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interesting to your Lordship, I beg that your Lordship will be pleased to favor me with an interview accompanied by that gentleman.
I have the honor to be,
J. H. PELLY Gov.
The Earl of Aberdeen.
II. EXTRACTS FROM DISPATCH OF Sir GEORGE SIMPSON TO THE GOVERNOR, DEPUTY GOVERNOR, AND COMMITTEE OF THE HUDSON'S BAY
COMPANY, DATED Fort VANCOUVER, NOVEMBER 25, 1841.' Par. 2.
... From Fort Colvile we descended the Columbia River by boat, touching at Okanogan and Walla Walla and arrived at Fort Vancouver on the 25th August.' ...
After crossing the mountains the first permanent establishment I visited was Fort Colvile, which is intended to protect and collect the trade of the upper Columbia, and of the Kootenai and Flathead countries which lie to the north and east of that post. I am concerned to say the returns are gradually diminishing from year to year; this arises from no want of attention to the management of the district, but from the exhausted state of the country, which has been closely wrought for many years without any intermission. In the present unsettled state of the boundary line it would be impolitic to make any attempt to preserve or recruit this once valuable country, as it would attract the attention of the American trappers, so that there is little prospect of any amendment taking place in its affairs. Here there are many extensive tracts of country well adapted for colonization and at Colvile there is an excellent farm, yielding bountiful harvests of maize, wheat, and other crops. Par. 1o.
There is not at present any organized trapping expedition belonging to the United States employed in the Snake country, although there are several straggling parties, the debris of former expeditions. One of these parties headed by a Mr. Frabb' was this season cut off by a party of Scioux, ... The operations of these trappers being principally confined to the American territory east of the mountains and to the country situated to the southward of Lewis and Clark's River, and eastward of the Buenaventura Valley it cannot be said that they interfere injuriously with us in any shape. Par. 12.
Resuming the narrative of our voyage-We took our departure from Walla Walla, remaining there but a few hours, and on the 25th August arrived at Fort Vancouver, where the intermittent fever was prevailing as usual at this season of the year. Besides the officers and people belonging to this establishment, I here found Commodore Wilkes, Cap
* Foreign Office, America, 399; Domestic, Various, January to March, 1843. 5 They left Red River July 3.
• Henry Fraeb. See Chittenden, History of the American Fur Trade in the Far West, I. 260.
tain Hudson, and other officers of the United States Discovery Expedition. Three of the five discovery vessels were on the river, say, the Porpoise sloop of war, the Flying Fish, tender; and the Oregon (Capt. Thomas Perkins) store ship. The Peacock sloop of war had been totally lost on the Columbia bar, a few weeks previous to my arrival, but the officers and crew were providentially saved, and the Vincennes corvette, had proceeded from Puget Sound direct to San Francisco, there to await the arrival of Commodore Wilkes, with the other vessels. The expedition was preceded here by the schooner Ilave, with supplies from the Sandwich Islands for its use. The Wave, it will be recollected was the same vessel that had been chartered by the Honble Company in the month of November last, for the transport of goods to the Sandwich Islands, and had been rechartered from thence by Commodore Wilkes, for the transport of the supplies in question to the Columbia.
This expedition was despatched by the United States Government in 1838 ... the N. W. coast of America, touching at Puget Sound and the Columbia, from whence they intended proceeding to Californiathence to the Sandwich Islands: thence to the East Indies, and thence home via Cape of Good Hope. While the expedition was with us, they surveyed the coast from Puget Sound to Fraser's River, made some partial surveys in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and between Cape Flattery and the mouth of the Columbia. They likewise surveyed the Columbia River from the bar to the Cascade Portage, and the l'illamette up to the Falls. They moreover made excursions in the interior, crossing from Puget's Sound to Okanogon, and visiting Forts Colvile and Nez Percé; crossed the Cowlitz portage, and closely examined the country on the banks of the Willamette, forwarding a land party through the Buenaventura Valley to San Francisco."
Every civility and attention were shewn to Commodore Wilkes and his officers, and such facilities afforded them for prosecuting the objects of the expedition as our means would admit, and it is satisfactory to be enabled to say that the Commodore seemed fully to appreciate the attentions shewn to himself, and his officers, as will appear from a letter addressed to Chief Factors McLoughlin and Douglas, copy of which is herewith forwarded. Both at the Sandwich Islands and the Columbia, likewise at Puget Sound, the Expedition received supplies from the Honble Company's stores, amounting at this place to £3.500, and at the Islands to £- for which they paid by drafts as advised in the 62 paragraph.
Learning that the Beaver steamer was, agreeably to previous arrangement, in readiness at Puget Sound to convey me to the North West Coast on a tour of inspection of the posts in that quarter, and on a visit to the Russian American Company's principal depot at Sitka, I took my departure from Fort Vancouver (after a stay there of six days) on the 1st of September, accompanied by Chief Factor Douglas; touched at the pastoral establishment on Multnomah Island, ascended the Cowlitz River, visited the Puget Sound Company's tillage farm at the head of that river, crossed the Cowlitz portage to Nisqually, a distance of from 55 to 60 miles, and reached that establishment on the evening of the 4th. Par. 16.
'He traces the movements of the expedition through the southern seas, where it made many discoveries, to the Sandwich Islands.
8 All of the above paragraph is quoted in the extracts from Simpson's letter of November 25, 1841, which accompany his letter of March 10, 1842, in Foreign Office, America, 388; the paragraph was emphasized by means of a line drawn along the margin.
Starting from Nisqually ... on the 6th September, we proceeded northwards between Vancouver's Island and the mainland, passing through the Gulf of Georgia, Johnston's Strait, Queen Charlotte's Sound, and inside Calvert's Island to Fort McLoughlin, situated on an island near Mill Bank Sound (the position of which is in Lat. 52°, 6', Long. 132", 16') where we arrived on the 15th of September, having of the ten days occupied in getting from Nisqually to Fort McLoughlin been detained wood cutting, trading with the Quakeolths and Newettee Tribes, and wind and fog bound about half the time.
Fort McLoughlin is principally maintained on country provisions, say, fish in great abundance and variety, venison and potatoes; and the natives who were at one time troublesome are now comparatively peaceable towards the establishment, more from a feeling that they are to a certain extent in our power, than from any good disposition towards us. Par. 16.
We took our departure from Fort McLoughlin on the 16th and passing through Princess Royal and Grenville Canals, and Chatham Sound, arrived at Fort Simpson the following day. This establishment which is the most important on the coast, is situated in about Lat. 54°, 34', Long. 130°, 38' near Dundas Island, and close upon the Russian Southern Boundary. It is visited by a great many Indians occupying the Islands and continental shores to a considerable distance—among whom are the inhabitants of 5 villages on the mainland, likewise by the natives of Queen Charlotte's Island by the inhabitants of Tomgas and by those of Kygarnie, one of the islands forming the Prince of Wa s's Archipelago (Russian Territory) in all a population of about 14,000 souls.
There is a complement of two officers and 18 men at this post, where the means of living are abundant, consisting principally of fish, venison, and potatoes, and a large body of Chimseeans have seated themselves down in the neighborhood as the home guards of the post. In any point of view this is a valuable and important establishment and ought to be maintained as the depot of the coast while we have anything to do with its affairs. Par. 18.
Leaving Fort Simpson on the 18th, we immediately entered within the Russian Southern Boundary, and passing through the Canal de Reveille and Clarence Straits, arrived at Stikine on the 20th. This establishment, of which we obtained possession on the ist of June last year (1840) under the arrangement of the 6th of February, 1839, is situated on the north end of the Duke of York's Island, near Port Highfield, 4 to 5 miles south of the outlet of the Stikine or Pelly's River, in Lat. 56°, 33', Long. 134°, 14', and was in the first instance formed here by the Russian American Company in 1833, with the view of protecting their trade, which they had every reason to suppose would be endangered by the establishment which the Honble Company then
contemplated forming within the British Territory up the Stikine River. The post is frequented by the Secatquonay, who occupy the country about the mouth of the river and the islands contiguous, and running parallel to that part of the coast. It is likewise frequented by the natives of 3 villages situated on the islands, to the trade of which we do not consider that we have any claim under the existing arrangement.
The complement of people at this establishment is two officers and 18 men, which notwithstanding the good disposition shown by the natives cannot with safety be reduced. The post is maintained on fish and venison which are here produced in great abundance from the natives at a very cheap rate.
We remained at Stikine but a few hours, taking our departure thence on the afternoon of the 20th, and passing through Wrangel's Straits, and Prince Fredericks Sound, arrived at Tacom on the 22nd. This establishment is situated in about Lat. 58°, 4', Long. 133°, 45', and was intended to have been placed at the mouth of Tacom River but no favorable situation having been found for an establishment, it was erected on its present site, on the mainland, between two rivers, the Sitka and Tacom, about 15 miles distant from each. It is frequented by a great many Indians occupying the continental shore both to the northward and the southward, likewise by some of the islanders; in all, from 4,000 to 5,000 souls are more or less dependent on this establishment for their supplies.
The complement of people at this establishment is 2 officers and 22 men. It is principally maintained on vensison got here as at the other establishments on the coast at so cheap a rate from the natives, that we absolutely make a profit in our consumption of provisions, the skin of the animal selling for much more than is paid for the whole carcass. Nearly all the returns that are collected at this establishment are brought from the British territory, inland of the Russian line of demarcation running parallel with the coast, and traded by the coast Indians from those inhabiting the interior country, very few being hunted by themselves. Par. 21.
When the arrangement by which we became possessed of the Russian Territory to the north of 54 was first entered into, it was in contemplation to form a chain of posts along the coast up to the outlet of Cross Sound, and from those establishments to form outposts in the interior under an impression that the country between the coast and the Rocky Mountains was of much greater extent, more numerously inhabited, and more valuable than we have since ascertained it to be. There are only two streams falling into the Ocean between the Russian Southern Boundary and Cape Spencer; those are the Stikine and Tacom Rivers, the former being navigable in seasons of high water for about 40 to 50 miles by the steam vessel, and afterwards by canoes; and the other by small craft only. There is a range of mountains running along the coast, extending inland about 60 miles, beyond which there is a district of level country partially wooded; but as there are few lakes in the interior, it is not supposed that the presence of establishments would tend materially to encrease the quantity of furs at present collected so that all idea of occupying the interior country with
19 54° 40'.
posts during the existence of the present arrangement with the Russians is now abandoned.
The climate of the N. W. Coast to the northward differs very much from that of the country to the southward of Lat. 49° arising I conceive in addition to the difference in latitude in a great degree from the character of the country, which north of that point is exceedingly mountainous, and the tops of many of the mountains covered with perpetual snows, while north of Stikine glaciers are to be seen in many of the valleys to the water side, and floating ice in several of the Sounds and straits all the year round. From our departure from Red River settlement to the time of our arrival at Stikine we had the finest weather that can well be imagined, but there it became wet and stormy and at Tacom, we were detained, in consequence, three days, starting from thence on the 25th and passing through Stephen Passage, Chatham and Peril Straits, arrived at Sitka on the 26th, where we were received with every mark of attention and kindness by Governor Etholine and other Russian officers at that establishment. Par. 29.
Their [i. e., the Russian] tariff of trade is nearly the same as ours; but notwithstanding the terms of the convention between Great Britain and Russia of February 1825, I find that a considerable quantity of spirituous liquors is disposed of by them to Indians in barter for both furs and provisions.
We have discontinued the use of this article upon the coast as a medium of barter except in the immediate vicinity of the Russian establishments ever since the Americans [sea farers? seal-fishers ?] liave withdrawn; and the natives are become so perfectly reconciled to the privation that in the whole course of my travels this season, where the use of it was discontinued, I only heard one inquiry respecting the article of rum. With a view to the well being of the Indian population of the coast, and to guard as much as possible against even the semblance of competition, I suggested to Governor Etholine that the use of spirituous liquors should be discontinued by both parties, on a date that may hereafter be agreed upon previous to the 31st December 1843, and I have much satisfaction in saying that he readily assented to that arrangement.
The Russian American Company have not yet abandoned their establishment of Bodega in California, being unable to effect a sale of their buildings and stock. Their stock consists principally of sheep, cattle, horses, agricultural implements, etc, all of which has for some time past been offered for sale at the round sum of 30,000 dollars. Gov. Etholine however foreseeing the difficulty of obtaining payment should a sale be effected to any of the people of California, said he should feei disposed to accept a much lower price from the Hudson's Bay Company, and I have no doubt that the whole might be purchased at from 15,000 to 20,000 dollars. The Russian American Company admit they have no title to the soil, beyond what they have acquired by occupation. This the Mexican Govt. does not recognize; but they cannot dislodge them, the Russian force there having usually been 150 men, although now that they are about to withdraw it is reduced to 50. Bodega is not well situated for trade, nor is the country well adapted