origin of many civilized
nations. Indeed, all that can be aimed at is to state
distinctly and fairly the opinions handed down from
one generation to another, and currently believed by
the people themselves. OAKINACKEN INDIANS.
The origin of the Oakinackens is thus related:—
Long ago, when the sun was young, to use their own
expression, and not bigger than a star, there was an
island far off in the middle of the ocean, called
Samah-tuma-whoolah, or White Man's Island. The
island was full of inhabitants of gigantic stature, and
very white, and it was governed by a tall white
woman, called Scomalt. The good woman Scomalt,
possessing the attributes of a deity, could create
whatever she pleased. The white people on this
island quarrelled among themselves, and many were
killed in the affray, which conduct so enraged
Scomalt that she drove all the wicked to one end of
the island, then broke off the part on which they
stood, and pushed it adrift to the mercy of the winds
and waves. There they floated about for a length of
time, not knowing whither they went. They were
tossed about on the face of the deep till all died but
one man and woman, and this couple finding the
island beginning to sink with them made a canoe,
and paddling for many days and nights, going in a
westerly direction, they came to a group of islands,
and kept steering through them till they made the
main land—the land which they now inhabit—but
they say that it has grown much larger since that
time. This couple, when first expelled from the
island of their forefathers, were very white, like the
other inhabitants of the island; but they suffered so
much while floating on the ocean that they became
dark and dingy from the exposure, and their skins
m 288
have retained that colour ever since. From this man
and woman all the Indians of the continent have
their origin; and as a punishment for their original
wickedness, they were condemned by the great
Scomalt to poverty, degradation, and nakedness, and
to be called Skyloo, or Indians.
The religion of the Oakinackens, like that of all
Indian tribes, is difficult to understand, and still more
difficult to explain. They, however, believe in a good
and an evil spirit, who preside over the destinies of
man, and that all good actions will be rewarded, and
all evil deeds punished in a future state. The good
spirit, or master of life, they call Elemehum-ki 11-an-
waist, or Sky-appe; and the bad spirit, Kisht-samah,
or Chacha; both are invincible, and keep constantly
moving to and fro through the air, so that nothing
can be done unknown to them. They believe that
all good Indians after death go to the Elemehum-kill-
an-waist, and that the wicked who kill and steal, go to
the Kisht-samah. On all solemn occasions they offer
up a short prayer to the good spirit for his assistance
and help. They have no places of worship, public
or private. The god whom they adore is invincible.
In all their religious ceremonies the great pipe of
peace is smoked as a peace-offering to the Elemehum-
kill-an-waist, and also on all occasions of peace or
war, or other matters of state; and this is done by
holding the pipe (when filled and lighted) first to the
east, or rising sun, and drawing three whiffs; then to the
west or setting sun; next to the heavens above; and, EXTENT  OF  COUNTRY.
lastly, to the earth beneath—in each case taking car
to draw three whiffs. This religious part of the
ceremony is gone through only by the chief when
the first pipe is filled, before entering upon business.
Then the chief hands the pipe to his next neighbour,
who smokes without any ceremony, and he to the
next, and so on. At the conclusion of the business
there is no ceremony observed.
They believe that this world will have an end, as
it had a beginning; and their reason is this, that the
rivers and lakes must eventually undermine the earth,
and set the land afloat again, like the island of their
forefathers, and then all must perish. Frequently
they have asked us when it would take place—the
its-owl-eigh, or end of the world.
The Oakinackens inhabit a very large tract of
country, the boundary of which may be said to commence at the Priest's Bapids on the south; from
thence, embracing a space of upwards of one hundred
miles in breadth, it runs almost due north until it
reaches the She Whaps, making a distance of more
than five hundred miles in length; within this line
the nation branches out into twelve tribes, under
different names. These form, as it were, so many
states belonging to the same union, and are governed
by petty chiefs, who are, in a manner, independent
nevertheless, all are ready to unite against a common
enemy. These tribes, beginning at the southern
boundary and taking each according to its locality,,
may be classed as follows:—Ska-moy-num-achs, Ke- 290
waught-chen-unaughs, Piss-cows, Income-can-etook,
Tsill-ane, Inti-etook, Battle -le-mule-emauch, or
Meat-who, In-spellum, Sin-poh-ell-ech-ach, Sin-who-
yelp-pe-took, Sa-milk-a-nuigh, and Oakinacken,
which is nearly in the centre. All these tribes, or
the great Oakinacken nation, speak the same language ; but often differ a good deal from one another
as to accent. The whole nation, or twelve tribes
taken together, could never muster above six hundred
warriors. The number of souls I was never able to
ascertain correctly; but, considering the extent of
country they possess, they are far from being
numerous. I should say there are not more than
fifteen persons to every square mile. The Oakinackens are not a warlike people; fishing and hunting,
and not war, are their usual occupations.
The principal family of the Oakinacken nation
bears the title or name of Conconulps, being the
name of the place where the members of it generally
reside, which is situate about nine miles up the
beautiful stream of the same name. The head, or
principal chief of this family, died last year, leaving
the inheritance or chieftainship to Quills-ehin-eigh-an,
his eldest son, about twenty-five years of age. The
old man himself was called Who-why-laugh, or
Bed Fox.
The old chief was a venerable and worthy savage:
his influence was great over a wide circle, not only
at home, but abroad among the neighbouring tribes.
The Bed Fox had been many times with his youn
men at the Great Salt Lake, as they call it, meaning
the Pacific, the direct road to which, across the
mountains, is almost due west to where they fall on
the sea-coast, in about the 49th degree of north
latitude. They take generally fifteen days to make
the journey, sometimes more, sometimes less, according to circumstances. Traffic is their object: they
carry along with them the wild hemp of the interior,
prepared and neatly put up into small parcels, which
they give in exchange for the higua and trinkets.
The hemp is used for making fishing-nets, and is
always in great demand on the coast. The higua,
which has already been noticed, is the most valuable
commodity among the Indians to be found west of
the Bocky Mountains, being the circulating medium
throughout the country.
The royal insignia of an Indian king or chief is
simple, and is always known in the camp. The
Oakinacken emblem is a white wolf-skin, fantastically
painted with rude figures of different colours—the
head and tail decorated with the higua, bears' claws,
and the teeth of different animals—suspended from a
pole, in a conspicuous place near the chief's lodge.
On our first arrival among this people, the wolfskin was always to be seen waving conspicuously
from the pole; but as they began to associate and
got accustomed to us, they became less particular in
exhibiting the ensigns of royalty. But although they
occasionally threw off the savage ferocity and wild
aspect peculiar to savages in general, yet they could
u 2
w 292
not be brought, even after years of friendly inter-
course, to change their habits of life. The morose,
sullen, and unsociable disposition still remained the
same; whereas, on the contrary, the white man
almost immediately falls into the customs and ways
of the savages. An Indian accustomed to squat on
the ground, and double himself up in the lodge, is
long, long indeed before he can reconcile himself to
sit in a chair; but the white man is at once at home
in the Indian lodge, and becomes as easy and contented sitting, squatting, or lying amongst dirt and
filth, dogs and fleas, as if in his arm-chair at home—
showing how much more easy and natural it is for
civilized men to degenerate, than for the savage to
elevate himself to the habits of civilized men; but
here I should observe, that the Oakinackens are by
no means ferocious or cruel, either in looks, habits,
or dispositions; but are, on the contrary, rather an
easy, mild, and agreeable people.
The government, or ruling power among the
Oakinackens, is simple yet effective, and is little
more than an ideal system of control. The chieftain-
ship descends from father to son: it is, however,
merely a nominal superiority in most cases. Their
general maxim is, that Indians were born to be free,
and that no man has a natural right to the obedience
of another, except he be rich in horses and has many
wives; yet it is wonderful how well the government
works for the general good, and without any coercive
power to back the will of the chief, he is seldom COUNCIL  OF  CHIEFS.
disobeyed: the people submit without a murmur.
On all state occasions, of peace or war, the chief has
the assistance of a council; that is, he calls all the
great men together, they form a ring, sometimes in
the chief's lodge, sometimes in the open air. No one
is admitted into the council, except he can show
some marks or trophy of war, or has performed some
praiseworthy deed, according to their ideas, or else
he must be rich in horses or have many wives; or,
lastly, he may be called by the chief, and that
entitles him to a seat without any other qualification.
The council being seated, and the ceremonial pipe
smoked, the chief, in his usual sitting posture, holds
down his head, as if looking to the ground, then-
opens the business of the meeting by a speech,
closing every sentence with great emphasis, the
other councillors vociferating approbation. As soon
as the chief is done speechifying, others harangue
also; but only one at a time. The decision of the
council is sure to be zealously carried into effect;
but, in all ordinary matters, the chief is not more
conspicuous than any other individual, and he seldom
interferes in family affairs, or the ordinary routine of
daily occurrences: and this, I think, adds greatly to
the dignity of his character.
Each nation or principal tribe has generally two
chiefs; one for the village, and another called the
war-chief. The former is the head of the tribe; and,
as already observed, holds his office by lineal descent:
the latter is elective, and chosen by the voice or
H> 294
whim of the majority of the people. Every morning
at the dawn of day, the head chief rides or walks
round the camp or village, and harangues as he goes:
the business of the day is then and there settled;
but he never interferes with the affairs of families or
individuals. All the movements of the camp, as a
whole, as well as hunting and other matters of consequence, are settled by the chiefs authority alone;
and all weightier matters, of peace or war, are settled
by the chief and council.
The manners of the Oakinackens are agreeable,
easy, and unassuming, and their dispositions mild.
They are at times subject to gusts of passion, but it
soon blows over; and, on the whole, they are a
steady, sincere, shrewd, and brave people- They
are generally of the middle size, light, and well
made, and better featured and handsomer in their
persons, though darker, than the Chinooks or other
Indians along the sea-coast. The circumstances of
climate will perhaps account for this difference of
complexion. Their hair is generally jet black, long,
and rather coarse; they have dark black eyes, with
teeth white as ivory, well set and regular.
The women wear their hair neatly clubbed on
each side of the head behind the ears, and ornamented
with double rows of the snowy higua, which are,
among the Oakinackens, called Shet-la-cane; but
they keep it shed or divided in front. The men's
hair is queued or rolled up into a knot behind the
head, and ornamented like that of the women; but PLURALITY  OF  WIVES.
in front it falls or hangs down loosely before the face,
covering the forehead and the eyes, which causes
them every now and then to shake the head, or use
the hands to uncover their eyes^ The young persons
of both sexes always paint their faces with red and
black bars, extremely well designed.
The men live an active life; between hunting,
fishing, war, and making canoes and domestic implements, they are always employed and industrious.
Nor are the women less busy—curing fish, drying
meat, dressing leather, collecting^roots and fire-wood;
with their domestic and family affairs, their whole
time is occupied; and, indeed, they may be said to
serve in the double capacity of wife and slave. They
have in general an engaging sweetness, are good
housewives, modest in their demeanour, affectionate
and chaste, and strongly attached to their husbands
and children. Each family is ruled by the joint will
or authority of the husband and wife, but more
particularly by the latter. At their meals, they
generally eat separately and in succession—man,
woman, and child.
The greatest source of evil existing among this
otherwise happy people is polygamy. All the chiefs
and other great men have invariably a plurality of
wives: for he that has not one is neither chief nor
great man, according to their ideas of greatness, and
is looked upon with contempt. Many have two,
three, four, or live, according to their means and
influence: but those wives do not at all times re- 296
main together,—indeed, that would be utterly im^
possible,—but at different camps where their relations are; so that the husband goes from camp to
camp occasionally to visit them, keeping seldom
more than one or two at a time with himself. The
greatest favourite is of course his constant com-
panion. Indeed, brawls and squabbles constantly
ensue when several wives meet; and what is still
more revolting, the husband of the eldest daughter
of the family is entitled by their laws to take to
wife all her sisters as they grow up, if able to maintain them.
The dress or costume is nearly the same for men
and women. It is simple, neat, and convenient,
and serves unchanged for both winter and summer,
hot and cold, wet and dry, day and night. That
of the young females consists of a robe or garment
of deer-skin, down to their ankles, well dressed, and
soft as chamois, with long, wide sleeves, fringed and
ornamented with beads, and the more valuable
higuas with a belt around the waist, adorned with
the teeth of animals, beads, and trinkets, and is far
from being unbecoming. Leggings, or Indian stock-
ings, trimmed with all the showy ornaments of
Indian fancy; shoes, and a loose robe of deer-skin,
thrown carelessly round the body, constitute the
whole  of their dress  at all seasons  of the year.
While new, white, and clean, it has a pleasing appearance; nor does clothing of our manufacture
ever become an Indian woman so well as her own MEN AND WOMEN.
native dress; but as they have no change of clothing,
nor any bedclothes excepting an additional skin
thrown over them, their garments soon become
shabby and unsightly. A new garment once put
on remains until it is either worn to rags, or rotten
with grease and filth on their backs. Those, however, worn by young people of a certain age, both
male and female, are frequently bestowed on their
elders when half worn, and replaced by another new
suit; so that the younger folks of good circumstances
are always well dressed and clean.
The men's garments seldom descend below the
knee; and in lieu of being ornamented like those of
the women, with' gaudy trinkets, they are wrought
and garnished in a very fanciful manner with porcupine-quills. During winter the men wear long
detached sleeves or mittens up to their shoulders,
made of the wolf or fox skins, which are united or
fastened together by a string across the shoulders.
While on their hunting excursions, they also wear
caps made of the skins of the wolf or bear, with the
ears erect; their heads being thus metamorphosed
into wolves' or bears' heads, they are enabled to
approach the game with greater facility. But it is
not the head alone that is masked or disguised: I
have seen a fellow get into a deer-skin, stripped for
the purpose, with the skin of the head and horns
complete, walk off oh all fours, and get actually
among a herd of deer without their taking notice
of the deception.    But the wolf is the animal they 298
seem to imitate the best. An Indian concealed in
a wolfs hide, pulls the skin of the wolf's head, with
the face, eyes, and nose entire* over his own head,
the ears erect, and tail in its proper place, will walk,
run, and frisk about on his hands and feet, so that
he can scarcely be distinguished from the real ani-
mal itsel£ There is no bird nor beast of which they
cannot imitate the voice so as to decoy it within
their reach* v Hunting is a favourite exercise with
all Indians; and the Oakinackens are very fond of
displaying their dexterity in riding, and decoying
the animals of the chase. All classes of them paint
the face, particularly the young. Painting, and
dressing, and decking the hair, is their chief glory;
but they are nowise particular about other parts of
their persons. ¥
Marriage contracts—National custom—Exchange of presents—Nocturnal visits—The object—Purchasing the bride—Customs on the
occasion—Feuds and quarrels—Tla-quill-augh, or Indian doctor—
His office—Precarious life—Mode of paying him—Manner of
treating the sick—Customs and ceremonies on the occasion—Hard
duty — Superstitions H Knowledge of roots and herbs — Curing
wounds—Diseases, or general complaints—Gambling—Tsill-all-a-
come, or the national game—Manner of playing it—Bets—Gambling propensities—Hot baths—Manner of using them—On what
occasions—Indian qualifications—Gymnastic exercise—Comparison
—General remarks.
We now come to the mode of courtship and the
rites of marriage observed among these people. The
law of the land, or rather the established custom of
the country is, that parents betroth or promise their
children in marriage while they are still very young;
and these contracts are in most cases held valid when
the minors come of age.
When a marriage alliance is thus entered into
between parties on behalf of their infant children,
reciprocal presents exchanged immediately between
them serve as a seal to the marriage contract.   These ;oo
presents are occasionally repeated afterwards; but
not by both parties, as in the first instance. The
friends of the young woman cease to give, but are
always ready to receive what the friends of the
young man may from time to time choose to bestow,
until the parties come of age. What these presents
consist of is immaterial, and depends on the means
of the parties. Sometimes horses, or a horse, or a
dressed skin, or a few trinkets of but little value;
but as soon as the young man attains the age of
fourteen or fifteen years, and the young woman
that of eleven or twelve, he then goes and pays his
addresses to her in person; which is done in this
way:—After the people are all in bed, the young
man goes to the lodge or wigwam of his intended
bride, enters it in the dark, makes a small fire, and
sits by it till he is observed by some of the inmates.
The whisper then goes round. If he be welcome, the
girl's mother gets up, and without speaking to the
young man herself, she awakens her daughter, who
sits up with him by the fire; but the matron immediately retires to rest, leaving the young couple by
themselves. During the tete-a-tete, no person in the
lodge ever interrupts them. The interview is not
long: the young man then departs, and the girl
retires to rest again. These visits are repeated
some three or four times, or more; and if the suitor
be welcomed on every occasion, all goes on well.
He then goes in the day-time, pretty sure of success,
to hia intended father-in-law, accompanied by some PURCHASING  THE  BRIDE.
near relative, and bringing with him the purchase-
money ; that is, horses, robes, skins, and trinkets,
more or less, according to the rank of the parties.
On arrival they sit down opposite to the door of the
lodge. If invited in, all is well; then the pipe of
peace is smoked; one side of the lodge is put in
order; a new mat is spread out, and the young man
seated thereon. The young woman is then brought
by her father and mother, each taking her by an
arm, and placed near her intended husband. They
are thenceforth considered lawfully married. This
done, the pipe of peace is again produced; and
during the ceremony of smoking, the father-in-law
and young man's relative expatiate on the worth of
their respective families; after which the parties
regale, the bridegroom's companion returns home,
and the whole business is ended.
Now in all cases of first marriage the wife must
be purchased by her husband; for there is no
greater disgrace to a family than for a parent to
give his daughter away in marriage for nothing, as
they call it. In this, as in many other instances, the
custom here is exactly the reverse of that which
prevails in civilized life; for in place of giving a
portion with the daughter, the parents require a
portion for her; and the nobler the family the
greater must be the donation, for the quality of the
bride is on all occasions measured by the price paid
for her by the husband. I have seen, however, the
property tendered more than once refused;   nor is
i 302
it uncommon to increase the offer once or twice till
it is accepted. We have now shown the fair and
natural side of the question, and shall next turn to
take a view of the reverse side.
It sometimes happens that the plighted virgin
rejects the parents' choice. The parents themselves
also change their sentiments in this case; and the
young woman marries, not the person she was betrothed to, but another. This never fails to produce
feuds and quarrels between the families concerned;
the tide of animosity runs high—so high, sometimes,
that the tribe splits into two portions, which separate
from each other, perhaps permanently.
We need not touch on second or subsequent marriages; they are made and unmade according to
circumstances, whim, or fancy, without being subject
to any other law than the will of the parties themselves.
We now come to a rather mysterious part of our
subject, which I could never rightly understand, and
therefore do not expect to guide the reader satisfactorily through this labyrinth of superstition and
jugglery. It refers to a class of functionaries called
medicine-men, or priests, or perhaps, what would be
nearer the true meaning, conjurors; for I know not
exactly which of these terms would be the most
applicable to them, as the class of men to which we
allude act occasionally in all these capacities. They
are called Tla-quill-aughs, which signifies, in their
language, men of supernatural gifts, who pretend to
know all things, and can kill and cure by magic whom
they please. Among the whites they go by the
name of doctors or jugglers.
There are no acquirements, so far as I know,
deemed essential to qualify a person for the office of
a tla-quill-augh. In all Indian tribes there are three
or four characters of this description. The tla-quill-
aughs are men generally past the meridian of life ; in
their habits grave and sedate, with a certain shyness
and cunning about them. Like most Indians, they
possess a good knowledge of herbs and roots, and their
virtues. All classes stand in awe of the tla-quill-
aughs' power or ill will, and their opinions have much
influence in most matters. They are consulted in all
cases of sickness. All classes avoid, as much as possible, giving them offence, from a belief that they
have the power of throwing, as they express it, their
bad medicine at them, whether far or near, present or
absent. The people believe they can converse with
the good and the bad spirits; and the tla-quill-aughs,
on their part, make it their chiefest study to impose
on popular credulity, leading others to credit what
they do not believe themselves.
During our stay among these people, it sometimes
happened that the tla-quill-aughs were offended with
us for our want of faith. On such occasions, the other
Indians, seeing us act with so much unconcern in
matters which they considered so hazardous to ourselves, would stare at our ignorance, and look on us
as the barbarians of old did on St. Paul when the
FSH 304
viper fastened on his hand, expecting every moment
to see us fall down dead!
From what has now been said on the subject, the
reader will no doubt at once conclude that the tla-
quill-aughs are of all men the most happy. Let
him not, however, be deceived, but look upon them
as of all men the most miserable. Every misfortune,
sudden death, mishap, or unexpected disaster that
happens to any of the people, is immediately attributed
to some tla-quill-augh, and he, however innocent,
pays with his life for the calamity. On whomsoever
the imagination fixes, be he far or near, he is secretly
hunted out, waylaid, and put to death; and this is
generally the fate of all of them!
When any person is dangerously ill, a tla-quill-augh
is consulted, and the price of his services fixed, without his ever seeing the patient. As soon, therefore,
as this preliminary part of the business is arranged,
the price agreed upon is forthwith sent to his abode,
and he repairs to the sick person and begins his operations. He is always paid beforehand—that payment
being according to the quality of the sick person; and
it is believed that the more is given the sooner and
the better will be the case. It is no wonder, therefore, that they should be liberal on such occasions;
but if the patient dies the fee is all returned again.
When the tla-quill-augh enters the wigwam or
lodge, he views the patient with an air of affected
gravity, such as we see some of our own doctors
assume on entering the dwelling of a sick person, and MODE  OF  TREATMENT.
tells the bystanders, with a shake of the head and a
groan, that the case is a very bad one, and that without him the patient would have surely died. The first
thing he then does is to paint himself; and while this
is going on he keeps constantly eyeing the patient, ties
up his head with a leather strap and his waist with a
thong, then lays the patient on his back, takes a piece
of strong line, and girds him round the waist as tight
as possible ; in which position he is not allowed to stir,
or to receive any kind of nourishment, until the whole
ceremony is ended, which lasts for upwards of three
hours every morning and evening until there is a
change ; and I have known them for weeks together
to continue the business without intermission, when
it would be hard to tell whether the doctor or the
patient was most exhausted.
After the patient is thus placed, the tla-quill-augh,
standing over him in a stooping position, bends down,
and with his whole force presses him with his two
fists in the pit of the stomach, as if intending to push
'through his body; then, suddenly standing up again,
he opens his fists, and keeps blowing through his
fingers, every now and then ejaculating a short prayer
in a loud and frantic manner, stamping with his feet,
blowing with his mouth, and making various gesticu-
lations with his body and arms, always ending the
last sentence, in a tremulous voice and quaver of the
lips, in these words—" Ho! ho! ho! ho! oh ! oh!"
All this, the doctor says, is necessary to drive away
the evil spirit, for he must be expelled before a cure
ii 30;
can be effected! The moment the bad spirit is gone
out of the sick person, the tla-quill-augh sucks the
part affected with his mouth to extract the bad blood
through the pores of the skin, which, to all appearance, he does effectually. How he manages to do
it I know not; but I have often watched him, and
seen him throw out whole mouthfuls of blood, and
yet not the least mark would appear on the skin. I
have also examined the tla-quill-augh's mouth, supposing he might have cut it, but I could never discover
anything of the kind. By the colour and quantity
of the blood he announces the character of the disease.
He goes through the same ceremony with various
parts of the body till he expels the evil spirit altogether ; or if he fails to do so, and the patient dies, he
fixes the death on some rival in the profession.
Having now detailed the course pursued by the
honest and zealous tla-quill-augh himself, we next
come to describe the accompaniment performed by
his assistants. The moment the tla-quill-augh commences his operations, four other persons, men and
women indiscriminately, are placed in the same wig-
warn with the doctor and the sick person, two and
two, face to face—that is, opposite to each other, and
sitting tailor fashion, with a small stick in each hand.
Between these four persons is then laid, flat on the
ground, a piece of wood about eight feet long, and
on this they keep beating time with their sticks in a
loud and noisy manner, singing all the while; but
the moment the tla-quill-augh comes to the words ii
" Ho, ho, ho!" the assistants who keep drumming on
the piece of wood stop singing, and with their sticks
beat one, two, three, for three successive times, by
Way of an amen to the doctor's invocations. Then
silence ensues for about two minutes, when the whole
commences anew, and so on to the end of the ceremony, which, as I have already said, continues every
morning and evening about three hours.
The noise made by drumming on the stick, in
conjunction with the tla-quill-augh's hallooing, ig
intended to frighten away the evil spirit, and prepare the patient for medicine; so that, between the
doctor's bawling and stamping, and the drummer's
beating and singing, the noise may be heard a
quarter of a mile round. With all this absurdity,
many extraordinary cures are performed by these
people. They have a profound knowledge of all
simples, and if the complaint be manifest, as in cases
of cuts and wounds, or the like, their skill is really
astonishing. I once saw an Indian who had been
nearly devoured by a grizzly bear, and had his skull
split open in several places, and several pieces of the
bone taken out just above the brain, and measuring
three-fourths of an inch in length, cured so effectually by one of these jugglers, that in less than two
months after he was riding on his horse again at the
© o
chase. I have also seen them cut open the belly
with a knife, extract a large quantity of fat from the
inside, sew up the part again, and the patient soon
after perfectly recovered.    The bite of the rattle-
x 2
i'< 308
snake they cure effectually; and as to vomits, purges,
decoctions, and the knowledge of phlebotomy, none
can be more expert and successful than the tla-
quill-aughs; and I have witnessed two or three
eases, which baffled the skill of a regular surgeon,
cured by them.
The diseases most frequent among these people,
are indigestion, fluxes, asthmas, and consumptions.
Instances of longevity are here and there to be found
among them, but not very often.
From the doctor we now turn to the gambler.
Play or gambling is a favourite pastime among all
classes of the Oakinackens. The principal game is
called tsill-all-a-come, differing but little from the
chall-chall played by the Chinooks or Indians along
the sea-coast. This game is played with two small,
oblong, polished bones, each two inches long, and
half an inch in diameter, with twenty small sticks of
the same diameter as the bones, but about nine
inches long.
The game does not set any limits to the number
of players at a time, provided both sides be equal.
Two, four, or six, as may be agreed upon, play this
game; but, in all large bets, the last number is
generally adopted. When all is ready, and the property at stake laid down on the spot, the players
place themselves in the following manner: the parties
kneel down, three on one side, and three on the
other, face to face, and about three feet apart; and
in this position they remain during the game.    A WLmA
piece of wood is then placed on the ground between
them: this done, each player is furnished with a
small drum-stick, about the size of a rule, in his right
hand, which stick is used for beating time on the
wood, in order to rivet attention on the game. The
drumming is always accompanied with a song. The
players, one and all, muffle their wrists, fists, and
fingers with bits of fur or trapping, in order the
better to elude and deceive their opponents. Each
party then takes one of the two small polished bones,
and ten of the small sticks, the use of which will
hereafter be more fully explained. In all cases the
arms and body are perfectly naked, the face painted,
the hair clubbed up, and the head girt round with
a strap of leather. The party is now ready to begin
the game, all anxious and on the alert: three of
the players on one side strike up a song, to which
all keep chorus, and this announces the commencement. The moment the singing and drumming
begin on one side, the greatest adept on the other
side instantly takes the little polished bone, conceals
it in one of his fists, then throws it into the other,
and back again, and so on from one fist to the other,
nimbly crossing and recrossing his arms, and every
instant changing the position of his fists. The quickness of the  motions and the muffling of the  fists
make it almost impossible for his opponents to guess
which hand holds the bone, and this is the main
point. While the player is manoeuvring in this
manner,  his   three   opponents   eagerly  watch   his 310
motions with an eagle's eye, to try and discover
the fist that contains the bone; and, the moment
one of them thinks he has discovered where the bone
is, he points to it with the quickness of lightning:
the player at the same time, with equal rapidity,
extends his arm and opens his fist in the presence of
all; if it be empty, the player draws back his arm
and continues, while the guesser throws the player
one of the little sticks, which counts one. But if
the guesser hits upon the fist that contains the
bone, the player throws a stick to him and ceases
playing, his opponent now going through the same
operation: every miss costs a stick on either side.
It is not the best of three, but three times running:
all the sticks must be on one side to finish the game.
I have seen them for a whole week at one game, and
then not conclude, and I have known the game
decided in six hours.
It sometimes happens, however, that after some
days and nights are spent in the same game, neither
J O X o
party gains: in that case, the rules of the game provide that the number of players be either increased
or diminished; or, if all the parties be agreed, the
game is relinquished, each party taking up what it
put down: but so intent are they on this favourite
mode of passing their time, that it seldom happens
that they separate before the game is finished; and
while it is in progress every other consideration is
sacrificed to it: and some there are who devote all
their time and means solely to gambling; and when HOT  BATHS,   OR  FIERY  TRIAL.
all is lost, which is often the case, the loser seldom
gives way to grief. They are a happy people, never
repining at what cannot be remedied. Various other
games and amusements occupy their time: among
which, the females have several that are innocent and
amusing; but singing and dancing are their delight,
and in these they often indulge to excess.
Next we come to the description of their hot
baths, or rather fiery trial. To construct one of
these baths a good deal of trouble and labour is
required. A hole, fifteen feet in diameter, and
about four feet deep, is dug in some convenient
place for wood and water. The hole is then covered over with a thick coat of earth, as close as
possible, leaving only a small aperture or opening
in one side, barely sufficient to admit a single person to creep in and out on all fours. This done, a
pile of wood, with a considerable number of stones
laid thereon, is set on fire in the centre; and when
the wood is consumed, and the stones red hot, water
is thrown over them, causing a dense vapour and
intense heat; yet in the midst of this suffocating
cloud, where one would suppose a salamander itself
could hardly five, the Indians enter stark naked,
and no sooner in than the aperture or hole is closed
upon them. Here they keep singing and recounting their war adventures, and invoking the good
spirit to aid them again, rolling and groaning all the
time in this infernal cell for nearly an hour; when
all at once they bound out one by one, like so many 312
subterranean spectres issuing from the infernal regions. Besmeared with mud, and pouring down
with sweat, they dash into the cold water, and there
plunge and swim about for at least a quarter of an
hour, when they return again to their cell, going
through this fiery trial twice—morning and evening
—on all great occasions. On all occasions of peace
or war; of success in their enterprises, and good
luck in hunting, the bath is resorted to. In short,
great virtues are supposed to' arise from the regular
observance of this general custom of purification.
In the wide field of gymnastic exercise, few Indians—I might say none—have been found to cope
with civilized man. In all trials of walking, of running, of fatigue, feats of agility, and famine, even in
the Indian's own country, he has to yield the palm
of victory to the white man. In the trials of the
hot bath alone the savage excels.
The ceremony of the bath is not peculiar to the
Oakinackens: it is practised by all the aboriginal
tribes on the American continent. SOCIAL  HABITS.
Social habits—Winter habitations—Economy of the winter—Summer
employments—Collecting of food—Fish barriers—Salmon—Division
of labour—Roots and berries—Scenes at the fish camp—Mode of
catching the deer—Preparation of food—Furnaces or ovens—Implements of warfare —Spampt, how made—Pine moss—Bread, how
prepared—Great war-dance—Manner of fighting—Treaties of peace
— Scalps — Slaves — Funeral ceremonies — Mode of interment —
Graves—Superstitions—Emblems — Customs—Mourning—Punishments—Sedate habits and docile dispositions.
^Their winter habitations are constructed chiefly of
mats and poles, covered over with grass and earth;
and are made very commodious, comfortable, and
roomy. The inside being dug about a foot or two
below the surface of the ground, a precaution which
adds much to their warmth. They are invariably
open at the ridge pole all along, and the reason is
obvious; for without any chimney, the smoke by
this means has a free vent upwards. These lodgings resemble in appearance the roof of a common
dwelling-house removed from the walls and placed
on the ground; the fires are made in the centre,
directly under the ridge pole, and about six or eight
feet apart, and are in proportion to the number of 314
families who live under the same roof; each family
3 V
having generally one fire. The doors are but few,
and situate to suit convenience ; in the front, in the
back, or the gable ends, and are merely oblong
holes, over which mats are suspended by means of
a wooden hinge, which mat or door must be lifted
up and down every time a person goes in or out.
Although these dwellings have neither partition
nor division in any of them, yet the property of each
individual, the privacy of each family, and the place
each occupies, are so well secured and ascertained
as to afford to a rude people all the advantages, and
even conveniences of a more complicated building.
These dwellings are generally long and narrow, and
contain each from one to five or six families, whose
winter supplies of provisions are considered as one
common stock, and as such are served out in winter
by each family in turn, until the whole is consumed.
We must now relate the manner in which these
people pass the summer season, and provide food
for the winter. As soon as the snow begins to disappear in the spring, the winter camps break up,
and the whole tribe disperse here and there into
small parties or families; and in this unsettled manner they wander about till the middle of June,
when they aU assemble again in large bands on the
banks of the different rivers, for the purpose of
fishing during the summer season. Here, then, their
fish barriers are constructed, by the united labour
of the whole village or camp assembled in one
place. The salmon being then in the utmost abundance, no sooner are the barriers finished than one SUMMER EMPLOYMENTS.
or more of the principal men are appointed, by
general consent, to superintend each. The person
or persons thus chosen divide the fish every morning, and settle all matters respecting the barrier and
fish for the current year. Their authority is law
in all those matters till the end of the fishing season,
which is generally about the beginning of October.
During the season the camp is divided into four
parties, for the various purposes of daily fife, and
of laying in a stock of food for the approaching
winter. The men are divided into two parties; one
for hunting, and the other for fishing:  and of the
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women also, one party cure the fish, another collect
roots and berries. All these different productions
are dried and seasoned in the sun, and require much
attention and labour. The fish when properly cured
is packed up into large bundles or bales; the roots
and berries into bags made of rushes. The stock
for the winter, thus daily and weekly produced, is
then, during the nights, conveyed in secret, and put
in caches; that is, hidden under ground among the
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rocks; each family having its share apart, secure
from wild beasts and the eye of thieves. During
the continuance of the fish season, the Indian camp
is all life. Gambling, dancing, horse-racing, and
frolicking, in all its varied forms, are continued without intermission; and few there are, even the most
dull and phlegmatic, who do not feel, after enjoying
so much hilarity, a deep regret on leaving the piscatory camp on these occasions.
As soon as the fish season is over, the Indians again
all withdraw into the interior or mountains, as in the
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spring, and divide into little bands for th£ purpose of
hunting the various animals of the chace. In their
mode of ensnaring the deeT and other animals, they
are generally very successful. Exclusive of hunting
these animals with their guns, bows, and arrows, and
running them down with their horses, which latter
practice is a favourite amusement, they frequently
select a valley or favourable spot of ground between
two mountains, having a narrow outlet or pass at one
end; and the better to decoy the unwary game into
it, bushes are planted on each side of the pass, contracting, as it were, the passage as it advances into
the form of a funnel, until, at the outlet, it becomes
quite narrow. Here the animals, being pressed
forward by their pursuers, fall an easy prey to those
who in ambush await their arrival, and by whom they
are generally all killed while struggling to extricate
themselves from the snare.
The Indians, after passing a month or six weeks in
this roving state, congregate again into large bands
for the purpose of passing the winter on the banks of
small rivers, where wood is convenient