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Adventures on the Columbia river, including the narrative of a residence of six years on the western… Cox, Ross, 1793-1853 1831

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S? (^/TttSpVt"         *f
^^ N^t,
Pag  1
&c, &c
AND       *
The following Narrative embraces a period
of six years, five of which were spent among
various tribes on the banks of the Cd^_Df§ft&
River and its tributary streams; and the
remaining portion was occupied in the voyage outwards, and the journey across the
During this period the Author ascended
the Columbia nine times, and descended it
eight; wintered among various tribes ; was
engaged in several encounters with the' Indians; was lost fourteen days in a wilderness,
and had many other extraordinary escapes.
l vm
He kept journals of the principal events
which occurred during the greater part of
this period, the substance of which will be
found embodied in the following pages.
Those who love to read of " battle, murder,
and sudden death," will, in his description
of the dangers and privations to which the
life of an Indian trader is subject, find much
to gratify their taste; while to such as are
ffm&of nature, in its rudest d,nd most savage
forms, he trusts his sketches of the wild and
wandering tribes of Western America may
not be found uninteresting.
. They cannot lay claim to the beautiful
colouring which the roiftantic pen of a Cha«',
teaubriand has imparted to his picture of
Indian manners; for the Author, unfortunately* did not meet with any tHbe which
approached that celebrated #ritefr's splendid
description of savage life. He has seen many
p£v^hem before the contamination of while
me^c.rcowld have  cheferiorated their native PREFACE. IX
character; and, while he records with pleasure the virtues and bravery of some, truth
compels him to give a different character
to the great majority.
The press has of late years teemed with
various" Recollections," " Reminiscences,**
&c. of travels, scenes, and adventures in
well known countries, but no account has
been yet published of a great portion of the
remote regions alluded to in this Work.
They are therefore new to the world ; and,
if the Author's unpretending narrative possesses no other claim to the public favor,
it cannot at least be denied that of novelty.  INTRODUCTION.
In the year 1670 a charter was granted by
Charles the Second to the Hudson's Bay Company* whose first governor was Prince Rupert, by
which the Company was allowed the exclusive
privilege of establishing trading fsiprtories on the
shores of that noble bay and its tributary rivers.
Owing to this charter the fur-trade, which forms
an important and extensive branch of American
commerce, was for a long period monopolised by
the Company; but, from the peculiar nature of its
constitution, little progress was made by its officers
in extending its trading posts, or exploring the in*
terior, until the year 1770, when Mr. Hearne was
sent on an expedition to the Arctic Sea, for an
account of which I beg to refer the reader to that
gentleman's simple and interesting narrative. Xll INTRODUCTION.
While Canada belonged to France the Canadian
traders had advanced many hundred miles beyond
Lake Superior, and established several trading-
posts in the heart of the country, some of which
the voyageurs still call by their original names;
. such as Fort Dauphin, Fort Bourbon, and others.
The conquest of that province opened a new
source of trade to British enterprise ; and while
the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company fancied
their charter had secured them in the undisturbed
possession of their monopoly, an active and enterprising rival was gradually encroaching on their.
territories, and imperceptibly undermining their
influence with the Indians ; I allude to the North-
West Fur Company of Canada, which originally
consisted of a few private traders, but subsequently became the first commercial establishment in British America.
It is not here necessary to enter into a detail of the
formation and increase of thisCompany. Its first
members were British and Canadian merchants;
among cwhom Messrs. Rocheblave, Frobisher,
Fraser, M'Tavish, Mackenzie, and M'Gillivray
were tke most prominent.     Their clerks were INTRODUCTION. Xll!
chiefly younger branches of respectable Scottish^
families, who entered the service as appren^itses.
for seven years; for which period they were allowed one hundred pounds, and suitable clothing.
At the expiration of theirs apprenticeship they
were placed on yearly salaries, varying from eighty
to one irandred and sixty pounds, and according
to their talents were ultimately provided for as
partners; some, perhaps, in a year or two after
the termination of their engagements; while
others remained ten, twelve, or sixteen years in a
state of probation.
This system, by creating an identity of interest,
produced a spirit of emulation among the clerks
admirably calculated to promote the general
good; for, as each individual was led to expect
that the period for his eled&on to the proprietary
depended on his own exertions, every nerve was
strained to attain the long-desired object of his
wishes.      %$$ H *     ;- |M|:
Courage was an indispensable qualification,
not merely for the casual encounters with the Indians, but to intimidate any competitor 4n trader
with whom he might happen to come in collision^ XIV INTRODUCTION.
Success was looked upon as the great criterion of
a trader's cleverness; and provided he obtained
for his outfit of merchandise what was considered
a good return of furs, the partners never stopped
to inquire about the means by which they were
The Hudson's Bay Company, on the contrary,
presented no such inducements to extra exertion
on the part of its officers. Each individual had a
fixed salary, without any prospect of becoming a
proprietor; and some of them, whose courage
was undoubted, when challenged to single combat
by a Nor-Wester, refused; alleging as a reason,
that they were engaged to trade for furs, and not
to fight with fellow-subjects!
Independently of the foregoing circumstances,
the North-West Company in the selection of its
canoe-men, or, as they are called, engage's, had
another.great advantage over its chartered rival.
These men were French Canadians, remarkable
for obedience to their superiors ; and whose skill
in managing canoes, capability of enduring hardship, and facility of adapting themselves to the
habits and peculiarities of the various tribes, ren- INTRODUCTION. XV
dered them infinitely more popular in the eyes of
the Indians than the stubborn, unbending, matter-
of-fact Orkney men, into whose ideas a work of
supererogation never entered.*
The diminished amount of their imports, joined
to the increased demand of goods from their factories, at length openedtfhe eyes of the Hudson's
Bay directors to the success of their formidable
opponents, and induced them to attempt, when
too late, to arrest their career. By their charter
they now laid claim to the exclusive privilege of
trading, not merely on the English River and
its various branches, but also on the Saskacha-
wan* Red River, and all the other streams which
empty themselves into the great Lake Winepic,
the waters of which are carried to Hudson's Bay
by the rivers Nelson and Severn.
This territorial claim, unsupported by any physical power, had but little weight with their persevering rivals. They were far beyond the reach
of magisterial authority; and an injunction could
* The chief part of the boatmen and several of the officers of
the Hudson's Bay Company were, formerly, natives of the
Orkney Islands.
not be easily served, nor obedience to it ^forced
in a country fifteen hundred or two thousand nfites^
beyond the limits of any recognised j urisiiction.
After establishing opposition. trading posts adjoining the different factories of the Hudson's
Bay Company in the interior, the indefatigable
Nor-Westers continued their progress to the north-;
ward and westward, and formed Numerous trading
§^$ishmea$s afcsAtfcabasca, Peace River, Great
$gM&3,]<£s_}£r , Slave Lakes, New Caledonia, the
Colombia, &c.; to none of which places did the
(piigers of the Hudson's Bay attempt to follow
them. By these means the INorfii-West Company
became undisputed;masters of the interior. Their
influence with i the natives was all-powerful; and
no single trader, without incurring imminent danger from the Indians, or encountering the risk of
starvation, could attempt to penetrate into their
A few independent individuals, unconnected with
either company, the chief of whom was Mr. John
Jacob Astor, a wealthy merchant of New York, still
carried on a fluctuating trade with the Indians,
whose lands border Canada and the United States f INTRODUCTION. XV11
but their competition proved injurious to themselves, as prices far above their value were frequently given to the natives for their furs.
With the interior thus inaccessible, and the
confines not worth disputing, Mr. Astor turned his
thoughts to the opposite side of the American
continent; and accordingly made proposals to the
North-West Company to join with him in forming
an establishment on the Columbia River. This
proposition was submitted to the consideration of
a general meeting of the wintering proprietors;
and, .after some negotiations as to the details,
Mr. Astor therefore determined to make the
attempt Without their co-operation; and in the
winter of 1809 he succeeded in forming an association called the §f Pacific Fur Company," of
which he himself was the chief proprietor. As
able and experienced traders were necessary to
ensure success, he induced several of the gentlemen connected with the North-West Company to
quit that establishment and join in his speculation. Among these was Mr. Alexander M'Kay,
an old partner, who had accompanied Sir Alex-
ander Mackej&ie in his perilous journey across the
continent to the Pacific Ocean.
It Was intended in the first instance to form a
trading establishment at the entrance of the Columbia, and as many more subsequently on its
tributary streams as the nature and productions of
the country would admit. It was also arranged
that a vessel laden with goods for the Indian
trade should sail every year from !§§w York to
the Columbia, and after discharging her cargo
$| the establishment, take on board the produce
pf the year's trade, and thence proceed to .Canton, which is a ready market for furs of every description. On disposing of her stock of peltries
at the latter place, she was to return to New York
freighted with the productions of China.
The first vessel fitted out by the Pacific Fur
Qompany was the Tonkin, commanded by Captain Jonathan Thorne, formerly a lieutenant in the
service of the United States. She sailed from
New York in the autumn of 1810, and had on
board four partners, nine clerks, with a number of
mechanics and voyageurs, with a large and well
assorted cargo for the Indian and Chinese; trades. INTRODUCTION. X*_fc
Much about the same period a party under^tfii
command of Messrs. W. P.- Hunt, and Donald
Mackenzie, left Saint Louis on the Missouri,
w&fe the intention of proceeding as nearly as possible by Lewis and Clarke's route across the continent to the mouth of the Columbia. This party
consisted, besides the above gentlemen, who were
partners, of three clerks, and upwards of seventy
The following year, 1811, another vessel, the
Beaver, of four hundred and eighty tons, commanded by Captain Cornelius Sowles, sailed for
the Columbia. She had on board one partner,
six clerks, and a number of artisans and voyageurs,
with a plentiful supply of every thing that could
contribute to the comfort of the crew and passengers.
The exaggerated reports then in circulation relative to the wealth to be obtained in the Columbia
induced merchants of the first respectability to
solicit for their sons appointments in the new
Company; and many of their applications were
unsuccessful. The Author, who was at this period
in New York, captivated with the love of novelty, XX INTRODUCTION.
and the hope of speedily realising an independence
in the supposed El Dorada, exerted all his influence to obtain a clerkship in the Company. He
succeeded, and was one of those who embarked
on board the Beaver.
With what success his golden anticipations
were crowned, together with all his "travels'
history," will be amply detailed in the following
Narrative. CONTENTS
Singularly luminous appearance of the ocean—The Equator
•—Magellanic clouds—Falkland islands—Storm, and loss of
two men—Cape Horn — Dreadful storm — Islands of Juan
Fernandez and Massafuero — Trade-winds in the Pacific—
A shark—Arrival at Sandwich Islands ...      1
Whoahoo—Visit from a chief—Nocturnal excursion-—King
and queens—Invasion of the ship—White men—Gardens—
Foot race, and summary justice—Throwing the spear—Royal
residence, and body guard—Mourning for a chiefs wife—
Billy Pitt, George Washington, &c.       .        .        .        .23
Tamaahmaah—The Eooranee—Curious custom—Fickleness
in dress—Character of natives—Important position of the
islands—Cow hunting—Complete our supplies—Take a number of natives—Departure—New discovery—Arrival at the
Columbia     .        . JR.' 50 XXU CONTENTS.
Account of the Tonquin—Loss of her chief mate, seven men,
and two boats—Extraordinary escape of Weekes—Erection
of Astoria—Mr. Thompson of the N. W. Company—Arrival
of Messrs. Hunt and Mackenzie, and sketch of their journey
over-land      .........    74
Particulars of the destruction of the Tonquin and crew-
Indians attack a party ascending the river—Description of
fort, natives, and the country .        .        ...        .96
Departure from Astoria—Description of our party, lading,
&c.—Appearance of river and islands—Fleas and musquitoes
—First rapids, dangerous accident—Indian cemetery—Ugly
Indians—Gibraltar — Cape Horn—The narrows and falls—
Change iii the appearance of the country—Attempt at robbery
—Mounted Indians       ....... 117
Party commence eating horses—Remarkable escape from a
rattlesnake—Kill numbers of them—Arrive among the Wallah
Wallah tribe—Description of the country—The Pierced-nose
Indians—Author's party proceeds up Lewis River—Purchase
horses for land-travelling—Prickly pears—Awkward accident
—Leave, the canoes, and journey inland .        .        .        . 139
Author loses the party—Curious adventures, and surprising
escapes from serpents and wild beasts during fourteen days CONTENTS. XX111
in a wilderness—Meets with Indians, by whom he is hospitably
received, and conducted to his friends     .... 158
Remarkable case of Mr. Pritchard, who was thirty-five days
lost—Situation of Spokan House—Journey to the Flat-head
lands, and description of that tribe—Return to Spokan House
—Christmas day—Horse-eating—Spokan peculiarities—Articles of trade—A duel  .        .    ^«        .     -1-,      .        i 184
Execution of an Indian for robbery—War between Great
Britain and the United States—Dissolution of the Pacific
Fur Company—Author joins the North-West Company, and
proceeds to the Rocky Mountains—Meets a party, and returns
to the sea—Robbery of goods, and successful stratagem to
recover the property—Attack at night—Dog-eating—Author
and three men pursued by Indians—Narrow escape . 202
Author proceeds to Oakinagan, and thence to the Flat-
heads, where he passes the winter—Cruel treatment of the
Black-feet prisoners by the Flat-heads—Horrible spectacle—
Buffalo the cause of war between the two tribes—Women—
Government—.Peace and war chiefs—Wolves—Anecdote of a
dog—Syrup of birch—Surgical and medical knowledge of the
Flat-heads—Remarkable cure of rheumatism—Their ideas of a
future state ; and curious tradition respecting the beavers—
Name of Flat-head a misnomer—A marriage .        . 228
Effect of snow on the eyes—Description of a winter at
Oakinagan—News from the sea—Capture of Astoria by the XXIV CONTENTS.
Racoon sloop of war—Offer of Chinooks to cut off the British
—A party attacked; Mr. Stewart wounded; two Indians
killed —Arrival of Mr. Hunt—Shipwreck of the Lark —
Massacre of Mr. Read and eight of his men—Extraordinary
escape of Dorrien's widow and children .        •        • 260
Arrival of the Isaac Tod—Miss Jane Barnes, a white
woman—Murder of one of our men by' Indians—Trial and
execution of the murderers—Death of Mr. Donald M'Tavish
and five men .  284
Sketch of the Indians about the mouth of the Columbia—
Process of flattening the head—Thievish disposition—Treatment of their slaves—Suggestions to the missionary societies—
Dreadful ravages of the smallpox — Jack Ramsay—Their
ideas of religion—Curious superstition—Marriage ceremonies
—Anecdote—Aversion to ardent spirits—Government—War
—Arms and Armour—Canoes and houses—System of cooking
— Utensils—Gambling—Haiqua—Quack doctors—Mode of
burial 301
Voyage to the interior—Party attacked, and one man killed
—Arrive at Spokan House—Joy of the Indians at our return—
The chiefs speech—Sketch of Mr. M'Donald—Duel prevented
between him and a chief—Kettle Indians ; their surprise at
seeing white men—Curious account of an hermaphrodite chief
—Death of Jacques Hoole .       .       .- . 337 A
Singularly luminous appearance of the ocean—The Equator—
Magellanic clouds—Falkland islands—Storm, and loss of
two men—Cape Horn—Dreadful storm—Islands of Juan
Fernandez and Massafuero—Trade winds in the Pacific—
A shark—Arrival at Sandwich Islands.
On Thursday the 17th of October, 1811, we sailed
from New York, with a gentle breeze from the
northward, and in a few hours lost sight of the
high lands of "Never Sink." Our cabin passengers
were, Messrs. Clarke, Clapp, Halsey, Nicolls, Seton, Ehninger, and self; with Captain Sowles,
and Messrs. Rhodes, Champenois and Dean, officers of the ship.
Nothing particular occurred until the night of
the 7th of November, when we were gratified with
observing the ocean assume that fiery appearance
mentioned by several of our circumnavigators; to
account for which has not a little perplexed the
most erudite inquirers into marine phenomena.
During our passage through these liquid flames
we had what sailors term a " smacking breeze "
of eight knots. The captain declared that he had
never witnessed so luminous an appearance of the
sea; and so great was the light afforded by the
waves, that we were thereby enabled to peruse
books of a moderate sized print!
On the following day, the 8th, we made the
Cape de Verds, at which place it was the captain's intention to stop for a day or two ; but the
wind being favourable he relinquished the idea,
and kept under way. We had fine gales and
pleasant weather until the 174;h, on which day we «
crossed the Equator, in longitude 309 west, with a
light northerly breeze, which on the following
day subsided into a dead calm: this calm qon- THE   EQUATOR MAGELLANIC   CLOUDS. 6
tinued eight days, during which period we did not
advance ten miles.
On the 26th a smart breeze sprang up, which
drove us on nobly at the rate of from seven to ten
knots an hour. The 28th we spoke a Portuguese
brig bound from Rio Grande to Pernambuco.
The captain and crew of this vessel were all
negroes, the lowest of whom was six feet high,
We inquired from the sable commander what was
his longitude; but he could not give us any information on the subject! After setting this unfortunate navigator right we pursued our course ;
and the wind still continuing fresh, we were
quickly emancipated from the scorching influence
of a vertical sun.
On the 10th of December, in latitude 39°, we
spoke the American ship Manilla, Captain M'Lean,
on her return from a whaling voyage, and bound
to Nantucket, Rhode Island. The captain came
on board, and politely waited till we had written
a few letters, of which he took charge. A few
days after this we lost sight of the celebrated
Magellanic clouds, which had been visible almost
from  the  time we  crossed  the  Equator.    That FALKLAND   ISLANDS.
these nebulas should be so immutable in their form
and station, has been a source of no trifling perplexity to our natural philosophers. I As so much
ink has already been consumed in speculations
respecting these phenomena, and such various and
conflicting opinions elicited from the most learned
astronomers of the last and present age, I conceive it would be presumptuous in me to offer a
single word on the subject. These clouds are
white, and in shape nearly resemble an equilateral
triangle, rounded at each angular point.
On the 21st of December, at five a.m., land
was discovered on our weather bow. The captain
pronounced it to be the coast of Patagonia; and
acting on this opinion, we kept along-shore, in
order to pass between the Falkland Islands and
the mainland; but, strange to tell! at noon, when
he obtained a meridian observation, he discovered
that whalrhe previously conceived to be the Pata-
gonian coast was in reality a part of the Falkland
Islands. To account for this mistake, it is proper
to mention, that during the preceding ten days
the haziness of the weather precluded the possibility of our obtaining either a solar or lunar FALKLAND   ISLANDS.
observation; we therefore were compelled to sail
entirely by dead reckoning. To this may be
added, the effect of a strong westerly current :
and had the obscure weather continued but a day
longer, the consequences might have proved fatal.
As the wind was fair, and we had proceeded so
far, the captain abandoned his original intention,
and determined to sail round the eastern extremity
of the islands, and from thence to shape his course
for Cape Horn. We coasted along the shore until
the 24th, with light westerly and south-westerly
breezes. Albatrosses, penguins, and pintado
birds were very numerous around the ship. We
shot several, and took others with a hook and
bait. One albatross which we caught in this
manner received but little injury. It had an
enormously large bill, measured eleven feet from
wing to wing when extended, and kept a fierce
English bull-dog at bay for half an hour.
Although the Falkland Islands occupy in the
southern hemisphere a similar degree oPlatitude
to that of Ireland in the northern, still they possess none of the characteristic fertility of the
" Emerald Isle."    Of grass, properly so called, 6 A   STORM,   AND
there is none in those islands. In vegetable and
animal productions they are also deficient; and
the climate, generally speaking, is cold, variable,
and stormy: yet for such- a place the British
empire was on the point of being involved in a
war, the preparations for which cost the nation
some millions !*
On the 24th we took leave of the islands witt^
a gentle breeze right aft, but this changed ere we
had cleared the Sea-lion rocks to a violent head-
gale. All the lighter sails were instantly furled ;
in the hurry of doing which, the gaskets or small
ropes which bound the flying jib gave way, and
two sailors were sent out to adjust it. While
they were in the act of performing this hazardous
duty a tremendous wave struck the forepart of
the ship, carried away the jib-boom, and with it
the two unfortunate men who were securing the
sail. The ship was immediately hove to, and
every piece of timber, empty barrel, or hen-coop
on dedP was thrown  over  to afford the unfor-
* It may be remembered that our ejection from these islands
by Buccarelli, a Spanish officer, brought the celebrated Samuel
Johnson in collision with Junius, LOSS   OF   TWO   MEN. 7
tunate men a chance of escape. Unhappily all
our efforts were unavailing ; the poor fellows remained in sight about ten minutes, when they
disappeared amidst the raging billows. When
the accident occurred, two of the ship's company jumped into the jolly-boat, and with all
the thoughtless good-nature of sailors, were about
cutting away the lashings to go to the assistance
of their ill-fated messmates, when the captain
observing them, ordered them out of* the boat,
exclaiming, m D—n you, have you a mind to go
to hell also ?"
This was the most gloomy Christmas eve I ever
spent. The above melancholy accident had
thrown a cloud over every countenance; and
when to this was added the darkness of the cabin
(the dead-lights being all in), with the loud roar-,
ing of the storm, and the Alpine waves threatening every instant to ingulf us, our situation
may be more easily imagined than described.
Home, with allots mild and social endearments
at this season of general festivity involuJmrily
obtruded itself on our recollections. The half-
expressed wish of being once more on terra Jirma O CAPE   HORN.
was unconsciously communicated from one to another. But when we looked upon the weather-
beaten face of our veteran captain, and observed
the careless, if not contented air of his officers
and crew, when we felt that they were enduring
the " peltings of the pitiless storm" unmoved
and without a murmur; and when we reflected
on the immense expanse of ocean through which
we had to plough our way, and how fruitless
would be the indulgence of unmanly apprehension,—" to the wind we gave our sighs," ascended
to the deck, and tendered our feeble assistance
to the captain.
The gale continued with much violence until
the 29th; when, at two p.m., we made Staten
Land. At four p. m. we perceived the " snow-
topt" mountains of Terra del Fuego, rearing their
majestic heads above the clouds, and surveying
with cold indifference the conflict of the contending oceans that on all sides surround them. As
we approached Cape Horn the weather moderated, and the captain ordered all the lighter masts
and yards again to be rigged.
January 1st, 1812, at two p. m., on this day, we CAPE   HORN. y
bade adieu to the Atlantic, and sailed round the
long-dreaded southern extremity of America, with
a gentle breeze from the N.N.W., at the rate of
one mile per hour, and under top-gallant studding-
sails ; a circumstance I believe unparalleled in the
history of circumnavigation.
Towards evening the wind died away, and
Not a breeze disturbed the wide serene.
Our entrance into the great Pacific was marked by
none of those terrible concussions of the " vasty
deep," the frequency of which have given such a
fearful celebrity to Cape Horn. It seemed as if the
two mighty oceans had ceased for a period their
dreadful warfare, and mingled their waters in the
blessed calm of peace. On our right rose the wild
inhospitable shores of Terra del Fuego; on the left
lay the low desert islands of Diego Ramarez ;
while all around myriads of whales, porpoises,
and other marine monsters, emerging at intervals
from the deep, and rolling their huge bodies over
the placid surface- of the surrounding element,
agreeably diversified the scene.
This calm was of short duration.    On the fol- 10 CAPE   HORN.
lowing day the wind shifted once more ahead,
and drove us as far as 63° S.^Hfore we cleared
Cape Noire, the south-western point of Terra del
Fuego. During this period we had a succession
of cold boisterous weather, and occasionally came
in collision with large masses of floating ice, from
which we however escaped without injury.
It is unnecessary to mention to my geographical
readers that the period at which we doubled the
cape is the summer season in the high southern
latitudes; and if such be its attractions in the
balmy season of the year, what a region must it
be on the arrival of
Barren Winter, with his nipping colds !
We are informed by the early geographers that
Terra del Fuego was so called from several volcanoes which contrasted their vivid flames with the
surrounding icy wastes: and from the same authority we learn that Patagonia, which is on the
opposite side of the Straits of Magellan, was in^
habited by a race of people of immense stature.
Modern travellers, however, have obtained a more
correct knowledge of that country, and have re- DREADFUL   STORM. ll
duced the wonderful altitude of the supposed
giants to thefRmmon standard of fcitimanity.
Young travellers should not make rash assertions,
particularly if opposed to the received opinions
of the world. I cannot however avoid saying,
that it is my belief there is no better foundation
for the volcanoes than there was for the accounts
of the giants. For several days that we were
in sight of this supposed land of fire we did not
observe the smallest appearance of smoke; and
our captain, who had made many voyages round
Cape Horn, declared he had never perceived the
slightest volcanic appearance in its neighbourhood.
On the 12th of January the wind veered in our
favour, and enabled us to proceed with brisk
southerly breezes till the 19th, on which day, in
lat. 52°, long. 79° W., nearly abreast'of the Straits
of Magellan, we encountered a most dreadful
gale from the eastward, which lasted eighteen
hours. Our ship was a stout strong-built vessel,
notwithstanding which she sustained considerable
damage. The bulwarks were completely washed
away;  the head carried off;  the mainmast and 12 DREADFUL   STORM.
bowsprit sprung; and the foresail, which was the
only one set, was blown to a thousand shivers.
We shipped several heavy seas in the cabin, and
for some time all our trunks were floating.    The
violence of the storm however moderated on the
20th,  and  enabled us  once more  to bring the
vessel  under control:   had it continued twelve
hours  longer,  we should inevitably  have  been
dashed to   pieces  on the   iron-bound  shores of
Terra del Fuego; for, at the period the hurricane
broke, we were not   twenty-five   leagues   from
shore; and owing to the unmanageable state of
the vessel, the wind was driving us with unopposed force in that direction.    The billows made
sad havock among the remainder of our live-stock.
The sheep, poultry, and most of our hogs, were
carried away; and a few only of the last, fortunately for us,  escaped drowning, to die by the
hands of the butcher.
On the 27th a young man named Henry Wil-
lets, who had been engaged as a hunter in the
Company's service, died of the black scurvy, a
disease which it is supposed he had contracted
previous to his embarkation, as no other person JUAN   FERNANDEZ. T3
on board had any scorbutic affection. As many
of my readers may not be acquainted $rith the
melancholy ceremony of consigning the body of a
fellow being to the deep, I shall mention it. The
deceased was enveloped in his blankets, in which
two large pieces of lead were sewed, and placed
immediately under his feet. The body was then
laid on a plank, one end of which rested on the
railing, and the other was -supported by his comrades, the crew and passengers forming a circle
about it. The beautiful and sublime burial service
of the Church of England was then read in an
audible and impressive manner by Mr. Nicolls,
who officiated as chaplain, after which the plank
was raised, the body with the feet downwards
slided gently into the ocean, and in a moment we
lost sight of it for ever.
On the 4th of February, at two p. m., we made
the island of Juan Fernandez; and at six, that of
Massafuero, at the latter of which the captain
determined to touch for a supply of wood and
water. It was on the former island in the beginning of the eighteenth century that Alexander
Selkirk, a Scotchman, resided for several years, 14 MASSAFUERO.
and from whose rude indigested story the ingenious De Foe, by adding the fictitious Friday,
&c. has given to the world the delightful romance
of Robinson Crusoe.
On the morning of the 5th we stood in to about
five miles off shore, when the ship was hove to;
and at six o'clock we proceeded for the island in
the pinnace and jolly-boat, with twenty-four
empty water-casks. Our party, including mates,
passengers, and sailors, amounted to twenty-three.
A heavy surf broke along the beach, and after
searching in vain for a fair opening to disembark,
we were reduced to the disagreeable necessity of
throwing ourselves through the surf, and suc-
@e$fled in accomplishing a landing at the imminent risk of our lives. After making a cheering
fire to dry our clothes, we divided into two parties
for the purpose of exploring the island. Messrs.
Clarke, Clapp, and Seton, formed one; and
Messrs. Nicolls, Halsey, and myself, the other;
Messrs. Rhodes, Dean, and Ehninger, remained
in the boats, and at the landing-place, to superintend the watering and fishing business.
eTThe island appeals to be one vast rock split by MASSAFUERO. 15
some convulsion of nature into five or six parts.
It was through one of these chasms that cftir party
determined to proceed; and accoutred each with a
fowling-piece, horn and pouch, we set forward in
quest of adventures. The breadth of the aperture
at its entrance did not exceed fifty feet, and it
became narrower as we advanced: through the
bottom meandered a clear stream of fine water,
feom which, the boats were supplied, and which
proved of great service to us in the course of our
excursion. We had not proceeded-.more than ha_fef
a mile when we encountered so many difficulties
in climbing:over steep rocks, passing ponds, water-
fells, &c, that we were compelled to leave our
guns behind us. Thus disembarrassed, we continued our course for upwards of two miles up a
steep ascent, following the different windbags of
the stxeam, which, at intervals, tumbling over
large rocks, formed cascades which greatly impeded our progress.
In proportion as we advanced the daylight
seemed to recede, and for some time we were
involved in an almost gloomy darkness, on account of the mountain tops on each side nearly
forming a junction.    We now regretted the want
of our guns, as we observed a great number of
goats on the surrounding precipices; and the dead
bodies of several, in a more or less decayed state,
which we supposed must have fallen in bounding
from cliff to cliff, and ascending the slippery and
almost perpendicular hills among which they ve- .
getate.    A little farther on, on turning the point
of a projecting rock, we were agreeably relieved
by the bright rays of the sun, which shone with
great splendour, on the chaotic mass of rocks by
which we were encompassed.     Reanimated by
the presence of this cheering object, we redoubled
our pace, and were already congratulating ourselves with being near the summit of the mountain, (which from the height we had  ascended
must have been the case,) when our progress was
arrested by a large pond, upwards of twenty feet
deep;   and from the steepness of the rocks on
each side, it was impossible to pass it except by
swimming.    We therefore determined to return
before night overtook us in such a dreary place;
and after encountering fifty hair-breadth escapes,
reached the watering place about seven o'clock, MASSAFUERO. 17
hungry as wolves, and almost fatigued to death.
Here we found the other party, who had arrived
a short time before us. Messrs. Clarke and Clapp
shot two fat goats; and Mr. Dean, who with three
men remained in the boats, caught between three
and four hundred' excellent fish, out of which we
succeeded in making an excellent supper.
Sixteen of the casks being now filled, Mr.
Rhodes judged it expedient to proceed with them
to the ship, and to return the following day for the
remainder. Ten were made fast to the pinnace,
and six to the jolly boat, and at one o'clock, a. m.,
on the morning of the 6th, after some hours' hard
rowing, we reached the ship amidst a storm of
thunder, lightning, and rain. During that day it
blew too fresh to permit the boats to return, and
we kept standing off and on till the 7th, when the
breeze moderated, and enabled us to bring off the
remaining casks.
Massafuero rises abruptly from the sea, and has
but a narrow stripe of beach. It was formerly
well stocked with seals, but these animals have
been nearly destroyed by American whalers. The
goats are numerous, but too rancid to be used for
food, except in cases of necessity. The island
also appears to be devoid of wood. The carpenter
who went on shore for the purpose of procuring
some that could be used in building a boat, found
only a few pieces with a close grain, very hard,
and in colour resembling box: it was fit only for
knees. Mr. Clapp's party in their tour, which
was along the beach, round the western extremity
of the island, saw none of this necessary article ;
and in the cleft of the mountain through which
our party proceeded we observed only a few trees
of the kind found by the carpenter, growing among
inaccessible rocks. The most valuable production
of Massafuero is undoubtedly its fish, of which
there is a great variety. No one on board was
able to appropriate names to all we took. The
smallest is a species of whiting, and very delicate
when fried. The largest bears a strong resemblance to cod, and by some of our people was
deemed superior. There are also several kinds
of bass, herrings, crabs, &c. We caught a few
conger eels; the most disgusting I ever saw:
but, as a counterbalance, the Massafuero lobster
for largeness of size, beautiful variety of colours, TRADE   WINDS.
and deliciousness of taste, is, I believe, unrivalled.
With the exception of the fish, there is nothing
to induce a vessel to touch at this place, while the
fruitful island of Juan Fernandez is so near, but a
desire, as was our case, of concealing the object
of its voyage from the inquisitive and jealous eyes
of the Spanish authorities, who were stationed at
the latter island.*
A few days after leaving Massafuero we got
inta the trade winds, which wafted us on at an
even steady rate, varying from four to seven knots
an hour. A curious incident occurred on Sunday
the 23rd of February, early on the morning of
which day a hog had been killed ; a practice
which had been generally observed every sabbath
morning during the voyage.
After breakfast, the weather being calm, a num-
* While Spain held possession of South America every vessel touching at Juan Fernandez was subjected to a rigorous
search; and from the number of our guns, joined to the great
quantities of warlike stores on board, the captain did not deem
it prudent to run the risk of an inquisitorial inspection. I
should hope the officers of the Chilian republic stationed here
have adopted a more liberal policy. 20 A   SHARK.
ber of the crew and passengers amused themselves by bathing around the vessel. Some of
them had returned on board, when a sailor on the
forecastle discovered a large shark gliding slowly
and cautiously under the* starboard bow. With
great presence of mind, he instantly seized a small
rope called a clew-line, and with characteristic
dispatch made a running knot, which he silently
lowered into the water : the monster unwarily
passed the head and upper fin through the noose;
on observing which, the sailor jerked the rope
round the cat-head, and, with the assistance of
some of his messmates, succeeded in hauling it on
deck. In the mean time, those who were stfll
sporting in the water were almost paralysed on
hearing the cry of " a shark! a shark!" and not
knowing on which side of them lay the dreaded
danger, some made for the ship, and others swam
from it; each momentarily expecting to come in
contact with
His jaws horrific, arm'd with threefold fate,
when their fears were dissipated by announcing to
them the welcome intelligence of his caption.   On SANDWICH   ISLANDS. 21
dissecting him, the entire entrails of the hog
which had been killed in the morning were found
in his belly ! so that he must have been alongside
during the whole of the forenoon, and was doubtless intimidated by the number of the swimmers
from attacking any of them individually.
On the 4th of March we crossed the Equator,
for the second time this voyage, with a brisk
south-easterly breeze; and on the 25th, at daybreak, we made the island of Owhyee, the largest
in the group of the Sandwich Islands. It was the
captain's original intention to stop at this place
for his supplies; but on approaching Karakakooa
bay we were informed by some natives, who came
off in canoes, that Tamaahmaah, the king, then
resided in Whoahoo. As we were anxious, for
several reasons, to have an interview with his
majesty, the captain relinquished the idea of stopping here, and stood about for the latter island.
As we sailed along Owhyee, with a fine easterly
breeze, nature and art displayed to our view one
of the finest prospects I ever beheld. f^The snow-
clad summit of the gigantic Monna Ifeah, towering into the clouds, with its rockj^pd dreary
^30      '      1. 22 SANDWICH   ISLANDS.
sides, presented a sublime coup d'oeil, and formed
"a powerful contrast to its cultivated base, and the
beautiful plantations interspersed along the shore.
Eternal winter reigned above, while all beneath
flourished in the luxuriance of perpetual summer.
The death, too, of the ill-fated and memorable
Cook will attach a melancholy celebrity to this
island; as it was here that that great navigator
was sacrificed in a temporary ebullition of savage
fury, and closed a brilliant career of services,
which reflect honour on his country, and will perpetuate his name to the latest posterity. -
As the wind continued fresh, we soon cleared
Owhyee, and passed in succession the islands of
Mowee, Ranai, Morotoi, and in the evening came
in sight of Whoahoo. While we sailed along this
interesting group of islands several Indians boarded
us, from whom we purchased a few hogs, some
melons, plantains, &c. It being too late to attempt anchoring this evening, we stood off and on
during the night. WHOAHOO. 23
Whoahoo—Visit from a chief—Nocturnal excursion—King
and queens—Invasion of the ship—White men—Gardens—
Foot race, and summary justice—Throwing the spear—
Royal residence, and body guard—Mourning for a chief's
wife—Billy Pitt, George Washington, &c.
On Thursday the 26th of March, at noon, we
came to anchor outside of the bar in Whytetee
bay, about two miles from shore, and nearly
abreast of a village from which the bay is named.
A short time after anchoring we were visited
by an eree or chief, named Tiama, in a double
canoe, who was sent by the king to learn from
whence the ship came, whither bound, &c. After
obtaining the necessary information, and taking
a glass of wine, he returned, and was accompanied by the captain, who went on shore in
order to acquaint his majesty with the particular
object he had in touching here. Tiama informed
us that a taboo * was then in force, which accounted
* See ,Cook, Vancouver, &c.
L 24 VISIT   FROM   A   CHIEF.      ipljj
for bur not being visited by any of the natives.
At ten o'clock the captain came back with Tiama.
He had met with a favourable reception from Ta-
maahmaah, who promised to expedite his departure as soon as possible.
Mr. Nicolls observing the chief preparing to
return, and being impatient to go on shore, proposed that the passengers should accompany
him: this was opposed by others ; upon which it
was put to the vote, when four appearing in its
favour, the motion was of course carried. The
ayes were Messrs. Nicolls, Clapp, Halsey, and
myself: the minority chose to remain on board.
The weather was calm, and we took with us a
couple of flutes. Our canoe went on briskly
until we passed the channel of the bar, when a
most delightful nocturnal prospect opened on us.
The serenity of the sky and the brightness of the
moon enabled us to discern objects distinctly on
shore. The village of Whytetee, situated in an
open grove of cocoa-nut trees, with the hills rising
gently in the rear, presented a charming perspective by moonlight, while the solemn stillness of
the night, interrupted at intervals by the hoarse NOCTURNAL   EXCURSION. 25
murmurs of the surges, as they broke over the
bar,  rendered the scene in the highest degree
romantic.    On landing we found the beach covered with a concourse of  natives, whom  the
sound of our flutes had attracted thither:  they
came pressing on us in such crowds, that were it
not for the chief's authority, we should have had
considerable difficulty in forcing a passage through
them.    About midnight we reached the village,
and Tiama conducted us to his house, where we
experienced a hospitable reception from his family, which consisted of three strapping wives,
two handsome daughters,  and a brother, about
twenty years of age.    A young pig lost its life
by our arrival, on which, with some cocoa-nuts
and   bananas,   we   made   an   excellent   supper.
Tiama's brother was our major domo: he attached
himself particularly to Nicolls, who called him
Tom; and as a compensation for his trouble and
obliging  attention   to us,  made  him  a present
of his stockings,  which, unfortunately for poor
Tom, were silk ones.    He was so proud of the gift,
that he immediately put them over his olive-coloured calves, and without any shoes, he continued
walking and working about the house: this was
usage to which silk stockings were not accustomed,
and the consequence was that before morning their
soles had vanished. Our repast being finished,
the chief ordered a bevy of young females, who
since our arrival had been hovering about the
house, to entertain us with one of their native
airs: they at once complied, and having formed
themselves into a semicircle, sang in rather an
harmonious manner: their languishing eyes, and
significant pauses, evidently showed without the
aid of an interpreter that the subject was amatory. This over, Tom conducted us to a neat
lodge which Tiama had allotted for our use,
and in which we enjoyed the remainder of the
night in undisturbed repose on soft beds of island
On the following morning we arose early, and
took a refreshing walk on the sea-shore, after
which we returned to the ship in Tiama's canoe.
Our appearance was a subject of merriment to
those on board. One bare-legged, another without his cravat, the coat of a third closely buttoned up to conceal the absence of his vest; all* KING   AND   QUEENS. 27
in fact lighter than when we set out; but nothing
was purloined. We had been hospitably entertained by the chieftain and his family ; gratitude
demanded a return, and as we had omitted to
furnish ourselves with trinkets, we could only
supply the deficiency by parting with a portion
of our least useful clothing.
As the taboo had ceased to operate this day, we
found the vessel crowded with natives bartering
their produce with our people. At noon we were
honoured by a visit from their majesties, the king,
and four queens, attended by Krimacoo, the prime
minister, and several of the principal chiefs, together with Messrs. Maninna and Hairbottle, two
white men; the former a Spaniard, who held the
office of chief interpreter to the king, and the
latter an Englishman, and head pilot of his majesty's fleet.
The king and queens came in a large double
canoe, which was formed by lashing two canoes
together, separated by bars of two and a half feet
in length from each other. Each canoe had fourteen chosen men. On the bars was raised a kind
of seat on which the queens reposed, and above 28 KING   AND   QUEENS.
all was placed an arm-chest well stored with
muskets, on which the king
Above the rest,
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Sat like—a tailor.
Immediately before his majesty was a native who
carried a handsome silver-hilted hanger, which
was presented to him by the late emperor of Russia, and which on state occasions he had always
carried before him, in imitation as we supposed of
European sword-bearers. Behind the royal personage sat another native who carried a large and
highly polished bowl of dark-brown wood, into
which his majesty ever and anon ejected all his
Superabundant saliva.
After he had arrived on the deck, Tamaah-
maah shook hands in the most condescending
manner with every one he met between the cabin
and the gang-way, exclatoing to each person,
" Aroah, Aroah nuee" (I love you, I love you
much). There was a degree of negligent simplicity about his dress, which strongly characterised the royal philosopher. His head was crowned
with an old woollen hat; the coat was formed of KING   AND   QUEENS. 29
coarse blue cloth in the antique shape, with large
metal buttons; the waistcoat, of brown velvet,
which in its youthful days had been black : a pair
of short, tight, and well-worn velveteen pantaloons displayed to great advantage coarse worsted
stockings and thick-soled shoes, all admirably
adapted for the tropics; while his shirt and cravat, which had formerly been white, seemed to
have had a serious misunderstanding with their
washerwoman. Such, gentle reader, was the costume of Tamaahmaah the First, king of the Sandwich Islands, hereditary prince of Owhyee, and
protector of a confederation of escaped convicts
from New South Wales !#
The royal party remained on board to dine.
The king only sat at table, and was placed at the
right hand of the captain, with the attendant
who carried his saliva reservoir behind him. He
ate voraciously, and in a very commendable manner washed down the solids with a fair quantum
* Tamaahmaah was hereditary king of Owhyee only; he
subsequently conquered all the other islands. A number of
convicts are at Whoahoo, who escaped from Botany Bay by
means of American vessels, and who reside here in security. 30 KING   AND   QUEENS.
of Madeira, to the virtues of which he appeared
by no means to be a stranger. On filling the
first glass he drank our healths individually;
after which he plied away nobly, and apparently
unconscious of the presence of any of the company. He did not touch the port, but finished
between two and three decanters of the Madeira.
As the ladies are prohibited from eating with the
men, we were of course deprived of the pleasure
of their society at our repast; but after we had
quitted the table they were graciously permitted
to occupy our seats. Their dinner had been
dressed on shore by their own cooks, and was
brought by them on board ; it consisted of small
raw fish, roasted dogs, and a white mixture called
pooah, of the consistence of flummery : this last
they take by dipping the two forefingers of the
right hand into the dish which contains the pooah,
and after turning them round in the mixture
until they are covered with three or four coats,
they raise the hand, and giving the fingers a dexterous twist, to shake off the fag-ends, bring
them forward rapidly to the mouth, which is
ready open for their reception, and by a strong KING-AND   QUEENS. 31
labial compression, they are quickly cleared of
their precious burden! But in plain, unadorned
simplicity of dress, they far exceeded their royal
consort. It merely consisted of a long piece of
their country cloth wrapped in several folds
round the waist, and reaching only to the knees,
leaving the breasts and legs exposed to the criticisms . of amateurs in female beauty; to this
they occasionally add a scarf of the same material, which is negligently thrown over the shoulders, and falls behind. They are very corpulent : the favourite measured nearly nine feet
in circumference round the waist; and the others
were not much inferior in size. We may say of
the royal taste, that ^^A
They were chosen as we choose old plate,
Not for their beauty, but their weight.
Still they possess mild engaging countenances,
with that li soft sleepiness of the eye" by which
Goldsmith distinguishes the beauties of Cashmere. Their conduct is under strict surveillance. Mr. Hairbottle informed us, that a few
days previous to our arrival an intrigue had been 32 KING   AND   QUEENS.
discovered between the favourite queen and one
of the king's body guard. As their guilt admitted of no doubt, the unfortunate paramour
was strangled on the same night; but as Tamaahmaah still cherished a lingering affection
for his frail favourite, he pardoned her, with
the short, but pithy expression, i£ If you do it
again -."
During the afternoon the king employed himself in taking the dimensions of the ship, examining the cabin, state-rooms, &c. Scarcely an
object escaped the royal scrutiny : observing Mr.
Seton writing, he approached him, and began
to examine the various little nic-nacs with
which the desk was furnished. Seton showed
him a handsome penknife of curious workmanship, containing a number of blades, not with an
intention of bestowing it: with this he appeared
particularly pleased, and putting it into one of
the pockets of his capacious vest, said, " Mytye,
nue nue mytye," (good, very good,) and walked
away. It was in vain for Seton to expostulate;
his majesty did not understand English, and all
entreaties to induce him to return the penknife INVASION   OF   THE   SHIP. 33
were ineffectual. On the following day, however, a chief brought Seton a handsome present from the king, of mats, cloth, and other
native productions, with two hundred fine
In the course of the evening the queens played
draughts with some of our most scientific amateurs, whom they beat hollow; and such was
the skill evinced by them in the game, that not
one of our best players succeeded in making a
Late in the evening our illustrious guests took
their departure, accompanied by all their attendants ; but they had scarcely embarked in
their canoes when the ship was boarded on all
sides by numbers of women, who had come off
in small canoes paddled by men or elderly females, and who, after leaving their precious cargo
on deck, returned quickly to the island, lest the
captain should refuse his sanction to their remaining in the vessel. They crowded in such
©umbers about the crew as to obstruct the performance of their dufc^, and the captain threatened to send them all on, shore in the ship's
vol. i. c 34 WHITE   MEN.
boats if they did not behave .themselves with
more propriety. This had the desired effect,
and while they remained on board they gave no
farther cause for complaint.
On the following morning, the 28th, we weighed
anchor, and worked the ship a few miles higher
up, exactly opposite . the village of Honaroora,
where the king resided. We spent the day on
shore, at the house of a Mr. Holmes, a white man,
and a native of the United States, by whom we
were sumptuously entertained. He had been
settled here since the year 1793, and at the
period I speak of was, next to the king, the
greatest chief on the island. He had one hundred
and eighty servants, or under-tenants, whom he
called slaves, and who occupied small huts in the
immediate vicinity of his house. He had also extensive plantations on Whoahoo, and on the island
of Morotoi, from whence he derived a considerable
income. He was married to a native wife, by
whom he had several children. The eldest was
a most interesting girl, aged about fifteen years,
with a peculiarly soft and expressive countenance.
Nature, in her freaks, had bestowed upon this WHITE   MEN. 35
island beauty an extraordinary profusion of hair,
in which the raven tresses of the mother were
strangely intermingled with the flaxen locks of
the father. She spoke tolerably good English,
and always sat near' him. He appeared to watch
her conduct with all the parental solicitude of a
man who, from long experience, well knew the
danger to which she was exposed from the general
demoralisation of manners that prevailed about
her. Mr. Holmes is greatly respected by the
natives, by whom he is entitled Eree Homo, or the
Chief Holmes.
As we met here several other respectable white
men, I shall mention their names; and, first, Mr.
Maninna. This gentleman had been a Spanish
officer, and in consequence of having while stationed at Mexico killed a superior officer in a
quarrel, he fled to Californio, from whence he
escaped to the Sandwich islands, where, having
acquired the language with wonderful facility, he
was appointed to the office of chief interpreter.
He was a man of general information, spoke
French and English fluently, and from his easy
manners, and insinuating address, shortly became 36 WHITE   MEN.
a general favourite. He had built a handsome
stone house, the only one on the island, in which
he resided with his wife, w&o was the daughter of
a chief: her sister lived also in the same house ;
and the busy tongue of scandal, which even here
has found an entrance, did not hesitate to say that
the two sisters equally participated in his affections. His drawing-room was decorated with a
number of Chinese paintings, wiiich he obtained
from Canton, of the crucifixion, the Madonna,
different saints, &c. ; but on removing a sliding
pannel from the opposite side, subjects of a far
different nature were represented!
Mr. Davis, the king's gardener, was a Welshman, and at this period had been settled on the
island twelve years. He had also considerable
plantations, and had a native wife, who was a
most incontinent jade. He had just returned
from a distant part of the island, whither he had
been in pursuit of his faithless cara sposa, who
had eloped a few days before with one of her
native beaux. Poor Davis felt rather sore on
being bantered by old Holmes on this affair.
& Tarn the strap," said he, _M_ cot her snug enough WHITE    MEN. 37
to be sure with her sweetheart; but I think she'll
rememper the pasting I gave her all the tays of
her life." We were informed he might have
easily parted from her, and procured a more suitable match, but he was unfortunately too much
attached to her to think of taking another.
Mr. Hairbottle, the chief pilot, is a native of
Berwick, and was formerly boatswain of an English merchant ship. He had resided upwards of
fourteen years on the different islands, and had
been married to a native wife, who was dead for
some years. He was a quiet, unassuming old
man, whose principal enjoyments consisted in a
glass of rum grog and a pipe of tobacco.
Mr. Wadsworth, an American. This gentleman
had been chief mate of a ship which had touched
here about six years before. Having quarrelled
with his captain, they separated, and he took up
his residence in the island. The king, who gave
particular encouragement to white men of education to settle here, immedi^ily presented
Wadsworth with a belle brunette for a wife, together with a house and some hogs.
Here we  also found a gentleRian from New 38 WHITE   MEN.
York, under the assumed name of Cook; but
who was recognised by Mr. Nicolls as a member
of a highly respectable family in that city, named
S s.  He had, like Wadsworth, been also chief
officer of an American East Indiaman, which
had touched here about three months previous to
our arrival; and in consequence of a misunderstanding with the captain, he left the ship, and
took up his abode with Mr. Holmes. On hearing
of this circumstance, Tamaahmaah, as an encouragement to his settling permanently on the
island, gave him the daughter of a principal chief
for a wife, some land, and a number of hogs.
—S s, however, did not appear to relish his
situation: he had been too long accustomed to
the refinements of civilisation, at once to adapt
himself to Indian habits, and received with apathy
the fond caresses of his olive-coloured spouse.
He expressed a desire to return in our ship, but
the captain's arrangements could not permit it.
While on this subject I may as well mention
that   the   example of  Wadsworth and   S s
seemed to be contagious; for a few days after
our arrival Mr. Dean, our third officer,  had a WHITE   MEN/ 39
serious altercation with the captain, which ended
in his quitting the ship ; and on its coming to the
king's knowledge, he sent for him, and told him
if he would remain, and take charge of his fleet,
he would give him a house and lands, plenty of
hogs, and a beautiful daughter of a chief for a
wife. Dean told him he had not yet made up
his mind on the subject, and requested time to
consider the offer. The king did not object, and
the interview ended. I believe however that
Dean subsequently quitted the island, and returned to New York.
Mr. Holmes gave us a plentiful dinner of roast
pork, roast dog, fowl, ham, fish, wine, and rum, with
a profusion of excellent tropical fruit. A number
of native servants attended at table, each holding
a napkin : they performed their duty in a very expert manner, and appeared to be well acquainted
with all the domestic economy of the table. Their
livery was quite uniform, and consisted merely of
a cincture of country cloth round the waist, from
which a narrow piece of the same stuff passed
between the legs, and was fastened to the belt,
leaving the remainder of the body totally un- 40 WHITE   MEN.
covered ! Our noble commander was vice-president, and undertook to carve the dog; which duty
he performed in a manner quite unique. He was
the only one of our party who partook of it. The
idea of eating so faithful an animal without even
the plea of necessity effectually prevented any of
us joining in this part of the feast; although, to
do the meat justice, it really looked very well when
roasted. The islanders esteem it the greatest
luxury they possess; and no one under the dignity of an eree of the first class is permitted to
partake of this delicious food. However singular
their taste "may be regarded in this respect by
modern civilisation, my classical readers may recollect that the ancients reckoned dogs excellent
eating, particularly when young and fat; and we
have the authority of Hippocrates for saying that
their flesh is equal to pork or mutton: he also
adds, that the flesh of a grown dog is both wholesome and strengthening, and that of puppies relaxing. The Romans, too, highly admired these
animals as an article of food, and thought them a
supper in which the gods themselves would have
delighted! WHITE   MEN. 41
Independently of the white men whose names
I have mentioned, there were about fourteen others,
belonging to all nations, the majority of whom
were convicts who had effected their escape from
Botany Bay, and were held in no estimation by
the natives. They are supremely indolent, and
rum and women seemed to constitute their only
On the 29th we made an excursion into the
interior with Davis. His gardens were extensive,
and pleasantly situated at the foot of the hills,
between four and five miles from Honaroora.
They were laid out with taste, and kept in excellent order. Exclusive of the indigenous productions of the country, with which they were plentifully stocked, he planted a few years before some
Irish potatoes, and the crop more than equalled
his expectations. We also observed some prime
plantations of sugar cane. A few of those we
measured had fourteen feet eatable, and were one
foot in circumference, which, I am informed, far
exceeds the best Jamaica canes. The climate of
the Sandwich islands is, however, more propitious
to the growth of the cane than that of the West
L 42 king's gardens.
Indies, at which latter place it has, besides, many
enemies to encounter which are strangers to the
islands in the Pacific ; such as monkies, ants,
bugs, the blast, &c, one or other of which often
destroys the fairest hopes of the planter. The
islanders distil an inferior spirit from it, which the
resident white people have dignified by the title of
"country rum." It is weak, and has a smoky,
insipid taste, and does not produce intoxication
except taken in large quantities.
On our way back we visited the king's gardens,
which were contiguous to Davis's. They were
much more extensive than his, although far inferior in neatness, and contained nothing particularly deserving notice. Davis was the only
white man who superintended his own plantations : the others were left to the management of
their servants, and were seldom visited by the
proprietors; and as he was a good practical
agriculturist, his gardens were superior to any
we saw on the island. In the course of this tour
we did not observe a spot that could be turned
to advantage left unimproved. The country all
around the bay exhibits the highest state of cul- king's gardens. 43
tivation, and presents at one view a continued
range of picturesque plantations, intersected by
small canals, and varied by groves of cocoa-nut
trees ; the whole bounded on the back ground by
gently sloping hills, and in the front by the ocean.
We returned late in the evening, highly delighted
with our day's excursion, and sat down to an excellent dinner prepared for us by the worthy
Cambrian, in whose hospitable mansion we spent
the night.
On the 30th we were present at a grand pedestrian racing match, between Krikapooree, the
king's nephew, and an American black named
Anderson, who was his armourer: the latter won,
after a well contested struggle. The race-course
presented a novel and striking appearance. At
the upper end was erected a covered platform
about twenty feet from the ground, on which the
king sat cross-legged, and without any covering
whatever, save the waistband commonly worn by
the natives : his guards armed with muskets paraded around the platform; while on each side,
and close to the guards, were assembled an immense concourse of natives of all classes, mingled 44 FOOT   RACES.
together without any regard to rank, age, or sex.
The two fevc^it© tiu&^&s were richly dressed : one
wore a light-btoe satin gown, trimmed with broad
gold lace;   the other  had on a cream-coloured
riding-habit of cassimere, ornamented with silver
lace, and a profusion of sugar-loaf buttons, &c.
These dresses were made for them in England,
fitted them admirably, and set off their persons
to great advantage.     They walked through the
crowd   along   with   several   chiefs'   wives,   and
seemed in a high  degree to enjoy the bustling
scene before them.    Betting was very spirited on
the issue of the race.    Money of course was out
of the question;   but among the lower classes
its place was supplied by  axes, beads,  knives,
scissors, handkerchiefs, snd various kinds of trinkets ; and among the erees of the first and second
grades   we   could  distiQgikh  §€%rlet   and   big©
cloths, silk$, Chinese shawls, calicoes,   ribbons,
&c.    Several quarrels Occurred among the men,
which were settled a V Anglaise by the fist.    One
of the natives had a dispute about a bet with an
, English sailor who had been left here a short time
before by his captain for mufoiy.    The  Indian SUMMARY   JUSTICE. 45
felt he was right, and refused to yield to the
chicanery of the sailor, who, in order to intimidfute
him, drew from his pocket a small pistol, which
he cocked, and presented in a menacing manner at
the islander's breast, swearing if he did not submit
he would shoot him : this however was disregarded by the other, who seemed determined not to
flinch ; but the king, who had observed the whole
transaction from his elevated position,, ordered
the sailor to be brought up to him, which was
instantly complied with. He then took rthe pistol, and delivered it to one of his attendants to be
placed in the royal armoury; and addressing the
sailor, told him the only punishment he should
then inflict on him would be the forfeiture of the
pistol; but in case he ever offended in the same
manner again, he would have him put to death.
We were quite delighted with this .summaryracU
ministration of justice, for the sailor appeared to
be a quarrelsome rascal, and bore an infamous
character among his associates.
After the race was over sevetal wrestling and
boxing matches took place, on which there was
also considerable betting.     Some of our past^ 46 THROWING   THE   SPEAR.
who were amateur pugilists declared their style of
hitting to be admirable; but as I unfortunately
never studied the noble science of self-defence, I
am quite incompetent to hazard an opinion on the
subject. I will however say, that no unfair play
was used, and that no blow was struck while a
man was down. At the termination of these encounters a large space was formed, for two natives to display their skill in throwing the spear.
A full account of this wonderful performance is
given in Cook's voyages; and I can only add,
that the amazing activity evinced in avoiding each
other's weapons, by leaping to the right or left, or
allowing them to pass under their arms,, between
their legs, &c.; and their surprising dexterity and
self-possession in a situation in which an European would be transfixed ere he had time to look
about him, must be seen to be credited. This
exercise forms the amusement of their earliest
years, and is the ne plus ultra of their education.
No islander can take a wife until he is able to
withstand the attacks of any old warrior whom
the chief of his tribe may appoint to try him; so
that this condemnation to celibacy, among a peo- KING'S   BODY   GUARD. 47
pie so notoriously amorous, contributes, I should
imagine, more than any other cause, to' the wonderful perfection at which they have arrived in
this exercise.
In front of the royal residence there are planted
thirty pieces of cannon ; fifteen on each side ;
chiefly six and nine pounders. A body guard of
handsome athletic young men are stationed close
to the house ; two of whom are placed as sentinels at the door, and are relieved with as much
regularity as at any garrison in England. In the
day-time their muskets generally remain piled
before the door, but are taken in at night. These
gardes-du-corps have no particular dress to distinguish them from civilians; and after the amusements just mentioned had ended the king ordered
them to go through the manual and platoon exercises ; which, considering the limited means they
have had for learning, they performed with tolerable precision.
Shortly after quitting this noisy and bustling
scene of mirth and festivity we were attracted by
ibe sounds of mourning voices to a large house in
a retired corner of the village ; in front of which 48 MOURNING   FOR   A   CHIEF'S   WIFE.
sat eight women, in a circle, all in a state of
intoxication. At times their voices died away to
a low mournful tone; when, suddenly changing,
they vented the wildest and most frantic cries,
tearing their hair, beating their breasts, and gnawing the ends of their fingers : in Hie intervals they
moistened their parched throats from a bottle
which was passed round from one to the other;
and after all had partaken of the libation they
renewed their cries with redoubled vigour. Their
hanging breasts, dishevelled hair, and fiery eyes,
presented more the appearance of furies than of
human beings; and we were at first afraid to approach them, apprehensive of an attack in the
height of one of their paroxysms. We were told
however there was no danger, and they would.
injure no one save themselves. On inquiry, we
ascertained that the dead body of a chief's wife of
the second class lay in an adjoining house, and
that these women were her friends and relatives
mourning her death. This ceremony, akhoagh
possessing a degree of rude lachrymose comicality, had nothing peculiarly interesting, and we
.lepiickly left the scene. BILLY*PITT,   &C. 49
Several of the chiefs have punctured on their
arms the names of celebrated English and American statesmen, captains of ships, &c. At the
race-course I observed Billy Pitt, George Washington, and Billy Cobbett, walking together in
the most familiar manner, and apparently engaged
in confidential conversation; while, in the centre
of another group, Charley Fox, Thomas Jefferson, James Maddison, Bonaparte, and Tom Paine,
were to be seen on equally friendly terms with
each other. They seem to be proud of these
names, and generally prefer them to their own.
Krimacoo, the prime minister, is called Billy
Pitt, from the great influence he possesses. He
is consulted by the king on all subjects of importance ; and in cases of particular emergency Mr.
Holmes is sent for to give his advice. 50
Tamaahmaah—The Eooranee—Curious custom—Fickleness
in dress—Character of natives—Important position of the
islands—Cow hunting—Complete our supplies—Take a
number of natives—Departure-r-New discovery—Arrival
at the Columbia.
From this period until our departure we were
honoured with several visits from the royal family,
principally connected with the business of procuring our supplies. The king was a hard bargain maker, and although he had several pipes
of Madeira in his stores, he would not barter a
single article until he obtained a quarter-cask of
that wine, of which he was passionately fond.
He was by no means as generous as many of his
subjects, and he seldom committed an act of
liberality without having a particular object in TAMAAHMAAH. 51
view. He had upwards of forty small schooners
built by the natives, which were quite useless to
him from their ignorance of navigation ; and whe®
he made the presents which I have already
mentioned to the officers who had quarrelled
with their captains, he had in view their settling
on the island, and availing himself of their services in teaching the natives to navigate these
vessels. The taboos of Tamaahmaah were often
influenced by his dreams; one of which gave
rise, while we remained here, to an extraordinary
proclamation, which ordered, that during the
space of one day " no native should leave the
island; and that no dogs should bark, hogs
grunt, or cocks crow!" This whimsical prohibition was strictly complied with by the islanders; but I need scarcely state, that the three
•last-mentioned classes of his majesty's subjects
did not yield it the same ready obedience. This
was called a dreaming taboo, to distinguish it from
the established ones, which occur at stated periods, and are regulated by the high priest.
At this time Tamaahmaah had only three children living, two sons and one daughter.    They 52 THE   EOORANEE.
were rather homely in their appearance, and
afforded a bad specimen of royal beauty. The
eldest son was about twenty years of age, and
was called the Eooranee. He possessed considerable authority, and was more feared than his
father, though not so much beloved. The following anecdote will show the dread in which he was
held by the natives. Some of the men engaged
in the Company's employment had received permission to spend a day on shore : as they did
not return that night, I accompanied Mr. Clarke
the following morning in search of them; and
after wandering about for some time, we discovered the party descending a hill near the village, each with a lass under his arm, their hats
decorated with flowers, ribbons, and handkerchiefs, and a fifer and fiddler at their head, playing away merrily. They were all nearly " half-seas
over," and were on their way- to the ship when
they perceived us. They insisted in an humble
good-natured manner on our taking the lead;
and as we were anxious to get them on board,
we accordingly joined them, and marched on at
their head.     We had  not proceeded far  when CURIOUS   CUSTOM. 53
the Eooranee met us, and he appeared so much
pleased with the procession, that he fell into the
ranks. As we approached the wharf several of
the natives, who had been drawn by the sound
of the music to the party, retired on seeing the
young prince ; but one unfortunate rascal, who
was quite drunk, annoyed us as we passed him,
by pushing us and pulling our clothes; and as
the king's son was dressed like an European, he
treated him in the same manner ; but I never saw
consternation so strongly depicted as when the
poor wretch looked up, and beheld the frowning
countenance of the dreaded Eooranee: the effect
was instantaneous; he fell prostrate, as if thunderstruck, and remained perfectly motionless
until we lost sight of him. We however did not
part with the prince until he had promised that
no punishment should be inflicted on the offending islander.
The male branches of the royal family are held
in peculiar veneration, more particularly their
heads. No individual, with the exception of the
domestics specially appointed for that purpose, is
permitted to touch that part of their sacred per- 54 CURIOUS   CUSTOM.
son, or any covering that has ever been on it, upon
pain of death. My ignorance of this law was
near embroiling me in a serious scrape. A few
days after our arrival, while strolling on the outskirts of the village, I observed an individual walking before me dressed in a handsome green frock-
coat, well-made pantaloons, and Hessian boots,
followed by a native carrying the tail of a white
cow, which he used in driving away the flies that
annoyed his master. As I was given to underr
stand that I had been introduced to all the white
men of respectability on the island, I felt anxious
to ascertain who this important personage was,
and therefore took a circuitous turn in order to
have a front view of him. It was the Eooranee.
He called me to him, and we sat down under the
shade of some plantain trees. He then began to
examine my clothes very minutely, and took off
my hat, which was a handsome one of Portuguese
willow. While this examination was going on, I
felt a desire to look at his, which was of a peculiarly fine texture, and therefore uncovered the
head of his highness with as little ceremony as
he had observed towards me; but I had scarcely
touched the forbidden covering when I received a
warm soufflet on the right cheek from the attendant. Not knowing the cause of this aggression, I
determined on instant retaliation, and seizing a
stone, was in the act of hurling it at the fellow's
head, when my arm was arrested by the Eooranee,
who begged of me, in broken English, to desist,
and at the same time turned to his domestic,
whom he reprimanded with marks of evident
displeasure, after which he ordered him to retire.
While this was going on I observed Anderson
the armourer pass, to whom I related the circumstance. The king's son then spoke to him for
some time, after which Anderson told me that if
any islander had committed such an offence, instant death would have followed ; and added, that
the prince begged him to assure me that he
deeply regretted the conduct of his domestic, who
should have distinguished between a stranger and
a native, and that he had dismissed Mm with disgrace. When Anderson had finished, the Eooranee grasped my hand in the most friendly manner . and as I felt satisfied with the e^plafiation 56 FICKLENESS   IN   DRESS.
he had given, I returned its pressure with equal
warmth. At this period the resident white people
looked to his succession with considerable apprehension, as he was supposed to entertain views
hostile to their interests. They might have, been
led to form this conclusion from his distant habits,
and capricious tyranny towards his immediate
followers; but I am happy to state their fears
were groundless; for on his accession to the
supreme power at his father's death, he treirti^
them with marked indulgence, and held out the
greatest encouragement to white people to settle
on the island. The day after the circumstance
above detailed I met him near the king's house
in a state of nudity, conversing with some of the
guards, and the same evening I again saw him in
the loose light dress of a West India planter.
His father and himself were very fickle in their
clothing. I saw the old man one day in the full
dress of an English general, which had been sent
to him by his late majesty George III.; but he
felt so awkward in the cocked-hat, boots, &q. >j_tajL,;
he quickly got rid of them, and a few hours afterwards we saw him lounging about the village, DEATH   OF   THE  KING. 57
sans hat, sans coat, sans shirt, sans culottes, sans
every thing! On the death of the old king the
Eooranee succeeded by the title of Tamaahmaah
the Second.* At the period of our visit they
i*^pew nothing of the Christian religion ; and the
white professors of it who were resident among
them were badly calculated to inculcate its divine
precepts. Since then, however, thanks to the
indefatigable and praiseworthy exertions of the
missionaries, this rude, but noble-hearted race of
people, have been rescued from their diabolical
superstitions, and the greater part of them now
enjoy the blessings of Christianity.
Cook, Vancouver, Perouse, and others, have
; already written so ably on the manners, customs,
amusements, laws, religion, and natural- productions of these islands, that I might very probably
subject myself to the charge of plagiarism, or book-
making, if I touched on them. To those therefore who feel anxious for farther information on
these subjects I would recommend the above au-
* This unfortunate prince is the same who, with his young
queen, lately fell victims to misjudged British hospitality, joined
Jo a climate to which they were unaccustomed. 58 CHARACTER OF  NATIVES.
thorities, in which they will have their curiosity
amply gratified.
The vice of thieving attributed to the male
inhabitants is rather exaggerated. It is certainly
true that numbers of those who visit trading ships
are not scrupulous in appropriating to their own
use every trifling article on which they can conveniently lay their hands; but it should be observed they do not consider such abstractions in
the same light as if tney robbed each other. This
circumstance I think it necessary to mention without attempting to justify it; for were we to consider all their petty thefts in the same point of
view that we are accustomed to regard such
offences in civilised countries, we should form a *
very poor opinion of their honesty.
The women, too, have been generally accused of
laseiviousness ; but from what I saw, joined to the
information I obtained, I am induced to think the
charge too general. It must, indeed, be admitted
that the deportment of those who are in the habit
of frequenting trading ships is not calculated to
impress a stranger with a high idea of their virtue:
but why make the censure general ?. If a native CHARACTER   OF   NATIVES. 59
of Owhyee were to form his opinion of the morality of our countrywomen from the disgusting conduct of the unfortunate females who crowd
our sea-ports and ships, I should imagine he
would entertain a very poor estimate of English chastity. In the interior of the islands, and
at a distance from sea-ports, I am informed that
in the relative situations of wife and mother, their
conduct is irreproachable. It is true that in the
places at which ships are accustomed to touch a
universal depravity seems to pervade all classes;
for it is no uncommon sight to see pareiits bring
their daughters ; brothers their sisters ; and husbands their wives, to earn the wages of prostitution. These vices cannot, I fear, be totally eradicated ; but it is pleasing to learn, that through
the active agency of the missionaries, their frightful predominancy has been greatly diminished.
In other respects, the natives are brave, active,
hospitable, true to their word, confiding, cleanly
in their domestic economy, easily satisfied at their
meals, obedient to proper authority, excellent
agriculturists, quick in learning, with an aptitude
for improvement that is really astonishing; and 60 POSITION   OF   THE   ISLANDS.
on the whole I would say, that their character
presents a fairer field for success to the exertions
of the moral cultivator than that of any untutored
people whom I ever met.
Recent events seem destined to place the Sand-r
wich Islands in a much more important situation
on the political map of the world than they occupied fifteen or twenty years ago. While Spain
had possession of Mexico, California, and the
southern continent, they were seldom visited but
by fur traders, for the purpose of refitting, or obtaining fresh provisions; and were regarded by
the world more as objects of curiosity than as
places from which any political advantages were
likely to be derived. But now that the Mexicans and southern Americans have succeeded^
emancipating themselves from the slothful despotism of their ancient rulers, the native energies
of their character will shortly begin to develope
themselves; and uncontrolled by the trammels
which so long fettered their commercial prosperity, a few years may see their fleets, in imitation of their bold and enterprising brethren of the
northern continent, ploughing their way through POSITION   OF   THE   ISLANDS. 61
the Pacific, and, in exchange for their precious
metals, bringing back to their country the luxurious productions of China and the Indies. The
Sandwich Islands are nearly equidistant from
the western coast of Mexico and the eastern
boundaries of China, and consequently lie nearly
in the track of vessels passing between the two
continents. But the circumstance of all others
calculated to raise them to the highest degree of
importance, is the stupendous enterprise lately set
on foot of forming a junction between the Pacific
and Atlantic by cutting a canal through the Isthmus of Darien. If this magnificent undertaking
succeed, the long and dangerous voyages round
Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope will be
avoided, and comparatively short and safe passages made to the western coast of America,
Japan, China, our East Indian possessions, &c.
In the course of these voyages, particularly to
the East, the Sandwich Islands must be touched
at for fresh supplies, or, at least, closely passed.
In either case, they will become an important
acquisition to a maritime power. With the assistance of science they can be rendered impreg- 62 COW  HU_£gp_NG.
nable; and when we take into consideration their
great natural capabilities of defence, their noble
harbours, productive soil, and temperate climate,
joinedV^ihe inoffensive deportment of the inhabitants, we may safely conclude that their present
state of independence will not be of long duration. It is probable they will ultimately become
tributary to Great Britain, Russia, or America;
and in the event of war between any of these
nations the power in possession of the islands, from
their commanding position, will be able during
the continuation of hostilities not only to controul
the commerce of the Pacific, but also neutralise
in a great degree the advantages likely to be derived from the Grand Junction Canal.
Several of our domestic quadrupeds are now
reared on the islands; such as cows, sheep, goats,
and horses. The last are brought from California,
and are a small hardy race. The cows at WoaJhoo
are the descendants of those left there by our
navigators, and are perfectly wild. We purchased two of them from the king; and he ordered upwards of one hundred men of his body
guard, with several chiefs, to proceed to the pkee COW  HUNTING. 63
where the animals were grazing to assist us in
catching those we had bought. It was situated
a few miles from the village, in a handsome
valley, studded with cocoa-nut trees : a couple of
hundred additional natives volunteered to join us.
They proceeded cautiously in the first instance,
jjlgptil they surrounded the herd, which they succeeded in driving to an inclosure. One more expert than the rest then advanced under the cover
of some trees with a long rope, at the end of
which was a running noose. Having quietly
waited for some time until a proper opportunity
offered, he at length threw the rope, and succeeded in catching a young cow. On feeling the
noose round her neck, she became quite furious,
and made a desperate plunge at him, which he
skilfully avoided by running up a cocoa-nut tree ;
having previously fastened one end of the rope
round the trunk. We had intrenched ourselves
with the chiefs behind a stone wall, close to the
berd; and being apprehensive that the captive
might break loose, we fired, and shot her. Upon
hearing the report, the herd rushed furiously out
of the inclosure, and ran at the natives; but as 64 COW   HUNTING.
they had anticipated such a result, each man
secured a retreat behind a tree ; and in a moment
after the furious animals had gained their freedom
three hundred cocoa-nut trees might have been
seen, each manned with a native, who lookrf,
down with the full confidence of security oii^R^
enraged herd below. Finding it impo_Jlible to
catch another, we were obliged to fire among
„ them, and killed a second. A few shots without
ball were then discharged, which drove them to
their old pasture, and enabled the natives to descend. The king preserved these cattle' for the
purpose of bartering with ships touching there for
provisions; and although he killed none for the
royal table, he very condescendingly accepted
from us a present of a sirloin.
As we intended to engage some of the natives
for the Company's service at the Columbia, and
as the captain also required sQme to assist in
working the ship (several of the crew being indifferent sailors), he demanded permission from Tamaahmaah to engage the number that should be
deemed necessary: this was at once granted; and
Messrs. Holmes and Maninna were requested to ENLISTMENTS.
act as recruiting sergeants on the occasion, which
duty they kindly undertook to perform. On the
intelligence being announced, the vessel was
crowded with numbers, all offering to " take on."
With the assistance of the above gentlemen we
selected twenty-six of the most able-bodied Of
these volunteers: sixteen* for the Company's service, and ten for the ship's. We agreed to pay
each man ten dollars a month, and a suit .of
clothes annually. An old experienced islander,
who was called Boatswain Tom, and who had
made several voyages both to Europe and America, was engaged to command them : he got fifteen dollars a month, and was to have the sole
control of his countrymen. Several of the females
also volunteered to accompany us, but we were
obliged to decline their kind offers. Mr. Wadsworth, of whom I have already spoken, was also
engaged for the Company's service, to act as an
officer on sea or land, as occasion should require.
He brought his lady with him, not being accustomed, as he declared, to live in a state of single
On the 5th of April we got all our supplies on
board. They consisted of sixty hogs, two boats
full of sugar-cane to feed them, some thousand
cocoa-nuts, with as much bananas, plantains, taro,
melons, &c, as could be conveniently stowed in
the ship. The same evening we took leave of the
king and royal family, and bade adieu to our kind
white friends; after which we embarked ; and on
the following morning, Tuesday, April the 6th,
we weighed anchor, and set sail for the Columbia.
Krikapooree, the king's nephew, and several young
chiefs, accompanied us three or four leagues from
land, and took leave of us with tears in their eyes.
The addition we received to our numbers in live
stock, joined to the cargo of fruit, &c, lumbered
our deck greatly, and annoyed the crew in working the ship. When any number of the natives
were wanted to perform a particular duty, word
was passed to Bos'n Tom; who, to do him justice,
betrayed none of the softer feelings of national
partiality to his countrymen. The moment he
gave " the dreadful word" it was followed by a
horrid yell; and with a rope's end he laid on the
back and shoulders of every poor devil who did
not happen to be as alert as he wished, accom- DISCOVERY. 67
panied by a laughable melange of curses in broken
English, and imprecations in his own language.
We had tolerably good easterly breezes, and
nothing particular occurred until the 18th, at four
p. m., when a man ahead cried out " Land on the
weather-bow !" As we were then not more than
half way between the islands and the American
continent, we eagerly rushed on deck to feast our
eyes with a view of our new discovery.
After looking at it for some time very attentively through his glass, the captain pronounced
it to be an island, with a dark-brown soil, and
apparently destitute of vegetation; and added,
with marks of evident exultation, that he always
felt certain we should fall in with unknown islands
in these latitudes (about 35° north); and in that
expectation had diverged materially from the usual
course of vessels proceeding to the north-west coast.
We now sounded, but got no bottom with one
hundred fathoms: and while this was going on
we were all busy in forming conjectures respecting this terra incognita. The first thing to be decided on was the name. One thought that Mr.
Astor, being the owner of the ship, and the founder 68 DISCOVERY.
of the company, had the best claim, and therefore
moved that it be called " Astor s Island :" this
having been seconded, an amendment was moved
by another person, who argued that the ship had
a prior right to the honour, and stated he would
have it called " Beaver Island :" the amendment
having been seconded, was about to be put, when
the captain declared that, fond as he was of his
ship, and highly as he respected his owner, he
thought the claims of their immortal president
superior to either, and that he would therefore,
without consulting the wishes of any one, call it
" Maddisoiis Island." Although there were few.
admirers of the " immortal " president on board,
the captain's decision settled the controversy; for
on such occasions he is always the high priest.
Mr. Clarke said, if it proved any way fruitful, he
would colonise it, and appoint Wadsworth, with
his island beauty, king and queen. Some hoped
the inhabitants would not be afraid of white men;
while others cursed the inhabitants, particularly
the females, and expressed a wish that the new
discovery would contain some cooling simples. In
the mean time, we kept standing under easy sail DISAPPOINTMENT. 69
for this unknown paradise; but in proportion as
we advanced the hills seemed to ascend, and
blend their craggy summits with the passing
clouds: a pale bright opening appeared to divide
the land; and the sad conviction was at length
forced on us, that Maddison's Island was, like his
immortality, based on a nebulous foundation : in
fact, it turned out what sailors call " a cape flyaway island ;" and all our glorious speculations
dissolved literally in nubibus.
This disappointment chagrined us much; but
none felt it more sensibly than the captain, who
was quite chapfallen on the occasion. However,
on the 1st of May, we made the real terra Jirma,
in lat. 41° N., Cape Orford in sight. We
coasted along-shore until the 5th, when we had
the happiness of beholding the entrance of the
long-wished-for Columbia, which empties itself
into the Pacific in lat. 46° 19' N., and long. 124°
W. Light baffling winds, joined to the captain's
timidity, obliged us to stand off and on until
the 8th, on which day we descried a white flag
hoisted on Cape Disappointment, the northern
extremity of the land at the entrance of the river,
A large fire was also kept burning on the cape
all night, which served as a beacon. A dangerous bar runs across the mouth of the Columbia;
the channel for crossing it is on the northern side
close to the cape, and is very narrow, and from
thence to the opposite point on the southern side,
which is called Point Adams, extends a chain
or reef of rocks and sand-banks, over which the
dreadful roaring of the mighty waters of the
Columbia, in forcing their passage to the ocean,
is heard for miles distant.
Early on the morning of the 9th Mr. Rhodes
was ordered out in the cutter, on the perilous
duty of sounding the channel of the bar, and
placing the buoys necessary for the safe guidance
of the ship. While he was performing this duty
we fired several guns; and, about ten o'clock
in the morning, we were delighted with hearing
the report of three cannon from the shore in
answer to ours. Towards noon an Indian canoe
was discovered making for us, and a few moments
after a barge was perceived following it. Various
were the hopes and fears by which we were
agitated,  as we waited in anxious expectation COLUMBIA   RIVER. 71
the arrival of the strangers from whom we were
to learn the fate of our predecessors, and of the
party who had crossed the continent. Vague
rumours had reached the Sandwich Islands from
a coasting vessel, that the Tonquin had been cut
off by the Indians, and every soul on board
destroyed; and, since we came in sight of the
river, the captain's ominous forebodings had almost prepared the weaker part of our people to
hear that some dreadful fatality had befallen
our infant establishment. Not even the sound
of the cannon, and the sight of the flag and fire
on the cape were proofs strong enough to shake
his doubts. " An old bird was not to be caught
with chaff:" he was too well acquainted with
Indian cunning and treachery to be deceived by
such appearances. It was possible enough that
the savages might have surprised the fort, murdered its inmates, seized the property, fired the
cannon,_ to induce us to cross the bar, which,
when once effected, they could easily cut us off
before we could get out again. He even carried his caution so far, as to order a party of
armed men to be in readiness to receive our vi- 72 VISITS   FROM   SHORE.
sitors. The canoe arrived first alongside: in it
was an old Indian, blind of an eye, who appeared
to be a chief, with six others, nearly naked, and
the most repulsive looking beings that ever disgraced the fair form of humanity. The only intelligence we could obtain from them was, that the
people in the barge were white like ourselves,
and had a house on shore. A few minutes afterwards it came alongside, and dissipated all our
fearful dreams of murder, &c, and we had the
delightful, the inexpressible pleasure of shaking
hands with Messrs. Duncan M'Dougall and Donald M'Lennan; the former a partner, and the
latter a clerk of the Company, with eight Canadian boatmen. After our congratulations were
over, they informed us, that on receiving intelligence the day before from the Indians that a
ship was off the river, they came down from the
fort, a distance of twelve miles, to Cape Disappointment, on which they hoisted the flag we
had seen, and set fire to several trees to serve in
lieu of a lighthouse.
The  tide was   now  making in,   and  as   Mr.
Rhodes  had  returned from placing the  buoys, VISITS   FROM   SHORE. id
Mr. M'Lennan, who was well acquainted with
the channel, took charge of the ship as pilot;
and at half-past two p. m. we crossed the bar,
on which we struck twice without sustaining any
injury; shortly after which we dropped anchor
in Baker's Bay, after a tedious voyage of six
months and twenty-two days. Mr. M'Dougall
informed us that the one-eyed Indian who had
preceded him in the canoe was the principal
chief of the Chinook nation, who reside on the
northern side of the river near its mouth; that
his name was Comcomly, and that he was much
attached to the whites : we therefore made him
a present, and gave some trifling articles to. his
attendants, after which they departed. 74 LANDING.
Account of the Tonquin—Loss of her chief mate, seven men'
and two boats—Extraordinary escape of Weekes—Erection
of Astoria—Mr. Thompson of theN. W. Company—Arrival
of Messrs. Hunt and Mackenzie, and sketch of their journey
After the vessel was securely moored Captain
Sowles joined our party, and we took our leave
of the good ship Beaver; in which, after a voyage
of six months and three weeks, we had travelled
upwards of twenty thousand miles.
In the evening we arrived at the Company's
establishment, which was called Fort Astoria in
honour of Mr. Astor. Here we found five proprietors, nine clerks, and ninety artisans and canoe-
men, or, as they are commonly called in the Indian country, voyageurs.    We brought an addition ACCOUNT   OF   THE   TONQUIN.
of thirty-six, including the islanders; so that our
muster-roll, including officers, &c. amounted to
one hundred and forty men.
The accounts which we received from our friends
at Astoria were highly discouraging as to our future prospects, and deeply melancholy as to the
past. But, that my readers may understand the
situation of affairs at the time of our arrival, it
will be necessary to take a short retrospect of
the transactions that occurred antecedent to that
The ship Tonquin, to which I have alluded in
the introduction, sailed from New York on the
6th September, 1810. She was commanded by
Captain Jonathan Thorn, a gentleman who had
been formerly a first lieutenant in the navy of the
United States; and while in that service, during
their short war with Algiers, had distinguished
himself as a bold and daring officer. His manners
were harsh and arbitrary, with a strong tincture
of that peculiar species of American amor patrice,
the principal ingredient of which is a marked antipathy to Great Britain and its subjects.
Four   partners,   namely,   Messrs.   Alexander 76 ACCOUNT   OF   THE   TONQUIN.
M'Kay, Duncan M'Dougall, David and Robert
Stuart, embarked in her, with eight clerks, and a
number of artisans and voyageurs, all destined for
the Company's establishment at the Columbia.
Those gentlemen were all British subjects; and,
although engaged with Americans in a commercial
speculation, and sailing under the flag of the
United States, were sincerely attached to their
king and the country of their birth. Their patriotism was no recommendation to Captain Thorn,
■ who adopted every means in his power to annoy
and thwart them. To any person who has been
at sea it is unnecessary to mention how easy it is
for one of those nautical despots to play the tyrant,
and the facilities which their situation affords, and
of which they too often avail themselves, of harassing every one who is not slavishly subservient
to their wishes.
Messrs. M'Kay, M'Dougall, and the Stuarts,
had too much Highland blood in their veins to
submit patiently to the haughty and uncivil treatment of the captain ; and the consequence was, a
series of quarrels and disagreeable recriminations,
not merely in the cabin but on the quarterdeck. CONDUCT   OF    THE   CAPTAIN. 77
They touched at the Falkland Islands for a
supply of water; and while Mr. David Stuart and
Mr. Franchere, with a party, were on shore, the
captain, without any previous intimation, suddenly
gave orders to weigh anchor, and stood out to sea,
leaving the party on one of the most desert and
uninhabitable islands in the world. The gentlemen on board expostulated in vain against this
act of tyrannic cruelty, when Mr. Robert Stuart,
nephew to the old gentleman who had been left
on shore, seized a brace of pistols, and presenting
one at the captain's head, threatened to blow out
his brains if he did not instantly order the ship to
lay to and wait for his uncle's party. Most part
of the crew and officers witnessed this scene ; and
as they appeared to sympathise deeply with young
Stuart, the captain thought it more prudent to
submit, and gave orders accordingly to shorten
sail, and wait the arrival of Mr. Stuart's party.
The determined resolution evinced by young
Mr. Stuart on this occasion, and the apparent
apathy of his officers, who stood quietly by while
a pistol was presented to his head, were never
forgiven by Captain Thorn. 78 ARRIVAL   OF   THE   TONQUIN.
The Tonquin doubled Cape Horn in safety, and
arrived in the.middle of February at the Sandwich Islands, from which place they took ten natives for the establishment, and sailed for the
coast on the 1st of March.
On the 23rd of March they arrived at the mouth
of the Columbia; and although it blew a stiff
breeze, the captain ordered Mr. Fox, the chief
mate, with two American sailors and two Canadian voyageurs, to proceed in the long-boat towards
the bar, for the purpose of sounding the channel.
From the threatening appearance of the sky
and the violence of the gale, Mr. M'Kay thought
this a most hazardous undertaking, and implored
Captain Thorn to postpone it until the weather
became more moderate. His orders however were
peremptory; and finding all remonstrance useless,
Mr. Fox with his little crew embarked, and proceeded to fulfil his instructions. That unfortunate officer seemed to have a presentiment of his
approaching fate, for on quitting the vessel he
took an affectionate farewell of all his friends; to
some of whom he mentioned he was certain they
would never see him again.    His prediction was MELANCHOLY   ACCIDENT. 79
verified; but we could never ascertain correctly
the particulars of their fate. It is supposed however that the tide setting in, joined to the violence
of the wind, drove the boat among the breakers,
where it and its unfortunate crew must have been
dashed to pieces.
The ship stood off and on during the 24th, and
on the 25th, the wind having moderated, she stood
in for Cape Disappointment. Mr. Aikin, one of
tne officers, accompanied by Weekes, the smith,
Coles, the sailmaker, and two Sandwich islanders,
were sent ahead in the jolly-boat to ascertain the
lowest depth of water in the channel; the ship-in
the mean time following after, under easy sail.
Aikin reported by signal that there was water sufficient ; upon which the captain ordered all sail to
be crowded, and stood in for the bar. The jolly-
boat was now ordered to fall back and join the
ship; but having unfortunately got too far to the
southward, it was drawn within the influence of
the current, and carried with fearful rapidity
towards the breakers. It passed within pistol-
shot of the vessel, its devoted crew crying out in
the wildest accents of despair for assistance.  This Pf
ippip •
m •
however was impossible, for at that moment the
Tonquin struck on the bar; and the apprehension
of instant destruction precluded the possibility of
making any attempt to save the jolly-boat, which
by this time was carried out of sight. The wind
now moderated to a gentle breeze ; but owing to
the tide setting out strongly, the water became so
low that the ship struck several times; and to
add to the horror of their situation, they were
quickly surrounded by the darkness of night.
During an awful interval of three hours the sea
beat over the vessel; and at times some of the
crew imagined they heard the screams of their
lost companions borne by the night winds over
the foaming billows of the bar. A little after
twelve o'clock however the tide set in strongly,
with a fresh breeze from the westward; and all
hands having set to work, they providentially succeeded in extricating themselves from their perilous situation, and worked the ship into Baker's
Bay, inside Cape Disappointment, where they
found a safe asylum. It blew a perfect gale the
remainder of the night.
On the morning of the 26th some of the natives ft  tTEEKES'   ADVENTURE. 81
came on board. They appeared to be very
friendly, and betrayed no symptoms of fear or
distrust. Parties were immediately despatched
towards the northern shore, and round the cape,
in order to ascertain, if possible, the fate of the
two boats.
Shortly after one of them returned accompanied by Weekes, who gave the following account
of his miraculous escape from a watery grave?
V When we passed the vessel, the boat, owing
to the want of a rudder, became quite unmanageable, and notwithstanding all our exertions
we were carried into the northern edge of the
great chain of breakers. The tide and current
however were setting out so strongly, that we
were absolutely carried through the reef without
sustaining any injury, but immediately on the
outer edge a heavy sea struck us, and the boat
was upset. Messrs. Aikin and Coles disappeared
at once, and I never saw them afterwards. On.
recovering my first shock, I found myself close
to the Sandwich islanders, who had stripped off
their, clothes with extraordinary dispatch. We
all seized the boat, and after much difficulty sue- 82 WEEKES'   EXTRAORDINARY   ESCAPE.
ceeded in righting;it. We out a littte: of
the water, which enabled one of the islanders to
enter the boat, and he quickly baled out the remainder. His companion also recovered the oars,
and we then embarked. I endeavoured to persuade the two poor islanders to row, well knowing
the exertion would keep them alive; but it was
quite useless, they were so spent from fatigue,
and benumbed by th$ cold, that they refused to
do any thing, and threw themselves down in the
boat, apparently resigned to meet their fate. I
had no notion however of giving up my life in
that manner, and therefore pulled away at the
oars with all my strength. About midnight ume
of my unfortunate companions died, and his surviving countryman flung himself on the body,
%gm which I found it impossible tor dislodge im.
J continued hard at work during the night, taking
care to keep -to the northward of the bar, and at
dayligjht found myself close to a sandy beacH^H
on whjcJb the surf beat heavily. I was nearly
Sgji&nsted, and therefore; determined to run all
risks to get ashore. I fortunately succeeded,:.and
ran the boat on the beach. I then assisted the
islander, who had somer signs of life still in him, FORT   ASTORIA. 83
to land; but the poor fellow was too weak to
follow me. I was therefore obliged to leave him,
and shortly after fell on a well-beaten path,
which in a few hours brought me in sight of the
ship, when I met the party who conducted me on
board. Thanks to the Almighty for my wonderful escape!"
. The people who went in search of the surviving
islander did not find him until the following
fiMfirning, when they discovered him in a deplorable state, close to some rocks. They carried
him to the ship; and in a few days, by the proper and humane treatment of Mr. Franchere, he
was perfectly restored to his health.
ft/iSbme time was occupied after their arrival in
looking out for a proper place to build their fort;
and at length, on the 12th of April, they selected
a handsome and commaMing situation, called
Point George, twelve miles from the cape, and
on the south side of the river. The keel of a
schooner of thirty tons' burden was also laid at
; tho same time, &£ skeleton of which had been
brought, out from New York.
During the month of May Messrs.  M'Kay,
Stuart, Franchere, and Matthews, made several
excursions up the river as far as the first rapids,
in which they were well received by the natives,
from whom they collected a quantity of furs.
It having been arranged that the Tonquin was
to make a coasting excursion as far as Cooks
River, "and touch at the various harbours between
that place and the Columbia, she weighed anchor
on the 1st of June, and dropped down to Baker's
Bay. Mr. M'Kay, and Mr. Lewis, one of the
clerks, embarked in her for the purpose of obtaining a correct knowledge of the various tribes
on the coast, it being intended that after her
cruise to the northward the ship was to return
to the Columbia, take what furs they might have
purchased during her absence, which the captain
was to dispose of in Canton, from whence he was
to return to New York with a cargo of Chinese
Mr. Mumford, the chief mate, in consequence
of a dispute with Captain Thorn, refused to proceed farther with him, and was engaged by the
Company to take the command of the little schooner when finished. ARRIVALS. 85
The Tonquin took her final departure from the
Columbia on the 5th of June, with a fair wind,
and passed the bar in safety.
In the month of July Mr. David Thompson,
astronomer to the North-west Company, of which
he was also a proprietor, arrived with nine men
in a canoe at Astoria, from the interior. This
gentleman came on a voyage of discovery to the
Columbia preparatory to the North-west Company
forming a settlement at the entrance of the river.
He remained at Astoria until the latter end of
July, when he took his departure for the interior;
Mr. David Stuart, with three clerks and a party
of Canadians accompanying him, for the purpose
of selecting a proper place on the upper parts of
the river for a trading establishment.
Early in the month of August a party of Indians from Gray's Harbour arrived at the mouth
of the Columbia for the purpose of fishing. They
told the Chinooks that the Tonquin had been cut
off by one of the northern tribes, and that every
soul on board had been massacred. This intelligence was not at first believed; but several other
rumours of a similar nature having reached As- 86 NEWS   FROM THE   INTERIOR.
toria, caused considerable uneasiness, particularly
as the month passed away without any news of a
satisfactory nature having been received.
During the month of September the people at
the fort were kept in a state of feverish alarm by
various reports of an intention on the part of the
natives to surprise and destroy them. October
commenced, and the period fixed for the return
of the Tonquin had long since elapsed, still no
intelligence of her arrived, with the exception of
farther reports of her destruction, accompanied by
additional evidence, of a nature so circumstantial
as to leave little doubt but that some dreadful
fatality had occurred.
On the 5th of October, Messrs. Pillet and
M'Lennan, two of the clerks who had gone to the
interior with Mr. D. Stuart, returned to Astoria,
accompanied by a free hunter named Bruguier,
and two Iroquois hunters. They stated that Mr.
Stuart had chosen a place for a trading post about
seven hundred miles up the Columbia, at the
mouth of a river called OaMnagan, and among a
friendly tribe, who appeared to be well furnished
with beaver.    About this periofiifche schooner was ARRIVALS.     ~"|tei S7
completed and launched. She was called the
Dolly 9 in honour of Mrs. Astor; and as provisions
at the fort became scarce, she was despatched up
the river for a supply, under the command of Mr;
R. Stuart and Mr. Mumford.
The dark and dismal months of November and
December rolled over their heads without bringing
them any certain intelligence of the Tonquin.
During this period it rained incessantly; and the
Indians had withdrawn themselves from the banks
of the Columbia to their winter-quarters in the
sheltered recesses of the forests, and in the vicinity of springs or small rivulets.
They continued in this state of disagreeable
anxiety until the 18th of January, 1812, when
their drooping spirits were somewhat raised by
the arrival of Mr. Donald M'Kenzie with two
canoes from the interior. This gentleman was
accompanied by Mr. M'Lellan, a proprietor, Mr.
Read, a clerk, and ten men. He had left St.
Louis in the month of August, 1810, in company
with Mr. Hunt. They passed the winter of that
year at a place called Nadwau, on the banks of
the Missouri, where they were joined by Messrs. OO OVERLAND   JOURNEY.
M'Lellan, Crooks, and Miller, three American
traders, connected with Mr. Astor.
In the spring of 1811 they ascended the Missouri, in two large barges, until they arrived on
the lands of a powerful tribe named the Arikaraws.
Here they met a Spanish trader, Mr. Manuel
Lisa, to whom they sold their barges and a quantity of their merchandise.
Having purchased one hundred and thirty horses
from the Indians, they set off in the beginning of
August on their land journey, to cross the Rocky
Mountains. Apprehensive of coming in contact
with the Black Feet, a warlike and savage tribe,
who have a strong antipathy to the white men,
they were obliged to proceed as far south as the
latitude of 40°, from whence they turned into a
north-west course. This brought them to an old
trading post, situated on the banks of a small
river; and as they had no doubt it would bring
them to the Columbia, they immediately set about
making canoes, for the purpose of descending that
Mr. Miller, not liking the aspect of affairs at
this place, requested permission to return to the OVERLAND  JOURNEY. 89
United States, which was granted; and a few
men were allowed to accompany him on his way
back.      ^8©
The party, which now consisted of about sixty
people, commenced their voyage downwards; but
from the rapidity of the current, and the number
of dangerous rapids, they determined, after having
lost one man and a portion of their baggage, to
abandon such a perilous navigation, and undertake
the remainder of their journey on foot.
In pursuance of this resolution they divided
into four parties, under the commands of Messrs.
M'Kenzie, Hunt, M'Lellan, and Crooks; still
keeping in view their original intention of following the course of the river. Messrs. M'Kenzie
and M'Lellan took the right bank, and Messrs.
Hunt and Crooks the left. They were under a
strong impression that a few days would bring
them to the Columbia, but they were miserably
disappointed. For three weeks they followed the
course of the river, which was one continued tor^
rent; and the banks of which, particularly the
northern, consisted of high precipitous rocks, rising
abruptly from the water's edge.   The greater part 90 OVERLAND   JOURNEY.
of this period was one of extreme suffering. Their
provisions became shortly exhausted, and they
were reduced to the necessity of broiling even the
leather of their shoes to sustain nature; while, to
complete their misfortunes, they were often unable
to descend the steep declivities of the rocks for
a drink of the water which they saw flowing
beneath their feet.
From the tormenting privations which they experienced in following the course of this stream^
they called it Mad River; and in speaking of it
afterwards, the Canadians, from the bitterness of
their recollections; denominated it la maudite riviere mragke* Mr. Hunt's party did not suffer so
much as those on the right bank, in consequence
of occasionally meeting some of the natives ; who*
although they always fled on perceiving them,
left their horses behind. The party were obliged to kill a few of these animals, and in
payment for them left some goods near their
owners! huts.
After a separation of some days the two parties
came in sight of each other; and Mr. Hunt had a
canoe made out of .the skin of a horsi^iti which he OVERLAND   JOURNEY. 91
sent some meat over to hitf famishing friends. He
also suggested the idea of their crossing over in
the canoe one by one to the south side, where
they would at all events have a better chance of
cscapifag death by starvation. This was readily
agreed to; but the attempt was unfortunately unsuccessful. One of the best swimmers embarked
in the canoe; but it had scarcely reached the
centre of the mer when, owing to the impetuosity
of the current, it upset, and the poor voyageur
sunk to rise no more.
■ Finding the impracticability of their reunion by
this means, they continued to pursue their respective courses, and in a few days after Mr. M'Ken-
zie's party fell on a considerable river, which they
subsequently ascertained to be Lewis' River.
Here they met a tribe of friendly Indians, froai
whom they purchased several horses, and with
renovated spirits they pursued their journey along
the banks of the principal river. Among this
tribe they found a young white man in a state of
mental derangement. He had however lucid intervals, and informed them that his name was
Archibald Petton, and that he was a native of
Connecticut; that he had ascended the Missouri
with Mr. Henry, an American trader, who built
the house our people saw at the upper part of
Mad River; that about three years ago the place
was attacked by the savages, who massacred every
man belonging to the establishment with the exception of himself; and that having escaped un-
perceived, he wandered about for several weeks
until he met the friendly tribe with whom we
found him. The dreadful scenes he had'wit^
nessed, joined to the sufferings he had gone
through, produced a partial derangement of his
intellect. His disorder was of an harmless nature ; and as it appeared probable that civilised
companionship would in the course of time restore
him to his reason, Mr. M'Kenzie very humanely
brought him along with the party.
On arriving at the entrance of Lewis' River,
they obtained canoes from the natives in exchange
for their horses ; and meeting with no obstruction
from thence downwards, arrived at Astoria on the i
18th of January, 1812. Their concave cheeks,
protuberant bones, and tattered garments, strongly
indicated the dreadful extent of their privations; OVERLAND   JOURNEY. 93
but their health appeared uninjured, and their
gastronomic powers unimpaired.
From the day that the unlucky attempt was
made to cross in the canoe Mr. M'Kenzie had
seen nothing of Mr. Hunt's party, and he was of
opinion they would not be able to reach the fort
until the spring was far advanced. He was however mistaken; for on the 15th of February Mr.
Hunt, with thirty men, one woman, and two children, arrived at Astoria.
This gentleman stated that shortly after his last
separation from the northern party he arrived
among a friendly tribe, whose village was situated
in the plains. They treated him and his party
with great hospitality; in consequence of which
he remained ten days with them, for the double
purpose of recruiting his men and of looking for
one of his hunters, who had been lost for some
days. Having received no intelligence of the
man, Mr. Hunt resumed his journey, leaving
Mr. Crooks, with five men who were much exr
hausted, among the Indians, who promised to pay
every attention to them, and conduct them part
of the way downwards on their recovery.
Mr. Hunt in the mean time fell on the Colum- 94 DEPARTURES.
bia, some distance below its junction with Lewi-f|
River; and having also obtained canoes, arrived
safely on the day above mentioned.    The corporeal appearance of his party was somewhat supe%|
rior to that of Mr. Mackenzie's, but their outward
habiliments were equally ragged.
The accession of so many hungry stomachs to
the half-starved garrison at Astoria would have
produced serious inconvenience had not the fishing season fortunately commenced earlier fltliB
was anticipated, and supplied them with abundance of a small delicious fish resembling pilchard;
and wMeli is the same mentioned by Lewis and
Clarke as anchovy.
On the 30th of March the following departure^
took place: Mr. Read for New York, charged
with dispatches to Mr. Astor, accompanied by
Mr. M'Lellan, who quitted the country in disgust. This gentleman had fancied that a fortune
was to be made with extraordinary celerity iii
the Columbia; but finding his calculations had
exceeded the bounds of probability, he preferred
renewing his addresses to the fickle jade in a
country less subject to starvation and fighting.
Messrs. Farnham and M'Gillis, with a party, D^PARTURESi 95
also embarked for the purpose of proceeding to
the head of Mad River, for the trading goods
which Mr. Hunt had deposited there en cache;
and Mr. Robert Stuart set off at the same time
with a fresh supply for his uncle's establishment
at Oakinagan. §& ACCOUNT  OF
Particulars of the destruction of the Tonquin and crew—Indians attack a party ascending the river—Description of
fort, natives, and the country.
It is now time to return to the ifenquin, of
which no news had been heard during the winter,
with the exception of the flying rumours already
alluded to. That vessel, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, sailed from the Columbia on the
5th of June 1811, on a trading speculation to the
northward; and Mr. M'Kay took on board, as an
interpreter, a native of Gray's Harbour, who was
well acquainted with the various dialects of the
tribes on the coast. From this Indian the following melancholy particulars were learned.
A few days after their departure from the Co- THE  TONQUIN. 27
lumbia they anchored opposite a large village,
named New Whitty, in the vicinity of Nootka,
where Mr. M'Kay immediately opened a smart
trade with the natives. He went on shore with a
few men; was received in the most friendly man?
ner, and slept a couple of nights at the village.
During this period several of the natives visited
the vessel with furs. The harsh and unbending
manners of the captain were not calculated to win
their esteem; and having struck one of their principal men whom he had caught in a petty theft,
a conspiracy was formed by the friends of the
chief to surprise and cut off the vessel. The faithful interpreter, having discovered their designs,
lost no time in acquainting Mr. M'Kay, who in^
stantly hurried on board for the purpose of warn*
ing the captain of the intended attack.. That
evening Mr. M'Kay told the interpreter that the
captain only laughed at the information, and said
he could never believe that a parcel of lazy thieving Indians would have the courage to attack such
a ship as his. The natives, in the mean time, apprehensive from Mr. M'Kay s sudden return that
their plans were suspected, visited the ship in
vol. r. o 98 ACCOUNT   OF
small numbers, totally unarmed, in order to throw
our people off their guard. Even the chief who
had been struck by Captain Thorn, and who was
the head of the conspiracy, came on board in a
manner seemingly friendly, and apparently forgetful of the insult he had received.
Early in the morning of the day previous to that
on which the ship was to leave New Whitty a
couple of large canoes, each containing about
twenty men, appeared along-side. They brought
several small bundles of furs ; and, as the sailors
imagined they eame for the purpose of trading,
were allowed to come on deck. Shortly after
another canoe, with an equal number, arrived
also with, ftu_s; and it was quickly followed by
two others, fujiof men carrying beaver, otter, and
other valuable skins. No opposition was made to
their coming on board; but the officer of the
watch perceiving a number of other canoes pushing off, became suspicious of their intentions, and
warned Captain Thorn of the circumstance. He
immediately came on the quarter-deck, accompanied by Mr. M'Kay and the interpreter. The
latter, on observing that they all wore short cloaks THE   TONQUIN. 99
or mantles of skins, which was by no means a
general custom, at once knew their designs were
hostile, and told Mr. M'Kay of his suspicions.
That gentleman immediately apprised Captain
Thorn of the circumstances/ and begged of him to
lose no tim& in clearing the ship of the intruders.
This caution was however treated with contempt
by thie captain, who remarked, that with the arms
thev hard on board; they would be more than a
match for three times the number. The sailors
in the mean time had all come on the deck, which
was crowded with the Indians, who conbipletely
blocked up the passages, and obstructed the men
in the performance of their various duties. The
captain requested them to retire, to which they
paid no attention. He then told them he was
about going t& sea, and had given orders to the
men to raise the anchor ; that he hoped they
. wouM go away quietly; but if they refused, he
should be compelled to force their departure. He
had scarcely finished, when^ at a' signal given by
one of the chiefs, a loud and frightful yell was
heard from the assembled savages, who commenced a sudden and simultaneous attack on the 100 DESTRUCTION   OF
officers and crew with knives, bludgeons, and
short sabres, which they had concealed under
their robes.
Mr. M'Kay was one of the first attacked. One
Indian gave him a severe blow with a bludgeon,
which partially stunned him; upon which he was
seized by five or six others, who threw him overboard into a canoe alongside, where he quickly
recovered, and was allowed to remain for some
time uninjured.
Captain Thorn made an ineffectual attempt to
reach the cabin for his fire-arms, but was overpowered by numbers. His only weapon was a
jack-knife, with which he killed four of his sa-t
vage assailants by ripping up their bellies, and
mutilated several others. Covered with wounds^
and exhausted from the loss of blood, he rested
himself for a moment by leaning on the tiller
wheel, when he received a dreadful blow from a
weapon called a pautumaugan,* on the back part
of the head, which felled him to the deck. The
death-dealing knife fell from his hand; and his
* A species of half sabre, half club, from two to three feet
in length, six inches in breadth, and double edged. THE   TONQUIN. 101
savage butchers, after extinguishing the few sparks
of life that still remained, threw his mangled body
overboard. tit,
On seeing the captain's fate, our informant, who
was close to him, and who had hitherto escaped
uninjured, jumped into the water, and was taken
into a canoe by some women, who partially covered his body with mats. He states that the
original intention of the enemy was to detain Mr.
M'Kay a prisoner ; and, after Securing the vessel,
to give him his liberty, on obtaining a ransom
from Astoria: but on finding the resistance made
by the captain and crew, the former of whom had
killed one of the principal chiefs, their love of gain
gave way to revenge, and they resolved to destroy
him.    The last time the ill-fated gentleman was
seen, his head was hanging over the side of a
canoe, and three savages, armed with pautumau-
gahsA, were battering out his brains.
In the mean time the devoted crew, who had
maintained the unequal conflict with unparalleled
bravery, became gradually overpowered.    Three
of  them,  John Anderson  the boatswain,  John
Weekes, the carpenter, and Stephen Weekes, who 102 DESTRUCTION   OF
had so narrowly escaped at the Columbia, succeeded, after a desperate struggle, in gaining possession of the cabin, the entrance to which they
securely fastened inside. The Indians now became more cautious, for they well knew there
were plenty of fire-arms below; and they had
already experienced enough of the prowess of the
three men while on deck, and armed only with
hand-spikes, to dread approaching them while
they had more mortal weapons at their command.
Anderson and his two companions seeing their
commander and the crew dead and dying about
them, and that no hope of escape remained, and
feeling moreover the uselessness of any farther
opposition, determined on taking a terrible revenge. Two of them therefore set about laying
a train to the powder magazine, while the third
addressed some Indians from the cabin windows,
who were in canoes, and gave them to understand that if they were permitted to depart unmolested in one of the ship's boats, they would
give them quiet possession of the vessel without
firiiig a shot; stipulating however that no carioe
should remain near them while getting into *he THE   TONQUIN. 103
boat. The anxiety of the barbarians to obllun
possession of the plunder, and their disinclination
to risk any more lives, induced them to embrace
this proposition with eagerness, and the pinnace
was immediately brought astern. The three
heroes having by this time perfected their dreadful arrangements, and ascertained that no Indian
was watching them, gradually lowered themselves
from the cabin windows into the boat; and having
fired the train, quickly pushed off towards the
mouth of the harbour, no obstacle being interposed to prevent their departure.
Hundreds of the enemy now rushed on deck to
seize the long-expected prize, shouting yells of
imkoty; but their triumph was of short duration.
Just as they had burst open the cabin door, an
explosion took place, which in an instant hurled
upwards -of two hundred savages into eternity,
and dreadfully injured as many more. The interpreter, who .had by this time reached land,
states he saw many mutilated bodies floating near
the beach, while heads, arms, and legs, together
with fragments of the ship, were thrown to a considerable distance on the shore.
The first impression of the survivors was, that
the Master of Life had sent forth the Evil Spirit
from the waters to punish them for their cruelty
to the white people. This belief, joined to the
consternation occasioned by the shock, and the
reproaches and lamentations of the wives and
other relatives of the sufferers, paralysed for a
time the exertions of the savages, and favoured
the attempt of Anderson and his brave comrades
to escape. They rowed hard for the mouth of the
harbour, with the intention, as is supposed, of
coasting along the shore to the Columbia ; but
after passing the bar, a head wind and flowing
tide drove them back, and compelled them to land
late at night in a small cove, where they fancied
themselves free from danger; and where, weak
from the loss of blood, and the harassing exertions
of the day, they fell into a profound sleep.
In the mean time, the terror of the Indians had
in some degree subsided, and they quickly discovered that it was by human agency so many of
their warriors had been destroyed. They there^
fore determined on having the lives of those who
caused the explosion; and being aware, from the FATE   OF   THE   SURVIVORS. 105:
state of the wind and tide, that the boat could
not put to sea, a party proceeded after dark cautiously along the shore of the bay, until they
arrived at the spot where their helpless victims lay
slumbering. Bleeding and exhausted, they opposed but a feeble resistance to their savage conquerors ; and about midnight their heroic spirits
mingled with those of their departed comrades.
Thus perished the last of the gallant crew of
the Tonquin: and in reflecting on their melancholy fate, it is deeply to be regretted that there
was no person of sufficient influence at Astoria to
bring about a reconciliation between Captain
Thorn and Mr. M'Kay; for were it not for the
deplorable hostility and consequent want of union-
that existed between these two brave men,, it is
more than probable this dreadful catastrophe
would never have occurred.*
. On the morning of the 11th of May, the day
after our arrival, while walking with some of my
companions in front of the fort, indulging in gloomy
* From the particular description given by our informant of
the dress and personal appearance of Anderson and the two
>Veekes's; we had no doubt of their identity.
reflections on the fate of the Tonquin, and the um-
promising appearance of our general affairs, wee
were surprised by the arrival of two canoes with
Messrs. Robert Stuart, M'Lellan, Reed, and Farn-
ham, together with Messrs. David Stuart, and R.
Crooks. The unexpected return of the four first
individuals, who had only left the fort on the 30th
March, was caused by a serious rencontre which
they had with the natives in ascending. On arriving
at the portage of the falls, which is very long anil
fatiguing, several of the Indians in a friendly manner tendered their horses to transport the goods.
Mr. Stuart, having no suspicion of their dishonesty,
gladly accepted the offer, and entrusted a few of
them with several small packets of merchandise to
carry. On arriving, however, in a rocky and solitary part of the portage, the rascals turned their
horses' heads into a narrow pathway and galloped
off with the goods, with which they escaped.
Their comrades on foot in the mean time crowded
about the voyageurs who were carrying the packages, and as Mr. Stuart observed the necessity of
greater precaution, he took his post at the upper
end of the  portage, leaving Messrs. Reed  and INDIAN   ATTACK. 107
M'Lellan in charge of the rear-guard.    Mr. Reed
was the bearer of the dispatches, and had a tin
case, in which they were contained, flung over his
shoulders.    Its brightness attracted the attention
of the natives, and they resolved to obtain possession of the prize.     A group therefore patiently
watched his motions for some time, until they observed he had separated himself from M'Lellan,
and gone ahead a short distance.    The moment
they supposed he was alone they sprung on him,
seized his arms, and succeeded in capturing the
tin case after a brave resistance, in the course of
which he was knocked down twice, and nearly
killed.    Mr. M'Lellan, who had been an attentive
observer of the whole transaction, instantly fired,
and one of the robbers fell; upon which his companions fled, not however without securing the
plunder.   Mr. M'Lellan, imagining that Mr. Reed
had been killed, immediately joined Mr. Stuart,
and urged that gentleman to fly from a place so
pregnant with danger.    This, however, he refused
until he was satisfied respecting Mr. Reed's fate;
and  taking a few men  with  him,  he repaired
towards the spot where Reed had been attacked. 108 INDIAN   ATTACK.
The latter had in the mean time somewhat recovered from the effects of his wounds, and was
slowly dragging himself along when Mr. Stuart s
party came to his assistance, and conducted him
to the upper end of the portage in safety. The
loss of the dispatches determined Mr. Stuart to
postpone Mr. Reed's journey to New York, and
the whole party proceeded to Oakinagan, the post
established by Mr. David Stuart. They remained
here only a few days, and early in May left it on
their return to Fort Astoria. On their way down,
near the entrance of the Shoshone river, they fell
in with Mr. R. Crooks and a Kentucky hunter,
named John Day, in a state of miserable destitution.
I have already mentioned that this gentleman;
with five of his men, owing to their inability to
continue the journey from excessive fatigue, had
been left by Mr. Hunt among a tribe of friendly
Indians, supposed to be a branch of the extensive
Snake nation. Finding, however, that they had
nothing to expect from the strangers, these savages, shortly after the departure of Mr. Hunt,
robbed them of every article in their possession* INDIAN   ATTACK. 109
even to their shirts, in exchange for which they
gave them a few old skins to cover their nakedness.
The miserable party, thus attired, and without
any provisions, recommenced their journey to the
Columbia, on the banks of which they arrived a
few days previous to the descent of Mr. Stuart's
Here was a frightful addition to our stock of disasters. Fighting, robbery, and starvation, in the
interior, with drownings, massacres, and apprehensions of farther attacks from the Indians on the
coast, formed a combination sufficient to damp the
ardor of the youngest, or the courage of the most
enterprising. The retrospect was gloomy, and the
future full of " shadows, clouds, and darkness."
The scene before us, however, was novel, and for
a time our ideas were diverted from the thoughts
of "battle, murder, and sudden death," to the
-striking peculiarities connected with our present
situation. $*"&*
The spot selected for the fort was on a handsome eminence called Point George, which commanded an extensive view of the majestic Co^
himbia in front, bounded by the bold and thickly 110 THE   FORT.
wooded northern shore.   On the right, about threa|
miles distant, a long, high and rocky peninsula-
covered With timber, called Tongue Point, extended
a eocBtsiderable distance ink© the river from the
southern side with which it was connected by a
nairow neck of land; while on the extreme left,
Cape Disappointment, with the bar and its terrifiejl
chain of breakers, were distinctly visible?.
The buildings consisted of apartments for the|
proprietors and clerks, with a capacious dining-
hafl for both,, expensive warehouses for the trading,
goods and furs, a provision storey a trading shop,
smith's  forge,  carpenter's workshop,  &c.     The I
whole surrounded by stockades forming a square,
and reaching about fifteen feet over the ground.
A gallery raniound the stockades, in which loopholes were pierced sufficiently large for musketry.
Two strong bastions built of logs commanded the I
four sides of the square : each bastion had two
stories, in which a number of chosen men slept
every night.    A six-pounder was placed in the
lower story, and they were both well provided
with small arms.
Immediately in ftont of the fort was a gentle THE   NATIVES, 111
declmty sloping down to the river's side, which
had been turned into an excellent kitchen garden ;
and a few hundred yards to the left, a tolerable
wharf had been run out, by which bateaux and
boats were enabled at low water to land their
cargoes without sustaining any damage. An impenetrable forest of gigantic pine rose in the rear g
and the ground was covered with a thick underwood of brier and huckleberry, intermingled with
fern and honeysuckle.
| Numbers of the natives crowded in and about
titie fort.. They were most uncouth-looking objects ; and not strongly calculated to impress us
with a favourable opinion of aboriginal beauty, or
the purity of Indian manners. A few of the men
were partially covered, but the greater number
were unannoyed by vestments of any description.
Their eyes were black, piercing, and treacherous;
their ears slit up, and ornamented with strings of
beads; the cartilage of their nostrils perforated,
and adorned with pieces of hyaquau placed horizontally ; while tb$ir heads presented an inclined
plane from the crown to the upper part of the
nose, totffcttiy unlike our   European rotundity  of 112 THE    NATIVES.
cranium; and their bodies besmeared with whale
oil, gave them an appearance horribly disgusting.
Then the women,—Oh ye gods! With the same
auricular, olfactory, and craniological peculiarities,
they exhibited loose hanging breasts, short dirty
teeth, skin saturated with blubber, bandy legs,
and a waddling gait; while their only dress consisted of a kind of petticoat, or rather kilt, formed
of small strands of cedar bark twisted into cords,
and reaching from the waist to the knee. This
covering in calm weather, or in an erect position,
served all the purposes of concealment; but in a
breeze, or when indulging their favourite position
of squatting, formed a miserable shield in defence
of decency : and worse than all, their repulsive
familiarities rendered them objects insupportably
odious; particularly when contrasted with the
lively eyes, handsome features, fine teeth, open
countenance, and graceful carriage of the interesting islanders whom we had lately left.
From these ugly specimens of mortality we
turned with pleasure to contemplate the productions of their country, amongst the most wonderful of which are the fir-trees.    The largest THE   PINE  TREE.     * 113
species grow to an immense si£e> and one immediately behind the fort at the height of ten feet
from the surface of the earth measured forty?^'
feet in circumference ! The trunk of this tree had
about one hundred and fifty feet free from branches.
Its top had been some time before blasted by
lightning; and to judge by comparison, its height
when perfect must have exceeded three hundred
feet! This was however an extraordinary tree in
that country, and was denominated by the Cana^
dians Le Roi de Pins.0
The general size however of the different species
of fir far exceeds any thing on the east side of the
Rocky Mountains; and prime sound pine from
two hundred to two hundred and eighty feet in
height, and from twenty to forty feet in circum-
. ference, are by no means uncommon.
Buffon asserts that " living nature is less active,
less energetic in the new world than the old,'?
which he attributes to the prevalence of moisture
* A pine tree has been subsequently. discovered in the
Umpqua country, to the southward of the Columbia, the circumference of which is 57 feet; its height 216 feet without
branches! 114 PRODUCTIONS   OF
and deficiency of heat in America. This assert
tion was ably combated by the late Mr. Jefferson j
but, without entering into the arguments of these
celebrated philosophers, we may safely state, that
if America be inferior to the old continent in the
animal world, she can at least assert her supejril
©rity in the vegetable.
En passant, I may here remark, that although
constant rains prevail eight months out of the
twelve, and during the remaining four, which are
the summer months, the heat is far from excessive, the large and stately elk, which are numerous about the lower shores of the Columbia, are
equal, if not superior, in size to those found in the
hottest and driest parts of the world.
There are five or six different species of fir, with
the peculiar qualities of which I am unacquainted.
They split even, make good canoes, yield little
ashes, scarcely produce any gum, and are excellent for building and other domestic purposes.
Our table was daily supplied with elk, wild
fowl, and fish. Of the last, we feasted on the
royal sturgeon, which is here large, white, and
firm ;  unrivalled salmon ; and abundance of the THE   COUNTRY. 115
sweet little anchovy, which is taken in such
quantities by the Indians, that we have seen their
houses garnished with several hundred strings of
them, dry and drying. We had them generally
twice a day, at breakfast and dinner, and in a few
weeks got such a surfeit, that few of us for years
afterwards tasted an as*chovy.
We remained upwards of six weeks at the fort,
preparing for our grand expedition into thejifrte-
rior. During this period I went on several short
excursions to the villages of various tribes up the
river and about the bay. The natives generally
tseceived us with frieodship and hospitality. They
vary little in their habits or language; and the
perfect uniformity in the shape of their heads
would, I fancy, puzzle the phrenological skill of
the most learned disciples of Gall or Spurzheim.
I made a few midnight visits to their cemeteries,
from which I abstracted a couple of skulls, which
appeared totally devoid of any peculiar organic
development. I regret that our travelling arrangements prevented me from bringing them
across the mountains; for, without ocular proof,
I fear the faculty could not be brought to believe
that the human head was capable of being moulded
to a shape so unlike the great mass of mankind.
This however is dangerous ground; and I shall
not pursue the subject farther, lest I might provoke the gall of the believers in the theory of
craniology, among whom, I am aware, may be
reckoned some of the most eminent men in the
literary world.
We also visited Fort Clatsop, the place where
Captains Lewis and Clarke spent the winter of
1805-6; an accurate description of which is given
in the journal of those enterprising travellers.
The logs of the house were still standing, and
marked with the names of several of their party.
The most striking peculiarity of the immense
forests which we observed in the course of these
excursions was the total absence of the "wood
notes wild" of the feathered tribe; and, except
in the vicinity of a village, their deep and impervious gloom resembles the silence and solitude of
Departure from Astoria—Description of our party, lading,
&c— Appearance of river and islands—Fleas and musqui-
£>es—First rapids, dangerous accident—Indian cemetery—
Ugly Indians—Gibraltar—Cape Horn—The narrows and
falls—Change in the appearance of the country—Attempt
at robbery—Mounted Indians. Ei*,-
In travelling through the Indian country several
days must necessarily elapse devoid of interesting
matter; and to the general reader a succinct detail of the diurnal proceedings of Indian traders
would be rather dry. I do not profess to write a
journal, and shall therefore make no apology for
sparing my readers the trouble of perusing in
every page the verbose accuracy which details,
that in summer journies we rise each morning
between three and four o'clock, breakfast between
nine and ten, and encamp between six and seven
in the evening ; and that, while on the water, few 118 THE   PARTY.
days elapse in which we are not obliged to put
ashore several times to repair the damage sustained by our canoes in passing rapids, portages,
or sunken trees.
On the 29th of June, 1812, all the necessary
arrangements having been perfected, we took our
departure from Astoria for the interior. Our party
consisted of three proprietors, nine clerks, fifty-
-five Canadians, twenty Sandwich islanders,* and
Messrs. Crooks, M'Lelland, and R. Stuart, who,
with eight men, were to proceed with dispatches
to St. Louis. Messrs. Hunt, M'Dougall, Clapp,
Halsey, and Franchere, remained at the fort. The
Beaver had previously sailed for Canton, whence
it was intended she should return to New York.
We travelled in bateaux and light-built wooden
canoes: the former had eight, and the latter six
men. Our lading consisted of guns and ammunition, spears, hatchets, knives, beaver traps, copper and brass kettles, white and green blankets/
blue, green, and red cloths^ calicoes, beads., rings*
* The Tonquin had brought fifteen of the Sandwich islanders
from Whoahoo, which, joined with those we brought, amounted
to thirty-one.    Eleven remained at the fort. THE  LADESflB,  &C. 119
thimbles1, hawk-be^ls, &c.; and our provfeions of
beef, pork, flour, rice, biscuits, tea, sugar, with a
moderate quantity of rum, wine, &c.: the soft and
hard goods were secured in bales and boxes, and
the liquids in kegs, holding on an average nine
gallons : the guns were stowed in long cases.
From thirty to forty of these packages and kegs
were placed in each vessel, and the whole was
covered by an oil-cloth or tarpaulin, to preserve
tfiem from wet. Each canoe and barge had from
six to eight men rowing or paddling, independent
of the passengers.
The Columbia is a noble river, uniniei*-
rupted by rapids for one hundred and seventy
miles; one hundred of which are navigable for
vessels of three hundred tons. It is seldom
less than a mftev wide; but in some places
its breadth varies from two to five miles. The
shores are generally bold and thickly wooded.
Pine in all its varieties predominates, and is mixed
with white oak, ash, beech, poplar, alder, crab,
and cotton wood, with an undergrowth of briers,
Sec, through which our hunters made many ineffectual attempts to pass.   The navigation is often 120 THE   COLUMBIA.
obstructed by sand-banks, which are scatt£f?@8H
over different parts of the river below the rapids;
and are dry at low water. In the neighbourhood
of these sand-banks the shores are generally low,
and present some fine flat bottoms of rich meadow
ground, bordered by a profusion of blackberry and
other wild fruit shrubs: in the deep and narrow
parts of the channel the shores are bolder. The
river, up to the rapids, is covered with several
islands, from one to three miles in length; some
of which are fine meadows, and others well
wooded. Great caution is required to avoid
sunken trees, called snags or planters, and by the
Canadians chicots, which are generally concealed
under the surface of the water ; and which, if they
come in contact with canoes sailing rapidly, may
cause them to sink if assistance be not at hand.
About three miles above the fort a long and
narrow point of land, rather high, runs near half a
mile into the river from the soutjlrside: it is called'
Tongue Point, and in boisterous weather is very
difficult to double. On quitting Astoria it blew
pretty fresh, and we took in a good deal of water
in doubling this point.    We stopped for the night MIDNIGHT  ADVENTURE. 121
about six miles above Tongue Point, oj^the south
side, close to an old uninhabited village, but having no lack of animated beings of another description ; I mean fleas, with which the place was
completely alive; and we had not been on shore
five minutes when we were obliged to strip, get a
change of clothes, and drown the invaders of our
late suit by dipping them in the river.* We had
to pitch our tents on the sandy beach to avoid
their attacks; but this was only "out of the frying-
pan," &c.; for about midnight the tide came on us
unawares ; and the first intimation we received-^
our danger was the noise of the water beating
against the canoes and baggage; and when the
alarm was given, it was nearly up to our knees on
the beach. It wras a spring tide, on which the
men did not calculate, and therefore kept no
watch; added to which, every man was nearly
drunk on quitting the fort.
We had immediately to set about getting the
goods on the grass^<and dressing ourselves. On
examination the following morning, we found se-
* During the warm months of summer it is difficult to select
a spot for an encampment free from these annoying insects. \$$ !    MUSQUITOES.
veral bales were wet, wltieh we were obliged
to open for the purpose of drying. This detained
us late, and we only made about ten miles on the
second day, and landed on a small bottom, free
from the tide, but somewhat infested by fleas and
musquitoes. On the 1st of July it blew rather
stiffly from the south-east, which retarded our progress considerably, and we did not make more
than fifteen miles; but on the 2nd we had a good
run, and encamped on a fine meadow island, where
we hoped to spend a pleasant night, free from
fleas. Our hopes were partly realised : none of
the little agile back-biters attacked us; but their
absence was more than amply compensated by
myriads of musquitoes, from which we suffered the
most painful torments all night; the face, ears,
neck, and hands, were peculiar objects of their
affection; and what between them and their brethren of the blanket, we scarcely had an unpunc-
tured spot in our bodies. I was particularly hov
Boured with their preference ; and i#Ahe morning
my eyes were completely closed up from the
effects of their infernal stings.
We arrived on the evening of the 4th at the foot ARRIVAL   AT  THE RAPIDS. 12$
of the first rapids, where we encamped. The
Indians so far had been always friendly, and were
in the habit of occasionally trading at Astoria; but
as the tribe who resides at the rapids had previously manifested hostile feelings, it was deemed
Bfecessary to prepare for action. Each man was
provided with a musket, and forty rounds of ball-
cartridge, with pouch, belts, &c.; and over his
clothes he wore leathern armour: this was a kind of
shirt made out of the skisi-of the elk, which reached
from the neck to the knees. It was perfectly
arrow-proof; and at eighty or ninety yards impenetrable by a musket ballet. Besides the muskets, numbers had daggers, short swords, and
pistols; and, when armed cap-d-pi6, w&presented
a formidable appearance.
A council of war was then called, in which it
was arranged that five officers should remain at
each end of the portage, and the remainder, with
twenfey-five men, be stationed at short distant
from each other. Its length was between three
and four miles, and the path was narrow and
dangerous; one part greatly obstructed by slippery
rocks $ and another ran through a thick wood* 124 INDIAN  CEMETERIES.
from which a skilful enemy could have attacked
us with advantage. We only made one half
of the portage the first day, and encamped
near an old village ; with the river in front; a.
deep wood in the rear; at one end a natural in-
trenchment of rocks; and at the other a barrier
formed by the canoes and bateaux. The whole
brigade was divided into three watches, with five
officers to each.
In the course of the day, in the most gloomy
part of the wood, we passed a cemetery, ma-
' terially different from those belonging to the
lower tribes. There were nine shallow excavations, closely covered with pine and cedar
boards, and the top boards sloping to let off the
rain. Each place was about seven feet square,
and between five and six feet in height. They
contained numbers of dead bodies ; some in a
state of greater or less decomposition, and a few
fpi-te fresh : they were all carefully enveloped in
mats and skins. Several poles were attached to
these burial places, on which were suspended
robes, pieces of cloth, kettles, bags of trinkets,
gaskets of roots, wooden bowls, and several orna- ALARM. 125
ments; all of which the survivors believed their
departed friends would require in the next world.
Their veneration is so great for these offerings,
that it is deemed sacrilege to pilfer one of them ;
and although these Indians are not remarkable for
scrupulous honesty, I believe no temptation would
induce them to touch these articles. Several of
the boards are carved and painted with rude representations of men, bears, wolves, and animals
unknown. Some in green, others in white and
red, and all most hideously unlike nature.
About midnight we were thrown into a state of
frightful confusion by the report of a gun, and the
cries of Mr. Pillet, one of the clerks, that he was
shot. Every one instantly seized his arms, and
inquired on which side was the enemy; but our
apprehensions were quickly appeased, on learning
it was merely an accident. One of the gentlemen,
in examining the musket of a Sandwich islander,
to see if it was primed, handed it to him at full
cock; and just as the islander had taken it, the
piece went off, and the contents lodged in the calf
of poor Pillet's leg, who naturally enough exclaimed he was shot.    This was, however, in our 126 WARLIKE    PREPARATIONS.
present circumstances, a disagreeable even^ it
rendered Mr. Pillet not only incapable of fighting, but required three or four men to carry him
in a litter over the various portages. The wound
was di_essed with friar's balsam and lint; the ball
extracted the next day; and in about a month
afterwards he was able to walk.
We commenced proceedings at four o'clock on
the morning of the 6th, and finished the portage
about two in the afternoon. During our progress
the Indians occasionally hovered about the loaded
men, and made two or three trifling essays to
pilfer them; but the excellent precautions we had
adopted completely kept them in check, and deterred them from attempting any thing like forcible robbery. At the upper end of the portage,
and while we were reloading the canoes, a number
of the natives, several of whom were armed, as-,
sembled about us : they conducted themselves
peaceably;'but our numbers and warlike arrangements enforced respect. The dress of the men
does not differ materially from that of the Lower
Indians ; but they are incontestably more filthy
and ugly.    Their teeth are almost worn away. THE  NATIVES. 127
The greater number have very sore eyes: several
have only one; and we observed a few old men
and women quite blind. The men are generally
naked; and the women merely wear a leatlieoi
belt, with a narrow piece of the same material
joined to the front, which very imperfectly answers the purposes intended. Some wear leathern
robes over the breast and shoulders; but others
allow these parts to remain naked. We observed
no one who appeared to assume the authority of a
chief. Each seemed quite independent of the
other, and complete master in his own house and
family. Their unfeeling brutality to the few old
blind people I have mentioned was really shocking ; and I may safely say, a more unamiable
race of democrats are not to be found in that
country of republics. We distributed a quantity
of tobacco among them, with which they appeared
satisfied; after which weembarked, and proceeded
pn. The upper part of this chain of rapids is a
perpendicular fall of nearly sixteen feet; after
which it continues down nearly one unintsrpipted
rapid for three miles and a half. The river here
is compressed by the bold shore on each side to 128 PROVISION.
about two hundred yards or less in breadth.   The
channel is crowded with large rocks, over which
the water rushes with incredible velocity,  and
with a dreadful noise.     Above the portage the
river widens to about half a mile, and is studded
for some distance with several rocky and partially
wooded islands.    We encamped about five mileM
from the portage, in a pretty little creek on the
north side.    The pine declines considerably in size
above the rapids, and is more equally mixed with
other trees; among which, on the left shore, from
the portage up to our encampment, the hazel is
predominant.    We purchased some salmon on our
way up, by which we were enabled to husband
our own provisions with more economy.   I omitted
to mention that below the rapids we also got a
quantity of excellent roots, called by the Indians
wappittoo: in size they resemble a small potato,
for which it is a good substitute when roasted or
boiled; it has a very slight tinge of bitterness,
but not unpleasantly so; and is highly esteemed
by the natives, who collect vast quantities of it for
their own use and for barter: none of it grows
above the rapids.    On the evening of the 8th we NAMES   OF   PLACES. 129
reached the foot of the narrows, or, as the Canadians call them, les dalles. The river from the
first rapids to the narrows is broad, deep, and
rapid, with several sunken rocks, scattered here
and there, which often injure the canoes. The
Canadians, who are very fertile in baptizing remarkable places, called an island near our encampment of the 6th Gibraltar, from the rocky
steepness of its shore: and about half way between the first rapids and narrows a bold promontory of high black rock stretches a considerable distance into the river, which, from the
difficulty we experienced in doubling it, received
the name of Cape Horn. The current here is very
strong and full of whirlpools; so that except in
calm weather, or with a fair wind, it is rather a
dangerous undertaking to " double the Cape."
The islands in the distance are crowded with
great numbers of seals, which afforded excellent
sport to our marksmen. As we approached the
narrows the shores on each side were less covered
with wood, and immediately close to them it had
entirely disappeared. The land on the north side
was bold and rocky, and about dur encampment
rather low, mixed with rocks, a sandy soil, and
totally devoid of vegetation, except loose straggling
bushes some distance inland. The Columbia, at
the narrows, for upwards of three miles is compressed into a narrow channel, not exceeding sixty
or seventy yards wide; the whole of which is a
succession of boiling whirlpools. Above this channel, for four or five miles, the river is one deep
rapid, at the upper end of which a large mass of
high black rock stretches across from the north
side, and nearly joins a similar mass on the south:
they are divided by a strait not exceeding fifty
yards wide; and through this narrow channel, for
upwards of half a mile, the immense waters of the
Columbia are one mass of foam, and force their
headlong course with a frightful impetuosity, which
cannot at any time be contemplated without producing a painful giddiness. We were obliged to
carry all our lading from the lower to the upper
narrows, nearly nine miles. The canoes were
dragged up part of the space between the narrows.
This laborious undertaking occupied two entire
days, in consequence of the number of armed men
we were obliged to keep as guards to protect those INDIAN   DECEIT. 131
who carried the goods. It was a little above this
place where our party had been recently attacked,
and we were therefore obliged to be doubly cautious. The chief and several of the Indians kept
about us during the portage. We gave them some
tobacco and trifling presents to cultivate. their
friendship, in return for which they brought us
some salmon. They had the discrimination to see
from our numbers, and the manner we were prepared to receive them, that an attack would be
attended with rather doubtful success; and therefore feigned an appearance of friendship, which
we affected to believe sincere. The propriety of
" assuming a virtue if you have it not," however
questionable in morals, must be often practised
among Indians; for they are such thorough-bred
hypocrites and liars, that we found it often necessary to repose apparent confidence in them,,when
we well knew they were exerting their utmost
skill to impose on and deceive us. Even here,
while the chief and some of his tribe were smoking
with us at one of the resting places, a few of the
gentlemen who were at the upper end of the
portage, seeing no symptoms of danger, wandered 132 ATTEMPTED   ROBBERY.
a short distance among the rocks to view the narrows, leaving part of the goods unguarded: this
was instantly observed by two fellows who were
lurking close to the place, and who availed themselves of the opportunity to attempt carrying off
an entire bale ; but finding it rather heavy, were
about rifling its contents when two of the loaded
men arrived, and gave the alarm. The robbers
had the audacity to attack the men, one of whom
they knocked down ; when the officers, on seeing
what occurred, returned back quickly, upon which
the savages fled. A shot was fired at them by
our best marksman, who was told merely to wing
one, which he did with great skill, by breaking
his left arm, at upwards of a hundred yards distance. The fellow gave a dreadful shout on receiving the ball, but still continued his flight with
his comrade, until we lost sight of them. This
piece of severity was deemed necessary, to pre^- (
vent repetitions of similar aggressions. The chief,
in strong terms, declared his ignorance of any previous intention on the part of these fellows to commit robbery, which we appeared not to doubt; at
the same time giving him to understand, that in INDIAN   VISITORS. 133
case any farther attacks were made,  our balls
would be directed to a more mortal part.
On the morning of the 11th we embarked, and
proceeded a few miles with great labour, by
dragging the canoes against the current, which is
very strong between the upper narrows and the
falls. The passengers all walked, and at some
ugly rocky points part of the lading had to be
taken out: this consumed the greater portion of
the day; and we encamped that evening on the
south side near the foot of the falls. Here several Indians visited us ; some armed, and on horse-
- back, others unarmed, and on foot. In language,
dress, and manners, they appeared to belong to
distinct nations. The horsemen were clean, wore
handsome leathern shirts and leggings, and had a
bold daring manner, which we did not observe
with any of the tribes from the sea upwards.
The more humble pedestrians were the natives of
the place: they were nearly naked, and rather
dirtv in their persons, and professed to be friendly:
but from several attempts they made at pilfering,
we entertained strong doubts of their sincerity;
and were obliged to order them to remove some 134 INDIAN   VISITORS.
distance from the camp. They seemed to regard
the mounted Indians with a suspicious degree of
apprehension, for which we were for some time at
a loss to account; but which we subsequently
learned was caused by their having been lately at
war, in which they were vanquished, and several
of their tribe killed by the equestrians. The latter
remained on horseback most part of the time,
making observations on our party, by which they
apparently intended to regulate their future proceedings : they made no show of friendship, were
rather cold and distant in their manners, and appeared to be a reconnoitring party sent out by the
main body to watch our progress. As a precautionary measure, we judged it expedient to
show them we were fully prepared for action, and
accordingly assembled all the men in the evening,
each encased in his coat of mail, and armed with
a musket and bayonet. They remained looking
at us very attentively, while our officers proceeded
to examine each man's firelock with all due military solemnity: one half of the men were then
ordered to form a barrier with the canoes on our
rear and flanks, which, with the river in front, HOSTILE   APPEARANCES. 135
effectually served to prevent a surprise during the
night. The whole brigade was equally divided ;
and one half of the men having retired to rest, the
remainder were posted as sentinels about the
camp. Owing to the extreme heat, the Sandwich
islanders had thrown off their jackets and shirts
during the day, and their swarthy bodies, decorated with buff belts, seemed to excite the particular attention of the Indians, who repeatedly
pointed towards them, and then spoke to each
other with considerable animation. Having completed our arrangements for the night, we offered
them some tobacco, which they accepted, and
then left us. It is necessary to observe that in
the course of the day a calumet was presented to
some of the horsemen, which they refused ; from
which circumstance, joined to their general deportment, we were led to believe their visit was
not of a pacific nature. We passed the night
without any interruption to our repose, and commenced the portage of the falls early on the morning of the 12th; but as the ground over which the
men were obliged to carry the baggage was
covered with a deep bed of dry loose sand, which 136 RAPIDS   AND   FALLS.
fatigued them extremely, they did not finish their
laborious duty before night. We encamped late
at the upper end of the falls, near a village of the
Eneeshurs, from whom we purchased some salmon.
A few of the horsemen occasionally reconnoitred
us during the day; but as our men made short
resting-places, or pauses in the portage, by which
the entire party were always in view of each
other, the natives made no hostile attempt; and
on observing the manner we had fortified our
camp, and placed our sentinels for the night, they
d§parted. The principal fall does not exceed
fifteen feet in height; but at low water it is much
higher* The descent of the Columbia from above
this fall to the end of the lower narrows exceeds
seventy feet, and throughout the whole distance
(aljout ten miles) the river is strewed w^ith immense masses of hard black rock, mostly honeycombed, and worn into a variety of fantastic
shapes by the perpetual friction of the water- in
its fearful course downwards. The appearance of
the country here is high, rocky, barren, and without timber of any kind. We found this a sensible
inconvenience ;  for we were obliged to purchase COURSE   OF  HHE  COLUMBIA. 137
some drift wood from the Indians for the purposes
of cooking.
On quitting this place the following morning,
a number of natives collected about us, among
whom we distributed a quantity of tobacco. The
river for some distance above this place is deep
and rapid, and the banks steep and rocky. The
canoes were dragged up several miles, and some
of them damaged by the rocks. About four or
five miles above the falLa high rocky island three
miles in length lies in the centre of the ri$er, on
which the Indians were employed drying salmonj
great quantities of which were cured and piled
under broad boards in stacks. We encamped on
the north side opposite the island, and were
visited by some Indians, from whom we purchased
salmon: they appeared friendly, and belonged
to the Eneeshur tribe at the falls.
Here, and for several hundred miles farther
upwards, the country assumes a new aspect: it is
free from any rising grounds, or timber, and on
each side nothing is to be seen but immense plains
stretching a great distance to the north and south :
the soil is dry and sandy, and covered with a loose 138      COURSE OF THE COLUMBIA.
parched grass, growing in tufts. The natives re-;
side solely on the northern side : they have plenty
of horses, and are generally friendly. Here also
rattlesnakes are first seen, and are found for four
or five hundred miles farther on. Between this
place and Lewis River the Columbia is inter ^
rupted by several rapids; some of which are
trifling, others dangerous ; but there are long
intervals of smooth current which occasionally
allowed us to hoist small sails, and thereby
diminished the laborious duty of the canoe-men
in paddling. PROVISIONS. 139
Party commence eating horses—Remarkable escape from a
rattlesnake—Kill numbers of them—Arrive among the
Wallah Wallah tribe—Description of the country—The
Pierced-nose Indians—Author's party proceeds up Lewis
River—Purchase horses for land-travelling—Prickly pears—
Awkward accident—Leave the canoes, and journey inland.
The day after quitting the encampment at the
end of the rocky island we stopped about one
o'clock at a village, where we purchased five
horses. The value of the goods we paid for each
in England would not exceed five shillings. As
these horses were intended for the kettle, they
were doomed to instant destruction. Our comparatively recent separation from the land of
I bread and butter" caused the idea of feeding
on so useful and noble an animal to be at first 140 ; REMARKABLE   ESCAPE.
highly repugnant to our feelings; but example^
and above all, necessity, soon conquered these
little qualms of civilisation; and in a few days
we almost brought ourselves to believe that the
animal on which we fed once carried horns, was
divided in the hoof, and chewed the cud. A cu-|
rious incident occurred at this spot to one of our
men named La Course, which was nearly proving
fatal. This man had stretched himself on the|
ground, after the fatigue of the day, with his
head resting on a small package of goods, and
quickly fell asleep. While in this situation I
passed him, and was- almost petrified at seeing a
large rattlesnake moving from his side to his left
breast. My first impulse was to alarm LsbCourse ;
but an old Canadian whom I had beckoned to the
spot requested me to make no noise, alleging it
iWGiild merely cross the body, and go atyay. He
twas .mistaken; for on reaching the man's left
shoulder, the serpent deliberately coiled! itself, but
did not appear to meditate an attack. Having f
made signs to several others, who joined us, it was
determined that two men should advance a little
in front, to divert the attention of the snake, while REMARKABLE   ESCAPE; 141
one should approach La Course behind, and with
a long stick endeavour to remove it from his body.
The snake on observing the men advance in front*
instantly raised its head, darted out its forked
tongue, and shook its rattles; all indications of
anger. E^ery one was now in a state of feverish
agitation as to the fate of poor La Course, who
still lay slumbering, unconscious of his danger;
when the man behind, who had procured a stick
seven feet in length, suddenly placed one end of
it under the coiled reptile, and succeeded in pitching it upwards of ten feet from the man's body.
A shout of joy was the first intimation La Course
received of his wonderful escape, while in the
mean time the man with the stick pursued the
snake, which he killed. It was three feet six
l^bes long; and eleven years old, which I need
not inform my readers we easily ascertained by
the number of rattles. A general search was
then commenced about the encampment, and
under several rocks we found upwards of fifty of
! them, all of which we destroyed. There is no
danger attending their destruction, provided a per-:
son has a long pliant stick, and does not approach
L _) 142       • MUSQUITOES.
them nearer than their length, for they cannot
spring beyond it, and seldom act on the offensive
except closely pursued. They have a strong repugnance to the smell of tobacco, in consequeMH
of which we opened a bale of it, and strewed a
quantity of loose leaves about the tents, by which
means we avoided their visits during the night.
We had however nearly as bad visitors—the musquitoes, which from the falls upwards annoyed us
dreadfully. We were obliged to make a slight
fire of rotten wood in the cul-de-sac of our tents,
which merely caused a smoke without flame, and
which effectually drove them away: but the remedy was as bad as the disease, as we were nearly
blinded and suffocated by the smoke.
Owing to the many accidents which befell our
canoes in the rapids, and the time consequently!
employed in repairing them, and drying damaged
goods, our progress was greatly retarded, and w»
did not reach the Wallah Wallah river until th&|
28th.    During this period we generally encamped
on the northern banks of the river; purchased a
number of horses for eating;  and were several
times without wood for cooking them.   -Thet.lijH RATTLESNAKES. 143
dians behaved in the most peaceable manner, and
freely bartered with us such other provisions as
they could spare.    A few miles below the Wallah
Wallah the land on the south side rises into rocky
cliffs, near two hundred feet high, which extend
some distance inland.    There is a long and very
dangerous rapid at their base, which, by way of
pre-eminence, the Canadians call the Grande Ra-
I pide.     We landed on the south side, up which
I the canoes were  dragged with  great difficulty.
[ We  observed immense numbers of rattlesnakes
There, basking in the sun, and under the rocks,
I several of which we killed.    Half a dozen of us
I fired together at a batch lying under one rock,
I and killed or wounded thirty-seven !    Our guns
I were charged with goose shot.  There was scarcely
I a stone in this place which was not covered with
I them. All the time we walked we were constantly
I on the qui vive; and, I need not say, picked our
I steps very cautiously.    From the friendly charac-
I ter of the natives we had thrown by our armour
I for some days, which relieved us greatly ;   the
I heat, while we were obliged to wear it, being
I almost insupportable.   Above this rocky eminence 144 EXPEDITION.
the country opened again into an extended plain.
The river here, and for several miles lower down,
is occasionally bordered with straggling clusters of
willow, cotton wood, stunted red cedar, and sumach, with quantities of sarsaparilla. There is
also abundance of furze bushes and wormwood,
through which we observed several hares running,
some of which we killed.
In the evening we encamped at the entrance of
the Wallah Wallah river: a number of that tribe
visited us, and remained for some time smoking.
We informed Tamtappam, their chief, that we
wanted good horses fit to carry luggage, and others
to eat, and requested 1 he would procure for us as
many as he could the following day: this he promised to do, and departed.
On the 29th we purchased twenty horses for
Mr. Robert Stuart's party; which being deemed
sufficient for them, he, with Messrs. Crooks and
M'Lelland, and eight men, left us the next morn*
ing, under a salute of three cheers; to pursue
their dangerous journey across the mountains, and
thence by the Missouri to St. Louis. The Wallai
SSMIahs were decidedly the most friendly tribe THE   WALLAH   WALLAH. l45
we had seen on the river : they had an air of open
unsuspecting confidence in their manner that at
once banished suspicion, and insured our friendship. There was a degree of natural politeness,
too, evinced by them on entering their lodges,
which we did not see practised by any others.
We visited several families in the village; and the
moment we entered, the best place was selected
lor us, and a clean mat spread to sit on; while
the inmates, particularly the women and the children, remained at a respectful distance, without
manifesting any of the obtrusive curiosity about our
arms or clothing by which we were so much annoyed amongst the lower tribes. The females, also,
were distinguished by a degree of attentive kindness, totally removed from the disgusting familiarity of the kilted ladies below the rapids, and
equally free from an affectation of prudery: prostitution is unknown among them; and I believe
no inducement would tempt them to commit a
breach of chastity.
The Wallah Wallah is a bold, rapid stream, about
fifty-five yards wide, and upwards of six feet
deep: the water is clear, and rolls over a bed of
sand and gravel. On the 31st we moved up to the
north side of the mouth of Lewis River, which.
is about fourteen miles above the Wallah Wallah §
its course is nearly due west, and at its junction
with the Columbia it is upwards of six hundred
yards wide. The current is very rapid: its waters
deep, whitish, and slightly tepid, in which respect it forms a marked contrast to the Columbia,
the waters of which are quite clear and cool: the
latter river at this place is upwards of one thousand
yards wide, and the current descends at an even
rate of about four miles an hour. A little below
the junction however it widens from a mile to a
mile and a half, and has several islands, two of
which are low and sandy, and are nearly three
miles in length. $ Below these islands a range of
high hills are seen on each side of the river, running' nearly from S. W. to N. E., and uncovered
by any timber: but at an immense distance, in a
south-easterly direction, a chain of high craggy
mountains are visible, from which it is supposed
the Wallah Wallah takes its rise. From their
colour the Canadians called this chain Les Montagnes Bleues.   The banks of both rivers at their THE   PIERCED-NOSE   INDIANS. 147
junction are low, wit_h a gentle rise on each side.
The plains are covered with immense quantities
of prickly pear, whiGh was a source of great annoyance* Above Lewis River the Columbia runs
in- a northerly direction : below it. in a westerly.
We remained here th?ee days purchasing horses
for our journey inland. Mr. David Stuart and a
party proceeded in their canoes up the Columbia
to the trading establishment which he had formed
at Oakinagan- river, which falls into the Columbia,
firijm the northward, about two hundred and eighty
iniles above this place. Mr. Donald M'Kenzie
and hi® p&rty proceeded up Le^vis River in order
to establish a trading post on the upper parts of
it, or in the chantry of the Snake Indians; his
tAoice to be regulated according to the appearances of beaver in either place. The natives of
4hiS distf-'efc are called the Pierced-nose Indians;
but as French is the language^ in general use
among traders in this country, owing to1, most part
\3# their worfeiftg men being Canadians, we commonly called them Les Nez Per'eis. They do not
differ much from the Wallah Wailafes m the'ir
4te&8 or language, but are not so friendly, and 148 INDIAN  CLOTHING.
demand higher prices for -their horses. Their
habitations are covered with large mats, fixed on
poles : some are square, others oblong, and some
conical: they are of various sizes, from twenty
to seventy feet long; and from ten to fifteen feet
broad. There are no interior divisions, and an
opening in the top serves the double purpose of a
window and chimney. These dwellings are pretty
free from vermin, and are easily changed when occasion requires. The women wear leathern robes,
which cover the shoulders, part of the arms, the
breasts, and reach down to their legs. The men
have robes nearly similar, but not so long, with
leggings which reach up half the thigh, and are
fastened to a belt round the waist by leathern
thongs. They are clean, active, and smart-looking, good hunters, and excellent horsemen. They
enjoy good health, and, with the exception of a
few sore eyes, did not appear to have any disorder.
They are fond of their children, and attentive to
.-the wants of their old people. Their saddles are
made of dressed deer-skin stuffed with hair:
the stirrups are wooden, with the bottom broad
and flat, and covered over with raw skin, which LEWIS   RIVER. 149
when dry becomes hard, and lasts a long time.
The bridles are merely ropes made out of the hair
of the horses' tails, and are tied round their under
jaw. The women ride like the men: their saddles
are high in front and rear, and formed something
like the humps on a camel's back; and they must
bring their horses to a rock or old tree to enable
them to mount. The men are hard and unfeeling
riders: the rope bridles cut the corners of the
poor horses' mouths ; and the saddles generally
leave their backs quite raw: yet in this state they
ride them for several days successively without
the least pity for the tortured animals. We got
plenty of salmon while we remained here, and
some lamprey eels, the latter of which were oily
and very strong. Having purchased twenty-five
horses, we took our departure on the 3rd of August,
and proceeded up Lewis River; some on land
with the horses, but the greater part still in the
canoes. The water was very high, and rapid, and
in many places the banks steep and shelving,
which made the process of dragging up the canoes
very difficult. Poling was quite impossible; for
on the off, or outer side, the men could not find 150 DANGEROUS   PASS.
bottom with their poles. 1 remained on shore
part of the time with the horses. In some places
the path wound along the almost perpendicular
declivities of high hills on the banks of the river,
and was barely wide enough for one horse at a
time. Yet along these dangerous roads the Indians galloped with the utmost composure; while
one false _step would have hurled them down
a precipice of three hundred feet into'the torrent
below. Even walking along these dangerous declivities, leading my horse, I experienced an indescribable sensation of dread on looking down the
frightful abyss.
On the 7th we reached a small stream whieh
falls into Lewis River from the north : the mouth
is wide, and forms a kind of semicircular bay, but
su«|jj.nly narrows to about ten or twelve yards.
A village of about forty mat-covered tents was
situated at its junction with the main river. The
inhabitants were busily employed in catching and
drying salmon for their winter and spring stock ;
and as it was here we intended to leave the canoes
and proceed to our destination by land, we encamped on the west side of the little bay, and THE   PRICKLY   PEAR. 151
immediately commenced a trade with the natives
for horses. This place is not more than fifty miles
from the Columbia; but owing to the rapidity of
the current, and the . many rapids with which it
was interrupted, our progress was slow. The
business of collecting and catching the horses,
which generally occupied until eleven or twelve
o'clock each day, also contributed to cause this
delay. With the exception of small willow and
cotton wood, there are no trees from the Columbia
upwards. The ground is covered with loose grass,
and abounds in great quantities of the prickly
pear, the thorns of which are remarkably sharp,
and strong enough to penetrate the leather of the
thickest moccasins.
On the third day, while riding a short distance
ahead of the men, my horse happened to sUmd
on a bunch of the prickly pears, which pained
him so much that he commenced plunging and
kicking, and ultimately threw me into a cluster
of them. My face, neck, and body, were severely
pierced ; and every effort to rise only increased the
paihfulness of my situation, for wherever I placed
my hands to assist in raising my body they came
in contact with the same tormenting thorns. In
fact I could not move an inch; and to add to my
disaster, I observed three rattlesnakes within a few
feet of my head. The men who were in the rear
driving the horses, hearing my cries, quickly came
to my assistance, and writh considerable difficulty
disentangled me from my painful situation : the
snakes in the mean time had disappeared. I immediately hailed the canoes, and resumed my old
place on board, firmly resolved never again to ride
while a prickly pear was visible.
The inhabitants of this fishing village were part
of the Pierced-nose Indians. We remained here
seven days, endeavouring to complete our number
of horses, which we at length effected. The natives were hard to deal with, and we had to raise
oxm.. prices. Several trifling articles were stolen
from us, which the chief promised to recover; but
he either made no attempt, or the means he used
were ineffectual. He apologised for his want of
success by saying that the thieves belonged to
another tribe higher up the river, and that they
had departed with the stolen property. In their
dress, language, and dwellings, these people dif- SPOKAN   INDIANS. 153
fered little from those at the mouth of Lewis River.
On the evening of the 14th we laid up our bateaux
and canoes in a snug spot covered with willow
and loose shrubs, and recommended them to the
care of the chief, who promised that they should be
carefully preserved until our return the following
spring. We made him a present of a fathom of
blue cloth, an axe, and a knife: to his wife we
gave a few strings of white and blue beads, and
three dozen of hawk-bells for her chemise de cuir;
and among the remainder we distributed a few
heads of leaf-tobacco.
We purchased altogether fifty horses to carry
the goods and baggage; and from the difficulty
we experienced in procuring that number, we
were not able to obtain enough for our own use.
M'Lennan and I, however, succeeded in purchasing one for our joint use ; and Farnham and
Pillet got another. The men also obtained a few,
which occasionally served to relieve them in the
progress of their journey. Our destination was
fixed for the Spokan tribe of Indians, whose lands
lay about one hundred and fifty miles from Lewis
River in a north-east direction, and among whom 154 OVERLAND   J6URNEY.
we were given to understand the North-west Company had already established a trading post from
the east side of the Rocky Mountains. We also
engaged an Indian guide to conduct us to the
Spokan lands.
On the 15th of August, at five a. m., we took
our departure from Lewis River. Our party consisted of one proprietor, four clerks, twenty-one
Canadians, and six Sandwich islanders, with the
Indian guide. We proceeded nearly due north
along the banks of the Small river for some miles
through an open plain, which was bounded by a
range of steep rugged hills, running from the
westward, over which we had to cross. In soma
places the path led over steep and slippery rocks,
and was so narrow, that the horses which were
loaded with large bales could not pass without
running the risk of falling down the craggy precipices ; and the men were obliged to unload them
and place the bales singly on the top of the pack-
saddles. After we had passed as we imagined
the most dangerous part of the pathway, and had
commenced our descent into the plain, one of the
horses missed his footing, and rolled down a de- PLEASANT   HALT. 155
clivity of two hundred feet loaded with two cases
of axes: the cases were broken, and their contents scattered about the rocks ; but, with the exception of his sides, the skin of which was scraped
off, the horse received no material injury. We
arrived on the north side of these hills about
eleven o'clock, when we stopped to breakfast on
the banks of the river, which here turns to the
eastward. We resumed our journey at two o'clock,
and suffered severely during the day from the intense heat, and the want of water. The country
was a continued plain, with sandy and rocky bottom, mixed with loose tufts of grass. About
seven in the evening we reached a cool stream, on
the banks of which were a profusion of wild
cherries, currants, and blackberries, which afforded us an unexpected and welcome, treat. We
encamped here for the night; and did not hobble
the horses,* as we were certain the luxurious
herbage of the prairie would prevent them from
* When we were apprehensive that the horses might wander
from an encampment, their two fore legs were tied together.
This we called hobbling. 156 INDIAN   PRECISION.
At four a.m. on the 16th we set off from our
encampment, still pursuing a northerly course.
The country still champaign, and the grass long
and coarse, but loosely imbedded in a sandy soil.
About eight we came to a fine spring, at which
we breakfasted, as our guide told us we should not
find water beyond it for a great distance. After
waiting here a few hours, we reloaded, and pur«
sued our journey in the same direction. During
the remainder of the day no "green spot bloomed
on the desert" around us. The country was completely denuded of wood; and as far as the eye
extended, nothing was visible but immense plains
covered with parched brown grass, swarming with
rattlesnakes. The horses suffered dreadfully, as
well as their masters, from heat and thirst. Two
fine pointers belonging to Mr. Clarke were so
exhausted that we were compelled to leave them
behind, and never saw them afterwards. Several
of the horses being on the point of giving up, and
numbers of the men scarcely able to walk, Mr.
Clarke sharply questioned the guide as to his
knowledge of the country, and the probable time
we might expect to fall in with water : the latter INDIAN   PRECISION. 157
saw his doubts, and calmly replied, pointing to
the sun, that when it should have gained a certain
distance we might expect relief. We knew half
an hour would not elapse before it should attain
the desired point, and every watch was out to
judge of the Indian's accuracy. He was right;
and about half-past five p. m. we reached a small
stream, by the side of which we encamped for the
night. The guide gave us to understand we should
find plenty of water the following day. 158 JOURNEY   CONTINUED.
Author loses the  party—Curious adventures, and surprising
escapes from serpents and wild beasts daring fourteen dajls^
in a wilderness—Meets with Indians, by whom he is hospit,a-
' bly received, and conducted to his friends.
On the 17th of August we left our encampment
a little after four a.m. During the forenoon the
sun was intensely hot. Occasional bright green
patches, intermixed with wild flowers, and gently
rising eminences, partially covered with clumps of
small trees, gave an agreeable variety to the face
of the country; which we enjoyed the more, from!
the scorched and sterile uniformity of the plains
through which we had passed on the two preceding days. We got no water, however, until
twelve o'clock, when we arrived in a small valley
of the most delightful verdure, through which ran AUTHOR  LOSES THE  PARTY. 159
a clear stream from the northward, over a pebbly
bottom. The horses were immediately turned
loose to regale themselves in the rich pasture;
and as it was full of red and white clover, orders
were given not to catch them until two o'clock, by
which time we thought they would be sufficiently
refreshed for the evening's journey.
After walking and riding eight hours, I need
not say we made a hearty breakfast; after which
I wandered some distance along the banks of the
rivulet in search of cherries, and came to a sweet
little arbour formed by sumach and cherry trees.
I pulled a quantity of the fruit, and sat down in
the retreat to enjoy its refreshing coolness. It was
a charming spot, and on the opposite bank was a
delightful wilderness of crimson haw, honeysuckles, wild roses, and currants,: its resemblance
to a friend's summer-house in which I had spent
many happy days brought back home with all its
endearing recollections; and my scattered thoughts
were successively occupied with the past,, the present, and the future. In this state I fell into a
kind of pleasing, soothing reverie, which, joined
to the morning's fatigue, gradually sealed my eye- 160 .AUTHOR   LOSES   THE   PARTY.
lids ; and unconscious of my situation, I resigned
myself to the influence of the drowsy god: But
imagine my feelings when I awoke in the evening,
I think it was about five o'clock, from the decM?|
ning appearance of the sun ! All was calm and
silent as the grave. I hastened to the spot where
we had breakfasted : it was vacant. I ran to the
place where the men had made their fire : all, all
were gone, and not a vestige of man or horse ap-1
peared in the valley. My senses almost failed me.
I called out, in vain, in every direction, until I became hoarse; and I could no longer conceal from
myself the dreadful truth that I was alone in a
wild, uninhabited country, without horse or arms,
and destitute of covering.
Having now no resource but to ascertain the
direction which the party had taken, I set about
examining the ground, and at the north-east point
of the valley discovered the tracks of horses' feet,
which I followed for some time, and which led to
a chain of small hills with a rocky, gravelly bottom^
on which the hoofs made no impression. Having
thus lost the tracks, I ascended the highest of the
hills, from which I had an extended view of many DESTITUTE   SITUATION. ffllfte
■PSkS around; but saw no sign of the party, or
the least indication of human habitations. The
evening was now closing fast, and with the approach of night a heavy dew commenced falling.
The whole of my clothes consisted merely of a
gingham shirt, nankeen trowsers, and a pair of
light leather moccasins, much worn. About an
hour before breakfast, in consequence of the heat,
I had taken off my coat and placed it on one of
the loaded horses, intending to put it on towards
the cool of the evening; and one of the men had
charge of my fowling-piece. I was even without
myhatffifor in the agitated state of my mind on
awaking I had left it behind, and had advanced
too far to think of returning for it. At some
distance on my left I observed a field of high
strong grass, to which I proceeded, and after pulling enough to place under and over me, I recommended my^lf to the Almighty, and fell asleep.
During the night confused dreams of warm
houses, feather beds, poisoned arrows, prickly
pears, and rattlesnakes, haunted my disturbed
- On the 18th I arose with the sun, quite wet
VOL.   I. l 162 VIEW   OF   HORSEMEN.
and chilly, the heavy dew having completely
saturated my flimsy covering, and proceeded in
an easterly direction, nearly parallel with the
chain of hills. In the course of the day I passed
several small lakes full of wild fowl. The general
appearance of the country was flay#ie soil light
and gravelly, and covered with the same loose
grass already mentioned; great quantities of it
had been recently burned by the Indians in hunting the deer, the stubble of which annoyed my
feet very much. I had turned into a northerly
course, where, late in the evening, I observed
about a mile distant two horsemen galloping in
an easterly direction. From their dresses I knew
they belonged to our party. I instantly ran to a
hillock, and called out in a. voice to which hunger
had imparted a supernatural shrillness; but they
galloped on. I then took off my shirt, whifehJW
waved in'a conspicuous manner over my head,
accompanied by the most frantic cries ; still they
continued on. I ran towards the direction they
were galloping, despair adding wings to my flight.
Rocks, stubble, and brushwood were passed with
the speed of a hunted antelope; but to no pur- FORTUNATE  ESCAPE. 163
pose: for on arriving at the place where I imagined a pathway would have brought me into
their track, I was completely at fault. It was
now nearly dark. I had eaten nothing since the
noon of the preceding day; and, faint with hunger
and fatigue, threw myself on the grass, when I
heard a small rustling noise behind me. I turned
found, and, with horror, beheld a large rattlesnake cooling himself in the evening shade. I
instantly retreated, on observing which he coiled
himself. Having obtained a large stone, I advanced slowly on him, and taking a proper aim,
dashed it with all my force on the reptile's head,
which I buried in the ground beneath the stone.
The late race had completely worn out the
thin soles of my moccasins, and my feet in consequence became much swoln. As night ad-
tahced, I was obliged to look but for a place to
sleep, and after some time, selected nearly as
good a bed as the one I had the first night. My
exertions in pulling the long coarse grass nearly
rendered my hands useless by severely cutting all
the joints of the fingers.
I rose before the sun on the morning of the 164 EXTREME   PRIVATION.
19th, and pursued an easterly course all the day.
I at first felt very hungry, but after walking a few
miles, and taking a drink of water, I got a little
refreshed. The general appearance of the country was still flat, with burned grass, and sandy
soil, which blistered my feet. The scorching influence of the sun' obliged me to stop for some
hours in the. day; during which I made several
ineffectual attempts to construct a covering for my
head. At times I thought my brain was on fire
from the dreadful effects of the heat. I got no
fruit those two days, and towards evening felt very
weak from the want of nourishment, having been
forty-eight hours without food; and to make my
situation more annoying, I slept that evening on
the banks of a pretty lake, the inhabitants of
which would have done honour to a royal table.
With what an evil eye and a murderous heart did
I regard the stately goose and the plump waddling
duck as they sported on the water, unconscious of
my presence! Even with a pocket pistol I could
have done execution among them. The state of my
fingers prevented me from obtaining the covering
of grass which I had the two preceding nights; HUNGER   AND   THIRST. 165
and on this evening I had - no shelter whatever
to protect me from the heavy dew.
On the following day, the 20th, my course was
nearly north-east, and lay through a country more
diversified by wood and water. I saw plenty of
wild geese, ducks, cranes, curlews and sparrows,
also some hawks and cormorants, and at a distance about fifteen or twenty small deer. The
wood consisted of pine, birch, cedar, wild cherries,
hawthorn, sweet-willow, honeysuckle and sumach *
The rattlesnakes were very numerous this day,
with horned lizards, and grasshoppers : the latter
kept me in a constant state of feverish alarm from
the similarity of the noise made by their wings to
the sound of the rattles of the snake when preparing to dart on its prey. I suffered severely
during the day from hunger, and was obliged to
chew grass occasionally, which allayed it a little.
Late in the evening I arrived at a lake upwards of
two miles long, and a mile broad, the shores of
which were! high, and well wooded with large
pine, spruce, and birch. It was fed by two rivulets, from the north, and north-east, in which I
observed a quantity of small fish;   but had no 166 MIDNIGHT   SERENADE.
means of catching any, or I should have made a
Sandwich-island meal. There was however an
abundant supply of wild cherries, on which I made
a hearty supper. I slept on the bank of the
nearest stream, just where it entered the lake; but
during the night the howling of wolves and growling of bears broke in terribly on my slumbers, and
" balmy sleep" was almost banished from my eyelids. On rising the next morning, the 21st, I
observed on the opposite bank at the mouth of the
river, the entrance of a large and apparently
deep cavern, from which I judged some of the
preceding night's music had issued. I now determined to make short journies for two or three
days in different directions, in the hope of falling
on some fresh horse tracks ; and, in the event of
being unsuccessful, to return each night to the
lake, where I was at least certain of procuring
cherries and water sufficient to sustain nature.
In pursuance of this resolution I set out early in
a southerly direction from the head of the lake,
through a wild barren country, without any
water, or vegetation, save loose tufts of grass like
those  already  described.    I had  armed myself ATTACK   ON   A   WOLF. 167
with a long stick, with which during the day I
killed several rattlesnakes. Having discovered
no fre&h tracks, I returned late in the evening
hungry and thirsty, and took possession of my
berth of the preceding night. I collected a heap
of stones from the water side ; and just as I was
lying down observed a wolf emerge from the
opposite cavern, and thinking it safer to act on
the offensive, lest he should imagine I was afraid,
I threw some stones at him, one of which struck
him on the leg: he retired yelling into his den;
and after waiting some time in fearful suspense to ~
see if he would re-appear, I threw myself on the
ground, and fell asleep ; but, like the night before,
it was broken by the same unsocial noise, and for
upwards of two hours I sat up waiting in anxious
expectation the return of day-light. The vapours
from^he lakfe^. joined to the heavy dew, had pene-
f^Bated my frail covering of gingham; but as the
sun rose, I took it off, and stretched kiion a rock,
where it quickly dried. My excursion to the
southward having proved abortive, I now resolved
to try the east, and after eating my simple breakfast, proceeded in that direction ; and on crossing 168 SAVANNAHS.
the two small streams, had to penetrate a country
full of "dark woods and rankling wilds," through
which, owing to the immense quantities of underwood, my progress was slow. My feet too were
uncovered, and,-from the thorns of the various
prickly plants, were much lacerated ; in consequence of which, on returning to my late bivouack
I was obliged to shorten the legs of my trowsers
. to procure bandages for them. The wolf did not
make his appearance; but during the night I got
***       occasional starts, from several of his brethren of
w    %
fk "the forest.
fipifeJ anticipated the rising of the sun on the morning of the 23rd, and having been unsuccessful the
two preceding days, determined to shape my
course due north, and if possible not return again
to the lake. During the day I skirted the wood,
and fell on some old tracks, which revived my
hopes a little. The country to the westward was
chiefly plains covered with parched grass, and
occasionally enlivened by savannahs of refreshing
green, full of wild flowers and aromatic herbs,
among which the bee and humming bird banqueted.    I slept this evening by a small brook, NOCTURNAL   SERENADE. 169
where I collected cherries and haws enough to
make a hearty supper. I was obliged to make
farther encroachments on the legs of my trowsers
for fresh bandages for my feet. During the night
1 was serenaded by music which did not resemble
" a concord of most sweet sounds;" in which the
grumbling bass of the bears was at times drowned
by the less pleasing sharps of the wolves. I partially covered my body this night with some
pieces of pine bark which I stripped off a sapless
- The country through which I dragged my tired *
limbs on the 24th was thinly wooded.    My course
was north and north-east.    I suffered much from
want of water, having got during the day only two
tepid and nauseous draughts from stagnant pools,
which  the  long  drought had  nearly dried up.
About sunset I arrived at a small stream, by the
side of which I took up my quarters for the night.
The dew fell heavily; but I was too much fatigued
to go in quest of bark to cover me; and even had I
been so inclined, the howling of the wolves would
have  deterred  me from  making the dangerous
attempt.    There must have been an extraordinary 170 MIDNifiHT   WATCHIWGS;
nursery of these animals close to the spot;? for between the weak, shrill cries of the young, and the
more loud and dreadful howling of the old, I never
expected to leave the place alive. I could not
sleep. My only weapons of defence were a heap
of stones and a stick. Ever and anon some more
daring than others approached me. I presented
the stick at them as if in the act of levelling a
. gun, upon which they retired, vented a few yells,
advanced a little farther; and after surveying me
for some time with their sharp, fiery eyes, to
• which the partial glimpses of the moon had imparted additional ferocity, retreated into the wood.
In this state of fearful agitation I passed the night;
but as day-light began to break, Nature asserted
her supremacy, and I fell into a deep sleep, from
which, to judge by the sun, I did not awake until
between eight and nine o'clock on the morning of
the 2_5th* My second bandages having been worn
out, I was now obliged to bare my knees for fresh
ones; and after tying them round my feet, and
taking a copious draught from the adjoining brook
for breakfast, I recommenced my joyless journey.
My course was nearly north-north-east.    I got no DISPUTED   PASSAGE. 171
water during the day, nor any of the wild cherries.
Some slight traces of men's feet, and a few old
horse tracks occasionally crossed my path: they
proved that human beings sometimes at least
visited that part of the country, and for a moment
served to cheer my drooping spirits.
About dusk an immense-sized wolf rushed out
of a thick copse a short distance from the pathway, planted himself directly before me, in a
threatening position, and appeared determined to
dispute my passage. He was not more than
twenty feet from me. My situation was desperate,
and as I knew that the least symptom of fear
would he the signal for attack, I presented my
stick, and shouted as loud as my weak voice would
permit. He appeared somewhat startled, and
retreated a few steps, still keeping his piercing
eyes firmly fixed on me. I advanced a little,
when he commenced howling in a most appalling
manner; and supposing his intention was to collect a few of his comrades to assist in making an
afternoon repast on my half-famished carcass, I
redoubled my cries, until I had almost lost the
power of utterance, at the same time calling out 172 RETREAT  OF  THE   WrOLF.
various names, thinking I might make it appear I
was not alone. An old and a young lynx ran
close past me, but did not stop. The wolf remained about fifteen minutes in the same position;
but whether my wild and fearful exclamations
deterred any others from joining him, I cannot say.
Finding at length my determination- not to flinch,
and that no assistance was likely to come, he retreated into the wood, and disappeared in the surrounding gloom.
The shades of night were now descending fast,
when I came to a verdant spot surrounded by
small trees, and full of rushes, which induced me
to hope for water; but after searching for some
time, I was still doomed to bitter disappointment.
A shallow lake or pond had been there, which the
long drought and heat had dried up. I then
pulled a quantity of the rushes and spread them
at the foot of a large stone, which I intended for
my pillow; but as I was about throwing myself
down, a rattlesnake coiled, with the head erect,
and the forked tongue extended in a state of
frightful oscillation, caught my eye immediately
under the stone.    I  instantly retreated a short APPALLING   SITUATION. 173
distance; but assuming fresh courage, soon despatched it with my stick. On examining the
spot more minutely, a large cluster of them appeared under the stone, the whole of which I rooted
out and destroyed. This was hardly accom-
plished when upwards of a dozen snakes of different descriptions, chiefly dark brown, blue, and
green, made their appearance: they were much
quicker in their movements than their rat tie-tailed
brethren; and I could only kill a few of them.
This was a peculiarly soul-trying moment. I
had tasted no fruit since the morning before, and
after a painful day's march under a burning sun,
could not procure a drop of water to allay my
feverish thirst. I was surrounded by a murderous
brood of serpents, and ferocious beasts of prey,
and without even the consolation of knowing
when such misery might have a probable termination. I might truly say with the royal psalmist that " the snares of death compassed me
round about." i^ife
Having collected a fresh supply of rushes, which
I spread some distance from the spot where I
massacred the reptiles, I threw myself on them, 174 SEARCH   FOR  WATER.
and was permitted through divine goodness to
enjoy a night of undisturbed repose.
I arose on the morning of the 26th considerably
refreshed ; and took a northerly course, occasios_f|
ally diverging a little to the east. Several times
during the day I was induced to leave the path
by the appearance of rushes, which I imagined
grew in the vicinity of lakes; but on reaching them
my faint hopes vanished: there was no water, and
I in vain essayed to extract a little moisture from
them. Prickly thorns and small sharp stones
added greatly to the pain of my tortured feet, and
obliged me to make farther encroachments on my
nether garments for fresh bandages. The want of
water now rendered me extremely weak and feverish ; and I had nearly abandoned all hopes of relief, when, about half-past four or five o'clock, the
old pathway turned from the prairie grounds into
a thickly wooded country, in an easterly direction;
through which I had not advanced half a mifeK
when I heard a noise resembling a waterfall, to
which I hastened my tottering steps, and in a few
minutes was delighted at arriving on the hanks of
a deep and narrow rivulet, which forced its way UNPLEASANT  INTRUSION. 17$
with great rapidity over some large stones that
obstructed the channel.
After offering up a short prayer of thanksgiving
for this providential supply, I threw myself into
the water, forgetful of the extreme state of exhaustion to which I was reduced : it had nearly
proved fatal, for my weak frame could not withstand the strength of the current, which forced me
down a short distance, until I caught the bough of
an overhanging tree, by means of which I regained
the shore. Here were plenty of hips and cherries ; on which, with the water, I made a most
delicious repast. On- looking about for a place to
sleep, I observed lying on the ground the hollow
trunk of a large pine, which had been destroyed
by lightning. I retreated into the cavity; and
having Covered myself completely with large
pieces of loose bark, quickly fell asleep. My
repose was not of long duration; for at the end of
about two hours I was awakened by the growling
of a bear, which had removed part of the bark
covering, and was leaning over me with his snout,
hesitati|^ as to tJggjjne&Mlhe should adopt to dislodge me; the narrow limits of the trunk wfeh 176 AWKWARD   RENCONTRE.'
confined my body preventing him from making
the attack with advantage. I instantly sprung
up, seized my stick, and uttered a loud cry, which
startled him, and caused him to recede a few
steps; when he stopped, and turned about, apparently doubtful whether he would commence an
attack. He determined on an assault; but feeling I had not sufficient strength to meet suchi^H
unequal enemy, I thought it prudent to retreat,
and accordingly scrambled up an adjoining tree.
My flight gave fresh impulse to his courage, and
he commenced ascending after me. I succeeded
however in gaining a branch, which gave me a
decided advantage over him; and from which I
was enabled to annoy his muzzle and claws in
such a manner with- my stick as effectualt^^B
check his progress. After scraping the bark some
time with rage and disappointment, he gave up
the task, and retired to my late dormitory, of which-
he took possession. The fear of falling off, in case
I was overcome by sleep, induced me to make
several attempts to descend; but each attempt
aroused-my ursine sentinel; and after many ineffectual efforts, I was obliged to remain there du- AGREEABLE   DISCOVERY. 177
ring the rest of the night. I fixed myself in that
part of the trunk from which the principal grand
branches forked, and which prevented me from
falling during my fitful slumbers.
On the morning of the 27th, a little after sunrise, the bear quitted the trunk, shook himself,
"cast a longing, lingering look" towards me, and
slowly .disappeared in search of his morning repast. After waiting some time, apprehensive of
his return, I descended and resumed my journey
through the woods in a north-north-east direction.
In a few hours all my anxiety of the preceding
night was more than compensated by falling in with
a well-beaten horse-path, with fresh traces on it,
both of hoofs and human feet: it lay through a
clear open wood, in a north-east course, in which
I observed numbers of small deer. About six in
the evening I arrived at a spot where a party must
have slept the preceding night. Round the remains of a large fire which was still burning were
scattered several half-picked bones of grouse, partridges and ducks, all of which I collected with
economical industry. After devouring the flesh I
broiled the bones..   The whole scarcely sufficed to ' 178 HOPE   RENEWED.
give me a moderate meal, but yet afforded a most
seasonable relief to my famished body.     I enjoyed a comfortable sleep this night close to the
fire, uninterrupted by any nocturnal visitor.    On
the morning of the 28th I set off with cheeifi|H
spirits, fully impressed with the hope of a speedy
termination to my sufferings.    My course was
nortMsily, 4i,nd lay through a thick wood.    Late
fe $Mfe-'evening* I aiidved at a stagnantipi_k)l, from
^vhich I mereiyi moistened my lips; and having
<*t£Vered, myself with-_8>me birch bark, slept by its
side. The bears and wolves occasionally serenaded
tee during the night, but IdsdlsosA see any of
ttiem.    I rose^aarly on the morning of the 29th,
%nd2$$t®$vG_d the fresh traces all day through the
4^od, nearly north-east by north.    I observed
Several deer, some of which came quite close to
me ; and in the evening i threw a stone at a small
animal resembling a hare, the leg of which I
broke.    It ran away limping, but my feet were
too sore to me to follow it.    I passed the
night by the side of a small stream, where I got a
stf&cient supply of hips and cherries.    A few distant growls awoke me at intervals, but no animal SUFFERINGS ALLEVIATED.       179
appeared. On the 30th the path took a more
easterly turii, and the woods became thicker and
more gloomy. Jihad now nefifly consumed the
remnant of my trowsers in bandages for my
wretched feet;.' and, with the exception of my
shirt, wras almost Snaked. The horse-tracks every
moment appeared more fresh, and fed my hopes.
iLate in the evening I arrived at a spot where the
path branched off in different directions: one led
up rather a steep hill* $he other descended into a
valley, and the tracks on both were equally^?-
cent. I took the higher; but after proceedings
few hundred paces through a deep wood, which
appeared more dark from the thick foliage which
shut out the rays of the sun, I returned, apprehensive of not procuring water for my supper, and
descended .the lower path. I had not advanced
far when I imagined I heard the neighing of a
horse. I listened wi§h breathless attention, and
j^qame con>pnced it was no illusion. A few
paces farther brought me in sight of several of
those n©ble animals sporting in a hand§oi£ie meadow, grain which I was separated by a rapid
stream,    Wi& some difficulty I crossed over^i^d 180 INDIAN   RECEPTION.
ascended the opposite bank. One of the horses
approached me: I thought him "the prince of
palfreys; his neigh was like the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance enforced homage."
On advancing a short distance into the meadow
the cheering sight of a small column of gracefully
curling smoke announced my vicinity to human
beings, and in a moment after two Indian women
perceived me : they instantly fled to a hut which
appeared at the farther end of the meadow. This
movement made me doubt whether I had arrived
among friends or enemies; but my apprehensions
were quickly dissipated by the approach of two
men, who came running to me in the most friendly
manner. On seeing the lacerated state of my
feet, they carried me in their arms to a comfortable dwelling covered with deer-skins. To wash
and dress my torn limbs, roast some roots, and
boil a small salmon, seemed but the business of a
moment. After returning thanks to that great
and good Being in whose hands are the issues of
life and death, and who had watched over my
wandering steps, and rescued me from the many
perilous dangers I encountered, I sat down to my PLEASURES   OF   SOCIETY. 181
salmon, of which it is needless to say I made a
hearty supper.
The family consisted of an elderly man, and
his son, with their wives and children. I collected from their signs that they were aware of
my being lost, and that the^, with other Indians,
and white men, had been out several days scouring
the woods and plains in search of me. I also understood from them that our party had arrived:
at their destination, which was only a few hours'
march from their habitation. They behaved tome
with affectionate solicitude ; and while the old woman was carefully dressing my feet, the men were
endeavouring to make me comprehend their meaning. I had been fourteen days in a wilderness
without holding " communion kind" with any
human being; and I need not say I listened with
a thousand times more real delight to the harsh
and guttural voices of those poor Indians, than
was ever experienced by the most enthusiastic
admirer of melody from the thrilling tones of a
Catalani, or the melting sweetness of a Stephens.
As it was too late, after finishing my supper, to
proceed farther that night, I retired to rest on a lSf INDIGESTION.
comfortable couch of buffalo and deer skias. I
slept soundly; and the morning of the 31st was
far advanced before I awoke. After breakfasting
on the remainder of the salmon I prepared to
join my white friends. A considerable stream
about ninety yards broad, called Cceur d'Alem.
River, flowed close to the hut. The old man and
his son accompanied me. We crossed thm river
in a canoe ; afer which they brought over three
horses, and having enveloped my body in arr
Indian mantle of deer-skin, we mounted, and set
off at a smart trot in an easterly direction. We
had not proceeded more than seven miles when I
felt the bad effects of having eaten so much
salmon after so long a fast. I had a severe attack
of indigestion, and for two hours suffered extreme agony; and, but for the great attention of
the kind Indians, I think it would have proved
fatal. About an hour after recommencing 6w
journey we arrived in a clear wood, in which,
with joy unutterable, I observed our Canadians at
work hewing timber. I rode between the twfd
natives. One of our men ilamed Frdncois Gar-
depie, who had been on a trading excursion, joined 30__rSU£ MEETING. 183
us on horseback. My deer-skin robe and sunburnt features completely set his powers of recognition at defiance, and he addressed me as an
Indian. I replied in French, by asking him how
all our people were. Poor Francois appeared
electrified, exclaimed " Sainte Vierge /" and galloped into the wood, vociferating " O mes amis!
mes amis! il est trouvi!—Oui, oui, il est trouvil"—
I Qui ? qui ?" asked his comrades. " Monsieur Cox I
Monsieur Cox /" replied. Francois. <(Le-voildl le
voila!v pointing towards me. Away went saws,
hatchets, and axes, and each man rushed forward
to the tents, where we had by this time arrived.
It is needless to say that our astonishment anjd
delight at my miraculous escape were mutuj_B.
The friendly Indians were liberally rewarded; the
men were allowed a holiday, and every mwt
thm&tic® bore the smile of joy and happafcess. 184
Remarkable ease of Mr. Pritchard, who was thirty-five days
lost—Situation of Spokan House—Journey to the Flat-head
lands, and description of that tribe—Return to Spok%n
House—Christmas day—Horse-eating—Spokan peculiarities—Articles of trade—A duel.
After partaking of some refreshment we naturally reverted to the cause of my igaremens.
It was easily explained. M'Lennan and I, as
already mentioned, could only get one horse between us. On the morning of the 17th I had
ridden from ten o'clock until twelve, at which
hour we breakfasted. It was then M'Lennan's
turn to mount. The party were divided into three
divisions, and kept up rather a straggling march
while in the plains. Every one had his own business to mind. Those who set off first, thought I
was with the second or third division; while they EXPLANATION. 185
imagined I was with the first. In this manner
.they continued on for upwards of two hours, until
it became my turn to ride, when M'Lennan, after
galloping up and down the line of march, missed
me. On communicating the intelligence to Mr.
Clarke, he at once ordered the whole to stop, and
sent the Indian with several men back in search
of me. In the mean time I had recovered from
my summer-house dream, and had, crossed the
track by which they returned, and by that means
missed them. On comparing the places where we
slept the first night, we could not have been more
than three miles asunder; and although they
fired shots repeatedly, I was not fortunate enough
to hear any of them. The direction I took the
second morning separated us farther; for they
went north, and I nearly due east; and the two
horsemen I saw on that evening were part of those
who were scouring the country in quest of me.
The arrangements made for my recovery were
hastily adopted, badly car^d into execution, and
too soon abandoned; for after the third night, they
imagined I had fallen a prey to the wolves, and
continued on their course.   On arriving at Spokan 186 EXPLANATION.
several other parties were sent out, but with what
success it is needless to tell. From my youth,
and consequent inexperience in the Indian eoua*-
try, the oldest voyageurs had given me up after
the six&i day. A better knowledge of i^he pro>
ductions of the soil would have enabled me to
obtain other wild fruit and roots which, by contri^
buting to my sustenance, would have greatly alle>
viated my sufferings; but my ignorance of such as
were wholesome and nutritious prevented me from
tasting any thing with which 1 had not beeasM
previously acquainted. On the day before my
arrival, my clothes &c. had been sold by auction^
all'of which were however returned by the pup- "
chasers. After a few days' rest and proper attention I became nearly renovated in health, and be_-
fore the end of a fortnight every trace of rap
painful privations had disappeared.
To such as may feel disposed to doubt the aeeii~
racy of the foregoing statement, I beg leave to
say that Mr. Clarke, who then commanded the
party, and who is now a member of the Hudson's-
Bay Company, and the other gentlemen who
*were„ with him, are still alive; and although they SIMILAR   ADVENTURE. W%
cannot vouclb for the truth of each day's detjai^
they can for my absence and the extent of my
Offerings, as evinced by my emaciated appearance
on rejoi&ing them. I can vfrith truth assert that
I have rather softened down than overcharged the
stateraent, and therefore trust n^r candid readers
will acquit me of any intention to pra$&sfe?; ©a
their credulity. Mine, however, was not a solitary case; and the sceptical no doubt will be
more surprised to learn thai a few years prior to
this occurrence a gentlemah named Pritchard;
who belonged to the North-west Company, while
stationed in the neighbourhood of English River;
| on the east side of the mountains, lost hhris^lf,
I and was ths&£$f-fitie days wandering through the
woods before he was found ! In some respect^
he was better off than I; for he was well elofiifefe
I and from hfe experience of the country had reJi
course to expedients to procure food of which I
I hever should have thought. He supported him?
ielf for some time by setting traps for ha^esj a few
of which he took in the Indian manner. He likewise made snares, dhi of the hair of his head, with
which he caught some small fish; and he also ocf 188 SETTLEMENTS.
casionally succeeded in killing a bird. These he
was obliged to eat raw; and when all other re-r
sources failed, he was reduced to the necessity of
eating grass,' and a kind of moss, called by the
Canadians tripe de rocher. He wras found by Indians close to a small stream, endeavouring to
crawl on his hands and feet, in a state of utter
helplessness and exhaustion; and for some days
previous to his being discovered he had eaten
nothing whatever. On being brought to the fort
he quickly recovered his ordinary health, the possession of which, I am happy to say, he enjoys to
the present moment.
The spot selected for forming our establishment
was a handsome point of land, formed by the
junction of the Pointed Heart and Spokan rivers,
thinly covered with pine and other trees, and clo_»|
to a trading post of the North-west Company,
under the command of a Mr. M'Millan, one of
their clerks, who had ten men with him. He had
two other posts detached from this: one about
two hundred and forty miles from it, in a norths
easterly direction, among a tribe called the Flat-
heads, whose lands lie at the feet of the Rocky TRADING   POSTS. 189
Mountains, and are well stocked with buffaloes;
the other about two hundred miles, nearly due
north, among a tribe called the Cootonais, in
whose country there are plenty of beavers, deer,
mountain sheep, and, at times, buffaloes. Mr.
Finan M'Donald of the North-west Company had
charge of the post among the Flat-heads ; and a
Mr. Montour was stationed among the Cootonais.
Mr. Pillet was despatched with six men to oppose
the latter; and Farnham and I were destined for
the Flat-heads. Owing to the length of time our
men were detained at Spokan to assist in cutting
down timber for the fort, we did not set out until
the 17th of October. We had twelve men and
fourteen loaded horses. On leaving Spokan our
course for four days was north-east, and lay
through a handsome open country well watered,
and bounded by hills rather thickly wooded. On
the evening of the 20th we encamped on the
banks of a fine river, which rises in the Rocky
Mountains, flows through the lands of the Flat-
heads, Pointed Heart, Spokan, and Chaudiere
Indians, and falls into the Columbia about nine
hundred miles from the sea.    Its general course }$$ PROVISIONS,   g
is westerly, and it is commonly cjijted the Flat-
head River. The part at which we had arrived
SSas^about four hundred yards wide, with an easy
$£$fent. As this was the spot for crossing to proceed to the Flat-head country, we had to construct rafts for that purpose; which being prepared: on the 21st, we crossed over, and passed all
our goods and horses in safety, with t_he exception
of one $f the latter, whicjiywas drowned by the
awkwardnessjof the man who held the resbas. The
day after, the weather dset in very cold, accompanied by snow, which continued almost incessantly for fourteen days. During this period oifr-
toiie:lay nearly due east through thick woc*ds.,ri|
lofty pine and cedar. The horses suffered dread-
felfy from the want of grass, the deep snow having completely covered the ground, and their only
nourishment was obtained by plucking and chew*
ing the branches of the adjoining trees. A detail
of each day's proceedings would be a cold and
unnecessary repetition. W& rose each moa_ning at
iNfTtbreak, loaded the horses, travelled two or
three hours, when we stopped for breakfast;
waited an hour for this meal, and then continued MODE   OF   TRAVELLING. 191
I on until flgur or five o'clock in the evening, when
we stopped for the night. The path was narrow*
I and the trees covered with snow, which, from the
I loaded horses constantly coping in collision witi|-
I the branches on either side, fell down at every
I pdoflent in immense masses, annoyed us consi-
I derably, and greatly impeded our progress. Wh0r<e
i the pine predominated, the under-growth was so
I thick that we could not obtain sufficient space for
I ©jur- tent; but where the cedar prevailed, we occa-
I sionally were enabled to pitch it. This cheerless
[ and gloomy march continued for fourteen dayk*
I during which period we j seldom had a dry artiq^Ef
I   of clothing on us.
On the 4th of November we cleared th^f^voods,
I and arrived in a large meadow of prime grass, in
I leihich we immecfolely^pitched our tent, and
I remained for threfedays to refresh .the rhorses.
I Our principal#absistence while in the woods was
[ horse-flesh and boiled rieCj; Ihut here our hunters
I Supplied us with some of the Rocky Mountain
I Sheep called big-horns, the flesh of which is de^
I licious, a___d resembles in taste WMeh mutton, but
I  at this "season is more delicate.   From the-time we 192 INDIAN   DWELLINGS.
quitted Spokan we had not seen a native. Or.
the 7th we recommenced our journey eastward.
the weather became more moderate, and the recent snows quickly vanished from the surroundlBB
trees. For three days and a half our progress was
through undulating meadows, thinly wooded, in
which our hunters killed some deer. On the 10th
we came to a small village of the Flat-head na^
tion, chiefly consisting of old men, women, and
children. We were quite charmed with their
frank and hospitable reception, and their superiority in cleanliness over any of the tribes we
had hitherto seen. Their lodges were conical,
but very spacious, and were formed by a number
of buffalo and moose skins thrown over long
poles in such a manner as to keep them quite dry.
The fire was placed in the centre, and the ground
all around it was covered with mats and clean
skins free from the vermin we felt so annoying
at the lower parts of the Columbia. They had a
quantity of dried buffalo, of which we purchased
a good deal; and as they gave us to understand
that the great body of their tribe were in the
mountains hunting, we determined to stop here; LOG-HOUSE.
and accordingly set about constructing a log-
house. The cold now became more severe, and
the snow began again to fall heavily, which induced the men to work hard; and before three
weeks we had erected the frame of a good substantial building, which in another week was
roofed in, and afforded a welcome shelter to the
poor fellows whose only covering was their
While the house was being built many of
the tribe arrived, from whom we purchased a
number of beaver skins. Their hunt had been
rather unsuccessful, and attended with disastrous
results; for they informed us, that after killing
buffalo sufficient for the winter, they were surprised by their old enemies the Black-feet Indians, (whose lands lie on the east side of the
Rocky Mountains,) who killed several of ..^gEtkr
wpriors, and took many prisoners. They appeared much dejected at their misfortunes; and
one of the chiefs seemed deeply to lament the
loss of his wife, who had b^n captured with some
other women by the enemy. Part of the tribe
pitched their tents some distance above us at the
VOL.  i. n 194 FLAT-HEAD   RIVER.
north-west eMablishment. They were passionately
fond of tobacco, and while they remained with us
never ceased smoking. Having bought all their
skins, and given them credit for some articles
until the spring, the greater part of them set off
to make their winter's hunt, which their recent
misfortunes had protracted to a very late period.
When the house was finished I got a good canoe
built of cedar planks, in which I embarked with
six men, and taking leave of Farnham, on the
18th of December, descended the Flat-head river
on my return to Spokan. Our progress was slow
and full of danger, from the great number of
rapids, and the force of the current. The land
on each side was high, and the banks in some
places so precipitous, that for three nights we
could not find room enough to make our beds on
shore, and were constrained to sleep in a standing position, rolled up in our cloaks and blankets;
leaving the canoe in the water, fastened to poles
driven some distance into the ground. On the
25th we arrived at a place where the river forked
into four or five small channels, which afterwards
united and formed a lake about five miles long, RETROSPECTIONS. 195
and two broad. We took the centre channel;
but it was full of snags, which broke several of
the ribs of our canoe, and we were forced to land
on a marshy island, full of small willojws, and
without a bit of dry wood to make a fire. This
was a horrible situation; and the state of our canoe
prevented us from proceeding to the main land;
so that we had no alternative but, seated on fallen ,
trees and covered with our, blankets, to pass the
night in water up to our ancles. About midnight
it commenced snowing* which continued until
morning. I thought of my preceding Christmas*
off Cape Horn, and was puzzled', to decide which
was the most enviable,—a tgmpe&tstcms storm: ih>;
the high southern latitude^ after losing a couple
of men—or a half, inundated island, without fire,
at the foot of the Rocky Mountains,; covered with
sheets of snow. In my slumbers I imagined I
was sittft-g at my father's table surrounded by the
smiling domestic group, all anxious to partake of
a smoking sirloin, and a richly dotted plum*
pudding, while the juvenile members recounted tetj
each other witht triumphant joy the amount of
their Christmas boxes; butr alas!
Sorrow return'd with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
The 26th opened on us with snow-clad mountain*
and forests. With much difficulty we succeeded
irt patching our battered canoe sufficiently tight to:
bring us to terra jirma, where we struck up a fire
of pine, spruce and cedar, that would have roasted
a solid square of oxen. We remained here all
the day, and repaired the canoe, so as to enable
us to proceed on the 27th. The day after, we
reached the place at which we crossed on our
way upwards : here we left the canoe, set off by
land on foot, and reached Spokan in time to partake of the new year's festivities. During my
absence Mr. Clarke had constructed a snug and
commodious dwelling-house, containing four rooms ■
and a kitchen ; together with a comfortable house
for the men, and a capacious store for the furs
and trading goods; the whole surrounded by
paling, and flanked by two bastions with loopholes for musketry. I passed the remaindefc^|
the winter at this place ; and between hunting*
fishing, reading, &c. we contrived to spend the
time agreeably enough.   We lived principally on HORSE-FLESH. 197
deer, trout, and carp, and occasionally killed a fat
horse, as a substitute for beef. Custom had now
so far reconciled us to, the flesh of this animal,
that we often preferred it to what in Europe
might be regarded as luxuries. Foals or colts
are not good, although a few of our men preferred
them. A horse for the table should not be u$|t|er
three years, or above seven. The flesh of those
which are tame, well-fed, and occasionally worked,
is tender and firm, and the fat hard and white :
it is far superior to the wild horse, the flesh of
which is loose and stringy, and the fat yellow and
rather oily. We generally killed the former for
our own table ; and I can assure my readers that
if they sat down to a fat rib, or a rump-steak off a
well-fed four-year-old, without knowing the animal, they would imagine themselves regaling on
a piece of prime ox beef. In February we took
immense quantities of carp in Spokan river above
its junction with the Pointed-heart, and in a few
weeks after the trout came in great abundance.
The Spokans we found to be a quiet, honest,
inoffensive tribe; and although we had fortified
our establishment in the manner above mentioned,
we seldom closed the gates at night.   Their eouii-
try did not abound in furs, and they were rather
indolent in hunting.    Their chief, BUmspokanee,
or the Son of the Sun, was a harmless old man,
who spent a great portion of his time between us
and Mr, M'Millan.    We entered into a compact
with that gentleman to abstain from giving the
Indians any  spirituous   liquors,  to which   both
parties strictly adhered.    Mr. Clarke, who was
an old trader himself, had often witoessed the
baneful effects of giving ardent spirits to Indians,
while he vfcas in the service* of the North-west
Company,  at  all whose   establishments on  the
east side of the Roefey Mountains it was an almost
invariable custom.    When in a state of intoxication it is quite impossible to check their savage
propensities, and murder frequently is the consequence; a remarkable .instance of which I subsequently witnessed in my journey -.across- the
continent.     By thi_£J;arrangement   both  parties
saved themselves much trouble-, and expense, and
kept the poor natives iniaustate of bKtgfiil ignorance.    In other respects also we agreed very
well with our opponent, and neither party educed
any of the turbulent or lawless spirit, which gave
so ferocious an aspect to the opposition of the
rival companies on the east side of the mountains.
The great object of every Indian was to obtain
a gun. Now a good gun could not be had under
twenty beaver skins; a few short ones we gave
for fifteen: and some idea of the profit may be
formed, when I state that the wholesale price of
the gun is about one pound seven shillings, while
the average value of twenty beaver skins is about
twenty-five pounds! Two yards of clotM which
originally cost twelve shillings, would generally
bring six or eight beavers, value eight or ten
pounds! and so on in proportion for other articles;—but they were satisfied, and we had no
cause to complain. The Spokans are far superior
to the Indians of the coast in cleanliness; but by
no means equal in this respect to the Fl^heads.
The women are good wives, and most affectionate
mothers: the old, cheerful, and complete slaves
to their famines; the young, lively, and confiding;
and whether married or single, free from the vice
of incontinence. Their village was situated at
the point  formed  by  the junction ofjjlhe  two
rivers. Some houses were oblong, others conical ; and were covered with mats or skins according to the wealth of the proprietor. Their
chief riches are their horses, which they generally
obtain in barter from the Nez Perces, in return for
the goods they obtain from us for their furs : each
man is therefore the founder of his own fortune,
and their riches or poverty are generally proportioned to their activity or indolence. The vice
-of gambling, however, is prevalent among them,
and some are such slaves to it, that they frequently lose all their horses.    The spot where
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep
is about midway between the village and the fort,
and has rather a picturesque effect at a distance.
When a man dies, several horses are killed, and
the skins are attached to the end of long poles,
which are planted in the graves: the number of
horses sacrificed is proportioned to the wealth of
the individual. Besides the horse-skins, buffalo
and deer robes, leather shirts, blankets, pieces
of blue, green, and scarlet cloth, strips of calico,
moccasins, provisions, warlike weapons, &c. are DUEL. 201
placed in and about the cemetery; all of which
they imagine will be more or less necessary for
the deceased in the world of spirits. As their
lands are much infested by wolves, which destroy
the foals, they cannot rear horses in such numbers as the Nez Perces, from whom they are
obliged to purchase them annually. They never
kill any for their own use, but felt no repugnance
to eat the flesh at our place. As I may hereafter
have occasion to speak more of this tribe, I shall
for the present revert to the continuation of our
proceedings. In the beginning of May, Messrs.
Farnham and Pillet returned from their wintering
posts. Their success exceeded our anticipations.
Both Flat-heads and Cootonais made excellent
winter hunts, and returned in the spring loaded
with beaver. Mr. Pillet fought a duel with Mr.
Montour of the North-west, with pocket pistols,
at six paces ; both hits; one, in the collar of the
coat, and the other in the leg of the trousers.
Two of their men acted as seconds, and the tailor
speedily healed their wounds. 202 RETURN  TO   ASTORIA.
Execution of an Indian for robbery—War between Great Britain and the United States—Dissolution of the Pacific Fur
Company—Author joins the North-west Company, and proceeds to the Rocky Mountains—Meets a party, and returns
to the sea—Robbery of goods, and successful stratagem to
recover the property—Attack at night—Dog-eating—Author
and three men pursued by Indians—Narrow escape.
The different parties having now assembled at
Spokan House, we took our departure from that
establishment on the 25th of May, on our return
to Astoria with the produce of our winter's trade.
Mr. Pillet was left in charge of the fort with four
men. We had twenty-eight loaded horses ; and
on the 30th of May reached the entrance of the
creek off Lewis River, where we had left our
barge and canoes.
In the course of this journey we passed some
of the places at which I had slept during my wanderings in the preceding August.   I pointed out ROBBERY. 203
to my fellow-travellers several heaps of stones
\vhifch I had piled together, and on which I had
scratched my name.
We were detained a couple of days at the entrance of the creek to repair the barge and canoes,
in consequence of the Indians having taken a
quantity of nails out of the former. Our tents
were rJitehed close to the village, and not suspecting any dishonesty on the part of the natives,
we kept no watch the first night. Our confidence, however, was misplaced, for in the morning we discovered that a daring robbery had been
committed during the night. In the tent in which
Mr. Clarke slept he kept a large garde-vin,
which he had locked on retiring to rest, but the
key of which he had omitted to take out: the
tent was closely fastened, and while he was
•asleep, the strings were untied, the garde-vin
opened, and a valuable silver goblet stolen there-
.Oiit-- Several loose articles were also taken, and
bundles belonging to many of the men were carried away. Mr. Clarke immediately assembled
the principal Indians; told them of the robbery;
declared if the stolen property were returned he 204 OFFENDER  DISCOVERED.
would pardon the offender; but added, if it were
not, and that he should find the thief, he would
hang him. The chief, with several others, promised they would use their best exertions to discover the delinquent and bring back the property;
but the day passed over without tidings of either.
On the second night, (the 31st,) two sentinels
were placed at each end of the camp, with orders
to conceal themselves and keep a sharp look out.
Shortly after midnight they observed the figure of
a man creeping slowly out of one of the tents, and
carrying with him a bundle of clothes, a powder-
horn, &c. They silently watched his progress,
until they saw him in the act of jumping into a
small canoe which he had in the creek, upon
which they sprung forward, stopped the canoe,
and seized him. We were instantly alarmed; and
a general search taking place, a quantity of articles belonging to the men were missed, together
with a pistol of Farnham's and a dagger of mine,
all of which were stolen that night. Most of the
property was found in the canoe; but he refused
to give any account of the remainder. We had
not the slightest suspicion of this man, who had CONDEMNATION. 205
been remarkably well treated by us; in consequence of which, and the aggravated nature of
the robbery, Mr. Clarke determined to put his
threat into execution. He accordingly ordered a
temporary gallows to be erected, and had the arms
and legs of the culprit pinioned. About eight
o'clock in the morning of the 1st of June he assembled the chief and all the Indians of the village, and made a short speech, in which he told
them that the prisoner had abused his confidence, violated the rights of hospitality, and committed an offence for which he ought to suffer
death ; that from an anxiety to keep on good
terms with all their nation he had overlooked
many thefts committed while he had been there
last August, which lenity, he was sorry to say,
had only led to more daring acts of robbery; and
that as a terror to others, and in order to show that
it was not fear that prevented him from taking
an earlier notice of such aggressions, he had
now resolved that this robber should be hanged.
The Indians acquiesced in this decision ; and the
chief declared that the prisoner did not belong to
their tribe, but was a kind of outlaw, of whom 206 EXECUTION.
they were all afraid.   The gallows being now prepared, Mr. Clarke gave the signal, and after great
resistance,   during   which  he  screamed in  the
most frightful manner, the wretched criminal wa$|
launched into eternity.    His countrymen looked
on the whole proceeding with the greatest unconcern ; but the unfortunate being himself exhij^j^jS
none of that wonderfial self-command, or stoical
indifference to death, which we observed in others,
and for which Indians in general are so celebrated.
By the time it was supposed life was extinct,?tlw
M'Lennan with three men set off with the horses
on his return to Spokan, and we embarked in the
canoes.    The current was swift, and we arrived
early the following day at the mouth of Lewis
River, a little below which we found the partie^^B
Messrs. M'Kenzie and Stuart, where we had>a^M
pointed to meet them on our separation the preceding autumn.    From this place we proceeded;
together, and aresi|pi at Astoria on the 11th of
June, 1813, without incurring any material accident.    We found all our friends in, good health;
but a total revolution had taken place in tl^affai|0
of the Company.    Messrs. John George M'Tavish BAD    NEWS. 207
and Joseph La Rocque, of the North-west Company, with two canoes and sixteen men, had arrived a few days before us. From these gentlemen we learned for the first time, that war had
been declared the year before between Great
Britain and the United States; and that in con-
i^uence of the strict blockade of the American
ports by British cruisers, no vessel would venture
to proceed to our remote establishment during the
continuation of hostilities: added to which, a
trading vessel which had touched at the Columbia
in the early part of the spring, had informed our
people that the ship Beaver was blocked up in
These unlucky and unexpected circumstances,
joined to the impossibility of sustaining ourselves
^another year in the couatry without fresh supplies, which, in the then posture of affairs, it
would be hopeless to expect, induced our proprietory to enter into negotiations with Mr.
M'Tavish, who had been authorised by the Northwest Company to treat with them. In a few
weeks an amicable arrangement was made, by
which Mr. M'Tavish agreed to purchase all the 208      AUTHOR  JOINS  THE   N. W.   COMPANY.
furs, merchandise, provisions, &C. of our Com*
pany at a certain valuation, stipulating to provide
a safe passage back to the United States, either
by sea, or across the continent, for such members
of it as chose ttfiSfeturn; and at the same time
offering to those who should wish to join the
North-west Company and remain in the country
the same terms as if they had originally been
members of that Company. Messrs. Ros%;
M'Lennan, and I, took advantage of these liberal
proposals, and some time after Mr. Duncan
M'Dougall, one of the directors, also joined the
North-west. The Americans of course preferred
returning to their own country, as did also Mr.
Gabriel Franchere,* and a few other Canadian
The pleasure I experienced in joining an establishment, every member of which was a fellow-
subject, was mingled with deep regret at partings
from so many of my late associates, for some of
* From this gentleman's knowledge of the Chinook Ian??.
guage Mr. M'Tavish made him handsome offers to join th©
North-west Company, which he refused. He however remained until the following spring. DISPATCHES. . 209
whom I entertained a sincere regard,—a regard
which I feel pleasure in saying was mutual, and
which the difference of country could not diminish.
My friends Clapp, Halsey, and Matthews were
genuine Americans of the Washingtonian school,
and consequently untinctured by any of the unnatural and acrimonious hatred to the land of their
forefathers which, among a large portion of their
countrymen, was so prevalent at that angry period.
And though the sanguine hopes they had entertained of realising in a few years an independence
were destroyed by the war, I feel pleasure in
being able to add that they are now happily
flourishing in their native country.
As Mr. M'Tavish expected dispatches overland from the directors at Montreal, and as it was
necessary to acquaint the gentlemen inland with
the change that affairs had taken at Astoria, Mr.
La Rocque and I proceeded with two canoes
and sixteen men well armed to the interior, with
orders to leave letters at Oakinagan and Spokan,
explanatory of these circumstances, and thence
continue on across the Rocky Mountains to Fort
vol. i. o 210 MEETING.
William, (the great central dep6t at the head of
Lake Superior,) unless we met an express, in
which case we were to return to the sea. We
left Astoria on the 5th of July, and having no
lading in our canoes, except provisions, we
passed in safety the hostile Indians at the great
rapids and falls. They were very numerous at
the latter place ; but seeing our men well armed,
and our canoes empty, they had no idea of risking
their lives, when no plunder could be obtained.
As I shall have occasion hereafter to give a particular description of the country about the upper
parts of the Columbia, I shall now merely mention
that we passed the navigable part of it, and
reached the place where one of its sources
issues out of the Rocky Mountains on the 2nd of
September, after a tedious and laborious voyage
of two months, against a strong current. We
laid:up our canoe, and were preparing to set out
on foot, when we were agreeably surprised by the
arrival of Messrs. John Stuart, Alexander Stewanl^
and Joseph IJI'Gillivray, partners of the North-west Company, who with twenty men were on
their way to Astoria, armed with full powers to NEWS. 211
join Mr. M'Tavish, in purchasing the stock of the
American Company. They acquainted us that the
North-west Company's ship called the " Isaac Tod"
sailed from London, under the convoy of a sloop
of war for the Columbia, and would arrive early in
the autuftm, with a large cargo for the Indian trade.
These gentlemen brought several newspapers;
and having heard nothing from the civilised
world for two years, we devoured their contents.
Mr. M'Gillivray had served the preceding campaign in the American war as a lieutenant in the
Canadian chasseurs, a corps commanded by his
father the Hon. William M'Gillivray, and com-
j©sed chiefly of the gentlemen and voyageurs of
the North-west Company. He had been engaged
in several smart affairs with the enemy, and was
at the taking of Michilimacinac, at which and
other places he had considerably distinguished
himself. He was therefore our great chronicler of
recent events, and during our passage downwards
our thousand and one interrogatories seldom allowed his tongue half an hour's restv None but
those who have been so long debarred from the
passing scenes of the great world can form an idea 212 INLAND   EXPEDITION.
of the greedy voracity with which exiles so circumstanced'swallow the most trifling news. A
remnant of a newspaper is invaluable; and even
an auctioneer's advertisement, or a quack-doctor's
puff is read with interest.
sWe reached Astoria on the 11th of October,
having travelled from the 5th of July upwards of
two thousand three hundred miles. We remained
here till the latter end of the month in the expectation of seeing the " Isaac Tod;" but as that vessel
did not arrive, the proprietors determined to send
a' strong party to the interior with a supply of
such goods as the fort could furnish for the winter's trade. The necessary arrangements being
completed, we set off on the 29th of October.
Our party consisted of Messrs. John Stuart, Donald Mackenzie, Joseph M'Gillivray, La Rocque,
M'Donald, Read, and the author, with fifty-five
men. On arriving at the first rapids few Indians
made the*ir appearance ; and from their peaceable
demeanour, we did not think it necessary to observe our usual caution in guarding the portages:
We passed the first unmolested, and had carried
about one-third  of the  goods  over the second, INDIAN    ATTACK. 213
when we were alarmed by a loud cry, and immediately after one of the men appeared, and stated
that he and another man had been attacked by a
large party of the natives, who had knocked them
down, and robbed them of two bales of dry goods,
with which they made, off into the woods, and
that he feared others of the men would also be
attacked. Orders were immediately despatched
to Messrs. La Rocque and M'Gillivray, who were
at the foot of the portage, to advance with a few
•of their men, while Mr. John Stuart and I, with
ten men, proceeded from the upper end. Mr.
M'Donald remained in charge at one end, and
Mr. Donald Mackenzie at the other.
On arriving about the middle of the portage,
where the village was situated, we found the
pathway guarded by fifty or sixty Indians, with
their war-shirts on, and fully armed, apparently
determined to dispute the passage. The moment
they perceived our approach they placed their
arrows in their bows, which they presented at us,
at the same time jumping like kangaroos backwards and forwards, and from right to left, in
such a manner as to render it almost impossible 214 PARLEY.
to take a steady aim at any of them. In our hurry
we had not time to put on our leathern armour,
and from the hostile appearance of the savages,
some of our men declared they would not advance
a step farther. Mr. Stuart shortly addressed
them, pointing out the dangerous situation in
which we were placed, between two portages;
that if the enemy observed the least sympto^^H
fear, they would become the assailants, in which
case we could neither advance nor retreat, and
must ultimately be cut off, adding at the same
time he would do every thing in his power to
avoid coming to extremities; but that, above all
things, it was absolutely necessary to show them
the most determined front. The men hereupon
consented to fight. He then informed the Indians
that he did not wish to fight—but that if the stolen
goods were not returned, the white men would
destroy their village and take all their property.
We were imperfectly acquainted with their language, and they either did not, or affected not to
understand the meaning of his address; for they
still continued their kangaroo movements with their
arrows presented,  preserving at  the  same time STRATAGEM. 215
the strictest silence. We were somewhat puzzled
at this conduct; but as we were anxious to avoid
bloodshed, and at the same time to recover the
stolen property, Mr. Stuart judged it prudent to
wait the arrival of the other party. In a few seconds Messrs. La Rocque and M'Gillivray with
their men appeared at the rear of the Indians,
who were thus placed between two fires; but
they had the sagacity to perceive that we could
hot act on the offensive without endangering our
town lives. About one half of them therefore
quickly turned  round,   and   by   this  movement
ftpresented a hostile front to each of our small parties. During this time none of their old men,
women, or children, made their appearance; and
as Mr. Stuart supposed they had been conveyed
from the village, he requested Mr. La Rocque to
advance with a few of his men into the wood on
|te? right, and at the same time sent me with five
of our party to the left, ordering each of us to
seize all men, women, and children, we could
find, for the purpose of detaining them as hostages  until   the   property   should   be   returned.
^Messrs.   Stuart and  M'Gillivray,  with   the re- 216 CAPTIVES.
mainder of the men, still kept possession of the
pathway in front and rear of the village, and the
enemy for some time were ignorant of the ruse de
guerre we had adopted. I proceeded about forty
yards in an oblique direction to the left, with my
party, when we imagined we heard voices before
us: we therefore advanced slowly and cautiously
a few paces farther, until we arrived at a large
rock. 1 sent three men round one end of it, and
proceeded myself with the remaining two round
the other ; and, as we turned the left corner, we
perceived three old men, with several women and
children, sitting round a fire ; some of whom were
sharpening iron and flint heads for arrows, which,
after being heated in the fire, were dipped into a
wooden bowl containing a thick blackish liquid.
On observing us they attempted to escape, when
the other three men appeared. We instantly.!
seized their armoury, and took two of the old
men, three women, and some children prisoners.
They were much frightened, and thought we
would put them to death, but on our explaining
that they would sustain no injury if bur goods
were returned, they appeared more tranquil, and RESTITUTION. 217
came with us quietly until we reached Mr. Stuart,
who was still in the same situation. La Rocque
was equally fortunate, and had "captured one old
man, four women, and five children, on his side
of the wood, with whom he had just appeared in
sight as my party arrived.
The warriors were quite staggered at finding we
had made so many prisoners,'and fearing we might
follow their own mode, which was either to kill
them or make them slaves, they at once laid down
their arms, and offered to go in search of the
bales, provided we would liberate the prisoners.
Mr. Stuart replied that none of them would be
injured, but that they should remain in custody
until the property was restored and our people
safely over the portage. A guard was then stationed over the prisoners, and word was sent to
M'Donald to order his. men to recommence the
carriage of the goods; during the progress of
which we kept up a chain of sentinels en route.
By the time we had nearly finished three of the
Indians, whose wives were captives, brought a
great part of the contents of the bales, which they
alleged they took by force from the thieves, who 218 AMICABLE   ARRANGEMENT.
had cut open the envelopes and concealed, the
remainder; and they therefore hoped we would
allow their relations to return home. Mr. Stuart
told them he was determined not to allow one of
them to stir until every article that had been stolen
was brought back. The eldest of the three declared that it was very unjust of the white men
to punish him and his relations for the dishonesty
of others, and that when he expected a reward
for his exertions in bringing back so much property, he found his wife and children were to be
detained as slaves. All this appeared very plausible ; but we recognised this very fellow as one
of the most prominent and active of the armed
band, and apparently their leader.
He made some farther remonstrances to the
same effect \ but finding we were inflexible, he
went away with his two companions; and in
about half an hour after returned, accompanied
by several others, with the remainder of the stolen
property. They alleged the thieves . had run
away, and on asking them for their chief, they
said he was absent. The canoes having been
now laden, Mr. Stuart told them that he should MIDNIGHT   ATTACK. 219
release their friends and relations for this time,
but that if another attempt was ever made, the
white people would punish them severely; and
as a mark of his anger at their late conduct, he
would not then give them the usual gratuity of tobacco. The prisoners were then released, and
we pushed off. As it was rather late, we could
not advance more than three miles, when we encamped in a small cove on the left side, behind
which was a thick wood of hazel, beech, and pine.
We had a large fire at each end of the camp ; and
the party was divided into two watches. The
forepart of the night passed off quietly; but
about two o'clock in the morning we wrere alarmed
by one of the flank sentinels being brought to the
R^ntre wounded. He stated that he and two of
his comrades had approached the fire for the purpose of lighting their pipes, when several arrows
were discharged at them from the wood, one of
which wounded him in the left arm; upon hearr
ing which Messrs. La Rocque and M'Donald,
who commanded the watch, fired into the wood.
The tents were immediately struck, and the men
ordered to  withdraw   from the   fires  and con- m-
centrate themselves behind the canoes. About
ten minutes afterwards a shower of arrows was
discharged from the same place, followed by loud
yells; but some passed over our heads, while
others were intercepted by the canoes, in which
they remained fast. The two watches were now
ordered to fire a volley alternately, and load immediately. The first discharge caused much
rustling among the leaves and branches; the
second, as we supposed, completely dislodged
them, and from moans heard from the retreating
savages we had reason to think that some of our
balls took effect. It was a cold damp morning,
and what between the fatigues and dangers of the
preceding day, fear, chilness, and the want of sleep,
our men did not seem much disposed for fighting.
Mr. Stuart therefore ordered each man a double
allowance of rum " to make his courage cheerie,"
and the moment daylight began to dawn the
canoes were thrown into the water, and the lading
immediately commenced.
The canoe-men embarked first; and we followed. The last man on shore was a celebrated
half-bred hunter, named Pierre Michel, and just AMBUSH. 221
as he was about stepping into his canoe, one of
the men perceived a tall Indian emerge from the
wood, and bend his bow: he had scarcely time
to warn Michel of his danger ere the arrow
winged its flight, and completely pierced his hat,
in which it remained fixed. Michel instantly
turned round, and as the savage retreated into the
wood, fired, and hit him somewhere about the knee.
He then sprung into the canoe : we discharged a
few more shots, pushed off, and paddled quickly
to the opposite side. From the greyish twilight
of the morning we had only an imperfect view of
the Indian ; but the men who had the best opportunity of seeing him were of opinion that he was
the same who had expostulated the day before
about the detention of his wife, after he had
brought back part of the goods. We landed
about ten miles farther up on the right-side, on an
open point; and as the canoes wanted repairing,
and the men stood in need of repose, it was
deemed expedient to remain there during the
day. I forgot to mention that one of our Iroquois
hunters sucked the wound which, the man had 222 SCARCITY   OF   PROVISIONS.
received from the arrow in the arm : this probably saved the poor fellow's life, as we had
reason to think the arrow was poisoned. The
day after the arm became quite black from the
wrist to the shoulder; but, by the use of caustic
applications, the dangerous symptoms were dispersed, and in a few weeks he recovered his or-;
dinary health.
From this place to the narrows and falls we
saw no Indians; but at the latter we found about
ttteen lodges of the Eneeshurs. As our provisions were nearly consumed wre were obliged to
purchase twenty dogs from them. It was! tiffs
first time I had eaten any of the flesh of this animal, and nothing but stern necessity could have
induced me to partake of it. The president of
our mess called it mutton, which it somewhat resembles in taste. We generally had it roastedf
but the Canadians preferred it boiled, and the
majority of them seemed to think it superior to
horse-flesh. In this, however, I entirely differ
from them, for the latter is a cleaner animal, and
in taste bears a stronger resemblance to beef than EXPERIMENTAL   EXCURSION. 228
the dog does to mutton. The natives behaved
themselves quietly, and did not show any disposition to pilfer.
From hence to the Wallah Wallah river we obtained no horses, and our chief support consisted
of one hundred and fifty dogs, which we purchased
at the different villages. The Wallah Wallahs
received us in their usual friendly manner, and we
|_tuichased from them about twenty good horses.
Mr. Read, accompanied by eight men, (excellent hunters,) left us here on an experimental
journey to the country of the Shoshone or Snake
Indians, on whose lands he had seen great quantities of beaver in the course of his journey across
the continent with Mr. Hunt. His party took
sixteen of the horses with them.
After leaving this place the weather set in very
cold, accompanied by occasional showers of snow,
and we became apprehensive that we should encounter much difficulty in reaching our various
wintering posts. We therefore stopped at a village a short distance above Lewis River, on the
south side of the Columbia; where, with hard
bargaining, and after giving an exorbitant price, ~1
we obtained six horses. With these and three
men I was ordered to proceed across the country
to Spokan House, for the purpose of bringing
down a sufficient number of the company's horses
to Oakinagan, where the canoes were to stop, the
trading goods having to be conveyed from thence
by land-carriage to their respective winter destinations.
Two of the horses carried our provisions and
blankets; and as we learned from the Wallah Wallahs that the relations of the Indian who had been
hanged by Mr. Clarke in the spring were in the"
plains, and had declared their determination to
have satisfaction for his death, we got particular
orders not to separate, or on any account to tire
our. horses by deer-hunting. I made the men
change their muskets for short trading guns, about
the size of carbines; with which, a brace of pistols, and a dagger each, we set out on our overland journey. The two first days we passed in
hard galloping, without meeting any thing worth
noticing ; but about ten o'clock on the morning of
the third day, as we were preparing to remount
after breakfast, we observed three Indians about a FORTUNATE   ESCAPE.
mile distant, advancing from the direction of
Lewis River. They were mounted, and, on perceiving us, stopped a few minutes in order to
ascertain our numbers. We did not like this ;
and made signs to them to approach, which they
affected not to understand: but after reconnoitring
us some time, and making themselves certain
that our number did not exceed four, they wheeled
about, and galloped back in the same direction.
Being now of opinion that their intentions were
not friendly, we increased our speed, and for upwards of three hours none of them made their
appearance. Our horses being nearly exhausted,
we slackened the reins for about half an hour, after
putting two of the most jaded under the saddlebags. This rest brought them to again, and probably saved us; for about two o'clock we observed large clouds of dust in a south-westerly
direction, which, on clearing away, displayed to
our view between thirty and forty of the savages
on horseback in pursuit of us. Sauve quipeut was
now the cry; and as the two spare horses with the
saddle-bags retarded our escape, we left them
behind, and galloped away for our lives. The
VOL. i. * 226 SKIRMISH.
enemy gradually gjained on us; but we observed
that the greater number had fallen back, or given
up the pursuit, and at the end of two hours only
ten were in sight. Still we did not think ourselves a match for them; but shortly after their
numbers were reduced to eight, apparently well
mounted and armed. Our horses began to totter,
and it became quite evident could not proceed
much farther at such a rate. I knew the men
were made of good materials, and therefore proposed to them to dismount, take our station |>ehind
the horses, and when our pursuers came within
the range of our shot, each to cover his man, and.
fire; after which, if we had not time to reload, we
could work with our pistols. They all agreed;
I$|t the momerit the enemy perceived us dismount
an$l take up our position, they at once guessed our
oj^ct, and turned about for the purpose of retreating. We i$sj;antly fired, and two of their
horses fell: their riders quickly mounted behind
their companions, and in a short time disappeared.
We were now quite overjoyed at seeing the horse
with our provisions gallop up to us; but the other,
which carried our blankets was, I suppose, cap- FORTUNATE   RELIEF.
tured. The report of our fire-arms brought us
much more important relief, by the appearance of
ten young hunters belonging to the Spokan nation,
with every one of whom we were well acquainted,
and on whose hunting-grounds we then were.
On telling them of our escape, they were quite
indignant, and declared that, although they were
not at war with the Nez Percys Indians, they
would willingly join us in pursuit of them, and
chastise them for their presumption in following
their -white friends to their hunting-grounds ; adding, that they knew their chiefs heart would be
► glad at any assistance they could render us. I
thanked them for their friendly offer, which I declined ; assigning as a reason, thai we wished to
live on good terms with all the nations, and that
I had no doubt we should be able* to convince the
pfedKsh people who had lately pursued us of the
impolicy of their conduct towards the whites.
We proceeded about ten miles farther that evening, and slept in company with the Spokans, who
kept watch in turn during the night. The following day, the 21st of November, two of them accompanied us, and we arrived at the fort about four in
the evening without meeting any farther danger. 228 JOURNEY   TO  OAKINAGAN.
Author proceeds to Oakinagan, and thence to the Flat-heads,
where he passes the winter—Cruel treatment of the Black-
feet prisoners by the Flat-heads—Horrible spectacle—Buffalo the cause of war between the two tribes—Women—Government—Peace and war chiefs—Wolves—-Anecdote of a
dog—Syrup of birch—Surgical and medical knowledge of
Flat-heads—Remarkable cure of rheumatism—Their ideas of
a future state ; and curious tradition respecting the beavers—
Name of Flat-head a misnomer—A marriage.
As dispatch was necessary, owing to the lateness of the season, I remained only one night at
Spokan House, and set off early in the morning of
the 22d November for Oakinagan. I took two
additional men with me, and fifty horses. The
road was good, the distance about one hundred
and fifty miles, and no danger to be apprehended
from Indians.    Having plenty of horses to change, INSTRUCTIONS.
we went on briskly; and on the evening of the
25th arrived at the Columbia, opposite the entrance of Oakinagan river, where the fort was built.
On crossing over I found that the northern parties
had set off for their wintering quarters; and as I
was appointed to take charge of those intended for
the eastern posts, I slept only that night at Oakinagan, and the next morning (the 26th) had all the
goods transported across the river. The following
is an extract from the letter of instructions directed to me on this occasion, the whole of which
is rather lengthy and uninteresting for insertion:—
" On your arrival here, you will assume the
immediate management of the brigade, and every
thing else during the voyage ;* and make the best
of your way to Spokan House, where you will
make as little delay as possible. From thence
you will proceed to join Mr. M'Millan at the Flat-
heads; and if you are reduced to eat horses, either
at Spokan or farther on, they ought to be the
worst."   The liberal writer of this economical ad-
* This word is used generally in the Indian country for all
terraqueous journies; and voyageurs is the term applied to the
Canadian canoe men.      Bl-P^ -
vice was in other respects a very worthy good-
natured individual, and in his own person evinced
the most Spartan contempt for the good things of
the table. Tobacco was his mistress; and from
the moment he rose until he retired to rest, his
calumet was seldom allowed to cool. I was not,
however, philosopher enough to prefer the into3_i||
eating fumes of the Virginian weed to the substantial enjoyment of fat and lean ; and candidly
confess, that in my choice of horses for the kettle*
I wilfully departed from my instructions, by selecting those whose ribs were least visible.
We arrived safely at Spokan, at which place I
slept one night, and then continued on for the
Flat-heads with eight men and twelve loaded
horses. We pursued the same route I had followed the preceding winter with my friend Farn-
__fajtti* through the thick woods along the banks of the
Flat-head river; and after suffering great hardf^
ships from cold and snow, reacl)®d Mr. M'Millan
on the 24th of December, with the loss of two
horses, which we were obliged to leave in the
woods from exhaustion. The fort was about forty
miles higher up in an easterly direction than the TIMELY   ARRIVAL.
place Farnham and I had chosen for the log-house.
It had a good trading store, a comfortable house
for the men, and a snug box for ourselves; all
situated on a point formed by the junction of a
bold mountain torrent with the Flat-head river,
and surrounded on all sides with high and thickly
Bpooded hills, covered with pine, spruce, larch,
beech, birch, and cedar.    A large band of the
Flat-head warriors were encamped about the fort.
They   had   recently returned from the buffalo
country, and had revenged their defeat of the
preceding year, by a signal  victory over their
enemies the Black-feet; several of whose warriors,
with their women,  they had   taken   prisoners.
M'Millan's tobacco and stock of trading goods
had been entirely expended previous to my arrival, and the Indians were much in want of ammunition, &c.   My appearance, or I should rather
say, the goods I brought with me, was therefore
a source of great joy to both parties.   The natives smoked the much-loved weed for several
•days   successively.     Our  hunters killed a few
B^ountain sheep, and I brought up a bag of flour,
a bag of rice, plenty of tea and coffee, some arrow- 232 TREATMENT  OF   CAPTIVES.
root, and fifteen gallons of prime rum. We spent
a comparatively happy Christmas, and, by the
side of a blazing fire in a warm room, forgot the
sufferings we endured in' our dreary prdgress
through the woods. There was, however, in the
midst of our festivities, a great drawback from the
pleasure we should have otherwise enjoyed. I
allude to the unfortunate Black-feet who had
been captured by the Flat-heads. Having been
informed that they were about putting one of
their prisoners to death, I went to their camp to
witness the spectacle. The man was tied to a
tree; after which they heated an old barrel of a
gun until it became red hot, with which they
burned him on the legs, thighs, neck, cheeks, and
belly. They then commenced cutting the flesh from
about the nails, which they pulled out, and next
separated the fingers from the hand joint by joint.
During the performance of these cruelties the
wretched captive never winced, and instead of
suing for mercy, he added fresh stimulants to
their barbarous ingenuity by the most irritating ,
reproaches, part of which our interpreter translated as follows :—" My heart is strong.—You do HORRIBLE   CRUELTIES. 238
not hurt me.—You can't hurt me.—You are fools.
-r-You do not know how to torture.—Try it again.
—I don't feel any pain yet.—We torture your relations a great deal better, because we make them
cry out loud, like little children.—You are not
brave: you have small hearts, and you are always
afraid to fight." Then addressing one in particular, he said, " It was by my arrow you lost your
eye;" upon which the Flat-head darted at him,
and with a knife in a moment scooped out one of
his eyes; at the same time cutting the bridge of
his nose nearly in two. This did not stop him:
with the remaining eye he looked sternly at
another, and said, " I killed your brother, and I
scalped your old fool of a father." The warrior
to whom this was addressed instantly sprung at
him, and separated the scalp from his head. He
was then about plunging a knife in his heart, until
he was told by the chief to desist. The raw skull,
bloody socket, and mutilated nose, now presented
a horrific appearance, but by no means changed
his tone of defiance.—"It was I," said he to the
chief, I that made your wife a prisoner last fall; fftip.
—we put out her eyes ;—we tore out her tongue,-
we treated her like a dog.    Forty of our young
warriors "
The chieftain became incensed the moment his
wife's name was mentioned : he seized his gun,
and, before the last sentence was ended, a ball
from it passed through the brave fellow's heart,
and terminated his frightful sufferings. Shocking, however, as this dreadful exhibition was, it
was far exceeded by the atrocious cruelties practised on the female prisoners; in which, I am
sorry to say, the Flat-head women assisted wittr
more savage fury than the men. I only witnessed
part of what one wretched young woman suffered,'
a detail of which would be too revolting for publicity. We remonstrated against the exercise of
such horrible cruelties. They replied by saying
the Black-feet treated their relations in the same
manner; that it was the course adopted by afflfe
red warriors; and that they could not think of
giving up the gratification of their revenge to the
foolish and womanish feelings of white men;
Shortly after this we observed a young female led SUCCESSFUL   REMONSTRANCE. 235
forth, apparently not more than fourteen or fifteen years of age, surrounded by some old women,
who were conducting her to one end of the village, whither they were followed by a number of
young men. Having learned the infamous intentions of her conquerors, and feeling interested
for the unfortunate victim, we renewed our remonstrances ; but received nearly the same answer
as before. Finding them still inflexible, and
wishing to adopt every means in our power consistent with safety in the cause of humanity, we
ordered our interpreter to acquaint them, that,
highly as we valued their friendship, and much as
we esteemed their furs, we would quit their country for ever, unless they discontinued their unmanly and disgraceful cruelties to their prisoners.
This had the desired effect, and the miserable
captive'was led back to her sorrowing group of
friends. Our interference was nearly rendered
ineffectual by the furiotft reproaches of the infernal old priestesses who had been conducting her
to the sacrifice. They told the young warriors
they were cowards, fools, and had not the hearts
of fleas;   and  called  upon them in  the  names 236       DECREASE OF POPULATION.
of their mothers, sisters, and wives, to follow the
steps of their forefathers, and have their revenge
on the dogs of Black-feet. They began to waver;
but we affected not to understand what the old
women had been saying. We told them that this
act of self-denial on their part was peculiarly
grateful to the white men; and that by it they
would secure our permanent residence among
them, and in return for their furs be always furnished with guns and ammunition sufficient to
repel the attacks of their old enemies, and preserve their relations from being made prisoners.
This decided the doubtful; and the chief promised faithfully that no more tortures should be
inflicted on the prisoners, which I believe was
rigidly adhered to, at least for that winter.
The Flat-heads were formerly much more numerous than they were at this period; but owing
to the constant hostilities between them and the
Black-feet Indians, their numbers had been
greatly diminished. While pride, policy, ambi-^
tion, self-preservation, or the love of aggrandisement, often deluges the civilised world with
Christian blood ; the only cause assigned by the ANNUAL   CONFLICTS. 237
natives of whom I write, for their perpetual warfare, is their love of buffalo. There are extensive
plains to the eastward of the mountains frequented
in the summer and autumnal months by numerous herds of buffaloes. Hither the rival tribes
repair to hunt those animals, that they may procure as much of their meat as will supply them
until the succeeding season. In these excursions
they often meet, and the most sanguinary conflicts
The Black-feet lay claim to all that part of the
country immediately at the foot of the mountains,
which is most frequented by the buffalo; and
allege that the Flat-heads, by resorting thither
-to hunt, are intruders whom they are bound to
oppose on all occasions. The latter, on the contrary, assert, that their forefathers had always
claimed and exercised the right of hunting on
^these " debateable lands;" and that while one
of their warriors remained alive the right should
not be relinquished. The consequences of these
continual wars are dreadful, particularly to the
Flat-heads, who, being the weaker in numbers,
were generally the greater sufferers.    Indepen- 1
238      % INDIAN   WARFARE.
.dently of their inferiority in this respect, their
enemy had another great advantage in the use
of fire-arms, which they obtained from the Company's trading posts established in the department of Forts des Prairies. To these the Flat-
heads had nothing to oppose but arrows and their
own undaunted bravery. Every year previous
to our crossing the mountains witnessed the gradual diminution of their numbers ; and total annihilation would shortly have been the consequence, but for our arrival with a plentiful supply
of " villanous saltpetre." They were overjoyed
at having an opportunity of purchasing arms and
ammunition, and quickly stocked themselves with
a sufficient quantity of both.
From this moment affairs took a decided change
Inslfceir favour; and in their s.uhsequent contests
the numbers!oof killed, wounded, and prisoners
were more equal. The Black-feet became enraged at this, and declared to our people at Forts
des Prairies, that all white men who might happen
to fall into their hands, to the westward of the
aB-OTtttains, would be treated by them as enemies,
in consequence of their furnishing the Flat-heads >;t$||E   FLAT-HEADS. 239
with .weapons, which were used with such deadly
effect against their nation. This threat, as
will appear hereafter, was strictly put in execution. 3gie lands of the Flat-heads are well
stocked with deer, morjptain sheep, bears, wild
fowl, and fish; and when we endeavoured to
induce them to give up such dangerous expeditions, and confine themselves to the produce of
their own country, they replied, that their fathers
had always hunted on the buffalo grounds; that
they weredaccustomed to do the same thing from
their infancy; and they would not now abandon
a practice which had existed for several generations among their people.
With the excejttion of the cruel treatment of
their prisoners, (which, as it is general among all
savages, must not be imputed to them as a peculiar vice,) the Flat-heads have fewer failings than
any of the tribes I ever met with. They are
honest in their dealings, brave in the field, quiet
and amenable to their chiefs, fond of cleanliness,
and decided enemies to falsehood of every de-
scrij_I_on. The women are excellent wives and
mothers, and their character for fidelity is so well 240 CHARACTER  AND  DRESS.
established, that we never heard an instance of
one of them proving unfaithful to her husband.
They are also free from the vice of backbiting,
so common among the lower tribes; and laziness
is a stranger among them.    Both sexes are comparatively very fair, and their complexions are a
shade lighter than the palest new copper after
being freshly rubbed.   They are remarkably well
made, rather slender, and never corpulent.   The
dress of the men consists solely of long leggings,
called mittasses by the Canadians, which reach .
from the ancles to the hips, and are fastened by
strings to a leathern belt round the waist, and a
shirt of dressed  deer-skin,  with  loose  hanging
sleeves, which falls down to their knees.    The
outside seams of the leggings and shirt sleeves
have fringes of leather.    The women are covered
by a loose robe of the same material reaching
from the neck to the feet, and ornamented with
fringes,  beads,  hawk-bells,  and thimbles.    The
dresses of both are regularly cleaned with pipeclay, which abounds in parts of the country; and
every individual has two or three changes.    They
have no permanent covering for the head, but in GOVERNMENT.
wet or stormy weather shelter it by part of a
buffalo robe, which completely answers all the
purposes of a surtout. The principal chief of the
tribe is hereditary; but from their constant wars,
they have adopted the wise and salutary custom
of electing, as their leader in battle, that warrior
in whom the greatest portion of wisdom, strength,
and bravery are combined. The election takes
place every year; and it sometimes occurs that
the general in one campaign becomes a private in
the hext. This " war-chief," as they term him,
has no authority whatever when at home, and is
as equally amenable as any of the tribe to the
hereditary chief; but when the warriors set out
on their hunting excursions to the buffalo plains,
he assumes the supreme command, which he exercises with despotic sway until their return. He
carries a long whip with a thick handle decorated
with scalps and feathers, and generally appoints
two active warriors as aides-de-camp. On their
advance towards the enemy he always takes
the lead ; and  on their return he brings up the
t Great regularity is preserved during the
; and I have been informed by Mr.
ol. i. Q 242 SUBORDINATION.     ||fe|
M'Donald,   who   accompanied   some    of   these
war parties to the field of   action,  that if any
of the tribe fell out of the ranks, or committed
any other br§aeh of discipline, he instantly received a flagellation from the whip of the chieftain.    He always  acted with  the most perfect
impartiality, and would punish one of his subalterns for disobedience of orders with equal severity as any other offender.    Custom, however,
joined to a sense of public duty, had reconciled
them to these arbitrary acts of power, which they
never complained of or attempted to resent.   After
the conclusion of the campaign, on their arrival on
their own lands, his authority ceases; when the
peace chief calls all the tribe together, and they
proceed to a new election.    There is no canvassing, caballing, or intriguing; and should the last
leader be superseded, he retires from office with
apparent indifference, and without betraying any
symptoms of discontent.     The fighting chief at
this period had been five times re-elected.   He was
about thirty-five years of age,  and   had killed
twenty of the Black-feet in various battles, the
scalps of  whom were   suspended in  triumphal THE   WAR   CHIEF.
pride from a pole at the door of his lodge. His
mife had been captured by the enemy the year
before, and her loss made a deep impression on
-him.. He was highly respected by all the warriors for his superior wisdom and bravery ; a consciousness of which, joined to the length of time
he had been accustomed to command, imparted to
his manners a degree of dignity which we never
||p-_aarked in any other Indian. He would not
take a second wife ; and when the recollection of
'the one fee had lost came across his mind, he retired into the deepest solitude of the woods to
indulge his sorrow, where some of the tribe informed us they often found him calling on her
spirit to appear, and invoking vengeance on her
feonquerors. When these bursts of grief subsided,
his countenance assumed a tinge of stern melancholy, strongly indicating the mingled emotions of
sorrow and unmitigated hatred of the Black-feet.
We invited him sometimes to the fort, upon which
occasions we sympathised with him on his loss; but
at the same time acquainted him with the manner
in which civilised nations made war. We told him
that warriors only were made prisoners, who were 244 WARFARE.
never tortured or killed, and that no brave white
man would ever injure a female or a defenceless
man ; that if such a custom had prevailed among
-them, he would now by the exchange of prisqj|j|
ers be able to recover his wife, who was by their
barbarous system lost to him for ever; and if it
were impossible to bring about a peace with their
enemies, the frightful horrors of war might at least
be considerably softened by adopting the practice
of Europeans. We added that he had now a glorious opportunity of commencing the career of
magnanimity, by sending home uninjured the
captives he had made during the last campaign;
that our friends on the other side of the mountains would exert their influence with the Black-
feet to induce them to follow his example; and
that ultimately it might be the means of uniting
the two rival nations in the bonds of peace. He
was at first opposed to making any advances; but
on farther pressing he consented to make the
trial, provided the hereditary chief and the tribe
started no objections. On quitting us he made
use of the following words: " My white friends,
you   do  not know   the  savage   nature   of   the SUCCESSFUL   REMONSTRANCE.
Black-feet; they hope to exterminate our tribe;
they are a great deal more numerous than we
are ; and were it not for our bravery, their object
would have been long ago achieved. We shall
now, according to your wishes, send back the
prisoners; but remember, I tell you, that they
will laugh at the interference of your relations
beyond the mountains, and never spare a man,
woman, or child, that they can take of our nation.
Your exertions to save blood show you are good
people. If they follow our example, we shall
kill no more prisoners; but I tell you, they will
laugh at you and call you fools."
We were much pleased at having carried our
point so far; while he, true to his word, assembled
the elders and warriors, to whom he represented
the subject of our discourse, and after a long
speech, advised them to make the trial, which
would please their white friends, and show their
readiness to avoid unnecessary cruelty. Such an
unexpected proposition gave rise to an animated
debate, which continued for some time; but being
supported by a man for whom they entertained so 1
much respect, it was finally carried; and it was
determined to send home the Black-feet on the
breaking up of the winter. We undertook
to furnish them with horses and provisions for
their journey, or to pay the Flat-heads a fair price
for so doing. This was agreed to, and about the
middle of March the prisoners took their departure tolerably well mounted, and with dried meat
enough to bring them to their friends. Mr.
M'Millan, who had passed three years in their
country, and was acquainted with their language,
informed them of the exertions we had used to
save their lives, and prevent farther repetitions
of torture; and requested them particularly to
mention the circumstance to their countrymen, in
order that they might adopt a similar proceeding.
We also wrote letters by them to the gentlemen
in charge of the different establishments at Forts
des Prairies, detailing our success, and impressing on them the necessity of their attempting to
induce the Black-feet in their vicinity to follow the
example set them by the Flat-heads. The lafccfe
of this tribe present a pleasing, diversity of woods CROSS-BRED   DOG.
and plains, valleys and mountains, lakes and
rivers. Besides the animals already mentioned,
there are abundance of beavers, otters, martens,
wolves, lynxes, &c.
The wolves of this district are very large and
daring ; and were in great numbers in the immediate vicinity of the fort, to which they often approached closely for the purpose of carrying away
the offals. We had a fine dog of mixed breed,
whose sire was a native of Newfoundland, and
whose dam was a wolf, which had been caught
young, and domesticated by Mr. La Rocque, at Lac
laRonge, on the English River. He had many rencontres with his maternal tribe, in which he was
generally worsted. On observing a wolf near the
fort, he darted at it with great courage : if it was
a male, he fought hard ; but if a female, he either
allowed it to retreat harmless, or commenced
fondling it. He sometimes was absent for a week
or ten days ; and on his return, his body and
neck appeared gashed with wounds inflicted by
She tusks of his male rivals in their amorous
encounters in the woods.    He was a noble ani- 248 PHARMACY.
mal, but always appeared more ready to attack a
wolf than a lynx.
Our stock of sugar and molasses having
failed, we were obliged to have recourse to the
extract of birch to supply the deficiency. This
was obtained by perforating the trunks of the
birch trees in different places. Small slips of
bark were then introduced into each perforation,
and underneath kettles were placed to receive
the juice. This was afterwards boiled down to
the consistency of molasses, and was used with
our tea as a substitute for sugar: it is a bitter
sweet>jmd answered its purpose tolerably well.
The Flat-heads are a healthy tribe, and subject
to few diseases. Common fractures, caused by an
occasional pitch off a horse, or a fall down a declivity in the ardour of hunting, are cured by tight
bandages and pieces of wood like staves placed
longitudinally around the part, to which they are
secured by leathern thongs. For contusions they
generally bleed, either in the temples, arms,
wrists, or ancles, with pieces of sharp flint, or
Jjfgfds of arrows: they however preferred being COLD   BATHING.
bled with the lancet, and frequently brought us
patients, who were much pleased with that mode
of operation. Very little snow fell after Christmas ; butifce cold was intense, with a clear atmosphere. I experienced some acute rheumatic
attacks in the shoulders and knees, from which
I suffered much annoyance. An old Indian proposed to relieve me, provided I consented to follow the mode of cure practised by him in similar
cases on the young warriors of the tribe. On
inquiring the method he intended to pursue, he
replied that it merely consisted in getting up
early every morning for some weeks, and plunging
into the river, and to leave the rest to him. This
was a most chilling proposition, for the river was
firmly frozen, and an opening to be made in
the ice preparatory to each immersion. I asked
him, " Would it not answer equally well to have
the water brought to my bed-room?" But he
shook his head, and replied, he was surprised
that a young white chief, who ought to be wise,
should ask so foolish a question. On reflecting,
however, that rheumatism was a stranger among
Indians, while numbers of our people were mar-
tyrs to it, and, above all, that I was upwards of*
three thousand miles from any professional assistance, I determined to adopt the disagreeable expedient, and commenced operations the following
morning. The Indian first broke a hole in the
ice sufficiently large to admit us both, upon which
he made a signal that all was ready. Enveloped
in a large buffalo robe, I proceeded to the spot,
and throwing off my covering, we both jumped
into the frigid orifice together. He immediately
commenced rubbing my shoulders, back, and
loins: my hair in the mean time became ornamented with icicles ; and while the lower joints
were undergoing their friction, my face, neck,
and shoulders were incased in a thin covering of
ice. On getting released I rolled a blanket about
me, and ran back to the bed-room, in which I had
previously ordered a good fire, and in, a few mi*
nutes I experienced a warm glow all over my
body. Chilling and disagreeable as these matinal
afoittti&fls were, yet, as I found them so beneficial,
I continued them for twenty-five days, at the
expiration of which my phj&ieian was pleased to
say that no mots were necessary, and that I hal MEDICAL   TREATMENT. 251
done my a wise man.. I was never after
troubled with a rheumatic pain! One of our old
Canadians, who had been labouring many years
under a chronic rheumatism, aiked the Indian if
he could cure him in the same manner: the latter
replied it was impossible, but that he would try
another process. He accordingly constructed the
skeleton of a hut about four and a half feet high,
and three broad, in shape like a bee-hive, which
he covered with deer-skins. He then heated
some stones- in an adjoining fire, and having
placed the patient inside in a state of nudity, the
hot stones were thrown in, and water poured on
them : the entrance was then quidkjyi;closed, and
the man kept in for some time until he begged
to be released, alleging that he was nearly suffocated. On coming ou$*che was in a state of profuse
©efspiration. The Indian ordered him to be immediately enveloped in blankets and conveyed to
bed. This operation was repeated several times>
and although it did not effect a radical cure, the
violence of the pains was so far abated as to per-
Atebthe patient to follow his ordinary business,
and to enjoy his sleep in comparative ease._^fcrij 252 BELIEF.
The Flat-heads believe in the existence of a
good and evil spirit, and consequently in a future
state of rewards and punishments. They hold,
that after death the good Indian goes to a country
in which there will be perpetual summer ; that he
will meet his wife and children; that the rivers
will abound with fish, and the plains with the
much-loved buffalo; and that he will spend his
time in hunting and fishing, free from the terrors
of war, or the apprehensions of cold or famine!
The bad man, they believe, will go to a place
covered with eternal snow; that he will always
be shivering with cold, and will see fires at a
distance which he cannot enjoy; water which he
cannot procure to quench his thirst, and buffa_it|
and deer which he cannot kill to appease his hunger. An impenetrable wood, full of wolves, panthers, and serpents, separates these " shrinking
slaves of winter" from their fortunate brethren in
the " meadows of ease." Their punishment is
not however eternal, and according to the different shades of their crimes they are sooner or later
emanciplated, and permitted to join their friends
in the Elysian fields. BEAVERS.
Their code of morality, although short, is comprehensive. They say that honesty, bravery, love
of truth, attention to parents, obedience to their
chiefs, and affection for their wives and children,
are the principal virtues which entitle them to the
Ippe of happiness, while the opposite vices condemn them to that of misery. They have a curious tradition with respect to beavers. They
firmly believe that these animals are a fallen race
of Indians, who, in consequence of their wickedness, vexed the Good Spirit, and were condemned
by him to their present shape; but that in due
time they will be restored to their humanity.
They allege that he beavers have the powers of
speech ; and that they have heard them talk with
each other, and seen them sitting in council on an
offending member.
The lovers of natural history are already well
acquainted with the surprising sagacity of these
wonderful animals;'with their dexterity in cutting down trees, their skill in constructing their
houses, and their foresight in collecting and sto^
ring provisions sufficient to last them during the
winter months :   but few are aware,  I should n
imagine, of a remarkable custom among them,
which, more than any other, confirms the Indians
in believing them a fallen race. Towards the
latter end of autumn a certain number, varying
from twenty to thirty, assemble for the purpose of
JiaBdiag their winter habitations. They immediately commence cutting down trees; and nothing
can be more wonderful than the skill and patience
which they manifest in this laborious undertaking ; to see them anxiously looking up, watching
the leaning of the tree when the trunk is nearly
severed, and, when its creaking announces its ap.-
prbaching fall, to observe them scampering off ia
all directions to avoid being crushed.
When the tree is prostrate they quickly strip it
of its branches; after which, with their dental
chisels, they divide the trunk into several piece*
of equal lengths, which they roll to the rivulet
across which they intend to erect their house.
Two or three old ones generally superintend the
others; and it is no unusual sight to see them
beating those who exhibit any symptoms of lazi*
ness. Should, however, any fellow be incort^
gible, and persist in refusing:to work, he is driven INDIAN   DESIGNATIONS.
gganinjoij-sly by the whole tribe to seek shelter
and provisions elsewhere. These outlaws are
therefore obliged to pass a miserable winter, half
starved in a burrow on the banks of some stream,
where they are easily trapped. The Indians call
them "lazy beaver," and their fur is not half so
valuable as that of the other animals, whose persevering industry and prSvoyance secure them provisions and a comfortable shelter during the severity of winter.
■ftepuld not discover why the Black-feet and
Flat-heads received their respective designations;
for the feet of the former are no more inclined to
sable than any other part of the body, while the
heads of the latter possess their fair proportion of ro-?
IBgpdity. Indeed it is only below the falls and rapids
that real flat^heads appear, and at the mouth of the
l^iambia that they flourish most supernaturally.
Pierre Michel, the hunter, was the son of a
§pg$ectable Canadian by an Indian mother. He
also held the situation of interpreter, and was a
niost valuable servant of the Company, Michel
accompanied the Flat-heads on two of theirwm
H^mpajgns, and by hk unerring mm mbmMmted 256 PIERRE   MICHEL.
bravery won the affection of the whole tribe. The
war chief in particular paid great attention to his
opinion, and consulted him in any difficult matter;
Michel wanted a wife; and having succeeded in
gaining the affections of a handsome girl about
sixteen years of age, and niece to the hereditary
chieftain, he made a formal proposal for her. A
council was thereupon called, at which her uncle
presided, to take Michel's offer into consideration.
One young warrior loved her ardently, and had
obtained a previous promise from her mother that
she should be his. He, therefore, with all his relations, strongly opposed her union with Pierre,
and urged his own claims, which had been sanctioned by her mother. The war chief asked him
if she had ever promised to become his wife : he
replied in the negative. The chief then addressed
the council, and particularly the lover, in favour
of Michel's suit; pointing out the great services
he had rendered the tribe by his bravery, and
dwelling strongly on the policy of uniting him
more firmly to their interests by consenting to the
proposed marriage, which he said would for ever
make him as one of their brothers.    His influence MARRIAGE   RITES. 257
.predominated, and the unsuccessful rival immediately after shook hands with Michel, and told
the young woman, as he could not be her husband,
he hoped she would always regard him as a brother. This she readily promised to do, and so
ended the opposition. The happy Pierre presented a gun to her uncle, some cloth, calico, and
ornaments to her female relatives; with a pistol and
• handsome dagger to his friend. He proceeded in
the evening to the chief's lodge, where a number
of her friends had assembled to smoke. Here she
received a lecture from the old man, her mother,
and a few other ancients, on her duty as a wife
and mother. They strongly exhorted her to be
mhgjste, obedient, industrious, and silent; and
when absent with her husband among other tribes,
always to stay at home, and have no intercourse
with strange Indians. She then retired with the
old women to an adjoining hut, where she underwent an ablution, and bade adieu to her leathern
chemise, the place of which was supplied by one
.of gingham, to which was added a calico and
green cloth petticoat, and a gown of blue cloth,
vol. i. R 258 MARRIAGE   RITES.
-After this was over, she was conducted back to
her uncle's lodge, when she received some farther
advice as to her future conduct.    A  procession
was then formed by the two chiefs, and several
warriors carrying blazing flambeaux of cedar, to
convey the bride and her husband to the fort.
They began singing war songs in praise of Michel's
bravery, and of their triumphs over the Black-feet.
She was surrounded by a group of young and
old women, some of whom were rejoicing, and
others crying.    The men moved on first, in a slow
solemn pace,  still  chaunting their warlike epi-
thalamium.    The women followed at a short distance ; and when the whole party arrived in front
of the fort, they formed a circle, and commenced
,'dancing and singing, which they kept up about
twenty minutes.    After this the calumet of peace
went round once more, and when the smoke of
the   last   whiff  had disappeared  Michel shook
hands with his late rival, embraced the chiels,
and conducted his bride to his room.   While I
remained in the country they lived happily toge-
• ther; and as I mean to finish this chapter here, MARRIAGES.
I may as well state that he was the only person
of our party to whom the Flat-heads would give
one of their women in marriage. Several of our
men made applications, but were always refused. 260 JOURNEY   RENEWED.
Effect of snow on the eyes—Description of a winter at Oakinagan—News from the sea—Capture of Astoria by the Racoon sloop of war—Offer of Chinooks to cut off the British
—A party attacked ; Mr. Stewart wounded; two Indians j
killed—Arrival of Mr. Hunt—Shipwreck of the Lark—
Massacre of Mr. Read and eight of his men—Extraordinary I
escape of Dorrien's widow and children.
On the 4th of April, 1814, we took leave of our
Flat-head friends, on our way to Spokan House, j
while they proceeded to make preparations for
the ensuing summer's campaign. We pursued our
route partly by land, and partly by water. In
some places the snow had entirely disappeared ;
but in others, particularly the dense forests, it was
covered with a slight incrustation. CORRESPONDENCE. j26t
The sun was very hot, and where its fays' were
reflected from the congealed, or partly dissolved
masses of snow, it caused a very painful sensation
in the eyes of all, and nearly blinded half the party.
My sight was partially injured, and my nose, lips;
and cheeks, so severely scorched, that I did not
recover from the effects for more than a month after.
We arrived safely at Spokan House on the 15th,
where I found a couple of letters which had been
written to me by my friend' M'Gillivray from
Oakinagan, at which place he had wintered ; but
which, from want of a conveyance, could not be
forwarded to me from Spokan. Although accustomed to the style of living on the eastern side
of the mountains, and well acquainted with Indians, this was his first winter on the Columbia;
and, for the information of some of my readers, I
,shall give an extract from one of his letters; viz.
" Oakinagan, Feb. 1814.
" This is a  horribly dull place.    Here I have
been, since you parted from us, perfectly solus.
My men, half Canadians and half Sandwich islanders.    The library wretched, and no chance of my n
own books till next year, when the Athabasca men
cross the mountains. If you, or my friends at
Spokan, do not send me a few volumes, I shall
absolutely die of ennui. The Indians here are
incontestably the most indolent rascals I ever
met; and I assure you it requires no small degree of authority, with the few men I have, to
keep them in order. Montignier left me on the
23d of December to proceed to Mr. M'Donald at
Kamloops. On his way he was attacked by the
Indians at Oakinagan Lake, and robbed of a
number of his horses. The natives in that quarter seem to entertain no great friendship for us,
as this is not their first attempt to trespass on our
good-nature. My two Canadians were out hunting at the period of the robbery; and the whole
bf mty household troops merely consisted of Bo*
naparte! Washington!! and Cesar !!! * Great names,,
you will say; but I must confess, that much as I
think of the two great moderns, and highly as I
respect the memory of the immortal Julius, among
* The   individuals bearing   these formidable  names were
merely three unsophisticated natives of the Sandwich Islands.. CORRESPONDENCE.
these thieving scoundrels ' a rose, by any other
name, would smell as sweet.' The snow is between two and three feet deep, and my trio of
Owhyee generals find a sensible difference between such hyperborean weather and the pleasing
sun-shine of their own tropical paradise. Poor
fellows! They are not adapted for these latitudes,
and I heartily wish they were at home in their
own sweet islands, and sporting in the ' blue
summer ocean' that surrounds them.
" I have not as yet made a pack of beaver.
The lazy Indians won't work ; and as for the emperor, president, and dictator, they know as much
about trapping as the monks of La Trappe. I have
hitherto principally subsisted on horse-flesh. I
cannot say it agrees with me, for it nearly produced a dysentery. I have had plenty of pork,
rice, arrow-root, flour, taro-root, tea, and coffee;
no sugar. With such a variety of bonnes choses
you will say I ought not to complain; but want
of society has destroyed my relish for luxuries,
and the only articles I taste above par are souchong and molasses. What a contrast between
the manner I spent last year and this!   In the 26£ ARRIVALS.
first, with all the pride of a newly-created subaltern, occasionally fighting the Yankees, a la mode
du pays; and anon, sporting my silver wings before some admiring paysanne along the frontiers.
Then what a glorious winter in Montreal, with
captured Jonathans, triumphant Britons, astonished Indians, gaping habitans, agitated beauties $
balls, routs, dinners, suppers; parades, drums
beating, colours flying, with all the other ' pride,
pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!'—but
t Othello's occupation's gone!' and here I am,
with a shivering guard of poor islanders, buried
in snow, sipping molasses, smoking tobacco, and
masticating horse-flesh!—-But I am sick of the
i On the 24th of April Messrs. David Stuart and
Clarke arrived on horseback with three men.
They informed us that they had left Fort George
on the 4th in company with Mr. John George
M'Tavish and the gentlemen lately belonging
4o the Pacific Fur Company, who were British
subjects, and who were on their return home to
Canada.    They left the main party about a day's NAVAL  AFFAIRS.
march above Lewis River, for the purpose of procuring provisions at Spokan, with which they were
to meet the canoes at the Kettle Falls, and from
thence proceed up the Columbia on their route to
Canada. The intelligence brought by these gentlemen was by no means of a pleasing description.
At the period of their departure from the sea the
Isaac Tod had not arrived, nor had any accounts
been received of her. That vessel sailed from
London in March 1813, in company with the
Phoebe frigate and the Cherub and Racoon
sloops of war. They arrived safe at Rio Janeiro,
and thence proceeded round Cape Horn to the
Pacific, having previously made arrangements to
meet at Juan Fernandez. The three men-of-war
reached the latter island after encountering dreadful gales about the Cape. They waited here some
time for the arrival of the Isaac Tod; but as she
did not make her appearance, Commodore Hillier
did not deem it prudent to remain any longer inactive. He, therefore, in company with the Cherub, proceeded in search of Commodore Porter,
who, in the American frigate Essex, was clearing
the South Sea of English whalers, and inflicting p§  i _.
other injuries of a serious  nature on our com-.
At the same time he ordered Captain Black in
the Racoon to proceed direct to the Columbia,
for the purpose of destroying the American establishment at Astoria. The Racoon arrived at the
Columbia on the 1st of December 1813. The
surprise and disappointment of Captain Black and
his officers were extreme on learning the arrangement that had taken place between the two companies, by which the establishment had become
British property. They had calculated on obtaining a splendid prize by the capture of Astoria, the
strength and importance of which had been much
magnified; f and the contracting parties were
therefore fortunate in having closed their bargain
previous to the arrival of the Racoon.
Captain Black however took possession of As*
* He shortly after met the Essex at Valparaiso, and after a
severe contest captured her. She is now the convict hulk at
Kingstown near Dublin.
f On looking at the wooden fortifications, Captain Black
exclaimed, " Is this the fort about which I have heard so
much ? D—n me, but I'd batter it down in two hours with a
four-pounder!" PROPOSED   ALLIANCE. 267
toria in the name of his Britannic Majesty, and
rebaptised it by the name of " Fort George."  He
also insisted on having an inventory taken of the
valuable stock of furs,  and all other property
purchased from the American company, with a
view to the adoption of ulterior proceedings in
England for the recovery of the value from the
North-west Company;  but he subsequently relinquished this idea, and we heard no more about
his claims.   The Indians  at the mouth of the
Columbia knew well that Great Britain and America were distinct nations, and that they were
then at war, but were ignorant of the arrangement   made   between   Messrs.   M'Dougall   and
M'Tavish, the former of whom still continued as
nominal chief at the fort.    On the arrival of the
Racoon, which they quickly discovered to be one
of " King George's fighting ships," they repaired
armed to the fort, and requested an audience of
Mr. M'Dougall.    He was somewhat surprised at
their numbers and warlike appearance, and demanded the object of such an unusual visit. Com-
comly, the principal chief of the Chinooks, thereupon addressed him in a long speech;  in the 268 OVERTURES   REJECTED.
course of which he said that King George had
sent a ship full of warriors, and loaded with nothing but big guns to take the Americans, and
make them all slaves; and that as they (the
Americans) were the first white men who settled
in their country, and treated the Indians like good
relations, they had resolved to defend them from
King George's warriors, and were now ready to
conceal themselves in the woods close to the
wharf, from whence they would be able with
their guns and arrows to shoot all the men that
should attempt to land from the English boats;
while the people in the fort could fire at them
with their big guns and rifles. This proposition
was uttered with an earnestness of manner that
admitted no doubt of its sincerity: two armed
boats from the Racoon were approaching; and
had the people in the fort felt disposed to accede
to the wishes of the Indians, every man in them
would have been destroyed by an invisible enemy.
Mr. M'Dougall thanked them for their friendly
offer; but added that, notwithstanding the nations
were at war, the people in the boats would not
injure him or any of his people, and therefore INDIAN   ATTACK. 269
requested them to throw by their war-shirts and
arms, and receive the strangers as their friends.
They at first seemed astonished at this answer;
but on assuring them in the most positive manner
that he was under no apprehensions, they consented to give up their weapons for a few days.
They afterwards declared they were sorry for
having complied with Mr. M'Dougall's wishes;
for when they observed Captain Black surrounded
jpjy. his officers and marines, break the bottle of
port on the flag-staff, and hoist the British ensign
after changing the name of the fort, they remarked
that, however we might wish to conceal the fact,
the Americans were undoubtedly made slaves ;
and they were not convinced of their mistake until
the sloop of war had departed without taking any
Mr. Stuart farther informed us, that a party of
seventeen men under the command of Messrs.
James Keith and Alexander Stewart, which had
left Fort George early in January with merchandise for the interior,  had been attacked by the
p^ttives between the first and second portages of
the first rapids; that Mr. Stewart was danger- 270 CONTEST.
ously wounded by two arrows, one of which entered his left shoulder, and the other penetrated
between his ribs close to the heart, notwithstanding which he succeeded in shooting two of the
savages dead. By this time some of the men came
to his assistance, and for a while succeeded in
keeping back their assailants, who every moment
became more daring, and evinced not merely a
determination to revenge the death of their countrymen, but to seize and carry away all the merchandise in the portage. Mr. Keith having observed a large reinforcement of the savages from
the opposite side approach in their war-canoes,
to join those by whom Mr. Stewart was surrounded, and seeing that gentleman's wounds
bleeding profusely, felt that it would have been
foolish obstinacy, and would have produced an
unnecessary sacrifice of lives to remain longer in
such a dangerous situation. He therefore determined to abandon the goods ; and having embarked Mr. Stewart, the whole party'pushed off
in one canoe, leaving the other, with all the property, to the mercy of the Indians. The latter
were so overjoyed at becoming masters of such an WARLIKE   EXPEDITION.
unexpected quantity of plunder, that they allowed the party to effect their retreat unmolested;
and on the second day the canoe reached Fort
Among the goods thus abandoned were upwards of fifty guns, and a considerable quantity
of ammunilaen, which, if allowed to remain in the
hknds of the savages, might have been turned
against us on a future occasion ; and as this was
the first attack which had proved successful, the
proprietors at once determined not to allow it to
pass with impunity. They accordingly sent Mr.
Franchere to the principal friendly chiefs in the
vicinity of the fort for the purpose of acquainting
them with the late occurrence, and inviting them
to join our people in their intended expedition
against the enemy. They readily consented,
and on the following morning a brigade of six
canoes, containing sixty-two men, under the command of Messrs. M'Tavish, Keith, Franchere,
Matthews, &c. took their departure from Fort
Having no lading, they quickly reached the
rapids.   Every thing there appeared hostile.   The ^*
warriors lined the beach at different places well
armed, and the old men, women, and children
were invisible. A council of war was immediately held, at which two chiefs of the Clatsops
(one of whom was an old female) were present.
They advised the gentlemen to assume the ap-
. pearance of friendship; and after entering into a
parley with the natives, and inviting them to
smoke, to seize one of their chiefs, and detain him
as a hostage until the property should be restored.
This advice was followed, and succeeded to perfection. Having by some coaxing, and repeated
offers of the calumet, collected a number of the
natives about them, to whom they made trifling
presents of tobacco, they were at length joined by
the principal chief of the place, who had for some
time cautiously kept out of view. He was in-
stantly seized, bound hand and foot, and thrown
into a tent, with two men to guard him armed
with drawn swords. The others were then sent
away, with directions to acquaint their countrymen of their chiefs captivity, and were told that
if the entire of the property was not forthwith restored, he should be put to death.    This had the
desired effect, and shortly after all the guns, part
of the kettles, and nearly one half of the other
goods were brought back. They declared they
could not recover any more, and asked our gentlemen, " would they not allow them any thing
to place over the dead bodies of their two relations,
who had been killed by Mr. Stewart ?"
The mostjijpportant object of the expedition
having been thus attained without bloodshed,
and as the aggressors had been pretty severely
punished in the first instance, the party deemed
it both humane and prudent to rest satisfied with
what they had recovered. They also felt that an
unnecessary waste of human blood might prove
ultimately prejudicial to their own interests, by
raising up a combined force of natives, against
whom their limited numbers would find it impossible to contend. They therefore gave the
chief his liberty, and presented him with a flag,
telling him at the same time, that whenever that
was presented to them unfurled they would consider it as a sign of friendship; but that if any of
his tribe ever approached them without displaying
this emblem of peace, it would be taken as a
vol. i. s 274 ARRIVAL   AND   NARRATIVE.
symptom of hostility, and treated as such. The
chief promised faithfully to abide by this engagement, and the parties then separated.
Mr. Hunt,* late of the Pacific Fur Company,
arrived at Fort George early in February this
year, in a brig which he had purchased at the
Sandwich Islands. When the Beaver had left
the Columbia, this gentleman embarked in her on
a trading voyage to the northward, which proved
very successful. At the termination of her northern
trip the season was too far advanced to permit her
returning to the Columbia, in consequence of
which Mr. Hunt sent her on to Canton, and embarked on board an American trading vessel on
the coast. Shortly after the unwelcome intelligence of the war reached him; and finding no vessel bound for the Columbia, he proceeded in the
trader to the Sandwich Islands. He did not remain long here, when he re-embarked on board
another trader, and after traversing an immea^l
space of the Pacific Ocean, in the course of which
he encountered many dangers, returned again to the
islands. At Whoahoo he purchased a brig called
the Pedler, and was preparing to come in her to SHIPWRECK   OF   THE   LARK.
the Columbia, when he was informed by some of
the natives that an American vessel had been
wrecked on the island of Tahoorowa. He instantly repaired thither, and found Captain Northrop, late commander of the ship Lark, with several
of his crew, all in a state of great destitution. The
Lark had been despatched from New York by Mr.
Astor, freighted with provisions and merchandise
for the establishment at the Columbia. After
escaping various British cruisers, she made an
lejsc&Uent passage, until she arrived within about
three hundred miles of the Sandwich Islands,
when a sudden squall threw her on her beam
ends. By this unfortunate accident the second
mate and four men perished. The captain, however, and the rest of the crew, by cutting away
the masts, succeeded in righting her; but she was
completely water-logged. With much difficulty
they hoisted a sail on a small jury foremast. They
fortunately got out of the cabin a box containing
a few dozen of wine; on which, with the raw
flesh of a shark they had caught, they supported
nature thirteen days! At the end of this period
the trade-winds, which had been, for some time 276
favourable, drove the vessel on the rocky coast of
Tahoorowa, where she went to pieces. The captain and his surviving crew were saved and kindly
treated by the natives, who however plundered
the wreck of all the property they could find.
Mr. Hunt took Captain Northrop and his men
on board the brig^ and sailed forthwith for the.
Columbia, which he reached in the beginning of
February. Being ignorant of the events that had
occurred during his absence, he was confounded
at the iitelligence he received; and censured in
strong terms the precipitate manner in which the
sale had been effected. It was, however, irrevocable, and he was obliged to submit.
Having no farther business at Fort George,
Mr. Hunt determined on returning to the United
States without loss of time. He took on board
such American citizens as preferred returning
home by sea to crossing the continent, and after
rather a tedious voyage they all arrived safely; at* r
New York.*
* Mr. Hunt subsequently returned to St. Louis, at the entrance of the Missouri, in which neighbourhood he possessed'
extensive property, and from accounts which I have recently
We also learned from Messrs. Stuart and Clarke
the following melancholy intelligence:—On their
way up, a few miles above the Wallah Wallah
river, they were followed by .some Indian canoes,
from one of which a voice hailed them in French,
and requested them to stop. They accordingly
put ashore, and were joined by the Indians, among
whom they were surprised to find the widow of
Pierre Dorrie'n, (a half-bred hunter, who had accompanied Mr. Read to the country of the Shoshone's the preceding autumn, as already mentioned,) with her two children. She told them,
that shortly after Mr. Read had built his house
she proceeded, with her husband and two other
huntersViiamed Peznor and Le Clerc, between four
and five days' march from the post to a part of the
country well stocked with beaver, of which they
succeeded in trapping a considerable quantity.
One evening about the beginning of January,
while the poor fellows were thus occupied, Le
Clerc staggered into her hut mortally wounded.
received, I feel pleasure in stating, has been elevated to the
important office of governor of the state. A more estimable
individual could not be selected for the situation. 278 FEMALE   HARDIHOOD.
He had merely strength sufficient to acquaint her
that the savages had suddenly fallen on them
while they were at their traps, and had killed her
husband and Peznor:—he was then proceeding to
give her directions as to the best means of effecting her escape; but ere he had concluded, death
terminated his existence.
With that courage and self-possession of which |
few Indian women are devoid in times of necessity*
she at once determined on flying from a spot so
dangerous. With considerable difficulty she suc^
ceeded in catching two horses. On one she
placed her clothes, a small quantity of dried
salmon, and some beaver meat which remained in
the hut. She mounted on the other with her two
children, th&$lder of whom was^only three yea$§^
old, and the other did not exceed four months.
Thus provided, she commenced her journey towards Mr. Read's establishment. On the third
day she observed a number of Indians on horseback galloping in an easterly direction : she immediately dismounted with the children, and was
fortunate enough to escape unnoticed. That night
she slept without fire or water.   Late in the even* FEMALE   HARDIHOOD.
ing of the fourth day, on which she expected to
have arrived at Mr. Read's house, she came in
sight of the spot on which it had stood ; but was
horror-struck at beholding there only a smoking
ruin, with fresh marks of blood scattered all
.around. Her fortitude, however, did not forsake
her, and she determined to ascertain whether any
of the party were still living.
Having concealed the children and horses in an
adjoining cluster of trees, she armed herself with
a tomahawk and a large knife, and after night-fall
she cautiously crept towards the scene of carnage.
All was silent and lonely, and at every step fresh
traces of blood met her view. Anxious to ascertain if any had escaped the massacre, she repeatedly called out the various names of the
party, but no voice responded. By the expiring glare of the smouldering timbers she observed a band of prairie wolves engaged in a sanguinary banquet. The sound of her voice scared
.them, and they fled. Fearful that they might
bend their way to the spot in which she had deposited her precious charge, she hastened thither, "I
and arrived just in time to save her children from
three of those ferocious animals which were then
approaching them.
intern thence she proceeded the following morning towards a range of mountains not far from the
upper parts of the Wallah Wallah river, where
she intended to remain the rest of the winter.
This place she reached on the next day in a state
of great exhaustion from the want of food. Fortunately she had a buffalo robe and two or three
deer skins, with which, aided by some pine bark
and cedar branches, she constructed a wigwam
that served to shelter her tolerably well from the
inclemency of the weather. The spot she chose
was a rocky recess close by a mountain spring.
She was obliged to kill the two horses for food,
the meat of which she smoke-dried, and the skins
served as an additional covering to her frail habitation. In this cheerless and melancholy solitude the wretched widow and her two poor orphans dragged on a miserable existence during a
severe season. Towards the latter end of March
she had nearly consumed the last of her horse- FEMALE   HARDIHOOD. 281
flesh, in consequence of which she found it necessary to change her quarters. During the whole
of this period she saw none of the natives, or any
indication of human habitations. Having packed
up as much covering and dried meat as she
could carry, she placed it with her younger child
on her back, and taking the elder by the hand,
she bade adieu to her wintry encampment. After
crossing the ridge of mountains she fell on the
Wallah Wallah river, along the banks of which
she continued until she arrived at its junction
with the Columbia. Her reception and treatment by the tribe at that place was of the most
cordial and hospitable description; and she had
been living with them about a fortnight when
the canoes passed, and took her up to Oakinagan. %^4?
The house that had been built by Mr. Read
had no paling or defence of any kind; and as the
'men were constantly out hunting, or procuring
provisions, she supposed he had not mc:e than
one or two with him at the time they were attacked, and that the others had been cut off in
the same manner as her husband and his compa- 282 DREADFUL   OCCURRENCE.
nions. She could not assign any reason for this
butchery, and up to the period I quitted the country the cause of it was never satisfactorily ascertained. Some imagined that it was committed
by the tribe to which the man belonged that had
been hanged by Mr. Clarke, in revenge for his
death; but this could not have been the case; for,
leaving the policy or impolicy of that execution
out of the question, we subsequently learned that
his tribe inhabited the upper parts of Lewis River,
and never crossed the mountains beyond which
Mr. Read had formed his establishment.
From the quantity of blood Dorrien's widow
saw, she thinks that several of the savages must
have been killed or wounded before their bloodthirsty efforts were crowned with such fatal
Mr. Read was a rough, warm-hearted, brave,
old Irishman.    Owing to some early disappointments in life he had quitted his native country 1
while a young man, in search of wealth among
Where beasts with man divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim ;
and after twenty-five years of toils, dangers, and
privations, added another victim to the long list
of those who have fallen sacrifices to Indian
treachery. 284
Arrival of .the Isaac Tod—Miss Jane Barnes, a white woman
—Murder of one of our men by Indians—Trial and execution of the murderers—Death of Mr. Donald M'Tavish
and five men.
We left Spokan House on the 25th of May,
and reached Oakinagan on the 29th, where I
found my disconsolate friend, the ex-subaltern,
just recovering from the melancholy into which
his hibernal solitude had thrown him. The different parties having now assembled, we all
started for the sea on the 30th of May, and on
the 11th of June arrived at Fort George. We
were highly gratified at finding the so long expected Isaac Tod safe at anchor. After parting
company with  the men-of-war off Cape Horn, THE RACOON. 285
she touched at Juan Fernandez and the Galli-
pagos Islands, from whence she proceeded to
Monterey, a Spanish settlement on the coast of
California, for provisions. Here the captain was
informed that a British man-of-war had put into
San Francisco in distress, and was unable to leave
it. This latter place is also a Spanish establishment, and is situate in Lat. 38° N., about two degrees to the southward of Monterey. Captain
Smith of the Isaac Tod immediately proceeded
thither, and found the vessel alluded to was the
Racoon sloop of war, commanded by Captain
Black. This vessel, on quitting the Columbia,
struck several times on the. bar, and was so severely damaged in consequence, that she was
obliged to make for San Francisco, which port
she reached in a sinking state, with seven feet
water in her hold. Finding- it impossible to procure the necessary materials there to repair the
damage, Captain Black and his officers had determined to abandon the vessel, and proceed overland
to the Gulf of Mexico, whence they could have,
obtained a passage to England; but when the
Isaac Tod arrived they succeeded, with her as- 286 ARRIVAL   OF   THE   ISAAC   TOD.
sistance, in stopping the teaks, and putting the
Racoon in good sailing order; after which the
Isaac Tod weighed anchor, and on the 17th of
April crossed the bar of the Columbia, after a
voyage of thirteen months from England.
She brought out the following passengers ; viz.
Messrs. Donald M'Tavish and John M'Donald,
proprietors; and Messrs. Alexander and James
M'Tavish, Alexander Fraser, and Alexander
M'Kenzie^ clerks, with Doctor Swan, a medical
gentleman engaged as resident physician at the
; The two first-named gentlemen, from their long
experience of Indian living, knew well the little
luxuries that would be most grateful to men so
long debarred from the enjoyments of civilised-
life; and they accordingly brought out a few
casks of bottled porter, some excellent cheese,
and a quantity of prime English beef, which they
had dressed and preserved in a peculiar manner
in tin cases impervious to air; so that we could
say we ate fresh beef which had been, killed and
dressed m England thirteen months before! Acceptable as were these refreshers to our memory
'vftfte: MISS   JANE   BARNES. 287
of " lang syne," they brought out another object
which more strongly recalled to our semi-bar-
barised ideas the thoughts of our " dear native
home," than all the other bonnes choses contained in
the vessel. This was neither more nor less than a
flaxen-haired, blue-eyed daughter of Albion, who,
in a temporary fit of erratic enthusiasm, had consented to become le compagnon du voyage of Mr.
Mac .    Miss Jane Barnes had been a lively
bar-maid at an hotel in Portsmouth, at which Mr.
Mae had stopped preparatory to his embark-
ation. This gentleman, being rather of an
amorous temperament, proposed the trip to Miss
Jane, who, " nothing loth," threw herself on his
protection, regardless of consequences, and after
encountering the perils of a long sea voyage, found
herself an object of interest to the residents at the
fort, and the greatest curiosity that ever gratified
the wondering eyes of the blubber-loving aboriginals of the north-west coast of America. The
Indians daily thronged in numbers to our
fort for the mere purpose of gazing on, and
admiring the fair beauty, every article of
whose dress was examined with the most minute 288 PROPOSALS   OF   MARRIAGE.
scrutiny. She had rather an extravagant wardrobe, and each day exhibited her in a new dress,
which she always managed in a manner to display,
her figure to the best advantage. One day, her
head, decorated with feathers and flowers, produced the greatest surprise ; the next, her hair,
braided and unconcealed by any covering, excited:
equal wonder and admiration. The young women
felt almost afraid to approach her, and the old
were highly gratified at being permitted to touch
her person. Some of the chiefs having learned
that her protector intended to send her home,,
thought to prevent such a measure by making
proposals of marriage. One of them in particular,
the son of Comcomly, the principal chief of the,
Chinooks, came to the fort attired in his richest
dress, his face fancifully bedaubed with red paint,
and his body redolent of whale oil. He was young,
and had four native wives. He told her, that if
she would become his wife, he would send one
hundred sea-otters to her relations; that he would
never ask her to carry wood, draw water, dig for
roots, or hunt for provisions ; that he would make
her mistress over his other wives, and permit her REJECTED   ADDRESSES. 289
to sit at her ease from morning to night, and
wear her own clothes;* that she should always
have abundance of fat salmon, anchovies, and elk,
and be allowed to smoke as many pipes of tobacco
during the day as she thought proper; together
with many other flattering inducements, the tithe
of which would have shaken the constancy of a
score of the chastest brown vestals that ever
flourished among the lower tribes of the Columbia.
These tempting offers, however, had no charms
for Jane. Her long voyage had not yet eradicated
certain Anglican predilections respecting mankind,
which she had contracted in the country of her
birth, and among which she did not include a flat
head, a half-naked body, or a copper-coloured
skin besmeared with whale oil.
Her native inamorato made several other ineffectual proposals; but finding her inflexible, he
declared he would never more come near the fort
while she remained there. We shortly afterwards
learned that he had concerted a plan with some
daring young men of his tribe to carry her off
* Meaning that he would not insist on her wearing the light
covering of the Indian females.
VOL.  I. T 290
wfeile she was walking on the beach, (her general
custom every evening while the gentlemen were
at dinner,) a practice which, after this information,
she was obliged to discontinue.
Mr. Mac  at first intended to have brought
her with him across the continent to Montreal; but
on learning the impracticability of her performing
such an arduous journey, he abandoned that idea,
and made arrangements with the captain for her
return to England by way of Canton. A few
words more, and I shall have done with Miss
Barnes. On the arrival of the vessel at Canton
she became an object of curiosity and admiration
■among the inhabitants of the " Celestial Empire."
An English gentleman of great wealth, connected
with the East-India Company, offered her a
splendid establishment. It was infinitely superior to any of the proposals made by the Chinook
nobility, and far beyond any thing she could ever
expect in England: it was therefore prudently
#©eepted, and the last account I heard of her stated
that she was then enjoying all the luxuries of
eastern magnificence.*
* Miss Barnes was fond of quotations ; but she was no Blue. CHARCOAL    BURNERS. 291
About a month after the arrival of the Isaac
Tod a circumstance occurred which, as it caused
a considerable sensation for some time, I shall
fully relate.
About two miles at the rear of the fort, on the
Clatsop River, a place had been established for
making charcoal.    One of the men employed at
One of the clerks was one day defending the native and half-
bred women, whose characters she had violently attacked, and
he recriminated in no very measured language on the conduct
of the white ladies : " O Mr. Mac !" said she, " I suppose you
agree with Shakspeare that " Every woman is at heart a
rake?"—"Pope, ma'am, if you please."—" Pope! Pope!"
replied Jane. " Bless me, sir! you must be wrong ; rake is
certainly the word.—I never heard of but one female Pope."
Then, in order to terminate the argument, she pretended to read
an old newspaper which she held in her hand. He quickly
discovered by her keeping the wrong end uppermost that she
did not know a syllable of its contents. He quitted her abruptly ; and as he was coming out I met him at the door, a
wicked and malicious grin ruffling his sun-burnt features.
" Well, Mac," said I, |* what's the matter ? You seem annoyed."—"What do you think?" he replied, "lhave just
had a conversation with that fine-looking damsel there, who
looks down with such contempt on our women, and may I be
d—d if the b—h understands B from a buffalo !"
Her supposed education was the only excuse in his opinion
to justify her usurpation of superiority ;—that gone, he judged
her "poor indeed." 292
this business was a poor half-witted American
from Boston, named Judge, who had crossed the
continent with Mr. Hunt's party, and whose sufferings during that journey had partially deranged
his intellect. He was however a capital woodsman; and few men could compete with him, as
he said himself, in hewing down forests " by the
acre." His comrade had been absent one day selecting proper wood for charcoal, and on returning
to the lodge in the evening he found the body of the
unfortunate Judge lying stretched on the ground,
with his skull completely cleft in two by the blow
of an axe which was lying beside him steeped in
blood. He instantly repaired to the fort, and
communicated the dreadful intelligence; upon
which a party was despatched for the mangled
remains of poor Judge.
Mr. M'Tavish forthwith summoned all the
neighbouring chiefs to attend at the fort; and on
the following day there was a congress of representatives from the Chinooks, Chilts, Clais&ps,
Killymucks, and Cathlamahs. They could not
assign any reason for the murder; nor indeed
could any one, for Judge was the most harmless NIGHT   EXPEDITION. 293
individual belonging to our establishment. They
promised, however, that every exertion should be
made on their part for the discovery of the perpetrators; and Mr. M'Tavish offered a large reward for their apprehension. Some time elapsed
in vain inquiry; but, through the agency of the
Clatsop chief, we received private information
that the murderers were two of the Killymucks,
and that if we sent a party well armed to his
village, he would render every assistance to
take them into custody. Mr. Matthews and
seven men were accordingly ordered on this
dangerous duty. They proceeded early in the
day in a canoe up the Clatsop River, as if on
a hunting excursion, and stopped late in the evening at a place previously agreed on, where they
were joined by three Clatsops and a Killymuck,
who was the informer. After night-fall they continued on until they arrived at the Killymuck
village, when they landed. The informer having
pointed out the lodges in which the murderers
slept, and told their names, separated from the
party. Mr. Matthews immediately proceeded to
the chief's dwelling, and made him acquainted
L ii
with the object of his visit. He appeared somewhat surprised; but stated, that having promised
to assist in discovering them, he would not oppose
their apprehension, provided they were allowed a
fair trial, and that nothing should befall them but
on the clearest testimony. This was of course
agreed to; and Mr. Matthews, with his party,
then cautiously approached the habitations of the
two delinquents, which were adjoining each other;
and having divided his men, leaving the Clatsops
to mind the canoe, they entered the houses, and
succeeded in seizing, binding, and hurrying the
prisoners on board before the village was alarmed.
The men paddled hard until they arrived at the
Clatsop village, where they stopped to rest, and
the following morning at day-break they reached
Fort George in safety. The day subsequent to
that of our arrival was fixed for the trial. It was
held in the large dining-hall; and the jury was
composed of the gentlemen belonging to the
Company, with an equal number of Indians,
consisting of chiefs and chieftainesses, for among
these tribes old women possess great authority. It
appeared in the course of the investigation that EVIDENCK   ON   TRIAL. 295
revenge was the cause of the murder. About
two years before this period, while houses were
being built for the men, the greater number of
them were lodged in tents and huts about the
fort, from which the Indians were constantly in
the practice of pilfering whatever they could lay
their hands on; particularly at night, when the
workmen were buried in sleep after the labour of
the day.
Judge and three others were lodged together;
and one night, when it was supposed they were
fast asleep, one of them heard the noise of footsteps outside approaching the tent. Through a slit
in the canvass he ascertained they were natives,
and without awaking his comrades, he cautiously
unsheathed his sword, and waited a few minu$e$
in silence, watching their motions, until they at
length reached the tent, the lower part of which
they were in the act of raising, when, by a des-
perate,biow of the sword, he severely cut one of
then* arms. The savage gave a dreadful yell,
and the panadian rushed out, when he distinctly
j^reeived two Indians running away quickly, and
disappear in the gloom of the forest behind.   Tte II
circumstance made some noise at the time; the
parties were not discovered, and in a few weeks
the event was forgotten by our people ; but it was
not so with. the savages. They harboured the
most deep and deadly revenge; and thinking that
Judge was the person who had inflicted the wound,
they determined to wreak their vengeance on him.
For this purpose they had been for nearly two
years occasionally lurking about the fort, until
the fatal opportunity presented itself of gratifying
their demoniacal passion. On the day of the .
murder, after Judge's comrade had quitted the
lodge, they stole unperceived on him, and while he
was engaged at the fire they felled him to the
ground with a blow of his own axe, after which ?
they split his skull, and made their escape. All
these facts were brought out during the trial,
which lasted the greater part of the day. Several
of the witnesses underwent a strict cross-examination, particularly by the old women, who
evinced much more acuteness than was displayed
by the chiefs.
The prisoners made no defence, and observed a
sulky taciturnity during the whole of the proce©^ CONVICTION   AND   SENTENCE.
ings. They were found guilty by the unanimous
verdict of the jury, and sentenced to be shot the
following morning. They showed no signs of
repentance or sorrow; and on being led out of
the hall, the fellow whose arm had been cut held
it up, and exclaimed, " Were I now free, and he
alive, I would do the same thing again !"
About nine o'clock the next morning they were
brought from the guard-house pinioned, and conducted to the farther end of the wharf, at which
place it was arranged they were to suffer. Twenty-
four men were selected by ballot to carry the
dreadful sentence into execution under the command of Mr. M , to whom the lot fell. Immense numbers of Indians belonging to the various
surrounding nations were in attendance; some on
shore, and others in canoes. The guns on the
battery and in the bastions were loaded with
grape, and attended by men with slow matches.
The remainder of our people were drawn up in
front of the fort, all armed with muskets and
bayonets. The culprits made considerable opposition to their being tied together, and refused to
kneeJ,$_g. allow the caps to be drawn over their m
eyes. At length, between force and entreaty*
these preliminaries were accomplished, and orders
were given to fire. After the discharge a loud
and frightful yell was sent forth from the surrounding savages; but they remained tranquil.
On the smoke clearing away, it was perceived
that both the unfortunate men were still alive,
although several  balls   had  taken   effect.    Mr.
M ordered the party to reload quickly, and
a second volley was discharged: one only was
killed; and as the other made repeated attempts
to rise, and appeared to suffer great agony, he
was despatched by one of the men, who fired a
ball through his head. The party then gave three
cheers, and retired to the fort, while the friends
and relatives of the deceased took away their
bodies amidst the greatest lamentations; during
which not a murmur was heard, or the slightest;
symptom of disapprobation expressed. Shortly
after a number of the chiefs and elders came up
to the fort, when Mr. M'Tavish invited them
into the hall, to thank them for their assistance ;
and having paid the promised rewards, and made
various presents,  they smoked the  calumet ©f FATAL   ACCIDENT.
peace, and departed for their respective villages,
apparently much gratified with the manner they
had been treated.
Scarcely was this tragedy ended when one
more fatal to the interests of the Company occurred by the melancholy and untimely death of
Mr. Donald M'Tavish. This gentleman had embarked in an open boat, with six voyageurs, to
proceed to the opposite side of the Columbia. It
blew a stiff gale ; and about the middle of the
river, owing to some mismanagement of the sail, a
heavy wave struck the boat, which instantly filled
and went down. With the exception of one man,
they all perished: he succeeded in gaining a snag
which was a few feet above the water, and on
which he remained for nearly two hours, until he
was rescued when in a state of great exhaustion
by two Chinooks, who proceeded to his assistance
in a small canoe. Thus perished the respected
Mr. Donald M'Tavish, one of the oldest proprietors of the North-west Company, and for many
years the principal director for managing the
affairs of the interior. He had realised an independent fortune; and had, in fact, retired from
m 300
the Company, when he volunteered his services
to organise the new department of Columbia;
after effecting which object it was his intention to
have crossed the continent to Canada, and from
thence to proceed to Scotland, where he had purchased an estate, on which, after a life of fatigues
and hardships, he had hoped to spend an old age
of ease and comfort. Mr. M'Tavish was a man
of bold, decided character. His enmity was open
and undisguised; his friendship warm and sincere. Sprung from a comparatively humble origin,
he was the founder of his own fortune; and merit
with him was sure to be appreciated without
reference to a man's family or connexions.
, The day after this melancholy event the body
of the lamented gentleman, with those of four of
the men, were found, and interred in a handsome
spot behind the north-east bastion of Fort George,
where a small monument, tolerably well engraved;
points to the future Indian trader the last earthly
remains of the enterprising Donald M'Tavish.
Sketch of the Indians about the mouth of the Columbia—Process of flattening the head—Thievish disposition—Treatment
of their slaves—Suggestions to the missionary societies —
Dreadful ravages of the small-pox—Jack Ramsay—Their
ideas of religion—Curious superstition—Marriage ceremonies—Anecdote—Aversion to ardent spirits—Government—
War—Arms and Armour—Canoes and houses—System of
cooking—Utensils—Gambling—Haiqua—Quack doctors-
Mode of burial.
We remained a couple of months this summer
at Fort George, making the necessary arrangements for our winter's campaign. During this
period we made several excursions on pleasure or
business to the villages of the various tribes, from
one to three days' journey from the fort. They
differ little from each other in laws, manners, or 302
customs,  and were  I to make a distinction,  I
would say the Cathlamahs are the most tranquil,
the Killymucks the most roguish,  the Clatsops
the most honest, and the Chinooks the most incontinent.    The Chilts, a small tribe who inhabit
the coast to the northward of Cape Disappoint-!
ment,   partake in some degree of these various,!
qualities.    The abominable custom of flattening!
their  heads   prevails   among them all.    Immediately after birth the infant is placed in a kind of
oblong cradle formed like a trough, with moss
under it.    One end, on which the head reposes,
is more elevated than the rest.    A padding is then J
placed on the forehead with a piece of cedar-bark
over it, and by means of cords passed through
small holes on each side of the cradle the padding|
is pressed against the head.    It is kept in thisi
manner upwards of a year, and is not I believe
attended with much pain.    The appearance of the!
infant, however, while in this state of compression1,1
is frightful, and its little black eyes, forced out by
the tightness of the bandages, resemble those of a
mouse choked in a trap.    When  released from
this inhuman process, the head is perfectly flat- OTHER   DEFORMITIES.
tened, and the upper part of it seldom exceeds an
inch in thickness. It never afterwards recovers
its rotundity. They deem this an essential point
of beauty, and the most devoted adherent of our
first Charles never entertained a stronger aversion
to a Round-head than these savages.*
They allege, as an excuse for this custom, that
all their slaves have round heads; and accordingly
every child of a bondsman, who is not adopted by
the tribe, inherits not only his father's degradation, but his parental rotundity of cranium.
This deformity is unredeemed by any peculiar
beauty either in features or person. The height
of the men varies from five feet to five feet six
inches ; that of the women is generally six or eight
inches less. The nose is rather flat, with distended
nostrils; and a mouth, seldom closed, exposes to
view an abominable set of short dirty irregular
teeth. The limbs of the men are in general well-
shaped ; but the women, owing to tight ligatures
* Doctor Swan, on examining the skulls I had taken, candidly confessed that nothing short of ocular demonstration could
have convinced him of the possibility of moulding the human
head into inch a form. 304
which they wear on the lower part of the legs, are
quite bandy, with thick ankles, and broad flat feet.
They have loose hanging breasts, slit ears, and
perforated noses, which, added to greasy heads,
and bodies saturated with fish-oil, constitute the
sum total of their personal attractions.
The good qualities of these Indians are few;
their vices many. Industry, patience, sobriety
and ingenuity nearly comprise the former; while
in the latter may be classed, thieving, lying, incontinence, gambling, and cruelty. They are
also perfect hypocrites. Each tribe accuses the
other of " envy, hatred, malice, and all uncha-
ritableness." Even the natives of the same
village, while they feign an outward appearance
of friendship, indulge in a certain propensity's
called back-biting; in this respect differing but
little from the inhabitants of more civilised countries, among whom the prevalence of such ill-
natured practices has by certain envious and
satirical coffee-drinkers been unjustly attributed
to the scandalising influence of tea.
Their bravery is rather doubtful; but what they
want in courage they make up in effrontery.  Fear THIEVING   PROPENSITIES. 305
alone prevents them from making any open or
violent attempt at robbery; and their offences
under this head, in legal parlance, may more
strictly be styled petty larcenies. I have seen a
fellow stopped on suspicion of stealing an axe.
He denied the charge with the most barefaced
impudence ; and when the stolen article was
pulled from under his robe, instead of expressing
any regret, he burst out laughing, and alleged fie
was only joking. One of the men gave him a few
kicks,' which he'endured with great sang-froid ;
and on joining his companions, they received him
with smiling countenances, and bantered him on
the failure of his attempt. They seldom make any
resistance to these summary punishments; and
if the chastisement takes place in the presence
of a chief, he seems delighted at the infliction.
They purchase slaves from the neighbouring
tribes for beaver, otter, beads, &c. I could never
learn whether any were taken by them in war.
While in good health, and able to work, they are
well treated; but the moment they fall sick, or
become unfit for labour, the unfortunate slaves are
totally neglected, and left to perish in the most
vol. i. u 306 INCONTINENCE.
miserable manner. After death their bodies are
thrown without any ceremony at the trunk of a
tree, or into an adjoining wood. It sometimes
happens that a slave is adopted by a family ; in
which case he is permitted to marry one of the
tribe, and his children, by undergoing the flattening process, melt down into the great mass of the
Chastity is an item seldom inscribed on the
credit side of their account current with futurity.
Indeed a strict observance of it before marriage is
not an article of their moral code.
Formerly an act of post-nuptial incontinence
subjected the woman to the loss of life; but in
latter times infractions of conjugal rights are often
connived at, or if committed sans permission, only
slightly punished.*
Numbers of the women reside during certain
periods of the year in small huts about the fort,
from which it is difficult to keep the men. They
generally retire with the fall of the leaf to their
* We were told by an old man that he knew but of one instance in which a husband killed his wife for infidelitv.
respective villages, and during the winter months
seldom visit Fort George. But on the arrival of
the spring and autumn brigades from the interior
they pour in from all parts, and besiege our
voyageurs much after the manner which their frail
sisters at Portsmouth adopt when attacking the
crews of a newly arrived India fleet. Mothers
participate with their daughters in the proceeds
arising from their prostitution; and, in many instances, husbands share with their wives the wages
of infamy. Disease is the natural consequence of
this state of general demoralisation, and numbers
of the unfortunate beings suffer dreadfully from
the effects of their promiscuous intercourse.
Now that the North-west and Hudson's Bay
Companies have become united, and that rivalship
in trade cannot be brought forward as an excuse
for corrupting Indians, it would be highly desirable
that the missionaries would turn their thoughts to
4hisj remote and too long neglected corner of the
globe. Their pious labours have already effected
wonders in the comparatively small islands of the
Pacific, where idolatry, human sacrifices, and
other crimes more revolting to humanity, have 308'
been abolished. I woulditherefore respectfully
suggest to the consideration of the benevolent in-,
dividuals who constitute the missionary societies,
the propriety of extending the sphere of their.
exertions to the North-west coast of America, and
from thence through the interior of that vast continent; the aboriginal inhabitants of which, with
the exception of Canada and a very trifling part of
the frontiers, are still buried in the deepest igrio^
ranee: During the period that France held pos^
session of the Canadas the Jesuits made wondlifl_§|
progress in converting the Ind ians, and most of the
natives of the two provinces are now ChristianstPlfi|j
my journey across the continent small wooden huts;
ornamented with crucifixes and other symbols of
Christianity^situated from five to seven hundred
miles beyond the limits of civilisation were pointed
out to me, which had been formerly inhabited by
these'enterprising missionaries in their progress
through the wilderness. These dwellings are now
deserted ;' but are still regarded with pious reverence by the' thoughtless voyageurs: and even the
poor Indians, who by the cessation of the Jesuit
missions, have relapsed into their former habits, pay INDIAN   CONVERSION. 309
the utmost respect to the houses, which were inhabited, as they say, by g the good white fathers,
who, unlike other white men, never robbed or
cheated them." Since the annexation of Canada
to the British crown Indian conversion has almost
ceased ; or has made, at most, a slow and sickly
progress. Their moral amelioration is completely
neglected by both English and Americans ; and it
is only in periods of war that we pay them any
attention. The first settlers of the United States
did not act so. They fought their way through the
country with the Bible in one hand and the sword
in the other; and it was not until the former ceased
to convince that recourse was had to the latter.
Objectionable, however, as this system, undoubtedly was, the plan adopted by the modern Americans
is more so. Their anti-republican love of aggrandisement, by the continual-extension of their territorial possessions, must sooner or later destroy the
unity of their a confederation ; and it is a subject
deeply to be lamented that,in their gradual encroachments on the Indian lands, Christianity^ forgotten,
the word of God does not now, as in the time of
their forefathers, keep in check the sanguinary sword w
of man; and extermination, instead of regeneration, seems to be their motto. To return to the
Columbia. It is the only situation on the northwest coast, to the northward of California, free from
danger; and I have no doubt that by a proper
application the Hudson's Bay Company, who
have now possession of Fort George, would give a
passage, and afford every facility to resident missionaries. Odious as the vices are to which I
have referred, the few good qualities which the
Indians possess would materially assist* in bringing them to ailmowledge of the true religion.
Independently of the beneficial results which we
might naturally expect to flow from their exertions
among the natives, there is another consideration
which induces me to think that the Company
would, for its own interest, render them every
assistance in its power. I allude to the situation
of a number of men in its employment whose
knowledge of Christianity, owing to a long absence their native country, has fallen into a
kind of abeyance, and which would undoubtedly
be revived by the cheering presence of a minister
of God.    Cannibalism, although unknown among
the Indians of the Columbia, is practised by the
savages on the coast to the northward of that
river; so that by the progressive labours of the
*gii-Bsionaries this dreadful custom, with the others,
might be gradually abolished. The settlement
formed by Lord Selkirk on Red River, which falls
into the great Lake Winepic, and which suffered
so much in its infancy from interested enemies, is
at present, I am happy to hear, in a thriving condition. A missionary has been established here,
whose labours have already been productive of
much good. Numbers of the surrounding natives
have become converts, and they are yearly increasing. The progress of civilisation will gradually gain ground among the western tribes; and
we may indulge the pleasing hope that the day is
not far distant when the missionaries, in their glorious career eastward and westward, from the St.
Lawrence and the mouth of the Columbia, despite
the many difficulties and dangers they must unavoidably encounter, may meet on the Rocky
Mountains, and from their ice-covered summits
ptbclaim to the beuighied savages " Glory to God 311
in the highest, and on earth peace and good-will
towards men."
About thirty years before this period the smallpox had committed dreadfuf ravages among these
Indians, the vestiges of which were still visible on
the countenances of the elderly meipand women.
It is believed in the north-west that this disease
was wilfully introduced by the American traders
among the Indians of the Missouri, as a short
and easy method of reducing their numbers, and
thereby destroying in a great measure their hostility to the whites. The Americans throw the
blame on the French; while they in turn deny
the foul imputation, and broadly charge the
Spaniards as the original delinquents. Be this
as it may, the disease first proceeded from the
banks of the Missouri, and the British are free
from having had any participation in the detestable act. It travelled with destructive rapidity as
far north as Athabasca and the shores of the Great
Slave Lake, crossed the Rocky Mountains at the
sources of the Missouri, and having fastened its
deadly venom on the Snake Indians, spread its THE  SMALL-POX. 313
devastating course to the northward and westward, until its frightful progress was arrested by
the Pacific Ocean. Some of the old voyageurs
who were stationed at English River and Athabasca, when this scourge made its first appearance, give the most harrowing details of its ravages. The unfortunate Indians when in the
height of the fever would plunge into a river,
which generally caused instant death; and thousands of the miserable wretches by suicide anticipated its fatal termination. Whole villages were
depopulated, and an old man well known in the
Indian country, named Louis La Libert^, told me
that one morning during its height he saw between two and three hundred bodies of men,
women, and children, suspended from trees, close
to an adjoining village of the Cree nation, the
surviving inhabitants of which did not exceed
forty persons. They believed that the " Great
Master of Life had delivered them over to the Evil
Spirit for their wicked courses;" and for many
years afterwards those who escaped, or survived
the deadly contagion, Strictly conformed them£i$e£&
to their own code of moral laws.    The recollec- 314
tion of it, however, is now fast wearing away
from their memory. Those who bore any traces
of it are nearly extinct; and on the eastern side of
the mountains, intoxication, and its attendant vices
are becoming too prevalent. The western tribes
still remember it with a superstitious dread, of
which Mr. M'Dougall took advantage, when he
learned that the Tonquin had been cut off. He
assembled several of the chieftains, and showing
them a small bottle, declared that it contained
the small-pox; that although his force was weak
in number, he was strong in medicine; e^_hd that
in consequence of the treacherous cruelty of thd I
Northern Indians, he would open the bottle and
send, the small-pox among them. The chiefs i
strongly remonstrated^gainst his doing so. They
told him that they and their relations were always friendly to the white people; that tte^l
would remain so; that if the small-pox was once
let out, it would run like fire among the good
people as well as among the bad; and that it was
inconsistent with justice to pun&h friends for the
crimes committed by enemies. Mr. M'Dougall
appeared to be convinced by tbese reasons, and ANGLO-INDIAN.
promised, that if the white people were not attacked or robbed for the future, the fatal bottle
should not be uncorked. He was greatly dreaded
by the Indians, who were fully impressed with
the idea that he held their fate in his hands, and
they called him by way of pre-eminence, " the
great small-pox chief."
An Indian belonging to a small tribe on the
coast, to the southward of the Clatsops, occasionally-spisited the fort. He was a perfect lusus
natural, and his history was rather curious. His
skin was fair, his face partially freckled, and his
hair quite red. He was about five feet ten inches
high, was slender, but remarkably well made;
his head had not undergone the flattening process;
and he was called Jack Ramsay, in consequence
of that name having been punctured on his left
arm. Jfhe Indians allege that his father was an
English sailor, who had deserted from a trading
vessel, and had lived many years among their
tribe, one of whom, he married; that when Jack
was born he insisted on preserving the child's
head in its natural state, and while young had
punctured the arm  in the above manner.    Old 316
Ramsay had died about twenty years ;he$bre this
period: he had several more children, but Jack
was the only red-headed one among them. He
was the only half-bred I ever saw with red hair,
as that race in general partake of the swarthy
hue derived from their matetnal ancestors. Poor
Jack was fond of his father's countrymen, and
had the decency to wear trousers whenever he
came to the fort. We therefore made a collection
of old clothes for his use, sufficient to last him for
many years.
The ideas of thesetjtadians on the subject of a
future state do not differ much from the opinions
entertained by the natives of the interior. - They
believe that those who have not committed murder ; who have fulfilled the relative duties of son,
father, and husband; who have been good fishers J
men, &c, will after their death go to a place of
happiness, in which they will find an abundant
supply of fish, fruit, &c.; while those who have
followed a contrary course of life will be.condemned to a cold and barren country, in which
bitter fruits and salt water will form theSupriaeii |
pal means of subsistence.    Mr. Franchere, who TRADITIONS   OF   THE   CREATION, 317
was stationed permanently at Fort George, and
who obtained an accurate knowledge of their lan^
)$0&ge, &c, states they have a tradition relative to
the origin of mankind, of which the following is
P^l^ubstance:—Man was at first created by a
divinity named Etalapass; but he was originally
imperfect. His mouth was not divided, his eyes
were closed, and his hands and feet immoveable ;
in short, he was rather a statue of flesh than a
living being. A second divinity, named Ecannum,
less powerful than Etalapass, but more benevolent, seeing man in this imperfect state, took pity
on him, and with a sharp stone opened his mouthy
unclosed his eyes, and imparted motion to his
hands and feet. Not satisfied with these gifts,
the compassionate deity taught mankind how to
; i_|&ke canoesj*paddles, nets, and all their domestic utensils. He also overturned rocks into the
rivers, which, by obstructing the progress of the
fish through the waters, enabled them to take sufficient to satisfy their wants. We observed no
idols among them; and although they had some
small   grotesque-looking  figures,   carved out of m
wood, they seemed to pay them no respect, and
often offered to barter them for trifles.
Civilised countries are not exempt from superstition ; it is therefore not surprising to find it
exist among untutored savages. They believe that
if salmon be cut cross-ways the fishery will be
unproductive, and that a famine will follow. In
the summer of 1811, they at first brought but a
small quantity to the people who were then building the fort. As Mr. M'Dougall knew there
was no scarcity, he reproached the chiefs for furnishing such a scanty isiipply : they admitted the
charge, but assigned as a reason their fears that
the white people would cut it the unlucky way.
Mr. M'Dougall promised to follow their plan,
upon which they brought a tolerable good quantity, but all roasted ; and which, in order to avoid
displeasing them, our people were obliged to eat
before sunset each day.
The negotiations preceding a marriage are short,
and the ceremony itself simple. When a young
man has made his choice, he commissions his
parents or other relations to open the business to MARRIAGE.
the girl's relations. They are to receive a certain
quantity of presents; and when these are agreed
on, they all repair to the house intended for the
future residence of the young couple, to. which
nearly all the inhabitants of the village are invited. The presents, which consist of slaves,
axes, beads, kettles, haiqua, brass and copper
bracelets, &c, are now distributed by the young
taan, who in his turn receives an equal or perhaps
greater quantity, from the girl's relations. The
bride, decorated with the various ornaments common among the tribe, is then led forth by a few
old women, and presented to the bridegroom.
He receives her as his wife; and the elders, after
wishing them plenty of fish, fruit, roots, and cfeffc
dren, retire from the house, accompanied by all
the strangers. The marriage tie is not indis-
.soluble. A man may repudiate his wife, who
is then at liberty to take another husband. Infidelity is the general cause of these separations,
which however are of rare occurrence.
A man may have as many wives as his means
will permit him to keep. Some have four or five,
They live together in the greatest harmony ; and 320
although their lord may love one more than another,
it causes no jealousy or disunion among the rest.
Many of these women, who have followed a
depraved course of life before marriage, become
excellent and faithful wives afterwards; an instance of which I shall here relate :—In the early
part of this summer one of the clerks, who had
been out on a trading excursion, happened to be
present at a marriage in the Clatsop village. He
was surprised at recognising in the bride an old
chere amie, who the preceding year had spent
three weeks with him in his tent, actually decorated with some of the baubles he had then given
her. His eye caught hers for a moment; but his
appearance excited not the least emotion, and she
passed him by as one.whom she had never seen.
A few days afterwards she came to the fort accompanied by her husband and other Indians.
She remained at the gate while the men were
selling some fish in the trading store. Her old
lover, observing her alone, attempted to renew
their former acquaintance; but she betrayed no
symptom of recognition, and in a cold distant
manner told him to go about his business. INTOXICATION. C40VERNMENT. 321
All the Indians on the Columbia entertain a
strong aversion to ardent spirits, which they regard
as poison. They allege that slaves only drink to
excess ; and that drunkenness is degrading to
free men. On one occasion some of the gentlemen
at Fort George induced a son of Comcomly the
chief to drink a few glasses of rum. Intoxication
quickly followed, accompanied by sickness; in
which condition he returned home to his father's
house, and for a couple of days remained in a state
of stupor. The old chief subsequently r^grOached
the people at the fort for having degraded his son
by making him drunk, and thereby exposing him
to the laughter of his slaves.
Each village is governed by its own chief. He
possesses little authority, and is respected in proportion to the number of wives, slaves, &c., which
BKyjmay keep. The greater number of these, the
greater the chief. He is entitled, however, to
considerable posthumous honour; for at his death
the tribe go into mourning by cutting their hair,
and for some months continue to chant a kinfd of
funeral dirge to his memory.  As each village forms 322
a petty sovereignty, governed by independent
chieftains, differences often arise between them.
These differences are generally settled by giv^
ing compensation for the injury inflicted; but
in the event of a serious offence, such as murder,
^#hich is very rare,) or the abduction of a woman,
(which is not uncommon,) the parties prepare for
£ ^iMfe great mass of the American Indians, in their
warlikef%icounters, fall suddenly on their enemies*
and taking them unprepared, massacre or capture
men, women, and children. The plan adopted by
the Chinooks forms an honourable exception to
this system. Having once determined on hostilities, they give notice to the enemy of the day on
which they intend to make the attack; and having J
previously engaged as auxiliaries a number of
young men whom they pay for that purpose, tbe^ I
embark in their canoes for the scene of aetiotg.
Several of their women accompany ^htem on these
expeditions, and assist in working the canoes.
On arriving at the enemy's village they enter
into a parley, and endeavour b^&bgotiation to terminate the quarrel amicably.    Sometimes a third INDIA-ST * i.WaASRF ARE.
party, who preserves a strict neutrality, undertakes the office of mediator; but should tjieir joint
efforts fail in procuring redress, they immediately
prepare for action. Should the day be far advanced, the combat is defended, by mutual consent,
till the following morning; and they pass the intervening night in frightful yells, and makingjaa_se
of abusive and insulting language to eafch other.
They generally fight from their canoes, wh^ch
they take care to incline to one side, presenting
-fee-higher flank to the enemy; and in this position^
with their bodies quite bent, the battle comments'.
Owing to the cover ol their cahoes, and their impenetrable armour, it is seldom bloody; and as
soon as one or ~t$8-> men fall, the party to whom
they belonged acknowledge themselvesxanquished,
and the combat ceases. If the -assailants be unsuccessful, they return without redress ; bulj.if
conquerors, they receive various presents from the
vanquished party in addition to their original demand. The womeaa and childiilipcare always sent
aWay>before the engagement commences.
Their warlike weapons are the bow and arrow, "1
with a curious kind of short double-edged sword
or club, two and a half feet in length by six inches
in breadth. They seldom, however, fight near
enough to make use of this formidable instrument.
Their armour consists of a shirt of elk-skin remarkably thick, doubled, and thrown over the
shoulders, with holes for the arms. It descends
to the ankles; and from the thickness of the leather
is perfectly arrow-proof. The head is covered by
a species of helmet made of cedar bark, bear grass,
and leather, and is also impenetrable by arrows.
The neck, therefore, is the only vital part of the
body exposed to danger in action. In addition to
the above they have another kind of armour, which
they occasionally wear in place of the leathern shirt.
It is a species of corset, formed of thin slips of hard
wood ingeniously laced together by bear grass,
*and is much lighter and more pliable than the
former; but it does not cover so much of the body.
They have a few guns, which they seldom use.
They are not good hunters; and their chief de-
pendences for support is on the produce of the
water.    It is unnecessary to mention that in their CANOES. 325
warlike expeditions their faces and bodies are
painted in various colours, and with the most grotesque figures.
Their canoes are of various forms and sizes.
The following description of the largest kind of
these vessels I take from Lewis and Clarke. It is
perfectly accurate, and more technical than I could
I give it. " They are upwards of fifty feet long,
and will carry from eight to ten thousand pounds
weight, or from twenty to thirty persons. Like
all the canoes we have mentioned, they are cut
out of a single trunk of a tree, which is generally
white cedar, though the fir is sometimes used.
The sides are secured by cross bars or round sticks,
two or three inches in thickness, which are inserted through holes made just below the gunwales, and made fast with cords. The upper
edge of the gunwale itself is about five-eighths of
an inch thick, and four or five in breadth; and
folds outwards so as to form a kind of rim, which
prevents the water from beating into the, boat.
The bow and stern are about the same height, and
each provided with a comb reaching to the bottom
of the  boat.    At each end also are pedestals, 326 NAVIGATION.
formed of the same solid piece, on which are
placcfcl strange grotesque figures of men or animals rising sometimes to the height of five feet,.
and composed of *sfhall pieces of wood firmly
united, with great ingenuity, by inlaying and mortising, without a spike of any^kind. The paddle
is usually from four and a half to five feet in
length; the handle being thick for one-third of its
lengtS, when it widens and is hollowed and
ttfirined 6l_^ach side of the centre, which forms
a sort of rib. When they embark, one Indian sits
Ifi. the stern and steers with a paddle; the others
kneel in pairs in the bottom of the canoe, and
sitting on their heels paddle over the gunwale
Tie'xt to them. In this way they ride with perfect
safety^the highest waves, and venture without the
least concern in seas where other-teats or seamen
could not live an instant. They sit quietly and
paddle, with no other movement, Except when any
large wave throws the boat on her side, and to the
eye of the spectator she seems lost: the man to
windward then steadies her by throwing his body
towards the upper side, and sinking his paddle
d^e^^mo the waves, appears to catchs^he water, HOUSES. 3gJT
and force it unde&fhe boat, which the saiBe §tj$tee
pushes on with great velocity."
The description of their houses, and their manner of building them, I also extract from the same
jSafifcThe houses in this neighbourhood are all large
wooden buildings, varying in length from twenty
to sixty feet, and from fourteen to twenty in
width.* They are constructed in the following
manner: *E&o or more posts of :#plit timber,
agreeably to the number of partitions, are sunk
in the ground, above which they rise to the height;
of fourteen or eighteen feet. They are hollowed
at the top so as to receive the ends of a round
beam or pole, stretching from one end to the
llfiber, and forming the upper point of the roof for
the whole extent of the building. On each side
of this range is placed another, which forms the
eaves of the house, and is about five feet high;
but as the building is often sunk to the depth of
four or five feet, the eaves come very near the
* I have seen some of their houses upwards of 90 feet long,
and from 30 to 40 broad. $$& HOUSES.
surface of the earth. Smaller pieces of timber are
now extended by pairs in the form of rafters,
from the lower to the upper beam, where they are
attached at both ends with cords of cedar bark.
On these rafters two or three ranges of small poles
are placed horizontally, and secured in the same
way with strings of cedar bark. The sides are
now made with a range of wide boards sunk a
small distance into the ground, with the upper
ends projecting above the poles at the eaves, to
which they are secured by a beam passing outside, parallel with the' eave poles, and tied by
cords of cedar bark passing through holes made in
the boards at certain distances. The gable ends
and partitions are formed in the same way, being
fastened by beams on the outside, parallel to the
rafters. The roof is then covered with a double
range of thin boards, except an aperture of two or
three feet in the centre, for the smoke to pass
through. The entrance is by a small hole cut out
of the boards, and just large enough to admit the
body. The very largest houses only are divided
by partitions ; for though three or more families
reside in the same room, there is quite space
enough for all of them. 329
"In the centre of each room is a space six or
eight feet square, sunk to the depth of twelve
inches below the rest of the floor, and enclosed
by four pieces of square timber. Here they make
the fire, for which purpose pine bark is generally
preferred. Around this fire-place mats are spread,
and serve as seats during the day, and very frequently as beds at night: there is however a more
permanent bed made, by fixing in two, or sometimes three sides of the room, posts reaching from
the roof down to the ground, and at the distance
of four feet from the wall. From these posts to
the wall itself one or two ranges of boards are
placed, so as to form shelves, on which they either
sleep, or stow their various articles of merchandise. The uncured fish is hung in the smoke of
their fires, as is also the flesh of the elk, when
they are fortunate enough to procure any, which
is but rarely."
Their culinary articles consist of a large square
kettle made of cedar wood, a few platters made of
ash, and awkward spoons made of the same material. Their mode of cooking is however more
expeditious than ours.    Having   put   a   certain 330
quantity of water into the kettle, they throw in
several hot stones, which quickly cause the water
to boil; the fish or meat is then put in, and the
steam is kept from evaporating by a small mat
thrown over the kettle. By this system a large
. salmon will be boiled in less than twenty minutes,
and meat in a proportionably short space of time.
They are not scrupulously clean in their cooking.
A kettle in which salmon is boiled in the morning
may have elk dressed in it the same evening, and
the following day be doomed to cook a dish of
sturgeon, without being washed out, or scarcely
rinsed. They occasionally roast both their meat
and fish on small wooden brochettes, similar to those
used-hj1 the upper Indians.
It will no doubt be regarded as a subject of
surprise, that in felling the timber for their houses,
and in the laborious operation of forming their
canoes, they had not, previous to our arrival, an
axe. Their only instruments consisted of a chisel
generally formed out of an old file, a kind of oblong stone, which they used as a hammer, and a
mallet made of spruce knot, well oiled and hardened by the action of fire.    With Ihese wretched FISHING.
tools they cut down trees from thirty to forty feet
in circumference; and with unparalleled patience,
and perseverance continued their tedious and laborious undertaking until their domicile was roofed
or their canoe fit to encounter the turbulent waves
of the Columbia.
As their chief source of subsistence depends on
their fisheries, they pay great attention to their
nets, in the manufacture of wMch they exhibit
their usual ingenuity. They occasionally fish
with the hook and line. They make use of the
common straight net, the scooping or dipping net,
and the gig. Lewis and CH&rke mention that
ifi^the first is of different lengths and depths, and
used in taking salmon, carr, and trout, in the deep
inlets among the marshy grounds, and the mouths
of deep creeks. The scooping net is used for
small fish in the spring and summer season; and
in both kinds the net is formed of silk:grass, or the
bark of while'cedar. The gig is used at all seasons, and for all kinds of fish they can procure
with it; so too is the hook and line; of which
the line is made of the same material as the net,
and the hoflsU-generally brought by the traders; 332 GAMING. HAIQUA.
though before the whites came they made hooks
out of two small pieces of bone, resembling the
European hook, but with a much more acute
angle, where the two pieces were joined."
Gambling is one of their most incorrigible vices;
and so inveterately are they attached to it, that
the unfortunate gamester often finds himself
stripped of slaves, beads, haiqua, and even nets.
Their common -game is a simple kind of hazard.
One man takes a small stone which he changes
for some time from hand to hand, all the while
humming a slow monotonous air. The bet is then
made; and according as his adversary succeeds
in guessing the hand in which the stone is concealed, he wins or loses. They seldom cheat;
and submit to their losses with the most philosophical resignation.
Haiqua, which I have so often mentioned, is
a white round shell of extreme hardness, varying
from one to four inches in length, and from three-
eighths to half an inch in circumference. It is
hollow, slightly curved, and tapers a little towards
the ends. These shells are highly estimated, the
longest being the most valuable.    They are found MEDICAL  TREATMENT. 333
in the neighbourhood of Nootka, and form an
important article of local traffic. The Indians
regulate the prices of their various articles by
haiqua ; a fathom of the best description being
equal in value to ten good beaver skins.
The most enlightened nations are inundated
with charlatans: it is therefore not surprising they
should flourish among rude barbarians. Every
Indian village has its quack doctor; or, as they
call him, " the strong man of medicine." The
moment a native is attacked with sickness, no
matter of what description, the physician is sent
for. He immediately commences operations by
stretching the patient on his back; while a number of his friends and relations surround him, each
carrying a long and a short stick, with which they
beat time to a mournful air which the doctor
chants, and in which they join at intervals.
Sometimes a slave is despatched to the roof of the
house, which he belabours most energetically with
his drum-sticks, joining at the same time with a
loud voice the chorus inside. The man of medicine then kneels, and presses with all his force
his two fists on the patient's stomach.    The un- 334
fortunate man, tortured with the pain produced
by this violent operation, utters the most piercing
cries ; but his voice is drowned by the doctor and
the by-standers, who chant loud and louder still
the mighty " song of medicine."
At the end of each stanza the operator seizes
the patient's hands, which he joins together and
blows on. Hi*'thus continues alternately pressing
. and blowing until a small white stone, whfeih he
had previously placed in the patient's mouth, is
-forced out. This he exhibits with a triumphant
air to the man's relations; and with all the confidence and pomposity of modern quackery, as-
-SUres them the disease is destroyed, and that the
patient must undoubtedly recover. Mr. Franchere
states he has seen some of them carefully envelop the small stone, which they call the source
of evil, in a piece of cedar bark, and throw it into
the fire.
It frequently happens that a man, who might
have been cured by a simple dose of medicine, is
by this abominable system destroyed ; Jbut whether recovery or death be the consequence, the
quack is equally recompensed.   Some of the more FUNERAL    RITES. 335
intelligent undoubtedly perceive the imposition
which these fellows practise ; but the great faith
which the ignorant and superstitious multitude
have in their skill deters any man from exposing
their knavery. Latterly, however, numbers of
their sick have applied for relief and assistance at
Fort George; and as our prescriptions have been
generally attended with success, their belief in the
infallibility of those jugglers has been considerably
From the doctor to death, the charlatan to the
coffin, the transition is not unnatural. When a
Chinook dies, it matters not whether from natural causes or the effects of quackery, his remains
are deposited in a small canoe, the body being
previously enveloped in skins or mats. His bow,
arrows, and other articles, are laid by his side.
The canoe is then placed on a high platform near
the river's side, or on rocks out of the reach of the
tide, and other mats tied over it. If the relations
of the deceased can afford it, they place a larger
canoe reversed over the one containing his body,
and both are firmly tied together.     His wives, "1
relatives, and slaves go into mourning by cutting
their hair; and for some time after his death repair twice a-day, at the rising and setting of the
sun, to an adjoining wood to chant his funeral
Voyage to the interior—Party attacked,, and one man killed—
Arrive at Spokan House—Joy of the Indians at our return—
The chiefs speech—Sketch of Mr. M'Donald—Duel prevented between him and a chief—Kettle Indians; their surprise at seeing white men—Curious account of an hermaphrodite chief—Death of Jacques Hoole.
On the 5th of August, 1814, we left Fort
George. Our party, including proprietors and
clerks, consisted of sixty men in nine heavily
loaded canoes. We arrived early the third day at
the foot of the rapids. It was here our men had
been robbed the preceding autumn; and here also
Mr. Stewart's party had been attacked, and himself wounded the following winter. We therefore
VOL.  i. v 338
took more than usual precautions, and formed a
strong guard to protect the carriers. The natives
were numerous, but evinced no disposition to be
troublesome. As the chief did not appear with
the flag, a party proceeded to the village and inquired for him. They were told he was absent
from home. The Indian whom we suspected of
having fired at Michel was also invisible. Their
non-appearance looked rather suspicious, and induced us to be doubly cautious. By hard labour
we finished the portage in one day, and encamped
at the upper end. We arranged the goods and
canoes in such a manner as to prevent a surprise, and the whole party was divided into two
watches. At intervals during the night we heard
footsteps among the rocks, and in the woods; but
it passed over quietly, and at day-break we commenced reloading. A few of the natives came to
us unarmed, and brought with them some fish and
roots, which we purchased; and having distributed
some tobacco among them, pushed oft'. The day
after we reached the narrows and falls in safety.
When the last portage had been nearly finished
numbers of the Eneeshurs collected about us, and PILFERING.
became very troublesome. They made several
attempts to pilfer, and we were constrained to use
some violence to keep them in check. We asked
repeatedly for the chief; but were answered that
he was in the plains hunting: this we did not
believe, and finding that they still persevered in
seizing every loose article they could pick up, we
were obliged to order corporal punishment to be
hfflicted on three of the ringleaders. They went
away followed by a numerous party of their friends.
Their looks betokened revenge; and the few who
remained told us to be on our guard, as they heard
the others talking in a threatening manner. We
therefore reloaded quickly, and crossed over to the
opposite side. It was high and rocky, and. possessed many points from which an enemy could
attack us with effect. The day-light was fast
receding; every one lent a hand to work the
canoes, and still no place presented itself at whic-h
we could land with safety. With much difficulty
and labour we at length reached the long rocky
island already mentioned; and as it was then quite
dark, we had no alternative but to land in a small
sandy bay surrounded by high craggy rocks, of 340
which the island was chiefly composed. We~
could not procure any wood, and were obliged to
dine and sup on some cold boiled rice which had
been left from morning. It was judged advisable
not to pitch the tents; and we slept on the beach
behind the bales and cases of merchandise in rather an irregular -manner. The first watch, to
which I belonged, passed over tranquilly; and we
retired to sleep at midnight, on being relieved by'
the second. j%jim
Our repose was not of long continuance. About
half an hour before day-break the cry of Les:
sauvages nousftechent! Les sauvages nousflechentl*
rung in our ears, followed by the report of several
shots.- Every man instantly seized his arms,
and we discharged a volley at a rocky eminence
which commahdedlifhe little bay, and from which
the enemy had fired down on our sentinels. This
dislodged the savages; but owing to the darkness
of the morning, and our ignorance of the interior
of the island, we did not think it prudent to pur-:
sue them.
It was impossible to ascertain whether any of
* The savages are shooting at us with arrows.     • LOSS   OF   LIFE.
our balls had taken effect on the enemy ; and apprehensive of another attack in a spot so badly
calculated for defence,  and in which we were
"completely exposed, orders were given to load the
candefc.    In the hurry attendant upon this operation we did not at first miss one of our men,
named Baptiste  L'Amoureux,  whom we found
lying wounded at the farther end of the bay, at
which he had been posted as a sentinel.    His
moans conducted us to the spot.    A ball had
passed through his left breast, and came out near
'the shoulder.    Every   assistance  was   rendered
•him, but in vain; he never uttered a word; and
ere the morning dawned he had ceased to breathe.
We did not before imagine these savages had
any fire-arms among them; but this event showed
we had been mistaken* £!■
No other fatality occurred, although several of
the party had wonderful escapes. An arrow
•passed through the collar of one man?s coat, and
the nightcap of another was pierced through.
Mr. La Rocque and I slept together, and an arrow
penetrated six inches into the ground between our
necks.    Our. safety may in a great degree be^ I
attributed to a number of the arrows having been
intercepted by the bales and cases of trading
The canoes were quickly loaded, and at daybreak we pushed off from this dangerous spot. As
we paddled up the south side of the river some
arrows were discharged at us from the island.
We fired a few shots in return; but from the manner the assailants were covered, we conjectured
our balls fell harmless.
On nearing the upper end of the island, we
caught a passing view of forty or fifty Qfy|he savages not more than two hundred yards distant.
Orders were immediately given to those who had
their guns ready to fire; but before a trigger was
pulled they had vanished. We landed at the
spot; and a few of us, who ascended the rocks,
observed them at a considerable distance running
like hunted deer. We discharged a few random
shots after them, upon which we re-embarked,
and proceeded on our voyage. At half past eight
we put ashore at a low sandy point covered with
-willows and cotton wood, for the purpose of
breakfasting and interring the body of L'Amou- JOURNEY   RESUMED.
reux. The men were immediately set to work to
dig a grave, into which were lowered the remains
of the unfortunate Canadian. A few short prayers
were said in French; and after the earth was
thrown in, to a level with the surface, it was
covered over with dry sand in such a manner as to
keep the natives in ignorance of the occurrence.
We remained here a few hours to refit, at the
end of which we resumed our journey. We saw
no Indians during the remainder of the day, and
encamped late on a low stony island, above a
rapid, on which we found plenty of drift wood.
The following day we passed a few villages of the
friendly tribes, from whom we purchased some
horses for the kettle. From hence to the Wallah
Wallahs, with whom we stopped one day, nothing
particular occurred. They received us in their
usual friendly manner; and on inquiring from
them to what tribe the Indians belonged wholh'ad
given my small party such a chase the preceding
autumn, they replied that they were relatives of
the man who had been hanged by Mr. Clarke on
~I*awis River, and were part of the Upper Nez 344 EXAGGERATIONS. '
Percys; that they were very bad people, much
addicted to thieving, and that we should be very
cautious how we fell in their way, as they had
vowed to kill a white man as a satisfaction for the
death of their relation.
We met a few of the Nez Percys at the mouth
of Lewis River: they appeared friendly, and sold
us some horses. From this place nothing particular occurred until the 23d of August, on which
day we arrived at Oakinagan. The news of the
attack had preceded us, accompanied by the usual
exaggerations of Indians. Mr. Ross, who was in
charge of that establishment, informed us that the
first intelligence he received stated that ten white
men and twenty Indians had been killed. By
other accounts our loss was varied from fifteen to
twenty, and one statement destroyed half the
party, and sent the remainder back to the sea,
with the loss of all the goods.
From this place Mr. Keith proceeded with dispatches to the other side of the mountains; and
the various parties separated for their summer
destinations. Mine was Spokan House, in company with Messrs. Stewart, M'Millan, and M'Do- INDIAN   HARANGUE; 345
nald. We left Oakinagan on the 27th, and reached
Spokan on the 31st of August. The trading goods
had been exhausted long before, and the Indians
had been upwards of two months without ammunition. Our arrival therefore was hailed with
great jGy**
The whole tribe assembled round the fort, and
viewed with delight the kegs of powder and
the bales of tobacco as they were unloaded from
the horses. A large circle was formed in the
court-yard, into the centre of which we entered;
and having lit the friendly calumet, smoked a few
rounds to celebrate the meeting. A quantity of
tobacco was then presented to each of the men,
and the chief delivered a long oration; part of
which, addressing us, ran as follows :—
. "My heart is glad to see you: my heart is glad
to see you. We Were-$ long time very hungry for
tobacco; and some of our young men said you
would 3tever come back. They were angry, and
said to me, 'The white men made us love tobacco almost as much as we love our children,
and now we are starving for it. They brought us
their wonderful guns, which we traded from them;
we threw by our arrows as useless, because we
knew they were not so strong to kill the deer as
the guns; and now we are idle, with our guns,
as the white men have no fire-powder, or balls,
to give us, and we have broken our arrows, and
almost forgotten how to use them : the while-men
are very bad, and have deceived us.' But I spoke
to them, and I said, You are fools; you have no
patience. The white men's big canoes are a longtime coming over the Stinking Lake * that divides
-their country from ours. They told me on going
nway that they would come back, and I know they
would not tell lies." Then turning to his countrymen, he continued, " Did I not tell you that
the white men would not tell lies ? You are fools,,
great fools, and have no patience. Let us now
show our joy at meeting our friends; and tomorrow let all our hunters go into the plains, and
up the hills, and kill birds and deer for the good
.white men." They then commenced dancing,
jumping, and crying out in a most discordant
* The sea.    So called from its saline qualities. LIVE-STOCK. 347
The good white men, the good white men,
Our hearts are glad for the good white men.
The good white men, the good white men,
Dance and sing for the good white men.
Then giving three cheers, something like the
"Hip, hip, hurra!" of our domestic bacchanalians, they retired to the village.
The next morning the hunters procured a fresh
stock of ammunition, and, for some weeks following, our table was plentifully supplied with excellent grouse, wild geese, and ducks, in prime order.
We had planted the year before some turnips,
potatoes, cabbage, and other esculents, which
yielded a pretty good crop. The quantity was
increased the following spring; and this autumn
we had an abundance of these vegetables. We
had brought up a cock, three hens, >three goats,
and three hogs. The Indians were quite astonished at beholding them. They called the fowl
" the white men's grouse;" the goats were denominated " the white men's deer;" and the swine,
" the white men's bears." They inquired if animals of the above description were all tame in our
country; and on being answered in the affirma- 348
tive, they asked, if they caught some of those to
which they compared them, could we tame them
in a similar manner ? we told them to catch a few
young ones, and we would make the attempt. A
young bear was shortly secured: he was tied in
the stye with the pigs, and fed daily by one otbiar
Canadians, of whom he became very fond, and
who in a short time taught him to dance, beg, and
play many tricks, which delighted the Indians
• While we were here a curious incident occurred
between Mr. M'Donald and an Indian, whitBOT|
shall preface by a short account of the former.
He belonged to a highly respectable family which
emigrated from Inverness-shire to Canada while
he was a lad. His first accents were lisped in
Gaelic; but in the capital of the Highlands, so
celebrated for its pure English, he made considerable progress in our language. On arriving in
Oanada he was obliged to learn French, in which
he had made some proficiency, when he joined
the North-west Company as an apprentice-clerk.
At the period I speak of he had been ten years
absent from Canada, and had travelled over an HETEROGENEOUS   LINGUIST. 349
immense extent of Indian country. He seldom
remained more than one winter at any particular
place, and had a greater facility of acquiring than
of retaining the language of the various tribes
with whom he came in contact. He was subject
to temporary fits of abstraction, during which the
country of his auditory was forgotten, and their
lingual knowledge set at defiance by the most
Strange and ludicrous melange of Gaelic, English,
French, and half a dozen Indian dialects. Whenever any thing occurred to ruffle his temper, it was
highly amusing to hear him give vent to his passion
in Diaouls, God d—s, Sacres, and invocations of
the " evil spirit" in Indian : he was however a
good-natured, inoffensive companion, easily irritated, and as easily appeased. His appearance
was very striking: in height he was six feet four
inches, with broad shoulders, large bushy whiskers, and red hair, which for some years had not
felt the scissors, and which sometimes falling over
his face and shoulders, gave to his countenance a
wild and uncouth appearance. He had taken a
Spokan wife, by whom he had two children. A
great portion of his leisure time was spent in the 350
company of her relations, by whom, and indeed
by the Indians in general, he was highly beloved:
their affection however was chastened by a moderate degree of fear, with which his gigantic body
and indomitable bravery inspired them.
One day as we were sitting down to dinner,
one of our men, followed by a native, rushed into
the dining-room, and requested we would instantly repair to the village to prevent bloodshed,:
as Mr. M'Donald was about to fight a duel with
one of the chiefs. We ran to the scene of action,
and found our friend surrounded by a number of
Indians, all of whom kept at a respectful distance.
He had his fowling-piece, which he changed from
one hand to the other, and appeared violently
chafed. The chief stood about twenty yards from
him, and the following colloquy took place between them, which, for the information of my
unlearned readers, I shall translate.
. rMcJ).—" Come on, now, you rascal! you toad!
you dog !    Will you fight?"
Indian.—"I will:—but you 're a foolish man.
A chief should not be passionate. I always thought
the white chiefs were wise men." CURIOUS   DIALOGUE.
M'D.—" I want none of your jaw : I say you
eheated me.    You 're a dog !     Will you fight?"
Indian.—" You are not wise. You get angry
like a woman ; but I will fight. Let us go to the
wood.    Are you ready ?"
M'D.—"Why, you d—d rascal, what do you
mean ? I'll fight you here. Take your distance
like a brave man, face to face, and we '11 draw lots
for the first shot, or fire together, whichever you
c Indian.—" You are a greater fool than I thought
you were. Who ever heard of a wise warrior
standing before his enemy's gun to be shot at like
a dog ? No one but a fool of a white man would
do so/' %>j$ff
-kli?D_—"What do you mean? What way do
you want to fight ?"
Indian.—" The way that all red warriors fight.
Let us take our guns, and retire to yonder wood;
place yourself behind one tree, and I will take my
stand behind another, and then we shall see who
will shoot the other first!"
eiM'D.—"You are afraid, and you 're a coward;"
Indian.—" I am not afraid; and you 're a fool." 352
M'D.—Come then, d—n my eyes if I care.
Here's at you your own way." And he was
about proceeding to the wood, when we interfered,
had the combatants disarmed, and after much
entreaty induced our brave Gael to return to the
The quarrel originated in a gambling transaction, in which M'Donald imagined he had been
cheated, and under that impression struck the
chief, and called him a rogue. The latter told
him he took advantage of his size and strength,
arid that he would not meet him on equal terms
with his gun. This imputation roused all his ire.
He instantly darted into the field with his fowling-;
piece, followed by the chief, when by our arrival
we prevented an encounter which in all probability would have proved fatal to our friend.
The gigantic figure, long red flowing locks,
foaming mouth, and violent gesticulation of M'Donald, presented a striking and characteristic contrast to the calm and immutable features of the
chieftain. His inflexible countenance was, for a
nioment, disturbed by something fike a smile,
when he told his opponent that no one but a fool SKETCH OF   CHARACTER.
would stand before a gun to be snot at like a dog.
In fact, McDonald's proposition appeared to him
so much at variance with his received notions of
wisdom, that he could not comprehend how any
man in his senses could make such an offer. On
explaining to him afterwards the civilised mode
of deciding gentlemanly quarrels, he manifested
the utmost.incredulity, and declared that he could
not conceive how people so wise in other respects,
should be guilty of such foolishness. But when
we assured him in the most positive manner
that we were stating facts, he shook his head,
and said, "I see plainly there are fools every
where."  ■■^jff^ '   .
M'Donald was a most extraordinary and original character., To the gentleness of a lamb he
united the courage of a lion. He was particularly
affectionate to men of small size, whether equals
or inferiors, and would stand their bantering with
the utmost good-humour; but if any man approach*
ing his own altitude presumed to encroach too
far on his good-nature, a lowering look and distended nostrils warned the intruder of an approaching eruption. \ |8|p|M^^
vol. i. z 354
One of our Omadian voyageurs* named Bazil
Lucie, a remarkably strong man, about six feet
three inches high, with a muscular frame, and
buffalo neck, once said something which he
thought bordered on disrespect. Any man under
five feet ten might have made use of the same
language with impunity, but from such a man as
Lucie, who was a kind of bully over his comrades, it could not be borne; he accordingly told
hits to hold his tongue, and threatened to chastise him if he said another word* This* was
said before several of the men, and Lucie replied
by saying that he might thank the situation he
held for his safety, or he should have satisfaction
sur k champ. M'Donald instantly fired, and asked
him if he would fight with musket, sword, or pistol ; but Lucie declared he had no notion of fighting in that manner, adding that his only weapons
were his fifcts. The pugnacious Celt resolving not
to leave him any chance of escape, stripped off
his coat, called him un enfant de chienne, and
challenged him to fight comme un polisson. Lucie
immediately obeyed the call, and to work they
fell.    I was not present at the   combat;  but INDIAN   WARFARE.
some of the men told me thatin less than ten
minutes Bazil was completely disabled, and was
unfit to work for some weeks after.
M'Donald frequently, for the mere love of fighting, accompanied the Flat-heads in their war excursions against the Black-feet. His eminent
bravery endeared him to the whole tribe, and in
all matters relating to warfare his word was a
law. The following anecdote, which was related
to me by several Indians, will at once show his
steady courage and recklessness of danger. In the
summer of 1812, at the buffalo plains they fell in
with a strong party of the Black-feet, and a severe
contest ensued. M'Donald was to be seen in every
direction in the hottest of the fire cheering and
animating his friends; and they at length succeeded in driving the Black-feet to take shelter in
a thick cluster of trees, from whence they kept up
a constant and galling fire on the Flat-heads, by
which a few were killed, and several wounded.
In vain he exerted all his influence to induce his
friends to storm the trees, and drive the enemy
from their covei*.
Their mode of attack was extremely foolish,, and 356
productive of no benefit; for each warrior advanced
opposite to the spot from whence the Black-feet
fired, and after discharging a random shot into the
group of trees, instantly galloped away. M'Donald, vexed at this puerile method of fighting,
offered to take the lead himself to dislodge the
enemy; but, with the exception of the war-chief,
they all refused to join him. He therefore resolved to try the effect of example, and putting
his horse into a smart trot, rode opposite to the
place from whence the chief fire of the Black-feet
proceeded : he then dismounted, took a deliberate
aim at the head of a fellow which had just popped
from behind a tree, and let fly. The bullet entered
the Black-foot's mouth, and he fell. A shower of
balls instantly whizzed about M'Donald and his
horse; but he, undismayed, reloaded^while his
friends cried out and besought him to retire. He
covered another in the same manner, who also fell,
after which he calmly remounted, and galloped
to his party uninjured. A prisoner, who was
subsequently taken, declared that the only two
killed of those who had taken refuge amono* the
trees, were both shot in the  head by the "big NARROW   ESCAPE.
white chief," as they termed our friend. His
friends at Forts des Prairies repeatedly wrote to
him that the Black-feet complained greatly of his
having joined the Flat-heads, who had, by his
assistance and that of Michel, become powerful'
and that they vowed vengeance against them if
ever they fell in their way; but M'Donald paid
no attention either to their warning or our entreaties. War was his glory, and " piping peace "
his aversion. Up to the period I quitted the Columbia he escaped harmless; but I regret to state
that a few years afterwards, one of the enemy's
balls brought him to the ground: half-a-dozen
savages instantly rushed on him, and commenced
hacking his skull with their tomahawks: the
•scalping-knife was in the act of beginning its
dreadful operation, and in a moment all would
have been over, had not the war-chief, accompanied by a few friends, dashed to his assistance,
killed three of the Black-feet, and rescued their
benefactor from impending death. He subsequently recovered ; but I understand the wounds
he then received have left evident traces of their
Violence on his bold and manly front. 358
About seven hundred miles from Fort George,
and ninety from Spokan House, there is an immense fall in the Columbia, between sixty and
seventy feet perpendicular,  at  low water, and
about forty-five in the spring and early part  of
the summer, when the melting of the snow contributes to swell the mighty torrent.    The basin
at the foot of the cascade resembles a boiling
cauldron, in consequence of which the fall is called
" La Chaud&re."    A small tribe, called   " Les
Chaudieres," reside at this place : their village is
situated on the  north side, just below the fall,
where they remain the greater part of the year.
They take little beaver; but their lands are well
stocked with game and fish; there is also abundance of wild fruit, such as choke-cherries, currants, small strawberries, with  black  and blue
berries.   They  take vast quantities of salmon,
which they dry and preserve for use" during the
winter and spring months.    Cleanliness cannot
be ranked amongst their vktues.   Their habitations are filthy in the  extreme,  and the  surrounding atmosphere   is   impregnated- with   the
most noxious effluvia, produced by the piscatory ASTONISHING   THE  NATIVES. 359
©ffkte which lie scattered about their dwell*
ings. I visited their village in September in
company with my friend M'Donald, his wife,
some of her relations, and two of our own men.
They received us in a friendly mantkela, and
treated us to abundance of roast and boiled salmon. A small branch of this tribe reside in the
waterier, about a day and a half's march to tb&
northward. A family of them, consisting of a father,
mother, and several children, arri_*ed at the fells
the day before us. They had never seen white*
men, and their astontehftie&t was extreme at the
great contrast exhibited between the tall raw-
boned figure, and flowing red hair of my frie#d,
compared to the cropped head, John-Bullish face,
low, and somewhat corpulent person of the author.
The old woman requested to see my arms uued*
vered; and having gratified her, she begged *__» see
my breast. I accordingly opened my shirt, and
she at length became satisfied that the skin was.
fcU white, of which she appeared previously to
eatertain some doubts. Her etmosity was next
directed to what she looked upon as the superna- 360 INDIAN  CURIOSITY, *   '
tural colour of M'Donald's hair, and expressed^
wish to have a close examination of it: he com*
plied, and having sat down, she commenced an
inquisitorial search about its radical terminations,
after certain animalculi which shall be nameless.
She appeared much disappointed at not finding a
solitary "ferlie," the absence of which she attributed to the extraordinary colour of his hair, which
she said frightened them away. Then turning to
me, and observing mine was of a darker hue, she
asked if I would allow her to take a "look." I
immediately consented; but her eyes and digits
having for some time toiled in vain, she appeared
annoyed at her want of success, and rose up quite
vexed, declaring we were altogether "too clean."
We visited a small tribe, consisting of not more
than fifteen families, who occupied a few hunting
lodges about midway between Spokan House and
the Chaudiere falls : their language is a dialect of
that spoken by the natives of the above places, but
approaching more nearly to the Spokan. Their
immediate lands consist of beautiful open prairies,
bounded by clear woods, and interspersed with INDIAN   CHIEF.,
small rivulets and lakes. The latter are visited
in the autumnal months by numbers of wild-geese
and ducks, and their hills are well stocked with
grouse. They are an inoffensive race, and received us with every demonstration of friendship.
We remained a week among them, during which
period we had excellent sport. The aquatic
birds were large and fit; and the grouse much
beyond ours in size; and so tame, that they seldom took wing until we approached within a few
yards of them.
The chief of this tribe is an extraordinary being.
The Indians allege that he belongs to the epicene gender. He wears a woman's dress, overloaded with a profusion of beads, thimbles, and
small shells; add to which, the upper part of the
face and the manner of wearing the hair are quite
feminine; but these appearances are more than
counterbalanced by a rough beard, and a masculine tone of voice, which would seem to set his
virility beyond dispute. He never gambles, or
associates with either sex, and he is regarded with
a certain portion of fear and awe by both men ahflfe 362
women, who look upon him as something more
than human. He has a calm and rather stern
countenance, and I never observed any tendency
towards a relaxation of his risible muscles. He
is usually attended by two or three children, to
whom he pays great attention. Their chief occupation is to catch his horses, collect provisions,
make fires, and cook his meals. When they attain
a proper age, he gives them a portion, gets them
married, and dismisses them; after which he
selects from the largest and poorest families a
fresh set of juvenile domestics: their parents
make no opposition, and are glad to get them so
well provided for.
This chief possesses a large number of horses j
some of which are the finest in the country. We
purchased a few, and found him liberal in his
dealings. He is free from the canting hypocrisy
so common among Indians ; and if he finds any of
his young attendants tell a lie, or prevaricate in
the least, the offender is punished by a flogging
and sent home, after which no consideration whatever would induce him to take back the delinquent. MORAL   PHILOSOPHY.
He seldom visited our fort; but whenever we
called on him we were received with a degree of
courteous hospitality which I never experienced
elsewhere. He was communicative, and inquisitive, and ridiculed the follies of the Indians in the
most philosophical manner. Of these he inveighed
principally against gambling, and their improvident thoughtlessness in neglecting to provide
during the summer and autumnal months a sufficient quantity of dried salmon for the spring,
which is the season of scarcity; by which neglect
they have been frequently reduced to starvation.
He had heard of M'Donald's quarrel with the
Indian, which he adduced as one of the bad
effects resulting from gambling, and added, " had
the Spokan been mad enough to follow the foolish
custom of your countrymen, it is probable one of
you would have been killed about a foolish dispute arising out of a bad practice, which every
wise man should avoid."
He inquired particularly  about   our  form of
government, laws, customs, marriages, our ideas
of a future life, &c.    Our answers proved gene
rally satisfactory ; but the only two things he could 364
not reconcile to wisdom, was the law of primo- #
geniture and the custom of duelling: the first, he
said, was gross injustice; and he thought no one
but a man bereft of his senses could be guilty
of the latter. Our knowledge of his language
was necessarily imperfect, owing to which the
attempts I made to explain to him some of the
abstruse doctrines of our religion were rather
bungling; but he appeared much pleased whenever he ascertained that he comprehended what I
wished to convey ; and, at the conclusion of our
discourse, said he would be glad to converse
with some of the wise men we call priests on
these matters, and more particularly on the sub'
ject of a future state-
He is fond of tobacco; and the Indians say
they often see him sitting late at night, enjoying his calumet at the door of his tent, and observing the various revolutions in the firmament.
On all subjects therefore connected with the
changes of weather his opinion is deemed oracular, and I understand he is seldom or never
mistaken in his prognostications.
1 Although clothed in the garments of a female, HIS   RESIDENCE.
f I have hitherto classed this uncommon being
among the masculine portion of the human race;
and from his muscular frame, bushy beard, and
strong decided tone of voice, I conceive myself
justified in so doing. I never saw him angry
but once, and that was occasioned by observing
some private whispering and tittering going on in
his presence, which he suspected had some allusion to his doubtful gender. His countenance
instantly assumed a savage fierceness; but he
quickly regained his composure on finding the
supposed offenders had changed their conduct.
His dwelling was covered with large deerskins, and was completely water-proof. The interior was remarkably clean, and spread over
with mats. In one corner he had a stock of
dried provisions, stored in leather and mat bags,
which in periods of scarcity he shared liberally
among the tribe; in fact he wanted nothing that
could add to his happiness or comfort, and possessed a degree of calm contentment uncommon
among savages, and which would put to the
blush much of the philosophical wisdom of civilised man. 366 SINGULAR   CHARACTER.
While preparing for our autumnal journey to
the sea, we learned that one of our free hunters,
named Jacques Hoole, had been murdered by the
Black-feet. His too was a character hors du com-
mun. He was a native of France, and had been
a soldier. He began his military career in Scotland in 1745, was slightly wounded and made
prisoner at Culloden: after being exchanged he
was sent to Canada, and was actively engaged
in the old American war. He was present in
the battle on Abraham's Plains, when the gallant
Wolfe lost his life, and was one of the men who
assisted in carrying the Marquis de Montcalm
into Quebec, after he had received his death-
The conquest of Canada induced him to quit
the army: he married and became a farmer. On
the revolutionary war breaking out, the gallant
veteran bade adieu to the plough, became a sergeant of militia, and for the second time stood
the siege of Quebec; in a sortie from which he
received a wound in the knee, which caused a
slight lameness during the remainder of his
On the teraaination of the war, misfortunes came
crowding on him. The republicans had destroyed
his farm ; his wife proved faithless, and his chil-
-dren disobedient. He therefore determined to
proceed with some traders to the interior of the
Indian country. He would not engage in the
service of the Company, but preferred trapping
beaver on his own account, which he afterwards
disposed of at the nearest trading post. This
extraordinary old man was ninety-two years of
age at the period of his death. I saw him the
year before, and he then possessed much of the
lightness and elasticity of youth, with all the volatility of a Frenchman. His only luxury was tobacco, of which he consumed an incredible
quantity. From his great age he was called
"Pere Hoole." The Canadians treated him with
much respect, and their common salutation of
" Bon jour, pere," was answered by " Merci,
Merci, mon Jils." His body was found by the
Flat-heads, close to a beaver dam :—a ball had
penetrated his temples, and the few white hairs
that remained on his aged head did not prevent
his inhuman   butchers   from stripping it of the 368
scalp. -dHis clothes remained on him; but his-
horses, traps, and arms had been taken by the
RINGED   BY   A.   J.   VALPY,   RED   LION   COURT,   FLEET   STREET.   -fcS^SW   cbl   *S*I   */ £?
M ^K^.* fi»«><-   


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