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wrap themselves in their blankets, and rest for the night; the whole, however, are formed into six divisions to keep guard, relieving each other every two hours. This is to prevent hostile Indians from falling upon us by surprise, or from coming into the camp by stealth, and taking away either horses or packages of goods. We were permitted, by favor, to pitch our tent next to the river, half way between the two wings, which made our situation a little more retired." Pp. 49, 50.
They saw no buffalo until they had proceeded some distance up the Platte; but as they advanced toward Black Hills, they became more plenty, and in some places appeared in droves of thousands. During all their route thus far, there seems to have been no want of grass for their horses and mules; but there is scarcely any wood. Mr. P. made several important geological discoveries during his journey, and describes several interesting natural curiosities. But for want of room we must omit them, and refer the reader to the work itself for information on those subjects.
Mr. P. speaks in high terms of the Indians at the Black Hills. On the 30th of July he met in council with the chiefs, to lay before them the object of his tour, and to inquire if they desired missionaries and teachers sent among them. They expressed much satisfaction at the proposal, and said they would do all in their power to make their condition comfortable if they should be sent.
August 1st they left the Black Hills, to cross the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Fontenelle, on parting with Mr. P. and his companion at this place, signified his good will toward them by liquidating the bill of their expenses. Mr. Fitzpatrick now took his place in charge of the caravan.
As they proceeded west, the soil became more sterile. Leaving the river to save distance, they crossed some difficult precipices. Two days farther brought them into a better soil of country again, which was, however, soon succeeded by that which was more barren. On the 7th they passed Fort Independence. This is the first massive rock of that stupendous chain of mountains which separates the valley of the Mississippi from the Oregon country. They passed in this region several lakes of crystalized Epsom salt, which is supposed to exist in great abundance.
As they are now passing the Rocky Mountains proper, we will give Mr. Parker's account of them in his own language. He
"On the 10th, cold winds were felt from the snow-topped mountains to an uncomfortable degree. The passage through these mountains is in a valley, so gradual in the ascent and descent, that I should not have known that we were passing them, had it not been that as we advanced the atmosphere gradually became cooler, and at length we found the perpetual snows upon our right hand and upon our left, elevated many thousand feet above us—in some places ten thousand. The highest parts of these mountains are found by measurement to be eighteen thousand feet above the level of the sea. This valley was not discovered until some years since. Mr. Hunt and his
party, more than twenty years ago, went near it, but did not find it, though in search of some favorable passage. It varies in width from five to twenty miles; and following its course, the distance through the mountains is about eighty miles, or four days' journey. Though there are some elevations and depressions in this valley, yet, comparatively speaking, it is level." P. 72. a
Mr. P. remarks in this place, that there would be no difficulty in the way of constructing a railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which remark some have seized with much enthusiasm, and speak of it as an interesting discovery. There is no doubt that this passage across the mountain is quite feasible, compared with others which had been traveled before. But there are other portions of the journey which appear by no means so favorable, though the obstacles they present may be overcome.
They now began to descend, and passing Big Sandy river, encamped upon New Fork, a branch of Green river. On this river there are extended and fertile prairies, with some timber skirting the streams; but it is too cold to be settled for agricultural purposes.
On the 12th they reached the place of rendezvous for the caravan on Green river. Here the American Fur Company have two or three hundred hunters and trappers. The Indians assembled in this vicinity were of Utaw, Shoshone, Nez Perce, and Flat-head tribes. These Flat-heads, however, were such only in name, not having their heads flattened as the Chenooks and some others near the Pacific have. Mr. P. had an interview with the chiefs of the Nez Perces and Flat-heads, who manifested a great desire to have religious teachers sent among them; and after making arrangements for Indian guides to attend him to the Columbia, he parted with Dr. Whitman, for the purpose of letting him return to hasten the establishment of a mission at that place.
The influence of the hunters and trappers with the Indians in this section is represented as demoralizing to a fearful degree. It is said, they have sold them packs of cards at high prices, calling them the Bible, and practiced other impositions in the name, and by the sanctions, of the white man's religion!
As Mr. P. with the new party proceeded west, the soil grew better, the country was better timbered, they found more grass for their horses, and it gradually became warmer. The Indians manifested much kindness toward Mr. P., and he had several interesting religious meetings with them.
On the 12th of September they left the main body of the Indians with whom they had traveled, and proceeded toward the Salmon river mountains, which they crossed in their way to Walla-walla, leaving the Snake river at their left, or south of them. They took this route to avoid strolling bands of the Black-feet Indians who
were supposed to be scattered along the river. The Black-feet are the most hostile and faithless nation of Indians in all the western country, and are therefore avoided as much as possible by others. The party passed the place where two years before thirty Nez Perce young men had been waylaid and murdered by these savages. They were consequently somewhat in fear from them at this time, and occasionally alarmed; but they did not anywhere fall in with them.
They passed down Salmon river a short distance, and then entered the mountains, leaving the river on the left. The following is the description Mr. P. gives of the country :
"The river literally passed into the mountains; for the opening in the perpendicular rocks, two or three hundred feet high, and up these mountains several thousand feet high, was wide enough only for the river to find a passage. It flowed into a dark chasm, and we saw it no more. During two hours' ride, before we entered the mountains, the scenery was grand. While there was some level bottom land along the river, in every direction mountains were seen rising above mountains, and peaks above peaks, up to the regions of perpetual snow. These mountains are not so much in chains, as of a conical form, with bases in most instances in small proportion to their height." P. 108.
This part of their journey, which it took them twelve or fourteen days to perform, is represented to be altogether the most rugged and unpleasant they met with in the whole distance. As a specimen, Mr. P. says,-
"On the 17th, we pursued our journey over high mountains, which, in some places, were intercepted by deep ravines very difficult to be passed." Again, "We passed over a mountain more than six thousand feet high, which took more than a half a day to arrive at the summit." P. 109. Again, on the 21st," Made a long day's journey, considering the height of the mountains over which we passed, and the rocks and trees obstructing the trail. I had noticed the mountain over which we passed to-day, which is about seven thousand feet high, two days before we arrived at the top." P. 111. Again, "Left our encampment on the 22d at an early hour, and continued our journey. Parts of the way the ascent and descent was at an angle of 45 degrees, and some places even more steep; and sometimes on the verge of dizzy precipices; sometimes down shelves of rocks, where my Indian horse would have to jump from one to another; and in other places he would brace himself upon all fours and slide down." P. 113.
This does not look much like making a railroad. It is proper to remark, however, that Mr. P. says, his guide followed the custom of the Indians, in passing over the highest parts of the mountains, and descending into the lowest valleys. Still this was the only route which came under his own observation.
It may be proper moreover here to state, that the Salmon river mountains, through which the party passed to avoid the Blackfeet Indians, is not the only route, nor is it the best one. The Rev. Messrs. Jason and Daniel Lee, Methodist missionaries, when they went out some three or four years since, took a more south
erly direction. From the head of the Sweet Water in the Rocky Mountains, they struck across to Big Sandy river in a southwesterly direction; thence westerly to the Grand river or Colorado, and thence to Bear river. Before they reached Bear river, as the Rev. J. Lee informs us, they crossed some hills of considerable height. They struck Snake river at Fort Hall, and followed on its banks or near it to Owhyee river, from which they crossed directly to Walla-walla. The Blue mountains were the highest they crossed. They were two days in crossing them. But even these were not difficult. The pack horses passed them with ease. On his return Mr. L. took still another route, not very dissimilar from the one he pursued in going out. So that on the whole the journey is not rendered exceedingly difficult on account of the mountains.
October 6th they reached Fort Walla-walla. Here they met with a kind reception, and. were hospitably entertained by Mr. Pambrun, the superintendent. Walla-walla is situated on the south side of the Columbia river, ten miles below the junction of Lewis river with it, and two hundred miles above Fort Vancouver.
Mr. P. represents the soil, as they approached the Columbia, to be sandy. He had worship, on some occasions, with the Indians, particularly with the Nez Perces on the Walla-walla river. These manifested a very favorable disposition toward receiving the means of religious instruction.
Mr. P. proceeded on the 7th of October down the Columbia river in a canoe, propelled by Indians of the Walla-walla tribe, having dismissed his Nez Perces. On his way down, at the La Dalles, he met a Captain Wyeth from Boston, with a company of men going up the river to Fort Hall. The Falls and La Dalles, he says, furnish a situation for water power equal to any in any part of the world. On the 15th he arrived at the Cascades. A little above these there is a village of Chenooks. "These Indians," says Mr. P., "are the only Flat-heads and Nez Perces, or pierced noses, I have found." Among these he was very kindly received. In the neighborhood of this place, the Rev. D. Lee, with another missionary, is about getting up a missionary establishment. They are connected with the Oregon mission, under the care of the Missionary Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church. After leaving this place, Mr. P. soon arrived at Fort Vancouver. This is the principal establishment of the Hudson Bay Fur Company. He was cordially received by Dr. M'Laughlin, the chief factor and superintendent of the fort and the business of the company west of the Rocky Mountains. After arriving here, Mr. P. recorded the following reflections :
"It was now seven months and two days since I left my home, and during that time, excepting a few delays, I had been constantly journeying, and the
fifty-six last days with Indians only. I felt that I had great reason for gratitude to God for his merciful providences toward me, in defending and so providing for me, that I had not actually suffered a single day for the want of food. For months I had no bread nor scarcely any vegetables, and I often felt that a change and a variety would have been agreeable, but in no case did I suffer, nor in any case was I brought to the necessity of eating dogs or horse flesh. In every exigency God provided something wholesome and palatable." Pp. 138-9.
Fort Vancouver is on the Columbia, about one hundred miles from the Pacific. Mr. P. remained there only one night, being desirous of visiting Fort George, or Astoria, as it is called in the United States, before the cold or wet season should set in. He accordingly proceeded down the river, and obtained a passage in the brig May Dacre of Boston, Captain Lambert, a brig belonging to Captain Wyeth and company, which lay twenty-five miles below.
On the 22d he arrived at Astoria. This he describes as a very inconsiderable place, inferior to what he had been led to suppose. At this point Mr. P. remained several days, making such discoveries and observations in relation to the object of his mission as his time and circumstances would permit. The harbor at the mouth of the Columbia he represents as both difficult and dangerous for the admission of large vessels, especially without good pilots. The main bay is four miles wide. The country around is heavily timbered, and there are some tracts of good land; but for the more part it is rough and mountainous. Though there are not many Indians residing in the immediate neighborhood of this fort, it is deemed for many reasons a favorable point for a missionary station.
After spending a few days at Fort George, Mr. P. returned to Fort Vancouver, where he took up his residence for the winter. Here he attended religious service with those connected with the Company on Sabbaths, and had considerable intercourse with the Indians of the neighboring tribes. From these, as well as from the men connected with the Company, he obtained much useful information respecting the different tribes throughout the country west of the mountains.
On the 23d of November Mr. P. set out on an exploring tour up the Willamette river. The valley of this river is represented as among the most beautiful and fertile west of the Rocky Mountains. He visited Rev. Messrs. Jason and Daniel Lee, at the missionary establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which is on this river, and speaks in high terms of the religious and moral influence of their labors among the untutored people to whom the benevolence of the Church has sent them.
On the 14th of April Mr. P. left Fort Vancouver on a tour to some of the distant posts of the Company. His first point was Wallawalla, where he met a number of the friendly Indians who had