Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Review of Astoria” (reprint), The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe­ (1856), 4:4:420-447


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MR. IRVING’s acquaintance at Montreal, many years since, with some of the principle partners of the great North-West Fur Company, was the means of interesting him deeply in the varied concerns of trappers, hunters, and Indians, and in all the adventurous details connected with the commerce in peltries. Not long after his return from his late tour to the prairies, he held a conversation with his friend, Mr. John Jacob Astor, of New York, in relation to an enterprise set on foot, and conducted by that gentleman, about the year 1812, — an enterprise having for its object a participation, on the most extensive scale, in the fur trade carried on with the Indians in all the western and northwestern regions of North America. Finding Mr. I. fully alive to the exciting interest of this subject, Mr. Astor was induced to express a regret that the true nature and extent of the enterprise, together with its great national character and importance, had never been generally comprehended; and a wish that Mr. Irving would undertake to give an account of it. To this he consented. All the papers relative to the matter were submitted to his inspection; and the volumes now before us (two well-sized octavos) are the result. The work has been accomplished in a masterly manner — the modesty of the title affording no indication of the fulness, comprehensiveness, and beauty, with which a long and entangled series of detail, collected, necessarily, from a mass of ­[page 421:] vague and imperfect data, has been wrought into completeness and unity.

Supposing our readers acquainted with the main features of the original fur trade in America, we shall not follow Mr. Irving in his vivid account of the primitive French Canadian Merchant, his jovial establishments and dependants — of the licensed traders, missionaries, voyageurs, and coureurs des bois — of the British Canadian Fur Merchant — of the rise of the great Company of the “North-West,” its constitution and internal trade, its parliamentary hall and banqueting room, its boatings, its huntings, its wassailings, and other magnificent feudal doings in the wilderness. It was the British Mackinaw Company we presume, — (a Company established in rivalry of the “North-West,”) the scene of whose main operations first aroused the attention of our government. Its chief factory was established at Michilimackinac, and sent forth its perogues, by Green Bay, Fox River, and the Wisconsin, to the Mississippi, and thence to all its tributary streams — in this way, hoping to monopolize the trade with all the Indian tribes on the southern and western waters of our own territory, as the “North-West” had monopolized it along the waters of the North. Of course, we now began to view with a jealous eye, and to make exertions for counteracting the influence hourly acquired over our own aborigines by these immense combinations of foreigners. In 1796, the United States sent out agents to establish rival trading houses on the frontier, and thus, by supplying the wants of the Indians, to link their interests with ours, and to divert the trade, if possible, into national channels. The enterprise failed — being, we suppose, inefficiently conducted and supported; and the design was never afterwards attempted until by the individual means and energy of Mr. Astor.

John Jacob Astor was born in Waldorf, a German village, near Heidelberg, on the banks of the Rhine. While yet a youth, he foresaw that he would arrive at great wealth, and, leaving home, took his way, alone, to London, where he found himself at the close of the American Revolution. An elder brother being in the United States, he followed him there. In January, 1784, he arrived in Hampton Roads, with some little merchandise suited to the American market. On the passage, he had become ­[page 422:] acquainted with a countryman of his, a furrier, from whom he derived much information in regard to furs, and the manner of conducting the trade. Subsequently, he accompanied this gentleman to New York, and, by his advice, invested the proceeds of his merchandise in peltries. With these, he sailed to London, and, having disposed of his adventure advantageously, he returned the same year (1784) to New York, with a view of settling in the United States, and prosecuting the business thus commenced. Mr. Astor’s beginnings in this way were necessarily small — but his perseverance was indomitable, his integrity unimpeachable, and his economy of the most rigid kind. “To these,” says Mr. Irving, “were added an aspiring spirit, that always looked upward; a genius bold, fertile, and expansive; a sagacity quick to grasp and convert every circumstance to its advantage, and a singular and never wavering confidence of signal success.” These opinions are more than re-echoed by the whole crowd of Mr. Astor’s numerous acquaintances and friends, and are most strongly insisted upon by those who have the pleasure of knowing him best.

In the United States, the fur trade was not yet sufficiently organized to form a regular line of business. Mr. A. made annual visits to Montreal for the purpose of buying peltries; and, as no direct trade was permitted from Canada to any country but England, he shipped them, when bought, immediately to London. This difficulty being removed, however, by the treaty of 1795, he made a contract for furs with the North-West Company, and imported them from Montreal into the United States — thence, shipping a portion to different parts of Europe, as well as to the principal market in China.

By the treaty just spoken of, the British possessions on our side of the Lakes were given up, and an opening made for the American fur-trader on the confines of Canada, and within the territories of the United States. Here, Mr. Astor, about the year 1807, adventured largely on his own account; his increased capital now placing him among the chief of American merchants. The influence of the Mackinaw Company, however, proved too much for him, and he was induced to consider the means of entering into successful competition. He was aware of the wish ­[page 423:] of the Government to concentrate the fur-trade within its boundaries in the hands of its own citizens; and he now offered, if national aid or protection should be afforded, “to turn the whole of the trade into American channels.” He was invited to unfold his plans, and they were warmly approved, but, we believe, little more. The countenance of the Government was, nevertheless, of much importance, and, in 1809, he procured, from the legislature of New York, a charter, incorporating a company, under the name of the “American Fur Company,” with a capital of one million of dollars, and the privilege of increasing it to two. He himself constituted the Company, and furnished the capital. The board of directors was merely nominal, and the whole business was conducted with his own resources, and according to his own will.

We here pass over Mr. Irving’s lucid, although brief account of the fur-trade in the Pacific, of Russian and American enterprise on the North-western coast, and of the discovery by Captain Gray, in 1792, of the mouth of the river Columbia. He proceeds to speak of Captain Jonathan Carver, of the British provincial army. In 1763, shortly after the acquisition of the Canadas by Great Britain, this gentleman projected a journey across the continent, between the forty-third and forty-sixth degrees of northern latitude, to the shores of the Pacific. His objects were “to ascertain the breadth of the continent at its broadest part, and to determine on some place on the shores of the Pacific, where Government might establish a post to facilitate the discovery of a North-west passage, or a communication between Hudson’s Bay and the Pacific Ocean.” He failed twice in individual attempts to accomplish this journey. In 1774, Richard Whitworth, a member of Parliament, came into this scheme of Captain Carver’s. These two gentlemen determined to take with them fifty or sixty men, artificers and mariners, to proceed up one of the branches of the Missouri, find the source of the Oregon, (the Columbia,) and sail down the river to its mouth. Here, a fort was to be erected, and the vessels built necessary to carry into execution their purposed discoveries by sea. The British Government sanctioned the plan, and everything was ­[page 424:] ready for the undertaking, when the American Revolution prevented it.

The expedition of Sir Alexander Mackenzie is well known. In 1793, he crossed the continent, and reached the Pacific Ocean in latitude 52° 20’ 48”. In latitude 52° 30’, he partially descended a river flowing to the South, and which he erroneously supposed to be the Columbia. Some years afterwards, he published an account of his journey, and suggested the policy of opening an intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and forming regular establishments “through the interior and at both extremes, as well as along the coasts and islands.” Thus, he thought the entire command of the fur trade of North America might be obtained from latitude 48° north to the pole, excepting that portion held by the Russians. As to the “American adventurers” along the coast, he spoke of them as entitled to but little consideration. “They would instantly disappear,” he said, “before a well regulated trade.” Owing to the jealousy existing between the Hudson’s Bay and North-west Company, this idea of Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s was never carried into execution.

The successful attempt of Messieurs Lewis and Clarke was accomplished, it will be remembered, in 1804. Their course was that proposed by Captain Carver in 1774. They passed up the Missouri to its head waters, crossed the Rocky Mountains, discovered the source of the Columbia, and followed that river down to its mouth. Here they spent the winter, and retraced their steps in the spring. Their reports declared it practicable to establish a line of communication across the continent, and first inspired Mr. Astor with the design of “grasping with his individual hands this great enterprise, which, for years, had been dubiously, yet desirously contemplated by powerful associations and maternal governments.”

His scheme was gradually matured. Its main features were as follows. A line of trading posts was to be established along the Missouri and Columbia, to the mouth of the latter, where was to be founded the chief mart. On all the tributary streams throughout this immense route were to be situated inferior posts trading directly with the Indians for their pelties. All these posts would draw upon the mart at the Columbia for their ­[page 425:] supplies of goods, and would send thither the furs collected. At this latter place also, were to be built and fitted out coasting vessels, for the purpose of trading along the North-west coast, returning with the proceeds of their voyages to the same general rendezvous. In this manner, the whole Indian trade, both of the coast and the interior, would converge to one point. To this point, in continuation of his plan, Mr. Astor proposed to despatch, every year, a ship with the necessary supplies. She would receive the peltries collected, carry them to Canton, there invest the proceeds in merchandise, and return to New York.

Another point was also to be attended to. In coasting to the North-west, the ship would be brought into contact with the Russian Fur Company’s establishments in that quarter; and, as a rivalry might ensue, it was politic to conciliate the good will of that body. It depended chiefly, for its supplies, upon transient trading vessels from the United States. The owners of these vessels, having nothing beyond their individual interests to consult, made no scruple of furnishing the natives with fire arms, and were thus productive of much injury. To this effect, the Russian government had remonstrated with the United States, urging to have the traffic in arms prohibited — but, no municipal law being infringed, our government could not interfere. Still, it was anxious not to offend Russia, and applied to Mr. Astor for information as to the means of remedying the evil, knowing him to be well versed in all the concerns of the trade in question. This application suggested to him the idea of paying a regular visit to the Russian settlements with his annual ship. Thus, being kept regularly in supplies, they would be independent of the casual traders, who would, consequently, be excluded from the coast. This whole scheme, Mr. Astor communicated to President Jefferson, soliciting the countenance of Government. The cabinet “joined in warm approbation of the plan, and held out assurance of every protection that could, consistently with general policy, be afforded.”

In speaking of the motives which actuated Mr. Astor in an enterprize so extensive, Mr. Irving, we are willing to believe, has done that high-minded gentleman no more than the simplest species of justice. “He was already,” says our author, “wealthy ­[page 426:] beyond the ordinary desires of man, but he now aspired to that honorable fame which is awarded to men of similar scope of mind, who, by their great commercial enterprises, have enriched nations, peopled wildernesses, and extended the bounds of empire. He considered his projected establishment at the mouth of the Columbia, as the emporium to an immense commerce; as a colony that would form the germ of a wide civilization; that would, in fact, carry the American population across the Rocky Mountains, and spread it along the shores of the Pacific, as it already animated the shores of the Atlantic.”

A few words in relation to the North-west company. This body, following out in part the suggestion of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, had already established a few trading posts on the coast of the Pacific, in a region lying about two degrees north of the Columbia — thus throwing itself between the Russian and American territories. They would contend with Mr. Astor at an immense disadvantage, of course. They had no good post for the receipt of supplies by sea; and must get them with great risk, trouble and expense, over land. Their peltries also would have to be taken home the same way — for they were not at liberty to interfere with the East India company’s monopoly, by shipping them directly to China. Mr. Astor would therefore greatly undersell them in that, the principal market. Still, as any competition would prove detrimental to both parties, Mr. A. made known his plans to the North-west company, proposing to interest them one-third in his undertaking. The British company, however, had several reasons for declining the proposition — not the least forcible of which we presume, was their secret intention to push on a party forthwith, and forestall their rival in establishing a settlement at the mouth of the Columbia.

In the meantime Mr. Astor did not remain idle. His first care was to procure proper coadjutors, and he was induced to seek them principally from among such clerks of the North-west company, as were dissatisfied with their situation in that body — having served out their probationary term, and being still, through want of influence, without a prospect of speedy promotion. From among these (generally men of capacity and experience in their particular business), Mr. A. obtained the services of Mr. Alexander ­[page 427:] M’Kay (who had accompanied Sir Alexander Mackenzie in both of his expeditions), Mr. Donald M’Kenzie, and Mr. Duncan M’Dougal. Mr. Wilson Price Hunt, a native citizen of New Jersey, and a gentleman of great worth, was afterwards selected by Mr. Astor as his chief agent, and as the representative of himself at the contemplated establishment. In June, 1810, “articles of agreement were entered into between Mr. Astor and these four gentlemen, acting for themselves, and for the several persons who had already agreed to become, or should thereafter become, associated under the firm of “The Pacific Fur Company.” This agreement stipulated that Mr. A. was to be the head of the company, to manage its affairs at New York, and to furnish every thing requisite for the enterprise at first cost and charges, provided an advance of more than four hundred thousand dollars should not at any time be involved. The stock was to consist of a hundred shares, Mr. Astor taking fifty, the rest being divided among the other partners and their associates. A general meeting was to be held annually at Columbia river, where absent members might vote by proxy. The association was to continue twenty years — but might be dissolved within the first five years, if found unprofitable. For these five years Mr. A. agreed to bear all the loss that might be incurred. An agent, appointed for a like term, was to reside at the main establishment, and Mr. Hunt was the person first selected.

Mr. Astor determined to begin his enterprise with two expeditions — one by sea, the other by land. The former was to carry out every thing necessary for the establishment of a fortified post at the mouth of the Columbia. The latter, under the conduct of Mr. Hunt, was to proceed up the Missouri and across the Rocky Mountains to the same point. In the course of this over-land journey, the most practicable line of communication would be explored, and the best situations noted for the location of trading rendezvous. Following Mr. Irving in our brief summary of his narrative, we will now give some account of the first of these expeditions.

A ship was provided called the Tonquin, of two hundred and ninety tons, with ten guns, and twenty men. Lieutenant Jonathan Thorn of the United States navy, being on leave of absence, ­[page 428:] received the command. He was a man of courage, and had distinguished himself in the Tripolitan war. Four of the partners went in the ship — M’Kay and M’Dougal, of whom we have already spoken, and Messieurs David and Robert Stuart, new associates in the firm. M’Dougal was empowered to act as the proxy of Mr. Astor in the absence of Mr. Hunt. Twelve clerks were also of the party. These were bound to the service of the company for five years, and were to receive one hundred dollars a year, payable at the expiration of the term, with an annual equipment of clothing to the amount of forty dollars. By promises of future promotion, their interests were identified with those of Mr. Astor. Thirteen Canadian voyageurs, and several artisans, completed the ship’s company. On the 8th of September, 1810, the Tonquin put to sea. Of her voyage to the mouth of the Columbia, Mr. Irving has given a somewhat ludicrous account. Thorn, the stern, straight-forward officer of the navy, having few ideas beyond those of duty and discipline, and looking with supreme contempt upon the motley “lubbers” who formed the greater part of his company, is painted with the easy yet spirited pencil of an artist indeed; while M’Dougal, the shrewd Scotch partner, bustling, yet pompous, and impressed with lofty notions of his own importance as proxy for Mr. Astor, is made as supremely ridiculous as possible, with as little apparent effort as can well be imagined; — the portraits, however, carry upon their faces the evidence of their own authenticity. The voyage is prosecuted amid a series of petty quarrels, and cross purposes, between the captain and his crew, and, occasionally, between Mr. M’Kay and Mr. M’Dougal. The contests between the two latter gentlemen were brief, it appears, although violent. “Within fifteen minutes,” says Captain Thorn in a letter to Mr. Astor, “they would be caressing each other like children.” The Tonquin doubled Cape Horn on Christmas day, arrived at Owhyhee on the eleventh of February, took on board fresh provisions, sailed again with twelve Sandwich islanders on the 28th, and on the 22d of March arrived at the mouth of the Columbia. In seeking a passage across the bar, a boat and nine men were lost among the breakers. On the way from Owhyhee a violent storm occurred; and the bickerings still continued between the ­[page 429:] partners and the captain — the latter, indeed, grievously suspecting the former of a design to depose him.

The Columbia, for about forty miles from its mouth, is, strictly speaking, an estuary, varying in breadth from three to seven miles, and indented by deep bays. Shoals and other obstructions render the navigation dangerous. Leaving this broad portion of the stream in the progress upwards, we find the mouth of the river proper — which is about half a mile wide. The entrance to the estuary from sea is bounded on the south by a long, low, and sandy beach stretching into the ocean, and called Point Adams. On the northern side of the frith is Cape Disappointment, a steep promontory. Immediately east of this cape is Baker’s Bay, and within this the Toniquin came to anchor.

Jealousies still continued between the captain and the worthy M’Dougal, who could come to no agreement in regard to the proper location for the contemplated establishment. On April the fifth, without troubling himself farther with the opinions of his coadjutors, Mr. Thorn landed in Baker’s Bay, and began operations. At this summary proceeding, the partners were, of course, in high dudgeon, and an open quarrel seemed likely to ensue, to the serious detriment of the enterprise. These difficulties, however, were at length arranged, and finally on the 12th of April, a settlement was commenced at a point of land called Point George, on the southern shore of the frith. Here was a good harbor, where vessels of two hundred tons might anchor within fifty yards of the shore. In honor of the chief partner, the new post received the title of Astoria. After much delay, the portion of the cargo destined for the post was landed, and the Tonquin left free to proceed on her voyage. She was to coast to the north, to trade for peltries at the different harbors, and to touch at Astoria on her return in the autumn. Mr. M’Kay went in her as supercargo, and a Mr. Lewis as ship’s clerk. On the morning of the 5th of June she stood out to sea, the whole number of persons on board amounting to three and twenty. In one of the outer bays Captain Thorn procured the services of an Indian named Lamazee, who had already made two voyages along the coast, and who agreed to accompany him as interpreter. In a few days the ship arrived at Vancouver’s island, and came to ­[page 430:] anchor in the harbor of Neweetee, much against the advice of the Indian, who warned Captain Thorn of the perfidious character of the natives. The result was the merciless butchery of the whole crew, with the exception of the interpreter and Mr. Lewis, the ship’s clerk. The latter, finding himself mortally wounded and without companions, blew up the ship and perished with more than a hundred of the enemy. Lamazee, getting among the Indians, escaped, and was the means of bearing the news of the disaster to Astoria. In relating at length the thrilling details of this catastrophe, Mr. Irving takes occasion to comment on the headstrong, although brave and strictly honorable character of Lieutenant Thorn. The danger and folly, on the part of agents, in disobeying the matured instructions of those who deliberately plan extensive enterprises, such as that of Mr. Astor, is also justly and forcibly shown. The misfortune here spoken of, arose, altogether, from a disregard of Mr. A’s often repeated advice — to admit but few Indians on board the Tonquin at one time. Her loss was a serious blow to the infant establishment at Astoria. To this post let us now return.

The natives inhabiting the borders of the estuary were divided into four tribes, of which the Chinooks were the principal. Comcomly, a one-eyed Indian, was their chief. These tribes resembled each other in nearly every respect, and were, no doubt, of a common stock. They live chiefly by fishing — the Columbia and its tributary streams abounding in fine salmon, and a variety of other fish. A trade in peltries, but to no great amount, was immediately commenced and carried on. Much disquiet was occasioned at the post by a rumor among the Indians that thirty white men had appeared on the banks of the Columbia, and were building houses at the second rapids. It was feared that these were an advance party of the North-west company endeavoring to seize upon the upper parts of the river, and thus forestall Mr. Astor in the trade of the surrounding country. Bloody feuds in this case might be anticipated, such as had prevailed between rival companies in former times. The intelligence of the Indians proved true — the “North-west” had erected a trading house on the Spokan river, which falls into the north branch of the Columbia. The Astorians could do little to ­[page 431:] oppose them in their present reduced state as to numbers. It was resolved, however, to advance a counter-check to the post on the Spokan, and Mr. David Stuart prepared to set out for this purpose with eight men and a small assortment of goods. On the fifteenth of July, when this expedition was about starting, a canoe, manned with nine white men, and bearing the British flag, entered the harbor. They proved to be the party dispatched by the rival company to anticipate Mr. Astor in the settlement at the mouth of the river. Mr. David Thompson, their leader, announced himself as a partner of the “North-west” — but otherwise gave a very peaceable account of himself. It appears, however, from information subsequently derived from other sources, that he had hurried with a desperate haste across the mountains, calling at all the Indian villages in his march, presenting them with British flags, and “proclaiming formally that he took possession of the country for the North-west company, and in the name of the king of Great Britain.” His plan was defeated, it seems, by the desertion of a portion of his followers, and it was thought probable that he now merely descended the river with a view of reconnoitering. M’Dougal treated the gentlemen with great kindness, and supplied them with goods and provisions for their journey back across the mountains — this much against the wishes of Mr. David Stuart, “who did not think the object of their visit entitled them to any favor.” A letter for Mr. Astor was entrusted to Thompson.

On the twenty-third of July, the party for the region of the Spokan set out, and after a voyage of much interest, succeeded in establishing the first interior trading post of the company. It was situated on a point of land about three miles long and two broad, formed by the junction of the Oakinagan with the Columbia. In the meantime the Indians near Astoria began to evince a hostile disposition, and a reason for this altered demeanor was soon after found in the report of the loss of the Tonquin. Early in August the settlers received intelligence of her fate. They now found themselves in a perilous situation, a mere handful of men, on a savage coast, and surrounded by barbarous enemies. From their dilemma they were relieved, for the present, by the ingenuity of M’Dougal. The natives had a great dread of the ­[page 432:] small-pox, which had appeared among them a few years before, sweeping off entire tribes. They believed it an evil either inflicted upon them by the Great Spirit, or brought among them by the white men. Seizing upon this latter idea, M’Dougal assembled several of the chieftains whom he believed to be inimical, and informing them that he had heard of the treachery of their northern brethren in regard to the Tonquin, produced from his pocket a small bottle. “The white men among you,” said he, “are few in number, it is true, but they are mighty in medicine. See here! In this bottle I hold the small-pox safely corked up; I have but to draw the cork and let loose the pestilence, to sweep man, woman and child from the face of the earth!” The chiefs were dismayed. They represented to the “Great Small-Pox Chief” that they were the firmest friends of the white men, that they had nothing to do with the villains who murdered the crew of the Tonquin, and that it would be unjust, in uncorking the bottle, to destroy the innocent with the guilty. M’Dougal was convinced. He promised not to uncork it until some overt act should compel him to do so. In this manner tranquillity was restored to the settlement. A large house was now built, and the frame of a schooner put together. She was named the Dolly, and was the first American vessel launched on the coast. But our limits will not permit us to follow too minutely the details of the enterprize. The adventurers kept up their spirits, sending out occasional foraging parties in the Dolly, and looking forward to the arrival of Mr. Hunt. So wore away the year 1811 at the little post of Astoria. We now come to speak of the expedition by land.

This, it will be remembered, was to be conducted by Mr. Wilson Price Hunt, a native of New Jersey. He is represented as scrupulously upright, of amiable disposition, and agreeable manners. He had never been in the heart of the wilderness, but, having been for some time engaged in commerce at St. Louis, furnishing Indian traders with goods, he had acquired much knowledge of the trade at second hand. Mr. Donald M’Kenzie, another partner, was associated with him. He had been ten years in the interior, in the service of the North-west Company, and had much practical experience in all Indian concerns. In ­[page 433:] July 1810, the two gentlemen repaired to Montreal, where everything requisite to the expedition could be procured. Here they met with many difficulties — some of which were thrown in their way by their rivals. Having succeeded, however, in laying in a supply of ammunition, provisions, and Indian goods, they embarked all on board a large boat, and, with a very inefficient crew, the best to be procured, took their departure from St. Ann’s, near the extremity of the island of Montreal. Their course lay up the Ottawa, and along a range of small lakes and rivers. On the twenty-second of July, they arrived at Mackinaw, situated on Mackinaw island, at the confluence of Lakes Huron and Michigan. Here it was necessary to remain some time to complete the assortment of Indian goods, and engaged more voyageurs. While waiting to accomplish these objects, Mr. Hunt was joined by Mr. Ramsay Crooks, a gentleman whom he had invited, by letter, to engage as a partner in the expedition. He was a native of Scotland, had served under the North-west Company, and been engaged in private trading adventures among the various tribes of the Missouri. Mr. Crooks represented, in forcible terms, the dangers to be apprehended from the Indians — especially the Blackfeet and Sioux — and it was agreed to increase the number of the party to sixty upon arriving at St. Louis. Thirty was its strength upon leaving Mackinaw. This occurred on the twelfth of August. The expedition pursued the usual route of the fur-trader — by Green bay, Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to Prairie du Chien, and thence down the Mississippi to St. Louis, where they landed on the third of September. Here, Mr. Hunt met with some opposition from an association called the Missouri Fur Company, and especially from its leading partner, a Mr. Manuel Lisa. This company had a capital of about forty thousand dollars, and employed about two hundred and fifty men. Its object was to establish posts along the upper part of the river, and monopolize the trade. Mr. H. proceeded to strengthen himself against competition. He secured to Mr. Astor the services of Mr. Joseph Miller. This gentleman had been an officer of the United States’ Army, but had resigned on being refused a furlough, and taken to trading with the Indians. He joined the association as a partner; and, on account of his ­[page 434:] experience and general acquirements, Mr. Hunt considered him a valuable coadjutor. Several boatmen and hunters were also, now, enlisted, but not until after a delay of several weeks. This delay, and the previous difficulties at Montreal and Mackinaw, had thrown Mr. H. much behind his original calculations, so that he found it would be impossible to effect his voyage up the Missouri during the present season. There was every likelihood that the river would be closed before the party could reach its upper waters. To winter, however, at St. Louis, would be expensive. Mr. H., therefore, determined to push up on his way as far as possible, to some point where game might be found in abundance, and there take up his quarters until spring. On the twenty-first of October, he set out. The party were distributed in three boats — two large Schenectady barges, and a keel boat. By the sixteenth of November, they reached the mouth of the Nodowa, a distance of four hundred and fifty miles, where they set up their winter quarters. Here, Mr. Robert M’Lellan, at the invitation of Mr. Hunt, joined the association as a partner. He was a man of vigorous frame, of restless and impetuous temper, and had distinguished himself as a partisan under General Wayne. John Day also joined the company at this place — a tall and athletic hunter from the backwoods of Virginia. Leaving the main body at Nodowa, Mr. Hunt now returned to St. Louis for a reinforcement. He was again impeded by the machinations of the Missouri Fur Company, but finally succeeded in enlisting one hunter, some voyageurs, and a Sioux interpreter, Pierre Dorion. With these, after much difficulty, he got back to the encampment on the seventeenth of April. Soon after this period the voyage up the river was resumed. The party now consisted of nearly sixty persons — five partners, Hunt, Crooks, M’Kenzie, Miller, and M’Lellan; one clerk, John Reed; forty Canadian voyageurs; and several hunters. They embarked in four boats, one of which, of a large size, mounted a swivel and two howitzers.

We do not intend, of course, to proceed with our travellers throughout the vast series of adventure encountered in their passage through the wilderness. To the curious in these particulars, we recommend the book itself. No details more intensely exciting ­[page 435:] are to be found in any work of travels within our knowledge. At times full of life and enjoying the whole luxury to be found in the career of the hunter — at times suffering every extremity of fatigue, hunger, thirst, anxiety, terror, and despair — Mr. Hunt still persisted in his journey, and finally brought it to a successful termination. A bare outline of the route pursued is all we can attempt.  

Proceeding up the river, our party arrived, on the twenty-eighth of April, at the mouth of the Nebraska, or Platte, the largest tributary of the Missouri, and about six hundred miles above its junction with the Mississippi. They now halted for two days, to supply themselves with oars and poles from the tough wood of the ash, which is not to be found higher up the river. Upon the second of May, two of the hunters insisted upon abandoning the expedition, and returning to St. Louis. On the tenth, the party reached the Omaha village, and encamped in its vicinity. This village is about eight hundred and thirty miles above St. Louis, and on the west bank of the stream. Three men here deserted, but their place was luckily supplied by three others, who were prevailed upon, by liberal promises, to enlist. On the fifteenth, Mr. Hunt left Omaha, and proceeded. Not long afterwards, a canoe was descried navigated by two white men. They proved to be two adventurers, who, for some years past, had been hunting and trapping near the head of the Missouri. Their names were Jones and Carson. They were now on their way to St. Louis, but readily abandoned their voyage, and turned their faces again toward the Rocky Mountains. On the twenty-third, Mr. Hunt received, by a special messenger, a letter from Mr. Manuel Lisa, the leading partner of the Missouri Fur Company, and the gentleman who rendered him so many disservices at St. Louis. He had left that place, with a large party, three weeks after Mr. H., and, having heard rumors of hostile intentions on the part of the Sioux, a much dreaded tribe of Indians, made great exertions to overtake him, that they might pass through the dangerous part of the river together. Mr. H., however, was justly suspicious of the Spaniard, and pushed on. At the village of the Poncas, about a league south of the river Quicourt, he stopped only long enough to ­[page 436:] procure a supply of dried buffalo meat. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, it was discovered that Jones and Carson had deserted. They were pursued, but in vain. The next day, three white men were observed, in two canoes, descending the river. They proved to be three Kentucky hunters — Edward Robinson, John Hoback, and Jacob Rizner. They also had passed several years in the upper wilderness, and were now on their way home, but willingly turned back with the expedition. Information derived from these recruits, induced Mr. Hunt to alter his route. Hitherto, he had intended to follow the course pursued by Messieurs Lewis and Clarke — ascending the Missouri to its forks, and thence, by land, across the mountains. He was informed, however, that, in so doing, he would have to pass through the country of the Blackfeet, a savage tribe of Indians, exasperated against the whites, on account of the death of one of their men by the hands of Captain Lewis. Robinson advised a more southerly route. This would carry them over the mountains about where the head waters of the Platte and the Yellowstone take their rise, a much more practicable pass than that of Lewis and Clarke. To this counsel, Mr. Hunt, agreed, and resolved to leave the Missouri at the village of the Arickaras, at which they would arrive in a few days. On the first of June, they reached “the great bend” of the river, which here winds for about thirty miles round a circular peninsula, the neck of which is not above two thousand yards across. On the morning of June the third, the party were overtaken by Lisa, much to their dissatisfaction. The meeting was, of course, far from cordial, but an outward appearance of civility was maintained for two days. On the third, a quarrel took place, which was near terminating seriously. It was, however, partially adjusted, and the rival parties coasted along opposite sides of the river, in sight of each other. On the twelfth of June, they reached the village of the Arickaras, between the forty-sixth and forty-seventh parallels of north latitude, and about fourteen hundred and thirty miles above the mouth of the Missouri. In accomplishing thus much of his journey, Mr. Hunt had not failed to meet with a crowd of difficulties, at which we have not even hinted. He was frequently in extreme peril from large bodies of the Sioux, and, at one time, it was a mere ­[page 437:] accident alone which prevented the massacre of the whole party.

At the Arickara village, our adventurers were to abandon their boats, and proceed westward across the wilderness. Horses were to be purchased from the Indians; who could not, however, furnish them in sufficient numbers. In this dilemma, Lisa offered to purchase the boats, now no longer of use, and to pay for them in horses, to be obtained at a fort belonging to the Missouri Fur Company, and situated at the Mandan villages, about a hundred and fifty miles further up the river. A bargain was made, and Messieurs Lisa and Crooks went for the horses, returning with them in about a fortnight. At the Arickara village, if we understand, Mr. Hunt engaged the services of one Edward Rose. He enlisted, as interpreter when the expedition should reach the country of the Upsarokas or Crow Indians, among whom he had formerly resided. On the eighteenth of July, the party took up their line of march. They were still insufficiently provided with horses. The cavalcade consisted of eighty-two, most of them heavily laden with Indian goods, beaver traps, ammunition, and provisions. Each of the partners was mounted. As they took leave of Arickara, the veterans of Lisa’s company, as well as Lisa himself, predicted the total destruction of our adventurers, amid the innumerable perils of the wilderness.

To avoid the Blackfeet Indians, a ferocious and implacable tribe, of which we have before spoken, the party kept a south-western direction. This route took them across some of the tributary streams of the Missouri, and through immense prairies, bounded only by the horizon. Their progress was, at first, slow, and, Mr. Crooks falling sick, it was necessary to make a litter for him between two horses. On the twenty-third of the month, they encamped on the banks of a little stream, nicknamed Big River, where they remained several days, meeting with a variety of adventures. Among other things, they were enabled to complete their supply of horses from a band of the Cheyenne Indians. On the sixth of August, the journey was resumed, and they soon left the hostile region of the Sioux behind them. About this period, a plot was discovered on the part of the interpreter, Edward Rose. This villain had been tampering with the ­[page 438:] men, and proposed, upon arriving among his old acquaintances the Crows, to desert to the savages with as much booty as could be carried off. The matter was adjusted, however, and Mr. Rose, through the ingenuity of Mr. Hunt, quietly dismissed. On the thirteenth, Mr. H. varied his course to the westward, a route which soon brought him to a fork of the Little Missouri, and upon the skirts of the Black Mountains. These are an extensive chain, lying about a hundred miles east of the Rocky Mountains, stretching north-easterly from the south fork of the river Platte to the great north bend of the Missouri, and dividing the waters of the Missouri from those of the Mississippi and Arkansas. The travellers here supposed themselves to be about two hundred and fifty miles from the village of the Arickaras. Their more serious troubles now commenced. Hunger and thirst, with the minor difficulties of grizzly bears, beset them at every turn, as they attempted to force a passage through the rugged barriers in their path. At length, they emerged upon a stream of clear water, one of the forks of Powder river, and once more beheld wide meadows and plenty of buffalo. They ascended this stream about eighteen miles, directing their march towards a lofty mountain, which had been in sight since the seventeenth. They reached the base of this mountain, which proved to be a spur of the Rocky chain, on the thirtieth, having now come about four hundred miles since leaving Arickara.

For one or two days, they endeavored in vain to find a defile in the mountains. On the third of September, they made an attempt to force a passage to the westward, but soon become [[became]] entangled among rocks and precipices, which set all their efforts at defiance. They were now too in the region of the terrible Upsarokas, and encountered them at every step. They met also with friendly bands of Shoshonies and Flatheads. After a thousand troubles, they made some way upon their journey. On the ninth, they reached Wind river, a stream which gives its name to a range of mountains consisting of three parallel chains, eighty miles long and about twenty-five broad. “One of its peaks,” says our author, “is probably fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea.” For five days, Mr. Hunt followed up the course of Wind river, crossing and recrossing it. He had been ­[page 439:] assured by the three hunters who advised him to strike through the wilderness, that, by going on up the river, and crossing a single mountain ridge, he would come upon the head waters of the Columbia. The scarcity of game, however, determined him to pursue a different course. In the course of the day, after coming to this resolve, they perceived three mountain peaks, white with snow, and which were recognized by the hunters as rising just above a fork of the Columbia. These peaks were named the Pilot Knobs by Mr. Hunt. The travellers continued their course for about forty miles to the south-west, and, at length, found a river flowing to the west. This proved to be a branch of the Colorado. They followed its current for fifteen miles. On the eighteenth, abandoning its main course, they took a north-westerly direction for eight miles, and reached one of its little tributaries, issuing from the bosom of the mountains, and running through green meadows abounding in buffalo. Here, they encamped for several days, a little repose being necessary for both men and horses. On the twenty-fourth, the journey was resumed. Fifteen miles brought them to a stream about fifty feet wide, which was recognized as one of the head waters of the Columbia. They kept along it for two days, during which it gradually swelled into a river of some size. At length, it was joined by another current, and both united swept off in an unimpeded stream, which from its rapidity and turbulence had received the appellation of Mad river. Down this, they anticipated an uninterrupted voyage, in canoes, to the point of their ultimate destination — but their hopes were very far from being realized.

The partners held a consultation. The three hunters who had hitherto acted as guides, knew nothing of the region to the west of the Rocky Mountains. It was doubtful whether Mad river could be navigated, and they could hardly resolve to abandon their horses upon an uncertainty. The vote, nevertheless, was for embarkation, and they proceeded to build the necessary vessels. In the meantime, Mr. Hunt, having now reached the head waters of the Columbia, reputed to abound in beaver, turned his thoughts to the main object of the expedition. Four men, Alexander Carson, Louis St. Michel, Pierre Detayé, and Pierre Delaunay, were detached from the expedition, to remain and ­[page 440:] trap beaver by themselves in the wilderness. Having collected a sufficient quantity of peltries, they were to bring them to the depôt, at the mouth of the Columbia, or to some intermediate post to be established by the company. These trappers had just departed, when two Snake Indians wandered into the camp, and declared the river to be unnavigible. Scouts sent out by Mr. Hunt finally confirmed this report. On the fourth of October, therefore, the encampment was broken up, and the party proceeded to search for a post in possession of the Missouri Fur company, and said to be somewhere in the neighborhood, upon the banks of another branch of the Columbia. This post, they found without much difficulty. It was deserted — and our travellers gladly took possession of the rude buildings. The stream here found, was upwards of a hundred yards wide. Canoes were constructed with all despatch. In the meantime, another detachment of trappers was cast loose in the wilderness. These were Robinson, Rezner, Hoback, Carr, and Mr. Joseph Miller. This latter, it will be remembered, was one of the partners — he threw up his share in the expedition, however, for a life of more perilous adventure. On the eighteenth of the month, (October,) fifteen canoes being completed, the voyagers embarked, leaving their horses in charge of the two Snake Indians, who were still in company.

In the course of the day, the party arrived at the junction of the stream upon which they floated, with Mad river. Here, Snake river commences — the scene of a thousand disasters. After proceeding about four hundred miles, by means of frequent portages, and beset with innumerable difficulties of every kind, the adventurers were brought to a halt by a series of frightful cataracts, raging as far as the eye could reach, between stupendous ramparts of black rock, rising more than two hundred feet perpendicularly. This place, they called “The Caldron Linn.” Here, Antoine Clappine, one of the voyageurs, perished amid the whirlpools, three of the canoes stuck immoveably among the rocks, and one was swept away with all the weapons and effects of four of the boatmen.

The situation of the party was now lamentable indeed — in the heart of an unknown wilderness, at a loss what route to take, ­[page 441:] ignorant of their distance from the place of their destination, and with no human being near them from whom counsel might be taken. Their stock of provisions was reduced to five days allowance, and famine stared them in the face. It was, therefore, more perilous to keep together than to separate. The goods and provisions, except a small supply for each man, were concealed in caches, (holes dug in the earth,) and the party were divided into several small detachments, which started off in different directions, keeping the mouth of the Columbia in view as their ultimate point of destination. From this post, they were still distant nearly a thousand miles, although this fact was unknown to them at the time.

On the twenty-first of January, after a series of almost incredible adventures, the division in which Mr. Hunt enrolled himself struck the waters of the Columbia, some distance below the junction of its two great branches, Lewis and Clarke rivers, and not far from the influx of the Wallah-Wallah. Since leaving the Caldron Linn, they had toiled two hundred and forty miles, through snowy wastes and precipitous mountains, and six months had now elapsed since their departure from the Arickara village, on the Missouri — their whole route from that point, according to their computation, having been seventeen hundred and fifty-one miles. Some vague intelligence was now received in regard to the other divisions of the party, and also of the settlers at the mouth of the Columbia. On the thirty-first, Mr. Hunt reached the falls of the river, and encamped at the village of Wish-Ram. Here were heard tidings of the massacre on board the Tonquin. On the fifth of February, having procured canoes with much difficulty, the adventurers departed from Wish-Ram, and, on the fifteenth, sweeping round an intervening cape, they came in sight of the long-desired Astoria. Among the first to greet them on their landing, were some of their old comrades, who had parted from them at the Caldron Linn, and who had reached the settlement nearly a month before. Mr. Crooks and John Day, being unable to get on, had been left with some Indians in the wilderness — they afterwards came in. Carriere, a voyageur, who was also abandoned through the sternest necessity, was never heard of more. Jean Babtiste Prevost, likewise a voyageur, ­[page 442:] rendered frantic by famine, had been drowned in the Snake river. All parties had suffered the extremes of weariness, privation and peril. They had travelled from St. Louis, thirty-five hundred miles. Let us now return to Mr. Astor.

As yet he had received no intelligence from the Columbia, and had to proceed upon the supposition that all had gone as he desired. He accordingly fitted out a fine ship, the Beaver, of four hundred and ninety tons. Her cargo was assorted with a view to the supply of Astoria, the trade along the coast, and the wants of the Russian fur company. There embarked in her, for the settlement, a partner, five clerks, fifteen American laborers, and six Canadian voyageurs. Mr. John Clarke, the partner, was a native of the United States, although he had passed much of his life in the North-west, having been employed in the fur trade since the age of sixteen. The clerks were, chiefly, young American gentlemen of good connexions. Mr. Astor had selected this reinforcement with the design of securing an ascendancy of American influence at Astoria, and rendering the association decidedly national. This, from the peculiar circumstances of the case, he had been unable to do in the commencement of his undertaking.

Captain Sowle, the commander of the Beaver, was directed to touch at the Sandwich islands, to inquire about the fortunes of the Tonquin, and ascertain, if possible, whether the settlement had been erected at Astoria. If so, he was to enlist as many of the natives as possible and proceed. He was to use great caution in his approach to the mouth of the Columbia. If everything was found right, however, he was to land such part of his cargo as was intended for the post, and to sail for New Archangel with the Russian supplies. Having received furs in payment, he would return to Astoria, take in the peltries there collected, and make the best of his way to Canton. These were the strict letter of his instructions — a deviation from which was subsequently the cause of great embarrassment and loss, and contributed largely to the failure of the whole enterprise. The Beaver sailed on the tenth of October, 1811, and, after taking in twelve natives at the Sandwich islands, reached the mouth of the Columbia, in safety, on the ninth of May, 1812. Her arrival gave ­[page 443:] life and vigor to the establishment, and afforded means of extending the operations of the company, and founding a number of interior trading posts.

It now became necessary to send despatches over land to Mr. Astor, at New York, an attempt at so doing having been frustrated some time before by the hostility of the Indians at Wish-Ram. The task was confided to M. [[Mr.]] Robert Stuart, who, though he had never been across the mountains, had given evidence of his competency for such undertakings. He was accompanied by Ben. Jones and John Day, Kentuckians; Andri Vallar and Francis Le Clerc, Canadians; and two of the partners, Messieurs M’Lellan and Crooks, who were desirous of returning to the Atlantic States. This little party set out on the twenty-ninth of June, and Mr. Irving accompanies them, in detail, throughout the whole of their long and dangerous wayfaring. As might be expected, they encountered misfortunes still more terrible than those before experienced by Mr. Hunt and his associates. The chief features of the journey were the illness of Mr. Crooks, and the loss of all the horses of the party through the villany [[villainy]] of the Upsarokas This latter circumstance was the cause of excessive trouble and great delay. On the thirteenth of April, however, the party arrived, in fine health and spirits, at St. Louis, having been ten months in performing their perilous expedition. The route taken by Mr. Stuart coincided nearly with that of Mr. Hunt, as far as the Wind river mountains. From this point, the former struck somewhat to the south-east, following the Nebraska to its junction with the Missouri.

War having at length broken out between the United States and England, Mr. Astor perceived that the harbor of New York would be blockaded, and the departure of the annual supply ship in the autumn prevented. In this emergency, he wrote to Captain Sowle, the commander of the Beaver, addressing him at Canton. The letter directed him to proceed to the factory, at the mouth of the Columbia, with such articles as the establishment might need, and to remain there subject to the orders of Mr. Hunt. In the meantime, nothing had yet been heard from the settlement. Still, not discouraged, Mr. A. determined to send out another ship, although the risk of loss was so greatly ­[page 444:] enhanced that no insurance could be effected. The Lark was chosen — remarkable for her fast sailing. She put to sea on the sixth of March, 1813, under the command of Mr. Northrop, her mate — the officer first appointed to command her having shrunk from his engagement. Within a fortnight after her departure, Mr. A. received intelligence that the North-west Company had presented a memorial to Great Britain, stating the vast scope of the contemplated operations at Astoria, expressing a fear that, unless crushed, the settlement there would effect the downfall of their own fur trade, and advising that a force be sent against the colony. In consequence, the frigate Phœbe was ordered to convoy the armed ship Isaac Todd, belonging to the North-west company, and provided with men and munitions for the formation of a new establishment. They were directed “to proceed together to the mouth of the Columbia, capture or destroy whatever American fortress they would find there, and plant the British flag on its ruins.” Upon this matter’s being represented to our government, the frigate Adams, Captain Crane, was detailed for the protection of Astoria; and Mr. A. proceeded to fit out a ship called the Enterprise, to sail in company with the frigate, and freighted with additional supplies. Just, however, as the two vessels were ready, a reinforcement of seamen was wanted for Lake Ontario, and the crew of the Adams were, necessarily, transferred to that service. Mr. A. was about to send off his ship alone, when a British force made its appearance off the Hook, and New York was effectually blockaded. The Enterprise, therefore, was unloaded and dismantled. We now return to the Beaver.

This vessel, after leaving at Astoria that portion of her cargo destined for that post, sailed for New Archangel on the fourth of August, 1812. She arrived there on the nineteenth, meeting with no incidents of moment. A long time was now expended in negotiations with the drunken governor of the Russian fur colony — one Count Baranoff — and when they were finally completed, the mouth of October had arrived. Moreover, in payment for his supplies, Mr. Hunt was to receive seal-skins, and none were on the spot. It was necessary, therefore, to proceed to a seal-catching establishment belonging to the Russian company ­[page 445:] at the Island of St. Paul, in the sea of Kamschatka. He set sail for this place on the fourth of October, after having wasted forty-five days at New Archangel. He arrived on the thirty-first of the month — by which time, according to his arrangement, he should have been back at Astoria. Now occurred great delay in getting the peltries on board; every pack being overhauled to prevent imposition. To make matters worse, the Beaver one night was driven off shore in a gale, and could not get back until the thirteenth of November. Having at length taken in the cargo and put to sea, Mr. Hunt was in some perplexity as to his course. The ship had been much injured in the late gale, and he thought it imprudent to attempt making the mouth of the Columbia in this boisterous time of the year. Moreover, the season was already much advanced; and should he proceed to Astoria as originally intended, he might arrive at Canton so late as to find a bad market. Unfortunately, therefore, he determined to go at once to the Sandwich Islands, there await the arrival of the annual ship from New York, take passage in her to the settlement, and let the Beaver proceed on her voyage to China. It is but justice to add that he was mainly induced to this course by the timid representations of Captain Sowle. They reached Woahoo in safety, where the ship underwent the necessary repairs, and again put to sea on the first of January, 1813, leaving Mr. Hunt on the island.

At Canton, Captain Sowle found the letter of Mr. Astor, giving him information of the war, and directing him to convey the intelligence to Astoria. He wrote a reply, in which he declined complying with these orders, saying that he would wait for peace, and then return home. In the meantime Mr. Hunt waited in vain for the annual vessel. At length, about the twentieth of June, the ship Albatross, Captain Smith, arrived from China, bringing the first news of the war to the Sandwich Islands. This ship Mr. H. chartered for two thousand dollars, to land him, with some supplies, at Astoria. He reached this post on the twentieth of August, where he found the affairs of the company in a perishing condition, and the partners bent upon abandoning the settlement. To this resolution Mr. Hunt was finally brought to consent. There was a large stock of furs, however, ­[page 446:] at the factory, which it was necessary to get to a market, and a ship was required for this service. The Albatross was bound to the Marquesas, and thence to the Sandwich Islands; and it was resolved that Mr. H. should sail in her in quest of a vessel, returning, if possible, by the first of January, and bringing with him a supply of provisions. He departed on the twenty-sixth of August, and reached the Marquesas without accident. Commodore Porter soon afterward arrived, bringing intelligence that the British frigate Phœbe, with a store-ship mounted with battering pieces, together with the sloops of war Cherub and Racoon, had all sailed, from Rio Janiero, on the sixth of July, bound for the mouth of the Columbia. Mr. H., after in vain attempting to purchase a whale ship from Commodore Porter, started, on the twenty-third of November, for the Sandwich Islands, arriving on December the twentieth. Here he found Captain Northrop, of the Lark, which had suffered shipwreck on the coast about the middle of March. The brig Pedlar was now purchased for ten thousand dollars, and, Captain N. being put in command of her, Mr. H. sailed for Astoria on the twenty-second of January, 1814, with the view of removing the property there, as speedily as possible, to the Russian settlements in the vicinity — these were Mr. Astor’s orders sent out by the Lark. On the twenty-eighth of February the brig anchored in the Columbia, when it was found that, on the twelfth of December, the British had taken possession of the post. In some negotiations carried on, just before the surrender, on the part of the North-west company and M’Dougal, that worthy personage gave full evidence that Captain Thorn was not far wrong in suspecting him to be no better than he should be. He had been for some time secretly a partner of the rival association, and shortly before the arrival of the British, took advantage of his situation as head of the post, to barter away the property of the company at less than one-third of its value.

Thus failed this great enterprise of Mr. Astor. At the peace, Astoria itself, by the treaty of Ghent, reverted with the adjacent country to the United States, on the principle of states ante bellum. In the winter of 1815, Congress passed a law prohibiting all traffic of British traders within our territories, and Mr. ­[page 447:] A. felt anxious to seize this opportunity for the renewal of his undertaking. For good reasons, however, he could do nothing without the direct protection of the government. This evinced much supineness in the matter; the favorable moment was suffered to pass unimproved; and, in despite of the prohibition of Congress, the British finally usurped the lucrative traffic in peltries throughout the whole of our vast territories in the North-west. A very little aid from the sources whence he had naturally a right to expect it, would have enabled Mr. Astor to direct this profitable commerce into national channels, and to render New York, what London has now long been, the great emporium for furs.

We have already spoken of the masterly manner in which Mr. Irving has executed his task. It occurs to us that we have observed one or two slight discrepancies in the narrative. There appears to be some confusion between the names of M’Lellan, M’Lennon and M’Lennan — or do these three appellations refer to the same individual? In going up the Missouri, Mr. Hunt arrives at the Great Bend on the first of June, — the third day after which (the day on which the party is overtaken by Lisa) is said to be the third of July. Jones and Carson join the expedition just above the Omaha village. At page 187, vol. 1, we are told that the two men “who had joined the company at the Maha village” (meaning Omaha, we presume), deserted and were pursued, but never overtaken — at page 199, however, Carson is recognized by an Indian who is holding a parley with the party. The Lark too, only sailed from New York on the sixth of March, 1813, and on the tenth, we find her, much buffeted, somewhere in the near vicinity of the Sandwich Islands. These errors are of little importance in themselves, but may as well be rectified in a future edition.



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 420:]

­ * “Astoria: or, Anecdotes of an Enterprize beyond the Rocky Mountains.” By Washington Irving. — [From the Southern Literary Messenger for 18—.]



The words “THE END” appear here because this is the final item in volume IV. The running heading for these pages is “ASTORIA.” In the original, there is some inconsistency in the spelling of “enterprise” versus “enterprize.”

The review originally appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger for January 1837. It is not clear why the editor chose to obscure the actual year in this printing. It is possible that he did not want to acknowledge this as an early review.


[S:1 - Works, 1856] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Review of Astoria (reprint)