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1 2 3 









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Ankcdotks ok an ICnteupuisk Hkyond the 



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the re 1 
to me 
the (It 






In the course of oocftsional visits to Canada many ycnrs 
since, I Ixicanie intimately acquainted with some of the prin- 
cipal partners of the great Northwest Fur Company, wiio at 
that time lived in genial style at Montreal, and kept almost 
open house for the stranger. At their hospitable boards I occa- 
sionally met with partners, and clerks, and hardy fur traders 
from the interior jwsts ; men who had passed years remote 
from civilized society, among distant and savage tribes, and 
who had wonders to recount of their wide and wild peregrina- 
tions, their hunting exploits, and their perilous adventures and 
hair-breadth e8cai)es among the Indians. I was at an age 
when imagination lends its coloring to every thing, and the 
stories of these Sindbatls of the wilderness made the life of a 
trap|>er and fur trader perfect romance to me. I even medi- 
tated at one time a visit to the remote posts of the company in 
tlie boate which annually ascended the lakes and rivers, being 
thereto invited l)y one of the partners ; and I have ever since 
regretted that I was prevented by circumstances from carry- 
ing my intention into effect. From those early impressions, 
tlie grand enterprises of the great fur companies, and the 
hazardous errantry of their associates \n the wild parts of our continent, have always been themes of charmed interest 
to me ; and I felt anxious to get at the details of their ad- 
venturous expeditions among the savage tribes that peopled 
the depths of the wilderness. 

About two years ago, not long after my return from a tour 
upon I ho prairies of the far West, I had a conversation with my 
friend, IMr. .John Jacob Astor, relative to that portion of our 
country, and to the adventurous traders to Santa Ft' and tlie 
Columbia. This led him to advert to a great enterprise set on 
foot and conducttid by him, between twenty and thirty years 
since, having for its object to carry the fur trade across thq 
Rocky MountaioB, and to sweep the shores of the Pacific. 



Fiinliri}; thnt I took iin liitrrcsl in the snlijcft. In' oxprosspd 
a ri'tiict llinl llic tiiii' natiiri' jiii'l extent of his eiiter|»ri>e uiid 
its iKitional cliiinieter .-iiid iiii|Mirt:Miee li:ul iievei' lieeii iiixler- 
Htood, and :i wisli that I would iindei'take to uiyc an aeeoiiiit 
of it. The Hii^i^t'stion struck upon the chord of early associa- 
tions, ali'eady vihi-atin;^ in my mind. It occurred to nie that 
a work of this kind uii;iiit comprise a variety «»f those curious 
('.etails, so interestin<^ to ine, ilhisliativi' of the fur trade ; of its 
remote and adventinous enterprises, and of the various peoph-. 
and trilies, and castes, and eharacteis. civili/ed and sava<;e, 
aflV'cted l»y its oju-rations, 'I'he journals, and letters also, <>f 
the adventurers l»y sea and laud employed l>y Mr. Astor in his 
compieheusive project, mij;ht tiuow lij,dit upon portions of our 
country quite out of the track of ordinary travel, and as yet 
but little known. I therefore felt disposed to undertake the 
task, provided documents of sullicicnt extent and 
could be furnished to me. All the papers n-lative to the en- 
terprise were accordingly submitted to my inspection. Among 
them were journals and letters narrating; expeditions by sea, 
and journeys to and fro across the Hocky Mcjuntains by routes 
before untravelleil, toj^ctlier with ilocumeuts illustrative of 
savage and colonial life on the borders of the racillc. With 
such materials in hand, I undertook tiie work. The tn^uble of 
rummaging among business papers, and of collcctinir and col- 
lating facts from amid tedious and eonunonpl.nce details, was 
spared me by my nephew, I'ierre M. Irving, wlio acted as my 
pioneer, and to whom I am greatly indcl)ted for smoothing 
my path and lightening my labors. 

As the journals on which I chi»'l!y depended had Deen kept 
by men of business, intent u|)on the main object of the enter- 
prise, and but little versed in science, or curious al)out matters 
not immediately bearing upon their interests, and as they were 
written often in moments of fatigue or hurry, ami<l the incon- 
veniences of wild encampments, they were often meagre in 
their details, furnishing hints to provoke rather than narra- 
tives to satisfy inquiry. I have, then-fore, availed iny.scif 
occasionally of collateral lights supplied by the pultlished jour- 
nals of other travellers who have visite<l tin- scenes described : 
such as Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, Hradl)ury. I>reck«'nridgc, 
Long, Franchere, and Ross Cox, and make a general ai-knowl- 
edgment of aid ri'ceived from these (piarters. 

The work I here present to tin; puiilic is necissaiily of a 
rambling and somewhat tlisjointed natini', comjirising various 
ei;peditions and adventures by land autl sea. The facts, how- 




r\ pressed 
•rprix' ;ui(l 
WW mull-r- 
ill account 
■Iv ns^ociu- 

1*1 IIIC tlliil 

i>sc ciiii«Mirt 
:ulc ; <»f its 

)IIS |IC(»|»lc. 

ml s:i\:i|^c. 
■rs jils(), of 
Lstor ill lii« 
oils of our 
and as yot 
Icrlaki' the 
to llic cu- 
ll. Aiuonf;; 
uis l»y s«':i, 
IS Ity routes 
istrativc of 
•illc. With 
e trouble of 
nix and col- 
(h'tails, was 
icH'd as my 
r smoolhini' 

pvor, will prove lo be linked and b:inded (o^elher by (»ne grand 
srhcMie, de\ ised Mild eondlieled by .' liiM-lir • piiil ; one ^el of 
characters, also, conliniies Ihroicjhoiil . :i|i|>i'aiiii<^ occasionally, 
llioii'^h somellines at Ioiiil; intervals, and the whole enleiprise 
winds lip by a rcixular catastrophe ; ho that the work, without 
any lal)ored attempt at artillcal construction, actually posscssi's 
niiirli of that unity so much sought afbr in works of iietitjii, and 
fonsideretl so important to the interest of every history. 




1 in'cn kept 
f the ent«'r- 
l)oul matters 
IS they wore 
«1 the incon- 
I meagre in 

than narra- 
iiih'd myself 
blished jour- 
'.s (U'scribcd : 

ral arknowl- 

issarily of a 
ising various 
i facts, how- 

\l ll 















, 8 


Objecti of American enterprise — Oold Hunting and Fur Trading — Their Effect on 
Colouization — Early French Canadian Settlers — Ottawa and Huron Hunters — 
An Indian Trading Camp — Courcurs dcH Boi8,or Rangers of the Woods — Their 
Roaming Life — Their Revels and Excesses — Licensed Traders — Missionaries — 
Trading Posts — Primitive French Canadian Merchant — His EstablUhment and 
Dependants — British Canadian Fur Merchant — Origin of the Northwest Com- 
pany — Its Constitution — Its Internal Trade — A Candidate for the Company 
— Privations in the Wilderness — Northwest Clerks — Northwest Partners — A 
Northwest Nabob — Feudal Notions in the Forest — The Lords of the Lakes — 
Fort William — Its ' j'liamentary Hall and Bauquetlng Room — Wassailing in 
the Wilderness 17 


Rise of the Mackinaw Company — Attempt of the American G overnment to coun- 
teraci Foreign Inf uencc over the Indian Tribes — iTohu Jacob Aiior — His Birth- 
place— 'lis Arrival in the United States — What first turned his Attention to the 
Fur Trade — His Character, Enterprises, and Success — His Communications with 
the American Qoyernment — Origin of the American Fur Company 20 


Fur Trade in the Pacific — American Coasting VoyaFres — Russian Enterprises — 
Discovery of the Columbia River — Carver's Project to found a Settlement there — 
Mackenzie's Expedition — Ia'wIs and Clarke's Journey across the Rocky Moun- 
tains — Mr. Astor's Qrand Commercial Scheme — His Correspondence on the Sub- 
ject with Mr. Jefferson -His Negotiations with the Northwest Company — His 
Steps to carry his Scheme into Effect SO 


Two Expeditions seL on Foot— The Tonquin and her Crew — Captain Thorn, his 
Character — The Partners and Clerks — Canadian Voyageurs, their Habits, Em- 
ployments, Dress, Ohararter, Bungs — Kxpeditiun of a Canadian Boat and Its 
Crew by Lund uml Water — Arrival at New Yurk — Preparations for a sea Voy- 
age —Northwest liraggurts- Uudurhand Prucuuttons -Letter of Instructions , 



coy TENTS. 

ClIAI-l'IOli V. 


SalllnL' ')f (lie 'rmuitiiii — A i;?i,'i(i i 'oiniiiaiiilci ,iiii) » UecklcHS ('i«w — LHiidRiucn on 
i^hiiibo.iiil — l''ic'sh\valri Sailors at Si'ii — Luliln'i' NomU — Ship Karc — A Lahru- 
(lor S'llririi — l.itciaiy (Jlriks — Curious Trivflli'is — RobiuHon CniHoc'e iNJaud 
— l^uarl('r-:li'(U '.^uanvls — I''a;Uliiri(l Itilaiiils — A U'ilil (ioosi- Cliasf — I'oit Kg- 
niDiil — Kijilapli lluuti'ii; — Old Morlalily — I'fui;uiu Sliouliui,' — SporlHiut'ii left 
in tliu Lincli — A Hard I'ull — Fuithur AltfrcatioiiH — Arrival at Owyhuu , . . 



Owyhee — Sa*" J wieh Isli'iiders — Their Xauiical TalentH — Taiir-ahmaah — Ills Navy 

— 1 is Negotiations — Vie vs of Mr. Aster with Rt'speC to the Sandwicrh iHlands 

— liarakaliooa — Uii>al .\'(.ii(i|in!y oi I'ork — Deseriptioii of the Islanders — (.laye- 
tii's 1)1, Shores — Chronicler ;{ the Island — I'lace where Captain Cook was killed — 
iloliu V(.uut,', a Xaulical (iovernor — His 8lory — Waitili — A lioyal Residence 

— A U'lyal \';slt —(i rand Ceremonials — Close Dealing — A Uoyul I'orii Merchaat 

— Uriuvuucos of u Muttur-of-fuct Mau M 


Denartiir'' from the ^'andwlch Islands — MisiinderHtandings- Miseries of a Suspi- 
cious Man — Arrival at the Columbia — li.ingerous yerviee — Gloomy Apprehen- 
sions—liars and breakers — J'erils of the ^hip — Disasters of a boat's Crew — 
Burial of a .Sandwich Islander 62 


\ 1 

i 1 


Moulh of the Coin;..';!" —The Native Tribes — Their Fishing — Their Canoes — 
Hold Xaviualors — Ecjuestrian Indians an<l Piscatory Indians, Difference in their 
I'liysical Ortjani/.atiou — Search I'ora 'rnidiiig Site- Kxpedition of M'|)ougal and 
David Stuart — (^omcoinly, ihi' One-eyed Chieftain — Inllueiiee of Wealth in 
lavage Life — Slavery among the Nutives — An Aristocracy of l""latheads — ilos 
pitulily aiuoug the Cuiuuuks — Coiucoiuly's Daughter — Her Coiujuest .... 6H 


f'oliil (icorge — Pounding of Astoria — I ndiaii Visitors -Their RiMreption — The 
Captain tahoos the Ship — Departure of tlie Ton(;uiu — Comiueutii ou the Cou 
duel uf Cupluiu Tburu 72 


Disquieting Rumors from the Interi-jr — Reconnoitring Party — Prepnrntlons fo: 
a Tiading \'(,^l — An lIneX|/eete(l Arri'ai — A Spy in llic <;amp — Kxpedilion inlt 
the Interior — Shores of the Co'uniliia — Mount Collin — Indian Sipnlilin' -Th>,' 
Laud of Siiiiiis -Columbian \'alli'y — \'anc(juver's Point — Kails and li;ipids - 
A (Sreal I'isliiriL' Mail — Tile \'illau'e of Winli rain — Dill'iiiiiee bilwfcn lislijng 
Indians and Hunting Indians — iCffeet of Habits of Trade on the ludi^u (-'huracler 
— Post established at the UaUinagan , 75 



Alarm nt— Rumor of Indian iloslililles— Preparalioim for Defence — Tragi- 
cal Fate of the Tuii4Uiu 










idomcn on 
A l.iilna- 
cV Ixluiid 
- ['oit Kg- 
iHiueii left 
;« . . . 

- IIlH Navy 

eh IhIuiuIh 
i-H — Oaye- 
iirt kilU'il — 
i Mcrchaut 


i'H Cruw — 

r CanocH — 

licit ',u tlii'ir 

Ooilgal and 

Wi-ultli ill 

L'lilXn — iJoH 

ption — The 
ou the Oou 





Oloom at Adtnria — An TngcnlmiR Rlratagcm — The Smallpox Chief — T-aiinchlnR 
of the Dolly— An Arrival — A Canadian TrappiT— A I-'rccman of tli( l-'orcot — 
An lro(|Uoi.s lluulor — Winter on the Coliiniliia— KfHlivilies of iSuw Vuar . . . 91 


FvpodMlon hy r,nnd — WIlHon P. llnnt— Ilin Cliaracler — Donald M'Kfnzie— Re- 
i-riiitlii« Sprvicf anion:; llie Voyaf,'eiirM— A Hark Canoe- Cliipol of Si. Anne- 
Votive <)ffering«— I'ioii-* CarouHals — A liaggi.-d lic,,:nient — Mackinaw — I'irtiire 
i)f a Trading I'oKt — Krolieking VoyageurH — HwcIIh and Swaggerers- Indian ( ,'ox- 
combH — A Man of the North — Jockeyxhip of VoyageurH— I ni'diiacy of (ioid — 
Weight of a I'Vather — Mr. Kanmay Cr. okn — lliit Character — His Itixkn among 
tlic liidiann— lli» Warning concerning the !Siou.K juid IJIackfoet — ICinliarkation of 
KecrnilH — Parting SceiieM between Brothern, CouMinH, WivcH, SweetheartH and 
Pol Companlous M 


8t. Louis — IlB Pitnatlon — Motley Population — French Creole Traa. rB and their 
DepcndanlH — Missouri Fur Company — ^D•. Mimnel I-isa — Mississippi Hoatmcn 

— Vagrant Indians— Kentucky Hunters- Old French Mansion — I'Mdilling — I'.il- 
llnrds — Mr. .)ose|)h Miller — His Character — RecriiitH — Voyage up the Missouri 

— DilllcMiltics of tl'.i' Uiver — Merits of Canadian Voyageurs — .Arrival at tlio 
Nodowa--.Mr. Uohert M'Lellan joint the l\irty — .John Day, a Virginia Hunter 

— DcHoripllou of him— Mr. Iluut returns to .^t. Louis 102 


Opposition of the Missouri 7ur Company— Blackfeet Indians — Pierre Dorlon, a 
Half-lireed Interpreter — Old Dorion and his llylirid Progeny— Family i^iiarrels 

— Cross Purposes between Dorion and Lisa— Ki'iiegadocH from .Nodnwa — Per. 
pl( xities of a Coinniander — Messrs. Hradlitiry and Nuttall join the ICxpedllion — 
I I'gal KinljarrasHnieuts of Pierre Dorion — Departure from St. Louis — Conjugal 
Disciiiiine of a Half l>reed — Annual Swelling of the llivers — Daniel 'i!oone, the 
Patriarch of Kentucky — .Tohn Colter — His .\dventiiies among llic Indians — 
KnmoiH of Danger ahead — Fort Osage — An Indian Wai-feast — Troubles in the 
Doriou Family — iJuffaloeu and Turkey buzzards 10" 

laralions fc>; 
pedilion iiil ) 
ililiie -The 
lid Kapiils — 
kfeii lisliing 
"II Character 

Bncc — Tragi 



Ketarn of fpring — Aiipenranco of l^nakes — (treat Flights of Wild Pi^'eons -Re- 
newal of the Voyage — Night Encampinenls — Platte Uiver — Ceremonials on 
passing It — Signs of Indian War Parties — Magnilieen* I'mspect at Papillioii 
Creek — DcsiMlion of Two HuiiterH — An Irruption into the < 'amp of Iinli.iii Des- 
peradoes — \'illage of the Oniahas— Anucdotes of the Tribe — Feudal Wars tif 
the Indians — Story of Ulackblrd, the Famous Omaha Chief 117 


l{iiinois of Danger from the Sioux Tetons— Kiitliless ChnrMrtcr of those Savages 

Pirates of the Missouri -Their .Xffair with ( 'rooks and M'l.illan-- A i'la'ling 

Uj((>editiou broken up — M'Leliau's Vow of Vcuijeanue-- Uneafiiieas in the Cam;; 




-Desertloni- Departure from the Omsha Vlllagre - MeeHng with .Tones and 
Careon. Two Adventuroua Trapper* - Scientific PurBUits of Messr*. Bradbury 
and Nnttall-Zeal of a Botanldt- Adventure of Mr. Bradbury with a Ponca In. 
dlan- Expedient of the Pocket Compass and Microscope -A Messenger from 
Lisa — Motives for pressing Forward 


Camp Gossip— Deserters — Reemits — Kentucky Hunters — A Veteran Woodman 
— Tidings of Mr. Henry — Danger from the Blackfect — Alteration of Plans — 
Scenery of the River — Buffalo Roads- Iron Ore — Country of the Bioux— A 
Land of Danger — Apprehensions of the Voyageu rs — Indian ticoute — Threatened 
Hostliities- A Council of War — An Array of Battle— A Parley — The Pipe of 
Peace— Speech Making 



flnmrner \ 
Miircli — 
about til 
Tribe . 

New lllstri 
the Inter 
Indians - 
the Krout 


The Great Bend of the Missouri —Crooks and M'Lellan meet with Two of their 
Indian Opponents— Wanton Outrage of a White Man the Cause of Indian Hos- 
unties — Danger and Precautions — An Indian War Party — Dangerous Bitualion 
of Mr. Hunt— A Friendly Encampment — Feasting and Dancing — Approach of 
Manuel Lisa and his Party — A Grim Meeting between Old Rivals — Pierre Dorlon 
InaFury— A Burst of Chivalry 141 


Features of the Wilderness — Herds of Buffalo — Antelopew— Their Varletleti and 
Habits— John Day — His Hunting Stratagem — Interview with Thrcu Arlckarns 
— Negotiations between the Rival Parties — The Left-handed and the Big Miin, 
Two Arlckara Chiefs — Arickara Village — Its Inhabitants — Ceremonials on 
Landing- A Council Lodge — Grand Coufcrence — Speech of Lisa — Negotiation 
for Horses — Shrewd Suggestion of Gray Eyes, an Arickara Chief -Encampment 
of the Trading Parties 147 


An Indian Horse Fair— Love of the Indians for Horses — Scenes in the Arickara 
Village — Indian Hospitality — Duties of Indian Women — Game Habits of the 
Men — Their Indolence — Love of Gossiping — Rumors of Lurking Encmii-s — 
Scouts — An Alarm — A Sallying forth — Indian Dogs — Return of a Horse-steal- 
Ing Party — An Indian Deputation — Fresh .\larms — Return of a --iicccsBful War 
Party — Dress of the Arlckaras — Indian Toilet — Triumphal Entry of the War 
Party — Meetings of Relations and Friends— Indian Hensibility — Meeting of a 
Wounded Warrior and Uis Mother — Festivities and LameoUtiotu. 164 


Wilderness of the Far West — Great American Desert - Parched Seasons — Black 
Hills — Rocky Mountains — Wandering and i'rt'datory llurdes — Hpcculations ou 
what may be the Future Population — .pprehundvd DangerM — A I'lot to dusert 
— Rose the Interpreter — Uis tdiuiHler Characier — Departure from the .Vrickara 

vutaga laa 

Subetltute I 
when in I 
lioeo- R 

The Black 
in the Mo 
or Ahsahtj 
tant IVaks 
Dears — D 
John Day 

Indian Trail 
Powder R 
seen at a 
Extent - 
SouIb — Tc 

Region of thi 

Riders — A 
lies — RriHe 
;imong the 

Mountain <)l 
Klulbrads - 
Kuultv or '1 





K and 


ca In- 



lan« — 
'ipe of 


' their 
n Hon- 
>ach of 


le<« and 

g Man, 
iaU on 


of the 
tntoK — 
ful War 
ho War 
ug of a 



J deHert 





fnmmcr Woalher of the Pralrien — I'urlty of the AtraoBpherc— Canndlann on the 
March — SlcknesB In the Camp— Big Rivor — Vulgar Nomonclatuic - Su8i?e»tiong 
about Ihi! Original Indian Names — Carap of CheyennuB — Trade for llorHCH — 
Character of the Cbcycuaos — Their UorBemaDBblp — IliBtoricul AuccdolcH of the 
Tribe 166 


New DlBtributlon of IIorBee — Secret Information of Treason In the Camp — Rose 
the Interpreter — IHs Perfidious Character — IIIb Plots — AnocdotCB of the Crow 
Indians — Notorious IIorBe-etealerB — Some Account of Hose — A Uesperado of 
the Frontier liU 


Substitute for Fuel on the Prairies — Fossil Trees — Fierceness of the Bnffaloes 
when In Heat- Throe Hunters missing — Hignal Fires and PmokcM— rncuHiness 
concerning the Lost Men — A Plan to forestall a Hogue — New Arrangement with 
I:ioeo — ileturaof the WaudererB 172 


The Black Mountains — Haunts of Predatory Indians — Their WlH and Broken 
Appearance — tiupcrstltlon concerning them — Thunder Spirits — Hingular N'oIhcb 
in the Mountains — Secret Mines — Hidden Treasures— Mountains In Labor — 
Scientific Explanation — Impassable DefllcB — Black-tailed Deer — The Bighorn 
or A hsahta — Prospect from a Lofty Height — Plain with llerdi* of Buffalo — HIb- 
taut Peaks of the Rocky Mountains— Alarms In the Camp — Trackn of Grizzly 
Bears — Dangerous Nature of this Animal- Adventures of William Cannon and 
John Day with Grizzly Bears 176 


Indian Trail — Rough Mountain Travelling — Sufferings from Hunger and Thirst — 
Powder River — (lame In Abundance — A Hunter's Paradise — Mountain IVak 
seen at a Great Distance — One of the Big Horn Chain — Rocky Mountains — 
Extent — Appearance — Height — The Great Ami-ricnn Desert — Various <^har. 
lArtcristics of the Mountains — Indian Superstitions concerning thcni — Land of 
SouIb— TowDB of the Free and Generous Splrlta — Happy Hunting Grounds . 



Region of the Crow Indians — Scouts on the Lookout — Visit from a Crew of Hard 
Riders — A Crow Camp — Presents to the Crow Chief — Bargaining — (Mow Bul- 
lies-Rose among his Indian Friends — Parting with the ('rows — IVrplexillos 
:imong the Mountains— More of the Crows- Equestrian Children — Searc"> after 
Btragglera 18^ 


Mountain Glens — Wandering Band of Savages — Anecdotes of Shofhoiiles aud 
Flalhcada — Root Diggers — Tht-ir Solitary Lurking llubitM ~ Giiomi's of the 
MouutaluB — Wind River — Scarcity of Food — Alteration of Uuute — the Pilot 
KuuOp ur Tetwus- Brauch of the (Jolontdo -Hunting Camp l^ia 





A Plentiful nunlliiR Camp - ShoBhonle Hunters -Ilol-ark's River - Mnrt Rlvor- 
Encarapmcnt near the I'llot Kjiob8-A CouHulUlion-rrcpuration» to. u I'erll. 

oas Voyage 




A Conroltatlon whether to proceed by I>and or Water - PrrpnratlonH for Bout. 
Building -An Kxploring I'arty-A I'urty of Trappern drtiirlied - Two t^rmke 
VisitorB — Their Report concerning the River -Contlrmed by llic lOxploring I'arly 
-Mad River abandoned -Arrival at Henry's Kort - Detachment of Robitimm, 
Hoback and Rezuer to trap— Mr. Miller resolves to accompany them— Their 

CUAPTEU xxxir. 

Scnnty Fare — A Mendicant Snake — Embarkation on Tlenry River — Joy of the 
Voyagours — Arrival at Snake River — Rapids and Rreakors — Reginnlng of Mis. 
fortunes — Snake Kncampnients— Parley with a Savage — A tjecond JJIsaster — 
Loss of a Uoatmau — The Ualdrou Linn 203 


Gloomy Council — Exploring Parties- DIhcou raging Reports — Dlsastrons Expert 
mciit — Detachments in Quest of Succor- Caches, how made— Return of one of 
theDetachmcnts— Unsuccessful — KurllierDiMapi)ointment8 — The Devil's Scuttle 
Uole 208 


Determination of the Party to proceed on Foot — Dreary DesertB between Snako 
Rivorand the Columbia— Distribution of Effects Preparatory to a March — I)ivi8. 
ion of the I'arty — Rugged march along the River — Wild and Rroken Scenery 

— Shoshonies — Alarm of a Snake Kncanipmenl — Intercourse with the Snakes 

— norse-dcaling- Value of a Tin Kettle — Sufferings from Thirst— A Horse 
reclaimed — Fortitude of an Indian Woman — Scarcity of Food — Ptog's Flesh 
a Dainty- yews of Mr. Crooks and his Party — Painful Travelling among the 
Mountains — Snowstorms- A Dreary Mountain Prospect- A Bivouac duHug a 
WintryNlght.—Beturu to the River Bunk 2U 


An Unexpected Meeting- Navigation In a Skin Canoe — Strnngo Fears of Ruffcrtng 
Men — Hardships of Mr. Crooks and his Comrades —Tidings of M'Lcilan — -V 
Retrograde March — A AVillow Raft— l^xtrcme Suffering of Some of the Party 
-Illness of Mr. Crooks — Impatience of Some of the Men — Necessity of leaving 
the Laggards behind ^>j) 


Mr. Hunt ovf-rtakes the AdvanotHi I'arty ~ I 'Icrre DoHoii, and his Skeleton Horse 

— A Shoslioiiie Camp— A .lustitlalile <tuliMge — Feasting uii lloisu I-'IckIi Mr. 
Crooks brought to the Camp— Uudertakes to relieve his Men — The Skin Ferry 





FA tin 

Ivor — 







of tho 

)f MlB- 

later — 



one of 


I Snake 
L Horse 
M Klesb 
oiig the 
luHiig a 


lUui — A 
H' Tarty 
f leaving 


in llorHP 
kIi - Mr. 
II I'Vrry- 

lioat — Prpnzy of I'rpvont — Tlld Melancholy Fate — Enfeebled State of John Duy 
•»Mr. ('icokH uuMin left lichinil — The Party (■nu>ri<f from among Uic Mimiilairm 
— Interview wilh ShoHhoniru — A Ouidf procured to conduct the I'arty acronw a 
Mountain- Ki^rriaKo acroHM Snake Kiver— Ueunion with Mr.tJrookMV Men — Kinal 
JJeiiurture from the Uiver ••.. ••• 



Dc'imrture from Hnako Ulvor— Mounttthm to tho North — Way worn Travellers 
— An Increase of the Dorlon Family — A (-'amp of Hhoshonles — A New-Year 
FeKtival among tho Hnakes — A Wintry March through tho Mountainrt— A Sunny 
ProHpect and Milder Climate — Indian UorHetrackH — OnwHy Valleys — A Camp 
of SciulogUH — Joy of the Travellers — Dangers of Abundance— Habits of the 
gclatogas — Kate of Curriere — The Umatalla — Airival at the Hanks of the Co- 
lumbia — Tidings of the Scattered Menibers of the Expedition — ticenery on the 
Columbia — Tidiugs of Astoria— Arrival ut the Falla 2JU 


The Village of Wish-ram — Rogticry of the Inhabitants — Their TTabitatima — 
Tidings of Astoria — Of tho Tonquln Massacre — Thieves about the Camp — A 
Band of Braggarts — limbarkatlon — Arrival at Astoria — A .loyful Ilecei)tiou^ 
Old Comrades — Adventures of Heed, M'Lellau, and M'Keuzie among the tinako 
River Mouuluius — ICejoiuiug at Astoria 237 


Scanty Fare during the Winter — A Poor Hunting Ground — The Return of the 
Fishing Season — The I'thlecan or Smelt — Its Qualities — Vast Shoals of it — 
Sturgeon — Indian Modes of taking it — The Salmon — Different SpecieM — Na- 
ture of the Country about the Coast — Forests and Forest Trees — A liemarkablu 
Flowering Vine — Animals- Birds— Reptiles- Climate West of the Mountains 
— Mildness of the Temperature — Soli of the Coast and tlie Interior 



Natives In the Neighborhood of Astoria —Their Persons ond CharacteriBtiea — 
Causes of Deformity — 'I'lieir Dress — Their Contempt of Beards — ^Ornatnents — 
Armor and Weapons — Mode of Flattening the Head — Extent of the Cnslom — 
Religious Belief — The Two Great Spirits of the Air and of the Fire- Priests or 
Medicine Men — The Rival Idols — Polygamy a (,'ause of llrealness — Petty War- 
fare— Music, Dancing, (iambling —Thieving a Virtue — Keen Traders — Intru- 
•Ive Uubita — Abhorrence of Druukeuuess — Auccdjte of Comuouily 


Spring Arrangements at Astoria — Various Ex))editlonB set out— The Long War. 
rows — Plll'erliig Indians — Thievish Tribe at Wishram — Portage at the Falls — 
PoiliiKe liy MuoMliglit — An Attack, a Rout, and a Robbery — Indian Cure for 
Cowardice - A Parley and ( 'ompromise — The Despatch i'arty turn back — Meet 
Crooks und J oJui i>ay Their tSuQ'eringb — Indian Pertidy —Arrival at Astoria . 







Coniprehen.lvP Vlew«-To .npply the Ku.M«n Fur KMBhII«hnN.nt - An Afm.t 
Bent lo RuHHia- IToJect of an Annnal Phlp-Thn Hoavor H.te.) onl- Hor K.,uip 
mentandCrfw-lustrucUonstothe Captaln-Thc HamlwUli IhIhiuIh - K.nnurH 
of the F«te of the Touquln-l'recautiouB ou reacUug the Mouth of the Cluluiublu 259 


Active OperaUODB at Astoria - Various Expeditions fitted out- Robert Htuart and 
a I'arty destined for New Vork-Blngular Conduct of John Day-llin Kale- 
Pi ratlcal Pass and Hazardous Portage- Rattlesnake*- Their A l.hom-n.e of To. 
bacco -Arrival among the Wallah-Wallahs- Purchase of horses -Departure of 
Stuart and his Band for the Mountains 203 

Routeof Mr. Stnart-Preary Wilds-Thirsty Travelling- A Orovp and Stream- 
let-The Blue Mountalns-A Fertile Plain with Rivulets- Hulphur Spring- 
Route along Snake River— Rumors of White M.'ii- The Snake and his Horse — 
ASnakeOuide — A Midnight Decampment- Unexpected Meeting with OKI Cora, 
rades — Story of Trappers' Hardships- Salmon Falls -A Great Fishery — Mode 
of Spearing Salmon — Arrival at the Caldron Linn- Slate of the Caches — New 
Kesalutlon of the Three Kentucky Trappers 208 


The Snake River Deserts — Scanty Fare — Bewildered Travellers — Prowling In- 
dians — A Giant Crow Chief — A Bully rebuked — Indian SlunaJH -Smoke on Ihe 
nlountains- Mad River- An Alarm — An Indian Foray — A Scanipor— A Rude 
ludlau Joke — A Sharpshooter balked of his Shot 278 


Travellers unhorsed — Pedestrian Preparations — Prying Spies — Bonfire of Bap. 
gage- A March on Foot— Rafting a River — The Wounded KIk — Indian 'I'ralls 
— Wilful Conduct of Mr. M'Lellan — Grand Prospect from a Muuutalu — DiHUint 
Craters of Volcanoes— ItluesB of Mr. Crooks 284 


Ben Jones and a Qriizly Bear — Rocky Heights- Mountain Torrents — 
Traces of M'Lellan— Volcanic Remains— Mineral Earths- Peculiar Clay 
for Pottery— Dismal Plight of M'Lellan— Starvation— Shocking Proposi- 
tion of a Desperate Man— A Broken-downBull— A Ravenous Meal— Indian 
Qraves— Hospitable Snakes— A Forlorn Alliance 2M 

Agreement be 


Spanish River Scenery— Trial of Crow Indians— A Snow-storm— A Rousing 
Fire and a Buffalo Feast— A Plain of Salt — Climbing a Mountain — Vj)1- 
canic Summit — Extinguished Crater — Marine Shells - Encani pnuMit on 
a Prairie— Successful HuntiuK, -Clood Cheer— Romantic Scenery— Rocky 
Defile — Foaming Rapids -The Fiery Narrows 297 





VTIntry Ptormo — A Halt nnd Ooniicll — f'antonnapnt for the W1nt«»r— iitie FTunU 
iug Couiilry — (Jrtine of Iho MoiiiilalnH nnd I'lnitiH — HucccHHfiil lliinliiig — Mr. 
Oruokx unii a Orizzly Hrar — The Wigwam — Mltihorn and liliicktallx — Kfcf and 
VeiilHon — Oood (juarterH and Good Cheer — An Alarm — An IntruHlon — Unwel- 
cume (Jiii-HtH — Di-Hulatlon of the Larder — Oormandlzlug KxplolU of Uuugr/ 
tiavages — Uood Quartern abauduneJ 103 


Rough Wintry Travplling — HilU and Plains — Snow and Ice — Disappearance of 
Uame — A Vast Dreary I'lain— A Hecond Ualt for the Winter — Another Wig- 
wam—New Year'H Feutit — Buffalo Humps, Tongues, and Marrow Bones — Ite- 
turn of Hi)rlug— Launch of Canoes — Bad Navigation — Pedestrian March — Vast 
Prairies — Deserted Camps — Pawnee Squaws — An Otto Indian — News of War 

Voyage down the Platte and the Missouri — lieceptiou at Fort Osage — Arrival 

RtSt. Louia 



Agreement between Mr. Aator and the Russian Kur Company —War between the 
United Sutes and Great Britain -Instructions to Captain Sowle of the Beaver 
— Filtiiig-out of the Lark — News of the Arrival of Mr. Stuart 31S 


Banks of the Wallah-Wallab- Departure of David Stnart for the Oaklnagan — 
Mr. Clarke's Uouto up Lewis River — Chipunnish, or Pierced-nose Indians — 
Their Character, Appearance, and Habits — Thievish Habits — Layiug-up of the 
Boats — Post lit i'oiuted Heart and Spokan Rivers— M'Kenzie, his Route up the 
Camoenum — Hands of Travelling Indians -Expedition of Reed to the Caches — 
Adventures of Wandering Voyageurs and Trappers 



Departure of Mr. Hunt In the Beaver — Precautions at the Factory — Detachment 
to the Wallainot- Gloomy Apprehensions- Art ival of M'Kenzie — Affairs at 
.^liahuptan — News of War— Dismay of M'Dougal — Determination to abandon 
Ar'ioria- Departuie of M'Kenzie for tlie Interior- Adventure at the Rapids — 
V Ir-it tu the RuUIans of Wish-ram — A Perilous Situation — Meeting with M'Tavish 
and bU Party — Arrival at the Shahaptan — Plundered Caches — Determination 
of tbe Wintering Partners not to leave the Country — Arrival of Clarke among 
the Nez Percys — Tlie Affair of the Silver Goblet — Hanging of an Indian — Arrival 
of the Wintering Partners at Astoria 323 


The Partners displeased with M'Dougal — Equivocal Conduct of that Gentleman — 
PartiuTH agree to abandon .\»t()rla— Sale of Goods to M'Tavish— Arrangements 
fur tilt- Year — Manifesto signed by the Partners — Departure of M'Tavish fur the 
luteriur 330 




Anxlrtloft of Mr. Antor- McrnoHul of th<> NortliwpHt rompmiy - TldliiKH ..f a 
HiilUli Nuval KxpnlitioiiuKiiliiHt AHtoilii — Mr. j\Ht.>iiii)i.lii'«l«> (i««v<Timu'nl for 
i'roUMliDii-'l'h.- FrlK.ite AdiiiiiH ordcml U> U) lltUxl oul— Urlghl Nuwn fioiu 
A«iorlu — t)miBliiiifi)udUuuly overclouded 33* 


Affttlrd of Htate at Aotnrln — M'Doiih'"' proponoH for the Hand of an Indian I'rincesi 

— MatrliiMiiiiiil KnibanHy to ( 'onu'onily — Matrimonial notloiiM ainoni{ tin- « 'hinooks 

— SiltlcniciilH and riiiiuomy — 'I'lu! lirlnulriK lloiuu of the Uride — A Managiug 
Fttllier-lu-luw — Arrival of Mr. Hunt ul AMtorlu 33a 


Voyage of the Beaver to New Archangel — A KuHHian Governor— RoysterlnK Itulo 

— The Tyranny of the Table — Hard-drinking HarKalnH— Voya^fe to KaniHchatka 

— Heal-eati'hlng KMlabllHliinent at Wt. I'aul'H — StorniM at .'^fii — Mr. Hunt left at 
the tjandwich Islands — Trunsactioug of the Ueaver at Canton — Uet urn of Mr. 
Uuut U> AHtorla 'Xin 


Arraugenaents among the PartnerH — Mr. Hunt gailH In the AlbatroM — .Vrrtvea at 
the Marquesas — News of the Krifc'ale I'hu'be- Mr. Hunt proceedi* to the Hand- 
wlch Islands- Voyage of the l.ark— Her .Shipwreck — Transactions with the 
Natives of the Soadwicb Islaudis — Conduct uf TauiuuLmoub 344 


Arrival of M'Tavish at Astoria — Conduct of his Followers — Negotiations of 
M'Dou^'aJ^and M'Tavish — Bargain for the Transfer of Astoria — Doubts entur- 
taiued of ttte Loyalty of M'Dougal 349 


Arrival of a Strange Sail — Agitation at Astoria— Warlike Offer of Comconily — 
Astoria taken Possession of by the Britlsb — ludlgnatiun of Coiucoiuly ut the 
Conduct of his tiou-iu-law 3,')3 


Arrival of the Brig Pedler at Astoria— Breaklngup of the RsUbllsbraent — De. 
parture of Several of the Company — Tragical Story told by the Hciuaw of I'ierre 
Dorion — Kate of Reed and his Companions — Attempts of Mr. Astor to renew 
Ilia Eulerprido— Uisappolntiaeut —Concluding Observations uud Rellectlous . . 307 


DraughtofaPeUtlontoCongress, sent by Mr. Astor In 1812 gjfi 

Letter from .Mr. Gallatin to Mr. Astor 30a 

Notices of the Present State of the Kiir Trade, chiefly extracted from au Article 

published in Silliniari's, Journal for January, 1834 368 

Ili'iirlit of the Rocky .Mountains 37.J 

buggestiuns with Respect to the Indian Tribes, and the Protection of our Trade . 373 

-■r-n-'-^~~,^^ ,. ^^ -.. — 

-1 T— ->— «.^-.,. .^ 



Two leading objects of cominoieiul giiiu have given birlh to 
wide :ind daring enterprise in the early history of the Ameri- 
cas : the precious metals of the south, antl the rich peltries of 
the north. While the fiery and niagniliceut Spaniard, iiillanicd 
with the mania for gold, has extended his discoveries and con- 
quests over those brilliant countries scorclied by the ardent sun 
of the tropics, llu' adroit and buoyant Frenchman, and tlie cool 
and calculating Briton, have pursned the less splendid, but no 
less lucrative, tralllc in furs amid the hyperborean regions of 
liie C'anadus, until they have advanced even within the Arctic 

These two pursnits have thus in a manner been the pioneers 
and precursors of civilization. Without pausing on the bor- 
ders, they have penetrated at once, in detiauce of dilliculties 
and dangers, to the; heart of savage conntries : laying (, m'u the 
hidden secrets oi the wilderness ; leading tlie way to remote 
regions of beauty and fertility thiit might have remained unex- 
plored for ages, and beckoning after them the slow and pansing 
Hteps of agriculture and civiliz:ition. 

It was the fur trade, in fact, whitih gave early sustenance and 
vitality to the great Canadian provinces, lieing d(>stitutc of 
thr precious metals, at that time the leading objects of Ameri- 
can enterprise!, they were long neglected by the parent country. 
Tlio French adventuiers, however, wlio h.'ul settled on the 
hanivs of tlie St. I^awrence, soon found tliat in the rich peltries 
of tlie interior, they had sources of wealth that miglit idmost 
rival tlie mines of Mexico and Peru. The Indians, as yet un- 
accpiainted with the artificial value given to some descriptions 
of furs, in civilized life, brought quantities of the most precious 
kinds and bartered them away for European trinkets and clieap 
commodities. Immense ])roiits were thus made by the early 
traders, and the trallic was pursued with avidity. 









As the v:iIii.'il)lo furs soon lu'oatnc scarco in the noij^'hborhood 
(.r ihc >rlll.iri(ii(s, llic Imli.'iiis of the vicinity wrrc stininhih'd 
tw tikr ;i uii|«r laup' in tlifir Inintinj; t-xpiMJitions ; llicv wvm 
^iii. iiilly :icnini|i:inif(l on tlifsc »'.\|u'<lition.s iiy sonn- of the 
Uaili'i.s or liii'ir ilfiicmlants, win* sliiuvd in the toils .'iml pnils 
of till' cliasc. Miitl at tlu' same liini' mack' liii-nisclvcs u(<iiiaintc(l 
with llu' lii'.-t linnlinij: antl liapiiinii; -iicnnds, and with tin- iv- 
ni(jlL' Uilu's, whom tiii-y i-ucoura<fcd to l)iin^ tiioir pt'ltrit-s to 
tlio st'tlh'nionts. In this way the trade au«,MiR'nted, and was 
(iiawn from remote (inartiTs to Montreal. Kvery now and then 
a hiiiie liody of Ottawas, Ilnrons, and otliiT tribes wiio hunted 
the countries li()i(h'iinu; on tiie <i;reat hikes, woiiUl come down 
in a siiiiadron of h<iht eanoe^, hiden with heaver skins, uud 
othiT spoils of their year's imntinjj;. The canoes would be un- 
laden, taken on shori', and their contents disposed in «jrder. A 
cam|) of birch Itark would be pitched outside of the town, and a 
kind of primitive fair opened with that <j;rave eerenionial so 
dear to the Indians, An audit'uee would be demanded of the 
ji<»vernor-<ieneral, who would hold the conference with beeomin}=j 
atale, sealed in an elbow-chair, with the Indians ranj^cd in semi- 
circles before him, seated on tlu; uround. and silentlv smokinj; 
their pipes. Speeches would lie made, presents exchanged, and 
the audience would break up in universal good humor. 

Now would ensue a brisk trallic with the merchants, and all 
Montreal would be alive with naked Indians running from shoj) 
to shop, l»argaining for arn)s. kettles, knives, axes, l)lankets, 
bright-colored cloths, and other articles of use or fancy; upon 
all which, says an old Freneh writer, the merchants were .sure 
to clear at least two hundi'ed per cent. There was no money 
used in this Iradie. and, after a time, all payment in spiritu- 
ous Ii(|Uors was prohibited, in consequence of the frantic ami 
frightful excesses and bloody brawls which they were ui)t to 

Their wants and caprices l)eing supi)lied, they would take 
icave of the governor, strike their tents, launch 'their cunoes, 
and ply their way up the Ottawa to the lakes. 

A new and anomalous class of men gradually grew out of 
this trade. These were called courenrn des bois, rangers of the 
woods; originally men who had accompanied the Indians in 
their hunting expeditions, and made themselves accpiainted with 
rem(<te tracks and tribes; and who now became, as it were, 
l)edlers of the wilderness. These men would set out from 
.Alonlival with canoes well stocked with goods, with arms and 
umuiuuiiiou, and would make their way up the mazy uud wan- 






tloriiit: rivriH tiiiit intcrl.'ioo tlio vnst foi\'Hts of tlii' fjiiuidas, 
(•(..i-^tiiiL: llif most rciiiolf l;ik(>. ami <T(!itiii<i new wants and 
|i:ili|li|il('S amoii;; llif ii;iti\t'>. S< iiutl iiilt'> tlicv soioill'licd for 
luoiilti^ amoiiLi thrill, assiiiiilaliii;;, l<i lluir tastes ami lialtits with 
Ihf liHpi'.v facility of Krciichiiu'ii ; a<lo|itiiii; in soiiic (Ic^rcc tho 
liiiliaii (hoss, and not unfitiimntly lal\iii«4; to tlicnisi'lvi's Imhaii 

'I'wi'lvo, liftotMi, oifjhtocn months wonld often i-hipsc without 
aiiv li<rniu;s «)f them, wlicii thi-y \>oul(l come swccitiiig llicir way 
down th»' Ottawa in fnll ;^ht'. llnii ranois hidi'ii down with 
pacivs of bi'uver sUiiis. Now caiiii' Ihi-ir turn for icvi'lry and 
txtrava^aiKT. " Von WDuhl \h' aiiii'./i'd," says an ohl writer 
already ((noted, '* if yon saw how Kwd thesi' pedlers are wiien 
tlii-y return ; how they fi-ast and <j,ame. and iiow |irodi;^al they 
are, not only in their elotlu-s, lint npon their swi'i'thearts. Sneh 
of llu'iii as are married have the wisdom to retire to their own 
hoiisi's ; l»nt the bachelors act jii>l as an Kast Indiamtm and 
])iiatcs are wont to d(» ; for they lavish, eat, drink, iind play 
all away as lon<j; as the {^oods hold ont ; and when these are 
t;one, they even sell thi'ir emliroidery, their laee, and their 
clothes. This iloue, they are forced upon a new voyage for 
siihsistenee." ' 

Many of these coiircurs <lcs hnis Iteeaine so acenstomod to the 
Indian mode of living, and the perfect fri'cdoni of the wilder- 
ness, that they lost all ri'lish for ci\ ili/ation, and identified 
tlu'iiiselves witli the savages among whom they dwelt, or conid 
only he distingnished from them hy snperior licentionsness. 
Their eondnet and example gradnally corrnpted the natives, 
and impeded the works of the ( ath<ilie missionaries, who were 
at this time proseenting their pious labors in the wilds of 

'I'o check these abnses, and to protect the fnr crade from 
varions irregularities practisecl by these h)ose adventurers, an 
order was issui'd by the French (iovernment prohibiting all 
persons, on pain of death, from trailing into the interior of the 
conntry without a license. 

These licenses were granted in writing l)y the governor-gen« 
eial. and at lirst were given only to persons of respectability; 
to gi'iitU'inen of broken foitnnes ; to old olllcers of the army 
who had families to provide for ; or to their widows. P^ach 
license permitted the lifting ont of two large canoes with nier- 
cliaiulise for the lakes, and no more than twenty-five licenses were 

> Lm UuoUd, v. i. k'l. 4. 




to 1.0 issued in one year, liy do-recs, liowevor, private licenses 
vvc'ie ■•'Iso -••.•inhMl, und tiie number rapidly nu-reiiHcd. I hose 
who did nol choose to lit out the expe.litions ves were 
MiM-Miitted lo sell tliein to the nierciumts ; these eniplo^cd the 
coitmirs ,1,'s bois, or rangers of the woods, to underUike tho 
long voyages on shares, aud thus the abuses of the old system 
\vei° revived and continued.' rwi i- 

The pious missionaries, employed by the Koman Catholic 
Church !o convert the Indians, did every thing in their power 
lo counteract the profligacy caused and propagated by these 
men in the heart of the wilderness. Tlie Catliolic chapel might 
often be seen planted beside the trading house, aud its spire 
surmounted by a cross, towering from the midst of an Imlian 
village, on tlie banks of a river or a lake. The missions had 
often a benelieial etlect on the simple sous of the forest, but had 
little power over the renegades from civilization. 

At lenuth it was found necessary to establish fortified posts 
at the conlliKiice of tiie rivers aud the lakes for the protection 
of the trade, and the restraint of these profligates of the wilder- 
ness. Tlie most important of these was at Michilimackinac, 
situated at tlie strait of the same name, which connects Lakes 
Huron and IMieliigan. It became the great interior mart and 
place of deposit, and some of the regular merchants who prose- 
cuted the trade in person, under their licenses, formed estab- 
lishments here. This, too, was a rendezvous for the rangers 
of the woods, as well those who came up with goods from 
Montreal as those who returned with peltries from the interior. 
Here ii:w expeditions were fitted out, and took their de|)arture 
for Lake Michigan and the Mississippi ; Lake Superior and the 
northwest; and here the peltries brought in return were em- 
barked for ^Montreal. 

The French merchant at his tradii:g post, in tliese primitive 
(lays of Canada, was a kind of commercial patriarch. With 
the lax habits aud easy familiarity of his race, he had a little 

' 'I'hc following arc Ihe toriiiH on which thcHC exix'illlioiiH were cotnmonly under- 
taken. The miTclianl holdinij llio liccnne would 111 out the Iwo runocH with a UidUHaiid 
crowim' worth of goodn, and ))iit them iindiT the conduct of nix coun-urH don IkjIh, to 
whom the uoodrt were charged at the rate of fifteen per cent ibove the ready-iiioney 
price in the colony. 'I'he coureurH dcH boln, in their turn, dealt ho HJiarply with the huv- 
SKKB, that th(iy ijenerally returned, 'M the end of a year or ho, with four eanoeM well laden, 
30 as to iMj<ure a clear profit of neveii hundred per cenl, innoniuch that the thounand 
crowns iiiveHled i)rodneed eiijht thouHand. Of thin e.\tra\ai;a!it profit, the nierehant had 
the lioii's Hhare. In the tirxt pla"e he would net aniili' nix hundred crowuH for the coHt of 
hiH licenne, then a tliousaiid crownx for the cont of tlh- original nierchaiidiHe. TniH would 
leave hIx thounand four hundred crowiiH, from which he would take forty iier cent for 
bottomry, amouiitiiiL: to two thou»iand five hundicd and Hixty crowns. I'he reHidue 
Would lie eijualiy divided ainon^ the .xix wood rani^era, whuwuuld IbuH receivu llttli; munt 
than BIX huudrud orowub fur ull their tullH and periUi. 




world of solf-indulgcncc and misrule around him. He had his 
clerks, canoe-nuiu, and retainers of all kinds, who lived with 
him on terms of perfect sociability, always calling him by his 
Christian name ; he had his harem of Indian beauties, and his 
troop of half-breed children ; nor was there ever wanting a 
loutin^ train of Indians, hanging about the establishment, 
eating and drinking at his expense in the intervals of their 
hunting expeditions. 

The Canadian traders, for a long time, had troublesome com- 
petitors in the British merchants of New York, who inveigled 
the Indian hunters and the coureurs des bois to their posts, and 
trad(!d with them on more favorable terms. A still more for- 
midable opposition was organized in the Hudson Hay Company, 
chartered by Charles II., in 1670, with the exclusive privilege 
of establishing trading houses on the shores of that liay and its 
tributary rivers ; a privilege which they have maintaiiied to the 
present day. Between this British company and tlie French 
merchants of Canada, feuds and contests arose about alleged 
infringements of territorial limits, and acts of violence and 
bloodshed occurred between their agents. 

In 17G2 the French lost possession of Canada, and the trade 
fell principally into the hands of British subjects. For n time, 
however, it shrunk within narrow limits. The old cour<'urs (fes 
bois were broken up and dispersed, or, where the}' could be 
met with, were slow to accustom themselves to the habits and 
manners of their British employers. They missed the freedom, 
indulgence, and familiarity of the old French trading houses, 
and ciid not relish the sober exactness, reserve, and method of 
tlie new-comers. Tlx' British traders, too, were ignorant of 
the country, and ul of tlie natives. They had reason to 
be so. The treacherous and bloody affairs of Detroit and 
Miciiilimatklnac showed them the lurking hostility cherished by 
the savages, who had too long been taught by the French to 
regard them as enemies. 

It was not until the year 1700 that the trade regained its old 
channels ; but it was then pursued with much avidity and emu- 
lation l)y individual merchants, and soon transcended its former 
bounds. Expeditions were fittecl out by various persons from 
Montreal and Michilimackinac, and rivalships and jealousies of 
course ensiu'd. The trade was injured by their ailifiees to 
outbid and undermine each othei' ; the Indians weri' debauched 
l>y the sale of spirituous li(iuors, which had been proliibited 
under the French lule. Scenes of driuikenness, brutality, and 
inawl were the cousequ'^ice, in the Indian villages and around 



leveral of tlic |)nncii)tii niorciiiuus oi .uumit-iu uimn-u imo :i 
)artnorsliii) in tlie winter of 178;{. which was auginciiU'd hy 
mialgamation witii a rival roinpany in ITS?. Tluis was cri'atcd 
he famous '' Noitliwcst Conii)any," which for a time hi'ld a 

the tia(lin<i houses; while hlooily fouds took place botwoon 
rival tradinj? i)arties wh'.;ii they happened to encounter each 
other in the lawless depths of the wilderness. 

To put an end to these sordid and ruinous contentions, 
several of the i)rincipal merchants of .Alontreal enteri-d into a 



lordly sway over the wintry lakes and forests of (lie 

Canadas, almost equal to that of the East India Company over 

the voluptuous climes and magnificent realms of the Orient. 

The company consisted of twenty-three shareholders or part- 
ners, but held m its employ about two thousand persons as 
clerks, guides, interpreters, and '' voyageurs," or boatmen. 
These were distributed at various trading posts, established far 
and wide on the interior lakes and rivers, at immense distances 
frotii each other, and in the heart of trackless countries and 
savage tribes. 

Several of the partners resided in Montreal and Quebec, to 
manage the main concerne of the company. 'I'hese were called 
agents, and were personages of great weiglit and importance ; 
the other partners took their stations at tiie interior posts, where 
they remained throughout the winter, to superintend the inter- 
coiu'se with the various cribes of Indians. They were tlience 
ca'Ied wintering partners. 

Tlie goods destined for this wide and wandering traflic were 
put up at the warehouses of the company in ]\Iontical. and con- 
veyed in batteaux, or l)oats and canoes, up tile Kivcr Attaw;., 
or Otf-wa, which falls into the St. Lawicih-e ncni- .Monlnal, 
and by other rivers and portages to Lake Xipising, Lake Ir 
ron, lake Superior, and thence, by sevcriil ciKiins of gre;it 
and small lakes, to Lake Winnipeg, Lake Atliabasca, and the 
Great Slave L;:ke. This singular and beautiful system of in- 
ternal seas, wi.icli renders an immense region of wilderness so 
aecessil)lc to the frail bark of the Indian or the trader, was 
studded by the remote posts of the company, where thoy carried 
on their traflic witii the surrounding trii)es. 

The company, as we have shown, was at first a spontaneous 
association of merchants: but after it had been nirularlv or- 
ganized, admission into it became extremely dillicnltT A 'can- 
didate h;id to enter, as it were, '^ before the'mast." to undergo 
a lo^ig proliation, and to rise slowly 1)V his merits and sei vices. 
lie began at an early age as a clerk, and served .^n apprentice- 
ship of seven years, for which he received one; hundred iiounos 



ptorling, was mnintainofl at the cxponso of the compaii}-, atul 
f . iiisht'd with suital)le elotlung and L'qiii[)intMits. Ilis prolm- 
liou was generally passed at the interior trading i)osts ; removed 
for years from civili/ed soeiety, leading a life almost as wild 
and precarious as the savages around him ; exposed to the se- 
verities of a northern winter, often suffering from a seareit}' of 
food, and sometimes destitute for a long time of both bread and 
salt. Wlien his api)rentieeship had expired, he reei'ived a salary 
according to his deserts, varying from eighty to one hundred 
and sixty pounds sterling, and was now eligil)le to the great ob- 
ject of his ambition, a partnership in the company ; though 
voars might yet elapse before he attained to that enviable sta- 

Most of the clerks were young men of good families, from 
the Highlands of Scotland, characterized by the perseverance, 
thrift, and fidelity of their country, and filled by their native 
hardihood to encounter the rigorous climate of the north, and 
to eiidure the trials and privations of tlieir lot ; though it must 
not be concealed that the constitutions of many of them became 
impaired b^ the hardsh.ips of the wilderness, and their stoniachs 
injured by occasional famishing, and especially by the want of 
bread and salt. Now and then, at an intervivl of years, they 
were permitted to come down on a visit to the establishment 
at Alontreal, to recruit their healtli, and to have a taste of civil- 
ized life; and these were brilliant si)ots in their existence. 

As to the principal partners or agents, who resided in IMon- 
trcal and Quebec, they formed a kind of commercial aristoc- 
racy, living in lordly and hospitable style. Their early asso- 
ciations when clerks at the remote trading posts, and tiie 
pleasures, dangers, adventures, and mishaps wliicii they had 
siiaretl together in their wild wood life, had linked tlu in heartily 
to each other, so that they formed a convivial fiateriiily. Few 
travellers that have visited Canada some thirty years since, 
in tiie da}'s of the M'Tavishes, the MHJillivrays. thi' M'Kenzies, 
the Krobishers, and the oilier magnates of tiie north\vt-st. when 
the co!ni)any was in all its glory, but must renu'inber the round 
of feasting and revelry kept up among tiiese hyperborean 

Nonietiines one or two partneis, recently from the interior 
posts, would make their appearance in New York, in the eoursi! 
of a tour of [deasure and curiosity. On thest' oecasions there 
was always a degree of magnilieenee of the jiiirse aliout theiii, 
and a peculiar propi'usity to expenditure at tin' goldsmith's 
and jeweller's, for rings, eliaina, brooches, uecklai'es, jewlled 





watches, and other rich trinkets, partly for their own wear, 
partly for presents to tlieir female !i (luaiiilances ; a gorovous 
prodifrality, such as was often to he noticed in foi-nier times in 
southern planters and West India Creoles, when Hush with the 
profits of their plantations. 

To behold the Northwest Company in all its state and 
grandeur, however, it was necessary to witness an annual «>;ath- 
eriiig at the great interior i)lace of eonferenee established at 
Fort" William, near what is called the Grand I'ortage, on Lake 
Superior. Here two or three of the leading partners from 
Montieal proceeded once a year to meet the partners from the 
various trading posts of the wilderness, to discuss the atfairs of 
the comi)any during the prccetliug year, and to arrange plans 
for the fiiturj. 

On these occasions might be seen the change since the un- 
ceremonious times of ihe old French traders ; now the aristo- 
cratical character of the Briton shone foifli inagnilicently, oi 
rather the feudal spifit of the Highlander. Kvcry partner who 
had charge ot an interior post, and a score of retainers at his 
command, felt like the chieftain of a Highland clan, and was 
almost as important in the eyes of his dependants as of himself. 
To him a visit to the grand conference at Fort William w;'s a 
most important event ; and he repaired there as to a meeting of 

The partners from Montreal, however, were the lords of the 
ascendant; coming from the midst of luxurious and ostenta- 
tious life, they quite eclipsetl their compt'ers from the woods, 
whose forms and faces had been battered and hardened by hard 
living and hard service, and whose garments and equipments 
were all the worse for wear. Indeed, the partners from l)elow 
considered tht whole dignity of the company as ii-presi'iited in 
their persons, and conducted themselves in suitable style. 
They ascend.Ml the rivers in great state, liki' sovereigns making 
a progress : or rather like Highland chieftains navigating their 
subject lakes. They were wrapped in rich fins, their huge 
canoes freighted with every convenience and lii\ury, and 
manned by Canadian voyageu's, as obedient as Ilighlan-l clans- 
men. They carried up with them cooks and l)akeis, togctlier 
with delicacies of every kind, and abundance of choice wines 
for the ban([uets which attended tliis great convocation. I rapi)v 
were they, too, if they could met with some dislingiiishccl 
stiMMgcr; above all, some titU'il member (»r the IJritish iiol>iiilv, 
to accompMny them ou this stately occasion, and grace their 
high solemn itieii. 





Fort William, the sceno of this important anniuil nu'etiiig, 
was a coiisidtM-ahlc villa<;(' on tho bank.s of Lake Superior. 
Here, ill an immense wooden bniUlinjr, was tiie great eonneil 
hall, as also the banqueting chamber, decorated with Indian 
arms and accoutrements, and the trophies of the fur trade. 
The house swarmed at this time with traders and voyageurs, 
some from JNIontreal, bound to the interior posts ; some from the 
interior posts, bound to Montreal. The councils wore held in 
great slate, for every member felt as if sitting in parliament, 
and every retainer and dependant looked up to the assembla>»> 
with awe, as to tin; house of lords. There was a vast deal of 
soleiim deliberation, and hard Scottish reasoning, with au occa- 
sional swell of pompous declamation. 

These grave and weight}' councils were alternated by huge 
feasts and revels, like some of the old feasts described in 
Highland castles. The tables in the great banqueting room 
groaned under the weight of game of all kinds ; of venison 
from the woods, and lish from the lakes, with hunters' deli- 
cacies, such as buffaloes' tongues and beavers' tails , unu vari- 
ous luxuries from Montreal, all served up b}- experienced 
cooks brought for the purpose. There was no stint of gener- 
ous wine, for it was a hard-drinking period, a time of loyal 
toasts, and bacchanalian songs, and brimming bumpers. 

Whilft the chiefs thus revelled in hall, and made the rafters 
resound with bursts of loyalty and old Scottish songs, chanted, 
ir voices cracked and shariiened by the northern blast, their 
merriment was echoed and prolonged bj' a mongrel legion of 
retainers, Canadian voyageurs, half-breeds, Indian hunters, and 
vagabond hangers-on, who feasted sumptuously without on 
the crumbs that fell from their table, and made tlie welkin ring 
with old French ditties, mingled with Indian yelps and yellings. 

Such was the Northwest Company in its ijowerful and pros- 
perous da3's, when it held a kind of feudal sway over a vast 
domain of lake and forest. We are dwelling too long, perhaps, 
upon thcsi' intlividual pictures, endeared to us l)y the associa- 
tions of early life, when, as yet a stripling youth, we have sat 
at llie hospitable boards of the " mighty Northwesters," the 
lords of the ascendant at Montreal, and gazed with wondering 
and inexperienced eye at the baronial wassailing, and listened 
with astonisiied car to their tales of hardships and adventures. 
It is one object of our task, however, to present scenes of the 
ruuuh life t)f the wilderness, and we are tempted to lix tliese 
few memorials of a transient state o*' tilings fast passing', iiiio 
oblivion ; for the foudal state of Fort William is ut au end ; il^i 




I I 

council-chamber is silent and deserted; its bnnqnet-hall no 
\uum- echoes to the burst of loyalty, or the '' auld world 
diltv the lords of tlic l.'ikcs and forests have passed away; aud 
the"hosi)itable ma- u a tea of Montreal — where are they.-' 


TnE success of the Northwest Company stimulated further 
enterprise in this opening and apparently boundless field of 
profit. The trafllc of that company lay principal'.^ in the high 
northern latitudes, while there were immense regions to the 
south and west, known to abound with valuable i)eltries ; but 
which, as yet, hod been but little explored by the fur trader. 
A new association of lii'.tish merchants was therefore fornied, 
to prosecute the trade in this direction. The chief factory was 
establishel at the old emi)oriun)of Michiliraackinac, from which 
place the association look its name, and was commonly called 
t'lic Mackinaw Company. 

While the Northwesters continued to push their enterprises 
into the hyperl)orean regions from their stronghold at Fort Wil- 
liam, and to hold almost sovereign sway over the tribes of the 
ui)per lakes and rivers, the Mackinaw Company sent forth 
their light pirogues and barks, by Green Bay, Fox River, aud 
the Wisconsin, to that great artery of the west, the Mississippi ; 
and down that stream to all its tributary rivers. In this way 
they hoped soon to monopolize the trade with all the tribes on 
ihe southern and western waters, and of those vast tracts com- 
prised in ancient Louisiana. 

The government of the United States began to view with a 
wary eye the growing influence thus ac(iuired by combinations 
of foreigners over the al)original tril)es inhabiting its terri- 
tories, and endeavored to counteract it. For this pur[)ose, as 
early as 17'J6 the government sent out agents to establish rival 
trading houses, on the frontier, so as to supply the wants of 
the Indians, to link their interests and feelings with those of the 
people of the United Stales, and to divert this important branch 
of trade into national channels. 

The e\i)edient, however, was unsuccessful, as most commer- 
cial expedients are prone to be, where tlie dull patronage of 
government is counted ujjou to outvie llu; keen activity of pri- 
vate enterprise. What goveruuient failed to effect, iijwcver, 



tvitli all its patronago and all Its agents, was at length brought 
jilioiit l»y M)i> I'litcrprisc and pcrsoveranei! of a single merchant, 
oiu' of its adopltd citi/eiis; and this brings ns to speak of the 
indivi<liial vvlinsc cnlcrprisc is the especial subject of the follow- 
ing i)ag('s ; a i;imii whose name and character are worthy of 
being enrolled in the iiistory of commerce, as illustrating it« 
noblest aims and soimdest maxims. A few brief anecdotes of 
his early life, and of the circumstances which first determined 
him to the branch of commerce of which we are treating, can- 
\\i)i bi' but interesting. 

Joim Jacob Astor, the individual in question, was ])orn in the 
honest little German village of Waldorf, near IIeidell)erg, on 
the ])anks of the Rhine. He wa.^ rought up in the simplicity 
of rural life, but, while j'et a mere strii)ling, left his home and 
humchcd himself amid tiie busy scenes of London, having had, 
from ills very boyhood, a singular presentiment that he would 
ultimately arrive at great fortune. 

At tiie close of the American Revolution he was still in Lon- 
don, and scarce on the Ihri'shold of active life. An ehler 
brother had been for some few years resilient in the United States, 
and Mr. Astor dettM-mined to follow him, and to seek his fortunes 
iu the lising country. Invi'sting a small sum which he had 
amassed since leaving his native village, in merchandise suited 
to the American market, he embarked, in the month of Novem- 
ber, 17.SI5, in a ship bound to Baltimore, and arrived iu Hamp- 
ton Roads in the month of January. The winter was extremely 
severe, and the ship, with many others, was detained by the 
ice in and about ('hesai)eake Hay for nearly three months. 

During this period tlie passengers of the various ships used 
occasionally to go on shore, and mingle sociably together. In 
this way Mr- Astor became acquaintetl with a countryman of 
his, a furrier by trade. Having had a previous impression that 
this might be a lucrative trade iu the New World, he made 
many inquiries of his new ac(iualntance on the subject, who 
clieerfully g'.ive him all the information in his i)ower as to the 
quality and value of ditTereut furs, and the mode of carrying 
f)n the traflie. He sulisequently accompanied him to New York, 
and, by his advice, Mr. Astor was induced to invest the pro- 
ceeds of liis merchandise in furs. With these he sailed from 
New York to London in 17.S1, disposeil of them advantageously, 
made himself further ac(piainted with the course of the trade, 
and returned the same year to New York, with a view to settle 
in tlie I'nited St:ites. 

He now devoti'd himself to tiie brunch of commerce with 



) : 

i'i i 






wliK'li lie hail tliiis oiiHually hccn made arqiiaintod. ITo hopan 
liis ciiiciT, of coiirsi', oil liio iiMnowcst sscalc ; hut hi' hroii<fhl 
t<i tlic task :i |>crs('vciiiiji: industry, rij^id ccotiomy, and .strict. 
inti'Uiity. To tlicsc were added an inspirinj,' spirit that always 
looiU'd iipward ; a ^cniuH hold, fiTtili', and oxpansivi; ; a sa<i;acity 
quick to jrrasp and convert every circumstance to its advau- 
tajic and" a .singular and never-wavering confidence of signal 

As yet trade in peltries was not organized in the United 
States, and could not l)e said to form a regular line of business. 
Furs and skins were casually collected hy the country traders 
iu their dealings with tiie Indians or the white hunters, but the 
main sujiply was derived from Canada. As Mr. Astor's means 
increased he made annual visits to Montreal, where he pur- 
chased furs from the houses at that place engaged in the trade. 
These he shipped from Canada to London, no direct trade 
being allowed from that colony to any hut the mother country. 
In" 1794 or '1)5, a treaty with (Jreat liritain removed the re- 
strictions iniposed u|)on the trade with the colonies, and opened 
a direct commercial intercourse between Canada and the 
United States. Mr. Astor was in London at the time, and im- 
mediately made a contract with the agents of the Northwest 
Company for furs. lie was now enabled to inqiort them from 
Montreal into the United States for the home supply, and to be 
shipped tiience toditferent parts of Kurope, as well as to China, 
which has ever been the best market for the richest and finest 
kinds of peltry. 

The treaty in question provided, likewise, that the military 
posts occupied by the Hritish within the territorial limits of the 
United States should he surrendennl. AccorcUngly, Oswego, 
Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and other posts on the 
American siile of the lakes were given up. An opening was 
thus made for the American merchant to trade on tlie confines 
of Canada, and within the territories of the United States. 
After an interval of some years, about 1807, Mr. Astor em- 
barked in this trade on his own account. His capital and re- 
sources had by this time greatly augmented, and he had risen 
from small beginnings to lake his place among the lirst mer- 
chants and financiers of the country. His genius had ever 

> AniiiHtanccMjf this lniMyaiit comiacncc, wliicli no iloiiM aidfj tc, priuliir.' iljc hiu-cchh 
itanticipiil.d, we Innv liuiii ili,' iii.-.,l' Mr. A. Iiimsrir. While yd ulmosi a Htniiit;.M- in 
Uiecily.iiiid Jii very niinow (•in-iiiii<tM'ir,-.. he |i:imsc.1 hy wliciv u ii.w <,f h(m^.c.-< lia.l 
illMt liccii iTtrled in Kioiuluiiy, r.iM ulii. Ii, liuiii the sii|iciior Htylf c.f Ihcir arcliiliM-liln-, 
weietlit- Uilkaiiil h.KiHi ,,r uic.jiy. ■• I'll hiiild on,- day or oiIut, u Kii«ti.T hoUKt- tlmu 
any ot llifso, lu Ihi^iMry fticet," cula ixu iu hiiuself. lie liub uCcouipllsUeii UU prudio 

been in nr 

and wide Ii 

chants. V 

soon found 


of the trad 

A plan li 

ful compet 


aries shouli 


He now ofTi 

the whole o 

vited to unf 

ai)|>roved, t 

Th'is cou 

from the Lc 

a company i 

with a capit 

cre.-ising it t 

self — he, ii 

a b(»ard of 

business wai 

but he i)ref( 

aspect of a 

his policy w 

As the 
as the fur 
tion, he m: 
junction wi 
other persoi 
Company in 
bation of t 
By this 
half of the 
inaw Comp: 
in the Unite 
to he surren 
on conditio 
within the 

Britain uud 



been in .idvanco of his circumstanoos, pioinptinjj; him to new 
and wido (iclds of ontcrprise beyond tlio scope of ordiiui'y mer- 
chants. With all his enterprinc and resources, however, ho 
soon found the power and influence of the Michiliniaekinac (or 
Mackinaw) Company too great for him, having engrossed most 
of tlic trade within the American })orders. 

A i)lau liad to be devised to enable him to enter into success- 
ful competition. He was aware of the wish of the American 
government, already stated, that the fur trade; within its l)()und~ 
arics should be in the hands of American citizens, and of tiie 
ineffectual measures it had taken to accomplish that object. 
He now offered, if aided and protected by government, to turn 
the whole of that trade into American channels. lie was m- 
viti'd to unfold his plans to government, and they were warmly 
approved, though tiie executive could give no direct aid. 

Tlf's countenanced, however, he ol)tained, in ISO'.), a charter 
from the Legislature of the State of New York, incorporating 
a company under the name of '• The American Fur Company," 
with a capital of one million of dollars, with the i)rivilege of in- 
creasing it to two millions. The capital was furnished by liim- 
solf — lie, in fact, constituted the company; for, though he had 
a l)oard of directors, they were merely nominal ; the whole 
business was conducted on his plans, and with his resources, 
but he preferred to do so under the imposing and formidable 
aspect of a corporation, rather than in his individual name, and 
his policy was sagacious and effective. 

As the ISIackiuaw Company still continued its rivalry, and 
as the fur trade would not advantageously admit of competi- 
tion, he made a new arrangement in 1811, by which, in con- 
junction with certain i)artners of the Northwest Comi)any, and 
other i)ersons engaged in the fur trade, he bought out the 
Mackinaw Company, and merged that and the American Fur 
Company into a new association, to be called "■ The Southwest 
Company." This he likewise did with the privity and appro- 
bation of the American government. 

By this arrangement Mr. Astor became proprietor of one 
half of the Indian establishments and goods which the Mack- 
inaw Company had within the territory* of the Indian country 
in the I'nited States, and it was uiderstood that tlu' wiiolc was 
to be surrendered into his hands at the expiration of livi; years, 
on condition that the American Company would not trade 
witliiti the British Dominions. 

I'nluckily, the war which broke out in 1812 l)etvveen (Jreat 
Britain and the United States suspended the association ; and 




i I 

after the war it was ontirrly dissolved ,• rotio;ross liaviiifj; passe] 
a law proiiil)illn<>; Hritish fur traders from proseeiiting tiieir 
euterprises within the territories of the United States. 


"WniLF, the various companies we have noticed wore pnshinir; 
iheir enterprises far and wide in the wilds ol' Canada, and 
alon<; the course of the great western waters, other adventu- 
rers, intent on the same objects, M'eie Iraversinij the watery 
wastes of the Pacific and skirting the northwest coast of 
AmeWca. The I' ^t voyage of that renowned hut unfortunate! 
discoverer, Captain Cook, had made known the vast (puniti- 
ties of the sea-otter to he found along that coast, and the im- 
mense prices to l)e obtained for its fiu- in Ciiina. It was as if 
a new gold coast had been discovered, individuals from vari- 
ous countries dashed into this lucrative trallic, so that in the 
year 1792 there were twenty-one vessels under dilTeicnt tiags, 
plying along the coast and trading with the natives. The 
greater part of thera were American, and owned by IJoston 
merchants. They generally remained on tiie coast and about 
the adjacent seas for two years, carrying on as wandi'ring and 
adventurous a commerce on the wati'r as did the tiadcrs and 
trappers on land. Their trade extended along the whole coiust 
from California to the high northern latitudes. 'I'lujy would 
run in near shore, anchor, and wait for the natives to come olT 
in their canoes with peltries. The trade exhausted at one 
place, they would up anchor and oil' to another. In this way 
they would consume the summer, and when autumn came on, 
would run down to the Sandwich Islands and wiuter in .some 
friendly and plentiful harbor. In the following year they 
would resume their summer trade, connnenciug at California 
and proceeding north ; and, htiving in the course of the two 
seasons collected a sutlicient cargo of i)el(riis. would uiake tlie 
best of their way to China. Ilt-re they would st'll th<Mr furs, 
take in teas, nankeens, and other merchandisi-, and irturn to 
Boston, after an absence of two or thici' ycais. 

The people, however, who entered luos't extensively and ef- 
fectively in the fur trade of the Pacific, were ihe Russians. 
Instead of making casual voyages, in transient ships, they 
established regular trading ••.'>usos in the high latitudes, along 



the northwest coast of Aint'iira, and upon flic chain of tho 
Aleutian Islands between Kainschatka :uh1 the promontory of 

To promote and protect those enterprises a company was in- 
corporated by the Russian {fovernnient with cxehisive privi- 
leges, and a capital of two hundred and sixty tiiousantl pounds 
sterliu}; ; and the sovcreij^nty of that part of tlu^ Anieriean 
continent alonjj; tiie coast of which the posts had Iteen estab- 
lished, was claimed by the Hussian crown, on the plea that tho 
land had been discovered and occupied l)y its subjects. 

As China was tlu; grand mart for the furs collected in these 
quarters, tin; Russians had the :idvanti)<i;e over their cojiiiu'ti- 
tors in the trade. Tlie latter had tt) take their pi-ltries to 
Canton, wiiich, however, was a mere receivin;j; mart, from 
whence they had to be distributed over the interior of the 
empire and sent to the northern parts, where there was the 
chief consumption. The Russians, on the contiary, carried 
their furs, by a shorter voyage, directly to tlie nortliern parts 
of the Chinese empire ; thus Ix'ing al)h' to afford tliem in the 
market without the additional cost of internal transportation. 

We come n^w to the immediate (ield of operation of the 
great enterprise we have undertaken to illustrate. 

Among the American siiips whii-ii tradeil along the north- 
west coast in 17'J2, was the Columbia, Cai)tain (iray, of IJoston. 
In the course of her voyage she discoveri'd the mouth of a 
larm' river in lat. 1(5^ 11*' north. Kntering it with some dilPi- 
culty, on account of sand-bars and bii'akers, she canu; to 
anchor in a spacious bay. A b(^at was well manned, and sent 
on shore to a village on the beach, but all the iniiabitants (led 
excepting the aged and indrm. The kind manner in which 
these were treated, and the presents given to them, gradually 
lured back the others, and a friendly intercourse took place. 
They had never seen a ship or a white mail. When they had 
first descrieil the Columbia, they had supposed it a floating 
island ; then some monster of the deep ; but when they saw 
the boat putting for shore with human beings on board, they 
considered them caiuiibals sent l)y the (Jreat Spirit to ravage 
the country and dev(;ur the inhabitants. Captain (J ray did not 
ascend the river farther than the liay in (piestion, which con- 
tinues to bi'ar his name. After putting to sea he fell in with 
the celebrated discoverer, Vancouver, and informed him of his 
discovery, furnishing him with a chart which iu> had made of 
the river. Vancouver visited the river, and his lieutenant, 
Broughtou, explored it by the aid of Captain Gray's chart ; as- 





I , 

opiidin;; it npwfirfl of one liiiiidiol iriilcs, iiiilil williin \i,\v of 
a snowy iiioiinliiiii, to wliidi lie y;ivu llii' luiiiu of Moimi ||oo(|, 
which it si ill ictitins, 

'riic I'xistciicc; of this liver, howovrr, wms known lon<^ l»i'foi(> 
tlio visits of ()r;iy ami N'ancoMvcr, l>nl llic inf-nriialion con- 
ciTiiinj^ it was viv^iw and iiidcliniti', Ix'in^ ^atlicir(| from llic 
n'l)ortj> of liulians. It was spoken of l»y ti'avelh'is as tlu 
Oregon, iind as the <;roat river of llie west. A Spanish ship in 
s, id to have heen wrecked at the month, several of Ihr ci'i-w 
oi which lived for some time anionji the natives. The Coliiniliia, 
however, is helieved to l»e the lirst ship that made a reu;nlar 
discovery and anchored within its wateis, and it liaai since gen- 
erally l)orne the name of that vessel. 

As early as 170!}, shortly after the acipiisilion of the Canadas 
by CJreat Britain, Captain .lonathan. Carver, who had hceii iti 
the l>ritish provincial army, projected a jnmiiey across tin- 
continent between the forty-third and forty-sixtli deurees of 
northern latitude, to the shores of llu' Tacilic Ocean. His oli- 
jects were to ascertf^in the breadth of the c<)nti'ient at its 
broadest part, and to determine on some place on the slx^-i.s of 
the Pacilic where government mi^ht cslablish a post .. facili- 
tjite the (bseovery of a northwest passage, oi' a comnnuiication 
between Hudson's Hay and the raeilic Ocean. 'I'his place he 
presumed would be somewhere about the Straits of Annian, at 
which point he supposed the Oi'cuon diftcmbojiiicd itself. It 
was his opinion also that a settk'nient on this i-xtreniitv of 
America would disclose new sources of trade, promote nianv 
useful discoveries, and open a more direct commnnication with 
Ciiina and the Kn;j;lish settlements in the Mast Indies. (Iinii lli:;; 
by the Cape of Good Hope or the Straits of .Maiiellan.' TLi 
enterprising and irtrepid traveller was twice balllcd in imii 
vidual efforts to accoraplish this Lfreat journey. In 1771 be was 
joined in the scheme by Kichard Whitwortli, a mc inbi-r o'' 
]';;rliament, and a man of wealth. Tlicii' enterprise was pm- 
jceted on a broad and bold plan. They were to take with iIicim 
fifty or sixty men, artificers and mariners. With these iluy 
were tc make their way up one of the branches of the .Missouri. 
exi)lore the mountains for the source of the Oregon, or river of 
the west, and sail down that river to its sup|)oscd exit near 
the Straits of Annian. lb-re they were to eicct a fort, ami 
build the vessels necessary to carry their (li.sco\crie.s l»v sea 
into elTect. Their plan hail the sanction <>f the Ibitish o-dvern- 

« t'ttivei'u TraveU, Introd. p. iii. I'hiUid. 1790. 

inent, !ind p 
when the bn 
defeated the 
The expe( 
the continen 
:'()' IK", a^'ai 
trade of boti 
seended a r 
south, and ) 
which he er; 
afterward as( 
the mouth of 
When Ma( 
count of his 
an intercours 
forminu; rej^i 
both extreme 
this means, ii 
of North Am 
pole, exceptil 
the American 
alonij; the noi 
ailded, before 
A scheme o 
for individual 
company und 
and as there 
son's Bay an( 
charter, the ot 
t'wo companie 
too deep ;ind 
In the meat 
was attraetec 
miller Messrs, 
ill INUI, accor 
hy Carver an( 
souri, p.assed 
tains, hitherto 
the upper wa 
down to its 
.'liored about 



tni'iit, niid praiits anrl other ro(|iilsitoa woro nearly ooniplotiMl 
wlitii tilt' Itn'ukinn (Hit of tlio Ainoriciin Revolution oiici! more 
(IclViitvd the iiii(lfrtnkiii<r.» 

The expedition of Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1793, across 
the continent to the Pacific Ocean, which he reaclu'd in Int. .'ri" 
20' IH", a<;ain siij^gested the powsihility of linkinjj; to<i;ether the 
trade of both sides of the continent. In lat. 52° 30' he had de- 
scended a river for wonie distance whicii (lowed toward the 
MHith, and was called by the natives Tacoulchc Tessc, ami 
wliicli lie erroneously supposed to be the ("oliinibia. It was 
iiflcrward ascertained tiiat it emptied itself in lat. 4'J°, whereas 
the niotith of the Coliunbia is about three deforces farther south. 

Whi'ii Macken/ie some years subsecpiently published an ac- 
count of liis cxpeclitions, he su<i<^estcd the policy of openinu; 
an intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and 
fonniiiii rej^ular establishments throuf^h the interior and at 
hotii extremes, as well as alon}? the coasts and islands. Ily 
tills iiieaiiH, he observed, the cniire command of the fur trade 
of North America might be ol»tained from lat, 18° north to the 
pole, excepting that [)ortion held by the Russians, for as to 
the American adventurers who had hitherto enjoyed the tralllc 
along the northwest coast, they would instantly disappear, lie 
added, before a well regulated trade. 

A scheme of this kind, however, was too vast and hazardous 
for individual enterprise ; it could only be undertaken by a 
company under the sanction and protection of a government; 
and as there might be a clashing of claims between the Ilud- 
sou'h liay and Northwest Company, the one hohling by right of 
charter, the other by right of jiosscssion, he proposed that the 
t%v() companies should coalesce in this great undertaking. The 
loiig-ciierished jealousies of these two companies, however, were 
lo(j deep and strong to allow them to listen to such counsel. 

In the mean time the attention of the American government 
was attracted to the subject, and the memorable expedition 
iiiuler Messrs. Lewis and Clarke litted out. I'liese gentlemen, 
in i<S()l, accomplished the enterprise which had been projectetl 
by Carver and Whitworth in 1774. They ascended the INIis- 
souri, passed through the stupendous gates of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, liitherto unknown to white men ; discovered and explored 
llie upper waters t)f the ('o!"'inbia, and followed that river 
down to its mouth, where their countryman, (Jray, had aii- 
.'liored about twelve years previously. Here they passeil the 


> Ctrver'i Triivelit, p. 300. Ptallad. 1700. 




and returned across the mountains in the following 
The reports published by them of their expedition 
demonstrated the practicability of cstal)lishing a line of com- 
munication across the continent, from the Atlantic to the 

Pacific Ocean. , ,.. ,x.i ii • i <• nir 

It was thou that the idea presented itself to the mind of Mr. 
Astor of o-rasping with his individual hand this groat enter- 
prise, 'which for years had been dubiously yet desirously con- 
templated l)y powerful associations and maternal govornments. 
For some time he revolved the idea in his mind, gradually ex- 
tending and maturing his plans us his means of executing thorn 
auo'mented. The main feature of his scheme was to establish 
a line of trading posts along the ]\Ilssouri uud the Columbia, to 
the mouth of the latter, where was to be founded the chief 
trading house or mart. Inferior posts would be established in 
the Interior, md on all the tributary streams of the Columbia, 
to trade witu the Indians ; those posts would draw their sup- 
plies from the main establishment, and bring to it tiie i)eltries 
they collected. Coasting craft would be built aiul fitted out, 
also at the mouth of the Columbia, to trade, at favorable sea- 
sons, all along the northwest coast, and return, with the pro- 
ceeds of their voyages, to this place of deposit. Thus all the 
Indian trade, both of the interior and the coast, would converge 
to this point, and thence derive its sustenance. 

A ship was to be sent annually from New York to this main 
establishment with re-enforcements and supplies, and with 
merchandise suited to the trade. It would take on board the 
furs collected during the preceding year, carry them to Canton, 
invest the proceeds in the rich merchandise of China, and re- 
turn thus freighted to New York. 

As, in extending the American trade along the coast to the 
northward, it might be brought into the vicinity of the Russian 
Fur Company, and produce a hostile rivalry, it was part of the 
plan of Mr. Astor to conciliate the good-will of that company by 
the most amicable and beneficial arrangements. The Uussiau 
establishment was chiefly dependent for its supplies upon tran- 
sient trading vessels from the United States. These vessels, 
however, were often of more harm than advantage. Being 
owned by private adventurers or casual voyagers, who cared 
only for present profit, and had no interest in the permanent 
prosperity of the trade, tiiey were reckless in their dealings 
with tbe natives, and made no scruple of supplying thein « illi 
firearms. In this way several fierce tribes in the vieinity ul 
the Russian posts, or within the range of their trading excur- 

sions, w 

dorod tri 

The IJ 

the Unit 

zens, aui 

it did ill 

not intoi 

which, if tl 


branch o 

roinody t 

idea of si 

of the an 

of the Co 

VOKSt'ls Wi 

tht'U' malj 
Such i; 
Astor, bu 
is duo to 1 
of individ 
dinary do? 
fame whic 
by their j 
peopled w 
ony that 
would, in 
already aij 
As Mr, 
financial ii 
mi!:d, hail 
uie-.l audi 
statesmen I 
to rresidii 
mont. I if 
we m;iy jl 
time afteiT 

'• I Yvu\ 


' On IhiH pa 
tint ont', iiiruaJ 



sions, wore furnished with deadly means of warfare, and reu- 
dmod ti'ouhlesume and dangerous neighbors. 

The Russian government had made representations to that of 
tlie United States of tliese maliJi'aetiees on tlie part of its citi- 
zens, and urged to have this trallie in arms proliibited ; ))ut, as 
il did not infringe any municipal law, our government could 
not interfere. Yet still it regarded, with solicitude, a trallic 
which, if persisted in, might give offence to Russia, at that time 
almost the only power friendly to us. In this dilemma the 
government had applied to Mr. Astor, as one conversant in this 
hrauch of trade, for information that might point out a way to 
remedy the evil. This circumstance had suggested to him the 
idea of supplying the Russian estal)li8hment regularly by means 
of the annual ship that should visit the settlement at the mouth 
of tlie Columbia (or Oregon) ; by this means the casual trading 
vessels would be excluded from those parts of the coast where 
tlii'U' malpractices were so injurious to the Russians. 

Such is a brief outline of the enterprise projected by Mr. 
Astor, but which continually exi)anded in his mind. Indeed it 
is diu' to him to say that he was not actuated by mere motives 
of individual profit. He was already wealthy beyond the or- 
dinary desires of man, but he now aspired to that honorable 
fame which is awarded to men of similar scope of mind, who 
by their great commercial enterprises have enriched nations, 
peopled wildernc;, and extended the bounds of empire. He 
considered his projected establishment at the mouth of the 
Columbia as the emporium to an immense connnerce ; as a col- 
ony that would form the germ of a wide civilization ; that 
would, in fact, carry the American population across the Rocky 
Mountains and sjjread it along the shores of the Pacific, as it 
already animated the shores of the Atlantic. 

As Mr. Astor, by the magnitude of his commercial and 
financial relations, and the vigor and scope of his self-taught 
iiii!:d, had elevated himself into the consideration of govern- 
me!.t and the communion and correspondence with leading 
statesmen, he, at an early period, communicated his schemes 
to I'resitient Jefferson, soliciting the countenance of govern- 
ment. How highly they were esteemed by that eminent man, 
we may judge by the following passage, written by him some 
time afterward to Mr. Astor. 

'' 1 remember well having invited your proposition on this 
sul»jeet,' aud encouraged it with the assurance of every facility 

> On Uiix ]iolnl Mr. .IcfTeiMoa'ii memory wim in error. 'I'ho propositiun nlluded to was 
tliw onv, ikiru»dy tnuutloued, for (he uBlMbllshmoDt of an Amoricsn Fur Compuny in the 









and protection which tho orovonimont ooul.l properly nfTorcl. I 
considered, as a great public acquisition, the commencement 
of a settlement ou tliat point of the western coast of Anierica, 
and looked forward with gratitication to the tune when its de- 
scendants should have spread themselves through the whole 
lenrrth of that coast, covering it witli free and independent 
Ama-icans, unconnected with us hut by the ties of blood and 
interest, and enjoying like us the rights of self-govcrumeut. 

The cabinet ioined with Mr. Jefferson in warm approbation of 
the phiii, and lu'ld out assurance of every protection that could, 
consistently with general policy, be afforded. ^ 

Mr. Astor now prepared to carry his sclicme into prompt 
execution. He had some competition, however, to apprehend 
and guard against. The Northwest Company, acting feebly 
and partially upon the suggestions of its former agent. Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie, had pushed one or two advanced trad- 
ing posts across the Kocky Mountains, into a tract of country 
visited by that enterprising traveller, and since named New 
Caledonia. This tract lay about two degrees north of the 
Columbia, and intei*veiied between the territories of the United 
States and those of Kussia. Its lengtli was about five hundred 
and fifty miles, and its breadth, from the mountains to the 
Pacific, from three hundred to three hundred and iifty geograph- 
ical miles. 

Should the Northwest Company persist in extending their 
trade in that quarter, their eomi)etition might be of seriims 
detriment to the plans of Mr. Astor. It is true they would 
contend with him to a vast disadvantage, from the checks and 
restrictions to which they were subjected. Tluy v/ere strait- 
ened on one side by the rivalry o^ the Hudson's Hay Company ; 
then they had no good i)Ost on the Pacific where they could 
receive supplies by sea for their establishments ])eyond the 
mountains; nor, if ttoy had one, could they ship tiieir furs 
thence to China, that great mart for peltries ; tlie Chinese 
trade being comprised in the monoi)oly of the Kast India 
Company. Their posts })eyond the mountains had to bu 
suppHed in yearly expeditions, like caravans, from Montreal, 
and the furs convi'yed Ijack in the same way, by long, pre- 
carious, and expensive routes, across the contiiieiit. Mr. 
Astor, on the contrary. w»»uld l)e aide to Kii})ply his proposed 
estal)lishmeiit at tlie mouth of tlu; Cohuubia by sea, and to ship 

Atlantic States. The uroat enterprise tieyond the tiioiintaiiiH, that wan to Mwcep the 
Hhorea of the Pacific, oriKiuated in the mluU of Ur Aittor, »Dd wau propOMd by hi(B 10 
the guvernmaut. 



the furs collected there directly to Chhia, so as to undersell the 
Northwest Company in the great Chinese market. 

Slill. the. <'om|t('titi<>n of two rivjil compMnies west of the 
Kdckv .Moiiiil:iins conhl not Itut prove (k'triuu'ntal to Itotli, and 
ri;iti,t;lit with th(»sc evils, hot!) to the trade and to the Jndians, 
thnl liMil :iUeii(le(l siniihir rividries in the Canadas. To i)reveut 
any contest of the kind, therefore, Ik; made known his phm to 
the agents of tiie Nortinvest Company, and proposed to interest 
them, to tlie extent of one third, in the tradi' thns to ])e opened. 
Som'; correspondence and negotiation ensned. Tlie company 
were aware of tlie advantages which would be possessed by Mr. 
Astor should he be al)le to carry his scheme into effect ; but they 
anticipated a monopoly of the trade beyond the mountains l)y 
their establishments in New Caledonia, ami were loath to share 
it with an individual who had already proved a formidable 
competitor in the Atlantic trade. They hoped, too, by a timely 
move, to secure the mouth of the Columbia before Mr. Astor 
would be able to put his plans into o[)eration ; and, that key to 
tlie iiiteni:d trade once in their possession, the whole country 
would bi' at their comi iiui. After some negotiation ami delay, 
therefore, they declinet. the proposition that had been made to 
them, but subse(piently desi)atche(l a party for the mouth of 
the Columbia, to establish a post there before any expedition 
sent out I»y Mr. Astor might arrive. 

In the mean time Mr. Astor finding his overtures rejected, 
proceeded fearlessly <<) execute his enterprise in face of the 
wlKtle power of the Northwest Company. His main establish- 
ment once i)lanted at the mouth of the Columbia, he looked 
with coiilidence to ultinuite success. IJcing able to re-enforce 
aii<l sui)ply it amply by sea, he would push his interior posts 
in eviiy din-ction up the rivers and along the coast ; sui)ply- 
iiig the natives at a lower rate, and thus gradually obliging 
the Xortliwest Company to give up the competition, reliiupiish 
New ('Mledonia, and retire to the other side of the mountains. 
He would then have possession of the trade, not merely of the 
Coliiiiiliia and its tributaries, but of the regions farther north, 
quite to the Russian possessions. Such was a part of his bril- 
liant and coin|)reliensive plan. 

He now proceeded, with all diligence, to procure proper 
agents and coadjutors, lial)ituated to the Indian trade and to 
tiie life of the wilderness. Among the clerks of the Northwesl; 
Company were several of great capacity and experience, who 
liMil serve(l out tiieir probationary terms, but who, either 
ihroiigli lack of interest and inllucucc, or a waut of vaoaucies, 




liad not boon promoted. They »v(>ro oonsoqiiontly mnol. dis- 
H'ltisli.'d. iuid ready for any ("tnpIoynu-nL ni winch thnr lalciits 
and aeqniienients niioht he tnrnnl to Letter account. 

Mv. Astor made his overtines to several ol llu'sc persons, 
and three of tliem entered into his views. One of these, iMr. 
Alexander M'Kay, had accompanied Sir Alexander 
in both of his expeditions to the northwest coast of America in 
17,SUand 1793. The other two were Duncan M'Dougal and 
DonJd M'Kenzie. To these were sul)se(|uently added ^Ir. 
Wilson Price Hunt, of New Jersey. As this gentleman was 
a native born citizen of the United States, a person of great 
j)robity and worth, he was selected by Mr. Astor to be his chief 
a"-ent, and to represent him in the contemplated establishment. 
"On the 23d of June, 1810, articles of agi'cement were entered 
into between Mr. Astor and those four gentlemen, acting for 
themselves and for the several persons who had already agreed 
to become, or should thereafter become associated umlcr the 
firm of " The Pacific Fur Company." 

According to these ra-ticles Mr. Astor was to be at the head 
of the company, and to manage its afTairs in New York. lie 
was to furnish vessels, goods, provisions, arms, ammunition, 
and all other recpiisitcs for the enterprise at tirst cost and 
charges, provided that tliey did not. at any time, involve an 
advance of more than four hundred thousand dolla>'s. 

The stock of the company was to be divided into a hundred 
equal shares, witli tiie profits accruing thereon. Fifty shares 
were to lie at the disposition of IMr. Astor, and the other fifty 
to be divided among the partners and their associates. 

Mr. Astor was to have the privilege of introducing other i)er- 
sons into the connection us partners, two of whom, at least, 
should be conversant with the Indian trade, and none of them 
entitled to more than three shares. 

A general meeting of the company was to be held anmially 
at Columbia River, for the investigation and regulation of its 
affairs; at which absent meml)ers might be represented, and 
might vote by i)roxy under certain specified conditions. 

The association, if successful, was to contiiuie for twenty 
years; but the parties had full jwwer to aliandon and dissolve 
it within the first five years, sli udd it be found unprolit;ilile. 
For this term Mr. Astor covenanted to bear all the loss that 
might be incurred; after which it was to be borne by all tin; 
partners, in profwrtion to their respective shares. 

The parties of the second part were to cxecate faithfully such 
duties as might be assi^jned to them by a u ajority of Uie coui- 


pany on tl 
places as 1 1 

An agen 
at the prii 
Wilson J'r 
Should the 
senc(!, a pc 
tai<e his pla 

Such wer 
shall now } 

In prosec 
tion, two ex 
the otiu'r by 
stores, annul 
a fortified ti 
latter, condii 
and across t 
a line of eo 
|)laces where 

A fine shii 
and ninety 
twenty men. 
trading witl( 
together wiii 
coasting trad 
of the soil, 
of the estaJ)! 
to .lonathan 
States Navyl 
uiid lirmnesj 
war, and, Ih 
sidered by i^ 
• lition of till 
the ship, nai| 
bis uephew, 



pany on tlie tiorthwost cojist , and to repair to such place or 
(il.ici's as llio majority nii<j;lit (Urcct. 

An ag(Mit, appointed for tiie term of five years, was to reside 
at the principal cbtabiishment on tlie nt ftliwest coast, and 
Wilson Price Hunt was tin; one chosen .'or the first term. 
Should the interests of the concern at any time recpiire liis ab- 
sence, a person was to be appointed, in general meeting, to 
take his place. 

SiR'ii were the leading conditions of this association ; we 
shall now proceed to relate the various hardy and eventful 
exiteditious, by sea and laud, to which it gave rise. 


In prosecuting his great scheme of commerce and coloniza- 
tion, two expeditions were devised by Mr. Astor, one by sea, 
the other by land. The former was to carry out the people, 
stores, ammunition, and merchandise reipiisite for establishing 
a fortilled trading i)ost at the mouth of Columbia River. The 
latter, conducted by Mr. Hunt, was to proceed up the Missouri, 
luid across the Rocky Mountains, to the same point ; exploring 
a line of conununication across the continent, and noting the 
places where inU-rior trading [)osts might be established. The 
expedition by sea is the one which comes first under considera- 

A fine ship was provided, called the Tonquin, of two hundred 
and ninety tons burden, mounting ten guns, with a crew of 
twenty men. She carried an assortment of merchnndise for 
trading with the natives of the seaboard and of the interior, 
together wiili the frame of a schooner, to be emi)h)ye(l in the 
coasting trade. Seeds also were provided for the cultivatiou 
of tlie soil, and nothing was neglected for the necessary supply 
of tiie establishment. The conunand of the ship was intrusted 
to .btnatiian Thorn, of New York, a lieutenant in the United 
States Navy, on leave of absence. He was a nuin of c(jurage 
and lirnmess who had distinguished himself in our Tripolitau 
war, and, from being aceustonuHl to naval discipline, was con. 
sidered by Mr. Astor as well lilted to take charge t)f an expe- 
dition of the kind. Four of the partners were lo (juibark in 
the ship, namely, Mi'ssrs. M'Kay, M'Dougal, David Stuart, and 
bis nephew, Robert Stuart. Mr. M'lJoiigal wim empowered bji 

( ) 




U f 



Mr. Astor lo net i^ liis proxy, m the- absoncc of Mr, Hunt, to 
vote for liiiii uiul in his iiaiiio, on nny question tli:it iiiifflit conip 
before any moeling of the persons interested in tiie voyage. 

besides the partners, there were twelve eh'rks to g<j out in 
the ship, several of them natives of Canada, who iiad some 
cxi)erienee in Indian trade. They were bound to the serviee 
of the eompany for five years, at the rate of one hundred dol- 
lais a year, payal)le at the expiration of the term, and an an- 
nual ecpiipnient of elothing to the amount of forty dollars. In 
case of ill conduet, they were liable to forfeit their wages and 
be dismissed ; but, should they acquit themselves well, the 
conlldent expectation was held out to them of promotion, and 
partnership. Their interests were thus, to some extent, ideu- 
tilled with those of the company. 

Several artisans were likewise to sail in the ship, for the 
supply of the colony ; but the most peculiar and characteristic 
jmrt of this motley embarkation consisted of thirteen Canadian 
" voyageurs," who had enlisted for five years. As this class of 
functionaries will continually recur in the course of the follow- 
ing narrations, and as they form one of those distinct and 
strongly marked castes or orders of people springing ip iu this 
vast continent out of geographical circumstances, or the varied 
pursuits, habitudes, and origins of its population, we shall 
sketch a few of their characteristics for the information of the 

The " voyageurs " form a kind of confraternity in the Cana- 
das, like the arrieros. or carriers of Spain, and, like them, are 
employed in long interna] expeditions of trrvel and tratlic : 
with this difference, that the arrieros travel by land, the vova- 
geurs by water ; the former with mules and horses, the latter 
with batteaux and canoes. The voyageurs may be said to have 
sprung up out of the fur trade, having originally been employed 
by the early French merchants in their trading expeditions 
through the labyrinth of rivers and lakes of the boundless 
interior. They were coeval with the coiireiirs des bois, or ran- 
gers of the woods, already noticed, and, like them, in the in- 
tervals of their long, arduous, and laborious expeditions, were 
prone to pass their time iu idleness and revelry about the trad- 
ing jxjsts or settlements, squandering their hard earnings in 
heedless conviviality, and rivalling their neighbors, the Indians, 
in indolent indulgence and an imprudent disregard of the mor- 

When Canada passed under British domination, and the old 
French trading houses were brokeu up, the voyageurs, like the 



coureurs des bois, were for a time disheartened and diseonso- 
I'lte, and with difTiculty could rcconeik' themselves to tlic ser- 
vice of the new-eomers, so different in habits, maimers, and 
lanjijnage from tlieir former employers. By degrees, however, 
they became accustomed to the change, and at length came to 
consider the liritisii fur traders, jind especially the members of 
the Northwest Company, as the legitimate lords of creation. 

The dress of these people is generally half civilized, half 
savage. They wear a capote or surcoat, made of a blanket, a 
striped cotton shirt, cloth trousers, or leathern leggins, moc- 
casons of deerskin, and a belt of variegatetl worsted, from 
wiiich are suspended the knife, tobacco-pouch, and other im- 
plements. Their language is of the same piebald character, 
being a French patois, embroidered with Indian and Englisn 
words ami phrasi's. 

The lives of the voyageurs are passed in wild and extensive 
rovings, in the service of individuals, but more especially of 
Uk' fur traders. They are generally of French descent, and 
inlituit nuich of the gayety and lightness of heart of their 
ancestors, being full of anecdote and song, and ever ready for 
the dance. They inlierit, too, a fund of civility and com- 
plaisance ; and instead of that hardness and grossness which 
men in laborious life are apt to indulge t(nvard each other, 
they are mutually obliging and accommodating ; interchanging 
kind ollices, yielding each other assistance aud comfort in 
every emergency, and using the familiar appellations of 
"cousin" and "l)rother" when there is in fact no relationship. 
Tlieir natural good-will is i)robably heightened b}' a coinnmnity 
of adventure aud hardshii) in their precarious and wandering 

No men are more submissive to their leaders and employers, 
more capable of enduring hardship, or more good-humored 
under privations. Never are they so happy as when on loii;;' 
and rough expeditions, toiling up rivers or coasting lakes ; 
iMicamping at nigiit on the borders, gossiping round their lins, 
and bivouacking in the open air. They are dexterous boat- 
men, vigorous and adroit with the oar and paddle, and will 
row from morning until nigiit without a murmur. The steers- 
man often sings an old traditionary French song, with some 
regular buitlen in whicli thi-y all join, keeping time with their 
oars; if at any time they llag in spirits or rtdax in exertion, it 
is liut necessary to strike up a song of the kind to put tliem :ill 
ill fresii spirits and activity. Tiie Canadian waters are vocal 
with tliesi! little French chauawu*, that have been echoed from 


' ■ t f 



















: 1 









.1 ^ 



mouth to month and transmitted from father to son, from the 
earnest days of tlie colony ; and it has a plcasin;jt rtTect, in a 
still golden sinnmer eveninj;, to see a batteau jiluhnj^ across 
the bosom of a lake and dipping- its oars to the cadence of 
these .uiaint old ditties, or sweei)ing along ui full chorus, on a 
l)right sunny morning, down the transparent current of one of 

the Canada rivers. ^ ^ e ^• i 'n 

But we ai-o talking of things that arc fast fadnig away ! riu! 
march of mechanical invention is driving every tiling poetical 
before it. The steamboats, which are fast dispellnig the wild- 
uess and romance of our lakes and rivers, and aiding to sub- 
due the world into eonnnoni)lace, arc proving as fatal to the 
race of the Canadian voyageurs as they have been to that of 
the boatmen of the Mississipi)i. Their glory is departed. They 
are no longer the lords of our internal seas and the great navi- 
gators of "the wilderness. Some of them may still occasionally 
be seen coasting the lower lakes with their frail barks, and 
pitching their camps and lighting their tires upon the shores ; 
but their range is fast contracting to those remote waters and 
shallow and obstructed rivers unvisited by the steamboat. In 
the course of years they will gradually disaiipear ; their songs 
will die away like the echoes they once awakened, and the 
Canadian voyageurs will become a forgotten race, or remem- 
bered, like their associates, the Indians, among the poetical 
images of past times, and as themes for local and romantic 

An instance of the buoyant temperament and the profes- 
sional pride of these people was furnished in the gay and brag- 
gart style in which they arrived at New York to join the 
enterprise. They were determined to regale and astonisii the 
people of the "States" with the sight of a Canadian b(xit and 
a Canadian crew. They accordingly litted up a large but light 
bark canoe, such as is used in the fur trade; transported it in 
a wagon from the banks of the St. Lawrence to the shores 
of Lake Champlain ; traversed the lake in it, from end to cml ; 
hoisted it again in a wagon and wheeled it off to Lansingbuiuii, 
and there launched it upon the waters of the Hudson. Down 
this river they plied their course merrily on a line sunnner'ti 
day, making its banks resound for the first timi^ with tiieir old 
French boat songs; passnig by the vilhiges with wlioop and 
halloo, so as to make the honest Dutch I'arnirrs inislnlvc Uirni 
for a crew of savages. In this way they swept, in lull son;;. 
and with regular flourish of the paddk-, roinid New York, in :i 
still summer evening, to the wonder ami admiration of its in- 



haMtnnts, who had never before witnessed on their waters a 
nautical apparition of tlie kind. 

Such was the variegated band of adventurers about to em- 
])arli ill tlie Tonquin on this arduous and doubtful enterprise. 
AVliilc yet in port and on dry hind, in the bustle of i)reparati()U 
and the excitement of novelty, all was sunshine and promise. 
The Canadians, especially, who, with their constitutional vi- 
vacity, liavt; a considerable dash of the gascon, were buoyant 
and itoastful, and great braggarts as to the future : while all 
those wiio liad been in the service of the Northwest Company, 
and engaged in the Indian trade, plumed themselves upon 
tiicir liarilihood and their capacity to endure privations, if 
Mr. Astor ventured to hint at the difliculties they might have 
to encounter, they treated them with scorn. They were 
" norlinvesters ; " men seasoned to hardships, who cared for 
neitlier wind nor weather. They could live hard, lie hard, 
sleep hard, eat dogs! — in a word they were ready to do and 
sutler any thing for the good of the enterprise. With all 
this profession of zeal and devotion, INIr. Astor was not over- 
eonlidont of the stability and firm faith of these mercurial 
beings. He had received information, also, that an armed 
brig from Halifax, pro1)ably at the instigation of the North- 
west Company, was hovering on the coast, watching for the 
Toufiuin, with the purpose of impressing the Canadians on 
hoard of her, as British subjects, and thus interrupting the 
voyage. It was a time of doubt and anxiety, when the re- 
lations between the United States and Great Britain were daily 
assuming a more precarious asj)ect and verging toward that war 
which shortly ensued. As a precautioniry measure, therefore, 
he required that the voyageurs, as they were about to enter into 
the service of an American association, and to reside within the 
limits of the Uuiteil Slates, should take the oaths of natur.aliza- 
tiou as American citizens. To this they readily agn-ed, and 
shortly afterward assured him that they had actually done so. 
It was not until after they had sailed that he discovered thai 
they had entirely deceived him in the matter. 

Till' confidence of Mr. Astor was abused iu another (juarter. 
Two of the j)artners, both of them Scotchmen, and recently in 
the service of the Northwest Company, had misgivings as to 
an enterprise which might clash with the interests and estab- 
li^liineiits protected by the British Hag. Th(>y privately waited 
ii|i(iii tlie British minister, Mr. .Jackson, then in New York, 
laiil <>\n'U to him the whole schemi' of Mr. Astor, though in- 
trublud to them iu eoulldeucu, uud dependent, iu a ^rcat meaii- 

' ■ 





; I 




urc upon sccrcpy at the outset for its snocoss. hikI iiiqniroii 
whether thi'V, as Hritisli siil.jedH, could lawfully eiij;ii«re in ii. 
The rei)ly sntislied their seruples, wliih" the iMloiiuatioii tlicv 
imparted exeited the surprise and admiration of Mr. .lackson, 
that a prvate individual should have conceived and set on foot 
at his own nsk and exi)ense so ^'reat tin enterprise. 

This step on tlie i)art of those .jentlenien was not known to 
Mr. Astor until some time afterward, or it might have modilled 
the trust and eonliiU'nce reposed in them. 

To i^uard a<,'ainst any interruption to the voyage l)y the 
armed^briji, said to be otT the harbor, I\Ir. Astor applied to 
t'ommodoix' Hod«,'ers, at that time conunanding ill New York, 
to give the Tonquin safe convoy otT the coast. The coiuniodore 
having received from a high ollicial source assurance o{ tin; 
deep hiterest which the government took in the enterprise, sent 
directions to Captain Hull, at that time cruising otY the harbor 
in the frigate Constitution, to atfoid the Tompiin the recjuired 
protection when she slK)uld put to sea. 

Before the day of embarkation, Mr. Astor addressed a letter 
of instruction to the four partnt'rs who were to sail in the ship. 
In this he enjoined them, in the most earnest mainier, to cul- 
tivate harmony and unaninnty, and reconnnended that all 
diffeiences of opinions on points coiuiecled with the <)i)ject.s 
and interests of the voyage should be discussed by the whole, 
and deci(h!d by a majority of votes, lie, moreover, gave them 
especial caution as to their con(hict on arriving at their des- 
tined port; exhorting them to I)e careful to make a favorable 
impression upon the wild people among whom their lot and tlio 
fortunes of the enterprise would be cast, ''If you lind them 
kind," said he, "as I hope you will, 1»e so to them. If other- 
wise, act with caution and forbearance, and convince them that 
you come as friends." 

With the same anxious forethought he wrote a li'tter of in- 
struction to Captain Thorn, in which he urged the strictest 
attention to the health of himself and his crew, and to the pro- 
motion of good-humor and harmony on lioard liis shi|). '-To 
prevent any misunderstanding," ad(h'd he, '' will re(piire your 
particular good management." His letter closed with an in- 
junction of wariness in his iiitercouise with the natives, a sub- 
ject on which Mr. Astor was justly seiisililc lie could not be loo 
earnest. " I nuist rectjunneud you," said lie, ■• to be parli( ii- 
laily careful on the coast, and not to rely loo much on Un- 
friendly dispositi(jn of the natives. All accicU-nts which h.ivf 
as yet happened there arose from too much conlideucu in the 

Th'^ ren 
nill jirove 
clislli'd in ' 

On tlie 
where she 
wind was f 
soon out of 
ger of inte 
speed," juK 
Tile ban 
ised ill the 
meet with a 
Captain '1 
dry and did 
the system a 
of the siipri 
solute lord | 
sons embai' 
while they 
and all th 
put lip wit 
when no be 
a set of 1; 
treat them 
real employ* 
all I'tiuds !ui 
a narrow i( 
iiig his view 
concerns of 
intcrlVred w 

The p;iili 
si rvice ()[' I 
llie iinpoii; 
already bej 



Th'^ n-fulor will boar thoso iiiHiriK^tions in mind, aa pvoiits 
will prove llitir wisdom :iiul iiiiportMncc, ;iiiil Ihc disastcrH wliii'li 
ciisiu'tl in con.-5C(iniiu'i' (»!' tlu' nf^lcct of llioin. 


On tlio ciiilith of Soptcinboi", 1810, the Tonqnin put to spa, 
when' «1h.' was soon joincti by tlu' triiiatc Constitution. 'Vha 
wind was fresh and fair from the Houtliwi'sl, and the ship was 
soon out of siiiht of land and free from tlu; apprehended dan- 
ger of inti'rri.plion. 'I'lie fri<j;ate, therefore, gave her *' God 
speed," and left her to her comse. 

The harmony so earnestly enjoined by INIr. Astor on this 
lieteroiieneons crew, and wliit-h had lieen so oonlidently proni- 
isi'd in the imoyant moments of prepaiation, was doomed to 
meet with a check at the very outset. 

Captain 'I'horn was an honest, straightforward, but somewhat 
dry and dictatoiial connnander, who, having bi-en nurtured in 
the system and discipline of a ship of war, and in a sacred oi)iuiou 
of the supremacy of the (juarter-deck, was dis[)osed to be ai)- 
sohite lord and imister on board of his shii). He appears, 
moreover, to have had no great opinion, from the first, of f e per- 
sons embarked with him. lie had stood by with suily coutemjjt 
while they vaunte(l so iiravely to Mr. Astor of all they could do 
and all !hey could undergo; how they could face all we ithers, 
put up with all kinds of fare, and even eat dogs with a relish, 
when no bi'tter food was to be had. Me had set them down as 
a set of landlubbers ;uid braggadocios, and was disposed to 
treat them accordingly. Mr. Astor was, in his eyes, his only 
real em[)loyer. being tlie father of the enterprise, who furnished 
all fluids and bore all losses. Tlu; others were mere agents and 
subordinates, who lived at his expense. He evidently had but 
a narrow idi'a of the scope and nature of the enteiprise, limit- 
ing his views merely to his part of it ; every thing beyond the 
concerns of his ship was out of his sphere ; and any tiling that 
interfered with the routine of his nautical duties put him iu a 

'riie partners, on the otiier hand, had been brought up in the 
si rviee of the Northwest Company, and in a profound idea of 
tlie iiiiportaiK-e, dignity, and authority of a partner. They 
uheady began to consider tliemaelvcs on a par with thu 






( . 

M'T:ivi«hcH, tlir MUJillivrays, Ww Froltistins, rind tlir other 
iii:i«;ii:ito.s of the uorlliwcst, whom tht y h;iil hern ;icnis|.)iii,.,| 
to h)<)l< up to iiH tlie jj;iT:it ones of the t-Hith ; mikI lliry wt-iv :i 

litlh' (lisposcfl. |u'ili!ips, to wear the ir siKhh-iiIy-MCfuiiri'd h -h 

with soiiif air of prctoiisioii. M\. Astor, too, had |iiit ihnii on 
tiicir iiit'ttic with ivsi)eet to the caiitain, dcsciiliiii^i him ns a 
gunpowder fellow who would comnuuid his ship in line >tylr. 
mul, if there was any Ugliting to tlo, would "blow all out of 
the water." 

Thus prepared to regard each other with no v«'ry cordial eye. 
it is not to be wondered at that tiie parlies soon came inio ml- 
lision. On the very lirst night Captain Tliorn lu'gan his man- 
of-war disei|)line by ordering the lights in the caliin to Im! 
extinguished at eight o'eloek. 

The pride of the partners was lininediately in arms. This 
was au invasion of their rights and dignities not t<» Ite Iioriie. 
They were on board of their own ship, and entillcil to consult 
their ease and enjoyment. M'Dougal was the champion of 
their cause. lie was an active, irrilalile, fuming, vainglorious 
little man, and elevated in his own opinion, by bt-ing the [iroxv 
of Mr. Astor. A violent altercation I'Usued, in !hc coi.rse of 
which Thorn threatened to put the partners in iioas should they 
prove refractory; upon which M'Dougal seized a pistol and 
swore to be the death of the ca|)tain should he ever offer sucii 
an indignity. It was some lime before the initatetl parties 
could be pacified by the more tempeiate bystanders. 

Such was the captain's outset with the partners. Nor did 
the clerks stand nnich higher in his good graces ; indeed, liu 
seems to have regarded all the landsmen on board his ship as 
a kind of live lumber, continually in the way. The poor voy- 
ageurs, too, continually irritated his spleen by their •• lulibcrly " 
and unseemly habits, so abhorrent to one acciistonu'd to the 
cleanliness of a man-of-war. These poor fresli-watti' sailors, 
so vainglorious on shi^'e, and almost ainphibioiis when on lakiv- 
and rivers, lost all heart and stomach the moment they were at 
sea. F'or days they sutTered the doleful rigors and retchings of 
sea-sickness, lurking below in their bi'rths in stpi.'did slate, or 
emerging now and then like spectres from the hatchways, in 
cafjotes and blankets, with dirty nightcaps, gri/zly lirai(i. lan- 
tern visagt- and unhappy eye, shivering altout tlic drck, and 
ever and anon crawling to the sides of the vessel, and oricriiii,' 
up tl»*-ir triiutes to the windward, to the iulinite umioyance of 
Uu^ caiptahi. 

ilnfc letters to Mr. AsUm, wkrein he pours forth the bitter 


floas of I 
him, are 
honest cii 
siders at I 

As to 
on*" of wli 
the northv 
of a taver 
had been : 
lor '' as fc 
Then as 
from ('ana 
who had M( 
rest had li<| 
carriole di' 
" that ever 
It may ei 
and eross-| 
a crew anil 
the health 
and their ec 
make them 
and obliire 
Nor did 
Bliip, for ni 
the captain 
They were 
their table 
ht'cf, },ud 
hard they 
ei'ty, being] 
own mere! 
lows who n 
In his ii 
would swel 
'' without 
den on tht 



no98 of Ihh Houl, and his Hcaniiinliko Impationct' of wlint li« 
(•(>nHi(l«'i'H the " Inhhriiif " character iiiid coridiu ^of (liosc aroimd 
him, Jirii Itcfon; us, and an- uiniisin<;ly cliaraclcristic. Tlio 
honest cii[)taiii is full of vexation on ins own ticcount, and 
Holicilinh' on account of Mr. Astor, wiioso jtroperty in; con- 
fliih'rs at the mercy of a most heterof^eneuus and wasteful crew. 

As to the derlis, hi; pronounces them mere pretenders, not 
onf of whom liad ever l»een amon<j; the Indians, nor farlhi-r to 
tlie nortiiwest tlian Montreal nor of hij^hi'r riwik than l»arkeeper 
of a tavern or marker of a hilliard-tuble,, oxceptinfi one, who 
had been a schoolmaster, and whom he euiphatically sets down 
for "• as foolisii a pedant as (!vcr lived." 

Then as to (he artisans and laborers who liad been brought 
from Canada and shipped at such expense, the three most re- 
speclabji', according to the captain's aecc^unt, were culprits, 
who had lied from Canada on account of their misdeeds ; the 
rest had ligured in Montreal as draymen, barbers, waiters and 
carriole drivers, and were the most helpless, worthless beings 
'• that ever broke sea-I)isciiit." 

It may easily be imagined what a series of misunderstandings 
and cross- purposes would be likely to take place between such 
a crow and such a connnander. The captain, in his zeal for 
the health and cleaidiness of his ship, would make sweeping 
visitations to the '' lubber nests " of the unlucky " voyageurs " 
anil their companions in niisery, ferret them out of their berths, 
make then> air and wash themselves and their accoutrements, 
and oblige them to stir about briskly and take exercise. 

Nor did his disgust and vexation cease when all hands bad 
recovered from sea sickness, and become accustomed to the 
KJiip, for now broke out an alarming keenness of appetite that 
threatened havoc to the provisions. What especially irritated 
the captain was the daintiness of some of his cabin passengers. 
They were loud in theii complaints of the ship's fare, though 
their table was served with fresh pork, hams, tx^ngues, smoked 
beef, J.nd putldings. " When thwarted in their cravings for 
delicacies," said he, "they would exclaim that it was d — d 
hard they could not live as they pleased upon their own prop- 
erty, being on board of their own ship, freighted with their 
own merchandise. And these," added he, " are the fine fel- 
lows who made such boast that they could eat dogs.' " 

In his indignation at what he termed their effeminacy, he 
would swear that he would never take them to sea again 
" without having Fly-market on Ihe forecastle. Covent-gar- 
den on the poup, and u cool spring from Canada iu the muiii 





u i'i 


(. !■ 

f i 


As tlioy nroocodod on thoir voyage and got into tlio smooth 
sc'is .Mii.l "plcMsant weather of tlie tropies, otiier annoyances oc- 
euiml to vex the sphit of the captiiin. He had been erossed 
bv the irritable mood of one of the partners ; lie was now ex- 
cessively annoyed by the good-humor of another. This was 
the elder Stuart, who was an easy soul, and of a social disix)- 
siciou. He had seen life in Canada, and on the coast ot J.abra- 
dov ; had been a fur trader in the former, and a fislierman on 
tlie latter : and in the cou» je of his experience had made vari- 
ous expeditions with voyugeurs. He was accustomed, there- 
fore, to the familiarity which prevails between that class and 
their superiors, and the gossipings whieh take place among 
them when seated round a tire at their encampments. Stuarl 
was never so happy as when ho could seat iiimself on the deck 
witli a number of these men round him, in cami)ing style, 
smoke together, passing the pipe from moutli to mouth. aftiT 
tlie manner of the Indians, sing old Canadian boat-songs, and 
tell stories about their hardships and .adventures, in the course 
of which he rivalled Sindbad in his long tales of the sea, about 
his fishing exploits on the coast of Labrador. 

This gossiping familiarity sl.'ocked the captain's notions of 
rank and subordination, and nothing v.'as so abhorrent to him 
as the community of pipe between master and man, and their 
mingling in cliorus in the outlandish boat-songs. 

Then there was anotlie." whimsical source of annoyance to 
him. Some of the young clerks, who were making their first 
voyage, and to whom every thing was new antl strange, were, 
very rationally, in the habit of taking notes and keeping 
journals. This was a sorq abomination to the honest captain, 
who held their literary pretensions in great contemjjt. " The 
collecting of materials for long histoiies of their voyagers and 
travels," said he, in his letter to Mr. Astor, '* appears to en- 
gross most of their attention." Wo can conceive what must 
have been the crusty impatience of the worthy navigator, 
when, on any trifiing occurrence in the course of the voyage, 
i(uite commonplace in his eyes, he saw these young landsmen 
running to record it in their journals ; and what indignanl 
glances he must have cast to right and left, as he worried 
about the deck, giving out his orders for tlie management of 
the ship, surrounded by singing, smoki.ig, gossiping, scrib- 
bling groups, all, as he thought, intent upon the anuisemeiit 
of the passing hour, instead of the great purposes and interests 
of tlie voyage. 

It is possible the captaia was in some degree right iu bis no- 




fioiis. Tliongh some of the passengers had much to ga'n by 
llio vovMj't', Mono of tlicni had any tliin;ji; positively to )<>sc. 
'I'licy Mt'ic mostly young men, in tiio heyday of life ; and hav- 
ing got into fine latitudes, upon smooth seas, with a well- 
stored siiii) inider llieni, and a fair wind in the shoulder of the 
sail, they seemed to have got into a holiday world, and were 
dispoHi'il to enjoy it. That craving desire, natural to untrav- 
elled men of fresh and lively minds, to see strange hi.nds, and 
to visit scenes famous in history or fable, was expressed by 
some of the partners and clerks, with respect to some of the 
i /)ried coasts and islands that lay within the\r route. The 
captain, however, who regarded every coast and island with a 
matter-of-fact eye, and had no more associations connected 
witii them than those laid down in his sea-chart, considered 
all tiiis curiosity as exceedingly idle and chiklish. '' In the 
lirst part of the voyage," says he in his letter, " the}' were de- 
termined to have it said they had been in Africa, and there- 
fore insisted on my stojjping at the Cape de Verdes. Next they 
said the ship should stop on the coast of Patagonia, for they 
must see tlie large and unconinum inhabitants of that place. 
Then tiiey must go to the island where IJobinson Crusoe had so 
long lived. And I'lstl}', they were determined to see the hand- 
some inhabitants of Easter Island." 

To all these resolves the captain opposed his peremptory 
veto, as " contrary to instructions." Then would break forth 
an unavailing explosion of wrath on the part of certain of tlie 
partners, in the course of which they did not even spare Mr. 
Astor for his act of supererogation in furnishing orders for the 
control of the ship while they were on board, instead of leaving 
thcTii to be the judges wh"re it would be best for her t* touch, 
and how long to remain. The choleric M'Dougal took the lead 
in these lailiiigs, being, as has been observed, a little puffed up 
witli the idea of being Mr. Astor's proxy. 

The captain, however, became only so much the more crusty 
and dogged in his adherence to his orders, and touchy and 
liaish in his dealings with his passengers, and frequent alter- 
cations ensued. lie ma}' in sonu^ measure have been in- 
Hiieneed by his seainanlike impatience of the interfeienee of 
landsmen, and his high notions of naval etiquette and quarter- 
deck autiiority ; but he evidently had an honest, trusty con- 
cern for the interests of his employer. He pictured to himself 
the anxious proji'ctor of the enterprise, who had disbursed so 
nnmilieently in its outfit, c:dculating on the zeal, fidelity, and 
siugleuess uf purpuuc of his associates aud agents ; while theyi 





on the oilier Iiand. hfuing a uood sliij) at tlioir disposal, and a 
,U.(M) pocla-t at honx' to l)oar tliein out, .seemed ready to loiter 
on every coast, and amuse tlien.selves in every port 

()i, 111,- roiirthof l)oeeml)er they came in sight of the bulk- 
1-ind Ishmds. Having I)eeii for so- • ne on an allowance of 
water it was resolved to anchor here and obtain a supiily. A 
boat was sent into a small bay to take soundings. Uv. 
M'Douoal and Mr. M'Kay took this occasion to go on shoiv, 
but with a reipiest from the cai)tain that they would not iletain 
the ship. Once on shore, however, tlicy were in no haste to 
obey his ordws, but rambled about in search of curiosities. 
Tiie anchorage proving unsafe, and water dillicult to be procureil, 
the captain stood out to sea, and made repeated signals f(;r 
those on shore to rejoin the sliii), but it was not until nine at 
niglit that tiiey came on l)oard. 

Tiie wind being adverse, the boat was again sent on shore on 
the following morning, and the same gentlemen again landed, 
but promised to come otT at a moment's warning ; Ihcy again 
forirot their promise in their eager pursuit of wild geese and 
sea%olves. After a tiwc the wind hauled fair, and signals 
were made for the boat. II:ilf an hour elapsed, but no boat 
put otT. The captain reconnoitred the shore with his glass, and, 
to his iiillnite vexation, saw the loiterers in the full enjoyment of 
tiioir 'Mvild-goose chase." Nettled to the quick, he immedi- 
ately made sail. When those on shore saw the ship actually 
under way, they embarked with all speed, but had a hard i)uil 
of eight miles before they got on board, and then experienced 
but :i grim reception, notwithstniiding that they came well ladi n 
with the spoils of the chase. 

Two days :ifterw:ird, on the seventh of December, they an- 
chored at Port Eguiont, in the same island, where they re- 
mained four days taking in water and making repairs. 'I'his 
was a joyous time for the landsmen. They pitched a tent on 
shore, had a boat at their command, and passed their time 
merrily in rambling about the island, and coasting along the 
shores, shooting sea-lions, seals, foxes, geese, ducks, and 
penguins. None were keener in pursuit of this kind of game 
than M'Dougal and David Stuart; the latter was reminded of 
aquatic sports on the coast of Labrador, and his hunting ex- 
ploits in the northwest. 

In the niesiu time the captain addressed himself steadily to 
the !)usiness of his ship, seorning the holiday spirit and useless 
piii'siiils of his cinnueipiitt'd messmates, ami warning them, 
from tune to time, not to waiuler away nor be out of hail. 




They promised, as usual, that the ship s'lould never experience 
a tiioiucnt's (hitention on their account, hut as usual forgot 
Ihi'ir promise. 

On ll:e morninj; of the 11th, tlic repairs lieing all finished, 
and the water-casks replenished, the signal was given to em- 
liark, and tiie shii) began to weigh anchor. At this time several 
of the passengers were dispersed about the island, amusing 
themselves in various ways. Some of the young men had 
found two Inscriptions, in English, over a place where two un- 
fortmiate mariners had been buried in this desert island. As 
the inscriptions were nearly worn out by time and weather, 
they were playing the part of " Old Mortality," and piously 
renewing them. The signal from the sliip summoned them 
from tiieir labors ; they saw the sails unfurled, and that she was 
getting under way. The two sporting partners, however, Mr. 
M'l)()ngal and David Stuart, had strolled away to the south of 
the island in pursuit of penguins. It would never do to put off 
witliont tliem, as there was but one boat to convey the whole. 

Wliile this delay took place on shore, the captain was storm- 
ing on board. This was the third time his orders had been 
treated with contempt, and the ship wantonly detained, and 
it sliould be the last ; so he spread all sail and put to sea, swear- 
ing lie would leave the laggards to shift for themselves. It was 
in vain that those on board made remonstrances and entreaties, 
and represented the horrors of abandoning men upon a sterile 
and uninhal)ited island : the sturdy captiun was intlexible. 

In the mean time the penguin hunters had joined the en- 
gravers of tombstones, but not before the ship was already out 
at sea. Tliey all, to the number of eight, threw themselves 
into their boat, wliich was about twenty feet in length, and 
rowed with might and main. For three hours and a half did 
they tug anxiously and severely at the oar, swashed occasion- 
ally by the surging waves of the open sea, while the ship in- 
cxoral)ly kept on her course, and seemed determined to leave 
them behind. 

On board of the ship was the nephew of David Stuart, a 
young man of spirit and resolution. Seeing, as he thought, 
the captain obstinately bent upon abandoning his uncle and the 
others, lie seized a i»istol, and in a paroxysm of wrath swore he 
would blow out the captain's braiuo unless he put about or 
«iioriened sail. 

l''ortunately for all parties, the wind just then canie ahead, 
.Mini the boat was enaliled to reach the ship; otherwise, disas- 
trous circumstancea uiigUt have ensued. We cau hardly believo 






tliat tliP captain really intended to carry his throat into full 
clfecl, and rallier think he nieiint to let tiie la<i;«i;ards off for a 
lono- pull :ind a hearty fri^-lit. Ho (htcjarod, liowovor, in his 
letter to Mr. Astor, tiiat ho was .serious in his threats; and 
there is no luiowing how far such au iron man may push hi^ 
notions of authority. 

''Had the wind," writes he, "(unfortunately) not hauled 
ahead soon after leaving tlie harbor's mouth, I should positively 
have left them ; and, indeed, I cannot but think it au unfortu- 
nate cireunistance for you that it so hai)pened, for the first loss 
in this i-.istaiice would,' in my oi)lnion, have proved the best, as 
they seem to have no idea of the value of pi'operty, nor any 
api)arent regard for your interest, although i)iterwoveu with 
tiiei.' own." 

Tiiis, it must be confessed, was acting with a high hand, and 
carrying a regard foi the owner's property to a dangerous 
lengUi. Various petty feuds oceurretl also between him and 
tiie partners in respect to the goods on board the ship, some 
articles of which they wished to distribute for clothing among 
the men, or for other purposes which tliey deemed essential. 
The captain, however, kept a mastilT watch u|)on tiie cargo, 
and growled and snapped if tliey but olTered to touch box or 
bale. " It was contrary to orders; it would forfeit his insur- 
ance; it was out of all rule." It was in vain they insisted 
upon their right to do so, as part owners, and as acting for the 
good of the ; the captain only stiick to ids i)oiut 
tlie more stanchly. They consoled themselves, therefore, by de- 
claring that as soon as tliey made land they would assort their 
rights, and do with ship and cargo as they pleased. 

lU'sides these feuds between tiie captain and the partners, 
there wore feuds between the partners thomsolvos, occasioned, 
in some measure, l)y jealousy of rank, M'Dougal and M'Kay 
began to draw plans for the fort, and other l)uildings of the 
intended establislime:it. They agreed very well as to tlie out- 
line and dimensions, which wore on a siillicii'iitly grand scale : 
bill, wlieii tliey came to arrange the details, llcrce disputes 
arose, and they would (juarrel l)y the hour about the distribu- 
tion of tlu! doors and windows. Many were the liartl words 
and hard names bandied between them on these occasions, 
ac(M)r(ling to the captain's acconnl. Kaoh accused the other of 
endeavoring to assume unwarrantable powi'r. and to take the 
load; upon wlii<;h Mr. M'Dougal wouhJ vauntingly lay down 
Mr- Astoi's loiter, constituting him his reproseutativu and 
proxy, a document not to be disputed. 




These wordy contests, though violent, were brief ; " and with- 
in fifteen minutes," says the captain, "they would be caress- 
iug oacli other like children." 

While all this petty anarchy was agitating the little world 
within the Tonquin, the good ship prospcnously pursued her 
course, doubled Cape Horn on the 2otli of Dceeniher, careered 
iieross the bosom of the Pacific, until, on the 11th of February, 
the fcnowy peaks of Owyhee were seen brightening above the 


OwrnKE, or Hawaii, as it is written by more exact orthogra- 
phcr.s, is the largest of the cluster, ten in number, of the Sand- 
wich Islands. It is about ii'.nety-seven uiiles in length and 
sovonty-eight in breadth, rising gradually into three pyramidal 
summits or cones ; the highest, Mouna Hoa, being eighteen 
thousand feet above the level of the sea, so as to domineer 
over tlie whole Archipelago, and to be a landmark over a wide 
extent of ocean. It remains a lasting monument of the enter- 
prising and unfortunate Captain Cook, who was murdered by 
the natives of this island. 

The vSandwich Islanders, when first discovered, evinced a 
character superior to most of the savages of the Pacific Isles. 
They were frank and open in their deportment, friendly and 
liberal in their dealings, with an apt ingenuity apparent in all 
their rude inventions. 

The tragical fate of the discoverer, which, for a time, brought 
them under the charge of ferocity, was, in fact, the result of 
sudden exasperation, caused by the seizure of their chief. 

At the time of the visit of the Tonquin, the islanders had 
profited, in many respects, by occasional intercourse with white 
men ; and had shown a quickness to observe and cultivate 
those arts imi)ortant to their mode of living. Originally they 
had no means of navigating the seas by which they were sur- 
rounded, superior to light pirogues whicli were little competent 
to contend with the storms of the broad ocean. As tlu' island- 
ers aro not in sight of each otluM', there could, tlicri-fcirc Ih' hut 
(•usual interct)urst! between them. The tralilc with white men 
had put thenj in possession of vessels of superior (li'scii|ili()ii ; 
they had made themst.'Wes ac(}uainted with their nuiu;!v,eniout, 
and hud even made rude udvauces iu the urt of uhip- building. 

■ i 






These improvements had been promoted, in a prreat measnre, 
bv the ener<n- and sagacity of «jne man, the famous Tanmali- 
maah. He had originally been a petty eri, or chief : bul, being 
of an intrepid and aspiring nature, he had risen in rank, and, 
availiu'T himself of the superior advantages now affonicd in 
navigaUon, had brought the whole Archipelago m subjectioii 
to his arms. At the time of the arrival of the lontpim he had 
about forty schooners, of from twenty to thirty toius i.urdt-n, 
and one old American ship. With these he maintained undis- 
puted sway over his insular domains, and carried on an inter- 
course with the chiefs or governors whom he had placed iu 
command of the several islands. 

The situation of this group of islands, far in the, bosom of 
the vast racific, and their abundant fertility, rendered them 
important stopping places on the highway to China, or to the 
northwest coast of America. Here the vessels engaged iu the 
fur trade touched to make repairs and procure provisions ; and 
here they often sheltered themselves during the winters that 
occurred in their long coasting expeditions. 

The British navigators were, from the first, aware of the 
value of these islands to the purposes of commerce ; and 
Tamaahmaah, not long after he had attaiueil the sovereign 
Bway, was persuaded by Vancouver, the celel)rated diseo\erer, 
to acknowledge, on behalf of himself and subjects, allegiance 
to the King of Great Britain. The reader cannot but call to 
mind the visit which the royal family and court of the .Sand- 
wich Islands was, in late years, induced to niak(; to the court of 
St. James ; and the serio-comic ceremonials and mock parade 
which attended that singular travesty of monarchical style. 

It was a part of the wide and c(Miiprehensive plan of I\Ir. 
Astor to ifetablish a friendly intercourse between these islands 
and his intended colony, which might, for a time, have occa- 
sion to draw sunplies thence ; and he even had a vague idea of, 
some time or other, getting possession of one of their islands 
as a rendezvous for his ships, and a link in the chain of his 
commercial establishments. 

On the evening of the 12th of February the Tonquin anchored 
in the bay of Karakakooa, in the island of Owyhee. Thf sur- 
rounding shores were wild and broken, with overhanging elilTs 
and precipices of black volcanic rock, lieyond tliese. however, 
the country was fertile and well culli\ate(i. with enclosures of 
yams, plantains, sweet potaUjes, siig'ir-canes, and (»ther pro-duc- 
lions of warm climates and teemin/ soils; and tin; imnieroiis 
h/ibitatious of the ualivea were pleuvjautly sheltered beiieatli 



ciumps of coooanut and broiid-fniit troos, wliicli iiffordcd 1k)11) 
f«H)il and hIkuIo. Tliis iiiiiij^led variety <>f ^ai'dcii and p,r()vi' 
fiwcpt <;t!idually up the sides ot the niounlaius until suceet'ded 
liv(iense forests, wiiich in turn ^hxq phice to naked and craLr^y 
rocks, until the summits rose into the regions of perpetual 

The royal residence of Taniaahmaah was at this time at 
another ishuul named Woahoo. The island of Owyhee was 
under the eonmiand of one of his eris, or chiefs, who resided at 
tlio \ illage of Tocaigh, situated on a different i)art of the coast 
from the bay of Karakakooa. 

On the morning after her arii's'al, the ship was surrounded 
bv canoes and pirogues, filled with the islanders of both sexes, 
hriuging off supplies of fi'uits and vegetables, bananas, plan- 
tains, watermelons, yams, c:d)bages, and tare. The captain 
was desirous, however, of purchasing a number of hogs, but 
there were none to be had. The trade in jwrk was a royal 
monopoly, and no suliject of the great Tamaabmaali dared to 
meddle wiuli il. Such pi'ovl.dons as they could furnish, how- 
ever, wen; brought by the natives in abundance, and a lively 
intercourse was kept up diu'ing the day, in which the women 
niiniiled in the kindest manner. 

Tiie islanders are a comely race, of a copjicr complexMon. 
The men are tall and well made, with forms indicating strength 
and activity ; the women with regular and occasionally hand- 
some features, and a lascivious expression, characteristic of 
their temi)erament. Their style of dress was nearly the same 
as iu the days of Captain Cook. 'J'hi' men wore the maro, a 
band one foot in width and several feet in length, swathed 
round the loins, and formed of tappa, or cloth of bark ; tlu^ 
kihei, or mantle, about six feet S(|uare, tied in a knot over one 
shoi'.lder. passed tnider the opposite arm, so as to leave it bare 
and. falling in graceful folds l)efore and behinil, to the knee, 
so as to l)ear some reseml)lance to a Koinan toga. 

The female dress consisted of the pan, a garment formed of 
a piece of tappa, several yards in length and one in width, 
wrapped round tlu; waist and reaching, like a ju'tticoat, to the 
knees. Over this a kihei or mantle, larger than that of the 
men, sometimes worn over both shoniders. like a shawl, some- 
times over one only. Tlu'se mantles were seld(>ni worn by eitiier 
sex during the heat of the day. when the exposui'c of tliiii 
persons w:is at first very revolting to a er.dized eye. 

'Coward e\cning several of the paitiieis and clerks went oii 
shore, where Ihey were well received and hospitably entertained 

f I: 

', \ 

} I 

! ■ 




A dance was performed for their amusement, in wliieh nineteen 
youiVr women and one man t\<^\ivvd very .^raeernlly, sinjiiiij.- in 
concert, and moving to tlie eadenee of their song. 

All this, however, was nothing to the puri)osc in the eyes of 
Cai)tain Thorn, who, being disappointed in his hope of obtain- 
in'"' a supply of pork, or (inding good water, was anxious to bo 
olf. This it was not so easy to etfeet. Tin- passengers, onee on 
shore, were disposed, as usual, to protit by the oceasion. Tiiu 
partners had many inquiries to make relative to the island, with 
a'view to ))usiness ; while the young eh-rks were delighted witii 
the charms and graces of the dancing damsels. 

To add to their gratilications, an old man olTered to conduct 
them to the si)ot where Captain Cook was massacred. The 
proposition was eagerly accepted, and all hands set out on i\ 
pilgrimage to the place. The veteran islander performed his 
promise IfaithfuUy, and pointed out the very spot where the 
unfortiuiate discoverer fell. The rocks and cocoa-trees aroinid 
bore record of the fact, in the marks of the balls fired from the 
])oats upon the savages. The pilgrims gathered round the old 
man, and drew from him all the particulais ho had to relate 
respecting this memorable event ; while the honest captain stood 
by and bit his nails with impatience. To add to his vexaticju, 
they employed themselves in knocking off pieces of the rocks, 
ami cutting off the bark of the trees marked by the balls, which 
they conveyed l)ack to the ship as precious relics. 

Right glad, therefore, was he to get thein and their treasures 
fairly on board, when he made sail from this uni)rofitable place, 
and steered for the Hay of Tocaigh. the residence of the chief 
or governor of the island, where he iioped to be more succt'ss- 
ful in obtaining supplies. On coming to anchor the captain 
went on shore, accompanied by Mr. M'Dougal and ]\lr. M'Kay, 
and paid a visit to the governor. This dignitary j)roved to In; 
an old sailor, by the name of John Young ; who, afti'r Itein^; 
tossed about the seas like another Sindbad, had, \^y one oi' tho 
whimsical freaks of fortune, been elevated to the governinent of 
a savage island. He received his visitors with mori' hearty 
familiarity than personages in his high station are apt to indulge, 
but soon gave them to understand that provisicMis were scanty 
at Tocaigh, and that there was no good water, no rain having 
fallen in tiu! ni'ighboihood in three years. 

TIk! cajitain was immediately for breaking up the coMlerenct; 
and departing, but the [tartners were not so willing to pail with 
till! naulieal governor, who seemed disposed to be iwticMiilv 
communicative, and from whom they might be able to proenre 



rtoinc iisofnl information. A long convtirsation aoeordingly 
msiiofl. ill IIh^ couihc of wliich they uiado many incjuirics about 
the alTiiirs dI" tiic islands, tlioir natural itroductions, and tlu! 
jiossiltility of lurninjjj llicm to advantage in the way of trade; 
nor did tiiey fail to in(iuii(' into tiie individual history of .John 
VouMj;, and how lu^ <'am(! to be governor. This lie gave with great 
condescension, running through the whole coiu'ae of his fortunes, 
'•'even from his boyish days." 

He was a native of Liverpool, in England, and had followed 
the sea from boyhood, until, by dint of good eonduet, he had 
risen so far in his profession as to be boatswain of an American 
ship called the Eleanor, commanded by Captain Mctealf. In 
this vessel he had sailed in 17<Si>, on one of those casual expedi- 
tions to the northwest coast in quest of furs. In the course of 
the voyage the captain left a small schooner, named the Fair 
American, at Nootka, with a crew of live men, commanded by 
his son, a youth of eighteen. {She was to follow on in the track 
of the Eleanor. 

In Feltruary, 1790, CaptatTi Metealf touched at the island of 
Mowee, one of the Sandvvi(;h group. While anchori'd here, a 
boat which was astern of the Eleanor was stolen, and a seaman 
who was in it was killed. The natives, generally, disclaimed 
he outrage, and J)rought the shattered remains of the boat and 
ihe dead body of the .seaman to the ship. Supposing that they 
lad thus appeased the anger of the captain, they thronged, as 
usual, in great numbers about the vessel, to trade. Captain 
Metealf, however, determined on a blood}' revenge. The Eleanor 
mounted len guns. All these he ordered to be loaded with 
inusket-balls, nails, and pieces of ohl iron, and then fired them, 
and the small arms of the ship, among the natives. The havoc 
was dreadful ; more than a hundred, according to Young's 
account, were slain. 

After this signal act of vengeance. Captain Metealf sailed 
from Mowee, and ma(l(> for the island of Owyhee, where he was 
well received by Tamaahmaah. The fortunes of this warlike 
eliief were at that time oti the rise. He had originally lieen 
of inferior rank, ruling over only one or two districts of Owy- 
hee, but had gradually made himself sovereign of his native 

The Eleanor remained some few days at anchor here, and an 
apparently friendly intercourse was kept n\) with the inhabit- 
ants. On the 17th IVIarch John Young obtained permission 
to pass the night on shore. On the following moruiug a signal 
guu summoned Lim to return ou board. 

; ^1 




J: ( 



FIc went to Iho shore to cml)ark, but. found all the ranoos 
hiuilcl Mi> on the heaeh and ii<,t)r()iisly tabooed, or interdicted. 
Il(. woiihl li;ive launched one himself, but was informed b^- 
'raniaahiuaaii that if lie i)resmned to do so he would be put to 

deatii. . , . 1 II 1 • 

Yoiin«r was oblijrcd to submit, and remained all day in great 
peritlexiU- to aeeount for this mysterious taboo, and fearful 
that some hostility was intended/ In the evening he learned 
the cause of it, and his uneasiness was increased. It appearerl 
that the vindictive act of Captain Metcalf had recoiled upon his 
own head. The schooner Fair American, commanded by his 
son, following in his track, had fallen into the hands of tlu; na- 
tives to the southward of Tocjaigh Hay, and young Metcalf and 
four of the crew had been massacred. 

On receiving intelligence of this event, Tamaahmaali had 
immei'iately tabooed all the canoes, and interdicted all inter- 
course with the ship, lest the captain should learn the fate of 
the schooner, and take his revenge upon the island. For the 
same reason he prevented Young from rejoining his country- 
men. The Eleanor continued to lire signals from time to time 
for two da\s, and then sailed; concluding, no doubt, that the 
boatswain liad deserted. 

John Young was in despair when he saw the ship make sail, 
and Ibund himself abandoned among savages ; and savages, 
too, sanguinary in their character, and intlamed by acts of 
hostility. lie was agreeably disappointed, however, in experi- 
encing nothing but kind treatment from Tamaahmaali and his 
people. It is true, he was narrowly watched whenever a vessel 
came in sight, lest he should escape and relate what had passed ; 
but at other times he was treated with entire coiitidencc and 
great distinction. He became a prime favorite, cabinet coun- 
sfcllor, and active coadjutor of Tamaahmaali, attending him in 
all his excp.rsions, whether of business or pleasure, and aiding 
in his warlike and ambitious enterprises. By degrees he rose 
to the rank of a chiel, espoused one of the beauties of the 
island, and became habituated and reconciled to his new way 
of life ; thinking it better, perhaps, to rule among savages than 
serve among white men ; to be a feathered chief than a tar- 
paulin l)oatswain. His favor with Tamaahmaah never declined ; 
ami when that sagacious, intrei)id, and aspiring chieftain had 
made himself sovereign over tlie whole group of islands, and 
removed his residence to Woahoo, he left his faithful adherent 
John Young in command of Owyhee. 

Such is au outline of the history of Governor Y'oung, as fur- 



iiislifil liy liinisclf ; nnd we regret lluil, wo jvro not, aMo to jrivo 
iiiiv Miciiiiiil <>!' tlic sdilf in;iiiil:iin('i| by (liis sc;ifMiiiijj; wortliy, 
:iii(l III*' iiiaiiiicr in uliidi he (liscliarunl liis lii<j;h I'liiictioiiH ; 
(Ikhio^Ii it is I'vitliMil he liiid iikho of tlu' iicuity f)iinili{uity of tlio 
forcciistit' lli:iii IIh' (li,L;iiity of tlu; jfuljcniiitoriiil odicc. 

'I lii'sc loiiu; coiiruit'iici's wi'iL' hiltcr trials to llic pationce of 
'Aw ciiiiliiin, \vli<< Iwul no ri'spcct citiior for the governor or hia 
irtliuul, and was anxious to pusii on in (lucst of provisions and 
water. Ah stjon as lie could <;i l Iiis incpiisitivo partners once 
111(111' on lioai'd, he wcij^liod anchor and made sail for the island 
of Woalioo, the royal residence of Taniaahinaah. 

'I'liis is the most lu'auliful island of the Sandwich group. It 
is f()rly->ix' niiles in length and twenty-three in breadth. A 
ridut' of volcanic mountains extends through the centre, rising 
into lofly peaks, and skirted by undulating hills and rich 
iilains, where the cabins of the natives peep out from beneath 
groves of cocoanut and other luxuriant trees. 

On tile "ilsLof February the Tonipiin cast anchor in the beau- 
tiful liay lu'l'ore the village (4" Waititi, (i)ronounced Whyteetee), 
the aliode of 'i'amaahniaah. This village containi^d about two 
liiiiidi'ed iiabitations, composed of poles set in the ground, tied 
td'ielher at tiie ends, and thatched with grass, and was situated 
ill an open grove of coeoanuts. The royal i)alace of Taniaah- 
iiuiaii was a large iiouse of two stories ; the lower of stone, the 
upper of wood. Hound this his body-guard kept watch, com- 
posed of twenty-four men, in long blue cassocks turned up with 
yellow, and each armed with a musket. 

While at anchor at this place, much ceremonious visiting 
and long confen-nces took place bi'tween the potentate of the 
ishiiids and the partners of the company. Tamaahmaah came 
on board of the shii) in royal style, in his double pirogue. He 
was lietwt'cn lifty and sixty years of age, above the middle 
^i/e, large and wi'll made, though somewhat corpulent. He 
was dressed in an old suit of regimentals, with a sword by his 
side, and si'i'ined so?newhat embarrassed l)y his magniiicent 
alt ire. Ttuee of his wives accompanied him. They were 
almost as tall, and (juite as corpulent as himself; but by no 
means to be coinpaii'd with him in grandeur of hal'.ilimeiits, 
wearing no other garl> than the p.'iu. With him also can..! his 
ureal favoritt^ and conlidential counsellor, Ivraimaker ; who, 
Irom holding a post ecinivalent to that of prime minister, had 
heeii iMiiiiliarly named liilly I'ltt by the Biilisli visitors to the 

liie sovereign was leceived with belittiug ceiemonia.' The 



I li 



Amorioan fl.-ifj was disphiypd, four guns worn flrod, and thf; 
narUuTs appeared in scarlet coafs, and conducted then- dliig- 
trlnns unieHts to llie cabin, where they were ro}>;aK'd with wine. 
In thi^'^iiiterview Ihe partners endeavored to impress the nioti- 
arehwilha sense of their inipuitanee, and of the iinporlanec 
of tlie association to wliicli they helonged. Tlicy let him know 
that tiiey were eris, or chiefs, of a <,'reat company ahont to ho 
ostal)lislied on the nortiiwest coast, and talked of the probability 
of opcnin-,' a trade with his islands, and of sending,' ships there 
occasionally. All this was gratifying and interesting to him, 
for he was aware of the advantages of f-adc, and desirous of 
promoting frecpient intercourse with white men. ^ He encour- 
aged Kuropeans and Americans to settle in his islands, and 
iiitermarry with his subjects. There were between twenty and 
thirty white men at that time resident in the island, but many 
of tiieni were mere vagabonds, who remained there in hop«'8 of 
leading a lazy and an easy life. For such Taniaahmaah had :i 
great "contempt ; those only had his esteeih and countenance 
who knew some trade or mechanic art, and were sober and in- 

On the day subsequent to the monarch's visit, the partners 
landed and waited upon him in return. Knowing the effect (.f 
show and dress upon men in savage life, and wishing to make 
a favorabli' impression as the eris. or chiefs, of the great Amer- 
ican Fin- Compnny, some of them appeared in Highland plaids 
and kilts, to the great admiration of the natives. 

While visits of ceremony and grand diplomatic conferences 
were going on between the partners and tlie king, the captain, 
in his i)lain, matter-of-fact way, was pushing what he consid- 
ered a far more important negotiation — the purchase of a sup- 
ply of hogs. lb' found that the king had profited in more 
ways tlian one by his intercourse with white men. Above all 
other arts he had learned the art of driving a bargain. lie was 
a magnanimous monarch, but a shrewd pork merchant, and 
perhai)s thought he could not do better with his future allies, 
the American Fur Company, than to begin by close dealing. 
Several interviews were re(]uisite, and much bargaining, befoic 
he could be brought to part with a l)ristle of his bacon, and 
then he insisted upon being paid in hard Spanish dollars, giv- 
ing as a reason that he wanted money to |)urchasc a frigate 
from his brother George, as lie alTeeiionately termed the King of 

' It appears, from Uie accoiiiilH of Hiilmi'iiiiciil voyugi-B, that 'I'amaahiimah, afterward 
•uccueUt'd iu hiii wUb uf purcliuniiig a \m^u -lij|i. In tHiH li«: neut m cargo uf naudal-wuud 

At length 
supply of h( 
(piantity of i 
ncrw now in-g 
island. The; 
them, even ai 
they are remr 
and can swim 
clined, there f 
Imnbia, to l)c 
citptain, howc 
sel for the a( 
were therefoi 
for the servici 
the term of tli 
clothed, and : 
lnmdred dol'a 
And now, 1 
iiiid water, tl 
tlie honest ma 
freaks and Vf 
understood th 
a letter writte 
comments on 
" It wouUl 
garni )ols that 
red coats, an 
niuni)er of igi 
are the great 
for semling t 
with spars, et 
a hog to the 
and making s 
or any thing 

to Canton, liiivinK d 
profits on thix woo 
•hit) wi\H manned b 
voyuKe and returnt 
in til.' Iireeze. 'I'h 
v»'rted iito erupew 
iHliMien , liy tlie lei; 
reinaini d a liill of c 
foil- 111' eon Id lie tin 
Hinh aH pllolaKe, ai 
time uliiteH In oliirr 
tlif iiiercliant, " \V 
them aeeordliiKly. 
»lity lo seventy dot 
lilii China speculatl 




At length tho royal bargain was conrliidorl : tho norossary 
Hiil'ply ^^ '"'f^*^ obtained, besides sijvcnil ^oats, two sliccp, a 
(|ii:iiitity of ponltry, and vogctai)les in nhiindanct'. Tbc part- 
iiciH now urged to recruit their forces from the natives of tliis 
island. Tliey declared they l»ad never seen watermen equal to 
them, even among the voyageurs of tlu; northwest ; and indeed 
they are remarkable for their skill in managing tiii'ir light eraft, 
and can swim and dive like water-fowl. The partners were in- 
clined, therefore, to take thirty or forty with them to the Co- 
luniliia, to be employed in tlu! service of the company. The 
C!t|itain, however, objected that there was not room in his ves- 
sel for the accommodation of such a number. Twelve, only, 
were therefore enlisted for the company, and as many more 
for tiie service of the ship. The former engaged to serve for 
the Urm of three years, during which they were to be fed and 
clotlu'd, and at the expiration of the time were to receive one 
hun<lred dol'ars in merchandise. 

And now, having embarked his live-stock, fruits, vegetables, 
!iii(l water, the captain made ready to set sail. I low much 
tlic honest man had suffered in spirit by what he considered tho 
freaks and vagaries of his passengers, and how little he had 
understood their humors and intentions, is iunusingly shown in 
a letter written to Mr. Astor from Woahoo, which contains his 
comments on the scenes we have described, 

" It would be diflicult," he writes, "to imagine the frantic 
gamliols that are daily played olT here ; som(!times dressing in 
rod coats, and otherwise very fantastically, and collecting a 
number of ignorant luitives around them, telling them that tlii!y 
are the great eares of the northwest, and uuiking arrangements 
for seiuliug three or four vessels yearly to thi-ni from the coast 
with 8j)ars, etc. ; while those very natives cannot even furnish 
a hog to the ship. Then dressing in Highland plaids and kilts, 
and making similar arrangements, with presents of rum, wine, 
or any thing that is at hand. Then taking a number of clerks 

to Cinton, hiiviiiK dlHcovorod that the foreign nierchatitu trading with him riiudo large 
profitd on thin wood, Hliiitped by Ihi'iii from tho JMlaiidn to the Chiiu'm' iiiiiiki'tH. 'l"he 
nhip Wrts niamicd by iiatlvcH, but tho <iiru'crn were KrmllMhincri. Shi' !l(•l•(llil|lli^ll(■(l her 
voyisRi' and n'tunu'd 111 Hiifi'ly tu the iHliitidH, with the lliiwaiiiui tlai; lloatiiii; ulnrioiiHJy 
III tliv" tireeze. The kinn hantem'd on lioard, ex|iei'tliii; to liiid his naiidal uiiocl con- 
vt>rtt>d iito crapi'M and daiiiaxkH. and other rich NtiiflHof ( 'liiiia, l>iit found, to bis aHtoii- 
IhIiiiu'II , by the let^eideiiiaiii of tiallic, lii^ ear);o had all di)<a|i|ieared, and, in | .aec of it, 
rPliiaini d Ik lilll of char^'eH aiiioiinlini! Ill Ihrfr //kihsihiiI 'ln/hirs. It \var< noini' lime be- 
fore lu'ioiild lie made to eoinpreheiid errtaili of the iiiohI iiiipoiianl ileiiiM of llii' hill, 
HUch an pilolaKe, aiu'horaxe, and eilKtoiii lioiiMc feeH ; bill when he difseoveri'il that marl- 
time staleH in other countrleM derived laru'e ri'vcniicH in lliU manner, to the ureal cost of 
the iiUMcliant, " Well," cried he, " then I will have harbor feen aUo." \\v eist.ibliHhfd 
them aci'ordiiiKly. I'llotaiie a dollar u fool on the dratt of eaeh vessel, AnelioiMfje fiieii 
*ixt,y to nevcnly dollnm. In thlM way he greatly inarcascd tbo royal revuiiiic, and turned 
hti) (Jhlna apeculatiou to account. 






K 1 

^ ;•'♦ 

- 1 





' :i 





and men on shore to the very spot on which Captain Cook was 
killed, and each fctchiui? off a piece of the rock or tree that was 
touched by the shot. Then sitting down witli sonic white man 
or some native who can be a little understood, and collecting 
the history of those islands, of Taniaahmaah's wars, the cmiosi. 
ties of the islands, etc., preparatory to the histories of their 
voyages; and the collection is indeed ridiculously conteniptildc. 
To enumerate the thousand instances of ignorance, (ilth, oio. 
or to particularize all the frantic gambols that are daily prac! 
tised, would require volumes." 

Before embarking, the great ei-is of the American Fur Com* 
panj' took leave of their illustrious all3' in due style, with many 
professions of lasting friendshii) ami i)romises of future inlor. 
i.'ourse; while the matter-of-fact captain anatliemati/ed hiin in 
his heart for a grasping, trafficking savage, as shrewd and sor- 
did in his dealings as a white man. As one of the vessels of 
the company will, in the course of events, have to appeal to the 
justice and magnanimity of this island potentate, we shall see 
how far the honest captain was right iu his opinion. 


It was on the 28th of F'^bruaiy that the Tonquin set sail fioin 
the Sandwich Islands. For two days the wind was contrary, 
and the vessel was detained in their neigliboriiood ; at lengili a' 
favorable breeze sprang up, and in a little wlnlc the ricii grmcs, 
green hills, and snowy peaks of those happy islands oiu- after 
another sank from sight, or melted into the blue distance, and 
the Tonquin ploughed her course toward the sterner re<'ions of 
the Paeilic. ® 

The misunderstandings between the captain and his passen- 
gers still continued ; or rather, increased in gravity. By his 
altercations and his moody humors he had cut himself olT lioin 
all community of thought or freedom of conversation with them 
Pie disdamed to ask any questions as to their proceedin.^s -md 
could only guess at the meaning of their movements, and in so 
domg mdulged in conjectures and suspicions which produced 
the most whunsical self-torment. 

Tims, in one of his disputes with them, relative to the ....ods 
on board, some of the packages of vvhi.-h they wished to onei,', 
to take out articles of clothing for the men, or presents f..,' the 
natives, he was so harsh and peremptory that they lost all pa- 

might I 
him the 
A till 
really h 
some ii 
United ! 
of the v 
own use 
foster it 
men, a 
gling wit 
Then sev 
being Se 
were con 
acy that 
ready to 
that the ( 



tience, and liintcrl that thoj' were the strongest party, and 
niifht reduce him to a very ridiculous dilernma, by taking from 
him the command. 

A thought now flashed across the captain's mind that they 
really had a design to depose him, and that, having i)icked up 
some information at Owyhee, possil)ly of war lietween the 
United States and England, they meant to alter th(! destination 
of the voyage, perhaps to seize upon ship and cargo for their 
own use. 

Once having conceived this suspicion, every thing went tO 
foster it. They had distributed firearms among some of their 
men, a common precaution among the fur traders when min- 
gling with the natives. This, however, looked like j^reparation. 
Then several of the partners and clerks and some of the men, 
being Scotsmen, were acquainted with the Gaelic, and held long 
conversations together in that language. These conversations 
were considered by the captain of a '' mysterious and unwar- 
rantable nature," and related, no doubt, to some foul conspir- 
acy that was brewing among them. He frankly avows such 
suspicions in his letter to Mr. Astor, but intimates that he stood 
ready to resist any treasonous outbreak, and seems to think 
that the evidence of prei)aratiou on his part had an effect in 
overawing the conspirators. 

The fact is, as we have since been informed by one of the 
parties, it was a mischievous pleasure with some f)f the partners 
and clerks, who were young men, to i)lay upon the suspicious 
temper and splenetic humors of the captain. To this we may 
ascribe many of their whimsical pranks and absurd proposi- 
tions, and, above all, their mysterious colloquies in Gaelic. 

In this sore and irritable mood did the cai)tain pursue ins 
course, keeping a wary eye on every movement, and bristlitig 
up whenever the detested sound of the Gaelic language grated 
upon his ear. Nothing occurred, however, materially to disturb 
the residue of the voyage, excepting a violent storm ; and on 
the twenty-second of March the Toncpiiu arrived at the mouth 
of the Oregon or Columbia River. 

The aspect of the river and tlie adjacent coast was wild and 
dangerous. The mouth of the Columbia is upward of four 
miles wide, with a peninsula and promontory on one side, and 
a long low spit of land on the otlui' ; between which a sand-bar 
and chain of breakers almost lilock up the entrance. Tlie in- 
terior of the country rises into successive ranges of mountains, 
wliic^h, at the time of the arrival ol' the Tonquin, wcie covered 
with suow. 





I : 




A fresh wind from the northwest sent a ronp;h tumbling sea 
upon the coast, which broke upon tiie bar in furious surges, 
and exten(h'd a sheet of fo' in almost across the mouth of the 
river. Under these circumstances the captain did not think it 
prudent to ai»proach within three leagues, until the bar should 
be sounded and the channel ascertained. Mr. Fox, the chief 
mate, was ordered to this service in the wlialeboat, accompanied 
by John Martin, an old seauum, who had formerly visited tho 
river, and by three Canadians. Fox requested to have regular 
sailors to man the boat, but the captain would not spare them 
from the service of the ship, and supposed the Canadians, being 
expert boatmen on lakes and rivers, were competent to the 
service, especially when directed and aided by Fox and Martin. 
Fox seems to have lost all tirnuiess of si)irit on the (K'casion, 
and to havp regarded the service with a misgiving heart. IIo 
came to the partners for sympatiiy. knowing their differences 
witii the captain, and the tears were in his eyes as he represent- 
ed his case. " 1 am sent off," said he, " without seamen to 
man ray boat, in boisterous weather, and on the most dangerous 
part of the northwest coast. My uncle was lost a few yeais 
ago on this same bar, and I am now going to lay my bones 
alongside of his." The partners sympatlii/ed in his apprehen- 
sions, and remonstrated with the captain. The latter, however, 
was not to be moved, lie had been displeased with Mr. Fox 
in the earlier part of the voyage, considering him indolent and 
inactive, and probably thought his present repugnance! arose 
from a want of true nautical spirit. The interference of the 
partners in tlie business of the ship, also, was not calculated to 
have a favorable effect on a stickler for authority like himself, 
especially in his actual state of feeling toward them. 

At one o'clock i'.m., therefore. Fox and his comrades set off 
in the whale])oat, which is n^jiesented as sn)all in size and 
crazy in condition. All eyes were strained after tiie little bark 
as it pulled tor shore, rising and sinking with the huge rolling 
wavGS, until it entered, a mere si)eck, among the foamiiiif 
breakers, and was soon lost to view. Evening set in, night 
succeeded and i)assiMl away, and morning returned, but with- 
out the return of the boat. 

As the wind had modei'atecl, the shi|> sIocmI near lo the land, 
so as to command a view of tin; river's mnutii. Nothing was lo 
be seen but a wild ciiaos of tumbling waves breaking upon the 
bar, and apparently forming a foaming l)anier from shore to 
shore. Toward night the shi[) again stood out to gain searooni, 
aiid a gloom was visible in every countenance. The caytuiii 



himself sli!iiv(l in the rjoiicrnl sinxii'ty, and probably n'priiU'd 
<)•' his pt'icirptoiy orders. Another weary and watchful nii2,lit 
suceeodi'd, diirnij;' whieii the wind subsided, and the weather 
hfcanie serene. 

On the followinsj; day, the shi[). havin<^ driftc^d near the land, 
aiu'liored in *"onrteen fathoms water, to the northward of the 
lont? peninsula or promontory wiiieh forms the north side of 
the entrance, am' is called C'ai)e Disappointment. The i)innace 
was then manned, and two of the partners, ]\ir. David Stuart 
aiul Mr. iM'Kay, si't otT in the hoi)e of learniiij^' sonu'thin^' of 
the I'ati' of the whaleboat. The surf, howe\'er, broke with such 
viulence aloni^' the shore that they could llnd no laiidini>' i)laee. 
Several of the natives a[)peared on the beach and made si^ns to 
them to r<nv round the cai)e, but tlu^y thought it most prudent 
to reliirn to the sliip. 

The wind now sprini!;in<>; up, the Tonquin got under way, and 
stood in to seek tne channel, but was again deterred, by the 
frigiitl'ul aspect of the breakers, from venturing within a league. 
Ihic she hove to, and JVlr. Mumford, the second mate, was 
drs|talched with f(jur iiands, in the pinnace, to sound across the 
channel, until lie should lind four fathoms depth. The pinnace 
entered among the breakers, but was near being lost, and with 
dillieulty got iiaek to the shij). T'le captain insisted that Mr. 
lilnmfortl had steered too much t(j the southward. He now 
tmneil to Mr. .viken, an al)le niariiu'r, destined to command the 
schooner intended for the coasting trade, and ordered him, 
toLifther with John Coles, saihnaker, Stephen Weekes, armorer, 
and two Sandwich Islanders, to proceed ahead and take sound- 
ings while the ship should follow under easy sail. In this way 
they proceeded until Aiken had ascertained the channel, when 
aignnl was given from the ship for him to return on Ixjard. He 
was then within pistol-shot, but so furious was the current, ..nd 
tunmltuons the breakers, that the boat bec:inie unmanageable, 
and was hurried away, the crew crying out piteously for assist- 
ance. In a f»'W moments she could not be seen fiom tlu; ship's 
deck. Some of the uassengers climbed to the mizzentoi), and 
hcheld her still struggling to reach the shi}) ; but shortly after 
she broached broadside to the waves, and her case seemed des- 
perate. The attention of thosi^ on boai'd of the shi|) was now 
called to tiieir own safety. They were in shallow water; the 
vessel struck re|)eatedly, the waves broke nvei' her, and tlirre 
was (hingcr of lu'r foundering. At length she got into si'ven 
fathoms water, and the wind lulling, and liic night c; niing oi!. 
cast anchor. With tue durkueas their anxieties incieased. 



' !• 


The wind whistled, the sea roared ; the jrlnom was only biokon 
by the ghastly glare of the foaming breakers, the minds of the 
seamen were full of dreary apprehensions, and some of tliero 
fancied they heard the cries of their lost comrades minglinrr 
with the uproar of the elements. For a time, too, the rapidly. 
ebbing tide threatened to sweep them from their precarious 
anchorage. At length the reflux of the tide and the spriuiring 
up of the wind enaoled them to quit their dangerous situation, 
and take shelter in a small bay within Cape Disai)poiutnioii', 
where they rode in safety during the residue of a stormy night, 
and enjoyed a brief interval of refreshing sleep. 

Witli the light of day returned their cares and anxieties. They 
looked out from the masthead over a wild coast and wilder sea, 
but could diocover no trace of the two boats and their ciews 
that were missing. Several of the natives came on board with 
peltries, but there was no disposition to trade. They were; in- 
terrogated by signs after the lost boats, but could not under- 
stand the inquiries. 

Parties now went on shore and scoured the neigliborhood 
One of these was headed by the captain. They had not pro- 
ceeded far when they beheld a person at a distance in civiliz(d 
garb. As he drew near he proved to l)e Weekes, the armorer, 
There was a burst of joy, for it was hoped his comrades wore 
near at hand. His story, however, was one of disaster. He 
and his companions had found it impossil)le to govern their 
boat, having no rudder, and being beset Ijy rapid and whirling' 
currents and boisterous surges. After long struggling tlitv 
had let her go at the mere}' of the waves, tossing about some- 
times with her bow, sometimes with her l/roadside to tlic singes, 
threatened each instant with destructioii. yet repeatedly cscai)- 
ing, until a huge sea broke over and swamped ner. Wcokes I 
was overwhelmed by the boiling waves, but emerging above tlie 
surface, looked round for his companions. Aiken and Coles 
were not to be seen ; near him were the two Sandwicii Islanders,! 
stripping themselves of their clothing tluu they might .-•wi 
more freely. He did the same, and the boat floating iiciirtnl 
him, he seized hold of it. The two islanders joined liini. :iii 
uniting their forces, they succeeded in turning the boat iijiiiiil 
her keel ; then bearing down her stern aiut rocking her, thcv 
forced out so much water that she was able to bear the n;'ii;!it| 
of a man without sinking. One of the islanders now got in iinl 
in a little while bailed out the water with his hands. The ollnri 
swam about and collected the oars, and they all three got o".; 
more on board. 

By thif 
and Wee 
were so c 
lost all I 
chilled, 1 
that the ^ 
upon himi 
and into ( 
panion th 
to leav(! h 
as the da} 
steered di 
ran his bo 
of life, he 
toward th 
too feeble 
(Ion him tc 
upon a lief 
to a part o 
the ship at 
After W 
dospa tehee 
hail used t 
was resun; 
lying bene 
and liloodj 
self half I 
this island 
boat, and 
Thus eigh 
a com men ( 
party, an( 
that bode( 
the body 
tlie boat, 
dug a gra\ 
with a bis( 
uid a sma 



By this time the tide had swept them beyond the breaker^; 
and Wcekcs called on his companions to row for land. They 
were so chilled and benumbed by the cold, however, that they 
lost all heart, and absolutely refused. Weekes was equally 
chilled, but had superior sagacity and self-command Ho 
counteracted the tendency to drowsiness and stupor whicl* cold 
produces by keeping himself in constant exercise ; and seeing 
that the vessel was advancing, and thai every thing depended 
upon himself, he set to work to scull the boat clear of the bar, 
and into quiet water. 

Toward midnig! t one of the poor islanders expired ; his com- 
panion threw himself on his corpse and could not be persuaded 
to leav(! him. The dismal night wore away amid these horrors ; 
as tlie day dawned, Weekes found himself near the land. He 
steered directly for it, and at length, with the aid of the surf, 
ran his boat high upon a sandy beach. 

Finding that one of the Sandwich Islanders yet gave signs 
of life, he aided him to leave the boat, and set cut with him 
toward the adjacent woods. The poor fellow, however, was 
too feeble to follow him, and Weekes was soon obliged to aban- 
don him to his fate and provide for his own safety. Falling 
upon a b(!aten path, he pursued it, and after a few hours came 
to a part of the coast where, to his surprise and joy, he beheld 
the sliip at anchor, and was met by the captain and his party. 

After Weekes had related his adventures, three parties were 
despatched to beat ui) the coast in search of the unfortunate 
islander. They returned at night without success, though they 
had used the utmost diligence. On the following day the search 
was resumed, and the poor fellow was at length discovered 
lyiiiil beneath a group of rocks, his legs swollen, his feet torn 
and bloody, from walking through bushes and briers, and him- 
self half dead with cold, hunger, and fatigue. Weekes and 
this islander were the only survivors of the crew of the jolly- 
])()at, and no trace was ever discovered of Fox and his party. 
Thus eight men were lost on the first approach to the const — 
a connncncement that cast a gloom over the spirits of the wholo 
party, and was regarded by some of the superstitious as an omen 
that boded no good to the enterprise. 

Toward night the Sandwich Islanders went on shore to bury 
the body of their unfortunat(! countryman who had perished in 
the boat. On arriving at tiie place where it had lu'en K'Ct, they 
dug a grave in the sand, in which they deposited the corpse, 
with a biscuit under one of the arms, some lard under the chin, 
and a small quantity of tobacco, as provisioDs for its journey ia 

■■ ii 





the Ituul of sDirits ITaviiiij; covcivd (lie l"<>«ly with sand miO 
Units, they kiiCclcd along tlic .uravc in a iloiil)li' row, witli tlieir 
faces tunuMl tv) the east, while one who olllciated as a priest 
sprinkled then) will-, water from a hat. In .so doin«2; he recited 
a kind of prayer oi invocation, to which, at intt'rvals, tlie others 
made i-esponses. Such w(;re tiie Hinii)le rites i)erfornu'd hy 
these i)oor savaii;es at tlie ^rave (»f tlieir comrade on the t^iiores 
of a stran<;e land; and when these were (U)ne, tiiey rose and 
returned in silence to the ship, without ouce ca,stiug a look be- 

which al)oi( 


.!»' I 


TriK Columbia, or Oregon, for the distance of thirty or forty 
miles from its entrance into the sea, is, i)ro[)erly speaking, a 
mere estuary, indented by deci) bays so as to vary from three 
to seven miles in width, and is rendered extremely intricate 
and dangerous l)y shoals reaching nearly from shore to shore, 
on which, al times, tlie winds and currents [)roduce foaming 
and tunuiltuous breakers. The mouth of the river pro[)er is 
but al)out half a mile wide, formed by the contracting shores o( 
the estuaiy. The entrance from liie sea, as we have already 
observed, is Iwunded on the south side by a Hat, sandy spit of 
hmd stretching into the ocean. This is commonly called Point 
Adams. The opposite or north(.'rn side is Cape hisappoint- 
mont, a kind of i)eninsula, terminating in a steep kiudlor prom 
ontory crowned with a forest of pine trees, and connected with 
the main-land by a low and narrow neck. Inuncdiatelv within 
this ca[)e is a wide, oi)en i)ay, terminating at Chinook Point, so 
called from a neighboring tribe of Indians. 'I'iiis was called 
Baker's Pjay, and here the Ton(]uin was anehoi'cd. 

The natives inhabiting the lower i)art of tiie river, and with 
whom the company was likely to have the most frcfpieiit inter- 
course, wcre(Uvided at this time into Iburtribi's — tlic Chiiiooks, 
Clatsops, Wahkiacums, and Cathiamahs. They resembled each 
other in i)erson, dress, language, and manner, and were prob- 
ably from the same stock, ))ut broken into tribes, or rather 
hordes, by those l\'uds and sciiism- frcMpient among Indians. 

Tiicsc pcopl.' gcncially live by li-^hing. It is true Ihey occa- 
sionally hunt tlie elk and deer, and iusnare the waterfowl of 
their ponds and rivers, but these are casual luMUMes. 'I'heir 
chief subsisteuce is derived from the salmon and other lisli 




whloli alioiind in tlic Colmn' .a and its liilMitaiy si reams, aldi'd 
Iiy roots and licrlis. cspcc" dly till' wr-ppaloo, wliifli is foimd oi; 
(lie islands <•!' tlic river. 

As the Indians of till' plains who di'itcnd upon the ehasi' are 
hold aiul expert ridei's. and pride theinsch es 111)011 their horses, 
so tli'.'so pis(.'atory tribes of the eoast excel in the niaiia<;eiiient 
.}( canoes, and are never more at home than when riding upon 
the waves. Their eaiioos vary in form and size. Some :ire 
upward of lifly feet lon<;'. cnt out of a sin|i,le tree, either iir or 
white cedar, and eapat)le of carrying thirty i)ersoiis. They 
have lliuart pieces from side to side about three inches thick, 
and their gunwales Hare outward, so as to cast off the surges of 
the waves. The how and stern are decorated with grotescpie 
figures of men and animals, soinetiines five feet in height. 

In managing their canoes they kneel two and two ;ilong the 
bottom, sitting on their heels, and wielding i)addles from four 
to live feet long, while one sits on the stern and steers with a 
paildle of t'.e same kind. The women are equally expert with 
the men in managing the canoe, and generally take the helm. 

It is surprising to see with what fearless unconcern these 
savages venture in their light l)arks upon ihe roughest and 
most tempestu >ns seas. They seem to ride ui)on the waves 
like sea-fowl. Sliould a surge throw the canoe ui)on its side 
and endanger its overturn, those to windward lean over the 
U[)[H'r gunwale, thrust their [)addles dei'p into the wave, appa- 
rently catch the water and force it under the canoe, and by this 
action not merely regain an equilibrium, but give their bark ;v 
vigorous imi)ulse forward. 

The cH'cet of dilTerent modes of iife ui)on the human frame 
and human character is strikingly instanced in the contrast be- 
tween the hunting Indians of the prairies and the i)iscatory In- 
dians of the sea-coast. The former, continually on hoi'se-back 
scouring the plains, gaining their food by hardy exercise, and 
subsisting chielly on llesli, are generally tall, sinewy, meagre, 
hut Well formed, and of bold and fierce di'portment ; the latter, 
lounging about the river banks, or sipiatting and curved iq) in 
their canoes, are generally low in stature, ill-shaped, with 
crooked legs, tliick ankles, and broad Hat feet. They are infe- 
rior also in musciil'ir powei and activity, and in r/cune (pialitiegi 
and apiieaiance, to their hard-riding brelliren of the prairies. 

Having premised these ft'w particulars concerning the neigh- 
horiu'j; Indians, we will reliirn to the immediate concerns of the' 
Toiii|uiii and her crew. 

iurLlier search was made for Mr. Fox auU his pajty, but 





i I 



iS'f ■ lA. 

with no lictfor HiH'crss, -iiMi ;ii'. wore :it l."ii«>lli j^Mvoii i4|> ns 
lost. Ill the iiH'iin liino th. , i u^ iuid sonif of" the piirtiicr^ 
I'xphiicd Ihi' rivci for some (MistMiKH - i l.'sriic I' si'hvt ;t 
.suit:il»lt' phtcf lor the tnulinji post. 'I lieir oM jfJiloiisics mihI 
(littViviicfs (■(•iitiimed ; tho.v lu'vcr coiihl ('((iiicich' in tJicir choice, 
aucl the captain objected alto«,'ether to any site so hi.uh up thi 
river. They all returned, therefore, to Baker's Buy in no very 
g(X)d iitnuor. Tlie i)artners i)'\,po.sed to examine the oppositc 
sliore, but tlie captain was i-.iipaticnt of any furtlicr (h'lay. His 
eagerness to " siet on " had increased u[)on him. He tlioutiht 
all'^tiiese cxciu-sions a siieer h)ss of time, and was resolved to 
land at once, build a shelter for the rcceptiou of that part of 
his carjjo destiui'd" for the use of the settlement, and, havin-j; 
cleareifhis siiip of it and of his irksome siiii)matcs. to depart 
*ipon tlie |)rosecntion of his coasting voyage, according to 

On the following day. therefore, witliout troubling himself lo 
consult the partners, he landed in Haker's liay. and proceeded 
to erect a shed for the reception of the riggiug, c(piipments, 
and stores of the schooner that was to be built for the use of 
tije settlement. 

This dogged determination on the part of the sturdy captain 
gave higli offence to Mr. M'Dougal, who now considei'cd him- 
self at tiie hi-ad of the concei'u, as Mr. Astor's reiH'csciitalive 
and proxy. He set oil" the same day (April oth), accouipanicd 
bv Mr. I)avi(l Stuart, for the southern shorts intending to be 
back by the seventh. Not having the captain to contend willi, 
they soon [)it('hed upon a spot which appeared to them favor- 
able for the intended establishment. It was on a point of land 
called Point George, having a very good harbor, where vessels, 
not exceeding two hundred tons burden, might anchor within 
fifty yards of the shore. 

After a day thus profitably spent the}' recrossed the river, 
but lauded on the northern sliorc several miles above the an- 
choring grounds of the Tonquiu, in the ucighborhood of Clii- 
!iook, and visited the village of that tribe. Here they were 
rect'ived with great hospitality by the chief, who was naineil 
(Jomcomly. a shrewd old savfige. with but one eye, who will 
occasionally figure in this luirrative. Each village forms n 
petty sovereignty, governed liy its own chief, who, however, 
]iossesscs liut little aulliorily, unless he In; a man of wealth 
and subst.'UU'e — thai is to s;iy. jjos-cssed of canoes, slaves, and 
wives. The greater liiiniber of lln'se IJie lireiitcr is the chief. 
How uiauy wives Lliis uhl ej^\, ,/»tLhlutc muiutuiued we are 




not toltU '>iit ho cortainly pcssossod groat sway, not inon-ly over 
liis (iwii tiilx', J»iit over ilic ncijfhhorliood. 

Iliivinii' iiu'iilioiu'd shivcs, we would ohsorvo that slavory 
exists :im<)ii<^ sovcral of tlio trilK'.s Iteyond the Wocky Moiin- 
tiiiiis. TIh' slaves are well treated wliili' in good health, but 
oceiipii'd iu all kinds of drudgery. Should they beeome use- 
less, however, by sickness or old age, they are totally neglected, 
UM(1 left to perish ; nor is any respect paid to their bodies after 


A singular custom prevails, not merely among the Cliinooks, 
but among most of the tribes about this i)art of the coast, which 
is tiie tialtening of the forehead. The process by which this 
ck'forniity is effected commences immediately after birth. The 
infant is laid in a wooden trough, by way of cradle. The end 
oil which the head rci)oses is higher than the rest. A padding 
is placed on the forehead of the infant, with a piece of bark 
above it, and is pressed down by cords, which pass through 
holes on each side of the trough. As the tightening of the 
j)atl(ling and the pressing of the head to the board is gradual, 
the process is said not to be attended with much pain. Tlie 
appearance of the infant, however, while in this state of com- 
pression, is whimsically hideous, and " its little black eyes," 
we are told, " being forced out by the tightness of the baud- 
ages, resemble those of a mouse choked in a trap." 

AI)out a year's pressun; is sutlicient to produce the desired 
effect, at the end of which time the child emerges fiom its 
Icmdages a complete llathead, and continues so through life, it 
must 1k' noted, however, that this flattening of the head has 
soinetliiug in it of aristocratical signillcancy, like the cri[)pling 
of the feet among Chinese ladies of (piality. At any rate it is 
a sign of freedom. No slave is permitted to l)estow this envi- 
able deformity upon his child ; all the slaves, therefore, are 

Witli this worthy tribe of Chinooks the two i)artners passed 
apart of the day very agnM'ably. M'Dougal, who was some- 
wliat vain of his ollicial rank, had given it to be understood 
llial liiey were two chiefs of a great trading company, about to 
he estahlislu'd here, and the (piick-sighted though one-eyed 
eiiief. who was somewhat practised in tratlic with white men, 
iiiuiii'diately perceived the policy of cultivating the friendship of 
two such im[)ortaiit visitors. He ri'galed them, therefore, to 
the hest of his ability, with altundance of salmon and wappa- 
too. The next nioniing. March Ttli. tliey prepared to ri'turn to 
the vessel, according to promise. They had eleven miles of 





open li:iv In I inverse ; tlie uiiid w.'is I'lesli. tlie w.'ives 1:111 liis^Ii. 
Coiiicoiiilv it'iii(>ii.--tr:i(e(l Nvitli tlienioii llie li;i/.:iiil In wliieli llicy 
would JKrexposfd. Tliey weri' n'suliite, however, iiiid hiiiiielud 
their Iioat. while the wiiry cliieritiin roilowi'ij ;it some short dis- 
tiuiee ill his eiiiioi'. Seiiree had 1 hey rode ;i mill' u hen ;i wave 
broke over llieir boat and upset it. Tiiey were in iimniiu'iit 
[)Oi'il of drowiiiiiii'. espeeially Jlr. M'Doii^al. who could not 



ueomly, Howe 

vei', eaiiie bouiidinii over the waves 


his li^lit ctmoe, and snatelu'd thcni IVoni a watery ,«>;rave. 

They w;ri' taken on shore, and a lire made, at wliieli tiicy 
dried their elothes, afLer whieh Comeomly eondiieted them Uuk 
to his villaife. Here every thinji was done that could be devised 
for their eiitei'taiiinieiit dining' tlire" days that they were ile- 

antics before them; and his wives and dauuhli'rs i'lidcavored, 

tained iiy bad weather. Comcomly iiiaih' his people pi'rfc 

by all the soothiiiii; and endearinji aits of women to find favor 
in their eyes. Some (.'veii painted their bodies with red clay, 
mid aiiointi'd themselves with lish oil. to iiixe additional lustre 
to their charms. Mr. IM'Doiijial seems lo have had a heart 
susceptible to the inlluelice oi' the ^'cutler sex. Whether or no 
it was lii'Nt touched on this occasion \\v do not learn ; but it will 
be found, in the course of this work, that one of tlii' daii<);liters 
of the hospitable t'omcomly eventually made ;i coiKpiest of tlu! 
great eri of the American i"'(ir ('omi)nny, 

When the weather had moderated and the sea become tr 


quil, the one-eyed chief of the Chinooks manned his stat( 
canoe, and conducted his guests in safely to the ship, where 
they were welcomed with joy. for apprelu'iisions had been fell 
for their safety. Comcomly ami his people were then enter- 
tained on boai'd of the 'roiKjiiin, :uid liberally rewarded for 
their h().'pita!ity and servici's. They returned home liighlv sat- 
islied, [iromising to remain faithful friends and allies of the 
white men. 



From the roi)ort made by the two exploring partners, it determined that Point (ieorge should be the site t>{' Ijic 
tratb'ng house. 'I'lu'se gentlemen, it is true, w(^re not perfectly 
satistied with the i)hun'. and were desirons of continuing lliei'r 
search ; but Captain 'i'horii was im[iatient to himl his cargo :iii,| 
conliiiue his voyage. aiKi pioicsted against any more of what 
be termed ''spinling excursions." 



Arconlin^ly, on tlic t2(li of April (lie Ifiniicli was froifililcci 
witli all ( iii'cc.-^sarv for llic [tiirpost'. mid sixlfs'ii pri ,(»ii.s 
(li'paiU'il ill luT to CKiiiiiH'iicc llic ('sl.'iiilislmiciit , U'aviii;j, the 
'I'diiipiiii (o follow !is soon jis till' Ikii'Iioi' could lie Honiidcd. 

Crossing tlu' wide nioiitli of tln' livcr, the parly landed, and 
I'licanipetl al tiie liotlom of ;i .small l»ay within i'oint (ieor^e. 
'I'lie situation chosiMi for the roililied post was on an elevation 
iMeinj; to the north, with tlu' wide estuary, its sand-liars and 
tiiiiHiltuoiis hieakd's spi'i-ad ont liefort' it, and tlie promontory 
, if Cape Disappointment, lifteen miles distant, elosino; the p.os- 
peet to the left. The surrounding- country was in all the fresii- 
ncss of spiinii' ; the trees were in the ;>uunu' leaf, the Aveathei 
was snpt'ih, and every tliin;j; looked^^htfiil lo iiii'ii jiisL eman- 
ciiiated from a lon;^ eoiilini'menl oii shiphoard. The Toncpiiu 
shortly afterward made her way through the intricate clianuel 


1 eaiiio to auc'iior in the little bay, and 



I ro m 


ciieanipiiient with tliiee volleys of miiskt'try and three cheertj. 
She retuiiu'd Hk' salute with three chei-rs aiid thi'ee <i:nns. 

All hands now set to work entiiii;;' down trees, clearing' away 
thickets, and markin«i,' out the place for the residence, store- 
house, and powiler niauazine, which were to he built of lo^i; 
Mild coxi'rcd wilh bark. Others landed the limbi'is iiUend''d 
for the frame of tho et)astinii; vessel, and proci'edi'd to put 
tlieiii lo'ietlier. while Others pre par«'d a garden s[)ot, and sowed 


e seei 

Is of various veirelabl 

The next thou;j,ht was to 'iive a name to the embryo nietrop- 
Dlis ; the one that naturally pi'esenteij itself was that of the 
projector and supporter of the whoK' i'nteri)rise. It was ae- 
eordinirly named AsrouiA. 

The uei^hborinii; Indians now swarmed about tho place. 
S(/nie brou;^ht a few land-otter jiiid si'i-otter skins tt) bart-r, 
hut in veiy scanty parcels; the urealei' :ijmln'r came pr\lie.'; 
aixiut to gratify tlieii curiosity, for they are said to bi' impel 
tiiiently ini|nisitive ; while not a few came with no otlu-r (U'si;j-i 
than to pilfer 


iws of nicwni and tuinn lieniti' but s 


respected ainonjj; them. Some of them beset tlu' ship in tlu'ir 
caiuu's anionu; whom was the Chinook chief Conieomly and 
his lit'j^e subjects. These were well received by l\Ir. M'Douiual, 
who was deliiihted with an op|)ortunity of enterinij; u|»on hi» 
functions and actpiiriiiii; importance in the eyes of his future 
iiei'jliiiors. The confusion thus producecl on board, and tho 
ilcraiiLicnient of the caruo cuiised by this petty trade, stirred 
the s|i|ri-n of the captain, who had a sovereiii,n contempt for 
tlie one-eyed chieftain and all his crew, lie comiilained louiUy 






of having his ship himboml by a host or " Indian rajramnf. 
fins," who had not a skin to diHposp of, a.ul at lcii<jlii |)til liis 
positive inti'i-dict iiinm all ti!illi<lun<r on hoard. Upon tliis 
Mr. M'Douf^al was fain to huul, and cslahlish his (juartcrs at 
the cucatnpnit'nt, where he oonid exercise his ri^dits and enj(.y 
his dignities without control. 

The feud, however, between these rival powers HtiU eon- 
tinned, but was chiefly carried on by letter. Day after day 
and week after week elapsed, yet the storelioiises re(pnsite f(.r 
the reception of the cargo were not coniitleti'd, and the sliip 
was detained in port; while the captain was teasetl i»y frecjUt'nt 
requisitions for various articles for the use of the estaidisii- 
ment, or the trade with the natives. An angry corresponch'nco 
took place, in whieli he complained bitterly of the time wasted 
in "smoking and sporting parties," as he termed the recon- 
noitring expeditions, and in clearing and pre|)aring meadow 
ground and turnip patches instead of des|)atching his ship. At 
length all these jarring matters were adjusted, if not to die 
satisfaction, at least to the ac(iuicscence of all parties. Tlic 
l)art of the cargo destined for the use of Astoria was laudid, 
and the ship left free to proceed on her voyage. 

As the Tonquin was to coast to the north, to trade for pel- 
tries at the different harbors, and to touch at Astoria on hn 
return in the autumn, it was unanimously determined lli.ii 
Mr. M'Kay should go in her as supercargo, taking with him 
Mr. Lewis as ship's clork. On the first of dune the ship got 
under way, and dropped down to Daker's Hay, where she was 
detained for a few days by a head wind ; but early in the morn- 
ing of the llfth stood out to sea with a fine bri-eze and swelling 
canvas, and swept of. gayly on her fatal voyage from which siic 
was never to return ! 

On reviewing the conduct of Captain Thorn, and examining 
his peevish and somewhat whimsical corresponih'ncc, the im- 
pression left upon our mind is upon tlie whole decidedly in his 
favor. While we smile at the simplicity of his heart and the 
narrowness of his views, which made him regard every thing 
out of the direct path of his daily (bity. and the rigid exigen- 
cies of the service, as trivial and impertiiu-nt, which inspired 
him with contempt for the swelling vanity of some of his coad- 
jutors, and the literary exercises and ciiriotis researches of 
others, we cannot but applaud that strict and eonseit ntioiis 
devotion to the interests of his eniploytir, and to what he eon 
fiidered the true objects of the enterprise in which he wa.s 
engaged. He certainly was to bluuie oce:isionally for the 



aHPcrity of hia manners and the arbitrary nature of his nicua- 
iircH. yet iiiucli lliat is oxci'ptionahU- in (his part of Iuh t-on- 
(liicl may I'f traci'd to rij^id notions of duty, acipu d in tiiat 
tyniiniical srliool, a siu_^> of war, and to the construction ^ivcn 
by his companions to tlit; ordiTs of Mr. Astor, so little in con- 
fdiiiiity with his own. His mind, too, appears to have Iiccomc 
almost' diseased by the suspicions he had formed as to the loy- 
ultv t»r his associates and the nature of their ultimate di'sij^nsj 
yet on this point there wvvc circumstances to, in somi' meas- 
ure, justify him. The relations between the L'nited States 
and (Ireat IWitain were at that time in a critical state ; in fact, 
the two countri(!s were on the eve of a war. Seveial of the 
partners were British Hubj(!cts, and mij^ht be ready to desert 
the lla^ under which they acted, should a war take place. 
'I'lieir application to the lirilish minister at New Voik shows 
the dubious feelintj; with which they bad embarked in the 
present enterprise. Thi-y had been in the employ of the 
Northwest Company, and mij^ht be disposed to rally again 
inider tiiat association, should events threaten the prosperity 
of tills eml)ryo establishment of Mr. Astor. Hesides, we have, 
the fact, aven-ed to us by one of the partners, that some of 
tluMii, who were younfj; and heedless, took a mischievous and 
iiMwarr:>;ilable pleasure in playing upon the jealous temper of 
tlie ca|.iain, and atfecting mysterious consultations and sinister 

These circumstances arc cited in palliation of the doubts and 
siirniises of Captain Thorn, which might otlu-rwise appear 
Ktrange and unreasonable. Thai most of the i)artners were 
perfectly upright and faithful in die discharge of the trust 
reiiosed in them we are fully satisfied ; still the honest captain 
was not invariably wrong in his .suspicions; and that he 
formed a pretty just opinion of the integrity of that aspiring 
personage Mr. M'Dougal, will bo substantially proved in the 



While the Astorians were busily occupied in completing 
their factory and fijrt, a report was brought to them by an 
Indian from the upper part of the rivei', that a party of thirty 
white men luul appi-aied on the banks of the (.'olumbia. and 
(vcre acluuily buildiu^ huubeti at the secuud rapidis. Thiu iu- 







formation caused much disquiet. Wo have nlroad}' nicntlonod 
that thi- Northwest Conipauy had estahiiislicd posts to thi> west 
of the Uoci<y ^Mountains, in a district called hy theui New 
Caledonia, which ext'jnded from hit. 52° to a.')" north, l>ciiig 
within the British territories. It was now api)rehen(U>(l that 
they were advancing within tlic American limits, and were en- 
deavoring? to seize upon the ui)i)er part of tiic river and fore- 
jtall the American Fur Company in the surrounding trade; iu 
ivliich case hh)ody fends might be anticipated, such as had pre- 
vailed between the .ival fur companies in fornu'r days. 

A reconnoitring party was sent up the river to ascci'tain tlie 
truth of the report. They ascended to the foot of the iiist 
rapid, about two hundred miles, but could hear nothing of any 
white men being in the neighborhood. 

Not long alter their relnrn, however, further accounts were 
received, liy two wandering Indians, which cstalilished the 
fact that the Northwest Company had actually creeled a ti'iid- 
inu- house on the Spokan Kivcr, which falls into the north 
branch of the Columbia. 

What rendered this intelligenci- the more disq ieting was 
the inability of the Astorians, in their present reduced state as 
to numbers, and the exigencies of their new estalilishment, to 
furnish detachments to penetrate the country in dilTerent di- 
rections, and fix the posts necessary to secure the interior 

It was resolved, however, at any rate, to advance a counter- 
check to this post on the Spokan. and one of the i)artners, .Mr. 
David Stuart, prei)ared to set out for the purpose with eight 
men and a small assortment of goods. He was to be guided by 
the two Indians, who knew the countr}', and prcunisecl to take 
him to a place not far from the S[)okan Kiver, and in a niigli- 
horhood aliounding with lieaver. Here he was to establish 
himself and to renviin for a time, pi'Ovi(le(l he found the situa- 
tion advantageous and the natives friendly. 

On the lOth of July, when Mr. Stuail was nearly ready to 
embark, a canoe made its ap|)earanci', standing for the harbor, 
and manned by nine white men. Much speculation took |)l;i('e 
who these strangers could be, for it was too soon to expect their 
own people, undi'r Mr. Hunt, who were to cross the continent. 
As tlu! cancM! drew near, the liritisli standard was distingnisliid ; 
on coming to land, one of the crew sleppctl on shore, .-iinl .m- 
iiounced himself ms .Mr Daviil 'I'lionipson. aslrononier. :iihl 
partner of the Northwest ( 'onipjiny. Accurdiim to !iis :u ( oimt. 
he hud set oi.t iu the precediiiii year with u toleialdy tiro 




pnity. tiIkI n supply of Indian uoods, to rross tho Rooky Moun- 
tains. A |>arl of liis propl,', !u)\v(>v<'r. had (U'scrlod iiiin on tho 
oasli'fn ^u\v, and leliiinid wilh i\\v j^oods to Ilk' nrarrst nortli- 
wc'st post. Ill' liiid pi'if:.i.-5lfd in t'lussinji tiu^ mountains with 
t Mirn, will) rt'inaincd tnu' to him. Tlicy had tiaviTsid tiic 

;lii'r rt'_u;ions, anil vi-ntuivd near the soui'ce of thi' C'olnmliia, 
wiii're, in the sprin;^', they iiad eonstructed ti cedar eanoe, the 
same in which they had reaehed Astoria. 

Tliis, in fact, was the party despatehed by the Noithwest 
Company to antii'i[)ate Mr. Astor in his intention of elVeeliny,' a 
settlement at the month of the C'ohinihiu Kiver. It appears, 



from information siihsi'cpu'i 

itly »U 

erived from oilier sources. 


Mr. I'lionipson had pushed on his coiu'se witli ii,ri'at liasle. call- 
in"- at all the Indian villages in his niareh, prestMilinu' ihi'm with 
Hrilish l!ai!;s. and even planting;' them at llie forks of llie rivi' 
proclaiminji; formally that 111- took'^sioii of the country 
the name of the Kiu"; of (J real I>ritain for tlie Northwest C'oin- 



As his oriiiinal plan was defea'n 

IV the (!c 

rlion of 

ills people, it is probalile that he descended tl.e river sim|ily to 
reconnoitre, and ascertain whether an American selllement had 
been commenced. 

Mr. Thompson was, no doulit. tlie first while man who de- 
scended the northern hrancli of the C'ohunhiu from so near its 
source. Lewis and Clarke struck the main liody of the I'iver 
at the forks, aliotil foui' hundred miles from its mouth. They 
entered il from Lewis Kiver, its suulheru brunch, antl thence 




'riioiil^lh Mr. 'I'lionipson could be considered as little better 

lan a spy in the camp, he was leceivcd with i^reat cordiality 
by .Mr. .M'Douual. who had a hirkiiio- f<H'lin>i' of companionship 
and <;ood- will for all of the Xorlhwest C'onipaiiy. lie iiiviti'd 
him to 111 ad-qiiai'lers, wlicH' lie and his people wen; hixspilably 


Nay, further; bciiiu' somewhat in exlnmilv. ho 

was furnished by Mr. M'I)ou,<;al with snoods and pro\isioiis for 
his jiinrney back across the mounlaiiis, much ati'aiiisl the wishes; 
.){ Mr. David Stuart, who did not think the object of his visit 
taititled him to any favor. 

On the '2'.k\ of .Inly .Mr. Stuart set out upon his expedition to 
the interior. His jiarty consisted of four of the clerks, .Messrs. 
I'illel. Koss. MT.ciiiion. and Moiiti'.niv. two Canadian voya- 

"ciii's, and t wo iiali\ cs of the Sandw ii'li {■-land.- 

'i"lic\- had three 

■aiKii's well laden with pro\ isiiiiis. and v, ilh tj,oods and ncee: 
aiic.-, lor a liadiiiiz establishiiiciit. 
^Mr. 'i'honiiJ&oii and hib party set out in company ui'li iheu 

f t'l' 

,l.i I . ■■ 

■ n 

! .! 

\[ ■■ 



It hv'iuji; his infcnfion to proceed diioot to IVIontroal. The part 
iitMs afAstori;! forwarded I>y him :i .sl'ort h'ltcr to Mr. Aslor 
inforiuiiijj;- iiim of their safe arrival at the mouth of llie Cohim- 
liia, aiidlliat they had not yet heard of Mr. Hunt. The iitllo 
squathoii of canoes set sail with a favorable breeze, and soon 
passed longuo Point, a long, high, and rocky i>roni(>ntory. 
covered with trees, and stretching far into the river. Opjiositf 
to this, on the northern shore, is a de<'p bay, where the Colum- 
bia anchored at the time of tlie discovery, and which is still 
called Gray's Bay, from the name of her comniander. 

From hence the general course of the river for about seventy 
miles was nearly southeast, varying in breadth according to its 
bays and indentations, and navigable for vessels of three luni- 
dred tons. The shores were in some places high and rocky, 
with low, marshy islands at their feet, sul)ject to ininidatioii. 
and covered with willows, poplars, and other trees that love an 
alluvial soil. Sometimes the mountains receded, and gave place 
to beantiful plains and noble forests. While the river margin 
was richly fringed with trees of deciduous foliage, the rough up- 
lands were crowned by majestic i)ines. and firs of gigantic size, 
some towering to the height of between two and three hundred 
feet, with proportionate ciicumference. Out of these tlie In- 
dians wrought their great canoes and j)irogues. 

At one part of the river, they passed, on the northern side, 
an isolated rock, about one hundred and fifty feet high, risinij 
from a low. marshy soil, and totally disconnected witli the ad- 
jacent mountains. This was held in great icverence by tiie 
neighboring Indians, being one of their piincipal places of 
sepnlturc. The same provident care for the deceased that pic- 
vails among the hunting tribes of the prairies is observable 
among the piscatory tribes of the rivers and sea.-coast. Amoiii,' 
the former the favorite horse of the hunter is burieil with liiin 
in the same funeral mound, and his bow and arrows are laid 
by his side, that he may be perfectly ecpiipped for the " happy 
hunting grounds " of the land of spirits. Among the latter, 
the Indian is wrai)ped in his mantle of skins, laid in his canoe, 
with his paddle, his fishing spear, and other inii»lenients beside 
hini, and placed aloft on some rock or other eminence overlook- 
ing the river, or bay, or lake, that he has frequented. He is 
thus fitted out to 'uuiieli away upon those placid striains and 
sunny lakes, stocked with all kinds of lisli and waierfowl. which 
are prepared in the next worhl for those who have ac(|uitl(M| 
themselves as good sons, good fathers, good husbands, and 
above all, good liaiienueu, during their mortal sojourn. 




The isolated rook in question presented a spectacle of the 
liiiid, iiunu'iuiis dead bodies lieinjj; deposited in canoes on its 
Hiiiiiiiiit ; wiiile on poles around were trophies, or, rather, 
f\iiu real otTeiiiigs of trinkets, garments, baskets of roots, and 
other articles for the use of the deceased. A reverential feel- 
iiiti- protects these sacred spots from robl)ery or insult. The 
friends of the deceased, especially the women, repair here at 
sunrise and sunset for some time after his death, singing his 
finienil dirge, and uttering loud wailings and lamentations. 

From the number of dead bodies in canoe joserved upon 
tliis roek l)y the lirst explorers of the river, it received the name 
of ]\Iount C'ofHn, which it continues to bear. 

Beyond this rock they passed the mouth of a river on the 
riolit bank of tlu' Columbia, which appeared to take its rise in 
a distant mountain covered with snow. The Indian name of 
this river wus the Cowleskee. Some miles farther on they 
came to the great Columbian valley, so called by Lewit: and 
Clarke. It is sixty miles in width, and extends far to the 
boutli-southeast between parallel ridges of mountains, which 
])()un(l it on the east and west. Through the centre of this 
v:illey llowed a large and beautiful stn-am called the Wallamot,* 
whicii cami! wandering for several hundred miles, through a yet 
unexplored wilderness. The sheltered situation of this immense 
valUy iiad an t)l)vious effect upon the climate. It was a region 
of great beauty and luxuriance, with lakes and pools, and green 
meadows shaded by noble groves. Various tribes were said to 
reside in this valley anil along the ])anks of the Wallamot. 

About <'ight miles above the mouth of the Walhunot the little 
s(iuadr()ii arrived at Vancouver's Point, so called iu honor of 
that celel>rated voyager by his lieutenant (Broughton) when he 
explored the river. This point is said to present one of the 
most ' jautiful scenes on the Cohnnbia — a lovely meadow, with 
a silver sheet of limpid water in the centre, enlivened by wild- 
fowl, a range of hills crowned by forests, while the prospect is 
closed by Mount Hood, a magnificent mountain rising into a 
lofly peak, and covered with snow ; the ultimate landmark of 
tlie first explorers of the river. 

Point Vancouver is about one hundred miles from Astoria. 
Here the reflux of the tide ceases to be perceptible. To this 
place vessels of two and threi; hundred tons burden may ascent!. 
'I'lie i)urty uiuler the commaml of Mr. Stuart had been three or 
four days in reaching it, though we have forborne to notice 
their daily progress and uigiitly encampments. 

' I'luuuiiucud \\ uUutudl, tliu .10 LI 

Hiiiii iln- bt'CoiiU M> liable. 


, I: i- 

■ f 

! I I 

■ a\ I, 'V 

^1 h 

' H 

111 vu\ 

I '■ 

i, I 

11! iM; 


<r^^ : 






From Point Vnncouver "m- river (iiriu'd lo.v.iid tlic iiorlli 
eust, :iii(l l)cc;inio iiioir (•(. .mcIimI ;iii(I nipiti, with ofcasioiinl 
islniids iiiitl riv(iiiciit .s:iii(l-it:iiil<s. 'riifsc; isl:iM<is lU'i' ruriiislicd 
Willi a numhor of ponds, and at oiM'tuin seasons ahoiiiid willi 
swan, .c'l^'. . .', 1 r:\:,ls, eranos, gulls, plover, and otlici' wild-fowl, 
riie shores, too, are low, and closely wooded, and covered with 
biK'ii an undergrowth of vines and rushes as to be almost 

About thiity miles above Point VancouviM- the mountains 
again approach on both sides of the river, which is bonlen-d 
by stupendous precipices, covered with the lir and the white 
cedar, and eidivened occasionally by beautiful cascades leaping 
from a great height, and sending up wreaths of vapor. One of 
these precipices, or cliffs, is curiously worn by time and weather 
so as to have the appearance of a ruined fortress, with towers 
and battlements beetling high above the river ; while two small 
cascades, one hundred and Jifty fi'et in height, i)itch down frcjm 
the (issures of the rocks. 

The turbulence and rapidity of the cnri'ent continnally aug- 
menting as they advanced, gave the voyagers intimation that 
they were appro.acliing the great (jbstrucli(nis ', i.'.y river, an<l 
at length the,y arrived at .Strawbeny Island, (• calL J by Lewis 
and Clarke, which lies at the foot of the fir. . lapid. As this 
part of the Columbia will be repeatedly mentioned in the coin-se 
of this work, being the scene of some of its incidents, we shall 
give a general description of it in this place. 

The falls or rapids of the Columbia are situated about one 
hundred and eighty miles al)ove the mouth of the river. 'Die 
first is a i)erpendicular cascade (»f twenty feet, after which 
there is a swift descent for a mile, between islands of haid 
bhick rock, to another pitch of eight feet divided by two rocks. 
A'M)ut two and a half miles below this the river expands into a 
wi.!e basin, seemingly dammed up by a perpendicular ridge of 
blad. M.-l, . A current, however, sets diag(jnally to the left 
of thi.s locky bau'iei', wlieie there is a chasm forty-live yartls in 
wi'idi. T'li'., igh this the whole body of the river roars along, 
swellivig uij 1 whirling and bo^ ing for some distance in the 
w'!u(;' cov.^"us.on. Through tliis tremendous channel, the in- 
t.' 'ivid expiuier.'i of the river. Lewis and Clarke, passed safely 
in ijier- bi.;-t-i ; the danger iieiug, not from the rocks, but from 
the gr-ai sur-^-ot. ,uid whiiipools. 

A' I'd di ■{ nee of a mile and a half from the foot of this 
njirnnyciiin, lel is a rapid, formed by two rocky islands; and 
two miles beyond la a second great fall, over a iedy;e of roek.s 

twenty feet 
liver is itgai 
led wide, w 
wliieh it boi 
ihrce miles. 
lb; re is tlu 
'if the year, ' 
il! incre(libl( 
,s!r:ii( the \ 
wooden stag 
.iii.'ii! nets d 
;i'id (•;ist th(!i 
'I'iuy ai'c 
After having 
to the sun c 
siilllcieiitly d 
pre.Nsed into 
bales of gras 
Icr, lined witl 
ccv^red with 
ill the edge ol 
taiiiing twelv 
piisst'd close 
pod in mats 
and ag.iiii co\ 
tain-; from iii 
this stale wil 
W'v. have g 
llie lii'-t I'xp 
l<i'epaiiiig a I ; 
our al/v)ri::i;i; 
mention of t 
iVaii'ows, as 
mart, or eni| 
ing rapids \\\ 
the trihes fri 

li..ll of li:L' sel 

patdo, galhiif 
goods and til 
till' coast. |l 
I'loiiiilit dowf 
inoiiiLics of 




Iwi'iitv f^'*'*' l''p;''i 0x1 (Midi Hi!; iKvirly from sliorc to sliorc. TIic 
iivci' "is :iL;:iiii coiiiprcjsscMl iiilo m channel IVoni lil'lyto :i liundrinl 
iVt'l will*', woru thronjj;ii u roiiy;!! 1)^(1 of iiard hlaclv roclc, alunjj; 
which it bolls and roars wilh gical fury for the distauce of 
tiirco miles. This is called "The Long Narrows." 

lUre is the greatfishing place of the ('ohinibia. In the spring 
of the year, when liie water is high, the sahnon ascend the river 
ill iiicri'«lil)le numbers. As they pass through this narrow 
s*;:ilt, the Indians, standing on the rocks, or on the end of 
wooden stages piojecting from the I)anks,' scoop them up with 
• iiiMi) nets disteii'K d on hoops and attached to long handles, 
!iM(l ■■.ist tlicni ,.1 tlie shore. 

i'luy are then cured and packed in a peculiar manner. 
Alter having been opi lu'd and diseml)owelled, tiiey are exposed 
to the sun on scaffolds erected on the river banks. When 
Hdllieiently dry, they are pounded fine between two stones, 
pressed into the smallest compass, and packed in baskets or 
'^ bales of grass matting, about two fi'ct long and one in tlianie- 
1( r, lined with the cured skin of a salmon. The top is likewise 
c<.'Vi'red with fish-skins, secured by cords passing through holes 
in the edge of the basket. Packages are then matle, each con- 
taining twi'lve of these bales, seven at bottom, five at top, 
iiii s- '(1 close to each other, with the corded side upward, wrap- 
jji'd in mats and corded. These are placed in tlrv situation.^, 
and ag:un covered with matting. Each of these packages con- 
tains fioni ninety to a hundred pounds of dried fish, which in 
this state will keep sound for several years.' 

We have given this process at some length, as furnished by 
tlie lli'-t explonrs, because it marks a practised ingenuity in 
l)ir|iaiing aiiiciis of tiallic for a market, seldom seen among 
oiu' ali.>ri;:i;ials. l'\)r like reasons we wcjuld make es})ecial 
mention of the village of Wish-ram, at the head of the Long 
Narrows, as being u solitary instance of an aboriginal trading 
mart, or emporium. Here tlie salmon caught in the neighbor- 
in>j; rapids wci'e "• warehoused," to await customers. Ilithi-r 
tlie UiiM's from tlie mouth of the Columbia repaired with the 
li.->li of the sea-coast, tln^ roots, berries, and esi)ecially the wap- 
l)!it<i(), gi'.lhcred in the parts of the river, togi'tlu r with 
goods and trinkets obtained fii>m the ships which casually visit 
the coast. Hither also the tribes from the Hocky Mountains 
hronu'lit down horses, bear-grass, quamash, and other coin- 
nioiiities of the inti'riur. 'i'he mtirchant fishermen at the falls 

1' i }i 


i !1 

' LrwiB unci CluiliL', Vol. ii. page 32, 






ikUhI :is iiiKldlcnion or far-tors, and passed Iho objccfs of 
liMlIic, as it \vro, cross-handed: traditi<j^ away part of the 
wari's ivceivod rroiii the mountain trilu's to those of the riv( i 
and tiic |i!;iiiis, and rice versa: thoir packasos of pounded 
salmon cnU'rrd hirixdy into tho system of barter, and beiu^r 
carried off in o[)[)osile'direotions found their way to the savagv 
huntniu: camps far in the interior, and to the casual wliite 
tradeis who touched upon the coast. 

Wo have abeady noticed certain contrarieties of cliaracUM' 
between the Incban' tiibcs, produced l)y their (Hot and motle of 
life ; and nowhere are they moi-e apparent than about the falls 
of the Columbia. The Indians of this great fishing mart are 
represented by the earliest exi)lorers as sleeker and fatter, but 
less hardy and i.ctive, than the tribes of the jnountains and 
the prairies, who live by hunting, or of the uppi r parts of the 
river, where (Ish is scanty and the inhabitants must eke out 
their sul)sistence by digging roots or chasing the deer. Indeed, 
whenever an Indian oKthe upper country is too lazy to hunt, 
yet is fond of good living, he repairs to the falls, to live in 
abundance without labor. 

" Hy such worthless dog; as these," says an honest trader iu 
his journal, which now lies before us, ''by such worthless dogs 
as these ai'c these noted Hilling places peojiled, which, like our 
great cities, may with propriety be called the headquarters of 
vitiated principles." 

The habits of trad( and the avidity of gain have their cor- 
rupting (;lfects even in tl^e wilderness, as may be instanced in 
the members ''f <JiiS rdioriginal emporium : for the same 
journalist denounci's them -ts '' saucy, impudent rascals, who 
will steal wliei, tho) cau, an. pillage wheiu'vci- a weak party 
falls in their power." 

That he does not belif- them will l)e evidenced hereafter, 
ivhen we have (jccasioh .nr, to toneh at Wish-ram and navi- 
gate the rapids. In the resent i'.siance llu' tinvcllcrs elfectni 
the laborious •'•cent of tL s part of the river, with uU its varioub 
[x.iLMges, wiiiiout molest.s jii, and once more launched awsiy 
1)1 smooth ^' .Iter ab- ve the higii falls. 

Th" tw(. par'N's continued togetlit.' without material iinpedi- 
nient. for tierce or four hundred nines farther up the Coliimlii.i : 
Mr. Thonij»son apix'aring to take great interest in the success 
of Mr. Stuart, :in(l pointing (juI places favorabli-. as he saiil. to 
the establislimeiit of his conteiiiplated tiading post. 

Mr. S<uart who distrusted his .sineeiity. at length preteiKled 
'o adopt his advice, aud, taking leave of him, reniaiued as if 

fo pstal>lish 
toward the n 
pmleil fiiMU : 
(pf the '.wo 1 1 
about one hii 
iu' considerec 

The place 
point of laiK 
foinu'd by tl 
The former 
lake about ( 
junction. T 
are bord(!re(: 
destitute of 1 
llowers of ev 
" hanquetine 

The situati 
trading post, 
livt'i's well st 
There were e 
waters of tlu 
oaii. while th 
highway to J 

Availing h 
leeted in (pia 
Stuart and 
little while w 
tliiis was es 
We will no' 
luuuth of thi 

TiiK sailin 
Stuart and 
atburs -nt .\| 



liniiai- svas 
want <«f pell 
iiiysterr- wa?' 
a|)iracy was 



to putiiMisli hiiTiRolf, while Uio oiiior ])rof'po(lo(l on liis ponrse 
towMiil I'h' tnoiintiiiiis. No sooner. Iiowcvcr, li:ul lie fuirly (',c- 
|i;iilc(l 1:1:111 Mr. SliiMit. a<;;iiii |<iislii"l loi \v;u<l. Milder u;iii(l!iiice 
(if the '.wo Iiulians, nor did lie slop until lie li;id urrivod within 
iihoiil Olio liiiiKh't'd !uid foity miles ol' the S|)olv!iii Jviver, which 
lie coiisiilered Jietir enough to keep the rivid establishment in 

Till' jilace wiiich ho pitched upon for his trading post was a 
i)oiiil of land aliout three miles in length and two in breadth, 
f()iiiu'<l by the junction of the Oakiiuigan with the Columbia. 
The former is a river which has its source in a considerable 
lake about one hundred and lifty miles west of the point of 
jiiiu'lion. The two rivers, about the [ilace of their conlluence, 
arc bordered by iunnonse prairies covered with herbage but 
(lestitiite of trees. The poiiii itself was ornamented with wild 
lluweis of every hue, in wiiich innumerable humming-birds were 
"■ hanqiioting nearly the live-long day." 

Tlio situation of this point api)eared to r)e well adapted for a 
trading post. Tlie climate was salubrious, the soil fertile, the 
livers well stocked with lish.the natives peaceable and friendly. 
There were easy communications with the interior by the upper 
waters of the Columbia and tlu' lateral stream of the Oakina- 
auii. while the downward current of the Columbia furnished a 
highway to Astoria. 

Availing himself, therefoi-o, of the driftwood which had col- 
looted in (piantities in the neighboring bends of the river, Mr. 
Stuart and his men sot to work to erect a house, which in a 
little while was sutliciently <<»mpleted for their residence; and 
thus was established the first inteiior [)Ost of the company. 
We will now return to notice the progress of affairs at the 
luuulh of the Columbia. 

; ll 

■m ■ 


Thk sailing of the ToiKpiin, and the departure of Mr. David 
Stuart and his detachment, had produced a striking effect on 
atTairs it Astoria. 'IMie natives who had swarmed about the 
place Wgan immediately to drop off. until at lengt'.i not an 
liidisiuu was to be seen. This, at first, was attributed to the 
want '•• peltries with which to traiit*: but in a little while the 
iiiy.ster- was i'xplained in a more alarming manner. A cun- 
apirucy was aaid to be ou fou^t among the neighboring tribes to 


t : r 


) ! 




inako - coml)inr«i attark upon the wliito rnon, now lliat tlioy 
wciv Sv minced in iinmhcr. For tliiw pniposc tliorc had Imm-m :i 
{iiitliciin^ of WMiriois in a nt'iuliliorini;- l»:iy, nndor pivk'xt of 
lisliinu ft>r stnr«2;('()n ; and lli-i'ts of canoes were expected to 
join then) from the north and south. Even C'oincoiuly, the one- 
eyed chief, notwithstanding his professed friendship for Mr. 
M'Doiioal, was strongly su.spcetcd of l)eing concerned in this 
general coinliiiiation. 

Alarmed at rumors of this impending danger, the Astorians 
pMspendcd their regular lal)or, and set to vvork. with all haste, 
to throw up lemporaiy woiks for refuge and defence. In the 
course of a few days they surroundi'd their dwelling-house and 
mauazines with a picket fence ninety feet sfpiare, flanked hy 
two bastions, on which were mounted four f<)ur-i)onnders. 
YAcry day they exercised themselves in the use of their wea[)- 
ons, so as to (pudify themselves for military duty, and at nigjit 
ensconced, themselves in their fortress and posted sentinels, to 
guard against s'<i prise. In this way they iKjped, even in case 
of attack, to be • ble to hold out until the arrival of the party 
to be conducted hy Mr. Hunt acro.'^s the Rocky jMountains, or 
until the return of the Tonquin. The latter dependence, how- 
ever, was doomed soon to be destroyed. Early in August a 
wandering band of savages from the Strait of ,Iuan de Fiica 
made their appearance at the mouth of the C'olund)ia, where 
they came to fish for sturgeon. They brought disastrous .ac- 
counts of tlu' Toi.iiuin, which were at first treated as mere 
fables, but which were too sadly confirmed by a dilTerent tribe 
that arri\ed a few days subse(|uently. We shall relate the 
circumstances of this melancholy affair .as correctly as the 
casual discrepancies in the sttitements that have reached us will 

We liavc! already stated that the Tomiuin set sail from the 
month of the river on the fifth of June. The whole number of 
persons on board amounted to twenty-three. In one of the 
outer bays they picked up, from a fishing canoe, an Indian 
named Laniazee, who had already made two voyages along the 
coast, and knew something of the languages of the various 
tribes. He agreed to accompany them as interpreter. 

Steering to the north. Captain Thorn arrived in a few days 
at Vancouver's Island, and anchored in the harbor of Newee- 
tee, very mncli against the advice of his Inilian inteipreter, 
who warned him against the perfidious character of the natives 
of this part of the coast. Nurutiers of canoes soon canie otT, 
bringing sea-otter skius to sell. It was too late in the ua^ to 

liis face, an 



commonro n ti'iifTio, but Mr. M'Kay, aeoompampd by ft f«'vv of 
tilt' nuMi, wont on slioro to a liirjj^i' villa«j;i^ to visit AVicunanisli, 
till' cliit'l' of tlic surronnding tonitoiy, six of the natives rcinaiii- 
iiic oil lioard as hostaj^es. IIi- was roceivjd with great profes- 
sions of friendship, entertained hospitably, ruid a eoiieh of 
soa-otter skins was prepared for him in the dwelling of the 
chieftain, where he was prevailed ui)on to pass the night. 

In the morning before ]\Ir. jNI'Kay had returned to the ship, 
groat miinl)ers of the natives eame off in their canoes to trade, 
li";uK;(l by two sons of Wieananish. As tlu'y brought abun- 
dance of sca-ottor skins, and there was every api)earanee of a 
!)risk trade, C;i[)tain Thorn did not wait for the rcituin of Mr. 
M'Kay, but spread his wares upon deck, making a tempting 
(lisphiy of blankets, cloths, knives, beads, and lish-hooks, ex- 
pecting a i)rompt and lu'ofitable sale. The Indians, however, 
wen; not so eager and sinii)ie as he had siipposotl, having 
learned the art of l)argaiiiiiig and the value of merchaiulise 
from the casual traders along the coast. The}' were guided, 
too, by a shrewd old chief named Nookamis, who had grown 
gray in Iradio with New Kngland skii)[)ers, and prilled himself 
upon his aeuteness. His opinion seemed to regulate the market. 
When Captain Thorn made what he considered a lil>eral offer 
for an otter-skin, the wily ohl Indian treated it with scorn, and 
asked more than double. His oomrades uU took their cue from 
hira, and not an otter-skin was to be liad at a reas(jnable rate. 

The old fellow, tiovvevor, overshot his mark, and mistook the 
character of the man li'i was treating with. Thorn was a 
plain, straightforward sailor, who never had two minds uor 
two j)iices in his (h'siiings, was deficient in patienci' and j)li- 
aiuy, and totally wanting in the chicanery of trallic. He had 
a vast deal of stern but honest pride in his nature, and, more- 
over, held the whole savage race in sovereign coi. tempt. 
Abandoning all furtiier attempts, therefore, to bargain witli liis 
sluitlling customers, he thrust his hands into his pockets, and 
paced up and down tlu^ tleck in sullen silence. The cunning 
old Indian followed him to and fro, holding out a sea-otter skin 
to lilni at every turn, and pestering him to trade. Finding 
otlier means unavailing, he suddenly changed his tone, and 
licgan to jeer and l)anter him upon the mean prices he offered. 
This was tot) much for the [)atience of the captain, who was 
never remarkal»le for it'lishing a joke, especi dly when at his 
')\vn expense. 'i'urning suddt-nly upon his persecutor, he 
siiat(!lu>d [\iv. proffered t>tl«'r-skin from his hands, rubbed it in 
Lis face, and diamistJcd Lim over the bide of the ship with iiu 

11 ;i 

?! , ; f 

( ' 




very cotnplimrn(ary application to acpcloratp his exit. He I hen 
kicked the peltries to the rigiit and h-ft altoiit liie (U>ck, hik] 
broke up the market in llie most iiiuominioiis nianucr. ()|,| 
Nookaniis made for tlio shore in a riiiioiis passion, in which he 
was joined 1>\ Slievvisli, one of thi' sons uf Wicaiianish, win* 
went olT breathing vengeance, and the shii) was soou abandoned 
hy tile natives. 

Wlien Mr. M'Kay returned on hoard, the interpreter rel.ated 
what had passed, and begged iiim to prevail ii[)oii the captain 
to inakc! sail, as, from his knowledge oi' the temper and pridi' of 
tile people of the place, he was sure they would resent the 
indignity otTered to one of their chiefs. !\Ir. M'Kay, who him. 
.self possessed some experience of Indian character, went to 
the captain, who was still pacing the deck in moody humor, 
represented tlie danger to wliich his hasty act had exposed the 
vessel, and urged him to weigh anchor. The captain made 
liglit of his counsels, and pointed to his cannon and lireanns us 
a sulllcient safeguard against naked savages. Further remon- 
strances onl}- provoked taunting replies and .sharp altercations. 
The day passed away without any signs of hostility, and ;il 
night the cai)tain retired as usual to his cabiu, taking no nioie 
than the usual precautions. 

On the following morning, at daybreak, while the captain 
and JMr. M'Kay were yet asleep, a canoe came alongside, in 
which were twenty Indians, commanded by young Shewish. 
They were unarmed, their aspect and demeanor friendly, ami 
tiiey held up otter-skins, and made signs indicative of a wish 
to trade. The caution enjoined by Mi-. Astor, in respect to 
the admission of Indians on boanl of the siiip had been ne- 
glected for some time past, and the olliccr of tlu' watch, per- 
ceiving those in the canoe to be without weapons, uiid havini; 
received no orders to the contrary, readily permitted them lo 
mount the deck. Another canoe soon succeeded, tiie crew ol 
which was li!cewisc admitted. In a little whih; other canoes 
came oflf, and Indians were soon clambering into the vessel 
on all sides. 

The oflicer of the watch now felt alarmed, and called to Cap- 
tain Thorn and Mr. M'Kay. By the time they came on deck, 
it was thronged with Indians. Tlie interpreter noticed to Mi. 
JM'Kay that many (jf the natives won; short mantles of skins, 
and intimated a suspicion that they were secretly :inne(|. Mr. 
AI'Kay urged the captain to clear the .ship jiiid gd nntl.r u;i\. 
He again made light of the advice, but the auLmieiited swai'm 
of canoes about the ship, and the numbers .still putting oil hum 



shore, at lonp;th awMkcurd his distnist, and he ordcr.d some of 

to wcij"!' iinchor, while some were bent iilot't to iiial 


(lie crow 

Tlio Indians now offered to trade witli the captain on liis 
own tiMins, i)roini»ti'd, apparently, by tlie approaelun^ dcparl 
lire of liie ship. Ae('ordin,u;ly, a hwrrit'd trade was eoininenccd 
Tiu' main artieU's souj^ht by the savajics in barter, were iuiives; 
as fast as some were snpphcd they moved off, and othi'is sue 
cci'(1(m1. Hy de«j;rees tht'y were tluis distributed about the deeiv, 
and all with weapons. 

The anchor was now ni'arly up, the sails were loose, and the 
cai)tain, ni a loud and peremptory lone, ordered the ship to be 
clcareil. In iin instant a signal yell was given : it was I'choed 
on evt'ry si(h', knivi's and war-clubs were l»ian<lished in t'very 
direction, and the savages rushed u[ion their niariietl victims. 

Tlie first that fell was Mr. Lewis, the siii[)"s clerk. lie w:is 
leaning, witli folded arms, over a bale of bhinkets. engaged in 
bargaining, when he reei'ived a deadly stab in the back, and 
fell down the companion-way. 

Mr. M'Kay, who was seated on the tatTrail, sprang on his 
feel, but was instantly knocked down witli a wai'-club and 
flung backward into the sea, where he was desi)atched by ihe 
women in the canoes. 

In the nu'an time Captain Thorn made desperate light 
against ft-arful odds. He was a powerful as well as a resolute 
man, but he had come upon deck without weapons. Sliewisli. 
tlic young ciiief, singled him out as his pi'culiar prey, and 
rushed upon him at tlie first outbreak. The captain iiad barely 
linie to draw a clasp-kiufe, with one blow of whicli he laid the 
young savage deail at his fei't. Several of the stoutest follow- 
ers of Siii'wish now si't u])on him. lie defended liimst'lf vigor- 
ously, dealing crippling blows to right and left, and strewing 
the quarter-deck with the slain and wounded. His object was 
to figiit his way to the cabin, wdiere there were lirearms ; but 
lie was henuned in with foes, covered with wounds, and faint 
with loss of blood. For an instant he h-aned upon the tiller 
wheel, when a blow from behind, with a war-club, felled him 
to the (leek, where he was despatched with knives and ihiown 

While this was transacting iip«jn llu' (juarter-di-ck, a chaiux'- 
iiii'dley light was going on thnjugliout th. ship. The crew 
fougjit desperately witli knives, haiid-sj)iki's, and wlialevei 
weapon they could seize U[)on in the niomeiil of surprise 
Tiiey were soon, however, overpowered by numbers, and nier 
cilcHsly butchered. 


: S 





" ^ IS 

S us ||2£ 

1-25 1.4 1 1.6 






WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 







As to the seven who had bccu scut aloft to make sail, thcj 
oontemi)latod with horror the ('ta-iia<j;e that was n(,i,i^r ,,11 holow. 
Being destitute of weaiions, they let ihcinselvi's down hy the 
ruuufng rigging, in hopes of getting ])etween decks. One I'd! 
in the attempt, and was instantly despatehed ; another received 
a death-blow in the back as he was descending; a tlunj, 
Stephen Weekcs, the armorer, was mortally wounded as he 
was getting down the hatchway. 

The remaining four made good their retreat into the CMbin 
where they found Mr. Lewis, still alive, thougli mortally 
wounded. Barricading the cabin door, they broke hoKs 
through the companion-way, and, with the nmskets and am- 
munit'ion which were at hand, oiiened a brisk lire that soou 
cleared the deck. 

Thus far the Indian interpreter, from whom these particulara 
are derived, had been an eye-witness of the deadly conllict. 
He had taken no part in it, and had been si)ared by tlie natives 
as being of their race. In the confusion of the moment he took 
refuge with the rest, in the canoes. The survivors of the crew 
now sallied forth, and discharged some of the deck guns, which 
did great execution among the canoes, and drove all the saviigos 
to shore. 

For the remainder of the day no one ventured to put off to 
the ship, deterred by the effects of the firearms. The night 
passed away without any further attempt on the part of Uio 
natives. When iJie day dawned, the Tonijuin still lay at anchor 
in the bay, her sails all loose and flapping in the wind, and no 
one apparently on board of her. After a time, some of the 
canoes ventured forth to reconnoitre, taking with them the in- 
terpreter. They paddled about her, keeping cautiously at a 
distance, but growing more and more emboldened at seeing her 
quiet and lifeless. One man at length made his appearance on 
::lie deck, and was recognized by the interpreter as Mr. Li-wis. 
He made friendly signs, and invited them on boMrd. It w;is 
long before they ventured to comply. Those who mounti-d llie 
deck met with no opposition ; no one was to be seen on boiinl ; 
for Mr. Lewis, after inviting them, had disai)pear<'d. Otlur 
canoes now pressed forward to board the prize ; the dec ks wtiv 
soon crowded, and the sides covered with clambering savagrs, 
all intent on plunder. In the midst of tlieir eageriu'ss and 
exultation, tlu; ship blew up with a tremendous explosion. 
Arms, legs, and nmtilated bodies wi're blown into llie :iir. and 
Ircadfid havoc was made in the surrounding canoes. 'i"hi in- 
1 'ipreter was in the main-chaius at the time of the explosion, 



nnd was flirnwu Jinlmrt into the water, whoro lie sucrpodcMl in 
octtiiiu iiil<; •>"»' of tlu' cjinoi's. According to li'rs .sttiU'im-iit, 
the l>:iy pri'siMilcd jin iiwl'iil is|KM't!icl(' jil'tor tlie t'al:istio|»ijp 
Tiic sliip li;ul (lisappcjired, l)ut tin- bay was covorcd wilii fiag. 
iiuiits nf llu' wiveli, with fciiiattcri'd canoes, and Indians swini- 
niiiii; fortiu'ir lives, or strujrgling in the agonies of death ; while 
tliosi' wlio had escaped the danger remained aghast and stupe- 
lied, or made with franti(! panic for the shore. Upward of a 
liuiiili'i'd savages were destroyed I»y the explosion, many more 
\\v\v sliockingly mutilated, and for days afterward the limbs 
ami liodits of (he slain were thrown upon the beach. 

Till' iiihaliilants of Neweetee weie overwhelmed with conster- 
nation at this astounding calamity, which had burst upon them 
in tlio very moment of trimnph. The warriors sat mute and 
nioiinil'iil. while the women filled the air with loud lamentations. 
Tiiiii \veei)iiig and wailing, however, was suddenly changed into 
yells of fury at the siglit of four unfortunate white men, brought 
e:iptiv(! into the village. They had been driven on shore in one 
of the ship's l)oats, aiid taken at some distance along the coast. 

The interpreter was permitted to convevse witli them. They 
prove(l to be the four bruve fellows who had made such desper- 
ate defence from the cabin. The interpreter gathered from 
them some of the particulars already related. They told him 
further, that, after they had beaten oH' the enemy, and cleared 
the ship. Lewis advised that they should slip the cable and en- 
deavor to get to sea. They declined to take his advice, alle- 
•ling that the wind set too strongl}* into the bay, and would 
drive liiem on shore. They resolved, as soon as it was dark, 
to put olT quietly in the ship's boat, which they would be able 
to tlo un[)erceived, and to coast along back to Astoria. They 
put their resolution into elTect ; but Lewis refused to accompany 
them, being disabled by his wound, hopeless of escape, and 
delerniined on a terrible revenge. On tlic voyage out, he had 
repeatedly expressed a presentiment that ho should die by his 
own iiands ; thinking it highly probable that he should be cn- 
ga!j;ed in some contest with the natives, and being resolved, in 
ease of extremity, to conunit suicide rather than be made a 
prisoner, lie now declared his intention to remain on board 
of tiie ship until daylight, to decoy as man}' of the savages on 
hoard as possiblf , then to set fire to the powder maga/.ine, and 
terminate his life by a signal act of vengeance. How well he 
Hiicceeded has biicn shown. His companions bade him a mel- 
aiKlioly adieu, and i^et off on their pivearious expedition. TIkn' 
blrove with might and main to get out of the bay, but Ibuud it 





impossihlo to woatlior a point of land, and woro at length vtm 
\)v\\i'i\ to take slirllt>r in a small cove, where they hoped lu 
rt'niain enneealed until tiie wind should he more favoiahic 
Kxhansted hy fati.«,Mie and wateliinji', they fell into a sound 
sleep, and in "that state wore surprised by the savaj^es. Ik'tter 
iiad it heen for those ini fortunate men had they renuiiued with 
Lewis, ami shared his heroie death : as it was, they perished in 
a more painful and protraeted manner, being saerilieed by the 
natives to the manes of their friiMuls with all the lingering tor- 
tures of savage eruelly. Some time after their death, the inter- 
preter who had remained a kind of prisoner at large, elTeeted 
his eseape, and brought the tragieal tidings to Astoria. 

Sneh is the melaneholy story of the Toiupiin. and such was 
the fate of her brave but headstrong connnander. and her ad- 
venturous erew. It is the eatastrophe that shows the impor- 
tance, in all enterprises of moment, to keep in mind the general 
instructions of the sagacious heads which devise them. Jlr. 
Astor was well aware of the perils to which ships were exposed 
on this coast from quarrels with the natives, and from perfidi- 
ous attempts of the latter to surprise and capture them in un- 
guarded moments. lie had repeatedly enjoined it upon 
Captain Thorn, in conversation, and at parting, in his letter of 
instructions, to be courteous and kind in his dealings with the 
savages, but by no means to confide in their apparent friend- 
ship, nor to admit more than a few on board of his ship at a 

Had the deportment of Captain Thorn been properly regu- 
lated, the insult so wounding to savage pride would never 
have been given. Had he enforced the rule to admit but a 
few at a time, the savages would not have been able to get the 
mastery. He was too irritable, however, to practise the ne- 
cessary self-command, and, having been nurtured in a proud 
oonterapt of danger, thought it beneath him to manifest any 
fear of a crew of unarmed savages. 

With all his faults and foibles, we cannot but speak of hira 
^ith esteem, and deplore his untimely fate ; for we remember 
him well in early life, as a companion in pleasant scenes and 
joyous hours. When on shore, among his friends, he was a 
frank, manly, sound-hearted sailor. On board ship he evi- 
dently assumed the hardness of deportment and sternness 
of demeanor which many deem essential to naval service. 
Throu<>hout the whole of the expedition, however, he showed 
himself loyal, single-minded, straightforward, a ul fearless; 
aud if tiie fate of his vessel nii\y Ue churned to Lib UaruUueM 



and ImpriKloiu'o, wr shoulil recollect that he paid for his error 
with his life. 

'i'hc loss of the 'roDqiiiu was a grievous lilow to the infant 
(>staI)lishnion( of Astoria, ami one that threatened to bring 
after it a train of disasters. The intelligence of it did not reach 
Mr. Astor until many months afterward. He felt it in all its 
force, and was aware that it must cripple, if not entirely de- 
feat, the great scheme of his ambition. In his letters, written 
at tlie lime, he speaks of it as " a calamity, the length of which 
ho could not foresee!." lie indulged, however, in no weak and 
vain lamentation, but sought to devise a prompt and ellicient 
remedy. The very same evening he appeared at the theatre 
with Ills usual serenity of countenance. A friend, who knew 
tiie disastrous intelligence he had received, expressed his as- 
tonishment that he could have calmness of spirit sullicient for 
siK'li a scene of light anuisement. *' What would you have 
1110 do?" was his characteristic reply; " would you have me 
slay at home and weep for what I cannot help? " 


TuK tidinj;.' of the loss of the Tonquin, and the massacre of 
lier crew, struck dismay into the hearts of the Astorians. 
They found themselves a mere handful of men, on a savage 
o'lst, surrounded by hostile tribes, who would doubtless be 
incited arid encouraged to deeds of violence by the late fearful 
outa3troi)he. In this juncture Mr. M'Dougal, we are told, had 
recourse to a stratagem by which to avail himself of the igno- 
raiuH! and credulity of the savages, and which certainly does 
credit to his ingenuity. 

The natives of the coast, and, indeed, of all the regions west 
.)f the mountains, had an extreme dread of the small-pox, that 
terrific scourge having, a few years previously, appeared 
among them and almost swept otT entire tribes. Its origin 
niid natuie were wrapped in mystery, and they conceived it 
an evil intlicted uiion them bj- the Great Spirit, or brought 
among them by the white men. The last idea was seized upon 
liy Mr. M'Dougal. He assembled several of the chieftains 
whom he believed to be in the conspiracy. When they were 
all seated around, he informed them that he had heard of the 
Iroachery of some of then* northern brethren toward the Tuu- 







■i ■ 

ijiiiii, :iii(l Av.i« (Iclenninod on vonjjcanrc. "The white men 
MiiK)!!;,^ voii," s:ii'l I'tN " •'i''t' '"«'^v ill iminIxT, it is tnir, hut tiny 
arc iiTiu'lilv in incdicii' '. Sec Iitn'," conliiiiiod lK^ (Irawino 
fortli ii'lsiii'all Ix.ltlc and lioldiii«,^ it licfore their cycw, " in this 
bottle 1 iiold tin' small-pox, salVly corlu'd up; 1 have hut to 
draw the cork, and let loose the pestilence, to sweep niuu, 
woman, and child from the face of the earth." 

The chiefs were struck with horror and alarm. They im- 
plored him not to uncork the hottle, since they and all their 
peoi)le were (irm friends of the white men, and would alwiiys 
remain so ; hut, should the small-i)ox he once let out, it would 
run like wildfire throughout the country, sweeping olT the good 
as well as the had, an<l surely he would not he so unjust as to 
punish his friends for crimes committed hy his enemies. 

IMr. M'Dougal pretended to he convinced hy their reasoning, 
and assured them that, so long as the white people should lie 
unmolested, and the conduct of their Indian ncighhors friendly 
and hospitahle, the phial of wrath should remain sealed up; 
hut, on the least hostility, the fatal cork should he drawn. 

From this time, it is added, he was much dreaded hy the 
natives, o>- one who held their fate in his hands, and was called, 
by way ' i-ie-eminence, '' the Great Small-pox Chief." 

All "this while, the lal)ors at the infant settlement went on 
with unremitting assiduity, and, i)y the 2Gth of September a 
commodious mansion, s})acious enough to accommotlate all 
iiands, was completed. It was built of stone aiul clay, there 
beiny; no calcaieous stone in the neighborhood from which lime 
for mortar could be procured. The schooner was also finished, 
and launched, with the accustomed ceremony, on the second of 
October, and took her station below the fort. She was named 
the Dolly, and was the first American vessel launched on this 

On the 5th of October, in the evening, the little conunuuit} 
at Astoria was enlivened by the unexpJH'ted arrival of a do- 
tachment from Mr. David Stuart's post on the Oakinagau. It 
consisted of two of the clerks and two of the privates. They 
brought favorable accounts (jf the new establishment, but le- 
ported that, as Mr. Slunrt was appieheusive there might be :i 
difliculty of subsisting his whole party tliroiighout tlu' winter, 
he had sent one half liack to Astoria, retaining with liiui only 
Koss, Moutiguy, and twttotliers. Such is the hardihood of the 
Indian trader. In the heart of a savage and unknown coum- 
t ,, seven hiuidred mil's I'loin the main body (»f bis fellow- 
adventurers, Stuart had dismissed half of his little number, 



gnd was prepared with the residue to bravo all the perils of the 
wilderness, and the rigors of a long and dreary winter. 

With the return party came a Canadian creolo named Regis 
Bni<^iere, and an Iroqnois hunter, with his wife and two 
ciiildren. As these two personages belong to certain classes 
which have derived their peenliar characteristics fiom the fur 
trade, wc deem some few particulars concerning them i)erti- 
Dcnt to the nature of this work. 

Hnigiere was of a class of beaver trappers and hunters tech- 
nically called freemen, in the language of the traders. They 
arc <'enerally Canadians by birth, and of French descent, who 
have l)een employed for a term of years by some fur company, 
but, tlicir term being expired, continue to hunt and trap on 
their own account, trading with the company like the Indians. 
Hence lliey derive their appelhition of frcemeu, to distinguish 
them from the trappers wlio arc bound for a number of years, 
and receive wages, or hunt on shares. 

Having passed their early youth in the wilderness, separated 
almost entirely from civilized man, and in frequent intercourse 
with the Indians, they relapse, with a facility common to human 
nature, into the habitudes of savage life. Though no longer 
l)onud by engagements to continue in the interior, they have 
become so accustomed to the freedom of the forest and the 
prairie, that they look back with repugnance upon the restraints 
of civilization. Most of them intermarry with the natives, and, 
like the latter, have often a plurality of wives. Wanderers of 
the wihlcrness, according to the vicissitudes of the seasons, 
the migrations of animals, and the plenty or scarcity of game, 
they lead a precarious and unsettled existence ; exposed to sun 
and storm and all kinds of hardships, until they resemble 
Indians in complexion as well as in tastes and habits. From 
time to time they bring the peltries they have collected to the 
trading houses of the company in whose employ they have 
been brought up. Here they trallic them away for such articles 
of merchandise or ammunition as they may stand in need of. 
At the time when Montreal was the great emporium of the fur 
trader, one of these freemen of the wilderness would suddenly 
return, after an absence of many years, among his old friends 
and comrades. lie would be greeted as one risen from the 
dead ; and with the greater welcome, as he returned Hush of 
money. A short tinie, however, spent in revelry would be 
sullicii'iit to drain his purse and sate him with civilized life, and 
h(' would return with uew relish to the uubhackled freedom of 
the forest. 





Numbers of men of this olaps were scattered tliroiiiihoiif the 
northwest territories. Some of them retained u little ,,f 11,^ 
thrift and forethought of the eivili/A'd man, and became wcnllhy 
among their improvident neighbors ; their wealtii being cliiuHy 
displayed in large bands of horses, whieh covered the prairies 
in the vicinity of their abodes. Most of them, however, wcic 
prone to assimilate to the red man in their heedlessness of the 

Such was Regis IJrugiere, a freeman and rover of the wilder. 
ness. Having been brought up in the service of the NorHiwcsi 
Company, he had followed in the train of one of its expeditions 
acr->ss the Ilocky Mountains, and undertaken to trap for tlie 
tr o ; s: post established on the Spokan IJivcr. In the course 
of h'.^ hunting excursions he had either accidentally, or di'siirn- 
ei.Iy, found his way to the post of Mr. Stuart, and been pie. 
vailed upon to descend the Columbia, and '' try his luck " at 

Ignace Shonowane, the Iroquois hunter, was a specimen df 
a different class. He was one of those aboriginals of Canada 
who had partially conformed to the hal»its of civilization, acl 
the doctrines of Christianity, under the inrtuencc of the Krendi 
colonists and the Catholic priests ; who seem geneially to liuve 
been more successful in conciliating, taming, and converting 
the savages, than their Knglish and Protestant rivals. These 
half-civilized fndians retained some of the good and many of 
the evil qualities of their original stock. They were lirst-iato 
hunters, and dexterous in the management of the canoe. Tlicv 
could undergo great privations, and were admiiable for tlic .ser- 
vice of the rivers, lakes, and forests, provided they could In' 
kept sober, and in proper 8ul)ordination ; but, once inllameil 
with liquor, to which they were madly addicted, all the dorniain 
passion>^ inherent in their nature were prone to break lorlli. anl 
to hurry ^hem into the most vindictive and bloody acts of vio- 

Though they generally professed the Roman Catholic reli- 
gion, yet it was mixed, occasionally, with some of their aiicieiii 
superstitions; and they retained much of the Indian belief in 
charms and omens. Numbers of these men were employed bv 
the Northwest Company as tr!ipi)ers, huniv-rs. and canoe-incii. 
but on lower terms than were allowed to white men. Ignac 
Shonowane had, in this way, followed tlu' cnlerpiise of lli. 
company to the banks of the Spokiui. being, probably, one if 
the first of his tribe that had traversed the Rocky Mountains. 

Such were some of the motley populace of the wildeiiu's* 

The Ind 
to retire t( 
forests, or 
son, which 
mission, u 
mild, the 1 
the tern pes 
times obsci 
and the coi 
The dep! 
ally rendei 
send out f 
handful of 
at Astoria, 
animated n 
was to com 
The year 
down almo! 
toward the 
of the first 
The hen 
ageurs is h 
can manag( 
under the i 
of rum, an 
tute a " rcf 
the song an 
On the p 
the new ye 
arms, the c 
and three d 
of agility a 
cheese. T 



fncident to the fur trade, who were j»radually attracted to the 
new settlement of Astoria. 

The month of October now l»pgan to give indications of 
approaching winter. Ilitlicrto the colonists had been well 
pleased with the climate. The summer had been temperate, 
the mercury never rising aV)ove eighty degrees. Westerly 
winds had prevailed during the spring and the early part of 
summer, and been succeeded by fresh breezes from the north- 
west. In the month of October the southerly winds set in, 
bringing with them frequent rain. 

The Indians now began to quit the Imrders of the ocean, and 
to retire to their winter quarters in tlie sheltered bosom of the 
forests, or along the small rivers anil brooks. The rainy sea- 
son, which commences in October, continues, with little inter- 
mission, until April ; and though the winters arc generally 
mild, the mercury seldom sinking below the freezing point, yet 
the tempests of wind and rain are terrible. The sun is some- 
times ol)SCured for weeks, the brooks swell into roaring torrents, 
and the country is threatened with a deluge. 

The departure of the Indians to their winter quarters gradu- 
ally rendered provisions scanty, and obliged the colonists to 
send out foraging expeditions in the Dolly. Still, the little 
handful of adventurers kept up their spirits in their lonely fort 
at Astoria, looking forward to the time when they should be 
animated and re-enforced by the party under Mr. Hunt, that 
was to come to them across the Rocky Mountains. 

The year gradually wore away. The rain, which had poured 
down almost incessantly since the first of October, cleared up 
toward the evening of the .'{Ist of December, and the morning 
of the first of January ushered in a day of sunshine. 

The hereditary French holiday spirit of the; Canadian voy- 
ageurs is hardly to be depressed by any adversities ; and they 
can manage to get up af^te in the most squalid situations, and 
under the most lintoward circumstances. An extra allowance 
of rum, and a litth; flour to make cakes and puddings, consti- 
tute a " regale ; " 'vnd they forget all their toils and troubles in 
the song and dance. 

On the present occasion the partners endeavored to celebrate 
the new year with some effect. At sunrise the drums beat to 
arms, the colors were hoisted with three rounds of small-arms 
and three discharges of cannon. Tlie day was devoted to games 
of agility and strength, and other amusements ; antl grog was 
temperately distributed, together with bread, butter, and 
cheese. The best diunsr their circumstitnees could afford wasi 



served up at midday. At sunset the colors wore lowered, witli 
auother diseliar-ie of artillery. Tiie ni<;lit was spent in dan- 
cin<r; and tlioii^di there was a lack of female partners to exeito 
tlieFrV-'dlantry, the voyajreiirs keptnp the luill, willi true Kreiieli 
spirit, until three o'clock in the niorniu<;. S(» pass»-d the iw.w 
year fcbtival of 1812 at the iufaut colony of Astoria. 







We have followed up the fortunes of the jnaritiiue part of 
this enterprise to the shores of the Pacific, and have condiu'ted 
the affairs of the embryo establishment to the opening of the 
new year; let us now turn back to the adventurous band to 
whom was intrusted the land expedition, and who were to make 
their way to the mouth of the Columbia, up vast riveis, across 
trackless plains, and over the rugged barriers of the K(x-ky 

The conduct of this expedition, as has been alr(>ady men- 
tioned, was assigned to IMr. Wilson Price Hunt, of Trenton, 
New Jersey, one of the partners of the comj)any, who was 
ultimately to be at the head of the establishment at tlie mouth 
of the Columbia, lie is represented as .. man scrupulously 
upright and faithful in his dealings, amicable in his disposition, 
and of most accommodating manners; and his whole conduct 
will be found in unison with such a character. Hi' was not 
practically experienced in the Indian trade ; that is to say, hi" 
had never made any expeditions of traflic into the heart of the 
wilderness, but he had been engaged in commerce at St. Louis, 
then a frontier settlement on the Mississippi, where tiic chief 
branch of his business had consisted in furnisiiing Indian tra- 
ders with goods and equipments. In this way he bad acipiired 
much knowledge of the trade at second hand, and of the various 
tribes, and the interior country over which it extended. 

Another of the partners, Mr. Donald M'Kenzie, was asso- 
ciated with Mr. Hunt in the expedition, and excelled on those 
points in which the other was deficient ; for he had been ton 
years in the interior, in service of the Northwest Company, 
and valued himself on his knowledge of '•' woodcraft." and the 
strategy of Indian trade and Indian warfare. Ih; had a iVaiiic 
Seasoned to toils and hardships, a spirit not to be intimidaled, 
and was reputed to be a " remarkable shot; " which of itself 
was suliicieut to give him renown upon the frontier. 




'fr. Hunt *n(l liis coadjutor ropairoil, iil)out iho latter p.nrf of 
July, 1^1'K to Montreal, the ancient eiiiporiiini of llu.- fur trade, 
where every tliinj; re( for the expedition could l»e pro- 
cured. One of the (irsst objects was to recruit a coniph ineiit 
of Canndian voyageiirs fron» the di^haiided herd usuaUy to he 
found loitcrin}; about the place. A dejirei' of joekeyship, iiow- 
(«ver, Ih recjuired for this service, for a Canatlian voyaj;eur is as 
lull of latent tricks and vice as a horse ; and when he niakes 
the <'reatest external promise, is prone to prove the <;reatest 
•• take in." Besides, the Northwest C'oni|»any, who maintained 
a loll" established control at Montreal, iind knew the qualities 
of every voyai^eur, secretly interdicted the prime hands {yo\\\ 
I'tvajiin'u ill this new service ; so that, although liberal terms 
were offered, few presented themselves but such as were not 
worth having. 

From these Mr. Hunt engaged a number snfPicient, as he 
supposed, for present purposes ; and, having laid in a supply 
of auiinunition, provisions, and Indian goods, embarked all on 
hoard one of those great canoes at that time imiversally used 
by the fur traders for navigating the intricate and often-ob- 
Htnieted rivers. The canoe was between thirty and forty feet 
long, and several feet in width; constructed of birch bark, 
sewed with fibres of the roots of the spruce tree, and daubed 
with resin of the pine, instead of tar. The cargo was made 
u|) ill packages, weighing from ninety to one hundred pounds 
fiieh, for the facility of loading and unloading, and of traiis- 
jiortation at portages. The canoe itself, though capal)le of sus- 
taining a freight of upward of Tour tons, could readily be 
carried on men's shoulders. Canoes of this size are generally 
managed by eight or ten men, two of whom are picked vet 
arans, who receive double wages, and are stationed, one at the 
how aiul the other at the stern, to keep a lookout and to steer. 
They are termed the foreman and the steersman. The rest, 
who ply the paddles, are called middle-men. When there i.s 
II favorable breeze, the canoe is occasionally navigated with ii 

The expedition took its regular departure, as usual, from St. 
Anne's, near the extremity of the island of Montreal, the great 
starting place of the traders to the interior. Here stood the 
ancient chapel of St. Anne, the patroness of the Caiuuliaii voy- 
iigenrs, where they made confession, and olTcicd up their vows, 
previous t«) ileparting on any Inizardous «'Xpeditioii. Tiir shiiii. 
of the saint was decoialed with relics and votive ollerings hiiu.; 
up by these superstitious beings, either to propitiate hur favm. 

' I 



or in jH'atitude for Home signal dpliverancc In the wiMornosg 
It wah tlifi custom, too, of these devout va<,Mihoii(ls, aller Ituy. 
ing the cliapel, to have a grand carouse, in lionor of the saint 
and for tiie prosperity of tlie voyage. In this part of thiiir 
devotions, the crew of Mr. Hunt proved themselves hy no 
means delieieut. Indeed, he soon diseovtMed tiiat his reeruita, 
enlisted at Montreal, were (it to vie with the lagged regimuui 
of Falstaff. Some were able-bodied, l»nt inexpert; others wore 
expert, but lazy ; while a third class were expert and willinjr. 
but totally worn out, being broken down veterans, incapal)le of 


With this inefllcient crew he made his way up the Ottawa 
River, and by the ancient route of the fur traders along a sue. 
cession of small lakes and rivers to Michilinnickinac. Tiieir 
progress was slow and tedious. Mr. Hunt was not accustoiiiwl 
to the management of " voyagcurs," and he had a crew admir- 
ably disposed to play the old soldier, and balk their work, ami 
ever ready to come to a halt, land, make a lire, p;it on the 
great pot, and smoke, and gossip, and sing by the hour. 

It was not until the 22d of July that they arrived at Miuki- 
naw, situated on the island of tlu; same name, at the coiilliunce 
of lakes Huron and Michigan. This famous old French trad- 
ing post continued to be a rallying point for a nudli furious ami 
motley population. The inhabitants were amphibious in their 
habits, most of them being, or having been, voyageurs or canoe- 
men. It was the great place of arrival and departure of the 
southwest fur trade. Merc the Mackinaw Company had estab- 
lished its principal post, from whence it communicated with 
the interior and with Montreal. Hence its various Iradi'rs and 
trappers set out for their respective destinationa about Lake 
Superior and its tributary waters, or for the Mississippi, the 
Arkansas, the Missouri, and the other regions of the wust. 
Here, after the absence of a year or more, they returned with 
their peltries, and settled their accounts ; the fins rendered iu 
by them being transmitted, in canoes, from hence to Montreal, 
Mackinaw was, therefore, for a great part of the y(!ar, very 
scantily peopled ; but at certain seasons the traders arrivrd 
from all points, with their crews of voyageurs, and the place 
swarmed like a hive. 

Mackinaw, at that time, was a mere village, stretching alom.' 
a small bay, with a tine broad beach in front of its princiiml 
row of houses, and dominated l)y the old fort, which crowiuMl 
an impending height. The beach was a kind of public proim- 
nade, where were displayed all the vagariew of a seaport uu 



tho nrriviil of u floot from a I«»ri«j cniisf. Hero v«»yu}:;«Mirs fiol- 
irkcti :i\v!iy llH'ir \v{i;j;rH, lidtlliiijj; and daiiciiij; in llic lioollis and 
culiiiis, hiiyinj^ all kintls (»f knick-knacks, drcs,sin<f tlicnisclvcs 
(lilt lincly, iiiid |)ai'tidin<^ up and down, like ananl ina^r^^aiU 
and coxconilts. Sonictiini's llicy met with lival cKXconilis in 
tlif yoinijj; Indians from tlu' opposite slion". who w(jidd appear 
oil the iieaeh paintetl and decorated in fantaslic style, and 
would saunter up and down, to he <i,a/.ed at and admiri-d, |ier- 
fcctly satistied that they eclipsed thi-ir pali'-faced compelitors. 

Now and then a clianeo party of " Northwcstcis " ap|>carod 
at IMackmaw from the rendt'zvous at Fort William. 'I'hese 
lu'ld themselves up u.s the chivalry of the fur trade. They 
were men of iron ; proof n<iainst cold weather, hard fare, and 
porils of all kinds. Some would wear tlie luMthwest Itutton, 
and a fonnidalth! dirk, and assume something of a military 
air. They <^enerally wore feathers in their hats, and alTecied 
the "brave." '* Je .suis un honnue du nord ! " — "I am a nuui 
of the north," one of these swellin*^ felhjws would exclaim, 
stickiiiji his arms akimI>o and lulllinj^ by tho Southwesters, 
whom iu! regardi'fl with }j;reat contempt, as men softened by 
mild climates and the luxurious fare (jf bread and bacon, and 
wlioiu he Htijj;matized with the inglorious name of pork-raters. 
The superiority assumed by thesi' vainglorious swaggerers was, 
in general, tacitly admitted. Indci'd. some of them had ac- 
quired great notoriety for (U'cds of hardihood and courage ; 
for the fur trade had its heroes, whose names resounded 
throughout the wilderne.-.s. 

.Such was Mackinaw at the time of which we are treating. 
It now, doubtless, presents a totally diffi'rent aspect. The fur 
companies no longer assend)le there; the navigation (»f the 
hikes is carried on by stt'auiboats and various shipping, and 
the race of traders, and trappi-rs, and voyageurs, and Indian 
dandies, have vaporeil out their brief hour and disappeared. 
Such changes does the lapse of a handful of yetirs make iu this 
ever-changing country. 

At this |)lace Mr. Hinit remained for some time, to complete 
his assortment of Indian goods, and to Increase his nunilier of 
voyageurs, as well as to engage some of a more elllcient charac- 
tor than those cnlisti'd at Montreal. 

And now conwuenced another game of jockeyship. There 
Were able and ellicient men in :iliuiid:inee at M:i< kinaw. Iiut lor 
several days not one ^)resented irnnsel!'. If oft'ers were uiiide 
to any, they were listened to with a shake of the head. Should 
any cue seem iucliued to enlist, they were otlieious idlers and 

I . 


t r 



busybodics, of that class who arc over ready to ntssuado othiTo 
f:om any cnterpris?o in which tiioy tlKMiisclvos havi> no coiiccrii. 
These wouUl ('ill hini by the slcovc, take him on one side, ami 
murniiir in his ear, or would sng«i,est dilliculties ontri<jht. 

It was objected that the expedition would iiave to navi<,'atc 
unknown rivers, and pass through liowlinn; wilderni'sses ii.. 
festcd by savage tribes, who liad already cut off the unfortu- 
nate voyaoe\ns that had ventured among them ; that it was to 
climb the Rocky Mountains and descend into desolate and fam- 
ished regions, where the traveller was often obliged to sul)- 
sist on grasshoppers and crickets, or to kill his own horse for 


At length one man was hardy enough to engage, and he was 
used like a " stool-pigeon," to decoy others ; but several days 
elapsed before any more could be prevailed upon to join liiin. 
A few then came to terms. It was desirable to engage tiiom 
for five years, but some refused to engage for more than tiiieo. 
Then they must have part of their pay in advance, which was 
readily granted. When they had pocketed the amount, and 
squandered it in regales or in outfits, they l)egan to talk of 
pecuniary obligations at Macki'iaw, which must be discharged 
ivlbre they would be free to depart; or engagements with other 
persona, which were only to be cancelled by a " reasonable con- 

It was in vain to argue or renu)nstrate. The money advanced 
had already been sacked and si)ent, and must be lost and llie 
recruits left behind, unless they could be freed from their debts 
iUid engagements. Accordingly, a fine was i)aid for oik; ; u 
judgment for another ; a tavi'rn bill for tlu; third ; and almost 
all had to be bcjught off from some prior engagement, cither 
real or pretended. 

Mr. Hunt groaned in spirit at the incessant and unreasonable 
demands of these worthies upon his purse ; yet with all this 
outlay of funds, the number recruited was but scanty, and 
many of the most desirable still held themselves aloof, and 
were not to be caught by a golden bait. With tlu'se he tiied 
another temptation. Amonr the recruits who had enlisted lie 
distributed feathers and o»trich plumes. These th(\v put in 
their hats, and thus figured about Mackinaw, assuming airs 
of vast imp'M'tance, as " voyageurs in a new company, that \v;i8 
to eclipse ihe Northwest." 'I'he ctTi'ct ^as complete. A 
French Canadian is too vain and mercurial a being to withstand 
the finery and ostentation of the feather. Numbers immediatily 
pressed into the service. Outt must have an ostrich plume; 

another, !i w 
(.(M'ks' lails. 
iiKire dciigli 
money in IIk 
to the ho istl 

While thu 
was joined li 
gage as a p 
Crooks, a y( 
under the N 
the Missouri 
ceive'l :i liigl 
and iut( grit \ 
sented to a( 
experience a 
jeeted, and • 
foiee. In a 
pass through 
fested re pea 
their expedit 
river bank:i ! 
them in the 
ging in comi 
had been int 
himself fortii 
life or propel 

Should the 
of the Siou 
tribe still mo 
the white me 
over a wide ( 

Under all 
augment the 
nnndier ,)f th 
was (letermii 
number of si 

These mat 
the embarkal 
expt'dition. h 
eiully of sucl 
pockets, and 



aiiofhor, a wliito r'oatlior with !i rod ond ; n third, a bunch of 
cocks' tails. 'I'iiiiw ail paradi'd alwml in vainjiloiioiis style, 
jiKtiv (icliu'litcd with tlu' rcallicis in l.lif>:r hats than with Wm 
iiioncy in their pockitts ; and considcrinj; tlicnisclvcs fully ('(juul 
to the Ixtistful " men of the north." 

Wliile thus rec'ruitin<^ tho number of rank and lile, Mr. Hunt 
was joined by a [x-rson whom he had invite i, hy letter, to en 
crime as a partner in the exi)edition. This was Mr. liamsay 
Crooks, a yount; man, a native of Scotland, who had served 
under the Northwi-st Company, and been i'ne;!«iJjed in tradiiu^ 
expeditions upon his individual aeeonnt, anionji; the tribes of 
the Missouri. Mr. hunt knew him personally, and had con- 
ceive'' :i higli and meritecl oj)inion of his judgment, enterprise, 
and inli ijrity ; he was rejoiced, therefore, when the latter con- 
sented to accompany hiir,. Mr. Crooks, however, drew from 
experience a picture of the dangers to whicli they would be sul)- 
jeeted, and 'uoim' the iniporlance i/f going with a considerable 
force. In ascending the upper Mi,ssouri they would have to 
pass tln'ongh the country of tlu' Sioux Indians, who had mani- 
fested repeated hostility to the white tradiirs, and rendered 
their expeditions extremely pcrih)us ; firing upon them from the 
river hanky as tho}* passed lieneath in their boats, and attacking 
Iheni in tlieir encampments. Mr. Crooks himself, when voya- 
ging in company with another trader of the name of M'Lellan, 
luul l)een interrupted by these marauders, and had considered 
himself fortunate in escaping down the river without loss of 
life or i)roperty, l)ut with a trial abandonment of his trading 

Siionld they be fortunate enough to pass through the country 
of the Sioux without molestation, they would have another 
trii)e still more savage and warlike beyond, and deadly foes of 
the white men. These were the lilackfeet Indians, who ranged 
over a wide extent of country which they wouUl have to trav- 

Under all these circumstances it was thought advisalde to 
augment the party considerably. It already exceeded the 
number ,)f thirty, to which it had originally been limited ; but it 
was deteiinined, on arriving at St. Louis, to increase it to the 
numl)er of sixty. 

These matters being arranged, they prepared to embark ; but 
the embarkation of a crew of Canatlian voyageurs, on a distant 
expedition, is not so easy a matter as might Ite imagined ; espe- 
cially of sucli a set of vainglorious fellows with money in both 
[ioekots, and cocks' tails in Uieii' hats. Like sailors, the Cauu 

il! i i' 













dian voyr-jrciirs jrcncrally preface a lonj? cniiao with a carouse. 
Tliov iiavo tlioircrouic'-, their hrotiiers, tiicir cousins, their wives, 
their sweetiiearts ; all to be entertained at their ex|)ense. 'V\\cy 
feast, tiiey fiddle, they drink, they sing, they dance, they frolic, 
and light, until they are all as mad as so many drunken Indians. 
The publicans are all obedience to their commands, never hesitat- 
ing to let them run up scores without limit, knowing that, wlicn 
their own money is expended, the purses of their emploMTs 
must answer for the bill, or the voyage must be delayed. 
Neither was it possible, at that tine, to remedy the inalt.'rat 
Mackinaw. In that t'mphibious comaiunity there was always a 
propensity to wrest the laws in favor of riotous or mutinous 
boatmen. It wr .« necessary, also, to keep the recruits in good 
humor, seeing tlie novelty and danger of the service into wliich 
they were entering, and the case with which they might at any 
time escape it, by jumping into a canoe and going down the 

Such ware the scenes that beset Mr. Hunt, and gave him a 
foretaste of the ditliculties of his commaiid. The little cabarets 
and sutlers' shops along the bay resounded with the scraping 
of fiddles, with snatches of old French songs, with Iiidiuu 
whoops and yells ; while every i)lumed and featheicd vagahcud 
had his troop of loving cousins tum comrades at his heels. It 
was with the utmost dilRculty they could I>e extricated from the 
clutches of the publicans and the embraces of their pot com- 
panions, who followed tliem to the water's edgi' with many a 
hug, a kiss on each cheek, and a maudlin benediction in Cana- 
dian French. 

It was about the 12th of August that they left Mackinaw, 
and pursued the usual route by Green Bay, Fox and Wisioiisiu 
Itivers, to Prairie du Chien, and thence down the Mii-.sissii)i)i 
to St. Louis, where they landed on the third 



St. Louis, ;vhich is situated on the right bank of the IMissis- 
sippi River, a few miles below the mouth of the Missouri, was, 
at that time, a frontier scdtlemiMit. and t.i last liUing-out |ihiee 
for the Indian trade of the southwest. It possessed a Miotley 
po|)ulation composed of the Creole descendants of the ()ri«:in:il 
Vreucli colv;.uists ; the keeu traders from the Atlantic Staled; 



the biickwood-nuMi of Konluoky and Tomicssc'o ; llio IiKiiana siml 
l,.,|f.|)r('cds of the prairies; lojfother witli a singnhir aquatic 
race tl:at. had grown up from tlie navi<2;ali()n of the rivers — tlio 
" Ijoatinen of the Mississippi," wlio possessed habits, manners, 
and almost a language, peculiarly their own, and strongly 
teehuieal. They, at that time, were extremely numerous, and 
coniUicted the chief navigation and commerce of the Ohio and the 
Mississii)pi, as the voyageurs did of the Canadian waters ; hut, 
like lliem, their consequence and characteristics are rapidly van- 
ishing l)efore the all-pervading intrusion of steamboats. 

The old French houses engaged in the Indian trade had 
gathered n;und them a train of dependants, mongrel Indians, 
and mongrel Frenchmen, who had intermarried with Indians. 
Tliese tliey employed in their various expeditions by land and 
water. Various individuals of other countries had of late years, 
pushed tlie trade farther into the interior, to the ui)per waters 
of the Missouri, and had swelled the number of these hangers- 
on. Several of tiiesc traders had, two or three years previously, 
formed themselves into a company, composed of twelve partners, 
with a eai)ital of about forty thousand dollars, called the Mis- 
souri Fur Company, the object of which was to establish posts 
along llu! qjper part of that river, and monoj)olize the trade. 
Tlie leading partner of this company was Mr. Manuel Lisa, a 
Spaniard by birth, and a man of bold and enterprising charac- 
ter, who had ascended the Missouri almost to its source, and 
made himself well ac(juainted and popular with several of its 
tribes. B} his exertion.", trading [)osts had been established, 
ill 1808,, in the Sioux country, and among the Arickara and 
Maiulan tribes ; and i' prineipal one, under Mr. Henry, one of 
the partner-, at the forks of the Missouri. This company had 
in its employ about two hundred and fifty men, partly American 
hunters, and })artly Creoles and Canadian voyageurs. 

All these circumstances combined to produce a population at 
St. I^^nis even still more motley than that at oVlackinaw. Here 
were to be seen about the river banks, the hectoring, extrav- 
agant, bragging boatmen of the Mississippi, with the gay, 
griui'ieiiig, siiif^ing, good-humored Canadian voyageurs. Va- 
grant Indians, of various trilies, loitered about the streets. 
Now and then, a stark Kentucky hunter, in leathern hunting- 
dress, with rifle on shoulder and knife in belt, strode along. 
Here an i tiiere were new l)rit'k houses and shops, just set up 
hy liiistling, driving, and eager men of tralllc from the Atlantic 
States; wliile, on tin; otlier hand, (lie old l-'rencli mansions, 
with open casemeuts, still retained the easy, iiiuuLut air of th; 


i' U 







ill . 



p ^ 

rii' ' 
pi . 


orijriuiil colonists ; aiul now aiitl then llu' scr:ipinji of a liddle.a 
strain of an ancient French song, or (he sound of Mllianl halls, 
showed that the happy (Gallic turn for j^ayety and amuscnu'iit 
still lingered ahout the place. 

Such was St. Louis at the time of Mr. Hunt's arrival there, 
and the appearauee of a new fur company, with ample funds 
at its command, produced a strong sensation among the Indian 
traders of the place, and awakened keen jealousy and op|josi- 
tion on the part of the Missouri Company. Mr. Hunt pro- 
ceeded to strengthen himself against all competition. For this 
purpose, he secured to the interests of the association another 
of those enterprising men, who had been engaged in indi- 
vidual tratlic with the tribes of the Missouri. This was a 
Mr. Joseph Miller, a gentleman well educated and well in- 
formed, and of a respectable family of Baltimore. lie had 
been an olficer in the army of the United States, but had re- 
signed in disgust, on being refused a furlough, and had taken 
to trapping beaver and trading among the Indiar.s. He was 
easily induced by Mr. Hunt to join as a i)artner, and was con- 
sidered 1)3' him, on account of his education and acquirements, 
and his experience in Indian trade, a valuable addition to the 

Several additional men were likewise enlisted at St. Louis, 
some as boatmen, and others as hunters. These last were en- 
gaged, not merely to kill game for provisions, but also, and 
indeed chiefly, to trap beaver and other animals of rich furs, 
valuable in the trade. They enlisted on different terms. Some 
were to have a fixed salary of three hundred dollars ; others 
were to be fitted out and maintained at the expense of the 
company, and were to hunt and trap on shares. 

As Mr. Hunt met with much opposition on the part of rival 
traders, especially the Missouri Fur Company, it took him 
some weeks to complete his preparations. The delays which 
he had previously experienced at Montreal, Mackinaw, and on 
the way, added to those at St. Louis, had thrown him much 
behind his original calculations, so that it would be impossible 
to et¥ect his voyage up the Missouri in the present year. This 
river, flowing from high and cold latitudes, and through wide 
and open plains, exposed to chilling blasts, freezes early. The 
winter may be dated from the fiist of November ; there was 
every prospect, therefore, that it would be cl< sed with ice lon«? 
before Mr. Hunt could i-eacli its upper waters. To avoid, how- 
ever, the expense of wintering at St. Louis, he determined to 
push up the river us far us possible, to some point above llie 



settlements, where game was plenty, and where his whole 
party could be subsisted by hunting, until the breaking up of the 
ice in the spring should permit them to resume their voyage. 

Accordingly, on the twenty-first of October he took his de- 
parture from St. Louis. His party was distriVmted in three 
boats. One was the barge which he had brought from Mack- 
inaw ; another was of a larger size, such as was formerly used 
in navigating the Mohawk River, and known by the generic 
name of the Schenectady barge ; the other was a large keel 
boat, at that time the grand conveyance on the Mississippi. 

In this way they set out from St. Louis, in buoyant spirits, 
and soon arrived at the mouth of the Missouri. This vast river, 
tiiree thousand miles in length, and which, with its tributary 
streams, drains such an immense extent of country, was as yet 
but casually and imperfectly navigated by the adventurous 
bark of the fur trader. A steamboat had never yet stemmed 
its turbulent current. Sails were but of casual assistance, for 
it required a strong wind to conquer the force of the stream. 
The main dependence was on bodily strengtli and manual 
dexterity. The boats, in general, had to l)e propelled by oars 
and setting poles, or drawn by the hand and by grai)pling hooks 
from one root or overhanging tree to another ; or towed l)y the 
loug cordelle, or towing line, where the sliores were sufRcirntly 
clear of woods and thickets to permit the men to pass along 
the banks. 

During this slow and tedious progress the boat would be ex- 
posed to frequent danger from floating trees and great masses 
of drift-wood, or to be inii)aled upon snags and sawyers ; that 
is to say, sunken trees, presenting a jagged or pointed end 
above the surface of the water. As the channel of the river 
frequently shifted from side to side, according to the l)eiid.s 
and sand-banks, the boat had, in the same way, 1(, advance in 
a zigzag course. Often a part of the crew would have to leap 
into the water at the shallows, and wade along with the towin^r 
line, while their comrades on board toilfully assisted with oar 
and setting pole. Sometimes the boat would seem to be retaiueil 
motionless, as if spellbound, opposite some point round which 
the current set with violence, and where the utmost labor scarce 
efifected any visible progress. 

On these occasions it was that the merits of the Canadian 
voyaj^eurs came into full actit)n. Patient of toil, not to be dis- 
hcarttMUHl l»y iiiipcdinients and disappointments, fertile in ex- 
pedients, and versed in every mode t)f humoring and eontpier- 
uig the wayward current, they would ply every exertion. 





.li > 

' a 

sometimes in the boat, sometimes on shore, aomefimes in the 
water, however cold ; always alert, always in good liunior ; and, 
should they at any time flag or grow weary, one of their popular 
boat songs, chanted by a veteran oarsman, and responded to in 
chorus, acted as a never-failing restorative. 

By such assiduous and persevering labor they made tlipjr 
way about four hundred and fifty miles up the Missouri, l)y 
the IGth of November, to the mouth of the Nodowa. As this 
was a good hunting country, and as the season was rapidly ud- 
vancing, they determined to establish their winter quarters at 
this place ; and, in fact, two days after they had come to a 
halt, the river closed just above their encampment. 

The party had not been long at this place when they were 
joined by Mr. Robert M'Lellan, another trader of the Missouri ; 
the same who had been associated with Mr Crooks in the un- 
fortunate expedition in which they had bec.i intercepted by tlio 
Sioux Indians, and obliged to make a ranid retreat down the river. 

M'Lellan was a remarkable man. lie had been a partisan 
under General Wayne, in his Indian wars, where he had dis- 
tinguished himself by his fiery spirit and reckless daring, ami 
marvellous stories were told of his exploits. His appearance 
answered to his character. His frame was meagre, but mus- 
cular ; showing strength, activity, and iron flrnuiess. His eyes 
were dark, deep set, and piercing. He was restless, fearless, 
but of impetuous and sometimes ungovernable temper. He 
had been invited by Mr. Hunt to enroll himself as a |)arlner, 
and gladly consented ; being pleased with the thoughts of pass- 
ing, with a powerful force, through tlie country of tiie Sioux, 
^nd perhaps having an opportunity of revenging himself upon 
that lawless tribe for their past offences. 

Another recruit that join >d the camp at Nodowa deserves 
equal mention. This was John Day, a hunter from the liuck- 
woods of Virginia, who had been several years on the Missoini 
in the service of Mr. Crooks, and of otiier trailers. He was 
about forty years of age, six feet two inches high, straight !is 
an Indian ; with an elastic step as if he trod on springs, and a 
handsome, open, manly countenance. It was his boast thai in 
his younger days nothing could hurt or daunt him ; but he hud 
" lived too fast " and injured his constitution l»y his excesses. 
Still he was strong of hand, bold of heart, a prime woodman, 
and an almost unerring shot. He had the frank spirit ol' :. 
Virginian, and the rough heroi:^m of a pioneer of the we.^t. 

The party were now brought to a iiall for seveial iwonlli-^ 
They were in a country abounding with deer and wiUI turkeys. 



80 that there was no stint of provisions, and every one ap- 
peaio«i chcorful and contented. Mr. limit dctcrniineil to avail 
hinisolf of this interval to return to St. Louis and obtain a re-en- 
forccinent. lie wished to procure an interpreter, acquainted 
with the lanfTutigc of the Sioux, as, from all accounts, ho ap- 
prehended difliculties in passing through tiie country of that 
uiition. He felt the necessity, also, of having a greater num- 
ber i»f hunters, not merely to keep up a supply of provisions 
thioii;j,liout their long and arduous expedition, but also as a 
pioti'etion and defence, in case of Indian hostilities. For such 
service the Canadian voyageurs were little to be depended upon, 
fisihting not being a part of their profession. The i)roper kind of 
men wore American hunters experienced in savage life and sav- 
a<Tc warfare, and possessed of the true game spirit of the west. 
Leaving, therefore, the encanii)ment in charge of tlie other 
partners, JNIr. Hunt set off on foot on the lirst of January 
(1810), for St. Louis. He was accompanied by eight men as 
far as l-'ort Osage, about one hundred and fifty miles l)elow 
N(Klowa. Hen? he procured a couple of horses, and proceeded 
on the remainder of his journey with two men, sending tlie 
other six back to the encampment. He arrived at St. Louis on 
the 20th of January. 



t' h 

On this his second v'sit to St. Louis, Mr. Hunt was again 
impeded in his plans by the opposition of the Missotni Fur 
Company. The affairs of that company were, at this time, in 
a very dubious state. During the preceding year, then- |»rin- 
cipul establishment at the forks of the Missouri had ))een so 
miieh harassed by the lilackfeet Indians that its conunander, 
Mr. Henry, one of the partners, had been compelled to aban- 
Jon the post and cross the Rocky ^lountains, with the intention 
.of lixiiig himself upon one of the ut)per branches of the Colum- 
bia. What had become of him and his party was unknown. 
The most intense anxiety was felt concerning them, and appre- 
hensions thai they might have been cut otV by the savages. At 
the lime of Mr. Hunt's arrival at SI. Louis, the iMis.-;ouri Com- 
pany were (illingout an expedition to go in (|tiest of Mr. lb iiry. 
It was to be conduct^'d by Mr. Manuel l^isa. tin- cntt r|uiNiiij> 
partner already mentioui'd. 

There being thus two expeditious on foot at tht; same mo- 


r f| I • 



mp«t, an unusual demand was oooasioncd for litintiMs and 
voyageurs, who accordingly |)rofitcd by the ciiciniistmicp, 
and stipulated for higli terms. JNIr. Hunt found a kcoii iuid 
subtle competitor in Lisa, and was obliged to secure his re- 
cruits by liberal advances of pay, and by other i)i'cuiiiary 

The greatest difTiculty wa.s to procure the Sioux interpreter. 
There was but one man to be met with at St. Louis who was 
fitted for the purpose, but to secure him would rtMpiiro imieh 
management. The individual in question was a half-biced, 
named Pierre Dorion ; and as he figures hereafter in this 
narrative, and is, withal, a striking specimen of the iiylnid 
race on the frontier, we shall give a few particulars concerning 
him. Pierre w is the son of Dorion, the Frencii interpreter, 
who accompanied Messrs. Lewis and Clarke in their famous 
exploring expedition across the Kock} Mountains. Old Dorion 
was one of those French Creoles, descendants of the ancient 
Canadian stock, who abound on the western frontier, and 
amalgamate or cohabit with the savages. He had sojoinned 
among various tribes, and perhaps left progeny among tliem 
all ; but his regular or habitual wife was a Sioux squaw. By 
her he had a hopeful biood of half-lirccd sons, of whom Pierre 
was one. The domestic alTairs of old Dorion were conducted 
on the true Indian plan. Father and sons would occasionally 
get drunk together, and then the cabin was a scene of riillian 
l)rawl and fighting, in the course of which the oKl Frenchnian 
was apt to get soundly belabon-d liy his mongrel olTspiiiig. In 
u furious scuflle of the kind, one of the sons got the old man 
upon the ground, and was upon the point of sctdping liini. 
"Hold! my son," cried the old fidlow, in inqdoring accents, 
"you are too brave, too honnrnblc to scalp your father!'" 
This last appeal touched the French side of the half-breed's 
heart, so he sutTered the old man to wear his scalp unharmed. 

Of this hopeful stock was Pierre Dorion, the man whom it 
was now the desire of Mr. Hunt to engage as an interpreter. 
He had been employed in that capacity i»y the Missouri Km 
Company during the preceding year, and had conducted tlieii 
traders in safety through the different tiilies of the Sioux. He 
had proved himself faithful and serviceable while sober; Imt 
the love of licpior, in whicdi lu' had been uurlurtMl mikI bioii'jlit 
up, would occasionally break out, and with it the savage side of 
nis character. 

It was his love of lifpior whi<di had embroiled him wilii llif 
Missouri Company. Wiiile in their service at Fort Mundan on 



fho frontior, lie liad boon seized witli n, whiskey inaiiia ; and as 
tlic Itevenitje was only to !•« procured at the coTiipaiiy's store, 
it liiid l>eeii eharjj;ed in his aeeoimt at the rate of ten dollars a 
(iiiart, 'I'liis item had ever remained nnseltled, and a matter of 
furious dispute, the mere mi'ulion of whieli was sullieient to put 
hini in a passion. 

The moment it was discovered by Mr. Lisa that Pierre Dorion 
was in treaty with the new and rival association, he endeavored 
by tlin;ats as well as promises, to prevent his en<!;:i(ring in their 
service. His j)r()mises mij^ht, perhaps, have jtrevailed ; l)ut his 
threats, which related to the whiskey deht, only served to drive 
rierre into the opposite ranks. Still, he took advantai^e of this 
competition for his services to stand out witii Mr. Hunt on the 
most advanta<>;eons terms, and, after a nciiotiation of nearly 
two weeks, capitulated to serve in the expeilition, as hunter and 
interpreter, at the rate of three hundred dollars a year, two 
huiidrod of which wi-ro to he paid in advance. 

Wlieii Mr. Hunt had got every tiling ready for leaving St. 
Louis new dilliculties rose. Five of the American hunters from 
the encampment at Nodowa, suddenly ma(h' their appearance. 
They alleged that they had been ill-treated by the partners at 
the cncam|)ment, and had come off clandestinely, in conse(iueneo 
of a dispute. It was usi'l(>ss at the i)resent moment, and uucUt 
present circumstances, to attem|)t any compulsory measures 
with these (U'serters. Two of them Mr. Hunt prevailed upon, 
by mild means, to return with him. The rest refused ; nay, 
what was worse, they spread such reports of the hanlships and 
dangers to be apprehended in tlie course of the expedition, that 
they struck a panic into those hunters who had recently engaged 
at St. Louis, and, when the hour of dei)arture arrived, all but 
one refused to embark. It was in vain to plead or remonstrate ; 
they shouldered their rillcs, and turned their back upon the ex- 
pedition, and Mr. Hunt was fain to put otT from shore with the 
single hunter and a number of voyageurs whom he had engaged. 
Kvvn IMerre Dorion, at the last moment, refused to enter the 
boat until Mr. Hunt consented to take his scpiaw and two chil- 
dren on l)oard also. But the tissue of peri)lexities, on account 
of this worthy individual, did not end here. 

Among the various persons who were al)Out to proceed up 
the Missouri witli Mr. Hunt, were two scientilic gentlemen: 
one Mr. .John IJradbury, a man of mature age, but great enter- 
prise !ind i)('rsoual activity, who had been sent ou« by the I^in- 
nu'uu Society of Liver|K)ol, to make a collection of Ann ricau 
plants ; the other, a Mr. Nuttall, likewiae an Eugiishmau, 






yoiinjior in yonrs, who lias since mjido liimsrif known ns \h(> 
iuiUkm- of " Tr.ivcls in Arkansiis." !Ui(i !i work on llii" •• (Icncm 
of Aini'ricjui riiuits." Mr. limit, lia<l otTVnMl tlicni llic |.rolt'c. 
lion nnd fucilitics of Ills |»!irly. in their seieiitilic reseiirelics up 
tlie Missouri. As they were not resuly to depjirt iil tiie nioiiKMit 
of enilKirkation, they put tlieir trunks on board of the ho:il, hut 
remained at St. Louis until the next day, fur the arrival of the 
post, intending to join the ex[»e(lition at St. Charles, a stiort 
distance al)ove the mouth of tlie .Missouri. 

The same evening, however, tliey leained tli:it a writ liud 
been issued against Pii'rre Dorion for liis whiskey debt, liy Mr. 
Lisa, as agent of the Miss(»uri Company, and tiiat it was ihe 
intention to entrap the mongrel linguist on his arrival at St. 
Charles. I'pon hearing this, Mr. Hradl)ury and Mr. Nuttall set 
off a little after midnight, by land, got ahead of tlu' Itoat as it 
was ascending the Missouri, before its arrival at St. Charles, 
and gave Pierre Dorion warning of the legal toil prepared to 
ensnare him. The knowing Pierre innnediately landed aiul 
took to the woods, followed by his .s(piaw laden with their 
papooses, and a large buudh; containing their most precious 
effects, promising to rejoin the party sotne distance :il»ove St. 
Charles. There seemed little dependence to be placed upon 
promises of a loose adventurer of the kind, who was at the 
very time i)layiiig an evasive game with his former employers; 
who had already received two thirds of his year's pay, and had 
his rifle on his shouhler, his family and worldly fortune at liis 
heels, and the wild woods bei'ore him. There was no alteriiu- 
tive, however, and it was hoped his picpie against his okl 
employers would render him faithful to his new ones. 

The party reached St. Charles in the afti'rnoon, but the liar- 
pies of the law looked in vain for their expected pii y. Tlio 
boats resumed their course on the following morning, and hail not 
proceeded far when Pierre Dorion made his appearance on llio 
shore. He was gladly takiui on board, but he caini' without iiis 
squaw. They had (|uarrelled in the night; Pierre had adminis- 
tered the Indian discipline of tlie cudgel, whereupon she li:ul 
taken to the woods, with their children and all tlieir worMly 
goods. Pierre evidently w:is deeply grieved and (liscoiiccitcil 
at the loss of his wife and his knapsack, wheieiipoii Mi'. Ilnnt 
despatched one of the Canadian voyagenrs in search of tlir fugi- 
tives , and the whole party, after proceeding .a few miles f.nlh.r. 
encamped on an island to await his return. The (aiiadi.iii ii- 
joined the |)arty, but without the sipiaw ; ami I'ieiie Doiici: 
passed a solitary and auxious night, bitterly regretting his in 



discretion in liavinc; ox, "! ^d liin oonjiuj.-il aiifliority so ncfir 
home. itcforc (JMylirc'ik, .vj'vcr, ii well-known voice reru-hi'd 
his e.'irs from the opposite sliore. It was his repentant Hi)onso, 
who liad hvvu wandeiinjj the woods nil nijjht in (jucst of the 
party, .'ind had at len<jth descried it l»y its fin^s. A hoat was 
despatched for iier, the intcrestin<i family was once more united, 
ftrul Mr. Ilnnt now flattered himself that his perplexities with 
Pierre Dorion wen* at an end. 

Had weather, vi-ry heavy rains, and an unusually early rise 
in the Missouri riMxlered the ascent of the river t«)ilsoine, slow, 
ai'd dan<j;«'rous. 'I'Ik; rise of the Missouri docs not ^^encrally 
take place until the mouth of May or June ; the present swell- 
ing of the river nujst have l)een caused by a freshet in son)e of 
its more southern branches. It could not have been the great 
giinual Hood, as the higher branches nnist still have been ice- 

And here wc cannot but i)au8c, to notice the admirable 
arranjiement of n:iturc, by which the aiunial swellings of the 
various great rivers which empty themselves into the Missis- 
sippi have been made to precede each other at considerable in- 
tervals. Thus, the flood of* the Red River precedes that of the 
Arkansas by a month. The Arkansas, also, rising in a much 
more southern latitude than the Missouri, takes the lead of it 
in its annual excess, and its superabundant waters are disgorged 
and disposed of long before the breaking up of the ii'y barriers 
of the north; otherwise, did all these mighty streams rise sinuil- 
taneously, and discharge their vernal Hoods into the Mississippi, 
an inundation would be the conse(iuence, that would submerge 
and devastate all the lowtu' country. 

On the afternoon of the third day, January 17th, the l)oat3 
tonche(l at Charette, one of the old villages founded by the 
original French colonists. Here thev met with Daniel Roone, 
the renowned patriarch of Kentucky, who had ke|)t in the ad- 
Tancc of civilization, and on the borders of the wilderiu'ss, still 
leading a hunter's life, though now in his eiglity-lifth year. 
He had but recently returned from a hunting and trapping ex- 
pedition, and had brought nearly sixty beaver skins as trophies 
of his skill. The old man was still erect in form, strong in 
liml), and unniuching in spirit; and as he stood on the river 
hank, watching the departure of an expediticm destined to trav- 
erse the wilderness to the very shores of the Pacific, very prob- 
ably felt a throb of his old pioneer spirit, impelling him t« 
shoulder his rifle and join the adventurous band. Redone flour- 
ished beverul years after this nieetiug, in a vigorous old age. 



y I 




t I 



liVi I 






tlir Nrsior of linntors and ImckwctcMlsTiitMi ; (Uid diod, full (.f 
Hvlvjiii honor Mild renown, in l«l'^, in lii^ nint'ty-sccoiid yvar. 
' TIr' next nioniiiifj; t':iriy, iis tlic party wciv y«>t cncanipcd at 
the month of a Hiniill stirani, thoy wcro visited l»y another of 
those iieroes of tiie wihlenu'ss, one .loliii Colter, who had up. 
<>oini)anied Lewis and Clarke in their nieniorahle expedition. 
He had n-eently made oiw of those vast internal voya«i[es so 
eharaeteristie of this fearless elass of men. and of the imnuiise 
rejrions over whieh they hohl their lonely wanderinj,'s ; ha\ in^j 
coTne from the head-waters of the Missouri to St. Louis in a 
small canoe. This distance of three thousand miles he had ae- 
complished in thirty days. Colter kept witli the party all tlio 
morninj;. lie had many particulars to j^.e them coneernint,' 
the HIaekfeet Indians, a restless and predatory tril)e, who luul 
conceived an implacable hostility to the white men, in conse- 
quence of one of their warriors having' been killed by Capt.iin 
Lewis, while attempting to steal horses. Through the country 
infested I)y these savages the expedition would have to proeeeil, 
and Colter was urgent in reiterating the precautions that oiiLilit 
to be ol)served respecting them. He had himself experienee(l 
their vindictive cruelty, and his story deserves particular cita- 
tion, as showing the hair-breadth adventures to whieh thesu 
solitary rovers of the wilderness are exposed. 

Colter, with the hardihood of a regular trapper, had cast 
i.imself loose fioni the party of Lewis and Clarke in the vi ly 
heart of the wilderness, and had remained to trap beaver alone 
on the head-waters of the Missouri. Here In; fell in with an- 
other lonely trapper, like himself, named Potts, and they agreed 
to keep together. They were in the very region of the terrililc 
Blackfeet, at that time thirsting to revenge the death of tlieir 
companion, and knew that they had to expect no mere}' at tlieir 
hands. They were obliged to keep concealed all day in tiio 
woody margins of the rivers, setting their traps after nightfall, 
and taking them up before daybreak. It was running a fearful 
risk for the sake of a few beaver skins ; but such is the life of 
the trapper. 

They were on a branch of the Missouri called Jeflferson's 
Fork, and had set their traps at night, about six miles u[) a 
small river that emptied into the fork. Early in the morning 
they ascended the river in a canoe, to examine the traps. The 
banks on each side were high and perpendicular, and cast a 
shade over the stream. As they were softly paddling along, 
they heard the trampling of many feet ni)on tlu; banks. Colter 
immediately gave tlie alarm of ''Indians! " and was for in- 



4flnt PottH scoftod at liirn ff)r liciiin frij^litoiu'd l»y tin 
iiMiiipliii'j; "f .1 li('i<l of liiilTaltM's. Culler chcckod liis iiiicasi- 
iicsK. :iiiil |i:iil«llt'<l I'lHW.'ird. 'riicy li:nl not jioiu' iiuit-li rarllifi' 
when fiij^litt'iil \vliiH«|»s Mild yt'lls Itiirsl: forth fnmi chcIi muIi' of 
the river, ni'd several hundred Indians appeared on eitlier hank. 
Si<;?is were made to tlie unfortunate trap|)crs to eome on shore. 
riii'V were ol)liged to comply, llefore they eoiild get out of 
liL'ir canoes, a savH<j;e seized the rifle beloni^inf^ to I'otts. Col- 
Ut spraufi; on shore, wrested the weapon from the hands of tiie 
Indian, und restored it to his companion, vrho was still in the 
ciinoe, !ind innnediatoly pushed into the stream. There was 
)i sharp tw:in<i; of u bow, and I'otts cried out that he was 
wounded. Colter urjicd liim to come on shore and sul)mit, us 
his only chance for life; hut the other knew theiv was no pros- 
pect of mercy, and determined to «Jie jiame. levellinj^ his rille, 
lie shot one of tlu- sava<j;cs dead on the spot. The next moment 
lie fell himst'lf pierced with iiiinmicrable arrows. The ven- 
geance of the savages now turned upon Colter. He was stripped 
naked, and, having some knowledge of the Hlaekfoot lan;|uage, 
overheard a consultation as to the mode of despatching him, 
so as to derive the greatest amusement from his death. Some 
were for setting him up as a mark, and having a trial of skill 
at his expense. The chief, however, was for nobler sport. 
He seized Colter by the shoulder, and demanded if he could run 
fust. The unfortunate trapper was too well acquainted with 
Indian customs not to comprehend the drift of the question. 
He knew he was to run for his life, to furnish a kind of human 
hnnt to his persecutors. Though in reality he was noted among 
his brother hunters for swiftness of foot, he assured the chief 
tbat lie was a very bad runner. His stratagem gained him 
Bonie vantage ground. He was led ])y the chief into the i)iairic, 
about four hundred yards from the main body of savages, and 
then turncMl loose to save himself if he could. A tremendous 
yell let him know that the whole pack of bloodhounds were off 
in fidl cry. Colter Hew. rather than ran ; he was astonished at 
his own speed ; but hi' had six miles of prairie to traverse be- 
fore he should reach the Jefferson Fork of the Missouri ; how 
could he ho[)e to hold out such a distance with the fearful odds 
of several hundred to one against him ! The plain, too, abounded 
with the prickly pear, which wounded his naked feet. Still he 
fled on, dreading each moment to hear tiie twang of a bow, and 
to feel an arrow quivering at his heart. He did not even dare 
to look roimd, lest he siiould losi; an inch of that distance on 
which his life Uependud. Ue had ruu nearly half way across 



Ill ' 

(Ik- |.I:iiii wlicn tlic sound of pursuit pjrew sotnowluit fuintci, 
:iiiil lie vi'iiiiiicil l<> (urn his liciid. 'I'iic main liody of Iiis pm-. 
buers were :i (■■•nsidcrul'lc di liinco lu'liind ; sevi-ial of liu' fastest 
runners wcmv scaltcrod in Ur' advance; while a swift-fooiej 
warrioi. armed witii a spear, was not more Hum a Imndred 
yards Ix'liind liim. 

Insi)ired wilii new hope, Colter redoubled his exertions, but 
strainetl Iiimst'lf to such a degree that the bl. od gushed from 
his moutli and nostrils and streamed down iiis breast. IK- 
arrived witiiin a mile of the river. The sound of footsteps 
gathered ui)on him. A glance behind showed his iiursiiet 
within twenty yards, and preparing to his spear. Stop- 
[)ing short, he turned round and spread out his ai/ns. The 
savage, confounded by this sudden action, attempted to stop 
and hurl his spear, but fell in the very act. His spear stuck 
in the ground, and the shaft broke in his hand. Colter [)luekecl 
up the pointed part, i)inned the savage to the earth, and con- 
tii'ued his llight. The Indians, as they arrived at their slaugh- 
tered companion, stop[)ed to howl over him. Colter made the 
most of this i)recious delay, gained the skirt of cotton-wood 
bordering the river, dashed through it. and plunged into the 
stream. He swam to a neighboring island, against the U[)per 
end of which the driftwood had lodgeil in such (juantities as to 
form a natural raft; under this !ie dived, and swam below 
water (Uitil lie succeeded in getting a breathing place betwi'eu 
the Moating trunks of trees, whose l)ranches and bushes fornu'tl 
a covert several feet aI)ov(! the level of the water, lie had 
scarcely drawn breath afti'r all his toils, when he heai'd his pur- 
suers on the river bank, whooping and yelling like so many 
(lends. They plunged in the river, and swam to the raft. Tlu' 
heart of Colter almost died within hiiu as he saw them, througli 
the chinks of his concealment, passing and repassing, and seek- 
ing for him in all directi<;ns. They at length gave up the 
search, and he began to rejoice in his escape, when the idcii 
presented itself that they might set the raft on lire. Here was 
a new source of horrible apprehension, in which he remained 
until nightfall. Fortunately, the idea did not suggest itself to 
the Indians. As soon as it was chirk, linding by the silence 
around that his i)ursuers had departed. Colter dived jigain and 
came u^) beyond the raft. He then swam silently (itjwn the 
rivci' for a considerable distance, wlnui he hinchd. and ki'pt on 
all night, to get as far as possible from this dangennis neigh- 




l>y lutybieak ht had gained siitlieienl distance to relieve h 




from tlio terrors of liis savapfo fops ; lint now new sources of 
iiKinictinle prcsi-iilcd (IkmuscIvcs. He was naked and alone, iiv 
the Miidst of an unltonnded wilderness; his only chanc'i was to 
reach ;i tradinii post of the Missouri Company, situated on a 
Iiranch of the Yello' 'stone River. Even should he elude his 
pursuers, days must elapse l>efore he could reach this post, 
(lurins; which ho must traverse immense prairies destitute of 
shade, iiis naked body exposed to the burniiii^ heat of the snn 
by day, and the dews an(l chills of the night season ; and his 
feet lacerated by the thorns of the prickly i)ear. Though he 
inii^lit see game in abundance around him, he had no means 
of killing any for his sustenance, and must depend for food 
u[)()ii the roots of the earth. In defiance of these dilllculties he 
puslii'd resolutely forward, guiding himself in his trackless 
course by those signs and indications known only to Indians 
.'uid l)ackwoodsinen ; and after braving dangers and hardships 
enough to break down any spirit but that of a western pioneer, 
arrived safe at the solitary post in question.' 

Such is a saini)le of the rugged experience which Colter had 
to relate of savage life ; yet, with all these perils and terrors 
fresh in his recollection, he could not see the present band ou 
their way to those regions of danger and adventure, without 
feeling a vehement impulse to join them. A western trapper 
is like a sailor ; past hazards only stimulate him to further 
risks. Tile vast prairie is to the one wliat the ocean is to the 
other, a boundless field of enterprise and exploit. However he 
may have suffered in his last cruise, he is always ready to join 
a new expedition ; and the more adventurous its nature, the 
more attractive is it to his vagrant sp'rit. 

Nothing seems to have kei)t Colter from continuing with the 
parly to the shores of tlie Pacific bui the circumstance of his 
having recently married. All tlie morning he kept with them, 
lialan.'ing in his mind the charms of his bride against those of 
the Rocky Mountains ; the former, however prevailed, and 
after a '.narch of several miles, he took a reluctant leave of the 
travellers, and turned his face homeward. 

Contimiing their progress up the Missouri, the party en- 
camped, on the evening of the 21st of March, in the ucighbor- 
hooii of a little frontier village of French Creoles. Here Pierre 
Dorion met with some of his old comrades, with whom he had 
a long gossip, and returned to tlu; camp with rumors of bloody 
feuds between the Osages anil the loways, or Ayaways, Poto- 



> Brndbury. TiuvcU in America, p. 17> 

■ I 








watoinios, Sioux, and Sawkees. T^lood had already been shed, 
Hiitl scalps Neon tak(>n. A wa- i-arty, throe liiiixh-ed stn.iiir, 
weiv prowMiig in the iicigliborhood ; others inii>;ht he met with 
higher up the river; it behooved tiie travoHers, tlieiofore, tf) he 
upon their yiiard against rol)hcry or surprise, for an Indian war 
party on the uuircii is prone to acts of outr,ige. 

In consequence of this report, which was subseqrently con- 
firmed by further intelligence, a guard was kept up p1 night 
round the eneanii)nient, and they all slept on their arms. As 
tliey were sixteen in number, ano well supplied with weapons 
and ammunition, they trusted to be able to give any niarau<Ung 
party a warm reception. Is Jthing occurred, however, to nKjloist 
them on tlieir voyage, and on the Hth of April, they canu) in 
sight of Fort Osage. On their approach the Hag was hoist('(l 
on the fort, and they saluted it by a discharge of firearms. 
"SVithin a short distance of the fort was an Osage village, the 
inhabitants of whidi, men, women and children, thronged down 
to the water side to witness their landing. One of the llrst 
persons they met on the river ])auk was Mr. Crooks, who h;ul 
come down in a boat, with nine men, from the winter encamp- 
ment at Nodowa, to meet them. 

They remained at Fort Osage a part of three days, during 
which \hey were hospitably entertained at the garrison by Lieu- 
tenant Hrownson, who held a temporary command. They were 
regaled also \\ ith a war-feast at the village ; the Osage warriors 
having retuiiied fi'oni a successful foray against the lov/ays, 
in wliich tliey had taken seven scalps. These were paraded on 
))olo8 about the village, followed by the warriors decked out in 
all their savage ornaments, and hideously painted as if for 

liy the Osage warriors, Mr. Hunt and his companions were 
again warned to be on their guard in ascending the river, as tlie 
Sioux tribe meant to lay in wait and attack them. 

On the 10th of April they again embarked, their party being 
now augmented to twenty-six, by ihe addition of Mr. Crooks 
and his boat's crow. They had not proceeded far, however, 
when theie was a great outcry from one of tlu; boats ; it was 
occasioned by a little domestic discipline in the Dorion family. 
The .squaw of the worthy interpreter, it api)eare(l, had been .so 
delighted with the scalp-dance, and other fesiivities of the 
Osage village, that she had taken a strong inclination to remain 
there. Tiiis had been as strongly opi)osed l)y her liege lord, 
•'■iio hud eonipelled iier to embark. The good dame liad iv- 
mained sulky ever since, whereupon Pierre, seeing no olhir 








mode of exorcising the evil spirit out of her, and being, pcr- 
iiaps, a little inspired by whiskey, bad resorted to the Indian 
remedy of the cudgel, and, before his neighbors could interfere, 
had belabored her so soundly that there is no record of her 
having shown any refractory symptoms throughout the remain- 
der of the expedition. 

For a week they continued their voyage, exposed to almost 
incessant rains. The bodies of drowned buffaloes flouted past 
them in vast numbers ; many had drifted upon the shore, or 
against the npper ends of the rafts and islands. These had at- 
tracted great )lights of turkey-buzzards ; some were bantpieting 
on tlie carcasses, others were soaring far aloft in the sky, and 
others were perched on the trees, with their backs to the sun, 
and their wings stretched out to dry, like so many vessels in 
harbor, spreading their sails after a shower. 

The turkey-buzzard (vultur aura, or golden vulture), when 
on the wing, is one of the most specious and imposing of birds. 
il) flight in the upper regions of the air is really sublime, 
extending its immense wiugs, and wheeling slowly and majesti- 
cally to and fro, seemingly without exerting a muscle or flutter- 
ing a feather, but moving by mere volition, and sailing on the 
bosom of the air as a ship upon tiie ocean. Usurping the em- 
pyreal realm of the eagle, he assumes for a time the port and 
dignity of that majestic bird, and often is mistaken for him by 
ignorant crawlers upon earth. It is only when he descends 
from the clouds to pounce upon carrion that he betrays his low 
propensities, and reveals his caitiff character. Near at hand he 
is a disgusting bird, ragged in plumage, base in aspect, and of 
loathsome odor. 

On the 17th of April Mr. Hunt arrived with his party at the 
station near the Nodowa River, where the main body had been 
quartered during the winter. 


r A 


The weather continued rainy and ungenial for some days 
after I\Ir. Hunt's return to Nodowa ; yet spring was rapidly 
advancing and vegetation was putting ft)rth witii all its ciuly 
ficshnt'ss and beauty. The snakes began to recover from their 
tuipur and crawl forth into dsiy, and the neigiil>oiliood of the 
wintering house stieuis tu have been much iufusted with them. 

, ^.^f, 


' 4 


r'* ! 


B #' 

K ift 




1 ' 

w 'i 



til' ' 

i( f 



Mr. Bradbury, in the course of his botanical rcs' ircbcs, foiuifl 
a surprising number in a half torpid staU-, iiuiKr Hal stones 
upon the banks which overlning the cantonment, tMid nanowly 
escaped being struck by a rattlesnake, which darted at liim 
from a cleft in the rock, but fortunately gave him warning by 

its rattle. 

The pigeons too were filling the woods in vast migratory 
(locks. It is almost incredible to describe the prodigious tliglii^ 
of these birds in the western wildernesses. They appi'ar abso- 
hitely in r-louds, and move with astonisliing velocity, their wings 
making a whistling sound as they tly. Tlic rapid evolutions of 
these flocks, wheeling and shifting suddciily as if with one mind 
and one impulse; the Hashing changes of c<:lor they presenl. :is 
their backs, their breasts, or the under part of their wings arc 
turned to the spectator, are singularly pleasing. When tluy 
alight, if on the ground, they cover whole acres at a iinic; if 
upon trees, the branches often break beneath their w^i^lit. If 
suddenly startled while feeding in the midst of a furcb;, tiio 
noise they make in getting on the wing is like the roar of a cat- 
aract or tlie sound of distant thunder. 

A flight of this kind, like an Egyptian flight of locusts, de- 
vours every thing that scves for its food as it [lasses along. 
So great were the numbers in the vicinity of the camp tiial Mr. 
Uradbury, in the course of a morning's excursion, shot nearly 
three hundred with a fowling-piece. He gives a curious, though 
apparently a faithful, account of the kind of discipline ol)served 
in these immense flocks, so that each may have a chance of 
picking up food. As the front ranks must met with the great- 
est abundance, and the rear ranks must have scanty pickings, 
the instant a rank finds itseK the hindmost, it rises in the air. 
flies over the whole Hock, and takes its place in tin; advance. 
The next rank f(!l')ws in its course, and thus the last is con- 
tinually becomi g flrst, anU all by turns have a front [)lace at 
the ban(piet. 

The rain- liaving at length subsided, Mr. Hunt broke up the 
encampment and resumed liis course up the Missouri. 

'J'he party now consisted oi nearly sixt\ pi'rsons : of whom 
live were partners ; one, John Rei;d, was a clerk ; forty were 
Canadian "■ voyageurs," or '- emjades," and there were several 
hunters. They embarked in four boats, one of which was of a 
large size, mounting a swivel and two howJL/.t-rs. All weiv 
fiirnisluMl with masts and sails, to In- used when llu' wind 
siilliciently favorable and strong to overpower the cin-reiil ol 
the river. Such was the for the first lour or live d;(\^^ 

T- - 




wlu'ii tlicy were wafted steadily up the stream by a strong south- 


Their encampments at night were often pleasant and pictu- 
resque : on some beautiful ])ank beneatli spreading trees, wliicl) 
afforded them siielter and fuel. The tents were pitched, the 
fires made and the meals prepared by the voyageurs, and many 
a story was told, and joke passed, ifnd song sung, rouutl the 
evening lire. All, however, were asleep at an early hour. 
Some undei' the tents, others wrapi)ed in l»lankets befoi'c the 
fire, or beneath the trees ; and some few in the boats and canoes. 

On the L'<Sth they breakfasted on one of the islands which lie 
at llie mouth of the Nebraska or Platte Kiver. the largest tribu- 
tivry of the Missouri, and about six hundred miles above its 
continence with the Mississippi. This broad but shallow stream 
flows for an iunnense distance through a wide and verdant val- 
ley scooped out of boundless prairies. It draws its main sup- 
plies, by several forks or branches, from the Kocky Mountains. 
The mouth of this river is established as the dividing point be- 
tween the upper and lower Missouri ; and the earlier voyagers 
in their toilsome ascent, before the introdiiction of stean\boats, 
considered one half of their labors acconii)lislied when they 
reached this place. The passing of the mouth of the Nebraska, 
therefore, was equivalent among boatmen to the crossing of 
the line among sailors, and was celebrated with like ceremoni- 
als of a rough iv:.\ waggish nature, practised upon the unini- 
tiated ; among which was the old nautical joke of shaving. 
The deities, however, like those of the sea, were to be 
propitiated l)y a bribe, and the infliction of these rude honors 
to he parried by ;i treat to the adejtts. 

At the mouth of the Nebraska new signs were met with of 
war parties wliicli had recently been in the vicinity. There 
was the frame of a skin canoe, in which the warriors had 
traversed tlie river. At night, also, the lurul reflection of 
immense fires hung in the sky, showing the conflagration of 
great tracts of the prairies. Such fires not being made by 
liunters so late in the season, it was supposed they were caused 
by some wandering war parties. These often take the precau- 
tion to set the prairies on fire behind them to conceal their 
traces from their enemies. This is chiefly tlone when the 
party iias b(!en unsuccessful, and is on the; retreat and appre- 
hensive of |)iusuit. At such time it is not safe even f<jr 
fiiciiiis to fall in with them, as they are apt to ])e in sava|.':e 
liiiiiior, and disposed to vent their s|ileen in capricious out 
Those sigub, therefore, of u baud of marauders on thu 











prowl, called for some degree of vigilance on the part of the 


After i)a.s,sing the Nebraska, tiie party hailed for part of two 
days on tlie banlv of tlie river, a little above rapillion Crook, 
to siii)ply themselves with a stock of oars juid poli's fioni tlie 
tough wood of the ash, whicli is not met with iiiglicr up the 
Missouri. While the voyageurs were thus occupied, the natural- 
ists ranibled over tlie adjacent country to collect plants. From 
the summit of a range of bluffs on the opposite side of the 
river, about two hundred and lifty feet high, tiiey bad one of 
those vast and magnificent prospects which sometimes unfold 
themselves in these boundless regions. IJclow them was the 
valley of the Missouri, about seven miles in breadth, clad 
in the fresh verdure of spring : enamelled with tloweis and 
interspersed with clumps and groves of noble trees, I)et\vecu 
which the mighty river poured its turbulent and turl)id stream. 
The interior of the country i)resented a singular scene ; tiie 
immense waste being broken up by innumerable green hills, 
not above eighty feet in height, but extremely steep, and 
acutely pointed at their summits. A long line of bluffs 
extended for upward of thirty miles, parallel to the Missouri. 
with a shallow lake stretching along their base, which had 
evidently once formed a bed of the river. Tlie surface of 
this lake was covered with a(p<atic plants, on the broad leaves 
of which numbers of water-snakes, drawn forth by the gonial 
warmth of spring, were basking in tlie sunshine. 

On the 2d of I\Iay, at the usual hour of embarking, the 
camp was thrown into some confusion by twcj of the iiuntors, 
named Harrington, expressing their intention to abandon the 
expedition and return home. One of these had joinecl the 
party in the preceding autumn, having been hunting for two 
years on the Missouri ; the other had engaged at St. Louis, in 
the following March, and had come \\\} from thence with Mr. 
Hunt. He now declared that he had enlisted merely for the 
purpose of following his brother, and persuading him to re- 
turn ; having been enjoined to do so by his mother, whose 
anxiety had been awakened by the idea of his going on such a 
wild and distant expedition. 

The loss of two stark hunters and i)rime riflemen was a seri- 
ous affair to the party, for tliey were approaching the region 
where they might expect hostilities from the Sioux ; iiidicd, 
tiiroughout the wlnjle of their jierilous journey, the ser\ ices (jf 
! ucli iiu'U woiihl be :ill important, for little reliaiu.'e wiis to In' 
placed upon the valor of the Canadians in case of attack. Mi 

vur, with ce 




of two 

•oiii the 

lip the 



of the 

one of 

iviis the 
h, clad 
LTS and 
IK' ; the 
■n liills, 
lip, and I 
f bluffs 
ic'li hud 
•face of 
1 loaves 

ing, the 
(Ion the 
ni'd the 
fcji' two 
^onis, in 
■illi Mr. 
for the 
a to re- 
', whose 
I snch a 

^ a scri- 
[' I'c^iion ; 
vices of 
i.s lo I'l' 

k. Ml 

Hunt eutlo.'vv(»ro(l by {irfjuim nts, cxpoHtiilatioiis, and cntiva 
ties, to sliako tlio detcrniination of the two Ijrothcns. He 
iTpr(>Hent('(l to tliein Unit tlicy were lu'twci'ii six and scvcq 
liinidrcd miles uhovc the month of tlit; Missonri; tliiit tliey 
would have fonr lumdred miles to go before they eould reach 
the habitation of a white man, throughont which they would 
be exposed to all kinds of risks ; since he deehued, if they per- 
sisted in abandoning him and breaking their faith, he would 
not furnish them with a single round of ammunition. All was 
ill vain ; they obstinately persisted in their resolution ; where- 
upon INIr. Hunt, partly incited by indiguatio partly by the 
iwlicy of dcti'rring others fr<jm desertion, put his ihreat in execu- 
tion, and left them to fiud their way back to the settlements 
without, as he supposed, a single bullet or charge of powder. 

The boats now continued their slow and toilsome course for 
several days, against the current of the river. The late signs 
of roaming war parties caused a vigilant watch to be kept up 
at night when the crews encamped on shore ; nor was this 
vigilance superfluous ; for on the night of the seventh "nstaut 
there was a wild and fearful yell, and eleven Sioux warriors, 
stark naked, with tomahawks in their hands, rushed into the 
eamp. They were instantly surrounded and seized, vvl)ere- 
upon their le^uler called out to his followers to desist from any 
violence, and pretended to be perfectly pacific in his inten- 
tions. It proved, however, that the}' were a part of the war 
party, the skeleton of whose canoe had b^-cn seen at the mouth 
of the river Platte, and the reflection of whose fires had been 
descried in the air. They had been disappointed or defeated 
in their foray, and in their rage and mortification these eleven 
warriors had " devoted their clothes to the medicine." This is 
a desperate act of Indian braves when foiled in war, and in 
dread of scoffs and sneers. In such case they sometimes throw 
ol! their clothes and ornaments, devote themselves to the Great 
Spirit, and attempt some reckless exploit with wdiich to cover 
their disgrace. Woe to any defenceless party of white men 
that may then fall in their way ! 

Such was the explanation given by Pierre Dorion, the half- 
breed interpreter, of this wild intrusion into the camp ; and 
the party were so exasperated when apprised of the sanguinary 
intentions of the prisoners, that they were for shooting them 
on the spot. Mr. Hunt, however, exerted nis usual nuHlera 
tion and humanity, and ordered that they should be conveye;! 
across the river in one of the l)oals, threatening theni. how- 
"ver, with certain deatli, if again caujjht in any hostile act. 

: lil i! 

I »' 



i<l i '( 




On the 10th of May Hie p.-irfy jinived at the Omaha (pro 
uuiiufod Oiiitiwliaw) villain!, iihoiil eight humlrcd juid Uiirtj 
miles above Hie mouth of tlic ^Missouri, aud encampetl in iu 
neighltoibood. The village was situated under a hill on tliu 
baifk of the river, aud consisted of about eighty lodges. These 
were of a circular and conical form, and about sixteen feot iu 
diameter; being mere tents of dressed buffalo skins, sewed 
together and stretched on long poles, inclined toward each 
othir so as to cross at alunit half their height. Thus the naked 
tops of tiie poles diverge in such a manner that, if they were 
covered with skin3 like the lower ends, the tent would be shaped 
like ail hour-glass, and present the appearance of one coue 
inverted on the apex of another. 

The forms of Indian lodges are worthy of attention, each 
tribe having a different mode of shaping and arranging them, 
80 that it is easy to tell, on seeing a lodge or an encampment 
at a distance, to what tribe the inhabitants belong. The ex- 
terior of the Omaha lodges have often a gay aud fanciful 
appearance, being i)ainted with undulating bands of red or 
yellow, or decoratetl with rude figures of horses, deer, and 
buffaloes, and with human faces, painted like full moons, four 
and five feet broad. 

The Omahas were once one of the numerous and powerful 
tribes of the prairies, vying in warlike might and prowess 
witli the Sioux, the Pawnees, the Sauks, the Konzas, and the 
latans. Their wars with the Sioux, however, had thinned 
their rauks, and the smallpox in 1802 had swept off two thirds 
of their number. At the time of Mr. Hunt's visit they still 
boasted about two hundred warriors and hunters, but they are 
now fast meltiug away, and before long will be numbered 
among those extinguished nations of the west that exist but iu 

In his correspondence with Mr. Astor, from this point of his 
journey, Mr. Hunt gives a sad account of the Indian tribes 
bordering on the river. They were in continual war with each 
other, aud their wars were of the most harassing kind ; con- 
sisting, not merely of main conflicts and expeditions of mo- 
ment, iuvolving the sackings, burnings and massacres of towns 
and villages, but of individual acts of treachery, nuirder, aud 
cold-blooded cruelty; or of vaunting aud fool hardy exploits 
of single warriors, either to avenge some personal wrong, or 
gain the vainglorious trophy of a scalp. The lonely hunter, 
the wandering wayfarer, the poor squaw cutting wood or 
gatiieriug corn, was liable to [:.■ , 11411 ised and slaughtered. Iu 

r 10111 this til 




llii-^ way li i''M wore cither swept nwiiy at once, or <j;riuliially 
Ihiiiiieil <iiil. :ni(l savajj;," lite was .siiiiomided vvitli eoiisUint 
'nil rois and alarms. 'I'hal llie race tjf red men sliould diinlu- 
isli troiii year lo year, and so few sliould survive of tlie nuiner- 
)iis iKiLiuus wliieli evidently once peopled the vast regions of 
'lie west, is notliinij; surprising ; it is rather matter of surprise 
lull so many sliould survive ; for the existence of a savage iu 
Uk'SC parts seems little better than a prolcjuged and all-besetting 
(Ifalli. It 1*^1 hi fact, a caricature of the boasted romance of 
feiul:il tinii's; chivalry in its native and uncultured state, unci 
kiiiuht-eirantry run wild. 

Ill their more |)rosperous days, the Omahas looked upon 
tiuiiiselves as the most powerful and perfect of human beings, 
tiiid considered all created things as made for their peculiar use 
ami heiielit. It is this tribe of whose chief, the famous Wash- 
iinv.(^iili-sah-ba, or Blackbird, such savage and romantic stories 
are tokl. lie had ilied about ten years previous to the arrival 
of Mr. Hunt's party, but his name was still mentioned with 
awe by his people, lie was one of the (list among the Indian 
tliiefs on the Missouii to deal with the white traders, and 
showed great sagacity in Ic, ying his royal dues. "When a 
trader arrived in his village, he caused all his goods to be 
brought into his lodge aiul opened. From these he selected 
v/lialover suited his sovereign pleasure — blankets, tobacco, 
wliiskoy, powder, ball, beads, and led paint — and laid the 
articles on one side, without deigning to give any compensa- 
tion. Then calling to him his herald or crier, be would order 
liim to mount on top of the lodge and summon all the tribe to 
bring in their peltries, and trade with the white man. The 
lodge would soon be crowded with Indians bringing bear, 
beaver, otter, and other skins. No one was allowed to dispute 
the prices fixed by the white trader upon his articles, who 
took care to indemnify himself five times over for the goods 
sot apart by the chief. In this way the Blackbird enriched 
hiinself, and enriched the white men, and became exceedingly 
popular among the traders of the Missoui'i. His peojjle, how- 
mor, w(!re not equally satisfied by a legulalion of trade which 
worked so manifestly against them, and begin to show signs 
of discontent. Upon this a crafty and unprincipled trader 
revealed a secret to the Blackbird, by which he might acijuire 
uiiboiiiided sway over his ignorant and superstitious subjects. 
Ih; instrueled him in the poisonous qualities of arsenic, and 
fiiniislied him with an ample supply of that baneful ding 
From this time tlie Blackbiitl sceiiud endowed with : iiper- 



I ■ 

; t J: 

I' !l 





iiatunil powors, <<> possess tlir <j;ift of prophecy, an<l to hold 
the disposal of life and denth within his hands. Woo to anv 
one; wh(» qut'stioncd his authority, or (hired to dispute his coni. 
niand.s ! Ihe Hhieiihird propiiesied his deatli witliin a ct'itjiiu 
time, and he iiad the secret means of verifying? Iiis propliL-oy. 
Witiiin the fated period the otTender was smitten with straiiire 
and sud(h'n disease, and perislied from the face of the eurth. 
Everv one stood aj,dmst at these multiplied examples of hiij 
superliunian niight, and dreaded to displease so omnipotent 
and vindietiv" a iieinj;; and the Blackbird enjoyed a wide ami 
undisputed sway. 

It was not, however, by terror alone that he ruled his pco- 
pie ; he was a warrior of the llrst order, and his exploits in 
arms were the theme of young and old. His career had begun 
by hardships, having been u<,ken prisoner l)y the Sioux, in 
early youth. Uider his command the Omahas obtained great 
character for military prowess, nor did he permit an insult or 
injury to one of his tribe to pass unrevenged. The Pawnee 
republicans had inflicted a gross indignity on a favorite and 
distinguisiied Omaha brave. The Blackbird assembled his war- 
riors, led tliem against the Pawnee town, attacked it with 
irresistible fury, slaughtered a great number of its inhabitants, 
and burnt it to the ground. lie waged fierce and bloody war 
against the Ottoes for many years, until peace was effected 
between them by the mediation of the whites. Fearless in 
battle, and fond of signalizing himself, he dazzled his followers 
by daring acts. In attacking a Kanza village, he rode singly 
round it, loading and discharging his rifle at the inhabitants as 
he galloped past them. He kept up in war the same idea of 
mysterious and supernatural power. At one time, when pur- 
suing a war-party, by their tracks across the prairies, he 
repea^^^-^dly discharged his rifle into the prints made by their 
feet and by the hoofs of their horses, assuring his followers 
that he would thereby cripple the fugitives, so that they would 
easily be overtaken. He in fact did overtake them, and de- 
stroyed them almost to a man ; and his victory was considered 
miraculous, both by friend and foe. Hy these and siinilur 
exploits, he made himself the pride and boast of his peojili'. 
and became popular among tluuu, notwithstanding his dealli- 
denouncing liat. 

With all his savage and tenilic qualities, he was sensible cf 
tlie power of female beauty, tmd capMble of love. A war party 
of the Ponoas had mad • :i loray into th' lands of the Omalias, 
aud carried off a number of wguien auu iiursea. The lilack- 

■•X^ — '^^;»^«-^ 



bird was ronaod to fury, and took the floM with nil his braves, 
swearing to " ejit up the Ponca nsitioii " — the IikUjim tlucjit of 
cxtcrmiiiiatinjj; war. The I'oncas, sorely pressed, tooli refuge 
boliiml a rude bulwark of earth ; but the liluekbird kept up so 
galling a lire that he. seemed likely to exeeute his menace. In 
their extremity they sent forth a herald, bearing tlie ealumet 
or pipe of peace, but he was shot down by order of the IJlaek- 
bird. Another herald was sent forth in similar guise, but he 
shared a like fate. The Ponea chief then, as a last hope, 
arrayed his beautiful daughter in her finest ornaments, and 
sent her forth with a calumet, to sue for peace. The charms of 
the Indian maid touched the stern heart of the Blackbird ; he 
accepted the pipe at her hand, smoked it, and from that time 
a peace took place between the Poncas and the (Jmahas. 

This beautiful damsel, in all probability, was the favorite 
wife whose fate makes so tragic an incident in tlie story of the 
Blackbird. Her youth and beauty had gained an absolute 
sway over his rugged heart, so that he distinguished her above 
all his other wives. The habitual gratification of his vindictive 
impulses, however, had taken away from him all mastery over 
his passions, and rendered him liable to the most furious trans- 
ports of rage. In one of these his beautiful wife had the mis- 
fortune to offend him, when suddenly drawing his knife, he laid 
her dead at his feet with a single blow. 

In an instant his frenzy was at an end. He gazed for a 
time in mute bewilderment upon his victim ; then drawing his 
buffalo robe over his head, he sat down beside the corpse, and 
remained brooding over his crime and his loss. Three days 
elapsed, yet the chief continued silent and motionless ; tasting 
no food, and apparently sleei)less. It was apprehended that 
he intended to starve himself to death ; his people approached 
him in treral)ling awe, and entreated him once more to un- 
cover his face and be comforted ; but he remained unmoved. 
At length one of his warriors brought in a small child, and 
laying it on the ground, placed the foot of the Blackl)ird upon 
its neck. The heart of the gloomy savage was touched by this 
appeal ; he threw aside his robe ; made an liarangue upon what 
he had done ; and from that time forward seemed to have 
thrown the load of grief and remorse from his mind. 

He still retained his fatal and mysterious secret, and with it 
his terrific power; but, though able to deal death to liis ene- 
mies, Im could not avert it from liimself or his friends. h\ 
1H(J2 the smallimx, that di-eiull'iil pv'slikiuce, which swept o\cr 
the land like a lire over the prairie, made its appearance in the 

'■ ! 






1 1 

villapc of the Omiihas. Tlio poor sfivjifjoa bow witli diHinny fhi< 
ravuj^cs of Ji nmlady, loatlisoiiK? and a<,'(>iii/,iii;^' in its tji'tuils, 
and which hoI tho nkill and cxiK-riciic'c of their conjuivrs :iih1 
medicine men at ddiance. In a littU; while two thirds of t|,o 
popnhition were swept from the face ()f the eaith, iiiid tju; 
doom of the rest seemed sealed. The stoicism of the wiiniois 
was at au eml ; they became wild and des|K'ratc ; hoiik; set 
fire to the viUage as a hist means of ciicckinji; liie pc^til •nee; 
others, in a frenzy of despair put tlieir wives and ciiildrni to 
deatli, that they might be spared tlie agonies of an ineviluble 
disease, and that tiiey miglit all go to some better country. 

When the general lK)rror and dismay was .-it its lu-iuhl. [\w 
Blackbird himself was struck down with the malady. 'l"hc poor 
savages, when they saw their chii'f in danger, forgot iluir 
own miseries, and surrounded his dying lu'd. His dniiiinaiit 
spirit, and his love for the white men, were evinced in his hitcst 
breath, with which he designated his place of scpuliiuc. It 
was to be ou a hill or promontory, ujtward of four hundud fcut 
in height, overlooking a great extent of tiie ."Missouri, from 
whence he had beeu accustomed to watch for tlu; barks of tiic 
white men. The Missouri washes the base of the promontory, 
ami after winding and doubling in many links und ina/.cs in 
the plain below, returns to within nine hundred y.ards of its 
starting place ; so that for thirty miles navigating witii sail ami 
oar, the voyager fmds himself continually near to this singular 
promontory as if spell-bound. 

It was the dying command of the Hlackl)ird that his tomb 
should be upon the summit of this hill, in which he should Ik; 
interred, seated ou his favorite horse, that he migiit over- 
look his ancient domain, and ' ehold the barks of the while 
men as they came up the river to trade with his |)eople. 

His dying orders were faithfully obeyed. His corpse was 
placed astride of his war-steed, and a mound raised ovit llii'in 
on the summit of the hill. Ou top of the mound was erectt'd a 
staff, from which fluttered the banner of the chieftain, and tk' 
scalps that he had taken in battle. When the expedition 
under Mr. Hunt visited that part of the country, the stall" still 
remained with the fragments of the banner ; and the super- 
stitious rite of placing food from time to time on the mound, 
for the use of the deci'ased, was still observed l»y the Onialias. 
That rite has since fallen into disuse, for the tribe itself is 
almost extmet. Yet the hill of the lUackbi'tl continues an 
object of veneration to the wandering savage, and a landmark 
to the voyager of the Missouri ; and as the civilized traveller 



comes within sijrlit of its spcll-lioiind cicHt, tlio ni«>im<l is 
noiiitod out to iiiiii from :ifur, wiiicli still ciiclosi's the jfrim 
•kcletuus uf the iiuliuu wunior and hi» hurse. 


Willi. K Mr. Hunt tiiul hi.s piiity were sojourniti<j at the vill.ipfo 
of tlu! OniJilr.i.s, tliii'f Sioux liidiaiis of tlu' YiinlUoii Alma tribe 
arrivi'd. l)riii<^in^ unpU-iisaiit iiiti'llijj,('iiee. 'I'licv reported that 
certain hands of the Sioux Ttstons, \vl:o inhai)ited a re<fioii 
iiKUiy leajiues farther up the Missouri, were near at iiaiul, 
!i\vaitin<; tlieapproaeii of tlie party, with the avownl intention of 
opposiii}? their proj^ress. 

The Sioux Tetons were at that time a sort of jjirates of the 
MiHsunri, who eonsidered tlu' wrll-fri'i<i;hted l)arl\ of tiie AiiK-ri- 
c:iii trader fair <j;anic. Thi-y had their own trallie with the 
British nierehants of the Tiorthwest, who ltrou<i;iit tlietii it'jfuhir 
supplies of merchandise by way of the ri'.i'r St. I'l-ti-r. IW-iiig 
thus iiKh'peiuk'iit of tiie Missouri tra(U'rs for their supplies, 
they kept no terms with them, hut plundered them whenever 
they had an opportunity. It has been insinuated that they 
wore proinptetl to these outrajjes by the IJritish merchants, who 
wished to keep otT all rivals in the Indian trade ; but others 
allege another motive, and one savorinji; of a deeper policy. 
The Sioux, by their inter('(Mirse with the Uritish traders, had 
acquired the use of lirearms, which had <ii;iven them vast supe- 
riority over other tril)es hi^lier up the Missouri. They had 
made themselves also, in a manner, factors for the upper tribes, 
supplyiii*^ them at second hand, and at j^rreatly advanced prices, 
with <!;t)0(ls derived from the white men. The Sioux, therefore, 
saw with jealousy the American traders pushin<f their way up 
the Missouri ; foreseeing that the upper triiu's would thus be re- 
lieved from all depeiuh'iice on them for supplies ; nay, 
was worse, would be furnished with lirearms, and elevated into 
fonnidaltle rivals. 

We have already alluded to a case in which Mr. Crooks and 
Mr. M'Lellan had l)een interrupted in a trading voyage by these 
riiliians of the river, and, as it is in some degree coiuicctiHl with 
eireuuistaiices hereafter to be related, we sliall specify it more 

About two years before the time of which we are treating, 




•W' ■ 

if:'' : 'I 

Kill', 1 1 

1 1 I 

t i 


i 1! 

Crooks and M'Lellan were ascending the river in boats with a 
party of about forty men. hound on one of their tradinjf expe- 
ditioDS to the upper tribes. In one of the bends of the river, 
where the channel made a deep curve under impendinji bank^, 
they suddenly heard yells and shouts above them, and bi'lu'lc, 
the cliffs overhead covered with armed savages. J I was a band 
of Sioux warriors, upward of six hundred strong. They bran- 
dished their weapons in a menacing maimer, and ordered the 
boats to turn back and land lower tlowu the river. There was 
no disputing these commands, for they had the power to shower 
destruction upon the white men, without risk to themselves. 
Crooks and M'Lellan, therefore, turned back with feigned alac- 
rity ; and, landing, had an interview with the Sioux. The 
latter forbade them, under pain of exterminating hostility, from 
uctemptiug to proceed up the river, but offered to trade peace- 
fully with them if they vould livlt where they were. The party, 
being principally composed of voyageurs, was too weak to con- 
tend with so superior a force, and one so easily augmented; 
they pretended, therefore, to comply cheerfully with their arhi- 
trary dictation, and immediately proceeded to cut down tiees 
and erect a trading house. The warrior band dei)arted for their 
village, which was about twenty miles distant, to collect objects 
of traffic ; they left six or eight of their number, however, to 
keep watch upon the white men, and scouts were coutinually 
passing to and fro with intelligence. 

Mr. Crooks saw that it would be impossible to prosecute his 
voyage without tlie danger of having his bo:<«s plundered, ami 
a great part of his men massacred ; he determined, however, 
not to be entirely frustrated in the objects of his expedition. 
While he continued, therefore, with great apparent earnestness 
and assiduity, the construction of the trading house, he de- 
spatched the hunters and trappers of his i)arty in a canoe, lo 
make their way up the river to the original place of destination. 
there to busy tliemselves in trapping and collecting peltries, and 
to await his arrival at some future period. 

As soon as the detachment had had sufllcient time to ascend 
beyond the hostile country of the Sioux, Mr. Crooks suddenly 
broke up his feigned trading esta))lishment, embarked his men 
and effects, and after giving the astonished rear-guard of sav- 
ages a galling and indignant message to take to their coniitry- 
down the river with all snee 



nor paddle, day nor night, until fairly beyond the swoup of 


e liver 




the irritatiou of Messrs. Crooks aud M'LeJ- 

Inn nt this morl 
information thi 
Sioux, it is saic 
Miiniiel Lisa, I 
Kiir Company, 
true or false, s 
swore, if ever 1 
would shoot hii 
uiiison with the 
[trevak'iit beyom 
If Crooks and 
conduct of the S 
sinned, those frt 
I outwitted by th( 
lated gains, and 
hostile against t 
^'* thiit tliese gentle 
All tliese cam 
possililc from tJK 
intimidated ; it v 
hroucht by the 
sultjects of gos 
Oniahas, too, on 
that two men ha( 
of Sioux. This 
cited. The voyr 
m.' warriors statione 
would he expose 
j; hordes, who won 
tlieir encampmen 
rather than figh' 
tlu'ough the coi 
three men deser 
was supplied by 
who were prevai 
liberal pay, and 
The irresolutic 
I people, arising a 
?' desertions which 
and within reach 
of Mr. Hunt, ai 
li'.'ive a lio.stile fri 
U) return tis to kc 




lan fit this mortifying check to their gainful enterprise, was the 
infoniiiition that a rival trader was at the bottom of it ; tiie 
Sioux, it is saitl, iiu' " g been instigated to this outrage by Mr. 
.Mmiiik'I Lisa, the leading partner and agent of the Missouri 
Fur Coiiipany, already mentioned. This intelligence., whelluT 
true or false, so roused the fiery temi)or of M'Lcllan, that he 
swore, if ever he fell in with Lisa in the Indian country, he 
would shoot him on the spot ; a mode of redress perfectly in 
uiii.son with the character of the man, and the code of houoi 
picvalont beyond the frontier. 

If Crooks and M'Lelhm had been exasperated by the insolent 
conduct of the Sioux Tetons, and the loss which it had occa- 
sidiicd, those freebooters had been no less indignant at being 
outwitted by the white men, and disappointed of their antici- 
nalod pains, and it was apprehended they would be particularly 
hoj'tile arjainst the present expedition, when they should learn 
thill thfse gentlemen were engaged in it. 

All those causes of uneasiness were concealed as much as 
nossiltlc from the Canadian voyageurs, lest thoy should become 
intimidated ; it was impossible, however, to prevent the rumors 
brought by the Indians from leaking out, and they became 
biilijccts of gossiping and exaggeration. The chief of the 
Oiiialias, too, on returning from a hunting excursion, reported 
that two men had been killed some distance above liy a band 
of Sioux. This added to the fears that already began to be ex- 
cited. The voyageurs pictured to themselves bands of fierce 
warriors stationed along each bank of the river, by whom they 
would he exposed to be shot down in their boats ; or lurking 
hordes, who would set on them at night, and massacre them in 
their encampments. Some lost heart, and proposed to return, 
rather than fight their way, and, in a manner, run the gantlet 
through the country of these piratical marauders. In fact, 
three men deserted while at this village. Luckily, their place 
was supplied by three other:: who happened to be there, and 
who were prevailed on to join the expedition by i)romises of 
liberal pay, and by being fitted out and equipped in complete 

The irresolution and discontent visible among some of his 
people, arising at times almost to mutiny, and the occasional 
(losertions which took place while thus among friendly tribes, 
and within reach of the frontiers, added greatly to the anxieties 
of Mr. Hunt, and rendered liim eager to press forward and 
i leave a hostile ti-act Ixdnnd him, so that it would !« as perilous 
to retiun as to keep ou, and no one would dare to desert. 


h : 

' ! •»' 



i ■- '' 







Accordingly on the 15th of May he departed from the village 
of the Oinahas and set forward toward the country of tho for. 
raiduulc Sioux Tetons. For the lirst live days they had a fair 
and fresh breeze, and the boats made good progress. Tiie 
wind then came ahead, and the river beginning to lisc, hikI to 
increase in rapidity, betokened the commencement of the uu. 
nual flood, caused by the melting of the snow on the Rocky 
Mountains, and the vernal rains of the upper praij-ies. 

As they were now entering a region where foes might he 
lying in wait on either bank, it was determined, in hunting for 
ganie, to confine themselves i)rincipally to the islands, which 
sometimes extend to considerable length, and are beautifully 
wooded, affording abundant pasturage and shade. On one of 
these they killed three buffaloes and two elks, and, halting on 
the edge of a beautiful prairie, made a sumi)tuous hunter's re. 
past. They had not long resumed their boats and pulled along 
the river banks, when they descried a (ianoc, nuvi- 
gated by two men, whom, to their surprise, tliey ascertained to 
be white men. They proved to be two of those sliange and 
fearless wanderers of the wilderness, the trappers. Their 
names were Benjamin Jones and Alexander Carson. They had 
been for two years past hunting and trapping near the head of 
the Missouri, and were thus floating for thousands of miles in a 
cockle-shell down a turbulent stream, through regions infested 
by savage tribes, yet apparently as easy and unconcerned as if 
navigating securely in the midst of civilization. 

The acquisition of two such hardy, experienced, and daunt- 
less hunters was peculiarly desirable at the present moinenl. 
They needed but little persuasion. The wihlerness is the home 
of the trapper ; like the sailor, he cares but little to wiiioh point 
of the compass he steers ; and Jones and Caison readily aban- 
doned their voyage to St. Louis and turned their faces toward 
the Rocky Mountains and the Pacii.o. 

The two naturalists, Mr. Bradbury and Mr. Nuttall, who liad 
joined the expedition at St. Louis still accompanied it, and 
pursued their researches on all occasions. Mr. Nuttall seems 
to have been exclusively devoted to his scientific pursuits. He 
was a zealous botanist, and all his enthusiasm was awal<ened 
at beholding a new world, as it were, opening upon him in the 
boundless prairies, clad in the vernal and variegated lolie of 
unknown flowers. Whenever th(! boats landed at nu'ul times, 
or for any temporary purpose, he would spiing on slioic, and 
set out on a himt for new specimens. Kvery [)hint or flower of 
a rare or unknown species was eagerly beizeil as u prize. Du 



licrhted with the treasures spreading themselves out before him, 
he went groping and stumbling along among a wilderness of 
sweets, forgetful of every thing but his immediate pursuit, and 
liiid often to be sought after when the l)oats were about to re- 
sume their eourse. At such times he would be found far off in 
the piairies, or up the course of some petty stream, laden tvitb 
plants of all kinds. 

TIio Canadian voyageurs who are a class of people that know 
nothing out of their immediate line, and with constitutional 
levity make a jest of any thing they cannot understand, were 
extremely puzzled by this passion for collecting what they 
considered mere useless weeds. When they saw the worthy 
botanist coming back heavy laden with his specimens, and 
treasuring them ui) as carefully as a miser would his hoard, 
the}' used to make merry among themselves at his expense, re- 
garding him as some whimsical kind of madman. 

Mr. Bradbury was less exclusive in his tastes and habits, and 
combined the hunter and sportsman with the naturalist. He 
took his rifle or his fowling-piece with him in his geological re- 
searches, conformed to the hardy an rugged habits of the men 
around him, and of course gained fa\or in their eyes. He had 
a strong relish for incident and adventure, was curious in ob' 
serving savage manners and savage life, and ready to join any 
hunting or other excursion. Even now, that the expeditnon 
was proceeding through a dangerous neighborhood, he could 
not check his proi)ensity to rambk. Having observed, on the 
evening of the '22d of May, that the river ahead made a great 
bend vvliich would take up the navigation of the following day, 
he determined to i)rofit by the circumstance. On the morning 
of the 2:kl, therefore, instead of embarking, he filled his shot- 
pouch with parched corn, for provisions, and set off to cross 
the neck on foot and meet the boats in the afternoon at tho 
opposite side of the bend. Mr. Hunt felt uneasy at his ventur- 
ing thus alone, and reminded him that he was in an enemy's 
country ; but Mr. Bradbury made light of the danger, and 
started off cheerily ui)on his ramble. His day was passed 
pleasantly in traversing a beautiful tract, making botanical 
and geological researches, and observing the habits of an exten- 
sive villagi' of prairie dogs, at which he made several ineffectual 
shots, without considering the risk he run of atti'acting the 
attention of any savages tliat might be lurking in tlu' neighbor- 
hood. In fact he had totally forgotten the Sioux 'I'etons, and 
all the other perils of the country, when, about the middle of 
tlie afteraoou, as he stood uear the river bank, and was looking 

il ' 



h .' 


out for the boat, he suddenly felt a hand hiid on his shoulder 
Starting and turning round, he beheld a naked savage with a 
bow bent, and the arrow pointed at lii.s breast. In an instant 
his gun was levelled and his hand upon the loek. The Indian 
drew his bow still farther, but forl)ori' to launch the shaft. Mr. 
Bradbury, with admirable presenec of mind, reflected that the 
savage, if hostile in his intents, would have shot him without 
giving him a chance of defence ; he paused, therefoiv, and held 
out his hand. The other took it in sign of friendship, and de- 
manded iu the Osage language whether he was a Big Knife, or 
Amerieau. He answered in the ainrmalive, and iiujuired 
whether the other were a Sioux. To his great relief he found 
that he was a Pouca. By this time two other Indians came 
running up, and all three laid hold of Mr. Bradbury and 
seemed disposed to compel him to go off with them among the 
hills. He resisted, and sitting down on a sand-hill, contrived 
to amuse them with a pocket compass. When the novelty of 
this was exhausted, they again seized him, but he now pro- 
duced a small microscope. This new wonder again fixed the 
attention of the savages, who have far more curiosity than it 
has been the custom to allow them. While thus engaged one 
of them suddenly leaped ui) and gave a warv.hoop. Tlie hand 
of the hardy naturalist was again on his gun, and he was pre- 
pared to make battle, when the Indian pointed down the river 
and revealed tlie true cause of his yell. It was the mast of one 
of the boats appearing above the low willows which bordered 
the stream. Air. Bradbury felt inlinitely relieved Jjy the sight. 
The Indians on their part now showed signs of apprehension. 
and were disposed to run away ; but he assured them of good 
treatment and something to drink if they would accompany 
him on board of the l)oats. They lingered for a time, but dis- 
appeared before the boats came to land. 

On the following morning they aj)peared at the cami) accom- 
panied by several of their tribe. AVith them came also a white 
man, who announced himself as a messenger bearing missives 
for Mr. Hunt. In fact he brought a letter from Mr. Manuel 
Lisa, partner and agent of the Missouri Fur Company. As 
has already been mentioned, this gentleman was going in seaieh 
of Mr. Henry and his party, who had l)een dislodged from thc^ 
forks of the Missouri by the Blackfeet Indians, and had sliifted 
his post somewhere beyond tiie Rocky Mountains. 31 r. Lisa 
had le.t St. Louis three; weeks after Mr. limit, and havinj; 
heard of the hostile intentions of the Sioux, had madi' *iie 
greatest exertions to overtake him, that they might pass tluoi <,^h 



the (lai)U*'n>iis pfirt of llit> river t()<j('lh('r. lie Ii.'ul twenty stout 
ojir.sineii in I'is^ serviee, mikI tliey plicl Uieii' ours so vij!,oroiisly 
tliut ho had reached (he Omaha vilhi^e just Tour days after the 
(1( iiarture of Mr. Hunt. From this place lie despatehe, Iho 
iiR'Sseiiifer ill (iiiestion, trusting to his overtaking the liaiges as 
they toiled uji against thi' stream, and were delayed by the 
.viiidiiiU'^ "' t''<^' ■i^'i^'i"' I'he purport of his letter was to entreat 
Mr. limit to wait until he eould come up witii him, that they 
miiilit unite their foives and he a protection to each other in 
tlu'ir perilous course through the country of the Sioux. In fact, 
as it was afterwards ascertaiiied, Lisa was apprehensive that 
Mr. Hunt would do him some ill otlice with the Sioux l)ands, 
soeiiring his own passage through their country by i)retendiiig 
that he with whom they wow accustomed to trade was on his 
way to them with a plentiful siipi)ly of goods. He feared, too, 
timt Cnjoks and M'Lelhin would take this oppoitunity to retort 
upon him the [jeri'idy wiiich they accused him of having used, 
two years previously, among these vei'y Sioux. In this respect, 
however, lie did tliein signal injustice. There was no such 
thing as covert design or treacliery in their thought; but 
M'Lellan, when he heard that Lisa was on his way up the 
river, renewed his open threat of shooting him the momeiit he 
met liiin on Indian laud. 

The reiireseiivations made by Crooks and IM'Lellan of the 
tivaeliery they had experienced, or fancied, on the part of Lisa, 
had great weigiit with Mr. Hunt, especially when he recollected 
the olistacli's that had l)een thrown in his own way liv that 
geiilleman at St. I^oiiis. He tloubtcd, tlierelbre, the fair deal- 
ings of Lisa, and feared that, should they enter the Sioux 
country together, the latter might make use of his inlluence 
witli tliat trilte. as he had in the case of Crooks and M'Lellan, 
and instigate lliem to opj ■ ;' his pi'ogress up tiie river. 

lie sent back, tiierefijie, an answer calculated to lieguile 
Lisa, assuring him that he would wait for him at the I'oneas 
village, which was but a litth; distance in advance ; but no 
sooner had the messenger di'parted, than he pushed forward 
wilii all diligence. Iiarely stopping at the village to procure a 
supply of dried biitfalo iiK'al . and iiastening to h'ave the other 
parly as far ln'hind as possible, thinking there was less to be 
ap|i!vhendeil from the open hosiility of Indian foes than fn^iu 
the (juiet stiat,egy of an Indian trader. 




II ' M 


It was about noon when the party loft the Toneas viHairp, 
about a league beyond which they passed the uioutli of the 
Quieourt, or Rapid River (called, in the original French, rjuin 
Qui Court). After having proceeded some distance lartlior, 
they landed, and encamped for the night. In the evenliig 
camp the voyageurs gossiped, as usual, over the events of the 
day, and especially over int^'lligence picked up among the I'un 
cas. These Indians had confirmed the previous reports of Uie 
hostile intentions of the Sioux, and had assured them that live 
tril)es, or bands, of that lierce nation were actually assembled 
higher up the river, and waiting to cut them f>ff. This even- 
ing gossip, and the terrific stories, of Indian warfare to which 
it gave rise, produced a strong elTect ui)on the imaginations of 
the irresolute, and in the morning it was discovv red that the 
two men who had joined the party at the Omaha village, and 
been so bounteously fitted out, had deserted in the course of 
the night, carrying with them all their e(juipments. As il was 
known that one of them could not swim, it was hoped tiial Uio 
banks of the C^uicourt River would bring them to a halt. A 
general pursuit was therefore instituted, l)ut without success. 

On the following morning (May 2Gth), as they were all on 
shore, ))reakfasting on one of the beautiful Isanks of the river, 
they observed two canoes deseending aivMig the o|)p()siLe side. 
r>y the aid of spy-glasses they ascertaini'd that theio were tw; 
white men in one of the canoes, and one in the other. A gun 
was discharged, which called the attention of the voyageis, 
who crossed over. They proved to be three Iveiitucky huir.'rs. 
ofthe true " dreadnaught " stamp. Their names were iMlwani 
Robinson, John Hoback, and .lacob Ilizner. Robinson was :i 
veteran backwoodsman, sixty-six years of age. He had bi'cn 
one of the first settlers of Kentucky, and engaged in many of 
the conflicts of '' e Indians on "The liloody (Jround." In one 
of these battles he had been scalped, and he still wore a hand- 
kerchief bound round his head to protect tlie part. These men 
had passed several years in the upper wilderness. They hud 
bet;n in the service of the Missouii ('onipany undei' Mr. Henry, 
•and had crossed the Rocky Mountains with him in the preeed- 
ing year, when driven from Ids post on the Missouri by the 
hostilities of the Hlackfeet. After crossing the mountains, .Mr. 
Henry had established himself on one of tlie head bra4ch«s of 



(ho f'oliiniltiii nivor. Thoro thoy had romtiincd with him foi 
sorno iiiontlis, limit iiiji and tnippini;, until, having satisfied 
their wiiiidcring i)ro|)t'nsiti<'s, tiioy fell disposed to rctnrn to 
the families and conifortahic homes wiiieii they had left in 
Koiitneky. 'I'hey liad accordingly made their way liaek across 
the nioniitains and down the rivers, and were in full career for 
St. Louis, when thus suddenly interrupted. The sight of a 
ooworful party of traders, trappers, hunters, and voyageurs, 
'.veil armed and equipped, furnished at all points, in high 
health and spirits, and ))anqueting lustily on the green margin 
of the river, was a spectacle equally stiuuilating to these vet- 
eran backwoodsmen with the glorious array of a campaigning 
army to an old soldier ; hut when they learned the grand scope 
and extent of the enterprise in hand, it was irresistible : homes 
and families and all the charms of green Kentucky vanished 
from their thoughts ; they cast loose their canoes to drift down 
the stream, and joyfully enlisted in the band of adventurers. 
They engaged on similar terms with some of the other hunt- 
ers. The company was to fit them out, and keep them supplied 
with the requisite equipments and munitions, and they were to 
yield on" half of the produce of their hunting and trajoping. 

The addition of three such stanch recruits was extremely 
acoei)tahle at this dangerous i>art of the river. The knowledge 
of the country which they had acijuircd, also, in their journeys 
and himting excursions along the rivers and among the Rocky 
Mountains, was all important ; in fact, the information derived 
from them induced Mr. Hunt to alter his future course. lie 
had hitherto intended to proceed by the route taken by Lewis 
and Clarke in their famous exploring expedition, ascending the 
Missouri to its forks, and thence going, by land, across the 
mountains. These men informed him, however, that on taking 
that course he would have to pass through the country infested 
by the savage tribe of the Blackfeet, and would be exposed to 
their hostilities ; they being, as lias already been observed, ex- 
asperated to deadly animosity against the whites, on account of 
the death of one of their tribe by the hands of Captain Lewis. 
They advised him rather to pursue a route more to the south- 
ward, being the same by which they had returned. This would 
carry them over the mountains about where the head-waters of 
the l*latt(^ and the Yellowstone take their rise, at a place much 
more easy and practicable than that where Lewis and ('larke had 
crossed. In pursuing this couise, also, he would pass through 
a countiy abounding with gaiiu", wIutc he would have a better 
cbauce of procuring a eonatant supply of provisions than by 

I I 

|t ". 






liK', ollior loiito, ana would run Ifss li^s': of inolcsliilioii from 
llic r.lilC'klVi't. Slioilld li(! iidopt lliis ndvicr, it, would lie licltcr 
for hitn to :d):iiidon tin- livi r ut tlio Ariekjuii town, iit wliii'li he 
woidd .'irriv(! in the coniso of Ji t\'W days. As tin.; Indians at 
that town possossod horses in ahunchincc, he niij^ht purchase a 
suMicient nunihor of them for liis great journey overUmd, which 
would coinincnce at tiiat phvce. 

After letleoting on tiiis advice, and consulting with his asso^ 
ciates, Mv. limit came to the detenninaticju to follow the route 
thus pointed out, in wiiich the hunters engaged to pilot him. 

The party continued their voyage with delightfiU May 
weather. the prairies bordering on the river wen; gtiyly 
painted with Mnninierahle Howers, exhibiting the motley con- 
fusion of colors o'' a Turkey carpet. The beautiful ishiiuls 
also, on which they occasionally halted, presented the appear- 
ance of mingled grove and garden. The trees wert; often 
covered with clambering grape-vines in blossom, which per- 
fumed the air. Between the stately masses of the groves wore 
grassy lawns and glades, studded with Howers, or interspersed 
with rose-bushes in full bloom. These islands were often the 
resort of the Iniffalo, the elk, and the antelope, who had made 
innumerable paths among the trees and thickets, which had Uie 
effect of the mazy walks and alleys of parks and shrubberies. 
Sometimes, where the river passed between high banks and 
blult's, the roads, made by the tramp of l»ulTaloes for many 
ages along the face of the heights, looked like so many well- 
travelled highways. At other places the banks were banded 
with great veins of iron ore, laid bare by the abrasion of the 
river. At one place the coiM>iy of the river was nearly in a 
straight line for about fifteen miles. The banks sloped gently 
to its mrjgin, without a single tree, but bordered with gras!> and 
herbage of a vivid green. Along each bank, lor the whole lif- 
teen miles, extended a stripe, one hundred yards in breadth, of 
3 deep rusty brown, indicating an !nexhaustil)le bed of iron, 
through the centre of which the Missouri had worn its way. 
Indications of the continuance of this bed were afterward ob- 
served higher up the river. It is, in fact, one of the mineral 
magazines which nature has provided in the h"art of this vast 
realm of fertility, and which, in connection with the immense 
beds of coal on the same river, seem garnered up as the ele- 
ments of the future wealth and power of the mighty West. 

The sight of these mineral treasures greatly excited the 
curiosity of Mr. lJradl)nry, and it was tantalizing to him to be 
checked iu his scientilie researches, and obliged to "^rego his 



usual rambloa on shorn ; but thoy wore now entering the fated 
country of the Sioux Tetons, in which it was dangerous to 
wander about unguarded. 

This country extends for some days' journey ahmg the river, 
and consists of vast prairies, here and there diversified by 
spoiling hills, and cut up by ravines, the channels of lurbid 
streams in the rainy scisons, but almost destitute of water 
dining the heats of sunnncr. Here and there, on the sides of 
the hills, or along the alluvial borders and bottoms of the. 
ravines- are groves and skirts of forest ; Init for the most part 
the country presented to the eye a boundless waste, covered 
witli herbage, but without trees. 

Tiie soil of this immense region is strongly impregnated with 
sulphur, copperas, alum, and glauber salts ; its various earths 
impart a deep tinge to the streams which drain it, and these, 
with the crumbling of the banks along the JNIissouri, give to the 
waters of that river much of the coloring matter with which 
they are clouded. 

Over this vast tract the roving bands of the Sioux Tetons 
hold their vagrant sway, subsisting by the chase of the bufTalo, 
the elk, the deer, and the antelope, and waging ruthless war- 
fare with other wandering tribes. 

As the boats made their way up the stream bordered by this 
land of danger, many of the Canadian voyageurs, whose fears 
had been awakened, would regard with a distrustful eye the 
boundless waste extending on each side. All, however, was 
silent, and api)arently untenanted by a human being. Now 
and then a herd of deer would be seen feeding traiujuilly 
among the flowery herbage, or a line of buffaloes, like a cara- 
van on its march, moving across the distant profile of the 
prairie. The Canadians, however, began to apprehend an 
ambush in every thicket, and to regard the broad, tran([uil 
plain as a sailor eyes some shallow and perfidious sea, wliich, 
though smooth and safe to the eye, conceals the lurking rock 
or treacherous shoal. The very name of a Sioux boeaine a 
watciiword of terror. Not an elk, a wolf, or any otiier animal, 
could appear on the hills, but the boats resounded with ex- 
clamations from stern to stern, " Voila Ics Sioux ! " '■" Voila les 
ISiimx! " (there are the Sioux ! there are the Sioux ! ). AVhen- 
evor it was i)ractical)le, the night encampment was on some 
island in the centre of the stream. 

On the morning of tlu; JJlst of INIay, as the trMvcllers were 
hicakfasting on the right bank of the river, the usn;d mKiiih 
was given, but with more reason, as two Indians actually made 





Vh . 


I- 1 

their appearance on n Muff on the opposite or northeast side, 
and harangued them in a loud voice. As it was iinp»)ssiltk; at 
tliat distance to distinguish wluit they said, Mr. Hunt, iifUT 
breakfast, crossed the river with I'ierre Dorion, tlie iuteriireU r, 
and advanced boldly to .onverse with them, wliile tlie rest ro- 
niained watching, in nuite suspense, the movements of the 
parties. As soon as Mr. Hunt landed, one of the Indians dis- 
appeared behind the hill, but shortly reappeared on horseback, 
and went scouring off across the heights. Mr. Hunt Iiehl bonic 
conference with the remaining savage, and then reerosseil the 
river to his oarty. 

These two Indians proved to be spies or scouts of a large 
party encamped about a league off, and numbi-riug two hun- 
dred and eighty lodges, or about six hundred warriors, of Umu 
different tribes of Sioux ; tlie Yangtcms Ahna, the Tetuiis r.ois- 
brul(5, and the Tetous Min-ua-kinc-Jizzo. They expected daily 
to be re-enforced by two other tribes, and had been waiiiu^ 
eleven days for the arrival of IMr. Hunt's party, with a (ku r- 
mination to oppose their progress up the river ; being resolved 
to prevent all trade of the white men with their enemies iho 
Arickaras, JNIandans, and Minatarees. The Indian who had 
galloped off on horseback had gone to give notice of tiic ap 
proach of the party, so that they might now look out for .sdim 
fierce scenes with those piratical savages, of whom they had 
received so many formidable accounts. 

The party braced up theii" spirits to the encounter, and re- 
embarking, pulled resolutely up the stream. An island for 
some time intervened between them and the opposite side ot 
the river; but on clearing the upper end, they came in full view 
of the hostile shore. There was a ridge of hills, down which 
the savages were pouring in great numbers, some on iiorseback, 
and some on foot. Reconnoitring them with the aid of glasses, 
they perceived that they were all in warlike array, painted and 
decorated for battle. Their weapons were bows and arrows, 
and a few short carbines, and most of them had round shields. 
Altogether they had a wild and gallant appearance, and, tak- 
ing possession of a point which commanded the river, ranged 
themselves along the bank as if prepared to dispute their 

At sight of this formidable frt)nt of war, Mr. Hunt and his 
companions held counstd together. It was plain that the 
rumors they had heard wen; correct, and the .Sioux were dc 
termined to oppose their pit)gress by force; of arms. To al 
tempt to elude them and continue along the river was out u! 

I / 



;l„. question. The^th of the niid-cnrrcnt wns too violent 
to he witlislood, juid tlie boats were obliged to M.seend Jilong 
the river bunks. These banks were often high :ind perpen- 
cliciiliir, iiffording the savages frecinent stations, from whence, 
safe tiieniselves, and almost unseen, they might shower down 
tlieir missiles ni)on the boats below, and retreat at will, witliont 
diuigtr from pursuit. Nothing apparently remained, there- 
fore, but to light or turn back. The Sioux far outnumbered 
tlieni. it is true, but their own party was about sixty strong, 
well armed and supplied with anmuuiition ; and besides their 
ffiins and rilles. they had a swivel and two howitzers n)'tunted 
ill the boats. Should they succeed in breaking this Indian 
force by one vigorous assault, it was likely they wc^dd be de- 
terred from making any future attack of conse(iuencc. The 
flighting alternative was, therefore, instantly adopted, and tlie 
lioats pulled to shore nearly opposite to the hostile force. Here 
tlie anus were all examined and put in order. Thi' swivel and 
howitzers were then loaded with powder and discharged, to let 
tlie savages know by tin; report luiw formidably they were 
jnovided. The noise echoed along the shores of the river, and 
iiiiist have startled the warriors, who were only accustomed to 
siiarp reports of rilh^s. The same pieces were then h)aded with 
as many bullets as they would probably bear ; after which the 
whole party embarked anil i)ulled across the river. The In- 
dians remained watching them in silence, their painted forms 
and visages glaring in the siui, and their feathers Ihittering 
in the bri'eze. Ihe |)oor Canadians eyed them witii rueful 
glances, and now and then a fearful ejaculation would escape 
them. •' I'arbleu I this is a sad scrape we are in, Itrotherl" 
would one mutter to the next oarsman. *' Ay, ay I " the other 
would reply, " we arc not going to a wedding, my friend ! " 

When the boats arrived within rille shot, the hunters and 
oth'jr lighting personages on board seized their wea[)ons, and 
prc[)ared for action. As they rose to lire, a confusion took 
place among tin; savages. They displayed their buffalo robes, 
raised them with both hands above their heads, and then 
spread them before them on the ground. At sight of this 
Pierre Dorion eagerly cried out to the i)arty not to lire, tuj 
this movement was a peacefid signal, and :in invitation to a 
l»arley. Innnediately about a dozt'U of tlie |)rincipal warriois, 
nei)aniting from the rest, descended to the edge of tlu' river, 
li^'iiled a lire, seated themselves ni a scmieireh' round il, and, 
tlis|)la} iiig the calinnet, inviteil the party to land. .Mr. Iluii?. 
now called u council of the ^jartuers on board of his boat. The 


!l i 









question was, whothor to trust to llic .Miiiii'Mltlf ovi^rt-m-':; r.f 
tljose ferocious people'' It was deteniiiiied in the nllii iii,iti\(>, 
for, otlierwise, tiuTe Wiis no jilteniMlive hut t<» liulit them. 'I'ln; 
main body of tlie i»arty were ordered to remain on hoard of 
the lioats, keeping' witliin .sliot, and pri'|iared to lire in ease of 
any sij^ns of treaelu'ry ; while ^Ir. limit and the (jther iiartncis 
(M'Keii/ic, Crooks, Miller, and M'l-ellan), proceeded to Imid, 
accomitanied l»y the interpieler and Afr. UradlMuy. The chit tV 
who awaited them on the maru'in of the rivei\ remained sciiud 
in their seniicirele without stirring' a liml) or movinji; a Muisele, 
motioidess as .so many statues. Mr. Ilind and his comiianioiis 
advanced without hesitation, and took their seats on tin- sand 
so as to complete the circle. The band of warriors who lined 
the banks above stood lookimr down in silent uioups Mud clus- 
ters, some ostentatiously eciuippcd and decorated, others en- 
tirely naked, but faniastieally i>aintiMl, and all variously 

The pipp of peace was now broujjht forward with due cero- 
niony. Tlu- bowl was of ji species of reel stone reseniblini; 
porphyry: the stem was six feet in len^^th, decorated with 
tufts of horse hair dyed red. The pipidxaier stepped witliii; 
thf^ circle, lighted the pipe, held it toward the sun, then tow- 
ard the dilFerent points of the compass, after which he handed 
il to the prmeipal chief. The lattei- smoked a few whiffs, then. 
holdinfi the head of the pipe in his hand, olTered the other end 
to Mr. Hunt, ami to each one successividv in the circle. ^Vhen 
all had smoked, it was considered that an assurance of i^ood 
faith and amity had been interehanifcd. Mi-. Hunt now made 
a speech in French, which was interi)reted as ho proceeded liy 
Pierre Dorion. He informed the Sioux cf the real object of 
the expedition, of himscdf and his companions, w liich was, M(»t 
to trade with any of the tribes up the river, but to cross tlic 
mountains to the great salt lake in the west, in search of some 
of their brothers, whom they had not seen for (di'ven months. 
'J lat he had heard of the intention of the Sioux to oppose his 
piussage, and was prepared, as they might see. to elfect it at 
all hazards; nevertheless his feelings toward the Sioux wore 
friendly, in proof of which he had brouglit them :i presi-nt of 
tobikcco and conrj. So s.iyiug. In- ordered aliout lifteen caiottcs 
of tobacco, an<l la?. in. my icigs of corn, to Ite brought from the 
boar and laid in a .m^ap near the council lire. 

'I le sigl'it of thr>~»' pi^-sei's mollilicd I lie chiettaiii. who iiiid 
don itless beeii. |tr«'vi».u.-'ly reiideivd "'oiirsideral- b> lli i. so- 
lute conduct a*t the *hite men, tin juJiciou.^ dispo^iiioii «! 







their little nrmantoiit, tlic coiiiiilftonoHH of tlioir (Mjiiipiiiciils. 
aikI tlic ruinpiicL MiT.'iy of Icillic which Ihcv |)it'Ht'iit»(l. He 
nuido !i H|K'cch in n ply. in whit h hf slnlcd llic ohjoct of llicir 
iidstilf aMscniI'la;;*', which lind liccn merely to prevent sii|>plies 
of arms und unnnunilion from jioinj^ to the ArieUaran, Man- 
dans, and Mimitarees, with whom they were at war; but being 
now c'onvineed that the piuty were ( arryin;j; no snpplie.s of the 
kindi I'l't merely proceeding in (|iiest of their brothers beyoiij 
till' iiioinitainH, tlu'y wonhl not impede thcin in their voya<j;e. 
}If ('oiicludi'd by tluinkin'i,' them for their [)rt'sent, and advisinjj 
tjii'iii to i-nciinp on the opposite side of the river, as he had 
some yoiinj/ men among his warriors for whose discretion Uo 
could not I answeiuble. and who might be troiililesoinc. 

Here ended the conference: they all arosi', shook hands, and 
piirtt'd. Mr. Hunt and his coni|)anions re-emburkcd, and the 
boats proceeded on their conrse nnmolestcd. 


On the afternoon of the following day (Jnnc 1st) they arrived 
at the great bend, where tlii' river winds for abont thirty miles 
round a circniar peninsula, the neck of which is uoi above two 
thousand yards acr<jss. On tlu' succeeding morning, at an 
early lioiu', they descried two Indians standing on a high bank 
of the river, waving antl spieading their buffalo robes in signs 
of amity. They immediately pulled to shore anil landed. On 
approaching the vsavagcs, howevt^r, the latter showed evident 
symptoms of alarm, spreading out their arms horizontally, ac- 
cording to their mode of supplicating .'hunency. The reason 
was soon explained, 'i'hey proved to bi' two chiefs of the very 
war party that had brought Messrs. Crooks and INl'Iiellan to a 
jtand two years befori', and obliged them to escape down the 
river. They ran U> embrace these gentlemen, as if delighted 
to meet with them ; y«'t they evidently feared some retaliation 
of their past misconduct, nor were tlu-y (juite at ease until the 
pipe of peace liad been smoked. 

Mr. Hunt having been informed that the tribe to which these 
men helongi'd had killed three white mm during the preceding 
summer reproiu lied tluia '' ith the crime, and demanded their 
reasons i'or such savage he Jility. " We kill white nu'ii," re- 
^>liedoiie <'!' I'. > h'u .'.a, ^' because white iueu kill us. That verj 


[' ' 





■ 1 



man," added he, pointing to Carson, one of tlio now rocinlts. 
" Ivilled ont' of our iH-otiicrs l;isl siiinincr. Tho tluv(> wliit,, 
men woio slain to avenge his deatli." 

The chief was ooirect in liis reply- Carson admitted that, 
being with a party of Aricl^aras on llie banivs of tlio iMissonri, 
and "seeing a war party of Sioux on the opposite side, he hud 
fired witli his rifle across. It was a i 'udom shot, made with- 
out much expectation of effect, for ihe river was full lialf a 
mile in breadth. Uiduckily it broug! ! down a Sioux warrior, 
for whose wanton destruction threefold vengeance hud bceu 
taken, as has been stated. In this way outrages are frecpicntly 
committed on the natives by thoughll;'ss or mischicvoiis white 
men; the Indians retaliate accoi'ding to a law of their cod.^, 
which requires blood for idood ; their act, of what with thorn 
is pious ver.geance, resounds throughout the land, and is n pre- 
sented as wanton and unprovoked ; the neighborhood is roused 
to arms ; a war ensues, wliich ends in the destruction of iialf 
the tribe, the ruin of the rest, and their expulsion from their 
hereditary homes. Such is too often tlie real hist(;ry of Indian 
warfare, which in general is traced n[> only to some vindictive 
act of a savage ; while the outrage of the scounihcl wliite niau 
that piovoked it is sunk in silence. 

The two chiefs, having sujoked their pipe of peace and re- 
ceived a few presents, departed well satisfied. In a littli' while 
two others api)eared on horsel)ack, and i' )de up al)reast of the 
boats. They had seen the presents given to their comradi.,, 
but were dissatisfied with thein, and came after the boats to 
ask for more. Being somewhat peremptory and insolent in 
their demands, Mr. Ilunt gave them a flat icfusal, and threat- 
ened, if the}' or any of their tribe followed him with .similar 
demands, to treat them as enemies. They turned and nxle citf 
in a furious passion. As he was ignorant what forci' i\\v>v. 
chiefs might have behind the hills, and as it was very possilile 
they might take advantage of some pass of the ri\e'. to altark 
the boats, Mr. Hunt called all stragglers on board and p;'e|)ar((i 
for siich emergency. It was agi'eed that the large I'oat com- 
manded by Mr. Hunt, should ascend along the nortlu^ast side. 
of the river, and the three smaller boats along the south side. 
liy this arrangement each party would connnand a view of Ihu 
opposite heights above the heads and out of the siglit cf I heir 
companions, and could give the alarm should they perc.ive 
any Indians lurking lliere. The signal of alarm was to lie tun 
sliots fired in (piick succession. 

The boats proceeded for the greatei' part of the day wilhuut 






flpeinp an}' signs of an onomy. About four oVlook in the after- 
noon tho l!ir<i(> boat, commanded by Mr. Hunt, came to where 
tlio rivi'i" was divided l»y a long sand-bar, wiiieh apparently, 
however, left a sufficient channel between it and the shore 
a!on<^ which they were advancing. He kept up this channel, 
tlicrcfore, for some distance, until the water proved too shal- 
low for the boat. It was necessary, therefore, to put about, 
return down the channel, and pull round the lower end of the 
saiKl-l)ar into the main stream. Just as he had given orders to 
this effect to hk men, two signal guns were fired from the boatr 
oil the opposite side of tlie river. At the same moment a tile 
of savage warriors was oliserved pouring down from the im- 
ncuding bank, and gathering on the shore at the lower end of 
tlie bar. They were evidently a war party, being armed with 
hows and arrows, battle-clubs, and carbines, and round buck- 
lers of buffalo hide, and their naked bodies were painted with 
black and white strijies The natural inference was that they 
belonged to the two tribes of Sioux which had been expected 
by the great war party, and that they had been incited to hos- 
tility l)y the two chiefs who had been enraged by the refusal 
and the menace of Mr. Hunt. Here then was a fearful pre- 
dicament. Mr. Hunt and his crew seemed caught, as it were, 
ill a trap. The Indians, to the number of about a hundred, 
had already taken possession of a point near which the boat 
would have to pass : others kept pouring down tiie bank, and 
it was probable that some would remain posted on the top of 
the height. 

Tlie iia/ardoiis situation of Mr. Hunt was perceived by those 
ill file oilier boats, and they hasteued to his assistance. They 
wore at some distance above the sand-bar, however, and on 
tlie opposite side of the river, and saw, with intense anxiety, 
the niiiiiber of savagi's continually aiigmenting, at the lower 
end of the channel, so that the boat would be exposed to a feai- 
^ul attack befoi'c they could render it any assistance. Their 
inxiety increased, as they saw Mr. Hunt and his party descend- 
iii<l the ciianiiel and dauiitlessly approaching the jioint of dan- 
jicr ; but it suddenly changed into surprise on beholding the 
hoat pass close by the savage hoi'de unmolested, and steer out 
safely into tlu' broad river. 

The next moment the whole band of warriors was in motion. 
They ran along the bank until they were opposite to the boats, 
tlu'ii throwing by their weapons and buffalo robes, plunged 
into the river, waded and swam off to tht; lioats and sur- 
rounded them in crowds, seeking to shake hands with ever^ 



■■' >l 


■ 'j 




individual on board ; for the Indians have long since fouud 
this to be the white man's token of amity, and they carry it 
to an extreme. 

All uneasiness was now at an end. The Indi .,o ^ ~oved to 
be a war party of Ariekaras, Mandans, and Minatarees, con- 
sisting of three hundred warriors, and bound on a foray 
against the Sioux. Their war plans were abandoned for the 
present, and they determined to return to the Arickara town, 
where they hoped to obtain from the white men arms and 
ammunition that would enable them to take the field with ad- 
vantage over their enemies. 

The boats now sought the first convenient place for encamp- 
ing. The tents were pitched ; the warriors fixed their camp at 
about a hundred yards distant ; provisions were furnished from 
the boats sufficient for all parties ; there was hearty though 
rude feasting in both camps, and in the evening the red war- 
riors entertained their white friends with dances and songs, 
that lasted until after midnight. 

On the following morning (July 3d) the travellers re-om- 
barked, and took a temporary leave of tlieir Indian friends, 
who intended to proceed immediately for the Arickara town, 
where they expected to arrive in three days, long before the 
boats could reach there. Mr, Hunt had not proceeded far 
before the chief came galloping along the shore and made signs 
for a parley. He said his people could not go home satisfied 
unless they had something to take with them to prove that 
they had met with the white men. Mr. Hunt understood the 
drift of the speech, and made the chief a present of a cask of 
powder, a bag of balls, and three dozen of knives, with which 
he was highly pleased. While the chief was receiving those 
presents an Indian came running along the shore, and an- 
nounced that a boat, filled with white men, was coming \i\) 
the river. This was by no means agreeable tidings to Mr. 
Hunt, who correctly concluded it to be the boat of Mr. Maruiel 
Lisa ; and he was vexed to find that alert and adventurous 
trader Mpon his heels, whom he had hoped to have out- 
raana'uvred, and left far behind. Lisa, however, was too 
much experienced in the wiles of Indian trade to be lulled by 
the promise of waiting for him at the Poncas village ; on tiie 
contrary, he had allowed himself no repose, and had strained 
every nerve to overtake the rival party, and availing himself 
of the moonlight, had even sailed during a considerable part of 
the night. In this he was partly prompted l»y his npprehcn- 
sious of the iSioux, having met a b juL wh'ch had probably 




passo'l IMr. Hunt's party in the night, and which had been 
liird into by those savugos. 

On lit'iuiug that Lisa was so near at hand, Mr. Hunt per- 
ceived that it was useless to atteujpt any longer to evade him; 
after proceeding a few miles farther, therefore, he came to a 
halt and waited for him to come up. In a little while the 
barge of Lisa made its appearance. It came sweeping gently 
up the river, manned by its twenty stout oarsmen, and armed 
by a swivel mounted at the bow. The whole number on boaiu 
amounted to twenty-six meu ; among whom was Mr. Henry 
Breckenridge, then a young, enterprising man ; who was t'. 
mere passenger, tempted by notions of curiosity to accom- 
pany Mr. Lisa. He has since made himself known by various 
writings, among which may be noted a luirrative of this very 

The approach of Lisa, while it was regarded with uneasiness 
by Mr. Hunt, roused the ire of M'Lellan ; who, calling to mind 
old grievances, began to look round for his rifle, as if he 
really intended to carry his threat into execution and shoot 
him on the spot ; and it was with some ditliculty that Mr. Hunt 
was eiuvljled to restrain his ire, and prevent a scene of outrage 
and confusion. 

The meeting between the two leaders, thus mutually dis- 
trustful, could not be very cordial ; and as to Messrs. Crooks 
and M'Lellan, though they refrained from any outbreak, yet 
they regarded in grim defiance their old rival and under- 
plotter. In truth, a general distrust prevailed throughout the 
party concerning Lisa and his intentions. They considered 
iiiui artful and slippery, and secretly anxious for the fadure oi 
their expedition. There being now nothing more to be ap[)rc- 
hetided from the Sioux, they susi)ected tluit Lisa would take 
advantage of his twenty-oared barge to leave them and get 
lirst among the Arickaras. As he had traded with those i)e()- 
ple and [)ossessed great infiuence over them, it was feared 1il 
might make use of it to im|)ed.^ the business of Mr. Hunt an(t 
his i)arty. It was resolved, therefore, to keep a sharp lookout 
upon his movements; and M'Lellan swore that if he saw the 
least sign of treachery on his part, he would instantly put his 
old threat into execution. 

Notwitiistaiuling these secret jealousies and heart-burnings, 
the two parties maintained an outward ajjpearance of civility, 
aud for two days contimied forward in company with sonic- 
degree of harmony. On the third day. howevjr, an cxplosi!.!! 
took place, and it was produced by no less u personage than 

; I 


•; ;' 

J: I 

1 I'! 




Viorro Dorion, tlio lialf-breed interpreter. It will be recol. 
U'cted thtit I his worthy h.'ul been obliged to steal a march fionj 
St. Louis, to avoid bciiii!; arrested for an old whiskey (Jcbt 
wiiieh lie owed to the Missoini Fur Company, and by which 
Mr. Lisa liad hoped to prevent ins enlisting in Mr. Hunt's ex- 
pedition. Dorion, since the arrival of Lisa, had kepi aloof, 
and regarded liini with a sullen and dogged aspect. On the 
fifth of July, the two parties were brought to a halt by a 
lieavy rain, and remained encaihped about a liundred yards 
apa'-t. Ill the course of the day Lisa undertook to tani[)er 
with the fnith of Pierre Dorion, and, inviting him on board of 
his boat, regaled Inm with his favorite wliiskey. When he 
thought him sulllciently mellowed, he proposed to him to quit 
the service of his new employers and return to his old alle- 
giance. Finding him not to be moved by soft words, he 
called to mind his old debt to the company, and threatened to 
carry him off by force, in payment of it. The mention of this 
debt always stirred ui) the gall of Pierre Dorion, bringing with 
it the remembrance of the whiskey extortion. A violent 
quarrel arose between him and Lisa, and he left the boat in 
high dudgeon. His first step was to repair to the tent of Mr. 
Hunt and reveal the attempt that li:id been made to shake his 
faith. While he was yet talking Lisa entered the tent, under 
the pretext of coming to borrow a towing line. High words 
instantly ensued between him and Dorion, which ended by the 
half-breed's dealing him a blow. A quarrel in the *• Indian 
country," however, is not to be settled with fisticuffs. Lisa 
immediately rushetl to his boat for a weapon. Dorion snatched 
up a pair of pistols belonging to Mr. Hunt, and placed himself 
in battle array. The noise had roused the camp, and every 
one pressed to know the cause. Lisa now reappeared upon 
the field with a knife stuck in his girdle. Mr. IJrecken ridge, 
who had tried in vain to mollify hie ire, accompanied him to 
the scene of action. Pierre Dorion's pistols gave him the ad- 
vautage, and he maintained a most warlike attitude. In the 
mean time Crooks and M'Lellan had learnt the cause of the 
affray, and were each eager to take the quarrel into their own 
hands. A scene of uproar and hubbub ensued that defies de- 
scription. M'Lellan would have Ijrought his rifle into play 
and settled all old and new grudges by a pull of the trigger, 
had he not been restrained by Mr. Hunt. 'Vhtd gentleuuui 
acted as moderator, endeavoring to prevent a general nu'lee ; 
in the midst of the brawl, however, an expression was made 
use of by Lisa derogatory to his own honor. In an instant the 



tranquil spirit of Mr. TTiint was in a flame. lie now bocanic 
as o.igcr for figiit as any one on tlii! gioiind, and cliallen}>c'il 
Lisa to settk' the dispute on the yp(;t with jMStols. Lisa re- 
i),un;d to liis lioat to arm iiiinself for the deadly fend. lie was 
followed Ity IMessr.s. IJradhnry and iJrickenridge, who, novices 
in Indian life and tlie " ciiivalry " of the frontier, had no relish 
for scones of blood und brawl. Ry tlieir earnest mediation the 
KiiMrrcl was with great diincnlty l)rought to a close without 
blodilslied ; but tlie two leadi rs of llu; rival camps separated 
iu auger, and all personal intercourse eeabed between thein. 


The rival parties now coasteil along the opposite sides" of the 
river, within sight of each other; the barges of Mr. Hunt 
always keeping some distance in the advance, lest Lisa should 
push on and get first to the Arickara village. The scenery 
and objects, as they proceeded, gave evidence that they were 
advancing deeper and deeper into the domains of savage 
nature. Boundless wastes "kept extending to the eye, more 
and more animated by herds of buffalo. Sometimes these un- 
wieldy animals were seen moving iu long procession across the 
silent landscape ; at other times they were scattered about, 
sini^ly or iu groups, ou the broad enamelled prairies and green 
acclivities, some cropi)ing the rich pasturage, others reclining 
amid the flowery herbage; the whde scene realizing in a man- 
ner the old scriptural descriptions of the vast pastoral countries 
of the Orient, with " cattle ui)on a thousand hills." 

At one place the shores seemed absolutely lined with buf- 
faloes; many were making their way across the stream, snort- 
ing, and blowing, and flonudering. Numbers, iu spite of every 
effort, were borne by the rapid current within shot of the 
boats, and several were killed. At another place a number 
were descried on the beach of a small island, under the shade 
of the trees, or standing in the water, like cattle, to avoid the 
flies and the heat of the day. 

Several of the best marksmen stationed themselves in the 
bow of a barge which advanced slowly and silently, stemming 
the current with the aid of a broad sail and a fair breeze. The 
linffiilo stood gazing (piietly at 'lie barge as it approached, 
perfectly unconscious of their danger. The fattest of the herd 

1:1 t' 




.■" 1 i 

!;( i 




was selected by tlie liunters, who nil fired together and broiisht 
down their victiiii. 

Besides the huffaloe.s they saw nl)iindanee of deer, and frc- 
qnenl iiaugs of stately elks, together with light troops of 
spriglitiv antelopes, the fleetest and most heautifnl iniiahitunls 
of the prairies. There are two kinds of antelopes in these 
regions, one nearly the size of the common deer, the other not 
mneh larger than a goat. Their color is a light gray, or rather 
dim, slightly spotted with white; and they have small horns, 
like those of the deer, which they never shed. Nothing can 
surpass the delicate and elegant finish of their limbs, in which 
lightness, elasticity, and strength are wonderfully coinbiutd. 
All the attitudes and movements of this beautiful animal are 
graceful and picturesque ; and it is altogether as fit a subject 
for tlie faiiciful uses of the poet, as the oft-sung gazelle of the 

Their habits are shy and capricious ; they keep ou the open 
plains, are quick to take the alarm, and bound away with a 
fleetness that defies pursuit. When thus skinnning acnws u 
prairie in tiie autumn, their light gray or dun color blends witli 
the hue of the withered herbage, the swiftness of their motion 
baflles the eye, and they almost seem unsubstantial forms, 
driven like gossamer before the wind. 

While they thus keep to the open plain and trust to their 
speed, they are safe ; but they have a prurient curiosity that 
sometimes betrays them to their ruin. Wlu'U they have scud 
for sonie distance and left their pursuer behind, they will sud- 
denly stop and turn to gaze at the object of their alarm. If 
the pursuit is not followed up. they will, after a time, yield lo 
tlieir inquisitive hankering, and return to the place from 
whence they have been frightened. 

John Day, the veteran hunter already mentioned, displayed 
;iis experience and skill in entrapping one of these beautiful 
animals. Taking advantage of its well-known curiosity, he 
hiy down tlat among the grass, and i»utting his handkerchief 
on the end of his ramrod, waved it gently in the air. Tliia 
had the eifect of the fal)led fascination of the rattlesnake. 
The antelope gazed at the mysterious object for some time at a 
distance, then ai)proached, timidly, pausing and reconnoitrin;„; 
with increased curiosity ; moving round the point of attru'- 
lion in a circle, but still drawing nearer and nearer, i;nlil !>eing 
within the range of the deadly rifie, he fell a \ijtim to his 

Ou the lUth of June, as the party were making b.'sk prog 


ress with a 
news from 
caused suci 
some days 
traders, an( 
had receive 
three India 
run, when 
who were « 
plctely enti 
eager for ; 
tribe havin: 
soini Far ( 
the majorii 
to the wh 
bloody affi 

On the 1 
near an isli 
Lisa encar 
sullen and 
twcen tlie 
ridge madi 
camp. Hi 
manner of 
ing tiic chi 

The pai 
the intenti 
of the jen 
he might 
should tal 
their disti 
ducing an 
his old th 
thing like 

That ui 
and lightu 
baggage (1 



tv. - 

s of 
an Is 









resg with a finr brpczc, they met a canoe with three Indians 
descending the river Tiic}' came to a parley, and lironght 
news from the Arickara village. The war [larty, whicii had 
caused such aiarm at the sand-bar, liad reached the village 
some days previously, announced the api)roach of a party of 
traders, and displayed with great ostentation the presents they 
liad received from them. On further conversation with these 
three Indians, Mr. Hunt learnt the real danger which he had 
run, when hemmed up within the sand-bar. The INIandans 
who were of the war party, when they saw the boats so coni- 
pletely entrapped and apparently within tlieir i)ower, had been 
eager for attaeiving it, and securing so rich a prize. The 
Minatarces, also, were nothing loath, feeling in some measure 
oomniitted in hostility to the whites, in conseqtu'uce of their 
tribe having killed two white men above the fort of the INIis- 
souri Fur Company. Fortunately, th(; Arlckaras, who formed 
the majority of the war jiarty, proved true in their friendship 
to the whites, and prevented any hostile act, otherwise a 
bloody affray, and perhaps a horrible massacre, might have 

On the 11th of June Mr. Hunt and his companions encamped 
near an island about six miles l)elow tiie Arickara village. Rlr. 
Lisa encamped, as usual, at no great distance; but the same 
sullen and jealous reserve and non-intercourse continued be- 
tween them. Shortly after pitching the tents, Mr. Brecken- 
ridge made his appearance as an ambassador from the rival 
camp. He came on behalf of his companions, to arrange the 
manner of making their entrance into the village and of receiv- 
ing the chiefs ; for every thing of the kind is a matter of grave 
ceremonial among the Indians. 

The partners now expressed frankl}' their deep distrust of 
the intentions ( f Mr. Lisa, and their apprehensions, that, out 
of the jealousy of trade, and resentment of recent disputes, 
he might seek to instigate the Arickaras against them. Mr. 
Brcckeiu'ldge assured them that their susi)icions were entirely 
groundless, and pledged himself that nothing of the kind 
should take place. He found it difficult, however, to remove 
their distrust: the conference, therefore, ended without pro- 
ducing any cordial understanding; and IM'Lellan recurred to 
his old threat of shooting Lisa tlu^ instant he discovered any 
thing like treacliei-y in his proceedings. 

That night the rain f«>ll in torrents, accompanied I';, thimder 
and lightning. The camp wixs deluged, and the l»edding .uid 
baggage drenched. All hands embarked at au early hour, and 


^ 1 


i ■ 

1T/' !i 



- > Ji, 




Bet forward for the village. About nine o'clock, when Imlf 
way, they met a eauoc, on board of wliich wore iwo Arickiua 
dignitaries. One, a fine-looking man, much above tlie coin- 
men size, was hereditary chief of tlie village ; he was cnllcd 
the Left-handed, on account of a personal i)eculiaiily. Tlio 
other, a ferocious-looking savage, was the war chief, or gtMi- 
cralissimo; he was known by the name of the Big Man, an 
appellation he well deserved from his size, for he was of m 
gigantic frame. Both were of fairer comi)lexion tiian is usual 
with savages. 

They were .accompanied by an interpreter, a French Creole. 
one of those haphazard wights of Gallic origin, who abound 
upon our frontier, living among the Indians like one of their 
own race. He had been twenty years among the Arickaras, 
had a squaw and a troop of piebald children, and ofHciatod as 
interpreter to the chiefs. Through this worthy organ tlu' Iwo 
dignitaries signified to Mr. Hunt their sovereign intention lo 
oppose the further progress of the expedition up the river nn- 
less a boat were left to trade with them. Mr. Hunt, in rcplv, 
explained tiie object of his voyage, and his intention of debark- 
ing at their village and nroceediug thence by land ; and that lie 
would willingly trade wiih them for a su|)ply of horses for Ins 
journey. With tiiis explanation they were perfectly .satislicd. 
and putting about, steered for their village to make pre[)aru- 
lions for the reception of the strangers. 

The village of the Rikaras, Arickaras, or Ricarees, for tlie 
name is thus variously written, is between the Ulth and ITth 
parallels of north latitude, and fourteen hundred and lliirtv 
miles above the mouth of the Missouri. The party reaciic;' it 
about ten o'clock in the morning, but landed on the opposite 
side of the river, where they spread out their bagg;igc and 
effects to dry. From hence they commanded an excclKiit 
view of the village. It was divided into two portions, abonl 
eighty yards apart, being inhabited I)y two disiinct bauds. 
The whole extended about three quarters of a mile along the 
river bank, and was composed of conical lodges, that I(H)ked 
like so many small hillocks, being wooden frames intertwined 
with osier, and covered with earth. The plain beyond the vil- 
lage swept up into hills of C(msidcral)le height, but tlu; whole 
country was nearly destitute of trees. While they were re- 
garding tiu' village, they beheld a singular tieel coming down 
the river. It consisted of a number oi" canoes, each made ol' :i 
single buffalo hide siretched on sticks, so :is to form a kind '>\ 
circular trough. Each one was navigated by a single s(jum\\ 



wlio knelt in tlic })ottom .and piiddlod, towin<i nflcr her .'rail 
liiirk a bnndlc of floating wood intended for llring. Tiiis kind 
of canoe is in frciiuent use among the Indians ; llu; buffalo liido 
being readily made up into a bundle and Iranspurted on 
back ; it is very serviceable in conveying liaggage across tbc 


The great number of horses grazing around the village, and 
scattered over the neighboring hills and valleys, bespoke the 
equestrian habits of the Arickaras who are admirable horse- 
nicu. Indeed, in the number of his horses consists tlie wealth 
of an Indian of the prairies ; who resembles an Arab in his 
passion for this noble animal, and in his adroitness in the man- 
agement of it. 

After a time, the voice of the sovereign chief, "the Left- 
handed," was heard across the river, announcing that the 
council lodge was preparing, and inviting the white men to 
come over. The river was half a mile in width, yet every 
word nttered by the chieftain was heard ; this may be i)artly 
attributed to the distinct maimer in which every syllable of 
the compound words in the Indian language is articidated and 
accented ; but in truth, a savage warrior might often rival 
Achilles himself for force of lungs. ^ 

Now came the delicate point of management : how the two 
rival parties were to conduct their visit to the village with 
proper circumspection and due decorum. Neither of the lead- 
ers had sjjoken to each other since their quarrel. All com- 
munication had been by ambassadors. Seeing the jealousy 
entertained of Lisa, Mr. Breckenridge, in his negotiation, had 
arranged that a dei)utation from each party should cross the 
river at tlie same time, so that neither would have the first 
access to the ear of the Arickaras. 

The distrust of Lisa, however, had increased in proportion 
as they approached the sphere of action, and M'Lellan in par- 
ticular kept a vigilant eye upon his motions, swearing to shoot 
him if he attempted to cross the river first. 

About two o'clock the large boat of Mr. Hunt was manned, 
and he stepped on board, accompanied by IMessrs. ]M'Kenzic 
and M'Lellan; Lisa at the same time embarked in his l)aige; 
the two deputations amounted in all to fourteen i)ersons, and 
never was any movement of rival pfjteutatrs conducted with 
uiori' wai'y exactness. 

They landed amid a rabble crowd, and wc;re re<-ii\cd on 

It. I 

1 BriMlbury, p. 110. 



Pi I 

i ,; 

the bank by \ho loft-handed cliicf, wlio oondnrtcd IbcMn info 
the villnjic \viUi ,ur:iv<M'(»nrtt'sy ; (hivinji to the y\'j^h\ mikI hl't the 
Bwaniis of ohl squaws, inip-hke Itoyn, and vafjaltond (h)u.s. wiHi 
whieh the i)hi('e abounded. They wound I heir way helwccn 
the cabins, whieh looked like dirt-heaps Iniddh'd top;ellu'r with- 
out any plan, and surrounded by old piilisades ; all lilthy in 
the extrenip, and redolent of villanous smells. 

At length they arrived .'it the council lodge. It was some- 
what spacious, and formed of four forked trunks of treos 
placed ui)right, supporting cross-beams and a frame of poles 
interwoven with osiers, and the whole covered with e:irtli. A 
hole sunken in the centre formed the lireplace. ;uiil iiunicdiiilcly 
above a circular hole in the apex of the lodge, to let out the 
smoke and let in the daylight. Around the lodge were ieeessc8 
for sleeping, like the berths on board shii)H, scri't^ned from view 
by curtains of dressed skins. At the upper end of the lodge 
was a kind of hunting and warlike trophy, consisting of two 
buffalo heads garishly painted, surmounted by shields, hows, 
quivers of arrows, and other weapons. 

On entering the lodge the chief i)ointed to mats or cushions 
which had been placed around for the strangers, and on which 
they seated themyclves, while he placed himself on :i kind of 
stool. An old man then came forward with the i)ipe of peace 
or good-fellowship, lighted and handed it to the chief, and then 
falling back, scpiatted himself near the door. The pipe was 
passe(l from mouth to mouth, each one taking a whilV, which 
is equivalent to the inviolable pledge of f:iith, of taking salt 
together among the ancient Hritons. The chief then made a 
sign to the old pipe-bearer, who seemed to fill, likewise, tii,' 
station of herald, seneschal, and public crier, for he ascemlcil 
to the toj) of the lodge to make proclamation. Il»'re he look 
his post beside the apcrtui'c for the emission of smoke and the 
admission of light; the chief dictated from within what he was 
to i)roclaim, Jind he bawled it forth with a force of lungs (hat 
resounded over all the village. In this way he summoned the 
warriors and great men to council ; every now and then report- 
ing progress to his chief through the hole in the roof. 

In a littli^ while the braves and sages began to enter one by 
one as their names were called or announced, emerging from 
under the buffalo robe suspended over the eiilraiice instead of 
a door, stalking across the lodge to the skins placed on liie 
floor. an<l croiiehing down on them in silence. In this way 
tweiily entered and t<K>k their seats, foruiing an assenililaijc 
worthy of the pencil ; for the Ariekara.s are a noble race uf 



nii'ii, l;irfi;t' uikI well foritHMl, and iiwiinfiiin a m!iv!i«;(? gramU'iit 
and I'lavity of tlcmi'aiior in tlu'ir solt'inii ccivmoiiials. 

All Mtiii;; si'Utud, tlic old Hi'iicsdial pivparcd llit' pipe of ccrc- 
nioiiv or <"ouiK'il, and having lit it, handed it to the chief, lie 
iiiliuk'd the saered smoke, gave a puff upward to the heaven, 
tlnii downward to the earth, then toward the east; after this 
it was as usual i)'d from mouth to mouth, each holding it 
ir.s|i('ilfully until his neighbor taken several whiffs; and 
uow lilt' grand eouncil was considei'iul as opened in due form. 

The eliit'f made an harangue wtjleoming the >.hit(! men to his 

villune, and exjtri'ssing his ha|)piness in taking tlu'in by the hand 

as t'i lends; hut at the sanu' tinu; complaining of tin; poverty 

of liimsclf and his people; the usual i)relude among Indians 

i to lu'ggiiig or hard hargaining. 

|/ rose to reply, and the eyes of Ilnnt and his companions 

wt'if eagerly turnetl upon him, those of M'Lellan glaring like a 
basilisk's. He l)egan by the usual expressions of friendship, 
aiul then [)r(K'ei'ded to explain the object of his own party. 
Those persons, however, said he, pointing to Mr. Hunt and hi^ 
coinpanious, are of a different party, and are quite distinct in 
their views ; but, added he, though we are separate parties, 
we make but one connnon cause when the safety of either is 
I'oiieenied. Any injury or insult otTered to them I shall con- 
sider as done to myself, and will resent it accordingly. I trust, 
tluTel'ore, that you will treat them with the same friendship 
tliat you have always manifested for me, doing every thing in 
your power to serve them and to help them on their way. 'I'he 
spieeli of Lisa, delivered with an air of frankness and sincerity, 
agreeably snri)rised and disappointed the rival party. 

Mr. Hunt then spoke, declaring the object of his journey to 
the great Salt Lake beyond the mountains, and L'lat he should 
want hoises for the purpose, for which he was ready to trade, 
having brought with him plenty of goods. Both he and Lisa 
coneluded their Ki)eeches by making presents of tobacco. 

The left-handi'd chieftain in reply promised his friendshii) 
ami aid to the new-comers, and welcomed them to his village. 
IIo added that they had not the number of horses to spare that 
Mr. Hunt required, and expressed a doubt whether they should 
be aide to part with any. Upon this, another chieftain, called 
Gray Kyes, made a speech, and declared that they could readily 
supply Mr. Hunt with all the horses he might want, since, if 
they had not enough in the village, they could easily steal more. 
This honest expedient immediately removed the main dilficuUy ; 
but the chief deferred all trading for a day or two, uuiil he 




«hoiil«l Imvo timo to rnnsiiU, with liis stihordirmto cliiofs, us to 
niiu-kct liitcs ; lor Hit' priiiripjil cliit'l* of >i villaj;*', in (loiijiiiictinn 
witii his coniicii. iisiiiilly lix»'s Hi*' piitrs :it vviiicli iirliclcs shall 
\)v \)0[\<iUl iiml sold, iiiid to tlu'iii tin- villujff must conform. 

The coiincil now lirokc up. Mr. Hunt tninsfcncd his ('uni|) 
across the river :it :i little distance l»eh)\v the vi[la<;e, and ijio 
left-handed chief placed .some of his wurnor.s as a jruard to 
prevent the intrusion of any of his people. The camp was 
pitched on the river bank just above the lioats. The ti'nts, and 
the men wrapped in their blankets and bivouacking^ on skir.s 
in the open i.ii'. surrounded the ba^jiajfe at n'<j,ht. Kotn- senli- 
nels also kept watch within sij^ht of each othi-r outside of the 
camp initil midnight, wlien they were relieved by four others 
who moiinte<l ^nuird until dayli^iit. Mr. Lisa encampe*! near 
to Mr. Hunt, between him and the vilhij^e. 

The spi'cch of Mr. liisa in the council had produced a pacific 
effect in the encampment. Though the sincerity of his friend- 
ship and <iood-will toward the new company still remained 
matter of doubt, he was no longer suspected of an intention to 
play false. The intercourse between the two leaders was, 
therefore, resumed, and the affairs of both parties went on 



A TRADE now commenced with the Ariokaras under tlie regu- 
lation and supervision of their two chii'''lains. Lisa sent a part 
of his gooiis to the lodge of t!ie left-handed dignitaiy, and .Mr, 
• lunt established his mart in the lodge of the Big Man. The 
village soon presented tlie appearance of a busy fair ; and as 
horses were in demand, the purlieus und the adjacent plain 
were like the vicinity of a Tartar encampment; horses were 
put through all their paces, and horsemen were careering about 
with that dexterity and grace for which the Arickaras arc 
noted. As soon as a horse was purchased, his tail was cropped, 
a sure mode of distinguishing him from the horses of the tribe ; 
for the Indians disdain to practise this al)surd, barliarous. and 
indecent mutilation, invented by some mean and vulgar mind. 
Misensible to the merit and perfections of the animal. On the 
contniry. the Indian horses are sutlered to remain in every 
rt'spect the superb and beautiful animals which nature fornietl 



'I'lic wrnllli of Mil Iiuliiiii of tlio far west coiisistH principally 
III his linrscs, of wliicli ciicli chief uiid warrior posHcsHcs a j:;r('at 
iiiiiiilior, su that thf plains ahoiil an Indian villa>;c> or i-ucanip^ 
iiic'iil iirc i-ovtrcd willi llicni. These form olijecls of tnillic. or 
objocts of depredation, and in this way pass from tribe to lrii)0 
over "real tracts of coinitry, Tlu! horses owned by the Arick- 
aras are for tlic most part, of th(! wild stock of the prairies ; 
.^oini". however, htul been olttained from the Poiieas, Pawnees, 
iiiid otiier tribes to the southwest, wlio had stolen tiiem from 
tlie Spaniards in tlu' course of horse-stealin<>' expeditions into 
llic Me\ie:in lerrit<*ries. These were to be known l>y l)eing 
bniiitied, !i Spanisli mode of marking liorses uot practised by 
the Iiidiiins. 

As the Arickaras were nieditatin<i; another expedition a<j;ainst 
their enemies liie Sioux, the articli-s ol" tralli(; most in demaiul 
were <;uns. tomaliawks, sealping-knives, powdi'r, ball, and other 
iminitions of war. The |)rice of a horse, as regulated by the 
chiefs, was commoidy ten dollars' worth of goods at (irst cost. 
To supply tin- demand thus suddenly createil, parties of young 
men and braves had salliecl forth on expeditions to steal horses; 
a species of service among the Indians which takes precedence 
of hnntiiig, anil is considered a department of honorable 

AVIiile the leaders of the expedition were actively engaged in 
preparing for the a|)proaching journey, those who had accom- 
panied it for curiosity or amusement, found ample matter for 
observation in the village and its inhabitants. Wherever they 
went tiiey were kindly entertained. If they entered a lodge, 
the bntTalo robe was spread before the fire for them to sit 
down; tlie pipe was brought, and while the master of the lodge 
conversed with his guests, the s(|uaw put the earthen vessel 
over the lire, well filled witli dried buffalo meat and j)Oundecl 
corn; for the Indian in his native state, before he has mingled 
niucli with white men, and acquired their sordid habits, has 
tlie iiospitality of the Arab: never does a stranger enter his 
door wiiliout having food placed before him ; and never is the 
food thus fin'nish(d made a matter of traffic. 

Tlie life of an Indian when at hcmie in his village is a life of 
indolence and aiMUsement. To the woman is consigned the 
lalinrs of the household and the field; she arranges the lodge; 
brings wood for the fire ; cooks ; jerks venison and buffalo meat ; 
dresses the skins of the animals killed in the chase; cultivates 
the little patch of maize, pumpkins, and pulse, which furnishes 
a great part of their provisioua. Their time for repose and 




|i,' i 

recreation is at sunset, when, the labors of the day hein« 
entk'd, they gallier together (o aninsf themselves with pt'tty 
|.';ani('S, or lo hold •jjossipin*'" coiivocntioiiH on the lops of their 

As to the Indian, he is a game animal, not to be degraded by 
useful or menial toil. It is enough that he exposes himself to 
the hardships of the ehase and t!ie perils of war ; that he brings 
home food for his family, and watches and fights for its pro- 
teetion. Every thing else is beneath his attention. When at 
home he attends only to his weapons and his horses, prei'ariiiir 
the means of future exploit. Or he engages with his cc^inrailes 
in games of dexterity, agility and strength ; or in ganiblintr 
games in whieh every thing is put at hazard, with a reckless- 
ness seldom witnessed in civilized life. 

A great i)art of the idle leisure of the Indians when at home 
is passed in groups, squatted together on the bank of a river, 
on the top of a mound on the prairie, or on the roof of one of 
their earth-covered lodges, talking over the news of the day, 
th'i atTairs of the tribe, the events and exploits of their last 
hunting or lighting expedition ; or listening to the stories of 
old times told by some veteran chronicler; resembling a group 
of our village quidnuncs and politicians, listening to the pron- 
iugs of some superannuated oracle, or discussing the contents 
of an ancient newspaper. 

As to the Indian women, they are far from complaining of 
their lot. On the contrary, they would despise their husbands 
couid they stoop to any menial oflice, and would think it con- 
veyed an imputation upon their own conduct. It is tlui worst 
insult one virago can cast upon another in a moment of alter- 
cation. " Infamous woman ! " will she cry, " I have seen your 
husljand carrying wood into his lodge to make the tire. Where 
was his scjuaw that he should be obliged to make a woman of 

]\Ir. Hunt and his fellow-travellers had not been many days 
at the Aiickara village, when rumors began to circulate that 
the Sioux had followed them up, and that a war party, four or 
live hundred in number, were lurking somewhere in the neitrji- 
borhood. These rnn;«>rs product-d much embarrassment in Hit' 
camp. Tiie white iuuiters were deterred fi'om venturing forth 
in (piest of game, neillier did the leaders think it proper to 
expose them to siieli risk. The Ariekaras, too, who had si;! 
fered greatly in tlieir wars wiUi this criU'l and ferocious trilic 
were roused to ineri'asi'!', vigilanee, and stationed mount..! 
tjcouts upon the iieigiiburing hills. This, however, is a yciai.ii 



nrecaution amonj; the tribes of the prairies. Tliose imnicuse 
plains present x horizon like the ocean, so that any object of 
importance can be descried afar, and information cornmuni- 
cated to a great distance. The scouts are stationed on tlie 
hills, therefore, to look out both for game and for enemies, and 
are, in a manner, living telegraphs conveying their intelligence 
by concerted signs. Jf they wish tc give notice of a herd of 
buffalo in the plain beyond, they gallop backward and forward 
abreast, on the summit of the hill. If they i)erceive an enemy 
at hand, they gallop to and fro, crossing each other ; at sight 
of which the whole village flies to arms. 

Such an alarm was given in the afternoon of the 15th. Four 
scouts were seen crossing and recrossing each other at full 
eallop, on the summit of a hill about two miles distant down 
the river. The cry was up that the Sioux were coming. In 
an instant the village was in an uproar. Men, women, and 
children were all brawling and shouting ; dogs barking, yelp* 
inf, and howling. Some of the warriors ran for the horses to 
gather and drive them in from the prairie, some for their 
weapons. As fast as they could arm and ecjuip they sallied 
forth; some on horseback, some on foot. Some hastily ar- 
rayed in their war dress, with coronets of fluttering feathers, 
and their bodies smeared with paint ; others naked and only 
furnished with the weapons they 'lad snatched ui). The women 
and children gathered on the tops of the lodges and height- 
ened the confusion of the scene by their vociferation. Old 
men who could no longer bear arms took similar stations, and 
harangued the warriors as they passed, exhorting tiiem to valor- 
ous deeds. Some of the veterans took arms themselves, 
and sallied forth with tottering stops. In this way, the .savage 
chivalry of the village to the number of five hundred, i)oured 
forth, helter-skelter, riding and running, with hideous yells and 
war-whoops, like so many bedlamites or demoniacs let loose. 

After a while the tide of war rolled back, I'Ut vvitii far less 
uproar. Either it had been a false alarm, or the enemy had 
retreated on finding themselves discovered, and quiet wa« re- 
stored to the village. The white hunters continuing to be fear- 
ful of ranging this dangerous neighborhood, fresh i)rovi,sion3 
began to be scarce in the camp. As a substitute, therefore, 
for venison and bufl'alo meat, the travellers had to [xirchase a 
number of dogs to l)e shot and cooked for the supply of the 
cainp. Fortunately, however chary the Indians might be of 
their horses, they were liberal of their dogs. In fact, these 
auiiuals swarm about an Indian village as they do about u 

i i: 





!^ I 

if, ^ 



;" 'IH 


Turkish town. Not a family but has two or 'liroe flozon h^ 
longing to it of all sizes and colors; some, of a suiierioi iMmi. 
are used for hunting ; others, to draw Jie sledge, wliilc others^ 
of a mongrel breed, and idle vagabond nature, are fatteiicil for 
food. They are supposed to be descended from tlie wolf, .n,,] 
retain something of his savage but cowardly teiiipcr, liowliun 
rather than barking ; showing their teeth anil snailing on the 
slightest provocation, but sneaking away on the least attiick. 

The excitement of the village continued from day to day. 
On the day following the alarm just mentioned, scvenil piirtu's 
arrived from different directions, and were met and coiKluctnl 
by some of the braves to the council lodge, where they r( poricii 
the events and success of their exi)editions, whether of umiqi- 
huntiug; which news was afterward luomulguletl throiigliout 
the village, by c^i'tain old men who acted as heralds or Unsn 
criers. Among the parties which arrived was one that Iiad 
been among the Snake nation stealing horses, and icturiiLil 
crowned with success. As they passed in triumph throiijvli the 
village they were cheered by the men, women, and ehildron, 
collected as usual on the tops of the lod;j,i's, and were exliortod 
by the Nestors of the village to be generous in their tlealings 
with the white men. 

The evening was spent in feasting and rejoicing amonij; tlie 
relations of the successful warriors; but sounds of grief aiul 
wailing were heard from the hills adjacent to the village : the 
lamentations of women who had lost some relative in the foray. 
An Indian village is subject to continual agitations ami cx- 
eiteraents. The next day arrived a deputation of braves from 
the Cheyenne or Shienne nation ; a broken tribe, cut up. like 
the Arickaras, by wars with the Sioux, and driven to take ruf- 
ugc among the Black Hills, near the sources of the C'lieyeiiiio 
River, from which they derive their name. 0;ie of these depu- 
ties was magnidcently an lyed in a Imffalo rolie, on wliich 
various figures were fancifully embroidered with split (iiiiljs 
dyed red and yellow ; and the whole was fringed with the slen- 
der hoofs of young fawns, that rattled as he walked. 

The arrival of this deputation was the signal for another of 
those ceremonials which occupy so much of Indian life; for no 
being is more courtly and pimetilious, and more obscrviiiu of 
etiquette and formality, than an Ameiican saxagc. 

The object of the deputation was to give notice of !ui intended 
visit of the Shienne (or Cheyenne) tribi; to tin- vVrickara \illam! 
in the course of Hftee/i dajs. ''\) this visit Mr. limit looked 
forward, to procure additional horses for his journey ; all \m 


from the 
hitter to I 
to buffalo 

As Mr. 
Mr. Lisa i 
chandifc { 
obtained i 
situated a 
miles furt 
and Mr. J 
out for th 
upward of 
lated nural 
dise, and 
range ment 

On the 
Indian hoi 
to be in th 
As the da^ 
ber on th 
noise and 
lodges wei 
toward tht 
cntly an 
village, ar 

The tru 
upon the 
turning fr( 
who had 
fought th' 
rest with 
about a d( 
tance unt 
meet them 
warrior w 
party has 

All the ii 
to them. 
Those, to 
and toilet 



bargaining heing inefTectual in obtaining a sufTicicnt supply 
from the Ariekaras. Indeed nothing could i)revail upon tlie 
hitter to part with their prime horses, which liad been trained 
to buffalo hunting. 

As Mr. Hunt would have to abandon his boats at this place, 
Mr. Lisa now offered to purchase tlieni. and such of his nicr- 
chaudit'e as was superfluous, and to pay him in horses, to be 
obtained at a fort belongiL^g to the Missouri Fur Company, 
situated at the Mandan villages, about a hundred and lifty 
miles further up the river. A bargain was i)romptly madc; 
and Mr. Lisa and Mr. Crooks, with several companions, set 
out for the fort to procure the horses. They returned, after 
upward of a fortnight's absence, bringing with them the stipu- 
lated number of horses. Still the cavalry wa:5 not suflicicntly 
numerous to convey the partj' and the baggage and merchan- 
dise, and a few days more were required to complete the ar- 
rangements for the journey. 

On tiie i)th of July, just before daylireak, a great noise and 
vociferation was heard in the village. This being the usual 
Indian hour of attack and surprise, and the Sioux being known 
to be in the neighborhood, the cami) was instantly on the alert. 
As the day broke Indians were descried in considerable num- 
ber on the bluffs, three or four miles dov/n the river. The 
noise and agitation in the village continued. The tops of the 
lodgos were crowded with the inhabitants, all earnestly looking 
toward the hills, and keeping up a veliement chattering. Pres- 
ently an Indian warrior galloped past the camp toward the 
village, and in a little while the legions began to pour forth. 

The truth of the matter was now ascertained. The Indians 
upon the distant hills were three hundred Arickara braves re- 
turning from a foray. They had mot the war party of Sioux 
who had been so long hovering about the neighborhood, had 
fought them the day before, killed several, and defeated the 
rest with tlic loss of but two or tiu'ce of their own men and 
about a dozen wounded ; and they were now halting at a dis- 
tance imtil their comrades in the village should come forth to 
meet them, and swell the parade of tl.eir triumphal entry. Tiie 
warrior who had galloped past the camp was the leader of the 
party hastening home to give tidings of his victory. 

Preparations were now made for this great martial ceremony. 
All the iinery and eciuipmenls of the warriors were sent forth 
to them, that they might appear to llie gr(!atest atlvanlngc 
Those, too, who had remained at home, tasked their wardrc bes 
and toilets to do honor to the procession. 

)A I 

I' : 



y i 

>i- ■ 111 

ckaras generally go naked, bnt, like all savages, tliey 
gala dress, of which they arc not a little vain. This 

The Arickaras 
have tlicir 

usually consists of a gi'uy snrcoat and leggins ot the dressed 
skin of the antelope, resembling chamois leather, and embroi- 
dered with porcupine quills brilliantly dyed. A buffalo rol)o is 
thrown over the right shoulder, and across the left is slung a 
quiver of arrows. They wear gay coronets of plumes, ijarlicti- 
laiiy those of the swan ; but the feathers of the black eagle arc 
considered the most worthy, being a sacred bird among the 
Indian warriors. He who has killed an enemy in his own land 
is entitled to drag at his heels a fox-skin attached to each 
moccason ; and he who has slain a grizzly bear wears a neck- 
lace of his claws, the most glorious trophy that a hunter cau 

An Indian toilet is an operation of some toil and trouble: 
the warrior oftrn hns to paint himself from head to foot, and 
is extremely capricious and dillicult to please, as to the hideous 
distribution of streaks and colors. A great part of the morn- 
ing, therefore passed away before there were any signs of 
the distant pageant. In the mean time a profound stillness 
reigned over the village. Most of the inhabitants had gone 
forth; others remained in mute expectation. All sports and 
occupations were suspended, excepting that in the lodges ti.e 
painstaking squaws were silently busied in preparing the repasts 
for the warriors. 

It was near noon that a mingled sound of voices and rude 
music, faintly heard from a distance, gave notice that the pro- 
cession was on the march. The old men and such of the 
squaws as could leave their employments hastened forlii to 
meet it. In a little while it emerged from behind a hill, and 
had a wild and picturesque appearance as it came moving over 
the summit in measured step, and to the cadence o*" songs and 
savage instruments ; the warlike standards and trop'iiies flaunt- 
ing aloft, and the feathers, and paint, and silver ornaments of 
the warriors glaring and glittering in the sunshine. 

The pageant had really something chivalrous in its arrange- 
ment. The Arickaras are divided into several bauds, each 
bearing the name of some animal or bird, as the butTalo, the 
bear, the dog, the jdieasant. Tiie present party consisted of 
four of these bands, one of which was tlu; dog. the most es- 
teemed in war, being composed of young men under thirty, 
and noted for prowess. It is engaged on the most (U'sperate 
occasions. The bands marched in separate bodies under their 
several leaders. The warriors on foot came lirst, in platoons 



of ten or twel 
as an ensign 
(luills, and pr 
elevated on 
wind. Kach 
strelsy. In 1 
af a mile. 1 
^rnns, others 
shields of buf 
Indians of th 
and forest to 
savage style, 
months, a sig 

As they dn 
began to me( 
fallacy of the 
and children 
with the mo 
and lanientat 
and wounded 
slow and met 
the warriors i 

Between t 
who had dist 
wounded, so 
preserved a 
broke throu 
around him 
meanor of a 
had reached 

The villag 
uniph. Tlu 
shields were 
war-feasts a 
music ; all tl 
while the ok 
gating with 
of the varioi 

Si.ieh was 
another ki 
wailings of 
darkness an 
the poor mo 






)o is 


of ten or twelve abreast; then the liorsemon. Each band bore 
^g an ensign a spear or bow decorated with beads, porcupine 
(iiiills, and painted feathers. Each l)ore its trophies of scalps, 
elevated on poles, their long l)lack locks streaming in the 
wind. Each was accompanied by its rude music and min- 
strelsy. In this way the procession extended nearly a quarter 
af a mile. The warriors were variously armed, some few with 
nms, others with bows and arrows, and war clubs ; all had 
shields of buffalo hide, a kind of defence generally used by the 
bidians of the open prairies, who have not the covert of trees 
and forest to protect them. They were painted in the most 
savaf^e style. Some had the stamp of a red hand across their 
months, a sign that they had drunk the life-blood of a foe ! 

As they drew near to the village the old men and the women 
lie^an to meet them, and now a scene ensued that proved the 
fallacy of the old fable of Indian apathy and stoicism. Parents 
and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters met 
with the most rapturous expressions of joy ; while wailings 
and lamentations were heard from the relatives of the killed 
and wounded. The procession, however, continued on with 
slow and measured step, in cadence to ilie solemn chant, and 
the warriors maintained their fixed and stern demeanor. 

Between two of the principal chiefs rode a young warrior 
who had distinguished himself in the battle. Me was severely 
wounded, so as with dilHculty to keep on his horse ; but he 
preserved a serene and steadfast countenance, as if perfectly 
unliarmed. His mother had heard of his condition. She 
broke through the throng, and rushing up, threw her arms 
around him and wept aloud. He kept up the spirit and de- 
meanor of a warrior to the last, but expired shortly after lie 
had reached his home. 

The village was now a scene of the utmost festivity and tri- 
umph. The Itanncrs, and trophies, and scalps, and painted 
shields were elevated on poles near the lodges. There were 
war-feasts and scalp-dances, with warlike songs and savage 
music ; all the inhabitants were arrayed in their festal dresses ; 
while the old heralds went round from lodge to lodge, promul- 
gating with loud voices the events of the battle and the exploits 
of the various warriors. 

Such was the iioisterous revelry of the village ; but sounds of 
anotlior kind were heard on the surroiiiiding hills ; piteous 
wailings of the W(jmen, who had retired thitlu'i' to mourn in 
darkness and solitude for those who had fallen in battle. riicii! 
the poor mother of the youthful warrior who had returueil lioine 

If! ■' 





f 1 


1 ' ' #/ 

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■ * 

M' i' 

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in triumph but to die, gave full vent to the anc^uish of a 
mother's heart. II'^w much docs this custom !iiiion<i; th( 
Indian women of repuirinj? to the hill tops in the uiulit, and 
pouring forth their vvailings for the dead, eall to uiiiid (Ik 
beautiful and affeetint passage of Scripture, "In Raiim was 
there a voice heard, lamentation, and w(H>i>iiiiX, imd '^\vM. mourn, 
ing, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, 
because they are not." 


While Mr. Hunt was diligently preparing for his anhions 
journey, some of his men began to lose heart at the poiilons 
prospect before them ; but, before we accuse them of waul of 
spirit, it is proper to consider the nature of the wilderness into 
which they were about to adventure. It was a region almost 
as vast and trackless as the ocean, and, at the time of wliich wo 
treat, but little known, excepting through the vagtii- accounts 
of Indian hunters. A part of their route would lay across an 
immense tract, stretching north and south for hundreds of 
miles along the foot of the Ro(^ky IMountains, and drained hy 
the tributary streams of the Missouri and the IMississippi. 
This region, which resembles one of the immeasurable steppes 
of Asia, has not inaptly been termed " the great American 
desert." It spreads forth into undulating and treeless plains. 
and desolate sandy wastes, wearisome to the eye from lliolr 
extent and monotony, and wliich are supposed by geologists to 
have formed the ancient floor of the ocean, countless ages since, 
when its primeval waves beat against the granite bases of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

It is a land where no man permanently abides ; for, in cer- 
tain seasons of the year there is no food either for the hunter 
or his steed. The herbage is parched and withered ; the bnioks 
and streams are dried up ; the buffalo, the elk, and the deer 
have wandered to distant parts, keeping within llie verge of 
expiring verdure, and leaving behind them a vast uninlialiitod 
solitude, seamed by ravines, the beds of former lorreiits. Imt 
now serving only to tantalize and increase the thirst of Iho 

Occasionally the monotony of this vast wilderness is iutcr- 
nipted by mountainous belts of sund and limestone, broken 

into confu! 
vines, lool^ 
lofty and 1 
riers of tli 
Atlantic w 
vast chain 
Ijuuds of s 
JUKI who e 
and leckles 
Such is 
West; whi 
of civilized 
tially be si 
ral tracts, 
great part < 
of civilizet 
Arabia ; ai 
new formal 
aud '• abra 
mains of 1) 
ants of wa 
S|)anis[i an 
(iocs of evt 
of society i 
to swell' 1 1 
lation that, 
whole trib( 
great wast' 
tiie smart c 
homes and 
and al)idin 
lliem. So] 
rude and i 
with their 
but otliers 
bands, nioii 
plains for t 
retreats an 
j^rcat liord 
bauds," th 



into confused masses ^ with precipitous >;liffs and yawning ra- 
vines, looking like the ruins of a w* rid ; or is traversed by 
lofty and barren ridges of rock, almost impassable, like those 
denoniiuated the Black Hills. Heyoiul these rise the stern bar- 
riers of the Rocky Mountains, the limits, as it were, of the 
Atlantic world. The rugged defiles and deep valleys of this 
vast chain form sheltering places for restless and ferocious 
biuuls of savages, many of them the remnants of tribes once 
inhabitants of the prairies, but broken up by war and violence, 
and who carry into their mountain haunts the iierce passions 
and reckless habits of desperadoes. 

Such is the nature of this immense wilderness of the far 
West; which api)arently defies cultivation, and the habitation 
of civilized life. Some |)ortions of it along the rivers may par- 
tially be subdued by agriculture, others may form vast pasto- 
ral tracts, like those of the East ; but it is to be feared that a 
(Treat i)art of it will form a lawless interval between the abodes 
of civilized man, like the wastes of the ocean or the deserts of 
Arabia; and, like them, l)e subject to the depredations of the 
marauder. Here may spring up new and mongrel races, like 
new formations in geoUjgy, the amalgamation of the "debris" 
and '■ abrasions " of former races, civilized and savage ; the re- 
mains of l)roken and almost extinguished tribes ; the descend- 
ants of wandering hunters and trappers ; of fugitives from the 
S[ianish and Amciican frontiers ; of adventurers and despera- 
does of every class and country, yearly ejected from the bosom 
of society into the wilderness. We are contributing incessantly 
to swell this singular and heterogeneous cloud of wild popu- 
lation that is to hang about our frontier, by the transfer of 
whole tribes of savages from the east of the Mississippi to the 
great wastes of the far West. Many of these bear with them 
tiic smart of real or fancied injuries ; many consider themselves 

fxpatriated beings. 


exiled from their hereditary 

homes and the sepulchres of their fathers, and cherish a deep 
and abiding animosity against the race that has dispossessed 
them. Some may gradually become pastoral hordes, like those 
rude and migratory people, half shepherd, half warrior, who, 
with their Hocks and herds, roam the plains of upper Asia ; 
but others, it is to be api)rehended, will become predatory 
bands, mounted on the lleet steeds of the prairies, with the open 
plains for their maiauding grounds, and the mountains for their 
relivats and lurking-places. Here lliey may resemble tliosi- 
great hordes of the North — "Gog and Magog with their 
bauds," that haunted the gloomy imaginations of the prophets 

|i < 

(. It 

fi: I 

S ' 

til Mi 


. ^c 

1 :,; 

1 'i 

i ! 


1 1 

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I'- i 

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"A great company and a mighty lio,' i i iil'ng npon horses 
and warring upon those nations wiiich on; at i est, and dwelt 
peaceably, and had gotten cattk^ and g<)(/. .' 

The Spaniards changed the whole character an(i lu.Mts of the 
Indians when they brought the horse among them. In C'liili, 
Tucuman, and other parts, it has converted them, we iire told, 
into Tartar-like tribes, and enal)led them to kee)) tlie Spaniards 
out of their country, and even to make it dauj^irous for tlu'iii to 
venture far from their towns and settlements. Are we not in 
danger of producing some such state of things in t'le boundless 
regions of the far West? That these are not n.ere fanciful 
and extravagant suggestions we have sufficient proofs in the 
dangers already experienced by the traders to the Spanish mart 
of Santa F6, and to the distant posts of the fur companies. 
These are obliged to proceed in armed caravans, and are sul). 
ject to murderous attacks from bands of Pawnees, Camanclios, 
and Blackfeet, that come scouring ui)on them in their weary 
march across the plains or lie in wait for them among the passes 
of the mountains. 

We are wandering, however, into excursive speculations, 
when our intention was merely to give an idea of the nature of 
the wilderness which Mr. Hunt was about to traverse, and which 
at that time was far less known than at present, though it still 
remains in a great measure an unknown land. We cannot 
be surprised, therefore, that some of the least resolute of liis 
party should feel dismay at the thoughts of adventuring into 
this perilous wilderness, under the uncertain guidance of throe 
hunters, who had merely passed once through the country and 
might have forgotten the landmarks. Their api)rehensions 
were aggravated by some of Lisa's followers, who. not being 
engaged in the expedition, took a mischievous jjlcasuro in exag- 
gerating its dangers. They painted in strong colors, to the poor 
Canadian voyageurs, the risk they would run of perishing with 
hunger and thirst; of being cut oiT ])y war-i)arties of the Sionx 
who scoured the plains; of liaving their horses stolen l)y the 
Upsarokas or Crows, who infested the skirts of the Kocky 
Mountains ; or of being butchered by the lUaekfeet, who huke.d 
among the defiles. In a word, there was litth' cliauce of their 
getting alive across the mountains ; and even if they did, those 
three guides knew nothing of tlu' howling wilderness thai lay 

The apprehensions tlujs awakened in tlie minds of some of 
the men came well-nigh proving detrimental to the expedition. 
Some of them determined to desert, and to make their waj' 



hack to St. TiOuis. Thoy uoponlin<«ly pniioincd scvoral woap- 
oiis ami ii l>:irri'l of j;un|)()W(l('r. as aiiininnitioii for Uicir riitcr- 
iirisc, .Mini lniii('(l lIuMii ill tlic river hunk, iiit('ii<liri<;' to seize oik; 
of liic IiomIs iiiid iiKike ofT in the nij^lit. Kortiiiinlely their plot 
^v!is ()V( ilieinil Ity .loliii Day, tlie Kentiiekiaii, ami coiniiiuni- 
cnUiI I" 111*' partners, who took quiet and effectual means to 
fnistrah' it. 

The (laii!j:eis to be apprehended from the Crow Indians liad 
not IxH'ii overrated hy the camp gossips. These savMges, 
tliroii<j,li whose mountain haunts tlie l>aity wouhl have lo piiss, 
were noted for daring and excursive haliits, and great di'Xterity 
in horse stealing. Mr. Hunt, therefore, considered himself 
fortunate in having met with a man who might be of great use 
to iiini in any intercourse lie might have with the tribe. This 
was a wandering individual, iiatned Edward Hose, whom he 
had picked up somewhere on the Missouri — one of those 
anomalous beings found on the frontier, who seem to have 
neither kin nor countiy. He had lived some time among the 
Crows, so as to become acquainted with their language and 
customs; and was, withal, a dogged, sullen, silent fellow, with 
a sinister aspect, and more of the savage than the civilized man 
in his appearance. He was engaged to serve in general as a 
hunter, but as guide and interpreter when they should reach the 
country of the Crows, 

On the IHth of July Mr. Hunt took up his line of march by 
I land from the Arickara village, leaving Mr. Lisa and Mr. Nut- 

tall there, where they intended to await the expected arrival 
of Mr. Henry from the Kocky Mountains. As to Messrs. 
Bradbury and Brecken ridge, they had de|)arted, some days 
previously, on a voyage down the river to St. Louis, with a 
(lotiichment from Mr. Lisa's party. With all his exertions, Mr. 
Hunt had been unable to ol)tain a sufllcient number of horses 
for the ncconunodation of all his people. His cavalcade con- 
sisted of eightv-two horses, most of them heavily laden with 
Indian goods, beaver traps, amnmnition, Indian corn, corn meal, 
and other necessaries. Each of the partners was mounted, and 
a horse was allotted to the interpreter, Pierre Dorion, for the 
transportation of his luggage and his two children. His sipuiw, 
for the most iiart of the time, trudged on foot, like the residue 
of the party ; nor did any of the men show mon; |)atienc(! 
and fortitude than this resolute wonum in enduring fatigue and 

The veteran trappers .and voyaueurs of Lina's party shook 
ibuir heads ai^ their comradeH Sbt uut, uud tuok leave ui' theiii 












k< ■ 

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.i I 



II tl 

I 1 

ll' ,1 






ii ' 

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Hs of (loomed men ; and even I.lsa himself <r.ivo it as his opjn. 
ion, after the travellers had deparU'd, that they would lu'vor 
reaeh the shores of the I'aciric, but would either perish with 
hunger in the wilderness, or be cut ofif by the savages. 


The course taken by Mr. Hunt was at first to the nortliwost, 
but soon turned and kept generally to the southwest, to avoid 
the country infested by the lilackfeet. His route took iiim 
across some of the tributary streams of the Missouri, and over 
immense prairies, bounded only by the horizon, and destitute 
of trees. It was now the height of summer, and thest^ naixcd 
plains would be intolerable to the traveller were it not for tiie 
breezes which sweep over them during the fervor of tlic duv, 
bringing with them tempering airs from the distant mountains. 
To the prevalence of these breezes, and to the want of all leafy 
covert, may we also attribute the freedom from those flies and 
other insects so tormenting to man and beast during the sinn- 
mer months, in the lower plains, which are bordered and inter- 
spersed with woodland. 

The monotony of these immense landscapes, also, would he 
as wearisome as that of the ocean, were it not relieved in some 
degree by the purity and elasticity of the atmosi)here, and IIk; 
beauty of the heavens. The sky has that delicious blue for 
which the sky of Italy is renowned ; the sun shines with a 
splendor, unobscured by any cloud or vapor, and a stariii>lit 
night on the prairies is glorious. This purity and elasticity of 
atmosphere increases as the traveller a^jproaches the muuu- 
tiiins, and gradually rises into more elevated prairies. 

On the second day of the journey Mr. Hunt arranged the 
party into small and convenient messes, distributing among 
them the camp kettles. The encampments at night were as 
before: some sleeping under tents, and others bivouacking in 
the open air. The Canadians proved as patient of toil and 
hardship on the land as on the water ; indeed, nothing could 
surpass the patience and good-humor of these men upon tlie 
march. They were the cheerful drudges of the party, loadint; 
and unloading the horses, pitching tlie tents, making the liits. 
cooking; in short, performing all those househoUl and iiieiii;,! 
otiices which the Indians usually assign tu the squaw a ; uud, 





liko \hv s(iii!i\vs, llicy left iill the«;; rmd (ifilitinjx to o(1i(m-s. 
A Canadian lias l»iit. lilllc {ilTcction for llic exercise of tlie ride. 

'I'lie proi^ress of the [)arty was hut slow for the first few days. 
Soino of tlie men were indisposed; Mr. Crooks, ospeeially, was 
so unwell that he ould not keep on his horse. A rude kind of 
littiT was therefore prepared f(jr him, consisting of two long 
poles, llxi'd, one on efich side of two horses, with a matting 
between them, on which he reclined at full length, and was 
protected from the sun by a can()py of houghs. 

On the evening of the 2;kl (July) they encamped on the 
hanks of what they term liig Kiver ; and here we cannot hut 
pause to lament the stupid, connnonplace, and often lihald 
names entailed upon the rivers and other features of the groat 
West l»y traders and settlers. As the aboriginal tribes of these 
iiiagnifieent regions are yet in existence, the Indian names 
niiglit easily be recovered ; which, besules being in general more 
sonorous and musical, would remain mementos of the pruni- 
tive lords of the soil, of whom in a little while scarce any traces 
will he left. Indeed, it is to be wished that the whole of our 
country could he rescued, as much as possi])le, from the wretched 
nomenclature inflicted upon it by ignorant and vulgar minds ; 
and this miglit be done, in a great degree, by restoring the Indian 
names, wherever signilicant and euphonious. As there appears 
to h'.' a spirit of resi-arch abroad in respect to our aboriginal 
anticpiities, we would suggest, as a worthy object of enterprise, 
a niai) or maps, of every part of our country, giving the Indian 
names wherever they could be ascertained. Whoever achieves 
sueh an object worthily, will leave a monument to his own 

To return from this digression. As the travellers were now 
in a eoiuitry abounding with ixiffalo, they remained for several 
days encamped upon the banks of Big River, to obtain a supply 
of provisions, and to give the invalids time to recruit. 

On the second day of their sojourn, as Ben Jones. John Day, 
and others of the hunters were in pursuit of game, they came 
upon an Indian camp on the open prairie, near to a small 
stream which ran through a ravine. The tents or lodges were 
of dressed buffalo skins, sewn together and stretched on taper- 
ing pine i)oles, joined at toj), but radiating at bottom, so as to 
form a circle capable of adnjittiug fitly persons. Numbers of 
horses were grazing in the neighliorhood of the camp, or 
straying at large in the prairie ; a si.rht most acci'ptable to the 
luinters. After reconnoitring the camp for sonu' time they as- 

to a band of Che^enue Indians, the 




certaiued it to 


■ I, 




Hiimo that had sent n (IcpiilMlion l<> Ihc Aiickaras. They it 
(•('ivcfl lilt' hunters in tlic niosl I'licndly iiiiinncr : invitcl thciii 
to thi'ir lodjios, whicli were more (.-hMiily th:ii) Indian lud;,Ms ;in; 
prone to lie, and set food liefore them witli true uncivilized lios. 
pitality. Several of llieni aecoinpanied the hnnters J^aek to the 
eauip. when a trade was iininediaLely opened. The Cheyemn.i 
were astonished and delighted to liud a convoy of j^ooda and 
trinkets tluis l)rou<j;ht into the very heart of flie praiiie ; while 
Mr. Hunt and his companions were overjoyed to have an oppor 
tunity of obtaining a further supply of horses from t!>ese etjues 
trian savages. 

During a fortnight that the travellers lingered at this place, 
their eneampmi'nt was eontiuufdly thronged by the ('heyeniics. 
They were a civil, well-behaved people, cleanly in their persons 
and decorous in their habits. The men were tall, straight, and 
vigorous, with aipiiline noses and high chei'k l)ones. Some 
were almost as naked as ancient stalui's, and might have stuud 
us models for a statuary; others had leggings anil mocca.sons of 
lieer skin, and bulTalo robes, which tliey threw gracefully over 
their shoulders. In a little whih', however, they began to a\). 
})ear in more gorgeous army, tricked out in the (inery obtaiiied 
from the white men — bi-iglit cloths, brass rings, lieads of vari- 
ous colors, and happy was he who could render himself hideous 
with vermilion. 

The travellers had frequent occasion to admire the skill and 
grace with which these Indians managed their horses. Some 
of them made a striking display when mounted, themselves 
and their steeds decorated in gala style ; for the Indians often 
bestow more finery upon their h "rses than upon themselves. 
Some would hang round the necks, or rather on the breasts of 
their horses, the most precious ornaments the}- had obtained 
from the white men ; others interwove feathers in their manes 
and tails. The Indian horses, too, appear to have an attach- 
mimt to their wild riders, and indeed it is said that the horses 
of the prairies readily distinguish an Indian from a white man 
by the smell, an<l give a preference to the former. Yet tlie 
Indians, in general, are hard riders, and, howevi'r they may 
value their horses, treat them with great roughness and ueidecl. 
Occasionally the Cheyeni.'-s joined the white hunters in pi;rsuit 
of the elk and bulTalo ; and when in the ardor of the chase, 
spared neither themselves nor their steeds, scouring the prairies 
at full speed, and plunging down preci[)ices and fright fid ravims 
that threateued the necks of both horse and horseman. The 
Indian steed, well trained to the chase, seems as mad as bib 





rider, anfl pursues tlio game as eagerly as if it were hit* nutunii 
proy, on tiic tlesli of which he was to baiuiuet. 

Tlio history of the Ciieycnnes is that of many of those wan- 
dering tribes of the prairies. Tiiey were the remnant of a 
oiu'c powerful people called the Shaw ays, inhabiting a branch 
of tiie Hed Kiver which flows into Lake Winnipeg. Every 
Indian tril)e lias some rival tribe with vviiieh it wages imphuablc 
hostility. The deadly enemies of the Shaways were the Sioux, 
who, after a long course of warfare, proved too powerful for 
them, and drove them across the Missouri. They again t«)()k 
root near tlie Warricanne Creek, and established tliemselves 
tjiero in a fortified village. 

The Sioux still followed them with deadly animosity ; dis- 
lodged them from their village, and compelled them to take 
refuge in the Black Hills, near the upper waters of the Shey- 
enne or Cheyenne River. Here they lost even their name, and 
became known among the French colonists by that of the river 
they frequented. 

The heart of the tribe was now broken ; its numbers were 
greatly thinned by their harassing wars. They no longer at- 
tempted to establish themselves in any permanent abo(le that 
might he an object of attack to their cruel foes. They gave 
up the cultivation of the fruits of the earth, and became a wan- 
dering tribe, subsistii:g by the chase, and following the buffalo 
iu its migrations. 

Their only possessions were horses, which they caught on the 
prairies, or reared, or captured on predatory incursions into the 
Mexican territories, as has already been mentioned. With 
some of these they repaired once a year to tin Arickara vil- 
lages, exchanged them for corn, beans, pum|)kin(^. and articles 
of European merchandise, and then returned into the heart of 
the prairies. 

Such are the fluctuating fortunes of these savage nations. 
War, famine, pestilence, together or singly, bring down their 
strength and thin their numbers. Whole tribes are rooted up 
from their native places, wander for a time about these immense 
regions, become amalgamated with other tril)es, or disappear 
from the face of the earth. There appears to be a tendency to 
extinction among all the savage nations ; and this tentlency 
would seem to have been in operation among the aboriginals of 
this country long before the advi'ut of the white nu'ii, if we 
may judge from the traces and traditions of ancient popiiloiis- 
ness ill regions which were silent and deserted at the time of 
the discovery ; and from the mysterious and perplexing vestiges 





1 n 

j\ n^ 

v: )h'.: 

;^ ' 





of unknown races, predecessors of those found in actual png. 
session, and who must long since have become gradually extin- 
guished or been destroyed. The whole histoi-y ot the aboriginal 
population of this country, however, is au enigma, and a grand 
one — will it ever be solved ? 


On the sixth of August the travellers bade farewell to the 
friendly band of Cheyonnes and resumed their journoy. As 
they had obtained thirty-six additional horses by their recent 
traffic, Mr. Hunt made a new arrangement. Tlie baggage was 
made up in smaller loads. A horse was allotted to each of tlie 
six prime hunters, and others were distributed among the v(>y- 
ageurs, a horse for every two, so that they could ride and \v;ilk 
alternately. Mr. Crooks, being still too feeble to mount ilic 
saddle, was carried on a litter. 

Their march this day lay among singular hills and knolls of 
an indurated red earth, resembling brick, about llie l»ases of 
which were scattered pumice stones and cinders, the wliole 
bearing traces of the action of lire. In the evening tliey en- 
camped on a branch of Big River. 

They were now out of the tract of country infested by the 
Sioux, and had advanced such a distance into the interior that 
Mr. Hunt no longer felt apprehensive of the di'sertion of any 
of his men. He was doomed, however, to experience new 
cause of anxiety. As he was seated in his tent after nightfall, 
one of the men came to him privately, and informed him lliat 
there was mischief brewing in the canii). Kdward Rose, the 
interpreter, whose sinister looks we have already mentioned, 
was denounced by this secret informer as a designing, treaeher- 
ous scoundrel, who was tampering with the fidelity of ceitain 
of the men, and instigating them to a H:;grant piece of treason. 
In the course of a few days tl>ey woukl arrive at the mountain- 
ous district infested by the Upsarokas or Crows, the lril)e 
among which Rose was to ofliciate as interpreter, ills plan 
was that several of the men should join with him, when in that 
neighborhood, in carrying off a number of tlie hoiscs with tluir 
packages of goods, and deserting to those savages, lie a>^.iir('il 
them of good IreatnuMit among tiie Crows, the ehirlN 
and warriors of whom he ku«W ; they would soon becuiue yreal 

men among tli 
of the chiefs, 
off would mal 

The intellig 
mtich disquiet 
be effective ar 
several of the 
cross the niou 
for many of 
to intermarry 

And here f 
service to tlu 
Buccccding na 

The tribe ( 
places in fert 
Mountains, ai 
tary streams 
where they si 
(Ircn, the men 
and the scam] 
ou tlie one sii 
we are told, ii 
tlicir unsettle 
the crows, fr 
making free 
Horses, howe 
and their skil 
touishing. 1 
obtained by t 
mal ; besides 
trallic. Onct 
tarees, and < 
droves of ho 
trinkets, veu 
articles of i 
their own wa 
for horses air 

The plot o 
in the heart 
liaiuls of a h 
blc tu those 




men amon<» them, and have the finest women, anrl the daughters 
of the chiefs, for wives ; and the horses and goods they earried 
off would make them rich for life. 

The intelligence of this treachery on the part of Rose gave 
much disquiet to Mr. Hunt, for he knew not how far it might 
he effective among his men. He had already had proofs that 
ficvond of them were disaffected to the euteiprise, and loath to 
cross the mountains. He knew also that savage life had charms 
for many t)f them, especially the Canadians, who were prone 
to intermarry and domesticate themselves among the Indians. 

And here a word or two concerning the Crows niuy be of 
service to tiie reader, as they will figure occasionally in the 
euccccding narration. 

The tribe consists of four bands, which have their nestling 
places in fertile, well-wooded valleys, lying among the Rocky 
Mountains, and watered by the Big Horse Hiver and its tribu- 
tary streams ; })ut, though these are properly their homes, 
where they shelter their old people, their wives, and their chil- 
dren, the men of the tribe are almost continually on the foray 
and the scamper. They are, in fact, notorious marauders and 
horse-slealcrs ; crossing and recrossing the mountains, robbing 
on the one side, and conveying their spoils to the other. Hence, 
wo are told, is derived their name, given to them on account of 
their unsettled and predatory hal)its ; winging their flight, like 
the crows, from one side of the mountains to the other, and 
making free booty of every thing that lies in their way. 
Horses, however, are the especial objects of their depredations, 
and tlieir skill and audacity in stealing them are said to be as- 
touishiiig. This is their glory and delight; an accomplished 
horse-stealer fills up their idea of a hero. Many horses are 
obtained by them, also, in l)arter from tnl)es in and beyond the 
mountains. They have an absolute passion for this noble ani- 
mal ; besides which he is with them an im|)ortant object of 
trallie. Once a year they make a visit to the INIandans, Mina- 
tarces, and other tribes of the Missouri, taking with tiiem 
droves of iiorses which they exchange for guns, ammunition, 
trinkets, veunilion, cloths of Ijright colors, and varioiis other 
articles of Kuropean manulaeture. With tluise they supidy 
their own wants and capriei's, and carry on the internal trade 
for horses already mentioned. 

The plot of Host' to rob and abandon Lis coiint-rvnien wln'U 
in the heart of the wilderness, and to throw iiiiiiselt' into the 
hands of a horde of savages, may appear slrangi' and iniproKa- 
ble tu tbuse uuucquainled with the singular and anomalous 

' . t 


i' 11* 

i'' i 

' an j 





;' • 

^ i 



I -ff 

characters that arc to be found about the borders. This fellow 
it appears, was one of those despi-radoes of tlic frontiers, oin- 
lawed by their erini\s, who (.-oinbine tlie vices of eiviliziMl and 
savage Ufe, and are ten times more l»arl)arous tlian the Indians 
with whom they consort. Rose had formerly beloni^ed to one 
of the gangs of pirates who infested the islands of the Missis- 
sippi, plundering boats <tn they went u[) and down tiie river, 
and who sometimes shifted tiie scene of their lobbeiies to the 
shore, waylaying travellers as they returned liy land from Xe^ 
Orleans with the proceeds of their downward voyagi". pliuider- 
ing them of their money and effects, and often perpetrating the 
most atrocious murders. 

Tliese hordes of villains being broken up and dispersed, Hose 
had betaken himself to the wilderness, and associated hiniselt 
with the Crows, wdiose [)redatory habits were congenial with 
his own, had married a woman of the tribe, and, in short, had 
identified himself with those vagrant savages. 

Sucli was the worthy guide and intiMpreter, Kdwiird Rose. 
We give his story, however, not as it was known to Mr. Ilimi 
and his companions at the time, but as it has bt'en subse(|uently 
ascertained. Enough was known of the fellow and his dark 
a'.ul perfidious chai'acter to put jMr. Hunt upon his guuid ; still, 
as there was no knowipg how far his plans might li;ive suc- 
ceeded, and as any rash act might blo.v the mere smouldering 
sparks of treason into a sudden blaze. ;t was thought advisable 
by those with whom Mr. limit consulted, to ccaiceal :dl knowl- 
edge or suspicion of the medit;ited tieachery, but to keep up a 
>igilant watch upon the movements of liose, and a strict guard 
upon the horses at night. 



The plains over which the travellers were journeying eo:i 
tinned to be destitute of trees or even shrul)s ; insomuch thai 
tliey had to use the dung of the butfalo for fuel, as the .\rali. 
of the desert use that of the cauud. This substitute for fuel \> 
universal among tli'' Indians of these upper prairies, nnd is s.iid 
to make a fire (-(juid to that of turf. If a few (diips ;ire added. 
it throws out a ehei'rful and kindly ld:i/,e. 

'I'hese plains, however. Ii;id not idwnys been ecpuillv desliliiti' 
of wood, as was evident froui the trunks of Hi.' 1re<\. uI/kIi 
the travellers repeatedly met with, some still slan<ling, olhti.s 



ly,„,r aluHit ill hrokeii fragrncntsi, bnl all in a fossil stato, liaviii<j 
(joiirislici' ill times joiin past In tJii^sc sinjitilar ivniains, tlic 
oiii'iiial ;j;raiii of llu' wood was still so disiiiK't lliat lliry could 
In' ascortaiiuHl to Wo the iiiiiis of oak trees. Several pieces of 
the fossil wood were selected liy llie ineii to serve as wlielstoncs. 

In this |iart of the jo;irney there was no lack of iirovisions, 
for the prairies were covered with immense herds of buffalo. 
Those, in u'eiieral, are animals of peaceful demeanor, grazing 
oiiietly lil<c domestic cattle ; but this was the season when they 
are in heat, and when the bulls arc usually lierce and pug"'- 
cioiis. There was accordingly a universal restlessness and 
coiiiiiiotion throughout the plain ; and the amorous herds gave 
utterance to their feelings in low bellowings that resounded like 
distant thunder. Here and there lierce duellos took place be- 
tween rival enamorados ; butting their huge shagged fronts lo- 
gelher, goring (iach other with their short black horns, and 
tearing up the earth with their feet iu perfect fury. 

Ill oni" of the evening halts, Pierre Dorion, the interpreter, 
toiietlier with Carson and (Jnrdpie, two of the hunters, were 
missing, nor had they returned by morning. As it was sup- 
posed they had wandered away in pursuit of buffalo, and wouhl 
readily lind thi; track of the party, no solicitude was felt on 
their account. A lire was left burning, to guide them by its 
column of smok(>, ami the travellers proceeded on their march. 
Ill the evening ii signal lire was made on a hill adjacent to the 
ca:?H), and in the morning it was replenished with fuel >o as to 
last ''roughout the day. These signals are usual among the 
Indians, to give warnings to each oilier, or to call liome strag- 
gling hunters ; and such is the transparency of the atmosphere 
iu those elevated plains, that a slight column of smoke can lie 
discerned from a grea^. distance, partieiilarly in the evenings. 
Two or three days e!a[)sed, however, without tin- re-appearance 
of the tliA'c hunters ; and Mr. Hunt slackened his march to 
s;ivo them time to overtake him. 

A vigilant watch continued to be kept upon the movements 
of Rose, and of such of the men as were consiilered doubtful in 
their loyalty ; but nothing occurred to excite immediate a|ipre- 
hensioiis. Rose evidently was not a favorite among his eoni- 
I'udes, and it was hoped that he had not been able to make any 
real |)artisans. 

On the loth of August they encamped among hills, on the 
highest jieak of which Mr. Hunt caused a huge pyre of pine 
U(K)(1 Iu be made, which soon sent up 'i great column of iiiiiin; 
that might lie seen far and wide over the prairies. This \ha 













m I 


blazed all night rind was amply loploniKlicd at. diiybn^iik ; so 
that the towcriiin; pillar oC sinoisc could not I»iit Ito dosciicd hy 
the wandenM-s if within the distance of a day's journey. 

It is a couimon occurrence in these regions, where the 
features of the country so much resemble each otiier, for 
hunters to lose themselves and wander for many days, before 
they can find their way back to the main body of their party. 
In the present instance, however, a more than coinmon solid. 
tude was felt, in consequence of the distrust awakened by the 
sinister designs of Rose. 

The route now became excessively toilscne, over a ridge 
of steep rocky hills, covered with loose sttnies. These were 
intersected by deep valleys, formed by two branches of Hitt 
River, coming from the south of west, both of which tliey 
crossed. These streams were bordered l)y meadows, well 
stocked with buffalo.::.. Loads of meat were brought in i)y 
the huaters; but the travellers were rendered dainty by profu- 
sion, and would cook only the ciioice pieces. 

They had now travelled 'or several days at a very slow rate, 
and had made signal fires and left traces of theii route at 
every stage, yet nothing was heard or seen of the lost ..!,.. 
It began to be feared that they might have 'ullen ini'. thi' 
hands of some lurking band of savages. A party num. i\)us 
as that of Mr. Hunt, with a long train of pack-horses, movin_«; 
across open plains or naked hills, is discoverabU' sit a gnat 
distance by Intlian scouts, who spread the intelligence ra|)i(lly 
to various points, and assembled their friends to hang about 
the skirts of the travellers, steal their horses, or cut off any 
stragglers from the main body. 

Mr. Hunt and his companions were more and more siMisiliJo 
how much it would be in the power of this sulh'n and (larin;j, 
vagabond Rose, to do them mischief, when they should beeonu- 
entangled in tJ;.^ defiles of the mountains, witii tlie passes ol' 
which they wen v.-holly unacquainted, and which were in- 
fested by his freebo iti;ig fri;'i ds, the Crows. There. slu)iilil 
he succeed in seducing some of the party into liis plans, li' 
might carry off tlje best liorsos and effect.. Ihiow hiniscU' 
among his savage al.'s, nnd set ,i'l j)nr^iiit at deliance. .Mr. 
Hunt resolved tl. nlore l< f'ustraie tiie knave, divert hiin, ly 
management. i'v<'\f bis r.ians, and make it sufiiciently advMi- 
tageous for him to reina'n 'i >'H'st, lie look occasion acionl- 
ingly, in tiie courpr of !<>.'» .-ersation, to inform Rose tliiit. 
having engaged iiim eiu.ifly ;J a guide and interpreter tliroii;'li 
the country of the Crows, they wouUl not stand in need of 

his services h 
marriage with 
ftiuoiig them, 
whenever the; 
him at liber 
him half a y( 
find would gi 
other articles 
This unoxr 
able and inli 
than to pitty 
time his who 
cleared up an 
skulking halti 
the faith of t 
On tlic i3t! 
clined westw 
hunters, who 
right hand of 
iork of the 
resembling t| 
its current, i 
and sunken t 
Rugged m 
water edge, 
side they w 
encamped on 
turage and 
and rainy, ai 
ageurs sat si 
their heads, 
evening a s 
fountl. Tlu 
looks, and 
been for sev 
ing cxcursio 
of butTalo i 
plains tram 
the monoto 
lost tlie poit 
nor did thej 
uf smoke 





his services beyond. Knowing, therefore, his connection by 
niiini.'igo witii tiiat tribe, and his predilection for ». lesidence 
aiiioiijjj Ihcni, tliey would put no restraint upon his will, but, 
wiieacver they met with a i)arty of that people, would leave 
him ut liberty to remain among his adopted brethren. 
Furthermore, that, in thus parting with him, they would pay 
him half a year's wages in consideration of his past services, 
and would give him a horse, t^ j? beaver traps, and sundry 
other articles calculated to set him up in the world- 

This uuexPf^otcd liberality, which made it nearly as profit- 
ablo and inliuir,C'iy less hazardous for Rose to remain honest 
than to piMy the rogue, completely disarmed him. From that 
time Ills whole deportment underwent a change. Mis brow 
cleared up and apiK-ared more cheerful; he left off his sullen, 
skulking haltits, and made no further attempts to tamper with 
the faith of his comrades. 

On Uie '3lh of August Mr. Hunt varied his course, and in- 
clined wchtwanl,, in hopes of falling in with the three lost 
hunters, who, it was now thought, might have kept to the 
right hand of Big River. This course soon brought him to a 
fork iif the Little Missouri, about a hundred yards wide, and 
resembling the great river of the same name in the strength of 
its current, its turbid water, and the frequency of drift-wood 
and sunken trees. 

Rugged mountains appeared ahead, crowding down to the 
water edge, and offering a barrier to further progress on the 
side they were ascending. Crossing the river, therefore, they 
euoaniped on its northwest bank, where they found good pas- 
turage and buffalo in abundance. The weather was overcast 
and rainy, and a general gloom pervaded the camp ; the voy- 
ageurs sat smoking in groups, with their shoulders as high as 
their heads, croaking tlieir forel- -dings, when suddenly toward 
evening a shout of joy gave notice that the lost men were 
found. They came slowly lagging into the camp, with weary 
looks, and horses jaded and wayworn. They had, in fact, 
heeu for several days incessantly on the move. In their hunt- 
ing excursion on the prairies they had pushed so far in pursuit 
of buffalo as to lind it impossible to retrace their steps over 
plains trampled by innumerable herds, and were bafilcd by 
the monotony of the landscape in their attempts to recall 
landmarks. They had ridden to and fro until tlu-y had almost 
h)sl the points of the compass, and beccjine totally bewildered; 
nor (lid they ever perceive any of tlie signal lircs and columns 
of BUioke made by their comrades. At length, about two 

, ( 


S! la 

1 I > 







1 ' ^h 


days previously, when almost spent by anxiety and Imrrl 
ridino-, they came, to their <ireat joy, upon tiie •> trail " of the 
psrty, which they had since followed up steadily. 

Those only wlio have exj)erienced the warm cordiality that 
grows up between comrades in wild and adventurous oxihhH. 
tions of the kind, can picture to themselves the hearty cheer 
ing with which the stragglers were welcomed to the camp. 
Every one crowded round them to ask fjuestions, and to hear 
Ihe story of their mishaps ; and even the s(juaw of tlie niooily 
half-l)reed. Pierre Dorion, forgot the sternness of his domesilc 
rule, and the conjugal discipline of the cudgel, iu her joy at 
his safe return. 


Mr. TIdnt and his party were now on the skirts of the Black 
Hills, or Black Mountains as they are someti'iies called : nu 
extensive chain, lying about a hundred miles east of the Kocky 
Mountains, and stretching in a uort'i'ast direction from the 
south fork of the Nebraska or Platte River, to the great north 
bend of the Missouri. The Sierra or ridge of the Black Hills, 
in fact, forms the dividing line between the waters of tiie 
Mis.souii and those of the Arkansas and the Mississippi, a;ul 
gives r>i to the Cheyenne, the Little Missouri, and several 
tributary streams of the Yellowstone. 

The wild recesses of tl.ef-.i !iiils, like those of the Kocky 
Mountains, are retreats and lur\:i!g-]ilac. - for broken and pred- 
atory tribes, and it was anw)]);/: iin in thai *he renniant of lue 
Cheyenne tribe took refuge, as 'j:is been sti,'"d, from their 
conquering enemies, the Sioux. 

ihe Black Hills are chiefly comj ; ed of >iandstone, nnd iu 
many places are broken int-. savage 'lilTs na*.! priu'ipices. and 
present the nust singula t and fanta 'c forms; soiiielinjcs re- 
sembling towns and castellated fortresses. Tiie ignorai.l in- 
habitants of plains an prone to clothe the mountnins iluit 
bound their horizon with fanciful and superst'tious attrilmics 
Thus the wandei"ng tiities of th>' prairies, wlio often behold 
clouds gathering round the summits of these hills, and li<j.hl- 
ning Hashing, and thunder i)ealing from them, when all the 
neighboring plains ;ire serene ;i!i ! sininy, consider them the 
abode of the ."cnii o-' Ihiindcr-spirits. who fabricate storms and 
tempests. Cm liitcring their ilciilcs, therefore, they often 

iiang oflfcrir 
|,ropitiale tl 
(rood weathf 
serene weat 
reports are 
senibling th 
reports wer( 
the bursting 
of the moui 

In fact tl 
planations 1 
accounted f 
one which 1 
tiuingiv, an 
of artillery, 
stones, 'ri 
truth of tlu 
a rock had 
like a boml 
was broken 
the interna 
than iron ; 
crystal ; 
The sanu 
cent provin 
hand arc ( 
earth, and 
look like i» 

The Ind 
heard occa 
throes and 
the precioi 
tiller- " oi 
repor..-- lutu 
revel < viiU 
engaizt uiei 
C'uul iu u s 




imuct oftcr'm^n on the trops, or place them on the rocks, t<i 
i,r()i)itiiito the invisiMe " i')nls of tlic niouittulns," and procure 
ifoc'd weutiier jiiul successful lnnitiu<;- ; and they attach unusual 
si'niifieancc to the echoes which haunt the precipices. Tiiis 
superstition may also have arisen, in part, from a natural 
nhonomenon of a singular nature. In the most calm and 
? serene weather, and at all times of the day or night, successive 

reports are now and then heard among these mountains, re- 
sembling the discharge of several pieces of artillery. Similar 
reports were heard by Messrs. Lewis and Clarke in the Rocky 
Mountains, which they say were attributed by the Indians to 
the bursting of the rich mines of silver contained in the bosom 
of the mountains. 

lu fact these singnlar explosions have received fanciful ex- 
planations from learned men, and have not l)een satisfactorily 
accounted for even by philosophers. They are said to occur 
frequently in Brazil. Vasconcelles, a Jesuit father, describes 
one which he heard in the Sierra, or mountain region of Pira- 
tiuiiiga, and which he compares to the discharges of a par 
of artillery. The Indians told him that it was an explosion of 
stones. 'Fhe worthy father liad soon a satisfactory proof of the 
trutii of their information, for the very place was found where 
a rock had burst and exploded from its entrails a stony mass, 
like a bomb-shell, and of the size of a bull's heart. This mass 
was broken either in its ejection or its fall, and wonderful was 
the internal organization revealed. It had a shell harder even 
than iron ; within which were arranged, like the seeds of a 
poinegranate, jewels of various colors ; some transparent as 
crystal ; others of a fine red, and others of mixed hues. 
The same phenomenon is said to occur occasionally in tlie adja- 
cent province of (iuayra. where stones of the bigness of a man's 
hand arc cx|)loded, with a loud noise, from the bosom of the 
earth, and scatter about glittering and beautiful fragments that 
look like precious gems, but are of no value. 

The Indians of the Orellanna, also, tell of horrible noises 
heard occasionally in the Paraguaxo, which they consider the 
throes and groans of the mountain, endeavoring to cast forth 
the precious stones hidden within its entrails. Others have 
endcttvored to acct»uit for these discharges of " mountain ar- 
tillery " on hunibfcr^ principles; attributing them to the loud 
reportfe. made by tie- disruption and fall of great masses of rock, 
rever-n'rated and prolonged l)y the echoes; others, to the dis- 
eiigai:<'Uient of liy<lrogen, produced by subterraneous l)eds of 
coal iu a slate oi ignition. In whuiever way tills singular phe- 



i; i' 





lii.monoii tn;i,v lio ;. • nnitr'<l for. tho oxistenoe of it. appears to 
III' well rstMhlishtMl. Il niiiiiiiis one of the liii<«eriiij; mysteries 
of iiiitiiiA- wlii>-li lliiow :.<)mctirni,u- of :i. siipcni.'itmal cliurrn 
over \nv \\\U\ iiit)Uiiluiii solitiuU'S ; and wo douhl wIioUut the 
iiiuigiii:iti\c leader will not rather join with tlie p(;or liidiuii in 
attiildiliiiiA' it to the tiiunder-.spirit.s, or the o;uai(lian t-ciiii of 
unseen tieasnres, than to any eonmionpUice pliysieal eanse, 

Wiiateve!' might he the ,sni)ernatural inthienei's amonj^ these 
monntaiiis, the traveHiT.s fonnd their physical diilienlties luuii 
to eov with. Tiiey made; n'peuted attempts to find a passugo 
throiij^n or nvvv the chain, but were as often turned back liy 
inii)assable barriers. Sometimes a defile seemed to o})ei) a prac- 
ticable path, lint it would terminate in some wild chaos oi' n^cks 
and elilTs, uiiich it was impossible to climb. The animals ot 
these solitaiy regions were ditTerent from those they had beeu 
acenstoiniHl to. The black-tailed deer would bound up the 
ravines on their approach, anil the bighorn would gaze fear- 
lessly down upon them from ;ome impending precipice, or skip 
playfnlly from rock U) rock. These animals are only to be met 
willi in mountainous regions. The fi.'rnier is larger than the 
couimon deer, but its Ilesh is not e(|ually esteeniecl by hunters. 
Jt has very large ears, and the tip of tiie tail Is black, from 
which it derives its name. 

The I»ighorn is so named from its horns, which are of a great 
size, and twistt-d like those of a ram. It Is called by some the 
argidi. by others, the ibi x. though differing from both of these 
animals. The 3Ianchins ctill it the ahsahta, a uanu' much het- 
ti'r than the clum,sy appellation which it generally bears. It is 
of tiie size of a small elk. or large deer, and of a dun color, 
jxcepting Jiie belly and rouud the tail, where it is white. In 
its habits il resembles the goat, fre(jtienting the rudest preci- 
pices ; cropping the lu'rbage from their eilges ; and, like the 
chamcis, bounding lightly and securely anujiig dizzy heights, 
where the hunter dares not venture. It is dillicult, therefore, 
to get within siiot of it. Ben Jones the hunter, however, in 
©oe of the passes of the lUack Hills, succeeded in bringing 
down a bighorn from the vergt; of a precipice, the flesh of which 
was pronounced by the gourmands of the camp to have the 
Uavor of ex-clli'nt nuitton. 

lialHed in his attempts to tiaverse this mountain ch.ain, Mr. 
Ilnnt skirted along it to the southwt-st, keeping it on the right, 
and still in hopes of Ihiding an opening. At an early honr oiio 
d.iy. he encamped in a narrow valley on the banks of a bciuili- 
I'uily cieui but ruahy pool, aurrouuJed by thicketfcj bcariujj abuu 







fliincc of wild clionios, riirnviits, mid yellow and purplo goose- 


Wliilc Mic .'irtt'iiiooM's mcid w!\s in prcpnralioii, IVIr. Hunt 
ai)<l iMr- MMvcn/cic iisccndcd to llic snniiiiit of the nearest lull, 
from wlu'iKT, niiU'd l»y tlic pniity and tninsiiari'ncy of tlur 
(.'veiiint; atniosplicrc, they coinmanded a vast prospect on all 
sides, lii'low tlieni extended a plain, dotted with innnnierable 
hcnls of buffalo. Some were lyinj;' down among the herbage, 
otluTs loinninir in their unbonnded pastures, while many were 
iii"a:fe(l in liercv' contests like those alii'ady described, their 
low licllowings reaching the ear like the hoarse murmurs of the 
Hurf on a distant shore. 

Far olT in the west they descried a range of lofty mountains 
iiiiiiting the clear horizon, some of tlieni evidently capped with 
snow. These they supposed to l)e the Hig Horn Mountains, so 
called from the animal of that name, with which they abound. 
Tlii'V are a spui- of the great Kocky chain. The hill from 
wlu':ic(> Mr. Hunt had this prospe'-t was, according to his cora- 
piiUition, attout two hundred and fifty miles from the Arickara 

On returning to the camp Mv. Hunt found some uneasiness 
prevailing among the Canadian voyageurs. In straying among 
tlK'tliiekels they had beheld trickis of grizzly bears in every 
direction, doubtless attracted thither by the fruit. To their 
disiiiiiv, tliey now found that they had encamped in one of the 
favoiile resorts of this dreaded animal. The idea marred all 
the comfort of the encampment. As niglit closed, the surrouud- 
iii<r thickets were peopled with terror; insonuich that, accord- 
ing to Mr. Hunt, they could not help startiug at every little 
lirt'fze that stirred the bush(!S. 

The gri/,zly bear is the only leally formidable quadruped of 
oiu' eoiitinent. He is the favorite themi' of the hunters of the 
far AVest. who descrilx' him as eipuil in .size to a common cow 
and of prodigious strength. He makes battle if assailed, and 
often, if pressed by hunger, is tin.' assailant. If wounded, he 
lieooines furious and will pursue the hunter. His speed exceeds 
Ihut of a man, l)ut is iuferior to that of a horse. In attacking 
JR' rears himself on his hind legs, and spiings the length of his 
body. Woe to horse or rider that conies within the swet'p 
of his terrific claws, which ai'e somclimes nine inches in leugth 
find tear everything before them. 

At tlie time we are treating of, the grivczly bear was still fre- 
quent on tlu' Missouri, and in the lower country, but, like some 
of the broken tribes of the prairie, he has gradually fulluu back 

!■ r:;j 


•I. i 

} .■ 

■'* \ 








Itcfoic his (MiPinios, nnd is now rliiofly to ho found in tho up. 
ImikI regions, in iii<,'ut'(| fMshicsscs, like those of tiic IM.'ick I|i||n 
uinl Ihc IJucky Moiint.iins. Ih'ic lit- hirks in cjivcrns, or Ik,!,,^ 
wliich lie hiis <lij4<j;('(i in the sides of liills, or nnder the roots uiid 
trnnks of liillen trees. Like the coninion hejir he is loiid of 
fruits, and mast, and roots, liie latter of wiiieli lie will diu; up 
with his {i)\v claws. He is caniivorons also, and will evt'ii 
attack and conquer the lordly IxilTalo, dragging his huge carcass 
to the neigiil)orhood of his dcii, that he may prey upon it at hig 

The hunters, both white and red men, consider this the most 
heroic ganu". Thi-y piefer to hinit him on horsehack, and will 
venture so near as sometimes to singe his hair with the Hash of 
the rille. Tlie hunter of the grizzly bear, however, nmst he an 
experienced hand, and know where to aim at a vital part; for 
of all quadrupeds he is the most didicult to l)c killed. lie will 
I'cceive repeated wounds without lUnching, ami rarely is a shot 
mortal unless thiough the head or heart. 

That the dangers apprehended from the grizzly hear, at this 
night encampment, were not imaginary, was proved on the fol- 
lowing morning. Among the hired men of the party was one 
William Cannon, who had been a soldier at one of the frontier 
posts, and entered into the employ of Mr. Hunt at Mackinaw. 
lie was an inexperienced hunter and a po<jr shot, for whieli be 
was much bantered by his more adroit comrades. Piipied at 
their raillery, he had been practising ever since ho had joined 
tlie expedition, but without success. In the course of the pres- 
ent afternoon, he went forth l)y himself to take a U'sson in 
vcncrie, and, to his great delight, had the good fortune to kill a 
buffalo. As he was a considerable distance from the camp, he 
cut out the tongue and some of the choice bits, made them into 
II parcel, and, slinging them ou his shoulders by a strap passed 
round his forehead, as the voyageurs carry packages of goods, 
set out all glorious for the camp, anticipating a triumph over his 
brother Imnteis. In passing through a narrow ravine he heard 
a noise behind him, and looking round beheld, to his dismay, a 
grizzly ])ear in full pursuit, apparently attracted by the scent 
of the meat. Cannon had heard so much of the invulnerability 
of this tremendous animal, that he never attempted to tire, hut, 
slip))ing the strap from his forehead, let go the bulTalo meat 
and ran for his life. The bear did not stop to regale himself 
with the gaujt', but kept on after the hunter. He had nearly 
overtaken liiiii when Cannon reached a tree, and, throwinsr 
down his rille, scrambled up it. The uext iustaut Bruin was at 

the foot of 
climh, ho r 
perceive win 
his fears pi( 
tiic night, tl 
the niornin«i 
t!ie tree, gat 
hack to the 

While on 
venture witl 
hunter, but 
dition. Da; 
of the comi 
with the vet 
in check. 'J 
grizzly bear 
rearing him 
displaying a 
young man 
hand was as 
exclaimed t 
turning his 
The monstei 
on his fore 
paces hefori 
and repeate( 
his young c( 
peating betv 
quiet!" tho 
treated som 
showed his 
nmcli for 
rlaimed he, 
ball from 
mortal ; but 
mal. and he 

Day's yc 
tho caution 
replied the 
up with too 
myself to b 




tho foot of the tree ; but, as this spooioa of bear doos not 
(-liml), he contented himself with turning the cliase into a 
bloekadc. Night came on. In the darivness Cannon could not 
pprooive whetlier or not the enemy maintained ids station ; l)ut 
his fears pictured liim rigorously mounting guard. lie passed 
the night, tiurefore, in the tree, a prey to dismal fancies. In 
tlic morning tlie bear was gone. Cannon warily descended 
the tree, gatliered up his gun, and made the best of his way 
hack to the camp, without venturing to look after his buffalo 

Willie on this theme wc will add another anecdote of an ad- 
venture with a grizzly bear, told of dolui Day, the Kentucky 
hunter, but whieli happened at a different period of tin- expe- 
dition. Day was hunting in company with one of tlie clerks 
of tlie company, a lively youngster, who was a gri'at favorite; 
witli tlu' veteran, but wliose vivacity he had continually to ki'ep 
in clu'ck. They were in scardi of deer, when suddenly a huge 
grizzly bear emerged from a thicket about thirty yards distant, 
rearing himself upon his hind legs with a terrific growl, and 
displaying a hideous array of teeth and claws. The ritle of the 
young man was levelled in an instant, but .John Day's iron 
hand was as quickly upon his arm. " He (piiet, boy ! l)e quiet ! " 
exclaimed the hunter, between his cli.iched teeth, and without 
turniiig his eyes from the bear. They remained aiotionless. 
The monster regarded them for a time, then, lowering himself 
on his fore paws, slowly withdrew. lie had not gone many 
paces before he again turned, reared himself on his hind legs, 
and repeated his menace. Day's hand was still on the arm of 
his young companion ; he again pressed it hard, and kept re- 
peating between his teeth, ''C^uiet, boy! — keep cpiiet! — keep 
quiet! " though the latter had not made a move since his first 
prohibition. The bear again lowered himself on all fours, re- 
treated some twenty yards farther, and again turned, reared, 
showed his teeth, and growled. This third menace was too 
much for the game spirit of John Day. " Hy Jove ! " ex- 
rlainied he, " I can stand this no longer," and in an instant a 
ball from his rifle whizzed into the foe. The wound was not 
mortal ; but, luckily, it dismayed instead of enraging the ani- 
mal, and he retreated into the thicket. 

Day's young companion n'proached him for not practising 
the caution which he enjoined upon others. " Why. boy," 
rcpbed the veteran, " caution is caution, but one must not put 
up with too much even from a bear. Would you have me sutler 
myself to be bullied all day by a varmiut? " 

i 1^ 



1 1 








m III 22 


"^ 1^ III 2.0 


1-25 1.4 |||.6 

* 6" 






(716) 872-4503 













I i 


m. 1 



182 ASTOlilA. 


For the two foPowinu days the travellers pursued a westerly 
course for thirty-four miles along a ridge of country dividinlr 
the tributary waters of the Missouri and the Yellowstone. As 
landmarks they guided themselves by the sunnnits of the far 
distant mountains, which they supposed to bi-long to the Hig 
Horn chain. They were gradually rising info a higher tetnpiT- 
uture, for the weather was cold for the season, with a sliarp 
frost in the night, and ice of an eighth of an inch in thickness. 

On the twenty-second of y-tugust, early in the day, thi'y eanie 
upon the trail of a numerous band. Rose and the other hunters 
examined the footprints with great attention, and deterniint'd 
it to be the trail of a party of Crows returning from an annual 
trading visit to the Mandans. As this trail afforded more eoin- 
modious travelling, they immediately struck into it. and follownl 
it for two days. It led tliem over rough hi'Is. and through 
broken gullies, during which time they suffered great faliguc 
from the ruggedness of the country. The weather, too, which 
had recently been frosty, was now oppressively warm, and Ihcie 
was a great scarcity of water, insomuch that a valuable dog he- 
longing to Mr. M'Kenzie died of thirst. 

At one time they had twenty-live miles of painful travel, 
without a drop of water, until they arrived at a small running 
stream. Here they eagerly slaked their thirst ; l)ut. this bcino; 
allayed, the calls of hunger !)ecamc ecjually inn)ortnnate. Kvtr 
since they had got among these barren and arid hills, wlicrc 
there was a deficiency of grass, they had met with no buffaloes, 
those animals keeping in the grassy meadows near the slicanis. 
They were oblifid, therefore, to have recouise to their corn 
meal, which tin'v reserved for such einerg«'ncies. Some, how- 
ever, were Ir. !vy enough to kill a wolf, which they cooked for 
supper, and pronounced excellent food. 

The next morning they resumed their wayfaring, hungry and 
jaded, and had a dogged nuirch of eighteen miles among tlic 
same kind of hills. At length they emerged ui)on a stream of 
clear water, one of the forks of Powder River, and to llieir 
great joy beheld once more wide grassy meadows, stocked willi 
herds of buffalo. For several days they kept along the bunks 
t)f the river, ascending it about eighteen miles, it was a hun- 
ter's paradise ; the butTaloes were in such abundance thai thi\ 
were enabled to kill as mauy as they pleased, aud io ji-rk a Mil 



firiont supply of moat for several days' .ionrnoyinj;. TToro 
tlipn, tlu-y ivvcllcd iuid loposcd jiftcr lln-ir liimiiry and weary 
travel, liiiiitin<i and feastini!:, and reclining iipoii (lie j^rass. 
Tlieir (|uiel, however, was a little niarre(l hy et>Miiii;L; upon traces 
of Indians, who, tiiey eonehided, must t>e Crows ; tliey were 
tiicrofore ol>li<;ed to keep a more vijjilaiit wateh than ever upon 
their horses. For several days they had bei-n diiH'etinii their 
niareli toward the lofty mountain (leserilted Ity JMr, Hunt and 
Mr. M'Keiizic on the 17th of August, the heiiiht of whieh ren- 
dered it a landmark over a vast extent of country. At lirst it 
had appt'ared to them solitary and detaelied ; hut as they ad- 
vanced toward it, it proved to l»e the principal suunnil of a 
eiiain of mountains. Day hy day it varied in form, or rather 
its lower peaks, and the summits of others of the chain I'lnerticd 
above the clear horizon, and finally the inferior line of hills 
which connected ni<jst of them rose lo view. So far, however, 
are ohjccts discernible in the pure atmos|)here of these elevated 
plains, that, from the place where they lirst descried tiie main 
mountain, they had to travel a hundred and fifty miles ht-fore 
tliev reached its base. Here they encampeil on the thirtieth of 
August, huvinu; come nearly four hundred miles since leaving 
the Ariekara village. 

The mountain which now towered above them was one of the 
Big Horn chain, bordered by a river of the same name, and 
extending for a long distance rather east of north and west of 
south. It was a part of the great system of granite mountains 
whi"h forms one of the most important and striking feature? 
of North America, stretching parallel to the coast of the Pacific 
from the Isthmus of I'anama almost to the Arctic Ocean, and 
presenting a corresponding chain to that of the Andes in the 
southern hemisphere. This vast range has acquinMl, from its 
rugged and i)roken character, and its summits of naked granite, 
the appellation of the Rocky Mi)untains, a name by no means 
distinctive, as all elevated ranges are rocky. Among the early 
explorers it was known as the range of C'hii)pewyaii MoMiitains, 
and this Indian name is the one it is likely to retai.i in poetic 
usage. Rising from the midst of vast plains and prairies, trav- 
ersing several degrees of latitude, dividing the waters of the 
Atlantic and the I'acilie, and seeming to liind with diverging 
ridges the level r»'gions on its thinks, it has been liguratively 
termed the backbone of the northern continent. 

Tlu' Itocky Midiiitains do not present a range of unifonn 
eh'valion, but rather groups and oceasionally detached pcak^-. 
Thuuyh some of these rise Ut the rey;ion of [)er[>etual snuu.-. 



I .: 

and are upward of eleven thousand feet in real altitude, yet 
their height from their immediate basis is not so <jcreat as nii<rl,t 
be imagined, as tiicy swell up from elevated plains, s'jvtial 
thousand feet above tlie level of tlie ocean These plains are 
often of a desolate sterility ; mere sandy wastes, foiined of the 
detritus of the granite heights, destitute of trees and lierliago, 
scorched by the ardent and reflected rays of the sununer's sim, 
and in winter swept by chilling blasts from the snow-dad 
mountains. Such is a great part of that vast region oxtciuling 
north and south along the mountains, several hundred niilos in 
width, which has not improperly been termed the (Jri'at Ameri- 
can Desert. It is a region that almost discourages all hope of 
cultivation, and can only be traversed with safety by keeiiing 
near the streams which intersect it. Extensive i)lains iikcwise 
occur among the higher regions of the mountains, of ctnisider- 
able fertility. Indeed, these lofty i)lats of table-land seem to 
form a peculiar feature in the American continents. Some 
occur among the Cordilleras of the Andes, where cities and 
towns and cultivated farms are to be seen eight thousand feet 
above the level of the sea. 

The Rocky Mountains, as we have already observed, ooeur 
sometimes singly or in groups, and occasionally in colhileial 
ridges. Between these are deep valleys, witii small streams 
winding through them, which find their way into the lower 
plains, augmenting as they proceed, and ultiniati'ly dischnioing 
themselves into those vast rivers which traverse the prairies like 
great arteries and drain the continent. 

While the granitic summits of the Rocky Mountains are 
bleak and bare, many of the inferior ridges are scantily clothed 
with scrubbed pines, oaks, cedar, and furze. Various parts of 
the mountains also bear traces of volcanic action. Some of the 
interior valleys are strewed with scoria and broken stones, 
evidently of volcanic origin ; the surrounding rocks bear the 
like character, and vestiges of extinguished craters are to be 
seen on the elevated heights. 

We have already noticed the superstitious feelings with 
which the Indians regard the Black Hills; but this iunncnse 
range of mountains, which divides all that they kntjw of the 
world, and gives birth to such mighty rivers, is still more an 
object of awe and veneration. They call it " the crest of the 
world," and think that Wacondah, or the master of life, as 
they designate the Supreme Being, has his residence iiniohii 
these aerial heights. The tribes on the eastern prairies eall 
lliem the iiiountuius of the setting suu. Suuie of them place 

91 1 




tlic " litippy limitiiijT-^nmiKls," their idcsil paradise, anionir tin' 
ivcOHSCS of tlu'Sf iiiomilaiiiH ; hiif say lliat. they are iiivisil)le to 
livMiii men. Here also is the " l.aiid <»f Souls," in whieh are the 
" towns of the free and jrenerons spirits," where tl)OHc who have 
iilcascd tiie master of life while living, enjoy after death all 
milliner of di'li<ilits. 

Wonders are told of these mountains by the distant tribes, 
wliiise warriors or hunters have ever wandered in tlieir neigh- 
[jorliood- It i^ tliought by some that, after deatli, tliey will have 
to travel to thesi* mountains and ascend one of tiieir highest 
iiuil most rug^t'd peaks, among rocks, and snows, and tumbling 
tonvnts. Aftei- many moons of painful toil they will reacli the 
summit, fnmi wlienee they will have a view over the land of 
mollis. Tliere they will sec the liappy hunting-grounds, with 
the souls of the brave and good living in tents in green mead- 
ows, by briglit running streams, or hunting the herds of 
l)uffalo, and elks, and deer, which have been slain on earth. 
There, too, they will see the villages or towns of tlie free and 
generous s|)irits brightening in the midst of delicious prairies. 
If they have aecpiitted themselves well while living, they will 
be permitted to descend and enjoy this happy country ; if other- 
wise, they will but be tantalized with this prospect of it, and 
then hurled back from the mountain to wander al)Out the sandy 
plains, and euUurc the eternal paugs of uusutislied thirst and 



•f ( 

, i i. 

chapti:r XXVIII. 

The travellers had now arrived in the vicinity of the moun- 
tain regions infested by the Crow Indians. These restless 
uiaranilers, as has already been observed, are apt to be cou- 
timially on the prowl about the skirts of the mountains ; anil 
even when encamped in some deep and secluded glen, they 
keep scouts upon the cliffs and promontories, who, unseen 
themselves, can discern every living thing that moves over the 
subjacent plains and valleys. It was not to be expected that 
our travellers could pass unseen through a region thus vigilantly 
sentinelled ; accordingly, in the edge of the evening, not long 
after they had encampeil at the foot of the Big Horn Sierra, a 
couple of wild-looking beings, scantily clad in skins, but well 
armed, and mounted on horses as wild-looking as themselves, 
were seen approaching with great caution from among tho 






r». — *— * , 



1 1 


1 1 


1 1 


1 1 









" , 

'' * " 

, 1 

r i 



rocks. Thoy niijiht, have lioon mistaken for two of flip evil 
spirils of the uu»iiiit!iiiis so formidable in Indian fable. 

Rose was iiiimediately sent out fo hold a parley with tlioin, 
and invife them to the camp. 'I'liey proved to be two scouts 
from the same band that had been tracked for some days past, 
and which was now encamped at some distance in the folds of 
the mountain. They were easily prevailed upon to come to the 
camp, where they were well received, and, after remaining there 
until late in the evening, departed to make a report of all they 
had seen and experienced to their companions. 

The following day had scarce dawned when a troop of those 
wild mountain scamp«'i'ers came galloping with whoops and 
yells into the camp, bringing an invitation from their chief for 
the white men to visit him. The tents were accordingly struck, 
the horses laden, and the party were soon on the march. The 
Crow horsemen, as they escorted them, appeared to take pride 
in showing oft' their equestrian skill and hardihood ; careering 
at full sjH'cd t)n their half-savage steeds, and dashing among 
rocks and crags, and up and down the most rugged and dan- 
gerous places with perfect ease and unconcern. 

A ride of sixteen miles brought them, in the afternoon, in 
sight of the Ci'ow camp. It was composed of leathern tents, 
pitched in a meadow on the border of a small clear stream at 
the foot of the mountain. A great number of horsi':^ were 
grazing in the vicinity, many of them doubtless captured iu 
marauding excursions. 

The Crow (diieftain came forth to meet his guests with great 
professions of friendship, and conducted them to his tents, 
pointing out, by the waj', a convenient place where they might 
fix their camp. No sooner had they done so than ISIr. Hunt 
opened some of the packages and made the chief a present of 
a scarlet blanket, and a quantity of powder and ball ; he gave 
him also some knives, trinkets, and tobacco to be distributed 
among his warriors, with all which the grim potentate seemed 
for the time well [deased. As the Crows, however, were reputed 
to be perfidious in the extreme, and as errant freebooters as the 
bird after which they were so worthily named, ami as their gt'u- 
eral feelings toward the whites were known to be by no means 
friendly, the intercourse with them was conducted with great 

The following day was passed in trading with the Crows for 
bnflfalo rol)es and skins, and in bartering galled and jailed horses 
for others that were in good condition. Some of the men also 
purchased horses on their own account, so that the immber now 



.Miioimf<'"l (<> (^^^ liiiii<1n'(l ;ui(l Iwonty-ono, most of tliotn sound 
!,ii(I iiclivc :iii'l lit, for iiioiintMiii scrvico. 

I'lioir waiit.^ l)(iii!Li; siipiilicd, tlioy ceased mII riirtlior tijifllc, 
iiiiicli to the dissatisfaction of tlic Crows, who liccaine extremely 
iprciit to coiitiiiiu! the trade, and, findinjj; their iujportunities 
)f"ii() avail, assumed an insolent and Jiienacing tone. All this 
,v:i.s attril)tited by Mr. Hunt and his associates to the perfidious 
iiistii;:itioiis of K'ose the interpreter, whom they suspected oi the 
desiie to foment ill-will hetween them and the SMva<?es. for the 
promotion of his nefarious plans. M'Lellan, with his usual 
tntncluiiit mode of dealin*^ out justice, resolved to shoot the 
(Icspcrado on the spot in case of any outhrcak. Nothing of the 
kind. Iiorti'vcr, occinred. The Crows were probably daunted l)y 
(he ivsoliitc though tiuiet demeanor of the white men, and the 
(■(instant vigilance and armed preparations which they main- 
tained ; and Hose, if 111' really still harl.'ori'd his knavi>ii designs, 
iinist Iiavc peiceived that they were suspected, and, if attempted 
to lie carried into etYect, might bring ruin on his own head. 

Till' next iiioiiiiiig, bright, and early, Mr. Hunt proposed to 
a'siiiiK' liis journeying. He took a ceremonious leave of the 
Ciow cliit'ftain and his vagabond warriors, and according to 
previous arrangements, consigned to their cherishing friendship 
and fraternal adoption their worthy confederate. Hose ; who, 
haviiii; lignred among the water pirates of the Mississippi, was 
well lilted to rise to distinction among the land pirates of the 
Kooky Mountains, 

It is proper to add that the runian was well received among 
the tribe, and appeared to be jicrfectly satisfied with the com- 
luoinise lie had made, feeling much more at his ease among 
savages than among white men. It is outcasts from civilization, 
fn<rilives from justice, and heartless desperadoes of this kind, 
who sow the seeds of enmity and bitterness among the unfortu- 
nati' tribes of the frontier. There is no enemy so implacable 
:i:faiiisl a country or a community as one of its own people who 
h;is rendered himself an alien by his crimes. 

Kiglit glad to be relieved from this treacherous com[)anion, 
Mr. lliiiil pursued his course along the skirts of the mountain, 
in a siiulliciii direction, seeking for some practicable delile by 
which ill' might pass through it ; none such i»resented, however, 
ill the course of lifteen miles, and he encami»ed on a small 
'itieani. still on the outskirts. The green meadows which border 
these inoiiiitain streams are generally well stocked with game, 
and the hunters soon killed several fat ilks, which supplied the 
lamp with fresh meat. Ju the evening' the travellers were sur 







i ■ ' 

i 1 


1 lli 



^i' :■ 




prised by an miwclcoino visit from sovoral Crows bolonpinp; to 
!i, (lilTfiviit. IkiikI from that which they had roccnlly icfl, and 
who said their (•aiiip was amon<i the iiioiiiitains. The ('oiis('i(»ii)i. 
lU'ss of liciii^- mviroiicd l>y siicii dangerous neigiihors, aiKi of 
beiny still within tlie range of Hose and his fellow nillians, 
obliged the party to be continually on the alert, and to niaintaiu 
weary vigils throughout the night, lest they should be robbed of 
their liorses. 

On the third of September, finding that the mountain still 
stretched onward, presenting a contiiuied barrier, thuy en- 
deavored to force a passage to the westward, b'lt soon became 
entangled among ro(;ks and precipices which set all their etlbits 
at defiance. The mountain seemed, for the most part, rug;ire(l, 
bare, and sterile ; yet here and there it was clothed with pines 
and with shrubs and (lowering plants, some of which were in 
bloom. In toiling among these weary places their thirst lu'carne 
excessive, for no water was to be met with. Numbers of the 
men wandered off into rocky dells and ravines in hopes of find- 
iug some brook or fountain ; some of whom lost their way and 
did not rejoin the main paity. 

After half a day of painful and fruitless scrambling. Mr. 
Hunt gave up the attempt to jxinetrate in this direction, and 
returning to the little stream on the skirts of the mcjinitain, 
pitched his tents within six miles of his encampment of the 
preceding night. He now ordered that signals should be made 
for the stragglers in quest of water, but the night passed away 
without their return. 

The next morning, to their surprise, Rose made his appear- 
ance at the camp, aocomprvnied by some of his Crow as.sociates. 
His unwelcome visit revived their suspicions ; but he announced 
himself as a messenger of good-will from the chief, who, find- 
ing they had taken a wrong road, had sent Rose and his com- 
panions to guide them to a nearer and better one across the 

Having ni choice, being themselves utterly at fault, they set 
out under this questionable escort. Tliey had not gone far k- 
fore they fell in with the whole party of Crows, who, they now 
found, were going the same road with themselves. The two 
cavalcades of white and red men, therefore, puslu'd on to- 
gether, and presented a wild and pietiiiesipK! spectacle, us. 
equipped witli various weapons anil in various garlts. with 
trains of paek-hoises, they wound in long lines throuuli the 
rugged deliles, and up and down the crags uud ateeps of the 



The trnvpllora had again an opportunity to son and admire 
the cciticstrian habitiKk's and addrcsa of this liard-iitliii<; tiihc. 
They were all mounted, man, woman, and eliild, for the Cnnvs 
have horses in abundance, so that no one goes on foot. The 
children are perfect inips on horseback. Among them was 
one so yoinig that he could not yet speak. He was tied on a 
colt of two years old, but managed the reins as if by instinct, 
und plied the whip with true Indian prodigality. Mr. limit 
inquired the age of this infant jockey, and was answered that 
"he had seen two winters." 

This is almost realizing the fable of the centaurs ; nor can 
ffc wonder at the equestrian adroitness of these savjiges, who 
arc thus in a manner cradled in the saddle, and become in 
infancy almost identified with the animal they bestride. 

The mountain defiles were exceedingly rough and broken, 
and the travelling painful to the burdened horses. The party, 
therefore, proceeded but slowly, and were gradually left be- 
hind by the band of Crows, who had taken the lead. It is 
more than probable that Mr. limit loitered in his course, to get 
rid of such doubtful fellow-travellers. Certain it is that ho 
felt a sensation of relief as he saw the whole crew, the rene- 
gade Rose and all, disappear among the windings of the moun- 
tain, and heard the last yelp of the savages die away in the 

When diey were fairly out of sight, and out of hearing, he 
encamped on the head waters of the little stream of the i)re- 
ceding day, having come about sixteen miles. Here he re- 
mained all the succeeding day, as well to give time for the 
Crows to get in the advance, as for the stragglers, who had 
wandered away in quest of water two days previously, to rejoin 
the camp. Indeed, considerable uneasiness b gan to be felt 
concerning these men, lest they should become utterly bewil- 
dered in the defiles of the mountains, or should fall into the 
hands of some marauding band of savages. Some of the most 
experienced hunters were sent in search of them, others, in 
the meantime, employed themselves in hunting. The narrow 
valley in which they encamped, being watered by a runuing 
stream, yielded fresh pasturage, and, though in the heart of 
the Big Horn Mountains, was well stocked with buffalo. Sev- 
eral of these were killed, as also a grizzly bear. In the even- 
ing, to the satisfaction of all parties, the stragglers made their 
appearance, and provisions being in abuutlanee, there was 
hearty good cheer iu the camp. 



V ,n 


'm ! 



Resiiminc, thrir coniHi' on the f(»Il(Mviiig; niornin<jr, IMi. |i„„j 
and his conipanion.s cuntiniiod on wcstwiird lliron<ili a ii|(r„(,,i 
region of hills and rot-ks, but divcrsilicd in many ii|;uis''l)y 
grassy little glens, with Hprings of water, hiiglit s|i;irkliiig 
brooks, elunips of pine trees, and a jirofusion of tlowciinir 
plants, whieh were in full Mooin, although tlie wealluT was 
frosty. These beantiful and verdant recesses, running tliiuuirji 
and softening the nigged mountains, were cheering and refrt'sh- 
ing to the way-worn travellers. 

In the course of the morning, us they were entangled in u 
defile, they beheld a small band of savages, as wild lookiiijr r^^ 
the surrounding scenery, who reconnoitred them warily i'lom 
the rocks before they ventured to advance. Some of tlicin 
were mounted on horses rudely caparisonecl, with biidlos or 
iialters of buffalo hide, one end trailing after them on the 
ground. They proved to be a mixed party of Klatluads and 
Shoshonies, or Snakes ; aud as tliese trilK's will be frequently 
mentioned in the course of this work, we shall give a few in- 
troductory particulars concerning them. 

The Flathcads in question are not to be confounded with 
those of the name who dwell alM)ut the lower waters of the 
Columbia ; neith< r do thoy flatten their heads as the others do. 
They inhabit tin; l)anks of a river on the west side of ihv 
mountains, aud are described as simple, honest, aud hospita- 
ble. Like all people of similar character, wheiher eivilizd 
or savage, they are prone to be imposed upon ; and are espo- 
eially maltreated by the ruthless IJlackfeet, who harass tliLiii 
in their villages, steal their horses by night, or openly cany 
them off in the face of day, without provoking pursuit or 

The Shoshonies are a branch of the once [wwerfid and pros- 
perous tribe of the Snakes, who possessed a gloriijus iiuntinL' 
country about the upper forks of the Missouri, abouiidinir in 
beaver and buffalo. Their hunting-ground was oceasionally 
invaded by the Blackfeet, but the Snakes battled bravely for 
their domains, and a long and bloody feud existed, with varia- 
ble success. At length the Hudson's IJay Company, exleiidin;.' 
their trade into the interior, had (U-alings with the niaelvrcil, 
who were nearest to them, and supplied them witii linaims. 
The Snakes, who occasionally traded with the Si)aniar(ls. en 



iipavorc<l, Imt in vfiin, tr) (»l)t!iin Himilrir wcfipons ; tho Spanish 
tnidcrs wisely refused to arm tlieiii so formid.'ililv. Tlie Hluek- 
foct liiiil now a vast advantajie, and soon dispossessed the poor 
Simlios of th(!ir favorite liiintiii^-<j;r(>iiiids, tlieir land of [)lent}', 
ami (hove them from place to place, until tiny wi'ie lain to 
ti,i!.(' refiigo in the wildest and most di'solate reeesses of the 
Koekv Monntains. Kven here they are subject '.o occasional 
visits* from their imi)laoal)lc foes, as lon<; as they l:ave horses, 
01- any other property to tempt the pluiuUirer. Tims by de- 
grees the Siuikes i ivc become a scattered, broken-spiritiul, 
impoverished people, keeping about lonely rivers and mouri- 
taiii stieams, and subsisting chiefly upon lish. Such of tlieni 
as still possess horses, and (X'casionally figure as hiuiters, are 
called Shoshonies ; but there is another class, the most abject 
and forbrn, who are called Shuckers, or ujori! comnu)nly Dig- 
gers and Root Eaters. These are a shy, secret, si)litary race, 
who keep in the most retired parts of the mountains, lurking 
like {jiiomes in caverns and clefts of thi' rocks, and subsisting 
in a great measure on the roots of ihe earth. Sometimes, 
in passing through a solitary mountain valley, the traveller 
comes perchance upon the bleeding carcass of a deer or buffalo 
that has just been slain. Me looks round in vain for tho 
hunter ; the whole landscape is lifeless and deserted ; at length 
he perceives a thread of smoke, curling up from among the crags 
and clitTs, and, scrambling to the place, finds some forlorn and 
skulking brood of Diggers, terrified at being discovered. 

The Shoshonies, however, who, as have been observed, have 
still " horse to ride and weapon to wear," are somewhat bolder 
in their spirit, and more open and wide in their wanderings. 
In the autunui, when salmon disappear from the rivers, and 
hunffer begins to pinch, they even venture down into their 
ancient hunting-grounds, to make a foray among the bufTaloes. 
In this perilous enterprise they are occasionally joined by the 
Flatheads, the ixjrsecutions of the Blackfeet having produced 
a cU)se alliance and co-operation between these lu-ckless and 
maltreated tribes. Still, notwithstanding their united force, 
every step they take within the debatable ground is taken in 
fear and trembling, antl with the utmost precaution ; and an 
Indian trader assures us that he has seen at least five hundred 
of thera, armed and equipped for action, and keeping watch 
upon the hill tops, while about fifty were hunting in the 
prairie. Their excursions are brief and hurried ; as soon as 
they have collected an<l jerkctl suflicient buffalo meat for 
winter provisions, they pack their hoises, abandon the dm- 


1 i' 



1 1 


I w 



I t 


I fii' 





f ( 



pcrouH hunfinrr-jjrounfls, :\w\ linstcn hjvrk to fho moiiiitiiins, 
liuppy if Micy liiivo not the tciriMo HliicktVct rattling,' after 

Such a confodcrato hand of ShoshonicH and Flathoads was 
the one mot l»y onr travcllcis. It was liuiind on a visit to the 
Arnpahoi's, a tiiln' inhal)itin<j; the lianUs of the Nrlnask.-i. 
They were aruK-d to the best of their seanty nieans, and some 
of the Shoshonies had l)U{'kh'rs of ltiilTah> liiiU-, a(h)iii('(l with 
featliers and leathern frhiges, and whicli iiave a ciianiuil 
virtue in their eyes, from having l)een [jrepared, with niystiu 
ceremonies, hy their conjurers. 

In company with this wandering band our travellers pro- 
ccedeil all day. In the evening they encamped near to ciuh 
other in a delllc of the mountains, on the borders of a stream 
running nortii and falling into Big Horn Hiver. In the vicinity 
of the camp they found goosel)crries, strawberries, and cur. 
rants in great abundance. The dellle bore traces of liaving 
been a thoroughfare for countli'ss herds of butTaloes, llu)ii<rh 
not one was to be seen. The huuters suceeded in killing au 
elk and several black-tailed deer. 

Tbey were now in the bosom of the second Big Horn ridge, 
with another lofty and snow-cnnvned mountain full in view to 
the west. Fifteen miles of western course brougiit tlicin, on 
the following day, down into an intervening plain, well stocked 
with buffalo. Here the Snakes ai.d Flatheads joined witii the 
white hunters in a successful hunt, that soon lilled the eaiup 
witii provisions. 

On the morning of the I>th of September the travellers parted 
company with their Indian friends, and continued on tlieir 
course to the west. A march of thirty nnles brought thciii, 
in the evening, to the banks of a rapid and beautifully clear 
stream about a hundred yards wide. It is tiie north fork or 
branch of the Big Horn Hiver, but bears its peculiar name of 
the Wind River, from being subject in the winter season to a 
continued blast which sweeps its banks and i)revents the snow 
from lying on them. This blast is said to be caused by :i nar- 
row gap or funnel in the mountains, through which the river 
forces its way between perpendicular precipices, resembling cut 

Thio river gives its name to a whole range of mountains, 
consisting of three parallel (diains, eighty miles in length, ami 
about twiMity or twenty-live broad. Om- of its peaks is pmli- 
ubly lifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, being one 
of the highest of the llocky Sierra. These mountains gi t 



riiip, not merely to the or Hipj Horn Rivor, hut to sovcial 
l„.,,„(,|„.H of the Vcllowstoiio Jiiid llio Missouri ou tlio t-ast. jukI 
of the ('<>liinil)i:v and Colorado on tliu west, thus dividing tlio 
soiiroi's of tlit'se mighty streams. 

Yor livt' succeeding (hiys IVIr. Hunt and his party continued 
lip tlie coiuse of tlu! Wind Hiver, to the distance of about 
cifiity miles, crossing and recrossing it, aceordiiig (o its wind- 
iiiiis and tiie nature of its banks; sometimes passing througli 
viiileys, at otlier times seramlding over rocks and iiills. The 
country in general was destitute of trees, hut thty passed 
tlii'on"li groves of wormwood, eight and ten feel in height, 
vrhicli llii'y use<l occasionally for fuel, aud they met willi large 
qmintities of wild llax. 

The mountains were destitute of game ; they came in sight 
of two firizzly hears, hut could not get near enough for a shot; 
provisions, therefore, hegan to he scanty. 'I'hey saw large 
flidils of the kind of thrush commoidy called the rohin, and 
iiKinv smaller hirds of migratory species ; hut the hills in gen- 
eral appeared lonely and with few signs of aninud life. Ou the 
cvLiiinij: of the 1 1th of September they encami)ed on the f(^rks 
of till' NVind or liig Horn Kiver. The largest of these forks 
came from tiie range of Wind Hiver Mountains. 

The hunters who served as guides to the party in this part of 
tln'ir route had assured Mr. Hunt that, by following up Wind 
Kiver, and crossing a single mountain ridge, he would come 
upon the head waters of the Columbia. The scarcity of gjime, 
however, which already had been felt to a i)inching degree, and 
ffhicli threatened them with famine among the sterile heights 
which lay before them, admonished them to change their 
course. It was determined, therefore, to make for a stream, 
which, they were informed, passed the neighboring mountains 
U) the south of '>vest, on the grassy hanks of which it was proh ■ 
alilc they would meet with buffalo. Accordingly, about three 
o'clock on the following day, meeting with a beaten Indian 
roiid which led in the proper direction, they struck into it, turn- 
ing their backs upon Wind River. 

In the course of the day they came to a height that com- 
tnandod an almost boundless |)rospect. Here one of the guides 
paused, and, after considering the vast landscape attentively, 
|)oiiite(l to three mountain peaks glistening witli snow, which 
rose, he said, above a fork of Coluniiiia Kiver. 'I'liev wen; 
liailcd liy the travelliU's with that joy with w -ha bc:icon on 
a sia-sliore is hailed by mariners after a long and daiigi'idus 
Vovagc. It is true there was many a weary league to !■■■ liuv 




If t 

^ ! 1)1 • 


( ■ 

orsod before they should reach these landmarks, for, allowing 
for their evident height and the extreme transparency of the 
atmosphere, they could not be much less than a hundred niilos 
distant. Even after reaching them there would yet romain 
hundreds of miles of their journey to be accomplished. \\\ 
these matters were forgoUcn in the joy at seeing the fu'st lam). 
marks of the Columbia, that river which formed the bourne of 
the expedition. These remarkable peaks are known lo qnm 
travellers as the Tetons ; as they iiad been guiding points, for 
many days, to Mr. Hunt, he gave them the name of the Pilot 

The travellers continued their course to the south of west for 
about forty miles, through a region so elevated that patches of 
snow lay on the highest! summits, and on the northern dcclivi. 
ties. At length they came to the desired stream, the object of 
their search, the waters of which flowed to the west. It was, 
m fact, a branch of the Colorado, which falls into tiie gulf 
of California, and had received from the hunters the I'ameof 
Spanish River, from information given by the I'ulians that 
Spaniards resided upon its lower waters. 

The aspect of this river and its vicinity was cheering to the 
wayworn and hungry travellers. Its banks were groon, and 
there were grassy valleys running from it in various c.iioctions, 
into the heart of the rugged mountains, with herds of b'iffalo 
quietly grazing. The hunters sallied forth with keen alacrit}, 
and soon returned laden with provisions. 

In this part of the mountains Mr. Hunt met with three dif- 
ferent kinds of gooseberries. The common purple, oti a low 
and very thorny bush ; a yellow kind, of an excellent flavor, 
growing on a stalk free from thorns ; and a deep purple, of the 
size and taste of our winter grape, with a thorny stalk. There 
were also three kinds of currants, one very large and well 
tasted, of a purple color, and growing on a bush eight or nine 
feet high. Another of a yellow color, and of the size and taste 
of the large red currant, the bush four or live feet high , and 
the third a beautiful scarlet, resembling the strawberry in swct't- 
ness, though rather insipid, and growing on a low bush. 

On the 17th they continued down the course of the river, 
making fifteen miles to the southwest. The river abounded 
with geese and ducks, and there were signs of its being inhab- 
ited by beaver and otters ; indeed they were now aj)proaeliini; 
regions where these animals, tlie great objects of the fur trade. 
are said to abound. They encamped for the night opposite llie 
end of a mountain in the west, which was probably tlic \m\ 





chain of tlio Rocky Mountains. On the followinfr morning 
tliov aliandonod the main course of Spanish River, and taking 
a northwest direction for eight miles, cain<' :ipon one of its little 
tributaries, issuing out of the bosom of the mountains, and 
running thrDUgli green meadows, yickling pasturage to iiei'tls 
of l)uffi.l(). As these were prohal<ly liie hist of that animal 
thov would meet with, they encamped on the grassy hanks of 
the riviT, delerniining to spend several days in hunting, so as 
to he ahlc to jerk suflicient meat to sui)ply them until they 
should reach the waters of the Columbia, where they trusted 
to lind lish enough for their support. A little repose, too, was 
necessary for l)otIi men and horses, after their rugged and in- 
cessant marching ; having in the course of the last seventeen 
days traversed two hundred and sixty miles of rough, and iu 
many parts sterile niouutaiu country'. 



Five days were passed by Mr. Hunt and his companions 
iu the fresh meadows watered by the bright little mountain 
stream. The luniters made great havoc among the butYaloes, 
and brought in (piantities of meat ; the voyageurs 1)usied theni- 
■jolves about llu' lire.^, roa>-ting and stewing for present i)ur- 
poses, 01' dryii;;' provisions for the journey ; the pack-horses, 
eased of their burdens, roHi"! on the grass or grazed at large 
about the ample pastures ; those of the party who had no call 
upon their services indulged in the luxury of perfect relaxa- 
tion, and the camp presented a piciurt' of rude feasting and 
rev'.'lr\ . of mingled busllu and rept)se, characteristic of a iudt 
ill a liiu hunting country. In the course of one of their excur- 
sions some of till' men eaine in sight of a small party of In- 
dians, who instantly lied in great apparent consternation. They 
immediately returned to camp with the intelligence; upon 
which .Mr. Hunt and four others Hung tlu'inselves upon their 
horsrs and s:iliied forth to reconnoitie. After riding for about 
eiglii uiilrs they caine uiton :i wild mountain s(rne. A lonely 
green valley stretched itcl'orr them, sui'roundi'd by iiigged 
heights. \ iierd of bulV;d(> wv'ic t-iir^'i ring ui;ully through it, 
with a troop of savago borsruieii iu full chase, plying them 
with their bows and arrows. The appearance of Mr. lluiil -aihI 
his eonipanions put an abru[)t end to the hunt; the l)uffalo 

h M 



scuttled off in one direction, wliilo tlio Indians pliod their lashes 
and galloped off in tinotiier, as fast as their steeds could rairy 
them. Mr. Hunt gave chase ; there was a sharp scainpir, 
though of short continuance. Two young Indians, who were 
indifferently mounted, were soon overtaken. They were ter- 
ribly frightened, and evidently gavi- tliemselves u[) for lost. 
By degrees their fears were allayed by kind treatment; hut 
they continued to regard the strangers with a mixture of awe 
and wonder: for it was the first time in their lives they had 
ever seen a white man. 

They belonged to a party of Snakes who had come across the 
mountains on their autumnal hunting excursion to provide 
buffalo meat for the winter. Being persuaded of the peace- 
able intentions of Mr. Hunt and his companions, they willingly 
conducted them to their camp. It was pitched in a narrow 
valley on the margin of a stream. The tents were of dressed 
skins, some of them fantastically painted, with horses grazin(r 
about them. The api)roach of the party caused a transient 
alarm in the camp, for these poor Indians were ever on the look- 
out for cruel foes. No sooner, however, did they recognize Uie 
garb and complexion of th'^r visitors than their a[)prehensioiis 
were changed into joy ; for some of them had dealt witii wliite 
men, and knew them to be tiiendly. and to al)ound with arti- 
cles of singular value. Th>.y welcomed them, therefore, to 
their tents, set food before them, and entertained them to the 
best of their jiower. 

They had been successiul in their hunt, and their camp was 
full of jerked buffalo meat, all of the ciioi'jest kind, and ex- 
tremely fat. Mr. Hunt purchased enough of t'lem, in addition 
to what had been killed and i-i.ied by liis own lumters. to load 
all the horses excepting those reserved for the [tartners and the 
wife of Pierre; Dorion. He found also a few beaver skins in 
their camp, for which he paid liberally, as an indiicenienl to 
them to hunt for more, informing tliem that some ol his parly 
intended to live among the mountains, and trade with tlie 
native hunters for their peltries. The poor Snakes soon eoiii- 
prehended the advantages thus held out to them, and promised 
to exert themselves to piocure a ^]iiantity of beaver skins for 
future trailie. 

Being now well suppliecl wiih provisions. l\Ir. Hunt broke up 
Ins encampment on the 21th of Si'pteniber, and ('ontinuecl on 
to the west. A march of '■ leen miles, over a mountain lidge, 
brought theui to a stieam about fifty feet in width, wliieli 
Iloback, ojie of their guides, who \im\ trapped alxnit the neigh- 



horliood wlion in tlio sorvioc of Mr. IToiuv, rooociii/od for one 
of (lie lit'ail wiiti'is of llu' Colimiliiii. 'I'lic tnivcllcrs IkvIUmI it 
witli (U'liii'il' !'^ t,in' lir^l stiTiim tiicy luid oncomitcrcd IcndiiiL;; 
toward tiii'ir i)oiiit of dostiriiilioii. Tlioy kept alniic? it for two 
(lays, diiiiiij,' wliicii, Iroiii the coiitrilmtioii of many rills and 
hrudks, it gniduuUy swi'Ued into u .small riviir. As it meaii- 
(leml .ninonu' rooks and preci})ices, tlioy wcmv frcMiuently 
ol)li"'t'd t( ford it, and such was its rapidity that the men were 
oftiMi ill d:inii;er of being swept away. Sometimes the banks 
adviiiK'i'd so close npon the river that they wt're oldiged to 
scraiiililc u[) and down their rugged promontories, or to skirt 
aloii<^ their bases where there was scarce a foothold. Their 
horses had dangerous falls in some of these passes. One of them 
rolled, with his load, nearly two lumdred feet down hill, into 
the river, but without recei\:ng any injury. At length they 
emended froni these tui)endous defiles, and continued for sev- 
eral miles along the bank of Iloback's River, through one of 
the stern mountain valleys. Here it was joined l>y a river 
of greater magnitude and swifter current, and their united 
waters swi'pt off through the valley in one impetuous stream, 
which, fnjin its rapidity and tui'bulence, had received the 
uaiiie of Mad River. At the conlhience of these streams the 
travellers I'licamped. An important point in their arduous jour- 
ney had l)een attained, a few miles from their camp rose the 
three vast snowy peaks called tlu; Tetons, or the Pilot Knobs, 
the great landmarks of the Columbia, by which they had shaped 
their course through this mountain wilderness. By their feet 
tlowi'd the rapid curr"nL of Mad River, a stream ami)le enough to 
admit of the navigawon of canoes, and down which they might 
possibly be ubh' to steer their course to the main body of the 
C'()lmni)ia. The Canadian voyageurs rejoiced at the idea of 
once more launching themselvci; U[»on their favorite chHiient : 
of exchanging their horses for canoes, and of glidin<>; down the 
bosoms of rivers, instead of scrambling over the hacks of 
nioiiiitains. Others of the party, also, inexperienced in this 
kind of travelling, ccusidcred their toils and troubles as draw- 
ing to a close. They had coiKpiered the chief dilliculties of 
this great rocky barrier, ami now flattered themselves with 
the hope of an easy downward course for the rest of their 
journey. Little tlid they dream of the hardships and perils by 
land and water, whiih were yt'l to be encountered in the fright- 
ful wilderness that intervened between them and the shores of 
the I'aeilie ! 






': ' !l 

On the banks of Mad River Mr. Hunt held a consultation 
with tlie other partners as to their future niovenienls. Tlie 
wild and impetuous current of the river rendered him doubt- 
ful whether it might not abound with impediments lower down, 
sufficient to render the navigation of it slow and perilous, if not 
impracticable. The hunters who had acted as guides knew 
nothing of tlie character of the river below ; what locks, and 
shoals, and rapiils miglit obstruct it, or through what moun- 
tains and deserts it might pass. Should they then abandon 
their horses, cast themselves loose in fragile barks upon this 
wild, doubtful, and unknown river; or should they continue 
their more toilsome and tedious, but perhaps more certain 
wayfaring by land ? 

The vote, as might have been expected, was alnu)sl unani- 
mous for embarkation ; for when men are in difficulties every 
change seems to be for the better. The difficulty* now was to 
lind timber of sufficient size for the construction of canoes, the 
trees in thesj high mountain regions being chiefly a scrubbed 
growth of pines and cedars, aspens, haws, and service-bonies, 
and a small kind of cotton-tree, with a leaf resembling that of 
the willow. There was a species of large fir, but so full of 
knots {IS to endanger the axe in hewing it. After semoliing 
for some time, a growth of timber, of sufficient size, was 
found lower down the river, whereupon the encampment was 
moved to the vicinity. 

The men were now set to work to fell trees, and viie moun- 
tains echoed to the unwonted sound of their axes. Wliile 
preparations were thus going on for a voyage down tiie river, 
Mr. Hunt , who still entertained doubts of its practicaliility. de 
spatched an exploring party, consisting of John Reed, the clerk, 
John Day, the hunter, and Pierre Dorion, the interpreter, with 
orders to proceed several days' march along the stream, and 
notice its course and character. 

After their departure Mr. Hunt turned his thoughts to an- 
other object of importance. He had now arrived at the iiead 
waters of the Columbia, which were among the main points 
embraced by the enterprise of Mr. Astor. Tliese upper stivaius 
were reputed to abound in beaver, and had as yet been niiino- 
lested by the white trapper. The numerous signs of heaver 
met with during the recent search for timber gave evideuce 



^Ijjit the noigliborhood was a <i;oo(l ''trapping groun^l." Here 
tlien it w!is piopcM- to l)o<2;in't() cast loose tliose leashes of hardy 
tnippt'is. that aic detached from tradin*^ parties, in the very 
heart of the wilderness. The men detached in the present in- 
stance were Alexander Carson, Louis St. Michel, Pierre Deta}'^, 
and I'icrre Delaiinay. Trappers generally go in pairs, that 
they iiiiiy ivssist, protect, and comfort each other in their lonely 
aiul perilous occupations. Thus Carson and St. Michel formed 
one couple, and Detaye and Delaunay another. They were 
lilted out with traps, arms, ammunition, horses, and every 
other requisite, and were to trap upon the upper part of Mad 
River, and upon the neighboring streams of the mountains. 
This would probably occupy them for some months ; and, 
when they should have collected a sufficient quantity of pel- 
tries, they were to pack them upon their horses and make the 
best of their way to the mouth of Columbia River, or to any 
intermediate post which might be established by the company. 
They took leave of their comrades and started off on their 
several courses with stout hearts and cheerful countenances ; 
though these lonely cruisings into a wild and hostile wilder- 
ness seem to the uninitiated equivalent to being cast adrift in 
the ship's yawl in the midst of the ocean. 

Of the perils that attend the lonely trapper, the reader will 
have suflicient i)roof, when he comes, in the after part of this 
work, to learn the hard fortunes of these poor fellows in the 
course of their wild peregrinations. 

The trappers had not long de[)arted when two Snake Indians 
wandered into the camp. When they perceived that the 
strangers were fabricating canoes, they shook their heads and 
gave them to understand that the river was not navigable. 
Their information, however, was scoffed at by some of the 
party, who were obstinately bent on embarkation, but was 
confirmed by the exploring party, who returned after several 
days' absence. They had kept along the river with great diffl- 
euity lor two days, and found it a narrow, crooked, turliulent 
stream, confined in a rocky channel, with many rapids, and 
occasionally overhung with precipices. From the summit of 
one of these they l;ad caught a bird's-eye view of its boisterous 
career, for a great distance, through the heart of the mountain, 
with impending rocks and cliffs. Satisfied from this view that 
it was useless to follow its course either by land or water, they 
had given up all further investigation. 

These concurring reports determined Mr. Hunt to abandon 
Mud Uiver, and seek some more navigable stream. This de* 





; ■ I. 


tormiimtioii wns coiu'iirrecl in l)y all his assooiatra oxcoptinj* 
Mr. Miller, who had lu-coiiu' imi)ati(Mit of tho fatigue of \nn"\ 
travel, and was for immediate embarkation at all liazarJs, 
This gentleman had been in a gloomy and irritated state of 
mind for some time past, being troubled with a bodily malady 
that rendered travelling on horseback extremely irksome to 
him, and being, moreover, discontented with having a smaller 
share in the expedition than his comrades. His unreasonable 
objections to a further march by land were overruled, and the 
party prepared to decamp. 

Kobinson, Hoback, and Rezner, the three hunters who had 
hitherto served as guides among the mountains, now stepped 
forward, and advised Mr. Hunt to make for the post estalilished 
during the preceding year by Mr. Henry, of the Missouri Fur 
Company. They had been with Mr. Henry, and as far as they 
coukl judge by the neighboring landmarks, his post could not 
be very far off. They presumed there could be but one inter- 
vening ridge of mountains, which might be passed without any 
great difliculty. Henry's post, or fort, was on au upper branch 
of the Columbia, down which they made no doubt it would be 
easy to navigate in canoes. 

The two Snake Indians being questioned in the matter, showed 
a perfect knowledge of the situation of the post, and offered, 
with great alacrity, to guide them to the place. Their oflfer 
was accepted, greatly to the displeasure of Mr. Miller, who 
seemed obstinately bent upon braving the perils of Mad River. 

The weather for a few days past had been stormy, with lain 
and sleet. The Rocky Mountains are subject to tempestuous 
winds from the west ; these, sometimes, come in flaws or cur- 
rents, making a path through the forests many yards in width, 
and whirling off trunks and branches to a great distance. The 
present storm subsided on the third of October, leaving all the 
surrounding heights covered with snow ; for while rain bad 
fallen in the valley, it had snowed on the hill tops. 

On the 4 th they broke up their encampment and crossed the 
river, the water coming up to the girths of their horses. After 
travelling four miles, they encamped at the foot of the moun- 
tain, the last, as the}' hoped, which they shouUI have to traverse. 
Four days more took them across it, and over several plains, 
watered by beautiful little streams, tributaries of Mad River. 
Near one of their encampments there was a hot spring contin- 
ually emitting a cloud of va|)or. These elevated plains, which 
gave a peculiar character to the mountains, are frequented by 
large gangs of antelopes, fleet as the wiud. 



On the evening of the 8th of October, after a cold wintry day, 
with gusts of westerly wind and flurries of snow, they arrived 
at the sought-for post of Mr. Henry. Here he had (ixed him- 
gpif, after being compelled by the hostilities of the Hlackfoet to 
ndoii the upper waters of the Missouri. The post, however, 
v,as deserted, for Mr. Henry had left it, in the course of the 
preceding spring, and, as it afterward appeared, had fallen in 
with Mr. Lisa, at the Arickara village on the Missouri, some 
time after the separation of Mr. Hunt and his party. 

Tiu' weary travellers gladly took possession of the deserted 
loff huts which had formed the post, and which stood on the 
bank of a stream upward of a hundred yards wide, on which 
they intended to embark. There being plenty of suitable tim- 
ber in the neighborhood, Mr. Hunt immediately proceeded to 
construct canoes. As he would have to leave his liorses and 
their accoutrements ?^cre, he determined to make this a trading 
post, wliore the trappers and hunters, to be distributed about 
the country, might repair ; -^nd where the traders might touch 
on their way through the mountains to and from the establish- 
ment at the mouth of the Columbia. He informed the two 
Snake Indians of this determination, and engaged them to re- 
main in that neighborhood and take care of the horses until the 
white men should return, promising them ample rewards for 
their fidelity. It may seem a desperate chance to trust to ihe 
faith and honesty of two such vagabonds ; but, as the horses 
would have, at all events, to be abandoned, and would other- 
wise liecome the property of the first vagrant horde that should 
encounter them, it was one chance in favor of theii being re- 

At this place another detachment of hunters prepared to 
separate from the party for the purpose of trapping beaver. 
Three of these had already been in this neighborhood, being 
the veteran Robinson and his companions, Holiack aiul Kez- 
ner, who had accompanied Mr. Henry across the mountains, 
and who had been picked up by Mr. Hunt on the Missouri, on 
their way home to Kentucky. According to agreement they 
were fitted out with horses, trai)s, ammunition, and every 
thing requisite for their undertaking, and were to bring in all 
the peltries tlicy should collect, either to this trading post or to 
the establisinnent at the mouth of Columbia River. 7\nother 
hunter, of the name of Cass, was associated with them in 
their enterprise. It is in this way that small knots of trappiTS 
and hunters are distributed about tlu; /ilderness by the fiir 
cumpanies, and, like eraucB and bitterns, haunt its solitary 

' )i 

ti ll 




1 ,. c.:i 

streams. Robinson, the Kentuckian, tlic votcrau of the 
" bloody ground," who, as has already been noted, hud licoti 
scalped by the Indians iu his younger days, was the load* r of 
this little band. When they were about to depart, IMr. Miller 
called the partners together, and threw up his share in the 
company, declaring his intention of joining the i)arty of 

This resolution struck every one with astonishment ; Mr, 
Miller being a man of education and of cultivated habits, and 
little fitted for the rude life of a hunter. Besides, the pro- 
carious and slender profits arising from such a life wore 
beneath the prospects of one who held a share in the general 
enterprise. Mr. Hunt was especially concerned and niortitied 
at his determination, as it was through his advice and inlliiciice 
he had entered into the concern. lie endeavored, therefore, 
to dissuade him from this sudden resolution ; representin<>; its 
rashness, and the hardships and perils to which it vvouUl ex- 
pose him. He earnestly advised him, however he might feel 
dissatisfied with the enterprise, still to continue on in com- 
pany until they should reach the mouth of Coliunbia Hiver. 
There they would meet the expedition that was to come l)y 
sea ; when, should he still feel disposed to relinquish the under- 
taking, Mr. Hunt pledged liimself to furnish him a passage 
home in one of the vessels belonging to the comi)any. 

To all this Miller replied abruptly, that it was useless to 
argue with him, as his mind was made up. They might fur- 
nish him, or not, as they pleased, with the necessary sn|»iilies, 
but he was determined to part company here, and set otT with 
the trappers. So saying, he flung out of their presence with- 
out vouchsafing any further conversation. 

Much as this wayward conduct gave them anxiety, the part- 
ners saw it was in vain to remonstrate. Every attention was 
paid to fit him out for his headstrong undertaking. He was 
provided with four horses and all the articles he rcfpiircd. The 
two Snakes undertook to conduct him and his companions lo 
an encampment of their tribe, lower down among the niouii- 
tains, from whom they would receive information as to the best 
trapping grounds. After thus guiding them, the Snakes were 
to return to Fort Henry, as the new trading post was called, 
and take charge of tin; horses which the party would leave liu re, 
of which, after all the hunters were supplii'd, there remained 
seventy-seven. These matters being all arranged, Mr. Miller 
set out with his companions, under guidance of the two Snakes, 
on the lUth of October; and much did it grieve the friends (jf 



that Tonllcman to spo him tliiis wantonly casting himsoli' looso 
upon s:ivag<' life. How he and his comracU's fared in the wil- 
(lernetis, and how .ae Snakes ac(initted themselves of their trust 
aspect in;; the horses, will hereafter appear iu the course of 
these rambling anecdotes. 


Whim" the canoes were in preparation, the hunters ranged 
about tlie neighborhood, but with little success. Tracks of 
biitTaloc's were to be seen in all directions, but none of a fresh 
(lute. Thti'i! were some elk, but extremely wild ; two only 
were killed. Antelopes were likewise seen, but too shy and 
fleet to be approached. A few beavers were taken ever}' night, 
niul suliiKMi trout of a sniall size, so that the camp had princi- 
piilly to .siil)sist upon dried buffalo meat. 

On the 1 Itli. a poor, half-naked Snake Indian, one of that 
forlorn (!aste called the Shuckers, or Diggers, made his appear- 
aiK'c at the camp. He canie from some lurking-place among 
till' rocks and dilTs, and presented a picture of that famishing 
wrctelioilness to which these lonely fugitives among the moun- 
tains are sometimes reduced. Having received wherewithal to 
allay liis hunger, he disappeared, but in the course of a day or 
two returned to the cam}), bringing with him h's son, a miser- 
able boy, still more naked and forlorn than himself. Food 
was given to both ; they skulked about the camp like hungry 
hounds, se(>king what they might devour, and having gathered 
up till' feet and entrails of some beavers that were lying about, 
sluuk olT with them to their den among the rocks. 

hy the isth of October lifteen canoes were completed, and 
on the following day the party embarked with their effects, 
leaving their horses grazing al)out the banks, and trusting to 
the lioneaty of the two Snakes, and some special turn of good 
luck, for their future recovery. 

The current bore them along at a rapid rate ; the light spirits 
of the Canadian voyageurs, which had occasionally flagged upon 
laud, rose to their accustomed buoyancy on finding tlu-inselves 
atfaiii upon the water. Thry wielded their paddles with tlicir 
woiittil (li'xti'iily, and fur tlu' liist time made tin; luuuntains 
echo with tliuir favorite boat songs. 

In llie course of the day the little sipiadron arrived at the 


'l ! i 

|i> • 

I ; 

■ iji 



■ 1 

li. I' 


T 1 

' i ■ 



confluonoc of ITonry uul Miid Hivcrs, rli thus iinifpd, 
Bwcllccl iuto ft lu'Miitifiil stream of a lio;i> j!i-«>;r«'t'ii col,,,., 
navig{il)K' for Imats of any size, nntl which from Hi,. |.|;uc „f 
junction, took the niUiic of Snukc Uivcr. a stream doonu'd to 
be tile scene of miieli disaster to tlie travellers. The banks wore 
here and tiicre fringed with willow thickets and small cotton. 
wood trees. Tlie weather was cold, and it snowi'd all day. and 
great flocks of ducks and geese, sporting in the water or 
streaming through the air, gave token that winter was ai hand; 
yet the hearts of the travellers were liglit, and. as they ^liided 
down the little river, tlu-y Mattered themselves with the hoiie of 
soon reaching the Columbia. After making thirty miles in a 
southerly direction, they encamped for the night in a neigldw- 
hood which recpiired some little vigilance, as there were roceut 
traces of grizzly bears among the thickets. 

On the following day the river increased in width and beauty, 
flowing parallel to a range of mountains on the li'ft, wiiicji at 
tunes wi're finely reflected in its light green waters. The three 
snowy summits of the I'ilot Knobs or Tctons were still seen 
towering in the distance. After pursuing a swift but plaoid 
course for twenty miles, the current began to foam and hrawl, 
and assume the wild and broken (diaracter common to the 
streauis west of the Rocky Mountains. In fact the rivers 
which flow from those mcKuitains to the Tacilic are csseutiully 
different from those which traverse the great |>rairies on their 
eastern declivities. The latter, though sometimes boisterous, 
are generally free fi'om obstiuctions. and easily navigated; hut 
the rivers to the west of the mountains descend more steeply 
and impetuously, and are continually liable to cascades and 
rapids. The latter abounded in the part of the river which the 
travellers were now descending. Two of the canoes lilled 
among the breakers; the crews were saved, but nmch (d' the 
lading was lost or damaged, and one of the c;inoe<3 drifted 
down the stream and was broken among the rocks. 

On the following day. October 21st, they made but a short 
distance when they came to a dangerous strait, where the river 
was compressed for nearly half a rnile lu'tween peri>en(licul;ir 
rocks, reducing it to the width of twenty yards, and increasing 
its violence. Mere they were obliged to pass the canoes down 
cautiously by a line from the impending banks. 'I'liis con- 
sumed a great part of a day; and afti-r tlu'v had re-ciuliaiked 
they were soon again impeded by rapids, wiu'ii they liad to 
uidoad their canoes and carry them and their (^•l^^<n■s li.i ^tine 
liistunce by land. It is at these places, called " portages," 



thftt the (':ui.'V(li!Ui voyajToiir rxhihits his most v.iliiablo qnalitioH, 
,.,„.,yiii(r licMvy lnir<lfiis, aixl t<)iliii<; to jiik* fro, on land and 
ill tin' water, <»v«'r rocks nml iiiccipiccs, anionij; Itiakcs iind 
|„..iiiil)li.s, not only witlionl :\ iniinnnr, hnt with tlie fjn'atcst 
cliicrriilncss and alacrity, joking and lanj^hing and singing 
scraps of old Kn'iu'li diUics. 

The spirits of tlu' i»arty, liowcviM', which had been elated on 
first varying their .it)ni'n(>ying from land to water, had now lost 
some of their bnoyancy. Kvery thing ahead was wrapped in 
iiiu'crtainty. They knew nothing of the river on which they 
well' tloiiting. It had never been navigated by a white man, 
nor I'oiild they meet with an Indian to give them any information 
concerning it. It kept on its course through a vast wilderness 
of silent and apparently uninhabited mountains, without a sav- 
au'e wigwam upon its banks, or bark upon its waters. The 
(lidk'ullies and perils they had already |)aHsed made lliein appre- 
Ir'IuI others before them that might elYeetually bar their prog- 
ress. As llu'y glided onward, however, they regained heart 
ami hope. The current continued to be strong ; but it was 
steady, and though they met with frequent rapids, none of them 
were had. Mountains were constantly to be seen in ditTerent 
directions, but sometimes the swift river glided through prairies, 
and was bordered by small cotton-wood trees and willows. 
These prairies at certain seasons are ranged by migratory herds 
of the wide-wandering bulTalo, the tracks of which, though not 
of recent date, were freiiuently to be seen. Here, too, were to 
he found the piickly pear, or Indian fig, a plant which loves a 
more southern climate. On the land were large flights of mag- 
pies and American robins ; whole fleets of ducks and geese 
navigated the river, or flew otT in long streaming files at the 
approaeli of the canoes ; while the frequent establishments of 
the painstaking and (piiet-loving beaver showed that the soli- 
tude of these waters was rarely disturbed, even by the all-per- 
vading savage. 

They had now come near two hundred and eighty miles 
since leaving Fort Henry, yet without seeing a human being 
or a human habitation ; a wild and desert solitude extended 
on either side of the river, apparently abnost destitute of ani- 
mal life. At length, on the 24th of October, they were glad- 
dened by the sight of some savage tents, and hastened to laud 
and visit them, for they were anxious to procure information 
to guide them on their route. On their approach, however, the 
savagi's lied in consternation. They proved to be a wandering 
baud of Shobhonies. In Lheir tents were great quantitiea of 


; : 



[ i 

, If 

' 1' 


' f 

1 ' ' 



1 '^ ' 


. 1''! 1 




Hmiill AhIi about two inolirs lonjj;, tojit'dicr willi roots ruul sopdn, 
or }j;rain, wliidi lln'V were drviiii^ for winter provision,. 'ri|,.y 
a|»|)('ar<'<I to In- <l(stiliilt' of t<tols of any kind, yvt there were 
hows aixl arrows very well made; the former were foiinnl „f 
pine, cedar, or hone, stren^l'-ened hy sinews, and the lattitof 
the wood of ro8e-l>ushes, and other erooked plants, hnt earefiiHv 
straij^htened, and tipped witli stone of a h()ttle-<i;reen color. 

There wore also vessels of willow and <i;rass, so elosdy 
wrought as to hold water, and a seine lU'atly made with 
meshes, in the ordinary manner, of the (Ihres of wild ijax or 
nettle. The hund)le effects of the poor savages remainiil im. 
molested hy their visitors, and a few small articles, with « 
knife or two, were left in the camp, and were no doiilt 
regarded as invahiahlc prizes. 

Shortly after leaving this deserted camp, and re-cmhiirkiiitr 
in the canoes, the travellers met with three of llu' Snakes on a 
triangnlar raft made of Hags or reeds ; such was their rude 
mode of navigating the river. They wert! entirely naked ex- 
cepting small mantles of hare skins over their shonlders. The 
canoes approached near enongh to gain a fnll view of them, 
bnt they were not to he bronght to a parley. 

All farther progress for the day was barred by a fall in the 
river of about thirty feet perpendicular ; at the head of which 
the party encamped for the night. 

The next day was one of excessive toil and but little [iro;;- 
ress, the river winding through a wild rocky country, and 
being interrupted by frequent rapids, among which the caiities 
were in great peril. On the succeeding day they again visited 
a camp of wandering Snakes, but the inhabitants lied with 
terror at the sight of a fleet of canoes, filled with white men, 
coming down their solitary river. 

As Mr. Hunt was extremely anxious to gain inrormiition 
concerning his route, he endeavored by all kinds of fii;iiilly 
signs to entice back the fugitives. At length one, who was on 
horseback, ventured back with fear and tremltling. He wa;; 
better clad and in better condition then most of his vnirrunt 
tribe that Mr. Hunt had yet seen. The chief object of hU 
return appeared to be to intercede for a quantity of dried 
meat and salmon trout, which he had left behind ; on which. 
probably, he depended for his winter's subsistence. 'Hk' poor 
wretch approached with hesitation, the; alternate dread ot fam- 
ine and of white men operating upon his mind. He nmdi! 
the most abject signs imploring Mr. Hunt not to eiinvdlThi" 
food. The latter tried in every way lo leassuie liiui, and 



offoroti liim knives in cxch.'mjrc for \\\h provisions ; grnit iih 
was tlu- tt'rnpt.'ition, tlic poor Snake coiiM only prcvnil upon 
liiiiist'ir to span' a part, kecpirif; a fcveiish waleii over the rest, 
lest it should he tak(>n away. It was in vain Mr. Ilnnt inudo 
iii(|iiiries of him concernin}^ his route, anil the (!otirse of the 
river. 'I'lie Indian was too inneh frightened and Ixiwildered to 
CDinprehend him or to re|)ly ; he diil nothinjj; i>ut alternately 
cointnend himself to the protection of the (Jood Spirit, and 
sii|)|)lieHte Mr. Hunt nut to take away his tisli and bulYalo 
meat; and in this ^tate they left him, trembling ultuut his 

In the course of that and the next day they made nearly 
eight miles, the river inelininjj; to the south of west, and heinj^ 
clear and lieautiful, nearly half a mile in width with many 
|)0|)ul<)us eonununities of the beaver along its banks. The 2Sth 
of ()etol)er, however, was a day of disaster. The river again 
hiicaine rough and im|)etuous, and was chafed and broken by 
numerous rapids. These grew more and more dangerous, and 
the utmost skill was required to steer among them. Mr. 
Croijks was si^ated in the second canoe of the squailron, and 
liutl an old experienced Canadian for steersman, named Autolne 
Clappine, one of the most valuable of the voyageurs. The lead- 
ing canoe had glide<l safely among the turbulent and roaring 
surges, but in following it Mr. Crooks perceived that his canoe 
was hearing toward a rock. He called out to the steersman, 
but his warning voice was either unheard or unheeded. In the 
next moment they struck upon the rocU. The canoe was split 
and overturned. There were live persons on board. Mr. 
Crooks and one of his companions were thrown amid roaring 
breakers and a whirling current, but succeeded, by strong 
bwiniMiing, to roach the shore. Clappine and two others clung 
to the shattered bark, and drifted with it to a rock. The wreck 
stniek the rock witli one end, and swinging round, flung poor 
Clappine off into tiie raging stream, which swept him away, 
and he perished. His comrades succeeded in getting upon the 
rock, from whence they were afterward taken off. 

This disastrous event brought the whole squadron to a halt, 
and struck a chill into every bosom. Indeed, they had arrived 
at a terrific strait, that forbade all farther progress in the 
canoes, and dismayed the most experienced voyageur. The 
whole body of the ri\er was compressed into a space of less 
than thirty feet in width, between two ledges of rocks, ui)ward 
of two hundred feet high, and formed a whirling and tumultu- 
ous vortex, so frightfully agitated as to receive the name ul 




.' I '1. i: 

!l 1 








il l 



"Tlie {'nldion Linn." Beyond this fearful abyss the river 
kept, raging and roaring on, until lost to sight among impending 

t r, 


Mr. Hunt and his companions encamped upon the borders 
of the Caldron Linn, and held gloomy counsel as to their future 
course. The recent wreck had dismayed even the voyagours, 
and the fate of their popular comrade, Clappine, one of the 
most adroit and experienced of their fraternity, had struck 
sorrow to their hearts, for, with all their levity, these thought- 
less beinss have great kindness toward each other. 

The whole distance they had navigated since leaving Henry's 
Fort was computed to be about three hundred and forty miles ; 
strong apprehensions were now entertained that the tremen- 
dous impediments before them would oblige them to abandon 
their canoes. It was determined to send exploring parties on 
each side of the river to ascertain whether it was possible to 
navigate it farther. Accordingly, on the following morning 
three men were despatched along the south bank, while Mr. 
Hunt and three others proceeded along the north. The two 
parties returned after a weary scramble among swamps, rooks, 
and precipices, and with very disheartening accounts. For 
nearly forty miles that they had explo.ed, the river foamed 
and roared along through a deep and narrow channel, from 
twenty to thirty yards wide, which it had worn, in the course 
of ages, through the heart of a barren, rocky country. The 
precipices on each side were often two and three hundred feet 
high, sometimes perpendicular, and sometimes overhangiug, 
so that it was impossible, excepting in one or two places, to 
get down to the margin of the stream. This dreary strait was 
rendered tlie more dangerous by frequent rapids, and occasion 
ally perpendicular falls from tea to fort\' feet in height ; so 
that it seemed almost hopeless to attempt to pass tlie canoes 
down it. The party, however, who had explored the south 
side of the river, had found a place, about six miles from the 
camp, where they thought it possible the canoes might be 
carried down tlie bank and launched upon the stream, and 
from whence they might make their way with the aid of occa- 
sional portages. Four of the best canoes were accordingly 
nekjcted for the experiment, and were transported to the place 



,111 tlu' shoulders of Hixtoon of tho men. At the same time 
Mr. Hood, the cU'ik, and three iiioj) were detacluul to explore 
the rivor still farther down than the [(rovious seoiitiiig parties 
li;i(l hoon, and at the same time to look out for Indians, from 
whom provisions might he obtained, and a supply of horses, 
should it be found necessary to proceed ])y hind. 

The party who had ])een sent with the caiioes returned on 
the following day, weary and dejected. One of the canoes 
hiul hocii swept away with all the weapons and effects of four oi 
die voyageurs, in attempting to pass it down a rapid by means 
of .1 liuo. The other three had stuck fast among the rocks, 
so that it was imi)ossible to move them ; the men returned, 
therefore, in despair, and dt'clared the river unnavigable. 

Tho situation of the unfortunate travellers was now gloomy 
ju the extreme. They were in the heart of an unknown wikler- 
uess, untraversed as yet by a white man. They were at a loss 
what route to take, and how far they were from the ultimate 
phioe of tiieir destination, nor could they meet, in these uuiu- 
hahitcd wilds, with any human being to give them informa- 
tion. The repeated accidents to their canoes had reduced their 
stock of i)rovisions to live days' allowance, and there was now 
every appearance of soon having famine added to their other 

This last circumstance rendered it more perilous to keep 
together than to separate. Accordingly, after a little anxious 
'out bewildered counsel, it was determined that several small 
(letac'hiiu'i)ts should start off in different directions, headed by 
the several partners. Should any of t'lem succeed in falling in 
with friendly Indians, within a reasonable distance, and ob- 
taining a supply of provisions and horses, they were to return 
to tlio aid of the main body ; otherwise, tluy were to shift for 
theiiisolves, and siiape their course according to circumstances, 
keeping the; mouth of the Columbia River as the ultimate point 
of thi'ir wayfaring. Accordingly, three several parties set off 
fioin the camp at C^'dion Linn, in opposite directions. Mr. 
M'lAiiiau, with three men, kept down along the bank of the 
river. Mr. Crooks, with five others, turned their steps up it, 
retracing by laud the weary course they had made by water, 
iuteiuling, should they not find relief nearer at hand, to keep 
on until they should reach Henry's Fort, where they hoped to 
find tho horses they had left there, and to return with them to 
the main body. 

The third party, composed of five men, was lieiuled by Mr. 
M'Keu/.ie, who struck to the northward, across the desert 

. < 

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plains, in liopos of coming upon the main stream of the Co 

Il:iviii<; socii llu'so tlirco advonturou-s liands dopait u|)on 
their forlorn ex|)e(litioiis, JMr. Hunt turned hi.s thouglitH to pro- 
vide for till' siihsistenee of the main body, left to his charge, 
and to i)repare for their future march. There remaiiu'tl with 
him thirty-one men, besides the squaw and two chiklrcii of 
Iierre Dorion. There was no game to be met with in the 
neighborhood ; but beavers were occasionally trapped al)out 
the river banks, which afforded a scanty sui>i)ly of food ; in the 
mean time they comforted themselves that some one or other 
of the foraging detachments would be successful, and return 
with relief. 

IMr. Hunt now set to work with all diligence, to prepare 
caches in which to deposit the baggage and merchandise, o( 
which it would l)e necessary to disburden themselves, prepara- 
tory to their weary march by land ; and here we shall give a 
brief description of tliose contrivances, so noted in the wil- 

A cache is a term, conimon among traders and hunters, to 
designate a hiding-place for provisions and efTects. It is de- 
rived from tiie French word cacher. to conceal, and originated 
among the early colonists of Canada and Louisiana ; but the 
secret dejiository which it designates was in use among the 
aboriginals long before the intrusion of the white men. It is, 
in fact, the only mode that migratory hordes have of preserv- 
ing their valuables from rol)bery, during their long al)sonces 
from their villages or accustomed haunts, or hunting expedi- 
tions, or during the vicissitudes of war. The utmost skill and 
caution are required to render these places of concealment in- 
visible to the lynx eye of an Indian. The llrst care is to seek 
out a proper situation, which is generally some dry low bank 
of clay, on the margin of a water-course. As soon as the pre- 
cise spot is pitchcil upon, blankets, saddle-cloths, and other 
coverings are spread ov( r the surrounding grass and hushes, 
to prevent foot tracks, or any other derangement ; and as few 
hands as possible are employed. A circle of about two feet in 
diameter is then nicely cut in the sod, which is carefully re- 
moved, with the loose soil immediately beneath it, and laid 
aside in a place where it will be safe from any thing that may 
change its appearance. The uncovered area is then dijii^ed 
perpiMidicularly to the depth of about three ft'ot. and is then 
gradually widened so as to form .a conical cliiimb rr. six or seven 
feet deep. The whole of the earth displaced by this proeefls, 



hcirif^ of !i (IflToront color from that on the .surface, iw liaiuleil 
111) ill a vc'ssi'l, and lioapod into a skin or riotli, in which it is 
coiivi'vcd to the stream and thrown into tlic midst of the cin- 
iciil tiial it may Ik- entirely carriid oil". Should the cache not 
Ix- I'urincd in the vicinity of a stream, the earth thus thrown 
up is carried to a distance, and scattered in such manner W6 not 
:o leave the minutest trace. The cave, being formed, is well 
liiu'd with dry grass, hark, sticks, and polos, and occasionally 
iidiicd lii<le. The property intt'uded to be hidden is then laid 
ill, after having been well aired ; a Iiide is spread over it, and 
(liii'd L^iass, brush, and stones thrown in, and trampled down 
until ilie i)it is filled to the ne<-k. The loose soil which had 
been put aside is then brought, and lammed down firmly, to 
prevent its caving in, and is frequently sprinkled with water, 
to destroy the scent, lest the wolves and bears should lie at- 
tracted to the place, and root up the concealed treasure. When 
llie neck of the cache is nearly level with the surrounding sur- 
face, the sod is a<^ain lifted in with the utmost exactness, and 
any bushes, stocks, or stones, that may have originally b' ii 
alMJut the si>.i. are restored to their former i)laces. The blaiik- 
oLs and other coverings are then removed from the surrounding 
lierljage ; all tracks are obliterateil ; the gi'ass is gently raised 
b}' the hand to its natural position, and the minutest chip or 
straw is sciui)ulously gleaned up and thrown into the stream. 
After all is done, the place is abandoned for the night, and, if 
oil he right next morning, is not visited again, until there be a 
necessity for reope'ung the cache. Four men are sufllcient, in 
this way, to conceal the amount of three tons' weight of mer- 
chandise in the course of two days. Nine caches were recpiired 
to contain the goods and baggage which Mr. Hunt found it 
necessary to leave at this i)laee. 

Three days had been thus employed since the departure of 
the several detachments, when that of Mr. Crooks unexpect- 
edly made its appearance. A n)omentary joy was diffused 
through the camp, lor they supposed succor to be at hand. It 
was soon dispelled. Mr. Crooks and his companions had be- 
eonic comijletely disheartened by this retrograde march through 
a lileak and barren country ; and had found, computing from 
their progress anil the accunndating diflleulties besetting every 
sfej). that it would be impossible to reach UeiU'y's Fort and 
relinn to the nniin body in the course of the winter. They had 
iliUi mined, therefore, to rejoni their comrades, and share their 

One avenue of hope was thus closed upon the anxious so 






t- l! 

jounicis at the Caldron Linn ; tlioir main oxpoctation of re- 
lief was now from liio two parties iuider Reed and M'Ldlan, 
wiiieii liad luoeeedcd down the river, for, as to Mr. M'Kenzie's 
detiU'innent, wliieii iiad stniek across the plains, they thought 
it would have sullicient dilliculty in struggling forward throuirh 
the trackless wilderness. For five days they continu(>d to sup. 
port themselves by trapping and fishing. Some fish of tolera- 
ble size were speared at night by the light of cedar torches; 
others, that were very small, were caught in nets with fine 
tneshes. The i)roduct of their fishing, however, was very 
scanty. Their trapping was also precarious, and the tails ami 
bellies of the beavers were dried and put by for the journey. 

At length two of the companions of Mr. Reed returned, and 
were hailed with the most anxious eagerness. Their report 
served but to increase the general despondencj*. They liail 
followed Mr. Keed for some distance below the point to which 
Mi-. Hunt had explored, but had met with no Indians, from 
whom to obtain information and relief. The river still pre- 
sented the same furious as'^x^ct, brawling and boiling along a 
narrow and rugged channel, between rocks that rose like wolls. 

A lingering hope, which had been indulged by some of the 
party, of proceeding by water, was now finall}' given up : the 
long and teriilic strait ui the river set all farther i)i'ogress at 
defiance, .ind in their disgust at the place, and their vexation 
at the disasters sustained there, they gave it the indignant 
though not very decorous appellation of the Devil's Scuttle 


The resolution of Mv. Hunt and his companions was now 
taken to set out innnediately on foot. As to the other detach- 
ments that had in a manner gone forth to seek their fortunes, 
there was little chance of their return ; they would probably 
make their own way tiirough the wilderness. At any rate, to 
linger in the vague hope of relief from them would be to run 
the risk of perishing with hunger. Besides, the winter was 
rapidly advancing, and they had a long journey to make 
through an unkn<jwn country, where all kinds of perils might 
await them. Tliey wei-e yet, in fact, a thousand miles from 
Astoria, but llu' distance was unknown to them at the time; 
every tiling lu'fore and around them was vague and conjectural, 
and wore an aspect calculated to inspire desiiondency. 



In abandoning the rivor they would hare to launch forth 
opon vast trackless plains, destitute of all means of subsist- 
ence, where they might perish of hunger and thirst. A 
dreary desert of sand and gravel extends from Snake River 
ahnost to the Columbia. Here and there is a thin and scanty 
herbage, insullleient for tlie pasturage of horse or buffalo. In 
(leed these treeless wastes between the Rocky IMountains aiul 
the Pacific are even more desolate and barren thiai the naked, 
upper prairies on the Atlantic side ; they lu'esent vast desert 
tracts that must ever defy cultivation, and interpose dreary 
and thirsty wilds between the habitations of rnan, in traversing 
which the wanderer will often be in danger of i)«rishing. 

Seeing the hopeless character of these wastes, Mr. Hunt and 
his companions determined to keep along the course of tlie 
river, where they would always have water at hand, and 
would be able occasionally to procure fish and beaver, and 
might perchance meet with Indians, from whom they could 
obtain provisions. 

They now made their final preparations for the march. All 
their remaining stock of provisions consisted of forty pounds 
of ludian corn, twenty pounds of grease, about five pounds of 
portable soup, and a sufficient (juantity of dried meat to allow 
each man a pittance of five pounds and a (piarter, to be re- 
served for emergencies. This being properly distributed, they 
deposited all their goods and superfluous articles in the caches, 
tailing nothing with them but what was indispensal)le to the 
journey. With all their management, each man had to carry 
twenty pounds' weight beside his own articles and equipments. 

That they might have the better chance of procuring sub- 
sistence in the scanty regions they were to traverse, they 
divided their party into two bands. Mr. Hunt, with eighteen 
men, besides Pierre Dorion and his family, was to proceed 
down the north side of the river, while Mr. Crooks, with 
eighteen men, kept along the south side. 

On the morning of the 9th of October, the two parties sepa- 
rated and set forth on tlieir several courses. Mr. Hunt and his 
companions followed along the rigiit bank of tlie river, which 
made its way far below them, brawling at the foot of perpen- 
dicular precipices of solid rock, two and three hundred feet 
high. For twenty-eight miles that they travelled thfs day, 
they found it inipossil)le to get down to the margin of the 
bticani. At the end of this distance they encamped for the 
niglit at a place which admitted a scranibliiur descent. If 
was with the ureatest difUcultVt however, that tliev succe<Ml('( 


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getting up a kottlo of water from the river for tlic usp of the 
OJinip. As some rain had fallen in the afternoon, they iiassetl 
the night under the shelter of the rocks. 

The next day they continued thirty-two miles to tlic nortli- 
west, keeping along the river, which still ran in ils deep cut 
channel. Here and there a sandy beach or a narrow stii[) of 
soil fringed with dwarf willows would extend for a little dis- 
tance along the foot of the cliffs, and sometimes a reach (if slill 
water would intervene like a smooth mirror between the foam- 
ing rapids. 

As through the preceding day, they journeyed on without 
finding, except in one instance, any place where tliey could 
get dowii to the river's edge, and they were fain to allay tlie 
thirst caused by hard travelling, with the water collected iu 
the hollow of the rocks. 

Jn the course of their march on the following morning tiiey 
fell into a beaten horse patii leading along the river, which 
showed that the}' were iu the neighborhood of some Indian 
village or encampment. They had not proceeded far along it, 
when they met with two Shoshouies or Snakes. Tlii-y ap- 
proaciied with some appearance of uneasiness, and acco.slin<^ 
Mr. Hunt, held u\) a knife, which by signs tliey let him know 
they had received from some of the white men of the advance 
parties. It was with some difPculty that Mr. Hunt i>r(vailcd 
upon one of the savages to conduct him to the lodges of his 
people. Striking into a trail or path which led up from the 
river, he guided them for some distance in the prairie, u; 'il 
they came in sight of a number of lodges made of straw, and 
shaped like haystacks. Their approach, sis on former occa- 
sions, caused the wildest affright among the iidiabitant.s. The 
women hid such of their children as were too huge to l)e car- 
ried, and too small to take care of themselves, under straw, and, 
clasping their infants to their breasts, fled across tiie praiiic. 
The men a\v;'ited the a[)proach of these strangers, but evidently 
iu great alarm. 

Mr. Hunt entered the lodges, and, as he was looking about, 
observed where the children were concealed, their black eyes 
glistening like those of snakes from l)eneath the straw. He 
lifted up the covering to look at them ; the pooi- little lii'ings 
were iiorribly frightened, and tlieii' fathers stood trt'ud)liug as 
if a l)east of i)rey were about to pounce upon the Itrood. 

Tlie friendly manner of Mr. Hunt soon disptdled these appie- 
heusions ; he succeeded in pur(diasing some cxctdlenL dried 
salmon, and u dog, an auiiuai much esteemed a« food l»y Uio 




natives ; and when he returned to the river one of the Indiana 
accompanied him. He now came to whore lodj^es were fre- 
niiciit along the banks, and, after a day's journey of twenty- 
six uiilt'S to the northwest, encamped in a poijuhnis neighbor- 
hood. Forty or fifty of the natives soon visited the camp, 
conducting themselves in a very amicable manner. They were 
well clad, and all had buffalo robes, which they prf)cured from 
some of the hunting tribes in exchange for salmon. Their 
habitations were very comfortable ; each had its pile of worm- 
wood at the door for fuel, and within was abundance of salmon, 
some fresh, but the greater part cured. "When the white men 
visited the lodges, however, the womeii and children hid them- 
selves through fear. Among the supplies obtained here were 
two dogs, on which our travellers breakfasted, and found then. 
to be very excellent, well flavored, and hearty food. 

In the course of the three following days they made about 
sixty-three miles, generally in a northwest direction. They 
met with many of the natives in their straw-built cabins who 
received them without alarm. About their tlwellings were im- 
mense quantities of the heads and skins of salmon, the best 
part of which had been cured and hidden in the ground. The 
women were badly clad, the children worse ; their garments 
were buffalo robes, or the skins of foxes, wolves, hares, and 
badgers, and sometimes the skins of ducks, sewed together 
with the plumage on. Most of the skins must have been pro- 
cured by traffic with other tribes, or in distant hunting excur- 
sions, for the naked prairies in the neighborhood afforded few 
animals, excepting horses, which were abundant. There were 
signs of bufTaloes having been there, but a long time before. 

On the l;'»tli of November they made twenty-eight miles along 
the river, which was entirely free from rapids. The shores 
wore lined with dead salmon, which tainted the whole atmos- 
phere. The natives whom they met spoke of ]\Ir. Reed's i)arty 
having passed through that neighborhood. In the course of 
the day Mr. Hunt saw a few horses, but the owners of them 
took care to hurry them out of the way. All the provisions 
they were able to procure were two dogs and a salmon. On 
the following day they were still worse off, having to sultsist 
on parched corn and the remains of their dried meat. I'hc 
river this day had resumed its turbulent cluiracter, forcing its 
way tinoiigh a narrow channel between steep rocks, and down 
violent rajjids. They made twenty miles over a luggeil road, 
gradnally ap|)roaching a mountain in the norlliwest, covercil 
with suow, which had been in sight for three days past. 






} !: 



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.'■ i H\* Mr, 

! II 

On the 17th they met with sovoral Imlifins, one of wlioni had 
a horse. Mr. Hunt wjis extronu'ly desirous of ohtuininjr ii as 
a pack-horse ; for the men, worn <lown by fatijj;iie and liuiijrer, 
found tiie loads of twenty pounds' weijj;ht which thi-y hiu? to 
carry, daily growing heavier and more galling. Tlif Indians, 
however, along this river, were never willing to part wiih their 
horses, having none to spare. The owner of the stci'd in (jues. 
tion seemed proof against all temi)tation ; article after article 
of great value in Indian eyes was offered and refused. The 
charms of au old tin kettle, however, were irresistible, and a 
bargain was concluded. 

A great part of the following moi-ning was consumed in 
lightening the packages of the men and arranging the load for 
the horse. At this encampment there was no wood for fuoj, 
even the wormwood on which they had frecjuently depended 
having disappeared. For the tvo last days they had made 
thirty miles to the northwest. 

On the lyth of November Mr. Hunt was lucky enough to 
purchase another horse for his own use ; giving in exchange a 
tomahawk, a knife, a fire steel, and some beads and gartering. 
Jn an evil hour, however, he took the advici' of the Indianh to 
abandon the river, and follow a road or trail leading into the 
prairies. He soon had cause to ri'pent the change. The road 
led across a dreary waste without verdure ; and wlu'ie llieie 
was neither fountain, nor pool, nor running stream. The men 
now began to experience tlie torments of thirst, aggravated hy 
their usual diet of dried fish. The thirst of the Canadian 
voyageurs became so insupportable as to drive them to the 
most revolting means of allaying it. For twenty-live miles 
did they toil on across this dismal desert, and laid themselves 
down at night, i)arched and disconsolate, beside their worm- 
wood fires ; looking forward to still greater sufferings on tlie 
following day. Fortunately, it began to rain in the uiglit. to 
their infinite relief; the water soon collected in puddles and 
afforded them delicious draughts. 

Refreshed in this manner, they resumed their wayfaring as 
soon as the first streaks of dawn gave light enough for tiiem to 
see their path. The rain continued all day. so that Ihev no 
longer suffered from thirst, but hunger took its place, for aflc 
travelling thirty-three miles they had nothing to suj) on but a 
little i)arclied corn. 

The inixt day brought them to the banks of a l)eautiful little 
btreaiii. running to the w(!st, and fringed with groves of cotton- 
wood and willow. On its borders was au Indian camp, with a 

mountain i 




rrrcnt in.'iiiy liorsos gi'Mziiiij; firoiiiid it. Tlio inha})itan<a, too, 
Hiipcait'il io lu' better clad tlian usual. 'I'lic scene was alto 
wtlii'i' !>■ eliei'riti}^ one to tlie jtoor lialf-fainishod wandpivm. 
They hastened to the Iodjj;es, hut on arrivinji; at theui, met with 
a clu'ck that at liist dampened their eheerfulness. An Indian 
iiiiiiHMliately laid claim to the horse of Mr. Hunt, saying that 
it had boeii stolen from him. There was no disproving a fact 
siipportecl by numcious Itystanders, and wiiich the horse-steul- 
iiiij haltits of tiie Indians rendered Imt too proltablo ; so Mr. 
Hunt relin(|uislied his steed to the claimant; not being able to 
ivluin him by a second piu'chase. 

At this place they encamped for the night, and made a 
sumptuous repast upon lish and a cou[)le of dogs, procured 
from tiieir Indian neighlHjrs. The next day they kept along 
the river, but came to a halt after ten miles' march, on account 
of the rain. Mere they again got a supply of fish and dogs 
from the natives ; and two of the men were fortunate enough 
cacli to get a horse in exchange for a buffalo robe. One of 
these men was Pierre Dorion, the half-breed interpreter, to 
whose sutl'ering family the horse was a most timely acquisition. 
And here wi; cannot ])ut notice the wonderful patience, perse- 
verauce, and hardihood of the Indian women, as exemplified 
iu the conduct of the poor squaw of the intcn-preter. She was 
now far advanced in her pregnancy, and had two children to 
take care of, one foui-, and the other two years of age. The 
latter of course she had frecjuently to carry on her back, in 
a(lditi(Mi to the l)urden usually imposed upon the squaw, yet 
slie had borne all her hardships without a niurnnn-, and through- 
out this weary and painful journey had kept pace with the l)est 
of the pedestrians. Indeed on various occasions in the course 
of this enterprise, she displayed a force of character that won 
the respect and applause of the white men. 

Mr. Hunt eiuleavored to gather some information from these 
Indians concerning the country and the course of the rivers. 
His coniinunications with them had to be by signs, and a few 
words which he had learnt, and of course were extremely 
vague. All that he could learn from them was that the great 
liver, the Columbia, was still far distant, but he could ascer- 
tain nothing as to the route he ought to take to arrive at it. 
For the two following days they continued westward upward of 
forty miles along the little stream, until they crossed it just 
before its junction with Snake Hiver, which they found still 
ruiuiing to the north. Before them was a wiutry-looking 
mountain covered with snow on uil sides. 

■ ! 

i I 





i . ', 

4 i 

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In throo days more tlioy inndo al>otit seventy miles, fordjnj. 
two siimll rivers, llic wntcrs of wliiili woro very cold. I'rovis 
ions were cxlifnicly scuicc ; their chief Hiisteiuiiiw! was porta- 
I)U' .soup, !i ine!i!j;i(' diet for weary pedestrians. 

On llie 27tii of NOveniher the river h'd tiieni into the moun- 
tains tliroii^h a rocky delile where tiiere was scarcely room to 
I)!ias. They \ ere frefpienlly ol)li<i;ed to nnload the horses to 
{^et Iheni by tiio narrow |)laces, and sometimes to wach* throiiirh 
the water in gettin«j; ronnd roeks and butting cliffs. All their 
food this day was a 1 leaver which they iiad caught the iiii;|,t 
l)efore ; by evening the cravings of hunger were so siuirp. ami 
tlie prospect of any supply among the mountains so faint, that 
they had to kill one of the horses. "The men," says Mr. 
Hunt in his journal, '• lind the meat very gtMxl, and indeed, so 
should I, were il not for the attachment I Isave to the animal." 

Karly in the following day, after pr(x;eeding ten miles to the 
north, they came to two hnlges of Shoshoiues, who seemed iu 
nearly as great an extremity jus themselves, having just killwl 
two horses for food. They had no other provisions excepting 
the seed of a weed which they gather in grc't quantities, and 
pound line. It resembles hemp seed. Mr. Hunt purchased a 
i)ag of it, and also some small pieces of horse-tlesh, whieli he 
began to relish, pronouncing them '• fat and tender." 

From these Indians he received information that several 
white men had gone down the river, some one side, and a good 
many on tlu- other; these last he concluded to be Mr. Crooks 
and his party. He was thus releju>^ed from nnich anxiety about 
their safety, especially as the Indians spoke of Mr. Crooks 
having one of his dogs yet^ which showed that he and his men 
had not been reduced to extremity of hunger. 

As Mr. Hunt feared that he might be several days in passing 
through this mountain defile, and run the risk of famine, he 
encamped in the neighborhood of the Indians, for the purpose 
of bartering with them for a horse. The evening was expended 
in inelTeetual trials. He offered a gun, a butl'alo robe, and 
various other articles. The poor fellows had, jirobably. like 
himself, the fear of starvation before their eyes. At length 
the women, learning the object of his pressing solicitations aud 
tempting otTers, set up such a terrible hue and cry that he waa 
fau'l}' howled and scolded from the ground. 

The next morning early, the Indians seemed very desirous 
to get rid of their visitors, fearing, probably, for the safety of 
their horses. In reply to Mr. Hunt's inquiries about the moun- 
tuiub, ti.ey told him that he w 'M have to sleep bul three 



(ij.flits inoro nmonj:; tliom, fvnd Hint six days' tmvollinpj would 
, ,[,. liini to till' t':iil^ of llx' ColiiiiiMii ; iiiroiinntion in wliicli ho 
ml III) iMitii, iti'li<'N iiiu, il was only ;^ivoii to iiidiici' him to wt 
joiwiinl. 'I'lu'HC, Ik' wiis told, wiTc tho last Snakes he would 
,„.,,, t wilii, and that he would soon conn; to a nation called 

Forward then did he proceed on his tedious journey, which 
nt cvcrv step u,rew more painful. T\w road continued for two 
(lavs lhVou;;;h narrow deliies, where they were repeatedly olilijicd 
to unload the horses. Sometimes the river passed tlirough 
siioji rocky cliasms and under such steep precipices that they 
Ii;i(| to leave it, Miid make their way, with ex(H'ssive labor, over 
iiiiiiiciHe hills, almost impassable for horses. On some of 
tlicsc hills were a [\'w pini' trees, and their summits were cov- 
ered willi snow. On the second day of this scramble one of 
till' liiiiileis killed a black-tailed di'cr, wl.ich atl'orded the half- 
starved travellers a sumptuous repast. Their progress these 
two (lays wius twenty-eight miles, a little to the northward of 


The month of DocemI>er set in drearily, with rain in the val- 
leys and snow upon the hills. They had to climb a mountain 
with snow to the midleg, which increased their painful toil. A 
small beaver supplied them with a scanty meal, which they 
eked out with frozen blacklu'iries, haws, and choke-cherries, 
wliic!) they found in tiie course of their .scramble. Their jour- 
ney this day, though excessively fatiguing, was but thirteen 
miles; and all the next day tiiey had to remain encamped, not 
l)ei!i>r able to see half a mile ahead, on account of a snow-storm. 
Ilaviiiii nothing else to eat, they were compelled to kill another 
of their horses. The next day they resumed their march in 
snow and rain, but with all their elibrts could only get forward 
nine miles, having for a part of the distance to unload the 
lioises aiul carry the i)acks themselves. On the succeeding 
inorniiig they were obliged to leave the river and scramble up 
the hills. From the summit of these, they got a wide view of 
the surrounding country, and it was a prospect almost suflicicnt 
to make them despair. In every direction they beheld snowy 
iiiOiiutains, partially sprinkled with |)ines and other evergreens, 
Mild spreading a deseit and toilsome world around them. The 
wind howled over the bleak and wintry landscape, and seemed 
lu peiKitrate to the marrow of their bones. They waded on 
;lii()iigh the snow, which at every step was more than knee 

After toiling in this way all day, they had the mortification 

) 1 


> I i 




U) liiid lliiil tlicy wcro lint four iiiiirs difitnnt from tlio j'ncanMi. 
riu'iil of I lie |»r<'ciM|iiiji iiij^lil, such wns tlu' iiU'iiiuU'rinn; of n,, 
rivrr .'iiiioiii!; llicsc disiiiiil liills. I'iiiclu'd with fuininc. v\. 
hmiHtrd willi fnliuiic, uilli cvciiin}^' iipproiicliiii^, iiiul a wintry 
wild still Iciijftlicniiiii, as tiu-y JKlvuiU'cd, they l)rguri to look 
fbr\v:iid with sad foivhodingH to tlu.' iiif^ht'M exposure u|)()ii this 
friL;htrul wiiwtc. Kortiiiuitcly tlu'y succi'odod in icucirmir ^ 
(•liistcr of piiu's about Hunsct. Their hxvh were iinnicdiatt'ly iit 
work : they cut down trees, piled them up in f^reut heiipH, ami 
soon had hu<j;e (lies " to ehet'r their eold und hun»j;ry hearts." 
Ahout three o'clock in the morning it iifj;jiin bejfHn to .miow 
and at dtiyhreak they found theniHeU'es, im it were, in u eloud, 
scarcely helnj^j able to distlnptuish obje<'tH at the distance of a 
hundred yards. (Juidiufj; themHclveH by the sound of riuiiiiiiir 
watrr, they set out for the river, and by slippin<jj and slidin" 
contrived to g(!t down to its bank. One of the liorses, uiissiug 
his footing, rolled down several hmidred yards with his load, 
but sustained no injury. The weather in tiie valley was less 
rigorous tha ' on the hills. The snow lay but ankle deep, and 
there was a 4.. let rain now falling. After creeping ah)ng for 
six miles, :hey encamiK'd on the lK)rder of the river. l'."iiiir 
utterly destitute of provisions, they were again compellotl to 
kill one uf their horses to appease their famishing hunger. 



l' J 

I ''■ ' 



The wanderers had now accomplished four hundred and 
seventy-two miles of their dreary journey since leaving the 
Caldron Linn ; how much farther they had yet to travel, aud 
what hardships to encounter, no one knew. 

On the morning of the Gth of December they left their dis- 
mal encampment, but had scarcely begun their march when, to 
their surprise, they beheld a party of white uien coming up 
along the opposite bank of the river. As they drew nearer 
they were recognized for Mr. Crooks and itis companions. 
When they came opposite, and could make themselves lu'ard 
across the nuirnujring of tlu; rivir, theii' lirst cry was I'ur HmmI; 
in fact, they were almost staived. Mr. Hunt immediaU'n re- 
turned to the camp, and iiad a kind of canoe made out of the 
skin of the horse killed 011 the |)reci'(ling night. This was done 
after the Indian fashion, by drawing up the edges of the skin 
with thougs, aud keei)iiig tliei;; diotended by sticks or thwarti 




pieces. In this fmil bark, Sardcpio, ono of tho Cnnadijins, 
•iriiod over ft |)ortioii of tlio ttosh of the; horse to tlio fiiminhiiig 
imrty o» l^'*^ opposite side of the riv(>r, and brought buck with 
him Mr. Crooks uiid the Ciiiuidiun, Lo Clerc. 'I'hc forlorn and 
wasted looks and starving condition of these two men slriiek 
dismay to the hearts of Mr. Hunt's followers. They had been 
aci'iiHtomed to oach other's appearanee, and to the jirradnal 
operation of hunj^er and hardship ui)on their frnnies, but the 
diauge iu the looks of these men, since bust tlu'y parted, was a 
tvpeof the famine and desolation of the land; and tlicy now 
iWan to indulge the horrible presentiment that they would 
all starve together, or be reduced to the tlireful alternative of 
casting lots ! 

When Mr. Crooks had appeased his hunger, he gave Mr. 
Hunt some account of his wayfaring. On the side of the river 
alon<^ which he had kept he had met with l»ut few Indians, and 
tbosc were t(x> miserably poor to yield much a-ssistance. For 
the first eighteen days after leaving the Caldron Linn, he and 
his men had l)een confined to half a meal in twenty-four hours ; 
for fcliroe days following they had subsisted on a single beaver, 
a few wild cherrias, and the soles of old moccasons ; and for 
the last six days their only animal food had been the carcass of 
a (log. They had Ikjcu three days' journey farther down the 
river than Mr. Hunt, always keeping as near U> its banks as 
possihic, aiKl frequently climl)ing over sharp and rocky ridges 
that projeettxl into the stream. At length they had arrived 
to where Uie mountains iiK'rea.setl in height, and came closer to 
the river, witli per|)endicular prwipices, which rendered it im- 
possible to keep along the stream. The river here rushed with 
incrctlible velocity through a defile not more ihan thirty yards 
wide, where cascades and rapids succeeded each other almost 
without intermission. Even had the opix)sitc banks, thi-refore, 
been such as to iHJrmit a continuance of their journey, it would 
have been madness to attempt to pass the tumultuous current, 
cither on rafts or otherwise. .Still bent, however, on pushing 
forward, they attempted to climb the op|>osing mountains ; and 
struggled on through the snow for half a day until, coming to 
where they could command a prospect, they found that they 
were not half way to the summit, and that mountain upon 
niountaiu lay piled beyond them, iu wintry desolation. Fam- 
ished and emaciated as they were, to continue forwai'd would 
l)e to perish ; their only chance seemed to be to regain the river, 
and retrace their steps up its banks. It was in this forhnu and 
retrograde march that they had met Mr. Hunt and his party. 




!• I 

I ' 

!; JH. 

Mr. Crooks also gave information of somn othors of ibpj, 
fellow adventurers. He had spoken several days previously 
with Mr. Reed and Mr. M'Kenzie, who with their men were on 
the opposite side of the river, \ .ere it was impossible to wot 
over t;) them. They informed liim that Mr. M'l.cUan bd 
struek across from tlie little river above the mountains, in Hig 
hope of falling in with some of the tribe of Flutlicads, who 
inhabit the western skirts of the Kooky range. As the coin. 
paniuns of Reed and M'Kenzie were picked men, and hivi 
found provisions more abundant on their side of tlio river. 
they were in better condition, and more fitted to contend wiih 
the difliculties of the country, than those of Mi, Crooks, and 
when he lost sight of them, vyere pushing onward, down the 
course of the river. 

Mr. Huiit took a night to revolve over his critical situation, 
and to determine what was to be done. No time was to he 
lost ; he had twenty men and more in his own party to pro- 
vide for, and Mr. Crooks and his men to relieve. To liniror 
would be to starve. The idea of I'ctracing his sti'ps was intol- 
erable, and, notwithstanding all the discouraging accounts of 
the ruggedness of the mountains lower down the river, he 
would have been disposed to attempt them, but the depth of 
the snow with which they were covered deterred him ; having 
already experienced the impossibility of forcing his wi'.y against 
such an impediment. 

The only alternative, therefore, appeared to be to return and 
seek the Indian bands scattered along the small rivt'rs above 
the mountains. Perhaps from some of these he might piocure 
horses enough to support him until he could reach the C'ohnn- 
bia ; for he still cherished the hope of arriving at that river in 
the course of the winter, thougli he wtus apprehen.sive that 
few of Mr. Crooks's party would be sufliciently strong to follow 
him. Even in adopting this coui"se he liad to make up bis 
mind to the certainty of several days of famine at the; outset, 
for it would take that time to reach t-he last Indian lodges 
from which he had parted, and until they should arrive there 
his people would have nothing to subsist upon but haws and 
wild berries, excepting one miserable horse, which w:i j little 
better than skin and bone. 

After a night of sleepless cogitation, Mr. Hunt announced to 
his men the dreary alternative lu' had adopted, and |)ii|i;U!i- 
tions weie nuide to take Mr. Crooks and Lc Cli'rc across the 
river, with the remainder of tlie meat, as the other [)arly were 
to keep up along the opposite bank. The skin canoe had ud- 




fortunately hccn lost in the night ; a raft was constructed, 
therefore, after tlie manner of the natives, of bundles of wil- 
lows, but it could not be floated across tlie impetuous current. 
The men were directed, in consequence, to keep on along the 
river by themselves, while Mr. Crooks and Le Clerc would pro- 
ceed with IMr. Hunt. They all then took up their retrograde 
march with drooping spirits. 

In a little while it was found that Mr. Crooks and Lc Clerc 
were so feeble as to walk with difficulty, so that JNIr. Hunt 
was obliged to retard his pace, that they might keep up with 
him. His men grew impatient at the delay. They murmured 
that they had a long and desolate region to traverse, l)efore 
they could arrive at the point where they might expect to find 
horses ; that it was impossible for Crooks and Le Cleic, in 
their feeble condition, to get over it ; that to remain with them 
would only be to starve in their company. They importuned 
Mr., therefore, to leave these unfortunate men to their 
fate, and think only of the safety of himself and his party. 
Finding him not to be moved, either by entreaties or their 
clamors, they began to proceed without him, singly and in 
parties. Among those who thus went off was Pierre Dorion, 
the interpreter. Pierre owned the only remaining horse, which 
was now a mere skeleton. Mr. Hunt had suggested, in their 
present extremity, that it should be killed for f(x)d ; to which 
the half-breed flatly refused his assent, and cudgelling the 
miserable animal forward, pushed on sullenly, with the air of 
a man doggedly determined to quarrel for his right. In this 
way Mr. Hunt saw his men, one after another break away, 
until but five remained to bear him company. 

On the following morning another raft was made, on which 
Mr. Crooks and Le Clerc again attempted to ferry themselves 
across the river, but after repeated trials had to give up in 
despair. This caused additional delay ; after which they con- 
tinued to crawl forward at a snail's pace. Some of the men 
who had remained with Mr. Hunt now became impatient of 
these encumbrances, and urged him clamorously to i)ush for- 
ward, crying out that they should all starve. The night which 
succeeded was intensely cold, so that one cf the men was 
severely frost-bitten. In the course of the night Mr. Crooks 
was taken ill, and in the morning was still ujore incompetent 
to travel. Their situation was now desperate, for theii- stock 
of provisions was reduced to three beaver-skins. Mr. Hunt, 
tlierefore, resolved to push on, overtake his people, and insist 
upon having the horse of Pierre Dorion Bacriiiced for the relief 





i 1 


•■ 1 





i' • 




I w 



of all hands. Accordingly he left two of his men to help 
Crooks and Le Clerc on their way, giving them two of the 
beaver skins for their siipi)ort ; the remaining skin lie retained, 
as provision for himself and the three other men who struck 
forward with him. 

it i 

' i . 1; 


All that day Mr. Hunt and his three comrades travelled 
without eating. At night they made a tantalizing supper on 
their beaver skin, and were nearly exhausted by hunger and 
cold. The next day, December 10th, they overtook the ad- 
vance party, who were all ais much famished as themsi'lves, 
some of them not having eaten since the morning of the 
seventh. Mr. Hunt now proposed the sacrifice of Pierre 
Dorion's skeleton horse. Here he again met with positive 
and vehement opposition from the half-breed, who was to-i 
sullen and vindictive a fellow to be easily dealt with. Wh, 
was singular, the men, though suffering such pinching hunger, 
interfered in favor of the horse. They lepresented that it was 
better to keep on as long as possil)le without resorting to this 
last resource. Possibly the Indians, of whom they were in 
quest, might have shifted their encampment, in which ease it 
would be time enough to kill the horse to escape starvat; n. 
Mr. Hunt, therefore, was prevailed upon to grant Pierre 
Dorion's horse a reprieve. 

Fortunately, they had not proceeded much farther, when, 
toward evening, they came in sight of a lodge of .Shoshonles, 
with a number of horses grazing around it. The sight was as 
unexpected as it was joyous. Having seen no lud'ans in this 
neighborhood as they passed down the river, they must have 
subsequently come out from among the mountains. Mr. Hunt, 
who first descried them, checked the eagerness of his conipan- 
ions, knowing the unwillingness of these Indians to part with 
their horses, and their aptness to hurry them off and conceal 
them, in case of an alarm. This was no time to risk such a 
disappointment. Approaching, therefore, stealthily and si- 
lently, tliiiy came upon the savages by surprise, who fled in 
terror. Five of their horses were eagerly seized, and out! was 
despatched upon the sj)ot. The carcass was iniinediaU?ly cut 
up, and a part of it liastily cooked and ravenously (levoiired. 
A man was now sent on horseback with a su[)ply of the litMb 

uii his .side 



jQ ]\fr. Crooks and his companions. He reaohod them in tiio 
iijo-ht; they were so famished that the snpp!y sent tlieni seeiniMl 
lj,[t to ao'gravatc! their hunger, anvi they were almost tempted 
to kill antl eat the horse that had brought the messenger. 
Availing themselves of the assistance of the animal, they 
veaclit'crtho camp early in the morning. 

On arriving there, Mr. Crooks was shocked to find that, while 
the people on this side of the river weie amply supplied with 
piovisioiis, none had been sent to his own forlorn and famish- 
in<T men on the opposite bank. He immediately caused a skin 
canoe to be constructed, and called out to his men to fill their 
camp-kettles with water and hang them over the fire, that no 
time might be lost in cooking the meat the moment it should be 
received. The river was so narrow, though deep, that every 
thing could be distinctly heard and seen across it. The kettles 
were placed on the fire, and the water was boiling by the time 
the cauoe was completed. When all was ready, however, no 
one would undertake to ferry the meat across. A vague and 
almost superstitious terror had infected the minds of Mr. 
Hunt's followers, enfeebled and rendered imaginative of horrors 
by the dismal scenes and sufferings through which they had 
passed. They regnrded the haggard crew, hovering like spectres 
of famine on the opposite bank, with indefinite feelings of awe 
and apinehension, as if somethiug desperate and dangerous was 
to be feared from them. 

Mr. Crooks tried in vain to reason or shame them out of his 
singular state of mind. He then attempted to navigate the 
canoe himself, but found his strength incompetent to brave the 
impetuous current. The good feeUngs of Ben Jones, the Ken- 
luckian, at length overcame his fears, and he ventured over. 
The supply he brought was received with trembling avidity. 
A poor ('anadian, however, named Jean Baptisite Prevost, 
wliom famine had rendered wild and desi)erate, ran frantically 
iljont the hank, after Jones had returned, crying out to "Mr. 
, hint to send the canoe for him, and take him from that horrible 
I'gion of famine, declaring that otherwise he would never march 
motlier step, but would lie down there and die. 

The canoe was shortly sent over again under the management 
ot Joseph Delaunay, with further supplies. Prevost inunedi- 
ately picssed forward to embark. Uelaunay refused to admit 
him. telling liiui that there was now a sulllcient supply of meat 
on his side of the river. He re|ilied that it was not cooked, and 
he should starve before it was ready ; he implored, therefore, 
to Uj taken where he could get something to appease his hunger 

; <i 


^ ,■ , 




»' <:;t^ 









immediately. Finding the canoe putting off without him, h« 
forced himself aboard. As he drew near the opposite shore 
and beheld meat roasting before the fire, he jumped up, shouted 
clapped his hands, and danced in a delirium of joy, until he up! 
set the canoe. The i)oor wretch was swept away by the current 
and drowned, and it was with extreme ditliculty that Delaunay 
reached the shore. 

Mr. Hunt now sent all his men forward excepting two or 
three. In the evening he caused another horse to be killed 
and a canoe to be made out of the skin, in which he scut over 
a further supply of meat to the opposite party. The canoe 
brought back John Day, the Kentucky hunter, who came to 
join his former employer and commander, Mr. Crooks. Poor 
Day, once so active and vigorous, was now reduced to a condi- 
tion even more feeble and emaciated than his companions, 
Mr. Crooks had such a value for the man, on account of his 
past services and faithful character, thit he determined not to 
quit him ; he exhorted Mr. Hunt, however, to proceed forward, 
and join the party, as his presence was all-im[)ortaut to the 
conduct of the expedition. One of the Canadians, Jean 
tistc Dubreuil, likewise remained with Mr. Crooks. 

Mr. Hunt left two horses with them, and a part of the car- 
cass of the last that had been killed. This, he hoped, would h 
sufficient to sustain them until they should reach the Indian 

One of the chief dangers attending the enfeebled condition 
of Mr. Crooks and his companions was their being overtaken 
by the Indians whose horses had been seized, though Mr. Hunt 
hoped that he had guarded against any resentment on the part 
of the savages, by leaving various articles in their lodge, more 
than sufficient to compensate for the outrage he had been com- 
pelled to commit. 

Resuming his onward course, Mr. Hunt came up with his 
people in the evening. The next day, December lotli, he be- 
held several Indians, with three horses, on the opposite side of 
the river, and after a time came to the two lodges which he 
had seen on going down. Here he endeavored in vain to Imrter 
a rifl'^ for a horse, but again succeeded in effecting the purchase 
with an old tin kettle, aided by a few beads. 

The two succeeding days were cold and stormy ; the snow 
was augmenting, and there was a good deal of ice nmiiinr!; in 
the river, Their road, however, was becoming easier ; tlicy were 
getting Jut of tlie hills, and finally emerged into the open coun- 
try, af ,er twenty days of fatigue, famine, and hardship of every 



kind, in the ineffectual attempt to find a passage clown the 


They HDW oncampod on a little willowed stream, running 
from tlic 0. t. which they had crossed on the 2Gth of Novem- 
ber. Hc'*^ thoy found a dozen lodges of Shoshouies, recently 
arrived, who informed them that had they persevered along tlie 
liver, they would have found their difficultie.a augment until they 
became absolutely insurmountable. This intelligence added to 
the anxiety of Mr. Hunt for the fate of Mr. M'Kenzie and 
liis people, wlio had kept on. 

Mr. Hunt now followed up the little river, and encamped at 
some lodges of Shoshonies, from whom he procured a couple 
of horses, a dog, a few dried fish, and some roots and dried 
dierries. Two or three days were exhausted in ol)taining in- 
formation about the route, and what time it would take to get 
to tiie Sciatogas, a hospitable tribe on the west side of the 
mountains, ivpresented as having many horses. The replies 
were variou.s, l)ut concurred in saying that the distance was 
(Treat, and would occupy from seventeen to twenty-one nights. 
Mr. llimt tlion tried to procure a guide ; but though he sent to 
various lodges up and down the river, offering articles of great 
value in Indian estimation, no one would venture. The snow, 
they said, was waist deep in the mountains ; and to all his 
offers tlioy shook their heads, gave a shiver, and replied, '* We 
sliall f feeze I we shall freeze ! " At the same time they urged 
him to remain and pass the winter among them. 

Mr. Hunt was in a dismal dilemma. To attempt the moun- 
tains without a jruide would be certain death to him and all his 
people; to remain there, after having already been so long on 
ihe journey, and at such great expense, was worse to him, he 
said, than " two dealhs." He now changed his tone with the 
Indians, charged them with deccivii:;^ him in respect to the 
mountains, and talking with a " forked tongue," or, in other 
words, with lying- He upbraided them v/ith their want of 
courage, and told them they were women, to shrink from the 
perils of such a journey. At length one of them, piqued by his 
taunts, or tempted by his offers, .agreed to be his guide ; for 
which he was to receive a gun, a pistol, three knives, two 
hoises, and a little of every article in possession of the party ; 
a reward snllicient to make him one of the wealthiest of his 
va<Tal)()ii(l n.'ition. 

Once more, then, on the 21st of December, they set out uix)n 
their wayfaring with newly excited spirits. Two other Indiaus 
accompanied their guide, who led them immediately back to 



1 v,*a 




;.ii . 

. 'h'l. 







Snake Hirer, which they followed down for a short distance, 
in search of some Indian rafts made of reeds, on which thpy 
might cross. Finding none, Mr. Ilnnt cansed a horse to he 
killed and a canoe to be made out of its skin. Here, on the 
opposite l)ank, they saw the thirteen men of Mr. ('rooks' party, 
who had continued up along the river. They told Mv. Hunt, 
across the stream, that they had not seen Mr. Crooks, and the 
two men who had remained with him, since the day that lie had 
separated from them. 

The canoe proving too small, another hoi*se was killed, and 
the skin of it joined to that of the first. Night came on before 
the little bark had made more than two voyages. Being badly 
made, it war taken apart and put together again, by tlic light 
of the fire. The night was cold ; the men were weary and dis- 
heartened with such varied and incessant toil and hardship. 
They crouched, dull and drooping, around their fires ; many of 
them began to express a wish to remain where they were for 
the winter. The very necessity of crossing the river dismayed 
some of them in their present enfeebled and dejected state. It 
was rapid and turbulent, and filled with floating ice, and tliey 
remembered that two of their comrades had already perislicd in 
its waters. Others looked forward with misgivings to tlic long 
and dismal journey through lonesome regions that awaited them, 
when they should have passed this dreary flood. 

At an early hour of the morning, December 2.3d, they l)egan 
to cross the river. Much ice had formed during the night, and 
they w(>re obliged to break it for some distance on each shore. 
At length tliey all got over in safety to the west side ; and their 
spirits rose on having achieved this perilous passage. Here 
they were rejoined by the people of Mr. Crooks, who had with 
them a horse and a dog, which they had recently procured. 
The [)oor fellows were in the most squalid and emaciated stiite. 
Three of them were so completely prostrated in strengtli and 
spirits that they expressed a wish to remain among the Snakes. 
Mr. Hunt, therefore, gave them the canoe, that they might cross 
the river, and a few articles, with which to procure necessaries 
until they should meet with Mr. Crooks. There was another 
man, named Michael Carriere, who was almost equally reduced, 
but he determined to proceed with his comrades, who were now 
incorporated with the i)arty of Mr. Hunt. After Uie day's 
exertions they encamped together on the banks of tli<' rivor. 
This was the last night they were to spend upon its borders. 
More than eight hundred miles of hard travelling and uuuiy 
weary days had it cost them, and the sufferings couuectcd with 




It rrnflorcd it Imiofnl in their rcmombrance, so that the Cana- 
dian v<>\agciirs iilways spoke of it aw '■'■ Ii!i niaudite riviere en- 
ra"i't' " tlie accursed uiad river, thus coupling a malediction 
with its name. 



On the 2Uh of December, all things being aiTangeil, Mr. Hunt 
curned his haciv upon the disastrous l)anks of Snake Kiver, and 
struclv his course wcslward for the mountains. His party, being 
aii<niu'nto(l I)y tlie late followers of Mr. Crooks, amounted now 
to lliii'ly-t"'<^ wliile men, three Indians, and tiie squaw and two 
cbildi'cu of riorre Dorion. Five jaded, iialf-starved iiorses were 
laden with their luggiige, and in case of need, were to furnish 
them with provisions. They travelled painfully about fourteen 
miles a day, over plains and among hills, rendered dreary by 
occasional falls of snow and rain. Their only sustenance was 
a scanty meal of horse-llesh once in four and twenty hours. 

On tlio third day the poor Canadian, Carriere, one of the 
fainished i)arty of Mr. Crooks, gave up in despair, and lying 
down upon the ground declared he could go no farther. 
Efforts were made to chiH?r him up, but it was found that the 
poor fellow was absolutely exhauste<l and could not keep on 
his logs. He was mounted, therefore, upon one of the horses, 
though the forlorn animal wa.s in little better plight than him- 

On th 2SUi they came u[Ton a small stream winding to the 
north, through a fine level valley, the mountains receding on 
each side. Here their Indian friends pointed out a chain of 
woody mountains to the left, runnmg north and south, and cov- 
ered with snow, over which they would have to pass. They 
icept along the valley foi' twenty-one miles on the 29th, suffering 
mnrli from a continued fall of snow and rain, and being twice 
obliged to ford the icy stream. Early in the following morning 
the squaw of Pierre Dorion, who had hitherto kept on without 
munnuring or flinching, was suddenly taken in labor, and 
enrich('<l Irm- husband with another child. As the fortitude and 
good conduct of the poor woman had gained for her the good 
will of the party, her situation caused concern and perplexity. 
Pierre, however, treated the matter as an occurrence that could 
soon Ix' arinuged and need cause no delay. He remained by 
his wife iu the camp, with hi* other cluldreu aud his horse, and 






"• .1! 


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promised soon to rejoin the main body, who proeeeded on their 

Findinfi that the little river entered the mountains, llioy nhan- 
doned it, and turned ofT for a few miles amonj^ hills.' Here 
another (Canadian, named La lionte, j];ave out, and had to be 
helped on horsehaek. As the horse was ^oo weak to hear both 
him and his paek, Mr. Hunt took the latte- upon his own 
shoulders. Thus, with difficulties augnientin«r at every step, 
they uryed their toilsome way among the hills, half fainislicd 
ancl faint at heart, when they came to where a fair vallej 
spread out liefore them of great extent, and several leagues 
in width, with a beautiful stream meandering througii it. A 
genial climate seemed to prevail here, for though the snow lay 
upon all the mountains within sight, there was none to be seen 
in the valley. The travelleis gazed with delight upon this 
serene, sunny landscape, but their jo}' was complete on behold- 
ing six lodges of Shoshonics pitched upon the borders of the 
stream, with a number of horses and dogs about them. They 
all pressed forward with eagerness and soon reached the eainp. 
Here tluiir first attention was to obtain provisions. A rille, an 
old nui.sket, a tomahawk, a tin kettle, and a small quantity of 
ammunition soon procured them four horses, three dogs, and 
some roots. I'art of the live stock was immediately killed, 
cooked with all expedition, and as promptly devoured. A 
hearty meal restored eveiy one to g(X>d spirits. In the course 
of the following morning the Doriou family made its reappear- 
ance. Pierre came trudging in the advance, followed by his 
valued, though skeleton steed, on which was mounted jiis 
squaw with the new-born infant in her arms, and her boy of 
two years old wrapped in a blanket and slung at her side. The 
mother looked as unconcerned as if nothing had hai)peiiod to 
her ; so easy is nature in her operations in the wilderness. wheR 
free from the enfeebling refinements of luxury, and the tuniiKT- 
ings and appliances of art. 

The next morning ushered in the new year (1812). Mr. 
Hunt was about to resume his march when his inen requested 
permission to celebrate the day. This was particularly urged 
by the Canadian voyageurs, with whom new-year's day is a 
favorite festival, and who never willingly give up a holiday, 
under any circumstances. There was no resisting such an 
application ; so the day was passed in repose and ri'vciry ; the 
poor Canadians contrived to sing and dance in (h-liaiuT of !ill 
their hardships, and there was a sumptuous uew-year's buiiquet 
of dog's-meat and horse-tlesh. 


After two days of wolcomo rest tho travoilors addressed 
j.|„,i„.;(.|v<'s oiico more to their pjiinful journey. The IriiMrviifl 
of the lo'life.s poiiit"(l out a distant gap through which they 
must pass in traversing the ridge of mountains. They assured 
them that they wouhl be hut little incommoded by snow, and 
in tiirce days woidd arrive among the Sciatogas. Mr. H int, 
however, had been so frequently deceived by Indian acc( unts 
of routes and distances, that he gave but little faith tc this 

Tlie travellers continued their course due west for five days, 
crossing the valley and entering the mountains. Here the 
travelling became excessively toilsome, across rough stony 
ridges, and amid fallen trees. They were often knee deep in 
snow, and sometimes in the hollows between the ridges sank 
up to their waists. The wea^hei was extremely cold, the sky 
covered with clouds, so that for days they had not a glimpse of 
the sun. In traversing the highest ridge they had a wide but 
chilling prospect over a wilderness of snowy mountains. 

On tlie fith of January, however, they hud crossed the divid- 
ing summit of the cha'u, and were evidently under the iuflu- 
euce of a milder climate. The snow began to decrease, the sun 
once more emerged from the thick canopy of clouds, and shone 
cheeringly upon them, and they caught a sight of what ap- 
peared to be a plain stretching out in tho west. They hailed it 
as the poor Israelites hailed the first glimpse of the promised 
land, for they llattcred themselves that this might be the great 
plain of the Columbia, and that their painful pilgrimage might 
be drawing to a close. 

It was now live days since they had left the lodges of the 
Shoshonies, during which they had come about sixty miles, and 
their guide assured them that iu the course of the next day 
they would see the Sciatogas. 

On the following morning, therefore, they pushed forward 
with eagerness, and soon fell upon a small stream which led 
them through a deep, narrow defile, between stupendous ridges. 
Here among the rocks and precipices they saw gangs of that 
mountain-loving animal, the black-tailed deer, and caine to 
where great tracks of horses were to be seen in all directions, 
made by the Indian hunters. 

The snow had entirely disappeared, and the hopes of soon 
coming upon some Indian encampment induced Mr. Hunt ^o 
press on. Many of the men, however, were so enfeebled that 
they could not keep up with the main body, but lagged, at in- 
tervals, behind, and some of them did nut arrive at the night 

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rncrimpment. In the (•(•iirsc of tliia day's niairli tlio reecntb 
bom ciiild of rit'irc Dorioii died. 

Tlic niiircli wms rfsmiuMl (.-Miiy tho next nioriiiiij;, without 
wnitinji for tlu' stiiig<j;l('is. The strojini which they had followed 
throujihou* tlu' pirci'diiig day was now swollen by the intlux of 
another river ; the declivities of the hills were ^vww and the 
valleys were clothed with grass. At length the jovial cry was 
given of " Jin Indian camp ! " It was yet in the distance, in the 
bosom of the green valley, bnt they conld perceive that it con- 
sisted of nnmerons lodges, and that hundreds of horses were 
grazing the grassy meadows around it. Tiie prospect of abun- 
dance; of horse-Mesh ditTused universal joy, for by this time 
the whole stock of travelling provisions was reduced to the 
skeleton steed of Pierre Dorion, and another wretched animal, 
equally emaciated, that had been repeatedly reprieved during 
the journey. 

A forced march soon brought the weary and hungry travel- 
lers to the camp. It proved to be a strong party of Sciatogas 
and Tus-che-pas. There were thirty-four lodges, comfortably 
constructed of mats ; the Indians, too, were better clothed 
than any of the wandering bands they had hitherto met on 
this side of the Kocky Mountains. Indeed they were as well 
clad as the generality of the wild hunter tribes. Each had a 
good buffalo or deer skin robe ; and a deer skin hunting Hhirt 
and Icggins. Upward of two thousand horses were ranging the 
pastures around their encampment ; but what delighted Mr. 
Hunt was, on entering the lodges, to behold brass kettles, axes, 
copper tea-kettles, and various other articles of civilized manu- 
factuie, which showed that these Indians had an indirect com- 
munication with the people of the sea-coast who traded with 
the whites. He made eager inquiries of the Sciatogas. and 
gathered from them that the great river (the Columbia), was 
but two days' march distant, and that several white people 
had recently descended it, who he hoped might prove to be 
M'Lellan, M'Kenzie, and their companions. 

It was with the utmost Joy, and the most profound gratitude 
to Heaven, that Mr. Hunt found himself and his band of weary 
and famishing wanderers, thus safely extricated from the most 
perilous part of their long journey, and within the prospect of 
a termination of their toils. All the stragglers, who bad 
lagged behind, arrived, one after another, excepting the poor 
Canadian voyageur, Carriere. He had been seen late in the 
preceding afternoon, riding behind a Snake Indian, near some 
lodges of that nation, a few miled distant from the last uigbt's 



pncampmcnt, and it wjis expected that he would soon make his 

The first object of Mr. Hunt was to o\)tain provisions for his 
men. A little venison, of an indifferent quality, and some 
roots wti'c all that could be procured that evening ; but the 
next day he succeeded in purchasing a mare and colt, which 
,yere iininediately killed, and the cravings of the half-starved 
people in some degree appeased. 

For several days they remainad in the neighborhood of theac 
Indians, reposing after all their hardships, and feasting upon 
horse-tle'ili and roots, obtained in subsequent traflic. Alany of 
the people ate to such excess as to render themselves si(!k, 
others were lame from their past journey ; but all gradually 
recruited in the repose and abundance of the valley. Horses 
were obtained here much more readily and at a cheaper rate 
than among the Snakes. A blanket, a knife, or a half i>ound 
of blue beads would purchase a steed, and at this rate many of 
the men l)oiight horses for their individual use. 

This tribe of Indians, who are represented as a proud-spirited 
race, and uncommonly cleanly, never eat horses nor dogs, nor 
would they permit the raw flesh of either to be brought into 
their huts. They had a small quantity of venison in each 
lodge, but set so high a price upon it that the white men, in 
their iini)overished state, could not afford to purchase it. They 
hunted the deer on h<^vseback, " ringing," or surrounding 
them, and running them down in a circle. They were admi- 
rable horaomen, and then* weapons were bows and arrows, 
which they managed with great dexterity. They were alto- 
gether primitive in tlu ir habits, and seemed to cling to the 
usages of savage life, even when iwssessed of the aids of civili- 
zation. They had axes among them, yet they generally made 
use of a stone mallet wrought into the shape of a bottle, and 
wedges of elk-horn, in splitting their wood. Though they 
might have two or three brass kettles hanging in their lodges, 
yet they would frequently use vessels made of willow, for 
carrying water, and would even boil their meat in them, by 
means of hot stones. Their women wore caps of willow neatly 
worked and figured. 

As Carriere, the Canadian straggler, did not make his appear- 
ance for two or three days after the encampment in the valley, 
two men were sent out on horseback in search of him. They 
returned, however, without success. The lodges of tin; Snak(! 
Indians near which he hud been seen were removed, and they 
I'ould liud no trace of him. iSeveral days more elapsed, yet 


|i h 




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^ \ ;l 

i H'ki 


h 'yy 



nothiiip was soon or honrd of him, or of the Snako horseman, 
bt'biiid whom lie luul Imh'U hist ohsorved. It wii.s fctuvd, tlicre. 
fore, that he hiul either perished tlirough hiiiijj;er and futi«rii,. , 
had been murdered l)y tlie indiaiKs ; or, beiii}^ U'ft lo liimscif, 
had mistai<eii some iuinting tracks for the trail of llio party^ 
and been led astray and lost. 

The river on the Ininks of which they were encamped, emptied 
into the Columbia, was called by the natives the Ku-o-tal-l:i. or 
Uraatalla, and abounded with beaver. In the course of tlu'ji 
sojourn in the valley which it watered, thiy twice shifted tlioir 
camp, |)roceeding about thirty mile down its course, which was 
to the west. A heavy fall of rain caused the river to ovur- 
flow its banks, dislodged them from their encampment, and 
drowned three of their horses, which were tethered in the low 

Further conversation with the Indians satisfied them tliat 
they were in the neighborhood of the Columbia. The number 
of the white men who they said had passed down the river, 
agreed with that of M'Lellan, M'Kenzie, and their comiianions, 
and increased the hope of Mr. Hunt that they might have 
passed through the wilderness with safety. 

These Indians had a vague story that white men were coming 
to trade among them ; and they often spoke of two great men 
named Ke-Koosh and Jacquean, who gave them tobacco, and 
smoked with tliem. Jacquean, they said, had a house some- 
where upon the great river. Some of the Canadians su|)posed 
they were speaking of one Jacquean Finlay, a clerk of the 
Northwest Company, and inferred that the house must be some 
trading post on one of the tributary streams of the Columbia. 
The Indians were overjoyed when they found this hand of 
white men intended to return and trade with them. Tiny 
promised to use all diligence in collecting quantities of beavci 
skins, and no doubt proceeded to make deadly war upon that 
sagacious, but ill-fated animal, who, in general, lived in peace- 
ful insignificance among his Indian neighbors, before the intru- 
sion of the white trader. On the 2Uth of January, JNIr. Hunt 
took leave of these friendl}' Indians, and of the river on which 
they wen- encamped, and contiruied westward. 

At length, on the following day, the wayworn travellers lifted 
up their eyes and beheld before them the Icjng-sought w:iteis of 
the Columbia, The sight was hailed with as imicli transport as 
if they ha<l already reaxdied the end of their pilgriniMge : nor 
can we wt»nder at tlunr joy. Two hundred and forty mdes bad 
thoy nuircUed, through wintry wastes and rugged mouu?aius, 




ginco lo.'ivin^' Si ako River; and six months of porilous way- 
f;,iiii(r liad till'}' experienced since tiieir departure from the 
Viickara viliiip' on tlie Missouri. Their whole route by land 
111(1 water tioiii that point had been, according to their compu- 
tiuiori, Heveiileeii hinulred antl lifty-onc miles, in the course of 
wliicli they had enchnvd all kinds of hardships. In fact, the 
mvc'Sity of avoiding tlie dangerous country of the Hlaekfeet 
hail oliliV'*'*' t''' "' ^" make a l)end to the south, and to traverse 
iirirai add'tional extent of unknown wilderness. 

The place where they struck the Columbia was some distance 
helow till' junoti' i of its two great branches, Lewis and Clarke 
Rivers, and not far from the inllux of the Wallah-Wallah. It 
was a beautiful stream, three (piartcrs of a mile wide, totally 
free from treijs ; bordered in some places witli steep rocks, in 
others with |)ebbled shores. 

On till' banks of tlie Columbia they found a miserable horde 
of Indians, called Akai-chies, with no clothing l)ut a scanty 
mantle of the skins of animals, and sometimes a pair of sleeves 
of wolf's skin. Their lotlges were shaped like a tent, and very 
tjffht and warm, being covered with mats of rushes ; beside 
wiiicli they had excavations on the ground, lined with mats, 
ami ot'oiipied by the women, who were even more slightly clad 
than the men. These people subsisted chiefly by tishiug ; hav- 
ing canoes of a rude construction, being merely the trunks of 
pine trees split anil hollowed out l»y fire. Their lodges were 
well stored with dried salmon, and they had great (juautities of 
fresh salmon trout of an excellent flavor, taken at the month of 
the Uuiatalla ; of which the travellers obtained a most accept- 
able supply. 

Finding that the road was on the north side of the river, Mr. 
limit crossed, and continued five or six days travelling rather 
slowly down :«long its banks, being much delayed by the stray- 
ing of the horses, and the attemijts made by the Indians to steal 
Oieni. They freipiently passed lodges, where they obtained fish 
and dogs. At one place the natives had just returned from 
hunting, and had brought back a large quantity of elk and deer 
meat, hut asked so high a i)rice for it as to be beyond the funds 
of the travellers, so they had to content themselves with dog's 
flesh. They had by this time, however, come to consider it 
very ehoiee food, superior to horse liesh, and the minutes of the 
ex|)i'dilion speak rather exultingly now and then, of their hav- 
ing made a *' famous repast," where this viand happened to be 
uuiisnally |)lenty. 

They again learned tidings of some of the scattered members 


! • * 


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i -m 

i i 

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of the expedition, supposed to be M'Kenzio, IM', and 
their men, who had preceded them dowu the river, aiul ll,.^^| 
overturned one of their canoes, by which they lost in;iny arii. 
cles. All these floating pieces of intelligence of their fellow 
adventurers, who had separated from them in the heart of the 
wilderness, they received with eager interest. 

The weather continued to be temperate, marking the superior 
softness of the climate on this side of the mountains. For a 
great part of the time, the days were delightfully mild and clear, 
like the serene days of October, on t' e Atlantic borders. Tlie 
country in general, in the neighborhood of the river, was a 
continual plain, low near the water, l)ut rising gradually; des. 
titute of trees, and almost without shrubs or plants of any kind, 
excepting a few willow bushes. After travelling about sixty 
miles, they came to where the country liecame very hilly ami 
the river made its wa}' between rocky banks and down luuucrous 
rapids. The Indians in this vicinity were better clad and alto- 
gether in more prosperous condition thau those above, and, as 
Mr. Hunt thought, showed their consciousness of ease by some- 
thing like saucinoss of manner. Thus prosperity is apt to pro- 
duce arrogance in savage as well as in civilized life. In both 
couditions man is an animal that will not bear pamperi.ig. 

From these people Mr. Hunt for the first time received vague 
but deeply interesting intelligence of that part of the euiorprise 
which had proceeded by sea to the mouth of the Columbia. 
The Indiuiis spoke of a number of white meu who had built a 
large house at the mouth of the great river, and suri'oiinilcd it 
with palisades. None of thom had been down to Astoria tbem- 
solves ; but rumors spread widely and rapidly from uioulh to 
mouth among the Indian tribes, and are carried to the heart of 
the interior, by hunting parties and migratory hordes. 

The establishment of a trading emporium at sucli a iioint, 
also, was calculated to cause a sensation to the most remote 
parts of the vast wilderness beyond the mountains. It. in a 
manner, struck the pulse of the great vital river, and vibrated 
up all its tributary streams. 

It is surprising to notice how well this remote tril)e of sav- 
ages had learnt, through intermediate gossips, the private feel- 
ings of the colonists at Astoria ; it shows that Indians are not 
the incurious and iniliffcnMit observers that they iiave been 
represented. They told Mr. Hunt that the white people at llu' 
large house had been looking anxiously for many of their 
friends, whom tliey liad ex|)ected to (h'seend the gn'al river; 
and had been in much affliction, fearing that they were lu8l. 



Kow, liowovpr, tho arrival of him and his party would wipe 
affav iill <''*■''' l*''i''^' ''■'"^ ^'^'^y would daneo and sing for joy. 

Oil til*' -Jlf^t^ <'f .laiiuarv, Mr. liiint arrived at th(> talis of tiie 
Coliinibiii, ami (.'ncanipod at the village of Wish-ram. situated 
at the head of that dauj^erous pass of the river called ' the long 



Of the village of Wish-ram, the aborigines' fishing mart of 
the Coliimhia, we have given some account in an early chapter 
of this work. The inhabitants held a tradic in the productions 
of the llsherics of the falls, and their village was the trading 
resort of the tribes from the coasL and from the mountains. Mr. 
Hunt found the inhabitants shrewder and more intelligent than 
any Indians he had met with. Trade had sharpened their wits, 
though it had not improved their honesty ; for they were a 
community of arrant rogues and freebooters. Their habitations 
comported with their circumstances, and were superior to any 
the travellers had yet seen west of the Rocky Mountains. In 
general the dwellings of the savages on the Pacific side of that 
great barrier, were mere tents and cabins of mats, or skins, or 
straw, the country being destitute of timber. In Wish-ram, on 
the contrary, the houses were built of wood, with long sloping 
roofs. The floor was sunk about six feet below the surface of 
the ground, with a low door at the gable end, extremely narrow, 
and partly sunk. Th -ough this it was necessary to crawl, and 
then to descend a short ladder. This inconvenient entrance was 
probably for the purpose of defence ; there were loop-holes also 
under the eaves, ai)i)arently for the discharge of arrows. The 
houses were large, generally containing two or three families. 
Immediately witliin the door were sleeping places, ranged along 
■ he walls, like berths in a ship ; and furnished with pallets of 
matting. These extended along one-balf of the building ; the 
remaining half was appropriated to the sLoring of dried fish. 

The trading opemfcions of the inhabitants of Wish-ram had 
given them a wider scope of information, and rendered their 
village a kind of hcaflquarters of intelligence. Mr. Hunt was 
iihk', therefore, to collect more distinct tidings concerning the 
settlenient cf Astoria and its atTairs. One of the inhabitants 
had been at the trading post established by David Stuart, on 
the Uakinagan, and hud picked up a few words of Euglisii 



, r. 



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there. From him, Mr. Hunt gleaned various particulars about 
that establishment, as well as about the general concerns of the 
enterprise. Others repeated the name of Mr. M'Kay, the part- 
us who perished in the massacre on board of the Toncpiin, and 
gave some account of that melancholy affair. They said Mr. 
M'Kay was a cliief among the white men, and had built a great 
house at the mouth of the rfver, but had left it and sailed away 
in a large ship to the northward, where he had been attacked by 
bad Indians in canoes. Mr. Hunt was startled by this iiitelli. 
gence, and made further inquiries. They informed liim that 
the Indians had lashed their canoes to the ship, and fought until 
they had killed him and all his i)Oople. This is another instance 
of the clearness with which intelligence is transmitted from 
mouth to mouth among the Indian tribes. These tidings, 
though but partially credited by Mr. Hunt, filled his mind with 
anxious forebodings. He now endeavored to procure canoes 
in which to descend the Columbia, but none suitable for the 
purpose were to be obtained above the narrows ; he continued 
on, therefore, the distance of twelve miles, and encamped on 
the bank of the river. The camp was soon surrounded by 
loitering savages, who went prowling about, seeking what they 
might pilfer. Being baffled by the vigilance of the guard, they 
endeavored to compass their ends by other means. Toward 
evening, a number of warriors entered the camp in ruffling 
style ; painted and dressed out as if for battle, and armed with 
lances, bows and arrows, and sculping knives. They informed 
Mr. Hunt that a party of thirty or forty braves were coming up 
from a village below to attack the camp and cairy off the 
horses, but that they were determined to stay with him, and 
defend him. Mr. Hunt received them with great coldness, 
and, when they had finished their story, gave them a pipe to 
smoke. He then called up all hands, stationed sentinels ii: 
different quarters, but told them to keep as vigilant an eye 
within the camp as without. 

The warriors were evidently baflfled by these precautions, 
and, having smoked their pipe, and vajwred off tiicir vahir. 
took their departure. The farce, however, did not end iicrc. 
After a little while the warriors returned, ushering in another 
savage, still more heroically arrayed. This they annountcd as 
the chief of the belligerent village, but a-; a great pacilicator. 
His people had been furiously bent upon tlie attack, and wonhl 
have doubtless carried it into effect, but this galhint ciiirf had 
stood forth as the friend of tlie white men, and i»:ul dispersed 
the throng by his own authority anil prowess. Having vaunted 



this signal piece of service, there was a significant pause ; al\ 
evitlently cxpi^cting some adequate reward. Mr. Hunt again 
produced tlio pipe, smoked with the chieftain and his worthy 
compeers ; but made no further demonstrations of gratitude. 
Tliev remained about the camp all night, but at daylight re- 
turned, baffled and crestfallen, to their homes, with nothing 
but smokt! for their pains. 

Mr. Hunt now endeavored to procure canoes, of which he 
saw several about the neighborhood, extremely well made, with 
elevated stems and sterns, some of them capable of carrying 
three thousand pounds weight. He found it extremely difficult, 
liowever, to deal with these slippery people, who seemed much 
more inclined to pilfer. Notwithstanding a strict guard main- 
tained round the camp, various implements were stolen, and 
several horses carried off. Among the latter we have to include 
the long-cherished steed of Pierre Dorion. From some wilful 
caprice, that worthy pitched his tent at some distance from 
tbe main body, and tethered his invaluable steed beside it, from 
whence it was abstracted in the night, to the infinite chagrin and 
mortification of the hybrid interpreter. 

Having, after several days' negotiation, procured the requi- 
site number of canoes, Mr. Hunt would gladly have left thia 
thievish neighborhood, but was detained until the 5th of Feb« 
ruary by violent head winds, accompanied by snow and rain. 
Kven after he was enabled to get under way, he had still to 
struggle against contrary winds and tempestuous weather. 
The current of the river, however, was in his favor ; having 
made a portage at the grand rapid, the canoes met with no 
further obstruction, and, on the afternoon of the 15th of Feb- 
ruary, swept round an intervening cape, and came in sight of 
the infant settlement of Astoria. After eleven months' wan- 
dering in the wilderness, a great part of the time over track- 
less wastes, where the sight of a savage wigwam was a rarity, 
we may imagine the delight of the poor weather-beaten trav- 
sllers, at beholding the embryo establishment, with its maga- 
zines, habitations, and picketed bulwarks, seated on a high 
point of land, dominating a beautiful little bay, in which was 
a trim-i)uilt shallop riding quietly at anchor. A shout of joy 
burst from each canoe at the long-wished-for sight. They 
urged their canoes across the bay, and pulled with eagerness 
for shore, where all liands poured down from the settlement 
to receive and welcome them. Among the first to greet them 
on their landing, were some of their old comrades and fellow- 
sufferers, who, under the conduct of Heed, M'Leilau, and 


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, '>\'i 

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M'Konviio, had parted from them at tlie Caldron Linn. These 
had n ached Astoria nearly a montli previously, and, judging 
from llii'ir own narrow escape from starvation, had ^;iven up 
i\Ir. Hunt and his followers as lost. Their greeting was tlie 
moie warm and cordial. As to the Canadian voyageurs, their 
unitunl felicitations, as usual, were loud and vociferous, and it 
was almost ludicrous to behold these " comrades " and 
•' confrtires," liuggiug and kissing each other on the river bank. 
When the first greetings were over, the different bands inter- 
L-lianged accounts of their several wandeilngs, after separatiu^ 
at Snake River ; we shall brief!}' notice a few of the leading 
particulars. It will be recollected by the reader, that a small 
exploring detachment had proceeded down the river, under the 
conduct of Mr. John Reed, a clerk of the company: tliat 
another had set off under M'Lellan, and a third in a different 
direction, under M'Keuzie. After wandering for several days 
without meeting with Indians, or obtaining any supplies, they 
came together fortuitously among the Snake River mountains, 
some distance below that disastrous pass or strait, which had 
received the appellation of the Devil's Scuttle Hole. 

When thus united, their party consisted of M'Kenzie, M'Lel. 
Ian, Reed, and eight men, chiefly Canadians. Being all in the 
same predicament, without liorses, provisions, or information 
of any kind, they all agreed that it would be worse than useless 
to return to Mr. Hunt and encumber him with so many starv- 
ing men, and that their only course was to extricate themselves 
as soon as possible froni this land of famine and misery, and 
make the best of their way for the Columbia. They accord- 
ingly continued to follow the downward course of Snake River; 
clambering rocks and mountains, and defying all the difficulties 
and dangers of that rugged defile, which subsequently, when 
the snows had fallen, was found impassable by Messrs. Hunt 
and Crooks. 

Though constantly near to the borders of the river, and for 
a great part of the time within sight of its current, one of their 
greatest sufferinf;s was thirst. The river had worn its way in 
a deep channel through rocky mountains, destitute of brooks 
or springs. Its banks were so high and precipitous, that there 
■was rarely any place where the travellers could get down to 
drink its waters. Frequently they suffered for miles the tor- 
men Is of Tantalus ; water continually within sight, yet fevered 
with the most parching thirst. Here and there they met with 
rain-water collected in the hollows of the rocks, but more than 
ouee they were reduced to the utmost extreiuity ; and uuue 



of tho men had recourse to the last expedient to avoid per- 

Tlicir snff«'rings from hunger were ecjually severe. They 

could meet with no game, and subsisted for a time on strii».s 
of beaver skin, broiled on the coals. Tliese were doled out in 
scanty allowanees, barely sulHcient to keep up existence, and 
at length failed them altogether. Still they crept feebly on, 
scarce dragging one limb after another, until a severe snow- 
storm brought them to a pause. To struggle against it, in their 
exhausted condition, was impossible ; so cowering under an 
impending rock at the foot of a steep mountain, they prepared 
themselves for that wretched fate which seemed inevitable. 

At this critical juncture, when famine stared them in the 
face, M'Lellau casting up his eyes, beheld an ahsahta, or big- 
horn, sheltering itself under a shelving rock on the side of the 
hill al)0ve tuem. Being in a more active plight than any of 
his eomrudes, and an excellent marksman, he set off to get 
within shot of the animal. His companions watched his move- 
ments with breathless anxiety, for their lives depended upon 
his success. lie made a cautious circuit ; scrambled up the hill 
with the utmost silence, and at length arrived, unperceived, 
within a proper distance. Here levelling his rifle he took so 
sure an aim, that the bighorn fell dead on the sjiot ; a fortunate 
circumstance, for, to pursue it, if merely wounded, would have 
been imix)ssible in bis emaciated state. The declivity of the 
hill enabled him to roll the carcass down to his companions, 
who were too feeble to climb the rocks. They lell to work to 
cut it up ; 3'et exerted a remarkable ..elf-denial for meu in tlieir 
starving condition, for they contented themselves for the pres- 
ent witli a soup made from the bones, reserving the flesh for 
future repasts. This providential relief gave them strength to 
pursue their journey, but they were frequently reduced to almost 
equal straits, and it was onl}- the smallness of their party, 
requiring a small supply of provisions, that enabled them to 
get through this desolate region with their lives. 

At length, after twenty-one days of toil and suffering, they 
got through these mountains, and arrived at a tributary stream 
of that branch of the Columbia ""ailed Lewis River, of which 
Snake River forms the soiTtl.eru foii: In this neighborhood 
they met with wild horses, the first they had seen west of the 
Rocky Mountains. From hence they made their way to Lewis 
River, where they fell in with a friendly tribe of Indians, who 
freely adminiBtered to their necessities. On this river they 
procured two cauoes, 'n " i'l-b they dropped down the stream 

I .i. 

: I 





'. > :■} ' 


M I' 

ti I 

to its conflnonw with the Colninl)ia. and then clown that rivpr 
to Astoria, wlicif thi^y arrived hiiggiird and cmaciatod, ami 
porfiH'tly ill i'!'ii«- 

Thus,' all till! leading; persons of Mr. Hunt's expedition were 
onee more gathered toijether, exceptnig; Mr. Crooks, of whose 
safety Ihey entertained but little lio[)e. considering the feeblt 
condition in which they had been compelled to leave him iu the 
heart of the wilderness. 

A day was now given up to jubilee, to celebrate the arrival 
of Mr. Hunt and his companions, and the joyful meeting of the 
various scattered bauds of adventurers at Astoria. The colors 
were hoisted ; the guns, great and small. w(M'e fired ; there was 
a feast of fish, of beaver, and venison, which relished well with 
men who had so long been glad to revel on horse flesh and dogs' 
meat ; a genial allowance of grog was issued, to increase the 
general luiimation. and the festivities wound up, as usual, with 
a grand dauee at uight, by the Cauadiaii voyageurs.* 

' 1 ' I ' 






The winter had passiid away tranipiilly at Astoria. The ap. 
prehensions of hostility from the natives had subsided ; iiiilced, 
as the season advanced, the Indians for the most part had dis- 
appeared from the neighborhood, and abandoned the sea-coast, 
so that, for want of their aid, the colonists had at times suffered 
consiilerably for want of provisious. The hunters belonging to 
the establishment made fVeipieut and wide excursions, but with 
very moderate success. There were sonic deer and a few bears 
to be found in the vicinit}', and elk iu great numbers ; the 
country, however, was so rough, and the woods so close ami 
entangled, that it was almost impossible to beat up the game. 
The prevalent rains of winter, also, rendered it difllcult for the 
hunter to keep his arms in order. The quantity of game, 
therefore, brought in by the hunters was extremely scanty, 
and it was fre(piently necessary to put all hands on very 
moderate allowance. Toward spring, however, the fishing sea- 
son commenced — the season of plenty on the Columbia. Al)out 
tie beginning of February, a small kiuu of fish, about six inches 

' The distance froni St. I.ouin to Astoriu, by the route travelled by nuiil uuu 
.'T'Keiizie, whh lijiward i)f thirty-five hundred Milieu, thuuKta la h direct liue tt doea 
Qo: tiXctiMi eighleeu huudred. 

E ' 



l„n". cnllod by tlio nalivos llie iit.lilcoan, nnil resomliliiii.!; Ilio 
siiu'lt, iii.'idi' ii'i iippoarniicc sil the nioiiih of tlio river. It is 
siiiil to lu'itf (UilicioiKS ll:\vor, iukI so fat ji.s to burn like, ji candle, 
f,,r Nvliicli it is often used by Iho natives It enters the river 
in liHiiu'iisc shoals, like soiid eolninns. often extending to tlic 
di'uth of live or more feet, and is scooped up by the natives 
^iih Bin;dl nets at tlie end of poles. Ju this way thoy will so u 
fill !t caiioi', or form a <i;reat heaj) upon t!ie river banks. These 
tisii ciiii-'iittile a i)rinoipal ai tickle of their fo* d ; tlie women dry- 
inti ilie'ii and strinj^ing tlieni on cords. As t!ie utiilecan is 
oiilv foinid in the lower part of the river, the arrival of it soon 
hro'imht t):iek the natives to the coast; who again re3(>rtefl to 
till' factory to trade, and from that time furnished plentiful 
Biippliee* "f fish. 

The sturgeon makes its appearance in the river shortly after 
the utiilecan and is taken in different ways, by the natives : 
gometiaies tl'cv spear it; but oftiner thi y use the hook and 
line, aiitl tiie net. Occasionally, they sink a cord in the river 
by a heavy weight, with a buoy at the upper end, to keep it 
fliiatiiig. To this cord several hooks aie attached by short 
lines, a few feet distant froni each other, and baited with small 
fish. Tliis apparatus is often set toward night, and by the next 
iiinriiing several sturgeon will be found hooked by it; for 
though a large and 8tro;g fish, it makes but little resistance 
when iiisuared. 

The salmon, which are the prime fish of the Columbia, and 
fis iuiportant to the piscatory tribes as are the buffaloes to the 
hunters of the prairies, do not enter the river until toward 
the latter part of May, from which time until the middle of 
August, they abound, and are taken in vast quantities, either willi 
the spear or seine, and mostly in shallow water. An infeiior 
species succeeds, and continues from August to December. It 
is remarkable fjr having a double row of teeth, half an inch 
long and extremely sharp, from whence it has received tlu; 
name of the dog-too:!ied salmon. It is generally killed with 
the spear in suiall rivulets, and smoked for winter provision. 
We have noticed in a former chapter tlie mode in which the 
sainion are taken and cured at the falls of the Columbia; and 
put up i,i parcels for exportation. From these different fisheries 
of thi' river tribes, the establislunent at Astoria had to derive 
nuieli of ils precarious suppli'js of provisions. 

A y.'r.r's residence at the mouth of the Columbia, and various 
expdiitioiis 'n the interior, had now given the A^storians some 
idea of the country. The whole coast is described atj remark- 

:. • 

, ■;, 

;■ ■ . 

w s 



•'^11 ;l 

Y *i 



Hhly rufj;<?ocl and mountainous ; witb dense forests of hemlock, 
spruce, white and red cediir, cotton-wood, white oak, white and 
awuuip ash, willow, and a few walnut. There i.s likewise; an 
undtrj^rowth of aromatic shruha, creepers, and clamhcrinif 
vines, tiiat render the forests almost impenetrable; together 
with berries of various kinds, such as gooseberries, strawber- 
ries, ra.spberries, both red and yellow, very large and finely 
flavored whortleberries, cranberries, serviceberries, blackberries, 
currants, sloes, and wild and choke cherries. 

Among the flowering vines is one deserving of particular 
notice. Each flower is composed of six leaves or petals, aliout 
three inches in length, of a beautiful crimson, the inside spotted 
with wiiite. Its leavis, of a fine green, are oval, and disposed 
by threes. Tiiis plant clinibs upon the trees without attaoiiinc 
itself to them; when it has reached the topmost branches it 
descends per[)endi('ularly, and as it continues to <!;row, extends 
from tree to tree, until its various stalks interlace the grove 
like the rigi^ing of a ship. The stems or trunks of this vine are 
tougher and more flexible than willow, and are from fifty to 
one hundred fathoms in length. From the fibres, the Indians 
manufacture baskets of such close texture as to hold water. 

The principal quadrupeds that had been seen by the colonists 
in their various expeditions were the stag, fallow deer, hart, 
black and grizzly l)ear, antelope, ahsahta or bighorn, beaver, 
sea r.nd river otter, muskrat, fox, wolf, and panther, the latter 
extremely rare. The only domestic animals among the natives 
were horses and dogs. 

The country abounded with aquatic and land birds, such as 
swans, wild geese, brant, ducks of almost every description, 
l)elicans, herons, gulls, snipes, curbws, eagles, vultures, crows, 
ravens, magpies, woodpeckers, pigeons, partridges, pheasants, 
grouse, and a great variety of singing birds. 

There were few reptiles ; the only dangerous kinds were the 
i-attlesnake, and one striped with black, yellow, and white, 
aI)out four feet long. Among the lizard kind was one about 
nine or ten inches in length, exclusive of the tail, and three 
inches in circumference. The tail was round, and of the same 
length as the body. The head was triangular, covered with 
small square scales. The upper part of the body was likewise 
covered with small scales, green, yellow, black, and blue, 
Each foot had five toes, furnished with strong nails, probably 
to aid it in burrowing, as it usually lived underground ou the 

A remarkable fact, characteristic of the country west of 

l! » 




liito find 
iwiso au 
d finely 

the Rocky Mountains, is the niiltlncss and equability of Ibo 
climate. That great mountain barrier seems to divide the conti- 
nent into different climates, even in the same degrees of lati- 
tude. The rigorous winters, and sultry summers, and all the 
capricious inequalities of temperature prevalent on the Atlan- 
tic side of the mountains, are but little felt on tiieir western 
declivities. The countries between them and the Pacific are 
blessed with milder and steadier temperature, resembling the 
climates of parallel latitudes in Europe. In the plains and 
valleys but little snow falls throughout the winter, and usually 
melts while falling. It rarely lies on the ground more than 
two days at a time, except on the summits of the mountains 
The winters are rainy rather than cold. The rains for five 
mouths, from the middle of October to the middle of March, 
are almost incessant, and often accompanied by tremendous 
thunder and lightning. The winds provaliMit at this season 
are from the south and southeast, which usually bring rain. 
Those from the north to the southwest are the harbingers 
and a clear sky. The residue of the year 
of March to the middle of October, an in- 
months, is serene and delightful. There is 
throughout this time, yet the face of the 

of fair weather 
from the middle 
terval of seven 
scarcely any rain 

country is kept fresh and verdant by nightly dews, and occa- 
sionally by humid fogs in the mornings. Those are not con- 
sidered prejudicial to health, since both the natives and the 
whites sleep in the open air with perf;'ct impunity. While 
this equable and bland temperature prevails throughout the 
lower country, the peaks an(l ridges of the vast mountains l)y 
which it is dominated, are covered with perpetual snow. This 
renders them discernible at a great distance, shining at times, 
like bright Bummer clouds, at otlier times assuming the most 
aerial tints, and always forming brilliant and striking features 
in the vast landsca[)e. The mild temi)erature prevalent through- 
out the country is attributed by some to the succession of 
winds from the Pacific Ocean, extending from latitude twenty 
degrees to at least fifty degrees north. These temper t!ie heat 
of summer, so that in the shade no one is incommoded by per- 
spiration ; they also soften the rigors of winter, and produce 
such a moderation in the climate, that the inhabitants can 
wear the same dress throughout the year. 

The soil in the neighborhood of the sea-coast is of a brown 
color, inclining to red, and generally poor ; being a mixture of 
clay and gravel. In the interior, and espoeially in the vall<>\.s 
of the Rocky Mountains, the soil is generally; though 

I; f 


n, y 



I*, t " 

'. )i 

ftoniotimos yellow. It is fmiiioiitly mixed with marl, and with 
marine .snlistaiices in a state of deeomposiLion. 'I'lii.s luiui of 
soil extends to a eonsi(lfral)le deptii, as may he peiveived in 
the deep cuts made hy ravines, and hy the heds of rivers. Tlic 
vegetation in tliese valleys is nineh moie ahnndant tlian iicui 
the coast; in fact, it is in these fertile intervals, locked up In.. 
twcen rocky sierras, or scooped out fiom harren wastes, tliul 
population must extend itself, as it wi're, in veins and rainiliuu- 
tions, if ever the regions beyond the mountains should become 

if' ,1 



A BRIEF mention has already been made of the trihps or 
hordes existing about the lower part of the Columbi;i at the 
time of the settlement ; a few more i)articnlars conceniiiiii; 
them may be acceptable. Tlie four tril)es nearest to Astoria, 
and with whom the traders had most intercourse, were, as lias 
heretofore been observed, the Chinooks, tin; C'latsoi)s, the 
Wahkni.cums, and the Cathlamets. The Chinooks residwi 
chiefly along the banks of a river of the same name, runiiiiiif 
parallel to the sea-coast, through a low country studded with 
stagnant pools, and emptying itself into liaker's Hay, a low 
miles from Cape Disai)pointmeiit. This was the tribe ovor 
which Comcomly, the one-eyed . Iiieftaiu, held sway ; it boasted 
two hundred and fourteen liuhting men. Their chief subsist- 
ence was on fish, with an occasional regale of the flesh of elk 
and deer, and of wild-fowl from the neighboring ponds. 

The Clatsops resid(Ml on both sides of Toint Adams ; they 
were the mere relic:-, of a trilx; which had been nearly' swept 
off by the small pox, and did not numl)er more than cue 
hundred and eivlay lighting men. 

The Walil -acums or Waak-i-cums, inhabited the north side 
of the Ccjbiiubia, and nund)ered sixty-six warriors. They and 
the Chinooks were originally the same ; but a dis[)ute arising 
about two generations i)revious to the time of the settlement 
between the luling chief and his brother Wahkiaeuiii, the 
latter seceded, and with his adherents formed tiie picsent 
horde which continues to go by his name. In this way new 
tribes k>r ciiino are formed, and lurking causes of liosljlitv 

The Cathlamets lived oppt)site to the lower village of tlie 
VVtthkiucums, and numbered ninety-four warriors. 



Thcsi: four tribes, or nitlicr cI'mis, liave (very appearance 
of spriii'^iiif? from the sjune nri<i;..i, iciseinhling eiieli otlicr in 
peisou, dress, language, and uiainiers. They arc rutijer a 
diminutive race, generally below live feet live inches, with 
crooked legs and thick ankles ; a deformity cjiused by tlieir 
passing so much of their time sitting or scpiatting upon the 
calve8''of their legs, and their heels, in the bottom of their 
"Sioes; a favorite position, which t! ^y retain, even when on 
^hore. The women incrense the deformity by wearing tight 
bandages around the ankles, which prevent the circulation of 
the blood, and cause a swelling of the muscles of the leg. 

Neitiior sex can boast of personal beauty. Their faces arc 
round, with small, but animated eyes. Their noses are broad 
and flat at top, and fleshy at the end, with large nostrils. 
They have wide mouths, thick lips, and short, irregular and 
dirty teeth. ludeetl, good teeth are seldom to be seen among 
the trihes west of the Kocky JNIountains, who live chiefly on 


In the early stages of their intercourse with white men, 
these savages were but scantily clad. In summer time the 
men went entirely naked ; in the winter and in bad weatlier, 
the men wore a small rohc, reaching to the middle of the thigh, 
made of the skins of animals, or of the wool of the mountain 
sheep. Occasionally, they wore a kind of mantle of matting, 
to keep off the rain; but having thus protected the back and 
shoulders, they left the rest of the body naked. 

The women wore similar robes, though shorter, not reaching 
below the waist ; beside which they had a kind of petticoat, or 
fringe, reaching from the waist to the knee, formed of the 
fibres of cedar bark, broken into strands, or a tissue of silk 
grass twisted and knotted at the ends. This was the usual 
dr"8sof the women in summer ; shouUl the weather be inclement, 
they added a vest of skins, similar to the robe. 

The men carefully eradicated every vestige of a beard, con- 
sidering it a great deformity. They looked with disgust at tlie 
whiskers and well-furnished chins of the white men, and in 
derision called them Long-beards. Both sexes, on the other 
hand, cherished the hair of the head, which with them is gen- 
erally black and rather coarse. They allowed it to grow to a 
great length, and were very proud and curi'fui of it, sometimes 
wearing it |)laited, sometimes wound round the head in laiHJful 
tresses. No greater alTroiil could be olTcred to them than to cut 
off their treasured locks. 

Tiiey had conical ha^s with narrow rims, neatly woven of 




■ IS 





yl .STORM. 


l« Th 

u' '(' 

IP. l! 

bcui-grjiss or of tlio fibres of codar bark, Intorwovon with (l^ 
signs of various Hliapcs and folors ; sometiini'H incicly s(niari'8 
iiiid triaii«j;lt's, at other tiuu's nidc representations of eaiioes 
with men lisliing and harpooning. Those hats were iicarlv 
waterproof, and extremely durable. 

The favorite ornaments of the men were coUars of hoars' 
claws, the proud trophies of hunting exploits ; while tlie women 
and ehildren wore similar decorations of elks' tusks. An iiiWr. 
course with the white traders, however, soon effected n chaiKre 
in the toilets of botli sexes. Tliey became fond of arniying 
them.3elves in any article of civilized dress whicii llicy mild 
procure, and often made a most grotesipie appearance. Tluy 
adapted many articles of finery, also, to their own previous 
tastes. Both sexes were fond of adorning themselves with 
bracelets of iron, brass or copper. Tlicy were delighti'd, also, 
with blue and white beads, particularly the former, and wore 
broad tight bands of them round the waist and ankles; large 
rolls of them round the neck, and pendants of them in tlie ears. 
The men, especially, who, in savage life carry a passion for 
personal decoration farther than the females, did not think their 
gala equipments complete, unless they had a jewel of liaiqua, 
or wampum, dangling at the nose. Thus arrayed, their hair 
besmeared with lish oil, and their bodies bedaubed with red 
clay, they considered themselves irresistible. 

When on warlike expeditions, they i)aiuted their faces and 
bodies in the most hideous and grotes(iue manner, according 
to the universal practice of American savages. Their arms 
were bows and arrows, spears, and war-clubs. Some wore a 
corslet formed of i)ieces of hard wood, laced together with 
bear-grass, so as to form a light coat of mail, pliant to the 
body ; and a kind of casque of cedar bark, leather, and hoar- 
grass, sufficient to protect the head from an arroiv or war-cliib. 
A more complete article of defensive armor was a Iiuff jerkin 
or shirt of great thickness, made of doublings of elk skin, and 
reaching to the feet, holes being left for the head and arms. 
This was perfectly arrow proof; add to which, it was ofteiv 
endowed with charmed virtues, by the spells and mystic 
ceremonials of the medicine man, or c( njurer. 

Of the peculiar custom prevalent imong these i)eople of 
flattening the head, we havti already spoken. It is oiio of 
those instances of human caprice, lik(! the crippling of (he IVct 
of females in China, which are (juite incomprehensible. This 
custom jjrevails principally among tlii^ triljcs on the seacoasl, 
and about the lower parts of the rivers. How far it exteuila 



nioiic tlit^ (HMiat we arc not nMc to asi'crtiiin. Soni(» of 
tiilics. Iiolli iinilli iiiid hoiilli of (he ('oliiinl»i:i, practise it; 

tiilics. Iiolli iioi'iii :iii(i NoiiiM oi uic I oMiiiirti.-i, praciisc n ; hill 
llicV all >iit;iU llic Ciiiiiook l:m^ii!i<i'', iiml proltjihly ori^iiiMtcil 
fioiii 111'' »»'"<' stock. Ah far as wv. can learn, tljc n-niotcr 
liiln's, wliicli speak an <'ntirely dilTercnt Ianjj;na<j;e, do not tlat- 
(,.ii ilic head. 'I'liis al>Hurd citsloin declines, also, in rccedinjU 
fiiiia llif shores of the l'a(!iric ; few traces of it arc to be found 
iiiioiii: the tribes of the liocky Mountains, and after orossing 
;|i(' iiioiiiitains it disappears ulto«j;etlier. Those Indians, there- 
foic. iiliDut the head waters of the Colunihia. and in the solitary 
nioiiiitiiin icjfions, who are often callecl I'Mat heads, must not l»o 
sii|)|i()s('(l to lie characteiized l»y this deformity. It is an ap- 
iR'Hiitidii often <fiven liy the hunters cast of the mountain ("huiu, 
to all lilt! western Indians, cxccptinjj; the Snakes. 

Tlio rt'li<rious lielief of these people was extremely litnitcd 
ami eoiillued ; or rather, in all pr>)l)al)ility, their explanations 
were hut little understood l)y their visitors. They had an idea 
of a hi'iii'volcnt and omnipotent spirit, the creatoi' of all things. 
Till'}' rt pri'sent him as assinning various shapes at pleasure, hut 
neutrally that of an immense bird. He usually inhabits the 
sun, hut oc<'asionally winj.^s his way through the acritd I'cgions, 
;ni(l sees all that is doing upon earth. Should anything dis- 
lilciisc liiin he vents his wrath in ti-rrilic storms and tempests, 
the ligliUiing being the Hashes of his eye. and the thunder the 
(•l;i|)l>iiii of his wings. To jtiopitiati' his favor they otTi'r to hiin 
annua, sac ifices of salmon and venison, the llrst-fruits of their 
fisiiin^' and hunting. 

Hchide this aerial sjiirit thoy believo in an inferior one, who 
iiiliaMls the fire, and of whom they are in perpetual dread, as, 
tlidiiiili he |)ossesses (Mpially the power of good tuid evil, the 
evil is apt to predominate. They endeavor, therefore, to keep 
hiui in good hiunor by frequent olferings. He is supposed also 
to iiave great intluence with the winged spirit, their sovereign 
protector and benefactor. They implore him, tiierefore, to act 
as tlicir interpreter, and prociire them all desirable things, such 
as success in fishing and hunting, abundance of game, fleet 
horses, obedient wives, and male children. 

These Indians have likewise their priests, or conjurere, or 
modiciiie men, who i)reiend to be in the confidence of the dei- 
ties, and the cxpoimders and enforcers of tbeir will. Each of 
these medicine men has his idols carved in wood, representing 
the spi'its of the air and of the lire, under some rude and gro- 
tes{iue form of a horse, a bear, a beaver, or othei' (]uadrujied, 
or that of bird or lish. Theae idols ure hung round with umii- 


'. r, 

It . I 







lets nn\ \*>[\\v. oflVriiigs, such as leavers' teelli, and bears 
oajjlcs' '.'laws. 

When :iny clmt personngc is on his death-bed, or dangerously 
ill, the niedunic men are sent for. Each brings with him his 
idols, with which he retires into a canoe to hold a consultation. 
As doetois aie prone to disagree, so these medicine men havg 
now and then a violent altercation as to the malady of the 
patient, or the treatment of it. To settle this they heal their 
idols sonndly against each other ; whichever first loses a tooth 
or a claw is considered as confuted, and his votary retires from 
the field. 

Polygamy is not only allowed, but considered honorable, and 
the gi'eater number of wives a man can maintain, the more 
important is he in t!ie eyes of the tribe. The first wife, how- 
ever, takes rank of all the others, and is considered mistress 
of the house. Still the domestic establishment is liable to 
jealousies and cabals, and the lord and mastei- has nnieh diffi- 
culty in maintaining harmony in his jangling household. 

In the manuseri[)t from which we draw many of these partic- 
ulars, it is stated tiiat he who exceeds his neighbors in the 
number of his wives, male children and slaves, is elected chief 
of the village ; a title to ofllce which we do not recollect ever 
before to have met with. 

Feuds are frequent among these tribes, but are not very 
deadly. They have occasionally pitched battles, fought on 
appoiiited days, and at specified places, which are geuerally 
the banks of a rivulet. The adverse parties post themselves 
on tlie opposite sides of the stri'am, and at such distances that 
the battle often lasts a long while before any blood is shed. 
The nmnber of killed and wounded seldom exceed half a dozen. 
Should the damage be equal on each side, the war is considered 
IS honorably concluded ; shoidd one party lose more than the 
other, it is entitled to a compensation in slaves or other prop- 
erty, otherwise hostilities are liable to be renewed at a future 
day. They are nnich given also to predatory inroads into the 
territories of their enemies, and sometimes of their friendly 
neighliors. .Should they fall upon a band of inferior force, or 
up'>n a village, weakly defended, they act with the ferocity of 
true poltroons, slaying all the men. and carrying off the women 
and children as slaves. As to the property, it is packed uiiou 
horses which they bring with them for the piu'pose. They are 
mean and paltry as w:irriors. and altogether inferior in luroic 
qualities to the savages of the bulTalo plains on the east sida 
of the mountains. 



A eront portion of their time is passed in revelry, music, 
daiu'iii"'. :iii(l «2;!iml>lin<i;. Tlioir music scarcely deserves tlio 
ii,,„j(, ;'"(|i(' iiistiiiiucnts being of llic rudest kiud. Tlieir siiig- 
iilo is Imrsli nnd discordant; llic songs arc cliictty extempore, 

.jj^ljiiir to passing cii'cuinstances, the persons present, or any 
ti'itiiii"" object that strikes tlie attention of tlie singer. They 
bave several kinds of dances, some of tliem lively and i)leas- 
iiiir. The women are rarely permitted to dance with tlie men, 
hilt form groups apart, dancing to tlie same instrument and song. 

Tlioy li:iv(! a great jjassion for play, and a variety of games. 
To siK'li a pitch of excitement are they sometimes roused, that 
thoy i!,:iinl>le away every tiling they possess, even to their wives 
and cliiUheii. They are notorious thieves, also, and proud of 
their dexterity. He who is frequently successful, gains much 
applause and popularity ; but the clumsy thief, who is detected 
ill some bungling attempt, is scoffed at and despised, and 
sometimes severely punished. 

Such are a few leading characteristics of the natives in the 
lu'iiihborliood of Astoria. They appear to us inferior in many 
respects to the tribes east of the mountains, the bold rovers of 
the prairies ; and to partake much of the Esquimaux character ; 
derated in some degree by a more genial climate, and more 
varied style of living. 

The habits of traffic engendered at the cataracts of the 
Coliiinbia, have had their influence along the coast. The Chi- 
uooks and other Indians at the mouth of the river, soon proved 
themselves keen traders, and in their early dealings with the 
Astoriaus, never hesitated to ask three times what they con- 
sidered the real value of an aitide. They were inquisitive, 
also, in the extreme, and impertinently intrusive ; and were 
prone to indulge in scotling and ridicule, at the expense of the 

In one tiling, however, they showed superior judgment and 
9<'lf-comiiiaiid to most of their race ; this was, in their ab- 
stinence! from ardent spirits, and the abhorrence and disgust 
witli which tlu!y regarded a drunkard. On one occasion, a 
soil of CouKiomly had been induced to drink freely at the fac- 
tory, and went home in a state of intoxication, playing all 
kiiuls of mad pranks, until he sank into a stupor, in which he 
iviiiained for two days. The old chieftain repaired to his friend 
M'Doiitjal. with indignation flaming in his countenance, and 
Mtttrly reproached him for having permitted his son to degrade 
himst'lf into a l)east, and to render himself an object of seor'j 
aiul laughter to bis slave. 



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As the spring opened, the little settlement of Astoria was in 
agitation, and prepared to send forth various expeditions. 
Several important things were to be done. It vas uecessarv 
to send a supply of goods to the trading post of Mr. David 
Stuart, establishod in the preceding autumn on the Oakiuagan. 
Tlie t'ac7ie, or secret deposit, made by Mr. Hunt at tlio Caldrou 
Linn, was likewise to be visited, and the merchandise and 
other effects left there, to be brought to Astoria. A third 
object of moment was to send despatches overland to Mr. Astor 
at New York, informing him of the state of affairs at the settle- 
ment, and the fortunes of the several expeditions. 

The task of cariying supplies to Oakinagau was assigned to 
Mr. Robert Stuart, a spirited and enterprising young man, 
nephew to the one who had established the post. The cade 
was to be sought out by two of the clerks, named Russell 
Faruhara and Donald M'Gilles, conducted by a guide, and 
accompanied by eight men, to assist in bringing homo the 

As to the despatches, they were confided to Mr. John Reed, 
the clerk, the same who had conducted one oi the exploring 
detachments of Snake River. He was now to trace back his 
way across the mountains by the same route by which he had 
come, with no oth .T companions or escort than Ben Jones, the 
Kentucky hunter, and two Canadians. As it was still iioped 
that Mr. Crooks might be in existence, and that Mr. Reed and 
his party might meet with him in the course of their route, 
they were charged with a small supply of goods and provisions, 
to aid that gentleman on his way to Astoria. 

When the expedition of Reed was made known, Mr. M'Lellan 
announced his determination to accompany it. He had long 
been dissatisfied with the smallness of his interest in the co- 
partnership, and had requested an additional number of shar<^s; 
ins request not being complied with, he resolved to abandon 
the country. IM'Lellan was a man of singularly self-willed 
and decided character, witii whom persuasion was useless; he 
was permitted, therefore, to take his own course without o[)ix>' 

As to Reed, he set about preparing for his hazardous journey 
with the zeal of a true IrisluDnii. He had a tin ease Liacle, in 
which the letters and papeis addressed to Mr. Astur were cart- 




fully soldered up. This case he intended to strap upon his 
shoulders, so as to bear it about with him, sleeping and wak- 
ing, in all changes and chances, by land or by water, and never 
to part with it but with his life ! 

As the route of these several parties would be the same for 
nearly four hundred miles up the Columbia, and within that 
distance would lie through the piratical pass of the rapids, and 
among the freebooting tribes of the river, it was thought ad- 
visable to start about the same time, and to keep together. 
Accordingly, on the 22d of March they all set off, to the num- 
ber of seventeen men, in two canoes — and here we cannot but 
pause to notice the hardihood of these several expeditious, so 
insignificant in point of force, and severally destined to trav- 
erse immense wildernesses, where larger parties had expe- 
rienced so much danger and distress. When recruits were 
sor.o'ht in the preceding year among experienced hunters and 
voyageurs at Montreal and St. Louis, it was considered dan- 
gerous to attempt to cross the Rocky Mountains with less than 
sixty men ; and yet here we find Reed ready to push his way 
across those barriers with merely three companions. Such is 
the fearlessness, the insensibility to danger, which men acquire 
by the habitude of constant risk. The mind, like the lody, 
becomes callous by ex^wsure. 

The little associated band proceeded up the river, under the 
oommaud of Mr. Robert Stuart, and arrived early in the month 
of April at the Long Narrows, that notorious plundoiing 
place. Here it was necessary to unload the canoes, and to 
transport both them and their cargoes to the head of the Nar- 
rows by land. Their party was too few in number for the pur- 
pose. They were obliged, therefore, to seek the assistance of 
the Cathlasco Indians, who undertook to carry the goods on 
tlieir horses. Forward then they set, the Indians with their 
horses well freighted, and the first load convoyed by Reed and 
five men, well armed ; the gallant Irishman striding along at 
the head, with his tin case of despatches glittering on his back. 
In passing, however, through a rocky and intricate detlle, some 
of the freebooting vagrants turned their horses u^) a narrow 
path and galloped off, carr3'ing with them two l)ales of goods 
tnd a number of sn)*.Ul articles. To follow them was useless ; 
imleed, it was with much ado that the convoy got into port 
with the residue of the cargoes ; for some of the guards were 
pillaged of their knives and pocket handkerchiefs, and the 
lustrous tin case ol Mr. John Reed was in imminent jeo[)ardy. 

Mr. Stuart heard of these depredations, and hastened for 






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ward to the relief of the convoy, but could not reach thetr. 
before dusk, by which time they had arrived at the village of 
Wish-ram, already noted for its great fishery, and the kiuivisli 
propensities of its inhabitants. Here they found tliumselvos 
benighted in a strange place, and surrounded by savages hent 
on pilfering, if not upon open robbery. Not knowing what 
active course to take, they remained under arms all nicht 
without closing an eye, and at the very first pee}) ui" dawn, 
Avhen objects were yet scarce visible, every thing was hasiily 
embarked, and, without seeking to recover the stolen cffeots, 
they pushed off from shore ; " glad to bid adieu," as ihey said! 
" to this abominable nest of miscreants." 

The worthies of Wish-ram, however, were not disposed to 
part so easily with their visitors. Their cupidity had bouii 
quickened by the plunder which they had already taken, and 
their confidence increased by the impunity with which tlioir 
outrage had passed. They resolved, therefore, to take fiuthir 
toll of the travellers, and, if possible, to capture the tin ease of 
despatches ; which shining conspicuously from afar, and beiiif 
guarded by John Reed with such especial care, must, as tliuy 
8upix)sed, be "a great medicine." 

Accordingly, Mr. .Stuart and his comrades had not proceeded 
far in the canoes, when they beheld the whole rabble of Wish- 
ram stringing in groups along the bank, whooping and yelling, 
and gibbering in their wild jargon, and when they landed 
below the falls they were surroumled by upward of four hun- 
dred of these river rulllans, armed with bows and arrows, war- 
clubs, and other savage weapons. These now pressed forward, 
with offers to carry the canoes and effects up the portage. Mr, 
Stuart declined forwarding the goods, alleging the lateness of 
ihe hour ; but, to keep them in good humor, informed tlieni, 
that, if they conducted themselves well, their offered services 
might probably be accepted in tne morning ; in the mean while 
he suggested that they might cany up the canoes. They ac- 
cordingly set off with the two canoes on their shoulders, accom- 
panied b}' a guard of eight men well armed. 

When arrived at the head of the falls, the mischievous spirit 
of the savages broke out, and they were on the point (;f de- 
stroying the canoes, doubtless with a view to impede the white 
men from carrying forward their goods, and laying tlicni open 
to further pilfering. They were with some dilliculty pri'\ciiled 
from connnitting this outrage by the interfeii-nee of an old 
man, who appeared to '!;.,' authority among them ; and, in 
consequence of his harangue, the whole of the hostile baud, 




with the exception of abotit fifty, crossed to the north side of 
the river, where the)' lay in wait, ready for further mischief. 

In the mean time, Mr. Stuart, who had remained at the foot 
of the falls with the goods, and who knew tliat the proffered 
assistance of the savages was only for tlie purpose of having 
an opportunity to plunder determined, if possible, to steal a 
marcli upon them, and defeat their machinations. In the dead 
of the I'Sht, therefore, about one o'clock, the moon shining 
bri<^htly, he roused his party, and proposed that they shouUl 
endeavor to transport the goods themselves above the falls, 
before the sleeping savages could be aware of their operations. 
All hands sprang to the work with zeal, and hurried it on in 
the hope of getting all over before daylight. Mr. Stuart went 
forward with the lirst loads, and took his station at the head 
of the portage, while Mr. Reed and Mr. M'Lellan remained at 
the foot to forward the remainder. 

The day dawned before the transportation was completed. 
Some of the fifty Indians who had remained on the south side 
of the river, perceived what was going on, and, feeling them- 
selves too weak for an attack, gave the alarm to those on the 
opposite side, upward of a hundred of whom embarked in 
several large canoes. Two loads of goods yet remained to be 
brought up. Mr. Stuart despatched some of the people for one 
of the loads, with a request to Mr. Reed to retain with him as 
many men as he thought necessary to guard the remaining 
load, as he suspected hostile intentions on the part of the In- 
dians. Mr. Reed, however, refused to retain any of them, say- 
ing that M'Lellan and himself were suflicient to protect the 
small quantity that remained. The men accordingly departed 
with the load, while Reed and M'Lellan continued to mount 
guard over the residue. B}' this time, a number of the canoes 
had arrived from the opposite side. As they approached the 
shore, the unlucky tin box of John Reed, shining afar like the 
brilliant helmet of Euryalus, caught their eyes. No sooner did 
tlie canoes touch the shore, than they leaped forward on tlie 
rocks, set up a war-whoop, and sprang forward to secure the 
glittering prize. Mr. M'Lellan, who was at the river bank, ad- 
vanced to guard the goods, when one of the savages attempted 
to hoodwink him with his buffalo robe with one hand, and to 
stab him with the other. M'Lellan sprang back just far enough 
to avoid the blow, and raising his rilie, shot the rutiiau through 
the heart. 

In the mean time, Reed, who with the want of forethought 

of an Irishman, 'lad 

neglected to 


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remove the leatheru cover 

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froin the lock of his riflo, was fumbling at the fastenings, whc 
he received ji hlow on tht; head with a wtir-elub that laid him 
senseless on the gi'ound. In a twinkling he was stripped of his 
rille and pistols, and the tin box, the cause of all this ouslau"ht 
was borne off in triiitnpli. 

At this critical juncture, Mr. Stuart, who had heard tlio 
war-whoop, hastened to the scene of actiou with Ben Jones. 
and seven others of the men. When he arrived, Hood was 
weltering in his blood, and au Indian standing over him uiul 
about to despatch him with a tomahawk. Stuart gave the 
word, when Ben Joaes levelled his ritlo, and shot tiio mis- 
creant on the s})ot. The men theti gave a cheer and cliarwod 
upon the main i)ody of the savages, who took to instaul flio-ht, 
Reed was now raised from the ground, and borne senseless 
and bleeding to the upper end of the portage. l'rei)aratious 
were made to launch the canoes and embaik all in haste, when 
it was found that they were too leaky to be put in tlio water, 
and that the oars had been left at the foot of the falls. A 
scene of confusion now ensued. The Indians were wlioopina 
and yelling, and running about like fiends. A panic seized 
upon the men, at being thus suddenly checked, the hearts of 
some of the Canadians died within them, and two young men 
actually fainted away. The moment they recovered their 
senses Mr. Stur.rt ordered that they should be deprived of 
their arms, their under-garraents taken off, and that a [liece 
of cloth should be tied round their waists, in imitation of a 
squaw; an Indian punishment for cowardice. Thus equipiied, 
they were stov^cd away among the goods in one of the canoes. 
This ludicrous affair excited the mirth of the bolder spirits, 
even in the midst of their perils, and roused the pride of the 
wavering. The Indians having crossed buck again to the 
north side, order was restoied, some of the hands were sent 
back for the oars, others set to work to calk and launch the 
canoes, and in a little while all were embarked and were con- 
tinuing their voyage along the southern shore. 

No sooner had they departed, than the Indians returned to 
the scene of action, bore off their two connadcs, who had been 
shot, one of whom was still living, and returned to their vil- 
lage. Here they killed two horses; and drank the hot blood 
to give lierceness to tlii'ir courage. They painted and arraved 
thenis(,'lves hideously foi' hatth; ; p'orfornu-d the dead daiiee 
lound the slain, and raised the war .song of vengeance. Tiieii 
mounting their horses, to the number of four hundred and 
fifty men, and brandishing their weapons, they set off aloiijj 



<li nortliorn bank of the rivor, to got ahead of the canoes, lie 
\n wait for Uieni, and take a terrible revenge on tlic white nuni, 

Tliey siK'ceeded in getting some distance above the can(jes 
without being discovered, and were crossing the river to post 
themselves on the side along which the white men were eoast- 
iiijT, wlw'ii they were fortunatel}' descried. Mr. Stuart and his 
PQijipiiiiions were immediately on the alert. As they drew 
noar to the place where the savages had crossed, they obscrvei^i 
tliein lasted among steep and overhanging rocks, close along 
wliicii the canoes would have to pass. Finding that the enemy 
liad the advantage of the ground, the whites stop[)ed short 
when within five hundred yards of them, and discharged and 
reloaded their pieces. They then made a fire and dressed tho 
wounds of Mr. Heed, who \\ih\ received five severe gashes in 
the head. This being done, they lashed the canoes togetlier, 
fiustenevl them to a rock at a small distance from the shore, 
and tliero awaited the menaced attack. 

They not been long posted in this manner, when they 
saw a canoe approaching. It contained a war-chief of the 
tril)e and three of nis principal warriors. lie drew near and 
made a long harangue, in which he informed them that they 
had killed one and wounded another of his nation ; that the 
relations of the slain cried out for vengeance, and he had 
been comiK'Hed to lead them to fight. .Still he wished to 
spare unnecessary bloodshed ; he proposed, therefore, that Mr. 
Heed, who, he observed, was little better than a dead man, 
might be given up to be sacrificed to the manes of the deceased 
warrior. This would appease the fury of his friends ; the 
lialchet would then be buried, and all thenceforward would be 
friends. The answer was a stern refusal and a defiance, and 
the war-chief saw that the canoes were well prei)ared for a 
vigorous defence. He withdrew, therefore, and returning to 
liis warriors among the rocks held long deliberations. Blood 
forblof)d is a principle in Indian equity and Indian honor; but 
though the inhabitants of Wish-ram were men of war, they 
were likewise men of traffic, and it was suggested that honor 
for once might give way to profit. A negotiation was accord- 
ingly opened with the white men, and after some dii)lomacy the 
matter was compromised for a blanket to cover the deacl, and 
some tobacco to be smoked by the living. This being granted, 
the heroes of Wish-ram crossed the river once more, returned 
to their village to feast upon the horsi's whose lilood they had 
»o vail gloriously drunk, and the travellers pursued their voy 
nue witliuuL furl her molestation. 

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The tin case, however, containiug the itniwrtant <l(s|»u(ii,,, 
for New York, was irretrievably lost; the very |)iv(;uiii„ii 
taken by the worthy Hibernian to secure his missives, Imd, l,v 
rendering tliein conspicuous, produced their robbery. The oh. 
ject of his overland journey, therefore, being defeated, he gave 
up the expedition. The whole i)arty repaired with Mr. Robert 
Stuart to the establislunent of Mr. David Stuart, on the Oaki- 
nagan River. After remaining here two or three days they all 
set out on their return to Astoria, accompanied by Mr. David 
Stuart. This gentleman hat! a large quantity of beaver skins 
at his establishment, but did not think it prudent to take them 
with him, fearing the levy of " black mail " at tiie fulls. 

On their way down, when below the forks of the Columbia 
they were hailed one day from the shore in Knglisli. Looking 
around, they descried two wretched men, entirely luikciL 
They pulled to shore ; the men came up and made tiicin.selvos 
known. They i)roved to be Mr. Crooks and his faithful fol. 
lower, John Day. 

The reader will recollect that Mr. Crooks, with Day and four 
Canadians, had been so reduced by famine and fatijfue, that 
Mr. Hunt was obliged to leave them, in the niontii of Decern. 
ber, on the banks of the Snake River. Their situation was the 
more critical, as they were in the neighborhood of a band of 
Shoshonies, whose horses had been forcibly seized by Mr. 
Hunt's party for provisions. Mr. Crooks rcmainetl licre 
twenty days, detained by the extremely reduced state of John 
Day, who was utterly unable to travel, and whom ho would 
not abandon, as Day had been in his employ on the jMissouri, 
and had always proved himself most faithful. Fortunately 
the Shoshonies did not offer to molest them. They had never 
before seen white men, and seemed to entertain some supei'sti- 
tions with regard to them, for, though they would eneanip near 
them ill the day time, they would move off with their tents in 
the night ; and finally disappeared, without taking leave. 

When Day was sufficiently recovered to travel, they kept 
feebly on, sustaining themselves as well as they could, until in 
the month of February, when three of the Canadians, fearful 
of perishing with want, left Mr. Crooks on a small river, on the 
road by which Mr. Hunt had passed in quest of Indians. Mr. 
Crooks followed Mr. Hunt's track in the snow for seveial days, 
sleeping as usual in the o\wi\ air, and sulTering all kinds of 
hardsiiips. At length, coming to a low prairie, he lost every 
a()pearance of the " trail," and wandered during tlie rcniuiuiler 
»f the winter in the mountains, subsisting sometimes on horse' 



meat, somet'mcs on beavers and their skins, and a part of the 
time on roots. 

About tlio Ifist of March, the other Canadian gave out, and 
ffas loft with a lodge of Shoshonies ; but Mr. Crooks and John 
Dav still kept on, and finding the snow suflieif ly diminished, 
undertook, from Indian information, to eross th- ast motn»- 
tain nVlge. They happily sueeeeded, and aft 'wn' ell in with 
tlio Waliali-W:illahs, a tribe of Indians inhi !ii> \g I'lc l)anks of 
a liver of tlie same name, and rei)uted as "-^lig frank, hospita- 
iijo, and siiieere. They proved worthy of ti character, for 
they received the poor wanderers kindl' killed a horse for 
tliein to eat, and directed them on their " ') the Columbia. 
They struck th(> river about the middle of April, and advanced 
down it one hundred miles, until they came within al)out twenty 
miles of the falls. 

Here they met with some of the "chivalry" of that noted 
pass, who received them in a friendly way, and set food before 
them : hut, while they were satisfying their hunger, perfidiously 
seized their rifles. They then stripped them naked, and drove 
them off, refusing the entreaties of Mr. Crooks for a flint and 
steel of which they had robbed him ; and threatening his life if 
he did not instantly depart. 

In this forlorn i)liglit, still worse off than before, thej' re- 
newed their wanderings. They now sought to find their way 
back to the hospitable Wallah- Wallahs, and had advanced 
ei;iht}' miles along the river, when fortunately, on the very 
rooming that they were going to leave the Columbia, and strike 
inland, the canoes of Mr. Stuart hove in sight. 

It is needless to describe the joy of these poor men at once 
more linding themselves among countrymen and friends, or of 
the honest and hearty welcome with which they were received 
by their fellow adventurers. The whole party now continued 
down the river, i)assed all the dangerous places wMthout inter- 
ruption, and arrived safely at Astoria on the 11th of May, 


Having traced the fortunes of the two expeditions by sea 
and land to the mouth of the C'olum1)ia, and presented a view 
of atTuirs :it Astoria, we will return for a moment to the nuister- 
spirit of the enterprise who regulated the springs of Astoria, at 
his residence in New York. 

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It will bo rcmembprod that a part of tho plan of Mr. Astor 
Was to fiirnisli tlio Russian fur ostahlislinu'iit on the north-west 
coast witii ro<j;nIar snpplios, so as to rtMulcM- it independent ^f 
tbosp casual vessels which cut up tiie trade and supplied the 
natives with arms. This plan inul been countenanced by ,„|j 
own <i;overnment, and likewise by Count I'ahleni, the Russian 
Minister at Washington. As its views, however, were impor. 
tant and extensive, and might eventually affect a wide coursi 
of commerce, Mr. Astor was desirous of establisiiing a eoiuplete 
arrangement on the subject with the Russian Anierieun Fiir 
Company, under the sanction of the Russian (Jovenmiont, 
For this purpose, in INIarch, IHU, he despatched a coiilidciitial 
agent to St. Petcrsburgh, fully cnn)owercd to enter into tiie 
requisite negotiations. A passage was given to this gentleman 
by the government of the l'nite(l States, in the John Adams, 
one of its armed vessels, bound to a European port. 

The next step of Mr. Astor was, to despatch the annual ship 
contemplated in his general plan. He had as yet heanl iiothini' 
of the success of the previous expeditions, and had to jirocood 
upon the presumi)tion that every thing had been elTectcd ac- 
cording to his instructions. He accordingly fitted out a fine 
ship of four hundred and ninety t<ms, called the Heaver, ami 
freighted her with a valuable cargo, destined for the fsictory, 
at the mouth of the Columbia, the trade along the coast, and 
the supply of the Russian establishment. In this ship em- 
barked a re-enforcement, consisting of a partner, live clerks, 
fifteen American laborers, and six Canadian voyageurs. In 
choosing his agents for his first expedition, Mr. Astor had been 
obliged to have recourse to British subjects experienced in the 
Canadian fur trade; henceforth it was his intention, as miich 
as possible, to select Americans, so as to secure an ascendency 
of American influence in the management of the company, and 
to make it decidedly national. 

Accordingly, Mr. John Clarke, the partner, who t(j()k the 
lead in the present expedition, was a native of the United 
States, though he had passed much of his life in the north-west. 
having been employed in the fur trade since the age of sixteen. 
Most of the clerks were young gentlemen of good connections in 
the American cities, some of whom embarked in the hope of gain, 
others tlu'ough the mere spirit of adventure incident to youth. 

The instructions given by Mr. Astor to Captain Sowie, the 
commander of the Heaver, were, in some respects, hyi)otiielioal, 
in consequence of th uncertainty resting upon the previous 
steps of the enterprise. 



lie waH fo loiirli fit the SMiidwicli IsIsiikIm, inquire mIioiiI tli" 
f iliiiii'S of •''*' r<>ii<|"i"i ii'"' an ('stal)li ■.linicnt Irid 
I .lU foriiit'd ai llif month of (he; (Johuiihia If «o, liu was to 
like M iiianv Snndwic'i IsUukUts uh his ship w<mhl acoonnno- 
(liitc, aiitl pi'ot't'^''' thither. On ariivin;j; at the rivcM-, he wan to 
observe j^ivat eautioii, for even if an estahlislinient BhouM have 
ln,i.ii formetl, it nii;j;iit have fallen into hostile har.Js. lie was. 
llu'reforoi to put in as if by casualty or distrcs-^, to <iivr hini- 
jclf (Hit as a eoaslinti; trader, and to say nothinj^ about hi < ship 
ln.iii(j owned !•}' Mr. Astor, until he had ascertained that eveiy 
thiii'MViiS li.^lit. In that case, Ik; was to land such part of his 
cai'fo !id was iiitrnded for the eslablishnient, and to pioeerd to 
XtiW Archangel with the supplies intended for the Russian post 
at that place, where he could ieceive peltries in payment. 
Witli these he w:is to return to Astoria; take in the furs col- 
lected there, and, h;iviiig completed his carj^o by tradin<>; along 
the const, was to proceed to Canton. The captain received the 
same iiijuiietions that had been given to Captain 'i'hoin of the 
Toriiqiiiii. of great caution and eircums[iection iii his intercourse 
with tlie natives, and that he should not permit more than one 
or two to he on board at a time. 

Tlie 1 leaver sailed from New York on the 10th of October, 
1811, and readied the Sandwich Islands witiiout any v^ccur- 
reiice of mouient. Here a rumor was heard of the disastrous 
fate of tlie Tonquiii. Deep solicitude was felt by every one on 
board for tli'' fate of both expeditions, by sea and laud. Doubts 
ffere entertained whether any establishment had Ik'cm formed 
at the mouth of the Colunil):a, or whether any of the company 
would he found there. After much deliberation, the captain 
took twelve Sandwich Islanders on board, for the sen'ice of 
the factory, should there be one in existence, and proceeded 
oil his voyage. 

On t!io (!th of May he arrived off the mouth of the Columbia, 
and niiiniiig as near as possible, fired two signal-guns. No 
answer was returned, nor was there any signal to be descried. 
Xiudit eoiiiiiig on, the sliip stood out to sea, and every heart 
drooped as the land faded away. On the following morning 
they aL;ain ran in witiiin four miles of the shore, and fired other 
signal-guns, but still without reply. A boat was then de- 
spatciied, to sound the ciiannel, and attempt an entrance ; but 
returned without succtiss, there being a tremendous swell, and 
breakers. Signal-guiis w(>ro tired again in the evening, but 
equally in vain, and oiuh; iiiDre the ship stood off to sea for the 
night. The captain now gave up all hope of finding any estab- 



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lishniont !it the yhicc, nrid iiuliilfjcfl in llio niOHi «?l(Hnny n|i|itv. 
Iioiisions. lie fc.-inMl liis iircdccfssorM liad liccn iiiushuci,,! 
before they luul rc'iclu-d tlicir pliice <»f flcslination ; o if Hn.^, 
should Jiav*' erected ii factory, that it hud heeii Murpriwd uuil 
destroyed l>y tlie natives, 

111 this moment of doubt and uncertainty, Mr. Cliiriic an 
nounei'd his di-termination, in csise of tiie worst, to fdim,! ^^ 
establishmi'nt with the present party, and all hands hiuvdv 
eni^n;j;ed to stand by him in the uncU'rtakin<j;. The next inorn. 
in^ the siiip stood in for the third time, and fired tlinc siirimi. 
guns, but with little hope of reply. 'I'o the ^reiit joy of the 
crew, three distinct guns were heard in answer. 'i'liV apure- 
hensions of all but Captain Sowie were now at rest. That van- 
tit)us commander recollected the instructions given lijrn hy 
Mr. Astor. and determined to proceed with great circiiinsptic. 
tion. lie was well aware of Indian treachery and einniinir. it 
was not impossible, he observed, that these cannon nii^'iit have 
l)een tired by the savages themselves. They niiglit have siir- 
prised the fort, massacred its inmates ; and these si;,nial-<iun8 
might only be decoys to hire him across the bar, tliat tlmv 
might have a chance of cutting him oft", and seizing his vessel," 

At length a white flag was desoric^d hoisted as a si<fiial on 
CajHJ Disa|)|)oiiitnient. The passengers pointed to it in tri- 
nni|)h, but the captain did not yet dismiss his doubts. A bin. 
con tire blazed through the night on the same place, but tliu 
captain observed that all these signals might be treaeiieioiis. 

On the following morning, May 9th, the vessel euiiic to 
anchor otT Cape Disapjiointment, outside of the Itar. Toward 
noon an Indian canoe was seen making for the ship aucl all 
hands were ordered to be on the alert. A few moments after- 
ward, a barge was perceived following the canoe. Tlic liopw 
and fears of those on board of the ship were in tMniultiioiw 
agitation, as the boat drew nigh that was to let them know tlio 
fortunes of the enterprise, and the fate of their ijicdceessoi-s. 
'I'he captain, who was haunted with the idea of possibk? treach- 
ery, did not sutTer his curiosity to get the better of his caution. 
but ordered a party of his men under arms, to icceivi' tliu 
visitors. The canoe came first alongsid", in which were Com- 
comly and six Indians; in the barge were M'Dougal. .M'Li'lhui. 
and eight Canadians. A little conversation with tliese gciilk- 
men dispelled all the captain's fenrs, and the Heavi-r crosbiu!; 
the bar under the pilotage, uuchoreU safely iu Baker's Buy. 






TiiK nrrlval of the Ikavcr witli ji n'-enforcement and sup- 
plits, fiiivt' iirw life and vij^or to affairs at Astoria. These 
rtciv iiicaiiH for exteiidiiiji tiie operutioiiH of the e8tal)Hshinei»t, 
;iinl founding interior tradinj; posts. Two parties were inmie- 
(li:iti'lv ^et on foot to proceed severally under the eonnnand of 
Messrs. iM'Kenzie and Clarke, and established posts above the 
forks of tlu; ('olnnil)ia, at i)oints where most rivalry and oppo- 
Mtioii wow apprehended from the North-west Company. 

A third party, headed by Mr. David Stuart, was to repair 
with supplies to the post of that gentleman on the Oakinagan. 
In iidililion to thesr expeditions a fomlh was necessary to eou- 
vey iles|)atclies to Mr. Astor, at New York, in place of those 
luifortiniately lost l»y John Heed. The safe conveyance of these 
(It'spiitehes was highly important, as by them Mr. Astor would 
receive an account of the state of the factory, and regulate his 
re-enforeenu'nts and supplies accordingly. The mission was 
one of peril and hardship, and required a man of nerve and 
viijor. It was conlided to Robert Stuart, who, though he had 
never been across the mountains, and a very young man, had 
(Tiveii Droofs of his competency to the task. Four trusty and 
well-tried men, who had come overland in Mr. Hunt's expedi- 
tion, were given as his guides and hunters. These were Ben 
Jones and John Day, the Kentuckians, and Andri Vallar and 
Kiiincis Le Clerc, Canadians. Mr. M'Lellan again expressed 
, is (lelormination to take this opportunity ot returning to the 
Atlantic States. In this he was joined by Mr. Crooks, who, 
noi. itlistanding all that he had suffered in the dismal journey 
of the preceding winter, was ready to retrace his steps and 
bravo every danger and hardship, rather than remain at Astcria. 
iiiis little handtul of adventurous men we proporo to accom- 
pany in its long and perilous peregrinations. 

The several parties we have mentioned all set off in company 
on the 2i>th of June, under a salute of cannon frum the fort, 
Tbey were to keep together, for mutual protection, through the 
l)initi(,';d passes of the river, and to separate, on their different 
ilestinations, at the forks of the Columbia. Their number, 
eollectively, was nearly sixty, consisting of partners and clerks, 
Canadian voyageurs, Sandwich Islanders, and American hunt- 
ers ; and they embarked in two barges and ten canoes. 
Tliuy hud scarcely got under way, when John Day, the Keu 

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tucky hnntpr, bcramo rostloss ;iii(l uneasy, and extremely way- 
ward in his deportment. This caused sur[)rise, for n\ general 
he was ieM)aiIval)lo for his cheerful, manly dei)ortmeut. It was 
supposed that the recollection of past suflferings might harass 
his mind in undertaking to retrace the scenes where they had 
been experienced. As the expedition advanced, however, lug 
agiti'tion increased. lie began to talk wildly and iueohereutly, 
and to show manifest symptoms of derangement. 

]\Ir. Ciocjks now informed his companions that in his desolate 
wanderings through the Snake River country dm-ing the preced- 
ing winter, i'l which he had been accompanied by John Day, 
the poor fellow's wits had been partially unsettled by the suf- 
ferings and horrors through which they had passed, and lie 
doubted whether they had ever been restored to perfect sanity. 
It was still hoped that this agitation of spirit might pass 
away as they proceeded ; but, on the contrary, it grow more 
and more violent. His comrades endeavored to divert his 
mind and to draw him into rational conversation, but he only 
became the more exasperated, uttering wild and incoherent 
ravings. The ight of any of the natives put him in an ahso- 
lute fury, and he would heap on them the most opprohKous 
epitliets ; recollecting, no doubt, what he had suffered from 
Indian robbers. 

On the evening of the 2d of July he became absolutely fran- 
tic, and attempted to destroy himself. Being disarmed, he 
sank into quietude, and professed the greatest remorse for the 
crime he had meditated. He then pretended to sleep, and hav- 
ing thus lulled suspicion, suddenly s|)rang up, just before day- 
liglit, seized a pair of loaded pistols, and endeavored to blow 
out his brains. In his hurry he fired too high, and the halls 
passed over his head. He was instantly secured and placed 
undei- a guard in one of the boats. How to dispose of him was 
now the (lut^stion, as it was impossible to keep him with the 
expedition. Fortunately Mr. Stuart met with some Indians 
accustomed to trade with Astoria. These undertook to conduct 
John Day back to the factory, and deliver him there in safety. 
It was with the utmost concern that his comrades saw the poor 
fellow depart ; for, independent of his invaluable services as 
a lirst-rate hunter, his frank and loyal qualities had made him a 
universal favorite. It may l)e as well to add that the Indians 
executed their task faithfully, and landed John Day among his 
friends at Astoria ; but his constitution was completely broken 
by the hardships he had undergone, and he died within a year. 

Ou the evening of tiie Gth of July the party arrived at the 



niratical pass of the river, and encamped at the foot of tlie 
first rapid- The next day, before the cornnienecuK'nt of the 
norta^'c, the greatest precautions were taken to gimrtl against 
lurkiiT"* treachery, or open attack. The weapons of every man 
were put in order, and his cartridge-box replenislied. Eacli 
one wore a kind of surcoat made of the skin of the elk, reach- 
ing from his neck to his knees, and answering the i)urpose of a 
p'lirt of mail, for it was arrow proof, and could even rosisi 
a musket ball at the distance of ninety yards. Thus armed and 
('(iiiipped, they posted theii- forces in military style. Five of 
tlie ofhcers took their stations at eacli end of the portage, 
which was between three and four miles in length ; a number 
of men mounted guard at short distances along the heights 
irainediately overlooking the river, while the residue, thus pro- 
tected from surprise, employed themselves below in dragging 
up the barges and canoes, and carrying up the goods along the 
narrow margin of the rapids. With these precautions they all 
passed unmolested. The only accident that happened was the 
upsetting of one of the canoes, by which some of the good? 
sunk, and others floated down the stream. The alertness anov 
rapacity of the hordes which infest these rapids, were immedi- 
ately apparent. They iwuneed upon the floating merchandise 
with tlie keenness of regular wreckers. A bale of goods which 
lauded upon one of the islands was immediately ripped open, 
one half of its contents divided among the captors, and the 
other half secreted in a lonely hut in a deep ravine. Mr. 
Robert Stuart, however, set out in a canoe with five men and 
an interpreter, ferreted out the wreckers in their retreat, and 
succeeded in wresting from them their booty. 

Similar precautions to those already mentioned, and to a still 
iiroater extent, were observed in passing the long narrows, and 
the falls, wheie they would be ex|)osed to the depredations of 
llir cliiialiy of Wisii-rani, and its freebooting neighborhood, 
lu fact, they had scarcely set their fii"st watch one night, when 
an alarm of " Indians ! " was given. "^ To arms I " was the cry, 
•Mu\ every man was at his post in an instant. The alarm was 
t'X[)liiiiu'd ; a war party of Shosiionii's had sur[)rised a canoe of 
the natives just below the encami)ment, Inul murdered four 
men and two women, and it was apprehended they would 
attack the camp. 'I'he boats and canoes were immediatily 
hauled up. a brcasl work was madt; of them, and the packages, 
fi)rining tlin-t' sides of .t scpiare, with the rivi'r in the rear, and 
thus the party remained fortilied throughout the uiglit. 

The dawn, how ver, dispelled the alarm ; the i»ort:ige was 

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conducted in peace ; the vagabond warriors of the vicinity 
hovered about them while at work, but were kept at a wary 
distance. They regarded the loads of merehandise with wist- 
ful eyes, but seeing the " long- beards" so formidable in mim- 
ber, and so well prepared for action, they made no attempt, 
either by open force or sly pilfering to collect their usual toll, 
but maintained a peaceful demeanor, and were afterward re- 
warded for their good conduct with presents of tobacco. 

Fifteen days were consumed in ascending from the foot of 
the first rapid, to the head of the falls, a distance of about 
eighty miles, l)ut full of all kinds of obstructions. Having 
happily accomplished these difiicult portages, the party, on the 
19th of July, arrived at a smoother part of the river, and 
pursued their way up the stream with greater speed and facility. 

They were now in the neighborhood where Mr. Crf)()k.s and 
John Day had been so perfidiously robbed and stripped a low 
months previously, when confiding in the profTered hosi)itality 
of a ruffian band. On landing at night, therefore, a vi<i;ilant 
guard was maintained about the camp. On the following 
morning a number of Indians made their appearance, and 
came prowling round the party while at breakfast. To his 
great delight Mr. Crooks recognized among them two of tlio 
miscreants by whom he had ])een robbed. They were instantly 
seized, bound hand and foot, and thrown into one of the canoos. 
Here they lay in doleful fright, expecting summary execution. 
Mr. Crooks, however, was not of a revengeful disposition, and 
agreed to release the culprit, as soon as the pillaged property 
should be restored. Several savages immediately starti'd off in 
different directions, and before night the rifles of Crooks and 
Day were produced; several of the smnll'."' articles pilfered 
from them, however, could not be recovered. 

The bands of die culprits were then removed, and they lost 
no time in taking their departure, still under the inlliuiiee of 
abject terror, and scarcely crediting their senses that they had 
escaped the merited punishment of their offences. 

The country on each side of the river now began to assume a 
different ch:>racter. The hills, and cliffs, and forests disap- 
peared ; vast sandy plains, scantily clothed here and there with 
short tufts of grass, parched by the sununer sun, stretched far 
away to the north and soutii. The river v/as occasionally 
obstructed with rocks and rapids, but often there were snioolli, 
placid intervals, where the current was gentle, and the hoat- 
men were enabled to lighten their labors with the ussislanee o! 
the uail. 

/■ '; 



The natives in this part of the river resided entirely on the 
northcni side. They were hunters, as well as fishermen, and 
1,1(1 boisos in plout}-. Some of these were purchased by the 
DarlVi 'IS i)rovisioiis, and kiiied on tlie spot, thougli they ocea- 
giouaily found a dilliculty in procuring fuel wherewith to cook 
them. ^»c tjf the greatest dangers that beset the travellers in 
this part of their expedition, was the vast number of rattle- 
snakes wiiich infested the rocks about the rapids and portages, 
and on which the men were in danger of treading. Tliey were 
often found, toe .1 quantities about the encampments. In one 
place a nost of them lay coiled together, basking in the sun. 
>;;eveial giuis loaded with shot were discharged at tiiem, and 
thirty-seven killed and wounded. To prevent any unwelcome 
visits from tiiem in the night, tobacco was occasionally strewed 
nruiind the tents, a weed for which they have a very proper 

Un tlie 28th of July, the travellers arrived at the mouth of 
the Walhih- Wallah, a bright, clear stream, about six feet deep 
and tifty-live yards wide, which flows rapidly over a bed of 
sand and gravel, and throws itself into the Columbia, a few 
miles below Lewis Kiver. Here the combined parties that had 
thus far voyaged together were to separate, each for its partic- 
ular destination. 

On the l)aiiks of the Wallah- Wallah lived the hospitable 
tribe of the same name who had succored Mr. Crooks and John 
Day ia the time of their extremity. No sooner did they hear 
of the arrival of tlie party, than they iiastened to greet them. 
Thiv I'liilt a great bonfire on the bank of the river, before the 
eamp, and nun and women danced round it to the cadence of 
their son<!;s, in whicii they sang the praises of the white men, 
and welcomed them to their country. 

On the following day a trallic was commenced, to procure 
horses for such of the party as intended to proceed by land. 
The Waliali-Wallaiis are an equestrian tribe. The equipments 
of their horses were rude and iuconvenieut. High .saddles, 
roiijrbly made of deer skin, stuffed with hair, which chafe the 
horse's back, and leave it raw; woollen stirrups with a thong 
of raw hide wrappetl round them ; and for bridl(!S the^ have 
cords of twisteil horse-hair, which they tie round the under 
jiuv. They aie, like most Inilians, bold but hard rider;*, and 
whrn on liorsrhuck gallop alxHit the most dangeious phiccs, 
witlmnt Tear for tlifnisclvcs, or pity for tliidr steeds. 

From these |»t'ople Mr. Stuart i)urchased twenty horses for 
liii yiuiy ; mnua i'ur tiiu yadUlo, aud utliurs Ig U^aui^port liiu bug- 

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gage. He was fortunate in procuring a noble animal for his 
own use, which was praised by the Inclians for its great speed 
and bottom, and a high price set ui)on it. No people under. 
stand better tlie value of a horse than these ecpie.strian tribes ■ 
and nowhere is speed a gieater requisite, as tiiey friMiuentiv 
engage in the chase of the antelope, .lo of the fleetest of anl 
raals. Even after the Indian who sold this lioasted horse to 
Mr. Stuart had concluded his !i:u'gain, he lingered about the 
animal, seeming loath to part froui hiin, and to be sorry fur what 
he liad done. 

A day or two were employed i)y Mr. Stuart in arrangincr 
packages and pack-saddles, :uid i/iaking other i)reparatious fJr 
his long and arduous journey. liis party, by tlie loss of Jolin 
Day, was now reduced to six, a small number for sutli an 
expedition. They were young men, however, full of courage, 
health, and good spirits, and stinuilated, rather than appalled 
by danger. 

On the morning of the 3Jst of July, all preparations bein" 
concluded. Mr. Stiuirt and his little band mounted their steeds 
and *' ■ '• a farewell of their fellow-travellers, who gave theni 
three hear y cheers as they set out on their dangerous journey, 
The (cii, -e they took was to t'"^' south-east, toward the fated 
region of the Snake River. At an immense distance rose a 
chain of craggy mountains which they would have to traverse; 
they were the same among which the travellers had experioneed 
such sufferings from cold during the preceding winter, and from 
their azure tints, when seen at a distaucu, had received the 
narae of the Blue Mountains. 


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In retracing the route which had proved so disastrous to Mr. 
Hunt's j)arty during the i)receding winter, Mr. .Stuart lunl 
trusted, in the present more favorable season, to lind e.'isy trav- 
elling and al.r.ndant supplies. On these great wastes and wilds, 
however, each season iuis its peculiar hardsliips. The travellers 
had not proceeded far. bcfoi'c they found themsrlvcs aiiKniL; 
naked and arid hills, with a soil coniposi'd of sand :nid chiy, 
hakt'd and brittle, that to all appearance had never lucii visitid 
by the dews of heaven. 

Not a spriiig, or pool, or ruuniug stream was to he .^een ; llw 



iinhiirnt country was soiimcd and cut up by dry ravines, the 

hi'dsof wiiitiT lorrniUs st'i'viiiif only to balk the hopes of man 
•iiid lic'iist, with the sight of dusty ohanuels where water had 
iuce poured aloii.u: in Hoods. 

j.',,i' a long siiiiinu'r day they eontinued onward without 
haltiii'^; :i hmiiing sky above their heads, a parched desert be- 
noath°lJL'ii" ^'^^'^1 ^^'•'-l^ J^'^'- wind enough to raisv the light sand 
from the knolls, and envelop them in stilling clouds. The suf- 
ferings from thirst became intense ; a line young dog, their only 
toiiimiuion of the kind, gave out, and expired. Evening drew 
on without any prosi)ect of relief, and they were almost reduced 
to despair, when they ilescried something that looked like a 
fringe of forest along the horizon. All were inspired with new 
huue, for they knew that on these arid wastes, in the neighbor- 
hootl of trees, there is always water. 

They now (luickened their pace ; the horses seemed to under- 
stand their motives, and to partake of their anticipations ; for, 
lhoii"'ti before almost ready to give ouL, they now required 
neither whip nor si)ur. Willi all their exertions it was late in 
the night before they drew near to the trees. As the}' ap- 
nioacheil, they heard with tiansport, the rippling of a shallow 
stream. No sooner diil the refreshing sound reach the ears of 
the horses, than the poor animals snuffed the air. rushed for- 
ward with ungovernable eagerness, and plunging 'heir muzzles 
into the water, drank until they seemed in dang of bursting. 
Their riders had but little more discietion, and n lired repeated 
draiitjhts to (piench their excessive thirst. Tluir weary march 
that day had been forty-live miles, over a track tliat niight rival 
the deserts of Africa for aridity. Indeed, the sufferings of the 
traveller on these American deserts is frequfiitly more severe 
than ill the wastes of Africa or Asia, from b lU^^ less habituated 
and prepared to cope with them. 

On the banks of this blessed stream the travellers encamped 
for the iiigiit ; and so great had been their fatigue, and so 
sound and sweet was their sleep, that it was a late hour the 
next morning before they awoke. They now recognized the 
little river to be tlu; rmalalhi, the same on the banks of which 
Mr. Hunt and his followers had arrived after their painful 
struggle through the Blue Mountains, and e-V]'';rienced such a 
kind relief in the friendly camp of the Sciatogas. 

That !ang«' of lilue Alountaius now extended in the distance 
liefore them ; they wiM'c the same among which poor Michael 
I'arriere had perished. They form the south-east boundary of 
the jjieal plaius along the Columbia, dividing the wuters of ita 


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main stream from tlioso of Lewis River. They are, in fact 
part of a loiig cliain, which Htretehos over a groat extent uf 
eouiitrj, iiiid in('hiti»!s in its links the S'lake Kiver Mountains. 

The (lay was somewnat advaneed before the travellers left 
the shady banks of the Uniatalla. Their route gradually took 
them among the lilue Monntains, which assumed the most 
rugged aspect on a near ai)proach. They wen- sliagi,aHl with 
dense and gloomy forests, and cut up by deep and preeipituuj 
ravines, extremely toilsome to the horses. Sonu'tinies the 
travellers had to follow the course of some brawling siroam, 
with a broken, rocky bed, which the shouldering clitl's and 
promontories on either side obliged them fre(iuently to eioss 
and reeross. For some miles they struggled forward throiiirh 
these savage and darkly Avooded defiles, when all at onee iL 
whole hi.idscape changed, as if by magic. The rude moun- 
tains and rugged ravines softened into beautiful hills, and 
inti;rvening meadows, with r'aulets winding through IVcsh herb- 
age, and sparkling and murmuring over gravelly beds, the 
whole forming a verdant and pastoral scene, which derived 
additional charms from being locked up in the bosom of buoh 
a hard- hearted region. 

Emerging from the chain of Blue Mountains, they descended 
upon a vast plain, almost a dead level, sixty miles in eireiini- 
ference, of excellent soil, with line streams meandering throuu'li 
it in every direction, their courses marked out in the wide 
landscape by serpentine lines of cotton-wood trees, uiul wil- 
lows, which fringed their banks, and afforded sustenance to 
great mnnbers of beavers and otters. 

In traversing this plain, they passed, close to the skirts uf 
the hills, a great pool of water, three hundred yards in eirdim- 
fercnee, fed by a sulphur spring, about ten feet in tliaimler. 
Itoiling up in one corner. The vapor from this pool was ex- 
tremeiy noisome, and tainted the air for a considerable distaiur, 
The [iiuce was much frecpsented by elk, which were fdund ii; 
considera!)le numbers in the adjacent mountains, and tluir 
h<»rns. shed in the spring time, were strewed in every direcliiii 
around the pond. 

On the 20th of August, they reached the main l)ody of Wnod- 
ville Cre"k, the same stream which Mr. Hunt had ascended in 
the pi'ecediug year, shortly after lit- separation from Mr, 

( )n the banks of this »tri-am they »■» a herd of nineteen an- 
telopes ; a sight so unusu:il in that pan of the eounliv. that "1 
tirbt they doubted the evideuce of tiieii seuseu. They liied U} 



evciv mt'iiiis to get witliin sliot, of Ihoin, but they were too 
shy find licet, ami after alterii.'itely bounding to a distance, and 
then HtopiiiiiS t'^ n^'^'^' ^i^h capricious curiosity at the hunter, 
they at leni^th scampered out of siglit. 

On the 12th of August the travellers arrived on the banks of 
Snake River, the scene of so many trials and mislKips to all of 
the present i)arty excepting Mr. Stuart. They struck the river 
just iibove the place where it entered the mountains, through 
which Messrs. Stuart and Crooks had vainly endeavored to find 
a passage. The river was here a rapid stream, four hundred 
yards in width, with high sandy banks, and here and tlierc a 
scanty growtli of willow. Up the southern side of the river 
thev iiDW licnt llieir course, intending to visit the caches made 
by Mr. Hunt at the Caldron Linn. 

On the second evening a solitary Snake Indian visited their 
camp, at a late hour, and informed them that there was a white 
man residing at one of the cantonments of his tribe, about a 
ilay's journey higlier up the river. It was immediately con- 
chidcd tiiat he nuist be one of tlie poor fellows of Mr Hunt's 
party, who had given out, exhausted by hunger and fatigue, in 
the wretched journey of the preceding winter. All present, 
who had borne a part in the sufferings of that journey, were 
eager now to press forward, and bring relief to a lost comrade. 
Early the next morning, therefore, they pushed forward with 
unusual alacrity. For two days, however, did they travel with- 
out i)eing a])ie to find any trace of such a straggler. 

On the evening of the second day, they arrived at a place 
when; a large river came in from the east, which was renowned 
among nil the wandering hordes of tlie Snake nation for its 
sahnon tlshery. that fish being taken in incredible quantities ia 
this ueighltorliood. Here, therefore, during the ti.shiug season, 
tlie Snake Indians resort from far and near, to lay in their stock 
of sulnion. wiiicii, with esculent roots, forms the priucipal food 
of tlif inhnliitanis of these barren regions. 

On the bnnks of a small stream emptying into Snake River 
at this placi', Mr. Stuart found an en<^ainpment of Shoshonies. 
He made the usual inquiry of them concerning the white man 
of wlioin he had received intelligence. No such person was 
(iwiilliiig among thcju, but they said there were white men resid- 
ing with st)nie of their nation on the opposite side of the river. 
This was still more animating information. Mr. Crooks now 
r ipcd these miglit be tlie men of his party, who, dislieart- 
•;i((l l)y perils and hardships, had i)ieferred to remain among 
liie Indians. Others thought they might be Mr. Miller and tha 

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liiintors who had h-ft tJio main ImhIv .it Tlonry's Fort, to trap 
jiiiioii^ the iii()iiiil:iiii streiiins. Mr. Stiiait hultocl, Uu-rcrorc, in 
the )i('io;hlH)rliood of the Shoshonir lodges, ami sent uti Indian 
ncroHs till! river to seek out the white men in question, and bring 
thein to his camp. 

The truvi'llors passed a restless, miserable night. The place 
swarnii'd with myriads of mosquitoes, which, with their stings 
and their music, set all sleep at defiance. The moruiug dawn 
found thcui ill a feverish, irrital)le mood, and their spleen was 
completely arouhcd Ity the return of tl"; Indian without any in- 
telligence of the white men. They now considered themselves 
the dupes of Indiaii falsehoods, and resolved to put no more 
contldence in Snakes. They soon, however, forgot this rosnlii- 
tioii. Ill the course of the morning an Indian came gallopini' 
after tlieiii ; iMr. Stuart waited to receive him ; no sooner had 
he come up, than, dismounting and throwing his turns round 
the neck of Mr. Stuart's horse, he began to kiss auil ca'-ess the 
animal, who on his part seemed by no means surprised or dis- 
pleased with his salutation. Mr. Stuart, who valued his horse 
highly, was somewhat annoyed by these transports; the cause 
of them was soon explained. The Snake said the horse had 
belonged to him, and been the best in his possession, and that it 
hail been stolen by the Wallah-Wallahs. Mr. Stuart was by no 
means pleased with this recognition of his steed, nor disposed 
to admit any claim on the part of its ancient owner. In fact, 
it was a noble animal, admirably shaped, of free and geiieroun 
s))irit, graceful in movement, and fleet as an antelope. It was 
his intention, if possible, to take the horse to New York, and 
present liiin to Mr. Astor. 

in the mean time some of the party came up, and immedi- 
ately recognized in the Snake an old friend and ally. He was 
in fact one of the two guides wiio had conducted Mr. Hunt's 
jiarty, in the preceding luituniii, across Mad River Mountain to 
Fort Henry, and who subsequently departed with Mr. Miller and 
his fellow trappers, to conduct them to a good trapping ground. 
The reader may recollect that these two trusty Snakes were 
engaged by Mr. Hunt to return and take charge of the horses 
whicii the party intended to leave at Fort Henry, when they 
should embark in canoes. 

Till! iKirty now crowded round the Snake, and began to ques- 
tion him with eagerness. His replies were somewhat vague, 
and ])ut partially understood. He told a long story about the 
liorses, from which it appeariid that they had been stolen by vari- 
ous wunderinjj banUa, and scattered iu different directious- 



'Piif. mr//^, ton, Imd been |)liiii(l('i('<1, .'ind flio Hnddics mikI other 
^ iij|iiii,.iit,s cjirriod olT. His iiit'oniiMtioii coiiccriiinu; Mr. Miller 
111(1 his ('<»Mir:i(U's, was ikjI more sal i.srut'tory. 'I'liev had tiai>|ii'il 
f^,i ;.„iii,v ti'nc aliotit Uu' upper sticains, htil had I'alh'U into the 
|i;iii(ls of a iiuiruidin<f party of Crows, who had rubbed them 
ol' iiorses, weapons, an»I I'very thing. 

Fmthcr (lueslioniiig brouglit forth I'lirthiM- intelligence, but all 
of !i disastrous kind. About ten days previously, he liad met 
with llii'i* otlii-r white men, in very miserable i>light, having 
one horse each, and but one ride among them. Tiiey also luul 
been plundered and maltreated by the Crows, those universa! 
frcebooteis. Tlu; Snake endeavored to pronounce the names 
of tiii'se three men, and as tar as his imi)errect sounds could be 
umli'istood, they were supposed to be three of llie party of 
four hunters, viz., Carson, St. Michael, Detayc, and Delaunay, 
who were detached from Mr. Hunt's party on the 2Sth of Sei)- 
tenilwi", to trap beaver on the head waters of the Columl)ia. 

lu the course of conversation, the Indian informed them that 
the route by which Mr. Hunt had crossed the Rocky Mountains 
was very bad and circuitous, and that he knew one much 
t^liorter and easier. Mr. Stuart urged him to accomj)any them 
as "•(liile, [)roniising to levvard him with a pistol with powder 
ami liall, a knife, an awl, some blue beads, a blanket, and 
a looking-glass. Such a catalogue of riches was too tem[)tiiig 
to be resisted; beside the poor Snake languished after the 
jnairies; he was tired, he said, of salmon, antl longed l\)r buf- 
falo meat, and to have a grand bulTalo himt beyond the moun- 
tains. He di'parted, therefore, with all si)cetl, to get his arms 
uud equipnumt for the journey. i)romising to ivjoin ,iie [)arty 
thi' next day. He kept, his word, and. as he no longer said 
aiiv tiling to Mr. Stuart on the subject of the pet horse, they 
JDiuiu'ved very harmoniously togethei' ; though now and then, 
diL' Snake would regard his (|uoiidam steed with a wistful eye. 

They had not travelled many miles, when they came to a 
great bend in the river. Here the Snake iniormed them that, 
by cutting across the hills the}' would save many mile,-; «,i >:i-;:!nee. 
The route across, however, would be a good day's jouriuy. 
He advised them, tiierefore, to encamp here for tli.- niglil. and 
set otT early in the morning. 'rhc;y took his atlviee, thougli 
they had come but nine miles that day. 

Ou the following moining they rose. Itright and early, to as- 
ceiid the liills. On nmstering their link- party, the guide was 
uiissinj^ I'hey supposed him to be somewhere in the neigh- 
borhood, uud proceeded to collect the iiorses. The Naunted 


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sti'pd <»f INIr. Stuart wnw not to be found. A fiiKpicion flii(,|)p,i 
iipoii liis Miind. Scuicli for the horse of the Snake! — he lilv,., 

wise \v;i.. ^'om tlit- tracks of two horsi-s, one after tlie oili,.,. 

were foiiiid. uiukiug' olf from the eauip. Tliey :i|)pearL'(l us if 
one had been mounted, and tlie other led. Tliey wire 
traced for a fi'W niilos above the camp, until they both crossnl 
tlie river. It was plain the Snake had tuki'H an Indian iiiotKoC 
ri'eovcring his horse, Iniving ipiietly deeuinped with him iii ilm 

New vows were made never more to trust in Snakes or any 
other Indians. It was determined, also, to maintain, hereiifler 
the strictest vigilance over their horses, dividing the night into 
three watches, and one person mounting guard at a tim,,, 
They resolved, also, to keep along the river, insteail of takiiiif 
the short cut reeonnncindcd by the fugitive Snake, whom tlit'v 
now set down for a thorough deceiver. The heat of th.. 
wt'athei' was oppressive, and their horses were, at times, ren- 
dered almost frantic l)y the stings of the prairie Hies. The 
nights were suffocating, and it was-alniost imposuible to sleei), 
from tlu! swarms of mos(piiloes. 

On the 2(Jth of iVugust they resumed their march, kee|)in(» 
along the prairie parallel to Snake Kiver. The (hiy was siiltry. 
and some of the party, being parched with thirst, left the line 
of march, and scram])led down the bank of the river to drink. 
The bank was overhimg with willows, beneath which, to their 
surprise, they beheld a man lisliing. No sooner did he see 
them, than he uttered an exclamation of joy. It proved to lie 
dohn Iloback. one of their lost comrades. They had searcelv 
exchanged greetings, when three other men came out from 
among the willows. They were .Joseph Miller, .Jacob Hezner. 
and Hobinson, the scalped Kentuckian, the veteran of the 
Bloody (J round. 

The reader will perhaps recollect the abrupt and wilful miin 
nor in which INIr. Miller threw up his interest as a partner ol 
the company, and departed from Fort Ilenry, in coini)any wiili 
these three trappers, and a fourth, named Cass. He may like- 
wise recognize in Hobinson, Rezner, and IIol)ack, the trio of 
Kentucky hunters who had originally been in the service of 
Mr. Ilenry, and whom Mr. Hunt found floating down the Mis- 
souri, on their way homeward ; and prevailed upon, once more, 
to cross the mountains. The haggard looks and naked condi- 
tion of these men proved how nmch they had su(Tf(!red. .After 
leaving Mr. Hunt's party, they had made their way about two 
hundred nules to the southward, where they trapped beuver ou 



(I rivor, wliioli, acoorfllnfi; to (Iicir iiccDi.i.i, (ii8c'ii;vrp;o(l llsolf 
jnlii llic (X't'iiii to the south of tlic ('oliitiil»i:i, bill which we ap- 
piclicinl to lie Hear River, :i stri-arii rm|tt viiiij; •t.-tdf into LalvO 
Hdiiiit'N ilK', ini inimeiiho body of salt waltT, west of the Kocky 

Ihiviiiii colloctiMl a ooiisidiTabh' (|iiaiitity of boaver skins, 
tlit'V made Ihein into paeks, h>aded Ihi'ir hornes, and steered 
t«() hiiiuhrd luiU's due east. Here they eaiue upon an eneainp- 
nii'iil of sixty lodges of Arapahays, an outhiwed l)aiid of the 
Anipaiioes, and notorious rohixTs. Tliese fell upon the poor 
tiapinTs ; robbed tiiein of liieii' pi'ltiies, niost of their clothing, 
iiiiil several of tiu'ir horst's. Thi-y wi're glad tocseaiie with their 
lives, and without being entirely strippi'd, and after proeeeding 
about (ifty miles farther, niadi; their halt for the winter. 

Karly in the spring, they resumed their wayfaring, Imt were 
iiiihickily overtaken by the same rullian horde, who levied still 
further contributions, and carried olT llie remainder of their 
liorses, excepting two. With these they continued on, sufler- 
in<f the greatest hardshii)s. They still retained rilles and am- 
niuiiition, but were hi a desert country, where neither bird 
nor beast was to be found. Their only chance was to keep 
along the rivers and subsist by lisliing ; but, at times, no fish 
were to be taken, and then their sulTerings were horrible. One 
of their liorses was stolen among the mountains by the Snake 
Imlians ; the other, they said, was carried off by Cass, who, 
according to their account, " villanously left them in their ex- 
tremities." Certain dark douljts and surmises were afterward 
oireiiluled concerning the fate of that poor fellow, which, if 
true, siiowed to what a desperate state of famine his comrades 
had been reduced. 

Being now comi)letely unhorsed, Mr. Miller and his three 
compam'ons wamlered on foot f<jr several hundred miles, en- 
during iiunger, thirst, and fatigue, while traveising the barren 
wastes which abound beyond the Wock}' Mountains. At the 
time they were discovercHl by I\Ir. Stuart's party, they were 
almost famished, and were fishing for a precarious meal. Had 
Mr. Stuart made the short cut across the hills, avoiding this 
lu'iid of the river, or had not some of his part}' accidentally 
gone down to the margin of tlie stream to drink, these poor 
wanderers might have remained undiscovered, and have per- 
islied in the wilderiiess. Nothing could exceed their joy ou 
thus meeting with their old comrades, or the heartiness with 
which they were welcomed. All hands immediately encamped 
and ;lic slender stores of the |)arty were ransacked to furuisU 
out a suitable rciiule. 


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WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 




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The noxt morning they all set out together ; Mr. Miller and 
his conirjuk's hoing resolved to give up tlie life of a trapper, 
and accompany IMr. Stuart back to St. Louis. 

For sevcrnl days tliey kept along the course of Snake River, 
occasionally mtiklng sliort cuts acros:: liills and promontories 
a'hero there were l)ends in the stream. In their way tluv 
:; several camps of Shoshonies, from some of -Trhom they 
procured sahnon, but in general they were too wretchedly poor 
to furnisii any thing. It was tiie wisli of Mr. Stuart to purchase 
'loiscs for tiie recent recruits of his party; l>ut tlie Imiians 
could not be prevailed upon to part with any, alleging that they 
had not enough for their own use. 

On the 2oth of August, they reached a great fishing place, to 
which they gave the name of the Salmon Falls. Here there is 
a perpendicular fall of twenty feet on the north side of the 
river, while on the south side there is a succession of rapids. 
The salmon arc taken here in incredible quantities, as they at- 
tempt to shoot the falls. It was now a favorable season, and 
tliere were about one hundred lodges of Shoshonies busily 
engaged killing and drying (ish. The salmon begin to leap, 
shortly after sunrise. At this time the Indians swim to the 
centre of the falls, where some station themselves on rocks, 
and others stand to their waists in the water, all armed with 
spears, with which they assail the salmon as they attempt to 
lea|), or fall back exhausted. It is an incessant slaughter, so 
great is the throng of the fish. 

The construction of the speai^s thus used is peculiar. The 
head is a straight i)iece of elk horn, about seven inches long ; 
on the point of which an artificial barb is made fast, with twine 
well gummed. The head is stuck on the end of the shaft, a 
very long pole of willow, to which it is likewise connected by 
a strong cord, a few inches in length. When the spearsman 
makes a sure blow, he often strikes the head of the spear 
through the body of the fish. It comes off easily, and leaves 
th(! salmon struggling with the string through its body, while 
the pole is still lield by the spearsman. Were it not for the 
precaution of the string, the willow shaft would be snapped by 
the struggles and the weight of the fish. Mr. Miller, in the 
course of his wanderings, liad been at these falls, and had seen 
several thousand sahnon taken in the course of one afternoon. 
He declared that he had seen a salmon leap a distance of about 
thirty feet, from the commencement of the foam at the foot of 
the fall, c(jnipletely to the top. 

Having purchased a good supply of saliuou from the fisher 









men, the party resumed their journey, and on the twenty- 
ninth, arrived at the Caldron Linn, the eventful scene of the 
preceding autumn. Here, the first thing that met their eyes, 
was a memento of the perplexities of that period ; tlic wreck of 
a canoe lodged between two ledges of rocks. Tliey endeavored 
to get down to it, but the river banks were too high and pre- 

They now proceeded to that part of the neighl)orhood where 
Mr Hunt and his party had made the caches, intending to take 
from them such articles as belonged to Mr. Crooks, M'LcUan, 
and the Canadians. On reaching the spot, they found, to their 
astonishment, six of the caches open and rifled of tlieir con- 
tents, excepting a few books which lay scattered about the 
vicinity. They had the appearance of having been plundered 
in the course of the summer. There were tracks of wolves in 
every direction, to and from the holes, from which Mr. Stuart 
concluded that these animals had first been attracted to the 
place by the smell of the skins contained in the caches, which 
they had probably torn up, and that their tracks had betrayed 
tho secret to the Indians. 

The three remaining caches had not been molested ; they 
contained a few dry goods, some ammunition, and a number 
of beaver traps. From these Mr. Stuart took whatever was 
requisite for his party ; he then deposited within them all his 
superfluous baggage, and all the books and pai)ers scattered 
around ; the holes were then carefully closed up, and all traces 
of them effaced. And here we have to record another instance 
of the indomitable spirit of the western trap^wrs. No sooner 
did the trio of Kentucky hunters, Robinson, Rezner, and Ho- 
back, find that they could once more be fitted out for a campaign 
of beaver-trapping, than they forgot all that they had suffered, 
and determined u^wu another trial of their fortunes ; preferring 
to take their chance in the wilderness, rather than return home 
ragged and penniless. As to Mr. Miller, he declared his cmi- 
osity and his desire of travelling through the Indian countries 
fully satisfied ; he adhered to his determination, theiefore, to 
keep on with the party to St. Louis, and to return to the bosom 
of civilized society. 

The three hunters, therefore, Robinson, Rezner, and Hoback, 
were furnished as far as the caches and the means of ]Mr. 
Stuart's party afforded, with the requisite nnuiitious and e(|uip- 
URMilti for a " two years' hunt ;" but as their lilting out was 
yet incomplete, tht-y resolved to wait in this neighborhood until 
Mr. lieed should arrive ; whose arrival might ttuou be expected. 

I ". 

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as he was to sot out for tlic caches about twenty daj's after Mi 
Stuart parted with him at the Walhih-Wallah Rivci'. 

Mr. Stuart gave in ehargc to Robinson a k'tter to Mr. Rcod, 
reporting his safe journey thus far, and the state in whieh he 
had found the caches. A duplieate of this letter he eh-vutcd oii 
a pole, and set it up near tlie phiee of di'itosit. 

All tilings being thus arranged, 'Mr. Stuart and his litllc 
band, now seven in number, toolv leave of the three hardy 
trappers, wishing them all possible suceess in theii' lonely and 
perilous sojourn in the wilderness ; and we, in like niaiiiior, 
shall leave them to their fortunes, promising to take tlicni up 
again at some future i)age, and to close the story of ineir per- 
severing and ill-fated enterprise. 


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On the 1st of September, Mr. Stuart and his companions re- 
sumed their journey, bending their course eastward, along the 
course of Snake River. As they advanced the country opened. 
The hills which had hemmed in the river icceded on either 
hand, and great sandy and dusty plains extended ))erore Iheui. 
Occasionally there were intervals of pasturage, tun] the banks 
of the river were fringed with willows and cotton-wood, so that 
its course might be traced from the hill-tops, winding under an 
umbrageous covert, through a wide sunburnt landscape. Tht; 
soil, Iiowever, was generally poor; there w:is in some places a 
miserable growth of wormwood, and a |)Uint called salt-weed, 
resembling penny. oyal ; but the summer heat had parched tlio 
plains, and left but little pasturage. The game too had disap- 
peared. The hunter looked in vain over the lifeless landseapi ; 
now and then a few antelope might be secii, l)ut not within 
reach of the rifle. We forbear to follow the travellers in a 
week's wandering over these barren wastes, where tliey suffered 
much from hunger ; having to depend upon a few fish from the 
streams, and now and then a little dried salmon, or a dog, pro- 
cured from sonic forlorn lodge of tiie Shoshonies. 

Tired of these cheerless wastes, they left the banks of Snake 
River on tlie 7th of Sei)t(Mnber, under guidauet' of Mr. Milhr, 
who iiaving actpiired some knowledge of tin; countiy diiiiiiii 
liis trap|)Ing cai. paign, undertook to eonduct them the 
mouutuins by u better route tUau that by Fort IJenry, and one 

V t 




more out of the range of the Blaekfcot. ITc proved, liowivcr, 
Init an indifferent guide, and they soon heeanie bcwildcicd 
among rugged hills and uuknowu stioanis, and bui nt and barren 


At length they came to a river on which INIr. ^Miller had 
trapped, and to which they gave his name ; thongli, as Ijcforc 
observed, we presume it to be the same called Hear Kiver, 
which empties itself into Lake Bonneville. I'p this river and 
ilt, bnuiches they kept for two or three days, snppculing tliein- 
selves precariously upon fish. They soon fonnd thai they were 
in a dangerous neighborhood. On the I'Jlh of September, hav- 
ing encamped early, they sallied forth with tlieir lods to angle 
for their supper. On retiu-ning, they beheld a nnmber of In- 
dians prowling about their camp, whom to their inllnite dis- 
quiet, they soon perceived to be Upsarokas, or Crows. Thcii 
chief came forward witli a confident air. He was a dark hercu- 
lean fellow, full six feet four inches in height, with a mingled 
air of the ruflian and the rogue. He conducted himself peace- 
ably, however, and despatched some of his i)eoi)le to tlieir camp, 
which was somewhere in the neighboriiood, from wlieuce they 
returned with a most acceptable supply of buffalo meat, lie 
now signified to Mr. Stuart that he was going to trade with the 
Snakes who reside on the west base of the mountains below 
Henry's Kort. Here they cultivate a delicate kind of tobacco, 
much esteemed and sought after by the mountain tribes. There 
was something sinister, however, in the look of this Indian, 
that inspired distrust. By degrees, the numlier of his people 
increavscd, until, by midnight, there were twenty-one of them 
about the camp, who began to be impudent and troublesome. 
The greatest uneasiness was now felt for the safety of tiio 
horses and effects, and every one kept vigilant watch through- 
out the night. 

The morning dawned, however, without any unpleasant 
occurrence, and Mr. Stuart, having purchaseil all the buffalo 
meat that the Crows had to sjjare, prepared to dei)art. His 
Indian acquaintance, however, were disposed for further deal- 
ings ; and above all, anxious for a supply of gunpowder, for 
which they offered horses in exchange. Mr. Stuart de<;lined to 
furnish tliem with the dangerous connnodity. They became 
more importunate in their solicitations, until they met with a 
dat refusal. 

The gigantic chief now stepped forward, assmntd a swelliuj^ 
iiir, and sla|)ping himself upon the bri!ast gavi; Mr. i. rooks te 
uuderwland that he was a chief of great power and importance 

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lie isigiiified further that it was customary for groat chiefs 
when tlicy inel, to inaku each other presents. lie reiiiicslt'cl, 
therefore, that Mr. Stuart would nliglil, and give liiiii the lioisc 
upon which he was mounted. This was a noliU* tuiimnl, of (,|,e 
of the wild races of tlic prairies; ou whicii Mr. Stuart sot ffrout 
v:i.hie ; he of course shook liis head at the rccpu'st of tiic (row 
dignitary. Upon this tlie hitter stioch" up to him, and taking 
hokl of him, moved hiiu backward and forward in liis saddle 
as if to make him feel that he was a mere child witliin iiis grasp, 
Mr. Stuart preserved his cahiuiess and still shook his luad. 
The chief then seized the hriille and gave it a jerk tli;it startled 
the horse, and nearly brought the rider to the giound. Mr. 
Stuart instantly drew forth a pistol and pri'sentcd it at the 
head of the buUy-ruflian. In a twinkling, his swagge!iii<>; was 
at an end, and he dodged behind his horse to escape tiie ex- 
pected shot. As his subject Crows gazed on the alTray from a 
little distance, JNIr. Stuart ordered his men to level their lilles 
at them, but not to Hre. The whole crew scampered amonjj; the 
bushes, and throwing themselves upon the ground, vaiiisluxl 
from sight. 

The chieftain thus left alone was confounded for an instant; 
but recovering himself, witii true Indian shrewdness, burst into 
a loud laugh, and atTected to turn off the whole matter as a 
piece of pleasantry. Mr. Stuart by no means relished such 
equivocal joking, but it was not his policy to get into a quarrel; 
so he joined with the best grace he could assume, in the merri- 
ment of the jocular giant; and, to c<jusole the latter for the 
refusal of the horse, made him a present of twenty charges of 
I'yowder. They parted, according to all outward professions, 
the best friends in the world ; it was evident, however, that 
nothing but the smallness of his own force, and themaitial array 
and alertness of the white men, had prevented the Crow chief 
!vom proceeding to oi)cn outrage. As it was, his worthy fol- 
lowers, in the course of their brief interview, had contrived to 
purloin a bag containing almost all the culinary utensils of the 

The travellers kept on their way due cast, over a oliaiii of 
hills. The recent rencontre showed them that they were now 
in a land of danger, subject to the wide roaniings of ii pr. '• 
CiOUS tribe; nor in fact, had they gone many miles before lli • 
beheld sights calculated to inspii-e auxu'ly and al:irui. From 
the summits of some of the loftiest moinitains, in diiiiniit 
directions, eohiuins of smoke Ix-gan to rise. Tliese lluv iin- 
cludud to be signals made by tiie runuers of the Crow" eiiitl- 



tain to siiintnon the slras<;lers of his hand, so !ih to pnisiic 
tlu'Mi with jiifiiLcr forci'. Si<jn!ils of tlii.s kind, iiuide l>y oiil- 
riiniK'is fioiii OIK' central point, will rouse a wide eireiiit of the 
nioimliiiiis in a wonderfully short space of time ; and l)ring the 
stmuii'liuj; hunters and warriors to the standard (jf their chief- 

To keep as much as possible out of the way of these free- 
booters. Mr. Stuart altered his course to the north, and, qnit- 
tiiii; tiic main stream of Miller's Kiver kept up a largt! branch 
tliiil eiiine iii from the mountains. Here they encami)ed after 
a faliiiuinu; march of twenty-live miles. As the night (irew on, 
the iiorses were hobbled or fettered, and tethered (•h>se to the 
camp ; ti vigilant watch was maintained until morning and 
every one slept with his rifle on his arm. 

At sunrise, they were again on the march, still keeping to 
the north. Tlu-y soon began to ascend the mountains, and 
occasionally had wide prospects over the surrounding country. 
Not a sign of a Crow was to be seen ; but this did not assure 
tlieni of their security, well knowing the perseverance of these 
savages in dogging any party they intend to rob, and the 
stealthy way in which they can conceal their movements, 
keeping along ravines and detiles. After a mountain scramble 
of twenty -one miles they encamped on the margin of a stream 
running to the north. 

In tile evening llierc was an alarm of Indians and every one 
was instantly on the alert. They proved to be three miserable 
,Suakes, who were no sooner informed that a band of Crows 
was prowling in the neighborhood, than they nuule otf with 
great signs oif consternation. 

A eoupli' more of weary days and watchful nights brought 
them U) :i strong and rapid stream, running due north, which 
they coneludcd to be one of the uppi-r branches of Snake Hiver. 
It was probal)ly the same since called Salt lliver. They deter- 
mined to bend their course down this river, as it would take 
them still farther out of the dangerous neighborhood of the 
Crows. They then would strike upon ]\Ir. Hunt's track of the 
preceding autunm, and retrace it across the mountains. The 
attempt to lind a better route under guidance of Mr. Miller had 
cost them a large bend to the south ; in resuming Mr. Hunt's 
track, they would at least be sure of their road. They aceord- 
iuijly turned down along the course of this stream, and at the 
e!ul of three days' journey, came to where it was joined by a 
larger river, and assumed a more impetuous character. r.'igi!i:,' 
aud roariujj amuug rocks aud precipices. It pruveil, in fact, 

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to ]w Mad T?ivor, ulroady noU'd iti tlio oxpodition of Mr. Ilunl. 
On tlu- liaiiks of this liver tlicy ciicnniiK'd on Mk> \h\,\\ of Spp. 
U'lnbc)', :it an early hour. 

Six days had now elapsed siiiee tlieir interview witU the 
Crovvs ; diiriiiji; tliat time tiioy had come nearly ii hundred and 
fifty miles to the north and west, without seeinj^ any si<rns of 
those marauders. Thvy considered tliemselves, therefore, he- 
yond (he reach of molestation. a»ul bej^an to relax in tlieir vicri- 
lance, lin<j;erin<i occiisionally for part of a day, where there was 
good pasturaiic The poor horses needed repose. They liml 
been urj^ed on, liy forceil marches, over rugged heights, amoiiu 
rocks and fallen timl)er. or over k)W swampy valleys, imin- 
dated by thi; labors of the beaver. These industrious aiiiirmls 
abouudetl in all the mountain streams, and water courses, 
wherever there wisre willows for their subsistence. Many of 
them they had so com|)letely dammed up as to inundate the low 
grounds, making shallow pools or lakes, and extensive (jiiag- 
mires ; by which the route of the travellers was often impeded. 

On the liith of .Sei)tember, they rose at early dawn ; some 
began to prepare breakfast, and others to arrange the packs 
preparatory to a march. The horses had been hobbled, hut 
left at large to graze upon the adjacent pasture. Mr. Stuart 
was on the bank of a river, at a short distance from the eaiiip, 
when he heard the alarm cry — " Indians ! Indians ! — to arms! 
to arms ! ' ' 

A mounted Crow galloped past the camp, bearing a red flag. 
He reined his steed on the summit of a neighboring knoll, and 
waved his tiaring I'anner. A diabolical yell now broke forth 
on the ojjposite side of the camp, beyond where the horses were 
grazing, and a small troop of savages came galloping up, 
whooping and making a terrific clamor. The horses took 
fright, and dashed across the camp in the direction of the 
standard-bearer, attracted b}' his waving flag, lie inslnnlly 
put spurs to his steed, and scoured ofl", followed by tlu; panic- 
stricken liei'd, their flight being hicreased by the yells ot the 
savages in their rear. 

At the first alarm Mr. Stuart and his comrades had seized 
their ritlcs. and attempted to cut otT the Indians, who were 
pursuing the horses. Their attention was instantly distracted 
by whooi)s and yells in an opposite direction. They now ap- 
prehended that a reserve party was about to carry oft' their 
baggage. They ran to secure it. The reserve party, however, 
galloped by, whooping and yelling in triumph and derision. 
The i«tit of them proved to be their commander, the iUeulical 



giiuit joker iilroady niontiom'(l. \lv was not rant in the .storn 
pooticiil mould of fushioiuihlt' Indiiiii heroism, l>iit on lite con- 
trary, wiis jjrievoiisly ijiven to vuij^ar jocularity. As he paHssed 
]Mr. Stuart and his companions, lie checked liis horse, raised 
liiiiisi'lf in the sachlle, and cla[)ping liis hand on the niost in- 
siilliiig part of his body, uttered some jeering words, which, 
forlniiatcly for their delicacy, they could not understand. 
The rille of Hi^n Jones was levelled in an instant, and he waa 
on tlie point of whi/z-ing a bullet into the target so tauntingly 
displayed. " Not for your life ! not for your life ! " exclaimed 
Ur. Stuart, " you will bring destruction on us all ! " 

It was hard to restrain honest Hen, when the mark was so 
fair and the insult so foul. "Oh, Mr. Stuart," exclaimed he, 
'• only let me have one crack at the infernal rascal, and you 
may keep all the pay that is due to me." 

" I>y heaven, if you lire," cried Mr. Stuart, " I'll blow your 
hrains out. " 

Hy this time the Indian was far out of reach, and had 
rejoined his men, and the whole dare-devil band, with the 
caplmcd horses, scuttled otT along the deliles, their red flag 
llaiiiitiiig overhead, and the rocks echoing to their whoops and 
yells, and demoniac laughter. 

The (uihorsed travellers gazed after them in silent mortifica- 
tion and despair; yet Mr. Stuart could not but admire the 
style and spirit with which the whole exploit had been man- 
tigod, and pronounced it one of the most daring and intrepid 
actions he had ever heard of aniOiig Indians. The whole num- 
ber of the Crows did not exceed twenty. In this way a small 
jrant; of lurkers will hurry off the cavalry of a large war party, 
for when once a drove of horse are seized with a panic, they 
become frantic, and nothing short of broken necks can s op 

No one was more annoyed by this unfortunate occurrence 
than IJen Jones. He declared he would actually have given his 
whole ariears of pay, auiounting to upwards of a year's wages, 
ratlier than be balked of such a capital shot. Mr. Stuart, how- 
ever, represented what might have been the consequence of 
so rash an act. Life for life is the Indian maxim. The whole 
tribe would have made common cause in avenging the death 
of a warrior. The party were but seven dismounted men, with 
a wide mountain region to traverse, infested by these people, 
and which might all be roused by signal fires. In fact, the 
conduct of the band of nnirauders in question, showed the 
perseverance of savages wheu once they have fixed their miudii 




npon :\ projoot. Tlioso follows had pvidontly boon silontly md 
secret ly »l<>;-',iiiiifj; Hie party f<»i" !i week past, and a distance of a 
hundriMl and lifty miles, keeping out of mglit l)y day, linkinir 
alxjiit the eneanipnient at night, watching all their niovenionts^ 
and wailing for a favorable monienl when they shonld he ofT 
their guard. The menace of Mr. Stuart in their first inter- 
view, to shoot the giant chief with his pistol, and the fn;fht 
caused among the warriors by presenting the riiles, had prob- 
ably added the stimulus of pitpie to their usual horse-stealiii" 
pvopensities, and in this mood of niinil they would douljtloss 
have followed the i)arty throughout the whole course over 
the Rocky Mountains, rather than be disappointed in their 


Few reverses in this changeful world are more complete and 
disheartening than that of a traveller, suddenly uidiorsed, in 
the midst of the wilderness. Our unfortunate travellers con- 
templated their situation, for a time, in perfect dismay. A 
long journey over rugged mountains and immeasurable plains 
lay befoi'c them, which they must painfully i)erform on foot, 
and every thing necessary for subsistence or defence must be 
carried on their shoulders. Their dismay, however, was but 
transient, and thev immediately set to work, with that prompt 
expediency i)roduced by the exigencies of the wilderness, to lit 
themselves for the change in their condition. 

Their first attention was to select from their baggage such 
articles as were indispensable to their journey ; to make them 
up into convenient i)acks, and to deposit the residue in caches. 
The whole day was consumed in these occupations; at night 
they made a scanty meal of their remaining provisions, and 
lay down to sleep with heavy hearts. In the morning, lliey 
were up and about at an early hour, and bogan to prepare their 
knapsacks for a march, while IJen Jones repaired to an old 
beaver trap which he had set in the river bank at some little 
distance from the camj). He was rejoiced to find a middle- 
sized beaver tbere. suliieient for a morning's meal to ills 
hungry conu'ades. On his way b:!ck with his prize, be ol)- 
served two heads ])eeiiii,ij; ovei- ibe eclgt; of an impending clitY, 
several hundred I'eeL bigb, wliicb lie supposed to be a coiipli> of 
wolves As be continued on, be now and then cast bis eye up; 
the heads were still there, lookiny, down with fixed and wuteh- 



fill jjazo. A suspicion now flashed across his mind that tlicy 
inicrht 1)C Inf'.uii scouts; and hati they not Itccn far aliovc tho 
reach of his rifle, he would undoubtedly have regaleil thcra 
with a shot. 

On arriving at he camp, he directed the attention of his 
comrades to these aerial observers. The same idea was at lirs( 
entertained, that they were wolves; but tlieir inniiovablc 
watchfulness soon satisfied every one that they were Indians. 
It was concluded that they were watchin<T tlu; niovcnients of 
the party, to discover their place of concealment of such ar- 
ticles as they would be compelled to leave behind, 'i'iiere was 
no likelihood that the cac/te.s wouhl escape the search of such 
keen eyes and experienced rummafifers, and the idea was in- 
tolerable that any more booty shouhl fall into their hands. To 
disappoint them, therefore, the travellers stiipped the aichcs of 
the articles deposited there, and collectin<i together every thing 
that they could not carry away with them, made a bonfne of 
all that would burn, and threw the rest into the river. There 
was a forlorn satisfaction in thus balking the Crows, by the 
destruction of their own i)roperty ; and, having thus gratified 
their pique, they shouldered their packs, about ten o'clock in 
the morning, and set out on their pedestrian wayfaring. 

The route they took was down along the banks of Mad 
River. This stream makes its way through the defiles of the 
mountains, into the plain below Fort Henry, where it termi- 
nates in Snake River. Mr. Stuart was in hopes of meeting 
with Snake encampments in the plain, where he might pro- 
cure a couple of horses to transport the baggage. In such 
case, he intended to resume his eastern course across the 
mountains, and endeavor to reach the Cheyenne River before 
winter. Should he fail, however, of obtaining horses, he would 
probably be compelled to wintei on the I'acific side of the 
mountains, somewhere on the head waters of the Spanish or 
Colorado River. 

With all the care that had been observed in taking nothing 
with them that was not absolutely necessary, the poor pedes- 
trians were heavily laden, and their burdens added to the 
fatigue of their rugged road. They sufTered much, too, from 
hunger. The trout they caught were too poor t(j yield much 
nourishment; their main tlependence, therefore, was upon an 
old beaver trap, which they had providentially retained. 
Wlieuever they were fortunate enough to eutrap a beaver, it, 
was cut up immediately and distributed, that each man might 
carry his share. 





'». ' 

i ,'!• ' 

After two days of toilsomo travel, diiriiifj which (Iky nuulfl 
but eifjhteeii miles, Uiey .stopped on the 21st to Ituild two mfts 
on wliieh to eross to the north si(h' of tlie river. On thcsr they 
emhurked on the foUowin^j; inorninji, four on one nirt. and 
three on tlie other, and puslicd holdly from shore, I'iiKlin,! 
the rafts sullleiently lirn) and sti-ady to witlistand the iuii<rh 
and rapid water, they eiianj^ed tlieir mimls, and instead of 
cro.ssing, ventured to float down with the current. 'I'lic ijvcr 
w.'is in <reneral very rapid, and from one to two hnndicil yanU 
in width, wimUng in I'very direction thronnii niouMt;iiiis of 
hard bhiek roeiv, covered with pines and eetjars. The nioun. 
tains to tiic east of the river were spurs of tlie Kocky r:iii:;e, 
and of fireat magnitude; on tlie west were little luitcr 
than hills, bleak and l)arreu. or scantily clothed with stuiittd 

Mad River, though deserving its name from the impetuosity 
of its current, was free from rapids .nnd cascades, and llowtij 
on in a single channel between gravel banks, often fringed with 
cotton-wood and dwarf willows in abundance. These ^avc 
sustenance to immense quantities of beaver, so that the voy- 
ageurs found no difficulty in procuring food. Hen .Fones, also. 
killed a fallow deer and a wolverine, and as they were enulilcd 
to carry the carcasses on their rafts, their larder was well sup- 
plied. Indeed they might have oecasionally shot beavers that 
were swimming in the river as they floated by, but they hu- 
manely spared their lives, being in no want of meat at tiie 
time. In this way they kept down the riv(!r for three days, 
drifting with the current and encamping on land at iii<flit. 
when they drew up their rafts on shore. Toward tlic eveiiintr 
of the third day, they came to a little island on wliicli tluy 
descried a gang of elk. Ben Jones landed, and was fortunate 
enough to wound one, which immediately took to the water, 
but, being unable to stem the current. (Irifted above a iiiik'. 
when it was overtaken and drawn to shore. As a storm was 
gathering, they now encamped on the margin of the river, 
where they remained all the next day, sheltering themselves 
as well as they could from the rain, and hail, and snow, a 
sharp foretaste of the imi)ending winter. During their en- 
campment they employed themselves in jerking a pari of the 
elk for future supply. In cutting up the carcass thev IouirI 
that the animal had been wounded by hunters, about a wcok 
previously, an arrow head and a nmskel ball ri-niaininu' in the 
wounds. In the wilderness every trivial circumstance is a 
matter of anxious speculation. The Snake liidians have no 

f I 


;l' :* 



minfl ; tho oik, theroforc, rould not liavo boon wminded by one 
of thoin. 'I'hoy w^^(' on tho borders of llic country inft-stcil l»y 
the Hliickfoot, who carry llrcarnis. It was conciiKU'd, Ihorc- 
foro, that tho oik had boon luintod by soino of that wandering 
and hostilo trlbo, who, of courso, must bo in tin- noiij;IdM)rhood. 
Tho idoa pnt an ond to tho transient solaci' Ihoy had onjoyotl 
in the ooniparativo roposo aiul abnndanoo of the rivi'r. 

For ihvvAi days lonj^or thoy continued to navij^ato with their 
rafts. Tho recent storm had rendered tlie weather extremely 
cold. They had now floated down tlu; river ab(jut ninely-ono 
miles, when, finding the mountains on the right diminislied to 
moderate sized hills, they landeil, and prepared to resume their 
journey on foot. Accordingly, having spent a day in prepara- 
tions, making moccasons, and parcelling out their jiirked meat 
in packs of twenty pounds to each man, they lurned their 
backs upon the river on the 21>th of September, and struck otT 
to l!ic northeast ; keeping along the southern skirt of tho 
motiiitain on which Henry's Fort was situated. 

Their march was slow and toilsome ; part of the time through 
an alluvial bottom, thickly grown with cotton-wood, hawthorn, 
and willows, and part of the time over rough hills. Three an- 
telopes came within shot, but thoy dared not lire at them, lest 
♦-he report of their rifles should betray them to the Hlackfeet. 
[n the course of the day they came upon a large horse-track, 
apparently about three weeks old, and in the evening encamped 
on the i)anks of a small stream, on a spot which had been 
the camping place of this same bund. 

On the following morning thoy still obscv'od the Indian 
track, but after a time they came to where it separated in 
every direction, and was lost. This showed that the bantl had 
dispersed in various hunting parties, and was, in all proba- 
bility, still in the neighborhood ; it was necessary, therefore, 
to proceed with tho utmost caution. They kept a vigilant eye 
as they marched, upon every height where a scout might be 
posted, and scanned the solitary landscape and the distant 
ravines, to observe any column of smoke ; but nothing of the 
kind was to be seen ; all was indescribably stern and life- 

Toward evening they came to whore there wore several hot 
springs, strongly impregnated with iron and suli)hur, and send- 
ing up a volume of vapor that tainted tho surrounding .uos- 
phere, and might be seen at the distance of a couple of miles. 

Near to these they encamped in a deep gully, which aft'onied 
some concealment. To their great concern, Mr. Crooks, who 

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^ 1 


ll' 1 

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r '-f' . 1 







t 1 






^v I 



I \ 

li 21 

^ ! 

had been indisposed for the two preceding days, had a vloleui 
fever in the night. osi, 

Sliortly after daybreak they resumed tlieir march. On 
emerging from the glen a consultation was lieUl as to tlicir 
course. Sliould tliey continue round tlie ekirt of the moun- 
tain, tliey would be in danger of falling in with the scMltered 
parties of IJlaokfeet, who were probably hunting in Uio plain. 
It was thought most advisable, therefore, to .strike din'ctly 
across the mountain, since the route, thougli rugged and ditfi- 
cult, would be most secure. Tiiis counsel was indignantly de- 
rided by M'Lellan as pusillanimous. Hot-headed and impatient 
at all times, he had been rendered irascible by llie fatiguos of 
the journey, and the condition of his l»^<>t. which were ciiafed 
and sore. lie could not endure the idea oi encountering the 
difliculties of the mountain, and swore he would ratlier face 
all the Blackfeet in the country. He was overruled, however, 
and the party began to ascend the mountain, stiiving, with 
the ardor and emulation of young men, who should he first 
up. M'Lellan, who was double the age of some of his com- 
panions, soon began to lose breath, and fall in the rear. In 
the distribution of burdens, it was his turn to carry tlic old 
beaver trap. Piqued and irritated, he suddenly came to a 
halt, swore he would carry it no farther, and jerked it half 
way down the hill. He was offered in place of it a paekiige of 
dried meat, but this he scornfully threw upon the ground. 
They might carry it, he said, who needed it, for his part, he 
could provide his daily food wit'i his rifle. He concluded by 
flinging off from the i)arty, and ivceping along the skirts of the 
mountain, leaving those, he said, to climb rocks, who wore 
afraid to face Indians. It was in vain that Mr. Stuart rep- 
resented to him the rashness of his conduct, and the dangers 
to which he exposed himself ; he rejected sucli eoiniscl as 
craven. It was equally useless to represent the dangers to 
which he subjected his companions ; as he could l)e discovered 
at a great distance on those naked plains, and the Indians, 
seeing him, would know that there must be other while men 
within reach. M'Lellan turned a deaf ear to every remon- 
strance, and kept on his wilful way. 

It seems a strange instance of perverseness in this man thus 
to fling himself olT alone, in a savage region, where solitude it- 
Bclfwajs dismal, Itut every encounter witl» his fellow-ni;ni lidl 
of peril. Such, however, is tiie hardness of spirit, and the in- 
sensibility to danger that grow upon men in the wihicriiess. 
M'Leiiau, moreover, was a man of peculiar temperament, uu- 



eovernablc in his will, of a courage that absohitely know no 
fear, and somewhat of a braggart spirit, that took a pride in 
doing despenito und hare-brained tilings. 

Mr. Stuart and his party found the passage of the mountain 
somewhat difficult, on account of the snow, which in many 
places was of considerable depth, though it was now ))ut the 1st 
of 0<'loher. They crossed the summit early in the afternoon, 
and ."elu'ld below them a plain about twenty miles wide, 
bounded on the opposite side by their old acquaintances, the 
I'ilot Knobs, tliose towering mountains which had served Mr. 
Hunt as landmarks in part of his route of the preceding year. 
Through the intermediate plain wandered a river about fifty 
yards wide, sometimes gleaming in open day, but oftener run- 
ning through willowed banks, which marked its serpentine 

Those of the party who had been across these mountains 
pointed out much of the bearings of tlie country to Mr. Stuart. 
They showed him in what direction must lie the deserted post 
called Henry's Fort, where they had abandoned their horses 
and embarked in canoes, and they informed him that the 
stream which wandered through the plain below them, fell 
i ;,-> Henry River, half way between the fort and the mouth of 
Mad or Snake River. The character of all this mountain region 
was decidedly volcanic ; and to the northwest, between Henry's 
Fort and the source of the Missouri, Mr. Stuart observed 
several very high peaks covered with snow, from two of which 
smoke ascended in considerabti volumes, apparently from 
craters, in a state of eruption. 

On their way down the mountain, when they liad reached 
the skirts, they descried M'Lellan at a distance, in the advance, 
traversing the p.'ain. Whether he saw tliem or not, he showed 
no disposition to rejoin them, but pursued his sullen and soli- 
tary way. After descending into the plain, they kei)t on 
about six miles, until they reached the little river, which was 
here about knee deep, and richly fringed with willows. Here 
they encamped for the night. At this encampment the fever 
of Mr. Crooks increased to sm h a degree that it was impossible 
for him to travel. Some of tue men were strenuous for Mr. 
Stuart to proceed without him, urging the imminent (hmger 
they were exposed to by delay in that unknown and l)arr(!U 
region, infested by tht most treacherous and inveterate of ftjcs. 
They represented tht't the season was rapidly advancing; the 
weather for some days had been extn-mely c(;ld ; the nioiin- 
tains were already almost impassable from snow, and would 




800D present effectual barriers. Their provisions were ex 
hausted ; there was no game to be seen, and they did not dare 
to use their rifles, through fear of drawiug upon tluMn the 

The picture thus presented was too true to be contradicted 
and made a deep impression on the mind of Mr. Stuart ; but 
the idea of abandoning a fellow-being, and a coniradi', in such 
a forlorn situation, was too repugnant to liis ft-oliii^s to lie 
admitted for an instant. He represented to tlie men tliat the 
malady of Mr. Crooks could not be of long duration, and that 
in all probability he would be able to travel in the conrsse of a 
few days. It was with great difficulty, however, that he pro- 
vailed upon them to abide the event. 




A3 the travellers were now in a dangerous neighlwrliood 
whore the report of a rifle might bring tlie savages upon them, 
they had to depend upon their old beav* >trap for siil)sistoiice. 
The little river on wiiich tlu^y were encamped gave many 
" beaver signs," and Ben Jones set off at daybreaii, along the 
willowed banks, to find a proper trapping-place. As lie was 
making his way among tlie thickets, witli iiis tiap on his 
shoulder and his rifle in his hand, he he; .-d a crashiiiLr sound. 
and turning, beheld a huge grizJy bear advancing n,)()n hun 
with a terrific growl. The sturdy Kentuckian was dot to bo 
intimidated by man or monster. Leveliiig his rifle, lie pulled 
trigger. The bear was wounded, but not mortally ; instead. 
however, of rushing upon his assailant, as is generally the case 
with this kind of bear, he retreated into the Inislies. Jones 
followed him for some distance, but with suitable caution, and 
Bruin effected his escape. 

As there was every prospect of a detention of some days iu 
this place, and as the supplies of ti.>e beaver-trap were too pre- 
carious to be depended upon, it became absolutely necessary to 
run some risk of discovery by hunting in the neigliborliood. 
Ben Jones, therefore, obtained permission to range witli his 
riy<.i some distance from the camp, a'.il otT to beat up tlie 
riviT banks, in del'ance of bear or IJlackfeet. 

He returned in great spirits in ihe course of a few lioins, 
having come upon a gang of elk about six miles olf, ami killed 



were ex. 
i<l not flare 
tlioin ilie 

iliiiirt; but 
<;lis in such 
i",^'^ to l)e 
''11 tliat the 
II. and that 
ionise of a 
lut he pro. 

iipDii them, 
ua\c many 
along the 
As lie was 
rap on his 
liiiiii soiiiui, 
; iijioii him 
s <Ktt to be 
^', lie pulled 
y ; instead, 
lly till! case 
los. Jones 
aution, aud 

)nio (lays iu 
vw too [ire- 
lecessary to 
>;t' wiih hia 
l)e:il lip the 

few llOlll'S, 

aud killed 

five. This was joyful news, anil the party immediately moved 
forward to the place where he had left the carcasses. They 
wore olilij;i'd to support Mr. Crooks the whole distance, for he 
was iiiialile to walk. Here they reiuaiued for two or three 
days, fi'astiiiii; heartily on elk meat, and drying as much as 
thi'V would be able to curry away with them. 

fiy the r>th of October, some simple prescriptions, together 
widi an " Indian sweat," had so far beuelited Mr. Crooks, that 
he WHS enabled to move about ; they, therefore, set forward 
elowly, dividing his pack and accoutrements among them, and 
niade a creeping day's progress of eight miles south. Their 
route for the most part lay through swamps, caused by the 
iudustrious labors of the beaver ; for this little animal had 
daiiuned up numerous small streams issuing from the Pilot 
Ivuob Mountains, so that the low grounds u.'i their borders were 
completely inundated. In the cou^^ie of their m.Trch they killed 
a grizzly bear, with fat on its tlauk upwards of three inches in 
thickness. This was an acceptable addition to their stock of 
elk meat. The next day Mr. Crooks was sulliciently recruited 
iu strength to be able to carry his rifle and pistols, and they 
made a march of seventeen miles along the borders of the plain. 

Their journey daily became more toilsome, and their suffer- 
ings more severe, as they advanced. Keeping up the channel 
of a river, they traversed the rugged summit of the Pilot Knob 
Mountain, covered with snow nine inches deep. For several 
(lays they continued, bending their course as much as [lossible 
to the east, over a succession of rocky heights, deep valleys, 
aud rapid streams. Sometimes their dizzy path lay along the 
margin of perpendicular precipices, several hundred feet m 
height, where a single false step might precipitate them into 
the rocky bed of a torrent which roared below. Not the least 
part of iheir weary task was the fording of the numerous wind- 
ings and branchings of the mountain rivers, all boisterous iu 
their currents and icy cold. 

Hunger was added to their other sulTerings, and soon be- 
came the keenest. The small supply of bear and elk meat 
which tiiey had been able to carry, in addition to their [irevious 
huidens, served but for a very short time. In their anxiety to 
struiigle forward, they had l)ut little time to hunt, and scarce 
any game mi their path. For three days they had nothing to 
(;at but a small duck and a few poor trout, 'i'hry occasioiuilly 
saw numbers of antelopes, and tried every art to get within 
shot; but the timid auiuuvls were more than commonly wild, 
aud ufter tautaliziug th hungry huutera for a time, bounded 

f i; 

, ,;.i. 

4 -I 



I I', 


away beyond all chance of pursuit. At length they were for- 
tunate enough to kill one ; it was extremely meagre, and 
yielded but a scanty supply ; but on this they subsisted for 
several days. 

On the 11th, they encamped on a small stream, near the foot 
of the Spanish River Mountain. Here they met with traoesof 
that wayward and solitary ])eiug, M'Lellan, who was still keep- 
ing on ahead of them through these lonely mountains. lie had 
encamped tlu' night before on this stream ; they found the em- 
bers of the tire by which he had slept, and the remains of a 
miserable wolf on which he had supped. It was evident ho had 
suffered, like themselves, the pangs of hunger, though ho had 
fared better at this encampment ; for they had not a mouthful 
to eat. 

The next day they rose hungry and alert, and set out with 
the dawn to climb the mountain, which was steep and dilfioult. 
Traces of volcanic eruptions were to be seen in various direc- 
tions. There was a species of clay also to be met with, out of 
which the Indians manufacture pots and jars, and dishes. It is 
very fine and light, of an agreeable smell, and of a brown color 
spotted with yellow, and dissolves readily in the mouth. Ves- 
sels manufactured of it are ' aid to impart a pleasant smell and 
flavor to any liquids. These mountains abound also with min- 
eral earths, or chalks of various colors ; especially two kinds of 
ochre, one a pale, the other a bright red, like vermilion ; much 
used by the Indians, in painting tlieir bodies. 

About noon the travellers reached the ' ' drains ' ' and hrooks 
that formed the head waters of the river, and later in the day 
descended to where the main body, a shallow stream, about a 
hundred and sixty yards wide, poured through its mountain 

Here the poor famishing wanderers had expected to find 
buffalo in abundance, and had fed their hungry hopes durin;; 
their scrambling toil, willi tiie thoughts of n^isted ribs, juicy 
humps, and broiled marrow bones. To their gieat disappoint- 
ment the river banks were deserted ; a few old tracks, showed 
where a herd of bulls had some time before passed along, but 
not a horn nor hump was to be seen in the sterile landtscaiie. 
A few antelopes looked down ui)on them from the brow of a 
crag, J.uit flitted away out of sight at tlu' least approach of tlie 

In the most starving mood they kept for several miles farther 
along the bank of the river, seeking for " heaver signs.'" 
Finding some, they encamped in the vicinity, and lieu Jonea 




immpdifitt'l}" i)rocco(lod to pct tlio trap. TI103' had scarce coirie 
to a halt, when they porccivtMl a, hirp;o smoke at some (listaiico 
to tlii^ southwest. 'I he sij^lit was liMih'(l wilh joy, for tliey 
tiiihtt'i) it initi;ht rise from some Indian camp, wliere they could 
nroc'iiie sometliiiig to cat, and the dri-ad of starvation had now 
ovcic'inc even the terror of the Uhicivfeot. Le Clerc, one of 
tlieCiUiadians, was instantly despatched by Mr. Stuart, to recon- 
noitri'; anii the travellers sat up till a late hour, watching and 
listi'iiini^ for his return, hopiuij; he might bring them food. Wn\- 
niirjit :irrivc(l, but Le Clerc (lid not make his appearance, and 
they lay down once more supperless to sleep, comforting them- 
selves with the hopes that their old beaver trap might furnish 
them with a l)rcakrast. 

At daybreak they hastened with famished eagerness to the 
trap — they found in it the forcpaw of a beaver; the sight of 
which tantalized their hunger, and added to their dejection. 
They resumed their journey with flagging spirits, but had not 
gone far when they perceived Le Clerc approaching at a dis- 
tance. They hastened to meet him, in hopes of tidings of good 
cheer. He had none to give them ; but news of that strange 
waiulerer, M'Lellan. The smoke had risen from his encamp- 
ment, which took fire while he was at a little distance from it 
fishing. Le Clerc found hnn in forlorn condition. His fishing 
hail been unsuccessful. During twelve days that he had been 
wandering alone through these savage mountains, he had found 
scarce any thing to cat. He had been ill, wayworn, sick at 
heart, still he had kept forward ; but now his strength and his 
stul)bornness were exhausted. He expressed his satisfaction at 
hearing that Mr. Stuart and his i)arty were near, and said he 
would wait at his camp for their arrival, in hopes they would 
give him something to eat, for without food he declared he 
should not be al)le to proceed much farther. 

When the party reached the i)lace, they found the poor 
/ellovv lying on a parcel of withered grass, wasted to a perfect 
skeleton, and so feeble that he could scarce raise his head or 
speak. The presence of his old comrades seemed to revive 
hini ; but they had no food to give him, for they themselves 
were almost starving. They urged him to rise and accompany 
them, but he shook his head. It was all in vain, he said ; there 
was 110 |)rospcct of their getting speedy relief, and without it 
he siiould perish b}' the way ; he might as well, therefore, stay 
and die where he was. At length, ai'ter much persuasion, they 
got him upon his legs ; his ritle and other effects were shared 
among them, aud he was cbtier«d uxd aided forward. In tlxia 


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r !i 

way tlu'y proocedod for sovontccn miles, over a li>vol plnin 
of sand, until, socin<; n. fi-w Miitolopcs in tin; (lintiiiirc, tiny 
tMiciimpi'd on llic margin of a small stn.'am. All now tliiil wdV 
capablo of the exertion, turned cut to hunt for a nicMJ. 'riu.,,. 
efforts were fruitless, and after d;irk they returneil to tliuir 
camp, famished almost to desperation. 

As they were preparing for the third time to lay down to 
sleep without a mouthful to eat, Le Clcrc, one of the Ciin.v 
dians, naunt and wild with Inniger, approached Mr. Stuart with 
hisiiiui iu liis hand. " It was all in vain," he said, " to attonipt 
to proceed any farther without food. They had a barren i)l;iin 
before them, three or four days' journey in extent, on wliidi 
nothing was to be procured. They must all perish before tlioy 
could get to the end of it. It was better, therefore, tli;it one 
should die to save the rest." He proposed, then^fore, that 
they should cast lots; adding as an inducement for Mv. Slnart 
to assent to the proposition, that he as leader of the party, 
should be exempted. 

Mr. Stuart shuddered at the horrible proposition, and eiidcav- 
ored to reason with the man, but his words were unavairmir. 
At length, snatching up his ritle, he threatened to shoot liim on 
the spot if he persisted. The famislied wretch dropped on his 
knees, begged pardon in the most abject terms, and j)V()iiiised 
never again to otfend him with such a suggestion. 

C^uiet being restored to the forloru encampment, each one 
souglit repose. Mr. Stuart, however, was so exhausted by the 
agitation of the past scene, acting upon his emaciated frunii', 
that he could scarce crawl to his mlscral)le couch ; wliere, net- 
wit'ista))ding his fatigues, he jiassed a sleepless night, revolvin;^' 
upon their dreary situation, and the desperate prospect before 

Before daylight the next morning, tlicy were up and on tliolr 
7,-'iy ; thev bad nothing to detain them ; no breakfast to pre|);u'f, 
ami to linger was to pcrisli. They proceeded, however, Imt 
slowly, for all were faint and weak. Here and there tiiov 
jiassod the skulls and bones of buffaloes, which showed that 
tliese animals must have been hunted here during tiie past 
season ; the sight of these bones served only to nK)ck their 
misery. After travelli?ig about nine miles along the plain, 
they ascended a range of hills, and had scarcely gone two niiles 
farther, when to their great joy, ilioy discovered "an old run- 
down buffalo bull;" the laggard probably of some herd that 
had been hunted and harassed through the mountains. Tlu'V 
now all stretched themaeires out to encompass and uialve yuu' 

( ■ 



of this solitary nniiimi, for tlicir lives ilopcndid upon tlioir suc- 
cess. After ('t)iisi(K'r:il»lc Iroiiljlc niid iiiliiiile niixiety, tluy jit 
loiigtii siiceccdcd in killing liini. He wiis instantly Ihiyed and 
put up, and so ravenous was Llieir hunger that they devoured 
some of the llesh raw. The residue they carried to a brook 
iieiu- hy, where they encamped, lit a lire, and began to cook. 

Mr. Stuiut was fearful that in their famished state, they 
would eat to excess and injure themselves. He caused a soup 
to be made of some of the meat, and that each should take a 
([iiaiitity of it as a prelude to his supper. This may have had 
a luiiclieial effect, for tlnnigh they sat up the greater part of 
the uigiit, cooking and crauuning, no one suffered any ineonve- 

The next morning the feasting was resumed, and about mid- 
day, feeling somewhat recruited j^ud refreshed, they set out on 
their journey with renovated spirits, shaping their course 
towanl a mountain, the summit of which they saw towering in 
the east, and near to which they expect d to find the head 
waters of the ISIissouri. 

As they proceeded, they continued to see the skeletons of 
butTaloes scattered about the plain in every direction, which 
showed that tlu!re had been much hunting here by the Indians 
ill the recent season. Farther on they crossed a large Indian 
trail, funning a deep path, about fifteen days old, which went 
iu a north direction. They concluded it to have been made by 
some numerous baud of Crows, who had hunted in this country 
for the greater part of the summer. 

Ou the following day they forded a stream of considerable 
magnitude, with banks clothed with pino trace. Among these 
they found the traces of a large Indian camp, which had evi- 
dently been the headquarters of a hunting expedition, from the 
great (juantities of buffalo bones strewed about the neighbor- 
liood. The camp had apparently been abandoned about a 

In the centre was a singular lodge one hundred and fifty feet 
in circiunference, supported by the trunks of twenty trees, 
about twelve inches in diameter and forty-four feet long. 
Across these were laid branches of pine and willow trees, so as 
to yield a tolerable shade. At the west end, immediately oppo- 
site to the door, three bodies lay interred with their feet toward 
the cast. At the head of each grave was a branch of red cedar 
fniiily planted in the ground. At the foot was a large luiftalo'a 
skull, painted black. Savage ornaments were suspended iu 
various yavia of the edifice, and a great number of childrt^u'g 




. !*; 

I : 




rnoccasons. Krom ihv nuifTiiitiHlf of this bnildinjj, and Uio timfl 
and labor lliat must li:ivt> I)0(Mi expcndi'd in erecting it, the 
boilii's which it cc^ntivined were probably those of noti^d warriors 
ami hunters. 

The n(!xt day, October 17th, they passed two large tributary 
streams of the Spanish River. They took their rise in the 
Wind River Mountains, which ranged along to the east, stu. 
pcndously high and rugged, composed of vast masses of |)lack 
rock, almost destitute cf wood, and covered in luanj- places 
with snow. This day they saw a few buffalo bulls, and some 
antelopes, but could not kill any ; and their stock of provisions 
began to gi'ovv scanty as well as poor. 

On the bStli, after crossing a mountain ridge, and traversing 
a plain, they waded one of the branches of the Spanish River, 
and on ascending its bank, met with about a hundred ami 
thirty Snake Indians. They were friendly in their demeanor, 
and conducted them to their encampment, which was about 
three miles distant. It consisted of about forty wigwams, con- 
structed principally of pine branches. The Snakes, like most 
of their nation, were very poor ; the marauding Crows, in their 
late excursion through the country, had picked this unluciiy 
baud to the very bone, carrying off their horses, several of 
their squaws, and most of their effects. In spite of their pov- 
erty, they were hospitable in the extreme, and made the hungry 
strangers welcome to their cabins. A few trinkets procured 
from them a supply of buffalo meat, and of leather ibr nioc- 
casons, of which the party were greatly in need. The most 
valuable prize obtained from them, however, was a horse; 
it was a sorry old animal, in truth, but it was the only one 
that remained to the poor fellows, after the fell swoop of the 
Crows ; yet this they were prevailed upon to part with to their 
guests for a pistol, an axe, a knife, and a few other trifling 

They had doleful stories to tell of the Crows, who were en- 
cami)ed on a river at no great distance to the east, and were in 
such force that they dared not venture to seek any satisfac- 
tion for their outrages, or to get back a horse or squaw. They 
endeavored to excite the indignation of their visitors by ao- 
counts of robberies and murders committed on lonely white 
hunters and trappers by Crows and Blackfeet. Some of these 
were exaggerations of the outrages already mentioned, sus- 
tained by some of the scattei-ed members of Mr. Hunt's expedi- 
tion ; others were in all probability sheer fabrications, to whicli 
the Snakes seemed to havu been » little prune. Mr. Stuart -da- 

Pi '] 




Btircd thoin that the day was not far distant when the whites 
would make their power t be felt throu<ihout that country 
and take signal vengeance on the perpetrator.s of tliese mis- 
deeds. The Snakes expressed great joy at the intelligence, and 
offered their services to aid the righteous cause, brightening 
fli the tlioughts of taking the Held with sucii potent allies, and 
(loul)tless anticipating their turn at stealing liorses and abduct- 
ing squaws. Their offers of course were accepted ; the calumet 
of peace was produced, and the two forlorn [)owers smoked 
eternal friendship between themselves, and vengeance upon 
their common spoilers, the Crows. 


Br sunrise on the followiiig morning (October 19th), the 
travellers uad loaded their old horse with buffalo meat, sulH- 
cient for five days' provisions, and, taking leave of their new 
allies, the poor but hospitable Snakes, set forth in somewhat 
better spirits, though the increasing cold of the weather and the 
sight of the snowy mountains which they had yet to traverse, 
were enough to chill their very hearts. The country along this 
branch of the Spanish River, as far as they could see, was j^er- 
fectly level, bounded by ranges of lofty mou.itains, both to the 
east and west. They proceeded about three miles to the south, 
where they came again upon the large trail of Crow Indians, 
which they had crossed four days previously, made, no doubt, 
by the same marauding band that had plundered the Snakes ; 
and which, according to the account of the latter, was now en- 
camped on a stream to the eastward. The trail kept on to the 
southeast, and was so well beaten by horse and foot, that they 
supposed at least a hundred lodges had passed along it. As it 
formed, therefore, a convenient highway, and ran in a proper 
direction, they turned into it, and determined to keep along it 
as far as safety would permit ; as the Crow encampment must 
be some distance off, and it was not likely those savages would 
return upon their steps. They travelled forward, therefore, all 
that (biy, in the track of their dangerous piedecessors, which 
led them across mountain streams, and along ridges, and 
through narrow valleys, all tending generally toward the soulh- 
east. The wind blew coldly from the northeast, witii occasio i:d 
Hurries of auuw, which luttde Uiem encamp early, on the slu 1- 


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m 1 


tercd banks of a brook. The two Canadiaim, ValK'-c aim ' .«, 
Clerc, killed a young biilTalo bull in the evt'iiin<i, wliieli wms i,i 
good conditiou, and alTord> d tlit-ni a plentiful Hupjily (;|' \^y^.^]^ 
beef. They loaded their spits, tlu'rel'orc, and crjuiiiiud tluir 
camp kettle with meat, and while the wind whistled, and ilm 
snow whirled around them, huddled around a rouniuii liri", l)a>luii 
iu warmth, and comforted both houI and body with a heart y ainl 
invigorating meal. No enjoyments have greater /-est than ilwsv 
snatched in the very mid«t of dilllculty and danger; audit is 
probable the yunn- wayworn and weather-beaten travclKiH 
relished these creature comforts the more highly from tin; 
surrounding desolation, and the ilaiigerous proximity (jf the 

The snow which had fallen in the nigiit made it late in the 
morning before the party loaded their st)litarv pack-horse, ami 
resumed their march. They hail not goni- far before the Cmw 
trace which they were following changed its direction, and 
bore to the north of east. They had already begun to feel 
themselves on dangerous ground in kee[)iiig along it, as they 
might be descried by some scouts and s|>ies of that race of 
Ishmaelites, whose predatory life reipiired them to be con- 
stantly on the alert. On seeing the trace turn so much to the 
north, therefore, they abandoned it, and kej)t on their c(;ui>e 
to the southeast for eighteen miles, through a beautiful tui- 
dulating country, having the main chain of mountains on tiic 
left, and a considerably elevated ridge on the right. Here tlie 
mountain ridge which divides Wind Kiver from the head 
waters of the Columbia and Spanish Rivt-rs enils abruptly, ami 
winding to the north of east, becomes the dividing barrier lic- 
tween a branch of the Big Horn and Cheyenne Kivers, and 
those head waters which How into the Missouri below the Sioux 

The ridge which lay on the right of the travellers having now 
become very low, they passed over it, and came into a level 
plain about ten miles in circumference, and incrusted to the 
depth of a foot or eighteen inches with salt as while as «now. 
This is furnished by numerous salt springs of limpid uater, 
which are continually welling up, overllowing their borders 
and fornung beautiful crystallizations. The Indian tribes of 
the interior are excessively fond of this salt, and repair to the 
valley to collect it, but it. is held in distastt' by llie tribes of tlio 
sea-coast, who will eat nothinji that has been cured or seasuned 
by it. 

This evening Ihey encamped on the banks of a small slrcaui 



In tho oppn pr.iirlc. The northoast wind wns korn and cut- 
(jiijjr; tlicy liiul nothing whcrowith to rnnkc a liiv, Itiit a inty 
irrowtli of sHj^iN or wormwood, and wen; fain to wrap tlicnisclvca 
111) in tlicir blankets, and huddle thcmst'lves in their "nests," 
at an early hour. In the eoursc of the eveninj^, Mr. M'Lcllan. 
who had now regained his strength, killed a buffalo, but it was 
some (listanee from the eamp, and they postponed supplying 
tlu'inselves from the carcass until the following morning. 

The iii'xt day (October 21 st) the cold continued, accompanied 
hy snow. They set forward on their bleak and toilsonie way, 
keeping to the east-northeast, toward the lofty summit of a 
mountain, which it was necessary for them to cross, nefove 
they readied its base they passed another large trail, steering 
a little to the right of the point of the mountain. This they 
presumed to have been made by another band of Crows, who 
had probably been hunting lower down on the Spanish River. 

Tiie severity of the weather compelled them to encamp at 
the end of fifteen miles, on the skirts of the mountain, where 
they found sufllcient dry aspen trees to supply them with lire, 
but they sought iu vaiu about the neighborhood for a spring or 
rill of water. 

At daybreak they were up and on the march, scrambling up 
the mountain side for the distance of eight painf'd miles. 
From the casual hints given in the travelling memoranda of 
Mr. Stuart, this mountain would seem to offer a rich field of 
speculation for the geologist. Here was a plain three miles 
in (lianieter, strewed with pumice stones and other volcanic 
reliqiies, with a lake in the centre, occupying what had prob- 
ably been the crater. Here were also, in some places, deposits 
of marine shells, indicating that this mountain crest had at some 
remote period been below the waves. 

After pausing to repose, and to enjoy these grand but savage 
and awful scenes, they began to descend the eastern side of the 
mountain. The descent was rugged and romantic, along deep 
ravines and defiles, overhung with crags and cliffs, among 
whieli they beheld nuiul)ers of the ahsahta or bighorn, skipi)ing 
fearlessly from rock tt) rock. Two of them they succeeded in 
bringing down with their ritles, as they peered fearlessly from 
the l)row of their airy precipices. 

Arrived at the foot of the mountain, the travellers found 
a rill of water oo/ing out of the earth, and resembling in look 
and taste the water of the Missouri. Here they eiuampe(l for 
the niiilit, and supped sumptuously upon their mountain mutton, 
whiuh they found in j^ood cuuditiou, uud extremely well tasted 

; '« 

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i I 

I n ; ,1) 

The morninp was hrijjjht and intonscly cnU]. F.aily in the 
day thoy cainc upon a strcjitn rimiiiii;j; to the rast, lu'twccn low 
hills of hluisli I'iirtli, stroni^ly impicjrnatcMl with ('opjKMas. ,Mi 
Stuart supposed this to he one of the head waters of ilm 
Missouri, and deteriniued to follow its hanks. After a nmrdi 
:)f twenty-six miles, however, he arrivi-il at the suininit of a 
hill, the prospect of whieh induced hiui to alter his iiilciition. 
He beheld, in every direction south of east, a vast pliiin" 
hoiujded only hy the horizon, throu<ih which waiKhrod the 
stream in (picstion, in a south-soutlu'ast direction. It coiilil 
not, therefore, he a hranch of the Mi.ssouri. lie now <;ave ui) 
all idea of taking the stream for his guide, and sha[)cd lijs 
coui /te toward a range of mountains in the cast, ahout sixlv 
miles distant, near which he hoped to find anotiier stream. 

The weather was now so severe, and the hardships of travel- 
ling so great, that he resolved to halt for the winter, at the 
first eligihlc place. That night they had to cncanj|) on the 
open prairie, near a scanty pool of water, and without any woimj 
to make a lire. The northeast wind blew keenly across iho 
naked waste, and they weri' fain to decamp from their iiihcs- 
pitable Itivouac before the dawn. 

For two days they kept on in an eastward direction, aif!iiii>t 
wintry blasts aiul occasional snow storms. They sulTcn,], 
also, from scarcity of water, having occasionally to use iiu'ltnl 
snow ; this, with the want of pasturage, reduced their old pjuk. 
horse sadly. They saw many tracks of bulTalo, and soino iVw 
bulls, which, however, got the wind of them, and scaiiijarwl 

On the 20th of October they steered east-northeast, for a 
wooded ravine, in a UKJuntain at a small distance from Uio 
base of which, to their great joy, they discovered an ahiuKhmt 
stream, rumilng between willowed banks. Here they linltil 
for the night, and Ben Jones having luckily trapped a hiavir. 
and killed two l)ufTalo l)ulls, they remained all tlie next thiy 
encamped, feasting and reposing, and allowing their jiukil 
horse to rest from his labors. 

The little stream on which they were encamped, was one 
of the head waters of the IMatte River, which Hows into tiie 
Missouri ; it was, in fact, the norlhern fork, or brarich of that 
river, though this the travellers diil not discovei' until loiij; 
afterward. Pursuing the course of this stream for alioiit 
twenty miles, they came to where it forced a passage lliroii^h 
a range of high hills covered with (redars, into an exlcnsive 
low couutry, atfordiug excelkut paaturu to uumerouti heiUs of 



j,„ffn|o. Ticro tlioy killod thrco rows, wliioli were t\\o first 
llicv li.i'l •••'»'" ''''''•■ ♦<• !^'''' li.'iviny; liitlicrlo luul to cnntciit, 
(1,,,'iii.solvrM with liiill Iki'I'. wliicli ill this sciiHon of tln' yvnr is 
vol y poor. 'I'iic htiinp incut alTonlcil th«>iii :i rc[)UHl lit for uii 

hale on the uftcnuMHi of tlio .'W)(h they caiiio to where tho 
stri'iiin, now iiiereased to a considt'iuhh' size, poincd along in 
II ravine between pre cipiees of icd stone, two hundred feet in 
lioi<'ht. l"'or some distance it daslicd alon<j;, over inij^c inassca 
of roelv, with foaminj^ violence, us if exusperated by being 
compressed into so narrow u channel, Mn<l at length leuped 
down u chasm that looked dark und fri<j;litriil in the gathering 

For a part of the next dsiy, tlio wild river, in its capricious 
waiideriniis, led them thi'on^h a varii'ty of striking scenes. 
Atone time they were npoii high plains, like platforms among 
the mountains, witii Ileitis of buffaloes roaming about them; 
;it iuiolliir. among rude rocky deliles, broken into ciilTs and 
piveipiees, where the black-tailed deer bounded (itf among the 
Claims, und the bighorn basked on the sunny brow of tho 

Ill the after part of the day they came to another scene, 
siirpussiiiii in savage grandeur those already described. They 
had Ik'cii travelling for some distance through a pass of the 
iiioiiiitaiiis. keeping parallel with the river, us it roared along, 
out of sight, tiirough a deep ravine. Sometimes their devious 
patli approached tlie margin of clitTs below which the river 
foaiiu'il and boiled and whirled among the masses of rock that 
iuul t'ullcii into its channel. As they cre[)t cautiously on, lead- 
ing their solitary pack-horse along these giddy heights, they 
all at once came to where the river thnnden'd down u succes- 
sion of preci[)ices, throwing up clouds of spruy, and making 
a prodigious din and uproar. The travellers remuined, for a 
lime, ga/iiiu; with minghid awe and delight, at this furiouM 
oataract, to which Mr. Stuart gave, from Uie color of the 
impending rocks, the uuiue of '' The Fiery Murrows." 



V 1 


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> iM I 

■I v\ 

The travellers encamped for the night on the banks of the 
river below the cataract. The night was cold, wi'u, partial 
showers of rain and sleet. The morning dawned gloomily, tlu> 
skies wei" sullen and overcast, and threatened further storms; 
but the little band resumed their journey, in deliunco of the 
weather. The increasing rigor of the season, however, which 
makes itself felt early in these mountainous regions, iuid on 
these naked and elevated plains, brought them to a i)aus(>, and 
a serious deliberation, after they had descended about thirty 
miles farther ah)ng the course of the river. 

All were convinced that it was in vain to attempt to accom- 
plish their journey on foot at this inclement season. They 
had still many hundred miles to traverse before they should 
reach the main course of the Missouri, and their route would 
lie over inunense prairies, naked and bleak, and destitute of 
fuel. The question then was, where to choose their wintoriug 
place, and whether or not to proceed farther down the river. 
They had at first imagined it to be one of the head waters, or 
tril)utary streams, of the Missouri. Afterward, they had 
believed it to be the Rapid, or Quicourt River, in which 
opinion they had not come nearer to the truth ; tliey now, 
however, were persuaded, with equal fallacy, by its iiieliniuif 
somewhat to the north of east, that it was the CheyMuie. If 
so, by continuing down it much farther they must arrive 
among the Indians, from whom the river takes its njune. 
Among these they would be sure to meet some of the Sioux 
tribe. These would apprise their relatives, the piratical Sioux 
of the Missouri, of the approach of a l)and of white traders; so 
that, in the spring time, they would '^e likely to lie waylaiil 
and robbed on their way down the r;ver, by sonic iiarty in 
ambush upon its banks. 

Even should this prove to be the Quicourt or Rapid River, it 
would not be priuhMit to winter much farther down upon its 
banks, as, tlunigh they might be out of the range of tin- Sioux, 
they would lie in the neighborhood of tlie I'oiieas, a Iriho 
nearly as dangerous. It was resolved, tlu'refoiv, since tliey 
must winter sonujwhere on this side of the Missouri, Ui 
descend no lower, liut to keep u[) in tiiese solitary niMnus, 
where they would be in no danger of molestation. 

They were brought the more i)rouq)tly ami unauimoiisly to 


I r 



this derision, by eomintr upon an excellent wintering place, 
tliiit jjiomised evi-ry tiling rccpiisite for their comfort. It was 
oil a line \>v\n\ of llic river, jiint below where it issued out from 
among a ridge of mountains, and bent toward the northeast. 
Here w:iH a beautiful low point of land, covered by cotton- 
woi'il, and surrounded by a thick growth of willow, so as to 
vieUl botli shelter and fuel, as well as materials for building. 
Tiie liver swept by in a strong current, about a hundred imd 
fiftv yards wide. To the southeast were mountains of moder- 
ate iicii: lit, the nearest about two miles off, but the whole chain 
raiiLring to liie east, south, and southwest, as far as the eye 
could reach. Their summits were crowned with extensive 
tracts of i)iteli pine, checkered with small paiches of the quiv- 
ering as[)eii. Lower down were thick forests of firs and red 
cedii'?, growing out in many places from the very fissures of 
the rocks. The mountains were broken and precipitous, with 
huge bluffs protruding from among the forests. Their rocky 
recesses and beetling cliffs afforded retreats to uinumerable 
flocks of the bighorn, while their woody summits and ravines 
abounded with bears and black-tailed deer. These, with the 
numerous lu'rds of buffalo that ranged the lower grounds along 
thi' river, promised the travellers abundant cheer in their winter 

On tlie '2d of November, therefore, they pitched their camp 
for the V. inter, on the woody point, and their first thought was 
to olitain a supply of provisions. Ben Jones and the two Cana- 
dians accordingly sallied forth, accompanied by two others of 
the p:irty, leaving but one to watch the camp, 'iheir lnuiting 
w;is uneonimoiily successful. In the course of two days they 
killed tliiity-two buffaloes, and collected their meat on tlie 
ni:irgin of a small brook, about a mile distant. Fortunately, a 
severe frost fioze the river, so that the meat was easily trans- 
porhd to the ene:iin|)mi'!it. On a succeeding day, a herd of 
hnlTido cMinc^ tramj)ling through the woody bottom on the river 
b:inks. and fifteen more were kill'J. 

It WHS soon discovered, however, that there was game of a 
more dangerous nature in the neighborhood. On one occasion 
Mr. Crooks iiad wandered about a mile from the camp, and 
hill asceiidi'd a sina!l hill commanding a view of the river. 
He was without his ritle, a rare circumstance, for in these 
wild regions, wliei'e one may put up a wild animal, or a wild 
!uili;iu. at every turn, it is customary never to stir from the 
eiiiij -lire unarmed. 'I'lie hill where he stood overlooked the 
[ihice wlii're (111! massacre of thi' biilYalo had taken place. As 


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n ,i, 



iie was looking aronnd on tho nrospoct his oye was oanght by 
an objoet ))olow, moving cliiectly toward him. To his (lisniay 
he (lisooverod it, to be a grizzly boar, with two cubs. Thore 
was no tree at hand into which he could climb ; to run 'voukl 
only be to provoke pursuit, and he should soon be overtaken. 
He threw himself on the ground, therefore, and lay motionless, 
watching the n ovemente of the animal with intense r.uxiety. 
It continued to '•i^ivance until at the foot of the hill, when it 
turned, and made into the woods, having pi'obably gorged it- 
self with buffalo flesh. Mr. Crooks made all hafite back to the 
camp, rejoicing at his escape, and determining- never to stir 
out again without his rifle. A few days after this circum- 
stance, a grizzly bear was shot in the ueighborhcod by Mr. 

As the slaughter of so many bufifaloes had provided the 
party with beef for the winter, in case they met with no 
fuither supply, they now set to work, heart and hand, to build 
a comfortable wigwam. In a littlu 'vhilo the woody promon- 
tory rang with the imwonted sound of lIjo axe. Some of its 
lofty trees were laid low, and by the second evening the cabin 
was complete. It was eight foet wide, and eighteen feet long. 
The walls were six feet high, and the whole was cove.od with 
buffalo skins. The fireplace was in the centre, and the siuoke 
found its way out by a hole in the roof. 

The hunters were next sent out to procure deer-skins for 
garments, raoccasons, and other purposes. They made the 
mountains echo with their rifles, and, in the course of two 
days' hunting, killed twenty-eight bighorns and black-tailed 

The party now revelled in abundance. After all that they 
had suffered from hunger, cold, fatigue, and watchfulness; 
after all their perils from treacherous and savage men, they 
exulted in the snugness and security of their isolated cabin, 
hidden, as thoy thought, even from the p'ying eyes of Indian 
scouts, and stored with creature comfOits ; and they looked 
forward to a winter of peace and quietness ; of roasting, and 
boiling, and broiling, and feasting upon venison, and moun- 
tain mutton, and bear's meat, and marrow bones, and buffalo 
humps, and other hunter's dainties, and of dosing and reposing 
round their fire, and gossii)iug over past dangers and adven- 
tures, and telling long hunting stories, until spring should 
return ; when they would make canoes of buffalo skius and 
float themselves down the river. 

l^>om such halcyon dreams they were startled one moruing 




I' f 



at daybro.ik, bj' a savage yell. They started up, and seized 
tlu'ii lilies. The yell was repeated by two or three voices. 
Ciiiitioiisly peeping out, they beheld, to their dismay, sevi'ral 
huliuii wiirriors among the trees, all armed and painted iu 
wiuiike style ; being evidently bent on some hostile purpose. 

Millor changed countenance as he regarded tlnnn. " We are 
in trouble," said he, "these are some of tlie rascally Arapa- 
liays that robbed me last year." Not a word was uttered by 
the rest of the party, but they silently slung their powder 
horns and ball pouches, and prepared for battle. M'Lellan, 
who bad taken his gun to pieces the evening before, put it 
toi^ether in all haste. He [)roposed that they should break out 
the elay from between the logs, so as to be able to fire upon 
the enemy. 

" Not yet," replied Stuart ; " It will not do to show fear or 
distrust ; we must first hold a parley. Some one must go out 
aud meet them as a friend." 

Who was to undertake the task ? it was full of peril, as the 
envoy might be shot down at the threshold. 

"The leader of a party, ' raid Miller, " always takes the ad- 

" Good ! " replied Stuart ; " I am ready." He immediately 
went forth ; one of the Canadians followed him ; the rest of 
the party remained in garrison, to keep the savages iu check. 

Stuart advanced holding his rifle iu one hand, and extending 
the other to the savage that appeared to be the chief. The 
latter stepped forward and took it ; his men followed his ex- 
ample, and all shook hands with Stuart, in token of friendship. 
They now explained their errand. They were a war party of 
Arapaliay braves. Their village lay on a stream several days' 
jourut'v to the eastward. It had been attacked and ravaged 
during their absence, by a band of Crows, Avho had carried off 
several of their women and most of their horses. They were in 
quest of vengeance. For sixteen days they had been tracking 
the Crows about the mountains, biit had not yet come upon 
them. In the mean time they had met with scarcely any game, 
and were half famished. About two days' previously, they 
had heard the report of firearms among the mountains, and on 
searching in the dn-ection of the sound, had come to a place 
where a deer had been killed. They had immediately put 
themselvt!s upon the track of the hunters, and by following it 
up, had arrived at the cabin. 

Mr. Stuart now invited the ehiaf and another, who aiipeared 
U) be his lieuteuaut, iutu the hut, but uiuUe signs that no ouu 



1 ii 

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^ ' mi 

M r 


'. V!" ' i 

I' . I- 

else w:vs fo pntor. Tho rest hjilted at the door; oIIkts came 
sli-iiii^linu u[). until llic whole party, to the niun!)er of tweiitv. 
tlircc. \v('i\' tialliiTcd Ix'fore tiie liuL. 'I'hey were jirinnd \y\[\^ 
l)()ws and airows, Loniahawlvs, aiul scal[)iiig knives, and somo 
I'l'vy with guns. All were painted and dressed fur war, ami 
had a wild and lieree api)earanee. Mr. Miller reeo<j;iiizc(l 
fiinoug tlieui some of the very fellows who had rolibed liim in 
the iJrcceding year; and pnt his eonii'udes upon their miard. 
Every man stood ready to resist the first aet of llo^lility; 
the savages, however, conducted themselves peaceably, auj 
showed none of the swaggering arrogance which a war party is 
ai)t to assume. 

On entering the hut the chief and his lieutenant cast a wist- 
ful look at the rafters, laden with venison and buffalo moat. 
Mr. Stuart made a merit of necessity, and invited them to lielp 
themselvt's. 'i'hey did not wait to be pressed. The rafters 
were soon eased of ilieir burden ; venison and beef were passed 
out to the crew Ijclbre the door, and a scene of gormandizing 
conunenced, of which few can have an idea, who have not 
witnessed the gastronomic [jowcis of an Indian, after an in- 
terval of fasting. Tiiis was kept up throughout tlie day; they 
paused now and then, it is true, for a brief interval, but only 
to return to the charge with renewed ardor. The chief and 
the lieutenant surpassed all the rest in the vigor and persever- 
ance of their attacks; as if, from their station, tliey were 
bound to signalize themselves in all onslaughts. Mr. Stiiiut 
kept them well sui)plied with choice bits, for it was his policy 
to overfee(l them, and keep them from leaving the hut. where 
they served as hostages for the good conduct of their followers. 
Once, only, in the course of the day, did the chief sally forth. 
Mr. Stu.'ut and one of his men accompanied !i':n, armed with 
their rilles, but without Ix'traying an}' distrust. The cliieftuiii 
soon returned, and renewed his attack upon the larder. }n ;i 
word, he and his worthy coadjutor, the lieutenant, ate until 
they wei'i' liot.h stupefied. 

Toward Lhe evening the Indians made their preparations for 
the night acconhng to the practici' of war parties. Those out- 
side of the hut threw up two breastworks, into which they re- 
tiri'd at a t()leral)ly early hour, and slept like overfed hounds. 
As to the chief and his lieutenant, they passed the night in the 
hut, in liie course of which, they, two or three times, got np to 
cat. The travellers took tuins, one at u time, to mount guard 
until till' morning. 

Scarce had the day dawned, when the gormandizing waa re- 





iipwod by ilif whole 1)and, and carried on with snrprisinc; vigot 
until ten o'floi'k, wlicii all proi)anMl to depart. Tlu'v had six 
(lays' joiinioy yot to make, tlioy said, before they should come 
up vvitli tlie Crows, who they understood were encamped on a 
river to the northward. Their way lay through a hungry 
counti V where there was no game ; they would, moreover, 
luive but little time to hunt ; they, therefore, craved a small 
supply of i)rovisioiis for their journey. i\Ir. Stuart again in- 
vitcdtlieni to help themselves. They did so with keen fore- 
tliouiilit, loading themselves with the choicest parts of the 
moat, and leaving the late plenteous larder far gone in a eon- 
sumption. Their next request was for a supply of ammunition, 
having guns, but no powder and ball. They promised to pay 
uiugiiilieeiitly out of the spoils of their foray. '• We are poor 
now," said they, '' and are obliged to go on foot, but we shall 
soon come back laden with booty, and all mounted on horse- 
back, with scalps hanging at our bridles. Wc will then give 
each of you a horse to k'-op you from being tired on your 

" Well," said Mr. Stuart, " When you bring the horses, you 
shall have the ammunition, but not before." The Indians saw 
by his determined tone, that all further entreaty would be un- 
availing, so they desisted, with a good-humored laugh, and 
went otT exceedingly well freighted, both within and without, 
promising to be back again in the course of a fortnight. 

No sooner were the}' out of hearing, than the luckless travel- 
lers held another couucil. The security of their cabin was at 
an end, and with it all their dreams of a quiet and cosey winter. 
They were between two lires. On one side were their old 
enemies, the Crows, on the other side, the Arapahays, no less 
dangerous frei'booters. As to the moderation of this war 
party, they considered it assumed, to put them off their guard 
againsjt some more favorable opportunity for a surpi'isal. It 
was determined, therefore, not to await their return, but to 
abandon, with all speed, this dangerous neighborhood. From 
the accoui'ts of their recent visitors, they wore led to believe, 
though erroneousl}', that they were upon the Quicourt, or 
Rapid Hiver. They projwsed now to keep along it to its con- 
fluence with the Missouri ; but, should the} be prevented by 
the rigors of the season from proceeding so far, at least to 
reach a pait of the river wdiere they might be able to construct 
canoes of greater strength and durability than those of bulTalo 

Accordingly, on Uie 13th of December, they bade adieu, with 




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Tnjiny n vc£];rot, to their comfortablo qnartora, where, for five 
weeks, (hey luid been iii(hil}^in<j; the sweets of repose, of plenty, 
niul of f:ineic(l security. They were still aeeoiiipMiiicd hy their 
veteran i»uek-liorse, whieh the Arapahays had omitted to steal, 
either because they intended to steal liini ou tlieir return, or 
because they thought him uot worth stealing. 


I V! 


'\ .!i 

I' ''It 

The interval of corr^ort and repose which the party had en- 
joyed in their wigwam, rendered the renewal of their fatigues 
intolerable for the first two or three days. The snow lay deep, 
and was slightly frozen on the surface, but not sutHeiently to 
bear their weight. Their feet became sore by breaking through 
the crust, and their limbs weary by tioundering on without 
firm foothold. So exhausted and disi)irited were they, that 
they began to think it would be better to remain and run the 
risk of being killed l)y the Indians, than to drag on thus pain- 
fully, with the probability of perishing by the way. Their 
miserable horse fared no better than themselves, having for 
the lirst da}' or two no other fodder than the ends of willow 
twigs, and the bark of the cotton-wood tree. 

They all, however, appeared to gain patience and hardihood 
as they proceeded, and for fourteen days kept steadily on, 
making a distance of aboiit three hundred and thirty miles. 
For some days the range of mountains which had been near 
to their wigwam kept parallel to the river at no great distance, 
but at length subsided into hills. Sometimes they found the 
river bordered with alluvial bottoms, and groves with cotton- 
wood and willows ; sometimes the adjacent country was naked 
and barren. In one place it ran for a considerable distance 
bet^veen rocky hills and promontories covered with cedar and 
pitch pines, and peopled with the bighorn and the mountain 
deer ; at other places it wandered through prairies well stocked 
with buffaloes and antelopes. As they descended the couise of 
the river, they began to perceive the ash and whitt^ oak here 
and there among the cotton-wood and willow ; and at length 
caught a sight of some wild horses on the distant prairies. 

The weather was various ; at one time the snow lay deep ; 
then they had a genial day or two, with the mildness and 
serenity of autumn ; then, again, the frost was so severe thai 
the river was sulliciently frozen to bear them upon the ice. 



for five 


I'.v their 

t'> steal, 

turu, or 

During the last three days of their fortnight's travel, how- 
ever, the face of tlie country changed. The timber gradually 
diminished, until they could scarcely find fuel suHicient for 
culinary purposes. The game grew more and more scanty, and, 
finally, none were to be seen but a few miserable broken-down 
buffalo bulls, not worth killing. The snow lay fifteen inches 
deep, and made the travelling grievously painful and toilsome. 
At length, they came to an immense plain, where no vestige of 
timber was to be seen ; nor a single quadruped to enliven the 
desolate landscape. Here, then, their hearts failed them, and 
they h- ' ' another consultation. The width of the river, which 
was up vard of a mile, its extreme shallowness, the frequency 
of quiclsands, and various other characteristics, had at length 
made them sensible of their errors with respect to it, and they 
now came to the correct conclusion, that they were on the 
banks of the Platte or Shallow River. What were they to do ? 
Pursue its course to the Missouri ? To go on at this season of 
the year seemed dangerous in the extreme. There was no 
prospect of obtaining either food or firing. The country was 
destitute of trees, and though there might be drift-wood along 
the river, it lay too deep beneath the snow for them to find it. 

The weather was threatening a change, and a snow-storm on 
these boundless wastes might prove as fatal as a whirlwind of 
sand on an Arabian desert. After much dreary deliberation, 
it was at length determined to retrace their three last days' 
jouruey of seventy-seven miles, to a place which they had re- 
marked where there was a sheltering growth of forest trees, 
and a country abundant in game. Here they would once more 
set up their winter quarters, and await the opening of the 
navigation to launch themselves in canoes. 

Accordingly, on the 27th of December, they faced about, 
retraced their steps, and on the 30th, regained the part of the 
river in question. Here the alluvial bottom was from one to 
two miles wide, and thickly covered with a forest of cotton- 
wood trees ; while herds of buffalo were scattered about the 
neighboring prairie, several of which soon fell beneath their 

They encamped on the margin of the river, in a grove where 
there were trees large enough for canoes. Here they put up a 
shed for immediate shelter, and iunnediately proceeded to (ucct 
a hut. New Year's day dawned when, as yet, but one wall of 
their cabin was completed ; the genial and jovial day, however, 
was not permitted to pass uncelebrated, even by this weather- 
beaten crew of wauderers. All work was suspended, except 


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nr ':!;ii 




that of roasting and boilint;. 'V\\v clioicost of tlio hulTalo meat, 
with totigut's, and humps, and iiiiinow l)ont'H, wi'ic (li'voiiicd 
in qiiaiititios tiuit would astonish any one that has not lived 
among hunters or Indians; and as an extra resale, havinn „„ 
tohaeeo left, they cut up an old tobacco |)oncli. still rcilolcnt 
with the potent herb, and smoked it in honor ol" \\\v d:iy. 'rims 
for a time, in present revelry, however uncouth, they r(iri,f(ii 
all past troubles and all anxietit's about the future, ami iluir 
forlorn wigwam eehoed to the sound of gaycty- 

The lU'xt day they resumed their laliors. and I)y the (Itti of 
the month it was complete. They soon i\ilK'd al)uiid!iiice of 
buffalo, and again laid in a stock of winter provisions. 

Tlie party were more fortniuite in this their second caiiton. 
nicnt. The winter passed away without any Indian \;..fs, 
and the game continued to be plenty in the •"Mghbiuiiood. 
They felled two large trees, and shaped them into canor ; ; and, 
as tlie spring opened, and a thaw of several days' coiUiniiuiKX' 
melted the ice in the river, they made every piciiuration U)x 
C'm)>arking. Ou the -Sth of March they lainiciied fortii in their 
canoes, but soon found that the river had not ilci)th sullieitut 
even for such slender barks. It expanded into a wide but ex 
tremel}' shallow stream, with many sand-bars, and occavioiinlly 
various channels. They got one of lluir canoes ;i, few miK.s 
down it, with extreme difliculty, soiuc^times wading tmd (han- 
ging it over the shoals; at len^rth they had to al)an'l()ii tJio 
attempt, and to resume their journey on foot, aided liy tluir 
faithful old i)aek-horse, who had recruited strengtli during the 
repose of the winter. 

The weather delayed them for a few days, having siiddculy 
become more rigorous tlian it had been at any time during the 
winter; but on the I'Uth of March they were again on their 

In two days '\\cy arrived at the vast naked prairie, the wintry 
aspect of w! ' 'ii had caused them, in Deceinbci-. to pause and 
turn back. It was now clothed in tlic early veiduri' of spring, 
and plentifidly stocked with game. Still, when obliged to 
bivouac on its ])are surface, witliout any shelter, ami iiy :i 
scanty lire of dry buHalo dung, they found the niglil blasts 
piercing cold. On one occasion a herd of buffalo straying near 
their evening camp, they killed three of them mendy I'oi their 
hides, wherewith to make a shelter for tlu; night. 

They continned on for upward of a hundicd miles; with 
vast prairies ixteikling before them as they advanced ; some 
times diversified by nnduiatiug liills, luit destitute (jf trees. In 



one pl'if*^ ^^Py ^"■^ ^ S^"n of «<ixty-fivo wild horaos, but :is to 
the hiilTiiloes, they sccincd Jib^ioliili'ly to cover the eoiiiitry. 
Willi "•('CSC :il)OUiule(l, and tliey passed extensive H\viinn»s lliat 
were alivo witli iniuimeral)le flocI<s of \v;itei-fo\vl, among wiiieh 
were a few swans, but an endless variety of ducks. 

The river continued a winding; course to the east-northoast, 
nearly a mile in width, but too siiallow to Hoat even an empty 
canoe. The country spread out into a vast level plain, bounded 
bv tiio horizon alone, excepting to the north, where a line of 
hills seemed like a long promontory, stretching into the bosom 
of tlie ocean. The dreary sameness of the prairie wastes began 
to <'row extremely irksome. The travellers longed for the 
si^ht of a forest or grove, or single tree, to break the h'vel u.ii- 
formity, and began to notiee every object that gave reason to 
hope they were drawing toward the end of this weaiy wilder- 
ness. Thus the occurrence of a particular kind of grass was 
hailed as a i)roof that they could not be far from the bottoms 
of the Missouri ; and they were rejoiced at {)utting up several 
prairie hens, a kind of grouse seldom found far in the interior. 
In picking up drift-wood for fuel, also, they found on some 
pieces the mark of an axe, which caused much si)eculation as 
to the time when and the persons by whom the trees had been 
felled. Thus they went on like sailors at sea. who perceive in 
every floating weed and wandering bird, liarbingers of the 
wislied-for land. 

By the close of the month the weather became very mild, 
and, heavily burdened as they were, they found the noontide 
temperature uncomfortably warm. On the 3Uth, they came to 
three deserted hunting camps, either of Pawnees or Ottoes, 
about which were buffalo skulls in all directions ; and the 
frames on which the hides had been stretched and cured. They 
had apparently been occupied the preceding autunm. 

For several days they kei)t patiently on, watching every sign 
that might give them an idea as to where they were, and how 
near to the banks of the Missouri. 

Though there were numerous traces of hunting parties and 
encampments, they were not of recent date. The country 
seemed dcsertod. The only human beings they met with were 
three Pa.vnee squaws, in a hut in the midst of a deserted camj). 
Their people had all gone to tlu; south, in |)ursuit of the 
buffalo, and had left these i)Oor women l)ehind, being too sick 
and iulirm to travel. 

It is a common practice with the Pawnees, and probaidy witli 
other roving tribes, when departing on a distant expeilition. 

I 1 I 



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which will not ndmit of hu'iimbniiicc or di'lay, (o loavp tlieir 
aged and inliiin with ji Hupply of provisions sulliciciit for -i tcm. 
porary subsistence. When this is cxhiiustcil tiicy must poiisli; 
though soinotimcs their sufferings are aliridged by hoslik' piuwU 
crs who may visit the deserted camp. 

The poor squaws in (piestion expected sonic such fate at the 
hands of the white Strang* rs, and though tiic hitter accostt'il 
them in the kindest mannci , and made them presents of tlijcd 
buffalo meat, it was impossible to soothe their alarm or get any 
information from them. 

The first landmark by which the travellers wei'e enabled to 
conjecture their position with any degree of conlideiico, was 
an island about seventy miles in length, which they pitsiimcd 
to be Grand Isle. If so, they were within one liundrid ami 
forty miles of the Missouri. They kept on, thcrt foiv, with 
renewed spirit, and at the end of three days mot witii an Otto 
Indian, by whom they were confirmed in their conjecture. 
They learnt at the same time another piece of information, of 
an uncomfortable nature. According to his account, tiuio was 
war between the United States and Kngland, and in fact it \\\<i\ 
existed for a whole year, during which time tiicy hm\ bueii bcyonil 
the reach of all knowledge of the affairs of the civili/.cd world. 

The Otto conducted the travellers to his village, situated a 
short distance from the banks of the Platte. Ilere tlicy wore 
delighted to meet with two white men, Messrs. Dornin and Koi, 
Indian traders recently from St. Louis. Of these tliey had a 
thousand inciuiries to make concerning all aflairs. foreign and 
domestic, during their year of sepulture in the wildcr'iess ; and 
especially about the events of the existing war. 

They now prepared to abandon their weary travcd by land, 
and to embark upon the water. A bargain was made wiili Mr. 
Dornin, who engaged to furnish them with a can<;e and provis- 
ions for the voyage, in exchange for their venerable and well- 
tried felhnv-traveller, the old Snake horse. 

Accordingly, in a couple of days, the Indians employed liy 
that gentleman constructed for them a canoe twenty feet lonjr, 
four feet wide, and eighteen inches deep. The frame was of 
poles and willow twigs, on which were stretched five; cdk and 
buffalo hides, sewed together with sinews, and the seams payed 
with unctnous mud. In this they emiiarked at an early hour (in 
the Kith of April, and drifted down ten miles with the slreiuii, 
when tilt! wind being high they encampeil, and set to work to 
make oars, which they bad not been able to procure at llie 
li:dian village. 

f i 





OiKO more iilloJil, <li<'y went iiicrrily <lovfii the stream, and 
(ifttT inakiii^;' tliiity-live miles, cmerjied into the hroad tnrltid 
curn'tit <»• ""' MissoMii. Here lliey were home alonjj; Itrisiily 
h\ tiie r:i[iid stream, tliouj^di. Ity the lime their fraj^iU' hark iiad 
li()!ite(l a eoiiph' of iitnuh'ed niih-s, its iVanu! he<j;an to hIiow tlie 
clTccts of the voyaije. Luckily they came to the desertt-d win- 
toriiii!; phK'e of some hnntin<; party, where they found two old 
wooiieii canoes. Taking possession of the lar<i;est, they a<2;tuti 
coiniiiilted themselves to the cuiTciit, and after droppin;^' down 
liftv-llve miles farther, arrive<l safely at F(jrt Osaj^i". 

Ih're they found Lieutenant iJrownson still in command ; the 
ollicer who had sjiven tin; expedition a hospitahle reception on 
its wav "P the river, eit^liteen months previously. lie received 
this remnant of the party with a cordial welcome, and endeav- 
ored in every way to promote; their comfort and enjoy jent dur- 
iiiir their sojourn at the fort. The greatest luxury they met 
with on their return to the abode of civilized man, was bread, 
not lia\ iuii tasted any for nearly a year. 

Tlieir stay at Fort Osau;(! was but short. On re-embarking 
tlicy were furnished with an ample supply of provisi(Mis by the 
kindness of Lieutenant Hrownson, and performed the rest of 
tlioir voyaire without adverse circumstance. On the IJOth of 
Apiil they arrived in perfect licalth and tine spirits at St. Louis, 
liavinijj been ten months in jjerformlng this perilous expedition 
from Astoria. Their return caused quite a sensation at the 
place, lirinjjinjj; the tlrst intellij^ence of the fortune of Mr. Hunt 
aiul his party in their adventurous route across the Rocky 
Moinilains, and of the new establishment on the shores of the 

I iv 


It is now necessary, in linkino- tosjetlier the parts of this ex- 
cursivi' narrative, that we notice the proceedin<«;s of Mr. Astor, 
in support of his threat undertaking. Ilis project with respect 
to the Russian establishments alon<i; the northwest coast had 
l)i'en diligently prosecuted. The agent sent by him to St. 
Petersburgh, to negotiate in his name as president of the 
American Fur Company, had, under si:nction of the Russian 
Government, made a provisional agreement with the Russian 

By this' agreement, which was ratilied by Mr. Astor iu 1813^ 

. • % 



|i 'I '■ 

Mio (wo coiiipMnics Itiiiiml tluMnscIvos not to ititcrfon' witli vnv\\ 
ollicr's ti:iiliM;j; Mini hiiMtiiii!; jxioiinds. nor lo fiirnisli iuiiH an,] 
lUiiiniitiiliiiii lo Ihc liiili;ins. I'lu-y wi'ic to mcI in concert. nUo, 
'i;,f!iiii.s( :ill iiitcrlo|)cis, aiul to succor each oilier in ciise of dim. 
g'cr. 'I'lic American company was to liavi; the exclnsive ri;riit 
of siip|ilyii)i,' (lie KiissiMii posts with ^oods and necessaries, ri'. 
:;eiviii;j, peltries in piiynn'iit at stati'd priccj». They were also, 
if so recpiested l»y the Russian <;ovcriior, to convey the furs of 
the Kiissian comp:iiiy to Canton, sell them on coniinission, aii(l 
Itiin^ itaciv the pioceeds. at siuili frci<;ht as ini^iht he agreed on 
jit till' time. This a^reeincnt was to continue in operation four 
yi'ars, and to he renewahh for a similar term, iinU'ss some im. 
foreseen coiitin<i:encv slionld render a modillcation necessary. 

It was calcnlatcij to he of LTi'i'at service to the infant estuh- 
lishment at Astoria; dispellin;i!; the fears of hostile rivaliyun 
the part of the foreiLTii companies in its ncij^hhorhood, and ^iv- 
iiiij; a formidalile hlow to the iriet,nilar trade alonjj^ tlu' coast. 
It was also the intention of Mr. Astor to have coastinjij vessels 
of his own, at .Vsloria, of s "dl tonnaife and drau<^ht of w:ittr, 
fitteil for coasting seivice. These havinii a pluci- of slifltcr 
and deposit, conld i)ly ahoiit the coast in short voyai^es. in 
favoraltle weather, and would have vast advanta<j;c over cliaiice 
sliijjs, which imist make lonfj; voyages, maintain iiiiimMoiis 
crews, and conld only approach the coast at certain seasons of 
the year. He hoped, tlu'iefore, gradually to make Astoria the 
great emi)oriiiin of American fur trade in the Pacific.', and the 
nucleus of m |ioweifnl American state. Unfortunately for these 
.sanguine anticipations, before Mr. Astor had ratified the agree- 
ment, as aliovc sl.ated. war hroke out between the I'liited States 
and (Jreat Britain. He perceived at once the peril of the case. 
The harhor of New York would doubtles.s be blockaded, and Iho 
departure of the aiimud supply ship in the autumn picvented; 
or. if she should succeeil in getting out to sea, she might be 
vaptured on her voyage. 

In th's emergency, he wrote to Captain Sowle, commander 
of the IJeaver. The letter, which was addressed to liiin :it 
Canton, diiected him to proci'cd to the factory at the moiitii of 
the Columbia, with such articles as the establishment iiiitfht 
ni'cd ; and to remain ttiere, subject to the orders of Mr. Iliiiit. 
should that gentleman be in command there. 

The war continued, no tidings had yet been received from 
Astoria ; the despat<'lies having been delayed by the misadveu- 
tiu'e of Mr. IJeed ;it tiie falls of the Columbia, and the nnhursiug 
of Mr. Stuart by the Crows among the mouutaius. A paiufui 

f ! 

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^. STORM. 


(inccrliiiii'y, niso, prcv.'iiltvl iilioiit Mr. TTmit and Ills party. 

N'lllllill'.'. ll'I'l '■•'•'D Ik'HI'I of tlU'lM NJllrt' tJicil' (It'p.'ll't II I'C ri'DMI tllfl 

\iiilx;ir:i \ill;ii;i'; l-is:i, who paiicd fi<»iii llit'iii IIktc. IiuiI |>r(!- 
iljctiil Uii'ii" <l*''^l''"«'l'"*" i jiikI Hoiiii! of tliii tiiiili'is of the North- 
\,(st('<>iii|i:iiiy liHtl nctiially nproiul n nnnor of their huviiif^ been 
fiitdlT I'V the IiidiaiiH. 

It was'a liiinl tri:il of the courafio and iiicanH of an individ- 
'.i!il. to liMV" to lit <!iit iiiKitlicr costly expedition, wliere so nmeh 
|i;i(| iilicady lieeii expended, so nmeh iineeitainty picvailed, ami 
wIk'iv tlie risk <)f loss was so greatly eiiluineed, that no iiisur- 
aiico could he elTected. 

In spite of all these- disc()iira<2;cnicnts. Mr. Aslor deteiniined 
to send aiiotlier ship to the reliel' of the Hcttleiiient. lie 
si'lc'cled r<»r this [xirpose a vchscI called tlie Lark, reiuarkablo 
for lier fast S!iiliii|i;. The disordered state of the times, how- 
ever, caused such a delay, that Fehniary arrivcnl, while the 
vessel was yet liiim'rin<!; in port. 

At tliis jiincliire Mr. Aslor learnt that tlie .\orthwest Coin- 
paiiv were prepariiiu, to send out an ariiu-d ship of twenty guns, 
(ailed the Isa.'ic Todil, to form an estahlishment at the mouth 
of llie Colinnliia. These tidings gave hiip. great uneasiness. A 
eoiisiileialili proportion of the persons in his employ were 
Seotcliiiieii and Canadiiiiis. and several of them had been in the 
service of the Northwest Coinpany. Should Mr. Hunt have 
failed to arrive at Astoria, the whole establishment would be 
under the control of Mr. M'Dougal. of whose Mdelity he had re- 
ceived very disparaging accounts from Captain Thorn. The 
Uritisli (iovcniment, also, might deem it worth while to send a 
force against tin; establislmuint, having been urged to do so 
some tiiiK! previously by the Northwest Company. 

liulcr all these circumstances, Mr. Astor wrote to INIr. Mon- 
roe, tlicn Secretary of State, rcHpiesting protection from tlie 
liovenuuent of the I'liited States. He represented tlie impor- 
tiince of his settlement, in a comuijrcial point of view, and the 
sli'llcr it might afford to the American vessels in those seas. 
All lie asked was, that the Araerican (iovernment would throw 
forty or liftv men Into tlu^ fort at his establishment, which 
would 1)1' sullicient for its defence, until he could send re-en- 
I'l'-oeiiients overland. 

Me waited in vain for a reply to his letter, the Government, 
no doubt, bt'lng engrossed at the time, by an overwhelming 
eiond of atTaiis. The month of March arrived, and tlu^ Lark 
was ordi'icd by Mr. Aslor to put to sea. The ollicer who was 
10 ooinuiaud her shruuk from his enyagemeut, and in the uxi 

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<j;eiu'y of (he momont she was given in charge to Mr. NorthroH 
the male. INIr. Nieliolas fl. Ogden, a gentleman on whose 
talents and integrity the highest reliance conUl I placed, sailed 
as sm)ereargo. The L.u'k put to sea in the beginning of March 

By this opportunity Mr. Astor wrote to Mr. Hunt, as head 
of the establishment at the mouth of the Columbia, for he 
would not allow himself to doubt of his welfare. '• I always 
think yon are well," said he, "and that I shall see you awain 
which heaven, I hope, will grant." 

He warned him to be on his guard against any attempts to 
surprisi' the post; suggesting the probability of armed hostility 
on the part of the Northwest Company, and expressing his 
indignation at the ungrateful returns made by that association 
for his frank and open conduct, and advantageous overtures. 
"• Were I on the spot," said he, " and had the inanageinont of 
affairs, I would defy them all ; but, as it is, every thing depends 
upon you and your friends about you. Our enterprise is (jrund, 
and deserves success^ and I hope in God, it will meet it. If my 
object was merely gain of money, I should say, think whether 
it is best to save wliat we can, and abandon the place ; h\d the 
very idea is like a dagcjer to my heart. ' ' This extract is suflicieiit 
to show the spirit and the views which actuated Mr. Astor in 
this great undertaking. 

Week after week and month after month elapsed, without 
any thing to disi)el the painful incertitude that hung over every 
part of this enterprise. Though a man of resolute spirit, and 
not easily cast down, the dangers impending over this darling 
scheme of his ambition, had a gradual effect upon the spirits of 
Mr. Astor. He was sitting one gloomy evening by his window 
revolving over the loss of the Tonquin, and the fate of Ium- un- 
fortunate crew, and fearing that some equally tragical calamity 
might have befallen the adventurers across the mountair.s, when 
the evening newspaper was brought to him. The first pa..igrai)h 
that caught his eye, announced the arrival of Mr. Stuart and 
his party at St. Louis, with intelligence that Mr. Hunt and his 
companions had eli'ected their perilous expedition to the mouth 
of the Columbia. This was a gleam of sunshiui; tliat for u 
time dispelled every cloud, and he now looked forward with 
sanguine hope to the accomplishment of all his plans. 

;, ,j 





The course of onr narrative now takes us back to the regions 
beyond the mountains, to dispose of the parties that set out 
from Astoria in company witli Mr. Robert Stuart, and whom he 
left on the banks of the Wallah-Wallah. Those i)arties like- 
wise separated from each other shortly after Ins departure, 
proceeding to their respective destinations, but agreeing to 
meet at the mouth of the Wallah- Wallah, about the beginning 
of June in the following year, with such peltries as they shouhl 
have collected in the interior, so as to convoy each other through 
the dangerous passes of the Columbia. 

Mr. David Stuart, one of the partners, proceeded with his 
men to the post already established b^' hi^n at the mouth of the 
Oakinagan ; having furnished this with goods and ammunition, 
he proceeded three hundred miles up that river, where he estab- 
lished another post in a good trading neighborhood. 

Mr. Clarke, another partner, conducted his little band up 
Lewis River to the mouth of a small stream coming in from 
the north, to which the Canadians gave the name of the Pavion. 
Here he found a village or eucampment of forty huts or tents, 
covered with mats, and inhabited by Nez Percys, or pierced- 
nose Indians, as they are called by the traders ; but Chipunnish, 
as they are called by themselves. They are a hardy, lal)orious, 
and somewhat knavish race, who lead a precarious life, fishing 
and digging roots during the summer and autumn, hunting the 
deer on snow-shoes during the winter, and traversing the Rocky 
Mountains in the spring, to trade for buffalo skins with the 
hunting tribes of the Missouri. In these migrations they are 
liable to be waylaid and attacked by the Blackfeet, and other 
warlike and predatory tribes, and driven back across the moun- 
tains with the loss of their horses, and of many of their 

A life of this unsettled and precarious kind is apt to render 
men selfish, and such Mr. Clarke found the inhabitauls ol thi?, 
village, who were deficient in the usual hospitality of Indians ; 
parting with every thing with extreme reluctance, and showing 
no sensibility to any act of kindness. At the time of his 
arrival they were all occupied in catching and curing salmon. 
The men were stout, robust, active, and good looking, and the 
women handsomer than those of the tribes nearer to the coast. 

It was the plan of Mr. Clarke to lay up his boats here, and 


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proceed 1)y Linrl to his place of destination, whn-n wns nniona 
tiie Spokan tribe of Indians, alioiit a hundred and lil'iy mjip^ 
distant. He aeeordingly endeavored to purchase horses for 
the journey, but in tliis he had to contend witii the sordid dis. 
position of tliese i)eople. They asked iiigh piices \'ny Hi,,;,, 
horses, and were so dillicnlt to deal with, tliat IMi-. Clarke was 
detained seven days among them before he could pioenn. n 
suflicicnt number. During tliat time he was annoyed liv ic. 
peated pilferings, for which he could get no rediess. 'I'hc I.!ij,>f 
promised to recover the stolen articles; I)ut failiMt to do so, 
alleging that the thieves belonged to a distant tribe, und \ym\ 
made off with their booty. AVith this excuse ]Mr. Clarke was 
fain to content himself, though lie laid up in his heart a hiitcr 
grudge against the wliole Pierced-nose race which as will bo 
found he took occasion subsecpiently to gratify in :i si<riial 

Having made arrangements for his departure, ^Ir. Clarke 
laid up his barge and canoes in a sheltereil place, on the Imnks 
of a small bay, overgrown with shrubs and willows, eonlidiiii; 
them to the care of the Nez Perce chief, who, on beiii'j, prom- 
ised an ample compensation, engaged to have a guardian eve 
upon them ; then mounting his steed, and putting himself at 
the head of his little caravan, he shook the dust oft his \'vr\ as 
he turned his back upon this village of rogues and luird deulors, 
We shall not follow him minutely in his journey ; which lay at 
times over steep and rocky hills, and among crags and preci- 
pices ; at other times over vast naked and sunbmiit plains. 
abounding with rattlesnakes, in traversing which, both men and 
horses suffered intolerably from heat and thirst. The plaei' on 
which he lixed for a trading post, was a fine point of land, at 
the junction of the I'ointed Heart and Sjjokan Hivers. Ills es- 
tablishment was intended to compete with a trading post of llip 
Northwest Company, situated at no great distance, and to rival 
it in the trade with the Spokan Indians; as well as with the 
Cootonais and Flatheads. In this neighborhood wc; shall leave 
him for the present. 

Mr. M'Kenzie, who conducted the third party from the Wal- 
lah-Wallah, navigated for several days up tlu; south branch of 
the Columbia, named tlu; Canielenuni by the natives, but eoni- 
monly called Lewis River, in honor of th',; lirst exphncr. Wan- 
dering bands of various tribes were seen along this river. 
travelling in various directions; for the Indians geiierall\ are 
restless, roving beings, coutiuunlly intent on enterprises of war, 
traffic, and hunting. Some of these people were driving huge 

1 1 



gangs of horses, as if to a distant market. ITtiviiig arrivi-d ;it 
the luoutli of the Shahaptan, he asceiuU'd "oiiie distimcc up 
that river, and established his tradiii<jj post ii[)Oii its baiik-s. 
This appeared to be a great thoroiighfiin! for the triljes from 
the neighborliood of the falls of Uie Columbia, in tlieir expedi- 
tious to make war upon the ti'.bes of the Kocky Muiiutaiiis ; to 
hunt bulTalo on the plains beyond, or to trallie for roots and 
buffalo robes. It was the season of migration, iiiid tlie Indians 
from various distant parts were passing and repassing in great 

Mr. M'Kenzie now detached a small bund, under the con- 
duct of Mr. John Reed, to visit tlie caches made by Mi'. Hunt 
at the Caldron Linn, and to bring the contents to his post, as 
he depended in some measure on them for his sup[)lies of goods 
and ammunition. They had not been gone a week when two 
Indians arrived of the Pallatapalla tribe, who live upon a river 
of the same name. These communicated the unwelcome intel- 
ligence that the caches had been robbed. They said that some 
of heu tribe had, in the course of tlie preceding spring, been 
ac. '88 the mountains which separated tliem from Snake River, 
and had traded horses with the Sntikes in exchange for blankets, 
robes, and goods of various descriptiotis. These articKes tlie 
Snakes had procured from caches to whioii they were guided by 
some wliite men who resided among tiiem, and who afteiward 
accompanied them across the Rocky Mountains. This intelli- 
gence was extremely perplexing to Mr. IM'Kenzie, but the truth 
of part of it was confirmed by the two Indians, who brought 
them an E^nglish saddle and bridle, whicli were recognized as 
having belonged to Mr. Crooks. The perfidy of the wiiite men 
who revealed the secret of the caches, was, however, perfectly 
inexplicable. We shall presently account for it in narrating 
the expedition of Mr. Reed. 

That worthy Hibernian proceeded on his mission with his usual 
alacrity. His forlorn travels of the preceding winter had made 
him acquainted with the topography of the country, and he 
reached Snake River without any material diflTieulty. Here in 
an encampment of the natives, he met with six white men, 
wanderers from the main expedition of Mr. Hunt, who, after 
having had their respective shares of adventures and misiiapa, 
had fortunately come together at this place. Tiuce of these 
men were Turcottc, La Chapelle, and Frtinei-- Lan by : liie tinee 
Canadian voyageurs, who, it may be reeoUectetK had left Mr. 
Crooks in February, in the neighborhood of Snake Hiver. b"ing 
dismayed by the increasing hardships of the journey, and fear 

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ful of perishing of hunger. They had returned to a Snake 
encampment, where they pjissed the residue of the winter. 

Early in the spring, being utterly destitute, and in great ex- 
tremity, and having worn out the hos|)itality of the Snakes 
they determined to avail themselves of the hnried treasures 
within their knowledge. They aceordingly informed tlio Snake 
chieftains that they knew where a great (piantity of goods liad 
been left in caches, enough to enrich the whole tribe; aiul 
oU'ered to conduct them to the place, on condition of being re- 
warded with horses and provisions. The chieftains plo(l(r(.(l 
their faith and honor as great men and Snakes, and the tlni'o 
Canadians conducted them to the place of deposit at the Caldron 
Linn. This is the way that the savages got knowledge of the 
caches, and not by following the tracks of wolves, as Mr. 
Stuart had supposed. Never did money diggers turn up a 
miser's hoard with more eager delight than did tlie savages lay 
open the treasures of the caches, lilankets and robes ; brass 
trinkets and blue beads were drawn forth with chuckling cxul- 
tation, and long strips of sea; let cloth pro<hiced yells of ecstasy. 

The rifling of the caches effected a change in the fortunes 
and deportment of the whole party. The Snakes were better 
equipped and clad than ever were Snakes before, and the three 
Canadians, suddenly finding themselves with horse to ride and 
weapon to wear, were, like beggars on horseback, ready to ride 
on any wild scamper. An opportunity soon presented. The 
Snakes determined on a hunting match on the buffalo prairies, 
to lay in a supply of beef, that tliey might live in plenty, as 
became men of their improved condition. The three newly 
mounted cavaliers must fain accompany them. They all trav- 
ersed the Kocky Mountains in safety, descended to the head 
waters of the Missouri, and nuide great havoc among the 

Their hunting camp was full of meat; they were gorging 
themselves, like true Indians, with present plenty, and drying 
and jerking great quantities for a winter's supply. In the 
midst of their revelry and good cheer, the camp w:is surprised 
by the Blackfeet. Several of the Snakes were slain on tho 
spot ; the rer^iduc, with their three Canadian allies, fled to the 
inountains, stripped of horses, buffalo meat, every thing ; and 
made their way back to the old encampment on Snake River, 
poorer than ever, l)ut esteeming themselves foriunate in having 
escaped with their lives. They had not been long tiiere wlitii 
the Canadians were cleered by the sight of a companion iu 
misfortune, Dubreuil, 'he poor voyageur who had left Mr- 



Crooks in March, being too much exhausted to keep on with 
him. -^'^t IcJiiji afterward, three other straggling meml)ers of 
the main expedition made -'leir appearance. These were Car- 
son, i^t- Michael, and Pierre Dclaunay, three of the trappers, 
flho in compan}' with Pierre I)ctay<5, had been left among the 
iiiountains by Mr. Hunt, to trap beaver, in the prec(>ding month 
if September. They had departed from the main body well 
Alined and provided, with hor.scs to ride, and liorscs to carry 
the ueltries they were to collect. They came wandering into 
the Snake camp as ragged and destitute as their predecessors. 
It appears that tliey liad finished their trapping, and were mak- 
iii2 their way in tlie si)riiig to the Missouri, when they were 
luet and attacked by a powerful band of the all-pervading Crows. 
They made a desperate resistance, and killed seven of the sav- 
ages, bnt were overpowered liy numbers. Pierre Detaye was 
gfain. the rest were robbed of horses and effects, and obliged 
to turn back, when they fell in with their old companions, as 
already mentioned. 

We should observe, that at the heels of Pierre Dclaunay 
came draggling an Indian wife, whom he had picked up in his 
wanderings ; having grown weary of celibacy among the savages. 

Tlie whole seven of this forlorn fraternity of adventurers, 
thus accidentally congregated on the banks of Snake River, 
were making arrangements once more to cross the mountains, 
when some Indian scouts brought word of the approach of the 
little band headed by John Reed. 

The latter, having beard the several stories of these wander- 
ers, took them all into his party, and set out for the Caldron 
Linn, to clear out two or three of the caches which had not been 
revealed to the Indians. 

At that place he met with Robinson, the Kentuckj' veteran, 
who witli h.'s two comrades, Rezuer and Hoback, had remained 
there when Mr. Stuart went on. This adventurous trio had 
been trapping higher up the river, but Robinson had come down 
iu a canoe, to await the expected arrival of the party, and ob- 
tain horses and equipn;ents. He told Reed the story of the 
robbery of his party by the Arapahays, but it diflfered, iu some 
particulars, from the account given by him to Mr. Stuart. In 
that he had represented Cass as having shamefully deserted his 
ccaipanions in their extremity, carrying off witii iiim a liorse ; 
in the one now given he spoke of him as liaving been killed in 
the affray with the Arapahays. This discrepancy, of wliicli, of 
course, Heed could have no knowledge at tlie time, concurred 
with other circumstances, tj occasion afterward some mysteiimis 

V li 






'i I 

speculations and dark surmises, as to the real fate of Cass; hut 
as no substantial grounds were ever adduced for thom, wo for. 
bear to throw any deeper shades into this story of suffotinga in 
the wilderness. 

Mr. Reed having gathered the remainder of the goods from 
the caches, put himself at the head of his party, now aufrmenUd 
by the seven men thus casually picked up, and the squaw of 
Pierre Delaunay, and made his way successfully to M'Keazie's 
Post, on the waters of the Shahaptan. 

f !. 




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After the departure of the different detachments or brigndeit, 
as they are called by the fnr traders, tlie Beaver prepared for 
her voyage along the coast, and her visit to the Russian estab- 
lishment, at New Archangel, where slie was to carry supplies. 
It had been determined in the council of partners at Astoria. 
that Mr. Hunt should embark in this ves^^el, for the puri)ose of 
acquainting himself with the coasting trade, and of making 
arrangements with the commander of the Russian post, and 
that he should be relanded in October, at Astoria, by tlie 
Beaver, on her way to the Sandwich Islands, and Canton. 

The Beaver put to sea in the month of August. Hor depart- 
urv\ and that of the various brigades, left the fortress of Astoria 
but slightly garrisoned. This was soon perceived by some of 
the Indian tribes, and the consequence was increased insolence 
of deportment, and a disposition to hostility. It was now the 
fishing season, when the tribes from the northern coast drew 
into the neighborhood of the Columbia. These were warliki; 
and perfidious in their dispositions ; and noted for their at- 
tempts to surprise trading ships. Among them were muiibers 
of the Neweetees, the ferocious tribe that massacred the crew 
of the Tonquin. 

Great precautions, therefore, were taken at the factory to 
guard against surprise while these dangerous intruders were 
in the vicinity. Galleries were constructed inside of the pali- 
sades ; the bastions were heightened, and sentinels were posloii 
day and night. Fortunately, the Chinooks and otla-r tiiijos 
resident in tlie vicinity manifested the most paeilic disposition. 
Old Comcomly, wlio held sway over them, was a sinx'wd caltu- 
lator. He was aware of the advantages of having the wliius 



iia neighbors and allies, anrl of the consequence derived to him- 
self and Ills people from acting as intcrmcdiato traders bi^tween 
them ami the distant tribes. lie liad, tiierofore, by this time, 
become affirm friend of the Astorians, and formed a kind of 
bfirricr between tliem and the hostile intruders from the north. 

The sinniiier of 1812 passed away without any of tiie iiostili- 
tics tliat had been apprehended ; the Neweetees, and other 
daimerous visitors to the neighborhood, finislied their fishing 
ami Vclinned home, and the inmates of the factory once more 
felt secure from attack. 

It now became necessary to guard against other evils. The 
season of scarcity arrived, which commences in October, and 
lasts until the end of January. To provide for the support of 
the garrison, the shallop was employed to forage about the 
shores of the river. A number of the men, also, under the com- 
mand of some of the clerks, were sent to quarter themselves 
ou the banks of tiie "Wollamut (the Multnomah of Lewis and 
Clarke), a fine river which disemoogues itself into the Columbia, 
about sixty miles above Astoria. The country bordering on 
the river is finely diversified with prairies and hills, and forests 
of oak, ash, maple, and cedar. It abounded, at that time, with 
elk and deer, and the streams were well stocked with beaver. 
Here the party, after sui)plying their own wants, were enabled 
to pack u[) quantities of dried meat, and send it by canoes to 

The month of October elapsed without the return of the 
Beaver. November, Decem1)er, January, passed away, and 
still nothing was seen or heard of her. Gloomy Jipprehensions 
now began to be enter .lined ; she might have been wrecked in 
th"' course of her coasting voyage, or surprised, like the Tonquin, 
by some of the treacherous tribes of the north. 

No one indulged more in these apprehensions than M'Dougal, 
who had now the (.'harge of the establishment. He no longer 
evinced the bustling confidence and buoyancy which once 
characterized him. Command seemed to have lost its charms 
for him, or rather, he gave way to the most abject despond- 
ency, decrying the whole enterprise, magnifyiiig every untoward 
circumstance, and foreboding nothing but evil. 

While in this moody state, I;e was surprised, on the Ifith of 
January, by the sudden appearance of M'Kenzie, wayworn and 
weather-beaten by a long wintry journey from his post on the 
Shahaptan, and with a face the very frontispiece for a volume 
of misfortune. M'Kenzie had been heartily disgusted and dis- 
appointed at his post. It was in the midst of the Tuuhepaws, 






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a powerful an(1 warlike nation, divided into many triljes. 
under different eluefs, who possessed iniunnenil)le horses, hut 
not having turned their attention to l)euver trai)|)iii<j;, had no 
furs to offer. According toM'Kenzie they were l)ut a *' rascally 
tribe ; " from which we may infer that they were prone to con- 
sult their own interests, more than comported with the interest 
of a greedy Indian trader. 

Game being scarce, he was obliged to rely, for tlie most part 
on horse-flesh for subsistence, and tlie Indians diseoveriii<r hig 
necessities, adopted a policy usual in civilized trade, and raised 
the price of horses to an exorbitant rate, knowing that lie and 
his men must eat or die. In this way, tlic goods he had 
brought to trade for beaver sl\ins, were likely to bi' bartered 
for horse-flesh, and all the proceeds devoured upon the spot. 

He had despatched trappers in various directions, but the 
country around did not offer more beaver than his own sta- 
tion. In this emergency he began to think of abandoning his 
unprofitable post, sending his goods to the posts of Clarke and 
David Stuart, who could make a better use of them, as they 
were in a good beaver country, and returning with his party to 
Astoria, to seek some better destination. With this view, he 
repaired to the post of Mr. Clarke, to hold a consultation. 
While the two partners were in conference in Mr. Clarke's 
wigwam, au unexpected visitor came bustling in upon them. 

This was Mr. John George M'Tavish, a partner of the North- 
west Company, who had charge of the rival trading posts 
established in that neighborhood. Mr. M'Tavish was the de- 
lighted messenger of bad news. He had been to Lake Winni- 
I)eg, where he received an express from Canada, ecjutaining 
the declaration of war, and President Madison's proclamation, 
which he handed with the most officious complaisance to 
Messrs. Clarke and M'Kenzie. He moreover told them that he 
h-'d received a fresh supply of goods from the northwest posts 
on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, and was jirepared 
for vigorous opposition to the establishment of the American 
Company. He capped the climax of this obliging, l»ut belli- 
gerent intelligence, by informing them that the armed ship, 
Isaac Todd, was to be at the moutli of the Columbia about the 
beginning of March, to get possessi(^n of the trade of the river, 
and that he was ordered to join her there at that time. 

The receipt of this news determined IM'Kenzie. He innne- 
diately returned to the Shahajjtan, l)roke up his establislinient. 
deposited his goods in coc/ie, and hastened, with ail his people, 
to Atitoruk. 




The int^^lUgpncc thii8 brouj^ht, oomploted tho dism.iy of 
M'I)t>ii<j,;il. JIIkJ HccnuMl to produce m comidotc confusion of 
mind. "f ''•''"' '^ council of \vm- witii M'Kcnzic, iit wliicli 
soiiio of tlic dcriis wore present, but of course iuul no votes. 
Tlit'V "■Jiv'' "!' *'" I'op*^' **^ inaintaininif tlieir post at Astoria. 
TIk! beaver had probably been lost; tliey could receive no aid 
"kiiii the United States, as all ports would be blockaded. 
Yyon\ Kii<fland notliinji; could be expected but hostility. It 
was tU'lcrniined, therefore, to al»andon the establishment in 
the course of the following spring, and return across the Rocky 

In pursuance of this resolution, they suspended all trnde 
with llio natives, except for provisions, having ilready more 
peltries than they could carry away, and having need of all 
the fi^oods for the clothing and subsistence of their peo[)lo 
during tiie remainder of their sojourn, and on tluir jiMPuey 
across the mountains. This intention of a.bandoni!ig Astoria 
was, however, kept secret from the men, lest they should at 
once give up all labor, and become restless and insubordinate. 

In the mean time, M'Kenzie set off for his i)ost at the Sha- 
haptan, to get his goods from the caches, and buy horses and 
provisions with them for the caravan across the mountains. 
He was charged with despatches from M'Dougal to Messrs. 
Stuart and Clarke, apprising them of the intended migration, 
that they might make timely preparations. 

M'Kenzie was accomiianied by tv7o of the clerks, Mr. John 
Reetl. the Irishman, and Mr. Alfred Seton, of New York. 
They embarked in two canoes, manned by seventeen men, and 
ascended the river without any incident of importance, until 
they arrived in the eventful neighborhood of the rapids. They 
made the portage of the narrows and the fails early in the 
afternoon, and, having partaken of a scanty meal, had now a 
long evening on their hands. 

On the op[)osito side of the river lay the village of Wish-ram, 
of frei'hooting renown. Here lived the savages who had robbed 
and maltreated Heed, when bearing his tin box of despatches. 
It was known that the rifle of which he was despoiled was 
retained as a trophy at tlu' village. M'Kenzie offered to cross 
the river, and demand the rifle, if any one would accompany 
him. It was a hare-brained project, for these villages were 
noted for the rudiau character of their inhabitants ; yet two 
volunteers promptly stepped forward ; Alfred Seton, the clerk, 
and Joe de la IMerre, the cook. The trio soon reached the 
opposite side of thu river. Oa lauding they freshly primed 


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tlioir riflofl and pistols. A path windinpj for about a linndrpfl 
yards amoiifj; rocks and craji;s, led (o tlic vill!i«:;('. No n, ,(;,.„ 
Hcciiu'd ti) Ik' taken of their approach. Not a solit.-irv licinir 
man, woman, or child, greeted them. The very do^s, dios,. 
noisy pests of an Indian town, kept silence. On onlciiiiir the 
village, a boy made his appearance, and pointed U) a liouso of 
larger dimensions than the rest. They had to stoop to eiiti r It 
as soon as they had passed the threshold, the narrow passiiuo 
behind them was filled up by a sudden rush of Indians, who 
had before kept out of sight. 

M'Kenzie and his companions foimd themselves in a rude 
chamber of about twenty-live feet long, and twenty wide. A 
bright fire was blazing at one end, near which sat the chief, 
about sixty years old. A large number of Indians, wrappwl 
in buffalo robes, were s(piatte(l in rows, three deep, forming a 
semicircle round threi; sides of tlie room. A single \f\iiwM 
around sufficed to show them the grim and dangerous assembly 
into which they had intruded, and that all retreat was cut off hy 
the mass which l)locked up the entrance. 

The chief pointed t(i the vacant side of the room opposite to 
the door, and motioned for ilw.m to take their sents. They 
complied. A dead pause ensued. The grim warriors luomul 
sat like statues ; each mutlled in his robe, with his fierce eyes 
bent on the intruders. The latter felt they were in a perilous 

" Keep your eyes on the chief while I am addressing him," 
said M'Kenzie ti» his companions. "Should he give any sign 
to his band, shoot him, and make for the door." 

IM'Kenzie advanced, and offered the pipe of jx'acc to the 
chief, but it was refused. He then made a regular speech, 
explaining the object of their visit, and proposing to give in 
exchange for the rifle two blankets, an axe, some beads, and 

When he had done the chief rose, began to address him in a 
low voice, but soon became loud and violent, and ended by 
working himself up into a furious passion. He npl>ra;ded tiie 
white men for their sordid conduct in passing and repassing 
through their neighborhood, without giving them a blanket or 
any other article of goods, merely because they had no furs to 
barter in exchange ; and he alluded with menaces of veiigeanee, 
to the death of the Indian killed by the whites in the skirmish 
at the falls. 

Matters were verging to a crisis. It was evident tlie sur- 
rounding savages were only waiting a signal from the chief to 



^prinp "Pf>" tlioir prey. M'K(>nzio jirnl his pompftnfona had 
„r.i(lii;illy risni ori tlu'lr foot iliiriiio the H|)ooch, and \\iu\ Itioujvht 
Hioir litloH to a horizontal jjosilion, tiio harrols rostinj; in tlicir 
(eft hands; the innzzio of M'Konzio's piooo was witliin throe 
feet of th'? spoaiior's iioart. Tlioy ooolvod thoir riflos ; the click 
of the looks for a inoinoiit sutTusod tho dark chcok of the sav- 
age, and there was a pause. They coolly, but promijtly ad- 
vanced to the door ; the ludians fell back in awe, and sntt'ered 
tliem to pass. The sun was just setting as they emerged from 
tills dangerous den. They took the precaution to keep along 
the to{)s of the rocks as much as possible on their way ha<!k to 
the canoe, and reached their camp in safety, congratulating 
themselves on their escape, and feeling no desire to make a 
second visit to the grim warriors of Wish-ram. 

M'Kenzie and his party resumed their journey the next raorn- 
Int^. At some distance above the falls of the Columbia, they 
observed two bark canoes, filled with white men, coming down 
the river, to the full chant of a set of Canadian voyageurs. A 
parley ensued. It was a detachment of northwesters, under 
the command of Mr. John George M'Tavish, bound, full of 
song and spirit, to the mouth of the Columbia, to await the 
arrival of the Isaac Todd. 

Mr. M'Kenzie and M'Tavish came to a halt, and landing, 
encamped together for the night. The voyageurs of either 
party liailed each other as brothers, and old " comrades," and 
thev mingled together as if united by one common interest, in- 
stead of belonging to rival companies, and trading under hostile 

In the morning they proceeded on their dilTerent ways, in 
style corresponding to their different fortunes, the one toiling 
painfully against the stream, the other sweeping down gayly 
with the current. 

M'Kenzie arrived safely at his deserted post on the Shahap- 
tan, but found, to his chagrin, that his caches had boon dis- 
covered and rifled by the Indians. Here was a dilemma, for 
on the stolen goods he had depended to purchase horses of the 
Intllans, He sent out men in all directions to endeavor to dis- 
cover the thieves, and despatched Mr. Reed to the posts ot 
Messrs. Clarke and David Stuart, with the letters of Mr. 

The resolution announced in these letters, to break up and 
depart from Astoria, was condemned by both Clarke and Stuart. 
These two gentlemen had been very successful at their posts, 
and considered it rash and pusillanimous to abandon, on th«3 


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AS roll I A. 

first (lifTlcnlty, nn oiitcrpriso o** siicli pircnl cost nnd ainnlit 
pioinisc, 'riiry iicwlc in» :iiruii}^(Mn('nts, tlincforc, lor IcHviiii' 
the country. '»iit nctcd wiMi ii view to the iiKiiuti'iiuiicc of th^jr 

lU'W Mild proSIUTOIIS »'Mt!ll»nHhlll('llt.S. 

The rcjruhir tiiiio iippioached, when the pjirtiiers of tlic in. 
terior poHts were to reiule/voiia sit the mouth of tlie WjiUai). 
Walhih, on their way to Astoriii, with tlic peltries Uiey had 
collected. Mv. Clarke aeeordinj^ly packed all hi.s fur.s on twenty- 
cigiit horses, and leaving a clerk and four men to take cliaroe 
of the [mst, departed on the 25th of May with the residue of 
his f(;rce. 

On the 30th ho arrived at the confluence of the Pavion and 
Lewis Rivers, where he had left his l)arge a .d canoes, in the 
guardianship of the old rierced-iiose chieftain. That dijinitary 
had acquitted himself more faithfully of his charge than Mr. 
Clarke had expected, and the canoes were found in very toler- 
able order. Some repairs were necessary, and while they were 
making, the party encamped close by the village. Having had 
repeated and vexatious proofs of the pilfering propensities of 
this tribe during his former visit Mr. Clarke ordered that a 
wary eye should be kept iip/On them. 

Ho was a tall, good-looking man, nud somewhat given to 
pomp and circumstance, which made him an object of note in 
the eyes of the wondering savages. He was stately, too, in his 
appointments, and had a silver goblet or drinking cup, out of 
which he would drink with a magnificent air, and then look it 
up in a large yarde vin, which accompiinied him in his travels, 
and stood in his tent. This goblet had originally been sent as 
a present from Mr. Astor to Mr. M'Kay, the partner who had 
unfortunately boon ])lown up in the Tonquin. As it reached 
Astoria after the departure of that gentleman, it had remained 
in the possession of Mr. Clarke. 

A silver gol)let was too glittering a prize not to catoii the 
eye of a Pierced-nose. It was like the shining tin case of John 
Reed. Such a wonder had never been seen in the land before. 
The Indians talked about it to one another. They marked the 
care with which it was deposited in the garde vin, like a relic 
in its shrine, and concluded that it must be a "great medi- 
cine." That night Mr. Clarke neglected to lock up his treasure; 
in the morning tlie sacred casket was open — the precious relic 
gone ! 

(-'larke was now outrageous. All the past vexations that he 
had snffered from this pilfering community rose to mind, and 
b« threatentni that, unless the goblet was promptly retuiued, 



hp would Imnp the thJpf f'.iouUI ho pventimlly diapovor him. 
The (lay paHHe*! awiiy, however, without the restoriition of tho 
cup. ^^ ni}j;ht Heritinels were secretly poHted jihout the eainp. 
With iill their vigihuico a Pierced-iiosc! contrived to g(!t into tho 
camp unperceived, hiuI to h)ad hitiisclf with booty ; it wtts only 
on his retrciit that he was discovered and taken. 

At daybreak the culprit was broufjht to trial, and promptly 
convicted. He stood resnonsible for all the spolijitions of the 
camp, tlie precious goblet among the number, and Mr. Clarke 
passed sentence of death upon him. 

A gil)bet was accordin<i:, constructed of oars; the chief of 
the village and his people were assembled and the culprit was 
produced, with his legs and arms pinioned. Clarke then made 
a harangue. lie reminded the tribe of the benefits he had be- 
8to\ve<l upon them dining his former visits, and the n'any thefts 
and other misdeeds which he had overlooked. The prisoner 
especially had always been peculiarly well treated by the white 
men, but had repeatedly been guilty of pilfering. He was to 
be punished for his own misdeeds, and as a warning to his tribe. 

The Indians now gathered round Mr. Clarke and interceded 
for the culprit. They were willing he should bo punished se- 
verely, but implored that his life might be spared. The com- 
panions, too, of Mr. Clarke considered the sentence too severe, 
and advised him to mitigate it ; but he was inexorable. He 
was not natmally a stern or cruel man ; but from his boyhood 
he had lived in the Indian country among Indian traders, and 
held the life of a savage extremely cheap. He was, moreover, 
a firm believer in the doctrine of intimidation. 

Farnham, a clerk, a tall "Green Mountain boy" from 
Vermont, who had been robbed of a pistol, acted as execu- 
tioner. The signal was given, and the i)Oor Picrci'd-nose, 
resisting, struggling, and screaraijg, in the most frightful man- 
ner, was launched into eternity. The Indians stood round 
gazing in silence and mute awe, but made no attempt to oppose 
the execution, nor testified any emotion when it was over. 
They locked up their feelings within their bosoms until an op- 
portunity should arrive to gratify them with a bloody act of 

To say nothing of the needless severity of this aci, its im- 
policy was glaringly obvious. Mr. M'Lcnnun and three men 
were to return to the post with the horses, their loads having 
been transferred to the canoes. They would have to pass 
through a tract of country infested by this tribe, who were all 
horsemen and hard riders, uud might pursue them to take 

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vengeance for the death of their comrade. M'Lennan, how- 
ever, was a resolute fellow, and made light of all dangers. 
He and his three men were present at the execution, and sot off 
as soon as life was extinct in the victim ; but, to use the words 
of one of their comrades, " they did not let the grass grow 
under the heels of their horses, as they clattered out of the 
Picced-nose country," and were glad to find themselves in 
safeiy at the post. 

Mi. Clarke and his party embarked about the same time in 
their canoes, and early on the following day reached the mouth 
of the Wallah -Wallah, where they found Messrs. ."Stuart and 
M'Kenzie awaiting them ; the latter having recovered part of 
the goods stolen from his cache. Clarke informed them of the 
signal punishment he had inflicted on the Pierced-noso, evi- 
dently expecting to excite their admiration by such a hardy act 
of justice, performed in the very midst o^ the Indian country, 
but was mortified at finding it stronglycensured as inhuman, 
unnecessary, and likely to provoke hostilities. 

The parties thus united formed a squadron of two boats and 
six canoes, with which they performed their voyage in safety- 
down the river, and arrived at Astoria on the 12th of Juno, 
bringing with them a valuable stock of peltries. 

About ten days previously, the brigade which had been 
quartered on the banks of the WoUamut, had arrived with 
nume) ous packs of beaver, the result of a few months' sojourn 
on that river. These wore the first fruits of the enterj)riso, 
gathered by men as yet mere strangers in the laud ; but they 
were such as to give substantial grounds for sanguine antici- 
pations of profit, when the country should be more completely 
explored, and the tvade established. 


The partners found Mr. M'Dougal in all the bustle of prep- 
aration ; having about nine days previously announced at the 
factory, his intention of breaking up the establisliinent, and 
fixed upon the 1st of July for the time of departure. Messrs. 
Stuart and Clarke felt highly displeusi'd at his taking so iMcoip- 
itate a step, without waiting for tludr concurrence, wlieii he 
must have known that their arrival could not be far distant. 

Indeed, the whole conduct of Mr. M'Dougal was such us td 




jwakeri strong doubts as to his loyal o'evotion to the cause. 
His old sympathies with the Northwest Company seemed to 
have revived. He had received M'Tavish and his party with 
uncalled-for hospitality, as though they were friends and allies, 
instead of being a party of observation, come to reconnoitre 
the state of affairs at Astoria, and to await the arrival of a 
hostile ship. Had they been left to themselves, they would 
have been sta,rved off for want of j revisions, or driven away 
by the Chinooks, who only wanted a signal from the factory 
to treat them as intruders .vud enemies. M'Dougal, on the 
contrary, had supplied them from the stores of the garrison, 
and had gained them the favor of the Indians, by treating them 
as friends. 

Having set his mind fixedly on the project of breaking up 
the establishment at Astoria, in the current year, M'Dougal was 
sorely disappointed at finding that Messrs. Stuart and Clarke 
had omitted to comply with his request to purchase horses and 
provisions for the caravan across the mountains. It was now 
too late to make the necessary preparations in time for trav- 
ersing the mountains before winter, and the project had to be 

In the mean time, the non-arrival of the annual ship, and the 
apprehensions entertained of the loss of the Beaver, and of 
Mr. Hunt, had their effect upon the minds of Messrs. Stuart 
and Clarke. They began to listen to the desponding represen- 
tations of M'Dougal, seconded by M'Kenzie, who inveighed 
afaiusl their situation as desperate and forlorn ; left to shift 
for themselves, or perish upon a barbarous coast ; neglected by 
those who sent them there, and "hreatened with dangers of 
every kind. In this way they were Incu^ht to consent to the 
plan of abandoning the cwintry in the ensuing year. 

About tliis time, M'Tavish applied at the factory to purchase 
a small supply of goods wherewith to trade his way back to his 
post on the upper waters of the Columbia, having waited in 
vain for the arrival of the Isaac Todd. His reipiest brought 
on a consultation among the partners. M'Doug.'d urged that 
it should l>e complied with. He furthermore proposed, that 
they siiould give up to M'Tavish, for a proper consideration, 
the post ou the Spokan, and all its dej)enilen(',ies, as they had 
not siilliirient goods ou hand to supply that post themselves, 
and lo Keep up a competition with the Northwest Company in 
the trade with the neigii5;j'ing Indians. This last representa- 
tion has since been proved incorrect. By inventories, it ap- 
pears that tbuir btock iu houd for the supply of the iuterioi 








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posts, was superior to that of the Northwest Companj' ; so that 
they had notliiiig to fear from competition. 

Through '' • 'nfluence of Messrs. M'Dougal and ^rKcizje 
tliis propoLitiou was adopted, and was promptly at'ceptod by 
M'Tavish. The merchandise sold to him amounted to eifflit 
hundred and fifty-eight dollars, to be paid for, in tlio followinir 
spring, in horses, or in any other manner most acceptable to 
the partners at that period. 

This agreement being concluded, the partners formed their 
plans for the year that they would yet have to pass in the 
country. Their objects were, chiefly, present sulisistenco, and 
the purchase of horses for the contemplated journey, though 
they were likewise to collect as much peltries as their dimin- 
ished means would command. Accordingly, it was arranged 
that David Stuart should return to his former post on the 
Oakinagan, and Mr. Clarke should make his sojourn amoug 
the Flatheads. John Keed, the sturdy Hibernian, was to uu- 
dertakethe Snake River country, accomj)anied by Tierre Dorion 
and Pierre Delaunay, as hunters, and Francis Landry. .lean 
Baptiste Tin-cotte, Andr6 La Chapelle, and Gilles le Clerc, 
Canadian voyageuis. 

Astoria, however, was the i)ost about which they felt tlie 
greatest solicitude, and on which they all more or less depended. 
The maintenance of this in safety throughout the coming year, 
was, therefore, their grand consideration. Mr. M'Dongalwas 
to continue in command of it, with a jiarty of forty men. They 
would have to depend chietly ujjon the neighboring savages for 
their subsistence. These, at present, were friendly, but it was 
to be feared that, when they should discover the exigencies of 
the ix)st, and its real weakness, they might proci'i'd to hostili- 
ties ; or, at any rate, might cease to furnish their usual siipidies. 
It was important, therefore, to render the place as independent 
as possible, of the surrounding tril)es for its support; and it 
was accordingly resolved that M'lvenzie, with four iuniters, and 
eight common men, should winter in the a])uud:uit country of 
Wollamut, from whence they might be enabled to furnish a con- 
stant supply of provisions to Astoria. 

As there was too great a proportion of clerks for the niunher 
of privates in the service, the engagements of three of tliem, 
Ross Cox, Ross, and M'Fiennan, were surreiidered to tliein. and 
they innnediately enrolled themselves in tiie stM'viee ol' thu 
Northwest Company ; glad, no doubt, to escape from wlnil they 
considered a sinking ship. 

Haviug made all these ajrraugementa, the four partuers, on 



the first of <Tiily, signed a formal inanifpsto, stating the alarm- 
jii(r state of tlioir alTuirs, from tlic non-arrival of the annual ship, 
and the abscnco and apprcliciKk'd loss of the Hcavi'r, their 
ffiint of goods, their despair of reeeiving any further supply, 
their ignoranee of the eoast, and their disappointment as to 
the interior trade, which they pronounced unequal to the ex- 
penses incurred, and incompetent to stand against the powerful 
opposition of the Northwest C'ompau}'. And as by the IGth 
article of the company's agreement, they were authorized to 
abandon this undertaking and dissolve the concern, if before 
the period of five years it should be found unprofitable, they 
now formally announced their intention to do so on the 1st day 
of June, of the ensuing year, unless in the interim they 
should receive the necessary support and supplies from Mr. 
Aster, or the stockholders, with orders to continue. 

This instrument, accompanied by private letters of similar 
import, was delivered to Mr. M'Tavish, who departed on the 
Dth of Jtdy. He engaged to forward the despatches to Mr. 
Astor, by the usual winter express sent overland by the North- 
west Company. 

The manifesto was signed with great reluctance by Messrs. 
Clarke and I). Stuart, whose experience by no means justified 
the discouraging account given in it of the internal trade, and 
who considered the main ditficulties of exploring an unknown 
and savage country, and of ascertaining the best trading and 
trapping groi'.nds. in a great measure overcome. They were 
overrnled, however, by the urgent instances of M'Dougal and 
M'Kcnzie, who, having resolved upon abandoning the enter- 
prise, were desirous of making as strong a case as possible to 
excuse their conduct to Mr. Astor and to the world. 



WiuLE difTiculties and disasters had been gathering about 
the infant settlement of Astoria, the mind of its projector at 
New York was a prey to great anxiety. The ship Lark, de- 
spatched by him with supplies for the establishment, sailed on 
the (Itii of March, ISi;}, Within ii I'oitnight afterward, he re- 
ceived intelligence which jiistilied all his apprehensions of 
iiostilily on the part of the IJritish. The Northwest Company 
had uiuile a second memorial to that government, representing 




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Astoria as an American establishment, stating the vast scope of 
its contemplated operations, magnifying the stnMigtii or its for- 
tifications, and expressing their fears, that, unless cnislicd in 
the bud, it would effect the downfall of their tratle. 

Influenced by these representations, the Britisii (Joveinment 
ordered the frigate Phoebe to be detached as a convoy for the 
armed ship, Isaac Todd, which was ready to sail witli nun and 
munitions for forming a new establishment. They were to 
proceed together to the mouth of the Columbia, capture or de- 
stroy whatever American fortress they should find there, and 
plant the British flag on its ruins. 

Informed of these movements, Mr. Astor lost no time in 
addressing a second letter to the Secretary of State, coniinuni- 
cating this intelligence, and requesting it might bo luid before 
the President ; as no notice, however, had been taken of his 
previous letter, he contented himself with this simple coinninni- 
cation, and made no further application for aid. 

Awakened now to the danger tliat menaced the establishment 
at Astoria, and aware of the importance of protecting tiiis foot- 
hold of American commerce and empire on the shores of the 
Pacific, the government determined to send the frigate Adams, 
Captain Crane, upon this service. On hearing of tliis deter- 
mination, Mr. Astor immediately proceeded to fit out a ship 
called the Enterprise, to sail in company with the A(huns, 
freighted with additional supplies and re-enforcemeiits for 

About the middle of June, while in the midst of those prep- 
arations, Mr. Astor received a letter from Mr. K. Stuart, 
dated St. Louis, May 1st, confirming the intelligence already 
received through the public newspapers, of his safe ictiini. and 
of the arrival of Mr. Hunt and his party at Astoria, and u;iving 
the most flattering accounts of the i)rosperity of tlu; enterprise. 

So deei) had been the anxiety of Mr. Astor, for tiie success of 
this great object of his ambition, that this gleum of good news 
was almost overpowering. "I felt ready," said he. •• to fall 
upon my knees in a transport of gratitude." 

At the same time he heard that the Beaver liad made good 
her voyage from New York to the Columbia. This wa.> addi- 
tional ground of hope for the welfare of the little colony. Tlii' 
post being thus relieved and strengthened with an American at 
its head, and a ship of war about to sail for its protection, the 
prospect for the future seemed fidl of encouragement, and Mr. 
Astor proceeded, with fresh vigor, to Ht out his ship. 

Unfortunately for Astoria, this bright gleam of suii.shine was 



BOOD overclouded. Just as the Adams had received her com- 
plcnioiit of men, and the two vessels wore ready for sea, news 
came from Commodore Chauncey, commanding on Lake On- 
tario, that a re-enforcement of seamen was wanted in that 
quarter. The demand was urgent, the crew of the Adams was 
immediately transferred to that service, and the ship was laid 


This was a most ill-timed and discouraging blow, but Mr. 
Aster would not yet allow himself to pause in his undertaking. 
He determined to send the Enterprise to sea alone, and let her 
take the chance of making her unprotected way across the 
ocean. Just at this time, however, a British force made its 
appearance off the Hook, and the port of New York was effec- 
tually blockaded. To send a ship to sea under these circum- 
stances would be to expose her to almost certain capture. The 
Euterpriso was, therefore, unloaded and dismantled, and Mr. 
Aster was obliged to comfort himself with the hope that tho 
Lark might reach Astoria in safety, and that, aided by her 
supplies and by the good management of Mr. Hunt and his as- 
sociates, the little colony might be able to maiutaiu itself until 
the return of peace. 



We have heretofore had so much to relate of a gloomy and 
disastrous nature, that it is with a feeling of momentary relief 
we turn to something of a more pleasing complexion, and re- 
cord the lirst, and indeed only nuptials in high lif^; that took 
place in the infant settlement of Astoria. 

M'Dougal, who appeai-s to have been a man of a thousand 
projects, and of great though somewhat irregular ambition, 
suddenly conceived the idea of seeking the hand of one of the 
native princesses, a daughter of the one-eyed potentate Cora- 
comly, who held sway over the fishing tribe of the Chinooks, 
and bad long supplied the factory with smelts and sturgeons. 

Some accounts give rather a romantic ciigui tx) this affair, 
liaoiug it to the stormy night when M'Dougal, iu tnv> course of 
an exploring expedition, was driven l)y stress of weather to 
seek shelter in the royal abode of Comcomly. Then and there 
lie was first struck with the charius of this piscatory princess, 
as sIk." exerted herself to entertain her father's guest. 

The "-journal of Astoria," liow ,'ver, which was kept undei: 


^ ( -I ! 




I ■ m 

1 Wf r 

f I 

V.J i- 

,!'■ i 

;r M^ 

I I 

his own (^yc, rooords this union us n high state alliance, anrl 
•jrcut stroixc of polioy- Tiic factory had to di^pond. in a f;i\'at 
measure, on the Chinooiviri for provisions. Tiiey were at pros- 
ent friendly, hut it was to he feared they would pn)ve other- 
wise, shouhl tliey discover ttie weakness and the exiiren(!ies of 
the post, and the intention to leave the countr}'. This alliance, 
therefore, would infallihly rivet Conieomly to the interests of 
the Astorians, and with him the powerful trihe of the C hinijoks. 
Be this as it may, and it is hard to fathom the real policy of 
governors and princes, M'Dougai despatched two of the clerks 
as ambassadors extraordinary, to wait upon the one-eyed chief- 
tain, and make overtures for the hand of his daughter. 

The Chinooks, though not a very refined nation, have notiong 
of matrimonial arrangements that would not disgraci- the most 
refined sticklers for settlements anil pin money. The suitor re- 
pairs not to the bower of his mistress, but to Ikm- father's lodpfe, 
and throws down a present at his feet. His wishes are then 
disclosed by some disceet friend employed by him for tiie 
purpose. If the suitor and his present find favor in the (!ycs of 
the father, he breaks the matter to his daughter, and in(inires 
into the state of her inclinations. Should her answer be favor- 
able, the suit is accepted, and the lover has to make furtlier 
presents to the father, of horses, canoes, and other valuables, 
according to the beauty and merits of the bride ; looking for- 
ward to a return in kind whenever they shall go to house- 

We have more than once had occasion to speak of the 
shrewdness of Comcomly ; but never was it exerted more 
adroitly than on this occasion. He was a great friend of 
M'Dougai, and plca-^ed with the idea of having so distinguished 
a son-in-law; but so favorable an oi)portunity of Denetiting 
his own fortune was not likely to occur a second time, and he 
determined to make tlu' uiosl o\' it. Accordingly, the negotiu- 
tion was protractc(l with true diplomatic skill. Confereiiei' 
after conference was held with the two ambassadors; Comi 
comly wa.s extravagant in his terms, rating the charms of hi 
daughter at the highest price, and indeed she is represented as 
having one of the flattest and most anstocratical lieada in the 
tril)e. At length the preliminaries were all happily adjusted. 
Oil tbc 20th of dulv early in tlic aflcrnoon. a sipiadroii of 
canoes crossed over from the village of the Chinooks, bearing 
the royal famil ■' of ("omcomly, and all his court. 

That worthy s^achem landed in princely state, ai raved in u 
bright blue blaniot and red breech-clout, with au extra 


I , u 



niiaiit'ty of paint and rcjithors, attended hy a train of lialf- 
iiakcil warriors and nobles. A liorse was in waiting to reeeive 
tiie princess, who was mounted heliind one of tlic elcrlv;,-;, and 
thus conveyed, coy but eoinpliant, to the fortress. Here she 
ffiis received with devout though decent joy, by her expecting 

Her bridal adornments, it is true, at first caused some little 
lisniay, having painted and anointed herself for the occasion 
aeconling to the Chinook toilet ; by dint, however, of copious 
ablutions, she was freed from all adventitious tint and fra- 
grauco, and entered into the nuptial state, the cleanest princess 
tliat had ever l)een known, of the somewhat unctuous tribe of 
^ic C'hinooks. 

From that time forward Comcomly was a daily visitor at the 
fort, and was admitted into the most intimate councils of his 
son-ill-law. He took an interest in every thing that was going 
forward, but was particularly frequent in his visits to the 
bhu'ksnii'h's shop, tasking the labors of the artificer in iron for 
every kind of weapon and implement suited to tlie savage 
state, insomuch that the necessary liusiness of the factory was 
often postponed to attend to his recpiisitions. 

The honeymoon had scai'ce passed away, and M'Dougal was 
seated with his bride in the fortress of Astoria, when, about 
noon of the 2()th of August, fiassacop, the son of Comcomly, 
hurried into his presence with great agitation, and announced 
a ship at the mouth of the river. The news produced a vast 
sensation. Was it a ship of peace or wai ? Was it American 
or British? Was it the Heaver or the Isaac Todd? iM'Dougal 
hurrietl to the water-side, threw himself into a boat, and 
ordered the hands to pull with all speed for the mouth of the 
harbor. Those in the fort remained watching the entrance of 
the river, anxious to know whether they were to prepare for 
greeting a friend or fighting an enemy. At length the ship 
was descried crossing tlie bar, and bending her course toward 
Astoria. Kvery gaze was fixed upju her in silent scrutiny, 
until the American flag was recognized. A general shout was 
the first exj)ress!on of joy, and next a salutation was thundered 
from the cannon of the fort. 

The vessel came to anchor on the opposite side of the river, 
and returned the salute. The boat of Mr. M'Dougal went on 
board, and was seen ve'.urning late in the afternoon. The As- 
toriaiis watched her w'th straining eyes, to discover who were 
1)11 l)()iird. but the sun went down, and the evening closed in 
bel'ore she was sutficieutly near. At length she leachetl the 









land, iuid INri. Hunt stepped on shore. He was hailod as on« 
ri.s<-ii from the driid, and his rotiirn >v}is a signal for morii- 
mciit .'ihiioHt equal to tiiat whicli prevailed at the miptiala of 

We must now explain the canse of this gentleman's long 
absenee, which had given rise to such gloomy and dispiriting 


' \- 


I.' I; III 

It will be recollected that the destination of the Beaver, when 
she sailed from Astoria on the 4th of August in 1812, was to 
proceeil northwardly along the coast to Sheetka, or New Arch- 
angel, thei'e to (hspose of that part of her cargo intended for 
the supply of the Russian establishment at that place, and then 
to return to Astoria, where it was expected she would arrive in 

New Archangel is situated in Norfolk Sound, lat. 57° 2' N., 
loiig. lor>° 50' W. It was the headcpiartcrs of the different colo- 
nies of the Russian Fur Comi)any, and the common rendezvous 
of the American vessels trading along the coast. 

The IJeaver met with nothing worthy of particular mention 
in her voyage, and arrived at New Archangel on the 19th of 
August. The i)lace at that time was the residence of Count 
Haranhoff, the governor of the different colonies, a rough, 
rugged, hospitable, hard-drinking old Russian ; somewhat of a 
soldier, somewhat of a trader; above all, a boon companion of 
the old roystering school, with a strong cross of the bear. 

Mr. Hunt fouiul this hyperborean veteran ensconced in a 
fort which crested the whole of a high I'ocky promontory. It 
mounted one hundred guns, large and small, and was impreg- 
nable to Indian attack, unaided by artillery. Here the old 
governor lorded it over sixty Russians who formed the corps 
of the trading establishment, besides an indefinite nunil)er of 
Indian hunters of the Kodiak tribe, who were continually com- 
ing and going, or lounging and loitering about the fort like so 
many hounds round a sportsman's hunting quarters. Though 
a loose liver among his guests, the governor was a strict disci- 
plinarian among his men, ke(4)ing them in perfect subjection, 
and havinji seven on guard night and day. 

Besides those innncdiate seifs and dependants just men- 
tioned, the old Russian potentate exerted a considerable sway 




over a ruimprouH and irrci^iil.u' ( iass of maritime traders, who 
|o(iko(J to lii"' Jor aid and nnmitions, mid through whom he 
iiuiy l>t' siiid to have, in some dej^ice, extended his power idong 
the wliole northwest eoast. These were American captains of 
vessels enjraged in a particular depaitment of trade. One of 
these captains would come, in a manner, empty-handed to New 
Archangel. Here his ship would he furnislied with about fifty 
canoes and a hundred Kodiak Imnters, and fitted out with pro- 
visions, and every thing necessaiy for hunting the sea-otter on 
the coast of California, where the Russians have another estab- 
lishment. The ship would ply along the Californiau coast from 
phiee to place, dropping parties of otter hunters in their canoes, 
fiiinishiiig them only with water, and leaving them to depend 
iipoii tlieir own dexterity for a maintenance. When a sutli- 
cieiit cargo was collected she would gather up her canoes and 
liimtcis, and leturn with them to Archangel, where the captain 
would render in the returns of his voyage, and receive one half 
of the skins for his share. 

Over these coasting captains, as we have hinted, the veteran 
governor exerted some sort of sway, but it was of a peculiar 
and characteristic kind ; it was the tyranny of the table. They 
were oI)liged to join him in his " prosnies " or carousals, and to 
tliink " potations pottle deep." Ilis carousals, too, were not of 
the most (juiet kind, nor were his potations as mild as nectar. 
'•He is continually," said Mr. Hunt, "giving entertainments 
by way of jiarade, and if you do not drink raw rum, and boiling 
punch as strong as sulphur, he will insult you as soon as he gets 
(Inink, which is very shortly after sitting down to table." 

As to any " temperance captain " who stood fast to his faith, 
and refused to give up his sobriety, he might go elsewhere for 
a market, for he stood no chanci! with the governor. Rarely, 
however, did any cold-water caitiff of the kind darken the door 
of old Haraidiotf; the coasting ca[)tains knew too well his humor 
and their own interests ; they joined in his revels, they drank, 
and sang, and whooped, and hiccoughed, until they all got 
"half seas over," and then affairs went on swimmingly. 

All awful warning to all " flinchers " occurred shortly before 
Mr. Hunt's anival. A young naval officer had recently been 
sent out by the emperor to take command of one of the com- 
pany's vessels. The governor, as usual, had him at his " pros- 
nies," and plied him with liery potations. The young man 
stood on the defensive until the old count's ire was completely 
kindled ; he carried his i)()int, ami made the greenhosn tipsy, 
willy uilly. In proportion as tiiey grew fuddled they grew 





■ I <'! 

I ■■ ;' 


iHtisy, thoy quarrelled in tlioir eiips ; the youngster paid ol(^ 
iiai'MiiliolT in liis own coin by ratin<j; liini soundly; in reward 
lor wliicli, wlicn sohcr, lie was taken the rounds of four pid^, 
cts, and reeeivetl scventy-niue lashes, talcd out witli HiiKsiuii 
punetnaiity of punishment. 

Sucli was tlie olil grizzled bear with whom Mr. Hunt litul to 
do Ins business. How he managed to eope with his lunnor; 
wliethiT he pledged himself in raw rum and blazing puiicli 
aiul "olinivcd the can" with him as they made their bargains, 
docs not appear upon record ; we must infer, however, from 
liis general ol)servations on the absolute sway of this hard- 
drinking |)otentate, that lie had to conform to the customs of 
liis court, and that their business transactions presented a 
maudlin mixture of punch and |)eltry. 

The greatest annoyance to Mr. Hunt, however, was the delay 
to which he was subjected in disposing of the cargo of the 
ship and getting the rc(iuisite returns. With all the gover- 
nor's devotions to the bottle, he never obfuscated his faculties 
suiriciently to lose sight of his interest, and is represented by 
Mr. Hunt as keen, not to say crafty, at a bargain as the most 
arrant water drinker. A long time was expended negotiating 
with him, and by the time the bargain was concluded, the 
month of October had arrived. To add to the delay he was to 
be paid for his cargo in seal skins. Now it so hapi)ened that 
there was none of this kind of peltry at the fort of old liaran- 
hoff. It was necessary, therefore, for Mr. Hunt to proceed to a 
seal-catching establishment, which the Russian company had at 
the island of St. I'aul's in the sea of Ivamschatka. He accord- 
ingly set sail on the 4th of October, after having spent forty- 
live days at New Archangel, boosing and bargaining with its 
roystering commander, and I'ight glad was he to escape from 
the dutches of this " old man of the sea." 

The Beaver arrived at St. Paul's on the 31st of October; by 
wiiich time, according to arrangement, he ought to have been 
back at Astoria. The island of St. Paul's is in latitude itl" N., 
longitude 170° or 171" W. Its shores in certain places, and at 
certam seasons, are covered with seals, while others are play- 
ing about in the water. Of these, the Russians take only the 
small ones, from seven to ten months old, and carefully select 
the males, giving the females their freedom, that the breed 
may not be diminished. The islanders, however, kill the large 
ones for provisions, and for skins wherewith to cover their 
canoes. They drive them from tl:j shore over the rocks, until 
within a short distance of tlieir habitations, where they kill 



I'ui' pick, 

them. By this means they save themsolv i the trouble! of 
currying the skins, and liavc the flesh at IkukI. This is thrown 
in heaps, and when the season for sl<inning is over, tliey take 
out tl»e entrails and make one heap of the hlul)ber. This with 
drift-wood sei'vcs for fuel, for the island is entirely destitute of 
trees. They make another heap of the flesh, which, with the 
eggs of sea-fowls, preserved in oil, an occasional sca-llon, a few 
ducks in wiutor, and some wild roots, compose their food. 

Mr. Hunt f jund seven Russians at the island, and one hun- 
dred iuuiters, natives of Oonalaska, with their families. They 
lived in cabins that looked like canoes ; being, for the most 
part, formed of the jaw-bone of a whale, put uj) iis rafters, 
across which were laid pieces of drift-wood covered (ncr with 
long grass, the skins of large sea animals, and earth, so as to 
be quite comfortable, m despite of the rigors of the climate ; 
though we arc told they had as ancient and fish-like an odor, 
"as had the quarters of Jonah, when he lodged within the 

Ill one of these odoriferous mansions Mr. Hunt occasionally 
took up his abode, that he might be at hand to hasten the 
loading of the ship. The operation, however, was somewhat 
slow, for it was necessary to overhaul and inspect every pack 
to prevent imposition, and the peltries had then to be conveyed 
in large boats, made of skins, to the ship, which was some 
little distance from the shore, standing off and on. 

One night, while Mr. Hunt was on shore, with some others 
of the crew, there arose a terrible gale. When the day broke 
the sliip was not to be seen. He watched for her with anxious 
eyes until night, but in vain. Day after day of boisterous 
storms and howling wintry weather were passed in watchful- 
ness and solicitude. was to be seen but a dark and 
angry sea, and a scowlii.g northern sky ; and at night he re- 
tired within the jaws ci the whale, and nestled disconsolately 
among seal skins. 

At length, on the 13th of November, the Beaver made her 
appearance, much the worse for the stormy conflicts she hac^ 
sustained in those hyperborean seas. She had been oblijred to 
carry a press of sail in heavy ga? js, to be able to hold her 
ground, and had consequently sustained great damage in her 
canvas and rigging. Mr. Hunt lost no time in hurrying the 
residue of the cargo on board of her ; then, bidding adieu to 
his seal-fishing friends and his whalebone habitation, he put 
forth once more to sea. 

He was now for making the best of his way to Astoria, and 


:; (,!•! 



■ ti 


] 'M- 

^r\t \ 

forfunnte would it luvvo boon for tlio intorrsts of flmf pi,ipp 
and the inlitrt'sls of Mr. Astor, luid lu' doiu' so; hut, uiiliiduly 
ft perpli'xiiifj (|iK'sUon roHc in iiis mind. 'I'lu- sails mihI iiL;(>ii'|(t 
of tlie Ik'uvfr liiid been nuicli ivnt und HJiatlcri'd in ilic |j^", 
Btorni ; would slie l>o!il»le to stand the hard ^ali's to lie i\|h(|(.i1 
in ni!il\in<i Coluinhiii River at this .season? Was ii iiiiiiKut 
also, Jit this hoistcfous tiuio of the year, to risk the valuable 
cargo whieh she now had on hoard, hy crossing and recr(is>iii(. 
the dangerous har of that river? Thi'se doiihls were prolialijy 
suggested or enforced hy Captain Sowle, who, it has alnaily 
been seen, was an over-cautious, or ratiicr a timid scamai), 
and they may have bad some weight with Mr. Hunt; Ijut 
there were other considerations which more strongly swavod 
his mind. The lateness of the season, and the unforcsotn 
delays the ship had encountered at New Archangel, and hy 
being obliged to proceed to St. Paul's, had ])ut her so imitii 
back in her calculated time, that tiu'rc was a risk ol' lu-r ar- 
riving so lute at Canton as U) come to a bad niarkct, both for 
ihc sale of her peltries and the purchase of a return cargo. He 
considered it to the interest of the company, t.iireforc. that lie 
should proceed at once to the Sandwich Islands; there wail 
lue arrival of the annual vessel from New York, take passM<;e in 
iierto Astoria, and suffer the Beaver to continue on b) Canton. 

On the other hand, he was urged to the other courst; by his 
engagements ; by the plan of the voyage marked out for tln! 
Beaver, by Mr. Astor, l)y his inclination and the possiliiliiy 
that the establishment might need his presence, and by tin- 
recollection that there must already be a large amount of \)v\- 
tvi"z collected at Astoria, and waiting for llie return of tlie 
Beaver to convey thcin to market. 

These conflicting questions perplexed and agitated his mind, 
and gave rise to uuich anxious reflection, for he was a con- 
scientious man. that seems ever to have aimed at a faithful 
discharge of his duties, and to have had the interests of \m 
employers earnestly at heart. His decision in the present 
instance was injudicious, and proved unfortunate. It was. 
to bear away for the Sandwich Islands. He piirsuadivl himself 
that it was a matter (;f necessity, and that the con- 
dition of the shi[) left him no other alternative; bui mc latlnr 
suspect he was so persuaded by the representations ol" llic 
timid captain. They accordingly stcHxl for the Sandwich 
Islands, arrived at Woahoo, wht're the ship nndcrwcnl tlir 
necessary repairs, and again put to sea on the 1st of January 
liil'6, leaving Mr. Hunt ou the island. 



Wr will follow llic noiivcr to Ciuitoii, :is her foitiiiu's, in 
goiiic iiu'iirtiin', I'Xfiiiplilled tbi; evil of euiiiiii:ui(U'rrt of nhips !<» 
('oiitnuy to orders. :iii(l uh ilwy form n, part of tlio tissiut of 
cross-piitposcH that marred thc^ great eoniinercial I'literijrisc we 
have iiiKlerlakeii to rocord. 

The Heaver arrived .safe svt Cjuitoii, wliere Captain Sowlc 
found the letter of Mr. Astor, <jiviii<j; him i;>formatioii of tin 
war, and directing him to convey the intelligeiice to Astoria, 
lie wrote a reply, dictiited cither l)y timidity or obstinacy, in 
which he declined complying with the orders of Mr. Astor, hiiL 
said lie would wait for the return of peace, and tlien come 
home. The other proceedings of Captain Sowle were equally 
wronfi-headed and unlucky. lie was olTeicd one hundred and 
fifty thousands dollars for the fur ho had taken on hoard at St. 
Paul's. The goods for which it liad been i>rocured cost hut 
tffpnty-five thousand (hollars in New York. Il'id he accepted 
tills offer, and re-invested the amount in nankeen.s, whicli at 
tliat time, m consequence of the interruption to commerce by 
tlip war, were at two thirds of their usual price, the whole 
would have brought three hundred thousand dollars in New 
York. It is true, the war would have rendered it unsafe to 
attempt the homeward voyage, but he might have put tlie 
goods in store at Canton, until after the peace, and have sailed 
without risk of capture to Astoria ; bringing to the partners at 
that i)laee tidings of the great profits realized on the outward 
cargo, and the still greater to 1)0 expecteil from the returns. 
The news of such a brilliant commencement to their under- 
taking would have counterbalanced the gloomy tidings of the 
war; it would have infused new spirit into them all, and given 
them courage and constancy to persevere in the enterprise. 
Captain Sowle, however, refused the offer of one hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars, and stood wavering and chaffering for 
higher terms. The furs began to fall in value ; this only 
increased his irresolution ; they sunk so much that he feared to 
sell at all ; he borrowed money on Mr. Astor's account at an 
interest of eighteen per cent, and laid up his ship to await the 
return of peace. 

In the mean while Mr. Hunt soon saw reason to repent the 
resolution he had adopted in alte lUg the destination of the 
ship. His stay at the Sandwich Islands was pr(donged far 
bi'Yund all expectation. He looked in vtiin for the amuial sliip 
in tlie spring. Month after month [)i!ssed by, and still she did 
not iiiuke her appearance. He, too, proved the danger of depart- 
ing from orders. Had he returned from St. Paul's to AHturia, 

h: r. 

r I 





; >'' 


? if; 

in ! 














all the anxlct}' and dpspondcuey about his fato, and alwnt the 
whole course of the undertaking, would luive hccii oliviatpd. 
The r>eaver would have received the furci culUcted at tlie fnctorv 
and taken them to Canton, and great gains, instead of "i^.;,! 
losses, would have been tlie result. The greatest hhiiulor 
however, was that conunitted by Cai)tain .St)wle. 

At length, about tlic 2('»th <;t ,lunc, the ship Albatross, ('aiitiMii 
Smith, arrived from China, and brought the first tidings of the 
war to the Sandwich Islands. i>Ir. Hunt was no longer in doubt 
and perpU'xily as t(> tlic re:isou of the non-appearance of iho 
annual ship. His first thoughts were for tlu' welfare of Astoria 
and concluding that the inhabitants would i)rol)aI)ly be in ^vaiit 
of provisions, he chartered the Albatross for two tliousaml 
dollars, to laud him, with some supplies, at the nioutli of the 
Columbia, where he arrived, as wc have seen, on the 20th of 
August, after a year's seafaring that might have furnished a 
chapter in the wanderings of Siudbad. 


Mk. Hunt was overwhelmed with surprise when he learnt 
the resohttion taken hy the partners to abandon Astoria. He 
soon found, howevor, that matters had gone too far, and the 
minds of his colleagues had become too firndy bent ii[)oii tlie 
measure, to render any opposition of avail. He was beset, too, 
with tlie same disparaging accounts of the interior trade, and 
of the whole concerns and prospects of the company (liat iiad 
been rendered to Mr. Astor. His own experience had been 
full ot perplexities and discouragements. He had a conscien- 
tious anxiety for the interests of Mr. Astor. and. not eomine- 
hending tlie extended views of that gentleuuui, aiid liis lialiil 
of operating with great amounts, he had from the lirst been 
daunted by the enormous expenses retpiired. and had Iteooine 
disheartened ))y the subsequent losses sustained, wliich appeaml 
to him to be ruinous in Uieir magnitude. By dcgices, tliereloie. 
he was brought to acquiesce in the step taken by his colle.ioiios, 
as perhaps advisable in the exigencies of tlu; case ; his (jnly 
rare was to wind uii the l»usiness with as little furtiier loss as 
possible t(t Mr. Astor. 

A large slock of valuable furs was collecte<l at lln' raeloi}', 
\\liieli it was uecessary to yet to a market. There were twenty 



five Sandwicli Tslnndors, also, in the employ of the company, 
wliom tlu'V were Jxiiiiid by ('xim\ss agrccincnt to restore to their 
native ('oiinliy. For tliese purposes a shij) was necessary. 

The Alliatross was hoimd to tiie Manpicsas, and theiiee to tiie 
,Saiiihvi( li Ishuids. It was resolved tiiat Mr. Hunt should sail 
in lier in qnest of a vessel, and should return, if possilJe, by 
tiie lat of .lanuary, bringiii<j; with him a supply of provisions. 
Siiould any thing oeeur, however, to prevent his return, an 
amutiiement was to be proposed to Mr. INI'Tavish, to transfer 
such «it' llie "ion as were so disposed, from the service of the 
American Fur Compan}- into that of the Northwest, the latter 
becoming; icsponsible for the wages due them, on receiving an 
equivalent in goods, from the storehouse of the factory. As a 
means of facilitating the despatch of business, JMr. M'Dougal 
proposed, that in case Mr. Hunt should not return, the wiiole 
arrangement with Mr. IVI'Tavish should be left solely to him. 
This was assented to, the contingency being considered possible, 
but not proliable. 

It is proper to note, that on the first announcement by Mr. 
M'Dougal of his intention to break up the establishment, three 
of the clerks, liritish subjects, had, with his consent, passed 
into the service of the Northwest Comi)an3% and departed with 
Mr. M'Tavish for his post in the interior. 

Having arranged all these matters during a sojourn of six 
clays at Astoria. ]Mr. Hunt set sail in the Albatross on the 2Gth 
of August, and arrived witliout accident at the Mai'quesas. He 
had not been there long when Porter arrived in the frigate 
Essex, bringing in a number of stout London whalers as prizes, 
having made a sweeping cruise in the Pacific. From Com- 
modore Porter he received the alarming intelligence that the 
British frigate Pha'be. with a storeship, mounted with battering 
pieces, cMJculated to attack forts, had arrived at Rio Janeiro, 
where she had l)een joined by the slooDs of war Cherub and 
Kaccoon, and that they had all sailed in company on the Gth 
of July for the Pacific, bound, as it was supposed, to Columbia 

Here, then, was the death-warrant of unfortunate Astoria! 
The anxious mind of Mr. Hunt in greater perplexity than 
ever. He iiad been eager to extricate the property of Mr. Astor 
from a failing concern with as little loss as possible ; there was 
now danger that the wliole wouhl be swallowed up. How was 
it to be snatclu'd from the gulf? It was impossible to charter 
a ship for the puri)ose, now that a liritish scpiadron was on its 
wuy to the river. He api)lied to purchase one of tlu' whale- 

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sliipa 1n-<iun;hl: in by Conmiodoro Porter. The commodore 
<l(Mnnvnl('(I twenty-live tliousand dolhirs for her. Tlic pijcp 
ii|»|) iui'd e\i)rl)il:uil, uiid no I>!U<:;aiii coidd be made. Mr. Ilim^ 
then iiri^ed tlie eojnniodore to lit out one of l»is prize.-,, uiui s. nd 
her to Astoria to l)ring off the property and i)art of the people 
but he deelined, " from want of authority." He assured ;\h'. 
Hunt, however, that he would endeavor to fall iu with the 
enemy, or, should he hear of their having certainly gone totiie 
Columl)ia, he would either follow or anticipate them, should his 
circumstances warrant such a step. 

In this tantalizing slate of suspense, Mr. Hunt was detained 
at the Maniuosas until November 23d, when he proceeded ia 
the Albatross to the Sandwich Islands. He still cherished a 
faint hope that, notwithstanding the war, and all other discour- 
aging circumstances, the annual ship might have been sent by 
Mr. Astor, and might have touched at the islands, and pro- 
ceeded to the Columbia. He knew the pride and interest taiien 
by that gentleman in his great enterprise, and that he would 
not be deterred by dangers and difficulties from prosecuting it; 
much less would he leave the infant establishment without suc- 
cor and support in the time of trouble. In this, we have seen, 
he did but justice to Mr. Astor ; and we must now turn to notice 
the cause of the non-arrival of tne vessel which he had dcspatcluM) 
with re-enforcements and supplies. Her voyage forms another 
cliapter of accidents in this eventful story. 

The T.ark sailed from New York on the Gth of March, 1813, 
and proceeded prosperously on bcr voyage, until within a few 
degrees of the Sandwich Islands. Here a gale sprang up that 
soon blew with tiemendous violence. The Lark was a stanch 
and noble ship, and for a time buffeted bravely with the storm. 
I'nluckily, however, she "broached to," and was struck by a 
heavy sea, that hove her on her beam-ends. The iielm, too, 
was knocked to leeward, all command of the vessel was lost. 
and another mountain wave completely overset her. Orders 
were given to cut away the masts. In the hurry and coiifiisiou 
the boats were also unfortu '.lately cut adrift. The wreck then 
righted, but was a mere hulk, full of water, with a heavy sou 
washing over it, and all the hatches off. On mustering the 
crew, one man was missing, who was discovered below iu the 
forecastle, drowned. 

In cutting away the masts it had been utterly impossible to 
observe the necessary precaution of commencing with the lee 
rigging, that being, from the position of the ship, completely 
under water. The muat» und spais, therefore, being linked to 



tlio wiork by tlie shrouds and rifjging, romainod alongside for 
foiiidav?*- During all tliis (iino tlic sliip lay rolling in the trough 
,)( the sea, tin; heavy surges breaking over her, and the spars 
hpaving and bnnging to and fro, bruising the half-drowned 
siiilois that clung to the bowsprits and the stumps of the masts. 
The sulTeiings of these poor fellows were intolerable. Thej 
stood to their waists in water, in imminent peril of being 
washed off by every surge. In this position they dared not 
sleep, lest they should let go their hold and be swept away. The 
only <hy place on the wreck was the bowsprit. Here they took 
tiiriiB to l)e tied on, for half an hour at a time, and in this way 
(Tallied short snatches of sleep. 

" On the 14th the first mate died at his post, and was swept off 
by the surges. On the 17th two seamen, faint and exhausted, 
were washed overboard. The next wave threw their bodies 
hack iJ})ou the deck, where the\' remained, swashing backward 
and forward, ghastly olijects to the almost perishing survivors. 
Ml". Ogden, the supercargo, who was at the bowsprit, called to 
the men nearest to the bodies to fasten them to the wreck, as 
a last hoirible resource in case of being driven to extremity by 
faniiue ! 

On the 17th the gale gradually subsided, and the sea became 
calm. The sailors now crawled feebly about the wreck, and 
hegan to relieve it from the main encumbrances. The spars 
were cleared away, the anchors and guns heaved overboard ; 
the spritsail yard was rigged for a jurymast, and a mizzen-top- 
sail set ui)on it. A sort of stage was made of a few broken 
s[)ais, on which the crew were raised above the surface of the 
water, so as to be enal)led to keep themselves dry and to sleep 
comfortably. Still their sufferings from hunger and thirst were 
gwai ; but there was a Sandwich Is'ander on board, an expert 
swimmer, who found his way into the cabin and occasionally 
hioiiglit up a few bottles of wine and porter, and at length got 
into the run, and secured a quarter cask of wine. A little raw 
pork was likewise procured, and dealt out with a sparing hand. 
Tl'.' horrors of their situation were increased by the sight of 
numerous sharks prowling about the wreck, as if waiting for 
their prey. On the 24th the cook, a black man, died, and was 
cast into the sea, when he was instantly seized on by these rav- 
enous monsters. 

They had been several days making slow headway under 
their scanty sail, when, on the 2r)th, they came in sight of land. 
It was about fifteen leagues distant, ami they remained two ot 
three days drifting along in sight of it. On the 28th they do- 




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scried to thoir f;rcat transport, a eanoo approachinp;, manaee(\ 
l)y nutives. They cimiv alon<i;.side, and l>roii|i;lit a most wolooino 
Bupi)ly of potatoes. 'I'liey iiiformeil them that the land they 
had made was one of the Sandwich Islands. The second mate 
and one of tlie seamen went on shore in the canoe for water ami 
provisions, and to procure aid from the islauders, iu towing the 
wreck into a haibor. 

Neither of the men returned, nor was any assistance sent 
from shore. The next day, ten or twelve canoes came alonw. 
side, but roamed round the wreck like so many sharks, aiitj 
would render no aid in towing her to land. 

The sea continued to lireak over the vessel with such violence 
that it was impossible to stand at the helm without the assist- 
ance of lashings. The crew were now so worn down by famine 
and thirst that the captain saw it would be impossible for them 
to withstand the breaking of the sea, when the ship slioukl 
ground ; he deemed the only chance for their lives, tlierefore, 
was to get to land in the canoes, and stand ready to receive 
and protect the wreck when she should drift to shore. Accord- 
ingly, they all got safe to land, but had scarcely touched the 
beach when they were surrounded by the natives, who stripped 
them almost naked. The name of this inhospitable island was 

In the course of the night the wreck came drifting to the 
strand, with the surf thundering around her, and shortly after- 
ward bilged. On the following morning numerous cask.s of 
provisions floated on shore. The natives staved them for the 
sake of the iron hoops, but would not allow the crew to help 
themselves to the contents, or to go on board of the wreck. 

As the crew were in want of every thing, and as it might be a 
long time before any opportunity occurred for them to get away 
from tlu'se islands, Mr. Ogden, as soon as he could get a chance, 
made his way to the island of Owyhee, and endeavored to make 
some arrangement vvith the king for the relief of his companious 
in misfortune. 

The illustrious Tamaahmaah, as we have shown on a former 
occasion, was a shrewd bargainer, and in the present instance 
proved himself an ex[)ericnced wrecker. His negotiations with 
M'Dougal and the other "■ Kris of the great American Fur Com- 
pany " had l)nt little effect on present circumstances, and he 
proceeded to avail himself of their luisfortunes. He agreed 
to furnish tlie crew with pi'ovisioiis (hirinir their stay in his ter- 
ritories, and to return to ihiiM all their cloth! Mi.'; t!iat ('(dild be 
found, but he sti[)ulated that the wreck shouhl \k' al).inilnnt'd 



to him as a waif cast bj' fortune on his shores. With these 
conditions Mr. Ogden was fain to comply. Upon tliis the 
great Tamaahraaah deputed iiis favorite, John Young, the tar- 
paulin governor of Owyhee, to proceed with a number of the 
royal guards, and take ix)ssession of the wreck on Ijehalf of the 
crown. This was done accordingly, onci Lhe propert} and crew 
were removed to Owyhee. The royal bounty appears to have 
been hut scanty in its dispensations. The crew faied but 
meaTcly ; though on reading the journal of the Noyage it is 
sint^ular to find them, after all the hardships they had suffered, 
so sensitive about petty inconveniences as to exehiiui against 
the king as a " savage mouster," for refusing them a " pot to 
cook ill," and denying Mr. Ogden the use of a knife and fork 
which had been saved from the wreck. 

Such was the unfortunate catastrophe of the Lark ; had she 
reached her destination in safety, affairs at Astoria iniglit have 
taken a different course. A strange fatality seems to have at- 
ten'led all the expeditions by sea, nor were those by land much 
less disastrous. 

Captain Northrop was still at the Sandwich Islands on De- 
cember 20th, when Mr. Hunt arrived. The latter immediately 
purchased for ten thousand dollars a brig called the Pedler, and 
put Captain Northrop in command of her. They set sail for 
Astoria on the 2'2d of January, intending to remove tiie property 
from thence as speedily as possible to the Russian settlements 
on the northwest coast, to prevent it from falling into the hands 
of the British. Such were the orders of Mr. Astor, sent out by 
the Lark. 

We will now leave Mr. Hunt on his voyage, and return to see 
what has taken place at Astoria during his absence. 


On the 2d of October, alwut five weeks after Mr. Hunt had 
sailed in the Albatross from Astoria, Mr. M'Kenzie set off, with 
two canoes and twelve men, for the posts of Messrs. Stuart and 
Clarke, to apprise them of the new arrangements detenniiiecl 
upon in the recent conference of the i)artners at the factory. 

He had not ascended the river a humlred miles, when he iu( i 
a squadron of ten canoes, sweeping merrily down under IJliti^ li 
colors, the Canadian oarsmen, aa usual, in full song. 





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It was an armameni fitted out by M'Tavish, wlin liad with 
him Mr. J. Stuart, another partner of the Northwest ('(iiiipanv 
together with some clerks and sixty-eight men — sevenly-Uvf. 
souls in all. They had heard of the frigate Plurhe umi n,,, 
Isaac Todd being on the high seas, and were on tiieir nuy down 
to await their arrival. In one of the canoes INIr. Clarke cuiik! 
passenger, the alarming intelligence having brought him du^^,, 
from his post on the Spokan. Mr. M'Keuzie inunediately do. 
termined to return with him to Astoria, and, veering ahout, Hie 
two parties encamped together for the night. The leaders, of 
course, observed a due decorum, but some of the .subuliorus 
could not restrain their chuckling exultation, boasting that they 
would soon plant the British standard on the walls of A«turia, 
and drive the Americans out of the country. 

In the course of the evening Mr. M'Keuzie had a .seerot con- 
ferencc with Mr. Clarke, in which they agreed lo si'l oil' \n\. 
vately, before daylight, and get down in time t(j uprise 
M'Dougal of the api)roach of these Northwesters. The laitrr, 
however, were completely on the alert; just as M'Ken/,io's 
canoes were about to push off, they were joined by a emiilo 
from the Northwest squadron, in which was M'Tavish with two 
clerks and eleven men. With these he intended to push for- 
ward and make arrangements, leaving the rest of the convoy, in 
which was a large quantity of furs, to await his orders. 

The two parties arrived at Astoria on the 7th of October. 
The Northwesters encamped under the guns of the fort, siiid 
displayed the British colors. The young men in the fort, na- 
tives of the United States, were on the i)oint of hoistiiiir tlie 
American flag, but were forbidden ])y Mr. M'Dougal. They 
were astonished at such a prohibition, and were (jxceediiiiily 
galled by the tone and manner assumed by the (derks and w- 
tainers of the Northwest Company, v/Iio ruflled about in thai 
swelling and braggart style which grows u}) an)oug tln'.se heroes 
of the wilderness ; they, in fact, considered thomselvi's lords of 
the ascendant, and regarded the hampered and hara.ssed Astor- 
ians as a conciuered people- 
On the following day M'Dougal convened the clerks, and 
read to them an extract of a letter from his uncle, Mr. Awji^m 
Shaw, one of the principal i)artners of the Northwest Conipaiiy. 
aunounciug the coming of the Bluebe and Isaac Todd, " lo 
take and destroy every thing American on the Noitlnvest 

This intelligence was received without dismay by sucli id' the 
clerks as were natives of the United States. They had fell in 


1- I 



H\r tuni at seeing their national flag struck by a Canadian oom- 
niander, and the British flag flowed, as it were, in tlioir faces. 
They had been stung to the quick, also, by the vaunting airs 
assumed by the Northwesters. In this mode of mind they 
would willingly have nailed their colors to the staff, and defied 
the frigate. She could not come within many miles of the fort, 
they observed, and any boats she might send could be destroyed 
by their cannon. 

There were cooler and more calculating spirits, however, who 
had liic control of affairs, and felt nothing of the patriotic pride 
and indignation of these youths. The extract of the letter had, 
apparently, been I'ead by M'Dougal merely to prepare the way 
for a preconcerted stroke of management. On the same day 
Mr. M'Tavish proposed to purchase the whole siock of goods 
and furs belonging to the comi)any, both at Astoria and in the 
interior, at cost and charges. Mr. M'Dougal undertook to 
comply, assuming the whole management of the negotiation in 
virtue of the power vested in him, in case of the non-arrival of 
Mr. Hunt. That power, however, was limited and specific, and 
did not extend to an operation of this nature and extent ; no 
objection, however, was made to his assumption, and he and 
M'Tavish soon made a preliminary arrangement, perfectly sat- 
isfactory to the latter. 

Mr. .Stuart and the reserve party of Northwesters arrived, 
shortly afterward, and encamped with M'Tavish. The former 
exclaimed loudly against the terms of the arrangement, and 
insisted upon a reduction of the prices. New negotiations had 
now to be entered into. The demands of the Northwesters 
were made in a peremptory tone, and they seemed disposed to 
dictate like conquerors. The Americans looked on with indig- 
nation and impatience. They considered M'Dougal as acting, 
if not a perfidious, certainly a craven part. lie was continu- 
ally repairing to the camp to negotiate, instead of keeping 
within his walls and receiving overtures in his fortress. His 
case, they observed, was not so desperate as to excuse stich 
croi'ching. He might, in fact, hold out for his own terms. 
The Northwest party had lost their ammunition ; they had no 
goods to trade with the natives for i)rovisions ; and they were 
so destitute that M'Dougal had absolutely to feed them, while 
he negotiated with them. He, on the contrary, was well lodged 
and victualled ; had sixty men with arms, ammunition, boats, 
and every thing requisite either for defence or retreat. The 
party, beneath the guns of his fort, were at his mercy ; should 
»Q enemy appear in the oiling, he could pack up the must vul 

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ua' '• ym-t >~<' the property, and retire to some i)lacc of conceal 
men ■ o off f<M' the interior. 

The ^ eon i 'rations, however, had no weigjjt with Mr. 
M'Dougal, or vvei ? overruled by other motives. The terms of 
sale were lowered by him to the standard fixed by Jlr. Stuart 
and an agreement executed, on the IGth of Oetolx'r, by wliich 
the furs and rricrchandise of all kinds in the eountiy, bilonging 
to Mr. iXstor, passed into the possession of the Xortliwest 
Compariy at ab jut a third of their real value. ^ A safe passage 
through the Northwest posts was guaranteed to such as did not 
choose to enter into the service of that company, and the 
amount of wagos due to them was to be deducted from the 
price pad for Astoria. 

The (onduct and motives of Mr. M'Dougal, throughout the 
whole c r this proceeding, have been strongly questioned by 
the othe partners. He has been accused of availing himself 
of a wi jng construction of powers vested in him at his own 
request, and of sacrificing the interests of Mr. Astor to the 
Northwest Company, under the promise or hope of advantage 
to himself. 

He always insisted, however, that he made the Ix^st bargain 
for Mr. Astor that circumstances would permit ; the frigate 
being hourly expected, in which case the whole property of that 
gentleman would be liable to capture. That the return of Mr. 
Hunt was problematical ; the frigate intending to cruise aloiiii 
the coast for two years, and clear it of all American vessels. 
He moreover averred, and INI'Tavish coiroborated his averment 
by certificate, that he proposed an arrangement to that gentle- 
man, by which the furs v/ere to be sent to Canton, and sold 

1 Not quite $40,000 were allowed for furs worth upward of $100,000. Beiiver was 
valued at two dollarR per Bkin, though worth ♦ive dollari*. Land otter at fifty cciUb, 
though worth five doilare. Sea otter at twelve dollarn, 'vorth froui forty -five to sixty 
dollars; and for several kiiidw of furw nothing wan allo.ved. Moreover, "the uiods and 
merchandise for the Indian trade ought to have brought three limcM the amount for which 
they were «old. 

The following CHtimate haM been made of the articles ou hand, and the prices: 

17,705 lbs. beaver parchment, valued at $2 00, 

465 old coat beaver ..." 1 66, 

907 land otter " 50, 

68 sea otter " 12 00, 

30 " " 5 00, 

Nothing was allowed tor 


$5 00 

3 .'■.0 

t) 00 

$45-60 00 

25 00 

179 ininii skinB, worth each 
22 raccoon ..." 
28 lynx . . . . " 
18 fox ..... " 

106 " " 

71 black bear . . " 
16 grizzly bmt . " 

. 40 

. 40 

f 2 00 

1 00 

1 .oo 

4 00 
10 00 

IM., • 

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there at Mr. Astor's risk, and for his account; but tlic piopo 
sition was i)ot acceded to. 

Notwitlistanding all liis representations, several of the per- 
sons present at the transaction, and acquainted with the vvhojp 
course of the affair, and among the number Mr. M'Kcn/.ie hi: 
self, his occasional coadjutor, remained Arm in the belief tht\\ 
liL' liad acted a hollow part. M either did he succeed in exculi)a* i*; 
iiiraself to Mr. Astor; that gentleman declaring, in a Mte 
Hiittcn some time afterward, to Mr. Hunt, that he cons'.aeK'd 
ilie property virtually given away. " Had our pla(!e and o it- 
iivoperty," he adds, " been fairly captured, I should ha^ pre- 
ferred it. I should not feel as if I were disgraced." 

All these may be unmerited suspicious ; but it certainly is a 
circumstance strongly corroborative of them, that Mr. M'Dou- 
(ral, shortly after concluding this agreement, became a member 
of llie Northwest Company, and received a share productive of 
a handsome income. 


On the morning of the 30th of November, a sail was descried 
doubling Tape Disappointment. It came to anchor in liaker's 
Bay, and proved to be a ship of war. Of what nation ? was 
now the anxious inquiry. If English, why did it come alone? 
where was the inerchant vessel that was to have accompanied 
it? If American, what was to become of the newly acquired 
iwssession of the Northwest Company ? 

In this dilemma, M'Tavish, in all haste, loaded two barges 
with all the packages of furs bearing the mark of the Nortii- 
west Company, and made off for Tongue Point, three miles up 
the river. There he was to await a preconcerted signal from 
M'Dougalon iiscertaining the character of tiie siiip. If it should 
;iiove American, M'Tavish would have a fair start, and could bear 
off his rich cargo to the interior, it is singular thai this proinpi 
mode of conveying valuable, but easily transportable effects 
beyond the reach of a hostile ship shouUl not liave suggested 
itself while the property belonged to Mr. Astor. 

hi the mean time M'Dougal, who still remained nominal chief 
at the fort, launched a canoe, manned by men recently in the 
employ of the American Fur Company, and steered for the 
ship. Uu the way he instructed his men to pass tliemseJves for 
Americans or Englishmen, according to the exigeuciets of tiic 

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The vessel proved to be the British sloop-of-war Raccoon of 
twenty-six f^iins and one humh'ccl and twenty men, conimamled 
by Captain Black. According to the account of that officer 
the frigate Thajbe, and the two sloops-of-war Cherub and 
Raccoon, had sailed in convoy of the Isaac Todd, from Rio 
Janeiro. On board of the Phcebe Mr. John M'Donukl, a part- 
uer of the Northwest Company, embarked as paHsouger, to 
profit l)y the anticipated catastrophe at Astoria. 'J'hc convoy 
was separated by stress of weather ofT Cape Horn. Tlie three 
shii)s of war came together again at the island of Juan Fernan- 
dez, their appointed rendezvous, but waited in vuiu for the 
Isaac Todd. 

In the mean time intelligence was received of the mischief 
that Commodore Porter was doing among the British whale- 
ships. Commodore Ilillyer immediately set sail in quest of 
him, with the Phccbe and the Cherub, transferring Mr. M'Don- 
ald to the Raccoon, and ordering that vessel to proceed to the 

The officers of the Raccoon were in high spirits. The agents 
of the Northwest Company, in instigating the expedition, had 
talked of immense booty to be made by the fortunate captors 
of Astoria. Mr. M'Donald had kept up the excitement during 
the voyage, so that not a midshipman but revelled in dreams 
of ample prize-money, nor a lieutenant that would liave sold 
his chance for a thousand pounds. Their disappointment, 
therefore, may easily be conceived, when they Iciuned that 
their warlike attack upon Astoria had been forestalled by a 
snug commercial arrangement ; that their anticipateti booty had 
become British property in the regular course of tiadlc, and 
that all this had been effected by the very company wliicb had 
been instrumental in getting them sent on what they now stig- 
matized as a fool's errand. They felt as if they had been 
duped and made tools of, by a set of shrewd men of traflic, 
who had employed them to crack the nut while they carried oil 
the kernel. In a word, M'Dougal found himself so ungraciously 
received by his countrymen on board of the ship, that be was 
glad to cut short his visit and return to shore. He was busy 
at the fort making preparations for the reception of the captain 
of the Raccoon, when his one-eyed Indian father-in-law made 
his ao})earance, with a train of Chinook warriors, all i)ainied 
and equipped in warlike style. 

Old Conicomly had beheld, with dismay, the arrival of a 
" big war canoe " displaying the British flag. The shrewd oM 
(savage had become something of u politician in the course ui 



his flaily visilH at the fort. IIo know of the war pxistinji ho- 
twet'ii 111*' iiJitioiis, l)iit kiuiw nothing of th(i !iniin<^t!inL'nt he- 
tnciii MDoMj^nl and INI'Tavish. lie tronibU'd, tiu'reforo, for 
the power of iiis white son-in-hiw and the nevv-lledj^ed ffnuuh-ur 
of his (huiffhler, and assenihUHl his warriors in all haste. 
"King (ii'orjii'," said he, " has sent his <ireat eanou to cU'stroy 
the foit, antl make slaves of all the inhabitants. Shall we suf- 
fer it? The Ainerieans are the llrst whilo men that have fixed 
themselves in the land. They have t"c,ated ns like laothers. 
Their jjreat ehicf has taken my daughter to be his sfjuaw : we 
are, tlierefore, as one people." 

His warriors all determined to stand by the Amerleans to the 
last, and to lliis effeet they eaine painted and armed for l)attle. 
Coineomly made a spirited war-speeeii to his son-in-law. He 
olTered to kill every one of King Cieorge's men that should at- 
tempt to land. It was an easy matter. The ship could not 
approaeh within six miles of the fort ; the crew could only land 
ill boats. The woods reached to the water's edge ; in these, he 
anil his warriors would conceal themselves, and shoot down 
the enemy as fast as they put foot on shore. 

M'Doiigal was, doubtless, jjroporly sensible of this jiarental 
devotion on the part of his savage father-in-law, and perhaps a 
little rebuked by the game spirit so opposite to his own. He 
assuretl C'oinconily, however, that his solicitude for the safety 
of liinisi'lf and the princess was superfluous ; as. though the 
ship belonged to King George, her crew would not injure the 
Americans, or their Indian allies. He advised him and his 
warriors, therefore, to lay aside their wea[)Ous and warshirts, 
wash off the paint from their faces and bodies, and appear like 
clean and civil savages to receive the strangers courteously. 

Comeonily was sorely puzzled at this advice, which accorded 
so little with his Indian notions of receiving a hostile nation ; 
and it was only after repeated and positive assurances of the 
amicable intentions of the strangers that he was induced to 
lower his lighting tone. He said something to his warriors 
explanatory of this singular posture of afTairs, and in vindica- 
tion, perhaps, of the pacific temper of his son-in-law. They all 
gave a shrug and an Indian grunt of acquiescence, and went 
off sulkily to their village, to lay aside their weapons for the 

The proper arrangements being made for the reception of 
Captain Hlaek, that oHicer caused his ship's boats to be manned, 
and landed with belitting state at Astoria. From the talk that 
had been made by the Northwest Company of the strength of 

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i4 STORM. 

the place, Rnd tlic armnmotit they Imd required to nfisiat In {t« 
reduction, he expected to find jv fortress of some importunco. 
When he beheld nothing l)ut stocliades and l>a.stions, falciilaUMl 
for defence against naked savages, he felt an emotion of itidig. 
nant surpiise, mingled with something of the ludicrous. *» jg 
this the fort," cried he, " ahout whicli 1 have heard so much 
talking? D — n me, but I'd batter it down in two hours with 
a four-pounder! " 

When he learned, however, the amount of rich furs that had 
been passed into the hands of the Northwesters, lie was out. 
rageous, and insisted that an inventory should hi' tak( ii of all 
the property purchased of the Americans, " with a view to 
ulterior measures in England, for the recovery of the value 
from the Northwest Company." 

As he grew cool, however, ho gave over all idea of profcniiif 
such a claim, and reconciled himself, as well as he could, to 
the idea of having been forestalled by his bargaining coadjutors. 

On the 12th of December the fate of Astoria was consum- 
mated by a regular ceremonial. Captain Black, atteudcHl l)y 
his ollicers, entered the fort, caused the British standaid to be 
erected, broke a bottle of wine, and declared, in a loud voice, 
that he took ix>ssession of the establishment and of tlu' coun- 
try, in the name of his Britannic Majesty, changing the name 
of Astoria to that of Fort George. 

The Indian warriors who had offered their services to repel 
the strangers were present on this occasion. It was explained 
to them as being a friendly arrangement and transfer, hut they 
shook their heads grimly, and considered it an act of suhjui^a- 
tion of their ancient allies. They regretted that they had com- 
plied with M'Dougal's wishes, in laymg aside their arms, and 
remarked that, however the Americans might conceal tin; fact, 
they were undoubtedly all slaves ; nor could they be persuaded 
of the contrary until they beheld the Raccoon depart without 
taking away any prisoners. 

As to Comcomly, he no longer prided himself upon his white 
son-in-law, but, whenever he was asked about him, shook his 
head, and replied, that his daughter had made a mistake, and, 
instead of getting a great warrior for a husband, had uiurried 
herself to a squaw. 




IIavino <>iv('n llic ciiliistrtjplu' jit t'lc fort of Astoria, it rc- 
nmiiis now but to ojillicr up n few Ioohc ends of this vvidel}' 
txciirsivc! Miirnitivt' tviid coMcliidc. On tlu> 2Htli of Kchruur)? 
the liri;,' I'cdlcr ancliorcd in ('olund)ia Hivcr. It will he rccol- 
.irtcd tliat Mr. Hunt had piirciiascd tiiis vessel at the Sand- 
wich Inlands, to take olf the furs eolleeted at the faetory, and 
toi'i'rttore the Sandwieh Islanders to their homes. When that 
gi'iitlcinan learned, however, the precipitate and suinniary 
inaniu'r in which the property liai' heen barj^aini'd away by 
M'l)<>ii<j;al, he expressed his iiidignaiion in the stron<^est terms, 
and (k'termined to make an elTort to j^et l)aek the furs. An 
soon as his wishes were known in this respect, M'Donj^al came 
to sound him on behalf oi the Northwest Company, intimating 
that li(! luul no doubt the peltries might be repurchased at an of fifty per cent. This overture was not calculated to 
soothe the angry feelings of Mr. Hunt, and his indignation 
was complete when he discovered that M'Dougal had become a 
partner of the Northwest Company, and had actually been so 
since the 2;3d of December. He had kept his partnership a 
secret, how(!ver ; had retained the papers of tlie Pacific Fin* 
Company in his posscission, and hail continued to act as Mr. 
Astor's agent, though two of the parties of the other company, 
Mr. M'Kenzi and Mr. Clarke, were present. He had, more- 
over, divulgeu to his new associati-s all that he knew as t'. Mr. 
Astor's plans and affairs, and had made copies of his business 
letters for their [ "rusal. 

Mr. Hunt now considered the whole conduct of M'Dougal 
lioUow and collusive. His only thought was, therefore, to get 
all tlie papers of die concen. out of his hands, and bring the 
businiiss to a close ; for the interests of Mr. Astor were yet 
completi'ly at stake : the drafts of the Northwest Company in 
his favor, for the purchase money, not having yet been ob 
taincd. With some dillieulty he succeeded in getting posses- 
Bioii of the papers. The bills or drafts were delivered witluuit 
hesitation. The latter he remitteil to Mr. Astor by some of his 
associates, who were about to cross the continent to New York. 
This done, he embarked on board the Pedler, on April 3d, 
aceoini)anied by two of the clerks, Mr. Setou and Mr. Halsey, 
and bade a final adieu to Astoria. 

The next day, April Ith, Meswe. Clarke, M'Keuzie, David 

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Stuart, and such of the Astoriane as liad not entered into the 
service of the Northwest Company, set out to cross the Rocky 
Mountains. It is not our intention to take the rciulor aiiollior 
journey across tliose rugged barriers ; but we will step forward 
with the travellers to a distance on their way, merely to relate 
their interview with a character already noted in this work. 

As the party were proceeding up the Columbia, near the 
mouth of the Wallah- Wallah River, several Indian canoes put 
off from the shore to overtake them, and a voice called upon 
tliem in French and requested them to stop. They aeeordiiiijly 
put to shore, and were jonied by those in the canoes. To their 
surprise, they recognized in the person who had hailed them 
the Indian wife of Pierre Dorion, accompanied by her two 
children. She had a story to tell, involving the fate of several 
of our unfortunate adventurers. 

Mr. John Reed, the nil)ernian, it will be remembered, had 
been detached during the summer to the Snake River. His 
party consisted of four Canadians, Giles Le Clerc, Francois 
Landry, ^leau Baptiste Ti cot, and Andre La Chapellc, to- 
gether with two hunters. Pierre Dorion and Pierre Delaunay; 
Dorion, as usual, being accompanied by his wife and cliiklreu. 
The objects of this expedition were twofold — to trap beaver, 
and to search for the three hunters, Robinson, lloback, and 

In the course of the autumn Reed lost one man, Landry, by 
death ; another one, Pierre Delaunay, who was of a sullen, per- 
verse disposition, left him in a moody lit, and was never heard 
of afterward. The number of his party was not, howi'ver, re- 
duced by these losses, as the three hunters Robinson, lloback, 
and Rezner, had joined it. 

Reed now built a house on the Snake River, for theii- winter 
quarters ; which being completed, the party set about trappiiin;. 
Rezner, Le Clerc, and Pierre Dorion went about live; ihiys' 
journey from the wintering house, to a part of the country 
well stocked with beaver. Here they put up a hut, and pro- 
ceeded to trap with great success. While the men were out 
hunting, Pierre Dorion' s wife remained at home to dress the 
skins and prepare the meals. She was thus emph)yed one 
evening about the beginning of January, cooking the supper 
of the hunters, when she heard focjtsteps, and Le CU'.rc stag- 
gered, })ale and bleeding, into the hut. He informed her tlial 
a party of savages had suri)rise(l them while at their traps, and 
had killed Rezner and her husljand. He had barely stivn>ilh 
left tu give this iufuriuatioui nheu he sank upon the ground. 





The poor woman saw that tlio only ohance for life was iriBtant 
flicrht. I'lifc? •" tliiM ('xigoncT, showed that presence of mind and 
force of eharactor for which slio had frequently been noted. 
With <Toat dilHculty she caught two of the liorses belonging to 
the party. Then collecting her clothes, and a small (juantity 
of beaver meat and dried salmon, she packed them upon one of 
the horses, and helped the wounded man to mount upon it. On 
the other horse she mounted with her two children, and hurried 
away from this dangerous neighborhood, directing her flight to 
Mr. Kecd's establishment. On the third day she descried a 
number of Indians on horseback proceeding in an easterly di- 
rection. She immediately dismounted with her children, and 
helped Le Clerc likewise to dismount, and all concealed them- 
selves. Fortunately they escaped the sharp eyes of the savages, 
but had to proceed with the utmost caution. That night they 
slept without fire or water ; she managed to keep her children 
warm in her arms ; but before morning poor Le Clerc died. 

With the dawn of day the resolute woman resumed her 
course, and on the fourth day reached the house of Mr. Reed. 
It was deserted, and all round were marks of blood and signs 
of !i furious massacre. Not doubting that Mr. Reed and his 
party had all fallen victims, she turned in fresh horror from 
the spot. For two days she continued hurrying forward, ready 
to sink for want of food, but more solicitous about her children 
than herself. At length she reached a range of the Rocky 
Mountains, near the upper part of the Wallah- Wallah River. 
Here she chose a wild, lonely ravine as her place of winter 

She had fortunately a buffalo robe and three deer skins ; of 
these, and of pine bai'k and cedar branches, she constructed a 
rude wigwam, which she pitched beside a mountain spring. 
Having no other food, she killed the two horses, and smoked 
their flesh. The skins aided to cover her hut. Here she 
draggod out the winter, with no other company than her two 
chilcheii. Toward the middle of March her provisions were 
nearly exhausted. She therefore packed up the remainder, 
slutig it on h(!r back, and, with her helpless little ones, set out 
again on her wanderings. Crossing the ridge of mountains, 
Bhe descended to the banks of the Wallah- Wallah, and kept 
abng them until she arrived wlierf tiiat river throws itself into 
the Columbia. She was hosi)ital)ly received and entertained 
by tlie Wallali- Wallahs, and had been nearly two weeks among 
them when the two canoes passed. 
Ou beinu; interrogated, she e jld assigu no reason for this 




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nuinlcrous attack of the savajjos ; it apiioarod fo be porfooH^ 
wanton and nnprovokort. Some of tlie Astorians supposod it 
an act of hutchcry l»y a roving hand t)f Blackft'ot; others 
howcvof, and witii greater probability of correctn((.ss, have 
ascribed it to the tribe of Pierced-iiose Indians, in revcntTe for 
the deatli of tlioir comrade hanged by order of Mr. Clarke. If 
so, it shows that these sudden and apparently wanton out- 
breakings of sanguinary violence on the part of the savages 
have often some previous, though perhaps remote, provocation. 

The narrative of the Indian woman closes the checkered 
adventures of some of the personages of this motley story; 
such as the honest Hibernian Keed, and Dorion the hybrid 
interpreter. Turcot and La Chapelle were two of the men whc 
fell off from Mr. Crooks in the course of his wintry journey, 
and had subseiiuently such disastrous times among the Indians. 
We cannot but feel some sympathy with that persevering trio 
of Kentuckians, Kobinson, Rezner, and Hoback, wlio twice 
turned back when on their way homeward, and lingered in the 
wilderness to perish by the hands of savages. 

The return parties from Astoria, both by sea and land, ex- 
perienced on the way as many adventures, vicissitudes, and 
mi.-;haps, as the far-famed heroes of the "Odyssey;" they 
reached their destination at different times, bearing tidings to 
BIr. Astor of the unfortunate termination of his enterprise. 

That gentleman, however, was not disposed, even yet, to 
give the matter up as lost. On the contrary, his spirit was 
roused by what he considered ungeuert s and unmerited eon- 
duct on the i)art of the Northwest Company. "After their 
treatment of me," said he in a letter to Mr. Hunt, " I have no 
idea of remaining quiet and idle." He determined, tliei-fore, 
as soon as circumstances would pennit, to resun.e his enter- 

At the return of peace, Astoria, with the adjacent country, 
reverted to the United States by the treaty of C4heut. on the 
principle of statvs ante helium^ and Captain Biddle was de- 
spatched, in the sloop-of-war Ontario, to take formal reposses- 

In the winter of 1815 a law was passed by Congress prohibit- 
ing all traffic of British traders within the territories of the 
United States. 

The favorable moment seemed now to Mr. Astor to have 
arrived for the revival of his favorite enterprise, but new ditli- 
culties had grown up to impede it. The Northw«'st Company 
were now iu complete occupatiou of the Columbia liiver, auil 



(t« chief tributary streams, holding the posts which he had es- 
tablisiictli and carrying on a trade throughout the neighboring 
retjion, in defiance of the prohibitory law of Congress, which, 
in effect, was a dead letter beyond the mountains. 

To dispossess them would be an undertaking of almost r. 
hoIli"'prent nature ; for their agents and retainers were wel! 
nrmed, and skilled in the use of weapons, as is usual with 
Indian traders. The ferocious and bloody contests which had 
taken place between the rival trading parties of the Northwest 
and Hudson's Bay Com' ies had shown what might be ex- 
pected from commerical feuds in the lawless deptlis of the 
wilderness. Mr. Astor did not think it advisable, therefore, 
to attempt the matter without the protection of the American 
flag, under wliich his people might rally in case of need. He 
accordingly made an informal overture to the President of the 
I'nited States, Mr. Madison, through Mr. Gallatin, offering to 
renew his enterprise, and to re-establish Astoria, provided it 
would be protected by the American tlag, and made a military 
pst, stating that the whole force re(pured would not exceed a 
lieutenant's command. 

Tlie application, approved and recommended by Mr. Galla- 
tin, one of the most enlightened statesmen of onr countrj', was 
favorably received, but no step was takeri in consequence ; the 
President not being disposed, in all probability, to commit 
himself by any direct countenance or overt act. Discouraged 
by this supineness on the part of the government, Mr. Astor 
did not tliink fit to renew his overtures in a more formal man- 
ner, and the fnvorable moment for the re-occupation of Astoria 
was suffeied to pass unimproved. 

The British trading establishments were thus enabled, with- 
out niolestiition, to strike deep their roots, and extend their 
ramifications, in despite of the prohibition of Congress, until 
they had spread themselves over the rich field of enterprise 
opened by Mr. Astor. The British government soon began to 
perceive the imiK)rtance of this region, and to desire to indudo 
it within tlieir territorial domains. A question has conse- 
quently risen as to the right to the soil, and has become one of 
the most perplexing now open between the United States and 
Great Hritain. In the first treaty relative to it, under date of 
Octoher 2()th, IHIS, the question was left unsettled, and it was 
agreed that the country on the northwest coast of America, 
westward of the Hocky Mountains, claimed by either nation, 
should be open to tiie inhabitants of bofh for ten years, for the 
puritoses of trade, with tlie eq^ual rij^ht of navigating all its 

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rivers. When those ten years had expired, a subsequent treaty 
in 1828, extended the arrangement to ten additional years. ,So 
the matter stands at present. 

On easting back our eyes over the series of events we have 
recorded, we see no reason to attribute tlie failure of this great 
commercial undertaking to any fault in tlu^ scheme, o uiuission 
in the execution of it, on the part of the i»i(jjector. It was a 
magnificent enterprise ; well concerted and carried on, without 
regard to didiculties or expense. A succession ol" adverse cir- 
cumstances and cross purposes, however, beset i'. almost from 
the outset ; some of them, in fact, arising from ueglt cl of the 
orders and instructions of Mr. Astor. The (lr;st crippling blow 
was the loss of the Tonquin, wliich clearly would not have hap- 
pened had Mr. Astor's earnest injunctions with regard to the 
natives been attended to. Had this .ship performed her voyage 
prosperously, and revisited Astoria in due time, the trade of 
the establishment would have taken its preet»ncerted fnurse, 
and the spirits of all concerned been kepi up by a confident 
prospect of success. Her dismal catastrophe struck a chill into 
every heart, and prepared Liie way for subsequent despondency. 

Another cause of eri;!> ..(i;; ^sment and loss was the departure 
from the ph-i of Mr. Astot, as to the voyage of the IJeaver, 
subsequent to her visiting Astoria. The vanation from this 
plan produced a series of cross purposes, disastrous to the 
establishment, and detained Mr. Hunt absent from his post, 
when his presence there was of vital im|)ortance to the enter- 
prise ; so essential is it for an agent, in any great and <'()iii|)li- 
cated undertaking, to execute faithfully, and to the IcttiT. the 
part marked out for him by the master mind which has cou- 
certed the whole. 

The l)reaking out of the war between the Ignited States aud 
Great Britain multiplied the hazards and cmbarrassnicnls of 
the enterprise. The disapi)ointment as to convoy rendered it 
difficult to keej) up re-enforcements and supplit's ; and the loss 
of the Lark added to the tissue of misadventures. 

That Mr. Astor battled resolutely against every dillicnlty, 
and pu!S! I'd his course in defiance of every loss, has hecu 
sufilcienily shown. Had he been seconded by suital)le agents, 
and properly protected by government, the ultimate failine of 
his plan might yet have been avcrtecl. It was his great iiiis- 
furtune that his agents wiM'e not imbue<| with his own spirit. 
Some liad not capacity sullicient to e(»niprelu'ud the real natiMv 
and extent of liis sclieme ; others were alien in leeling ami in- 
terest, uud had been brought up in the service of a rival com 

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n.inv. "Whatever sympatliios thoy mi,i>;ht oric:in!il1y liavc liad 
ffitli liiiii' ^^f"'"*' inii)aire(l, il" not destroyed, hy the war. They 
looked upon his cause as desperate, and only considered how 
thoy iiiic;l't make interest to regain a situation under tlieir for- 
mer employers. The absence of ^Mr. Hunt, the only re:il 
voniosentative of Mr. Astor, at the time of the capitulation 
nitii tlu' Northwest Company', completed the s:-i'ies of cross 
niirposi's. Had that gentleman been present, the transfer, in 
nil ijiohnbility, would not have taken place. 

it is painful, nc all times, to see a grand and beneficird stroke 
of oenius fail of its aim : l)ut we regret the failure; of tliis enter- 
piise in a national point of view ; for, had it been crowned 
with success, it would have redounded greatly to the advan- 
tage and extension of our connnerce. The proiits drawn from 
the eoiuilry in ciuestion by the liritish Fur Company, though 
of ample amount, foiin no criterion by whicii to juflge of the 
advantages that would have arisen had it been entirely in the 
liands of the citizens of the United States. That coni[)any, as 
has been shown, is limited in the nature and scope of its opera- 
tions, and can make but little use of the maritime facilities iuld 
out by .'HI emporium and a harlior on that coast. In our 
liaiids. besides the roving ban<ls of trappers and traders, tiu; 
country would have been explored and settled by industrii'iis 
husbandmen ; and the fertile valleys bordering its rivi-rs. d 
shut up among its mountains, v/ould have been made to air 
forth their agricultural treasures to contribute to the general 

In respect to commerce, we should have had a line of trading 
posts from the Mississippi ami the INIissouri across the Rocky 
Mountains, forming a higli road from the great regioi 'f the 
west to the shores of the Pacilie. \Ve should have ha a forti- 
fied post and port at the mouth of the C"oluinl)ia, commanding 
the trade of that river and its tributaries, and of a wide extent 
of country and sea-coast; carrying on an active and i)r(>!itable 
commerce with the Sandwich Islands, and a direct anel fre- 
quent communication with ^ hina. In a word, Astoria might 
have realized tlu; anticipations of Mr. Astor, so well uutler- 
stood and appreciated by Mr. detferson, in gradually bcv "uing 
11 connneicial empire beyond the mountains, peopled by •tree 
and independent Americans, and linked with us by t'^s of 
biodd ami interest." 

We repe;il, Iherefoic, our sincere regret, that our government 
'■lieidd h;ive neglected the overture of Mr. Astoi-. and sutlered 
^he moment to pass by, when full possession of this region 




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irjlp;l(t havp boon takon quietly, Jis a matter of oonrsr, and 
a military post established, williout dispute, at Astoria. ()| r 
siatcsinen havi^ become sensible, when too late, of the iin|)(,|.. 
tance of this measure. Hills liavc^ repeatedly l)een Ijioui^lit into 
Congress for the purpose, but without success ; and our ritrhi 
fu' possessions on that coast, as well as our trade on the riu'itic 
have no rall\ing point [)rotected by the national L'ag, and by ? 
niilitai'v force. 

In the mean time the second period of ton years is fast vhmy 
ing. In 18;j8 the question of title will again come uj). mihI niosi 
probal)ly, in the present amicable slate of our relations with 
Great liritian, will be again postiwned. Every year, liowcvor. 
the litigated claim is growing in importance. There is nu 
])ride so jealous and irrii-'ble as the {iride of teiritory. As ono 
wave of emigration after another rolls into the vast regions of 
the west, and our settlements sti'ctch toward the Ruckv 
JNIountains, the eager eyes of our pioneers will pry beyond, and 
they will become impatient of any barrier or impcdiiiicnt in 
tiie wa\" of what they consider a grand outlet of our tinpire. 
Shoidd any ciremnstance, therefore, unfortunately occur to 
(listurl) the present harmony ol" the two nations, this ill-:u|. 
justed question, which now lies dornumt, may suddenly star!; 
u\) into one of belligei'ent imi)otl, and Astoria i)ecoin(' the 
watchword in a contest for (.lominiou ou the shores of the 

Since the a])ore was written, the question of dominion ovpr 
the s'ast territory beyond the iiocky iMountains, wiruii tor a 
lime ihreatened to disturb the [)eaceful ri'lalions with oui 
transatlantic kindred, has Ikh'U tinally settled in a >iiiril of 
"M'tiKi" concession, and the venerable piojeclor. whose t';iily 
enteri>ris" t'omis the subject, of this work, had the satisfMctioii 
• f kno\kiiig, ere his eyes closed upon the world, that the llug of 
. 's oountiy agaiu waved over " AaroiuA." 

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Braughi of a petition to Congress, sent by Mr. Astor in ISIS. 

Totlifi honorahlo tlio Sciiato and Tlonso of Reprosontativos of tho tTnited 
States, in Conj^icss ;isst;inl)lo(l. The petition of the American Fur 
toiii|iany resi)ectfully showeth: 

TliiK liif \vin\o witli (he several Indian tribes of North America, has, 
forniany years past been almost exclusively carfi(Mt on by the merchants 
of Canada; who. hivvini^ formed powerful and extensive associations for 
that purpose, beiii^ aided by Jiritish capital, and beinj; encouraged by the 
favor and pioleetion of th(^ British ijovernment, coidd not bo opposed, 
with any prospect of succiess, by individuals of the United Stat(!S. 

That liy means of tlu; above trade, thus systematically pursued, not 
only the inhabitants of the United .States liave been deprived of commer- 
cial profits and advanta|.;(^s, to which they appear to have just and natural 
prt'teiisioiis, but a great and dangerous intluence has been established 
over the Indian tribes, dilhcult to l)e counteracted, and capable of btMiig 
exerted at critica! periods, to the great injury and annoyance of our fron- 
tier selllemt^nt. 

That in order to obtain at least a part of the above trade, and more 
particularly that whieii is within the Ixnmdaries of the TTnited States, 
your petilionei's, in the year ISOS, ol)tained an act of incorporation from 
the Slate of New York, whereby they are enabled, with a competent 
capital, to carry on the said trade with the Intlians in such manner as 
may lie eonforn\able. to tlu; laws and regulations of the United States, in 
relation to such commerci!. 

That the 'apital mentioned in th(> said act, amounting to one million of 
.lollars, having lietMi duly formed, your petitioners entered with z(^al and 
ilacrity into thos(> large and important arrangements, which were neces- 
sary for. or eondueive to, the object of their incorporation; and, among 
other things, purchased a great part of the stock in trade, and trading 
esiahlisluMents, of the Michilimackinac Comiiany of Canada. Vour 
jiftitioniTs also, with the ex|iectaticni of great imblic and private advan- 
tai;t! ficin the use of tlmsaid establishments, ordered, during the spring 
ami sununer of iSjt). an assortment of goods from England, suitable for 
the Indian trade: which, in consecpience of the President's proclanuition 
uf Novendicr of that year, weic shipped to Canada instead of New ^'ork, 
and luiAf lie»Mi transported under a very heavy expense, into the interior 
iif the eonntry. l>ut as ihey could not h'gally b(> lirought into the Indian 
i'()unti>y within the boundaries of the United St.ates, they have been 
iiireil ,.n tile Island of St. Joseph, in Lake Jlurou, where they now re- 


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Your ppfifionora, witli proat dpforcnro iiiul implicit siilniiission to ih* 
wisdom of (lio 11,'itioiial li\t;lsliilur(\ Ik'u loavc lo sufi^icst, t'l'i- considciatidn 
whcllH'r' tli«!y liav«> not Homr claim to iialioual attention jiikI rnr.iiirai;c! 
men!, tiDiu tlic nature ami importance of tlieir (inderlalvii,^; wlnVh 
thorn;!! iia/.aidons and uncertain as it, concerns tlieir private eiiinluiui'ni 
must, at, any rate, redound to the public security and adviini.n^c. [f 
tlit>ir undertakiuf^ sliall appear to l)e of the description j^iven, lliey woiiM 
further sugf^est to yoiw lioiiorahle bodies, that unless they can pmcmva 
regular supply for the trade in 'vhieh they are engaj^ed, it m;iy lanu;iii>,li 
and be finally abandoned by American citizens; when it will n-vcpi to iij 
former channel, with additional, and i»erhaj)s with irresistii)le, power. 

Under these circumstances, and upon all those ions of imlijjo 
policy which will present themselves to your honorable bodies, in cjiii 
ncu'tion with tliosi; already mentioned, your iielitioners res\)ccit'iilly jiray 
that a law may l)e p.'vssod to enable the President, or any (»f the heads of 
departments actins; under liis authority, to f,'rant permits lor tlie Intro- 
diiction of j^oods necessary for tlie supply of the Indians, into the liKiian 
country, that is, within the boundaries of tlu^ f.'nited .States, nni!i'r.sii('ii 
regulations, and with such restrictions, as may secure the public revenue 
and promote the pidrlic welfare. 

And your pelitioi\ers shall ever pray, etc. 
In witness whereof, the common seal of the American Fur Company ig 

hereunto athxed, the day of March, lbl2. 
By order of the Corporation. 

An Act to enable the American Fur Company, and other citizens, to in- 
troduce goods necessary for the Indian trade, into the territories within 
the boundaries of the United .States. 

WiiKUKAs, tlie public peace and welfare require that the native Indian 
tribes residing within the boundaries of the Tnited States, should recvive 
their necessary supjilies under the authority and from the citi/.ms of tlit; 
IJnited States: Therefore, be it enacted by t'le Senate and House of 
Keprosentatives of the United States, in Congress assenddeil. tlial it .shall 
be lawful for the President of the United Stales, or any of the heads of 
departments thereunto by h'.m duly authorized, from time to time to 
grant pernuts to the American Fur Company, their agents or factors, or 
any other citizens of the United States engaged in the Indian tradiMo 
Introduce into the Indian country, within the boundaries of tlie I'niliil 
States, such goods, wares, and merchandise, as may be necessary lor the 
said trade, under such regulations and restri<'tions as tb.e said I'resldi'nu 
or heads of departments may jmlge proper; any law or regulation to the 
contrary, in anywise, notwithstanding. 

Letter from Mr. Gallatin to }ir. Astor^ dated 

New Yoi:k, August r,, 1835. 

Dkau Sir: In compliance with your reipiest, I will st.-ite snrji t'luisas 
I recollect touching the subjects mentioned in your letter of 'JSiJi ult. I 
may be mistakitn respecting dates and dtMails, and will only n lale "eiierU 
facts, which 1 well remember. 

In c(