The various missionary stations, together with the improvements in connection with them, next deserve our attention, in describing which, I shall for the sake of brevity, confine my remarks chiefly, to the more important stations. In all there are eight stations in Oregon, four of which, are in the Middle section, and four in the Western section. There was, also a station, formerly, in the Eastern section, but it is now abandoned. This station was called Kaima, and was situated on Koosekooseke river, in the vicinity of Fort Boisia. The principal station found in the Middle section, is a Presbyterian station, which is situated on the Wallawalla river, about twenty-five miles easterly from Fort Wallawalla. This is the station, to which I have alluded upon another page, as being under the superintendence of Dr. Whitman, and which is called Dr. Whitman's mission. At this station, there is a very large farm, under a good state of cultivation, which produces a great abundance of both grain and vegetables. The buildings are very convenient, consisting of two large dwelling-houses, one of which, was not entirely completed, when I was at that place. The walls of these buildings, are constructed of "adobies," or large dried brick. In connection with these, there is also, a flouring- mill, which answers all the purposes of the missionaries, and the dependent natives. Near this mill, there is also, a large "caral," or inclosure, into which, the cattle and horses are daily driven, as at Fort Hall, and elsewhere, throughout this region. Large numbers of American cattle, and Skiuse, and Wallawalla horses, are reared at this place, and they all thrive most admirably, notwithstanding the inclement winters, of this excessively cold region. There are two other stations, at the east, and north of this, called the Lapwai and the Chimekaine stations; but the only remaining station of this section, which I shall more particularly notice, is that at the dalles, which is situated about a mile from the Columbia river, on the south side, upon the adjacent high lands, just below the dalles. Between this station and the river, is a most beautiful and fertile valley, on which, herds of fine cattle and horses, belonging to the missionaries, are always to be seen grazing, in great numbers. The buildings of this station, consist of a dwelling-house, a school-house, workshops and several outhouses. This is a beautiful station, and the missionaries here appear to be in very comfortable circumstances. There is not a very extensive tract of land, under cultivation, in connection with this station, but both grain and vegetables, are grown in sufficient quantities, for the consumption of the missionaries, and the natives in their service. The missionaries of all this section, and especially, those at the Presbyterian stations, are laboring with much success, both in christianizing, and civilizing the natives. Agricultural pursuits, have already been introduced among them, to a very considerable extent; and many of them, even now, grow considerable grain, rear large herds, build houses; and in fact, exhibit an extraordinary advancement in civilization, considering the brief duration of missionary labors in that region.
The missionary stations of the Western section, are located at the Wallammette valley, the Wallammette falls , Clatsop and Nisqually. That station situated in the Wallammette valley, is the principal and most important station of this section. It is situated about fifty miles above the falls, a few miles east of the Wallammette river, where the buildings in connection with the station, consist of dwelling-houses, barns, shops, store-houses, churches, school-houses and mills. In all, there are about fourteen buildings, belonging to this station, which are located at different points in this valley, varying from one to eight miles in distance, from each other. At the Indian school, thirty or forty Indian children, are now being taught the rudiments of the English language, with a view of facilitating the promulgation of the doctrines of the Christian religion. There are also two large farms, in connection with this station, which are very extensive, and which produce ample grain and vegetables, for the consumption of all the different stations of this section, as well as much grain for exportation. Here too, cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, are reared in much greater numbers, than at any of the other stations. There is also a store, connected with this station, where goods are annually sold, both to the settlers, and the Indians, to the amount of several thousand dollars. The Rev. Jason Lee is in charge at this station, and is the general superintendent, of all the Methodist missionary stations in Oregon. He is gentlemanly, kind and hospitable, and with all, a very energetic and enterprising man. He extends great kindness and hospitality, to the numerous emigrants, who are constantly arriving in that country. The station at the falls, is situated but a few rods below the cataract; the buildings consist of two dwelling-houses, a store-house and a ware-house. At this place also, as at the valley, there is a store, at which large quantities of goods are daily sold, by the missionaries, to both whites and Indians, from which extensive profits are annually derived. The Indians in the vicinity of this station, are occasionally convened, either at the falls, or the Klackamus, for the purpose of religious instruction; but it appears to be with the greatest reluctance, that they assemble, upon such occasions. The stations at Nisqually and Clatsop, are much less important, than those just described, as there are but a very few missionaries stationed at each, merely for the purpose of imparting religious instruction to the few Indians, who are connected with each station. Nor is there any additional settlements of whites, in connection with either of these stations, which will enable the missionaries, to extend their labors among them, as religious teachers. At both of these stations, grain and vegetables are grown, to some extent, and cattle and horses are reared in numbers sufficient for the purposes of the stations. Although the station at the falls, may have been, and may at this time be, of some importance, as a means of imparting religious instruction, to the natives, yet the time is not far distant, when it can be of no further importance, in that respect; for it is evident, from the importance of that point, for manufacturing and commercial purposes, that the Indians will not be permitted, long to remain either there, or in the immediate vicinity. And my impression is, that none of those missionary establishments, can long exist, as such, in that part of the Western section; for there are but very few Indians, in the immediate neighborhood, of any of these stations, to require the attention of missionaries. And, as that is far the most fertile, and delightful portion of Oregon, which is as yet occupied, it is very evident, that the natives will, in a very few years, at farthest be required to change their locations.
The settlements and improvements, which are disconnected with the forts and missions, are chiefly at the Wallammette valley, the Fualitine plains, and the Wallammette falls. The settlement at the Wallammette valley, is at present, the most extensive settlement in the country. It contains about one hundred families, who have extensive farms, and who are otherwise comfortably situated. Each of the farmers in this valley, generally have, from one hundred to five hundred acres of land under fence, and in a good state of cultivation, upon which, they grow annually, from five hundred, to a thousand bushels of wheat for exportation, besides beans, peas and potatoes, turnips and various other vegetables, which they grow in great abundance. They also usually rear cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, in large numbers; each farmer generally having, from fifty to five hundred head of cattle, from ten to one hundred head of horses, and as many sheep and hogs; for all of which, the continued, annual emigration, affords an ample market. In the Fualitine plains, there are about fifty families, all of whom have selected, and are now improving their farms. They generally have from fifty, to a hundred acres of land, under fence, with cattle horses, hogs and sheep, in large numbers. The settlers here, however, like those of the Wallammette valley, devote their principal attention, to the growing of wheat, of which, they sell annually, from one hundred to a thousand bushels, besides beans, peas, turnips, potatoes and the like, for all of which, a ready market is found in the country, as will be seen upon another page. The settlement at the falls, is less extensive than those just described, but from its very favorable situation, it is, perhaps, more important than either of those. In the winter of 1843, a town was laid off, near the falls, which has since improved, with unparalleled rapidity. It was surveyed under my direction, but at the expense of Dr. McLoughlin, who claimed, and then occupied the site, and who, after having surveyed it, for a mile in extent, up and down the Wallammette river, permitted all persons who wished to do so, to take as many lots, as they would build upon and improve, requiring them merely to pay for the drawing of the writings, in reference to them. During the winter, there were numerous lots taken, upon these terms, and in the following spring, there were thirty buildings, in Oregon City, which was the name given it, at the time of its surveyal. In the autumn of 1843, there were fifty three buildings in this town, among which, were four stores, four mills, two of which were flouring mills, one public house, one black smith's shop and various other mechanic's shops ; a church was also in contemplation, and in fact, commenced. Many of the lots, which were obtained gratuitously, only the spring previous, were then worth at least, one thousand dollars each, and their value was daily increasing, with the improvements of the town. Such were the improvements of Oregon City, in the autumn of 1843, but about eight months, after its emergent appearance. Oregon City is situated upon a very favorable site for a town, and it is, beyond a doubt, destined to become a place of very considerable manufacturing and commercial importance. This opinion is strengthened, when we take into consideration, the fact, of its being near the head of slack-water navigation, and the fact, of its possessing a water power, scarcely ever surpassed. For the present, and until other towns spring up, emigrants will, in a great measure, concentrate at this place, especially merchants, mechanics and those of the learned professions. But other towns are already, springing into existence, as additional evidences of the unbounded energy and enterprise of American citizens. A town has been recently laid off, upon the west side of the Wallammette river, about five miles from its mouth, near the head of sloop navigation, and about ten miles below Vancouver ; called Linnton, in honor of the lamented Dr. Linn of Missouri. This is also, a very favorable site for a town, and is improving, with extraordinary rapidity.
The improvements of the settlements, both in the valley and plains are quite similar to those in our western states. 'The buildings being usually constructed of logs, some of which are hewn, and others round, are intended only for temporary residences; but many of them are very comfortable, and convenient. There are some exceptions to the above remarks, for there are several very commodious, and well-finished framed buildings, both in the valley and the plains. The buildings in Oregon City, are, with a few exceptions, framed and well-finished. Including saw and flouring mills, there are now fourteen in Oregon, many of which, are doing a very extensive and profitable business; and there are innumerable sites for mills and other machinery, which are destined, soon to be occupied. There are perhaps, very few countries which afford more numerous, or more advantageous sites for the most extensive water power than Oregon. The people of this territory, in their anxiety to provide for their individual necessities, and to promote their individual interests, have paid but very little attention to the making of roads, and other public improvements. Traveling and transportation, are, as yet, chiefly on horseback, and by water, but from the nature of the soil however, there can be no difficulty, in making good roads, and thereby, rendering intercommunication easy, and transportation cheap, throughout all portions of the country. The foregoing facts, in reference to the improvements of Oregon, afford a few evidences of the very enterprising character of the Oregon emigrants; but a further evidence is found in the fact of their having recently sent to New York for a printing-press and a steam-engine, which will be received sometime during the next summer or autumn; when the same energy and enterprise that procured them, will soon put them into extensive and successful operation.
The entire population of Oregon, may now be estimated at about twenty-four thousand, including both whites and Indians, and the white population, including Canadians and half-breeds, now amounts to about four thousand. The emigrants, up to the autumn of 1844, and the former American settlers inclusive, increase the American population to about three thousand. The officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Canadians and half-breeds, number about one thousand; and hence, it is seen, that the Indian population is about twenty thousand. 'The American population, and the Canadians and half-breeds, who are disconnected with the company, are, as before remarked, chiefly settled at the falls of the Wallammette, the Fualitine plain, and the Wallammette valley. They are industrious, orderly, and good citizens; devoting their entire time and attention to the improvement of their farms, the growing of grain, and rearing of herds; they all appear to be intent, only upon the advancement of the general good. In every thing that tends to the advancement of the interests of the country, there appears to be a hearty co-operation, between the gentlemen of the Hudson Bay Company, and the American citizens. As one instance of extraordinary, and entire devotion to the best interests of the country, the whole community, with one unanimous voice, determined to abandon the use of all alcoholic or inebriating liquors; and to prevent their introduction or sale, under any state of circumstances. In this measure, the gentlemen of the company perform a very efficient part, and although their own store-houses are full of intoxicating liquors, they sell none to any person. Upon the arrival of a vessel freighted with ardent spirits the doctor, McLoughlin, has been known to purchase the whole cargo, in order to prevent its sale among the settlers, when at the same time, he had hundreds of barrels in his own store-houses. A course equally prompt and energetic, is also pursued by the settlers themselves, as is seen in this instance. A Mr. Young, commenced the erection of a distillery, in the vicinity of the principal settlements, of which the settlers, were all soon advised, when a public meeting was called, for the purpose of adopting such measures, as might immediately arrest this work of death. Upon due deliberation, and full consideration of the subject, the meeting unanimously resolved, that Mr. Young should be paid for his buildings, already commenced; but that he should also abandon the further prosecution of his most nefarious purpose, which if he did not do, his buildings and whatever else connected with them, however often erected, should as often, be demolished. This resolution, accompanied by an appropriate preamble, was presented to Mr. Young, who, after a few moments reflection, saw the full force of these mandatory admonitions, and finally, consented to abandon his unrighteous enterprise. This certainly speaks volumes, for the morality and intelligence of the citizens of Oregon, and it is, no doubt, the chief cause of all that order and quiet, which so universally prevail, throughout all the different settlements.
A kindness and hospitality exist, among those pioneers of the west, which is almost unparalleled. Upon the arrival of emigrants, in the country, immediate arrangements are made by the former settlers, to provide them with houses and provisions, and every aid is rendered them in making their selections of lands, and procuring houses for themselves. The doctor McLoughlin, also, affords them every aid in his power; furnishing them with goods and teams, upon a credit, if they are unable to make immediate payment, providing them with wheat for their bread and seed, and receiving wheat the next year in payment; and letting them have cows and other cattle, to be returned in such time as shall be agreed upon, with a portion of the increase. This kindness and generosity of the doctor, are not confined to emigrants upon their arrival merely, but they are extended to every settler, and respectable inhabitant, in all the various portions of the country. Schools and churches are already, established throughout the country, and unlike all other new countries, a very great anxiety prevails, for the speedy promotion, of the moral and intellectual improvement, of the rising generation, as a consideration, of high and paramount importance. Divine service is regularly attended, in every inhabited portion of the country, at least, once or twice each week, upon which occasions, sermons are delivered by the clergymen, of the various christian denominations. In point of morality, and virtue, this little community, loses nothing, by a comparison with any community, on the east side of the Rocky mountains. Mechanics of all kinds, and men of all the learned professions, are even now, to be found in Oregon, and for so limited a population, there is a very fair proportion of talent and learning. And I may add, that the Oregon emigrants are, as a general thing, of a superior order to those of our people, who usually emigrate to our frontier countries. They are not the indolent, dissolute, ignorant and vicious, but they are generally, the enterprising, orderly, intelligent and virtuous.
There are several powerful and warlike tribes of Indians, occupying each of the different sections. The principal tribes inhabiting the Eastern section, are the Shoshonies, or Snakes, the Black-feet, and the Botiarks. The Nezpercies also frequent this section, but their country is properly in the Middle section, where they are principally found. The Indians of this section are much less advanced in civilization, than those of the other sections. They are all said to be friendly, excepting the Black-feet, who have always been hostile. Emigrants, however, very seldom meet with them, in traveling to Oregon, by the way of Fort Hall, as their country lies far to the north of that route. They are not to be dreaded, however, when met by a large party of whites; even forty or fifty armed men, are ample to deter them from any hostile movements. They should always be considered, and treated as enemies, whatever may be their pretensions of friendship. The Shoshonies or Snakes, the "Root-diggers," (a lower order of the same tribe,) and the Bonarks, although said to be friendly, are, in fact, not strictly so, in the sense in which that term is used in civilized life. The word "friendly," as used by mountaineers, in reference to the Indians, only implies that they are not arrayed, in armed and hostile opposition to the whites; that they are not actually seeking their indiscriminate destruction. This is a Rocky mountain definition, of the word "friendly." However "friendly" these Indians may be, they seek every possible opportunity, to steal your horses, and every thing else upon which they can lay their hands, and they avail themselves of every favorable occasion, for forcibly taking from you, every thing that you possess, which they chance to desire or admire. There is no exception to this, only in the immediate neighborhood of the various forts, where they are held in awe by superior force. At these places, they appear to be inclined to accomplish their thievish purposes, with much more caution, and upon a much more limited system. Petit larceny is the most common offence committed at these places, while grand larceny, and robbery are constantly being committed by them elsewhere; but as they are "friendly," murder is an offence which they seldom commit.
The principal tribes of the Middle section, are the Nezpercie, Skyuses, Wallawallas and Chenukes. The first of these tribes, here mentioned, rear large numbers of horses, and some cattle, and they are notorious, not only for horse-trading, but for horse-stealing. The Nazpercies rear a much the greater number of horses, than any other tribe in Oregon; I was informed, that one Nezpercie chief, had eleven thousand of fine horses; this number, however, I suppose was perhaps, rather exaggerated. The best horses that I have ever seen, I saw among the Nezpersie, the Skyuse and Wallawalla tribes. The horses of these tribes, differ very much from those of the various other tribes; they are large, well proportioned, and extremely fleet and hardy. The Chonukes also, have some horses, but very few, in comparison to those of the tribes just mentioned. Many of these Indians, grow a small kind of corn, and potatoes and melons, in considerable quantities, which are grown by some for food, and by others for the purpose of barter with the Indians of the Eastern section, for which they receive buffalo robes and meat in exchange. The women have been taught, by the missionaries, to spin, weave and knit, in which manner, many of them, employ much of their time, when their services are not required in the fields. They are also entirely "friendly," that is, they are not inclined to take your life, if they can accomplish all of their thievish purposes without. But a more villainous and treacherous race of thieves, can scarcely be found. Notwithstanding all the religious instruction, which they are daily receiving, and the moral influence, which is hourly exerted among them, they will unhesitatingly, steal your knives, forks, plates, cups, horses, or any thing else, whenever an opportunity is afforded; and almost any kind of an opportunity, answers their purpose. Like those in the Eastern section, they will also rob you, whenever they are satisfied, that they have the preponderance of power, and that there is no probability of chastisement, from any other source.
The most numerous and important tribes, of the Western section, are the Shatshet, Squamish, Toando, Chalams, Classet, Chenook, Clatsop, Klackamus, Klackatats, Kallapuyas, Umpquas, Killamucks, Rogues, Klamets, Shasty and Celkilis tribes, which like all other tribes of the country, have, by many, been thought to be migratory, and wandering tribes, but this appears not to be the case. They are always to be found within their own proper territories, sometimes passing and re-passing, however, from fishing to fishing, or from hunting ground to hunting ground ; yet, their usual haunts are very seldom, if' ever, entirely abandoned. They all subsist almost entirely upon fish, which they are enabled to take in any abundance, and at any, and every season of the year. Some of them also hunt, but hunting appears to require too much active exertion, to comport with their inherent and hereditary indolence, therefore, as a means of livelihood, it is not very generally adopted. They generally live in small huts, constructed in the most simple, and artless manner imaginable. Uprights of about eight feet in length are obtained, which are inserted about one foot into the ground, side by side, forming either a square or circular enclosure, of about ten feet in diameter. At the side of these up rights, about two feet from the ground, and also about five feet from the ground, poles are placed horizontally, and attached by means of barks or withes to the uprights, when the walls are completed. 'The roof or cover, is of bark or branches and twigs of trees, which, thrown on in the roughest manner, completes these primitive, rude dwellings, of the Oregon aborigines. These Indians are of much service to the settlers, as they can be employed for a mere nominal compensation, to perform various kinds of labor, at many kinds of which, they are very expert, especially paddling canoes, rowing boats, hunting and driving horses, and bearing dispatches. With the exception of those in the extreme northern and southern portions of the country, they are entirely friendly and inoffensive. Such is the character, particularly of those, in the immediate neighborhood of the different settlements, yet, it is true, that the settlers here, are not entirely free from the little pilferings, and low treachery, to which all Indians are, more or less addicted. They very seldom steal any thing but food and clothing, though they frequently drive the horses of the settlers off, in order that they may be employed to find them, and this they do, in order to obtain food and clothing, as a reward for their services. The word friendly, is here used, in the sense in which it is used upon a former page, signifying merely, that they will make no unprovoked attack upon your person, or that they will not kill you ; but not that they will not steal, for stealing appears to be an inborn vice, to which all barbarous Indians, are habitually addicted. The statement, which I have seen in several of our western papers, in reference to the burning of Dr. Whitman's mill, by the Indians, as an act of war or hostility, is entirely unfounded. The burning of this mill, occurred while I was in that country, and it was wholly accidental ; no fault or design whatever, was attributed to the Indians. It is also reported, that all the various tribes in the neighborhood of the settlements, are combining, for the purpose of making a simultaneous attack, upon the settlers. This report is also, without foundation, for that unanimity of feeling does not exist among them, which would be indispensable to such a combination. But it they were hostile, and should combine, for warlike purposes, still, no danger whatever, would be apprehended from them, for they have neither the means, nor courage, to enable them to prosecute an efficient warfare.
A civil organization has recently taken place in Oregon, and an infant republic is now, in full operation. Several attempts had been made to effect an organization, prior to the spring of 1843, but they had all proved ineffectual. The present organization took place, in the spring of 1843, in accordance with the expressed wishes, of a great majority of all the settlers. An election was held, during the same spring, when the various officers, such as members of the legislature, a supreme judge, justices of the peace, sheriffs, constables, a treasurer, a secretary, and the different prothonotaries, were elected. No executive was elected, consequently, the government must, of course, prove very inefficacious; though it was designed merely, as a substitute for a government, until the United States shall afford them a government, more enlarged, and more effective; to which event, the people of Oregon look forward, with a deep, and abiding interest. The legislature convened in the month of May 1843, at which time, it adopted the statute laws of Iowa, with such alterations and amendments, as local circumstances, seemed to require. Neither the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company, nor any persons in the service of that company, took any part in this governmental organization, nor did many of the Canadians or half-breeds, who had formerly been engaged in the service of that company. The reason assigned by the gentlemen of that company, for the neutral course which they pursued, was that they were British subjects, and hence, amenable to the laws of that government, which were already extended to that country, and in full force; therefore, whatever necessity might exist, on the part of American citizens, to enact a temporary code of laws, no such necessity existed on the part of British subjects. Those gentlemen, no doubt, pursued the proper course, in reference to their duty, as British subjects, for it is strictly true, that by an act of parliament, the jurisdiction and laws of Upper Canada, are extended over all that country, occupied by the British fur traders, whether such country is owned, or claimed by the British government. In accordance with this law, several gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company, were appointed, and now officiate, as justices of peace; having jurisdiction of all civil matters of controversy, where the amount claimed, does not exceed two hundred pounds sterling. The jurisdiction of these justices, in criminal cases, only extend to the examination of those who stand charged with the commission of criminal offences; against whom, if sufficient evidence is found, they are sent to Upper Canada, for final trial. This jurisdiction does not extend, as some have supposed, to the citizens of the United States; but, as is thus seen, there are two distinct forms of government, now established in Oregon, which will most likely, conflict, and thereby, produce serious consequences, if they are long continued.
Great Britain, then, has already done, by actual legislation, what our government seems willing to concede, that we have no right to do, under the existing circumstances. Although Great Britain, has already extended the jurisdiction and laws of Canada, over that country, when it is proposed to extend the jurisdiction and laws of Iowa, over the same country; or in any other manner to establish a government there; it is insisted that the government of the United States, has not the right. It is claimed by the United States; that Oregon territory belongs to her alone, and that Great Britain, has no right whatever, to any part of it, upon any recognized principle, of the laws of nations. Now if this is true, may not our government, extend its jurisdiction over that country, and that too, in any manner which she may deem proper? But, it is remarked, that by the treaty of London, the stipulations of the treaty of Ghent, are indefinitely extended, which gives British subjects, the same right to settle, and trade in Oregon, as citizens of the United States have; that is true, but how does this permission, destroy the right of this government, to extend its jurisdiction and laws over its own territory? Admitting however, that it is doubtful whether the country, in fact, all belongs to the United States, as the question of title is yet unsettled, still, have not the United States, the same authority, the same right, to extend their jurisdiction and laws over that territory, that Great Britain has, to extend her jurisdiction and laws over the same country? In any view of this subject, it is not only clear, that this government has the right to extend its jurisdiction over that country, in any manner that it may think expedient, but also, that it is its duty to do so; a duty which it owes to its own interests; its own security; and above all, to its own, thus far, neglected citizens, in that wild and perilous land, of doubtful and heterogeneous jurisdictions.
The market, trade and commerce, of this infant country, are even now, much more extensive than the most prophetic, could possibly have foreseen. An ample market is now afforded, in the country, and at the very doors of the farmers, for all their surplus produce. The Hudson's Bay Company has certain arrangements, by which, it is enabled to take the products of the country, at the highest prices, even at the doors of the farmers, which, is a very great convenience to the farmer, as well as a great savings of time and expense. The American merchants, also afford an additional market, for the wheat and the various other productions of the country; all of which, as well as labor of all kinds, bear a very good price. Wheat is worth from sixty cents to one dollar per bushel, flour from four to five dollars per barrel; potatoes from twenty five to fifty cents per bushel; beans from seventy-five cents, to one dollar; oats from twenty five to fifty cents; beef from four to eight cents per pound; pork from five to ten cents; fresh salmon from one to four cents; salted salmon from four to six cents, or from eight to twelve dollars per barrel; butter from twenty to thirty cents per pound; and all things else, in the same proportion. Labor of ordinary hands is worth from one to two dollars per day; that of mechanics, from two to four dollars; and that of Indians, from twenty five, to fifty cents per day. All kinds of dry goods and groceries, are generally, afforded here, as cheap as they are in any of our western states; especially, by the Hudson's Bay Company, the merchants of which, very much undersell those of the United States. This may be attributed to the fact, that this company, ships its annual supplies of goods, directly from England, free of duty, which enables it to sell at prices much lower, than those of the American merchants; hence it is, that almost the entire trade of Oregon, is as yet, confined to that vastly wealthy company. No unfairness, however, can be attributed to the company in this respect, for its course of dealing is the most honorable and commendable; but this result is the natural consequence, of such an unequal competition. We see that English merchants, sustain themselves, with much success, in competition with our merchants in the States, notwithstanding the high duties imposed upon many of their imports; to remove these duties then, as in Oregon, must necessarily, give the English merchant, for many years to come, a decided preponderance in trade.
The chief trade of Oregon, as yet, is the fur trade, which is almost entirely, monopolized by that company. This trade, however profitable it may formerly have been, and although it is still very lucrative, yet, it is rapidly decreasing, owing to the great decrease of the fur-bearing animals, which was alluded to upon a former page. The peltries annually collected in Oregon, by this company are, at this time, estimated at about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which, however, is far less, than the returns of former years. The trade in grain and lumber, is also, chiefly confined to this company, which ships the former, in large quantities to Sitka under a contract with the Russians; and the latter, in very great quantities, to the Sandwich Islands, where it is sold for about forty dollars per thousand. The staples of this country, will eventually, be grain, pork, beef, hides, tallow, fish, wool, lumber and coal, all of which, may be produced, in abundance, for exportation; and the Russian settlements, China and the various islands of the Pacific, will undoubtedly, forever afford, an ample market, for all its surplus productions. For many years to come, however, the continued, and increasing emigration will afford a home market, at least for most of the grain, vegetables, pork, beef and lumber, which the country will produce. Such is now, the case; the emigrants annually purchase most of the provisions, as well as cattle, horses, hogs, sheep and lumber, of which the former settlers wish to dispose. This country possesses a very decided advantage, over all the other newly settled countries, of the United States, from its proximity to the Sandwich Islands, which afford an extensive market, at which all its surplus productions, are readily, exchangad, for the various tropical productions. This country also possesses many commercial advantages, much superior, to those possessed generally, by other newly settled countries of the States. Its commercial advantages, as before remarked, are tolerably extensive in the northern part, although they are rather inconsiderable, in the immediate vicinity of the settlements, and in the southern portion; yet its commerce is, at this time, tolerably extensive. There are frequent annual arrivals, at all the different accessible ports, from the Russian settlements, the Sandwich Islands, California, the United States and England. In all, there are eight or ten vessels, engaged in the Oregon trade, of which, the company has five, measuring from two to seven hundred tuns. They are all engaged, the greater part of the year, in importing goods from England, and exporting wheat, furs, fish and timber in return. One arrives every spring, with a stock of goods, designed to supply the trading posts, which having been disposed of in that manner, a cargo of lumber is taken to the Sandwich Islands, or a cargo of goods and flour to Sitka or Kamschatka. Having disposed of their freight, at the places last mentioned, these vessels return to Vancouver, in the latter part of the summer, where the furs, collected during the previous year, are shipped for England. These vessels, although designed merely, to carry on trade between the places above mentioned, are all well armed with cutlasses, muskets and cannons. Besides these, the company also, has a steam-vessel, which is well armed, and which plies along the coast, and in the inlets and bays, northward from the Columbia. There are also four or five American vessels, which touch annually, at the different ports of Oregon, by the way of the Sandwich Islands. They usually, arrive in the spring and autumn, bringing goods, and receiving hides, tallow, furs, wheat and fish in return. Besides the merchant vessels, which trade in the Pacific, there are numerous whale-ships, and ships of war, which cruise in the north Pacific, but which, however, very seldom touch at any of the ports in this country. It is believed, that the foregoing will give a view sufficiently enlarged, for the purposes, for which this little work was designed, of the present, and at least, a faint prelude, of the future, agricultural and commercial advantages of Oregon.
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