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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume X Oregon Historical Society 1909

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Oregon Historical Society
Edited by
DeSmet in the Oregon Country.   By Edwin V. O'Hara 239-262
Financial History of the State of Oregon.    By F. G. Young 263-295; 366-384
Fraser River, The Discovery and Exploration of.  By Frederick V. Holman. .100-115
Land Tenure in Oregon.   By Lon L. Swift 131-235
Wilbur, Father, and His Work.    By William D. Fenton 116-130
Brown's, John, Official Report of, Raid Upon Harper's Ferry, Va.; October
17-18, 1859   314-324
Jameson, John, Letter of, to Edwin Johnson 390-395
Marriage Certificate, a Hudson's Bay Company.   With Editorial Notes by
T. C. Elliott 325-328
Ogden, The Peter Skene, Journals.   With Editorial Notes by T. C. Elliott. .331-365
Warre and Vavasour's Military Reconnoissance in Oregon,  1845-6, Documents   Relative to.   Edited by Joseph Schafer, Ph. D       1-99
Work, John, Journal of.   Edited by T. C. Elliott 296-313
T. C Elliott, Editorial Notes on "A Hudson's Bay Marriage Certificate"... .325-328
    Editorial Notes on "The Peter Skene Ogden Journals" 331-365
 ■   Editor of the Journal of John Work 296-313
Fenton, William D., Father Wilbur and His Work 116-130
Floyd, John B., Official Report of John Brown's Raid Upon Harper's Ferry,
Va., October* 17-18, 1859 314-324
Holman, Frederick V., The Discovery and Exploration of the Fraser River.^rea ntfi~
    Address at the Dedication of the McLoughlin Home. 385-389
Jameson, J. Franklin, Letter of, Submitting Letter of John Jameson        390
O'Hara, Edwin V., DeSmet in the Oregon Country 239-262
Schafer, Joseph, Editor Documents Relative to Warre and Vavasour's Military Reconnoissance in Oregon,  1845-1846       1-99
Swift, Lon L., Land Tenure in Oregon 131-235  THE QUARTERLY
Oregon Historical Society.
Volume X MARCH. 1909 Number 1
[The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages.]
Edited by Joseph  Schafer.
The expedition of Lieutenants Warre and Vavasour to
Oregon in 1845-6 has been noted by several writers, among
them H. H. Bancroft in his EPistory of Oregon. References
to the same incident occur likewise in the written recollections
of some of the pioneer settlers of the Willamette Valley, as,
for example, those of Jesse Applegate. But the matter has
never been made prominent because, the fragmentary information available failed to reveal to anyone—either pioneer or
historian—the real significance of that expedition which was
in its very nature secret. It was known that the gentlemen
concerned in it were British officers and it was supposed they
were upon some secret mission to obtain information for their
government respecting conditions in Oregon; it was also
thought that they were spying upon Dr. McLoughlin, the
local manager of the Hudson's Bay Company at the instance
of Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Company's territories in America. Still, a good deal of mystery has surrounded the subject, the nearest approach to a correct interpre- Joseph Schafer
tation of the objects of the mission being the brief statement
contained in Father DeSmet's "Oregon Missions," published
in 1847.*
Fortunately, the whole matter can now be cleared up; for,
among the manuscript records of the British Government
relating to the Oregon question, there was recently found
a complete documentary history of the Warre-Vavasour
mission. Many of the papers relating to it were duplicated,
one copy in the records of the War Office and one in
those of the Foreign Office; a complete file is contained in
the Foreign Office records relating to America, volume 457.
This volume in the Public Record Office is labeled on the
back, "Warre and Vavasour," and all the papers, charts, etc.,
contained in it have reference to their expedition. The copies
presented herewith were executed by the writer, in part from
the War Office copies and in part from those in F. O. America
457, as the one copy or the other was found to be the more
legible. A very little supplemental matter is taken from other
places, as indicated in the citations. The sketch maps and
charts were traced for the writer from the originals contained
in F. O. America 457, by Lily Abbott Schafer.
The expedition has its origin at that point in the history
of the American-British controversy over Oregon, which, in
a dramatic aspect, appears to have been the most critical. The
negotiations between Secretary Calhoun and Mr. Pakenham
in 1844, though bringing forward conspicuously the new
American interest based upon the colonization of Oregon by
American pioneers, had yielded no tangible results, while the
presidential campaign of the same year issued in the election
of Mr. Polk, on a platform pledging his party to the "reannex-
ation of Texas and the re-occupation of Oregon." The expiring session of the 28th Congress, sharing the eagerness of
•See Thwaites (ed.) Early Western Travels, XXIX, 193-4. The editor in his
foot note (No. 90) gives some information obtained from the later writings of
Henry J. Warre, but he discounts DeSmet's statement and helps to perpetuate an
incorrect view first advanced by Bancroft respecting Warre and Vavasour's secret
commission  from  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company to  report  on   Dr.   McLoughlin. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
President Tyler to carry out these features of Democratic
policy, busied itself with both questions and actually settled
that relating to Texas.
The President had recommended the passage of a law calculated to encourage emigration into the Oregon territory,
and for extending to American settlers there the benefit of
legal protection to person and property; but he was careful
to limit the contemplated jurisdiction in such a way that it
would not involve the assumption of sovereignty over the
territory. The Congress was in no mood to discriminate with
nicety between the powers actually possessed under the treaty
of joint-occupation and those which it was felt by the western
members ought to be exerted for the protection and encouragement of the pioneers who had crossed the continent in
order to settle the Oregon country. Accordingly, the House
of Representatives on February 3, 1845, by a great majority*
passed a "Bill to organize a Territorial Government in the
Oregon Territory." This measure looked to the eventual
assumption by the United States of sovereignty over the whole
region west of the Rockies and between the parallels of 42
degrees and 54 degrees and 40 minutes. It provided for the
assignment of land to settlers, the erection of a fort at the
mouth of the Columbia, and other acts which manifested a
design to disregard the British claims in the country. Forts
were likewise to be erected along the route leading through
South Pass in order to facilitate emigration into Oregon.
Even before this bill was known to have passed the House,
the British cabinet, who were fully informed of the temper
of Congress, had become alarmed over the situation of affairs
on the Columbia. They feared an infraction of the treaty of
joint occupation by the United States and were concerned
lest the posture of affairs in the Oregon country might favor
what they considered the sinister plans of the American government. It was important to know precisely how strong the
Americans in Oregon were in comparison with the British
*One hundred and forty to fifty-nine. 4 Joseph Schafer
traders and settlers. "You seem confident," wrote Sir Robert
Peel on the 23d of February, 1845, to Lord Aberdeen, "that
we have the upper hand on the banks of the Columbia—that
the settlers connected with the Hudson's Bay Company are
actually stronger than the settlers, the subjects of the United
States, are at present. Have you carefully ascertained this
fact? If our subjects are the stronger at this present time,
may not their superiority be speedily weakened or destroyed
by the accession of fresh strength to the Americans?" He
desired Lord Aberdeen to prepare a circular memorandum on
American relations, especially the Oregon question, for trie
information of members of the cabinet. He suggested, likewise, the advisability of sending a frigate to the Columbia
and the placing of a small artillery force on shore.* The
Foreign Office at once applied to Sir John Pelly, Governor
of the Hudson's Bay Company in London, for information
relative to the settlements in Oregon, and received in answer
an extract from Sir George Simpson's report, dated Red
River, 20th June, 1844. In this Sir George notices the large
influx of American settlers, "from 700 to 800 souls," in the
fall of 1843, the progress of the movement for the establishment of a provisional government in Oregon, and concludes:
"American influence, I am sorry to find, predominates very
much, as, out of a population of about 3,000 souls, not more
than one-third are British subjects."!
A few days after this the news was received from Mr.
Pakenham that the House of Representatives had passed the
Oregon bill, and that the Senate was more likely to pass it
than not to pass it should time permit. Thereupon Lord
Aberdeen notified the Admiralty of the necessity of increased
vigilance on the part of Great Britain, and suggested that
"Rear Admiral Sir George Seymour should himself visit the
•The letter is found in the manuscript correspondence of Lord Aberdeen.
The writer is indebted to Lord Stanmore, son of Lord Aberdeen and custodian of
his papers, for the privilege of examining this correspondence and taking extracts
tThis correspondence, dated the 25th and 26th of February, 1845, is found in
F. O. America 439. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
(Oregon) Coast at an early period in the Collingwood with
a view to give a feeling of security to our own settlers in the
country and to let the Americans see clearly that Her Majesty's
Government are alive to their proceedings and prepared, in
case of necessity, to oppose them." No hostile measure, however, was to be taken, until it should be seen how the Senate
would act on the Oregon bill.*
The Senate, probably for lack of time, failed to pass the
bill; but the same dispatch, of March 4, in which Pakenham
reported this comforting fact to his government contained the
aggravating and disquieting news that President Polk, in his
inaugural of that date, had pronounced the American claim
to the whole of Oregon "clear and unquestionable." f This
seemed to confirm the worst suspicions based upon the attitude
of the late Congress, and since the new Congress was pledged
in advance to the President's policy, there seemed not much
hope of escape from serious difficulty over the Oregon
The London newspapers struck a warlike note, the Government leaders in the two houses of Parliament spoke out in
tones of clear defiance, declaring that Britain, too, had rights
in Oregon which were "clear and unquestionable," which
rights the Government could and would defend against the
aggressions of the United States.
The discussion in Parliament occurred on the evening of
April 4th; and so strong and unanimous was the sentiment
revealed that it was deemed important to communicate
promptly to the United States the news of what had passed;
the royal mail steamer, due to sail that day, was detained 24
hours in order that a report of these proceedings might be
included in the Government mail for America.?
On this mail steamer, sailing from England April 5th, went
also Sir  George  Simpson,  armed  with the documents  now
*F. O. America 440.   Letter dated the 5th of March, 1845.
tThe  news  came  first  by  a   New  York  sailing  packet  on   March
Everett's despatch to the   State  Department  dated  London,  April  2,   1
$See Everett's despatch No.  302 of April  16,  1845. 6 Joseph Schafer
printed for the first time which enabled him to set in motion
the expedition of Warre and Vavasour for the purpose of
making a military reconnoisance of Oregon. Sir George had
prepared his "memorandum on the Oregon question"* on the
29th of March, apparently after the flurry of excitement incident to the news of Polk's belligerent inaugural had set in.
He proposed, first, the establishment of a small military force
at Red River for the protection of the Company's interests
there, also the embodying of a force of native militia in that
country. Secondly, for the defense of Oregon, he recommended that two sailing vessels of war and two steamships
should be stationed on that coast. The latter were intended
for service in the Columbia. He suggested that a large body
of marines should be carried in the warships, and that a force
of some two thousand natives might be organized under English officers for service within the territory and on its frontiers.
His most specific recommendation was that Cape Disappointment should be taken by the British and a strong battery
erected thereon, which, under the conditions of navigation
prevailing at the mouth of the Columbia, would absolutely
control the channel of the river.
Simpson's suggestions, whether invited or not, appear to
have made an impression on the cabinet, and on April 2d
Sir George was bidden to an interview with Sir Robert Peel
and Lord Aberdeen at the residence of the prime minister, f
The conference resulted in the determination to send to the
Columbia, overland from Canada, one or two military officers
who should obtain "a general knowledge of the capabilities
of the Oregon territory in a military point of view, in order
that we may be enabled to act immediately and with effect in
defense of our rights in that quarter, should those rights be
infringed by any hostile aggression or encroachment on the
part of the United States."? It was at first intended to send
an officer from London, but the final decision was to instruct
•See page 13.
tSimpson to Pelly, July 8,  1845.
^Aberdeen to Lord Stanley, April 3, 1845.    See page 16. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
the Governor General of Canada, Lord Metcalfe, and through
him the Commander of the Forces there, Sir Richard Jackson,
to select one or two officers for the service. They were
admonished to consult with Sir George Simpson in regard to
the instructions which should be furnished the officers selected.
These officers were to proceed to Oregon as private gentlemen, and the objects of their mission were to be kept secret;
they were to report by any safe opportunity to the Governor
General of Canada, and through him to the Colonial Office
and the Foreign Office.
The Commander of the Forces in Canada selected his Aide-
de-camp, Lieut. Henry J. Warre and Lieut. M. Vavasour of the
Royal Engineers, who were instructed to report themselves to
Sir George Simpson and to be ready "to proceed with him to
the west"; they were also to "regulate themselves according
to his views, and conform in practise, to the instructions he
alone, from his knowledge of the intentions of His Majesty's
Government, and of the country can give."* "It would be
absurd," says the Commander, "to attempt to give detailed
instructions for the survey of a country of which the instructor
knows nothing." So he refers the officers to Simpson, but
makes, nevertheless, a few suggestions for the special benefit
of Lieut. Warre. He is advised to read a manuscript book
on the spirit of military surveying, also the instructions for
the commissariat lately issued; if possible, he is to study Fremont's report on the country to which he is going, and the
reports of the American Secretary of War, 1844, "recommending measures which in their impatience to occupy the
disputed territory the present government of the United States
appear disposed to overlook, although so obviously prudent,
that they may be adopted when that government finds that
its plans cannot be carried into effect without opposition."
This was the project of creating a new territory—ultimately
a new state—on the eastern border of Oregon. The plans for
the defense of the western states, and the journal of Colonel
•Memorandum   for   Lieutenant  Warre,  Ad.   Camp,   Montreal,   May  3,   1845.
See page 20. 8 Joseph Schafer
Dodge's military reconnoisance of the far west, were to be
studied. The point was, to see how similar expeditions, if
directed with hostile intent, toward the Oregon country, could
be cut off. Lastly, the officers were to be prepared to assist
Sir George Simpson, should he deem it wise to develop some
sort of military organization for the "settlers and other
inhabitants" of the Company's territories; they should be prudent in avoiding "any attempt to imitate the tactics or discipline of regular troops."
The special instructions furnished Lieut. Vavasour by Colonel Halloway, Commander of the Royal Engineers, required
him to examine and report on all existing British posts, their
availability for defensive purposes or the means of making
them available. He was also to examine as an engineering
expert the places Sir George might point out as naturally
suited to the erection of defenses for the whole country, and
to keep in mind the necessity of haste in the construction of
such defenses.
Sir George Simpson, after he had made a run to Washington to see Mr. Pakenham, who dissuaded him from a plan to
actually fortify Cape Disappointment in time of peace*, took
the young officers in charge and conveyed them to Red River,
where they arrived on the 5th of June. He employed them in
the study of the defenses of that territory till the 16th of the
same month, when they were sent forward, under the convoy
of Mr. Peter Skeen Ogden to the Columbia. While at Rainy
Lake, en route to Red River, Simpson had addressed to Warre
and Vavasour a confidential letter summing up his suggestions,
virtual instructions under the terms of Sir Richard Jackson's
instructions of an earlier date.f Her Majesty's Government
had confided to him, so Simpson wrote, that the object of the
military reconnoisance was to gain a "knowledge of the character and the resources of the country situated between the
Sault St. Marie and the shores of the Pacific, and of the prac-
•Pakenham correspondence, F. O. America, 426.
tSimpson to Warre and Vavasour, 30th May,  1845.    See page 25. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
tieability of forming military stations therein and conveying
troops thither." He called their attention first to the cordon
of posts the United States were forming—as he said—along
the Great Lakes, on the Mississippi, and from the Missouri
westward to the Rocky Mountains, a project calculated to
give them a powerful influence over the Indian tribes which
would be a most important preparation in the event of a war
with Great Britain, since the British frontier was quite unprotected. He proposed certain defenses on the Canadian side,
one in the neighborhood of Fort William on Lake Superior,
another at Red River. Simpson described in rather optimistic
terms the route they were to traverse from Red River to the
Oregon country, declaring in advance of their scientific investigation "that troops, either cavalry or infantry, might by that
route be forwarded to the mouth of the Columbia." He suggested, for the Oregon division of their work, a survey of
Cape Disappointment, which Mr. Ogden had private instructions to take, possession of for the Company, with a view to its
ultimate occupation for military purposes by the Government;
also the examination of Tongue Point, places between Fort
Vancouver and Cape Disappointment on the north side of the
Columbia controlling the ship channel, and the settled portion
of the Willamette Valley. Mr. Ogden had orders to obtain
possession, for the Company, of any points deemed important
in a military point of view. In accordance with his constitutional mental habit, Simpson described with a genial expan-
siveness the resources of the country for the sustentation of
troops. He ordered Ogden to provide all the means necessary
to enable Warre and Vavasour to make their inspection and
to support them in every portion of their work; Ogden was
to keep their mission a secret and give out that they were
known to the officers of the Company merely as private gentlemen traveling "for the pleasure of field sports and scientific
The character they were expected to sustain probably ex-
| Ogden, 30th May, 1845.    See page 35. io Joseph Schafer
plains the nature of the preparations the officers made at
Vancouver after their arrival and before beginning the execution of their orders. They provided themselves with superfine
beaver hats, at $8.88 apiece; frock coats, at $26.40 apiece;
cloth vests,figured vests,tweed trousers and buckskin trousers;
tooth brushes, nail brushes, hair brushes, fine handkerchiefs,
shirts, shoes; also tobacco, pipes, wines, whiskies, extract of
roses—and in short everything absolutely essential to high-
class travelers in an American wilderness, whose bills are paid
not by themselves but. by their government.
They arrived at Vancouver on the 25th of August and made
their first Oregon report on the 26th of October.* They pronounced the route over which they passed the Rocky Mountains to be "quite impracticable for the transport of troops,
with their provisions, stores, etc." In a word, they declare
that "the facilities for conveying troops to the Oregon Territory, by the route we have lately passed, do not exist to the
extent Sir George Simpson represents." Nor do they regard
the route as practicable for immigrants with wagons; a small
party of Canadian voyageurs did indeed pass to Oregon with
their families, but they were forced to abandon their wagons
on the east side of the mountains.
On the other hand, by the route which the American immigrants follow, the passage of the mountains is easy; hundreds
of wagons had been brought through to the Columbia "in the
last three years. That troops might be sent from the United
States to Oregon, is evident from the fact (of) 300 dragoons
of the United States regular army having accompanied the
last emigrants to 1(South Pass), ostensibly for the protection of the said emigrants from the hostile bands of Indians
infesting the Eastern Plains." They discuss the attempts
which had been made by the settlers to open a route from the
east side of the Cascades direct to the Willamette, and report
the existence of a southern road known only to the Hudson's
•See page 39-    The report they sent home from Red River June
3 not included among the documents printed in the following pages. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 11
Bay people, by means of which it would be possible to enter
the Willamette Valley from a point near the California boundary.* '•*!,.-• 1^., i-i-IL&H
In their historical sketch of the Willamette settlement
Warre and Vavasour emphasize the importance of the emigration of 1843. They say: "Till the year 1842-3 not more than
thirty American families were resident in the country. In
1843 an emigration of about 1000 persons with a large number of wagons, horses, cattle, etc., arrived on the Willamette,
having traversed the vast desert section of country between
the Missouri, the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia. . . .
This emigration scattered themselves over the face of the
country." They estimate the 1844 emigration to be about
equal in number to that of 1843, an<i that of 1845, which was
just arriving, was more numerous than either, probably two
thousand persons; they had five hundred and seventy wagons
drawn by oxen. Of special interest to American readers is
the view expressed by these British officers relative to political conditions in Oregon. They speak of the large American
majority in the country from the year 1844, an(l of the difficulty the Hudson's Bay Company experienced in protecting
their possessions against the "desperate characters" among
them. Yet the British and the Canadian settlers held out
against the American project to form a provisional government in 1843. Finally, in 1845, "the leading gentlemen of
both parties formed a coalition. . . . An organization was
established, neutralizing the preponderating American influence. . . . This compact is independent of the United
States Government. Emigrants of all nations, willing to uphold the law . . . are enrolled as members. . . . Nor
could (if we can express an opinion) a more judicious course
have been pursued by all parties, for the peace and prosperity
of the community at large." This is the view of the union set
forth in several letters of Doctor McLoughlin and may be
•This road was opened the following summer by a party of American pioneers
living in Oregon whose leader was Jesse Applegate. 12 ■  Joseph Schafer
regarded as the Hudson's Bay Company view, which at this
time the British officers accepted without qualification.
Why this view of the case is so radically changed in the
final report,* written apparently at Red River in the month of.
June following, we can only surmise. But at that time they
say: "In conclusion, we must beg to be allowed to observe,
with an unbiased opinion [possibly they considered the earlier
opinion biased by the fact of their dependence upon the Company's officers at Vancouver] that whatever may have been
the orders,t or the motives of the gentlemen in charge of the
Hudson's Bay Company's posts on the west of the Rocky
Mountains, their policy has tended to the introduction of the
American settlers into the country. We are convinced that
without their assistance not thirty American families would
now have been in the settlement." Without the help afforded
them by the British traders, through motives of humanity—
as the officers are willing to believe—the first American emigrants to Oregon could not have held out against the ravages
of hunger or the attacks of hostile Indians; since these were
succored—that is, the parties of 1841-42—others in ever increasing numbers, were encouraged to make their way to the
Columbia in 1843, 1844 and 1845. "The British party are now
in the minority, and the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company have been obliged to join the organization, without any
reserve, except the mere form of the oath of office. Their
lands are invaded—themselves insulted—and they now require
the protection of the British Government against the very
people to the introduction of whom they have been more than
The reports sent home by Warre and Vavasour reached the
Government too late to exert an influence upon the negotiation with the United States concerning the Oregon boundary
question. But they reflect the nature of the impression that
conditions in the Oregon country in 1845 were calculated to
tWe now know that their  or.
liberal manner.   See Simpson Lette Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
produce on the British mind, and since those conditions were
actually brought to the attention of the Government as early
as February, 1846, by the other agents whom Warre and
Vavasour encountered in Oregon,- we have good reason to
believe that the attitude of Great Britain in the final stage of
the negotiations was not unaffected by them.*
[No. 1.]
Simpson's Memorandum in Reference to the Oregon
Dated Hudson's Bay House, London, March 29, 1845.
Should the recent proceedings in the Congress of the United
States on the Oregon question result in hostilities between the
two countries, I think it would be absolutely necessary for the
protection of the Company's interests in Hudson's Bay that
a small miEtary force should be stationed at Red River. Besides this force I think it would be very desirable that a company of riflemen should be embodied in the country from our
native half caste population, who are admirably adapted for
guerilla warfare, being exceedingly active, and, by the constant use of the gun from childhood, good marksmen. It
would be necessary, however, to forward from Canada along
with the troops a sufficient number of officers to command
and discipline this corps.
The officers and men should be forwarded from Canada,
proceeding by steam to the Sault St. Marie, and I would provide craft to convey them from thence to Fort William, where
•Lieut. Wm. Peel, son of Sir Robert Peel, arrived in London February 9 or
10, 1846, bearing the report of the Hon. Capt. John Gordon, brother of Lord
Aberdeen, in command of the ship America, which visited Puget Sound in the
autumn of 1845. Captain Gordon's report contains a censure upon the officers of
the Hudson's Bay Company similar to that quoted above from Warre and
Vavasour's second report. Possibly this fact explains their changed attitude between the first and second report.
•The memorandum found in F. O. America 440 following extracts from a letter
of John McLoughlin dated July 4,  1844. 14 Joseph Schafer
they should arrive in the course of the month of August. From
Fort William they would be forwarded in light canoes to Red
River, each canoe taking ten men, who would have to work
their passage, experienced bowsmen and steersmen being provided in the country.
The Company's agents at Red River would conduct the
commisariat department better than strangers.
For the protection of British interests on the Columbia and
N. W. Coast, I would moreover suggest that two sailing ships
of war and two steamers should be stationed there. It would
be highly important to get possession of Cape Disappointment
and to erect thereon a strong battery, which would effectually
command the mouth of the river, as unless the southern channel may have been found practicable since I was there,* ships
entering the river must pass so close under the Cape that shells
might be dropped almost with certainty upon their decks from
the battery.
The Columbia River, owing to the difficulty of ingress and
egress, cannot be depended upon as a harbor; and to the southward there is no good harbor nearer than the Bay of San
Francisco in about 40 degrees N. Lat., but in the Straits of de
Fuca, Puget Sound, Hood's Canal, and the Gulf of Georgia
there are many excellent harbours of easy access. Although
it might be unsafe for sailing ships of war to enter the Columbia River, steamers would find frequent opportunities of
going in and out, even in winter, and in summer the weather
is so uniformly fine they could make certain of crossing the
bar almost any time.
There should be a large body of marines attached to the
ships of war, for boating and land service; and a force of
about 2000 men, half breeds and Indians, might be collected
on both sides of the mountains that could on a short notice
be rendered disposable for active service in any part of the
Oregon territory.   It would be necessary, however, that suffi-
1841.    See  Simpson Letters,  Am.  Hist.   Rev.,  XIV,
•In the fall of the yel
p. 70, and ff. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
cient officers should be at hand to command and discipline
these people.
The country is so productive in grain and cattle, and fish
are so abundant, that such a force as I have above pointed out
could with a little preparatory arrangement be provisioned
for twelve months certain.
Should the present negotiations happily result in a partition
of the country, the branch of the Columbia called Lewis River
would be a satisfactory boundary as regards British interests.
But if that cannot be obtained the parallel of 490 might be
continued as a boundary line until it strikes the north branch
of the Columbia, which from that point should be the boundary to the sea. If the 49th parallel be adopted as the boundary line the whole way from the mountains to the sea, then
it would be indispensable to have Vancouver's Island and the
free navigation of the Straits of de Fuca secured to us, as in
consequence of the prodigious tideway in Johnston's Straits
it would be impossible for trading ships to reach Fraser's
River by the northern channel.
On such partition of the country it would as a matter of
course be necessary that the Company and British settlers
should be secured in their present possessions by a provision
in the treaty, and the free navigation of the Columbia River,
as the only practicable communication to the east side of the
mountains, as well as the right of way by land (should a practicable route be found) from the Gulf of Georgia to the Columbia, should be secured to us. The provision in the treaty
should also secure to us the undisturbed possession of the
country now occupied by the Puget Sound Company, the
farms on the Cowlitz—in the neighborhood of Vancouver and
on the Multnomah Island—our water privileges on the Willamette River, our posts on the Columbia and Umpqua Rivers,
and all other establishments now occupied by the Company*
•It will be seen that the above outline of a treaty respecting boundaries and
possessory rights in Oregon resembles closely the treaty finally proposed by Great
Britain in June, 1846. But three years earlier, March 10, 1842, Simpson urged
the government of Great Britain not to yield "any portion of the countrv north
of the Columbia River." See Simpson Letters, Am. Hist. Rev. XIV, 87.
This is a good index to the progress of British sentiment on the question during
the period in which Oregon was being settled by immigrants from the United
States. i6
Joseph Schafer
It is very desirable that Lord Aberdeen should instruct Mr.
Pakenham to communicate with me confidentially on the
state of the negotiations respecting the Oregon boundary in
order that I might be prepared to act according to circumstances without the loss of time necessary for communicating
with England.
(Signed) George Simpson,
March 29, 1845. Hudson's Bay House. ■
To Sir J. H. Pelly Bart, Gov. of the H. B. Co.
[No. 2.]
Foreign Office, April 3, 1845.
Confidential, to James Stephen, Esq.
Sir: I am directed by the Earl of Aberdeen to request that
you will state to Lord Stanley that Lord Aberdeen is of opinion that, considering the excitement which appears to exist in
the United States on the subject of the Oregon Territory, the
uncompromising- boldness with which the claims of the United
States to that Territory have been put forward, and the declaration recently made by the new President in his inaugural
address, that he considers the right of the United States to
that country "clear and unquestionable," it will be necessary
to take without delay proper measures for obtaining/a general
knowledge of the capabilities of the Oregon Territory in a
military point of view, in order that we may be enabled to
act immediately and with effect in defense of our rights in .
that quarter, should those rights be infringed by any hostile
aggression or encroachment on the part of the United States.
With this object Lord Aberdeen would propose to Lord
Stanley that an instruction should be prepared for Lord Metcalfe [Gov. Gen. of Canada] to be sent out by this next packet
which sails on the 5th instant, directing him to communicate
confidentially with Sir Richard Jackson [Commander of the
Forces, Canada,], with a view to obtaining from him some
capable officer, or, if it should be thought necessary, two offi- Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 17
cers, to be left entirely to the selection of Sir R. Jackson, who
should proceed as private travelers to the Oregon Territory,
and examine the important parts of the country, in order to
obtain as accurate a knowledge of it as may be requisite for
the future and efficient prosecution of military operations in
it, should such operations become necessary.
Sir George Simpson, the Acting Governor of the Hudson's
Bay Company in America, who proceeds to Canada by this
mail, will be ready to place himself in communication with
Lord Metcalfe, and with Sir R. Jackson, and to impart to
them his views as to the best mode of efficiently carrying out
the object which is contemplated, as well as to communicate
all the practical knowledge, which he possesses in an eminent
degree, of the country which it is intended to visit and survey. He will further be prepared to assist the officer or officers who may be dispatched on this service with all the means
which, as deputy governor of the Hudson's Bay Company,
he has at his disposal.
Whatever expenses may be incurred in this expedition may
be defrayed by this office, or by the Colonial Department, as
may hereafter be determined whenever the accounts shall have
been sent in. But it will probably, in the first instance, be
found more convenient that the necessary arrangements for
providing the officers and their attendants with everything
that may be necessary should be made by Lord Metcalfe.
It is almost needless to say that perfect secrecy should, so
far as possible, l}e preserved as to the expedition and its
The officer charged with the expedition might, if Lord Stanley approves of that course, be instructed to report his proceedings by any safe opportunity which may present itself
through the Governor General of Canada under flying seal
to the Colonial Department, by which Department those reports would be communicated to Lord Aberdeen.
(Signed) H. U. Addington. 18 Joseph Schafer
[Endorsement] L. S. [Lord Stanley] : I presume you
know this measure was in contemplation. I propose to mail
ja copy of this letter by tonight's mail to Lord Metcalfe for
his guidance. Stephen [apparently].
[Second endorsement, different hand:
Send by this mail "Secret." S[tanley], April 4.]
Dispatched 4th of April in bag—delivered to Captain
Downing Street, 4th of April, 1845.
Secret. My Lord: I transmit herewith enclosed for your
Lordship's guidance a copy of a letter which has been received from the foreign office suggesting that two military
officers should be dispatched by your Lordship to the Oregon
Territory for the purposes described in that letter, and I have
to instruct your Lordship to take the necessary measures accordingly.
I have, etc., Stanley.
The Governor General, The Rt. Honorable Lord Metcalfe,
K. G. C. G.   Confidential.   3d of April, 1845.
[No. 3.]
Secret. His Excellency, Sir R. D. Jackson, Commander of
the Forces Govt. House, Montreal, May 2d, 1845.
Sir: Referring to the personal communications which I
have had with your Excellency, relating to the nomination of
two military officers for special service in the Oregon Territory, I proceed to apprise you of the views of Her Majesty's
Government in this mission, conveyed to me by instructions
from the Secretary of the State for the Colonies.
The officers whom you have selected will proceed in company with Sir George Simpson, the acting Governor of the
Hudson's Bay Company in the Oregon Territory, as private
travelers, and will carefully examine the important features
of the country, in order to obtain as accurate a knowledge
of it as may be required for the future and efficient prosecu- Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 19
tion of military operations in it, should such operations become necessary. Sir George Simpson, who possesses in an
eminent degree a practical knowledge of the country which
it is intended to visit and examine, will be prepared with all
the means which, as acting Governor of the Hudson's Bay
Company, he has at his disposal, to assist the officers to efficiently carry out the important duties entrusted to them.
Whatever expenses may be incurred in the expedition will
be defrayed by Her Majesty's Government whenever the accounts thereof shall be submitted, but the officers may in the
meantime require some advances to be accounted for hereafter which Sir George Simpson is prepared to supply.
The officers will report their proceedings to the Secretary
of State for the Colonies and transmit their dispatches open,
under sealed cover, to me by any safe opportunity which may
present itself.
It is especially to be borne in mind that perfect secrecy
should, so far as possible, be preserved as to the expedition
and its objects.
It is scarcely necessary to add that cordial co-operation
with Sir George Simpson, with reference to the objects of the
mission, will be an essential part of the duties of the officers
I request that your Excellency will give such instructions
to those officers as you may deem proper to enable them to
accomplish the views of Her Majesty's Government.
(Signed) Metcalfe.
[No. 4.]
Montreal, 3d May, 1845.
The commander of the forces has been instructed by His
Excellency, the Gov. General, to select two officers to accompany Sir George Simpson, Gov. of the Hudson's Bay Establishments in British North America, upon a particular service
of an important description. £■
Joseph Schafer
The officers so selected are Lieut. Warre, Ad Camp to the
Com. of the Forces, and Lieut. Vavasour, of the Rl. Engineers.
These officers will report themselves, accordingly, to Sir
George Simpson, and will hold themselves in readiness to
proceed with him, at such time, and in such manner, as he
may be pleased to point out to them.
The enclosed letter from His Excellency, Lord Metcalfe,
is transmitted to them for their guidance generally, in relation to the objects of their mission and mode of transmitting
their reports, etc. Specific instructions will be given to Lieut.
Vavasour by the [officer] Commanding Rl. Engineers with
regard to subjects requiring engineering service. Both officers will upon matters of interest common to both be regulated by the memorandum addressed by the Commander of
the Forces to his Ad Camp, Lieut. Warre.
(Signed) R. D. Jackson,
Com. of the Forces.
Memorandum of Lieut. Warre, Ad Camp.
Montreal, May 3, 1845.
1. It would be absurd to attempt to give detailed instructions for the f survey of a country of which the instructor
knows nothing.
The officers who accompany Sir George Simpson for the
purpose of affording military assistance must regulate themselves according to his views, and conform, in practice, to the
instructions, he alone, from his knowledge of the intentions
of Her Majesty's Government and of the country, can give
2. Mr. Warre will do well to consider, in order to carry
out the purpose of his particular line of duties, the general
instructions given to officers of the Quarter Master General's
He is recommended to read with attention and reflect upon
the "Reports" contained in a manuscript book now lent to Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 21
him exhibiting the spirit of military surveying by very able
officers, and also the instructions for the commisariat, etc., as
lately issued.
3. It would be desirable, if he have an opportunity, for
him to read a report upon the country into which it is supposed he is now going, by Lieut. Fremont, United States
Army, and the reports of the late Secretary of War of the
United States (Mr. Wilkins) in Nov., 1844, recommending
measures which in their impatience to occupy the disputed
territory the present Government of the United States appear
disposed to overlook, although so obviously prudent, that they
may be adopted when that Government finds that its plans
cannot be carried into effect without opposition. I advert to
the establishment of a "new Territory" preparatory to the
formation of a new state on the eastern side of the Rocky
Mountains, before forming a new territory or state on the
western side of the mountains.
4. He will pay attention to the plans proposed for the defense of the western states by General Gratiot, etc., and the
extract given him of the journal of expedition under Colonel
Dodge of the U. S. Army in 1835, from Fort Leavenworth
to the Rocky Mountains and back by way of the Arkansas
5. It would be desirable to see how such sort of expeditions if carried into the disputed territory for hostile purposes
might be interrupted or cut off.
6. It is not impossible that Sir George Simpson may deem
it prudent to give to the settlers and other inhabitants connected with the country under the control of our British Companies some sort of military organization, toward which military advice and assistance may be required. In such cases
the officers will be prudent in avoiding any attempts to imitate the tactics or discipline of regular troops.
P. S. For the reasons given in No. 1 no attempt at instructions is made as to the survey of particular rivers, mountains, Joseph Schafer
valleys or sea ports, or of the sea coast generally; to all these
Sir George Simpson will call attention in proportion to their
R. D. Jackson,
Comr. of the Forces.
[Enclosure:     Extract  from
mainly routes and distances.]
Col.  Dodge's   report,  giving
[No. 5.]
Confidental Instructions for Lieut. Vavasour,
Royal Engr.
1. In consequence of confidential directions received from
his Lordship, the Governor General, from Her Majesty's Government, and of the orders which I have received from his
Excellency, the Commander of the Forces, you will immediately proceed in company with Sir George Simpson, the
Governor under the royal charter of the Hudson's Bay Company, and use your utmost endeavors to obtain a general
knowledge of the capabilities in a military point of view of
such parts of the country as may be indicated to you by that
officer, in order that the British Govt, may be enabled to act
immediately and with effect, in case of any hostile aggression
upon Her Majesty's dominions on the western coast of
2. To this end you are desired to proceed with Sir George
Simpson, ostensibly in the capacity of a private individual,
seeking amusement, but you will examine well the more important parts of the country referred to, so as to guide the
prosecution of military operations, should such operations become necessary.
3. As Sir George Simpson has been instructed by the
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to co-operate as much
as possible with you, fOr the accomplishment of the important
objects of your mission, and to impart to you his views as Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
to the best mode of efficiently carrying them out, and also to
communicate to you all the practical and local knowledge
which in an eminent degree he possesses, of the country to
be visited, and to assist you with all the means, which in his
official capacity he has at his disposal, you will in all respects
be guided by and conform to his advice and instructions in
the progress of this survey and special service entrusted to
4. You will be careful to preserve perfect secrecy as to
the objects of the journey which you are to undertake, and
by every safe opportunity you will report your departmental
proceedings, and accompany your statements with illustrative sketches, addressing the same to me.
5. As all your communications will be transmitted for the
information of Her Majesty's Government, through the Governor General, I need not express to you the necessity of paying the utmost attention to the rendering of as full and at the
same time of as accurate a representation as possible of whatever may come under your observation.
6. It will, of course, be an important part of your duty to
examine and report on all existing British posts, to ascertain
and report if they be of a nature to resist any sudden attack,
or whether they could be made so in a short space of time,
likewise to examine and report the nature of the defenses
which in your professional judgment might if required seem
best adapted for the protection of such posts of the country,
as Sir George Simpson may deem most exposed to attack;
especially on the sea coast, bearing in mind the necessity of
dispatch in their construction, and in all cases where sea batteries or redoubts on the coast of the Pacific or of large rivers
being proposed, that the plans should show how works could
be enclosed, have their exterior faces and lines flanked and
ditched if practicable, and be supported by some proper description of Keep either in the interior or gorge, and for the
whole to be of more or less strength according to each precise
locality and to the verbal or other communications which will
be afforded to you by me. 24
Joseph Schafer
7. In all cases of proposed defense, you will state the probable cost, and means which may be available on the spot, as
well as the time required for their construction, and of course
you will forward sketches of each design. To save time and
trouble much pains need not be spent in the preparation of
drawings, outline sketches will suffice for illustrating your
views, but the scale, compass bearings and peculiarities of
site must be particularly shown. For the same reason of dispatch, estimates of detail will not be required, but the foundation of your calculations of approximating estimates of expense should be stated.
8. As the expenses which you may incur will be defrayed
by the government, you will be careful to preserve and transmit statements of your disbursements, duly authenticated.
9. In conclusion, I am to point out to you the necessity of
unanimity between yourself and the other officer associated
with you on this service, and the local authorities, especially
Sir George Simpson, the acting Governor of the British establishments in the Oregon Territory, and finally as a general
rule for your guidance you will observe all such instructions
as you may receive from Sir George Simpson.
10. You will be pleased to address all your reports on
engineer subjects to the Commanding Royal Engineer, Canada, in order that they may be submitted to the Commander
of the Forces.
(Signed) N. W. Hallo way,
Col. on the Staff, Comr. Royal Engr., Canada.
His Excellency, Sir Richard Jackson, has this day informed
me that he has delivered to his A. D. C. Lieut. Warre, the
officer with whom you are to proceed, a copy of the instructions from the Secretary of State, and also certain instructions which he will communicate to you confidentially, it being his particular desire that in all respects you should act
in concert and cordially together.
(Signed) N. W. Hallo way. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
[No. 6.]
Sir G. Simpson to Warre and Vavasour 30TH May, 1845.
Encampment Lac a la Pluie, 30 May, 1845.
H. J. Warre, M. Vavasour, Esquires, Red River Settlement.
Gentlemen: Having been confidentially informed by Her
Majesty's Government that the object of your present journey
is to acquire a knowledge of the character and resources of
the country situated between the Sault de St. Marie and the
shores of the Pacific, and of the practicability of forming military stations therein and conveying troops thither, with a
view, should it hereafter become necessary, to the occupation thereof for military purposes, and having been requested
to afford you every facility for acquiring such knowledge and
to furnish you with such information as my experience might
suggest, I beg to invite your attention to the following particulars, which I think may be useful as enabling you to frame
your report on the important object of your mission.
You are aware that the United States are forming a cordon
of military posts along their northern frontier, at Micheli-
macinac, the Sault de St. Marie, La Pointe, on the western
shore of Lake Superior, Prairie du Chien, Lake St. Peters,
and Council Bluffs, and others, I understand, are in progress
on the Missouri from that point to the Rocky Mountains,
showing the importance they attach to their Indian frontier,
and acquiring for them an influence among the surrounding
native tribes, which would be highly important in the event
of a war, while the trade and settlements along the British
frontier are altogether unprotected in that way.
Should Her Majesty's Government be desirous of affording similar protection to the British settlements and interests,
and of securing a similar influence over the Indian population in their neighborhood, I should consider that Point
Meuron, on the Kaministaquoia River (falling into Lake Superior), about nine miles above the Hudson's Bay Company's 26
Joseph Schafer
trading post of Fort William, situated in about 480 30 min.
N. Lat, and 890 W. Long., and Red River Settlement, at the
outlet of Red River into Lake Winipeg, in 500 N. Lat. and
970 W. Long., are the only two points where such protection
appears at present necessary or desirable, and at those places
military posts could be more advantageously situated than in
any part of the Indian country east of the Rocky Mountains.
As regards the means of transport, troops, ordnance, military stores, etc., etc., could be conveyed to the Kaministaquoia
River from Canada in steam or sailing vessels. The intercourse with the Sault is now so great that for many years
past there has been a constant communication during the season of open water, by steam and sailing vessels, to that point,
and the Hudson's Bay Company have a sufficient number of
decked and open craft on Lake Superior for any amount of
transport that might be required as far as the Kaministaquoia
The soil and climate of the banks of the Kaministaquoia
are favorable for the production of various descriptions of
grain, potatoes and garden stuffs, with pasturage for any
quantity of cattle, and an inexhaustible supply of very fine
fish in its immediate vicinity.
There is a water communication of about 700 to 800 miles
from the Kaministaquoia to Red River Settlement, through
which you are now passing, but, owing to the obstruction
arising from rapids and falls, it is practicable only for craft
that can be carried over such obstructions, usually known as
"portages." Bark canoes, capable of conveying 15 soldiers
and about 30 cwt. of baggage and provisions, which can be
navigated and carried across the portages by four men, are
the most suitable craft for half that distance, say from the
mouth, of the Kaministaquoia to Lac La Pluie, and boats
capable of carrying 30 men with their provisions and luggage,
can be employed from thence to Red River. If the troops
were to render the quantum of assistance in working these
craft which has frequently been afforded by women in the Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 27
Hudson's Bay Company's craft, the journey from Lake Superior to Red River might be performed in about twenty days,
but if they traveled merely as passengers, the work being performed by the bare number of experienced hands absolutely
required in each craft, the journey would occupy four to six
With the co-operation of the Hudson's Bay Company, who
have always large depots of provision and craft on hand, a
regiment might thus be conveyed to Red River Settlement in
the course of one summer. The best mode, however, of conducting their transport would be through the agency of the
H. B. Co., who, I have no doubt, would contract for the maintenance and conveyance of troops with their baggage from
Lake Superior to Red River Settlement after the rate of
about forty shillings per man, if they were to assist in the
transport, or about sixty shillings per man if conveyed as
Point Meuron, the site I would recommend as a military
post on the Kaministaquoia, is high ground, overlooking the
river, and is not commanded by any other point within reach.
The Indian population in that neighborhood is very thin, not
exceeding 100 to 150 families, of the Chippeway tribe, mild
and docile in their character, and entirely under the influence
of the Hudson's Bay Company, whose posts they frequent and
from whom they receive all their supplies of British manufacture.
The Hudson's Bay Company have four establishments on
the route from Lake Superior to Red River Settlement,
namely, Fort William, Lac a la Pluie, Rat Portage and Fort
Alexander, where craft and all other necessary supplies and
refreshment for troops could be provided.
At Red River the Hudson's Bay Company have an agricultural settlement containing about 5000 inhabitants, consisting principally of their retired officers and servants, and
their half caste families, and a few Indians. The country is
beautiful, salubrious, and very productive in wheat, barley, 28
Joseph Schafer
pease, etc., etc., cattle, sheep, swine and horses are very abundant, and the fisheries so productive that they would alone
afford the inhabitants the means of living if all other resources
failed. • Salt is procured in the settlement from numerous
saline springs in the neighborhood, and maple is so plentiful
as to afford large supplies of sugar.
The distance from the settlement to York Factory, the
company's principal depot on the shores of Hudson's Bay,
in communication with England, is about 700 miles. Lake
Winnipeg, which is navigable by decked vessels, forms nearly
Jialf the distance. From thence to the coast the navigation,
by a chain of rivers and lakes, is practically by boats of three
and a half to four tons burden. The downward voyage with
cargoes is usually performed in about 16 days, and the upward
voyage in from five to six weeks. By that route such articles
of British produce and manufacture as might be required in
the country can be conveyed at a charge of about 15 per cent
on English invoice prices.
The Company have at Red River Settlement two establishments or forts, walled in and protected by bastions of sufficient extent to quarter a regiment, and from the facility of
obtaining labor and stone, lime, brush, timber and other materials, extensive buildings might be erected there at a very
short notice.
Red River Settlement is the most favorable situation in the
Indian Territory east of the Rocky Mountains for a military
depot, and large levies of troops might be there raised from
the half caste population and the neighboring Indian tribes,
who, when properly disciplined, would form such a force as
would overcome many, and greatly harass all, the United
States settlements on the Missouri. A detachment of about
200 regular troops, however, I should consider sufficient to
form the nucleus of a force of several thousand natives, who
from their activity and habits of life, are admirably adapted
for guerilla warfare. The result of your own observations on
the spot will, I have no doubt, confirm all I have said on this Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 29
subject, and in order that you may be the better able to prepare estimates of the expenses that might be incurred in
forming the establishments I have suggested and in the maintenance of troops, I beg to annex a tariff or price current list
of labor and supplies of every description.
From Red River Settlement, whither I have now the pleasure of conducting you, a party will be dispatched under the
charge of Mr. Ogden, an influential officer of the Hudson's
Bay Company, to conduct you from thence across land to the
Saskatchewan River, and from thence across the Rocky
Mountains to Fort Colville on the Columbia River. Horse
traveling is the best and most expeditious mode of conveyance by that route, and the journey may occupy 40 to 50 days,
having been performed by me in the year 1841 in 47 days.
Mr. Ogden's knowledge and experience will guard against
privation, inconvenience or danger along that route. From
Fort Colville you will be able to reach the Pacific in boats in
five or six days, so that, leaving Red River about the 12
June you ought, according to the ordinary rate of traveling,
to arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River in the Oregon
Territory about the 12 August. From Red River you will
find a fine open prairie country, which has been traversed by
wheel carriages to the base of the Rocky Mountains, to a
defile or pass situated in about 51 ° N. Lat., which, although
impracticable for wheel carriages, is. by no means difficult on
horseback, having been lately passed by a large body of emigrants' families from Red River Settlement. The country
through which' you will have to travel abounds with buffalo,
deer and game, enabling the Hudson's Bay Company to collect depots of jerked meat, pemican, and other provisions to
any extent at their trading stations of Forts Ellice, Pelly,
Carlton, Pitt and Edmonton, so that troops, either cavalry or
infantry, might, by that route, be forwarded from Red River
to the mouth of the Columbia River.
While in the Oregon country I have to suggest your close
examination of Cape Disappointment, a headland on the north 3°
Joseph Schafer
"bank of the Columbia River at its outlet to the Pacific, overlooking the ship channel, and commanding as far as I was
able to judge when on the spot from superficial observation,
the navigation of the river, the occupation of which, as a fortification would, in my opinion, be of much importance in the
event of hostilities between England and the United States.
Mr. Ogden has private instructions from me to take possession of that headland on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, ostensibly with a view of forming a trading post and
"Pilots' Lookout" thereon; and if after you have made an
accurate survey it be found that any part of the back country overlooks the Cape, Mr. Ogden has been further instructed
to take possession of such commanding positions also. I have
therefore to request the favor of your communicating to that
gentleman whatever preliminary measures you may consider
it desirable should be taken, with a view to the prior occupation of all important positions by the company, in order to be
afterwards available by Her Majesty's Govt., should such be
deemed necessary or expedient.
While in the Oregon country I beg to suggest your visiting the Willamette Settlement, where there is a large population consisting of citizens of the United States and British
subjects, the retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company,
that you examine into the resources of the country as regards
the means of subsistence, and that you notice any positions
on the river which may appear to you well adapted for military stations, more especially on the north bank of the Columbia, between Fort Vancouver and Cape Disappointment, contiguous to the ship channel, which Mr. Ogden will point out
to you. It might be well to examine Tongue Point, commanding the ship channel on the south side, the occupation of which,
from its commanding situation, mignt, I think, become an
object of importance, and if, after examination, you be of the
same opinion, Mr. Ogden has been instructed to take formal
possession thereof for the Hudson's Bay Company. You will
see from the extent of the Company's agricultural operations, Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
and from the large quantities of cattle and sheep at their establishments of Fort Vancouver, the Cowlitz and Puget's Sound,
that they could provide the means of subsistence for any naval
or military force that is likely to be required in that quarter
and other parts west of the mountains, while the sturgeon,
salmon and other fisheries are inexhaustible.
Mr. Ogden has been instructed to meet all your demands
on the Hudson's Bay Company's stores, depots and resources
in furtherance of the objects in view, and to afford you safe
escort and means of conveyance back to Red River, where I
shall expect to have the pleasure of meeting you in the month
of June, 1846, whence a passage will be provided for you to
In conclusion, I beg to suggest that you report from Red
River Settlement, for the information of Her Majesty's Government, the result of your observations up to the time of
your departure for Oregon, and from Vancouver, by one of
the Company's vessels that will sail for England in October
you will have an opportunity of communicating such further
information as you may have collected up to that period.
Wishing you a safe and prosperous journey, I have, etc.,
(Signed) George Simpson.
To H. J. Warre and M. Vavasour, Esqrs.
Prices current for labor, provisions, Red River Settlement,
June, 1845.
Labor per diem, Is 6d (equals 36 cts.) and rations.
Team of horses, per diem, 3s.
Team of cattle, per diem, 2s.
Beef (fresh), per lb., 2d.
Mutton, per lb., 2d.
Bread, per lb., 1 J£d.
Biscuit (from 1st and 2d flour), per lb., 2d.
Flour (1st and 2d), per cwt., lis 6d.
Peas, per bushel, 2s.
Oats, per bushel, Is 6d.
Straw, per load of 800 lbs., 2s.
Hay, per load of 800 lbs., 3s.
lime, per bushel, 4d.
Brick, per M., 40s.
Firewood, per cord, 2s @ 3s. 3*
Joseph Schafer
[No. 7.]
Encampment Lac a la Pluie, 30 May, 1845.
Peter  Skeen  Ogden,  Esqr.,  Chief Factor,  Hudson's  Bay
Dear Sir: Having submitted for your private information
a confidential letter I have under this date addressed to
Messrs. Warre and Vavasour, two British officers now accompanying us from Canada on their way to the shores of the
Pacific at the outlet of the Columbia River, which fully explains the object of their journey, I have now to request the
favor of your conducting those gentlemen from Red River
to their destination by the Saskatchewan, crossing the Rocky
Mountains at the Bow River Pass and touching en route at
Forts Ellice, Pelly, Carlton, Pitt, Edmonton and Colville, and
the other establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company on
the Columbia River.
Your party will consist of six servants of the Company
besides Messrs. Warre and Vavasour, and yourself and Mr.
Lane, one of the Company's clerks, who you will consider as
specially attached to your party, and who is to be employed
as I shall hereafter point out. Messrs. Warre and Vavasour
are to be provided at Red River with two saddle horses each,
and a horse each for the conveyance of their personal luggage,
which are to be relieved by fresh horses at each post you may
visit, and the necessary number of horses for the remainder
of the party will in like manner be provided from station to
It is desirable that you should take your departure from
Red River not later than the 12 prox., so as to reach the Pacific as early as possible, with a view of anticipating Lieut.
Fremont, of the United States Army, who was to have left
St. Louis on the 25th April for the same destination,* and by
•Fremont did not in fact try to reach Oregon on 1
spring of 1846, when he essayed to open the souther
Valley, but returned from Klamath Lake to the Sac
ird expedition until the
jte into the Willamette
nto  Valley  on  meeting Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
a steady prosecution of the journey I am in hopes you may
reach the Pacific by the 12th August.
The first object to be attended to on arrival there is to take
possession, on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, of Cape
Disappointment, ostensibly with a view to the formation of a
trading post and Pilots' Lookout (should it not have been
previously occupied on behalf of the United States Government or any of its citizens). In that case you will be pleased
to employ Mr. Lane and the servants who accompany you in
the building of a house on the Cape, taking possession by a
rough fence of the headland and the isthmus connecting it
with the back country, running a slight fence along the shore
of Baker's Bay and across the point to the shore of the ocean,
so as to enclose as much of the interior as may be desirable
for the exclusion of strangers; likewise enclosing, for the same
object, any high ground in the rear, within cannon range,
which may command the Cape.
After the necessary enclosures and buildings shall have
been erected, I have to beg that Mr. Lane and two men be
left in charge of the post, to give their attention to the Indian
trade, being furnished with such provisions and supplies from
the depot of Fort Vancouver as may be necessary for the
maintenance of the post.
I have further to beg that you will point out to Messrs.
Warre and Vavasour the ship channel from the mouth of the
Columbia up to Fort Vancouver, directing their attention to
such points on the north shore as may command the channel,
likewise to Tongue Point on the south side, and if those gentlemen be of opinion that the occupation thereof might become
important in a military point of view you will be pleased to
take possession of the headland on behalf of the Hudson's
Bay Company, and erect a house on such position as those
gentlemen may select as the best site for a battery, forming
a rough fence across the neck of land connecting the promontory with the back country and along the edge of the woods
round the promontory, leaving two men there for a few weeks,
the more formally to establish our occupancy. 34 Joseph Schafer
You will understand, however, that neither Cape Disappointment, Tongue Point, nor any other place is to be taken
possession of by the Hudson's Bay Company if already possessed and occupied on behalf of the United States Government or its citizens; but after possession has once been taken
by you of any of these points, I have to request that such may
not be relinquished unless compelled to abandon it by superior
force and overt acts of violence on the part of the United
States Government or its citizens, and in that case, either
yourself or the officer for the time being superintending the
Company's affairs at Vancouver will be pleased to report the
same in writing to the commander of any of Her Majesty's
ships with whom you may have an opoportunity of communicating, calling upon such officer for support and protection,
and handing him the best proofs you can adduce of the nature
and extent of the violence that may have been exercised in
dispossessing the Company of the occupied points, transmitting to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay
Company a detailed report of all proceedings connected with
this subject.
Should Messrs. Warre and Vavasour wish to visit the Willamette Settlement or any other point of the Oregon country
where we can afforod them protection, you will grant them
the necessary facilities to do so; meeting all their demands
in writing on the Hudson's Bay Company's stores and resources, providing them with a passage to the mountains in
spring, with a view to their accompanying the Express to Red
River, so as to arrive there early in June, 1846, securing for
them the kindest hospitalities and attentions at our different
establishments, and consulting their pleasure, comfort and
convenience, in so far as circumstances may admit. I have
further to beg that all expenses connected with the conveyance
of these gentlemen to and from the Pacific, and all other outlay that may be incurred connected with their expedition, likewise the wages and provisions of the officer and servants who
may be employed in taking possession of Cape Disappoint- Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
ment, or of any other points that may be determined upon,
in accordance with the spirit of the letter referred to, be
charged to an account to be in the meantime headed "Suspense
I have to request that this letter be considered strictly confidential, and that the object of Messrs. Warre and Vavasour's
journey be not disclosed, but that it be given out that they are
known to us only as private travelers for the pleasure of field
sports and scientific pursuits.
Herewith I hand you an order on the Company's stores and
resources at the different establishments you may visit, in furtherance of the objects of this expedition.
I remain, etc.,
(Signed) George Simpson.
[No. 8.]
Sir George Simpson to Lord Metcalfe, 9th July, 1845.
e Mechipicoton, Lake Superior, 9th July, 1845.
To His Excellency, The Right Honorable Lord Metcalfe,
etc., etc.
My Lord: In conformity to your Lordship's instructions
when I had the honor of seeing you at Montreal in the early
part of May last in reference to the mission of Messrs. Warre
and Vavasour to the Columbia River, I conducted those gentlemen to Red River Settlement, Hudson's Bay, where we
arrived on the 5th June, and dispatched them thence on the
16th of the same month overland for Oregon, where I expect
they will arrive in the course of the month of August. From
Montreal to Red River we traveled by canoe by the most
direct route, say the Ottowa River, across Lake Nepisingue,
descending the French River to Lake Huron, along the northern shore of that Lake to the Sault de St. Marie, thence along
the northern shore of Lake Superior to Fort William at the
outlet of the Kaministaquoiah River, descending [sic] that river,
and proceeding by a chain of rivers and lakes to the Lake of Joseph Schafer
the Woods, thence down the Winnipeg River to the lake of
the same name, and from thence to Red River, which empties
itself into the southern end of that lake. From Red River
Settlement they were forwarded on horseback with a party
consisting of a clerk and six servants besides guides, interpreters and hunters, under the charge of Mr. Chief Factor Ogden,
who was instructed to take the most direct route to Oregon
by the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Rivers, crossing the
Rocky Mountains at the most southern British pass (in about
Lat. 51 °), traversing the Flathead and Kootenai countries, and
falling upon the Columbia River at Fort Colville, whence they
are to proceed to the shores of the Pacific by boats.
At the interview I had with Sir Richard Jackson previous
to my departure from Montreal, I was requested to draw the
attention of Messrs. Warre and Vavasour to such points connected with the objects of their mission as I might consider
important, and to afford such information as my experience
might suggest, which might be useful in enabling them to
frame their report for the information of Her Majesty's Government.
I, accordingly, addressed a confidential letter to those gentlemen under date 30th of May, copy of which is herewith
forwarded, and I addressed another confidential letter to Mr.
Chief Factor Ogden under the same date (copy of which is
also transmitted), directing that gentleman to take possession, on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company, of Cape Disappointment at the entrance of the Columbia River, and of
such other positions as might be important in a military point
of view, in conformity to the desire of Her Majesty's Government, as communicated to me at an interview with which
I was honored by Sir Robert Peel and the Earl of Aberdeen
on the 2d of April last.
By reference to my letter to Messrs. Warre and Vavasour
your Lordship will observe that I consider it highly important
to British interests that one or two military posts should be
formed on the southwestern Canadian frontier, in order to Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
counteract the influence which the United States Government
is acquiring over the Indian tribes and British settlers, by
means of a cordon of military posts, which have been already
formed, or are in course of construction, along their northern
frontier, extending from Michelimacinac, by the Sault de St.
Marie, La Pointe, Prairie du Chien, Lake St. Peter and Council Bluffs, and from thence up the Missouri and Yellowstone
Rivers to the Rocky Mountains, and your Lordship will further observe that I have in the same communication pointed
out the situations where I think such British posts might be
most advantageously established; the practicability and expense of conveying the troops, and the resources of the country for their maintenance. So dangerous do I consider the
influence thus acquired by the American Government to the
British interests on the frontier that I am induced respectfully
to request your Lordship's favorable consideration of the
remedy for this evil which I have taken the liberty of pointing out
As it may be of interest to your Lordship to possess the
latest information in reference to the proceedings of a public
character in Oregon, I have the honor to transmit herewith
some extracts from a dispatch I have addressed the Governor
and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company on that subject, which contains every particular worthy of notice.
Herewith I forward a packet addressed to your Lordship,
which was entrusted to my care by Messrs. Warre and Vavasour and with much respect.
I have the honor, etc., etc.
[No. 9.]
Fort Vancouver, Columbia River, November 1, 1845.
My Lord: We have the honor to forward, according to
your Lordship's instructions, the accompanying letters, addressed to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, containing
such information as we h*ve been able to collect up to the
present date, on the Oregon Territory. 38
Joseph Schafer
We shall have the honor to submit a more detailed report
on our return to Canada next summer, with a statistic of the
separate tribes from whence we have taken our census of the
Indian population, which, we believe, has been based on the
best information to be obtained in the present unsettled state
of the country.
We regret not being able to accompany our report with
more numerous sketches or surveys. The whole of the lower
Columbia is covered with so dense a forest, and is so impenetrable that it would be quite imcompatible with the time
allowed to visit so vast a section of the country to give detailed plans of the separate points and the season has been so
short during which operations could be successfully carried
on in the field as to render it impossible to gain more than a
superficial knowledge of the whole.
With regard to Cape Disappointment and the shores of the
Columbia River we could not, consistent with our duty, gain
any information on their capabilities for defense during the
very limited stay we were obliged to allow for that country.
We intend proceeding again to those points, and hope to be
able to complete our survey, and make such observations as
may be advisable under the present circumstances.
The Cape and principal points of the adjacent country being in the possession of American citizens, has much crippled
our proceedings, having no authority for their purchase. The
absence of Mr. Ogden, to whom Sir George Simpson gave
instructions on the subject, has also delayed our operations
in that quarter.
We have the honor to be, My Lord, your Lordship's obedient, humble servants,
Henry J. Warre, M. Vavasour,
Lt. 14 Reg. Lieut. Royal Engr.
The Rt. Honorable, The Lord Metcalfe, Gov. General of
[The report and the letters seem to be in the handwriting
of Lieut. Warre.] Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
[No. 10.]
Report of Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour, Dated 26 October, 1845, Directed to "The Rt. Hon. the Secretary of
State for the Colonies."   Received July 6, 1846.
H. B. Company's Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory,
October 26, 1845.
My Lord:    In continuation of the report, dated June 10,
1845,* an<i forwarded from Red River, referring to the particular service entrusted to us, by order of His Excellency
Lord Metcalfe, the Governor General in B. N. America:
We have the honor to inform your Lordship of our arrival
at this post, in the Oregon Territory.
The overland journey from Red River to the Columbia
occupied 62 days, having left the 16th of June, we reached
Fort Colville on the 16th August.
There are two lines of communication from Red River to
the Columbia, viz.:
1 st. The route by which we have lately passed to a defile
in the Rocky Mountains, in about 500 30' north latitude
(from whence [to?] the head waters of the north branch of
the Columbia) [which?] is seldom used except by small parties requiring dispatch, and is quite impracticable for the
transport of troops, with their provisions, stores, etc.
The country on the east side of the Rocky Mountains presents a succession of undulating plains, intersected by numerous belts of thickly wooded swamps, and many dangerous
The passage of the Rocky Mountains alone would form a
sufficient barrier to prevent the transport of stores, etc., on
account of the high, steep and rugged nature of the mountain
passes; the same insuperable objections, increased by the
denseness of an almost impenetrable jungle, and more numerous rivers, and mountain torrents, exists on the west side, following the course of McGillivray's River (which is unnaviga-
*In Lord Metcalfe's, 26 July, 1845. 40
Joseph Schafer
ble), and on the right bank of which we descended to the
2d. The northern water communication in frequent use by
the traders of the H. B. Company, apparently affording
greater facilities for the conveyance of troops, is by the more
circuitous route of Lake Winnipeg, the Saskatchewan and Athabasca Rivers, from whence the "portage" or land carriage
of about no miles across the Rocky Mountains to the boat
encampment on the Columbia.
We shall return by this route in the spring, 1846, and be
then able to report on its capabilities.
We beg to draw your Lordship's attention to the following extract of a letter addressed by Sir George Simpson, the
Govr. of the Hudson's Bay Company, to ourselves, in which
is contained all the information or instructions received from
. that gentleman on the subject of our present report, viz.:
"From Red River Settlement, whither I have now the pleasure of conducting you, a party . . . etc. [Quote Sir G
Simpson's letter from the above clause down to and including
the following, five and a half pages of matter. "You will see
from the extent of the Company's agricultural operations and
from the large quantities of cattle and sheep at their establishments of Fort Vancouver, the Cowlitz and Puget's Sound,
that they could provide the means of subsistence for any naval
or military force that is likely to be required in that quarter,
and other parts west of the mountains, while the sturgeon,
salmon and other fisheries are inexhaustible."]
(The report continues) :
Your Lordship will perceive, by the above statement, that
in our opinion the facilities for conveying troops to the Oregon Territory, by the route we have lately passed, do not
exist to the extent Sir George Simpson represents.
The Hudson's Bay Company have a certain stock of cattle,
etc., at each of their different trading posts of Fort Ellice, on
the Assiniboine, and Forts Carlton, Pitt and Edmonton on
the Saskatchewan Rivers, but as far as we could learn they Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
depend upon the buffalo and other wild animals for their supplies, and had not more than sufficient for the consumption
of their present occupants.
The difficulties of the journey across the American continent are much increased by the uncertainty of finding buffalo,
nor did we obtain throughout the whole journey one single
animal to supply provisions for more than the day's consumption, to even our limited party.
The trading posts above mentioned consist of a dwelling
house for the gentleman in charge, and stores, etc., built of
wood, surrounded by strong pickets or palisades, about 15 feet
in height, and small block houses at the opposite angles armed
with field and wall pieces.
They are calculated to resist a sudden attack of a band of
Indians, but cannot be considered as works of defense against
a disciplined force.
The emigration mentioned by Sir George Simpson in the
above extract was composed of several families of retired
trappers and servants of the H. Bay Company accustomed to
a "voyageurs" life, from whom it is impossible to judge of
the practicability of a route for the conveyance of troops. On
the east side of the mountains, to the point where they were
obliged to abandon their wagons, etc., their course was to the
south of that by which we passed, it not being considered safe
for pur party, composed of only ten men, to encounter the
wild tribes of Indians on the open plains.
Fort Colville is situated on a small plain surrounded by
lofty sand hills at the head of an unnavigable rapid called La
Chaudiere Falls. It is said to be 2049 ^eet above the level of
the sea, 824 [?] miles from the boat encampment on the
Columbia (whence the northern portages of the Rocky Mountains). It is 84 miles below McGillivray's River and 672 miles
from the Pacific Ocean.
The buildings are similar in construction to the trading
posts on the east side of the mountains, and calculated only
to resist the sudden atacks of Indians. 42 Joseph Schafer
The soil of the surrounding country is sandy and unproductive, but the irrigation afforded by the constant overflowing
of the river enables the Hudson's Bay Co. to raise about one
thousand bushels of wheat annually in its vicinity.
They have also about ioo head of cattle and 300 or 400
horses attached to this post.
One hundred and thirty-seven miles below Colville is Fort
Okanogan on the left bank of that river, which is navigable
for canoes and boats for some distance into the interior. The
buildings are similar to Fort Colville, and calculated for the
same defense. There is also a depot of cattle and horses at
this post.
For about 50 miles below Fort Colville the fir timber is
thinly scattered over the face of the country, after which, and
to within 200 miles of the sea, the trees totally disappear. The
country is desolate in the extreme, interminable sandy deserts
extending on either bank of the river as far as the eye can
reach, without vegetation and intersected by ranges of high
sandy hills, surmounted by rugged basaltic rocks. In the
neighborhood of Fort Colville some limestone is found, but
in what quantity or of what quality we had not an opportunity
of judging.
One hundred and eighty miles below Okanogan the Snake,
or south branch of the Columbia River, joins the north, and
nine miles below the junction is Fort Nez Perces, on the
Walla Walla River, built of mud, 120 yards square, and better adapted than any of the other posts to resist a sudden
The Columbia River, between Colville and Walla Walla, is
obstructed by several rapids which it would be dangerous to
descend in boats. No difficulty, however, occurs in making
the "portages," which seldom exceed half a mile.
The current of the river varies according to the season, having a rise of 19 feet at Fort Vancouver in the spring of the
year. In ascending the river the chief difficulty is in the scarcity of fir wood, drift wood being the only obtainable fuel, Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
which the Indians collect and sell to the traders for their culinary purposes.
The boats in which we descended are admirably adapted for
this dangerous river navigation and for the conveyance of
troops. Each boat would carry 15 or 20 men. But from the
depth of water between the rapids, where it is necessary to
make a "portage," there is no reason why a much larger boat
might not be constructed for the conveyance of troops, etc.
By the Pescous River falling into the Columbia below Okanogan, and by the Eyakama [Yakima] River above Fort Nez
Perces, Indian roads exist over a mountainous country to
Puget's Sound, which we believe might be made available for
the conveyance of troops (landed in that harbor) into the
interior. But we have not been able to make a personal inspection of these routes.
In 1841 the Hudson's Bay Company made use of one of
these routes to convey cattle to Nesqually, on Puget's Sound.
Fort Nez Perces on the Walla Walla River was formerly
the point where the emigration from the United States embarked on the Columbia, and it is still preferred by large numbers of emigrant families. But a more southern and shorter
route has been discovered by which they fall upon the Columbia about 125 miles below the Walla Walla, at an impracticable rapid called the "Dalles," formed by the contraction
of the river bed into a narrow "trough" or channel, not more
than 30 yards wide, where the boats, etc., are transported
overland for a distance of one mile.*
We find according to the information collected from a number of emigrants, recently arrived from the United States,
that on leaving the Missouri they ascended the Platte River
for about 400 miles, through a fine open country, with but few
intervening rivers not easily forded, to the Forks, from
whence, following a northwest course for about the same distance, they reach the Rocky Mountains at a pass which is
easily traversed by wagons, etc., through a valley 80 miles in
length, terminating on the headwaters of the Colorado or 44 Joseph Schafer
Green River, from thence across sandy deserts to near the
sources of the Snake or south branch of the Columbia River,
on which is a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company
called Fort Hall.
From this point they descended the north bank of the Snake
River (which is navigable only for small canoes) through a
rugged barren country to the Walla Walla River—or by the
newly discovered route they leave the Snake River about ioo
miles from its junction with the Columbia, and following a
southwest course, by the valleys of several unimportant
streams, they fall upon the Columbia at the "Dalles."
The principal obstructions on this line of communication
with the Oregon Territory appear to arise on the west side of
the Rocky Mountains. On the east side the country is comparatively level and fertile, abounding in buffaloe, etc.
The passage of the Rocky Mountains presents little or no
difficulty. The valley being open and comparatively level.
Hundreds of wagons have traversed this pass during the last
three years.
That troops might be sent from the United States to Oregon is evident from the fact that 300 dragoons of the United
States regular army having accompanied the last emigration
to the above mentioned valley through the mountains, ostensibly for the protection of the said emigrants from the hostile
bands of Indians infesting the eastern plains.
On the west the country is one continuous sandy desert.
Steep ravines and mountain passes constantly intersect the
road. In many places the timber is so scarce that sufficient
for the ordinary camp purposes is with difficulty obtained,
while the sterility of the country not affording food for buffaloe and other wild animals no dependence can be placed on
obtaining a fresh supply of provisions by the chase.
The emigrants, on their arrival from the United States,
rendezvous at the "Dalles," where an American Methodist
Mission is established on a rising ground to the south of the
river, about three miles below the rapid. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
There is an inexhaustible salmon fishery at this point, to
which the Indians of all the surrounding country resort during the months of March and October for their summer and
winter supplies.
Frequent attempts have been made to penetrate to the valley of the Willamette by a more southern route, avoiding the
Columbia River, but the country is so densely covered with
fir trees and intersected by mountains and ravines that the
undertaking has invariably failed, the parties being obliged
to abandon their wagons, with the loss of numbers of their
We have been informed by the gentlemen of the H. B. Co.
that there is a road, known only to their trappers, near the
southern boundary (1819) by which easy access might be
attained to the valley of the Willamette River, where the great
body of the citizens of the United States are settled, f
From the "Dalles" the River Columbia is deep and uninterrupted to the Cascades (48 miles), where it forces a passage through a range of lofty mountains, extending from latitude 49 degrees into California, parallel with the sea coast,
and where it again becomes unnavigable for a distance of
three miles. The south bank is impassable at this point. The
emigrants descend on the north side, recross the river about
15 miles below the rapids, from whence they strike across a
thickly wooded country to the Clackamas River, which they
descend to the valley of the Willamette.
Below the Cascades the Columbia is navigable to the Pacific (150 miles), although occasionally obstructed by sand
bars. Ships of 300 tons burden are constantly navigating its
water to Fort Vancouver, 35 miles below the Cascades (the
principal depot of the Hudson's Bay Company west of the
Rocky Mountains), on the north bank of the river, situated in
•The reference is apparently to those efforts which eventuated a year later in
the opening of the Barlow road, which crossed the Cascade Mountains near
Mount Hood.
tThis road was sought by Fremont, and opened by the Applegate party in 1846. 46
Joseph Schafer
a small  plain,  which  is  partially  inundated by the  spring
Fort Vancouver is similar in construction to the posts
already described, having an enclosure of cedar pickets 15
feet high, 220 yards in length and 100 yards in depth. At the
northwest angle is a square blockhouse containing six 3-lb.
iron guns (vide the accompanying sketch). There is a small
village occupied exclusively by the servants of the H. B. Co.,
on the west side, extending to the river.
The fort was formerly situated on a rising ground in the
rear of its present position, but was removed on account of
the inconvenient distance from the river, for the conveyance
of stores, provisions, etc. The present site is ill-adapted for
defense, being commanded by the ground in the rear.
About five miles above the fort, on a small stream falling
into the Columbia, is an excellent saw mill, and on another
small stream one mile distant is a grist mill, capable of
grinding 100 bushels of wheat daily.
The Hudson's  Bay  Company have  about   1200 acres  of
ground under cultivation, producing about  bushels of
wheat and   bushels of potatoes annually.    There are
about 2000 sheep, 1300 head of cattle, and between seven and
eight hundred horses belonging to the establishment.
The Willamette River, on which the American citizens have
formed their principal settlement, joins the Columbia by three
channels; the first, and that in most general use, is five miles
below Fort Vancouver, the two others are little known and
"debouche" 12 and 15 miles lower down, forming a large
fertile island, but covered by water during the spring of the
year, which renders this, as also many of the low lands in
other parts of the country, valueless for cultivation. The ■
three channels unite about six miles above the mouth of the
upper, at a point called Linnton, where it was intended to
form a village; this idea appears to have been abandoned, at
the present time but one family lives there.*
•Peter H. Burnett and Morton M. McCarver, of the ii
the  town   of  Linnton,   believing   that  point  the  head   of  j Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
There is sufficient depth of water in the river for boats of
any size, for a distance of twenty miles, when a shallow, strong
rapid, at the mouth of the Clackamas River, impedes the
navigation (except in the seasons of high water) to the Falls,
about three miles above, where the village or settlement (commonly called Oregon City), inhabited principally by Americans, is situated.
This settlement was commenced in 1829-30 by Dr. Mc-
Loughlin, the chief resident of the H. B. Company west of
the Rocky Mountains, who cleared land on the right bank
of the Falls, intending to avail himself of their immense
water power by erecting saw mills, etc. In the same year,
1830, four Canadians, retired servants of the Company, settled
in the country above the Falls, and were followed during the
succeeding years, 1831-32-33, by several of their countrymen.
The H. B. Co. gave every encouragement to their undertaking
by supplying them with horses, cattle and implements of husbandry. In 1833 a fur and fishing company to trade in the
valley of the Columbia was formed in Boston, and a vessel
despatched from thence arrived at her destination. But having
failed in their dealings with the natives and being deserted
by many of the crew, who became settlers, the Company was
broken up and the remainder of the party returned on the
following year to their native country.*
In 1834 a large party of missionaries sent across the continent by the Methodist Missionary Society in the United States,
arrived at the Falls of the Willamette, where they obtained
from Dr. McLoughlin the timber he had prepared, but not
made use of, for the saw mills, to build a church and dwelling
house. '•' ■ : f ^Ij
These missionaries remained at the Falls till 1842, when
they quarreled among themselves and sold the greater portion
of their lands and improvements to Dr.  McLoughlin, who
•The reference is to the Wyeth enterprise, which is fully illustrated by the
Journals and Letters of Nathaniel Wyeth, published in 1899 under the editorship
of Professor F. G. Young, Eugene, Oregon. Joseph Schafer
had originally given them the grants from the "claim" he
had made to a portion of this section of the country.
In 1835 many Canadians and H. B. Company's retired
servants settled on the river, and in this or the preceding year*
two Roman Catholic missionaries from Canada established
themselves near the center of what now had become the
Canadian settlement, erecting a church and building a school-
house for the education of the Canadians, half-breeds and
Indian population. During the following years a few Americans straggled into the country, attracted by the exaggerated
descriptions of the soil and climate, as represented by the
American traders and trappers, many of whom were in the
service of the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1841-42 the H. B. Company on the east of the Rocky
Mountains contributed largely to increase the British subjects
in this country, by encouraging and affording means of transport to such of the inhabitants of their settlement at Red
River who might wish to emigrate to the Red River. About
150 families were induced by this means to settle on the Cowlitz River, and on the plains in the neighborhood of Nesqually,
in Puget's Sound; and horses, cattle, etc., given to encourage
their labor.
The soil of that part of the country not yielding so great a
return as anticipated, many of them removed in the following
year to the valley of the Willamette.
Till the year 1842-43 not more than thirty American families were resident in the country.t
In 1843 an emigration consisting of about 1000 persons,
with a large number of wagons, horses, cattle, etc., arrived on
the Willamette, having traversed the vast desert section of
the country between the Missouri, the Rocky Mountains and
the Columbia. They arrived at an advanced season of the
year, much exhausted by their arduous journey, and were
•The Catholic missionaries arrived late
tThis  estimate varies  from that made
Simpson Letters, Am. Hist. Rev., XIV, p.
. the year 1838.
November,   1841.     See Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
indebted to the H. B. Company for boats, etc., to forward
them to their future homes.
This emigration scattered themselves over the face of the
country, many of them remaining at the Falls, where saw mills
had been erected by Dr. McLoughlin and by Americans; the
claims [were?] surveyed and divided into town lots, which
were sold to whoever desired to become a purchaser.
In 1844 about an equal number of emigrants arrived from
the United States as in the preceding year, and avowedly
under the sanction and protection of the American Government, who offered a premium of 640 square acres to any
American citizen becoming a settler [sic], seeking by this
means to overrun the country and strengthen their claim to
the disputed Territory.
In 1842 the American Government appointed Dr. White,
previously surgeon to the Methodist Mission in that country,
their agent in Oregon, and he exercised the duties of this
office, drawing his salary through the H. B. Company on the
American Government till this year (1845), when he returned
to the United States.
On our arrival on the Columbia in August last we found a
much more numerous emigration than on any former year
arriving from the United States, having been escorted to the
Rocky Mountains by 300 dragoons of the U. S. Army under
the command of Colonel Kearney—who, we believe, have
returned by the same route.
Lieutenant Fremont, of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, accompanied the emigration of 1843, remained a short
time in the country and returned m the autumn, but being
prevented by the snow from recrossing the Rocky Mountains
at so late a season of the year, he entered North California,
where he wintered, and reached the United States in the
following summer. His report has been published by order
of Congress at Washington, and is said to contain much valuable information, which we regret not having been able to
peruse. 50 Joseph Schafer
This officer has accompanied the present emigration to Fort
Hall, from whence he crossed toward the southern boundary,
and we understand he is making a survey of the Valley of the
Klamet River, with a view to its settlement, and to find a
line of communication between that country and the headwaters of the Willamette.
This officer always appears in his undress uniform and
makes no concealment of his being employed by the Government of the United States.
It is extremely difficult to discover the exact number of
emigrants now arriving in the country, but from the best
information we have estimated their numbers at about 2000
individuals. They have 570 wagons drawn by oxen, which
are found to be preferable to horses for so long a journey,
and it is stated that they started with 6000 cattle, including
milch cows, etc., etc., large numbers have died on the route.
They have a large number of horses and a few mules. Their
wagons are admirably adapted for the long rugged land
That the gentlemen of the H. B. Company have not exaggerated the lamentable condition of these emigrants on former
occasions is evident by the appearance on arrival of this, said
to be the most wealthy and respectable of all the former.
Fever and sickness have made fearful havoc among them, and
many are now remaining in a helpless condition at the
"Dalles" and the "Cascades." They report 30 men, women
and children having died upon the journey.
By the foregoing statement your Lordship will observe that
even in 1844 the citizens of the United States formed a large
majority over the only British subjects in the Oregon country,
viz.: the gentlemen composing the Hudson's Bay Company,
their servants, and the retired servants who had become
This majority would be much increased by the arrival of
the anticipated emigration of 1845.
The subjects of Great Britain had great difficulty in pro- Warre and Vavasour, 1845-1
tecting their lands and possessions from the desperate characters, chiefly the refuse of the Western States, whose enmity
to anything "British" was open and avowed.
In 1843 an organziation had been formed by the citizens
of the United States to administer,justice and keep the peace
within what they considered their own territory, as far north
as the Columbia River; against this American compact the
British and Canadian population protested—and this was the
state of affairs till the autumn of 1844.
The property of the H. B. Company had often been threatened, and was at any time liable to be destroyed by the lawless
Americans, influenced by the reports of designing individuals;
and for the protection of their property, and for the peace
and prosperity of the whole community, the leading gentlemen
of both parties formed a coalition (1845). An organization
was established, neutralizing the preponderating American
influence. A governor chosen by mutual consent and the
fundamental laws for the government of the whole derived
from the statutes of the Territory of Iowa, on the Missouri,
recently joined to the United States. Thus the internal peace
of the country has been preserved and the allegiance of either
party to Their respective governments respected.
This compact is independent of the United States Government. Emigrants of all nations, willing to uphold the law in
a [the] country, and for the protection of life and property,
are enrolled as members. The governmental offices being
defrayed by a fixed taxation, according to the laws of Iowa,
as before stated.
Nor could (if we can express an opinion) a more judicious
course have been pursued by all parties for the peace and
prosperity of the community at large.
There are about 300 inhabitants at the village on the Falls.
One Roman Catholic and one Methodist chapel, about 100
dwelling houses, stores, etc. An excellent grist mill (the whole
of the machinery, etc., having been exported from England
by Dr. McLoughlin) and several saw mills. 52 Joseph Schafer
The buildings are of wood and the town is situated on a
ledge of rocks about 30 feet above the average level of the
river. Behind the town a perpendicular scarp rises for about
40 feet, sloping gradually away to the rear. This is one of
the most important points in the settlement, commanding the
navigation of the river, and offering every advantage, as
regards position, for defense.
We regret not having been able to make a survey of this
place, being fearful of increasing the jealousies already excited
by our arrival in the country, which feeling has also prevented
our making sketches of many other points, or obtaining information to make our report as efficient as we could wish.
The surrounding country is fertile, and the forests of pine
and oak are interspersed by prairies on which the settlers
build their houses, raise their crops and pasture their cattle.
The settlement extends about sixty miles on either bank of
the river, the country is comparatively level, that on the right
bank being frequently inundated during the spring freshets
for a considerable distance into the interior; the soil yields
an abundant return, with comparatively little labor; and the
pasturage is excellent.
To the eye the country, particularly the left bank of the
river, is very beautiful. Wide extended, undulating prairies,
scattered over with magnificent oak trees, and watered by
numerous tributary streams (on which several saw mills are
now in operation) reach far to the south, over the confines of
North California (to near which boundary our journey was
extended), and offering a field for an industrious civilized
community, but seldom surpassed, for pastural and agricultural purposes.
On the right bank of the river, about 30 miles above the
Falls, is a Roman Catholic Mission, having four resident
priests and six sisters (from Belgium). A church, dwelling
houses, and school houses, where we witnessed the examination
of about sixty children, the sons and daughters of the Catholic
half breed population.    About 25 miles above on the same Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
bank of the river, an American Methodist Mission is established, having one resident minister, a large school house and
dwelling house. We regret not being able to give so prosperous an account of the Methodist Missionaries as of the Roman
Catholic Brethren. In this instance, the school house was in
wretched repair, and but few pupils seemed to attend for
instruction. They are but ill supplied by the society in the
United States, and we fear that religious instruction gives
place to personal aggrandizement with the members of this
There are ferries established across the river, which is wide,
and navigable for small boats and canoes, at the above mentioned stations.
Below the Falls the river is said to rise 20 to 25 feet during
the high waters in the Columbia in the month of June. Above
the Falls the rise is also very great, from the quantity of rain
falling during the winter, and the melting of the snow on the
mountains, during the spring.
The total number of inhabitants in the Valley of the Willamette is about six thousand, of whom about 1000 may be
considered as subjects of Great Britain.*
Notwithstanding the advantages to be found in this valley,
many of the American emigrants become dissatisfied, and
remove to California, where the climate is more salubrious and
their possessions unlimited.
During our absence in the Willamette settlement, Mr. Ogden
proceeded alone to Cape Disappointment, at the mouth of the
Columbia River, to take possession of that headland according
to the instructions he had received from Sir G. Simpson, but
finding it was claimed by two Americans, he entered into
negotiations for its purchase, which are not completed, his
•Lieut. Peel's report, dated September 27, 1845, just one month earlier than
the Warre-Vavasour report, gives the total population of the Willamette settlement at about 3,000 inhabitants, including women and children, of whom about
600 or 700 are Canadians and half-breeds, retired servants of the Company. If
both reports are approximately correct, it follows that the emigration of 1845.
arriving after Peel wrote, amounted to 3,000. 54 Joseph Schafer
services being required in the interior, from whence he has
not returned.
We also went down the Columbia River, visited Fort
George and Tongue Point on the South side, and made a survey of the Cape, which we regret not having had time to
complete to forward by the present opportunity.
On our return we found Lieutenant Peel, R. N., and Captain Parke, R. M., of Her Majesty's ship "America," who had
made a short tour in the Willamette Settlement. We accompanied these officers back to their ships in Port Discovery,
Straits of San Juan de Fuca, and informed Captain Gordon of
our arrival in the country and the several objects of our
journey. ^-.1-1
From Port Discovery we crossed the Straits to Vancouver's
Island, commencing in the 48 parallel of latitude and extending
260 miles north, and about 50 in breadth.
This island is somewhat intersected by high mountain
ranges, but the soil is said to be fertile and well adapted for
cultivation. We visited the H. B. Company's post, Fort
Victoria in 480 26' N. Latitude, and 1230 9' W. Longitude, on
the south shore of the Island near the head of a narrow Inlet
(of which we forward a sketch) where they have established
a fort similar to those already described, a farm of several
hundred acres on which they raise wheat and potatoes, and a
depot of provisions, supplies, etc., for the different Trading
posts further to the north. The position has been chosen
solely for its agricultural advantages, and is ill adapted either
as a place of refuge for shipping, or as a position of defense.
The country to the south of the Straits of de Fuca, between
Puget's Sound and the coast is overrun by high rugged
mountains presenting great difficulty in traversing, and but
few inducements to the farmer.
Between the above mentioned points there are some fine
harbors, among which we may mention Port Discovery and
Dungeness, on the south shore, and a bay within three miles
of Fort Victoria, called the "Squimal" by the Indians, which Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
from superficial observation appears to afford anchorage and
protection for ships of any tonnage.
The above mentioned harbors contain an abundant supply
of fresh water, in which the rest of the coast is very deficient.
Large rivers are formed in the winter season, which become
perfectly dry during the summer.
There is coal in the neighborhood of Puget's Sound, and
on the Cowlitz River. The specimens used by the H. B. Company were obtained from the surface, and were probably on
that account not found good.
The specimens of lead found in the mountains on the coast
are apparently very fine.
The fisheries (salmon and sturgeon) are inexhaustible, and
game of all descriptions is said to abound. The timber is
extremely luxuriant and increases in value as you reach a more
northern Latitude. That in 50 to 54 degrees being considered
the best. Pine, spruce, red and white oak, ash, cedar, maple,
willow and yew grow in this section of country north of the
Columbia River.   Cedar and pine becomes of an immense size.
At Nesqually, near the head of Puget's Sound, is the farm
of the Puget's Sound Company commenced in 1839* an^ supported chiefly by the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company. They here cultivate wheat and potatoes, but the magnificent ranges of rich prairie country between the shores of
Puget's Sound and the Cascade Mountains to the east, are
chiefly used as pasturage for the immense herds of cattle and
sheep, the greater number of which were brought from California in 1840-41.
From Nesqually we crossed the head waters of several large
streams, among others the Nesqually and Chehalis rivers,
rising in the Cascade mountains, extending along the coast
to Latitude 49°. These rivers have their channels sunk, in
some places, upward of a hundred feet below the level of the
country, rendering them extremely dangerous and difficult to
traverse at the seasons of high water.
•That is, as a venture of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. There
was a settlement at that point as early as i833> 56
Joseph Schafer
The Chehalis flows into Gray's Bay on the Pacific, is navigable for small boats and canoes, and forms a barred harbor
for vessels of small tonnage.
The country is easy of access from Nesqually to the Chehalis River, where the soil changes from graveley loam to a
stiff clay, and numerous little rivers, which overflow their
banks, and flood the country for an immense distance during
the winter and spring freshets, render the land journey to the
Cowlitz river difficult, and during that season almost impracticable.
There are a few families settled on plains on this route and
the "Americans are forcing themselves as far north as Puget's
Sound. During our travels we met five families on their route
to the prairies in that vicinity.*
There is a settlement of about 90 Canadian families on the
Cowlitz River, where the Puget's Sound Company have about
1000 acres of ground under cultivation.
The course of the Cowlitz is rapid, and in high water
dangerous, but presenting no obstacles that are not overcome
by the energy and perseverance of the Canadian boatmen.
A small establishment has been formed at the mouth of the
Cowlitz river as a store for wheat, etc., which the H. B. Company exports in large quantities to the Russian settlement at
Sitka and to the Sandwich Islands.
The accompanying account of the population of the Indian
tribes, has been compiled, with great care, from the best
authorities we could obtain, and from the trading lists lent us
by the kindness of the gentlemen in charge of the H. B. Co.
The Indians of Puget's Sound and the Straits of de Fuca,
also those further to the north, appear to be more numerous
than those of the interior,—and cultivate large quantities of
potatoes, etc., for their own use, and to barter with the vessels
frequenting the coast   They are not so cleanly as the Indians
•The incursion of Americans , into the Puget Sound territory is one of the
points reported to his government by Captain Gordon, whose messenger, Lieut
Peel, reached London on or before February  10,  1846. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
of the prairies, nor are they so brave or warlike. Many of
the latter tribes are a very fine race of men, and possess large
herds of cattle and immense numbers of horses.
In the neighborhood of Walla Walla individual Indians
were pointed out to us, who owned more than 1000 horses.
Slavery is common with all the tribes and he who possesses
most slaves and the largest number of horses is considered the
greatest chief.
The Indians of the north are sometimes troublesome, but
those of the Columbia are a quiet, inoffensive, but very superstitious race. To the last cause may be traced their quarrels
with the white man and with one another. They are well
armed with rifles, muskets, etc., but from policy they are
much stinted by the H. B. Co. in ammunition.
The Indian Tribes do not remain upon the same ground
during the whole year. In the summer they resort to the
principal rivers and the sea coast, where they take and lay by
large quantities of salmon, etc., for their winter consumption,
-retiring to the smaller rivers of the interior during the cold
Neither the Roman Catholic nor the Methodist Missions
have done much toward reclaiming the Indian population, who
are an idle, desolute [sic] race, and very few of them can be
induced to exchange their mode of life or cultivate more than
will absolutely keep them from starvation.
The total abolition of the sale of intoxicating liquors has
done much for the good of the whole community, white as
well as Indian; and so long as this abstinence (which can
hardly be called voluntary) continues the country will prosper.
When this prohibition is withdrawn, and the intercourse with
the world thrown open, such is the character of the dissolute
and only partially reformed American and Canadian settlers,
that every evil must be anticipated, and the unfortunate Indian
will be the first to suffer.
We take the liberty of calling your Lordship's attention to
the accompanying "Oath of Office" under the Organization, r
58 Joseph Schafer
and also to the resolution with regard to the junction of "Vancouver County" to that organization. The gentlemen of the
H. B. Company appearing to us anxious that their motives
should not be misunderstood in uniting with the Americans
for the mutual protection of their property, or that their
allegiance to the mother country should not be impugned.
Every information has been afforded us, in the kindest
manner, by Dr. McLoughlin and Mr. Douglass, the gentlemen
in charge of the H. B. Company in the Oregon Territory,
without reference to our ulterior objects, and we are convinced
that the same kindness, and hospitality is extended to all of
whatever nation, arriving in this wild country.
We have the honor to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship's Obedient and Humble servants,
Henry J. Warre,
Lt. 14 Regt., Ad. Camp.
M. Vavasour,
Lieut. Royal Engr.
We have omitted to mention the arrival of H. M. Ship
"Modeste," Captain Baillie, in the Straits of de Fuca, during
our visit to that place. He informed us of his intention to
remain a part of the ensuing winter in the Columbia River
and we have just received the intelligence of his arrival at
Fort George.
The Gentlemen in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's
posts on the north of the Columbia have made very accurate
estimates of the Indian population in the neighborhood of
their several stations, and we have every reason to believe, from
our own observations, in the accuracy of these statements.
The Indian tribes on the Columbia and in the interior of
the country are a very migratory race, and it is very difficult
to arrive at their exact numbers. We believe the above statements to be rather under their numerical strength. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6. 59
We shall have the honor to submit on our return, in 1846,
more detailed Statements of all the separate Tribes.
M. Vavasour, Henry J. Warre,
Lieut. Royal Engr. Lt. Ad.
Report of Warre and Vavasour, 26 October, 1845.
Enclosure i.
Section A of the Organic Law.
The Officers under this compact shall take an oath as follows, to-wit:
I do solemnly swear that I will support the Organic Laws
of the Provisional Government of Oregon, so far as the said
Organic Laws are consistent with my duties as a citizen of
the United States or a subject of Great Britain, and faithfully
demean myself in office, so help me God.
An Act to Organize the District of Vancouver.
Be it enacted by the House of Representatives of Oregon
Territory, as follows:
That all that portion of the Territory of Oregon, lying north
of the middle of the main channel of the Columbia River,
shall be, and the same is hereby declared, a separate district,
under the name and style of Vancouver District; and the said
District shall be entitled to elect one member of the House of
Representatives, at the next annual election.
This act to take effect and be in force from and after its
Oregon City) 20 August, 1845.
Approved, Geo. Abernethy,
Governor. 6o
Joseph Schafer
Enclosure 2.
Warre and Vavasour's Report, October 27, 1845.
Establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Oregon Territory and the
Northwest Coast of America.
of land
Where Situated.
No. of
Hogs Sheep
Fort Simpson	
Chatham Sound	
Bohine Lake	
New Caledonia	
Conally Lake	
Fort McLeod	
New Caledonia	
New Caledonia	
Fort St. James	
New Caledonia	
Erasers Lake	
New Caledonia	
Fort Chilcoten	
New Caledonia	
Fort George	
New Caledonia	
Fort Alexander....
New Caledonia	
Thompson's River.
New Caledonia	
Fort Longley	
New Caledonia	
Fort Victoria	
Vancouver Island	
Fort Nisqually....
Fort Cowlitz	
Pugets Sound	
Cowlitz River	
Fort George	
Columbia River	
Fort Vancouver...
Columbia River	
1581     1991
Fort Nez Perces...
Columbia River	
Fort Okonogan....
Columbia River	
Fort Flathead	
McGillivray's River ..
Columbia River	
Fort Colville	
Fort Hall	
Portaeuf River	
Fort Umpqua	
Cape Gregory	
23 Posts	
1906     8848 Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
Warre and Vavasour's Report      October 26, 1845.   Enclosure 3.
Of the Indian Tribes in the Oregon Territory from Lat. 42° to Lat. 54°, derived
from the Trading Lists of the Hudson's Bay Company and from best obtainable information.
Fort Vancouver'—1845.
Names of Tribes.
Where Situated.
Inacotts, Newette and 27
other tribes speaking partially theQuocott language
Massettes and 13 tribes not
included with the above,
and    speaking    different
Nass    Indians,    4    tribes,
speaking   the   same   language.
Chtmsegans, 10 tribes, all
of whom speak the same
language, with a different
Skeena Indians, 2 tribes...
Sabossas Indians, 5 tribes—
Milbank St>., 9 tribes ....
Cdallams,     Canoitetines,
24 tribes,  speaking Clallam and Canoitetines lan-
From Lat. 54° to Lat. 50°,
including    Queen    Charlotte's Ids., N. end of Vancouver Id., Milbank' Sd.
and Id.,and the main shore
On Queen Charlotte's Island,
not included in the above.
Nass River, on main land..
Chatham Sd., Portland Canal,   Port   Epington   and
other neighboring islands.
At mouth of Skeena River..
Gardener's Canal, etc._	
Milbank Sd. and vicinity...
Lat.   50°   along   coast   to
Whidby's Ids. in Lat. 48°,
Pt. of Vancouver's Island
and mouth of Fraser Rv..
About forts so designated.. .
De Fuca St., Vancouver Ids..
De Fuca St. and Vancouver.
New Caledonia, 8 tribes—
Lanetch Indians, 3 tribes..
Children under 12 years,99
Hat.t.amb, 11 tribes	
Children under 12 yrs., 476
Sinahoimish, 1 tribe	
Children under 12 yrs., 230
Children under 12 yrs. 191
Convitihin, 7 tribes	
Children under 12 yrs. 585
Do., tribes not as yet ascer-
Lake Indians, 1 tribe	
Children under 12 yrs. 12
Cape Flattebt and Gulf of
(Exact Nos. not ascertained)
NesqtjalIiT, 13 tribes	
Nesqually River and P. S...
On Cowlitz River      (about)
Near mouth of Columbia...
Near Ft. Vancouver	
Willamette Valley	
Willamette Valley	
Along Columbia	
On sea coast bet. mouth oi
Columbia and Umpqua...
Rogue Paver, etc	
On   Snake   River   to   near
Rocky Mountains	
Near Ft. Colville	
On  Okanogan and Piscons
Chinooks, Clatsops, etc...
Klickitats, several tribes..
Chinooks, Kalapooias, etc.
Kilamooks, 3 tribes	
Clamets, several tribes	
Walla Walla, Nez Perces,
Quakers.and several tribes
near R. Nilo.
Colville and Spokane	
Okanogan, several tribes...
On the Flathead
On Clarke's River	
McGU's R., Flat Bow Lake. .
Kootenois, several tribes..
Total population	
86947 Wi
Joseph Schafer
Females 35,182
Children -1,584
Slaves  5,146
Grand total 86,947  Indian population from Latitude 42° to Latitude 54° N.
Barque "Cowlitz," on the Coast         .. 23 men
Barque "Vancouver," on the Coast  23 men.
Steamer "Beaver," on the Coast  23 men
Schooner "Cadboro," on the Coast  12 men
Unattached  19 men
Officers  59 men.
Total men employed 643 men.
Number of establishments.     23
Number of Vessels       4
Number of Men  643
Number of Acres of Land in cultivation 3005
Number of Horses 1716
Number of Cattle 4430
Number of Hogs 1916
Number of Sheep 8846
M. Vavasour, H. J. Warre,.
Lieut. Royal Engr. Lt. and An. C.
Warre and Vavasour's Report of October 26, 1845.
Enclosure 4.
(Maps and Plans Accompanying Warre and Vavasour's
Sketch of Commission Harbour, south end of Vancouver's
Island, Straits of de Fuca, showing position of Fort Victoria
and Soundings, Lat. 480 26' N. Long. 1230 9' W. Highwater
full and change 3 P. M. Rise 8 ft. Tides very irregular.
The soundings are all for low water Spring Tides. Shoal Pt.
bears N. N. E. from Rocky Pt.
Plan of Fort Victoria, Vancouver's Island, Sketch of Nesqually and Adjacent Plains on Puget's Sd., Plan of Fort
Vancouver on Columbia River. Sketch of Fort Vancouver
and Adjacent Plains, which are partly flooded in the spring,
[traces the river for about 4 mi., sets the fort in its relative
place, etc., neat map]. Sketch of the Route (in red) from
Red River to the Pacific Ocean.
[2, 4, and 5, bear Vavasour's name, the others bear no
indication of authorship.] Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
[No. 11.]
Fort Vancouver, December 8, 1845.
The Right Honorable The Secretary of State for the Colonies.
My Lord: We have had the favor of forwarding a report
of our proceedings to the 12th Novr. by the Honble. H. B.
Co.'s ship "Cowlitz," and beg to apprise your Lordship of the
opening of the House of Representatives for the Oregon Territory, and herewith to forward a copy of the Governor's
speech on that occasion.
Mr. Abernethy, the Governor, is an American and a large
majority of the members, thirteen in number, are also citizens
of the United States.
We would beg to draw your Lordship's attention to the
second paragraph in the speech, relative to the organization
of an efficient militia.
In the preamble of the Organic Laws of Oregon, the first
article recommended by the Legislative committee is worded
as follows, viz: "We, the people of Oregon Territory, for
purposes of mutual protection and to secure peace and prosperity among ourselves, agree to adopt the following Laws
and Regulations, until such time as the United States of
America extend their jurisdiction over us."
The anxiety shown by Mr. Abernethy for an effective
militia, which would be composed almost entirely of American
citizens, has arisen chiefly from the interest lately taken by
England in the affairs of the country. The arrival, in the
first instance, of H. M. Ship America, Captain the Honble. C.
Gordon, who forwarded an extract from a dispatch for publication in the settlement, to the purport, that England was
determined to protect her subjects and their interests in the
Territory. Second by the entrance into the Columbia River
of H. M. Ship Modeste, Captain Baillie, with the intention
of remaining the winter.
This militia will naturally support the claims of the government of the United States should hostilities actually occur
between that country and England.   There are about 50 men 64
Joseph Schafer
already organized as a volunteer corps of cavalry, well
mounted, and although undisciplined, are well adapted for the
defense of this impracticable country, from their former hardy,
active life.
Should the number be increased during the present session,
and should England and the United States come into collision,
the British subjects in this country will be completely at the
mercy of the citizens of the United States.
The stations of the H. B. Company are scattered over so
great an extent of country it would be impossible to collect
their men in time to meet an attack; and altho there are nominally 200 men employed about this fort, not half that number
could be depended upon to meet an aggression.
Some few might be recruited among the half breeds, subjects of Great Britain, in the valley of the Willamette. But,
we fear, that if left to their own resources the Hudson's Bay
Company will be obliged to employ the Indian tribes, from
whom we cannot expect a very manageable or available force.
Her Majesty's Ship "Modeste" is at present lying off this
place and we believe it is the intention of Capt. Baillie to
remain during the winter. This determination will encourage
the British subjects to support their own rights, will prevent
the citizens of the United States taking the law into their own
hands, and give protection to the property of the Hudson's
Bay Company.
The paragraph in the Governor's Message regarding equalizing the weights and measures has arisen from the Hudson's
Bay Company using the Imperial measure and the Americans
the old Winchester standard.
(Signed by both officers.)
We beg to add a copy of the Govrs. Speech in August last,
at the opening of the House after the amended laws were
eches not copied—they can be found printed in "Oregon Archivi Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
[No. 12.]
Warre and Vavasour Report, June 16, 1846.
The Right Honble.   The Secretary of State for the Colonies.
My Lord: In obedience to the orders contained in the
accompanying memoranda, we had the honor to report ourselves to Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson's
Bay Company, and embarked at La Chine on the 5th of May,
in boats made of birch bark, the usual conveyance of the
agents of the Company.
[Omit rest of 1st p., 2d p., 3d p., 4th p., 5th p., 6th p., 7th p.,
8th p., to 3d line from the close.]
On the 25th July we entered the Rocky Mountains, crossed
the Bow River in canoes made of skins (carried with us for
the purpose) and commenced the passage of the mountains.
Our daily journeys were now necessarily very short, and
much impeded by the dampness of the forests, the height and
ruggedness of the mountain passes.
We crossed, by means of the skin canoes, the headwaters
of the McGillivray's River, on the 28th July, crossed with considerable difficulty another range of mountains, and encamped
on the 31st on the Lake from whence flow the waters of the
Without attempting to describe the numerous defiles through
which we passed, or the difficulty of forcing a passage through
the burnt forests, and over the highlands, we may venture to
assert, that Sir George Simpson's idea of transporting troops,
even supposing them to be at Red River, with men, provisions,
stores, etc., through such an extent of uncultivated country,
and over such impracticable mountains would appear to us
quite impossible.
We descended the right bank of McGillivray's River, crossed
a range of Mountains thickly covered with pine and cedar
trees, to the Flatbow Lake, on the Flathead River, which we
crossed and descended on the left bank to Fort Colville on the
Columbia, where we arrived on the 16th August, having lost 66
Joseph Schafer
34 horses from lameness and fatigue out of 60 with which
we left Edmonton, distance about 700 miles.
The country on the west of the Rocky Mountains is very
much broken and covered with dense forests of pine and cedar
growing in many instances to an immense size.
The rivers or mountain torrents are very numerous and extremely rapid. They are scarcely navigable for the small Indian canoes, are subject to the sudden rising of the water and
difficult to ford—thereby causing great delay in the construction of canoes, rafts, etc.
The descent of the Columbia and our proceedings to the
month of November are detailed in the letter addressed to your
Lordship, and forwarded by the H. B. Co. ship "Cowlitz"
from Fort Vancouver Nov. 1st, 1845 (a copy of which is herewith enclosed)..
Since November the weather has been extremely unfavorable. The rain, which usually commences about that period,
has continued, almost without intermission, causing much sickness and rendering the climate, followed as it is by the intense
heat of the summer, extremely unhealthy.
The annual express via the northern water communication,
which left Red River on the 20th June, arrived at Fort Vancouver on the 9th November. We have consequently gained
upwards of two months by proceeding overland to the
The American immigrants continued to arrive in the country till late in December. Their condition was most miserable.
The lateness of the season and humidity of the climate having
occasioned much sickness and suffering.
They have on nearly every occasion conducted themselves
peaceably, but we attribute this conduct to the presence in the
river of Her Majesty's ship "Modeste."
They have evidently been misinformed as to the extent, soil
and climate of the cultivable portion of the Oregon Territory.
Should Great Britain maintain her right to the Territory, we
are of opinion that large numbers of the present settlers will Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
migrate to California, toward which country the Government
of the United States are offering every encouragement for emigration, and to which a large number of emigrants from the
western states are preparing to proceed early in 1846.
We have, accidentally, had an opportunity of perusing the
message of the late President (Mr. Tyler) dated Deer. 3d,
1844, with the accompanying reports, etc.
On referring to that of the then secretary of war, we find
the following important passage, preceding [sic] the recom-
.mendation of forming a new territory, or state, on the eastern
side of the Rocky Mountains as follows:
"In consequence of the conflicting claims of a foreign nation to the Territory west of the Rocky Mountains, Congress
has exhibited a reluctance to organize it under a territorial
government. Entertaining myself no doubt of the propriety
and expediency of the measure, justifiable by the legitimacy of
our claim, I shall say no more on the subject."
The Secretary of War then proceeds to recommend the formation of a Territory on the eastern side of the mountains,
extending from the Kansas River to the Rocky Mountains,
along the Wind River chain of mountains south to the headwaters of the Arkansas River and back to the mouth of the
Kansas, taking in the headwaters of the Mocho and Osage
Rivers.   He proceeds by saying:
"This territory will include the lines of communication to
California to Mexico artd Santa Fe, and to Oregon, by a more
southern route recently discovered by Lieut. Fremont 150 miles
south of the present pass.
The establishment of military posts in this territory would
enable the American government to throw troops into Oregon,
and would no longer leave our title a barren and untenable
claim. Its possession and occupancy would thence forward
not depend on the naval superiority in the Pacific Ocean."
An appropriation of $1,000,000 for erecting military posts
from the Missouri to the Rocky Mountains is also recommended by the Secretary at War, to carry out the above plan 68
Joseph Schafer
of ensuring a foundation on the eastern side of the mountains
previous to taking forcible possession of the west or Oregon
In the year 1840 Lieut. Warre traversed the greater part of
this section of the country, recommended as a new territory.
It was found, except in the immediate vicinity of the river
banks, which are liable to constant inundations, to be quite
unsuited for cultivation. Water and timber are very scarce,
having traveled for days in succession without seeing a tree
of any kind and finding only stagnant water strongly impregnated with salt.
The prairies are very beautiful and might be made available
as sheep pasturage, but the Pawnee and Comanchee Indians
are constantly at war with the surrounding tribes, and levy
their contributions from all white traders not strong enough
to resist their importunities.
On the Mocho and Osage Rivers the land is very fine and
many families were settled in their vicinity, but the country
is so unhealthy, from fever and ague that many of the recently
arrived immigrants in Oregon have left their farms [there] on
this account.
The object of the Government of the United States in forming this territory is evident in consequence of its military advantages. We have before shown that their troops have with
little difficulty been conducted to the Rocky Mountains, the
passage of which at the emigrants pass offers little or no obstruction—with how much greater facility will they be able
to traverse the prairies if stations are erected, and stores, provisions, etc., supplied at intermediate points on the route. .
We regret that our time has been so limited as to prevent
our examining the route on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. The country, we are informed, varies little in appearance from the Columbia to the Green River, presenting an extent of sandy hills and mountains, with very little vegetation,
and a great scarceness in many parts of wood and water.
We entertain no doubt as to the practicability of cutting off, Warre and Vavasour, i845~(
or otherwise obstructing the passage of any body of troops
from the United States, in their descent of the south branch
of the Columbia, from the ruggedness of the present route and
the obligation they are under of keeping to the beaten track
to obtain water and wood, and from the fact that troops
brought 2000 or 3000 miles across any country would be har-
rassed by their long march, and rendered unfit for active service on their first arrival in the country.
It is therefore both evident and expedient, should it be the
intention of Her Majesty's Government to take military possession of the Oregon Territory, that the British troops should
be in occupation of certain positions, previous to the arrival
of any force from the United States.
We beg, therefore, to request your Lordship's attention to
those points, the prior occupation of which would enable a
comparatively small force to resist any number of regular
troops likely, from the known scantiness of the available force
in the United States, to be dispatched to this country, viz.:
1. The first and principal points are Cape Disappointment
on the north and Point Adams on the south shore, commanding the entrance into the Columbia River.
2. Puget Sound is easy of access for ships of any tonnage
at every season of the year, and from Nesqually, near the head
of the Inlet, troops can be forwarded during the summer
months (say from July to October) with great facility, to any
part of the Territory.
3. Fort Vancouver is a central position and would afford
temporary accommodation for troops, but the present site of
the fort is ill chosen for defense, nor does it command any
particular or important point.
4. The falls of the River Willamette, where the village
called "Oregon City" is now commenced, is an important point
and is well adapted for defense, from the steepness and impracticability of the immediately surrounding country.
A small force stationed at this point would overawe the
present American population and obtain any quantity of cattle, etc., to supply the troops in other parts of the country. 70
Joseph Schafer
5. It would be advantageous that an advanced post were
established at some point on the Columbia River, say the "Cascades" or the "Dalles." But there is no accommodation' for
troops, and building materials are very scarce; nor will these
points be of the same consequence, except as a guard against
surprise, should the line of road over the Cascade range of
mountains, which is already projected, be found available. In
which case no troops or emigrants will take the longer and
more tedious route of the Columbia River.
With the above points occupied the approaches to the only
inhabitable part of the country are completely obstructed—the
barrenness of the desert on one side, and the mountains and
denseness of the forests on the other, render it impenetrable
except by the known routes. Nor are there any available harbors on the coast where troops could be landed, except in
Puget's Sound, Chehalis Harbor for vessels of very small tonnage, and the Columbia River.
I.—The Mouth of the Columbia River.
The "Points" on either bank, and for some miles up the Columbia River (except Point Adams) although apparently on
superficial observation admirably adapted for positions of defense, are very objectionable on account of the height and steepness of the ground, preventing a battery being placed near the
water level, where it would be most effective, and rendering
extensive outworks necessary to prevent the position being
flanked or commanded by the ground in the rear, or on either
These objections are particularly objectionable to Chinook
Point, to the projecting point opposite Pillar Rock commanding the Tongue channel, heading to the north shore from
Tongue Point, and to many positions otherwise adapted for
obstructing the navigation of the river.
In the present state of the country the Columbia River is
the only line of communication leading directly from the coast
to the interior. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
The Columbia River falls into the Pacific Ocean in Lat. —
Long. —, forming a barred harbor for shipping, not drawing
over 18 feet water. The sea is constantly breaking over this
bar, and perpetually over the sands to the north and south of
the entrance to the river, rendering it dangerous for ships at
all seasons of the year.
The distance from Point Adams on the south and Cape Disappointment on the north shore is about 5 miles, intersected
by sand banks, having two islands, the courses of which are
liable to constant changes in consequence of the shifting sands.
We were enabled to mark the course of the north channel
during our stay at Cape Disappointment by the departure of
two vessels, an American merchant ship and a trader belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, having taken nearly a
month descending the river in consequence of the prevalence
of the southwesterly winds during the winter, they were de-
taind 47 days in Baker's Bay, showing the uncertainty of the
river navigation and the disadvantages attendant on it as a
place of debarkation.
Cape Disappointment, at the northern entrance, overlooking
the channel in most frequent use by vessels trading to the river,
projects as a peninsula from the main shore, to which it is connected by a narrow neck of land, not over 400 yds. in width,
and is not commanded by any ground in the rear, but the narrow ridge of high ground facing the entrance is too steep, and
the headland too small for a work of any magnitude, except
at an enormous and useless expense.
The area of the Cape contains 37 acres, rising toward the
river like a wedge, rendering the greater portion steep and inaccessible. The area of the neck contains about 194 acres, of
which about 60 are swamp. The soil is rich and deep in the
valleys. The substrata is a kind of rocky, brittle sandstone.
The timber is magnificent and covers the whole Cape, and is
the only material found in the neighborhood calculated for
building purposes. There is one small stream of spring water
on the Cape, and two on the connecting neck of land, but they
are not of very good quality. 72
Joseph Schafer
Cape Disappointment is inaccessible toward the sea in consequence of the sands, which form an impassable line of breakers along the coast. It is also cut off from the mainland by
high, rocky headlands connected by a deep and marshy impassable swamp. There is no lime stone in this part of the country, but sufficient shells have been collected for building chimneys, etc., and coral, making very fair lime, has been frequently
imported from the Sandwich Islands.
The anchorage in Baker's Bay is completely under the command of the north end of the Cape. The tide usually rises 8
to 10 feet. The currents are very strong and sweep across the
sands, increasing the dangers of the navigation.
During the year 1845 a new SP^ nas formed, nearly across
the north channel, on which there is very little water, and .
changing the former bearings for entering the river. We beg
to refer your Lordship to the engineering report of Lieut. Vavasour and to the accompanying sketch, for a more minute description of this headland, with projects for its defense, etc.
The House of Representatives in the United States brought
forward a bill on the 5th Feb., 1845, f°r the organization of
Oregon as a territory attached to the States.*
They then recommended the immediate construction of fortifications at the mouth of the Columbia River, on Cape Disappointment, and we understood from several respectable emigrants that Lieut. Fremont, U. S. Topographical Engineers,
had accompanied the present emigration with the intention of
taking possession of the headland on behalf of the United
States Government, f The importance they attach to this point
has induced us to urge the Hudson's Bay Company, through
Mr. Ogden, to take immediate possession of so important a
position, in order to prevent the American Government obtaining it, secretly from the present claimants, and occupy it
without the knowledge of Her Majesty's Government.
*Tliis bill passed  the  House
tThe editor knows of nothing i
e  War Department to confirm the
February 3d,   1845,  by Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
Mr. Ogden was at first inclined to meet our views on this
subject, but his instructions from Sir George Simpson not being sufficiently explicit, we are under the necessity of laying
before your Lordship the accompanying correspondence with
Mr. Ogden relative to the purchase of Cape Disappointment
from the American citizens, which was not completed till near
the end of February, 1846, and detained us till that period before we could complete the survey of the Cape or make any
arrangements for fulfilling this important part of our mission.
Your Lordship will observe that Mr. Ogden has taken the
entire responsibility of the purchase upon himself, but he was
induced to effect this in consequence of the importance we attached to gaining peaceable possession of the Cape. The anticipated arrival of Lt. Fremont and the resolutions of the House
of Representatives induced us to form this opinion and we trust
your Lordship will approve of the expense incurred to gain
this object.
Point Adams on the south shore, commanding the south
channel, is low sandy ground, densely covered with fir and
pine timber. The channel has been seldom made use of. The
chief obstacles to its navigation appear to be the strength of
the current and the narrowness of the passage
In the rear of Point Adams are situated the "Clatsop Plains,"
on which about 20 families, Canadians and Americans, are settled. They grow wheat and potatoes, and have sufficient number of horses, cattle, pigs, etc., to supply troops until provisions
can be obtained from the settlements above.
Her Majesty's ship "Modeste" entered the river on the 2nd
of November, and ascended the Columbia to Fort Vancouver;
she anchored immediately opposite the fort, on the 29th Novr.,
having taken nearly a month in the ascent, owing to detention
from wind, etc.
The House of Representatives elected by the settlers in Oregon, assembled at Oregon City on the 1st December.
We had the honor of forwarding a copy of the Governor's
message, or speech, on the occasion by the Hudson's Bay Com- 74
Joseph Schafer
pany's ship "Vancouver," addressed to your Lordship, with
an enclosure to His Excellency the Governor General in Canada, considering that the delay in forwarding our dispatches
through England to Canada in order that they might be returned to England would warrant our deviating from His Lordship's instructions on this occasion.
The House of Representatives remained in session about a
fortnight, many laws, arbitrary in the present state of the country, were proposed, but the majority of the members being
well and peaceably inclined, they were not adopted.
To show the feeling of the American population against the
British subjects, it may be well to inform your Lordship of
two measures, which were proposed as laws, but rejected.
ist. For the prevention of the half breed population from
holding land or property in the country under the Organic
laws, which would be equivalent to a separation between the
two parties. The half breeds, children of the gentlemen and
servants of the Company and of the Red River settlers, forming the principal and most numerous portion of Her Majesty's
subjects in this country.
2d. For the taxation of the Sandwich Islanders, employed
almost exclusively as servants and laborers, by the H. B. Company, and intended merely to annoy and embarass the gentlemen in charge of the said company.
The only laws of importance, except of local interest, that
were passed during the session, were for the formation of two
lines of communication across the Cascade range of mountains,
south of the Columbia, which if practicable will shorten the
distance from the emigrants pass in the Rocky Mountains to
the Valley of the Willamette, and avoid the necessity of descending the Columbia.
We have conversed with the contractor of one of these routes
by the Sandiham [Santiam] River, who is sanguine as to the
result. We should have visited this route had it been practicable at this season, but the show in the mountains obstructed all
communication.    From the numerous difficulties experienced Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
by Lieut. Fremont and Dr. White (Indian agent for the U.
States), who endeavored to penetrate by this route, across the
Cascade Mountains, we cannot believe that wagons, etc., can
ever be brought across. Lieut. Fremont succeeded in forcing
a passage, with the loss of all his horses, and great suffering
to himself and men * Dr. White returned to the settlement
and declared it quite impracticable.
Dr. White returned to the United States in August last attended by only three or four men. We regret to hear that he
encountered a war party of Sioux Indians, after he had made
the passage of the Rocky Mountains, who attacked and it is
reported murdered the whole party.f
The rain continued with but little interruption, notwithstanding which we visited the inner channel of the Willamette
River, and the settlements situated on the left banks. We
found this channel obstructed by numerous "snags" or fallen
Having landed at the settlement on Sauvis or Multnomah
Island, which we found much flooded by the high water, we
crossed the river to a small settlement near its mouth, called
"Skapoose," where half a dozen American and Canadian families are located on the low ground between the river and a
range of lofty hills, running parallel to the left bank.
The ground is good, but liable to be completely inundated
during the seasons of high water.
From thence we crossed the hills to a large settlement on a
fine rich, open prairie country called the "Tuality Plains,"
where about 150 Canadians, half breed, and American families
are settled.
The route across the Willamette Hills was about impassable
on account of the heavy rains. The creeks and swamps were
flooded and very difficult to traverse. In the dryest season
this road is only passable for cattle and horses, and is the track
used by the Indian tribes. The country is densely covered
with pine and cedar.
*This is a misconception as to Fremont's 1843-4 route.
fBut Dr. White, rather characteristically, lived "to tell the tale!" 76
Joseph Schafer
From the Plains a wagon road has been commenced to Ska-
poose, which may be available during the summer months, but
the ground must require great care in the construction, and at
an immense expense, in order to be practicable in the winter.
The Tuality Plains are very beautiful, the ground rich and
undulating, intersected by hills of fir and oak timber. The
farms are well stocked with horses and cattle, in addition to
which, hundreds of the latter are running wild throughout
the country, having originally belonged to the H. B. Company.*
In order to reach Oregon City on the falls of the Willamette
we proceeded through a thickly wooded country, with occasional patches of open prairie, watered by numerous streams
and occupied by Canadians and American families. This road
to the falls has been made with much care, but the rivers having overflown [sic] their banks and carried away the logs
which had been placed across as a substitute for bridges, we
had much difficulty in effecting our passage, swimming our
horses and wading through numerous swamps and marshes.
From the falls we again ascended to the settlements higher
up the Willamette River, the current in which was very strong.
The banks are high and densely covered with timber. The
roads to the Roman Catholic Mission, etc., were quite as impassable at this season as from the Tuality Plains.
The difference in the strength of the current in the river
from that when we formerly (in September) visited this part
of the country, is very remarkable and would scarcely be credited by any person unacquainted with the extraordinary rise of
rivers in this country.
The village at the falls has much improved in appearance.
Many buildings have been erected and the trees, etc., cleared
from the adjacent heights.
Since the summer a village called Portland has been commenced between the falls and Linnton, to which an American
merchant ship ascended and discharged her cargo, in September.
the Pacific Northw
>ught up from  Califon
See  Schafer's  History of Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
The situation of Portland is superior to that of Linnton, and
the back country of easier access.
There are several settlements on the banks of the river, below the falls. But the water, covering the low lands during
the freshets render them valueless for cultivation, and but few
situations can be found adapted for building upon.
The American immigrants have as yet confined themselves
principally to the valley of the Willamette, which has by far
the richest soil, and finest land, in the whole territory. The
cultivable part of it, however, cannot be said to extend more
than 60 or 80 miles in length, and 15 or 20 miles in breadth.
Nearly all the prairie land is now taken up, and the immigrants
are too indolent to clear the woods. They are consequently
forming new settlements on the banks of the Columbia, at the
mouth of the same river, and on the beautiful but not very
rich plains to the north, in the neighborhood of Nisqually and
Puget's Sound.
During the month of February we again descended the Columbia, attentively examined the headlands and important positions on either shore, and completed our survey of Cape Disappointment and beg to submit the following remarks.
Point George, on which Fort George (formerly Astoria) is
situated, is about 12 miles from the mouth of the river; the
ground rises gradually to the rear, covered with pine trees.
The Hudson's Bay Company have a small establishment on
the end of the point, undefended even by pickets. This post
(which they hold by permission of the government of the
United States, having been given up at the close of the last
war) is to be abandoned, and the depot or trading post to be
established on Cape Disappointment.
About three miles above Fort George is Tongue Point, a
high, steep peninsula, covered with timber, containing about
70 acres, connected with the main shore by a narrow neck,
about 80 yards in width. This point completely commands the
ship channel, and is not itself commanded by the ground in its
rear (vide sketches, etc.). m     v$
Joseph Schafer
Chinook Point, at the head of Baker's Bay, nearly opposite
Point George, is a long, level, swampy beach, commanded by
the hills in the rear which are covered except on the extreme
point with dense forests of pine.
Above Chinook Point, the north shore presents a succession
of steep, inaccessible, rocky hills, descending to the water's
edge, covered with timber, offering points where a temporary
work might be erected to obstruct the navigation but from the
commanding nature of the ground rendering the construction
of one of a more permanent nature a large and unnecessary
From above Tongue Point the banks of the river recede,
forming large shallow bays, intersected by numerous small islands and sandbanks, through which the ship channel has a
tortuous course tending towards the north shore, from thence
to Vancouver, the head of the ship navigation, the breadth of
the river seldom exceeds two miles, and the channel varies according to the sand, from shore to shore.
Much difficulty is experienced on the Lower Columbia in
finding "encampments" from the nature of the river banks,
which in some places are low, swampy, and covered with "jungle," and at others high, rocky, and too steep to be easily
The tide also covers the low lands for 30 miles from the
mouth of the river. The wet season continued with little interruption till the 17th March.
We have received no intelligence from England since the
20th May (1845), and in consequence of the impossibility of
traversing the Rocky Mountains during the melting of the
snows we cannot await the anticipated arrival of the Hudson's
Bay Company's ship, supposed to have left for this country
last September.
We left Fort Vancouver in company with the annual express
forwarded to the Red River Settlement by the northern water
communication on the 25th March. Having made the usual
"portages" at the "Cascades," "Dalles" and Chutes, we reached Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
Fort Nez Perces on the Walla Walla River on the 3d April,
from whence we proceeded on horseback, calling at the Methodist [American Board] Missions on the Walla Walla and Spokane Rivers, to Fort Colville over a barren, rocky, sandy desert.
This country for a distance of 200 miles is completely denuded
of timber and with the exception of the Snake (or south branch
of the Columbia River, about 300 yards wide, which we crossed
in the Indian canoes, swimming our horses, the Spokane River
traversed by the same means, and two other small streams), is
very scantily supplied with water. From the Spokane River
to Fort Colville (about 80 miles) the country is well timbered
with pine and larch, but the soil is poor and sandy.
The boats left Fort Nez Perces on the 3d April, ascended the
Columbia, but did not arrive at Fort Colville till the 22d, when
we again embarked and reached "The Boat Encampment" on
the 2d May.
The upper Columbia River, with the exception of two narrow lakes about 30 and 25 miles in length, is extremely rapid,
and in many places dangerous even for boat navigation. The
banks are very precipitous and densely covered with small- pine
timber, causing much difficulty in hauling the boats and many
impediments in making "portages" at the different rapids.
From the Boat Encampment we proceeded on snow shoes
across the Rocky Mountains by the usual "portage" route,
ascending the Canoe River, through which we had constantly
to wade, for three days, crossed the height of land from whence
the Athabasca River takes its rise and descended the latter
river a distance of no miles to Jasper House, a small post of
the Hudson's Bay Company, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where we obtained large and well constructed boats in
which we descended the same river upward of 200 miles to
Fort Assiniboine, formerly a post of some importance to the
H. B. Company, but of late years abandoned except as a depot
of provisions, for the canoes and boats, proceeding to and from
the Columbia and the Athabasca and Mackenzie River stations
further to the north. 8o
Joseph Schafer
The Athabasca River, although very strong at seasons of
high water, is free from dangerous rapids, between the points
above mentioned, nor is it necessary at any season to make a
From the Athabasca River we proceeded, on horseback, a
distance of about ioo miles to Edmonton on the Saskatchewan
River, through a flat and nearly continual swampy country,
difficult to traverse at all seasons, and almost impassable during the early spring and autumn.
There is one large (the Pamino) and two smaller rivers to
cross, which we effected in canoes, swimming our horses.
We arrived at Fort Edmonton, already described, on the
17th May, and embarked on the 18th in large and well built
boats, but too heavy to be serviceable were it necessary to make
portages, from which the Saskatchewan River, although occasionally interrupted by sand banks, is free.
Allowing the boat to drift with the current during the night,
we continued without interruption, descending the same river
to Fort Carlton, from whence we proceeded on horseback a
distance of about 460 miles to the Red River Settlement, by
nearly the same route we followed last year, and arrived at
Fort Garry, the principal trading post of the Hudson's Bay
Company on the 7th June.
Although the more northern route to the Columbia River is
in every way preferable to that by which we entered the Oregon Territory last year, the difficulties of conveying men, provisions, stores, etc., should it ever be deemed advisable to send
troops overland to that country, are also very great. The
ascent of the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca Rivers, which
we descended with great facility, causes much delay and loss
of time. The portage between the two rivers, although not
impracticable, would require much improvement, the swamps
and deep muddy gullies, filled up with "fascenes" to form a
roadway, the swollen streams bridged, on account of the depth
and tenacity of their muddy beds and banks, and boats or rafts
constructed at the "Pamino" River. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
The snow covered the whole country to the depth of several
feet, at the season we crossed the Rocky Mountains, and provisions were carried on men's shoulders the greater part of the
before mentioned distance of no miles, but later in the year
the Hudson's Bay Company are annually in the habit of forwarding furs, stores, etc., on horseback through the same pass,
and without any serious impediment, except those arising from
the denseness of the forests on either side, the occasional
swamps, which could be made practicable by "fascenes," and
the necessity of constantly fording the headwaters of the Canoe
and Athabasca Rivers.
We beg to forward herewith a more detailed census of the
Indian population, from which our condensed report (forwarded in Nov. last) was taken.
The Indians of the Northwest Coast appear to be unusually
numerous, but we have been repeatedly assured that their
numbers are not exaggerated. Around the different posts, visited by us, our own observations led us to believe that the accompanying lists are accurate. We have endeavored, when it
was not possible to obtain the exact statement of their numbers, to make our estimate rather under the actual numerical
strength. We beg also to forward a condensed report of the
different establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company, visited
by us during our journey to and during our residence in the
Oregon Territory, showing their capabilities of defense, situation, description of buildings, etc.
In conclusion, we must beg to be allowed to observe, with an
unbiased opinion, that whatever may have been the orders, or
the motives of the gentlemen in charge of the Hudson's Bay
Company's posts on the west of the Rocky Mountains their
policy has tended to the introduction of the American settlers
into the country.
We are convinced that without their assistance not 30 American families would now have been in the settlement.
The first immigrations, in 1841 or 1842, arrived in so miserable a condition that had it not been for the trading posts of 82
Joseph Schafer
the Hudson's Bay Company they must have starved, or been
cut off by the Indians.
Through motives of humanity, we are willing to believe, and
from the anticipations of obtaining their exports of wheat and
flour to the Russian settlements and to the Sandwich Islands,
at a cheaper rate,* the agents of the Hudson's Bay Company
gave every encouragement to their settlement, and goods were
forwarded to the Willamette Falls, and retailed to these citizens of the United States at even a more advantageous rate
than to the British subjects.
Thus encouraged emigrations left the United States in 1843,
1844 and 1845, and were received in the same cordial manner.
Their numbers have increased so rapidly that the British
party are now in the minority, and the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company have been obliged to join the organization, without any reserve except the mere form of the oath of
office. Their lands are invaded—themselves insulted—and
they now require the protection of the British Government
against the very people to the introduction of whom they have
been more than accessory.
We leave this settlement (Red River) on the 18th June, and
expect to reach Canada (by the same route we ascended last
year, from La Sault St. Marie) about the 20th July.
We have the honor to be, My Lord, your Lordship's obedient,
humble servants,
Henry J. Warre,
Lt. 14th Regt.
M. Vavasour,
Lieut. Royal Eng.
Employed on the [particular] service.
Sir George Simpson, on his arrival in this settlement, from
Canada, on the 7th June, requested us, in the accompanying
letter, to give him such information connected with the result
*See on this point Simpson Letters, Am. Hist. Rev.,
XIV, p. 80. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
of our late journey to the Oregon Territory as we might feel
at liberty to disclose.
As the instructions received from the Governor General, and
the Commander of the Forces in Canada, desire the most cordial co-operation with Sir George Simpson, and as we could
not fulfill his wishes without multiplying the correspondence,
already too voluminous, we laid our report, etc., before him,
in order that he might receive the desired information.
H. J. W., Lt. 14th.
Fort Garry, Red River Settlement, June 16th, 1846.
Red River Settlement, Fort Garry, 10th June, 1846.
Copy.   Confidential.
Gentlemen: Referring to my letter of the 30th May, 1845,
I have to request the favor of your furnishing me with any
information you may feel at liberty to give connected with the
result of your late mission to the Oregon Territory.
In particular, it is very desirable I should be possessed of
your opinion as to the capabilities and value of Cape Disappointment as a military station, and of the site of Fort Victoria and the neighboring harbor as a port of refuge and refreshment for shipping.
I have further to beg the favor of your inspection of the
upper and lower forts in this settlement, with a view to ascertaining the protection and extent of accommodations to troops,
and that you will furnish me with a report on that subject,
stating what alterations and improvements you may consider
it advisable to make to place them in a better condition for the
reception of troops.
I shall feel obliged by any general suggestions you may feel
at liberty or be disposed to offer, in reference to the maintenance and defense of the Company's establishments and interests, in such parts of both sides of the continent as you may
have visited.
(Signed) George Simpson. 84 Joseph Schafer
Red R. S., June 12, 1846.
Copy.   Confidential.
My Dear Sir: In answer to the questions in your confidential letter of the 10th June relating to the protection and
accommodations for troops in the establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company at Red River, we beg to inform you that
Fort Garry will afford sufficient accommodations for 300 men
including officers, etc., should all the buildings be given up for
the accommodation of the troops. We would also recommend
that chimneys should be constructed at either end of the buildings now used as storehouses, and that the walls of the same
buildings be filled between the frame work in order to render them sufficiently warm for barracks in the winter.
The above are the only alterations we think it advisable to
make at the present time, leaving the alteration of the interior
arrangement to the officers in command after the arrival of
the troops in the country.
(Signed) Henry J. Warre, etc.
M. Vavasour, etc.
[No. 13.]
Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River,
Oregon Territory, 1st March, 1846.
Sir: In continuation of my report dated Red River Settlement 10 June, 1845, I have the honor to inform you that I
left that settlement in company with Lieut. Warre and party
of the 16th June. [Omit down to last ^ on page 7. Matter
omitted refers exclusively to the part of the journey east of
the mountains, a description of the Columbia River and the
trading posts along it, to Fort Vancouver, matter which is
-sufficiently covered in the general report.]
Before continuing my report, and with reference to the 3d
paragraph of your orders, I beg to insert an extract of a let- Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
ter from Sir George Simpson to Lieut. Warre and myself
(Sir George Simpson having remained at Red River), which
contains all the information or advice I have received from
that gentleman.
"While in the Oregon territory" [as per Sir G. Simpson's
letter copied from W. O. records].
By the foregoing extract you will perceive that the points
to which Sir George Simpson has drawn my attention are
Cape Disappointment and Tongue Point. The former has
been purchased by one of the Hudson's Bay Company, for the
disposal of Her Majesty's Government, the latter is in the possession of an American citizen. The banks of the Willamette
River, between the Columbia and the Falls, and also for the
most part settled by British subjects and American citizens.
Fort Vancouver on the north bank of the Columbia River
in 450 36 min. N. Lat., and 1220 39 min. W. Long., 100 miles
from the Pacific Ocean, at the head of the ship navigation, is
the principal post of the Hudson's Bay Company on the west
of the Rocky Mountains.
The present fort is placed near the end of a small plain on
the bank of the Columbia River, which is nearly inundated
by the spring freshets. A ridge of the high land on which
the old fort was situated confines this plain on the north, in
the rear of the present site, over which it has a command.
This establishment contains several large store houses, made
of squared timber, one small stone powder magazine and several framed dwelling houses; these are surrounded by a picket
fence 15 feet high and 226 yards by 106 yards. At the N. W.
angle there is a bastion block house 20 feet square, the two
lower stories are loop-holed, the upper is an octagonal cap
containing eight 3 lb. iron guns. The establishment was removed from the rising ground before mentioned in consequence of the inconvenient distance from the river side, for
the conveyance of goods and procuring water, the latter defect has been remedied by sinking two wells in the present
fort, which are supplied   by   the   river, the water filtering 86
Joseph Schafer
through the soil, which is composed of gravel and sand a few
feet below the surface, these wells rise and fall with the variations of the river. The plain is inundated in the same manner, the water rising through the earth and forming a lake,
before the banks are overflowed.   .
The simplest method of strengthening this post against sudden attack would be to dig a ditch round it, throwing the
earth against the pickets, which should be loop holed and a
banquette formed on the interior, erecting another small block
house at the S. E. angle,* to flank the south and east sides,
and placing small traverses behind the gates.
But in the event of Vancouver being occupied by troops, I
would recommend the position marked on the plan, which is
not commanded by any ground in the immediate vicinity, is
contiguous to the ship channel, and presents the advantage of
never being liable to inundation; it is at present covered with
fine pine trees, which could be made available in the construction of barracks, etc., all of which must be built of wood, there
being no limestone found on the Columbia nearer than Fort
Colville or Vancouver's Island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
The lime used by the Hudson's Bay Company in building
their chimneys being made from coral brought from the Sandwich Islands.
For this position I would recommend a picket enclosure,
ditched and flanked by two small block houses, having a battery facing the river, made of logs, in which two eighteen pds.
[pounders] might be placed to command the ship channel, the
H. B. Co. having two at their establishment, the barracks to
be built of logs or squared timber, which can be procured of
any dimensions in the immediate vicinity.
The H. B. Co. have a saw and grist mill on a small stream
six miles from Vancouver and a large farm attached, with
large bands of horses, herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep.
The Columbia River is about one mile wide at Vancouver
and runs in a N. W. direction towards the sea; six miles be-
*Which was done, to the great annoyance of the American settlers. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
low Vancouver the north branch of the Willamette River,
from the south, enters the Columbia, and the south branch 12
miles further down, forming a large island which is nearly
all inundated at the periods of high water.
The Cowlitz River joins the Columbia from the north, about
35 miles below Vancouver. These are the most important
tributaries, but there are innumerable small streams running
into it from either side. About 90 miles from Vancouver on
the south side of the river is Fort George, formerly called
Astoria, which was given up to the American Government
at the close of the last war. At this post there are a few old
wooden buildings, but not even surrounded by a picket fence.
This establishment is about to be abandoned and a new one
formed on Cape Disappointment. A range of hills runs on
either side of the river following its general course, receding
at some places for three and four miles from its immediate
banks, at others abutting immediately on them, forming perpendicular scarps, where the hills recede from the river the
intervening ground is low and marshy, and covered with
water for two months in the year. There is no road from
Vancouver to the sea and all communication is carried on by
boats and canoes navigating the river.
The most important points on the Columbia River are Cape
Disappointment, Point Adams and Tongue Point. Cape Disappointment being the extremity of its north and Point Adams
of its south bank. These two points completely command the
entrance of the river, which is about five miles wide.
Cape Disappointment is a high, bold headland, consisting
of two bluffs, having perpendicular scarps toward the sea,
connected by a narrow ridge running nearly N. and S., of
about 30 feet in width on the top, the face being nearly perpendicular and about 320 feet in height, sloping more gradually to the rear, where it is connected with the mainland by
a neck of 30 yards in width. The sea coast for about half a
mile presents a scarp of about the same height as the Cape,
but is only a narrow ridge with two spurs running at right 88
Joseph Schafer
angles toward Baker's Bay. These spurs are also narrow and
steep; that to the N. West falling into a large, deep marsh of
about half a mile in length, and a quarter of a mile in width,
near the extremity of which there are two headlands jutting
into the sea and rising abruptly from it. The Cape and adjacent country is densely covered with pine trees.
Point Adams, on the south shore, is a low, sandy point,
densely covered with timber, having some small plains in its
rear, on which there are several families settled. .
The entrance to the Columbia River is obstructed by a very
dangerous bar, two lines of breakers, called the north and
south spits, running respectively from Cape Disappointment
to Point Adams, and also a middle sand, between these two
points, on either side of which run the north and south channels..
The north and one in general use passes close under the
north bluff of the Cape, which completely commands it, and
also the anchorage in Baker's Bay. The south channel runs
along the Clatsop shore, is straight but narrow, and has seldom been attempted. These channels are constantly changing ; the difficulties of the northern have been greatly increased
by the formation of a new spit in the channel during the last
year, altering all the former bearings and marks for entrance.
Tongue Point on the south shore of the Columbia and 15
miles from its mouth, is a narrow peninsula, half a mile in
length, containing about 70 acres of land. The highest point
is about 300 feet above the river, from whence it descends,
in a succession of steps, towards the mainland, and its extremity; the western side is steep in all and quite perpendicular in many places, on the east side it slopes more gradually,
but is very steep, having a small space of open level on the
summit, the remainder is covered with magnificent fir trees,
having a thick underbrush on the east side. The ship channel at present known passes round this point, whether the
river is entered by the north or the south channel, for which Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
reason the occupation of this point is evidently so advantageous.
For the occupation of Cape Disappointment I would recommend three batteries of heavy guns. One of four guns on
the center of the Cape, one of four guns on the north bluff,
and a third of two guns on the spur running from the north
bluff toward the middle sand, with a two-storied block house
placed near a small run of water, with the earth thrown up
to form a parapet round it, overlooking the landing place in
Baker's Bay. The block house will be made of wood, being
the only material on the spot, and which can be procured of
any dimensions, many of the trees on the Cape measuring 20
feet in circumference.
On Point Adams I would place a battery of six guns, having its gorge defended by a block house similar to that for
Cape Disappointment. These points being covered with immense timber, which would require a length of time to remove,
open works could not easily be formed, more particularly
at the Cape, from the nature of the ground. From the nature
of the coast and the continual line of breakers, boats could
not land for several miles north or south of these points, and
boats entering the river by the ship channel on a calm day
would be exposed from every part of the Cape, and a few men
well disposed could prevent their effecting a landing in Baker's
Bay, the only available spot for the purpose near the Cape.
The nearest place on the sea coast north of Cape Disappointment for a safe landing in boats is 18 miles distant in
Shoalwater Bay, and the nearest harbor in Chehelis Bay, commonly called Gray's Harbor, which will admit vessels of the
light draught, having only nine feet of water on the bar, is
40 miles distant.
For the occupation of Tongue Point I would recommend
a battery of heavy guns on the west side, overlooking the ship
channel, with a block house or defensible barrack near its
gorge.   Tongue Point might easily be cut off from the main 90 Joseph Schafer
shore by a ditch across the narrow neck of land connecting
it, which is only 80 yards across.*
There are some other points on the north shore apparently
offering good positions, such as Chinook Point and Point
Ellis. The whole of the north shore from Cape Disappointment is covered with an impenetrable forest, with the exception of Chinook Point, which is low and sandy, having a high
bare hill in its rear, at the foot of which there is a small marsh.
Point Ellis is steep and rocky; these points might be made
available for temporary purposes, but, with the occupation of
Cape Disappointment and Tongue Point would not, I think,
be required. The south shore of the Columbia is also high
and covered with forest.
The navigation of the Columbia River is obstructed by
numerous sand banks, which are constantly shifting, and vessels are often detained a long time in ascending and descending it, as also in Baker's Bay, waiting for a favorable oppor-
portunity of crossing the bar. The H. B. Company's barge
Vancouver was one month from Vancouver to Baker's Bay,
and 45 days laying in the Bay, before an opportunity offered
of leaving the river. An American merchant vessel, the Toulon, was also detained for the same period. The two ships
cleared the bar in company during my last visit to Cape Disappointment.
The other posts belonging to the H'. B. Company which I
have visited are the Cowlitz, Nesqually and Puget's Sound,
and Fort Victoria on Vancouver's Island, in the Straits of
Juan de Fuca. Descending the Columbia River for 35 miles
(from Fort Vancouver) to the mouth of the Cowlitz, ascending it for 45 miles to the Cowlitz farm, the Cowlitz is very
rapid and shallow, but like all the rivers in this country, subject to sudden rises of the water, caused by the melting of the
snows or the rains in the mountains, during these floods the
river is difficult of ascent, the boats being pulled up by the
branches, the banks being too thickly wooded to admit of
*The present railroad is laid* through such a ditch. Warre and Vavasour, i845~(
tracking with a line, it, however, is navigable at all seasons
for flat bottomed boats, in which the H. B. Company transport
the produce of the Cowlitz farm to Fort Vancouver.
The farm establishment is situated on a large plain about
500 yards from the river, and about one mile from the landing place; there is a small settlement of about 19 families, and
a Roman Catholic church in the immediate neighborhood.
There are large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and bands
of horses at this point.
At the Cowlitz we procured horses and rode to Nesqually,
a distance of about 60 miles. This route, or portage, as it is
usually called, passes through small plains, traversing the intervening points of woods, crossing the Quinze Sous, Vassals,
Chute and Nesqually Rivers, all of which are fordable in the
summer, but become deep and rapid in the winter and spring.
Nesqually is also an agricultural and sheep farm, the buildings are of wood situated at the end of a large plain, close to
a fine stream of fresh water, and about one mile from the
shores of Puget's Sound.
This appears the best place for landing troops in the country. The Straits of Juan de Fuca and Puget's Sound being
accessible to vessels of any tonnage and at all seasons with
safe and commodious harbors. There being large herds of
cattle and flocks of sheep at the Nesqually establishment, provisions could easily be procured, and troops forwarded from
Puget's Sound to the Columbia by the Portage and Cowlitz
Light baggage, etc., can be forwarded from the head of
Puget's Sound, making a portage of five miles through a
thickly wooded country to the head of the Satchal or Black
River, which can be descended in flat bottomed boats or rafts
for 25 miles, to the Chehalis River, ascending which for 30
miles, from whence there is a portage of 15 miles, to the Cowlitz Farm. This latter portage can be traveled by carts, the
road having been opened by the few settlers on the plains.
The Satchal and Chehalis Rivers are rapid and the latter is 92
Joseph Schafer
obstructed in one or two places by drift wood. From the Cowlitz farm the troops, etc., can descend the river in boats, to
the Columbia and proceed to any required position on it, by
the same means.
At Nesqually I would recommend a block house or defensible guard house, overlooking the Sound, and commanding the
road from the landing place, the banks on the shore being too
steep to be easily ascended excepting at this point. Any description of works can be thrown up, (such as a bastioned redoubt) on the large plain near the Sequality stream, with barracks, etc., for the accommodation of the troops.
Fort Victoria is situated on the southern end of Vancouver's
Island in the small harbor of Commusan, [ ?] the entrance to
which is rather intricate. The fort is a square enclosure of ioo
yards, surrounded by cedar pickets 20 feet in height, having
two octagonal bastions, containing each six 6-pd. iron guns, at
the N. E. and S. W. angles. The buildings are made of square
timber 8 in number forming three sides of an oblong. This
tort has lately been established; it is badly situated witn regard to water and position, which latter has been chosen for
its agricultural advantages only. About three miles distant
and nearly connected by a small inlet, is the Squirrel harbor,
which is very commodious and accessible at all times, offering a much better position and having also the advantage of
a supply of water in the vicinity.
This is the best built of the Company's posts, it requires
loop holing, and a platform or gallery, to enable men to fire
over the pickets; a ditch might be cut round it, but the rock
appears on the surface in many places.
There is plenty of timber of every description on Vancouver's Island, as also limestone, which could be transported to
Nesqually or other places in the territory when it may be hereafter deemed necessary to form permanent works, barracks,
Oregon City is situated on the right bank of the Willamette
River about 21 miles above its junction with the Columbia, Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
and immediately below the Falls, which are about 35 feet in
height. It contains about 300 inhabitants, two churches of
wood, two grist and three saw mills, and about 80 houses, with
one exception built of wood. There are two ferries across
the river communicating with the Tuality Plains. The country in the immediate vicinity is very high and rocky, forming
two scarps one immediately behind the town and the other
about 500 yards from the river. These scarps are very high,
the first being about 100 feet and the second of still greater
elevation; the ground falls away towards the Clackamas River,
below the junction of which with the Willamette River there
is a small rapid which is difficult to ascend during high water.
The ground on the left bank of the river immediately opposite to Oregon City is very much broken, steep and rocky, and
both the banks are covered with a thick forest.
The settlement extends about 60 miles up the river on either
bank and contains about 5000 inhabitants, composed of Canadians and Americans. Twenty-five miles from Oregon City
there is a Roman Catholic mission with several large wooden
buildings, two churches, dwelling houses and a nunnery. There
is an American Methodist Mission 25 miles higher up the settlement. At both of these missions ferries are established
across the river.
At Oregon City I would recommend three block houses,
one at the upper end of the town, near the Falls, one near the
lower end overlooking the road to Champooick, and the upper
settlements, to be placed on the first scarp, and a third on the
higher scarp behind, to prevent its being occupied and a command obtained over the ground below. The mills of Dr. McLoughlin might be loop holed and made defensible, being
built of square timber.
I have recommended block houses for the defense of those
points of the country at which I think defensive works are
required, as the country is nearly all covered with dense forests at these points; they are easy of construction and the materials are on the spot. 94
Joseph Schafer
All defensive works must be thrown up by the troops, there
being no available labor in the country.   Everything there has
a nominal value and there is no circulating medium, wheat
is being taken as the standard.   For these reasons I have not-
been able to form any estimates of expense.
As all subjects of general information are embodied in the
joint report of Lieut. Warre and myself addressed to his Lordship the Secretary to the Colonies, I have not referred to them
further than as they are connected with the descriptions of the
establishments of the H. B. Company in the country.
(Signed) M. Vavasour,
Lt. Royal Engr.
To Coir. Holloway, Comr. Royal Engineers, Canada.
[No. 14.]
Hudson's Bay House, Deer. 16, 1846.
[To Mr. Addington]—Sir:    As the expedition of Lieuts.
Warre and Vavasour, and the journeys of Sir George Simpson to Washington were undertaken at the instance of the
Earl of Aberdeen, I have forwarded the acct. of the expenses
thereby incurred to the Foreign Office, and request that you
will have the goodness to cause it to be sent to whatever department of the government it ought to be directed.
I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedt. servant,
A. Barclay. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6
Specimen items in the general account of Warre and Vavasour at Fort Vancouver,
showing the prices current on the Columbia in the years 1845 to 1846.
To 2 pr. plain blankets	
29 lbs. fresh beef	
7 lbs. butter	
1 lb. Hyson Tea	
10 lbs. loaf sugar	
15 loaves bread	
3 candles	
1J4 graniteware cups   and saucers	
15 lbs. salt pork	
15 lbs. mutton	
4 lbs. gunpowder	
3H lbs. bar lead	
6 lbs. twist tobacco	
25 lbs. fresh pork	
9 5-8 qt. Brandy	
1 5-8 qt. Port Wine	
1 3-8 qt. Maderia	
2 foolscap books, 2 quires	
1 memorandum, 800	
Note:   At Vancouver the American money table is used, the dollar being the unit.
East of the mountains from and including Ft. Colville, the British table is used.
Her Majesty's Government, Dr.
To the Hudson's Bay Company for supplies and advances connected with the
expedition of Messrs. Warre and Vavasour to the Oregon Territory and returning to
Canada, as per detailed accounts, viz:
Montreal Dept.—Passage from La Chine to Red River	
Express Canoes	
Red River 1845, supplies, journey to Vancouver	
Swan River, supplies, journey to Vancouver	
Saskatchewan, supplies, journey to Vancouver	
Columbia, sundry supplies	
Northern Dept.    Conveyance from Ft. Vancouver to Red River
Northern Dept. P., passage from Red River to St. St. Marie—|
Express Canoes	
Red River—Sundry supplies, 1846	
Henry J. Warre,
Lt. 14th Regt.
M. Vavasour,
Lt. Royal Engr.
*That is, 963 pounds, 7 shillings, and 4 pence, or about $5,0 96
Joseph Schafer
Suspense Account, Db.
To the following supplie
Lieut.  Vavasoui
Sept.     12
Oct.      20
To 1 S. fine beaver hat	
1 frock coat	
1 cloth vest	
1 pr. buckskin trousers	
1 pr. tweed trousers	
4 white cotton shirts	
3 tooth brushes	
1 nail brush	
2 hair brushes	
1 large razor strops	
}A doz. pipes	
5i bundle seed beads	
1 bundle garnet beads	
3 cakes vegetable soap	
1 bottle Extract of Roses...
1 nail brush	
1 pr. Blucher shoes	
1 Valencia Vest	
2 Paris silk handkerchiefs...
1 pr. Warner shoes	
2 yds. Hair Ribbon	
43 yds. H. B. blue strands..
2 yds. Highland gaiters	
1 yd. white flannel	
1 doz. clay pipes	
2 J4 yds. wh. blanketing	
3H yds. grey cotton	
M yd. 2d dark blue cloth	
}£ lb. colored thread No. 12	
9 yds. lace	
1 yd. black padding cloth	
H ger. black braid	
2 yds. silk twist thread	
2 yds. hair ribbon	
1 yd. 6d ribbon	
1 skein colored silk	
1 paper pins	
Transfer Or. Mr. Ross	
3 yds. green silk gauze	
1 pr. ladies' shoes	
1 yd. hair ribbon ".	
1 box Bowlands Odante	
1 yd. grey cotton	
14 yd. 2d blue cloth	
1-6 yd. scarlet cloth	
1 pc. black carding	
Cash paid for newspapers at the Willamette Falls	
To transfer Cr. Mrs. Mcintosh, for
To transfer Cr. Mrs. Pambrum for
ganished work	
$127.78 ® 4s 6d per dollar is..
$ 8.88
£ 28 15
G. Simpson,
M. Vavasour.
Warre s separate account
etc., for both officers and the
mar.     lhe general
tnployed by them.
:count includes supplies, Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
[No. 15.]
Expedition of Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour to the Oregon
Territory. Inclosures in Colonial Office letter of 3d November, 1846.
Schedule of enclosures forwarded by Lieuts. Warre and
Vavasour, with their dispatch and general report, addressed
to the Rt. Hon. the Secy, of State for the Colonies, dated Fort
Garry, Red River Settlement, June 16, 1846.
No. 1. Copy of memorandum of the Comr. of the Forces
in Canada.
No. 2. Dispatch addressed by Lord Metcalfe, Gov. General in Canada, to the Comr. of the Forces, dated Montreal,
May, 1845.
No. 3. Instructions from the Comr. of the Forces in Canada to Lieut. Warre.
No. 4. Copy of letter addressed by Sir G. Simpson, Gov.
of the Hon. H. B. Co., to Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour, dated
Encampment Lac La Pluie, May 30, 1845.
No. 5. Copies of dispatches forwarded from the Red River
Settlement to the Gov. Genl. in Canada and the Secy, of State
for the Colonies, dated Fort Garry, Red River Settlement,
June 10, 1845.   Marked (B) and (C).
No. 6. Copies of dispatches forwarded from Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, by the Honble. H. B. Co. vessel the "Cowlitz" to His Excellency the Governor General of
Canada, and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated
Fort Vancouver, November 1st, 1845.   Marked (D) and (E).
No. 7. Copy of bill, organizing the Oregon Territory and
attaching it to the United States and recommending the immediate construction of fortifications, by the American Government, on Cape Disappointment.    Marked (    ).
No. 8. Copy of dispatch enclosing speech of Govr. of Oregon, forwarded by Hon. H. B. Co.'s ship "Vancouver," to the
Sandwich Islands, thence under cover to the British Consul
at Bias [ ?] to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated
Fort Vancouver, Dec. 8, 1845, marked (H), enclosing dispatch to Gov. Genl. in Canada of same date, marked (G). 98 Joseph Schafer
No. 9. Census of the Indian population in the Oregon Territory.
No. 10. Condensed report of the Hudson's Bay Company's
Trading Posts visited by Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour on
their journey to and during their residence in the Oregon
No. 11. Copy of a letter addressed by Sir G. Simpson to
Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour on their return to the Red River
Settlement dated Fort Garry, R. R. St. [?], June 10, 1846.
No. 12. Copies of correspondence with Mr. Ogden, Chief
Factor of H. B. Co. service, relative to the purchase of Cape
Disappointment.    Marked (F).    (Nine letters.)
No. 13. Table of estimated distances on the Columbia River
and in the Oregon Territory.
No. 14. Account given in by the Honble. H. B. Company
for supplies, etc., connected with the expedition of Messrs.
Warre and Vavasour to the Oregon Territory and return to
(Signed) Henry J. Warre,
Lt. 14 Regt.
Surveys, plans and sketches accompanying the above mentioned dispatches.
No. 1. Map showing the route of Lieuts. Warre and Vavasour to the Oregon Territory.
No. 2.   Plan of Fort Vancouver.
No. 3. Plan of Fort Victoria and chart of Camrasan [?]
No. 4. Sketch of the plains in the vicinity of Fort Nis-
qually on Puget's Sound forwarded in November, 1845.
No. 5. Survey of Cape Disappointment showing its command over the ship channel.
No. 6. Eye sketch of the route from Cowlitz River to
Puget's Sound.
No. 7. Eye sketch showing the site of Oregon City of the
Willamette River. Warre and Vavasour, 1845-6.
No. 8.    Survey of Tongue Point on the Columbia River,
showing its command over the ship channel.
One result of this expedition was a book entitled: "Sketches
in North America and the Oregon Territory." By Captain
H. Warre. (A. D. C. to the Commander of the Forces).
Lithographed, printed and published by Dickinson and Co.,
New Bond street. [London, Eng.], and dedicated to "The
Governor, Deputy Governor and Committee of the Honorable
the Hudson's Bay Company."
The book contains, aside from the preface, the following
sketches lithographed:
1. Fort Garry.
2. Falls of the Kamanistaquoia River.
3. Buffalo hunting on the W. Prairies and forcing a passage through the burning prairie.    (Two on same page).
4. Distant view of the Rocky Mountains.
5. The Rocky Mountains.
6. Source of the Columbia River.
7. Fort Vancouver and Indian tombs. (Two on same
8. Mount Baker and Cape Disappointment.
9. Valley of the Willamette River.
10. The American Village (Oregon City).
11. Fort George (formerly Astoria), and McGillivray's
or Kootenai River.
12. Les Dalles, Columbia River.
13. Mt. Hood from The Dalles.
14. Mt. Hood.
15. Falls of the Peloos [Palouse] River.
16. The Rocky Mountains from the Columbia River, looking N. W.   gtj|feaaaiin$  President
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1909.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 1910.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 191 f.
Term expires at Annual Meeting in December, 19J2M*v^^
The Quarterly k tent free to all members of the Society.     The annual duet are two dollar*.
The fee for life membership is twenty-five dollars.
Eugene, Oregon.
Subscriptions for The Quarterly, or for the other publication! of the Society, should be tent to
Assistant Secretary.
City Hall. Portland, Oregon. JfmNTEN^f
FREDERICK V. HOLMAN-foscovery and Exploration of Fraser River :^^f j
WlLIJAM4I^ENTON|^»er Wilbur and His Work ■■T^.J^M^'^SR
LON L. SWIFT—Land Tenure in Oregon    -        ...        -.r-g:?^
NpTES/|^^te:jS&S^^^S^J^^KiS-     -
Entered at the post office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matter ■ nflRuy.ii THE QUARTERLY
Oregon Historical Society.
Volume X JUNE, 1909 Number 2
[The Quarterly disavows responsibility for the positions taken by contributors to its pages.]
DECEMBER 19, 1908.
The Discovery and Exploration of the Fraser River.
The dedication of a monument to Simon Fraser at New
Westminster, British Columbia, on the thirtieth of September,
1908, in honor of his exploration of the Fraser River, in 1808,
recalls a most daring achievement. It is an historic event of
great interest and of importance in the history of British
Columbia and of the original Oregon Country. The Fraser
and the Columbia are the only rivers which break through
that great range of mountains which starts near the Gulf of
California, and is known in that State as the Sierra Nevada,
and continues through Oregon and Washington as the Cascade
Mountains. This range of mountains finally disappears in
British Columbia.
Four Important Historical Events.
In historical importance this exploration by Simon Fraser
should be considered as one of four notable events in con- 2 Frederick V. Holman
nection with these two great rivers. These events chronologically are as follows:
First. The discovery by Captain Robert Gray, May II,
1792, of the Columbia River.
Second. The discovery by Sir Alexander Mackenzie, June
17, 1793, of the Tacoutche Tesse, which is now known as the
Fraser River.
Third. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, in 1804-1806, to
the mouth of the Columbia River.
Fourth. The exploration by Simon Fraser, in the summer
of 1808, of the Fraser River to its mouth.
It is the discovery and exploration of the Fraser River of
which I shall speak particularly in this address.
As the mouth of the Columbia River was theoretically discovered by Captain Bruno Heceta, of the Spanish Navy,
August 15, 1775, who named it Rio de San Roque, so the
mouth of the Fraser River was theoretically discovered by
Lieutenant Don Francisco Eliza, of the Spanish Navy, in
1791, who named it Boca de Florida Blanca, in honor of the
Prime Minister of Spain. Neither of these discoverers entered
either of these rivers. But the mouth of each of these rivers
was shown on Spanish maps afterwards published.
Failure of Vancouver to Find the Columbia and Fraser
It is surprising that Captain George Vancouver did not find
the Fraser river. He was an experienced explorer and had
been a midshipman in Captain Cook's last voyage, in the years
1776 to 1780, inclusive. But it is no more surprising than
Vancouver's failure to find the Columbia River. He was put
on his inquiry, if he did not have actual notice, in regard to
the existence of each of these rivers. Had he found them, or
either of them, his fame would be far greater than it is,
although it is still great.
It is not important now to speculate on what might have Discovery of Fraser River.
been the result had Vancouver, as he should have done, discovered and entered the Columbia River prior to Gray. But
the inquiry arises nevertheless. The United States, in its
official correspondence with Great Britain, strenuously insisted
on its right to the portion of the Oregon Country drained by
the Columbia River by reason of its discovery by Gray.
Although that was only one of the claims urged, it was an
important factor in the final adjustment, by the boundary
treaty of June 15, 1846, of the rights of the United States to
that part of the Oregon Country south of latitude forty-nine.
The mouth of the Fraser River is practically a delta, its
several exits running through what is apparently a sand island,
as viewed from the Gulf of Georgia. On the twelfth and
thirteenth of June, 1792, Captain Vancouver's two vessels
were anchored in the Gulf of Georgia a short distance south
of this delta. June 12 he started to explore in a yawl. He
discovered and named Point Roberts, at the south of the delta.
Proceeding along the delta, he came, early on the morning of
June 13, to Point Grey, which he named. This is the extreme
northern point of the delta and the southern point of English
Bay, immediately south of what Vancouver named Burrard's
Canal, now known as Burrard's Inlet. This delta Vancouver
named Sturgeon Bank. In his Voyage, Vancouver says this
delta has the appearance of an island, but he continues: "this,
however, is not the case, notwithstanding there are two openings between this point [Point Roberts] and Point Grey.
These can only be navigable for canoes, as the shoal continues
along the coast to the distance of seven or eight miles from
the shore, on which were lodged, and especially before these
openings, logs of wood, and stumps of trees innumerable."
Certainly this should have shown Vancouver that there was
a large river near and that these openings were connected with
it. The spring and summer freshet was on in the Fraser, as
it was in the Columbia River, when Vancouver was at the
mouth of the Columbia, April 27, 1792. At the mouths of
each of these rivers the water was discolored, as is shown in -
Frederick V. Holman
in Vancouver's Voyage, and yet Vancouver did not find either
of these rivers!
June 22, 1792, as Vancouver was returning to his ship, he
came on two Spanish naval vessels. He showed the Spanish
officers the sketch he had made of his last excursion. Vancouver says: "They seemed much surprised that we had not
found a river said to exist in the region we had been exploring, and named by one of their officers Rio Blancho in compliment to the then Prime Minister of Spain; which river these
gentlemen had sought for thus far to no purpose."
The Journey of Mackenzie to the Pacific Ocean.
In 1789 Alexander Mackenzie, afterwards knighted for his
discoveries, discovered the Mackenzie River. He went down
that river to where it flows into the Arctic Ocean. In 1791 he
went to London and returned to Canada in the spring of 1792.
Very soon after he started with an expedition to cross the
continent to the Pacific Ocean. October 10, 1792, he and his
party arrived at Fort Chippewayan, on the Lake of the Hills,
now known as Lake Athabasca. Into this lake flow the waters
of Peace River. With his party he ascended Peace River until
November r, 1792, when they came to a place to which Mackenzie had sent ahead two men to begin the preparation of
winter quarters. On Mackenzie's map it is called Fork Fort.
Its latitude is 56 degrees 9 minutes; its longitude, 117 degrees
35 minutes and 15 seconds, as ascertained by observations
made by Mackenzie. Here Mackenzie and his party passed
the winter. May 9, 1793, they started again on their journey,
ascending Peace river. May 31 they came to the junction of
Finlay and Parsnip Rivers, which form Peace River. The
expedition ascended Parsnip River to its head waters. After
making a short" portage, it came to a river, named by Mackenzie Bad River. This river was descended to the place where
the latter river joins the great river, which Mackenzie called
Tacoutche Tesse (Tesse meaning river) being a name given Discovery of Fraser River.
it by a tribe of Indians. This is Fraser River. This discovery
of this great river occurred June 17, 1793.
Mackenzie descended the Tacoutche until he was deterred
by the hostile attitude of the Indians, the physical difficulties
of following the river, and by information given by the Indians
of its dangerous character. Mackenzie then ascended the river,
going north a distance equal to about one degree of latitude.
Here he left the Tacoutche and went overland, westerly, until
he came to an arm of the Pacific Ocean, now called Bentinck
Inlet, at about latitude fifty-two degrees. On his return trip
he arrived at Fort Chippewayan August 24, 1793, where his
Journal ends.
It is sometimes said in a loose way by writers that Mackenzie thought the Tacoutche was a part of the Columbia River.
This was not the case when he discovered the Tacoutche. He
did not then know that the Columbia River had been discovered, nor did he learn of it until after his return from his
discovery of the Tacoutche.
Mackenzie kept a journal. In it he speaks of the Tacoutche
as "the great river," and he also wrote in his journal:
"The more I heard of the river [Tacoutche] the more I was
convinced it could not empty itself into the ocean to the North
of what is called the River of the West, so that with its windings, the distance must be very great. Such being the discouraging circumstances of my situation, which were now
heightened by the discontent of my people, I could not but be
alarmed at an idea of attempting to get to the discharge of
such a rapid river, especially when I reflected on the tardy
progress of my return up it, even if I should meet with no
obstruction from the natives."
The Fabled Oregon or River of the West.
In referring to the River of the West, Mackenzie undoubtedly had in mind the fabled river described by Jonathan Carver
in his Travels. In 1778 Jonathan Carver published, at London, :z^===
Frederick V. Holman
the first edition of his book, describing his travels in the
interior of North America. Carver was a great traveller, and
also what I may call a great fabricator or fictionist. In the
introduction or preface of his book, Carver says that the
greatest part of his discoveries have never been published.
He added:
"Particularly the account I give of the Naudowesies, and
the situation of the Heads of the four great rivers that take
their rise within a few leagues of each other, nearly about the
center of this great continent, viz: The River Bourbon, which
empties itself into Hudson's Bay; the Waters of Saint Lawrence; the Mississippi, and the River Oregon, or the River of
the West, that falls into the Pacific Ocean at the straits of
Anian." This is the first time: the word Oregon was used or
mentioned in print.
In the book Carver further wrote of these rivers, and showed
on a map, bound in the book, the Straits of Juan de Fuca between latitudes forty-seven and forty-eight and a part of the
fabled "Straits of Anian" running southerly from the Straits
of Juan de Fuca into the River of the West sixty or seventy
miles east of its mouth, somewhat as though Puget Sound
extended southerly to the Columbia River. The mouth of the
River of the West he placed at about latitude forty-four. This
location of the mouth of this river was evidently used by
Carver to carry out his fiction, for on his map he placed opposite the mouth of this river the words "Discovered by Agui-
lar." In January, 1603, Martin de Aguilar, a Spanish naval
officer, made an imaginary discovery of a great river, which
he asserted flowed into the Pacific Ocean a short distance
north of latitude forty-three. The mouth of de Aguilar's
river was afterwards shown on maps. It was easy for Carver
to connect the head of his fabled river with the mouth of de
Aguilar's imaginary one.
At the time Mackenzie discovered the Tacoutche, he knew
that the fabled Straits of Anian, and those of De Fonte did
not exist. But he supposed the Oregon or River of the West
might exist. Discovery of Fraser River. 7
Mackenzie's Knowledge of the Columbia River.
The Columbia River was discovered by Captain Robert
Gray, May 11, 1792, about the time Mackenzie left Montreal
on his journey to the Pacific Ocean. The discovery of the
Columbia River was not known to Mackenzie, probably, until
the return of Vancouver to England in 1795, although Mackenzie may have heard of it after his return, in the fall of
1793, to Montreal, from his expedition, for Captain Gray returned to Boston by the way of the Cape of Good Hope in
1793 or 1794. Mackenzie went to England in 1799 and there
supervised the publication of his Journal. It was published
in 1801.
Captain George Vancouver returned to London in September, 1795, and his Voyage was published in London in 1798.
In this book, Vancouver gave a detailed statement of the discovery of the Columbia River, the latitude and longitude of
its mouth, and of the exploration of the Columbia by Lieutenant Broughton from its mouth to Point Vancouver, in
October, 1792, a distance of about one hundred miles.
Mackenzie's main Journal of his expedition was published,
as written by him, subject to editorial supervision. But in
the latter part of this volume is a summary, possibly written
by his cousin, Roderick Mackenzie, who is said to have revised
the manuscript of Alexander Mackenzie. In this summary
the. Tacoutche is spoken of as being the Columbia River, and a
map is bound in the volume showing between dotted lines the
Columbia River as being a continuation of the Tacoutche
Tesse, as far south as latitude fifty-one, but no further. Vancouver's Voyage is the undoubted source of Mackenzie's
knowledge of the Columbia River, as set forth in the summary
to Mackenzie's Journal and in said map.
The course of the Columbia River, for more than the one
hundred miles above its mouth, as explored by Lieutenant
Broughton, was not known until the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804-1806, and then only from the junction of the 1
8 Frederick V. Holman
Snake with the Columbia River. North of the Snake River
the course of the Columbia River was not known until 1811.
The first white man who discovered and explored the sources
of the Columbia River was David Thompson, one of the partners of the Northwest Company. He was also the first white
man to descend the Columbia to its confluence with the Snake
River. In 1811 Thompson, in a light canoe, manned by eight
Iroquois and an interpreter, went down the Columbia River,
arriving at Astoria July 15, 1811. This was only a short time
after the founding of Astoria. The Tonquin, the ship which
brought the Astor expedition, entered the Columbia River
March 24, 1811. April 12 the expedition landed and camped
at Astoria to make that place its permanent home.
Alexander Mackenzie was a great and intrepid explorer.
He was the first white man to cross the American continent
from civilization on the Atlantic slope to the Pacific Ocean,
north of latitude forty-two, the northern boundary of California.
The First Settlement in British Columbia by Fraser.
The first permanent settlement on the Tacoutche or Fraser
River was made under the leadership of Simon Fraser on
behalf of the Northwest Company. This was the first permanent occupation of the continent by white men west of the
Rocky Mountains, north of latitude forty-two degrees and
south of latitude fifty-four degrees, forty minutes, and being
what was subsequently known as the Oregon Country.
It was in 1805 that Simon Fraser and his party arrived in
that country. I shall not go into details concerning his occupation of this part of the country except to say that he named
it New Caledonia and established several trading posts or
forts, for this address relates to the discovery and exploration
of the Fraser River and not to settlements in the country. Discovery of Fraser River. 9
Simon Fraser.
Simon Fraser was a near relative of the noted Baron Simon
Fraser Lovat, a Scotchman known as Lord Lovat. The latter
was a Jacobite intriguer, who took part in the Scottish rebellion of 1745, which ended in the battle of Culloden. He
was executed in 1747. His family is one of the oldest in the
Scottish Highlands. Simon Fraser, the explorer of Fraser
River, was born in 177.6, on his father's farm near Bennington,
Vermont. His father, also named Simon Fraser, emigrated
from Scotland in 1773. In the American Revolutionary War
his father was a British Loyalist or Tory, one of the so-called
United Empire Loyalists. He became a captain in the British
army. He was captured in the war and died in prison. Young
Simon Fraser was taken by his widowed mother to St. Andrews, Ontario, which was his home during his youth, although he attended school at Montreal. In 1792, when he
was sixteen years old, he joined the Northwest Company. His
promotion was rapid. In 1802 he became a bourgeois or partner of that company. That he arrived at this position when
he was only twenty-six years old is a proof of his ability and
of how he was considered by his company. This is also shown
from his being sent to, and placed in command of, this new
field of operation in New Caledonia.
Fraser's Exploration of the Fraser River.
In the fall of 1807 Simon Fraser received instructions from
the Northwest Company to explore the Tacoutche to its
mouth. It was then believed that this river was a part of the
great Columbia River. This belief'was strengthened by the
fact that for a long distance, to the point Mackenzie ceased
to descend the Tacoutche, its