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civilized than those in either Mexico or Peru. Further explorations were made by other Spanish voyagers, and during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries British, Dutch, and French adventurers landed on the coast of the Pacific and traded in furs with the Indians of that region.

Captain Jonathan Carver, of Connecticut, formed a project, in 1774, to cross the American continent with a large party by way of the Oregon and Missouri rivers to the Pacific, but the outbreak of the Revolutionary War caused this scheme to be given up. In 1779 Captain Cook, the famous English navigator, proved that there was no passage by water between the two oceans; but by his explorations he showed the advantages which could be derived from the acquisition of furs from the Oregon land and the sale of them in China, where high prices could be obtained.

Within a short period after the establishment of the fur trade in the northwest country, citizens of the United States appeared in the North Pacific to share in the advantages of this industry. In 1787 the ship Columbia and the sloop Washington, fitted out by a company of merchants in Boston, rounded Cape Horn and arrived on the coast of Oregon in about a year's time. In 1791 no less than seven vessels from the United States anchored off the coast of Oregon to trade in furs. Among these seven ships was the Columbia, which dropped anchor in a stream at a distance of about twenty miles from its mouth. On leaving the river, Captain Gray bestowed upon it the name of his ship.

While these surveys of the Pacific Coast of North America were in progress, Alexander Mackenzie, a Scotchman in the service of the fur-trading association known as the Northwest Company, made his way up the Peace River from the east, over the Rocky Mountains, and then overland directly westward to the Pacific, thus demonstrating that only by land could the American continent be crossed.

Even before the Louisiana Province was ceded to the United States, President Thomas Je son, with characteristic prompt

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ness and wisdom, was making ready to have that part of the continent examined by American agents. In January, 1803, he sent to Congress a confidential message asking that means be provided for that purpose immediately. His plans having been approved, he commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the Missouri and its principal branches to their sources, and then to seek and trace to its termination in the Pacific some stream, "whether the Columbia, the Oregon, the Colorado, or any other which might offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent for the purposes of commerce.

The explorations of Lewis and Clark, begun in 1804 and completed in 1806, made known the situation of the sources of the Columbia and traced the course of that river to the sea. On the strength of the report submitted by these explorers, the United States laid claim to the country henceforward known as Oregon. Great Britain urged a counter-claim, alleging that as her Northwest Trading Company had already established its posts on the headwaters of the Columbia, she had a priority of discovery and occupation as opposed to the United States.

A company for carrying on fur trade in the northwestern region of the continent, which was organized in New York in 1810, deserves special attention. Its founder was John Jacob Astor, a German of large wealth dwelling in New York, whose business ability and reputation are well known. His plan was to establish trading posts on the Columbia and its tributaries, and a principal factory at the mouth of the Columbia to which all the furs collected at the other places were to be brought. The factory was to receive goods by ships sent out yearly from New York. Having left their cargoes at the mouth of the Columbia, the ships were to transport furs to Canton, whence they would take back to New York tea and other Chinese products.

In September, 1810, Mr. Astor despatched a number of men skilled in the fur trade in the ship Tonquin, which arrived at

the mouth of the Columbia in March, 1811. A second division set out from St. Louis across the continent under the direction of Mr. William P. Hunt, ascended the Missouri to the great bend of the river, and thence journeyed by land to the Rocky Mountains. After crossing this ridge, they floated down one of the branches of the Lewis River to the Columbia and reached Astoria, the site of the principal factory, having experienced countless hardships from cold, weariness, and want of food. This Astoria enterprise was brought to a termination by the war between the United States and Great Britain which broke out in 1812.

For some years after the dissolution of the Pacific Fur Company no citizens of the United States were in the regions west of the Rocky Mountains; but this state of affairs was only temporary. In 1823 Mr. W. H. Ashley, of St. Louis, who had earlier set up a trading station on the Yellowstone River, crossed the Rockies between the sources of the Platte and the Colorado and obtained a large supply of furs. About a hundred men in the next year (1824) were left by him in that country to hunt and trap. In 1827 Mr. Ashley sent sixty men, with a piece of cannon drawn by mules, to the Great Salt Lake, and after that time the trail was opened for transportation by wagons to the foot of the mountains.

In 1826 Messrs. Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, who later bought Mr. Ashley's establishments and interests, carried on a regular trade with the countries of the Columbia and the Colorado, under the name of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. In 1832 Captain Bonneville led a band of more than a hundred men, with twenty wagons and many mules and horses, carrying goods from Missouri to the Far West. About the same time, Mr. Nathaniel Wyeth, of Massachusetts, led two expeditions overland to the Columbia, with the purpose of establishing a direct trade between the ports of the United States and those of the northwest coast, from which salmon and furs were to be exported.

The first emigrations from the United States to the Oregon

Country for the purpose of settlement appear to have been made in 1832. During the next ten years a steady stream of emigration moved from the states along the Atlantic seaboard toward the West, though the number that dared go beyond the Missouri River were few. Ignorance of the way, fear of the Indians, and insufficient supplies and equipments deterred many from proceeding far along the Oregon Trail, as the route up the valley of the Platte and the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains came to be called. Added to these difficulties was the feeling of uncertainty as to possession of homesteads, since by the treaty of 1818 all lands west of the Rocky Mountains were to be free to citizens of both the United, States and Great Britain for an indefinite period.

The needed impetus to the colonization of this far-off region came after the expedition of General John C. Frémont in 1842, when he surveyed under government authority a practical route to the Pacific Coast. In the following year the United States Senate passed a law providing for the occupation and settlement of the territory of Oregon, with the assurance of protection under the civil and military law. In June, 1843, a thousand persons, consisting of entire families, began their invasion of Oregon, carrying with them all things requisite for the establishment of farms. They followed the route surveyed in the previous year by Frémont, and arrived at the Willamet Valley four months after setting out from Westport, near the Missouri River. Their journey of more than two thousand miles was, on the whole, less difficult than had been imagined; and, according to Greenhow, the historian of the northwest coast of North America, “the success of the expedition encouraged a still greater number to follow in 1844, before the end of which year the number of American citizens in Oregon exceeded three thousand.

It was along this trail, already made known in literature through Washington Irving's Astoria and Adventures of Captain Bonneville, that Francis Parkman, impelled by an overmastering desire to study the Indian character .at first

hand, set out from St. Louis in the spring of 1846 to traverse “infamous wilds” and “deserts idle.” But let him in his own free and picturesque style, with the supreme artist's creative skill in working elements into a structure quite his own and unique in literature, relate the experiences of five months in “those tracts that front the falling sun and inhabited by “old and haughty nations, proud in arms.”

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