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Title: Little Masterpieces of Science: Explorers
Author: Iles, George, 1852-1942 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Christopher Columbus.]

Little Masterpieces
of Science

Edited by George Iles


  Christopher Columbus       Charles Wilkes
  Lewis and Clarke           Clarence King
  Zebulon M. Pike            John Wesley Powell





Copyright, 1902, by Doubleday, Page & Co.

Copyright, 1891, by Justin Winsor

Copyright, 1871, by Oliver Wendell Holmes


    "Peace hath her victories
    No less renown'd than war."

The love of adventure, the expectation of the unexpected, have ever
prompted men stout of heart, and ready of resource, to brave the perils
of wilderness and sea that they might set their feet where man never
trod before. The world owes much to the explorers who have faced hostile
savages, stood in jeopardy from the cobra and the lion, the foes as
deadly which lurk in the brook which quenches thirst. A traveller like
Clarke takes his life in his hands. He breaks a path which leads he
knows not whither: it may bring him to a shore whence he has no ship to
sail from; it may end in an abyss he cannot bridge. The thickets rend
and sting him, poison may colour a tempting grain or berry, frost may
deaden his energies and lull him to the sleep that knows no waking. He
has but little aid from science: beyond food and medicine he carries
little more than a watch, a compass, a rifle, and a cartridge belt.
Beyond all instruments and weapons are his skill, agility, gumption,
diplomacy. And these resources in no mean measure are shared by the man
for whom he prepares the way, the immigrant, who, in the early days of
settlement, requires a constancy even higher than the explorer's own.
It is one thing to traverse a wilderness under the excitement of hourly
adventure; it is another thing to stay there for a lifetime and convert
it to a home.

The race of American explorers is not extinct. Major Powell is with us
to-day, hale and hearty still. Peary, in the prime of his powers, is as
capital an example of courage and resource as ever threw themselves upon
the riddle of the frozen north. Beyond the Arctic and Antarctic circles
little remains unknown on earth. When at last every rood of ground and
knot of sea is mapped and charted, whither shall the explorer direct his
steps? He cannot repeat the conquests of Lewis and Clarke, Pike and
Peary, but he need not on that account fold his hands so long as a brave
heart and a quick wit are wanted in the world.





    Embarks at Palos, August 3, 1492. A mishap befalls the
    _Pinta_. Sees the Peak of Teneriffe in eruption. Arrives at
    the Canaries. Falsifies his reckoning to conceal from his crew
    the length of the voyage. On September 13th his compass points
    to the true north, a fact without precedent. Next day a water
    wagtail is seen, betokening an approach to land. Two pelicans
    alight on board, with the same significance. These promises
    fail, and the crew becomes disheartened and discontented. On
    October 11th Columbus sees a light, presumably on shore: four
    hours later, next day, land is descried and named by Columbus
    San Salvador. Discussion as to where this place is: the
    balance of probability inclines to Watling's Island.                  3



    Descent of the last rapid of the Columbia River, November 2. A
    feast of wappatoo root. Meet unfriendly Indians. Observe Mount
    St. Helen, of Vancouver, about ninety miles off. The country
    fertile and delightful, abounding with game. The ocean suddenly
    appears. Rough weather and its effects. Friendly Indians bring
    food. Rain ruins merchandise, clothing and food. Thievish
    Indians are withstood. The journey comes successfully to an
    end.                                                                 29



    Meets friendly Indians and whites. A serious fire. Deep snow
    inflicts severe hardship. A trackless journey ends in safety
    and a hospitable welcome. Provisions exorbitant in price. A
    march on snowshoes. Sleds of native pattern are made. Delay
    through water on the ice. Bitter cold and the curse of solitude.
    A dismal swamp. Unfriendly Indians and the purchasing power
    of whiskey. The main source of the Mississippi comes into
    view. Disabled by excessive exertion. Hoists the flag. Visits
    of Indian chiefs.                                                    55


  MANILA IN 1842

    Character of the city Spanish and Oriental: numerous canals. A
    strange and motley population, the artisans for the most part
    Chinese. Malays and Chinese live apart. Much evidence of
    volcanic activity in the Philippines. Natural resources
    abundant. Primitive tools cause much waste of labour. The
    buffalo as a draught animal. Rice the staple diet: defective
    mode of culture. Hemp, its growth and manufacture. Crops of
    coffee, sugar and cotton. The ravages of locusts. Geography of
    the country and the diverse elements of its population. Its
    army of about 6,000. Frequent rebellions among the troops and
    tribes. Iron rule of the Government. The market-place a scene
    of unending interest. Excellent poultry. The environs of
    Manila delightful.                                                   71



    An eight hours' climb over ridges of granite and snow. "Shall
    we ascend Mount Tyndall?" "Why not?" At first Professor
    Brewer believes the attempt madness, but yields consent at
    last. The climb begins and steadily increases in difficulty. A
    gulf of 5,000 feet in depth. A night's lodging in a granite
    crevice. Rocks of many tons strike near. The galling pain
    of heavy burdens. A profound chasm is crossed on a rope.
    Exhilaration of utmost peril. A small bush ensures salvation.
    A welcome stretch of trees and flowers. A spire, all but
    perpendicular, of rock and ice is surmounted, and at last is
    reached the crest of Mount Tyndall.                                  97



    Embarkation under cliffs 4,000 feet high. A swift run ends in
    a descent of eighty feet in one-third of a mile. Breakers
    render a boat unmanageable. Walls more than a mile high. The
    baffling waters capsize a boat. Relics of ancient dwelling-places.
    Rations destroyed by wet. Clothing lost and blankets scarce.
    Grand views not fully enjoyed. A wild run through ten miles
    of rapids. In places the rocks so cut by water that it is
    impossible to see overhead. Great amphitheatres, half-dome
    shaped. Mammoth springs of lime-laden waters. An ancient
    lava-bed channelled out. Stolen squashes provide a feast.
    Difficulties thicken: is it wise to go on? Three of the party
    say no, the remainder proceed. All but lost in a whirlpool.
    Emergence from the Grand Cañon in safety and joy.                   131


Justin Winsor

     [Part of Chapter IX., "The Final Agreement and the First
     Voyage" from "Christopher Columbus and How He Received and
     Imparted the Spirit of Discovery," copyright by Houghton,
     Mifflin & Co., Boston and New York, 1892.]

So, everything being ready, on the 3rd of August, 1492, a half-hour
before sunrise, he unmoored his little fleet in the stream, and,
spreading his sails, the vessels passed out of the little river
roadstead of Palos, gazed after, perhaps, in the increasing light, as
the little crafts reached the ocean, by the friar of Rabida, from its
distant promontory of rock.

The day was Friday, and the advocates of Columbus's canonization have
not failed to see a purpose in its choice as the day of our Redemption,
and as that of the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre by Geoffrey de
Bouillon, and of the rendition of Granada, with the fall of the Moslem
power in Spain. We must resort to the books of such advocates, if we
would enliven the picture with a multitude of rites and devotional
feelings that they gather in the meshes of the story of the departure.
They supply to the embarkation a variety of detail that their holy
purposes readily imagine, and place Columbus at last on his poop, with
the standard of the Cross, the image of the Saviour nailed to the holy
wood, waving in the early breeze that heralded the day. The
embellishments may be pleasing, but they are not of the strictest

In order that his performance of an embassy to the princes of the East
might be duly chronicled, Columbus determined, as his journal says, to
keep an account of the voyage by the west, "by which course," he says,
"unto the present time, we do not know, _for certain_, that any one has
passed." It was his purpose to write down, as he proceeded, everything
he saw and all that he did, and to make a chart of his discoveries, and
to show the directions of his track.

Nothing occurred during those early August days to mar his run to the
Canaries, except the apprehension which he felt that an accident,
happening to the rudder of the _Pinta_,--a steering gear now for some
time in use, in place of the old lateral blades,--was a trick of two
men, her owners, Gomez Rascon and Christopher Quintero, to impede a
voyage in which they had no heart. The Admiral knew the disposition of
these men well enough not to be surprised at the mishap, but he tried to
feel secure in the prompt energy of Pinzon, who commanded the _Pinta_.

As he passed (August 24-25, 1492) the peak of Teneriffe, it was the time
of an eruption, of which he makes bare mention in his journal. It is to
the corresponding passage of the _Historie_, [written by his son,
Fernando,] that we owe the somewhat sensational stories of the terrors
of the sailors, some of whom certainly must long have been accustomed to
like displays in the volcanoes of the Mediterranean.

At the Gran Canarie the _Nina_ was left to have her lateen sails changed
to square ones; and the _Pinta_, it being found impossible to find a
better vessel to take her place, was also left to be overhauled for her
leaks, and to have her rudder again repaired, while Columbus visited
Gomera, another of the islands. The fleet was reunited at Gomera on
September 2. Here he fell in with some residents of the Ferro, the
westermost of the group, who repeated the old stories of land
occasionally seen from its heights, lying towards the setting sun.
Having taken on board wood, water, and provisions, Columbus finally
sailed from Gomera on the morning of Thursday, September 6. He seems to
have soon spoken a vessel from Ferro, and from this he learned that
three Portuguese caravels were lying in wait for him in the
neighbourhood of that island, with a purpose, as he thought, of visiting
in some way upon him, for having gone over to the interests of Spain,
the indignation of the Portuguese king. He escaped encountering them.

Up to Sunday, September 9, they had experienced so much calm weather,
that their progress had been slow. This tediousness soon raised an
apprehension in the mind of Columbus that the voyage might prove too
long for the constancy of his men. He accordingly determined to falsify
his reckoning. This deceit was a large confession of his own timidity
in dealing with his crew, and it marked the beginning of a long struggle
with deceived and mutinous subordinates, which forms so large a part of
the record of his subsequent career.

The result of Monday's sail, which he knew to be sixty leagues, he noted
as forty-eight, so that the distance from home might appear less than it
was. He continued to practise this deceit.

The distances given by Columbus are those of dead reckoning beyond any
question. Lieutenant Murdock, of the United States Navy, who has
commented on this voyage, makes his league the equivalent of three
modern nautical miles, and his mile about three-quarters of our present
estimate for that distance. Navarrete says that Columbus reckoned in
Italian miles, which are a quarter less than Spanish miles. The Admiral
had expected to make land after sailing about seven hundred leagues from
Ferro; and in ordering his vessels in case of separation to proceed
westward, he warned them when they sailed that distance to come to the
wind at night, and only to proceed by day.

The log as at present understood in navigation had not yet been devised.
Columbus depended in judging of his distance on the eye alone, basing
his calculations on the passage of objects or bubbles past the ship,
while the running out of his hour glasses afforded the multiple for long

On Thursday, the 13th of September, he notes that the ships were
encountering adverse currents. He was now three degrees west of Flores,
and the needle of the compass pointed as it had never been observed
before, directly to the true north. His observation of this fact marks a
significant point in the history of navigation. The polarity of the
magnet, an ancient possession of the Chinese, had been known perhaps for
three hundred years, when this new spirit of discovery awoke in the
fifteenth century. The Indian Ocean and its traditions were to impart,
perhaps through the Arabs, perhaps through the returning Crusaders, a
knowledge of the magnet to the dwellers on the shores of the
Mediterranean, and to the hardier mariners who had pushed beyond the
pillars of Hercules, so that the new route to that same Indian Ocean was
made possible in the fifteenth century. The way was prepared for it
gradually. The Catalans from the port of Barcelona pushed out into the
great Sea of Darkness under the direction of their needles, as early at
least as the twelfth century. The pilots of Genoa and Venice, the hardy
Majorcans and the adventurous Moors, were followers of almost equal

A knowledge of the variation of the needle came more slowly to be known
to the mariners of the Mediterranean. It had been observed by Peregrini
as early as 1269, but that knowledge of it which rendered it greatly
serviceable in voyages does not seem to be plainly indicated in any of
the charts of these transition centuries, till we find it laid down on
the maps of Andrea Bianco in 1436.

It was no new thing then when Columbus, as he sailed westward, marked
the variation, proceeding from the northeast more and more westerly; but
it was a revelation when he came to a position where the magnetic north
and the north star stood in conjunction, as they did on this 13th of
September, 1492. As he still moved westerly the magnetic line was found
to move farther and farther away from the pole as it had before the 13th
approached it. To an observer of Columbus's quick perceptions, there was
a ready guess to possess his mind. This inference was that this line of
no variation was a meridian line, and that divergence from it east and
west might have a regularity which would be found to furnish a method of
ascertaining longitude far easier and surer than tables or water clocks.
We know that four years later he tried to sail his ship on observations
of this kind. The same idea seems to have occurred to Sebastian Cabot,
when a little afterwards he approached and passed in a higher latitude,
what he supposed to be the meridian of no variation. Humboldt is
inclined to believe that the possibility of such a method of
ascertaining longitude was that uncommunicable secret, which Sebastian
Cabot many years later hinted at on his death-bed.

The claim was made near a century later by Livio Sanuto in his
_Geographia_, published at Venice, in 1588, that Sebastian Cabot had
been the first to observe this variation, and had explained it to
Edward VI., and that he had on a chart placed the line of no variation
at a point one hundred and ten miles west of the island of Flores in the

These observations of Columbus and Cabot were not wholly accepted during
the sixteenth century. Robert Hues, in 1592, a hundred years later,
tells us that Medina, the Spanish grand pilot, was not disinclined to
believe that mariners saw more in it than really existed and that they
found it a convenient way to excuse their own blunders. Nonius was
credited with saying that it simply meant that worn-out magnets were
used, which had lost their power to point correctly to the pole. Others
had contended that it was through insufficient application of the
loadstone to the iron that it was so devious in its work.

What was thought possible by the early navigators possessed the minds of
all seamen in varying experiments for two centuries and a half. Though
not reaching such satisfactory results as were hoped for, the
expectation did not prove so chimerical as was sometimes imagined when
it was discovered that the lines of variation were neither parallel, nor
straight, nor constant. The line of no variation which Columbus found
near the Azores had moved westward with erratic inclinations, until
to-day it is not far from a straight line from Carolina to Guinea.
Science, beginning with its crude efforts at the hands of Alonzo de
Santa Cruz, in 1530, has so mapped the surface of the globe with
observations of its multifarious freaks of variation, and the changes
are so slow, that a magnetic chart is not a bad guide to-day for
ascertaining the longitude in any latitude for a few years neighbouring
to the date of its records. So science has come around in some measure
to the dreams of Columbus and Cabot.

But this was not the only development which came from this ominous day
in the mid-Atlantic in that September of 1492. The fancy of Columbus was
easily excited, and notions of a change of climate, and even aberration
of the stars were easily imagined by him amid the strange phenomena of
that untracked waste.

While Columbus was suspecting that the north star was somewhat wilfully
shifting from the magnetic pole, now to a distance of 5° and then of
10°, the calculations of modern astronomers have gauged the polar
distance existing in 1492 at 3° 28´, as against the 1° 20´ of to-day.
The confusion of Columbus was very like his confounding an old world
with a new, inasmuch as he supposed it was the pole star and not the
needle which was shifting.

He argued from what he saw, or what he thought he saw, that the line of
no variation marked the beginning of a protuberance of the earth, up
which he ascended as he sailed westerly, and that this was the reason of
the cooler weather which he experienced. He never got over some notions
of this kind, and he believed he found confirmation of them in his later

Even as early as the reign of Edward III. of England, Nicholas of Lynn,
a voyager to the northern seas, is thought to have definitely fixed the
magnetic pole in the Arctic regions, transmitting his views to Cnoyen,
the master of the later Mercator, in respect to the four circumpolar
islands, which in the sixteenth century made so constant a surrounding
of the north pole.

The next day (September 14), after these magnetic observations, a water
wagtail was seen from the _Nina_,--a bird which Columbus thought
unaccustomed to fly over twenty-five leagues from land, and the ships
were now, according to their reckoning, not far from two hundred leagues
from the Canaries. On Saturday they saw a distant bolt of fire fall into
the sea. On Sunday, they had a drizzling rain, followed by pleasant
weather, which reminded Columbus of the nightingales, gladdening the
climate of Andalusia in April. They found around the ships much green
floatage of weeds, which led them to think some islands must be near.
Navarrete thinks there was some truth in this, inasmuch as the charts of
the early part of this century represent breakers as having been seen in
1802, near the spot where Columbus can be computed to have been at this
time. Columbus was in fact within that extensive _prairie_ of floating
seaweed which is known as the Sargasso Sea, whose principal longitudinal
axis is found in modern times to lie along the parallel of 41° 30´, and
the best calculations which can be made from the rather uncertain data
of Columbus's journal seem to point to about the same position.

There is nothing in all these accounts, as we have them abridged by La
Casas, to indicate any great surprise, and certainly nothing of the
overwhelming fear which, the _Historie_ tells us, the sailors
experienced when they found their ships among these floating masses of
weeds, raising apprehension of a perpetual entanglement in their
swashing folds.

The next day (September 17) the currents became favourable, and the
weeds still floated about them. The variation of the needle now became
so great that the seamen were dismayed, as the journal says, and the
observation being repeated Columbus practised another deceit and made it
appear that there had been really no variation, but only a shifting of
the polar star! The weeds were now judged to be river weeds, and a live
crab was found among them,--a sure sign of near land, as Columbus
believed, or affected to believe. They killed a tunny and saw others.
They again observed a water wagtail, "which does not sleep at sea." Each
ship pushed on for the advance, for it was thought the goal was near.
The next day the _Pinta_ shot ahead and saw great flocks of birds
towards the west. Columbus conceived that the sea was growing, fresher.
Heavy clouds hung on the northern horizon, a sure sign of land, it was

On the next day two pelicans came on board, and Columbus records that
these birds are not accustomed to go twenty leagues from land. So he
sounded with a line of two hundred fathoms to be sure he was not
approaching land; but no bottom was found. A drizzling rain also
betokened land, which they could not stop to find, but would search for
on their return, as the journal says. The pilots now compared their
reckonings. Columbus said they were 400 leagues, while the _Pinta's_
record showed 420, and the _Nina's_ 440.

On September 20 other pelicans came on board; and the ships were again
among the weeds. Columbus was determined to ascertain if these indicated
shoal water and sounded, but could not reach bottom. The men caught a
bird with feet like a gull; but they were convinced it was a river bird.
Then singing land birds, as was fancied, hovered about as it darkened,
but they disappeared before morning. Then a pelican was observed flying
to the southwest, and as "these birds sleep on shore, and go to sea in
the morning," the men encouraged themselves with the belief that they
could not be far from land. The next day a whale could be but another
indication of land; and the weeds covered the sea all about. On
Saturday, they steered west by northwest, and got clear of the weeds.
This change of course so far to the north, which had begun on the
previous day, was occasioned by a head wind, and Columbus says he
welcomed it, because it had the effect of convincing the sailors that
westerly winds to return by were not impossible. On Sunday (September
23), they found the wind still varying; but they made more westering
than before,--weeds, crabs, and birds still about them. Now there was
smooth water, which again depressed the seamen; then the sea arose,
mysteriously, for there was no wind to cause it. They still kept their
course westerly and continued it till the night of September 25.

Columbus at this time conferred with Pinzon, as to a chart which they
carried, which showed some islands, near where they now supposed the
ships to be. That they had not seen land, they believed was either due
to currents which had carried them too far north, or else their
reckoning was not correct. At sunset Pinzon hailed the Admiral, and said
he saw land, claiming the reward. The two crews were confident that such
was the case, and under the lead of their commanders they all kneeled
and repeated the _Gloria in Excelsis_. The land appeared to lie
southwest, and everybody saw the apparition. Columbus changed the
fleet's course to reach it; and as the vessels went on, in the smooth
sea, the men had the heart, under their expectation, to bathe in its
amber glories. On Wednesday, they were undeceived, and found that the
clouds had played them a trick. On the 27th their course lay more
directly west. So they went on, and still remarked upon all the birds
they saw and weed-drift which they pierced. Some of the fowl they
thought to be such as were common at the Cape Verde Islands, and were
not supposed to go far to sea. On the 30th of September, they still
observed the needles of their compasses to vary, but the journal records
that it was the pole star which moved, and not the needle. On October 1,
Columbus says they were 707 leagues from Ferro; but he had made his crew
believe they were only 584. As they went on, little new for the next few
days is recorded in the journal; but on October 3, they thought they saw
among the weeds something like fruits. By the 6th, Pinzon began to urge
a southwesterly course, in order to find the islands, which the signs
seemed to indicate in that direction. Still the Admiral would not swerve
from his purpose, and kept his course westerly. On Sunday the _Nina_
fired a bombard and hoisted a flag as a signal that she saw land, but it
proved a delusion. Observing towards evening a flock of birds flying to
the southwest, the Admiral yielded to Pinzon's belief, and shifted his
course to follow the birds. He records as a further reason for it that
it was by following the flights of birds that the Portuguese had been so
successful in discovering islands in other seas.

Columbus now found himself two hundred miles and more farther than the
three thousand miles west of Spain, where he supposed Cipango to lie,
and he was 25-1/2° north of the equator, according to his astrolabe. The
true distance of Cipango or Japan was sixty-eight hundred miles still
farther, or beyond both North America and the Pacific. How much beyond
that island, in its supposed geographical position, Columbus expected to
find the Asiatic main we can only conjecture from the restorations which
modern scholars have made of Toscanelli's map, which makes the island
about 10° east of Asia, and from Behaim's globe, which makes it 20°. It
should be borne in mind that the knowledge of its position came from
Marco Polo, and he does not distinctly say how far it was from the
Asiatic coast. In a general way, as to these distances from Spain to
China, Toscanelli and Behaim agreed, and there is no reason to believe
that the views of Columbus were in any noteworthy degree different.

In the trial years afterward, when the Fiscal contested the rights of
Diego Colon, it was put in evidence by one Vallejo, a seaman, that
Pinzon was induced to urge the direction to be changed to the southwest,
because he had in the preceding evening observed a flight of parrots in
that direction, which could have only been seeking land. It was the main
purpose of the evidence in this part of the trial to show that Pinzon
had all along forced Columbus forward against his will.

How pregnant this change of course in the vessels of Columbus was has
not escaped the observation of Humboldt and many others. A day or two
further on his westerly way, and the Gulf Stream would, perhaps,
insensibly have borne the little fleet up the Atlantic coast of the
future United States, so that the banner of Castile might have been
planted at Carolina.

On the 7th of October, Columbus was pretty nearly in latitude 25°
50´,--that of one of the Bahama Islands. Just where he was by longitude
there is much more doubt, probably between 65° and 66°. On the next day
the land birds flying along the course of the ships seemed to confirm
their hopes. On the 10th the journal records that the men began to lose
patience; but the Admiral reassured them by reminding them of the
profits in store for them, and of the folly of seeking to return when
they had already gone so far.

It is possible that, in this entry, Columbus conceals the story which
came out later in the recital of Oviedo, with more detail than in the
_Historie_ and Las Casas, that the rebellion of his crew was threatening
enough to oblige him to promise to turn back if land was not discovered
in three days. Most commentators, however, are inclined to think that
this story of a mutinous revolt was merely engrafted from hearsay or
other source by Oviedo upon the more genuine recital, and that the
conspiracy to throw the Admiral into the sea has no substantial basis in
contemporary report. Irving, who has a dramatic tendency throughout his
whole account of the voyage to heighten his recital with touches of the
imagination, nevertheless allows this, and thinks that Oviedo was
misled by listening to a pilot, who was a personal enemy of the Admiral.

The elucidations of the voyage which were drawn out in the famous suit
of Diego with the Crown in 1513 and 1515, afford no ground for any
belief in this story of the mutiny and the concession of Columbus to it.

It is not, however, difficult to conceive the recurrent fears of his men
and the incessant anxiety of Columbus to quiet them. From what Peter
Martyr tells us,--and he may have got it directly from Columbus's
lips,--the task was not an easy one to preserve subordination and to
instil confidence. He represents that Columbus was forced to resort in
turn to argument, persuasion and enticements, and to picture the
misfortunes of the royal displeasure.

The next day, notwithstanding a heavier sea than they had before
encountered, certain signs sufficed to lift them out of their
despondency. These were floating logs, or pieces of wood, one of them
apparently carved by hand, bits of cane, a green rush, a stalk of rose
berries and other drifting tokens.

Their southwesterly course had now brought them down to about the
twenty-fourth parallel, when after sunset on the 11th they shifted their
course to due west, while the crew of the Admiral's ship united, with
more fervour than usual, in the _Salve Regina_. At about ten o'clock
Columbus, peering into the night, thought he saw--if we may believe
him--a moving light, and pointing out the direction to Pero Gutierrez,
this companion saw it too; but another, Rodrigo Sanchez, situated
apparently on another part of the vessel, was not able to see it. It was
not brought to the attention of any others. The Admiral says that the
light seemed to be moving up and down, and he claimed to have got other
glimpses of its glimmer at a later moment. He ordered the _Salve_ to be
chanted, and directed a vigilant watch to be set on the forecastle. To
sharpen their vision he promised a silken jacket, beside the income of
ten thousand maravedis which the King and Queen had offered to the
fortunate man who should first descry the coveted land.

This light has been the occasion of such comment, and nothing will ever,
it is likely, be settled about it, further than that the Admiral, with
an inconsiderate rivalry of a common sailor, who later saw the actual
land, and with an ungenerous assurance, ill-befitting a commander,
pocketed a reward which belonged to another. If Oviedo, with his
prejudices, is to be believed, Columbus was not even the first who
claimed to have seen this dubious light. There is a common story that
the poor sailor, who was defrauded, later turned Mohammedan and went to
live among that juster people. There is a sort of retributive justice in
the fact that the pension of the Crown was made a charge upon the
shambles of Seville, and thence Columbus received it till he died.

Whether the light is to be considered a reality or a fiction will depend
much on the theory each may hold regarding the position of the landfall.
When Columbus claimed to have discovered it, he was twelve or fourteen
leagues away from the island, where four hours later land was
indubitably found. Was the light on a canoe? Was it on some small,
outlying island, as has been suggested? Was it a torch carried from hut
to hut, as Herrera avers? Was it on either of the other vessels? Was it
on the low island on which, the next morning he landed? There was no
elevation on that island sufficient to show even a strong light at a
distance of ten leagues. Was it a fancy or a deceit? No one can say. It
is very difficult for Navarrete, and even for Irving, to rest satisfied
with what after all may have been only an illusion of a fevered mind,
making a record of the incident in the excitement of a wonderful hour,
when his intelligence was not as circumspect as it might have been.

Four hours after the light was seen, at two o'clock in the morning, when
the moon, near its third quarter, was in the east, the _Pinta_, keeping
ahead, one of her sailors, Rodrigo de Triane descried the land two
leagues away, and a gun communicated the joyful intelligence to the
other ships. The fleet took in sail, and each vessel, under backed
canvas, was pointed to the wind. Thus they waited for daybreak. It was a
proud moment of painful suspense for Columbus; and brimming hopes,
perhaps fears of disappointment, must have accompanied that hour of
wavering enchantment. It was Friday, October 12, of the old chronology,
and the little fleet had been thirty-three days on its way from the
Canaries, and we must add ten days more to complete the period since
they left Palos. The land before them was seen, as the day dawned, to be
a small island, "called in the Indian tongue" Guanahani. Some naked
natives were descried. The Admiral and the commanders of the other
vessels prepared to land. Columbus took the royal standard and the
others each a banner of the green cross, which bore the initials of the
sovereign with a cross between, a crown surmounting every letter. Thus,
with the emblems of their power, and accompanied by Rodrigo de Escoveda
and Rodrigo Sanchez and some seamen, the boat rowed to the shore. They
immediately took formal possession of the land, and the notary recorded

The words of the prayer usually given as uttered by Columbus on taking
possession of San Salvador, when he named the island, cannot be traced
farther back than a collection of _Tablas Chronologicas_, got together
at Valencia in 1689, by a Jesuit father, Claudio Clemente. Harrisse
finds no authority for the statement of the French canonizers that
Columbus established a form of prayer which was long in vogue, for such
occupations of new lands.

Las Casas, from whom we have the best account of the ceremonies of the
landing, does not mention it; but we find pictured in his pages the
grave impressiveness of the hour; the form of Columbus, with a crimson
robe over his armour, central and grand; and the humbleness of his
followers in their contrition for the hours of their faint-heartedness.

Columbus now enters in his journal his impressions of the island and its
inhabitants. He says of the land that it bore green trees, was watered
by many streams, and produced divers fruits. In another place he speaks
of the island as flat, without lofty eminence, surrounded by reefs, with
a lake in the interior.

The courses and distances of his sailing both before and on leaving the
island, as well as this description, are the best means we have of
identifying the spot of this portentous landfall. The early maps may
help in a subsidiary way, but with little precision.

There is just enough uncertainty and contradiction respecting the data
and arguments applied in the solution of this question, to render it
probable that men will never quite agree which of the Bahamas it was
upon which these startled and exultant Europeans first stepped. Though
Las Casas reports the journal of Columbus unabridged for a period after
the landfall, he unfortunately condenses it for some time previous.
There is apparently no chance of finding geographical conditions that in
every respect will agree with this record of Columbus, and we must
content ourselves with what offers the fewest disagreements. An obvious
method, if we could depend on Columbus's dead reckoning, would be to see
for what island the actual distance from the Canaries would be nearest
to his computed run; but currents and errors of the eye necessarily
throw this sort of computation out of the question, and Captain G. A.
Fox, who has tried it, finds that Cat Island is three hundred and
seventeen, the Grand Turk six hundred and twenty-four nautical miles,
and the other supposable points at intermediate distances out of the way
as compared with his computation of the distance run by Columbus, three
thousand four hundred and fifty-eight of such miles.

The reader will remember the Bahama group as a range of islands, islets,
and rocks, said to be some three thousand in number, running southeast
from a point part way up the Florida coast, and approaching at the other
end the coast of Hispaniola. In the latitude of the lower point of
Florida, and five degrees east of it, is the island of San Salvador or
Cat Island, which is the most northerly of those claimed to have been
the landfall of Columbus. Proceeding down the group, we encounter
Watling's, Samana, Acklin (with the Plana Cays), Mariguana, and the
Grand Turk,--all of which have their advocates. The three methods of
identification which have been followed are, first, by plotting the
outward track; second, by plotting the track between the landfall and
Cuba, both forward and backward; third, by applying the descriptions,
particularly Columbus's, of the island first seen. In this last test,
Harrisse prefers to apply the description of Las Casas, which is
borrowed in part from that of the _Historie_, and he reconciles
Columbus's apparent discrepancy when he says in one place that the
island was "pretty large," and in another "small," by supposing that he
may have applied these opposite terms, the lesser to the Plana Cays, as
first seen, and the other to the Crooked Group, or Acklin Island, lying
just westerly, on which he may have landed. Harrisse is the only one who
makes this identification; and he finds some confirmation in later maps,
which show thereabout an island, Triango or Triangulo, a name said by
Las Casas to have been applied to Guanahani at a later day. There is no
known map earlier than 1540 bearing this alternative name of Triango.

San Salvador seems to have been the island selected by the earliest of
modern inquirers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it has
had the support of Irving and Humboldt in later times. Captain Alexander
Slidell Mackenzie of the United States navy worked out the problem for
Irving. It is much larger than any of the other islands, and could
hardly have been called by Columbus in any alternative way a "small"
island, while it does not answer Columbus's description of being level,
having on it an eminence of four hundred feet, and no interior lagoon,
as his Guanahani demands. The French canonizers stand by the old
traditions, and find it meet to say that "the English Protestants not
finding the name of San Salvador fine enough have substituted for it
that of Cat, and in their hydrographical atlases the Island of the Holy
Saviour is nobly called Cat Island."

The weight of modern testimony seems to favour Watling's Island, and it
so far answers Columbus's description that about one-third of its
interior is water, corresponding to his "large lagoon." Muñoz first
suggested it in 1793; but the arguments in its favour were first spread
out by Captain Becher of the royal navy in 1856, and he seems to have
induced Oscar Peschel in 1858 to adopt the same views in his history of
the range of modern discovery. Major, the map custodian of the British
Museum, who had previously followed Navarrete in favouring the Grand
Turk, again addressed himself to the problem in 1870, and fell into line
with the adherents of Watling's. No other considerable advocacy of this
island, if we except the testimony of Gerard Stein in 1883, in a book on
voyages of discovery, appeared till Lieutenant J. B. Murdoch, an officer
of the American navy, made a very careful examination of the subject in
the _Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute_ in 1884, which is
accepted by Charles A. Schott in the _Bulletin of the United States
Coast Survey_. Murdoch was the first to plot in a backward way the track
between Guanahani and Cuba, and he finds more points of resemblance in
Columbus's description with Watling's than with any other. The latest
adherent is the eminent geographer, Clements R. Markham, in the bulletin
of the Italian Geographical Society in 1889. Perhaps no cartographical
argument has been so effective as that of Major in comparing modern
charts with the map of Herrera, in which the latter lays Guanahani down.

An elaborate attempt to identity Samana as the landfall was made by the
late Captain Gustavus Vasa Fox, in an appendix to the _Report of the
United States Coast Survey_ for 1880. Varnhagen, in 1864, selected
Mariguana, and defended his choice in a paper. This island fails to
satisfy the physical conditions in being without interior water. Such a
qualification, however, belongs to the Grand Turk Island, which was
advocated first by Navarrete in 1826, whose views have since been
supported by George Gibbs, and for a while by Major.

It is rather curious to note that Caleb Cushing, who undertook to
examine this question in the _North American Review_, under the guidance
of Navarrete's theory, tried the same backward method which has been
later applied to the problem, but with quite different results from
those reached by more recent investigators. He says, "By setting out
from Nipe which is the point where Columbus struck Cuba and proceeding
in a retrograde direction along his course, we may surely trace his
path, and shall be convinced that Guanahani is no other than Turk's

[Illustration: THE LANDFALL OF COLUMBUS, 1492. [After Ruge.]

    -- --  according to Muñoz and Becher.   ----    Irving and Humboldt.
    -+-+   Varnhagen                        --.--.  Navarrete.


     [In 1804-6 Captains Lewis and Clarke, by order of the
     Government of the United States, commanded an expedition to
     the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky
     Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.
     Chapter IV., which follows, is taken from the second volume
     of the History of the Expedition, published by Harper &
     Brothers, New York, 1842. The matter of the original journal
     is indicated by inverted commas, and where portions of it
     embracing minute and uninteresting particulars, have been
     omitted, the leading facts have been briefly stated by the
     editor, Archibald McVickar, in his own words, so that the
     connection of the narrative is preserved unbroken and nothing
     of importance is lost to the reader. The History of the
     Expedition, edited, with notes by Elliott Coues, was
     published in 1893 in four volumes by Francis P. Harper, New
     York. This edition surpasses every other in its excellence:
     it has passed out of print, but may be found in many public
     libraries. In 1901 Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, published
     "Lewis and Clark," by Wm. R. Lighton: within one hundred and
     fifty-nine small pages the story of the famous expedition is
     admirably condensed. Good portraits of Lewis and Clark form
     the frontispiece.]

"_November 2, 1805._ We now examined the rapid below more particularly,
and the danger appearing to be too great for the loaded canoes, all
those who could not swim were sent with the baggage by land. The canoes
then passed safely down and were reloaded. At the foot of the rapid we
took a meridian altitude and found our latitude to be 59° 45´ 45"."

This rapid forms the last of the descents of the Columbia; and
immediately below it the river widens, and tidewater commences. Shortly
after starting they passed an island three miles in length and to which,
from that plant being seen on it in great abundance, they gave the name
of Strawberry Island. Directly beyond were three small islands, and in
the meadow to the right, at some distance from the hills in the
background was a single perpendicular rock, which they judged to be no
less than eight hundred feet high and four hundred yards at the base,
which they called Beacon Rock. A little farther on they found the river
a mile in breadth, and double this breadth four miles beyond. After
making twenty-nine miles from the foot of the Great Shoot, they halted
for the night at a point where the river was two and a half miles wide.
The character of the country they had passed through during the day was
very different from that they had lately been accustomed to, the hills
being thickly covered with timber, chiefly of the pine species. The tide
rose at their encampment about nine inches, and they saw great numbers
of water-fowl, such as swan, geese, ducks of various kinds, gulls, etc.

The next day, _November 3d_, they set off in company with some Indians
who had joined them the evening before. At the distance of three miles
they passed a river on the left, to which, from the quantity of sand it
bears along with it, they gave the name of Quicksand River. So great,
indeed, was the quantity it had discharged into the Columbia, that the
river was compressed to the width of half a mile, and the whole force of
the current thrown against the right shore. Opposite this was a large
creek, which they called Seal River. The mountain which they had
supposed to be the Mount Hood of Vancouver, now bore S. 85° E., about
forty-seven miles distant. About three miles farther on they passed the
lower mouth of Quicksand River, opposite to which was another large
creek, and near it the head of an island three miles and a half in
extent; and half a mile beyond it was another island, which they called
Diamond Island, opposite to which they encamped, having made but
thirteen miles' distance. Here they met with some Indians ascending the
river, who stated that they had seen three vessels at its mouth.

"Below Quicksand River," says the Journal, "the country is low, rich,
and thickly wooded on each side of the Columbia; the islands have less
timber, and on them are numerous ponds, near which were vast quantities
of fowl, such as swan, geese, brant, cranes, storks, white-gulls,
cormorants, and plover. The river is wide and contains a great number of
sea-otters. In the evening the hunters brought in game for a sumptuous

In continuing their descent the next day, they found Diamond Island to
be six miles in length and three broad; and near its termination were
two other islands. "Just below the last of these," proceeds the
narrative, "we landed on the left bank of the river, at a village of
twenty-five houses, all of which were thatched with straw, and built of
bark except one, which was about fifty feet long and constructed of
boards, in the form of those higher up the river, from which it
differed, however, in being completely above ground, and covered with
broad, split boards. This village contained about two hundred men of the
Skilloot nation, who seemed well provided with canoes, of which there
were at least fifty-two, and some of them very large, drawn up in front
of the village. On landing, we found an Indian from above, who had left
us this morning, and who now invited us into a lodge of which he
appeared to be part owner. Here he treated us with a root, round in
shape and about the size of a small Irish potato, which they call
_wappatoo_: it is the common arrow-head or _sagittifolia_ so much
cultivated by the Chinese, and, when roasted in the embers till it
becomes soft, has an agreeable taste, and is a very good substitute for
bread. After purchasing some of this root we resumed our journey, and at
seven miles' distance came to the head of a large island near the left
bank. On the right shore was a fine open prairie for about a mile, back
of which the country rises, and is well supplied with timber, such as
white oak, pine of different kinds, wild crab, and several species of
undergrowth, while along the borders of the river there were only a few
cottonwood and ash trees. In this prairie were also signs of deer and

"When we landed for dinner a number of Indians came down, for the
purpose, as we supposed, of paying us a friendly visit, as they had put
on their finest dresses. In addition to their usual covering, they had
scarlet and blue blankets, sailor's jackets and trowsers, shirts, and
hats. They had all of them either war-axes, spears, and bows and arrows,
or muskets and pistols, with tin powder-flasks. We smoked with them, and
endeavoured to show them every attention, but soon found them very
assuming and disagreeable companions. While we were eating, they stole
the pipe with which they were smoking, and a great coat of one of the
men. We immediately searched them all, and found the coat stuffed under
the root of a tree near where they were sitting; but the pipe we could
not recover. Finding us discontented with them, and determined not to
suffer any imposition, they showed their displeasure in the only way
they dared, by returning in ill humour to their village. We then
proceeded, and soon met two canoes, with twelve men of the same Skilloot
nation, who were on their way from below. The larger of the canoes was
ornamented with the figures of a bear in the bow and a man in the stern,
both nearly as large as life, both made of painted wood, and very neatly
fastened to the boat. In the same canoe were two Indians gaudily
dressed, and with round hats. This circumstance induced us to give the
name of Image Canoe to the large island, the lower end of which we were
now passing, at the distance of nine miles from its head. We had seen
two smaller islands to the right, and three more near its lower
extremity." ... "The river was now about a mile and a half in width,
with a gentle current, and the bottoms extensive and low, but not
subject to be overflowed. Three miles below Image Canoe Island we came
to four large houses on the left side; here we had a full view of the
mountain which we had first seen from the Muscleshell Rapid on the 19th
of October, and which we now found to be, in fact, the Mount St. Helen
of Vancouver. It bore north 25° east, about ninety miles distant, rose
in the form of a sugar loaf to a very great height, and was covered with
snow. A mile lower we passed a single house on the left, and another on
the right. The Indians had now learned so much of us that their
curiosity was without any mixture of fear, and their visits became very
frequent and troublesome. We therefore continued on till after night, in
hopes of getting rid of them; but, after passing a village on each side,
which, on account of the lateness of the hour, we could only see
indistinctly, we found there was no escaping from their importunities.
We accordingly landed at the distance of seven miles below Image Canoe
Island, and encamped near a single house on the right, having made
during the day twenty-nine miles.

"The Skilloots that we passed to-day speak a language somewhat different
from that of the Echeloots or Chilluckittequaws near the long narrows.
Their dress, however, is similar, except that the Skilloots possess more
articles procured from the white traders; and there is this farther
difference between them, that the Skilloots, both males and females,
have the head flattened. Their principal food is fish, _wappatoo_ roots,
and some elk and deer, in killing which, with arrows they seem to be
very expert; for during the short time we remained at the village three
deer were brought in. We also observed there a tame _blaireau_

"As soon as we landed we were visited by two canoes loaded with Indians,
from whom we purchased a few roots. The grounds along the river
continued low and rich, and among the shrubs were large quantities of
vines resembling the raspberry. On the right the low grounds were
terminated at the distance of five miles by a range of high hills
covered with tall timber, and running southeast and northwest. The game,
as usual, was very abundant; and, among other birds, we observed some
white geese, with a part of their wings black."

Early the next morning they resumed their voyage, passing several
islands in the course of the day, the river alternately widening and
contracting, and the hills sometimes retiring from, and at others
approaching, its banks. They stopped for the night at the distance of
thirty-two miles from their last encampment. "Before landing," proceeds
the Journal, "we met two canoes, the largest of which had at the bow the
image of a bear, and that of a man on the stern: there were twenty-six
Indians on board, but they proceeded upwards, and we were left, for the
first time since we reached the waters of the Columbia, without any of
the natives with us during the night. Besides other game, we killed a
grouse much larger than the common kind, and observed along the shore a
number of striped snakes. The river is here deep, and about a mile and a
half in width. Here, too, the ridge of low mountains, running northwest
and southeast, crosses the river and forms the western boundary of the
plain through which we had just passed. This great plain or valley
begins above the mouth of Quicksand River, and is about sixty miles long
in a straight line, while on the right and left it extends to a great
distance; it is a fertile and delightful country, shaded by thick groves
of tall timber, and watered by small ponds on both sides of the river.
The soil is rich and capable of any species of culture; but in the
present condition of the Indians, its chief production is the _wappatoo_
root, which grows spontaneously and exclusively in this region.
Sheltered as it is on both sides, the temperature is much milder than
that of the surrounding country; for even at this season of the year we
observed but very little appearance of frost. It is inhabited by
numerous tribes of Indians, who either reside in it permanently, or
visits its waters in quest of fish and _wappatoo_ roots. We gave it the
name of the Columbia Valley."

"_November 6._ The morning was cool and rainy. We proceeded at an early
hour between high hills on both sides of the river, till at the distance
of four miles we came to two tents of Indians in a small plain on the
left, where the hills on the right recede a few miles, and a long,
narrow inland stretches along the right shore. Behind this island is the
mouth of a large river, a hundred and fifty yards wide, called by the
Indians Coweliske. We halted on the island for dinner, but the redwood
and green briers were so interwoven with the pine, alder, ash, a species
of beech, and other trees, that the woods formed a thicket which our
hunters could not penetrate. Below the mouth of the Coweliske a very
remarkable knob rises from the water's edge to the height of eighty
feet, being two hundred paces round the base; and as it is in a low part
of the island, and at some distance from the high grounds, its
appearance is very singular. On setting out after dinner we overtook two
canoes going down to trade. One of the Indians, who spoke a few words of
English, mentioned that the principal person who traded with them was a
Mr. Haley; and he showed us a bow of iron and several other things,
which he said he had given him. Nine miles below Coweliske River is a
creek on the same side; and between them three smaller islands, one on
the left shore, the other about the middle of the river, and a third
near, the lower end of the long, narrow island, and opposite a high
cliff of black rocks on the left, sixteen miles from our last night's
encampment. Here we were overtaken by some Indians from the two tents we
had passed in the morning, from whom we purchased _wappatoo_ roots,
salmon, trout, and two beaver-skins, for which last we gave five small

Here the mountains which had been high and rugged on the left, retired
from the river, as had the hills on the right, since leaving the
Coweliske, and a beautiful plain was spread out before them. They met
with several islands on their way, and having at the distance of five
miles come to the termination of the plain, they proceeded for eight
miles through a hilly country, and encamped for the night after having
made twenty-nine miles.

"_November 7._ The morning," proceeds the narrative, "was rainy, and the
fog so thick that we could not see across the river. We observed,
however, opposite to our camp, the upper point of an island, between
which and the steep hills on the right we proceeded for five miles.
Three miles lower was the beginning of an island, separated from the
right shore by a narrow channel: down this we proceeded under the
direction of some Indians whom we had just met going up the river, and
who returned in order to show us their village. It consisted of four
houses only, situated on this channel, behind several marshy islands
formed by two small creeks. On our arrival they gave us some fish, and
we afterwards purchased _wappatoo_ roots, fish, three dogs, and two
otter-skins, for which we gave fish-hooks chiefly, that being an article
which they are very anxious to obtain.

"These people seemed to be of a different nation from those we had just
passed: they were low in stature, ill-shaped, and all had their heads
flattened. They called themselves Wahkiacum, and their language differed
from that of the tribes above, with whom they trade for _wappatoo_
roots. The houses, too, were built in a different style, being raised
entirely above ground, with the eaves about five feet high, and the door
at the corner. Near the end opposite to the door was a single fireplace,
round which were the beds, raised four feet from the floor of earth;
over the fire were hung fresh fish, and when dried they are stowed away
with the _wappatoo_ roots under the beds. The dress of the men was like
that of the people above; but the women were clad in a peculiar manner,
the robe not reaching lower than the hip, and the body being covered in
cold weather by a sort of corset of fur, curiously plaited, and
reaching from the arms to the hip: added to this was a sort of
petticoat, or, rather, tissue of white cedar bark, bruised or broken
into small strands and woven into a girdle by several cords of the same
material. Being tied round the middle, these strands hang down as low as
the knee in front and to the middle of the leg behind: sometimes the
tissue consists of strings of silk-grass, twisted and knotted at the

"After remaining with them about an hour, we proceeded down the channel
with an Indian dressed in a sailor's jacket for our pilot; and, on
reaching the main channel, were visited by some Indians, who have a
temporary residence on a marshy island, Tenasillihee, in the middle of
the river, where there are great numbers of water-fowl. Here the
mountainous country again approaches the river on the left, and a higher
saddle mountain is perceived towards the southwest. At a distance of
twenty miles from our camp we halted at a village of Wahkiacums,
consisting of seven ill-looking houses, built in the same form with
those above, and situated at the foot of the high hills on the right,
behind two small marshy islands. We merely stopped to purchase some food
and two beaver skins, and then proceeded. Opposite to these islands the
hills on the left retire, and the river widens into a kind of bay,
crowded with low islands, subject to be overflowed occasionally by the
tide. We had not gone far from this village when, the fog suddenly
clearing away, we were at last presented with a glorious sight of the
ocean--that ocean, the object of all our labours, the reward of all our
anxieties. This animating sight exhilarated the spirits of all the
party, who were still more delighted on hearing the distant roar of the
breakers. We went on with great cheerfulness along the high mountainous
country which bordered the right bank: the shore, however, was so bold
and rocky that we could not, until a distance of fourteen miles from the
last village, find any spot fit for an encampment. Having made during
the day thirty-four miles, we now spread our mats on the ground, and
passed the night in the rain. Here we were joined by our small canoe,
which had been separated from us during the fog this morning. Two
Indians from the last village also accompanied us to the camp; but
having detected them in stealing a knife, they were sent off.

"_November 8._ It rained this morning; and, having changed our clothing,
which had been wet by yesterday's rain, we set out at nine o'clock.
Immediately opposite our camp was a pillar rock, at the distance of a
mile in the river, about twenty feet in diameter and fifty in height,
and towards the southwest some high mountains, one of which was covered
with snow at the top. We proceeded past several low islands in the bend
or bay of the river to the left, which were here five or six miles
wide. On the right side we passed an old village, and then, at the
distance of three miles, entered an inlet or niche, about six miles
across, and making a deep bend of nearly five miles into the hills on
the right shore, where it receives the waters of several creeks. We
coasted along this inlet, which, from its little depth, we called
Shallow Bay, and at the bottom of it stopped to dine, near the remains
of an old village, from which, however, we kept at a cautious distance,
as, like all these places, it was occupied by a plentiful stock of
fleas. At this place we observed a number of fowl, among which we killed
a goose and two ducks exactly resembling in appearance and flavour the
canvas-back duck of the Susquehanna. After dinner we took advantage of
the returning tide to go about three miles to a point on the right,
eight miles distant from our camp; but here the water ran so high and
washed about our canoe so much that several of the men became seasick.
It was therefore judged imprudent to proceed in the present state of the
weather, and we landed at the point. Our situation here was extremely
uncomfortable: the high hills jutted in so closely that there was not
room for us to lie level, nor to secure our baggage from the tide, and
the water of the river was too salty to be used; but the waves
increasing so much that we could not move from the spot with safety, we
fixed ourselves on the beach left by the ebb-tide, and, raising the
baggage on poles, passed a disagreeable night, the rain during the day
having wet us completely, as, indeed, we had been for some time past.

"_November 9._ Fortunately, the tide did not rise as high as our camp
during the night; but, being accompanied by high winds from the south,
the canoes, which we could not place beyond its reach, were filled with
water and saved with much difficulty: our position was exceedingly
disagreeable; but, as it was impossible to move from it, we waited for a
change of weather. It rained, however, during the whole day, and at two
o'clock in the afternoon the flood-tide came in, accompanied by a high
wind from the south, which at about four o'clock shifted to the
southwest, and blew almost a gale directly from the sea. Immense waves
now broke over the place where we were and large trees, some of them
five or six feet through, which had been lodged on the point, drifted
over our camp, so that the utmost vigilance of every man could scarcely
save the canoes from being crushed to pieces. We remained in the water
and were drenched with rain during the rest of the day, our only
sustenance being some dried fish and the rain water which we caught.
Yet, though wet and cold, and some of then sick from using salt water,
the men were cheerful and full of anxiety to see more of the ocean. The
rain continued all night and the following morning.

"_November 10_, the wind lulling and the waves not being so high, we
loaded our canoes and proceeded. The mountains on the right are here
high, covered with timber, chiefly pine, and descend with a bold and
rocky shore to the water. We went through a deep niche and several
inlets on the right, while on the opposite side was a large bay, above
which the hills are close on the river. At the distance of ten miles the
wind rose from the northwest, and the waves became so high that we were
forced to return two miles for a place where we could unload with
safety. Here we landed at the mouth of a small run, and, having placed
our baggage on a pile of drifted logs, waited until low water. The river
then appearing more calm, we started again; but, after going a mile,
found the waters too turbulent for our canoes, and were obliged to put
to shore. Here we landed the baggage, and, having placed it on a rock
above the reach of the tide, encamped on some drift logs, which formed
the only place where we could lie, the hills rising steep over our heads
to the height of five hundred feet. All our baggage, as well as
ourselves, was thoroughly wet with rain, which did not cease during the
day; it continued, indeed, violently through the night, in the course of
which the tide reached the logs on which we lay, and set them afloat.

"_November 11._ The wind was still high from the southwest, and drove
the waves against the shore with great fury; the rain, too, fell in
torrents, and not only drenched us to the skin, but loosened the stones
on the hillsides, so that they came rolling down upon us. In this
comfortless condition we remained all day, wet and cold, and with
nothing but dried fish to satisfy our hunger; the canoes at the mercy of
the waves at one place, the baggage in another, and the men scattered on
floating logs, or sheltering themselves in the crevices of the rocks and
hillsides. A hunter was despatched in the hope of finding some game; but
the hills were so steep, and so covered with undergrowth and fallen
timber, that he could not proceed, and was forced to return. About
twelve o'clock we were visited by five Indians in a canoe. They came
from the opposite side of the river, above where we were, and their
language much resembled that of the Wahkiacums: they calling themselves
Cathlamahs. In person they were small, ill-made, and badly clothed;
though one of them had on a sailor's jacket and pantaloons, which, as he
explained by signs, he had received from the whites below the point. We
purchased from them thirteen red charr, a fish which we found very
excellent. After some time they went on board their boat and crossed the
river, which is here five miles wide, through a very heavy sea.

"_November 12._ About three o'clock a tremendous gale of wind arose,
accompanied with lightning, thunder, and hail; at six it lightened up
for a short time, but a violent rain soon began and lasted through the
day. During the storm one of our boats, secured by being sunk with great
quantities of stone, got loose, but, drifting against a rock, was
recovered without having received much injury. Our situation now became
much more dangerous, for the waves were driven with fury against the
rocks and trees, which till now had afforded us refuge: we therefore
took advantage of the low tide, and moved about half a mile round a
point to a small brook, which we had not observed before on account of
the thick bushes and driftwood which concealed its mouth. Here we were
more safe, but still cold and wet; our clothes and bedding rotten as
well as wet, our baggage at a distance, and the canoes, our only means
of escape from this place, at the mercy of the waves. Still, we
continued to enjoy good health, and even had the luxury of feasting on
some salmon and three salmon trout which we caught in the brook. Three
of the men attempted to go round a point in our small Indian canoe, but
the high waves rendered her quite unmanageable, these boats requiring
the seamanship of the natives to make them live in so rough a sea.

"_November 13._ During the night we had short intervals of fair weather,
but it began to rain in the morning and continued through the day. In
order to obtain a view of the country below, Captain Clarke followed the
course of the brook, and with much fatigue, and after walking three
miles, ascended the first spur of the mountains. The whole lower country
he found covered with almost impenetrable thickets of small pine, with
which is mixed a species of plant resembling arrow-wood, twelve or
fifteen feet high, with thorny stems, almost interwoven with each other,
and scattered among the fern and fallen timber: there is also a red
berry, somewhat like the Solomon's seal, which is called by the natives
_solme_, and used as an article of diet. This thick growth rendered
travelling almost impossible, and it was rendered still more fatiguing
by the abruptness of the mountain, which was so steep as to oblige him
to draw himself up by means of the bushes. The timber on the hills is
chiefly of a large, tall species of pine, many of the trees eight or ten
feet in diameter at the stump, and rising sometimes more than one
hundred feet in height. The hail which fell two nights before was still
to be seen on the mountains; there was no game, and no marks of any,
except some old tracks of elk. The cloudy weather prevented his seeing
to any distance, and he therefore returned to camp and sent three men in
an Indian canoe to try if they could double the point and find some
safer harbour for our boats. At every flood-tide the sea broke in great
swells against the rocks and drifted the trees against our
establishment, so as to render it very insecure.

"_November 14._ It had rained without intermission during the night and
continued to through the day; the wind, too, was very high, and one of
our canoes much injured by being driven against the rocks. Five Indians
from below came to us in a canoe, and three of them landed, and informed
us that they had seen the men sent down yesterday. Fortunately, at this
moment one of the men arrived, and told us that these very Indians had
stolen his gig and basket; we therefore ordered the two women, who
remained in the canoe, to restore them; but this they refused to do till
we threatened to shoot them, when they gave back the articles, and we
commanded them to leave us. They were of the Wahkiacum nation. The man
now informed us that they had gone round the point as far as the high
sea would suffer them in the canoe, and then landed; that in the night
he had separated from his companions, who had proceeded farther down;
and that, at no great distance from where we were, was a beautiful sand
beach and a good harbour. Captain Lewis determined to examine more
minutely the lower part of the bay, and, embarking in one of the large
canoes, was put on shore at the point, whence he proceeded by land with
four men, and the canoe returned nearly filled with water.

"_November 15._ It continued raining all night, but in the morning the
weather became calm and fair. We began, therefore, to prepare for
setting out; but before we were ready a high wind sprang up from the
southeast, and obliged us to remain. The sun shone until one o'clock,
and we were thus enabled to dry our bedding and examine our baggage. The
rain, which had continued for the last ten days without any interval of
more than two hours, had completely wet all our merchandise, spoiled
some of our fish, destroyed the robes, and rotted nearly one-half of our
few remaining articles of clothing, particularly the leather dresses.
About three o'clock the wind fell, and we instantly loaded the canoes,
and left the miserable spot to which we had been confined the last six
days. On turning the point we came to the sand beach, through which runs
a small stream from the hills, at the mouth of which was an ancient
village of thirty-six houses, without any inhabitants at the time except
fleas. Here we met Shannon, who had been sent back to us by Captain
Lewis. The day Shannon left us in the canoe, he and Willard proceeded on
till they met a party of twenty Indians, who, not having heard of us,
did not know who they were; but they behaved with great civility--so
great, indeed, and seemed so anxious that our men should accompany them
towards the sea, that their suspicions were aroused, and they declined
going. The Indians, however, would not leave them; and the men, becoming
confirmed in their suspicions, and fearful, if they went into the woods
to sleep, that they would be cut to pieces in the night, thought it best
to remain with the Indians: they therefore made a fire, and after
talking with them to a late hour, laid down with their rifles under
their heads. When they awoke they found that the Indians had stolen and
concealed their arms; and having demanded them in vain, Shannon seized a
club, and was about assaulting one of the Indians whom he suspected to
be the thief, when another of them began to load his fowling-piece with
the intention of shooting him. He therefore stopped, and explained to
them by signs, that if they did not give up the guns, a large party
would come down the river before the sun rose to a certain height, and
put every one of them to death. Fortunately, Captain Lewis and his party
appeared at this very time, and the terrified Indians immediately
brought the guns, and five of them came in with Shannon. To these men we
declared that, if ever any of their nation stole anything from us, he
would be instantly shot. They resided to the north of this place, and
spoke a language different from that of the people higher up the river.
It was now apparent that the sea was at all times too rough for us to
proceed farther down the bay by water: we therefore landed, and, having
chosen the best spot we could, made our camp of boards from the old
village. We were now comfortably situated; and, being visited by four
Wahkiacums with _wappatoo_ roots, were enabled to make an agreeable
addition to our food.

"_November 16._ The morning was clear and pleasant. We therefore put out
all our baggage to dry, and sent several of our party to hunt. Our camp
was in full view of the ocean, on the bay laid down by Vancouver, which
we distinguished by the name of Haley's Bay, from a trader who visits
the Indians here, and is a great favourite among them. The meridian
altitude of this day gave 46° 19´ 11.7" as our latitude. The wind was
strong from the southwest, and the waves were very high, yet the Indians
were passing up and down the bay in canoes, and several of them encamped
near us. We smoked with them, but, after our recent experience of their
thievish disposition, treated them with caution...."

"The hunters brought in two deer, a crane, some geese and ducks, and
several brant, three of which were white, except a part of the wing,
which was black, and they were much larger than the gray brant.

"_November 17._ A fair, cool morning, and easterly wind. The tide rises
at this place eight feet six inches.

"About one o'clock Captain Lewis returned, after having coasted down
Haley's Bay to Cape Disappointment, and some distance to the north,
along the seacoast. He was followed by several Chinnooks, among whom
were the principal chief and his family. They made us a present of a
boiled root very much like the common licorice in taste and size, called
_culwhamo_; and in return we gave them articles of double its value. We
now learned, however, the danger of accepting anything from them, since
nothing given in payment, even though ten times more valuable, would
satisfy them. We were chiefly occupied in hunting, and were able to
procure three deer, four brant, and two ducks; and also saw some signs
of elk. Captain Clarke now prepared for an excursion down the bay, and
accordingly started.

"_November 18_, at daylight, accompanied by eleven men, he proceeded
along the beach one mile to a point of rocks about forty feet high,
where the hills retired, leaving a wide beach and a number of ponds
covered with water-fowl, between which and the mountain there was a
narrow bottom covered with alder and small balsam trees. Seven miles
from the rocks was the entrance from the creek, or rather drain from the
pond and hills, where was a cabin of Chinnooks. The cabin contained some
children and four women. They were taken across the creek in a canoe by
two squaws, to each of whom they gave a fish-hook, and then, coasting
along the bay, passed at two miles the low bluff of a small hill, below
which were, the ruins of some old huts, and close to it the remains of a
whale. The country was low, open, and marshy, interspersed with some
high pine and with a thick undergrowth. Five miles from the creek, they
came to a stream, forty yards wide at low water, which they called
Chinnook River. The hills up this river and towards the bay were not
high, but very thickly covered with large pine of several species."

Proceeding along the shore, they came to a deep bend, appearing to
afford a good harbour, and here the natives told them that European
vessels usually anchored. About two miles farther on they reached Cape
Disappointment, "an elevated circular knob," says the Journal, "rising
with a steep ascent one hundred and fifty or one hundred and sixty feet
above the water, formed like the whole shore of the bay, as well as of
the seacoast, and covered with thick timber on the inner side, but open
and grassy on the exposure next the sea. From this cape a high point of
land bears south 20° west, about twenty-five miles distant. In the range
between these two eminences is the opposite point of the bay, a very low
ground, which has been variously called Cape Rond by Le Perouse, and
Point Adams by Vancouver. The water, for a great distance off the mouth
of the river, appears very shallow, and within the mouth, nearest to
Point Adams, is a large sand-bar, almost covered at high tide...."

"_November 19._ In the evening it began to rain, and continued until
eleven o'clock. Two hunters were sent out in the morning to kill
something for breakfast, and the rest of the party, after drying their
blankets, soon followed. At three miles they overtook the hunters, and
breakfasted on a small deer which they had been fortunate enough to
kill. This, like all those that we saw on the coast, was much darker
than our common deer. Their bodies, too, are deeper, their legs
shorter, and their eyes larger. The branches of the horns are similar,
but the upper part of the tail is black, from the root to the end, and
they do not leap, but jump like a sheep frightened.

"Continuing along five miles farther, they reached a point of high land,
below which a sandy point extended in a direction north 19° west to
another high point twenty miles distant. To this they gave the name of
Point Lewis. They proceeded four miles farther along the sandy beach to
a small pine tree, on which Captain Clarke marked his name, with the
year and day, and then set out to return to the camp, where they arrived
the following day, having met a large party of Chinnooks coming from it.

"_November 21._ The morning was cloudy, and from noon till night it
rained. The wind, too, was high from the southeast, and the sea so rough
that the water reached our camp. Most of the Chinnooks returned home,
but we were visited in the course of the day by people of different
bands in the neighbourhood, among whom were the Chiltz, a nation
residing on the seacoast near Point Lewis, and the Clatsops, who live
immediately opposite, on the south side of the Columbia. A chief from
the grand rapid also came to see us, and we gave him a medal. To each of
our visitors we made a present of a small piece of riband, and purchased
some cranberries, and some articles of their manufacture, such as mats
and household furniture, for all of which we paid high prices."



     [During the years 1805, 1806, and 1807 Brigadier-General Pike
     commanded, by order of the Government of the United States,
     an expedition to the sources of the Mississippi, through the
     western part of Louisiana, to the sources of the Arkansas,
     Kansas, La Platte and Pierre Juan rivers. The extracts which
     follow are taken from his narrative published in
     Philadelphia, 1810. An excellent edition, edited with copious
     notes by Elliott Coues, was published in three volumes by
     Francis P. Harper, New York, 1895.]

_January 1, 1806._ Passed six very elegant bark canoes on the bank of
the river, which had been laid up by the Chipeways; also a camp which we
had conceived to have been evacuated about ten days. My interpreter came
after me in a great hurry, conjuring me not to go so far ahead, and
assured me that the Chipeways, encountering me without an interpreter,
party, or flag, would certainly kill me. But, notwithstanding this, I
went on several miles farther than usual, in order to make any
discoveries that were to be made; conceiving the savages not so
barbarous or ferocious as to fire on two men (I had one with me) who
were apparently coming into their country, trusting to their generosity;
and knowing, that if we met only two or three we were equal to them, I
having my gun and pistols and he his buckshot. Made some extra presents
for New Year's day.

_January 2._ Fine, warm day. Discovered fresh signs of Indians. Just as
we were encamping at night, my sentinel informed us that some Indians
were coming at full speed upon our trail or track. I ordered my men to
stand by their guns carefully. They were immediately at my camp, and
saluted the flag by a discharge of three pieces, when four Chipeways,
one Englishman, and a Frenchman of the North West Company presented
themselves. They informed us that some women having discovered our trail
gave the alarm, and not knowing but it was their enemies had departed to
make a discovery. They had heard of us, and revered our flag. Mr. Grant,
the Englishman, had only arrived the day before from Lake de Sable, from
which he marched in one day and a half. I presented the Indians with
half a deer, which they received thankfully, for they had discovered our
fires some days ago, and believing them to be Sioux fires, they dared
not leave their camp. They returned home, but Mr. Grant remained all

_January 3._ My party marched early, but I returned with Mr. Grant to
his establishment on the Red Cedar Lake, having one corporal with
me.... After explaining to a Chipeway warrior, called Curly Head, the
object of my voyage, and receiving his answer that he would remain
tranquil until my return, we ate a good breakfast for the country,
departed and overtook my sleds just at dusk. Killed one porcupine.
Distance sixteen miles.

_January 4._ We made twenty-eight points in the river; broad, good
bottom, and of the usual timber. In the night I was awakened by the cry
of the sentinel, calling repeatedly to the men; at length he
vociferated, "Will you let the lieutenant be burned to death?" This
immediately aroused me; at first I seized my arms, but looking round, I
saw my tents in flames. The men flew to my assistance, and we tore them
down, but not until they were entirely ruined. This, with the loss of my
leggins, moccasins, and socks, which I had hung up to dry, was no
trivial misfortune in such a country and on such a voyage. But I had
reason to thank God that the powder, three small casks of which I had in
my tent, did not take fire; if it had, I must certainly have lost all my
baggage, if not my life.

_January 5._ Mr. Grant promised to overtake me yesterday, but has not
yet arrived. I conceived it would be necessary to attend his motions
with careful observation. Distance twenty-seven miles.

_January 6._ Bradley and myself walked up thirty-one points in hopes to
discover Lake de Sable; but finding a near cut of twenty yards for ten
miles, and being fearful the sleds would miss it, we returned
twenty-three points before we found our camp. They had made only eight
points. Met two Frenchmen of the North West Company with about one
hundred and eighty pounds on each of their backs, with rackets
[snowshoes] on; they informed me that Mr. Grant had gone on with the
Frenchmen. Snow fell all day, and was three feet deep. Spent a miserable

_January 7._ Made but eleven miles, and was then obliged to send ahead
and make fires every three miles; notwithstanding which, the cold was so
intense that some of the men had their noses, others their fingers, and
others their toes, frozen, before they felt the cold sensibly. Very
severe day's march.

_January 8._ Conceiving I was at no great distance from Sandy Lake, I
left my sleds and with Corporal Bradley took my departure for that
place, intending to send him back the same evening. We walked on very
briskly until near night, when we met a young Indian, one of those who
had visited my camp near Red Cedar Lake. I endeavoured to explain to him
that it was my wish to go to Lake de Sable that evening. He returned
with me until we came to a trail that led across the woods; this he
signified was a near course. I went this course with him, and shortly
after found myself at a Chipeway encampment, to which I believed the
friendly savage had enticed me with the expectation that I would tarry
all night, knowing that it was too late for us to make the lake in good
season. But upon our refusing to stay, he put us in the right road. We
arrived at the place where the track left the Mississippi at dusk, when
we traversed about two leagues of a wilderness without any very great
difficulty, and at length struck the shore of Lake de Sable, over a
branch of which lay our course. The snow having covered the trail made
by the Frenchmen who had passed before us with the rackets, I was
fearful of losing ourselves on the lake; the consequences of which can
only be conceived by those who have been exposed on a lake or naked
plain, in a dreary night of January, in latitude 47°, and the
thermometer below zero. Thinking that we could observe the bank of the
other shore, we kept a straight course, and some time after discovered
lights, and on our arrival were not a little surprised to find a large
stockade. The gate being open, we entered and proceeded to the quarters
of Mr. Grant, where we were treated with the utmost hospitality.

_January 9._ Sent away the corporal early, in order that our men should
receive assurances of our safety and success. He carried with him, a
small keg of spirits, a present from Mr. Grant. The establishment of
this place was formed twelve years since by the North West Company, and
was formerly under the charge of Mr. Charles Brusky. It has attained at
present such regularity as to permit the superintendent to live
tolerably comfortably. They have horses they procure from Red River from
the Indians; they raise plenty of potatoes, catch pike, suckers,
pickerel, and white fish in abundance. They have also beaver, deer, and
moose; but the provision they chiefly depend upon is wild oats, of
which they purchase great quantities from the savages, giving at the
rate of about one dollar and a half a bushel. But flour, pork, and salt
are almost interdicted to persons not principals in the trade. Flour
sells at half a dollar, salt at a dollar, pork at eighty cents, sugar at
fifty cents, and tea at four dollars and a half a pound. The sugar is
obtained from the Indians, and is made from the maple tree.

_January 10._ Mr. Grant accompanied me to the Mississippi, to mark the
place for my boats to leave the river. This was the first time I marched
on rackets [snowshoes]. I took the course of the Lake River, from its
mouth to the lake. Mr. Grant fell through the ice with his rackets on,
and could not have got out without assistance.

_January 11._ Remained all day within quarters.

_January 12._ Went out and met my men about sixteen miles. A tree had
fallen on one of them and hurt him very much, which induced me to
dismiss a sled and put the loading on the others.

_January 13._ After encountering much difficulty we arrived at the
establishment of the North West Company on Lake de Sable a little before
night. The ice being very bad on the Lake River, owing to the many
springs and marshes, one sled fell through. My men had an excellent room
furnished them, and were presented with potatoes and spirits. Mr. Grant
had gone to an Indian lodge to receive his credits.

_January 14._ Crossed the lake to the north side, that I might take an
observation; found the latitude 46° 9´ 20" N. Surveyed that part of the
lake. Mr. Grant returned from the Indian lodges. His party brought a
quantity of furs and eleven beaver carcasses.

_January 15._ Mr. Grant and myself made the tour of the lake with two
men whom I had for attendants. Found it to be much larger than could be
imagined at a view. My men sawed stocks for the sleds, which I found it
necessary to construct after the manner of the country. On our march,
met an Indian coming into the fort; his countenance expressed no little
astonishment when I told him who I was and whence I came, for the people
of this country acknowledge that the savages hold the Americans in
greater veneration than any other white people. They say of us, when
alluding to warlike achievements, that "we are neither Frenchmen nor
Englishmen, but white Indians."

_January 16._ Laid down Lake de Sable. A young Indian whom I had engaged
to go as a guide to Lake Sang Sue arrived from the woods.

_January 17._ Employed in making sleds after the manner of the country.
They are made of a single plank turned up at one end like a fiddle head,
and the baggage is lashed on in bags and sacks. Two other Indians
arrived from the woods. Engaged in writing.

_January 18._ Busy in preparing my baggage for my departure for Leech
Lake and Reading.

_January 19._ Employed as yesterday. Two men of the North West Company
arrived from the Fond du Lac Superior with letters; one of which was
from their establishment in Athapuscow, and had been since last May on
the route. While at this post I ate roasted beavers, dressed in every
respect as a pig is usually dressed with us; it was excellent. I could
not discern the least taste of Des Bois. I also ate boiled moose's head,
which when well boiled I consider equal to the tail of the beaver; in
taste and substance they are much alike.

_January 20._ The men, with their sleds, took their departure about two
o'clock. Shortly after I followed them. We encamped at the portage
between the Mississippi and Leech Lake River. Snow fell in the night.

_January 21._ Snowed in the morning, but crossed about 9 o'clock. I had
gone on a few points when I was overtaken by Mr. Grant, who informed me
that the sleds could not get along in consequence of water being on the
ice; he sent his men forward; we returned and met the sleds, which had
scarcely advanced one mile. We unloaded them, sent eight men back to the
post, with whatever might be denominated extra articles, but in the
hurry sent my salt and ink. Mr. Grant encamped with me and marched early
in the morning.

_January 22._ Made a pretty good day's journey. My Indian came up about
noon. Distance twenty miles.

_January 23._ Marched about eighteen miles. Forgot my thermometer,
having hung it on a tree. Sent Boley back five miles for it. My young
Indian and myself killed eight partridges; took him to live with me.

_January 24._ At our encampment this night Mr. Grant had encamped on the
night of the same day he left me; it was three days' march for us. It
was late before the men came up.

_January 25._ Travelled almost all day through the lands and found them
much better than usual. Boley lost the Sioux pipe-stem which I had
carried along for the purpose of making peace with the Chipeways; I sent
him back for it; he did not return until eleven o'clock at night. It was
very warm; thawing all day. Distance forty-four points.

_January 26._ I left my party in order to proceed to a house, or lodge,
of Mr. Grant's on the Mississippi, where he was to tarry until I
overtook him. Took with me an Indian, Boley, and some trifling
provision; the Indian and myself marched so fast that we left Boley on
the route, about eight miles from the lodge. Met Mr. Grant's men, on
their return to Lake de Sable, having evacuated the house this morning,
and Mr. Grant having marched for Leech Lake. The Indian and I arrived
before sundown. Passed the night very uncomfortably, having nothing to
eat, not much wood, nor any blankets. The Indian slept sound. I cursed
his insensibility, being obliged to content myself over a few coals all
night. Boley did not arrive. In the night the Indian mentioned something
about his son.

_January 27._ My Indian rose early, mended his moccasins, then expressed
by signs something about his son and the Englishmen we met yesterday.
Conceiving that he wished to send some message to his family, I suffered
him to depart. After his departure I felt the curse of solitude,
although he was truly no company. Boley arrived about ten o'clock. He
said that he had followed us until some time in the night, when,
believing that he could overtake us, he stopped and made a fire, but
having no axe to cut wood he was near freezing. He met the Indians, who
made him signs to go on. I spent the day in putting my gun in order, and
mended my moccasins. Provided plenty of wood, still found it cold, with
but one blanket.

_January 28._ Left our encampment at a good hour; unable to find any
trail, passed through one of the most dismal cypress swamps I ever saw
and struck the Mississippi at a small lake. Observed Mr. Grant's tracks
going through it; found his mark of a cut-off (agreed on between us);
took it, and proceeded very well until we came to a small lake, where
the trail was entirely hid, but after some search on the other side,
found it, when we passed through a dismal swamp, on the other side of
which we found a large lake, at which I was entirely at a loss, no
trail to be seen. Struck for a point about three miles off, where we
found a Chipeway lodge of one man and five children, and one old woman.
They received us with every mark that distinguished their barbarity,
such as setting their dogs on us, trying to thrust their hands into our
pockets, and so on, but we convinced them that we were not afraid, and
let them know that we were Chewockomen (Americans), when they used us
more civilly. After we had arranged a camp as well as possible I went
into the lodge; they presented me with a plate of dried meat. I ordered
Miller to bring about two gills of liquor, which made us all good
friends. The old squaw gave me more meat, and offered me tobacco, which,
not using, I did not take. I gave her an order upon my corporal for one
knife and half a carrot of tobacco. Heaven clothes the lilies and feeds
the raven, and the same Almighty Providence protects and preserves these
creatures. After I had gone out to my fire, the old man came out and
proposed to trade beaver skins for whiskey; meeting with a refusal he
left me; when presently the old woman came out with a beaver skin, she
also being refused, he again returned to the charge with a quantity of
dried meat (this or any other I should have been glad to have had) when
I gave him a peremptory refusal; then all further application ceased. It
really appeared that with one quart of whiskey I might have bought all
they were possessed of. Night remarkably cold, was obliged to sit up
nearly the whole of it. Suffered much with cold and from want of sleep.

_January 31._ Took my clothes into the Indian's lodge to dress, and was
received very coolly, but by giving him a dram (unasked), and his wife a
little salt, I received from them directions for my route. Passed the
lake or morass, and opened on meadows (through which the Mississippi
winds its course) of nearly fifteen miles in length. Took a straight
course through them to the head, when I found we had missed the river;
made a turn of about two miles and regained it. Passed a fork which I
supposed to be Lake Winipie, making the course northwest; the branch we
took was on Leech Lake branch, course southwest and west. Passed a very
large meadow or prairie, course west, the Mississippi only fifteen yards
wide. Encamped about one mile below the traverse of the meadow. Saw a
very large animal, which from its leaps I supposed to be a panther; but
if so, it was twice as large as those on the lower Mississippi. He
evinced some disposition to approach. I lay down (Miller being in the
rear) in order to entice him to come near, but he would not. The night
remarkably cold. Some spirits, which I had in a small keg, congealed to
the consistency of honey.

_February 1._ Left our camp pretty early. Passed a continuous train of
prairie, and arrived at Lake Sang Sue at half-past two o'clock. I will
not attempt to describe my feelings on the accomplishment of my voyage,
for this is the main source of the Mississippi. The Lake Winipie branch
is navigable from thence to Red Cedar Lake for the distance of five
leagues, which is the extremity of the navigation. Crossed the lake
twelve miles to the establishment of the North West Company, where we
arrived about three o'clock; found all the gates locked, but upon
knocking were admitted and received with marked attention and
hospitality by Mr. Hugh McGillis. Had a good dish of coffee, biscuit,
butter and cheese for supper.

_February 2._ Remained all day within doors. In the evening sent an
invitation to Mr. Anderson, who was an agent of Dickson, and also for
some young Indians at his house, to come over and breakfast in the

_February 3._ Spent the day in reading Volney's "Egypt," proposing some
queries to Mr. Anderson, and preparing my young men to return with a
supply of provisions to my party.

_February 4._ Miller departed this morning. Mr. Anderson returned to his
quarters. My legs and ankles were so much swelled that I was not able to
wear my own clothes, and was obliged to borrow some from Mr. McGillis.

_February 5._ One of Mr. McGillis's clerks had been sent to some Indian
lodges, and expected to return in four days, but had now been absent
nine. Mr. Grant was despatched, in order to find out what had become of

_February 6._ My men arrived at the fort about four o'clock. Mr.
McGillis asked if I had any objection to his hoisting their flag in
compliment to ours. I made none, as I had not yet explained to him my
ideas. In making a traverse of the lake some of my men had their ears,
some their noses, and others their chins frozen.

_February 7._ Remained within doors, my limbs being still very much
swelled. Addressed a letter to Mr. McGillis on the subject of the North
West Company's trade in this quarter.

_February 8._ Took the latitude and found it to be 47° 16´ 13". Shot
with our rifles.

_February 9._ M. McGillis and myself paid a visit to Mr. Anderson, an
agent of Mr. Dickson, of the lower Mississippi, who resided at the west
end of the lake. Found him eligibly situated as to trade, but his houses
bad. I rode in a cariole, for one person, constructed in the following
manner: Boards planed smooth, turned up in front about two feet, coming
to a point; about two and a half feet wide behind, on which is fixed a
box covered with dressed skins painted; this box is open at the top, but
covered in front about two-thirds of the length. The horse is fastened
between the shafts. The rider wraps himself up in a buffalo robe, sits
flat down, having a cushion to lean his back against. Thus accoutred
with a fur cap, and so on, he may bid defiance to the wind and weather.
Upon our return we found that some of the Indians had already returned
from the hunting camps; also Monsieur Roussand, the gentleman supposed
to have been killed by the Indians. His arrival with Mr. Grant diffused
a general satisfaction through the fort.

_February 10._ Hoisted the American flag in the fort. Reading
"Shenstone," etc.

_February 11._ The Sweet, Buck, Burnt, and others arrived, all chiefs of
note, but the former in particular, a venerable old man. From him I
learned that the Sioux occupied this ground when, to use his own phrase,
"He was made a man and began to hunt; that they occupied it the year
that the French missionaries were killed at the river Pacagama." The
Indians flocked in.

_February 12._ Bradley and myself with Mr. McGillis' and two of his men
left Leech Lake at 10 o'clock, and arrived at the house of Red Cedar
Lake at sunset, a distance of thirty miles. My ankles were very much
swelled, and I was very lame. From the entrance of the Mississippi to
the strait is called six miles, a southwest course. Thence to the south
end, south thirty, east four miles. The bay at the entrance extends
nearly east and west six miles. About two and a half from the north side
to a large point. This, may be called the upper source of the
Mississippi, being fifteen miles above little Lake Winipie, and the
extent of canoe navigation only two leagues to some of the Hudson's Bay



     [During 1838-42 Lieutenant Wilkes commanded an exploring
     expedition which was the first ever despatched for scientific
     research by the United States. The instructions given by
     Congress to the Commander said:--"The expedition is not for
     conquest, but discovery. Its objects are all peaceful; they
     are to extend the empire of commerce and science; to diminish
     the hazards of the ocean, and point out to future navigators
     a course by which they may avoid dangers and find safety."
     The narrative of the expedition was published in five volumes
     in Philadelphia, 1845. The extracts which follow are from
     Vol. V., chapter VIII. From 1844 to 1874 the Government of
     the United States published twenty-eight volumes reciting in
     detail the scientific results of the expedition.]

At daylight, on the 13th of January, 1842, we were again under way, with
a light air, and at nine o'clock reached the roadstead, where we
anchored in six fathoms of water, with good holding ground.

A number of vessels were lying in the roads, among which were several
Americans loading with hemp. There was also a large English East
Indiaman, manned by Lascars, whose noise rendered her more like a
floating Bedlam than anything else to which I can liken it.

The view of the city and country around Manila partakes both of a
Spanish and an Oriental character. The sombre and heavy-looking
churches with their awkward towers; the long lines of batteries mounted
with heavy cannon; the massive houses, with ranges of balconies; and the
light and airy cottages, elevated on posts, situated in the luxuriant
groves of tropical trees,--all excite desire to become better acquainted
with the country.

Manila is situated on an extensive plain, gradually swelling into
distant hills, beyond which, again, mountains rise in the background, to
the height of several thousand feet. The latter are apparently clothed
with vegetation to their summits. The city is in strong contrast to this
luxuriant scenery, bearing evident marks of decay, particularly in the
churches, whose steeples and tile roofs have a dilapidated look. The
site of the city does not appear to have been well chosen, it having
apparently been selected entirely for the convenience of commerce, and
the communication that the outlet of the lake affords for the batteaux
[freight boats] that transport the produce from the shores of the Laguna
de Bay to the city.

There are many arms or branches to this stream, which have been
converted into canals; and almost any part of Manila may now be reached
in a banca [small passage boat].

The canal is generally filled with coasting vessels, batteaux from the
lake, and lighters for the discharge of the vessels lying in the roads.
The bay of Manila is safe, excepting during the change of the monsoons,
when it is subject to the typhoons of the China seas, within whose
range it lies. These blow at times with much force, and cause great
damage. Foreign vessels have, however, kept this anchorage, and rode out
these storms in safety; but native as well as Spanish vessels seek at
these times the port of Cavite, about three leagues to the southwest, at
the entrance of the bay, which is perfectly secure. Here the government
dockyard is situated, and this harbour is consequently the resort of the
few gunboats and galleys that are stationed here.

The entrance to the canal or river Pasig is three hundred feet wide, and
is enclosed between two well-constructed piers, which extend for some
distance into the bay. On the end of one of these is the light-house,
and on the other a guard-house. The walls of these piers are about four
feet above ordinary high water, and include the natural channel of the
river, whose current sets out with some force, particularly when the ebb
is making in the bay.

The suburbs, or Binondo quarter, contain more inhabitants than the city
itself, and is the commercial town. They have all the stir and life
incident to a large population actively engaged in trade, and in this
respect the contrast with the city proper is great.

The city of Manila is built in the form of a large segment of a circle,
having the chord of the segment on the river: the whole is strongly
fortified with walls and ditches. The houses are substantially built
after the fashion of the mother country. Within the walls are the
governor's palace, custom-house, treasury, admiralty, several churches,
convents, and charitable institutions, a university, and the barracks
for the troops; it also contain some public squares, on one of which is
a bronze statute of Charles IV.

The city is properly deemed the court residence of these islands; and
all those attached to the government, or who wish to be considered as of
the higher circle, reside here; but foreigners are not permitted to do
so. The houses in the city are generally of stone, plastered, and white
or yellow washed on the outside. They are only two stories high, and in
consequence cover a large space, being built around a patio or

The ground floors are occupied as storehouses, stables, and for porters'
lodges. The second story is devoted to the dining halls and sleeping
apartments, kitchens, bath-rooms, etc. The bed-rooms have the windows
down to the floor, opening on wide balconies, with blinds or shutters.
These blinds are constructed with sliding frames, having small squares
of two inches filled in with a thin semi-transparent shell, a species of
Placuna; the fronts of some of the houses have a large number of these
small lights, where the females of the family may enjoy themselves

After entering the canal, we very soon found ourselves among a motley
and strange population. On landing, the attention is drawn to the vast
number of small stalls and shops with which the streets are lined on
each side, and to the crowds of people passing to and fro, all intent
upon their several occupations. The artisans in Manila are almost wholly
Chinese; and all trades are local, so that in each quarter of the
Binondo suburb the privilege of exclusive occupancy is claimed by some
particular kinds of shops. In passing up the Escolta (which is the
longest and main street in this district), the cabinet-makers, seen
busily at work in their shops, are first met with; next to these come
the tinkers and blacksmiths; then the shoemakers, clothiers,
fishmongers, haberdashers, etc. These are flanked by outdoor
occupations; and in each quarter are numerous cooks frying cakes,
stewing, etc., in movable kitchens; while here and there are to be seen
betel-nut sellers, either moving about to obtain customers, or taking a
stand in some great thoroughfare. The moving throng, composed of
carriers, waiters, messengers, etc., pass quietly and without any noise:
they are generally seen with the Chinese umbrella, painted of many
colours, screening themselves from the sun. The whole population wear
slippers, and move along with a slip-shod gait.

The Chinese are apparently far more numerous than the Malays, and the
two races differ as much in character as in appearance: one is all
activity, while the other is disposed to avoid all exertion. They
preserve their distinctive character throughout, mixing but very little
with each other, and are removed as far as possible in their civilities;
the former, from their industry and perseverance, have almost
monopolized all the lucrative employments among the lower orders,
excepting the selling of fish and betel-nut, and articles manufactured
in the provinces....

Of all her foreign possessions, the Philippines have cost Spain the
least blood and labour. The honour of their discovery belongs to
Magalhaens, whose name is associated with the straits at the southern
extremity of the American continent, but which has no memorial in these
islands. Now that the glory which he gained by being the first to
penetrate from the Atlantic to the Pacific has been in some measure
obliterated by the disuse of those straits by navigators, it would seem
due to his memory that some spot among these islands should be set apart
to commemorate the name of him who made them known to Europe. This would
be but common justice to the discoverer of a region which has been a
source of so much honour and profit to the Spanish nation, who opened
the vast expanse of the Pacific to the fleets of Europe, and who died
fighting to secure the benefits of his enterprise to his king and

Few portions of the globe seem to be so much the seat of internal fires,
or to exhibit the effects of volcanic action so strongly as the
Philippines. During our visit, it was not known that any of the
volcanoes were in action; but many of them were smoking, particularly
that in the district of Albay, called Isaroc. Its latest eruption was in
the year 1839; but this did little damage compared with that of 1814,
which covered several villages, and the country for a great distance
around, with ashes. This mountain is situated to the southeast of Manila
one hundred and fifty miles, and is said to be a perfect cone, with a
crater at its apex.

It does not appear that the islands are much affected by earthquakes,
although some have occasionally occurred that have done damage to the
churches at Manila.

The coal found in the Philippines is deemed of value; it has a strong
resemblance to the bituminous coal of our own country, possesses a
bright lustre, and appears very free from all woody texture when
fractured. It is found associated with sandstone, which contains many
fossils. Lead and copper are reported as being very abundant; gypsum and
limestone occur in some districts. From this it will be seen that these
islands have everything in the mineral way to constitute them desirable

With such mineral resources and a soil capable of producing the most
varied vegetation of the tropics, a liberal policy is all that the
country lacks. The products of the Philippine Islands consist of sugar,
coffee, hemp, indigo, rice, tortoise-shell, hides, ebony, saffron-wood,
sulphur, cotton, cordage, silk, pepper, cocoa, wax, and many other
articles. In their agricultural operations the people are industrious,
although much labour is lost by the use of defective implements. The
plow, of a very simple construction, has been adopted from the Chinese;
it has no coulter, the share is flat, and being turned partly to one
side, answers, in a certain degree the purpose of a mould-board. This
rude implement is sufficient for the rich soils, where the tillage
depends chiefly upon the harrow, in constructing which a thorny species
of bamboo is used. The harrow is formed of five or six pieces of this
material, on which the thorns are left, firmly fastened together. It
answers its purpose well, and is seldom out of order. A wrought-iron
harrow, that was introduced by the Jesuits, is used for clearing the
ground more effectually, and more particularly for the purpose of
extirpating a troublesome grass, that is known by the name of cogon (a
species of Andropogon), of which it is very difficult to rid the fields.
The bolo or long-knife, a basket, a hoe, complete the implements, and
answer all the purposes of our spades, etc.

The buffalo was used until within a few years exclusively in their
agricultural operations, and they have lately taken to the use of the
ox; but horses are never used. The buffalo, from the slowness of his
motions, and his exceeding restlessness under the heat of the climate,
is ill adapted to agricultural labour; but the natives are very partial
to them, notwithstanding they occasion them much labour and trouble in
bathing them during the great heat. This is absolutely necessary, or the
animal becomes so fretful as to be unfit for use. If it were not for
this, the buffalo would, notwithstanding his slow pace, be most
effective in agricultural operations; he requires little food, and that
of the coarsest kind; his strength surpasses that of the stoutest ox,
and he is admirably adapted for the rice or paddy fields. They are very
docile when used by the natives, and even children can manage them; but
it said they have a great antipathy to the whites and all strangers. The
usual mode of guiding them is by a small cord attached to the cartilage
of the nose. The yoke rests on the neck before the shoulders, and is of
simple construction. To this is attached whatever it may be necessary to
draw, either by traces, shafts, or other fastenings. Frequently these
animals may be seen with large bundles of bamboo lashed to them on each
side. Buffaloes are to be met with on the lake with no more than their
noses and eyes out of the water, and are not visible until they are
approached within a few feet, when they cause alarm to the passengers by
raising their large forms close to the boat. It is said that they resort
to the lake to feed on a favourite grass that grows on its bottom in
shallow water, and which they dive for. Their flesh is not eaten,
except that of the young ones, for it is tough and tasteless. The milk
is nutritious, and of a character between that of the goat and cow.

Rice is, perhaps, of their agricultural products, the article upon which
the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands most depend for food and
profit; of this they have several different varieties, which the natives
distinguish by their size and the shape of the grain: the birnambang,
lamuyo, malagequit, bontot-cabayo, dumali, quinanda, bolohan, and tangi.
The three first are aquatic, the five latter upland varieties. They each
have their peculiar uses. The dumali is the early variety; it ripens in
three months from planting, from which circumstance it derives its name;
it is raised exclusively on the uplands. Although much esteemed, it is
not extensively cultivated, as the birds and insects destroy a large
part of the crop.

The malagequit is very much prized, and used for making sweet and fancy
dishes; it becomes exceedingly glutinous, for which reason it is used in
making whitewash, which it is said to cause to become of a brilliant
white, and to withstand the weather. This variety is not, however,
believed to be wholesome. There is also a variety of this last species
which is used as food for horses, and supposed to be a remedy and
preventive against worms.

The rice grounds or fields are laid out in squares, and surrounded by
embankments, to retain the water of the rains or streams. After the
rains have fallen in sufficient quantities to saturate the ground, a
seed-bed is generally planted in one corner of the field, in which the
rice is sown broadcast, about the month of June. The heavy rains take
place in August, when the fields are ploughed, and are soon filled with
water. The young plants are about this time taken from the seed-bed,
their tops and roots trimmed, and then planted in the field by making
holes in the ground with the fingers and placing four or five sprouts in
each of them; in this tedious labor the poor women are employed, whilst
the males are lounging in their houses or in the shade of the trees.

The harvest for the aquatic rice begins in December. It is reaped with
small sickles, peculiar to the country, called yatap; to the back of
these a small stick is fastened, by which they are held, and the stalk
is forced upon it and cut. The spikes of rice are cut with this
implement, one by one. In this operation, men, women and children, all
take part.

The upland rice requires much more care and labour in its cultivation.
The land must be ploughed three or four times, and all the turf and
lumps well broken up by the harrow.

During its growth it requires to be weeded two or three times, to keep
the weeds from choking the crop. The seed is sown broadcast in May. This
kind of rice is harvested in November, and to collect the crop is still
more tedious than in the other case, for it is always gathered earlier
and never reaped, in consequence of the grain not adhering to the ear.
If it were gathered in any other way, the loss by transportation on the
backs of buffaloes and horses, without any covering to the sheaf, would
be so great as to dissipate a great portion of the crop.

After the rice is harvested, there are different modes of treating it.
Some of the proprietors take it home, where it is thrown into heaps, and
left until it is desirable to separate it from the straw, when it is
trodden out by men and women with their bare feet. For this operation
they usually receive a fifth part of the rice.

Others stack it in a wet and green state, which subjects it to heat,
from which cause the grain contracts a dark colour and an unpleasant
taste and smell. The natives, however, impute these defects to the
wetness of the season.

The crop of both the low and upland rice is usually from thirty to fifty
for one: this on old land; but on that which is newly cleared, or which
has never been cultivated, the yield is far beyond this. In some soils
of the latter description, it is said that for a chupa (seven cubic
inches) planted the yield has been a caban. The former is the
two-hundred-and-eighth part of the latter. This is not the only
advantage gained in planting rice lands, but the saving of labour is
equally great; for all that is required is to make a hole with the
fingers and place three or four grains in it. The upland rice requires
but little water, and is never irrigated.

The cultivator in the Philippine Islands is always enabled to secure
plenty of manure; for vegetation is so luxuriant that by pulling the
weeds and laying them with earth a good stock is quickly obtained with
which to cover his fields. Thus, although the growth is so rank as to
cause him labour, yet in this hot climate its decay is equally rapid,
which tends to make his labours more successful.

Among the important productions of these islands, I have mentioned hemp,
although the article called Manila hemp must not be understood to be
derived from the plant which produces the common hemp (_Canabis_), being
obtained from a species of plantain (_Musa textilis_), called in the
Philippines "abaca." This is a native of these islands, and was formerly
believed to be found only on Mindanao; but this is not the case, for it
is cultivated on the south part of Luzon and all the islands south of
it. It grows on high ground, in rich soil, and is propagated by seeds.
It resembles the other plants of the tribe of plantains, but its fruit
is much smaller, although edible. The fibre is derived from the stem,
and the plant attains the height of fifteen or twenty feet. The usual
mode of preparing the hemp is to cut off the stem near the ground,
before the time or just when the fruit is ripe. The stem is then eight
or ten feet long below the leaves, where it is again cut. The outer
coating of the herbaceous stem is then stripped off, until the fibres or
cellular parts are seen, when it undergoes the process of rotting, and
after being well dried in houses and sheds, is prepared for market by
assorting it, a task which is performed by the women and children. That
which is intended for cloth is soaked for an hour or two in weak
lime-water prepared from sea-shells, again dried, and put up in bundles.
From all the districts in which it grows, it is sent to Manila, which is
the only port whence it can legally be exported. It arrives in large
bundles, and is packed there by means of a screw-press in compact bales,
for shipping, secured by rattan, each weighing two piculs. [A picul is
about 140 pounds.]

The best Manila hemp ought to be white, dry, and of a long and fine
fibre. This is known at Manila by the name of lupis; the second quality
they call bandala.

That which is brought to the United States is principally manufactured
in or near Boston, and is the cordage known as "white rope." The cordage
manufactured at Manila is, however, very superior to the rope made with
us, although the hemp is of the inferior kind. A large quantity is also
manufactured into mats.

In the opinion of our botanist, it is not probable that the plant could
be introduced with success into our country, for in the Philippines it
is not found north of latitude 14° N.

The coffee-plant is well adapted to these islands. A few plants were
introduced into the gardens of Manila about fifty years ago, since which
time it has been spread all over the island, as is supposed, by the
civet-cats, which, after swallowing the seeds, carry them to a distance
before they are voided.

The coffee of commerce is obtained here from the wild plant, and is of
an excellent quality. Upwards of three thousand five hundred piculs are
now exported, of which one-sixth goes to the United States.

The sugar-cane thrives well here. It is planted after the French
fashion, by sticking the piece diagonally into the ground. Some, finding
the cane has suffered in times of drought, have adopted other modes. It
comes to perfection in a year, and they seldom have two crops from the
same piece of land, unless the season is very favourable.

There are many kinds of cane cultivated, but that grown in the valley of
Pampanga is thought to be the best. It is a small, red variety, from
four to five feet high, and not thicker than the thumb. The manufacture
of the sugar is rudely conducted; and the whole business, I was told,
was in the hands of a few capitalists, who, by making advances, secure
the whole crop from those who are employed to bring it to market. It is
generally brought in moulds of the usual conical shape, called pilones,
which are delivered to the purchaser from November to June, and contain
each about one hundred and fifty pounds. On their receipt they are
placed in large storehouses, where the familiar operation of claying is
performed. The estimate for the quantity of sugar from these pilones
after this process is about one hundred pounds; it depends upon the care
taken in the process.

Of cotton they raise a considerable quantity, and principally of the
yellow nankeen. In the province of Ylocos it is cultivated most
extensively. The mode of cleaning it of its seed is very rude, by means
of a hand-mill, and the expense of cleaning a picul (one hundred and
forty pounds) is from five to seven dollars. There have, as far as I
have understood, been no endeavours to introduce any cotton-gins from
our country.

It will be merely necessary to give the prices at which labourers are
paid to show how the compensation is in comparison with that in our
country. In the vicinity of Manila, twelve and a half cents per day is
the usual wages; this in the provinces falls to six and nine cents. A
man with two buffaloes is paid about thirty cents. The amount of labour
performed by the latter in a day would be the ploughing of a soane,
about two-tenths of an acre. The most profitable way of employing
labourers is by the task, when, it is said, the natives work well, and
are industrious.

The manner in which the sugar and other produce is brought to market at
Manila is peculiar, and deserves to be mentioned. In some of the
villages the chief men unite to build a vessel, generally a pirogue, in
which they embark their produce, under the conduct of a few persons, who
go to navigate it, and dispose of the cargo. In due time they make their
voyage, and when the accounts are settled, the returns are distributed
to each according to his share. Festivities are then held, the saints
thanked for their kindness, and blessings invoked for another year.
After this is over, the vessel is taken carefully to pieces, and
distributed among the owners, to be preserved for the next season.

The profits in the crops, according to estimates, vary from sixty to one
hundred per cent.; but it was thought, as a general average, that this
was, notwithstanding the great productiveness of the soil, far beyond
the usual profits accruing from agricultural operations. In some
provinces this estimate would hold good, and probably be exceeded.

Indigo would probably be a lucrative crop, for that raised here is said
to be of a quality equal to the best, and the crop is not subject to so
many uncertainties as in India: the capital and attention required in
vats, etc., prevent it from being raised in any quantities. Among the
productions, the bamboo and rattan ought to claim a particular notice
from their great utility: they enter into almost everything. Of the
former their houses are built, including frames, floors, sides, and
roof; fences are made of the same material, as well as every article of
general household use, including baskets for oil and water. The rattan
is a general substitute for ropes of all descriptions, and the two
combined are used in constructing rafts for crossing ferries.

The crops frequently suffer from the ravages of the locusts, which sweep
all before them. Fortunately for the poorer classes, their attacks take
place after the rice has been harvested; but the cane is sometimes
entirely cut off. The authorities of Manila, in the vain hope of
stopping their devastations, employ persons to gather them and throw
them into the sea. I understood on one occasion they had spent eighty
thousand dollars in this way, but all to little purpose. It is said that
the crops rarely suffer from droughts, but on the contrary the rains are
thought to fall too often and to flood the rice fields; these, however,
yield a novel crop, and are very advantageous to the poor, viz.: a great
quantity of fish, which are called dalag, and are a species of Blunnius;
they are so plentiful that they are caught with baskets; these fish
weigh from a half to two pounds, and some are said to be eighteen inches
long; but this is not all; they are said, after a deep inundation, to
be found even in the vaults of churches.

The Philippines are divided into thirty-one provinces, sixteen of which
are on the island of Luzon, and the remainder comprise the other islands
of the group and the Ladrones.

The population of the whole group is above three millions, including all
tribes of natives, mestizoes, and whites. The latter-named class are but
few in number, not exceeding three thousand. The mestizoes were supposed
to be about fifteen or twenty thousand; they are distinguished as
Spanish and Indian mestizoes. The Chinese have of late years increased
to a large number, and it is said that there are forty thousand of them
in and around Manila alone. One-half of the whole population belongs to
Luzon. The island next to it in number of inhabitants is Panay, which
contains about three hundred and thirty thousand. Then come Zebu,
Mindanao, Leyte, Samar, and Negros, varying from the above numbers down
to fifty thousand. The population is increasing, and it is thought that
it doubles itself in seventy years. This rate of increase appears
probable, from a comparison of the present population with the estimate
made at the beginning of the present century, which shows a growth in
forty years of about one million four hundred thousand.

The native population is composed of a number of distinct tribes, the
principal of which in Luzon are Pangarihan, Ylocos, Cagayan, Tagala,
and Pampangan.

The Irogotes, who dwell in the mountains, are the only natives who have
not been subjected by the Spaniards. The other tribes have become
identified with their rulers in religion, and it is thought that by this
circumstance alone has Spain been able to maintain the ascendency, with
so small a number, over such a numerous, intelligent, and energetic race
as they are represented to be. This is, however, more easily accounted
for, from the Spaniards fostering and keeping alive the jealousy and
hatred that existed at the time of the discovery between the different

It seems almost incredible that Spain should have so long persisted in
the policy of allowing no more than one galleon to pass annually between
her colonies, and equally so that the nations of Europe should have been
so long deceived in regard to the riches and wealth that Spain was
monopolizing in the Philippines. The capture of Manila, in 1762, by the
English, first gave a clear idea of the value of this remote and
little-known appendage of the empire.

The Philippines, considered in their capacity for commerce, are
certainly among the most favoured portions of the globe, and there is
but one circumstance that tends in the least degree to lessen their
apparent advantage; this is the prevalence of typhoons in the China
seas, which are occasionally felt with force to the north of latitude
10° N. South of that parallel they have never been known to prevail, and
seldom so far; but from their unfailing occurrence yearly in some part
of the China seas, they are looked for with more or less dread, and
cause each season a temporary interruption in all the trade that passes
along the coast of these islands.

The army is now composed entirely of native troops, who number about six
thousand men, and the regiments are never suffered to serve in the
provinces in which they are recruited, but those from the north are sent
to the south, and vice versa. There they are employed to keep a
continual watch on each other; and, speaking different dialects, they
never become identified.

They are, indeed, never allowed to remain long enough in one region to
imbibe any feelings in unison with those of its inhabitants. The
hostility is so great among the regiments that mutinies have occurred,
and contests arisen which have produced even bloodshed, which it was
entirely out of the power of the officers to prevent. In cases of this
kind, summary punishment is resorted to.

Although the Spaniards, as far as is known abroad, live in peace and
quiet, this is far from being the case; for rebellion and revolts among
the troops and tribes are not unfrequent in the provinces. During the
time of our visit one of these took place, but it was impossible to
learn anything concerning it that could be relied upon, for all
conversation respecting such occurrences is interdicted by the
government. The difficulty to which I refer was said to have originated
from the preaching of a fanatic priest, who inflamed them to such a
degree that they overthrew the troops and became temporarily masters of
the country. Prompt measures were immediately taken, and orders issued
to give the rebels no quarter; the regiments most hostile to those in
the revolt were ordered to the spot; they spared no one; the priest and
his companions were taken, put to death, and according to report, in a
manner so cruel as to be a disgrace to the records of the nineteenth
century. Although I should hope the accounts I heard of these
transactions were incorrect, yet the detestation these acts were held in
would give some colour to the statements.

The few gazettes that are published at Manila are entirely under the
control of the government; and a resident of that city must make up his
mind to remain in ignorance of the things that are passing around him,
or believe just what the authorities will allow to be told, whether
truth or falsehood. The government of the Philippines is emphatically an
iron rule; how long can it continue so is doubtful.

The natives of the Philippines are industrious. They manufacture an
amount of goods sufficient to supply their own wants, particularly from
Panay and Ylocos. These, for the most part, consist of cotton and silks,
and a peculiar article called pina. The latter is manufactured from a
species of Bromelia (pine-apple), and comes principally from the island
of Panay. The finest kinds of pina are exceedingly beautiful and surpass
any other material in its evenness and beauty of texture. Its colour is
yellowish, and the embroidery is fully equal to the material. It is much
sought after by all strangers, and considered as one of the curiosities
of this group. Various reports have been stated of the mode of its
manufacture, and among others that it was woven under water, which I
found, upon inquiry, to be quite erroneous. The web of the pina is so
fine that they are obliged to prevent all currents of air from passing
through the rooms where it is manufactured, for which purpose there are
gauze screens in the windows. After the article is brought to Manila, it
is then embroidered by girls; this last operation adds greatly to its

The market is a never-failing place of amusement to a foreigner; for
there a crowd of the common people is always to be seen, and their mode
of conducting business may be observed. The canals here afford great
facilities for bringing vegetables and produce to market in a fresh
state. The vegetables are chiefly brought from the shores of the Laguna
de Bay, through the river Pasig. The meat appeared inferior, and as in
all Spanish places the art of butchering is not understood. The
poultry, however, surpasses that of any other place I have seen,
particularly in ducks, the breeding of which is pursued to a great
extent. Establishments for breeding these birds are here carried on in a
systematic manner, and are a great curiosity. They consist of many small
enclosures, each about twenty feet by forty or fifty, made of bamboo,
which are placed on the bank of the river, and partly covered with
water. In one corner of the enclosure is a small house, where the eggs
are hatched by artificial heat, produced by rice-chaff in a state of
fermentation. It is not uncommon to see six or eight hundred ducklings
all of the same age. There are several hundreds of these enclosures, and
the number of ducks of all ages may be computed at millions. The manner
in which they are schooled to take exercise, and to go in and out of the
water, and to return to their house, almost exceeds belief. The keepers
or tenders are of the Tagala tribe, who live near the enclosures, and
have them at all times under their eye. The old birds are not suffered
to approach the young, and all of one age are kept together. They are
fed upon rice and a small species of shell-fish that is found in the
river and is peculiar to it. From the extent of these establishments we
inferred that ducks were the favourite article of food at Manila, and
the consumption of them must be immense. The markets are well supplied
with chickens, pigeons, young partridges, which are brought in alive,
and turkeys. Among strange articles that we saw for sale were cakes of
coagulated blood. The markets are well stocked with a variety of fish,
taken both in the Laguna and bay of Manila, affording a supply of both
the fresh and salt water species, and many smaller kinds that are dried
and smoked. Vegetables are in great plenty, and consist of pumpkins,
lettuce, onions, radishes, very long squashes, etc.; of fruits they have
melons, chicos, durians, marbolas, and oranges.

Fish are caught in weirs, by the hook, or in seines. The former are
constructed of bamboo stakes, in the shallow water of the lake, at the
point where it flows through the river Pasig. In the bay, and at the
mouth of the river, the fish are taken in nets, suspended by the four
corners from hoops attached to a crane, by which they are lowered into
the water. The fishing-boats are little better than rafts, and are
called saraboas.

The usual passage-boat is termed banca, and is made of a single trunk.
These are very much used by the inhabitants. They have a sort of awning
to protect the passenger from the rays of the sun; and being light are
easily rowed about, although they are exceedingly uncomfortable to sit
in, from the lowness of the seats, and liable to overset if the weight
is not placed near the bottom. The out-rigger has in all probability
been dispensed with, owing to the impediment it offered to the
navigation of their canals; these canals offer great facilities for the
transportation of burdens; the banks of almost all of them are faced
with granite. Where the streets cross them, there are substantial stone
bridges, which are generally of no more than one arch, so as not to
impede the navigation. The barges used for the transportation of produce
resemble our canal-boats, and have sliding roofs to protect them from
the rain.

Water for the supply of vessels is brought off in large earthen jars. It
is obtained from the river, and if care is not taken, the water will be
impure; it ought to be filled beyond the city. Our supply was obtained
five or six miles up the river by a lighter, in which were placed a
number of water-casks. It proved excellent.

The country around Manila, though no more than an extended plain for
some miles, is one of great interest and beauty, and affords many
agreeable rides on the roads to Santa Anna and Maraquino. Most of the
country-seats are situated on the river Pasig; they may indeed be called
palaces, from their extent and appearance. They are built upon a grand
scale, and after the Italian style, with terraces, supported by strong
abutments, decked with vases of plants. The grounds are ornamented with
the luxuriant, lofty, and graceful trees of the tropics; these are
tolerably well kept. Here and there fine large stone churches, with
their towers and steeples, are to be seen, the whole giving the
impression of a wealthy nobility and a happy and flourishing peasantry.



     [In 1864 Professor Josiah Dwight Whitney, State Geologist of
     California, sent a band of five explorers for a summer's
     campaign in the high Sierras. Clarence King was assistant
     geologist of the party; he recounted their researches and
     adventures in "Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada,"
     published in 1871 by J. R. Osgood & Co., Boston; three years
     later the same firm issued an enlarged edition with maps.
     "The Ascent of Mount Tyndall," the third chapter of the book,
     is one of the most thrilling stories of adventure ever
     written. Clarence King suggested and organized the United
     States Geological Survey, and was its director 1878-81. He
     died in 1901.]

Morning dawned brightly upon our bivouac among a cluster of dark firs in
the mountain corridor, opened by an ancient glacier of King's River in
the heart of the Sierras. It dawned a trifle sooner than we could have
wished, but Professor Brewer and Hoffman had breakfasted before sunrise,
and were off with barometer and theodolite upon their shoulders,
proposing to ascend our amphitheatre to its head and climb a great
pyramidal peak which swelled up against the eastern sky, closing the
view in that direction.

We, who remained in camp, spent the day in overhauling campaign
materials and preparing for a grand assault upon the summits. For a
couple of hours we could descry our friends through the field-glasses,
their minute black forms moving slowly on among piles of giant débris;
now and then lost, again coming into view, and at last disappearing

It was twilight of evening and almost eight o'clock when they came back
to camp, Brewer leading the way, Hoffman following; and as they sat down
by our fire without uttering a word we read upon their faces terrible

So we hastened to give them supper of coffee and soup, bread and
venison, which resulted, after a time, in our getting in return the
story of the day.

For eight whole hours they had worked up over granite and snow, mounting
ridge after ridge, till the summit was made about two o'clock.

These snowy crests bounding our view at the eastward we had all along
taken to be the summits of the Sierra, and Brewer had supposed himself
to be climbing a dominant peak, from which he might look eastward over
Owen's Valley and out upon leagues of desert. Instead of this a vast
wall of mountains, lifted still higher than his peak, rose beyond a
tremendous cañon which lay like a trough between the two parallel ranks
of peaks. Hoffman showed us on his sketch-book the profile of this new
range, and I instantly recognized the peaks which I had seen from
Mariposa, whose great white pile had led me to believe them the highest
points of California.

For a couple of months my friends had made me the target of plenty of
pleasant banter about my "highest land," which they lost faith in as we
climbed from Thomas's Mill,--I too becoming a trifle anxious about it;
but now the truth had burst upon Brewer and Hoffman they could not find
words to describe the terribleness and grandeur of the deep cañon, nor
for picturing those huge crags towering in line at the east. Their peak,
as indicated by the barometer, was in the region of 13,400 feet, and a
level across to the farther range showed its crests to be at least 1,500
feet higher. They had spent hours upon the summit scanning the eastern
horizon, and ranging downward into the labyrinth of gulfs below, and had
come at last with reluctance to the belief that to cross this gorge and
ascend the eastern wall of peaks was utterly impossible.

Brewer and Hoffman were old climbers, and their verdict of impossible
opposed me as I lay awake thinking about it; but early next morning I
had made up my mind, and, taking Cotter aside, I asked him in an easy
manner whether he would like to penetrate the Unknown Land with me at
the risk of our necks, provided Brewer should consent. In frank,
courageous tone he answered after his usual mode, "Why not?" Stout of
limb, stronger yet in heart, of iron endurance, and a quiet, unexcited
temperament, and, better yet, deeply devoted to me, I felt that Cotter
was the one comrade I would choose to face death with, for I believed
there was in his manhood no room for fear or shirk.

It was a trying moment for Brewer when we found him and volunteered to
attempt a campaign for the top of California, because he felt a certain
fatherly responsibility over our youth, a natural desire that we should
not deposit our triturated remains in some undiscoverable hole among the
feldspathic granites; but, like a true disciple of science, this was at
last overbalanced by his intense desire to know more of the unexplored
region. He freely confessed that he believed the plan madness, and
Hoffman, too, told us we might as well attempt to get on a cloud as to
try the peak.

As Brewer gradually yielded his consent, I saw by his conversation that
there was a possibility of success; so we spent the rest of the day in
making preparations.

Our walking shoes were in excellent condition, the hobnails firm and
new. We laid out a barometer, a compass, a pocket-level, a set of wet
and dry thermometers, note-books, with bread, cooked beans, and venison
enough to last a week, rolled them all in blankets, making two
knapsack-shaped packs strapped firmly together with loops for the arms,
which, by Brewer's estimate, weighed forty pounds apiece.

Gardner declared he would accompany us to the summit of the first range
to look over into the gulf we were to cross, and at last Brewer and
Hoffman also concluded to go up with us.

Quite too early for our profit we all betook ourselves to bed, vainly
hoping to get a long refreshing sleep from which we should rise ready
for our tramp.

Never a man welcomed those first gray streaks in the east gladder than I
did, unless it may be Cotter, who has in later years confessed that he
did not go to sleep that night. Long before sunrise we had done our
breakfast and were under way, Hoffman kindly bearing my pack, and Brewer

Our way led due east up the amphitheatre and toward Mount Brewer, as we
had named the great pyramidal peak.

Awhile after leaving camp, slant sunlight streamed in among gilded
pinnacles along the slope of Mount Brewer, touching here and there, in
broad dashes of yellow, the gray walls, which rose sweeping up on either
side like the sides of a ship.

Our way along the valley's middle ascended over a number of huge steps,
rounded and abrupt, at whose bases were pools of transparent snow-water
edged with rude piles of erratic glacier blocks, scattered companies of
alpine firs, of red bark and having cypress-like darkness of foliage,
with fields of snow under sheltering cliffs, and bits of softest velvet
meadow clouded with minute blue and white flowers.

As we climbed, the gorge grew narrow and sharp, both sides wilder; and
the spurs which projected from them, nearly overhanging the middle of
the valley, towered above us with more and more severe sculpture. We
frequently crossed deep fields of snow, and at last reached the level
of the highest pines, where long slopes of débris swept down from either
cliff, meeting in the middle. Over and among these immense blocks, often
twenty and thirty feet high, we were obliged to climb, hearing far below
us the subterranean gurgle of streams.

Interlocking spurs nearly closed the gorge behind us; our last view was
out a granite gateway formed of two nearly vertical precipices,
sharp-edged, jutting buttress-like, and plunging down into a field of
angular boulders which fill the valley bottom.

The eye ranged out from this open gateway overlooking the great King's
Cañon with its moraine-terraced walls, the domes of granite upon Big
Meadows, and the undulating stretch of forest which descends to the

The gorge turning southward, we rounded a sort of mountain promontory,
which, closing the view behind us, shut us up in the bottom of a perfect
basin. In front lay a placid lake reflecting the intense black-blue of
the sky. Granite, stained with purple and red, sank into it upon one
side, and a broad spotless field of snow came down to its margin on the

From a pile of large granite blocks, forty or fifty feet up above the
lake margin, we could look down fully a hundred feet through the
transparent water to where boulders and pebbles were strewn upon the
stone bottom. We had now reached the base of Mount Brewer and were
skirting its southern spurs in a wide open corridor surrounded in all
directions by lofty granite crags from two to four thousand feet high;
above the limits of vegetation, rocks, lakes of deep heavenly blue, and
white trackless snows were grouped closely about us. Two sounds, a sharp
little cry of martens and occasional heavy crashes of falling rock,
saluted us.

Climbing became exceedingly difficult, light air--for we had already
reached 12,500 feet--beginning to tell on our lungs to such an extent
that my friend, who had taken turns with me in carrying my pack, was
unable to do so any longer, and I adjusted it to my own shoulders for
the rest of the day.

After four hours of slow laborious work we made the base of the débris
slope which rose about a thousand feet to a saddle pass in the western
mountain wall, that range upon which Mount Brewer is so prominent a
point. We were nearly an hour in toiling up this slope over an uncertain
footing which gave way at almost every step. At last, when almost at the
top, we paused to take breath, and then all walked out upon the crest,
laid off our packs, and sat down together upon the summit of the ridge,
and for a few minutes not a word was spoken.

The Sierras are here two parallel summit ranges. We were upon the crest
of the western range, and looked down into a gulf 5,000 feet deep,
sinking from our feet in abrupt cliffs nearly or quite 2,000 feet, whose
base plunged into a broad field of snow lying steep and smooth for a
great distance, but broken near its foot by craggy steps often a
thousand feet high.

Vague blue haze obscured the lost depths, hiding details, giving a
bottomless distance out of which, like the breath of wind, floated up a
faint treble, vibrating upon the senses, yet never clearly heard.

Rising on the other side, cliff above cliff, precipice piled upon
precipice, rock over rock, up against sky, towered the most gigantic
mountain-wall in America, culminating in a noble pile of gothic-finished
granite and enamel-like snow. How grand and inviting looked its white
form, its untrodden, unknown crest, so high and pure in the clear strong
blue! I looked at it as one contemplating the purpose of his life; and
for just one moment I would have rather liked to dodge that purpose, or
to have waited, or to have found some excellent reason why I might not
go; but all this quickly vanished, leaving a cheerful resolve to go

From the two opposing mountain-walls singular, thin, knife-blade ridges
of stone jutted out, dividing the sides of the gulf into a series of
amphitheatres, each one a labyrinth of ice and rock. Piercing thick beds
of snow, sprang up knobs and straight isolated spires of rock, mere
obelisks curiously carved by frost, their rigid slender forms casting a
blue, sharp shadow upon the snow. Embosomed in depressions of ice, or
resting on broken ledges, were azure lakes, deeper in tone than the
sky, which at this altitude, even at midday, has a violet duskiness.

To the south, not more than eight miles, a wall of peaks stood across
the gulf, dividing the King's, which flowed north at our feet, from the
Kern River, that flowed down the trough in the opposite direction.

I did not wonder that Brewer and Hoffman pronounced our undertaking
impossible; but when I looked at Cotter there was such complete bravery
in his eye that I asked him if he were ready to start. His old answer,
"Why not?," left the initiative with me; so I told Professor Brewer that
we would bid him good-bye. Our friends helped us on with our packs in
silence, and as we shook hands there was not a dry eye in the party.
Before he let go of my hand Professor Brewer asked me for my plan, and I
had to own that I had but one, which was to reach the highest peak in
the range.

After looking in every direction I was obliged to confess that I saw as
yet no practicable way. We bade them a "good-bye," receiving their "God
bless you" in return, and started southward along the range to look for
some possible cliff to descend. Brewer, Gardner, and Hoffman turned
north to push upward to the summit of Mount Brewer, and complete their
observations. We saw them whenever we halted, until at last, on the very
summit, their microscopic forms were for the last time visible. With
very great difficulty we climbed a peak which surmounted our wall just
to the south of the pass, and, looking over the eastern brink, found
that the precipice was still sheer and unbroken. In one place, where the
snow lay against it to the very top, we went to its edge and
contemplated the slide. About three thousand feet of unbroken white, at
a fearfully steep angle, lay below us. We threw a stone over it and
watched it bound until it was lost in the distance; after fearful leaps
we could only detect it by the flashings of snow where it struck, and as
these were in some instances three hundred feet apart, we decided not to
launch our own valuable bodies, and the still more precious barometer,
after it.

There seemed but one possible way to reach our goal; that was to make
our way along the summit of the cross ridge which projected between the
two ranges. This divide sprang out from our Mount Brewer wall, about
four miles to the south of us. To reach it we must climb up and down
over the indented edge of the Mount Brewer wall. In attempting to do
this we had a rather lively time scaling a sharp granite needle, where
we found our course completely stopped by precipices four and five
hundred feet in height. Ahead of us the summit continued to be broken
into fantastic pinnacles, leaving us no hope of making our way along it;
so we sought the most broken part of the eastern descent, and began to
climb down. The heavy knapsacks, besides wearing our shoulders gradually
into a black-and-blue state, overbalanced us terribly, and kept us in
constant danger of pitching headlong. At last, taking them off, Cotter
climbed down until he found a resting-place upon a cleft of rock, then I
lowered them to him with our lasso, afterwards descending cautiously to
his side, taking my turn in pioneering downward, receiving the freight
of knapsacks as before. In this manner we consumed more that half the
afternoon in descending a thousand feet of broken, precipitous slope;
and it was almost sunset when we found ourselves upon fields of level
snow which lay white and thick over the whole interior slope of the
amphitheatre. The gorge below us seemed utterly impassable. At our backs
the Mount Brewer wall either rose in sheer cliffs or in broken, rugged
stairway, such as had offered us our descent. From this cruel dilemma
the cross divide furnished the only hope, and the sole chance of scaling
that was at its junction with the Mount Brewer wall. Toward this point
we directed our course, marching wearily over stretches of dense frozen
snow, and regions of débris, reaching about sunset the last alcove of
the amphitheatre, just at the foot of the Mount Brewer wall. It was
evidently impossible for us to attempt to climb it that evening, and we
looked about the desolate recesses for a sheltered camping-spot. A high
granite wall surrounded us upon three sides, recurring to the southward
in long elliptical curves; no part of the summit being less than 2,000
feet above us, the higher crags not infrequently reaching 3,000 feet. A
single field of snow swept around the base of the rock, and covered the
whole amphitheatre, except where a few spikes and rounded masses of
granite rose through it, and where two frozen lakes, with their blue
ice-disks, broke the monotonous surface. Through the white snow-gate of
our amphitheatre, as through a frame, we looked eastward upon the summit
group; not a tree, not a vestige of vegetation in sight,--sky, snow, and
granite the only elements in this wild picture.

After searching for a shelter we at last found a granite crevice near
the margin of one of the frozen lakes,--a sort of shelf just large
enough for Cotter and me,--where we hastened to make our bed, having
first filled the canteen from a small stream that trickled over the ice,
knowing that in a few moments the rapid chill would freeze it. We ate
our supper of cold venison and bread, and whittled from the sides of the
wooden barometer case shaving enough to warm water for a cup of
miserably tepid tea, and then, packing our provisions and instruments
away at the head of the shelf, rolled ourselves in our blankets and lay
down to enjoy the view.

After such fatiguing exercises the mind has an almost abnormal
clearness: whether this is wholly from within, or due to the intensely
vitalizing mountain air, I am not sure; probably both contribute to the
state of exaltation in which all alpine climbers find themselves. The
solid granite gave me a luxurious repose, and I lay on the edge of our
little rock niche and watched the strange yet brilliant scene.

All the snow of our recess lay in the shadow of the high granite wall to
the west, but the Kern divide which curved around us from the southeast
was in full light; its broken sky-line, battlemented and adorned with
innumerable rough-hewn spires and pinnacles, was a mass of glowing
orange intensely defined against the deep violet sky. At the open end of
our horseshoe amphitheatre, to the east, its floor of snow rounded over
in a smooth brink, overhanging precipices which sank 2,000 feet into the
King's Cañon. Across the gulf rose the whole procession of summit peaks,
their lower half rooted in a deep sombre shadow cast by the western
wall, the heights bathed in a warm purple haze, in which the irregular
marbling of snow burned with a pure crimson light. A few fleecy clouds,
dyed fiery orange, drifted slowly eastward across the narrow zone of sky
which stretched from summit to summit like a roof. At times the sound of
waterfalls, faint and mingled with echoes, floated up through the still
air. The snow near by lay in cold ghastly shade, warmed here and there
in strange flashes by light reflected downward from drifting clouds. The
sombre waste about us; the deep violet vault overhead; those far
summits, glowing with reflected rose; the deep impenetrable gloom which
filled the gorge, and slowly and with vapour-like stealth climbed the
mountain wall, extinguishing the red light, combined to produce an
effect which may not be described; nor can I more than hint at the
contrast between the brilliancy of the scene under full light, and the
cold, death-like repose which followed when the wan cliffs and pallid
snow were all overshadowed with ghostly gray.

A sudden chill enveloped us. Stars in a moment crowded through the dark
heaven, flashing with a frosty splendour. The snow congealed, the brooks
ceased to flow, and, under the powerful sudden leverage of frost,
immense blocks were dislodged all along the mountain summits and came
thundering down the slopes, booming upon the ice, dashing wildly upon
rocks. Under the lee of our shelf we felt quite safe, but neither Cotter
nor I could help being startled, and jumping just a little, as these
missiles, weighing often many tons, struck the ledge over our heads and
whizzed down the gorge, their stroke resounding fainter and fainter,
until at last only a confused echo reached us.

The thermometer at nine o'clock marked twenty degrees above zero. We set
the "minimum" and rolled ourselves together for the night. The longer I
lay the less I liked that shelf of granite; it grew hard in time, and
cold also, my bones seeming to approach actual contact with the chilled
rock; moreover, I found that even so vigorous a circulation as mine was
not enough to warm up the ledge to anything like a comfortable
temperature. A single thickness of blanket is a better mattress than
none, but the larger crystals of orthoclase, protruding plentifully,
punched my back and caused me to revolve on a horizontal axis with
precision and accuracy. How I loved Cotter! how I hugged him and got
warm, while our backs gradually petrified, till we whirled over and
thawed them out together! The slant of that bed was diagonal and
excessive; down it we slid till the ice chilled us awake, and we crawled
back and chocked ourselves up with bits of granite inserted under my
ribs and shoulders. In this pleasant position we got dozing again, and
there stole over me a most comfortable ease. The granite softened
perceptibly. I was delightfully warm and sank into an industrious
slumber which lasted with great soundness until four, when we arose and
ate our breakfast of frozen venison.

The thermometer stood at two above zero; everything was frozen tight
except the canteen, which we had prudently kept between us all night.
Stars still blazed brightly, and the moon, hidden from us by western
cliffs, shone in pale reflection upon the rocky heights to the east,
which rose, dimly white, up from the impenetrable shadows of the cañon.
Silence,--cold, ghastly dimness, in which loomed huge forms,--the biting
frostiness of the air, wrought upon our feelings as we shouldered our
packs and started with slow pace to climb up the "divide."

Soon, to our dismay, we found the straps had so chafed our shoulders
that the weight gave us great pain, and obliged us to pad them with our
handkerchiefs and extra socks, which remedy did not wholly relieve us
from the constant wearing pain of the heavy load.

Directing our steps southward toward a niche in the wall which bounded
us only half a mile distant, we travelled over a continuous snow-field
frozen so densely as scarcely to yield at all to our tread, at the same
time compressing enough to make that crisp frosty sound which we all
used to enjoy even before we knew from the books that it had something
to do with the severe name of regelation.

As we advanced, the snow sloped more and more steeply up toward the
crags, till by and by it became quite dangerous, causing us to cut steps
with Cotter's large bowie-knife,--a slow, tedious operation, requiring
patience of a pretty permanent kind. In this way we spent a quiet social
hour or so. The sun had not yet reached us, being shut out by the high
amphitheatre wall; but its cheerful light reflected downward from a
number of higher crags, filling the recess with the brightness of day,
and putting out of existence those shadows which so sombrely darkened
the earlier hours. To look back when we stopped to rest was to realize
our danger,--that smooth, swift slope of ice carrying the eye down a
thousand feet to the margin of a frozen mirror of ice; ribs and needles
of rocks piercing up through the snow, so closely grouped that, had we
fallen, a miracle only might have saved us from being dashed. This led
to rather deeper steps, and greater care that our burdens should be
held more nearly over the centre of gravity, and a pleasant relief when
we got to the top of the snow and sat down on a block of granite to
breathe and look up in search of a way up the thousand-foot cliff of
broken surface, among the lines of fracture and the galleries winding
along the face.

It would have disheartened us to gaze up the hard sheer front of
precipices, and search among splintered projections, crevices, shelves,
and snow patches for an inviting route, had we not been animated by a
faith that the mountains could not defy us.

Choosing what looked like the least impossible way, we started; but,
finding it unsafe to work with packs on, resumed the yesterday's
plan,--Cotter taking the lead, climbing about fifty feet ahead, and
hoisting up the knapsacks and barometer as I tied them to the end of the
lasso. Constantly closing up in hopeless difficulty before us, the way
opened again and again to our gymnastics, till we stood together on a
mere shelf, not more than two feet wide, which led diagonally up the
smooth cliff. Edging along in careful steps, our backs flattened upon
the granite, we moved slowly to a broad platform, where we stopped for

There was no foothold above us. Looking down over the course we had
come, it seemed, and I really believe it was, an impossible descent for
one can climb upward with safety where he cannot downward. To turn back
was to give up in defeat; and, we sat at least half an hour, suggesting
all possible routes to the summit, accepting none, and feeling
disheartened. About thirty feet directly over our heads was another
shelf, which, if we could reach, seemed to offer at least a temporary
way upward. On its edge were two or three spikes of granite; whether
firmly connected with the cliff, or merely blocks of débris, we could
not tell from below. I said to Cotter, I thought of but one possible
plan: it was to lasso one of these blocks, and to climb, sailor-fashion,
hand over hand, up the rope. In the lasso I had perfect confidence, for
I had seen more than one Spanish bull throw his whole weight against it
without parting a strand. The shelf was so narrow that throwing the coil
of rope was a very difficult undertaking. I tried three times, and
Cotter spent five minutes vainly whirling the loop up at the granite
spikes. At last I made a lucky throw, and it tightened upon one of the
smaller protuberances. I drew the noose close, and very gradually threw
my hundred and fifty pounds upon the rope; then Cotter joined me, and,
for a moment, we both hung our united weight upon it. Whether the rock
moved slightly or whether the lasso stretched a little we were unable to
decide; but the trial must be made, and I began to climb slowly. The
smooth precipice-face against which my body swung offered no foothold,
and the whole climb had therefore to be done by the arms, an effort
requiring all one's determination. When about half way up I was obliged
to rest, and, curling my feet in the rope, managed to relieve my arms
for a moment. In this position I could not resist the fascinating
temptation of a survey downward.

Straight down, nearly a thousand feet below, at the foot of the rocks,
began the snow, whose steep, roof-like slope, exaggerated into an almost
vertical angle, curved down in a long white field, broken far away by
rocks and polished, round lakes of ice.

Cotter looked up cheerfully and asked how I was making it; to which I
answered that I had plenty of wind left. At that moment, when hanging
between heaven and earth, it was a deep satisfaction to look down at the
wide gulf of desolation beneath, and up to unknown dangers ahead, and
feel my nerves cool and unshaken.

A few pulls hand over hand brought me to the edge of the shelf, when,
throwing my arm around the granite spike. I swung my body upon the shelf
and lay down to rest, shouting to Cotter that I was all right, and that
the prospects upward were capital. After a few moments' breathing I
looked over the brink and directed my comrade to tie the barometer to
the lower end of the lasso, which he did, and that precious instrument
was hoisted to my station, and the lasso sent down twice for knapsacks,
after which Cotter came up the rope in his very muscular way without
once stopping to rest. We took our loads in our hands, swinging the
barometer over my shoulder, and climbed up a shelf which led in a
zig-zag direction upward and to the south, bringing us out at last upon
the thin blade of a ridge which connected a short distance above the
summit. It was formed of huge blocks, shattered, and ready, at a touch,
to fall.

So narrow and sharp was the upper slope, that we dared not walk, but got
astride, and worked slowly along with our hands, pushing the knapsacks
in advance, now and then holding our breath when loose masses rocked
under our weight.

Once upon the summit, a grand view burst upon us. Hastening to step upon
the crest of the divide, which was never more than ten feet wide,
frequently sharpened to a mere blade, we looked down upon the other
side, and were astonished to find we had ascended the gentler slope, and
that the rocks fell from our feet in almost vertical precipices for a
thousand feet or more. A glance along the summit toward the highest
group showed us that any advance in that direction was impossible, for
the thin ridge was gashed down in notches three or four hundred feet
deep, forming a procession of pillars, obelisks, and blocks piled upon
each other, and looking terribly insecure.

We then deposited our knapsacks in a safe place, and, finding that it
was already noon, determined to rest a little while and take a lunch at
over 13,000 feet above the sea.

West of us stretched the Mount Brewer wall with its succession of
smooth precipices and amphitheatre ridges. To the north the great gorge
of the King's River yawned down 5,000 feet. To the south, the valley of
the Kern, opening in the opposite direction, was broader, less deep, but
more filled with broken masses of granite. Clustered about the foot of
the divide were a dozen alpine lakes; the higher ones blue sheets of
ice, the lowest completely melted. Still lower in the depths of the two
cañons we could see groups of forest trees; but they were so dim and so
distant as never to relieve the prevalent masses of rock and snow. Our
divide cast its shadow for a mile down King's Cañon in dark-blue profile
upon the broad sheets of sunny snow, from whose brightness the hard
splintered cliffs caught reflections and wore an aspect of joy.
Thousands of rills poured from the melting snow, filling the air with a
musical tinkle as of many accordant bells. The Kern Valley opened below
us with its smooth oval outline, the work of extinct glaciers, whose
form and extent were evident from worn cliff surface and rounded wall;
snow-fields, relics of the former _neve_ [glacier snow] hung in white
tapestries around its ancient birthplace; and, as far as we could see,
the broad, corrugated valley, for a breadth of fully ten miles, shone
with burnishings wherever its granite surface was not covered with
lakelets or thickets of alpine vegetation.

Through a deep cut in the Mount Brewer wall we gained our first view to
the westward, and saw in the distance the wall of the South King's
Cañon, and the granite point which Cotter and I had climbed a fortnight
before. But for the haze we might have seen the plain; for above its
farther limit were several points of the Coast Ranges, isolated like
islands in the sea.

The view was so grand, the mountain colours so brilliant, immense
snow-fields and blue alpine lakes so charming, that we almost forgot we
were ever to move, and it was only after a swift hour of this delight
that we began to consider our future course.

The King's Cañon, which headed against our wall, seemed
untraversable,--no human being could climb along the divide; we had then
but one hope of reaching the peak, and our greatest difficulty lay at
the start. If we could climb down to the Kern side of the divide, and
succeed in reaching the base of the precipices which fell from our feet,
it really looked as if we might travel without difficulty among the
rocks to the other side of the Kern Valley, and make our attempt upon
the southward flank of the great peak. One look at the sublime white
giant decided us. We looked down over the precipice, and at first could
see no method of descent. Then we went back and looked at the road we
had come up, to see if that were not possibly as bad; but the broken
surface of the rocks was evidently much better climbing-ground than
anything ahead of us. Cotter, with danger, edged his way along the wall
to the east, and I to the west, to see if there might not be some
favourable point; but we both returned with the belief that the
precipice in front of us was as passable as any of it. Down it we must.

After lying on our faces, looking over the brink ten or twenty minutes,
I suggested that by lowering ourselves on the rope we might climb from
crevice to crevice; but we saw no shelf large enough for ourselves and
the knapsacks too. However, we were not going to give it up without a
trial; and I made the rope fast around my breast and, looping the noose
over a firm point of rock, let myself slide gradually down to a notch
forty feet below. There was only room beside me for Cotter, so I had him
send down the knapsacks first. I then tied these together by the straps
with my silk handkerchiefs, and hung them as far to the left as I could
reach without losing my balance, looping the handkerchiefs over a point
of rock. Cotter then slid down the rope, and, with considerable
difficulty, we whipped the noose off its resting-place above, and cut
off our connection with the upper world.

"We're in for it now, King," remarked my comrade, as he looked aloft,
and then down; but our blood was up, and danger added only an
exhilarating thrill to the nerves.

The shelf was hardly more than two feet wide, and the granite so smooth
that we could find no place to fasten the lasso for the next descent; so
I determined to try the climb with only as little aid as possible. Tying
it round my breast again, I gave the other end into Cotter's hands, and
he, bracing his back against the cliff, found for himself as firm a
foothold as he could, and promised to give me all the help in his power.
I made up my mind to bear no weight unless it was absolutely necessary;
and for the first ten feet I found cracks and protuberances enough to
support me, making every square inch of surface do friction duty, and
hugging myself against the rocks as tightly as I could. When within
about eight feet of the next shelf, I twisted myself round upon the
face, hanging by two rough blocks of protruding feldspar, and looked
vainly for some further hand-hold; but the rock, besides being perfectly
smooth, overhung slightly, and my legs dangled in the air. I saw that
the next cleft was over three feet broad, and I thought, possibly, I
might, by a quick slide, reach it in safety without endangering Cotter.
I shouted to him to be very careful and let go in case I fell, loosened
my hold upon the rope, and slid quickly down. My shoulder struck against
the rock and threw me out of balance; for an instant I reeled over upon
the verge, in danger of falling, but, in the excitement, I thrust out my
hand and seized a small alpine gooseberry bush, the first piece of
vegetation we had seen. Its roots were so firmly fixed in the crevice
that it held my weight and saved me.

I could no longer see Cotter, but I talked to him, and heard the two
knapsacks come bumping along until they slid over the eaves above me,
and swung down to my station, when I seized the lasso's end and braced
myself as well as possible, intending, if he slipped, to haul in slack
and help him as best I might. As he came slowly down from crack to
crack, I heard his hobnailed shoes grating on the granite; presently
they appeared dangling from the eaves above my head. I had gathered in
the rope until it was taut, and then hurriedly told him to drop. He
hesitated a moment and let go. Before he struck the rock I had him by
the shoulder, and whirled him down upon his side, thus preventing his
rolling overboard, which friendly action he took quite coolly.

The third descent was not a difficult one, nor the fourth; but when we
had climbed down about two hundred and fifty feet the rocks were so
glacially polished and water-worn that it seemed impossible to get any
farther. To our right was a crack penetrating the rock perhaps a foot
deep, widening at the surface to three or four inches, which proved to
be the only possible ladder. As the chances seemed rather desperate, we
concluded to tie ourselves together, in order to share a common fate;
and with a slack of thirty feet between us, and our knapsacks upon our
backs, we climbed into the crevice, and began descending with our faces
to the cliff. This had to be done with unusual caution, for the foothold
was about as good as none, and our fingers slipped annoyingly on the
smooth stone; besides the knapsacks and instruments kept a steady
backward pull, tending to overbalance us. But we took pains to descend
one at a time, and rest wherever the niches gave our feet a safe
support. In this way we got down about eighty feet of smooth, nearly
vertical wall, reaching the top of a rude granite stairway, which led to
the snow; and here we sat down to rest, and found to our astonishment
that we had been three hours from the summit.

After breathing a half-minute we continued down, jumping from rock to
rock, and, having by practice become very expert in balancing ourselves,
sprang on, never resting long enough to lose equilibrium, and in this
manner made a quick descent over rugged débris to the crest of a
snow-field, which, for seven or eight hundred feet more, swept down in a
smooth, even slope, of very high angle, to the borders of a frozen lake.

Without untying the lasso which bound us together, we sprang upon the
snow with a shout, and slid down splendidly, turning now and then a
somersault, and shooting out like cannon-balls almost to the middle of
the frozen lake; I upon my back, and Cotter feet first, in a swimming
position. The ice cracked in all directions. It was only a thin,
transparent film, through which we could see deep into the lake. Untying
ourselves, we hurried ashore in different directions, lest our combined
weight should be too great a strain upon any point.

With curiosity and wonder we scanned every shelf and niche of the last
descent. It seemed quite impossible that we could have come down there,
and now it actually was beyond human power to get back again. But what
cared we? "Sufficient unto the day"--We were bound for that still
distant, though gradually nearing, summit; and we had come from a cold
shadowed cliff into deliciously warm sunshine, and were jolly, shouting,
singing songs, and calling out the companionship of a hundred echoes.
Six miles away, with no grave danger, no great difficulty, between us,
lay the base of our grand mountain. Upon its skirts we saw a little
grove of pines, an ideal bivouac, and toward this we bent our course.

After the continued climbing of the day, walking was a delicious rest,
and forward we pressed with considerable speed, our hobnails giving us
firm footing on the glittering glacial surface. Every fluting of the
great valley was in itself a considerable cañon, into which we
descended, climbing down the scored rocks, and swinging from block to
block, until we reached the level of the pines. Here, sheltered among
loose rocks, began to appear little fields of alpine grass, pale yet
sunny, soft under our feet, fragrantly jewelled with flowers of fairy
delicacy, holding up amid thickly clustered blades chalices of turquoise
and amethyst, white stars, and fiery little globes of red. Lakelets,
small but innumerable, were held in glacial basins, the scorings and
grooves of that old dragon's track ornamenting their smooth bottoms.

One of these, a sheet of pure beryl hue, gave us as much pleasure from
its lovely transparency, and because we lay down in the necklace of
grass about it and smelled flowers, while tired muscles relaxed upon
warm beds of verdure, and the pain in our burdened shoulders went away,
leaving us delightfully comfortable.

After the stern grandeur of granite and ice, and with the peaks and
walls still in view, it was relief to find ourselves again in the region
of life. I never felt for trees and flowers such a sense of intimate
relationship and sympathy. When we had no longer excuse for resting, I
invented the palpable subterfuge of measuring the altitude of the spot,
since the few clumps of low, wide-boughed pines near by were the highest
living trees. So we lay longer with less and less will to rise, and when
resolution called us to our feet the getting up was sorely like Rip Van
Winkle's in the third act.

The deep glacial cañon-flutings across which our march then lay proved
to be great consumers of time; indeed it was sunset when we reached the
eastern ascent, and began to toil up through scattered pines, and over
trains of moraine [glacial] rocks, toward the great peak. Stars were
already flashing brilliantly in the sky, and the low glowing arch in the
west had almost vanished when we reached the upper trees, and threw down
our knapsacks to camp. The forest grew on a sort of plateau-shelf with a
precipitous front to the west,--a level surface which stretched
eastward and back to the foot of our mountain, whose lower spurs
reached within a mile of camp. Within the shelter lay a huge fallen log,
like all these alpine woods one mass of resin, which flared up when we
applied a match, illuminating the whole grove. By contrast with the
darkness outside, we seemed to be in a vast, many-pillared hall. The
stream close by afforded water for our blessed teapot; venison frizzled
with mild, appetizing sound upon the ends of pine sticks; matchless
beans allowed themselves to become seductively crisp upon our tin
plates. That supper seemed to me then the quintessence of gastronomy,
and I am sure Cotter and I must have said some very good after-dinner
things, though I long ago forgot them all. Within the ring of warmth, on
elastic beds of pine-needles, we curled up, and fell swiftly into a
sound sleep.

I woke up once in the night to look at my watch, and observed that the
sky was overcast with a thin film of cirrus cloud to which the reflected
moonlight lent the appearance of a glimmering tint, stretched from
mountain to mountain over cañons filled with impenetrable darkness, only
the vaguely-lighted peaks and white snow-fields distinctly seen. I
closed my eyes and slept soundly until Cotter awoke me at half-past
three, when we arose, breakfasted by the light of our fire, which still
blazed brilliantly, and, leaving our knapsacks, started for the mountain
with only instruments, canteens, and luncheon.

In the indistinct moonlight climbing was very difficult at first, for
we had to thread our way along a plain which was literally covered with
glacier boulders, and the innumerable brooks which we crossed were
frozen solid. However, our march brought us to the base of the great
mountain, which, rising high against the east, shut out the coming
daylight, and kept us in profound shadow. From base to summit rose a
series of broken crags, lifting themselves from a general slope of
débris. Toward the left the angle seemed to be rather gentler, and the
surface less ragged; and we hoped, by a long détour round the base, to
make an easy climb up this gentler surface. So we toiled on for an hour
over the rocks, reaching at last the bottom of the north slope. Here our
work began in good earnest. The blocks were of enormous size, and in
every stage of unstable equilibrium, frequently rolling over as we
jumped upon them, making it necessary for us to take a second leap and
land where we best could. To our relief we soon surmounted the largest
blocks, reaching a smaller size, which served us as a sort of stairway.

The advancing daylight revealed to us a very long, comparatively even
snow-slope, whose surface was pierced by many knobs and granite heads,
giving it the aspect of a nice-roofing fastened on with bolts of stone.
It stretched in far perspective to the summit, where already the rose of
sunrise reflected gloriously, kindling a fresh enthusiasm within us.

Immense boulders were partly imbedded in the ice just above us, whose
constant melting left them trembling on the edge of a fall. It
communicated no very pleasant sensation to see above you these immense
missiles hanging by a mere band, and knowing that, as soon as the sun
rose, you would be exposed to a constant cannonade.

The east side of the peak, which we could now partially see, was too
precipitous to think of climbing. The slope toward our camp was too much
broken into pinnacles and crags to offer us any hope, or to divert us
from the single way, dead ahead, up slopes of ice and among fragments of
granite. The sun rose upon us while we were climbing the lower part of
this snow, and in less than half an hour, melting began to liberate huge
blocks, which thundered down past us, gathering and growing into small
avalanches below.

We did not dare climb one above another, according to our ordinary mode,
but kept about an equal level, a hundred feet apart, lest, dislodging
the blocks, one should hurl them down upon the other.

We climbed alternately up smooth faces of granite, clinging simply by
the cracks and protruding crystals of feldspar, and then hewed steps up
fearfully steep slopes of ice, zigzagging to the right and left to avoid
the flying boulders. When midway up this slope we reached a place where
the granite rose in perfectly smooth bluffs on either side of a
gorge,--a narrow cut, or walled way, leading up to the flat summit of
the cliff. This we scaled by cutting ice steps, only to find ourselves
fronted again by a still higher wall. Ice sloped from its front at too
steep an angle for us to follow, but had melted in contact with it,
leaving a space three feet wide between the ice and the rock. We entered
this crevice and climbed along its bottom, with a wall of rock rising a
hundred feet above us on one side, and a thirty-foot face of ice on the
other, through which light of an intense cobalt-blue penetrated.

Reaching the upper end, we had to cut our footsteps upon the ice again,
and, having braced our backs against the granite, climb up to the
surface. We were now in a dangerous position: to fall into the crevice
upon one side was to be wedged to death between rock and ice; to make a
slip was to be shot down five hundred feet, and then hurled over the
brink of a precipice. In the friendly seat which this wedge gave me, I
stopped to take wet and dry observations with the thermometer,--this
being an absolute preventive of a scare,--and to enjoy the view.

The wall of our mountain sank abruptly to the left, opening for the
first time an outlook to the eastward. Deep--it seemed almost
vertically--beneath us we could see the blue waters of Owen's Lake,
10,000 feet below. The summit peaks to the north were piled up in
titanic confusion, their ridges overhanging the eastern slope with
terrible abruptness. Clustered upon the shelves and plateaus below were
several frozen lakes, and in all directions swept magnificent fields of
snow. The summit was now not over five hundred feet distant, and we
started on again with the exhilarating hope of success. But if Nature
had intended to secure the summit from all assailants, she could not
have planned her defences better; for the smooth granite wall which rose
above the snow-slope continued, apparently, quite round the peak, and we
looked in great anxiety to see if there was not one place where it might
be climbed. It was all blank except in one place; quite near us the snow
bridged across the crevice, and rose in a long point to the summit of
the wall,--a great icicle-column frozen in a niche of the bluff,--its
base about ten feet wide, narrowing to two feet at the top. We climbed
to the base of this spire of ice, and, with the utmost care, began to
cut our stairway. The material was an exceedingly compacted snow,
passing into clear ice as it neared the rock. We climbed the first half
of it with comparative ease; after that it was almost vertical, and so
thin that we did not dare to cut the footsteps deep enough to make them
absolutely safe. There was a constant dread lest out ladder should break
off, and we be thrown either down the snow-slope or into the bottom of
the crevasse. At last, in order to prevent myself from falling over
backwards, I was obliged to thrust my hand into the crack between the
ice and the wall, and the spire became so narrow that I could do this on
both sides; so that the climb was made as upon a tree, cutting mere
toe-holes and embracing the whole column of ice in my arms. At last I
reached the top, and, with the greatest caution, wormed my body over
the brink, and rolling out upon the smooth surface of the granite,
looked over and watched Cotter make his climb. He came up steadily, with
no sense of nervousness, until he got to the narrow part of the ice, and
here he stopped and looked up with a forlorn face to me; but as he
climbed up over the ledge the broad smile came back to his face, and he
asked me if it had occurred to me that we had, by and by, to go down

We had now an easy slope to the summit, and hurried up over rocks and
ice, reaching the crest at exactly twelve o'clock. I rang my hammer upon
the topmost rock; we grasped hands, and I reverently named the grand



     [In 1869-72 Major John Wesley Powell was the chief of a party
     which explored the Colorado River of the West and its
     tributaries. The chapter subjoined is from his official
     report, published by the Government Printing Office,
     Washington, 1875. The substance of that report, with much
     additional matter of great interest, appears in "The Cañons
     of the Colorado," by Major Powell, published by Flood &
     Vincent, Meadville, Pa., 1895, with superb illustrations. For
     fourteen years, beginning with 1880, Major Powell was
     director of the United States Geological Survey; since 1879
     he has been director of the United States Bureau of

_August 13, 1869._ We are now ready to start on our way down the Great
Unknown. Our boats, tied to a common stake, are chafing each other, as
they are tossed by the fretful river. They ride high and buoyant, for
their loads are lighter than we could desire. We have but a month's
rations remaining. The flour has been resifted through the mosquito net
sieve; the spoiled bacon has been dried, and the worst of it boiled; the
few pounds of dried apples have been spread in the sun, and reshrunken
to their normal bulk; the sugar has all melted, and gone on its way down
the river; but we have a large sack of coffee. The lightening of the
boats has this advantage: they will ride the waves better, and we shall
have but little to carry when we make a portage.

We are three-quarters of a mile in the depths of the earth, and the
great river shrinks into insignificance, as it dashes its angry waves
against the walls and cliffs, that rise to the world above; they are but
puny ripples, and we but pigmies, running up and down the sands, or lost
among the boulders.

We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore.
What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know
not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well! we may
conjecture many things. The men talk as cheerfully as ever; jests are
bandied out freely this morning; but to me the cheer is sombre and the
jests are ghastly.

With some eagerness, and some anxiety, and some misgiving, we enter the
cañon below, and are carried along by the swift water through walls
which rise from its very edge. They have the same structure as we
noticed yesterday--tiers of irregular shelves below, and, above these,
steep slopes to the foot of marble cliffs. We run six miles in a little
more than half an hour, and emerge into a more open portion of the
cañon, where high hills and ledges of rock intervene between the river
and the distant walls. Just at the head of this open place the river
runs across a dike; that is, a fissure in the rocks, open to depths
below, has been filled with eruptive matter, and this, on cooling, was
harder than the rocks through which the crevice was made, and, when
these were washed away, the harder volcanic matter remained as a wall,
and the river has cut a gateway through it several hundred feet high,
and as many wide. As it crosses the wall, there is a fall below, and a
bad rapid, filled with boulders of trap; so we stop to make a portage.
Then on we go, gliding by hills and ledges, with distant walls in view;
sweeping past sharp angles of rock; stopping at a few points to examine
rapids, which we find can be run, until we have made another five miles,
when we land for dinner.

Then we let down with lines, over a long rapid, and start again. Once
more the walls close in, and we find ourselves in a narrow gorge, the
water again filling the channel, and very swift. With great care and
constant watchfulness we proceed, making about four miles this
afternoon, and camp in a cave.

_August 14._ At daybreak we walk down the bank of the river, on a little
sandy beach, to take a view of a new feature in the cañon. Heretofore
hard rocks have given us bad river; soft rocks, smooth water; and a
series of rocks harder than any we have experienced sets in. The river
enters the granite![1]

We can see but a little way into the granite gorge, but it looks

After breakfast we enter on the waves. At the very introduction, it
inspires awe. The cañon is narrower than we have ever before seen it;
the water is swifter; there are but few broken rocks in the channel; but
the walls are set, on either side, with pinnacles and crags; and sharp,
angular buttresses, bristling with wind and wave-polished spires, extend
far out into the river.

Ledges of rock jut into the stream, their tops just below the surface,
sometimes rising few or many feet above; and island ledges, and island
pinnacles, and island towers break the swift course of the stream into
chutes, and eddies, and whirlpools. We soon reach a place where a creek
comes in from the left, and just below the channel is choked with
boulders, which have washed down this lateral cañon and formed a dam,
over which there is a fall of thirty or forty feet; but on the boulders
we can get foothold, and we make a portage.

Three more such dams are found. Over one we make a portage; at the other
two we find chutes, through which we can run.

As we proceed, the granite rises higher, until nearly a thousand feet of
the lower part of the walls are composed of this rock.

About eleven o'clock we hear a great roar ahead, and approach it very
cautiously. The sound grows louder and louder as we run, and at last we
find ourselves above a long, broken fall, with ledges and pinnacles of
rock obstructing the river. There is a descent of, perhaps, seventy-five
or eighty feet in a third of a mile, and the rushing waters break into
great waves on the rocks, and lash themselves into a mad, white, foam.
We can land just above, but there is no foothold on either side by which
we can make a portage. It is nearly a thousand feet to the top of the
granite, so it will be impossible to carry our boats around, though we
can climb to the summit up a side gulch, and, passing along a mile or
two, can descend to the river. This we find on examination; but such a
portage would be impracticable for us, and we must run the rapid, or
abandon the river. There is no hesitation. We step into our boats, push
off, and away we go, first on smooth but swift water, then we strike a
glassy wave, and ride to its top, down again into the trough, up again
on a higher wave, and down and up on waves higher and still higher,
until we strike one just as it curls back, and a breaker rolls over our
little boat. Still, on we speed, shooting past projecting rocks, till
the little boat is caught in a whirlpool, and spun around several times.
At last we pull out again into the stream, and now the other boats have
passed us. The open compartment of the _Emma Dean_ is filled with water,
and every breaker rolls over us. Hurled back from a rock, now on this
side, now on that, we are carried into an eddy, in which we struggle for
a few minutes, and are then out again, the breakers still rolling over
us. Our boat is unmanageable, but she cannot sink, and we drift down
another hundred yards, through breakers; how, we scarcely know. We find
the other boats have turned into an eddy at the foot of the fall, and
are waiting to catch us as we come, for the men have seen that our boat
is swamped. They push out as we come near, and pull us in against the
wall. We bail our boat, and on we go again.

The walls, now, are more than a mile in height--a vertical distance
difficult to appreciate. Stand on the south steps of the Treasury
Building, in Washington, and look down Pennsylvania Avenue to the
Capitol Park, and measure this distance overhead, and imagine cliffs to
extend to that altitude, and you will understand what I mean; or, stand
at Canal Street, in New York, and look up Broadway to Grace Church, and
you have about the distance; or, stand at Lake Street Bridge in Chicago,
and look down to the Central Depot, and you have it again.

A thousand feet of this is up through granite crags, then steep slopes
and perpendicular cliffs rise, one above another, to the summit. The
gorge is black and narrow below, red and gray and flaring above, with
crags and angular projections on the walls, which, cut in many places by
side cañons, seem to be a vast wilderness of rocks. Down in these grand,
gloomy depths we glide, ever listening, for the mad waters keep up their
roar; ever watching, ever peering ahead, for the narrow cañon is
winding, and the river is closed in so that we can see but a few
hundred yards, and what there may be below we know not; but we listen
for falls, and watch for rocks, or stop now and then, in the bay of a
recess, to admire the gigantic scenery. And ever, as we go, there is
some new pinnacle or tower, some crag or peak, some distant view of the
upper plateau, some strange-shaped rock, or some deep, narrow side
cañon. Then we come to another broken fall, which appears more difficult
than the one we ran this morning.

A small creek comes in on the right, and the first fall of the water is
over boulders, which have been carried down by this lateral stream. We
land at its mouth, and stop for an hour or two to examine the fall. It
seems possible to let down with lines, at least a part of the way, from
point to point, along the right-hand wall. So we make a portage over the
first rocks, and find footing on some boulders below. Then we let down
one of the boats to the end of her line, when she reaches a corner of
the projecting rock, to which one of the men clings, and steadies her,
while I examine an eddy below. I think we can pass the other boats down
by us, and catch them in the eddy. This is soon done and the men in the
boats in the eddy pull us to their side. On the shore of this little
eddy there is about two feet of gravel beach above the water. Standing
on this beach, some of the men take the line of the little boat and let
it drift down against another projecting angle. Here is a little shelf,
on which a man from my boat climbs, and a shorter line is passed to him,
and he fastens the boat to the side of the cliff. Then the second one
is let down, bringing the line of the third. When the second boat is
tied up, the two men standing on the beach above spring into the last
boat, which is pulled up alongside of ours. Then we let down the boats,
for twenty-five or thirty yards, by walking along the shelf, landing
them again in the mouth of a side cañon. Just below this there is
another pile of boulders, over which we make another portage. From the
foot of these rocks we can climb to another shelf, forty or fifty feet
above the water.

On this beach we camp for the night. We find a few sticks, which have
lodged in the rocks. It is raining hard, and we have no shelter, but
kindle a fire and have our supper. We sit on the rocks all night,
wrapped in our ponchos, getting what sleep we can.

_August 15._ This morning we find we can let down for three or four
hundred yards, and it is managed in this way: We pass along the wall by
climbing from projecting point to point, sometimes near the water's
edge, at other places fifty or sixty feet above, and hold the boat with
a line, while two men remain aboard, and prevent her from being dashed
against the rocks, and keep the line from getting caught in the wall. In
two hours we have brought them all down, as far as it is possible, in
this way. A few yards below, the river strikes with great violence
against a projecting rock, and our boats are pulled up in a little bay
above. We must now manage to pull out of this, and clear the point
below. The little boat is held by the bow obliquely up the stream. We
jump in, and pull out only a few strokes, and sweep clear of the
dangerous rock. The other boats follow in the same manner, and the rapid
is passed.

It is not easy to describe the labour of such navigation. We must
prevent the waves from dashing the boats against the cliffs. Sometimes,
where the river is swift, we must put a bight of rope about a rock, to
prevent her being snatched from us by a wave; but where the plunge is
too great, or the chute too swift, we must let her leap, and catch her
below, or the undertow will drag her under the falling water, and she
sinks. Where we wish to run her out a little way from shore, through a
channel between rocks, we first throw in little sticks of driftwood, and
watch their course, to see where we must steer, so that she will pass
the channel in safety. And so we hold, and let go, and pull, and lift,
and ward, among rocks, around rocks, and over rocks.

And now we go on through this solemn, mysterious way. The river is very
deep, the cañon very narrow, and still obstructed, so that there is no
steady flow of the stream; but the waters wheel, and roll, and boil, and
we are scarcely able to determine where we can go. Now, the boat is
carried to the right, perhaps close to the wall; again, she is shot into
the stream, and perhaps is dragged over to the other side, where, caught
in a whirlpool, she spins about. We can neither land nor run as we
please. The boats are entirely unmanageable; no order in their running
can be preserved; now one, now another, is ahead, each crew labouring
for its own preservation. In such a place we come to another rapid. Two
of the boats run it perforce. One succeeds in landing, but there is no
foothold by which to make a portage, and she is pushed out again into
the stream. The next minute a great reflex wave fills the open
compartment; she is water-logged, and drifts unmanageable. Breaker after
breaker roll over her, and one capsizes her. The men are thrown out; but
they cling to the boat, and she drifts down some distance, alongside of
us, and we are able to catch her. She is soon bailed out, and the men
are aboard once more; but the oars are lost, so a pair from the _Emma
Dean_ is spared. Then for two miles we find smooth water.

Clouds are playing in the cañon to-day. Sometimes they roll down in
great masses, filling the gorge with gloom; sometimes they hang above,
from wall to wall, and cover the cañon with a roof of impending storm;
and we can peer long distances up and down this cañon corridor, with its
cloud roof overhead, its walls of black granite, and its river bright
with the sheen of broken waters. Then, a gust of wind sweeps down a side
gulch, and, making a rift in the clouds, reveals the blue heavens, and a
stream of sunlight pours in. Then, the clouds drift away into the
distance, and hang around crags, and peaks, and pinnacles, and towers,
and walls, and cover them with a mantle that lifts from time to time,
and sets them all in sharp relief. Then, baby clouds creep out of side
cañons, glide around points, and creep back again into more distant
gorges. Then, clouds, set in strata across the cañon, with intervening
vista views, to cliffs and rocks beyond. The clouds are children of the
heavens, and when they play among the rocks they lift them to the region

It rains! Rapidly little rills are formed above, and these soon grow
into brooks, and the brooks grow into creeks, and tumble over the walls
in innumerable cascades, adding their wild music to the roar of the
river. When the rain ceases, the rills, brooks, and creeks run dry. The
waters that fall during a rain on these steep rocks are gathered at once
into the river; they could scarcely be poured in more suddenly if some
vast spout ran from the clouds to the stream itself. When a storm bursts
over the cañon a side gulch is dangerous, for a sudden flood may come,
and the inpouring water will raise the river, so as to hide the rocks
before your eyes.

Early in the afternoon we discover a stream, entering from the north, a
clear, beautiful creek, coming down through a gorgeous red cañon. We
land, and camp on a sand beach, above its mouth, under a great,
overspreading tree, with willow-shaped leaves.

_August 16._ We must dry our rations again to-day, and make oars.

The Colorado is never a clear stream, but for the past three or four
days it has been raining much of the time, and the floods, which are
poured over the walls, have brought down great quantities of mud, making
it exceedingly turbid now. The little affluent, which we have discovered
here, is a clear, beautiful creek, or river, as it would be termed in
this Western country, where streams are not abundant. We have named one
stream, away above, in honour of the great chief of the "Bad Angels,"
and, as this is in beautiful contrast to that, we conclude to name it
"Bright Angel."

Early in the morning, the whole party starts up to explore the Bright
Angel River, with the special purpose of seeking timber, from which to
make oars. A couple of miles above, we find a large pine log, which has
been floated down from the plateau, probably from an altitude of more
than 6,000 feet, but not many miles back. On its way, it must have
passed over many cataracts and falls, for it bears scars in evidence of
the rough usage it has received. The men roll it on skids, and the work
of sawing oars is commenced.

This stream heads away back, under a line of abrupt cliffs, that
terminates the plateau, and tumbles down more than 4,000 feet in the
first mile or two of its course; then runs through a deep, narrow cañon,
until it reaches the river.

[Illustration: Fig. 30.--Mu-av Cañon, a side gorge]

Late in the afternoon I return, and go up a little gulch, just above
this creek, and about two hundred yards from camp, and discover the
ruins of two or three old houses, which were originally of stone, laid
in mortar. Only the foundations are left, but irregular blocks, of which
the houses were constructed, lie scattered about. In one room I find an
old mealing stone, deeply worn, as if it had been much used. A great
deal of pottery is strewn around, and old trails, which in some places
are deeply worn into the rocks, are seen.

It is ever a source of wonder to us why these ancient people sought such
inaccessible places for their homes. They were, doubtless, an
agricultural race, but there are no lands here of any considerable
extent that they could have cultivated. To the west of Oraiby, one of
the towns in the "Province of Tusayan," in Northern Arizona, the
inhabitants have actually built little terraces along the face of the
cliff, where a spring gushes out, and thus made their sites for gardens.
It is possible that the ancient inhabitants of this place made their
agricultural lands in the same way. But why should they seek such spots?
Surely, the country was not so crowded with population as to demand the
utilization of so barren a region. The only solution of the problem
suggested is this: We know that, for a century or two after the
settlement of Mexico, many expeditions were sent into the country, now
comprised in Arizona and New Mexico, for the purpose of bringing the
town-building people under the dominion of the Spanish Government. Many
of their villages were destroyed, and the inhabitants fled to regions at
that time unknown; and there are traditions among the people who
inhabit the _pueblos_ that still remain that the cañons were these
unknown lands. Maybe these buildings were erected at that time; sure it
is that they have a much more modern appearance than the ruins scattered
over Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Those old Spanish
conquerors had a monstrous greed for gold, and a wonderful lust for
saving souls. Treasures they must have if not on earth, why, then, in
heaven; and when they failed to find heathen temples bedecked with
silver, they propitiated Heaven by seizing the heathen themselves. There
is yet extant a copy of a record, made by a heathen artist, to express
his conception of the demands of the conquerors. In one part of the
picture we have a lake, and near by stands a priest pouring water on the
head of a native. On the other side, a poor Indian has a cord about his
throat. Lines run from these two groups to a central figure, a man with
beard and full Spanish panoply. The interpretation of the
picture-writing is this: "Be baptized, as this saved heathen; or be
hanged, as that damned heathen." Doubtless, some of these people
preferred a third alternative, and, rather than be baptized or hanged,
they chose to be imprisoned within these cañon walls.

_August 17._ Our rations are still spoiling; the bacon is so badly
injured that we are compelled to throw it away. By accident, this
morning, the saleratus is lost overboard. We have now only musty flour
sufficient for ten days, a few dried apples, but plenty of coffee. We
must make all haste possible. If we meet with difficulties, as we have
done in the cañon above, we may be compelled to give up the expedition,
and try to reach the Mormon settlements to the north. Our hopes are that
the worst places are passed, but our barometers are all so much injured
as to be useless, so we have lost our reckoning in altitude, and know
not how much descent the river has yet to make.

The stream is still wild and rapid, and rolls through a narrow channel.
We make but slow progress, often landing against a wall, and climbing
around some point, where we can see the river below. Although very
anxious to advance, we are determined to run with great caution, lest,
by another accident, we lose all our supplies. How precious that little
flour has become! We divide it among the boats, and carefully store it
away, so that it can be lost only by the loss of the boat itself.

We make ten miles and a half, and camp among the rocks on the right. We
have had rain, from time to time, all day, and have been thoroughly
drenched and chilled; but between showers the sun shines with great
power, and the mercury in our thermometers stands at 115°, so that we
have rapid changes from great extremes, which are very disagreeable. It
is especially cold in the rain to-night. The little canvas we have is
rotten and useless; the rubber ponchos, with which we started from Green
River City, have all been lost; more than half the party is without
hats, and not one of us has an entire suit of clothes, and we have not a
blanket apiece. So we gather driftwood, and build a fire; but after
supper the rain, coming down in torrents, extinguishes it, and we sit up
all night on the rocks, shivering, and are more exhausted by the night's
discomfort than by the day's toil.

_August 18._ The day is employed in making portages, and we advance but
two miles on our journey. Still it rains.

While the men are at work making portages, I climb up the granite to its
summit, and go away back over the rust-coloured sandstones and
greenish-yellow shales to the foot of the marble wall. I climb so high
that the men and boats are lost in the black depths below, and the
dashing river is a rippling brook; and still there is more cañon above
than below. All about me are interesting geological records. The book is
open, and I can read as I run. All about me are grand views, for the
clouds are playing again in the gorges. But somehow I think of the nine
days' rations, and the bad river, and the lesson of the rocks, and the
glory of the scene is but half seen.

I push on to an angle, where I hope to get a view of the country beyond,
to see, if possible, what the prospect may be of our soon running
through this plateau, or, at least, of meeting with some geological
change that will let us out of the granite; but, arriving at the point,
I can see below only a labyrinth of deep gorges.

_August 19._ Rain again this morning. Still we are in our granite
prison, and the time is occupied until noon in making a long, bad

After dinner, in running a rapid, the pioneer boat is upset by a wave.
We are some distance in advance of the larger boats, the river is rough
and swift, and we are unable to land, but cling to the boat, and are
carried down stream over another rapid. The men in the boats above see
our trouble, but they are caught in whirlpools, and are spinning about
in eddies, and it seems a long time before they come to our relief. At
last they do come; our boat is turned right side up, bailed out; the
oars, which fortunately have floated along in company with us, are
gathered up, and on we go, without even landing.

Soon after the accident the clouds break away, and we have sunshine

Soon we find a little beach, with just room enough to land. Here we
camp, but there is no wood. Across the river, and a little way above, we
see some driftwood lodged in the rocks. So we bring two boatloads over,
build a huge fire, and spread everything to dry. It is the first
cheerful night we have had for a week; a warm, drying fire in the midst
of the camp and a few bright stars in our patch of heavens overhead.

_August 20._ The characteristics of the cañon change this morning. The
river is broader, the walls more sloping, and composed of black slates,
that stand on edge. These nearly vertical slates are washed out in
places--that is, the softer beds are washed out between the harder,
which are left standing. In this way curious little alcoves are formed,
in which are quiet bays of water, but on a much smaller scale than the
great bays and buttresses of Marble Cañon.

The river is still rapid, and we stop to let down with lines several
times, but make greater progress as we run ten miles. We camp on the
right bank. Here, on a terrace of trap, we discover another group of
ruins. There was evidently quite a village on this rock. Again we find
mealing stones, and much broken pottery, and up in a little natural
shelf in the rock, back of the ruins, we find a globular basket, that
would hold perhaps a third of a bushel. It is badly broken, and, as I
attempt to take it up, it falls to pieces. There are many beautiful
flint-chips, as if this had been the home of an old arrow-maker.

_August 21._ We start early this morning, cheered by the prospect of a
fine day, and encouraged, also, by the good run made yesterday. A
quarter of a mile below camp the river turns abruptly to the left, and
between camp and that point is very swift, running down in a long,
broken chute, and piling up against the foot of the cliff, where it
turns to the left. We try to pull across, so as to go down on the other
side, but the waters are swift, and it seems impossible for us to escape
the rock below; but, in pulling across, the bow of the boat is turned to
the farther shore, so that we are swept broadside down, and are
prevented, by the rebounding waters, from striking against the wall.
There we toss about for a few seconds in these billows, and are carried
past the danger. Below, the river turns again to the right, the cañon is
very narrow, and we see in advance but a short distance. The water, too,
is very swift, and there is no landing-place. From around this curve
there comes a mad roar, and down we are earned, with a dizzying
velocity, to the head of another rapid. On either side, high over our
heads, there are overhanging granite walls, and the sharp bends cut off
our view, so that a few minutes will carry us into unknown waters. Away
we go, on one long winding chute. I stand on deck, supporting myself
with a strap, fastened on either side to the gunwale, and the boat
glides rapidly, where the water is smooth, or, striking a wave, she
leaps and bounds like a thing of life, and we have a wild, exhilarating
ride for ten miles, which we make in less than an hour. The excitement
is so great that we forget the danger, until we hear the roar of a great
fall below; then we back on our oars, and are carried slowly towards its
head, and succeed in landing just above, and find that we have to make
another portage. At this we are engaged until some time after dinner.

Just here we run out of the granite!

Ten miles in less than half a day, and limestone walls below. Good cheer
returns; we forget the storms, and the gloom, and cloud-covered cañons,
and the black granite, and the raging river, and push our boats from
shore in great glee.

Though we are out of the granite, the river is still swift, and we wheel
about a point again to the right, and turn, so as to head back in the
direction from which we come, and see the granite again, with its narrow
gorge and black crags; but we meet with no more great falls or rapids.
Still, we run cautiously, and stop, from time to time, to examine some
places which look bad. Yet, we make ten miles this afternoon; twenty
miles, in all, to-day.

_August 22._ We come to rapids again, this morning, and are occupied
several hours in passing them, letting the boats down, from rock to
rock, with lines, for nearly half a mile, and then have to make a long
portage. While the men are engaged in this, I climb the wall on the
northeast, to a height of about 2,500 feet, where I can obtain a good
view of a long stretch of cañon below. Its course is to the southwest.
The walls seem to rise very abruptly, for 2,500 or 3,000 feet, and then
there is a gently sloping terrace, on each side, for two or three miles,
and again we find cliffs, 1,500 or 2,000 feet high. From the brink of
these the plateau stretches back to the north and south, for a long
distance. Away down the cañon, on the right wall, I can see a group of
mountains, some of which appear to stand on the brink of the cañon. The
effect of the terrace is to give the appearance of a narrow, winding
valley, with high walls on either side, and a deep, dark, meandering
gorge down its middle. It is impossible, from this point of view, to
determine whether we have granite at the bottom or not; but, from
geological considerations, I conclude that we shall have marble walls

After my return to the boats, we run another mile and camp for the

We have made but little over seven miles to-day, and a part of our flour
has been soaked in the river again.

_August 23._ Our way to-day is again through marble walls. Now and then
we pass, for a short distance, through patches of granite, like hills
thrust up into the limestone. At one of these places we have to make
another portage, and, taking advantage of the delay, I go up a little
stream to the north, wading it all the way, sometimes having to take a
plunge in to my neck; in other places being compelled to swim across
little basins that have been excavated at the foot of the falls. Along
its course are many cascades and springs, gushing out from the rocks on
either side. Sometimes a cottonwood tree grows over the water. I come to
one beautiful fall, of more than a hundred and fifty feet, and climb
around it to the right, on the broken rocks. Still going up, I find the
cañon narrowing very much, being but fifteen or twenty feet wide; yet
the walls rise on either side many hundreds of feet, perhaps thousands;
I can hardly tell.

In some places the stream has not excavated its channel down vertically
through the rocks, but has cut obliquely, so that one wall overhangs the
other. In other places it is cut vertically above and obliquely below,
or obliquely above and vertically below, so that it is impossible to see
out overhead. But I can go no farther. The time which I estimated it
would take to make the portage has almost expired, and I start back on a
round trot, wading in the creek where I must, and plunging through
basins, and find the men waiting for me, and away we go on the river.

Just after dinner we pass a stream on the right, which leaps into the
Colorado by a direct fall of more than a hundred feet, forming a
beautiful cascade. There is a bed of very hard rock above, thirty or
forty feet in thickness, and much softer beds below. The hard beds above
project many yards beyond the softer, which are washed out, forming a
deep cave behind the fall, and the stream pours through a crevice above
into a deep pool below. Around on the rocks, in the cave-like chamber,
are set beautiful ferns, with delicate fronds and enamelled stalks. The
little frondlets have their points turned down, to form spore cases. It
has very much the appearance of the maiden's hair fern, but is much
larger. This delicate foliage covers the rocks all about the fountain,
and gives the chamber great beauty. But we have little time to spend in
admiration, so on we go.

We make fine progress this afternoon, carried along by a swift river,
and shoot over the rapids, finding no serious obstructions.

The cañon walls, for 2,500 or 3,000 feet, are very regular, rising
almost perpendicularly, but here and there set with narrow steps, and
occasionally we can see away above the broad terrace, to distant cliffs.

We camp to-night in a marble cave, and find, on looking at our
reckoning, we have run twenty-two miles.

_August 24._ The cañon is wider to-day. The walls rise to a vertical
height of nearly 3,000 feet. In many places the river runs under a
cliff, in great curves, forming amphitheatres, half-dome shaped.

Though the river is rapid, we meet with no serious obstructions, and run
twenty miles. It is curious how anxious we are to make-up our reckoning
every time we stop, now that our diet is confined to plenty of coffee,
very little spoiled flour, and very few dried apples. It has come to be
a race for a dinner. Still, we make such fine progress, all hands are in
good cheer, but not a moment of daylight is lost.

_August 25._ We make twelve miles this morning, when we come to
monuments of lava, standing in the river; low rocks mostly, but some of
them shafts more than a hundred feet high. Going on down, three or four
miles, we find them increasing in number. Great quantities of cooled
lava and many cinder cones are seen on either side; and then we come to
an abrupt cataract. Just over the fall, on the right wall, a cinder
cone, or extinct volcano, with a well-defined crater, stands on the very
brink of the cañon. This, doubtless, is the one we saw two or three
days ago. From this volcano vast floods of lava have been poured into
the river, and a stream of the molten rock has run up the cañon, three
or four miles, and down, we know not how far. Just where it poured over
the cañon wall is the fall. The whole north side, as far as we can see,
is lined with the black basalt, and high up on the opposite wall are
patches of the same material, resting on the benches, and filling old
alcoves and caves, giving to the wall a spotted appearance.

The rocks are broken in two, along a line which here crosses the river,
and the beds, which we have seen coming down the cañon for the last
thirty miles, have dropped eight hundred feet, on the lower side of the
line, forming what geologists call a fault. The volcanic cone stands
directly over the fissure thus formed. On the side of the river
opposite, mammoth springs burst out of this crevice, one or two hundred
feet above the river, pouring in a stream quite equal in volume to the
Colorado Chiquito.

This stream seems to be loaded with carbonate of lime, and the water,
evaporating, leaves an incrustation on the rocks; and this process has
been continued for a long time, for extensive deposits are noticed, in
which are basins, with bubbling springs. The water is salty.

We have to make a portage here, which is completed in about three hours,
and on we go.

We have no difficulty as we float along, and I am able to observe the
wonderful phenomena connected with this flood of lava. The cañon was
doubtless filled to a height of twelve or fifteen hundred feet, perhaps
by more than one flood. This would dam the water back; and in cutting
through this great lava bed, a new channel has been formed, sometimes on
one side, sometimes on the other. The cooled lava, being of firmer
texture than the rocks of which the walls are composed, remains in some
places; in others a narrow channel has been cut, leaving a line of
basalt on either side. It is possible that the lava cooled faster on the
sides against the walls, and that the centre ran out; but of this we can
only conjecture. There are other places, where almost the whole of the
lava is gone, patches of it only being seen where it has caught on the
walls. As we float down, we can see that it ran out into side cañons. In
some places this basalt has a fine, columnar structure, often in
concentric prisms, and masses of these concentric columns have
coalesced. In some places, where the flow occurred, the cañon was
probably at about the same depth as it is now, for we can see where the
basalt has rolled out on the sands, and, what seems curious to me, the
sands are not melted or metamorphosed to any appreciable extent. In
places the bed of the river is of sandstone or limestone, in other
places of lava, showing that it has all been cut out again where the
sandstones and limestones appear; but there is a little yet left where
the bed is of lava.

What a conflict of water and fire there must have been here! Just
imagine a river of molten rock, running down into a river of melted
snow. What a seething and boiling of the waters; what clouds of steam
rolled into the heavens!

Thirty-five miles to-day. Hurrah!

_August 26._ The cañon walls are steadily becoming higher as we advance.
They are still bold, and nearly vertical up to the terrace. We still see
evidence of the eruption discovered yesterday, but the thickness of the
basalt is decreasing, as we go down the stream; yet it has been
reinforced at points by streams that have come from volcanoes standing
on the terrace above, but which we cannot see from the river below.

Since we left the Colorado Chiquito, we have seen no evidences that the
tribe of Indians inhabiting the plateaus on either side ever come down
to the river; but about eleven o'clock to-day we discover an Indian
garden, at the foot of the wall on the right, just where a little
stream, with a narrow flood plain, comes down through a side cañon.
Along the valley, the Indians have planted corn, using the water which
burst out in springs at the foot of the cliff for irrigation. The corn
is looking quite well, but is not sufficiently advanced to give us
roasting ears; but there are some nice green squashes. We carry ten or a
dozen of these on board our boats, and hurriedly leave, not willing to
be caught in the robbery, yet excusing ourselves by pleading our great
want. We run down a short distance to where we feel certain no Indians
can follow; and what a kettle of squash sauce we make! True, we have no
salt with which to season it, but it makes a fine addition to our
unleavened bread and coffee. Never was fruit so sweet as those stolen
squashes. After dinner we push on again, making fine time, finding many
rapids, but none so bad that we cannot run them with safety, and when we
stop, just at dusk, and foot up our reckoning, we find that; we have run
thirty-five miles again.

What a supper we make; unleavened bread, green squash sauce, and strong
coffee. We have been for a few days on half-rations, but we have no
stint of roast squash.

A few days like this, and we are out of prison.

_August 27._ This morning the river takes a more southerly direction.
The dip of the rocks is to the north, and we are rapidly running into
lower formations. Unless our course changes, we shall very soon run
again into the granite. This gives us some anxiety. Now and then the
river turns to the west, and excites hopes that are soon destroyed by
another turn to the south. About nine o'clock we come to the dreaded
rock. It is with no little misgiving that we see the river enter those
black, hard walls. At its very entrance we have to make a portage; then
we have to let down with lines past some ugly rocks. Then we run a mile
or two farther, and then the rapids below can be seen.

About eleven o'clock we come to a place where it seems much worse than
any we have yet met in all its course. A little creek comes down from
the left. We land first on the right, and clamber up over the granite
pinnacles for a mile or two, but can see no way by which we can let
down, and to run it would be sure destruction. After dinner we cross to
examine it on the left. High above the river we can walk along on the
top of the granite, which is broken off at the edge, and set with crags
and pinnacles, so that it is very difficult to get a view of the river
at all. In my eagerness to reach a point where I can see the roaring
fall below, I go too far on the wall, and can neither advance nor
retreat. I stand with one foot on a little projecting rock, and cling
with my hand fixed in a little crevice. Finding I am caught here,
suspended four hundred feet above the river, into which I should fall if
my footing fails, I call for help. The men come, and pass me a line, but
I cannot let go of the rock long enough to take hold of it. Then they
bring two or three of the largest oars. All this takes time which seems
very precious to me; but at last they arrive. The blade of one of the
oars is pushed into a little crevice in the rock beyond me, in such a
manner that they can hold me pressed against the wall. Then another is
fixed in such a way that I can step on it, and thus I am extricated.

Still another hour is spent in examining the river from this side, but
no good view of it is obtained, so now we return to the side that was
first examined, and the afternoon is spent in clambering among the crags
and pinnacles, and carefully scanning the river again. We find that the
lateral streams have washed boulders into the river, so as to form a dam
over which the water makes a broken fall of eighteen or twenty feet;
then there is a rapid, beset with rocks, for two or three hundred yards,
while, on the other side, points of the wall project into the river.
Then there is a second fall below; how great, we cannot tell. Then there
is a rapid, filled with huge rocks, for one or two hundred yards. At the
bottom of it, from the right wall, a great rock projects quite half-way
across the river. It has a sloping surface extending upstream, and the
water, coming down with all the momentum gained in the falls and rapids
above, rolls up this inclined plane many feet and tumbles over to the
left. I decide that it is possible to let down over the first fall, then
run near the right cliff to a point just above the second, where we can
pull out into a little chute, and, having run over that in safety, we
must pull with all our power across the stream, to avoid the great rock
below. On my return to the boat, I announce to the men that we are to
run it in the morning. Then we cross the river, and go down into camp
for the night on some rocks, in the mouth of the little side cañon.

After supper Captain Howland asks to have a talk with me. We walk up the
little creek a short distance, and I soon find that his object is to
remonstrate against my determination to proceed. He thinks that we had
better abandon the river here. Talking with him, I learn that his
brother, William Dunn, and himself have determined to go no farther in
the boats. So we return to camp. Nothing is said to the other men.

For the last two days our course has not been plotted. I sit down and do
this now, for the purpose of finding where we are by dead reckoning. It
is a clear night, and I take out the sextant to make observations for
latitude, and find that the astronomic determination agrees very nearly
with that of the plot--quite as closely as might be expected, from a
meridian observation on a planet. In a direct line, we must be about
forty-five miles from the mouth of the Rio Virgen. If we can reach that
point, we know that there are settlements up that river about twenty
miles. This forty-five miles, in a direct line, will probably be eighty
or ninety in the meandering line of the river. But then we know that
there is comparatively open country for many miles about the mouth of
the Virgen, which is our point of destination.

As soon as I determine all this, I spread my plot on the sand, and wake
Howland, who is sleeping down by the river, and show him where I suppose
we are, and where several Mormon settlements are situated.

We have another short talk about the morrow, and he lies down again; but
for me there is no sleep. All night long I pace up and down a little
path, on a few yards of sand beach, along by the river. Is it wise to go
on? I go to the boats again, to look at our rations. I feel satisfied
that we can get over the danger immediately before us; what there may be
below I know not. From our outlook yesterday, on the cliffs, the cañon
seemed to make another great bend to the south, and this, from our
experience heretofore, means more and higher granite walls. I am not
sure that we can climb out of the cañon here, and, when at the top of
the wall, I know enough of the country to be certain that it is a desert
of rock and sand, between this and the nearest Mormon town, which, on
the most direct line, must be seventy-five miles away. True, the late
rains have been favourable to us, should we go out, for the
probabilities are that we shall find water still standing in holes, and,
at one time, I almost conclude to leave the river. But for years I have
been contemplating this trip. To leave the exploration unfinished, to
say that there is a part of the cañon which I cannot explore, having
already almost accomplished it, is more than I am willing to
acknowledge, and I determine to go on.

I wake my brother and tell him of Howland's determination, and he
promises to stay with me; then I call up Hawkins, the cook, and he makes
a like promise; then Sumner, and Bradley, and Hall, and they all agree
to go on.

_August 28._ At last daybreak comes, and we have breakfast, without a
word being said about the future. The meal is as solemn as a funeral.
After breakfast I ask the three men if they still think it best to leave
us. The elder Howland thinks it is, and Dunn agrees with him. The
younger Howland tries to persuade them to go on with the party, failing
in which, he decides to go with his brother.

Then we cross the river. The small boat is very much disabled, and
unseaworthy. With the loss of hands, consequent on the departure of the
three men, we shall not be able to run all of the boats, so I decide to
leave my _Emma Dean_.

Two rifles and a shotgun are given to the men who are going out. I ask
them to help themselves to the rations, and take what they think to be a
fair share. This they refuse to do, saying they have no fear but what
they can get something to eat; but Billy, the cook, has a pan of
biscuits prepared for dinner, and these he leaves on a rock.

Before starting, we take our barometers, fossils, the minerals, and some
ammunition from the boat and leave them on the rocks. We are going over
this place as light as possible. The three men help us lift our boats
over a rock twenty-five or thirty feet high, and let them down again
over the first fall, and now we are all ready to start.

The last thing before leaving, I write a letter to my wife, and give it
to Howland. Sumner gives him his watch, directing that it be sent to his
sister, should he not be heard from again. The records of the expedition
have been kept in duplicate. One set of these is given to Howland, and
now we are ready. For the last, time, they entreat us not to go on, and
tell us that it is madness to set out in this place; that we can never
get safely through it; and, further, that the river turns again to the
south into the granite, and a few miles of such rapids and falls will
exhaust our entire stock of rations, and then it will be too late to
climb out. Some tears are shed; it is a rather solemn parting; each
party thinks the other is taking the dangerous course.

My old boat left, I go on board of the _Maid of the Cañon_. The three
men climb a crag, that overhangs the river, to watch us off. The _Maid
of the Cañon_ pushes out. We glide rapidly along the foot of the wall,
just grazing one great rock, then pull out a little into the chute of
the second fall, and plunge over it. The open compartment is filled when
we strike the first wave below, but we cut through it, and then the men
pull with all their power toward the left wall, and swing clear of the
dangerous rock below all right. We are scarcely a minute in running it,
and find that, although it looked bad from above, we have passed many
places that were worse.

The other boat follows with more difficulty. We land at the first
practicable point below and fire our guns as a signal to the men above
that we have come over in safety. Here we remain a couple of hours,
hoping that they will take the smaller boat and follow us. We are behind
a curve in the cañon, and cannot see up to where we left them, and so we
wait until their coming seems hopeless, and push on.

And now we have a succession of rapids and falls until noon, all of
which we run in safety. Just after dinner we come to another bad place.
A little stream comes in from the left, and below there is a fall, and
still below another fall. Above, the river tumbles down, over and among
the rocks, in whirlpools and great waves, and the waters are lashed into
mad, white foam. We run along the left, above this, and soon see that we
cannot get down on this side, but it seems possible to let down on the
other. We pull up stream again for two or three hundred yards and cross.
Now there is a bed of basalt on this northern side of the cañon with a
bold escarpment, that seems to be a hundred feet high. We can climb it,
and walk along its summit to a point where we are just at the head of
the fall. Here the basalt is broken down again, so it seems to us, and I
direct the men to take a line to the top of the cliff, and let the boats
down along the wall. One man remains in the boat, to keep her clear of
the rocks, and prevent her line from being caught on the projecting
angles. I climb the cliff, and pass along to a point just over the fall,
and descend by broken rocks, and find that the break of the fall is
above the break of the wall, so that we cannot land; and that still
below the river is very bad, find that there is no possibility of a
portage. Without waiting further to examine and determine what shall be
done, I hasten back to the top of the cliff, to stop the boats from
coming down. When I arrive I find the men have let one of them down to
the head of the fall. She is in swift water, and they are not able to
pull her back; nor are they able to go on with the line, as it is not
long enough to reach the higher part of the cliff, which is just before
them; so they take a bight around a crag. I send two men back for the
other line. The boat is in very swift water, and Bradley is standing in
the open compartment, holding out his oar to prevent her from striking
against the foot of the cliff. Now she shoots out into the stream, and
up as far as the line will permit, and then, wheeling, drives headlong
against the rock, then out and back again, now straining on the line,
now striking against the rock. As soon as the second line is brought, we
pass it down to him; but his attention is all taken up with his own
situation, and he does not see that we are passing the line to him. I
stand on a projecting rock, waving my hat to gain his attention, for my
voice is drowned by the roaring of the falls. Just at this moment, I see
him take his knife from its sheath, and step forward to cut the line. He
has evidently decided that it is better to go over with the boat as it
is, than to wait for her to be broken to pieces. As he leans over, the
boat sheers again into the stream, the stem-post breaks away, and she is
loose. With perfect composure Bradley seizes the great scull oar, places
it in the stern rowlock, and pulls with all his power (and he is an
athlete) to turn the bow of the boat downstream, for he wishes to go bow
down, rather than to drift broadside on. One, two strokes he makes, and
a third just as she goes over, and the boat is fairly turned, and she
goes down almost beyond our sight, though we are more than a hundred
feet above the river. Then she comes up again, on a great wave, and down
and up, then around behind some great rocks, and is lost in the mad,
white foam below. We stand frozen with fear, for we see no boat. Bradley
is gone, so it seems. But now, away below, we see something coming out
of the waves. It is evidently a boat. A moment more, and we see Bradley
standing on deck, swinging his hat to show that he is all right. But he
is in a whirlpool. We have the stem post of his boat attached to the
line. How badly she may be disabled we know not. I direct Sumner and
Powell to pass along the cliff, and see if they can reach him from
below. Rhodes, Hall, and myself run to the other boat, jump aboard, push
out, and away we go over the falls. A wave rolls over us, and our boat
is unmanageable. Another great wave strikes us, the boat rolls over, and
tumbles and tosses, I know not how. All I know is that Bradley is
picking us up. We soon have all right again, and row to the cliff, and
wait until Sumner and Powell can come. After a difficult climb they
reach us. We run two or three miles farther, and turn again to the
northwest, continuing until night, when we have run out of the granite
once more.

_August 29._ We start very early this morning. The river still
continues swift, but we have no serious difficulty, and at twelve
o'clock emerge from the Grand Cañon of the Colorado.

We are in a valley now, and low mountains are seen in the distance,
coming to the river below. We recognize this as the Grand Wash.

A few years ago a party of Mormons set out from St. George, Utah, taking
with them a boat, and came down to the mouth of the Grand Wash, where
they divided, a portion of the party crossing the river to explore the
San Francisco Mountains. Three men--Hamblin, Miller, and Crosby--taking
the boat, went on down the river to Callville, landing a few miles below
the mouth of the Rio Virgen. We have their manuscript journal with us,
and so the stream is comparatively well known.

To-night we camp on the left bank in a mesquit thicket.

The relief from danger and the joy of success are great. When he who has
been chained by wounds to a hospital cot, until his canvas tent seems
like a dungeon cell, until the groans of those who lie about, tortured
with probe and knife, are piled up, a weight of horror on his ears that
he cannot throw off, cannot forget, and until the stench of festering
wounds and anæsthetic drugs has filled the air with its loathsome
burthen, at last goes into the open field, what a world he sees! How
beautiful the sky; how bright the sunshine; what "floods of delirious
music" pour from the throats of birds; how sweet the fragrance of earth
and tree, and blossom! The first hour of convalescent freedom seems rich
recompense for all--pain, gloom, terror.

Something like this are the feelings we experience to-night. Ever before
us has been an unknown danger, heavier than immediate peril. Every
waking hour passed in the Grand Cañon has been one of toil. We have
watched with deep solicitude the steady disappearance of our scant
supply of rations, and from time to time have seen the river snatch a
portion of the little left, while we were ahungered. And danger and toil
were endured in those gloomy depths, where ofttimes the clouds hid the
sky by day, and but a narrow zone of stars could be seen at night. Only
during the few hours of deep sleep, consequent on hard labour, has the
roar of the waters been hushed. Now the danger is over; now the toil has
ceased; now the gloom has disappeared; now the firmament is bounded only
by the horizon; and what a vast expanse of constellations can be seen!

The river rolls by us in silent majesty; the quiet of the camp is sweet;
our joy is almost ecstasy. We sit till long after midnight, talking of
the Grand Cañon, talking of home, but chiefly talking of the three men
who left us. Are they wandering in those depths, unable to find a way
out? are they searching over the desert lands above for water? or are
they nearing the settlements?

_August 30._ We run two or three short, low cañons to-day, and on
emerging from one, we discover a band of Indians in the valley below.
They see us, and scamper away in most eager haste, to hide among the
rocks. Although we land, and call for them to return, not an Indian can
be seen.

Two or three miles farther down, in turning a short bend in the river,
we come upon another camp. So near are we before they can see us that I
can shout to them, and, being able to speak a little of their language,
I tell them we are friends; but they flee to the rocks, except a man, a
woman, and two children. We land, and talk with them. They are without
lodges, but have built little shelters of boughs, under which they
wallow in the sand. The man is dressed in a hat; the woman in a string
of beads only. At first they are evidently much terrified; but when I
talk to them in their own language, and tell them we are friends, and
inquire after people in the Mormon towns, they are soon reassured, and
beg for tobacco. Of this precious article we have none to spare. Sumner
looks around in the boat for something to give them, and finds a little
piece of coloured soap, which they receive as a valuable present, rather
as a thing of beauty than as a useful commodity, however. They are
either unwilling or unable to tell us anything about the Indians or
white people, and so we push off, for we must lose no time.

We camp at noon under the right bank. And now, as we push out, we are
in great expectancy, for we hope every minute to discover the mouth of
the Rio Virgen.

Soon one of the men exclaims: "Yonder's an Indian in the river." Looking
for a few minutes, we certainly do see two or three persons. The men
bend to their oars, and pull toward them. Approaching, we see that there
are three white men and an Indian hauling a seine, and then we discover
that it is just at the mouth of the long-sought river.

As we come near, the men seem far less surprised to see us than we do to
see them. They evidently know who we are, and, on talking with them,
they tell us that we have been reported lost long ago, and that some
weeks before, a messenger had been sent from Salt Lake City, with
instructions for them to watch for any fragments or relics of our party
that might drift down the stream.

Our new-found friends, Mr. Asa and his two sons, tell us that they are
pioneers of a town that is to be built on the bank.

Eighteen or twenty miles up the valley of the Rio Virgen there are two
Mormon towns, St. Joseph and St. Thomas. To-night we despatch an Indian
to the last mentioned place, to bring any letters that may be there for

Our arrival here is very opportune. When we look over our store of
supplies, we find about ten pounds of flour, fifteen pounds of dried
apples, but seventy or eighty pounds of coffee.


[1] Geologists would call these rocks metamorphic crystalline schists,
with dikes and beds of granite, but we will use the popular name for the
whole series--granite.


Obvious printer's errors, including punctuation have been silently
corrected. Hyphenated and accented words have been standardized.

Page 18--"Peter Martyr tell us..." changed to "Peter
Martyr tells us..."

Page 69--satisfacton changed to satisfaction.

Page 99--oppossed changed to opposed.

Page 101--nihgt changed to night.

Page 127--connonade changed to cannonade.

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