Discovering the Region: Texts

14. James Swan, The Northwest Coast

James G. Swan, The Northwest Coast; or, Three Years’ Residence in Washington Territory (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1857),
50-53, 133-34, 341-51, 366-75, 392-407.

These immense trees, falling from time to time, make a walk through the forest very difficult, and at times dangerous. I was out one day with Captain Purrington, a few months afterward, to examine a piece of land on our claim, when we came to an open space apparently quite level, and covered with dead wood, moss, and a fine growth of raspberry bushes laden with fruit. While we were engaged picking and eating the berries, all at once the captain disappeared. I called out for him, and directly heard a faint halloo, as I thought, under ground. Directly after, down I went, and then found that the place was a small ravine about thirty feet deep, over which the trees had fallen in every direction so as to completely cover it over, and these, in their turn, had been covered over by an accumulation of limbs, branches, moss, and at last by the bushes. The falling of the trees had been evidently caused by some whirlwind years previous. I asked the captain if he was hurt. “No,” said he, “I came down as easy as if I had lit on a feather bed; but if you have a match about you, pass it to me, and I will soon let daylight into this heap. I don’t like the ideas of burning up all those nice berries, but I have a great curiosity to see how this place will look when it is cleared up.” The old man soon kindled a blaze, which very materially altered the appearance of the country before it was put out by the rain. We were fortunate in escaping without injury; but the experience was useful, for, in our future explorations, we were more careful where we went. . . .

- page 53 -


The Oystermen celebrate the 4th of July.—A speech and a great Bonfire.—Arrival of Emigrants.—Colonel H. K. Stevens.—Fishing-party on the Nasal River.—We go up the River to an Indian Camp.—Method of catching Salmon.—We catch rotten logs.—The Colonel falls overboard.—A Chase after a Salmon.—Indian Style of catching Trout.—Their Medicine to allure Fish.—Immense Quantities of Salmon in Shoal-water Bay.—Wreck of Brig Palos.—Description of my House.—High Tides.—Quantities of Wild-fowl.—A Gale of Wind.—Heavy Rain.—The Gale increases, and blows down our Chimney.—Damage done by the Storm.—Narrow Escape from being killed by a falling Precipice.—Arrival of Indians.—Pepper Coffee.—Ludicrous Plight of the Natives.—Their superstition.—They try to shoot a Ghost.—They are scared by a Pumpkin Lantern.—Poisoning Crows.—Method of preserving Cabbages from the Indians.

AFTER my return from Chenook, nothing of any particular interest transpired till toward the first of July, when it was announced to me that the boys, as the oystermen were termed, intended celebrating the 4th of July at my tent; and accordingly, as the time drew near, all hands were engaged in making preparations; for it was not intended that I should be at the expense of the celebration, but only bear my proportionate part. The day was ushered in by a tremendous bonfire, which Baldt and myself kindled on Pine Island, which was answered by every one who had a gun and powder blazing away. Toward two o’clock they began to assemble, some coming in boats, others in canoes, and a few by walking round the beach, which they could easily do at any time after the tide was quarter ebb.

Each one brought something: one had a great oys-

- page 133 -

ter pie, baked in a milk-pan; another had a boiled ham; a third brought a cold pudding; others had pies, doughnuts, or loaves of bread; and my neighbor Russell came, bringing with him a long oration of his own composing, and half a dozen boxes of sardines. When all were assembled, the performances were commenced by the reading of the Declaration of Independence by Mr. St. John, extracts from Webster’s oration at Boston on Adams and Jefferson, then Russell’s oration, which was followed by the banquet and after that a feu-de-joie by the guns and rifles of the whole company.

These ceremonies over, it was proposed to close the performances for the day by going on top of the cliff opposite, and make a tremendous big blaze. This was acceded to, and some six or eight immediately crossed the creek and soon scrambled to the top of the hill, where we found an old hollow cedar stump about twenty feet high. We could enter this on one side, and found it a mere shell of what had once been a monster tree.

I had with me a little rifle, which measured, stock and all, but three feet long. With this I measured across the space, and found it was just six lengths of my rifle, or eighteen feet, and the tree undoubtedly, when sound, must have measured, with the bark on, at least sixty feet in circumference.

We went to work with a will, and soon the old stump filled full of dry spruce limbs, which were lying about in great quantities, and then set fire to the whole. It made the best bonfire I ever saw; and after burning all night and part of the next day, finally set fire to the forest, which continued to burn for several months, till the winter rains finally extinguished it. The party broke up at an early hour, and all declared that, with the exception of the absence of a cannon, they never had a pleasanter “fourth.” . . .

- page 134 -

. . . . The next morning the council was commenced. The Indians were all drawn up in a large circle in front of the governor’s tent and around a table on which were placed the articles of treaty and other papers. The governor, General Gibbs, and Colonel Shaw sat at the table, and the rest of the whites were honored with camp-stools, to sit around as a sort of guard, or as a small cloud of witnesses.

Although we had no regimentals on, we were dressed pretty uniform. His excellency the governor was dressed in a red flannel shirt, dark frock-coat and pants, and these last tucked in his boots California fashion; a black felt hat, with, I think, a pipe stuck through the band, and a paper of fine-cut tobacco in his coat pocket.

The pipe being from time immemorial an emblem of peace among savages, we all had ours, not, however, in our hat-bands; but, as we were not expected to speak on the occasion, we preferred them in our mouths. We also were dressed, like the governor, not in ball-room or dress-parade uniform, but in good, warm, serviceable clothes.

After Colonel Mike Simmons, the agent, and, as he has been termed, the Daniel Boone of the Territory, had marshaled the savages into order, an Indian interpreter was selected from each tribe to interpret the Jargon of Shaw into such language as their tribes could understand. The governor then made a speech, which was translated by Colonel Shaw into Jargon, and spoken to the Indians, in the same manner the good old elders of ancient times were accustomed to deacon out the hymns to the congregation. First the governor spoke a few words, then the colonel interpreted, then the Indians; so

- page 341 -

that this threefold repetition made it rather a lengthy operation. After this speech the Indians were dismissed till the following day, when the treaty was to be read. We were then requested by the governor to explain to those Indians we were acquainted  with what he had said and they seemed very well satisfied. The governor had purchased of Mr. Pilkington a large pile of potatoes, about a hundred bushels, and he told the Indians to help themselves. They made the heap grow small in a short time, each one taking what he required for food; but, lest any one should get an undue share, Commissary Cushman and Colonel Simmons were detailed to stand guard on the potato pile, which they did with utmost good feeling, keeping the savages in a roar of laughter by their humorous ways.

At night we again gathered round the fire, and the governor requested that we should enliven the time by telling anecdotes, himself setting the example. Governor Stevens has a rich fund of interesting and amusing incidents that he has picked up in his camp life, and a very happy way of relating them. We all were called upon in turn, and when it came mine, I related tales that I supposed none of the party ever had heard; and as I was particular about place and date, some were inclined to think I had actually made them up as I went along; but it appeared that the governor knew some of the parties I was speaking of, and, to my great astonishment, told the doubters that he would vouch for the truth of whatever I had related. That served very well for me; for, no matter how improbable a joke I afterward told, the remark was, “That must be true, for the governor will vouch for it.”

There were some tales told of a wild and romantic nature at that camp, and Judge Ford and Colonel Mike did their part. Old frontiersmen and early settlers, they

- page 342 -

had many a legend to relate of toil, privation, fun, and frolic; but the palm was conceded to Cushman, who certainly could vie with Baron Munchausen or Sinbad the Sailor in his wonderful romances. His imitative powers were great, and he would take off some speaker at a political gathering or a camp-meeting in so ludicrous a style, that even the governor could not preserve his gravity, but would be obliged to join the rest in a general laughing chorus. Whenever Cushman began one of his harangues, he was sure to draw up a crowd of Indians, who seemed to enjoy the fun as much as we, although they could not understand a word he said. He usually wound up by stirring up the fire; and this, blazing up brightly and throwing off a shower of sparks, would light the old forest, making the night look blacker in the distance, and showing out in full relief the dusky, grinning faces of the Indians, with their blankets drawn around them, standing up just outside the circle where we were sitting. Cushman was a most capital man for a camp expedition, always ready, always prompt and good-natured. He said he came from Maine; whether he did or not, he was certainly the main man among us.

General Gibbs, Mr. Tappan, and Dr. Cooper also furnished their share in the entertainment, and a report of the anecdotes told in that camp would make as good a book as Joe Miller’s.

The second morning after our arrival the terms of the treaty were made known. This was read line by line by General Gibbs, and then interpreted by Colonel Shaw to the Indians.

The features and provisions of the treaty were these: The Indians were to cede all the territory, commencing on the Pacific coast, at the divide of the Quaitso and Hooch Rivers, thence east between the same, along the line of the Quillahyuaite tribe, to the summit of the coast

- page 343 -

range; thence south, along the line of the Chemakum and Skokomish tribes, to the forks of the Satsop River; thence southeasterly, along the lands ceded by the Nisqually Indians, to the summit of the Black Hills, and across the same banks of the Skookumchuck Creek; thence up said creek to the summit of the Cascade range; south, along the range, to the divide between the waters of the Cowlitz and Cathlapoodl Rivers; thence southwestwardly to the land of the Upper Chenooks, to the Columbia River, and down that river to the sea. The Indians were to be placed on a reservation between Gray’s Harbor and Cape Flattery, and were to be paid for this tract of land forty thousand dollars in different installments. Four thousand dollars in addition was also to be paid them, to enable them to clear and fence in land and cultivate. No spirituous liquors were to be allowed on the reservation; and any Indian who should be guilty of drinking liquor would have his or her annuity withheld.

Schools, carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ shops were to be furnished by the United States; also a saw-mill, agricultural implements, teachers, and a doctor. All their slaves were to be free, and none afterward to be bought or sold. The Indians, however, were not to be restricted to the reservation, but were to be allowed to procure their food as they had always done, and were at liberty at any time to leave the reservation to trade with or work for the whites.

After this had all been interpreted to them, they were dismissed till the next day, in order that they might talk the matter over together, and have any part explained to them which they did not understand. The following morning the treaty was again read to them after a speech from the governor, but, although they seemed satisfied, they did not perfectly comprehend. The difficulty was

- page 344 -

in having so many different tribes to talk to at the same time, and being obliged to use the Jargon, which at best is but a poor medium of conveying intelligence. The governor requested any one of them that wished to reply to him. Several of the chiefs spoke, some in Jargon and some in their own tribal language, which would be interpreted into Jargon by one of their people who was conversant with it; so that, what with this diversity of tongues, it was difficult to have the subject properly understood at all. But their speeches finally resulted in one and the same thing, which was that they felt proud to have the governor talk with them; they liked his proposition to buy their land, but they did not want to go on to the reservation. The speech of Narkarty, one of the Chenook chiefs, will convey the idea they all had. “When you first began to speak,” said he to the governor, “we did not understand you; it was all dark to us as the night; but now our hearts are enlightened, and what you say is clear to us as the sun.

“We are proud that our great father in Washington thinks of us. We are poor, and can see how much better off the white men are than we are. We are willing to sell our land, but we do not want to go away from our homes.

“Our fathers, and mothers, and ancestors are buried there, and by them we wish to bury our dead and be buried ourselves. We wish, therefore, each to have a place on our own land where we can live, and you may have the rest; but we can’t go to the north among the other tribes. We are not friends, and if we went together we should fight, and soon we would all be killed.”

This same idea was expressed by all, and repeated every day. The Indians from the interior did not want to go on a reservation with the Coast or Canoe Indians.

The governor certainly erred in judgment in attempt-

- page 345 -

ing to place these five different tribes on the same reservation; but his motive was, that as they were so few, being mere remnants of once powerful bands, it would be better to have them concentrated at one point. They, however, did not think so; their ancient prejudices were as strong as ever, and they well knew that they never could agree to live together. They were willing to concentrate at a given place on their own lands, and it is a pity the governor did not see the benefit that would arise to them by so doing. A hundred Indians, all that remained of the Chenook tribe, if located at any one point, would be in nobody’s way, and certainly there is plenty of room in their possessions. So of each of the other tribes.

The whole together only numbered 843 all told, as may be seen by the following census, which was taken on the ground:

Lower Chehalis 217
Upper    do. 216
Queniūlts    158
Chenooks   112
Cowlitz    140

But, though few in numbers, there were men among them possessed of shrewdness, sense, and great influence. They felt that, although they were few, they were as fully entitled to a separate treaty as the more powerful tribes in the interior. We all reasoned with them to show the kind intentions of the governor, and how much better off they would be if they could content themselves to live in one community; and our appeals were not altogether in vain; several of the tribes consented, and were ready to sign the treaty; and of these the Queniūlts were the most prompt, evidently, however, from the fact that the proposed reservation included their land, and they would, consequently, remain at home.

- page 346 -

I think the governor would have eventually succeeded in inducing them all to sign had it not been for the son of Carcowan, the old Chehalis chief. This young savage, whose name is Tleyuk, and who was the recognized chief of his tribe, had obtained great influence among the Coast Indians. He was very willing at first to sign the treaty, provided the governor would select his land for the reservation, and make him grand Tyee, or chief, over the whole five tribes; but when he found he could not effect his purpose, he changed his behavior, and we soon found his bad influence among the other Indians, and the meeting broke up that day with marked symptoms of dissatisfaction. This ill feeling was increased by old Carcowan, who smuggled some whisky into the camp, and made his appearance before the governor quite intoxicated. He was handed over to Provost-marshal Cushman, with orders to keep him quiet till he got sober. The governor was very much incensed at this breach of his orders, for he had expressly forbidden either whites or Indians bringing one drop of liquor into the camp.

The following day Tleyuk stated that he had no faith in any thing the governor said, for he had been told that it was the intention of the United States government to put them all on board steamers, and send them away out of the country, and that the Americans were not their friends. He gave the names of several white persons who had been industrious in circulating these reports to thwart the governor in his plans, and most all of them had been in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company. He was assured that there was no truth in the report, and pretended to be satisfied, but, in reality, was doing all in his power to break up the meeting. That evening the governor called the chiefs into his tent, but to no purpose, for Tleyuk made some insolent remarks, and peremptorily refused to sign the treaty, and, with

- page 347 -

his people, refused to have any thing to do with it. That night, in his camp, they behaved in a very disorderly manner, firing guns, shouting, and making a great uproar.

We did not care a pin for their braggadocio, but the governor did; and the next morning, when the camp was called, he gave Tleyuk a severe reprimand, and taking from his paper which had been given to show that the government recognized him as chief, he tore it to pieces before the assemblage. Tleyuk felt this disgrace very keenly, but said nothing. The paper was to him of great importance, for they all look on a printed or written document as possessing some wonderful charm. The governor then informed them that, as all would not sign the treaty, it was of no effect, and the camp was then broke up.

Throughout the whole conference Governor Stevens evinced a degree of forbearance, and a desire to do every thing he could for the benefit of the Indians. Nothing was done in a hurry. We remained in the camp a week, and ample time was given them each day to perfectly understand the views of the governor. The utmost good feeling prevailed, and every day they were induced to some games of sport to keep them good-humored. Some would have races on the river in their canoes, others danced, and others gambled; all was friendly till the last day, when Tleyuk’s bad conduct spoiled the whole.

But, although the alleged reason of their refusing to sign the treaty was that they did not want to leave their homes and live on reservation, yet there were other causes which operated badly. Our whole system of treaty-making is wrong with these frontier Indians. They can not be made to understand why the agents sent to them to make treaties are not empowered to close

- page 348 -

the bargain at once, instead of referring the matter back to Washington, and waiting the tardy action of government. Many of them had been at the treaty-making a few years before at the mouth of the Columbia, where Dr. Dart attempted to make a purchase of their lands; but he was so totally unfitted for the duties of the office that his treaty was instantly repudiated at Washington, and himself removed. But the Indians had acted in good faith. They told me that they did not offer their lands to Dr. Dart, but he told them he would give them a certain price, which they agreed to, and they could not understand why they did not get what they were told they should receive. Consequently, they regarded Dr. Dart and his treaties as humbugs, and placed no more credit on what Governor Stevens told them than they had Dr. Dart, when they found that the governor was also obliged to refer his treaties back to Washington, and that it might be possibly two years before they would be finally placed on the reservation.

They contrasted this dilatory policy of the American government with the prompt and decided course of the Hudson Bay Company, and, as a natural conclusion, were led to look upon the governors and factors of the Company as of vastly more importance than either the governor of the Territory or their Great Father at Washington, who is regarded by them as a sort of myth. They knew, in all their dealings with the Hudson Bay Company officers, that whatever was agreed upon was promptly executed in good faith, whether it was the purchase of a pack of beaver-skins, or a tract country, or a treaty of peace and friendship. And it is this fact, more than any thing else, that the Hudson Bay Company have had the power to make and execute treaties, without having to refer the matter to the home government of England, or even the provincial government of

- page 349 -

Canada, that has enabled them to live for so many years among these Indians in peace and harmony, and to acquire so great an influence over them.

This wise policy should be imitated by our own government so far as to empower the governors and Indian agents to make treaties with Indians that shall take effect at the time of the agreement, and this can easily be done. Let Congress ascertain what the Territory is worth, and then appropriate a sum of money to be expended in its purchase, and allow the agents to have the same judgment in the expenditure as is now done to commissioners, either for purchasing a site for a light-house, custom-house, or post-office, or for constructing a military road. It is folly to think of treating with those wild Indians of the Northwest with the same formality we are wont to adopt toward a foreign nation. They know nothing of law or law terms: all they want is to have matters as simple as possible. If they agree to take a stated sum for their lands, they consider the trade the same as to sell a horse, or canoe, or peltry; it is to them nothing more or less than a trade, and they want their money, or blankets, or whatever equivalent that may be agreed upon paid, and the trade closed. This referring back treaties for alteration is particularly disgusting to them, for it never has been known that the Home Department ever have proposed to pay them any more than the agent first agreed to; and I have no hesitation in asserting that, had Congress agreed upon a certain sum to have been paid to extinguish the Indian titles in Washington Territory, and had empowered Governor Stevens, when he first went to the Territory, to have closed all the treaties as soon as he should have made them, he would not only have effected a final settlement with the whole body of Indians in that section of our country amicably, but have made a saving

- page 350 -

of millions to the Treasury, which will have been expanded before the present war is brought to a close. I think Governor Stevens's course admirably adapted to conciliate the Indians, and, although I have asserted that he erred in judgment in wishing to place the five tribes on one reservation, yet his whole thought and object was for their good, and there can be no doubt that, had they acceded to his views, they would have been benefited. And I firmly believe, from what I saw of Governor Stevens during the week we remained at that camp, and from his general feeling toward the Indians, that, had he been allowed to have carried out his plans unmolested or thwarted by any one, there would not have been a hostile blow struck in the Territory. It is to be regretted that men of intelligence and influence should have been found in the Territory willing, rather side with the governor and assist him, to countenance certain "lewd fellows of a baser sort" to defame, detract, and throw every obstacle in his way. . . .

- page 351 -

. . . . I have before remarked on the great value these Indians place in any document, either printed or written, and in one instance I made it of service. M'Carty's little girl, who had been at school with the children of Mr. Holman, and had acquired some knowledge of books, was, on the death of her father, placed with the family of Judge Weston, the probate judge of the county. Her mother did not like to have her there, and managed to get her away, and for many months she had been living with her grandfather's people at Gray's Harbor, and had become in all respects a perfect little squaw. The judge had offered rewards, and had sent people for her several times without effecting any thing. We all thought it a shame that the child should be left with the Indians, but could not do any thing except by force, which we did not feel authorized to attempt. A few days before my leaving the Bay for San Francisco, I found the fam-

- page 366 -

ily of old Carcowan, the grandfather of the child, camped near Russell's house, and the little girl herself playing with some Indian children in a brook near by. I then saw the mother, and asked her why she kept the child away from Mr. Weston, for she would never get any of her father's property if she was always with the Indians, for white people would steal all they could get. She told me that she was ashamed to have her child live with the whites unless she could pay them, but that she had nothing, and therefore kept the child. "The only way," said I, "for you ever to get any thing for the child is to send her back." This she promised to do if I would give her a paper or letter to the judge. I promised her I would; but, supposing she had no intention of doing any such thing, I did not write the note, neither did I see them for several days. But it appeared they had been talking the matter over; for when I next met them they asked for the letter, and informed me that they were all going with the child. Finding they were really in earnest, I wrote a letter to the judge stating the facts, and the next day they all went to Chenook. Colonel Stevens, who was going to Astoria, accompanied them, and afterward wrote me that they had given up the child as they had agreed to, and she had been sent to school somewhere up the river. She was a bright, intelligent little girl, and I was glad to learn that she was placed away from the influence of her Indian relatives.

The provisions of Governor Stevens's treaty which he wished to make with the Indians at Chehalis were good, if they could be carried out with the same views with which they were originated. They would have answered exceedingly well for a colony of white emigrants, and, with the intention of civilizing and Christianizing the Indians, they had a most laudable aim; but one great difficulty is, that an Indian is essentially different

- page 367 -

from a white man in all his habits, customs, feelings, and desires.

They like to have the white men come among them and cultivate lands, and they like to trade with the whites for their commodities, but farther than this they do not want. They neither wish to adopt the white man's style of living, or his language, or religion.

They feel as we would if a foreign people came among us, and attempted to force their customs on us whether we liked them or not. We are willing the foreigners should come, and settle, and live with us; but if they attempted to force upon us their language and religion, and make us leave our old homes and take up new ones, we would certainly rebel; and it would only be by a long intercourse of years that our manners could be made to approximate.

Because we always live in houses, and do our cooking and make our fires where a chimney will carry off the smoke, and always keep our feet and heads protected and our bodies well clothed, and believe in the Christian religion, we think that it is right and proper to teach the Indians to do the same, simply for the reason that we think it for their good.

But they have been educated differently, and believe in building their fires in the centre of their lodges, where the smoke can be of benefit to dry their provisions for the winter. And they think it best at times to go half naked, and for nearly half the year to live in the open air, protected only by rush mats, and to look upon the Christian religion, as taught them by the priest, with its images, and pictures, and symbols, as something very nearly resembling their own Tománawos style of religion; and to the Protestant form of worship, with its appeals to the intellect, instead of graven images of men, and birds, and beasts, as something they can not comprehend, and do not wish to understand.

- page 368 -

Take the whole body of American Indians, and consider the immense amount of treasure and blood that has been expended to civilize, to say nothing of Christianizing them, then see how few, how very few have become actually benefited compared with what was to have been expected. The whole nature of the man must undergo a radical change before he can be made even to approximate in his feelings and views with those of the white man. That the Indian can be shown by the present condition of the Creeks, the Choctaws, and Chickasaws, but it has been brought about by a long series of years, and by a large admixture of white blood with the Indian stock; and they always have been more or less accustomed to agriculture, from having depended upon their corn as a principal means of subsistence; and a change in those tribes to a sort of demi-civilization was much more easily effected that it can be with the buffalo-hunting, salmon-catching, or blubber-eating natives of the Northwest.

It has been supposed by many that the whites and Red Men of the western frontier can not live together in one community of peace; but this is not so, as the course of the Hudson Bay Company will tend to show. That immense monopoly has spread itself all over that great region of the north, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and for many years has been in constant intercourse with the savage tribes throughout that country, a territory larger that the whole of the United States, and, instead of wars of extermination or constant border raids and feuds, a lasting friendship has been maintained, which appears to grow stronger every day. And the cause of this is very evident, and seems to me to point out a way by which the Americans can live in peace with these tribes, for we must recollect that we are now on the Pacific shore, and

- page 369 -

there is no farther retreat to the west to which the Indian can be removed. The secret of the success of the Hudson Bay Company in its friendly attempts with the Indian is that they have always impressed him with the belief that he is of some importance to them. He procures for them their furs, and they, in return, give him such articles of barter as he may wish, and each, feeling the benefit the other is to him, wishes to be at peace. It is undoubtedly a very selfish kind of friendship, but it is no less a true one. We, of course, can not expect every American settler to be a fur-trader or a shopkeeper, for the great body of emigrants across the Rocky Mountains are farmers; but the idea of making the Indians useful can be carried out, I think, with success.

It is erroneously supposed by some that an Indian is only fit to labor, and that labor to be agricultural; but constant labor of any kind is entirely repugnant to his nature; and, although I have always found them ready to work for the whites when they are paid, yet they can  not and will not work like a white man; every thing they do, from paddling a canoe to hunting an elk or building a canoe, is done by sudden fits and starts. An Indian, if put in a field to work, will do so with the greatest energy for ten or fifteen minutes, and then must sit still an hour to rest himself. White men, who do not understand them, call them lazy, and wish nothing to do with them; say they are of no account, and not worth keeping.

Still, much work can be got out of an Indian by encouragement and praise. Show them how you wish a piece of work done, and praise them when they have finished, and they are, just like children, very easily induced to try again; but scold, find fault, or blame an Indian, and he is done; you get no more work from him till his temper is sweetened.

- page 370 -

Agricultural labor is not that kind best suited for an Indian; he likes something which taxes his ingenuity. He will spend whole days in fashioning a paddle or a spear, or taking the lock of his gun to pieces, just for the amusement of cleaning it and screwing it together again. Those that I have seen were fond of using tools, and readily learned the use of axe, and saw, and plane; and, whenever they had an opportunity, were fond of forging knives and daggers from files and rasps, and could easily do many simple kinds of blacksmith work.* But, although they are ready to work for the whites, I never saw them willing to work for themselves, and it is folly to place a body of Indians on a reservation with the expectation that they are going immediately to work as white men. They do not seem to appreciate the benefit of a division of labor. If he is making a canoe, no one but his slaves will help him, unless he pays them; so if he wishes to plant potatoes or make a net. This peculiar feeling was exhibited to us in their method of dealing for their oysters. Instead of several joining together and filling a canoe, and equally dividing the proceeds, each one works for himself, and must be paid for what he may have procured; so with their salmon. I have frequently had a canoe containing three or four Indians, and perhaps a hundred salmon in one pile: and when they were taken out, each man knew his own by some mark he had put upon it, and they would first have to

* I have noticed one peculiarity in an Indian's method of using tools. They never cut from them while using a knife, as we do while whittling, but invariably cut toward themselves, holding a stick as we would a quill while making a pen; or, when the wood is too large to hold in that manner, they will work with a knife as we would with a drawshave. They also prefer to sit upon the ground while at work rather than stand up, and invariably do so when engaged in any kind of work which will permit them to be seated.

- page 371 -

be assorted into separate heaps, and a trade made with each owner for his respective share. They would not, if placed in villages or communities by themselves, be any other than what they now are, without the presence of whites among them to give encouragement to their labors.

The Hudson Bay Company, in their treatment of the Indians, have combined and reconciled policy with humanity. Their prohibition to supply them with ardent spirits appears to have been in all cases rigidly enforced; and, although many of the employees of the company have furnished the Indians at times with spirits, yet such servants have invariably been dismissed or degraded when found out. Encouragement is also held out by the Company to induce their people, who are mostly French Canadians, to intermarry with the native women, as a means of securing the friendship and trade of the different tribes.

As there are, or rather were, few or no white women in those Territories, it will be easily seen that a great many half breeds are now growing up, who will in time form an important part of the population. The Company afford means for the education of these half-breed children, and, as far as possible, retain them among the whites; and, wherever found capable, give them employ in the service of the Company.

Many of the former employees of the Company, who have retired from the service, have taken farms, where they have successfully reared the half-breed children, and some of them have good educations and are well accomplished. These people are generally surrounded by the Indian relatives of their wives, and the force of their example is seen as gradually to operate on the savages. Their natural shyness and distrust of the white man has been in a great degree removed. They have abandoned

- page 372 -

the use of all their former arms, hunting and fishing implements, and the use of skins and furs for articles of dress, and now depend entirely upon the guns and ammunition, fish-hooks, blankets, and calico which they receive in trade with the whites. They have all been educated to look upon the Hudson Bay Company and its officials as great and powerful people, who are their best friends, who treat them the best, pay them the best prices for their furs, and who give them the best articles in return; and the long intercourse they have had with the Company, and the constant use of fire-arms, have made them, what they really are, a formidable foe. It might be supposed that these Indians, who have acquired some habits of industry from their intercourse with the whites, would be inclined to do something for themselves; but I have always remarked that, when they are removed from the white people and get together, they invariably return to their vagabond, wandering life.

The conduct of the Hudson Bay people, in their treatment of the Indians, is certainly worthy of commendation. But it should be remembered that their object is not one of a missionary nature, and that, of the immense territory placed under their authority, they care to devote but a small portion to agriculture. What they desire to obtain are the furs; and as those articles can be procured in greater quantities and at a less cost by the Indians than by any other means, there is a direct and evident motive of interest to preserve and conciliate them, and they certainly have employed the best methods to attain those ends. It is neither the policy or object of our government to encourage a monopoly like the Hudson Bay Company, or to make a trade themselves, but I think a system could be introduced by which the evidently excellent method of the Hudson Bay Company

- page 373 -

and the Indian sub-agency, could be so combined as to produce the same effect. If the Indians are to be placed on a reservation, with the mill and blacksmith shop, and other adjuncts of civilization, as proposed by Governor Stevens, let there be a resident sub-agent at every reservation, and let that agent be allowed to keep a stock of such articles as the Indians need, and encourage them to bring in furs, or perform work, or learn to be mechanics, and always be ready to pay them for any work done. The mere paying the Indians an annuity, either in money or merchandise, amounts to nothing, so far as any good is expected to be derived toward civilizing them. In fact, it rather encourages idleness among them, and they are almost certain to barter off their annuities for such articles as they may prefer.

It is of little use to place Indians on reservations, and commence to civilize them by means of schoolmasters and missionaries, unless they can find that they are gaining something. Tell an Indian that he must go to work for himself, and it will be a good thing, and he simply will not believe a word about it; but if he knows that with the product of his labor he can go to the store and procure what he desires, he will not only go to work, he will then be ready to be taught some new ideas, with the hope that he can get more articles in trade. What he considers a good thing is something real, tangible, that he can take hold of and call his own. A good heart the missionary tells him of is very well, but a good blanket or a gun is better.

Some persons, and even members of Congress, think that whipping is a very good remedial means to apply to civilize the Indians; others, that the Indian is only fit for whisky-drinking. But there seems to be no particular necessity either for exterminating them by war or whisky just at present.

- page 374 -

The course pursued by the Hudson Bay Company shows that they understand the Indian character to perfection; and if, by adopting some of their views, our government can bring about a state of feeling among our own Indians similar to those of the tribes in British North America toward the Hudson Bay Company, it would seem to be worthy the trial, and would be productive of good both to the Indian and our own people.

The Hudson Bay Company have no false, romantic ideas of Indians, or that bogus species of philanthropy which, looking upon an Indian or a negro as the brother and equal of a white man, thinks that he is capable of being treated in all respects like one, and thereupon wishes to teach him views and place him in positions for which he is not qualified. They look upon an Indian simply as he is―a wild savage, but a man who has rights which they take care to respect. That they do this for motives of gain is unquestionable; but the results have shown that they were correct, and that much good has been accomplished by their means. . . .

- page 375 -


Description of Washington Territory.—Face of the Country.—Mountains, Minerals, Rivers, Bays, and Lakes.—Objects of Interest to the Tourist.—Falls of the Snoqualmie.—Colonel Anderson's Description.—Anecdote of Patkanim.—He forms an Alliance with Colonel Mike Simmons.—Constructive Presence of Colonel Simmons at a Fight.—Productions of the Territory.—Governor Stevens's Remarks.—Northern Pacific Rail-road.—Military Roads.—Public Spirit.—Appropriations by Congress.—Judge Lancaster.—Population.—Advantages to Emigrants.—Whale Fishery.—Russian Trade.—Amoor River.—Vancouver's Views on Climate.—Winter of 1806 in Latitude 56 North.—Salmon, 1807.—Closing Remarks.—Letter from Colonel Anderson.—Advice to Emigrants.

WASHINGTON TERRITORY is the extreme northwest domain of the United States, and is bounded by the Straits of Fuca and the 49th parallel of latitude on the north, the Pacific on the west, the Rocky Mountains on the east, and by Oregon on the south, from which it is separated by the Columbia River to near Fort Walla Walla, and from thence by the 46th parallel. Its form is nearly that of a parallelogram, with an area of some 123,022 square miles.

The approach to Washington Territory from the Pacific is not so abruptly mountainous as that of Oregon. The coast from Cape Disappointment to Cape Flattery is nearly north and south, and can be traveled almost its entire length on a beautiful sand-beach, with the exceptions of the openings of Shoal-water Bay, Gray's Harbor, the Copalis, Queniūlt, and one or two other small rivers. Only a few points jutting into the sea render a portage over them necessary, but the whole distance is easily traversed with the occasional aid of a canoe.

Vancouver noticed the difference of the appearance of

- page 392 -

the coast north of the Columbia, and writes (April, 1792), while about two leagues off shore, Cape Disappointment bearing north 32º east: "The country now before us (Shoal-water Bay) presented a most luxuriant landscape, and was probably not a little heightened in beauty by the weather that prevailed. The more interior parts were somewhat elevated, and agreeably diversified with hills, from which it gradually descended to the shore, and terminated in a sandy beach. The whole had the appearance of a continued forest, extending north as far as the eye could reach, which made me very solicitous to find a port in the vicinity of a country presenting so delightful a prospect of fertility."

It is emphatically a mountainous country, and contains within its limits some of the highest mountains of the Coast range. The principal peaks of the Cascade range are Mount St. Helen's, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount Baker. Mount Olympus, which is the highest of the Coast range, has an elevation of 8197 feet, Mount St. Helen's 13,300, and Mount Rainier 12,000. These peaks are clothed with perpetual snow.

The Indian disturbances have, in a great measure, retarded the development of the resources of the Territory; and, with the exception of the operations in the coal mines at Bellingham's Bay, and the sandstone quarries on the Cowlitz, and the gold mines at Fort Colville, but few minerals have been worked.

Dr. Evans, the geologist of Oregon, who has obtained from personal experience more reliable information than any one else, states that there is coal in abundance, gold in rich diggings, marble in vast quarries, and an inexhaustible supply of lead.

The Columbia River, which separates the two Territories of Oregon and Washington, is the principal stream, and from Fort Walla Walla continues wholly within

- page 393 -

Washington Territory till it enters the British territory near the junction of the Rocky Mountains and the 49th parallel. There are numerous and valuable tributaries to the Columbia in Washington, of which the principal are the Okinakane, Yakama, Snake, Walla Walla, Cathlapoodl, and Cowlitz. Shoal-water Bay, which is directly north of the Columbia, and which is a most excellent harbor, receives the waters of several small streams, of which the Whil-a-pah, Palux, and Nasal are the principal.

Gray's Harbor, eighteen miles north of Shoal-water Bay, receives the waters of the Chehalis, a fine stream of 130 miles in length, and also the Satsop, and other smaller rivers. The Queniūlt River, which runs into the Pacific five miles north of Point Grenville, has its rise in a fine lake of the same name, about twenty miles from the ocean, but can not be entered from its mouth, and is, consequently, of no commercial use. There are many streams running into Fuca Straits, and into the waters of Bellingham's Bay, Admiralty Inlet, Hood's Canal, and Puget Sound, and of these the Dungeness, Skokomish, Nisqually, Duwamsh, Snoqualmie, and Nooksahk are the principal.

Besides the Queniūlt Lake, there are several others of importance, as the Duwamsh, Sammamish, Whatcom, and Cushman, to the west of the Cascade range; and to the east are Lake Pend'oreilles, Chelan, Kullerspelm, Osoyoos, Okinakane, Grand Coulee, Lake Elias, Salt Lake, and many others of smaller size.

The only island of note on the Coast is Destruction Island, but in the waters of the Straits of Fuca and Admiralty Inlet are many of importance.  The principal ones are Whidbey's Island in Admiralty Inlet, which is about forty miles long, and noted for its deer. East of Whidbey's Island is M'Donough's, and south are Bain-

- page 394 -

bridge, Vashons; and in the Puget Sound are Fox, M'Neil, Anderson's, and Hartstein's; and in Bellingham's Bay and the Rosario Straits are others of less importance.

Washington Territory shares with Oregon the grand scenery of the Columbia, the Cascades, the Dalles, and other interesting points. The lofty peaks of St. Helen's, Rainier, Adams, and Baker, of the Cascade range, and Mount Olympus on the Coast, rear their snowy heads. Mount St. Helen's is a volcano, and has been in active operation as late as 1842; and the appearance of many parts of the Territory shows that the volcanic action has not been uncommon.

The rivers of Washington, having their rise in the mountains, have magnificent scenery, and on many of them falls of magnitude may be found. Colonel Anderson, while marshal of the Territory, visited many of them while traversing the country taking the census. He writes me from Washington City, January 25th, 1857, as follows:

"During the month of July, 1852, I visited the celebrated Snoqualmie Falls, the second white party that had ever visited them. Lieutenant Floyd Jones, of the 4th Infantry, United States Army, was with me. We measured the falls with a thread, and found them to be 260 feet high perpendicular. They are truly grand. The Snoqualmie Falls are in about 47° 40' north, and 121° 30' west. The Snoqualmie River is the south branch and main tributary to the Snohomish, and empties into the latter about thirty miles above and east of the mouth of the Snohomish, which makes it about fifty miles from the falls to the mouth of the Snohomish, which is nearly opposite the south end of M'Donough's Island, in what Vancouver called 'Possession Sound' (for there he took possession of the country in the name of his sovereign).

- page 395 -

"The Snohomish is navigable by small steamers as far up as the mouth of the Snoqualmie, which is about the head of tide-water. Canoes ascend within a mile of the falls at all seasons. About ten miles below the falls," adds the colonel, "is the chief residence and head-quarters of the celebrated chief Patkanim, who had a brother hung at Fort Steilacoom in 1850 (by order of the court, Judge Strong) for murdering a soldier. Since that time Pat was supposed to harbor feelings of revenge against the Bostons, and, in consequence, was narrowly watched. He was known to be shrewd, designing, cunning, and crafty. But in 1852 he took a trip on a lumber vessel to San Francicso, and when he returned he said his tumtum had killapied, or his heart had changed; that the Bostons were too strong for the Indians to contend with; they had too many ships, houses, men, &c. So, in this last war, he tendered the services of himself and a company of braves to the governor to assist in whipping Leschi, Nelson, and other Indians on White River. At first he was repulsed, but he importuned the governor, and protested the strongest friendship for the Bostons. At the solicitation of old Mike Simmons (the Daniel Boone of Washington Territory), the governor consented, and accepted Pat and his braves as allies.

"Simmons and a young man named Fuller accompanied Pat on his first and only expedition. They surprised the enemy on White River, routed them, killing nine and losing five braves. Pat brought the heads of his slain as trophies to Colonel Simmons, who did not participate personally in the fight, except by being constructively present, that is, in his tent near by. Of course, this was a feather in Pat's cap. He returned to Olympia with his braves to receive the crown of laurel that always awaits the conqueror, which in this case took the form of the hiyu ickters―many things in the shape

- page 396 -

of presents which the governor had promised him if he should be successful. Pat and his company are the only ones who have ever yet received a dime for their services in this disastrous war."

Besides the Snoqualmie Falls, there are hundreds of others of various heights, and all worthy the attention of the tourist; but, as I have not received any description except the one just related by Captain Anderson, I am unable to give any more particular account.

The climate, which has already been alluded to, is similar to that of Oregon, with some variations caused by difference of latitude and local peculiarities. It is, however, in all parts of the Territory, much milder than in the same parallels of latitude east of the Rocky Mountains.

The soil of all the prairie lands, with the exception of those directly around Puget Sound, is exceedingly fertile. Those of the Sound are of a sandy, gravelly nature, not readily cultivated, but producing enormous fir and cedar trees. The soil on the mountains, wherever I have seen any attempt at a clearing, is generally very rich; but the dense growth of forest deters the emigrant from attempting clearings on a large extent, as the fine, fertile plains and prairie offer far greater inducements. Fruit of various kinds, particularly apples, can be cultivated very readily, and in the greatest perfection. Indian-corn does not thrive well, as the seasons are not hot enough; but wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes yield the most abundant crops, of the finest quality. The potatoes, in particular, are the best I have ever met with in any part of the world. The wheat on the Columbia, called Oregon wheat, is too well known for its superior excellence to need further remark at this time.

Although the Territory is a very mountainous country, yet there are many immense plains and prairies; and, by reference to the map, it will be seen that innumerable

- page 397 -

streams, like veins, permeate the whole region, and each of them, from the largest to the smallest, flows in its course through rich and fertile plains, of various sizes, lying between the mountains. Governor Stevens, in January, 1854, writing of the Territory, says of the waters of Puget Sound, and adjacent ones of Hood's Canal, Admiralty Inlet, and Fuca Straits, "that their maritime advantages are very great, in affording a series of harbors almost unequaled in the world for capacity, safety, and facility of access, and they are in the immediate neighborhood to what are now the best whaling grounds in the Pacific. That portion of Washington Territory lying between the Cascade Mountains and the ocean, although equaling, in richness of soil and ease of transportation, the best lands of Oregon, is heavily timbered, and time and labor are required for clearing its forests and opening the earth to the production of its fruits. The great body of the country, on the other hand, stretching eastward from the range to the Rocky Mountains, while it contains many fertile valleys and much land suitable to the farmer, is yet more especially a grazing country-one which, as its population increases,  promises, in its cattle, its horses, and, above all, its wool, to open a vast field to American enterprise. But, in the mean time, the staple of the land must continue to be the one which Nature herself has planted, in the inexhaustible forests of fir, of spruce, and of cedar. Either in furnishing manufactured timber, or spars of the first description for vessels, Washington Territory is unsurpassed by any portion of the Pacific coast."

Washington Territory abounds in fine timber, and the enormous growth of its spruce and fir excites the admiration of every one who sees them. The trees in the region about Puget Sound are especially large, comprising the spruce, hemlock, yew, cedar, fir, oak, ash, maple,

- page 398 -

and alder. There are now about thirty-seven saw-mills in the Territory, the largest of which is that of Pope, Talbot & Co., under the charge of Captain J. P. Kellar, at Teekalet (Port Gamble), on Hood's Canal. The internal improvements of Washington Territory are progressing as fast as can be expected in a new and sparsely-populated country, situate so remote from the general government. In 1853, Governor Isaac I. Stevens, the first governor of the Territory, surveyed a route for a Northern Pacific Rail-road, and discovered a pass near the sources of Maria's River suitable for a rail-road, estimated to be 2500 feet lower than the south pass of Fremont. It is generally admitted that Governor Stevens's route is the best one for a rail-road that has yet been discovered, although the great, and, in fact, the principal objection urged against it is that it is too far north, and, consequently, will not suit the views nor accommodate the inhabitants of the more southern states and California.

Colonel J. P. Anderson, to whom I am under great obligation for valuable information, writes me from Washington City, January 30th, 1857, as follows: "In February or March, 1853, Congress made an appropriation of $25,000 to construct a military road from Fort Steilacoom to Walla Walla, over and across the Cascade Mountains. Captain George B. M'Clellan (late of the Crimean Commission, now resigned) was charged with the work, in connection with the survey of that region for the Northern Pacific Rail-road.

"He assigned Lieutenant Arnold to the immediate duty of superintending in person the construction of the road. However, before the government officers commenced this work, while they were getting ready, the citizens of Thurston and Pierce Counties, knowing the necessity of getting a road over the mountains that

- page 399 -

summer (1853), in order to accommodate the expected emigrants in the fall, set to work, raised private subscriptions, and put on a strong force to look out a practicable pass and make a wagon-road.

"This company of citizens marked out the road, and so opened it as to admit of travel by pack-animals all the way, and wagons a great part of the way, before the government officers arrived. Then Captain M'Clellan, with that good judgement and liberality for which he was distinguished, adopted the citizens' road almost entirely, reimbursed them out of the appropriation for much of the work they had done, and spent the balance of the $25,000 very judiciously in making a good wagon-road over the mountains.

"There was about $8000 worth of work done by the citizens which Captain M'Clellan could not pay for, but for which I have at this Congress (January, 1857) procured an appropriation (on his recommendation); also $10,000 more to finish the road. I have also an appropriation of $45,000 for a road from Fort Steilacoom to Bellingham's Bay; also $35,000 for one from the mouth of the Columbia River to Fort Steilacoom, both of which have passed the House, and only wait the action of the Senate, which, I doubt not, will be favorable; also an additional appropriation to complete the road from Fort Vancouver to Steilacoom. When these are completed, you will be able to see their importance, all radiating form Fort Steilacoom, which is about the centre of the population."

During the Congress of 1854, the Honorable Columbia Lancaster, the then delegate from Washington Territory, procured, among other appropriations, one for placing buoys to mark the channel to Shoal-water Bay, and another to erect a light-house at Cape Shoal-water, which, however, has not, as yet, been done. There is a light-

- page 400 -

house on Cape Disappointment in operation, but, with this exception, there is no other one at present in the Territory, though many are needed.

Besides the military road already mentioned, there are various county and Territorial roads, the principal of which is Cowlitz, leading from the Cowlitz Landing to Olympia, a distance of about fifty miles. This road is the principal mail-route.

The population of the Territory is composed of whites and Indians, and of the latter, the census taken by Governor Stevens in 1854 gives a total of 7559. Of the whites I have no recent reliable statistics.

Colonel Anderson, while Marshal of the Territory, took the first census, and finished in November, 1853, at which time he reported to the governor that the white population of the Territory was 3965, which would make the whole number of whites and Indians 11,524. Since that time there has been no official census taken, but the white population has been estimated at about 8000, and the Indian at about 7400, which estimate is probably nearly correct.

The first Federal officer who reached the Territory after its separation from Oregon was the United States Marshal, Colonel J. Patton Anderson, who arrived at Olympia on the evening of the 3d of July, 1853, and proceeded at once to take the census. Governor Stevens arrived in the Territory about November of the same year, and immediately issued his proclamation for an election of members of both houses of the Legislature, and assigned the three judges, Lander, Munroe, and M'Fadden, their several districts.

The first court was held at Cowlitz Landing, in Lewis County, on the first Monday in January, 1854, and the first Legislature met the last of the same month at Olympia, and elected Seth Catlin President of the Council,

- page 401 -

and F. A. Chenowith Speaker of the House. The Honorable Columbia Lancaster was the first delegate sent from the Territory to Congress, and was succeeded by Honorable J. Patton Anderson. Both these gentlemen have exerted themselves with success for the good of their constituents while in Congress, and have ably assisted the governor in all his measures for the good of the Territory; and the present rapid increase of Washington, and its many inducements to encourage emigration, contrasting so favorably with some of our other territories, show skill and good management on the part of the executive and delegates, and the good sense of the local population.

To the emigrant Washington Territory presents great attraction. The great diversity of its surface, whether mountain, valley, or plain, gives prospect of success to the farmer, the grazier, and the lumberman; and its numerous and inexhaustible mines of bituminous coal, its quarries of marble and sandstone, its rich god and lead deposits, and its unrivaled water privileges offer great inducements to the capitalist, whether as manufacturer, trader, or ship-owner.

There is no state in the Union that has so vast a communication by water as Washington Territory―the Columbia River on its South, the Pacific on the West, and the Straits of Fuca, Hood's Canal, admiralty Inlet, and Puget Sound on the north. There is not a safer entrance from the ocean in the world than Fuca Straits; and the deep waters that flow through the whole of the inlets, bays, and sounds enable ships of the largest class readily to approach Olympia, the seat of government, at the head of Budd's Inlet, Puget Sound. For a whaling station, the harbors and bays of the Straits of Fuca present remarkable advantages for ships, while for vessels of smaller size Shoal-water Bay can not be surpassed.

- page 402 -

By reference to Maury's Whaling Chart of the Pacific, it will be seen that Washington Territory lies directly in the latitude of the present whaling grounds, and vessels can be sent to sea either from Shoal-water Bay or Fuca Straits, and reach the cruising ground easier and quicker than from any other place. All that the Territory now wants are men and means. To bring the first will be easy when we have the wagon-road completed for which an appropriation has just been made by Congress. We do not ask for, neither do we require, a rail-road at present. Let the wagon-road first be built, with a view of hereafter being used, as far as practicable, as a rail-road, and as soon as the population increases enough to demand it, there will be no difficulty in laying down rails and running engines.* The present difficulties in China between the authorities of that country and the English, Americans, and French, and the recent commercial ad-

* Wagon-road from Fort Kearney to California.—The following is a copy of the act passed at the late session of Congress to construct a wagon-road from Fort Kearney to California:

"Be it enacted, That the sum of $300,000, or as much thereof as may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby appropriated, out of any moneys not otherwise appropriated, for the construction of a wagon-road from Fort Kearney, in the Territory of Nebraska, via the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, to the eastern boundary of the State of California, near Honey Lake; to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to contracts to be made by him; said road to connect with and form an extension of the road already authorized from Fort Ridgely to the aforesaid South Pass.

Sec. 2. That the sum of $200,000, or as much thereof as may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby appropriated, out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the construction of a wagon-road from El Paso, on the Rio Grande, to Fort Yuma, on the mouth of the Gila River; to be expended by the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to contracts to be made by him.

Sec. 3. That the sum of $50,000 be, and the same is hereby appropriated, out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the construction of a wagon-road from Fort Defiance, in the Territory of New Mexico, to the Colorado River, near the mouth of the Mohane River.

- page 403 -

vantages obtained in China by the Russians, seem to indicate that, unless some speedy reconciliation takes place, Russia will obtain control of a large portion of the tea trade. Already tea had been shipped to England from St. Petersburg, and we may expect that it will not be long before an export trade will be opened between the Russians and Americans from the River Amoor. A trade between San Francisco and that river has already opened; but it will be seen, by reference to any chart of the Pacific, what great advantages Washington Territory and the Columbia River possess over all other places for that trade.

The mouth of the Amoor is at the head of the Gulf of Tartary, and lies in about lat. 53° north, and lon. 140° east. The entrance to Fuca Straits lies in lat. 48° 30' north, and lon. 124° 30' west-a difference in latitude of only 270 miles, and distant 4000 miles. This shows the great advantage in point of distance; for, while the Straits of Fuca are about 10 degrees farther north than San Francisco, they have a still farther advantage of being to the windward; and when it is recollected that for the principal part of the year the prevailing wind is from the northwest, the point of advantage can readily be seen. The Amoor River is the largest stream flowing into the Pacific from the western side; it is navigable for boats to Nertchinsk, which is said to be 1700 miles from its mouth. Already the Russians have strongly fortified the entrance, and there is no doubt that a large city will soon be built upon its shores.

One great objection urged against Washington Territory by persons desirous to emigrate is, that it must, from its high latitude, be excessively cold; that it is as bleak and barren as the shores of the Atlantic in the same parallel. But such is not the fact. It has already been shown that the whole Pacific region is much warm-

- page 404 -

er than corresponding points on the Atlantic, and that there are never the sudden and excessive changes of climate so often experienced east of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to instances already cited of its mildness and the early spring, Vancouver writes that in May, 1792, on landing near New Dungeness, "our attention was immediately called to a landscape almost as enchantingly beautiful as the most elegant finished pleasure-grounds in Europe. The country presented nearly a horizontal surface, interspersed with some inequalities of ground, which produced a beautiful variety of extensive lawn, covered with luxuriant grass, and diversified with an abundance of flowers. While we stopped to contemplate these several beauties of nature in a prospect no less pleasing than unexpected, we gathered some gooseberries and roses in a considerable state of forwardness." At another point, farther along the Strait, he remarks, "The ground was covered with a coarse spiry grass, interspersed with strawberries, two or three species of clover, samphire, and a great variety of other plants, some of which bore the most beautiful flowers. On a few of the points were shrubs that seemed to thrive excessively, such as roses, a species of sweetbrier, gooseberries, raspberries, currants, and several other smaller bushes, which, in their respective seasons, produce, most probably, the several fruits common to this and the opposite side of America. These all appeared to grow very luxuriantly, and, from the quantity of blossoms with which they were loaded, there was great reason to believe them very productive."

That Vancouver was correct in his belief as to the production of fruit I can testify from personal experience. I never have seen any where such great quantities of the fruits he has enumerated, or of so excellent a quality, as in Washington Territory. William Tufts, Esq., of Bos-

- page 405 -

ton, to whom I am indebted for compiling the interesting and very valuable list of vessels trading on the Northwest Coast, which may be found in the Appendix, and who was on the Coast as supercargo of the ship Guatimozin, of Boston, in 1807-8, writes me from Boston, February 6th, 1857, that he was on the Coast for eighteen months, from the 20th of March, 1806, to the 24th of September, 1808. During that time their trading extended from the Columbia, in latitude 46° north, to about 59° 30' south, but most of the time was between latitude 54° to 57°. The weather during the eighteen months was mild, but with abundance of rain during the winter months, and but little snow. While in the latitude of 56° north, during the winter, they experienced the coldest weather, which lasted but a few days, and during that time the wind was north-northeast.

Mr. Tufts also adds, what may be here inserted as corroborating my former statement of the size of the salmon in the Columbia, "I was in the Columbia River from about the first to the middle of July, 1807. Our dinner on the 4th of July was roast moose and boiled salmon. We attempted to smoke a dozen or two of the salmon purchased at that time. The largest weighed about 75 pounds, and the whole averaged not far from 60 pounds each."

Mr. Tufts also procured, at the same time, a medal given to the Indians by Lewis and Clarke. It was of pewter, and with the inscriptions upon it shown in the following cut.

But enough has been already adduced from the writings of the early navigators on the Pacific coast, from the times of Meares, Vancouver, and Gray, in 1789 and 1792, to the time of my personal experience, from 1852 to 1855, to show that not only is the climate far preferable to that of the Northeast Coast of America, but that

- page 406 -

the natural products of the country are in such profusion as to render the Territory a desirable place of abode.

For persons desirous of emigrating to Washington Territory, the routes either by land or water can be selected. By water, the most expeditious is to cross the Isthmus of Panama and proceed to San Francisco, where passage can be obtained for the Columbia River direct, either in the regular mail steamers, or by the numerous sailing vessels constantly plying between the two ports, or by sailing vessels bound either to Shoal-water Bay, or any of the numerous ports of Fuca Straits, or the other waters bounding the northwest section of the Territory.

The overland route would be to take any of the old and approved roads till the Columbia is reached at Fort Walla Walla, and from thence the military road can be taken either to Fort Steilacoom or Olympia, the seat of government, or the various settlements about Puget Sound. The Territory only needs men and capital to insure its being one of the most thrifty of our possessions, and when its value is more generally appreciated, we may expect to see as rapid an increase in the population as ever California had in its palmiest days.

- page 407 –

Reading the Region Home Discovering the Region Main Discovering the Region: Commentary Discovering the Region: Texts
Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest