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principal or Northern Fork rises near the heads of the Colorado, and is the great southern route of the trappers and traders across the mountains ; wagons have been carried through from Missouri to Lewis's River by this route, which follows up the valley of the Sweet Water or northern branch of the fork. “ Two hours' ride,” says a traveler, on quitting the Sweet Water, “over a smooth prairie and slight swell, now brought us on to water flowing into the Pacific Ocean ; not, however, as our geographers would lead one to expect, upon the waters of the Columbia, but those of the Colorado of the Gulf of California."
4. Inhabitants. This region is entirely in the possession of the native tribes, most of whom lead a wandering life, at least during the greater part of the year. Unlike the nomadic hordes of Tartary, they have no domestic animals except the horse and the dog, but they roam in pursuit of the bison, which is the principal source of subsistence of many of the tribes. The women, however, generally raise some Indian corn. The skins and furs of the wild animals also furnish
them an important source of traffic with the whites, who scour all parts of the country. There are several forts or fortified trading-posts of the American Fur Company within its limits ; such are Fort William, on the Nebraska, at ihe base of the Black Hills, Fort Union, on the Missouri, 6 miles above the mouth of the Yellowstone ; Fort Mackenzie, near the Great Falls, 600 miles above the mouth of the Yellowstone, and Fort Cass, on the Yellowstone, below the mouth of the Bighorn.
The country on the lower part of the Missouri is occupied by erratic bands of Sioux, who roam westward to the Bighorn, and to the base of the Rocky Mountains, in pursuit of the bison or buffalo. Higher up are the Cheyennes, and Arickarees or Rees. The Mandans and Minnetarees have lately been exterminated by the smallpox. The Assinaboins, Crees, and Gros Ventres or Big Paunch Indians, north of the Missouri, and the Crows or Upsarokas of the Yellowstone, pursue a wandering life without any fixed place of residence; they live by the chase, and their food is meat, roots, and berries. Their shelters are lodges formed of the raw skins of elks and buffaloes ; they are generally well supplied with horses, and travel and hunt entirely on horseback; they raise no horses themselves, but supply themselves by robbing and stealing from the whites, and from other tribes of Indians. The Blackfeet roam and hunt on both sides of the mountains, and of the northern frontier.
CHAPTER XL. COLUMBIA OR OREGON.
1. Boundaries and Extent. The region extending westward from the Rocky Mountains, , and known by the name of the great river which drains it, is claimed by the United States and Great Britain. The former rest their claim on priority of discovery, exploration, and occupation, and on cession by Spain. The Columbia was first entered by the ship Columbia from Boston, Captain Gray, in 1792 ; and in 1905, Lewis and Clarke descended from its heads to the sea, and built a fort at its mouth. By a convention between the United States and Russia, in 1824, it was agreed, that the latter power should not extend its settlements south of 54° 40 north latitude, and by treaty between the United States and Spain, in 1819, the Mexican boundary beyond the mountains, was fixed along the parallel of 42° north. This treaty is considered as equivalent to a cession of the Spanish claims to the United States, and it is contended by the latter power, that Spain alone, of the European powers, had a rightful claim, founded on discovery, to this region. Great Britain, however, makes pretensions to at least a part of this tract, and the area belonging to the United States must depend upon the settlement of the question, whether the northern boundary shall be fixed in 54° 40', or at some other less remote point. The British have proposed to fix it on the parallel of 49° from the mountains to the Columbia, and thence down that river to the sea ; and the Americans have offered to adopt that parallel from the mountains to the ocean as their northern limit, but neither power has accepted the proposal of the other. The whole tract claimed by the United States is about 850 miles in length, from north to south, and from 700 to 400 miles in breadth, with an area of upwards of 350,000 square miles ; if limited to the parallel of 49°, the length would be nearly 500 miles, the area about 250,000 square miles.
2. Mountains. Face of the Country. One of the most striking features of this region is the huge mass of mountains that occupies a considerable portion of its surface. The Rocky Mountains, sometimes called the Chippewayan, or the Stony Mountains, consist of several parallel ridges, running nearly northwest and southeast, and of numerous transverse chains, shooting off eastwardly and westwardly into the lofty plains that spread out at their base. Both series of ridges are mostly covered with perpetual snows, and must have a general elevation of above 10,000 feet, but many peaks tower up to a much greater height. The Three Tetons or Paps, at the head of Lewis's River, and other points less known, are thought to be from 15,000 to 18,000 feet in height, and according to some there are peaks further north, which reach an elevation of 24,000 or 25,000 feet. The great valley of Lewis's River is bound in on the north and south by snow-capped ridges, stretching westward to the main Columbia, and similar ridges surround Clarke's River, and fill the region between the Columbia and the Oakinagan. The rocks appear to be mostly of igneous origin, granite, basalt, &c.; and craters of extinct volcanoes are said to be met with The awful precipices, rugged crags, yawning chasms, and serrated outlines, which characterize mountains of this formation, here present themselves in all their terrors. The high plain of Lewis's River is covered with volcanic glass and sharp broken stones, of similar origin; and hot springs, of the temperature of 100 degrees and upwards, abound. From 400 to 500 miles further west, and about 150 miles from the sea, is the littoral chain or prolongation of the Californian Mountains, in which are Mounts Baker, Rainier, St. Helen's, and Hood, the last on the south, the others on the north of the Columbia, and skirting the shores of Puget's Sound, Admiralty Inlet, and the Gulf of Georgia ; Mount St Helen's is about 14,400 feet, and Mount Hood 16,000 feet in height. In the same range, further south, are Mount Jefferson, Mount McLaughlin, Simpson's Peak, Smith's Peak, and other points not much inferior in elevation. Still further west, the country is traversed by lofty hills, which line the shores of the ocean.
The lofty plains or table-lands interspersed among the mountains, are often of great extent ; that through which Lewis's River takes its course, being about 120 miles in breadth, and several hundred in length. They are generally sandy, and often destitute of vegetation, or beset with cactuses, or covered with a scanty herbage during only a short time; in many cases, however, they produce nutritious grasses, which fit them admirably for the raising of horses and black cattle. Scarcely any rain falls above the littoral chain of mountains, and the unwooded surface is exposed to the parching heats of a burning sun. This region is in fact a prolongation of the great Californian desert, and although its horrors are here somewhat mitigated by running streams and occasional fertility, yet the seatures of that vast steppe may be traced far north on the Upper Columbia. There are several salt-lakes in this great desert, of which the principal is the Lake Bonneville, of Irving, probably the Timpanogos of Humboldt ; it is about 120 miles long by 70 or 80 broad. To the south are 2 smaller lakes, and to the southwest another of considerable size, which receives Mary's or Ogden's River, a large stream on the route of the hunters from St. Louis to Monterey.
Below the coast chain the country is in general fertile, and admirably adapted for agricultural purposes, and there are tracts here of great beauty and luxuriance of vegetation. On the west side of the mountains, the forests, nourished by the kindly influence of the moisture, present specimens of some of the most majestic trees known, and the mildness of the climate, the fertility of the soil, and the ready communication with the largest of the oceans, will one day make this region the seat of a populous and opulent community. Seven or 8 species of pine, some of which are of gigantic size, abound here ; the red pine is 250 feet high, and the Pinus Lambertiana attains the same height, with a diameter of nearly 3 feet 58 feet from the ground, a perfectly straight stem, and no branches for 160 feet. The wood of this tree is of excellent quality, and yields a large portion of rosin ; the cones are from 15 to 18 inches long by 3 in diameter, and the seeds, when dried and pounded, are made into a sort of cake. Growing trees, that have been burned, yield a substance closely resembling sugar, and used as such by the natives. The quamash or kamas-roots (Scilla esculenta) are sweet and palatable when roasted, and are the chief source of subsistence to some of the tribes; the roots of the somuchtan (Lupinus littoralis), mentioned by Lewis and Clarke as a sort of liquorice, are also roasted, and contain much farinaceous matter; the wappatoo and other edible roots are extensively consumed as food, and an indigenous species of tobacco of good quality, is likewise found here.
3. Rivers. Bays. Nearly the whole region is drained by the River Columbia, and its widespreading and numerous branches. It takes its name from the ship which first entered the riv
The Columbia, or as it is also called, the Oregon, rises in the most rugged steeps of the Rocky Mountains, the sources of the northernmost branch being near the heads of Frazer's River, in about 54° north latitude ; in about 52° this branch is joined by another of greater length from the south, which flows from the vicinity of the fountains of the Saskatchawan, in latitude 50°. Its length is about 1,200 miles ; the tide flows up about 170 miles to the font of the Great Rapids, below which point the width is generally 2 or 3 miles and rarely less than 1, and vessels of 300 tons may go up to Fort Vancouver, 100 miles from the ocean. At the Great rapids, the river is compressed into a gorge not more than 150 yards wide, through which the foaming waters are hurried with great violence. About 90 miles further up are the Great Falls, where the descent is about 50 feet, and there are numerous rapids and falls thence to its head.
The principal tributaries of the Columbia are from the east, those which come in on the right being in general inconsiderable streams; the Oakanigan, Yackaman, and Coweliskee, are, however, large rivers. Clarke's, or Flathead River, rises in the mountain valleys, near the heads of the Missouri, and flows first through a rugged country, and lower down through extensive and fertile valleys and verdant plains. It is navigable in the upper part of its course, but about 60 miles from its mouth, becomes so rapid and so much broken as not to admit of navigation. Lewis's River, also called the Shoshonie, or Saptin, is the principal tributary of the Columbia, having a course of about 1,000 miles, chiefly through vast, barren plains. It rises near the head of the Yellowstone and the Colorado, and its current is impetuous, and broken by numerous cascades. The Malade, Wapticacoos, and Kooskooskee, from the north, and the Owyhee, Malheur, and Wallewa;, from the south, are its principal tributaries. The Frazer, or Tacoutche Tesse, runs nearly parallel with the Columbia, and empties its waters
into the Gulf of Georgia. The Hudson's Bay Company have several posts on this river and its branches, which abound in the fur-bearing animals. The fine island of Quadra and Vancouver, north of Juan de Fuca's Straits, is about 150 miles long, and contains some excellent harbors, among which are those of Nootka Sound, Port Cox, and Nitinat.
5. Inhabitants. The only establishments of the whites in this region are the Hudson's Bay Company's post and settlements, and some missionary stations, the whole country being in possession of the native tribes. Fort Vancouver, the principal depot of the Company for Columbia District, stands on the north bank of the River Columbia, 100 miles from its mouth. A Company's ship from
London arrives here annually, in the Nootka Sound.
spring, with goods, and returns in the autumn, after having made a trip to the Sandwich islands and back, with furs, and several vessels remain on the coast to traffic, and bring in the furs. Every spring numerous parties leave. Fort Vancouver, in boats loaded with goods for the Indian trade, for the different interior posts ; these are Fort Wallawallah, about 250 miles up the river ; Fort Colville, near the mouth of the Clarke ; Oakanigan House, at the mouth of that river ; Flathead House, on Clarke's River, and Fort McKay, on the Umpqua ; forts Langley, Thompson, and Alexander, on Frazer's River, and Fort Simpson, further north, also receive their goods from Fort Vancouver, and transmit thither their furs and peltries. Fort George, at the mouth of the Columbia, is on the site of Astoria. There is also a white setttlement on the Wallamut, or Multnomah, where the Methodists have a mission. The Board of Foreign Missions have two stations on this side of the mountains.
The native tribes exist in a very rude social state, and many of them in a most miserable and degraded condition. Those inhabiting the coast appear to be of kindred origin, resembling each other in their language, aspect, and manners. The Skilloots, Wackhiacums, Cathlamahs, Chinnooks, and Chilts, on the northern side of the Columbia, and the Clatsops and Killamoucks, on the south, are among the number. The Umpquas, Clamets, Yunchills, Wallamuts or Multnomahs, Callipoori or Calipoyas, further south, and the Culquats further north, in the vicinity of Cape Flattery, appear to be of different stocks. The former derive their subsistence from the chase and ihe fisheries, and are very skilful in the management of
their canoes; they trade with the Europeans, with whom they exchange furs and peltries for trinkets, guns, powder, kettles, &c., and with the tribes higher up the river, with whom they barter these articles for salmon, edible roots, &c. The singular custom of compressing the
head in infancy, so as to render it completely wedge-shaped, prevails among all ihese tribes; a compress of bark, attached to the forehead and back of the head during the first year of infancy, is sufficient to effect this purpose. The Esheloots, below the Great Falls, are different, both from the lower and
The tribes above the Falls, over a great extent of country, appear to be of kindred origin. The Eneshurs, at the head of the Falls; the Wallawallahs, or Kiaous, at the mouth of the Wallawal
lah ; the Nez Percés, or Bored Noses, Indian Fleet at Nootka Sound.
called by Lewis and Clarke, Chopunnish,
and by others, Sahaptins, probably names of different bands, on the lower part of Lewis's River; the Sokulks and Chimnapums on the Columbia, above that river ; the Skynses and Tooelicans, southeast of the Wallawallahs ; the Salish or Flatheads, Tuskepahs and Ponderays, in and near Clarke's River ; the Spokans, and Pointed Hearts or Ceur d'Alênes, on the river Spokan ; the Camloops and Sinapoils, between the Oakinagan and the Columbia ; the Oakinagans on the river of that name; the Cootonais, further north, &c. are all more or less nearly related in language, customs, and character; the term Flathead is applied to these tribes to distinguish them from the lower tribes, which compress the head into a wedge-shape. They subsist chiefly on salmon, of which prodigious shoals ascend the rivers yearly, game, and roois. Further southeast, on the borders of the great desert, are the Shoshonies, or Snakes, who seem to be of a different origin ; they are more warlike in their habits, but are generally friendly to the whites ; the Shoshonies, Nez Percés, and other tribes living in the great open plains, have large droves of fine horses, of superior speed, bottom, and spirit.
6. History. The discovery of this region has already been noticed. In 1811, the Pacific Fur Company established a post, called Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia ; soon after which, the Hudson's Bay Company's servants_fixed themselves on some points higher up the river. On the breaking out of the war with England, the factor of the American Company sold the establishment at Astoria to the British Company; the name of the post was changed to St. George. In 1818, it was surrendered into the hands of the Americans. A convention, concluded between Great Britain and the United States in that year, stipulated, that all the territory west of the Rocky Mountains, claimed by the two parties, should be open to the subjects and citizens of each, without prejudice to the claims of either, during a period of 10 years, this convention was renewed for an indefinite period, in 1828, with the provision, however, that it might be brought to a close on a year's notice from either party to the other.
CHAPTER XLI. BRITISH AMERICA. 1. Boundaries, Extent, and Divisions. This country, taken in its largest limits, is bounded N. by the Arctic Sea, and Baffin's Bay ; E. by the Atlantic ; S. by the United States, and W. by Russian America and the Pacific Ocean. It extends from 42° 30' to an undefinable limit N., and from 55° to 140° W. longitude. Its area is superior to that of the United States. The principal divisions are Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Upper and Lower Canada, and New Britain, or the Hudson's Bay Company's Territories. 2. Mountains. This vast region is traversed by the Rocky Mountains from north to south
in its western part, but there are no other considerable mountain ranges. Ridges of hills separating the waters flowing into the lakes and the Atlantic from those of Hudson's Bay, intersect the country in different directions, but are not lofty. Yet much of the surface is rugged and broken.
3. Vegetation. An account of the scanty vegetation of these dreary regions has already been given under the head of North America. That of the northern parts is similar to that of Siberia and Lapland, while in the more southern portions, the vegetable productions become indentical with those of the United States.
4. Animals. The polar bear, the wolPolar Bear.
verine, the musk-ox, the reindeer or cariboo, the ermine, the polar hare, and the Arctic fox, have the most northern haunts among quadrupeds. The barren groundbear, the otter, the beaver, the musquash, leming, Parry's marmot, vison, wolf, and hare Indian dog, are also found in high northern latitudes. The black bear, the grisly bear, the moose, the silver fox, the Rocky Mountain sheep and goat, the lynx, pekan, pine marten, long-tailed and blacktailed deer, bison, wapiti, various squirrels, and most of the marmots, and the jumping mouse, are met with further south. The birds are mostly the same with those of the United States, many of which have their summer haunts in these wild regions. Vast flocks of the different sorts of geese, ducks, and gulls, &c., common to Arctic Europe, are spread over the whole tract. The pied duck, one of the most elegant of that family is truly an Arctic bird, and the Eider duck is confined to the northern latitudes. The frozen seas of the Arctic regions are thronged with animals, which are covered with a thick coating of fat, to screen them from the intense and lasting cold of these icy waters. Here the huge whale, the narwhal, the walrus, or morse, and various kinds of seal, whose haunts would seem to be safe from the all-grasping hand of man,
are made to give up their oil, their ivory, or Black Bear.
skins for his use.