The climate of Oregon is, perhaps, as varied and variable, as that of any part of the known world, which fact is attributable to the great diversity of local positions, which the various portions of the country occupy, in reference to those regions of perpetual snow, and the Pacific ocean, as well as the altitude of each portion, in reference to the other. The same diversity of climate, as of soil, prevails in the different sections, and the climate, like the soil, is much more diversified in the Eastern section, than in either of the others. In many portions of this section you experience perpetual winter, while in others you have continued spring, depending upon the position which you occupy; and even in the same portion of the country, one day, you have the extreme heat of a southern summer, and the next, the excessive cold of a northern winter. There are other portions of this section where, in the short space of 24 hours, you experience four distinct changes, corresponding in temperature, with a northern spring, summer, autumn and winter. The mercury in Fahrenheit's scale, rising to 50? in the morning, to 120? at noon, and falling again to 50? in the evening, and to 12? below zero at night. These remarks, however, are designed to apply only to a portion of this section. In many other portions, it is both much warmer, and much colder, the mercury frequently rising to 160? and falling to 18? below zero. The mean temperature, of course, differs very much in the various sections, but it is said to be about 50? of Fahrenheit, in the vicinity of Fort Hall. Those portions which have a climate of this variable character, are generally in the immediate vicinity of the regions of perpetual snow. Rain very seldom falls in any part of this section, during the spring or summer, nor do great quantities fall during the autumn or winter. In the winter, snow falls very frequently, though not to a great depth; it lies but a short time in the valleys, but eternally on the mountains. Hence then it appears, that you may enjoy every possible variety of climate, from perpetual winter, to perennial spring. The climate of the Middle section, is not as variable as that of the Eastern section, but much more so than that of the Western section; it is subject however, to very great extremes of heat and cold. In the summer, the mercury in Fahrenheit's scale, frequently rises to 180?, in the shade, and as frequently, falls as low as minus 28? of Fahrenheit. As in the Eastern section, the temperature of the various portions, differs very much, depending upon the altitude of each portion, and its proximity to the snowy mountains, yet the mean temperature is said to be about 52? of Fahrenheit at Fort Wallawalla, and the daily difference of temperature, is said to be, about 40? of Fahrenheit, at and in the vicinity of that place. It very seldom rains in this section, during the spring, summer or autumn, consequently, there are about nine months of continued drought, during which time, here, as in the Eastern sections, dews seldom fall, hence a dryness and aridity of atmosphere prevails throughout both these sections, which are seldom elsewhere known.
The climate of all the Western section is very mild, and notwithstanding its northern latitude, it has no excess of cold, nor has it any excess of heat. The mean temperature of this section, at Fort Vancouver, is 57 deg. of Fahrenheit. Snow very seldom falls more than four or five inches in depth, and generally disappears in three or four days. Running water never freezes south of the Columbia river, and that river has been closed, opposite Vancouver, but three times within the last forty years, and even then, it remained closed but a very few days. It is so mild in latitude 45 deg. north, and even in 50 deg. north, that it does not become necessary either to house, or feed any kind of stock during the winter. The valleys are generally thickly covered with the grasses, and various other kinds of vegetation, during the entire winter. Farther south, the vegetation puts forth very soon after the rains commence to fall, and continues to grow all winter, so that the pasturage for stock, is equally, as good at that season, as at any other, and perhaps, better than it is in the summer. Here during the winter, not only the valleys, but the hills and mountains also, are everywhere covered with green, fresh grass; but in the latter part of the summer, and fore part of the fall, from the continued drought, all vegetation is generally, completely dried and divested of its principal nutriment. The rainy season commences in November, and continues until March inclusive, and during all the residue of the year, scarcely a drop of rain falls. In the rainy season, rains fall almost incessantly, but not in great quantitie ; though they usually fall in such quantities, and so continually, as to prevent the advantageous transaction of most kinds of business. The cold, or winter weather, is chiefly, confined to the months of December, January and February. From what has already been said, in reference to the climate of this section, it will be readily perceived, that there is a very great difference of temperature, in the same latitude, on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. There are more than ten degrees difference between the temperature on the east and west side of the Rocky mountains, in the same latitude, especially, on the coasts. It is milder in latitude 50 deg. north, on the Pacific coast, than it is in latitude 40 deg. north, on the Atlantic coast. The chief cause of this extraordinary difference of temperature, in the same latitude, is perhaps, the prevailing winds, on the Pacific coast, from the north during the summer, and from the south during the winter. The climate of the extreme southern part of this section, is much milder, and more delightful, than that just described. Here snow seldom falls, and there is much less rain during the winter, or rainy season; the climate here, in fact, very much resembles that of Upper California. From the foregoing facts, in reference to the climate, very correct conclusions may, perhaps, be formed in reference to the health of Oregon. Febrile diseases are seldom if ever known, in any portion of the Eastern or Middle sections; and as no local febrific causes are found in any part of these sections, the presumption is, that they will always possess superior advantages, in point of healthfulness. The Western section is also very healthy, yet intermittent fevers prevail to a limited extent, in some portions. These fevers, however, are found to be of a much less obstinate character, than those which prevail on the east side of the mountains, as they yield very readily to any of the ordinary curatives. Cases of remittent fevers, have scarcely ever, been known in any portion of this country. It has been remarked, that although this country appears to be entirely exempt from all local causes of disease, yet it has, at some former period, been very unhealthy. As a proof of this view, you are referred to the numerous, and extensive burying grounds of the natives; but the devastation which disease has evidently made among them, has been much more attributable to the rude treatment, which they adopt, than to the obstinacy of the disease.
The productions of the Eastern section are much more limited, both in variety and quantity, than those of the Western section, yet they are in all respects, very similar to those of the Middle section. The same diversity obtains, throughout all these sections, in reference to productions, as well as to soil and climate, which will be fully seen, from what will now follow. As before remarked, timber is in some portions of the Eastern section, in sufficient quantities for all valuable purposes, but as a general thing, there is a very great deficiency of timber. Wherever it is found, however, it usually grows with great luxuriance. It consists chiefly of white and yellow pine, white and red cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock, arbour vitae, cherry and willow. Many portions of this section are well suited to the producing of wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, hemp, flax, potatoes, turnips, and in fact, all kinds of vegetables, common to a northern climate, as well as such fruits as apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes and cherries. In addition to these fruits many wild fruits are also found, in the greatest abundance. Indian corn will not mature in any part of this section, which is attributed to the very cold nights, and early frosts, to which every portion of this section is subject. The productions of the Middle section, very much resemble those of the Eastern, yet there is perhaps, a slight shade of difference, in some of the different portions. The timber, of this section, consists for the most part, of fir, pine, cedar, spruce, hemlock, oak of several kinds, ash, arbutus, arbour vitae, maple, willow and cherry, in the north; and fir, pine, cedar, oak, ash, arbutus and willow in the south. This section is also capable, in many places, of producing wheat, rye, oats, barley, beans, peas, hemp, flax, tobacco and most kinds of vegetables, in considerable abundance. Several kinds of fruits, may also be produced here, in quantities sufficient for all ordinary purposes. Such fruits as apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, grapes, and several kinds of wild fruits, grow most luxuriantly, in various portions of this section. But very few agricultural experiments have, as yet, been made in either the Eastern or Middle sections, but sufficient has been determined, in this respect, to warrant the foregoing statements. In the Middle, as in the Eastern section, it has also been determined that our common Indian corn, will not mature, which is owing to the same cause as that before mentioned.
In the Western section, we find a much greater variety, and abundance of productions. The timber of this section, consists chiefly, of pine, fir, cedar, red and white oak, ash, arbour vitae, arbutus, maple, poplar, willow and cherry. The undergrowth consists, generally, of hazel, rose, grape vines, and a great variety of shrubs and bushes, all of which together, form an undergrowth so dense, that in many places, it is actually impenetrable. Timber of the most extraordinary growth is found in many portions of this section. Both in the north and south, it is not uncommon to see fir and pine trees three hundred feet in height, and from twenty to sixty feet in circumference. Their usual height, however, is from fifty to two hundred feet; and their circumference from ten to thirty feet. There are very few portions of the world, perhaps, which afford a greater variety, and quantity, or a better quality of timber, than this section of Oregon. The timber south of the Columbia, although it is, in many places, equally as large and thrifty, yet it is not as valuable for lumber, as that north of that river. In the south, it is much more spungy and porous, than in the north, consequently, it is much more subject to contraction and expansion, when manufactured into lumber. The south side of the trees, in the south, also possess much more porosity than the north side, consequently, lumber made of this timber would be much less valuable, as one part of it would be much more subject, than the other, to excessive contractions and expansions. Both the climate and the soil in many portions of this section are well suited to the growing of wheat, rye, oats, barley, flax, hemp, beans, peas and tobacco, as well as the various kinds of garden vegetables. Indian corn does not mature in any part of this section, as far as it has been tried, but there is no doubt but that it, as well as cane, cotton and rice, may be grown with much success, in the extreme southern part of this section. Several kinds of the northern fruits succeed here, extremely well, especially apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes and cherries. For the growing of all the northern fruits, there are very few countries better adapted than this section, the extreme southern part of which, is also admirably suited to the growing of many of the tropical fruits. Wheat is the principal grain grown in this section as yet, the greatest quantities of which are produced at the Wallammette valley, the Fualitine plains, and the farms of the Hudson's Bay Company, at Vancouver, Nisqually and the Cawlitz. The average crop, is about fifteen bushels to the acre, yet, I have no doubt, but that portion of this section, which lies south of the Columbia river, and which is susceptible of cultivation, may, with proper agricultural skill, be made to produce twenty-five or thirty bushels to the acre. The northern portion will never produce so abundantly, as the southern part, for, as has been before remarked, its soil is generally, much less fertile, and its climate much less adapted to the luxuriant production of any kind of grain or vegetables. Wherever wheat has been grown as yet, the first crop is found to be of very little value; so valueless in fact, that in many instances it is not harvested. I was informed by several respectable farmers, that from the first sowing, they could not, as a general thing, rely upon receiving more than the seed sown, and that, in many instances, even the seed sown, was not received. But a fact was also stated to me, by several respectable gentlemen, which clearly shows the peculiar adaptation of this country, to the growing of this species of grain, especially, after it is reduced to a proper state of cultivation. The fact alluded to is, that after having subdued the land properly, having sowed your wheat, and having harvested it, a spontaneous growth will spring up the succeeding year, and you will receive a very good crop without a second sowing.
As has been stated upon a former page, all the different sections of Oregon, are much better suited to the rearing of herds, than to farming purposes. Some experiments in this respect have been made, in all the different sections. In the Eastern section, at Forts Hall and Boisia, both horses and cattle are reared in large numbers, where they thrive most admirably. The Indians of this section also, rear horses in vast numbers, and of a very superior quality. In the Middle section, horses and cattle are also reared in great numbers, by the missionaries, at their different stations, and by the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company, at the different forts. The Indians here also, rear horses, in the various parts of this section, in very large numbers. Both the horses and cattle of these sections thrive exceedingly well, and that too, without the ordinary attention of feeding and housing. The Western section is seldom surpassed, as a grazing country, and it is to this purpose that it is most eminently adapted, especially, the southern portion, where cattle, horses and sheep, may be reared in any numbers, with no other expense than that of employing herdsmen and shepherds. The necessity of feeding and housing any kind of herds, is here obviated, by the mildness of the climate, and the putting forth of the vegetation, during the winter season. Vast herds of horses, cattle and sheep, are latterly driven to this section, from Upper California, by which means, the entire country is destined, in a very short time, to become extensively stocked. Each farmer has, even now, from twenty to a thousand head of cattle, about as many horses, and from twenty to one hundred head of sheep. Notwithstanding the ease and facility with which herds are here reared, they are equally as valuable, if not more so, here than they are in the States. Horses are worth from twenty to fifty dollars per head; oxen from forty to eighty dollars per yoke; cows from ten to thirty dollars per head; other grown cattle, from eight to fifteen dollars per head; and sheep, from one to four dollars per head. Cattle and horses however, which are driven from the States, are considered much more valuable, than those which are driven from California, as they are thought to be better blooded; which view, I think, is entirely unfounded. But the preference of our people, for every thing that American, every thing that is reared in their own country, as well as the great difficulty of driving cattle and horses to that country, will always cause them to command a much higher price. Oxen driven from the States, are worth from fifty to one hundred dollars per yoke; cows from twenty to fifty dollars per head; and other grown cattle, from fifteen to forty dollars per head. Horses driven from the States, are generally, worth from fifty to one hundred and fifty dollars per head. I have frequently heard the belief expressed, that neither horses nor cattle, driven from the States, would thrive in that country, because of the incessant rains of the winters there, and their not being housed during that inclement season; but experience proves, that they thrive most admirably, and even better than they do in the States.
All the various rivers of Oregon, abound with a great variety of fish, of the very best kinds. They are very abundant in all the different sections; but the streams of the Western section afford the greatest abundance. They are found, however, in each or the other sections, in quantities sufficient to supply a very dense population. There are innumerable and inexhaustible fisheries on the coast, and in all the different rivers, throughout all the different sections, both in the north and south. These abound with fish in the greatest abundance, and of almost every variety, consisting, chiefly, however, of salmon, salmon trout, cod, carp, sturgeons, flounder, ray, perch, lamprey and herring. Most of these are taken throughout the year, but in much greater quantities, during the months of May and October; at which seasons, all the different tribes of Indians, are congregated at the different fisheries, for the purpose of obtaining their supplies for the residue of the year. Most of the Indians of all Oregon, subsist almost entirely upon them, either in their fresh or dried state. In drying them, no salt is used; they are either exposed to the rays of the sun; or hung or spread in houses provided for that purpose, and dried in the shade. The atmosphere is so pure and arid, that they are perfectly cured in a very few days, even in the shade, without salt, and without any danger whatever, of putrefaction. The Indians not only take them in such quantities as to supply their own wants, but also in sufficient quantities, to supply all the different settlers, during the entire year. They usually take them with seines, which they make for that purpose, and which, in fact, are nearly as well constructed as those used by our own people. Spears and peculiarly constructed traps, are also used in taking them, in some portions of the country; and in others, the Indians take them very readily, even with their hands. In small streams, for the purpose of taking them more readily, with their spears or hands, they drive small stakes, thickly in the bottom of the streams, side by side, entirely across their beds, which prevent the fish from passing up or down, but do not materially interrupt the flow of the water. The fish, being thus interrupted in their course, congregate in great numbers, at the stakes, passing from space to space, endeavoring to get through, when the Indians, taking advantage of their confusion, wade among them, and take them with all ease, either with their spears, hands or otherwise. Upon the coast, several kinds of shell fish are found, such as crabs, clams, muscles and oysters, all of which, are used by the natives, in that vicinity, as a principal article of food. The oysters of Oregon are very small, but they are of a very excellent kind, and are perhaps, not inferior, to those taken any where on the Atlantic coast. Along the coast, the entire extent of the country, whales are found in great numbers, and they are frequently taken by the Indians, especially at the straits of Juan de Fucas. The American and English whale ships, very seldom visit that region, although they might find it very profitable to do so, as whales are as abundant there, as in any other portion of the north Pacific.
The game of the Eastern and Middle sections, is not very abundant. It consists chiefly, of bear, wolves, elk, antelope, muskrats, foxes, beavers and martens. Buffalo are also found, in the Eastern section; but in much less numbers, than in the country east of the Rocky mountains. No game, can be said to be very plentiful, in either of these sections. Persons may travel through many parts, of both these sections, for weeks together, and not see a wild animal of any kind, during the whole time. The fur-bearing animals are the most numerous, but they are much less numerous latterly, and they are constantly diminishing in numbers. Other than the fur-bearing animals the game of the Middle section, is of very little or no importance, that of the Eastern section is important only for the fur-bearing animals and the buffalo. Water-fowls are very seldom met with, in either of these sections, which, may perhaps, be attributed to the temperature of their waters, the sterility of their soil, and the variableness of their climate. The game of the Western section is much more abundant, yet, it can not be said to be very plentiful, even in this section. It consists principally of elk, antelope, deer, wolves, bear, foxes, martens, muskrats, beavers, otters and seals. In the southern part of this section, several kinds of game, are very plentiful, especially, the deer, elk, antelope and the bear. In many parts of this section also, the fur-bearing animals, are very numerous, but, they are by no means, as numerous now, as they formerly were; and it is said, that they are annually decreasing, because of their being taken, without regard to the proper season. The decrease has been so great, in fact, that several of the trading posts, of the Hudson's Bay Company, have been abandoned, as they did not defray expenses. Whenever that company, however, has had the entire control of the trade, the decrease has been much less perceptible; as the trappers of that company, are required to trap, with strict regard to the proper season; and to observe every particular circumstance, which may tend to prevent, a diminution of the fur-bearing animals. In that part of this section, where the settlements are now being made, by our citizens, deer and wolves are the most numerous game, of the quadruped kind. The latter of these animals, are very numerous, and troublesome to the surrounding settlers, among whom they make frequent incursions, destroying their sheep, hogs, and even young calves, in great number. In addition to the game before referred to, all the various rivers of this section, abound with innumerable flocks, of geese, ducks, brants, cranes, pelicans, swans, gulls, and a great variety of other water-fowls. Besides these, there are numerous other feathered animals, such as hawks, eagles, ravens, thrushes, pheasants, woodpeckers, partridges, grouses, snowbirds and robins. Robins are very seldom found in the northern part of this section, but, are numerous in the southern part, as are also bluebirds, and several other birds common in the States. The water-fowls, above enumerated, are very numerous, in the spring and autumn, when they appear to have congregated, from all the surrounding country, and from their incessant croacking, squeaking and flapping of wings, you would be inclined to think, that they were convened, in sporting convention, from all parts of the world. So numerous are they, in fact, that their tumultuous croaking, and plunging and dashing in the water is, in many places, noisome in the extreme. It is scarcely necessary here to remark, that it is entirely unnecessary, for emigrants to take either beds or feathers, from the states to that country. Feathers of the best quality, can be obtained from the Indians, in any desired quantities, for any trivial compensation.
The settlements and improvements in Oregon, are principally confined to the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the missionary stations, in the different sections. But besides these, there are several other settlements, as well as towns, and other improvements, latterly commenced, in various sections of the country, which are disconnected, with the forts and missions; all of which, will now be noticed in successive order. These small settlements, called forts, are mere trading posts, established for the purpose of carrying on trade, with the various tribes of Indians, and are now, all possessed and occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company, for that purpose. In all, there are eighteen of these, two of which are situated in the Eastern section; eight in the Middle section; and eight in the Western section. Instead of describing each of them particularly, I shall merely give a description, of one of the principal of them, in each section; and give the locality of each of the others, which, it is believed, will be found sufficient, for all the ordinary purposes, of the emigrant. The most important of these posts, found in the Eastern section, is Fort Hall, which is situated on the Lewis or Saptin river, about sixty miles, west by north, from the soda springs, and near latitude 42? 30' north. It was constructed by captain Wythe, of Boston, in the year 1832, for the purpose of prosecuting trade, with the various tribes of Indians, found in that region. It is now owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, who purchased it of captain Wythe, and who is now carrying on a very extensive business at that place, in the fur trade. This fort consists of a small extent of ground, inclosed by a wall of about sixteen feet in height, and three in thickness, which is constructed of "adobies," or large dried brick, with bastions at the corners, which command each side. Within this inclosure, are the residences of the different officers, and mechanics, as well as the various offices, shops and store-houses. Mr. Grant, who is in charge, at this place, and of whom I have before spoken, has at his command, and under his control, about sixty Canadians and half-breeds, who serve the company as trappers, herdsmen and domestic servants. Large numbers of horses and cattle are reared at this fort, which are protected from the incursions of the Indians, by an enclosure of high walls, constructed in a manner similar to those of the fort. This enclosure, is called a "caral," and is designed not only for the protection of the horses at night, at which time they are regularly driven in, but also upon the approach of hostile and thievish Indians.
In addition to these securities, herdsmen are constantly kept out, who repel all inferior forces, and give timely notice of that which is superior. With this kind of expensive precaution, the company is enabled to rear any requisite number of either horses or cattle, and that too, without the expense of feeding or housing. Several kinds of grain and vegetables, are produced here, with ordinary success, though the company has not, so far, been able to grow sufficient grain and vegetables for the consumption of the post, yet this may be attributable to defective cultivation. The remaining fort, in this section, which belongs to the Hudson's Bay Company is Kutanie, which is situated on Flat-bow river, about one hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. It is constructed much like Fort Hall, and is kept up, and conducted, in a similar manner, and for similar purposes. Fort Boisia, is also situated in this section, and although abandoned, by the company, it is still kept up, and occupied by a Mr. Payette, who occupies it for the purpose of trade with the Indians. This Fort is situated in the midst of this section, on the north side of Lewis' river, about forty rods from its northern bank. It is constructed much like those just mentioned, but is the seat of a much more limited business, than either of those above described.
Fort Wallawalla is the principal establishment of this kind, in the Middle section. It is situated on the south side of the Columbia river, within a few rods of its bank, at latitude 45 deg. north. From the central position of this fort, in reference to those on the coast, and in the interior, it is made the great depot, for all those in the more remote and mountainous regions. An extensive trade is here carried on, with the surrounding tribes of Indians, and herds of horses and cattle are also here reared, in such numbers as to afford ample supplies of both, to many of the interior posts. Grain and vegetables are also grown at this fort, in sufficient quantities for the consumption of the post. This fort is constructed in a manner, quite similar, to Fort Hall, though it is much less extensive. Fort Okanagan, is situated on the Columbia river, about two hundred miles above Wallawalla and near latitude 48 deg. north. Fort Coleville is also on the Columbia, about one hundred miles above Okanagan. It is situated, in the midst of a beautiful and fertile plain, where an abundance of grain and vegetables are grown, and herds of cattle and horses are reared. The remaining five forts of this section, are Alexandria, Barbine, St. James, Kamloops, and Chilcothin, all of which, are situated upon Frasier's river, and its tributaries. These are all constructed upon a plan, similar to that of those before described, but, upon a scale more or less extensive, as the business in the portion of the country in which they are situated, seems to demand.
Of the forts of the Western section, Vancouver is, by far, the most important, as it is the great depot of the Hudson's Bay Company, for all that region of country west of the Rocky mountains. It is located on the north side of the Columbia river, about eighty rods from its north bank, and ninety miles from the ocean, at latitude 45 deg. 30 min. north, and longitude 122 deg. 30 min. west. It was established in the year 1824, by Governor Simpson, and was designed as the great commercial depot, of that herculean company. This fort is about fifty rods in length, and thirty in width, and is inclosed by a palisade, which is about eighteen feet high, with bastions at the corners. Within this inclosure, are about forty cheaply constructed buildings, which are occupied as dwelling houses, offices, store-houses, shops and lodging apartments. Within this fort, you see nothing but stirring activity, and the most persevering industry; officers, clerks, mechanics and servants, are always to be seen constantly passing and re-passing, each intent upon the prompt and efficient discharge, of his individual duty; which, together with the diligent and incessant plying of the hammers, sledges and axes, and the confused tolling and ringing of bells, present all the impetuous commotion, rustling, tumultuous din and rumbling of a city life, in the oriental world.
Dr. McLoughlin, who is chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, west of the Rocky mountains, is in charge. He is courteous, intelligent and companionable, and a more kind, hospitable and liberal gentleman, the world never saw. Every possible attention, kindness and hospitality are extended to all those who visit him, either upon business or otherwise; some of whom he invites to his own table, where they are treated with all the courtesy and etiquette of English refinement. For all others, a spacious apartment is provided, which is called the "bachelor's hall," and which, contains a convenient sitting room, a dining room, and several comfortable lodging apartments, all of which, are provided expressly for those who are not invited to his private table. Those who occupy the "bachelor's hall," are also furnished with all the luxuries of the fort; servants are in readiness to give them any attention, and, although they remain for weeks, or even months together, as many have, the kindness, attention and hospitality of the doctor, are still, unremittingly bestowed. But the kindness and hospitality of this gentleman, do not end here, for when his guests wish to return to their homes, a cart with servants, is sent, to convey their baggage or goods to the river; and all this too, without promise or hope, of reward. A Mr. James Douglass, who is occasionally in charge of this fort, in the absence of the doctor, is also an intelligent gentleman, and is alike courteous, kind and hospitable as the doctor. This gentleman is now, in charge of a fort, which the company was building, when I left that country. About one hundred rods below Fort Vancouver, and near the river, is the village, which is connected with the fort, and which consists of about fifty small and cheaply constructed buildings, which are occupied by the servants of the company. In connection with this fort, there is also, a very large farm, consisting of about three thousand acres of land under fence; the cultivating of which, gives constant employment to about one hundred hands, who are generally, half-breeds and Indians. Near the fort also, are a saw and flouring mill, both of which, run day and night, during the entire year, and hence, do a most extensive business. This site has been well selected, in reference to the future improvements of the country; and I am of the opinion, that it is much the best site for a town or city, to be found upon the Columbia; and I am of the further opinion too, that the time is not distant, when the present site of Vancouver, will be occupied by a great commercial city.
Fort George is situated, on the south side of the Columbia, upon the hill side, near the river, but a few miles from the mouth, and near latitude 46 deg. north. The buildings of this fort, consist of three small log-houses, which are occupied by persons in the service of the company, for the purpose of trade with the Indians, and also for the purpose of keeping the officers of Fort Vancouver, duly advised of the arrival of ships, and other occurrences as may be deemed important. The only importance which is now attached to this fort, is derived from the fact, of its being the former site of Astoria; the establishment of John Jacob Astor, of New York, which was made in the year 1811; taken possession of by the British, as an act of war, during the war of 1812; and restored to the United States in 1818, in accordance with the treaty of Ghent. Nothing now remains of Astoria, but a few remnants of the old palisade, scarely sufficient to identify the seat of that great enterprise; the classic narrative in reference to which, has spread the name and fame, of both John Jacob Astor, and Washington Irving, wherever the English language is read. The importance of the remaining forts, of this section, will not warrant a minute description of each; I shall therefore, merely give their respective locality. Fort Simpson is situated on Dundas island, at latitude 54 deg. 20 min. north. Fort McLoughlin is on Mill bank sound, near latitude 52 deg. north. Fort Langley is at the outlet of Frasier's river, near latitude 49 deg. 25 min. north. Fort Nisqually is situated at latitude 47 deg. north, near Pugets' sound. Fort Cawlitz is on the Cawlitz river, about thirty miles from the Columbia, and near latitude 46 deg. 40 min. north. The only remaining fort of this section is Fort Umpqua, which is situated at the mouth of the Umpqua river, at latitude 43 deg. 30 min. north, and longitude 124 deg. west. These are all constructed much like Fort Vancouver, but they are much less extensive, yet, they are generally, seats of extensive and lucrative trade. Besides the improvements in connection with Fort Vancouver, the company also has very extensive farms at the Cawlitz, Nisqually, Langley and the Fualitine plains. At each of these considerable grain is grown, and many horses and cattle are reared. That at Nisqually, is more particularly designed as a grazing farm, to which purpose, it is eminently adapted. Upon this farm, the company keeps about eighty milk cows; has an extensive dairy, and make both butter and cheese, not only in quantities sufficient for home consumption, but it also makes much for exportation. The farm at the Cawlitz, is a most beautiful place, containing about six hundred acres, under a high state of cultivation, which yield both vegetables and various kinds of grain, in great abundance. At the Fualitine plains also, grain and vegetables grow most luxuriantly, and produce abundantly. The foregoing is but a faint exhibit of the power, and the agricultural and commercial resources, of this great heremitical company.
Since it is true, as above seen, that this gigantic company, of British subjects, holds the almost entire control, not only of the trade, but also of the agricultural and commercial resources, of all Oregon, a brief description of that company, may not be deemed inappropriate. This great company, was created in the year 1670, during the reign of Charles II, by a charter which was granted to certain British subjects, under the name and style of the Hudson's Bay Company. This Company was created, with the view of carrying on the fur trade in Oregon, where it soon established, and held the uninterrupted control of the entire trade, of all that country, until the year 1787, when the North American Fur Company was chartered. This Company also established in Oregon, and commenced a very extensive trade, throughout the different portions of that country; but it soon came in competition and coalition with the Hudson's Bay Company, which gave rise to many serious difficulties. The attention of the British government was soon directed to these companies, and as there was no probability of reconciliation, an act of parliament was passed, uniting the two companies, under the name and style of the Hudson's Bay Company, under which name it has continued its operations, up to the present time, wielding an almost unbounded trade, with unparalleled success. The officers of this company, as now organized, consists of a governor general, chief factors and chief traders. The governor general has charge of all the different trading posts or forts, in North America, and for that purpose resides at York Factory, on Hudson's Bay. The chief factors have the control of a certain number of forts or trading posts, within a certain district, or section of country, subject however, to the general superintendence of the governor general. The chief traders also have control of a certain number of trading posts, within a particular district, being subject to the superintendence of the chief factors. Thus, we have briefly noticed, the origin, and the present organization, of that powerful company, which has, so entirely, wielded the destinies of Oregon, for more than half of a century.
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